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“The Patriot Post (www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/ )”
by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
December 31, 2016
The U.S.-sponsored Israeli–Palestinian “peace process” began in December 1988, when Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat met American conditions and “accepted United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, recognized Israel’s right to exist and renounced terrorism” (actually, given Arafat’s heavily accented English, it sounded like he “renounced tourism”).
|It was huge news in December 1988 when Arafat said he renounced terrorism.|
That peace process screeched to an end in December 2016, when the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334. Khaled Abu Toameh, perhaps the best-informed analyst of Palestinian politics, interprets the resolution as telling the Palestinians: “Forget about negotiating with Israel. Just pressure the international community to force Israel to comply with the resolution and surrender up all that you demand.”
As 28 years of frustration and futility clang to a sullen close, the time is nigh to ask, “What comes next?”
I propose an Israeli victory and a Palestinian defeat. That is to say, Washington should encourage Israelis to take steps that cause Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashal, Saed Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi, and the rest of that crew to realize that the gig is up, that no matter how many U.N. resolutions are passed, their foul dream of eliminating the Jewish state is defunct, that Israel is permanent, strong, and tough. After the leadership recognizes this reality, the Palestinian population at large will follow, as will eventually other Arab and Muslim states, leading to a resolution of the conflict. Palestinians will gain by finally being released from a cult of death to focus instead on building their own policy, society, economy, and culture.
|Time for Mahmoud Abbas (L),Khaled Mashal, and the rest of that crew to realize that the gig is up – and they lost.|
While the incoming Trump administration’s Middle East policies remain obscure, President-elect Trump himself vociferously opposed Resolution 2334 and has signaled (for example, by his choice of David M. Friedman as ambassador to Israel) that he is open to a dramatically new approach to the conflict, one far more favorable to Israel than Barack Obama’s. With his life-long pursuit of winning (“We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning”), Trump would probably be drawn to an approach that has our side win and the other side lose.
Victory also suits the current mood of Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. He’s not just furious at being abandoned in the United Nations, he has an ambitious vision of Israel’s global importance. Further, his being photographed recently carrying a copy of historian John David Lewis’s Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History (Princeton University Press, 2010) signals that he is explicitly thinking in terms of victory in war; Lewis in his book looks at six case studies, concluding that in each of them “the tide of war turned when one side tasted defeat and its will to continue, rather than stiffening, collapsed.”
|Netanyahu carrying John David Lewis’s “Nothing Less than Victory.”|
Finally, the moment is right in terms of the larger trends of regional politics. That the Obama administration effectively became an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran scared Sunni Arab states, Saudi Arabia at the fore, into being far more realistic than ever before; needing Israel for the first time, the “Palestine” issue has lost some of its salience and Arab conceits about Israel as the arch enemy have been to some extent abandoned, creating an unprecedented potential flexibility.
For these four reasons — Security Council Resolution 2334, Trump, Netanyahu, and Iran — the moment is right to meet the new year and the new administration with a revamped Middle East policy, one aiming for the Palestinians to “taste defeat.”
Daniel Pipes (@DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum
Related Topics: Arab-Israel conflict & diplomacy
Barack Obama now has his legacy, and like it or not – this accurately sums up his eight years in office. He will be exiting the White House as a weak, angry and yes – “shallow brained” do-nothing destroyer of the country he was sworn to protect.
And to make matters worse for the outgoing president – historians will write that his legacy was summed up and bestowed upon BHO by none other than Vladimir Putin of Russia.
Russians Attack ‘Political Corpse’ Obama
The silent, months-long contempt expressed by the Russian political class toward the departing White House Administration was suddenly interrupted on Thursday by U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of a new set of anti-Russian sanctions.
In Russian media, in the political class and among government officials, the reaction in Moscow was fierce, vocal and pugnacious.
Obama’s decision to expel Russian diplomats—in addition to…
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“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.” Psalm 83:4 (KJV)
There has never been a nation known as Palestine ever in the history of the world. Nations have governments, armies, currencies, laws and everything else. Palestine is the mythical “ghost nation” created by modern-day Muslims in an attempt to try and undo and destroy the legitimate Jewish state of Israel that has existed for the last 3,500 years.
