Daily Archives: January 8, 2015

January 8, 2014: Truth2Freedom Daily Briefing Report and News Headline Alerts

The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it. —D.A. Carson

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Jan. 8, 2015

BLOOMBERG

House Republicans plan to vote next week on legislation to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, days before the president’s State of the Union address on Jan. 20.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to reauthorize a government backstop for insurers’ losses from acts of terrorism after lawmakers let the measure expire last month.

The FBI is investigating possible motives behind a bomb blast outside a Colorado Springs NAACP office on Tuesday, but have yet to reach a final determination. The device, set against an exterior wall, went off just before 11 a.m., the Denver Post reported, though a gasoline container placed next to the device did not ignite. No one was hurt in the explosion.

Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as labor-market tightening compelled employers to hold on to seasonal hires. Jobless claims decreased by 4,000 to 294,000 in the week ended Jan. 3.

Almost a quarter of the $252 billion the European Central Bank granted lenders to stoke the euro-area economy is in the hands of five banks.

After regulators in late 2013 banned pesticides called neonicotinoids, linked in some studies to the unintended deaths of bees, farmers across the continent applied older chemicals to which many pests had developed a resistance, allowing them to survive.

AP Top Stories

A young mother says she let gunmen into the Paris office building housing the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo because they threatened her and her daughter with violence.

A 17-year-old pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder in the beating death of 88-year-old Delbert Belton, a World War II veteran who survived the battle of Okinawa but was killed in a robbery outside a Washington state bar in 2013.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives failed on Wednesday to round up enough votes for a bill scaling back various financial reforms, a surprising defeat in an area conservatives hoped to prioritize this year.

US-led aircraft have dropped nearly 5,000 bombs in the air war against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, damaging or destroying more than 3,000 targets including tanks.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened Cameroon in a video message on YouTube, warning that the same fate would befall the country as neighboring Nigeria.

In an unusual study, Norwegian scientists said people born during periods of solar calm may live longer, as much as five years on average, than those who enter the world when the Sun is feisty. The team overlaid demographic data of Norwegians born between 1676 and 1878 with observations of the Sun.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill on Wednesday that would immediately halt U.S. aid to the Palestinians until they halt their effort to join the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.

Americans are feeling better about their job security and the economy, but most are theoretically only one paycheck away from the street. Approximately 62% of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair, according to a new survey.

BBC

US Federal Reserve officials do not believe that they will raise the benchmark short-term interest rate before April, minutes released on Wednesday revealed.

Thirteen police officers are being held in Mexico in connection with the kidnapping on 2 January of Veracruz journalist Moises Sanchez.

A baby girl was born to recently a released Cuban spy after US authorities allowed him to send his sperm to Cuba to have his wife artificially inseminated.

Nigeria’s militant Islamists carried out a second attack on the key north-eastern town of Baga, with many bodies littering its streets.

Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabab has killed, by firing squad, four men accused of spying for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Strong currents and poor visibility prevented the retrieval of the tail of an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people that crashed into the Java Sea.

Islamic State militants have attacked Iraqi security forces in the central city of Samarra, killing two people and injuring 28 others, officials say.

WND

Rep. Elise Stefanik, 30, the young­est woman ever elected to the House, has already had several run-ins with congressional staffers and security personnel who can’t believe someone that young is really a lawmaker.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to speed up the timetable for his lawsuit alleging Barack Obama’s amnesty program is unconstitutional, because the changes in law that Obama imposed by memoranda already are under way.

Members of a north Phoenix Serbian parish coming in for Orthodox Christmas services on Wednesday morning were horrified to see their church had been vandalized with fascist symbols, according to a church spokesman.

A backdrop to the massacre in Paris on Wednesday by self-professed al Qaeda terrorists is that city officials have increasingly ceded control of heavily Muslim neighborhoods to Islamists, block by block.

The average U.S. college freshman reads at a seventh grade level, according to a report.


Daily Digest

January 8, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“But if we are to be told by a foreign power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little.” –George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton, 1796

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Obama Celebrates Auto Bailout at Idle Factory

Barack Obama celebrated his economic policies before 700 Ford employees Wednesday by congratulating himself for bailing out the auto industry in 2009. “There is no doubt thanks to the steps we took early on to rescue our economy,” the president said. “America is coming back. The facts are the facts.” But Investor’s Business Daily had some inconvenient facts Obama overlooked. The company that got America on the road with the Model T didn’t take the government’s handout, though it still took a loan to comply with the government’s onerous regulations telling it what kind of cars to make. The bailout was a carrot to entice the auto industry to agree to average fuel economy standards of 54.5 miles per gallon — a standard IBD says that can only be met if automakers turn to hybrid, electric and compact cars. IBD writes, “The problem is that consumers have never been very interested in these kinds of cars, which is evidenced by the fact the plant will be idle when Obama visits. Slumping sales of the Focus and C-Max Hybrid models caused the plant to stop production for three weeks.” Obama took a victory lap on his economic policies when behind him, an idle auto plant blasted his arguments. More…

Fire Chief Sacked Over Christian Book

The Atlanta fire chief suspended for self-publishing a book that, in part, decried homosexuality has been fired by the city’s mayor, Kasim Reed. Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran wrote “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” in 2013 as a way to explain his faith — that men can be clothed with Christ. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “The mayor said he decided to terminate Cochran not just because the fire chief didn’t consult him before publishing the book, but also spoke out about his suspension despite being told to remain quiet during the investigation into his leadership. What’s more, Reed said he believes Cochran opened up the city to the potential for litigation over future discrimination claims.” The fire chief’s personal beliefs didn’t align with the mayor’s office, so the “tolerant” leftist fired him. Imagine how Cochran would have been treated if he was a supporter of homosexuality, attending rallies and speaking out. Probably, the mayor of Atlanta would have lauded him. More…

GLAAD Condemns Lifestyle Choice of Mormon Families

So much for the pro-LGBT lobby group GLAAD sticking to its advice of living life however you please. The group is protesting a new TLC reality TV show called “My Husband’s Not Gay,” a show that follows the lives of several Mormon families where the husbands say they’re battling same-sex attraction. GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis blasted the show, saying, “This show is downright irresponsible. No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.” The intolerant leftists even put together a petition asking TLC to not air the show. But the families featured in the show made a decision about the best way to live their lives — and GLAAD is condemning their decisions in a striking display of intolerance. More…

