Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Tue Dec 3rd Todays News

Getting angry and pressing for a favoured agenda isn't effective. It is the curse of populist government. It boils down to a number game, where people spoil a situation until what they want happens, and they hope no one else spoils that. So that the ALP remove the Pacific Solution in order to put forward there own. It was an attempt at rebranding. Only the ALP failed, because the Pacific Solution was the best policy. It wasn't put in place to break the ALP, but to be effective in stopping the people trade where poor desperate people were exploited by pirates and often drowned. ALP opposition to effective policy means that the ALP does not stand for effective policy on illegal immigrants. Such branding policy has failed in many places, like education, fair work, health care, unions and marriage, to name a few. Thing is, effective policy is not always obvious. The Pacific Solution came about only after much tragedy. Education and health policy are hundreds of years old, fine tuned through ages of debate and compromise. Allowing an angry person to thoughtlessly pursue their own agenda without regard to history or effective need is dangerous. 
But the ALP have made Education their play thing and pursued a highly ineffective agenda. Modern education around the world began almost simultaneously in two separate places. The Madras System started in Madras circa 1792 when a headmaster (Dr Andrew Bell) of a school for orphans of British soldiers got a 12 year old boy, John Frisken, to teach the alphabet to much younger boys. Meanwhile Joseph Lancaster in England, began using older children to teach younger children. Both systems were adopted as models. One founded the British Foreign Service the other was adopted by the Catholic Church. In the 1870's, Britain began teacher training at university and dropped the Monitorial system. Teachers were supposed to model moral behaviour, as well as teach the basics. By early nineteenth century, kids were educated in Britain to year 8. After WW1, education in NSW was expected to be year 9, with university students being at school to year 11. Now there is discussion about a year 13. 
Now, teachers are highly specialised. Science teachers don't even understand Global Warming theory. English teachers don't know how to teach reading. History teachers don't know when the White Australia Policy ended, and have fantasy stories about a stolen generation. But they need more money to teach less. So as to raise the standard. When did the ALP begin bending education away from the core purpose of teaching? Whitlam did a lot of damage, but a lot of bad things pre existed him. But if a good idea is put forward, so many people will denounce it so as to roll the dice of change. 

Happy birthday and many happy returns Sandra Flowers. Born on the same day, across the years


Tim Blair – Tuesday, December 03, 2013 (3:59am)

The recent 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination gave us all reason to again consider one of modern history’s great tragedies. But, aside from the inadvisability of travelling in an open car while there are communists in nearby buildings, there are few lessons to be learned from that dreadful day in Dallas.
Another anniversary, however, is loaded with helpful learning moments, especially for the media.



Tim Blair – Tuesday, December 03, 2013 (3:56am)

A bunch of guys grow moustaches. The left responds: 
Movember is divisive, gender normative, racist and ineffective against some very real health issues. 
Probably better if they just killed themselves.


Tim Blair – Tuesday, December 03, 2013 (3:49am)

Anti-sarc rules loom in the west: 
Negative body language including shrugging shoulders, rolling eyes, deep sighing and finger-pointing is to be prohibited at a Perth council under new guidelines on behavior …
According to the document, raising one’s voice, taunting or trying to undermine others’ arguments, or attacking a suggestion as “that’s a dumb idea” or “that won’t work” is in breach of the code.
As are backbiting and complaining about others behind their backs, criticism of an individual or group and asking excessive or inappropriate questions. 
If this legislation catches on, every household with children is headed to court.
(Via J.F. Beck)


Tim Blair – Tuesday, December 03, 2013 (3:08am)

We’re living in an age of madness
Climate-change policies are expected to cost Britain more than £80 billion by the end of the decade, as critics warn that the global-warming industry is spiralling out of control …
Vast sums are being spent on initiatives ranging from climate-change officers in local councils to the funding of “low carbon” agriculture in Colombia at a cost of £15 million alone. Billions of pounds are also being added to fuel bills to pay for green policies. 
On a positive note, at least the latest leftist belief system isn’t actively killing people.

What’s fair about Fair Work?

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (8:18am)

Judith Sloan on the outrageous stacking of the Fair Work Commission - not least by Bill Shorten as Workplace Relations Minister:

Of the 27 appointments made by the Labor government, 18 were either union officials or Labor affiliates. And of these appointments, nearly one-third were at the presidential level. The FWC is now a ridiculously top-heavy organisation, with half of all the members at the presidential level.
And just take a look at the salaries. The total annual remuneration of a vice-president is $534,000 and of a deputy president, it is $435,000. Even the more junior commissioners earn $358,000…
There is, of course, the possibility the appointees to the FWC will act in a detached and even-handed way. But, alas, it has not been the case. One member of the tribunal is so inclined to hand down lop-sided and prejudiced decisions that many of them are appealed…
The Australian Mines and Minerals Association, the resources industry employer group, has outlined a number of areas of significant inconsistency. These include: whether employers have the right to test for drug and alcohol use by workers; whether accessing pornographic material is the basis for justified dismissal; whether assaulting a fellow worker is the basis for justified dismissal; whether annual leave can be cashed out; and whether individual flexibility agreements must actually deliver on their promise.
Let us pray that Employment Minister Eric Abetz can unpick the lock on the box in which the government has put him. 

Boats slowing, but now Labor dismantles what’s working

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (8:08am)

Boat people policy

Utterly bizarre. Has Labor learned nothing from the humanitarian, financial and security disaster it unleashed by scrapping such tough measures in 2008?
Now, with boats down to one a week, Labor tries to dismantle some of the policies which are clearly working:

THE Senate has scuttled the Coalition government’s reintroduction of temporary protection visas.
Labor and the Greens teamed up on Monday night to pass a disallowance motion in the Senate, 36 votes to 26, to quash the controversial visas.
The coalition government reintroduced temporary protection visas via regulation in October as a key plank of its hardline Operation Sovereign Borders policy aimed at discouraging asylum-seeker boat journeys.
It must now wait for six months to reintroduce regulation of the same substance.
So stupid. 

