Daily Archives: December 23, 2016

December 23, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Dec. 23, 2016 |

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President-elect Donald Trump made a call for the United States to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” in a tweet on Thursday.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is increasingly isolated as her demands to control all areas of policy alienate key colleagues, according to more than a dozen officials who worry tensions will undermine planning for Brexit.

Italian police killed the man suspected of carrying out this week’s Berlin terrorist attack near a Milan area train station early Friday, Interior Minister Marco Minniti said at a press conference.

Islamic State released a video showing two Turkish soldiers chained and then burned to death by Turkish-speaking jihadists, prompting Turkey’s government to block access to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, partnered this year with a controversial technology company co-run by a man once convicted of trying to sell stolen biotech material to the Russian KGB espionage agency.

Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, says the hijacking of a Libyan plane is over after the hijackers gave themselves up. In a series of tweets, he said the hijackers left the airplane along with its final crew members after earlier freeing all the passengers from a flight that was diverted to his country.

President Xi Jinping isn’t wedded to China’s 6.5 percent economic growth objective due to concerns about rising debt and an uncertain global environment after Donald Trump’s election win in the U.S., according to a person familiar with the situation.

President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. should increase its nuclear arsenal, an apparent reversal of a decades-long reduction of the nation’s atomic weaponry that came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated calls for his country’s arsenal to be reinforced.

AP Top Stories

The same Russian intelligence hackers who attacked the Democratic National Committee and stole thousands of internal emails used computer malware to penetrate the Android cellphone of a Ukrainian military officer, enabling the Russian military to target and destroy Ukrainian artillery forces in that country, according to a new report released Thursday by a top cybersecurity firm.

A one-kilometer-long stretch of road surfaced in solar panels has opened in the village of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France on Thursday-and officials believe it could harvest enough power to turn on all of the town’s street lights, reports said.

Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte called a top U.N. official an “idiot” and “joker” on Thursday for urging that murder investigations be launched against the president after he admitted personally killing people.

Pope Francis on Thursday told Vatican officials to start appointing women and lay people to top jobs in the Curia, the Holy See bureaucracy that he is seeking to shake-up.

Ukrainian artillery forces and the Democratic National Committee have something surprising in common: They were targeted by the same Russian code and spied upon by the same military intelligence unit.

Mortar fire and car bombs killed more than 30 people including aid workers near Mosul Thursday as Iraqi forces battled to seize the city from the Islamic State group. A triple car bombing on a market killed at least 23 people in Gogjali, a few miles east of Mosul, the army said.

Nigerian troops have rescued 1,880 civilians from a Boko Haram redoubt in the restive northeast in the past week and arrested hundreds of insurgents, a military commander said on Wednesday.

BBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia is “stronger than any potential aggressor” because it has modernized its nuclear missiles and other forces.

Germany’s Deutsche Bank says it has agreed a $7.2bn payment to US authorities over an investigation into mortgage-backed securities. The sum, which needs final approval, is far lower than the $14bn the US had asked the bank to pay in September.

A highly effective vaccine that guards against the deadly Ebola virus could be available by 2018, says the World Health Organization.

Australian police have foiled a major terror attack in Melbourne on Christmas Day, officials said.

Don’t forget to wipe before you swipe the next time you are at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Toilets at the airport have been equipped with “toilet paper” that you can use to disinfect your smartphone.

Italy’s cabinet has approved a state-bailout for the country’s third-largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said his government had authorized a $21bn fund to support Italy’s embattled banking sector.

Egypt has delayed a UN vote on a text condemning Israeli settlements in occupied territory after Israel asked Donald Trump to intervene.

WND

The Obama administration has decided to terminate a post-9/11 program that requires a registry of immigrant men from “predominantly Muslim countries.” Notably, the program has not been used since 2011. The reason for jettisoning the program: a top Trump advisor has intimated the program may restart under the president-elect.

NEC Corporation, a Japan-based multinational, is trialing a technology which will enable you to pay bills at retailers, restaurant and everywhere else your card usually works using facial recognition – not needing you to swipe cards.

In his annual Christmas message, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted the common bonds that Jews and Christians share, as well as the thriving Christian community in Israel.


December 22, 2016
BRYAN FISCHER — All the hysterical bloviating and bleating we hear from the ACLU this time of year about whether school choirs can sing “Silent Night” is just gas, sound and fury, but signifying nothing. The bigots and bullies of secular fundamentalism will yammer on about the separation of church and state, and the horrors of recognizing Christmas in public settings, as if democracy itself will fall if anybody so much as mentions the name of the Prince of Peace let alone sings a song or two in his honor…. (more)

December 22, 2016

LARRY KLAYMAN — Watch a Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s message from Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch here(more)


December 22, 2016

CLIFF KINCAID — It is refreshing to see President-elect Trump on his “Thank You” tour speaking from a podium that proclaims “Merry Christmas.” The Trump victory was a revolt against Cultural Marxism, also known as political correctness. In that world, Merry Christmas is watered down into “Happy Holidays.”… (more)


December 22, 2016

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — It’s really kind of remarkable that many of Donald Trump’s critics in media appear to have learned nothing from his shock victory. You would think that those whose warnings on the Republican businessman appear to have gone largely ignored by the electorate would pause to reconsider how best to keep the incoming president in check. The election-year strategy of protesting Trump by yelling loudly, chanting sanctimonious pabulum (“This is not normal!”) and showering the Republican candidate and his supporters with mockery and insults obviously proved ineffective…. (more)


