Holiday Family Movies

There’s no better way to hide out from the cold than by cozying up to a holiday movie (Rotten Tomatoes).

Holiday time is a great time for reflection and appreciation, and the holiday movies listed below is a way to take it easy and reflect on the good old days for the grown ups and a new beginnings for the young. The movies pick ranges from Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption in the adaptations of Christmas Carol  to the salvation of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. There is no better way to put yourself in the holiday spirit than with a classic holiday movie. Get the popcorn and drinks ready and relax to any or all of this classic holiday movies.

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece. Ebenezer Scrooge. Nominated for an Oscar.
Starring: Wayne Allwine, Alan Young, Will Ryan
Directed By: Burny Mattinson
Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Kids & Family
Directed By: Burny Mattinson
In Theaters: Oct 23, 1983 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Nov 5, 2013
Runtime: 25 minutes
  How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1967)
Critics Consensus: How the Grinch Stole Christmas brings an impressive array of talent to bear on an adaptation that honors a classic holiday story — and has rightfully become a yuletide tradition of its own.
Synopsis: Chuck Jones’ animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas originally aired on television in 1966 and has since become a holiday family favorite. Voiced by Boris Karloff (who also narrates), the Grinch lives on top of a hill overlooking Whoville with his dog, Max. Each year at Christmas time, the Grinch’s hatred grows stronger toward those insufferably cheerful Whos down in Whoville. Content to exchange presents, eat large banquets, and sing songs in the town square, the Whos live in a blissful ignorance of the Grinch’s contempt. One year, he gets the idea to stop Christmas from coming by dressing up as Santa Claus. He cobbles together an outfit and makes his dog drag him around on a sleigh while sneaking into the Whos’ homes and stealing their presents, food, and decorations. After he has stolen every last thing, the Whos wake up on Christmas morning to sing in the town square, causing the Grinch to question the basis of his nefarious plan. Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of kid cereal mascot Tony the Tiger) provides the vocals for the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” This story was remade into a live-action movie in 2000 by director Ron Howard starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
Starring: Boris Karloff, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, Eugene Poddany
Directed By: Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Rating: NR
Genre: Animation, Classics, Comedy, Kids & Family, Musical & Performing Arts, Television
Written By: Theodor S. Geisel
In Theaters: Jun 1, 1967 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Oct 31, 2000
Runtime: 26 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
  Holiday Inn (1942)
Critics Consensus: With the combined might of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Irving Berlin working in its favor, Holiday Inn is a seasonal classic — not least because it introduced “White Christmas” to the world.
Synopsis: Music by Irving Berlin, songs by Bing Crosby and dancing by Fred Astaire all add up to a really delightful musical that also just happened to launch the hit ‘White Christmas’.
Starring: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale
Directed By: Mark Sandrich
Rating: NR
Genre: Classics, Comedy, Musical & Performing Arts, Romance
Written By: Claude Binyon, Elmer Rice
In Theaters: Jan 1, 1942 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Nov 2, 1999
Runtime: 100 minutes
Studio: MCA Universal Home Video
  Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Sally Benson’s short stories about the turn-of-the-century Smith family of St. Louis were tackled by a battalion of MGM screenwriters, who hoped to find a throughline to connect the anecdotal tales. After several false starts (one of which proposed that the eldest Smith daughter be kidnapped and held for ransom), the result was the charming valentine-card musical Meet Me in St. Louis. The plot hinges on the possibility that Alonzo Smith (Leon Ames), the family’s banker father, might uproot the Smiths to New York, scuttling his daughter Esther (Judy Garland)’s romance with boy-next-door John Truett (Tom Drake) and causing similar emotional trauma for the rest of the household. In a cast that includes Mary Astor as Ames’ wife, Lucille Bremer as another Ames daughter, and Marjorie Main as the housekeeper, the most fascinating character is played by 6-year-old Margaret O’Brien. As kid sister Tootie, O’Brien seems morbidly obsessed with death and murder, burying her dolls, “killing” a neighbor at Halloween (she throws flour in the flustered man’s face on a dare), and maniacally bludgeoning her snowmen when Papa announces his plans to move to New York. Margaret O’Brien won a special Oscar for her remarkable performance, prompting Lionel Barrymore to grumble “Two hundred years ago, she would have been burned at the stake!” The songs are a heady combination of period tunes and newly minted numbers by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, the best of which are The Boy Next Door, The Trolley Song, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. As a bonus, Meet Me in St. Louis is lensed in rich Technicolor, shown to best advantage in the climactic scenes at the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Lucille Bremer, Mary Astor
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli
Rating: G
Genre: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family, Musical & Performing Arts, Romance
Written By: Irving Brecher, Fred F. Finklehoffe
In Theaters: Nov 28, 1944 limited
On Disc/Streaming: Apr 6, 2004
Runtime: 113 minutes
Studio: MGM
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Critics Consensus: Deftly directed by Ernst Lubitsch from a smart, funny script by Samson Raphaelson, The Shop Around the Corner is a romantic comedy in the finest sense of the term.
Synopsis: The Shop Around the Corner is adapted from the Hungarian play by Nikolaus (Miklos) Laszlo. Budapest gift-shop clerk Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and newly hired shopgirl Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) hate each other almost at first sight. Kralik would prefer the company of the woman with whom he is corresponding by mail but has never met. Novak likewise carries a torch for her male pen pal, whom she also has never laid eyes on. It doesn’t take a PhD degree to figure out that Kralik and Novak have been writing letters to each other. The film’s many subplots are carried by Frank Morgan as the kindhearted shopkeeper and by Joseph Schildkraut as a backstabbing employee whose comeuppance is sure to result in spontaneous applause from the audience. Directed with comic delicacy by Ernst Lubitsch, this was later remade in 1949 as In the Good Old Summertime, and in 1998 as You’ve Got Mail. It was also musicalized as the 1963 Broadway production She Loves Me. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Starring: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut
Directed By: Ernst Lubitsch
Rating: NR
Genre: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Romance
Written By: Samson Raphaelson
In Theaters: Jan 1, 1940 limited
On Disc/Streaming: Oct 1, 2002
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: MGM
Toy Story That Time Forgot (2014)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a post-Christmas play date, the gang find themselves in uncharted territory when the coolest set of action figures ever turn out to be dangerously delusional. It’s all up to Trixie, the triceratops, if the gang hopes to return to Bonnie’s room in this Toy Story That Time Forgot. (C) Disney
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kristen Schaal, Kevin Mckidd
Directed By: Steve Purcell (II)
Rating: NR
Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation
Written By: Steve Purcell (II)
In Theaters: Dec 2, 2014 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Nov 3, 2015
Runtime: 22 minutes
Studio: Disney/Pixar
 A Christmas Carol (1938)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: One of the better versions of the Dickens classic features Reginald Owen as Scrooge, real-life relatives Gene, Kathleen and June Lockhart as the Cratchit family, and Terence Kilburn as Tiny Tim.
Starring: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Leo G Carroll
Directed By: Edwin L. Marin
Rating: G (nothing objectionable)
Genre: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Written By: Hugo Butler
In Theaters: Dec 16, 1938 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Nov 8, 2005
Runtime: 99 minutes
Studio: MGM
Paddington (2015)
Critics Consensus: Paddington brings a beloved children’s character into the 21st century without sacrificing his essential charm, delivering a family-friendly adventure as irresistibly cuddly as its star.
Synopsis: From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you,” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist. (c) Weinstein
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Ben Whishaw, Julie Walters
Directed By: Paul King (VII)
Rating: PG (for mild action and rude humor)
Genre: Comedy, Kids & Family
Written By: Hamish McColl, Paul King (VII)
In Theaters: Jan 16, 2015 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Apr 28, 2015
Box Office: $85,879,985
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: The Weinstein Company
 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Critics Consensus: Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle.
Synopsis: Edmund Gwenn plays Kris Kringle, a bearded old gent who is the living image of Santa Claus. Serving as a last-minute replacement for the drunken Santa who was to have led Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Kringle is offered a job as a Macy’s toy-department Santa. Supervisor Maureen O’Hara soon begins having second thoughts about hiring Kris: it’s bad enough that he is laboring under the delusion that he’s the genuine Saint Nick; but when he begins advising customers to shop elsewhere for toys that they can’t find at Macy’s, he’s gone too far! Amazingly, Mr. Macy (Harry Antrim) considers Kris’ shopping tips to be an excellent customer-service “gimmick,” and insists that the old fellow keep his job. A resident of a Long Island retirement home, Kris agrees to take a room with lawyer John Payne during the Christmas season. It happens that Payne is sweet on O’Hara, and Kris subliminally hopes he can bring the two together. Kris is also desirous of winning over the divorced O’Hara’s little daughter Natalie Wood, who in her few years on earth has lost a lot of the Christmas spirit. Complications ensue when Porter Hall, Macy’s nasty in-house psychologist, arranges to have Kris locked up in Bellevue as a lunatic. Payne represents Kris at his sanity hearing, rocking the New York judicial system to its foundations by endeavoring to prove in court that Kris is, indeed, the real Santa Claus! We won’t tell you how he does it: suffice to say that there’s a joyous ending for Payne and O’Hara, as well as a wonderful faith-affirming denouement for little Natalie Wood. 72-year-old Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his portrayal of the “jolly old elf” Kringle; the rest of the cast is populated by such never-fail pros as Gene Lockhart (as the beleaguered sanity-hearing judge), William Frawley (as a crafty political boss), and an unbilled Thelma Ritter and Jack Albertson. Based on the novel by Valentine Davies, Miracle on 34th Street was remade twice: once for TV in 1973, and a second time for a 1994 theatrical release, with Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Starring: Edmund Gwenn, John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood
Directed By: George Seaton
Rating: NR
Genre: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Special Interest, Romance
Written By: George Seaton
In Theaters: Jan 1, 1947 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Oct 16, 2001
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
  Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: Walt Disney Animation Studios’ magical classic Beauty and the Beast returns to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D(TM), introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. The film captures the fantastic journey of Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara), a bright and beautiful young woman who’s taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voice of Robby Benson) in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff-a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others-and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince. — (C) Disney
Starring: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury
Directed By: Gary Trousdale
Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Drama, Kids & Family, Musical & Performing Arts, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance
In Theaters: Nov 22, 1991 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Oct 8, 2002
Box Office: $47,611,331
Runtime: 85 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista
   It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Critics Consensus: The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing.
Synopsis: This is director Frank Capra’s classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it’s Christmas Eve, 1946, and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey’s dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out. But first, Clarence is given a crash course on George’s life, and the multitude of selfless acts he has performed: rescuing his younger brother from drowning, losing the hearing in his left ear in the process; enduring a beating rather than allow a grieving druggist (H.B. Warner) to deliver poison by mistake to an ailing child; foregoing college and a long-planned trip to Europe to keep the Bailey Building and Loan from letting its Depression-era customers down; and, most important, preventing town despot Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over Bedford Mills and reducing its inhabitants to penury. Along the way, George has married his childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed), who has stuck by him through thick and thin. But even the love of Mary and his children are insufficient when George, faced with an $8000 shortage in his books, becomes a likely candidate for prison thanks to the vengeful Potter. Bitterly, George declares that he wishes that he had never been born, and Clarence, hoping to teach George a lesson, shows him how different life would have been had he in fact never been born. After a nightmarish odyssey through a George Bailey-less Bedford Falls (now a glorified slum called Potterville), wherein none of his friends or family recognize him, George is made to realize how many lives he has touched, and helped, through his existence; and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakens to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life. Capra’s first production through his newly-formed Liberty Films, It’s a Wonderful Life lost money in its original run, when it was percieved as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life. Only after it lapsed into the public domain in 1973 and became a Christmastime TV perennial did it don the mantle of a holiday classic. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
Directed By: Frank Capra
Rating: PG (for thematic elements, smoking and some violence)
Genre: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Written By: Frank Capra, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett
In Theaters: Dec 25, 1946 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Sep 19, 1995
Runtime: 135 minutes
Studio: Liberty Films
  Frozen (2013)
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon.
Synopsis: Featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, “Frozen” is the coolest comedy-adventure ever to hit the big screen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction. (c) Disney
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad
Directed By: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck
Rating: PG (for some action and mild rude humor)
Genre: Animation, Kids & Family
Written By: Jennifer Lee
In Theaters: Nov 27, 2013 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Mar 18, 2014
Box Office: $400,736,600
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures


Iraq is ‘Fully Liberated’ from ISIS Control

by Amanda Casanova | “Dear Iraqis, your land has been completely liberated, and your towns and villages have been returned to the homeland,” the prime minster said in a televised speech this weekend. “The dream of liberation became a reality (YouTube).”

The Iraqi military says it has “fully liberated” the territories that had been under the control of “ISIS terrorist gangs.”

“Our heroic armed forces have now secured the entire length of the Iraq-Syria border,” Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on his Twitter account. “We defeated Daesh (ISIS) through our unity and sacrifice for the nation. Long live Iraq and its people.”

ISIS had taken control of many large territories in Syria and Iraq. According to CNN, the group controlled more than 34,000 square miles of area from the Mediterranean coast to just south of Baghdad.

Over the past few months, Iraqi soldiers have been working to reclaim those territories. In November, the last town under ISIS control was reclaimed.

The campaign took more than three years and included about 25,000 coalition airstrikes.

 “Dear Iraqis, your land has been completely liberated, and your towns and villages have been returned to the homeland,” the prime minster said in a televised speech this weekend. “The dream of liberation became a reality.”

“ISIS dream has come to an end,” he added. “We must remove all its effects and should not allow terrorism to return again.”

Experts estimate that ISIS has displaced more than 3.2 million people.

“Our people have paid a high price for its security and stability and the blood of its finest youth, men and women,” Al-Abadi said. “Millions of families have suffered the hardships of displacement.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, said the U.S. would still be available to held Iraqis. The U.S. has contributed nearly $1.7 billion in assistance dollars to Iraq since 2014. Another $265 million was also spent to help with stabilization in the country.

“We honor the sacrifices of the Iraqi people, its security forces, and the Kurdish Peshmerga, and admire the unity in their ranks that had made this day possible,” Brett McGurk wrote on his Twitter. “That spirit must be renewed and continue as Iraq works to consolidate these historic gains over the coming year.

“Our @coalition will continue to stand with #Iraq to support its security forces, economy, and stabilization to help ensure that #ISIS can never again threaten Iraq’s people or use its territory as a haven,” he wrote. “We mark today’s historic victory mindful of the work that remains.”

 



A Response to Enemies of the Faith

by Anthony Esolen | For the person whom we show to be ignorant is not the only one in the picture. When in doubt, err on the side of gentleness, and never resort to cheap abuse. Keep the truth in mind, and then fight as well as you can (images from Inspiration Ministries).

Charlie Brown and Linus are sitting on the floor, looking at something in a book and laughing. Lucy comes up to them and asks what they are laughing at. They show her, and she asks, “Why are you laughing at it?”

“Because we don’t understand it,” they say.

In old days, people among the intelligentsia who rejected the Christian faith were not entirely ignorant of what they were rejecting, even if they were usually also not deeply learned in Christian history, art, literature, philosophy, and theology. Sometimes they were learned, as was Henry Adams, who compared the cathedral to Our Lady at Chartres favorably to the “dynamo,” the most impressive invention on display at a great scientific exposition in Paris. Sometimes, like the sad and humane Matthew Arnold, they knew that the Christian faith had brought to the world the highest and noblest morality that man had ever found, and they wanted to preserve and even enhance that morality, if such a thing were conceivable, even while they could no longer accept the faith itself. Sometimes they were embittered enemies, like Nietzsche, who still understood, though in a monstrously distorted way, the grandeur of the God whose death they declared.

None of that is true now. None of it. We must say it to ourselves over and over. The enemies of the faith are no more learned than are all too many of our fellow believers. One Ta-Nehisi Coates, a self-described atheist, and a recipient of a popularly called “genius award” from the MacArthur Foundation, caused something of a stir a year ago when he admitted, without embarrassment, not only that he had never read Saint Augustine, but that he had never even heard of him. The self-styled “new atheists” do not read Thomas Aquinas, or John Henry Newman, or Etienne Gilson, or anybody, except perhaps once in a while in snippets detached from the whole and misunderstood. It’s downhill from there, if you are talking even about college professors in the humanities, let alone professors in the usually hostile social sciences, professors in other fields, school teachers, television personalities, journalists, and everybody with a computer and an account on social media.

