Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Wed Dec 4th Todays News

It takes integrity to achieve worthwhile things. And yet some really deficient people seem highly lauded. An actor who could drive cars quickly killed himself recently, and a friend, when he quickly drove his high performance car into a tree. There is real grief being expressed for him. I could understand his wife and children would miss him. Some say he had come from a charity event before he mindlessly killed himself and his friend. He was a good person? He was a kind person? He was a nice person? He was a rich man. I get upset with the bad behaviour of rich people who are role models for young ones. All that time and money people have invested into someone who dies from a stupid irresponsible act. And some young people will take his action as a cue. Not everything is perfect in everyone's life. A better response than gloating over success and de-stressing after, is to give thanks for the terrific blessing one has been given in life. To do that, one cannot rely on others, they need integrity to give of themselves. RIP Paul Walker, you were blessed, and drove away too soon. 
Fairfax move to protect their readers from an opinion that might be different from their view. Gosford Anglican Church gives up on Jesus, and holds to AGW alarmism. Hartcher steps aside. The matter looks less dangerous than that which claimed Greiner. So the press are playing the fantasy for ALP now, because they won't be able to celebrate later, and they will try to inflate things. If one was looking for a prostitute without clients, journalists may be the ones. ALP moves to deny the Libs the funds for Gonski. ABC fight to be unbalanced. Dylan sued. Why isAustralia home to islamo fascists? Where are the bent athletes we were told ruined our elite sports? Throwing money at schools seems ineffective.

Happy birthday and many happy returns Jenina NguyenJohn LaMantiaSeHong Win-Nguyen and Kenny Thai. Born on the same day, across the years, along with


Tim Blair – Wednesday, December 04, 2013 (1:26pm)

In Fairfaxland, supporting a Liberal prime minister is controversial
Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee copped plenty of sledging on social media for giving Prime Minister Tony Abbott his vote of support on Twitter last month …
Lee, the former Australian fast-bowler, declared he was no swing-voter when he controversially tweeted after Australia’s victory over England in the opening Ashes Test at Brisbane on November 24 …
‘’It’s no secret I’m a fan of Tony Abbott and what he’s doing for the country,’’ Lee said on Wednesday. 


Tim Blair – Wednesday, December 04, 2013 (12:10pm)

Religion and global warming alarmism holding hands.

NSW Lib minister quits over corruption inquiry

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (1:40pm)

The stain spreads in NSW politics:

Energy and Resources Minister Chris Hartcher has ... been forced to quit his portfolio as a result of an ICAC inquiry, but was confident he would clear his name…
In September, the Independent Commission Against Corruption raided the offices of central coast Liberal MPs Chris Spence and Darren Webber, seizing computers and documents.
The raids are believed to have been linked to allegations, revealed by Fairfax Media last year, that two staff members of Mr Hartcher funnelled political donations through a front company before the 2011 state election.
Last year Mr Hartcher told Parliament he was not under investigation in relation to the matter involving his two staff, but in September declined to repeat the statement.

Feminism wins. Prostitutes are fine, but can’t have clients

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (10:56am)

A sociology lecturer has an idea:

Imagine a scenario where prostitution is not restricted or sanctioned but buying sex is banned.
So you can sell sex but not buy it.
Why one but not both or neither? 

Labor denies Abbott the Labor cash for a Labor promise

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (10:30am)

Labor now backtracks on its own Gonski-related promises – the means to pay for the policy:

LABOR has deepened the political row over education by reversing one of its own policies one day after accusing Tony Abbott of a backflip, adding to fears of a hit to the budget from the government’s $1.2 billion increase in school funding.
The policy switch raises the prospect of a Senate blockade over a $2.3bn savings measure, including an efficiency dividend on universities, that Labor announced in April and the Coalition later adopted to pay for the school reforms…
The $2.3bn saving included an efficiency dividend on universities to raise $900 million, changes to scholarships to raise $1.2bn and the removal of discounts on upfront fees to raise $230m. Bitterly opposed by universities after Labor announced them, the savings now face a veto from Labor and the Greens in the upper house and may not be passed until the balance of power changes in the Senate next July.
Labor insists the Government implement the Gonski changes but now denies it the money set aside to pay for them.
Doesn’t that perfectly capture Labor’s last six years?
Labor sides with Greens to block savings, and the Greens once again take the credit:

Is Labor the political arm of the Greens party?
(Thanks to readers Gaetano and Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Where’s our Laterline?

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (10:11am)

Daryl McCann at Quadrant suggests ways to fix the ABC’s bias:

There are two choices for the Coalition, the first involves taking a leaf out of the New Left’s own handbook – affirmative action. For that to happen, though, the ABC must first own up to the fifty-year-old delusion of open-mindedness. All we ask is that for every episode of Media Watch hosted by Paul Barry there’s another one straight afterwards anchored by, say, Andrew Bolt – for every 7:30 Report an 8:30 Report, for every Lateline a Laterline, for every Insiders an Outsiders, and so on. Characters like Kerry O’Brien of “Bennelong has seen a large swing to the ABC” can come out of the political closet and be themselves.
On the other hand, if the ABC refuses to honour its commitment “to deliver content with integrity, diligence and transparency and to act in the interests of citizens”, the second option open to the Coalition government is to privatise the corporation, a not unreasonable outcome given that it would save the Australian taxpayer $1.1 billion (and climbing) every year, which includes Tony Jones’ $355,789 salary, Jon Faine’s $285,249, Fran Kelly’s $255,000, Paul Barry’s $191,259, Barry (sic) Cassidy’s $243,478 and Mark Scott’s own not inconsiderable of $773,787.
I’d prefer the first, not least because it is politically an easier sell.
But the ABC should also realise there are many conservatives who do actually listen to the ABC and want it to stay - who listen to Jon Faine even though he can infuriate with his Leftism.  Telling us to go listen to Neil Mitchell instead is an insult and derogation of duty. Mitchell is not a conservative but a populist - a windsock - and humorless and self-important besides. If I hear the word “decency” one more time…
No, the ABC has a responsibility to give the very many intelligent conservatives in this country a service as well.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 

Maybe Tony Abbott hasn’t angered Indonesia as Fairfax claims

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (9:33am)

Relations between the Indonesian Government and the Abbott Government may be not as shattered as Fairfax likes to claim:

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb meets Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan at a meeting of the Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting, Bali Indonesia, 2 December 2013.

