Daily Archives: November 25, 2014

November 25, 2014: Truth2Freedom Daily Headline Alerts Collection

Let us learn a lesson of humility from our Saviour; let us never court great titles nor proud degrees. —C.H. Spurgeon

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Nov. 25, 2014

BLOOMBERG

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered more National Guard troops to Ferguson as chaos erupted after a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Businesses were looted, police cars burned on the street and a dozen buildings torched. Crowds that had gathered near the Ferguson Police Department scattered as authorities shot canisters of gas.

Forty-five percent say President Obama should issue an executive order if Congress fails to act on the immigration issue—as he did last week—while 48 percent say he should not. Obama announced plans to take action to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation provided they meet certain criteria.

New York incurred a record $732 million in legal costs in the last fiscal year, mostly from claims of police abuse, negligence and hiring discrimination, expenses that accelerated under Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress stepped up calls for new Iran sanctions after negotiators extended nuclear talks until July, ensuring an uphill fight next year against opposition from some Democrats and a threatened presidential veto.

South Africa’s economy grew 1.4 percent in the third quarter after platinum mines restarted production following a five-month strike.

So much money is chasing after China’s next round of initial public offerings that the nation’s $4.3 trillion stock market has become hostage to the fundraising plans of companies seeking just $1.3 billion.

The economy in the U.S. expanded at a 3.9 percent annualized rate, more than previously estimated in the third quarter, reflecting bigger gains in consumer spending and business investment and capping the strongest six months of growth in a decade.

Nigeria’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate 100 basis points, to a record high 13 percent, for the first time in three years and devalued the naira as tumbling oil prices sent the currency to an all-time low.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities advanced at a slower pace in the 12 months through September as the housing market continued to make gradual progress.

AP Top Stories

OPEC’s biggest crude producer Saudi Arabia will have its sights set on the upstart US shale oil business at a crucial cartel meeting to debate possible output cuts on Thursday.

Britain announced it had signed a contract with US manufacturer Lockheed Martin to buy the first of 14 F-35B combat jets.

Chinese ships returned to territorial waters around islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan on Tuesday, the coastguard said, the first incursion since a Sino-Japanese summit aimed at reducing tensions.

A U.S. judge sentenced a reputed lieutenant of captured Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman to 22 years in prison on Monday for his role in a $1 billion conspiracy to traffic narcotics to Chicago and other cities.

Antarctica’s ice paradox has yet another puzzling layer. Not only is the amount of sea ice increasing each year, but an underwater robot now shows the ice is also much thicker than was previously thought, a new study reports.

A California man who spent more than 30 years in prison for a 1978 murder walked free on Monday after a judge overturned his conviction based on new DNA analysis and investigative reports that were withheld from his defense.

Apple’s oldest artifacts have become some of the most coveted technological relics in the world, but the company’s two remaining co-founders haven’t reached a consensus on whether or not they’re surprised by the rabid attention surrounding each and every auction that springs up.

A man who broke both legs when he fell into a northwestern New Mexico ravine crawled out onto a highway nearly three days later and was helped by a driver, authorities said.

BBC

A group of seven Yemenis and a US military expert kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked militants were freed by Yemeni forces.

Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a crowded market in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing at least 30 people.

The US and Iran said they were confident of reaching a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program after agreeing a seven-month extension to talks.

WND

In a lawsuit settlement with the atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had monitored churches for allegedly illegal political activity, but the details never were released because the group withdrew its complaint.

President Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) are among GQ magazine’s “30 Least Influential People of 2014.”

Likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul today released his draft of a “declaration of war” resolution against ISIS, expanding his foreign policy efforts. “When Congress comes back into session in December, I will introduce a resolution to declare war against ISIS. I believe the president must come to Congress to begin a war and that Congress has a duty to act. Right now, this war is illegal until Congress acts pursuant to the Constitution and authorizes it.”

Conakry, Guinea: Guinea said on Monday a cooler carrying a stolen blood sample infected with the deadly Ebola virus, stolen en route to a test centre, was unlikely ever to be found.


Daily Digest for Tuesday

November 25, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” –Samuel Adams, essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749

EDITOR’S NOTE

We lead today with special commentary by Mark Alexander on a grand jury’s decision to forgo charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Ferguson: A Race Bait Case Study

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By Mark Alexander

As anticipated, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday night that the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was justified self defense. “[The grand jury] determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against officer Wilson, and returned a ‘No True Bill’ on each of the five indictments,” said McCulloch. In fact, Brown’s autopsy determined he was facing Wilson when shot, and one of Brown’s wounds was at close range inside Wilson’s patrol vehicle, the result of Brown’s attempt to reach through the driver’s door window and take the officer’s gun after having assaulted Wilson.

Predictably, Barack Obama and his dependable stable of “race bait” surrogates immediately set about to convert the verdict into political capital. Of course, the 24-hour news recycling talking heads, all vying for advertising market share, provided the race agitators a very big stage, and will continue to do so as long as they can stir up enough protestors.

For his part, Obama claimed the racial anger was “understandable,” but, given that there is no upcoming election, he left the constituent building to his race baiting attorney general, Eric Holder, who ensured the nation that the Justice Department investigation remains open: “While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing.”

Holder is a master race baiter, and, when joined by race hustlers, including Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and legions of lesser useful idiots, they have become very effective at promoting hate crime hoaxes in order to foment discontent and rally black constituents.

Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, Holder and company set the race bait by vowing to “seek justice” after a “white-Hispanic” man, George Zimmerman, shot and killed, in self-defense, a black teenage thug named Trayvon Martin.

Ahead of the 2014 midterm election, Holder promised to “seek justice” in the shooting of another black teenage thug. In both cases, for political expedience, Holder assumed the shooters were guilty until proven innocent. Obama even suggested in an address to the UN that the Ferguson shooting could be seen in the same light as atrocities committed by ISIL cutthroats.

Among the more visible racists in Ferguson immediately after the shooting were the Black Panthers, who coined the chant, “What do we want? — Darren Wilson! — How do we want him? — Dead!”

Missouri Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon, who is fishing for a 2016 veep slot under Hillary Clinton, joined that chant, referring to Brown as an “unarmed teenager” and promising “to achieve justice for Michael Brown,” but omitting any reference that Wilson’s actions might have been justified.

