Daily Archives: December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014: Truth2Freedom Daily Headline Alerts Collection

God has so closely twisted his own glory and our happiness together, that as we advance the one we promote the other. —C.H. Spurgeon

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Dec. 4, 2014

BLOOMBERG

Indiana laws that would have put new restrictions on clinics that provide drug-induced abortions were ruled unconstitutional because they make an unfounded distinction between those facilities and doctors’ offices.

The House of Representatives voted to revive dozens of lapsed U.S. tax breaks only for 2014, achieving what lawmakers called the bare minimum necessary to avoid delaying tax refunds and unfairly punishing taxpayers.

Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week as employers retained staff to meet domestic demand for goods and services ahead of the holiday season. Jobless claims decreased by 17,000 to 297,000 in the week ended Nov. 29.

The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged at record lows as investors wait for President Mario Draghi to signal how close officials are to adding more stimulus.

A Sony Pictures internal investigation has identified North Korea as the source of a devastating computer attack, and the studio is deliberating whether to announce the findings publicly.

World food costs dropped to a four-year low amid record grain harvests and falling prices for sugar and milk.

India plans to spend $331 million mapping its aquifers by March 2017 as groundwater depletion in the world’s second-most populated nation continues at unsustainably high rates.

President Vladimir Putin attacked the U.S. and Europe for backing Ukraine and said that Crimea, which the Kremlin annexed from Ukraine in March, has “sacred meaning” as Russia’s “Jerusalem.”

AP Top Stories

Wind gusts and sticky fuel valves conspired to keep NASA’s new Orion spacecraft on the launch pad, delaying a crucial test flight meant to revitalize human exploration.

The Vatican’s economy minister has said hundreds of millions of euros were found “tucked away” in accounts of various Holy See departments without having appeared in the city-state’s balance sheets.

Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney nominated by President Obama to be his next attorney general, is asking a federal judge to impose a stiff prison term of up to four and a half years on a former Hillary Clinton fundraiser convicted of making more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions.

US home appliance giant Best Buy is leaving the Chinese market, selling its Five Star subsidiary there to a local group.

A sampling of flu cases so far this season suggests the current flu vaccine may not be a good match for the most common seasonal flu strain currently circulating in the United States.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen released a video Thursday threatening to execute a US journalist taken hostage last year. In the video dated December 2014, the hostage said his name was Luke Somers, 33, and that he was kidnapped more than a year ago.

Panic-buying of food broke out in the central Philippines on Thursday and schools and government offices were shut, as provinces yet to recover from last year’s devastating super-typhoon Haiyan braced for another category 5 storm.

Saudi Arabia steeply cut its January oil prices for Asian and U.S. buyers on Thursday, a move some analysts said showed it was stepping up a battle for market share a week after refusing to support OPEC output cuts.

A month-old station in the Oklahoma capital yesterday became the first in the U.S. to sell regular gasoline for less than $2 a gallon since the recent crude oil nosedive began. It took $1.99 and about four hours for the gas war to break out in Oklahoma City. After sunset, seven miles away in the suburb of Moore, the Broadway Food Mart had them all beat at $1.95.

BBC

Kenyan police said they have cracked a cybercrime center run by 77 Chinese nationals from upmarket homes in the capital, Nairobi.

The European Court of Human Rights told France to pay thousands of euros to Somali pirates because of judicial delays.

More than 50 countries are meeting at a conference in London intended to boost Afghanistan’s prospects after most foreign combat forces withdraw this month.

Zig-zag patterns on a fossilized shell in Indonesia may be the earliest known engravings by a human ancestor, scientists said.

China promised to stop harvesting organs from executed prisoners by 1 January, after repeated pledges to do so in the past.

Australians are banned under new terror laws from travelling to the Syrian province of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of Islamic State militants.

Millions of liters of crude oil have caused severe damage after spilling from a pipeline in what is described as one of the worst environmental accidents in Israel’s history.

WND

Seventeen states and governors sued the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday in a bid to halt President Obama’s new deportation amnesty, saying he violated the Constitution and broke federal laws by granting tentative legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

Victims of the Fort Hood shooting will soon be eligible to receive the Purple Heart, with Congress pushing ahead with a policy change that would officially recognize domestic terrorism as an issue, rather than the “workplace violence” designation the Obama administration had used.


Daily Digest for Thursday

December 4, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 1823

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

States Sue Over Obama’s Immigration Action

Seventeen states filed a federal lawsuit against Barack Obama’s immigration action claiming that his change of the law violated the Constitution. Texas leads the charge, as it has borne the brunt of Obama’s neglect of border security. “The President’s unilateral executive action tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law,” Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott said in a statement. “The Constitution’s Take Care Clause limits the President’s power and ensures that he will faithfully execute Congress’s laws — not rewrite them under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ The Department of Homeland Security’s directive was issued without following the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking guidelines and is nothing but an unlawfully adopted legislative rule: an executive decree that requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.” With Republicans making little progress defunding Obama’s immigration projects, this may be the most effective way in reigning in an unconstitutional president. More…

Republicans Split on Spending Bill Strategy

The House has a week to pass a spending bill before the government shuts down, and Republicans can’t decide on a strategy for counterbalancing Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive action on immigration. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) proposes funding most of the government until Sept. 30, and only funding the agencies that will enact Obama’s immigration action until March. But Republicans disagree on political strategy. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) says House Republicans might not have enough votes to pass the bill. “There were opinions all over the place,” Pompeo said. “There were members that were adamant that we shouldn’t vote for anything that funded any of these institutions surrounding these executive orders or soon to be set of actions. There were others who were simply saying, ‘Hey, let’s do a short-term CR for the whole thing’ … and then there were others who said, ‘Hey look, let’s get this thing done.'” This gives House Democrats more bargaining power, as Republican leadership will have to work with Nancy Pelosi and her minions to get the votes necessary to send the bill to the Senate. More…

MoH Recipient Dares ISIL to Come to His House

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer is no stranger to danger. Responding to FBI advisements regarding social media and targeting from ISIL, Meyer said, “I take the threat seriously, but you are talking about a bunch of cowards. We’re not cowards. We’re the most feared nation on the face of the planet, and we’re worried about some radical group, some extremists that prey on the weak? I mean, that’s like sheep preying on lions.” In fact, Meyer declared it would be a “dream come true” if Islamic State terrorists showed up at his door: “Hopefully one of these a–holes actually shows up. They’ll definitely get more than they want at my place!” He concluded, “I’m just tired of us as Americans living in fear. I want people to know: Stand up to this; stand up to these people. I don’t want to put anybody else in harm. They can come after me.” Semper Fi!

