Monday, December 22, 2014

Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men

An interesting article from about Peace on Earth. This follows this post about Christmas. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men

Source: Todd Quackenbush/UnSplash
It's a familiar refrain this time of year: Peace on earth, good will toward men. Really?
A few days ago, an older woman innocently stopped into an Australian chocolate café to have a sweet. Bloodied and disheveled, this same woman appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and other international media, a victim of a self-proclaimed ISIS terrorist. She, as well as the other victims involved in the Sydney Lindt Chocolate Café incident in mid-December, certainly didn't expect that outcome.
Then, as a world looked on horrified, Pakistani Taliban terrorists massacred 141 people— most of them children —in an attack at a Peshawar public school on Dec. 16.
Today there seems to be no shortage of fanatics who seek "soft targets" for their prey. And all of this takes place while other areas of the world—including an estimated 2 million homeless refugees fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries—cook and bubble with mindless violence. And of course, we can't forget hundreds of thousands suffering in the winter cold in Ukraine from the Russia-induced violence. In my contact with Ukraine, I am given sober reports about funerals of military personnel and civilians.
What's the matter with our race? Why can't we get it together to get along? Why is it just getting worse?
Repetitive tragedy, mostly suffered by the common people, is confirming Isaiah's statement that "the way of peace they know not" (Isaiah:59:8). Jeremiah also commented about slogans that politicians and leaders like to use: "Peace, peace," he said they'll cry, "when there is no peace" (Jeremiah:6:14).
It's not in man's skill set to make and sustain peace. Isaiah wrote that about 2,700 years ago, and there has been no change in man's fundamental behavior. Platitudes abound decrying war, yet reality is building up and using arms. Peace accords are often not based on genuine peace but on selfish economic interest or gain. Nothing seems to bring long-standing peace.
What will bring peace, though? Where is the pathway to peace? How can we have hope, whatever the season? When things go insane around us, how can we have personal peace and confidence? Real peace is not simply the absence of war.
Again, man does not have it in him to create and bring peace. It must come from without. Peace is a fruit (outcome) of the Holy Spirit of God working in you (Galatians:5:22). The Holy Spirit comes from without, not from within, or from the mind of man.
The ingredients of true peace come from outside ourselves—they come from God. Peace begins when we come to ourselves and forsake the ways that lead to conflict. Through the Holy Spirit we gain understanding. We also have the discipline to practice the way that results in peace:
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want" (Galatians:5:16-17).
Paul also made this statement about peace coming to Jew and Gentile:
"Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians:2:12-14, New International Version).
Peace comes from without. It comes to us through the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. Real peace powerfully bursts forth when the root cause of violence, unrest and outright war is addressed. This is true for us personally, as well as collectively as a nation.
David, a man described as being after God's own heart, wrote: "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psalm:119:165, Authorized Version, emphasis added). The apostle Paul adds: "God is not a God of disorder but of peace" (1 Corinthians:14:33, NIV).
In this world, real peace—peace of mind—peace where harmony flourishes, and peace where prosperity is abundant, is difficult to find. Peter cites the words of David when he tells us that we must actively "seek peace and pursue it" (1 Peter:3:11). You must make a conscious stand to do the right things!
This is what the Lord says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah:6:16, NIV).
When we have allowed our minds, our thoughts, our actions to be yielded to God and directed by His Holy Spirit, the outcome is "life and peace" (Romans:8:6). Our minds are protected and comforted by none other than Jesus Christ Himself (Philippians 4:7). No matter what happens, no matter what trials and difficulties we face, we can have incredible, rock-solid, spirit-fueled peace.
The Ten Commandments What about you? If this quality of calming peace is not readily abundant in your life, may I invite you to read one of our critically important Bible study guides? It's titled The Ten Commandments , and it will explain how these divine principles, what James called "the perfect law that gives freedom" (James:1:25, NIV), will bring new peace and harmony into your life. You can order a free copy or read it instantly at .
I also invite you to listen a sermon about peace that covers these and other practical points about how you can achieve the elusive peace that is not here on earth. You can find it at .
P.S. If you have a personal story about how God has brought you peace, I would like to know it. Please write to me at .

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Paul vs. Cruz Compete For GOP Populist Mantle—So Which One Will Take Up Birthright Citizenship Reform?

