This is a fun way to feel your way through a candle-lit service. Have a paper bag of items ready ahead of time for every person and let the kiddos hand them out. Don’t forget bags for the leaders. Enjoy.
This Christmas, thank the Lord that President Obama has done one very good thing: he has awakened the sleeping tiger of Americans who are now eager to draw together and defend the Constitution and our way of life. Have a wonderful celebration of our Lord’s birth and come back ready to change this country for the better! ROAR!!
December 17, 2009
by John Goodman
A Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) is the percentage of premium dollars an insurer spends on claims as opposed to administrative costs and other expenses. According to news reports, a proposal from Senator Rockefeller and others would limit MLRs to 90%. The Reid bill already requires insurers to issue rebates to enrollees on a pro rata basis if its medical loss ratio falls below 80% or lower for the individual and small-group markets or 85% or lower for the large-group market.
However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that a 90% MLR would expand “the federal government’s regulatory role in the health insurance market so much that it would make such insurance an essentially governmental program, so that all transactions related to health insurance policies (even those with private companies) should be recorded as cash flows in the federal budget.” A similar ruling helped kill Hillary Clinton’s health reform proposal 15 years ago.
Donald Marron, former Acting Director of CBO, explains the issue at his blog.
Is This Fair?
Dec 17, 2009
by John Goodman
Focus on Jane, a primary breadwinner making $48,000 (in 2016) to support her family of four. If Jane is offered insurance by her employer that meets the test, she must accept it or pay a fine. That means Jane ends up paying for the entire cost of, say, a $14,100 policy, according to some economists. They say she pays the premiums out of pocket and the remainder indirectly because employers offer reduced paychecks to offset the cost of their share of health insurance.
Now, meet Julie, who also makes $48,000 and is not offered insurance at her job. Julie heads to the newly created exchange to purchase the same policy. But it costs her only $5,300. The rest – about $9,000 – comes from federal subsidies.
How Much Does Insurance Really Cost?
Dec 16, 2009
by Greg Scandlen
CNNMoney reports on a recent study by eHealthinsurance.com that found:
Half of individual policyholders paid $132 or less per month… According to the report, in 2009 the median non-group health insurance premium for an individual in the United States was $1,584 per year ($132 per month) and the average deductible was $2,326. Combined, annual premiums and deductibles account for approximately 7.7 percent of median household income for 2008 ($50,303) as reported by the US Census Bureau.
Now, if individuals buying their own insurance got the same tax break as employees get for employer-provided coverage and if there were a back-up mechanism for high-risk applicants, we might dramatically reduce the numbers of uninsured without any individual mandate.
Here are some alternatives to Obamacare:
National Center for Policy Analysis
Our friends at FreedomWorks, the National Center for Policy Analysis, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste provide great services that enable you to communicate with your Congress Critters. If you are a doctor, go to Take Back Medicine.com, a project of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Health Action Network, an online site sponsored by WellPoint that brings together medical personnel, patients, and informed consumers, also makes it easy for you to communicate with your elected officials. Please take a few minutes to make your voice heard.
You can also sign up for Greg Scandlen’s weekly e-newsletter, Consumer Power Report, become a member of Consumers for Health Care Choices (CHCC), or become a donor to The Heartland Institute, the parent organization of CHCC. See Peter Ferrara’s recent Heartland Policy Study for the facts about ObamaCare, and The Heartland Institute’s Health Care Issue Suite for extensive background information about health care reform.
And if you think your taxes won’t be affected by Obamacare, you’re drinking Kool-Aid!
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings Ris’n with healing in His wings Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark! The herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King!”
A friendly place to worship the newborn King,
I read about it some time ago and I still shake my head every time I think about it. I almost can’t believe it. St. Catherine’s Monastery, which is located at the foot of Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb or Jebel Musa meaning “Mountain of Moses”), is built around what is thought to be the site where Moses spoke to God for the first time at the burning bush. The monastery is surrounded by a granite wall measuring 8 to 35 meters high. This wall defended it from numerous attacks in the 1,400 years it has been standing. It belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church and most of its monks are of Greek origin.It is also home to a unique collection of artifacts, including some of the world’s oldest Bibles. Although it is set in a desert-like landscape, the lush gardens and cypresses provide a pleasant contrast. Today, it is one of the oldest monasteries in the world.