Soap Opera Producer Now a U.S. Ambassador

So why is the Obama administration trying to send the producer of the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” to Hungary as ambassador? And why did the Senate confirm her nomination? The only reason White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest can muster is that Colleen Bell has a “distinguished private sector career” making women swoon for hulky men since 1987. The press secretary told reporters, “She is somebody who retains confidence. Well, let me say it this way. Ambassador Bell has the president’s confidence that she will do an excellent job representing the United States and maintaining the important relationship the United States has with the government and the people of Hungary.” It’s surely not because Bell helped Barack Obama raise millions of dollars for his campaigns because she retained the confidence to suck money from political donors for Obama. Fortunately, Hungary should be a safe choice — it’s not like it’s in Eastern Europe, right in the front yard of Russia or anything. More…

Harkin Regrets Making ObamaCare So Complicated

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is leaving Congress and Republican Joni Ernst will take his seat. And regrets? He’s got a few. Namely that ObamaCare was probably too complicated because of efforts to placate various “centrist” Democrats (many of whom are gone now) and constituent groups. “We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified health care, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin said. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all. What we did is we muddle through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively.” That’s a pretty good summation, though he hasn’t exactly seen the light. Harkin insists Democrats should have done “single-payer right from the get-go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.” Somehow, we doubt that even more government control would have healed ObamaCare’s ailments.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Black Privilege, on how it’s all still about the color of skin instead of content of character.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

NYPD — a Ferguson Replay?

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Garner resisting arrest

While a lot of media attention has been focused on Ferguson, Missouri, will another grand jury decision in New York City be the subject of a race-relations replay?

On July 17, 2014, several white New York City police officers were involved in a takedown of a black man, Eric Garner, after he resisted arrest. One of the officers, Daniel Pantaleo, used a chokehold as part of the effort to get the 350lb Garner to the ground. The use of that particular hold does not comply with NYPD policy because it is associated with prior injuries and deaths — though the hold is not illegal. Garner died shortly after the takedown, and his death raises reasonable questions.

Garner, who had 30 previous arrests on his record, was approached by police for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on the street, although there may have been additional factors that drew their attention to Garner. He had previously been arrested for the same infraction and was out on bail at the time police confronted him. That confrontation was caught on amateur video [language and graphic content warning], and that video — along with a few details from the medical examiner’s report — are all the evidence in this case that anyone, other than the grand jury, has available to assess this tragic incident.

In the altercation, the individual taking the video references a fight that had just taken place, and we don’t know the context for what, if any, role Garner had in that fight. What we do know from the video is that officers attempted to handcuff Garner, who towered over them. He did not comply and it took four officers to subdue him. They wrestled him to the ground as Pantaleo put him in a chokehold.

Garner, an asthmatic, can be heard in the video pleading, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” He soon went limp and died while lying cuffed on the sidewalk.

The New York City medical examiner’s office assessed that Garner’s death was a homicide caused by “compression of his neck, compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” The designation of “homicide” means that he didn’t die of natural causes, but it is not an accusation of murder. Notably, the report also found that Garner’s tracheal airway had not been damaged in the takedown, and that obesity, heart disease and asthma also contributed to his death.

In other words, despite the media labels that this takedown was a “chokehold death,” there were other complicating factors.

On Wednesday, after hearing months of evidence and testimony, a majority of the 23-person grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo for any crime.

This incident stands apart from the death of Michael Brown in some important ways.

First, Garner’s death was caught on video, meaning that part of the evidence is plain to see. There was not unreliable “eyewitness” testimony as was discredited in Ferguson.

Second, Garner was agitated and resisted arrest, but he did not attack police or attempt to take an officer’s firearm as Brown did. (It may come as a shock to some Democrats and NFL players, but Brown did not have his hands up.)

Third, in New York, manslaughter in the second degree is defined as when an individual “recklessly causes the death of another person.” It is not clear why, then, Officer Pantaleo was not indicted by the grand jury for second-degree manslaughter. Did the grand jury get it wrong, or did the prosecutor even press for that charge, or is there substantial other evidence that influenced the jury’s decision? Notably, last month a grand jury did issue an indictment on a weapons charge — against the man who used his phone to video Garner’s confrontation and takedown.

Fourth, the protests following Garner’s death never turned violent, though race-baiters like Al Sharpton are now on the scene wrongly turning stoking racial grievances.

Fifth, and worth noting, New York’s high and punitive cigarette tax has created a profitable black market for the sale of so-called “loosies” (untaxed cigarettes), which Garner was accused of doing. While Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Sharpton will attempt to frame this case on race, perhaps a little attention should be allocated for asinine taxes and laws. After all, this is the same city whose last Democrat mayor attempted to outlaw large sodas.

As National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke noted, “[I]magine what Sam … Adams would have said at the news that a man had been killed over cigarette taxes.” Indeed, it seems we recall a famous protest over taxes on another kind of leaf.

But notably, this incident is similar to the Ferguson case in one respect. As Mark Alexander wrote this week in “Black Privilege,” Brown, like Garner, believed he was entitled to ignore a lawful police order. Brown and Garner would be alive today had they obeyed those lawful orders.

