Monday, December 30, 2013

Mon Dec 30th Todays News

Blair anticipates 2014. It will be different to 2013. The year will begin with an effective government, and mid year, will have a new look senate. Already, the economy is improving with a lower dollar and merchants reporting more business. But also substantial media opposition to successful outcomes. In 2013, media tried to blow up an effective relationship with Indonesia in the hopes that more people would drown and be exploited by pirates. That, in the mind of the left wing media would be a success for the ALP. Other successes for the ALP would be a failure of justice probes into corrupt union activity. Theft and exploitation of the poorest workers seems to be acceptable to the ALP, who protect a person who steals money from nurses to have sex with prostitutes, or funds an election campaign, or buys a house for a mate, or stands over a business to extort. Protection of those involved in destroying evidence of a child gang rape in detention is an appalling example of ALP government. It isn't bad that the press ask inappropriate questions, it is bad when they don't ask the right ones. 
What is deprivation to a Greenpeace warrior? Free food and board from a Russian government that he tried to harm, and an ungrateful Greenpeace terrorist complains that he didn't have enough vegetables. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Something that AGW extremists trapped in summer ice in Antarctica may not have considered. Rescue ice breakers haven't been able to get through. No doubt, the report, the extremists will make, will say that they were unable to measure any warming abatement because of their predicament. Waleed Aly can count to three. That is good for an ABC presenter. Average age of the youth group called Get Up is 55, yet so immature. Trust Brandis to stand up for an independent and committed individual in Wilson. 
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns Nhi Tori Tran and Lisa Morson. Born on the same day, across the years, along with

Matches
Despatches
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2014 FORETOLD

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (5:26am)

In accordance with ancient tradition, it is once again time to gaze into my crystal balls as we look forward to events in the new year.

Icon Arrow Continue reading '2014 FORETOLD'
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AND IT WASN’T EVEN WHOLEGRAIN

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (5:20am)

This is beautiful
A Greenpeace campaigner claims he was forced to live on bread and water while being held in a Russian prison because it didn’t offer a vegetarian alternative. 
(Via jailhouse gourmand PWAF)
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ICE BLOCK

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (5:09am)

Professor Turney and his UNSW colleague Professor Chris Fogwill are leading a team of 60 scientists, including meteorologists, marine ecologists, oceanographers, ice-core and tree-ring specialists.
The research stakes are high because the Antarctic is one of the great engines of the world’s oceans, winds and weather, especially in Australia.
Already scientists believe there is evidence of climate change. 
Things haven’t exactly worked out as planned. Turney, the Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales, is now trapped with his climate changey pals by gigantic masses of old-fashioned Antarctic ice. The activists seem mystified
Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up. 
Even rescue vessels can’t make it through the ice-loaded waters, leaving the activists to spend their time with puzzled locals:

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Caption contest: what is that penguin thinking?
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CALL THE POLICE

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (5:07am)

If the ABC is so worried about an AFL footballer using a camera while he’s driving, shouldn’t the ABC be just as worried about one of its own presenters doing the same thing?
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KEEP COUNTING

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (4:59am)

Waleed Aly checks the numbers
This year, we’ve had three prime ministers, Victoria has had two premiers, the Northern Territory has had two chief ministers (and, while we’re at it, Catholics have had two Popes). 
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RED AND GREY

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (4:39am)

The average age of GetUp! members is 55. The median age of ABC viewers is even older
The ABC is out to attract younger viewers to its main ABC1channel next year, with research revealing it has the oldest audience of any of the Australian TV networks.
Fusion Strategy figures show that the median age of ABC1viewers is 63 – much older than SBS (57) and channels 7 (49), Nine (45) and Ten (41). 
This explains why the ABC’s middle-aged comedy group are routinely described as “the Chaser boys”. Relative to their audience, they are. And then we have the radical youth wing of the CFMEU:

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(Via Angus Black)
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NO JOKE

Tim Blair – Monday, December 30, 2013 (4:29am)

Humour makes us free. Which is why the authoritarian left hates it.
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George Brandis on the enemies of freedom - and of Tim Wilson

Andrew Bolt December 30 2013 (11:37am)


Attorney-General George Brandis on Tim Wilson, the new freedom commissioner Brandis appointed to the Human Rights Commission:
More often than not, Wilson has taken a position in opposition to that of the Liberal Party. The list is long, but it includes issues as various as industry assistance, public broadcasting, renewable energy targets, tobacco packaging, industrial relations policy, health insurance, bikie laws and gay marriage, to name but a few.
To describe a person who has been an articulate public opponent of the Liberal Party on so many of the issues which have defined the politics of recent years as a Liberal Party “partisan” seems to me, with all due respect to van Onselen, to be absurd.
I do think van Onselen has been particularly unfair on Wilson. And maybe conservatives have been unfair on Brandis, now revealing himself as a man up for the fight:
But some things never change, like the reaction of the claque of bilious pseudo-intellectuals who constitute what passes for a left-wing commentariat in this country. Mike Carlton, Catherine Deveney, Van Badham and their ilk were nothing if not boorishly predictable.
They and their followers unleashed a storm of hatred and bile against Wilson on social media, the like of which I have never seen. The irony that these people pose as the enemies of “hate speech” was lost on them, if not on others.
I do think that if anything about Wilson’s appointment deserves comment it is the utterly vicious reaction to it by people so terrified of freedom that they unleash the hate speech they claim to condemn.
(Via Catallaxy.) 
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Warmists trapped by irony off Antarctica

Andrew Bolt December 30 2013 (7:03am)


Explorer Douglas Mawson lands in Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, in clear water in 1912. (Video here.)

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Warmist scientists and reporters waiting for rescue after trying the same trick a century later.

