None of the important things God has for us to do in church each week can happen if we’re not there. —Tony Payne
May 13, 2015
Investigators are trying to find out what caused a New York-bound Amtrak train to derail in Philadelphia, killing six, injuring scores and closing part of the busiest passenger-rail corridor in the U.S.
Once the exception, filibusters are now the norm in the Senate. But it is exceedingly rare for senators to filibuster a signature initiative by a president of their own party. That’s what the Democratic minority did Tuesday by blocking a motion to debate Trade Promotion Authority, a vehicle to fast-track a trade pact that President Obama is negotiating and allow Congress to have the final word on it.
The online voters have spoken. On Tuesday, the grassroots organization Women on $20s released the results of its 10-week-long online survey to determine the woman who-it hopes-will be the new face on the $20 bill. Over 600,000 votes were tallied, and a victor declared: Harriet Tubman.
Sales at U.S. retailers were little changed in April, starting the second quarter on a weak note as Americans remained reluctant to splurge.
Delta Air Lines approved a $5 billion stock-repurchase plan, more than double last year’s program, and boosted its dividend by 50 percent, as a windfall of savings on fuel enables it to steer more cash back to investors.
The U.S. Justice Department is set to rip up its agreement not to prosecute UBS Group AG for rigging benchmark interest rates, according to a person familiar with the matter, taking a new step to hold banks accountable for repeat offenses. The move by the U.S. would be a first for the industry, making good on a March threat by a senior Justice Department official to revoke such agreements and putting banks on notice that these accords can be unwound if misconduct continues.
Blockbuster real estate deals are back and breaking records as cash from around the globe pours into U.S. office buildings, apartment complexes and other investment properties. Commercial real estate transactions jumped 45 percent by dollar volume in the first quarter, an increase driven by sales of multiple buildings or entire companies.
Anticipating a boom in wearables after the introduction of the Apple Watch, digital advertising agencies are rushing to create ads and marketing messages for the nascent industry.
AP Top Stories
North Korea executed its defense chief by putting him in front of an anti-aircraft gun at a firing range, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers, which would be the latest in a series of high-level purges since Kim Jong Un took charge.
After more than 75 years of flying, the end is near for US Airways. American Airlines plans to shut down the venerable carrier over a 90-day stretch that could begin as soon as July, which would mean a final departure around October.
A newly released HSBC global retirement survey of 1,001 people age 25 and older shows that about 1 in 4 working Americans feel it’s better to spend all their cash during the course of a lifetime and let children create their own wealth.
An Oklahoma man has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for asphyxiating his stepfather with the underwear he was wearing in a move police dubbed an “atomic wedgie.”
A civil liberties group warned Idaho’s public school districts on Tuesday that a secondary school’s decision to require girls to wear white or pastel dresses or skirts to graduation could be discriminatory.
North Korea’s claim that it launched a ballistic missile from a submarine was mostly likely a bluff and the images it released appear photoshopped to overstate the regime’s military power, US experts said Tuesday.
U.S. borrowers are playing it safe this year, with overall debt levels largely flat in the first quarter amid tight mortgage lending and hints that some consumers are using gas savings to pay down bills.
The second-in-command of Islamic State (IS) has been killed in a US-led coalition air strike in northern Iraq, the Iraqi ministry of defense says.
A Burundi army general said President Pierre Nkurunziza has been “overthrown”, amid unrest over his bid to be re-elected for a third term. Major General Godefroid Niyombareh said a salvation committee had been set up, but his level of support is unclear.
The European Commission has unveiled a new blueprint for dealing with the EU’s migration crisis, including a controversial plan for national quotas. The EU aims to bring 20,000 refugees to Europe in the next two years, as part of the plan.
The Telica volcano in north-west Nicaragua has been spewing large clouds of ash. There have been more than 60 explosions since it started erupting, covering nearby towns in a dusting of ash.
At least 45 people have been killed and 13 injured in a gun attack on a bus carrying Ismaili Shia Muslims in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
The economy of the eurozone grew by 0.4% in the first three months of the year, official figures have shown, as its slow recovery continues.
President Obama’s administration is pressing for new rules granting “gay” and bisexual men the legal right to donate blood.
A new poll shows nearly half of voters are concerned Washington “will use U.S. military training operations to impose greater control over some states.”
The cost of federal regulation neared $2 trillion in 2014, according to a new report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
Top News – 5/13/2015
6.8 earthquake strikes off Japan’s Honshu Island
A 6.8 earthquake has struck off the eastern coast of Japan’s Honshu Island, shaking the same area devastated by a quake and tsunami four years ago, USGS and Japan Meteorological Agency report. No casualties or damage have yet been reported.
U.S. State Dept. Invites Muslim Leaders, Denies Christians
The Iraqi Christian nun, Sister Diana Momeka (left), this month received a visa to visit the U.S. as part of a delegation of foreign religious leaders. The State Dept. had originally denied her visa request, only allowing in non-Christian delegates. Last year, the United States Institute for Peace invited to the U.S. the Muslim governors of Nigeria’s northern states, but the sole Christian governor, Plateau State Gov. Jonah David Jang was denied a visa.
