Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sat Dec 21st Todays News

A senior warmest is jailed, but the wheels of justice are slow, and they haven't been jailed for long enough, or for all the correct reasons. Warmism has cost the world economies $trillions and that money has come from the investment pool supporting the poorest people in the world .. rich people have increased their ownership of resources. There is nothing wrong with rich people getting money, but it is criminal to take from the poorest. Because of the poor business practice supporting AGW alarmism, poor people have gone without medication, food, electricity, water and opportunity. But the defence of the alarmist is that they are a fantasist who just liked having personal time. So what if billions of poor people suffer in the mean time? 
Evidence is that 2013 was the coolest in history .. in cultural terms .. being the 17th consecutive year of no warming. Obama admits he screwed up, but if you want him to fix what he did, then you are screwed. If you want to see what Obama could do to the best parts of the US, visit Tasmania. If you want to see what Obama is doing to the rest of the US, visit Detroit. 
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns to those born on this day, across the years, along with
Matches
Despatches
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DON’T THROW A SANDWICH, MAN

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 21, 2013 (3:18pm)

Someone is unhappy:

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WARMY JAILED

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 21, 2013 (2:35pm)

Climate change official John Beale is going to the big house after claiming to be a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid his real job: 
In September, Beale pleaded guilty to theft of government property and agreed to pay $886,186 in restitution and to forfeit another $507,207. On Wednesday he was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison …
Beale was no low-level bureaucrat, unknown to senior officials and operating in the depths of the agency. He was among the EPA’s most senior, most highly paid officials, one entrusted with formulating the agency’s most controversial policies. Thus the consequences of his EPA tenure go far beyond the specific fraud for which he will now go to prison …
Beale’s attorney John Kern says his client “has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Mr. Kern adds that Beale was motivated “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives” because of “his insecurities.” 
He’s a typical warmy, in other words, with his community’s usual fantasy addictions
Beale secured a coveted handicap parking spot at the workplace he wasn’t going to by claiming to have malaria, which he didn’t, from serving in Vietnam, where he’d never been. 
So what did Beale get up to during all his years of office dodging? 
When Huvelle asked Beale what he was doing when he claimed he was working for the CIA, he said, “I spent time exercising. I spent a lot of time working on my house.”
He also said he used the time “trying to find ways to fine tune the capitalist system” to discourage companies from damaging the environment. “I spent a lot of time reading on that,” said Beale. 
The former EPA climate guru now has another 32 peaceful months to continue his research. Summary from Michelle Cottle 
In the case of Beale’s fabulism, bigger really was better. At least, that is, until it landed him in federal court. But, hell, it took them 20 years to catch him. Just think of all the fun he had in the meantime. 
Warmies have had fun for at least 20 years, much of it using public money. A terrible reckoning now draws nigh. 
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ONE COOL YEAR

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 21, 2013 (1:23pm)

This year was the best in history, according to the Spectator. And here’s one reason why
2013 marks the 17th year of no warming on the planet. It marks the first time that James Hansen, Al Gore’s guru and the one whose predictions set off the global warming scare, admitted that warming had stopped. It marks the first time that major media enforcers of the orthodoxy — the Economist, Reuters and the London Telegraph – admitted that the science was not settled on global warming, the Economist even mocking the scientists’ models by putting them on “negative watch.” Scientific predictions of global cooling – until recently mostly shunned in the academic press for fear of being labeled crackpot – were published and publicized by no less than the BBC, a broadcaster previously unmatched in the anthropogenic apocalyptic media. 
(Via the GWPF)
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NEEDS MORE ACTION

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 21, 2013 (1:17pm)

Throw in a few special effects here and there, and Stephen Chow’s latest could really be worth seeing:



(Via David Thompson
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CAUSE AND EFFECT

Tim Blair – Saturday, December 21, 2013 (12:45pm)

An unintentional but completely accurate admission from Barack Obama: 
The president described the health care roll-out as his biggest mistake: “Since I’m in charge, obviously we screwed it up.” 
He should probably seek a less demanding form of employment.
UPDATE. The President’s latest genius idea to sell Obamacare involves a hipster in a onesie:

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(Via Iowahawk, who writes: “I’m sipping hot cocoa in my plaid footsie jammies and ready to talk about insurance ... laaaaadies.")
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RADIO TIM

Tim Blair – Friday, December 20, 2013 (8:31pm)

Tonight on 2GB with Michael McLaren we discuss the latest leftoid meltdown.
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TOASTIE THROWN

Tim Blair – Friday, December 20, 2013 (1:42pm)

It turns out that Guardian columnist Van Badham’s capacity for indulgent hysteria was inherited from her father
When I was 13, my dad left one job after he had been offered another one – and the new job fell through. My parents had only just taken out a mortgage, and now dad was unemployed ...
The events which pushed dad into unemployment were entirely beyond his control – just like Holden’s collapse is not to blame on its workers – but he was humiliated by them anyway. He was a man who defined himself by a willingness to work hard, and his ambitions were simple: to look after my mother and provide his only child everything he could to realise her dreams. When he became unemployed the two simple pillars of his character – his self-belief and role as a provider – were annihilated by forces beyond his control.
I can now write about this openly only because my beloved father is dead. He was a fantastically resilient man who never cried but with the sense of personal failure that accompanied the disappearance of his income, he talked about killing himself. He raged at my mother for staying with him. He raged at me and when I made him a cheese toastie as a peace offering, he hurled it against the wall. I had failed to comprehend that my acts of charity were corroding any self-esteem he had left. 
Or maybe he just didn’t like crappy sandwiches. Throw it on the ground! Anyway, for how long did this fellow endure what Badham describes as the “horrific stress of unemployment” and “the soul-shattering destruction of pride that goes with unemployment”? How long did it take before this victim of vicious capitalism found another job? 
A total of six weeks. 
UPDATE. The extract above is now expanded to give even greater insight into Van’s family tragedy, which basically goes like this: Dad quit his job. Then his new job didn’t happen. A month-and-a-half later, he got a job somewhere else. In the meantime he threw away a sandwich. This took place 22 years ago. The end. 
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About Tasmania. A beautiful warning

