Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Positive Ministry Of The Holy Spirit

By Andrew Wommack

Most people have been led to believe that self-doubt, self-condemnation, feelings of unworthiness, and conviction for individual sins are the work of the Holy Spirit. But it’s just not true!

Those of you who are familiar with this ministry know that I spend a great deal of time teaching on the unconditional love and grace of God. That is what changed my life. But I can tell by the questions and comments I get that many people still don’t get it.

Because of that, years ago I asked the Lord to give me a way of expressing His grace that people can’t miss. That is when He gave me one of the most important revelations I have ever had about the positive ministry of the Holy Spirit. Not everyone likes this, but they understand what I’m saying.

The devil’s favorite tool, religion, has done a great job of convincing the body of Christ that the Holy Spirit is the source of negative feelings. He has believers convinced it’s the Holy Spirit showing them they are unworthy and have to “clean up their acts” if they ever want to receive from the Lord.

The truth is, it’s your heart or, more specifically, your conscience that is condemning you, not God. That is not the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is never the source of any of your guilt or condemnation. He is not the One that makes you feel bad when you sin.

Your conscience is the part of you that condemns you. And if you are feeling unworthy it’s almost impossible to receive from God.

First John 3:19-21 says,

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”

This verse makes it very clear: Your heart can condemn you even though God is not. What a radical truth, which comes as a complete shock to most Christians. We’ve just assumed that it is always the Holy Spirit who is condemning us.

Then John said in verse 21,

“Beloved if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”

If you can reach the point where your conscience is not condemning you, judging you, and causing you to feel unworthy to receive, then you will have confidence toward God, which has great recompense of reward (Heb. 10:35).

Most Christians never reach that place. Most know that God can answer their prayer; they just don’t have the confidence that He will, because they feel unworthy. They aren’t willing to stand in faith, because feelings of guilt and unworthiness, which they believe are coming from the Holy Spirit, shipwreck their faith.

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (1 Tim. 1:19).

Our conscience is not something we can or should ignore; it can be trained for our benefit, but it is not the Holy Spirit. The best way to deal with the conscience is to, as much as possible, not give it any occasion against us. It can’t condemn you if you aren’t giving it a reason. However, no one lives a perfect life and ultimately you’ve got to purge your conscience from dead works.

Hebrews 9:14 says,

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

In Hebrews 10:22, the Bible says,

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.”

And in Hebrews 4:16, we read,

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

The ministry of Holy Spirit is just the opposite of what many Christians think. In John 14:16 read how Jesus describes the Holy Spirit:

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

Notice that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Comforter,” not the afflicter. It also says that He will send “another” Comforter. “Another” means one of the same caliber, the same kind. Jesus was and still is a comforter; He didn’t condemn people during His earthly ministry.

John 3:17-19 reads,

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deed were evil.”

John 14:26 says,

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name...”

In John 15:26, Jesus said,

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father...”

And in John 16:7, Jesus continues to say about the Holy Spirit,

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

There can be no doubt that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not one of condemnation; it’s one of comfort. Jesus said that it was expedient for you that He go away and the Comforter comes. The word “expedient” means “to your advantage.” Jesus is saying that it’s better to have the Holy Spirit ministering to you than it is to have Him present in His physical body. What a statement!

I know someone is thinking, What about John 16:8:

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

Well, first of all, there is a huge difference between conviction and condemnation, but let’s set that aside for now. Look at the next verse. Jesus knew people would impute things to the Holy Spirit that He wasn’t doing. So, Jesus explained very clearly just which sin the Holy Sprit would convict us of. It is the singular sin of not believing on Jesus.

John 16:9 says,

“Of sin, because they believe not on me.”

The Holy Spirit doesn’t convict us of lying, stealing, adultery, murder, etc; He convicts us that we aren’t trusting in Jesus. That’s the root of every sin.

Technically, people don’t go to hell for their individual sins; Jesus has already forgiven all of them (1 John 2:2). People go the hell for the single sin of not making Jesus their personal Savior, the complete and only payment for their sin.

Even after receiving salvation, it’s not our actions (sins) that are the problem but the heart attitude of not trusting Jesus. That is the root of all sin. The reason people do dope and alcohol is because they are turning to something other than Jesus to dull the hurt inside.

