Daily Archives: December 21, 2019

December 21 The Message of Christmas

Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1–13

Key Verse: Luke 2:10

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

For the shepherds watching their sheep outside Bethlehem one evening, the sudden sight in front of them was terrifying. A glorious angel shining brightly in the sky was enough to make anyone rub his eyes and take a second look … and run.

But the first words from the angel’s mouth were words to calm their frightened hearts: “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10). One of the messages that we learn from the Christmas story is that of peace. While God might appear overwhelming at times, He always wants to give us the assurance that with Him, peace reigns, even in the announcement of His Son’s birth.

The peace we receive from the Christmas message calms our hearts, letting us know everything will be all right as long as we trust God. However, it also includes a message of peace that assures us that Jesus and His methods of teaching were all designed to draw us to the heavenly Father.

Jesus’ birth was no different. Salvation would soon be realized for all mankind. Some people have never heard the message of Christmas. They don’t understand its purpose. When we tell them, they might get frightened. However, like God desired to assure the shepherds that there was no need to fear, He gives us the peace we need to submit to Him.

Dear Father, You laid Your mighty plan of salvation before a humble band of shepherds. Thank you that those who humble themselves before You receive those same good tidings today![1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 372). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 21 Consider the Options

Scripture Reading: John 6:53–69

Key Verse: John 6:69

We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus’ earthly ministry up to John 6 mainly focused on healing the sick, teaching about the kingdom of God, and bringing insight to the words of the prophets. However, this changed with the introduction of John 6:53–69: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life” (vv. 53–54 nasb).

Warren Wiersbe explained, “All Jesus said was, ‘Just as you take food and drink within your body and it becomes a part of you, so you must receive Me within your innermost being so that I can give you life.’ ” Jesus’ words were not meant to be taken literally. They were spiritual in nature and, if heeded, would lead His followers into a closer walk with God.

Realizing that many were turning from Jesus discouraged the disciples. Jesus confronted their fears: “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Peter answered for the group: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (vv. 67–69 nasb).

There will come a time in your life when you will have to decide whom you will follow. At times, God’s Word may seem difficult; but remember, He has the larger picture in mind. Can you trust Him as Peter did and say with him, “Lord, You have the words of eternal life, and I believe in You”?

Dear heavenly Father, there are no options for me. I choose Your way. I choose the way of the Word. To whom else can I go? You have the words of eternal life.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 372). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 21 True Contentment

Scripture reading: John 4:3–18

Key verses: John 4:13–14

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

In talking to the woman at the well, Jesus spoke of life-giving water. The water of the world can never satisfy the God-shaped void that is in the heart of each lost person. However, there is an even starker reality: even after we become believers, the things of the world cannot bring true, lasting contentment. No matter how much money we have, we are never satisfied apart from Jesus Christ.

He waters your heart with His unfailing hope. He fills you with His blessed presence so that you do not fear as the world fears. He comforts you in times of sorrow and holds you close when disappointment and rejection strike. He is your ever-present Savior and Lord.

God does not want you to live a life that feels empty and unrewarding. When you feel either of these, you may end up taking great risks with the hopes that something along the way will fill the void inside. The woman at the well had tried in vain to find true happiness. Yet nothing worked before she met the Savior.

Today, Jesus stands waiting to touch your life with fresh hope. Drink of Him, and be blessed by His unconditional love for you.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your unfailing hope that waters my heart. Thank You for Your presence that alleviates my fears. Thank You for Your comfort in times of sorrow.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 372). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sidney Powell Extensive Interview With Eric Metaxas… — The Last Refuge

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s primary defense attorney Sidney Powell, appears for an extensive interview with Eric Metaxas.  Ms. Powell uses her knowledge of the Flynn case to overlay some of the larger issues with prosecutions within the Department of Justice.

The overall interview is nearly an hour long, and the issues discussed are considerable.

via Sidney Powell Extensive Interview With Eric Metaxas… — The Last Refuge

Insane Lawmakers Pass $1.4-Trillion in Spending Bills While Ignoring Staggering US Debt…

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• needtoknow.news, Fox News & Politico

Lawmakers released the details Monday of a bipartisan spending deal that would rain down $49 billion in extra funding upon nearly every facet of the federal government during the next nine months.

