Perry Leads Prayer Rally for ‘Nation in Crisis’

Perry Leads Prayer Rally for ‘Nation in Crisis’

By

HOUSTON — Standing on a stage surrounded by thousands of fellow Christians on Saturday morning, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called on Jesus to bless and guide the nation’s military and political leaders and “those who cannot see the light in the midst of all the darkness.”

“Lord, you are the source of every good thing,” Mr. Perry said, as he bowed his head, closed his eyes and leaned into a microphone at Reliant Stadium here. “You are our only hope, and we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings, and humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government, and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”

In a 13-minute address, Mr. Perry read several passages from the Bible during a prayer rally he sponsored. Thousands of people stood or kneeled in the aisles or on the concrete floor in front of the stage, some wiping away tears and some shouting, “Amen!”

The rally was seen as one of the biggest tests of Mr. Perry’s political career, coming as he nears a decision on whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. While the event will be sure to help Mr. Perry if he tries to establish himself as the religious right’s favored candidate, it also opens him up to criticism for mixing religion and politics in such a grand and overtly Christian fashion.

In many ways, the rally was unprecedented, even in Texas, where faith and politics have long intersected without much controversy — the governor, as both a private citizen and an elected leader, delivering a message to the Lord at a Christian prayer rally he created, while using his office’s prestige, letterhead, Web site and other resources to promote it. Mr. Perry said he wanted people of all faiths to attend, but Christianity dominated the service and the religious affiliations of the crowd. The prayers were given in Jesus Christ’s name, and the many musical performers sang of Christian themes of repentance and salvation.

Mr. Perry, a lifelong Methodist who regularly attends an evangelical megachurch near his home in West Austin, has been speaking and preaching in sanctuaries throughout Texas since he was state agricultural commissioner in the 1990s. Organizers for the event, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, estimated that more than 30,000 people were at Reliant Stadium when Mr. Perry spoke. The seating capacity is 71,500, and tens of thousands of seats in the upper decks were empty.

“I wish you could see what I see here,” announced Luis Cataldo, a leader of the International House of Prayer, a Christian ministry in Kansas City, Mo., as the event began at 10 a.m. “This is the body of Christ.”

While those on the stage avoided making overt political statements or expressions of political support for Mr. Perry, many in the audience made it clear in interviews that they would vote for the governor should he enter the presidential race.

Liz Lara, 62, who lives in La Vernia, Tex., drove about 200 miles to Houston with her daughter and two grandchildren to attend the rally. She said the family came to support Mr. Perry and pray for God’s help in solving the nation’s problems. “I believe that God has prepared Rick Perry for such a time as this,” she said. “I believe he will be our next president.”

At one point, Mr. Perry asked those in the audience to pray for President Obama. “Father, we pray for our president, that you impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family,” he said.

Mr. Perry addressed the crowd nine days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against him by a national group of atheists arguing that his participation in the rally in his official capacity as governor violated the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state.

Members and supporters of that group, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, were among dozens of people protesting outside the stadium. Others included gay activists who criticized Mr. Perry for supporting the American Family Association, which organized and financed the rally. The association is a conservative evangelical group based in Mississippi that is listed as an antigay hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

Mr. Perry had invited his fellow governors to join him, but only Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, attended. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video statement that was played in the stadium.

Daniel Cadis contributed reporting.

By

HOUSTON — Standing on a stage surrounded by thousands of fellow Christians on Saturday morning, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called on Jesus to bless and guide the nation’s military and political leaders and “those who cannot see the light in the midst of all the darkness.”

“Lord, you are the source of every good thing,” Mr. Perry said, as he bowed his head, closed his eyes and leaned into a microphone at Reliant Stadium here. “You are our only hope, and we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings, and humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government, and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”

In a 13-minute address, Mr. Perry read several passages from the Bible during a prayer rally he sponsored. Thousands of people stood or kneeled in the aisles or on the concrete floor in front of the stage, some wiping away tears and some shouting, “Amen!”

The rally was seen as one of the biggest tests of Mr. Perry’s political career, coming as he nears a decision on whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. While the event will be sure to help Mr. Perry if he tries to establish himself as the religious right’s favored candidate, it also opens him up to criticism for mixing religion and politics in such a grand and overtly Christian fashion.