Obama calls on new government to pursue two-state solution
Obama said Wednesday that he looks to the incoming Israeli government and the Palestinians to show a “genuine commitment to a two-state solution”
For Netanyahu and Obama, mistrust is personal — and cynical
But a year of tense and angry exchanges between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu has yielded an atmosphere of deep mistrust, with each side insinuating the other is acting in bad faith. Conversations with current and former officials from both countries, as well as with Jewish community sources, suggest that there is a deeply personal dimension to the mistrust, with each leader and his aides ascribing malevolent motives to the other side.
Jade Helm: Americans fear federal Control of States
The U.S. military has told WND that to allay fears and minimize concerns over a massive military training operation scheduled across much of America’s Southwest this summer, officials have met with local governments and briefed them. It appears the message isn’t getting across, since a new poll shows nearly half of voters are concerned Washington “will use U.S. military training operations to impose greater control over some states.”
Narrow miss: Kilometer-wide asteroid to brush close to Earth
An asteroid up to 1.3 kilometers across will come very close to Earth on May 14, according to NASA’s Near Earth Object watch. While a space rock of this size could be devastating if it hits our planet, this one is expected to hurtle safely by.
Oil glut worsens as OPEC market-share battle just beginning
A global oil glut is building as OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia pumps near record highs in an attempt to win a market-share battle against stubbornly resistant U.S. shale production, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.
An interplanetary shock wave hit Earth’s magnetic field on May 12th. Now, on May 13th, a high-speed stream of solar wind has arrived. The one-two punch is causing G1-class geomagnetic storms around the poles.
More quakes are coming for Nepal, scientists say, they just can’t predict when
Sadly, scientists had predicted that another earthquake was coming—and many more will come in the future in this seismically active region. The Himalayan region had been overdue an earthquake, since the last one that hit Kathmandu 80 years ago. During the earthquake on April 25, however, not all of the pent-up seismic pressure was released. This left room for more earthquakes in the near future.
Obama: Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation
US President Barack Obama gave an interview…with Asharq al-Awsat… “I will never give up on the hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” said Obama, “Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities… That’s why we’ve worked so hard over the years for a two-state solution and to develop innovative ways to address Israel’s security and Palestinian sovereignty needs.”
Study finds fewer Christians, more unaffiliated in US
The United States is becoming a little less Christian, and a little more unaffiliated to any faith, a major study on the nation’s changing religious landscape suggested Tuesday. “The United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world,” with 70.6 percent of its population, or 173 million adults, identifying as Christian last year, the Pew Research Center said.
Embryo engineering a moral duty, says top scientist
It would be unethical and a “sin of omission” to prevent the genetic engineering of embryos, a leading scientist has argued. Cloning pioneer Dr Tony Perry told the BBC that advances in genetics posed a “wonderful opportunity” for eliminating diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Last month, a group in China announced it was the first to successfully edit the genome of a human embryo.
New laws to target radicalisation
David Cameron is to set out a string of new powers to tackle radicalisation, saying the UK has been a “passively tolerant society” for too long. The PM will tell the National Security Council a counter-extremism bill will be in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May. The bill will include new immigration rules, powers to close down premises used by extremists and “extremism disruption orders”.
US trade deals with Europe and Asia face setback
Efforts to introduce US trade deals with Europe and Asia have been dealt a blow after a vote in the Senate. Late on Tuesday, senators rejected a bill that would allow the president to speed trade deals through Congress. This means that Barack Obama will not be able to fast-track trade pacts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Yemen conflict: Strikes rock Sanaa ahead of ceasefire
Saudi-led coalition aircraft carried out fresh air strikes on Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, just hours before a five-day ceasefire was set to begin. An arms depot used by the Houthi rebel movement in the city’s north-east was targeted for a second day, sending a column of smoke into the sky. The coalition also bombed rebel positions in the southern city of Aden.
Asia tops biggest global school rankings
The biggest ever global school rankings have been published, with Asian countries in the top five places and African countries at the bottom. Singapore heads the table, followed by Hong Kong, with Ghana at the bottom. The UK is in 20th place, among higher achieving European countries, with the US in 28th.
‘EU must reassess Mideast policy, hold Israel to account for settlements’
A prominent group of former European diplomats and heads of state say that US policy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has failed and that a new EU led approach is needed. …European Eminent Persons Group sent a letter to Brussels’ top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, demanding a “reassessment” that supports among other things a UN Security Council resolution that is expected to call for the creation of a Palestinian state by 2017.
Assad Still Has Chemical Arms
President Obama has often boasted that his diplomacy disarmed Syria’s Bashar Assad of his chemical weapons. Mark that down as another non-achievement following news that investigators in Syria have discovered new traces of the chemical precursors to sarin and VX nerve agents at a previously undisclosed military research site.
Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes
Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down. Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. With the state legislature rejecting a $28 million bailout, the website will now be unable to operate past this year.
Subway employee fired for lauding cop-killing. Rise of incivility or just poor filters?
The case of a Subway sandwich shop worker – who used Facebook to celebrate the shooting deaths of two Hattiesburg, Miss., police officers – demonstrates the riskiness of uncivil or hateful communication, and the importance of thinking before posting comments online.
