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Welcome to my 19th annual Twelve Sites of Christmas . . . and no partridge in a pear tree!

I may not be your “true love,” but I do have some hope and ho! ho! ho! for you with cartoons and my favorite Christmas columns. Besides, you really don’t want livestock and leaping lords under your Christmas tree, do you?! I didn’t think so. Have a meaningful Christmas!

Previous issues
Thanksgiving issue (11.01.16)
Halloween issue (10.01.16)
Music issue: 2 (09.18.16)
Conspiracy issue (09.12.16)
Remembering 9/11 (09.11.16)
• [Romans] 8:28 issue (08.28.16)
Election 2016 issue (08.21.16)
Suck-cess issue (08.14.16)
Waiting issue (08.07.16)


2016-books
Site 1: Christmas shopping made easy

The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language features 90 devotions from Thomas à Kempis organized by the characteristics of Christ.

I Have a Meme! The best cartoons of hope and humor—and a few of the worst includes 200 my my cartoons, and a few by “Evil Jim.”

But wait, there’s more! Click for 20 books for all audiences, writers and young people. And, no searching for a parking space at the mall! You’re welcome.



Site 2: Ho! Ho! Humor!

Christmas cartoons

A Christmas tree called “Shrek”

Top ten politically-correct Christmas—excuse me, holiday—songs

Top ten signs you’ve spent too much money on Christmas presents

Top ten things I do not want for Christmas


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Site 3: The 365 Days of Christmas

Celebrating Christmas all year long

Putting the X back in Xmas


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Site 4: Yes, Virginia, there really was a St. Nick

Top ten reasons Santa on naughty list

The man behind the beard


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Site 5: Is that your feliz answer?

Angels don’t come from Hallmark

Happy Holidays, American Family Association There are at least six holidays during December!

Test your Christmas trivia skills


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Site 6: The Christmas story

The Christmas story in chronological order

God is in control

Mary, did we know? (What was she thinking when the angel announced the outrageous proposition?)

The ten best—and worst—Christmas movies

A Very Twitter Christmas


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Site 7: How Christmas saved a grinch

The shocking true story!


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Site 8: Fruitcake for the soul

Christmas at Macy’s

Christmas at K-Mart


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Site 9: Christmas smells like ****

Not like evergreens, fresh-baked cookies . . .


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Site 10: Merry Christmas quotations

Happy holidays thoughts

(Okay, this photo has nothing to do with quotations, but dogs in Santa hats bring happy thoughts.)


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Site 11: Looking for “true love”?

No leaping lords can love you like this Lord


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Site 12: Stocking stuffers

Hope in a hand basket

Lamb of God: a ewe-nique perspective on Christ’s birth

“There is no peace on earth, I said”

Wiseman and Wife: a comedy/drama for Christmas

Okay, okay, this page has expanded like Santa’s waistline, but “The 24 Sites of Christmas” would make an already painfully long song even longer! Have a wonderful year of Christmas!

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Top ten sites from November

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from November 2016 (Numbers in parentheses are previous month’s ranking.)


Legal stuff . . .

All writing copyright © James N. Watkins and is protected by United States and international law. For permission to print or repost, please visit my press page.

Photos
Advent wreath: James N. Watkins
Heart ornament: WallpaperFolder
Basket of chocolates: Chocolat Moderne (I need a gift registry!)
Dogs in Santa hats: Connaissance Spirituelle

If you enjoyed The Twelve Sites of Christmas, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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jimpicabout-short2
Hi, I’m Jim Watkins: author, speaker, threat to society . . . and extremely grateful person. Welcome to our give thanks issue!

Previous issues
Halloween issue (10.01.16)
Music issue: 2 (09.18.16)
Conspiracy issue (09.12.16)
Remembering 9/11 (09.12.16)
• [Romans] 8:28 issue (08.28.16)
Election 2016 issue (08.28.16)
Suck-cess issue (08.14.16)
Waiting issue (08.07.16)

Voting options for conservative Christians
And one final plug for my roundup of five voting options November 8. You do have a choice! And if you want to write-in someone, I’m running with the Tupperware Party: “Putting a lid on government.” See my complete platform in colorful, dish-washer-safe colors. Watkins 2016


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Over 60 reasons to give thanks

Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
Today, I vowed not to ask for anything, but to simply praise God. I found fifty things for which to praise him just between the bed and bathroom:

Top ten reasons to give thanks . . . when you think you don’t have any
10. You have a newspaper (or a mobile device”) in your hand. Thanks to Guttenberg’s press and the World Wide Web you have access to more information today than all previous generations combined.