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Douglas Mawson was not worried about global warming even though his team landed on Antarctica on January 8, 1912, in fine weather:

The sun shone gloriously in a blue sky as we stepped ashore on a charming ice-quay-- the first to set foot on the Antarctic continent between Cape Adare and Gaussberg, a distance of one thousand eight hundred miles…
In landing cargo on Antarctic shores, advantage is generally taken of the floe-ice on to which the materials can be unloaded and at once sledged away to their destination. Here, on the other hand, there was open water, too shallow for the `Aurora’ to be moored alongside the ice-foot....
The day had been perfect, vibrant with summer and life, but towards evening a chill breeze sprang up, and we in the motor-launch had to beat against it. By the time we had reached the head of the harbour, Hoadley had several fingers frost-bitten and all were feeling the cold, for we were wearing light garments in anticipation of fine weather.
A century later, global warming believers decide to retrace Mawson’s trip in the conviction the climate has got a lot warmer since, thanks to man. They are are accompanied by a journalist of the warmist Guardian who earlier this month reported:
This Sunday, scientists will begin a month-long expedition to retrace Mawson’s journey and examine how the eastern Antarctic, one of the most pristine, remote and untouched parts of the world’s surface, has fared after a hundred years of climate changes. “They collected a wealth of scientific data on this entirely new continent,” says Prof Chris Turney, a climate scientist at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013. “As a result, it provides this incredibly good baseline – we’re going to repeat the measurements and see how much has changed over the last century…
“We’re heading towards east Antarctica in an area that’s traditionally been thought of as very stable – you can do almost anything to it, environmentally and climatically, and it will just sit there. But in the last few years we’re realising that that’s clearly not the case. Parts of it are very vulnerable...”
The strange thing about this right from the start was how in denial Turney’s team was about evidence suggesting there was, if anything, long-term cooling of Antarctic - and certainly increasing sea ice around the continent:

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First difference. Where Mawson found a bay with clear water, Turney found a bay choked with ice, forcing his ship to stop some 70 km short of where Mawson landed:
We had reached Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica. To be precise, our ship, the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, was at the edge of an ice sheet that has been stuck fast to the entrance of the bay ever since a giant 75-mile-long iceberg, called B09B, grounded itself in the bay four years ago.
Second difference. Turney’s ship is now stuck fast in the ice - an irony so obvious that the Guardian journalist on board avoids the phrase “climate change” in describing the expedition in his latest report:
Life has taken a turn for the worse since Christmas Day, when gusts of up to 70mph slammed into the hull of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy and snow circled its decks, making it impossible to stand up straight outside.
Since then we have been stuck in pack ice. The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long has given up its attempt to rescue us as ice sheets continue to spread and thicken. Now Xue Long is waiting for the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis to join it in a joint bid to free our ship…
We were only two nautical miles from the ocean before Christmas, but that distance has now swelled to around 20 nautical miles as the blizzards and winds have continued. If the joint efforts of the Aurora Australis and Xue Long don’t work, the only other option will be to evacuate the ship by air, though this would be the absolute worst case scenario.
I am with the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by climate scientist Chris Turney of the University of New South Wales. We are following a century-old expedition led by the British-Australian Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson, who landed in Commonwealth Bay in January 1912. We – a group of scientists and paying members of the public acting as science assistants – plan to repeat many of Mawson’s scientific measurements in order to understand how this pristine landscape has changed over the past 100 years.
Here’s how it’s changed, boys. There is more ice. 
UPDATE
Reader Adam:

I wonder what their carbon footprint will be if they are all lifted off by helicopter. Quite high I presume, if we use their own typically exaggerated measurements. With that in mind it seems only reasonable to hold them accountable with their own standards and leave them there. That way they could also accurately recreate Mawson’s voyage by sitting there for a year and waiting for the ice to melt.
I predict a Lord of the Flies type scenario unfolding.
NOTE: The Aurora made it into Commonwealth Bay in three successive summers to land and pick up members of Mawson’s expedition.
UPDATE
Turney’s team is still in astonishing denial. It is stuck in thick ice off a continent that has more of it than usual, yet still it claims warming is melting more ice than ever:

Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up.
This is pathological.
UPDATE
So what does a warmist like Turney do when he’s trapped in ice? Simple: blame global warming for not melting what global warming should have:

Q: Dr Adam Rutherford: The fact that it’s expanding, that - that sounds counter-intuitive, when we talk about the polar ice caps melting, as a result of global warming.
A: Prof Chris Turney:  Yeah, well, it’s a fascinating thing, isn’t it, really. Ultimately, global warming covers a vast array of different responses by our planet. And one of the fascinating things that we’re seeing is suggestions that large parts of the oceans off East Antarctica are actually getting fresher. And yet you’ve got this expanding sea ice, and one of the ideas we’re testing out here is this idea that when you’re melting the sea ice around the East Antarctic coastal fringes, at depth - not from air temperature but from warmer oceans - what you’re doing is you’re putting that fresh water from the Antarctic ice sheets into the oceans. It’s lighter, it’s less dense than salt water, so it floats to the surface relatively, and then it’s more vulnerable to freezing. And hence you get an expansion of sea ice cover. So that’s one idea that we’re testing at the moment.
Like I said. It’s pathological.
Mind you, Turney has some strong vested interests in blaming warming for causing freezing where he predicted melting:

I am an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales where my team and I are focussing our efforts on using the past to better understand the changes we are seeing today. To do something positive about climate change, I helped set up a carbon refining company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.

(Tim Flannery joins the Turney family on the Carbonscape Holdings share registry.)
And Turney once wondered why people didn’t take his warnings seriously:

(Thanks to readers AndrewS and Matt. More on this surreal expedition at Watts Up With That.) 
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2014 is quickly coming upon us and so I share a picture I took as 2013 was ushered in. Hopefully the weather will be on my side as I and a few friends seek to document the new years celebration from a different location this year.
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statements.qld.gov.au
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I did not need this image
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as fun as a broken promise .. ed
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Still less efficient and less safe than nuclear power. Still less efficient than coal. - ed
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"He will bring a new age of righteousness and justice." -John the Baptist
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He isn't measured for what he gets wrong .. that is grace. - ed
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www.theaustralian.com.au
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Let's do lunch .. (looks up) .. I'm talking to the child .. ed===
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Sunrise — at Mono Lake South Tufas.
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Michelle Malkin
What bias? You won’t believe what Denver Post called Phil Robertson of ‘Duck Dynasty’ ==>http://twitchy.com/2013/12/29/what-bias-you-wont-believe-what-denver-post-called-phil-robertson-of-duck-dynasty-pic/
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www.theage.com.au
It needs to be named appropriately. "ALP bad government debt fee" it should be set at $500, but with a $495 rebate for pensioners and conservatives. - ed
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Up at 5:30 this morning to get ready for carpet people. Expected 7:30 start. Arrives at 8:30 to tell me that he was expecting to work in an empty unit. Cancels day. FML - ed
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tonypua.blogspot.com
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www.jihadwatch.org
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Blue Hour
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Timothy Ly
First day on the fight team for maximum choppage and I already kicked a stuntman in the nuts. Took it like a pro tho. #sorryjimmy#dongtam #nutcheck
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The Chairman of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, admitted that in 1948, “Arab armies forced Palestinians to leave their homes (the PLO’s weekly, Filastin A-Thawra, March 1976).” On May 13, 2008, Al Ayyam, the second largest pro-Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian daily, claimed: “[In 1948] the Arab Liberation Army (ALA) told Palestinians to leave their houses and villages, and return a few days later, so the ALA can fulfill its mission.”
www.theettingerreport.com
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israelmatzav.blogspot.com
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Calling the Pope an Anti-Semite
NETWORKEDBLOGS.COM
Calling the Pope an Anti-SemiteActions and words paint a sorry picture of the Vatican and Israel.Giulio MeottiI always had the feeling that Pope Francis would  be eager to engage in the presentation of a cordial dialogue with Di\aspora Jews and that if this occurred, he would   address the Holocaust
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www.jafi.org.il
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anneinpt.wordpress.com
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calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.se
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www.jpost.com
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www.palwatch.org
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calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.se
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www.israelnationalnews.com
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Pro-Israel Festival in New Orleans this Spring ~ Chloe Valdary

