Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sun Sep 8th Todays News

The difference between the new PM and the old PM by their own words
Abbott’s biographers will find that, despite his degrees in law and economics, his years at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, and his years in a seminary, he has never aspired to be anything other than decent.
When he made his maiden speech to Parliament on May 31, 1994, Abbott began: “On the corner of Castlereagh and Hunter streets in Sydney stands a monument to mark the site of the first Christian service in Australia. The preacher, the Reverend Richard Johnson, took as his text: ‘’What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?
“It is just a small stone obelisk hardly noticed by the thousands of passers-by and dwarfed by skyscrapers, yet its message of faith and hope is fundamental to our nation’s success and the key to Australia’s future.
“The congregation at that first service was poorer, sicker, and less trained than any conceivable group of modern Australians, yet there was nothing small about what they were to achieve. Our challenge, 200 years later, is to have hearts that are just as big. So at this opening of my time in parliament, I place on record my deep conviction that, nourished by the past and inspired by our great ideals, there is no limit to what Australia can achieve. Also, I want to record my deep conviction that our Australian story should fill our hearts with pride and our eyes with tears.
“It is a story of the dispossessed and the outcast, redeemed through the innate goodness of humanity - a society challenged by nature, tested by war, enlarged by other cultures and blessed by such peace, prosperity and tolerance that we are now the envy of the Earth.”
When Rudd made his maiden speech four years later, on November 11, 1998, he said bluntly: “Politics is about power.”

Abbott will have to negotiate a hostile small party senate. But he can do that. Abbott was gracious in his acceptance speech, and humble. Rudd was defiant and brittle. Rudd was apparently defending his reputation relative to Gillard. It is to be hoped both Rudd and Gillard serve jail time for their corruption.  It is disturbing that the ALP have retained many seats from senior, bad performers. People who lied about bad policy. Expect Jason Clare to become the next leader, or the next following. He isn't any good. But he is younger.  

Happy birthday and many happy returns Jenny KuTram Nguyen and Julie Nguyen. Born on the same day, across the years, along with Ansgar (801), Richard I of England (1157), Marin Mersenne (1588), Siegfried Sassoon (1886), Robert Taft (1889), Harry Secombe (1921), Peter Sellers (1925), Patsy Cline (1932), James Packer (1967), Pink (1979) and Kimberlea Berg (1997). On your day, International Literacy Day; Fast of Gedalia (Judaism, 2013); Victory Day in Pakistan (1965)
617 – Li Yuan defeated a Sui Dynasty army in the Battle of Huoyi, opening the path to his capture of the imperial capital Chang'an and the eventual establishment of the Tang Dynasty.
1796 – French Revolutionary Wars: The French defeated Austrian forces in Bassano, Venetia, present-day Italy.
1831 – William IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen were crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
1935 – U.S. Senator Huey Long was fatally shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1978 – Iranian Revolution: After the government of the Shah of Iran declared martial law in response to protests, the Iranian Army shot and killed at least 88 demonstrators in Tehran on Black Friday.
The Imperial capital is captured. Success in Italy. We have a King and Queen. Senators are cheap. Stay clear of Iran. And enjoy your day.

Abbott closet is skeleton-free

Piers Akerman – Sunday, September 08, 2013 (9:00am)

COAST to coast, the nation is justifiably looking to Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott to restore the confidence and stability sapped after six years of Labor mismanagement and economic vandalism.
Putting aside the train wreck that will be exposed when Treasury reveals the true state of the finances, all indicators are that Abbott is the man to rebuild what Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard destroyed.
The record shows Abbott is a team player who was promoted to captain by his peers and who now enjoys the support of his crew, whereas Rudd plotted and white-anted his way to the top and was never trusted by significant sections of the party he led.
Abbott’s biographers will find that, despite his degrees in law and economics, his years at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, and his years in a seminary, he has never aspired to be anything other than decent.
When he made his maiden speech to Parliament on May 31, 1994, Abbott began: “On the corner of Castlereagh and Hunter streets in Sydney stands a monument to mark the site of the first Christian service in Australia. The preacher, the Reverend Richard Johnson, took as his text: ‘’What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?
“It is just a small stone obelisk hardly noticed by the thousands of passers-by and dwarfed by skyscrapers, yet its message of faith and hope is fundamental to our nation’s success and the key to Australia’s future.
“The congregation at that first service was poorer, sicker, and less trained than any conceivable group of modern Australians, yet there was nothing small about what they were to achieve. Our challenge, 200 years later, is to have hearts that are just as big. So at this opening of my time in parliament, I place on record my deep conviction that, nourished by the past and inspired by our great ideals, there is no limit to what Australia can achieve. Also, I want to record my deep conviction that our Australian story should fill our hearts with pride and our eyes with tears.
“It is a story of the dispossessed and the outcast, redeemed through the innate goodness of humanity - a society challenged by nature, tested by war, enlarged by other cultures and blessed by such peace, prosperity and tolerance that we are now the envy of the Earth.”
When Rudd made his maiden speech four years later, on November 11, 1998, he said bluntly: “Politics is about power.”
There has long been a question mark hanging over Rudd’s character, going back to his days as former Queensland Labor premier Wayne Goss’s sinister political apparatchik.
The wider nation didn’t really get an insight into the dark side of his nature until he started to dissemble about his meetings and telephone conversations with disgraced former West Australian premier Brian Burke in early 2007.
Then his oft-repeated claim that, upon his father’s death, his widowed mother and his siblings were evicted from their home on a share-farm property was shown to be deeply suspect.
Surviving members of the family of Aubrey Low (the farmer who owned the property) were able to show that the Rudds were allowed to remain on the property for six months after Rudd Sr’s death. Rudd threw the switch to ugly, and threats were made to author and veteran Canberra journalist Kerry-Anne Walsh. Rudd called the editors of the two Fairfax Sunday newspapers in an attempt to dissuade them from publishing the article.
Only The Sunday Age, a pathetic excuse for a metropolitan newspaper, killed the story.
Fittingly, only The Age endorsed a return of the Rudd government last week.
Despite the relentless smear campaign which began from the moment he was elected Opposition Leader, Abbott comes to office without any skeletons rattling in his closet.
He is neither a bully nor a thug, contrary to the baseless stories peddled by Labor lickspittles in the media pack.
He is a man of values and principles, a family man with a loving wife and daughters, a man with mates across the spectrum, mates who may not parade themselves in the public eye for PR purposes but who know the special value of true friendship.
Former Coalition prime minister John Howard last week introduced Abbott at a fundraiser saying: “I know Tony Abbott, Tony Abbott is a friend of mine, and I can tell you Tony Abbott won’t let Australia down.”
Coming from the man who restored the nation’s fortunes after Labor squandered them, that should say it all. 


