"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Sunday, April 27, 2014

How 4 Men Saved 120,000 Hungarian Jews - Holocaust Remembrance Day

This was pulled from Joel Rosenberg's blog in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day

They pulled off the greatest escape in human history – from a Nazi death camp – to tell the world the truth about Hitler, but no one knows their names.

To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.

In 1933, the world was blindsided by the rise of Adolf Hitler. 

In 1939, it was stunned by the German invasion of Poland and the Nazi leader’s bloodthirsty quest for global domination. Perhaps most tragically, most of the world did not understand Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews until it was almost too late.
Entrance to Auschwitz Death Camp
The sign reads: Work makes you free
The Nazis pretended that Auschwitz was just a work camp.
It is my deepest hope that the book (The Auschwitz Escape) will cause many to dig into the real history of these remarkable heroes.

Today, we face dangerous new threats from Iran, North Korea, and a rising czar in Russia, not from Germany. 

Yet curiously, in recent weeks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have each warned that as we confront current challenges we must be careful to learn the lessons of history regarding how the world failed to understand the threat posed by Hitler and the Nazis and deal with it decisively, before events spun out of control.

I agree, and as an example, I would point the extraordinary events that occurred in the spring of 1944.

Four men pulled off the greatest escapes in all of human history, from a Nazi death camp in southern Poland.

They did not simply escape to save their own lives. Nor did they escape merely to tell the world about a terrible crime against humanity that had been – and was being – committed. What set these true heroes apart is that they planned and executed their escapes in the hope of stopping a horrific crime before it was committed – the extermination of the Jews of Hungary.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of these escapes, and to draw attention to the significance these unknown – or unremembered – events, and the lessons they have to teach us, I recently wrote a work of historical fiction, "The Auschwitz Escape." I changed the names of key figures involved so as not to put words in their mouths that cannot be verified to be their own. But it is my deepest hope that the book will cause many to dig into the real history of these remarkable heroes.

Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler were Slovak Jews. They escaped from Auschwitz on April 7, 1944.

Arnost Rosin was also a Slovak Jew. Czeslaw Mordowicz was a Polish Jew. Together they escaped from Auschwitz on May 27, 1944.

Upon making it safely to Czechoslovakia, Vrba, only 19 years old, and Wetzler, 25, linked up with the Jewish underground. They explained Auschwitz was not simply a labor camp, as most thought, but rather a death camp. The Nazis were systematically murdering prisoners, mostly Jews, using poison gas called “Zyklon B,” then burning their bodies in enormous ovens.

The men explained the Nazis were dramatically enlarging an expansion camp a few miles from Auschwitz called “Birkenau,” building new train tracks, enormous new gas chambers, and massive new crematoria. They had also completed ramps leading all those arriving in the cattle cars directly into the gas chambers.
 The heart-breaking stare of a 9 year old Jewish boy
on the 'ramp' at Birkenau

Vrba and Wetzler said they had heard SS guards talking about Hungarian “salami” that would soon be arriving. They knew from their jobs as clerks in the camp that none of Hungary’s nearly 450,000 Jews had yet arrived, even though Jews from most of Europe had come already.

They urged the Czech Jewish leaders to warn Hungarian Jews immediately so they would revolt and not get on the trains. They also urged that the Allied leaders be notified so they would mount an operation to liberate Auschwitz.

Both men were asked to separately draft detailed eyewitness reports. Their reports were then cross-checked, compiled into a single report, and then simultaneously translated into multiple languages.

Eventually, Mordowicz, 23, and Rosin, 30, escaped as well. When they got to Czechoslovakia, they wrote up reports of their own, which were added to the existing document. But all this took precious time the Hungarian Jews did not have.

The report, known as “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was sent to Jewish and Allied leaders in early June 1944. Excerpts were leaked to the press, creating an international uproar. But the Germans had begun deporting Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in massive numbers on May 15th.

And “The Auschwitz Protocol” landed in the hands of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their top aides just as the Allies were executing the D-Day invasion of Normandy and trying to liberate France.

On July 2nd, the U.S. began bombing Budapest. Admiral Miklos Horthys, the Nazi-backed Regent of Hungary, feared the air raid was in reprisal for the Jewish deportations. He ordered the trains halted. 

Thus, while, more than 300,000 Hungarian Jews had already been sent to Auschwitz and gassed, 120,000 more Hungarian Jews were saved from deportation and certain death.

Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian, would later note, “The Auschwitz Protocol” was responsible for “the largest single greatest rescue of Jews in the Second World War.”

That said, neither the U.S. nor the British military took direct action to liberate Auschwitz during the war. Nor did they bomb the train lines to the death camps, or bomb the camps themselves, as Jewish leaders had implored. 

When the Soviets finally entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, only 7,000 prisoners remained alive. More than 1.1 million had already been exterminated.

Why didn’t Washington and London take decisive action upon receiving detailed, inside intelligence? Couldn’t they have at least tried to stop the Holocaust, or at least disrupt it, knowing the hellish nightmare people in the camps were experiencing?

Historians have been debating this for years. Yet the issues are not academic. Today, our leaders also face urgent questions. 

Let’s consider just one. Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” It has threatened to create world without the “Great Satan” (aka, the U.S.), as well. The mullahs are actively developing the ability to build nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. 

Do we currently have inside sources giving us accurate intelligence on the state of Iran’s nuclear program? If diplomacy and sanctions fail, should the West take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the mullahs can set into motion a Second Holocaust? 

Rather than attack ourselves, should the U.S. support an Israeli preemptive strike? What are the risks of launching such a strike? What are the risks of delay?