Thanks for nothing
Little is known of the prophet Habakkuk. except that he lived in the time when Israel was oppressed and many had been taken captive by the Babylonians. There was little reason to give thanks. But, in spite of living in captivity and facing what appears to be a famine, Habakkuk writes, “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord!”


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Thanksgiving turkey trivia

Do you enjoy playing “Jeopardy” from your LazyBoy (“I’ll take ‘Fowl Friends’ for $1,000, Alex”)? Would you like to raise the intellectual level of conversation at Thanksgiving dinner above that of the cranberry sauce? Enjoy my highly educational special report on Melgris Gallopavos. [Continue reading]


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Cartoon of the month

Click for my Thanksgiving cartoons. And get your daily dose of my cartoons on Facebook, Twitter and at the archives.

And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016. The Tupperware Party: “Putting a lid on government.”

And for a collection of the best—and a few of the worst—cartoons: I Have a Meme. Two hundred cartoons includes work by “Evil Jim.”


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Top ten sites from October

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from October 2016 (Numbers in parentheses are previous month’s ranking.)


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This month’s podcast, etc.

I’m a mess. You’re a mess. Here’s some encouragement if you’re feeling like a big, slobbering mess! Listen to the brand new podcast (3:26 minutes).

All writing copyright © James N. Watkins and is protected by United States and international law. For permission to print or repost, please visit my press page.

If you enjoyed this issue of Hope & Humor, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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Christian Flag
I promise not to tell you how to vote, but here are are variety of options to consider from a variety of voices. (You can skip right to the non-partisan conclusion if you wish.)

I love how the Pharisees sat around trying to think up impossible questions for Jesus. Hypothetical situations that would force Jesus to choose one of two damning answers. They thought they had the Son of God with this no-win question:

      “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?” (Mark 12:14-15).

Today, the Pharisees would ask, “Jesus, who are your voting for?!”

The 2016 presidential campaign has turned into the seemingly no-win questions of the religious leaders of Jesus’ time.

Early on, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s editorial board opined that “Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton meets the fundamental moral and professional standards we have every right to expect of an American president.”

CNN’s Rudy Ruiz went further claiming, “Choosing between Clinton and Trump makes for the worst election ever. The only thing that promises to be ghastlier is the outcome.”

So, what are the options for conservative Christians? Is this, indeed, a no-win scenario?

Option one: Vote against Hillary Clinton

Reading Christian periodicals, websites and social media, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of conservative Christians are not voting for Hillary Clinton:

Christianity Today’s Andy Crouch wrote:

      The Democratic nominee has pursued unaccountable power through secrecy—most evidently in the form of an email server designed to shield her communications while in public service, but also in lavishly compensated speeches, whose transcripts she refuses to release, to some of the most powerful representatives of the world system. She exemplifies the path to power preferred by the global technocratic elite—rooted in a rigorous control of one’s image and calculated disregard for norms that restrain less powerful actors. Such concentration of power, which is meant to shield the powerful from the vulnerability of accountability, actually creates far greater vulnerabilities, putting both the leader and the community in greater danger.

      The Democratic candidate’s policy positions are so manifestly incompatible with Christian reverence for the lives of the most vulnerable, and . . . her party is so demonstrably hostile to expressions of traditional Christian faith. . . .

Wallace Henley, writing at ChristianPost.com, warned of 25 consequences of a Clinton presidency, three of which directly address conservative Christians’ concerns:

      1. Hillary will continue and enlarge upon pro-abortion policies, including federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

      2. Hillary will appoint a left-progressive federal judiciary, including Supreme Court justices for whom the Constitution is a loose and largely irrelevant document written by dead old white guys.

      3. Hillary will support policies that will restrict religious freedom.

The American Association of Evangelicals released a statement warning, “When Hillary Clinton stated during a 2015 speech at the Women in the World Summit that religious beliefs ‘have to be changed,’ she was openly declaring war on Christian believers and the Church.”