When we lie, it’s because we don’t trust Jesus and feel we have to manipulate others. That’s what all sin comes down to: not trusting Jesus. That’s what the Holy Spirit convicts us about.

Most Christians have not truly understood this positive ministry of the Holy Spirit. We have made Him the source of our feelings of guilt, condemnation, and unworthiness. Because of that, we haven’t really let Him do His job, and we are missing the benefits and power of a relationship with Him.

The Holy Spirit should be your best friend. He was sent here to encourage you and constantly assure you of God’s love. He is the most important and most powerful person in your life. If you haven’t been thinking correctly about the Holy Spirit, it’s time to change your thinking.

You will never be able to relate to God correctly until you understand this positive ministry of the Holy Spirit. My new and expanded series, The Positive Ministry of the Holy Spirit, will help you make this change in your thinking. The Holy Spirit is the great Comforter, but His positive ministry goes far beyond that. If you want power in your life, you’ll have to know and understand what I teach in this series.

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Kids Harmed With Secondhand TV Viewing

A growing number of researchers are warning about the dangers of watching TV when very young children are nearby. Recent findings suggest that even casual exposure to TV can harm their development and undermine parent-child interactions.

The most recent warning came last week when the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time included warnings about "secondhand television" in its guidelines for kids under age 2.

In addition to discouraging screen time for young kids, it warned against watching TV with them nearby, saying the practice hurts their language development. It pointed to several studies, including one from 2008 that found background TV reduced the length of time they played and caused their focus on play to stray.

Recent surveys find that about one of three families leave the TV on most of the time. Read the entire article.

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Backyard Birds Safety Tips

Responsible birders always ensure that their backyard is a safe place for birds to visit. From outdoor cats to picture windows, there are many threats that wild birds face, but this information can help you minimize the bird risks in your backyard.

Prevent Bird Window Collisions

Protect Backyard Birds From Cats

Protect Backyard Birds From Hawks

Prevent Spreading Diseases at Birdfeeders

Disposing of Dead Birds Safely

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Believe in Christ Rather Than Religion

From the Discovery Series

© Donna L. Watkins - Morning Sunshine on Mr. Robin
Click Photo for Larger Image
Religious activity has been viewed as everything from a stairway to heaven to a salve for a person’s conscience. But, what is religion—and is it enough? This pamphlet offers ten reasons to believe that religion cannot meet people’s deepest needs. Instead, we are pointed to a personal relationship with God through His Son.

Christ Is Someone To Know And Trust

Christ is more than a system, tradition, or belief. He is a Person who knows our needs, feels our pain, and sympathizes with our weakness. In exchange for our trust, He offers to forgive our sins, to intercede for us, and to bring us to His Father.

He cried for us, died for us, and rose from the dead to show that He was all He claimed to be. Conquering death, He showed us that He can save us from our sins, live His life through us on earth, and then bring us safely to heaven. He offers Himself as a gift to anyone who will trust Him (John 20:24-31).

Religion Is Something To Believe And Do

Religion is believing in God, attending religious services, taking catechism, being baptized, and receiving communion. Religion is tradition, ritual, ceremony, and learning the difference between right and wrong. Religion is reading and memorizing Scripture, offering prayers, giving to the poor, and celebrating religious holy days. Religion is singing in the choir, helping the poor, and making amends for past wrongs.

Religion is something that was practiced by the Pharisees, those Scripture-loving, conservative, separatistic, spiritual leaders who hated Christ enough to call for His death. They hated Him not only because He broke their traditions in order to help people (Matthew 15:1-9) but because He saw through their religion to their hearts. Read the entire article.

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Can Eco-Schools Benefit Your School?

Join over 50 other countries in this international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the environment.

Eco-Schools USA strives to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and culture of a school, including students, teachers, administrative staff, non-teaching staff and parents, as well as the local community.

Eco-Schools USA works to extend learning beyond the classroom and develop responsible environmental attitudes and commitments, both at home and in the wider community.

Whether you are a teacher, student, administrator or facilities manager, the Eco-Schools USA program can benefit your school and local communities. How Do You Become An Eco-School?

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Emergency Situations and Pets

The time to prepare for the safety of your pets during a weather catastrophe or any emergency situation is BEFORE the event happens.

 Even though you have a basic idea of what you want to take with you, when you're in the middle of such a crisis, you won't be able to bring that mental list to the forefront of thought.