Al Sharpton Responds to Shakedown Allegations

A phone conversation between Al Sharpton and a reporter from the Daily Caller unfolded about how you’d expect. According to the Daily Caller, the race hustler hung up on the reporter once, shouted and asked to record the conversation to later lampoon the conservative news site on his MSNBC television show (and the request was honorably granted). Two days ago, the New York Post published an article describing how Sharpton has threatened companies, telling them to pay him money or he would launch boycotts against them. Sharpton told the Daily Caller that he doesn’t understand why the Post would go after him … because the company that owns the Post has given money to him in the past (as if that should affect the decisions between the two Post reporters and their editors). Sharpton told the Daily Caller reporter, “I am not prepared to do anything but to say that Rupert Murdoch has given, through News Corp, money to us and that we’re on the board, on their, have been on their diversity board. I am going to force you to use the quote I give you because that is the only quote I am giving you.” In trying to discredit the story, Sharpton further illustrates how far he has gone. More…

EPA Punts Major Emissions Rule

Just one day before its Jan. 8 deadline, the Environmental Protection Agency delayed its highly anticipated rule that will require a significant reduction in fossil fuels emitted by new coal-fired plants. The purpose, they claim, is to wed the release with other rules scheduled for later this year. “[T]he Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it would wait until midsummer, and issue the new power plant rules with a separate regulation aimed at cutting the pollution blamed for global warming from the existing coal-fired power fleet,” the Associated Press reported. EPA Air and Radiation Administrator Janet McCabe remarked, “This is all about the best policy outcome, and the appropriate policy outcome. That is what we are talking about here, and that is why we think it is important to finalize these rules in the same time frame.” Actually, there’s a better explanation. With Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress threatening to overhaul the EPA, Democrats are waiting for NOAA’s forthcoming announcement that 2014 was the “hottest year ever,” which will provide Democrats with much-needed leverage. We need to “do something”! But Republicans are being obstructionists! The same strategy will be employed at the pivotal UN climate assembly later this year. It’s quite clever, really. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bode well for Liberty.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Obama’s Ratings Rising, on how the president is taking advantage of rising GDP and falling gas prices.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

The Real Islamic Threat

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Two weeks after terrorists killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans in Benghazi in September 2012, Barack Obama announced to the UN, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

The Religion of Peace™ took his advice Wednesday in Paris, as jihadis killed 12 people for daring to “slander the prophet of Islam.”

Two of the victims were police officers (one of whom was wounded and then executed), and 10 were journalists (including the editor-in-chief) for the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which was firebombed in 2011 for printing cartoons of Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo recovered from that terrorism and published a few more cartoons skewering Muhammad and, more recently, the Islamic State. ISIL filled the terror vacuum in the Middle East after Obama claimed victory against al-Qaida ahead of his 2012 re-election bid.

Three masked men perpetrated the well-planned attack with Kalashnikov rifles and other small arms — perhaps either a rocket or grenade launcher. They reportedly knocked on office doors asking by name for individuals who had created certain offensive cartoons. In a clip aired on French television, the attackers were recorded shouting, “We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad.”

The jihadis escaped after the attack — quite a different ending from most such killing sprees. One turned himself in to police; the other two are still at large.

The men told the journalist they forced to let them in the building that they were from al-Qaida. Meanwhile, ISIL supporters praised the attack.

Not surprisingly, however, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest initially declined to call it terrorism: “[T]his is an act of violence that we certainly do condemn. And, you know, if based on this investigation it turns out to be an act of terrorism then we would condemn that in the strongest possible terms, too.” He also once again referred to Islam as a “Religion of Peace™.”

And the White House issued a statement condemning the attacks while not mentioning the words Islam, Muslim or jihad.

Former DNC Chief Howard Dean flat out denied Islam’s culpability: “I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life. That’s not what the Koran says. … I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.”

Meanwhile, numerous media outlets cowered in fear, refusing to show the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, blurring them out if images were shown at all. By contrast, the Associated Press and other outlets had no problem showing the “piss Christ” “art” some years ago.

Not cowering, however, was cartoonist and Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, who was killed Wednesday. In 2012, he said, “I prefer to die standing than living on my knees.”

The Obama administration clearly would rather kneel, or at least bow. Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry declared the murdered French journalists “martyrs for liberty,” and said we “wield something that is far more powerful” than the weapons the jihadis used. But, again, it was his boss who said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Ironically, in 2012, Obama was condemning an obscure Internet video defaming Muhammad, which his administration blamed ahead of the 2012 presidential election for the al-Qaida attack on Benghazi. Obama’s campaign was built on having defeated al-Qaida. And not only did he criticize free speech, U.S. taxpayers footed the bill for ads in Pakistan condemning the video.

Not only will Obama not stand for such “slander,” but he has been regularly releasing terrorist leaders from Gitmo, who historically just return to their deadly trade.

While there was much media handwringing about freedom of speech after North Korea compelled Sony to censor a satirical movie, the real threats to free speech are Islamist terrorists. For example, instead of firing off a nasty letter to the editor, the Paris jihadis brutally murdered Charlie Hebdo employees.

Also noteworthy is that the police who initially responded to the attack were, incredibly, unarmed and quickly fled. Indeed, given all the videos that were shot of this attack, it’s too bad that Paris is a gun free zone — instead of shooting videos, someone could have been returning fire.

Furthermore, the French have allowed this Islamist menace to fester in their country for years. In fact, one of the men was a known and convicted terrorist. Now they are paying the price, and make no mistake, this menace is also festering in our homeland. Islamists, like Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 14 people (including an unborn child) and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood, will continue to strike with increasing frequency. See also the attacks in Boston, Australia and Canada.

While the media refers to these deadly assaults as “lone wolf attacks,” there are no such thing. Nor is there a “homegrown” Western threat. All these actors are part of an ideological Islamist web that is not Western. (Anyone for terrorist profiling?)

All the Children Left Behind

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Bush signing Kennedy’s bill

As millions of students returned to school this week after Christmas break — pardon, “winter holiday” — 535 children legislators convened in Washington to determine, among other things, whether they will allow to continue unchecked the steep deterioration of America’s educational system.

No Child Left Behind, the behemoth federal legislation that’s left not simply one child but an entire generation behind, may be approaching its day of reckoning. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairs of their respective chambers’ education committees, are preparing an overhaul of the legislation that would divest the federal government of much of its control over education — control our Constitution never authorized Washington to have in the first place.