Andrew Bolt December 20 2013 (9:49pm)


In Tasmania:
- the Tasman Peninsula, simply lovely and made lovelier still by not being wilderness, is marred only by the world’s biggest collection of “for sale” signs outside homes, abandoned housing lots, holiday houses and farms.
- even the Penitentiary at Port Arthur, built by convict labor, is more beautiful than almost anything built in Hobart in the past 50 years by free men, under the instruction of the best-educated architects.
- the MONA museum, built with a gambler’s money, is a rare example of indifferent art being made to seem twice as good by the building and the élan of the founder and his curators. The museum is actually the work of art, with the art works just components of the whole. Some of the art is, literally, shit.
- if Hobart’s city council had not been so keen to improve the city Hobart would be even better. I cannot believe many of the newer buildings are more handsome than what they replaced.
- Hobart’s museum caught a dose of the illness that virtually killed Melbourne’s museum.  Objects are displayed with a bower bird’s eye for pretty and shiny. Explanations at times are minimal. Attitude is often rated above knowledge. The Aboriginal section has been handed over to Aboriginal curators for fashionable preaching about identity and dispossession. Lots of space is wasted. Little European settlement history is covered, although there is some interesting stuff on the great Mawson. Convicts are described as the “dispossessed” who in turn dispossessed Aborigines.
- there is a nice display on the Tasmanian tiger. I am sad it’s extinct but am less sure why it really matters. If Tasmanians worried less about such things, would the state have done a lot better? It has the oldest surviving Catholic church in Australia and the oldest stone bridge. Its colony was something when Melbourne was nothing. Now it is our poorest state. Memo to Greens: you can’t eat scenery.
- a local paper interviews six women who all complain about the lack of Christmas decorations. All are friends and relatives of Middle Eastern background, and one has the surname Mohamed.
- the art work in the Tasmanian art gallery that best sums up a gorgeous state led astray by its elite is an illuminated photograph of an artist who, having shaken the hand of a token Aboriginal then hangs himself apparently for being white.
- Nearby a video installation shows another whie artist who has taken off his clothes, stuck feathers or fluff on his well-fed body and now is filmed stumbling awkwardly on unshoed feet in the bush. It is unclear what he seeks. Civilisation? A grant? I am, however, certain he did find his clothes again and spent the night in a comfortable bed. He was pretending.
- a lot of people are out of work on this island. Most of the place has been turned into a national park. That is great for artists wanting to hobble around the bush naked, with just a few feathers glued to their hide. It is less good for people wanting to cut down some trees to make furniture, houses and paper.
- Daci and Daci is a most excellent bakery and cake shop. I recommend the pistachio and rose water meringue.
- if I had to hide myself somewhere beautiful to write a book or flee the madness of contemporary culture I would probably choose the Tasman Peninsula. I just wish I knew more about boat engines. But that would bore me. 
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Former PR exec? - ed
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Menacing Skies over Springfield, Colorado.
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Character reformed? - ed
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en.wikipedia.org
Norma Ann Sykes (born 19 May 1936), better known as Sabrina, was a 1950s English...See more
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Michelle Malkin
Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx quietly deletes late-night attacks on Phil Robertson, but Twitchy is forever!http://twitchy.com/2013/12/20/nikki-sixx-quietly-deletes-late-night-attacks-on-phil-robertson-but-twitchy-is-forever/
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Join us for a free dinner seminar & learn how your bed can help overcome your problem.
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Sarah Palin
A Christmas Call to Action…

Here's the choice: will we succumb to politically correct Thought Police and let the intolerants stifle freedom? Or will we be just a little bit brave and take a stand to protect the heart of America, which beats with freedom? The latter will make you Happy, Happy, Happy! This Duck Dynasty controversy is another reminder of the chilling effect we see with the right to express a faith-filled opinion that some may disagree with. It's the issue addressed in "Good Tidings and Great Joy." Here's a nice video about the book by CBN noting how the book is a Christmas "call to action" to inspire us to be fearless. Be empowered in expressing the positive message of faith on something greater than self, and please don't cower or hide because of intolerants who would marginalize any expression of faith (even non-controversial ones like a simple Nativity scene!):http://cbn.com/tv/2914888991001
www.cbn.com
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Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
Heavenly Father, today I submit my dreams, desires and thoughts to You. Use my imagination for Your purposes. Help me to see the dreams You’ve placed within me coming to pass. Help me to see myself rising higher in every area and bring You glory in everything I do in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
(1 Timothy 6:12, NIV)

One of the keys to seeing your dreams come to pass is to see them come to pass in your mind’s eye first. It takes obedience; it takes prayer, and it has to be a part of God’s plan for our lives. But what I’m saying is that if you’ll keep the right pictures in your imagination, seeing yourself rising higher, seeing yourself healthy and whole, that’s going to get deep down on the inside and set the course for your life. When your mind is in agreement with God’s Word, it will help guide you toward your destiny. You will have a supernatural strength and power to see those dreams and desires come to pass in your life.God bless you.
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END OF THE YEAR EXHORTATION (The Year Is Not Yet Over)
Many Christians made resolutions or speak a prophetic words of what they want God to do in year 2013 that is ending but many are unresolved as the year comes to an end. What I want to tell you is that 1 minute before midnight of December 31, God can still perform.Allow me to inspire you for a few minutes. I don’t know about you but the year is not yet over. I know that we are just a few days from the New Year and we are abou to initiate brand new plans of what we want God to do for us - we are hoping for some exciting and blessed times in the year to come. But this year is not yet over.