Having worked as a uniformed officer in two states while completing my undergraduate degree, I take great offense at the constant description of Michael Brown as an “unarmed teenager.” No law enforcement officer should ever approach a suspect or assailant, whether in a vehicle or on a street, with the assumption he or she is “unarmed.” I would not be writing these words had I wavered from that precautionary training. The fact that Brown did not possess a weapon is hindsight 20/20, not something Wilson knew at the time of the altercation.

For the record, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, over the last decade there were an average of 58,261 assaults against law enforcement personnel each year, resulting in 15,658 injuries and more than 150 deaths per year.

Now, after three Brown autopsies and copious deliberations, the verdict is in — the shooting was justified. But don’t expect the facts to get in the way of the race bait political agenda.

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Racial Narrative Succeeds in Destroying Ferguson

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced Monday night what the police in riot gear, the activated National Guard and the delayed press conference already said hours before: “[The grand jury] determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer [Darren] Wilson, and returned a ‘No True Bill’ on each of the five indictments.” The grand jury reviewed three autopsies and heard more than 70 hours of testimony, and in the end they found insufficient evidence for any charge — that’s significant, as a grand jury needs only probable cause, not proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Yet “protesters” were prepared to immediately become rioters and loot everything from alcohol to TVs from local businesses and then set fire to those businesses. The Left has sufficiently propagandized the black community so that they see injustice around every corner. Are there injustices? Absolutely. Is the Ferguson Police Department blameless? Absolutely not. But the violent and destructive results of this irresponsibly fomented anger are plastered across our TV screens.

As Ferguson Burns, Obama Calls Anger ‘Understandable’

In his statement following the St. Louis County grand jury announcement that officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for the death of Michael Brown, Barack Obama accepted the ruling of the grand jury and made calls for peaceful protest and action, even as some television networks showed pictures of an erupting riot in Ferguson. “First and foremost, we are a nation built on the Rule of Law,” Obama said. “And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make. There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It’s an understandable reaction.” Obama continued, saying Ferguson highlighted the problems in race relations and policing strategies: “So, to those in Ferguson, there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and there are ways of channeling your concerns destructively.” As Martin Luther King once said, rioting and violence are used by people who feel they have no other ways to redress their grievances: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have fomented racial grievances all along, both in Ferguson and in the case of Trayvon Martin. To call for calm now is a bit disingenuous.

Holder Says It’s Not Over

While the streets of Ferguson erupted into fiery violence last night, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson is not the end of the legal circus surrounding the shooting. In September, the Department of Justice opened two investigations, one into possible civil rights violations in the Ferguson Police Department, and another into Wilson himself. “While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing,” Holder said in a statement. “Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions.” Is this Holder’s way of “having a conversation” on race? He has inserted the federal government into the situation, keeping anger high by implying justice has not yet been served. More…

Failure to Launch: No Nuke Deal With Iran

As the weekend progressed, it became clear that any chance of reaching a nuclear deal with Iran — what little chance there was, anyway — was next to zero as the Monday deadline neared. Yesterday officials confirmed that negotiators failed to come to an agreement, which means essentially nothing changes. Iran will continue masquerading its uranium enrichment program with promises of cloture and the can is once again kicked further drown the road. According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The parties now claim that last-minute progress in the talks warrant an extension into December — and likely thorough July 2015 — though the sides have yet to decide upon a location for continued negotiations, according to a Western source cited by the Associated Press.” Right — “last-minute progress.” The only nation making progress is Iran, whose charade ensures that it gets ever closer to the goal of attaining a nuclear warhead. Real progress looks unattainable as long as the Obama administration is calling the shots. The question is, can Israel survive two more years of obfuscation? More…

Executive Power for Me but Not for Thee

In a sit-down interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Barack Obama explained that his abuse of executive power should not be exploited by his successors in the Oval Office. The emperor was asked, “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in, wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it — he says I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax?” Naturally, the president circumvented the question the first time around by defending his amnesty diktat, prompting Stephanopoulos to inquire once again, “So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?” Responded Obama: “With respect to taxes? Absolutely not.” If only Democrats could follow their own advice. To be fair, he was asked about unilaterally lowering taxes, not raising them. He might have a different answer to the latter.

RIGHT ANALYSIS

Benghazi Report Leaves Some Questions Unanswered

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The bodies of four Americans

After two years and two elections, yet another House report on the incidents and decisions surrounding the attack on our compound in Benghazi, Libya, excuses the Obama administration from answering allegations of covering up the incident to avoid embarrassment less than two months before Barack Obama’s prospective re-election.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the 2012 attack Nov. 21 and found that the intelligence community did nothing wrong when responding to the terrorist attack that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead by al-Qaida hands. In a joint statement, committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) said, “Based on the testimony and the documents we reviewed, we concluded that all the CIA officers in Benghazi were heroes. Their actions saved lives.”

But the report doesn’t answer how the Obama administration covered up the attack for political gains, and the Leftmedia was all too eager to report that the Benghazi report was a non-story. For example, CBS News gleefully reported, “[T]he two-year investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.” So Obama is in the clear, right?

Not so fast. We still don’t have all the answers. The report states, “[T]he Administration’s initial public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attacks were not fully accurate.” Remember, the administration blamed a YouTube video for the “demonstration” that turned violent. Problem is, those who knew the score — such as the deputy CIA director — didn’t seem willing to tell the unvarnished truth as they changed talking points to better suit a narrative.

As political commentator Mollie Hemingway notes, “[M]aybe when you’re, I don’t know, trying to ‘underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy’ because you’re focusing on campaigning more than truth-telling, you end up underscoring something that isn’t true.”

But this report makes some new facts public. It reveals a drone strike that killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, a top al-Qaida operative who perished in Pakistan earlier on Sept. 11, 2012, could have been to blame, as various groups aligned with al-Qaida carried out the attack on the Benghazi compound. We also learned that one purpose of the CIA presence in Benghazi was to try and keep tabs on weapons moving from Libya to Syria — a Predator drone that arrived on-scene after the attack began was diverted from a mission in Derna, a coastal city thought to be a transfer point for weapons.