Inside the Abbott victory

Miranda Devine – Sunday, September 08, 2013 (10:16am)

PASTED outside Brian Loughnane’s office in the secret bunker of Coalition campaign headquarters in central Melbourne is a picture of his face, photo-shopped onto Sean Connery, as the ruthless Russian submarine commander in Hunt for Red October.
His staff patched up the pic, reflecting respect for a leader who never cracks under pressure, plays his cards close to his chest, and whose team rarely surfaces from their pop-up office on the 1st floor of a nondescript building on Spring Street.
If there is an unsung hero in the Liberal election campaign it is Federal Director Loughnane, the tall, bespectacled, quietly spoken backroom operative who pollster Mark Textor describes as “the last gentleman”.
At 55, the son of a livestock buyer, from the western district of Victoria, Loughnane likes to describe himself as the “original faceless man”, proudly “under the radar”.
When he leaves the office after a 15-and a half hour day, he wears a spymaster’s beige trenchcoat to stroll down Flinders Lane at 830pm to dine on grilled salmon at Cecconi’s. He divulges nothing.
But on a Friday night in the middle of the campaign, he reluctantly gave us a rare sneak peek of CHQ, where 150 staff work around the clock.
The military precision of the Abbott campaign is reflected in the meticulous order of Loughnane’s office, where two flat screen TVs are tuned into Sky News and ABC 24.
Piled neatly at one end of his desk is three days of the nation’s newspapers, photocopied and stapled together in A4 size. A whiteboard is covered with phrases such as “NSW Labor sleaze” and “Captain Chaos” alongside numbers 30 or 15, which he won’t explain.
Half a dozen plastic boxes are stacked in the corner, containing files on everything from jobs and boats, to hotel arrangements.
“That’s the campaign,” he says. Nothing was left to chance.
It probably helped that Loughnane has been married for 13 years to 6’1” glamazon lawyer Peta Credlin, 42, Tony Abbott’s formidable chief of staff. A notorious control freak, she travelled with the leader and was responsible for everything from subtly re-tooling his image with hair product and blue ties, to publicly bawling out a junior shadow minister for insubordination.
Abbott calls the former schoolgirl rower “the boss”.
Between them, Credlin and Loughnane managed seamlessly to integrate Abbott’s travelling party with CHQ. Abbott came to town half a dozen times, staying at the Park Hyatt, and dining with Loughnane on his favourite meal of rare sirloin steak, token veg.
Mistakes, or “dramas” as Loughnane calls them, occurred, from the flu bug that hit CHQ the first week, the Jaymes Diaz fiasco, to the internet filter policy that was junked after it was announced Thursday. But problems were quickly contained.
The orderliness of Abbott’s campaign was in stark contrast to the shambolic, chronically late Rudd show.
One Labor insider says Rudd’s first action each morning was to “rip up the plan for the day and write a new plan.”
With one third of cabinet and almost all staffers leaving with Julia Gillard in June, Labor had to cobble together a campaign team which had never worked together before: “2000 years worth of experience walked out the door when Rudd walked in” says the insider.
The Abbott campaign, on the other hand, was a machine; 48 of 50 key staff had stayed since the 2010 campaign, and run full bore ever since.
“The campaign started on election night in 2010,” says Loughnane. “The hung parliament meant we had to be battle ready, at great expense. We had to bring forward all our planning contingencies. But not much has changed since Tony became leader (in December 2009)”
He pays tribute to Abbott as a skilful campaigner, in John Howard’s league. “He is battlefit. Those three years of stability really paid off… You don’t need to spend hours and hours training him up. He knows the messages, and just about every issue he’s already had to deal with as leader.”
Abbott’s training as a journalist “makes it easier. He has a great skill with words… can explain complex ideas simply. “
Loughnane never doubted Labor would switch to Rudd before the election. “The Titanic was going down and there was only one lifeboat. [But for us] strategically not a lot changed. We’d set our course…
“In terms of the contest, in our view, we sowed the seeds at the last election.
“We’ve had our own strategy and our own timetable, irrespective of what Labor has done.
“We just stuck to our script, and held our nerve the first couple of weeks.
“There was pressure from everywhere [to do something]. But we wanted to give Rudd enough rope so that once he started doing things he could be judged.”
The change to Rudd helped Loughnane hone the campaign message “Vote for real change”. He quickly put to air TV ads reminding voters Rudd was a “lemon” and a “showman who didn’t deliver the first time,” says Textor.
Loughnane jokes his main role was ensuring his staff “eat properly”, and would organise roast meals for them during the debates.
In turn, they are fiercely loyal.
“He’s an outstanding boss”, says one. “He is very calm and has extremely good judgement.
“He is very available and very strategic. He works phenomenal hours and he leaves nothing to chance… In a campaign there are 100 different issues you have to manage at any one time, and 50 people needing to speak to you. He’s very good at being able to prioritise.”
Loughnane would start his day at 5am, reading the papers and meeting key people, including media director Kate Walshe, deputy director Julian Sheezel, who manages crucial seats, John Griffin, head of tactics, Nationals federal director chief Scott Mitchell, and pollster Mark Textor.
Textor’s qualitative research was crucial, guiding strategy and providing key messages.
For instance, by the end of the first week of the campaign, focus groups were throwing up the words “flim flam” and “fake” to describe Rudd.
“It’s f*ing unbelievable” Textor would say. “The qual is sh*t for him!”
Two days later, the words “flim flam” came out of Abbott’s mouth.
Begging for money is Shane Stone’s department, but Loughnane was chuffed about one email which raised $82,149 within hours. Donors were “exercised” about the previous day’s costings fiasco, in which the nation’s top economic bureaucrats called out Labor for misleading voters on Coalition costings.
The email was copied by Labor campaign director George Wright, and sent to his own database, which Loughnane described as “seriously weird”.
Loughnane never sat in his office for long. All day he strode across his vast floor to chat to staff in pods lined with posters of Abbott.
The social media pod was on the far side of the floor, but they had rigged up a projector against the wall to show off key numbers, such as Facebook Likes.
While Rudd’s million followers on twitter were unbeatable, on the more important Facebook, Abbott outstripped his rival midway through the campaign, with 3000 likes a day.
By Friday, Abbott had more than 240,000 likes while Rudd was languishing on 120,000.
“We’re killing them on social media,” said Loughnane. So much for the so-called “Obama staffers"- US digital consultants hired by Labor.
Each day of the campaign on a pillar outside Loughnane’s office, staff would put up an inspirational quote. On Day 26, the day after Labor’s costings fiasco, the quote was from Winston Churchill:
“There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at with no result.”
It summed up the whole campaign.