Let’s not think twice about laws against free speech, and hope Bob Dylan puts them right

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (9:08am)

The use of the law to stifle debate has become utterly ridiculous as well as sinister. I’m hoping the latest victim is finally admired enough to turn French officialdom into the real pariah:

French authorities have filed preliminary charges against Bob Dylan over a 2012 interview in which he is quoted comparing Croatians to Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
The charges of “public insult and inciting hate” were filed against the musician in mid-November…
They stem from a lawsuit by a Croatian community group in France over remarks in an interview in Rolling Stone magazine in September 2012.
Speaking about race relations in the United States, Dylan was quoted as saying: “If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
Much in this case will depend on the bias of the judge, as is usually the case with such laws. Is he a Dylan fan or not?
But France really is a joke, and its ethnic and religious strife - including many riots - suggests its laws against free speech do no good to balance the harm. Among some notorious cases:

French film star Brigitte Bardot was today convicted of provoking discrimination and racial hatred for writing that Muslims are destroying France…
In the December 2006 letter to Mr Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot said France is “tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts.”
The actress, who is most famous for her sex kitten role in And God Created Woman, was referring to the Muslim feast of Eid el-Kebir, celebrated by slaughtering sheep.


Bernard Lewis, the British-born historian of Islamic religion and culture .... explicitly argued that, although the Turks massacred countless Armenians, there is no evidence that they operated according to a centralized policy of genocide, and that calling the killings that had the effect of diminishing the uniqueness of the Jewish Holocaust.
Lewis’ revisionism on the Armenian question led to his being charged and tried in France for denial a genocide, a crime there, and in the mid-1990s, he was ordered by a French court to pay one franc in damages after losing a case. Three other lawsuits against him in another French court, however, failed. 
And here the mere existence of ludicrous laws against causing “offence” allow a punishment by process that is so expensive for a defendant that even to win is to lose:

FORMER University of Canberra vice-chancellor and former chairman of the National Capital Authority Don Aitkin is being sued for $6 million for alleged racial discrimination.
Ngambri Aboriginal elder Shane Mortimer alleges the adjunct professor’s blog contravenes Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and has lodged an application for damages in the Federal Magistrates Court.
But Professor Aitkin said the application was preposterous…
‘’I am a supporter of the Aboriginal people in their struggle for respect … I’ve been a proponent for restoration for Aboriginal people since I can remember. I was a member of the ACT conciliation council while it existed for 10 years.’’

Mr Mortimer said he was offended by an article from August 27 that says: ‘’He looks about as Aboriginal as I do, and his constant references to his ‘ancestors’ makes me scratch my head.’’
(Thanks to reader Mike.) 

Why is Australia their home? Is our door now shut?

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (8:35am)

If they are so keen to send people to Syria, why are they here?
THE husband of controversial Muslim woman Carnita Matthews is one of two people arrested today for sending Australians to fight on the front lines of Syria’s civil war.
Hamdi Alqudsi, 39, ... is the husband of Ms Matthews’ who is best known for her run in with police, when she refused to remove her burqa during a random breath test, two years ago.
Gosh, we’re a soft touch:

Hamdi Alqudsi claims to live a quiet, modest life.
Surviving on a disability pension and supposedly with less than $500 to his name, he lives in a small western Sydney home with one of his two wives, Carnita Matthews…
Who let them in? Is our door now shut?

A CRACKDOWN on Australians travelling to Syria to fight with jihadists is set to widen, with police preparing to charge a third suspected extremist currently in jail on attempted murder charges
Hamdi Alqudsi, 39, and Amin Iman Mohamed, 23, both from Sydney, appeared in court…
AFP Deputy Commissioner Peter Drennan said police would allege Mr Alqudsi was “responsible for organising travel to Syria for Australian citizens to fight on the frontline, including with Jabhat al-Nusra and then with other al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups"…
Some of Mr Alqudsi’s supporters in court refused a request from the NSW Sheriff’s officer to remove their hats inside the courtroom.
That’s part of the law? It’s not our law,” said one of the men, who declined to give his name.
Mr Mohamed’s lawyer, Peter Allport, ...  said his client was part of the “Somali diaspora” who had fled the civil war and chaos in the East African country…

About 80 Australians, mostly dual nationals, are believed to be assisting the Syrian rebels in combat roles

All those who Mr Alqudsi allegedly helped to travel to Syria were Australians and are understood to have come from a “variety” of backgrounds, marking them out from other Australians who have fought in Syria, most of whom have been Lebanese-Australian dual nationals.
According to court documents, their names are: Tyler Casy aka Abu Qaqa, Caner Temel aka Abu Moussa, Mehmet Biber aka Abu Abdul Malik, Muhammed Abdul Karim Musleh aka Abu Hassan, Mahmoud Abed Aboshi aka Abu Alem, Nassim Elbasha and Mr Mohamed, aka Abu Bilal. 
Note: the charges have not been proven. Those charged must be presumed innocent. 

ABC called Climategate whistleblower a “hacker”. So why isn’t Snowden a “thief”?

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (8:08am)

Edward Snowden steals and releases US National Security Agency spying secrets which expose no crime but do damage the national security of the US and its allies.
Here’s how the ABC routinely describes Snowden:

The Guardian Australia has published secret documents from 2008, leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden...
An unknown person, believed to be a scientist, leaks emails from the most influential global warming scientists revealing collusion, bullying, manipulation of data and stifling of dissent.
Here’s how the ABC (and Fairfax) routinely describes the leaker.

The scandal began when hackers broke into the computer server at the University of East Anglia and stole thousands of personal emails from climate scientists late last year.
ABC science presenter and alarmist Robyn ”100 metres” Williams goes further:

This theft is mischief on the level of Mossad or Stasiland by pros in the business of political subversion
There are two theories being offered about the origin of the expose. The first, and most convincing, given the forensic trail, is that a gang of professional hackers in Russia (Tomsk?) was hired by someone. The second is that the emails had been assembled by a person within the CRU in response to a Freedom of Information demand that had subsequently been blocked. This person then allowed the emails to escape ‘in the public interest’.
Memo to ABC: your bias is showing. If the Climategate whistleblower is a “hacker” then Snowden is a “thief”.
(Thanks to reader Barry.) 