After being cleared by the grand jury, Officer Pantaleo released a statement, saying, “I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves. It is never my intention to harm anyone, and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”

We have no doubt Pantaleo did not intend to kill Garner, though it seems fair to say in this case he failed in his expressed intent to “help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves.” We have no doubt that the confrontation with Garner was not about race. That having been said, there are indisputable cases where police abuse their authority. Such cases are usually the result of one or more officers whose judgment has been callused by day-in and day-out confrontations, primarily in impoverished urban centers.

But there are three things to keep in mind — especially for those who have never walked a day in the shoes of men and women in blue.

First, refrain from drawing conclusions based solely on the video. Even the otherwise erudite Charles Krauthammer failed to follow this most basic rule: “From looking at the video, the grand jury’s decision here is totally incomprehensible. … I think anyone who looks at this video would think that this is the wrong judgment.” But the grand jury didn’t weigh only the video.

Second, the real “racial disparity” when it comes to crime is the grossly disproportionate number of violent crimes committed by black people, almost always against other black people. Last year alone, blacks murdered more than 6,000 people, about 400 of whom were white.

And last, altercations with police resulted in 449 assailant deaths last year — 123 black, 326 white. Meanwhile, 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.

Put it this way: The case isn’t exactly black and white.

Transparent White House Hides Evidence of Collusion With IRS

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If the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative organizations based purely on political persuasions constituted “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the chief revenue collection agency, we can’t wait to hear how Barack Obama is going to characterize the latest outrage.

Turns out the IRS is housing thousands of pages of documents — 2,043 to be exact — related to correspondence between the tax agency and the White House concerning requests for tax returns of individuals or businesses. In other words, the White House asked to see specific tax information of certain Americans. And given the IRS’s stellar track record — not to mention the little fact that the agency is supposed to be entirely apolitical — this is cause for more than a smidgen of concern.

The disclosure comes after two years of investigations and legal efforts by the non-profit government watchdog Cause of Action. In 2012, Cause of Action filed a Freedom of Information request for “records of communication between the White House and the IRS concerning taxpayer information, particularly communications that were not made pursuant to 6103(g) of the tax code, which authorizes the President to request any individual’s tax return information from the IRS.”

No doubt too busy implementing new guidelines for targeting conservative and Tea Party groups, the IRS balked at the request. In response, Cause of Action sued, and a judge sided with the watchdog and ordered the IRS to turn over all related documents by Dec. 1.

Last week, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) — which, ironically, is the office investigating potential IRS wrongdoing — said the IRS would comply and turn over more than 2,000 pages of documents. In an abrupt about-face, however, this week TIGTA sent a letter — dated Dec. 1 — to Cause of Action conceding the existence of 2,043 pages of documents relating to the FOIA request but claiming the IRS can’t turn them over because the information in them is protected under 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and can’t be released without “an express statutory exemption.”

Likewise, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew refused to release documents pertaining to improper disclosures because — wait for it — to do so would be an improper disclosure.

The very fact that TIGTA and Lew acknowledge these documents, however, is a flaming red flag. And Cause of Action spokesperson Dan Epstein said the high number of documents points to wrongdoing and “indicates scandal.”

Indeed, it’s difficult not to come to this same conclusion, considering recent IRS-White House snuggle fests. As Investor’s Business Daily reported, former White House senior economics adviser Austan Goolsbee somehow knew that the Koch brothers “do not pay corporate income tax” through Koch Industries — information he would have known only if he had access to the Koch brothers’ tax records — which the White House should not have access to. And email communication between the IRS and the White House, provided by the IRS to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, contained redactions labeled “6103,” indicating private taxpayer information –information that, again, the White House should not have access to.

Ironically, the revelation of the 2,000-plus potentially implicating documents comes on the heels of the miraculous discovery of 30,000 “lost” Lois Lerner emails — emails that will almost undoubtedly reveal even more attempts by the administration to weaponize the IRS for political aims.

Back in 2009, Obama jokingly threatened to use the IRS against a good-natured adversary. Unfortunately, it was no joke.

Obama might think he can keep tossing out platitudes about commitment to the integrity of the law. But we’ve heard those platitudes before. And if there is one thing truly transparent about this administration, it’s the lies it tells.

Despising the sacred honor of serving as president, Obama has used the privilege of elected office to wage war on Americans. This is the strategy of tyrants, not leaders. And it’s no laughing matter.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

American author Eric Hoffer (1902-1983): “Those who lack the capacity to achieve much in an atmosphere of freedom will clamor for power.”

Columnist Larry Elder: “The media, led by CNN, covers Ferguson as a civil rights story — rather than focusing on the simple question of whether Officer Wilson responsibly used lethal force. Incredibly, Harvard’s Charles Ogletree, once Barack Obama’s law professor, called Ferguson ‘just like the assassination’ of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ogletree said: ‘This reminds us of exactly what happened years ago when I was a young kid to the great man Emmett Till, the young kid who was killed in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. This is even worse, because Michael Brown did not break in any law at all, in terms of the police officer.’ Many say Ferguson suffers because its police force ‘doesn’t look like the city.’ Meaning what? That white cops can’t police black areas? That when people call 911, they want an officer who ‘looks like them’? What do the ‘activists’ think Dr. King would say if we assumed cops were bad because of the color of their skin? He’d call it what it is: racially profiling white cops. So much for evaluating people, including police officers, not on the basis of their color — but on the content of their character.”

FRC president Tony Perkins: “[R]ather than use [next week’s budget] deadline as leverage in the amnesty debate, GOP leaders want to punt the issue into next year. Why? Because they’re concerned that the GOP will take the fall for the Democrats’ refusal to deal with the President’s lawless policy. But here’s the irony: they were blamed for last year’s partial shutdown, and voters responded by handing them the keys to both chambers! It’s time for the House to forget what might happen and consider what did happen in November. Republicans just got a mandate from American voters to hold the President accountable — and now is the time to take action. As the editors at Investors Business Daily pointed out, ‘President Obama made the Constitution a welcome mat for illegal immigrants to wipe their feet on.’ And if the House and Senate aren’t careful, they’ll be next.”

Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Obama met civil rights leaders Monday to discuss Ferguson riot grievances. His initial reaction caused panic. When Obama said we’re a nation ruled by laws, the Secret Service agents wrestled him to the ground and demanded to know what he did with the real President Obama.”

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/ )”


8 Clear Signs Of A Compromising Church

With the accelerated pace of the attack on religious liberty today, there could develop a great divide in the church between confessing churches and compromising churches similar to what happened in Nazi Germany. This will not be a divide based on denominational affiliation but based on the degree of loyalty to biblical fidelity. It is sad but true that more and more believers will be compromising core biblical values and standards rather than be stigmatized or persecuted, and lose influence in society………….. Click here for full story


Abbas Presents ‘Plan Of Attack’ For Palestinian State

More details have been released regarding Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the Arab League on Saturday revealing that Abbas has concocted a comprehensive plan to flatten Israel politically and bypass the need for bilateral negotiations to establish a Palestinian state ……… Click here for full story


Foreshadowing Of Daniel 9:27? Jordan’s King Abdullah Pushes For “Final Peace Accord”

Jordan on Tuesday launched a bid to win backing for a UN resolution calling for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that could be presented to the Security Council in the coming weeks………. Click here for full story


14 Yrs After Receiving Shoebox Gift, Filipino Girl Marries Boy Who Sent It

When a young Filipino girl received a Christmas gift-filled shoebox in 2000, she couldn’t have imagined that one day she would meet the 7-year-old boy from Idaho who packed the box in a small town 7000 miles away………. Click here for full story


What Do Muslims Really Mean When They Invoke The Name Of Jesus?

Recently, Christian leaders in America allowed a Muslim imam to lead an Islamic service at the National Cathedral. Leaders of both Houses of Congress stood in solemn silence, heads bowed reverently and respectfully as the names of Allah and Mohammed were venerated in America’s foremost Christian house of worship ……… Click here for full story


What Do Muslims Really Mean When They Invoke the Name of Jesus?

Recently, Christian leaders in America allowed a Muslim imam to lead an Islamic service at the National Cathedral. Leaders of both Houses of Congress stood in solemn silence, heads bowed reverently and respectfully as the names of Allah and Mohammed were venerated in America’s foremost Christian house of worship.

Many probably even thought there are similarities between the God of their forefathers and those of their Islamic guests. Many have said openly that both Islam and Christianity worship the same God, and follow the same Jesus.

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No Question These Are the End Times; America’s Role as Superpower Will Diminish as New World Order Forms

Harvest Ministries Pastor Greg Laurie said Sunday his study of Bible prophecy and current events shows America will fade as the world’s foremost superpower in the last days, either because it will join with the antichrist or it will be diminished by the rapture.

In a November 30 sermon entitled “Israel, Iran, ISIS and Bible Prophecy,” Laurie preached that Christians are now living in the “last days” before the fulfillment of various End Times prophecies laid out in the Bible book of Revelation.

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Before Beheading, Children Tell ISIS: ‘No, We Love Jesus’

“ISIS turned up and they said to the children, ‘You say the words that you will follow Muhammad,'”‘No, we love Yasua. We have always loved Yasua. We have always followed Yasua. (This spelling is similar to the Hebrew name, Yeshua, which is translated “Jesus” in English and Spanish.) Yasua has always been with us,'” White recounted. “[The militants] said, ‘Say the words!’ [The children] said, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ “They chopped all their heads off.”

Read more


It’s official: America is now No. 2

Hang on to your hats, America. And throw away that big, fat styrofoam finger while you’re about it. There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.

Read more


The Creative Way Gov’t Officials Are Standing Up to Atheists Who Demand They Ban a Christmas Nativity From a Courthouse Lawn

Officials in an Arkansas county have rebuffed atheists’ efforts to seek the removal of a nativity scene from a courthouse lawn, deciding instead to add a disclaimer. Quorum court members adopted the resolution Tuesday night, permitting the Christian imagery to once again be on public display. The nativity scene, which is erected each year on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn in Mountain Home, Arkansas, in memory of Coralee Faith Spencer, a deceased local woman, comes along with secular elements as well, including a Santa Claus and a Christmas tree, the Associated Press reported. Read More


Why a Mom Who Was About to Abort Her Baby Was ‘Crying and Shaking’ After Reaching the Clinic — and the Message That Radically Changed Her Mind

A British woman who came close to aborting her unborn baby last year before changing her mind at the last minute is expressing gratitude for the pro-life clinic protesters who helped her through the difficult situation. Suzan Briggs, 27, recently told the BBC’s Newsbeat that when she found out she was pregnant, she simply didn’t think she could handle it. With three kids already at home, Briggs said she was prepared to have an abortion, but when she reached the clinic, something changed. “When I got there they gave me information about abortions, but there were campaigners [from the group Abort67] waiting outside the door,” Briggs told Newsbeat. “They had some leaflets about abortions and they started talking to me. They had pictures of a fetus at eight weeks and they had pictures of aborted babies.” Read More


Atheist Group Files Legal Complaint Against Georgia School District for Allegedly Promoting Christianity, Prayer

The American Humanist Association filed a legal complaint Monday against Hall County Schools in Gainesville, Georgia, for allegedly promoting Christianity and prayer during athletic events. “This action challenges defendants’ policy, practice, and custom of authorizing faculty, coaches and other school officials to lead and participate in prayer with students during school-sponsored activities, and their policy, practice, and custom of inserting biblical references into official football team documents and banners,” read the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Read More


Is God About to Make a Divine Reset in America?

