While world-famous pop singer Madonna is known for her shocking, often promiscuous music, her performance at the 2015 Grammy Awards reached disturbing new heights due to its overtly Satanic themes.
After being introduced by Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj as a "bada**, trouble-making international star," Madonna gave the first live performance of her new single, Living For Love, off her new album, "Rebel Heart" at the 57th Annual Awards on Sunday. Wearing a risque matador outfit, complete with red devil's horns, the 56-year-old mother-of-four danced across the stage with men dressed as demons.
The demons, who also wore revealing outfits, leaped around the "Crazy For You" singer and even simulated sexual acts with her while she sang the Gospel-influenced dance track.
Madonna then demanded the audience stand up and join in as she belted out lyrics, 'Love, love lift me,' before being pulled up into the air as the demons bowed down underneath her.
While the elaborate performance was praised by many critics, the satanic imagery and sexual overtones disturbed Christians, who took to social media to voice their opinions.
"It looks like Hollywood's fascination with demons and darkness is not going to end anytime soon...'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.' John 3:19" wrote radio host and pastor Geoffrey Grider.
"I'm disappointed by Madonna. It seems to me, that these global stars think they are just having a bit of fun...when what they are doing is literally playing with the devil... in their heart of hearts, do they really want to participate in the corruption of the masses? Is there anyone left I can admire?" wrote a YouTube user under a video of the performance.
This is not the first time performances at the Grammy Awards have offended those in the Christian community. Last year, Maddona, along with other artists, participated in a mass wedding involving 33 homosexual and heterosexual couples following a demonic perfromance by pop singer Katy Perry, prompting Christian singer Natalie Grant to leave the show.
At the time, Grant wrote on her Facebook page, "We left the Grammy's early. I've many thoughts about the show tonight, most of which are probably better left inside my head. But I'll say this: I've never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus. And I've never been more sure of the path I've chosen."
She later added, "I've judged no one. I hate no one. And I believe that every person has been created in the image of God. I will never stand on a street corner and wave a sign, I won't use my platform to engage in political arguments that will only divide and not unite. I will continue to pray that my life will be my message. I do have my own personal convictions that I live by, and I will continue to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord (Philippians 2:12).” (Contributor by Leah Marieann Klett for The Gospel Herald)
The ultimate idolatry is to replace God with Satan, whose ultimate idolatry was the desire to be “as the Most High.” It is in human hearts to worship. Even atheists hold to the idol of unbelief. Madonna was born into a Roman Catholic home, and some predict she will say her performance was simply artistic expression. The danger to performers is that they often worship themselves and see the adulation of their fans as no more than the homage they deserve. Satanic worship is growing. Pray that the Church awakens and speaks its message of life in a simple and compelling manner.
“And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex. 20:1-3)
“Professing to be wise, they (natural man) became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom. 1:22-25)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated once again his promise to stop at nothing to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear capabilities, or maintain the ability to do so quickly through a deal with the west.
His comments came US Secretary of State Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif Friday and again Sunday in Munich, where the top US diplomat stressed Washington's commitment to seeing the deadline met.
"The major powers and Iran are galloping toward an agreement that will enable Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons, which will endanger the existence of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said at Israeli government's weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu took aim at Kerry and Zarif, saying that their intention to complete a framework agreement by the end of March, forces Israel to take action. "From this (commitment stems the urgency of our efforts to try and block this bad and dangerous agreement.
"We will continue to take action and to lead the international effort against Iran's arming itself with nuclear weapons. We will do everything and will take any action to foil this bad and dangerous agreement that will place a heavy cloud over the future of the State of Israel and its security," Netanyahu said.
Kerry ruled out extending a March 31 deadline for Iran nuclear talks unless the basic framework of an agreement is hammered out, speaking in an interview aired Sunday.
"The only chance I can see of an extension at this point in time would be that you really have the outlines of the agreement," Kerry said in the interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" taped Saturday in Munich.
Global powers have been struggling for more than a year to pin down a comprehensive deal to rein in Iran's suspected nuclear program, after an interim accord was struck in November 2013.
After their meeting Sunday, Zarif appeared to rule out any new extension to tough negotiations with world powers.
Kerry said outlining the basics of the agreement was crucial before a possible extension could be considered, but reiterated his preference for sticking to the target date.
