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He suffered under the Pontius Pilate

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...

Antonio Ciseri’s depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people Ecce homo! (Behold the man!). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

It is simply amazing what you learn as you read, study, and share God’s word. While discussing the Apostle’s Creed with my youth group, I came across some interesting tidbits about this man who surprisingly found his name mentioned along Jesus in the creed of the church.

In fact, how many of you have ever wondered why instead of Abraham, David, Peter, or even satan, only one person is mentioned in this document alongside Jesus and Mary? Was he exceptional in any way? Let start with discussing who he was.

The evangelist-historian Luke tells us the Pilate was the governor of Judea under the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1). However, it is not only the New Testament that talks about Pilate, for we also find references to his existence in the writings of Philo and Josephus (for instance, see Antiquities 18.32f, 35, 39).

Not to mention, a stone was discovered in 1961 that had the name and designation of Pilate.¹ The question is, was Pilate really a bad guy, a villain as the Church remembers him?

While studying Arthur’s Miller “The Crucible” in my school’s literature class, I came across this dialogue “Pontius Pilate! God will not let you wash your hands of this!”, which obviously has a negative connotation.

Before proceeding with a discussion of Biblical texts, let me mention that even going through the secular references to the Prefect show us that he was not a good official, especially when it came to Roman-Jewish relations.

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Mihály Munkácsy,...

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Mihály Munkácsy, 1881 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He provoked the Jews more than once. On one occasion, he brought in idols of Roman emperors into Jerusalem, and it is also said that he once took money from the Temple to complete his administrative projects.

This is what history tells us. But what about scripture? Let’s go through some verses:

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, (John 19)

In all this, we actually see Pilate, a Roman governor going to the limit in order to save a Jewish carpenter from the invisible town of Nazareth. To please the Jews, he had Jesus flogged and even tried to let a Jewish criminal (Barabbas) free. Why then do we call him evil? Where did it all go wrong? The passage continues:

but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

What is truth? Deutsch: Was ist Wahrheit? Fran...

What is truth? Deutsch: Was ist Wahrheit? Français : “Qu’est-ce que la vérité ?” Le Christ et Pilate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The man who tried to show justice killed his conscious when his authority came under danger. In fear of losing his position, he let a man be crucified, someone he and his wife knew to be completely innocent.

Only in one moment a man becomes the hero or the villain. This holds an important lesson for all of us. It is not sometimes the sum total of our lives that history will count us righteous or evil, it may only be a single critical moment.

When friends, family, and society pressurizes you to do something you know is wrong, remember that if you give in to their demands, the annals of time will come to haunt you.

This brings us to our original question. Why to we remember Pilate while reciting the Creed? The answer is Jesus and not Pilate himself.

Anyone who came in contact with Jesus became immortal, whether it was a young villager who had 2 fish, or the donkey who received a king’s welcome the original Palm Sunday.Time waits for no one and it tramples those who try to stand in its way. But when Jesus collided with time, He broke it into two pieces.

¹ Image via Wikipedia:

An inscription bearing the name of Pontius Pilate, Procurator of Judea, in the time of Yeshua of Nazareth

If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog for free. 

©2012-2014 PK Christian Writer

Author Bio:

I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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Love Wrested, Lost…By the Giver

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By Abby Kelly

I’ve watched a lot of heartbreak in the last few weeks. It makes me feel almost guilty to say that, because it hasn’t been my loss. No, I’ve felt pain as a ricochet, a blow bounced back, only slightly less forceful. I have watched loss strike violently at the hearts of my friends and I wonder if my comfort is sufficient or cheap.

Two have lost babies before birth. One knows her husband likely won’t be there to kiss her on January 1, 2015. Another lost her best buddy, a pup she’d loved from before she found her own husband. One buried a treasured aunt.

What do you say to loss when you cannot literally sidle up alongside and bear the brunt of it with the loved one pained?

You pray.

Unfortunately, even in Christian society, maybe especially in Christian society, that assurance has lost its power. It comes across as weak, timid, cursory and half-hearted. It’s the same feeling of resignation that births the statement, ‘I’ve done all I can. All that’s left is to pray.’

But this post isn’t intended to resurrect your passion for prayer, your conviction that it is the single most important, effective thing you can do for loved ones in pain, in the throes or on the precipice of loss. (Though it is.) If a renewed respect for prayer is a side effect of my words, may God receive glory.

No, this post is my own reflection on loss. It’s what I hope I recall the next time a beloved is wrenched from my hands.

Job 1:21 says, ‘…’Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

I wonder about God taking away. In truth, there’s a vast difference between something being lost or stolen, and something being gently tugged from clutching fingers by a loving Father.

When I was little, I recall my sister getting into the medicine cabinet. After watching Mom dole out vitamin C tablets to her older siblings, she wondered about the orange-colored ‘candy’. Why couldn’t she have some?

So, this little one climbed up on the counter, popped the child-proof cap and downed the rest of the bottle. When Mom found her, she was mauling the final ‘candies’. Hastily, Mom snatched the poison from little fingers. My sister cried.

The pain a child feels when a parent takes something away (even a bottle of vitamins–innately good but harmful for a child at that age) is when tiny fists grip it tightly and sting when the object is finally wrested away.