Though the definite origins of the word “Palestine” have been debated for years and are still not known for sure, the name is believed to be derived from the Egyptian and Hebrew word peleshet. Roughly translated to mean “rolling” or “migratory,” the term was used to describe the inhabitants of the land to the northeast of Egypt – the Philistines. The Philistines were an Aegean people – more closely related to the Greeks and with no connection ethnically, linguistically or historically with Arabia – who conquered in the 12th Century BC the Mediterranean coastal plain that is now Israel and Gaza.
A derivative of the name ‘Palestine’ first appears in Greek literature in the 5th Century BC when the historian Herodotus called the area “Palaistinē” (Greek – Παλαιστίνη). In the 2nd century C, the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 AD), during which Jerusalem and Judea were regained and the area of Judea was renamed Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel.
Under the Ottoman Empire (1517-1917), the term Palestine was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria; it was not an official designation. In fact, many Ottomans and Arabs who lived in Palestine during this time period referred to the area as “Southern Syria” and not as “Palestine.”
After World War I, the name ‘Palestine’ was applied to the territory that was placed under British Mandate; this area included not only present-day Israel but also present-day Jordan.
Leading up to Israel’s independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate as Palestinians. It was not until years after Israeli independence that the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were called Palestinians.
The word Palestine or Filastin does not appear in the Koran. The term peleshet appears in the Jewish Tanakh no fewer than 250 times.
When Barack Obama was running for office, he promised to deliver a high degree of integrity and transparency. His teleprompter told him that he was going to be free of corruption and lawlessness, and he dutifully read those words out to his adoring fans. But after 8 years of Obama rule, does reality match his self-congratulating rhetoric?
Consider this article from the Daily Wire.
It lists 11 scandals that occurred during Obama reign of error:
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He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” The One who sits on the throne is the same One “from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (20:11). As noted in chapter 17 of this volume, the present universe will be uncreated. The new heaven and the new earth will be truly a new creation, and not merely a refurbishing of the present heaven and earth. In that forever new creation, there will be no entropy, no atrophy, no decay, no decline, and no waste.
Overwhelmed by all that he had seen, John seems to have lost his concentration. Thus, God Himself, the glorious, majestic One on the throne said to him “Write, for these words are faithful and true” (cf. 1:19). The words John was commanded by God to write are as faithful and true (cf. 22:6) as the One revealing them to him (3:14; 19:11). Though the present “heaven and earth will pass away,” still God’s “words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). There will be an end to the universe, but not to the truth God reveals to His people. Whether or not men understand and believe that truth, it will come to pass.
MacArthur New Testament Commentary
5 Now, for the second time in the book, God himself is the speaker (cf. 1:8). From his throne comes the assurance that the one who created the first heaven and earth will indeed make all things new (panta kaina, GK 4246, 2785). This is a strong confirmation that God’s power will be revealed and his redemptive purposes fulfilled. Since these words are, in truth, God’s words (cf. 19:9; 22:6), it is of utmost importance that this vision of the new heaven and the new Jerusalem be proclaimed to the churches.
Expositor’s New Testament Commentary
|December 31||The Preeminence of Christ|
“[Christ] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first–born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him.”
Christ has preeminence in everything.
The apostle Paul presents four great truths in Colossians 1:18 about Christ’s relation to the church. The first is that Christ is the head of the church. This concept looks at the church as a living organism, inseparably tied together by the living Christ. He controls every part of it and gives it life and direction (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–20).
Christ is also the source of the church. The Greek word translated “beginning” (arche) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.
Another truth is that Christ is the first–born from the dead. Of all those who have been raised from the dead or ever will be, Christ is the highest in rank. Furthermore, it is Christ who will cause the resurrection of others (John 5:28–29; 6:40).
Finally, Christ is the preeminent One. As a result of His death and resurrection, Jesus has come to have first place in everything. Paul states that truth to drive home as forcefully as he can that Jesus is not merely another emanation from God.