And while the report finds the CIA “could have placed more weight on eyewitness sources on the ground and should have challenged its initial assessments” about the incident, the House Committee “found no evidence of an intelligence failure” based in part on an “internal CIA analytic review.” As if the agency isn’t in full CYA mode.

Yet at the time we were spoon-fed the narrative about the video. While the evidence mounted that the protest was really a coordinated al-Qaida attack, the media became less and less curious as to how the group that was supposedly “decimated” by the death of Osama bin Laden had the resources to carry out such an operation. But, to borrow a line screeched by Hillary Clinton, what difference, at this point, does it make? Four good men are dead, the president who failed to act more decisively in the matter and then lied about it was re-elected, and the secretary of state who stood idly by aims to succeed him.

Something else that died in the Benghazi aftermath was any notion the Leftmedia doesn’t simply serve as a cheerleader for the statist team in charge. The media that once hounded a president out of office for a criminal cover-up that was heinous but not fatal now can’t be bothered with rooting out the real story in this case. If a Benghazi-style attack had happened in September 2004, Bob Shrum would have been right because that would have been the lead story all the way to November. But journalism passed away about the time the keys to the White House were handed to Barack Obama, and we’re all the worse off for it.

However, the investigation into the Benghazi scandal is not over. The Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Trey Gowdy (R-SC), continues its investigation into the attack. Maybe it can cut through the political fog to find the political motivation for why the Obama administration lied to the American people and dishonored the death of four Americans in Libya.

Hagel Was the Wrong Guy for the Job

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Chuck Hagel’s resignation, well, ouster, as secretary of defense is nothing if not a clear repudiation of the defense policy of his soon-to-be former boss, Barack Obama. When Obama chose Hagel two years ago, he did so because he was looking for someone who would implement a two-pronged strategy of shrinking America’s military while simultaneously disengaging it from world affairs. Not exactly a task for someone genuinely concerned about the threats this country faced. But Hagel was not a genuinely concerned kind of guy.

Hagel, technically a Republican while he was in the Senate, was a loud voice against the Iraq war who aligned himself with then-Senators John Kerry and Barack Obama in claiming the war against Jihadistan was not worth fighting. Without rehashing that old debate, it’s safe to say this stance was based on a wrong-headed view of the world. Hagel did not believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Saddam Hussein was supporting international terrorists, or that losing Iraq to sectarian and terrorist strife would be disastrous to our Middle Eastern policy. All of these views have come to be disproved in grand style.

Obama chose Hagel, who was not known for possessing keen leadership skills, because Hagel fit his mindset. Hagel was reportedly often silent at meetings, not offering any constructive opinions. He functioned mostly as a conduit for Obama’s wishes. He never balked at the social engineering Obama wanted to inject into the military, nor did he put up much protest when it came to drawing down American forces to dangerously low levels. Hagel defended the latter policy by citing concerns related to budgets over those related to growing threats on numerous strategic fronts around the world.

But Hagel never quite fit in with Team Obama. The Chicago mob surrounding the president in the White House and the left-wing intelligentsia didn’t trust the man, who they viewed as a Republican latecomer to the party.

It was only in recent weeks that Hagel seemed to get his head on straight. He started opposing Obama’s security strategies. White House officials claim he attempted to stall the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay because of his concerns about the security risks posed by releasing detainees. He also butted heads with National Security Adviser Susan Rice over policy on Syria, claiming it was in danger of coming apart because there were no clear objectives laid out.

And while Obama wished to slowly chip away at ISIL with little U.S. involvement, Hagel saw a much more serious threat. “ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen,” Hagel said in August. “They are beyond just a terrorist group. … I think the evidence is pretty clear. Yes they are an imminent threat to every interest we have whether in Iraq or anywhere else.”

It would figure in the Obama White House that, as soon as Hagel showed signs of coming to his senses, his days were numbered. It also figures that after a bruising midterm repudiation of his presidency, Obama would fire the only Republican in his cabinet. It’s certainly true the administration is in need of a foreign-policy team shakeup, but ousting Kerry, Rice or any of the other members of the team was never going to be an option.

Hagel was never a good choice for the position of secretary of defense. His level of competence was far below that required to fulfill the duties of his post, and his worldview remained skewed by a prejudice that America’s challenges were forged solely by America’s involvement in foreign affairs. Yet his failure in the position was not his alone.

Hagel was tasked with executing a series of bad decisions that only further compounded America’s problems overseas — pulling out of Afghanistan, cutting troop strength, cutting procurement orders and implementing social policies that have no business in the military. The list is long and infuriating. In short, Hagel failed in large part because he was in a no-win situation.

Potential replacements include Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary under Leon Panetta who embraces the small military model, and Ashton Carter, an academic considered to be an expert on budgets and weapons in the Pentagon. The primary element of success for a secretary of defense is serving a president who has an obvious dedication to America’s national security and a clear understanding of world affairs. We’re not going to see that for at least a couple of years.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013): “We want a society in which we are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. That is what we mean by a moral society — not a society in which the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.”

Columnist Dennis Prager: “If the truth here accords with what … police officer [Darren Wilson] said, he did not commit an immoral act when he shot Michael Brown. On the other hand, if he shot the young man for no good reason, he committed an immoral act. But according to the it’s-all-a-matter-of-perceptions view, there is no moral truth, only black perceptions and white perceptions. This all accords with the left’s views of truth and morality. Neither exists. Visit any university to confirm this. … Morality is entirely subjective. ‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are individual or societal preferences. No more, no less. Like truth, morality is just a perception, one determined by an individual’s race, gender, and/or class. That is why, for the left, no man can judge any abortion, no matter how late in pregnancy and no matter the reason — because men do not possess a uterus.”