Pyne was only following orders

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (7:41am)

The Coalition should never have made its Gonski promise to start with. But the answer should never have been to break it.
Paul Kelly says the fault isn’t really Christopher Pyne’s (although he did bungle the sell):

....this was a case of cabinet’s Expenditure Review Committee pushing for more savings but falling foul of the Coalition’s election pledges.
Christopher Pyne was personally given a letter by Tony Abbott that embodied the ERC’s deliberations. He was given a tough job but he mishandled it, causing deep agitation within the PM’s office. The ERC decided to commit to promised Gonski school funding for one year for the non-signatory states. Pyne’s brief was to run a public operation and private negotiation to try to get savings from the total pool of Gonski money given that NSW and Victoria had been generously treated…
It was never going to be realised because it ran into the brick wall of the election campaign pledges made by Abbott.
When the Prime Minister briefed Pyne, his Education Minister was scarcely happy. It was agreed he would begin by making a political issue of Labor’s removal of $1.2 billion from the pre-election estimates as the prelude to getting a better overall deal for the national government…
In the end [the Government] was battered into political submission.
Last Sunday night at a meeting involving Abbott, Julie Bishop, Joe Hockey, Pyne and Peta Credlin the decision was taken to cut their losses.

The ABC betrayed conservative Australians and now pays

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (6:58am)

Pressure on the ABC is mounting as Tony Abbott ups his rhetoric:

As pressure builds within the government for reform of the national broadcaster and its funding, Mr Abbott attacked the ABC for amplifying allegations Australia tapped the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and senior officials.
“I think the ABC were guilty of poor judgment in broadcasting that material, which was obviously difficult for Australia’s national security and long-term best interests,” Mr Abbott said yesterday. “Why should the ABC be acting as an advertising agent for a left-wing British newspaper?”
Mr Abbott pledged to “speak plainly and candidly with Australians in the hope that ABC management will see sense”.
It could have proved cheaper for the ABC to honor its charter and provide balance - hire conservative presenters rather than only those from the Left. Now even Malcolm Turnbull sounds like a man with an axe:
Earlier, Mr Turnbull told the Coalition partyroom ABC operations could be modernised, saying “old-fashioned” and “last-century work practices” were a problem for the ABC…
Coalition sources say ... support is strengthening for its charter to be withdrawn and funding stripped back under the commission of audit so it could only operate a basic radio and television. 
Here are the issues with the ABC:

- It is a state-owned media outlet.
- It has spread vastly in reach, operating five national radio networks, four TV networks, an overseas TV service, bookshops and now a publishing arm, competing with newspapers on line. Its reach would not be tolerated in a private media business.
- It is now killing off private competitors. It offers free the same kind of on-line news and views to the same audience Fairfax must sell to to survive. Last month Politifact, a private on-line political fact-checking business, announced it had been forced to wind down operations and could close, in part because the ABC had this year created its own on-line political fact-checking unit.
- It is biased, in breach of its charter. The ABC is meant to be balanced, or at least present a range of voices. Yet every one of its main current affairs shows is headed by someone of the Left. Every one of the eight Media Watch presenters has been of the Left. Its main science presenters are of the global warming Left. Its most recent Radio National hirings - Jonathan Green and Waleed Aly - are of the Left. A recent survey, albeit limited, confirmed ABC staff strongly lean to the green left. A recent ABC TV program attacked an ABC critic by showing a doctored photo of him having sex with a dog under a sign “dog f...ker”. Yet all taxpayers are forced to pay for it.
- Now the ABC has, in coordination with the far-Left Guardian, published stolen spying secrets which had badly damaged the national interest without revealing any abuses of authority. Yet ABC presenters routinely refer to the source of the stolen information, Edward Snowden, as a “whistleblower” rather than traitor, saboteur or thief.
- The ABC is getting cruder. Calling conservative Chris Kenny a “dog” is just one sign of it.
- The ABC is expensive, costing $1.2 billion a year.
But to repeat. It would have been cheaper for the ABC to inject a bit of the balance it’s obliged to provide.  Now, having so clearly declared war on conservatives, using bullets paid for by conservative taxpayers, it’s invited open resistance.
Well, to a point. Here’s Abbott, typically believing sweet reasonableness - and not a big stick - will make the Left do the right thing:

MY intention is to speak plainly and candidly with the Australian people in the hope that ABC management will see sense...
AS for the ABC’s other activities, well, look, I can understand why a lot of people in the media think that it’s not a level playing field when it comes to competition, given that the ABC is funded to the tune of a billion dollars or so a year by the taxpayer, but it’s been thus for many a long year and this government has no plans to change that.
Anyone believe that merely talking nicely to the ABC will bring reform?

Cory Bernardi has been most articulate and most persuasive:

Senior conservative senator Cory Bernardi touched off the spirited debate on Tuesday, slamming the ABC as ‘’a taxpayer-funded behemoth’’ for expanding into print via its online news operations which he said put it in direct competition with privately funded commercial media companies, operating in an already difficult market…
He said there was a compelling case to consider breaking the ABC into two entities with the traditional television and radio operations protected to ensure services in the bush and regional Australia, while the online news service could be disposed of…

According to multiple sources in the meeting, the trio of Ms Bishop, and senators Bernardi and Ian Macdonald, received ‘’warm’’ support for their assessments that the broadcaster had failed to maintain political balance, and was using its annual $1.1 billion tax-payer funding to crowd out commercial news organisations in breach of its charter.
Bernardi was very, very good on Radio National Breakfast this morning.

Miranda Devine:

More than any other news organisation, the ABC gave Labor a free pass over the past six years of calamitous government.
Remarkably, it has run dead on serious crime allegations against senior Labor figures which are currently being investigated by police, while ferociously hunting down every verbal misstep or stumble by the new government.

So where are all those athletes we were told were taking performance-enhancing drugs?

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (6:24am)

So the prime scapegoat so far in the “blackest day in Australian sport” didn’t actually oversee any program of illicit drug taking, after all. Here the AFL’s emailed offer to Essendon chairman Paul Little to drop everything if coach James Hird just stepped aside for 12 months:

We added billions and students went backwards. So mere cash is not what schools need

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (6:17am)

First the Rudd Government launched the “Digital Education Revolution” in our schools - $2.4 billion to give senior secondary students their own lap tops. But computers don’t actually teach.
Then the Rudd Government launched the “Building the Education Revolution” in our schools - $16 billion for school halls, canteens and libraries. But buildings don’t actually teach.
So after this massive spending on everything in schools except better ways of teaching, what did we get?