Turnbull rebukes ABC, but only for helping the Guardian sell itself

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (7:59am)

Interesting, and more stinging coming from Malcolm Turnbull - although he’s confined his criticism to the ABC getting into bed with a commercial entity:

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told ABC managing director Mark Scott it was an error of judgment for the national broadcaster to join The Guardian to publish claims Australia tapped the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife…
Mr Turnbull ... defended the legitimacy of the story. However, he said it was The Guardian’s story, not the ABC’s.
“They were going to publish it and they just basically wanted a partner to help them amplify their publication,” Mr Turnbull said…
Mr Turnbull suggested The Guardian, which launched its Australian web edition earlier this year, would have proposed the partnership with commercial considerations in mind…
Mr Turnbull first raised his concerns with Mr Scott in a phone call he initiated last Monday.

A band you may well like

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (7:52am)

Reader Gary:
About a year ago you shared my band’s video clip on your blog. The band is called Faith & Gasoline and the song, ”Reality Hurts”, dealt with freedom of speech and your recent trial. Thanks to your blog, we received over 100,000 views in under a fortnight and connected with listeners/readers from across Australia, as well as a few readers from Europe and the USA. We also met some interesting characters as we toured Vic, SA and NSW, who had recognised us from your blog!
We have now released our second record, “Better Left Unsaid”, as well as a video clip for the title track. The video can be viewed here. And the CD can be purchased in our online store.

How to win $1000 from a Liberal Lord Mayor and make Melbourne a “city of literature”

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (7:09am)

This is cartoonist David Blumenstein with Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, a Liberal, who has just given him a $1000 prize as an “emerging writer” who will ”strengthen Melbourne’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature”:

The criteria for Blumenstein’s award for a graphic short story in the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards:
General criteria (across all categories)

Literary merit and overall quality of authorship
Originality of concept
Stylistic excellence
Clarity of purpose
Editorial excellence
Intent of work met by author
Professional presentation
Graphic short story
All of the general criteria apply but also

Artistic merit
The prize was for a story in Blumenstein’s cartoon book:

It contains personal stories of people who shit me off — many of them politicians. One of the stories is a thing about Andrew Bolt which won a Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing prize the other day.
The prize-winning story was presented as the work of Blumenstein’s much younger brother:

Presenting this as the work of a not-so-bright year 10 student excused Blumenstein the crudity of language and thought of a playground:

All right, so the drawings aren’t great, the writing adolescent - but the politics are right on. And so a former Victorian Liberal leader rewards the sentiments of this “emerging writer” with $1000 taken from ratepayers.
The Left may have conquered the institutions, but it took the acquiescence of conservatives too eager to seem broadminded. 

A conservative government should laugh such critics to scorn

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (7:03am)

Gerard Henderson has typically sound advice:

The tenor of intensity with which many journalists dislike the Prime Minister and his colleagues is evident in the note which accompanies the current edition of The Monthly magazine. Editor John van Tiggelen quotes “one of the magazine’s most popular contributors” as declaring: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a cabinet of creeps; I can’t bear to take them seriously yet."…

So much is the dislike of Abbott that it appears some commentators want his policies to fail even if this is damaging to Australia’s national interest. This is evident in the reporting of the documents stolen by Edward Snowden…
It’s possible the overwhelmingly negative coverage may affect the Coalition at the next election. Or that the media’s apparent obsessions have little traction in the electorate. Despite promising starts, Howard only narrowly won his first election as prime minister in 1998 and Rudd did not even lead Labor to the 2010 campaign. Even so, the Coalition may need to consider whether its apparent tactic of low-profile engagement deserves reassessment.
A tip: George Brandis could play a significant role in the culture war this government must fight. Malcolm Turnbull has all the firepower, too, but whose side would he actually join?
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

The warming religion will collapse from its sheer cost

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (6:46am)

How many billions of dollars have been squandered on pretending to do something about the weather? On placating the great Climate God?
Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly.  It also has been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions…
There are past examples.  In the U.S. in the early 20th century, the eugenics movement had coopted the science of human genetics and was driving a political agenda.  The movement achieved the Immigration Restriction Act of 1923, as well as forced sterilization laws in several states.  The movement became discredited by Nazi atrocities, but the American consequences survived well into the 1960s.
In the Soviet Union, Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898-1976) promoted the Lamarckian view of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.  It fit with Stalin’s megalomaniacal insistence on the ability of society to remold nature….
Global warming differs from the previous two affairs.  Global warming has become a religion.  A surprisingly large number of people seem to have concluded that all that gives meaning to their lives is the belief that they are saving the planet by paying attention to their carbon footprint…
In contrast to Lysenkoism, Global Warming has a global constituency, and has successfully coopted almost all of institutional science.  However, the cracks in the scientific claims for catastrophic warming are, I think, becoming much harder for the supporters to defend.
For example:
In fact:

“‘Real Risk of a Maunder Minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ announced the BBC this week, in reporting startling findings by Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University.  ‘Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years [raising the risk of a new Little Ice Age]…, explained Paul Hudson, the BBC’s climate correspondent.  If Earth is spared a new Little Ice Age, a severe cooling as ‘occurred in the early 1800s, which also had its fair share of cold winters and cold summers is, according to him, ‘more likely than not to happen.”
How much more waste before the cost becomes so crippling that it forces politicians to admit voters have been conned - and fleeced?
Climate-change policies are expected to cost Britain more than £80 billion by the end of the decade, as critics warn that the global-warming industry is spiralling out of control …
Vast sums are being spent on initiatives ranging from climate-change officers in local councils to the funding of “low carbon” agriculture in Colombia at a cost of £15 million alone. Billions of pounds are also being added to fuel bills to pay for green policies.
(Thanks to reader fulchrum.) 

Memo to the ABC: Edward Snowden is as much a “whistleblower” as Kim Philby

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (6:26am)

The ABC has decided on another adjective to describe the traitor Edwin Snowden:

The Guardian Australia has published secret documents from 2008, leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden,...
Here is how Whistleblowers Australia defines the term:
Whistleblowers Australia Inc. is an association for those who have exposed corruption or any form of malpractice...
Here is how the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority defines it:
A ‘whistleblower’ is a person who exposes or brings to public attention an irregularity or a crime, especially from within an organisation.
So the ABC is informing its audience as a matter of fact, not opinion, that Snowden, now granted asylum in Russia, has exposed corruption, crime or some malpractice in his country’s national security organisations. In the ABC’s language, Snowden is a hero.
But what crime? What corruption? What malpractice? And look at the damage done to the national security of his own country and that of its allies.
The ABC’s description of Snowden is loaded, inaccurate and informed by hostility to the security interests of the West and its citizens. Snowden is about as much a whistleblower as Kim Philby or Wilfred Burchett.
The ABC is out of control. 

