Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sat Dec 14th Todays News

Blair Poll shows 0.73% want the ABC to have increased funding, the rest asking for it to be privatised, have funding cut, or punitive measures taken against her staff. Or in gender neutral terms favoured by the ABC, against his/her staff. Obama told the truth, once, just on a different day. Holden has become like many Australian icons, a victim of ALP policy. Al Gore was wrong five years ago with his prediction of an ice free north Polar cap. The hand waver who could not sign, but stood next to the hand wringer who didn't care, has been accused of murder. The hand wringer, meanwhile .. doesn't care. My handwriting is too poor for some plumb jobs. AMWU reps must take their skills elsewhere .. parasite host beware. 
Bolt challenges Turnbull on gay marriage statement. Rhiannon admits she was trained by neo-Stalinists.  Why our intelligence service targeted the activity of a significant political player. Why is the media hiding the demonstrated effectiveness of boat people policy? 

Happy birthday and many happy returns Milan LimbuRamsen Oraham and Icweekly Show. Born on the same day, across the years .. 


Tim Blair – Saturday, December 14, 2013 (5:29pm)

The ABC’s Barrie Cassidy turns to that most dependable of sources, the online poll: 
A recent online poll on ABC funding in the Fairfax media drew 21,145 respondents. Of that, 72 per cent agreed the ABC was an excellent and essential service that deserved more money. Another 12 per cent ticked the box that suggested the ABC did good work, and that funding was about right.
Even allowing for a disproportionate number of ABC backers reading the Fairfax newspapers, they are exceptional figures. 
And also completely reliable. Let’s see what a trustworthy BlairPoll reveals:
Thank you for voting!

Total Votes: 275


Tim Blair – Saturday, December 14, 2013 (4:52pm)

PolitiFact rates Barack Obama’s honesty in 2008
“No. 1, let me just repeat, if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it,” Obama said. “All I’m going to do is help you to lower the premiums on it. You’ll still have choice of doctor.”
Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here … people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do that under Obama’s plan. His description of his plan is accurate, and we rate his statement True. 
PolitiFact rates Barack Obama’s honesty in 2013
It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said – many times – of his landmark new law.
But the promise was impossible to keep.
So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong …
For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. 
Or, as the New York Times might put it, the Clear Misspeaking of the Year or the Incorrect Promise of the Year. ViaIowahawk, who celebrates “revolutionary Politi’fact’ science: conclusively writing the results of an experiment before it even happens.” Further from the Washington Examiner
In an October 2008 column – just before the election – PolitiFact actually rated Obama’s promise as “true.” It said at the time: “Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here. He advocates a program that seeks to build on the current system, rather than dismantling it and starting over.”
In other words, it rated him on the basis of whether he was accurately stating his own campaign promise, a hurdle no politician could fail to clear. 
Meanwhile the blunders continue. As Esquire famously asked of a previous president, why is this man laughing?


Tim Blair – Saturday, December 14, 2013 (3:12pm)

Among the problems faced by last century’s car designers was “that bugbear of all motorists – the door.”
Happily, Holden engineers were able to meet this awesome technological challenge. Further on Holden’s early days


Tim Blair – Saturday, December 14, 2013 (2:38pm)

Al Gore predicted the North Polar Ice Cap would be completely ice free in five years. 
It isn’t. To celebrate, even Cairo is turning on the snow. Look at the happy children:


(Via CL)


Tim Blair – Saturday, December 14, 2013 (2:07pm)

What’s the sign language symbol for “hilarious fraud”? Thamsanqa Dyantyi demonstrates:


Mr Dyantyi presumably also knows the symbols for “convicted thief” and “accused murderer”.


Tim Blair – Friday, December 13, 2013 (4:25pm)

Attention, note writers
Our client, a large Government organisation, is seeking expressions of interest from experienced writers to support a small team on a casual term basis. A requirement for this position is that you must be an Australian Citizen.
In this position you will provide support to an engagement team through writing notes to those who have participated in sessions and meetings, thanking them for their contributions. 
Seems simple enough. But check out the qualifications: 
To be considered for this position, you will be an experienced writer with a capacity in writing, editing and proofreading text. You will be able to demonstrate perseverance, a good grasp of narrative, awareness of audience and the demonstrated ability to develop strong working relationships with a variety of stakeholders. 
And also the ability to write: “Thank you for your contribution to this session and/or meeting.”
(Via Ganesh)


Tim Blair – Friday, December 13, 2013 (4:06pm)

Former Fairfax business editor Ian Porter
The question that needs to be answered after the government effectively forced General Motors to abandon car manufacturing in Australia is a simple one: why did Treasurer Joe Hockey do it? 
It’s just possible that one or two other factors were involved in Holden’s decision. Speaking of which, here’s Bill Leak today:


UPDATE. Peter Switzer
The greatest piece of drama acted out on TV was the Academy Award performance by the Opposition Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek, as she reacted to the Holden decision. If you arrived here from Mars on Wednesday, you’d now believe that Joe Hockey chased the company out of the country.
Plibersek’s pathos-ridden effort made me recall if she was so tearfully outspoken when Mitsubishi and Ford pulled up stumps under Labor.
She wasn’t. 
UPDATE II. Doug Cameron is sad.

High Court uses slippery slope argument to defend same sex marriage. Where is Malcolm Turnbull now?

Andrew Bolt December 14 2013 (9:29am)

The High Court this week endorsed the “slippery slope” argument used by opponents of same-sex marriage - and unwisely sneered at by the likes of Malcolm Turnbull.
In this case the argument is simple:  once you insist that two gays should be free to marry each other on the grounds that they are consenting adults then you cannot logically oppose three consenting adults from marrying, either.  Agree to same sex marriage and you must agree to polygamy, too.
It turns out i was wrong only in one detail - one that actually underlines my point. The High Court says we already legally endorse polygamy for many purposes, so we cannot logically oppose same sex marriage. This is indeed the “slippery slope” argument - backed by our Highest Court, albeit with a different agenda in mind.
The High Court, in over-ruling the ACT’s same sex marriage laws, noted the classic definition of marriage:

Reference might also have been made (and now commonly is made) to the earlier decision of Lord Penzance in Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee and the statement[9] that “marriage, as understood in Christendom, may for this purpose be defined as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others”.