AUSTRALIAN teenagers have slipped further behind their peers overseas in international tests assessing skills in reading, maths and science, now ranking behind students in Vietnam, Poland and Estonia.
The latest results of the tests of 15-year-olds conducted by the OECD group of industrialised nations, released last night, show that Australia is one of 13 countries to have recorded a significant fall in student performance in maths since 2003, while nine countries recorded a significant improvement. Asian jurisdictions now dominate the ranks of high-scoring students.
While Australia’s results in reading and science remained relatively stable, maths scores recorded a big fall, and Australia has slipped outside the top 10 nations in all three subjects for the first time since the tests, called the Program for International Student Assessment, started in 2000.
Asian countries soar. So it’s not so much the money but how you spend it and how you teach - and how families value what you teach. Yet tell that to our educationalists:

Sue Thomson, the director of educational monitoring and research at the Australian Council for Educational Research who oversees PISA in Australia, ... said the report made the case for the Gonski review’s more equitable distribution of resources among schools...
Yes, just add more cash. In fact, even the Gonski report, demanding another $5 billion a year for education, had to admit that the biggest falls in student performance didn’t come from children denied “equitable” funding but from those with plenty:

However, over the last decade the performance of Australian students has declined at all levels of achievement, notably at the top end. This decline has contributed to the fall in Australia’s international position.
The biggest fall in our standards is among students at the top - students we must presume tend to come from non-disadvantaged backgrounds and good schools. And they are being overtaken mainly by students from disadvantaged countries, with largely poorer schools.
So is the money or the method of teaching to blame? To help you decide:

What follows are excerpts, presented verbatim, from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website (ACARA) outlining how mathematics is to be taught and absorbed… 
The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. It provides opportunities for students to appreciate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies have sophisticated applications of mathematical concepts.
Students will explore connections between representations of number and pattern and how they relate to aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. They will investigate time, place, relationships and measurement concepts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts.
No, I am not saying this idea explains our falling standard - comparatively - in maths. But it illustrates a tendency in education to stress proper attitudes rather than academic excellence. 

Just what a Labor Government would do to bail out a union-strangled business, too

Andrew Bolt December 04 2013 (6:02am)

I can’t believe this. Now this Liberal Government is considering giving taxpayers’ money to to a foreign company to bail out a struggling local operation mad enough to give its unions a 35-hour week. And it employs a former union boss to negotiate the deal:

INDUSTRY Minister Ian Macfarlane has recruited his Labor predecessor Greg Combet to negotiate a rewrite of work practices at troubled food producer SPC Ardmona, including the future of the 35-hour week, as the government examines an assistance package.
Mr Macfarlane will today announce that Mr Combet, who was Julia Gillard’s industry minister, as well as Telstra chairwoman Catherine Livingstone and former Manufacturing Australia chief and Reserve board member Dick Warburton, will form a high-level panel to advise on a major restructure of the SPC fruit and vegetable canning operations. Mr Macfarlane has been in talks with its owner, Coca-Cola Amatil.
The Australian understands CCA has promised a significant investment in plant and equipment, and a range of new product lines as part of a restructuring package that would involve an investment from the Victorian and federal governments.
This government is completely lost in the thickets of industry assistance. Someone give it a compass.
A truly free market government would cut the costs of business, free the labor markets and give business more power to determine a proper market rate for labor.  It would not subsidise the restrictive work practices and high costs of a union-dominated business. Do that and you just invite more beggars to your door.
And indeed:

Mr Macfarlane said the process at SPC could provide a lead for Simplot, which makes Edgell and Bird’s Eye products as well as the Chiko Roll and is also seeking government assistance.
Hey, there’s another Labor Government in Canberra. 
David Bowles
I'm often amused at the close-minded, knee-jerk assumptions of some people who agitate for open-mindedness and tolerance. Granted, I probably shouldn't go around poking at hornets' nests, but the temptation to peer past personas is very tempting. I will now go back to keeping my mouth shut and an eyebrow raised in disapprobrium.


4 her
ged.We can do it the easy way or the hard way.>

.. they still vote Democrat. - ed

Trinity de Cartier. Three types of gold. Three symbolic colors: pink for love, yellow for fidelity and white for friendship.



rder protection plan was scuttled in the Senate.

The Labor opposition and Australian Greens voted in the Senate late on Monday night to overturn temporary protection visas (TPVs).

Mr Abbott, who has been under significant pressure on federal schools funding, described Labor MPs as 'wreckers and vandals' who were giving the Australian people a 'two-fingered salute' by blocking government bills.

He threatened to make the House of Representatives sit until Christmas to pass new yet-to-be-revealed laws to make up for the axing of TPVs, as well as to repeal the carbon and mining taxes and raise the debt ceiling to $500 billion.

'I don't think the Labor party should get a free pass at Christmas time if it's not prepared to accept that the people voted a certain way,' Mr Abbott said.

The refugee convention could also be in the firing line, despite Mr Abbott saying the government respected it.

'We think it's important that it be dealt with properly and we'll have more to say on this in the days and weeks ahead,' Mr Abbott said.

The prime minister has previously expressed concerns with the way the convention, which Australia ratified in 1954, had been 'imported into Australian law'.>

We are all alone, even when we are together ..
What is the problem? It is USA .. shoot him. - ed
Meh, won't help poor people .. and won't make it more comfortable for poor people, but will make crime easier .. ed

Due to the overwhelming response from corporate sponsors we are able to offer all our lucky social media buddies a special price! quote the promo code 'PARRACITY' at the check out and get your ticket for only $20!!! did i just say TWENTY DOLLARS? yes, yes i did. Hurry limited time only. Mahal X 
<... 62 % SAID YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The other 38% of schizophrenics said no LMAO and the other 38% of schizophrenics said no >

I left my heart in San Frog Pano...

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Rivka travels ..
without ALP, we'd be as corrupt as NZ? - ed
Meh - ed
Where is the cafe? Let's go! - ed

I keep telling myself that. Shorten is a genius. But if you judge him by his ability .. ed===
Pastor Rick Warren

Dear friends, I'd deeply appreciate it if you could pause for a moment and pray for me to have wisdom right now Since Matthew died early this year, I've declined all interview requests from media- except for CNN and PEOPLE magazine. But this week, I am in New York City for 4 days of interviews. I could use your prayers.

The reason is that today , THE DANIEL PLAN, my first major book since Purpose Driven Life (10 yrs ago) is being published. PD LIFE was about spiritual health. Purpose Driven CHURCH, was about church health. This new book is about honoring God with our physical health. It's the program we developed at Saddleback Church that helped 12,000 of our church members get healthier and lose 250,000 pounds last year. It's farmore than a diet... emphasizing FAITH... FOCUS... FRIENDS... FOOD... and FITNESS.

Here are some of the shows and interviews I'll do this week. Thanks for your prayers.

• Parade Magazine
• USA Today
• CNN Piers Morgan Live on December 4, 9-10 pm
• CBS This Morning on December 4, 8:30 am
• Fox News & Commentary with Todd Starnes on December 4
• HuffPost Live on December 4
• MSNBC Morning Joe on December 5
• FOX The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on December 5, 2-3 pm
• CNN The Lead with Jake Tapper on December 5, 4-5 pm
• ABC's The View on December 6, 11 am
• The Dr. Oz Show on December 12 (check local listings)
• Fox & Friends on January 1

If you are intertested in watching any of these, you should check your local listings for exact times an stations.
Bless you!


