Monday, December 02, 2013

Mon Dec 2nd Todays News

There is something uncomfortable with watching the press pick at a conservative government to engineer an accusation of compromise. Prior to the last election the Liberal party promised to match the ALP on funding for education. The abysmal Gonski plan was tabled. It took funding from universities and TAFEs as well as general revenue and funnelled it into ALP friendly institutions without benefit to education. NSW took the funding but had its own programs it would use the money for. Some of the programs are worthwhile, but all of them are beyond standard practice. The ALP missed out on three of the ten states and territories and withdrew $1.2 billion from the package and put it in general revenue before declaring they were over $30 billion off budget. 
Now the ALP are claiming the Liberal Party need to put the $1.2 billion back. Education minister Pyne noted it was missing. Now it has been restored. Laurie Oakes, acting as an ALP shadow minister, called it a multiple back flip. At no stage has the LNP gone back on its' election promises. Close questioning by Bolt as well as ABC almost exacted what looked like it might have been a broken promise. A recording of Pyne talking about schools funding seemed to show .. nothing. Despite the affirmation, it is clear Pyne has improved on the ALP model as well as raising spending. In time to come, that will be clear. In the short term, there is the gloating of the press. Still, one can't help but feel the ALP will direct the money to vaginal knitting in South Australia and Tasmania. 
Cate Blanchet weeps for the lost opportunities of planet killing travel. Wealthy urban lefties are leaving private education, at the expense of cheaper private education for all Australians. Michael Clarke suffers from ACB's hysteria over a friendly warning. Note to Obama on health care "You did not build this" .. very well. Flannery earns pay in obtaining consensus on Global Warming in the community, as people disbelieve it. Wagga Anglican church questions the role of Jesus in the church. Where is the bias incident response team? More on Snowden's intelligence leak. Keating knew what he was doing, but he was wrong. 

Happy birthday and many happy returns Dazzaa T One-Thousand. Born on the same day, across the years, along with



Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (6:43pm)

Cate Blanchett, who is paid a reported $10 million to appear in perfume advertisements, would like to discuss thesacrifices made by herself and other planet-saving celebrities: 
We need to keep switching up the language around climate change. For so long we’ve talked about sacrifice and people get discredited for what they haven’t given up. [Celebrities] get criticised for taking flights, but the truth is someone like Leo [DiCaprio] takes fewer flights than he’s asked to. If we want it to stay on the radar, we need to focus on the fact there’s a lot of opportunity. 
We truly do not appreciate their suffering.
(Via Waxing Gibberish)


Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (10:56am)

There’s a fashion among wealthy urban lefties of putting their kids in state schools, presumably to stop them from meeting the children of Liberal voters or to prevent them from learning to read.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'SPEND YOUR OWN MONEY'


Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (10:53am)

All Michael Clarke said to English batsman James Anderson was: “Get ready for a broken f****** arm.” That’s it. Yet the Australian cricket captain ended up in the centre of an international sledging controversy and was even fined by the ICC.
It all seems a little excessive for a remark you’d hear in just about any spirited suburban cricket match, or even within a typically robust Australian family. Why, my own little sister once used almost the exact form of words against me following a dispute over Lego blocks.
And that was just last Tuesday. 

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'FOREARM FOREWARNED'


Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (4:33am)

Via the New York Times, a quick history of the US government’s attempt to build a website:, the $630 million online insurance marketplace, was a disaster after it went live on Oct. 1, with a roster of engineering repairs that would eventually swell to more than 600 items …
“We created this problem we didn’t need to create,” Mr. Obama said …
The website, which the administration promised would “function smoothly” for most people by Nov. 30, remains a work in progress …
It still suffers sporadic crashes, and large parts of the vital “back end” that processes enrollment data and transactions with insurers remain unbuilt …
[On October 15] the president directed aides to make plans for him to tell the public that “yes, the website is screwed up” …
One senior White House official said they briefly considered scrapping the system altogether …
As engineers tried to come to grips with repeated crashes, a host of problems were becoming apparent: inadequate capacity in its data center and sloppy computer code, partly the result of rushed work amid the rapidly changing specifications issued by the government …
The website had barely been tested before it went live, so a large number of software and hardware defects had not been uncovered …
A system intended to handle 50,000 simultaneous users was fundamentally unstable, unable to handle even a tiny fraction of that. As few as 500 users crippled it … — a site Mr. Obama once promised would be as easy to shop on as — went dark for 10 to 12 hours, unheard of in the online business world … 
So much for the Obama government’s technical abilities. Supporters now turn to Jesus
“The glitches have not prohibited one ounce of enrollment in the African American community,” says Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African American Clergy Network, which says it has reached out to 5,000 pastors across the country to promote enrollment under the act. 
Prayer is all they have left.


Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (3:58am)

This site frequently draws attention to the ridiculous predictions and general strangeness of former climate commissioner Tim Flannery, but credit where it’s due. Just two years ago, armed only with his own scientific charisma, the support of the ABC, Fairfax, the UN and several million of your dollars, Flannery led an attempt to build aconsensus on the carbon tax
Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery will head the Federal Government’s climate change commission.
The commission is being set up to help the Government build community consensus on the need for a price on carbon. 
By the time of the last election, a consensus had indeed been achieved. Australians overwhelmingly rejected the need for a price on carbon dioxide. Granted, this may not have been the consensus sought by Flannery or the rest of his tax-funded anti-carbon collective, but a consensus it still was. Well done, sir.
UPDATE. Further proof that climate panic is a religion for the wealthy.


Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (2:19am)

Gosford’s Anglican church of deluded self-loathing is now in competition with Wagga’s Anglican church of predictable leftoid causes for the title of Australia’s most wussified parish:


Is there an even lamer Anglican church in your area? Or perhaps one led by someone who smiles during hearings into the Anglican church’s failure to report victims of child sexual abuse? Present evidence in comments.
UPDATE. Gosford fights back.