"But if we're not able to make the fundamental decisions that have to be made over the course of the next weeks, literally, I think it would be impossible to extend," he told NBC.
"I don't think we would want to extend at that point. Either you make the decisions to prove your program is a peaceful one, or if you're unable to do that, it may tell a story that none of us want to hear."
After missing two previous deadlines, the group known as the P5+1 - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States - set a March 31 deadline for a political agreement.
That would be followed by a final deal setting out all the technical points of what would be a complex accord by June 30.
But the atmosphere has been complicated by hardliners both in Iran and the United States, with US lawmakers threatening to impose new sanctions on Iran if the March deadline is missed. (Contributor: YNet News - AFP contributed to this report)
Most Christian intercessors already carry two major concerns. One is for Israel’s preservation and “new birth” in Jesus, their Messiah. The other is for the Church of Jesus Christ to awaken with a renewed vision to its primary purpose, which is to preach the Gospel of the kingdom in all the world before the end of this age. The present political situation is highly complex, with implications for the U.S. and Israel, as well as the growing influence and demands of Iran. Pray for divine wisdom so that you might intercede in accordance with God’s heart and purpose.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:6-7, 12-14)
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Lk. 18:1)
Leading Evangelist Franklin Graham took to Facebook on Thursday to respond to President Barack Obama's implication at the National Prayer Breakfast that ISIS' brutality abuse of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria is similar to that of Christian brutality over 1,000 years ago.
In a post on his public Facebook page, Graham, the son of world-renowned Evangelist Billy Graham and the current president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, argued that just because people have used Jesus' name for "evil" purposes in the past does not mean that Jesus actually called on his followers to do such horrible acts, like the Crusades.
"Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the President implied that what ISIS is doing is equivalent to what happened over 1000 years ago during the Crusades and the Inquisition," Graham wrote. "Mr. President — Many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires. But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness."
Graham further wrote that unlike Jesus, who lived His life without sin, Mohammed took many innocent lives.
"[Jesus] came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life. Mohammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people," Graham asserted. "True followers of Christ emulate Christ — true followers of Mohammed emulate Mohammed."
Graham and some other Christian advocates expressed disappointment that President Barack Obama used the brutality of Christians during the Crusades and Christians' use of slavery in America as a plea for religious tolerance.
Many critics claim that he should have focused on today's plethora of Muslim oppressors, who use the name of Mohammed to justify their attacks.
"Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history," Obama said. "And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
"So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith," the president continued. "No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number."
Outspoken Christian and a leading social conservative activist Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also criticized Obama for his easy willingness to condemn Christian brutality but inability to acknowledge terrorist ties to Islam.
Perkins told Fox News' Megyn Kelly that he thinks the president squandered a chance to bring more awareness to the lives of people currently being oppressed by Muslim oppressors, which currently includes an American citizen.
"What we have here is the president refusing to acknowledge that Islam and that ideology that is behind it that has been radicalized is being used to kill Christians," Perkins said. "This was a great opportunity for the president to draw attention to the genocide that is happening in the Middle East at the hands of Islam. This was a great opportunity for pastor Saeed Abedini, he could have used this opportunity to demand that Iran release him and send him home."
In his speech, Obama mentioned a recent trip he took to India where people of all faiths are targeted by people of other faiths. Perkins further criticized the president for not even bothering to mention his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, a Muslim kingdom in which some commenters claim has a religiously intolerant penal code that is as brutal as the Islamic State.
"He didn't mention his stop in Saudi Arabia on his way back to this country and the fact that they rank by his own State Department as one of the worst abusers of religious freedom in the world," Perkins explained.
Republican Louisianna Governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement on Friday responding to Obama's speech, stating that the president needs to wake up to the "reality" of today's religious extremism.
"It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast," Jindal said. "Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today."
Although the National Prayer Breakfast also featured a heartfelt keynote speech by hall-of-fame NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip about how Christ transformed his life, the event was "overshadowed" by Obama's "high horse" comment, Perkins said.
