Daily Archives: April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Briefing Collection

There is no sin so prevalent, so insidious, and so deep as the sin of fearing people more than we fear God. —Kevin DeYoung

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Apr. 1, 2015

BLOOMBERG

President Obama commuted the sentences of 22 drug offenders serving time in federal prison, accelerating the administration’s efforts to reduce penalties for many of those convicted of such crimes.

Iran and world powers pressed ahead with talks to draft the outline of an agreement to end the 12-year standoff over the country’s nuclear program, with diplomats saying more work needs to be done before any announcement.

Governor Chris Christie is cutting highway and mass-transit spending to avoid a tax increase that could harm a potential 2016 presidential run, New Jersey Democratic lawmakers said.

The Obama administration is facing another foreign policy showdown in the United Nations Security Council. The administration has signaled that it might abandon the decades-long U.S. policy of protecting Israel at the UN and back a Security Council resolution laying out terms for a two-state solution to the almost 67-year-old dispute between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he was banning New York state employees from traveling to Indiana because of the passage of that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

President Obama has agreed to send Egypt 12 F-16 fighter jets and other weapons that had been held up after the 2013 military takeover that ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Russia’s economy unexpectedly grew 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter before the full effect of the country’s currency crisis took hold.

The manuscript for one of the most popular sing-along tunes at bars, “American Pie,” will go on auction this month. The asking price: at least $1 million.

AP Top Stories

Iraq declared a “magnificent victory” Wednesday over the Islamic State group in Tikrit, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.

Israel could suffer hundreds of civilian dead and damage to its vital infrastructure from Hezbollah rockets if it fights another war with the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla group, according to Israeli military assessments.

A video showing the chaotic final seconds on board the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps last week has been discovered near the site, Germany’s Bild daily reported on Wednesday, saying it had seen the footage.

The world’s oldest person, a Japanese woman, died Wednesday, a few weeks after celebrating her 117th birthday.

The year-long conflict in east Ukraine has closed businesses across this industrial heartland, ramping up unemployment, crippling finances and leaving it ever more reliant on Moscow.

A Florida city on Tuesday banned drinking on its beaches for the remainder of the current spring break season, after seven people were shot during a raucous party over the weekend.

The Philippines put troops on alert and prepared food and medical supplies as it warned residents and tourists along its eastern coast to be ready for a super typhoon expected to land some time in the next 72 hours.

Rights groups lambasted a Thai military court which jailed a businessman for 25 years for making allegedly defamatory Facebook posts about the monarchy, one of the toughest known sentences for lese majeste.

The Obama administration launched the first-ever sanctions program to financially punish individuals and groups outside the United States that are engaged in malicious cyber-attacks.

BBC

Islamic State (IS) militants have entered the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Damascus, activists and Palestinian officials say.

A lead investigator into the Germanwings crash has called for anyone with footage of the disaster to hand it over to the authorities.

Arkansas has approved a religious freedom bill similar to one that has caused a storm of protest in Indiana.

The publisher and editor of a Malaysian website have been freed on bail after their arrest on suspicion of sedition. Arrests for sedition have spiked recently, with opposition politicians, journalists and lawyers detained.

At least 35 workers have been killed by a blast at a dairy factory in western Yemen, medics said, as Saudi-led air strikes continue against Houthi rebels.

The UN high commissioner for human rights has warned that Yemen is “on the verge of total collapse”, as Houthi rebels battle a Saudi-led coalition backing the government.

WND

Some of Sen. Ted Cruz’s, R-Texas, critics are once again confronting him with the issue of his wife’s former membership in the Council on Foreign Relations and her role in the crafting of a CFR document espousing North American unity.

A new report claims that Facebook secretly installs tracking cookies on users’ computers, allowing them to follow users around the internet even after they’ve left the website, deleted their account and requested to be no longer followed.

Three new reality shows are set to debut in the wake of the groundbreaking work of Orange Is the New Black’s Cox-the first transgender actress to earn an Emmy nomination-and Jeffrey Tambor’s Golden Globe-winning performance as a father in transition on Amazon’s Transparent.

Modern life is making us lonelier, and recent research indicates that this may be the next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse. A recent review of studies indicates that loneliness increases mortality risk by 26%.


The massive corruption in Eastern Europe which facilitates terrorism, war, and heroin in the rest of the world

I encourage everyone to take a look at the attached report as it gives a very interesting perspective on what is really going on in that vital part of global real estate where Europe, The Middle East, and Asia converge.

Natasha is the a Co-Founder of The Adriatic Institute. Her Twitter handle is @NatashaSrdoc.

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How Government-Imposed ‘Net Neutrality’ Is Recipe for Crony Capitalism

This is such an annoying topic in a couple respects. 1 because “Net neutrality” is basically a done deal unless the courts rip it apart. But either way its out of the public’s hands. And 2 because a large number of smart people are convinced that “Net neutrality” is actually net neutrality. It’s like the Patriot Act circa 2002. No one could see that the Patriot Act wasn’t actually patriotic. Well, some folks did but they weren’t listened to at the time.

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Tony Blair whisks Cherie away to Abu Dhabi to kill off talk of a divorce
Just last month it was reported Blair is to step back from his Middle East peace envoy role, which would enable him to spend more time with his clients.   

Jesse Ventura to host new heavyweight current affairs show on RT America
“Off the Grid,” a talk show launched by Ventura last year on Larry King’s Ora TV internet network, will join RT’s Friday evening television line-up beginning this Friday, April 3. In a statement released by RT, Ventura said the program will showcase “uncensored discussions on the critical issues facing America today.”   

Joe Biden sending signal to American Jews?
VP’s strange comment seen as dire warning by some. “You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States … there is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the state of Israel,” Biden reportedly told the room full of surprised Jewish leaders. Israel Today magazine took the position that Biden’s comments may have been a type of prophetic warning to American Jewry, even if he didn’t fully realize the significance of his statement.   

Russian strategist suggests nuking Yellowstone
The suggestion is attributed to Konstantin Sivkov, who wrote in an article at the Russian language VPK News that, “As a result, the U.S. will cease to exist.” While the rest of the world, he noted, would suffer a “catastrophe,” Russia likely would suffer little “due to the distance from the eruption site, the size of the territory and the location.”   

‘The Resistance’ against Pope Francis
Ultra-traditionalist bishops in Brazil claim to be leading The Resistance to Pope Francis’s religious revolution, despite their own excommunications. French Bishop Jean-Michel Faure said on Sunday (March 29) the new group rejects Pope Francis and what it calls his “new religion.”   

World Bank sees protracted recession in Russia
Russia faces a protracted recession as the impact of Western sanctions lingers and oil prices stay low, the World Bank said in a report published on Wednesday. In its baseline scenario, the bank expected Russia’s gross domestic product to contract by 3.8 percent in 2015 and a further 0.3 percent in 2016, describing medium-term growth prospects as dim.   

FORBUSH DECREASE
For the second time in two weeks, a Forbush Decrease is underway. In other words, the number of cosmic rays around Earth is down. Forbush decreases happen when CMEs sweep past Earth and push aside cosmic rays that normally surround our planet. A CME that hit Earth on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, triggered the strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle.   

Arkansas passes ‘religious freedom’ bill similar to new Indiana law, sparking more protests
The state’s Republican-led House gave final approval to the bill, which prohibits the state and local governments from infringing on a person’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” interest.   

UN says Israel, not Iran, North Korea or Syria worst violator of human rights
Last week, Israel was the U.N.’s number one women’s rights violator. This week it is the U.N.’s all-round human rights villain.   

Palestinians formally join International Criminal Court
The Palestinians have formally joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), a key step towards being able to pursue Israelis for alleged war crimes. Foreign Minister Riad Malki attended a low-key ceremony at The Hague. The ICC’s chief prosecutor launched a “preliminary examination” in January, after the Palestinians signed its founding treaty, the Rome Statute.   

At least nine dead as fatal storms hit Germany and Austria
At least nine people have been killed in gales that have battered Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. Seven people were killed in Germany, including two men whose car was hit by a tree. German media reports that there have been dozens of injuries from flying branches.   

China building ‘great wall of sand’ in South China Sea
China’s land reclamation is creating a “great wall of sand” in the South China Sea, a top US official says, leading to “serious questions” on its intentions. US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris made the comments in a speech in Australia on Tuesday night. He said by pumping sand on to coral reefs and adding concrete, China had created “over 4sq/km (1.5 sq miles) of artificial landmass”.   

Iran, Russia express optimism as nuclear talks extended
Six world powers and Iran met again on Wednesday in a bid to reach a preliminary accord on reining in Tehran’s nuclear programme, after failing to agree crucial details such as the lifting of UN sanctions by a midnight deadline. …But as top negotiators from the powers met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Russia and Iran expressed optimism that an initial agreement was within reach.   

