Daily Archives: March 16, 2018

March 16: It Will Seem Simple in Retrospect

Numbers 17:1–18:32; 1 Corinthians 1:1–31; Psalm 18:1–12

We’re all faced with difficult tasks. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was forced to confront their spiritual problems, which were slowly destroying God’s work among them. Paul was thankful for them (1 Cor 1:4–8), but he was also called to a high purpose as an apostle. His calling meant saying what people didn’t want to hear (1 Cor 1:1).

There were divisions among the Corinthians that were going to rip their fledgling church apart, and Paul implored them to make some difficult changes: “Now I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that … there not be divisions among you, and that you be made complete in the same mind and with the same purpose. For … there are quarrels among you” (1 Cor 1:10–11). And here’s where something amazing happens that we often overlook. Paul, a confident man and a former Law-abiding Pharisee, could have stated why he was right and moved on, but he does something else:

“Each of you is saying, ‘I am with Paul,’ and ‘I am with Apollos,’ and ‘I am with Cephas,’ and ‘I am with Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give thanks that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that you were baptized in my name” (1 Cor 1:12–15). Paul sticks it to them, and he reminds them that Christ deserves all the credit.

We all have moments like this, where we have the opportunity to take credit for someone else’s work—or even worse, for Jesus’ work. Paul had the strength and character that we should all desire.

How are you currently taking credit for others’ people work or for Jesus’?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 16 Hallowing God’s Name

“Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

✧✧✧

God is holy and deserves your highest respect and your humble obedience.

To most people the word hallowed elicits thoughts of Halloween, ivy-covered walls, or starchy religious traditions. But those are all far from its Biblical meaning. “Hallowed” in Matthew 6:9 translates a Greek word that means “holy.” When Christ said, “Hallowed be Thy name,” He was saying in effect, “May Your name be regarded as holy.” When you hallow God’s name, you set it apart from everything common and give Him the place He deserves in your life.

Throughout Scripture, holiness is attributed to persons or things that are consecrated to God’s service. The Sabbath day, for example, was to be kept “holy”—set apart from the other days (Ex. 20:8). The Israelite priests were to be considered “holy” because they rendered special service to the Lord (Lev. 21:8). As believers in Christ, we are to be “holy” because we belong to God (1 Peter 1:15).

Holiness also speaks of moral excellence and purity. God is called “the Holy One” (1 Peter 1:15) not only because He is set apart from His creation, but also because He is pure and sinless in His character. That’s why Isaiah pronounced a curse on himself when he saw the Lord and heard the angels crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3–5). He was overcome with a sense of his own human sinfulness in the presence of a holy God.

Such a God deserves your highest respect and reverence. He is your gracious and loving Father, but He is also the sovereign, majestic God of the universe. Consequently, you must guard against thinking of Him as a buddy or addressing Him flippantly.

Additionally, He deserves your humble obedience. You hallow His name only when your life is marked by righteousness and moral excellence.

May that be true of you today, and may you seek to honor Him in all that you do!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Always approach God with a sense of respect and reverence. ✧ Think of specific ways you can hallow His name today. Ask Him for the grace to do so.

For Further Study: Read each of these verses, noting the specific ways you can glorify God: Joshua 7:19; Psalm 50:23; John 15:8; Romans 15:5–6; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Philippians 2:9–11; and 2 Thessalonians 3:1.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 88). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

March 16, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Trophy hunters are packed on a new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos. That includes some members with direct ties to President Donald Trump and his family.

Southeast Asian leaders started gathering Friday for their first summit in Australia as the regional neighbors look for closer economic and security links and the host prime minister warned against trade protectionism.

Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday.

Chinese hackers have launched a wave of attacks on mainly U.S. engineering and defense companies linked to the disputed South China Sea, the cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. said.

The U.K.’s top diplomat pointed the finger directly at Vladimir Putin, saying it was “overwhelmingly likely” that he personally ordered the nerve-agent attack on British soil.

Haitian immigrants are suing President Donald Trump and Homeland Security officials, alleging racism influenced a decision to end a program allowing them to live and work legally in the U.S. after disasters in their home country.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pays female employees in the U.K. an average of 56 percent less than male colleagues, another stark example of the entrenched gender imbalances in the financial-services industry. The gap widens to 72.2 percent for year-end discretionary bonuses.