Pro-Israel Festival in New Orleans this Spring


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www.gatestoneinstitute.org
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Love of the Land: A Viable Alternative for the Future of Israel - The Independent Palestinian...

http://bit.ly/1gfJ0xa
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www.renewamerica.com
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calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.se
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***Dr. Emmanuel Navon "All illegal migrants claim that they are political refugees, whether they migrate to Western Europe, to North America or to Israel. But why is Israel expected to be more lenient than Europe toward these illegals?
calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.se
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Melanie Phillips' latest post, "A Church of Hate"

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This is the height of stupidity.
http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yesh-atid-minister-territories-construction-insults-bereaved-families/2013/12/28/
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www.algemeiner.com
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Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
MY WORDS FOR YOU AS YEAR COMES TO AN END.
YOUR HEAVENS SHALL OPEN AGAIN.
The Scripture says, If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14
(KJV). I want you to know that ,it is only the man who calls upon the Lord that will be saved.
If you have been experiencing circumstances that look as if your heavens have been closed,then you need to seek the face of God before you cross over the year 2014.You need to fast and pray so that God can open them again for you.There are many blessings that God wants to bring to your life this coming year,but they can only be possible when your heavens above you are open.To call upon the Lord is to ask God for a divine intervention.If you know,from all indication that your heavens are closed,you must call upon God to intervene in His mercy and re-open heaven for you.

God does not reply wishes,He replies prayers."For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee. Isaiah 30-19. The time for weeping has ended in your life this year and grace is awaiting you come 2014. Don't allow your situation to become a cross for you.Take time out to fast and pray as year comes to an end,He will surely answer you.It is my prayer that all your heart desires shall be met,no more sorrow in the year 2014,in Jesus Name,Amen.
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BE STRONG IN FAITH.
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls. Hebrews 10:35-39.God bless you.
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You will not cross over with any problem that refused to bow this year to 2014 in Jesus Name,.....Amen.
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PRAY ALONG.
ABBA FATHER,I thank you Lord for your mercy and grace.Thank you for favor in this season.Lord, You have the name that is above all names. You are Lord forever and there is no one who can challenge Your authority and power. You rule forever and ever, and there is no end to Your Kingdom.

I bring myself before Your throne of grace, and ask that You would look upon me with Your favor. Your word says that You give strength to the weary, so I ask that You would strengthen me. Bless me Lord with Your presence, and encourage my heart. Remind me of Your faithfulness and Your love that I might stand in faith against the issues that I face.I bind the schemes of the enemy to tear me down, and I rebuke the spirits that have been assigned to harass me. I ask You Lord to minister fresh strength and joy to me. I agree with Your word that says Your plans for me are to give me hope and a future, let it be so, according to Your will. I pray in Jesus mighty name, Amen.
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Pastor Rick Warren
You need to know the 6 tools God uses to change you. I share them from Ephesians 4, every hour online: http://bit.ly/HnE6ib
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Today I’m praying for the spouses of you who serve on church staffs. They've been given an influential calling of God too.
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Friend

Hello!

I hate to be a nudge, and really hope you are having a wonderful holiday season with the people you love.  As you prepare for the New Year, however, please make a tax deductible donation to enable people with disabilities to achieve the American dream.  You can make a powerful, positive difference in their lives by donating now to RespectAbility! Please also ensure that any other groups you fund do not discriminate in their work/service against people with disabilities.


According to the U.S. Census 18.6% of Americans have a disability (more than 56 million people). Yet since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, there has been ZERO improvement in the percentage of Americans with disabilities in the workforce. Moreover:
  • 70% of working-age Americans with disabilities are not working (compared to 28% of Americans without disabilities). Millions of Americans with disabilities live in or near poverty.
  • 51% of American voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. Yet until now this group does not have a powerful voice so that people with disabilities can be seen as -- and become -- capable, self-supporting, and contributing citizens. 
  • Polling shows that 67% of working age people with disabilities would rather be working and than on government disability benefits. 
  • Despite egalitarian principles within religious communities, many people with disabilities are excluded from religious life. This undermines the very foundation of religious values of all faiths.
  • According to the FBI, there were nearly twice as many hate crimes targeting people with disabilities as were reported last year, even as the total number of hate crimes nationwide fell.
  • Although the decision was overturned, a person with a disability was originally denied access to a life saving organ transplant based solely on their disability.
We have a strong business plan which you can see here, but as significant positive social change takes a lot more than just good intentions, we need your help now!

Please, make a difference and be a hero today – donate now to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream! Your gift is immediately tax deductible.

Thank you in advance for making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities (PWDs)!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
President, RespectAbilityUSA.org

P.S. Thank you being a hero and making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities (PWDs)! May you and yours only go from strength to strength!