Iranian aircraft buzzed Navy helicopter in Persian Gulf
Washington —An Iranian military observation aircraft flew within 50 yards of an armed U.S. Navy helicopter over the Persian Gulf this month, sparking concern that top Iranian commanders might not be in full control of local forces.   

Hacker Group Anonymous Threatens Israel With ‘Electronic Holocaust’
Cyber activist group Anonymous has released an internet video which threatens Israel with an “electronic Holocaust” on April 7, in a massive cyber attack planned to fall just over a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 16, known in Israel as Yom HaShoah.   

Sen. Cotton: Socialist France Tougher on Iran Than Obama
The socialist government of France is taking a tougher stance against Iran in the nuclear talks under way in Switzerland than is the United States, Sen. Tom Cotton told Fox News Channel.   

Arkansas Passes Religious-Freedom Law Despite Outcry in Indiana
The Arkansas House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a religious freedom bill similar to one recently approved in Indiana, over protests from critics who say it could open the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians. The measure, which had strong support from the Republican members who dominate the statehouse, now goes to Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, who has said he would sign it.   

McCain Joins Bolton, Invites Israel to Bomb Iran
Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor last week to rail against peace talks with Iran. No surprises there. But McCain went beyond blasting the deal. He suggested a surprising and disturbing method of blowing up the talks. The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance. On the Iranian nuclear deal, they may have to go rogue. Let’s hope their warnings have not been mere bluffs. Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.   


Daily Digest

April 1, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“Every thing useful and beneficial to man, seems to be connected with obedience to the laws of his nature, the inclinations, the duties, and the happiness of individuals, resolve themselves into customs and habits, favorable, in the highest degree, to society. In no case is this more apparent, than in the customs of nations respecting marriage.” –Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Despite Indiana’s Backlash, Arkansas Passes Religious Liberty Bill

The country is rending itself apart over the once noncontroversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The federal RFRA was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and signed into law by Bill Clinton, but now, MSNBC host Ed Schultz can’t talk about the law without cutting off the microphone of Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson. After Indiana sparked this heated debate by passing a RFRA, Arkansas lawmakers passed its version of the RFRA Tuesday.

State Rep. Bob Ballinger, who sponsored the bill, told The Washington Post, “This legislation doesn’t allow anybody to discriminate against anybody, not here. The bill does just the opposite. It focuses on the civil rights of people believing what they want to believe, and not letting the government interfere with that. … This is not a conservative or liberal thing. Most people agree that religion should be protected under heightened scrutiny standards, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Vast swaths of Americans now believe the rights enshrined in the First Amendment do not deserve to be interpreted by the courts through strict scrutiny — which will ensure any law is interpreted to allow for the most personal Liberty. It’s a sad day for Sikhs who wear kirpans, Native Americans who collect eagle feathers and churches fighting zoning laws. And leftists claim they’re tolerant and multicultural. More…

Third Deadline Blown in Nuclear Talks With Iran

The Iran nuclear talks have become the Obama administration’s last hope for some kind of diplomatic success. And last night’s blown deadline is another painful reminder that the JV team in the White House is bungling U.S.’s influence abroad. A State Department official said, “The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we’re one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what every one agrees is the biggest threat to the region.” Whatever happened to no deal is better than a bad deal? For months, Iran has played with the carrot the West has dangled before it. In exchange for not developing nuclear weapons, the West would lower sanctions against the Middle East shadow empire. But yesterday’s deadline was blown, according to The Wall Street Journal, because the two sides couldn’t agree on a timetable for lifting sanctions and what Iran could do with its nuclear program in the future. The hard deadline for a comprehensive deal is June 30 — a few embarrassing weeks away. More…

Don’t miss Mark Alexander’s analysis on the United States’ negotiations with Iran that will be coming out later today.

Harry Reid — Another Master of the BIG Lie

In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor and made a serious and unsubstantiated allegation about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.” Reid knew this was a BIG Lie, which would gain traction for the Left’s class warfare game. Asked this week for his thoughts on that episode — specifically that his remarks had been called “McCarthyite” — Reid shrugged and replied, “Well, they can call it whatever they want. Romney didn’t win, did he?” Reid’s smug gloating is beyond unmitigated arrogance, and speaks volumes about the Left’s approach to politics. The ends always justify their means.

Kerry Gets Eight Out of Four Pinocchios

John Kerry has a long history of phony “seared memories.” From Christmas 1968 in Cambodia to the “very first climate hearings in the Senate,” Kerry just makes stuff up. The Washington Post “fact checker” took on the claim about the Senate climate hearings only to discover that “Kerry was not even a participant in the most important hearing of that time; he simply spoke at a hearing that took place the following year. And yet, like Brian Williams claiming to have come under fire in Iraq, Kerry has repeatedly placed himself at the center of the action — and the narrative.” Not only that, a follow-up article reveals that the hearing was not, as Kerry at another time asserted, deliberately scheduled on the summer’s hottest day, nor was it “sweltering” in the hearing room. Leftists regularly assert that weather isn’t proof of climate — unless they need it to be. The fact checker concluded, “Frankly, this now puts Kerry’s statements in an even a worse light. Not only did he place himself at a hearing he did not organize and attend, but he described witnessing events that did not happen.” That’s par for the course with Kerry.

EPA’s McCarthy (Sort of) Makes the Case for Approving Keystone

Gina McCarthy is working overtime to ensure her final 22 months as head of the EPA take America back to the Stone Age succeed in radically curtailing fossil fuel emissions via regulatory fiat — regardless of the economic ramifications. And if that means opposing the Keystone pipeline to make a political point, so be it. When asked on Monday by Politico’s Mike Allen, “Would the Keystone pipeline be a disaster for the climate?” McCarthy retorted, “No, I don’t think that any one issue is a disaster for the climate, nor do I think there’s any one solution to the climate change challenge that we have.” The EPA’s point of contention, it claims, has to do with the likelihood that giving Keystone a thumbs up will encourage future development. As The Hill explains, “Keystone’s climate impact was the focus of a letter the EPA sent in February to the State Department, which is evaluating whether to approve the Canada-to-Gulf Coast oil pipeline, which would carry oil sands from Alberta. The EPA said that with oil prices so low, Keystone might spur more oil sands production than would happen without the pipeline.” What’s needed is economic mobility, but this administration’s feckless desire is to drive energy costs artificially higher. Clearly, Keystone would undermine that attempt, and this administration is willing to forgo the project’s obvious dividends — which includes no major climate implications, by McCarthy’s own admission — to achieve its goal. More…

 

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

Hillary: Oh, That Email? I Deleted It All

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Thanks to Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration, it’s apparent how insufficient are the laws designed to bring transparency and oversight into government affairs.

Over the weekend, longtime Clinton lawyer David E. Kendall sent a letter to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, responding to its March 4 subpoena. In it, he admitted the Clinton machine deleted all the email from Hillary Clinton’s now infamous email server. All the scrambled notes, all the dispatches and updates that marked Clinton’s time as the nation’s chief diplomat are gone. In response, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) summoned the former secretary of state before the committee to privately answer for her actions.

In his letter to Clinton’s lawyer, Gowdy wrote, “The Committee believes a transcribed interview would best protect Secretary Clinton’s privacy, the security of the information queried, and the public’s interest in ensuring this Committee has all information needed to accomplish the task set before it. … We continue to believe Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement with herself is highly unusual, if not unprecedented.”

Hillary better beware the Ides of March. It wasn’t an email server that took down a Caesar, but by hiding information from the public she’s signaling she wants to be treated as a king.

And what a scheme she had.

It wasn’t apparent at first what Clinton’s strategy was. When news of the private email server became public, Clinton announced she wanted transparency — she wanted the emails in the public record.

But the email server was built for privacy, as it was designed so that it could be completely wiped. In a press conference March 10, Clinton said she sent and received a little over 60,000 messages from the server. Some 30,000, she insisted, contained state business. She disclosed those messages, she claimed, “and the server will remain private.”

The politician positioned herself as a sound defender of the public good. “And I feel that I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails. They’re going to be in the public domain. And I think that Americans will find that, you know, interesting.” Interesting? Interesting? Her emails are not useful, she says, not necessary for the accountability of American government. It’s sophomorically interesting, a passing trifle.

But her lawyer, Kendall, in his letter to the House, laid her political strategy bare: At the end of her tenure, she dumped 50,000 pages worth of email on the State Department to sort out.

At that time, Clinton wiped her server clean, which could be obstruction of Congress if she did so after Oct. 28, 2014 — the date when Clinton was instructed by the State Department to turn over her public records.