Would history forgive us if we wait too long and Iran strikes first? Forget history - would God forgive us?

The moral courage that Rudolf Vrba, Alfred Wetzler, Arnost Rosin, and Czeslaw Mordowicz demonstrated seventy years ago was extraordinary. They understood the nature and threat of evil, and they risked their lives to tell the world the truth.

They deserve to be remembered and heralded by Jews and Christians and all who care about freedom and human dignity.

We must never forget what they did, and why they did it. But we must also be ready to act wisely, bravely and decisively if a mortal threat rises again. For if we learn nothing else from the history of the Holocaust, we had better learn this: Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.

Joel C. Rosenberg, is the best-selling author of novels and non-fiction books about the Middle East. His latest thriller, "The Auschwitz Escape," was published March 18th by Tyndale House.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Law Society Decisions Send 'Chilling Message' About Religious Freedom

Trinity Western University Blasts Nova Scotia, Ontario Law Societies

Trinity Western (Christian) University says law societies in Nova Scotia and Ontario sent a "chilling message" about religious freedom in Canada by restricting or rejecting accreditation for its proposed law school.

“We are very disappointed,” said president Bob Kuhn in a news release Friday. “These decisions impact all Canadians and people of faith everywhere. They send the chilling message that you cannot hold religious values and also participate fully in public society.”

At issue was Trinity Western's requirement that its 3,600 students sign a community covenant forbidding intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, which has been criticized as discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

'We feel the Ontario and Nova Scotia decisions are legally incorrect.'
- Bob Kuhn, Trinity Western University president

Nova Scotia's bar society voted Friday to conditionally approve the law school from the Christian liberal arts institution, which plans to open the law school in 2016.

The conditional acceptance means the Nova Scotia's Barristers Society will only accept articling students from the school if it changes the covenant for law students or allows them to opt out.

The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) has voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University's proposed new law school in B.C.

The vote means graduates from the B.C. university would not be able to practise in Ontario.

Kuhn said the criteria Nova Scotia and Ontario used to consider Trinity were unclear, and the university is considering legal action.

“These provincial law societies are not the final authority. We feel the Ontario and Nova Scotia decisions are legally incorrect and it may now be necessary to re-litigate an issue that has already been decided in our favour by an 8 to 1 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2001,” Kuhn said.

In that case, the British Columbia College of Teachers rejected Trinity's teaching degrees because students had to sign an agreement not to engage in homosexuality. The Supreme Court of Canada said the college (of Teachers) was wrong to reject Trinity on the basis of discrimination. 

The university will press ahead with plans for Canada's only faith-based law school, he said.

Trinity said its potential law graduates are cleared to article and practise in the following provinces and territories:

British Columbia
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador

My thoughts on this travesty are expressed in the two links near the top of this page.

Friday, April 25, 2014

"We'll Approve Accreditation if You Approve Students Disobeying God"

In a follow-up to yesterday's post, below, Nova Scotia's bar society has ruled on whether or not they will approve the accreditation of Trinity Western's proposed law program. 

OK, the title is a paraphrase, they didn't actually say that, but that is their intention - to have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms destroy the Bible, nothing less.

Nova Scotia's bar society has voted to conditionally approve Trinity Western University's proposed new law school a day after barristers in Ontario ruled not to accredit the faith-based institution.

The B.C. university, which prohibits same-sex intimacy and bills itself as the largest independent Christian liberal arts institution in Canada, will open a law school in 2016.

At issue was Trinity Western's requirement that its 3,600 students sign a community covenant forbidding intimacy outside heterosexual marriage, which has been criticized as discriminatory against gays and lesbians.
Like I wrote yesterday, how many gay and lesbian students want to attend a Christian university? Probably, none! So this whole thing is a sham and a farce.

The conditional acceptance means that the Nova Scotia's Barristers Society will only accept articling students from the school if it changes the covenant for law students or allows them to opt out. 

In other words, so anybody can have sex with anybody they want, whenever they want. That will lift TWU into the echelons of other western universities where the 'Culture of Rape' is rampant. That would be such a great improvement???!!! Thanks Nova Scotia!

The decision for the conditional accreditation was reached after the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society council met Friday in Halifax and voted 10 to nine in favour of the move.

The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society held public hearings on the issue earlier this year, in which legal experts condemned the Langley, B.C., school's policies.

Elaine Craig, a faculty member at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, told the society panel that endorsing the institution would amount to sanctioning "blatant and explicit discrimination" and is not consistent with Charter values. What a load of dung! It doesn't discriminate against anyone because there is no such demographic! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Law Society Refuses Accreditation for University with Moral Standards

The Law Society of Upper Canada has voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University's proposed new law school in B.C.

The vote means graduates from the B.C. university would not be able to practise in Ontario.

“Benchers took this issue very seriously, and did not find it easy to reach a decision,” said the Law Society of Upper Canada's treasurer, in a written statement.

“As members of the legal profession, we recognize the entrenched values of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Ontario’s Human Rights Code, including the right of equality and the right to freedom of religion, and the foundational nature of those rights to our democracy.”

Trinity Western University students must sign a strict Christian covenant governing behaviour, including abstaining from sexual intimacy "that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman."

Critics say the covenant essentially bans anyone in a gay relationship from enrolling in the school. Now, seriously, would anyone in a gay relationship want to enroll in a blatantly Christian college? The Upper Canada Law Society is protecting a demographic that does not exist. 

This is not the first conflict between freedom of religion and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it won't be the last. But, it is the first serious case where religious freedom has been trumped by the Charter.

