Daily Archives: December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014: Truth2Freedom Daily Headline Alerts Collection

Christian theology stands or falls with a historical Adam and a historical fall. —Michael Horton

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Dec. 19, 2014

BLOOMBERG

Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to divert pension cash to plug a budget deficit has Kansas Treasurer Ron Estes recommending a fiscal tool the state hasn’t used in a decade — selling bonds to fund its retirement plan.

Families could steer their children toward colleges churning out graduates who make a good living 10 years after graduation, according to an Obama administration proposal for a new higher-education rating system.

The Obama administration is weighing a “proportional response” to the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment computers and is wary that the intrusion may have been designed to provoke a large-scale U.S. reaction, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Wal-Mart and Amazon.com were among retailers warned by New York’s attorney general to stop violating the state’s ban on sales of realistic-looking toy guns that might be mistaken for the real thing, a risk made clear last month when police in Ohio killed a boy holding a pellet gun.

Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have allowed New York state, city and teachers pension funds to allocate a larger percentage of their investments to hedge funds, private equity and international bonds.

Japan’s corporate income tax may be cut by more than 2 percentage points next year and reduced to less than 30 percent within five, Economy Minister Akira Amari said.

Russia, the world’s fifth-biggest gold holder, added to its holdings for an eighth month even after having to use its international reserves on defending the ruble. The gold stockpile rose to 38.2 million ounces as of Dec. 1 from 37.6 million ounces a month earlier, the central bank said.

An experimental drug that fights a condition called vascular leak may play a role in helping people survive Ebola, said doctors in Germany who used it to treat a fellow physician who contracted the virus in West Africa.

French President Francois Hollande floated the prospect of scaling back sanctions on Russia, becoming the first major European Union leader to offer to ease the Kremlin’s economic pain.

AP Top Stories

Suspicions that North Korea was behind a destructive hacking attack against Sony Pictures and a threat against movie theaters are intensifying calls for tougher U.S. steps to cut that country’s access to hard currency and declare it once more as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Pakistani warplanes and ground forces killed at least 77 militants in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said Friday, days after Taliban fighters killed 148 people – most of them children – in a school massacre.

Kurdish forces pressed their biggest offensive against the Islamic State group so far, buoyed by US reports that jihadist supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s top aide in Iraq has been killed.

People who smoke marijuana may have lower levels of inflammation compared with people who have never smoked it, according to new research on one marker of inflammation.

Fitch Ratings lowered Venezuela’s credit rating three notches to CCC, signaling the economically fragile oil-exporting nation is vulnerable to default due to the drop in global crude prices.

Belarus has imposed a 30 percent fee on currency exchange transactions in an effort to contain panic that has spilled over from neighboring Russia.

President Xi Jinping visited a drizzly Macau on Friday for the 15th anniversary of the gambling hub’s return to Chinese rule, with onlookers barred from using umbrellas — the emblem of democracy protests in nearby Hong Kong.

The hacking attack on Sony Pictures may have been a practice run for North Korea’s elite cyber-army in a long-term goal of being able to cripple telecoms and energy grids in rival nations, defectors from the isolated state said.

BBC

Tracking data revealed that golden-winged warblers fled one day before the April 2014 US tornado outbreak, probably because they “heard it coming”.

Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the US Supreme Court to nullify a 2012 law that made marijuana legal in the US state of Colorado.

Nigeria’s government has said it is “outraged and deeply saddened” after militants attacked a remote village and reportedly kidnapped about 200 people. The attack was carried out by suspected Boko Haram gunmen.

Eight children are found dead at a home in Cairns, Australia, reportedly after stabbings, with the mother of at least seven suffering stab wounds.

Details emerged of an attempt to secure the release of kidnapped US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig before he was killed by Islamic State militants.

WND

The IRS is considering its own temporary shutdown due to recent budget cuts enacted by Congress, its chief said Thursday.

A new report from the Middle East Media Research Institute is documenting how children of ISIS fighters are being indoctrinated into violence, taking part in re-enactments of beheadings, pretend beheadings with dolls, and even attending actual beheadings.

The Justice Department is now interpreting federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people, according to a memo released Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder.

While the terror army ISIS is making millions of dollars a day through its oil sales, it also is profiting from trafficking in human organs, according to a number of reports that have raised the issue in recent months.


Daily Digest

December 19, 2014

THE FOUNDATION

“There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. ‘Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.” –George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Three Cuban Spies, Four Dead Americans

Barack Obama’s deal with Cuba may be worse than we thought. National Review’s Brendan Bordelon writes, “The three Cuban spies traded to the Castro regime in exchange for American contractor Alan Gross and a U.S. spy went far beyond the usual political or economic espionage carried out by foreign agents. In fact, the Communist agents were engaged in detailed reconnaissance against U.S. military bases in south Florida, and fed information to the Cuban government that resulted in the murder of four American citizens.” Of course, we know from experience that an incident involving Obama and four dead Americans is likely to be laughed off as a “phony scandal.” In the Cuba case, there is a legitimate argument to be made for changing policy toward the Caribbean nation, but Obama got virtually nothing in exchange for doing so while insulting the families of those dead Americans in the process. Just another day in the Oval Office.

Break Out the Cuban Cigars for Castro’s Visit

On the heels of Barack Obama’s Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest added some astounding news: The administration’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba may include a White House visit by Raul Castro. “The analogy that we’ve tried to draw — or at least identify — is that there are important national security reasons for the president to travel to other countries that have what we would describe, at best, as having checkered human rights records,” Earnest said, noting trips to China and Burma. “Having an open relationship, in which the president engages with the leaders of other countries, can actually serve as a useful way to shine a spotlight on the shortcomings of other countries’ records as it relates to human rights,” he added, concluding, “So I guess the point is, that the president has had the leaders of both Burma and China to the United States. And for that reason, I wouldn’t rule out a visit from President Castro.” How far will this president go to legitimize thug dictators at the expense of our nation’s credibility and moral standing?

Holder and Obama Continue to Target Racist Cops

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder told listeners of MSNBC that people of color should fear the cops, and cops should fear the neighborhoods where they police. Talk about stirring up racial tension. Holder said, “We’re not at a stage where I can honestly say, you know, truthfully say that if you’re a person of color, you should not be concerned about any interaction that you have with the police in the same way I can’t say to a police officer, you shouldn’t worry about what community you are being asked to operate in. Building trust that does not now exist, but has to exist. … We as a nation have failed. It’s as simple as that. We have failed.” Let this sink in: The leader of this nation’s justice system has just criticized every law enforcement officer down to the rookie cop. Meanwhile, Barack Obama doesn’t even pretend to go to Congress and signs an executive order creating a commission to find faults with America’s racist police forces. Nothing trumps the race-bait narrative.

IRS Commissioner Warns of Tax Refund Delay This Year

It certainly seems that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen threated to delay America’s tax refunds because the bureaucracy got its budget cut again. “Everybody’s return will get processed,” he said. “But people have gotten very used to being able to file their return and quickly get a refund. This year we may not have the resources.” In other words, the commissioner just channeled a mob boss: “Nice refund you got there. Shame if anything happened to it.” This year, the IRS will receive $10.9 billion. In 2010, the IRS received $12.15 billion. Koskinen continued, “There isn’t any more give in the system. You make any further cuts in this organization and the wheels are going to start falling off.” Funny how the first thing to be cut because of tight money in a government bureaucracy is customer service. More…

Chaplain Accused of Sharing Faith Defends Himself

The Army chaplain who received a Letter of Concern from the commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Ft. Benning, Georgia, after he spoke about his faith in a suicide prevention class has told his side of the story. “When I spoke about … my Christian faith, it was clear that I was speaking from first-person account,” Capt. Joe Lawhorn told The Daily Signal, “and I shared with my audience some of the struggles I had with depression and how I overcame it. In my particular situation, it was my faith that helped me to persevere and remain resilient in the face of depression. And I was very clear to my audience that that was one way to handle depression and thoughts of suicide, but it certainly was not the only way.” He also shared some materials that had Old Testament passages printed on them, but Lawhorn said he made it clear those handouts were optional for the troops in attendance. If our military chaplains can’t talk about the basics of faith or how faith affected them personally — especially in a suicide prevention class — then what on earth (or in heaven) can they talk about? More…

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

North Korea Censors Hollywood

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Hollywood faced major embarrassment when hackers uncovered and released unflattering emails between Sony Pictures executives, producers and other big shots. The emails included racially tinged jokes about Barack Obama’s taste in movies — but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The hacking led to the release of the screening version of five current films as well as the script to the upcoming James Bond movie — all among more than 38 million unauthorized files snatched from Sony’s servers.

