Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I'm off for my holiday break and wanted to wish you all a happy and joyous Christmas and new year. I know that the news reports that we link to here are often grim but I'm sure that most of you who visit this site are Christians who understand that beyond the headlines we know that God is sovereign and always in control. We know that this effort to be watchful has a purpose and a focus, and that focus is on Jesus Christ, the very reason for this Christmas season.

We watch the signs of His return, but this season is all about the First Coming, not the Second Coming, so as we turn to our families and friends to celebrate the holidays we offer thanks and praise to God and above all, celebrate Jesus as the reason for the season.

Hark the herald angels sing
lyrics by Charles Wesley

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Way News - Report: Israel's Olmert offered land swap
My Way News reports: "Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to swap Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip and West Bank in exchange for settlement blocs in the West Bank, the Haaretz newspaper reported Thursday, in the most detailed account of the former Israeli leader's proposed peace offer to the Palestinians."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Way News - Iran tests long-range missile, raises ire of West
My Way News reports: "Iran on Wednesday test-fired an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, which is capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, in a new show of strength aimed at preventing any military strike against it amid the nuclear standoff with the West."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CNN - Evangelist Oral Roberts dead at 91
CNN reports: "In 1947, he founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in Tulsa, 'and began conducting crusades across America and around the world, attracting crowds of thousands -- many who were sick and dying and in search of healing,' the biography said. 'Through the years, he conducted more than 300 crusades on six continents' and 'laid hands' on an estimated 2 million people, according to association officials."

Comment: Many of his followers lost faith in his leadership after his 1986 "God will call me home" fundraising plea, but there's no doubt that he was an evangelist who took the gospel message to millions of people all over the world.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Way News - Iran's president pledges support to Hamas leader
My Way News reports: "Iran's official news agency says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated his support for Hamas during a visit by the Palestinian militant group's Syrian-based leader. The report on Sunday said Ahmadinejad met the Hamas delegation led by group's political leader, Khaled Mashaal. [...] Iran does not recognize Israel and supports Lebanese-based Hezbollah and Hamas - two of the chief militant groups fighting the Jewish state."

My Way News - Hamas mobilizes mass rally in show of strength
My Way News reports: "Hamas mobilized tens of thousands of supporters on Monday for an anniversary rally meant to show the Islamic militant group has not lost support despite Israel's devastating military assault on Gaza a year ago. The crowd responded with chants of 'We won't recognize Israel' to a fiery speech by Hamas' prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, who said the movement scored a 'divine victory' against the Jewish state and will not lay down its arms."

Comment: Storm clouds are on the horizon. Iran has continued to fund and arm proxy fighters in an attempt to encircle Israel with Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south. The Israeli-Iranian cold war threatens to turn hot if diplomacy fails to deter Iran from becoming a nuclear state and the U.S. does nothing, leaving Israel in a dangerous position. With recent arms transfers to Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran has now pre-positioned missiles within striking distance of every major Israeli city, ensuring that any Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will result in immediate retaliation against Israeli civilians. With the clock counting down on Obama's end-of-year deadline for Iran, can war be averted?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Way News - Fast-growing Christian churches crushed in China
My Way News reports: "The closure of what may be China's first mega-church is the most visible sign that the communist government is determined to rein in the rapid spread of Christianity, with a crackdown in recent months that church leaders call the harshest in years."

Comment: In this Christmas season, please join me in praying for the persecuted church in China.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Space - Stunning Spiral Light Show over Norway
The Space Weather newsletter reports: "This morning in arctic Norway, onlookers were stunned when a gigantic luminous spiral formed in the northern sky. Veteran observers accustomed to the appearance of Northern Lights say they have never seen anything like it. It was neither a meteor nor any known form of atmospheric optics. Rumors that the spiral was caused by the botched launch of a Russian rocket have not yet been confirmed."