But it said our law already recognised for many purposes, polygamous marriages (contracted overseas, although we also have traditional Aboriginal polygamous unions):

Second, statements made in cases like Hyde v Hyde, suggesting that a potentially polygamous marriage could never be recognised in English law, were later qualified by both judge-made law and statute to the point where in both England and Australia the law now recognises polygamous marriages for many purposes[46].
Once it is accepted that “marriage” can include polygamous marriages, it becomes evident that the juristic concept of “marriage” cannot be confined to a union having the characteristics described in Hyde v Hyde and other nineteenth century cases. Rather, “marriage” is to be understood in s 51(xxi) of the Constitution as referring to a consensual union formed between natural persons in accordance with legally prescribed requirements which is not only a union the law recognises as intended to endure and be terminable only in accordance with law but also a union to which the law accords a status affecting and defining mutual rights and obligations.
It is not now possible (if it ever was) to confine attention to jurisdictions whose law of marriage provides only for unions between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life. Marriage law is and must be recognised now to be more complex.
(My bold throughout.) That is exactly the slippery slope argument, used here to justify in advance a future decision by the federal parliament to redefine marriage. To justify more “complex” definitions that “must be recognised”.
Malcolm Turnbull once mocked warnings of the slippery slope when they came from opponents of same-sex marriage. His original article attacking my own warnings is no longer on-line, but here is some of my response to Turnbull at the time:
First (Turnbull) says the “slippery slope” argument against same-sex marriage is nonsense, but without explaining why - other than to assert that unnamed judges would treat it with contempt… Turnbull also fails to explain on which grounds those judges would dismiss the slippery slope argument. Is it simply on a matter of law or through a superior understanding of how humans behave once taboos are broken? I’m not sure Turnbull knows himself.
The truth is that we do not need to go far at all to see how slippery the slippery slope can be. For instance, abortion was once - and on a strictly legalistic reading of the law in Victoria still is - limited to those cases in which a woman’s physical or mental health is endangered by her pregnancy. Now the restriction is so broadly interpreted that abortion is available to virtually any adult woman who simply wishes it, even when (in states such as Victoria) the child to be aborted is healthy and just weeks from birth. Australian ethicists, building on the work of Peter Singer, now argue even for the post-birth killing of babies by mothers who no longer want them…
As these and other examples show. once a traditional social taboo is lifted, it is very difficult to get people to agree on where the new limits should be set. And, exhausted by disagreement, we sometimes fail to agree on any limits, or none we’re prepared to defend.
Turnbull back then claimed what the High Court this week implicitly rejected by declaring polygamy was already for many purposes already recognised under our law:

Anyway, says Turnbull, “there is no demand, no lobby, no support, no constituency for legalising polygamy under the Marriage Act”, so where’s the slippery slope?
I am astonished that someone to the Left of the Liberal Party should be so blind to the desires of some of Muslim citizens, who argue that polygamy - unlike same sex marriage - is licensed by the Koran. Calls for the recognition of polygamy have been made by Sheikh Khalil Chami of the Islamic Welfare Centre in Lakemba and Keysar Trad of the Islamic Friendship Association. Australia’s then Mufti, Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam, said polygamy was an issue for the Australian National Council of Imams to discuss, and Yasser Soliman, one of the Muslim advisers handpicked by then prime minister John Howard argued:  “I don’t think it should be discussed in terms of any threat to the Australian way of life.”
Turnbull says we’d resist polygamy because of our “view of the equality of men and women”, but defenders of polygamy would not just question Turnbull’s judgment or opinion, but would use against him some of the very arguments used to back same-sex marriage: as in, by what right does he deny three adults the freedom to live together in marriage, should that be their wish? Aren’t Islamic values and ideal of equality to be treated as second class? Why is he imposing his values on others? Why is polygamy a threat to his own marriage?
The High Court, no doubt inadvertently, this week validated an important objection to same sex marriage - that it opens the door to endless redefinitions of marriage that will turn an important communal custom, freighted by tradition with responsibilities, into little more than highly individualistic arrangements with little moral power. This could be a disaster given that marriage serves one important role above any other: it glues parents together in the combination that is most likely to produce well-socialised children.
Weaken that glue and we all will pay.
Turnbull’s once claimed judges would treat the slippery slope argument with contempt. Now that judges in fact use the slippery slope argument to defend same sex marriage, will he now revise his stand?
(Thanks to reader Ganesh.) 

Rhiannon admits a brutal Communist regime schooled her

Andrew Bolt December 14 2013 (9:14am)

The ABC wins an admission from a Greens Senator that she was educated - as a guest - by a Communist regime long infamous for its brutality and oppression:
James Carleton: Tell me, you did study – correct me if I’m wrong – in Russia? The International Lenin School for around 6 months or so, when you were a member of the Socialist Party? Is that correct?
Lee Rhiannon: Yes. Yes. I’ve always been very open about my work and I’ve studied in many countries – political economy, Marxism.
Gerard Henderson:

Hold it there. How frightfully interesting. Caught on the hop, Senator Rhiannon admitted that she had studied at the International Lenin School in Moscow at the time when the communist neo-Stalinist (to use Mark Aarons’ term) dictator Leonid Brezhnev ran the Soviet Union. The year was 1977 and Rhiannon (born in 1951) was in her mid 20s....
But the point is that Lee O’Gorman (as she then was) undertook a course at the International Lenin School – which was an exclusive institution in Moscow which trained willing comrades for political action and which was controlled and funded by a totalitarian communist regime which locked up dissidents in psychiatric institutions and was overly anti-Semitic. The Greens Senator did not break with the pro-Moscow communists until 1990 – when she was close to 40 years of age....
MWD is astounded, absolutely astounded, that few members of the Canberra Press Gallery – outside the News Corp stable, where Christian Kerr has done considerable research – have focused on what Lee Rhiannon did between the ages of 18 and 39. Yet there has been excessive focus on David Marr’s unproven (and now revised) claim that Tony Abbott punched a wall at Sydney University when still a teenager. See MWD passim.
And then there is the matter of double standards. Imagine what ABC journalists would say if Cardinal George Pell confessed on RN Drivethat he studied at, say, the International Mussolini School in Rome financed by the French National Front. Just imagine. 

Why we spied on a harmless Indonesian housewife to the horror of our media Left

Andrew Bolt December 14 2013 (7:31am)

Naive reporters - or worse - pretended there was no reason for us to monitor the phone of the Indonesian president’s wife, thus justifying their otherwise baseless claim that our spying was such an outrage that it had to be exposed despite the damage it would cause and the drownings it would lead to.
A typical example, from Crikey’s Bernard Keane:
The Australian Signals Directorate, as it’s now called (formerly the DSD), has sailed serenely through the trashing of our relations with Indonesia, and the damage inflicted on a new government that had nothing to do with its actions, with little attention. Its errors of judgement in taking so grievously offensive a step as spying on the Indonesian President’s wife merely because it could, rather than for any particular intelligence value....
It was as if the reporters were sexists who really believed President Yudhoyono’s wife just did the ironing and cooking as she waited meekly each night for her husband to come home.
You have to despair at the stupidity of so much media today, so often made manifest by the cynicism of the idiot who trusts nothing but the ignorance he takes for his superior intellect. Who trusts his own uniformed prejudices about the considered professional judgment of our intelligence agencies and the politicians overseeing them.
The truth:

AUSTRALIAN intelligence agencies targeted the mobile phone of Indonesia’s first lady in 2009 because she had become the single most influential adviser to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and was thought to be hatching a presidential succession plan for her eldest son.
The decision to target Kristiani Herawati’s phone was not done on a whim but was part of a deliberate and calculated strategy to learn more about the shifting balance of power inside Jakarta’s ruling elite.

Who is hiding the non-boats?

Andrew Bolt December 14 2013 (7:03am)

Labor and its media mates accused the Abbott Government of not informing the public of boat arrivals:

Bill Shorten accused the Coalition of ”hiding the boats”....
But when the Abbott Government slows boat arrivals this past week to just one, carrying just three people, it is the media which shows almost zero interest in informing the public. 

Primordial Yosemite 

Shot just after the sun went down and before the valley turned dark. The steam was churning off of El Capitan all day long and was still going as fog started rising from the valley floor. The air seemed thick and full of movement. The day was over.