In Exodus Chapter 12 verses one and two, God spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
Here in this verse from Exodus, God is about to deliver the Israelites from 430 years of Egyptian bondage; this is the eve of their departure from their long enslavement. And on this night, God through Moses is instituting a New Year – a new era – He is instituting the sacred calendar so that Israel and the world can know His prophetic plan for the ages. This for Israel is a new beginning - a fresh new start as a freed and redeemed people. They are on the threshold of stepping over into destiny and purpose with God orchestrating this movement with a great demonstration of His power. Here, they were about to step over into something new.I tell you today that next year is prophesied to be the year of destiny. And guess what? We too can step over into something new, a brand new beginning in Jesus Christ.

Since another year hasn’t yet quite arrived, and since we are still here in this year, though a few days left – I must redeem the time of what is left of this year and make the best of it... I know you might be saying, "well, Pastor, what can I expect in these last few days of this year?" I want you to know that you can expect everything that is in line with the will of God... And if you don’t get that healing or if no one stop by and give you a special gift, don’t think that this year will end in failure. But if you would just recommit yourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and renounce all of your setbacks of this year, a great miracle will take place in your soul and in your life. God bless you.
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Reveal Yourself To Me.
I love the fact that God reveals Himself to us. He revealed His love to Moses and the children of Israel. Paul writes to the Church, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ in this season. The Scripture says,“He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.”
Psalms 103:7 

God revealed His love to David. Look at what he said, “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. He is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He does not punish us for all our sins. He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.” Today, might your heart be ready to receive all that God wants to reveal to you. May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

PRAY.
Father, reveal Your love to me. Help me to know the heights and depths of Your compassion. Help me grasp the greatness of Your mercy and forgiveness.Reveal Yourself to me and help me to know You more.
AMEN.
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Abba Father, today I come boldly to You. I open my heart and mind to Your Word. Fill me with Your strength today; fill me with Your hope, and keep me close to You always as I put You first in everything I do in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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I Urge You To Dream Boldly.
The Scripture says,“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”(Joshua 1:9, NIV)

When you look out into your future, what do you see? What are the dreams and desires that you hold close to your heart?

So many people start with bold dreams, but then opposition comes. Life doesn’t turn out the way they planned. They lose a loved one or encounter difficulty they didn’t anticipate. Today, if that’s you, I want to remind you that the Creator of the universe designed you with specific gifts and talents that no one else has. He has you on this planet for a specific purpose. When you commit your life to Him, He promises to be with you wherever you go. Even though some things in life may have caught you by surprise, they didn’t catch God by surprise. His good plan for your life remains. You can trust Him because He loves you with an everlasting love, and He doesn’t want to see you settling for anything less than His very best.

I want to encourage you to be bold, be strong and be courageous. Put aside the past and lift up your eyes to Jesus. He is the Author and Finisher of your faith. Live boldly and dream boldly so you can embrace the good things He has in store for you.God bless you.
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Pastor Rick Warren
'We're not all the same.God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness." 1 Cor. 7:7 (NLT)
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Five secrets of joy even in tough times (from my series through the book of Philippians)


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Tonight I'm praying for all you who are preparing to preach the Good News at Christmas services around the world this next week.
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Do you have the same loving attitude as Jesus has towards those who violate God's standards? (Which includes all of us - Romans 3:23) 
"I don't judge the person who doesn't obey my words. For I didn't come to judge the world,but to save it!" JESUS, John.12:47
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If someone broke your heart it doesn't mean you should build a wall around it and quit loving. Redirect your love. There are people all around you who need it.
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Jewellery & Gemstone Gallery

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Asscher Cut Diamond, 5.55ct Diamond Ring,made by Cartier in 1922.
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CRYSTAL WATER MARK BEHIND ME MU

I waited behind abundant water
With the hope of calming the soul

Although I look away , but it seems you are always close
I'm waiting indefinitely , because kometmen

Clear glass in front of me makes me know that you are faithful
By standing in flowing water curtain
it is not a barrier but keep me waiting

True love like the cool clear water flowing in the liver
Seductive voices coming but the heart has always attached
For one purpose only happiness and a sense of comfort

My key is tempting to meetings for futility
He just made a false problem .

From the boundary of clear water I always pray for love
drain away with the blessing of prayer
to always sanctify themselves from day to day

Not useless I know nana great - MU
I do not have the gratuitous love me
Not useless If I was chosen to be apple of Your eye
Not useless to me as an inheritance

Although I wasted away in the East horizon
I bet you waiting for me to get back in the arms - MU
Although I like the lost sheep
You selelu hoping to return home Father

Oh ..... Glorious city of Jerusalem
My heart longs to go there, my Father 's house
It was here a blessing and a wonderful flowing
For the descendants of the father of Jacob , Israel .

Avner Sahertian

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<Pollard is the only person ever sentenced to life imprisonment for passing information to an ally, without intent to harm America, 
a crime which normally carries a sentence of 2-4 years. This disproportionate sentence in violation of a plea agreement was based not on the indictment but on a memorandum that was never shared with the defense. This is not how American justice is supposed to work.>
hamodia.com
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<Listen to "Insight to Israel" this Sunday at 10 a.m. est. (5 p.m. Israel time) and 2 p.m. est. (9 p.m. Israel time) - and every Sunday on America's Web Radio! 
(please "LIKE" the page)>

