WORD WATCH DAILY PERSPECTIVE
Hamas, Islamic Jihad praise bus bombing which left one police officer wounded. 'We refuse to sit quietly while Israel tramples the rights of the Palestinian people,' Jihad official says, promising new wave of terror attacks
A spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza praised the bus bombing in Bat Yam Sunday, calling it a "heroic act," while another Hamas official claimed it shows the resistance's ability to reach well into Israel.
Passenger alertness prevented a tragedy Sunday after travelers on Bus 240 from Bat Yam to Bnei Brak noticed a suspicious bag with wires sticking out from it and alerted the bus driver who quickly evacuated the bus, only minutes before the bomb went off and lightly wounded a police officer.
Abbas reportedly tells Arab League top US diplomat to visit region next week with framework plan, but Palestinians will refuse to recognize Israel as Jewish state
US Secretary of State John Kerry will present a written framework agreement next week for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, a senior Arab League official said Sunday while unveiling Palestinian demands for a final deal.
Arab League Assistant Secretary General Mohammad Sbeih said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab officials revealed to an Arab League meeting of foreign ministers that Kerry would present the plan on December 31, according to a report in the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.
A chorus of politicians from across the political spectrum called for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard on Sunday, after leaked NSA documents revealed the US has been tracking the e-mails of former Israeli leaders.
Documents leaked by fomer National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the United States was spying on the e-mails of former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former defense minister Ehud Barak between the years 2008-2009.
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud Beytenu) assailed Washington for “hypocrisy,” saying that “this is a severe case and I hope this is the iceberg rather than the tip of the iceberg. Otherwise, this case is liable to do damage to our relations with the US.”
“For 28 years, the US administration has been preaching to Israel about the danger and the lack of trust that results from spying on allies and today it turns out the shoe is on the other foot,” the speaker said. “There is no other way to characterize it other than hypocrisy.”
Jerusalem said to recognize it is a prime beneficiary of American intelligence information in the war against terrorism
Recognizing that it is a prime beneficiary of US intelligence in the relentless war against terrorism, the Israeli government chose over the weekend to downplay news that US and British intelligence agencies spied on the offices of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his predecessor Ehud Olmert. Evidence of the spying emerged in documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, which referred to email intercepts, but did not detail what information might have been exposed.
"Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson let his biblically-based views on homosexuality be known in an interview with GQ magazine. Within a day A&E suspended him - a move that ruffled the feathers of possibly millions of fans of its most popular show.
Buddy Smith, executive vice president of American Family Association, says A&E also emphasized that it is very supportive of the "LGBT" community and in fact are "champions" of the homosexual community.
"I look at this and the question comes to mind: Is this really America where this is happening?" Smith asks rhetorically.
"This is certainly not what the Constitution reflects," Smith adds. "We're supposed to be a country where we have a constitutional right to talk to a reporter like Phil did and express our religious views."
Opening paragraph: "We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Huckabee: Remember when America was a free country?
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White House News
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Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither
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Inspired by God
"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." - E. M. Bounds
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RAPTURE READY NEWS PERSPECTIVE
23 Dec 13
Hamas increases rockets range, seeks deeper targets
Hamas's military wing in the Gaza Strip is making a concerted effort to increase the range of its rockets by tens of kilometers. The extra range will let the terror organization pull off deeper attacks into Israel, even farther than the Gush Dan region achieved during Operation Pillar of Defense .
Evangelical Christian speaker of Papua New Guinea's parliament destroys 'evil' pagan carvings
The speaker of parliament in the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea has caused outrage after destroying intricate wooden panels and artefacts around the parliament, which he says represent "evil" non-Christian gods of witchcraft and idolatry. In an evangelical Christian "purge"...Theo Zurenuoc has chopped up numerous carved heads and panels and is now planning the removal of a thirty-foot high, four-ton totem pole from the parliament's Grand Hall.
Israel police search for bus bombing suspects
Israeli police are searching for suspects after a bomb exploded on board a bus in central Israel on Sunday, just minutes after it had been evacuated. A bomb squad officer was slightly hurt by the blast in Bat Yam, which blew out the windows of the vehicle. The bus driver had ordered passengers off after one saw wires inside a large bag that had been left on a seat.
Istanbul clashes as Turkey PM Erdogan condemns 'plot'
Turkish police have used tear gas against thousands of anti-government protesters in Istanbul as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to break the hands of "plotters". Clashes erupted between protesters and police in Kadikoy Square... In a northern town Mr Erdogan denounced people he said were setting anti-Turkish "traps" to undermine his rule.
South Sudan army set to move on rebel-held town of Bor
South Sudanese troops are preparing to enter the rebel-held town of Bor, President Salva Kiir has said. Mr Kiir told parliament the army was "ready to move", adding that the counter-attack had been delayed to allow US citizens to be airlifted out. Bor, in the restive state of Jonglei, fell to rebels on Wednesday.
