Monday, December 16, 2013

Mon Dec 16th Todays News

Press Gallery are easily manipulated by those saying what they want to hear. But if someone tells the truth, and they don't like it, they can figuratively put their hands over their ears and call out "La la la la." Phillip Adams tweets how disturbed he is by NRMA. I feel that way some times. Makes me want to register with the NRA, buy a rifle and .. defend myself. Two fraudsters stood side by side as Mandela was remembered. Sadly, they did not recognise each other, and so missed an opportunity to talk shop. Now that the ALP has lost an election, maybe it is time to consider banning it. We have to be democratic about it, we could start by removing any ABC employee who had heard of the ALP and thought they were a responsible political party. My church is culturally diverse and welcoming. So we probably aren't wanted in East London.
Did the ALP spend enough when they were in government? Craig Thomson has some expense issues related to his time in office. Greens profit from AGW alarmism. Advocates of drowning profit from weak boat person policy.
IPA in support of free speech is the organisation championing Australian Democracy.

Happy birthday and many happy returns to those born on this day, across the years



Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (4:44pm)

According to the ABC
Julia Gillard’s inner Melbourne home sells for $921,000 at auction 
Looks like a job for the fact checkers.
UPDATE. Further on Gillard and her Twitter-lovin’ media advisor
Thousands of emails leaked to the ABC show Julia Gillard’s chief media adviser John McTernan used a “Twitter army” to attack Coalition figures, promoting the Labor-generated attacks to journalists as evidence of broader public opinion …
The emails also show government staffers co-producing a meme about deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop to “push on Twitter”. 
Bishop increased her vote at the last election. It’s another triumph for McTernan, who evidently was part of a Labor fakery operation: 
In one email a Government staffer revealed it was in contact with and pushed messages through an account parodying the Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne called @FakePyne.
When Mr Abbott told his party room Ms Gillard would be a tough opponent because she “won’t lie down and die”, Mr McTernan asked staff “can the tweet army who hounded Grahame Morris [a right wing lobbyist] take this one on?” …
When Fairfax journalist Jonathan Swan published an article reporting the Coalition’s pledge to deliver “cheaper” broadband, Mr McTernan wrote to his press secretaries “Can someone: A. Speak to him B. Smash him C. Direct him to twitter mockery D. Smash him.” 
Swan still has his job.


Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (5:26am)

Sure, their roadside assistance deals could be a little more flexible, but this still seems to be an overreaction:




Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (5:17am)

A ridiculous and unqualified faker took to the stage last week during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. And next to Barack Obama was some guy who hasn’t quite mastered sign language.


Thamsanqa Jantjie’s erratic performance provoked international ridicule, but all he really did was turn the failed president’s words into a disappointing jumble of incomprehensible nonsense. As is now apparent, Obama is quite capable of achieving this by himself.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'BROTHERS IN FRAUD'


Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (3:40am)

Online polls are unreliable. Well, let’s put that more clearly: online polls are the least reliable things on earth besides North Korea’s state-run media.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'EXCEPTIONAL FIGURES'


Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (3:36am)

I know too much about Joe Hildebrand, but there is still a great deal to surprise and delight even the experienced Hildebrand observer in his wonderful new book.
It isn’t entirely Joe in goofy mode, which would be fine in any case. Chapters on his younger brother Patrick are achingly well written and extremely moving. Joe hasn’t seen his sweet little brother since 1987. Tragically, nobody has.


Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (3:14am)

Queensland PhD student Jeremy Webb – who believes we’ve reached “the advent of peak car” – considers recent events
With the demise of Holden – and in all probability now of the whole Australian car industry – it’s timely to look now at the future of the car itself. 
Hey, why not? And while we’re at it, with the dismissal of Stuart Broad in the Third Test it’s timely to look now at the future of all ball sports. Holden sells around 120,000 cars in Australia every year, which is only 0.16 per cent of the global total. Jeremy continues: 
A final nail in the car’s coffin promises to be carbon emissions. 
Go tell it to China, friend, where automotive production has increased from two million cars in 2000 to nearly 20 million cars so far this year, with a whole lot of peak still to come. While we’re on the topic, take a look at Britain’s carbon tycoons.
(Via Waxing Gibberish)


Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (3:06am)

Ex-Fairfax radio guy Jason Morrison is now writing excellent columns for the Daily Telegraph.


Tim Blair – Monday, December 16, 2013 (2:33am)

Happy hour in the UK: 
Dozens of Muslim protestors gathered to demand that businesses stop selling alcohol in a popular East London area yesterday.
The group, led by former Al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary, warned restaurants and shops in the Brick Lane area that they face 40 lashes if they continue to sell the product, which is banned under Sharia Law. 
They look like they could use a drink
Choudary … also defended three ‘fantastic’ men who were jailed last week for attacking drinkers while on a ‘Muslim patrol’.
He was referring to an incident in which Jordan Horner and another Islamic extremist told a couple they could not hold hands while walking down the street, because it was in a ‘Muslim area’. 
I’m guessing gay marriage isn’t high on the agenda.

How to con the Canberra gallery the Labor way. Tell them a mate’s tweet is “public opinion”

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (5:00pm)

Today the ABC “exposes” what every press gallery journalist should have known at the time - that John McTernan, Julia Gillard’s communications director, was using Twitter to con them:

Similarly, when the Coalition released its broadband policy in April earlier this year, Labor pointed to the hashtag #fraudband used by online critics to ridicule the watered down version of the National Broadband Network.
Mr McTernan emailed his staff asking for regular samples of “Twitter coverage” of the Coalition’s policy, beginning with the left-leaning user @geeksrulz as it would be “good to point [the] gallery at?".”
The ABC fell for McTernan’s spin because too many Leftist journalists are only too eager to have their prejudices confirmed, and too many even now mistake the Left-leaning twitterverse for public opinion. The World Today fell for McTernan’s fraudband strategy:
And instead of the government’s plan to bring fibre optic cable into each and every home, they’d deliver it by using existing copper phone wires.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s the latter point that’s attracted the most attention, particularly on social media. Twitter users have created a special hashtag for the occasion, they’re calling it: “fraudband”.
Here are some of their thoughts. 