Paul then summarizes his argument by saying that all the fullness of deity dwells in Christ alone (Col. 1:19). It is not spread out in small doses to a group of spirits, as the false teachers were saying. Rather, in Christ, and Him alone, believers are “complete” (2:10).
What should be your response to the glorious truths about Christ in Colossians 1:15–19? Be encouraged to meditate on the glory of Christ as revealed in this passage. Doing so will help you be transformed into Christ’s image and will prepare you to behold His glory in Heaven.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for each of the four truths discussed above.
For Further Study: According to John 1:16, what have you received?
Desires Balanced by Needs
Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.
One mark of a spiritual man is that his own desires are balanced by the needs of others. That’s the kind of man who could write, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:3–4, nasb).
The Philippian church needed Paul, as did many other churches. Paul knew they needed him badly enough that their need was likely to determine his future, which he expressed in today’s verse.
Although Paul desired to be with Christ in heaven, he also wanted to remain on earth to help strengthen the church. He knew that if he stayed the church would better glorify Christ, and glorifying Christ was all he desired.
As you contemplate a new year, what is Christ asking you to commit your life to? I hope it’s a desire to meet the needs of others with a humble heart.
OUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We must meet the present emergency with a spirit of optimism. This is no time for repining, no time for looking backward, no time for self-pity or defeated complaining. We are on the winning side and we cannot lose. “I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20) makes ultimate defeat impossible.
Surely the days are evil and the times are waxing late, but the true Christian is not caught unawares. He has been forewarned of just such times as these and has been expecting them. Present events only confirm the long-range wisdom of Jesus Christ and prove the authenticity of the prophetic Word. So the believer actually turns defeat into victory and draws strength from the knowledge that the Lord in whom he trusts has foretold events and is in full command of the situation….
Surely this is not the time for pale faces and trembling knees among the sons of the new creation. The darker the night the brighter faith shines and the sooner comes the morning. Look up and lift up your heads; our redemption draws near. OGM161, 163
We impatiently await Your coming, Lord, and we seek to be prepared for that glorious day. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. 
The Parable of the Householder
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”—Matt. 13:51–52
Jesus’ twelve disciples would eventually become His twelve apostles (Matthias replacing Judas, Acts 1:23). Through these men, and later Paul, our Lord entrusted the continued revelation of His Word and the extension of His church. Like “head[s] of a household,” which was analogous to being disciples in Christ’s kingdom, they drew from the old treasures of previous revelation and received additional, new truths. And these faithful men would proclaim both.
“Brings out” conveys the concept of scattering or distributing widely. Here it also connotes generosity—giving out God’s truth of the gospel wisely and liberally. Second only to their Lord, the apostles would be supreme scholars of Scripture, preachers, and teachers—scribes and disciples without equal (cf. Matt. 11:11) and superb evangelists.
With a slightly lesser degree of authority, the Lord’s charge to His apostles applies to every Christian (Matt. 28:16–20), and especially to those pastors, teachers, and missionaries He has called to spread His Word. It is a tremendous responsibility to warn the lost about hell and to offer them salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. Paul stated it this way, “Knowing the fear [terror] of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11). The believer’s heart is cold indeed that is not profoundly concerned about those all around who are without Christ and headed for hell. Pray that you would genuinely warm to the task of reaching the lost in your community and beyond with saving gospel treasure.
|The end of a year and the dawn of a new is always a time of reflection and renewed hope. What have you gleaned from walking with Jesus through these past months and seasons? What are your priorities for the coming year? May the Lord bless you as you follow Him there.|
THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
I hope that if I am remembered at all, it will be for this reason: I have spent my efforts and my energies trying to turn the direction of the people away from the external elements of religion to those that are internal and spiritual.
I have tried to take away some of the clouds in the hope that men and women would be able to view God in His glory. I would like to see this sense of glory recaptured throughout the church—too many Christians do not expect to experience any of the glory until they see Him face-to-face!
Within our Christian fellowship and worship, we must recapture the Bible concepts of the perfection of our God Most High! We have lost the sense and the wonder of His awe-fullness, His perfection, His beauty.