Columnist Thomas Sowell: “Jonathan Gruber’s several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got ObamaCare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration. And the way that the mainstream media hesitated for days to even mention what Professor Gruber said, while they obsessed over unsubstantiated charges against Bill Cosby, should tell us a lot about the media. Whatever did or did not happen between Bill Cosby and various women is not likely to affect the lives of 300 million Americans. But ObamaCare does. … Whether the issue is ObamaCare, amnesty for illegal immigrants or ‘global warming,’ when you hear that ‘all the experts agree,’ that may mean nothing more than that the fix is in. And ‘all’ may mean considerably less than 100 percent — or even 50 percent. … Jonathan Gruber’s notion that the people are ‘stupid’ is not fundamentally different from what Barack Obama said to his fellow elite leftists in San Francisco, when he derided ordinary Americans as petty people who want to cling to their guns and their religion. We need to see through such arrogant elitists if we want to cling to our freedom.”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “What I’m hearing is that a lot of black people are feeling powerless today … except for one who is bypassing Congress with executive actions.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

“The Patriot Post (www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/ )”


(Pardon one objectional word)

November 24, 2014
WES VERNON, RA ANALYST — Michael Savage is not the only writer to conclude this nation is more divided now that at any time since the Civil War. However, the author/radio talk-show host has explored in-depth America’s step-by-step removal from the ideal of “one nation, indivisible.”… (more)

November 24, 2014
Amnesty move ‘lends the force of law to a de facto invasion’
ALAN KEYES — Barack Obama says that he is president of the United States, not an emperor. Anxious to prove that Obama is a sociopathic liar (a point plainly in evidence in the wake of Jonathan Gruber’s arrogantly frank revelations about the Obama faction’s preparation of the Obamacare legislation), Rush Limbaugh counters that Obama lies. He is an emperor… (more)

November 24, 2014
MAUREEN SCOTT — So Obama’s plan is to grant amnesty to four or five million (a one million difference, mind you…not a number to sneeze at!) illegal aliens who come forth from the shadows, to register and get a Green Card, and become legal immigrants in the U.S. The Liberals’ hearts are warmed. But have any of them, including Obama and his cohorts in the federal government, really thought about how this is going to be an amount that can be certified as correct?… (more)

November 24, 2014
CLIFF KINCAID — As “Dumb and Dumber To” hits theaters, Newsmax has headlined an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd: “Six Years Later, We Still Don’t Know Obama.” He’s hawking his book about Obama titled The Stranger. In effect, Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” is saying he can’t figure Obama out. He’s pleading ignorance… (more)

November 23, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — Upon landing in Las Vegas Friday afternoon, President Obama officially signed two memoranda to carry out his executive actions granting legal status and work permits to nearly 5 million illegal immigrants…. (more)

November 23, 2014
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — President Obama is an Alinskyite.​ That assertion is not an epithet – – well, not primarily. True, I would not describe someone I admired as an “Alinskyite.” Saul Alinsky was a loathsome figure – – a radical statist who whose toxic brew of thoroughgoing deceit and brass-knuckles extortion (“direct action”) has become a part of mainstream politics. But in tying the president to the seminal community organizer whose theories and tactics so influenced him, my purpose is more to decode than to insult him…. (more)

November 23, 2014
MONICA CROWLEY — “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” – – Sir Walter Scott. Last week, we saw the key intellectual and practical architect of Obamacare, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, reminding us on tape that the entire Obamacare house of cards was built on deliberate lies…. (more)

November 23, 2014
JERUSALEM POST — Historic negotiations with Iran will reach an inflection point on Monday, as world powers seek to clinch a comprehensive deal that will, to their satisfaction, end concerns over the nature of its vast, decade-old nuclear program…. (more)

November 23, 2014
NEWSMAX — The United States can never defeat the Islamic State and other terrorist groups until President Barack Obama realizes “that war has been declared against us,” author Phyllis Chesler said on Saturday…. (more)

November 23, 2014
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Obama administration on Saturday announced that a Saudi detainee who was an admitted al Qaeda member and helped plan the assassination of Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud would be sent home from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…. (more)

November 23, 2014
REUTERS — Two men suspected of buying explosives they planned to detonate during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, once a grand jury decides the Michael Brown case, were arrested on Friday and charged with federal firearms offenses, a law enforcement official told Reuters…. (more)

November 22, 2014
NEWSMAX — Republican leaders have a dirty little secret – – they’re actually delighted President Barack Obama used his executive powers to help millions of illegal immigrants, former Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado says…. (more)


November 22, 2014
CHARLES HURT — In his immigration lecture Thursday night, President Obama revealed himself as a man politically broken, isolated from any sense of normal reality and completely unspooled from logic. The man who once unified this country with elegant, daring and powerful speeches was ashen, confused and doddering…. (more)

November 22, 2014
DICK MORRIS — President Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to between 4 and 5 million people is really part of an ongoing cyclical process of immigration-amnesty-more immigration. He intends this amnesty to provoke a new wave of illegal entry into the United States, creating a new pool of illegal immigrants awaiting their own amnesty…. (more)

November 22, 2014
NEWSIOSITY — President Obama should be impeached for taking executive action on immigration, Sarah Palin declared Thursday. In a video message, the former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate declared that the president is “betraying our trust” by going “against the wishes of the American people,” Breitbart reported…. (more)

November 22, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — Some analysts believed President Obama waited until after the midterm elections to announce his unilateral immigration-reform package to give Democrats a better chance to keep control of the Senate…. (more)

November 22, 2014
NEWSMAX — Controversial Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has been called to testify about “repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions surrounding Obamacare,” the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced Friday…. (more)


November 22, 2014
NEWSMAX — Five months after the Internal Revenue Service deemed that emails sent by former official Lois Lerner had been lost forever, the Treasury Department’s inspector general told Congress on Friday that as many as 30,000 might have been found – – and conservatives were outraged…. (more)

November 21, 2014
NEWSMAX — President Barack Obama said he’ll defer deportations and open the chance of better jobs for about 5 million undocumented immigrants, ending months of build-up and initiating a showdown with congressional Republicans…. (more)


November 21, 2014
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS — Americans defeated President Obama’s disastrous amnesty plans both in Congressand at the voting booth. Tonight, President Obama defied an entire nation and declared that he will impose his rejected amnesty through the brute force of executive order…. (more)

November 21, 2014
MARK KRIKORIAN — Obama’s speech announcing his immigration diktat was the usual pabulum: “our immigration system is broken,” can’t let illegals “remain in the shadows,” “commonsense middle-ground approach,” blah, blah, blah. ​If I didn’t have to go on TV right afterwards, I would have played a drinking game…. (more)

November 21, 2014
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — Can the president make fraud and theft legal? How about assault? Cocaine use? Perjury? You’d have to conclude he can – – and that we have supplanted the Constitution with a monarchy – – if you buy President Obama’s warped notion of prosecutorial discretion…. (more)