TWEET 1: Hey Tony and Malcolm, 1980 called and they want their modem back.
TWEET 2: I actually felt sorry for Malcolm Turnbull today, imagine having to spruik that with a straight face.
TWEET 3: Coalition has lost my vote this election, their new internet plans are out of touch and so last century.
How often did this happen?
Remember how the media let McTernan talk them into hailing Julia Gillard’s infamous misogyny speech - deceitful, unfair, divisive and a diversion - into a brilliant success after he and his staff referred them to praise on the web? Take Laurie Oakes:

ON Wednesday night, the Prime Minister’s communications director, John McTernan, was with a group of Labor staffers in a Canberra bar.
Realising who they were from their conversation, the 19-year-old barmaid commented that “Julia Gillard’s done well in Parliament this week”.
“Were you watching Question Time?” McTernan asked. “No,” the young woman said, “I’ve been reading”
Jezebel is a popular American website for women that lauded Gillard as “one badass motherf ... er” after what it called her “epic speech on sexism”....
... it was clear within days the PM’s gender-based declaration of war had made quite an impact with many Australian women.
The way it went viral via the internet was a significant factor in ensuring it registered as a powerful moment.
In fact, very senior journalists were even impressed by praise overseas for Gillard’s speech written by a McTernan mate he’d been talking to:

Women’s Weekly was convinced Julia Gillard’s furious speech last week “has the whole world talking”. It was particularly struck by praise from one source:. 
[It ] was even praised by conservative British magazine The Spectator.
“No matter what you think of her politics, there’s much to admire in the manner in which Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, sets about Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition,” columnist Alex Massie wrote.
How important those few paragraphs in a Spectator blog proved to be in persuading journalists that everyone from American feminists to British conservatives were cheering Gillard.
Michelle Grattan:

On The Spectator blogs, Alex Massie directed readers to the video of Tuesday’s House of Representatives, writing: ‘’Anyone who admires the cut and thrust of parliamentary theatre and debate will enjoy these 15 minutes. Mr Abbott does not look best amused. But then he’s just been carved to pieces, so he wouldn’t would he?’’
Jacqueline Maley:

Gillard’s thunder clap of lady-rage echoed east to west across the interwebs, from the tweedy corner of the conservative British magazine The Spectator, to the hip US femmo website Jezebel (who anointed Gillard a ‘’badass motherf---ker’’).
Same with Stephanie Gardiner at The Age, who went on to quote Massie at length:

Under the headline ‘’More than just a man’s bitch’’, in reference to part of Ms Gillard’s speech, the website for the British conservative magazine The Spectator also lauded the Prime Minister.
Reality check. So how did Massie come to take interest in Gillard’s speech? Did someone alert him? Why was he disposed to like it and to write about it? Who then alerted journalists here to Massie’s praise?
Well, one clue may lie in the fact Massie is actually friends with fellow Scot John McTernan, Julia Gillard’s chief media adviser: 

How did Labor dare do this to us? How greedy were voters not to cry “enough”?

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (7:14am)

Labor should be in the dock for recklessly spending us into such dangerous debt:
FEDERAL budget deficits for the next four years are set to double to more than $100 billion in a drastic revision to the nation’s outlook, as Tony Abbott vows to embark on a “repair job” to cut spending…
Federal cabinet will meet in Sydney today to sign off on dire new forecasts that will show a deficit of about $50bn this financial year and $30bn the next, sharpening the political debate over the cuts needed to balance the budget.
Add the astonishing blowout in the NBN and it shames us that we for so long tolerated a government which spent so much on so little to such disadvantage.
Paul Sheehan:

At 12.30 on Tuesday, Hockey, who has also been the stand-out thespian of the new federal parliament, will unveil the real horror, dysfunction and narcissism of Kevin Rudd’s contribution to Australian political history, disably assisted by Julia Gillard. Hockey will release the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, known in the trade as MYEFO, which will show a budget deficit much worse than Labor led us to believe, probably close to $50 billion, debt obligations much higher than Labor led us to believe, and unfunded liabilities that are so irresponsibly crushing the government will have to walk away from many of them. The most monumental folly is the National Broadband Network, whose economic rationale was worked out on a piece of paper by Rudd. The scheme subsequently created by former communications minister Stephen Conroy would cost more than $70 billion and never recover its cost of capital. The Abbott government will have to start again.

Craig Thomson claims again. And again

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (5:15am)

Astonishing. Craig Thomson, already facing court over the alleged abuse of expenses, charged taxpayers almost $14,000 in expenses for him and his family around the time of a Bali family holiday, as well as for business class travel to Melbourne on the day of a court hearing.
His excuses lack a little something. 

Green profits of doom

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (4:52am)

Britain’s Mail on Sunday on the great green gravy train:
A three-month investigation shows that some of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their efforts…
Four of the nine-person Climate Change Committee, the official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were until very recently, being paid by firms that benefit from committee decisions.
A new breed of lucrative green investment funds, which were set up to expand windfarm energy, are in practice a means of taking green levies paid by hard-pressed consumers and handing them to City investors and financiers.

Cut in boat arrivals, Age says nothing. Cut in boat activists, Age says plenty

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (4:41am)

The Abbott Government cuts the number of boat people arriving last week to just three.
The Age does not report this.
The Abbott Government cuts the number of psychologists, psychiatrists and activists on one of its advisory committees on boat people to just one.
The Age is in a fury.
Note also in The Age report a blurring of the distinction between government advisers and people who actually treat those in detention. 

Not immigration but colonisation

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (4:31am)

Some forms of immigration to the West now look like colonisation instead:

Dozens of Muslim protestors gathered to demand that businesses stop selling alcohol in a popular East London area yesterday.
The group, led by former Al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary, warned restaurants and shops in the Brick Lane area that they face 40 lashes if they continue to sell the product, which is banned under Sharia Law…

Choudary … also defended three ‘fantastic’ men who were jailed last week for attacking drinkers while on a ‘Muslim patrol’.
He was referring to an incident in which Jordan Horner and another Islamic extremist told a couple they could not hold hands while walking down the street, because it was in a ‘Muslim area’.

Protesting against such colonisation, however, is still the height of bad manners, as Clarrisa Dickson Wright found last year:
The television chef has caused outrage by saying that her visit to a Muslim area of Leicester was “the most frightening experience of my life”, and claiming that it left her feeling like a “pariah” in her own country.
Dickson Wright, 65, who reached fame as one half of the Two Fat Ladies, said visiting the city made her feel like a “complete outcast” and she described the area as a “ghetto”. 

