Headlines & Articles — Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
..;..A Beautiful Table and a Bitter Heart   -Melissa Kruger
.....As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it’s easy to fall into the same grumbling and guilt cycle. We become Martha-like, busy with preparations and focused on all there is to do. Trying circumstances, unmet expectations, and relational disappointments tempt us to begin counting our bitters. We overflow with frustration and impatience to those around us. The celebration we hope to enjoy becomes impossible when our hearts are overtaken by murmuring and discontent. We may have a beautiful table, but we’re sitting at it with a bitter heart. Thankful hearts don’t happen naturally. We can always find something (or someone) that’s not quite right or good enough. It’s helpful to remember that thankful hearts aren’t the fruit of perfect circumstances or people. A thankful heart is fruit of time spent with the Lord. As we first give thanks to him, we abound with love, joy, patience, and kindness to others (Gal 5:22).
.;..What Is Thanksgiving Day?  -Stephen Nichols
....So we have a holiday of thanksgiving born in and further nurtured during times of great adversity and struggle. We might think that times of adversity and challenge would spawn ingratitude, while times of prosperity would spawn gratitude. Sadly, the reverse is true.
..;.The Pilgrims Gave Thanks Despite a Multitude of Difficulties  -Jerry Newcombe
With another Thanksgiving upon us, it's good to consider what the Pilgrims endured and how they thanked God through it all.
.;..Seven Things Evangelicals Can Be Thankful for in 2017    -Chelsen Vicari
When your family sits down around the Thanksgiving dinner table, pause to ask the time-honored question: "What are you thankful for this year?"
..;.George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: What a Different Era   -Intellectual Takeout
Thanksgiving is a quintessential American holiday. It is a holiday that in many ways requires some sense of the supernatural – whether we like the idea or not. Below you will find our first President’s proclamation of Thanksgiving in which his sense of the hand of Providence upon the American Republic, his mixing of church and state, of belief and practice is undeniable. When you read it, consider the tone, humility, and outlook of President George Washington and ask yourself if any current leaders match him.
.;..Dead Sea Scrolls Written by Celibate Jewish Essene “Monks”, Qumran Skeletons Confirm
Until now, the subject was a matter of debate, as scientists had identified both male and female skeletons in the site’s cemetery. But research done on 33 newly excavated skeletons from Qumran has revealed that almost all were male, with the genders of three skeletons indeterminate. The researchers also reexamined 53 previously unearthed skeletons from Qumran’s cemetery and discovered that six of seven individuals formerly tagged as women were actually men.
..;..The Jewish Origins of Thanksgiving   -Mosaic Magazine
In 1621, colonists at Plymouth held a feast, expressing their gratitude to God for a good harvest. This is widely understood to be the original Thanksgiving celebration—but Moshe Sokolow points to an even earlier celebration and its roots in distinctly Jewish practices.
.;..Stoned How Colorado's 5 Years of Legal Pot Is 'Devastating Communities'   -CBN News
This week marks the fifth anniversary of Colorado's legalization of the commercial marijuana trade, and the reviews aren't good. An editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, "Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot."
..;.Little Sisters of the Poor to Battle California, Pennsylvania Efforts to Overturn New HHS Rules   -Christian Post
The Little Sisters of the Poor are returning to court to stop the attorneys general of California and Pennsylvania from overturning a recently acquired exemption to the Health and Human Services Department's new birth control mandate exemption.
.;..Jehovah’s Witnesses Pay Out Millions to Cover-Up Child Abuse Claims
The group has caused outrage after it has been revealed that their operation is being used to cover-up child abuse within its confines. The religious body's internal protocols for crimes mean that criminal activity never gets reported to the police as their "laws" prohibit one Witness from reporting another to the authorities.  The rules also stipulate that to report a crime internally, a victim must have at least two witnesses to the incident, but with sexual abuse crimes rarely having any witnesses at all, the crimes are never prosecuted.
..;.Facebook Shouldn't Censor Pro-Life News Outlets
Facebook and other social media sites should take a clear stance in favor of free speech and resist the urge to censor articles and editorials because of their ideological content.
.;..What Is an EMP Bomb?  -Lifehacker
During a hearing on October 12th, experts warned the U.S. House of Representatives that an EMP bomb, likely from North Korea, could kill as many as 90% of all Americans within a year. But what is an EMP bomb? And could such a weapon really be that devastating?