Since World War II, the Great Society programs of the 1960s and more, the federal government of the United States has been getting larger at the expense of individual liberty and freedom. The liberals in the federal government offer more and more freebies in exchange for votes. Hence, the more dependent America becomes upon big government, the less likely it becomes that America would ever vote against it. This is the only way we can interpret the fact that, amongst minorities, the nuclear family has almost disintegrated since the advent of the welfare state, coupled with Social Security, food stamps, affordable housing, immigration reform, public daycares, diversity and sex education in public schools, the phenomena of single mothers, Obamacare and the state enforcing same-sex marriage upon culture. This demonstrates that the goal of the far-left has always been the nationalization of the family. Read More


Court Orders School District to Pay $75,000 for Denying Boy Use of Girls’ Restroom

AUGUSTA, Maine – A superior court has ordered a Maine school district to pay $75,000 to the attorneys of a male student who identifies as a female after it was declared that officials discriminated against him by denying the use of the girls’ restroom. As previously reported, Wyatt Maines is an identical twin who, according to his parents, has exhibited feminine behavior since he was a preschooler. By the time he reached fifth grade, Wyatt legally changed his name to “Nicole,” let his hair grow long, and began regularly wearing feminine clothing. During that same time period, Wyatt also started using the girls’ restrooms at Asa Adams Elementary School, which disturbed some of the other students. In late 2007, a student’s grandfather voiced his concern to school officials, and the superintendent asked Wyatt to instead use a unisex staff bathroom instead of the main girls’ restroom. However, Wyatt’s parents—Wayne and Kelly Maines—were unhappy with the superintendent’s request. So, in early 2008, they hired a lawyer and filed a lawsuit against the elementary school, claiming the bathroom policy unfairly discriminated against their child. The case has been battled all the way to Maine’s highest court. Read More


Christians Threatened With ‘Loitering’ Citation for Pro-Life Outreach Take City to Court

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Two Florida women have taken their city and local police to court after they were threatened with a loitering citation for conducting pro-life acitivities outside of a local abortion facility. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed the legal challenge on behalf of Judith Minahan and JoAnn O’Connell of Fort Myers this fall, and a federal hearing was held over the matter on Tuesday. The women have been reaching out to pregnant mothers for the past decade outside of the Fort Myers Women’s Health Center, one of the largest abortion facilities in the area. “When individuals who are driving into the medical office complex stop to speak with Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs will generally hand them literature and speak with them about abortion-related topics, including information about the possible emotional and physical effects of abortion, nearby maternity homes, local and national helplines, and fetal development,” the complaint filed by ACLJ reads. Minahan and O’Connell stand on the public sidewalk during their outreach, do not block pedestrians and seek to reach women in a non-confrontational manner. Read More


The spread of an Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbug’

A week after grilling hamburgers in his backyard in November 2011, business consultant Kenneth Koehler became violently ill. He suffered stomach pains, diarrhea and nausea – and rushed to the hospital emergency room in Biddeford, Maine. Days later, his doctors told him that his burger was contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium, a strain commonly found in ground beef. But Koehler’s salmonella was more dangerous than he realized. Records provided to Reuters by Koehler showed that the salmonella strain in the ground beef was resistant to nine types of antibiotics. Three of the antibiotics that didn’t work were cephalosporins, including ceftriaxone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records. Read More


17 States sue Obama administration on immigration

A coalition of 17 U.S. states sued the Obama administration on Wednesday saying it acted illegally by issuing an executive order to ease the threat of deportation for millions of immigrants who are in the country without the proper documents. The case being led by Texas and filed at the Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas said the executive order announced by Obama last month violated constitutional limits on presidential powers. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican and the Texas governor-elect, said the lawsuit is not asking for monetary damages but is seeking to have the order declared illegal. Read More


Frequent Urination: How Often Is Too Often?

Most adults urinate four to seven times a day. But some health conditions can send you in search of a bathroom 10, 20, even 30 or more times daily. And that can seriously cramp your ability to do anything else. Whether you’re in a business meeting, at a movie, or in the car with your family, you’re always thinking about your next bathroom break. Two bladder conditions that often cause frequent urination are interstitial cystitis (IC) and overactive bladder. Fortunately, both conditions are treatable. First, however, you need to recognize that you have a medical problem and seek help for it. Here are some tip-offs that it may be time to see a doctor. Read More


Earth is ‘living on borrowed time’: Scientists fear killer asteroids

An array of the world’s leading experts in astrophysics want everyone to stop worrying about what’s happening on Earth and start planning for what could one day crash into it. We’ve seen it play out in Hollywood before: A killer asteroid is hurtling toward our precious planet while NASA scrambles to find a way to stop the celestial beast in its tracks. But an international group of astronauts and scientists, led by British royal astronomer Lord Rees, have joined forces to go on the hunt for the precarious projectiles, warning the public that the possibility of a deadly strike is actually a terrifying reality, the Financial Times reports. Read More


What should we be on our guard for as our children grow older?

by R.C. Sproul Jr.

What should we be on our guard for as our children grow older?

Teenage Sin

Sin is the true and obvious answer. That said, there are peculiar sins that teenagers, at least in our day, are somewhat prone to. Just as with adults, however, I’m afraid we mass our defenses in all the wrong places. The sins of our youth are just like the sins of our dotage, though they may present themselves in somewhat different ways. The key sin I am on the lookout for with my teenagers is the one I’m on the lookout for in me — pride.

Pride

How is pride manifest in our youth? It begins, I would suggest, in a lack of loyalty. That is our children are tempted as they grow older to look upon their family, the authority of their parents, as something they have grown past. They are tempted in turn to see their own peer group as the peak of wisdom, character and love. All they need is their posse of friends. We combat this pride, however, less by elevating our own character in the eyes of our children or denigrating the character of their friends. Rather, we combat this manifestation of pride with humility. We are quick to confess our failures and weaknesses to our children, all the while professing our abiding loyalty toward them as well.

Sullen Demeanor

Second, it often shows itself in a sullen demeanor. Recently the President’s daughters found themselves roped into a rather hokey photo-op with their father. As every president has done since 1989, President Obama announced an executive order few could argue with, the full pardon of turkeys Mac and Cheese. The faces of the daughters clearly communicated their contempt for the event. With that they have my sympathy. The phoniness of the political process is worthy of contempt. But they were called to honor their father. That sullen expression that is so common among our youth likewise clearly communicates contempt. For what? Usually not just the parents but everything they stand for. We combat this pride, however, less by insisting on smiles, more by encouraging genuine gratitude. When we understand what we are as sinners, and all that we have been blessed with, it’s tough to remain sullen.