Though my experience of these recent pains is only an echo, I marvel at the strength bearing up my friends. I pause and take notice of their valor and humble submission to the God of ‘every good and perfect gift’.

It is vastly different to lose something, have it stolen or to understand, even welcome, the loving hands of a Father who takes it away.

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/love-wrested-lostby-the-giver-7064123.html

About the Author

Abby Kelly is a Christian author and freelance writer living in middle Tennessee with her husband and ‘the world’s best dog’. She is the senior editor at http://www.MyDailyArmor.org, blogs at http://www.predatory-lies.com, and contributes to numerous other Christian blogs, websites and publications. Her book, The Predatory Lies of Anorexia: A Survivor’s Story, is availabe on Amazon and in many other locations and formats.


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The Power of Attitude

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By Steve Sekhon

I was recently speaking with a friend and remarked ‘attitude is everything.’ Even though the comment sounded marginally trite at the time, the idea kept coming back to me throughout the day. Do I really have control over my attitude? Can changing it actually transform my life?

It became crystal clear to me that I’m free to hold whatever attitude I choose, whenever I want. It is this choice that creates my experience of life.

It can be easy to forget this obvious truth on those days that I feel I’m swimming against the current. But even then I know that, when I’m consciously aware, how I respond to life is entirely up to me.

The attitude I have about the events in my life creates my emotional and psychological experience of it even more than the actual events themselves.

I determine what I think should be happening and consequently how I’ll feel if things don’t quite work out the way I planned. I decide if I’ll be discouraged, happy, critical or sad. I define what success or failure means. I determine the way particular outcomes will make me feel. I am the only one who can decide to tune my attitude by selecting who I spend time with and what I do.

When I focus my attention on things that encourage, support and enliven me, I reap immediate and positive dividends. When I give my attention to problems, constraints and fearful potentialities, the results don’t feel nearly so good. They actually make me more likely to see my life and the world in a negative light. The more I experience disappointment from my negative expectations, the less reason I see to be joyful. The longer I do it, the less choice I feel I have.

I can change my habits from ones that don’t serve me to ones that do. I can cultivate a daily practice or join authentic happiness coaching that helps keep me on track. I can read daily words of encouragement, surround myself with positive people and make a point of noticing when I’m being negative.

The more I stay aware, the more I realize that I’m as free to choose my attitude, as I am to select a flavor at an ice cream parlor. The difference between a trip to the dessert shop and the spontaneous choice of attitude is that the former is a one-time event, while the latter can create a beautiful or vicious cycle that affects my entire life.

Tendencies we may have toward resentment, generosity, victim consciousness, self-confidence, fear, trust, self-acceptance, or self-hatred are obvious to everyone we encounter, but sometimes we take our own approach to life for granted without being aware of our power to choose it.

When we realize that it’s not the conditions in the outer world but our attitudes about those conditions that cause us to feel the way we do it can be an enormous game changer.

Others pick up on our attitudes, subconsciously or consciously, and respond to us accordingly. Whatever opinion we have of the world will be mirrored back to us and we’ll feel justified for holding it because the evidence to prove it shows up repeatedly. Our attitudes essentially create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why it’s so important to find some high quality and easy-to-digest daily words of encouragement that keep you on track.

If you’re having difficulties with someone in your life, look for just one quality you like and see if you can find compassion for the rest. If you’re having problems at work, try focusing on what’s going well instead what’s not. Keep your attention on what you appreciate in every person, place or thing in your life and watch the situations evolve and improve. Notice the words you use and remind yourself that the perceptions you form are simply the result of how you characterize what you see.

If you want an easy and powerful reminder to help you maintain this practice, subscribe to daily words of encouragement and receive them in your inbox everyday. It could change your life!

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/the-power-of-attitude-6656916.html

About the Author

Steve Sekhon and Jarl Forsman are the founders of GratitudeTwentyFourSeven.com, which produces courses, workshops and daily messages to remind you of wisdom (which you already know) that will help you get unstuck, enjoy life and be more fun to be around.

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Am I Called Or Am I Crazy?

English: Motorola L71 (China Mobile customised...

Motorola L71 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By George Fishburne, Jr.

I remember when I purchased my very first mobile phone in the early 1980’s. It was a beige colored phone and it resembled a block of wood. It must have weighed at least a couple of pounds and its big ear and mouthpieces could be spotted from several blocks away.

Whenever you touched one of the keypads, they illuminated with lime green fluorescence for all to see. I was forced to carry it in my hand, because it could not fit in any of my pockets. Occasionally, I would check my phone to see if it still worked because there were periods when no calls came through. In those moments, I would use my home phone to call my mobile phone and then when my mobile phone rang, I would answer it.

There is an epidemic in the Body of Christ’s pre-ministerial ranks of those who say that God called them, when in fact they called themselves. My pastor often reminded us as young ministers ‘if you just pick up the gospel ministry call on your own, people, problems, and pressures will make you put it back down.’ Throughout scripture, we find evidence that before God calls men and women to a work, they are first called away from a work.