U.S. new-home construction cooled by more than expected in February on a reversal in the volatile multifamily category, while building remained on pace to contribute to economic growth this quarter, government figures showed Friday. Residential starts fell 7% to a 1.24m annualized rate.

Traders who look for future price direction in chart patterns are finding more indicators suggesting the world’s largest digital currency may have further to fall. Bitcoin’s 50-day moving average has dropped to the closest proximity to its 200-day moving average in nine months. Crossing below that level — something it hasn’t done since 2015 — signals fresh weakness to come for technical traders who would dub such a move a “death cross.” Another moving-average indicator of momentum has already turned bearish.

AP Top Stories

A U.S. military helicopter crashed after hitting a power line in Iraq’s western Anbar province, killing all seven personnel aboard, the Pentagon said Friday.

South Korea and the United States will scale down and shorten annual joint military exercises in light of a diplomatic thaw with Pyongyang, a report said Friday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Iran on Thursday of “mucking around” in Iraq’s May parliamentary election, in which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is seeking another term after a successful, U.S.-backed war against Islamic State militants.

A Turkish-led offensive to capture the Kurdish-majority enclave of Afrin in northern Syria has forced 30,000 civilians from its main city in 24 hours, a monitor said Thursday.

NASA published details of its Hammer (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) deterrent, an eight ton spaceship which could deflect a giant space rock. NASA has said previously that Earth is overdue a huge asteroid strike and programs are in places across the globe to map dangerous rocks as they move through the Solar System.

15 new planets discovered, including potentially habitable super-Earth Scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Technology have discovered 15 new planets orbiting small, cool dwarf stars near our solar system, including one planet that may be habitable.

U.S. factory output jumped last month, led by big gains in the production of cars, computers and furniture.

BBC

As many as 50,000 people have fled separate offensives against rebel forces in northern and southern Syria in recent days, activists said. Russian air strikes reportedly killed 31 people in the Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Friday, after 20,000 people left the region.

Germany’s new interior minister has said he believes “Islam does not belong” to the country, in direct contrast with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Crypto-currencies and digital cash systems have become a key way for cyber-thieves to launder stolen funds, suggests research. Alongside its use in ransomware, virtual cash was also helping clean up other sources of stolen cash, said criminologist Dr Mike Maguire. Bitcoin’s anonymity made it attractive to tech-savvy thieves, he said.

Tasmania has become the first state in Australian history to elect a majority of female MPs to its legislature.

North Korea’s foreign minister has attended talks in Stockholm with Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, ahead of a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Saudi Arabia has warned that it will develop its own nuclear weapon if regional rival Iran acquires one.

WND

Telling a classmate “God bless you” after she sneezes is a “microaggression,” according to extensive social justice guidelines posted by a women’s college in Boston.

Amid an ongoing surge in Christianity that developed as communism created a spiritual vacuum in people’s lives, China has launched a new crackdown, including rules introduced last month that further restrict the activities of unregistered house churches, according to a new report.


The Briefing — Friday, March 16, 2018

1) How the cult of convenience fails to deliver on its own promises

New York Times (Tim Wu) –
The Tyranny of Convenience

2) The sterilization of play: What’s at stake as our playgrounds have become unrisky, and ultimately, unfun

New York Times (Ellen Barry) –
In Britain’s Playgrounds, ‘Bringing in Risk’ to Build Resilience

3) Why dad-style parenting is a key ingredient of a healthy home

Wall Street Journal (Abigail Shrier) –
‘Knock It Off’ and ‘Shake It Off’: The Case for Dad-Style Parenting

4) The legacy of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton: Pediatrician who helped us understand the necessity of mother-infant bonding dies at 99

New York Times (Sandra Blakeslee) –
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Who Explored Babies’ Mental Growth, Dies at 99

Mid-Day Snapshot

Mar. 16, 2018

Make Daylight Great Again

Marco Rubio introduced legislation to banish the scourge of the time change forever.