Toronto hit as winter storm grips eastern Canada and US
A severe ice storm has brought snow and freezing rain to Canada's biggest city, Toronto, and to much of the east of the country. At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the storm system in Canada and the north-east US, which was also affected. The storm left hundreds of thousands of people in the region without electricity.
Kassam rocket fired into southern Israel from Gaza
Security forces on Monday morning located the remains of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel overnight. The rocket was found in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council after Code Red sirens were sounded in the area shortly after midnight on Sunday.
22 Dec 13
El Hierro Volcano activity report – sudden increase of seismicity – M3.2 earthquake this afternoon!
As said in our prior updates a magma intrusion is currently going on below El Hierro. So far the strongest earthquake is a M3.2 at 12:16. Stronger earthquakes may be expected.
5000 Academics Surrender their Scholarly Standards In Israel Boycott
The disgraceful resolution of the American Studies Association (ASA) passed on December 15, 2013 honoring the call from “Palestinian civil society” to support the academic boycott of Israel has brought to the forefront a problem that ought to disturb all concerned with the educational system in the United States and elsewhere.
Salton Sea Volcano Mystery Solved
At the time, scientists said the phenomena did not reflect changes in the magma chamber below the Salton Sea. But now, researchers may need to revise estimates of the potential hazard posed by the Salton Buttes—five volcanoes at the lake's southern tip.
Ugandan parliament passes anti-gay bill that includes life in prison
After years of controversy, the Ugandan parliament has passed a bill that punishes certain acts of homosexuality with life in prison. A Ugandan lawmaker first introduced the bill in 2009, sparking worldwide condemnation for tough measures that included the death penalty.
3 US military aircraft hit in S. Sudan, 4 wounded
Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that on Saturday became a battle ground between the country's military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region where gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day before.
Cruz Warns: 2014 NDAA Still Gives Obama ‘Indefinite Detention Without Due Process’ Powers
Texas Senator Ted Cruz was one of a handful of legislators who took a stand against the renewal of the National Defense Reauthorization Act this week by refusing to sign onto the legislation, which Cruz says still contains wording allowing President Obama to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens absent of due process.
Chinese military lashes out at Japanese defense documents
Chinese military on Friday accused Japan of using the pretext of safeguarding its own national security and regional peace for military expansion. The Japanese government approved its first national security strategy on Tuesday. Based on it, new defense program guidelines and a mid-term defense buildup plan were also adopted.
White House Tries to Prevent Judge From Ruling on Surveillance Efforts
The Obama administration moved late Friday to prevent a federal judge in California from ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs authorized during the Bush administration, telling a court that recent disclosures about National Security Agency spying were not enough to undermine its claim that litigating the case would jeopardize state secrets.
Severe and strange weather sweeps nation, threatens holiday travelers
The weekend before Christmas, Mother Nature is gifting -- or, rather, clobbering -- the United States with a little bit of everything. Ice storms, snow, flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes and record-setting warmth are all in store, and with this maddening mix comes a massive headache for more than 94 million expected holiday travelers.
Thai opposition holds mass rally in Bangkok
Tens of thousands of opposition-backed protesters have marched through the Thai capital in their continuing campaign to bring down the government. Rallies were held outside the Bangkok home of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as well as the city's main shopping areas and intersections. On Saturday the main opposition Democrat Party said it would boycott elections called for 2 February.
Libya's first suicide attack kills seven near Benghazi
Seven people have been killed at a security checkpoint near Benghazi in the first known suicide bomb attack in Libya since the fall of Col Gaddafi. The attacker targeted the checkpoint in the village of Aguiria, some 50km (30 miles) east of Libya's second city. At least eight people, including soldiers and civilians, were wounded.
Cuba's Raul Castro calls for 'civilised relations' with US
Cuban President Raul Castro has called for "civilised relations" with the United States, saying the two countries should respect their differences. President Castro said the US should drop its demand for regime change on the communist-run island. That would allow both sides to continue work on improving relations, he said.
Iranian negotiator: Talks on nuclear deal 'slowly' making progress
Technical talks between Iran and six world powers aimed at resolving complex technical steps of an interim deal reached in November on the Islamic Republic's nuclear issue were "slowly" making progress, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Saturday. The senior Iranian negotiator told state-run IRNA news agency that the expert-level talks, which resumed on Thursday in Geneva, were set to continue for a fourth day on Sunday.
Knesset speaker blasts US 'hypocrisy' for refusing to free Pollard
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud Beytenu) joined the chorus of Israeli politicians calling for the pardon of Jonathan Pollard on Sunday. Edelstein assailed the United States for “hypocrisy” over the recent revelations that the National Security Agency was spying on the emails of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and former defense minister Ehud Barak.