S.Korea says North executed defence minister with anti-aircraft guns
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has had his defence minister executed with anti-aircraft fire for insubordination and dozing off during formal military rallies, South Korean intelligence said on Wednesday, hinting at possible instability in the Pyongyang leadership.
Britain to announce new laws on Islamic extremism
British Prime Minister David Cameron was to announce new laws to combat “poisonous Islamist ideology” Wednesday in his first major policy announcement since winning last week’s general election.
Moody’s downgrades Chicago debt to ‘junk’ with negative outlook
Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating down to junk level “Ba1” from “Baa2.” The announcement, which the ratings agency released Tuesday afternoon, cited a recent Illinois court ruling voiding state pension reforms. Moody’s said it saw a negative outlook for the city’s credit.
Top Headlines – 5/13/2015
Merkel to Rivlin: Nuclear agreement unlikely to be reached with Iran
Top Khamenei Advisor: We Have Divine Permission to Destroy Israel
Obama Expects Israel to Work Towards ‘Two-State Solution’
Obama sees ‘difficult path’ on Israel-Palestinian conflict
European leaders call for campaign of pressure on Netanyahu
Yesh Din petitions High Court to return land to Palestinians
Makovsky: Most land tenders announced during peace talks were agreed to by Abbas
Netanyahu: Israel is the focus of contemporary anti-Semitism
Emergency Knesset meeting held to address Ethiopian-Israeli community needs
Which side of the debate will the ICC support on war crimes allegations against the IDF?
Lebanon turns to UNIFIL to end air, sea, land ‘border violations’ by Israel
‘Defensive walls and long-range strikes’ – the key for Israel in a chaotic region
Report: Hezbollah leader being treated for heart attack
Focus on ISIS, Libya as NATO foreign ministers meet
NATO says will look at what more it can do in fight against Islamic State
Iraq says Islamic State’s destruction of historical sites is cover for looting
Syrian rebels claim Nasrallah suffered stroke
Inspectors in Syria Find Traces of Banned Military Chemicals
White House urges Iran to use UN hub for Yemen relief
Report: Iranian warships will escort Yemen-bound cargo ship
Iran threatens war if ‘aid ship’ to Yemen attacked
Obama bets that US-Gulf alliance can survive tensions over Iran
Saudi FM says US-Gulf summit to focus on ‘aggressive’ Iran
Saudi-led air strikes hit Yemen capital hours before ceasefire
Gunmen kill 41 Ismailis on bus in Pakistan’s Karachi
Britain to announce new laws on Islamic extremism
Ukraine crisis: Kerry has ‘frank’ meeting with Putin
South Korean Media: North Korea executes defense chief on treason charges
Pentagon weighs sending planes, ships near disputed South China Sea reefs
Voters Worry Military Exercises May Lead to Federal Control Of States
Illinois police will use drones, won’t say ‘drones’
Vancouver man says neighbor spied on son with drone
Worker fired for disabling GPS app that tracked her 24 hours a day
Germany gives huge amount of phone, text data to U.S.: report
Artificial intelligence experts are building the world’s angriest robot. Should you be scared?
Zeitgesit 2015: Stephen Hawking warns computers will overtake humans within 100 years
Elon Musk fears Google CEO Larry Page could accidentally create a robot army to destroy humanity
Robot swarms controlled with single-finger tablet swipe
Cannes Crackdown: 465 Closed-Circuit Cameras, SWAT-Style Cops Part of Massively Beefed-Up Security
Stress of Baltimore unrest could stay with residents for a while
Police Officers: Morale Is Low In Departments Across The Country
FBI: Number of Police Officers Killed On-Duty Up By 89 Percent In 2014
Subway employee fired for lauding cop-killing. Rise of incivility or just poor filters?
Judge to release 1,000 illegals from detention due to overcrowding
Moody’s downgrades Chicago debt to ‘junk’ with negative outlook
Greek PM says time for action from lenders, IMF payment scrapes by
Greece warns it will run out of cash in two weeks
Dozens killed after magnitude-7.3 earthquake strikes Nepal
Hundreds search for missing U.S. helicopter after second Nepal quake kills scores
Japan rocked by 6.9 earthquake near Fukishima
5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Bharatpur, Nepal
5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Bitung, Indonesia
5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea
Sakurajima volcano in Japan erupts to 14,000ft
Nicaraguan volcano dusts towns in ash
Typhoon Dolphin to Threaten Guam Later This Week
More Flooding Headed to Texas, Oklahoma This Week
Water Theft Becomes Common Consequence of Ongoing California Drought
Taiwan lifts water rationing as drought eases
‘Substantial’ El Nino event predicted
Pope says environmental sinners will face God’s judgment for world hunger
Bird flu outbreak hits Nebraska poultry farm: USDA
Egg, turkey meat prices begin to rise as bird flu spreads
Drug-resistant typhoid ‘concerning’
Flakka: Zombie-State Inducing Designer Drug Flakka as Potent, Addictive as Bath Salts, New Study Says
First baby born with IVF that uses stem cells to pep up old eggs
Arizona woman charged after allegedly faking cancer to receive abortion
Ban on Gay Blood Donors May End
Study: Americans becoming less Christian, more secular
Roger Oakland – The Gospel of Self
Hillsong leader caught practicing pagan idolatry?