Light show sparks UFO buzz - Cosmic Log -
MSNBC reports: "A spectacular light show visible from northern Norway has energized the UFO crowd. Was that blazing pinwheel in the sky a signal from the aliens? Was it a practice run for an elaborate worldwide messianic hoax?"

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My Way News - EU: Jerusalem should be joint capital
My Way News reports: "European Union foreign ministers urged Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday to make Jerusalem their shared capital, prompting a swift, angry reaction from Israel."
My Way News - Students, militia clash in 2nd day of Iran protest
My Way News reports: "Hard-line militiamen firing tear gas and throwing stones stormed a crowd of thousands of university students protesting for a second day Tuesday, as Iran threatened a tougher crackdown on the opposition after the biggest anti-government demonstrations in months."

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Way News - NATO allies pledge up to 7,000 troops
My Way News reports: "NATO allies confirmed pledges on Monday for nearly 7,000 additional troops to serve alongside the 30,000 committed to Afghanistan by President Barack Obama, amid 'clear indications' that even more European reinforcements could follow in coming months."
My Way News - Iran student protests bring out tens of thousands
My Way News reports: "Tens of thousands of students, many shouting 'Death to the Dictator!' and burning pictures of Iran's supreme leader, took to the streets on more than a dozen campuses Monday in the biggest anti-government protests in months. Riot police and pro-government Basij militiamen on fleets of motorcycles flooded Tehran's main thoroughfares, beating men and women with clubs as crowds of demonstrators hurled bricks and stones."

My Way News - Police surround Tehran University to stop protests
My Way News reports: "Thousands of riot police and Revolutionary Guard members armed with tear gas, batons and firearms were deployed Monday outside Tehran University to prevent student demonstrations backed by the opposition."
My Way News - World Bank gives Palestinian Authority $64 million
My Way News reports: "The Palestinian Authority on Sunday signed an agreement with the World Bank and other donors for $64 million to help it prepare for statehood."

Comment: I hope some of that money goes towards Palestinian disarmament. There's no point in creating a new state if it's just going to become a militarized zone and launching pad for attacks on Israel.
My Way News - Historic climate debate opens, with boost from US
My Way News reports: "Delegates to a pivotal climate conference welcomed an Obama administration move Monday to regulate greenhouse gases under existing clean air law, but said they still expect more. The announcement came as the two-week meeting of 192 nations opened with emotional appeals from those countries endangered by rising seas and other damage from climate change."
My Way News - NASA to launch sky-mapping spacecraft
My Way News reports: "NASA's latest space telescope will scan the sky in search of never-before-seen asteroids, comets, stars and galaxies, with one of its main tasks to catalog objects posing a danger to Earth. The sky-mapping WISE, or Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, is scheduled to launch no earlier than before dawn Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast aboard a Delta 2 rocket."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

BBC News - Turkey FM Davutoglu embraces mediation role
BBC News reports: "Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu may not use the phrase 'regional power', but nearly everyone else does to describe his country's new influence in the Middle East, Balkans and Caucasus. [...] Mr Davutoglu describes Turkey's new regional vision as 'zero-problem' with its neighbours; its relations in particular with Iran, Iraq and Syria have improved dramatically compared to a decade ago."
My Way News - Official: Iran needs 20 enrichment sites
My Way News reports: "Ali Akbar Salehi, who also heads the nuclear program, told the official IRNA news agency that Iran needs the sites to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity through nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. [...] Iran's decision to dramatically expand its uranium enrichment program and scale back cooperation with the IAEA is widely seen as a slap to Western efforts to curtail Iran's nuclear program."
My Way News - Little resistance on day 2 of US-Afghan offensive
My Way News reports: "American and Afghan troops have met little resistance since Operation Cobra's Anger was launched Friday to disrupt Taliban supply and communications lines in the strategic Now Zad Valley of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, Marine officials said."