In many ways, the rally was unprecedented, even in Texas, where faith and politics have long intersected without much controversy — the governor, as both a private citizen and an elected leader, delivering a message to the Lord at a Christian prayer rally he created, while using his office’s prestige, letterhead, Web site and other resources to promote it. Mr. Perry said he wanted people of all faiths to attend, but Christianity dominated the service and the religious affiliations of the crowd. The prayers were given in Jesus Christ’s name, and the many musical performers sang of Christian themes of repentance and salvation.

Mr. Perry, a lifelong Methodist who regularly attends an evangelical megachurch near his home in West Austin, has been speaking and preaching in sanctuaries throughout Texas since he was state agricultural commissioner in the 1990s. Organizers for the event, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, estimated that more than 30,000 people were at Reliant Stadium when Mr. Perry spoke. The seating capacity is 71,500, and tens of thousands of seats in the upper decks were empty.

“I wish you could see what I see here,” announced Luis Cataldo, a leader of the International House of Prayer, a Christian ministry in Kansas City, Mo., as the event began at 10 a.m. “This is the body of Christ.”

While those on the stage avoided making overt political statements or expressions of political support for Mr. Perry, many in the audience made it clear in interviews that they would vote for the governor should he enter the presidential race.

Liz Lara, 62, who lives in La Vernia, Tex., drove about 200 miles to Houston with her daughter and two grandchildren to attend the rally. She said the family came to support Mr. Perry and pray for God’s help in solving the nation’s problems. “I believe that God has prepared Rick Perry for such a time as this,” she said. “I believe he will be our next president.”

At one point, Mr. Perry asked those in the audience to pray for President Obama. “Father, we pray for our president, that you impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family,” he said.

Mr. Perry addressed the crowd nine days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against him by a national group of atheists arguing that his participation in the rally in his official capacity as governor violated the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state.

Members and supporters of that group, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, were among dozens of people protesting outside the stadium. Others included gay activists who criticized Mr. Perry for supporting the American Family Association, which organized and financed the rally. The association is a conservative evangelical group based in Mississippi that is listed as an antigay hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

Mr. Perry had invited his fellow governors to join him, but only Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, attended. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video statement that was played in the stadium.

Daniel Cadis contributed reporting.

Why It’s Time to Speak about God Again

Why It’s Time to Speak about God Again

By Jay
Haug

America is living under an illusion:
the idea that we can expunge God (broadly understood) from our national and
public belief system and still operate a moral and accountable
government.

C.S. Lewis summed up the problem
in The Abolition of Man.  “We make men without chests and expect of
them virtue and enterprise.  We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors
in our midst.  We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.”  John
Adams asserted, “Our Constitution was made for a religious and moral people.  It
is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Our founding fathers laid
down a system that demanded conscientious, self-restrained implementation — a
government dependent on the character of the people.  Ben Franklin, perhaps the
most deistic of the founding fathers, famously assured one curious bystander
that the Constitutional Conventions had engendered “a Republic, if you can keep
it.”  How many people today truly understand that America’s health depends on
the moral character of its citizens, of their personal “keeping” of our
nation?

Many people in power have discovered
that what Ivan Karamazov said is true: “If God is dead, all is permitted.”  They
recognize only too well that God has been removed from public life — and with
Him, the attendant moral order.  In their minds, there is no responsibility
because there is no God.  Morality, though not always agreed upon, has become a
matter of opinion, easily dismissed.

How quaint the phrases of JFK appear
to modern ears in his inaugural address: “the same revolutionary beliefs for
which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief
that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the
hand of God.”  Unlike most of American history, religious utterances today are
considered sectarian, even offensive.  For the publicly disgraced, however, take
a few years in jail or probation and a good lawyer, and they are home free.
Americans forgive, and well they should, but who is left to pick up the pieces
and contemplate the risk/reward of bad behavior?

When was the last time an American
president prayed aloud in public?  It was FDR at the moment of the D-Day
invasion.  According to preacher Andy Stanley, Americans stopped in traffic and
got out of their cars, and major companies sent home their employees to pray for
the invasion.  Children stopped in school, all to pray.  The truth is that for
most of our history, Americans have believed that our nation is accountable to
God for our behavior and prayed publicly for His guidance and forgiveness.  Even
when Abraham Lincoln asserted in his Second Inaugural that “[t]he Almighty has
His own purposes,” intimating that they are not easily discerned, very few
Americans doubted, as Lincoln asserted, that they are “true and righteous
altogether.”