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.615261871843679.1073741843.581067941929739&type=1&l=6359d3c0e0===
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Lol love the snow plow .. I bet there isn't much call for them usually .. ed===
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www.gatestoneinstitute.org
<After Munich, Winston Churchill delivered the famous phrase: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war". After Geneva, Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was the only leader expressing disagreement. He spoke of a "historic mistake". Diplomatically, he could not speak of dishonor, although dishonor was plainly evident. And he could he could use the word "betrayal." So given the choice of war or betrayal they chose betrayal and they will get war. One the likes of which they have never seen and, G-d willing, they will never see again.>
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<12/19/2013
"the main foreign policy issue that galvanizes the passions and energies of the committed American Left is the movement to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist" The Left Against Zion>
By CAROLINE B. GLICK http://carolineglick.com/the-left-against-zion/

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united with israel alerts                              newsletter

Israel Alert Newsletter 17 Tevet 5774December 20, 2013
 
Israeli airport security has often been the topic of newspaper and online columns, including, most recently, an article published this month on Mail Online, the website of UK newspaper Daily Mail.
"There is airport security and then there is El Al airport security," begins the article, titled, "Maybe it's time to ditch the security scanner and actually talk to people at airports...it works for El Al." El Al, Hebrew for "To the Skies," has grown to serve more than 45 international destinations, offering several daily flights and world-class packages and services since its inaugural flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv in September 1948. Unbeatable Israeli airline security, both in flight and on the ground, is what encourages so many travelers to choose the Israeli aircraft. 
Click here to read more>> 
Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy and the first Israeli Cabinet member to visit Indonesia in more than a dozen years, signed an historic trade agreement there, which he expects will inject a trillion dollars into the world economy. Bennett, who is also chairman of the Jewish Home party and a reserve major in the Israel Defense Forces, was representing Israel at the recent World Trade Organization conference in Bali.
Shimon Peres had visited Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, in 2000 as Israel's minister of regional cooperation. Bennett's trip was part and parcel of "an effort on the political, economic and international diplomatic fronts," which also included visits to the US and Australia.
Click here to read more>> 
An IDF military base near Shechem (Nablus) was packed when busloads of American-Israeli visitors celebrated the holidays of Chanukah and Thanksgiving with Israeli soldiers, bringing gift packages of warm clothing and thousands of letters of support from around the world.
Soldiers at that base belong to the elite "Givati" (highland) brigade. The party, organized by United with Israel and Thank Israeli Soldiers, included a full turkey dinner, music and dancing. It was an opportunity not only to show appreciation to the courageous defenders of the land and the people of Israel - and the Free World - but also to observe the holidays in a truly meaningful way, as Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are both based on the concepts of freedom and gratitude.
Click here to read more>> 
The IDF rescued a Palestinian boy on Wednesday, answering an urgent call for help following a car accident. The IDF emergency medical team, as reported on the IDF blog, responded to the appeal for aid after the boy had arrived with his mother at the team's base in the Jordan Valley region.
This event was not unique, as the Israeli team provides assistance to Palestinians in urgent need of medical attention on a daily basis. "We all rushed to the scene, arriving at the entrance to the base to find a 10-year-old Palestinian boy," Lieutenant Moran Gershoni, an IDF Medical Officer, said.

holiday_ad_3.jpg
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.
Israeli pharmaceutical start-up Alcobra has developed a superior non-stimulant compound in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Alcobra's most advanced product (MG01C1), it is expected to reach the market in 2015.
Alcobra, listed on the NASDAQ electronic stock exchange under the ticker ADHD, "committed to developing safe and effective products for the treatment and control of CNS [central nervous system] disorders," according to its website.

Why Do Jews Face Jerusalem when they Pray?
No matter where in the world a Jew finds himself, his heart and prayers are directed toward Jerusalem. The reason for this spans over two thousand years of Jewish history, throughout which the Children of Israel have longed to return to their ancestral Promised Land.
The Psalms caution, "If I forget Jerusalem, then let my right hand forget its own strength." (Psalms 137:5) For a Jew, forgetting Jerusalem is tantamount to forgetting his identity completely. In contrast, by remembering Jerusalem, a Jew identifies with his very essence and inner-self.

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Tell Obama: Demand the Release of All Burma’s Political Prisoners


Demand the Unconditional Release of ALL Political Prisoners TODAY
Here are the facts:

1. Political Prisoners are increasing at an alarming rate. The number of farmers, Kachin, and Rohingya arrested during the last two years is astounding.

2. Some Political Prisoners have been released, only to be re-arrested WITHIN HOURS of their release on new trumped-up charges.

3. President Thein Sein made an announcement in July this year stating that all political prisoners will be released by December 31, 2013.

4. The government claims there are roughly 40 political prisoners that remain behind bars because they refuse to acknowledge nearly 1,000 Rohingya, hundreds of Kachin, hundreds of farmers, and countless other activists who have been arrested over the past two years.

5. According to the government, they are well on their way to "releasing all political prisoners." Clearly this is not the case, and we must demand action to ensure that all political prisoners are accounted for and released unconditionally!

The U.S. Government lifted major diplomatic and economic sanctions because of the release of hundreds of political prisoners, they must not turn a blind eye to the arrest of hundreds more.

Stand with all political prisoners in Burma today and take action!

In solidarity,

USCB team

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Michelle Malkin 5
Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for December 20th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

GLAAD: Lethal Enforcers of the Left’s Tolerance Mob

“Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson is not alone. He’s the latest in a long, long lineup of politically incorrect targets of the left’s sensitivity mob. Founded in 1985, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) gangstas won’t stop until both the cultural and legal enforcement of their agenda are the norm...

A&E so offended by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson that they’re continuing marathon airings

A&E was obviously so offended that there are actually a couple of times in their lineup where the lucrative franchise isn’t airing...

FLOTUS: Make a discussion about Obamacare your kids’ ‘Christmas treat’

Christmas treat suggestion from the First Lady: Dip your health insurance cancellation notice in chocolate and add sprinkles for a delicious Obamacare-related holiday dessert...

Slapstick calamity continues: People who lost insurance because of Obamacare given mandate exemption

This is probably comes as a real relief to those who lost their policies and have already been forced to buy (or try to buy) more expensive policies through an Obamacare exchange...