We would be far better off with people who had never heard of Jesus Christ, and who would therefore approach our faith with some humility and care, just as any ordinary thinking person would do, upon encountering a culture that was utterly foreign to him. Instead we are dealing with people whose brains are filled with scraps and rags of what used to be the faith, and who therefore think they know all about what they have never bothered to investigate at all. Worst among them are those who went to a Catholic school, as I did, and picked up a small bundle of moral laws, tarnished, bent, and broken, without any connection one to another, to the human good, or to the nature of God himself. As they see it, they are in the know.

The danger that these people pose to our young people is severe, and not ever to be underestimated. We know, for example, that very few people are ever moved to accept the faith as a result of rational demonstration. Pascal understood this—Pascal with the relentlessly mathematical mind, who, as his sister writes of him, played with conic sections when he was a small boy. “When they do help some people,” says Pascal of the metaphysical proofs of God’s existence, “it is only at the moment when they see the demonstration. An hour later they are afraid of having made a mistake.” And even when they assent to the validity of the proof, that is not sufficient; that is not the virtue of faith. Satan knows that God exists, and knows it to his burning rage and despair.

But the converse of this truth is that people will lose their faith also not by rational demonstration, but by appeals to their feelings, by the powerful motion-in-inertia of the crowd, and by such things as ridicule. For a good man can hold his head high in noble suffering, and pride himself on his faithfulness; ridicule is harder to endure than the scourge. Ridicule rips the heart out of a young person. The young man who would bloody his knuckles in a fight for the faith may hang his head in shame when his friends laugh at him. The young woman who in a better time would inspire others with the nobility of her virtues and the purity of her love, will wilt like a flower in a dry land when her friends aim at her the barbs of false compassion for sinners and sentimental approval of their sin, letting her know without needing to say it openly that she would be contemptible if she did not go along with them on their sweet LOL way to vanity and delight.

How do we arm them, then, for the battle as it actually will be engaged? You do not send somebody into the field with bayonets when the enemy has hand grenades. You do not suit up with shoulder pads and a helmet for a basketball game.

My readers here may have many suggestions, born from their own experience in the battle, and they are most welcome to make them public. I have one here—one among many, but I have time only to mention this one. I give it with some hesitation, because it makes all the difference whether we are arguing with someone directly and not in public, or rather arguing publicly on behalf of one of our fellow Christians, or on behalf of the faith itself. It must also be done with some care, with some eloquence and poise, lest the weapon backfire. The suggestion is that stupidity and absurdity must be exposed as such.

Let me illustrate. Someone says that we should not force our morality down people’s throats because of some “archaic sky-god” we believe in. Such a person is massively ignorant. Christians do not believe in a “sky-god,” and indeed that is the very point of the first verse of Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He created the heavens; the sacred author mentions the sun and the moon as mere instruments for bestowing light upon the earth, and not as divinities, and mentions the very stars as if they were afterthoughts. No Christian has ever believed that God dwelt in the sky. That sky may well be used as a feint, hardly even an image, of the “heaven of heavens” that is the presence of God; it is natural in man to do so. But God has placed his throne no more in the sky than in New Jersey, or rather he is infinitely present everywhere in his creation, in New Jersey no less than beyond the Milky Way. When Dante has ascended with Beatrice to the final sphere, the Empyrean, she is careful to say to him that this ring has no location but in the mind of God. All “where” and “when” spring from this place that is no place and this time that is no time, because it comprehends all place and all time.

So we might train ourselves and our children to answer back: “Tell us, since you know it so well, where in the New Testament the Father is said to dwell in a sky, or where Saint Augustine says that God is hovering over our heads? Or tell us, since you know, what sky-god it was that Father Georges Lemaitre believed in? Do you not know who Father Lemaitre was? He was Einstein’s friend, and the first proposer of what we call the Big Bang theory. Did you not know this? About what other great fields of human thought and human culture do you deliver your sentences of contempt, without knowing anything about them? Do you treat Chinese culture the same way, without knowing anything about it? Do you treat other human beings the same way, whom you have never met? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”

Or I hear that the moral teachings of the Church are “archaic.” Not old and venerable, even, but archaic, like a horse and buggy, or windmills. What is meant, of course, is that the Church’s sexual teachings are archaic, because, well, people want what they want and don’t care too much how they get it. How to respond?

We might do so in this vein. “I was not aware that human nature had changed. When did it do that? Or is human nature different also from one place to another? Does right turn into wrong and wrong turn into right when you cross a time zone? Does right turn into wrong and wrong turn into right when your odometer flips to 100,000, or when you tear off a certain month from your calendar? But assuming you are right, and we are now so enlightened in this particular feature of human life, where is this joyous wonderland you promise us? For surely new and improved morals must bring about joyous and wonderful people. Where is this land of new and improved wisdom, where joyous and wonderful people are all eager to marry, and do marry, and have plenty of happy children, and have only words of appreciation and gratitude for members of the other sex—men for women and women for men, rather than just for the one not-so-bruised apple out of a bucket of stinkers? Where is all this joy? When was the last time you yourself expressed gratitude for the other sex, and admiration for their virtues, rather than just for the one you culled from among the brown and soft and wormy?”

We can’t all fight in this way. But some people, in some situations, can and should. We must be ready with a response, and we should keep in mind the whole rhetorical and spiritual situation. For the person whom we show to be ignorant is not the only one in the picture. When in doubt, err on the side of gentleness, and never resort to cheap abuse. Keep the truth in mind, and then fight as well as you can.

Professor Anthony Esolen is a teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).



Preparing for Christmas – The Matthew 6:6 Way

by Christy Fitzwater | For all the time I spend on my knees in front of paper sacks, doling out sweet treats and wish-list fulfillment, I spend a much longer, more precious time on my knees in front of the Father. Praying for this one and that one. Attending to the details of so many hearts and lives.

Only the mother may pass.

Behind the door of Jayme’s room (still hers in our hearts, even though she has a man and a mortgage now) lie growing mounds of Christmas treasures. Nondescript paper grocery sacks carry only a name on the outside but hand-picked stocking stuffers on the inside.

On the floor in the closet are a few folded, college-ruled papers that hold my nice list. (Not a naughty in the whole lot.) After my covert ops into town, I slip stealthily into the gift room and disperse the latest gifts.

Cross them off the list.

This is a work I do alone every December—poring over the names and the wish lists, stashing surprises and organizing delightful gifts we only splurge on once a year.

But that is only one of my two secret Christmas rooms.

The other is a place I slip into by myself as well, but in this room, the names are on note cards tucked into a plain paper mache box. So many names, and this Christmas I am poring over each one with secret prayer.

Sick people. Friends making decisions. Lost souls for whom I am fighting. Missionaries. Church family. Impossible requests that I’m just sure God is going to take care of quite nicely. Mental struggles. Emotional turmoil. Brothers in Christ overseas. Children. Parents. Grieving hearts. Empty pocketbooks. Hearts that need growing.

For all the time I spend on my knees in front of paper sacks, doling out sweet treats and wish-list fulfillment, I spend a much longer, more precious time on my knees in front of the Father. Praying for this one and that one. Attending to the details of so many hearts and lives.

Jesus says:

But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matt. 6:6).

Go into your room, mothers.

Go into your room during the Christmas season, and do the secret work of tending to names. This is a meaningful, lasting, world-altering gift you give.

This article originally appeared at christyfitzwater.com.

Christy Fitzwater is an author and pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the author of Blameless: Living A Life Free from Guilt And Shame and My Father’s Hands: 52 Reasons to Trust God with Your Heart. Find her devotional writing at christyfitzwater.com.



Sharing the Gospel with Family During Christmas

by Tim Brister | If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family.

I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close Friends, and Others You Know Well. This is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my community. I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.

In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps for sharing the gospel with your family. I thought they were very thoughtful and practical. Check them out.

1.  If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your family. Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.

2.  Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving. This may be more difficult for some people than others. Regardless of your family’s well-being, thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can identify.

3.  You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on your darkness of sin.

4.  If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family. Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with bold confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than evangelistic. You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.

#3 nailed me.

One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you might be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a Christian. In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a superficial level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the conversation to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.

Tim Brister is a pastor and elder at Grace Baptist Church. Find out more on his blog: Provocations and Pantings.



The Christian Life

GotQuestions.org | What is the Christian life supposed to be like?