Oh, I feel that we should preach it, sing it, write about it, talk about it and tell it until we have recaptured the concept of the Majesty of God!
Only that can be beautiful ultimately which is holy—and we who belong to Jesus Christ should know the true delight of worshiping God in the beauty of His holiness!
Dear Lord, on the last day of this year, I pray for Your Church in the coming New Year, that it will be biblically faithful, Christ-centered and proactive in its fight against the forces of evil. May the name of the Lord Jesus Christ be praised in every nation!
|December 31||Our Sympathetic High Priest|
“Assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:16–18).
Jesus came to sympathize with us, so He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest.
In his letters to Timothy, Paul counseled and encouraged his young associate about many things—his health, his critics, his moral and spiritual warfare, and so on. His counsel is well summed up in these words: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David” (2 Tim. 2:8).
Like Timothy, we need to be reminded of Christ’s humanity, especially when life becomes particularly tough. Then we can pray, “Lord, You know what You endured while You were here. I’m going through it now.” We can be sure that He knows and will encourage us.
Jesus came not only to save us but also to sympathize with us. He experienced what we experience, so He could be a “merciful and faithful high priest.” After all, “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Jesus felt everything we will ever feel—and more. Most of us will never know the full degree of any given temptation because we usually succumb long before we reach it. But since Jesus never sinned, He took the full measure of every temptation.
Ours is not a cosmic God who is powerful and holy but indifferent. He knows when we hurt, where we are weak, and how we are tempted. Jesus is not only our Savior, but our loving Lord who sympathizes with us. Rejoice in the greatness of His love for us.
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to remind you of your need of Him at all times, not just when times are tough.
For Future Study: Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 for quick recall whenever you are faced with any trial.
A DAILY PRAYER: EVEN SO COME, LORD JESUS
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, LORD Jesus.
The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world!
Fellow Christian, consider the source of our joy and delight: redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, our yesterdays behind us, our sin under the blood forever and a day, to be remembered against us no more forever! God is our Father, Christ is our Brother, the Holy Ghost our Advocate and Comforter!
Our Brother has gone to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us, leaving with us the promise that He will come again!
Don’t send Moses, Lord, don’t send Moses! He broke the tablets of stone.
Don’t send Elijah for me, Lord! I am afraid of Elijah—he called down fire from heaven.
Don’t send Paul, Lord! He is so learned that I feel like a little child when I read his epistles.
O Lord Jesus, come Yourself! I am not afraid of Thee. You took the little children as lambs to Your fold. You forgave the woman taken in adultery. You healed the timid woman who reached out in the crowd to touch You. We are not afraid of You!
 MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 392). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.
 Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 374). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 378). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
Russia vowed a “proportional” response after President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and imposed sanctions on top intelligence officials and agencies over cyberattacks allegedly backed by the Kremlin and aimed at interfering with the 2016 election campaign.
Short of a miracle, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fail to meet his own 50-day deadline to restore order to the country’s economy and ease the hardship faced by ordinary citizens following the chaos of his sudden currency ban.
Hong Kong’s government has announced the first sale of commercial land in the city’s central business district in more than 20 years. The site, currently used as a multi-story car park in Murray Road, Central, is about 31,000 square feet, according to a government statement released late yesterday. The plot is valued at $2.2 billion.
The Donald J. Trump era is marking a new age for gold as an investor safe haven. While the precious metal has always been hoarded in times of trouble, a bevy of political and economic surprises in 2016 sparked a surge in buying that sent bullion to the first annual gain in four years. Prices may rally 12 percent in 2017.
The country that coined the word “karoshi,” or death by overwork, wants companies to let workers finish early on the last Friday of every month, go out and have fun.
While lower taxes, higher interest rates and lighter regulation under Trump could help boost U.S. banks’ earnings by a median 22 percent in 2018, firms will keep chipping away at costs by using technology to replace traders and branches, analysts at Morgan Stanley said this month.
A nationwide Syrian cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey that went into effect at midnight was holding Friday despite minor violations, marking a potential breakthrough in a conflict that has been shredding high-level peace initiatives for over five years.