Eventually, an entire movie release was canceled by Hollywood’s intrepid defenders of our First Amendment.

This intrusion marks a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and North Korea. Federal officials blamed hackers from the NoKo-allied “Guardians of the Peace,” a group that vowed “the world will be full of fear” of 9/11-style attacks if a Sony movie called “The Interview” was released as scheduled on Christmas Day. “The Interview” is a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, and it tells the story of a fictional CIA plan to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un after two journalists, played by Rogen and Franco, secure an interview with him.

But never fear; the White House is working on a “proportional” response, while Barack Obama boldly declared, “My recommendation would be that people go to the movies.”

Well, they can’t see “The Interview.” In response to the hackers’ threats, the Carmike Cinemas theater chain opted not to show the film, at which point four other major chains followed suit. With no major chains willing to risk showing the film, Sony abandoned plans to distribute it at all, meaning a $44 million investment will be scrapped.

This despite the fact that at least two State Department officials screened a rough cut of the movie in June and approved it. That Sony sought government approval is as troubling as the result of the hacking.

And the damage isn’t done, as another studio likewise dropped plans for a North Korea-based “paranoid thriller.” Then, as if to add further insult, Paramount Pictures yanked the movie some theaters wanted to show in place of “The Interview” — a 2004 satirical comedy starring marionettes and dubbed “Team America: World Police.” That movie depicted Kim Jong-Un’s father, the late North Korean despot Kim Jong-Il, as the comedic villain in a terrorist plot.

So how did we come to be so afraid of a group of hackers — or should we say the pudgy young third-world dictator who directed them — that we bow to their wishes and scrap a $44 million movie? It’s likely Sony can only guess at the amount of economic damage caused by the data breach, but the bigger problem is whether other rogue nations and groups will be emboldened whenever media or broadcast portrays them in a bad light. Clearly, the blueprint for blackmail now exists.

As National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke writes, “How grotesque it is … to see businesses in the United States act so cravenly to what appears to be little more than a glorified letter of complaint. Is this now to be how America works? If so — if the friends of a campy two-bit dictatorship can force us to put our tails between our legs and ask not to be thrown into the briar patch — then one can only wonder how we might expect to stand up to our more competent foes.”

Heck, even The New York Times editorialized that “this decision will establish a dangerous precedent that could further embolden rogue regimes and criminals.” When the Times is even slightly hawkish, you know something’s up.

For decades, Hollywood made films and television shows about America’s toughness. In the days of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris the message was “Don’t mess with America.” That era of Hollywood ended some time ago, however, and in the politically correct morass that we’ve come to know as modern Tinseltown it was only a matter of time before someone blinked. We’re not defending the content of Sony’s movie one way or the other, but we do think Liberty is worth defending.

Memo to Obama: Your Power Has Limits

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The scope of Barack Obama’s abuse of power is even worse than previously thought. According to Gregory Korte of USA Today, Obama’s clever use of executive “memoranda” together with traditional executive orders puts him in the running to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman. So much for his claim to be the “most transparent” president ever.

We’re all painfully aware of the executive actions Obama has taken while in office and the contempt he holds for Rule of Law. Earlier this year, when it became clear that Congress was not going to bend to his imperial will, he vowed, “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen … and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” These words and the actions Obama has since taken to back them up have created a constitutional crisis.

Naturally, statists say we shouldn’t worry. In a typical child’s playground tactic, leftists get caught doing something they’re not supposed to and then point the finger at someone else, saying, “But look what he did.”

Press Secretary Josh Earnest blamed Congress, arguing that Obama’s actions are only meant to “move this country forward” in the face of “congressional inaction.”

And in February, then-Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters with a straight face, “There is no question that this president has been judicious in his use of executive action [and] executive orders, and I think those numbers thus far have come in below what President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton did.”

Shadee Ashtari, writing for the Huffington Post in November, bent over backward to point out that Obama has released fewer executive orders than any president since McKinley. She also notes, with glee no doubt, that Obama’s per-year average of executive orders falls below the last three Republican presidents.

That’s just executive orders, though. As Korte’s analysis inadvertently points out, no one seems to be counting executive memoranda. Obama has already signed 33% more presidential memos than Bush did in a full eight years in office and 45% more than Clinton. Add the memos to the executive orders and Obama now becomes the president to issue more executive actions than any president since Truman.

But it’s not the number that’s the problem. It’s the scope. One executive order clarifying a law does not equal a memo essentially writing a new law.

So why issue one instead of the other? Executive orders carry legal weight, and are numbered, indexed and noted in the Federal Register. Memoranda carry essentially the same legal force, but they are not numbered, and although they must also be published in the Register they are not required to contain a “citation of authority” noting the law they are based on like executive orders. Until recently, memos were not really tracked except in the historical record.

There’s also a difference of impression. An executive order sounds like what it is — an edict from the White House to make or change a rule without consultation with Congress. A memo sounds like a harmless note someone would draft to call attention to an issue.

Would any sane American consider Obama’s recent unilateral action on immigration harmless? Contrary to popular misconception, that was accomplished via a series of presidential memoranda, not an executive order.

Obama also issued memoranda after the Newtown shootings ordering federal law enforcement to trace firearms that are part of federal investigations and expand the data available to federal background checks. Other memos have tinkered with labor regulations for federal employees. As recently as this week, a presidential memorandum declared Bristol Bay, Alaska, off-limits to oil and gas exploration.

The difference between orders and memoranda is much more than just a semantic one, but Obama has counted on our inability to connect the two to obscure the fact that he has stretched the power of his office far beyond constitutional bounds.

We the People should be very alarmed. Obama has found an unconstitutional route around his lame-duck incumbency, and his hubris and utter contempt for our constitutional system of checks and balances will assure that he doesn’t lose sleep at night while he does it. Worse, now that he’s no longer accountable to the electorate in any way for the next two year, the harm he has already caused may be small by comparison. If he wants to do something, he’s just going to do it and dare Congress to stop him.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

Author Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959): “When a government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs.”

Columnist Mona Charen: “Has there ever been a president more eager to make concessions to vicious regimes than Barack Obama? The opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba is the latest and, one fears, not the last in a string of preemptive concessions. Obama, with his blend of hard-left prejudices and vaulting solipsism, has sought throughout his presidency to atone for what he and his party view as America’s past sins. … It’s a good thing that Alan Gross and 53 political prisoners have been freed. But the way it was done makes it look to the world that holding a gun to America’s head (in the form of taking hostages, which the Taliban has also learned) works wonders. In exchange for diplomatic recognition and valuable economic concessions, the U.S. (and the Cuban people) got nothing. No promise of free elections, no guarantee of international inspections of the prisons, no freedom of the press — nothing. Why? Because in his heart Obama believes that his nation has always been on the wrong side, and he will use his power in the remaining two years to punish us. A deal with Iran is next.”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Sydney’s Man Haron Monis … was a marginal, alienated Iranian immigrant with a cauldron of psychopathologies. Described by his own former lawyer as ‘unhinged,’ Monis was increasingly paranoid. … His religiosity was both fanatical and confused. A Shiite recently converted to Sunni Islam, his Internet postings showed not just the zeal of the convert but a remarkable ignorance of Islam and Islamism. He even brought the wrong Islamic banner to the attack. He had to ask the authorities to provide him with an Islamic State flag. Which led to a frantic search to find an Islamic State connection or conspiracy. But for the disturbed like Monis, the terror group does not provide instructions, it provides a script. It offers the disoriented and deranged a context, a purpose, a chance even at heroism. I suspect this is the case with most of the recent cluster of lone-wolf terrorist incidents, from the beheading of a fellow worker in Oklahoma to the Queens ax attack on New York City police. … The great new specter is the homegrown terrorist. But he is less homegrown than we imagine. He is fed from abroad. Which is where, as ever since 9/11, the battle must be fought.”