Yudhoyono wants an even stronger bond

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (4:22am)

Some high quality massaging from the Abbott Government must have gone on:

INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is determined to restore his country’s relationship with Australia, telling The Australian he hopes it will be better than ever by the time he leaves office next year.
Dr Yudhoyono’s comments are the most positive statement he has made about the relationship since it emerged last month that in 2009 Australian agencies spied on Indonesian targets, including the President, his wife and senior advisers…
On Saturday, The Weekend Australian revealed that DSD, which has since been renamed the Australian Signals Directorate, targeted her because she had become the President’s most important adviser, was assuming an important role in government decisions and was playing a broader role in Indonesian politics…

Dr Yudhoyono instructed [Indonesian ambassador to the US Dino] Djalal to ring me to convey the President’s personal reaction to the stories…
Dr Yudhoyono also pointed out that ...  the dispute over the spying story had hurt him personally. The President said he was determined to repair the relationship and would work towards a solution. This needs to happen through the steps the two nations had agreed on. It also needed to happen in a way that satisfied his domestic needs.
Labor spied. Abbott repaired.
Let’s see Labor’s media mates spin that. 

ABC poll-axed

Andrew Bolt December 16 2013 (4:02am)

ABC host Barrie Cassidy draws comfort from an on-line poll by a Leftist publication:

A recent online poll on ABC funding in the Fairfax media drew 21,145 respondents. Of that, 72 per cent agreed the ABC was an excellent and essential service that deserved more money.
Tim Blair draws a lesson from an on-line poll by a News Corp publication:
To test Cassidy’s call, over the weekend I ran a poll at my own Daily Telegraph site, simply asking what should be done to the ABC. It quickly drew more than 22,000 responses. Of those, only 3.1 per cent agreed that the ABC deserved a funding increase.
Another 96.9 per cent preferred these options:
Slash funding; privatise it; mass fraud trials for ABC management and staff; compulsory salary repayments from all ABC staff; sell all ABC properties, equipment and presenters on eBay; Bataan-style ABC march from Melbourne to Darwin; relocate ABC headquarters in Pyongyang; and nationalise private assets of ABC staff. 

In Lawrence of Arabia, he hold his hand in a flame, as a child watches. "How do you do it?" asks the child, "How do you not feel the pain?" He replies "The trick isn't to not feel the pain. The trick is to not care" - ed







Larry Pickering


I made a call to my Constitutional lawyer golfing friend: “Hi mate. Can an elected Government make an executive decision regarding bringing forward or delaying a tax, legislated for by a previous Government, without introducing new legislation? Because the Labor Government did exactly that in respect to Company tax. What do ya reckon?”

“Well, Larry", he said, “the ATO is not interested in the minutiae of tax legislation, only what is due. It depends on what the legislation actually says, but I would be surprised if it had not allowed for timeous variations in collection. The ALP would want the ability to make tax ‘provisional’ or be collected in advance.”

“Thanks mate, we’ll organise a game in January, ok?”

So I checked with Greg Hunt, Minister for Environment: "The first payment for carbon tax liabilities incurred during 2014-15 is due on 15 June 2015 with final payment due 1 February 2016.

"However, as the existing legislation will be abolished effective 1 July 2014, there will be no further liabilities beyond the current financial year. Hope that helps, Larry”, he replied

Hmmm, interesting.

So, it seems the new “tuff” Tony, the one who this morning suggested the Indonesians should wake up to themselves and not act illegally, could have set a trap for Labor’s Left.

There seems no impediment to Abbott simply ordering the ATO that the collection of all carbon and mining taxes be placed in abeyance until July 1, 2014. Then simply abolish it! But he cannot negate the tax without Senate concurrence.

Abbott also said he was determined to have the Carbon tax repeal Bill “done and dusted” before the new year. Now why would he say that, knowing the Senate had already rejected it?

Was he purposefully allowing Labor to first reject the Bill in the Senate thereby forcing them to take full ownership of it forever?

Would Labor now be on record as having defied the mandate given an elected Government? This would surely make for political advantage in elections yet to come.

Is Hockey drawing a line under Labor’s disasters at tomorrow’s MYEFO announcement, leaving both disastrous taxes, and Labor's refusal to allow the repeal legislation, in their deficit bin and indelibly imprinted on Shorten’s forehead?

If that’s the game, it’s a clever one, and something Shorten could never be expected to see through.

I detect a certain confidence in Abbott's delivery!



THE GREENS INFILTRATE NAURU’S SALVOS... while Honiara becomes the new processing centre

The Government has secretly called for tenders to build a new offshore processing centre in another recipient of substantial Aussie aid, The Solomons, according to an informant. 

A senior Government official stationed on Nauru has described the current state of affairs as alarming, and in some cases almost comical, with costs running completely out of control.

“There are no port facilities here, we have to use barges and the only crane keeps breaking down”, he said

Daily 737 flights carrying supplies between Brisbane and Nauru are costing $114,000 each and often they transport as few as 3 or 4 people for specialist care.

“People don’t realise that Nauru is half way to the US (I presume he means Hawaii) and the larger C17s are burning up $400,000 a week in fuel”, said the official.

“The Salvation Army has been infiltrated by pink-haired, tattooed people with rings hanging from every orifice and boy, are they are causing havoc”, said the informant.

“The transferees are getting their clothing via the Salvos who in turn get it from Aussie collection bins. Thing is that they refuse to wear anything other than big brand name stuff like Dolce, Levi, Nike, Adidas etc.

“So the Pink Salvos are picking out the best stuff and giving it to the boaties while needy Aussies back home are getting left with crap”, he said.

“Iranians and Afghanis, who are banned from having cigarettes since they burnt the place down, are dealing in contraband and, assisted by the Pink Salvos, are now getting all the smokes they want from down town.”

The official described the tolerated sexual behaviour of the all-male Iranians as disgusting and they have now been isolated in No. 2 Centre for health reasons.

“The Tamils are the best behaved and mostly follow Hinduism which does not allow masturbation, so it was arranged that they form circles on the floor and masturbate each other. Apparently that's permissible”, he said.

“The Pink Salvos also supplied inmates with hundreds of jars of Vegemite saying the vitamin B component would act as a repellent to the mosquitoes.