Option two: Vote against Hillary Clinton by voting for Donald Trump

The majority of conservative Christians are not voting for Donald Trump, but voting against Hillary Clinton. He, like his political opponent, has demonstrated throughout his life, he is morally unfit for the highest office in the land. The overwhelming feeling is that this is a contest is between “the lesser of two evils.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council action group, notes:

      [Conservatives] are left with a choice of voting for the one who will do the least damage to our freedoms. This is far from an ideal situation, but it is the reality in which we find ourselves and as difficult as it is, I refuse to find sanctuary on the sidelines and allow the country and culture to deteriorate even further by continuing the policies of the last eight years.

The vote-against-Clinton-by-voting-for-Trump is being embraced by evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Jr., James Dobson, and mega-pastor Robert Jefferies. Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, has claimed he is in not endorsing a candidate, but has urged Americans to “plug their nose and vote” for a candidate who supports their views on abortion, marriage, religious freedom and other issues.

Option 3: Vote against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Election year 2016 has been one surprise after another! And not just the usual “October surprises” such as email leaks and old video tapes. No, these are seismic surprises.

Dozens of Republican members of Congress have released a statement saying they cannot vote for Trump as he “makes a mockery” of their principles.

      Given the enormous power of the office, every candidate for president must be judged rigorously in assessing whether he or she has the competence, intelligence, knowledge, understanding, empathy, judgment, and temperament necessary to keep America on a safe and steady course. Donald Trump fails on each of those measures, and he has proven himself manifestly unqualified to be president.

And what may be most surprising, since conservative Christians have traditionally voted Republican, leading evangelical voices are strongly denouncing the GOP candidate!

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist, has been an outspoken opponent from the beginning:

      Yes, I will be writing in a candidate this year and the reason for that is simple. The life issue can not flourish in a culture of misogyny and sexual degradation. The life issue cannot flourish when you have people calling for the torture and murder of innocent non-combatants. The life issue can not flourish when you have people who have given up on the idea that character matters. If you lose an election you can live to fight another day and move on, but if you lose an election while giving up your very soul then you have really lost it all, and so I think the stakes are really high.

Moore calls evangelicals’ support of Trump, “a scandal to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the integrity of our witness.” He tweeted, “The damage done to the gospel this year, by so-called evangelicals, will take longer to recover from than the ’80s TV evangelist scandals.”

For those who support Trump because he will nominate pro-life, pro-family judges, Eric Sapp provides this counter argument:

      When George W. Bush was President, 2/3 of the Supreme Court were Republican appointees, and Republicans controlled the White House and all of Congress. Yet Roe remains. We cannot possibly be so naïve as to believe Donald Trump—who until he decided to run as a Republican supported partial birth abortion without restriction—would do more.

      I sure hope it’s not because of “religious freedom” or the fear I’ve heard that if we get a liberal Court, Christianity will decline in America. I absolutely reject the fear that underlies the Supreme Court idolatry taking hold in some of our churches. If the Church needs the Court to save souls and empower a faithful witness—both spoken and lived—then we are truly lost. Christ promised us a cross and the Holy Spirit as our advocate, not tax breaks for our business and a worldly Court to defend our beliefs.

Meanwhile, Tom Zoellner, wrote an editorial in Christianity Today titled, “Trump Evangelicals Choose Worldly Power Over the Gospel.” He writes:

      Trump’s religious literacy is surface-level when it is even existent. Despite laughable boasts like “nobody reads the Bible more than me,” he cannot cite a favorite Bible verse [and] he boasts that he never asks God for forgiveness. [Evangelicals’] alliance with Trump may be the triggering “deal with the devil” that scuttles their credibility and moral authority for a generation or more—and not just on matters of politics.

Speaker and Moody Radio host, Julie Roys, wrote on her blog “Evangelical Trump Defenders Are Destroying the Church’s Witness.”

      I honestly don’t know what makes me more sick. Listening to Trump brag about groping women or listening to my fellow evangelicals defend him.

      Don’t get me wrong. I get how disastrous a Clinton presidency would be. [But] please stop defending and promoting Donald Trump!