Signed into law in 2002, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was the successor to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), first passed as part of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” Easily the most far-reaching federal legislation affecting education, ESEA, in its initial form, was 32 pages long, included five titles and provided about $1 billion in federal education funding. Thanks to the growth of federal mandates, programs and general bureaucracy, in fiscal year 2014, funding for NCLB surpassed $25 billion. This, of course, is only a fraction of the more than $130 billion the federal government spends on elementary, secondary and higher education.

The late Ted Kennedy, NCLB’s initial sponsor, once complained, “The tragedy is that these long overdue reforms are finally in place, but the funds are not.” Wrong. Even as education funding skyrocketed over the years, so-called reforms failed to improve education for America’s children. Naturally, the Left’s response is always more money, more regulation and more federal control. Considering the smashing success of Common Core in its nascent years, however, more people are beginning to question whether little Susie really should be learning math according to Washington bureaucrats.

Not surprisingly, the prospect of disentangling federal tentacles from education is an ambitious one. Still, several proposals on the table are not only viable but also quite likely to yield real improvement in the quality of education available to children.

For starters, federal education funding has become so tied to federal mandates that local — and parental — control over education has all but disappeared. To remedy this, the Heritage Foundation notes, “[P]olicymakers should enable states to completely opt out of the programs that fall under No Child Left Behind.” Instead states should be able to “consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.” Such an opt-out option would return a significant portion of educational control to states and local school districts, a fierce contrast to unelected Beltway bureaucrats playing educational puppet masters.

It’s called federalism. The nation should try it.

Similarly, reform should address bureaucratic mandates that hide behind the face of supposed accountability — for example, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements. Like many federal programs, AYP requirements sound good on the surface, but in actuality their effects are detrimental. As the Washington Examiner notes, “The longer a school fails to make adequate yearly progress, the more dramatic its required restructuring. Schools can even be taken over by the state or face mass replacements of school staff.” (As if this is the sure way to scholastic excellence.) Certainly, measuring student progress can be beneficial, but the federal government’s dictating such measurements and issuing penalties for failing to make the grade has clearly failed.

Additionally, as proponents of true education reform have long said, any legislation truly aiming to provide students the opportunity for the best education possible will allow families to choose public, private, parochial or charter schools. So, to the horror of teachers unions everywhere, a meaningful overhaul of federal education legislation must allow for funding portability, in which dollars follow the child instead of being used to hold children hostage in failing schools.

Of course, for those who (rightly) argue that the federal government has no constitutionally authorized role in education at all, a more appealing option would be for states not simply to opt-out of federal programs and “consolidate” federal education funds but for them not to send these funds to Washington in the first place.

It’s a battle whose outcome is far from determined, as powerful teachers unions have a reckless president and his pen on their side. But if ever Congress has a chance to do something that not only helps restore a bit of our constitutional order but also supports true educational opportunity for America’s youth, it’s now.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

Philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626): “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

AEI scholar Michael Rubin: “Satire and ridicule are like carnival caricatures. They may exaggerate, but they strike a chord because their basis in fact resonates with a wide audience. Such is the case also with satire. Islamists cannot handle free thinking at the best of times, but ridicule is their kryptonite, for it shows that the would-be caliphs have no clothes. Free speech can be a powerful tool, and so Western liberals should rally around Charlie Hebdo. To suggest that the satirical outlet brought violence upon itself is to suggest women wearing bikinis invite rape. Do not blame the victims, but rather the perpetrators. Recognize that free speech is under assault, and that it is a value worth protecting. Let us hope that no government or publisher responds to today’s violence with self-censorship, as some commentators and journalists have counseled under similar circumstances. If they do, the Islamists have won and all man’s progress since the Enlightenment is at peril.”

Historian Victor Davis Hanson: “In contemporary straitjacket Democratic orthodoxy, there is no concession that a white male mechanic could face more economic difficulty than a Latina journalist, African-American federal employee or Asian dentist. Lockstep obedience to the mantras of diversity, affirmative action and preferential hiring does not allow that race can be increasingly divorced from class. Moreover, race is not always either absolute or easily definable. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has to emphasize that he is Latino. Otherwise, based on his name, appearance and speech, he appears to be just another successful grandee of unknown lineage. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren can cynically claim to be Native American — with all the perks that such lineage entails. … For a liberal, when the poor waste money on $300 Air Jordans, such spending should not be criticized. But for the middle class to supposedly squander cash on a shotgun or Jet Ski is gauche. If an undocumented immigrant has seven children, it is not declared to be unwise family planning with the same disdain shown a Mormon blue-collar roofer with a comparably large family. … Democrats’ problem is that the working classes are large and know that they no longer fit into what liberalism has become.”

Humorist Frank J. Fleming: “The thing about speech is that no matter how ‘offensive’ it is, it’s entirely within the individual’s power to choose how to react to it. Like most Americans, I haven’t actually studied Islam enough to know whether it promotes violence or not. One problem is there’s a very large portion of the world where a death sentence for blasphemy and apostasy is considered normal.”

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

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Swedish Citizens Welcoming RFID Implants, Organized “Implant Party”, Thousands could be Next

Posted: 08 Jan 2015 08:02 AM PST

_79516312_swedishcyborg2Revelation 13:16-18 –  He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[f] the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Darkness had fallen over Stockholm as a group of eight people entered Swahili Bobs, a tattoo parlour in the dark alleys of Sodermalm. By day there were tech entrepreneurs, students, web designers and IT consultants – but that night they were going to be transformed into cyborgs. It may sound like the beginning of a science-fiction novel, but in fact it is a recollection of real events, by bio-hacker Hannes Sjoblad. He organised the so-called implant party, which took place in late November and was one of several he has arranged. At it, eight volunteers were implanted with a small RFID (radio frequency identification) chip under the skin in their hand. Mr Sjoblad also has one. He is starting small, aiming to get 100 volunteers signed up in the coming few months, with 50 people already implanted. But his vision is much bigger. “Then will be a 1,000, then 10,000. I am convinced that this technology is here to stay and we will think it nothing strange to have an implant in their hand.” More

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US weapons funnelled to Iran-backed militias.Posted: 08 Jan 2015 07:49 AM PST

1416055239sU.S. weapons intended for Iraq’s beleaguered military are winding up in the possession of the country’s Shiite militias, according to U.S. lawmakers and senior officials in the Barack Obama administration. These sources say that the Baghdad government, which was granted $1.2 billion in training and equipment aid in the omnibus spending bill passed last month, is turning hardware over to Shiite militias that are heavily influenced by Iran and have been guilty of gross human-rights violations. One senior administration official told us that the U.S. government is aware of this, but is caught in a dilemma. The flawed Iraqi security forces are unable to fight Islamic State without the aid of the militias, who are often trained and sometimes commanded by officers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. And yet, if the U.S. stopped sending arms to the Iraqi military, things would get even worse, with IS overrunning more of the country and committing human-rights horrors on a broader scale. The risk of not aiding them was greater than the risk of aiding them, the official said, adding that this didn’t mean the administration was unconcerned about the risks involved. More