10 Tips to Enable People With Disabilities to Get Jobs

By Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Fully 70 percent of working-age people with disabilities in America are not working. This leads to poverty, powerlessness and prison. So how can we, who care about people with disabilities, change that?
Back in the old days, people with disabilities didn't have access to quality education. Now, thankfully, with better access to education and technology some of the smartest and most productive people on earth are people with disabilities. Think of Stephen Hawkins. Fifty years ago he wouldn't have been able to communicate. Today he is unlocking the secrets of the universe.
We need every American worker who can work to do so. Think about it -- we have 10 million Americans with disabilities, most of whom want to work, ready to get off the sidelines and help make American companies stronger. When more people are earning paychecks, the economy improves. We can save tax money. People with disabilities want to and can contribute to the economy.
Here are 10 tips to how YOU can make a positive difference to enable people with disabilities to get real jobs at real wages.
1. Demand your rights. If you are a person with a disability (PWD) or the loved one of a person with a disability (PWD), you need to demand that your IEP and/or vocational rehab program prepare you for paid employment in an integrated work environment. That means that from the infant and toddler program, all the way through the end of school rights at age 21, public employees and the community overall should be preparing you or your loved one with a disability for "employment first." They should not be just passing you through for a lifetime of government benefits (which by the way average not much more than $1100 a month plus healthcare). They should prepare you/your loved one for much more than "dayhab" or to join 400,000 Americans with disabilities who are being exploited by a legal loophole of sheltered workshops that allows some employers to "pay" people with disabilities literally as little as pennies an hour. It means helping you find the alignment between your interests, abilities and what is needed in the competitive job market. Your goal should be the opportunities for full time work in an integrated workplace where the pay is at least the minimum wage.
2. Be proud and loud in telling people you want a hand UP, not a hand OUT.The majority of working age Americans with disabilities want to work. Yet most of them sit quietly on couches, with 10 million people living in a cycle of dependency that undermines opportunity and hope. Take advantage of vocational rehab (VR) programs and other excellent programs such as BRIDGES and PROJECT SEARCH to get the training and supports you need to get ahead.
3. Encourage PWD to start working in an unpaid internship or as a volunteer by age 14. There is no better predictor of future economic success that early practice in the workplace. Work into paid positions as soon as possible and do a job. Ask members of your faith or other communities to help you find opportunities to make a difference and to build skills and experiences that will help you build your resume one step at a time.
4. Know the facts. You need to be an expert not only on your own disability or loved one's disability, but also on issues that confront all people with disabilities. When we work together across the range of disabilities we can all help each other. Key facts you need to know include that fully 70 percent of working age Americans with disabilities are currently outside of the workforce. That compares to 28 percent for Americans who do not have disabilities. The disability unemployment situation leads to extremely high levels of poverty, isolation and financial dependency for Americans with disabilities. This in turn costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits. However, most Americans with disabilities who are working age want to work.
Companies are in the business of making money -- and hiring people with disabilities can make them more profitable. I know the old stereotypes. People hear the word "disability" and think of someone who needs pity rather than someone with something to offer. But with today's technology a blind person can function fully on Apple computers. A non-verbal person on the Autism spectrum can speak clearly through assisted technologies. The breakthroughs due to science, education, medicine and rehab are transformative. Individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities have demonstrated unique and profitable ways to contribute to the workplace. It's time for companies to take advantage of these changes and to hire people with disabilities for the abilities that they DO have.
5. Educate your elected officials. Perhaps the most important leader in America today on disability employment issues is Governor Jack Markell of Delaware. He has no personal family connection to disability issues. However, when he met a young man with a disability who got his first job in his late 20's, he asked what the young man had been doing. "Sitting on the couch" was the answer. Governor Markell instantly got that our nation would be better off if the talents and time of people with disabilities was harnessed for the good of the country. As the head of the National Governors Association at the time, he got all 50 governors involved in learning about how to make positive change for people with disabilities. You should take the time to read the report here. Know that it all started with one person with a disability educating one person -- his own governor. You too can make such a difference by getting to know your elected officials and helping them learn the facts.
Even when we are able to change the public perception of hiring practices in America, there are still legitimate obstacles preventing individuals with disabilities from entering the workforce. Working with the government to make changes is imperative and thankfully, Governor Markell of Delaware launched a tremendous initiative in 2012 to set a goal to advance employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.
Now is a great time to reach out to your governor to encourage them to take additional steps to bring their state to the next level on inclusive hiring practices.
  • Write a letter or email below and ask them to be a leader making a measurable difference in the lives of Americans with disabilities. Suggest that they:
  • Host a statewide summit on disability employment that includes companies, people with disabilities, non-profits, faith leaders, media, government, and philanthropists. The goal of the summit would be to start a process that involves all the sectors to break the deadlock of poor performance by meaningful public-private partnerships and new thinking. 
  • Use your office and leadership to promote progress through personal statements/op-eds/media events on this issue.
  • Make specific commitments to improving the numbers of people with disabilities who are employed in a real job for a real wage, as well as for disability owned businesses to be created and expanded through best practices.
  • Support a change in focus from a failed system of "from cradle to dependency" to "from cradle to job and independence" thinking. "Employment first" thinking is the way to go. This means that public school and other services, including transition efforts, must be geared toward successful employment opportunities and that schools be measured on their success.
  • Create a public-private partnership/task force reporting directly to the Governor in order to achieve specific employment goals. 
  • Hold people accountable for better outcomes in the public and private sectors so people with disabilities in their state can be empowered to achieve the American dream.
You can find your governor's contact info here.
6. Use the right messages and remember to K.I.S.S. -- KEEP IT SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD. Ensuring that individuals with disabilities are able to achieve the American dream is MY issue. If you are reading this lengthy article, than in some way this is likely your issue as well. We care deeply and are personally impacted. But Americans these days face a million demands on their time and will give you very little to state your case. So if you want to speak out on these critical issues to the media, your elected officials or friends and neighbors, keep in mind a key rule: K.I.S. -- Keep It Simple. Use this message triangle below on the 3 points that you want to get across on this topic.
  • Americans with disabilities want to work.
  • Companies can be more profitable when they hire people with disabilities.
  • We can save tax money and make our country stronger by including people with disabilities in the workforce.
Now, get ready to repeat yourself over and over, with slightly different variances to keep it interesting! You want to go back to your core three messages over and over. It's called "message repetition" or "message discipline" and it's not an easy thing to do. That's because you will be thinking, "I've already said these things once, twice or three times. If I say it one more time the people I speak to will think I'm nuts or will be annoyed." But scientific research has shown that on average a person needs to hear the same message at least seven times before it will be internalized enough to change a behavior.
7. Talk about case studies that work. Employers, unlike elected officials, don't follow public opinion as much on the hard issues of dollars and cents. While they might watch and like the Michael J. Fox show which models how a person with a disability can be a productive employee, ultimately they will need to see case studies from companies they trust that show a profitable bottom line. Thus, when business sections of newspapers, magazines and news shows tell real live case studies of companies that are more profitable because of inclusive hiring of Americans with disabilities -- that is when the floodgates of opportunity will open. But it needs to be business-to-business, employer-to-employer.
The recent cover story, "The Autism Advantage" in the New York Times Magazine, Thorkil Sonne of Denmark, "started a company called Specialisterne, Danish for "the specialists," on the theory that, given the right environment, an adult on the Autism spectrum, could not just hold down a job but also be the best person for it. This is a tremendous example of a successful case study. The impact is sure to be far-reaching. More of these stories are needed to change the public opinion dynamic. 
8. Meet the print and TV reporters who cover business or disability issues in your area, bring them the news. Leaders and activists who care about people with disabilities should be speaking about these issues to the media.
The media (both the news media and Hollywood) is the lens through which Americans see people with disabilities. The Cosby Show and Oprah broke historic ground for race relations in our nation. All of a sudden African Americans were in the living rooms of white Americans -- and they became like welcomed family members. What The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Will and Grace, and Married with Children did for LBGT issues caused tremendous change. Public opinion shifted on marriage equality so quickly that elected officials and courts are practically falling over one another to change their views on these issues.
The disability community has high hopes for the new Michael J. Fox Show. Michael J. Fox, an incredibly popular and well-known actor who himself has Parkinson's, portrays a reporter with Parkinson's who re-enters the workforce. And because Fox is so very well liked and talented, the hope is that viewers will root for him -- and that they will see him as capable and successful. Sadly however, according to G.L.A.A.D., only one percent of scripted TV characters have a disability, compared to 18.6 percent of the population.
We need employer "heroes" who will be proud to be showcased in the media. They need to be both in entertainment media and in the news. We need to showcase companies who are doing better because they hired people with disabilities who are capable, productive and profitable.
Although 20 percent of Americans have a disability, there are very few public role models, which show the stunning success that Americans with disabilities can have for their employers. As disability leaders or activists, our goal with the media and the public is to have them show people with disabilities for the talents and benefits that they bring to employers. To do this, we need to identify local heroes -- a company or organization that has been more successful because of their inclusive hiring processes. It needs to be a win-win pro-business or pro-employer story. It should also make the employer so proud of being associated with hiring people with disabilities that they will want to send it to their clients and make it a part of their publicity. That, in turn, can help inspire more employers to choose employees with disabilities.
9. Network with business people who matter. Speak to friends, neighbors, and colleagues. You aren't asking them to hire an individual, you are speaking to them about an important profitable initiative that they should know and care about. Keep your audience in mind. You never know who is listening or who your message might be shared with second hand. CEOs want to hear that inclusive hiring practices will make them money, and help save on taxes. It might seem tricky to work into cocktail party conversation, but what do you want to answer when someone asks how are, what are you working on these days? Why not respond, "actually, I'm very involved in advocating for people with disabilities to achieve the American dream. Did you know..."
Remember to go back to your "message triangle" again. Here is an example of what you could say to a business person:
  • The majority of Americans with disabilities who are working age want to work. They represent a talent pool of 10 million Americans who can make companies and organizations stronger and better.
  • Hiring people with disabilities can make companies more profitable. Nationally Walgreens has found this to be true as employees with disabilities, when aligned with their talents and interests, are more productive, loyal and have fewer work place accidents than employees without disabilities. Here locally we have company (insert the name of the local company), which has found (insert the local success story). There is actually also a company that specializes in hiring people on the Autism spectrum because they find them laser focused and excellent at critical thinking.
  • Hiring Americans with disabilities can save money for U.S. taxpayers. Americans with disabilities, in most cases, would rather have a hand up than a hand out. They need to be included in employment because of the talents they bring to the table. Their work and commitments to success can be a part of how America can compete against countries like China in this tough global economy.
10. Never give up and stay positive. We have a lot to accomplish, but it can be done! Alone we feel alone, but together we can and will make a difference. Get involved today, talk to a friend or co-worker, identify a promising employer to highlight, contact your governor. We can enable more Americans to achieve their American dream!
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December 30Rizal Day in the Philippines (1896)
Map of Gadsden purchase territory
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Events[edit]