21 Dec 13
2013 Will Finish One Of The Ten Coldest Years In US History
Before NASA and NOAA start tampering with the data, 2013 is one of the ten coldest years in the US since 1895, and has had the largest year over year decline on record.
Palestinian Infiltration ‘Merritts’ a Second Look
Several weeks ago, an invitation-only event was held in Washington D.C., bringing together pro Palestinian advocates. Sponsored by the Telos Group, the gathering purported to offer a balanced view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but having heard firsthand Telos-affiliated speakers (Lynne Hybels) and reading their propaganda, I knew it would be anything but balanced.
Nasrallah: Israel will be 'punished' for al-Laqqis' death
The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah warned Friday that the Israelis would be "punished" for killing a leader of the Shiite party, an assassination in which Israel has denied any involvement. "The killing of Hassan al-Laqqis is not a simple matter between us and the Israelis," said Hassan Nasrallah in a speech aired during a tribute ceremony to the assassinated Hezbollah operative.
US evacuation flight fired on by South Sudan rebels
Rebel fire hit two US military aircraft responding to the outbreak in violence in South Sudan on Saturday, wounding three US service members and heavily damaging at least one of the aircraft, officials said. South Sudan blamed the attack on renegade troops in control of the breakaway region.
China denounces Japanese military strategy
China has denounced Japan's new national security strategy, accusing it of military expansion. Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in a statement that the move would increase regional tensions, state news agency Xinhua reported.
American Generals: Israel Should Keep 'West Bank'
A historical document dragged back out into the light by Israel National News reveals that, unlike today, in the wake of the 1967 Six Day War, the American government was of the opinion that Israel should retain control of the “West Bank.”
‘Duck Dynasty’ Fallout: GLAAD Reeling From Biggest Backlash in Years, Says Rep
In the fallout over Wednesday’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson by A&E for anti-gay and racist remarks, GLAAD is experiencing record levels of backlash. “In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD for us speaking out against these comments,” the media watchdog organization’s vice president of communications Rich Ferraro told TheWrap.
Syria views Saudi as number one enemy
Syria now views Saudi Arabia as its number one enemy and accuses it of trying to destroy the country by arming jihadists and other rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
Gay couples wed in Utah after judge overturns ban
A federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that marks a drastic shift toward gay marriage in a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it.
RAPTURE READY Nearing midnight PERSPECTIVE
Dec 23, 2013
Duck Dynasty Star Roasted over Gay Comments
The TV show, Duck Dynasty has become a huge hit for the A&E Network. It is about a southern family that has an empire based on duck calls, used in hunting. The show regularly draws 9 million-plus viewers. Duck Dynasty’s fourth season premiere drew 11.8 million viewers, which is an all-time-record for any non-fiction cable telecast.
The greatest financial success of Duck Dynasty has been in its merchandizing; the show has T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, calendar, jewelry and dozens of other products. I was at Wal-Mart today and I saw more products with the Duck Dynasty name on them than I did during the Hanna Montana craze.
With so much money at stake, one would think there is almost nothing the cast could do to disrupt the show. Something has happened, and it demonstrates where we are as a nation. A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in an interview with GQmagazine.
During a discussion about repentance and God, Robertson was asked what he finds sinful. He replied by giving a practical explanation for why homosexual sex is wrong. He said a woman’s body should naturally be more attractive and desirable to a man. “She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” said Robertson.
He then paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
The Gay group, GLADD, climbed in on the controversy saying that Phil and his family were not true Christians because they didn’t show love for gay people. GLADD also said, “His [Bible] quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”
Robertson released a wonderful statement in response to the flap:
I myself am a product of the ‘60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about, why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.
This is not the first time that Phil Robertson has had conflicts with the show’s producers. In 2012, he confronted them over the attempts to edit out the name of “Jesus” during their prayer at the end of each episode—by adding misleading “fake bleeps” to the program when there was no profanity spoken.
I imagine there is going to be pressure placed on Phil to get him to change his views. The worst thing he could do would be to release a statement that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. (If you do that, the liberal media are trained to come in for the kill.)
When I heard Phil Robertson’s strong confession of faith several months ago, I knew it would eventually get him into trouble. The media has become so anti-Christian, you mention the Name of Jesus and you instantly become a target.
The same thing happened to Tim Tewbow earlier this year. Even though Tewbow was the most popular player in the NFL and has a proven draw for audiences, he was passed around from team to team because the management and sports reporters didn’t like his open-confession of faith.
The most troubling part of this controversy is the silence on the part of the church. Despite the fact that there are millions of Christians—who agree one-hundred-percent with Robertson’s view on homosexuality, few of them are willing to take a public stand to support him. The outcome I fear the most is a general rule expecting Christian celebrities to keep their faith to themselves.