..;.Trust God or Take Precautions?   -Aaron Blumer
The violence in Sutherland Springs Texas on November 5 got many of us thinking twice about whether our churches are safe places. From a purely rational, data-based perspective, they’re just as safe as they were a month ago. From a theological perspective, they are as well. But when something horrific like that happens, our hearts tell us it might be time to make changes. 
.;..Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 1)
....While many Christians and Christian organizations relegate a literal creation week to a secondary or tertiary level of Christian doctrine, I would suggest that it is an essential part of the faith. To relegate literal creationism to a peripheral doctrinal level minimally suggests an inconsistent view of Scripture’s perspicuity on this subject and pervasively promotes deterioration in other facets of orthodox doctrine.
..;.The Christian’s Job Description  -Preachers & Preaching
Everybody has a job description. Regardless of who you are—a pastor, a church member, or a student—you have a job description. We all do. And they are nothing new. They’ve been with us since the beginning of history. Adam and Eve had a job description. Noah had a job description. Abraham, Moses and Saul too. They all had job descriptions. But sometimes we get so immersed in fulfilling the details of our divinely-given job description, that we lose sight of the big picture.
.;..Restoring the Discipling Church   -David Cloud
Most churches have moved away from the New Testament pattern, beginning with hastiness in evangelism, carelessness in receiving members, and a weakness in maintaining spiritual standards and exercising discipline, and as a result they are falling prey to all sorts of errors and moving into an increasingly weaker and softer stance. Following are some suggestions for moving a mixed multitude congregation to a discipling church position:
..;.The Most Repeated Command in the Bible   -Jon Bloom 
What do you think is the most repeated command in the Bible? It’s not any of the prohibitions or warnings. It’s not about sex, or money, or power. The most repeated command in the Bible will probably surprise you: Be happy. God tells us more than anything else, in different ways, to “praise the Lord,” “do not be afraid,” “rejoice,” and “give thanks” — all of which are commands, in essence, to be happy. 
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Headlines & Articles — Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
..;..Here’s Why We Should Still Celebrate the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving -Daily Signal
For most American families, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, eat delicious food, and perhaps watch some football. But not everyone is pleased with the celebration of this holiday, and some have taken to maligning its “originators,” the Pilgrims. An editorial in Al Jazeera labeled Thanksgiving a “thoroughly nauseating affair,” one that is “saturated with disgrace.” Other articles have called the Pilgrims genocidal toward Native Americans, or argued that the original idea of a Thanksgiving feast is a “myth.” “Debunking” the nature and origin of Thanksgiving seems to be turning into its own cottage industry. But the Pilgrim Thanksgiving story is based on real events. The small band of religious dissenters who crossed an ocean to a dangerous new world have, rightly, been given special prominence in the origin story of the United States. A year after the Pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts, Gov. William Bradford called for a day of thanksgiving.
.;..Christian Man Barred From Preaching in Tennessee Town Without Permit; City Contemplates Rule Change
Administrators in a Tennessee town are thinking about altering a city ordinance that critics say infringes upon individuals' First Amendment rights after a Christian street preacher claims he was prevented from evangelizing on a public sidewalk.
..;.Ancient Skeletons Could Finally Reveal Origins of The Dead Sea Scrolls  -Science Alert
Ever since they were discovered some 70 years ago, the Dead Sea Scrolls have fascinated scholars and historians. But the precise origins and authorship of these ancient texts have always been shrouded in mystery. Now, an analysis of more than 30 newly discovered graves could give us our best clue yet on how these relics were ushered into modern history.
.;..There's a Scientific Reason Why You Should Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Early    -Business Insider
While some people tut when they see Christmas lights, trees, and adverts as early as November, there's a scientific reason why getting excited for Christmas a few weeks ahead of everyone else is good for you. Spreading the festive cheer as early as November makes a person seem more sociable, friendly, and approachable, according to evidence from the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The report states that a house lit up doormat-to-chimney in blinking lights and tinsel "cues as a way of communicating their accessibility to neighbours." 
..;.BOOM! Mystery Blasts Are Rattling the Globe   -wnd.com
Was it a supersonic aircraft? A meteor? A ground explosion? The end of the world as we know it? Those are the questions experts and non-experts around the world are asking themselves in recent weeks as curiously loud mystery BOOMS have not only been heard around the world, but felt – shaking buildings and rattling nerves from Alabama to Michigan, Idaho to California, Russia to Denmark.