Jonah Goldberg: “Obama did eventually say the public should ‘go to the movies,’ but that’s about it. This at least is progress for an administration whose first response to a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, was to blame an American-made video and, with much fanfare, throw its creator in jail. … America is effectively giving one of the most evil regimes in human history a veto on our First Amendment. Where’s Captain America when you need him?”

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 18, 2014
WES VERNON, RA ANALYST — Former CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is the kind of intrepid reporter who will pursue the tough investigations no matter how many doors are slammed in her face… (more)

December 18, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — Many Republicans are furious at Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, for demanding a vote related to the president’s unilateral action on immigration and allegedly aiding lame-duck Senate Democrats with their agenda, but Senate Conservatives Fund President Ken Cuccinelli calls such criticism a “canard” and lauds the senators for standing up for the Constitution…. (more)


December 18, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — Former Reagan administration Pentagon official Frank Gaffney alleges President Obama’s plan to pursue normal diplomatic relations with the communist regime in Cuba is yet another example of the president “switching sides” and embracing some of America’s most dangerous adversaries…. (more)


December 18, 2014
TOWNHALL — Florida Senator Marco Rubio responded to President Obama’s announcement earlier today to “normalize relations” with Cuba and now it’s Texas Senator Ted Cruz’ turn…. (more)


December 18, 2014
CHARLES HURT — So this is what foreign policy by Beyonce looks like. It’s been two years since the sultry and suave music power couple of Beyonce and Jay-Z were publicly humiliated across the globe after they realized it’s not “cool” to visit countries like Cuba run by totalitarian regimes that sponsor terrorism, steal private property, jail people for no reason and freely make critics disappear without a trace…. (more)

December 18, 2014
CLIFF KINCAID — Communists are ecstatic. “The Cuban Five Are Free” is a statement from the U.S. support network for the Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S. for various crimes, including participating in a murder conspiracy…. (more)

December 18, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — Months before President Obama announced on Wednesday that he is seeking to do away with decades of U.S. economic sanctions against the communist regime in Cuba, Russia concluded a security deal with Havana aimed at bolstering intelligence and military ties to the island dictatorship…. (more)

December 18, 2014
NEWSMAX — By normalizing relations, President Barack Obama has just thrown a lifeline to Cuba’s flailing dictatorship instead of exploiting the island nation’s desperate economic situation to extract meaningful concessions on human rights, a former Cuba adviser to President Ronald Reagan told Newsmax TV on Wednesday…. (more)

December 18, 2014
JEROME R. CORSI — Earlier this month, WND reported President Obama never actually signed any executive orders directing the Department of Homeland Security to fulfill his announced immigration action effectively granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens…. (more)


December 18, 2014
GARTH KANT — The congresswoman stood reverently in front of the painting on the office wall opposite her desk, staring intently with hands clasped tightly behind her back, plaintively confiding she just wished she knew what God wanted her to do next with her life. It was hard to tell if she was addressing God or the only other person in the room…. (more)

December 18, 2014
THE HILL — People without insurance are running out of time to avoid the hefty ObamaCare penalties that the IRS will be handing down in 2016. Consumers face a Feb. 15, 2015, deadline to buy insurance, after which those without coverage could be hit with fines of $325 per adult or 2 percent of family income, whichever is higher…. (more)

December 17, 2014
Activist alert!
WORLDNETDAILY — When John Boehner reconvenes the House of Representatives next month, he’s going to have some mail. So will every other Republican member. Boehner won’t like his. How the other Republican members respond to the tens of thousands of letters they get will determine whether Boehner will remain as speaker…. (more)


December 17, 2014
WASHINGTON TIMES — A federal judge Tuesday ruled parts of President Obama’s deportation amnesty to be unconstitutional, with a scathing memo dismantling the White House’s legal reasoning and arguing that Mr. Obama tried to steal Congress’ lawmaking powers…. (more)


December 17, 2014
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that President Obama’s actions in decreeing effective amnesty – – i.e., guarantee against prosecution plus the provision of positive legal benefits – – violates the Constitution…. (more)

December 17, 2014
Why I tried to block Obama’s amnesty
SEN. TED CRUZ — For the past week, Sen. Harry Reid has worked hard to prevent a vote on President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. Finally, after considerable turmoil this weekend, we were able to force a vote… (more)

December 17, 2014
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?”… (more)

December 17, 2014
TERENCE P. JEFFREY — The Census Bureau reported in a study released this week that 65 percent of American children lived in households taking aid from one or more federal program as of the fall of 2011…. (more)

December 17, 2014
JOE KOVACS — With the announcement Tuesday by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that he plans to “actively explore” a run for president in 2016, radio host Rush Limbaugh says the real reason Jeb is seeking the White House is to choke the influence of tea-party conservatives out of the Republican Party…. (more)

December 17, 2014
NBC NEWS — Pakistan was plunged into mourning Tuesday after Taliban militants in suicide vests laid siege to a school, massacring 132 children and 10 teachers during eight hours of sheer terror. In total, 145 people were killed, including three soldiers, officials said…. (more)

December 16, 2014
Activist alert!
JOSEPH FARAH — OK, I surrender! No more emails are necessary to persuade me that you mean business when it comes to unseating John Boehner as House speaker. I asked yesterday for your reaction and to gauge support for such a campaign. Did I ever get it – – in the form of hundreds of emails demanding to know how to dump the one I call “Barack Obama’s No. 1 enabler.”… (more)

December 16, 2014
NEWSMAX — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday defended his procedural move that brought the ire of many of his fellow Republicans last week, saying he was only doing what the incoming GOP majority was elected to do…. (more)


December 16, 2014
NEWSMAX — A new poll finds that Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee is in a strong position to be nominated for another term in office, reports three conservative political groups who are backing his campaign…. (more)

December 16, 2014
WORLDNETDAILY — The federal government is preparing for another “surge” in refugees and this time they won’t be coming illegally from Central America. The U.S. State Department announced this week that the first major contingent of Syrian refugees, 9,000 of them, have been hand-selected by the United Nations for resettlement into communities across the United States…. (more)

December 16, 2014
BREITBART — Top Republican leaders in the House and Senate are gearing up to push legislation in the next Congress that would increase the number of foreign guest-workers even in industries that do not need them. They are hoping such legislation would “open the door” to a broader comprehensive immigration bill…. (more)

December 16, 2014

ACLU Teams Up With Atheists to Try and Stop Decades-Old Christmas Tradition

After politicians in Brookville, Indiana, once again ignored atheists’ threats against a nativity display near a local courthouse for the fourth year in a row, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit seeking the Christmas symbol’s permanent removal by court order. “The display represents an endorsement of religion and has the principal effect of advancing religion, and it therefore runs afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the complaint reads. “The display, which is owned by Brookville, has been erected for some 50 years.” More


Porn Use Is Having a Major Impact on Young Men and Marriage, Researchers Claim

A new study analyzing porn use among young men has found that those who consume it are potentially less likely to get married. The study, titled, “Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?” which was conducted by economics and finance professor Dr. Michael Malcolm of the University of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and George Naufal of Timberlake Consultants, found that smut has become a replacement for marriage for many of the 18 to 35 year old males who use it, the Christian Post reported. More


Movie world fears for freedom of speech as N.Korea parody pulled

Sony Pictures’ decision to cancel the release of its madcap comedy about North Korea after threats from hackers has caused consternation in the movie world and triggered concerns about freedom of expression. “The Interview”, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen and depicting a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, had been due to hit US cinemas on December 25. But after warnings from the so-called GOP (Guardians of Peace) hacking group — invoking the September 11, 2001 attacks — a number of US cinema chains cancelled plans to screen the film. As more chains confirmed they would follow suit, Sony on Wednesday threw in the towel and pulled the film, in a decision described by former long-time Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob as “onerous… both for the studio and freedom of expression”. More


US appeals court deems gun law unconstitutional

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati deemed a law unconstitutional that kept a Michigan man who was committed to a mental institution from owning a gun. The three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a federal ban on gun ownership for those who have been committed to a mental institution violated the Second Amendment rights of 73-year-old Clifford Charles Tyler. Tyler attempted to buy a gun and was denied on the grounds that he had been committed to a mental institution in 1986 after suffering emotional problems stemming from a divorce. He was only in there for a month. Tyler’s lawyer, Lucas McCarthy, hopes that the ruling would have a “significant impact on the jurisprudence in the area of gun rights.” More


Pastor Drops Dead in Pulpit Singing Pharrell’s ‘Happy’

A pastor reportedly dropped dead in the pulpit after singing Pharrell’s song “Happy.” Sunday, as reported by the Christian Post, Pastor Gordon A. Humphrey was preaching in Chicago when he suddenly collapsed at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago. “I’m not sure if they determined the cause of death but it’s been said he may have had a heart attack,” says pastor Greg Hunter. He says the congregants called the paramedics immediately. “We are putting emphasis that he passed doing what he loved to do, and he loved preaching and that’s the relationship he had with God, and when he preached he gave it his all. So he passed doing the thing that he loved to do and that is [to] share the Word of God and minister to the body of Christ,” Hunter told CP. More


6 simple steps to health that you can start now

We are quickly approaching New Year’s Day and the annual accounting that accompanies it. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions last year? The year before? Most of the time, resolutions focus on health issues.