"That was overshadowed by the president talking about how faith is a weapon," Perkins said. "Faith is not a weapon. What we see is ISIS is using weapons to kill Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and the president cannot bring himself to say that." (Contributor: By Samuel Smith for Christian Post)
Give thanks for Rev. Franklin Graham, who spoke out forcefully about President Obama’s outrageous “history lesson” at the National Prayer Breakfast when he compared Church history with the killing record of Islam. Mr. Graham’s response was an appropriate rebuke. Old Testament prophets risked their lives to speak truth to kings. Surely, today’s Christian prophetic voices should be raised to correct elected fellow citizens when necessary, including our U.S. president. Pray for a consistent “conversation” to take place when elected officials profane Jesus Christ and the Christian religion.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Tim. 2:1-6)
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says fifth of ISIS-held land taken back. In revenge for burning of pilot, Jordan strikes 56 air raids since last Thursday.
Jordan announced it has carried out dozens of air strikes on the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, as a top US envoy said Iraqi troops would begin a major ground offensive against the jihadists in the weeks ahead.
Jordanian air force chief Major General Mansour al-Jobour said Sunday the kingdom had launched 56 air raids since Thursday as part of an international assault against ISIS that Washington says is beginning to bite, reports AFP.
Jordan has vowed an "earth-shattering" response after the Sunni extremists captured one of its air force pilots, Maaz al-Kassasbeh, burned him alive and released a gruesome video of the execution.
"On the first day of the campaign to avenge our airman Maaz al-Kassasbeh, 19 targets were destroyed, including training camps and equipment," Jobour told reporters.
John Allen, the US coordinator for the anti-ISIS coalition of Western and Arab countries, said Sunday that Iraqi troops would begin a major ground offensive against the jihadists "in the weeks ahead."
"When the Iraqi forces begin the ground campaign to take back Iraq, the coalition will provide major firepower associated with that," he told Jordan's official Petra news agency, stressing that the Iraqis would lead the offensive.
ISIS have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, brutally ruling the territory by Sharia Islamic law.
Jordan has vowed to crush the group after they released a highly choreographed video showing the murder of its pilot, who was captured in December when his F-16 warplane went down in Syria.
The air force chief said air strikes since last Thursday had destroyed dozens of targets, including barracks, training camps, ammunition and fuel depots, and residential centers.
"So far, the campaign has destroyed 20% of the fighting capabilities of Daesh," Jobour said, using another name for ISIS.
Jobour said more than 7,000 ISIS terrorists had been killed since Jordan began participating in coalition air strikes.
John Kerry said the aerial campaign, launched in September, was beginning to win back territory and deprive the jihadists of key funds.
There have been 2,000 air strikes on ISIS since the coalition's formation in August, Kerry told a security conference in the German city of Munich.
The air war has helped to retake some 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) of territory, or "one-fifth of the area they had in their control", he said.
The top U.S. diplomat did not specify whether the regained territory was in Iraq or Syria.
But he added the coalition had "deprived the militants of the use of 200 oil and gas facilities...disrupted their command structure...squeezed its finance and dispersed its personnel."
State media reported that a squadron of United Arab Emirates F-16 fighter jets arrived in Jordan on Sunday, escorted by pilots and technicians.
The UAE had withdrawn from the coalition's strike missions after the Jordanian pilot's capture over fears for the safety of its own airmen. But the US had said on Friday that UAE flights were likely to resume "in a couple of days."
C-17 transporters and refuelling planes were part of the UAE squadron sent on the orders of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the Petra news agency said.
Turning point for Jordan
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said Sunday that Kurdish forces had retaken from ISIS more than a third of the villages around Kobane, a strategic town on the Syrian-Turkish border.
The Kurds recaptured Kobane on January 26 after four months of fierce fighting backed by Syrian rebels and coalition air strikes.
But Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told ABC television that while the bombing campaign had "degraded" ISIS capability, the group was still in control of "vast territory."
Interior Minister Hussein Majali said in remarks published on Saturday that Kassasbeh's gruesome murder by ISIS was a "turning point" in the kingdom's fight against extremism.
As Jordan escalated its assault, ISIS claimed on Friday that an American aid worker it had taken hostage - 26-year-old Kayla Jean Mueller - had been buried alive under rubble by a coalition strike on its self-proclaimed capital of Raqa in Syria.
Mueller's parents said they were hopeful their daughter was still alive and appealed to ISIS to contact them in order to ensure her safe return.
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said Washington was seeking clarification on Mueller's fate.