An interesting article from about Rand Paul vs. Ted Cruz on immigration. This follows this post about a GOP member who voted FOR amnesty. This follows this post on HOW amnesty is funded in ways other than the DHS. Remember, “Amnesty” means ANY non-enforcement of existing immigration laws! This follows this comment and this post about how to Report Illegal Immigrants! Also, you can read two very interesting books HERE.
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Paul vs. Cruz Compete For GOP Populist Mantle—So Which One Will Take Up Birthright Citizenship Reform?

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz–who gets to be the “populist” candidate?
Jeb Bush, a man whose only discernable idea is contempt for the Republican base, is “actively exploring” a Presidential run, to the rejoicing of the GOP donor class [Money men cheer Bush news, by Anna Palmer, Kenneth Vogel, and Maggie Haberman, Politico, December 16, 2014] The Biggest Loser, appropriately enough: Chris Christie, who now has a serious opponent in the contest to be the Establishment candidate. But the real significance may be how Bush’s campaign will shape the contest on the Republican Right—which will come down to a battle between Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as to who gets to be the “populist” candidate.
The populist candidate will be the one who is the most unlike Bush – and Jeb Bush is defined by his support for mass immigration. As’s John Derbyshire has noted: “Jeb Bush just doesn’t like Americans very much.” And Americans, especially conservatives, are in no mood to compromise after Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty and the Republican Establishment’s shameful decision to pass a spending bill to fund it in both the House and the Senate.
Senator Ted Cruz achieved a minor victory by forcing a vote on the constitutionality of President Obama’s immigration order. This led to outrage among some Congressional Republicans, because, as Neil Munro acidly comments, it forced them to “cancel travel plans and miss planned parties.” [Senate GOP Leaders Back Obama Amnesty, Oppose Cruz Vote, Daily Caller, December 14, 2014] Others were furious because they say it allowed Harry Reid to sneak through judicial and administrative nominees for confirmation votes—though Cruz’s spokesperson Amanda Carpenter notes Reid would have gotten those votes eventually anyway.
Still, Cruz forced Republicans to go on the record on immigration– and only 22 voted with Cruz, with 20 voting against (and three not voting). [How Big is the Ted Cruz Caucus, by Steven Dennis, Roll Call, December 14, 2014] Among the Quisling Caucus was Mitch McConnell, who will be the Senate Majority Leader in the next Congress. [McConnell declines to explain ‘no” vote against Cruz’s point of order on executive Amnesty, by Carolina May, Breitbart, December 16, 2014] And many Republican Senators have been unusually harsh in criticizing Cruz’s gambit, seemingly reflecting a deep personal antagonism towards Cruz himself.
But if Cruz’s goal is to prepare a run for President, he’s accomplished his goal. Politico notes, “Conservative outside groups view Saturday’s vote as the first salvo in the GOP v. GOP purity wars that they hope to reignite in the beginning of the new Congress and in the run-up to the 2016 Senate races.” Cruz is also vowing to fight the leadership again in February over Obama’s Amnesty. [Ted Cruz reignites GOP civil war, by Manu Raju and Burgess Everett, December 16, 2014]
Thus Cruz won a political victory because he portrayed himself as the conservative champion on immigration. And whatever politicians say or think about Cruz, at least the ones facing re-election are intimidated. After all, even the pro-Amnesty Marco Rubio felt obliged to vote with Cruz on his point of order and to vote against CRomnibus as a whole.
Senator Ted Cruz has clearly shown himself to be a creature of pure political ambition, even telling off an audience of Middle Eastern Christians to their face in order to preserve his “pro-Israel” credentials. But he has competition on the Right in the form of Senator Paul, who has shown himself to be just as politically skilled—or devious, depending on your interpretation.
Initially, Paul ran for the Senate as an immigration patriot, but then reversed course and started promoting Amnesty. He’s also tried to make up for his onetime support for freedom of association by an increasingly embarrassing series of pandering stunts around the theme of Republican outreach to black voters. His libertarianism only extends to the limits of Political Correctness— much like that of the libertarian movement as a whole. Just as his formerly interesting employee Jack Hunter has become the most predictable liberal columnist in America, Rand Paul is now the Main Stream Media’s go-to man for quotes on how the Republican Party is too white.