Tim Blair – Saturday, September 07, 2013 (10:12pm)

Tony Abbott claims victory: “The government of Australia has changed.” Acknowledges Kevin Rudd’s service to the nation.
UPDATE. Very serious, very measured. No showbiz. Hits all the right notes. Also relatively brief and to the point, as were Abbott’s fans:


UPDATE II. Fairfax’s electoral map of Australia:


UPDATE III. Fairfax has changed its map to show Australia as Fairfax believes it should be:




Tim Blair – Saturday, September 07, 2013 (8:16pm)

Describing the past four years as a “dance of death”, Labor’s Jason Clare calls for a “generational change” of ALP leadership: “It’s time to put the Rudd-Gillard era behind us.”
Australia’s already done that, Jase.
UPDATE. It’s difficult to tell on Ten’s chaotic broadcast, but someone appears to have given Clive Palmer the win in Fairfax.
UPDATE II. Craig Emerson is losing it on Nine: “I’m entitled to have my say!” He’s still running lines about Abbott’s negativity - as if it matters now. Move on, Craig.
UPDATE III. Julia speaks! It’s her first Twitter comment since July.
UPDATE IV. Kevni’s farewell looms – or does it? 
Journalists with Team Rudd have been briefed that Mr Rudd’s speech is about half an hour away. They have been told Mr Rudd has written a draft of a concession speech but that there is a blank space for the bit about whether he stays on as leader. 
Maybe he’s worried that someone will leak it. Like himself.
UPDATE V. Laurie Oakes: “Clive Palmer in federal parliament will be interesting.” Sky’s Paul Murray: “Imagine Clive Palmer with parliamentary privilege.”
UPDATE VI. Readers picked an 8pm-9pm concession speech. As usual, however, Kevin Rudd is running late.
UPDATE VII. Adam Bandt claims his victory is a “win for refugees”. Which is great news for all the refugees who live in inner-city Melbourne.
UPDATE VIII. Rudd concedes at 9.37pm. Seems happier now than at any time of the campaign. Mentions the “marvellous tapestry of modern Australia” and the “great Australian miracle.” Wishes Tony Abbott well “coping with the stresses and strains of high office.” Those stresses and strains are clearly gone from Rudd, who is speaking in relaxed and even joyful tones.
UPDATE IX. Rudd claims success in holding Queensland seats and the seats of party executives. Where is this headed? To Rudd staying on?
UPDATE X. Now he’s quoting Obama and rhapsodising over the “light on the hill”. Snipes at Bill Glasson: “Eat your heart out.” On to name-checking individual Labor staffers, much as he did following his first failed comeback bid over Julia Gillard: “I love you all. And for putting up with me, I really thank you for that.”
UPDATE XI: Get to the point, man. He’s been talking for nearly 20 minutes. Staying or going?
UPDATE XII. Here we go: “There comes a time ... I will not be re-contesting the leadership.”


Unelectable Abbott triumphs. The green movement defied

Andrew Bolt September 08 2013 (7:03am)

TONY Abbott, written off as “unelectable”, has led the Coalition to one of its biggest wins.
This is a victory over a cultural elite that mocked him and Labor, which vilified him as a “misogynist"and bigot.
It is particularly a victory over the green movement, which Abbott fought from the day he won the Opposition leadership four years ago. 


Election washup

Andrew Bolt September 08 2013 (4:16am)

Results so far: Coalition 88, Labor 57, Greens 1, Bob Katter 1, Andrew Wilkie 1 and two in doubt, both Liberal - Sophie Mirabella fighting off an alleged rural independent and Clive Palmer battling to take a Liberal seat. Mirabella, I think, will hang on.
The win is less, then, that many expected. But still very big.
The Labor-held seats where it is trailing:

Add also the seats lost or left by Independents to the Coalition: Fisher (Peter Slipper), New England (Tony Windsor) and Lyne (Rob Oakeshott).
The Senate is still a mystery, but it’s still possible that the Coalition could have enough independents or - gulp, a Palmer politician to make deals with:
[The Coalition’s] Senate representation looked set to fall short of the 39 spots necessary to give the coalition an upper house majority, despite collecting additional seats in Saturday’s poll…

South Australia was on track to return Senator Nick Xenophon, and possibly his party’s second candidate, Stirling Griff.