November 21, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Pentagon is under fire for making a ransom payment to an Afghan earlier this year as part of a failed bid to win the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to U.S. officials…. (more)

November 21, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — Even before the 2016 presidential campaign truly begins, division lines between Jeb Bush and his potential foes in the Republican primary already have been drawn. The former Florida governor signaled in a Washington speech Thursday that he is prepared to fight the base in his own party over the increasingly unpopular Common Core education standards, arguing that they are vital to improving the quality of education and, by extension, improving children’s chances to succeed in today’s economy…. (more)

November 20, 2014
STEFANI WILLIAMS — This month marks the 50th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s pivotal speech “A Time for Choosing” – – the speech that propelled Reagan onto the national political stage in 1964, and which in many ways articulated the definitive substance of conservatism: protection of unalienable rights, limited government, a strong national defense, individual responsibility, personal morality, and adherence to the U.S. Constitution… (more)

Top Healthy Foods for Kids

Little girl with a bowl of vegetablesETH Health and WellnessTeaching kids the importance of eating healthy foods now can set them on the right course for life, but if you’re not a health guru, educating your kids can be a challenge. That’s why we asked health and nutrition experts to weigh in on the 10 healthiest foods your kids need to be eating now. Discover their top picks, plus helpful shopping tips and advice. When writing your grocery list, keep these important tips in mind:

Focus on fresh. According to Dr. Timothy Harlan (also known as “Dr. Gourmet”), medical director of the Tulane University School of Medicine, the freshness of the foods you prepare for your kids is key. “If the food has been processed, it’s likely not very good for your kids,” he said. “Make your own macaroni and cheese — don’t get it out of a box. Don’t get fruit roll-ups — instead, buy fresh or dried fruit.”

Kids need fiber. According to Ashley Koff, RD, celebrity nutritionist and featured nutrition expert on the CW’s upcoming “Shedding for the Wedding,” fiber is a vital nutrient for your little one’s diet. “They need fiber — the real stuff — not the synthetic stuff added to junk cereals, so that would mean an apple, ground flaxseeds, fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Now that you know what to look for on your next shopping trip, read on to discover the 10 healthiest foods your kids need to be eating. Read More


ISIS’ Global Network Expands: At Least 12 Military Allies in 9 Countries Beyond Iraq, Syria

isis-supporters-in-libyaThe Islamic State terrorist organization now has at least 12 known military allies, operating in nine countries outside of Iraq and Syria, that have publicly pledged their allegiances to the caliphate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As Islamic State leadership continues to call on extremists worldwide to wreak havoc on the West, NYMag.com’s Daily Intelligencer reports that the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has identified 12 international militia organizations that are now affiliating their efforts with the Islamic State’s jihad and could help expand the group’s caliphate.

Militia allies in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan and Gaza/Israel have all announced some sort of cooperation with the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi. Many of these organizations were recently affiliated with Al Qaeda and have since switched to ISIS allegiances over the summer and into the fall.

In the latest edition of ISIS’ English language online magazine, Dabiq, the group details its plans for its expansion into North Africa and the Arabian Peninsuala.

“On the 17th of Muharram 1436 (Muslim year), the world heard announcements from the mujāhidīn of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, Sinai, Libya, and Algeria, pronouncing their [allegiances] to the Khalīfah of the Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” the Dabiq article states. “All of them announced uniformly: We call the Muslims everywhere to give bay’ah to the Khalīfah and support him, in obedience to Allah and actualization of the unheeded obligation of the era.” Read More


Are the Biblical End Times Upon Us? New Research Reveals Where Americans Stand on Natural Disasters and the Apocalypse

A majority of Americans believe (62 percent) that climate change is causing natural disasters, but a substantial proportion of the nation also thinks that these calamities are the result of the “end times” (49 percent) as recounted in the Bible, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. The research firm — which published the findings in its new report — “Believers, Sympathizers & Skeptics,” noted in its analysis that this end times proportion is up five percentage points from 2011, when just 44 percent agreed that natural disasters are evidence of the apocalypse. The percentage was highest in the latest wave of research among white evangelicals (77 percent), who favored the “end times” over climate change (49 percent) when it came to assessing causal factors for recent events. Read More


7 Disturbing Realities About Teen ‘Sexting’ Trend

You’re sitting in the Publix parking lot at dusk and notice the unsupervised 12-year-old riveted to his iPhone with his wide-eyed friend looking on. Walking through the mall you see three teen girls seemingly oblivious to surroundings as they stroll together each focused on their phones. Munching their curly fries at Arby’s, each one of five youths are simultaneously engaged with their phones. Stopping at the intersection you glance over and observe a pre-teen in the back seat basking in the glow of her phone. Read More


Intercessors Win Major Prayer Battle in Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right of Colorado Governors to issue proclamations calling for state days of prayer, upholding an earlier ruling by the Colorado District Court, and overturning a subsequent ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals. This case began in 2008 against former Governor Bill Ritter by a small group of atheists headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Judge Mullins of the District Court in Denver, Colorado, originally dismissed the case on Oct. 28, 2010, declaring “[T]here is nothing controversial about a restatement of a right protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. … The proclamation [does] not have the force and effect of law, and even if [it] did, the language does not support the foundation for a state religion, but only an acknowledgment of the rights of the citizenry as recognized as far back as the Declaration of Independence.” Read More


Water wars begin in California as thieves tap fire hydrants

Western states have been suffering through one of the country’s worst droughts on record, but conditions have been particularly dreadful in the state of California, with its massive population and heavy agricultural production. In fact, drought conditions have gotten so bad that theft of water is now becoming more and more common. As reported by CBS San Francisco, some of the worst theft is occurring in Clayton, California, in Contra Costa County, “a city that remains true to its western roots.” Read More


St. Luke’s hospital invests in organic farm to provide health-promoting food to patients

Serving mystery meat, French fries, sugar drinks and Jell-O on a tray is no standard of care, especially for a hospital, which should be leading the way — boosting patients’ ability to heal with the most nutrient-dense foods. Sadly, hospitals have evolved into conveyor belts over time, serving processed foods en masse, foods that must ache from their lack of nutrition. The ache and the void are passed to the patient, limiting their ability to recover and heal. Read More