So, plan ahead. There are always tragic heartbreaking stories of all the pets that were lost or abandoned because there wasn't enough time to get them ready to go. It's not that hard to be prepared. It's basically a matter of taking the time to view what's needed and then make a list that applies to YOUR situation and gather it up.

A carrier or crate is of utmost importance since places will not accept pets without them. So once you have that, take a box and place in other items that will need to go. You can put that inside the carrier or crate so it won't even take up any more space. If you have to use your carrier or crate without an emergency, it's easy enough to take the box out.

The ASPCA has great information on Disaster Preparedness for Pets.

Even if you plan to go to family or friends during a disaster, you, your pet and the people and pets you stay with will be much more comfortable if your pet is in a crate or carrier. It allows all to adjust with less stress.

If you plan to use a motel, find out ahead of time the hotels that will accept pets in the area where you think you would relocate to during the emergency. Here's a list of websites that allow you to find pet-friendly motels.
Pet-Friendly Hotels

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Newsletter - 12/15/11

Hello Dear Friends!

Me and My Honey
Now that cooler weather has hit us, especially with nighttime temps, the bushes are becoming bare and even the mums have given up the fight, so I can say it's officially winter here in Central Virginia, even though we've had some amazing and warm days.  As long as it's sunny outside, I consider it a grand day since with my imagination I can pretend it's warm in that sunshine.

Besides, I've got my love to keep me warm.  Not only my love for my 'honey' but also for the Lord. And His love always keeps us warm.

"May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ." 2 Thessalonians 3:5

I enjoy going back over photo albums of our trips to natural areas when the weather was warmer.  This photo is from our 33rd Anniversary trip to the Greenville, SC area.  We were sitting beside a waterfall at Table Rock State Park in the mountains.  Lovely!

As I type this I'm watching a Black-capped (or maybe Carolina) Chickadee using the heated birdbath.  Birds need to keep their feathers clean even in winter or they'll have worse problems than a bit of chill from the water.  The detail of their bathing is described in this information from Stanford University:

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Titmice and Purple Finch at Birdbath
A bird is considered to be bathing whenever it uses any of several stereotyped movements to wet its feathers. One pattern, wading, is commonly observed in birds with strong feet and broad, short, flexible wings. In a typical sequence a bird stands in the water, fluffs the feathers to expose the bare skin between their bases, and rapidly flicks the wings in and out of the water. The breast is submerged and rolled vigorously back and forth, and then, as the front end emerges, the head is thrown back, forming a cup with the partially elevated wings and tail, and dousing the feathers of the back. Those feathers are elevated so that the water reaches the skin, and then lowered, forcing the water between them. The sequence may be repeated, with the bird submerging farther in each cycle, until it is a mass of soaked disarranged feathers. Variations on this theme can be seen in different species, such as robins, thrushes, mockingbirds, jays, and titmice. After bathing, birds dry themselves using ritualized movements.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Hyssop
One of the Christmas cards we received from a longtime friend I went to school with had hyssop seeds.  I was totally thrilled since we had seen hyssop at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum this year.  It has a purple flower as you can see and that's my favorite color, so at the time I remember thinking how great it would be to have some, but I never pursued it.

Since it's a medicinal herb, the deer would leave it alone, so that would not be a concern.  It's also a perennial once it gets started and that's exciting.  All I have to do now is find a sunny spot on our property for it.  I'll begin the seeds indoors closer to springtime.

I've decided to play a winter game with my sweet husband.  We're going to write down one benefit of having the winter season every day.  We'll take turns, so we're going to have to think and be creative.  We won't begin till the official first day of winter (December 22 this year).  Until then we have begun making our individual list as we think of things.  We may have duplicates but the first one who gets it written down gets to use that item.

We enjoy doing puzzles in the winter so that's one thing I have put on my list to use.  We got out the first one over the Thanksgiving weekend.  You can probably guess the theme of most of our puzzles, which are similar to the one we did.

Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, winters have been a dread, but I don't like having those kinds of feelings and thoughts. I've been listening to some teaching about not letting your feelings control you. Rather than give in to the feeling, I think and meditate on what the Bible says. It says I'm ALWAYS blessed, so that would include winter.