13 years ago today, George W. Bush was declared the President.

4 her


Marinel Pretzles
At Balmoral Beach.

Sitting on the balcony not sure whether to keep my cardigan on or off, lol. #sydney #weather#confusing #breezy #view #blue #sky




Stephanie Ann
A muslim, a socialist, and a communist walk into a bar. The bartender says hello Mr. President.

Ferrari 1962
My other car - ed

Chris Poole
The other night Max made individual summer puddings with brioche, and then made "brioche icecream" with all the off cuts. Note the candied rose petals that he dried all night in front of the open oven, after we stole roses from some unsuspecting neighbour, with me driving the getaway car, the day before.


US Campaign for Burma
Who of our fellow activists are in the Milwaukee area? 

Tomorrow, December 14, from 12:30-7:00pm there will be a conference hosting a slew of speakers discussing various topics regarding the Rohingya in Burma, from citizenship rights to international bodies' responsibility to act and protect. 

An exciting opportunity to learn an enormous amount of information on this ongoing crisis and persecution. We hope to see you there!

Aristotle plagiarised my wife - ed===

Samuel Reshevsky, age 8, defeating several chess masters at once in France, 1920.
Aprille Love


All-New Today: Brianna, 25, claims she was raped 10 years ago and that her mother coerced her into sharing her story with the national media — creating backlash from her peers. Can they fix their fractured relationship? And, best-selling author Mitch Albom offers advice for living a life without regret. #DrPhil

Emma Watson
"I was always a very serious child... So I was the right child to get cast: I loved the responsibility."-Emma on getting cast as Hermione Granger at age 9

On the 5th day of ObamaCare, Democrats gave to me…five million cancelled plans, Four-Oh-Four errors, fewer physicians, two times the cost and a nightmare for my family.

"Forgive them, for they know not what they do." -Jesus
"We're not left or right, we're individuals!" *Snigger*

Pastor Rick Warren
Those God uses most, Satan attacks most.

Want to get healthy, feel better, and honor God with your body? (Romans 12:1) 
TODAY watch @DocAmen, @MarkHymanMD, @DrOz and me as we explain THE DANIEL PLAN: GLORIFYING GOD BY KEEPING YOUR BODY HEALTHY today on The Dr. Oz Show. Tell your friends!

Michelle Malkin

Truth-boom! Brit Hume crushes Obamacare with one question, devastating answer ==>

San Francisco Sunrise


For the first time in recent history, it has snowed in Cairo!

With freezing temperatures across Egypt, New Cairo, Alexandria, and parts of the Sinai all witnessed snow fall this morning and yesterday.

[Photo from Madinaty, New Cairo via @i3atf)
Current Gallery on all Photographs

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Jewellery & Gemstone Gallery

Colour your world with gemstones !

A Gallery of Jewellery, Diamond News,Gems & Gemology promoted


John LaMantia Reminds me of my favorite kicked out of band story from local friends - leader kicked out guitar player by calling him on the phone while everyone else in band was in room with leader calling: " Hey Paul, yeah its Sean, you're out"

Aprille Love
Thanks so much to the cast of Atomic Kingdom for coming to support! #akfamily I love this shot sooo much!!!! — with Justin CoombsJames PeniataJacqueline MurrayLeigh Murray and Jace Alexander Pickard.

4 her

Look my love, a gift! Such a remarkable thing! Chocolate? Jelly Beans? It is too well wrapped for me to peep .. who taught patience? - ed


Actress Orla Brady plays Tasha Lem in this year's Christmas special, #TheTimeoftheDoctor (less than 2 weeks to go!). In this interview she talks costume, playing a "galactic nun" and being reunited with Peter Capaldi. 

Read Orla's full interview here:

Are you in a custody battle? Click here for Dr. Phil’s advice!


Steven Moffat promises that #TheTimeoftheDoctorwill contain "elements from every series of Matt’s Doctor, which will come to a head in this special. Things that we've laid down for years are going to be paid off." Geronimo!

Read the whole interview on


Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו
Jerusalem of white gold.



Michelle Malkin

‘I literally LOL’d!’ What was Jimmy Fallon’s Furious FLOTUS, funeral selfie prediction? ==>
David Bowles



Fogged in at the Gate

The fog lifted momentarily... just long enough to get this image. The Golden Gate bridge seemed to be floating as the billowy glowing mist rose up and down for those few brief moments before drifting back in over the hill of Battery Spencer on this warm autumn evening.
 — at Golden Gate Bridge.
His mentor .. like Dr Frankenstein - ed
Jason FoNg I like it how the Commies just don't whack someone. They go all out to destroy his legacy and erase every trace of him from history. A bit like what Rudd Mark II did to Gillard really.
Zaya Toma

At the Canley Heights town centre Christmas celebration. Wonderful performance by three young girls from Canley Heights public school. About to hand out lollies to everyone so come down!!
Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
Are you feeling broken hearted today?
Life can be difficult at times but we need to lean the word of God and the comfort and encouragement it can provide. The Bible verses for a broken heart are a clear call from God to cast your burden upon Him and trust in Him.No matter what you are passing through,be it single for a long time! or financial problem to meet up with Children Christmas wears? Is it loneliness of the heart? Is it unfaithfulness from your spouse? Whatever it is,there is a solution.Psalm 34:18 says,The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 

God knows all about your inner pain.Tell Him you do not know how to pray.Your cry for help will not be in vain.God will give you strength when weary.And when everything seems to go wrong,Lift your hand and reach out to Him.He will make your heavy heart strong.Look up to God, He holds the key,and knows what is best for you and me.
Only He can make heartaches cease and fill a heavy heart with peace.The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him and I am helped.Psalm 28:7.God bless you.
Father, I come to You today with thanksgiving in my heart and a mouth full of praise. I bless You because You are worthy. Thank You for redeeming my life from the pit. Thank You for leading me in the way everlasting as I keep my heart and mind on You today in Jesus’ name. Amen.
God’s will for us unfolds each and every day as we obey Him and serve Him with a thankful heart. When you wake up every morning with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, you just took a step toward your destiny — you are walking in the will of God. When you go throughout your day thanking God that His hand of blessing is upon you, thanking Him for ordering your steps, thanking Him for a new day, you are taking another step in His will.The Scripture says,“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”(1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).

So,Keep praising, keep believing and keep thanking Him because that’s what will keep you moving forward. Submit every area of your heart to Him and walk forward in His will for your life.God bless you.
Yesterday I was going through my old messages and I said to myself,am i doing enough?.I receive gifts and presents all the time. Perhaps it is just me, but as the years go by you worry less about the gifts and more about the people you will share your special moments with. As I read through the messages and comments from all of you, I felt so humbled. I remembered this passage in the Scripture.Matthew 19:29 And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundred times, and will inherit everlasting life.

There were times when I felt like my very pieces of my heart had been taken out. Today though I look at how much more the Lord has added to me and I do not remember the things I had to give up any longer.As I read every message I was touched so deeply. You know, as a leader I love to pour out. More than making people happy, I want my Heavenly Father to be happy with me. It was an overwhelming joy though to read those messages and comments and to feel the appreciation from you.
To see the lives I touched and the people that knew me, even though we have never met face-to-face. I looked around and I saw that God had indeed given back to me a family that was dear to my heart. I might not know you face-to-face, but as we have traveled together over the months and years through Facebook, I realize that our paths have been intertwined.