December 22, 2016

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A growing number of Democrats are interested in changing or even completely eliminating the Electoral College, after President-elect Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, but won a majority of the electoral votes that were up for grabs…. (more)


December 22, 2016
JACK CASHILL — If there were ever a useful case study for the effect of fake news on real events, it was the media-spawned birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement congealed around two fatal incidents: the first, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012; the second, the shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014…. (more)

December 22, 2016
BOB UNRUH — The “gay”-advocating media has erupted over the prospect that Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was removed from the bench based on a complaint from the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center which, opposes his support for traditional marriage, is being considered to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who has been nominated to be U.S. attorney general…. (more)

December 22, 2016

THE HILL — Congressional Republicans are considering holding off on repealing some of ObamaCare’s taxes, according to lobbyists familiar with the discussions. GOP lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee discussed the possibility of keeping some of the taxes in place during a retreat last week at the Library of Congress, the sources say…. (more)


December 22, 2016
NEWSMAX — President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday named billionaire investor Carl Icahn a special adviser for regulatory reform – – a post for which he would not be paid nor would be required to give up any business dealings…. (more)

December 22, 2016
GREG COROMBOS — President Obama is taking multiple actions that could hamstring President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to unleash domestic energy production, which is a major component of the Trump economic agenda. On Tuesday, Obama banned offshore energy exploration in massive portions of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans…. (more)

December 22, 2016
NEWSMAX — Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, blasted the Obama administration for going “to the very end with their failed worldview and their failed ideology” – – predicting President Barack Obama will go down as “one of the worst” in U.S. history…. (more)

December 22, 2016

LEO HOHMANN — What appears from the outside to be a bungling of basic law-enforcement operations in Germany – – allowing a known illegal alien with a criminal and terrorist past to move about freely in German society for more than a year – – may not be a bungling at all…. (more)


December 22, 2016
NEWSMAX — Missing from President Barack Obama’s list of people he pardoned earlier this week was accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl was accused of desertion after he allegedly walked away from his platoon in the middle of Afghanistan in 2009. He was eventually captured by the Taliban and spent nearly five years in captivity before he was released through a prisoner transfer ordered by Obama in 2014…. (more)

December 22, 2016
BILL FEDERER — The Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the U.S. during World War II. It involved 610,000 Americans, 55,000 British, 72,000 Free French along Europe’s Western Front for nearly 40 days. There were 89,000 American casualties and over 100,000 German casualties…. (more)

December 21, 2016

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The North Carolina Senate failed to pass a bill Wednesday night that would have repealed House Bill 2, the controversial “bathroom bill” that thrust the issue of transgender rights into the national spotlight. House lawmakers had called a special session to rescind the Republican-sponsored legislation before heading out for rest of the year…. (more)


December 21, 2016
NEWSMAX — Nearly 40 percent of millennials were living with their parents, siblings or relatives in 2015 – – a 75-year high, according to a data analysis by the real estate sales tracker Trulia. While the economy has been stronger, 39.5 percent of those between 18 and 34 were living with parents or others that year, The Wall Street Journal reported…. (more)

December 21, 2016
JOSEPH FARAH — Remember when Hillary Clinton assured America she would accept the outcome of the 2016 election no matter what? I do. That promise, which she made only because Donald Trump wouldn’t, was one that unequivocally meant she would not call for any recounts, that she would not call on surrogates and supporters (like Barack Obama) to make reckless allegations that Russian cyber attacks played a role in the outcome and she would not be a party to denigrating the integrity and sanctity of the election process…. (more)

December 21, 2016
BOB UNRUH — A Texas court is expected to make a decision before New Year’s Day on one of President Obama’s newest transgender mandates, which would require doctors to provide transgender treatment for kids who desire it…. (more)

December 21, 2016

WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — A new congressional investigation has determined that the Obama administration fired a top scientist and intimidated staff at the Department of Energy in order to further its climate change agenda, according to a new report that alleges the administration ordered top officials to obstruct Congress in order to forward this agenda…. (more)


December 21, 2016

NEWSMAX — President Barack Obama banned new offshore oil and gas development in more than 100 million acres of the U.S. Arctic and undersea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, an announcement certain to provoke a fight with the Republican-led Congress and his successor in the White House…. (more)


December 21, 2016
NEWSMAX — All 245,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery will be adorned with a wreath this year thanks to generous donors including Boy and Girl Scout troops, sports teams, and a 4-H club…. (more)

December 21, 2016
NEWSMAX — The Islamic State claimed responsibility Tuesday for the Berlin attack Monday that killed 12 people and injured 50 others when a truck plowed through a Christmas market…. (more)

December 21, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — North Carolina Republicans have a deal for the city of Charlotte: We’ll pull our bathroom law if you pull yours. Lawmakers are prepared to repeal HB2, the legislation regulating intimate public facilities on the basis of biological sex, after the Charlotte City Council on Monday got rid of its ordinance requiring that access to restrooms and locker rooms be determined based on a person’s gender identity…. (more)

December 21, 2016
NEWSMAX — Liberal billionaire George Soros spent nearly $11 million to help 12 candidates running in local district attorney races during the 2016 election cycle, demonstrating a tactic to put Democrats in office up and down the ballot…. (more)

December 20, 2016
Hamilton argued for ‘consumption-based’ system
ALAN KEYES — Imposts, excises, and, in general, all duties upon articles of consumption, may be compared to a fluid, which will, in time, find its level with the means of paying them. The amount contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be relegated by an attention to his resources. The rich may be extravagant, the poor can be frugal; and private oppression may always be avoided by a judicious selection of objects proper for such impositions……. (more)

Top News – 12/23/2016

Trump Saves the Day on Obama-Backed Anti-Settlements UNSC Resolution
President-Elect Donald Trump engaged in his first act as leader of the free world on Thursday, when his tweet stopped the game clock on an Egyptian anti-settlements UN Security Council resolution.