Anyway, I became determined to enjoy every Fall day rather than thinking about the fact that cold weather was arriving. It was truly amazing since we had so many unusually warm days here where we live, I often wondered if the weather was the same a mile away ... or if God just blessed us with a bit of warm right here in the middle of the cold. I had to giggle at the thought. We sure do think that would be totally unusual, but God does special things for us all the time that we probably have never noticed.

Regardless, the change in mind has made all the difference since it's been very peaceful and exciting as I wake up each day to find another gorgeous day. Now that it's colder, I can still find great things to ponder even in a chilly day. It's very odd, but you can call it mind over matter or whatever, but it's working for me. I keep my mind on Him who died for me to give me life abundant and there is plenty of joy in that. I choose to trust God for every minute of every day.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrels and Crows Sharing Food
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

Since we don't sit on our concrete benches in winter, we use them as bird feeders for the larger critters.  I put a mixture of cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds and millet on them and the doves, crows, squirrels and even the deer enjoy it tremendously.  I also use the area under the bench to put a big pile so it stays dry and the doves have a sheltered place to avoid the hawks.

I was watching the crows and squirrels learning to share space one day when I took this photo.  The squirrels acted quite selfishly at first, but then they seemed to agree there was enough for all and allowed the crows to dine also.  Aren't we the same?  Sometimes our initial thought or action is selfish and then our conscious reminds us that we're not acting like Jesus, so we change our behavior.

Our favorite son, Benjamin (our only son :-), has decided to promote and sell Nature's Sunshine products.  He has a new website and being of the social media generation is promoting it in many ways we've never thought about.

Ben, Entrepreneur, Ben's Herbs Place 
If you need any Nature's Sunshine products we'd appreciate you shopping at his website to encourage him.  He has a totally secure website designed and maintained by Nature's Sunshine, so it's safe shopping.

With an order of $40 or more you get free membership and can get wholesale pricing.  Visit Ben's Herbs Place if you need any supplements, herbs, essential oils, children's products and even the new flower essences line.  We certainly don't mind sharing some sales with him.

I've been reviewing this year's photos in the Bluebird Cove Garden Album and the Bluebird Cove Critters Album to give thanks and glory to our Father who created all of the natural world around us.  Colossians 1:17 says, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." What an awesome God we call Father.

May you have a blessed holiday while keeping your focus on the real reason of Christmas.  It's not about buying and spending and gifts to those who have no need of anything.  It's about Love being born into our lives, so share yourself this Christmas and give to those who cannot give back.

If you enjoy this newsletter ... share the website with somebody else.  Maybe you know of somebody who needs something in this issue.  There's a "Share This" option on the right side.  Thanks!

Love and Hugs,

View Posts By Topic

Posts Since Last Newsletter

Video: Pollinators - Time Lapse

Protein Source: To Fish or Not

Plants Consume CO 25% Faster 

Pet Force Urine & Stain Remover

Knowing More About God

Groasis Waterboxx Grows Trees in the Desert

Caring for Pets of the Homeless

God's Perspective on the Recession

Becoming a Conscious Consumer

Get Rid of Junk Mail

Travel Complaints - Know Who to Gripe To

Giving Our Veterans a Chance to Feed the Nation

Newsletter - 12/1/11

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Effortless Change

Why Workaholism is Counterproductive

Palliative Care for Pets

December: The Christmas Bird Count

Kitchen Scraps to Feed Birds

Australia Bans Reference to BC: Birth of Jesus

Inchworm Comouflaged Himself

Cool Huge Swimming Fish In Your Home

Have a Holiday Revolution

Newsletter - 11/15/11

Purify Your Home Environment From Microbes

Questions About Downsizing

Cats Behaving Badly

Lowering Bat Fatalities at Wind Farms

The Conversion of Squeek and Me

Adding Love to School Curriculum

Cats No. 1 Enemy of Birds

Buy Rugs Not Made by Child Slaves

Masting Trees

Free Speech for Dietary Supplements

What’s The Best Birdseed To Use

Good News Today for Bats!

Scale Insects - Natural Control

Golden Net-Winged Beetle (Dictyoptera aurora)

Do Pets Have Psychic Abilities?