Together we are making an impact in the world. Together we are shining as a City on a Hill. For someone that usually never runs out of words... I find it hard to try and find the exact words to express what a blessing you are in my life. So I will only say that I wish above all else that you will prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers. I pray that you will come to know Jesus face-to-face and have every part of your heart fully healed. I pray that you can see your value in the eyes of your Heavenly Father.
I pray that every promise that God has given you will be fulfilled and that every ache of your heart is transformed into rejoicing. I pray that you would know how precious you are to the Lord and how much potential you have to succeed. I pray that you know you have a place and that you are destined to walk in His power.
I pray that you will see that you are a signet ring on the right hand of the Lord and a treasure beyond compare. May Jesus truly reveal Himself to you today.A big Amen.
Father in heaven,I thank You for Your faithfulness in my life. Thank You for choosing me. Thank You for delighting in me. I invite You to renew my heart and mind to the good plans You have for me. Today I open my heart and mind to You so that I can see the greatness of what You want to do in my life. Use me for Your glory. Thank You for Your favor. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Greatness of His Favor.
The Scripture says,“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us...raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”(Ephesians 2:4–7, NKJ)

Oftentimes, people set their focus on what God has done in the past — how He parted the Red Sea, or stopped the sun for Joshua, or fed thousands of people with just a little boy’s small lunch. Yes, God has performed many amazing miracles throughout history, and it’s important that we give Him praise and glory. But at the same time, we also have to look forward to what God wants to do in our lives today. In this verse, Paul says that “in the ages to come” God would do things that far supersede anything He’s ever done before. I believe that the “ages to come” that He’s talking about is this day and time we’re living in right now. God wants to outdo Himself in our generation.Dare to dream big! Dare to keep a God-sized vision in front of you! Dare to take hold of every blessing that the Lord has in store for you.You are blessed.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.O Lord teach me to seek you,and reveal yourself to me when I seek you.
For I cannot seek you unless you first teach me,nor find you unless you first reveal yourself to me.Always, always, in spite of weakness, falls, and shortcomings of every kind, Jesus, help me and never forsake me.

Pollard and an American Jewish Renaissance By CAROLINE B. GLICK
Every day Pollard remains in prison is an attack on the freedom and security of the American Jewish community.
<We must never forget for when we do we trivialize man's inhumanity to his fellow man.>
its 'no kids o'clock', time to watch this!


We welcome #FirozOsman and dedicate this graphic to him, lest he forget:
mm banner28413-028032-0
Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 8.47.54 AM16846-0
Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for December 12th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Manager of calls for investigation of botched management of

Operation Scapegoat Search is about to begin...

Please pass the Pepto: Rep. Alan Grayson seeks ‘friends with benefits’

Rep. Alan Grayson must have found out that the FEC will toss a quarter into campaign coffers every time a candidate successfully makes constituents’ skin crawl...

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Israel Alert Newsletter 10 Tevet 5774December 13, 2013
Snow in Jerusalem is always a special and newsworthy event here. For some, it is a delightful occasion; for others, an annoyance. While more well-prepared and equipped than any other nation to deal with serious emergencies, including terrorist threats and situations of war, somehow the cold but lovely, white blanket practically shuts down the capital. This is an amusing phenomenon to immigrants from places such as Moscow and Montreal, where people are accustomed to much deeper snow.
The Prime Minister's Office cancelled a number of meetings due to inclement weather. Most notably, US Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres has been postponed, The Jerusalem Post reported. 
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A cousin of renowned jurist Dr. Raphael Lemkin, who coined the the term 'genocide' and who drafted and pushed for the adoption, in the UN, of the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, has spoken out on what he sees as UN hypocrisy.
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program, in partnership with the United Nations office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, commemorated the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention on December 9 with a program titled, "From Prevention to Protection: The UN Genocide Convention 65 Years On." Several members of the Lemkin family in the New York area attended the prestigious event honoring the memory of their esteemed relative.
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 A Coin with a Cause: Safeguarding the Future of Jerusalem

A unique opportunity exists to acquire an outstanding Jerusalem treasure while playing a role in safeguarding the future of the Holy City of Jerusalem. During these times, when enemies of the Jewish state continue to challenge the status of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and to rewrite history by denying the eternal Jewish connection to the holy city, it is necessary to rise to the challenge and to defend it in any way possible.
When certain political leaders deny the God-given right or the Jewish people to its ancient homeland and refute the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Jerusalem's Temple Mount, it is important to stand up for the truth in word and in deed.
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The United Church of Canada, which is the largest Protestant church in Canada, launched an official boycott of Israeli products, beginning with three factories located in Judea and Samaria.
The targeted companies are: Keter Plastic Ltd., a manufacturer of home and outdoor storage solutions; SodaStream, the world's largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of Home Carbonation Systems; and Ahava, a producer of skin care products.

Fight the Boycotts: Buy Your Holiday Gifts from Israel
United with Israel, the largest grassroots movement in support of Israel worldwide, urges supporters of the State of Israel to counter the various boycott campaigns against Israel by purchasing Israeli-made products for the holiday season.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which is being promoted by Israel's enemies, is in full swing. In order to counter the venomous anti-Israel campaign, those concerned for the well-being of the Jewish state would do well to consider beautiful, made-in-Israel items during this holiday season.
On the last Saturday of November 2013, thousands participated in an International Day of Rage against the Prawer-Begin Plan, which aims to solve the conflict regarding the Bedouin community of the Negev in southern Israel.
The demonstrations, many of them violent, took place in largely Arab-populated areas, including Haifa, Jerusalem, the northern Triangle, Ramallah, Hebron and a number of European cities. Anti-Israel activists stirred up the crowds by calling for a third Intifada and a Bedouin uprising.

Living Torah: A Nation of Lions
There is much to discuss in the week's reading, but what I want to focus on today is simply the name of the reading. The word "Vayechi" means "to live on." Oddly enough, however, our portion focuses on the death of Jacob! What an odd name, then, for this week's Torah portion. Why is it named the way it is?
Perhaps the answer, or at least some "food for thought," can be found in the words of Mark Twain. As Mark Twain wrote in 1899: If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost...

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As you are well aware, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, in part:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  Yet, in recent years we've seen an erosion of our religious freedoms, especially at Christmastime.
And now, we find that those who serve in our armed services, who fight to protect our freedoms, are battling a war of their own...a battle for their religious freedom.
Earlier this week, I was on Fox News to talk about a developing situation in South Carolina at Shaw Air Force Base. If you missed it, I encourage you to watch.   
We should all be deeply concerned about the incremental destruction of religious liberty in our country.
It is time for all Americans, regardless of their religion, to take a stand for our right to freely exercise religion as granted by our Constitution. 
I hope you'll join us by signing our petition to President Obama and the U. S. Department of Defense.  And then, please share it with everyone you know so that they too can be a part of this effort. 
We must stand together and fight for this important first principle of American freedom - our right to freely exercise religion!
God Bless America, 
Rick Santorum
Roald Amundsen and his team at the South Pole




Holidays and observances[edit]

“When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”” Matthew 2:4-6 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Salt without prescribing how much."
Ezra 7:22
Salt was used in every offering made by fire unto the Lord, and from its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our attentive regard that, when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among his royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by him. Often are we straitened in ourselves, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no such famine in Jerusalem that the citizens should eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure. Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much, but of the salt of grace no stint is made, "Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given unto thee." Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard, and the sweet jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from that. A man may have too much money, or too much honour, but he cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun waxed fat in the flesh, he kicked against God, but there is no fear of a man's becoming too full of grace: a plethora of grace is impossible. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy. Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but abundance of the Spirit is fulness of joy. Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season thine afflictions, which are unsavoury without salt; it will preserve thy heart which corrupts if salt be absent, and it will kill thy sins even as salt kills reptiles. Thou needest much; seek much, and have much.