By 11pm (AEST) Saturday the SA state swing against the ALP had passed 15 per cent, meaning preferences could determine the return of a second Labor senator or that of Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Nova Peris will become Australia’s first indigenous woman in parliament with her on track to win a Senate seat in the Northern Territory.
In Queensland, the Palmer United Party looked likely to collect a Senate seat with a 10 per cent swing pushing number one candidate, former football player Glenn Lazurus, close to reaching the necessary quota.
The party, making its political debut for billionaire businessman Clive Palmer, is also a chance of picking up a Senate ticket in Tasmania, where it saw a seven per cent swing.
In NSW, One Nation candidate Pauline Hanson or the Liberal Democrats remained a chance.
Another take on the Senate:

Instead of Labor and the Greens being able to form a blocking majority, the Abbott government must deal with the uncertainty of minor party senators, including one or perhaps two from the insurgent Palmer United Party, South Australian Nick Xenophon and an allied candidate, and potentially a Motoring Enthusiast Party senator from Victoria.
Results are highly provisional
The strength of the swing to the Coalition in Tasmania also increases the government’s chances of snaring a third Senate seat, to Labor’s two, with the Greens facing the Palmer insurgency for the sixth Senate spot…
Anxiety was high for the Coalition in NSW, where Arthur Sinodinos, who could be a senior figure in the new government, was in a life-and-death struggle with One Nation’s Pauline Hanson for the state’s sixth seat…
In South Australia, the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young was struggling to keep her head above water in a fight to retain the sixth seat, which looked set to become a minor party raffle.
The territories’ seats have historically been evenly shared by the major parties, but if their candidates fall below a quota, the door opens for the Greens at the Coalition’s expense in the ACT and an ex-Labor independent who could oust the ALP in the North Territory. Both major parties were hovering in the danger zone.
Swing against the Greens: 3.34 points, to 8.42. More than a quarter of their vote gone.
Two-party preferred swing against Labor: 3.5.per cent.
Palmer United Party wins 5.59 per cent, and is in the mix for two Senate seats and one lower house (with Palmer himself.)
Kevin Rudd’s election concession speech sounded like a cry of victory, and in praising himself he again misstated the truth:

I’m proud of the fact that we’ve held each of our seats in Queensland, I’m proud of the fact that every cabinet minister has been returned at this election
This was just a cheap and nasty crack at his opponent:
It would be un prime ministerial of me to say Bill Glasson eat your heart out, so I won’t.


Bolt Report today

Andrew Bolt September 08 2013 (4:11am)

On The Bolt Report on Channel 10:
Tony Abbott - from unelectable to landslide. Labor - from green dream to nightmare.
Our special panel - Warren Mundine, Michael Costa and Peter Reith.
At 10am and 4pm.

The twitter feed.
The place the videos appear




4 her



Working with the amazing Lawrence Leung.#goodtimes #TV #dudes #kickass@Lawrence_leung
If Obama Wants to Bomb Someone, How About the Syrian Terror Training Camps of the Benghazi Attackers? - FrontPage Mag
One in five applicants for jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency have ties to Muslim terrorist organizations, according to the latest round of Snowden leaks. And Israel is a major target of American counterintelligence. Washington is insane.

As Congress debates whether to authorize President Obama to engage in a punitive-deterrent military attack on Syria, the Assad regime is adopting what I have called the "dead baby" strategy, perfected by Hamas in its battles with Israel.  This approach is as simple as it is brutal:  Force the United States, as Hamas forced Israel, to kill as many civilians as possible by deliberately moving legitimate military targets into civilian areas, or by moving civilians into military areas.  Democracies, such as the United States and Israel, which care about avoiding civilian casualties, are then put to the tragic choice of either foregoing a legitimate attack against military targets, or by attacking them, being blamed for the civilian casualties, that were willfully caused by their enemies' illegal use of human shields.
This strategy can only work in an age of instant and pervasive television coverage of military actions.  Syria and Hamas know that every baby killed by a US or Israeli rocket will be paraded in front of television cameras being held by grieving mothers and fathers.  It is these vivid and horrifying pictures that are the goal of the dead baby strategy.  Syria and Hamas understand that these emotional pictures will mask the reality that these dead babies are not "collateral damage" caused by legitimate military actions, but rather deliberate targets selected by Syria and Hamas in a cynical attempt to shift blame from them onto the democracies that try their best to avoid civilian casualties, even in the face of deliberate efforts by Hamas and Syria to multiply them.
Lest there be any doubt about Syria's intentions.  Listen to retired American General David A. Deptula:
"The additional time gives Assad the potential advantage of complicating United States targeting by surreptitiously moving people or even chemical munitions into them, aiming to create casualties or chemical release as a direct result of US attacks."
United States General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that assessment when he said that American spy agencies are "keeping up with that movement", which includes prisoners who may be used as "human shields."
If there is any doubt that Hamas has used this despicable strategy, listen to Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council:
"For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land.  The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children.  This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.  It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death like you desire life.'"
When Hamas employed this dead baby strategy against Israel, it was a resounding success.  Despite the fact that Hamas deliberately fired rockets from schoolyards, hospitals and densely populated civilian areas, the international community blamed Israel for trying to prevent rockets from attacking its civilians by targeting the rockets and occasionally killing civilians.  It was Israel, rather than Hamas, that was accused of "war crimes," even though it is clearly a war crime to use civilians as human shields.  Israel had little choice but to protect its own citizens against rocket attacks, but the world focused not on the moral correctness of Israel's decisions, but rather on the gruesome pictures of dead Palestinians babies, even though some of them were actually caused by errant Palestinian rockets.
President Assad of Syria has apparently learned this lesson well and is now prepared to act on it.  This will once again put a democracy, this time the United States, to a difficult choice: forego legitimate military targets, thereby increasing the likelihood that Syria will continue to gas its own citizens; or attack these military targets, inevitably causing some civilian casualties and playing into the hands of Syria's dead baby strategy.
If the media and the international community continue to enable these tyrannical regimes by falling for this cynical dead baby strategy, it will continue and expand in scope.  It's a win-win strategy for tyrants who don't care about their own civilians, and a lose-lose strategy for democracies that do.
Another reason why this strategy succeeds is that the world seems to care far less about civilian deaths caused by Arab and Muslim nations against their own citizens than deaths caused by Western democracies.  If American bombs were to kill 100 Syrian civilians, there would be more outcry than when 100,000 Syrians, including tens of thousands of civilians, have been killed by Syrian forces on both sides of this civil war.  This is pure and simple racism, holding Western democracies to a higher standard than Muslim tyrannies and theocracies.  It's is an old story, but it will once again rear its bigoted head when and if American forces kill Syrian civilians who were deliberately placed in harm's way as human shields by the Syrian regime.
To stop this once and for all, the international community and the media must place the blame for these dead babies where it belongs:  on the shoulders of tyrants who deliberately use their own civilians as human shields.