AP Top Stories
Russian President Vladimir Putin today said he will not expel 35 U.S. diplomats, rejecting his own foreign minister’s recommendation to do so in response to U.S. sanctions.
President-elect Donald Trump is considering creating a “public/private option” for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. Coast Guard crews searched Lake Erie on Friday for a plane that disappeared overnight shortly after takeoff from a small Cleveland airport along the shore. The Columbus-bound Cessna Citation 525 departed Burke Lakefront Airport late Thursday night with three children and three adults aboard and vanished from radar about 2 miles over the lake. Why remains unclear.
The world’s oldest male panda, Pan Pan — whose name means “hope” in Chinese, with more than 130 descendants — a quarter of all the captive-bred pandas on the planet — has died aged 31.
The Rio casino in Las Vegas scrambled to find alternate lodging for guests Thursday after a power outage led to the evacuation of 900 rooms just before the busy New Year’s Eve weekend.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has killed hundreds of government officials since taking office five years ago, Korean media reported Thursday. In all, he has killed 340 North Koreans while defending his control over the reclusive nation by threatening to attack Seoul and Washington with a fledging arsenal of nuclear weapons. His victims vary from high-ranking officials to members of his own family.
A key military commander for the Islamic State group in Syria has been killed in an air strike carried out by the US-led coalition, the Pentagon said Thursday.
If you’re looking for an extra dose of fireworks this New Year’s Even, look to the skies for the chance to see a comet that only comes around every five years. The comet – named Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková – is set to appear somewhere near the crescent moon on Dec. 31. It won’t be visible to the naked eye, however. Interested sky watchers will need a set of binoculars or a small telescope to really be able to see the comet in clear skies.
Australian anti-terror police have charged a man for making threats against Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Lab tests on a consignment of rice seized by Nigerian customs officials show that the product is “contaminated” but not plastic, the National Agency For Food and Drugs (Nafdac) said. The rice contained bacteria “above permissible limits”.
Eleven Nobel peace prize winners have urged the UN to “end the human crisis” of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims in a letter criticizing Aung San Suu Kyi. In the open letter, the group said the government crackdown on the population amounted to “ethnic cleansing”. More than 34,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee military operations in Rakhine state.
President Obama has unilaterally designated two new “national monument” nature preserves in the western US states of Nevada and Utah. The Bears Ears National Monument and the Gold Butte National Monument will protect areas rich in Native American artefacts from energy drilling. Some Republicans in those states are opposed to the move and say it amounts to a federal land-grab.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has again extended the deadline for 2 January but will now be on 20 January, to withdraw from circulation the country’s most common currency note.
A stunning video has been discovered showing mostly Christian children in the Netherlands being taken to a local mosque and taught to participate in Islamic prayer. The London Express reported infuriated parents are demanding the school change the curriculum.
It is now projected Obama will have spent more than $100 million in taxpayer funds on vacations during his eight years as president.
Multi-billionaire Warren Buffett made on average $32.2m every day in the year that populism triumphed in global politics.
Christians, Jews Vow to Stand Together at Trump’s Inauguration
In the wake of deteriorating relations between Israel and the US culminating in the disastrous UN vote last Friday, Tommy Waller, a Christian from Tennessee, is bringing a delegation of Israeli Knesset members to Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th.
Coast Guard search launched after plane vanishes in Ohio
The Columbus-bound Cessna Citation 525 departed Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland late Thursday night and disappeared from radar about two miles over Lake Erie. Why remains unclear. The group on the plane apparently had just left the Cleveland Cavaliers game,
Canadian MP: As PM, I will move Canadian embassy to Jerusalem
Candidate for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada Kellie Leitch vowed to move the Canadian Embassy to Jerusalem if elected PM.
Syrian blood isn’t red enough for Obama
Ezri Tubi points out the hypocrisy in the American administration’s fixation on Israel while ignoring carnage in Syria. (video)
Britain, edging towards Trump, scolds Kerry over Israel
Britain scolded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for describing the Israeli government as the most right-wing in Israeli history, a move that aligns Prime Minister Theresa May more closely with President-elect Donald Trump. Kerry’s public rebuke of Israel has unsettled some allies such as Britain.