More From the Right Side of the Web

Michelle's Top Tweets

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And ... Our Hate Tweet of the Day

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And on that pathetic note, hope everyone has a great weekend!
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December 21December solstice (17:11 UTC, 2013);Winter and summer solstices in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres respectively
Emma Goldman
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Events[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Holidays and observances[edit]

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“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” Luke 2:1, 4-5 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
Jeremiah 31:3
Sometimes the Lord Jesus tells his Church his love thoughts. "He does not think it enough behind her back to tell it, but in her very presence he says, Thou art all fair, my love.' It is true, this is not his ordinary method; he is a wise lover, and knows when to keep back the intimation of love and when to let it out; but there are times when he will make no secret of it; times when he will put it beyond all dispute in the souls of his people" (R. Erskine's Sermons). The Holy Spirit is often pleased, in a most gracious manner, to witness with our spirits of the love of Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and reveals them unto us. No voice is heard from the clouds, and no vision is seen in the night, but we have a testimony more sure than either of these. If an angel should fly from heaven and inform the saint personally of the Saviour's love to him, the evidence would not be one whit more satisfactory than that which is borne in the heart by the Holy Ghost. Ask those of the Lord's people who have lived the nearest to the gates of heaven, and they will tell you that they have had seasons when the love of Christ towards them has been a fact so clear and sure, that they could no more doubt it than they could question their own existence. Yes, beloved believer, you and I have had times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and then our faith has mounted to the topmost heights of assurance. We have had confidence to lean our heads upon the bosom of our Lord, and we have no more questioned our Master's affection to us than John did when in that blessed posture; nay, nor so much: for the dark question, "Lord, is it I that shall betray thee?" has been put far from us. He has kissed us with the kisses of his mouth, and killed our doubts by the closeness of his embrace. His love has been sweeter than wine to our souls.

Evening

"Call the labourers, and give them their hire."
Matthew 20:8
God is a good paymaster; he pays his servants while at work as well as when they have done it; and one of his payments is this: an easy conscience. If you have spoken faithfully of Jesus to one person, when you go to bed at night you feel happy in thinking, "I have this day discharged my conscience of that man's blood." There is a great comfort in doing something for Jesus. Oh, what a happiness to place jewels in his crown, and give him to see of the travail of his soul! There is also very great reward in watching the first buddings of conviction in a soul! To say of that girl in the class, "She is tender of heart, I do hope that there is the Lord's work within." To go home and pray over that boy, who said something in the afternoon which made you think he must know more of divine truth than you had feared! Oh, the joy of hope! But as for the joy of success! it is unspeakable. This joy, overwhelming as it is, is a hungry thing--you pine for more of it. To be a soul-winner is the happiest thing in the world. With every soul you bring to Christ, you get a new heaven upon earth. But who can conceive the bliss which awaits us above! Oh, how sweet is that sentence, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" Do you know what the joy of Christ is over a saved sinner? This is the very joy which we are to possess in heaven. Yes, when he mounts the throne, you shall mount with him. When the heavens ring with "Well done, well done," you shall partake in the reward; you have toiled with him, you have suffered with him, you shall now reign with him; you have sown with him, you shall reap with him; your face was covered with sweat like his, and your soul was grieved for the sins of men as his soul was, now shall your face be bright with heaven's splendour as is his countenance, and now shall your soul be filled with beatific joys even as his soul is.
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Today's reading: Micah 1-3, Revelation 11 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Micah 1-3

1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you,
listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you,
the Lord from his holy temple.
Judgment Against Samaria and Jerusalem
3 Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place;
he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
4 The mountains melt beneath him
and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
like water rushing down a slope.
5 All this is because of Jacob’s transgression,
because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob’s transgression?
Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place?
Is it not Jerusalem?

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 11

The Two Witnesses
1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want....
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Lazarus [Lăz'arŭs]—god hath helpedor without help.
  1. The beggar in the parable of the rich man. This is the only instance where Jesus gives a name to a parabolic character, and there was an idea in early times that it was not a parable but a story from real life (Luke 16:19-31).
  2. The brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 1112:1-17).

The Man Who Lived Again

Alexander Whyte comments,
Lazarus of Bethany comes as near to Jesus of Nazareth, both in his character, and in his services, and in his unparalleled experience, as mortal men ever come. Lazarus'name is never to be read in the new Testament till the appointed time comes when he is to be sick, ...to die, and to be raised from the dead for the glory of God. Nor is his voice heard. Lazarus loved silence. He sought obscurity. He liked to be overlooked. He revelled in neglect...The very Evangelists pass over Lazarus as if he were a worm and no man.
I. He is the subject of the greatest and most startling miracle of the gospel story.
II. He was the friend of Jesus, being loved by Him. Jesus wept at his grave.
III. His resurrection threatened the life of Jesus. The Sanhedrin were determined to put Him to death.
IV. His attendance at Simon’s banquet excited the enthusiasm of the people (John 12:91718).
After his presence as an honored guest at Simon’s house, Lazarus vanishes from the gospel story. Of all men, he should have stood by Jesus at His trial and crucifixion. Doubtless Lazarus was forced to flee, seeing that the infuriated elders determined his death (John 12:1011). With a deep affection for his Friend, Lazarus would withdraw more for His sake than for his own. He felt his presence only increased the Master’s danger.
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Three Faithful Women