It was just a matter of time, of course, and things will get much worse before they get better. The writing was on the wall when Pierre Trudeau decided Canada should be a 'just' society, not a 'moral' society. We certainly are becoming less and less a moral society.

Earlier this month, the West Coast Legal Education Action Fund, a non-profit organization founded to ensure women's equality rights under the law, argued against the university law school's accreditation in B.C.

Victoria lawyer Michael Mulligan
But the B.C. Law Society voted to accredit the school. However, that fight isn't over.

Victoria criminal lawyer Michael Mulligan is attempting to trigger a rare special general B.C. Law Society meeting to overturn the decision.

Mulligan believes the vast majority of lawyers take issue with the university's covenant. There's a lawyer joke there, but I dare not write it.

Mulligan says it is at odds with a core principle of the lawyer's oath to uphold the rights and freedoms of all according to the law. Again, what demographic are you protecting? One that doesn't exist!

In December, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada gave Trinity Western University preliminary approval for its law school program and said it was up to provincial law societies to decide whether to recognize degrees from the school.

Please pray for the BC Law Society to uphold its decision.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

That Silver-tongued Rouhani is at It Again

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has urged equal opportunities and rights for men and women, and condemned sexual discrimination.

In a speech marking Women's Day, Mr Rouhani criticised "those who consider women's presence society as a threat" and said Iran still had "a long way to go" to ensure gender equality.

Mr Rouhani, a religious moderate, was elected to office in June 2013.
President Rouhani waiving

Foreign activist groups argue that Iran's laws discriminate against women.

Speaking on Sunday at the National Forum on Women Shaping Economy and Culture in Tehran, Mr Rouhani said: "We will not accept the culture of sexual discrimination."

"Women must enjoy equal opportunity, equal protection and equal social rights," he said in comments that were broadcast live on television.

"According to the Islamic rules, man is not the stronger sex and woman is not the weaker one," he said.

Of course, there is no possibility that equality is ever going to happen, but it's to his political advantage to have women think that it might, some day. His words might have more effect if they were actually accompanied by some action, but they weren't. Nor is there any indication that Rouhani has done anything for women in the 10 months he's been in office.

However, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, said in comments on Saturday that gender equality was "one of the biggest mistakes of the Western thought".

"Justice is a right. But equality is sometimes right and sometimes wrong," he said, according to his personal website.

He added that he did not oppose women's employment, but that it should not conflict with "the main issue", which was women's role in the "family environment and household".

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International said in its 2013 report on Iran that women there "faced discrimination in law and practice in relation to marriage and divorce, inheritance, child custody, nationality and international travel".

In May 2013 a constitutional body in Iran ruled that women could not run in presidential elections. However, women have served as lawmakers in parliament.

In 2012 several Iranian universities introduced rules banning female students from nearly 80 degree courses, drawing criticism from campaigners.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Alexah, Fighting for Her Life and Getting Very Tired

Toughest Days, 20 days
By Heather Hebert — 6 hours ago

Work woes. Friendship issues. Financial difficulties. None of these experiences hold a candle to yesterday, today, or the next 3 days to follow. I can handle stress. I'm built for it. Heartbreak is a different ballgame. It's a game with no rules, it's always unfair, and no one wins.

If you have been praying for Alexah, keep praying. Pray harder. Pray for her mental strength. Pray she fights physically and mentally.

Today was another trial of clamping the ECMO. Again, it went well. She is still battling her PH. It is still very severe. The remodulin was actually reduced today because she was struggling directly after increases. I believe the rapid increase was also contributing to her sad feelings and overall bad feeling. I am hoping the reduction in the remodulin dose will improve her progress until she is off ECMO. For now, the plan is to TRY and come off ECMO after the weekend, depending on her progress over the weekend.

After the discussion regarding the medical plan, the doctor asked if we could intervene with Alexah and provide a mental outlet for her. During this tear-filled meeting, he expressed that it was important for Alexah to be able to acknowledge and express her feelings about being sick. Knowing that coming off ECMO could go well or poorly, he wanted Alexah to be heard. Alexah will start with her specialist tonight. I pray this offers her some relief.

A clot was located in the ECMO today. A very scary moment for us, but the team, cool as usual, handled the situation before it could become a threat. Part of the line was removed and replaced with new line. These are the dangers of staying on ECMO too long.

As the room cleared out from the replacement, I returned to sit with Alexah. I held her hand. I whispered in her ear that she was going to get better, I was going to take her home soon, and we were going to play dolls and watch movies. She squinted her eyes shut and tears rolled out of the corners of her eyes. She shook her head side to side.....no. Heartbreak.

She can't give up. She can't stop fighting. She can't leave me. Not now. Not because of this unfair game.

Pray. Remember, God answers prayer.

More Research on the Dangerous Effects of Marijuana on the Brain

Research from Harvard Medical School indicates that even casual use of pot can cause permanent brain damage.

People who had only used cannabis once or twice a week for a matter of months were found to have changes in the brain that govern emotion, motivation and addiction. The damage increased with the amount of cannabis used.

Dr Hans Breiter, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, (author of the study reported in the post immediately below)
“People think a little recreational use shouldn’t cause a problem, if someone is doing OK with work or school. Our data directly says this is not the case.
“I’ve developed a severe worry about whether we should be allowing anybody under age 30 to use pot unless they have a terminal illness and need it for pain.”

“Drug abuse can cause more dopamine release than natural rewards like food, sex and social interaction. That is why drugs take on so much salience, and everything else loses its importance.” The study is published in the Journal of Neurosciences.