St. Catherine’s monastery is home to an ancient library containing 5,000 early printed books, 3,500 manuscripts, and 2,000 scrolls (in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Georgian and other languages). The age and diversity of the collection is only equaled by that of the Vatican.
While I find all of that interesting, none of that is what makes me shake my head. What bewilders me is a strange pair of caskets that have been preserved in the monastery. Several centuries ago two young men, who were a part of the monastic community, took a vow. They pledged to one another, and to God, to devote their lives to perpetual prayer and adoration.
It was their intent to spend every moment, of every day, of every week and month, for the rest of their lives in praise and prayer. To help each other accomplish this vow, they were assigned adjoining rooms and were fastened together at the wrist with a length of chain.
The plan was for one to pray and the other to sleep and then vice versa. From the moment they began, they never again saw each other or spoke to each other. The only contact they had was the chain that ran through the wall.
When one finished praying, he would tug on the chain and awaken the other. A tug meant that the other had begun and the first could rest. Back and forth for decades this went on until they died.
To honor and remember their devotion and dedication, their remains lie side by side in caskets, still untied by the same chain.
That’s an incredible and strange story of commitment, devotion, and determination – but it’s also a sad story that shows that people can some time miss the point of prayer, devotion to God, and what it means to worship and praise Him continually.
It’s absolutely true that God calls us to a life of devotion, obedience, worship, and prayer. We have been created in such a way that our chief goal in life should be to glorify God. But that goal is not meant to be a chain that binds us.
The life we live today is meant to be as much an act of worship as what we do on Sunday mornings. The words we say to another should reflect our praise of the Lord. The way we treat those who live in our homes, and the person we stare at across the dinner table, all should show our love for God.
How we celebrate Christmas should also be a reflection of our love, commitment and devotion to Him. It is so easy to get stressed out at this time of the year; it’s so easy to forget why we give gifts to each other; it’s so easy to think “Ugh, I have to go to another special service or another party at work, or another home to visit” – and we become chained to traditions that carry no meaning for us, and stress out.
Let’s make sure we don’t forget the reason why we celebrate, and why we get together with friends and family, and give gifts to each other. (I’m not sure why we eat too much. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a pig in the stable. That wouldn’t have been kosher.) Let’s do our best to make every day of every week, a reflection of our response to a God who loves us so much that He jumped into the skin of a Jewish baby – so we could know Him.
Don’t allow Christmas, and all you have to do, and all the places you have to be to become a chain that enslaves you.
A Chain That Enslaves: http://wp.me/pzfHB-mz
Whether we like it or not transformative change is upon us. Join me next year in my effort to be worthy of the change we deserve.
Now can someone pass me some pie?
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you, (Glenn Beck)
Thanksgiving Day is the time to count our many blessings and enjoy a time of fellowship with our families and friends. During a time of high unemployment and national economic crisis, we need to harken back to the foundations of America almost 400 years ago. The courageous Pilgrims, who were in almost ceaseless economic crisis, still gave thanks to our Heavenly Father for all the blessings He had bestowed upon them.
In 1621, as we know, America’s first Thanksgiving was commemorated by the Plymouth Colony after much suffering in a very harsh winter. That year, Massachusetts Governor William Bradford issued a proclamation of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims invited Indians from the Wampanoag tribe to their celebration and they celebrated with a bountiful Thanksgiving meal.
During the next two hundred and fifty years or so, a number of states celebrated Thanksgiving but there still was no national day of Thanksgiving. In 1863, to unify our nation during the brutal and divisive Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation and announced that it would be the last Thursday in November.
God has truly blessed this nation in so many ways and America has been a beacon of hope to so many. In these divisive times, we need to pray that His hand will continue to protect and guide America so that we will have many more Thanksgiving Days to celebrate.
(Roberta Combs, President, Christian Coalition of America)
Genesis 21:33 (NASB)
Four years ago, Egypt was at the top of our list of dream vacations. Scheduling conflicts, however, left Egypt on our wish list as we chose another destination. We still hope to visit Egypt one day.
I especially would like to see the Valley of the Kings, a series of tombs tunneled in the rugged and harsh mountainside. Having held their secrets for more than 3,000 years, the tombs’ discovery in 1881 revealed a wealth of knowledge about Egypt’s earlier dynasties.