I will lose weight.
I will get healthy.
I will completely change the way I eat.
Within weeks we give up, defeated. If you’re not healthy, if you continue to say to yourself, “I wish I could eat like that or I will I could take care of myself that well,” then do it. If the change is radical, approach it with a project plan – one step at a time. More


French ex-airline boss claims cover-up on MH370

Former airline boss and famous French author Marc Dugain argued Thursday that there had been a cover-up in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, speculating that the passenger jet could have been hacked and then shot down by the US. Dugain, a well-respected French author, argues that the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people crashed near Diego Garcia, a British island in the middle of the Indian Ocean used as a strategic air force and intelligence base by the US military, in the six-page article in Paris Match. More


Ebola deaths reach 6,900 in West Africa; more than 1M could face food shortage by March

The number of Ebola-related deaths has reached an even 6,900 in the three most-affected countries in West Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, the same day the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a U.S. senator kicked off tours of the devastated region. Nearly half of the fatal cases hit Liberia, with 3,290, although the nation is seeing progress while the viral disease continues to rage in Sierra Leone, which has incurred 2,085 Ebola-related deaths. More


Iran to hold major naval drills at end of December

Iran will hold widespread naval drills extending to the Gulf of Aden in December, its navy chief said Thursday, asking foreign forces to “leave the area” to avoid incidents. The week-long exercises — the first on this scale since the election of reformist President Hassan Rouhani in June last year — are set to start on December 25 and take place between the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Aden, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari was quoted as saying by the official Irna news agency. “The ballistic capacity of Iran will be on display during exercises including missile launches,” Sayari said. More


Evidence in Sony hack attack suggests possible involvement by Iran, China or Russia, intel source says

The U.S. investigation into the recent hacking attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment has turned up evidence that does not point to North Korea as the “sole entity” in the case, but rather, raises the possibility that Iran, China or Russia may have been involved, an intelligence source told Fox News on Thursday. Earlier Thursday, Fox News confirmed that the FBI is pointing a digital finger at North Korea for the attack. The source pointed to the sophistication of malware “modules or packets” that destroyed the Sony systems — on a level that has not been seen from North Korea in the past — but has been seen from Iran, China and Russia. There is no evidence of a forced entry into the Sony systems, pointing to an insider threat or stolen credentials. And the first emails sent to Sony, described as blackmail or extortion, included demands unrelated to the movie. More


Get Prepared: 122 Of The Best Prepper Websites On The Internet

Getting prepared for the chaos that is coming to America in the years ahead is not that complicated. Help is out there – if you know where to look. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either. In this article, I have put together a list of 122 of the best prepper websites on the Internet that will teach you how to prep for free. The great thing about the prepper community is that there are always highly skilled people that are willing to freely share their knowledge and experience with the general public. As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, I am constantly being asked about what people need to do in order to get prepared for the hard times that are coming to this country. And when I am asked, I do my best to encourage people to build up their emergency funds, to store food and supplies, to put together bug out bags and to do everything that they can to become more independent of the system. But sometimes people need a lot more than that. Sometimes people need to have someone give them some real hands on practical advice about things like canning food or setting up home defense systems. So in this article my goal is to connect you with some of the top experts from all over the nation for free. I think that this list is going to be a great resource for people that they can reference again and again, so don’t forget to bookmark it. (Read More…)


Junk Bonds Are Going To Tell Us Where The Stock Market Is Heading In 2015

Do you want to know if the stock market is going to crash next year? Just keep an eye on junk bonds. Prior to the horrific collapse of stocks in 2008, high yield debt collapsed first. And as you will see below, high yield debt is starting to crash again. The primary reason for this is the price of oil. The energy sector accounts for approximately 15 to 20 percent of the entire junk bond market, and those energy bonds are taking a tremendous beating right now. This panic in energy bonds is infecting the broader high yield debt market, and investors have been pulling money out at a frightening pace. And as I have written about previously, almost every single time junk bonds decline substantially, stocks end up following suit. So don’t be fooled by the fact that some comforting words from Janet Yellen caused stock prices to jump over the past couple of days. If you really want to know where the stock market is heading in 2015, keep a close eye on the market for high yield debt. (Read More....)


Financial Market Manipulation Is The New Trend: Can It Continue?

A dangerous new trend is the successful manipulation of the financial markets by the Federal Reserve, other central banks, private banks, and the US Treasury. The Federal Reserve reduced real interest rates on US government debt obligations first to zero and then pushed real interest rates into negative territory. Today the government charges you for the privilege of purchasing its bonds.

Read more


Mainstream Media Is ‘Setting the Stage for a New Holocaust’

In an interview this week on the Voice of Israel radio, singer and songwriter David Draiman warned that media coverage of Israel is so “skewed,” he fears it’s setting the stage for a new Holocaust.

“The mainstream media is setting the stage for a new Holocaust. They are the reason that this anti-Semitic fervor has been perpetuated over the entire globe,” said Draiman, who is the son of Israelis and the grandson of Holocaust survivors.

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Why Muslims Are Converting to Christ in the Face of ISIS Atrocities

Atrocities by the Islamic State (ISIS) are softening the hearts of Muslims to Christianity, and evangelistic techniques and technologies are proving effective, but locally-based missionaries say the main reason for the spike in conversions in the Middle East is simply that former Muslims are finding God is real.

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Ted Cruz: Obama’s Cuba Decision Will Be Remembered as a Tragic Mistake

Florida Senator Marco Rubio responded to President Obama’s announcement earlier today to “normalize relations” with Cuba and now it’s Texas Senator Ted Cruz’ turn.

“This announcement today will be remembered as a tragic mistake,” Cruz, whose father Rafael Cruz escaped Castro’s Cuba in 1957 after beatings and torture, said during an interview with Fox News Wednesday afternoon. “There is no doubt this is a unilateral president.”

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Week in Review from Paul David Tripp

The Gift and the Giver [Video] – The greatest gift that God could ever give to humanity was himself. In this Christmas video, I explore the unique and life-altering implications of this gift: Watch the Video

Advent: The Announcement [Wednesday’s Word] – When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they were also announcing these 2 majors heart issues that you and I struggle with: Read the Devotional

Advent: The Announcement [Sermon] – It was the most important event to ever occur, accompanied by the most important song ever sung, containing the most important announcement ever made. Here’s my sermon on Luke 2:14 – Listen to the Sermon


Pakistani court orders arrest of Muslim clerics after mob kills couple accused of blasphemy

by Marsha West

Christian News Network reports:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the arrest of two Muslim clerics for inciting a mob who killed a couple last month after being falsely accused of desecrating the Koran. Five police officials who failed to protect the couple have also been required to face disciplinary action.

As previously reported, Shama Bibi, 28, and Shahzad Masih, 32, were burnt to ashes after they were encircled by the mob who had been informed over mosque loudspeakers that the couple had been found guilty of blasphemy against Islam.

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‘Twas the Night Before the Last Christmas!


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

A New Low In the War on Christmas: Mocking the Cross

The depths of anti-Christian depravity found among some of the intelligentsia in our post-Christian culture has reached a new low. As if that were possible.

Can you imagine a gold crescent mocking Islam in some sort of perverted way or the same for a star of David? Neither can I. But those in our culture’s elite who are ever sensitive to not offend in any politically incorrect way seem to have no compunctions at mocking Jesus.