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‘Duck Dynasty’ Star’s Wife Has a Surprising Answer When Asked If She’s Pro-ChoicePosted: 08 Jan 2015 07:46 AM PST

women-of-duck-commanderThe wife of “Duck Dynasty” star Al Robertson revealed that she considers herself pro-choice during an interview with HuffPo Live Tuesday, while at the same time citing her Christian faith in speaking out against abortion. Lisa Robertson, who appeared alongside her husband to discuss their new book titled, “A New Season: A Robertson Family Love Story of Brokenness and Redemption,” said that she had an abortion as a troubled teenager and that it’s something she truly regrets. “I could have had three children and I messed that up,” Robertson said. ”There has not been — maybe a day has gone by — that I have not thought of this child. … at the time it was the answer that I sought. As I sit here today that is not the answer I would have chosen had I known better, had I been more mature in my thinking.” She added that she would never call her abortion “a good choice” and that, if she could go back, she wouldn’t make the same decision, claiming that she opposes abortion based on her Christian faith. “I’m a Christian … I don’t feel like that I should have had a choice to take that life,” Robertson said. More

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10 Most Dangerous Places in the World to Be a ChristianPosted: 08 Jan 2015 07:39 AM PST

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The worst might be yet to come for Christians enduring violence, murder and persecution across the globe, according to a Christian human rights organization that monitors and exposes atrocities aimed at believers. Open Doors USA has released its “2015 World Watch List,” a report that highlights and ranks the worst nations in the world to be a Christian, finding that, while the Middle East continues to be the most violent place for Christians, the largest increase in persecution unfolded in Africa during 2014. “Approximately 100 million Christians are persecuted worldwide, making them one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world,” read a statement announcing the report. “Islamic extremism is the main source of persecution in 40 of the 50 countries on the 2015 World Watch List.” Here’s the list of the top 10 worst places in the world to be a Christian. More

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SHEMITAH CYCLE – The Chart That Terrifies The FedPosted: 08 Jan 2015 07:35 AM PST

TIPS Fed_0For many months, the Fed had openly ignored what the market was signaling about future inflation expectations, either through 5Y,5Y forwards or breakevens, instead opting to rely on such trivial and unreliable indicators as inflation surveys and beige book narratives. However, with the collapse in 10 Year yields back under 2% that has now changed. Here is what yesterday’s FOMC minutes had to say on this topic: A couple of participants remarked on the apparent disparity between market-based measures of expected future U.S. short-term interest rates and projections for short-term rates based on surveys or based on the median of federal funds rate projections in the SEP. One participant noted that very low term premiums in market-based measures might explain at least some portion of this gap. Another possibility was that market-based measures might be assigning considerable weight to less favorable outcomes for the U.S. economy in which the federal funds rate would remain low for quite some time or fall back to very low levels in the future… In other words, the Fed is suddenly at odds with what not only the market, but the Fed’s favorite market-driven indicator of future inflation expectations is saying. Does this lead the Fed to believe that it may be wrong? That remains to be seen but here is a take from BofA in its daily chart of the day: More

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Mormon church applauds stars of TLC show who are attracted to men but married to women as ‘true to their religious convictions’Posted: 08 Jan 2015 07:32 AM PST

Preston Pret Dahlgren, Megan Dahlgren, Naomi DahlgrenPreston ‘Pret’ Dahlgren has led what might seem like a picture-perfect Mormon life: He met his high school sweetheart in Sunday school as a teenager, completed his mission and married her. He is active in the church and the proud father of two young daughters. Dahlgren also is attracted to men.  His story is the subject of a new TV show called ‘My Husband’s Not Gay.’ And while it may shock some, Mormon leaders have spoken in support of the controversial series.  ‘While the church does not promote marriage as a treatment method for same-sex attraction, couples who are trying to be lovingly supportive of each other while being true to their religious convictions deserve our support and respect,’ said church spokesman Eric Hawkins.  Meanwhile, gay-rights advocacy groups are calling irresponsible and dangerous. They want the TLC cable network to pull the plug on the program before it airs Sunday.  Dahlgren and another Mormon man from Utah featured in the show say they’re happy in their marriages, and they hope the program shows gives stories like theirs a foothold in the conversation about sexuality. More

 

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Senior CNN Man in Bizarre Anti-Israel Tirade after Paris AttackPosted: 08 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST

img558071CNN’s veteran news anchor and international correspondent Jim Clancy has provoked controversy after a series of bizarre anti-Israel tweets following Wednesday’s deadly terrorist attack in Paris. Journalists throughout the world and from across the political spectrum reacted with horror at the slaughter of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices yesterday. The satirical magazine was targeted by Muslim extremists wielding Kalashnikov rifles, after years of threats and previous attacks by Islamists over several cartoons it published which mocked Islam and Muslim leaders – in addition to countless others mocking other religious and secular figures. Clancy, however, took exception to the claim that the magazine was attacked for insulting Islam, claiming instead that “The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word.” A debatable position perhaps, given that some of its cartoons do indeed appear to directly mock Mohammed – and the fact that any representation of him whatsoever, in any context, is deemed “offensive” under Islamic law. More

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2014 Marked Worst Christian Persecution in Over 20 YearsPosted: 08 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST

iraqi-christiansLast year saw the highest level of persecution of Christians the world has seen since the fall of the Soviet Union, according to a report by a Christian persecution watchdog group released Wednesday. Open Doors USA highlighted that in the 24 years that Open Doors has been tracking numbers on global persecution, 2014 was the most violent year of Christian persecution and was far worse than the year before.  “Perhaps most chilling is the fact that all the factors, all of the issues that made this a violent year for Christian persecution are still in place,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors, at the press conference. “During the past reporting period we can confirm that 4,344 people were executed or murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ. Over twice that of the previous reporting period.”  In an interview with The Christian Post, Curry explained that the common thread in both the state-sponsored and terrorist-based persecution documented was “ideology.” “There are indications that there are some nationalistic movements like Eritrea where the government itself has adopted the ideology,” said Curry. More

The post 2014 Marked Worst Christian Persecution in Over 20 Years appeared first on End Time Headlines.