Even today, Paul is still predicting that the new Republican Congress will pass a “sane” form of “immigration reform” that will “expand some of the ability for people to get work permits in our country.” [Rand Paul Predicts GOP Will Pass ‘Sane’ Immigration Reform, Breitbart TV, December 16, 2014]
But Paul has not completely ignored his right flank. He’s largely avoided any embarrassing votes that could put him on the wrong side of the immigration issue. He voted against the Gang of Eight Bill. He supported Cruz’s point of order in the CRomnibus battle and voted against the bill as a whole. Shamelessly, he even raises money on opposing Amnesty.
Paul is also moving to re-establish some of his credentials as an immigration patriot and a champion of the conservative grassroots in preparation for the campaign. Thus he just introduced legislation to repeal Obama’s unilateral Amnesty. [Rand Paul Introduces Bill to Kill President Obama’s Immigration Order, by David Knowles, BloombergPolitics, December 14, 2014]
And only hours after Jeb Bush announced he was “actively exploring” a Presidential campaign, Rand Paul already was running ads against him on Common Core. [Rand Paul is Already Running an Ad Against Jeb Bush, by Zeke J Miller, Time, December 16, 2014]
It’s easy enough for Paul to campaign against Bush—but it will be far harder for him to distinguish himself from Cruz. Nevertheless, Paul has two key advantages:
  • First, though libertarians like to imagine themselves as challenging the stuffy Old Guard of the Republican Party, Paul is far more conventional than Cruz when it comes to intraparty politics.
Cruz is driving incumbent Republicans insane with his tactics, but Paul has carefully established relationships with leading Republicans, especially future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he practically saved this last election cycle. Indeed, McConnell has already endorsed Rand Paul for President. [Mitch McConnell Backs Rand Paul in 2016, Giving Him the Kind of Endorsement His Father Never Won, by Shane Goldmacher, NationalJournal, November 7, 2014]
  • Secondly, Paul is definitely running – because he has a nationwide network of activists and donors that have been planning 2016 for years.
In 2012, there was even discussion within the Paul camp of Rand running instead of his father Ron, though they wisely gave the Senator four more years to prepare.
While Rand Paul’s glad-handing with the Establishment and policy flip-flops on immigration and foreign policy and may cost him support among increasingly doctrinaire Open Borders libertarians, the younger Paul will still be able to command a network of experienced activists unavailable to any other candidate. Even Ron Paul was able to put a scare into the “leading” GOP candidates—and Rand Paul is far more formidable.
Though we may not like it, Paul’s profile in political cowardice over the last few years has been a delicate balancing act between courting the Establishment, retaining his libertarian base, and posing as a Tea Party conservative—and he may have pulled it off.
In contrast, if Cruz runs, his strategy is more straightforward: get to everyone’s right and win the “purity wars” within the GOP that he has unleashed.
But despite his current posturing, Cruz’s record on immigration is actually mixed, and positively bad on legal immigration. Righteous Liberal Mickey Kaus has even charged that “his very opposition to Amnesty was fake.” Nonetheless, Cruz may still be forced to seize on the immigration issue because it is clearly the best way to differentiate himself from Rand Paul and take advantage of Paul’s many policy flip-flops.
The best way for Cruz to do that: Resubmit a bill that Rand Paul once introduced into Congress – an abolition of birthright citizenship. This would also destroy the partisan rationale for Barack Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty–illegals and their children would be permanently barred from a “path to citizenship.” And it would be very difficult for Paul to decry a bill that he himself introduced only a few years ago.
Of course, neither Paul nor Cruz actually seems eager to frame a campaign as a kind of National Conservative uprising to protect American workers and defend the middle class. Ted Cruz is no Pat Buchanan, even though he looks a little like him.
But the logic of a presidential campaign will force these two candidates to attack each other on the immigration issue. And the more chaos unleashed within the corrupt GOP, the greater chance that immigration patriotism can break out as an independent force.
And when that occurs, immigration patriots can finally get off the defensive, and build a political movement that gives us somebody to vote for—rather than just another Bush to vote against.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Editorial: What should we expect from the GOP in 2015?