Laughter Works Like Medicine

Nest Boxes Provide Winter Retreat

Caring For Creation or Presenting the Gospel

5 Biggest Mistakes New Pet Parents Make

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2011 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent and Creation

Many considered John Muir​ to be a sort of modern John the Baptist, “a voice crying in the wilderness”—for the wilderness. Muir’s cry was not for repentance in preparation for the first coming of Messiah, but it was a cry for repentance in preparation for the second coming of Messiah.

Sadly, it appears that Muir himself probably had little faith in and awareness of Jesus as the coming Prince of Peace, who is the one true hope for the kind of earth he longed for ....

To prepare Israel for the First Advent, John the Baptist called the Jews of his day to be baptized in an act of “repentance for sin leading to forgiveness”—a cleansing that looked forward to the soon-coming Messiah.

When the Jews who came to be baptized asked John what they were to do in their daily lives as a result of his baptism, he did not call them to more religious ritual or retreat from society. Instead he responded by declaring that they must share both food and clothing with the poor, that they were not to defraud one another or extort money from one another, and they were to be content with their lot. That advice seems amazingly contemporary! Read the entire article.

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Video: Pollinators - Time Lapse

Pollination: it's vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film "Wings of Life." The imagery of flowers opening and pollinators visiting day and night was absolutely incredible.

Sadly he doesn't seem to have realized yet that there's a Great Creator that made all of this. It's hard to imagine how somebody could come this "close" to it all and not get it!

Notice when you see the bats that one of them feeding at a plant has the little pup attached to the stomach. How amazing are the Creator's critters! View the video.

If you'd like to see the video segment of just the pollinators at work, here's that link.

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Protein Source: To Fish or Not


Pescetarian, Piscatarian, Pescatorian, Pesco-vegetarian, Fishetarian -- No, these are not the names for members of obscure religious sects. These are some of the different terms used for people who do not eat the meat of mammals and birds but do eat fish and shellfish.

Many of the health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet are also obtainable with a pescetarian diet, as it is the absence of meat from commercially-produced livestock (with its high-fat content and chemical additives such as hormones and antibiotics), along with the consumption of nutrient-rich legumes and vegetables, that confers these benefits.

Plant-based diets provide protection against numerous diseases, including the three biggest killers in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, and strokes. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians have "lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; ...lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer" and are less likely than meat-eaters to be obese. A fair argument can be made that these benefits can also be realized by eating a pescetarian diet. Read the entire article.

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Plants Consume CO 25% Faster Than Thought

Lisa Welp-Smith of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California, and her team came up with a new method for measuring how much CO2 is absorbed and released by plants.

The team used oxygen isotope markers in CO2 and more than 30 years of data from a global network that analyses air samples to measure changes in greenhouse gases, pollution and other factors.

"What this (finding) means is that plants are working faster than we thought they did," said Colin Allison, an atmospheric chemist and one of the study's authors, told Reuters from Australia. Read the entire article.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Knowing More About God

by Dean Ohlman, Wonder of Creation

© Donna L. Watkins - Winter Sunrise
Click for Larger Image

Every day most of us miss many opportunities to know more about God—in part by being indoors on our computers, pursuing our careers, maintaining our homes, entertaining children and ourselves with plugged-in devices, and by being insulated inside automobiles, stores, restaurants, and other “boxes.”

The Bible itself points out that by ignoring the natural world around us, or by giving it only casual attention, we neglect our responsibility to know as much as we can about the One who created us and to enjoy Him (Psalm 8:5-8). Read the entire article and view photos.

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Groasis Waterboxx Grows Trees in the Desert

Deforestation and overfarming have helped decrease the productivity of about 70 percent of the world’s arid and semi-arid lands, which could force the migration of 50 million people by 2017.

Popular Science's choice for the 2010 innovation of the year was the Groasis Waterboxx, an irrigation-free plant incubator, that will hold four gallons of water which will water the tree for its entire first year. Although the device that looks like a fancy bucket is a bit expensive, they can be reused and they will last ten years, so it makes it cheap enough to use in very poor countries. Read the entire article.

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Caring for Pets of the Homeless

From AARP Bulletin

When Genevieve Frederick visited New York City in 2006, she saw a homeless man on the sidewalk, begging. Lying next to him was a dog. Frederick wondered why a guy who can barely feed himself would have a pet.

"Then the answer became obvious," she recalls. "Pets are loyal, nonjudgmental companions that provide comfort and even protection and warmth. They may be a homeless person's only companion."