Believers need to realize there is no peace with this world. The children of darkness are constantly looking for opportunities to attack those who call on the name of Jesus. Because the enemy’s hatred of us remains constant, we should never let our guard down.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, they hated me without a cause” (John 15:18-25).
Please indulge me just a bit in my using this week’s Nearing Midnight column as a cathartic exercise, at least in part. I believe you will find my ruminations relevant to our purpose in presenting these articles each week.
Sunday, December 15, I received a phone call. It was Brenda, wife of a life-long friend, and I do mean life-long. Her husband, Howard, and I were born one month apart--Howard in El Dorado, Arkansas, and me in Camden, Arkansas. Each city is about the same distance from Hampton, a very small town in the southern part of the state. El Dorado is thirty miles south and Camden thirty miles west. They had the hospitals; Hampton didn’t. Our parents both lived in Hampton when we were born–one block apart.
I knew the news wasn’t something I wanted to hear. Brenda and I, although friends, too, don’t talk very much.
“Howard passed away about 12:30 this morning,” she said.
Howard had, until about two years ago, been beating men in their forties in tennis, one of his passions in life. He wasn’t prideful about it; he just enjoyed quietly--with finesse, not power--beating the tennis shorts off those youngsters, as we viewed them from our lofty perch in our late sixties at the time.
Howard was on his roof one day about two years ago, sweeping pine needles to the ground, when he suddenly got weak and had trouble breathing. His weakness increased and the doctors told him he had heart arrhythmia. They put in a pacemaker, but the problems persisted and increased. Finally, he was diagnosed with a degenerative heart disease that had to be treated with chemotherapy, although, as I take it, it wasn’t cancer. The treatments were astronomical in cost and quite taxing on his body.
So, when I heard Brenda’s voice, I knew instantly, even before she said so, that my life-long pal had passed into that glorious realm he often talked about during his many, many years of teaching Sunday school at First Baptist Church.
It was a long, painful time of dying, and I was relieved for him, although I will miss him greatly.
I have related in these columns about Good Friday, April 22, 2011, when, following a brisk workout, I suffered a “widow-maker” heart attack. My heart stopped at least three times and they brought me back from clinical death with defibrillation shocks. Each time, I was in the heavenly presence of a throng of young, cheering people. The last time the heart stopped, I was among that group, and we were running as if in a victory lap–I have since come to believe—toward the very gate that was the entrance to God’s eternal abode.
I am totally blind, as many know, but could see perfectly well–even better than that—while with those young people. But then things grew dark again, and, each time, I returned to this earthly existence. On the final trip back, I returned to the catheterization lab, where they had removed the blockage to the affected artery. The interventional cardiologist who removed the blockage told my wife that I had been dead on arrival. He said that 95 percent of all who have this occurrence don’t live through it. The cardiologists were so impressed with my case that they made me the Arkansas "Cardiac Patient of the Year." This gave me opportunity to tell the cardiologists in their meetings at Little Rock about how, while I appreciated everything their profession had done for me, it was the Lord Jesus Christ who determined that I would return to fight another round or two.
My friend Howard and his wife Brenda were among the very first to show up in the cardiac ICU recovery room where I lay for the next several days. I was terribly disturbed because I didn’t have an opportunity to visit Howard, except by phone, during his time of dying. He just felt too sick to receive company, and needed constant medical assistance. Visitors would disrupt that care.
Each morning when I have awakened since that time of visitation to the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12:1-2, I see them in my mind’s eye. They are as clear in the deepest reaches of my spirit as if I were standing before them again.
Now, I constantly wonder if my friend Howard was met by this same group of cheering, jubilant youngsters. I’m a little envious, because I suspect he was escorted, in victory-lap fashion, through that gigantic gate of pearl and into the presence of Jesus Christ. I can see that scene, and I am blessed to have that picture as I cope with my wonderful friend’s absence.
I wish I could convey the comfort and even joy that I sense knowing that Howard is in that heavenly realm. I, of course, can only try to paint that scene in word pictures.My publisher of HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory has just informed me that they are going to offer a special 40-percent discount on the book. It is a little hardback that I believe will uplift every believer who reads it. My coauthor and editor of many years, Angie Peters, has shaped the book in inspired fashion, as I tell of my visit to somewhere in that heavenly realm. My prayer is that the reader will get at least a glimpse of what awaits those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
***HeavenVision, now –40% off!***
Icon Publishing has marked HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory down by 40 percent for those of our Rapture Ready visitors and family. I hope this generous offer puts the book in the reach of everyone who wants to get a biblical glimpse of what awaits those who love the Lord and wonders what God has prepared for us in that life that will never end...
To order, click here: HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory by Terry James with Angie Peters.