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LGBTQ “future pastors” to train, plan for the pulpit

by Marsha West

Amy Spreeman, co-host of Stand Up For The Truth, writes:

More evidence that our visible churches are soon going to be lead by homosexual pastors and pastrixes. Coming soon to Indiana, more than 50 LGBTQ pastors-in-training will meet to strategize and plan for what they hope will be future jobs behind the pulpit. At a retreat center this summer, a group of more than 50 “future pastors” have signed up to become an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The retreat was established nine years ago by Presbyterian Welcome, a New York City-based non-profit working for LGBTQ inclusion in the church and beyond.

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Christian, Where is Your Joy?

The Savior has come, and He will come again. In the face of this truth, how can we be anything but joyful? No matter our circumstances, no matter the pain, sorrow, grief, fears, dangers, heartaches we face, we are His, and He will never leave us. And one day, He will come and take us home. That is the source of our joy. And it can’t be shaken.

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Simeon’s Eye of Faith: God in the Manger (Part 10)

A forgotten authority on Wesleyan hymns once commented, “There can hardly be a single paragraph of Scripture that is not somewhere reflected in the hymns of the Wesleys.” That observation was certainly accurate regarding the following two stanzas from Charles Wesley’s elegant 1744 Advent hymn:

 

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art;

Dear Desire of ev’ry nation, Joy of ev’ry longing heart.

 

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a Child, and yet a King,

Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit Rule in all our hearts alone;

By Thine all-sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

 

Those beautiful lines summarize well the main sentiments of another impeccable testimony to the significance and validity of Christ’s birth—the aged, humble, and wise Simeon. Luke again reports on what happened and records Simeon’s prophetic words:

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,

According to Your word;

For my eyes have seen Your salvation

Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

And the glory of Your people Israel.”

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (2:25–35)

The Man Simeon

Although very little is known about him except what Luke 2 records, Simeon was, as we shall see, a fascinating character. His name is certainly a common Hebrew name (it was the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel; Gen. 49:5–7) that means, “God has heard.” When Simeon’s parents named him as a baby, the Lord prompted them to give him a name that wonderfully alludes to the result of his heartfelt cry for God to send a comforter and deliverer. That cry was certainly Simeon’s lifelong hope, and at the end of his life God graciously heard and sent the Messiah.

His Spiritual Character

The first biblical description of the man Simeon involves his spiritual character: “this man was just and devout” (Luke 2:25). As we saw regarding Joseph and Mary, that simple statement is loaded with meaning—as a just man, Simeon stood righteous before God. God had declared him righteous, as only God can, when he trusted in Him rather than his good works for the forgiveness of sin. Simeon recognized his sinfulness, cast himself on the mercy of God, and the Lord declared him righteous because Christ’s death on the cross would bear away his sins.

If Simeon was a just man, it follows that he was also “devout.” That word means he was righteous. If anyone is truly justified, then scripturally he or she is necessarily also righteous, or in the process of being sanctified. Even in Simeon’s day, still under the Old Testament economy, when God declared someone like him righteous, that person’s life changed and he became a lover of God’s Law (see Psalm 119 and David’s heart attitude toward the Law of God).

Simply stated, a devout man such as Simeon is primarily concerned about the things of God. In fact, the term rendered “devout” in Luke 2 is often more literally translated “cautious,” indicating that Simeon would have been very careful how he treated God and responded to His Word. He lived a careful, cautious, responsible life, one that was exemplary and conscientious to honor God and bring glory to His name. And that’s what defined Simeon’s character as a true Jew—a believing Jew—and a genuine member of the righteous remnant of Israel.

His Theology

Luke 2:25 also indicates something important about Simeon’s theology: he was “waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” The word rendered “Consolation” is a direct reference to the Messiah. Thus Simeon had a hope for the coming of Messiah, the King who would bring in the promised Kingdom of Israel. And the only one who could fulfill that hope was the Consoler, the Comforter, the Helper—the Messiah.

But what was the source of Simeon’s great sense of hope? Undoubtedly, a major one had to be the Book of Isaiah. The second half of the prophet’s inspired writing contains a wealth of references to the theme of the coming Messianic consolation and comfort. Isaiah 40:1–2 declares, “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God. ‘Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned.’” The righteous Jews looked for the time when Israel’s warfare would end and the Comforter (Messiah) would remove all sins.

The prophet goes on to say, “Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young” (vv. 10–11). None other than God Himself, in the person of Christ, would come to rule and comfort His people, even as a shepherd helps his sheep and lambs.

Isaiah 49:8–10 provides further promise:

Thus says the Lord:

“In an acceptable time I have heard You,

And in the day of salvation I have helped You;

I will preserve You and give You

As a covenant to the people,

To restore the earth,

To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;

That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’

To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

“They shall feed along the roads,

And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.

They shall neither hunger nor thirst,

Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;

For He who has mercy on them will lead them,

Even by the springs of water He will guide them.”

God in effect reiterated the Abrahamic Covenant and promised to give Israel back her land. And along with that, the Lord pledged to minister a variety of compassionate favors. All of these prophecies foreshadowed the ministry of Christ as the Comforter of His people (Isa. 51:3; 57:18; 66:10–13).

So Simeon was a man who believed the Old Testament and took the prophet’s promises of consolation for Israel at face value. Simeon cared not only about his personal salvation, but also about the spiritual welfare of his people. His desire was very much a precursor to Paul’s decades later, when the apostle told the Roman believers:

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (Romans 9:1–5)

In that sense, Simeon was a passionate true believer. And he even went Paul one better. The great apostle was not a member of the true remnant for his entire adult life and ministry; after all, he once persecuted Christians prior to his conversion from legalistic, lost Judaism. But Simeon always looked in faith to the hope of Israel’s comfort and consolation, the coming of Messiah. He longed earnestly for the fulfillment of the covenant promises; and the more his nation sank into sin, apostasy, unbelief, and legalism, the more his heart ached to see the Messiah deliver his fellow Israelites from all of that iniquity.

Special Anointing

In addition to his exemplary character qualities and his adherence to biblical theology, Simeon was a remarkable example of divine anointing for extraordinary service: “the Holy Spirit was upon him” (Luke 2:25).

First of all, Luke’s statement about Simeon applies just as if he were speaking of any Old Testament-era believer. The Spirit of God had to work in his heart to save him—to enable him to believe that God would provide a sacrifice and would forgive his sins, and that it was all by grace through faith, not works. The Holy Spirit used the picture of the Old Testament sacrificial system to point Simeon and other true Jews toward Christ’s final sacrifice. He thus brought them to justification and began the ongoing process of sanctification in their lives. In Simeon’s life we clearly see that process at work in his devout character and careful obedience to God’s Law.

That the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon, therefore, was not an indicator of a brand-new phenomenon. The Spirit was always present in believers’ lives. Luke was simply saying that God had anointed Simeon for a special responsibility, much as He had done for certain Old Testament saints (e.g., Samson, Samuel, the prophets). Most often that responsibility involved speaking for God, as we’ll see when Simeon interacts with the young Jesus and His parents.

But before Simeon uttered any prophetic statements, the Spirit had to reveal certain truths to him. “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (2:26). Sometime earlier in his life God had revealed that amazing message to Simeon, which would have had some rare and unusual implications for his life.

God’s words probably created both exhilaration and tension for Simeon. Positively, they would have served as a wonderful milepost or terminus point around which he could have ordered his life. Imagine the incredible feeling of having precise insight into exactly what needed to occur before you could die. But such knowledge also undoubtedly resulted in some spiritual pressure for Simeon. The constant excitement of living in Messianic times and eagerly anticipating the appearance of Christ on any given day, week, or month must have been a powerful motivation for Simeon to examine his heart regularly. He wanted to be sure he was fully ready for the special event. We don’t know how long prior to Luke 2 that Simeon had known all those things, but the entire waiting process, however long or short, surely filled his heart with anticipation as he realized Messiah was coming in his lifetime.

Simeon at Last Meets Christ

Simeon’s sense of anticipation that he would actually see the Messiah, and his lifelong looking forward in hope to the consolation of Israel, finally culminated on a special day that coincided with Jesus’ presentation to the Lord. God providentially prompted his heart, and Simeon decided it was exactly the right time to go down to the temple: “So he came by the Spirit into the temple” (Luke 2:27). More precisely, the word translated “temple” means “big area” and refers to the Court of the Women, the outside courtyard that was the only temple-related place Mary could go.