“[T]he Department of State — which has already produced approximately 300 documents in response to an earlier request seeking documents on essentially the same subject matters — is uniquely positioned to make available any documents responsive to your requests,” Kendall told the Benghazi select committee.

And now, Hillary can simply deflect any criticism of her time as madam secretary. She doesn’t have the information. Why are you looking there? Anyone from the public will have to contend with the bureaucratic State Department. She wiped her hands of the matter.

In her March 10 press conference, Hillary Clinton said the email controversy was out of her hands: “[M]y direction to conduct the thorough investigation was to err on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work related. … That is the responsibility of the individual and I have fulfilled that responsibility, and I have no doubt that we have done exactly what we should have done.”

We can debate whether Hillary Clinton broke the law. Former government officials in charge of releasing documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act say she did. Take, for example, former FOIA official Daniel Metcalfe, who said Clinton’s private email server was a “blatant circumvention of the Freedom of Information Act.” But will the woman ever face justice for her crimes against the American people? She has too many political friends. Hillary is too big to fail.

This is why it’s time to rip apart the veil shielding government officials from the public eye. Shrewd politicians like Clinton simply skirt the law to avoid scrutiny. Administrations like Barack Obama’s chip away at the right of the public to access information — even as its mantra is transparency.

In Kendall’s letter, he told the House, “Like other agencies, the State Department places the obligation of determining what is and is not appropriate for preservation on individual officials and employees.”

The State Department’s own policies place the fox guarding the henhouse. And this provides an opportunity for the Republican Congress. Bolster the Freedom of Information Act. Show what big statists do in the dark by allowing the public to shout it from the rooftops.

Catch this administration — from its secretaries of state to its president to the lowly FOIA Denial Officer — contradicting what they said with what they’ve done in practice.

Martin O’Malley Emerges to Challenge Hillary

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Only weeks ago, the person regarded as the most popular non-Hillary Clinton Democrat presidential contender was über progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren, however, told the “Today” show this week, “No. I’m not running, and I’m not going to run.” Perhaps that’s pol-speak for “Let me see what happens.” After all, if Clinton wins the nomination, Warren may be on the bottom of the ticket. Other challengers include, no kidding, Joe Biden, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

But another contender waits in the wings, indicating every way but smoke signals that he’s plotting a run. He has yet to form the usual “exploratory committee,” though his intentions are clear.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley appeared with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” where O’Malley declared the nation needs “new leadership,” slyly implying that Hillary isn’t it. “History is full of times,” he continued, “when the inevitable frontrunner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable.”

A little later O’Malley said, “Let’s be honest here. The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed around between two families.” Hedging lest he overstep, he added, “any two families.” As if there are any besides the Clintons and Bushes currently in that category.

Many Democrats have been hoping for a non-Hillary candidate for some time. Surveys find a majority of Democrats want Hillary to run against strong primary competition. And New Hampshire Democrat Party chairman Ray Buckley said he “fully anticipate[s] … a very robust primary.”

But those feminist-for-Hillary roots (and claws) go deep, and, on the same “This Week,” O’Malley was warned about ruining Hillary’s chances.

Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor and senior adviser to Ready for Hillary PAC, said Hillary “is comfortable enough to withstand a primary.” But Granholm perhaps isn’t so comfortable. She followed up, “And Martin O’Malley … I was thinking he might make a nice member of a President Clinton administration, so he better watch it.”

“I think he and anybody else — she would welcome into the mix,” Granholm continued. “That would be healthy. But I also think ultimately, she’ll be the next president.” Typical. Feminists want it all without working for it.

At this point, O’Malley may be Hillary’s foremost challenger, as scary as it might be for him.

O’Malley’s first major political venture was the mayoralty of Baltimore. Winning it in 1999 was considered quite a coup since Baltimore is a majority-black city. His platorm included decreasing the crime rate, increasing performance in public schools and improving health care delivery. What he actually achieved is a matter of dispute.

To reduce crime, O’Malley adapted New York City’s COMPSTAT accountability program for Baltimore, calling it CitiStat. Every call received by law enforcement is entered into a database that is regularly analyzed in “accountability sessions.” Good results win praise, bad ones bring trouble. Of course, the system itself promotes fudging, and his claim to have reduced crime by a third was criticized on that basis. As time passed, CitiStat was adopted by other departments, notably public schools.

In 2007, O’Malley became the governor of Maryland. During his two terms, he followed the best of progressive ideology: tax, spend, repeat.

On his blog he relates a telling story that demonstrates his philosophy and reaction to it. He called a heating company and the woman on the other end asked his name. “O’Malley,” he replied, “like the out-going governor.” “Ah, yes,” she said, “the tax man.”

O’Malley sure did raise taxes: Sales taxes, gas taxes, income taxes, sin taxes (alcohol and tobacco), indirect taxes (minimum wage hikes and public funds for illegal aliens), and so on. During the 2012 gubernatorial election, when O’Malley was term-limited out, Republican candidate Larry Hogan hit Democrats hard using the mantra of O’Malley’s 40 tax hikes. Hogan won the general election.

As The Washington Post reports, O’Malley’s tenure brought a “string of policy changes that will endure long after he departs.” Same-sex marriage, illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition, higher minimum wage, no more executions, and the kicker: “It’s harder to buy a gun.” In Maryland, that’s saying something.

Education spending reached “record amounts” (though that’s virtually always true even if the increase is small); crime declined impressively (as it did almost everywhere in the U.S.) and the number of people covered by subsidized health care increased dramatically. His supporters say, See? All these were accomplished by, as the Post puts it, “the very tax increases that became so reviled.”

“I’ve done what I think is the right thing to do for the common good of the people I serve,” O’Malley said. Leftists always claim to be doing the practical thing to help people.

On the other side of the ledger, businesses and residents left the state in droves, and Gov. Hogan is left to pick up the pieces.

Whoever Republicans choose to run as the party’s candidate could face some iteration of Martin O’Malley, if not O’Malley himself. He’s smart, he’s ruthless and he already has the media in his pocket — all while Hillary disintegrates. It may end up being a tougher fight for the Democrat nomination than Hillary ever wanted.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

American statesman John C. Calhoun (1782-1850): “The government of the absolute majority is but the government of the strongest interests; and when not effectively checked, is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised… [N]o free system was ever farther removed from the principle that the absolute majority, without check or limitation, ought to govern.”

Columnist Ben Shapiro: “Same-sex marriage, it turns out, was never designed to grant legal benefits to same-sex couples. That could have been done under a regime of civil unions. Same-sex marriage was always designed to allow the government to have the power to cram down punishment on anyone who disobeys the government’s vision of the public good. One need not be an advocate of discrimination against gays to believe that government does not have the ability to enforce the prevailing social standards of the time in violation of individual rights. There are many situations in which advocates of freedom dislike particular exercises of that freedom but understand that government attacks on individual rights are far more threatening to the public good. You do not have a right to my services; I have a right to provide my services to whomever I choose. If you believe that your interpretation of public good enables you to bring a gun to the party, you are a bully and a tyrant. So it is with the modern American left, to whom freedom now means only the freedom to do what it is the left wants you to do at point of gun.”

FRC president Tony Perkins: “The reality is, if there weren’t a hostility toward faith, there wouldn’t be a need for RFRAs. As Americans, we have a proud tradition of respecting each other’s differences. But, under the policies and influence of the Obama administration, religious intolerance, especially toward Christians, has grown significantly. The various states that have passed RFRAs are simply extending the same courtesy of tolerance to men and women of faith that the Left now enjoys. As even the Wall Street Journal points out in its defense of Indiana’s bill, ‘The paradox is that even as America has become more tolerant of gays, many activists and liberals have become ever-more intolerant of anyone who might hold more traditional cultural or religious views.’ The Left is no longer satisfied with coexistence. They want to demand acceptance from others — and use the heavy hand of government to get it. They don’t just want to have their cake and eat it too – they want to force Christians to make their cake before they do. … What is unfolding [in Indiana] shows the source of true intolerance: those who want the government to punish people for freely living according to their beliefs.”

Fred Thompson: “Obama said, ‘I have a very business-like relationship with Netanyahu.’ Considering what he’s done to American businesses over the last 6 years, I have to agree.”

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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.

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‘Killing Jesus’ Author Bill O’Reilly Says The Bible Is Not Historically True Or Accurate

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 07:32 AM PDT

'Killing Jesus' Author Bill O'Reilly Says The Bible Is Not Historically True Or AccurateIN A FEW BRIEF SENTENCES, BILL HAS BRANDED JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF AS A MISINFORMED LIAR WHO HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT.

