Eradicating Extremism

Prophesy is fulfilled as more governments look at the impact of war on the streets of their countries.

Europe has seem part of the middle east battle field move to the major cities and has no real solution.

Internment

This morning there have been calls for all suspected or associated persons to be interned for the safety of the majority.

Hard line commentators express the view that this is the only way to achieve the safety of citizens. Liberals express the view that you can’t punish people for what they might do, also it is a denial of the fundamental human right to freedom of thought and religion.

So if and I say IF you were to promote the incarceration of thousands of people where would you begin.

Current examples

Two countries spring to mind immediately The Russian Federation and Eritrea. Anyone who fails to acknowledge that the state has the right to dictate everything that is believed, that the state itself is the most important organisation is an extremist.

For example 3 individuals have been held in custody in Eritrea with out a trial for over 20 years; the crime? They obey God before the government. What this meant in practice was they accepted the civil rules but clearly stated they lived for Gods Government. The state declared them non-citizens, interned them and has left them there without a trail for more than 20 years.

The Russian Federation has identified the non-combative stance of a religious group as extremism because again the way of worship requires they obey the civil authority but promote Gods Government.

Germany, Italy, Canada, the UK and so many other countries adopted this view during the 20th Century.

Jesus of Nazareth

The bible clearly identifies him as the son of God. Yet with all his power to heal, feed and calm the state decided he was too dangerous. Why? because his Kingdom was not from “this (human) source”.

An apostle of Jesus clearly told followers “Christians” of his day to pay tax, to obey the law but also to advocate Jesus Kingdom.

Many times the Lords pray is recited during times of extreme trouble Matthew 6: 9 through 14. We pray for Gods Kingdom to come and his will to be done. We are praying for the end of the human style of rulership.

Psalm 2 helps us to appreciate how the rulers of this world view Gods Kingdom, they take their stand against it. Although like the ant on the track trying to stop the approaching train they are powerless.

Daniel chapter 2

Having described an immense image Daniel then says (Daniel 2:44, 45) 44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever, 45 just as you saw that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The Grand God has made known to the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Society reflects the previous verse (Daniel 2:43) 43 Just as you saw iron mixed with soft clay, they will be mixed with the people; but they will not stick together, one to the other, just as iron does not mix with clay.

This is reflected in the prophesy at (Luke 21:26-28) . . .People will become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.”

The leaders have no answers to a fractured or broken/polarised society. Outrage after outrage is raising the levels of fear in government, the Response of the Russian Federation and Eritrea indicates that governments are going to begin the process of dismantling religion in the pursuit peace. The state becomes more restrictive.

Fearful of what happens next?

Christians can not be fearful because when the Governments of the World take a stand against extremism or non-conforming belief this is a sign that we are approaching the point of divine intervention.

This is the time to recognise the sign, to acknowledge Christs ruler ship and that we are looking at the biggest change in human history.

The fight against Christianity has already started, it will be replicated in a way that appears to promote peace and tolerance because Christianity is easier to break than Islam. Take out the one and then clear the way to remove the rest.

We live in a time of real tension but like waiting for the Bridegroom and Bride on the wedding day we are in expectation of it. Therefore Keep On the Watch!

 

Real Life beginnings

Genesis – a simple concept the creation of everything from nothing by a creatorIMAG0235_BURST002. However we all have our own beginnings, fresh starts, re-genesis at key points in our lives.

For example when we find that special someone who will change us because we want to develop with them. We change them. Or at the birth of our children, now they really are a new beginning.

For those without children life is relatively straightforward and with children it can be but the change or new beginning is becoming the parent.

The Why?

Often as a parent we are asked why does this happen..? or can’t we do that…? and the answer is our better judgement indicates it’s too dangerous. The parent who drives but is too afraid to let their teenage child drive because of the reckless side of the teen or other drivers. To the teen it smacks of hypocrisy but its experience speaking and concern for their well fare.

You know that never goes away.

So Why?

The creator our parent has set boundaries, indicates concern and demonstrates care, because of that we have the opportunity for new beginnings.

Our bodies have the capacity to heal. So when faced with type 2 diabetes we don’t start digging our grave, we begin again by changing our life style.

Spiritually we have the capacity to heal, to become reconciled to God. To find favour with the creator by literally addressing the things that are wrong in our lives.