God in His sovereign wisdom appointed a time and place for Simeon and Christ to meet. And the meeting occurred even though Joseph and Mary knew nothing of Simeon, and he knew nothing of them or how to identify the Child. However, the Lord overcame those barriers and brought the four people together. Perhaps Simeon approached the parents and initiated a conversation in this fashion: “The Spirit of God has led me here and has prompted me that it’s where the Messiah is. Can you give me some information?” To which Joseph and Mary may have replied, “Yes, here He is.”

Likewise, we can only imagine what Simeon felt as he took the baby Jesus out of Mary’s arms, pressed Him to his chest, and perhaps leaned his head down to kiss Him. We can only speculate concerning the magnitude of joy that must have flooded the old manheart as he realized God truly did fulfill His promises. At last, he was holding in his hands the Messiah, the Comforter and Consoler of Israel, the Savior of the world.

Simeon was filled with such great joy because he genuinely believed that Jesus was the Messiah. And he believed that because Joseph and Mary told him. They undoubtedly reported to him the amazing, miraculous ways in which Jesus’ birth had come to pass and reaffirmed to him how God had confirmed the truth of it all to their hearts. Simeon had long believed in the coming Messiah, and God was at that moment rewarding his faith by showing him specifically and unquestionably that the infant Jesus was the Christ.

Simeon’s Song of Praise

The moment Simeon realized that the baby he saw and held was indeed the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, he launched into one of the most well-known, beloved, and theologically rich songs of praise found in all of Scripture. It certainly marked the most magnificent and joyful moment in his life as he witnessed the fulfillment of God’s promise that he would live to see the Messiah. Simeon’s clear testimony, known liturgically as the Nunc Dimittis (from the opening two words, “now Lord,” of the song’s Latin translation), appears in four short verses: “‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel’” (Luke 2:29–32).

Simeon’s affirmation that God was letting him depart in peace is simply a Semitic expression that he was then ready to die. He was acknowledging that everything was right for a sovereign God to let him die in peace. And why was that? Because Simeon understood that God is a saving God (1 Tim. 4:10), and that he was seeing the arrival of God’s salvation in the person of Jesus, the Messiah (Luke 1:69; Acts 4:12). His praise flowed because God’s Savior had come and, therefore, God’s salvation had come—and with that great truth a reality, it was then all right for his life to end. Simeon had lived to see what God had promised him.

But Simeon’s testimony did not end with one statement. If he had merely added his voice to that of Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph and confirmed the truth of God’s salvation for His people, it would not have advanced the testimony about Messiah any further. However, Simeon did go further and prophetically declared a truth that was shattering to conventional Israelite belief: “‘For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel’” (Luke 2:30–32).

Simeon’s additional words would have been truly astonishing for most Jews of his day. They believed someone would come as their Messiah, that he would reestablish the Kingdom of Israel, and with that kingdom that he would rule over the infidel Gentile world. But Simeon’s bold declaration said that God brought His Messiah/Savior to earth and prepared His salvation for all peoples without distinction—it is a light of revelation to the Gentiles, as well as being the glory of Israel.

Simeon’s statement was all the more shocking because even the remnant of Israel, those who believed and studied the Old Testament, hated what the term Gentile represented—no belief in the Scripture, desecration of the true and living God, disobedience to the commandment to love God above everything else, and violation of the prohibition against worshiping images of other gods. And as Gentiles became a more distinct group within Jewish society, members of the remnant seemed to resent the Gentiles’ blasphemy and idolatry more and more.

Even the most faithful and righteous of the believing Jews could not imagine that God’s salvation would include people beyond Israel. For example, when the shepherds heard the angels proclaim, “‘For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:11; emphasis added), they assumed the “to you” meant them and other Jews. And when Mary and Joseph heard they were to name their son Jesus (“Yahweh saves”) because He would save His people from their sins, they understood “His people” to mean only Israel.

However, the numerous statements of the prophet Isaiah, uttered centuries earlier, contradicted such thinking. Isaiah 9:1–2 applies to Galilee’s honor at the time of Jesus’ ministry: “Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when at first He lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Jesus actually did go to the other side of the Jordan to preach and serve. Those who lived in dark lands (Gentiles) experienced the light of the gospel.

Isaiah 42:6–7 says, “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.” The prophet recorded a conversation between the Father and the Son that indicated God would use Christ, working through the nation of Israel, to be a light to the nations. That same expression (or one very similar), with the same meaning, appears four other places in the Book of Isaiah (49:6; 51:4; 52:10; 60:1–3; 45:25; 46:13).

In view of all those prophetic statements, no one should have been shocked at Simeon’s words. He could have had any one of the Isaiah references in mind with his declaration, which demonstrates again that Simeon was a man of God and a capable spokesman to announce the significance of Christ’s birth. In this case the significance is that salvation, brought by Messiah, has been prepared by God to be sufficient for the whole world because He loves the world (Matt. 28:18–20; John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:1–6; 1 Pet. 3:9).

Parents’s Response to Simeon

As we’ve seen in our study, Joseph and Mary were already full of wonder and amazement concerning the incredible facts and miraculous circumstances attending the birth of Jesus. They realized they were the earthly parents of the Son of God, the Messiah, and the Savior of His people, all of which was beyond their comprehension. Then when they heard Simeon’s statement about the Gentiles, they were astonished anew and reminded afresh that the entire episode was entirely beyond their grasp (Luke 2:33). God had, as it were, placed in Joseph and Mary’s hands a Savior for everyone who believes, Jew and Gentile.

But the euphoria of that realization ended quickly for Mary and Joseph when Simeon concluded his pronouncement with this final, shocking statement: “‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’” (vv. 34–35).

Jesus’ parents surely were taken aback when listening to those words, the tone of which they had not heard before. Simeon’s prediction constitutes the first negative note in Luke’s account of Christ’s birth. Until then it had been all a record of divine promises fulfilled and news of God’s salvation that brought a sense of peace, hope, joy, and praise for His glory. But then Jesus’ parents, particularly Mary, had to grapple with thoughts of Israelites falling and rising and a sword piercing Mary’s soul. They certainly were asking themselves what Simeon’s closing words really meant.

Simeon directed his sober forewarning especially to Mary rather than Joseph because he knew Joseph wouldn’t be present for the culmination of Jesus’ ministry. After Jesus’ encounter with the Jewish teachers in the temple when He was twelve, Joseph disappears from the record. (He might have died even before Jesus began His earthly ministry.) But Mary witnessed or heard about all the high moments and low points of her Son’s ministry. And Simeon foresees Mary’s experience according to three categories: separation, opposition, and affliction.

Christ Separates People

First, Simeon knew Mary would endure emotional conflict, pain, and suffering because Jesus would represent a line of demarcation in the lives of all who saw and heard Him. Some would respond positively and rise to the glories of salvation, but others would respond negatively and fall into the despair of eternal judgment.

Simeon was introducing a new concept. Mary and everyone else who heard his words confronted for the first time the new perspective that some—even many—Jews would be lost. Not all of them would rejoice at Messiah’s ministry. Again, Simeon could have drawn his thoughts directly from Isaiah: “‘He [Messiah] will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken’” (8:14–15; 28:16; John 1:11; 1 Pet. 2:6–8).

The life and ministry of Jesus Christ would perfectly verify the words of Simeon and the prophets. The whole nation of Israel turned against our Lord, and ultimately the Jewish leaders persuaded the Romans to have Him executed—only a relatively small remnant of Jews received Him and believed unto eternal life. The rest would fall irretrievably over the “stone of stumbling” and “rock of offense.”

Christ Stirs Opposition from People

The division Messiah’s life caused among His people included overt opposition from many. He represented the light and righteousness that the average person hated (John 3:18–20). Eventually, as the Gospels clearly attest, the unbelieving Jews would contest everything Jesus said and did. The opposition began with indifference and progressed to hatred, plotting, insults, mockery, verbal vilification, physical torture, and abuse, and it ended with crucifixion.

It is hard enough for us today to believe that many of the Jews in Jesus’ time opposed Him so sinfully and completely. But Mary, who heretofore had done nothing but rejoice over the arrival of Messiah, had to be feeling shock and sadness over Simeon’s warning. Perhaps it would have been understandable if such future opposition had referred to the Gentiles; but it was unthinkable for her to identify it with the chosen nation of Israel.