"We're learning as much as we can as quickly as we can about Ms. Mueller's situation," he told CNN. "Our thoughts, our prayers are with her family right now." (Contributor: By Arutz Sheva Staff for Israel National News – Arutz Sheva and AFP News)
Even the most experienced intercessors agree with God’s Word when it tells us, “… we do not know what we should pray for as we ought…” In this case, we do not have facts, but we must ask, “Even if we did, would that be helpful?” Answer: No! It is not in “knowing” that we are strong but in the obedience of faith to pray for outcomes that will save the most lives and bring glory to God. Pray with awareness that our nation is in serious decline spiritually and morally. Pray for an awakening in the Church so Christians will put on God’s armor and fight for truth with spiritual weapons.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8:26-27)
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Here's something that many Americans -- including some of the smartest and most educated among us -- don't know: The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.
Right now, we're hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is "down" to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.
None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast "falling" unemployment.
There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
There's no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.
And it's a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory. A good job is an individual's primary identity, their very self-worth, their dignity -- it establishes the relationship they have with their friends, community and country. When we fail to deliver a good job that fits a citizen's talents, training and experience, we are failing the great American dream.
Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck. Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44%, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older. We need that to be 50% and a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America's middle class.
I hear all the time that "unemployment is greatly reduced, but the people aren't feeling it." When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth -- the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real -- then we will quit wondering why Americans aren't "feeling" something that doesn't remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class. (Contributor: By Jim Clifton for Gallup.com - Jim Clifton is Chairman and CEO at Gallup.)
Among polling organizations, none has any higher “trust rating” than Gallup, so when the Chairman speaks, everyone should listen. Intercessors should not only listen but pray. Sadly, many examples exist that demonstrate how much the public is being deceived by our government day after day. Pray especially for those whom you may know that are struggling just to meet survival expenses. Some are only a month or two away from homelessness. Please pray for national awakening and revival, so that U. S. leaders will be led to faith in Jesus Christ and become lovers of truth.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…” (Rom. 1:18-20)
Britain moved a step closer Tuesday to becoming the first country to legalize so-called three-parent babies, as lawmakers moved closer to allowing fertility labs to use genetic material from a mother, father and a female donor.
The debate in the House of Commons reflected the deep passions on both sides of the issue of allowing in vitro procedures that could prevent the passing on of inherited and incurable diseases through mitochondrial DNA, which is carried from mother to child.
Supporters say changing the law would offer hope to couples who otherwise would risk transferring diseases such as muscular dystrophy to their offspring. But a wide range of critics question the ethics of the proposal, saying it would be another step toward creating “designer babies.”
The proposal passed, 382 to 128, and moved to Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, where a vote is expected soon, although no date has been set. Commentators say the first three-parent baby could be born next year if the legislative effort succeeds.
“This is a bold step for Parliament to take, but it is a considered and informed step,” the parliamentary undersecretary for public health, Jane Ellison, said before the vote. “For many families affected, this is, indeed, that light at the end of the dark tunnel,” she added
The technique, called mitochondrial donation, involves replacing a woman’s faulty mitochondrial DNA with healthy DNA from a female donor. Even if the bill passes, couples seeking treatment would need the permission of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, Britain’s fertility regulator.
Religious leaders have voiced concerns, warning the government against rushing into a decision and arguing that more research is needed.
Fears over genetic manipulation are not unique to Britain. In the 1990s, the United States pioneered a technique called cytoplasmic transfer, aimed at helping infertile women to have their own babies. As part of the procedure, donor material containing mitochondrial DNA was added to the mother’s egg. Fewer than 100 babies were born before the Food and Drug Administration effectively banned the practice over medical and ethical concerns.
If the British procedure gets the green light, a baby conceived through the technique would receive its key genetic material from its mother and father, and just a small amount of DNA from a donor female, who would remain anonymous.
The aim is to help the estimated 2,473 women in Britain who are at risk of passing on possibly disease-triggering mitochondrial DNA to their children.
Mitochondria are tiny structures inside cells that act like batteries, providing energy to the cells. They also have their own DNA. When they do not function properly, the results can be devastating. Faulty mitochondria have been linked to blindness, deafness, dementia and muscular dystrophy.