Mark Winstanley, chief executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “For too long cannabis has been seen as a safe drug, but as this study suggests, it can have a really serious impact on your mental health.

“Research also shows that when people smoke cannabis before the age of 15, it quadruples their chance of developing psychosis. But very few people are aware of the risks involved.”

The younger drug abuse starts, the more abnormal the brain

CHICAGO --- Teens who were heavy marijuana users -- smoking it daily for about three years -- had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study. 

A poor working memory predicts poor academic performance and everyday functioning.

The Northwestern research shows, of the 15 marijuana smokers who had schizophrenia in the study, 90 percent started heavily using the drug before they developed the mental disorder. Marijuana abuse has been linked to developing schizophrenia in prior research.


A New Zealand study found the cannabis users were more than twice as likely to have a stroke at an early age (18-55). Interestingly, there is no evidence of any correlation with heart attacks.

See post immediately below for more info and also Does Pot make You Crazy?

Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities

NEW YORK — A small study of casual marijuana smokers has turned up evidence of changes in the brain, a possible sign of trouble ahead, researchers say.

Smoking a few joints with friends growing up may be the furthest thing from harmless for developing young brains, a new U.S. study suggests.
Teens deluded by adults into thinking that pot is harmless. It's not!
The young adults who volunteered for the study were not dependent on pot, nor did they show any marijuana-related problems.

“What we think we are seeing here is a very early indication of what becomes a problem later on with prolonged use,” things like lack of focus and impaired judgment, said Dr. Hans Breiter, a study author.

Longer-term studies will be needed to see if such brain changes cause any symptoms over time, said Breiter, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Previous studies have shown mixed results in looking for brain changes from marijuana use, perhaps because of differences in the techniques used, he and others noted in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of Neurosciences.

Also, read Does Pot Make You Crazy?

The study is among the first to focus on possible brain effects in recreational pot smokers, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The federal agency helped pay for the work. She called the work important but preliminary.

The 20 pot users in the study, ages 18 to 25, said they smoked marijuana an average of about four days a week, for an average total of about 11 joints. Half of them smoked fewer than six joints a week. Researchers scanned their brains and compared the results to those of 20 non-users who were matched for age, sex and other traits.

The results showed differences in two brain areas associated with emotion and motivation — the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. Users showed higher density than non-users, as well as differences in shape of those areas. Both differences were more pronounced in those who reported smoking more marijuana.

Volkow said larger studies are needed to explore whether casual to moderate marijuana use really does cause anatomical brain changes, and if so, whether that leads to any impairment.

The current work doesn’t determine whether casual to moderate marijuana use is harmful to the brain, she said.

Murat Yucel of Monash University in Australia, who has studied the brains of marijuana users but didn’t participate in the new study, said in an email that the new results suggest “the effects of marijuana can occur much earlier than previously thought.” Some of the effect may depend on a person’s age when marijuana use starts, he said.

Another brain researcher, Krista Lisdahl of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said her own work has found similar results. “I think the clear message is we see brain alterations before you develop dependence,” she said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A PH'r Shares Her Struggles and Triumphs

Inspiring words from Trudy Seidel, a PHriend. Trudy is an amazing woman who raises thousands of dollars for PH research, so little is known about the disease except that it is almost always fatal. I wanted to say that Trudy works tirelessly for the cause, but there is no such thing as tireless when you have PH - tired is a way of life. God bless you, Trudy.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and I have been enemies for 2 years today. 

Realistically, IPAH had entered my life 18 months prior to this 2 year anniversary. Even more accurate is April 20th, the day I was given the diagnosis of the incurable disease PH (Pulmonary Hypertension). That day means little to nothing to me.

My wife, Pat, and I in shirts
designed and marketed by Trudy
April 15, 2012, was the day I left Vinton, Iowa, by ambulance headed to the University Hospital. 2 years ago today, I left my 4 children, 2 of which were only 1 1/2 years old and 13 years old. I was taken away from them not knowing if I would ever see them or hold them in my arms again. I was so scared and I couldn't get my prayers to God, I felt blocked.

I've been through a lot of unpleasant and scary things, but this was beyond words and I couldn't grasp logic in the fear. I then spent a week not knowing what was wrong or if I was going to live. Then, 5 days later at 11pm, I was told that indeed I was dying, but with treatment I could buy time. My doctor later told me had I waited even 2 more weeks not seeking medical attention, my chances wouldn't have been good and most likely nothing would have worked.

I was released after 2 weeks with a tube coming out of my chest with an IV pump hanging from it. My mom, Bonnie Deutsch, who had sat tireless for 2 weeks at my bedside, witnessed things no mom should see or hear, called constantly on my sister and family to pray and heal me. Without her in my life today, it wouldn't be as livable as it is.

The night I was released my sister and 2 girls came to TAKE ME HOME, well, to my sister's home so she could help me and just be with me, because I needed her. Only about 18 months earlier she also picked me up again from a hospital, when she and my brother in law, my nieces, and daughter Jacey came to take me and newborn Jolie home with them. My sister again knew I needed her. Life is crazy, that was a lot more fun than this more recent hospital discharge.