.;..Sterile, Exquisite, Colonizing, Scholarly: Experts Offer Impressions of D.C.’s New Bible Museum -Washington Post
.....Although, the facility was not intended to be a “Come to Jesus” experience, I was disappointed by the lack of depth regarding the ministry of Jesus. The role of the influence of the Apostle Paul and others on the writing of the New Testament was an obvious oversight. Although the Museum of Bible displays many Bibles, I found little in the way of critical analysis of varying content and numbers of chapters in each version, and the divergent theological directions they take. The various New Testament Bibles are presented as a matter of fact, and the exhibit moves on. I find that ....
..;..Trump's Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan Demands Sudan Stop Demolishing Churches   -Christian Post
A high-ranking U.S. State Department official has demanded that the Sudanese government put an end to the systematic confiscation and demolition of churches and mosques.
.;..13 Christians Detained, Questioned After Chinese Police Raid Worship Service   -Christian Post
Thirteen Christians were detained and taken to a police station in China's Guangdong province earlier this month after authorities raided their Sunday morning worship service. According to nongovernmental Christian nonprofit organization China Aid, a team of police officers and officials from a government religious affairs bureau raided the Qingcaodi Church, a small house church in Jingmen, on Nov. 5.
..;.Getting a Dog May Save Your Life, Especially if You’re Single   -Bloomberg
Having a dog can bring a lot of love into your life. It could also make it last a little longer. A group of academics from Uppsala University in Sweden analyzed the health records of 3.4 million people in that northern European country, where databases contain detailed information on everyone’s hospitalizations, medical history and even whether they own a dog. Such detailed records made it relatively easy to suss out the impact of having a canine companion. The results were heartwarming.
.;..Christian Leaders in Nepal Demand Law Criminalizing Evangelism Be Struck Down   -Christian Post
Christian leaders in Nepal have submitted a petition to the government demanding that a new law banning evangelism and religious conversions be struck down. "Christians have been cheated in the past with assurances that have never been put into practice," said C.B. Gahatraj, president of the Christian Federation of Nepal.
..;.The Many Faces of Martin Luther    -Christianity Today
....The towering figure who changed the course of Western civilization also had feet of clay. That is one reason why, 500 years later, we continue to find Luther captivating. There is a historical footnote that illustrates Luther’s ongoing impact. In 1934, Rev. Michael King Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, attended the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin. So taken with the story of the German monk, Rev. Michael King changed....
Headlines & Articles — Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
..;..Blessed Even In the WorstHow to Give Thanks in Every Circumstance   -Nancy Guthrie
A couple of years ago, social media revolted against the hashtag #blessed.  It often seemed to be employed to brag about expensive vacations or impressive accomplishments under the guise of humility. But home décor stores do not seem to have gotten the message. They have shelves stocked with all kinds of signs and accessories so we can declare to the world — or at least anyone who comes into our houses — that we are indeed “blessed.” But what do we mean when we say that we are blessed? Is it an expression of gratitude for the things we have, the health we enjoy, or the people we love? Are these things really at the center of what it means to be blessed?
.;..Grandfather Banned from Reading Bible on Public Sidewalk Hears from City on His Challenge to Their Ordinance   -CBN News
The attorneys of a Tennessee grandfather, who say a city law that bans their client from reading the Bible on a public sidewalk without a permit violates his constitutional rights, have received a response from the city of Sweetwater. "Thank you for your email/letters to the City of Sweetwater, its mayor, recorder and attorney regarding Paul Johnson's exercise of his first amendment right to freely express his religious beliefs on public ways in Sweetwater, Tennessee," wrote City Attorney John Cleveland, Sr., in a letter dated last Friday.
.;..Christians Can't Be Lawyers if Not Pro-Gay? University Fights Discrimination Case at Canada's Top Court   -CBN News
A Christian university in Canada is being told not to go ahead with creating a law school because if they do, the graduates won't be considered real attorneys due to the school's Christian standards. Although the case sounds ridiculous to most people, it's going to Canada's Supreme Court this week. With an enrollment of more than 4,000 students, Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia is Canada's largest and fastest growing Christian college.  For 55 years, they've been attracting students from all over the world. In 2012, the university decided it was time to add a law school. 
.;..Upsurge In Big Earthquakes Predicted for 2018 as Earth Rotation Slows    -UK Guardian
Scientists have warned there could be a big increase in numbers of devastating earthquakes around the world next year. They believe variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation could trigger intense seismic activity, particularly in heavily populated tropical regions. Although such fluctuations in rotation are small – changing the length of the day by a millisecond – they could still be implicated in the release of vast amounts of underground energy.....