When Matthew (known as Levi) was invited into Jesus’ fold, he was taken away from his lucrative and disreputable enterprise as a tax collector. Luke was often referred to as ‘the beloved physician’ to denote both his reputation and soon to be former occupation. Peter and Andrew were summoned from their prosperous fishing business in order to join the band of Christ. Essentially, you will know its God because God always seems to seek out those who are already busy doing something! God then creatively channels their energy, gifts, and commitment to a stream rolling towards God’s perfect will for their lives.

Those who call themselves run the very real risk of being left to fend for them-selves in times of crisis and calamity.

I can recall after wrestling for months with what I believed was God’s will for my life and sharing that jewel of information with my pastor, Bishop Victor T. Curry, he had nothing to say about it.

After he finally and publicly acknowledged my call, I asked him one day, why he had made me wait so long. He responded, ‘Because God always calls us first to preparation.’ During that waiting period, God was merely equipping me with the tools of patience and integrity, tools that must join forces with the call in order to fortify that very call.

Those who are called into ministry should cherish and make the most of those periods of preparation, allowing them to become thoroughly equipped by the Master. They are then doubly prepared to enter the ministry and mission field God has destined just for them.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/am-i-called-or-am-i-crazy-7060925.html

About the Author

Elder George Fishburne, Jr. (www.georgefishburne.com) is the Senior Consultant of A Higher Calling Consultants and the Managing Editor of The Write Stuff, a writing and communications company which offers an array of text composition and editing services. His talents include ghost writing, resume & cover letter creation, website text content developement and an array of other literary services.

He is also the former Chief Operating Officer of the Elizabeth Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia and is the author of ‘A Higher Calling: Serving God, His Leaders and His People with Excellence’ and the accompanying guide and workbook.


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12 Steps of Faith: a Franciscan path

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

STEP ONE is about recognizing the illusion of our separateness

We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God – that our lives are become unmanageable when separated from the Divine Source of Creation.

We believed God so loved us that he gave his son, Jesus the Christ to the world who suffered, died and rose from death for us. Through this we received the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life as gifts.

‘All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.’ -Francis of Assisi

STEP TWO is about the birth of faith in us

We have come to believe that a power greater than ourselves will restore us wholeness and in turn freedom from dis-ease.

We receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit to know God better and have a fruitful life and ministry. We received the fruit, the gifts, and the power of the Spirit along with Christ’s authority over the powers of darkness.

‘While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP THREE involves a decision to let God be in charge of our lives

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Divine Source, God as each of us understand Him.

We make a covenant to live and serve in the Body of Christ through the teachings provided to us by The Son of Man. We celebrated God’s covenant of love for us through Communion and affirmed our covenant of love for Him through Baptism and the teaching of The Son of Man.

‘Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.’-Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP FOUR involves self-examination

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We experienced God’s healing power and grace inwardly, outwardly and in our relationships with others.

‘Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love,

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

 

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved, as to love.

 

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.’

― Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP FIVE is the discipline of confession

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

When we believe in the illusion of our separateness from God we create dis-ease in our self and for others in our life.

‘I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP SIX is an inner transformation sometimes called repentance

We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Repentance, also called penitence, is a change of mind and of heart with regard to sin so as to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from God or a person who is wronged or sinned against. Repentance is the God-granted attitude of having sorrow for personal sin and the turning away from it towards a new life.

‘It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ‘― Francis of Assisi

STEP SEVEN involves the transformation or purification of our character

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

‘Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can,and the wisdom to know the difference.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP EIGHT involves examining our relationships and preparing ourselves to make amends

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

‘No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.’ ― Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP NINE is the discipline of making amends

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

‘We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP TEN is about maintaining progress in our reconnection to the Divine Source

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

‘Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.’ ― Francis of Assisi

STEP ELEVEN involves the spiritual disciplines of a practice of prayer and meditation

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Prayer is when you speak to God. Meditation is when God speaks to you.

‘We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.’ ― Francis of Assisi

English: Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoa...

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Coyoacan, Federal District, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STEP TWELVE is about ministry

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

‘Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.’ ― Francis of Assisi

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/12-steps-of-faith-a-franciscan-path-7056117.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.

http://www.BrotherChristopher.org


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Freeware and Freebies

CNET News - Desktop threat, still a threat (De...

(Photo credit: marsmet546)

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this. Not since February 18, 2011, to be exact!

Today I want to share my latest discovery. It’s a free program that transfers media files (including video) from PC to iPad and other iOS devices—without having to jailbreak.

Amazing. I really don’t want to spend 35 dollars (before tax) to do this with Apple’s camera connection kit. I think it’s outrageous that Apple is so controlling when it comes to the iPad. Moving files around should be no big deal. And I don’t want to go through iTunes because, I figure, this involves bandwidth usage. Which could mean more money.

So I searched around and found Syncios:

After reinstalling iTunes (uninstalled some months ago) on my old, test monkey computer, I got it to work… beautifully!

But don’t take my word for it. Read about it at CNET.

Exclamation mark

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, one word of caution. Read all the comments at CNET. Basically, if you’re not careful the installer will put a lot of potentially unwanted software on your computer. Some companies are cannier than others at trying to get you to install extra software. And some companies can be a bit confusing, possibly because of a language barrier. But if you know how to avoid all that, this program is a clean install.