We see a world wracked with suffering and poverty, oppression and cruelty, but also we see riches beyond the imagination of millions. Injustice is the ugly face of the 21st Century, political, social, moral and spiritual the corruption permeates our whole lives. Why? the bible makes it plain (1 John 5:19) . . .We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.

Taking the parent analogy (1 John 2:13) . . .I am writing you, fathers, because you have come to know him who is from the beginning. I am writing you, young men, because you have conquered the wicked one. . . .

So the world is controlled by the wicked one – the one who took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him the kingdoms of the earth and said you can have – yes they were his to give. Satan is controlling this world. – There is the answer to why we need a new beginning.

If you dug a well and found the water to be bitter or unsafe, and the reason was something simple like who owned the land wouldn’t you look to relocate?

The New Beginning

(2 Peter 3:9) . . .Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.

The opportunity to begin again is based on Gods patience.

(John 3:16-21) . . .“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him. 18 Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged. Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. 19 Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. 20 For whoever practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his works may not be reproved. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that his works may be made manifest as having been done in harmony with God.”

Read the whole text and note verse 21. Gods love is open to all but not unconditional we have to begin our new life by accepting our works, what we do with our lives must be in harmony with Gods Word.

The reward is “life”, true freedom and a relationship with the creator.

So the changes required

The bible clearly speaks to those who have a  love for God and exhorts that we make real changes in how we think, the way we live our lives, our participation is fruitless activities like Politics. If we have started to serve God and pray for his kingdom to come – we must advocate that Kingdom. As advocates we can’t then associate ourselves with political ideals that further divide and damage people. We stand for God’s Kingdom therefore we have already voted and accept the greater rulership of God in our lives.

Then we make certain we have taken real action, note the words (1 Peter 3:21) . . .Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Yes we see alignment with this corrupt system as dirty, unclean and just as when we put the past behind and begin again we sweep the dirt and filth away.

Life is about beginnings, it requires honest appraisal and considerable effort but the rewards of greater value than all the riches this world has to offer.

Read the bible and find out what it teaches.

 

Hope For Humanity

Political posturing creates an inevitable level of insecurity as experience has taught us all that we can’t trust any government where short term thinking is at the heart of its decision making.

So over the weekend I settled my mind to reflect on the things that are most important to us all.

Health

Governments provide the minimum or basic levels of care with little attention to getting to the cause of disease and illness, the impact of human domination and restricting access. Would you cure malaria? TB? Leprosy? and so many other preventable diseases. My first answer is Yes, deal with the immediate problem and then prevent it where it can be done.

Half the world is so poor they don’t know if there is a next meal and the other half gluttony has caused so many ailments.

Billions are spent on curing a preventable situation if things were shared on the basis of real need. It is nice to have luxury but not at the expense of a child’s eyesight or an elderly persons care.

Solution? Jesus fed the crowds, cared for the illnesses that physicians hadn’t been able to cure. His Kingdom will restore health and wellbeing to all those who chose to serve him. Remember the words that everlasting life is the product of exercising faith and getting to know him and his father.

Simple really if you know someone can do it why settle for a poor imitation. Human governments never solve problems.

Therefore we all need to begin with the simple things, read the Bible, find out what it really teaches, then do it.

Often we chose not to do things because they are difficult but think if by doing what is right you solve the problems of the world – that child will see, the older person will live contentedly then it is a no brainer.

Take care to begin with reading something every day.

 

Resolution

Can be a demonstration of stoicism being determined to do something although the situation makes it difficult. We admire resolution! No we don’t we prefer resolution to incorporate the resolving of issues, delivering clarity or improving our understanding.

The reason for that is every martyr is resolute. Determined to finish what they had started.

Extremism is probably the ultimate expression of unconditional support for what someone believes.

Beating extremism

Governments have resolved to beat extremism and break down the barriers to integration. Sadly unless everyone believes the same or follows the same path this approach either raises more barriers or disenfranchises the victims.

Policy made in haste has lead to real issues. For example we have in Russia a no violent and non-political group who are recognized as law abiding citizens labelled as extremist because they fail to acknowledge and support the government and orthodox religion in their literature.

The ideology that there can only be one right way to worship God is now extremist. If you advocate Theocracy you are an extremist because you acknowledge that God’s laws have primacy.

Based on the same logic every politician that doesn’t vote for the government is opposed to them and if they advocate alternate solutions then it is an expression of discord.

Honesty

Governments cannot control thoughts, therefore they can never know who is a risk to society until they have acted.