What should we expect from the GOP in 2015? Even if the DHS is defunded in that year, there are still several other ways in which executive amnesty is funded? And what about Obamacare, and taxpayer funded abortion?

Activists Attack Legislator Who Thinks Fathers Should Have a Say in Abortion

An interesting story from about fathers and abortion. This follows this post about abortion and race. For  two very interesting books click HERE
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Activists Attack Legislator Who Thinks Fathers Should Have a Say in Abortion

by Sarah Zagorski | Jefferson City, MO |
On December 3, a new pro-life bill was filed in the Missouri legislature by pro-life Representative Rick Brattin.
The bill states, “’No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion, except in cases in which the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced was the victim of rape or incest and the pregnancy resulted from the rape or incest. If the father of the unborn child is deceased, the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced shall sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the fact.”
According to the Daily Mail, Rep. rickbrattainBrattin started considering the bill after he went in for a vasectomy and had to obtain a written consent from his wife. He and his wife, Athena, have five children together. The representative said he hopes the bill prevents women from using abortions as a form of contraception, and that he has motivated in part by male friends whose partners had abortions without telling them first.
After Rep. Brattin filed the legislation, pro-abortion legislators commented on the bill. The Executive Director of the Progressive Advocacy Group, Sean Nicholson, said the legislation will hurt women and is primarily aimed at drumming up support and fundraising. Nicholson also said that some woman may be unable to contact the man who impregnated her. Another pro-abortion legislator, Senator Claire McCaskill, added, “This is just a back-door way to eliminate any rape exception, unless the survivor gets a permission slip from her rapist.” Then she said the bill was “offensive and absurd.”
Although the bill does have rape and incest exceptions, Rep. Brattin made some controversial comments about rape and abortion. He told Mother Jones that women will have to report the rape and that they will have to prove it. He said, “You couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape.”
But unfortunately, Brattin’s comments didn’t sit too well with the media and led to comparisons to former pro-life Congressman Todd Akin’s comments in 2012. The lawmaker was attacked after saying women’s bodies have ways of not becoming pregnant from what he called ‘legitimate rape.’ Later, Rep. Brattin defended his comments saying that, “What I was trying to explain is whatever is considered by statute to be a rape should apply in this. I’m not going Akin here and trying to redefine what it is and all that kind of garbage.”
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In 2012, Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life advocate who was conceived in rape, said lawmakers should be very careful how they articulate and address the sensitive topic of rape. She said “First of all — never say ‘legitimate rape.’ This kind of remark only serves to perpetuate the suspicion of rape victims’ accounts. It’s estimated that only 1% of rape victims ever see their rapist convicted as charged. Rape is rape. ‘Legitimate rape’ almost sounds as if it was somehow justifiable.”
As LifeNews previously reported, Missouri has a very pro-life legislature. In fact, earlier this year the Republican controlled legislature passed HB 1307, which would extend the current 24-hour waiting period before an abortion to 72 hours. However, after the legislation passed both chambers, Missouri’s pro-abortion governor, Jay Nixon, vetoed the bill. Thankfully, in September, the legislature decided to override the Governor’s veto by overwhelming margins in both the House and the Senate.

Wknd Box Office: Foxcatcher (Anti-American), Annie (Anniecide via Jay-Z), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: Foxcatcher (Anti-American), Annie (Anniecide via Jay-Z), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

By Debbie Schlussel
Two okay new movies in theaters, this weekend, but nothin’ to write home about.


* “Foxcatcher“: I’m not surprised that mainstream (liberal) movie critics are in love with this anti-gun, anti-American movie and Steve Carell’s one-dimensional portrayal of the late billionaire John du Pont. The movie mocks American patriots, American patriotism, conservatism, support for America’s military and police, and gun ownership and superimposes all of those concepts onto craziness, nuttery, and murder. On top of that, the movie is weird, creepy, pointless, and very slow.
“Based on true events,” the film is supposed to portray the relationships and events that led up to du Pont’s real-life murder of Olympic wrestling coach David Schultz. But it’s hard to tell what is accurate and what isn’t, regardless of the participation of brother Mark Schultz in the making of the movie. There is a clear agenda to attack conservatives, patriots, and gun owners, so blatant that it’s over the top. There is also more than a sub rosa indication that du Pont was gay, with several very homoerotic scenes. You know the typical narrative: “patriotic, rich conservatives are really closet flaming gays.” And the filmmakers also want you to know that patriots are hypocrites in other ways, too, as du Pont is shown as a regular coke snorter, including on his private plane on the way to a conservative banquet event.