“Unfortunately none of them liked the taste so they smeared it over every part of their bodies. All you could see was their teeth.

"It then attracted every creepy crawly on the island and the whole camp had to be fumigated the next day.”

But the official had high praise for Minister Morrison, “At least he has been up front with us as to where this is all going”, he said.

Warren Truss

Today marks 100 days since the election of the Abbott Truss Coalition Government. 

Australian's made a clear and distinct choice on 7th September, 2013. We are getting on with the job of cleaning up Labor's mess, delivering on our election commitments and implementing our plan. 

Read more on the first 100 days:



Israel Defense Forces
Today we grieve with the family of Master Sgt. Shlomi Cohen, 31 years old, from Afula. Master Sgt. Cohen was killed last night when a Lebanese Armed Forces sniper shot at him as he was travelling in his vehicle near an IDF post on the Lebanese border. May his memory be blessed.
Will exercise a potty mouth for food .. ed
I loved the film on its merit. That scene where he approaches a police officer covering up a rape, and says to him "I am going to kick you in the face with this foot, and here is nothing you can do about it" and does precisely that. I disliked the film for its' politics .. it inflates something that never happened .. serving a purpose before an election .. ed
Born to be wild - ed

I want to thank you for putting your life on the line for all of us every day. I know that being a rapper is tough work. I have tried to rap, and it is very difficult to keep up with the pulse of the rhyme flow … although when Ice Ice Baby comes on the radio, I can usually keep up with ol' Vanilla. Anywho, your job is just some very dangerous work. Most people don't consider ... if you rap really fast, without a chance to inhale, you could pass out and hit your head.
That last paragraph was covered in sarcasm. I'm letting you know, just so you do not think I agree with your very ignorant assessment of your career (or any other performer) as it relates to a person in the military or a police officer's service. You sir, are as misguided as they come. I do have a suggestion for you. Since you are accustomed to danger, from your life as an international rapper, I am strongly encouraging you immediately abandon you career as a super star and join the military. After joining, I would like you to volunteer to be deployed in Afghanistan or one of the numerous other forward locations where our men an women are currently serving. When the Taliban starts shooting at you, perhaps you could stand up and let the words flow. It could be something like "I'm Kanye West, wearing a flak vest." I'm sure they would just drop weapons and surrender. You could quite possibly end all wars, just from the enemy being starstruck.
Your line of thinking is part of the problem in the world today …. which include entertainers thinking they are something more than just entertainers. I know it is supply and demand and the demand for your services is high. I get economics. What I do not get is you EVER comparing what you do for a living to our heroic military members, who are always in harm's way … and my brother and sister police officers who have to go to work carrying weapons and wearing a bulletproof vest to protect themselves.
Check yourself, before you wreck yourself …. Chief Oliver.>


My friends tell me that NZ even employs people to remove rubbish from camp sites .. in Australia it becomes part of nature .. ed
from a golden age of silver screen - ed
Not Islamic, but Islamic terrorism .. - ed
A weak US President is a threat to world peace. Even if the fool likes to bomb people. - ed
It is unwise for Islamic authorities not to separate themselves from terrorism. It is bad for Islamic peoples who are innocent. - ed

From the album: Timeline Photos
By Chloé Simone Valdary
Time to TURN UP! You asked for it, you got it! Here Is Ari Lesser's all new song, ISRAEL APARTHEID!

Be sure to LIKE and SHARE on FB and YT! :)


50345890991294640360no-2 (1)
3 Days straight! It was beautiful, but thousands still without electricity. See some of the top videos and pictureshere.
snow on city
What an appropriate song!
Another fabulous Israeli invention! Does this mean the BDS groups will now have asthma people boycott this product?
jordan opposition
No clue what he is saying, but he has the guts to talk with an Israeli flag flying front and center!!! Wow!

We Were in a Movie Festival!!!

joi 3 vid pic
Our new production, Joy of Israel, was screened at the Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem on Dec. 5th, the last night of Chanukah!!!
We at 12Tribe Films are excited to introduce to you the 3rd episode of our newest production - the Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller Episode #3 - Holy Hebron and Sweet Hebron Hills! Never before has the beauty of Israel been showcased for the world to see in reality TV format with the mission of educating, exciting and connecting people to Israel. This new series will reshape the entire image of living in Israel into one that is exciting, inspiring, and beautiful.
Don't miss watching this fascinating new Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller episode. Click here to watch and be inspired!
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Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 4.14.03 PM
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Must-Watch- This might be the most powerful clip you ever see.
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.
Jamie - Bar
Don't miss this best seller! 
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This gripping page-turner takes historical fiction to a new level as it explores the life of one of the most significant and enigmatic leaders in world history: Herod the Great. From the corridors of power in Jerusalem and Rome to the farms and fields of the simple folk trying to survive in turbulent times, you will get a real sense of time and place from one of the most important chapters in hostory. You will also meet all the most significan characters form that time, including the Caesars, Jerusalem's High Priest and Sages, Anthony and Cleopatra, and more. But behind it all is Herod. Herod the proud. Herod the builder. Herod the muderer. Herod the Roman puppet. Herod the schemer. Herod the Great.
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As you may have heard, over the past few days Israel has been hit with a massive winter storm, the most severe in 150 years. While heavy snowfall has turned much of Israel into a winter wonderland, heavy flooding, freezing temperatures and icy road conditions have paralyzed many of Israel's population centers. 

Due to the frigid weather, there has been a sharp increase in requests for warm winter clothing for IDF soldiers on military bases throughout Israel. 

While the IDF provides all military gear, winter items such as extra-warm coats, hats, gloves and thermals are not supplied. Unfortunately, many needy families as well as lone soldiers are not able to provide these essential items.

But here's how you can help...

You can send a winter care package along with a personal note of support to Israeli soldiers all over the country. The IDF 'Warm Winter' campaign is ongoing and there is no better time than now to participate.

Click here to send your gift -->

We feel privileged to thank the brave young men and women of the IDF who risk their lives every day to protect and defend the People of Israel. As we saw first-hand at this year's Chanukah party on the Shechem military base, the soldiers are truly touched by your concern. It means so much to them! 

Now is the time to express appreciation with much-needed winter care packages. The soldiers thank you very much for your kindness and generosity.