I was only going to list one new program. But another comes to mind: RevoUninstaller. When this page was last updated, I was just testing Revo. Well, the test is over. This program is AWESOME. I used to hesitate testing new software because junk files usually stay on a PC after the usual Windows uninstal.

RevoUninstaller goes deep. I can’t recommend it strongly enough. It also comes in a portable version if you really want to keep a lean machine.

Well, that’s about it for now. Happy computing! :-)

And remember, Earthpages.org is not affiliated with any these companies, organizations or projects.

I logged into hello GNOME under Arch Linux and...

A screenshot of the latest version of GIMP, editing the GIMP splash screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Update: I just remembered one more recent tryout. Krita. See Image Editing/Digital Painting below for details, and since writing the above, Making Music/Audio Production, Music Listening and Get News with RSS have all been updated.

Media Players

  • VideoLAN – VLC media player Ever wanted to capture a still image from a video? Most free media players won’t do it. After searching the web and reading all sorts of complicated do’s and don’ts, I stumbled upon this free program, which does it effortlessly. VLC also formats DVD playback in a variety of screen ratios, which can be nice. And, it plays FLAC audio files.

Video Editing

  • Bink Video (RAD Video Tools) Converts digital video files into different formats. Especially useful if your digital camera writes Quicktime .MOV files. Bink/RAD will convert them into .AVI files, which Windows Movie Maker can import!

Video Search

  • Blinkx Not really freeware because there’s nothing to download. But it’s free and a good alternative to YouTube and Google video searches.

Image Editing/Digital Painting

  • Krita – Someone just recently tipped me off about this. I don’t see any text function. But it might be in there somewhere. Digital artists should give this a try. I can’t draw my way out of a wet paper bag. So this one isn’t too useful for me.
  • Pixlr – This has three versions, each different. I like it way better than Instagram.
  • PhotoFiltre One of my favorite free photo editors with plug-ins, highlighting and “fade last effect” feature, much like Photoshop version 4. PF doesn’t handle multiple layers like the GIMP but it’s light and tasteful. Don’t confuse this with PhotoFiltre Studio, which is not freeware.
  • PhotoScape This is a fantastic program with some great filters, fun photo stuff and useful text effects. I use this to rotate/level photos as I find it’s faster, easier and does a better job than anything else I’ve tried.
  • The GIMP GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program.” The GIMP just keeps getting better and better; features include text, drop shadow, bevels, layers, color replacement and lots of fine filters.
  • Gimphelp.org Some cool filters for the Gimp. While Photoshop 8bf filters may still be the industry standard, I find that using freeware opens me up to different graphics and artistic approaches that I’d otherwise never try. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to install these filters. Just read the instructions and enjoy!
  • Virtual Photographer This is a great program for enhancing photos, compatible with the GIMP and other commercial software.
  • Picasa IMHO the strongest thing about this photo editor is the excellent color, lightness and contrast fixing. And it’s very user friendly. Photo rotation is a bit blurry. I use PhotoScape for that.
  • Photo Pos Pro Visually nice to look at, has some good effects and handles layers.
  • Photobie I don’t use this one too much but it has some good filters and is under steady development. Like anything else, software preference is a pretty personal thing. Definitely worth a try.
  • LightBox Solid performer. Free version touches up pics nicely with minimum of effort.
  • UnFREEz Creates animated gifs almost effortlessly, preserves transparency, and does a much better job (in terms of image quality) than MS gif animator.
  • Easy Thumbnails This easily creates good, sharp thumbnails.
  • Vector Magic Not free but you can evaluate for free with saving disabled.
  • Inkscape Good for making banners, working with fonts and converting bitmap to vector graphics.

AntiVirus, Junk and Spyware Removal

  • AntiVir A nice antivirus program from Germany with frequent free updates.
  • AdAware A ‘too good to be true’ program for detecting and cleaning invasive ads and malware that can slow down your computer. With free updates and lots of options.
  • Advanced SystemCare This was recommended by a visitor and it seems very powerful. But some may find it too aggressive and Gizmo’s Freeware says some have reported errors after using. I’ve tested this out and so far have had no probs with WinXP. It gets stuff CCleaner doesn’t, and vice versa.
  • CCleaner Fantastic program for cleaning junk files from your hard drive with frequent updates. Also useful for fixing registry integrity and blocking unwanted Windows startup programs. Use with extreme caution and don’t even think about going past the default settings unless you know what you’re doing!
  • Glary Utilities Recommended by a visitor; still testing…
  • Malwarebytes This is handy if by chance the other stuff listed here can’t help you.
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus Antivirus is available in cloud format, so say goodbye to those irritating virus definition updates.
  • Revo Uninstaller Great! See opening comments.

FTP

  • FileZilla FTP freeware. This is another “too good to be true” program with frequent updates. It just seems to be getting better and better.