Self Professed Faith Healer Sues Blogger Who Called Him a Charlatan
Biblical Versus Cultural Christianity
America’s Changing Religious Landscape – Christians Decline as Share of Population
What are we going to do once all the water is gone? Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen. Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas. But this is just the beginning. Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat “normal” levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace. Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin. If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the “megadrought” that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live. (Read More….)
May 13, 2015
“No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 10, 1787
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
Like it or not, Barack Obama’s trade deal is needed if the U.S. is going to maintain influence in the Pacific Rim as a counterweight to China. But the community organizer in chief can’t even muster the support of his own party. Obama attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying she’s wrong on the matter. The Wall Street Journal says Obama’s polarization tactics worked better when there was a Democrat majority in Congress. Now that the playing field has changed, he’s attacking his own party. As a result, Democrat lawmakers voted against their president Tuesday, refusing to fast-track the trade legislation.
Without the up-down, yes-no vote, the Obama administration has a more challenging task. Charles Krauthammer opined, “It would help if when the president says [Warren] is dead wrong, he would actually make a case to explain why, rather than say, ‘I would never sign a deal that’s not good for working Americans. Trust me.’ That’s what he does with Iran, that’s what he does with everything. … [O]n this, acting in the national interest as president, he knows that in the end free trade is a good idea. And this agreement, in particular, is extremely important geopolitically as a way to hold our Pacific Rim allies, who will be cut loose and will enter into China’s orbit if we don’t.” But Obama is such a narcissist, he can’t help but demean his own party. If that keeps up, then the last two years will quickly become a lame-duck presidency. More…
“I gotta pay our bills,” Bill Clinton said recently when explaining his exorbitant speaking fees. Well, the Associated Press reports on the State Department’s enabling of Bill’s gravy train: “State Department officials gave speedy and sometimes only cursory consideration to potential conflicts of interest when approving former President Bill Clinton’s lucrative speeches to global companies and foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. … Again and again, the ethics office responsible for vetting his appearances hurriedly signed off on them, even in cases where questions had been raised about the behavior of organizations hiring Bill Clinton to appear. It approved at least 330 requests for the former president’s appearance at speeches, dinners and events. More than 220 of those were paid events that earned the family nearly $50 million [emphasis added].”
One example was a speech to Barclays, the British bank that soon thereafter was fined $300 million for violating financial sanctions against Burma, Cuba, Iran, Libya and Sudan. And then there was the time Bill spoke to British-based HSBC, under investigation for — get this — money laundering. It’s no stretch to conclude that Hillary Clinton wasn’t about to use her authority at State to block Bill’s payday. They were “dead broke,” she told us, and that money was helping them just get by.
From 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million to honor soldiers during games. That’s right: What we thought was a genuine display of patriotism, like Hometown Hero, only came about because the NFL (formerly a “nonprofit” — pfft) wanted more money and the U.S. military wanted advertisement. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who first drew attention to the practice, said, “They realize the public believes they’re doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.” While the NFL is contemptible for trading salutes for cash, the U.S. military also shoulders some of the blame for manipulating special moments into theater to gain more recruits. What do the soldiers, some with injuries from war, who walked out onto the field in front of thousands think of the fact that they were used as pawns in a marketing campaign that earned a sports franchise millions?
Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid has bigger fish to fry. He took to the Senate floor to complain about the suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for knowing about improperly inflated footballs. “I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country.” If Reid were serious about his political charade, he’d just pay the Washington Redskins to change their name. With all this nonsense, maybe it’s time for the nation to return to America’s pastime — baseball. More…
FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
By Jim Harrington
For years, actuaries, financial analysts and policy wonks have warned that Social Security is doomed to crash. Contrary to rosy predictions a decade ago that this popular government program has a funded lifetime of 33 more years and won’t sink into the red until 2017, Social Security actually went red in 2010 and will go broke in 2024.
In 1983, the Social Security trustees predicted that reforms would maintain the program’s solvency through 2048. Even they’ve changed their tune, though they won’t admit it’s as moribund as it actually is.
Since its inception, Social Security has promised each succeeding generation that there will be at least a minimum of money for them at retirement. All working people are taxed at the rate of 12.4% of each paycheck, with the promise of a return. (Yes, employers pay half, but they also pay employees less as a result. It still costs “X” to employ a person; whether 6.2% is earmarked for direct Social Security payments matters not.) But that money’s gone in an insolvent system.
When Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security, the ratio of taxpayers to beneficiaries was 42:1. Today that ratio has plummeted to numbers FDRs’ “Brain Trust” never contemplated — it’s now a puny 3:1, and with 80 million Baby Boomers beginning to enter the system that ratio will only get worse. Social Security’s already running a $200 billion annual deficit with 60 million recipients, so it’s difficult to understand the trustees’ optimism.
Researchers Gary King of Harvard and Samir Soneji and Konstantin Kashin of Dartmouth analyzed the Social Security Administration (SSA) trustees actuarial reports and conclude the program’s insolvency is near. Their research found little or no bias in the annual reporting between 1978 and 1999, but from 2000 onward the bias presenting the program positively has been increasing steadily.