Send your Warm Winter Gift and personal note:

With Blessings from Israel,
The 'United with Israel' Family
Soldiers' gifts can be mailed to a US address:
United with Israel
PO Box 151 
Lawrence, NY 11559
United States

Soldiers' gifts can be mailed directly to Israel:
United with Israel
8/19 Nachal Maor St.
Box 71530
Bet Shemesh 99623

Click below to send your gift using our online system
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Holidays and observances[edit]

December 16Kingdom Day in Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten (1954); National Day inBahrainVictory Day in Bangladesh and India (1971)
Boston Tea Party
“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”” Luke 1:30-33 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her."
Ruth 1:14
Both of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends. At first both of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord's people; but upon still further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother in law. It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter. How stands the case with us, is our heart fixed upon Jesus, is the sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master's sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt's treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed. Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung the King of kings. Blessed among women shall those be who for Christ's sake can renounce all; but forgotten and worse than forgotten shall those be who in the hour of temptation do violence to conscience and turn back unto the world. O that this morning we may not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss, but may the Holy Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our Lord Jesus.


"And lay thy foundations with sapphires."
Isaiah 54:11
Not only that which is seen of the church of God, but that which is unseen, is fair and precious. Foundations are out of sight, and so long as they are firm it is not expected that they should be valuable; but in Jehovah's work everything is of a piece, nothing slurred, nothing mean. The deep foundations of the work of grace are as sapphires for preciousness, no human mind is able to measure their glory. We build upon the covenant of grace, which is firmer than adamant, and as enduring as jewels upon which age spends itself in vain. Sapphire foundations are eternal, and the covenant abides throughout the lifetime of the Almighty. Another foundation is the person of the Lord Jesus, which is clear and spotless, everlasting and beautiful as the sapphire; blending in one the deep blue of earth's ever rolling ocean and the azure of its all embracing sky. Once might our Lord have been likened to the ruby as he stood covered with his own blood, but now we see him radiant with the soft blue of love, love abounding, deep, eternal. Our eternal hopes are built upon the justice and the faithfulness of God, which are clear and cloudless as the sapphire. We are not saved by a compromise, by mercy defeating justice, or law suspending its operations; no, we defy the eagle's eye to detect a flaw in the groundwork of our confidence--our foundation is of sapphire, and will endure the fire.
The Lord himself has laid the foundation of his people's hopes. It is matter for grave enquiry whether our hopes are built upon such a basis. Good works and ceremonies are not a foundation of sapphires, but of wood, hay, and stubble; neither are they laid by God, but by our own conceit. Foundations will all be tried ere long: woe unto him whose lofty tower shall come down with a crash, because based on a quicksand. He who is built on sapphires may await storm or fire with equanimity, for he shall abide the test.

Today's reading: Amos 1-3, Revelation 6 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Amos 1-3

1 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
2 He said:
“The LORD roars from Zion
and thunders from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds dry up,
and the top of Carmel withers.”
Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors
3 This is what the LORD says:
“For three sins of Damascus,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because she threshed Gilead
with sledges having iron teeth,
I will send fire on the house of Hazael
that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
5 I will break down the gate of Damascus;
I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven
and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden.
The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the LORD....

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 6

The Seals
1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
Uzziel [Ŭz'zĭel]—god is strong. There are six Bible men bearing this suggestive name.
  1. A son of Kohath, son of Levi, kinsman of Aaron on his father’s side (Exod. 6:1822;Lev. 10:4Num. 3:19,301 Chron. 6:215:1023:1220;24:24).
  2. A Simeonite who, in Hezekiah’s reign, led a successful expedition against the Amalekites (1 Chron. 4:42).
  3. A son of Bela, son of Benjamin (1 Chron. 7:7).
  4. A son of Heman, an instrumentalist, set by David over the service of song (1 Chron. 25:4 ).
  5. A Levite, son of Jeduthun, who assisted Hezekiah in his work of reformation (2 Chron. 29:14).
  6. The son of Harhaiah, a goldsmith, who repaired a part of the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:8).
Members of the tribal family of Uzziel are spoken of as Uzzielites ( Num. 3:271 Chron. 26:23).
Lysa TerKeurst
December 15, 2011
Affair Proof Your Mind
Lysa TerKeurst
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Matthew 26:41(NIV 1984)
As a woman she eventually acts.
A few years ago I watched a friend get tangled up in an emotional affair.
She was a strong Christian woman who loved her family but the attraction to this other man seemed unavoidable. She tried to talk herself out of it but her heart played tricks on her mind and the justifications for letting things go just a little further soon led her to a very dangerous place. She was becoming emotionally attached to this other man.
In a moment of desperation and fear, she confided in me what was going on.
As she described how she got pulled into this place, I found myself being challenged by the realization of how subtly this had happened. She hadn't planned on being emotionally attracted to this other man. As a matter of fact, she'd always prided herself on being a woman of strong conviction and had scoffed at the idea of ever being tempted to have an affair.
It starts off simple enough - a comment made that you mull over one too many times, a conversation in which you find a surprising connection, a glance that lingers just a second too long, or one of a thousand other interactions that seem innocent yet aren't. These are the dangerous seeds that can easily sprout into an emotional affair.
Some think it is a safe way to enjoy the lure of being attracted to someone other than your spouse without crossing any lines. But God boldly and plainly says in 1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee from sexual immorality." God doesn't say walk away from sexual immorality. No, He says to flee as if your very life is at stake!
Our thoughts are so powerful. If we want to affair proof our marriages, we must make our thoughts work for us instead of against us.
The time to prevent an emotional affair is before it ever starts.
We must never assume it could never happen to me. We are all just a few poor choices away from doing things we never thought we would.
Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 26: 41,"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
The Life Application NIV Bible commentary says, "Jesus used Peter's drowsiness to warn him about the kinds of temptation he would soon face. The way to overcome temptation is to keep watch and pray. Watching means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to the subtleties, and spiritually equipped to fight it."
I now realize that I need to be aware that I am just as prone to this temptation as anyone. One of the best ways to be watchful is to be praying with and for my husband. We need to be open and honest about meeting each other's needs and investing wisely in our marriage.
Sensitive to the Subtleties:
I will have to be honest with myself that temptations do exist. When another man says or does something I wish my husband would say or do and doesn't, it can make me lessen my husband in my heart and build up this other man. This is a seed of poison.
Spiritually Equipped:
I must park my mind with the truth and the truth is I am married to an amazing man. He is not perfect and sometimes our marriage can be hard, but I made a commitment to him in a covenant before God and there are no biblical reasons in our marriage why we should ever part.
My friend did the hardest but wisest thing she could have done in telling me about her emotional affair. It helped her to see she needed to flee and have someone else hold her accountable. But it also helped me. Her admission made me aware and alert to the dangers lurking in any kind of unhealthy emotional connection with another man.
Dear Lord, may I forever treasure my marriage and see it worthy to be protected. Help me to be a courageous woman who absolutely flees from any and every situation where there is even a hint of danger. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
For a creative idea to improve the communication and connection in your marriage, click here to read more onLysa's blog.
If you want simple tips to improve your marriage, you'll want to read the marriage books Lysa has written -Capture His Heart (for wives to read) and Capture Her Heart (for husbands to read).
Come see the downloadable Freebies on Lysa's website! Encouraging articles for lots of situations to print and share with a friend!
Your purchase through Proverbs 31 Ministries supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we're so grateful for every purchase you make with us. Thank you!
Application Steps:
The time to prevent an emotional affair is before it ever starts. Confide in a friend or mentor to help hold you accountable in this area.
Our thoughts are so powerful. If we want to affair proof our marriages, we must make our thoughts work for us instead of against us.
Power Verses:
Proverbs 31:10, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." (NIV)
© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

