Daily Archives: December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014: Truth2Freedom Daily Headline Alerts Collection

Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, but a gift for the guilty. —Steven Lawson

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Dec. 16, 2014

BLOOMBERG

Russia’s biggest rate increase since the country’s 1998 default threatens to further undercut an economy already on the brink of recession. The central bank, led by Elvira Nabiullina, is fighting to halt the decline of the ruble, the world’s worst-performing currency this year. Policy makers, having spent more than $80 billion since January to prop up the currency, raised their key rate to 17 percent from 10.5 percent at an emergency meeting last night.

The ruble plummeted into a freefall, losing as much as 19 percent as panic swept across Russian financial markets after a surprise interest-rate increase failed to stem the run on the currency.

Taliban militants killed dozens of children in an attack on an army-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar that left 146 people dead so far, the country’s deadliest terrorist attack since at least 2007. Two attackers were still holding 50 students and teachers hostages. Four attackers blew themselves up and another was shot dead by soldiers. The dead included 123 male students, as well as nine staff members, including a female teacher.

Sony Corp. was warned about a year ago that hackers had infiltrated its network and were stealing gigabytes of data several times a week, underscoring a pattern of lapses predating a recent attack that has spilled Sony Pictures’ secrets onto the Internet.

The Satanic Temple will be allowed to set up displays alongside planned Nativity scenes at two state capitols this holiday season. In Tallahassee, Fla., the Satanic Temple plans to erect a diorama inside the capitol rotunda depicting an angel falling into the flaming pit of hell, along with two Bible verses and the words “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple.” In Lansing, Mich., the Satanic Temple will set up a display that includes a cross, a red snake, and a message that reads “the greatest gift is knowledge,” on the capitol lawn, though a Nativity scene may be nowhere in sight.

Bushmaster Firearms, the maker of the military assault rifle used to kill dozens at a Connecticut elementary school was sued almost exactly two years later by the families of 20 first-grade students who died in the mass shooting.

New-home construction in the U.S. exceeded a 1 million annualized pace in November for a third consecutive month, continuing a slow recovery in the housing market.

Sweden’s central bank pledged to do what’s needed to jolt the largest Nordic economy out of a deflation funk blamed by some economists on premature rate increases after the financial crisis.

An anti-Islamist group in Germany drew the biggest crowd ever for one of its rallies, even as the country’s leaders urged people not to participate in a movement that has gained in strength since starting two months ago.

AP Top Stories

Trying to head off a new round of consumer headaches with President Barack Obama’s health care law, the insurance industry said Tuesday it will give customers more time to pay their premiums for January.

The manhunt for a Marine veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives amid a child custody dispute has spread to two suburban Philadelphia counties.

Two child passengers died when a car driven by a 9-year-old boy in rural Mississippi crashed while being pursued by police, authorities said on Monday.

The biggest eruption of Cape Verde volcano Pico do Fogo in decades has destroyed two villages and threatens a forest reserve Tuesday

President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region earlier this month. The drills, which mobilized 9,000 soldiers and more than 55 naval ships, were carried out to test the military’s combat readiness in Kaliningrad.

The last time Russia tried to save the ruble in such a dramatic fashion was 1998. U.S. markets responded by sliding 24% in three months.

BBC

Researchers in Brazil discovered “super-bacteria” in the sea waters where sailing and windsurfing events will be held during the 2016 Olympics.

Kenya deregistered more than 500 non-governmental organizations, including 15 accused of links with terrorism

Life uncovered by the deepest-ever marine drilling expedition has been analyzed by scientists. The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) found microbes living 2,400m beneath the seabed off Japan. The tiny, single-celled organisms survive in this harsh environment on a low-calorie diet of hydrocarbon compounds and have a very slow metabolism.

Seven people were detained in a series of raids by Spain and Morocco on a suspected network recruiting women to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Four renovated halls in the Tutankhamun gallery in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo have been unveiled.

WND

Unconfirmed reports of a new decree imposing the death penalty on anyone caught smuggling Bibles into Saudi Arabia has many Christian ministries and support groups on edge.

Pope Francis is charging the “media” with the sin of disinformation, saying that giving people “half” the facts leaves them unable to make accurate judgments.

In an exclusive Observer interview, Mohammed Islam, said to have investment returns of $72 million as a high school senior, admits he invented the whole story.

Saying our borders are “not open to illegal migration,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson opened in Dilley, Texas, what is billed as the largest U.S. family detention center to hold those caught entering the country illegally.

GA – The Kennesaw City Council has approved a land-use permit for a new mosque less than two weeks after it had denied the permit citing traffic and parking concerns.


Daily Digest

December 16, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power, as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against the invasion of the others.” –James Madison, Federalist No. 48, 1788

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Gun-Hostile Surgeon General Confirmed

Vivek Murthy, who is not even 37 years old, who was born in the UK and who thinks guns are a health issue to be stamped out like heart disease or obesity, was confirmed by the Senate Monday as the United States’ 19th surgeon general. For this confirmation, 51 Democrats voted for the man, thanks to the nuclear option. Days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Murthy tweeted, “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.” A month after the shooting, Murthy co-signed a letter sent to Congress as president and co-founder of Doctors for America, urging the legislative body to “remove military-style guns and ammunition” and “strengthen safety measures and regulations for guns used for hunting, sport, and self-protection” so that America could half gun deaths by 2020. At a hearing in February, Murthy said he does “not intend to use the surgeon general’s office as a bully pulpit for gun control.” What we have is the word of a bureaucrat — for what that’s worth. More…

NYC Cops to Mayor: Stay Away From Our Funerals

A group of New York City police officers is telling the mayor of the city and the city’s council speaker to stay away from funerals for those killed in the line of duty. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is encouraging its members to sign a flyer banning the two politicians from attending their funerals. “I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty,” the flyer read. “Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice.” The police are angry at the mayor for throwing them under the bus as a bunch of racists when protests erupted after a police officer was not indicted after Eric Garner died resisting arrest in Staten Island. More…

Wealth Today Lags Far Behind 2007

By official measurements, the Great Recession is behind us and the economy is slowly recovering. The adverse effects, on the other hand, are still strong. Nearly five years after the recession was declared ended, nearly half of the wealth Americans held prior to the financial crisis has not been recovered. MarketWatch reports, “Americans are still 40% poorer today than they were in 2007, the year before the global financial crisis. The net worth of American families — the difference between the values of their assets, including homes and investments, and liabilities — fell to $81,400 in 2013, down slightly from $82,300 in 2010, but a long way off the $135,700 in 2007, according to a new report released on Friday by the nonprofit think-tank Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.” That doesn’t bode well for the long-term economic outlook. Sadly, the Left won’t consider this entirely bad news, as they blame America’s economic woes on “wealthy” capitalist benefactors. By their logic, they’ve “leveled the playing field.” Except they haven’t. In fact, Democrats, led by Barack Obama, have only themselves to blame for widening the income gap. More…

Landlord Threatens to Evict Visiting Soldier

A landlord in South Carolina has threatened to double rent and press charges against a new mother whose husband visited her for more than a week when he was on leave from the military. Sgt. William Bullock traveled from Missouri to visit his wife, who’s studying at Clemson University and cares for the couple’s two-week-old daughter. “Bullock said the landlord … told him he had overstayed, saying visitors are not allowed to stay in the apartments past seven days, per the agreement signed by Bullock’s wife, Lily,” TV station Fox Carolina reports. “‘I’m stationed in Missouri and we haven’t seen each other in six months. What’s the problem with me staying and visiting with my wife?’ Bullock said. The landlord, whose name is Chuck, told FOX Carolina he enforces that rule for all his tenants.” Since when are husbands considered “visitors”? And what meager gains the landlord makes by enforcing his rules he obliterates by making life difficult for a couple sacrificing much to serve our nation — in December, too, when the world remembers a time when another young couple couldn’t find a place in the inn. More…

Peru Will Charge Greenpeace for Destructive Climate Stunt

Timed to coincide with the end of the United Nations’ Lima Climate Change Conference, Greenpeace activists tread on what many consider sacred ground — the ancient Nazca Lines in the Peruvian desert. The ecofascists wanted their message — “Time for Change” — to be seen by UN members flying away in carbon-belching airplanes. Now, The New York Times reports, “President Ollanta Humala of Peru criticized the environmental group Greenpeace on Saturday for not respecting his country’s archaeological heritage as authorities said they intended to seek criminal charges against several activists who damaged the fragile desert around the Nazca Lines. … Officials said that the activists walking over the fragile desert ground left marks that cannot be removed. The Nazca Lines were created over 1,000 years ago, and include enormous figures of birds, mammals and geometric shapes etched into the earth.” It’s ironic that Greenpeace would love nothing more than to destroy the world’s economy so as to “save” the planet from climate change, and yet what’ll get them in trouble is scuffling across some pebbles in the desert. More…

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

Australia Attack Not ‘Lone Wolf’

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Hostages forced to hold Islamic flag

Australians witnessed a terrifying hostage crisis Monday involving 17 people at the Lindt Chocolat Café in Sydney. Sadly, two hostages were killed and four were injured. The hostage taker, Man Haron Monis, was killed by Australian police officers when they raided the building. This incident should serve as a wake-up call to Australia and the rest of the world that Islamic extremism has no boundaries.

Monis was an Iranian-born Islamic extremist who, Fox News reports, “emigrated to Australia in 1996” after being granted asylum. He then became infamous “for his public campaign of writing letters to the families of fallen soldiers calling them ‘murderers’ and urging the recipients to lobby the government to withdraw from Afghanistan.” Talk about an ingrate. For that, he was charged with using the postal service for harassment, though in court he proclaimed himself a “peace activist.”