King reports that the trustees use outdated modes in the analyses, comparing them to “steering by sextant and dead reckoning” rather than using “global-positioning-systems.” They “employ research methods that are antiquated and opaque compared with the statistics and open-source data analytics powering today’s successful scientific and business enterprises.”
Steve Goss, the chief actuary of the SSA, nevertheless enjoys widespread credibility. Supporters in the public, academic and private sectors use his analyses in their own work.
Barron’s Bill Alpert explains why: Goss says SSA actuaries “leave politics at the door when they prepare” reports, and argues that “forecast errors in the past decade might have resulted from the 2008 recession.” Besides political independence, Goss values consistency in the projections and looks askance at changing assumptions or methods.
Goss cites as a cautionary tale the trustees’ continuing to project long-term gains while productivity dropped during the 1980s. Then in 1995, the economy began a sharp climb. “[We] learned a lesson,” Goss said. “[M]aybe we should look at the long-term averages, not flip back and forth a lot based on very, very brief periods of recent experience.” One problem with that approach is that the U.S. is not your granddaddy’s country.
And Alpert notes another big problem for Goss: “[A] surprising number of past panelists complain that Goss has ignored their advice. A case in point is the way the actuaries predict death rates. Along with birth rates and immigration, death rates are a crucial consideration in projecting the future populations that will be paying into Social Security and drawing benefits. Since 1999, outside demographers on Social Security’s technical panels have unsuccessfully urged the actuaries to change their approach for predicting death rates. Goss’ crew makes judgments about future death rates within each age group and sex from five separate causes, like heart disease, cancer, and violence — a process that obliges the actuaries to come up with 150 different parameters in a way that outside experts have never been able to plumb.”
Faulty methods distort projections for solvency.
Problems are many, solutions, few. The system has already raised the full eligibility age to 66, and soon, 67. That’s not enough. One suggestion: raise taxes (naturally). To maintain the promised benefits, former Bill Clinton adviser Bill Galston argues the payroll tax would have to rise from 12.4% to 15.9%. A middle-income family (about $50,000) would pay another $900 annually. Adding this to all other taxes they pay is unconscionable.
Republicans have promoted privatizing part of Social Security for more than 20 years. Were taxpayers allowed to invest their Social Security money in 401k’s, even a modest return would allow middle-income earners to retire on six-figure incomes. Social Security’s “return,” by comparison, is an obscene joke. It actually results in a loss due to the constant inflation of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Social Security is a Pony Express program in a smart phone world. It makes changes grudgingly and only long after they are obviously needed. And because it is the greatest Ponzi scheme of all time, some Americans will be hurt very badly. Yet this oft-repeated warning has never been heeded because government employees have their own pension system, and citizens only want what was promised to them — a retirement income. Anybody aiming to fix that, in the view of too many Americans, is merely trying to steal from them. In short, it’s an entrenched problem that will almost surely receive nothing but token Band-Aids as long as politicians can hold out.
TODAY AT PATRIOTPOST.US
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
OPINION IN BRIEF
Ben Shapiro: “[Pamela] Geller, the narrative goes, should never have encouraged people to draw Muhammad because it was ‘provocative.’ To which the answer should be: So what? Women attending school in Afghanistan ‘provokes’ radical Muslims into throwing acid on their faces, but that does not mean that women should not go to school in Afghanistan or be condemned for doing so. … How do proponents of this victim/victimizer identity dichotomy determine who falls into which category? They simply look at the socioeconomic status of those involved and make a determination of who is worse off. Thus, black Baltimore rioters were not people acting without any sense of values, but rather victims provoked by injustice from a non-existent white power structure in Baltimore. Before a conflict has even begun, we know who deserves our sympathy. That calculus leads to more death, more destruction, more chaos. That death, destruction and chaos cannot be laid at the feet of Pamela Geller, but those who continue to perpetuate a narrative in which people who commit evil acts are victims, and those who are their victims are their provocateurs.”
Insight: “He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.” —Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Non Compos Mentis: “I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving got traction. And look, it’s still being propagated. I mean, I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu — they will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like, ‘I don’t want to work. I just want a free Obamaphone,’ or whatever.” —Barack Obama (“[H]e seems well-acquainted with what we do. I think Fox ought to run a full-page ad welcoming Obama into the viewership of the number one network. … Mr. President, if you’re watching us right now, you’ve got a tick. It can be cured.’ —Charles Krauthammer)
Demo-gogues: “When I … make an argument about closing the carried interest loophole that exists whereby hedge fund managers are paying 15% on the fees and income that they collect, I’ve been called Hitler for doing this, or at least this is like Hitler going into Poland. That’s an actual quote from a hedge fund manager when I made that recommendation. The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country. … There’s a fairness issue involved here.” —Barack Obama
Late-night humor: “The White House is testing out new spikes that would make it difficult to jump the fence. So if you’re wondering what kind of cutting-edge technology the Secret Service is using to protect the president, it’s spikes. I think someone saw an episode of ‘Game of Thrones.'” —Seth Meyers
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
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1) Warp speed of American secularization evidenced in declining religious landscape
America’s Changing Religious Landscape, Pew Research Center (Staff)
Big Drop in Share of Americans Calling Themselves Christian, New York Times (Nate Cohn)
Americans Unaffiliated With Any Religion Outrank Catholics, Study Says, Wall Street Journal (Tamara Audi)
Pew: Evangelicals Stay Strong as Christianity Crumbles in America, Christianity Today (Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra)
2) Calls for full coverage of contraception evidence of pervasive nature of moral revolution
White House Warns Insurers About Surcharges and Gaps for Contraception, New York Times (Robert Pear)
3) Gov. Cuomo attempts to strengthen thin sexual morality of consent on campuses
Cuomo, Taking Aim at Campus Sexual Assaults, Calls for a Stricter Law, New York Times (Elizabeth A. Harris)
In other news…
Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage
A Supreme Court ruling could shatter religious school finances.