HERE COMES THE SOLAR WIND (AGAIN)
2016 might get one more blast of auroras before the year is over. Another stream of solar wind is heading for Earth, and it could arrive before New Year’s Eve. The wind is flowing from a coronal hole (CH) in the sun’s atmosphere…
Barack Obama has turned his back on America’s staunchest allies, writes STEPHEN POLLARD
THERE could be no more fitting ending to Barack Obama’s disastrous presidency than the two set-piece foreign policy events that took place in the US on Wednesday.In their own ways each demonstrated just why the day cannot come too soon when this most overrated and inept president disappears from public office.
Russia to eject US diplomats in response to sanctions
Russia on Friday announced plans to expel 35 US diplomats and ban US diplomatic staff from using a dacha and a warehouse in Moscow in retaliation to Washington’s sanctions, Russian news agencies reported. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by the agencies as saying he had proposed the measures to President Vladimir Putin.
Earthquakes, bushfires, floods and thunderstorm asthma wreaking havoc in 2016
Earthquakes, bush fires, floods and, in Australia, previously little-known thunderstorm asthma were among the natural disasters that made headlines around the world in 2016. It seemed like a year of earthquakes.
RING OF FIRE FEARS: Indonesia struck by HUGE earthquake – villagers flee their homes
AN earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 struck today off the island of Sumbawa in eastern Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. There was no tsunami warning issued.
Over 6,500 earthquakes rocked Japan in 2016
The number of noticeable earthquakes that struck Japan in 2016 exceeded 6,500, three times more than in the previous year, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Friday.
Netanyahu responds to UN by tweeting this video clip of Trump
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t thrilled with the United Nations’ 14-0 vote…which bars the Jewish state from establishing settlements in Palestine-claimed lands — and he made that clear with a tweet Thursday afternoon. In the tweet, the Israeli prime minister shared a short reel of clips featuring President-elect Donald Trump criticizing the U.N., adding: “I could not have said it better myself.”
Look to the sky for New Year’s Eve comet
Apart from the traditional fireworks and illuminated ball in Times Square, look for a blazing comet to light the night sky on New Year’s Eve. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said a comet may be visible as people welcome in 2017 on Saturday. “Say farewell to 2016 in cosmic style by looking up to see the #NewYearsEve #comet on December 31,” the laboratory said in a Wednesday Instagram post.
Bears Ears and Gold Butte: Obama creates two nature preserves
President Barack Obama has unilaterally designated two new “national monument” nature preserves in the western US states of Nevada and Utah. The Bears Ears National Monument and the Gold Butte National Monument will protect areas rich in Native American artefacts from energy drilling. Some Republicans in those states are opposed to the move and say it amounts to a federal land-grab.
Venezuela: President Maduro extends money swap deadline
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has again extended the deadline to withdraw from circulation the country’s most common currency note. The deadline had been set for 2 January but will now be on 20 January. Mr Maduro said he did not want Venezuelans to worry about exchanging the currency near the New Year festivities.
In strong attack on Israel, German foreign minister says settlements jeopardize peace
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a staunch proponent of the Iran nuclear deal, has slammed Israel in a series of tweets and statements since last Friday’s Security Council resolution condemning Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. In a statement issued to Germany’s largest circulation daily…the Foreign Ministry claimed that “a democratic Israel is only achievable through a two-state-solution.”
Russia moves to expel US diplomats in response to sanctions
The Russian foreign ministry has called for the expulsion of 35 US diplomats in response to a similar move by Washington. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev accused the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama of ending in “anti-Russian death throes”.
With the two-state solution a distant dream, Palestinians ask if it’s time to push for a one-state solution
Palestinians see prospects for the so-called two-state solution disintegrating, a growing number are mulling over a provocative alternative: a single binational state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.
Israeli TV Reports Netanyahu Probe Expected Within Days
An Israeli TV channel reported Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of receiving valuable gifts from two businessmen. The Channel 2 segment was the latest in a series of reports in Israeli media saying that police are close to opening a criminal investigation against the prime minister.