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)

The bible, as written by God, is a funny book, and will allow you to come to any conclusion you wish to arrive at, based on your belief in Him and in it. But as quoted in the above scripture, without the belief in what God wrote as complete truth, it simply will not work to any effect within you. Belief is the key which unlocks the mysteries of the bible. The more you believe in God’s word, the more His Holy Spirit will open the pages of His word unto you. That said, Bill O’Reilly is not a believer in the bible, as we will show from his own statements. Bill O’Reilly is a very smart man by academic standards, and certainly by any worldly measure he has been astonishingly successful. He has become a millionaire many times over on what is arguably the highest-rated cable news show of all time, The O’Reilly Factor. His books are best sellers from the day they are released. Just try matching him in that some time soon, or any time soon. Bill dominates. Totally. FULL REPORT

The post ‘Killing Jesus’ Author Bill O’Reilly Says The Bible Is Not Historically True Or Accurate appeared first on End Time Headlines.

DHS-Funded Drill Simulates Nuke Attack on US-Mexico Border

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 07:23 AM PDT

DHS-Funded Drill Simulates Nuke Attack on US-Mexico Border A Department of Homeland Security funded drill which took place yesterday in New Mexico simulated a nuclear attack on the US-Mexico border and how authorities would deal with thousands of people crossing over from Mexico to escape the catastrophe. The exercise simulated, “an emergency involving the detonation of a weapon of mass destruction near the U.S./Mexico border that causes a mass migration of about 3,000 people,” reported KFOX 14. The drill, which involved numerous police and fire departments as well as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, included an exercise where thousands of people were in need of decontamination and oxygen. The news station featured an interview with a resident who said he would be happy to participate in a drill where police went door to door to evacuate people under a simulated emergency. “Maybe have some [mock] evacuations. Have them come to the houses, knock on doors and have us go out someplace,” said Gill Cadena. FULL REPORT

The post DHS-Funded Drill Simulates Nuke Attack on US-Mexico Border appeared first on End Time Headlines.

The American Empire will crumble like all the rest

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 07:15 AM PDT

The American Empire will crumble like all the restThe ancient myth goes that King Midas was a kind and gentle king who took pity on a satyr and was rewarded by the god Dionysus, who granted the king one wish. Midas wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. It wasn’t long before Midas’ golden touch destroyed his life. After some begging from the king, Dionysus allowed Midas to wash away his golden touch in a river. King Midas was the first in a long line of leaders who saw gold as an obstacle.  Since the earliest civilizations, there has been a need for money as an instrument that could be a store of value used to expedite trade. Universally, gold has been valued. And so it’s been connected to money. But as far back as the ancients, there has been a desire to cheat the system, to debase the money. It’s been a universal desire to have something for nothing, and leaders have fulfilled that desire simply by creating more money. It is also a manifestation of our natural inclination to rationalize, or to convert a wish into a belief. Thus, the tendency to inflate the money supply is as rooted in our nature as are greed, fear and lust. FULL REPORT

The post The American Empire will crumble like all the rest appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Iran Militia Chief: Wiping Israel Off the Map Is ‘Non-negotiable’

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 07:08 AM PDT

Iran Militia Chief: Wiping Israel Off the Map Is 'Non-negotiable'Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the chief of the Basji Militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, declared that “erasing Israel off the map” is “non negotiable.” Israeli Radio reported the militia chief’s comments Tuesday, which also included threats against Saudi Arabia for its campaign against the Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. The Saudis, warned Naqdi, would share the “fate of Saddam Hussein.” As the Times of Israel notes, Naqdi has spoken openly in the past about Iran’s military strategy against Israel: In 2014, Naqdi said Iran was stepping up efforts to arm West Bank Palestinians for battle against Israel, adding the move would lead to Israel’s annihilation, Iran’s Fars news agency reported. “Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Naqdi said. “The Zionists should know that the next war won’t be confined to the present borders and the Mujahedeen will push them back,” he added. Naqdi claimed that much of Hamas’s arsenal, training and technical knowhow in the summer conflict with Israel was supplied by Iran. FULL REPORT

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Super Typhoon Maysak heads for Luzon, Philippines – 48 Million People

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 07:01 AM PDT

Super Typhoon Maysak heads for Luzon, Philippines - 48 Million PeopleSuper Typhoon Maysak increased strength Tuesday as it moved westward over the Pacific Ocean toward the Philippines. It struck several islands of the Federated States of Micronesia, southeast of Guam, during the weekend with over 10 inches of rain in six hours reported on the island of Chuuk. Widespread damage, including roofs torn from homes and the destruction of houses made of tin, was also reported. The Yap Islands, with a population of 12,000, were expected to receive sustained winds of 119 mph, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the U.S. National Weather Service in Guam said. Maysak is then expected to head westward and strike the Philippines on Sunday or Monday with sustained winds of about 120 mph and gusts up to 150 mph. “Its official track has it straight toward Luzon,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Williams, the Philippines’ most populous island and the home of 48 million people. FULL REPORT

The post Super Typhoon Maysak heads for Luzon, Philippines – 48 Million People appeared first on End Time Headlines.

PSALM 83 WATCH – Israel expects hundreds of civilian casualties in next war with Hezbollah

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 06:54 AM PDT

Israel expects hundreds of civilian casualties in next war with HezbollahIsrael could suffer hundreds of civilian casualties and damage to its vital infrastructure from Hezbollah rockets if it fights another war with the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla group, according to Israeli military assessments. The scenario, published by Israeli media on Wednesday, reflected concern among security planners that since the last Lebanon war, in 2006, Hezbollah has expanded its rocket arsenal and gained battle experience helping Damascus fight the insurgency in Syria. The publication of the assessments could help build a case for more investment in Israeli civil defenses and in U.S.-backed rocket interceptors like Iron Dome, which has proven effective outside Gaza, and the longer-range David’s Sling, which is in final testing stages. According to the military assessments, between 1,000 and 1,500 rockets could hit Israel daily in the next full-blown conflict, killing hundreds of people and potentially paralyzing key installations like airports, sea ports and power stations. FULL REPORT

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Netanyahu voices outrage that nuclear talks go on while Iran vows to destroy Israel

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 06:46 AM PDT

Netanyahu voices outrage that nuclear talks go on while Iran vows to destroy Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday excoriated world powers over their dogged pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran, pointing to recent statements by officials in Tehran — notably their calls to eliminate Israel — as evidence of the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to compromise on its nuclear ambitions and campaign of “terror, subjugation and conquest. In tones of moral outrage, he issued a brief, infuriated statement to camera, protesting that the talks were continuing in Lausanne even as Iran reiterated its insistent goal of destroying the Jewish state. “Yesterday an Iranian general brazenly declared, and I quote, ‘Israel’s destruction is nonnegotiable,’” Netanyahu began, referring to a statement by Mohammad Reza Naqd, the commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.  “But evidently, giving Iran’s murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable,” he said. “This is unconscionable.” Netanyahu’s comments came as diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers, led by the United States, resumed negotiations over the terms of a nuclear deal, hours after a deadline for such a deal elapsed. FULL REPORT

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Obama Plans ‘Executive Order’ For UN Climate Rules

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 06:29 AM PDT

Obama Plans 'Executive Order' For UN Climate RulesThe Obama administration’s plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to “proceed with caution” in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be later undone. The White House is seeking to enshrine its pledge in a global climate agreement to be negotiated Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. It calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by close to 28 percent from 2005 levels within a decade, using a host of existing laws and executive actions targeting power plants, vehicles, oil and gas production and buildings. But Republican critics say the administration lacks the political and legal backing to commit the United States to an international agreement. “Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. FULL REPORT

The post Obama Plans ‘Executive Order’ For UN Climate Rules appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Dinesh D’souza was Right, Obama Is Forming A Global Muslim Caliphate

Posted: 01 Apr 2015 06:20 AM PDT

Dinesh D'souza was Right, Obama Is Forming A Global Muslim CaliphateWHY DO YOU THINK THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WENT AFTER FILMMAKER DINESH D’SOUZA WITH FEDERAL CHARGES, EVENTUALLY CONVICTING HIM OF A CAMPAIGN FINANCE FELONY?