The Christian life is supposed to be a life lived by faith. It is by faith that we enter into the Christian life, and it is by faith that we live it out. When we begin the Christian life by coming to Christ for forgiveness of sin, we understand that what we seek cannot be obtained by any other means than by faith. We cannot work our way to heaven, because nothing we could ever do would be sufficient. Those who believe they can attain eternal life by keeping rules and regulations—a list of do’s and don’ts—deny what the Bible clearly teaches. “But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11). The Pharisees of Jesus’ day rejected Christ because He told them this very truth, that all their righteous deeds were worthless and that only faith in their Messiah would save them.

In Romans 1, Paul says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power that saves us, the gospel being the good news that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. When we enter into the Christian life by faith in this good news, we see our faith grow as we come to know more and more about the God who saved us. The gospel of Christ actually reveals God to us as we live to grow closer to Him each day. Romans 1:17 says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” So part of the Christian life is diligent reading and study of the Word, accompanied by prayer for understanding and wisdom and for a closer, more intimate relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17). He who loved us and died for us now lives in us, and the life we live is by faith in Him. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.

The Christian life is also supposed to persevere to the end. Hebrews 10:38-39 addresses this issue by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Habukkuk: “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” God is not pleased with one who “draws back” from Him after making a commitment, but those who live by faith will never draw back, because they are kept by the Holy Spirit who assures us that we will continue with Christ until the end (Ephesians 1:13-14). The writer of Hebrews goes on to verify this truth in verse 39: “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” The true believer is one who believes to the end.

So the Christian life is one lived by faith in the God who saved us, empowers us, seals us for heaven, and by whose power we are kept forever. The day-to-day life of faith is one that grows and strengthens as we seek God in His Word and through prayer and as we unite with other Christians whose goal of Christlikeness is similar to our own.

 



Healthy Living

Making just a few changes in your lifestyle can help you live healthier and longer (image, Gatago).

A recent study found that four bad behaviors—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising, and not eating enough fruits and veggies—can hustle you into an early grave, and, in effect, age you by as many as 12 years.

Fortunately, you can do something to correct these and other unhealthy behaviors. Adopt the following nine habits to keep your body looking and feeling young.

Don’t overeat
If you want to live to 100, leaving a little bit of food on your plate may be a good idea. Author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity around the world, found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they are feeling only about 80% full.

St. Louis University researchers have confirmed that eating less helps you age slower; in a 2008 study they found that limiting calories lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism—and speeds up the aging process.

Get busy
Having satisfying sex two to three times per week can add as many as three years to your life. Getting busy can burn an impressive amount of calories—sometimes as much as running for 30 minutes. (Which would you rather do?)

Regular sex may also lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, boost your immunity, and protect your heart.

Turn off the TV
Too much time in front of the boob tube can take a serious toll on your health. In fact, a 2010 study found that people who watched four or more hours a day were 46% more likely to die from any cause than people who watched less than two hours a day.

Even cutting back a little can help; each additional hour you watch increases your overall risk of dying by 11% and dying from heart disease by 18%.

Stay out of the sun
Avoiding too much sun can head off skin cancer, and it can also keep you looking young by preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin.

It’s never too early—or too late—to add sunscreen to your daily skin-care regimen (look for an SPF of 30 or higher). And don’t focus only on your face. Sun damage spots and splotches on your chest and neck will also make you appear older.

Reach out
Research shows that you’re at greater risk of heart disease without a strong network of friends and family. Loneliness can cause inflammation, and in otherwise healthy people it can be just as dangerous as having high cholesterol or even smoking.

Loneliness seems to pose the greatest risk for elderly people, who are also prone to depression.

Drink in moderation
Women who have two or more drinks a day and men who have three or more may run into detrimental effects ranging from weight gain to relationship problems. But in smaller quantities, alcohol can actually be good for you.

A 2010 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology linked light drinking (defined as one drink a day for women and two for men) to significant heart benefits.

Eat fruits and vegetables
Getting fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day can eat away at your health. Nutritional powerhouses filled with fiber and vitamins, fruits and veggies can lower your risk of heart disease by 76% and may even play a role in decreasing your risk of breast cancer.

As an added bonus, the inflammation-fighting and circulation-boosting powers of the antioxidants in fruits and veggies can banish wrinkles.

Focus on fitness
Daily exercise may be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. A 2008 study found that regular high-intensity exercise (such as running) can add up to four years to your life, which isn’t surprising given the positive effects working out has on your heart, mind, and metabolism.

Even moderate exercise—a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example—can lower your risk of heart problems.

Don’t smoke
Quitting smoking is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your health—and your life span. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quit smoking by age 35 add roughly six to eight years to their lives.

It’s never too late to kick the habit. Quitting can slow disease and increase survival odds even in smokers who have already caused significant damage to their lungs, like those with early lung cancer or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

See original article on the health.com website.



Hindu Extremists Beat Pastors, Stop Gospel Event in Chhattisgarh State, India

Morning Star News Southern India Correspondent | Morning Star News | “The activists slapped Pastor Santosh Rao thrice and beat us both,” Pastor Jogi said. “By then we understood that these people will not let us conduct prayers.” (image, YouTube)

Berating and slapping two pastors into signing an apology letter before police, Hindu extremists stopped a planned three-day gospel meeting in Chhattisgarh state, India minutes before it was to begin, sources said.

Hindu nationalists beat pastor Vijay Jogi and pastor Santosh Rao minutes before the start of the first meeting, where about 1,000 people had gathered at the Railway Grounds in Charoda, Durg District on Nov. 16, pastor Amos James told Morning Star News.

“Pastor Vijay Jogi and Pastor Santosh Rao were receiving the people at the entrance,” Pastor James said. “Suddenly a mob of 70 Hindu Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal activists gheraoed [encircled] the entrance, and Pastor Jogi and Pastor Rao were beaten and summoned to the police station.”

Pastor Jogi told Morning Star News the hard-line Hindus were shouting, “Jai Sri Ram, Jai Sri Ram [Hail lord Ram].”

“The activists slapped Pastor Santosh Rao thrice and beat us both,” Pastor Jogi said. “By then we understood that these people will not let us conduct prayers.”

The 45-year-old father of two received a call from the Government Railway Police at around 6 p.m., minutes before the opening prayer. Police told him come to the police station immediately and warned him to call off the event, he said.

As in the previous 20 years, church leaders had obtained prior permission from both the railway and the railway police to conduct the event, a campaign that in past years has seen many people turn to Christ, he said. The Hindu extremists claimed organizers also needed permission from the sub-judicial magistrate.

“In the pamphlets we distributed earlier inviting people to attend the meeting, I quoted Luke chapter 7 and verses 22 and 23,” Pastor Jogi said. “The Hindu activists began arguing with us, ‘You are promoting blind beliefs. How can lame walk? How can deaf hear? How can you raise the dead? When your God can do all this, why are you people going to the doctors then?’

“They told me it is very wrong that I have written these lines. I said, ‘I did not write these words. It’s a verse taken from the Holy Bible and applies to the entire humankind.”’

Pastor Jogi tried telling them that in those verses Jesus Christ was telling John the Baptist the things people had seen and heard, and they told him, “We are offended by these lines,” he said.

“For which I immediately responded with apologies,” he said, telling them, “If because I quoted these lines in the pamphlet, it is offending you at personal level, I apologize to you brothers. We are very sorry!”

They then questioned them about permission, and Pastor Jogi showed them the railways and Grounds Railway Police permission letter, he said. They told him they needed permission from the sub-judicial magistrate.

“For past 20 years the Railway Grounds has been the venue for gospel meetings, and like every year we only had permission from the Railways and Railway Police since this area falls under the jurisdiction of Charoda Railway Police Station,” Pastor Jogi told Morning Star News.

The Hindu Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal extremists took them to the police station, as even the Railway Police, for the first time, started questioning whether they had received permission from the sub-judicial magistrate, he said.

“The police told me to settle the matter here and stop the event immediately,” Pastor Jogi said. “I was cautioned while Pastor Rao and I were in the police station that the activists are tearing and burning the banners, breaking the tube lights, chairs and dismantling the stage. The police officer told us even if he lodged a case [against the extremists], it would go strongly against us, and that even he can’t help it. The police did not register an FIR.”

Church leaders had made elaborate preparations to make the facilities ready for the event, but federal and state governments are against Christianity, Pastor Rao said.