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Holidays and observances[edit]

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“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
1 Samuel 7:12
The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, "hitherto the Lord hath helped!" Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, "hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received "hitherto."
But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes "hitherto," he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is more yet-awakening in Jesus' likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fulness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy "Ebenezer," for--
He who hath helped thee hitherto
Will help thee all thy journey through.
When read in heaven's light how glorious and marvellous a prospect will thy "hitherto" unfold to thy grateful eye!

Evening

"What think ye of Christ?"
Matthew 22:42
The great test of your soul's health is, What think you of Christ? Is he to you "fairer than the children of men"--"the chief among ten thousand"--the "altogether lovely"? Wherever Christ is thus esteemed, all the faculties of the spiritual man exercise themselves with energy. I will judge of your piety by this barometer: does Christ stand high or low with you? If you have thought little of Christ, if you have been content to live without his presence, if you have cared little for his honour, if you have been neglectful of his laws, then I know that your soul is sick--God grant that it may not be sick unto death! But if the first thought of your spirit has been, how can I honour Jesus? If the daily desire of your soul has been, "O that I knew where I might find him!" I tell you that you may have a thousand infirmities, and even scarcely know whether you are a child of God at all, and yet I am persuaded, beyond a doubt, that you are safe, since Jesus is great in your esteem. I care not for thy rags, what thinkest thou of his royal apparel? I care not for thy wounds, though they bleed in torrents, what thinkest thou of his wounds? are they like glittering rubies in thine esteem? I think none the less of thee, though thou liest like Lazarus on the dunghill, and the dogs do lick thee--I judge thee not by thy poverty: what thinkest thou of the King in his beauty? Has he a glorious high throne in thy heart? Wouldest thou set him higher if thou couldest? Wouldest thou be willing to die if thou couldest but add another trumpet to the strain which proclaims his praise? Ah! then it is well with thee. Whatever thou mayest think of thyself, if Christ be great to thee, thou shalt be with him ere long.
"Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside,
The fairest of the fair is he"
===

Today's reading: Zechariah 9-12, Revelation 20 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Zechariah 9-12

Judgment on Israel’s Enemies
1 A prophecy:
The word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrak
and will come to rest on Damascus—
for the eyes of all people and all the tribes of Israel
are on the LORD—
2 and on Hamath too, which borders on it,
and on Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.
3 Tyre has built herself a stronghold;
she has heaped up silver like dust,
and gold like the dirt of the streets.
4 But the Lord will take away her possessions
and destroy her power on the sea,
and she will be consumed by fire.
5 Ashkelon will see it and fear;
Gaza will writhe in agony,
and Ekron too, for her hope will wither.
Gaza will lose her king
and Ashkelon will be deserted....