Only since prayer was banished from
public schools in 1962 and a vocal minority began to consider it their right
never to be present in a public place within earshot of a prayer was it that
America decided to hang up on the voice of God in the public sphere.  But this
has not protected us from what Julia Ward Howe called “His terrible swift sword”
— i.e., the consequences for our behavior.  We are reaping the whirlwind even
as we speak.

Many believe that religion should be
confined to the private sphere.  They want religion, in Francis Schaeffers’s
words, “privately important, but publicly irrelevant.”  But the truth is that
public people living out public lives have always been subject to public oaths
and understandings that invoke the name and sanction of God.  According to
historian David McCullough, George Washington added “so help me God” to the
presidential oath, and it has stuck ever since.  In the face of communism in the
1950s, Congress added “under God” to the pledge of allegiance and made “One
Nation Under God” our national motto.  Those who preceded us knew the wisdom of
inculcating an understanding of God and the roots of conscience in all Americans
— even in public schools.  The “lowest common denominator” result of the 1962
school prayer decision was not only foolish constitutionally, but
self-destructive nationally.  Our public schools have never been the same
since.

American history shows that two
“Great Awakenings” presaged the two greatest crises in American history.  John
and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield preached through the entire thirteen
colonies in the 1740s, preparing the next generation for the challenges and
inculcating the self-control needed for revolutionary times.  Charles Phinney,
Lyman Beecher, and others led the 2nd Great Awakening that formed the
backdrop for the Civil War, empowering in the aftermath a greater healing and
reconciliation of the nation than might normally have occurred.  When the Civil
Rights movement reached its critical stage, Martin Luther King, Jr., a
clergyman, appeared on government property and invoked both the Bible (the book
of Amos) and our founding documents to declare racial prejudice wrong, telling
Americans that racism fell short of both God’s laws and America’s founding
vision.  He knew where freedom came from, proclaiming, “Thank God Almighty, I’m
free at last” as he strode from the Lincoln Memorial.  Must God be turned to
publicly only when America is shaken to the core, or when our values are
seriously compromised?  Are we not in that position right now?

America is in crisis.  Unfortunately,
since the 1960s, we have expunged the one Presence from our public life who can
truly help us as He has in the past.  In his book Who Are We?, Samuel
Huntington tells us that America is different from every other nation in the
following regard:  throughout the world, the more impoverished a nation is, the
more time its people spend in religious observance and activities.  The only
exception — the only one — is America.  We are wealthy and we also spend much
time in religious observance.

Huntington warns us that we have
about fifteen years to preserve what he calls “our Protestant heritage.”  Let’s
expand that here to include the public presence of God, which can help to
enliven the private consciences of all Americans.

What we must face is a simple fact.
A morality unhinged from God is not only inadequate for the times, but it will
also doom us to a permanent slide into oblivion.  Many believe that America will
turn publicly to God…eventually.  But will it be too late when the time
finally comes?

Jay Haug is a freelance
writer living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  You may e-mail him at
cjcwguy@gmail.com.

Copts Were Sitting Ducks After Egyptian Guards Left

Copts Were Sitting Ducks After Egyptian Guards Left

Ann Kane

Updated reports on the car bomb that killed Christians in Alexandria, Egypt during New Year’s Eve Mass are revealing “Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast, Say Eyewitnesses,” by Mary Abdelmassih for AINA, January 2:
From Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) via Jihad Watch:
According to eyewitnesses, a green Skoda car pull up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men got out , one of them talked shortly on his mobile phone, and the explosion occurred almost immediately after they left the scene. On the back of the Skoda was a sticker with the words “the rest is coming” (video of car explosion and Muslims shouting “Allah Akbar”).
[snip]
To clear his security forces of negligence, the Minister of Interior said that the blast was an “individual” case, caused by a single suicide terrorist detonating his vest, and has nothing to do with an exploding car. The governor of Alexandria claimed the attack as being aimed at Muslims and Christians alike.
Why were only four policemen left to guard a congregation of 2000 when tensions were already high among Muslim extremists targeting Christians? Why did the Minister of the Interior downplay the catastrophe? Why would Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak call for unity among both Copts and Muslims, but not make sure security forces stayed in place for the Mass?
Read more of Ann Kane’s insights on www.potterwilliamsreport.com

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/copts_were_sitting_ducks_after.html at January 02, 2011 – 11:55:20 AM CST

Suspected suicide bomber kills 21 at Egypt church

Suspected suicide bomber kills 21 at Egypt church

 
 
By Mona Salem, AFPJanuary 1, 2011
 
 
Egyptians transport the body of a Christian worshipper from the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church to an ambulance following an overnight car bomb attack on the church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on January 1, 2011 which killed at least 21, hitting Egypt's Christian community, the biggest in the Middle East.
 