Robin can say this with a conservative government elected there .. his humour is that partisan - ed

Wilcox shows Shorten? Shorten took the money away, and then demanded the Libs put it back ..
It took time & determination as well as the work of many hands to wreck a functioning Education System. For many years only the dedicated effort of the parents of some families who saw what was happening has propped it up by making up for it by teaching their children t...
except, there are good teachers who sacrifice much to educate kids despite the roadblocks. Some parents are impediments too. Also, some of the stupid rules also protect kids from bad teachers. It isn't as black and white as you paint, it is much worse. Some shockingly bad teachers get promoted. Some good ones get through. And then there are ones with good intentions who have no idea. The problem is not that education is bad. The problem is it is corrupted. There is sufficient information from external tests to evaluate the performance of teachers who have been working for more than eight years, but no one has the courage to use it. - ed


 It never occurred to anyone this was the inevitable result of any cooperation with Al-Quds?

LISTEN to the truth about the Jewish State on "Insight to Israel":

SEND a message to the Israeli Defense Force that we proudly stand with them as they defend the Jewish State by participating in "Hershey's for Heroes":

WEAR your support for the IDF this Christmas and posting your pics:

During the Holocaust, Jews fervently tried to continue to commemorate the Jewish holidays, even while imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps.

Chanukah came to Bergen-Belsen. It was time to kindle the Chanukah lights. A jug of oil was not to be found, no candle was in sight, and a menorah belonged to the distant past. Instead, a wooden clog, the shoe of one of the inmates, became a menorah; strings pulled from a concentration-camp uniform, a wick; and the black camp shoe polish, pure oil.
Harav Yisrael Spira, the Bluzhover Rebbe, lit the first light and chanted the first two blessings in his pleasant voice, and the festive melody was filled with sorrow and pain. When he was about to recite the third blessing, he stopped, turned his head, and looked around as if he were searching for something.
But immediately, he turned his face back to the quivering small lights and in a strong, reassuring, comforting voice, chanted the third blessing: "Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season."
As soon as the Rebbe finished the ceremony of kindling the lights, a prisoner elbowed his way to him and said, "Rabbi Spira, you are a clever and honest person. I can understand your need to light Chanukah candles in these wretched times. I can even understand the historical note of the second blessing, 'Who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.' But the fact that you recited the third blessing is beyond me. How could you thank G-d and say 'Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season'? How could you say it when thousands of living Jewish skeletons are walking around in the camp, and millions more are being massacred? For this you are thankful to G-d? For this you praise Him? This you call 'keeping us alive'?"
"You are a hundred percent right," answered the Rebbe. "When I reached the third blessing, I also hesitated and asked myself, what should I do with this blessing? But I noticed that behind me a throng was standing, a large crowd of living Jews, their faces expressing faith, devotion, and concentration as they were 
listening to the rite of the kindling of Chanukah lights.
"I said to myself, that at times like these, they stand in throngs and with devotion listening to the Chanukah blessing 'Who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season'; if, indeed, I was blessed to see such a people with so much faith and fervor, then I am under a special obligation to recite the third blessing."

(Adapted from Yaffa Eliach, Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust; pages 13-15)

Wishing you a Chanukah Sameach,

Ruth Lichtenstein
Director, Project Witness===

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I believe the Christmas Season is the most spiritually fertile season of the year - people are more receptive and responsive to hearing the message and the meaning of Christ the Saviour of the world.

So are you prepared for your Christmas services?

Why not take this opportunity to purchase our bulk buy response material. If you order by 12 noon on Thursday, you will have them in time to use this weekend.


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Today, there is an explosion of artistic designer jewelry excellence coming out of Israel, craftsmanship bursting with organic creativity, rooted in Jewish tradition yet fused with a modern tapestry of techniques, materials, styles and energy. For the next 24 hours, the Judaica WebStore seeks to introduce you to some of the unique talent emerging out of the Holy Land today in designer jewelry as we offer huge discounts on a wide variety of products from the top Israeli jewelry designers. This is jewelry you won't see anywhere else, and for prices you won’t beat anywhere else! So do yourself a favor, take a look, and then get yourself or someone special a precious gift that to last a lifetime!
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Another wonderful and inspiring song about prayer and our efforts to have our prayers heard from the one above. Enjoy and be inspired.
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We are in a Movie Festival!!!

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Our new production, Joy of Israel, is being screened at the Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem on Dec. 5th, the last night of Chanukah!!!
We at 12Tribe Films are excited to introduce to you the 3rd episode of our newest production - the Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller Episode #3 - Holy Hebron and Sweet Hebron Hills! Never before has the beauty of Israel been showcased for the world to see in reality TV format with the mission of educating, exciting and connecting people to Israel. This new series will reshape the entire image of living in Israel into one that is exciting, inspiring, and beautiful.
Don't miss watching this fascinating new Joy of Israel with Jamie Geller episode. Click here to watch and be inspired!
After the film festival screening, everyone is invited to a special JOY OF KOSHER book launch party with a special food and wine tasting! If you are in Jerusalem, click here to order your tickets today!
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Thank you for caring about Israel. Here is a new tool we have developed for people like you to stay up-to-date with important videos with the latest news in Israel.Sign Up Here!


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Click here to watch:NEVER AGAIN!
Must-Watch- This might be the most powerful clip you ever see.
International law is on Israel's side. Watch the video to understand why!
This must be one of the best video presentations that clearly explains international law and the legal case for Israel and Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria. Definitely watch this to have a better understanding of international law so you can talk about Israel's situation intelligently with others.
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Don't miss this best seller! 
Click here to purchase this special gift.
This gripping page-turner takes historical fiction to a new level as it explores the life of one of the most significant and enigmatic leaders in world history: Herod the Great. From the corridors of power in Jerusalem and Rome to the farms and fields of the simple folk trying to survive in turbulent times, you will get a real sense of time and place from one of the most important chapters in hostory. You will also meet all the most significan characters form that time, including the Caesars, Jerusalem's High Priest and Sages, Anthony and Cleopatra, and more. But behind it all is Herod. Herod the proud. Herod the builder. Herod the muderer. Herod the Roman puppet. Herod the schemer. Herod the Great.
donate_now_narrow, run by 12Tribe Films, is developing the next generation of Israel activists using online video and social networking.
Join our mission - Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help us grow our network to reach hundreds of thousands of people to make a difference for Israel.