German bank begins charging customers negative interest as economic collapse approaches

In a sane world, developed countries consider financial debt to be a bad thing, especially when it comes to consumer debt, because overwhelming consumer debt is bad when governments are trying to grow their economies. Growing economies solve a lot of problems for government officials and elected leaders — growing economies provide governments with funding so the government can do the things that its citizens expect it to do: defend them, provide basic infrastructure and perform other services endemic to a modern society. Read More


California’s dry, overpopulated situation resembles the collapse of the Assyrian Empire

Researchers are pointing to overpopulation and drought — two issues which are very familiar in today’s world, especially in California — as the reasons for the collapse of the Assyrian Empire, which used to be a flourishing hub in the 7th century BC. The fall of the powerful empire left many people, even to this day, asking what could have led to its demise. Now, experts are saying that the same issues that are currently plaguing California and many other parts of the world are the very same ones that likely led to the collapse of the once-thriving Assyrian Empire. Read More


Protesters threaten to boycott black Friday, Hit America where it hurts

Momentum is building on social media to boycott the Black Friday sales in order to hit corporate America “where it hurts” over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. The Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition is organising the ‘No Justice, No Profit’ boycott campaign on Thanksgiving Day (27 November), through to Sunday. Black Friday is traditionally the day that kicks off the Christmas buying period with retailers across America offering big discounts to jump-start the busiest shopping days of the year. Dacia Polk, of the New Black Panther Party, said the coalition wants the whole of St Louis to participate in the boycott this weekend. Read More


Headlines of Interest

TBN faces rape claim in court

Evangelicals Who Promote the Mystical Power of Communion

The Rob Bell Show to Premiere on Oprah Network on 12/21

Half of Americans, Majority of White Evangelicals Believe Natural Disasters Due to ‘End Times’ Not Climate Change


Christians Urged to Defend the Duggars

Unfortunately for the Duggar Family, not everyone is smitten with their lifestyle. In August a petition was launched demanding TLC take the Duggars off the air. At the moment, the document has garnered about 120,000 signatures. In response to this attack, conservative leaders are urging Duggar fans to step forward and defend the family. According to CharismaNews, support is be led by a number of conservative religious figures.

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Rewriting America’s Thanksgiving History to Remove God Is a Tragic Deception

As Americans mark Thanksgiving this week, one thing noticeably absent from public discourse is our nation’s first Thanksgiving celebration—and the One to Whom those early American settlers gave thanks. Instead, talk of “Pilgrims” is taboo, and talk of giving thanks to God even more so.

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Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds

Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other professionals in experiments in which they won more money if they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role.

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We Have a Moral Divide, Not a Racial One

It is, we are told over and over, all about “perceptions” — a “black-white divide” in the way each race perceives racial matters. This is how it works:

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When Do You Leave a Church?

“It seems in our self-intoxicated, consumer-driven evangelical culture, what is often referred to as “church hopping” seems to have reached a virtual epidemic. There are a number of reasons for this reality with biblical illiteracy, a loss of a robust ecclesiology, a distaste for authority, the disappearance of church discipline and the decay of meaningful church membership ranking high among them.”

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The Transformation Of The Homosexual: What Change Looks Like

“Change for those struggling with same-sex attraction occurs on the level of: 1. behavior, 2. belief, 3. identity, and 4. desire. It may also involve deliverance from demonic strongholds and family-line curses, the unmasking of hidden roots of idolatry, fear, unbelief, unforgiveness, the renouncing of ungodly judgments and vows, the healing of emotional wounds, as well as the impartation of missing developmental pieces, such as affirmation and love.”

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How To Distinguish The Holy Spirit From The Serpent

“How, then, does the Spirit act on the believer? The Spirit comes to us as an earnest, a pledge, a down payment on final redemption. He is here and now the foretaste of future glory. But His presence is also an indication of the incompleteness of our present spiritual experience.”

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CultureWatch: Tremendous News For Muslims

by Bill Muehlenberg

We all know about the Islamic State and its reign of terror, and of how all over the world people are being killed, tortured and enslaved in the name of the political ideology of Islam. And with creeping sharia also in the West, we are under no illusions that we most certainly are in a very real war.

But behind all this is of course a spiritual war, and there are some other very important things that we need to be aware of. Indeed, there is some tremendous news here. God of course loves Muslims, and is seeking to draw them to himself. And incredibly, many, many Muslims are coming to Christ – in record numbers.

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Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer: The blog post headline links in this blog post are given so as to keep people informed about current events and discussions taking place within our church and culture. A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

Cold Case Christianity: The Case For Truth (Video)

In this video, J. Warner Wallace teaches high school and college students at Summit Worldview Conference in Manitou Springs, CO. What is the nature of truth? What is the difference between objective and subjective truth and why does it matter? J. Warner talks about three lies related to truth and offers a proper definition of truth for his students. For more information about Summit Worldview Conference and their fantastic two week programs, please visit: http://www.summit.org/

To see more Cold Case Christianity Training Videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

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Where is the outrage in the black community for black-on-black crimes?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Walter Williams Walter Williams

A recent editorial by George Mason University professor of economics Walter Williams.

Excerpt:

Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94-percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks.

Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites.

Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between 1882 and 1968…

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Can ISIS be stopped before it’s too late? Do they have access to chemical weapons? With White House strategy floundering, President’s fires his Defense Secretary.

What Dispensationalists Believe

hipandthigh

Helping My Reformed Covenant Bros. Move Beyond the 1950s

I recently watched a spirited exchange take place among a group Reformed covenant folks on Facebook in response to a quackish, hamfisted, anti-Calvinist documentary that accuses the Reformation of Antisemitism. For the record, I agree with the Reformed folks over and against the documentary.

At any rate, during the course of that exchange, those of the Dispensational persuasion, like myself, were accused of denying the Gospel, being idolaters, following a false prophet (J.N. Darby), being in a cult akin to Mormonism, and denying the Scriptures.  I didn’t see all the comments, but I imagine Dispensationalists were also accused of shotgun blasting baby ducks in a pond and punching babies.