The story: du Pont is a nutty, patriotic, conservative, pro-police, pro-military, pro-gun billionaire, who longs to be famous and feel like he’s doing something to help America. He’s also a wannabe athlete and Olympic coach, whose mother focused him on piano and horses instead of sports (she saw wrestling as a “low sport”). So, du Pont recruits weirdo Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler Mark Schultz to come to his “Foxcatcher” estate to live and train. He also recruits Mark Schultz’s older brother Dave, a former Olympian and now a coach, to come to Foxcatcher to coach the wrestlers who live and train there.
But du Pont is obsessive and creepy. He wants credit for coaching Mark Schultz to the Olympics. And he wants to be seen as the father figure in Schultz’s life. That happens for a while, but soon Mark Schultz and du Pont have a falling out. Mark Schultz leaves, leaving his brother Dave and Dave’s family to stay and coach at Foxcatcher. Eventually, du Pont gets upset with Dave Schultz for no legitimate reason and shoots and kills him in front of Dave’s wife. The end. Wonderful movie, right?
You should also note that Friend of Al-Qaeda/Arafat, a barely recognizable Vanessa Redgrave, is a co-star in this movie, playing du Pont’s mother.
Carell and Tatum are covered in bad cosmetics and obvious prosthetics that are simply laughable. Their “acting” consists of monotone, stilted talking (which–newflash!–ain’t acting), as well as Tatum’s weird way of walking and constantly sticking out his jaw.
Bottom line–one not indicated by this movie: John du Pont’s behavior and nuttiness had nothing to do with patriotism. It had nothing to do with conservatism. It had nothing to do with gun ownership and support for America’s military and police.
But that’s not what this movie wants you to think.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Annie“: More like Annie-cide via Jay-Z. The hip-hop-izing of Annie stinks like fresh dunk. Will Smith and Jay-Z murdered Annie. They bought the rights to make the second movie version of the Broadway musical as a star vehicle for Smith’s daughter, Willow. But Willow decided against it, so they recruited Quvenzhané Wallis to play “the first Black Annie.” They also hired Jamie Foxx to play the Daddy Warbucks character, called “Will Stacks,” in this version. But don’t worry, all of the villains in the movie are still White. That’s the only thing they didn’t change. Though, they did create an additional, new White villain, in case kids in the audience don’t already get the message that “White people are bad!”
When I was a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, I was an Annie-phile. My parents took me to see the music multiple times. I collected Annie memorabilia. I played the soundtrack record over and over again and sang along, probably to the rest of my family’s chagrin. I even auditioned for the traveling company of the Broadway musical (read about that here). I loved the catchy songs and the story of an orphan girl with red curly hair who charms a billionaire (maybe in those days it was just millionaire?) capitalist during the Depression (though I later realized the musical is actually about capitalists like Warbucks being cold and gruff and how the orphan charms FDR into signing the disastrous New Deal). And, so, I was doubly and triply sickened by how much they ruined this once-charming story, all in the name of “updating” and “urbanizing” it.
Every single song from the musical is changed and ruined (and several, such as “NYC” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” have been omitted completely). They keep a few of the key lyrics and then change the rest. They keep a few of the original musical notes and change the rest into some treacly, blah-sounding muzak (which annoyingly plays throughout the movie).
Instead of the movie taking place during the Depression, this version takes place today. And to make that clear, we are hit over the head repeatedly with social media two-by-fours. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, viral videos, etc. are a big part of this movie, clearly to make up for its weak script. And instead of innocent, hopeful “Little Orphan Annie,” the current Annie is a cynical foster kid with more jade and shade than spunk. Wallis is synthetically, saccharin “sweet” and cloying. Miss Hannigan is a foster care provider (lackluster and horribly-acted by Cameron Diaz). Jamie Foxx’s tech billionaire Stacks is very flashy yet dull and way too ghetto. There are repeated, stupid scenes of him and Annie spewing out their bad food. The only good White person in the movie is Stacks’ assistant, Grace (Rose Byrne), but she actually lacks grace and tells Annie about all of her (Grace’s) career and family neuroses. Huh? But she’s a “good” White person because, at the end, she enters into an interracial relationship with Stacks.
The story: foster girl Annie looks for her parents who left her at a police station with a note from an Italian restaurant. In the meantime, she lives with other foster kids in the foster home of a former member of the C&C Music Factory pop group (Diaz), who treats the girls horribly. One day, Annie is trying to help a dog when she is nearly hit by a car. Billionaire Stacks saves her live and the video goes viral online. Stacks is running for New York Mayor, and goes to meet Annie and include her in his life, when he sees that this will help him in the polls. Involved in all kinds of evil machinations against Annie are foster mother Miss Hannigan (Diaz) and Stacks’ right-hand man (Bobby Cannavale).
Like I said, this movie stinks, and it’s a mess. If you want to do your kids a favor, take them to see the musical, which was recently made its Broadway revival and is performed on stages all over the country.
This isn’t just “Not Annie.” It’s crap.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb a/k/a Night at the Museum 3“: While there is nothing objectionable about this third installment of the “Night at the Museum” movies, it’s far inferior to the vastly more charming first and second installments. In fact, while it’s fine for families and kids, I found this movie kind of silly, convoluted, and a mess.
The story: an Egyptian gold tablet on display in the museum is turning green and disappearing. Along with it, so are the powers of the exhibits to come alive at night. Museum official Ben Stiller travels to London with the Egyptian prince and some other exhibits in order to consult with the Egyptian prince’s parents, who are exhibits at the London museum, and find out how to restore the gold tablet and the museum exhibits powers’ to come alive at night. At the London museum, they engage in new action and adventures with exhibits that come to life at night there, including Sir Lancelot (the talented Dan Stevens), and a new museum security guard (Rebel Wilson).
The movie is okay, but kind of dull, and I could have done without the many scenes of historical museum exhibits engaging in social media on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc., and dancing to hip-hop music. Um, no thanks. Takes a lot away from the “historical” magic of this movie series.
This was, by the way, the late Robin Williams’ last movie. Once again, he portrays Teddy Roosevelt.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies“: This latest–and supposedly last–installment of the Hobbit movies is like all Hobbit movies in that it is long and slow. I took a bathroom break and didn’t miss much. Like many of the Hobbit movies I’ve seen and reviewed, the plot is messy, confusing, and somewhat convoluted. That said, I liked this better than the Hobbit movies I’ve seen (I’ve only seen the two installments that came before this). It has a nice finishing touch to all the movies I saw, and I liked the warm, touching conclusion. I did think, though, as I have with other Hobbit movies, that the movie was a bit violent for kids–lots of killing and death. The story: in this one, Bilbo Baggins, the dwarves, the elves, and the others fight off more than one army of evil enemies.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Is Christmas Christian?