"I will make thy windows of agates."
Isaiah 54:12
The church is most instructively symbolized by a building erected by heavenly power, and designed by divine skill. Such a spiritual house must not be dark, for the Israelites had light in their dwellings; there must therefore be windows to let the light in and to allow the inhabitants to gaze abroad. These windows are precious as agates: the ways in which the church beholds her Lord and heaven, and spiritual truth in general, are to be had in the highest esteem. Agates are not the most transparent of gems, they are but semi-pellucid at the best:
"Our knowledge of that life is small,
Our eye of faith is dim."
Faith is one of these precious agate windows, but alas! it is often so misty and beclouded, that we see but darkly, and mistake much that we do see. Yet if we cannot gaze through windows of diamonds and know even as we are known, it is a glorious thing to behold the altogether lovely One, even though the glass be hazy as the agate. Experience is another of these dim but precious windows, yielding to us a subdued religious light, in which we see the sufferings of the Man of Sorrows, through our own afflictions. Our weak eyes could not endure windows of transparent glass to let in the Master's glory, but when they are dimmed with weeping, the beams of the Sun of Righteousness are tempered, and shine through the windows of agate with a soft radiance inexpressibly soothing to tempted souls. Sanctification, as it conforms us to our Lord, is another agate window. Only as we become heavenly can we comprehend heavenly things. The pure in heart see a pure God. Those who are like Jesus see him as he is. Because we are so little like him, the window is but agate; because we are somewhat like him, it is agate. We thank God for what we have, and long for more. When shall we see God and Jesus, and heaven and truth, face to face?

Today's reading: Hosea 12-14, Revelation 4 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Hosea 12-14

1 Ephraim feeds on the wind;
he pursues the east wind all day
and multiplies lies and violence.
He makes a treaty with Assyria
and sends olive oil to Egypt.
2 The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah;
he will punish Jacob according to his ways
and repay him according to his deeds.
3 In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;
as a man he struggled with God.
He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel
and talked with him there—
5 the LORD God Almighty,
the LORD is his name!
6 But you must return to your God;
maintain love and justice,
and wait for your God always.
7 The merchant uses dishonest scales
and loves to defraud.
8 Ephraim boasts,
“I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
any iniquity or sin....”

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 4

The Throne in Heaven
1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal....
Manasseh, Manasses[Mānăs’seh,Mānăs’sēs]—causing forgetfulness.
  1. The elder son of Joseph, who was born in Egypt and was half Hebrew and half Egyptian. He was the founder of a tribe (Gen. 41:51Num. 1:10 ). Manasseh and his brother Ephraim were Jacob’s Gentile descendants, since both were children of an Egyptian mother. Ephraim means “the multitude of nations,” or “the fulness of the Gentiles,” and was prophetic of Christ as the Saviour of the world. The tribe of Manasseh produced two out of the four Old Testament men whose faith has been thought worthy of notice in the New Testament—Gideon and Jephthah (Heb. 11:32).
  2. The grandfather of Jonathan who, with his sons, became a priest to the tribe of Dan when they set up a graven image in Laish ( Judg. 18:30). Perhaps Moses should be read for Manasseh in the verse.
  3. The son of Hezekiah and father of Amon, king of Judah, who succeeded his father when he was only twelve years of age (2 Kings 20:2121).

The Man Whose Policy Was Wrong

Manasseh, the prodigal king of the Old Testament, was overwhelmed by Assyrian forces and in the twenty-third year of his reign was taken as a prisoner to Babylon where he lingered for twelve years. During these years he turned to God and was restored to freedom and his kingdom. For the next twenty years left to him, he sought to undo the wrong of the past. His long reign of fifty-five years, the longest in Jewish history, closed not inauspiciously. He died a penitent, and left a son who followed his father in his sins but not in his repentance.
Gathering together what we can of Manasseh’s life, it would seem that he was a man of policy:
His policy of idolatry . How he hated the first two commandments of Sinai, and reversed the reforms of his father! How exceedingly bold he was in his idolatry!
His policy of immorality. Idolatry and immorality go together, thus in rejecting God there came the worship of the Syrian Venus. This action let loose a flood of iniquity over the land of Judah.
His policy of persecution. Manasseh allowed nothing to stand in the way of license and open evil. Martyrdom became the cost of service. Idolatry was set up under the pain of death.
His policy of destruction . As far as he could, Manasseh destroyed the Word of God. Every copy found was consigned to the flames. God’s truth testified too plainly against the sins of king and people. So complete was this destruction of the Word of God that when Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, came to the throne, a copy of it was found in the Temple.
But Manasseh’s eyes were opened to his sinful condition and he sobbed out the misery of his helpless and craven soul. Theoccasion of his repentance was affliction. In the prison-house of Babylon he prayed. As to the characterof his repentance, he besought the Lord and humbled himself before the God of his fathers and prayed unto Him. Penniless and penitent, his cry for mercy came from a broken heart, and God graciously received this prodigal king. Alas, however, he stopped short of being out-and-out for God! He allowed the high places of idolatry to remain. It will not be possible to doubt God’s grace in heaven in the ages to come if we can but catch a glimpse of Manasseh—godly-reared, apostate, idolatrous, devilish, stricken, humbled, repentant Manasseh!
4. One of the family of Hashum who had married a foreign wife ( Ezra 10:33).
5. One of the family of Pahath-moab who had done the same (Ezra 10:30).
A Christmas Story

LeeheadshotWhat we say and do really matters during this special season - as I found out when I was a skeptical newspaper reporter
The Chicago Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas in 1974. As I sat at my desk with little to do, my mind kept wandering back to a family I had encountered a month earlier while I was working on a series of articles about Chicago's neediest people.
Sixty-year-old Perfecta and her granddaughters Lydia and Jenny had been burned out of their roach-infested tenement and were now living in a tiny two-room apartment on the West Side. As I walked in, I couldn't believe how empty it was. There was no furniture, no rugs, nothing on the walls - only a small kitchen table and one handful of rice. That's it. They were virtually devoid of possessions.
In fact, eleven-year-old Lydia and thirteen-year-old Jenny owned only one short-sleeved dress each, plus one thin, gray sweater between them. When they walked the half-mile to school through the biting cold, Lydia would wear the sweater for part of the distance and then hand it to her shivering sister, who would wear it the rest of the way.
But despite their poverty and the painful arthritis that kept Perfecta from working, she still talked confidently about her faith in Jesus. She was convinced he had not abandoned them. I never sensed despair or self-pity in her home; instead, there was a gentle feeling of hope and peace.
Visit Us on the Web: - The Ambition -
Questions from readers:
  • When was Luke written?
  • Mystery of the missing verse
Q. In one of your videos at, you mentioned the gospel of Luke. When was Luke written? I thought it was at the end of the first century.
A. You've brought up my favorite gospel - Luke's account of the birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus. I especially appreciate Luke because he was like a first-century investigative reporter. A physician and close associate of the apostle Paul, Luke stresses in the introduction to his gospel how he "carefully investigated everything from the beginning" in order to write "an orderly account" about "the certainty" of what took place.
When was Luke written? According to New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary, the standard scholarly dating, even in very liberal circles, is Mark in the 70s, Matthew and Luke in the 80s, and John in the 90s. "That's still within the lifetimes of various eyewitnesses of the life of Jesus, including hostile eyewitnesses who would have served as a corrective if false teachings about Jesus were going around," he pointed out in my interview with him for The Case for Christ.
Read the rest of this answer and answers to the other questions!