But worse, Fox adds, Monis was charged last year “in connection with the murder of his ex-wife,” and was “charged earlier this year with sexual assault” — more than 40 counts. He was free on bail at the time of the hostage taking.

Did we mention he used a firearm, which is banned in Australia?

The hostage-taking jihadist was also found to have written a letter on his own website where, Fox News also notes, he “accused Australia, Great Britain and the U.S. of ‘oppression and terrorism’ and posted images of dead children.” And for the disclaimer: He also “called for non-violent activism writing that ‘Islam is a religion of peace and a Muslim should be a peace activist.'” Is taking 17 people hostage at gunpoint being non-violent and peaceful?

His lawyer, Manny Conditsis, was quick to defend his client and distance his actions from terrorism or Islamic extremism. He stated, “This is a one-off random individual. It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged goods individual who’s done something outrageous.” Further, he laughably asserted, “His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.” And we’re supposed to believe that?

Unfortunately, some do. CBS News’ Bob Orr was quick to take the bait, saying, “This is almost the prototypical type attack that we believe lone wolves to be capable of.” Orr may believe this was just some loon acting of his accord, but even if he wasn’t specifically directed by a terrorist organization it only obscures the truth. YouTube videos showed three hostages relaying Monis’ demands, as he wanted it known that this was an “attack on Australia by the Islamic State.”

Australia raised its terror level alert in September in response to threats from Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adani. In an audio message, he urged that lone-wolf attacks be carried out, including in Australia.

The Islamic State has yet to take credit for this attack, but, given the aforementioned rhetoric and the fact that the jihadist wanted an ISIL flag delivered to the cafe, it’s just a matter of time before they do.

Yet somehow, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott saw fit to declare, “The point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion. … It is something to which sick individuals succumb, and sick individuals exist in all communities and in all societies.”

The Left will do everything possible to deceive people, claiming there is no connection between these attacks and Islam. They will continue to try to portray Islam as a Religion of Peace™. And they will continue to deny that these attacks are, as Mark Alexander notes, “directly tied to worldwide Jihad by way of the Qur’an, the foundational fabric linking all of Islamist violence.”

This jihadist in Australia was a radicalized cleric who, like many other such figures in America and elsewhere, preached hatred for the West. Until the world recognizes the threat of Islamic extremism for what it is, this and worse acts of violence will continue.

Purposefully refusing to identify an enemy for who they are and what they do will not make them go away. If anything, it will embolden them to carry out more heinous acts of violence.

A Senate Stocking Stuffer

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Ted Cruz

Congressional passage of the $1.1 trillion CRomnibus (part omnibus, part continuing resolution) package last weekend may have prevented a government shutdown, but it created a variety of divisions between and among Republicans and Democrats that could flare up in grand style in the next Congress.

The package funds most of the government through fiscal year 2015, pulling together 11 appropriations bills that cover many areas, except the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded only until Feb. 27. Much of the spending adheres to budget caps put in place last year, with additional emergency spending that falls outside the caps — including $64 billion for overseas military operations such as the fight against ISIL and $5.4 billion to combat Ebola.

Republicans achieved their objectives in some areas. The Dodd-Frank financial regulation law was partially relaxed to allow banks to directly engage in derivatives trading. Some school nutrition standards pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama were also rolled back, in large part because school districts are having serious trouble complying with the new regulations — not to mention the near-mutiny among students. Another provision loosens contribution limits for national political parties. The Democrats balked at this provision, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling it “egregious,” but they’ll be perfectly happy with it when leftist one-percenters pour out their money for the 2016 election.

Democrats also won some things in the bill as well. ObamaCare funding remains intact at current levels, despite the long history of GOP threats to defund it. The Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions, was renewed, but since ObamaCare calls for funding of abortions that amendment remains pretty much moot.

One bright spot for free enterprise was in the extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which puts off for another year a bureaucratic free-for-all that would blitz online retailers with new taxes, regulations and paperwork. If Congress has any sense at all, it will enact a clean, stand-alone extension of the act in January.

There was rancor among Democrats over passage of the bill because of its rollback of Dodd-Frank and the relaxed political party funding. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led the charge against the CRomnibus from the liberal side, but she was swamped by the larger Democrat contingent eager to pass the bill. Her actions may not have amounted to much, but her popularity saw a boost. She is increasingly considered a viable alternative presidential candidate to Hillary Clinton, complicating the latter’s second White House run.

Warren found an unusual ally in her fight against the spending package in Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, if for an entirely different reason. Along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Cruz hoped to derail the package by introducing a symbolic point-of-order vote condemning the unconstitutionality of Barack Obama’s executive action on illegal aliens.

“If you believe President Obama’s executive order was unconstitutional, vote yes,” Cruz told his colleagues. “If you think the president’s executive order is constitutional, vote no.” Well, 74 senators believed the latter — or at least wouldn’t admit the former — among them the full Republican leadership.

As he did with his box-canyon shutdown strategy last year, Cruz managed to draw significant ire from his GOP colleagues. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said, “Suffice it to say, I’m not happy with the strategy [Cruz] has come up with. I think it’s totally counterproductive.” Cruz has been accused of grandstanding for the sake of his own popularity before, but many conservatives also praised him for standing his ground.

Did Cruz’s actions cause more trouble than they were worth? The temporary funding of DHS means the immigration issue will be revisited early next year anyway. Cruz and Lee were faulted for outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid’s pushing cloture on a series of stalled nominees because the procedural vote allowed Reid to turn to other matters. That’s a stretch, considering that executive and judicial nominations were going to be on the calendar anyway at some point between now and the end of the session. Remember, Reid didn’t trigger the nuclear option for nothing.

The real reason that Cruz’s actions caused such a stir is probably best encapsulated by the fact that senators’ weekend holiday plans had to be put on hold. But as Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw wrote, “The fact that any of them had to show up on Saturday and couldn’t head home from work two weeks before Christmas and stay there until early January isn’t exactly tugging at my heartstrings.”

Republican and Democrat leaders in the House and Senate must be suffering tennis elbow after all the self-congratulatory pats on the back for passing the CRomnibus. Republican voters may be asking themselves, though, why the GOP went for a long-term budget deal when they could have just passed a 60-day continuing resolution and negotiated a full budget package from a position of strength in January.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

Lord Acton (1834-1902): “Government by idea tends to take in everything, to make the whole of society obedient to the idea. Spaces not so governed are unconquered, beyond the border, unconverted, a future danger.”

Columnist Thomas Sowell: “Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were ‘torture.’ But any serious discussion of a serious issue — and surely terrorism qualifies as serious — has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate question: ‘Compared to what alternative?’ If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of ‘torture’? Would you even care what the definition of ‘torture’ was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?”

Columnist Arnold Ahlert: “The assault on Christmas is part of the effort to fundamentally transform a nation for which leftists express skepticism at best, and outright contempt at worst. And perhaps nothing animates that contempt more than the reality that the greatness of this nation is derived from ‘dead, white, slave-owning Europeans,’ animated by a Judeo-Christain culture. It is that culture that must now be deconstructed by any means necessary, because it rests on two foundations utterly anathema to the American left: individual liberty and free-market capitalism. Instead, the left prefers equality, or more precisely a radical egalitarianism where ambition, talent and desire must be held in check to accommodate laziness, stupidity and sloth. It is the ultimate zero-sum game that, at this particular time of year, assumes those who enjoy Christmas must accommodate those who are offended by it, lest our commitment to ‘social justice’ is found wanting. Thus ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah’ must be cast aside for ‘Happy Holiday,’ and the Christmas season must become ‘Winter Solstice.’ That is not tolerance. It’s totalitarianism with the ultimate goal of making everyone equal, even if it’s equally miserable. Few things undermine that ambition more than the so-called Christmas spirit that is the essence of happiness, generosity — and live and let live.”

Comedian Jimmy Fallon: “This week Biden said that he will decide on a potential 2016 presidential campaign by the spring or the summer. Then he said, ‘Whichever comes first.'”