The more than 2,300 pages of bill text are expected to be signed into law before week’s end, cementing a total of $738 billion in fiscal 2020 funding for the military and $632 billion for non-defense departments such as Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services.

The House plans to pass the fiscal 2020 spending bills in two packages on Tuesday, likely followed by Senate passage before federal funding runs out at midnight on Friday. With President Donald Trump’s signature, the measures would dissolve the threat of a government shutdown until Oct. 1 and negate the need for more stopgap spending measures that keep funding levels static.

Alarming NYT Op-Ed Reveals “Disturbing” Secretive Surveillance State –

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https://www.zerohedge.com by Tyler Durden

Millions of Americans are walking around with phones that have, unknowingly, created one of the most disturbing and unintentional “surveillance states” to ever exist. 

A explosive new opinion piece in the NY Times aims to demonstrate that detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think, despite the ongoing claims by companies that people’s data is “anonymous”.

Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that describing location data as anonymous is “a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies.”

He added: “Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that’s harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information.”

NSA has been ‘lying to the courts all along,’ says whistleblower, as judges give warrantless surveillance the thumbs-up | RT USA News

The National Security Agency can gather the data of US citizens without a warrant – as long as it gathers this data by mistake, a court has ruled. However, this suits the agency just fine, whistleblower William Binney told RT.

The NSA is permitted to gather data on US citizens abroad, or “foreign connected” Americans at home. The dragnet surveillance operation necessary to gather this information also sucks up data on millions of Americans with no foreign contacts, a process critics say is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the 2nd Court of Appeals in New York declared this “incidental collection” of information permissible. The NSA has maintained that it is incapable of separating properly and improperly gathered data, but former NSA Technical Director William Binney told RT that this is simply untrue.

“They’ve been lying to the courts all along,” Binney said. “They’ve had the capability to sort that stuff out. It’s just that they don’t want to.”

“This gives them power over everyone, the ability to look into political opponents like they did with President Trump,” he continued.

While the court ruling gives the NSA free rein to suck up data on Americans’ phone and internet communications, it did not authorize the US’ other intelligence and law enforcement agencies to dig through this data. However, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court ruling issued last year, the FBI accessed this data trove some 3.1 million times in 2017.

Also on rt.com

What Fourth Amendment? Court ruling says FBI snooped on private data of MILLIONS of Americans

Its agents did so without proper warrants, and on persons unrelated to ongoing criminal cases, as explicitly forbidden by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In at least one case, the FBI illegally accessed the data of a suspect before seeking a warrant to spy on them legally.

Wednesday’s court ruling concerned Agron Hasbajrami, a US permanent resident who was arrested en route to Turkey in 2011. The government claimed that Hasbajrami was travelling  to Pakistan to join a terrorist organization. Hasbajrami claims that the government illegally accessed NSA data to build its case against him.

The court did not issue a ruling on this data access, instead punting the decision back down to a lower court to examine the Fourth Amendment implications.

Hasbajrami’s case is rare, in that he was informed that the evidence against him was collected by the NSA. Defendants are usually kept in the dark when clandestine agencies do the investigating.

Also on rt.com

Snowden has to hand book profits over to US govt, judge rules

“The CIA, the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement people have access to that data to search for common crime within the United States,” Binney said. “And they use it against US citizens in criminal courts without telling anyone in the court, or anyone else in the court, lawyers included.”

So they’re fundamentally violating the rights of thousands of US citizens every year…without any oversight whatsoever.

The existence of the NSA’s mass surveillance program was revealed in 2013 by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. Though the agency has reportedly ended its phone spying program, the espionage charges against Snowden remain in place, and Snowden himself remains in Moscow, where he has been granted asylum.

Source: NSA has been ‘lying to the courts all along,’ says whistleblower, as judges give warrantless surveillance the thumbs-up