Making Web Pages

  • Free Gifs and Animations Lots of good stuff.
  • KomPozer Apparently some techies didn’t like the fact that the buggy but very promising Nvu went into stasis. So they continued where Nvu left off. Great job! From my preliminary test it seems this might be the best totally free WYSIWYG editor around.
  • Amaya A free WYSIWYG html editor. It’s a good, straightforward product that would probably fit the needs of basic to intermediate users. Also has some cool special characters.
  • Evrsoft First Page is a free WYSIWYG editor (with a 5 sec. nag screen). It has advanced features but, as others have said, the last version I tested was a touch slow and, on my computer, a bit buggy. Still, I’ve used it with great results. (And it might have been updated since I wrote this particular entry in May 2008).

Making Music / Audio Production

  • Kristal Audio Engine This is a great program for sound recording in a multi-track format. It’s like a software version of the old Fostex and Tascam cassette recorders. Handles up to 16 audio tracks with effects, copy/cut and paste, bouncing and room for expansion. Although Kristal has been criticized for tracks not being in sync, spending a bit of time at the friendly user forum solved the issue for me.
  • Audacity – This is THE program for freeware sound recording. Check it out.
  • Reaper Reaper isn’t free but is a 60 day demo. After that, a nagscreen reminds you that it’s not free. But it continues uncrippled because the developers believe that crippling their demo is not the best way to go. This is a great program for music producers if you are willing to look elsewhere for VST plugins (like KVR, Vst4Free or the very helpful Bedroom Producer’s Blog). It handles midi and conventional recording. Automation lanes. And a whole lot more.
  • FL Studio Somewhat like Reaper, FL Studio isn’t free but some features continue to work in the demo version. The cool guitar plugin Slayer, for instance, seems to work without limitation in the free demo version. Other plugins cut in and out. Last I heard, Avicii uses FLS. So it’s gotta have something going for it!
  • LMMS This seems really promising. It used to only work on Linux (which is beyond me). But it’s now Windows-friendly. LMMS is mostly about midi, but you can import recorded audio files as samples. So vocalists might want to try Audacity first, or something like that. This program is fairly basic but has its own charm. I did a really quick, silly thing (posted here) while learning it. I never got much further than that!
  • Asio4All So you’re new to audio production and your tracks are out of sync, or there’s way too much delay between hitting your MIDI keyboard and hearing a sound (called “latency”). Enter Asio4All. The genuine Asio driver is made, I believe, by Steinberg and is copyright material. But many people seem to use Asio4All, which I guess is some kind of approximation of the real thing. Perhaps it’s like generic drugs vs. name brands. It comes bundled with the FL Studio demo and is at CNET, so it’s got to be okay.
  • Synthmaster Player I mention this by itself because it really stands out. It’s free, uncrippled, and great. You may not like my freaky music or limited ability. But I used this synth for the bubbly “Berlin Bass” in the tune On a Star.
  • VST Resources There are a lot of really good sites out there telling about great free VST plugins. If you really want to find them all, try Google.  But the three sites I use most are KVR, Vst4Free, and Bedroom Producer’s Blog. BPB narrows down many plugins to his favorites. And I usually agree with his point of view. He’s also open to new suggestions. So it’s a “must visit” site.

Music Listening

  • Songza There are lots of services out there. This one is my favorite. I like it so much, I made several playlists for all to enjoy! (shameless plug) ;-)
  • iTunes You don’t have to purchase media with this software. iTunes comes with fantastic, free streaming radio and a 10-band equalizer and preamp with great presets. Travel the world through talk and music!
  • Winamp Music and video player with a 10-band equalizer and preamp to make music come alive. I don’t know what’s going on with Winamp these days. But I used to like it.
  • Live 365.com No download streaming radio portal. Impressive selection of genres.
  • RadioTime Provides links to many streaming radio stations.
  • AudioGrabber Handles WAV and MP3 formats. Audiophiles will probably know that WAV files sound better but are huge. MP3’s are “sonically acceptable” and take up less space for iPods, etc. There are several free grabbers out there but I find this one sounds bigger and fatter than the others I’ve tested. Some audiophiles may like that, others may not.
  • Xrecode This is great for converting to FLAC (a “lossless” format that sounds just as good as WAV with about 45% smaller file size) and many other formats, including Mp3.

Create RSS Feeds

  • FeedSpring Web publishers can use this to generate their own RSS feeds.

Get News with RSS

  • RSS Reader Get news stories from all over the web. This is a super program. But a while back I tested a beta version requiring net framework 2.0 and wasn’t impressed. About a third of my RSS feeds didn’t work. So I reverted to version 1.0.88.0 with net framework 1.1 and everything works great.
  • Feedreader Google Reader is no more. I never liked it much anyhow. Doing RSS online is too slow for me. But here’s a program that I use sometimes. It has a good “lookup” feature for specialized articles.

Bandwidth Monitoring

  • FreeMeter Since I’m a regular web cam user, I wanted to know which web cam software is most efficient. Enter FreeMeter.