      Donald Trump may do less damage to the country than Hillary, but he’s done far worse damage to the evangelical church than anyone in recent history. And let’s remember, the church—not politics—is the only real hope of reforming the character of this nation and saving it from destruction. That’s why the witness of the church is simply not worth trading for a political victory.

      [L]et’s refrain from embracing the person of Donald Trump or defending his misdeeds. Our integrity, and the reputation of the church, is simply too valuable to be sacrificed for a charlatan.

Option four: Don’t vote in the 2016 election

I’ve tried to keep my opinions and biases in check while writing this roundup of views. (I admittedly devoted more attention to the “vote against Clinton and Trump” simply because it has not gotten a lot of press.)

I will go on the record by stating that not voting is by the far the worst option!

Both Clinton and Trump have radical agendas for the United States that must be “checked and balanced” by the Congress. If you choose to not vote for the presidency, please vote for legislators who will block extreme proposals of whoever becomes president.

Vote for governors and local officials who will champion conservative Christian values. Not voting is not an option.

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Option five: Trust God that his purpose will be fulfilled no matter who is elected

The Pharisees failed in every attempt to force Jesus into a lose-lose answer. I believe, that in the same way, God’s plans and purposes will be fulfilled in 2016.

I wrote an editorial for the Presidential Prayer Team that makes the case that God’s purposes have always been fulfilled in spite of immoral leaders such as Pharaoh, Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, Augustus Caesar, Herod, Pontius Pilate and all the rest down through history for blessings—and judgments—on his people!

Are we trusting in God—like our national motto proclaims—or are we trusting in politicians of all parties?

However, this does not mean we disengage from the world. We must work and pray for just causes!

      He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NASB).

      Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good (Romans 12:21).

      Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity (1 Timothy 2:2).

I think Lori Hollinger, a wise woman from my small group at church, put it best:

      The Jews thought Jesus came to take over and conquer the Roman Empire. They thought he was a government leader—not the Savior of the world, the God Incarnate. They wanted a strong, government leader who would make their lives better, less oppressive, easier and safe.

      As Americans, is this the same thing we do with our elected officials? We want Christians in power thinking that’s the way to get better lives that are less oppressive, easier and safe.

      The government is not our savior. Jesus is. He didn’t come to merely be a governmental leader. I may get hate comments for saying this, but I’m not sure he cares about America’s upcoming election. Governments haven’t changed much: the leaders are still power hungry people, with little insight to the average person. They say crude, hateful things, and break laws and get away with it. Jesus is bigger than the American government. He is the Savior of the world, not just America. With this upcoming election, just remember who’s in power, who’s in control, who’s the King of Kings.

On the day after the election, I will be at peace and confident in the power of God almighty. And I will be praying for the new president!

Copyright © 2016 James N. Watkins

If you found this helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks! And do vote November 8!

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Hi, I’m Jim Watkins: author, speaker, and—for my grandkiddos—”Corn Monster.” (It’s what we do in Corn Borer, Indiana!) This month, our annual look at really creepy stuff. Don’t read alone!

Previous issues
Music issue: 2 (September 18, 2016)
Conspiracy issue (September 12, 2016)
Remembering 9/11 (September 4, 2016)
• [Romans] 8:28 issue (August 28, 2016)
Election 2016 issue (August 21, 2016)
Suck-cess issue (August 14, 2016)
Waiting issue (August 7, 2016)


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Questions from the crypt

My third book in The Why Files series asks Are There Really Ghosts? So, here are some excerpts from the award-winning series:
Are demons real?
Are there really ghosts?
Are vampires, werewolves real?
Are witches real?
Can you talk to the dead?
Do Ouija boards really send messages from the spirit world?
Psychic secrets revealed “Swami Watkins” will amaze you!


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Real-life monster threatens

Wednesday, October 5 My thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered loss of life and property in the Caribbean and for those still in Hurricane Matthew’s sights in the American southeast.

But are hurricanes, as well as tornadoes and earthquakes, truly “acts of God”? Here are some thoughts. Meanwhile, praying, praying, praying.


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Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

Search Google for “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?” and you’ll get about one thousand sites covering everything from “it’s completely harmless” to “it’s completely hellish.” Here’s site number 1,001 that’s somewhere in the middle: [Continue reading]



Top ten reasons Halloween strange holiday

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category. It’s the only time of year when . . .