From that seemingly insignificant incident, Frederick, now 64, embarked on a mission that resulted in the founding of Pets of the Homeless, an organization that provides food and veterinary care for pets of homeless people throughout the United States and parts of Canada. Read the entire article.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

God's Perspective on the Recession

This is an email from Andrew Wommack Ministries about a live stream of a financial discussion which we are going to be attending.

To help you gain God's perspective on the current "recession" and how you can overcome it, I'm hosting a live-streaming internet broadcast Thursday, December 8 with Paul Milligan, the new head of our CBC third-year Business School. He has been a good friend and board member for many years. Paul owns several companies, with over 1,200 employees, and just like our ministry, he has experienced unprecedented growth during this "recession."

Recently, I sat down with Paul and got an education on monetary matters, and I thought of how much this would benefit you. So, we will sit down again and just discuss what's happening in our nation economically and what we can do about it. I think this could make a big difference in your attitude, faith, and prosperity. So, please make plans to join us on the internet that evening.

Watch the live stream of the discussion. It will be broadcast live via the internet on Thursday, December 8th, at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain, and 6 p.m. Pacific Time. You won't want to miss this.

God bless you,
Andrew Wommack

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Becoming a Conscious Consumer

People, Planet, Purchasing Power
by Amy Domini

In Culture and Consumption, Canadian cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken introduced the concept of the Diderot effect, the unintentional transformation a simple acquisition sets in motion.

In “Regrets on Parting with My Old Dressing Gown,” French Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot bemoaned the sorry state of his life, the result of a gift of an elegant red dressing gown from a well-meaning friend.

The dressing gown had been so fine that he had replaced his straw chair with one covered in Moroccan leather. He had replaced his prints along with his desk and updated his study. This improvement process went on until one day he felt unwelcome in his own study. He had become a slave to a level of fashion befitting his new dressing gown and regretted it.

It may seem a silly story, but we sense its rightness. And I would argue it gives us a special insight. Perhaps some types of consumption are positive change agents.

Consumption is an enormously influential force. It affects behavior patterns of individuals at the personal level in such a way that whole societies are transformed. When anthropologists attempt to open communications with a jungle tribe, they leave pots and other goods the tribe finds useful and values. The door is opened. We know this. Now we must harness it. Read the entire article.

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For more nature and gardening information, visit The Nature In Us.

Get Rid of Junk Mail

You can remove your name and address from the National Registry to make sure that you do not receive any further communications from companies who buy mailing lists. You can choose the types of mail you still want to receive. The breakdown is pretty thorough, so if you're concerned about not getting something you want, you can regulate that by registering at this website.

If you want to eliminate or choose what catalogs you receive, use the You can remove your name and address from the Catalog Choice website. Keep in mind that the boreal forests where our North American songbirds nest are being destroyed for the paper supplied for catalogs (see info on boreal forests).

You can also watch a CBS News video on stopping junk mail forever.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) you have the right to Opt-Out of pre-screen and pre-approved offers for credit or insurance directly with the Consumer Reporting Companies, Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion. Visit Opt Out for instructions on how to request that your name be excluded from these kinds of offers.

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Travel Complaints - Know Who to Gripe To

Anyone who travels knows something always goes wrong, and it usually happens in a sequence of bad events. I once counted about 47 different points of abuse awaiting travelers from the moment they buy their ticket until they return home. And I've always said that we define a successful journey by how much we minimize the abuse.

But sometimes, it's unavoidable, draconian, mean-spirited, and it doesn't just inconvenience us, it COSTS us -- in time, money, aggravation, and tension.

And we want to complain. But how? To Whom? Read the entire article.

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Giving Our Veterans a Chance to Feed the Nation

Eighty-five percent of veterans with severe disabilities are unemployed, as are more than a quarter of vets in their early twenties. There's one organization that is doing something about that while helping to create green jobs and feed our country. It's inspiring!

The mission of the Farmer-Veteran Coalition (FVC) is to mobilize our food and farming community to create healthy and viable futures for America’s veterans by enlisting their help in building our green economy, rebuilding our rural communities, and securing a safe and healthy food supply for all. The coalition seeks to simultaneously assist the farming community by developing a new generation of farmers and to help our returning veterans find viable careers and means to heal on America’s farms. Visit the website.

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