I was so happy to be alive as my pump of life made noises, I cried off and on as we drove to her house, she's my logic, my person to shoot life straight for me and keep me going, she's my sister, Shawna Kurth. She married an amazing man, Tim Kurth, who had to deal with me the first morning of waking up being out the hospital and starting my new normal. He walked in his daughter's room where I had been sleeping, I was in tears with my medicine bottles in front of me, my pump next to me and I said, "I don't want to do this, I don't know how". He just held me and let me sob for a long, he's my 'strong tower'.
Trudy (right), sister Shawna (left), and brother Josh

Later, I went home with my girls and new normal and tried to figure out this new life I had been given. I'm still not sure of my new normal as it changes a lot or what all this new life holds for me, I don't think it's for me to figure out anymore.

I'm at a place today that I'm okay with really, I'm not always happy and I still feel sick a lot, but it's livable. I've thanked God many times for my life, for letting me stay with my family longer, I've even thanked him for PH in a way, it's shined a new light on me.

I am only able to feel this way about PH, because of a man who fought so hard against PH. I read and seen a write up about Annie Whitaker's son Tim. This man, this angel was whom I wanted to become. I wanted to see the world through his eyes. Tim had already passed away, when I had read about him, but i see him in my mind so clearly.

The afternoon I read of his story, I honestly thought I can't ever get to that point. Granted, I was only a few weeks into the diagnosis and at home alone with a 2 yr old. I'm sure at that moment I walked by my computer, I had just come from getting sick in the bathroom for my 100th time that day.

His story just came, I had gotten lost in a site and he was just there so I read all about him, his hospitalizations, medicines and meds he couldn't get in Australia or that cost so much. I read of Annie's grief in trying to help, more trying to save him as a mom would. He was so close to his family and there was so much love going between all of them.

Tim wasn't a complainer, he was a fighter, a survivor for a long time against PH. He lost his battle to this horrendous disease, but it wasn't just his fight, his mom is still hot on the fight against Pulmonary Hypertension.

Annie is not alone in this fight, it's our fight, it's everyone's fight who has PH, its every person's fight who loves or cares for someone with PH. It's a fight that we won't lose, we are rare, but we are strong and United in the battle for our lives. 

Happy Anniversary PH, I'm still here fighting and I am so much better than I was at our last Anniversary, but not as good as I will be on our next Anniversary.

Please visit here amazing testimonies of Heaven and Healing, and more info on PH.

The picture on the left is Aubrie Starr, the one on the right is Alexah. Both are far too young to have a fatal disease like PH, but they do. There is no cure for PH short of a heart/lung transplant and by the time you qualify for that, it is often too late.

Please pray for a cure for PH, pray for Trudy, and pray for these two precious little girls.        #PH

Monday, April 14, 2014

4 Costs of Becoming a Christian

Very much in keeping with Bonhoeffer's 'cheap grace', though it predates Bonhoeffer, this is a clear and concise summary of the cost of salvation. J.C. Ryle died in 1900 at the age of 84. He was a brilliant student at Eton and Oxford and became the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool.

J.C. Ryle writes in his classic work Holiness that there are four things a person must be ready to give up if they wish to become a Christian.
J.C. Ryle

#1: Counting the Cost: Your Self-Righteousness

#2: Counting the Cost: Your Sins

#3: Counting the Cost: Your Love of Ease

#4: Counting the Cost: The Favor of the World

 Summary: Contemplating the Four Costs

[Before going through the four points] Let there be no mistake about my meaning. I am not examining what it costs to save a Christian’s soul. I know well that it costs nothing less that the blood of the Son of God to provide atonement, and to redeem man from hell. The price paid for our redemption was nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary. The point I want to consider is another one altogether. It is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be saved. It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ. It is in this sense that I raise the question, ‘What does it cost?’ And I believe firmly it is a most important one.”

What does it cost to be a true Christian?

1) It will cost him his self-righteousness. He must cast away all pride and high thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness. He must be content to go to heaven as a poor sinner saved only by free grace, and owing all to the merit and righteousness of another. He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible-reading, Church-going, and sacrament-receiving, and trust in nothing but Jesus Christ. Let us set down this item first and foremost in our account. To be a true Christian it will cost a man his self-righteousness.

2) It will cost a man his sins. He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight. He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it, and labor to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think. He must do this honestly and fairly. There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves. He must count all sins as his deadly enemies, and hate every false way. Whether little or great, whether open or secret, all his sins must be thoroughly renounced. Let us set down that item second in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his sins.

3) It will cost a man his love of ease. He must take pains and trouble, if he means to run a successful face towards heaven. He must daily watch and stand his guard, like a soldier on enemy’s ground. He must take heed to his behavior every hour of the day, in every company, and in every place, in public as well as in private, among strangers as well as at home. He must be careful over his time, his tongue, his temper, his thoughts, his imaginations, his motives, his conduct in every relation of life. He must be diligent about his prayers, his Bible-reading, and his use of Sundays, with all their means of grace. “This also sounds hard. There is nothing we naturally dislike so much as ‘trouble’ about our religion. We hate trouble. We secretly wish we could have a ‘vicarious’ Christianity, and could be good by proxy, and have everything done for us. Anything that requires exertion and labor is entirely against the grain of our hearts. But the soul can have ‘no gains without pains.’ Let us set down that item third in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man his love of ease.

4) It will cost a man the favor of the world. He must be content to be thought ill of by man if he pleases God. He must count it no strange thing to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, persecuted, and even hated. He must not be surprised to find his opinions and practices in religion despised and held up to scorn. He must submit to be thought by many a fool, an enthusiast, and a fanatic – to have his words perverted and his actions misrepresented. In fact, he must not marvel if some call him mad. “I dare say this also sounds hard. We naturally dislike unjust dealing and false charges, and think it very hard to be accused without cause. We should not be flesh and blood if we did not wish to have the good opinion of our neighbors. It is always unpleasant to be spoken against, and forsaken, and lied about, and to stand alone. But there is no help for it. The cup which our Master drank must be drunk by His disciples. They must be ‘despised and rejected of men’ (Isaiah 53:3). Let us set down that item last in our account. To be a Christian it will cost a man the favor of the world.