A lot of that rhetoric comes from former Dispensationalists; Reformed covenant converts who write vigorously against their Dispensationlist past. Honestly, I doubt any of them seriously adhered to Dispensationalism. They were merely exposed…

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TGC Blog: 9 Things You Should Know About Adoption

Each year in November, the President of the United States issues a proclamation to announce National Adoption Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of the need for adoptive families and to encourage citizens to become involved in the lives of children and youth in foster care. Here are nine things you should know about adoption in America:

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Ferguson and the Soft Bigotry of America’s Leading Evangelicals

Polemics Report

Michael Gerson, an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post and former speech-writer for President George W Bush is credited with coining the phrase, “The soft bigotry of low expectations.” Gerson, who also is a member of the “evangelical intelligentsia” – an elitist group of evangelical Christians who excel in various fields of academia – designed the phrase to articulate a widely-understood but rarely asserted reality; racism is not always overt, but rather is often displayed in a politically-correct, yet patronizing acceptance of bad behavior or lowered standards.

As Ferguson erupts in riotous violence, America’s leading evangelicals – like Southern Baptists Russell Moore and Ed Stetzer – are falling over themselves to prove who is the most thoughtful, compassionate, and sympathetic to the racial tension and tragedy that the community has come to typify. In their race to win the racial sensitivity award, what they’re demonstrating is the soft bigotry of…

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CARM: How can I be saved?

by Matt Slick

To be saved means to be delivered from the righteous judgment of God. So when someone asks “How can I be saved?” the person is asking how to have his/her sins forgiven, to not go to hell, and to go to heaven. Furthermore, it means the person recognizes that he/her has sinned against God by breaking his commandments (1 John 3:4) and that he is not pure, not right with God.

This same question is asked in Scripture and the answer is provided.

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Six Ways in Which Noah’s Ark Is a Type of Christ

Noah’s ark is a type of Christ. It points us to some of the truths about the person and work of Jesus. How then is Noah’s ark a type of Christ?ark-of-jesus

1. Just as the ark was graciously provided by God for sinners, so is salvation in Christ graciously provided by God for sinners (Gen. 6:13-14).

Noah by nature deserved to be destroyed because of his sin against God. “But Noah found favor [or grace] in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). God graciously provided him and his family the ark—a means through which they could escape from the flood of God’s judgment against sin. Likewise, in our natural condition we deserved to perish in hell, but God graciously provided us a savior in the person of His Son through whom we can escape from the fire of God’s wrath in hell. Noah and his family did not deserve…

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The Christward Collective: The Sheep Aren’t Stupid

 


Pastors sometimes say stupid things. Sometimes those stupid things are catchy and wind up being repeated by many other pastors. One of the more preposterous pithy statements I have heard many preachers say is, “Sheep are dumb.” They say this as shepherds and are referring to the sheep of the church—the congregation. The idea is that sheep are dumb, and must be led well. We shouldn’t be surprised when they do stupid things.

My problem with this statement is that it disrespects people made in God’s image and redeemed by God’s Son. It is a mocking of the church and an exaltation of self. The church isn’t stupid. Sinful, yes. Stupid, no. Speaking of the church in this way will get a chuckle from some leaders (who aren’t already bored by the worn-out expression), but will create distance between leadership and those pastors are called to lead.

The sheep are not dumb. In fact, we would do much better if we thought of the sheep in the way in which the Puritan, Thomas Watson, described them in his sermon, “The Good Shepherd.”

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Cross Encounters: Bill Cosby: Your Sin Will Find You Out

 

18 women and counting.

He has not been charged with a crime. Due to the length of time that has passed since the alleged incidents took place, it is unlikely he will ever be charged with a crime. Ultimately, without independent, eye-witness accounts, the only people who know what really happened in each incident are Bill Cosby and the women with him at those times. In the eyes of the law, he is innocent until proven guilty. In the eyes of reasonable observers, he’s as guilty as the day is long.

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A Look at Some Obstacles in Getting Apologetics Into the Local Congregation

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

Introduction

For those of us that are involved in the apologetic endeavor, we are always trying to come up with new strategies for how to get apologetics into the local congregation. We all know it can be a challenge to get our local pastors and ministry leaders to see the urgency for apologetic training. I am convinced that the leadership of the local congregation sets the tone for the people. So I would like to list some of the hindrances and obstacles that we face in attempting to implement apologetics into the local congregations:

Doubt

It is important to remember that asking questions about what you believe is not necessarily the same thing as doubt. For example, when I was a new Christian, I had all kinds of questions. And I still have questions to this day. Asking questions is a part of spiritual growth.

Let’s look at a more…

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The Seventh Sola Blog: Predictable Deterioration

For today’s post, I must give a hat tip to Dan Phillips over at the Pyromaniacs blog for making me aware of Doug Wilson excellent post examining some recent writings by Greg Boyd. If you remember, Boyd is known for embracing what is called “Open Theism,” which is basically a denial of God’s omniscience.

SUFTT: Back to the basics: a conversation about the Emergent Church

 

Play

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.42.13 AMFour years ago we began covering the Emergent Church movement. And then back in 2011, several popular pastors made an  astounding statement on their blogs: The emergent church movement is over. Dead.  If the Emergent Movement is “so yesterday,” why are more and more churches climbing on board the neo-emergent bus?  Why are youth-targeted conferences leading many of our youth right into emergent philosophy?

As we’ve seen, the emergent movement is very much alive; it’s just morphed into a new, or “neo-Emergent conversation, and it’s now solidified into an organized system.

We’re covering an article from The Christian Post today titled, Thinking the “Emergent Church” was ineffective? Think again. Plus we’re including many research links – both are here.

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Ligonier Ministries Blog: The State of Theology: Heaven? Yes! Hell, No.

For all the bluster of atheists, and the rush towards secularization that we see swirling around us, most Americans are reluctant to give up belief in the afterlife and in the eternal destinations of heaven and hell.

In the survey, The State of Theology, Americans were asked if heaven and hell were real places. For the full survey results, see TheStateOfTheology.com. In this survey, two-thirds of Americans said yes to heaven. A little less, 61%, said yes to hell. But, here’s something interesting. Only slightly over half of those polled think that God shows His wrath. Only 6 out of 10 believe that Christ will return to judge all people who have lived. The survey says there may be a hell but leaves you wondering who will be there?

In this survey, two-thirds of Americans think most people are by nature good and almost half are reluctant to see God showing His wrath.