Scanning, File Conversion, PDF

  • Bullzip This easily converts Windows documents to pdf. Lots of options. Fantastic.
  • Scan2PDF – scan documents to PDF format Scan anything and convert to .pdf (for Acrobat Reader). Also open image files from your hard drive and convert to .pdf. I found that it works best if in “options” you enable the scanner interface to be seen. That way you can adjust the resolution and get really good results.
  • Open Office I tested out the word processor on this suite in 2008 and found it satisfactory, although the English thesaurus was weak, and downloading/installing more dictionaries was a hassle. It was also a bit slow to load and felt heavier on my machine than commercial products. Open Office easily converts to pdf, however, and supports a wide number of languages. And I believe there’s a more recent version.
  • Primo PDF Primo converts Windows documents to pdf.

Multitasking

  • Always on Top I use this with WinXP to keep an application window visible while working with other applications. Examples could be keeping MS Word or maybe a Google chat contact visible while surfing or blogging. This program is very light and works great.

iOS Related

  • Syncios Transfers media files (including video) directly from PC to iPad and other iOS devices—without having to jailbreak.

The software and online content mentioned in this post may be incompatible with your hardware and/or software. By clicking on any of the links mentioned in this post, you agree that Earthpages.org | Earthpages.ca is not liable for any damages that may be incurred from visiting these links or downloading the software.

—MC


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Lucid Dreaming – What Is Lucid Dreaming?

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Author: john

Lucid dreaming is the process of dreaming while you are still awake or at least consciously aware that you are dreaming. This is different than daydreaming, which is simply a short-term attachment of one’s immediate surroundings where it looks the subject is simply ‘dazing off’ or has a blank stare. Unlike lucid dreaming the subject is awake and alert during a daydream and they can easily be brought back to reality.

They generally happens at night when the subject is attempting to sleep. The primary factor of lucid dreams that sets them apart from regular dreaming is the subject has full control and influence over their dream. In this manner they can essentially ‘control’ their dreams. It has been extensively researched by the scientific community and there has been much debate about its existence, although current scientific theory is that it does exist and can be controlled to some extent.

However, the results cannot be achieved by everyone. It can be a very difficult process to initiate a lucid dream and actually control the dream once you’ve established one. The most common type of lucid dream occurs when the user is already sleeping and they start dreaming. At some point during the dream the subject becomes aware that they are sleeping but also dreaming at the same time. While the subject is not ‘awake’ per se, they are able to exhibit some degree of control over the dream and control the subject matter.

English: Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly (or ...

Zhuangzi dreaming of a butterfly (or a butterfly dreaming of Zhuangzi) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other type which is much less common is called wake-imitated lucid dreaming. This of it is much more difficult to achieve and can only be achieved with practice, determination and meditation. There is no apparent lapse in consciousness (such as falling asleep) upon entering a wake-induced lucid dream. Instead, the subject simply goes from being awake to dreaming while at the same time being aware of their surroundings, the time of day, where they are, who they are, etc. Scientifically a wake-induced lucid dream occurs when a subject enters R-E-M sleep mode without even realizing it. This phenomenon is known as losing self-awareness when exiting the waking state and entering the dream realm.

It can be very difficult to achieve but the results from doing so can be incredible. Oftentimes people use lucid dreams to find out their path in life, fix nightmare problems, determine their future and recover from past issues in their life that may be haunting them.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/meditation-articles/lucid-dreaming-what-is-lucid-dreaming-6558325.html

About the Author

John Wonder – Please Visit: What-Is-Lucid-Dreaming


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Closer To Truth: ESP

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By John Prytz

There is an ongoing PBS TV series (also several books and also a website) called “Closer To Truth”. It is hosted by neuroscientist Robert Lawrence Kuhn. He’s featured in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions with the cream of the cream of today’s cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, etc. on all of the Big Questions surrounding a trilogy of broad topics – Cosmos; Consciousness; Meaning. The trilogy collectively dealt with reality, space and time, mind and consciousness, aliens, theology and on and on and on. Here are a few of my comments on one of the general topics covered, ESP and related psychic subjects.

Does ESP Make Sense 1?

Does ESP make sense? Well if ESP made any sense, if say telepathy actually existed, then I probably wouldn’t be here writing this in the here and now. Why? If most people sensed and knew what I was thinking about them, especially drivers, they would have long since beaten me about the head and body until I was a bloody pulp. In a more general vein, I’m not aware of any assault or any crime involving violence that can be attributed to anyone reacting to what anyone else was thinking. I mean what if you walked down the street of some fundamentalist Islamic town thinking all sorts of nasty things about Allah and company. Nothing would happen. As the saying goes, “you can’t go to jail for what you are thinking” because thoughts are private. Given the number of people thinking nasty thoughts that would seriously offend other people, probably millions of such occurrences per day, yet nothing transpires as a result, would seem to discredit the idea of ESP or telepathy as a viable phenomena.

Does ESP Make Sense 2?

If ESP made any sense, how could teachers guard against students cheating on exams? How could the military protect highly classified documents? How could you protect yourself from others finding out the most intimate details of your love letters, you bank account numbers, the contents of your will, and associated privacy issues? There’s been a lot of angst recently displayed over the issues of electronic snooping, but I don’t seem to recall any concern over ESP as being part of the everyday tool-kit used for terrorism; diplomatic, corporate or military espionage; or as a ways and means used by criminals to further their get-rich-quick schemes. If ESP were legit, well blackmail would really be rampant.

Does ESP Make Sense 3?