Have a question? Drop me a line We'll answer the ones with the broadest interest in upcoming newsletters.
Lee's Notes
• Why Christmas? Here are 12 reasons from the best possible source. And here are five common myths about Christmas.
• We're thrilled that Dr. Craig Hazen has been added to the speakers at our March 10 national webcast of The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask. Hazen, who earned his doctorate at the University of California at Santa Barbara, is director of the M.A. Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University and recipient of the Fischer Award, the highest faculty honor at Biola. He's an outstanding scholar and engaging communicator.
Your church and small group can still sign up for this live event, at which we'll be addressing questions about why God allows so much suffering; whether a loving God sends people to hell; how we know God exists and that Jesus is his Son; whether the Bible is full of mythology and mistakes; why people should choose Christianity over other religions; and other issues. I'll be speaking along with author/apologist Mark Mittelberg and Dr. Douglas Groothuis of Denver Seminary. For more information Sign up by Jan. 1 to get best pricing.
Read the rest of Lee's Notes!

Why did Jesus come to Earth?

In this eight-minute video from the end of my talk based on the book The Case for Christmas, I do my best to summarize the Gospel and lead a prayer for those who want to receive Christ.

Lee's Links: Suggested articles from the web
Why Jesus?
We need the Incarnation - Christmas - to reveal a good and gracious God.
Christ on campus
Christian organizations risk being marginalized at more and more universities.
The face of Jesus
Pondering Rembrandt's portraits of Christ as we celebrate the Incarnation.
Atheists & church
One in five atheist scientists attend church with their family on occasion.
Karen Ehman
December 13, 2011
Rubber Bands for Rina
Karen Ehman
"Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" Matthew 25:37-40 (NLT)
"What's up with the rubber bands, Mom?"
Curiosity shone in my nine-year-old son's face as he coaxed a beige wad out of his Christmas stocking. One by one our three children discovered, nestled beneath foil-wrapped candies and glittery trinkets, a tangled mass of rubber bands.
"When you've finished, Dad and I will explain," I answered with a wink to my husband.
My children were about to get a lesson in giving, even as they were receiving. Those rubber bands represented more than a way to bind up loose things; they represented the life of a child in need.
As a family we sponsor a little girl from Indonesia through Compassion International's program in her local church. Rina's smiling face in the photograph on our fridge reminds us to serve "the least of these" and be thankful for the bounty we enjoy. Each month we tuck a check in an envelope wrapped in prayer. It's our way of investing in Rina's education, spiritual growth and basic physical needs.
We regularly get updates on what she's learning at church as well as her academic progress and health. Compassion International also gives us a peek at Rina's family life and activities she enjoys. Not too long before Christmas, one sentence stopped me in my tracks: "Rina helps out around her home, caring for her younger siblings and assisting her mother with the cooking and with the family's animals. She also enjoys playing with rubber bands."
My heart sank. What! No dolls? No balls? Not even a jump rope? When finished with her chores, this precious girl passes time by playing with flimsy rubber bands. Hot tears poured as I eyed my own kids' overflowing toy box. Many items hadn't been touched in months.
That Christmas, my husband and I cut back on buying gifts for our family in order to send extra money to Compassion to purchase a special present for Rina. And, I prayed a portion of the offering would buy her a doll.
After our children had finished opening gifts in their stockings, we read Rina's report. "Can you imagine playing only with rubber bands?" I asked. "When we read that, Dad and I decided to use some of the money we would have spent on you to buy a present for Rina."
Two kids were immediately glad we did and one slightly sulked. However, we were all thrilled a few months later when Rina wrote us a letter scrawled in her own handwriting, and translated to English: "Thank you so greatly for the gift of the new clothes. And the doll." I just smiled. The previously sulking child asked if this could become an annual tradition.
Whether it's next door or across the world, people are in need. Today's key verse invites us to consider those lacking refreshment, encouragement or care. We are told that when we reach out to someone in any kind of need, it's not just a neighbor, co-worker or child across the world playing with rubber bands we are serving ... it's Jesus.
This verse challenges me to pause in the midst of my holiday hustle and consider ways I can reach out to others and make their lives better. There is always something we can do - whether it's prepare a meal for a family struggling financially, share toys with a child or spend time with someone alone. The size of the gift doesn't matter - it's the love behind the gift that does.
God chose to make our lives better that first Christmas. He gave us His Son so that we, prisoners of sin, hungering for truth, and thirsting for living water, might have eternal life. Now it is our turn. A simple gesture. Done in His Name. A life just might be changed forever.
Not only someone else's life ... but ours as well.
Dear Lord, are there those You want me to reach out to this Christmas? Speak. I'm listening. Show me how and where I can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday, Karen and LeAnn Rice's new e-book full of outreach ideas and ways to organize and simplify the season.
Enter to win a Christmas goodie basket along with a copy of Untangling Christmas. Visit Karen's blog for details.
Sponsor a Compassion Child today and touch a life forever.
Application Steps:
Gather your family or group of close friends. Brainstorm who might need some extra love or material goods this Christmas season.
What specifically could you do for them? Outline action steps and plan to follow through over the next few weeks.
Have I ever been the recipient of a loving Christmas gesture? How did it impact my life?
Power Verses:
Proverbs 31:20, "She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit]." (AMP)
© 2011 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
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December 13, 2011
Gifts That Matter
Part 1
Today's Truth
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving-large or small-it will be used to measure what is given back to you (Luke 6:38, NLT).
Friend to Friend
The world would like us to believe that the success of Christmas depends upon how much we spend, how many presents we give or how many presents we receive. Christmas is about giving, but price tags do not determine the success of our giving. Giving is not dependent on the condition of our checkbooks. Giving is dependent on the condition of our hearts. I am so glad! Like you, we have to plan carefully what we buy and how much we spend on each gift. As a result, we have discovered some creative ways to give gifts from the heart, meaningful gifts that cost very little.
A homemade gift
In 1 Corinthians 4:12 , Paul teaches that we should "work hard with our own hands." This principle can easily be applied to Christmas gifts. Giving a homemade gift represents time, thought and is a part of you. When our children were small, one of our favorite Christmas traditions was to create and deliver a homemade hot chocolate mix in decorated mason jars to our neighbors. We placed the jars just to the left of each neighbor's front door, rang their doorbell and ran like crazy! I am not certain who enjoyed it the most ... our neighbors or us. But every year, we were amazed by how much the neighbors enjoyed our homemade gift. (By the way, the recipe posted on my website if you want to carry on this tradition.)
A possession gift
In Matthew 6:40 , Jesus spoke about giving away the shirt and coat on our backs. Giving something we already own can be a wonderful Christmas gift if it is something of special value to us. In other words, it is not the idea of getting rid of junk but sharing our treasure. Do not ask the question, "What can I buy for Sally?" Ask the question, "What do I have that would mean a lot to Sally?" My husband is a pastor. During a message, Dan mentioned he collects old Bibles. The next Christmas, one of our church members gave him a family Bible that had been passed down through several generations of family members. It was and still is one of Dan's most precious possessions.
A gift of time
Time is a valuable gift, a precious commodity. The apostle Paul wrote, "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity" (Ephesians 5:15-16 , NIV). When we give someone 30 minutes of our time, we are giving them 30 minutes of our lives. While Dan was in seminary, we rarely had a spare minute or extra dollar between school, jobs and babies. A close friend who knew our schedule gave us a precious gift of time. "I have no money but wanted to give you a gift for Christmas," he said, handing us a card. Inside was a coupon for free childcare one afternoon each week for the spring semester. That was over twenty-five years ago, and I still remember that wonderful gift of time.
A gift of prayer
The greatest gift we can give someone is the commitment to pray for them consistently. James writes, "Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results" (James 5:16 , NLT). Following our traditional Christmas Eve service, an elderly lady approached Dan and said, "I don't have anything to give you, Pastor. But I want you to know that I will pray for you, Mary and the kids every morning this year at 6:00 a.m." And she did! What a priceless gift! Every time she saw us, this sweet lady asked what we needed and how she should pray. Only Heaven knows all that God accomplished in our lives through the prayers of this godly woman.
A gift of encouragement
As the writer of Proverbs says, encouragement is a powerful gift. "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up" (Proverbs 12:25 , NIV). We assume the people in our lives know how much they mean to us. They rarely do. This Christmas, write a letter to someone you love and appreciate, telling them how important they are to you. Be specific. A written note or letter requires time, careful thought and allows that person to read your words of encouragement again and again. One of my most prized possessions is a blue wooden box our son built and gave me one year for Christmas. In that box, I store notes, letters and cards of affirmation so on my "blue" days, I can pull out a dose of encouragement. One year, I wrote a letter of encouragement to my husband and to each child. The letters were placed in decorated envelopes, tied to branches of the Christmas tree and opened first on Christmas morning.
On Thursday, I will share with you six more gifts from the heart. I pray this holiday season will lead us once again to the manger, where we will worship the Christ child and experience a Christmas holiday filled with love, peace and joy.
Let's Pray
Father, teach us to celebrate Your birth in the way we give to others. Lord, I don't want to get caught up in buying gifts that make me feel good. I want to give gifts that honor God, encourage others and point them to the real reason for this season - Jesus. Be glorified in every gift I give this year.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Read and memorize Luke 6:38 that says, "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving-large or small-it will be used to measure what is given back to you.
What does this verse tell you about how important it is to give?
What does this verse say about the importance of the attitude behind the gift?
What does God promise to do in our lives when we give generously?
More from the Girlfriends
No matter what your circumstances may be, you can celebrate the Christmas holidays because God is with you, girlfriend.
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.
If you are like me, you are easily swept into the rush of Christmas preparation. I love it - mostly. But I also want to remember that at the very heart of Christmas is Emanuel, God with us. Join me this Christmas season in a quest to celebrate Him and His birth as never before. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook - or through email.
Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
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Matthews, NC 28106