Molten iron river discovered speeding beneath Russia and Canada
This stream of liquid has been discovered for the first time by telltale magnetic field readings 3000 kilometres below North America and Russia taken from space. The vast jet stream some 420 kilometres wide has trebled in speed since 2000, and is now circulating westwards at between 40 and 45 kilometres per year deep under Siberia and heading towards beneath Europe.

Superstar reporter warns ‘fake news’ panic is censorship trap
Sharyl Attkisson spotted the fake news trend long before it became a recent catchphrase. And she doesn’t portray it, as do many in the mainstream media, as some right-wing conspiracy. In fact, Attkisson told WND she often sees the mainstream media as prime culprits when they push suspect stories.

ISIS burns 2 Turkish servicemen alive, releases gruesome video
Islamic State terrorists have released a video which purportedly shows two captured Turkish soldiers being burned alive in Aleppo province, Syria. Jihadists said it was a revenge for Ankara’s involvement in a “war against Muslims”.

Report: Israel asked Trump to intervene to avert UN vote on settlements
Fearing that outgoing President Obama intended to abstain on a UN Security Council vote to end Israeli settlements, Israel reached out to Trump to enter the fray and exert pressure, bringing about a delay on the vote.

You know who did it’ – Putin hints at WESTERN hand in ambassador assassination
“But maybe – and it is highly likely – that representatives of foreign NATO secret services are behind it.”

The Seeds of Messiah Planted in the Ruins of Amona
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, told Breaking Israel News that, as Rabbi Eliyahu explained, suffering always precedes great achievements for Israel.

Storm Barbara LIVE: Latest path updates, maps, charts and weather warnings
FIVE weather warnings are now in place for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with the Christmas 2016 weather forecast threatening more violent storms for Britain. Storm Barbara will bring winds of more than 90mph and 20ft waves to western Scotland, with Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales also at severe risk.

UN to Vote on Draft Resolution, Demands Israel “Immediately Cease All Settlement Activities” Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/8
““Here in Israel we are at the forefront of the battle between radical Islamic terror and freedom […] we are out there fighting for you, for the free world. Whoever today supports a resolution against Israel is in effect raising his hand for the forces of evil.”

Russia, Syria Turn The Tide In Syrian Civil War
The last civilians and rebel fighters left the city of Aleppo Thursday, giving the Assad regime complete and total control of the city for the first time in four years.

FLASHBACK: Newcasters Ridiculed Idea Miss. Church Burning Wasn’t A Hate Crime
The arrest of a black suspect in the burning of a black Mississippi church has left egg on the faces of the The Young Turks, which last month ridiculed the possibility the attack wasn’t a hate crime.

Putin to Democratic Party: You lost, get over it
“Democrats are losing on every front and looking for people to blame everywhere,” Putin said in answer to a Russian TV host, one of 1,400 journalists accredited to the marathon session. “They need to learn to lose with dignity.”

Trump tweets about nuclear weapons, raising questions and fears
President-elect Donald Trump called for an expansion of the United States’ nuclear capabilities on Thursday, in a tweet that alarmed nonproliferation experts who said that a boost to the U.S. arsenal could fuel global tensions. In his Twitter post, Trump said, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” but gave no further details.

ISIS Puts Out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches
The Islamic State published the names and addresses of thousands of churches in the United States and called on its adherents to attack them during the holiday season…posted…in the group’s “Secrets of Jihadis” social media group. A…message…announced the group’s plans to utilize its network of lone wolf attackers to “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie.”

Egypt delays UN motion on Israel as Trump intervenes
Egypt has delayed a UN vote on a text condemning Israeli settlements in occupied territory after Israel asked Donald Trump to intervene. Israel contacted the US president-elect’s transition team after learning that the Obama administration might abstain in a Security Council vote. The move would have allowed the motion to pass, a US official told the BBC.

Melbourne Christmas Day ‘terror attack’ foiled, say Australia police
Australian police have foiled a major terror attack in Melbourne on Christmas Day, officials say. Three men detained in early morning raids on Friday are facing terror charges. Three other people were held but later released. The plot involved the use of explosives and other weapons, police say.

Successful Ebola vaccine will be fast-tracked for use
A highly effective vaccine that guards against the deadly Ebola virus could be available by 2018, says the World Health Organization. Trials conducted in Guinea, one of the West African countries most affected by an outbreak of Ebola that ended this year, show it offers 100% protection. The vaccine is now being fast-tracked for regulatory approval.

Man wanted for Berlin Christmas market terror attack shot dead in Milan
The suspect in the Berlin Christmas market truck attack was killed in a shoot-out in a suburb of the northern Italian city of Milan on Friday, Italy’s interior minister said. Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian national, was wanted for the death of 12 and injury of over 50 when he crashed his truck into the winter festival in the German capital.