Anti-Semitism Definition Under Threat

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As HonestReporting continues to petition the media to adopt recognized definitions of anti-Semitism, the EU removes its own definition. Read more and take action...

You May Have Missed...

In the past week alone, the Sydney Morning Herald has removed an inappropriate photo while the Daily Mail has amended a faulty geographical reference.
HR has also been featured in World Net Daily.
Click on the above links and see what's been going on...

Australian Advocates on HR Mission

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HonestReporting has just run another successful Mission to Israel, this time jointly with the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies. Find out what the participants got up to and more on how you can join the next Mission...


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HonestReporting's Israel Daily News Stream: Everything You Need to Know About Media Coverage of Israel and the MidEast

Today's Top Stories

• Washington Post covers the growing movement to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.
• Finance Minister Yair Lapid gets his message across on Iran.
• NY Times op-ed blames Hamas for most of Gaza's sewage and water problems.

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"Army's land. Absolutely (absolutely) No Trespassing."

© Hseng Noung Lintner
These signs are popping up throughout Burma as the Burmese military, government and their cronies confiscate more and more land to make way for foreign investment projects.

Help us tackle the growing land grab crisis by making a donation today.

Since lifting most economic sanctions last year, trade and investment have become top priorities of the US-Burma governments partnership.

Now the Burmese Government has petitioned the US to grant it preferential trade status (GSP) that would allow them to import more than 5,000 products into the US duty free.  Imagine a ‘Made in Myanmar’ product imported duty free that was produced on confiscated land or with exploited labor? 

USCB is working hard to pressure the US Government
 to demand land and labor reform in Burma before granting such a big trade benefit.

Help us as our work continues to expand by considering a donation today.

USCB successfully pressured the US Government to impose strict guidelines on US investors when President Obama issued unprecedented responsible investment reporting requirements on human rights and land use. Now we must ensure companies are compliant and take their responsibilities seriously.

We at USCB are very concerned for what Burma's rural majority and ethnic nationalities will face in the near future as investment will strip them of their land and resources. Draconian labor laws, land ownership and environmental protections have not been changed to ensure the rights of Burma's majority, and investment will only exacerbate issues that currently exist. We need your help now more than ever. 

Our work tackling trade and investment in Burma has not been easy, and as U.S. companies continue to invest, our efforts will continue to multiply. Please consider donating to us today so we may continue to ensure responsible trade and investment on the ground. We are grateful for your continued support.

In solidarity,

US Campaign for Burma team

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As ObamaCare continues to dominate the news, I appeared on CNN's State of the Union last Sunday to discuss this debacle and to talk about the future of healthcare.  
One point that I made is now that the website is getting fixed, the real problems of ObamaCare will start.  The disastrous roll out of ObamaCare was just the tip of the iceberg.
Here is a recap of my comments:
"I've talked -- I talked to an insurance -- some people in the insurance industry this morning. And they told me that most of the front end may be looking good. People may be able to get on and get responses, but the information coming out the back end to the insurance companies is still garbage. It's undecipherable. And it's requiring them to, on a case-by-case basis, actually have someone go -- because there's misinformation, there's triplicates, there's husbands labeled as wives. There's all sorts of problems with the data coming into the insurance companies. So you think you may have signed up, but you may not, because the insurance company may not have the data available to actually put you in the system."  Watch video here.
"When this website eventually gets fixed, the problems really begin for this administration... This is a disastrous bill number one.  It is a big problem.  The president stood behind it; promised all of these things.  What's going to happen: peoples' rates are going to go up; they are going to go up dramatically; they're going to see their premiums go up; they are going to see their deductibles go up."  Watch video here.
I also discussed how our First Amendment rights are being impacted by ObamaCare:
"The idea that the First Amendment stops when you walk out of a church, that it doesn't have anything to do with how you live the rest of your life, I  don't know very many people of faith that believe their religion ends with just worship.  It ends in how you practice and live that faith.  And now what President Obama is saying, 'No, once you step outside of that church door, I get to impose my values on you.  Your religious values don't matter anymore.  It's my values that I can impose on you.'  I don't think that's what the First Amendment stands for..."  Watch video here.
Read MSNBC and Politico's coverage of the interview.  
Rick Santorum 

Patriot Voices Supports Toys for Tots
Please join us in helping this worthy organization by donating a new, unwrapped toy to a Toys for Tots location in your area.  You can find a toy donation location here or if you wish to make a monetary donation, please do that here.
Romeike Family Update
Earlier this year, Patriot Voices teamed up with the Home School Legal Defense Association to bring attention to the plight of the Romeike family, German citizens who fled to the United States to avoid religious persecution byGerman authorities because they were homeschooling their children.
Last week, the Supreme Court ordered the Obama administration to respond to the Romeike's deportation appeal by December 19th.  We will watch this situation closely and keep you updated.  
In 2010, the Romeike Family was granted asylum by an immigration judge in Tennessee, which was later revoked by the Department of Justice. Attorney General Eric Holder is disputing thefamily's immigration status on the grounds that Germany's intolerance to homeschooling doesn't violate the Romeike's rights.  It's important to realize this is more than about one family - it could affect homeschooling families in our own country.  This is about a parent's right to determine what's best for their children.Read more here.
Catch up with Patriot Voices Radio
If you haven't listened to a Patriot Voices Radio show, it's time to tune in!  You can listen to all of our past broadcasts, and please mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 10 at noon ET for our next live show!  Last week's show was a great one.  You can listen to ithere.  
The Christmas Candle
The Christmas Candle movie has been in theaters for two weeks, and it is going strong!  Despite tough competition at the box office, The Christmas Candle is doing well for an independent film.  If you haven't seen the movie yet, I encourage you to take your family and friends this week.  This is a great movie to get you into the Christmas spirit.  Find a theater near you (this list is updated on a regular basis, so check back often)!
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With Rafael Cruz , Sen. Ted Cruz's dad. Photo taken earlier this year.
Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for December 3rd. Enjoy!

From the Blog

CMS report on Web team operating at ‘private sector velocity and effectiveness’

Naturally, if “private sector velocity” is what you’re after, the first thing you do is take the operation away from the private sector and give it to the public sector to run so hundreds of millions of dollars can be spent in a futile attempt to re-create that wheel...

Trading places: Obama tries to get into online sales while Amazon announces package delivery by drone

Hopefully somebody’s filming all this for a reality show called “Job Swap”...

CNN performs on-air test of website that’s been declared ‘fixed’

Sunday, the Obama administration and assorted mechanics declared victory by saying “we believe we have met the goal” of fixing the troubled website...

