LISTEN: Trump addresses nation on border security; Tennessee’s governor commutes life sentence of Cyntoia Brown (UCNN, 01/08/19)

According to USA Today, As the partial government shutdown approaches a record length, President Donald Trump addressed the nation Tuesday on what he called the crisis at the nation’s border. Trump said he will visit the U.S.-Mexican border Thursday to promote his plan for a wall to keep out undocumented immigrants, the sticking point in negotiations with Democrat to reopen the government. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders posted on Twitter, Trump will “meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis” at the border. “More details will be announced soon.”

According to Reuters, Tennessee’s governor on Monday commuted the life sentence of a woman convicted as a teenager of murdering a man who paid to have sex with her, after Kim Kardashian and other celebrities took up her cause. Cyntoia Brown, now 30, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent. She will walk out of prison on Aug. 7 after serving 15 years. Brown was 16 at the time of the murder. Without the governor’s commutation, she would not have been eligible to be considered for parole until 2055 at the earliest.

According to Reuters, the Islamic State said one of its suicide bombers killed some people on Monday at a military base in Syria’s Raqqa city, which is under control of a U.S.- backed and Kurdish-led militia. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by Kurds, said a militant blew himself up in a blast that killed one civilian and injured several of its fighters. Though the SDF did not say where the blast took place, two Raqqa residents reached by Reuters said they heard an explosion in a central district of the city housing military offices.

According to USA Today, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from oral arguments Monday while recovering from surgery for lung cancer, a first in her 25-year career on the court. Ginsburg underwent surgery Dec. 21 to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung. She was released five days later and has been recovering at home. Chief Justice John Roberts made note of Ginsburg’s absence briefly at the beginning of the session. He said the justice “is unable to be present today but will participate” in deciding the two cases being argued by reading legal briefs and transcripts of the oral arguments.

According to Christian Post, Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, rebuked a spirit of suicide from fellow megachurch Pastor John Gray on Saturday, just days after Gray revealed he had been contemplating suicide. In a recording of his sermon to his church on New Year’s Eve, Gray said, “I literally thought about how I could end my life and still get to Heaven and somehow my kids would not be scarred but there was no way I could figure out how to do it. And I’m not the only person that thought about that. I’m not the only person the devil attacked in that area.”

According to CNN, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Sunday that the death of a 7-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting in Houston was most likely a case of “mistaken identity” involving two suspects, one of whom is in police custody. Jazmine Barnes was riding in a car with her mother and sisters on December 30 when someone in another vehicle shot her in the head. Eric Black Jr. was arrested Saturday in a traffic stop for not using his turn signal. He is accused of driving the car used in Jazmine’s death and faces a charge of capital murder. The sheriff declined to name the second person or say if the person was in police custody.

According to Christian Post, Pastor Rich Nathan of Vineyard Columbus has announced that in two years time he will hand over the leadership of the church and move on to a new position. Nathan, who leads one of Ohio’s largest megachurches with an average weekly attendance of close to 8,000 people, explained on his website that he wants to make sure people don’t mistake the announcement for any suggestion that he is retiring from ministry.

According to The Associated Press, Thousands of Orthodox Christian worshippers plunged into icy rivers and lakes across Bulgaria on Sunday to recover crucifixes cast by priests in ceremonies commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ. Tradition holds that the person who retrieves the wooden cross will be freed from evil spirits and will be healthy throughout the year. After the cross is fished out, the priest sprinkles believers with water using a bunch of basil. Epiphany is held every year on Jan. 6 and marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas.

According to the Associated Press, The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on Sunday presented a decree of independence to the head of the nascent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, formally severing it from the Russian Orthodox Church. In Istanbul, Patriarch Bartholomew I presented the Tomos, a scroll containing the decree, in a symbolic ceremony sanctifying the Ukrainian church’s independence. He signed the decree a day earlier. Until the decree, the Orthodox church in Ukraine that was a branch of the Russian church was considered legitimate and two others in Ukraine were regarded as schismatic. The new church unites the two formerly schismatic bodies.

According to Christian Post, The U.S. House of Representatives, now controlled by a Democratic majority, has voted to end a 181-year-old rule banning religious headwear. The House voted 234-197 on Thursday, which comes in the wake of the election of its first two female Muslim members. The newly revised rule still bans headwear of the nonreligious kind, and reads: “During the session of the House, a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not wear nonreligious headdress or a hat or remain by the Clerk’s desk during the call of the roll or the counting of ballots.”

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. 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 Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart 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 and may God bless your day!