“They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:” Psalm 83:3-5 (KJV)

D’Souza served eight months in a community confinement center, received five years probation, and paid a $30,000 fine, all for giving some money to a friend to donate to a candidate. Somehow, I think there are plenty of people federal prosecutors have not gone after so aggressively for a similar offense. The reason the federal government went after D’Souza so forcefully was that Dinesh, in his first movie 2016: Obama’s America, hit the nail right on the head regarding our Dear Leader’s agenda. Obama could not let this continue. He had to attempt to silence Dinesh and buy more time to complete his goal—the creation of a global Islamic caliphate. FULL REPORT

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Iran Expands Regional ‘Empire’ Ahead Of Nuclear Deal

Posted: 31 Mar 2015 01:29 PM PDT

Iran Expands Regional 'Empire' Ahead Of Nuclear Deal With Iran moving closer to a deal with world powers to constrain its nuclear program in return for an end to sanctions, Arab analysts and leaders are focused more on how Tehran is working unconstrained to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen. The man behind what some see as an attempt to create a new Persian and Shi’ite “empire” on Arab land is Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the al-Quds brigade of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Since he emerged from the shadows last autumn, Soleimani seems to be omnipresent on the battlefields of the Middle East. Photos of Soleimani, 60, almost an invisible man until the Sunni jihadis of Islamic State overran cities in northern and central Iraq last year, are now everywhere. He is seen directing operations in the battle to recapture from IS the Sunni city of Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam Hussein. He is snapped in Syria offering condolences on the killing of a relative of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president he has helped cling to power during four years of war. In Beirut he is photographed praying at the grave of Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the late commander of the IRGC-backed Hezbollah paramilitary group. Jihad was killed in Syria in January. Meanwhile, the heterodox Shi’ite Houthi movement in Yemen has seized power in the capital, Sanaa, to Iranian acclaim and the alarm of Sunni Arab states such as neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival. FULL REPORT

The post Iran Expands Regional ‘Empire’ Ahead Of Nuclear Deal appeared first on End Time Headlines.


On today’s Episode of The Briefing

1) Anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s death reminder of how much ground culture of death has gained

On Schiavo Case, Bush Treads Lightly, Wall Street Journal (Beth Reinhard)

2) Indiana Gov. proposes revision to law, reception reveals collision of worldviews

Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, Asks for Changes in Religious Freedom Law, New York Times (Richard Pérez-Peña)

In Indiana, Using Religion as a Cover for Bigotry, New York Times (Editorial Board)

The New Intolerance, Wall Street Journal (Editorial Board)

Religious Liberty and Equality, New York Times (David Brooks)

3) Spa-like abortion clinic exposes lingering stigma against abortion in culture

New spa-like abortion clinic is part of a trend to de-stigmatize the procedure, Washington Post (Sandhya Somashekhar)
In other news…

Ensuring Religious Freedom in Indiana, Wall Street Journal (Mike Pence)

Kids allowed sips of alcohol are more likely to drink in high school, study says, CNN (Kelly Wallace)

Buff Scott Jr. – Will Any Level of Obedience Save?

Beware of Rabbi Eckstein and The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews!

Former Crystal Cathedral leader Robert H. Schuller in critical condition, his family says


‘Killing Jesus’ Author Bill O’Reilly Says The Bible Is Not Historically True Or Accurate (VIDEO)

“If you want to believe that Jonah was swallowed by the whale, fine, but don’t demand that I believe it too”. He then went on to say that saying Jesus taught Adam and Eve, and Jonah and the whale as literal history is “entirely false, that is wrong, that never happened”.

The post ‘Killing Jesus’ Author Bill O’Reilly Says The Bible Is Not Historically True Or Accurate (VIDEO) appeared first on Now The End Begins.


Barack Obama’s Virulent Antisemitism Was Well Known In Late 1990’s Chicago (VIDEO)

Abunimah says “I knew Barack Obama for many years as his state senator “when he used to attend events in the Palestinian community in Chicago all the time.”

The post Barack Obama’s Virulent Antisemitism Was Well Known In Late 1990’s Chicago (VIDEO) appeared first on Now The End Begins.


Dinesh D’souza was Right, Obama Is Forming A Global Muslim Caliphate (VIDEO)

The goal of the Obama administration is to weaken American power so the United States cannot stop the formation of the caliphate from North Africa to Pakistan.

The post Dinesh D’souza was Right, Obama Is Forming A Global Muslim Caliphate (VIDEO) appeared first on Now The End Begins.


Comming Soon – National Biometric ID For Americans

After largely failing to prod state governments into developing a national identification system known as “REAL ID,” Republican lawmakers in Congress are once again pushing an Obama-backed scheme that would force every American to have a national ID card containing sensitive biometric data …………. Click here for full story


What Are The Implications If Obama Breaks With Israel?

Is a divorce coming between the President of the United States and the State of Israel? Once, it would have been almost preposterous even to ask such a question. Today, however, it feels like it’s a matter of “when,” not “if” Mr. Obama will formally abandon American support for the Jewish State. And the situation is rapidly going from bad to worse………. Click here for full story


The World Against Israel – New UN Report Enables Worldwide Hatred Of Israel With Bias Report

What country deserves more condemnation for violating human rights than any other nation on earth? According to the U.N.’s top human rights body, that would be Israel. Last week, Israel was the U.N.’s number one women’s rights violator. This week it is the U.N.’s all-round human rights villain. ……….. Click here for full story


New Trend: ‘Radically Inclusive’ Churches That Embrace All Religions And All Lifestyles

All over America, “radically inclusive” churches that embrace all religions and all lifestyles are starting to pop up. Church services that incorporate elements of Hinduism, Islam, native American religions and even Wicca are becoming increasingly common. And even if you don’t believe anything at all, that is okay with these churches too. But if these churches don’t really stand for anything at all, what is their purpose? And what does the popularity of these churches say about the future of religion in America? ……….. Click here for full story


Islamic State Attack On Italy Coming

The Islamic State terrorist group likely will launch an attack on Italy within weeks, not months, according to a senior Libyan government official. Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said in an interview that one likely method of attack would be to use stolen Libyan airliners now believed to be in the hands of Islamists in Libya. ……… Click here for full story


Americans Muddled Morality about the Unborn“The debate over fetal homicide reveals our society’s inconsistency in the ongoing debate over abortion: We only affirm the humanity of the unborn if the child is ‘wanted.’”

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Experts Reveal the Message of Bible Prophecy

On our television program “Christ in Prophecy” this week, Dr. David Reagan interviews a panel of 15 Bible prophecy experts who answer this very question! For what their responses are, read below or watch online. We’ll start with my answer and end with Dr. Reagan’s response.

View Article


The Top 40 Conservative Websites

View List


Why Christians Should Not Give Money to Rabbi Eckstein of IFCJ

With Passover fast approaching, we are all seeing the commercials from Rabbi Eckstein of IFCJ (International Fellowship of Christians and Jews), asking for your money to support his cause. He shows Jews in Israel – so hungry, that they are fighting each other to get the boxes of food. He says “Jews are so poor; they cannot even afford to buy matzo for Passover.”

Well, I have a few things to say about the good Rabbi – did I say good? Maybe you won’t think so after reading about this man and his organization.

View Article


Pence Buckles Under Powerful Gay/Media Blitzkrieg

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana seems to have caved into enormous pressure and will ask the state legislature for new legislation to make it clear that Christian florists and bakers could be forced to participate in weddings that violate their religious beliefs.

View Article


6 Ways Jesus Experienced Hell When He Was on the Cross

Artists and poets have speculated over the centuries about hell (consider Dante’s “Inferno”), but the clearest revelation of hell is given at the cross. The Apostle’s Creed affirms that Christ descended into hell. While this has often been taken to refer to a journey Christ made after his death, the Reformers understood it to refer to what Christ experienced in the hours of darkness when he bore our sins and became our sacrifice.

Hell has six dimensions and Christ experienced all of them on the cross.

View Article


Facebook accused of tracking all users even if they delete accounts, ask never to be followed

A new report claims that Facebook secretly installs tracking cookies on users’ computers, allowing them to follow users around the internet even after they’ve left the website, deleted their account and requested to be no longer followed.

Academic researchers said that the report showed that the company was breaking European law with its tracking policies.

View Article


The Prince of Persia Advancing?

Satan is attempting to destroy Israel and ultimately prevent the return of Jesus Christ from happening. He is now using Iran to try to accomplish this.

If you want to know the future, you must study the past. If you want to know what is going to happen, you must know what already has happened.

View Article


Agents of the Enemy

By Ken Timmerman

Essentially, what Motaghi said is that Secretary Kerry is working as an agent of Iran and has been arm-twisting reluctant allies, such as the French, into accepting what they know is a bad deal.

View Article


Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist)

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

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April 1, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Blogroll Collection

There is no sin so prevalent, so insidious, and so deep as the sin of fearing people more than we fear God. —Kevin DeYoung

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Three Crucial Truths to Keep Me From Going Crazy

Philippians 1:6 puts it this way: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” That is such sweet, sanity-giving news. God will do it. He will finish the good work he started in me, and he will finish what he started in my fellow believers. Life is not like a marathon, where finishing depends on how much strength I’ve got. God will be the one who carries me across the finish line.