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/ )”


December 15, 2014
ALAN KEYES — What will it take to get the people who are supposed to represent us in government to realize that America’s survival as a free nation urgently requires that Barack Obama and his collaborators be called to account? The situation of the United States today reminds me of the period during the 9/11 terrorist attack, between the moment when each tower was struck and the moment of its breathtaking collapse (about 2 hours, as I recall)… (more)

December 15, 2014
PATRICK GARRY, RA ANALYST — A wide array of issues and controversies dominate the political terrain, but none is as important as the health and future of the middle class. A strong middle class has historically stood as a pillar of American society and constitutional democracy… (more)

December 15, 2014
LARRY KLAYMAN — Freedom Watch’s court hearing on Dec. 22, 2014, in a case styled Arpaio v. Obama (14-cv-1966) before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, could be the only hope to stop Obama’s imperial fiat amnesty to illegal aliens. Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner are eagerly funding Obamacare and President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty for another year. (See http://www.freedomwatchusa.org.)… (more)

December 15, 2014
CLIFF KINCAID — A story in Thursday’s Washington Post about establishing Obama’s “foreign policy legacy” goes a long way toward explaining why the Senate Democrats and the media have been trashing the Bush administration’s very productive enhanced interrogation program as “torture.”… (more)


December 15, 2014
JOSEPH FARAH — Ronald Reagan said it clearly enough: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Evidently the Republican leaders in the House and Senate do not accept or believe that truism…. (more)

December 14, 2014
WALL STREET JOURNAL — In a rare weekend session triggered by a conservative revolt against President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, the Senate on Saturday night passed a $1.1 trillion government spending bill, sending it to the president for his signature and ending the final budget fight of a Congress riven by them…. (more)

December 14, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — The House of Representatives avoided a government shutdown Thursday night, but Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., says it came at the cost of letting the outgoing Senate Democratic majority have control over government spending for nine months after they lose power, and he says Republicans relinquished their strongest weapon for confronting President Obama’s immigration actions in the new Congress…. (more)


December 14, 2014
LEE DUIGON — “It was pittie/ One so wittie/ Malcontent, Leaving reason/ Should to treason/ So be bent. But his gifts/ Were but shifts/ Void of grace: And his braverie/ Was but knaverie, Vile and base.” The poem with the funny spelling was written in 1584 to memorialize the execution of a traitor. But to me it seems to describe the current occupier of the White House…. (more)

December 14, 2014
AARON KLEIN — In a stunning exchange with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, offered premature final judgments of why Ambassador Chris Stevens went to Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012…. (more)

December 14, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — Seventy years ago this month, American heroes successfully held the small crossroads town of Bastogne, repelling Nazi Germany’s last chance at a settled peace and making total victory in Europe all but guaranteed…. (more)

December 13, 2014
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE — Representative Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.) accused House Republican leadership of reneging on a deal made with him to get his support on a crucial procedural vote that almost killed the $1.1 trillion cromnibus funding bill…. (more)

December 13, 2014
BREITBART — What do you think of Speaker Boehner having President Obama ‘whip votes’ from the White House in order to pass this bill? It stinks to high heaven…. (more)

December 13, 2014
RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW — RUSH: Okay. So let me see if I have this right. We’re supposed to be entertained by the apparent fight, disagreement, fisticuffs, whatever, going on between the Democrats, Obama and Pelosi and that lamebrain Elizabeth Warren. We’re supposed to be excited by this? Ah, gee, you talk about getting misdirected…. (more)

December 13, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — Despite resounding Republican victories in statehouses, governor’s offices, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, the GOP-controlled House voted 219-206 Thursday to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill that many conservatives abhor because it funds Obamacare and the president’s executive actions granting amnesty to illegal aliens…. (more)

December 13, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — Fox News host Sean Hannity ripped House Speaker John Boehner on his show Thursday for what he called a “cowardly” passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill…. (more)

December 13, 2014
TERENCE P. JEFFREY — The federal debt has increased by $3.8 trillion in the 3.8 years that have passed since House Speaker John Boehner cut his first spending deal with Senate Democrats and President Obama…. (more)

December 13, 2014
DESERET NEWS — Congress has a window of opportunity to approve common-sense immigration reform and should act, faith leaders, including President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in April after meeting with President Barack Obama…. (more)


December 13, 2014
NEWSMAX — Ukraine on Friday welcomed a U.S. bill that would allow Washington to provide lethal military assistance to the embattled country, but Russia expressed outrage at the “openly confrontational” legislation…. (more)

December 13, 2014
NEW YORK POST — Not over their dead bodies. ​ Cops are warning Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa ​Mark-​Viverito to stay away from their funerals should they be ​killed in the line of duty…. (more)

December 13, 2014
DAILY SIGNAL — For 36 years, Jim Garlow didn’t know his first adopted child was the result of a rape. But after his wife Carol lost a six-year battle with cancer last year, their daughter, Janie, went in search of her birth mother. In succeeding, Janie also discovered the horrific circumstances of her own conception…. (more)

December 13, 2014
BOB UNRUH — An atheist invited to give the opening prayer at a Lake Worth, Florida, City Commission meeting recently called on the “wisdom of Satan” and declared “if almighty Thor is with us, who can ever be against us,” a perversion of a New Testament verse…. (more)

December 12, 2014
BREITBART — President Barack Obama bailed out House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday night. After the House embarrassed Boehner by almost killing his 1,774-page $1.1 trillion cromnibus bill on a purely procedural vote earlier in the day, House Democrats pitched in to provide the votes to pass it…. (more)


December 12, 2014
NEWSMAX — House Speaker John Boehner wasn’t finding any love among some members of his own party after he successfully negotiated a budget deal Thursday night. “The political establishment wanted full-on amnesty,” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” In addition to funding the government through the fiscal year, it also leaves untouched President Barack Obama’s executive actions granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants…. (more)

December 12, 2014
JERUSALEM POST — Nutured in the Saul Alinsky-style, ACORN-esque tactics of organizing revolution under the banner of “social change,” Barack Obama, as a young community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s understood early on the importance of a crisis and how to ride the waves of an emergency to effect the fundamental transformation of society…. (more)

December 12, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — One in five U.S. adults are so depressed about debt – – not to mention drowning in it – – that they think they’re going to die still owing their creditors. In a personal finance survey, 18 percent of respondents said they’ll probably be in debt for the rest of their lives – – and that’s roughly double the percentage who believed that in May 2013, CNBC reported…. (more)


Email Brigade News Report


 What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. ~ Micah 6:8

 

December 16, 2014

 

Ray Stedman on the fruits of the Spirit: “After all, joy is love enjoying itself; peace is love resting; patience is love waiting; kindness is love reacting; goodness is love choosing; faithfulness is love keeping its word; gentleness is love empathizing; and self-control is love resisting temptation.”

 

MARSHA WEST’S COLUMN

Fight the spiritual forces of wickedness — and win!

Some of the news headlines this past week gave me reason for concern. …Satanism…religious liberty…beheadings…gender confusion…ecumenicalism. My tendency is to fret about such things, even though God reminds us in His Word: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Would the Son of God Contradict the Father?

Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors Part 1   Part 2

 

FEATURED ARTICLES

New

To Impeach or Not to Impeach Obama—Lee Duigon

http://www.newswithviews.com/Duigon/lee280.htm

Uh-oh. I think I may have just talked myself out of impeaching him. Instead, just let him gasp and flop around on the bottom of the boat for the next two years, while the new Congress dismantles all his policies. …

 

The Cop Killing Cult of Larry Davis—Michelle Malkin

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/12/13/the_cop-killing_cult_of_larry_davis_124951.html

In Manhattan’s Union Square last week, a protester wielded a menacing sign. It didn’t make the front page of any newspaper. You didn’t see it on cable news. An appalled bystander sent me a photo of the marcher and his inciteful placard, but didn’t want to be identified in any way.

You’ll know why in a moment.

 

WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

New

Siege selfie shame: People queue to pose for pictures of themselves at scene of Sydney terror http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2874191/Selfie-disgrace-Shameful-file-people-posing-pictures-scene-Sydney-terror-siege.html

 

NEWS TO KNOW

New

Suspect sought in 6 shooting deaths near Philadelphia

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/12/15/pennsylvania-shooting-rampage/

 

Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill, 56-40

http://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-conservatives-force-saturday-session-1418484862

 

President Obama’s Joke Calling Troops ‘Santa in Fatigues’ Silences Audience

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/12/15/President-Obama-Joke-Calling-Troops-Santa-in-Fatigues-Silenced-Audience

 

Mark Levin to the GOP: I AM ONE INCH AWAY FROM LEAVING YOU! https://news.yahoo.com/cancer-patients-testing-drugs-mouse-avatars-172416007.html

 

CULTURE CLASH

 

CULTURE

New

Home Truths & Family—Bill Muehlenberg

http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/12/13/home-truths-on-family/

We know that as the family goes, so goes the nation. No society can survive without strong families. That is why the enemies of society in the West have always worked so hard, targeting families. Once the family is weakened or destroyed, so will be the nation.    All the radicals have known this. Vladimir Lenin said, “Destroy the family, destroy the nation.” The family is an “obscene bourgeois institution” said Simone de Beauvoir. All these radicals worked overtime to see the family undermined and decimated.

 

EDUCATION – Research Links

New

Virginia Attorney Wants Public Schools to Stop Renting to Churches

http://christiannews.net/2014/12/15/virginia-attorney-wants-public-schools-to-stop-renting-to-churches/

Previous

Are You Absolutely, Positively Sure You Want Your Kids in Public School?—Lee Duigon http://barbwire.com/2014/12/11/absolutely-positively-sure-want-kids-public-school

 

HOMOSEXUALITY — Research Links

 

The revolution of the family: the Marxist roots of ‘homosexualism’

Porn may be only place gay youth see gay sex portrayed ‘positively’: UK ‘sex health’ charity head

300 Articles You Have to Read to Understand Homofascism

Homosexual Promiscuity: Breeding a national health problem

Speaking of Homosexuality

Big ‘Gay’ Brother is Watching You

Truth-Telling and Homosexuality

New

Christian Asks Thirteen Gay Bakeries For Traditional Marriage Cake, All Deny Him Service http://barbwire.com/2014/12/15/christian-asks-thirteen-gay-bakeries-traditional-marriage-cake-deny-service/

Previous

Salvation Army Promotes Homosexuality

http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/nodiscrimination

 

EX-GAYS/EX TRANSEXUALS

 

Trouble In Transtopia: Murmurs Of Sex Change Regret

Truth Matters In Ex-Gay Debate

Nine fallen ‘exgay’ leaders seek spotlight with therapy ban alliance

Why Gays Cannot Speak for Ex-Gays

120 EXhomosexual video testimonies

 

New

‘Nobody is born gay’ billboard stuck over Virginia highway until next year

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/outrage-born-gay-billboard-va-highway-article-1.2042003

The billboard along Richmond’s I-95 is paid for by the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and uses a pair of twins as an example that nobody is born gay. ‘No young person should be driving down the road and see something that says they are not alright as they are,’ says Beth Panilaitis of Rosmy.