10. . . . you can cross dress without having to come out of the closet.

9. . . . Americans actually consume a waxy substance known as “candy corn.” (The rest of the year the material is used to manufacture patio candles and seals for toilets.) [Continue reading].


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Cartoon of the month

Get your daily dose of my cartoons on Facebook, Twitter and at the archives.

And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016. The Tupperware Party: “Putting a lid on government.”

And for a collection of the best—and a few of the worst—cartoons: I Have a Meme. Two hundred cartoons include snarky comments by “Evil Jim.”


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True colors shining through

Fall always challenges to me to show brighter and bolder colors as I age. I want my “autumn years” to be spectacular! So, here’s what I’m aiming for as God displays His amazing artwork . . . [Continue to photo essay]


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Top ten sites from September

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from September 2016 (Numbers in parentheses are previous month’s ranking.)


BannerSpeaker-Narrow
This month’s podcast, etc.

Can you take things out of this world and into the next? I believe You can take it with you! Listen to the brand new podcast (2:11 minutes).

All writing copyright © James N. Watkins and is protected by United States and international law. For permission to print or repost, please visit my press page.

If you enjoyed this issue of Hope & Humor, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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jimpicabout-short2
Hi, I’m Jim Watkins: author, speaker, threat to society. Here’s a second collection of my favorite music videos filled with hope along with links to corresponding posts. Enjoy and be encouraged.

Previous issues
The conspiracy issue (September 11, 2016)
Remembering 9/11 issue (September 4, 2016)
Romans 8:28 issue (August 8, 2016)

But wait, there’s more! You can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources. But wait, there’s more: free stuff. Enjoy!

God rejoices over you
Knowing who we are

Finding God’s will (Six posts)

Holy hardships
Pressed . . . but not crushed
“In this world you will have trouble”

Are listening to Goliath or God? (Post and podcast)

Are you struggling with “suck-cess”
From bad to worse to . . . astonishing
I’m a Giant Killer (Podcast)
Keeping your dreams alive (Four posts)
Over-the-top victors
Pressed but not crushed
When dreams die

Lookin’ for love in all the right places

musicandmadness8
But wait, there’s more
More songs of hope
Song with hope and humor

If you found this post hopeful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!

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jimpicabout-short2
Hi, I’m Jim Watkins: author, speaker, threat to society . . . and investigative blogger! This week, the shocking truth about conspiracy theories, urban legends, my new sexual identity, and the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices!. The truth is out there!

Previous issues
Remembering 9/11 issue (September 4, 2016)
Romans 8:28 issue (August 8, 2016)
Election 2016 issue (August 21, 2016)

But wait, there’s more! You can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources. But wait, there’s more: free stuff. Enjoy!


lizardnarrow
Ancient prophet warns of conspiracies!

Conspiracy is the word for election 2016: Democrats are warning against “alt-right” conspiracies and “baskets of deplorables,” while Republicans are spreading rumors from Clinton’s serious health condition to the “Clinton body count,” which apparently is being blocked from search giant Google. Here’s a newspaper column from the archives on conspiracy theories, urban legends and other rumors! [Continue reading]


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The truth about urban legends!

Authorities suspect the Satanist president of Proctor and Gamble of revenge in the theft of a controversial investigative blogger’s kidneys. James Watkins is known to have made a number of enemies and, thus, possible suspects. He was the first to reveal that the P&G logo is an occult symbol, that Madeline Murray O’Haire is petitioning FCC to ban all religious broadcasting, and that Oreo’s stuffing is filled with spider eggs. [Continue reading]


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Author no longer identifies as ‘male’

Humor writer, James Watkins, no longer wishes to be identified by the rigid sexual stereotype of “male.” He joins millions of other people who have embraced, according to ABC News, “58 gender options.”

Watkins claims Galatians 3:28 declares “In Christ, there is neither male nor female.” He further argues that in heaven, there will be no genders (Matthew 22:30).

The author and speaker now prefers to identified as simply “a child of God.” It is not clear how this will affect his standing in his conservative denomination or in the publishing industry.


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KFC’s secret recipe revealed!