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Commending Others as Christ Does

Sometimes, I have such high standards for my Christian sisters that I fail to recognize the daily steps of obedience these women are taking. I forget how far they have come in their Christian journey. My attitude needs to be more like Christ’s. He knows our imperfections and loves us in spite of them. He sees and commends the good deeds of sinful people. I pray that I am not like Mrs. Barry in Anne of Green Gables about whom Anne said, “I don’t believe God himself would entirely meet with her approval.”

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Unseen Influence

While the compilation of these many acts of love certainly gives credibility to our position of influence, it’s our unseen confession of hope that helps us to persevere, pointing our children to the true fixer, Jesus Christ. Mothers know we need to rely on God’s strength. Our confession of hope is not in our own abilities to run the world. Motherhood is humbling, so we can identify with weakness. Our confession of hope is that Jesus is Lord. Our hope is in the One who fixes us. And He is no enabler. Jesus guarantees that there will be a cross to carry, even as He has redeemed us and is making us holy.

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Nine Traits of Church Bullies

Church bullies are common in many churches. They wreak havoc and create dissension. They typically must have an “enemy” in the church, because they aren’t happy unless they are fighting a battle. They tend to maneuver to get an official leadership position in the church, such as chairman of the elders or deacons or treasurer. But they may have bully power without any official position.

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17 Ways To Glorify God

Thomas Watson, in his book Body of Divinity, offers a commentary on this question and its answer. In doing so Watson offers 17 ways in which the Christian glorifies God. I will give the bullet-point list of ways that Watson lists along with one quote and one Scripture reference that he mentions in his larger discussion. I do so in the hopes that readers will be encouraged to glorify God in their own lives and also to read the whole of Watson’s answer in the book for themselves.

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Southern Baptists and the Sufficiency of Scripture

Lifeway promotes a host of books and studies that purport to help people hear the voice of God. Many of these books list Scripture as just one of many ways that God speaks to His people. Clearly there are Christians who do believe that God still gives direct revelation outside the mediation of his Word. This is foundational to Pentecostalism, for instance. But the SBC has more than once approved rather robust statements affirming the sufficiency of Scripture. So why is it that the arm of the SBC which produces and sells books and curriculum is producing and selling so many products that clearly contradict the SBC’s stated doctrinal positions?

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Discrimination Against Gay People in Indiana?

Critics allege that this law allows citizens to “discriminate” against gay people. The accusation is completely misinformed, and the media have played a big part in the dissemination of ignorance about what this law actually does and doesn’t do. I won’t rehash the law here, but I will direct you to Joe Carter’s helpful explainer as well as that of John McCormack who puts the Indiana law side-by-side with the nearly identical federal law which was signed into law by Pres. Clinton in 1993.

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What Dawkins, Hawking, and Harris Know About God

What hope! As we evangelize, we are not evangelizing blank slates. We are not starting with total ignorance. We are going to people who already know much about God. There are already mental sockets prepared for the truth of God’s Word to fit into and to explain.

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Those 7 Churches in Revelation…

About 2,000 years ago on the Greek island of Patmos, Jesus Christ Himself came to his beloved servant John and commanded him to, “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and […]

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4 Piercing Truths About the Way God Works in the World

by Pastor J.D.

If you were to skim Deborah’s song in Judges 5—thinking that you already knew all the details of the story from the previous chapter—you’d miss four piercing truths about the way God does his work in the world:

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Was Jesus’ Body Stolen? (Alternate Resurrection Theory #1)

by C Michael Patton

If you’re not a Christian, the story of the resurrection of Christ is perplexing. What I mean is that the resurrection represents a confusing situation. It’s an event without rival in history. I’m not saying that you don’t have what you believe to be valid reasons for rejecting it. But rather that if you do reject it you have a lot of explaining to do.

Almost a third of the world’s population base their faith on the resurrection of Christ. This doesn’t make it true, but it can’t be dismissed out of hand either. This belief has endured for two-thousand years. So a lot of people believe it and it has a rich historical pedigree. So far, so good, but It’s also a story filled with historical markers. The Bible mentions times, real geographical locations, dates, and historical people. In short, the Resurrection is very falsifiable. Yet it endures.

You probably see the problem for the non-christian already. If they deny the resurrection, they have to explain two things:

• How did a belief in the resurrection come about?

• Why did Christianity grow so quickly in the first and second centuries?

In the days leading up to Easter, I’m going to review the four most significant naturalistic theories on the resurrection. These are theories that argue that Christ did not really rise from the dead.

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Indiana, Homosexuality and Hypocrisy

by Bill Muehlenberg

The recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana has unleashed a torrent of hatred, abuse and bullying from the militant homosexual activists. And it has also once again clearly demonstrated why the secular left are the biggest hypocrites around.

The law is pretty clear. As Eric Teetsel writes, “The purpose of the law is straightforward: RFRA requires that laws that inhibit a citizen’s constitutional right to religious free exercise 1) further a compelling government interest; and 2) do so in the least-restrictive means possible.”

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Five Absolutely Vital Questions

by Bill Muehlenberg

Socrates long ago said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Yet tragically most people simply glide through life without any serious self-examination or intense introspection. Too many people keep themselves occupied with entertainment and trivial pursuits instead.

Not many people actually take a bit of time out of their busy schedules to reflect, to ponder, and to ask some hard questions. And there are plenty of these sorts of questions worth asking ourselves. The great pity is that so many folks may not get around to such questions until it is too late.

Some of the most important questions you will ever hear come from the Bible. It is incumbent upon every one of us to not only consider them, but also to answer them carefully. How we respond to these questions will impact on how we live, not only in this life, but in the life to come.

There certainly are a lot of very powerful questions that can be found in Scripture. But let me here just highlight five of them. The first two come from the Old Testament, while the last three come from the Gospels.

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Cold Case Christianity: When Should I Stop Looking At Other Religions? (Video)

J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold-Case Christianity, was interviewed by Bobby Conway (The One Minute Apologist). Can I decide Christianity is true even if I have examined every other religious worldview? How can I be sure I have the truth if I haven’t investigated every other theistic system? (For more information related to Bobby’s great ministry, visit: http://oneminuteapologist.com/)

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Apologetics and Your Kids (3) – We Are Losing Our Kids!

by Paul Henebury

Part Two

I have begun this series with this three-part introduction, trying to bring attention to the matter of Truth and the authenticity of our allegiance to it as Christian parents. My concern is that Christians nowadays do not prize Truth for what it is – an attribute of God – but rather treat it as something they can use a bit of when they think it needful. Francis Schaeffer used to say that the Church should live out what he termed “true truth” before the world. But the Church has forgotten the importance of Truth, and its role as the witness to the Truth in this dark and deceitful age. Truth must come first. Our preferences are not that important.

I realize that in putting matters this way I am not going to make many friends. But I am not concerned with making friends so much as with telling it as it is. And the fact is young people raised in Christian homes and attending evangelical churches are leaving those churches in droves.

According to a Barna poll 66% of these kids are deserting their Christian upbringing. And the figure may be even higher. A survey conducted by the SBC asserts that 88% of young people walk away from the faith never to return. And there is no sign of any abatement. Something is badly amiss, and Christian parents especially need to stop pretending everything’s okay so long as their kid or teenager has a good time at church.

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Easter and Hymns with Keith Getty – Rainer on Leadership #111

Podcast Episode #111

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This week, we welcome back a great friend of the podcast, Keith Getty. Fourteen years ago this Easter, In Christ Alone was debuted at an event in England. Now it is one of the most sung hymns not just on Easter, but every Sunday throughout the year. Keith stopped by to talk Easter, composing, hymns, and what’s up next for the Gettys. As an extra bonus, we’ve included free chord chart downloads of a collection of Getty hymns as well as a raw cut of their latest hymn below.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • We have to sing of Christ’s death and resurrection because in many ways, that’s all we have (Gal 6:14).
  • Use Easter as a chance to sing great songs about the Cross and resurrection.
  • Each Sunday of the year, our songs should be shaped by the gospel—not just on Easter.
  • Great hymns sings simply. Like you’ve sung them all your life.
  • The challenge as a songwriter is to create something beautifully unique yet theologically rich.
  • For some, this weekend will be their only connection with the gospel this year.

In this episode, Keith listed his top five Easter hymns:

  1. Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
  2. To Thine Be the Glory
  3. Crown Him with Many Crowns
  4. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  5. What Wondrous Love Is This

Feedback

If you have a question you would like answered on the show, fill out the form on the podcast page here at ThomRainer.com. If we use your question, you’ll receive a free copy of Autopsy of a Deceased Church.