With iron will and key allies, Syria’s Assad defies expectations
Written off by the West, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has defied all expectations of his downfall, thanks to his iron will but also his crucial alliances with Russia and Iran. Syria’s army declared Thursday it has recaptured all of Aleppo, allowing the 51-year-old president to deal a potentially knock-out blow to the opposition forces that rose up against him in 2011.

Metro working with Trump inaugural committee to design SmarTrip covers
A day after Metro started selling special inauguration-themed SmarTrip cards that don’t feature President-elect Donald Trump, the transit agency confirmed it’s designing special sleeves for the fare cards that will feature the incoming president.

Gene drive’ moratorium shot down at UN biodiversity meeting
World governments at a United Nations biodiversity meeting this week rejected calls for a global moratorium on gene drives, a technology that can rapidly spread modified genes through populations and could be used to engineer entire species.

What India Has Done To Its Money Is Sickening And Immoral
IN NOVEMBER India’s government perpetrated an unprecedented act that is not only damaging its economy and threatening destitution to countless millions of its already poor citizens but also breathtaking in its immorality. Without any warning India abruptly scrapped 85% of its currency. That’s right: Most of the country’s cash ceased to be legal tender. Shocked citizens were given only a few weeks’ notice to take their cash and turn it in at a bank for new bills.

Katie Couric to Guest Host ‘Today Show’ Despite Deceptive Editing Controversy
NBC News will install Katie Couric as a guest co-host on the “Today Show” beginning in January despite controversy surrounding deceptive editing in her recent gun documentary, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Muslim students demand prayer rooms in every ‘major building’
Students at the University of Maryland have released a list of 64 demands in their effort make the campus more amenable to “marginalized student populations.” The project, known as ProtectUMD, is a collaborative effort between 25 student organizations at the University of Maryland, including Students for Justice in Palestine, Bisexuals at Maryland, and the Black Student Union.


Top Headlines – 12/23/2016

  • Berlin market attack suspect killed in Italy (Read More)
  • Tunisian Suspect Had a History of Criminal Activity, Extremism (Read More)
  • Hijacked Libyan plane lands in Malta with 118 on board (Read More)
  • Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse Settle U.S. Probes as Barclays Sued (Read More)
  • Italy Sets Up Fund to Help Troubled Banks (Read More)
  • Europe Stocks Halt Drop as Italian Aid Lifts Bonds: Markets Wrap (Read More)
  • Dollar inches lower into Christmas lull (Read More)
  • Syrian rebels shell Aleppo after withdrawal (Read More)
  • President Xi Open to Growth in China Falling Below 6.5% (Read More)
  • Trump’s Senior White House Staff Takes Shape (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Surges Above $900 on Geopolitical Risks, Fed Tightening (Read More)
  • Putin Says He Knew Donald Trump Would Win (Read More)
  • China fines GM venture $29 million for monopolistic pricing: state TV (Read More)
  • On Nov. 9, Hillary Clinton Voters Ate Their Grief (Read More)
  • Giant Hedge Fund Builds a Management Machine (Read More)
  • Under fire, Eric Trump suspends charitable foundation (Read More)
  • 2016 Was Awful for Brazilians and 2017 Doesn’t Look Much Better (Read More)

UN abruptly postpones vote to halt Israeli settlements ‘indefinitely’

Egypt ‘caves’ to Israeli pressure, pulling UN resolution

4 Security Council members to Egypt: Push anti-settlement draft or we will

Egypt: Trump should have chance to end Mideast conflict

Trump discusses Mideast peace with Egypt’s Sissi as UN resolution pulled

Trump saved Israel from diplomatic ‘hit’ by Obama at UN, official in Jerusalem quoted saying

Israeli envoy to US thanks Trump for support at UN

Israel reportedly went to Trump on UN draft after failing to sway Obama

US was planning to abstain from UN anti-settlements vote

How Do Americans Feel About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Now? It’s Complicated.

Jerusalem planning c’tee to approve over 300 settler homes next week

High Court agrees to delay Amona demolition by 45 days

France to convene Middle East peace conference on Jan. 15

Hamas cell planning suicide bombings in Jerusalem, Haifa uncovered

Google is profiting from Holocaust denial, says Jewish museum

Mosul battle: Triple car bomb attack kills 23 at market

With iron will and key allies, Syria’s Assad defies expectations

Russia used Syria as live-fire training – US general

Russia says its air strikes in Syria have killed 35,000 rebels

Syrian army announces Aleppo fully retaken from rebels

UN envoy calls for Syria ceasefire to avoid “next Aleppo”

Aleppo’s “Evacuation” Is a Crime Against Humanity

Dozens killed in Turkish strikes on ISIS town

IS ‘burns Turkish soldiers alive’ in Syria execution video

Putin says killing of Russian Ankara envoy won’t hurt Turkey ties

A Russian ambassador was murdered. The apology came in the shape of a huge diamond.