An interesting article from about Christmas. This follows this post about Cuba. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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Is Christmas Christian?

Have you ever considered if Jesus Christ was actually born on December 25?

Whether they call themselves "Christians" or not, most people who celebrate Christmas and exchange presents on that day think the day honors the birth of Jesus Christ and the giving of gifts to the Christ child by the three wise men. They think the holiday originates in the Bible and is taken directly from the scriptures. Many of us were reared with that belief, but some people might be quite surprised to find out the real truth of the matter.

The whole story

We need to ask ourselves what December 25 really pictures. Is it truly the anniversary of the birth of Christ as the world supposes or does it picture something else? Let’s go to God’s word to hear the truth. In order to understand the full story though, we need to go back to a time more than a year before Jesus’ birth as shown in the first chapter of the book of Luke.
We read, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth” (Luke:1:5).
Zacharias was of the priestly line of the sons of Aaron. As a priest, he served in the temple during the year. There were so many priests, however, that there were too many to serve in the temple all the time. Because of that, King David split the priestly service assignments were into 24 groups or divisions (1 Chronicles:24:3-4).
The actual choosing of the divisions was made through an appeal to God by casting lots with the eighth lot assigned to Abijah (1 Chronicles:24:5, 1 Chronicles:24:10).
During the year, the priests comprising each division served in the temple for a period of two weeks: one week in the first half of the year and one week in the second half of the year. In addition, all priests served for one week at each of the three holy day times throughout the year.
While Zacharias was doing his priestly duties in the temple, he was visited by an angel with a message. In Luke:1:11-13, we read “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’”
Skipping down to Luke:1:23-24: “So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months…”
If you were to count off the weeks, you would find that there were three divisions of the sons of Aaron who served as priests during the three weeks of the first month, Abib; then there were four more who served during the second month, Iyar; then the eighth division of Abijah served during the first week of the third month of Sivan, which equates to our late May and June. So Zacharias would have returned to his home in probably early to mid-June and Elizabeth would have become pregnant shortly thereafter.
We saw that for five months Elizabeth hid herself. That would bring us up to about mid-November. The account continues in the next verse and tells us that in Elizabeth’s sixth month, or probably about early December, the angel Gabriel brought news. We read, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.…Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.’…Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit….And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house (Luke:1:26-33, Luke:1:36, Luke:1:39, Luke:1:56).