Simon Carries the Cross

Simon was compelled to carry Christ's cross, but we who live subsequent to His death and resurrection are called to take up our crosses willingly (Luke 9:23 ). As followers of Jesus, we are to bear the scorn that comes our way for living after His pattern and not the pattern of the world. Let us remember that Christ endured far worse as we suffer for the gospel, and let us look to Him to make us able to stand in the day of trial.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Obadiah-Jonah 3
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. 

Simon Carries the Cross

Matthew 27:32-34 "As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross" (v. 32).
Having finished their scourging and mockery of Jesus in the governor's headquarters (Matt. 27:26-31), the Roman soldiers take our Lord and begin His march toward the cross. Evidently, the physical beating Christ has suffered at the hands of the centurions has taken its toll, for He is not able to carry His cross on His own. Thus, the soldiers compel a man named Simon to bear the weight of the wooden crosspiece the condemned man would have to carry (v. 32 ), that is, the part to which Jesus' arms will be nailed. The vertical beam of the cross is already put in the ground before the condemned arrives. Simon is from Cyrene, a Greek settlement in North Africa, and later church traditions depict him as a model of piety for carrying our Lord's cross. Yet he has no choice but to obey the orders of the centurions, and to make his bearing of Christ's cross a sign of Simon's devotion goes a bit too far. Still, it could be that Simon later came to faith, for how could he carry the cross of Christ and then not be open to the gospel message? Mark 15:21 tells us Simon has two sons, Alexander and Rufus, and the latter man may be mentioned in Romans 16:13.
Upon arriving at Golgotha, the crucifixion site, Jesus is offered wine to drink. This wine is mixed with gall, which is a bitter herb (Matt. 27:33-34 ), and some commentators believe that the potion is some kind of narcotic given to dull the pain. Based onProverbs 31:6 , Jewish women in that day would sometimes give such wine to crucified men out of sympathy; however, the problem with this reading of the text is that the soldiers, not the women, offer Jesus the drink. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that the Romans would all of a sudden want to alleviate the pain of a condemned man. Wine becomes sour and undrinkable when mixed with gall, and so it may be that the Romans offer the drink to torture Jesus further. If so, this event fulfills Psalm 69:19-21.
Either way, Jesus does not drink from this cup ( Matt. 27:34). The cup that He does drink, however, is the cup that His Father has given Him - the cup of God's wrath against the sins of His people (1 Peter 2:24). Let us be thankful that we who rely on Christ's sacrifice will never taste this cup of condemnation.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Simon was compelled to carry Christ's cross, but we who live subsequent to His death and resurrection are called to take up our crosses willingly ( Luke 9:23). As followers of Jesus, we are to bear the scorn that comes our way for living after His pattern and not the pattern of the world. Let us remember that Christ endured far worse as we suffer for the gospel, and let us look to Him to make us able to stand in the day of trial.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
Obadiah-Jonah 3
INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
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FRB-Christmas-Story-BookCover-SmallReading 8: The Birth of John Foretold

Many years later, Israel came under the powerful rule of the Roman Empire. The empire ruled over the Jews and made them pay heavy taxes. They still longed for a savior to rescue them and restore their nation. The right time came for God to fulfill his promise and send the Messiah. But first he would send a special messenger to announce Jesus’ coming and get the people ready to accept their Savior.