No one should think that IRS implications will stop with colleges. Religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches.
|The Greatest Water Crisis In The History Of The United States
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:51 AM PDT
What are we going to do once all the water is gone? Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen. Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas.
But this is just the beginning. Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat “normal” levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace. Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin. If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the “megadrought” that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live. Simply put, this is not a normal drought. What the western half of the nation is experiencing right now is highly unusual. In fact, scientists tell us that California has not seen anything quite like this in at least 1,200 years…MORE
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Atheist Group Wants To Rid The World Of Jesus Christ, Whom They Claim Doesn’t Exist
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:47 AM PDT
THEIR MISSION STATEMENT IS TO ADVOCATE AGAINST THE WIDESPREAD ACCEPTANCE OF THE STORY OF JESUS CHRIST AS WRITTEN IN THE HOLY BIBLE
“Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” Acts 17:3
When Jesus walked the earth, all He did was good for other people. The Bible said that Jesus stood in the Temple and proclaimed that “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” (Isaiah 61:1) The Devil hated each and every word of that, and guess what? In 2015, he still hates it.
Atheist group Undo Jesus is on a “mission” to rid the world of Christianity, and state that they “oppose the idea that Jesus is a son of God”. You really have to feel for the futility of being an atheist, spending all that time and energy trying to rid the world of someone they claim doesn’t even exist. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. But that sign he’s holding in the photo isn’t so funny. Not at all. MORE
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|Google lets you download your entire search history – So yes, they’re monitoring and archiving our data
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:39 AM PDT
If you maintain an avid, robust online presence, chances are that you do a lot of searching. You might search for web sites, data, studies, and news. Perhaps you even search for some things you would prefer that others didn’t know about. If you use Google as your main search engine – and judging by the company’s mega-earnings, most people do – your search history is carefully, systematically and completely tracked and documented.
How do we know? According to the search giant, every search query you’ve ever typed into the site’s Spartan home page and subsequent search pages is being made available at your request. As reported by Britain’s Daily Mail, you can even edit – that is, delete – part or even all of your Google search record. According to the Daily Mail, “The feature exports your searches to Google Drive in a ZIP archive, with files divided by year and quarter.” “You can download all of your saved search history to see a list of the terms you’ve searched for,” a Google support page says. “This gives you access to your data when and where you want.” MORE
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|School District Says Feds Forced Policy Allowing Transgender Kids to Use Any Bathroom
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:35 AM PDT
UPDATE: The Fairfax County Public Schools School Board voted Thursday night to add “gender identity” to its nondiscrimination policy in spite of massive opposition from parents and the area’s religious community. Police were summoned to control a standing-room-only crowd as board members approved the controversial measure. Critics argued it would allow boys who identify as girls to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice—and vice versa. Parents also had concerns about the possibility of transgender teachers.
School Board Chair Tamara Derenak Kaufax issued a statement calling the measure a way to “provide an environment which promotes equality where every student and employee is treated with dignity and respect.” “The School Board has taken this proactive step to protect our students and staff from discrimination,” she wrote.The district said they were mandated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to add “gender identity” to the policy—or else risk losing federal funding. MORE
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|Vatican Officially Recognizes ‘State Of Palestine’ In New Treaty
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:30 AM PDT
BREAKING NEWS – The Vatican has officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty. The treaty, which was finalized Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition. FULL REPORT
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|Texas Won’t Bow to Gay Marriage Law Without a Fight
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:22 AM PDT
The U.S. Supreme Court is now weighing arguments in the same-sex marriage case it heard on April 28 that could lead to a landmark decision requiring all states to acknowledge the unions. But don’t count Texas out without a fight. State lawmakers are considering at least five bills designed to block same-sex marriages, which are currently illegal in the state, and some state leaders say they’ll battle to bar the unions regardless of any Supreme Court decision.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement reaffirming his opposition to same-sex marriage. He said, “Texans — not unelected federal judges — should decide this important issue for their state.” “The leap to assume that Texas moves with (a Supreme Court ruling) is just that — a leap,” said state Rep. Cecil Bell, a Republican from suburban Houston who is an author of four of the five bills. “History is replete with cases where Supreme Court precedent isn’t immediately embraced and in some cases isn’t ever embraced.”