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December 15, 2011
Gifts That Matter
Part 2
Today's Truth
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving-large or small-it will be used to measure what is given back to you (Luke 6:38, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Have you discovered the truth that we simply cannot "out-give" God? The more we give, the more we receive. And that truth does not just apply to financial giving. It is really all about the attitude behind the gift. Do you remember the Christmas gifts you received last year? How about the Christmas gifts you gave? What about the gift you gave Jesus? On Tuesday, we talked about several meaningful gifts you can give. Here are a few more for you to consider.
A gift of care Galatians 6:2 (RSV) "Bear one another's burdens."
Christmas is a time of empty hopes and fierce loneliness for many people. In fact, the holidays can be nothing more than a season riddled with pain. Every loss is magnified. Every wound is deepened. Pray that the Father will give you His eyes to see the broken lambs, crying out for help. This year, do something for someone who is hurting:
  • Invite them over for a meal.
  • Listen to them.
  • Meet one need in their life.
  • Include them in your celebration.
  • Take them shopping with you.
Christmas is always hard for me because it is a time when I especially miss my mother who died many years ago. I don't openly broadcast that fact but one Christmas, a precious older lady at our church somehow sensed that I was struggling and decided to meet a need in my life. Cards filled my mailbox. Every time I saw her, Miss Marion would hug me and tell me how much she loved me. She invited our children over to bake Christmas cookies and in doing so, became their adopted grandmother. Miss Marion died a few years ago, but her loving care and investment in my life lives on.
A secret gift Matthew 6:3-4 (TLB) "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Give a gift to someone you know in secret without them knowing who it is from and with no hidden motive and no apparent benefit to you. Dan and I had been married for three years when we first discovered the joy that a "secret gift" can bring. Dan was in seminary, I was teaching elementary school, and we were both serving at a local church. It seemed as if we were always running, always tired and always broke. At one point, the financial picture was especially bleak. We had 10 days of life to go before the next pay day and not a cent to our name. We told no one but God -- and waited. One Sunday night, we pulled up to the mobile home where we were living and started in the front (and only) door. There on the top step was a small but heavy package wrapped in brown paper. It was a brick. Taped to each side of the brick was a hundred dollar bill. God had provided for our needs through a truly generous heart, someone who had chosen to give a secret gift. To this day, we still have no idea who "bricked" us, but we often think of them and ask God to bless their gift of encouragement.
A gift of forgiveness Colossians 3:13 (NCV) "Get along with each other, and forgive each other."
The Christmas holidays have a way of resurrecting past hurts. The greatest gift we can give ourselves for Christmas is the gift of forgiveness because in choosing to forgive someone else, we set ourselves free. Every 60 seconds of anger displaces 60 seconds of joy. Let go of the hurts. Forgive the wrongs and find healing.
Dan sold one of our old cars to a man who worked in the church maintenance department. A payment plan was created, the title was transferred and the man drove away, never to pay a cent. For months, I was furious, thinking of the man who had stolen our car. To make matters worse, the man then left the church to work at the grocery store -- my grocery store. Every time I bought groceries, he was there and he was smiling. Just the sight of him drove my blood pressure higher as my stomach knotted up with anger. Dan finally decided to give him the car. I decided not to give him the car until I realized the only person being hurt in the deal was me. The next time I bought groceries I walked up to the man and said, "I hope the car is working well for you. Dan and I have decided to just give you the car as a gift." I walked away, a free woman, while he stood, open-mouthed and in shock, now holding his own guilt in his hands.
A gift of teaching Romans 12:7 (NLT) "If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well."
What skill, ability or talent has God given you? Each one is from His hand, meant to be given away in service to others. Is there a young believer in your life you can mentor? What better time to share your gifts and abilities than at Christmas? You may be able to sew or play the piano, cook gourmet meals or beautifully decorate your home. Each talent and ability is a potential gift. In high school, my choral director gave me a free voice lesson each week. Consequently, I attended college on an academic and music scholarship because one woman chose to share her gift with me.
Get creative! Give a gift from the heart this year. May this be a Christmas filled with the joy of the Lord as you celebrate His birth and life.
Let's Pray
May God grant you the light in Christmas which is faith; the warmth of Christmas, which is love; the radiance of Christmas, which is purity; the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice; the belief in Christmas, which is truth and the all of Christmas, which is Christ.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Grab your Christmas list and set aside some time to pray for each person on that list this week. Do you need to rethink some of the gifts you are giving this year? It is not too late! Ask God how you can best honor His birth by the gifts you give to others.
More from the Girlfriends
No matter what your circumstances may be, you can celebrate the Christmas holidays because God is with you, girlfriend. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook - or throughemail.
Don't miss the biggest sale of the year going on in Mary'sonline store December 1 - 15! Great savings on Books,CDs,MP3 downloadsE-Bible Studies and Video downloads . Every order is also an automatic entry to win one of three copies of Girlfriends in God's first devotional book, Trusting God.Winners will be announced on December 15.
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Cursed and Forsaken

The darkness over the land in the three hours before Jesus dies (Matt. 27:45 ) is a sign of God's anger at those who kill His Son as well as the curse upon humanity. "The darkness [cries] out against the blackness of our sin and [testifies] to the tremendous cost to God of our redemption" (James Boice, The Gospel According to Matthew, vol. 2, p. 623). Let us never take for granted the high price of the curse Jesus took in our place.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
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FRB-Christmas-Story-BookCover-SmallReading 10: Joseph Has a Dream

Mary was promised to be married to Joseph. In those days betrothal, or engagement, was a very important legal agreement. But when Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, Joseph no longer wanted to marry her. Then he had a dream that convinced him that everything that had happened was from the Holy Spirit of God.