“There is very little hope for Christians in a situation like this,” said Pastor Rao, who in 2012 was falsely accused of forcible conversion. “In the police station, we were forced to sign a letter handwritten by the activists under the supervision of BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] worker Rajguru Ghosale. The letter said by conducting this meeting we hurt the feelings of Hindus, we sincerely apologize for it and cancelling the event. They slapped me to sign it.”

In the presence of police, the Hindu extremists repeatedly badgered the pastor with questions, Pastor Jogi said, asking them, “Why are you calling Hindus to your events? Why are you conducting open gospel meetings publicly? Why are you converting Hindus?”

“Right in front of the police they warned, ‘You must never go to a Hindu’s house, you work among the Christians only,’” Pastor Jogi told Morning Star News. “I told them our Christian meetings and gatherings are open for all. I don’t ask each person who attends the prayers whether they are a Muslim or Hindu. When we gather, it is in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ we gather, and His arms stretch out to everybody.”

Christians in Charoda are living in fear and have not filed any case against the Hindu extremists or police, sources said.

Attorney Son Singh Jhali told the Christian leaders that they could take action against the extremist forces and police, but the pastors declined, he told Morning Star News.

Hindu nationalist groups have gathered several times in Charoda, plotting how to attack Christians, a source who requested anonymity told Morning Star News. Local BJP leaders supply alcohol to youth and instigate them to attack Christians in the state, the source said.

“My daughters, ages 13 and 5, ask me, ‘Why is there so much opposition to the gospel, Dad? Why do they hate Jesus? They hate us because we are Christians?’” Pastor Jogi said with tears in his eyes. “I tell them, ‘They may hate Him, but the Lord still loves them. And, we must love everyone just as our Lord is loving us.’”

The pastors prayed after the forced cancellation of the gospel event.

“We will conduct the gospel meetings again in May. We are not giving up this time. With permissions from all the authorities and government officials, we will conduct the meetings,” Pastor Jogi said. “The activists are following me wherever I go. I know there is threat to my life. But I have dedicated my life fully to my Lord’s work, and I will be at it till my last breath.”

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, the hostile tone of his National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist BJP, against non-Hindus has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 15th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the countries where Christians experience the most persecution.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved.  
 
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British Missionary Kidnapped in Nigeria has been Killed

by Veronica Neffinger | Squires was one of four British missionaries who were abducted by the Nigerian cult in the country. He was working to help provide eye care for people in the country.(image, McKinsey & Company)

A British missionary who was abducted in October by a Nigerian cult has reportedly been killed.

According to Open Doors USA, Ian Squires was shot after leading a group in singing “Amazing Grace.”

“This missionary, Ian Squire, he was a real person,” said David Curry, of Open Doors USA. “He’s a real human being who was giving his life to try to help these folks in the south of Nigeria, and he was kidnapped and killed for his faith.

“And there are many people like him in Nigeria who have names and faces and families. They’re not all British, most of them are Nigerian themselves but they love Jesus and they’re dying for their faith.”

Squires was one of four British missionaries who were abducted by the Nigerian cult in the country. He was working to help provide eye care for people in the country.

“It’s just another example of what’s happening in Nigeria, although in a different vein,” Curry said. “Nigeria is a country that’s divided into—you’ve got the southern portion that’s largely Christian, but you have tribal factions in the north. You have these extremists from Boko Haram. It’s a country that is being pulled in a lot of directions.”

In November, a child suicide bombing killed more than 50 people in a mosque attack and another conflict between herders and farmers killed at least 30 people.

Nigeria is ranked number 12 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where Christians face the worst persecution.

“We are a particular people called by the name of Jesus,” Curry said. “We are called in Scripture to care for, to pray for others who are in chains or persecuted for the name of Jesus, and we have not done it. We do it on an incidental basis if we hear about an episode.

“This needs to be integrated into every church, every small group, every person’s prayer life that you’re praying for what God is doing in Africa, in Nigeria, those imprisoned and hurt and attacked, because we’re family.”

 



‘Paul, Apostle of Christ’ Gets its First Trailer

by Anita Busch | The story covers Paul, portrayed by Faulkner, going from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Jesus Christ’s most influential apostle….Set For Easter Week.

A first-look teaser trailer just dropped for the James Faulkner-Jim Caviezel faith-based film Paul, Apostle of Christ, which comes from Sony’s Affirm Films label. It follows the epic story of the man who went from persecutor of the church to a follower of Christ. The film, from writer-director Andrew Hyatt, will be released March 28, the Wednesday before Easter.

The story follows Paul (Faulkner), who suffers alone in a Roman prison, awaiting his execution under Emperor Nero. Mauritius (Olivier Martinez), the ambitious prison prefect, can hardly see what threat this broken man poses. Once he was Saul of Tarsus, the high-ranking and brutal killer of Christians. Now his faith rattles Rome. At great risk, Luke the Physician (Caviezel) visits the aged Paul to comfort and tend to him—and to question, to transcribe and to smuggle out Paul’s letters to the growing community of believers. Amid Nero’s inhuman persecution, these men and women will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and change the world.

Paul, Apostle of Christ, which was filmed in Malta, also stars Joanne Whalley and John Lynch. It was produced by David Zelon and T.J. Berden. Executive producers are Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Eric Groth.

The film was done with Sony in association with Giving Films as an ODB Films production in association with Mandalay Pictures.



The Fight Before Christmas

by Regis Nicoll | The fight over Christmas has been raging ever since the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod. Yet the story endures—not only because it speaks to our greatest need and deepest longing, but because it is true.

Black Friday, 6:15 AM. The checkout lane was already twenty persons deep, but worse—it hadn’t moved in five minutes. As I scanned the other seven lanes, they were no better. Resigned, I took my place in line clutching the electronic gadgetry I had snatched up in my bargain-hunting frenzy.

As everyone knows, deep mark-downs await the deal-hungry consumer on the day after Thanksgiving. But the experienced shopper knows the real deals go to the “doorbusters”—those gritty individuals who forgo shaving, makeup, and even breakfast to be the first in the door. Of course the scarcity mentality of a disheveled and hungry horde can lead to some pretty uncivil behavior…

The lady behind me, also bothered by the slow lane, settled into the queue sighing, “Well, at least this is orderly—not like the first store.”

“First store? It’s only 6:15. What time did you start today?”

“Four. I tell ya, them folks was crazy … pushin’, shovin’, and grabbin’ stuff left and right. They even started fightin’ after a guy broke in line … two of ‘em rollin’ in the aisle … crazy folks!”

“You’re kidding.”

“It was ugly! I got no complaints now. Believe me. Them folks was crazy!”

As I listened, I recalled a scene from Jingle All the Way (1996) with Myron Larabee (Sinbad) and Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in an aisle-rolling melee on Christmas Eve. In their determination to grab up the season’s most popular toy, the warring duo resort to lying, stealing, wrestling, and even bomb threats. Why? As Howard’s son explains, “Johnny’s gonna get one. So is everybody else I know. Whoever doesn’t is going to be a loser.”

The “L” word seems to bring out the fight in us. While Jingle is hyperbolized for the sake of humor, there is much truth in its caricatures.

Marketing Christmas
Let me first say that Christmas is my least favorite holiday: not for what it represents, but for what it has become: a heavily marketed secular event in which the pressure to wow family and friends with presents, decorations, and Christmas dinner is enough to unravel all but the most determined Martha Stewart wannabe.

Indeed, for many folks the holiday’s months-long juggernaut can lead to post-Yuletide trauma, as the good news of “For to us a child is born” is buried in the rubble of discarded gift wrappings, turkey scraps, and unmet expectations.

For businesses, Christmas sales account for up to 50 percent of annual profits. Consequently, the season is a “make-it-or-break-it” time and retailers must be ever creative to avoid being a year-end “loser.”

One of the most prevalent schemes is “Christmas creep”—the continued expansion of the holiday season. If you’re like me, you barely recall the time when stores waited until after Thanksgiving to put out their Christmas merchandise. Today, many stores begin their retail campaign the day after Halloween and some shortly after Labor Day.

Not surprisingly, the resultant holiday overlap can lead to some awkward product placement. For instance, in Rite Aid stores Halloween merchandise was displayed across the aisle from Christmas items in symbolic tension.

Another strategy is to design obsolescence into products. How many of us have electronic or computer devices gathering dust which, although just a few years old, lack connectivity or compatibility with newer products and software? This tactic is optimized by introducing the latest techno wiz bangs during the Christmas season. Even the film industry gets in on the act by releasing their big wave of blockbusters and Oscar hopefuls after Thanksgiving.