Dishonesty

Finally, pride manifests itself among the young in dishonesty. At some level, ironically, dishonesty can be a sign of the remnants of respect. That is, some children lie, or hide the truth from their parents because they want to do x, and also do not want to upset or disappoint their parents, who don’t want them to do x. But the pride is still there, a pride that says either, “I know better than my parents. I will protect them by not letting them know about this” or “My reputation/image is more important than the reality, so I must hide from sin from others.” Or worse, “I would get in trouble for x if my parents knew about it. The world is out of kilter if I am in trouble. Therefore I will keep this from them.” The solution here, again is not to angrily demand greater honesty, but to practice greater honesty. First, we should be the champion repent-ers in our own homes. Let them see you confess your sins, even the ones they had no reason to know about. Second, let them know how needful it is to you that they tell you the truth, that they can be trusted. If the truth is needful for their well being, they are more likely to share it.

Prideful Parenting

In the end, it is likely that our own pride will be the tipping point one way or the other. Our children will struggle with our pride if it drives us to push them to appear to others as better than they are. That is, if your children are persuaded that our motive for their obedience is our pride rather than their well being, they won’t play along. Insofar, however, as we are able to persuade them that we want it to go well for them in the land, insofar as we walk with them as children who struggle with the will of our heavenly Father, they will likely hear us, and with us, fight pride. If so, they will better remember that we are all on the same side.

Listen to the podcast on this topic here.


CultureWatch: Against Annihilationism, Part One

by Bill Muehlenberg

It is fully to be expected that non-Christians will vehemently reject what is clearly taught in the Word of God. Happens all the time. Sadly however there are a growing number of people who claim to be Christian who also are taking pot shots at Scripture, picking and choosing those parts they like, and simply rejecting those they do not.

These happens with many biblical truths, but perhaps none more so than the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment. I continue to be amazed at fellow believers flatly refusing to accept this biblical teaching. Incredibly, they seem to think they are more wise, more loving, and more just than Almighty God is.

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CultureWatch: Against Annihilationism, Part Two

by Bill Muehlenberg

As we have shown in Part One, the truth is, on biblical and exegetical grounds, the annihilationists have very little ground to stand on. The Scriptures consistently and coherently support the traditional understanding of hell as eternal punishment.

Thus the revisionists usually resort to other means to make their case: they will emphasise theological or philosophical grounds much more often to argue their position. The main reasons these folks question eternal punishment is not because of Scripture – the texts are pretty clear. Their main objections centre on things like the charge of injustice. They claim it is just unfair and unjust for people to be punished forever.

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My Journey Away from Contemporary Worship Music

The problem with my youthful logic only began to dawn on me about seven years ago. I had come to recognize that these ancient hymns accomplished something that the new songs weren’t. While contemporary worship seemed to take the listener on an exciting and emotional rollercoaster, the old hymns engaged the mind with deep and glorious truths that when sincerely pondered caused a regenerated heart to humbly bow before its King.

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You Can Believe in God’s Sovereignty and Still Cry

Even though we know God is in control of all things, this does not negate the response of tears and sorrow in the midst of trials. We have been taught to think that weeping is a sign of weakness. We must keep a smile on our face to show how much faith we have. Maybe this is one reason the celebration service has replaced the funeral. We have forgotten that we have a right to mourn.

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Black Religion Since Slavery

Thorpe’s view of spirituality is problematic because it is epistemically unsustainable. If we are responsible for developing our own spirituality, how can one be sure he is worshipping the creator? What is the creator? Does the creator tell me to love all people, or does he tell me to kill all of the infidels? How do I know the spirit I worship is the creator? What if it’s a demon? If we choose to develop our own spirituality, all we are left with is some man-made deity we use to validate our own desires.

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Where is Your ‘Already’?

How can we love our Savior? Let’s begin with prayer and ask the Lord to show us how, especially as we read his Word. The Bible isn’t just about other people, no matter how strange they are. God had it written for us, that we might know him. From beginning to end it’s about people and their struggles and how the Lord rebukes them or encourages them—now just be alert to see whether that person’s life resembles yours, be ready for that, ask for that.

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The Bible as ‘Junk Food’

Just how does God’s Word nourish our souls? Have you ever sat down and read a portion of the Bible, risen from your seat, and not been able to remember anything you read, except perhaps the book you read from? How does that happen? It’s because we read without engaging our minds. Just by exposing ourselves to the words we expect effect. But that’s not the way it works.

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More Surprising Jonathan Gruber Comments Surface…and This Time They Have to Do With Abortion

“Our results suggest that the marginal children who were not born as a result of abortion legalization would have systematically been born into worse circumstances had the pregnancies not been terminated: they would have been 70 percent more likely to live in a single parent household, 40 percent more likely to live in poverty, 35 percent more likely to die during the first year of life, and 50 percent more likely to be in a household collecting welfare,” the paper says.

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Why Believe That Jesus Is The Only Way?

by Douglas Groothuis

Many Christians today don’t have a firm grasp on what the Bible says about Jesus. Was He just a wise man? A prophet? Douglas Groothuis presents biblical evidence for Christ’s lordship.

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Depression, Dementia, and Heavenly Relief

But at some point, the rawness of awful things will impact us. And we will need something we never could have conjured up for ourselves. For example, even though he doesn’t realize it, Dad needs me today, just like I needed him over twenty years ago. Far more than this, however, we both need the Lord.

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Sin: Kill or Be Killed

Let’s suppose that at least some Biblical reality has come to bear on us. Perhaps we fled for a time, jumping at shadows,  knowing no real peace of mind (Proverbs 28:1a). Perhaps we tried blame-shifting (1 Kings 18:17), or lashing out (1 Samuel 20:30) or vain, nauseating shows of religion (Proverbs 28:9Isaiah 1:12-20). But now the Holy Spirit has arrested us. The Holy Spirit has brought days and nights of misery (Psalm 32:3-4). He has used the word, spoken His “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7), and His word struck home to our heart.