Bold indeed must that man be who would dare to say that we may keep our self-righteousness, our sins, our laziness, and our love of the world, and yet be saved? I grant it costs much to be a true Christian. But who in his sound senses can doubt that it is worth any cost to have the soul saved? When the ship is in danger of sinking, the crew think nothing of casting overboard the precious cargo. When a limb is mortified, a man will submit to any severe operation, and even to amputation, to save life. Surely a Christian should be willing to give up anything which stands between him and heaven. A religion that costs nothing is worth nothing! A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.

Excerpt from Holiness by J. C. Ryle

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two More Bankers Dead, Apparently

The chief executive of a private bank has been shot dead in the underground car park of his bank's headquarters in the principality of Liechtenstein, Swiss media report.

SRF online named him as Juergen Frick, head of Bank Frick, based in Balzers near the Swiss border.

Police confirmed the shooting of a 48-year-old man but did not name him.

Detectives named a former fund manager as the suspect and said they believed he may have taken his own life.
These are the first two bankers to die suddenly, as far as I am aware, since the sudden deaths of several bankers in the last week of January.

The suspect, Juergen Hermann, calls himself the "Robin Hood of Liechtenstein" on his website.

He is reported to have spent years feuding with Bank Frick and Liechtenstein's government over financial matters.

Liechtenstein police said officers had found Mr Hermann's passport which contained a hand-written note in which he confessed to the shooting and wrote "parting words".

They said that sniffer dogs had followed a trail to a stretch of the River Rhine where Mr Hermann's clothes were found.

Police said that although it appeared likely he had taken his own life, efforts to find him were continuing.

According to reports, Mr Hermann had been spotted on the car park's surveillance cameras.

Police quickly named him as the suspected gunman and warned the public that he was considered armed and dangerous.

Mr Hermann's car was later found abandoned in countryside near the Rhine, close to the borders with Austria and Switzerland.

Police sealed off a wide area and were using dogs and helicopters in the search.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why the Church of England will Never Accept Gay Marriage

A remarkable disclosure by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Head of the Church of England.

‘Christians in Africa will be killed if Church of England accepts gay marriage’: Archbishop of Canterbury.

LONDON – African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage, the archbishop of Canterbury has suggested.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Speaking on an LBC phone in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”

“I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact,” Welby said.

If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, he added, “the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes round the world.”

This reasoning has until now been kept private, although both Welby and his predecessor, Rowan Williams, anguished about it in private.

Welby also condemned homophobia in England. “To treat every human being with equal importance and dignity is a fundamental part of being a Christian,” he said. Although he continued to uphold what he called the historic position of the church, of “sex only within marriage and marriage only between a man and a woman”, he agreed with the presenter, James O’Brien, that it was “completely unacceptable” for the church to condemn homosexual people more than adulterous heterosexual people.

African churches do not share this opinion, and the Anglican churches in both Uganda and Nigeria have given enthusiastic backing to laws which criminalise even the expression of support for gay marriage.

Despite these confusions, Welby denied that the church was woolly in its preaching in a testy exchange with the former Conservative cabinet minister Ann Widdecombe, who left the Church of England over its support of female priests in 1992, but phoned in on Friday to attack it. “I think the opponents of women’s ordination are wrong theologically,” he said.

Welby refused an opportunity to criticise Iain Duncan Smith on welfare reform, but he was unequivocal in support of the church’s work with food banks and against inequality. He cited statistics showing that a third of those coming to food banks were entitled to benefits which had not actually been paid and another third were in employment, but for them “the month is a bit longer than the money”.

“Whatever the causes, those are the people we are dealing with. They need to be treated with human dignity and they need to be loved. I do want to live in a country where the economy works in a way that means that food banks are no longer necessary,” Welby said.

In remarks which showed the clear influence of Catholic doctrine, he said that food, house prices and energy costs were all moral issues that could not be left entirely to the market. “How much you charge for essentials is always a moral issue,” he said. – theguardian.com.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Christian Couple Sentenced to Death for Insulting Muhammad

Human rights groups say Pakistan's blasphemy laws are
often used to target minorities, including Christians
A Pakistani Christian couple have been sentenced to death for blasphemy after allegedly sending a text message insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

The couple, named as Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, were found guilty of sending the text message to the imam of their local mosque. Does that make any sense?

Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan.

Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of blasphemy laws.

The imam brought a complaint against the couple last July.

The couple's lawyer told the BBC he would appeal against the sentences and said the trial had not been conducted fairly.

Pakistan has a de fact moratorium on the death penalty so it is unlikely the couple will be executed.

They come from the town of Gojra in Punjab, previously the scene of communal violence.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws

After partition in 1947 Pakistan inherited offences relating to religion which were first codified by India's British rulers in 1860

In the 1980s clauses were added to the laws by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq
One clause recommends life imprisonment for "willful" desecration of the Koran, another says blasphemy is punishable by death or life imprisonment

Muslims constitute a majority of those booked under these laws, followed by the minority Ahmadi community

A majority support the idea that blasphemers should be punished, but there is little understanding of what religious scripture says as opposed to how the modern law is codified

In 2009 the rumoured desecration of a copy of the Koran led to a mob burning nearly 40 houses and a church in Gojra. At least eight members of Christian community died in the violence.