The Foundation

“He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.” —Benjamin Franklin (1758)

RenewAmerica Newsletter

March 16, 2018

GEORGE WILL — Iceland must be pleased that it is close to success in its program of genocide, but before congratulating that nation on its final solution to the Down syndrome problem, perhaps it might answer a question: What is this problem? To help understand why some people might ask this question, today’s column is being distributed together with two photographs. One is of Agusta, age eight, a citizen of Iceland. The other is of Lucas, age one, an American citizen in Dalton, Ga., who recently was selected to be 2018 Spokesbaby for the Gerber baby-food company. They are two examples of the problem…. (more)


March 15, 2018
JOSEPH FARAH — The data are in on Facebook’s war on “conservative” news sites, thanks to an impressive report published by WesternJournal.com. The king of social media has been making algorithm changes seemingly intended to marginalize the traffic of right-of-center online news operations, and they have been effective, the report shows…. (more)

March 15, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — Soaring tuition costs, degrees of dubious value and nonstop student activism have combined to bring public confidence in the ivory tower tumbling down. Even college and university presidents acknowledge that the country is becoming disillusioned with higher education. In a recent survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, 51 percent of institution leaders said the 2016 election “exposed that academe is disconnected from much of American society.”… (more)

March 15, 2018
BOB UNRUH — Amid an ongoing surge in Christianity that developed as communism created a spiritual vacuum in people’s lives, China has launched a new crackdown, including rules introduced last month that further restrict the activities of unregistered house churches, according to a new report. Christians in China have been repressed ever since the People’s Republic was created in 1949, with the government’s control of churches and imposition of the Communist Party’s atheistic values…. (more)

March 15, 2018

U.S. NEWS — Eleven Republicans stepped forward before a Thursday evening filing deadline to challenge former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the Utah Senate race, including a state lawmaker who says an “establishment insider” can’t fix problems in Washington. Many of the candidates acknowledge the David-vs-Goliath nature of challenging the famous and popular Romney, but they say someone needs to keep the race to replace Republican Orrin Hatch from becoming a “coronation.”… (more)


March 15, 2018
FOX NEWS — Broward Deputy Scot Peterson stands safely behind a concrete wall taking no action as high school students lay dead and wounded just feet away, newly released video of the Florida school shooting shows. The Broward Sheriff’s Office released the 27-minute video Thursday of the former longtime resource officer responding to initial reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. Peterson, who was assigned to the school and on site when the shooting began, is seen with a civilian security monitor at the start of the video, but spends most of the video standing outside the school with his gun drawn…. (more)

March 15, 2018
Economic commentator, an informal adviser on presidential campaign, has differed with the president on trade issues

WALL STREET JOURNAL — Lawrence Kudlow, a conservative economic commentator whose career included jobs in the White House, Wall Street, radio and business television, will become one of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers as director of the National Economic Council…. (more)


March 15, 2018

BOB UNRUH — The results may not be official for some time, but it appears that a Democrat, Conor Lamb, now leading by only a few hundred votes, may have won a special election in a western Pennsylvania congressional district that two years ago chose President Donald Trump by 20 points. Mainstream media regard the apparent outcome as an “unmistakable good sign” for Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterms approach…. (more)


March 15, 2018

ART MOORE — long with concluding the Trump campaign did not coordinate with Russia to influence the 2016 election, the House Intelligence Committee report by the Republican majority confirmed that President Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, leaked information about the dubious anti-Trump “dossier” that ended up being reported by CNN…. (more)


March 14, 2018

WASHINGTON TIMES — The White House’s suspicions over the motives of besieged FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe go back at least to the first months of President Trump’s presidency. The doubts revolved around a since-debunked February 2017 New York Times story that reported that U.S. intelligence owned numerous intercepts and phone records of Trump campaign officials communicating with Russian intelligence…. (more)


March 14, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — A senior Obama State Department official gave the green light to an FBI agent in 2016 to meet with dossier writer Christopher Steele, a new book says. The two met at Mr. Steele’s London office, touching off a relationship that would fuel the ongoing investigation into possible Donald Trump-Russia election collusion that shows no sign of ending…. (more)

March 14, 2018

BOB UNRUH — A teenage Muslim spending the night with friends stabbed three people, killing one, “because of his Muslim faith,” according to police in Florida. The suspect read the Quran “to give him courage to carry out his intentions,” according to an affidavit…. (more)


March 14, 2018
One-third acknowledge their schools are ‘intolerant’ of conservative views
WASHINGTON TIMES — Public confidence in American universities has eroded in recent years, and campus administrators have taken notice, blaming not only the high cost of a 4-year degree but the impact of liberal bias in the academy, a new survey of college presidents finds. “Asked to assess which of several factors were most responsible for declining public support, 98 percent of college and university presidents cited ‘concerns about college affordability and student debt’, 95 percent said ‘concerns over whether higher education prepares students for careers,’ and 86 percent cited the perception of liberal political bias,” reports an extensive new poll from Inside Higher Ed, an independent media company and industry source which tracks higher education…. (more)