But God’s sovereign redemptive purpose was again behind Simeon’s sobering declaration. His words could have wonderfully clarified for believing Jews like Mary the prophecy of Isaiah 53:3, “He [Christ] is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

Mary Experiences Affliction

Simeon’s prophecy then turned from addressing the nations to addressing Mary personally. He said, in effect, that before everything ended, Mary’s role as Jesus’ mother would become very difficult personally. “‘A sword will pierce through your own soul also’” (Luke 2:35).

Because Mary undoubtedly loved Jesus more than any mother ever loved a child, it was extremely hard for her when Jesus had to push her away on the human level. When at age twelve He had to be about His Father’s business in the temple (Luke 2:46–50), it was necessary, in a sense, to push Mary aside. Later, when He was doing His first miracle in Cana (John 2:1–11), Jesus didn’t call her “mother”; He called her “woman” (v. 4). And on another occasion, when Mary came to visit Him with His half brothers (Matt. 12:46–50), He said, “‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’” (vv. 48–50).

Jesus gently but firmly nudged Mary from merely being His mother to realizing that she needed to depend on Him as her Savior and Lord. And after Jesus was hated, ridiculed, unfairly tried, physically assaulted, and crucified, Mary was standing at the foot of the cross, watching right up to the end of His life (John 19:25). Seeing Jesus suffering on the cross certainly would have rammed a sword through her maternal heart. In addition, Mary’s heart was no doubt pierced through because she, as a believing Jew, had to witness all the unbelieving opposition to Christ pour forth from many of her fellow Israelites.

Mary was an ordinary woman who dealt with enormous strain just being the mother of the Son of God. Her life accurately fulfilled Simeon’s admonition to her as she periodically felt bewildered by Jesus’ words and actions and certainly cut to the heart with emotional pain as she saw His rejection, suffering, and death.

The Revelation Simeon’s Words Predict

Years ago I read about a man who took a friend on a tour of Paris. They went to the Louvre and looked at all the great paintings there. That night they went to a concert hall and heard a wonderful symphony. At the end of the evening, the man asked his friend, “Well, what do you think?” And the friend replied, “I wasn’t all that impressed.”

In response, the man told his friend, “If it’s any consolation to you, the museum and its art were not on trial and neither was the symphony. You were on trial. History has already determined the greatness of these works of art and of this music. All that your attitude reveals is the smallness of your own appreciation.”

Likewise, Jesus isn’t on trial, but every soul is. Simeon declared, “‘This Child … is a sign which will be spoken against … that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed’” (Luke 2:34–35). When God prompted Jesus to begin His ministry, many people rallied to oppose Him. That opposition simply revealed the wickedness of people’s hearts. Specifically, it also revealed the apostasy of the Jews’ religion, with all its hypocrisy, self-righteousness, legalism, and shallowness. And that attitude is still prevalent today.

When considering the facts of Christ’s birth, many people think, You know, the baby Jesus was a sweet child. And when He grew up, peace, joy, and happiness followed Him everywhere. Jesus was really a good man, and everyone felt good about Him when He healed the sick and taught interesting parables. That’s the kind of Jesus I want to embrace.

But you must go far beyond that. To embrace Jesus by saving faith and enter His Kingdom, you must allow Him to expose your sin. That means you repent of your evil thoughts and deeds, come to Him for forgiveness, receive His justification, and begin to live a holy life. But if you hate Jesus for exposing your sin and refuse to repent, you’ll die in your sins and go to hell. So Christ’s life was and is a revelation. How people respond reveals the condition of their hearts.

The word Simeon used for “thoughts” in verse 35 connotes negative beliefs. He was indicating that Jesus would reveal the filth of sinful thoughts. Even the Son of God couldn’t have a ministry as He did and still make everyone feel good all the time. As we have seen, He created such hostility that the people killed Him. When one represents and teaches the truth of holiness, as Christ did, he exposes the evil of the human heart.

Some people today, as in Jesus’ time, will fall on their faces, repent, and believe. But many other people today, also as in Jesus’ time, will reject Him and refuse to believe.

In summary, Simeon’s testimony to Christ had far-reaching implications. Above all, it demonstrated the supreme joy of a righteous Jew whom God had allowed to meet the Messiah. The hope of Israel and the world was then realized—even though heartache and difficulty would result during the course of Jesus’ ministry. Salvation had come, and Simeon could die in peace. His task, though brief and contained in a small segment of Scripture, was of great significance. God used Simeon to give a powerful affirmation to the truth that the infant Jesus was the promised Christ.[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). God in the manger: the miraculous birth of Christ (pp. 121–135). Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group.

The Bible and the New Year: Christmas Study Guide (Part 10)

In this lesson we look to the new year ahead and consider the tremendous changes we might experience through a fresh commitment to the Word of God.

Outline

As we begin to think about the new year ahead, we are reminded again of what the Bible really does for us as God’s people. The Bible has a unique ministry in all of our lives, and there would be no better plan for the next 365 days than to make a fresh commitment to read, study, and apply the Word of God.

  1. What the Bible Is for You
a.   It Is a Sword

b.   It Is a Mirror

c.   It Is a Hammer

d.   It Is Water

e.   It Is Seed

f.    It Is Silver

 

g.   It Is Fire

h.   It Is a Lamp

i.    It Is Bread

j.    It Is Honey

k.   It Is Milk

l.    It Is Gold

 

 

  1. What the Bible Will Do for You
  2. Produce Spiritual Growth
  3. Provide Cleansing
  4. Prevent You from Sinning
  5. Protect You from Satan
  6. Protect You from Discouragement
  7. Promote Success in Whatever You Do
  8. Prepare You for Powerful Praying
  9. Point the Way to Salvation

Overview

What the Bible Is for You

In order to convey to us what the Bible does in a believer’s life, the writers of the Word of God, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used a number of beautiful metaphors.

The Word of God Is a Sword

The Word of God is called a sword because of its piercing ability, operating with equal effectiveness upon Sinners, Saints, and Satan!

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The Word of God Is a Mirror

The Word is called a mirror because it reflects the mind of God and the true condition of man:

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (James 1:23–25).

The Word of God Is a Hammer

How many of us have been “hammered” by the Word of God? It drives home and breaks up the stony hearts that we have. The Scriptures say: “Is not My word like … a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). The Word of God is referred to as a hammer because of its ability both to tear down and to build up!

The Word of God Is Water

The Word of God is called water because of its cleansing, quenching, and refreshing qualities—“That He might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

The Word of God Is Seed

The Word of God is called seed because, once properly planted, it brings forth life, growth, and fruit: “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).

The Word of God Is Silver

The Word is like silver because of its desirability, its preciousness, its beauty, and its value: “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6).

The Word of God Is Fire

The Word of God is called fire because of its judging, purifying, and consuming abilities: “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire …” (Jeremiah 20:9).

The Word of God Is a Lamp

The Word is called a lamp because it shows us where we are now, it guides us to the next step, and it keeps us from falling: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The Word of God Is Bread

The Word is like bread that gives everlasting satisfaction to all who are hungry: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

The Word of God Is Honey

The Word of God is like honey bringing the sweet comfort of God’s love to all who taste: “More to be desired are they than gold … sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

The Word of God Is Milk

The Word is like milk, nourishing the soul to spiritual growth: “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

The Word of God Is Gold

The Word of God is like gold because of its desirability, beauty, and value: “Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold!” (Psalm 119:127).

Those are just a few of the pictures of the Bible in the Scripture. There are many more. But all of those metaphors are to help us understand the value and the preciousness and the importance of God’s wonderful word in our lives.

What the Bible Will Do for You

Today, however, we have lost much of that. We have taken the Bible out of the public life of American culture, and look what has happened to us. Look where we are today because God’s Word has been removed from the fabric of our society.

But far more disastrous than that, the Word of God has seemed to drop out of the lives of many of the people who claim to be God’s people. Therefore at this time of year it would be good for us to examine a number of reasons why we should read the Word of God.

If we begin to understand how this Book can change our lives, it will continue to change our lives even today. Even this week. The Word of God is a powerful tool, a change agent in the life of anyone who will take it seriously. So I would like to offer my top eight reasons why we should read the Word of God.