Previous

Former Lesbian Turned Christian: ‘We’ve Made God Little if We Believe He Cannot Change People’

http://christiannews.net/2014/11/28/former-lesbian-turned-christian-weve-made-god-little-if-we-believe-he-cannot-change-people/

 

LEFT-WING MEDIA

New

America No Better ‘Morally’ than Our Enemies; Gruber Scandal Just a Big ‘Nothing Burger’

http://www.mrc.org/notable-quotables/america-no-better-morally-our-enemies-gruber-scandal-just-big-nothing-burger

 

LIFE& DEATH – Research Links

 

Parents Release Photo of Daughter Born at 24 Weeks to Stop Late-Term Abortions

Amazing Video Shows Life Before Birth: “Everything a Newborn Baby Does, a Fetus Has Already Done

Abortion, Depression, Suicide

 

New

Supreme Court Lets Planned Parenthood Risk Women’s Lives With Dangerous Abortion Pill

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/12/15/supreme-court-lets-planned-parenthood-risk-womens-lives-with-dangerous-abortion-pill/

 

MARRIAGE & FAMILY

 

Ryan Anderson explains why gay marriage doesn’t exist

Our last chance to save traditional marriage

 

Previous

Former director of ‘ex-gay’ ministry Love in Action marries same-sex partner

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/ex-gay-minister-marries-same-sex-partner-article-1.2021030

 

RELIGION

 

OF INTEREST

New

Christmas: God’s Glory Returns–Mike Riccardi

http://thecripplegate.com/christmas-gods-glory-returns-2/

Last Friday, we looked at the significance of John’s use of the word “dwelt” in John 1:14. I argued that by using the peculiar word for to pitch a tent, John was calling our attention to the Tabernacle of Israel, where God condescended to reveal Himself to Israel for worship and communion. The climax of the story of the Tabernacle comes in Exodus 40:34–38, where Yahweh’s glory fills the Tabernacle, signifying that He will dwell—that He will take up residence—with His people.

Previous

Russell Moore is an evangelical theologian, ethicist, pastor and President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission – and he’s also a close associate of Albert Mohler’s.  So this is a really BIG deal.

Russell Moore Says He Is Unsure of Differences Between His and Pope’s Gospel Focus—JD Hall

http://pulpitandpen.org/2014/12/11/3295/

 

CREATION VS EVOLUTION – Research links

 

Why is biblical Creationism so important?

The Giraffe: God’s Outstanding Animal

 

New

Arizona Biology Teacher Mocks Jesus, Biblical Creation in Lecture Slide

http://christiannews.net/2014/12/15/arizona-biology-teacher-mocks-jesus-biblical-creation-in-lecture-slide/

 

CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

Previous

Christian Company Ordered to Print Pro-Homosexual T-Shirts Files Appeal

http://christiannews.net/2014/12/11/christian-company-ordered-to-print-pro-homosexual-t-shirts-files-appeal/

 

TEACHING/DEVOTIONAL

New

Conception or Birth?—Ray Stedman

http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/hebrews/conception-or-birth

 

WATCH OUT!

 

Where do Christians get solid food? From voices in their heads, intuition, imaginations, flights of fancy, signs, wonders? No. Solid food is consumed by feeding on the meat of the written

Word of God. ~ Sandy Simpson

 

Alcoholics Anonymous

 

New Booklet Tract: The Spiritual Truth Behind Alcoholics Anonymous–And Why Christians Should Think Twice About Joining A.A.

 

Previous

Yes, AA’s cofounder was a freemason—John Lanagan

http://mywordlikefire.com/2009/10/26/yes-aas-cofounder-was-a-freemason/

 

Angels – Research links

 

Three Reasons You Should Not Try To Bind Satan

Unbiblical ideas About Angels

 

Ann Voskamp

 

Romantic Panentheism, a Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Christianized Version of “Sexytime” with Ghosts?

 

Beth Moore

 

Has so-and-so false teacher always been false, or did it just start now?

The Low-Information Evangelical, Part 1  Part 2

Examining Beth Moore’s teaching

 

“Blood Moons”

 

Is Jesus going to return during the blood-red moon of 2015?

Divine Sign for Israel? Hagee Explains Blood Moons

Will Lunar Eclipses Cause Four Blood Moons in 2014 and 2015?

 

Charismatic Movement

 

Strange Fire Q&A: Answering the Critics—Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur

Where is IHOP Going? An interview with Sarah Leslie

 

Church Growth Movement/Seeker/Market-Driven

 

Straight Talk About the Seeker Church Movement

Why this pastor left the church-growth model

Who is Peter Drucker, and what did he do with our church?

Rick Warren’s Catholic television interview

 

Contemplative Prayer – Research Links

 

The “Tree of Contemplative Practices” – Is Your Church Practicing Some of These?

What Is Spiritual Formation and Why Does It Matter?

Contemplative Terms

Ecumenism

 

Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns

 

New

Wisdom from the Holy Spirit—Mike Ratliff

http://mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/wisdom-from-the-holy-spirit/

Ecumenicalism is just a word, however, its usage in these last days has come to mean much more than a term referring to the promotion or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation as we see in the dictionary definition. To the ecumenicists, it states that Christianity is the same regardless of definition of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. …

Previous

 

Emergent Church – Research Links

 

McLaren’s CANA Initiative marks new era for Neo Emergents

Listen: Emergent Church finally shows its real intentions!

Emerging towards convergence

Emergent /Emerging Church Documentary

 

New

Let’s Stop Petting the Wolves—Amy Spreeman

http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/12/lets-stop-petting-wolves/

Previous

Controversial pastor [?] Rob [No Hell] Bell and wife, Kristen, share new view on marriage

http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/12/02/rob-bell-kristen-marriage-advice

 

Hebrew Roots Movement

Previous

It’s Christmas time and that can only mean one thing: the Hebrew Roots folks are busy telling Christians they are sinning if they celebrate Christmas—Christine Pack

http://www.solasisters.com/2014/12/its-christmas-time-and-that-can-only.html

 

Hillsong Church

 

Hellsong – The Music of Hillsong – In Praise of Folly

 

Previous

Hillsong NYC’s “biblical” silence about homosexuality—John Lanagan

http://mywordlikefire.com/2014/11/04/hillsongs-carl-lentz-uses-non-existent-scripture-the-message-to-justify-silence-on-homosexuality/

Eugene Peterson’s The Message “bible” flat out deletes homosexuality as sin from two key New Testament passages, and gives a politically correct spin to a third

 

“Jesus Calling” – Research Links

 

In Jesus Calling: Jesus Contradicts Himself

Is Hit Book “Jesus Calling” Pushing New Age?

Articles and links exposing the New Age “Jesus” and New Age teachings

in Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” devotional

One Woman’s Story About Jesus Calling: A Surprise I Never Expected That Changed My Life

 

Previous

Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ–SUFTT

http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/changing-jesus-calling-damage-control-false-christ/

 

Jonathan Cahn

 

“Rabbi” Jonathan Cahn’s Most Recent Duping of the People of God: “The Mystery of the Shemitah”

 

Joyce Meyer

 

The Prosperity Priestess and the Pied Piper of IHOP

Joyce Meyer’s teaching

 

Kay Arthur

 

Kay Arthur With Erroneous Contemplative Interpretation of Psalm 46:10

Christian Meditation: What’s Biblical and What’s

 

Mark Driscoll

 

5 Early Leadership Lessons from the Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Part 1: “We Are Not ABANDONED”   Part 2: “Under the Bus” and “Off the Map” – The Out-of-Control Bus That Runs Over Sheep  Part 3: The Culture Which Gave Rise to Driscoll

 

“The Message” Bible

 

Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” is a parody of the Bible

 

Previous

The “Message Bible”: A Breach of Truth—John Lanagan

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16449

 

Mormonism — Research Links

 

Mormon Church Admits Founder Joseph Smith Had About 40 Wives

Was Joseph Smith Really a Prophet from God?

What is Mormonism – What do Mormon’s Believe

The Mormon version of “Holy, Holy, Holy” is missing something

 

New

A big evangelical stood up to Glenn Beck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppnYKHAZQ1I#t=26

 

Why Mormons Now Want to be See As Christian–SUFTT

http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/12/why-mormons-now-want-to-be-seen-as-christian/

 

New Age Movement/New Thought/Spirituality — Research Links

 

The New Age Peale Factor: Norman Vincent Peale and the Occult, Part 1  Part 2

Mysticism & Global Mind Change

Panantheism

What is “The Secret”? What is the “Law of Attraction”?

 

Previous

Controversial pastor [?] Rob [No Hell] Bell and wife, Kristen, share new view on marriage

http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/12/02/rob-bell-kristen-marriage-advice

 

New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism – Research Links

 

What is an Apostle?

Rick Joyner’s alleged visit to heaven where he claims he met Enoch

 

Previous

Written in 2008.  Posting as a reminder of who these people are.

We have had enough of false prophets—Marsha West

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mwest/080830

Previous

Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors Part 1  Part 2

 

Occult

Previous

This Year’s Christmas Must Have A…Ouija Board–SUFTT

http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/years-christmas-must-ouija-board/

 

Roman Catholicism

 

Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns

The Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church

‘Secrets of the Vatican’ exposes moral crises facing Catholic Church’s new pope

Do eucharistic miracles really happen?