..;.Christian Lawmakers Working to Keep Free Speech, Charitable Contributions in Tax Plan    -CBN News
In a victory for religious liberty advocates, the House voted to include a repeal of the Johnson Amendment in their tax cut bill that passed the House Thursday. Congressman Jody Hice, R - Georgia, co sponsor of the Free Speech Fairness Act, tells CBN News when he was a Baptist pastor he personally faced intimidation from the IRS and it's time to "liberate churches." 
.;..Christian Charity Takes Out Bible References From Nativity Story, Says Effort Is 'Misunderstood'    -Christian Post
A Christian charity in the U.K. has responded to media reports that it decided to remove Bible references in its latest version of the Nativity story in order to present a more accessible story for a largely unchurched population of youths.
..;..‘Stop Saying Christmas’ Catholic Priest Warns Christians to Abandon the Word
.....He told the Belfast Telegraph: “We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely. We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.
.;..The Next Big Middle Eastern WarSaudi Arabia vs. Iran    -Daniel Greenfield
 The Syrian Civil War killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. Its ripple effects brought terror to Europe and dragged the United States into the fighting. And it’s just the appetizer for the coming war. The real war is the one that the Saudis and the Iranians have been maneuvering toward for years. Those maneuvers included everything from Iran’s nuke deal, the fighting in Yemen, the Syrian Civil War, the Iraqi suppression of Kurdish....
..;.Why Did God Create Pets?    -Jack Wellman
Did God create pets especially for us? Do pets go to heaven? I cannot believe that pets are just an accident of nature, or that the love they have for their owners is only a byproduct of naturalistic evolution. How can love evolve by a genetic process? Is love really just a random accident of a chemical or biological process? If that is so, then isn’t our own love for our family, our children and others just a random cosmic accident? Is love simply a lucky mix of genetic material? My own experience, and the experience of many others that I’ve spoken with, is that our pets were a gift from God.....
.;..Eight Ways Churches Can Leverage the Ubiquity of Smartphones   -Jonathan Howe
In 2011, smartphones were almost a novelty. Just 35% of American adults had one. That number has more than doubled in the past six years, and more than 9 in 10 adults under 30 have a smartphone.  Now that this device has become almost attached to us 24-7....how is the church adapting? Or better yet, how should the church adapt and engage the smartphone? Here are eight ways.
..;.Mass Killer, Cult Leader Charles Manson Dies at 83    -Free Beacon
....Manson died of natural causes Sunday evening at a Kern County hospital, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. It gave no further details of the circumstances surrounding his death. He had been serving a life sentence at the nearby Corcoran State Prison for ordering the murders of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate.
.;..Europe Destroyed by the West’s Indifference?    -Giulio Meotti
There are pictures one cannot forget — for instance, of Russian troops hoisting their flag over burning Berlin in 1945. It was the end of Nazism but the rise of Communism. Another photo is of U.S. Marines raising the American flag over the battle-scarred Japanese island of Iwo Jima. Today the West faces another totalitarianism: radical Islam. One place that witnessed the new horror is Mount Sinjar in the Nineveh province of Iraq, once a home to religious minorities, especially Christians and Yazidis. 
..;.North Korea and Bible Prophecy    -Britt Gillette
North Korea has nuclear weapons. They’re working to build long-range missiles. And many believe dictator Kim Jong-un is insane. He’s promised to blanket his neighbors in “a sea of fire” and threatens the United States on an almost daily basis. To some, war is imminent, and they’re fearful of what they see coming. But what does it all mean? How does North Korea fit into Bible prophecy? Does the Bible offer any insight?  I believe it does.
.;..Holiness   -George Stiekes
Holiness is a subject that ought to always be on our minds in as much as we have been instructed to be like the Holy Trinity. How does the holiness of God currently impact your life? Yes, it is a theological subject, yet it is very practical in considering who we are in Christ Jesus. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7). The very meaning of the Word emphasizes that we are to be GOD LIKE, sanctified, set apart for God Himself, saintly. In order to be set apart UNTO God, we must be set apart FROM the world.
..;.The Blessing of a Bad Reputation    -Jon Bloom
.....We should want to be thought well of by others because of our integrity and the purity of our conduct. But it’s evil to want to be thought well of by others so much that, when push comes to shove, we compromise the integrity and purity of our conduct to get it...Consider this: the same God who commends a good reputation, also made this statement: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” 
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