It Will Produce Spiritual Growth

Every year at this time, I take a little inventory and ask myself, “Have I grown in the Lord this year? Has there been growth in my life?”

There is absolutely no human way we will ever grow in our faith apart from a personal, disciplined reading and studying of the Word of God. There is no other means of growth. Consider what the Word of God says:

“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Look at that verse and see how the Word of God helps you grow. First, the Word of God is profitable for doctrine—it shows you the right way to go.

And then it is profitable for reproof—to convict you when you get off that path.

And then it is profitable for correction—to show you how to get back on the path you left.

And then it is profitable for instruction in righteousness—to show you, in a positive way, how to stay on that path in the future.

That’s how we grow. That’s a great reason to read the Word of God.

It Will Provide Cleansing for Your Life

How many of us know that we live in a toxic environment? Not just physically toxic, but spiritually toxic. Everywhere we go somebody is trying to put something into our hearts, something into our lives, that’s going to begin to erode our spiritual walk with the Lord. How do we cleanse our lives from that? How do we keep our lives from being overwhelmed by the toxicity of the world in which we live?

“That He [Christ] might sanctify and cleanse it [the Church] with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

Jesus, speaking to His disciples, says, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).

The Word of God cleanses our hearts! If we bring the Word of God in, it pushes out the toxicity that we have gathered through the world, cleansing our hearts and making us clean.

Listen to what David said in Psalm 119:9: “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.”

In John 17:17, the Lord Jesus prayed that this would be true in our lives in His high-priestly prayer: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

It Will Prevent You from Sinning

If you get into the Word of God, you won’t sin nearly as much as if you don’t. The Word of God will prevent you from sinning. That’s what David meant again when he said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

The more you are in the Word of God, the more sensitive you become to those things which can lead you astray. It is awfully difficult to spend an hour or two in the Word of God in the morning, and then walk away from that and begin to violate principles that you know are a part of God’s truth. The Word of God empowers you to do the right thing, so you don’t end up violating what you know to be true.

“Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133).

“The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (Psalm 37:31).

The more you get into the Word of God and study it, the more it will help you to stay away from things that will ultimately destroy you.

It Will Protect You from Satan

The Word of God is the greatest protection you have. Of course, someone might say, “I don’t believe in Satan.”

That, however, doesn’t make any difference. He is real anyway. Satan is alive and well, and we are in a daily warfare against the enemy of our souls. Satan goes around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He wants to take you and drown any influence you have. He wants to ruin you for anything you ever want to do for the Lord.

So how do you protect yourself against Satan? Let’s look at the Lord Jesus Christ, who was taken to the desert and was tempted. How did the Lord meet the temptation?

In Matthew 4:4–10, Jesus fought the enemy with the Word of God. If you know God’s Word and you are in the Word of God, you put Satan at a disadvantage because you have the power of God’s Word working in your life.

It Will Protect You from Discouragement

There were two disciples on one occasion who left Jerusalem after the Crucifixion. They were depressed and discouraged because they thought it was “all over.” Christ had died, and they did not know that He was resurrected. They were walking toward Emmaus talking about their hopelessness and they were sad and depressed and discouraged about the situation they saw. Then all of a sudden Jesus came alongside and began to talk with them. And after Jesus had encouraged them, they said, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).

When you get to the point where you’re discouraged and don’t know what to do, go to the Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and listen to His Word. If you will discipline yourself to do that, you will discover like these disciples that your heart will begin to burn within you. God’s Word will come in, dissipate those discouraging thoughts, take away the things that would drive you down, and begin to lift you up. God’s Word has the power to protect you from discouragement.

It Will Promote Success in Whatever You Do

Being in the Word of God gives you the opportunity to be more successful than you would ever be otherwise.

In fact, Psalm 1:1–3 tells us:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Whenever you are in the Word of God, you are in a position to be successful in what you do. And if we use the Word of God’s definition of success, we can really see how that works. The Word of God promises us that when we make it the substance of our life, it will help us to succeed in what we do.

It Will Prepare You for Powerful Praying

Consider John 15:7: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

How does that work? It helps you to know what to ask for. When you read the Word of God, you get a sense of God’s will, and when you ask in God’s will, He gives it to you. So it will prepare you for how you are to pray.

It Will Point the Way to Salvation

That’s what this Book is all about. Paul wrote to young Timothy, “… as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14–15).

How does a person become a Christian? Through this Book. The plan of salvation is in this Book. Christ died for you and for your sin, and He paid the penalty that you should have paid, and He died on the cross for you. That message is in this Book.

Are you in the Word? If not, start now reading the Word of God. Find some time in the morning to spend a few moments with God and his Word.

Now, if you are not a Christian, you won’t have the motivation to do that. Further, you won’t understand a word of it when you read it. If you aren’t a Christian, you don’t have the ability to comprehend the Word of God as He meant it to be understood. The first step in understanding the Word of God is knowing the God of the Word. And you can’t know Him unless you put your trust in Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

You can do that through a simple prayer. Say, “Lord God, I come to You on this first Sunday of the New Year to give my heart to You. I ask You to forgive my sin and cleanse my life, and I accept Your free gift of eternal life which You died to provide for me.”

Christ will come into your life if you will let Him, if you will ask Him. As we begin to think about the New Year ahead, we are reminded again of what the Bible really does for us as God’s people. The Bible has a unique ministry in all of our lives. And the Bible will come alive for you.

Application

  1. If the Bible is everything mentioned in this lesson, why do you think Christians tend to neglect it? Name as many reasons as you can think of.
  2. What do the following passages indicate about the connection between God and His Word, or between knowing God and knowing His Word:
  3. John 1:1–2, 14
  4. John 17:17
  5. 1 John 5:7
  6. Revelation 19:13
  7. Read Mark 12:30, then read Psalm 119:97; 119:113; 119:163. Why is the Psalmist not guilty of idolatry (for loving the Word)?
  8. What is the means of spiritual growth and maturity, according to:
  9. Hebrews 5:12–14
  10. 1 Peter 2:2
  11. What do you think Paul is admonishing Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 2:15? Is this something only for select Christians, or for all Christians?
  12. Turn to Psalm 119 and, taking no more than five minutes for each, find:
  13. As many different names for the Word of God as you can.
  14. As many benefits of the Word of God as you can.
  15. Briefly write out, for your eyes only, your personal desires and goals for the coming year, in relation to God’s Word and your commitment to it. Tape it inside your Bible where you can find it easily, and read it at least once per week for the coming year.

Did You Know?

Until publication of the King James Bible in the early 1500s, it was unusual for anyone to possess the Scriptures in the common language. Even then, initial publication was one Bible per official (state-approved) church, kept either under lock and key, or permanently attached to an immovable pulpit. It would be another 200 years or so before individually printed Bibles would begin making their way into the hands and homes of “everyday” Christians—and then largely for the rich alone.

Of course, with the colonization of America, Bibles began making their way to the New World, but only sparsely until printing houses were established and Bibles became an affordable commodity.

That means that the availability of personal Bibles is, in the grand scheme of church history, a fairly recent phenomenon. Even more recent is the phenomenon of multiple personal Bibles—which sit on shelves, collecting dust, and remaining largely unread and unstudied.

It’s hard to believe that only 500 years or so in the past, Christians died for proposing the right to personal study of the Scriptures; and today Christians are effectively dead for a lack of it.

May it not be so in the year ahead![1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (1999). Celebrate his love: Study guide (pp. 124–138). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy- laden, and I will give you rest

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. ’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39 NASB)

3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart…

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“Five ways you are destroying your husband and killing your marriage” goes viral

WINTERY KNIGHT

This article by Katelyn Carmen appeared on the Mormon web site “Family Share”. Katelyn’s husband must be the luckiest husband in the world, judging by this article. It’s up to EIGHT MILLION views, so a lot of people are reading it – hopefully a lot of wives, not just frustrated husbands.

Here is her intro:

When I got married, I was amazed at the instant, overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt to love and care for my husband. Suddenly, a huge part of someone else’s well-being and happiness was largely affected by my choices and actions.

Women, we need to be careful about how we are caring for our husbands and marriages. Don’t let the small stuff ruin the things that will bring you the greatest happiness in life.

Here are just a few ways you might be unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage…

The list:

  1. Living outside of what…

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