Russian Embassy in UK responds to sanctions with ‘lame duck tweet’
The Russian response to Barack Obama’s announcement that he was expelling 35 diplomats over the alleged cyber attack on the US election, was fast, and in some cases, rather amusing.
Modi Set to Face Fallout From His 50-Day Cash Promise to India
Short of a miracle, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi will fail to meet his own 50-day deadline to restore order to the country’s economy and ease the hardship faced by ordinary citizens following the chaos of his sudden currency ban.
Obama’s Treachery Exposed
After watching all the pomp and circumstance of the presidential inauguration of January 20, 2009, I remember turning to my husband Steve and saying: “The sole mission of Barack Obama and his henchmen is to destroy Israel.”
And sure enough, Mr. Obama and his minions proceeded to wreak havoc on job creation and on the American military, inflict strangulating regulations, amass crushing national debt, foist horrific healthcare and education systems on our citizens, and seed every government department with operatives from the Nazi-inspired terrorist organization Muslim Brotherhood, and then hand over control of the Internet to the United Nations—the most corrupt, tin-pot-dictator-driven, anti-American, anti-Semitic, American-resource-draining cesspool in our country.
NEWSMAX — One day after “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher died, her mother Debbie Reynolds has died of a reported stroke. Reynolds, the star of the 1952 classic “Singin’ in the Rain,” was rushed to the hospital Wednesday from a Beverly Hills home owned by her son Todd Fisher. According to TMZ, the 84-year-old actress later died. The website reports that Reynolds told her son 15 minutes before she had a stroke that she was having a hard time dealing with Carrie’s death…. (more)
INDEPENDENT — The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has uncovered evidence that US-led coalition forces have helped support terrorists in Syria – – including ISIS…. (more)
WORLDNETDAILY — Barack Obama couldn’t help himself. He had to say it. In a friendly interview with his former top adviser, David Axelrod, the outgoing president tweaked Donald Trump by saying, had he run again, he would have beaten the president-elect…. (more)
THOMAS SOWELL — Any honest man, looking back on a very long life, must admit – – even if only to himself – – being a relic of a bygone era. Having lived long enough to have seen both “the greatest generation” that fought World War II and the gratingest generation that we see all around us today makes being a relic of the past more of a boast than an admission…. (more)
NEWSMAX — In boasting about his tenure in the White House, President Barack Obama often cites numbers like these: 15 million new jobs, a 4.9 percent unemployment rate and 74 months of consecutive job growth. There’s one number you will almost never hear: More than 1,030 seats. That’s the number of spots in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress lost by Democrats during Obama’s presidency…. (more)
WASHINGTON TIMES — Russia’s penitentiary system has come under scrutiny after a Kremlin critic said he was tortured at a prison camp and forced to shout, “Putin is our president!” Ildar Dadin, 34, made the claims in letters that his attorney and his wife in November smuggled out of the prison camp in Karelia, a remote region in northwestern Russia. He also said he was severely beaten on numerous occasions, hung up by his cuffed hands and threatened with rape…. (more)
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
The Gospel In A Nutshell
Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.
Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl
This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.
What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.
So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?
Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:
Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.
Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.
The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!
When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.
It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.
Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”
But . . .
The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!
When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!
But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”
What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.
To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.
Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!
The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:
1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension
Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:
1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.
2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.
3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.
4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).
5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.
That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.
That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.
Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).
And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.
And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.
And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).
Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?
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
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
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
Notice all the Scripture references!
It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).
The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).
In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).
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Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen, who often reports on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has some troubling news for Southern Baptists. In this must-read-to-the-end post, he charges the SBC with not caring what its “pew-sitters are being taught so long as what they’re being taught retains them as pew-sitters.” What most people don’t realize is that the SBC has had a million member loss in the last decade. So SBC’s leadership is desperate to retain its members and bring the sheep who have wandered off back into the fold. Ahlheim informs us of some of the ways they’re going about accomplishing this task, which includes introducing New Apostolic Reformation teaching to its members. This is a terrible idea for the reason that the NAR movement has its roots in the Latter Rain cult and it is steeped in mysticism.
Ahlheim begins with a quote by Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen: