Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sun Dec 1st Todays News

I never watched a Fast and Furious movie. In 2006, on the last day of school, some year 9 wanted to watch one but I couldn't and wouldn't let them. It was rated 'M.' But I also despised the kind of movie .. facile and promoting social vice to the young, packaged as adventurous, edgy and sexy. So the tragic death of one of the stars highlights a vice of mine. I am bitter. I don't like it when the uber wealthy promote bad behaviour which would cripple their fans who might try to copy it. Not everyone has the money to get out of a killing ala OJ Simpson. Or out of Michael Jackson's depraved indulgence. But the death is a tragedy. Test driving a new car into a tree. It wasn't the tree's fault. North of Los Angeles, it was unlikely to be an icy road, although global warming is very disappointingly slight. In some ways, the actor has given his fans a moral message as strong as Diana's. But I'd rather be envious of his highly paid under achieving as an actor. 
Speaking of extraordinary indulgence, we have an abysmal Governor General trying to be sacked for being partisan, and egged on by irresponsible and unprofessional journalists. PM Abbott is unlikely to sack the fool, as it would carry poison over to the next appointment. It is only a few months. And then, I would love it were the GG to face questions, and possibly serve time, for obstruction of justice re Heiner. 
Another indulgence is Gonski. A woman in the NT is knitting wool sourced from her vagina, which she presumably inserts. It is performance art, paid by the tax payer via SBS. Gonski is a similar indulgence which the ALP and press are demanding. No program cut from not honouring Gonski will adversely affect a child. The only result is teachers doing what they are already paid to do. Principals of public schools, taking the lead of the GG, are speaking out and lying about what Gonski cuts mean. which isn't to say that education cannot improve. Centralising education can mean centralising bad practice, as the common core experience in the US shows. But there is an opportunity to expand best practice too. 

Happy birthday and many happy returns Josephine SalernoJohn T TranTiffany Lee-Shoy and David Vuong. Born on the same day, across the years. Along with

Why the ABC distorts the news agenda

Piers Akerman – Sunday, December 01, 2013 (9:38am)

IT came as no surprise to be quoted by the extravagantly paid Tony Jones, the host of the ABC’s Green-Left oriented Q & A program, last Monday as he sought to justify the taxpayer-funded media organisation’s attack on Australian-Indonesian relations.
Jones’ sniggering, simpering remarks are usually aimed at the luvvies and no doubt he hoped to embarrass me and all those in the media who believe that the national interest might just trump the public interest occasionally.
During a program which featured an extraordinary riff about a truly inexplicable conspiracy theory from the human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, Jones reverenced my view in response to a serious question from Roslyn Coutinho, who asked: “The Australian public trust and value the ABC as a source of truth, however, the Indonesian phone tapping story could potentially have negative consequences for innocent parties, such as Australian cattle farmers and asylum seekers in Indonesia. So my question is for the whole panel, including Tony, but this could be wishful thinking, was the choice to run this story a selfish decision by the ABC or should governments be more careful about the potential implications of their intelligence operations in general?
His reply, which must have been researched and prepared in advance, was: “I might answer your question by quoting News Limited columnist Piers Akerman who wrote last year, ‘I believe freedom is absolute. You either have a free press or you do not.’ The information came to the ABC, they published it. I wonder whether News Limited would have published it or held it? That’s a very interesting question we probably won’t know the answer to.”
The quote is accurate, although it came from a blog written on March 18 this year, not last.
But Jones was, as usual, a little too smart. He needs to be reminded of the context of the quote and it was this — and I shall now quote from blog which the ABC employee found irresistible.
“It would not be news to readers of this site that this dysfunctional government’s ham-fisted attempts to muzzle the media anger me.
“Unfortunately, I permitted that anger to show on the ABC’s Insiders program yesterday.
“Flanked by two people who laughed at the notion that press freedom was threatened, and mocked by the show’s host, I raised my voice.
“Perhaps I should not have.
“I was angered by their naiveties, by their apparent belief that freedom can be trifled with.
“I believe freedom is an absolute.
“You either have a free press or you do not.”
And I still believe that.
The point that needs making for people like Jones however, who are more than willing to play the idiot if they think it will portray conservatives in a poor light, is that even a free press must be responsible.
While the US Constitution goes further than any other to enshrine the notion of free speech, US law (and commonsense, a trait obviously absent from the halls of the ABC) make it a crime to recklessly falsely shout “fire” in a crowded venue.
Jones, of course, was only trying to justify the decision taken by the ABC to promote The Guardian’s publication of intelligence material stolen from the United States by the defector Edward Snowden, now living in Russia where he enjoys the hospitality of that nation’s security services.
No doubt the Russians will keep him a long way from their computers but whether Snowden, The Guardian and the ABC would ever dream of publishing documents that would damage the national interests of Russia, is as Jones’ might muse “a very interesting question we probably won’t know the answer to”.
I would hazard a guess though that The Guardian would not release such material because it is not interested in exposing Russian secrets, only those which would damage the web of Western nations which share democratic values.
As an Australian, I have no qualms considering the national interest.
The Guardian was always going to publish the material stolen by the defector, but I question the need for “our” ABC to assist that media group in promoting the damaging allegations in our region.
If the ABC was truly interested in freedom of the press, I would never have had to challenge Insider host Barrie Cassidy last March, or later in the year when I asked why the ABC had so consistently failed to broadcast any news about the ongoing Victorian police investigation into former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s involvement as a lawyer in helping to set up the AWU Workplace Reform Association (which she later described as a “slush fund") and providing legal advice to her former boyfriend Bruce Wilson and AWU member Ralph Blewitt. Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The case will be given yet another airing in the Victorian courts tomorrow, though whether the ABC breaks with its habit and reports this is “a very interesting question we probably won’t know the answer to”.
Meanwhile, the ABC continues its attempts to smear the Abbott government over the spying allegations.
On Wednesday, the AM program began its report of the Indonesian response to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono thus: “Mr Abbott’s initial refusal to explain documents showing Australia spied on the President, his wife, and senior ministers, angered Indonesia, causing the President to suspend cooperation.”
Get it? Most reasonable people would think the Indonesians were angered by the spying but the ABC wants its audience to see Abbott as the villain.
The ABC sucks more than $1 billion from the taxpayers.
What’s more, Labor rewarded it for its support with more money and was prepared to twice ignore a tender process and award it with the Australia Network to pursue “soft diplomacy” on Australia’s behalf in our region.
The ABC is a bloated failure in the hands of ideologues. It should be stripped back to its charter, at the very least, or broken up and sold, if possible to commercial interests.
In a world of expanding media, the notion of a taxpayer-funded national broadcaster is anachronistic.
Those who want to keep “our” ABC, should fund it. Those who don’t should not have to pay for it.

We can save kids from a life of hell

Miranda Devine – Sunday, December 01, 2013 (1:50am)

IF you met 14-year-old Gabi Stricker-Phelps on her way home from school, you would be struck by how articulate, poised and sunny-natures she is.
With her glossy brown hair and clear skin, she is indistinguishable from the privileged girls at her private Sydney school. Except for one thing: she knows how lucky she is.
She was the only Australian child adopted by a non-relative in NSW last year. The only child allowed to escape a lifetime of neglect and abuse.
“You don’t have to look as far as Africa to see starving or malnourished children,” says Gabi. “It is happening here in Australia under your very noses. I was one of those children.”
Last year 37,800 children like Gabi were found by Australian child protection authorities to be abused or neglected, a shocking increase of 20 per cent over the previous year. One child dies every two weeks in Australia from maltreatment, according to UNICEF.
Yet hysteria over past adoption practices and the Aboriginal “stolen generation” has achieved one mighty wrong: adoption is now taboo.
Child protection workers are so ideologically fixated on biology, they are determined to keep children with birth mothers, no matter how damaging.
Before NSW welfare authorities removed Gabi from her unstable single mother, she had endured nine years in a home so chaotic it could no longer be ignored.
“It is beyond scary to imagine that if I had not been removed from my biological parent that my health would have deteriorated even more than it already had when I was finally removed at nine years of age,” she says.
At that point, her future would typically have been a series of unsatisfactory foster placements with reluctant blood relatives, punctuated by attempts to reunite her with her biological mother.
But one day in 2009, Dr Kerryn Phelps, who had once briefly been her mother’s GP, received an urgent call. Could she and partner Jackie Stricker-Phelps provide three weeks’ emergency foster care for the girl she hadn’t seen since she was three.
When Gabi was deposited on their doorstep, crying, she was a mess.
Malnourished, traumatised, exhausted, she had acute asthma, was at the bottom of her class, and had never read a book.
Emergency foster care became permanent and, after four years, the transformation in Gabi has been remarkable, thanks to all the intensive care and remedial learning that an accomplished doctor and former teacher can muster.
Disciplined and focused, with the neatest bedroom, by the end of Year 6 she was the dux of her primary school.
But it was her adoption last year that “set things in stone”, said Gabi, and finally made her feel safe from a bungling welfare bureaucracy determined to ignore her express wish never to be returned to her birth mother.
Stricker-Phelps describes the process as “like working your way across a heavily laden active minefield, [dealing with] young inexperienced case workers, poorly supervised contact visits with biological parents and red tape so thick you could be strangled by it.
At a Barnado’s charity dinner in September, Gabi spoke for the first time about the emotional toll on her.
“I believe strongly that governments need to consider ways that they could help the community service system to ensure that children are not left suffering on a daily basis with no food and a parent who has no idea how to look after them … I have learnt that the majority of risk of harm reports do not even get investigated. I was one of the lucky ones …
“My parents are my secure rocks and I know they will provide me with all the love and shelter and care and everything in the world that I could ever ask for. I feel safe and loved.
“They say you can’t choose your family but I got to choose mine.”
I’ve had my differences with Dr Kerryn Phelps. As a high-profile activist she has challenged my stance against same-sex marriage.
But on the urgent issue of adoption we are as one. The ideal might be for a child to be brought up in a married family by a biological mother and father, but the epidemic of child abuse does not give us the luxury of making such distinctions.
A loving home with two competent adults in a committed relationship is infinitely better than the Hobbesian hell suffered by tens of thousands of children as an accident of birth.
Gabi’s adoption was only possible because her adoptive mothers were seasoned activists with the stamina and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees needed to fight the welfare bureaucracy.
It shouldn’t be so hard. We all need to accept that people who maltreat their children forfeit their right to be parents. As Gabi says: “it’s only blood.”


Tim Blair – Sunday, December 01, 2013 (1:24pm)

Someone is unhappy.


Tim Blair – Sunday, December 01, 2013 (12:23pm)

Skywhale, the perfect symbol of our capital, continues to shake down Canberra residents: 
Canberra community groups are being asked to pay to have Skywhale appear at their events.
At least one group has baulked at the cost and organisational effort after it says it was told it would be charged between $3500 and $7000, although the owner of the balloon, Kiff Saunders, says he has been charging much less and sometimes as little as $1800.
‘‘It was a lot easier to look at Skywhale on television rather than organise and pay for it,’’ Tuggeranong Community Festival president Michael Lindfield said …
Skywhale cost taxpayers about $300,000, which included planned appearances in Canberra. The balloon received national and worldwide media coverage. 
Skywhale’s final show might be worth all the expense. Bring on the detonation.


Tim Blair – Sunday, December 01, 2013 (2:49am)

Yesterday was already memorable, having been spent listening to Warren Zevon, Willie Nelson and Jim Nabors (!) in the company of Piers AkermanKinky Friedman and a beautiful vodka executive.
And then our host mentioned the time his brother-in-law was gored by a water buffalo.

How SBS spends your taxes

Andrew Bolt December 01 2013 (5:59am)

(Thanks to reader Correllio.) 

Bolt Report today - Tony Abbott

Andrew Bolt December 01 2013 (5:56am)

The twitter feed.
The place the videos appear.
Interview with Tony Abbott, transcript:

Prime Minister, thank you for your time.
Good morning Andrew.
The attacks on you are astonishing. Have they forced you to change your media strategy, which until a week or two ago was to say little and let your deeds speak for themselves?
Andrew, our approach is always the same. When we’ve got something to say, we say it. When we don’t have anything to say, well, a dignified silence is best. In the end, this Government will be judged not on tomorrow’s headline, but on whether we have competently implemented our commitments and intelligently responded to the developments of the day and I’m happy to be judged on that basis.
The ABC in particular seems out of control. It’s not just the attacks on you of course, it’s also vilified conservative critics, even showing a doctored photo of Chris Kenny, to make it seem like he’s having sex with a dog. Every one of its main current affair shows, headed by someone from the left – does the ABC need a new Charter so that we can get some balance?
Andrew, I’m not in the business of making unnecessary enemies and I’m not in the business of further inflaming critics.
They hate you already. I don’t know why you think you are going to inflame them.
I sometimes question judgements that individual journalists and individual programmes make and I certainly would sometimes question the judgement that individual news organisations make. But I’m not in the business of putting anyone into particular camps because my job is to try to be as appealing as I can at all times and I accept that some people are harder to please than others.
Well talking about judgements made by the ABC – they’ve now published of course the stolen intelligence material on how we spied on Indonesia and that has hurt Australia, arguably put people in danger. It has censored some of that material, but obviously not most of it. Has it made the right call in this case?
I think it’s fair enough for people to question the judgement of the ABC, not in failing to cover the story, as it were, because plainly it was a story, but in choosing to act as, if you like, an advertising amplifier for The Guardian. It was The Guardian’s story which the ABC seemed to want to advertise, even though there’s not normally advertising on the ABC.
But would you have liked some of those, more of those details censored than the ABC did?
In the end, it is up to news organisations to make their judgements about what is fit to print, fit to publish, fit to broadcast and they have to make their own judgements, but I think people are entitled sometimes to question the judgements that news organisations make.
Now, you were very rightly critical of Julia Gillard’s broken promises. I’d like to play for you a promise made before the election about giving schools exactly what they would have got under Labor’s Gonski reforms.
You can vote Liberal or Labor and you will get exactly the same amount of funding for your school.
Your team made that promise. Why won’t you repeat it now? Is that because you are going to break it?
Andrew, I’m happy to say that under the Coalition schools will get the same quantum of funding over the four years that they would have under Labor had it been re-elected. In fact, they will get a little bit more.
You just heard me play that promise. That wasn’t about the quantum – I accept your argument there – it was about each school getting the same money for the next four years. Will you repeat that promise? I don’t know why you made it then and can’t repeat it now?
Well I think Christopher said schools would get the same amount of money and schools - plural - will get the same amount of money. The quantum will be the same. In fact, we are going to put a little bit more in, because let’s not forget Andrew, as Chris Bowen admitted during the week – Labor ripped $1.2 billion out of the promised schools funding quantum just a few weeks before the election.
I hear all that.
We’ll put a little bit of that back in.
I hear that schools, plural – people just saw the grab. They heard “school,” your “school” singular and I don’t understand why that promise was made. I would go a billion dollars into debt just to keep your promise. I don’t know why you don’t commit to it.
But Andrew, we are going to keep our promise. We are going to keep the promise that we actually made, not the promise that some people thought that we made or the promise that some people might have liked us to make. We’re going to keep the promise that we actually made and what you will have as a result of us keeping our commitment, we will clean up Labor’s mess in schools, as we will clean up their mess on budgets, on borders and everywhere else. We will clean up Labor’s mess and we will have a system of funding for schools which is fair and national.
Tony Abbott sent the Indonesian President a letter this week to settle the crisis caused when the ABC revealed that Australia has spied on President Yudhoyono’s phone. Yudhoyono tweeted a picture of himself reading the letter and reports had him either positive or angry. Prime Minister, what reaction have you got from President Yudhoyono?
Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Bolt Report today - Tony Abbott'

Why keep spending billions to make no difference?

Andrew Bolt December 01 2013 (5:54am)

Spot on, despite the misleading intro:

Only months after an effusive Tony Abbott compared him to Jesus Christ, free-market think tank leader John Roskam has dumped on the government’s direct-action policy and accused the Prime Minister of not being a true believer in the need for climate change action.
‘’I don’t think we should have direct action because the Coalition hasn’t explained what, if any, changes to the world’s temperature it will provide,’’ said Mr Roskam, who is the executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
Asked whether Mr Abbott’s earlier position on the science of climate change - namely, as he notoriously declared in 2009, that it was ‘’absolute crap’’ - suited the PM better than direct action, Mr Roskam agreed.
‘’Yes, and isn’t it interesting how climate change gets people to say things they don’t really believe? I’ve yet to be convinced that Tony Abbott is doing any of this for anything other than political purposes. I think he would be much better off, as any politician would, telling us what he genuinely believed.’’

Wind power is money for gas

Andrew Bolt December 01 2013 (5:42am)

Sounds so green:

ROYAL Dutch Shell actively lobbied the World Bank to stop funding coal-fired plants before an announcement this year that the lender would dramatically reduce its support of coal, Australia’s second biggest export.
Shell’s head of gas, Maarten Wetselaar, said the energy giant had formed an advocacy department whose sole purpose was to convince governments and government-funded bodies to encourage gas as a power source over more polluting forms of energy, such as coal.
Sounds so greedy:

Gas turbines … can be turned on and off almost instantly, whereas traditional coal-fired plants need to be maintained in a very inefficient standby mode if they are to respond to large fluctuations in power demand.
A proliferation of windmills, then, can become a windfall for gas sellers. 
(Thanks to reader Turtle of WA.) 

The Potemkin union

Andrew Bolt December 01 2013 (5:32am)

More union funny business:
While the influential Transport Workers Union’s NSW branch claims nearly 41,000 members to government authorities, an analysis of its own records indicates the union has barely 25,000 financial members
The TWU’s massaging of membership numbers gives it up to 15 extra conference delegates in NSW Labor, and more clout in policy and preselections....
The TWU is the base of present and past factional power-brokers such as ALP vice-president Tony Sheldon, Senator Stephen Conroy, former ALP national secretary Mark Arbib and former NSW minister and party operative John Della Bosca…
Senior Labor sources confirmed only paid-up members are meant to be counted as part of Labor affiliation.

So not a conspiracy then

Andrew Bolt December 01 2013 (5:11am)

The first paragraph of the story makes Tony Abbott sound sneaky:

Some of Tony Abbott’s most controversial speeches have been airbrushed from Coalition history since the election, including a 2009 speech in which he backed a carbon tax, and a 2004 speech in which he described abortion as ‘’a question of the mother’s convenience’’.
The fifth paragraph of the story makes Fairfax sound sneaky:

Despite Mr Abbott becoming opposition leader on December 1, 2009, all of his speeches and media statements before July 2010 have disappeared.
The reason?

When he was in opposition, the speeches were posted on Mr Abbott’s website, But since the election, that website has been redirected to, which only archives material back to July 2010, the month before the previous election.
Roma Downey
In the spirit of Christmas and the celebration of our beloved Savior Christ's birth and in the same vein as the giving spirit of the wise men.....There will be a CD give-away 4 times in December (in addition to the autographed copy of the beautiful The Bible Series Christmas Book give-away currently going on; entries are still being accepted for the Christmas Book give-away that began in November, and ends December 9th). The 4 (four) CD give-aways will be staggered throughout the month of December. 1 (one) copy of each of these CDs will be given away: 1. A copy of Roma Downey's "Healing Angel" CD autographed by Roma. 2. The double CD set "Castles of Gold" autographed by Pan Morigan. 3. "Touched by an Angel: The Christmas Album". 4. "Touched by an Angel: The Album".
Watch here daily for updates and posts which will give you ALL THE INFORMATION you need to enter for each of the CD give-aways, including full instructions, what is required to enter and the dates and times each starts and ends.
All CDs are courtesy Roma Downey except "Castles of Gold" - a special thanks goes out to Pan Morigan, for donating an autographed copy. "Castles of Gold" is a collaborative CD project between Roma Downey (spoken word, storytelling), Pan Morigan (Singer, Musician) and Frank McCourt (spoken word, storytelling).
Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey
Have you forgotten God? Even if you have, He has not forgotten you#thebibleuk

4 her



Max Brenner Australia
Delicious deal alert! 
Spend $50 in a Chocolate Shop and receive a complimentary Chocolate Bar! Now all you have to do is decide between Max’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Caramel Pieces and Sea Salt, or Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramelised Cocoa Nibs.

This photo never stops to amaze me....The border of Norway and Sweden!




Tapraya Looi
How to live in Perth. If you can't buy it, you learn to make it 

Every teen in America should have to see this...

Lol, the top scientist is an idiot. What they meant to say is that we all share a recent ancestor some time in the last fifty million years .. they won't taste as good as a sister .. but they aren't as bad for you, either. - ed
Pastor Rick Warren
"If we don't take time to look around and realize what matters, what are we teaching our children?" -Charlene Bert writes. 

Is gift-giving out of control during the holiday season?

Andy Trieu
Sooo......a bunch of us performers are coming together to support the AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS currently in the Philippines on DEC 8th at 4pm at Spectrum 33-44 Oxford st Darlinghurst. There will be an amazing concert with Sydney's finest performers. All proceeds go to the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan Come! #kitchenninja#hopeafterhaiyan #RedCross
Daniel Katz
Bondi Beach before the storm 

She is beautiful even when she is terrible. - ed

Is it possible to teach students the meaning behind President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address without mentioning the Civil War?

Delicious: Norm Macdonald epically trolls Lena Dunham, Rachel Maddow and others ==>

A Kansas woman has welcomed those in need into her home for decades, but now she's being threatened with fines for her acts of kindness:

Silver labradorite and diamond pendant -Jewellery by Carlo G Verda
Beautiful and practical. Um, what kind of fish does it lure? - ed
Obama is getting involved with telecommunications?
description says ... "Targets Israelis traveling to the U.S." Perhaps that should be rephrased!>
A thoroughly modern Democrat "Jackson was nicknamed "Old Hickory" because of his toughness and aggressive personality; he fought in duels, some fatal to his opponents. He was a wealthy slaveholder. He fought politically against what he denounced as a closed, undemocratic aristocracy, adding to his appeal to common citizens. He expanded the spoils system during his presidency to strengthen his political base." - ed

Mum's actions are perfectly reasonable. If in turn she thinks legalising killing is a good idea in Australia she is wrong. Hospice care is adequate. But, if legalising opens the door to murder .. that is wrong. - ed
DT never supports conservatives .. only a few journos like Blair and Akerman. I feel their criticism of the decision nothing compared to their outrage had it been approved. - ed


Timothy Ly
Supporting my bro's first catwalk.
with Ty Tyrell at 99 on YORK.


A Government in its final days and drowning in debt made ridiculously unattainable (and unfunded) social promises. It dared the then Opposition to match those unaffordable dream schemes. 

Unfortunately it did match them... Abbott felt the risk of Australia facing another term of Labor was far too great.

The most outrageous of Gillard’s schemes was her NDIS, a cruel hoax, and next in line to be back-burned by Abbott.

The NBN is already being wound back, as far as it can be, but water-filled holes worth $90 billion are hard to fill in without making a mess.

Labor did everything possible to Abbott-proof its sinister agenda.

Gillard brewed her alchemic witchcrafted potions according to the McTernan black-magic handbook: If Labor won, it would brazenly borrow up to one trillion. If Abbott won, Labor would not allow its unrepresentative Senate to fund Gillard’s own sorcery.

Gillard’s Gonski scheme is nothing more than an unfunded attempt to centralise control of the education curricula in Canberra... a frightfully extreme proposition that would have, via their proposed plebiscite to empower councils, eventually denuded the States of their sovereignty and imposed Labor’s pièce de résistance: The eventual abolition of all private school funding.

Labor has always coveted total control of education and the shaping of little kids’ minds... it’s how they see their socialist Shangri La of the future.

Whitlam tried it with his “Schools’ Commission” in the 70s, replacing the essential three Rs with eco studies, phonetic spelling and green fairytales.

Those children of Whitlam are now our illiterate teachers and Gonski’s billions cannot assist illiterate teachers to educate children in literacy.

Chucking billions at the current education problem will have much the same effect as chucking billions at the Aboriginal problem.

Contrary to Labor’s belief, money is neither the problem nor the answer! The answer is in what we teach our children... and that doesn’t cost one extra cent.

It is appalling that Australian children were predictably beaten by students from 26 countries in year four reading in the 2011 International Reading and Literacy Study.

Asian neighbour countries blitzed us in science and maths, with Singaporean and South Korean kids ahead of us in every single category except Marxist philosophy and global warming.

The only thing upwardly trending in the Australian education system is teachers' salaries which are way above the OECD average and have risen 13 per cent since 2000 at all levels.

Imagine the Gonski treasure trove that was set to be looted by teachers’ unions.

If past Labor policies are responsible for the current education malaise (and they are) why in hell should it be given another go at it via an outrageous Gonski scam?

O’Farrell and Napthine may well cry, “foul!”

Wasn’t it Keating who said: “Never stand between a Premier and a bucket of money”?

What is wrong with this man....???

"“The Taliban are not our enemies and we don’t want to fight them.”
"The Obama’s White House, Britain’s Foreign Office, the EU’s Foreign Affairs office, . . . [leaders] of the west [are] on the verge of handing to Iran on a plate what it once said was ‘unthinkable’... Obama, Ashton and Cameron might as well go to Tehran and wave a white flag."