 

Previous

Pope Says All Dogs Go To Heaven

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/12/12/pope-francis-dogs-can-go-to-heaven/20296955/

 

Social Justice/Progressive Christianity

 

Shameful Social Gospel

The Social Justice Gospel, Yesterday and TodayPart 2

 

Previous

How progressive Pharisees brutalize the Bible—SUFTT

http://standupforthetruth.com/2014/11/progressive-pharisees-brutalize-bible/

 

Transhumanism/Nephilum

 

Spiritual Seduction

Extraterrestrials, Noah’s Flood, Pseudo-Humans, Pseudo-Science,

Nephilim and Space Alien DNAPart 2

 

Vision Casting

 

Casting a Vision of Commandeering Control

 

Witchcraft – Research Links

 

Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel — Research Links

 

Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors, Part 1   Part 2

The True Origins of the Prosperity Gospel

T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer teaching word-faith “Little Gods” doctrine

 

New

Creflo Dollar Says Myles Munroe Came to Him in a Dream Three Days After He Died and He Was Leading His Own Funeral

http://www.christianpost.com/news/creflo-dollar-says-myles-munroe-came-to-him-in-a-dream-three-days-after-he-died-and-he-was-leading-his-own-funeral-131117/

 

Creflo Dollar, false teacher—Tim Challies

http://www.challies.com/articles/the-false-teachers-creflo-dollar

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

New

Prof: ‘Elf on the Shelf’ conditions kids to accept surveillance state

http://eagnews.org/prof-elf-on-the-shelf-conditions-kids-to-accept-surveillance-state/

 

Previous

Kirk Cameron, Former Evangelical Pastor-Turned-Catholic Take to TBN to Make Case for Santa Claus

http://christiannews.net/2014/12/11/kirk-cameron-former-evangelical-pastor-turned-catholic-take-to-tbn-to-make-case-for-santa-claus/

 

HEALTH

 

New

Cancer patients testing drugs on mouse ‘avatars’

https://news.yahoo.com/cancer-patients-testing-drugs-mouse-avatars-172416007.html

 

MUSIC


 

3 New Signs Total Economic Collapse Is In Progress

Well folks…it may be time to fasten your seat belts and tighten up your chin straps…looks like we might be coming in for a hard landing.


World set to end year in brittle economic state

The global economy is ending the year in a fragile state with factory activity shrinking in China, euro zone business growth remaining weak, and emerging market giant Russia in a spiraling currency crisis. “These are uncertain times again and there is a risk of another global downturn,” said Stephen Webster, chief European economist at 4CAST.

Read more


U.N. Sending Thousands Of Muslims To America

The federal government is preparing for another “surge” in refugees and this time they won’t be coming illegally from Central America …………. Click here for full story


DHS: 100 Million Americans Could Lose Power In Major Sun Storm

Millions of Americans face catastrophic loss of electrical power during a future magnetic space storm that will disrupt the electric grid and cause cascading infrastructure failures, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document ……… Click here for full story


Iran: U.S. Military Option Is Off The Table

A credible U.S. military option against Iran is off the table and something the Obama administration can “no longer even think about,” according to one of Iran’s top military leaders, who claimed in a wide-ranging interview that Iran has deployed advanced missiles and satellites capable of tracking foreign militaries………. Click here for full story


Big Banks Will Take Depositors Money In Next Crash

The G-20 met recently in Australia to make new banking rules for the next financial calamity. Financial reform advocate Ellen Brown says these new rules will allow banks to take money from depositors and pensioners globally. Brown explains, “It became rules we agreed to actually implement………. Click here for full story


Spy Drone Hacks WiFi Networks, Listens To Calls

It’s small. It’s bright yellow, and it’s capable of cracking Wi-Fi passwords, eavesdropping on your cell phone calls and reading your text messages. It’s an unmanned spy drone and it just landed in Washington, D.C ……… Click here for full story


The McAvany Intel Memo

It’s easy to blame Greenspan, Bernanke, and Yellen for the future collapse of the late great American Empire, but it’s not that easy. There is much more involved in an empire’s demise than just one man’s (or woman’s) mistakes. A common new cliché pertaining to actions of the government, Federal Reserve policy, and perhaps even changes in culture of “we the people” may better explain today’s related difficulties in our empire’s mismanagement: “For every action, there are unintended consequences.”

How does this really happen? Do all empires automatically come and go? Consider the track record regarding empires past: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Mongolia, Spain, France, Egypt, and the Ottoman, Aztec, and British Empires. So far in world history, every major world empire has fallen. And while many historians and intellectuals still disagree today on what caused the fall of Rome, the following thesis is worth considering.

Italian economist/historian Ugo Bardi has written and spoken extensively about “Peak Civilization,” and the “decline and fall of the Roman Empire”: “When looking at the decline and fall of the present day American Empire, it is useful to compare it with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. So, the Roman Empire offers us some kind of model. We can say it is the paradigm of collapsing societies. And yet, we don’t seem to be able to find an agreement on what caused the collapse of the Roman Empire.”

“Historians have been debating this subject, and they came up with literally dozens of explanations: barbarian invasions, epidemics, lead poisoning, moral decadence, and what have you. Which is the right one? Or are all these explanations right? This is the point I would like to discuss today. I’ll be focusing on the interpretation of Joseph Tainter, based on the fact that empires and civilizations are ‘complex’ systems, and try to use system dynamics to describe the collapse.”
(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, July 2014, by guest editor Jim Deeds)


Denmark challenges Russia and Canada over North Pole

Denmark has presented a claim to the UN, arguing that the area surrounding the North Pole is connected to the continental shelf of Greenland, a Danish autonomous territory. Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said it was a “historic and important milestone” for Denmark. Canada and Russia have already asserted their own sovereignty over the energy-rich Arctic territory. More


One year from now, freedom dies worldwide

After the usual impeccably choreographed all-night “negotiation,” delegates of almost 200 nations at the latest annual U.N. climate yak-fest – this time in Lima, Peru – reached the usual agreement not to agree on anything except that the process by which they profit must continue. Not one delegate made any mention of the fact that every single one of the mad scientists’ predictions about the global warming and consequent planetary doom has failed to happen. More


Remains of Neolithic ‘Atlantis’ found off Haifa coast

It may not be the actual mythical city of Atlantis, but it’s still pretty astonishing. Archaeologists recently explored the remains of a 7,700-year-old sunken village off the coast of Haifa and found what may be the world’s oldest known wooden structure. The site might also help shed light on the nature of global warming and climate change. A team headed by University of Haifa archaeologists Dr. Ehud Galili and Dr. Deborah Cvikel, and Dr. Jonathan Benjamin of Flinders University of Adelaide, in October found a well belonging to a Neolithic village at a site known as Kfar Samir. What’s exceptional about it is that unlike most archaeological sites in Israel, the village is about 200 meters (218 yards) offshore and located about 16 feet underwater. More


Russian air force jets pose risk to civilian aviation in Baltic, says NATO

NATO accused Russia of posing a danger to civil aviation in the Baltic region after Stockholm protested over a Russian air force jet it said had flown too close to an airliner and had turned off one of its location instruments. Friday’s incident off southern Sweden inflamed sensitivities over Russian air force flights in the Nordic region that have increased steeply this year, driven in part by tensions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis. Finland also expressed concern about “Dark Flights” with so-called transponder locators switched off. More


Russia to Retaliate Against the US Over Sanctions, Troops and Warheads Ready

In its bid to impose more sanctions on Russia for its actions concerning Ukraine, the US Congress approved unanimously a new set of provisions over the country. Russia warned the West previously that if it pushes through with the bill then it will retaliate accordingly. There are now concerns about Russia’s next move. More


Hawaii lava on course to hit gas station and stores

Lava from a volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island is on course to reach a shopping center with a gas station and a supermarket in seven to 10 days, officials said Monday. Lava is about 1 mile from the shopping center in the small town of Pahoa, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira. The shopping center also contains a hardware store, pharmacy and auto repair shop. There’s still a great deal of uncertainty about when the lava might reach the center and what it could hit. The lava could smother one structure in the complex or cover them all, he said. More


Arizona Biology Teacher Mocks Jesus, Biblical Creation in Lecture Slide

A biology teacher who describes himself as ‘an open-minded skeptic’ purportedly showed a slide in one of his classes that mocks Jesus and describes biblical creation as ‘magic.’ Christofer Bang is a lecturer at Arizona State University who teaches biology and ecology courses. According to his academic profile page, his areas of “expertise” include ecology, evolution and plant biology. According to news reports last week, Bang mocked biblical creation and Christianity during a lecture in his biology class. A student who wished to remain anonymous shared information on Bang’s lecture with Campus Reform According to the student, Bang began his lecture by showing a slide titled “Evolution vs. Creationism.” The slide featured two cartoons—one depicting Charles Darwin with the words “genetics,” “adaption,” and “natural selection,” along with images of an ape-like creature gradually evolving into a man. The other cartoon showed a caricature of Jesus creating a man, with the words “zap!” and “magic!” More


Virginia Attorney Wants Public Schools to Stop Renting to Churches

An outspoken Virginia attorney says that he wants public schools to stop renting space to churches for worship services, as he believes that the arrangement is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Attorney John Flannery, a former federal prosecutor and congressional chief of staff, recently wrote on the blog “Loudon Progress” that he found it problematic that 34 out of 87 schools in Loudoun County allow churches to host services on the premises each Sunday. “It’s time to declare that religious worship is an impermissible use of our public schools,” he said. “In Loudoun County, the churches that use public school space are holding ‘church services’ and collecting ‘donations.’ This use advances religious worship, and thus religion. The government is plainly entangled when it’s hosting religious worship not in one or two schools but in 40% of all the county’s public schools.” Flannery opined that society is ripe for dialogue about the matter as it has not generally been a topic of discussion. He said that renting the space after hours when school is not in session does not rectify the situation. More


Did Pope Francis Really Say All Dogs and Cats Go to Heaven?