John Calvin says the women's "eagerness for instruction led them to withdraw from their country, and constantly learn from the lips of Christ...they spared neither toil nor money, provided that they might enjoy his saving doctrine." How eager are we to learn from Jesus? If these women could travel from Galilee to be with Him, can we not devote some time each day to call upon Him in prayer and study His Word?
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 20, 2011
A Box of Socks
Today's Truth
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (Matthew 21:22, NIV).
Friend to Friend
My sister loves socks! One day, we were shopping and happened to walk into a department store where neither one of us could afford to buy a single thing. We were just passing through, on our way to find the bargains we could afford. With a sigh and a wistful look on her face, Betty said, "I wish I could afford to shop in this store." When I asked her what she would buy, she immediately replied with a smile, "Socks! I want a big box of socks. I would wear a different pair every day." I could think of several things I would have liked to buy in that store and socks was not one of them. I guess it is a matter of perspective. What was important to her was not important to me.
I sometimes think my prayer requests are insignificant and unimpressive to God. After all, He is God. Does He really have the time or the desire to hear and answer my prayers? Yes! The truth is that if it is important to me, it is important to God.
Each Christmas, Operation Shoebox collects and sends over eight million shoeboxes stuffed with small gifts such as candy, school supplies, small toys, toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo to children across the world. In Mexico, hundreds of boys and girls gathered at the church in a small village, excitedly anticipating the arrival of their precious shoeboxes.
Delightful chaos erupted as bulging shoeboxes, wrapped in brightly colored paper and ribbon were passed into the small, eager hands of each child. Wrapping paper was hurriedly ripped into pieces and tossed aside, a smile spreading across the face of each child as their long awaited Christmas treasures were revealed. However, one little boy dissolved into tears as he lifted the lid of his box and peered inside to see what he had received for Christmas this year.
One of the Operation Shoebox volunteers spotted the little boy and hurriedly made his way across the church to see what the problem could possibly be. With the help of an interpreter, the volunteer asked the now sobbing little boy, "What is wrong? What is in your box?" With tears streaming down his face, the little boy said, "Socks!" The worker instantly understood and assured the little boy that he could trade his box of socks for another box that might have crayons, a toy or a piece of candy in it.
Alarm spread across the face of the child as he vigorously shook his head and quickly jerked the box away from the now somewhat confused worker. Clutching the shoebox to his chest, the boy began sobbing out an explanation to the interpreter who listened for a few moments and then, with tears spilling out of his own eyes, turned to the volunteer and said, "You won't believe this!"
Taking a deep, steadying breath, the interpreter explained, "This little boy has a rare skin condition with which he was born. It seems to affect his feet more than any other spot on his body. The doctors have tried various medications and treatments but finally told the little boy that nothing will work and his feet will never heal unless he begins wearing cotton socks. His parents cannot even afford food for this boy; much less provide socks for their son. So, all year long, he has been praying for socks."
Socks were at the top of the little boy's prayer list. As a matter of fact, they were his list. The mere sight of ordinary cotton socks brought tears to his eyes as he stared in awe at the priceless gift in his hands - socks. You see, they were more than just socks. They were the profound answer from our extraordinary God to a child's simple prayer. One unknown and seemingly insignificant boy in Mexico prayed. God heard him and said "Let me take care of you."
No matter how small or trivial your prayers may seem, remember God's perspective. If it is important to you, it is important to Him. And He will take care of you.
Let's Pray
Father, thank You for the privilege of coming before You in prayer. I want prayer to be as natural to me as breathing out and breathing in. I refuse to believe the lie that my prayers are too small or unimportant for You to hear. You are my Father. You are my God and You long to hear my voice. I will bring every prayer of my heart to You.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
Do you have your own "box of socks" for which you are praying? What is it?
Do you really believe that God will hear and answer your prayer?
Read Hebrews 11:6. How does your faith measure up to the faith described in this verse?
Today, pray in faith and see what God does!
More from the Girlfriends
Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook - or throughemail. A new year is just around the corner. Is one of your resolutions for 2012 to have a daily quiet time? Need help? 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


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Rachel Olsen
December 20, 2011
The Man Who Almost Missed Christmas
Rachel Olsen
"His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." Matthew 1:18b-19(NIV)
In the Bible there is a man who almost missed Christmas.
It wasn't because he was distracted with holiday parties, visiting relatives or completing his shopping list. He wasn't stranded in an airport or battling a flu bug.
He just couldn't see how his current circumstances were part of God's plan for his life.
Joseph was engaged to be married to Mary, a young woman chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. In their culture, an engagement was every bit as binding as the marriage ceremony. So when Mary returned home from spending three months out of town and told Joseph she was pregnant, all he could think of was to divorce her quietly.
Joseph knew they hadn't been intimate - he was careful with their purity. Mary's growing belly would give him every reason to believe she'd been unfaithful. And it wasn't just him who would assume so. Everyone in their hometown probably knew Mary had been out of town for months, without him.
Law dictated she be stoned to death for being unfaithful to her fiancé. Instead, Joseph planned to quietly end their engagement and say nothing about the unexpected pregnancy. He was a man of integrity.
But Joseph was also a man who didn't fully understand God's plan, and he almost missed being part of it.
Although scripture doesn't tell us for sure, Mary had likely explained to Joseph how the Holy Spirit came to her and placed this baby in her womb. From his perspective, this was a situation to be escaped rather than accepted as something straight from the hand of God.
Scripture explains what happened next: "But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins'" (Matt. 1:20-21).
What at first looked like a huge problem, a troubling circumstance, a total reputation-wrecker to Joseph, turned out to be the most glorious thing in his life when seen from God's perspective.
From this new viewpoint, Joseph saw what an honor it was to bear this burden. What a thrill to raise and know God's own Son!
While we may not get an angel visitation, we can pause and consider this same possibility in our lives. There have been many instances when my circumstances seemed like a detour, or even destruction, of my plans. At those times I can't imagine God bringing anything good out of what just seems like trouble.
But the story of Joseph brings me hope. It reminds me that God's ways aren't my ways. And sometimes in our greatest difficulties we find our greatest opportunities and blessed responsibilities.
Joseph was given the honor of naming the baby Jesus - the very same name we call on today for help. Had Joseph walked away, divorcing Mary quietly, he would've missed it.
He would have missed Christmas. And he would have missed the life-defining lesson that God's plans aren't always logical in human eyes, but they can always be trusted.
Is there a problem you are facing today? Is it possible this could be part of God's plans for you?
Dear Lord, thank You for Jesus. And thank You that Your plans for us are plans for good and not for evil - to give us a future and a hope. I trust You today with my life and my circumstances. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Stop by Rachel's blog and leave a prayer request for whatever issues you are facing, or whatever Christmas plans you are making.
For more encouragement on how our stormiest days can hold great blessings, pick up It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen
Application Steps:
Take time to read Joseph's story in the gospel accounts of Jesus' birth. Then process your concerns and troubles with God in prayer, and ask Him to help you replace your perspective with His.
Reflections:
Will I trust God with my present circumstances?
What step of faith can I make today so that I don't miss God's plans for me?
Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 1:10, "He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us ..." (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (NIV)
Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (NIV)
© 2011 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


