LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #538 with Daniella Whyte

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1. According to CNN, This Christmas, people will grieve and heal in southern Mississippi. They will clear rubble and restore power lines ripped apart by a tornado system that killed four people and packed an emergency room with dozens of injured. Though Tuesday’s deadly whirlwinds were isolated to a swath near the Louisiana line, across the country, rough weather is sweeping for hundreds of miles, while roads and airways fill with holiday travelers. AAA projects that 98.6 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles this holiday season, a 4% increase from last year. They can take advantage of plummeting gas prices — which, averaging $2.25 nationwide, are down 69 cents a gallon from a year ago.

2. According to Christian Today, The Archbishops of Canterbury and York joined with thousands of other bishops, clergy and laity today to promote the”real meaning” of Christmas with #ChristmasMeans on Twitter. Dr John Sentamu, of York, was one of the first with two tweets, “God is at work amongst us. He is closer than you think. Praise Him!” and “No need to be tongue tied any more – tell it out! #ChristmasMeans There is Good News to discover.” Church House, the admin headquarters for the Church of England in London, urged congregations and clergy across 12,000 parishes to get out their smartphones and get the topic trending.

3. According to The New York Times, A clash on Wednesday set off by a Palestinian sniper attack on an Israeli military patrol along the border with Gaza left one Palestinian militant dead and an Israeli soldier wounded, officials said, further straining a tenuous cease-fire that ended a 50-day war over the summer. After a routine patrol on the Israeli side of the border came under fire, the Israeli military said, Israel responded with air and ground forces against Hamas positions in the immediate vicinity of the attack. It appeared to be the most serious direct confrontation between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic group that dominates the Palestinian enclave, since fighting ended in late August.

4. According to Newser, Local police in Tennessee and Arkansas have been told of a threat, allegedly made by ISIS, to bomb the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge that traverses the Mississippi River. FOX13 News got its hands on the FBI bulletin, which reads in part: “According to an anonymous complainant, as of December 2014, ISIS instructed an ISIS member, a presumed [US person] in Memphis, with a direct order to blow up the Memphis-Arkansas bridge on an unknown date, activating ISIS terror cells in the United States.” A rep for Memphis Police says its officers are giving the area around the bridge extra attention, and surveillance cameras are monitoring it round-the-clock.

5. According to the Associated Press, A brazen scheme in which guns — even an AK-47 rifle — were taken onto passenger jets for years in carry-on luggage was described by a Brooklyn prosecutor Tuesday as a terrorism threat that should cause the airline industry to end the practice of letting some workers enter airports without security screening. “I hope this is a wakeup call for the nation,” Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said at a news conference. “This was an egregious breach of our nation’s air traffic security.” Thompson’s comment came as he described a case brought against five people, including an airline baggage handler who was charged a day earlier by federal authorities in Atlanta.

6. According to Bloomberg, North Korea’s alleged ability to hack into Sony Pictures is extending the country’s reach far beyond the range of its missiles. While North Korea has kept Western defense officials guessing for years about a nuclear program that it may or may not ever use, the regime’s ability to wage cyber war adds a new dimension to its standing abroad. Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow on Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, said, “There is this image that North Korea never carries through on its threats. But it sometimes does carry through. You can’t always dismiss North Korea threats as simply being words.” South Korea has already accused the North of numerous attacks over the past five years, and now Pyongyang may be showing its global reach.

7. According to The Washington Post, Tensions flared again in St. Louis overnight after news of another shooting death of a black teenager by a police officer spread in this metropolitan area, which has been the sight of protests since the August police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Tuesday shooting in Berkeley left dead a man identified by family members as Antonio Martin, 18. Soon, crowds had gathered demanding answers. Police say a Berkeley police officer conducting a business check encountered two men at a gas station. The St. Louis County Police Department, which has assumed control of the investigation, said early Wednesday that one of the men pointed a handgun at the officer. “Fearing for his life, the Berkeley officer fired several shots, striking the man, fatally wounding him,” county police said in a news release. Police say they have recovered a weapon from the scene.

8. According to AFP, the Syrian army has claimed it shot down an Israeli reconnaissance drone flying near the occupied Golan Heights. Syria’s official news agency said, “A military source announced on Sunday night that an Israeli unmanned drone had been shot down close to the village of Hader” near the Golan Heights. It added that the downed aircraft had a range of 12 miles and had been piloted remotely from a ground station. An Israeli military source would not comment on the reported downing but did not deny the incident.

9. According to Press-Gazette Media, A former Black Creek minister faces additional sexual assault-related charges in two more Brown County incidents involving teenage girls. During a court hearing on Monday, Jerry E. Fletcher Jr., 34 of Neenah, pleaded not guilty to charges of repeated sexual assault of a child, second-degree sexual assault of a child and three counts of child enticement. Investigators contend Fletcher — who told them he is a minister at Crossover Ministries in Black Creek — initially was adamant he had no sexual relationship with his victims, but later admitted he did. Fletcher claimed to investigators to have a sexual addiction for many years. He is due back in court next month, with a jury trial scheduled for early February.

10. According to CBC News, a ‘swarm’ of earthquakes struck off the coast of British Columbia over the weekend. Earthquakes Canada reported five earthquakes measuring from 4.0 to 5.0 in magnitude, all striking about midway between the northern end of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii on Saturday and Sunday. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a sixth quake in the ‘swarm’. There were no reports of damage, and the quakes were also not expected to trigger tsunamis.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Luke 2:16-20 says, “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

God loves you. He always has and He always will. He loves you so much that the Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, why don’t you get to know Him today. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose by the power of God for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening. May God bless your day.

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