Round up these ma and pa throwbacks

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (4:49am)

What’s more worrying? That AWU boss Paul Howes thinks farming really is just a primitive “ma and pa” operation, or that a way of life “needs” to stop?
It essentially means the day of ma and pa farming in Australia needs to end.
A phone call is made:
Senator Bill Heffernan ... said he made a “courtesy” phone call to express his views direct to Mr Howes late Sunday evening, which was met with blunt objection.
“He (Mr Howes) hung up actually because he was a bit upset that I’d called him on a Sunday night which was extraordinary,” he said.
“But I thought it was an extraordinary circumstance that he would demean the great institution of Australian family farmers with the comment that ma and pa farmers should get out.
“He obviously doesn’t understand farming and hasn’t had a real job ever in his life as a trade union person and doesn’t understand the issues or details around the ADM issue."…
He said farmers had made great advances over many decades in the uptake of on-farm technology and science to improve their operations.
“The bulk of family farmers are viable farmers and besides corporate farming in this country has had a history of going broke,” he said.
“Farmers don’t pay themselves overtime like the ma and pa trade unions do.”

Abbott’s big pitch: why is Shorten standing between you and $550?

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (12:01am)

I’m not sure why Tony Abbott wasn’t given an auto-cue or better lighting, but the message is very effective. 
And the point isn’t just that Labor is ignoring the clear wish of most Australians to scrap the carbon tax and save Australians an average of $550 a year. There is also this, as Paul Murray pointed out on Sky last night:  Abbott in the space of a week realised he was making a mistake on school funding and changed course. Labor made a terrible mistake on the carbon tax and in three years still hasn’t been able to change. 

Time this Government showed it can also do tough

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (8:30am)

Each individual decision taken by the Abbott Government might just be defensible, but the pattern is a worry:
One of the most senior figures of the Howard government and a leading ­figure of the Liberal Party’s conservative wing, Peter Reith, has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of orchestrating the veto of a $3.4 billion US bid for GrainCorp, which he described as the latest of several botched decisions.
Mr Reith called on the new government to show more leadership and resist the push for government subsidies and assistance for business, and raised concerns that the GrainCorp decision, which was supposed to have been made by Treasurer Joe Hockey, makes a bailout of Qantas Airways more likely.
“Hockey says it should be the subject of a national debate. Australia does not need a debate; we need a government that makes it clear it will not be wasting any more taxpayer money with sub­sidies for business and that its priority, as promised, is to return the budget to surplus ASAP,” he said.
“I never thought that the Abbott government would be the first Australian government to knock back an application to Foreign Investment Review Board from the business community of our close ally the United States."…
Former treasurer Peter Costello criticised the decision on Sunday. On Monday, former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett said it had condemned Australia to be a “10th-order country” and “we are still back in the 18th century”.
So this is more heartening:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sought to dampen expectations that the government will offer financial help to Qantas to preserve its investment-grade credit rating, saying the airline has yet to tell politicians exactly what it wants…
‘’Maybe it wants to see the restrictions on ownership lifted,’’ he said on Brisbane radio. ‘’I’m not sure they really want to see a new government shareholding. And the trouble with providing a government loan guarantee is where does it stop?’’

Children diagnose discrimination in workplaces they’ve never seen

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (8:24am)

Children aged from 15 to 19 who’ve never had full-time jobs know exactly what’s wrong with the workplace:
When [the survey of 15,000 youths is] carved up on gender lines, for [the] first time ever young women ranked equity and discrimination as the top issue facing the country, with female respondents indicating concerns about workplace discrimination, racism and gender inequality.
Reader Jilly:

These girls have not yet experienced workplace situations, are not yet at Uni, live in a decade when women held every one of our highest public offices and are represented in the top level of success in private business of every kind - so where did they get this notion from? 
Good question. I have some strong suspicions. 

Abbott finally unleashes

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (2:04pm)

A turn for the better in the Abbott Government’s communications strategy:
- A keeping of the education funding promise (or close enough).
- A far stronger performance - in fact, a good one - from Christopher Pyne on 7.30 last night.
- A good, aggressive performance from Tony Abbott in Question Time yesterday, without crossing that line into stridency that prime ministers must avoid.
- A press conference from Abbott today from a prime minister who at first held few.
- Some red meat in the press conference for Liberal voters, not least on the ABC.
Now, if Speaker Bronwyn Bishop could seem less scared of the Oppositionn and demand less heckling and shouting, even better. It is a poor show when the Prime Minister and others need to remind her of standing orders or need to pause to make the point that the uproar is simply unacceptable. The Member for Parramatta in particular needs a few outings in the sin bin, and Tanya Plibersek’s shouting is surely too much.
Bishop, a classic conservative, thinks setting a good example in civility will impress the uncivil. Actually, a swish of the cane impresses the uncouth even more.
Better. A noisy Labor MP is thrown out.
Worse: Now Julie Bishop has to ask a “rude member” let her finish an answer. Where was Bronwyn Bishop?
Pyne then points out to the Speaker how rude a Labor MP just was to her. (Labor is treating Bishop with a labored patronisation.) She takes no action. 

Boats slowing, but now Labor dismantles what’s working

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (12:08pm)

Boat people policy

Utterly bizarre. Has Labor learned nothing from the humanitarian, financial and security disaster it unleashed by scrapping such tough measures in 2008?
Now, with boats down to one a week, Labor tries to dismantle some of the policies which are clearly working:
THE Senate has scuttled the Coalition government’s reintroduction of temporary protection visas.
Labor and the Greens teamed up on Monday night to pass a disallowance motion in the Senate, 36 votes to 26, to quash the controversial visas.
The coalition government reintroduced temporary protection visas via regulation in October as a key plank of its hardline Operation Sovereign Borders policy aimed at discouraging asylum-seeker boat journeys.
It must now wait for six months to reintroduce regulation of the same substance.
So stupid.
So the Abbott Government brought back temporary protection visas. Labor last night sided with the Greens in the Senate to scrap them. This is how an ABC reporter then grills the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison:
JANE NORMAN: Bringing back temporary protection visas was one of the Coalition’s key election commitments, the key plank of your border protection policy. So is this now a broken promise?
(Thanks to reader F, as well as to reader Andrew for the graphic.) 

How a Melbourne academic slimes us in Indonesia

Andrew Bolt December 03 2013 (11:51am)

Indonesia’s elite are reacting with disproportionate hostility to Australia over the spying controversy, seemingly forgetful of so much help we have offered.
Now Melbourne University academic Professor Thomas Reuter eggs them on, with this virulently anti-Australian poison published in the Jakarta Post:

After the Japanese surrender in August 1945, Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno declared independence… Dutch prisoners of war, released by Indonesia, were armed and sent back on rampages against Indonesian civilians and police. Australian troops participated in the occupation of the outer islands, including Bali, and were involved in massacres.
Australian troops massacred Indonesians in Bali? This is news to me. The evidence for this incendiary claim?
Australian troops were in Indonesia as a consequence of liberating Indonesia from the Japanese. Australia was actually a strong supporter of Indonesian independence from Dutch rule.
The British have since apologized for this cruel attempt to stifle the young nation’s struggle for freedom and sovereignty. Australia has not.
How can we apologise for something for which no credible evidence seems to exist? Who, other than Reuter, has ever demanded we do apologise?
And if we are to get outraged by massacres in Bali, we should first be cross about mass killings of Indonesians by Indonesians in 1965, and of Australians by Indonesians in 2002. Have apologies been issued for either?

An undeclared war (the “Confrontation") began, and Australian troops participated. Covert operations into Indonesian Kalimantan began in 1964 under the code name Operation Claret. Attempts to assassinate Sukarno failed.
Australians tried to assassinate Sukarno? Where’s the evidence? The most famous attempts to kill him came from an Indonesian air force officer and Islamist radicals. You could even blame Suharto for Sukarno’s death. But Australia?
As for intervening in the Konfrontasi, it was only to protect Malaysia from Indonesian aggression, thanks to Sukarno. Why is that not mentioned?
In 1965, Indonesia witnessed one of the greatest genocides of the 20th century, as army general Soeharto led a military coup against the left-leaning but essentially nationalist and non-aligned Sukarno government.
Up to one million innocent Indonesian civilians were butchered over the following year at a rate of 1,500 people per day, to the applause of western powers including Australia.
Applause? Where in Australia was there “applause”?  Australian politicians should perhaps have protested more, and they certainly favored the pro-West Suharto to the far-Left Sukarno. But cheering on the massacres?
The deep involvement of British and American intelligence in staging this bloody military coup, similar to the Pinochet takeover of Chile, is beyond reasonable doubt.
In every bloody coup, blame the CIA. The true hallmark of the far-Left.  The responsibility for the massacres remain with Indonesians themselves, with Suharto leading a coup against the erratic and dictatorial Sukarno, so economically incompetent that his country was plagued by famines and his people were advised to eat rats..
The lack of an apology for such consistent un-neighborly behavior may seem astonishing in the context of the “Asian Century” and needs to be understood as a direct consequence of the ongoing nature of these operations.
“On going” involvements in assassination plots, coups and massacres? Is this academic serious? We are “un-neighbourly”?  Australia? Which backed Indonesian independence, gives $500 million a year in aid, bailed out Indonesia in the Asian financial crisis and donated $1 billion after the terrible tsunami? Why was none of the good we do mentioned in a piece which reads like a hate-stirring slander sheet?

Reuter’s research is handsomely funded by the Australian Research Council.  Is such funding in our national interest? I resent every dollar of my taxes taken from me and given to him, when he’s spreading calumnies about Australia in a country where resentments can be lethal.
Reader Leo G says Reuter has form. In 2002 he suggested to a Parliamentary committee the Bali bombing might be the work not of al Qaeda or Jemaah Islamiyah, which would suit the wicked US. No, the Indonesian military might have done it:
Media reports, citing US and Australian government soms, quickly pointed the finger of blame at the international terrorist network Al-Qaeda and ‘its local operatives. Little attention was given to the national let alone local socio-political context in which the attack had taken place. It was not sufficiently noted that attacks of a similar kind, if not scope, have occurred with increasing frequency since the collapse of Suharto’s military dictatorship in 1998. As a consequence, the tragedy of October 12 was co-opted prematurely and uncritically into the global political agenda and rhetoric of the United States government’s “War on Terror."…
The problem in allocating blame for the Bali blast is that radical Islamic groups like Jemaah Islamiyah are not the only groups in Indonesia today who may be willing and capable of committing or supporting acts of terrorism, such as the recent attacks in Bali… Different groups even within the government’s own security forces have been fighting turf wars, with clashes between police and army forces reported from Java, Sumatra and Flores in recent months. A string of violent incidents bears testimony to increasing lawlessness and an expanding culture of political and economic violence, cutting across all sectors of society. This diffusion makes it difficult to pinpoint a single person or group as the likely perpetrators in any particular case.
(Thanks to reader Mick.) 
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Today's Top Stories

• Arab couple attacked in Jerusalem – because they looked Jewish.
• Washington Post brandishes a soft euphemism for terrorism – “political violence.”
• Advice to Netanyahu: leave the Iran issue alone and focus on building military technology to fight off the likes of Hezbollah.

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With Rafael Cruz , Sen. Ted Cruz's dad. Photo taken earlier this year.
Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for Monday, December 2nd. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Dueling headlines; ‘White House hungry for immigration reform, except not literally’ edition

Our first first headline is from Tuesday, and is in regards to the Obamas support for pro-amnesty protesters who have been on a hunger strike in Washington, D.C....

Victory! HealthCare.gov team has ‘met the goal’

This past week, Kathleen Sebelius advised people to avoid using the Obamacare website during peak hours (“peak” hours defined as “any time more than six people are logged into the site”)...

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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Holidays and observances[edit]

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

"Thou art all fair, my love."
Song of Solomon 4:7
The Lord's admiration of his Church is very wonderful, and his description of her beauty is very glowing. She is not merely fair, but "all fair." He views her in himself, washed in his sin-atoning blood and clothed in his meritorious righteousness, and he considers her to be full of comeliness and beauty. No wonder that such is the case, since it is but his own perfect excellency that he admires; for the holiness, glory, and perfection of his Church are his own glorious garments on the back of his own well-beloved spouse. She is not simply pure, or well-proportioned; she is positively lovely and fair! She has actual merit! Her deformities of sin are removed; but more, she has through her Lord obtained a meritorious righteousness by which an actual beauty is conferred upon her. Believers have a positive righteousness given to them when they become "accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6). Nor is the Church barely lovely, she is superlatively so. Her Lord styles her "Thou fairest among women." She has a real worth and excellence which cannot be rivalled by all the nobility and royalty of the world. If Jesus could exchange his elect bride for all the queens and empresses of earth, or even for the angels in heaven, he would not, for he puts her first and foremost--"fairest among women." Like the moon she far outshines the stars. Nor is this an opinion which he is ashamed of, for he invites all men to hear it. He sets a "behold" before it, a special note of exclamation, inviting and arresting attention. "Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair" (Song of Sol. 4:1). His opinion he publishes abroad even now, and one day from the throne of his glory he will avow the truth of it before the assembled universe. "Come, ye blessed of my Father" (Matt. 25:34), will be his solemn affirmation of the loveliness of his elect.


"Behold, all is vanity."
Ecclesiastes 1:14
Nothing can satisfy the entire man but the Lord's love and the Lord's own self. Saints have tried to anchor in other roadsteads, but they have been driven out of such fatal refuges. Solomon, the wisest of men, was permitted to make experiments for us all, and to do for us what we must not dare to do for ourselves. Here is his testimony in his own words: "So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun." "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What! the whole of it vanity? O favoured monarch, is there nothing in all thy wealth? Nothing in that wide dominion reaching from the river even to the sea? Nothing in Palmyra's glorious palaces? Nothing in the house of the forest of Lebanon? In all thy music and dancing, and wine and luxury, is there nothing? "Nothing," he says, "but weariness of spirit." This was his verdict when he had trodden the whole round of pleasure. To embrace our Lord Jesus, to dwell in his love, and be fully assured of union with him--this is all in all. Dear reader, you need not try other forms of life in order to see whether they are better than the Christian's: if you roam the world around, you will see no sights like a sight of the Saviour's face; if you could have all the comforts of life, if you lost your Saviour, you would be wretched; but if you win Christ, then should you rot in a dungeon, you would find it a paradise; should you live in obscurity, or die with famine, you will yet be satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord.

Today's reading: Ezekiel 42-44, 1 John 1 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 42-44

The Rooms for the Priests
1 Then the man led me northward into the outer court and brought me to the rooms opposite the temple courtyard and opposite the outer wall on the north side. 2 The building whose door faced north was a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide. 3 Both in the section twenty cubits from the inner court and in the section opposite the pavement of the outer court, gallery faced gallery at the three levels. 4 In front of the rooms was an inner passageway ten cubits wide and a hundred cubits long. Their doors were on the north. 5 Now the upper rooms were narrower, for the galleries took more space from them than from the rooms on the lower and middle floors of the building. 6 The rooms on the top floor had no pillars, as the courts had; so they were smaller in floor space than those on the lower and middle floors. 7 There was an outer wall parallel to the rooms and the outer court; it extended in front of the rooms for fifty cubits. 8 While the row of rooms on the side next to the outer court was fifty cubits long, the row on the side nearest the sanctuary was a hundred cubits long. 9 The lower rooms had an entrance on the east side as one enters them from the outer court....

Today's New Testament reading: 1 John 1

The Incarnation of the Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Amasa [Ăm'asă]—burden-bearer.
  1. The son of David’s half-sister Abigail whom Absalom made captain of his rebel army (2 Sam. 17:2519:13;20 ). Amasa was completely defeated by his cousin Joab in the forest of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:6-8). David not only forgave Amasa but gave him Joab’s place (2 Sam. 19:13). Joab treacherously slew him (2 Sam. 20:9-12).
  2. The name of an Ephraimite who with others resisted the bringing into Samaria the Jews Ahaz had made prisoners ( 2 Chron. 28:12).


The Council of Nicea

John 1:1-18 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God" (vv. 1-2).
In the history of Christian doctrine, the cities of Antioch and Alexandria stand out as centers of theological development in the early church. Many of the major promoters of heresy hailed from these cities, but defenders of orthodoxy came from both cities as well. When it came to the debates over the deity of Christ, Antioch, which is located in modern Turkey, was a center of Monarchian thought. And of those Antiochenes known for their denial of Christ's deity, none are more famous than Arius.
Arius wanted to preserve monotheism, and he believed that any attempt to equate Jesus with the Father destroys the biblical affirmation that there is but one, true God (see Deut. 6:4). According to Arius, God the Father alone is eternal and uncreated. Everything other than the Father is created, and this includes His Son, whom the Father made before anything else. The Son is a perfect creature, but He is a creature nonetheless - even if He was the agent through whom the Father created everything else.
During the early part of the fourth century, Arius came to Alexandria and began promulgating His views. He soon ran into difficulties because the Alexandrian theologians held to a more orthodox view of Christ's deity. In the year 321, Bishop Alexander expelled Arius from the city. Yet Arius' popularity grew while he was in exile and soon the entire Roman Empire became embroiled in the christological debate.
Even though he did most of his work after the Council of Nicea, which convened in 325, Athanasius remains the most familiar defender of orthodoxy associated with that gathering. At Nicea, the church officially recognized that the Father and the Son arehomoousios , Greek for "of the same essence" (see John 1:1). Even though the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father, both persons are fully God, having the same essence or being. The Father and the Son, along with the Holy Spirit, each perform different tasks in redemption, though there was never a time when any of the three did not exist. Anyone who says otherwise does not hold the faith once delivered to the saints.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

The deity of Christ is very important. As God He is able to bring us face to face with the Father and restore to us that which has been marred in the fall. Moreover, because Christ is God, there is no idolatry going on when we worship Him. Those who view Him as an exalted created being actually deny monotheism, for they are positing the existence of more than one god. Let us with full confidence confess and proclaim the full deity of our Savior.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
For the weekend:
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. 


The Council of Nicea

The deity of Christ is very important. As God He is able to bring us face to face with the Father and restore to us that which has been marred in the fall. Moreover, because Christ is God, there is no idolatry going on when we worship Him. Those who view Him as an exalted created being actually deny monotheism, for they are positing the existence of more than one god. Let us with full confidence confess and proclaim the full deity of our Savior.
For further study:
The Bible in a year:
For the weekend:
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 2, 2011
"Don't Miss the Beautiful"
Today's Truth
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2a, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I recently went on a trip to minister in Tennessee at a women's event and, to my delight, my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about "mommy-daughter time" so we were giddy with happy as we started off on the three and a half hour drive.
Prior to the trip, I had given Kennedy permission to use my iPad to watch a movie. So once we hit the highway, she got cozy with her pillow, her headphones went on, and her attention became fixed on the rectangular screen in front of her. Random giggles floated in the air from the movie-watcher as I drove and prayed through the talk that I was to give later that afternoon.
Just off the Northern parts of the Carolina highway - past the congestion of traffic and the hullaballoo of the suburbs - I was freshly smitten by the splendor of God through traces of red, yellow, orange, and brown leaves that were dancing in the breeze under brilliant blue skies. The trees continued to boast of more and more glory as I neared Virginia... and then they were joined by the mountains. Oh, the mountains! They puffed their chests with the majesty of color and power! My heart was captured by the glory of it all, so I tapped Kennedy and pointed out the window, encouraging her to look around... to lift her eyes and soak in the wonder.
"Don't miss the beautiful!" I urged.
"Don't miss the beautiful!"
She paused her movie and joined the beauty moment, agreeing that God was indeed showing off with His creation. Minutes later, she went back to watching her movie as I drove on undone. Wrung out by glory. Overwhelmed by the sacred sanctuary I'd stumbled upon. I stayed in the moment and celebrated the beautiful as the psalmist did in Psalm 96:
1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
13 they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth.
Worship poured from my heart. I thanked God for the beauty show. As praise and adoration continued to rise a God-thought settled on my heart. "Tell them, Gwen."
"Tell them what, Lord?" I wondered.
"Tell the women what you told Kennedy. Tell them not to miss the beautiful."
Ahhhh, yes! I would tell them, and I would chew on that challenge for days to come. Convicted by questions like: How often do I drive right through the busyness of my days and miss the beautiful? How many moments of glory do I not even see because my eyes are on the mundane? Do I even look for it?
As we head into this busy holiday season and dance between the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years - as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities, let's be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God's grace. Let's live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ.
When we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let's commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He's our Hope, our Peace, our Joy... our Beautiful.
Don't miss the beautiful.
Let's Pray
Dear Lord, You are glorious and worthy of all praise! Please help me to fix my eyes on You each day so I can walk in your hope, peace, joy and beauty.
In Jesus' Name I pray,
Now It's Your Turn
Additional Scripture reading: Colossians 3:1-17
Have you paused to spend time with God one-on-one yet today? This week? Prioritize prayer. Spend time in personal worship. Just you and Him. Then click to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic) and allow the songs that I've posted today lead you in further adoration and praise!
More from the Girlfriends
Friend, don't be discouraged if your calendar seems off-the-charts crazy. I know what that's like. Let's choose the best together and clear a space every day to sit and worship at the feet of Jesus. Uncluttered is a CD filled with songs that sweep you away from excess 'life-noise', this music focuses your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ. Order your copy today from iTunes or fromwww.GwenSmith.net.
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
Karen Ehman
December 2, 2011
While Shepherds Watched and Women Work
Karen Ehman
"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." Luke 2:16-18 (NIV 1984)
"Tell me about the shepherds again Mommy. It is my favoritist part!" three-year-old Mitch pleaded. It was the week after Thanksgiving and we had started our nightly December ritual: reading the Christmas tale chosen from a basket perched beneath our twinkling tree.
We'd collected dozens of colorful storybooks that illustrated the account of the nativity story. Mitch's favorite part was always the shepherds. Ever since his chubby little fingers could grasp the pasteboard pages, he'd pause and stare at the portraits of rough and tumble men wandering in the wilderness, watching over their flocks by night.
My son's fascination prompted me to dig further into the lessons I could learn from the shepherds.
That first Christmas night these humble guys, often looked down on by society, were busy going about their daily tasks: feeding and watering; prodding and protecting; nursing the injured and encouraging the timid. They were also watching out for hungry predators that might harm their precious lambs.
When the shepherds heard the heavenly chorus, their lives changed forever. Yet the sudden interruption may have been a strange inconvenience at first. After all, sheep need constant supervision. Taking their eyes off them for even a moment might have been detrimental.
Little did these shepherds know they were about to encounter the Great Shepherd, secretly wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
I think women, especially those with children in our lives, can sometimes feel like modern-day shepherds. We certainly do our fair share of feeding, watering, prodding, protecting, nursing, encouraging and watching out for anything that might harm our lambs. At times our job is also dirty, and sometimes unpleasant, with very few "atta girls" or social recognition. Yet it is also significant.
Even moms raising kids who are almost ready to leave the fold still have important work to do.
Our children are never too old to be reminded of Christmas's core message: Christ came to earth to offer hope and new life for all who turn their hearts to Him. Perhaps we begin with storybook illustrations and later transition to opportunities to live the message.
As our own kids have grown, it's been a thrill to join them in reaching out at Christmas with the good news of Christ. Helping in soup kitchens or homeless shelters. Adopting a Christmastime family we serve with food or gifts. Shoveling driveways or assisting a widow with the tasks of the season.
What else could we do to live out the timeless message; the one my little lamb enjoyed hearing year after year?
In the midst of this busy month, let's stop. Put down the tinsel; discontinue the decorating. Turn down the Christmas carols and get alone to be silent.
Let's allow God to interrupt our daily routine to introduce us once again to our Good Shepherd. Let's pause, ponder, and like the shepherds, tell those in our family about this remarkable Christ-child. Then together we can help echo to others this enduring hope:
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10b-11, NIV 1984).
Dear Lord, help me pause amidst the busyness and ponder the wonder of You sending the Christ-child to earth. May I instill in my kids a love of pointing others to Your perfect, sacrificial Son. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?
Need help simplifying your Christmas tasks so you have more time to reach out to others during the holidays? Check out Karen and LeAnn Rice's new e-bookUntangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday.
Visit Karen's site where she's giving away a Christmas organizational gift basket and a copy of Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday!
Application Steps:
Choose three activities to do during this hectic time of year that will encourage you to pause and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. Perhaps a ten-minute time out with a cup of cocoa or watching the snow fall with your kids. Or read the account of the first Christmas from Luke chapter two very slowly, letting the words and the wonder sink deep into your soul.
How can I creatively use this season as an opportunity for my children and me to tell others about the marvelous news of Jesus Christ?
Power Verses:
Acts 10:36, "You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." (NIV 1984)
Romans 10:14-15, "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" (ESV)
© 2011 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Augustine: Saint for All Seasons

Quote: "Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee." (Augustine, Confessions)
Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430) is one of the giants of church history. In the fifteen-hundred-year span between the apostle Paul and Martin Luther, no one looms larger in the minds of most Protestants. With the possible exception of Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, his influence as a theologian is unparalleled. And his memoir,Confessions, is given a place in literature as the first recorded memoir. Augustine was an African, and it is fitting that this man of such great stature is still read and debated today, when the African church, having come full circle, is again a center of vibrancy and scholarship.
As a sexually charged youth, Augustine finds himself in "the thorny branches of sex and temptation." He also sows his wild oats for several years as an adherent of Manichaeism, a dualistic religion in which the spiritual realm is manifested in conflict between light and darkness, spirit and body. There is no good God who reigns supreme; individuals are essentially on their own, seeking knowledge to save themselves.
Manichaeism eventually proves to be intellectually unsatisfying for Augustine, who turns to skepticism and then to Neo-Platonism, a philosophy extolling truth, goodness, and beauty. This intellectual shift parallels a geographical move from Carthage to Rome. From Rome he moves to Milan, where his mother joins him and soon becomes enamored with Ambrose and influences her son to attend his sermons. All the while, Augustine is moving away from a philosophical worldview toward orthodox Christianity.

His "garden conversion" is the spiritual climax of his memoir. While weeping in a garden, Augustine overhears a child's voice calling, "Take up and read." Augustine takes this as a sign from God, and reaches for a manuscript of Paul. There his eyes fall on these words: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in concupiscence" ( Rom. 13:13 – 14).
"Instantly at the end of this sentence," he writes, "by a light of serenity infused into my heart, all darkness of doubt fled away." Biographers and historians have pointed out that this was a conversion to a celibate monastic life as much as a recommitment to the Christian faith of his heritage and that it had been some time in coming.
On Easter Sunday 387, Ambrose baptizes Augustine, who leaves behind his teaching position to immerse himself in Scripture. He then returns to Africa to live quietly in his hometown as a monk, but the locals recognize his capabilities and elect him to be their priest. Then, in 395, only eight years after his baptism, he is elected bishop of Hippo. Unlike many bishops of the era, he seeks to retain a monastic way of life while preaching several times a week and writing more than a thousand treatises in addition to extensive correspondence.
During the course of his bishopric, several controversies arise between Augustine and other sects. One of these is with the Donatists, a sect arising in the aftermath of the Great Persecution of Emperor Diocletian. When Imperial officials demand that Christians hand over the Scriptures under penalty of death, some Christians surrender their manuscripts and are considered traditors by the Donatists.
The Donatists regard denial of the faith to be the ultimate crime against the church and against God; traditors are no longer part of the church. If someone is baptized by a traditor bishop, that baptism is invalid. In defense of priests and bishops who had surrendered the Scriptures, Augustine argues that the sacrament is valid irrespective of the sinfulness of the priest who administers it. The grace of Christ is operative in the sacrament; thus the worthiness of the priest is irrelevant. Grace is conferred through the sacrament.
Augustine's most bitter theological controversies involve Pelagius, a devout and stout British monk, who teaches that individuals are responsible for their sins, even as they are for their good deeds. That humans inherit original sin from Adam he deems patently false; whether one sins or not is a matter of self-control and free will rather than determinism. Augustine, emphasizing God's sovereignty and election, counters that our sinful nature propels us to sin and that no one has the innate capability to do good.
Yet Augustine knows above all else that God is entangled with mystery. "Since it is God we are speaking of," he cautions, "you do not understand it. If you could understand it, it would not be God."

If you enjoyed the above article, please take a minute to read about the book that it was adapted from:

Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church

by Ruth A. Tucker
Buy the book!
The story of Christianity centers on people whose lives have been transformed by the resurrected Lord. Tucker puts this front and center in a lively overview peppered with sidebars; historical "what if?" questions; sections on everyday life; drawings and illustrations; bibliographies for further reading.



Angels We Have Heard on High

Hymn Story:
The French carol "Les anges dans nos campagnes," now known as "Angels We Have Heard on High," is completely anonymous. It has always been printed with no known lyricist or composer. The beautiful carol tells the story of Christ's birth, when the angel choir told the good news to nearby shepherds. The chorus, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," reflects the chorus of the angel choir that long-ago Christmas night.
Many years ago shepherds in the hills of southern France had a Christmas Eve custom of calling to one another, singing "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," each from his own hillside. The traditional tune that the shepherds used may have been from a late Medieval Latin chorale. It became the magnificent chorus of "Angels We Have Heard on High."
The carol seems to be of eighteenth-century origin, since it was known in England by 1816. At that time James Montgomery wrote his carol "Angels From the Realms of Glory", originally basing it on the tune of "Les anges dans nos campagnes." "Angels From the Realms of Glory" was sung to the French tune until Henry Tomas Smart wrote a new tune for it in 1967.
"Angels We Have Heard on High" was first published in France in 1855. The English translation came seven years later, in Henri Frederick's Crown of Jesus Music. This 1862 translation differed from the form we use now. The version we use today was first printed in a 1916 American carol collection entitled Carols Old and Carols New.
Sheep scattered around, the shepherds settled in for another quiet night, probably swapping stories as they watched the flocks. Then, in a divine moment, God burst into the night. Angels appeared, singing songs and speaking of the Savior's birth. And suddenly, the shepherds' ordinary lives were transformed-becoming part of a story that's lived for thousands of years.
Angels We Have Heard on High" reminds us of this amazing night. In the beautiful strains of its chorus, this carol helps us experience a taste of what that angel chorus might have sounded like as it proclaimed the "good news."
Christ's birth certainly was good news to those simple shepherds. The Savior changed their lives forever. And God still loves to speak to ordinary people and transform their lives into something extraordinary through his grace.
As we sing of the angels' great announcement, let's remember that God still wants to announce the "good news" today, using people like you and me. Helping a family in need, sharing the gospel story with a prisoner, encouraging a friend who's going through tough times-in these and countless other ways we can announce Jesus' birth to the "shepherds" of our day.
Through our words and actions, we can show that Jesus still lives in the hearts of man. So in this Christmas season, and all through the coming year, let's continue the angel song. Let's tell the world all about Jesus, and how he's changed our lives forever.
Lyrics: Traditional French Carol
Lyrics Date: 18th Century
Translator: James Chadwick, Crown of Jesus Music
Translation Date: 1862
Theme: Christmas Music: Traditional French Melody
Music Date: 18th Century
Tune Name: GLORIA
Arranger: Edward S. Barnes
Arranged Date: 1937
Key: F
Scripture: Luke 2:14
Copyright © 2011 Center for Church Music


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A Different Kind of Christmas
by Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

"Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measure to you." --Luke 6:38

Friend to Friend

Of all the Christmases that Mike Wekall remembers, his seventh stands out from all the rest. Mike was the fifth of six Wekall children. Like every child, Mike met December with the anticipation of new toys, freshly baked goodies, glittering decorations, and school vacation. But one week before Christmas, Mike’s parents called the children into the den.

"Kids, I’ve have some bad news for you," Mr. Wekall said, barely able to look his children in the eye. "As you know, things have been pretty tight at work this year. In fact, we are going to have to file bankruptcy, so we won’t have Christmas this year. I’m sorry. Maybe we can make it up to you next year." Then he quietly walked out of the room.

The children just sat there for a while in silence. Mike thought to himself, "What does he mean 'we won’t have Christmas'? Does that mean I’ve been bad and Santa isn’t going to come? And what is bankruptcy?"

It was a confusing time for little Mike, but one thing became perfectly clear on Christmas morning--Christmas had not come to the Wekall house. No presents were under a tree, and the aroma of a roasting turkey did not come from the kitchen. The family did, however, go off to church that crisp, cold morning. When they arrived at church, all the other children were sporting new clothes and chattering about what they had found under their trees.

"Hey, Mike, what’d you get?" one asked.

“Nothin'. We didn’t have Christmas at our house. We’re having a bankruptcy."

"What's wrong? Have you been too bad to get anything? Didn’t you even get a few switches?"

Feeling rather blue, the family of eight went home for a lunch of lima beans and hamhocs. About an hour later, the door bell rang. "Maybe it is Santa after all," Mike thought as he ran to the door.

Standing in the doorway wasn’t Santa, but it was the Bosky family, all ten of them. Each of the eight children had smiles on their faces and two gifts in their hands. Mr. and Mrs. Bosky held a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

As it turned out, the eight Bosky children went home from church and told their parents about how the Wekalls weren’t having Christmas this year. Seeing how they had been so richly blessed, the children decided to pick two of their toys and wrap them up for the Wekalls. Mom and Dad joined in and brought gifts for the parents. Even though Mrs. Bosky had Christmas dinner all choreographed for her own dining room, she gathered up the food in boxes and baskets to share with a family who needed it more.

That was over forty years ago, but Mike still gets tears in his eyes when he shares this story. "It was the best Christmas I have ever had," he told me. "The Spirit of God showed me that Christmas wasn’t about getting presents but about giving and caring for others. It is about showing goodness toward other people. Every year, I tell this story to someone, because it exemplifies how Christ gave so freely of Himself for us."

Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I have so much and I am surrounded by people who have so little. Show me someone I can help this Christmas. Open the eyes of my heart to see the needs of others. Make me an extension of Your lavish love. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Consider some ways you can help others less fortunate this Christmas. Here are some ideas from my book, Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas.
  • Help an elderly person decorate his or her home and take the decorations down at the end of the season.
  • Give an anonymous gift of money to someone who lost their job or someone who you know struggles financially.
  • Offer to do Christmas shopping for a disabled person.
  • Purchase and deliver a gift for a child whose parent is in prison
  • Pack a shoebox for a needy child overseas through Operation Christmas Child.
  • Process toys for the Salvation Army.
  • Volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army.
  • Work in a Soup Kitchen
  • Visit someone in a nursing home who has few relatives.
Today's Advent reading is from the Girlfriends in Goddevotional ministry. There is no Advent devotional email tomorrow (Saturday); the next email will be on Sunday, when we'll introduce a new set of Scripture passages to reflect on throughout the week.
Today's Advent reading is taken from Girlfriends in God, a non-denominational devotion and conference ministry that crosses generational and racial boundaries to bring the Body of Christ together as believers.

Through daily on-line devotions, conferences, published books, CDs and music videos, God is using this incredible team of women to bring the hope and healing of Jesus Christ to a hurting world.


He Is - Holy

Today's reading: Leviticus 19:2
God describes himself as holy. Holy means perfect, set apart, free from evil. And God wants us to follow his example. The only way to holiness is through spiritual transformation, becoming like the only perfect human—Jesus Christ.
Because God is holy, we should be and can be holy. We could never do this on our own—only through Christ’s work in us. If holiness seems too lofty a goal, think of it as a process. You became holy when you accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. You are becoming more holy as you follow him. And you will become completely holy when you reach heaven.

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.
A Christmas Devotional


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." - Luke 2:13-14
Peace is a noble aspiration at any time. In times of war or in times of harmony. When you find yourself at odds with someone, or when you are feeling pretty good about your relationships. When you feel in harmony with God, or when you feel a discord. It is always important to pursue peace.
Peace is so much more than the absence of conflict. Maybe you can lay your head on your pillow tonight and thank God that you experienced no conflict, but that is not the same thing as experiencing peace. If a husband and wife get tired of shouting at each other and both slip into an icy indifference, that is not peace.
In Hebrew, the word for "peace" is shalom, a well wishing that says it all: may you be healthy, whole and complete. May you know where you fit in the universe, and may you find tranquility there. Augustine said that peace is "the tranquility of order." When you know where you fit into God's world-that you are higher than the animals, but less than God-that is the sense of order that brings tranquility.
Therefore, we pray for peace at Christmas. We pray that both others and we discover the Christmas shalom-the confidence that when God's favor, his undeserved grace, rests on us, we will know a peace that goes beyond understanding. The peace gifted to us because Christ came into the world and put things in order, beginning with his birth, and completed in his sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection.
Prayer for today: Dear God, let your favor rest on me, and let me stand in the peace that Christ has made possible.



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.

Welcome to week 1 of our Top 20 Countdown of Christmas Music!

We asked our visitors what their favorite Christmas songs were and complied the results. This week we're looking at numbers 20-16:

20. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear


19. Handel's Messiah, Hallelujah Chorus


18. Carol of the Bells


17. We Three Kings


16. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day


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