Number of Christians celebrating Christmas in Saudi Arabia growing, but religious liberty isn’t

ISIL issues hit list of U.S. churches for holiday attacks

Hijackers divert Libyan plane to Malta, threaten to blow it up

Libya hijack: Malta forces surround plane carrying 118

Australia says it foiled Christmas Day terror plot

Theresa May urges Britons to enjoy Christmas and not be ‘cowed by terrorists’

Brothers arrested over German mall attack plot suspicions

Berlin truck attack suspect shot dead in Milan – Italian minister

Berlin terror attack: dashcam video shows truck speeding into Christmas market

European populists link Berlin attack to Merkel policies

To Islamists, the Germans are a bunch of cowards

Germany deportation headache with North African migrants

Conway: Trump will not pursue immigration ban based solely on religion

Barack Obama undermines Donald Trump’s proposals for Muslim registry by scrapping government tracking system

WH Boasts: Obama Commuted More Criminal Sentences ‘Than Last 11 Presidents Combined’

Ellison in letter to Conservative rabbis ‘regrets’ past ties with Farrakhan

Candidates for DNC Top Job: Obama Failed Us

Obama’s ‘safe space’ hypocrisy

Putin to Democratic Party: You lost, get over it

Putin: Russia’s military is stronger than any potential foe

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin signal renewal of nuclear arms race

Trump calls for expanded U.S. nuclear capability until ‘world comes to its senses’

Spokesman: Trump tweet referred to preventing nuclear proliferation

Trump alarms arms-control community with nuke tweet

Britain’s Prince Charles says populism risks return to “horrors of the past”

Britain’s Prince Charles Says Anti-Immigrant Populism Echoes Nazis

Cramer: Why Wall Street doesn’t care that Italy’s Monte dei Paschi is on the brink of collapse

What India Has Done To Its Money Is Sickening And Immoral

China tycoon moves jobs to US, citing high taxes at home

Goldman Is Back on Top in the Trump Administration

Trump denies Gingrich claim that he’s dropping ‘drain the swamp’

Arrest made in ‘Vote Trump’ burning of Mississippi black church

Continuing battle with media, Trump avoids news conference

Uber ships self-driving cars to Arizona after failed San Francisco pilot

Your social media addiction is giving you depression

Facebook break can boost wellbeing, study suggests

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Nikol’skoye, Russia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 25,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Copahue volcano in Chile erupts to 13,000ft

Storm Barbara: Northern UK to face worst of Christmas travel mess, power cuts

Congress: Obama admin fired top scientist to advance climate change plans

FEMA exposed hundreds to potentially fatal toxin

Ebola vaccine is safe and effective, scientists declare after trials

Brothers arrested over German mall attack plot suspicions

Half of Brazilian Women Are Avoiding Pregnancy Because of Zika

Texas officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid

Republicans accuse Dems of ‘hypocrisy’ after ‘bathroom bill’ repeal falls apart

Pope in Christmas speech blasts Vatican resistance to reform

Bob DeWaay – Rescued, Transferred, Redeemed and Forgiven

Texas Megachurch Turns Christmas Production into a Circus – Literally

Trump’s New CIA Director: “Jesus Christ Is The Only Solution For Our World”

ISIS Puts Out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches

Van drove into Australian Christian Lobby’s Canberra headquarters and ‘exploded’

Australian Christian Lobby ‘car bomb’ not politically motivated, police say

Gay ornament pulled from store after protest

Obama Signs Law Protecting Atheists And Humanists From Religious Persecution

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 09:42 AM PST

In updating an 18-year-old religious freedom law, Congress this year decided for the first time to expressly protect the rights of people around the world…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Anthony Bourdain says he will never eat at Trump’s DC hotel restaurants

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 09:38 AM PST

Anthony Bourdain has been an outspoken critic of President-elect Donald Trump long before his electoral victory. Now the “Parts Unknown” host has declared he will…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Take Back Your Mind and Win the War

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 09:20 AM PST

(By Joyce Meyer) If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Putin shrugs off Trump’s nuclear plans, says Democrats sore losers

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 09:11 AM PST

Russia’s Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was unfazed by President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to boost the U.S. nuclear arsenal, praising Trump for being in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Israeli official accuses Obama and Kerry of ‘abandoning Israel’

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 09:04 AM PST

An Israeli official launched a furious personal attack on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, accusing them of nothing less…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: UN Security Council will vote today to end Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 08:53 AM PST

The UN Security Council will vote on Friday on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements after four council members again put forward the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christmas Sign Battle: Atheist’s ‘There Is No God’ Message Duels ‘Merry Christmas’ Greeting

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 07:25 AM PST

Local news station WFSB reports that Jerry Bloom, the resident who has been trying to get approval to display the atheist sign in Shelton for…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Texas Megachurch Turns Christmas Production Into Circus—Literally

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 07:14 AM PST

A megachurch in Texas recently turned its annual Christmas production in its worship center into a circus—literally, complete with a ringmaster, tricks and trapezes. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Solar storm heading toward Earth could shut down power grids, But Probably Not

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 07:04 AM PST

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts a solar storm blasting Earth any day now, according to The Sun. A fast stream of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Magnitude 2.2 earthquake shakes up Central Virginia

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 07:52 PM PST

The U.S. Geological Survey says there was a small earthquake in central Virginia. Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center, said by…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christmas severe weather episode may threaten lives from Texas to Iowa

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 07:40 PM PST

A storm more typical of March could threaten lives and property with the onset of severe weather over part of the central United States during…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Customer blesses pregnant waitress with $900 tip

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 06:50 PM PST

A waitress in Arizona – who is nine months pregnant and is expecting some big medical bills – was touched to the point of tears…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Aleppo has returned to government control

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 06:24 PM PST

A statement by the Syrian armed forces says the northern city of Aleppo has returned to government control, ending a four-year rebel hold over parts…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Activists Warn Obama Not to Turn His Back on Israel