If ESP/Telepathy/Remote Viewing and related psychic phenomena really existed it would make for an absolutely level playing field since all knowledge and all secrets would be in theory equally available to all. Even your most private thoughts wouldn’t be private any more. We don’t seem to have a level playing field – never have; not now; never will.

There are various absurdities of things that would have to have been documented but haven’t been, like levitation. What hasn’t been documented is prisoners floating out of their prison courtyards to freedom. Surely that should of happened at least once!

Speaking of prisoners, if there were really such a thing as mind-over-matter then prisoners could mentally unlock their handcuffs and prison cell doors. You could mentally pick door-locks and bank vault safe locks, or maybe just float valuables from where they are to where you are. The law could never trace murder to you if you murdered at a distance by say giving your victim a mind-over-matter heart attack. There’s no shortage of criminal mischief you could get up to. I don’t recall any court cases where mind-over-matter was established as the ways-and-means of doing the crime.

If there were such a thing as precognition then we’d all be billionaires. Or, perhaps one might like to argue that all billionaires past and present have had or currently have precognition and they just like to keep that their little family secret.

In short, you could take any of the various individual phenomena that collectively make up all things psychic and come up with things that could and should eventuate as a consequence, yet don’t.

Does ESP Make Sense 4?

Let’s explore the notion that mind-over-matter exists. What sort of things might we expect to have been the case if such a concept were really true and a property of the mind that is part and parcel of each and every one of us, especially if it were non-physical and could violate the laws, principles and relationships of physics.

Well one question that comes to mind is why NASA didn’t employ mind power instead of chemical rockets to send humans into space and to the Moon? It would have saved the taxpayer millions and millions. Related, why do planes require aviation gas or jet fuel? Surely the pilot could just use mind power to get passengers or cargo from place A to place B. In fact you could commute to work in your car on an empty tank!

I gather you could supply all the energy requirements for your home, supply the heat and light the lights, just cause those electrons to flow, all with just a flick of your mental power and abilities. For that matter, what need of the Large Hadron Collider when physicists could accelerate and slam particles together using just their minds?

If your mind had control over chemistry, there would be no excuse for the obesity epidemic. You could smoke without fear and drink like a fish. For that matter, you could turn lead into gold!

Sports wouldn’t be very sporting-like. A routine fly ball would be willed by the batter to become a home run. A baseball pitcher would be invincible game after game since his mind would control the twisting flightpath of the ball instead of relying on aerodynamics. In golf every shot would be a hole-in-one; in tenpin bowling every ball bowled would be a strike; in basketball every toss would go through the hoops. Chess on the other hand might still be aboveboard.

Any condemned convict could ensure their execution would be negated. The rope breaks; the rifle bullets miss; the lethal cocktail of chemicals turn into harmless substances; the neck is mightier than the sword or the guillotine.

If you were so inclined, you could change the wording on documents to benefit you, change a one dollar bill into a one hundred dollar bill, or alter the actual appearance of playing cards and thus never loose a game.

History would certainly be different. If Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had applied mind-over-matter abilities to their war efforts, they would have won World War Two in a matter of just weeks – or less.

Seriously, all these ‘what if” scenarios imply that mind-over-matter must have a physical mechanism since in each and every case matter and energy is being manipulated. If you do believe in ESP and related psychic phenomena, like mind-over-matter, yet you can’t come up with a physical explanation that independents can verify, well okay, you do have an escape clause. You could be a virtual being in a simulated universe and all psi phenomena is just programmed software.

Does ESP Reveal the Nonphysical?

For ESP to reveal something about the non-physical, one must first demonstrate that ESP actually exists. Since ESP has not been so demonstrated in any peer-reviewed scientific journal, since if it had been there would be no need to have these discussions on “Closer to Truth”, then the bona-fide existence of ESP is still up for grabs. While there is a near total lack of evidence for the establishment of ESP, there is lots of evidence that points in the direction that ESP doesn’t exist. There has to be an actual mechanism that links the sender or the target with the receiver. Claiming that there is a non-physical mechanism that is beyond detection is a cop-out. One can claim all manner of phenomena but when asked to put-up-or-shut-up one just says that it has a non-physical explanation which nobody can actually pin down. As to what that non-physical mechanism is, it’s just pure pie-in-the-sky mysticism. It’s not scientific to a scientist; it’s not acceptable to the average layperson either. It’s like claiming to have an invisible friend but not being able to convince anyone because nobody else, including the claimant, can actually see, touch, taste, smell or hear anything tangible about this invisible entity. Okay, there has to be an actual physical mechanism for ESP if ESP is to claim to have some sort of validity. Alas, as has been more than adequately pointed out, if our brain/mind can detect ESP signals then it must be possible to construct an artificial detector that does the same thing. Further, we can build detectors vastly more sensitive than anything the human sensory apparatus, hence the brain/mind, can detect. Results to date equate to absolute zero. Resorting to a non-physical mechanism is a cop-out; nothing that can be construed to be a physical mechanism can be independently verified.

Is ESP a Window on a Larger Reality?