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 20

The Thousand Years
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years....
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Nathan [Nā'than]—he hath given.
  1. The third child of David, born after he came to reign over Israel (2 Sam. 5:141 Chron. 3:514:4 ).
  2. The distinguished prophetduring the reigns of David and Solomon, who brought home to David the enormity of his sin. What a piercing arrow from the divine bow that was—Thou art the man (2 Sam. 7:2-17121 Kings 11 Chron. 17). Although the confidential adviser of King David, Nathan was unsparing in his condemnation of his monarch’s sin. Nathan also wrote a history (2 Chron. 9:29).
  3. The father of Igal, one of David’s heroes ( 2 Sam. 23:36).
  4. Father of Solomon’s chief officer (1 Kings 4:5).
  5. Son of Attai and father of Zabad, of the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 2:36).
  6. Brother of Joel, one of David’s heroes (1 Chron. 11:38).
  7. A chief man with Ezra at the brook of Ahava (Ezra 8:16).
  8. A son of Bani who put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:39).
  9. A chief man in Israel (Zech. 12:12).
  10. An ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:31).
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TT_Coramdeo_ttlogo

The Tax Collector

Even in the very first verse of his gospel, Matthew tells us that Jesus fulfills God's promises to His people. As the "son of Abraham," Jesus is revealed as the one through whom Abraham will bless the nations ( Gen. 12:1-3). Many in this world think they can find this blessing through means other than the mediation of Christ Jesus. In this age of syncretism and relativism let us always maintain that God's favor comes only through Christ Jesus.
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. 
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December 29, 2011
Hope for Tomorrow
Today's Truth
God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control
Friend to Friend
A cloud of terror hung over the Valley of Elah as snarling threats and vile promises spewed from his mouth. The intimidator strutted along grassy slopes swinging an enormous club, his mammoth, ironclad feet pawing the ground like an irate bull, ready to attack. The huge, ugly monster was Goliath, a nine foot giant, the pride of Philistia. He wore massive armor; a bronze coat weighing 200 pounds, a solid iron spear, a heavy bronze helmet. The target of his ranting and raving was a frightened, helpless group of Israelites, cowering in their tents. For forty agonizing days, Goliath had come, taunting them, promising certain destruction and doom. The Israelites, paralyzed with fear, had given up all hope of escape, resigned to their tortured fate at the hand of this Philistine monster.
Then came day forty-one! I am certain, as the sun inched its way over the mountains that morning, that neither Goliath nor the Israelites had any idea that this day would be different. A young handsome teenager stepped into the valley of fear, fresh from the presence of God. David, the youngest in a family of eight boys could not believe the scene before him. Tossing the giant's threats and obvious advantage aside, David refused to accept what he saw. Instead, he chose to believe what he knew in his heart; this giant was going down. With simple but certain faith and unreserved confidence in God, David stepped through the fear, ushering in the mighty presence and power of God. Goliath not only met David that day, He met the Lord of Heaven and earth. And the giant fell! Giants always fall in the presence of God.
We stand on the threshold of a new year - a new beginning! If you are like me, you face 2012 with mixed emotions. Personally, I am thrilled that I survived 2011! There were certainly moments when I wondered if I would. I am so excited about a fresh start, a brand new set of days overflowing with new dreams and unmarked possibilities, but I also know this year is crammed full of the unknown as well as a giant or two. If I am brutally honest, I have to admit the unknown fashions a pocket of fear in my heart where questions and doubts thrive.
The good news is what lies ahead is no surprise to God. In fact, He has already been where we are going. That reason alone empowers us to face every tomorrow with hope, knowing whatever touches us passes through His hands, with His permission. It is not God's plan for us to dwell in fear or for fear to rule our lives. He has already set in motion the defeat and fall of every giant we will ever face. Our responsibility is to step through our fear, facing every giant in God's power and with His promises. The Holy Spirit will guide the path of His truth to its destined mark, taking down the giants lurking in each tomorrow.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever! The days ahead are saturated with the memory of Goliath's fall and trust in Almighty God, the Giant Killer. So then, girlfriend, I ask you, what is there to fear? Happy New Year!
Let's Pray
Father, I come to You by faith, laying every fear and worry at Your feet. I am not sure what this year holds for me but I do know You are with me every step of the way. When I am tempted to worry, please remind me to trust You. When fear attacks, I choose to pray instead of panic, knowing You are my Lord and my Shepherd. I praise You for Your faithfulness in my life, even when I don't understand and can't see the next step. I praise You, Lord.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
Take time to review the past year. What giants have you faced? Was your response to these giants right or wrong? What changes do you need to make as you approach a new year? Ask yourself the following questions:
How do I typically handle fear?
What giants will I face today?
What has been my natural response to giants of the past?
How do the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ affect those responses?
Read Luke 2:8-14. Examine your life in light of this passage.
More from the Girlfriends
Can you believe 2012 is just ahead, like a clean slate filled with new beginnings and fresh starts? However, what did we learn in 2011 that will make a difference in 2012? As the holiday season winds down, I pray your heart and mind will look ahead to all that this year holds. Guard your heart and mind against darkness. Stand firm in God's power and presence. He is faithful and He is sufficient for whatever tomorrow brings.
Need help getting the Word of God into your life? Check out Mary's Weekly Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. And be sure to get your copy of our new 12-week devotion book,Trusting God.
Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
===
P31Header
Lysa TerKeurst
December 29, 2011
When the End Goal Seems too Hard
Lysa TerKeurst
"...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance..." 2 Peter 1:5a-6a (NIV)
No matter what your struggle has been, victory is possible today. Sadly, most of us don't think that's true. The problem is we tend to measure long term success while downplaying the absolute victory found in small successes.
Yesterday a friend of mine called to say she'd read my blog and, as a result, she walked away from indulging in a bag of M&Ms. That's a victorious small success. Now, I can't say that her scale will stand up and clap and reward her with much lower numbers today. But, if she builds upon this small success - choice by choice, day by day - she will see positive changes.
As the New Year approaches, many of us make some kind of healthy eating commitment. But even if that's not your resolution, this principle applies to other struggles as well.
If I choose not to snap at my child and instead respond with tenderness, that's a victorious small success.
If I choose to pause before responding to the rude sales clerk, thus giving her a smile instead of perpetuating her smirk, that's a victorious small success.
If I choose to give my husband the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping to the conclusion he meant to hurt my feelings, that's a victorious small success.
I like the way our key verse puts it. In 2 Peter 1:5-6, we are reminded to "add" some things to our faith. Two of those additions are self-control and perseverance. For me, I have to decide to practice the self-control and perseverance that is mine since God's Spirit lives in me.
Think of it like a muscle. We have muscles as a part of our body. But we must add activity to those muscles to make them effective and strong. Our muscles will work for us if we exercise them. Self-control and perseverance will work for us as we practice these over and over. Start with the small victories and bigger victories will come.
Sometimes victory seems so far away because we measure it by the end goal. And end goals can seem overwhelmingly huge, daunting and just plain hard to reach. Instead, if we start measuring our victories by the smaller choices we make each day, victory won't seem so impossible.
Big things are built one brick at a time.
Victories are achieved one choice at a time.
A life well lived is chosen one day at a time.
Dear Lord, I know that with You, victory is indeed possible. Day by day and choice by choice. Help me to believe this truth today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Visit Lysa's blog for a chance to win her book Made to Crave and her new 60 day Made to Crave Devotionsbook.
You'll also want to register for her FREE JANUARY 9th webcast which will launch a Made to Crave online study led by Lysa and her friend, Melissa Taylor. Reserve your spot today by clicking here.
If this devotion resonated with you, Lysa's book Made to Crave is just what you've needed. Click here to order your copy!
This book can be a group Bible study by using these life-changing resources: Made to Crave Participant's Guideand Made to Crave DVD teaching series, also by Lysa.
You touch eternity every time you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries! Your purchase supports the many areas of life-giving ministry we provide at no cost. Although we wish we could offer the same prices offered by huge online warehouses, we simply can't. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!
Application Steps:
Sometimes victory seems so far away because we measure it by the seemingly overwhelmingly end goal. Instead, if we start measuring our victories by the smaller choices we make each day, victory won't seem so impossible. Think of a struggle you are dealing with and daily record your moment-by-moment small successes. Pray over them, be thankful for each one. Watch them build one choice at a time. Remember, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us!
Reflections:
A life well lived is chosen one day at a time. What does this statement mean to me? Do I find it encouraging? Or discouraging? Why?
Have I found that I tend to miss the victories found in small daily successes?
Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (NIV)
Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (NIV)
Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV)
© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org
===

TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

The Tax Collector

Matthew 1:1 "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (v. 1).
Unlike Paul's letters, none of the four Gospels explicitly identifies its author in the body of its text. Though the title, the gospel according to [insert the apostle's name], is attached to each book in the oldest New Testament manuscripts, biblical scholars regard each gospel as an anonymous work.
Liberals deny that apostles or their associates wrote the Gospels. However, believers have always affirmed the apostolicity of these books. The early church was certain that the apostles Matthew and John composed the gospels bearing their names. Mark and Luke were not apostles, but the church fathers knew Peter and Paul to be the sources of the second and third gospel, respectively.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels because of the similarities between them that set them apart from John. These three authors probably worked interdependently, relying on the same sources and the work of one another when writing. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, each man selected and arranged the historical data to give us an accurate portrait of Jesus.
Literary interdependence leads liberals to reject Matthew as the first gospel's author. Why, they ask, would Jesus' disciple use the gospels of Mark or Luke to record the life of Christ? Yet this objection is not conclusive. If Mark is based on Peter's testimony, why would Matthew not use Mark's work to write the first gospel? Moreover, nothing in Matthew's gospel makes apostolic authorship impossible, and the early church testified that Matthew was its author. We have no reason to deny that Matthew wrote the gospel bearing his name.
Matthew also went by the name Levi and worked as a tax collector, at least prior to his conversion ( Matt. 9:9Mark 2:13-14). This vocation required official dealings with the Greek-speaking Roman empire and certainly helped Matthew develop the Greek proficiency reflected in the gospel's original text. One church tradition says Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia arounda.d. 60.
Matthew's text is teeming with Old Testament allusions and quotations. The ubiquity of such references shows us Matthew wrote his gospel to explain how Jesus, the son of David, fulfills God's promises to the nation of Israel.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Even in the very first verse of his gospel, Matthew tells us that Jesus fulfills God's promises to His people. As the "son of Abraham," Jesus is revealed as the one through whom Abraham will bless the nations (Gen. 12:1-3 ). Many in this world think they can find this blessing through means other than the mediation of Christ Jesus. In this age of syncretism and relativism let us always maintain that God's favor comes only through Christ Jesus.
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. 
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Right now, you have a unique opportunity to make a $1 Million Difference by partnering with Mercy Ships.
Following the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the world's forgotten poor. We are a faith-based health care organization that uses hospital ships to provide direct patient care as well as training to local surgeons and other health care workers in the countries where we serve. Since 1978, Mercy Ships has transformed the lives of more than 3 million people.
This year alone our volunteer crew onboard the Africa Mercyserved the nation of Sierra Leone performing over 33,000 medical procedures and 3,000 life-changing surgeries. We were able to help men, women, and children like five-year-old Alberta who suffered a severe burn from a cooking fire. You can read her story here.
Right now, just in time for 2012, our partners around the world have joined together to create a
This means that for every dollar you give today through December 31, our partners will match it - up to $1 million. Your gift will be DOUBLED in impact to provide health care to men, women, and children in West Africa who suffer from tumors, blindness, cleft palates, club feet and other medical conditions.
Consider this: a gift of $25 will help someone in need - and will go even farther when your $25 is doubled to $50 by the Match Fund! Your prayerful gift today is deeply appreciated as we begin our Field Service in Lomé, Togo, within the next few weeks.
There are many hurting people in the region of West Africa - where health care is either non-existent or completely unaffordable. Without Mercy Ships, they have little to no hope . . . no where to turn for help.
Whatever you can give today will change someone's life . . . and be doubled through our $1 Million Match to make an even greater impact! I know that together with your help as a new partner we can bring more hope and healing than ever before to the world's forgotten poor in the coming year.
Mercy makes a difference!
STEPHENSresize
Don Stephens
President/Founder
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Header Photo by Steve McCurrach


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Is Jesus the Only Way?