March 14, 2018
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump’s firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was crude, rude and way overdue. The president, not the president’s chief of staff, should have been the first to inform Mr. Tillerson personally and in private, that he is getting the heave-ho. Mr. Trump should have let him have time to prepare his own face-saving announcement…. (more)

March 14, 2018
Sources say secretary of state undermined White House on Iran nuke deal

WORLDNETDAILY — Even though tensions had been mounting between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for months, a new report indicates the president abruptly fired Tillerson because he went “rogue” and tried to save the Iran nuclear deal…. (more)


March 14, 2018

NEWSMAX — President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign hired Fusion GPS to find negative information on Republican candidate Mitt Romney and hid the payments through its law firm, according to a new book published Tuesday…. (more)


March 14, 2018
BOB UNRUH — When President Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress adopted Obamacare, they required abortion coverage, with no exemptions, to the delight of the abortion industry. They later were forced to exempt a few types of organizations, such as churches. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the government to expand those exemptions when it ruled in the Hobby Lobby case, and President Trump widen the exemptions even further…. (more)

March 14, 2018
BYRON YORK — It has long been the key question of the Trump-Russia affair: Did Donald Trump’s presidential campaign collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election? Now, we have the first official, albeit partisan, answer. “We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” said Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee Monday as they released findings from a 14-month Trump-Russia investigation…. (more)

March 14, 2018
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The House Intelligence Committee has concluded that there is “no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime. That was what Congressman K. Michael Conaway (R., Texas) announced yesterday evening, in the course of explaining that the committee has ended the investigative phase of its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election…. (more)

March 12, 2018
ALAN KEYES — The Florida Legislature moved forward with a bill last week “that includes new restrictions on rifle sales and a program to arm some teachers.” The measure also includes a provision to “raise the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21.” At least one Florida lawmaker has rejected that age provision as unconstitutional…. (more)

March 12, 2018
Book review
JOAN SWIRSKY — The word Politicide was first coined by Abba Eban – Israel’s foreign minister in 1967 – to describe the attempted murder of the sovereign, independent State of Israel by enemies both within and outside of the fledgling state. When Victor Sharpe first read the word, he told me how it resonated in “the deepest parts of my heart and soul.”… (more)

March 12, 2018

THE HILL — The House Intelligence Committee is shutting down its contentious investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the top Republican leading the probe announced on Monday…. (more)


March 12, 2018
NEWSBUSTERS — On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee closed its inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, much to the chagrin of the liberal media. The committee confirmed that the Russians were indeed trying to cause chaos in the election, claimed they weren’t out to help candidate Donald Trump specifically and that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But during their evening broadcasts, ABC and CBS downplayed the findings while NBC ignored them…. (more)

March 12, 2018
NEWSMAX — Conservative economist Larry Kudlow is the front-runner to replace Gary Cohn as President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser, CNBC’s Jim Cramer reports…. (more)

March 12, 2018

NEWSMAX — The White House on Sunday pledged to help states pay for firearms training for teachers and reiterated its call to improve the background check system as part of a new plan to prevent school shootings. But in a move sure to please the gun lobby, the plan does not include a push to increase the minimum age for purchasing assault weapons to 21, which President Donald Trump had repeatedly championed…. (more)


What Happens When Moral Monstrosity Is Socially Approved?

(Ben Shapiro – National Review) “Marcus takes solace in her immorality by citing that of others — “I am not alone. More than two-thirds of American women choose abortion in such circumstances.” But immoral behavior isn’t made moral by its commonness. Slavery was once common. That did not make it any more justifiable.”

In 1961, Stanley Milgram of Yale University came up with an idea for an experiment. The purpose: to determine how many law-abiding, civilized people would torture their fellows simply in order to follow basic orders. …

Here’s how the experiment worked. Milgram chose pairs of participants; one would randomly be chosen to become a “learner,” the other a “teacher.” Milgram set up the “random” drawing so that volunteers always became teachers, and learners were actors working for Milgram. Learners were taken into a room and hooked up to electrodes supposedly buzzing with electricity. Teachers were brought into a room containing a switch that could shift that electric level from 15 volts all the way up to 450 volts. Teachers were then informed by researchers that it was their job to shock learners for making errors in a word game. The researchers would remain in the room and push the teachers to shock the learners, telling them to continue.