My fellow Muslims are allowing our faith to be hijacked from us -- into the hands of theocrats and thugs.
Hizb-ut-Tahrir [Party of Liberation] is a radical, international pan-Islamic political organization. It is commonly associated with the goal of all Muslim countries: unifying as an Islamic state or caliphate, ruled by Islamic law, and with a head of state (caliph) elected by Muslims. Hizb-ut-Tahrir [HT], established in 1953 in East Jerusalem, has been banned in Russia, several Central Asian countries and many Middle Eastern Countries. It has also been banned in Germany on account of its desire to use force for political ends, as well as its anti-Semitism. It is even banned in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, already cauldrons of extremism.
Hizb ut-Tahrir rejects democracy as being un-Islamic and a Western system. But it members seem to have no qualms about using Western freedoms to promote their expansionist agenda and aggressive goals. Article 56 of their draft constitution for the proposed state describes conscription as a compulsory individual duty, for all citizens: "Every male Muslim, fifteen years and over, is obliged to undergo military training in readiness for jihad."
As the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir America, Dr. Mohammed Malkawi, remarked at a conference in Jordon in June 2013: "Let Britain, America, and the entire West go to hell, because the Caliphate is coming, Allah willing."
It was incomprehensible that they were hosting a meeting in Canada. Media inquiries received wishy-washy answers, as in, "We can't really do anything unless there is proof of violence." Further, as the HT meeting was scheduled to take place on a weekend, it was apparently of no particular interest to the media.
Were they really planning to establish a Caliphate even in the West? As a woman alone would arouse suspicion, my husband accompanied me. I pulled out the burqa I had imported from Afghanistan earlier in the year for a play. It would perhaps be the first and last time I adjusted a burqa around my body and even part of my face, with just my eyes showing – and dark glasses, and my husband in traditional Pakistani garb.
The heavily guarded community center in which the meeting was held was gender-segregated -- men and women separate. Most of the attendees were young converts, who had brought their children. When my husband sat with crossed legs, he was told that is not the Islamic way, so he immediately uncrossed them, in order not to attract attention.
Organizations such as HT are careful how they operate; their speakers are known for saying one thing in English and another in their own language. That way they can instill hardcore ideas and an ideology without being accused of using hate speech. At this meeting the message was clear: It is incumbent on every Muslim living in a non-Muslim land to impose sharia law; to work towards an Islamic state, and to convert people as is their mandate. According to the HT website, "The meaning of Jihad being a duty of sufficiency is that we initiate the fighting of the enemy even if he did not attack us. If the Muslims failed to initiate the fighting at any given time, they would all be sinful."
This by the way is totally against the teaching of the Quran, which advises Muslims to follow the laws of the lands in which they live. One young man in the audience asked who the Caliph would be, and was told it would be from among them.
I left the meeting trembling, partly with anger and partly with fear: anger because I saw a straightforward attempt to hijack our freedoms and, by turning them against us, to impose sharia; fear because my fellow Muslims are allowing our faith be hijacked from us -- into the hands of theocrats and thugs.



Another day in rural Canley Heights

It's time for both parties to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in —> #Syria
So why ignore Benghazi? - ed

4 her





I waited a few days for the excitement to die down before going to the new bridge... sure, I will not hit the top charts with this photo now, but I had the whole beach to myself. I really like the new span, and how elegant it appears. Later I traveled over it, and it's just superb....almost as beautiful as Yosemite... almost. — at San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

U.N. ambassador Samantha Power thought U.S. might win Iran’s support against Syria ==>

I'm ambivalent about this atheist meme .. I recognise the humour, but feel it is too sharp. It isn't kind. ed===
""Our own demons are often to hardest to recognise."
- Monkey
The Gray Lady shows little understanding of events in the Australian election, highlighting how badly mainstream press have diverted attention from serious issues. Bowen was successful in holding off Ray King in Western Sydney, but the smears employed to do so are appalling. Jason Clare was protected by a press running interference for him .. he made a challenge to Rudd on election night which sounds engineered. My bet is he will be the next leader, unopposed. It should worry responsible people that those following Fairfax and the ABC would not know of many serious issues. Why are Australians wanting a new government despite their economy which is superior to much of the developed world? Because the ALP were devaluing that economy at a substantial rate through a mixture of corruption and sleaze. The negative campaigning of the ALP through fear (Abbott, Abbott, Abbott, cuts cuts cuts) will not hold water in the aftermath, and my tip is that the electorate will reward Abbott in the future for his honesty and integrity despite ALP smears. Meanwhile, there are a number of corruption issues that are yet to play out. Heiner. AWU rorting. Aboriginal politics. Refugee drownings. National bankruptcy. Executive abuse. Workplace relations. How long before Murdoch acquires 70% media market share? ed


The Lighthouse and the Milky Way Galaxy

Getting ready for tonight's Aperture Academy class "The Dark Side of Photography" where Jean and I will be teaching our students how to shoot long exposures at night.

This picture was taken tonight. Many thanks to my friends who went with me. It was a fantastic night.
— at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

Matt Granz

Miguel caught me in the act of photographing something totally awesome. I think he did a fantastic job.