But what now? We begin to see the sin as God sees it. We admit to God that it is sin, agreeing with Him.

And?

The element I have in mind is mortification. It is dealing absolute, final, howling death to that specific sin, from its root to its branches. It is seeing it dead, dealing death to it, killing it, depriving it of all means of life and burying it.

Our objective must not be to wound sin, nor to weaken sin, nor to hamper nor cripple sin — but to kill it, to put it to death. It is we who are commanded to do it, and so we must do it. To give it no thought, or to shrug it off on God, is to thumb our nose in God’s face. Yet…

We cannot do it unaided, but can only do it by the Holy Spirit’s aid.

This is the Christian life.  It is characteristic of being a Christian. The many, many folks who isolate Rom 8:14 and try to fabricate some mythology of living by semi-revelation do great violence to the context. Let me set it out like this:
  1. To be a son of God is, definitionally, to be led by the Spirit. Being Spirit-led is not a subset among Christians. The two sets (sons-of-God and Spirit-led) are co-extensive.
  2. To be led by the Spirit is to put to death the deeds of the body.
  3. To put to death the deeds of the body is to live according to the Spirit, rather than the flesh.

At least a few of you are shouting “Owen! Owen!” at your monitors. So here indeed is the great man, on this passage, in words of gold that might well be written on the front page of anyone’s Bible:

Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you (p. 47, Overcoming Sin and Temptation; Crossway Books: 2006, Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor [emphases added])

So dash all rationalizations and equivocations and evasions and minimalizations. Burn all bridges. Disown! Flee! Kill! Ask God to help you to hate that sin as He hates sin. Would you be content to share your bed with just a few potato-bugs, or have just a little dog dung on your ice cream? Ask God to help you see what you did to your spouse, your friend, your parents, your children, your neighbor — ask Him to help you see it as He sees it. Find the root of it in your heart. Pour spiritual Round-up on it, kill it dead, all of it, roots to branches. Don’t rest, don’t think it’s done, until it’s gone, and all traces renounced, disowned, dead by your own hand.

This is part of what it means to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).


‘Twas the Night Before the Last Christmas!


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Go Ahead, Watch it… If You Hate Yourself and Like Your Bible Distorted

Zwinglius Redivivus

Saw this on the twitter-

“@lifetimetv  #WomenOfTheBible on Sunday at 7/6c! A @MarkBurnettTV & @RealRomaDowney Television Event!”

Yeah, nope.  Victoria Osteen is featured? HA.  Since when and in what universe is Victoria Osteen a consultant for a tv show on the bible?  I’m glad I took that vow to avoid every bible themed piece of rubbish to appear through the holidays. #IDontHateMyselfEnoughToWatch

It’ll be a tv event alright.  Like everything else Burnett et al produces.  An event in which the bible is once again distorted and its messages twisted and convoluted.

But it’s a free country.  Go ahead and watch.  Don’t come crying to me afterwards though.  You’ll just get the Luther treatment.

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And Just Who Will be On Lifetime’s ‘Women of the Bible’ Besides Osteen?

Zwinglius Redivivus

It’s quite a cast……

“The Women of The Bible” provides a fresh look at the sacred text from the perspective of its heroines. Revealing little known facts about some of the most impactful women in biblical history, the special will share the stories of Eve, Sara, Rehab, Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary, with new insights from some of today’s leaders and scholars in the faith community, including Christine Caine; Priscilla Shirer, Co-Founder of Going Beyond Ministries; Victoria Osteen, Co-Pastor of Lakewood Church; Eva Rodriguez of the Latino Evangelical Women’s Association; Kay Warren, Co-Founder of Saddleback Church; and Joyce Meyer, Bible teacher and New York Times bestselling author, among others.

REHAB!!!!!  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come on… please…. dear God.   Make. It. Stop. ‘Mother Mary’?  ‘Rehab’…. seriously, ‘Rehab’?????   I may need to go to rehab after my brain finishes soldering itself to my skull.

Lifetime…

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Calvinistic Cartoons: The Rob Bell Show

The Rob Bell Show produced by Oprah Winfrey has a catchy theme song
stolen from the Dean Martin classic, Memories are Made of This.
Click HERE to listen.
Sweet, sweet the heresy you gave-a me
You can’t beat the heresies you gave-a me
Take one verse out of context
Add some questions to perplex
One verse, one spin
Some doubt, some sin
Heresies are made of this
Don’t forget to ignore the Word
Keep the Scriptural meaning blurred
My name’s Rob Bell
Don’t worry – no Hell
Heresies are made of this
Then add a ton of lies
Presuppositions will make you wise
Thick eisegesis for the flavor
Stir carefully through the days
See how the flavor stays
Think of these as Heavenly party favors
With my brand new TV show
Everything seems apropos
You dream, we scheme
Mixed together like religious ice cream
Heresies are made of this
Heresies are made of this

NTEB: Rick Warren Says Pope Francis Is The Pope Of All Christians Worldwide (VIDEOS)

Building the One World Religion

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4

There is a hardcore, full-court press happening right now to unify all Christian denominations under the banner of the Roman Catholic Church, and the charge is being led by none other than apostate pastor  and Chrislam founder Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. Warren has a purpose driven plan to break down and destroy the Christian church, and unite the pieces with Rome.

In the above video, Rick Warren is seen slyly referring to Pope Francis as “our pope”, and then going on to brag about what a great job he is doing. He wants you to blithely assume that of course Pope Francis is the “spiritual head” over all of Christianity and not simply over the Roman Catholic corporation. He slips it in like that’s what everyone already thinks and believes. This is nothing more than mental conditioning. A bible believing Christian under no circumstances ever would acknowledge that any pope in the Roman system had any sort of rule over them of any kind.