Tim Blair – Monday, December 02, 2013 (1:55am)

Terrible hatred and bigotry at New York’s Vassar College: 
On Nov. 14, the college sent a mass email to students advising them that the Bias Incident Response Team had received at least six reports in the last few months of hateful and insensitive messages being scrawled and spray painted on student residences. Messages included “Avoid Being Bitches” …
Five days after the email was sent, Vassar President Catharine Hill sent a follow-up email announcing that the bias incidents were hoaxes perpetrated by two students. The students wrote the vile messages and then filed the reports themselves, claiming to be the victims of unknown haters. 
(Via Iowahawk

Intelligence lacking in latest leak

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (5:48pm)

Christopher Joye suggests caution with the latest attempt to harm Australia:
Multiple intelligence sources say The Guardian has got its big scoop on Australian intelligence agencies allegedly shelling out information on local residents wrong.
The Guardian reported on Monday that “Australia’s surveillance agency offered to share information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, according to a secret 2008 document leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden”.
Other media outlets have reflexively recycled The Guardian’s allegations.
But the Australian Signals Directorate does not intercept domestic communications precisely because it is prohibited from doing so under the Intelligence Services Act.

So why on earth did Abbott go through this week of pain?

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (5:32pm)

Actually, it still doesn’t guarantee no individual school will be worse off, but this backflip makes it much less likely the promise will be broken:
THE Coalition says it has done a new school funding deal with the states and territories that restores $1.2 billion removed by Labor and guarantees no school will be worse off as a result of the commonwealth.
After a week of bad press over the government’s decision to walk away from the Gonski school funding plan, Tony Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne fronted the media to say a fresh deal had been done.
The Prime Minister said the “command and control” elements of Labor’s plan was gone, but the states would receive their promised funding.
Which raises the question: why in God’s name has this government so bungled the policy and the messaging that it earned a week of terrible headlines for - in the end - actually finding $1.2 billion that Labor ripped out?
Warning, warning, warning to the Liberals: you lack what Bob Hawke had in Peter Barron, what Margaret Thatcher had in Bernard Ingham and what John Howard had in Grahame Morris. A critical - and alternative - source of advice is missing.  Someone as senior and trusted as is Peta Credlin, but in charge of communications, not delivery. 

On 2GB tonight - Abbott and Palmer’s maiden speech

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (11:49am)

And is your tree up yet?
On with Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here. Talkback:  131 873. 
Listen to all past shows here.   

“Liar” is sexist only when it’s Gillard

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (9:31am)

Anne Summers said calling Julia Gillard a liar showed we were sexists:
Other prime ministers have changed policies or gone back on promises.  Paul Keating did not proceed with the L-A-W tax cuts.  John Howard introduced a GST. Both were accused of backflips and of breaking promises.  Neither was ever called a “liar”.
The term “Juliar” seems to have been coined by broadcaster Alan Jones and quickly adopted by opponents of Gillard.  It featured prominently on banners at a rally protesting the carbon tax that ... was the first time that many of us were exposed to the virulence of the attacks that were beginning to be made against Gillard…
Over the past two years Tony Abbott has relentlessly used Gillard’s backflip on the carbon tax to depict her as unreliable, as untrustworthy and as a liar… Calling her a “liar” might not be gender-specific, although as I have pointed out, it was not a term used against back-flipping male prime ministers.
Bill Shorten:

Abbott lied when he said no school would be worse off.
Over to you, Ms Summers. Is Shorten sexist? 

Callas. Birthday of a great artist

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (9:23am)

The great, great Maria Callas was born 90 years ago today.
(Thanks to reader Stephen Dawson.) 

Keating on power: just use it

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (9:15am)

Paul Keating has an attractive theory of leadership - but one sobering fact spoils the effect. He won just one election:
‘’Politicians come in three varieties: straight men, fixers and maddies,’’ he declares in the final part of Keating, The Interviews, on ABC television on Tuesday, insisting the maddies, including Margaret Thatcher, are those who ‘’charge in and get it done’’…
‘’I always believed in burning up the government’s political capital, not being Mr Safe Guy, you know?’’

UN predicts less food, reports more food

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (8:50am)

Global warming - propaganda

HOW odd. Last month a United Nations climate conference in Warsaw heard a Dr Sonja Vermeulen warn global warming could make us hungry.
“Global leaders are not taking the problem of food security under climate change seriously enough,” he said. “The picture is not rosy.”
But another UN body, the Food and Agriculture Organization, last month told us food crops were in fact growing bigger and bigger.
The world had just had a year of record rice harvest, and wheat and corn harvests were also near all-time highs.
Even better, the FAO tipped that the total cereal production this financial year would be the biggest yet.
Does the UN ever made its professional alarmists sit down and talk to its agronomists?
(Read full article here.

Take them on, Prime Minister

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (8:45am)

HIS enemies will scoff, but Tony Abbott’s problem is he’s too nice. He really does think the Left could learn to like him.
So he shies from reforming the ABC, telling me yesterday he doesn’t need more enemies and joking his job was “to be as appealing as possible”.
He’s refused to rebuke Governor-General Quentin Bryce for her crass politicking when she backed same-sex marriage and a republic, telling me yesterday there was a convention for prime ministers not to criticise the Queen’s representative.
Abbott even kept to himself his anger when former prime minister Julia Gillard sided with Indonesia’s demand that he promise Australia would never again spy on its leaders - as the Labor Government had done in 2009.
And Abbott for too long cheerfully assumed if he just governed well, the results would simply speak for themselves. Even some of his critics would be silenced.
Mate, wake up.
These people hate you. Loathe you. They want you to fail.
(Read full article here.

The great copyright gravy train

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (8:26am)

It’s time someone really investigated this outfit:

THE body that collects author and artist royalties has defended its chief executive’s annual package of nearly $500,000, and says it is moving to lower its fees.
The Copyright Agency recorded a wages bill of $10.8 million for the year, excluding directors’ fees. An investigation of its costs by The Australian in 2010 - which also scrutinised its level of spending - showed it had recorded a salaries bill of $9.4m for the preceding year.
However, Copyright Agency chairman Sandy Grant, speaking on Friday, denied suggestions it was bloated or wasteful. “If this is a gravy train, I don’t know who’s getting the gravy.” He was “comfortable” with the $16.5 million in costs the agency levied on the royalty earnings of members in the past financial year.
That salary is astonishing enough. The person merely collecting royalties is earning more than almost everyone who actually earned them.
But I have other concerns.
I’ve been astonished in some years to find the money I get from the Copyright Agency suddenly falling to relatively scanty amounts, given how often my articles are used, for instances, by teachers lecturing on the sins of the media. Once when I questioned how one payment could be so low I got a bigger one. It all seemed arbitrary.
I’ve been amazed that the Copyright Agency has treated the income it gets as its own to dispense on allegedly good causes. This is income often earned by artists. authors and journalists who aren’t so well-paid that they couldn’t do with the cash themselves. (And, no, I’m not talking about me.) And so we get this:

On top of the $16.5m paid for Copyright Agency expenses, royalty recipients also saw $1.93m of their funds directed to a “cultural fund”.
Included in the payments was $10,000 for “emerging screenwriters’ from western Sydney in developing “script treatments and pitches”, and $15,000 in “professional training sessions” for “artists in water colour techniques”.
A string of “career development” payments were made to a range of applicants, including $3200 for a person to attend a “deep slumping” glass masterclass in New York and $3500 for another for “exploring innovative transmedia storytelling” at a book fair in Frankfurt.
Luvvies spending on luvvies what laborers earn.
It strikes me that another institution has been captured by people who think they are better at spending other people’s money than are those who actually earned it. 