Click here to watch:Iranium 
Watch this powerful 56+ minute film by The Clarion Project presenting the danger posed to the free world by a nuclear Iran. It exposes the radical Islamic ideology guiding Iran's leaders and the devastation it causes. Sean Hannity called the film, "A Phenomenal Film... A Must-See Documentary."
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A 12+ minute film about the Jewish People, an eternal nation. The spiritual revival of the nation is happening today in Israel. This is one of Ari and Jeremy's best videos this year.
The Joy of the Soul
On April 2, 2009, an Arab terrorist with an axe killed Shlomo Nativ, a 13-year old boy in a small Jewish community in Gush Etzion. This film, made by the Nativ family, highlights one of the most unique and mysterious capacities of the Jewish Soul -- the capacity to turn the most awful tragedies into powerful wellsprings of vitality and joy. 
This film helps us experience a mystery beyond words that resides deep inside each one of us.
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FULL MOVIE: Against All Odds: In The Search of Miracles

In this 1:41 minute film, experience the modern miracles of Israel through the eyes of a seasoned journalist, Michael Greenspan, and explore the question: Why has Israel survived against all the odds? The reenactments are top-quality and the riveting stories will have you glued to your seat as you watch miracles occurring in the Holy Land of the State of Israel!
Battlefield Detectives - Six day War
Battlefield Detectives – Israel’s Six Day War

This 45 minute film will blow you away! At 7:45 a.m. on June 5, 1967, Israel launched the most successful preemptive air strike in military history. How did this tiny state manage to overcome an Arab enemy that had twice as many soldiers, three times as many tanks, and four times as many airplanes? With firsthand testimony from combatants and military planners plus access to key figures in the intelligence world, gain insights into the meticulous preparations that the Israeli military undertook in the 1960s.
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Watch this fabulous 50+ minute movie that follows celebrity Kosher chef Jamie Geller of as she takes her family from New York City to live in Israel!
If you love Israel you will love watching this touching movie.
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WE REMEMBER AND THAT'S HOW ISRAEL HONORS LIFE! The Massacre of the Munich 11 Israelis in 1972 Olympics, 41 years ago!
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Click here to watch: The Middle East Problem
This is a fabulous video that simply analyzes the true problem of the Middle East, between the Muslim countries and Israel. Definitely watch it!
International law is on Israel's side. Watch the video to understand why!
This must be one of the best video presentations that clearly explains international law and the legal case for Israel and Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria. Definitely watch this to have a better understanding of international law so you can talk about Israel's situation intelligently with others.
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It is with a deep sense of responsibility that the Liberal National Coalition begins its work for you – the Australian people.

Elections by their nature are tough contests and I honour everyone, from every political party, who stood or participated in yesterday’s election. I respect the conviction that makes men and women stand up for the things they believe in and I pay tribute to it.

It is our differences that prove we are free and it is our willingness to come together after the contest that makes our country strong.

We are a great country and a great people.  My colleagues and I are determined to deliver the strong, stable and accountable government that you deserve.

My team will hit the ground running and deliver the stronger Australia and better future that you voted for.

Click here to read my full letter to the people of Australia.

There is much to do and my colleagues and I are grateful for the trust that the people have placed in us. We have our Plan.  From today we will move decisively on our commitments and deliver the stronger Australia that all of us want.

Tony Abbott
Authorised by Brian Loughnane, Cnr Blackall and Macquarie Streets, Barton  ACT 2604. 
Copyright © Liberal Party of Australia.


Shortly before 9pm last night I had the great privilege of informing Tony Abbott that he was in a position to command a majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

While he was obviously pleased, I was struck by the great sense of responsibility with which our Prime Minister-elect received the news.

Shortly afterwards we were joined by John Howard, whose personal delight at the success of Tony and the team was clear.

In addition to the unprecedented efforts of Tony Abbott and his senior colleagues, our success yesterday was due to the efforts of many, many people.

I wish to thank our great team of candidates and the more than 150,000 volunteers who tirelessly supported them over the last five weeks.

I am deeply grateful to the Party Executive led by our President, Alan Stockdale, and our Treasurer, Philip Higginson, for their dedicated work and support.

I particularly want to thank my Deputy, Julian Sheezel, for his phenomenal support for me and our candidates. I would also like to thank my National Party counterpart, Scott Mitchell, Tony Abbott's fantastic staff led by Peta Credlin, as well as our team of State Directors and all the professional staff across Australia. I am privileged to lead the most experienced team of political professionals in Australia. They are one of the Party’s most significant assets.

And to each of you, for whatever you have done over the last three years to assist our cause: Thank you!

Due to your efforts, Australia will, in the next few days, have a Government ready to get on with business, restore stability and certainty and build a stronger Australia and a better future for all.

Thank you
Brian Loughnane signature
Brian Loughnane
Authorised by Brian Loughnane, Cnr Blackall and Macquarie Streets, Barton  ACT 2604.
Copyright © Liberal Party of Australia.


Huey Long


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“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”Colossians 1:28 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay."
Mark 2:4
Faith is full of inventions. The house was full, a crowd blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the Lord and placing the palsied man before him. If we cannot get sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods we must use extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luke 5:19, that a tiling had to be removed, which would make dust and cause a measure of danger to those below, but where the case is very urgent we must not mind running some risks and shocking some proprieties. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what might, faith ventured all so that her poor paralysed charge might have his sins forgiven. O that we had more daring faith among us! Cannot we, dear reader, seek it this morning for ourselves and for our fellow-workers, and will we not try today to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory of the Lord.
The world is constantly inventing; genius serves all the purposes of human desire: cannot faith invent too, and reach by some new means the outcasts who lie perishing around us? It was the presence of Jesus which excited victorious courage in the four bearers of the palsied man: is not the Lord among us now? Have we seen his face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt his healing power in our own souls? If so, then through door, through window, or through roof, let us, breaking through all impediments, labour to bring poor souls to Jesus. All means are good and decorous when faith and love are truly set on winning souls. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts. O Lord, make us quick to suggest methods of reaching thy poor sin-sick ones, and bold to carry them out at all hazards.