A mitochondrion’s 37 genes are a small fraction of those in the human genome, and unlike nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA does not affect appearance characteristics such as hair color. The ban on tinkering with nuclear DNA would remain in place.
Still, should the law change, babies could be born with a very small fraction of their DNA, about 0.2 percent, from a female donor. Some opponents of the proposed legislative change speak of Britain’s stepping on to a slippery slope.
Fiona Bruce, a member of Parliament from the Conservative Party, said the move would be tantamount to letting “the genie out of the bottle.”
The bulk of the British scientific community, however, appeared to welcome the result of the vote and widely interpreted it as providing clear guidelines on what is acceptable.
“I don’t agree with the slippery slope argument at all,” said professor Alison Murdoch of Newcastle University, which has been at the forefront of mitochondrial research in Britain. “By having a legal framework that says you can do this but you can’t do the other without criminal sanctions, there is an absolute barrier.” (Contributor: By Karla Adam for The Washington Post - Karla Adam is a reporter in the Washington Post’s London bureau. Before joining the Post in 2006, she worked as a freelancer in London for the New York Times and People magazine.)
Intercessors, please handle this report as led and according to the knowledge and insights your experience has provided. Is it a ploy for genetic tampering? Is it a legitimate scientific breakthrough to facilitate healthier prenatal development? Most laypersons don’t know. The Christian viewpoint we hear is that to experiment with the Creator’s DNA and genetic code design carries great risk. Pray for discernment, and be watchful for signs of political manipulation. Most modern day scientists reason from a Darwinian evolutionary base, and their non-biblical conclusions are suspect.
“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.” (Ps. 146:5-7)
“Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Ps. 100:3)
Sunday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox News Sunday,” veteran journalist Bob Woodward said people in the military are complaining to him that the Obama administration has no strategy to defeat ISIS other then having people like Susan Rice “micromanage” military responses.
Woodward said, “If you talk to people in the White House and the military, I think there’s agreement and John McCain is right and General Flynn is right, there is no strategy. They have not sat down and said this is where we want to go and this is how we want to do it. And the measure of that, when you head into the weeds here, people from the White House are micromanaging the tactical situation on a daily and weekly basis. That’s not their job. They have to kind of do strategic planning and say what do we want to accomplish in the next year.”
When host Chris Wallace asked, “Wait a minute, are you saying that — forgive me, Susan Rice, is telling the generals what to do?” Woodard confirmed it by saying, “And they have got all these people in the White House. You talk to people in the military who are there and they say ‘we are being micromanaged and we’re not given a real plan to say what are we going to do here.’ And it’s not the way to run a war or try to win a war.” (Contributor: By Pam Key for Breitbart News)
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that  Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that  He was buried, and that  He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” (1 Cor. 15:1-5)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Rom. 1:16)
A new band of Pacific storms was headed toward the U.S. West Coast on Saturday, bringing more rain to drought-stricken California, while a different storm system threatened the Northeast with more snow and cold, forecasters said.
The West Coast storm system, known as the "Pineapple Express" because it develops in moist air moving across the Pacific Ocean, has dropped up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain across Northern California, Oregon and Washington state since Thursday, forecasters said.
"The storm is coming in several waves, and one of the largest was yesterday," said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The so-called "atmospheric river of rain" had tapered off on Saturday, with another well-defined wave of precipitation and strong winds beginning on Sunday, Burke said.
The rainfall was a boon to California, suffering its worst drought on record, but would not increase snow pack in the mountains, Burke said.
Honeydew, a town on California's northern coast, has already received 11.4 (29 cm) inches of rain, while Hoodsport, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula, has seen 8.06 inches (20 cm), the National Weather Service said.
Thousands of people temporarily lost power on Friday and nearly 200 flights were canceled out of the San Francisco area, local officials said.
Along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, several homes were evacuated when the Duckabush River flooded in Jefferson County, the sheriff's office said.
Across the country, the third winter storm in two weeks was heading toward the Northeast, promising light snow in New Jersey and New York City on Sunday into Monday and nearly a foot (30 cm) in parts of New England, including snow-socked Boston, Burke said.
Philadelphia, on the southernmost edge of the storm, will likely see rain, forecasts show.
To the north, parts of New York state, including Albany, Connecticut and Massachusetts will get 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) of new snow, Burke said.
