Saturday, December 24, 2011

In the news:

Anti-Christian Violence in the Middle East

The UK Daily Telegraph recently posted an article entitled, "How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?" Anybody reading the Daily Bell this past year will not be surprised by this headline, nor the article itself. Turns out that the writer is reporting on "a new evil [that] is sweeping the Middle East" – and that evil is violence against Christians.

"How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?" the article asks. "The Americans have gone now, and Iraq's Christian communities – some of the world's oldest – are undergoing an exodus on a biblical scale."

The article does not only mention Iraq and makes it clear that the anti-Christian sentiment is broad-based: "The attacks, which peak at Christmas, have already spread to Egypt, where Coptic Christians have seen their churches firebombed by Islamic fundamentalists ...

"The Arab Spring was always going to mean danger for religious minorities, unleashing the Islamic extremists who previously were kept at bay," the article informs us. We also learn that religious persecution was not a hallmark of previous (overthrown) regimes. "For all their evil, the old secular tyrants abused their victims equally, whether they wore the cross, hijab or skullcap."

Mashaal: Hamas Will Focus On Arab Spring-Style Protests

Hamas will focus on holding Arab Spring-style mass protests against Israel but is not renouncing the use of violence against the Jewish state, leader Khaled Mashaal told The Associated Press late Thursday.

Mashaal told the news agency that popular protests have “the power of a tsunami,” pointing to the recent waves of demonstrations across the Arab world.

Mashaal also gave rare Hamas public support to the idea of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Turkish Warships Shell Narrow Water Between Israeli And Cypriot Gas Fields

President Demetris Christofias has warned Turkey to stop its warships shelling the strip of water dividing the Cypriot and Israeli gas exploration zones in the eastern Mediterranean.

Wednesday, Dec. 21, Turkish warships began turning their guns on the strip dividing Israel's Leviathan gas field from Block 12 of Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone-EEZ, where a large gas field was recently discovered.

Neither Israel nor Cyprus reported the Turkish attacks which are staged in international waters, but both reinforced their naval units around the gas fields. It was the Cypriot president who broke the silence Friday, Dec. 23 with a warning: "If Turkey does not change its gunboat diplomacy and stop playing the part of regional police officer, there will be consequences which, for sure, will not be good - either for the whole region or the Turkish people and first and foremost for Turkish Cypriots," he said.

Tens Of Thousands Rally Across Russia Against Putin

Tens of thousands of flag-waving and chanting protesters called on Saturday for a disputed parliamentary election to be rerun, increasing pressure on Vladimir Putin as he seeks a new term as Russian president.

The protesters chanted "Russia without Putin" and "New elections, New elections" as speakers called for an end to Putin's 12-year domination of the country at the second big
opposition rally in two weeks in central Moscow.

The big turnout is likely to encourage organisers to believe they can keep up the momentum of the biggest opposition demonstrations since Putin rose to power 12 years ago, although the prime minister seems intent on riding out the protests.

And below we see a few stories which relate to Christmas:

Miraculous Christmas Story: Finding God In Hell

This is a fascinating account of a prisoner who spent 8 long years in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton". It's a long read but very moving.

The paragraphs below say it all:

The punishment was so gory that each day Happy, after tightening the ropes, would still be weeping when he went to the next cell to let Mulligan out to empty his bucket. For five more days and nights, I remained in the rig. My back got one respite in that time. I managed to lean against my bucket, which I had maneuvered into position on the pallet, and relieve the strain enough to get some sleep. Even a roving guard took some pity. He saw me leaning against the bucket but didn't report it for 18 hours.

By the fifth morning, I was nearing despair. I offered myself to God with an admission that I could take no more on my own. Tears ran down my face as I repeated my vow of surrender to Him. Strangely, as soon as I made the vow, a deep feeling of peace settled into my tortured mind and pain-wracked body, and the suffering left me completely. It was the most profound and deeply inspiring moment of my life.

Retailing in the Age of Political Correctness

It was December of 2007, in The Age of Political Correctness. As I drove to town from my house in the country, I passed by the local high school with its brand new $10,000 electronic sign—used to advertise school events like sports, drama, musicals, or the beginning day of vacation. “Pretty cool,” I thought as I watched the time of day and school events flash across the screen. As I passed by, something caught my eye. The sign read:


There was plenty of room on the sign and six more letters would not have made a great deal of difference. “X-MAS” is less controversial. It eliminates the need to say that word.

The next day, driving to town, I passed the high school again. This day the sign read:


Frankly, Dickens is my favorite author and I thought I had read everything of his. Until this day, I did not know that Dickens had written a play called “A X-MAS CAROL.”

Either the incompetent person who typed in the message on the electronic sign was a bad speller, or wanted to save energy by leaving off the Savior’s name again (concededly, typing twelve extra characters can wear a person out).

Whichever it was, the name of the Person for whom we celebrate the holiday was conspicuously missing once again.

“A Christmas Carol” a secular story featuring an old grump, some ghostly visitors, and a change of heart—in truth , Dickens was a devout, if subtle, Christian whose mission in life was to gently bring people to Christ.

Thus, while the school was trying to be politically correct by “X-ing out” the name of the One whose birth made the holiday possible, the truth is that they were enacting a deeply religious, Christian play.

So it was, in December of 2007, in The Age of Political Correctness, I decided I would no longer play the X-Mas game. I would not attend any X-MAS events at any school that cannot spell the holiday, or whose faculty is so inept that they cannot spell Dickens’ most famous short story title.

It is a very simple concept, really. If you are embarrassed to say the word Christ, or use His name in your advertising; if you want to demean the holiday by calling it “X-MAS,” go right ahead. But, like many millions of others, I will be your X-customer.

Thousands Gather To Celebrate Christmas Eve In Bethlehem

Thousands of pilgrims, tourists and local Christians gather in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem on Saturday to celebrate Christmas Eve, where Jesus is said to have been born.

The day's celebration will culminate at the Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, built on the site of the manger where Jesus is believed to have been born.

Bethlehem is today surrounded on three sides by a barrier Israel built to stop Palestinian militants from attacking Israel.


Nathan said...

Just a little tid-bit in response to the X-mas article . The X actually came from Italy . When Rome was persecuting christians people would make an X in the spot that every Christian had died . Just saw that on the 700 club a couple of days ago ...SO HA! TAKE THAT politically correct athiest ! You're supporting Christ and you don't even know it MUHAHAHAHAHA! (Mad Scientist laugh:) ...Anyway , Merry X-mas er CHRISTmas everyone , hope you have a great Sunday :)

Diane said...

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us)" Matt 1:22-23 ESV
Merry Christmas, everyone !!!

Robin said...

Just popped in to wish my brothers and sisters in Christa very Merry and blessed Christmas. I pray you're all safe and with family and friends. Thank you all, for all your contributions. You can't know how blessed I feel to be a part of this wonderful community.

ally said...

Nathan-How amazingly cool! and incredible apprpriate too! Im glad other people find weird stuff like that to be very ironically uplifting! Its like ha ha, gotcha ;) ya heathens! Guess who is really in charge and guess who only thinks they are? Go Team Jesus!

Nathan said...

Thanks Ally , its called finding a positive in a negative . Robin , i'm glad i found this website too , there are some very sweet wonderful people on here . God bless ya'll .

Scott said...

Merry Christmas to all of you!