Dogs go to heaven, at least according to Pope Paul IV—not Pope Francis. The statement has made its rounds through major media outlets, including today.com, with the pet-loving sentiment attributed to the current head of the Vatican. According to Today, “Pope Francis never actually commented on the issue of whether dogs will do to heaven. According to Vatican Radio, the Pope said to a general audience (not a distraught boy as originally reported): ‘The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.’” Today attributed the pro-animal statement to a quote from Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. The paper reported it was Paul VI who had comforted a distraught boy with the words: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” More


Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter Under Government Attack

Bowing to pressure by secularist groups outside the state, Kentucky officials announced late Wednesday a decision to deny the Ark Encounter theme park an opportunity to participate in a popular tax rebate incentive program offered by the state’s tourism office. By letter on Dec. 10, state officials told the theme park’s developer, Answers in Genesis (AiG), that the only way AiG could participate in the rebate program is if AiG would agree to two conditions: 1) waive its right to include a religious preference in hiring, and 2) affirm that it will tolerate no “proselytizing” at the theme park. AiG has countered that the state’s new conditions are unlawful because it is well-established under both federal law (Title VII) and state law (KRS § 344.090) that religious organizations and entities like AiG are specifically permitted to utilize a religious preference in their hiring. Moreover, the government cannot show hostility toward religion or discriminate against persons or organizations who express religious viewpoints. More


Resurgence of Messianic Jews in homeland can mean only one thing

Living for centuries without a homeland, Messianic Jews have increased from the four corners of the world, and since the end of the 19th Century, the international movement has become more pronounced. After the Jewish people returned to their homeland in 1948 following the Holocaust and reestablished the nation of Israel after two millennia, the number of Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah, while holding onto their Jewish customs, has grown around the globe — at about the same rate that Jews continue to return to Israel.

View Article


Hollywood’s ‘troubling’ trends

A family advocacy group has released a report that finds an overwhelming majority of broadcast television shows about families contain some form of adult content, including sex, violence and profanity. But that isn’t the most troubling finding.

View Article


Generation Z

”Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:32-34)

So here we are, at the end of all things, wondering what is taking the Lord so long to return. Israel has been a nation now for sixty- five years. We’ve seen and are seeing the revival of the Roman Empire through the European and the Mediterranean Unions. We’ve lived in the most brutal century known to man. This century is turning out no better than the last.

View Article


What Is A Discerning Christian? – New Podcast: Spiritual Maturity and Biblical Discernment

by Chris Lawson, 11/26/14 Spiritual Research Network

“Christian discernment begins first with salvation in Christ (Hebrews 5:13-15), and then maturing as a believer through the teaching of God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:1-8). As the believer grows one ought to be able to discern between both good and evil, and to separate from spiritual error and false teachings.

Click here to read this article!


Christians Losing Everything to Islam?

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ ” ( Philippians 3:8). When Paul wrote the above in his letter to the Christians of Philippi, he and the early church were being persecuted (Paul was eventually executed in Rome). While today’s Western Christians still quote his words in the context of their daily struggles, an increasing number of Christians around the world, especially the Muslim world, are still literally losing absolutely everything for their faith. (ACT Note: Be prepared, for the story of this Christian will become all too common when Islam takes over the world.)

Click here to read this article!


Should Christians Practice Martial Arts? (MP3)

Program Description: Tom continues his discussion with Gaylene Goodroad, author of My Life in “The Way” and former second-degree black belt sensei nidan. Is it true, as the saying goes, that “nobody fools Chuck Norris”? Or has he been deceived by the Eastern philosophies of his profession?

Listen to Part 1 & Part 2!


14 Most Read BCC Blogs of 2014

It’s that time of year. Each year, near the end of the calendar year, we collate for you, with direct links, the most visited BCC Grace & Truth blogs posted during the year. So, today, enjoy direct links to the 14 most viewed BCC blogs posted in 2014. Continue reading


The Torture Report

Should Christians endorse, tolerate, or participate in the use of torture? It is a serious question. And I’ll have a serious answer.
Download


2014 On Record As The Year Of The Satanic Attack Against Christians

” but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18

At first it didn’t register with me. I mean I heard the stories and was aware of them obviously, but it wasn’t until just this moment that I got curious and decided to string them all together. What am I talking about? The sudden explosion of Satanic-themed Christmas displays across America. Why this year, why now?

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Places in the United States with legally-protected Satanic Christmas displays:

Detroit, MI: The Detroit branch of a secularist group that includes Satanists has permission for a display on the Michigan Capitol’s north lawn for three days before Christmas, while an individual from Florida is seeking local help to exhibit a proposed nativity scene near the Capitol. The secularist group says on its website it will display a “Snaketivity Scene” each day Dec. 21-23, featuring a snake, a book symbolizing knowledge and a message that “the greatest gift is knowledge.” The snake is a symbol of the birth of human enlightenment and liberation, according to the Web posting.

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Tallahassee, FL: After previously being denied a spot to erect its satanic display, state officials decided last year to allow the controversial setup with an affixed sign reading “offensive.” Pressing further — as many progressive agendas have been noted to do once getting their foot in the door — the Satanic Temple proposed its display this year along with a threat of legal action if state officials didn’t only accept their display, but also remove the “offensive” label from it. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) provided the legal muscle this year to get the atheist temple prime real estate for its display alongside several others’ at the state capitol’s rotunda. Attorneys with the atheist legal group proudly provided a visual of the Satanic Temple’s holiday display that is slated to be erected from December 22 to 29:  “The Temple’s proposed display depicts an angel falling from the sky into flames, accompanied by Bible verses and the message “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple,” AUSCS announced after receiving word of its victory

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Fort Smith, AR: The giant advertising hoardings in the Tennessee cities of Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis and Fort Smith, Arkansas show a mischievous-looking young girl writing her letter to Father Christmas: “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairy tales,” she writes. The advertising campaign by the American Atheists group will run until Christmas Eve and is the first time the group has aimed its anti-God adverts directly at residential religious areas, having previously targeted urban audiences in big venues such as Times Square in New York.

The bible says in Ephesians 6 that the battle we fight is a spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” And for whatever reason, those spiritual forces have chosen this time and place to stage an open insurrection against anything having to do with Jesus Christ, and all those who follow Him.

I cannot ever remember a time where this battle was waged so openly and so boldly as it is right now. Ten years ago, someone wanted to place a “snaketivity scene” on public display, at a state capitol no less, would have been laughed out of the office. But not now. Now it is allowed without so much as a whimpering protest. Something has changed in America, there is a spirit at work that was not present just a few short years ago.

And it is not confined only to an attack on Christmas. 2014 has seen an tremendous increase in the advance of the LGBT Movement’s agenda, a staggering rise in violent crime and pernicious attacks like the much-chronicled Knockout Game, and video games placing you in the role of Antichrist.

The war is real, the battle is hot and the time is short. Are you in the fight or watching helplessly on the sidelines? “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.”

The post 2014 On Record As The Year Of The Satanic Attack Against Christians appeared first on Now The End Begins.


‘Twas the Night Before the Last Christmas!


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Barna Update | Is Technology Changing Christmas?

iHoliday: When Technology Meets Tradition

Happy Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa…Happy holidays! From Thanksgiving through the New Year, Americans celebrate. They celebrate cultural holidays, religious holidays and a plethora of traditions to go along with both. For many, the traditions themselves have become as sacred as the holidays that inspired them. This year, Barna Group conducted a survey of Americans’ holiday practices: from what they celebrate, to how they celebrate, to the ways technology is impacting those celebrations.

Read the article here >

NTEB News: A Jewish Christian Exposes The Hebrew Roots Movement Cult

by NTEB Feature Story Contributor Geri Ungurean

Are you in the Hebrew Roots Cult? Come out from there and experience freedom in Christ!

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:28,29

Most people who know me know I am a Jewish Christian. When I think of myself, I am Christian. I am a follower of Christ. The fact that I was born a Jew remains until my final breath; I did not cross over some line to become a Christian while leaving my Jewishness behind. It’s quite impossible to do that. I am a Christian who also happens to be an ethnic Jew.

I met another Christian Jewish woman years ago. She attended a Messianic congregation and was shocked and appalled that I did not. I told her that I’ve never felt the Lord urging me to do that. I find it clannish. I don’t want to only worship with other Messianic Jews. I want to worship with the Body of Christ. This woman was not happy with my reasoning, but I felt a conviction about my decision. I did not feel the need to hold onto Jewish customs. I felt free. Free to worship my Savior!

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One of the most ironic things that happened to me on Facebook was being repeatedly thrown out of Messianic groups. I thought that the group members would be like me – Jewish Christians. I was sadly mistaken. They spoke of Torah observance, the Jewish feasts, the keeping of the Law etc., etc. There was an occasional mention of Yeshua, but no emphasis on salvation through Christ alone. And most of the time I was the only Jew in the group!