Matthew 1:18-25 
The Birth of Jesus Christ
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”--which means, “God with us.”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Further Study
  1. Who talked to Joseph in a dream? What did the messenger call Joseph? (v. 20)
  2. What did the messenger tell Joseph would happen? (v. 21)
  3. What was Joseph told to name the baby? Why? (v. 21)
  1. How do you think Joseph felt after his dream? Have you ever had a dream that made you feel better about a situation?
  2. Why is it important that these events took place according to the prophecy in verse 23?

God wanted Jesus, his own Son, to have both a father and a mother to care for him and bring him up according to the Law of Moses and the law of the land. God worked everything out to fulfill every detail prophesied by the


1:19 In Bible times, being betrothed meant the couple was legally promised to each other, but the bride didn’t live with the bridegroom. After the wedding ceremony, the bride’s family would have a big feast that lasted for six or seven days. Then the bride would go to live in her husband’s house.


Family Reading BibleToday's reading is from:The Family Reading Bible 

Additional resources:

The Fir Tree
By Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish writer in the nineteenth century who penned many stories like the one below. His most famous was "The Ugly Duckling." While the reality of this particular story is questioned even by the author, the truth revealed by the tale cannot be questioned. See if you agree.

In a small cottage on the borders of a forest lived a poor laborer, who gained a scanty living by cutting wood. He had a wife and two children who helped him in his work. The boy’s name was Valentine, and the girl was called Mary. They were obedient, good children, and a great comfort to their parents.

One winter evening, this happy little family was sitting quietly round the hearth, the snow and the wind raging outside, while they ate their supper of dry bread, when a gentle tap was heard on the window, and a childish voice cried from outside, "Oh, let me in, I pray! I am a poor child, with nothing to eat, and no home to go to, and I shall die of cold and hunger unless you let me in." Valentine and Mary jumped up from the table and ran to open the door, saying, "Come in, poor little child! We have not much to give you, but whatever we have we will share with you."

The stranger-child came in and warmed his frozen hands and feet at the fire, and the children gave him the best they had to eat, saying, "You must be tired, too, poor child! Lie down on our bed; we can sleep on the bench for one night."

Then said the little stranger-child, "Thank God for all your kindness to me." So they took their little guest into their sleeping-place, laid him on the bed, covered him over, and said to each other, "How thankful we ought to be! We have warm rooms and a cozy bed, while this poor child has only heaven for his roof and the cold earth for his sleeping-place."

When the father and mother went to bed, Mary and Valentine lay quite contentedly on the bench near the fire, saying, before they fell asleep, "The stranger-child will be happy tonight in his warm bed."

These kind children had not slept many hours before Mary awoke, and softly whispered to her brother, “Valentine, dear brother, wake, and listen to the sweet music under the window.”

Then Valentine rubbed his eyes and listened. It was sweet music indeed, and sounded like beautiful voices singing to the tones of a harp:

Oh holy Child, we greet thee! Bringing 
Sweet strains of harp to aid our singing.
Thou holy Child, in peace art sleeping,
While we our watch without are keeping.
Blest be the house wherein thou liest,
Happiest on earth, to heaven the nighest.

The children listened, while a solemn joy filled their hearts, then they stepped softly to the window to see who was singing.

In the east was a streak of rosy dawn, and in its light they saw a group of children standing in front of the house, clothed in sparkling garments and holding golden harps. Amazed at the sight, the brother and sister were still gazing out the window when they heard a sound behind them. Turning they discovered the stranger-child standing before them. "I am the little Christ child," he said. "I wander through the world bringing peace and happiness to children. You took me in and cared for me when you thought I was a poor child, and now you shall have my blessing for what you have done."

A fir tree grew near the little house; and from this the Christ-child broke a twig and planted it in the ground. He looked directly at Valentine and Mary and said, "This twig shall become a tree, and shall bring forth fruit year by year for you."

No sooner had he done this than he vanished, and with him the choir of angels. The fir-branch grew and became a Christmas tree, and on its branches hung golden apples and silver nuts every Christmas.

Such is the story told to German children concerning their beautiful Christmas trees, though we know that this is only a fable. The real Christ-child can never be wandering cold and homeless in our world, because he is safe in heaven by his Father’s side; yet we may gather from this story the same truth which the Bible plainly tells us--that to anyone who helps another person, it will be counted to them as if he had done it to Christ himself. "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Family Moment

Kindness. When you think of that word, what picture comes to mind? Who or what do you think of? What have they done or said that has made you feel warm and that you mattered?

Every day, we have the chance to represent Jesus to anyone God brings our way. We can be kind in what we do, what we say, even in our body language (posture, eye contact) to others who may just want to see if their lives matter to other human souls.

Ask family members how they best express kindness.

Now, ask them how they can improve a little bit more in being kind to others.

An Advent Prayer

Dear kind Lord, thank you that kindness is part of your character from which we can learn. You were kind to everyone who needed kindness. You reached out to touch those who needed your touch; you said the right words to those who were hurting; you showed by every action in your life that people were more important than anything else on earth. Help us to learn from the examples you set for us, but help us to learn this lesson best. We want to be kind to others, for in doing so, we show we are being kind to you. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Today's Advent reading is from 25 Days of Christmas by Greg Johnson. Greg Johnson is the author of more than 20 books. He is President of WordServe Literary Group, a Denver-based literary agency that serves more than 100 authors (

Today's Advent reading is taken from:25 Days of Christmas
by Greg Johnson

A classic Christmas devotional that brings together stories, devotional readings, scripture passages and prayers in a delightfully illustrated format.