In the second video, Warren lays out his reasons for why all Christian denominations should be united under Rome while failing miserably in his lame attempt to explain away Mary worship and worshipping of dead saints. He very incorrectly asserts that we “all worship the same Jesus” which, if the bible is true, we clearly do not. Warren holds great sway over the millions of his Laodicean Christian followers who simply accept what he speaks as the truth, and will never once check it against scripture. The Roman Catholic “jesus” is received by eating a magic wafer and drinking wine. The actual Jesus of the bible is received by grace through faith and nothing else. One has nothing at all in common with the other.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4

This is the great falling away prophesied in the bible, and it is happening in our sight. Pope Francis seems like the man likely to fulfill the role of the false prophet of Revelation. Rome will once again swallow up the professing Christian church as it did in 325 AD under Constantine. Rome will once again conduct an Inquisition, but this time it will use the muscle of Islam instead of the army of Spain. Blood will flow in the streets from the veins of people holding a King James bible and refusing to worship the pope. These events have already happened, and they will happen again.

The only difference will be that this time, it will be Christians like Rick Warren betraying the sheep to the executioner.

The post Rick Warren Says Pope Francis Is The Pope Of All Christians Worldwide (VIDEOS) appeared first on Now The End Begins.

Government Debt: 5 Complete Lies About America’s New $18 Trillion Debt Level

12-03-2014 • http://www.zerohedge.com-

Tyler Durden

At that point, it had taken the country 74,984 days (more than 205 years) to accumulate its first trillion in debt.

It would take less than five years to accumulate its second trillion.

And as the US government just hit $18 trillion in debt on Friday afternoon, it has taken a measly 403 days to accumulate its most recent trillion.

There’s so much misinformation and propaganda about this; let’s examine some of the biggest lies out there about the US debt:

1) “They can get it under control.”

What a massive lie. Politicians have been saying for decades that they’re going to cut spending and get the debt under control.

FACT: The last time the US debt actually decreased from one fiscal year to the next was back in 1957 during the EISENHOWER administration.

FACT: For the last several years, the US government has been spending roughly 90% of its ENTIRE tax revenue just to pay for mandatory entitlement programs and interest on the debt.

This leaves almost nothing for practically everything else we think of as government.

2) “The debt doesn’t matter because we owe it to ourselves.”

This is probably the biggest lie of all. Two of the Social Security trust funds alone (OASI and DI) own $2.72 trillion of US debt.

The federal government owes this money to current and future beneficiaries of those trust funds, i.e. EVERY SINGLE US CITIZEN ALIVE.

I fail to see the silver lining here. How is it somehow ‘better’ if the government defaults on its citizens as opposed to, say, banks?

3) “They can always ‘selectively default’ on the debt”

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Bank Problem: Plummeting Oil Prices Could Destroy The Banks That Are Holding Trillions In Commodity Derivatives

Could rapidly falling oil prices trigger a nightmare scenario for the commodity derivatives market? The big Wall Street banks did not expect plunging home prices to cause a mortgage-backed securities implosion back in 2008, and their models did not anticipate a decline in the price of oil by more than 40 dollars in less than six months this time either. If the price of oil stays at this level or goes down even more, someone out there is going to have to absorb some absolutely massive losses. In some cases, the losses will be absorbed by oil producers, but many of the big players in the industry have already locked in high prices for their oil next year through derivatives contracts. The companies enter into these derivatives contracts for a couple of reasons. Number one, many lenders do not want to give them any money unless they can show that they have locked in a price for their oil that is higher than the cost of production. Secondly, derivatives contracts protect the profits of oil producers from dramatic swings in the marketplace. These dramatic swings rarely happen, but when they do they can be absolutely crippling. So the oil companies that have locked in high prices for their oil in 2015 and 2016 are feeling pretty good right about now. But who is on the other end of those contracts? In many cases, it is the big Wall Street banks, and if the price of oil does not rebound substantially they could be facing absolutely colossal losses. (Read More....)

“I’m no prophet, but the End Times are here” – Dr. David Jeremiah

Pastor David Jeremiah, from the Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego, has written a new book in which he and a co-writer highlight ten key players of the Book of Revelation. Each chapter starts with a “story” about that person’s activity during the End Times and then gives Bible references to back it up. In an interview with the Christian Post Jeremiah said:

“The End Times, in the sense of Bible prophecy, probably started for us in 1948 when Israel became a nation, because many of the prophecies, in the New Testament especially, could not be fulfilled until Israel was at home in her nation,”

He says that we should not be upset by the thought that we are in the End Times because Revelation tells us that Jesus and His followers are victorious.

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J.D. GREEAR: 10 Plumblines for Local Outreach (Part 4)

This is the last of a four-part series on local outreach. We’re sharing the ten “plumblines” that guide our local outreach philosophy, as explained by Matt Mig, our Pastor of Local Outreach. Be sure to also read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

9. The Best Way To Avoid Paternalism Is To Seek Friendship.

Paternalism happens when someone who has authority or resources restricts the responsibility or choice of another person in the perceived “best interests” of that second individual. It is the result of defining our neighbors by their situation or need instead of by God’s design for them. These unhealthy relationships can occur when we enter into potentially positive relationships like mentoring or coaching without valuing the other person, and even a well-meaning church can accidentally fall into this trap when working with people in material need.

In the book Toxic Charity, Bob Lupton describes the shame and embarrassment an unemployed father feels when materially rich church members provide gifts to his children that he can’t afford and the dependency that misguided aid can create in entire communities. Paternalistic attitudes often result in services that temporarily alleviate material need, but do nothing to help someone discover who God created them to be.

We’re all susceptible to this trap: it is the “default setting” for prideful people who happen to have more of something than the person next to them. We must actively try to befriend our incarcerated or homeless neighbors. It won’t just happen on its own. Building relationships of real equality between people of unequal power isn’t easy, but there are a few habits we can develop that can help us to avoid the trap:

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From where does faith come and to whom does it belong?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain— if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2-5 NASB)

When it comes to Justification by God of His people, shouldn’t the clutter be removed and the rubbish swept away? All aspects of our salvation should be clarified and those things that are only meant to cause confusion or misdirection (showing those with discernment their true source) should be shown for what they…

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