It’s not just their ABC

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (8:20am)

The ABC can’t assume it can live forever on the fat of the great public trust in the institution that was built up over generations:

TONY Abbott has questioned the ABC acting as an “amplifier” for a rival’s spy story, saying people are entitled to query the national broadcaster’s judgment for “advertising” the phone-tapping claims that have sparked a diplomatic row between Australian and Indonesia....
“I think it’s fair enough for people to question the judgment of the ABC,” the Prime Minister told the Ten Network’s Bolt Report…
(F)ormer treasurer Peter Costello lashed out at the ABC’s handling of the story on the same program, saying Mr Scott “has got a lot to answer for and I think the board has got a lot to answer for”.
His comments came as an overwhelming majority of delegates at the Victorian Liberal Party state conference over the weekend voted in support of a motion calling for the privatisation of the ABC.

Palmer loses a chip

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (8:17am)

Clive Palmer loses a stick to hold over the Chinese company he claims owes him his main income:

THE Abbott government has backed a major Chinese company with a decision out of Canberra that sidelines political rival Clive Palmer and thwarts his attempts to prevent valuable iron ore concentrate being shipped to China from the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The high-level decision to give the green light to the first loading of a Chinese vessel with concentrate from Mr Palmer’s tenements means West Australian Premier Colin Barnett will today mark the occasion with Chinese dignitaries at Cape Preston, near Karratha, just hours before Mr Palmer’s maiden speech in federal parliament.
But senior sources told The Australian yesterday that Mr Palmer, whose Mineralogy company purports to control the port at Cape Preston, is angrily rejecting the move and is threatening to launch a new round of legal action in a bid to block the imminent supply of the iron ore concentrate to mills in China.Mr Palmer claims to be owed hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties by Citic Pacific, which has spent more than $7 billion on the trouble-plagued project - the largest ever undertaken in Australia by a Chinese company. Citic Pacific emphatically rejects Mr Palmer’s claims to be owed such royalties.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 

A theory with hairs on it

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (7:57am)

Beyond parody. In fact, indistinguishable from parody. Academic Arianne Shavisi says Movember is racist and sexist:

So what message does Movember convey to those whose moustaches are more-or-less permanent features? With large numbers of minority-ethnic men—for instance Kurds, Indians, Mexicans—sporting moustaches as a cultural or religious signifier, Movember reinforces the “othering” of “foreigners” by the generally clean-shaven, white majority…
In solidarity with Movember, some women have also relaxed normative shaving-etiquette during “No Shave November.” Instead of being met with the same teasing words of encouragement, many have been subject to ferocious abuse across social media, reflective of the intolerability of women’s body hair… From this we learn that men’s facial hair (as with the appearance of men more generally) is neither here nor there, and is therefore fair game for a bit of charitable fun, while female breaches of prescribed gender norms are quickly policed, and may result in disgust, ostracisation, and threats…
As the month of sacrificial hirsutism draws to a close, mo-bros may convene at their nearest “gala party”. These events showcase the worst of what the Movember “movement” is really about: white young men ridiculing minorities…
One of the Movember mantras is: “Real men, growing real moustaches, talking about real issues”. The slogan is as misguided as its campaign: Movember is divisive and gender normative, not least because it centres on the notion that there is such a thing as a “real” man; it is racist, inasmuch as it steamrollers over the cultural significance of the moustache ... 
Some people seem really, really determined to take offence. As Freud allegedly once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
(Via Sinclair Davidson at the Cat.)  

Hear from the military why you won’t hear it from the Government

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (7:37am)

It shouldn’t need these leaks to convince people of the obvious - that releasing instant information about which boats are intercepted where and how just helps people smugglers.
But for the media conspiracists who seriously claim this restriction on information is just to save the Government embarrassment ...:

THE government’s excessive secrecy over its border-protection operations was demanded by military commanders who advised the Coalition against releasing any operational information and even suggested rationing media briefings to fewer than those already being provided.
Rear Admiral David Johnston, the head of Border Protection Command, stipulated on the Monday after the September 7 election that the timing and release of any information about asylum-seeker boats “must not prejudice the successful achievement of active operations”.
“The contents of any release must not include any information that might reveal asset capabilities, posture, tactics that could prejudice future operations,” he advised in an email. Just over a week later, a “transitional media handling strategy” briefing note ... suggested “initial indications are such briefings may be held fortnightly"…
Customs chief executive Michael Pezzullo sent an email on September 18 to Rear Admiral Johnston and others advising: “Cease and desist forthwith the issuance of SIEV (suspected irregular entry vessels) arrival media releases."The minister and I are in discussion about a different public communication model, noting that OSB will be a maritime security operation and not an immigration program”.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Plucking out our own eyes in a hostile world

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (7:09am)