My Way News - US troop buildup is big; Afghan buildup is key
My Way News reports: "While the new U.S. war strategy was unveiled with worldwide fanfare, Afghan's defense force has been quietly planning its own troop buildup to break the Taliban's tightening grip on swathes of the nation."
Europe Bypassed on Climate Summit -
The New York Times reports: "No political entity has pushed harder for the Copenhagen conference on climate change to succeed than the European Union. But just days before the opening of the United Nations-sponsored meeting, the Europeans have been largely pushed to the sidelines, watching as the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the United States, seek to set the rules of the game. [...] European negotiators are also frequently at odds with their counterparts in the United States, who have bitterly criticized the legally binding structure created at Kyoto as cumbersome, unworkable and a threat to American sovereignty."

My Way News - A little background on Copenhagen talks
My Way News reports: "Some 15,000 delegates, environmentalists, scientists, journalists and others gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Monday to begin two weeks of negotiations on what to do about climate change. Here's a look at what's happening there."

Comment: There's no doubt that legally binding limits on emissions will undermine sovereignty and act as a restraint on trade and commerce. I'm all for voluntary actions, and if the EU wants to act to curb their emissions, let them, but forcing countries to take actions against the interests of their citizens is a losing game.
Samoan Tsunami wave was 46 feet high -
USA Today reports: "The tsunami that killed more than 200 people in the Samoan islands and Tonga earlier this year towered up to 46 feet (14 meters) high — more then twice as tall as most of the buildings it slammed into, scientists said Friday."
My Way News - Putin talks of possible return to presidency
My Way News reports: "Wagging his pen and gazing directly into the camera, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent his strongest signal yet Thursday that he plans to return to Russia's presidency, telling millions of TV viewers that he will consider running in 2012."
My Way News - At least 7,000 fresh NATO troops to bolster war
My Way News reports: "NATO allies will bolster the American troop surge in Afghanistan by sending at least 7,000 soldiers of their own, officials said Friday in pledges that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described as crucial to turning the tide in the stalemated war."
My Way News - Official says Iran to limit cooperation with IAEA
My Way News reports: "A nuclear official said Friday Iran will not answer to the U.N. nuclear watchdog about its plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment sites beyond the barest minimum required under the international nonproliferation treaty."
My Way News - US Marines launch offensive in Afghanistan
My Way News reports: "U.S. Marines swooped down behind Taliban lines in helicopters and Osprey aircraft Friday in the first offensive since President Barack Obama announced an American troop surge."

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

My Way News - Defiant Iran vows to enrich uranium even more
My Way News reports: "In a defiant speech, Iran's president declared Wednesday that his country will enrich uranium to a much higher level - a fresh rejection of an international plan to curb Tehran's nuclear program. Experts said that could put Tehran on the road to making the material needed to arm a warhead within months."

Comment: I could be wrong, but it doesn't really look like diplomacy is working.
My Way News - With glitz, EU marks start of Lisbon Treaty rules
My Way News reports: "Top European Union officials attended a ceremony Tuesday to mark the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which is designed to ensure the bloc has a more influential say in world affairs. The treaty took effect after years of wrangling within the 27-nation union over its provisions."
My Way News - China sentences 5 church leaders to labor camp
My Way News reports: "Five members of an unregistered Chinese Protestant congregation have been sentenced to two years in a labor camp following a police raid on their church, a monitoring group said Wednesday. The report comes less than a week after five leaders of the same church in the northern province of Shanxi were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years on charges including illegal assembly, the toughest punishments against unofficial church leaders in more than three years."
My Way News - Taliban: Afghan surge will mean more US fatalities
My Way News reports: "The Taliban rebuffed President Barack Obama's new war plan for Afghanistan on Wednesday, saying his strategy to send 30,000 new troops will only lead to more American casualties."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My Way News - Obama orders 30,000-troop boost in Afghanistan
My Way News reports: "Declaring 'our security is at stake,' President Barack Obama ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the long war in Afghanistan Tuesday night, nearly tripling the force he inherited as commander in chief. He promised an impatient public he would begin bringing units home in 18 months."