Today's reading: John 14:5-14
Anyone can claim to be the sole path to God. In fact, quite a few people have made this assertion throughout history. The real issue is why anybody should believe Jesus was telling the truth when he said it.
We can say that Jesus' resurrection confirmed him as the Son of God. If that's true, then all other faith systems cannot be true, because they each assert something contrary to Jesus' divinity. And of course, the historical record concerning the resurrection is extremely compelling.
Well-known apologist and evangelist Dr. Ravi Zacharias believes people should approach the subject by looking at the four fundamental issues that every religion seeks to address: origin, meaning, morality and destiny. In these key areas, only the teachings of Jesus Christ fully correspond to reality. There is coherence among his answers unlike those of any other religion.
"Consider Buddhism," says Zacharias. "Buddha's answer on the question of morality does not cohere with his answer concerning origins. Why? Because Buddhism is technically nontheistic, if not atheistic. If there was no Creator, from where does one arrive at a moral law? Or consider the Hindu version of reincarnation. If every birth is a rebirth, and if every life pays for the previous life, then what were you paying for in your first birth?
"By contrast, Jesus addresses these four fundamental issues of life in a way that corresponds with reality and has internal consistency unlike any other faith system.
"Concerning origins, the Bible says we are not identical with God-contrary to the Hindu claim-but we are distinct from him. That is, we didn't bring ourselves into being, but we are a creation of God. Being created in his image accounts for human beings having a moral point of reference. No system is able to explain this except the monotheistic ones. Even naturalists have no explanation for humanity's moral framework. However, this moral framework corresponds to the reality of human experience.
"Christianity says we rejected the divine will. The tempter in the garden said if you eat this fruit, you will become as gods, knowing good and evil. The implication is that you become the definer of good and evil. Humanism was born right there; man became the measure of all things. This willful rebellion and rejection of God corresponds to reality."
On the issue of meaning, Zacharias says the Christian faith stands without parallel. "The simplest way to describe it is that God does not call us to meaning by asking us to be good people. He does not call us to meaning just by telling us to love one another. It is only in the experience of worship that meaning comes to be. Only something greater than pleasure can provide meaning, and that is the perpetual novelty of God himself in worship. The Bible tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and only when we've done that can we begin to love our neighbors as ourselves. This also corresponds to experience.
"Christianity says morality is not culturally based, but instead it grows out of the very character of God. Otherwise, you end up with the dilemma from philosophy of old: Is the moral law over and above you, or is the moral law subject to you? If it is over and above you, where do you find its root, then? The only way to explain that is to find it in an eternal, moral, omnipotent, infinite God who is inseparable from his character. Thus, Christianity explains morality in a coherent manner.
"Lastly, destiny is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the historical event that proved his divinity and opened the door to heaven for everyone who will follow him. Where else do you have anything that comes close to claiming this? Because the resurrection is an actual historical event, we can be forgiven, we can be reconciled with God, we can spend eternity with him, and we can trust Jesus' teachings as being from God.
"No man spoke like Jesus. No one ever answered the questions the way he answered them, not only propositionally but also in his person. Existentially, we can test it out. Empirically, we can test it out. The Bible is not just a book of mysticism or spirituality; it also gives geographical truths and historical truths. If you're an honest skeptic, it's not just calling you to a feeling; it's calling you to a real Person. That's why the apostle Peter said, 'We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty' (2 Peter 1:16).
"He's saying, 'This is true. This is reality. This can be trusted.' And, yes, this truth excludes that which is contrary."

Adapted from interview with Dr. Ravi Zacharias.
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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.


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Unnatural Response

This week's reading: Ezekiel 24:15-27
When President Ronald Reagan passed away in June of 2004, the news media spent an entire week documenting his surviving family's grief. Cable and broadcast news programs covered the memorial services, ceremonies and funeral. But one of the biggest news stories of the week had already been reported thousands of times and in thousands of ways over the years-that of Reagan's loving relationship with his wife, Nancy.
Now imagine that his death had gone completely unnoticed-a mere footnote in the obituary section of the Washington Postand the Los Angeles Times. What if Nancy Reagan had gone on with her daily activities as though nothing had changed and the media had stayed away? That would have been an unnatural and inappropriate response to the passing of this world-changing individual. The nation of Israel reacted with questions and protest when Ezekiel's wife died. God instructed the prophet not to mourn-no lamenting, weeping or shedding of tears. Naturally, the people noticed Ezekiel's lack of public grief. They asked him why he didn't mourn openly over the loss of someone he had obviously loved so deeply. Just the response God wanted! Ezekiel explained how his situation foreshadowed theirs. Because the Israelites had forsaken God, they would live in exile. Worse, the temple-their symbol of national pride-would be destroyed. Naturally, the nation would want to grieve. But how would the people, as exiles, be able to mourn?
What a tough assignment for Ezekiel-to function as a human object lesson at the time of the loss of his wife, "the delight of [his] eyes" (Ezekiel 24:16). The message to the people was that the pride and joy of their culture, the temple in Jerusalem, was going to be desolated. Those who thought that God would never allow his holy home to be destroyed were sorely mistaken and were about to discover how wrong they were.
Consider for yourself how this passage might speak to your life. In what areas do you feel God's blessing will be protected? Perhaps you felt led to a certain job or ministry that you feel certain will be around for the foreseeable future. Maybe you're placing your confidence in the fact that the pastor of your church will be in his position long enough to see your kids get married. Perhaps you're relying on some possession in your life to remain solid, stable and valuable for years to come. Or maybe your retirement package is your source of security.
The old adage "change is the only constant" is just as true today as it ever was. Are you placing your confidence in something other than the grace and care of God? Plans change and people change; economies flourish and falter, but God is the only true constant.

To Take Away

  • Would you generally describe your life right now as good or bad? Considering your answer, how close do you feel to God?
  • What lessons do you recall from previous difficult times that remind you to stay close to God?
  • How can you ensure that you'll stay close to God no matter what happens in your life?
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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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A Christmas Devotional

LIVE A GOD-FILLED LIFE

Hello, friend. I’m glad you followed along with the Christmas Joy devotional. It has been a real pleasure getting your comments.
I will not be sending any more devotionals on this list, but if you’d like to stay in touch you can sign up for my weekly “Everything New” devotional.
Or you can receive my weekly article called “The Brook Letter.” If you sign up today you’ll be able to download a free booklet I wrote called “Living a God-Filled Life.” There is nothing greater any of us can hope for in the new year than to draw upon the fullness of God in Christ. In these challenging days in which we live, how we need the fullness of Christ. What a blessing! You can sign up for “The Brook Letter” (and then get the free booklet “Living a God-Filled Life”) HERE
And thanks to the great folks at Biblegateway.com for continuing to provide for us so many great ways to access the Word of God!
God bless you in the New Year!
Mel Lawrenz
Minister at Large, Elmbrook Church
P.S. I’d love to stay in touch with you also through Twitter or Facebook.
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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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