According to Milgram’s experiment, two in three teachers shocked the learners all the way up to 450 volts, even as the actors begged for mercy; all of the teachers shocked the learners up to 300 volts. Milgram concluded, “Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not.”

takes solace in her immorality by citing that of others — “I am not alone. More than two-thirds of American women choose abortion in such circumstances.” But immoral behavior isn’t made moral by its commonness. Slavery was once common. That did not make it any more justifiable.” View article →


News – 3/16/2018

In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid
The Trump administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, marking the first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure. Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday.

‘Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims, enough with this lie!’
“Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel, under King David 3,000 years ago,” Klein said. “It was never, ever, the capital of any other nation except Israel. When the Arabs conquered Palestine in 716, they made Ramla their capital, not Jerusalem.” “The Jewish holy books mention Jerusalem 700 times. it is never, ever mentioned in the Quran. Even about Mohammed allegedly going from Jerusalem to heaven, in the Quran…this is a dream. He simply has a dream, and it says he went ‘from the farthest place to heaven.’ … And the nearest place, in the Quran, is Palestine. So clearly, it was not from Jerusalem.”

Don’t Mess With the US: Aid Cuts Proposed For Countries Voting Against US
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is making good on her threat to cut US aid to countries that vote against the US in the United Nations. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported on a 53-page memo issued by Haley. Titled “America First Foreign Assistance Policy”, the new policy will make good on that threat. “It is the opinion of the U.S. mission to the U.N. that all U.S. foreign assistance should be reevaluated to ensure that taxpayers dollars are spent to advance U.S. interests, not to fund foreign legacy programs that provide little or no return on investment,” the memo read.

Christian Beliefs Help Drive American Support For Israel To Record Highs: Gallup
A Gallup Poll published on Tuesday showed that support for Israel among the American population is at an all-time high, equal to the previous record reached in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War. “Americans’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as strongly pro-Israel as at any time in Gallup’s three-decade trend,” the polling research company said in the report titled, “Americans Remain Staunchly in Israel’s Corner.” Sixty-four percent of respondents said that in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, their sympathies lie more with the Israelis while just 19 percent said they sympathize more with the Palestinians instead.

Peter Thiel: Silicon Valley is a ‘totalitarian place’
Silicon Valley has created an oppressive environment. “When people are unanimously on one side, that tells me not that they’ve all figured out the truth but that they are in sort of a totalitarian place, that they are in a one-party state where they are not allowed to have dissenting views,” he said.

Facing far-right challenge, minister says Islam doesn’t belong to Germany
New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Islam does not belong to Germany and set out hardline immigration policies in an interview published on Friday, as he sought to see off rising far-right challengers. Seehofer told Bild newspaper he would push through a “master plan for quicker deportations”, in his first major interview since he was sworn into office on Wednesday.

China launches new campaign against Christianity
Amid an ongoing surge in Christianity that developed as communism created a spiritual vacuum in people’s lives, China has launched a new crackdown, including rules introduced last month that further restrict the activities of unregistered house churches, according to a new report.

Horrible development: Abortions based on chromosomes
The debate over life has intensified in recent days as pro-abortion activists push back against a series of new state laws banning the procedure based on a pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, but a leading pro-life voice says such abortions are nothing more than “genetic discrimination” and a disturbing sign for our culture.

California pushes abortion by depicting pregnant women as stupid}
California has a reason for its requirement that pro-life crisis pregnancy centers promote local abortionists: It thinks women are stupid.

U.N. to U.S.: You need to write check for Palestinians
United Nations officials are publicly berating the United States for not paying much more than its fair share of costs for a refugee program whose support was cut by President Trump as a way to incentivize Palestinians to be serious about negotiating for peace with Israel.

South Africa: Genocide or Civil War? Is This America’s Fate?
As bad as apartheid is, what is going on inside of South Africa is worse. Presently there is a murderous purge transpiring in South Africa and white people are the victims and they are increasingly hiring private security when they can as the country moves closer to civil war, which seems to be the only option left for whites to avoid racially motivated genocide.

Venezuela Faces The Return Of Forgotten Diseases
…I am talking about serious stuff: Tuberculosis, Diptheria, Leishmaniasis. There have been adults and children who died because of these things. The diseases themselves, under normal conditions can be healed. But without the appropriate medications and proper nutrition, they become deadly.