Egyptians transport the body of a Christian worshipper from the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church to an ambulance following an overnight car bomb attack on the church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on January 1, 2011 which killed at least 21, hitting Egypt’s Christian community, the biggest in the Middle East.

Photograph by: MOHAMMED ABED, Getty Images

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — Egypt officials said a suicide bomber killed 21 people and wounded 79 others outside a Coptic church on Saturday, in an attack the country’s president said was the work of “foreign hands.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but al-Qaida has called for punishment of Egypt’s Copts over claims that two priests’ wives who had converted to Islam were being held by the church against their will.

The bombing in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria sparked anger among Christians, who clashed with police and shouted slogans against the regime of the aging president, as well as condemnation from Western governments.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon called the attack “deplorable” in a statement Saturday.

“Our hearts and sympathies are with the families and friends of the victims,” he said.

“We fully support the call by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to close ranks and confront the terrorists who were behind this deplorable attack. We urge Egyptians of all faiths to work together to end sectarian violence.”

An official with the Egyptian health ministry said 21 people were killed and 79 wounded, and the country’s interior ministry said eight of those hurt were Muslims.

A witness had told private channel On-TV that in a car park outside the Al-Qiddissin (The Saints) church shortly after midnight, he saw two men get out and the explosion happen almost immediately afterwards.

But the interior ministry ruled out the hypothesis of a car bomb, saying it was “probable that the bomb . . . was carried by a suicide bomber who died among the crowd.”

The device was packed with pieces of metal to cause the maximum harm, the ministry added.

And the circumstances of the explosion, “given the methods that currently prevail in terrorist activities at the global and regional level, clearly indicate” that the bombing was “planned and carried out by foreign elements.”

Mubarak echoed that, saying the bombing bore the hallmark “of foreign hands.”

In televised remarks, he referred to it as something that “is alien to us,” and pledged to “cut off the head of the snake, confront terrorism and defeat it.”

Egypt has been the target of repeated attacks against foreign tourists in recent years, most notably bombings on resorts in the south Sinai and a hostage bloodbath in Luxor in 1997 that killed more than 60 people.

Pope Benedict XVI urged world leaders to defend Christians against abuse and intolerance, while U.S. President Barack Obama denounced an “outrageous” bombing.

“I once again launch a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation,” said the pontiff.

“The perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshippers, and have no respect for human life and dignity. They must be brought to justice for this barbaric and heinous act,” Obama said.

The European Union “unreservedly” condemned the bombing. “There cannot be any justification for this attack,” the EU’s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said.

Refaa al-Tahtawi, spokesman for Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s main seat of learning, appealed for calm, as did a senior Coptic official.

In the day after the bombing, growing numbers of Christians were continuing to vent their anger.

By mid-afternoon, hundreds of youths in small groups in the neighbourhood of the church were showering rocks and bottles on police, who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

“O Mubarak, the heart of the Copts is on fire,” they shouted as they darted in and out of side-streets to heckle police.

Others unfurled their fury at the “cowardly terrorists” and chanted: “The blood of the Copts is not cheap.”

One demonstrator brandished a large cross, with bloody remnants of victims’ clothing attached.

At least 5,000 people took part late Saturday in funerals for the victims at a monastery outside Alexandria, where crowds of mourners shouted slogans and refused to accept official condolences.

“No, no, no,” the crowd shouted as a church official tried to read out condolences from Mubarak.

In Alexandria, the Church said in a statement that the attack “constituted a dangerous escalation in sectarian incidents against the Copts.”

The attack comes two months after gunmen stormed a Baghdad cathedral in an operation that left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead.

That was claimed by al-Qaida’s Iraq affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, which said its purpose was to force the release of the two women in Egypt.