The snowfall in Boston will come on top of 48 inches (122 cm) that has fallen since Jan. 23, according to forecasts.
Later in the week, much of the East Coast, from Virginia to Maine, will see the most frigid conditions yet this season, with temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit in many areas, Burke said. (Contributor: By Victoria Cavaliere for Reuters and Yahoo News - Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Frank McGurty and Dan Grebler)
Give thanks to God for the abundance of rain now reaching California and the northwest coast. Yes, the coastal deluge of rain (more than 10 inches in some areas) has brought commensurate issues of flooding and inconvenience in travel, but ongoing drought can turn the most comfortable oasis into a desert if it continues too long. We have prayed several times in these Alerts for relief from the drought in the Southwest and other California areas. This rain may save farms and much livelihood. Pray that the people will see God as the Provider and give thanks to Him.
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” (Ps. 107:21-22)
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex weddings to start in Alabama, letting the number of homosexual-marriage states climb in advance of a constitutional showdown that may mean legalization nationwide.
In a 7-2 order, the justices rejected Alabama’s bid to stop a federal trial judge’s legalization order from taking effect Monday. The state now will become the 37th where homosexuals can marry. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
The rebuff brings homosexual marriage to a state whose chief justice, Roy Moore, has told officials not to comply.
The Alabama request was the first to reach the high court since its Jan. 16 decision to take up the issue. Previously, the justices had let homosexual marriage start in Idaho, Alaska and Florida.
Each new state magnifies the potential complications should the high court rule against marriage rights. A ruling potentially would nullify lower court decisions that have required states to issue licenses, creating uncertainty about the rights of people who wed in the interim.
A federal judge in Mobile struck down Alabama’s ban last month, and her ruling is set to take effect Monday. A federal appeals court in Atlanta refused to step in, prompting Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to turn to the Supreme Court. Governor Robert J. Bentley supported Strange’s request.
Thomas, in a dissent joined by Scalia, wrote that “the court looks the other way as yet another federal district judge casts aside state laws without making any effort to preserve the status quo pending the court’s resolution of a constitutional question it left open” in 2013.
“This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution of that question. This is not the proper way to discharge” the court’s responsibilities.
The high court will hear arguments on homosexual marriage in late April and in all likelihood rule in late June. The number of homosexual marriage states has tripled since 2013, when a Supreme Court ruling on a federal benefits law cast doubt on state bans.
Since then, four federal appeals courts have backed marriage rights. The justices will review the sole appellate decision that said states could restrict marriage to heterosexual unions, hearing appeals from couples in four states -- Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.
In addition to the 37 states, the District of Columbia allows homosexual marriage, as do parts of Missouri.
The Alabama case is Strange v. Searcy, 14A840. (Contributor: By Greg Stohr for Bloomberg News)
American culture continues to descend into moral confusion as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” (Declaration of Independence) are further distorted. Alabama becomes the 37th state to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses. If there is divine power to bring national change, it resides in God’s people praying with “all prayer” and in unity. Will the Church in America awaken to the challenge? Consider joining IFA’s first Friday prayer conference call, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. ET. Call 712-432-0075, code 1412452#. On Feb. 6, more than 400 people from across the country took part by phone.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”(Gal. 6:9-10)
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication….” (Eph. 6:17-18)
Dozens of posters plastered across the University of Michigan caution students not to say things that might hurt others’ feelings, part of a new “Inclusive Language Campaign” at the state’s flagship public university that cost $16,000 to implement.
Words declared unacceptable through the campaign include “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto” and “raghead.” Phrases such as “I want to die” and “that test raped me” are also verboten.
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told The College Fix in an email the campaign aims to “address campus climate by helping individuals understand that their words can impact someone and to encourage individuals to commit to creating a positive campus community.”ILCinside
Students have been asked to sign a pledge to “use inclusive language” and to help their peers “understand the importance of using inclusive language,” according to campaign materials.
Though only in existence for one semester, the Inclusive Language Campaign has maintained a strong presence throughout the university. Students roaming the campus frequently encounter posters of all sizes reminding them: “YOUR WORDS MATTER,” and asking questions such as: “If you knew that I grew up in poverty, would you still call things ‘ghetto’ and ‘ratchet’?”