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GTY Blog: Persecution and Obeying God No Matter the Cost

Acts 4

Code: B141124

by John MacArthur

The endgame for most persecutors is silence. Whether they attempt to silence you through intimidation, violence, or death, the point is to stamp out your message and your influence.

In recent months we’ve seen that scenario play out repeatedly in the Middle East. Among the thousands targeted, many believers in that part of the world have been driven from their homes. Others have nobly accepted martyrdom, refusing to reject Christ and pledge allegiance to Islam. In the end, their persecutors seek to cut off the influence of God’s Word and His people in that region.

The members of the Sanhedrin had the same goal in the fourth chapter of Acts. Faced with Peter’s bold proclamation of the gospel—including his indictment of them as Christ’s murderers—they had to decide how to stop the apostles’ evangelistic ministry.

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:13-18)

Peter and John healed a man who had been crippled for more than forty years. There was no denying their miracle, and they hadn’t broken any law. That left the Sanhedrin in an uncomfortable position. We’re told earlier in the chapter that the Jerusalem church had 5,000 men in it, but the total number of members could have been as high as 20,000. With that many followers, the Sanhedrin couldn’t simply imprison or kill the apostles; they likely feared a revolution.

But neither could they turn them loose to continue their exploding ministry. So instead they attempted to intimidate Peter and John into abandoning their gospel preaching altogether.

It didn’t work.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened. (Acts 4:19-21)

Scripture doesn’t tell us what the Sanhedrin threatened to do to Peter and John, but it doesn’t matter. No threat could sway their commitment to preach the gospel. Their response is incredibly shrewd—the apostles defied the command by appealing to the very authority the Sanhedrin was supposed to represent. These supposedly “uneducated and untrained men” had confounded and exasperated Israel’s religious elite.

You might wonder if Peter’s response here contradicts what he would later write in his first epistle: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13). In that passage, he goes on to explain how it’s ultimately the Lord who puts authority in place, and that your faithful submission adorns the gospel and builds up the credibility of your testimony.

But when that authority commands you to stop speaking the name of Christ, to stop preaching the gospel, or to do something immoral, unjust, or unrighteous, you cannot obey. As Peter himself would later explain to the Sanhedrin on another occasion, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

We see that same conviction in the life of Daniel. Under normal circumstances, Daniel had no difficulty submitting to the authority the Lord had placed over him. In fact, he excelled and prospered under pagan leaders, putting his God-given skills to good use in their service. But when that authority contradicted the law of God (Daniel 6), Daniel had no choice but to obey the Lord and face the due punishment of the law.

As the world becomes more hostile to the truth, it may not be long before more Christians face similar consequences for preaching the gospel. We need to be resolved not to cave to the pressures of society, or even to fierce persecution and violence. We need to have the same attitude as the great Scottish reformer John Knox, of whom it was said that he feared God so much that he never feared the face of any man.

When persecution comes, we cannot give in to the pressure or fear. We need to faithfully obey God, no matter the cost.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B141124
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

HeadHeartHand Blog: Why Is Church So Boring? R C Sproul’s Answer

 

A recent survey of people who used to be church members revealed that the main reason they stopped going to church was that they found it boring. It is difficult for many people to find worship a thrilling and moving experience. R C Sproul

“How awesome is this place!” This was Jacob’s response to being in the house of God. People do not normally feel that way in church. There is no sense of awe, no sense of being in the presence of One who makes us tremble. People in awe never complain that church is boring. R C Sproul

Two quotes from The Holiness of God by R C Sproul, the first identifying boredom as the main reason people stop going to church, and the second identifying awe as the antidote to boredom.

Summary: More awe in church services = less boredom in church = less people leave church.

If Sproul is right, and I believe he is, how do we create more awe in our church services. Is this something only God can give, so we have to just wait for it to happen? Or is it something for which we are also responsible?

Obviously, it’s God’s presence alone that can create awe, and therefore, ultimately, we are entirely dependent upon Him to choose to honor our worship services with His presence. However, there are important elements of human responsibility here too. God usually works through human means, and that puts obligations on the worship leader and the worshipping people.

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Thanksgiving: The Primary Worship Response

by Scott Aniol

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln established an annual national holiday of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November. Most of us look forward to this holiday, a day on which we eat good food, enjoy time with family and friends, and perhaps watch some football. And we will probably set aside at least a little time to thank the Lord.

We all likely recognize the importance of being thankful. We tell our kids to say “Thank you” when they are given something, and we generally try to be grateful ourselves.

But how many of us really see gratitude as an important part of our worship? How many of us consider thankfulness to be a truly significant expression we offer to God? If I were to ask most Christians what kinds of expressions of worship bring God the most glory, I would probably hear things like praise, love, and joy more than I would hear gratitude.

However I believe gratitude to be an extremely important—if not the most important—expression of worship toward God that brings ultimate glory to him.

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Commentary: The Federal Reserve Is At The Heart Of The Debt Enslavement System That Dominates Our Lives

The Great Seal Of The United States – A Symbol Of Your Enslavement – Photo by IpankoninFrom the dawn of history, elites have always attempted to enslave humanity. Yes, there have certainly been times when those in power have slaughtered vast numbers of people, but normally those in power find it much more beneficial to profit from the labor of those that they are able to subjugate. If you are forced to build a pyramid, or pay a third of your crops in tribute, or hand over nearly half of your paycheck in taxes, that enriches those in power at your expense. You become a “human resource” that is being exploited to serve the interests of others. Today, some forms of slavery have been outlawed, but one of the most insidious forms is more pervasive than ever. It is called debt, and virtually every major decision of our lives involves more of it. For example, at the very beginning of our adult lives we are pushed to go to college, and Americans have piled up more than 1.2 trillion dollars of student loan debt at this point. When we buy homes, most Americans get mortgages that they can barely afford, and when we buy vehicles most Americans now stretch their loans out over five or six years. When we get married, that often means even more debt. And of course no society on Earth has ever piled up more credit card debt than we have. Almost all of us are in bondage to debt at this point, and as we slowly pay off that debt over the years we will greatly enrich the elitists that tricked us into going into so much debt in the first place. At the apex of this debt enslavement system is the Federal Reserve. As you will see below, it is an institution that is designed to produce as much debt as possible. (Read More….)

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