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 06:16 PM PST

Pro-Israel activists are urging President Obama to veto a “destructive” anti-Israel United Nations resolution that would condemn the Jewish state for building communities in biblical…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Why Settling for This in Your Life Is a Dangerous Proposition

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 06:06 PM PST

(By Joe Mckeever) Mediocrity is a warm blanket. Mediocrity is remaining with the bunch that finishes neither early or late, that turns in work much…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

School lesson says Christians are treating Muslims harshly

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 06:00 PM PST

A classroom assignment on Islam says one negative effect of the Crusades is that Christians are still treating Muslims harshly. “I almost fell over,” said…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

CUP OF TREMBLING: Tensions flare at UN over Israeli settlements…

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 05:55 PM PST

Tensions over the Israel-Palestinian peace process flared briefly at the United Nations on Thursday when Egypt tabled a new Security Council resolution criticising Israeli settlements,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

SouthLake Church Founding Pastor Admits to Role in Embezzling Up to $1M From Church and School

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 05:46 PM PST

Wade Malloy, the founding pastor of SouthLake Presbyterian Church in Huntersville, North Carolina, could wind up in prison for five years along with other penalties…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Raids foil planned Melbourne Christmas terror attack

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 05:41 PM PST

Australian police say five men are accused of planning a Christmas Day terror attack targeting a number of landmarks in Melbourne, the country’s second largest…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Joel Osteen Tells TD Jakes He Hits the ‘Delete Button’ When He Hears Negative Comments About Himself

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 05:36 PM PST

On Tuesday’s episode of “The TD Jakes Show,” Jakes interviewed his fellow Texas megachurch pastor about his experiences starting out as a senior pastor following…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Putin and Trump call for stronger nuclear forces…

Posted: 22 Dec 2016 05:26 PM PST

In a year-end speech to his top military officers on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin threw down the gauntlet, declaring that the Russian military, emboldened…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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.


Do You Know Him?


What Is the Gospel?

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


What Is the Gospel?

This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.


A Message from God

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.

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

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:

  1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
  2. What is our problem?
  3. What is God’s solution to our problem?
  4. How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

  1. We are accountable to God.
  2. Our problem is our sin against him.
  3. God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
  4. We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

God

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!

Mankind

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 . . .

Jesus Christ

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!”

Our Response

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!


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

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.


Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel


This is the Gospel:

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?


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


Resource Links

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

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).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


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Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas Is True (Free Bible Insert)

Story of Christmas Is TrueDetectives create lists. As a cold-case detective, I’m no different. When investigating an event in the distant past (in my case, an unsolved murder), I collect evidence, make lists and do my best to reach the most reasonable inference. When I began to investigate Christianity at the age of thirty-five, I approached the gospels the same way I approached my cold-case files. Lists were an important part of the process. One New Testament claim was particularly interesting to me: the conception and birth of Jesus. When I first read through the gospels, the birth narratives seemed incredible and unreasonable. I’m not the only person to express such a concern. In an article posted in the Herald Scotland, Reverend Andrew Frater called the Nativity story a “fanciful, fairy tale” and called on Christians to “disentangle the truth from the tinsel”. Frater is a minister and a believer, and even he doesn’t believe in the virgin conception of Jesus. As an atheist, I was even more skeptical. I rejected supernatural claims altogether, and the first Biblical claim about Jesus was a supernatural one. But as I collected the evidence and formed my lists, I found there were many good reasons to trust the story of Christmas. I’ve assembled them here with links to longer treatments of each topic:

Reason 1:
The Supernatural Nature of the Virgin Conception Shouldn’t Disqualify It
When I began to investigate the virgin conception, I was actually investigating my own philosophical naturalism. I was, in essence, asking the following questions: “Is the natural world all that exists?” “Is there anything beyond the physical, material world we measure with our five senses?” “Are supernatural events possible or even reasonable?” In asking these questions, I was putting naturalism to the test. It would have been unfair, therefore, to begin by presupposing nothing supernatural could ever exist or occur. If we want to be fair about assessing the virgin conception or any other supernatural aspect of the nativity story, we cannot exclude the very possibility of the supernatural in the first place. Our presupposition against the supernatural would unfairly taint our examination of the claim.

Reason 2:
The Claim of the Virgin Conception Appears Incredibly Early in Christian History
It’s always easier to tell a lie once everyone who was alive to know the difference has already died. But if you’re going to make a claim early in an area where people are still available to debunk your claim, be prepared to have a difficult time getting away with misrepresentations. The virgin conception of Jesus is one of the earliest claims in Christian history. The students of the gospel authors cited the virgin conception as a true claim about Jesus. Ignatius, the student of John (an Apostle who chose not to write about the birth of Jesus in his own gospel), included it in his early writings to local churches. Other Church leaders repeated the claim through the earliest years of the Church, and the doctrine also appears in the most ancient Church creeds. Even early non-canonicaldocuments include the virgin conception of Jesus.

Reason 3:
The Birth Narratives in Luke and Matthew Are Not Late Additions
Critics, in an effort to argue the birth narratives in Luke and Matthew are not reliable, point to stylistic differences and “content shifting” within the gospels. Critics claim that the Greek language used in the birth narrative section of Luke’s gospel is far more Semitic than other sections. But the fact that this section of the gospel is stylistically or linguistically different than other sections does not mean it was a late addition. Luke told us he compiled the information for his gospel from a number of divergent sources (Luke 1:1-4). As a result, we should expect stylistic and linguistic differences within the gospel of Luke. In addition, any claim related to the late addition of the birth narratives defies all the manuscript evidence available to us; there is absolutely no evidence that the gospel of Matthew and Luke ever existed without the birth narratives. All manuscripts, translations, early Church documents and references to the gospels, along with every historic, reliable witness testifies to the fact that the birth narratives are ancient and part of the original record.