Resources

The post Easter and Hymns with Keith Getty – Rainer on Leadership #111 appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Sunday’s Coming: The Resurrection and Believers, Part 1

Empty Tomb 1Yesterday, we looked at the significance the resurrection has as it relates to Jesus’ Himself. The resurrection identifies Jesus as the Second Adam, the seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, and the Son of David. It also vindicates the testimony He had given about Himself.

Today and tomorrow I want to consider the significance of the resurrection for believers. What implications does the resurrection have for the people of God? In fact, every aspect of our salvation—our regeneration, our justification, our sanctification, and our glorification—is tied in some way to Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

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Nine Ways to Deal with Church Bullies

In my post on Monday, I dealt with the traits of church bullies. I now move from descriptive to prescriptive. How do we deal with church bullies? What can we do to prevent such bullying? Here are nine of my suggestions:

  1. Fight bullying with the power of prayer. The most common targets of church bullies are the pastor and church staff. I encourage everyone in vocational ministry to ask humbly for people to pray for them daily. In two of the churches where I served as pastor, I had as many as 100 or more people committed to pray for me daily. They typically prayed for me for only two or three minutes each day at noon. Their intercessory prayers for me were brief, but they were powerful!
  2. Seek to have an Acts 6 group in the church. I am specifically referring to the manner in which the Jerusalem church dealt with murmuring and complaining. They appointed a group to take care of the widows who were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The seven who were appointed to the task were thus not only to do that ministry, but they were also to preserve the unity of the church. Churches need either informal or formal groups that see their ministry as dealing with conflict, complaints, and dissension so that unity is preserved.
  3. Have a high expectation church. I have addressed the issues of high expectation churches and low expectation churches many times on this blog. Higher expectation churches tend to be more unified, more Great Commission focused, more biblically defined, and more servant oriented. Stated simply, high expectation churches don’t offer an environment conducive to bullying.
  4. Encourage members to speak and stand up to church bullies. Bullying thrives in a church where the majority remains in silent fear of church bullies. Bullies tend to back down when confronted by strong people in the church. We just need more strong people in the church.
  5. Make certain the polity of the church does not become a useful instrument to church bullies. Many churches have ambiguous structures and lines of accountability. Polity is weak and ill-defined. Bullies take advantage of the ambiguity and interpret things according to their nefarious needs.
  6. Be willing to exercise church discipline. Church discipline is a forgotten essential of many churches. Bullies need to know there are consequences for their actions, and church discipline may be one of them.
  7. Have a healthy process to put the best-qualified persons in positions of leadership in the church. Bullies often are able to push around less qualified people who have found themselves in positions of leadership. There should be a spiritually and strategically designed process to choose and recruit people for key leadership positions.
  8. Have a healthy process to hire church staff. For example, an egregious mistake would be the church’s hiring of a senior staff member without the enthusiastic support of the pastor. If the pastor and new staff member do not have good chemistry, a church bully can quickly pit one against the other. A unified church staff is a major roadblock for a church bully.
  9. Encourage a celebratory environment in the church. Joyous churches deter bullies. They like somber and divided churches.

Church bullying is more widespread than we often like to admit. I hope these nine suggestions can help keep the bullies out of your church. Let me hear from you.

The post Nine Ways to Deal with Church Bullies appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


The Daily Discovery (April 1, 2015)

Landon04.2015The Daily DiscoveryLeave a Comment

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ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

It’s legal to kill babies, but let’s worry about a gay person’s right to cake – “Progressivism is indeed a self-inflicted mental disorder, and last week provided us with a stunning illustration of this fact.  First Indiana passed a religious freedom bill giving business owners the right to refuse to do things that might go against their religious beliefs. For instance, as has happened a few times now, a bakery might decide it doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding.  Well, the idea of gays possibly being deprived of cake and other commodities sent our society into a tizzy. They yelled and screamed and organized boycotts, insisting that allowing businesses to potentially refuse service, in some circumstances, constitutes a dehumanization of gay people.  Meanwhile, in Colorado, Dynal Lane stabbed Michelle Wilkins in the uterus, cut her open, and ripped out her unborn daughter. Wilkins almost bled to death, and her young daughter died.”

Leadership Network Wants Evangelicals to Spend A Year Learning from Peter Drucker – “Is your church following the directives of Leadership Network? If you don’t know, you might want to find out.  The latest push from this global organization is a book, A Year With Peter Drucker. Before your elders pick up a copy, you might want to ask them what they know about the influence of Peter Drucker.”

Want Evidence of Hysterical Anti-Christian Bigotry? Look No Further than #BoycottIndiana – “After litigating religious liberty issues for more than 20 years, I’m used to utter hysteria erupting on the Left when Christians try to assert conventional and traditional religious liberty rights. Perhaps my favorite example was the claim — by a Tufts University student panel — that a Christian group had to be thrown off campus without due process, in part because the Christian group’s insistence on selecting only Christians as leaders placed Tufts students at greater risk of suicide. Yes, suicide.”

Who Really Started The Renewal? – “The Renewal? What’s that?  That is the term that none other than Jack Hayford uses to summarize all the various movements and denominations that have arisen over the last 115 (or so) years that have been categorized with names like ‘Pentecostalism’ or ‘the Charismatic Movement’.  Seeing that some scholars break up Pentecostalism into a series of waves (three waves, sometimes four, sometimes five), or Movements (Apostolic Movement, Latter Rain Movement, Charismatic Movement, Signs & Wonders Movement, etc.), the term ‘Renewal’ serves as a useful catch-all for the various churches and denominations that have one specific activity in common.  Can you guess what it is?”

Premarital Counseling Needs to Include This – “Before you tie the knot, pastors and counselors try to tell you what you need to know for a healthy and successful marriage. I remember being advised about communication styles, conflict resolution, birth control, personality, etc. It felt comprehensive.”


SERMON:

Milton Vincent – What is A Disciple?


VIDEOS:

The Partial Kingdom: God’s Government and God’s Blessing

I Can’t Repent


“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper

Source


Wisdom Is Justified Of All Her Children

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  I’m somewhat uncertain what Jesus meant when in Luke 7:35 He told the multitude, “But wisdom is justified of all her children”. Was He simply reproving and explaining to this vast crowd of curious and inquiring people, or did He intend a deeper understanding for some as he included the word “all”?

continue reading


Tribulation Salvation

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. What is the criteria for Tribulation Salvation? I mean, now, the salvation is by grace through faith. The Holy Spirit will be taken away. Is the tribulation salvation by faith plus works or by works alone, or what?

continue reading


Spotting Giftedness

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, but how do we recognize them in ourselves mechanically speaking? Do you know of any studies that spell out what the exact signs are that you may have a particular gift? Any help is appreciated. God Bless.

continue reading



Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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April 1, 2015 Christian Persecution Update

‘The Soul Cannot Be Killed’

Pastor Mukhtar Barkat was martyred for Jesus Christ one morning in a train station in Pakistan. Parveen, the martyr’s widow, said “All he did was love people.” Her husband had been an outspoken pastor and was incredibly bold for Christ.


Daily Prayer – Wednesday 01 April 2015

Please pray for Sudan as the country holds Presidential and National Assembly elections on 2 April.


Prayer Focus 04/15

Pakistan – At least 16 dead and 70 injured in Taliban suicide bomb attacks on two churches
Syria – Further attacks against Christians in Khabur villages…


Nigeria: How Churches are Responding to Boko Haram

ICC Note: Christians in northern Nigeria are under constant threat of attack from militant Islamist terror group Boko Haram. Sunday mornings represent a particularly vulnerable time as church gatherings prove to be a common target.


Egypt Anti-Christian Violence: Church Commemorating ISIS Coptic Victims Attacks

ICC Note: Protestors of a proposed church to commemorate the Coptic Christians martyred in Egypt wounded seven and damaged the one existing church in Al-Our village in Samalout, Egypt.


‘No more Christians in Mideast within 2 years’

ICC Note: As attacks on Christians continue to mount and armed Islamic extremists groups gain more territory, Christian leaders are fearful that the entire community will soon be gone from the region that is the homeland of Christianity.


Two Christians Jailed in Ethiopia for Distributing Bibles

By Abebe Kibret and Troy Augustine

3/25/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Two Ethiopian Christian men are now free on bail after being detained for 13 days and 10 days, respectively, for the distribution of Bibles in the Melka Belo region prison.


Christians in Haryana, India Hit with Beatings, Official Opposition, and Discrimination

ICC Note: In the northern state of Haryana in India, Christian persecution continues to rise through violence, discrimination, and government opposition. Reports have been accumulating of increased violence, including a mob attack of more than 700 Hindu radicals on a group of 45 Christians performing the burial of a recently deceased Christian woman.