Since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been convicted for desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed.

While most of them have been sentenced to death by the lower courts, many sentences have been overturned due to lack of evidence.

Critics argue that Pakistan's blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are also unfairly targeted.

Muslims constitute a majority of those prosecuted, followed by the minority Ahmadi community.

In 2012 the arrest of a young Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, on blasphemy charges provoked international outrage. After being detained in a high security prison for several weeks she was eventually released and her family subsequently fled to Canada.

Please pray that this verdict will be overturned upon appeal. Pray for Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar and their families to have patience and faith and that they not be mistreated.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Freedom of Speech Gives Way to Gay Lobby and Corporate Image

Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich is stepping down as CEO and leaving the company following protests over his support of a gay marriage ban in California.

The nonprofit company that makes the Firefox browser infuriated many employees and users last week by naming Eich head of the Mountain View, Calif.-based organization.

At issue was Eich's $1,000 donation in 2008 to the campaign to pass California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriages. The ban was overturned last year when the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower-court ruling striking down the ballot measure.

Eich's contribution had drawn negative attention in the past but took on more weight when he was named CEO. Mozilla employees and users criticized the move on Twitter and elsewhere online. Earlier this week, dating website OKCupid replaced its usual homepage for users logging in with Firefox with a note suggesting they not use Mozilla's software to access the site.

An OKCupid spokesman responded Friday to the news of Eich stepping down, saying the website never sought anyone's resignation. Then what did you expect to happen?

“We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships; today’s decision reaffirms Mozilla’s commitment to that cause," the spokesman said in an email to CBC.

"We are satisfied that Mozilla will be taking a number of further affirmative steps to support the equality of all relationships.”

The departure raises questions about how far corporate leaders are allowed to go in expressing their political views. Apparently, not very far when those views are not supportive of gay rights.

"CEOs often use their station to push for certain viewpoints and get some muscle for those viewpoints," said UCLA management professor Samuel Culbert. "But if you are going to play the game you have to think of both sides."

Company leaders have to be conscious of what impact their own views may have on the success of their organization, Culbert argues. While some leaders, such as Starbucks Corp. head Howard Schultz, have been outspoken in their political positions, it is often in a vein that is line with the ethos of his company. Culbert said that taking a position that is divisive can both drive away customers and hurt employee morale.

The onus is also on the corporation and its board to assess whether anything that a candidate has done or said in the past will adversely affect the company's reputation, said Microsoft Corp. Chairman John Thompson, who led a five-month search that culminated in Microsoft hiring Satya Nadella as its new CEO in February.
Brendan Eich

"When you run a public company or any visible organization, what you think and what you say is always going to affect the company," said Thompson, "You have to be mindful of how things you do and say will affect your customers, your employees and your investors."

Eich said in a statement Thursday that Mozilla's mission is "bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader."

His resignation represents an about-face from his confident and sometimes defiant remarks in an interview published earlier this week by the technology news service Cnet. Insisting that he was best choice to be CEO, Eich told Cnet that it would send the wrong message if he were to resign or apologize for his support of Prop. 8.

"I don't think it's good for my integrity or Mozilla's integrity to be pressured into changing a position," Eich said. "If Mozilla became more exclusive and required more litmus tests, I think that would be a mistake that would lead to a much smaller Mozilla, a much more fragmented Mozilla."

At another point, Eich said that attacks on his beliefs represented a threat to Mozilla's survival. "If Mozilla cannot continue to operate according to its principles of inclusiveness, where you can work on the mission no matter what your background or other beliefs, I think we'll probably fail," he said.

Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker apologized for the company's actions in an open letter online Thursday, saying that Eich is stepping down for the company's sake.

"We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better," Baker wrote.

She said that Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech and that "figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

I'm not as rabidly anti-gay as some Evangelical Christians, the only people Jesus condemned were religious hypocrites. And while I'm not sure that I would have supported Proposition 8 were I in California, for Eich to lose the CEO position in the company that he co-founded for doing so, is a very disturbing assault on free speech. 

From now on, it will become much more difficult for conservative people to rise to high levels in national or multi-national companies. Evangelical Christians need not apply!

This is the beginning of the marginalization of Christians, and it's happening in a Christian country. In this world (America too) you will have tribulation! Tribulation from which your guns will not save you; but, behold, I have overcome the world. 

Mozilla is still discussing what is next for its leadership.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hope and Pray PHor Aubrie Starr and a Cure Phor Pulmonary Hypertension

Aubrie Starr is about one year old and suffers from a terrible disease called Pulmonary Hypertension. PH is a significant increase in blood pressure only between the lungs and the heart. Untreated, PH will destroy the right ventricle of the heart within 2 or 3 years resulting in death. Careful treatment can allow some patients to live for ten to twenty years.

The only 'cure' right now is a complete lung transplant, and often that has to coincide with a complete heart transplant. Most doctors and most hospitals know little about PH, consequently, it is frequently mis-diagnosed and poorly or wrongly treated.

There is one other cure not listed in the annals of medicine, and that is prayer. My wife was diagnosed with PH two years ago. Last year, I was pressed by God to take her to an event involving some dear old Christian friends and ask them to pray for her. I did, they did, and my wife was instantly healed - confirmed by two specialists one month and 6 months later.

On her Facebook page my wife has a friend who went into septic shock, died and went to Heaven, but returned to life with no renal damage whatsoever. Read her amazing story here.

So, God is still in the healing business, which is why I am putting these updates from Aubrie's mom on my blog. I'm asking you to take a minute or two and pray for this delightful little girl, and also to pray PHor a cure for PH.