Did School Book Fair Try to Indoctrinate First Graders?
…Avid Bookshop accused Athens Academy of “discrimination, censorship and homophobia” after they were told to remove a copy of “The Best Man” from the March 7th book fair.

Lawmaker’s tweet after physicist Stephen Hawking’s death draws criticism
A Texas state representative came under fire on social media Wednesday over a tweet about famed British physicist Stephen Hawking that some found insensitive.

MIAMI HORROR: University Bridge COLLAPSES, Multiple Casualties Reported
Multiple fatalities were reported Thursday after a recently constructed pedestrian footbridge collapsed at Florida International University; injuring scores as the wreckage rained-down on the roadway below.

Subpoenas Issued Against CAIR
Pressure is mounting against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its controversial partnership with the San Diego Unified School District in developing an anti-Islamophobia bullying initiative that was enacted last April.

First NK, Now the Middle East? Israeli, Arab Leaders Show up at White House for Huge Talks
…According to Axios, that historical occurrence was a White House meeting which involved national security officials from Israel along with their counterparts from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.Representatives of the Palestinian Authority were invited to participate but declined to attend the important meeting.

Lamb’s Win Points to GOP Losing 60 House Seats, Senate Control
The apparent win of Democrat Conor Lamb for Pennsylvania’s 18th District has shaken the Republican establishment to its foundations and points to a “wave election” in the coming midterms that will end Republican control of both the House and the Senate.

Oxford University Will ‘Feminise’ Its Philosophy Reading Lists to Appeal More to Women 
Oxford University will ‘feminise’ its philosophy curriculum in order to appeal to more female students and boost writers profiles.


Headlines – 3/16/2018

Palestinians call for ‘day of rage’ Friday to mark US Jerusalem recognition

Netanyahu exaggerates PA payments to terrorists

UNRWA asks U.S. to reconsider cuts, as donations fall short

UN Watchdog: Aid Cuts Should Be ‘Part of a Focused US Strategy to Reform and Ultimately Dismantle UNRWA’

Gaza economy continues to deteriorate – report

Macedonia adopts definition of antisemitism that mentions Israel hatred

Hezbollah number two says terror group prepared for ‘foolish’ Israeli action

Hezbollah doesn’t expect Israeli war, but is ready for one

Lebanese PM says army to deploy along Israeli border

Lebanese cleric: World’s wars, corruption, moral disintegration are planned by the Jews

The IDF prepares for all out war

Israeli military drill simulates multi-front war – with Russia intervening over Syria

Developments show Syrian war could escalate into WWIII

Syrians stream out of a Damascus suburb as it is overrun by government forces

US military helicopter crashes in Iraq near Syrian border, fatalities feared

ISIS Is Still Using Children to Carry Out Executions in Afghanistan, Photos Reveal

Saudi crown prince is hiding his mother to prevent her from opposing his power grab

Iran calls Saudi crown prince ‘delusional,’ ‘naive,’ calls for dialogue

In warning on nukes, Saudi crown prince likens Iranian leader to Hitler

Iran slams ‘simple-minded’ Saudi crown prince over Hitler jab

Saudi Arabia vows to obtain nuclear weapons if Iran does

TV report: Netanyahu tells cabinet Trump is likely to exit Iran deal by May

Iran has mostly halted harassing US ships in Persian Gulf – Pentagon chief

US accuses Iran of trying to influence Iraq’s election

Iran, Turkey Call for Closer Defence Cooperation

Russia to expel UK diplomats as row over spy attack escalates

Israel denounces UK nerve agent attack, without mentioning Russia

Russian lawmaker: US had access to nerve agent

A self-assured Putin seems confident of electoral victory

US hits Russia with sanctions for election meddling

The West Rekindles Anger at Putin, Who’s Anything But Humbled

U.S. imposes sanctions, accuses Russia of ongoing operation to hack energy grid

In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid

Russia ready to work with U.S.’ Pompeo: RIA cites Lavrov

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Has Subpoenaed Trump Organization in Russia Investigation

Mueller witness is convicted pedophile with shadowy past

Haley plan would cut development aid to countries not backing US at UN – report

White House shake-up: Chief of staff John Kelly may also be on the way out, sources say

Trump denies he has decided to remove his national security adviser

California High School Teacher On Leave After Questioning School Shooting Walkout