Texas joins a handful of states, including Alabama, Michigan and Louisiana, that are considering legislation that would throw up roadblocks to gay marriage in apparent anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling. Indiana and Arkansas recently backed down on similar bills. MORE
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|Ben Carson: God Gave Me a Prophetic Dream That Changed Everything
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:19 AM PDT
Dr. Ben Carson, retired pediatric neurosurgeon and recently announced Republican presidential candidate, gave a moving personal speech at the National Day of Prayer event in Washington, D.C., May 7. One key story he shared was of a prophetic dream that changed the course of his life while he was a pre-med student at Yale. Failing his chemistry course, a prerequisite for medical school, he had one last opportunity to pull off a passing grade. But the night before his final exam, still not comprehending the material, he cried out to God for a prophetic move. “‘Lord, medicine is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do,’” Carson recounted his prayer at the breakfast. “‘I thought that was what You wanted from me.
And yet, it looks like I’m going to fail chemistry and I’m not going to go to medical school. “And I said, ‘So would You please tell me what it is You really want me to do. Or, alternatively and preferably, work a miracle,’” he continued, eliciting chuckles from the audience. After praying, Carson had picked up his Chemistry textbook, determined to learn the whole course overnight. But his efforts were futile, and he fell asleep. His slumber, however, bore more fruit than his attempts at all-night cramming ever could.
While he slept, God answered Carson’s prayers with a prophetic dream. “I was in this large auditorium,” Carson described the dream. “Just me, and a nebulous figure working out chemistry problems.” When he awoke early the next morning, the dream was fresh and vivid in his mind as he looked through his textbook. “When I went to take the test the next morning, it was like The Twilight Zone,” Carson said. “I opened that [test] book and I recognized the first problem; it was one of the ones I’d dreamed about. And the next, and the next, and the next.” FULL STORY
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|Corporations begin genetic testing of employees
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:12 AM PDT
In the 1997 science fiction film GATTACA, society is dominated by a system of eugenics, where potential children are conceived through genetic manipulation. The main character, Vincent Freeman, is conceived outside the eugenics system and fights to overcome genetic discrimination in a society that engineers humans to possess the best hereditary traits of their parents. Nearly 20 years after the film debuted, corporations today are starting to head in the same direction as GATTACA. Eugenics programs could be the way of the future as employers start separating acceptable employees from genetic “invalids” using new genetic testing procedures.
In fact, corporations are looking to new genetic testing programs to see if they can predict the probability of disease in future employees. The technology is said to help companies avoid hiring employees who take extra sick time and is supposed to help the companies cut down health expenses altogether. Alternatively, the technology could be used to predict when an employee is diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes before the conditions develop. In this way, wellness programs can be adapted to help companies coach employees into nutrition and exercise prevention strategies before the conditions show up. MORE
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|California land mass sinking at record rate as farmers desperately drill new wells to use up ground water
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:07 AM PDT
The days of abundant water are a distant memory for farmers in California. For the Central Valley, the wells are about to run dry. California’s Central Valley is now reportedly sinking at a rate never seen during the state’s historic drought, and farmers are shouldering part of the blame as they continue to pump the land dry in an effort to keep their businesses afloat. Steve Arthur of Arthur & Orum Well Drilling is drilling wells as fast as his rig will allow him. The demand has been insatiable, and waiting lists as long as 18 months have developed during the state’s drought. Some farmers are willing to pay two or three times the price of a regular well by contracting people out of state.
This clearly illustrates the desperation of the current water situation as farmers become willing to do almost anything to tap into an available water supply. In fact, farmers are paying $300 per foot to reach groundwater, and some wells are going 3,000 feet down as all of the good water is being used up faster than Mother Nature can replenish it. This exploitation of the California water supplies has caused a significant dropping of their landmass, which threatens expensive infrastructure that can easily break in the event of land collapse, such as roads, railways, canals and pipelines. Fingers are being pointed at farmers, particularly in the nut industry, as they struggle to feed their crops and sustain their businesses. FULL REPORT
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|Jade Helm: Americans fear federal control of states
Posted: 13 May 2015 07:01 AM PDT
The U.S. military has told WND that to allay fears and minimize concerns over a massive military training operation scheduled across much of America’s Southwest this summer, officials have met with local governments and briefed them. And they say that it’s a combination of “inaccurate” information and “personal agendas” that is whipping up fears. But it appears the message isn’t getting across, since a new poll shows nearly half of voters are concerned Washington “will use U.S. military training operations to impose greater control over some states.”
And one voter in five is “very concerned.” The results come from Rasmussen Reports, which surveyed 1,000 likely voters May 7-10. The polling company asked whether the government’s military training plan is an infringement of the rights of citizens, whether the respondent favors or opposes those exercises in their state, and how concerned are they over whether Washington “will use U.S. military training operations to impose greater control over some states.” The training exercises this summer have been named Jade Helm 15, and WND reported when the concerns moved well beyond the fringe frets over black helicopters and secret prison sites. FULL REPORT
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Rise of the Thought Police – Hal Lindsey
By Hal Lindsey
Freedom of Speech in America remains a basic right, but its under fire here as well. And the Thought Police are also invading America. They thrive on university campuses. They have entered the justice system. They are using American criminal courts, our sacred halls of justice, to silence those with whom they disagree.
Jade Helm: Americans fear federal control of states
And one voter in five is “very concerned.”