Amazing medical news. A must read!

Breaking News - 590x148
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Some 50 fighter jets belonging to Israel, Greece, the US and Italy took off Sunday morning from the Ovda air base, signaling the beginning of the largest military air exercise in Israel's history. The IAF has become attractive to foreign armies because of its massive operational experience," he said. Diplomats as well as journalists from Israel and the participating nations were invited to watch the exercise. US Ambassador in Israel Dan Shapiro, who took a few hours off from Israel's scathing reactions to the Geneva agreement with Iran spoke and said "We live in a tough world and dangerous world. Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood…It need the best trained forces … and it needs allies." IDF stress- Exercise has nothing to do with Iran
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I want to thank each of you for your support and efforts to bring "The Christmas Candle" to your town.  
I know, it's natural to want to see a Christmas movie closer to Christmas, but I'm asking you to take your family this weekend.  Time is of the essence.  Some theater owners have cut back on show times and we have to fill these theaters now so that they will keep "The Christmas Candle" showing at the end of the year.  
With all the Hollywood blockbusters out there that glorify violence and a culture we don't support, it's time for Christians to support entertainment that reflects our values.  It's time to support entertainment that you will be proud to take your entire family too.  
Check this list to see if there is a theater near you, then gather up your loved ones and go see "The Christmas Candle" this weekend.
With gratitude,
Rick Santorum signature
Rick Santorum
P.S.  I'll join CNN tomorrow morning for State of the Union. I hope you'll tune in or record it to watch later!
View this email in your browser

The Gift

01 December 2013

I love Christmas; it’s a time of magical sparkle – I even enjoy the annual tradition of Christmas shopping and present hunting. I see all this as a challenge and adventure – especially when it comes to shopping for my wife Killy.
It hasn’t always been easy, though. There has been plenty to learn. When we got engaged, I remember trying to buy Killy a dress for Christmas. I didn’t know her size so the woman serving me asked if she was bigger or smaller than her. What could I say … eventually, the shop assistant tried on the dress!
After twenty-nine years of marriage, however, and many hours spent trawling up and down shopping centres, I have developed four criteria when it comes to buying a gift for Killy. It’s more of an art form than a precise science but nevertheless, these four things steer me away from the ‘panic buy’ and towards something more soulful and meaningful. In the process, my four criteria remind me of the gift God has given each of us. What, then, are the four criteria of my gift-buying for my wife Killy at Christmas time?
1. The personal gift
First, I want to make sure my gift for Killy will be personal – I want to find something that she can really appreciate. These days, I’ve stopped buying her what want; after many years of marriage, I now know what she likes. After all, it can be very disheartening to receive a present that doesn’t have that personal touch.
One of the greatest gifts that we can receive – especially at Christmas time – is the revelation and realisation that God knows each one of us personally and wants us to know him personally, too. When you stop to think about it, it’s a mind-blowing thought: God knows us intimately. He is not an abstraction or a mystical ‘higher power’. Instead, he relates to us on our level. He couldn’t possibly have made himself bigger to impress us, so instead he made himself smaller to get alongside us.
Have you ever placed your finger inside the hand of a little baby and felt its grip? If a baby tugs at your finger, it also tugs at your heart. Christmas is the powerful grip of a tiny hand reaching from a bed of straw. It is love, tugging our hearts back to God. And this is the intimately personal nature of Christmas: God gave us his Son for our sake. However, God’s gift to us wasn’t a one-off that ended when Jesus died for our sins. The Bible tells us that Jesus rose from the dead three days later, and opened the way for us all to live for ever. When he returned to heaven, he sent God’s Spirit to live within anyone who would receive him – so that everlasting life could begin now, not just when we get to heaven.
One of Jesus’ titles is ‘Emmanuel’, ‘God with us’. For all who choose to make room for him at the inn of their heart, this Jesus has become a gift that could not be more personal.
2. The practical gift
When I buy a gift for Killy, I also want it to be practical. Most of us end up receiving at least one or two presents each year that are as much use as a chocolate teapot. Santa might bring us what we deserve; God, however, delivers something we don’t deserve. ‘For the wages of sin is death,’ says the Bible, ‘but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). God’s practical gift to us, then, is forgiveness.
In the run-up to Christmas, we do lots of tidying, preparing and cleaning – sprucing up our homes, our clothes, even our bodies. But Jesus is more concerned with what’s on the inside. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart,’ he said, ‘for they will see God’ (Matthew 5:8). His practical gift is to cleanse our hearts. This changes us from the inside out, transforming our attitudes and actions.
However, we must want the gift in order to receive it. We need to pray with the psalmist, who said, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me’ (Psalm 51:10). Are we hungry for what God has to offer? Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which literally means ‘the House of Bread’. Later in his life, he spoke about himself, saying, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ (John 6:35).
Bread satisfies and strengthens, and Jesus came into the world to satisfy and strengthen us all. But this isn’t, as we have already seen, a gift to be received passively. It’s practical by its very nature. When we receive Jesus, we also receive his Spirit, which helps us to live a brand new kind of life – with love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, self-control and humility.
3. The permanent gift
So, God’s gift is personal: he gave us his Son. And God’s gift is practical, because it helps us to cleanse our lives, satisfying and strengthening us. But when I give a gift to Killy, I also want, if possible, to give something permanent – something of lasting value that she will treasure way beyond Christmas Day.
God’s gift to us is permanent, not perishable. Listen to those immortal words from John’s Gospel: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ God – our heavenly Father – knows that we are all in danger. We’re at risk of spending eternity separated from him. That’s why God sent Jesus – it was to give us the opportunity to go to heaven. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life’ (John 5:24). Life without Christ is a hopeless end, but life with Christ is an endless hope.
4. The purchased gift
So, God’s gift is personal, practical and permanent. But when I find a gift for Killy, I also like to purchase it before walking out of the shop! God’s gift to us was, likewise, purchased. It didn’t come for free – in fact, it came at a huge cost and we should not cheapen it by discarding it lightly. God gave us his only Son. We couldn’t save ourselves, so Jesus came to rescue us. If we try to save ourselves, God can’t save us. Jesus rescued us by purchasing forgiveness when he died on the cross. The Bible says, ‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 2:2).
This is the startling truth of the gospel – Jesus Christ has purchased our redemption. We now have to receive that gift for ourselves, acknowledging that there’s nothing more we can do to attain God’s forgiveness than accepting it through his Son Jesus. We are saved by having faith in Jesus to rescue us – not by doing good works. God spent everything he had on us. And the gift is one that we shouldn’t want to exchange for anything else.
God doesn’t force himself upon anyone, however. He offers his gift, but he won’t make you take it. He’s already reached out to us through the life and death of his Son. It’s up to us to make the next move.