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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What? No mention of ethnicity? The haters are getting lazy.
December 4Navy Day in India
Ram Mohan Roy




Holidays and observances[edit]

“Then Jesus declared, “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 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"There is no spot in thee."
Song of Solomon 4:7
Having pronounced his Church positively full of beauty, our Lord confirms his praise by a precious negative, "There is no spot in thee." As if the thought occurred to the Bridegroom that the carping world would insinuate that he had only mentioned her comely parts, and had purposely omitted those features which were deformed or defiled, he sums up all by declaring her universally and entirely fair, and utterly devoid of stain. A spot may soon be removed, and is the very least thing that can disfigure beauty, but even from this little blemish the believer is delivered in his Lord's sight. If he had said there is no hideous scar, no horrible deformity, no deadly ulcer, we might even then have marvelled; but when he testifies that she is free from the slightest spot, all these other forms of defilement are included, and the depth of wonder is increased. If he had but promised to remove all spots by-and-by, we should have had eternal reason for joy; but when he speaks of it as already done, who can restrain the most intense emotions of satisfaction and delight? O my soul, here is marrow and fatness for thee; eat thy full, and be satisfied with royal dainties.
Christ Jesus has no quarrel with his spouse. She often wanders from him, and grieves his Holy Spirit, but he does not allow her faults to affect his love. He sometimes chides, but it is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions: it is "my love" even then. There is no remembrance of our follies, he does not cherish ill thoughts of us, but he pardons and loves as well after the offence as before it. It is well for us it is so, for if Jesus were as mindful of injuries as we are, how could he commune with us? Many a time a believer will put himself out of humour with the Lord for some slight turn in providence, but our precious Husband knows our silly hearts too well to take any offence at our ill manners.


"The Lord mighty in battle."
Psalm 24:8
Well may our God be glorious in the eyes of his people, seeing that he has wrought such wonders for them, in them, and by them. For them, the Lord Jesus upon Calvary routed every foe, breaking all the weapons of the enemy in pieces by his finished work of satisfactory obedience; by his triumphant resurrection and ascension he completely overturned the hopes of hell, leading captivity captive, making a show of our enemies openly, triumphing over them by his cross. Every arrow of guilt which Satan might have shot at us is broken, for who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Vain are the sharp swords of infernal malice, and the perpetual battles of the serpent's seed, for in the midst of the church the lame take the prey, and the feeblest warriors are crowned.
The saved may well adore their Lord for his conquests in them, since the arrows of their natural hatred are snapped, and the weapons of their rebellion broken. What victories has grace won in our evil hearts! How glorious is Jesus when the will is subdued, and sin dethroned! As for our remaining corruptions, they shall sustain an equally sure defeat, and every temptation, and doubt, and fear, shall be utterly destroyed. In the Salem of our peaceful hearts, the name of Jesus is great beyond compare: he has won our love, and he shall wear it. Even thus securely may we look for victories by us. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. We shall cast down the powers of darkness which are in the world, by our faith, and zeal, and holiness; we shall win sinners to Jesus, we shall overturn false systems, we shall convert nations, for God is with us, and none shall stand before us. This evening let the Christian warrior chant the war song, and prepare for to-morrow's fight. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

Today's reading: Ezekiel 45-46, 1 John 2 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 45-46

Israel Fully Restored
1 "'When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the LORD a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy. 2 Of this, a section 500 cubits square is to be for the sanctuary, with 50 cubits around it for open land. 3 In the sacred district, measure off a section 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide. In it will be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. 4 It will be the sacred portion of the land for the priests, who minister in the sanctuary and who draw near to minister before the LORD. It will be a place for their houses as well as a holy place for the sanctuary. 5 An area 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 cubits wide will belong to the Levites, who serve in the temple, as their possession for towns to live in.
6 "'You are to give the city as its property an area 5,000 cubits wide and 25,000 cubits long, adjoining the sacred portion; it will belong to all Israel....

Today's New Testament reading: 1 John 2

1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining....

The Eternal Dimension of Generosity

Today's reading: Isaiah 66:18–23
This great section on restoration ends with a stress on the bringing in of the nations as holy priests to God and the eventual creation of new heavens and a new earth. Neither our ultimate goal nor our optimal quality of life can be realized in this present world; it can only be realized in the new world Jesus will create, as all nations are brought to holiness and submission to him.
The fact that the climax of Isaiah involves worship through offerings is also instructive for us as we think about the significance of our giving. One of the ways in which we seek God’s coming kingdom is by using our resources in a way that reflects their eternal destiny—by storing up treasures in heaven, where they will last forever (see Mt 6:19–211Tim 6:17–19). Take a few moments to reflect on the following brief observations regarding the eternal dimension of generosity:
Let me assume the role of “eternal financial counselor” and offer this advice: choose your investments carefully; compare their rates of interest; consider their ultimate trustworthiness; and especially compare how they will be working for you a few million years from now. —Randy Alcorn
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. —Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. —Jim Elliot (1927–1956)
The only antidote I can find in the Scripture for greed and materialism is letting loose and giving what God has given you to help other people. If you do not release what God has entrusted to you, it will wrap its arms around your throat. —Chip Ingram
The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. —William James (1842–1910)
I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. —Martin Luther (1483–1546)
We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap. —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008)
The less I spent on myself, the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become. —Hudson Taylor (1832–1905)
Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality. —A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

Think About It

  • Spend some time reflecting on the quotations above.
  • How can you think about your giving in terms of eternity?
  • What are the benefits of living your life with eternity in mind?

Pray About It

Lord, help me to live with eternity in mind.

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

Discover the remarkable privilege we have as stewards of God's design for life through the study of Scripture.

A Christmas Devotional


An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." - Matthew 1:20-21
Angel: 1). A spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God (Oxford English Dictionary).
What did Mary see when the angel Gabriel appeared to her? What kind of being came with foreknowledge of a supernatural conception and with words that would change her identity forever? "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you" (Lk. 1:28). How would the shepherds have described the angel with the glory of the Lord shining about? How could they encapsulate "a great company of the heavenly host," whose voices poured out a sudden tidal wave of sound, a booming chorus?: "Glory to God in the highest!" (Lk. 2:14 ). How would Joseph his own encounter with the angel? Or what would Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, say about their messengers? In the days leading up to the birth of Jesus, supernatural appearances and utterances were occurring like they never had before-an electric buzz of Heaven's voices among us.
The real meaning of "angel" is simply, "messenger." This reminds us that Christmas is about a message. It is a gospel, good news. The best news. And paving the way were powerful spiritual messengers whose very presence struck fear and awe in people (no pudgy, winged cherubs here). Their mission and their message transformed humankind-and we have never been the same.
This year, any one of us can probably think of a dozen cases in which we would like to hear a personal message from God. We have that message. It is a message individually suited to each of us, because it was sent to all of us. As the angel said to Joseph: "[Jesus] will save people from their sins." The angels' message from that cold night continues to ring through the atmosphere-centuries later, and it is as true as in its first utterance. In this mortal world that is at once be full of wonders, yet seized by sin and darkness: We have been saved.
Prayer for today: Lord, thank you for your message of hope and renewal, for your son. Let my heart receive this message new every day, and may my eyes be opened to your continued presence in this world.