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Three Faithful Women

Matthew 27:55-56 "There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him" (v. 55).
Knowing that Jesus' death is not the last word about Him, it is hard to get a sense of the hopelessness the disciples felt as He hung on the cross. Even our Lord Himself experienced abandonment when He died, as seen in His cry in Matthew 27:46. Yet He did not lose hope in His Father altogether as He suffered divine judgment for the sins of His people. Scholars have long recognized that New Testament figures had in mind the entire context of the passages they cited, even if they did not quote them in full. Jesus' lament over His forsakenness is a quote from Psalm 22:1, which concludes with confidence that God will hear the psalmist's cry (vv. 2426). Jesus' use ofPsalm 22 reveals that though He had to suffer for a time, He knew that He would finally be vindicated.
The pain Christ experienced on the cross would only have been heightened by the absence of His closest friends. His disciples left Him in His hour of need (Matt. 26:47-56), although John later changed His mind and returned to see His master die (John 19:25-27 ). Not all of Jesus' companions, however, deserted Him at the time of His death. As today's passage tells us, many women remained at the scene until the end, supporting Him from a distance because only the Roman soldiers could come right up to the cross (Matt. 27:55-56).
We know little about these women except that there were many more of them than the three Matthew names. Mary Magdalene provided financial support to Jesus' ministry and had been demon possessed before she met Him ( Luke 8:1-3). The "mother of James and Joseph" is likely Mary the mother of Jesus because His mother was there at the cross (John 19:25), and Christ had brothers named James and Joseph (Matt. 13:53-55). It also may be that the Salome we read of in Mark 15:40 is "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" in Matthew 27:55-56. This might make her Jesus' aunt, as John 19:25 says His mother's sister was also present at the cross, even if the fourth evangelist does not name her.
Whatever the case may be, it is plain that the women who followed Jesus were those who were most faithful to Him. Their loyal love was rewarded when they were the first to hear of Christ's resurrection ( Matt. 28:1-10).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

John Calvin says the women's "eagerness for instruction led them to withdraw from their country, and constantly learn from the lips of Christ...they spared neither toil nor money, provided that they might enjoy his saving doctrine." How eager are we to learn from Jesus? If these women could travel from Galilee to be with Him, can we not devote some time each day to call upon Him in prayer and study His Word?
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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===
New From The Girlfriends in GodComes a Book about trusting God... No matter what!You don't have to understand God to trust him
In a culture where we tend to take control of our own lives, trusting God has become a religious platitude rather than a life-changing attitude. We say it, but do we really mean it? And what does trusting God really look like?
In this book you'll find:
  • A unique 12-week devotional study
  • A Bible study guide and journal page at the end of each week's study
  • The flexibility to study on your own or with girlfriends...or both!
Learn how to trust God-one step at a time.
Buy the BookBuy the eBookWatch the Video
===

Advent-Header-2011
Each Tuesday in Advent, we look at the story behind a beloved Christmas song.

O Come, All Ye Faithful

The Christmas truce on Flanders Field in Belgium is a timeless testimony to the power of the birth of Christ. On the western front of World War I, a brief, unofficial cessation of hostilities occurred between British and German forces. It began on Christmas Eve 1914, when German soldiers in their trenches began singing "Silent Night." The British stopped firing and began singing English carols. Soon the troops were greeting each other across no-man's-land and exchanging small gifts. According to the written account of an unknown British soldier, the next morning, December 25, 1914, was foggy and very cold. Neither side began firing; the truce held. Some British troops went over to the German side to help bury a slain soldier and then returned for a Christmas worship service. "How we did sing, 'O Come, All Ye Faithful,'" he wrote his family. "I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day, and I don't suppose you thought of us doing so. So after a fashion we've enjoyed our Christmas." The next day the war resumed.
O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, o come ye,
to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
born the king of angels;

Sing, choirs of angels,
sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven
above!
Glory to God,
all glory in the highest;

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee,
born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be
all glory given;
Word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.


"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." -- Luke 2:11

Today's reading is from Near to the Heart of God by Robert J. Morgan.
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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.
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FRB-Christmas-Story-BookCover-SmallReading 15: The Visit of the Magi

Several months after Jesus was born, Magi (traditionally called wise men) came from the east to Jerusalem asking about a new king. First, they asked King Herod, who was a friend of the Roman rulers, where to find the one they were looking for. Then they traveled another five miles to the town where Jesus lived in order to find him.