I would remind them that believers in Yeshua are under the Covenant of Grace. I would say that Yeshua did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

The leaders of the group would wholeheartedly agree with me, and use that Scripture to support and defend their doctrine. I used it to show them the legalism and hypocrisy they were preaching.

The prophets of God in the Old Testament cried out in the lands to which God sent them, “REPENT and turn from your wicked ways.” Invariably they were stoned or thrown out of that land. People knew that they were guilty as charged, but loved the darkness more than the light.

Do we actually believe that God thought that we are able to keep all of His Commandments? His Commandments were given to Moses to:

Show that God is holy.

His standards are perfection.

Man is not able to keep all of His Commandments.

Jesus brought the Commandments to a whole new level. He said in Matthew 5:27-28:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Clearly, our sin begins in our hearts. God sees this sin in us. For God to reconcile us to Himself, He had to deal with this sin, which separated us from Him. He sent His own Son—the Word made flesh—Jesus.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

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The PERFECT SINLESS SACRIFICE was the Son of God, Jesus. His death was the ONE Atonement for all sin. It was His blood spilled for us that brought us forgiveness. God sent His Son so that whosoever believes in Him would be reconciled to the Father and have eternal life. GLORIOUS!

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So my question to the leaders of the groups was why would you want to go back under the Law that brought death, when you have been given the better Covenant of Grace by which the Spirit gives life? That was usually when my expulsion took place. One leader wrote to me privately, saying that I must have a demon and he would pray for me!

Are these modern day Judaizers? I would say that is accurate, except for the fact that most are not Jews. Are they dangerous? Most assuredly so. The teachings of these groups diminish the finished work of Christ on the Cross; making Him a liar. They are in essence saying “Christ lived and died as an example to us, but we must keep the law to be saved.” HERESY!! We are not able to keep the whole Law of God!

We are all precious to the Lord. It doesn’t matter from where we came; what matters is will we repent and trust Yeshua for the forgiveness of our sins? I was a born a Jew—so what? God’s plan from the beginning was that salvation would be offered to the whole world. And read about the partial hardening of the Jews (Romans 11) to make way for the Gentiles to come into the Kingdom. We are all blessed!

Are you in the Hebrew Roots Cult? Come out from there and experience freedom in Christ!

You will want to keep His Law. Our good works after we are born again in Him come naturally out of our grateful hearts to the Lord.

Our good works before we are born-again are as follows:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”(Isaiah 64:6).

JESUS IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

SHALOM!

The post A Jewish Christian Exposes The Hebrew Roots Movement Cult appeared first on Now The End Begins.

The End Time Blog: Grace Community Church Christmas Concert is this week

One of my favorite events of the year will occur this week- the Grace Community Church Christmas Concert. Held at John MacArthur’s Church in Sun Valley CA., this concert has grown to be one of the most beloved among of the Christmas Season.

With a mixture of solos, classical music and stirring hymns, it is well worth listening to.

More information here. From the Grace Community Church website:

“We just received confirmation that the Sunday, December 21 concert will be live-streamed at 6:00 p.m. PST from the this page: http://www.gracechurch.org/live.”

“Also, beginning the week after, the concert will be looped every two hours through New Year’s Day for your enjoyment. The link will be this page (http://www.gracechurch.org/concert).”

Source

Southern Seminary: Friendly fire in the church

Friendly fire is a devastating reality of war. In the velocity of action and unrelenting conflict battlefield weapons can be redirected toward the wrong target with unforgiving consequences. The trauma and scars of physical combat are compounded for everyone involved when the source is someone wearing the same uniform.

What takes place in that regrettable scene on a battlefield is sadly a reality in the church as well. Despite the obvious differences in force of action, there is also a difference in motive. Friendly fire on a battlefield is right intentions in the wrong direction. Friendly fire in the church is wrong intentions in the wrong direction.

When Christians default to sinful assaults on other believers, the glory of Christ is dismantled and everyone gets hit. Hugh Hewitt recently challenged a room full of leaders to “expect to get hit from behind.” Anticipate that your most scathing, personal assaults will often come from those you partner with in ministry. Those you learn from, recruit, hire, mentor, lead, and serve. It’s not the attacks from unbelievers in the community or even from believers on the periphery of the ministry. It is assaults from those who have direct access to your heart, who for whatever reason, use their access and knowledge to launch accusations, spread gossip and advance slander. Similar to the volley of war, it is anything but friendly.

Seminary can prepare a man for ministry in many ways, but classroom lectures did not warn us to expect false accusations, slander and unfair criticism from fellow alumni, pastors and other ministry leaders with whom we would one day partner. The warnings about ministry perils postured attacks as coming from the outside bloggers or a faceless liberal that might have clandestinely crept into the church. Though by no means am I a seasoned veteran in ministry, the past 12 years have proven Proverbs 19:10, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable.”

No New Testament pastor had his character assaulted and sabotaged more than Paul. Time after time, those he sacrificially served, attacked him, accusing him of being in ministry for impure, self serving reasons. It
goes with the territory of ministry. When you find yourself in those crosshairs, here is a simple strategy for responding to and recovering from personal attacks:

Read more

The Testimony of Shepherds: God in the Manger (Part 7)

How do you respond to an especially intense, exciting, and memorable event or activity? What do you feel when confronted suddenly with unexpected news or a major surprise? There is no one answer, obviously. It depends on what you have just seen, heard, or experienced.

A particularly engaging film can evoke happy emotions or provoke sad ones. Seeing a spectacular fireworks presentation or hearing a stirring concert can result in great exhilaration. Watching an exciting, tense ball game between excellent, evenly matched teams can leave you emotionally drained no matter which team won.

On a more serious note, if you’re the first eyewitness to a spectacular fire, a horrific traffic accident, or a major plane crash, your first impulse—unless you are in a position to rescue some of the victims—is to notify the authorities immediately. Later, you likely will have to give an official statement to investigators about what you saw.

All those possible scenarios pale into insignificance, almost triviality, when compared to what the little group of shepherds witnessed the night Christ was born. But there is one common thread—the need and desire to talk about the experience, to tell others what was seen and heard. However, it is still hard for us to fully identify with the shepherds’ extraordinary situation two thousand years ago.

With the exception of a few broadly similar Old Testament events and several New Testament incidents that were yet future, what the shepherds saw in the skies near Bethlehem the night of our Savior’s birth was unprecedented in human experience. An angel, accompanied by a countless multitude of other heavenly messengers, suddenly and unforgettably intervened in the shepherds’ mundane, working-class existence with a news bulletin to end all news bulletins. The long-awaited Christ, the Savior of the world, God in human flesh, had just been born in a shelter in nearby Bethlehem. It was all far beyond anything previously imaginable to those lowly men whom society so disregarded.

It may be hard to place ourselves into the shepherds’ situation, but they responded to what they saw and heard much the same way as we would respond to far more ordinary events—they had to find out more, and they had to tell others. Even more to the point, the shepherds’ response serves as a good illustration of how people respond in a saving manner to the gospel.

The Shepherds’ Plan of Action

In his simple, straightforward style, Luke chronicles the shepherds’ immediate response to their awesome encounter with the angelic visitors:

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. (Luke 2:15–20)

Scripture does not tell us how long the heavenly host remained with the shepherds and conducted the unprecedented praise service. The men probably wished it would have gone on for a long time, but very likely it was a brief, intense experience that ended just as suddenly as it began. The angels went back to heaven, took up their places around the throne of God, and resumed praising Him for the grace of salvation.

As traumatic as the experience was—they were literally frightened out of their wits—the shepherds were still able to regather their senses and collect their thoughts after the angels departed. Spontaneously they all had the same response, and the Greek of Luke 2:15 indicates an ongoing kind of discussion in which they reiterated again and again their desire to go to Bethlehem and verify what the angels had announced.

No one had to prod the shepherds into the right response to the divine messengers’ words. They were in full agreement that nothing would deter them from going immediately to find the newly arrived Savior: “‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us’” (v. 15, nasb). Since Bethlehem sits on a ridge, the shepherds most likely had to walk uphill the two miles from the fields to town. So as soon as possible, they set out to “see this thing that has happened.”

The word translated “thing” in this passage denotes much more in Greek than it does in English. The term literally means “word” or “reality.” The shepherds understood that they had received a word from God, and the reality of it was that Messiah had been born that same day. And the reality was something they could confirm tangibly because the angel gave them a sign to look for, a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (2:12). The shepherds had seen and believed the angels, which was sufficient verification for what had occurred, but they wanted to obtain additional authentication by finding the Child exactly where the first angel said He would be. That would affirm their eagerness of faith and prove that they were participants in more than a mere earthly drama.

The Shepherds Respond in Faith

It’s clear that the shepherds had a revelation from God and equally clear that they wholeheartedly believed it. Their supernaturally wrought experience and their obedient, faithful response are really analogous to how people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation comes by hearing a message from God, by hearing and believing the truth about Christ (Rom. 10:9–10).

The Spirit of God obviously had prepared the shepherds’ hearts. As we have already suggested, because God chose those men to be the recipients of the angels’ special announcement of Christ’s birth, they were almost certainly true Jews, that is, believing Jews. Unlike those who were merely ethnic Jews with a secular outlook, the shepherds genuinely believed in the true God (which meant they had repented of sin and sought God’s grace), were among those Jews who waited for Messiah, and were undoubtedly among those who looked for the redemption of Israel.