Two Protestants Imprisoned and Forcibly Displaced in Mexico

ICC Note: Two Christian cousins in Hidalgo State, Mexico were detained for approximately 30 hours by village authorities. According to reports, the incident was part of a campaign aimed at Protestants which began last spring, attempting to prohibit the public from participating in religions other than Roman Catholicism.


Nigeria Election: Muslim Muhammadu Buhari Leads Christian Goodluck Jonathan

ICC Note: Initial results in Nigeria’s presidential election suggest challenger Muhammadu Buhari (All Progressive Congress), a Fulani Muslim from the country’s north, leads incumbent Christian Goodluck Jonathan (People’s Democratic Party) by a wide margin.


Detained ISIS Members Speak from Iraqi Jail

ICC Note: In an interview with CNN, two detained members of ISIS speak about their lives in the violent terror group from behind bars. While one provided housing and safety for high-ranking ISIS leaders, the other prepared and supplied weaponry for suicide missions.


Falsely accused of converting Hindus to Christianity, India’s Christians are threatened, arrested and harassed

India’s Christians have witnessed repeated attacks over the past month despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to protect the country’s religious minorities.

‘Persecution of Christians’ Theme this Good Friday in Churches across India

ICC Note: Following a rise in persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, persecution will be the theme of Good Friday in churches throughout India. In the midst of normal Good Friday services and rituals, many also have plans to call out for awareness and action regarding the recent rise in church attacks.


Pastors’ Spine Dislocated After Violent Church Attack in India

By ICC’s India Correspondent

3/30/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern)-On March 15, 2015, Christians from Brethren Church gathered as usual for their Sunday morning worship service when suddenly, circumstances went from holy to terrifying.


Church Vandals Still At Large: Hindu Radicals Destroy Property

By ICC’s India Correspondent

3/30/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern)-On March 5, 2015, church windows were destroyed by a pair of unidentified individuals, believed to be activists of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), in Balanagar of Mahabubnagar district, Telangana state


Operation Nehemiah: News Update #178

France – France cracks down on citizens going to fight with the Islamic State
Last month, France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the Government has stopped paying social welfare benefits to 290 French jihadists who have left the country to fight with the Islamic State (IS).


Muslim Groups Attack Egyptian Copts over Church Honoring Christians Killed by ISIS

ICC Note: The families of the 21 Coptic Christians murdered by ISIS militants last month continue to face persecution as they attempt to erect a church in honor of their martyred loved ones.


Assailants open fire on a church in Pakistan

Christians in Lahore, Pakistan, are fearful after another church was attacked last week when two young assailants on motorbikes opened fire on the main gates of a church and Christian school in the Township district of the city on 24 March.


Muslim Buhari Defeats Incumbent Christian Jonathan in Nigeria Presidential Election

By Troy Augustine

3/31/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Fulani Muslim Muhammadu Buhari (All Progressive Congress) has unseated Christian incumbent Goodluck Jonathan (People’s Democratic Party) in Nigeria’s presidential election and Christians in the country’s north and central regions are readying for intensified persecution from Muslims.


United for Peace

In Southeast Asia, volunteer Shamiel is making great strides in his efforts to bring people together to recognize the issues fac­ing religious minorities. By partnering with the Christian Youth Development Movement, he organized a multifaith gathering called the International Day of Peace.


 

What do skeptical ancient historians think of the earliest Christian creed?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson solving a mystery

Here is a post from my friend Eric Chabot. He writes about the earliest historical source for the minimal facts about the resurrection, which is the early creed recorded by Paul in 1 Corinthians: 3-7.

1 Cor 15:3-7:

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,

8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally…

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Jesus, the Unwelcomed Lover

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

red-love-rejectionHave you ever had your love rejected? It hurts when someone rejects your love, whether you are 13, 23, or 73 years old. Oh, the pain of rejected love!

In today’s passage, I want you to see how Jesus’ love is often unwelcomed and rejected. But before we read our text, let me review the context and setting. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified (v. 22). The opposition against Him was growing stronger and more vocal. The common people loved Him and heard Him gladly, but the religious crowd hated Him because He exposed their hypocrisy and wickedness. Let’s pick up with Luke 13:31-35:

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to Him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill You.”

He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people…

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Apologetics and Your Kids (3) – We Are Losing Our Kids!

DR. RELUCTANT

Part Two

have begun this series with this three-part introduction, trying to bring attention to the matter of Truth and the authenticity of our allegiance to it as Christian parents.  My concern is that Christians nowadays do not prize Truth for what it is – an attribute of God – but rather treat it as something they can use a bit of when they think it needful.   Francis Schaeffer used to say that the Church should live out what he termed “true truth” before the world.  But the Church has forgotten the importance of Truth, and its role as the witness to the Truth in this dark and deceitful age.  Truth must come first.  Our preferences are not that important.

I realize that in putting matters this way I am not going to make many friends.  But I am not concerned with making friends so much as with…

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The first redefinition of marriage was much worse for children than same-sex marriage

WINTERY KNIGHT

% of Marriages Remaining Intact % of Marriages Remaining Intact

I am speaking about no-fault divorce, of course.  Let’s take a look at it with a few articles.

First, let’s take a look at what Jesus says about divorce.

Matthew 19:1-9:

1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.

2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?”

4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,

5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let…

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Study: children are safest when they live with their two married biological parents

WINTERY KNIGHT

Marriage is the safest environment for children Marriage is the safest environment for children

Story from Family Studies.

It says:

Young people are less likely to be victims of crime if they live in two-parent than in single-parent households. That has been a consistent finding of the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice. But it has been unclear whether the safety advantage stems from married couples living in less dangerous neighborhoods, on average, than unmarried parents, or from other differences in vulnerability between family types. My analysis of recent data from another national survey shows that even when their families live in unsafe neighborhoods, children in married two-parent families are less likely to be exposed to violent crime than children of never-married and divorced parents.

In the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, conducted by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, parents of 95,677 children aged 17 and under were…

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40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Six: Wednesday)

Wednesday

Day 37: Why do scholars today consider the passion narratives in the Gospels to be early and accurate?

Confession: Psalm 141:1–5

I call on you, O Yahweh; hasten to me.

Listen to my voice when I call to you.

Let my prayer be set before you as incense,

the lifting up of my palms as the evening offering.

Set a guard, O Yahweh, over my mouth;

keep watch over the door of my lips.

Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,

to practice wicked deeds with men who do iniquity;

and do not let me eat of their delicacies.

Let a righteous one strike me in kindness,

and let him chasten me.

It is oil for my head; let not my head refuse.

For still my prayer is against their evil deeds.

Reading: Mark 15:33–36

And when the sixth hour came, darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) And some of the bystanders, when they heard it, said, “Behold, he is summoning Elijah!” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Leave him alone! Let us see if Elijah is coming to take him down.”

Reflection

Oh, the blessed shadow of Christ’s cross! All the flocks of the Lord lie down under it, and rest in peace. Millions of souls are delivered by it from the heat of vengeance, and myriads more shall find a covert within it from the wrath to come. Dear reader, are you within the shadow of the crucified? Does He stand between God and your soul to ward off the burning beams of justice, which your sins so richly deserve, by bearing them Himself? If you die in the fierce heat of divine wrath, you will have yourself alone to blame, for there is the shadow of the great propitiation, cool and refreshing, and it is at every moment accessible to simple faith. If you refuse to believe, and count yourself unworthy of salvation, your blood must lie at your own door.

Come, now, into the sure and blessed shelter, lest the sunstroke of despair should wither you. Once beneath the shadow of Jesus, the sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night; you shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. “Yahweh is your protector; Yahweh is your shade at your right hand.” (Psa 121:5).

—Charles H. Spurgeon

Hindhead

Response

What does it mean for you to live your life within the shadow of the crucified Christ?[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The testing of our faith

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις, 3 γινώσκοντες ὅτι τὸ δοκίμιον ὑμῶν τῆς πίστεως κατεργάζεται ὑπομονήν. 4 ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ ἔργον τέλειον ἐχέτω, ἵνα ἦτε τέλειοι καὶ ὁλόκληροι ἐν μηδενὶ λειπόμενοι. (James 1:2-4 NA28)

2 Consider it all joy my brothers whenever you fall into various trials 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect that you may be mature and complete lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 translated from the NA28 Greek text) 

The man-centered religions that claim to be “Christian” in our time could never take James 1:2-4 literally. No, instead, they must demand from their own man-made Jesus that they have their best life now and that the Sun stand still so that they can fulfill the vision that they claim to have received from him. This whole idea of a faith…

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