Last month, the Chicago Tribune reported that Joe Ledington, a nephew by marriage of Colonel Sanders, found a handwritten recipe of KFC’s closely-guarded secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices. KFC is denying that the recipe is authentic although the paper claims the taste is “indistinguishable” from the fast-food fowl.

The eleven herbs and spices are 1) salt, 2) thyme, 3) basil, 4) oregano, 5) celery salt, 6) black pepper, 7) dried mustard, 8) paprika, 9) garlic salt, 10) ground ginger and 11) white pepper.

I suspect someone is now out of the Colonel’s will!


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Cartoon of the week

Get your daily dose of my cartoons on Facebook, Twitter and at the archives.

And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016. The Tupperware Party: “Putting a lid on government.”


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Quotations on conspiracies

Why do we love the idea that people might be secretly working together to control and organize the world? Because we don’t like to face the fact that our world runs on a combination of chaos, incompetence and confusion. Jonathan Cainer

A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on. Terry Pratchett

Always remember, rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots. Ziad K. Abdelnour

I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. Adlai E. Stevenson II

The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.

Read quotations of hope and humor at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


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This week’s podcast, etc.

Lifting heavy weights If you’re feeling weak, God is preparing you for a strong future! (2:14 minutes)

All writing copyright © James N. Watkins and is protected by United States and international law. For permission to print or repost, please visit my press page.

If you enjoyed this issue of Hope & Humor, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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World Trade Center Memorial

Two small numbers—9/11—have become shorthand for an infinite number of emotions: the shock and disbelief of watching the terrorist attack on live TV, the horror of watching the twin towers collapse upon themselves, the national grief as the number of confirmed casualties grew to over 2,800, the growing realization that we are no longer beyond the reach of terrorist attacks, and perhaps most of all, the fact that those who remember where they were on that date, will never, ever be the same.

During this week before the 15th anniversary, here’s a look back at some hopeful and helpful posts since that horribly historic day.


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We are strong! We will survive!

September 17, 2001 Like any print and online journalist worth his or her press card, I’ve scrambled to comment on this unbelievable tragedy.

It seems that these cold-blooded attacks only serve to reveal America’s strengths. [Continue reading].



Hope amid horror

September 11, 2006 For those of us glued to our TVs on September 11, 2001, certain images are forever burned into our brains: the planes exploding into the World Trade Towers, the towers collapsing upon themselves, the blood- and soot-covered faces… [Continue reading]


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We light this candle

September 11, 2001 On the evening of September 11, 2001, our small community gathered at LaOtto Wesleyan Church north of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for this liturgy written by its pastor, my wife Lois. [A liturgical reading following an attack]


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Reactions, reasons, responses

Unfortunately, terrorist attacks throughout the world—and on American soil—have continued, and I have continued to respond with, I trust, hopeful and helpful resources in responding to these heartless terrorist attacks.

Reacting
Dealing with death and grief
“bin Laden, kiss my pass!” (September 10, 2003)
Talking to your children about terrorism

Reasoning
What motivates terrorists?
Taking the terror out of terrorism

Responding
Can war on terrorism be won? (September 11, 2005)
How can we overcome evil with good?
What we haven’t learned from 9/11 (September 9, 2002)


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Cartoon of the week

I wish I had something humorous to share today, but I’m afraid I don’t. I do have hope that God will provide comfort for those hurting today here and around the world. And that hell itself cannot stop his power and providence.

Get your daily dose of hope and humor on Facebook, Twitter and at the archives.


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Quips and quotations on 9/11

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. President George W. Bush (September 11, 2001)

Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadow, and although we can never unsee what happened here, we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (September 11, 2011)

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate. Wife of Flight 93 pilot Sandy Dahl

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” President George W. Bush (September 11, 2001)

Read more quotations of hope at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


galazyphone
Podcast, etc.

This week’s podcast asks the question, Does God make ‘prank’ phone calls?

You can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources.

All writing copyright © James N. Watkins and is protected by United States and international law. For permission to print or repost, please visit my press page.

Photo credits
• World Trade Center Memorial: i.cdn.turner.com
• World Trade Center lights: Fisher Marantz Stone
• Woman grieving: MorgueFile

If you found this week’s issue helpful, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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Just released: I Have a Meme! The Best Cartoons of Hope & Humor . . . and a Few of the Worst

One hundred and ninety cartoons address aging, food, government, health, holidays, the Internet, love, marriage, sex, mind fields, parenting, spirituality, weather and writing, with occasional snark from “Evil Jim.”