For ESP to be taken as a window on a larger reality, one must first prove in an accepted peer-reviewed manner that ESP (and related bits and pieces) actually exists. Now there are some phenomena that don’t sit still, phenomena that are so random that it is difficult for investigators to come to terms with their reality or non-reality. Examples are UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot (Sasquatch), and related. However, ESP doesn’t fall into that category. ESP sits still. You have target A and person B or person A and person B and they are both fixed and static. They can be tested again and again. There’s nothing hit-or-miss or random about this. Now what is telling about all of this, quite apart from the idea that nobody has an actual clue what the ESP (and related) mechanism is, is that despite thousands of experiments and millions of “I know what I experienced” events, despite the elapse of hundreds of years of these sorts of investigations, nothing has been set in stone. You would think that by now, if there was any structure and substance to the entire validity of the ESP field, that issues would have been settled long ago. The fact that this debate over ESP and the nature therefore of a theoretical larger reality is still going on, is suggestive that nothing is going on. If there were any nuts-and-bolts reality to this whole area of parapsychology, it would have long since been documented and written up in the textbooks and taught to students with as much conviction as the teachings of the reality of those laws of gravity and of motion.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mysticism-articles/closer-to-truth-esp-7050978.html

About the Author

Science librarian; retired.


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Religious Americans view others

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the ea...

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the early 1900s, Russian Jews, packs in hand, gaze at the American relatives beckoning them to the United States. Over two million Jews fled the pogroms of the Russian Empire to the safety of the U.S. from 1881-1924. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

It is only human for most people to think more highly of themselves and the groups (academic, professional, social, religious, political and national) that they identify with, than they think of others. It is only natural to notice more of your own and your own groups virtues than the virtues of others; and it is only normal to to be less aware of your own groups vices and prejudices than those of others groups.

Thus, it is not surprising that a survey last week by Pew Research, found that Evangelical Protestants, who are confident that they are going to Heaven, score a warm rating of 79 with people who called themselves “born-again” or evangelical, but only receive a rating of 52 from others, a 27 point difference.

Catholics also give themselves a similar warm 80 score, while non-Catholics give them a six point warmer score than Evangelical Protestants rating at 58. but that still is a 22 point difference.

And Jews, who do not fear original sin and eternal damnation, rate themselves at a very warm 89, while non-Jews rate Jews as a warm 63, which is 5 points warmer than Catholics, and 11 points above Evangelical Protestants, but still a 26 point difference between self and others ratings.

On the other hand while Atheists gave themselves a 62 rating, others gave them a cool 41 rating, a 21 point difference.

White Evangelical Protestants rank Buddhists at 39, Hindus at 38, Muslims at 30, and atheists at only 25; the lowest score of any group.

Atheists give evangelicals an equally low overall rating of 28. But Atheists give much warmer ratings to Buddhists 69, Jews 61 and Hindus 58.

Americans are somewhat polarized about evangelicals. The survey found that, “roughly as many people give evangelicals a cold rating (27 percent) as give them a warm rating (30 percent).”

The most important results for Jews in this study is the very positive views Americans have of Jews and Judaism. Jewish anxieties about religious anti-semitism are greatly exaggerated.

On the other hand, many Jews need to examine their own negative attitudes toward evangelical Protestants who clearly differ with us in as many areas as we differ with them, yet still have a warmer view of us then we have of them.

White evangelicals rated Jews at a very warm 69, while Jewish respondents gave evangelical Protestants a very cool 34. Most people explain this as due to their ‘southern style’ and Evangelical Protestant Missionary efforts to convert Jews; which acts to offset their support for Israel.

Jews and Catholics have warmer views of each other than Jews and evangelical Protestants have because Catholics have no active missionary activities directed toward Jews, and Jews are more likely to know Catholics then they are likely to know evangelical Protestants.

Thus, Catholics are viewed more warmly than evangelical Protestants (58 vs 34), and this is only a little less than the Catholic view of Jews at 61.

These ratings are not a fluke. The Pew results match closely with a similar study in 2007 by political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell for their 2010 book, ”American Grace.” The overall order of warm-to-cold views for religious groups is unchanged between the two studies.

Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com


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Only 22% Americans know a Hindu

English: Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscr...

Bhagavad Gita, a 19th century manuscript. North India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Only 22 percent Americans know someone who is Hindu, according to a Pew Research Center survey published on July 17.

This number is lowest than any other religion/denomination surveyed.  Catholics rank highest with 87 percent, followed by evangelical Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mormonscial , Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.

Americans express warmest and more positive feelings towards Jews (average rating 63); followed by Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., the survey adds.

Reacting to this survey findings, Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged American Hindus to make outreach efforts towards non-Hindu communities, do charity, invite others to visit Hindu temples/ashrams, offer help to neighbors, be good role models, act for the benefit of all, volunteer, try to stay pure and exhibit warmth and love towards fellow Americans.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that ancient Hindu scripture Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) urged us to act selflessly without any thought of personal profit.

Rajan Zed suggested to each American Hindu to take a vow of undertaking at least one charitable project during this year for less fortunate members of the community. Quoting scriptures, Zed stressed that charity was a duty, which should be undertaken with sympathy and modesty.

Headquartered in Washington DC, “Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world”. Alan Murray is President.

Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.

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