The birth of Christ

As we follow the clear chronology specified in the scriptures, it is very easy to see that John the Baptist was, most likely, born about the time of Passover in mid- to late March. We also read that Mary had stayed with Elizabeth for three months from the time of Gabriel's announcement of Mary's conception of Jesus. Therefore, if Mary had about six months left to go in her pregnancy, it’s reasonable to conclude that Jesus was born roughly six months after John the Baptist.
Admittedly, we’ve made some assumptions in our chronology and might be off by a week or two but we cannot be off by much. It’s clear to see from the sequence of events that Jesus was not born in late December. But that is not the only evidence from scripture.
Let’s continue reading in the second chapter of Luke, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke:2:1-8).
The Book of Ezra gives us a report on what the weather was like in Israel in the ninth month, Chislev, which equates to late November/early December: “But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside…” (Ezra:10:13).
Even current weather data show that the month of December in Israel is during the rainy or even snowy season with average nighttime temperatures slightly below freezing. Remember that the emperor in Rome had called for a census to be taken of "the entire world" (which means throughout his whole empire) as we read in verse one. Remember also that the Roman Empire reached all the way from the British Isles in the west to Persia in the east and from northern Africa in the south to almost Germany in the north. It was an empire that went from sea level of the Mediterranean to the snow-capped mountains of northern Italy and France. Surely, if it was cold and rainy or possibly snowy in December in Bethlehem, there would be many parts of the empire where it would have been colder and snowier with travel even more impassable. Does it make sense that the emperor would call for an empire-wide census at a time of year when travel was so difficult? Don’t forget, Christ’s birth was at a time of year when the shepherds were still in the fields keeping watch over their sheep at night.
As we can see all the pieces to the puzzle don’t fit for a December birth of Christ? Let’s see what other authorities have to say on the subject. In Adam Clarke’s Commentary, we can read "as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up” ( Adam Clarke’s Commentary , note on Luke:2:8).
Yet, despite acknowledging that Christ was not born in December, some still see keeping Christmas as a way to celebrate His birth even if it wasn’t on that day. I encourage you to look into the pagan origins of December 25 as a holiday by requesting our free study aid Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?

God’s perspective

Is it pleasing to God to have old festivals celebrating worship of pagan gods renamed in honor of God or of His son, Jesus Christ? Jeremiah:10:2-4 shows us just what God thinks when we adopt the ways of the Gentiles in preference to His ways: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple.’”
Remember God’s second commandment and who we really should worship (Exodus:20:4-6). That is our duty – to show God that we love Him by doing His will by keeping His commandments daily.
So, the question for anyone who keeps Christmas is this: By your actions, who do you show God you are really worshipping on December 25?
To learn more about what holy days God has designed us to keep, read our free study aid God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

The New York Times; Unrepentant Communist Enabler

A timely post about from about the New York Times and Cuba. This follows this post  about impeachment.
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The New York Times; Unrepentant Communist Enabler