The Snowden leaks seemed timed to cause maximum harm. For instance, a leak about our spying on Indonesia followed by a leak about our spying in China would be more effective than the other way around, which would be anti-climactic.
The leaks will be hugely damaging to the Western alliance. There will be a fracturing of friendships, restrictions on our spying, fear of cooperation in spying, and a lessening of the West’s prestige.
The leaks, suspiciously, are not damaging to Russia and China - the two authoritarian countries most likely to challenge the values and interests of the West. Snowden has been given asylum in Russia, which may have access to the US secrets he stole.
And Leftist media organisations in the West, not least the ABC, are providing a willing market for the stolen intelligence secrets so damaging to their own countries.
All this suggests a simple “publish and be damned” approach may be dangerously naive. Are media outlets just pawns in a big play?
Greg Sheridan’s report suggests the Abbott Government is preparing defences for more to come:
NEW revelations from the stockpile of documents stolen by US security contractor Edward Snowden are expected to include evidence of Australian espionage against China and other Asian neighbours and expose the scale of surveillance by Australian agencies against their own citizens.
The Abbott government is bracing for a new series of disclosures about Australian intelligence activity, which is likely to include fresh details on Indonesian spying that will further test the relationship with Jakarta…
Senior intelligence figures say the Snowden documents ... reveal US and Australian techniques of intelligence-gathering, particularly technical matters, which will make defences against such efforts much stronger in the future…
The latest leaks are also producing a great deal of tension between the US and many of its allies, such as Germany and Spain, and its friends, such as Brazil and Mexico… Most importantly, sources said the leaks had fatally compromised domestic US support for the intelligence agencies and would result in greater restrictions on the agencies. They may also end the quiet but essential co-operation of US companies…
Snowden spent time in Hong Kong before moving to Russia. Western agencies believe the Chinese accessed all the information that Snowden took with him, as have the Russians.
However, it is believed that Snowden has even more material stored in “the cloud” and accessible by a complicated series of passwords. It is not clear whether the Chinese and the Russians have access to that too.

Sin one: a stupid promise. Sin two: a broken promise. Sin three: this “what promise?”

Andrew Bolt December 02 2013 (6:56am)

I like Christopher Pyne and said from the start the Gonski “reforms” were irresponsibly expensive and failed to tie the extra spending to better performance.
But Pyne, in now so brazenly claiming he never promised to keep each school’s funding, is causing terrible damage to not just his reputation but the government’s.
That promise, having stupidly been made, should be kept and savings found elsewhere. And this kind of spinning - sloppy and insulting to the intelligence - must stop.
There is clearly no one senior enough in charge of the communications strategy to understand the damage done and how to minimise it.
Paul Sheehan is right about the recklessly selfish baby-boomers, and surely this is the line the Abbott Government should be shouting:

Reality: Australia cannot afford the Gonski spend, plus the NDIS spend, plus the carbon reduction spend, plus the paid parental leave spend, plus the infrastructure surge, plus the promised increase in defence spending, plus the cost of unfunded retiring boomers, plus reducing indigenous disadvantage, plus $1 billion a year for asylum seekers. The revenue is simply not there. It is never going to be there under the present mix of existing tax arrangements, budget commitments, social welfare obligations, low productivity growth, ageing population and the debt-service burden. Yet the critique is all about spin and social equity.

Aprille Love
Evening run — at Centenial Parklands.

Ninja don't always wear black. Before 1751, all Geisha were men .. the reason for Ninja wearing black is to do with Japanese stage. Stage hands wear black .. sometimes, stage hands 'kill' actors .. ed
Pastor Rick Warren
I was so blown away this weekend as Saddleback artists used dozens of ways (posters, art objects, chairs with messages, a "getting to zero" interactive art with thousands of balloons, custom t-shirts, videos, and performances) to highlight our church's ministry to people living with HIV/AIDS, compassion for them, and our global efforts to remove the stigma and find a cure. Bless you all on this #WorldAIDSday.
Tuesday, my 1st book in 10 yrs (since PurposeDrivenLife) comes out. It's about what saved MY life:
"God never changes his mind about the people he calls and the gifts he gives them." Romans 11:29 (NCV)
Get it free now: Saddleback's #FreeApp of 30 Christmas Devotionals for ADVENT. For iPhone AND Android

Sarah Palin
It was an honor meeting Rush Limbaugh during the first leg of the “Good Tidings and Great Joy” book tour and getting a copy of his great book “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.” As the daughter of a schoolteacher, I received cherished books for Christmas from my parents growing up. Such books bring us back to simpler, sweeter times; many of them are now passed along to kids and grandkids and still appreciated today. “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims” reminds me of those cherished books of my childhood. Our books make great stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great review of Rush’s book:

How easily they swing... #obama
The Coalition Government announced today it will restore the $1.2 billion funding cut by Labor from schools – and a national agreement on school funding has been secured following negotiations with Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

You can read more here:
James Calore
British accent: Justin Biebah.
American: Justin Biebur.
Australian: Jastin Beybah.

You just tried out all of the accents, didn't you ?

You can't be too distant from the child to not know why. Sometimes they cry for attention, sometimes they cry in pain. It is wrong to ignore a child's pain. - ed
Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.(Psalm 34:10)
God wants you to live in the fullness of His blessing. His blessing is His supernatural empowerment. It is His favor. We’ve all seen a measure of His blessing, but there is a whole new level He wants to take you to. God has promises and opportunities in store for you that you haven’t even thought of yet. What you’ve seen in the past is only a fraction of what God wants to do in your future.
The Scripture says,“But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.”(Romans 15:29, NKJV) God bless you.
Father, I come before You today with an open and humble heart, ready to receive all You have for me. Teach me to live a life that is pleasing to You so that I can be an example of Your love in the world around me in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Michelle Malkin
Jezebel editor on Paul Walker’s death: Why couldn’t it have been Scott Walker? Update: Tweets deleted ==>

Pieve d'Alpago, Italy
Summer in Sydney means .. ed


Jere VanLoan Music Blue Dot Records
Holly Sarah Nguyen
Try hard not to let things bring you down ~ bother your heart or mess with your head, even if it's a horrible situation ~ Always remember if you pray and believe with all your heart God will be walking right beside you to help you through.. and I believe that's enough for anyone to solider on...
~ Let Go and Let God ~
I think the nurses would feel the charges should be answered - ed
Sylvia Lee Yeah, did you read the Fair Work Report? I did and it was quite comprehensive and well done although in reading it, that I thought it-Fair Work -- could have laid further charges - 1. given Craig was an active and paid up union member at the time.
Baby won't distract her again. - ed
  • 오사렘 Selfish adults.

  • John Tran The poor child, the ultimate betrayal.

  • 오사렘 I dont know whats less evil for that child. Doing this to her or selling her off on the black market. Either way, the baby is in a better place now 

  • John Tran Yeah.. I thought about that, but there might be a desperate couple out there who are finding hard to adopt legally and wanted to take a short cut, so based on that I think murder by a parent for such a selfish reason is the ultimate evil, more so than a psychotic stranger.. but who knows, we're just guessing, what fate would hold for her, if only a chance..