Revd. Canon J.John

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Holidays and observances[edit]

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives” 2 Peter 3:10-11NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this."
2 Chronicles 25:9
A very important question this seemed to be to the king of Judah, and possibly it is of even more weight with the tried and tempted O Christian. To lose money is at no times pleasant, and when principle involves it, the flesh is not always ready to make the sacrifice. "Why lose that which may be so usefully employed? May not the truth itself be bought too dear? What shall we do without it? Remember the children, and our small income!" All these things and a thousand more would tempt the Christian to put forth his hand to unrighteous gain, or stay himself from carrying out his conscientious convictions, when they involve serious loss. All men cannot view these matters in the light of faith; and even with the followers of Jesus, the doctrine of "we must live" has quite sufficient weight.
The Lord is able to give thee much more than this is a very satisfactory answer to the anxious question. Our Father holds the purse-strings, and what we lose for his sake he can repay a thousand-fold. It is ours to obey his will, and we may rest assured that he will provide for us. The Lord will be no man's debtor at the last. Saints know that a grain of heart's-ease is of more value than a ton of gold. He who wraps a threadbare coat about a good conscience has gained a spiritual wealth far more desirable than any he has lost. God's smile and a dungeon are enough for a true heart; his frown and a palace would be hell to a gracious spirit. Let the worst come to the worst, let all the talents go, we have not lost our treasure, for that is above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Meanwhile, even now, the Lord maketh the meek to inherit the earth, and no good thing doth he withhold from them that walk uprightly.


"Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels."
Revelation 12:7
War always will rage between the two great sovereignties until one or other be crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; the very pretence of it would, in fact, be the triumph of the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin, and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon's foe, and that not in a quiet sense, but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil. All his servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors--at the cross they enter into covenant never to make truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defence and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord is daily, with all his heart, and soul, and strength, to fight against the dragon.
The dragon and his angels will not decline the affray; they are incessant in their onslaughts, sparing no weapon, fair or foul. We are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition: the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed by the myrmidons of hell. The church may become slothful, but not so her great antagonist; his restless spirit never suffers the war to pause; he hates the woman's seed, and would fain devour the church if he could. The servants of Satan partake much of the old dragon's energy, and are usually an active race. War rages all around, and to dream of peace is dangerous and futile.
Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

Today's reading: Ezekiel 37-39, 2 Peter 2 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 37-39

The Valley of Dry Bones
1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breathenter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them....