Over the last several years, though, a new marketing ploy has been gaining momentum.

“Grinching” Christmas
What would have seemed lifted out of a Dr. Seuss story just a decade ago is a real life drama today. After generations of growing consumerism, Christmas has become a perennial target of those who are intent on stripping away all religious references and symbols from the public square.

The stories are familiar: city injunctions against nativity scenes, school bans on Christmas carols, plays, and cards with religious messages, the renaming of Christmas break to Winter break, and so on.

In the retail world, the “C” word is avoided in the belief that a welcoming atmosphere and healthy bottom line depend on a religion-free marketplace.

The “grinching” of Christmas—robbing it of its Object and true meaning—is necessary to make ever more space for commerce.

But as the push to co-opt Christmas as a season of partying and corporate profits continues, Christians should reclaim a vision of it in keeping with the highest ideals of Christianity: peace, good will, charity, and love—ideals at diametric odds with the indulgent consumerism that characterizes the season today.

Consider the tradition of gift-giving. What began in the fourth century as the charitable giving of essentials to the needy has become the exchange of non-essentials among the not-so needy. Thus, the outward emphasis of the original tradition has taken a decided inward turn: from unilateral charity to reciprocal gift exchange.

What’s more, driven by media hype and escalating expectations, too many of us end up spending too much, with money we don’t have for things we don’t need. Not only is that a bad exercise of Christian stewardship, it fuels the materialistic push towards a Christ-less Christmas.

That is not to say that Christians shouldn’t exchange gifts. It only means that the Christian ideal should be balanced toward true charity and that gift exchange should be well within the means of the giver.

Reclaiming a Christian vision extends to other Christmas traditions as well. Take the Christmas tree, for instance.

Despite its pagan origin, the Christmas tree points heavenward, inviting us to turn our gaze to Christ who was nailed to a tree to become the Tree of Life. It also evokes the Vine, through whom life courses out to connecting “branches.” Its red and white decorations bid us to rejoice as those who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” And its piquant scent and evergreen color stir our senses, directing our thoughts to the life that is ever new and ever-lasting.

The fight over Christmas has been raging ever since the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod. Yet the story endures—not only because it speaks to our greatest need and deepest longing, but because it is true.

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.

∼ Charles Wesley (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)

Regis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. His new book is titled Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.

 



True Diversity Found in the Unity of Christ

by Anthony Esolen | We are too used to the habits of everyone around us. We conform ourselves to the time, and save no one, because we can hardly tell in what regard we have anything to give them.

At the school where I used to teach, diversity has become the word of faith, an intellectual idol to conjure by. It does not mean that you study a variety of cultures. It couldn’t mean that. Otherwise we would have been in very Diversity Heaven, as we introduced our students to ancient Babylon, Homeric Greece, the Greece of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, ancient Israel, republican and imperial Rome, the early Christians spread from Asia Minor across North Africa all the way to Spain and Britain, the Germanic tribes—and that was just in one semester. No, it couldn’t mean that. By the testimony of the haters of the program I have described, that was the great offender against diversity. But now you can fulfill your “diversity proficiency” by taking one of any number of courses in modern feminism, a western phenomenon so familiar to graduates of American schools, they might well repeat the catechism in their sleep:

“Why did God make you?”

“She made me to battle against the patriarchy now and forevermore.”

“What caused humanity’s fall from grace?”

“Humanity fell when society adopted hierarchical structures that oppressed women and minorities.”

“What does the body mean?”

“The body means what I want it to mean. I own my body. My body is mine to do with as I please.”

“What is the first commandment of sexual liberation?”

“The first commandment is that I own my body, and no one shall have any say over what I choose to do with it, not parent, not spouse, not priest.”

We came to a parting of the ways, that school and I. And it occurs to me that that must happen in all Christian churches, schools, and homes, if we really wish to show man a way of life that diverges from the world’s gloomy stumbling on to unhappiness in this life and Lord only knows what futility and loss in the next. We must not be like our neighbors anymore.
    

I’m reading, for one of my classes at Thomas More College, Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel set in the last days of Saints Peter and Paul, Quo Vadis? The Rome of that imperial matricide, mass murderer, poetaster, and buffoon, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero, was “a nest of evil,” “a seat of power, madness but also order, the capital of the world and also mankind’s most terrible oppressor, bringer of laws and peace, all-powerful, invulnerable, eternal,” so wicked, that Peter cannot fathom why God should lead him to build the Church upon such a foundation. Even the libertine Petronius understands that such a Rome cannot endure. “A society based on brute force and violence,” thinks that arbiter of taste, “on cruelty beyond anything possible among the barbarians, and on such universal viciousness and debauchery, could not survive forever. Rome ruled mankind, but it was also its cesspool and its seeping ulcer. It reeked of death and corpses. Death’s shadow lay over its decomposing life.”

Rome, pagan Rome, was exhausted. She would, in the next few centuries, produce a few fine public buildings, some aqueducts and roads, one near-great poet (Juvenal), a sad philosopher king (Marcus Aurelius), and a brief efflorescence of Platonic mysticism not uninfluenced by Christianity. That was it.

The west, the post-Christian west, is exhausted. She exceeds ancient Rome in population by twenty to one, she enjoys plentiful food and drink, and labor-saving (and labor-eliminating) machines, and the moral heritage of its Christian past, mainly spent down and in many places mortgaged. But she is exhausted.

I call to witness our opponents. I do not say that there is a “rape culture” on our college campuses. They do. I do not say that men and women share no fundamental interests. They do. I do not say that it is impossible for people to remain innocent and sexually pure before marriage. They do. I do not say that the murder of a child in the womb is a fair price to pay for—a fair price, a job, economic autonomy. They do. I do not say that sex is meaningless. They do. I do not say that historical developments are inevitable and must carry us along with them willy-nilly, as dead things on a swollen river. They do. I do not say that freedom of speech is an outmoded notion. They do. I do not say that the pursuit of truth, outside of the quantifiable sciences, is a chimera. They do. I do not say that human existence itself must be transcended, or rather cast away. They do. I do not say that a man who is suffering from a terminal illness, or who knows that he is going to suffer it, has no more to live for, and nothing to give to God or his fellow man. They do. I do not say that churches ought to be turned into antique stores. They do.

They are exhausted. What wisdom does Hollywood have to impart? Or our rulers by the million in Washington and its fungal environs? Or professors, who write so poorly and read so little? Or artists, who strain their nerves and drain our wallets to produce what is ugly, garish, and stupid? Exhausted.

Quo Vadis? is a story of the irruption of the Christian faith into that exhausted world. Its protagonist, a young patrician named Marcus Vinicius, learns of a God who makes the Roman pantheon look ridiculous and shabby, and a force, a new thing in the world, Christian love, that the world dreads and yet desperately needs. Greece brought the world beauty, and Rome brought the world power, says his uncle Petronius, but what do these Christians bring? From what Petronius can see, all they bring is gloom; they spoil what few and fleeting pleasures are available to man in this life. But by the end of the novel Petronius admits that it is not so, though he cannot share in this new thing, this adoration of the God of love.

Vinicius will become a baptized follower of Christ. His passionate and violent desire for a young Christian woman—whom he would kidnap and rape rather than not enjoy—will be transformed, through his own defeat and humiliation, and a veritable miracle of Christ that saves her from the bloodthirsty Nero, into a love that he had never known, and that requires him to change his life forever. So he writes to Petronius, pleading with him to become Christian also. “Compare your fear-lined delights,” he says, “your concern for material objects when none of you is sure of tomorrow, your orgies that seem like funeral suppers, and you’ll find the answer. Come to our thyme-smelling mountains, to the shade of our olive groves, and to our ivy-covered coast. Peace waits for you here, the kind of peace you haven’t known in years. And love waits for you here, in hearts that truly love you. You have a good and noble soul, Petronius. You deserve to be happy. Your brilliant mind can recognize the truth, and when you’ve seen it, you will come to love it.”

What Vinicius holds forth to his uncle is to all appearances an ordinary human life, but it is not ordinary at all, because it is permeated with the only really new thing in this old dead world, the love of Christ. The Christians do not divorce their spouses. They do not expose unwanted children. They do not go on sprees of sad debauchery. They are grateful when God blesses them with peace, and grateful when he blesses them with the suffering that unites them with the Son. They possess all things as if they possessed none. They think first of the kingdom of God.