Jere VanLoan
Aprille Love

Meeting with Porsche to see if they will come on board! #help4haiyan #porsche #911 #carerra
He's more than welcome to toss the cash again - in my house. I don't judge.
Aprille Love

In between organising this charity event... off to a casting! #casting #actor #love #life #audition
One can understand her sadness. Her life profiting from the criminal activity surrounding her work ended. Instead of paying for her, her clients might now have to be kind to some people. An alternative to sex with strangers could be a relationship with someone who loves you and is invested in your life so that everything improves. But then, that might not satisfy some who prefer to concentrate on their strengths .. which aren't being good to others.

A Night on the Rocks 

My friends Miguel and Mike were certain I was going to get swept away by the big waves hitting the rocks beside me, but I sort of knew what I was up to... I mean, I might be crazy, but I ain't stupid

And the problem is…?  ed
  • David Daniel Ball He still managed to squeeze out a result on sperm donation. One can guess how long he laboured over that. His meeting with Beazley clearly helped. The entire trip seemed to be a self pleasuring exercise.

  • John Tran Maybe he's studying how the poor can be further marginalised and how families can be further destroyed.. Maybe studying how democrats can make the situation worse on issues like race, economic inequality, and waste, and blame it on their adversaries, making a stronger power base??

4 her

Children require supervision. The parents are still partly responsible for farming out their responsibility. It is unfair. - ed
If anyone finds a Kennedy era nuke, they know what t do. Of course, such things need maintenance .. ed


Lol, Philip K Dick wrote a short story about a middle aged US married man who went to Africa and brought back a little figurine called a God by the locals. His wife calls it a bad buy. But then it animates .. and kills them both when they fail to worship him .. - ed===

Roma Downey
"God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God." - St. Hildegard von Bingen
Henry Earl of Lexington, Kentucky arrested 1267 times
THE world's most arrested man is back behind bars.
'Jeez, stop giving me information': Operator complains as baby chokes to death
AN EMERGENCY operator complained 'Jeez, stop giving me information' after taking a call about a baby who was choking on a shepherd's pie, a UK inquest has heard.
Ziad al-Jarrah Battalion, was proudly named for a Lebanese-Arab hijacker involved in the ghastly September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Does that sound strange? Does it sound equally strange that at the time of the 9/11 tragedy, Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank area initially shouted out approval, until hushed up by their then-leader, Yassir Arafat?
Dry Bones, kirschen, cartoon, hanukkah, chanukkah, holiday, jewish, jews,

“Obama has no interest in weakening our adversaries while he does seem to have an interest in weakening our allies”, warned Dinesh D’Souza…" 

Noteworthy as well, is a recent article from RIA Novosti, 'Iran Deal Nullifies Needs for Europe Missile Shield - Russian FM

"Implementation of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva this weekend will make the US missile defense system in Europe unnecessary, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday." - RIA Novosti

"Now if I were asked: “How would anyone, who was purposefully aiming to undermine the Western world and bolster its antipodal adversaries, behave?,” I would be compelled to respond: “Much like Obama.” - Martin Sherman

Continue to the link, reading this and more articles at ...….

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"“The Taliban are not our enemies and we don’t want to fight them.”

Interview with a Muslim Doctor

Spot on !
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Watch this video to hear directly from the woman who secretly took out three-quarters of the Syrian Jewish community by escape routes and by ransom, one of the biggest secrets in the Jewish world! In the video she says that nobody knew how she did it.”
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We are in a Movie Festival!!!

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Our new production, Joy of Israel, is being 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!
After the film festival screening, everyone is invited to a special JOY OF KOSHER book launch party with a special food and wine tasting! If you are in Jerusalem, click here to order your tickets today!
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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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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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Today, the Coalition Government secured a national agreement on school funding.
This agreement fulfils the commitment we made to parents and schools before the election.
The Coalition Government has restored the $1.2 billion that Labor ripped out of schools funding – and this brings total additional school funding over the next four years to $2.8 billion.
No state or territory misses out. 
That’s good news for schools, parents and students in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory which did not have agreements with the previous government.
Labor and the former Education Minister, Bill Shorten left school funding in a mess.
The hurried agreements signed in the dying days of the Gillard-Rudd Government meant some states secured additional funding, while others didn’t.
Our announcement ensures that every student in Australia is treated exactly the same way by the Commonwealth regardless of what jurisdiction they live in.
We have kept our commitments on school funding and delivered more funding over the next four years than promised by Labor.
As parents approach the Christmas school holidays, they can be confident that the Coalition Government will always support their choice in education - and that whatever choice they do make, they will be properly funded.

Christopher Pyne
Minister for Education
Authorised by Brian Loughnane, Cnr Blackall and Macquarie Streets, Barton  ACT 2604.
Copyright © Liberal Party of Australia.
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Holidays and observances[edit]

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:1-2, 14 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Thou hast made summer and winter."
Psalm 74:17
My soul begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that he keeps his covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that he will also keep that glorious covenant which he has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to his Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world, will not prove unfaithful in his dealings with his own well-beloved Son.
Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: he casteth forth his ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, he is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soil. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!
How we prize the fire just now! how pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to him, and in him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of his promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.


"O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."
Psalm 107:8
If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies--common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise him that we are not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise him, in fact, for everything which we receive from his bounteous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But, beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. God's redeeming acts towards his chosen are forever the favourite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross of Christ--our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou be silent? Awake, awake, ye inheritors of glory, and lead your captivity captive, as ye cry with David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Let the new month begin with new songs.

Today's reading: Ezekiel 40-41, 2 Peter 3 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 40-41

The Temple Area Restored
1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city—on that very day the hand of the LORD was on me and he took me there. 2 In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. 3 He took me there, and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. 4 The man said to me, “Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel everything you see.”
The East Gate to the Outer Court
5 I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area. The length of the measuring rod in the man’s hand was six long cubits, each of which was a cubit and a handbreadth. He measured the wall; it was one measuring rod thick and one rod high....

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Peter 3

The Day of the Lord
1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly....
Gideon, Gedeon [Gĭd'eon, Gĕd'e on]—a cutting down, he that bruises orgreat warriorA son of Joash of the family of Abiezer, a Manassite, who lived in Ophrah and delivered Israel from Midian. He is also called Jerubbaal, and judged Israel forty years as the fifth judge (Judg. 67;8).