Reason 4:
The Virgin Conception Was Not An Invention of Early Christians
Some critics of the virgin conception argue that the earliest Christian authors inserted it in an effort to give Jesus a “heroic” birth consistent with other Old Testament heroes. But, not every Jewish hero from the Old Testament had an unusual birth story. Joshua, King David and King Solomon are just three of the more obvious examples of powerful Old Testament heroes whose birth stories were less than surprising or unusual. In addition, there is no other character from the Old Testament who was born of a virgin through the miraculous conception of the Holy Spirit. This characteristic of Jesus’ conception is unique to Jesus and follows no pre-existing Old Testament pattern.

Reason 5:
The Virgin Conception Wasn’t Borrowed from Another Source
Skeptics also attempt to discredit the virgin conception of Jesus by claiming it was borrowed from prior pagan mythologies such as those of Mithras or Horus. But any fair examination of pagan mythological birth narratives revels the dramatic differences between the virgin conception of Jesus and stories about the supernatural emergence of mythological gods. While “borrowing” may have occurred between belief systems, the weak resemblances between the Biblical account and pagan mythologies are far more likely the result of the Judeo-Christian influence rather than contamination from a pagan source. It’s irrational to believe the early Jewish readers of the gospels would embrace any part of paganism in the story of Jesus’ conception as continuous with the Jewish narrative from the Old Testament. In addition, early Christian converts were repeatedly called to a new life in Christ, told they were merely travelers passing through this mortal (and pagan) world, called to live a life that was free of worldly influences, and told to reject the foolish philosophies and stories of men. This group, in particular, would be the last to turn to pre-existing pagan stories and superstitions.

If there exists a supernatural Being capable of bringing all space, time and matter into existence from nothing, such a Being could certainly accomplish the virgin conception of Jesus, the Resurrection of Christ, or any of the other “lesser” miracles described on the pages of the New Testament. In addition, there is no historically, textually or philosophically necessary reason to reject the claims of the New Testament authors. If you’re a Christian this Christmas season, celebrate the birth of Jesus with confidence and certainty. The virgin conception is not a fanciful, fairy tale. It is a true story. In fact, there are five good reasons to trust the story of Christmas is factual, reliable and true.

To download a FREE, printable, Bible-sized insert summarizing these five reasons, visit the homepage at http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com and click the link in the right column.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, and God’s Crime Scene.

Source: Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas Is True (Free Bible Insert)

December 23, 2016: Verse of the day

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1:9 Lord … is with you. This assurance has always been the staying sufficiency for His servants such as: Abraham (Ge 15:1); Moses and his people (Ex 14:13); Isaiah (Is 41:10); Jeremiah (Jer 1:7, 8); and Christians through the centuries (Mt 28:20; Heb 13:5).

MacArthur Study Bible

December 23, 2016: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

December 23 Responding to Christ’s Exaltation

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Philippians 2:10–11

✧✧✧

The proper response to Christ’s exaltation is to worship Him.

Philippians 2:10–11 gives the only proper response to Christ’s exaltation: everyone is to bow before Him and acknowledge Him as Lord. Verse 10 begins with the Greek word hina (“that”), which indicates purpose or result. God’s express purpose is that Christ’s exaltation will result in our worshiping Him. We might translate the sentence, “He was given the name that is above every name in order that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The reason Christ was given the name Lord was to put Him in authority and cause everyone to bow to Him. The subjunctive mood (“every knee should bow”) implies that every knee will bow.

Christ is to be acknowledged as Lord because He is God. By God’s grace some are enabled to acknowledge Christ’s lordship by choice. Others will bow to Him because they are forced to do so. The phrases “every knee should bow” (v. 10) and “every tongue should confess” (v. 11) are taken from Isaiah 45:23. Isaiah 45–46 clearly establishes that God is Lord and sovereign. He is in charge. In Philippians, Paul affirms the same truth about Jesus Christ—every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord of all.

We know Christ as the Lord, and we know Him as Jesus—the names of His exaltation and humiliation. But He must be known as both in order to be known at all. One receives the gift of salvation by receiving both the humiliated Savior and by bowing the knee to a majestic, sovereign God.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Psalm 89 focuses on the rule and reign of Christ. Bow before Him as the exalted King by using verses 8–18 as the basis of your own prayer of worship.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 5:11–14. What is Christ worthy to receive? ✧ In verse 13 who is speaking? ✧ What was the response of the four living creatures and elders (v. 14)?[1]


December 23

No Room for Jesus

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

I’m convinced that most people miss Christmas. They observe the season because culture says it’s the thing to do, but the masses are utterly oblivious to the reality of what they are celebrating. So much fantasy and myth have been imposed on the holiday that people are numb to the real miracle of Christ’s birth. The legitimate emotion of the holiday has given way to a maudlin and insincere self–indulgence. A newspaper I saw recently had a two-page spread featuring some man-on-the–street interviews where people offered their opinions of the real meaning of Christmas…. Some were sentimental, saying Christmas is a family time, a time for children, and so on. Others were humanistic, seeing Christmas as a time to celebrate love for one’s fellow man, the spirit of giving, and that sort of thing. Others were crassly hedonistic, viewing Christmas as just another excuse to party. Not one person made mention of the incomprehensible miracle of God’s birth as a human baby.[2]


DECEMBER 23

LEVITY IN ADDRESSING GOD

Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

—2 Samuel 7:22

Those who heard Luther’s prayers have told us of the tremendous effect they often had upon the listeners. He would begin in moving humility, his spirit facedown in utter self-abnegation, and sometimes rise to a boldness of petition that would startle the hearers.