Today's New Testament reading: 2 Peter 2

False Teachers and Their Destruction
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping....
Seraiah [Sĕra ī'ah]—jehovah is prince, the lord is my prince, orsoldier of the lord.
  1. One of king David’s scribes (2 Sam. 8:17; see 1 Chron. 18:16for Shavsha).
  2. The son of Azariah and chief priest at Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar took it. This Seraiah, along with other renowned captives, was put to death at Riblah ( 2 Kings 25:181 Chron. 6:14Ezra 7:1;Jer. 52:24).
  3. A son of Tanhumeth, from Netophah, whom Gedaliah advised to submit to the Chaldeans. He was one of “the captains of the forces” (2 Kings 25:23Jer. 40:8).
  4. The second son of Kenez, brother of Othniel and father of Joab (1 Chron. 4:1314).
  5. A prince of Simeon, son of Asiel and grandfather of Jehu, who drove furiously (1 Chron. 4:35).
  6. One of the twelve leaders, a priest who returned from exile with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2Neh. 10:212:112).
  7. A priest, son of Hilkiah, dwelling in Jerusalem after the exile and called “ruler of the house of God” (Neh. 11:11;12:1).
  8. A chief man, son of Aziel, and sent by Jehoiakim to apprehend Jeremiah and Baruch (Jer. 36:26).
  9. A son of Neriah and brother of Baruch, a prince of Judah who went to Babylon with Zedekiah (Jer. 51:59,61). For “quiet prince” the RV has “chief chamberlain.”
November 30, 2011
She's All Mine
Today's Truth
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demon, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I have personally discovered that it is downright frustrating and completely impossible to live the Christian life when you are not a Christian. I tried. For years, I desperately struggled to trust God with only head knowledge of who He is and wants to be in my life. When that trust settled into my heart and life - well, life became a different journey altogether.
I grew up in a Christian home, attending church every time the doors were open. I sang all the right songs, spoke all the right words and did all the right things in front of all the right people. I fervently prayed that my works would validate my faith and desperately hoped that by following the rules, I would please the Ruler. It was not until middle school that the spiritual integrity of a dynamic youth pastor made me hunger and thirst for something more. I wanted to know God and experience His unconditional love.
One Sunday, I sat in my usual spot, clutching the back of the pew in front of me while wrestling with God over the condition of my soul and my eternal security. After all, I was a very active church member, a soloist and pianist for our worship services, and even directed a children's choir. How embarrassing to walk down that aisle, admitting to everyone that I'd been living a lie.
My mind argued that I knew all about God - and then the deeper truth of that argument hit me. Yes, I knew about Him but I didn't know Him. That night, I met Jesus. My problems did not disappear but much of my stress did as I began to trust God, I mean really trust Him. Over the years, I have been taught by some incredible men and women of faith, but none more precious or more powerful than our grandchildren.
My grandchildren call me Mimi ... and words are pitifully inadequate when trying to express just how much I love being a grandmother. I have experienced a new and deeper level of love with the birth of each grandchild. Watching one of my grandchildren is kind of like watching my heart walk around on the outside of my body.
I have a good friend, Lisa, who is a teacher at the school where my four-year-old grandson, Jaydan, attends pre-school classes three mornings each week. One day, Lisa happened to be on the playground when Jaydan's class came out to play. She teasingly asked, "Jaydan, I don't have a Mimi. Can I have yours?" Jaydan immediately whirled around, placed his hands on his hips and firmly responded, "No way!" Lisa smiled and said, "But Jaydan, don't you want to share your Mimi with me?" Jaydan adamantly replied, "I can't! She's mine ... all mine!"
Wow! As I listened to Lisa tell me this story, I have to admit my heart doubled in size. And then I immediately thought about the way God loves me ... and the way He loves you. God's love for us is unconditional, boundless and fierce.
1 John 4: 8-10 (The Message) "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God's love for us in sending his Son to be the way to take away our sins."
Trusting God begins and ends with the fierce love of God. Trusting God really is all about wrapping our hearts and minds and lives around the reality of God's love. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins so we can have an abundant life - now and eternally.
You may find yourself in a frightening place filled with darkness and doubt. Your fragile heart may be wondering if God knows where you are of if He even cares. He does.
You think that because you cannot see the hand of God or sense His presence it means He is not working. Nothing could be further from the truth, girlfriend. We may not understand or even like His process but let me assure you that God is always at work in our lives.
He will always love you. He will come through for you and you really can trust Him.
Let's Pray
Father, I want to know You and trust You with my whole heart and life. Thank You for loving me even when I doubt Your love. I praise You for being faithful even when my faith is small. Teach me how to walk by faith and not by sight.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Read the following verses of Scripture and answer the questions listed below.
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
  • How does this verse emphasize the fact that you and I were created in response to God's plan, not as an afterthought or as an accident?
Psalm 8:3-5 "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."
  • How do these verses line up with the way you see yourself right now? What one immediate change do you need to make in order to see yourself the way God sees you?
Read and memorize Isaiah 43:4 and make it one of your life verses. "You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you."
More from the Girlfriends
Can you believe 2012 is just ahead, like a clean slate filled with new beginnings and fresh starts? However, what did we learn in 2011 that will make a difference in 2012? As the holiday season winds down, I pray your heart and mind will look ahead to all that this year holds. Guard your heart and mind against darkness. Stand firm in God's power and presence. He is faithful and He is sufficient for whatever tomorrow brings.
Need help getting the Word of God into your life? Check out Mary's Weekly Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. And be sure to get your copy of our new 12-week devotion book,Trusting God. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, free on-line video intros, and an index of trust-building Scriptures...this book is a resource you'll refer to time-and-time again.
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
Samantha Reed
November 30, 2011
Completely Full, Yet Totally Empty
Samantha Reed
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."John 1:114 (ESV)
How are you? I'm posed this question many times a day, but haven't delved into the truth lately. 'Cause truth is, there are only a few I want to be that honest with. And those I generally share the depths with are wading through extenuating circumstances. Filled to capacity, they've needed a place to pour out.
Cupped hands catch their words, worries, wants. Until my hands are heavy.
I'm weary from taking in and not pouring myself out in return. I understand; they don't have it to give right now. Yet, hour upon hour of listening... I'm not sure I have it to give right now either.
Irony is, my very name means "Listener." Double irony is my life verse from last year: "Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed" (Proverbs 11:25b NIV). But I can not take any more words into a soul cram-full. And I can not pour out refreshment that is not there.
I'm completely full, yet totally empty.
And so I selfishly check out in the name of self-preservation; retreat into myself, away from their words weighted with pain and trouble and questions. Distance my being from all words. Until the Word beckons me with cupped hands large enough to hold my needy soul, friend's worn circumstances, the thin world.
I pour into the Word, a measureless crevice in which my words rest. He asks three words my parched soul thirsts for, "How are you?"
I'm weary. "I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."Isaiah 41:10b (NIV)
I feel alone. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20b (NIV)
I can't take much more. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28b (NIV)
I pour out, He pours in. An ebb and flow more natural than the ocean's tides. My needy soul needs His words; needs Him: the Word.
Community is God-given. But friend's and family's ability to be leaned on will ebb and flow. Hence our soul's deepest need: friendship with the Lord. {Inhale deeply that delight: we're friends with God.} Friends with the unchanging nature of the Word, Jesus.
Will you take His cupped hand, reaching out to hold you, your cares, your friends and family members? Take His hand and take a walk through Him, the Word. Pour your truthful answers into Him and pour yourself into the fields of Scripture. Refreshment awaits. He's asking, "How are you?"
Dear Lord, thank You for never changing. Thank You for listening and hearing. Thank You for Your faithful friendship. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Pour yourself into the Word through one of these Bibles.
A Confident Heart by Renee Swope has helped thousands of women overcome the emptiness of insecurity, hurt, loneliness and doubt by learning to live in the fullness of God's promises. Here's what some are saying:
"I feel like someone finally jumped in my head and my heart and painted over my insecurities with God's Word."
"If you are looking for a practical way to apply God's Word to the areas of your deepest insecurities, as well as an enjoyable and personable read, this book is for you."
Visit Samantha's blog where she's creating an online community to encourage one another. Click here to visit and leave a comment letting us know how you are. Then leave a comment with a prayer for the person who commented before you.
Application Steps:
Pour into the Word. Memorize one of the scriptures listed above and talk to the Lord about your needs.
Ask Jesus, "Are my hands cupped, open to receiving friends' words? Or have I poured out onto others more than I've poured into them?"
"Sometimes the girl who's always been there for everyone else, needs someone to be there for her." Author Unknown
Power Verses:
Malachi 3:6, "I the LORD do not change." (NIV)
John 15:15b, "Instead, I have called you friends..." (NIV)
© 2011 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105


Domesticating Jesus

Luke 4:16-30 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon proclaim good news to the poor. set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (vv. 18-19).
Even those who have not formally studied the doctrine of Christ have constructed some kind of Christology. Many Americans think Jesus came to give them a "better life" in the here and now and to help them make friends and win influence. Others say Jesus would join movements to protect and conserve the earth's resources or engage in other "environmentally-friendly" practices. Innumerable people understand Jesus to be the supreme ethical teacher who is concerned with accepting all into His kingdom even if they never repent of sin.
Friendship, the stewardship of creation, and the love of others are all praised in Scripture (Gen. 1:28Prov. 17:171 John 3:16); however, reducing the purpose and teaching of our Lord to any of these things ends up domesticating Him. A domesticated Jesus embraces the culture's values without challenging them; He is a "safe" Jesus who is no threat to the established way of doing things.
Yet Christ did not come into the world to be "nice" or "safe," and the Jesus we find in the Gospels cannot be domesticated. He brings a salvation that turns our values upside-down. Instead of the proud and arrogant, He exalts those of humble estate ( Luke 1:52). Christ's coming produces peace among His people, but it also sets the fallen world against His own (4:16-30). The scandal of the cross brings with it the promise of a final, cosmic redemption that will include all who believe. At the same time it becomes a stumbling block to unrepentant Jews and foolishness to hardened Gentiles (1 Cor. 1:18-31).
Though we know these truths, we also run the risk of domesticating Jesus, albeit in a different way. Often we limit His work to giving us a clean heart so that we may live forever in heaven. Certainly, our Savior is concerned with individual redemption, and only individuals who put their faith in Christ alone will be saved, But individual redemption is only part of His intent to redeem all creation. Our Lord's full purpose is to bring a new heavens and earth in which we will dwell with Him forever (Isa. 65:17-252 Peter 3:13 ). A Christology that does not take into account the reality of future, resurrected life and the renewal of all things is one that is severely lacking.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

The Christian faith does not believe in an ethereal kind of salvation that only encompasses a world we cannot see. Instead, because God created everything good and because He purposes to redeem His creation, we know that the final redemption He brings will encompass all things. We are therefore concerned to be good stewards of the earth, not because we worship nature, but because they are gifts of God that will one day be restored to their fullness.
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. 