The Man of Might and Valor

Without doubt Gideon is among the brightest luminaries of Old Testament history. His character and call are presented in a series of tableaux. We see:
I. Gideon at the flail. The tall, powerful young man was threshing wheat for his farmer-father when the call came to him to rise and become the deliverer of his nation. History teaches that obscurity of birth is no obstacle to noble service. It was no dishonor for Gideon to say, “My family is poor.”
II. Gideon at the altar. Although humble and industrious, Gideon was God-fearing. His own father had become an idolator but idols had to go, and Gideon vowed to remove them. No wonder they called him Jerubbaal, meaning “Discomfiter of Baal.”
III. Gideon and the fleece. Facing the great mission of his life, he had to have an assuring token that God was with him. The method he adopted was peculiar, but found favor with heaven, God condescending to grant Gideon the double sign. With the complete revelation before us in the Bible, we are not to seek supernatural signs, but take God at his Word.
IV. Gideon at the well. How fascinating is the incident of the reduction of Gideon’s army from thirty-two thousand to ten thousand, then to only three hundred. Three hundred men against the countless swarms of Midian! Yes, but the few choice, brave, active men and God were in the majority. God is not always on the side of big battalions.
V. Gideon with the whip. Rough times often need and warrant rough measures. The men of Succoth and Penuel made themselves obnoxious, but with a whip fashioned out of the thorny branches off the trees, Gideon meted out to them the punishment they deserved.
VI. Gideon in the gallery of worthies. It was no small honor to have a niche, as Gideon has, in the illustrious roll named in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, where every name is an inspiration, and every character a miracle of grace.
Preachers desiring to continue the character-study of Gideon still further might note his humility (Judg. 6:15); caution (Judg. 6:17); spirituality (Judg. 6:24); obedience (Judg. 6:27); divine inspiration ( Judg. 6:34); divine fellowship (Judg. 6:367:47-9); strategy (Judg. 7:16-18); tact (Judg. 8:1-3); loyalty to God (Judg. 8:23); the fact that he was weakened by his very prosperity ( Judg. 8:24-31).
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December 1, 2011
Don't Miss Christmas!
Today's Truth
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16, NIV).
Friend to Friend
The Christmas rush is on! I know many of you are still looking for the perfect gift, wrapping presents, baking your famous sugar cookies, packing the car for a long trip and wrestling with overly excited children. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Stop right where you are! Take a deep breath and travel back with me to a time when there was no hope and no celebration. I can't imagine a world without Jesus and yet, many times I live my life as if He doesn't even exist. A trial comes and I try to handle it on my own. Loneliness floods my heart and instead of reaching out to Him, I withdraw into the darkness.
He then interrupts my life and fills each black corner with Light. His love flows over the pain like a soothing balm and once again, I experience the manger. Once again, He steps into the smelly, unlikely and very ordinary existence that is mine to change everything - everything! He could have come to us in many ways but He chose to interrupt the very ordinary with the most extraordinary. He could have chosen to be born in a palace. After all, He was a King. Yet His life on earth began in a manger housed in what amounted to little more than a dirty, smelly barn. The simplicity of His birth is one of His most precious gifts to me and one of my most profound life lessons.
I often wish I had been there that holy night when Jesus was born but then He reminds me I have my own manger; my own holy moment when God became a reality to me, and I worship Him!
Every year I am reminded of the very heart of Christmas -- Emanuel, God with us. God wants to be involved in the simple, ordinary happenings of daily life: where we go and what we do, the smile we give the harried stranger and the patience we wear in the crowd of impatient shoppers, the love that prompts the secret gift and the heart that constantly celebrates His birth through every sparkling light, every beautifully wrapped gift, each special meal, every card, phone call and visit.
Join me in this quest to celebrate Him and His birth in everything we do. Have a birthday party for Jesus. Bake Him a huge cake and invite neighbors to join in the celebration. Adopt a family in need. Reach out to the lonely. Look for Him in the crowd. Emanuel, God with us! Wow!
Let's Pray
Father, today I celebrate the reality of Your presence in my life. I celebrate Your birth, Your life, Your death and Your resurrection. And as I celebrate, Lord, help me to be "God with skin on" to those in need around me. Open my eyes and let me see them as You see them! I love You. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Put your faith in action by making a step-by-step plan to keep Jesus at the heart of your Christmas season. Give a gift to someone you don't know. Invite a needy family into your home for a special "Friends" dinner. Go through your closet and give the clothes you don't wear to those who have no clothes.
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I pray that your life is filled with God's peace this Christmas. Don't let anyone or anything steal your joy. Guard your heart and mind and keep your focus on the birth of Jesus as you begin to prepare for the Christmas holidays. 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 through email.
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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Lysa TerKeurst
December 1, 2011
The Best Worst Thing
Lysa TerKeurst
"He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." Matthew 8:26 (NIV 1984)
I failed at being a wedding planner.
No one wants a planner who gets so undone by the neurotic mother of the bride that she throws up in the parking lot right beside the guest sidewalk.
Really, nothing says, "welcome to my wedding" quite like that.
I failed at being a kitchen gadget saleswoman.
No one wants to see the tip of a thumb sliced off into the veggie pizza at the exact moment I was promising how safe this gadget is.
I failed at being a cafeteria lady at a private school.
My assistant decided her arms were so dry she needed to coat herself with our spray butter. When we took the trash out later that day, we both got attacked by bees and forgot about the pizza in the oven.
Kids don't take kindly to burnt pizza.
I failed at being a receptionist.
It's never a good idea to just succumb to those sleepy afternoon feelings and lay your head down on the desk.
Bosses don't like workers who snore. Even if they are pregnant.
Yes, I failed at a lot during those years where I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. At the time each of these things felt like the worst that could have happened. Now, I think they were the best worst things.
Had these things been successful, I would have never discovered the joy of being in the ministry I'm in now.
I see this same theme woven throughout many stories in the Bible.
In Matthew 8:23-24 we find Jesus getting into a boat with His disciples. "Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat." Worst thing.
But in verse 26 Jesus got up and rebuked the winds and waves and things turned completely calm. The disciples were amazed. Best worst thing.
In Acts 5:12 we find the apostles being arrested and thrown in jail. Worst thing.
But in Acts 5:13 we find an angel of the Lord opening the doors of the jail and bringing them out. Later we find them with so much confidence they boldly proclaim, "We must obey God rather than men!" (v. 29) Best worst thing.
I don't understand why we have to go through cruddy stuff. And I certainly know there are many worse things to go through than what I've mentioned here.
We live in a broken world full of broken people. But isn't it comforting to know God isn't ever broken? He isn't ever caught off guard, taken by surprise, or shocked by what happens next.
He can take our worst and add His best. We just have to make the choice to stay with Him and keep following Him through it all.
Dear Lord, I know You are capable of taking my worst and turning it into Your best. Show me this truth anew today. Refresh my spirit. I want to follow You through it all. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
If you enjoy Lysa's devotions, be sure to sign up for more daily inspiration she sends out from her blog byclicking here. It's free and great for passing along to friends.
Lysa will be speaking in more than 40 cities this year.Click here to see her schedule. She would be honored to meet you!
Come see the downloadable Freebies on Lysa's website! Encouraging articles for lots of situations to print and share with a friend!
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase 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 are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us!
Application Steps:
We live in a broken world full of broken people. But isn't it comforting to know God isn't ever broken? Ponder the promises He has made in the Bible and how He has been faithful to you.
He can take our worst and add His best. We just have to make the choice to stay with Him and keep following Him through it all.
Power Verses:
Psalm 37:23, "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm." (NIV 1984)
Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (NIV 1984)
© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