Seeking to integrate incompatible ideology is like trying to mix oil and water. The agitation in the mixing creates massive levels of instability.

So human governments no matter how totalitarian they become will never prevent opposition and therefore conflict. One persons freedom fighter is another persons terrorist.

So those who accept that exclusive devotion to God, those who advocate God’s Kingdom, those who accept that Christ died for all must recognize that they will be separated for special attention in the coming months.

True Christians will not hide behind political correctness, nor will they tickle the ears of the listeners the Gospel is clear – we pray for God’s Kingdom to rule on earth as it it in heaven.

Whilst we commit ourselves to peace we create violent opposition so be prepared for a stormy period.

Almost 100 years ago a great evangelist preached that “religion is a snare and racket” mixing in political and social reform, presenting alternatives to Gods Kingdom as the solution to humankind’s problems.

If you want to know how to beat extremism, see resolution in action then follow this link to the begin your personal search of what the Bible really teaches

Positive Messages

I have read with great sadness the outpouring of sentiment linked to the tragic events of Monday night.

Only those caught up in the events and the immediate tragedy can fully understand the impact. Yet we all have a part to play.

Synthetic Grief

We have to reality check ourselves because the media feeds us with the idea that everyone is feeling the same, we are all paralyzed or somehow traumatized by these events.

Somehow we must share in the public grief that follows every tragedy.

The idea that cards and messages, solidarity (whatever that means) is mandatory clouds the real issues and the power of collective consciousness.

Media driven grief isn’t real, a minutes silence in no way reminds anyone of the significance of the events. It is a contrived outpouring.

Hope and Power

After a very personal trauma a close friend sat with me and explained that “this too will pass – but not today or tomorrow for you”. The day things happened it was all too much to take in, months later when the help and support was really needed this friend was right by my side.

Almost 20 years later the trauma has diminished but only after a period of empowerment. Learning to have hope and start living.

Today the families need to begin the process of grieving, the authorities of trying to piece together how this “soft target” act could have been prevented, how to monitor those who pose a risk to society without robbing them of their civil liberties.

Empower others by letting them do their jobs without demanding answers to questions that will take time to assess. Without prying into the lives that have been lost and their family grief, show respect and care because we need to ask ourselves if I were in their shoes how would I feel about wall to wall coverage of events.

Life is precious

Children robbed of life always seems more tragic than adults and yet all life must be protected.

When we hide away, publicly appear frightened by these acts of terrorism it isn’t the healthy respect we need. The healthy respect is built on courage, vigilance and tenacity.

So as we think of the human impact of these and other tragic events remember its the powerless and the beaten you see immobile, paralyzed or running away. Remember more ran to the aid of the victims than ran away. That is the affirmation that life is precious – even the lives of people we do not know.

Yes it is the first rule of charity – give because you want to.

Let the media wail and moan, but remember at a time of disaster would you want some to record what was happening or help; to complain that little was being done or someone who mobilises their resources to meet the need; someone to ask questions of people who are really focused on other things.

Having prepared for press conferences in the past I know  from experience that a two minute statement and briefing is never just two minutes. So when a senior police officer comes out to speak to the media the officers involved in getting that together will have taken their focus off their roles for at 30 minutes. Ten officers in the chain you have lost 5 hours.

Look to the positive messages, help where practical and offer real support wherever you can.

My thoughts are with the families of those caught up in the tragic events.

Churches and The Charity Commission

Researching for a project it became necessary to look at how the Charity Commission regulates faith groups as a civil body.

Specific aspects of faith are not always as liberal or forgiving as the moral standards imposed upon the Charity community.

21st Century Faith Groups

The first issue that was highlighted in the research linked to the appointment of Trustees. The Charity Commission requires that everyone involved in the financial and policy decision making of the charity are formally accountable. They should be the Trustees.

However in many churches the systems and management just do not comply, this immediately creates governance issues.

The second issue followed the route of understanding the role of the confessional support for members who have broken civil or criminal law but not left the faith. Some churches view all confession as confidential and sacred. Therefore those who hear the confession will not breach their agreement.

However the legal imperative is to report all offending behaviour to the authorities rather than work with the offender so that they turn themselves over, find rehabilitation through faith. This is a real challenge.

Another issue, child protection and safeguarding vulnerable persons. The Charity Commission understand the role of the leaders of many faith groups as policing the membership. This is not the case.