Click on the image above to watch the video!
The True Christmas Story
The Christmas story confronts its readers with a surprising truth. The true king is not the Edomite Herod in his opulent palace; it is actually the child in the cave.

When Jesus was born he did not look like a Messiah. Shepherds and Magi came to worship him, but most did not believe this could be the long awaited King.

One person who did believe was Herod; he was convinced this child would be a king, and therefore a threat to his throne. He believed it so strongly that he sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill the young boys and eliminate this potential rival for the crown.

Two thousand years later, the palaces and fortresses of Herod are in ruins, and his vision for Israel has long sense been lost in the sands of time. Ironically, the only reason most of us know about him at all is because of the role he plays in another story – the story of the young Jesus who he tried to kill, and who would eventually go on to start a movement which transformed the world.
Buy The True Story of Christmas!

In The True Story of Christmasteacher and historian Ray Vander Laan explores the stories of two kings--the ruthless and wealthy Herod, and Jesus, creator of the universe. Vander Laan travels to the land of Israel to discover fascinating truths--biblical, archeological, and historical--about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.
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Did Jesus Believe He Was God's Son?

Today's reading: Luke 20:9-19
It's evident that Jesus had a Messianic self-understanding, but that means more than the fact that he was anointed. Any prophet or priest could claim that. No, Jesus' anointing is more than that-there is a divine sense. He is God's Son.
That's the importance of the parable of the wicked vineyard tenants. In this story told by Jesus, the vineyard owner leases his place to tenant farmers, but when the landowner sends servant after servant to collect his share, the tenants beat them. Finally, the owner sends his beloved son, and they kill him. When the parable is interpreted in its context, we see that the vineyard owner is God, the tenants represent ancient Israel, and the servants symbolize the prophets. The point is clear: God sent his Son. Otherwise, Jesus would just be one more messenger, one more prophet. No-God sent his Son, and that Son is Jesus.

Adapted from interview with Dr. Craig Evans

Today's reading is from theThe Case for Christ Study Bible
by Zondervan

Investigate the Bible's most compelling claims: the existence of a compassionate God and the promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.


Where is Home?

This week's reading: Jeremiah 29:1-14
Dignitaries lined the street when the funeral procession passed. Thousands waited just to catch a glimpse of the coffin. In fact, the people of the United States and all parts of the world loved and revered the deceased man so much that his remains were disinterred in Tripoli and brought to the United States for a magnificent funeral.
His name was John Howard Payne. You probably haven't heard of him. But this well-loved poet was best known for composing one simple verse:
"Mid pleasures and palaces,
Though oft I may roam;
Be it ever so humble,
There's no place like home."
The prophet Jeremiah knew about feelings of home. He wrote to the elders exiled in Babylon to remind them. Although they found themselves in a strange land, they were still God's people, and God still had plans for them. Until the appropriate time, however, God spoke through Jeremiah and reminded the elders to make a home where they were: "'Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters'" (Jeremiah 9:5-6). He even instructed them to pray for the cities and lands in which they found themselves, for if the cities prospered so would they.
This directive might have seemed odd to the people in exile. Shouldn't they start a resistance movement? Some sort of an underground, covert military unit designed to get them out of that situation as soon as possible?
In a certain sense, we're in the same situation as those exiles in Babylon. Those of us who know and follow God realize that this world is not our final destination. There is a life after this one-a life more real and closer at hand than most people could even begin to comprehend. Yet instead of asking us to rush through life to get to the end, the Bible encourages us to live here, in "exile," to the fullest, for the glory of the God who put us here. As much as we might excitedly anticipate being in God's presence someday, we have an opportunity-or more precisely, an obligation-to live fully in the here and now.
If you feel like an exile living in a place you really don't want to be, take a look at a bigger perspective. God is present with you now, where you are. And he has a plan for you to fulfill until you reach your final heavenly home.

To Take Away

  • Why do you think God places us on earth to await our home in heaven?
  • When you envision the bigger perspective for your life, what plans do you think God has in store for you?
  • What impact does setting your heart and hope on heaven have on the way you live today? In what way does your life show that your hope is in heaven?
New Men's Devotional BibleToday's reading is from theNew Men's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan

The New Men's Devotional Biblehelps apply God's Word to a new generation of Christian men. It includes a full year of all-new devotions by well-known and not-so-well-known men of God.

A Christmas Devotional


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders...and of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. -Isaiah 9:6-7
Government. Does that word strike a positive note in you, or negative note? The word has good and bad connotations. Over the centuries, many corrupt governments run by greedy and power-hungry people have imposed tyranny rather than justice. Their form of order is more often a form of chaos.
It's a shame that government has gotten such a bad name-because it is, at the same time, a necessary function of any society hoping to be civilized. The ungoverned life is chaos, anarchy, and injustice. Without governing, people would not volunteer to pitch in for the common good, and they would be unwilling to enact laws that require them to sacrifice and set limits on their lives And so government is a necessary constraint on our impulses and independence, a way for a person to say, "I need to have standards in my life, and I know that my neighbors and I need to live under those standards for them to be meaningful."
God knows we need governing. That's why he calls himself King, Shepherd, Master, Lord and Father-and when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the world gained its greatest governor.
Have you ever considered a governing individual, and wondered how he or she can bear the sheer weight of immense responsibility? Yet, governing-real, life-shaping authority-ultimately rests on Christ's shoulders alone "The government will be on his shoulders." Now, there is a future time when he will reign as undisputed ruler, but in the meantime he is exercising considerable governing power. Since Bethlehem, the world has changed. It is not that evil has disappeared, but its counter-the power of Christ-has been triumphant in one life after another. We see it in the person who gains victory over an addiction, in someone who stands up for justice, in reconciled relationships, in people whose characters are being shaped by the character of Christ.
We can thank God this Christmas that he did not leave us to our chaotic, ungoverned state. A shepherd-king came to stand in the Davidic line, not to be like other kings, but to govern our lives from the inside out, as he changes our hearts and enlivens our consciences.
Prayer for Today:
Lord, I confess that there is much in me that does not want to be governed. Help me to see joy in the fact that your governing will never end, and because of that, peace will increase.


About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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