Representatives of the Inclusive Language Campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The College Fix.
Junior Kidada Malloy, who helps promote the program on campus, told the Michigan Daily the campaign “is a great program because it will improve the day-to-day language of students on campus by providing education around words that are offensive.”
Fitzgerald told The College Fix the university budgeted $16,000 for the campaign. The program comes at a time when the university has raised tuition and fees for the last two consecutive years.
“This program is intended to be educational, not regulatory,” Fitzgerald said of the campaign. “We hope there is only the understanding that we all participate in, and have the power to influence campus culture.”
ILC’s Facebook page includes a variety of inclusion-based material, inspirational quotes, personal stories, and even a video that details how to address a person by the correct pronouns. It operates in conjunction with two other campuswide initiatives, Expect Respect and Change It Up!, both of which emphasize inclusive words in and out of the classroom.
Students living in university housing are urged to take part in a Change It Up! workshop, which “brings bystander intervention skills to first-year housing residents for the purpose of building safe, inclusive, and respectful communities.”
Before and after completing these workshops, students fill out surveys in which they reflect on internal biases that may pose a threat to an “inclusive campus.”
As the Inclusive Language Campaign has enlarged its influence on campus through various kick-off events, interactive programming and provoking visuals, some students have called into question how it reconciles with the university’s policy on free speech, which “encourages open and vigorous discussion and strives to maintain an environment where the free exchange of ideas and opinions can flourish.”
Asked if the campaign stifles free speech, Fitzgerald said “we believe this program has just the opposite effect.”
“We believe it will make discourse more constructive by respecting the views and perspectives of others,” he said. “A campus conversation about the impact of words is good for everyone.”
The University of Maryland launched a similar campaign three years ago that cost $15,000. (Contributor: By Samantha Audia for University of Michigan - College Fix reporter Samantha Audia is a student at the University of Michigan.)
This is “common courtesy” to Christians, as basic Bible instruction is to be kind to others in daily discourse. However, Jesus displayed anger when appropriate, and he spoke harsh truth to religious leaders who used their exalted positions to deceive unwary followers. But the essence of His expression was kindness, calling people to repentance with words of forgiveness. The aim of these inclusive initiatives may well be laws later that will bring punishment to church leaders if they call homosexuality what it is or continue to define marriage as God does. Be in prayer and on watch.
“… but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— “ (Eph. 4:18)
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32)
“Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16)
Former Senator Rick Santorum, gave a rousing interview on Wednesday, warning Christians that they will face persecution for standing up for Christ.
Santorum gave the interview after the screening of "One Generation Away," a new docudrama that suggests Americans may be only one generation away from facing religious persecution. In it, he addressed the situation future American Christians may be dealing with for living their lives for Christ.
"I know how these stories end," Santorum told CNS News, "and if you're a believer you all know how it ends. And we know the good guys win, truth wins. And so your job is to just focus on being faithful, standing by the truth, fighting for the truth, understanding the world is broken, and that they will hate you and persecute you because you stand for Him and what He taught. And that's a great blessing, not something to be avoided but something to be embraced."
In a separate interview with The Christian Post, Santorum spoke more in-depth, and clarified his definition of persecution in the United States.
"If we don't nip it here, things get a lot worse. I used the term earlier in our conversation to describe what's going on in America is persecution but when I say that, I usually step back and say, you know, persecution here in America is fairly mild compared to what's going on in the Middle East … You've gotta use that term very advisably. Nothing like that is happening here in America, thanks be to God, but things weren't always that way in other parts of the world, either. It starts with a gradual erosion," Santorum explained.
Santorum is CEO of EchoLight Studios, which worked with the Family Research Council to produce the film, which is titled after a quote from former president Ronald Reagan, who said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." It is available on DVD now. (Contributor: By Sami K. Martin for Christian Post)
Christians in the West should take former Senator Rick Santorum’s words very seriously; indeed, please give thanks for his timely wake-up call to the Church in the U.S. We have been so fully protected from real persecution that we can easily forget it was both promised and prophesied by Jesus and New Testament writers. Let us meditate on the supporting Scriptures below and prepare our hearts for what it has meant in every age and almost every culture to be a follower of Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord. We add extra Scriptures for emphasis.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:10-11)
“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” (John 16:1-4)
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:12-13)