While in captivity in Egypt, ancient Israel kept hope alive partly because of a tomb in Canaan (Genesis 50:24-25). Scripture tells us of two covenant transactions Abraham made while living in the land. Securing water for his livestock, Abraham dug a well and gave Abimelech seven ambs “to show [his] agreement” that the well belonged to Abraham (21:30). The second occurred when Abraham bought land for a burial plot after his wife Sarah’s death. In the agreement, a plot of land at Machpelah became Abraham’s possession (23:17-18).
A stranger in the land, Abraham was able to water his flocks and bury his dead as God had promised. Having been told of the captivity of later generations (Genesis 15:13), Abraham possessed by faith what would eventually belong in reality to his descendants. Centuries later, Joshua would lead Israel back to the Promised Land according to what God had spoken: “Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you” (Joshua 1:3).
Beginning with a well and a tomb in Canaan, the promises of God have become manifest in Christ. No visible well is required because the life He provides causes us to “never be thirsty again” (John 4:14-15), and a tomb becomes a promise because “anyone who believes in [Him] will live, even after dying” (John 11:25). —Regina Franklin, Our Daily Journey
CLICK HERE to visit OurDailyJourney.org
Washington also has reduced our speech freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment, by passing a hate crimes bill that was amended to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, criminalizing conservative free speech if it can be proved to have contributed to assaults based upon sexual orientation.
The White House even has reduced religious freedoms, by belittling America’s rich Judeo-Christian heritage, enabling a secular-progressive and pro-Islamic agenda, and remaining indifferent to certain issues, such as the American Civil Liberties Union’s disposal in the Mojave Desert and at Mount Soledad of memorial crosses for veterans. It also has turned a blind eye to the whitewashing of our godly heritage from Washington’s historic landmarks and on U.S. artifacts.
In addition, Washington would restrict religious freedoms and freedoms of conscience by forcing pro-life citizens to pay for abortions via universal health care.
Washington also has reduced our Second Amendment firearm freedoms by appointing anti-gun advocates, such as Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s David Michaels, by seeking to micromanage gun ownership via proposed legislation, including H.R. 45, and by politics as usual, such as blaming guns rather than Islamic extremism for the shootings at Fort Hood. (Those who believe that the Second Amendment is a foundational right and freedom might want to consider my new limited edition Chuck Norris Tribute Revolver — available through America Remembers — on their Christmas wish lists.)
Washington also has reduced our freedoms (and those of our service members) by increasing the threats to our country via the delay in response to our generals’ requests for more troops in Afghanistan, allowing Gitmo detainees and terrorists to come to the U.S., and enabling homegrown terrorists, such as Maj. Nidal Hasan, within the very fabrics of our military.
As I consider these many freedom robbers and the political culprit enabling them all, two thoughts repeatedly come to my mind.
The first is from Daniel Webster, who said, “The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.” I believe we are in the fight of our lives — since the Revolution itself — for American freedoms. I don’t know who said it, but I definitely prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery.
The second thought is one attributed to M. Grundler: “It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.”
I don’t think I ever have been as thankful for American freedoms as I am now. I must admit that I’m appallingly alarmed that some of them might not exist at all by this time next year. Like a sunset dropping over the horizon of our Founders’ dreams, our freedoms are vanishing from view. [Pray about this, folks!]
Give Thanks: http://wp.me/pzfHB-lpWhat do we do with the time we’ve been given?
So…here it is, another Thanksgiving. I hope this day finds you happy, healthy, and enjoying the bounty of good food, surrounded by those you love. I know it can be cliché to talk about what you’re “thankful” for on this day, but maybe some clichés exist for good reason; considering the year you’ve had, with all of the challenges facing this country, what could be a better idea than taking time to count the blessings you do enjoy?
This has been the absolute craziest, most hectic and jam-packed year of my entire life…and I’m incredibly thankful for that. Granted, I could use a bit more sleep (OK, a lot more sleep), but the fact that I’m working so much means that what I believe…what we believe…is resonating across the country. I’m connecting with you, and you’re connecting with one other, and together I believe we can and will inspire a “refounding” of America. But none of this would be possible without the unwavering support of my staff and friends, the unconditional love of my family, the unstoppable spirit of people like you. “Thankful” is hardly the start of it…
Most of all, though, I’m thankful for…time. I had another health scare this year, and while I’m happy to say it was a minor one, it was a sobering reminder that you only get so much time in this world and there is none to waste. By getting myself healthy, I believe that’s given me a bit more time, and through your efforts with the tea parties and the 9/12 Project, and taking an active, vocal role in reclaiming our country, I believe that America has been given more time, too. That’s something we can all be thankful for, today and everyday.