"There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet."
Jeremiah 49:23
Little know we what sorrow may be upon the sea at this moment. We are safe in our quiet chamber, but far away on the salt sea the hurricane may be cruelly seeking for the lives of men. Hear how the death fiends howl among the cordage; how every timber starts as the waves beat like battering rams upon the vessel! God help you, poor drenched and wearied ones! My prayer goes up to the great Lord of sea and land, that he will make the storm a calm, and bring you to your desired haven! Nor ought I to offer prayer alone, I should try to benefit those hardy men who risk their lives so constantly. Have I ever done anything for them? What can I do? How often does the boisterous sea swallow up the mariner! Thousands of corpses lie where pearls lie deep. There is death-sorrow on the sea, which is echoed in the long wail of widows and orphans. The salt of the sea is in many eyes of mothers and wives. Remorseless billows, ye have devoured the love of women, and the stay of households. What a resurrection shall there be from the caverns of the deep when the sea gives up her dead! Till then there will be sorrow on the sea. As if in sympathy with the woes of earth, the sea is forever fretting along a thousand shores, wailing with a sorrowful cry like her own birds, booming with a hollow crash of unrest, raving with uproarious discontent, chafing with hoarse wrath, or jangling with the voices of ten thousand murmuring pebbles. The roar of the sea may be joyous to a rejoicing spirit, but to the son of sorrow the wide, wide ocean is even more forlorn than the wide, wide world. This is not our rest, and the restless billows tell us so. There is a land where there is no more sea--our faces are steadfastly set towards it; we are going to the place of which the Lord hath spoken. Till then, we cast our sorrows on the Lord who trod the sea of old, and who maketh a way for his people through the depths thereof.

Today's reading: Proverbs 1-2, 1 Corinthians 16 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Proverbs 1-2

Purpose and Theme
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 16

The Collection for the Lord's People
1 Now about the collection for the Lord's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
Personal Requests
5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you-for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me....