Domesticating Jesus

The Christian faith does not believe in an ethereal kind of salvation that only encompasses a world we cannot see. Instead, because God created everything good and because He purposes to redeem His creation, we know that the final redemption He brings will encompass all things. We are therefore concerned to be good stewards of the earth, not because we worship nature, but because they are gifts of God that will one day be restored to their fullness.
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. 
Revolutionize the way you think about the Holy Land--FREE eBook!

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Each Wednesday in Advent, we read a passage from the Gospels and consider what early church writers had to say about it.

Opening prayer

God is peace, the principle of all kinds of communion. Let us extol peace with songs of peaceful praise. It is God-who-is-Peace who brings all things into unity, who is the cause of every agreement, who is the author of all harmony. --Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite

Gospel reading: Matthew 24:36-44(read on Bible Gateway)

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Reflections from the church fathers

Whether the Son Knows the Day (Hilary of Poitiers): When Christ taught us that no one knows the day on which the end of time will come, not the angels and not even himself, he removed from us any need to be concerned about its date. O immeasurable mercy of divine goodness! On Matthew 26:4

They Did Not Know Until the Flood Came (Origen): All who listen to the depths of the Gospel and live it so completely that none of it remains veiled from them care very little about whether the end of the world will come suddenly and all at once or gradually and little by little. Instead, they bear in mind only that each individual's end or death will arrive on a day and hour unknown to him and that "upon each one of us the day will come like a thief."Commentary on Matthew 26

In the Field, At the Mill (Chrysostom): From both employees and employers some will be taken and some will be left. Among those who are at ease and those who labor, some will be taken, some left. Rank or station will not matter... he seems to indicate that the advent will come at night, like a thief, as Luke also indicates. It is amazing how fully he knows all things. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 77.2

Living in Expecation (Anonymous): Why is the date of an individual's death hidden from him? Clearly it is so that he might always do good, since he can expect to die at any moment. The date of Christ's second advent is withheld from the world for the same reason, namely, so that every generation might live in the expectation of Christ's return. This is why, when his disciples asked him, "Lord, will you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?" Jesus replied, "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons which the Father has established by his authority." Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 51

Closing prayer

Therefore, we ask that we may know what we love, since we ask nothing other than that you give us yourself. For you are our all: our life, our light, our salvation, our food and our drink, our God. Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your Spirit. --Columbanus

Today's Advent reading is from 
Ancient Christian Devotional, edited by Oden and Crosby.

Today's Advent reading is taken from:Ancient Christian Devotional
Edited by Oden, Crosby

Bite-sized bits of profound wisdom from the patristic era that coincide with the Scripture readings in cycle A of the Revised Common Lectionary.

Limits of the Law: The law serves a good purpose-up to a point

Today's reading: Romans 7
Romans 7:18 For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
One issue surfaces in virtually every one of Paul's letters: What good is the law? To most of Paul's audience, the word law stands for the huge collection of rules and rituals detailed in the Old Testament. Whenever he starts talking about "the new covenant" or "freedom in Christ," his Jewish listeners want to know what he thinks about Moses' Law. Does God still require obedience?
Thanks to his years as a Pharisee, Paul knows Moses' Law well. This chapter, the most personal and autobiographical in Romans, discloses exactly what Paul thinks about this issue.
When the Law Is Helpful
Paul never recommends discarding the law. He sees that it reveals a basic code of morality, an expression of behavior that pleases God. The law is good for one thing: exposing sin. "Indeed I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law" (Romans 7:7). To Paul, rules such as the Ten Commandments are helpful, healthful and good.
When the Law Is Helpless
The law has one major problem: After proving how bad you are, it doesn't make you any better. As a carryover from his days of legalism, Paul has a very sensitive conscience. Yet, as he poignantly recounts, it mainly makes him feel guilty. The law that bares his weaknesses cannot provide the power needed to overcome them. The law, or any set of rules, leads ultimately to a dead end.
Outside Help
A strict disciplinarian like Paul has little trouble keeping most of the Ten Commandments. Outward actions such as swearing, murder, adultery, stealing and lying can be measured and controlled. But an internal, invisible sin, such as coveting, proves far more bedeviling. As Jesus made clear in the Sermon on the Mount, invisible sins like coveting, lust and anger can have the same toxic effects as the more outward manifestations of stealing, adultery and murder.
Romans 7 gives a striking illustration of the struggle that ensues when an imperfect person commits himself or herself to a perfect God. Any Christian who wonders, "How can I ever get rid of my nagging sins?" will find comfort in Paul's frank confession. In the face of God's standards, all of us feel helpless, and that is precisely Paul's point. No set of rules can break the terrible cycle of guilt and failure. We need outside help to "serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code" (Romans 7:6). Chapter 8 celebrates that help.

Life Question

What personal struggle makes you feel most helpless? Where do you turn?
Today's reading is from theNIV Student Bible
by Zondervan

A proven, common sense approach to studying the Scriptures appeals to high school and college readers (and students of all ages).


At Issue - Success

Today's reading: Joshua 1:7–8
To succeed at any task, you must have the proper tools. Success in changing a tire requires such things as a tire iron and a jack. Success in quilting requires needles and fabric. Without the right equipment, you’re left empty-handed and guessing. These verses tell us that success in life requires one important tool—God’s Word. It’s not enough to own a copy of God’s Word. You have to use it—read it, meditate on it, talk about it and obey it. God has given you all you need to succeed in life—if you’ll use the tools he’s given you.

True Identity: The Bible for Women
by Zondervan

The Bible that helps you see yourself as God sees you! Find your true identity in Christ through your relationship with him.
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