The question we should all ponder during the holiday season is what do we do with the time we’ve been given. This is a historic period–history will record our answer because our individual answers will lead to our collective destiny.
The little five year old girl was like any other five year old girl standing with her mother in the check out line. Looking here and there; wanting this and that. And then she saw something special. A necklace! A necklace of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.
“Oh, please Mommy can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!”
The mom looked at the box and then at her pleading, blue eyes of her daughter. She saw they cost a dollar ninety-five. And so the mom said, “That’s almost two-dollars. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you, and in no time you can save enough money to buy them yourself. And you know your birthday is only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar from Grandma.”
As soon as Jenny got home she emptied her piggy bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of the chores, and then she went to her neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. And on her birthday her grandmother did indeed give her a new dollar bill. And so at last she had enough to buy the necklace.
Jenny had a loving Dad and every night he would go in when she was ready for bed and read her story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”
“Oh, yes, Daddy, you know I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls….but you can have Princess, the white horse from my horse collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember Daddy, that’s the one you gave me. She’s my favorite.”
“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he gave her a kiss on the cheek.
About a week later, after story time, Jenny’s dad asked her again, “Do you love me?”
“Daddy, you know that I love you.”
“Then give me you’re your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She’s so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”
“That’s okay. You sleep well. God bless you little one. Daddy loves you more than you’ll ever realize.” And as always he gave her a kiss good night.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was quivering and there was one silent tear rolling down her cheek.
“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”
Jenny didn’t say anything bit lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver in her voice, she finally said, “Here, Daddy, it’s for you.”
And now with tears in his own eyes, Jenny’s daddy reached out with one hand to take the dollar store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dollar store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
As we’re entering this Thanksgiving season and Advent season I wonder how often have I told God I loved Him, but then held on to something I thought was so precious to me, and then when He would ask for it, I refused to give it up; or I tried to offer something else in its place. And all the while, I never realized He wanted to me to give up my dollar store stuff so He could give me the genuine treasure.
How often have I told Him what I wanted Him to give me, not realizing I was asking for dollar store stuff; when He wanted to give me something of far greater value.
If God is asking you to give to a Thanksgiving offering for missions, don’t hold back. God has a greater treasure in store for you.
If God is asking you to buy a gift for a Head Start child, don’t hold back, God has a greater treasure in store for you.
If God is asking you to forgive, don’t hold back. God has a greater treasure in store for you.
If God is asking you to make time for Him, don’t hold back. God has a greater treasure in store for you.
Greater Treasure: http://wp.me/pzfHB-lj
The Government mammogram Nazi (think uber-evil and powerful Seinfeld Soup Nazi) has decided that “older” women over 40 (ahem!) with no history of breast cancer don’t deserve the lifesaving detection of a biennial mammogram scan and won’t pay for one until they are 50. Besides the fact that this is utter rubbish, how would they know there was no history sans scan?
Considering I love all things that turn the tables back onto liberals (using their own playbook against them), here’s a great vid from Beck interviewing David Horowitz discussing conservatives using Saul Alinsky tactics to get their message out: Inverting the paradigm….doing what liberals do….Community Organizing. (hat tip One)
Mr. Horowitz calls for women to do what libs did during the Reagan years that so upset the White House then: stage a “die in”. All over the country, in public places (with proper signage of course and white chalk for outlines of the “bodies”), gather in large groups, lay down and become the dead from lack of mammograms. David says Liberals will be as bewildered as to what to do as we were in the past.
OKAY LADIES… Let’s get our communities organized! This is your call to arms — er, uh — backs?
Get with your like-minded friends, pick a mall or other hot spot with people (preferably a place where they’ll drag you out, but NOT to jail…do your research first) and go “die”! Just like a Tea Party on the floors of America. (Bring a stadium pillow or two and a towel for your clothing.) Report back here and let us know when and where so we can join you!
No Mam for You!: http://wp.me/pzfHB-le