Their role is pastoral. When they become aware of issues affecting vulnerable adults or young people they encourage the members to take action or not as the member decides. This is breaking the law because these leaders are aware of a criminal offence against a minor or vulnerable adult. However it is only hearsay and if the alleged perpetrator denies the act then how do they offer care and support to both parties.

Are they Charitable?

The benchmarks are philanthropy and benevolence, whilst bible education and relief work do meet that criteria the mainstream liberal charity sector are moving further are moving further away from religious mandates.

These charities argue that the moral imperatives no longer apply. The Charity Commission is a secular body, its governance follows that agenda therefore many faith groups are afraid to speak out on moral issues, find themselves distracted by using time to prop up things they don’t believe in.

So the way forward

Well the 21st Century liberal charity sector has no room for religious imperatives or personal expressions of faith in public. certainly no room to criticize moral and lifestyle choices of others based on the holy books.

The logical conclusion has to be that religious groups are going to find themselves investigated more frequently by the Charity Commission. Many will opt to step outside the legislative framework and become not for profit associations.

Tragically much of the great work done by faith groups will be lost and as we become less tolerant with the development of liberal attitudes – no room for critique –  religions will disappear.

Nationalism and self interest continue to replace these core spiritual values.

Just look at the Charity Commission investigations  and see for yourselves how faith groups are investigated.

The Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse will use 21st Century standards to beat faith groups down for historical abuse.

We have to remember that things done in secret or without consent that damage, exploit or endanger children and vulnerable (that’s all of us) are unacceptable.

Fear for the future

There is a great deal to be said in favour of those who chose not to watch the news and media reports.

We see crazy decisions, hollow promises and economic risking taking on levels we have never experienced before.

In recent conversations with local people many expressed the view that the real fear has to be what we are storing up for our children and grandchildren.

The Legacy

100 years of incredible progress but society is no safer, no more tolerant, robust or resilient. In truth when we look at the whole picture it could appear very bleak.

However there is a legacy that does question whether this state of affairs is necessary. People can live in peace from the most diverse backgrounds, honesty prevails and individuals recognise that mistakes and accidents happen.

The catalyst for the change is more than reading Gods Word the Bible but doing what it says. I met someone who said that he believed in “do unto others as you would have them do to you”; believe it by all means but for it to be relevant we have to do it, no matter the personal cost.

How can you live without debt? Easy really, save until you can afford to buy or go without. A simple philosophy but clearly worth a great deal.

Jesus words in the sermon on the mount highlight the route to happiness, spirituality is the first step.

The Personal Issue

I like being different standing out from the crowd, so applying bible principles in my life enables me to do that.

For many that is the challenge – google news had an article today that stated those who believe in evolution are more intelligent. Oh how silly that is.

Intelligence is always measured by those who have something lacking in their lives. Intelligence doesn’t protect from poor decision making, bad judgement and things. It is seldom the answer because often the complexity of an issue created by intellectual application prevents anything from being achieved.

So should we fear for the future? Yes and No that is why the bible speaks of the “truth that sets you free”. Find out about this truth – read your bible and find out what it really teaches.

 

Microsoft – Cyber Update

Just watched the news in the UK and heard the report that the CEO of Microsoft somehow blames Governments for the issue.

Let’s get this right – Microsoft know there is a problem with the old technology OS, they know that because they won’t co-operate with Government Law enforcement bodies, the the law enforces are going to look for ways to get into the systems in the wake of 9/11.

Microsoft upgrade the OS repeatedly because there are flaws in most of their OS. The fact the wholes are found is somehow someone else’s fault because they have to look for them can’t be a serious defense.

Old cars

I buy older models of car (auto’s). Now a few years back I bought a model that was about two years old, kept it for around 4 years which meant the model shape had changed and the engine specification had changed.

Now just as I was about to replace the vehicle the manufacturer (because I had to register the vehicle) contacted me to say that there was a possibility that due to manufacturing problem the fuel tank could cause problems and potentially in the worst case scenario cause death.

They offered me a replacement fuel tank and software at no charge or discount on a replacement model.

The same applies to other equipment I have bought. The manufacturer accepts liability when there is a design fault or an issue because of a flaw that becomes apparent later.

Microsoft

As a windows 7 and 8 user I was offered a free upgrade to windows 10 but the XP and Vista OS that I had operating would have to be replaced with a new purchase. The problems weren’t with 7 & 8.