There is among us today a pseudo-mysticism which affects a tender intimacy with God but lacks that breathless awe which the true worshiper must always feel in the presence of the Holy God. This simpering spirit sometimes expresses itself in religious baby talk wholly unworthy of those who are addressing the Most High.

To hear a so-called Christian … addressing words of saccharine sweetness to one whom he or she calls “Jesus dear,” is a shocking experience for anyone who has once seen heaven opened and stood speechless before the Holy Presence. No one who has ever bowed before the Burning Bush can thereafter speak lightly of God, much less be guilty of levity in addressing Him.

When Horace Bushnell prayed in the field under the night sky, his friend who knelt by his side drew in his arms close to his body. “I was afraid to stretch out my hands,” he said, “lest I touch God.” TET069-070

God, I come to You in intimacy, but also with the awe and reverence of a subject before a majestic King. Amen. [3]


December 23

God’s Kingdom Is Not Superficially Visible

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field.—Matt. 13:44a

The treasure of salvation is not evident to unregenerate people, which is why they don’t naturally seek it. They don’t understand why believers prize God’s saving kingdom so much and why they willingly give up so much—their self-sufficiency, sinful pleasures, and expensive worldly goods and social status—to gain what appears to be so insignificant and barely visible. Kingdom living is too narrow and unattractive to the unsaved, and that’s why so few find this life or desire to walk it (Matt. 7:14)—in reality, most of the lost cannot even see God’s truth and spiritual riches (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4).

When Christ answered the Pharisees’ question about the kingdom, He said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ ” (Luke 17:20–21). The kingdom of God will not be fully seen until our Lord returns and establishes His millennial rule over the world. At that time He “is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels,” and people will “see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:27, 28b). However, right now that kingdom “is not of this realm” (John 18:36).

People can have passing respect for Christ and the gospel but can be completely oblivious to the invaluable blessing that could be theirs by belonging to His kingdom (cf. John 1:9–11). The pearl or treasure may be in sight, but worldly eyes will not see its worth.

ASK YOURSELF
Be in specific prayer today for that number of unbelievers who populate your extended family, your work environment, or your usual circle of contact. Will you recommit to remaining sensitive to opportunities in which God can use you to represent His treasure?[4]


December 23 The Revelation of Man’s Destiny

“He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him? Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him” (Heb. 2:5–8).

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Man’s original intended destiny was to be king of the earth.

When we look at the vast, seemingly endless universe and then think about the little dot we call Earth in the middle of it all, we cannot help but wonder, “What is man? What right do we have to be on God’s mind so much?”

David had an answer: “Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and … appointed him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:6–8). The writer of Hebrews was quoting one of the Psalms (8:4–6) to show that God made man to be king.

David undoubtedly penned his psalm based on what God said in the beginning: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26). God’s original design for man in his innocence was to be king over an undefiled earth.

When God made Adam, who was pure and innocent, He gave him honor and glory. God crowned man king of the earth: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:8). One day we again will be given the right to rule the earth, and all God’s creation will be put under our feet.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Psalm 8, and offer it as your own praise to God.

For Further Study: Read Daniel 7:18, 27, and note the extent of the saints’ ultimate rule.[5]


DECEMBER 23

CHRISTMAS IS REAL

Great is the mystery…God was manifest in the flesh.

1 Timothy 3:16

The birth of Christ was a divine declaration, an eternal statement to a race of fallen men and women.

The advent of Christ clearly established:

First, that God is real. The heavens were opened, and another world than this came into view.

Second, that human life is essentially spiritual. With the emergence into human flesh of the Eternal Word of the Father, the fact of man’s divine origin is confirmed.

Third, that God indeed had spoken by the prophets. The coming of the Messiah Savior into the world confirmed the veracity of the Old Testament Scripture.

Fourth, that man is lost but not abandoned. Had men not been lost, no Savior would have been required. Had they been abandoned, no Savior would have come.

Finally, that this world is not the end. We are made for two worlds and as surely as we now inhabit the one, we shall also inhabit the other!

Heavenly Father, the historical fact of Your divine visitation gives the world reason for hope and joy. I pray that the significance of Your birth will impact the lives of many people who are searching for the meaning of life.[6]


DECEMBER 23

GOD HIMSELF AWAITS OUR RESPONSE TO HIS PRESENCE

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

MATTHEW 5:8

A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting for our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.

As we begin to focus upon God the things of the spirit will take shape before our inner eyes. Obedience to the word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14:21–23).

This is not by any trick of the imagination. May we not safely conclude that, as the realities of Mount Sinai were apprehended by the senses, so the realities of Mount Zion are to be grasped by the soul? The soul has eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear!

Such an inward revelation of the Godhead will give acute perception enabling us to see God even as is promised to the pure in heart. A new God-consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all.

There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives! This is what will make heaven more real to us than any earthly thing has ever been.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 384). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 366). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 370). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[6] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.