What If Every Volcano on Earth Erupted at Once?Posted: 08 Jan 2015 06:51 AM PST

volcanolavaWhether it’s glowing lava snaking into the sea or lightning blooming in billowing ash clouds, the sight of an erupting volcano inspires awe and wonder. Now imagine 1,500 of these suckers all shooting off at once. That’s how many active volcanoes dot the Earth, plus an unknown number hidden under the ocean. Every day, between 10 and 20 volcanoes are erupting somewhere on Earth, but scientists say the chance of every volcano on the planet erupting at once is so small that it’s impossible. But what if it did happen? Would Earth as it we know it survive? Not likely, said Parv Sethi, a geologist at Radford University in Virginia. Even if only the volcanoes on land blasted in sync, the effects would trigger an environmental domino chain many, many times more powerful than a nuclear winter, Sethi said. “Things will become so bad that I wouldn’t want to survive on an Earth like this,” he told Live Science More

The post What If Every Volcano on Earth Erupted at Once? appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Strange Behavior of the Sun’s Iron Heart Surprises ScientistsPosted: 08 Jan 2015 06:47 AM PST

Strange_Behavior_of_the_Sun's-097902d92878f9b4d79093e02ce368c6A machine on Earth capable of recreating the conditions inside the sun’s heart is helping scientists study how iron behaves at mind-boggling temperatures. The results of the experiment, so far, have defied expectations and just might help settle a long-standing solar puzzle, researchers say. Recreating conditions inside the sun, with temperatures topping 3.9 billion degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 billion degrees Celsius), is no easy task, but it’s something scientists have been doing for a decade at the Z Machine at Sandia National Laboratory. This machine creates some of the most powerful X-rays found on Earth. Each pulse contains 80 trillion watts of electricity — more than five times the combined electrical power of all the power plants on Earth, according to Sandia’s website. The pulses last only about 100 nanoseconds each, but that’s long enough to heat a very small sample of material to temperatures found at the heart of Earth’s nearest star. More

The post Strange Behavior of the Sun’s Iron Heart Surprises Scientists appeared first on End Time Headlines.


On The Verge Of The Next Economic Crisis, 62 Percent Of Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Nearly two-thirds of all Americans are completely and totally unprepared for the next economic crisis. As you will read about below, a new survey has found that only 38 percent of Americans have enough money on hand to cover “a $500 repair bill or a $1,000 emergency room visit”. That essentially means that 62 percent of the people in this country do not have an emergency fund. Even after the extremely bitter financial lessons that millions of Americans learned during the last recession, most of us are still choosing to live on the edge. That is utter insanity, and when the next major economic downturn strikes most people are going to find themselves totally unprepared. (Read More….)


Paris Terror: ‘What We Saw Today Is War’

Masked Islamic terrorists killed 12 people in Paris on Wednesday in a brazen attack that terrorist expert Walid Phares believes amounts to war, and he said those trying to distance the killers from any connection to Islam are doing the world a great disservice …………. Click here for full story


U.S. Muslim Group Silent On Key Reason For Attack

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Wednesday’s deadly terrorist attack at the offices of a Paris newspaper as “barbaric” and deserving of punishment “to the fullest extent of the law.” But the Muslim apologist organization’s statement made no mention of Islamic blasphemy laws, which carry the death penalty as standard punishment for mocking Islam and its prophet, Muhammad………. Click here for full story


Al-Qaida Threatens To Use ‘Undetectable’ Bombs Against U.S.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is warning Americans that they’ve been working long and hard on a new tool to attack the U.S………. Click here for full story


Atlanta Fire Chief: I Was Fired Because Of My Christian Faith

“It’s a frightening day in the United States when a person cannot express their faith without fears of persecution following,” White told me. “It’s persecution when a godly fire chief loses his job over expressing his Christian faith.”……….. Click here for full story


Will That Be Cash, Credit, Fingerprint Or Iris Scan?

Forget about whipping out your credit card. The next time you have to buy milk, condoms or whatever else you need, some mobile technology and financial companies are hoping you’ll give a quick imprint of your finger, scan of your eye or tap of an armband that links to your heartbeat ……… Click here for full story


India, Pakistan on the Brink, Again :: Fatah in Toronto Sun

by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun
January 6, 2015
http://www.meforum.org/4960/india-pakistan-on-the-brink-again


Obama Spokesman on Islam: ‘It’s a Peaceful Religion’

(CNSNews.com) – “This is a terrible act of violence, and one that we condemn in the strongest possible terms,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning, shortly after masked gunman killed 12 people at the offices of a satirical newspaper in Paris that has made fun of the Prophet Mohammed.

French President Francois Hollande called Tuesday’s massacre a terror attack, but Earnest did not: He used the phrase “terrible act of violence” three times, and he also called Islam a “peaceful religion.”

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11 Predictions Of Economic Disaster In 2015 From Top Experts All Over The Globe

Over the past couple of years, we have all watched as global financial bubbles have gotten larger and larger. Despite predictions that they could burst at any time, they have just continued to expand. But just like we witnessed in 2001 and 2008, all financial bubbles come to an end at some point, and when they do implode the pain can be extreme. Personally, I am entirely convinced that the financial markets are more primed for a financial collapse now than they have been at any other time since the last crisis happened nearly seven years ago. And I am certainly not alone. At this point, the warning cries have become a deafening roar as a whole host of prominent voices have stepped forward to sound the alarm. The following are 11 predictions of economic disaster in 2015 from top experts all over the globe…

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10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis Are Happening Again

If you do not believe that we are heading directly toward another major financial crisis, you need to read this article. So many of the exact same patterns that preceded the great financial collapse of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes.

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10 Israeli tech ideas that changed the world in 2014

The Metamaterials ‘invisibility cloak’

Imagine a Harry Potter-style “invisibility cloak” that could enable IDF soldiers to traverse the battlefield right under the noses of their enemies without being detected. Israeli scientists continue to work on “metamaterials,” engineered materials that are micro-designed in a manner that results in a specific behavior.

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Ordinary People

How could God use me for anything? I’m no one special. I’m just an ordinary person with an ordinary life. It is probably accurate to say that most of us ask ourselves (or God) this question.

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When Will We Wake Up?

Yet we in the West, with our “hate speech” legislation and rules that demonize “Islamophobia,” and our universities that disinvite critics of Islam like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have given such a veto to the jihadists, and in effect validated Islamic blasphemy laws as superior to our right to free speech.

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“Don’t Miss Him This Time!”

I opened up this message by asking the question…How could so many people, seeing so many signs, completely miss the First Coming? But I am now a living testimony in these last days, where once again, so many people are seeing, yet willfully ignoring the many signs that point us to the soon return of Jesus Christ.

Let me be clear, the Rapture could occur at any moment and I fully believe that. There is no prophetic event that has to happen before Jesus snatches His church from the earth.

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France’s Multiculturalist Agenda Makes Jews Pack Their Bags

As more French Jews face anti-Semitic attacks, many are leaving for Israel. Most of the attacks have come from Muslims, whether immigrants or French-born, many of whom have not assimilated into French society – if not rejecting French society entirely. Compounding the dangerous situation, France’s left-wing government refuses to acknowledge the scope of this crisis, apparently more afraid of losing Muslim votes they depend on than in defending France’s half-million Jews.

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‘Not Forgotten’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Most Difficult To Be A Christian

Open Doors released today its latest World Watch List (WWL). The annual list ranks the top 50 countries “where Christians face the most persecution,” aiming to create “effective anger” on believers’ behalf.

“This year, the threshold was higher for a country to make the list, indicating that worldwide levels of persecution have increased,” stated Open Doors in announcing its analysis of the “significant trends” in 2014 that drove persecution higher worldwide, “even in places where it has not been reported in the past.”

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Headlines of Interest

Why Russia’s Evangelicals Thank God for Putin

Religious cult leader accused of ruining lives and ‘brainwashing’ people….

Apostolic sect churches abusing girls

350 YWAM Missionaries Fear Forced Exit from United Kingdom After License Suspended

Kansas church to host Planned Parenthood abortion ‘celebration’

Matt Chandler Praises God for Clean MRI, Being Cancer Free for Over 5 Years Now

Group Plans Legal Action Against DC for Banning Conversion Therapy for Gay Youth

Saskatoon gay couple 1st to be married in Mennonite church


Barna Update | The Rise of the Churchless

Q&A with George Barna & David Kinnaman on Today’s Churchless

In the 1990s, 30% of the American population was unchurched. Today, two decades later, that proportion has risen to more than four in 10 Americans (43%).

“If we want to turn that trend around, we’ve got to understand what these people are thinking, what they’re doing, why they are making these particular choices,” says Barna founder and former president, George Barna. Such is the aim of the new project Churchless, co-edited with current president and owner, David Kinnaman.

“It’s critical to recognize these trends have a huge impact on how our churches and faith organizations work,” agrees Kinnaman in a joint interview with Barna. “Recognizing the context in which these trends play out is very important for church leaders.”

Watch the Full Interview >


Let the World See – Church & Culture Blog

My heart has been filled with a fair amount of grief of late. No, nothing in my own personal life, or in the life of the church I have the privilege of serving. Those arenas are filled with nothing but sheer joy.

No, my grief is over the many pastors I have become aware of – seemingly more than usual of late – who have felt forced to resign or have been outright fired from their churches.

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Atlanta Fire Chief Fired Over Pro-Family Book

Cochran’s 162-page self-published book, “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” seeks to help Christian men overcome feelings of guilt and condemnation over past sins. It discusses homosexuality for less than half a page, including a mention of uncleanness as the “opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion.”

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Matt Recker and the Gospel Coalition, Part 8: Charismatic Theology

The Third Wave was marked by theological change. Leaders such as John Wimber and C. Peter Wagner no longer grounded healing in the atonement or tongues in Spirit baptism. Instead, they shifted the doctrinal basis for miraculous gifts toward inaugurated eschatology. On their view, the presence of the kingdom required the presence of kingdom authority, which was manifested especially through power encounters (healings, exorcisms, and even resurrections).

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Gay Marriage Prompts Call for Clergy to Shun Civil Ceremonies

The authors promise to “ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings.” And they “will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles articulated and lived out from the beginning of the church’s life.” In practice, they ask couples to be married in Christian rites with ministers or priests, then to have second services, with judges or justices of the peace, who will sign their state licenses.

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Top Ten Presbyterian News Themes Of 2014

The moves between branches continue with the PC(USA) once again transferring more churches than it closes. And in the Church of Scotland there has been a slower, but noticeable, departure. The other interesting movement is churches moving from the Reformed Church of America to the Presbyterian Church in America. Last Spring one of the flagship churches, University Reformed Church, voted to transfer. This fall five churches in Illinois have also voted to make the move.

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Where Does the Sin Begin?

As someone who struggles with same-sex attraction I think it’s important to pray in two ways. First, “God give me a heart that wants what you want and forgive me for (intentionally or unintentionally) wanting what is not good.” Second, “Father, I long for the day that all my wants will align with yours, come quickly, Lord Jesus.” In this way, we pray against the particular sin and against the experience of temptation that we did not choose.

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Because We Are A Confessing Community

Robertson teaches that not only is a priest to represent the people to God, but “they also had to represent God to the people, particularly by instructing them in the torah” (88). The Hebrews were encouraged to persevere by holding fast to their confession of hope as they drew near to God. The church is a confessing community, united in God’s Word. And with that union in Christ comes responsibility. We have access to the most holy place and we are obligated to instruct and admonish one another to promote each other’s holiness.

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The Mormon View of Salvation: A Gospel That Is Truly Impossible

Forgiveness of sins provides the Christian peace that passes all understanding. By using the approach we’ve presented here, you will be challenging the Mormon to explain why Christians should surrender their assurance of forgiveness for something that the Mormons only wish they had.

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The Many Sins Of Newsweek’s Exposé On The Bible

Newsweek’s piece affords the church the opportunity to clarify what it believes and to learn what it does not yet know. At the same time, the response to this cover story also offers Eichenwald the chance to slow down, step back and discover a world he never knew existed. If Eichenwald wants to engage his subject matter with the true intellectual curiosity it deserves, he may discover that he has a far more interesting story to report next Christmas.

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To Defend The Disposable

For what Dr. Gruber called “positive selection” is simply a euphemism for eugenics: the deliberate elimination of those parts of the population most likely to have difficulty coping with our post-industrial, information-driven society. That a lot of secular progressives are fierce supporters of the abortion license because they’re eugenicists at heart shouldn’t come as a surprise; one current member of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had a Gruberian moment some years ago when she admitted in an interview that legal activists promoting the abortion license prior to 1973 did so in part because they thought it would cut down the “growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

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Western Dhimmitude is Enabling Bloody Jihad

by Bill Muehlenberg

Imagine if the Christian religion were responsible for some 250 million deaths over a 1400 year period. Imagine if the New Testament brimmed with passages commanding the death of the unbeliever. Imagine if we had daily headlines of bloody terror attacks done in the name of Christ by devout Christians.