If you had been MS what would you have done? I’m certain it would have been different. Taking responsibility requires companies to own their mistakes however costly to them, sadly for Microsoft this could be the potential economic hit that has been looming for decades.

It is a lesson for Google with Android and other operating systems.

Inevitably criminals will exploit holes in systems because that’s what criminals do, much easier than robbing a bank these days.

So lets not get sucked into blaming anyone, all accept our responsibility and work to collectively prevent those vulnerable gateways from exploitation.

Who is to blame?

So Friday there is a massive Cyber Attack. The conspiracy theorists are jumping up and down with some plausible ideas about – Microsoft being behind the ransom ware and other major cyber traders.

Take responsibility

In 1991 the local authority employed a few of the staff to come up with a strategy as part of the business continuity plan for cyber security and data protection.

Now we looked at the issues and realised that the most vulnerable part of the system had to face the public and the threat primarily came from inappropriate use of software.

So our proposal to the elected members included the phrase cyber responsibility. Where information and machines touch external environments we are responsible for the security of the data and information we protect.

Today every device is a gateway and there lies the risk. Because in the interest of speed and efficiency we sacrifice security or employees can compromise that security.

So Who is to blame?

Truth – We all are! Microsoft knew that old technology would protect networks and machines. Software upgrades and patches rely on the skill or understanding of the few. Too few people understand how OS work and why this is the vulnerable element of the PC network.

We accept the MS operating systems are the most cost effective but truth they are the easiest and most vulnerable. There are many reasons why but the primary one is that one size fits all approach limits the security levels you can enable.

Strategic security

Two key principles:

If your OS is compromised ensure that you can switch to access data using an alternate OS.

Ensure that the OS and program files exist in a distinctly separate area of your network.

Confession Time

The network system I was responsible for was attacked a few years ago by ransom ware – I had reverted to an old PC with an old OS for temporary staff. This provided the gateway to the network so we were all locked out. Over 30 desktops, a number of laptops and mobile devices. Small numbers.

However within an hour everyone was back online and no data compromised. No ransom paid. Total work lost 40 minutes and zero data corrupted.

Have a contingency in place and deploy it immediately – do not try to fix the problem.

Remember we are the custodian or gatekeeper of information and learning how to create secure data separation will reduce down time and data loss.

The next big threat will be when ‘the cloud begins to rain’ the remote storage of data comes with real risks therefore the public cloud is not a safe place to store company data and personal information.

One of my colleagues asked if he could sue the hosting service for this type of event, or at least pass on liability. He didn’t like the answer, so use this weekend as a moment to review your practices and update your cyber security

 

Taking Time Out

Personal time and regeneration is important to us all. Therefore it is important that we plan to set time aside for these vital activities.

When I really needed to refresh the mind and hit the reset button I was always too busy. Thinking that by doing this I would somehow be creating more pressure or stress. Who was I trying to deceive?

Failing to make time for refreshing or resetting our thinking and emotional state is a reflection of either arrogance or a lack of confidence. Either way we set ourselves up for all the stress related impacts.

A bleed in the brain

In my mid-thirties my body reminded me that it needed to shut down now and again. Following 10 days intense work, on one occasion working 26 hours straight to hit a deadline. Everything stopped for three months following a minor bleed in the brain.

Many thought I would learn my lesson, you can’t work, play, raise children and volunteer without something or someone getting hurt.

It did scare me but I made a full recovery, started taking medication to prevent it happening again. Then to everyone’s shock I immersed myself deeper into the cycle.

My issue

Fear! which was based on a lack of self confidence. Personal achievement depended on the approval of anyone else. If there is a job to be done give it to a busy person, so the saying goes. I have modified it from my own experience – there is a job to be done give it to the most frightened person.

My Employers sensed the fear and used it; we achieved a great deal but there were some many costs.

The Down Time

Time not for myself but for the activities that rest the mind and reduce stress. Focusing on my needs has never been important, the mental health improvements and emotional strength gained from just accepting that we are all replaceable.

So the message in this post is not to think we have to be the ones that must do everything. Employers pay for skills and a limited amount of our time, once they have used up that time you are giving them something if you choose to work on.

One of my employees once said to me that they liked working for me because I dignified them, respecting their skills, personal life and the value of their time. It wasn’t altruistic but from experience I learned that you get more from a fresh and well rested employee than you do from someone stressed and in fear for their job.

Take your own time and use it effectively.

Two weeks in Tenerife at this time of year warms the bones and refreshes the brain so back to work and painting.