Humberto Fontova | Oct 20, 2014
Humberto Fontova

This week the New York Times ran two editorials pleading for a U.S. economic lifeline to the Castro brothers’ terror-sponsoring regime (i.e. to end the so-called embargo.) One editorial ran on Sunday the other on Tuesday. The second editorial contains the following:
“Fidel Castro…has largely vanished from public view in Cuba. But the 88-year-old former president (italics mine) has not altogether abandoned the business of telling Cubans what to think.”
Is the Times --at long last!--acknowledging a totalitarian streak in the longest-reigning Stalinist dictator of modern history? Sure sounds like it. Now please pay close attention as the editorial continues:
“On Tuesday, Mr. Castro dedicated a column to an editorial published in The (New York) Times on Sunday that called on the Obama administration to restore diplomatic ties with the Cuban government and end the counterproductive (italics mine) embargo the United States has imposed on the island for decades. His take was remarkable for one main reason…quoting nearly every paragraph in the (our) editorial…Hosts of Cuban state-run radio stations (also) read Mr. Castro’s column and discussed its content…”
In brief: so closely did the New York Times echo the sentiments of a Stalinist dictator that he gleefully ordered their article disseminated—almost word for word-- throughout his regime’s KGB-founded and mentored media. It gets better:
“He (Fidel Castro) appeared to endorse the thrust of the editorial,” The second NY Times editorial boasts, “comparing it to an interview he gave in 1957 as a young rebel leader to a (New York) Times foreign correspondent at the time, Herbert Matthews…”
In April of 1959--amidst an appalling bloodbath of Cubans by firing squad ordered by Fidel Castro but mostly administered by his ever-faithful Igor, Che Guevara--Castro made a special visit to the New York Times offices in New York. After a warm greeting from Arthur Hayes Sulzberger a beaming Fidel Castro personally decorated a beaming Herbert Matthews with a specially-minted medal expressing his bloody regime’s highest honor.
“To our American friend Herbert Matthews with gratitude,” beamed Castro as the flashbulbs popped. “Without your help, and without the help of the New York Times, the Revolution in Cuba would never have been.”
“Fidel Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy and social justice,” Matthews had written on the front pages of (at the time) the world’s most prestigious newspaper in February 1957. “But it amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic, and therefore anti-communist.”
Herbert Matthews double-downed a few months later: “This is not a Communist revolution in any sense of the term. Fidel Castro is not only not a Communist, he is decidedly anti-Communist.” (Herbert Matthews, the New York Times, July 1959.)
Reasonable people might ask: has any tiny little thing transpired in the intervening half-century that might cause the New York Times to regret their enabling of Fidel Castro?
But reasonable people will search in utter vain for any hint of such regret, especially in light of this week’s editorials which –if anything--double-down on the New York Times historical fondness for the Castro regime.
Through their unrivaled (at the time) public relations cachet’ and their heavy influence with their ideological cohorts and cronies in the CIA and U.S. State Department the New York Times. enabled into power a regime that:
*Jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s during the Great Terror.
*Murdered more Cubans than Hitler’s murdered Germans during the Night of Long Knives.
* In the above process converted a nation with a higher per-capita income than half of Europe into one that repulses Haitians.
* Wantonly brought the world within a whisker of nuclear war.
Over fifty times as many Cubans have died (and horribly) while attempting to flee Castro’s Cuba as Germans died trying to flee East Germany. And prior to Castroism Cuba welcomed more immigrants per-capita (primarily from Europe) than did the U.S.
And remember, the New York Times like all anti-embargo propagandists (Chamber of Commerce, Hillary Clinton, Brookings Inst., CATO Inst., etc.) advocate against the so-called embargo (in fact, the flow of cash and visitors from the U.S. to Cuba during the Obama administration exceeds the flow in the 1950’s) by claiming Castro secretly favors it. The embargo-- the intellectual eggheads wink and snicker at us knuckle-draggers-- gives Castro a foil for his economic failures and an excuse to keep the clamps on. “Don’t you blockheads understand?”.
We’re greatly impressed with your erudition and powers of ratiocination and especially the nasal tone of its expression, Think-Tank eggheads. But first off, if Castro “secretly favors the embargo,” then why did every one of his secret agents campaign secretly and obsessively against the embargo while working as secret agents? Castro managed the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Department of Defense in recent U.S. history. The spy’s name is Ana Belen Montes, known as "Castro’s Queen Jewel" in the intelligence community. In 2002 she was convicted of the same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and today she serves a 25-year sentence in Federal prison. Only a plea bargain spared her from sizzling in the electric chair like the Rosenberg’s.
Prior to her visit from the FBI and handcuffing, Ana Belen Montes worked tirelessly to influence U.S. foreign policy against the embargo. The same holds for more recently arrested, convicted and incarcerated Cuban spies Carlos and Elsa Alvarez and Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers. All of these worked tirelessly to influence U.S. policy against the "embargo"-- while working as secret agents.
In brief, the “reasoning” against the so-called embargo by people who fancy themselves intellectuals calls for Rod Serling introducing a Twilight Zone episode:
"Imagine if you will...a place where every "prestigious" Think-Tank (from Brookings to CATO) and every "prestigious" publication (from the New York Times to The Atlantic) denounces the Cuba "embargo" as "Castro's best-friend, a policy he secretly favors"--even when every one of Castro’s convicted secret agents campaigned secretly and obsessively against the embargo while working as secret agents. On top of that, the KGB-mentored media of Castro's totalitarian regime makes it a point to reprint every "end-the-embargo" article ever printed in the world, especially those by the New York Times...
Imagine if you will...a place where the institutions that call the embargo "Castro's Best-Friend" still manage to be known as Think-Tanks.”
Fidel Castro Votes In Cuba's Elections
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro voted in the country's parliamentary elections, his first public appearance in months, Cuba's state media reported Monday.
CBS Miami
Fidel Castro Votes In Cuba's Elections
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro voted in the country's parliamentary elections, his first public appearance in months, Cuba's state media reported Monday.
CBS Miami