Early Christian Heresies

In our day, Oneness Pentecostals embrace Modalistic Monarchianism. The Jehovah's Witnesses subscribe to Arianism, a movement that is a later development of Dynamic Monarchianism. It is important to have a good understanding of church history so that we might not be caught off guard by old errors. Make it your aim this month to learn about one century of church history that you might be better equipped to defend the truth.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 


Early Christian Heresies

Acts 20:28-31 "After my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things" (vv. 29-30).
W e could easily apply Ecclesiastes 1:9 ("there is nothing new under the sun") to the topic of heresy. All of the theological controversies and false teachings we face in our own day have already occurred in one form or another in church history. Certain christological errors pop up again and again, and a look at past heresies will help us develop a sound Christology today.
Particularly important for our purposes are those heresies in the period leading up to the Council of Nicea in 325 ADToday and tomorrow we will look briefly at these heresies and the orthodox response given at the council. Three false teachings will occupy our study today:
1. The Ebionite Heresy was one of the first challenges the church faced, although it basically died out by the end of the fifth century. This heresy arose in Jewish-Christian circles and denied the deity of Christ altogether. Jesus, the Ebionites said, was a unique man, equipped in a special way by the Spirit of God to be the Messiah; however, He was in no sense God Himself.
2. Dynamic Monarchianism was a greater threat to biblical orthodoxy in the early church. This christological heresy rejected the deity of Christ as well, believing that Jesus was a mere man who was later adopted by the Father as the Son of God at His baptism. In this adoption Jesus did not share in the being or essence of God; rather, the unity they shared was moral and ethical. This heresy is sometimes termedadoptionism.
3. Modalistic Monarchianism affirmed Christ's deity, but it did not see any distinction between the Father, the Son, or the Spirit. This error conceives of one God who wears three masks: in ancient days He was the Father; two thousand years ago, He walked the earth as the Son; and since the time of Pentecost, He is the Spirit. Instead of being one essence with three distinct persons, God is one essence and one person. Historically this heresy has also been called Sabellianism, named after Sabellius, a man considered to be its chief promoter. There is some debate as to whether Sabellius actually held this specific view or some other heresy, but either way, he lacked a biblical understanding of God.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

In our day, Oneness Pentecostals embrace Modalistic Monarchianism. The Jehovah's Witnesses subscribe to Arianism, a movement that is a later development of Dynamic Monarchianism. It is important to have a good understanding of church history so that we might not be caught off guard by old errors. Make it your aim this month to learn about one century of church history that you might be better equipped to defend the truth.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living. 

How Did Jesus Demonstrate That He Believed He Was God?

Today's reading: Mark 3:1-6
Although Jesus made many claims about his authority, how did he demonstrate to others that he believed he was God?
One episode that demonstrated his authority is recorded in Mark 3. According to the Law of Moses, no work could be done on the Sabbath (see Exodus 20:8-11). Jewish tradition dictated that aid could be given to the sick only if the person's life was in danger, which clearly wasn't the case here. The Pharisees who witnessed the healing of this man's shriveled hand on the Sabbath became furious. Not only were they angry that Jesus violated rabbinic tradition, but they also perceived that he claimed both the authority to interpret the Law of Moses and the ability to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17). The religious leaders, who felt threatened by Jesus, reacted by conspiring to kill him. Though tragic, their attitude and actions proved that Jesus' claims ran counter to the religious establishment.

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.


The Parable of the Shopper
Author unknown

My feet were tired, my hands cold, my arms exhausted from the weight of the packages, and it was beginning to snow. The bus was late. I kept rearranging my packages, trying to hold them in a different way in order to give my poor arms a rest. I still remember that day as if it were yesterday, and yet fifteen years have gone by. Nevertheless, when Christmas rolls around, I remember that day on the bus.

I was tired. I had been Christmas shopping all day long. When the bus finally arrived, it was packed with holiday shoppers in the same exhausted mood as I. I sank into the only vacant place, near the back, by a handsome gentleman. He politely helped me to situate my packages and even held some of them himself.

"My goodness," he said, "did you leave any merchandise still in the stores for the rest of us?"

"I don't think so," I moaned. "Worst of all, I still haven't made all of my purchases."

The woman in the seat behind us joined in my grief and added, "No, the worst thing is that the day after Christmas we will be carrying this same armload back to the store to exchange it."

Her comment brought a general chuckle from all those within earshot, including my seat mate. As the laughter subsided, he began in a quiet, melodious voice, deepened with experience, to teach me a lesson that I have never forgotten:

"Hear now the parable of the shopper," he said, speaking gently and indicating my packages. "A woman went forth to shop, and as she shopped, she carefully planned. Each child's desires were considered. The hard-earned money was divided, and the many purchases were made with the pure joy and delight that is known only to the giver. Then the gifts were wrapped and placed lovingly under the tree. In eager anticipation she scanned each face as the gifts were opened."

"'What a lovely sweater,' said the eldest daughter, 'but I think I would prefer blue. I suppose I can exchange it?'

"'Thank you for the cassette player, Mother. It's just what I wanted,' said her son. And then aside, secretly to his sister, he continued, 'I told her I wanted the one with the automatic reverse and an extra speaker. I never get what I want!'

"The youngest child spoke out with the spoiled honesty of her age, 'I hate rag dolls! I wanted a china doll. I won't play with it!' And the doll, still in the box, was kicked under the couch."

"One gift still lay under the tree. The woman pointed it out to her husband. 'Your gift is still there.'

"'I'll open it when I have the time,' he stated. 'I want to get this bike put together first.'