Imagine mass slaughter of the innocents on the streets of New York, Boston, London, Paris, Sydney and other Western cities by armed militant Christians. Just how would our ruling elites and mainstream media be responding by now?

Do you think they would say, ‘Well, we can’t judge the whole bunch by a few bad apples. We must be tolerant. We cannot be judgmental. We must look within to see what we have done to cause all these Christian attacks. They were surely unstable people to begin with, and acting as lone wolves. This clearly has nothing to do with Christianity.’

Um, no. We know exactly how they would be responding. They would demand that Christianity be banned, that the Bible be banned, that churches be closed down. They would condemn Christianity and Christians en masse for being a bloody, evil death cult.

Yet when we have exactly all this happening, except it happens to be done by devout Muslims, we live in denial, hide our heads in the sand, make Islam out to be a great and noble religion, turn the terrorists into the victims, and make every excuse in the book for them.

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The First Book You Need to Read in 2015

J. Warner Wallace

“Stealing from God” is an important book written by an important Christian Case Maker, and it’s the first book you should read in 2015.

READ FULL ARTICLE


Making Resolutions

Paul Tripp

I don’t want to discourage you from writing or keeping a New Year’s resolution, but I do want to challenge the way you think about biblical change.

READ FULL ARTICLE


Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2014

Alex Crain

We live in a time of great skepticism. Even though belief in the Bible as a reliable, historically accurate document is well-supported, the fact of human doubt about the Bible persists.

READ FULL ARTICLE


Dave Ramsey’s “The Legacy Journey”

Tim Challies

All-in-all, “The Legacy Journey” is a helpful book with many strengths, but it still left me unsatisfied. Here’s why…

READ FULL ARTICLE


Taming the Jungle

Ann Spangler

Take some time today to imagine your life as a garden. What does it look like? What plants does it contain? Have you kept up with the weeding?

READ FULL ARTICLE


#New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Church (2015)

Dr. James Emery White

What would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and your church, your role as a leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a life of strategic Kingdom investment?

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Persecution in 2014: Expansions in Slavery and Sharia Enforcement

ICC Note:

The following is Dr. Martin Parsons’ assessment of Christian persecution, in which he notes Islamists and violent jihadists successfully expanded the enforcement of Sharia law on non-Muslims in Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. Dr. Parsons has a PhD in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations and has authored a major academic book on the subject.

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2014 Saw Worst Persecution of Chinese Christians in a Generation

ICC Note:

This seems to have been the most difficult year for Christians since the 1980’s. The fact that over 426 Church crosses were destroyed in 2014 is just the beginning.

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North Korea Must be Held Accountable For Religious Freedom Violations

North Korea Must be Held Accountable for its Abysmal Human Rights Record

ICC Note:

“North Korea’s government severely restricts religious freedom other than activities of officially recognized groups.  Those attempting to practice their faith outside these officially sanctioned channels — such as through underground churches — face arrest, beatings, torture or death.  Religious prisoners in North Korea’s infamous penal labor camps – who constitute as many as 15,000 out of the estimated 150,000-200,000 total prisoners – reportedly are treated worse than other inmates and are subject to abuse to compel forced renunciations of faith.”

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Two Groups Of Tribulation Believers, Or One?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  In various answers you’ve spoken of tribulation saints of Rev. 7:9-17 and Rev. 20:4-6.  Are you saying the tribulation martyrs (Rev. 20;4-6) are different then those believers who come out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17)? Would I be assuming correctly that Rev 7 tribulation people are those who survived through the tribulation and Rev 20 are those who died during the tribulation? If they are the same, then why do you say that the tribulation believers of Revelation 7:9-17 are never called priests?  Are they not called “priests” in Revelation 20:6>

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What If I Can’t Answer?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  One thing that has always made me wonder / sort of worry  is when are facing Jesus Christ in Judgment ( like if we were to die) and he asks us ” why should I let you into the the kingdom of heaven”? I’m wondering what if I’m so tongue tied, and freeze up and cannot answer him and stutter?  I’m afraid I won’t know


Who Are The Lions?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  To whom is Ps 34.10 reffering? The context makes no sense to me. I realize the term lions means different things in bible depending  on context but here…?  I have researched this but cannot find satisfactory answer.

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10 Distractions Regarding Worship Music

By Chuck Lawless

A few weeks ago, I posted findings on common worship distractions. Since that time, some readers have questioned me more specifically about our findings regarding the musical component of worship. So, the goal in this post is to respond to that request.

Let me be honest about my qualifications up front, though: I am not a musician or singer; I am a church consultant only reporting what our teams have found in more than 15 years of consulting. It is not my intent to be judgmental or offensive. I have utmost respect for those who lead us in worship. With those caveats in mind, here are ten distractions we’ve encountered in the music element of worship.

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Drugs and Christian Counseling

Is the mind different than the brain? Does medicine solve the emotional problems or just mask them? Is it ever right to take mind altering drugs?

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16 Online Evaluations on Marriage, Depression, and Anxiety

Today’s post is from Brad Hambrick’s personal ministry site and is reproduced here with Brad’s permission. Brad has graciously made available to the BCC and to you sixteen biblical counseling evaluation resources on marriage, depression, and anxiety. Continue reading

Chicken Little Christianity

Cultural clarity and cultural engagement are necessary for Christians. But cultural panic? Well, that’s a sin. Let’s talk about it.
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The Parable Of The Ten Virgins

jude-gateway

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

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Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


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GTY Blog: Standards for Shepherds: Be Above Reproach

Code: B150107

by John MacArthur

America’s church culture suffers from an abundance of unqualified church leaders. What’s worse, many of these mavericks preside over a form of church government incapable of restraining or disciplining them.

Tragically, in many cases it’s the media that holds these leaders accountable—tragic because the media ends up doing a job that God has delegated to the church. Furthermore, the unbelieving world enjoys a front row seat to shameful scandals that bring reproach on Christ.

Many of these churches publically profess their allegiance to the Bible. However, the problem of unqualified leaders stems from a failure to heed Scripture’s clear teaching on the qualifications for church leadership. And it’s not as if those qualifications are a mystery; Paul was very clear about the qualities every church overseer (pastors and elders) must possess.