“All Christian centres, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the mujahedeen (holy warriors) wherever they can reach them,” the group said.

“Let these idolaters, and at their forefront, the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican, know that the killing sword will not be lifted from the necks of their followers until they declare their innocence from what the dog of the Egyptian church is doing,” the ISI said.

After those threats, protection around Coptic places of worship was discreetly stepped up, with Mubarak saying he was committed to protecting the Christians “faced with the forces of terrorism and extremism.”

The Copts, who account for up to 10 per cent of Egypt’s 80 million population and often complain of discrimination, have been the target of repeated sectarian attacks.

With files from Postmedia News

A Christmas Carol From Paul

A Christmas Carol From Paul

By David R. Stokes

Christmas is more than a day in December — it is a season.  Reminders of this are all around us — the weather, the gatherings, the music on the radio.  It is not unusual for savvy media outlets to saturate their formats with all things Yuletide for a few weeks at the end of the year.  It puts us “in the mood” — not to mention puts money in their accounts.
What’s your favorite Christmas song?  Some like to hear about chestnuts roasting on an open fire — others love to think about bells jingling.  Yet others tear up (with good reason) thinking about a Holy Night so long ago.  They may even want to fall on their knees.
A case can be made that the greatest Christmas song ever written is one with no familiar music.  The tune is no longer available to us.  But the lyrics — ah, those lyrics — well, they’re actually inspired.  As the Apostle Paul was writing to young Pastor Timothy about everything from order in the church to the dangers of greed, he gave us an easily overlooked but enduring Christmas nugget.
It may be not be a toe-tapper like I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus — but it completely captures the essence of Christmas.  That essence is incarnation.  This means that God became one of us so that He could reach those of us willing to surrender to Him.
As the Apostle winds up a series of thoughts about the church and those who serve and lead, he pauses to reflect on a larger issue.  Strategies and structure are not ends in themselves.  They are secondary to powerful ideas.  While he may have felt the need to give Timothy some practical advice about how to do his important job, he never lost sight of the why in all of it — nor should we.  There can be many controversies in life — macro and micro.  All of them require attention.  Some of them require systems and structure.  No doubt, this was something with which Timothy wrestled.  Therefore, his wise mentor, Paul, offered his advice. 
Things that tend to polarize people often have little to with objective truth.  Instead, subjective experience is allowed to play too large a role in our lives and passions.  When this happens, Paul’s writings suggest that we need to stop and sing.  And we should sing something very specific — the most beautiful of all Christmas carols — though it is highly unlikely that we’ll hear the words blended with any seasonal music. 
We are not told the style of music, nor are we told the instrument or instruments used to express it (if any).  We are given just the words.  They are inspired — and they have endured.  They are ancient words, yet ever new. 
The first Christmas Carol is introduced in scripture this way: “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great…” (I Timothy 3:16 NIV).
Communities of faith throughout history have wrestled with many things.  But Paul reminds us all these centuries later that there are some no-brainers for the faithful.  First and foremost is that most powerful of all ideas is that God has come to the earth — the Word has been made flesh. 
So, this season, let us reach back for one of the forgotten “oldies” — a first-century worship favorite.  They likely sang it in places like Ephesus, Thyatira, and Philippi.  There were no ornate cathedrals or padded pews, no multimedia presentations to tantalize the eyes — just words, powerful and profound.  Go ahead and make up your own music — but don’t mess with the words.  They are from God.  They are a Christmas gift from the one who gave us the reason for the season. 
And, one…two…three…
“He appeared in a body,
Was vindicated by the Spirit,
Was seen by angels,
Was preached among the nations,
Was believed on in the world,
Was taken up in glory.” 
 – I Timothy 3:16 (New International Version)
Merry Christmas!
David R. Stokes is a minister, author, columnist, and broadcaster.  His new book, The Shooting Salvationist (foreword by Bob Schieffer), will be released by Random House in July of 2011.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/a_christmas_carol_from_paul.html at December 25, 2010 – 10:48:19 AM CST

Who He Is

Who He Is

By Vasko Kohlmayer

Some two thousand years ago, the man whose birthday we celebrate during this season was walking with his disciples through a region which is today known as the Golan Heights.  As they were making their way through those hilly parts, Jesus turned to his companions and asked, “Who do people say that I am?”