God used the shepherds’ existing hope and knowledge to make them receptive to the good news that the Messiah, their Savior the Lord Jesus, had at last come. Such a faithful response to God’s special revelation caused the men to obediently pursue the Christ child. All of that is a wonderful illustration of spiritual truth, further underscored by Luke 2:16, “they came with haste.” The original expression denotes enthusiasm and eagerness—the shepherds were in a hurry and very enthusiastic as they sought Mary, Joseph, and the divine baby.

Scripture does not describe how the shepherds’ search for the baby Jesus actually unfolded. But it’s reasonable to assume that they entered Bethlehem and began asking questions: “Does anybody know about a baby being born here in town?” “Anyone heard about the birth of a boy in the past few hours?” There may have been several babies born in Bethlehem that night, so the shepherds may have knocked on a few doors and found some of the other babies. But of course they were looking for one special baby boy whom they would find lying in a feed trough. Their inquiries no doubt spread rapidly by word of mouth and before long they “found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger” (v. 16). At that moment those humble men of faith knew for certain that the angels’ announcement was a word from God. Their search had ended just as He promised it would.

The Shepherds Bear Witness of Christ

The shepherds’ response after finding the Christ child continues our analogy of what happens when God saves people. Anyone who hears and embraces the message of the gospel, as the shepherds did, will then witness to others of its truth. They couldn’t help but tell those living in and around Bethlehem what the angels had declared to them that night: “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child” (Luke 2:17).

Right after the shepherds made the amazing discovery of the infant Jesus, they must have had an extensive conversation with Mary and Joseph. I can picture those working-class men, overwhelmed with all that had happened to them, hearing Joseph humbly asking them how he and Mary could help them. Each shepherd would then likely have vied to tell his version of the story. And as Joseph and Mary sat quietly listening to accounts of the angel’s announcement and the heavenly choir’s praise of God for such good news, they must have experienced a great sense of confirmation.

Upon hearing the shepherds recount their experiences, each of Jesus’ parents likely reported their own recent experiences of heavenly messengers bearing news of the coming Savior. The similarities in all the stories were striking—the details of God’s redemptive plan through the Incarnation providentially came together and reaffirmed to everyone around the manger the truth of His promises.

At that point, the shepherds joined Zacharias, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary as parties to the greatest news mankind would ever know. And what was their immediate response? They told the story. They witnessed to everyone they encountered that Christ the Lord had been born, that Jesus the Savior was here.

The small group of shepherds became, in effect, the first New Testament evangelists. They went on their way and repeated the astounding news God’s angels had revealed to them, and they also recounted their experience of meeting Mary and Joseph and their son. Those men couldn’t restrain themselves. The news the shepherds possessed was the greatest information they had ever heard, far beyond anything their humdrum lives could ever have expected. The joy of their salvation and their eagerness to share it proved beyond any doubt that their experiences were valid and that they had truly found the Messiah.

The Shepherds’ Influence on the People

The shepherds’ enthusiastic, spontaneous witnessing had a profound effect on those around them. Luke tells us, “all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (2:18). The news the men were spreading created quite a stir among the people; in fact, other meanings for “marveled” are “were amazed” and “were filled with wonder.” That was consistent with the kind of reaction people would have to Jesus throughout His later ministry. Christ was an amazing person, and He always caused people to be amazed because they had never met anyone else like Him.

There is also a certain amount of marveling today about Jesus, especially during the Christmas season. People have a certain sense of wonder about the baby Jesus and the entire Nativity story. As a result, some will even give Him a certain amount of respect. But being merely amazed or respectful toward Christ is not the same as having saving faith in Him. The Gospels and the Epistles clearly teach that. So it is sad that right from the time Jesus was born, down to the present, people have reacted to Him more with curiosity than with sincerity leading to salvation.

However, the shepherds offer us a refreshing contrast to that pattern. They received God’s revelation through the angels with awe and reverence, genuinely believed what they heard, and ran with earnest excitement and singleness of purpose to see the infant Son of God and to tell others about Him. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could read that all those whom the shepherds witnessed to went immediately to the manger and believed? But that’s not what we see. For the most part, the people around Bethlehem who heard the good news just marveled at it briefly and then went on with their lives.

The Shepherds’ Influence on Mary

Mary certainly responded to what had happened in a far more profound way than the amazed people who heard the shepherds’ proclamation: “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). This statement gives us a good idea of the serious manner in which Mary processed all the momentous events of the previous days and months. It also suggests that Mary’s response continued to be one of faith, in keeping with what she would have noticed from the shepherds during their visit to the manger.

As she reviewed the amazing facts of the whole story—an angel told her that as a virgin she would conceive and bear the Son of God, the baby would be the Savior of the world and the rightful heir to the throne of David, and He would be the Messiah and the God-Man—the details reminded her once again how mind-boggling everything was. And undoubtedly they prompted her to ponder all sorts of questions, such as, What am I to expect out of this child? Will I nurse this child the way any mother would nurse her child? Will I rear this child and have a normal relationship with Him as any mother would with her son? When is He going to start uttering profound theological insights? Is He going to perform miracles and how soon? When will He take hold of His Kingdom? And when will He enter into His glory?

Anything that would come into a mother’s mind—and more, considering her unprecedented situation—must have entered Mary’s thoughts. And underlying all of that pondering no doubt was deep reflection about God’s redemptive purpose, how He had promised a Savior and that Savior had finally come.

Because her son was perfect, Mary must have loved Jesus as no mother has ever loved a child. And yet she would see Him suffer so profoundly and so unjustly. Eventually she would be present when He was nailed to the cross. Being the mother of the Son of God was not going to be all happiness and ease (Luke 2:34–35). So there was much for Mary to contemplate.

Mary’s response should resonate with us and be analogous to our own Christian experience. If you are saved, you will first identify with the shepherds’ fourfold response of receiving God’s revelation, believing the gospel, finding Christ, and witnessing joyfully for Him. But after those early days of euphoria, as you grow in your Christian life, you will also begin to think more deeply about who Jesus is. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you ought to have an insatiable desire to know more about the Lord, to plumb the depths of Scripture, and to ponder the significance of its truths and how they bear witness to the person and work of Christ. As the apostle Paul wrote, “that I may know Him” (Phil. 3:10; John 17:3; 2 Cor. 4:6; 1 John 5:20). Mary illustrates so well that hungry heart that wants to know Jesus Christ better and understand the depth of His great salvation more fully.

The Shepherds Move on to an Obedient Life

The Gospel of Luke does not tell us exactly what the shepherds’ attitude was like prior to their incredible encounter with God’s revelation. But their attitude certainly changed afterward. Whereas they may have been worried, doubtful, full of questions, and wearied by their daily existence and their feeble attempts to trust God, after their encounter with the angels and the newborn Jesus, they returned to the fields praising and glorifying God. That too is analogous to our experience following conversion. Once we’re past the initial stages, we reach a life attitude marked by praise and worship to God.

By the time the shepherds put together the entire astounding story of Christ’s birth that night, all the sights, sounds, and words of testimony overwhelmed them and filled them with awe and gratitude. Thus they went back home praising and glorifying God for everything that occurred.

The shepherds without doubt became obedient to God’s command that believers live lives characterized by continual rendering of praise and glory to Him (Eph. 5:17–20; Col. 3:15–17; 1 Thess. 5:16–18). Those men could not restrain themselves—because of their salvation, their lives were filled with genuine praise, thankfulness, and worship to God.

In the days immediately following Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph added to the shepherds’ picture of obedience with their own submission to God’s will: “And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).

We shouldn’t be surprised that Joseph and Mary had their Son circumcised and named Him Jesus. God’s Law required that boys born in Israel be circumcised on the eighth day (Gen. 17:11–12; Lev. 12:1–3). And Gabriel the angel of God had told them to name the boy Jesus (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:31).

But why would Jesus, the Son of God, need to be circumcised? It was necessary because His desire, even as an infant, was to obey God’s Law and fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15). Jesus would be a man in every sense, and therefore He would fulfill all the requirements listed in the Law for God’s people. Even before His Son could consciously comply, God the Father made sure that His earthly parents fulfilled every Old Testament requirement for His life. Jesus’ circumcision was simply a preview to what Luke envisioned when he later wrote, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (2:52). (We’ll discuss Jesus’ circumcision more completely in chapter 9.)

The shepherds’ various responses to Christ’s birth and Joseph and Mary’s love and obedience in the days immediately following really do encompass a pattern that illustrates the Christian life. You first hear the revelation of the gospel and believe it. Then you pursue and embrace Christ. And having become a witness to your glorious conversion, you begin to tell others about it.

Once you reach that stage as a believer, you start to think more deeply about the significance of being a child of God. You study and ponder God’s Word and become a lover of its truths. That leads to a profound sense of joy, praise, and gratitude to God, expressed both in your private and corporate worship. Finally, you continually want to respond in faith and obedience to everything the Lord shows you and teaches you, just as the shepherds, Joseph and Mary, and the child Jesus did.

May God grant you those life-changing spiritual experiences and the ongoing attitude of enthusiasm and responsiveness that cause you to tell others you have seen Christ the Lord.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). God in the manger: the miraculous birth of Christ (pp. 87–96). Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group.

Our Lord’s Parousia

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 NASB)

In my biblical research in order to answer the claims of Universalists, I have found that much of their “doctrine” comes from a mishandling of Sacred Scripture, especially those passages dealing with the state of the dead in Christ and who makes up those who meet the Lord in the air at his παρουσια or parousia or arrival or coming or presence. In this post we will look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and attempt to unpack Paul’s statement about our Lord’s παρουσια. 

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