"How sad it is," continued his soft, beautiful voice. "When gifts are not received in the same spirit they are given. To reject a thoughtful gift is to reject the loving sentiment of the giver himself. And yet, are we not all sometimes guilty of rejecting?"

He was talking not only to me, but to all of those on the bus. They had all gathered around. The bus was parked.

He took a present from my stack.

"This one," he said, holding it up and pretending to open the card, "could be to you." He pointed to a rough-looking, teenage boy in a worn denim jacket and pretended to read the gift card. "To you I give My life, lived perfectly, as an example so that you might see the pattern and live worthy to return and live with Me again. Merry Christmas from the Messiah."

"This one," he said, holding up a pure, white present, "is for you." He held out the gift to a worn-looking woman, who in earlier years must have been a real beauty. She read the card out loud and allowed her tears to slip without shame down her painted face. "My gift to you is repentance. This Christmas I wish you to know for certain that though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Signed, your Advocate with the Father."

"That isn't all. No, here is a big, red package." he looked around the group and brought a ragged, unkempt, little child forward. "This package would be for you if He were here. The card would say, 'On this Christmas and always, My gift to you is love. From your brother, Jesus.'"

"One final gift," said my seat mate. "The greatest of all the gifts of God--Eternal life!"

He held our minds and our hearts. We were a hungry audience. Though our shopping had left us drained, now we were being filled by his words.

"How we receive these gifts, these precious gifts from the Babe of Bethlehem, is the telling point. Are we exchangers?" he asked. "Is there really anything else we would rather have? It is what we do with a gift long after we have opened it that shows our true appreciation."

With those words he was gone. That was fifteen years ago, only a wink in time. But not even an eternity could erase the sermon, or the man.

Family Moment

We hear so often the phrase "Jesus died for me" that sometimes we forget the purpose of salvation isn't just to be glad our souls are safe for eternity; it's to follow Jesus's example--give ourselves to others. That's what the Scripture talks about in 2 Kings, and that's what Christ did for us.

The truth is, we were saved from something for something.

As a family, you can create a giving experience by going to a homeless shelter or making sandwiches to pass out, and this is a good thing to do. But what if this year you prayed for God to send a giving experience? God is more than able to answer and would delight at your willingness to be a blessing in the life of another soul--or many souls--whom he loves.

An Advent Prayer

Our Father in heaven, thank you for being the gift that holds families together, even over time and distance. Is there someone I know who needs the present and the presence of Jesus in their home this Christmas? Is there a stranger? Please show me who. I want more than ever to give your love to those who need it. You gave yourself for me when I needed it. Help me to do the same. In the name of Jesus, amen.

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

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.
A Christmas Devotional


But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:10-11
Great joy? Is it almost too much to hope for?
Where did all the Christmas joy go? How did things get so complicated? So rushed? So squeezed and cluttered? A non-stop buzz of Christmas lights and weary shoppers, boisterous television specials and pleading children. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose to step aside, step into a quieter moment, and read the angel’s words that came on the night that changed the world: "I bring you news of great joy!"
It was just another night of work in the field for shepherds. A chill in the air, calm and the soft bleating of their flocks. Another night of work, a night like those thousands of nights before, even thousands of years before-when the shepherd David was still a boy and stood watch in the same fields. Life hadn’t changed in a millennium. But this night, everything changed.
When the angel appeared, bathed in a glorious light, the shepherd men and boys, who were used to fending off wild beasts to protect their sheep, were filled with terror. Were they convinced by the simple words: “I bring you great news of great joy”? Probably not. Joy would have to come later. They would have to see proof.
That’s the way it works with joy. Real joy is never something that originates from within: it must come from without. Searching for joy within you is like searching for the ocean within a droplet of water. Perhaps this is why so many of us have a difficult time finding joy at Christmas. Bite into a Christmas cookie, and you might enjoy it. Open a shiny package, and you might delight in what you find inside. But joy itself-true and pure-is so much more than enjoyment.
Joy is the startling realization that God has claimed territory in this world. He has taken back what belongs to him. Every day, we can remind ourselves of this revelation: reignite this joy again and again. Joy is a thirst that doesn’t want to be quenched; a hunger that knows it will go on and on. It’s a good thing, to never get enough of God.
This "great joy," God come into the world, is “great” because it is everywhere. A joy "that will be for all the people"-is here. Now. Let us delight in this tremendous news today.
Prayer for today: Dear God, turn my fear into great joy.
This is the first post in the Christmas devotional, “Christmas Joy.” Want to read more devotionals by Mel Lawrenz?



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.

A Scar Shaped Like Your Picture

This week's reading: Isaiah 49:8-18
For whatever reason, from the time they're little boys guys like to show off their scars. A polite conversation with any average group of guys can suddenly turn into some bizarre, male-bonding ritual. First someone tells a story about crashing his mountain bike and the resulting scar on his knee. Then another guy regales the group about the scar left from his shoulder surgery. Another points out the scar on his hand and tells about his hunting-knife accident. Before you know it, the whole group is showing off their scars and relating the incidents behind the wounds.
Today's passage tells us that God likes to do this as well-not to one-up anyone else with another great story but to reassure us of his devotion to his people.
In truth, there is something interesting about scars: They follow us wherever we go, and the stories behind them remind us of significant people and events in our lives.
The people of Israel had certainly wandered all over the place-both physically and spiritually. After the nation had faced devastation, occupation and deportation by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies, the people of Israel wondered, "God, have you forgotten us?" God answered through the prophet Isaiah: "I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:15-16).
Did you know that God bears a scar on his hand in the shape of your picture? Of course, because God is a spirit, he doesn't have a literal hand. But you're so present on God's mind that it's as though he has engraved your image on the palms of his hands.
Perhaps the fury of whatever storm you're facing dims God's voice and blurs his presence. You might ask, "God, have you forgotten me?" How can he be present in the midst of your turmoil? But regardless of the storm's intensity, you remain in the forefront of God's thoughts. He's thinking of you, sustaining you, comforting you, giving you strength. He doesn't mentally check out. Whatever challenge you're facing isn't the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst that could happen would be for God to forget about you.
But he hasn't yet, and he never will.

To Take Away

  • Do you find it hard to accept that God knows your needs and cares for you to the extent that you're always on his mind? Why?
  • What events in your life have caused you to ask, "God, have you forgotten me?"
  • How can you foster a deeper and more constant trust in the reality that God is always present with you?
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.

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