The disciples told him that many ideas circulated as to his identity: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Things have not changed much in the intervening two millennia.  Today, as then, people hold many notions about who Jesus was.  Some say that he was a great moral teacher, others that he was a bold social reformer.  Still others claim that he was a wise man or a charismatic leader.  If you asked ten different people, it is quite possible that you would get ten different answers.
To get at the truth, we can do no better than to go to the ultimate source and authority on Jesus’s life.  None of the statements below is a conjecture or a fanciful invention; they all come straight from the Word.
What follows is the Jesus of the Bible.
***
He was from the beginning.  He was with God, and He is God.  He is the firstborn over creation, and in Him the fullness of God dwells.
All things were created by Him and for Him.  He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands.  Without Him, nothing was made that has been made.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He upholds the universe by the word of His power.  It is through Him that we exist.  He is the mystery of God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ.
In the fullness of time, God sent Him to be the Savior of the world.  He came to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
He was made flesh and dwelt among people.  Full of grace and truth, He was the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being.
Born in the likeness of man, He took upon Himself the form of a servant.  He became poor so that we may become rich.
The radiance of God’s glory, He walked in love and compassion.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
Meek and gentle, He was treated harshly, yet He did not protest.  Despised and forsaken, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Though He was tempted as we are, He did not sin.
He came to deliver those who through fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage.  He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even the death of the cross.  He assumed human form to mediate between God and men.
He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.  He bore our trespasses in His body and washed our sins with His own blood.
He was made a curse so that we could be made right with God.  He was raised for our justification.  It is by His wounds that we are healed.  It is He who brings us back to God.
Manifested in the flesh, He was justified in the spirit.  Having been buried, He was raised on the third day.  He ascended on high and led captivity captive.
To those who receive Him He gave the right to become children of God.  Whoever calls upon His name shall be saved, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which men may be saved.  He is the way, and the truth, and the life.
This is how God showed His love for us: He sent His one and only Son that we might live through him.  For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  He guides the meek and teaches them His ways.  Exalted of God, in Him is the mystery of godliness.
He will judge the living and the dead, and every knee shall bow down before Him.  He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and expose the motives of men’s hearts.  He will gather the wheat into his garner and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.
But to those who thirst, He shall give from the spring of the water of life, for He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  He who believes in Him shall live.
He is the bright morning star.  Crowned with glory and honor, He holds all authority in heaven and on earth.  It is through Him that God brings everything back to Himself.  It is through Him that God speaks to us.
The first begotten of the dead, He is the heir of all things.  He is the light, and the darkness has not overcome him.  He is the prince of peace and the bread of life.  His love surpasses all knowledge.  He is the life of men.
His throne will last forever, and His days will never end.  Righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom.
He is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
He fills everything in every way.  He is the Almighty One.
He who has ears, let him hear.  Let those who are wise understand, for these things have been written that we may believe and, by believing, have life in His name.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/who_he_is.html at December 25, 2010 – 10:41:45 AM CST

Each Christmas Gets Better

Each Christmas Gets Better

December 23rd, 2010

Tom Purcell, FloydReports.com

I still wish I hadn’t peeked in the attic that year.

It was Christmas 1972 and I was 10. It was the first year when I no longer believed in Santa Claus.

Until that point, Christmas had been a magical time for me.

A few weeks after Thanksgiving, I would join with my father to pick out our tree. He’d wear his rattiest coat and work his mastery on the helpless Christmas-tree guy to knock the price down two or three bucks.

Soon, my father and I would have our giant platform in place and the tree perfectly positioned. We’d string the lights — thick old bulbs that burned fingers when touched — and head to the attic to bring down boxes of Christmas decorations.

My sisters would be called and our whole family would decorate the tree. As our stack of scratchy old Christmas records would play — as Mitch Miller, Bing Crosby and the Chipmunks would sing — our mother would make special note of old ornaments handed down from family members long gone and my sisters would show me how to hang the tinsel expertly, one strand at a time.

The sun soon would go down and the light of our Christmas-tree bulbs reflecting off the tinsel would transform our living room into a kaleidoscope — a brilliant glow of colors dancing on the walls and ceiling.

My mother, a master at building up suspense, would talk about the days ahead — church, family and the gifts Santa might bring.

We would have the sense that a real event was about to happen. And it was….

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