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.


The Wondrous Cross

Keith A. Mathison
I sometimes wonder how many Christians stop to think about how incredibly odd it is that crucifixes are used as works of art. Crucifixes adorn church architecture, classic paintings, sculpture, and even jewelry. But consider for a moment
consider for a moment what a crucifix was originally. It was a means of execution. In fact, it was and is one of the most ghastly means of execution ever devised by man. So horrible was it that it was reserved for the lowest of the low: slaves, pirates, and rebels. Roman citizens were exempt. Cultured Romans considered it unworthy of discussion in polite company. Yet today we wear this symbol of degrading and humiliating death around our necks. The jarring nature of this is not immediately apparent to us because over time, the symbol of the cross has lost many of its original connotations. To get some idea of the oddity, imagine seeing people wearing necklaces with images of a guillotine or an electric chair.
What happened, then, to account for the change? We know Jesus was put to death on a Roman cross, but what was it about His death that transformed this symbol of horror into a symbol of hope? In the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion we read, for the most part, about what any observer on the hill that day would have seen. We do not read as much about the interpretation of what was going on until we get to the book of Acts and the Epistles. In Paul's preaching, for example, he explained from the Old Testament that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and that Jesus was the Messiah ( Acts 17:2-3). But where would Paul have gone in the Old Testament to prove that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer? There are a number of texts to which he could have turned (for example, Ps. 1622), but one of the most significant was likelyIsaiah 52:13-53:12.
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is one of Isaiah's "Servant Songs." In the first Servant Song (42:1-9), Isaiah describes the Servant's mission to establish justice and a kingdom across the earth. The second Servant Song (49:1-6) describes the Servant's mission to restore Israel. The third Servant Song ( 50:4-9) reveals the obedience of the Servant and the suffering he endures as a result. The fourth and final Servant Song then reveals how the Servant will redeem his people. It reveals that his suffering will be the means by which he delivers his people from sin. It reveals that he will take their sin upon himself. Isaiah writes (53:5):
But he was wounded for our
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement
that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we
are healed.
This is what happened on the cross as Jesus was crucified. He was God's Servant. He was the one whom God revealed to Isaiah eight centuries before His death. On the cross, He took our sins upon Himself and bore God's wrath. His death was the atonement for all of our sins. We who have placed our faith in Jesus have forgiveness of sins and peace with God because of what was accomplished on the cross. Is it any wonder that Paul declares to the Corinthian church: "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" ( 1 Cor. 2:2).
Think on this. Let it sink in. Christ suffered and died on the cross because of sin. Your sin. My sin. Since the fall, sin has been the problem in the world. We do not think much of sin in our day and age. We are beyond such things. Sin is an "old-fashioned" and outdated concept, or so we think.
If you want to know the true perspective on the seriousness of sin, however, look to the cross. Look at the extreme nature of the solution to this problem. If sin were "no big deal," would God have sent His only begotten Son to die a shameful death on a cross to deal with it? And what kind of love is this? What kind of love is displayed when God sends His only begotten Son to die for the sins we commit against Him? This is love of a kind and degree that we can hardly fathom. This is what changed the cross from a symbol of fear to a symbol of faith. This is what led Isaac Watts to write:
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm
me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands,
His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of
nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.
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Loving Those You Love

"I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan."
2 Samuel 9:7
Many years after his friend Jonathan died, King David reached out to Jonathan's son Mephibosheth. David restored to Mephibosheth the land that had belonged to his grandfather, King Saul, and David welcomed Mephibosheth to his royal table. Why? Because David loved Jonathan and wanted to do something kind to a member of Saul's household "for Jonathan's sake" (2 Samuel 9:1).
Sometimes, I don't want to extend myself on behalf of anyone else, even my husband. But when we entered into marriage, we committed not just to love each other but also to behave lovingly toward the people we each love. This doesn't mean we necessarily have to like everyone our spouse likes. The Bible, after all, doesn't say whether or not David liked Mephibosheth. What it says is that David and Jonathan had a special love for each other (see 1 Samuel 18:1-420:172 Samuel 1:26); and because David loved Jonathan, he extended kindness to Mephibosheth.
One of the most powerful ways my husband loves me is by loving my sister. To be completely honest, my sister and I don't get along that well. We don't have much in common (except our faces, which are almost identical). When we're together, we seem to regress to childhood, circa 1985, when I was nine and she was sixteen. She tells me what to do, and I bristle. We get tetchy. We pick at each other like hens.
I think Griff and Leanne like each other well enough, though I doubt they would have sought each other out and become friends had not marriage made them siblings-in-law. And it doesn't really matter how much they like each other. What matters is that they extend themselves to one another.
On Wednesday nights, when I have church commitments, Griff eats dinner with Leanne and her family. Griff also volunteers to babysit for my nephew. When I am out of town on business, Leanne calls Griff and checks on him. And though Griff and Leanne do have affection for one another, they make these gestures, I think, less out of affection for one another and more out of love for me. Griff understands that eating dinner with Leanne and her family knits Leanne and me together, even though I am not at the dinner table.
When two people marry, they don't become involved with just one other person. Spouses come with a constellation of families and friends. We can ignore those relationships. We can view them as a threat to our relationship with our spouse and fight them. Or we can lovingly insert ourselves into those relationships and help grow them.
We don't have to develop intimate friendships with all of our spouse's relatives and close friends. But, as David understood, we can best honor, love and serve our spouse by making loving overtures to the people they love.
Lauren Winner

Let's Talk

  • Who are the people (besides each other and our children) we love best in the world? How have we extended ourselves in love to people in each other's world?
  • Why is it sometimes difficult to love the other people who came with this marriage? Is there someone one of us finds difficult to love? What would happen if we imagined God showing up in our relationships with difficult people?
  • Is there a cherished friend or relative whom we wished had a better relationship with one of us?
NIVCouplesbibleToday's reading is from the
NIV Couple's Devotional Bible
by Zondervan

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