“Milk-out-the-nose funny”
Rhonda Rhea, author, humorist, speaker

“Brilliantly funny, smart”
@prodigaldaughter

“Funny, funny stuff”
Torry Martin, author and actor

“‘Evil Jim’ at his evilest!”
The Corn Borer Chronicle

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I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from August 2016 (Numbers in parentheses are previous month’s ranking.)

10. (284) Taking Word to Worldwide Web

9. (9) Hope & Humor cartoons

8. (11) From bad to worse to . . . astonishing

7. (6) “What must I do to inherit eternal life?’

6. (7) Does DNA disprove evolution?

5. (4) God is never late—but he sure is slow

4. (5) Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

3. (3) What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

2. (2) Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

And, the number one post for August 2016 . . .

1. (1) It Is Well with My Soul: the rest of the stories

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James Watkins, author, speaker
Hi, I’m Jim Watkins: author, speaker, threat to society. August 28 reminds me of one of my favorite verses: Romans 8:28. So, here are some hopeful posts on the truth of that verse..

Plus, you can also access over 300 posts—more encouragement and entertainment than you can shake a memory stick at—on death, faith, health, heavy topics, holidays, hope, humor, life hacks, love, parents, sex, spiritual issues and writing resources. But wait, there’s more: free stuff. Enjoy!


8-28
Happy 8:28!

I love the date of August 28, since 8/28 reminds me of Romans 8:28!

      And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Unfortunately, we leave off the verse that tells us exactly that “purpose.”

      For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son. . .

So, on this special day, here are some of my favorite posts on one of my favorite verses:

Christ’s career path: obscurity, popularity, animosity
Coincidences or “God-incidences”?
Did duct-taped recliner save our lives?!
God has a plan for new year
Top ten things I’ve learned from cancer
Why? Some thoughts on life’s tough questions
Will God’s purpose be accomplished on election day?


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Squeezing good out of 8:28

One of my favorite books is based on one of my favorite verses. So, here’s an except from
Squeezing Good out of Bad.

“A book that will make you laugh, think, and start looking at those sour places of life in a whole new way. I really enjoyed reading it.”
Martha Bolton, writer for Jeff Allen, Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Mark Lowry


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Thomas à Kempis on 8:28

Here’s one of 40 excerpts from The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language

Blessed be your name forever, O Lord, who has allowed this temptation and trouble. We cannot escape it, but we need to flee to you that you may encourage us and turn it for our good (Romans 8:28).

Lord, your will be done. We truly deserve to be troubled and weighed down. So, we should bear this with patience until the storm is past and comfort returns. Your power is able to take this temptation away from us and to lessen its power, so we are not crushed under it even as you have rescued us many times in the past. O God, merciful God, my merciful God, as difficult as being delivered from the temptation is, it is easy for your mighty hand.


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Cartoon of the week

Get your daily dose of my cartoons on Facebook, Twitter and at the archives.

And follow my race for the White House at Watkins for President 2016. The Tupperware Party: “Putting a lid on government.”


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Quotations based on 8:28

Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. St. Paul (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

[Joseph speaking to his brothers who had sold him into slavery] “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20

We will stand amazed to see the topside of the tapestry and how God beautifully embroidered each circumstance into a pattern for our good and His glory. Joni Eareckson Tada

You’re climbing a mountain, remember, and one day you reach the top. One day you’ll be able to stand and look out over all the valleys—even look back at the winding path that brought you to the top—and it will all become clear. Emilie Barnes

Read more quotations of hope and humor at Why? Over 1,000 Quotations on Life’s Most Difficult Questions.


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This week’s podcast, etc.

Quit praying . . . get moving! When the Israelites were trapped between the Red Sea and the approaching Egyptian army, God ordered that surprising command. Is it time for you to quit praying and get moving? (1:21 minutes)

All writing copyright © James N. Watkins and is protected by United States and international law. For permission to print or repost, please visit my press page.

Trump/Clinton pics from Boston Globe.

If you enjoyed this issue of Hope & Humor, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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