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. (1 Timothy 3:2–3)

Paul makes it clear that an overseer in the church of Jesus Christ must be first and foremost above reproach. The Greek particle de (translated “must”) emphasizes that this is an absolute necessity. A life without blame is the overarching requirement for leadership in the church.

The Need for Godly Leadership

The Greek word translated above reproach (anepilēmptos) means “not able to be held.” The man who is above reproach cannot be arrested and held as if he were a criminal because there is nothing for which to accuse him. Obviously, it does not mean he is sinless. It means that his life is not marred by some obvious sinful defect in character which would preclude him setting the highest standard for godly conduct. He must be a model for the congregation to follow (1 Peter 5:3). He also must not give the enemies of the church reason to attack its reputation (Titus 2:8).

Pastors must take great care to remain above reproach for several reasons. First, they are the special targets of Satan, and he will assault them with more severe temptation than others. Those on the front lines of the spiritual battle will bear the brunt of satanic opposition.

Second, their fall has a greater potential for harm. Satan knows that when a shepherd falls, the effect on the sheep is devastating.

Third, leaders’ greater knowledge of the truth, and accountability to live it, brings greater chastening when they sin.

Fourth, their sins are more hypocritical than those of others because they preach against the very sins they commit. In short, leaders need an abundance of God’s grace and power because of their greater responsibility and visibility.

The Leader’s Role in Maintaining Godliness

To protect themselves leaders must spend in-depth time in the study of God’s Word. They must be “constantly nourished on the words of the faith [Scripture] and of the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6). The psalmist wrote, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). A leader must continuously expose his life to the light of the Word of God. He must also be a man of prayer, and be accountable to others in spiritual fellowship.

The Church’s Role in Maintaining Godly Leadership

The church also has a role in maintaining godly leadership. The church is responsible to measure its leaders by that standard of being above reproach. The all too common practice today is to forgive a leader who sins grievously and immediately restore him to ministry. The church, like God, must not hesitate to forgive those who truly repent. But to immediately restore them to leadership lowers the standard that God expects leaders to follow. And since leaders serve as the visible pattern of holiness and virtue for the congregation, the standard for the entire church is lowered.

In 1 Timothy 3:2–7, Paul lists four areas in which a man aspiring to church leadership may be evaluated as to whether he is above reproach. These have to do with his moral character, home life, spiritual maturity, and public reputation.

We will examine each of those critical requirements for church leadership in the days ahead.

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 Timothy.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150107
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

How to Evaluate Alleged Bible “Contradictions” (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast #21)

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner describes several important principles to consider when evaluating alleged Bible “contradictions”. J. Warner uses the example of the sign over Jesus’ cross to demonstrate how these simple investigative principles can be employed to determine if Biblical passages are truly contradictory. (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

Here is the video (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Video Broadcast is located on YouTube, and you can watch the weekly broadcast from your phone with the Cold-Case Christianity App from the iTunes Store or Android Marketplace):

Here is the audio podcast (the Cold-Case Christianity Weekly Podcast is located on iTunes or our RSS Feed):

https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3283242/height/50/width/580/theme/standard/direction/no/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/

You can also listen to the Cold-Case Christianity Radio Interview Podcast, located on iTunes or our RSS Feed). Here are the downloadable articles related to this week’s show:

Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions

Source

The Cripplegate: The ineptitude of moral equivalence

As I’m sure you’ve heard, yesterday a Newspaper office in Paris was attacked by gunmen who murdered twelve people. The specific targets were the paper’s editorial cartoonists, and the motive for their murder was the fact that they had often drawn cartoons disparaging Mohammad.

While the attack was swiftly condemned by many political leaders—France’s own president called it “an exceptional act of barbarism”—it was also met by many people eager to protect the reputation of Islam. The fact that the murders were done to avenge the reputation of Mohammad and that the politically correct response was to protect Islam’s reputation is ironic indeed.

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The Cripplegate: Editing the 10 Commandments and the Sacredness of the Pulpit

commandmentsOver the past few weeks noise has arisen over the recent Christmas Eve service preached by pastor Perry Noble. Among other things, he performed a sweeping edit of the ten commandments in Exodus 20 during the sermon.

His justification for doing so was three-fold. God spoke to him, telling him to preach a message in which he edited each of the commandments, then he received affirmation from fellow-staff to do so, and a Jewish friend told him that there is no word in Hebrew for, “command.” The claim is made that instead of “Ten Commandments that you have to keep…they’re actually ten promises that you can receive when you say, ‘Yes,’ to Jesus.”

So, for example, the first commandment, which says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exod 20:3), is better understood as, “You do not have to live in constant disappointment anymore.” As a sidenote, the commandments are not promises to which we say, “Yes,” but standards by which we are shown to be condemned so that we would see and sorrow over our inability to render ourselves acceptable to holy God, repent, and embrace the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ for acceptable righteousness.

So, the errors here are significant. First, this is a remarkable edit and jumbling of Scripture (which others have sufficiently addressed). But there are some other issues which merit consideration, especially for those of us who stand behind a pulpit each week.

One issue here is the sacredness of the pulpit. By pulpit, I do not mean a physical stand which sits in a church, but the spiritual act of preaching the Bible. Biblical preaching is to be a sacred endeavor, because of the sacredness both of the office of pastor and the task of preaching. Further, the sacredness is not ourselves, but the God we represent, the God for whom we speak, and the word of God from which we preach. In that sense the pulpit carries with it a sacredness.

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Should young people vote for Democrats?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Jennifer Kabbany describes what young people got from their vote for Democrats over at the College Fix.

She writes:

Young America’s Foundation released its annual “Youth Misery Index” findings today, and the news is not good for young people – the index has hit an all-time record high.

The foundation calculates the index by adding youth unemployment, student loan debt, and national debt (per capita) figures, and it found “young people are experiencing hardships like never before under the Obama administration, and this generation is especially suffering the consequences of this administration’s leftist policies.”

For 2014, youth unemployment sat at 18.1 percent, student loan debt came in at $30,000, and national debt per capita was the highest ever at $58,437. The foundation tallied that all up for a Youth Misery Index of 106.5. That’s far above the 2013 figure of 98.6, when the foundation added 16.3, which represented youth unemployment, with 29.4…

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More than conquerors through him who loved us

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37 ESV)

How often have you heard Romans 8:37 in support of the concept of a “higher Christian life?” I have heard it in that context, but I have also heard it in its proper context, which is found in the entire chapter of Romans 8. In this context we learn that it is only in the context of suffering that Christians can learn what it means to be “more than conquerors.”

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