Matthew 2:1-12
The Visit of the Magi
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘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 be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Further Study
JUST THE FACTS
  1. Whom did the Magi say they were looking for? (v. 2)
  2. What was the name of the king who was disturbed when he heard of another king being born? (v. 3)
  3. What did the Magi do when they found Mary with her child? (v. 11)
LET’S TALK
  1. Why was King Herod disturbed when he heard that the Messiah had been born? What did he think the Messiah would do?
  2. Why do you think the Magi didn’t go back to King Herod?
WHY THIS MATTERS

The Magi were the first to acknowledge Jesus as a king. This affirmed what the angel had said to Mary: Jesus would receive the throne of David, and his kingdom would have no end (see Luke 1:32 - 33).

POINTS OF INTEREST

2:2 Astronomers have explained that the star of Bethlehem was a comet, a nova or an alignment of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. But history does not record that anyone besides the Magi saw this star. Apparently the star was a celestial phenomena God created just for this occasion.
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Family Reading BibleToday's reading is from:The Family Reading Bible 

Additional resources:

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Click on the image above to watch the video!
The Story: Adult Curriculum
The Christmas story is really two stories. The first story is about everyday people, their triumphs and downfalls, their struggles and joys, and their encounters with God; that is the lower story. The other story is about God and his plan to save the world and set all things to rights; that is the upper story.

We only see the lower story, and sometimes it can be difficult to understand how those two stories could possibly be compatible let alone headed towards a single glorious end.

The birth of Jesus, according to the lower story, was shadowed by humiliation, ambiguity, and even scandal. According to the lower story no one would have questioned Joseph if he had left Mary. According to the lower story Caesar was king and a boy born in a manger had no hope of challenging his reign. According to the lower story there was nothing special about that night.

But according to the upper story, the creator God of the universe was taking on flesh and dwelling among us. According to the upper story the salvation and reign of God were breaking into history. According to the upper story the birth of Jesus was not the scandal, it was the solution to our scandal, our sin.

Two very different stories, that came together on Christmas day.
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The Story DVD gives groups of all sizes the opportunity to learn, discuss, and apply what they have experienced during their 31-week The Story church-wide experience. Pastor and author Randy Frazee presents 31 ten-minute teachings on how the story of Scripture intersects with the story of your life.
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Where are the dead?

This week's reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:14,16
A few take the words “fallen asleep” literally and believe that the dead remain unconscious until the Lord returns. But most see this as a euphemism: that the body “sleeps” while the spirit remains conscious. When Christians die, their bodies go into the grave while their spirits go to be with Jesus (see 2Co 5:6–8;Php 1:23). When unbelievers die, their bodies go into the grave while their spirits go to a place of torment.
The Old Testament speaks in a limited way about the grave, where all go at death. The New Testament uses the Greek word Hades for the Old Testament concept (see Rev 20:13), but expands on it considerably. Jesus hinted that Hades is divided into two parts—one for the wicked and one for the righteous. For the wicked it is described as torment, agony and fire; for the righteous it is comfort and rest (see Lk 16:22–26).
Gehenna is another word for hell, the final place of judgment upon the wicked. It was borrowed from the phrase meaning “the Valley of Hinnom,” a place where human sacrifices and pagan worship had occurred. During New Testament times the place was the Jerusalem city dump where fires burned continually—a graphic image of perpetual torment and judgment.
When Christ returns, those who have died and are with Jesus will be given new bodies—resurrected, glorified bodies. At the final judgment unbelievers will be thrown into the “lake of fire” (Rev 20:11–15).
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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.


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Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional

STAR

They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. - Matthew 2:9-10
In Psalm 19, David gives voice to the stars:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Vss. 1-4)
If you have ever stood outside at night and looked up at the canopy of stars, away from the city, away from noise, you may have seen that the stars have a message. In silence they speak, and their voice is thunderous.
The star of Bethlehem, a sign in the sky noted by the Magi, may have been a miraculous event, matching the miraculous entry of the Savior into the world, or it may have been a natural astronomical phenomenon, used by God as a sign. In either case, the heavens were speaking in a unique way about a unique world-changing event. Should that come as any surprise?
But note that only the observant recognized the sign, and in this case, they were outsiders. God drew outsiders toward Bethlehem with a word that he had placed in the sky. Don't ever doubt that God is speaking to the "outsider," and that those who seek will find. Christmas is both for believers, and for those who have yet to come to faith. In those days, it was a celestial sign that attracted the attention of outsiders. Today, there are many signs that Jesus accomplished something unique in the world, acts arise out of and point to his holy character.
Prayer for today:
Lord, thank you for putting your clear markers into this world and into our lives so we can know that you are real, and what you intend to do. May this Christmas be a new marker for me.
This is post #20 in the Christmas devotional “Christmas Joy”. Want to read more from this series? In addition to being posted online, the entire devotional is available in a Kindle e-book (readable on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android or Kindle).
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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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A Christmas Devotional

STAR

They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. - Matthew 2:9-10
In Psalm 19, David gives voice to the stars:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Vss. 1-4)
If you have ever stood outside at night and looked up at the canopy of stars, away from the city, away from noise, you may have seen that the stars have a message. In silence they speak, and their voice is thunderous.
The star of Bethlehem, a sign in the sky noted by the Magi, may have been a miraculous event, matching the miraculous entry of the Savior into the world, or it may have been a natural astronomical phenomenon, used by God as a sign. In either case, the heavens were speaking in a unique way about a unique world-changing event. Should that come as any surprise?
But note that only the observant recognized the sign, and in this case, they were outsiders. God drew outsiders toward Bethlehem with a word that he had placed in the sky. Don't ever doubt that God is speaking to the "outsider," and that those who seek will find. Christmas is both for believers, and for those who have yet to come to faith. In those days, it was a celestial sign that attracted the attention of outsiders. Today, there are many signs that Jesus accomplished something unique in the world, acts arise out of and point to his holy character.
Prayer for today:
Lord, thank you for putting your clear markers into this world and into our lives so we can know that you are real, and what you intend to do. May this Christmas be a new marker for me.
ADVERTISEMENT

Resources

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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