Note: Aubrie suffers from chronic pneumonia as well as PH. She had been in to see a specialist just two days earlier. He, I believe, ran numerous tests on her.

Aubrie's mom:
Well I took Aubrie to get her synagis shot. While in there she began to breathe super fast working hard to breathe. The nurse pulled someone in there to look at her. We transferred to a physicians room. She had chest X-rays and he called her pulmonologist. 

Some of Aubrie's results just came in, literally at that moment

Her bronchoscope has already shown she has a bacteria infection in her lungs and she is aspirating into her lungs. We are waiting for the culture to be complete but for now we are treating these with antibiotics for a month and she is going back on antacids. 

God put all this into place at the right moment with the right people! 

My baby's going to be getting better, I know it, I have faith, God's got this!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Marijuana Linked to Death of Colorado Exchange Student

An exchange student fell to his death after ingesting marijuana in Colorado - the first death linked to the drug since it was legalised in the US state.

Levy Thamba, 19, plummeted from the balcony of a Denver hotel on 11 March after eating a cannabis-laced cookie.

A post-mortem examination found marijuana intoxication was a factor in the Wyoming student's death.

Colorado became the first US state to legalise recreational use of the drug in January.

So, pot has been legalized for just three months and one death has been attributed to it already. Unfortunately, we don't know how many deaths were attributed to alcohol in the same period, but regardless, we can no longer say that pot is harmless.

Mr Thamba, a native of the Republic of Congo, had reportedly begun taking classes at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, the same month.

Currently, 20 US states as well as Washington, DC allow for the sale of medical marijuana, while Washington state is set to introduce legal sales later this year.

Recently, US President Barack Obama said marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol, while cautioning both were bad decisions.

Nonetheless, he has instructed the Department of Justice to halt prosecutions of banks that do business with cannabis firms.

How Evangelicals Won a Culture War and Lost a Generation

A very thought-provoking piece! I don't necessarily agree with everything she says, but, certainly, with most of it. 
Rachel Held Evans

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

(CNN) - On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.

It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.

But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”

Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”

So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal? The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.

Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the decision pointed to “disaster,” and the Assemblies of God denomination encouraged its members to pull their financial support from the organization.

Evangelicals took to Twitter and Facebook to threaten to stop sending money to their sponsored children unless World Vision reversed course.

Within a day of the initial announcement, more than 2,000 children sponsored by World Vision lost their financial support. And with more and more individuals, churches and organizations threatening to do the same, the charity stood to lose millions of dollars in aid that would otherwise reach the poor, sick, hungry and displaced people World Vision serves.

So World Vision reversed course.

Stearns told The New York Times that some people, satisfied with the reversal, have called World Vision headquarters to ask, “Can I have my child back?” as though needy children are expendable bargaining chips in the culture war against gay and lesbian people.

Many of us who grew up evangelical watched with horror as these events unfolded.

As a longtime supporter of World Vision, I encouraged readers of my blog to pick up some of the dropped sponsorships after the initial decision. I then felt betrayed when World Vision backtracked, though I urged my readers not to play the same game but to keep supporting their sponsored children, who are of course at no fault in any of this.

But most of all, the situation put into stark, unsettling relief just how misaligned evangelical priorities have become.

When Christians declare that they would rather withhold aid from people who need it than serve alongside gays and lesbians helping to provide that aid, something is wrong.

There is a disproportionate focus on homosexuality that consistently dehumanizes, stigmatizes and marginalizes gay and lesbian people and, at least in this case, prioritizes the culture war against them over and against the important work of caring for the poor.

Evangelicals insist that they are simply fighting to preserve “biblical marriage,” but if this were actually about “biblical marriage,” then we would also be discussing the charity’s policy around divorce.

But we’re not.

Furthermore, Scripture itself teaches that when we clothe and feed those in need, we clothe and feed Christ himself, and when we withhold care from those in need, we withhold it from Christ himself (Matthew 25:31-46).

Why are the few passages about homosexuality accepted uncritically, without regard to context or culture, but the many about poverty so easily discarded?

As I grieved with my (mostly 20- and 30-something) readers over this ugly and embarrassing situation, I heard a similar refrain over and over again: “I don’t think I’m an evangelical anymore. I want to follow Jesus, but I can’t be a part of this.”

I feel the same way.

Whether it’s over the denial of evolutionary science, continued opposition to gender equality in the church, an unhealthy alliance between religion and politics or the obsession with opposing gay marriage, evangelicalism is losing a generation to the culture wars.

A recent survey from Public Religion Research Institute revealed that nearly one-third of millennials who left their childhood faith did so because of “negative teachings” or “negative treatment” of gay and lesbian people.

Christians can disagree about what the Bible says (or doesn’t say) about same-sex marriage. This is not an issue of orthodoxy. But when we begin using child sponsorships as bargaining tools in our debates, we’ve lost the way of Jesus.

So my question for those evangelicals is this: Is it worth it?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage really worth leaving thousands of needy children without financial support?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth losing more young people to cynicism regarding the church?

Is a “victory” against gay marriage worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with LGBT people?

And is a “victory” against gay marriage worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks, "what if we get this wrong?"

I, for one, am tired of arguing. I’m tired of trying to defend evangelicalism when its leaders behave indefensibly.

I’m going AWOL on evangelicalism's culture wars so I can get back to following Jesus among its many refugees: LGBT people, women called to ministry, artists, science-lovers, misfits, sinners, doubters, thinkers and “the least of these.”

I’m ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.