[Phĭn'ĕhăs] - face of trust or mouth of a serpent.
  1. A son of Eleazar, one of Aaron's sons, who slew Zimri and Cozbi. He manifested great zeal, was the third high priest of the Jews and discharged his office most faithfully for nineteen years (Exod. 6:25; Num. 25:14, 15).
  2. The younger son of Eli, the priest and judge of Israel. Phinehas, with his brother Hophni, disgraced the sacred office of priesthood and both were slain ( 1 Sam. 1:3; 2:34; 4:4-19; 14:3).
  3. The father of Eleazar, a priest who returned with Ezra (Ezra 8:33).
Melissa Taylor
September 7, 2011
No Condemnation
Melissa Taylor
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Do you ever hear the whispers of condemnation telling you that you're not what you should be, that you're always disappointing someone and that you'll never change?
I do. Unfortunately, self-condemnation is a default for me and, if I let it, it can wipe out my confidence as a woman, wife and mom.
Thankfully, I'm just as familiar with God's promises as I am with Satan's lies. My heart has heard Jesus' gentle reminders of His love and goodness, like His "there is now no condemnation" promise in today's key verse.
However, although I know this truth that He speaks over me, I've learned that it's up to me to pause and respond to it. If I don't keep my ears tuned to His voice and my mind set on His thoughts, I forget His promises.
Condemning thoughts come back in and drown out the confidence I have through Christ.
One morning I was struggling with self-condemning thoughts and God guided me to these words written in my morning devotion: "Do not listen to voices of accusation for they are not from Me."
I opened my journal and responded from my heart:
Hello Lord. You know I often feel disappointed in myself and call myself names. You know my feelings have been hurt by someone's comments. Comments that cut me down and stole my confidence. Instead of feeling worthy, I feel like a loser. I hear You telling me not to listen to voices of accusation. Thank You for this reminder right when I needed it.
The devotion continued, "Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me."
Again, I reached out to Him:
Lord, You know I spoke unkind words to my friend. Thank You for gently reminding me to "pause before responding." You are so faithful to speak truth to me. Thank You for these words-a reminder of what You want from me. I needed this today, right now.
If left to defend ourselves from self-condemnation or the condemnation of others, we'd be defeated every time. Thankfully we don't have to defend ourselves. In fact, God's Word promises, "the Lord himself will fight for" us. (Exodus 14:13-14, NLT)
We have the greatest defender in God and His Word. His truths re-build confidence that condemnation breaks down.
Our part is to know God's promises, respond to His truth, and believe it! Staying saturated in His Word and taking time to listen to His voice is the only way we can overcome condemnation. Reading devotions, digging into books on our specific area of struggle, participating in Bible studies and talking to Jesus through prayer helps re-build the confidence that is ours in Christ.
As we take the time to listen to Him today, let's ask Him to remind us that He is with us, He loves us, and that it's true: "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And, that means you and me!
Dear Lord, when I forget, please remind me that I am not condemned. Help me to keep my eyes and thoughts on You. And to accept Your Word as truth so my confidence stays strong in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Ask Jesus to build back your confidence and join thousands of women who are doing the same by taking part in Melissa Online Bible Study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope! Sign up for this study on Melissa's blog.
You can also participate in the life-changing accompanying A Confident Heart Conference Call series!Click here to sign up!
The encouragement Melissa found which she shared in today's devotion was from Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
Application Steps:
When spending time with the Lord, pause and ask Him if there is something He's trying to tell you. Ask Him to help you apply His Word to your life.
Are there condemning thoughts about myself that I believe?
What are some of God's promises I can read, hold onto and believe to replace my accusing thoughts with His affirmations?
Power Verses:
Exodus 14:13-14, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (NLT)
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (NIV 1984)
© 2011 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
September 7, 2011
I Need a Friend
Part 5
Today's Truth
But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.' When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her (Ruth 1:16-18, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Friendship is the catalyst for every other love and the foundation of every healthy relationship. God created us to need each other. We need friends and we need to be a friend. Over the past few weeks, we have examined the friendship between Naomi and Ruth, a relationship that illustrates vital keys to a healthy relationship between friends.
Key one: Time
Key two: Risk
Key three: Transparency
Key four: Touch
Key five: Correction
Key six: Forgiveness
Key seven: Freedom
Key eight: Loyalty
One of the most important friendship keys is loyalty. Ruth was loyal to Naomi. God honored that loyalty and used it to attract her future husband, Boaz. "Boaz replied, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband--how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before" (Ruth 2:11). Boaz was struck by the loyalty of Ruth, realizing that she was the kind of woman he wanted to marry. True friends are loyal and committed to each other. Here are some ways to build loyalty into friendship.
  • Don't criticize friends to other people.
  • Cheer at the successes of your friends.
  • Encourage the strengths of your friends.
  • Never use a friend's weaknesses to your advantage.
  • Overlook "cracks" in the armor and "tilted" halos of friends.
Protect the heart of your friend by guarding your friendship with loyalty.
Key nine: Action
Ruth demonstrated her love for Naomi by her actions. She went with her to Bethlehem and worked in the field for her. "Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action" (1 John 3:18). The best friendships are created by layers of kind actions.
1. Rituals or traditions are one of most important ingredients in a healthy friendship. It may be a weekly lunch date, annual shopping trip or dinner and a movie once a month. The best friendships are rich with memories accumulated over time.
2. Gifts are a symbol of time and energy spent for a friend. It is not the cost or size of the gift, but the thought behind it that says, "She thought of me." It is a tangible reminder of relationship. Notes, funny cards, a favorite snack or magazine, phone calls for no reason, favors done back and forth are all tiny statements of love. When my husband was in the hospital, one friend bought groceries, picked up my kids from school and delivered my cleaning. I didn't ask for help, but she knew I needed help. When you sense a need, just do it, because sometimes, hurting friends can't ask for help.
3. Words of a friend are filled with acceptance and approval. In friendships, we need to be cautious with criticism and liberal with praise. Paul writes, "So encourage each other to build each other up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11). People become what we encourage them to be. A true friend trains his heart and mind to pass over faults in search of strong points. Choose to draw the strong qualities of friends into the spotlight and be their cheerleader. Friends look for reasons to praise God in each other.
4. Listening by definition means "attention, with the intention to understand." James says we should be "quick to listen and slow to speak" (James 1:19). Talking is sharing but listening is caring. Take a tip from creation. Ears aren't made to shut but the mouth is. Put away your sermon, save your advice and just listen. Sometimes the best gift a friend can offer is a listening ear.
The words of Jesus found in John 13:34-35, portray the perfect backdrop for God's love. "And so I am giving a new commandment to you now--love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples." Does the world know we are His disciples by the way we love and relate to each other?
Chad was a shy, quiet little boy. One day he came home and told his mother he'd like to make a valentine for everyone in his class. Her heart sank. "I wish he wouldn't do that!" she thought. She had watched the children when they walked home from school. Her Chad was always behind them. They laughed and hung on to each other and talked to each other. But Chad was never included. Nevertheless, she decided she would go along with her son. She purchased the paper, glue and crayons and for three whole weeks, night after night, Chad painstakingly made thirty-five valentines. Valentine's Day dawned, and Chad was frantic with excitement! He carefully placed the valentines in a bag, and bolted out the door. His mom decided to bake his favorite cookies because she knew he would be disappointed when he came home from school. It hurt her to think that he wouldn't get many valentines -- maybe none at all. That afternoon she had the cookies and milk on the table. Finally, when she heard their voices, she looked out the window to see the children laughing and having the best time. As usual, there was Chad in the rear but walking a little faster than usual. She fully expected him to burst into tears as soon as he got inside. His arms were empty, she noticed, and when the door opened, she choked back the tears. "Honey, I have some warm cookies and milk for you" but he hardly heard her words. He just marched right on by, his face glowing, and all he could say was: "Not a one -- not one." The mother's heart sank. Then he added, "I didn't forget a one, not a single one!" When God is in control of our friendships, we will be a better friend and have more true friends.
Let's Pray
Father, I know that I really do need friends but often let the fear of rejection keep me from reaching out in friendship. I choose against that fear right now. I want to please and honor You by the way I love my friends. Help me to become the kind of friend that points others to You.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Life really is all about who you make the journey with. Read the ABC's of friendship below and make a plan to put each one into action this week.
  1. Allow people to get close. Friendship requires taking a risk. Read Proverbs 18:24 (NLT) "There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother."
  2. Become a great friend. Which way do you run in times of trouble? Read Proverbs 17:17a (NIV) "A friend loves at all times ..."
  3. Celebrate your friends. Who do you need to celebrate this week? How will you celebrate their friendship? ReadPhilippians 1:3 (NLT) "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."
More from the Girlfriends
Don't miss the Dollar Days Sale going on in Mary's online store right now! Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary's E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. I Need a Friend is also available in Bible Study format.
Be sure to check out Mary's weekly Online Bible Study: Stress Management 101. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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Mixed Results: Paul stirs up acclaim, scorn or riots

Today's reading: Acts 17
Acts 17:18Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?"
Jesus told a parable about a farmer sowing seed (Matthew 13:3-9). Some seed falls on rocky places, some among thorns and some on fertile ground. This chapter, which reviews events from Paul's second journey, demonstrates that he, the first foreign missionary, encounters all these responses in quick succession.
In Thessalonica Paul's visit sparks a riot. The next town, Berea, proves far more receptive. After studying the Scriptures to test Paul's message, many believe, both Jews and non-Jews. Yet agitators from Thessalonica soon stir up trouble there as well, for Paul is often trailed by hostile opponents seeking to disrupt his work.
Showdown in Athens
In the sophisticated university city of Athens, Paul faces perhaps his most daunting missionary challenge. This renowned city of philosophers subjects each new thinker to a grueling intellectual ordeal. Local philosophers, full of scorn for Paul, haul him before the Aeropagus, a philosophical council that oversees religion and morals.
Confident that the new faith can compete in the marketplace of ideas, Paul stands before the skeptical audience and, in a burst of eloquence, delivers an extraordinary speech to a gathering of philosophers and thinkers. Apparently, he meets with little success, and the results trouble him.
Paul gains few converts among the elite Athenians, but he next travels to the city of Corinth and founds a church remarkable for its ethnic diversity. Some scholars believe that the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians describe the aftereffects of his experience in Athens.

Life Question

  • When talking with your friends and acquaintances about the gospel, what kind of approach do you find works best?

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