Luke 1:5-25 
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home.24After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Further Study
  1. Who was Zechariah? What was his wife’s name? (v. 5)
  2. Who visited Zechariah in the temple? What was the message? (vv. 11 – 17)
  3. What happened to Zechariah? Why? (v. 20)
  1. Was Zechariah’s inability to speak a punishment or a blessing? Explain.
  2. In what way would John “go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah” (v. 17)? Why did the angel compare John to the Old Testament prophet?

God kept the promise he had made to his people through the prophet Isaiah. John was “a voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the Lord’” (Isaiah 40:3). John preached repentance so the people could accept the Good News of Jesus.


1:5 Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were Levites and descendants of Aaron. Only men from the family line of Aaron could be priests. Groups of priests rotated serving in the temple. They presented sacrifices and offerings to God, taught and carried out God’s laws for worship, maintained the temple, lit lamps and burned incense, and talked to God on behalf of the people of Israel. Zechariah was on duty and serving as priest when the angel came to him in the temple.


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

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Each Tuesday in Advent, we look at the story behind a beloved Christmas song.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

In medieval Europe, there were cathedral services each evening leading up to Christmas Eve. Each service would begin with an antiphon , a choral call to worship. There were seven "Great O Antiphons," beginning with the Latin wordvini("come"), followed by the Latin words for "O Wisdom," "O Lord," "O Branch of Jesse," "O Key of David," "O Dayspring," "O King of Nations," and "O Emmanuel." These choral prayers were rooted in messianic titles used by the prophets in the Old Testament, pleas for God to come. During the 1800s, various English translations of the "Great O Antiphons" were made. This well-loved British version is the work of Thomas Alexander Lacey, who was born December 20, 1853.
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God's dear Son.

O come, thou Branch of Jesse! Draw
The quarry from the lion's claw;
From the dread caverns of the grave,
From nether hell, thy people save.

O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright!
Pour on our souls thy healing light;
Dispel the long night's ling'ring gloom,
And pierce the shadows of the tomb.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

"They shall call his name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." --Matthew 1:23

Today's reading is from Near to the Heart of God by Robert J. Morgan.

Today's Advent reading is taken from:Near to the Heart of God
by Robert J. Morgan

A soul-bolstering collection that begins with Scripture, includes lyrics and an uplifting story about a favorite hymn, and ends with a prayer.

Click on the image above to watch the video!
Deeper Connections: The Life of Jesus
When Jesus appeared on the scene, he was not what the people of Israel had expected. He claimed to be the Messiah, but what that looked like for Jesus came as a surprised to many. We see this right from the very beginning of his story.

In human terms, the story of Jesus’ birth is one of humiliation. His mother becomes pregnant as a virgin who was engaged to be married, and though Joseph is a righteous man and obeys God by staying with Mary, rumors about his birth would follow Jesus all his life. Once they arrive at Bethlehem this young couple is turned away at the inn, and Mary is forced to give birth to their son amid the animals.

For a new born king, Jesus receives a meager welcome. No royalty or priests from Jerusalem come to worship him, only lowly shepherds, the poor and oppressed, and even Gentiles.

To top it all off, this was a Messiah who did not come in power but who suffered at the hands of the rulers of Israel, and would ultimately die at their hands.

The story of Christmas is one of surprises, but the ultimate surprise is that this Messiah of humble origins who died a humiliating death was in fact the savior of the world.
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In Deeper Connections: The Life of Jesus, Matt Williams brings together leading New Testament scholars to shed light on the story of Jesus, while drawing our real-life applications that will help you live out your faith today.
Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional


My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. -Luke 2:46-47
One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to live with a shrunken understanding of God, a shrunken soul. This is the perfect reason to take Christmas seriously, as our best hope for our minds and hearts to be enlarged with God's greatness.
Mary's response to the message that she would bear the savior was a remarkable song of praise, sometimes known as the Magnificat (Luke 2:46-55). It begins, "My soul magnifies the Lord," which means that because God's announcement opened her heart him in a way that she couldn't have imagined, her soul was beginning to grasp the bigness of God.
I remember the first time I looked through a telescope at the open sky on a cold winter evening. When I pointed it at the half-lit moon, I was stunned as it came into focus-to see mountains and plains, unlike the picture books I was used to, but the real thing in real time. An ethereal, bright disk hanging in the sky was now a real place to me. The telescope magnified its reality. The moon didn't increase, but my comprehension of it did.
Sometimes human beings look at God as if he were a distant point of light. But when we take his word into consideration, and if we accept it by faith, our perspective changes drastically. We see that we are living in a greater reality, with a greater God than we had imagined, and with greater possibilities in our future.
Mary knew her life would never be the same-not just her life, but the lives of countless others-because of what God was going to do. This stretched her soul, and it can stretch ours.
Prayer for today:
Lord, this Christmas, give me a larger vision of who you are. May you be magnified in my soul, and may others see that you are the focus of my celebration.
For the month of December, we’re giving all of our “Everything New” readers a taste of Mel’s Christmas devotional, “Christmas Joy”. Click here to subscribe to this email devotional, which will run the month of December. Or acquire the entire devotional as an e-book, compatible with your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Kindle or Android. All previous posts in this series are available at The Brook Network.


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.

Does God give anyone a chance to believe after death?

This week's reading: Luke 16:19-31
The unrepeatable reality of physical death leads directly to reaping what we sowed in this world. Jesus taught that in this parable of the rich man and Lazarus as well as when he spoke of dying in one's sins as something dreadful (see Jn 8:21-23). Similarly, Paul taught that on judgment day, all will receive a destiny corresponding to their works (see Ro 2:5-16; 2Co 5:10;Gal 6:7-8). New Testament teaching is unified in viewing the dead and final judgment this way.
Scripture says nothing of God's grace triggering postmortem conversions. Thus we may infer that an unbeliever's lack of desire for Christ before the grave remains unchanged after the grave. God's offer of salvation does not appear to extend beyond death.

Today's reading is from theNIV Quest Study Bible
by Zondervan

This unique Bible addresses the common, uncommon, and perplexing questions people ask about Scripture.

A Christmas Devotional


My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. -Luke 2:46-47
One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to live with a shrunken understanding of God, a shrunken soul. This is the perfect reason to take Christmas seriously, as our best hope for our minds and hearts to be enlarged with God's greatness.
Mary's response to the message that she would bear the savior was a remarkable song of praise, sometimes known as the Magnificat (Luke 2:46-55). It begins, "My soul magnifies the Lord," which means that because God's announcement opened her heart him in a way that she couldn't have imagined, her soul was beginning to grasp the bigness of God.
I remember the first time I looked through a telescope at the open sky on a cold winter evening. When I pointed it at the half-lit moon, I was stunned as it came into focus-to see mountains and plains, unlike the picture books I was used to, but the real thing in real time. An ethereal, bright disk hanging in the sky was now a real place to me. The telescope magnified its reality. The moon didn't increase, but my comprehension of it did.
Sometimes human beings look at God as if he were a distant point of light. But when we take his word into consideration, and if we accept it by faith, our perspective changes drastically. We see that we are living in a greater reality, with a greater God than we had imagined, and with greater possibilities in our future.
Mary knew her life would never be the same-not just her life, but the lives of countless others-because of what God was going to do. This stretched her soul, and it can stretch ours.
Prayer for today:
Lord, this Christmas, give me a larger vision of who you are. May you be magnified in my soul, and may others see that you are the focus of my celebration.
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