The results come from Rasmussen Reports, which surveyed 1,000 likely voters May 7-10.
The polling company asked whether the government’s military training plan is an infringement of the rights of citizens, whether the respondent favors or opposes those exercises in their state, and how concerned are they over whether Washington “will use U.S. military training operations to impose greater control over some states.”
The Return of Obama’s Hoax-Spreading Bitter Half
The real Michelle Obama is back in action.
Commencement FLOTUS is not the same first lady who shows up on “Ellen” or “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” wearing her pastel cardigan, Chuck Taylors and a megawatt grin. No, this frowny-faced Michelle Obama talks and squawks like Al Sharpton in Jimmy Choo kitten heels. At Tuskegee, FLOTUS traded her affable TV persona for the divisive social justice complainer we all came to know and loathe during her husband’s first presidential campaign.
ISIS-Inspired Attack Could Come without Warning
“If we don’t get ISIS under control, we’re going to see that kind of attack,” Michael Morrell, former acting director of the CIA, said in a USA Today interview.
View Article & 2-minute video
Americans Becoming Less Christian, Less Religious
We are in the “Days of Noah.” What do you expect?
The days where America can be classified as a “Christian nation” are rapidly coming to an end. On Tuesday, the Pew Research Center released a new survey indicating that Americans have steadily become less religious, particularly Christian, in recent years, dropping by a total eight percentage points, from 78.4 percent to 70.6 percent between 2007 and 2014.
What’s with Muslim Refugee Resettlement?
View 4-minute video
The Rise of Young Americans Who Don’t Believe in God
The rise of religious nonbelief is one of the most striking social trends in the United States. (Leonhardt, The New York Times)
Religious Freedom Panel: Terror, Violence Spreading Worldwide
by Marsha West
Christian Headlines reports:
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) this week urged the Obama administration to increase public pressure on foreign governments “perpetrating or tolerating” severe persecution of religious minorities around the world.
“Humanitarian crises fueled by waves of terror, intimidation, and violence have engulfed an alarming number of countries in the year since the release of [USCIRF’s] prior annual report last May,” the report says. “The horrors of the past year speak volumes about how and why religious freedom and the protection of the rights of vulnerable religious communities matter.”
Voters Worry Military Exercises May Lead to Federal Control Of States
by Marsha West
According to Rasmussen Reports:
Eight weeks of U.S. military exercises this summer in several southwestern states – dubbed Jade Helm 15 – have some wondering if the government is preparing for martial law. Most voters don’t oppose such exercises, but a surprising number worry about what the federal government is up to.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the U.S. military conducting training exercises in their state. Just 16% are opposed, but slightly more (19%) are undecided.
Satanic Temple Sues for ‘Religious Exemption’ to Keep Immediate Abortion in Missouri
by Marsha West
Christian News Network reports:
A nationally-recognized Satanist organization has filed suit against the state of Missouri in effort to obtain a “religious exemption” from a law requiring mothers to wait 72 hours before obtaining an abortion.
As previously reported, the New York-based Satanic Temple announced last summer that it was using the Supreme Court decision in favor of the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby to ‘bolster’ an initiative to seek an exemption from pro-life laws that its members claim to violate their religious beliefs.
Vatican to Recognize Palestinian State in New Treaty
by Berean Researcher
ROME — The Vatican said Wednesday that it had concluded a treaty to recognize Palestinian statehood, a symbolic but significant step welcomed by Palestinians but upsetting to the Israeli government. Formal recognition of a Palestinian state by the Vatican, which has deep religious interests in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories that include Christian holy sites, lends […]
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Study Finds Fewer Christians, More Unaffiliated in US
by Marsha West
According to a new Pew Research Center study, the number of Protestants and Catholics is shrinking in the U.S. Not surprisingly, the numbers are growing among non-Christian faiths, especially among Muslims and Hindus. Berean Research’s view is that the number of true Christians, as opposed to professing Christians, is substantially lower than the study indicates. Yahoo News fills us […]
According to Yahoo News:
The United States is becoming a little less Christian, and a little more unaffiliated to any faith, a major study on the nation’s changing religious landscape suggested Tuesday.
“The United States remains home to more Christians than any other country in the world,” with 70.6 percent of its population, or 173 million adults, identifying as Christian last year, the Pew Research Center said.
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Christian Headlines Daily – Wednesday, May 13, 2015
House to Vote on 20-Week Abortion Ban
Religious Freedom Panel: Terror, Violence Spreading Worldwide
Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush Speaks at Liberty Commencement
Sadie Robertson and Lecrae Give Testimonies Leading 900 Students to Accept Christ
Nancy Leigh DeMoss Announces Her Engagement
Boston Bomber Expresses Remorse to Catholic Nun
Kennedy’s Doctrine of Dignity Weighs Heavily in Marriage Debate
New Palestinian Saints Highlight Region’s Beleaguered Christians
Research Claims America is More Atheist than Ever Before
Another Earthquake Strikes Nepal, 37 Dead
Can You be a Christian without Believing in Christ?
Tom Brady and the ‘Win at All Costs’ Mentality
How Did We Come to the ‘Me First’ Culture?
Washington and Jefferson: America Needs God
Do We Have Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Worship?
Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
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?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
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 is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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