If we are not then conspicuous by our divergence from the world, we have not been faithful enough. I am as much to blame as anybody. We are too used to the habits of everyone around us. We conform ourselves to the time, and save no one, because we can hardly tell in what regard we have anything to give them.

Here I can say at last that I have found a place of true diversity. Yet I note that this divergence of Thomas More College, a place of cheerfulness and youth and wisdom and health, from the way of the world depends upon our being at one. We come to a fork in the road. It will not be possible to be half for Christ and half for the world. The choice must be made. Nor can it be made as individuals here and there. If the world is ever to see a truly divergent way of life, the people who take that way must take it in earnest and not pretend.

The very existence of Thomas More College depends upon unity in that regard. We are all aiming for the same good things. You could not have, among the Christians of old, some people who still sacrificed to Bacchus and men who still went after boys and women who still procured abortions; that would have been the same old world, with a little perfume. So now we cannot have a diversity that means no more than conformity to the world. Things are clearer than ever. Unity in Christ alone can give the world the diversity it needs.

Professor Anthony Esolen is a teaching fellow and writer in residence at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Dr. Esolen is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine and the author of many books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books, 2010) and Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). His most recent books are Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching (Sophia Institute Press, 2014); Defending Marriage (Tan Books, 2014); Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books, 2015); and Out of the Ashes (Regnery, 2017).



Jim Bakker Is in Tears as He Shares This Prison Revelation


Be aware this is a vision/dream but Heaven is Real
Kevin Sorbo’s latest film is about a man who dies for four minutes and experiences the afterlife. Televangelist Jim Bakker says this concept is one he was obsessed with in prison.

Watch the video to see how it affected him.



The Reason Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Sinned – And How Our Generation Is Following Suit

by Rabbi Eric Tokajer | Yes, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the older generation has failed and left a legacy that has been less than perfect to the next generation. And yes, the upcoming generations must keep the vision of doing better, achieving more and seeing real change in our world (image, USCatholic.org – Sins of the Father).

This week, I continue traveling across Israel, and one thought that keeps traveling through my mind is how often the different characters we read about in the Bible walked and re-walked over the exact same places. We see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob journeying in the same location through the wilderness and valleys that we later read about Joshua and Caleb walking. We continue to read about King David and the prophets traveling in the same locations and even in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we read about these same valleys and mountains.

This historical truth caused me to wonder if the differing generations looked at where they were and where those before them were and wrestled within their minds with the idea that the people of G-D didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Think about it: Generation after generation walking back and forth over the same pieces of property. The people prospered at times, were then overtaken by their enemies and dispersed from Israel, only to return once more to start what appeared to be the same cycle over again.

It would only be human to wonder if it was all just pointless. It has often been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Yet, we find the children of Israel continuing to journey north, south, east and west over the same ground, doing the same things year after year.

You may be reading this and wondering to yourself, How is this relevant to me today? After all, you may never make a trip to Israel. (Although, I hope everyone reading this will—it is a life-changing trip). Let me try to answer.

Over the past few months, I have been dialoging with both ministry leaders and young people with a desire to be involved in ministry about the generational differences in thoughts and mission mindsets. Now, before I go on, let me say these same conversations went on in my parents’ generation, my generation and in my children’s generation and will continue to take place in the generations that follow.

Each generation, just as the generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is traveling the same journey over the same ground with the same goals. Yet, each generation with the advances in education, technology and experience believes they can improve the way they journey and bring about better results than the generation before. The younger generation looks at the traditional form of congregational worship and involvement with skeptic’s eyes. They want to make a real difference. They want to change the world. They want to feed the poor, clothe the needy and more. And as with every generation they look down at their feet metaphorically and see they have been asked to walk over the same ground one more time and, as with every generation before, they want change.

It was when I stood in the city of Beersheba I realized that while desire to solve the world’s problems is admirable and is extremely biblical, sometimes we forget the reason the Israelites walked over the same ground over and over is that land was the land G-D gave them. The land is their inheritance. Just as G-D established community worship and congregations, G-D established weekly Shabbat gatherings and Holy Day convocations.

While these old-fashioned journeys may be what the generations before us did, walking the same journey over and over, the journey was designed and the map provided by G-D. Yes, we have failed to do what we could to change our world many, many times. Yes, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the older generation has failed and left a legacy that has been less than perfect to the next generation. And yes, the upcoming generations must keep the vision of doing better, achieving more and seeing real change in our world.

But, this must be done by staying within the boundaries establish by G-D. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob didn’t fall into sin because they were journeying within the promised land or because they were in the “same old place.” They sinned because they didn’t do the right things while they were where G-D placed them. Likewise, the failures of the body are not because of the structure of congregations or because of Shabbat and Holy Day commemorations. Our generations’ failures are because we are not doing what we were commanded to do within and outside of our congregations.

It isn’t about changing G-D’s plan; it’s about following His plan.

Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry and #Man Wisdom: With Eric Tokajer.



Praise & Prayer, December 2017

EMS OF ECWA
PRAISE & PRAYER, NOVEMBER 2017

Prayer/Counseling hotline: 08033673654, 08051614880
E-mail: prayerpromotion@emsofecwa.org
Website: www.emsofecwa.org
Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess. 5:25)
WEEK ONE – FOCUS IS ON PRAISE/THANKSGIVING
FROM HOME AND CROSS-BOARDER MISSION FIELDS
“Praise be to the Lord, the God … who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to us…”
Gen 24:27

FRIDAY 1ST
Praise God for sustaining EMS, its management team, its field missionaries, its office staff and all supporters from January to December 2017.

SATURDAY 2ND
Praise God for the converts made through EMS mission programs carried out at different times by our missionaries in their various mission fields. Ask the Lord to sustain them in faith and to keep safe those who are being persecuted because of their conversion.

WEEK TWO – FOCUS IS ON EMS HOME MISSION FIELDS

“Therefore I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.” 2 Sam 22:50

SUNDAY 3RD EMS HEAD OFFICE

  • Praise God with the EMS Management Team for God’s grace, wisdom for right and strategic decisions, safety in all travels, and divine protection over their families throughout the year 2017.
  • Praise God for the retirement service of Rev. & Mrs. Idris Sarkin-noma holding today, 3rd of December, at ECWA Church Ungwan Maichibi in Kasuwan Magani DCC. Pray for the success of the program and for other retirees as they serve God in other ministry capacities.

NOTE: WE ARE FASTING TOMORROW
First (1st) Monday of every month is to be observed nationally and internationally as ems prayer and fasting day. Therefore, all ems arms, missionaries, office staff, prayer partners and supporters should please endeavor to join the ems international head office in prayers. We join faith and trust god in one accord with brethren around the world for a steady and fruitful growth of the work of missions, peace and the salvation of nations, for revival and spiritual growth of the church. Our prayer time at the head office is 8-9am, 12-1pm, and 3-4 pm respectively. You can join us in prayers wherever you may be at those times or make out time of your own convenience as you are led by God. Please, just be sure to pray along as you fast.

MONDAY 4TH CENTRAL REGION – GARKI

  • Praise God for His grace on Rev. Slash Gana, the Central Regional Coordinator, to coordinate this region’s mission activities all year.
  • Praise God for the life, works and families of missionaries working under this region.
  • Praise God for the mission stations in this region that have been weaned into a full-fledged church this year.

TUESDAY 5TH NORTH WEST – KADUNA

  • Praise God for His grace on Rev. Gambo Ayuba, the North West Regional Coordinator, to coordinate this region’s mission activities all year.
  • Praise God for the increased number of supporters that have been added to the committed supporters in this region.
  • Praise God for the safety of missionaries, and for the safe release of a missionary’s wife, children and church members that were kidnapped at one point in this region.

WEDNESDAY 6TH MID-CENTRAL – KAGORO

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Zakka Ma’aji, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region throughout this year.
  • This region has been faced with several challenges this year, including low mission supports, attacks on mission stations, and threats on missionaries’ life and families, but through all of these and many more, God has sustained them. Praise God for His providence and divine protection.

THURSDAY 7TH MID EAST REGION – LAFIA DCC

  •  Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Dutse Adamu, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region.
  •  Praise God for the life and ministry of all the missionaries working in this region and for all the progress recorded in the work of making converts, disciples and planting churches through this year.

FRIDAY 8TH FAR NORTH REGION – MALUMFASHI

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Yahaya Bungule, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region.
  • Despite the much opposition the Gospel receives from the fanatical unbelievers in this region, God has in His wisdom drawn many to His saving grace. Praise God for the wisdom He grants missionaries working in this region and for the power of the Gospel through which many are being reached and won to the Kingdom.

SATURDAY 9TH FAR NORTH WEST REGION – KEBBI

  • Praise God for His grace on Rev. Mazadu Korau, the regional coordinator of this region, to coordinate this region’s mission activities from January to date.
  • Praise God for the faith of missionaries working in this region with their families.
  • Praise God for the success of the missionary wives seminar that was held in Yauri in Kebbi DCC.

WEEK THREE – FOCUS IS ON EMS HOME MISSION FIELDS

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done” (Psalm 105:1, NIV)

SUNDAY 10TH NORTH EAST REGION – GOMBE

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Yunana Misal, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region.
  • Praise for the success of mission awareness held in this region in various DCCs this year, most recent among them is the one in ECWA Bore DCC.

MONDAY 11TH SOUTH EAST REGION – ABA

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Egelonu Obinali, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region through the year.
  • Praise God for new stations that were opened in this region and for strategic lands that were donated by mission-minded individuals for the purpose of church buildings and other mission-related structures.

TUESDAY 12TH SOUTH NORTH EAST REGION – TARABA

  • Praise God for His grace on Rev. Nehemiah T. Magaji, the South North East Regional Coordinator, to coordinate this region’s mission activities from January to date.
  • Praise God for the safety of all EMS missionaries working in this region, especially those working among ruthless unbelievers. We also thank God for the number of converts made from amongst them.
  • Praise God for the success of the mission conference held in Shongom DCC with a fundraising for the coordinator’s official house building project.

WEDNESDAY 13TH NORTH CENTRAL REGION – JOS

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Yahaya Bungule, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region.
  • Praise God for the mission progress recorded in this region this year, such progress includes the weaning of churches; the most recent is that of Perkumban Prayers in Miango DCC

THURSDAY 14TH SOUTH WEST REGION – ILORIN

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Oladipo Cornelius Taiwo, the regional coordinator of this region, for sound health, divine protection in travels and for wisdom to coordinate the mission activities for this region.
  • This region over time has been faced with various manpower and financial challenges, but God in His mercy has sustained us through all the hurdles; praise God for His grace on the missionaries and the existing mission stations.

FOCUS ON CROSS BORDERS MISSION FIELDS

FRIDAY 15TH GHANA

  • Thank God for the success of ECWA Ghana’s maiden convention, with Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado as guest speaker.
  • Thank God for the baptism of 8 people at the Adawukwa church, Ghana and the purchase of two and one-half plots of land at Young Tamale, Ghana.

SATURDAY 16TH MALAWI
Thank God for the privilege given to Rev. Sukukum to go to USA to fellowship with one of the partners of EMS. It was a refreshing moment and highly encouraging. He returned to meet his family in Malawi in good health – Praise to God.

WEEK FOUR: FOCUS ON CROSS BORDERS MISSION FIELDS

“Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22, NIV)

SUNDAY 17TH ECWA MALI CHURCH

  • Praise God for granting healing to Rev. Amah’s wife, who was totally down for about three weeks after her delivery. We also appreciate God for providing the money for the hospital bill.
  • Praise God for the testimonies surrounding holiday classes of the Amahs in Mali; some of the university students that attended are willing to continue with evening classes.
  • Thank God for a successful dedication of children in ECWA Bamako, Mali; the Hamidous and the Amahs dedicated their daughters to the glory of God.

MONDAY 18TH ECWA BURKINA FASO CHURCH

  • Praise God for the progress of the registration of ECWA Burkina Faso.
  • Praise God for the successful election of ECWA Burkina Faso leaders.
  • Praise God for Pastor Jean Marie in Burkina Faso who has started a prayer meeting in another location in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

TUESDAY 19TH ECWA BENIN REPUBLIC CHURCH

  • Praise God for the successful inauguration of ECWA Porto Novo, Benin Republic prayer house and the progress of the field.
  • Praise God for the successful registration of ECWA Benin Republic. ECWA is now officially registered with the government of the country.

WEDNESDAY 20TH ECWA NIGER REPUBLIC CHURCH

  • Praise God for His abiding grace prevailing over evil forces of darkness in Niger Republic.
  • Praise God for His guidance over new converts in the Niger Republic field.
  • Praise God for open doors to share the Gospel throughout this year in Niger Republic in spite of stiff oppositions.

 

THURSDAY 21ST ECWA TOGO CHURCH

  • Praise God for His providence over EMS of ECWA Togo, good health of missionaries’ families, good evangelistic work, unity, and progress in work.
  • Praise God for new churches planted in different location in the Togo field this year.
  • Praise God for gradually bringing the vision of starting an ECWA THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL IN TOGO to a reality, by God’s grace the ECWA Togo has fully accepted and approved the school to start in September 2018.

FRIDAY 22ND ECWA ZAMBIA CHURCH

  1. Praise God for many evangelistic activities that were embarked on in Copperbelt and the central provinces of Zambia. About 168 people were heard the Gospel and 5 accepted the Lord, while 35 people rededicated their lives to the Lord.
  2. The Lord granted Mrs. Kuzasuwat a safe flight from Zambia to Nigeria and back; thank God for renewing her passport without a problem and the encouragement she received from the office and host of relatives and friends.

SATURDAY 23RD ECWA KENYA CHURCH
Praise God for the provision of 50 desks from a pastor friend and his church towards the EMS School in Utawala Nairobi, Kenya.

WEEK FIVE: FOCUS ON OTHER EMS MISSION ARMS

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and the one who is wise saves lives” (Proverbs 11:30, NIV)

SUNDAY 24TH EMS MEDICAL UNIT

  • Praise God for His grace and wisdom on Mr. Samuel A. Ijah, the EMS medical coordinator, his family and all the health workers working with him in various EMS medical centers.
  • Praise God for the health of our missionaries; despite some having suffered ill health, God has been faithful in keeping us and proving for medical care.

MONDAY 25TH EMS SUPPORTERS
Praise God for His provisions and grace to stay committed to supporting the works of mission through EMS despite many financial challenges our nations are faced with today. Prayer partners like you have also not relented in any way. We bless God for all of you.

TUESDAY 26TH EMS SPORTS UNIT

  • Praise God for granting sound health and His grace to Rev. Emmanuel Ali, the EMS sports ministry coordinator, to coordinate the sport ministry activities in 2017.
  • Praise God for the fantastic opportunity EMS sports ministry has to train young leaders from across various mission fields.
  • Give thanks for the chance to support key leaders who are pioneering sports missions in their cities and countries inside and outside EMS mission fields in Nigeria.

WEDNESDAY 27TH EMS TRAINING UNIT
Praise God for his grace and wisdom on Rev. James Saleh and his family throughout this year in his coordination of the numerous trainings that he operates for EMS.

THURSDAY 28TH EMS CHILDREN/MISSION FIELD SCHOOLS

  • Praise God for his grace on Rev. Dr. Ben Buba, the EMS school services coordinator, and his family through this year.
  • Praise God for looking after EMS children and mission field schools in various mission fields with staff, pupils and students.

FRIDAY 29TH EMS MBB UNIT

  • Praise God for the converts made through this unit this year.
  • Praise God for His grace on Rev. Dr. Shaba Adams who coordinates the mission activities of this unit.

SATURDAY 30TH EMS HOUSE OF HOPE

  • Praise God for the life, ministry and family of Rev. Ayuba Kukwi, the EMS House of Hope coordinator. Praise God for His grace for effective work and achievements this year.
  • Praise God for protecting the orphans and needy children under our care in all EMS Houses of Hope across the country from kidnappers assigned to invade the orphanage homes and steal the children.
  • Praise God for His provision towards meeting the needs of these children and others EMS House of Hope ministered to in 2017.
  •  Praise God for the safety of the staff of EMS House of Hope in all their ministry works and travels.

SUNDAY 31ST EMS DRIVING UNIT
Praise God for His divine protection on all EMS vehicles and drivers from January through to this day. We have not recorded any car lost or death of any staff through accident this year. Blessed be the Name of the LORD!

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING WITH US THROUGH THE YEAR 2017.

SHALOM!!!