Tucker: Left-Wing Politicians Protest Guns… While Being Protected by Armed Bodyguards

Several people killed in Miami pedestrian bridge collapse

Companies That Worked on Collapsed Bridge Delete Celebratory Tweets

‘Not welcome here’: Amazon faces growing resistance to its second home

Blackberry modified to ‘help drug cartels’

Verizon Wants To Build Cellphone Towers Inside Church Steeples

Vladimir Putin promises to launch Mars mission and hunt for water on the moon

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kiunga, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Kirishimayama volcano on Japan erupts to 14,000ft

Tropical Cyclone Eliakim forming near Madagascar

Budding tropical cyclone to threaten northern Australia with flooding downpours

Venezuela Faces The Return Of Forgotten Diseases

Trump’s opioid plan includes pushing death penalty for drug dealers

Ra’anana gets Israel’s first openly gay mayor

Congressman: Child Sex Dolls Are Coming – And We’re Not Ready

Millennials Replacing Engagement Rings With Diamonds Embedded In Their Fingers

New Age Oprah Mocks God and Jesus on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Posted: 16 Mar 2018 05:57 AM PDT

New Age Oprah Mocks God and Jesus on the Late Show with Stephen ColbertThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert hosted a blasphemous segment with New Age Oprah that they called, “‘Oprah Winfrey gets some career advice from a slightly less famous figure: the Lord.” During the show, they openly mocked God and Jesus.  As the show opens, Steven Colbert begins to introduce Oprah, but she interrupts before he can say her name. “We’re here with” Colbert begins, then Oprah blurts out, “God.” Colbert continues, “Miss Oprah Winfrey.” Being that there was a skit planned with a character “god” later in the segment, many would wipe this off, but with all the hype around Oprah and proof that she has denied Jesus and is aligning with new age guru Eckhart Tolle, we have to wonder if she was really joking or not.

Steven Colbert questions Oprah on if she is running for president in 2020, a rumor that circulated, and got liberals everywhere further enchanted with their icon. Oprah replies that she would have to “know it” and says that she’s very in touch with the voice of God. When Democrats began to see her as their potential candidate, Oprah told US Magazine that she “went into prayer.” Saying, “God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it. And I haven’t gotten that yet”. READ MORE

British foreign secretary says Likely ‘Putin’s decision’ to order use of nerve agent in UK

Posted: 16 Mar 2018 05:49 AM PDT

British foreign secretary says Likely ‘Putin’s decision’ to order use of nerve agent in UKBritish Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it is overwhelmingly likely it was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to direct the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter. During a museum visit in west London alongside his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz, Johnson said: “We have nothing against the Russians themselves. There is to be no Russophobia as a result of

what is happening.” “Our quarrel is with Putin’s Kremlin, and with his decision – and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision – to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK, on the streets of Europe for the first time since the Second World War.”  Yesterday, Boris Johnson said the UK will allow for an independent international examination of the nerve agent which was used in the attack on the former double agent Sergei Skripal.  READ MORE

Parents Barred From Questioning ‘Gender Identity’ Changes at Virginia School District Meeting

Posted: 16 Mar 2018 05:44 AM PDT

Parents Barred From Questioning ‘Gender Identity’ Changes at Virginia School District MeetingConcerned parents in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. were barred during a recent committee hearing from questioning a motion to replace the terms “biological sex” and “biological gender” with the phrase “sex assigned at birth” in public school curriculum.  Tensions arose during Thursday’s meeting of the Fairfax County Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee where the motion affecting family life curriculums in eighth, ninth and 10th grades was overwhelmingly passed

by the committee to be reviewed for final vote by the Fairfax County School Board at the end of the year. Committee member Daniel Press brought up his concern by arguing that “the term biological gender is not an acceptable term.” “The proper term should be sex assigned at birth, gender assigned at birth, not biological gender or biological sex,” Press asserted at the meeting. “We should always be using the term sex assigned at birth.”  READ MORE

Saying “God Bless You” to someone sneezing is now considered a “Micro-Aggression”

Posted: 16 Mar 2018 05:35 AM PDT

Saying “God Bless You” to someone sneezing is now considered a “Micro-Aggression”If you happen to be in the library at Simmons College in Boston and somebody sneezes, whatever you do, don’t say “God bless you.”  That’s because the librarians believe that the phrase “God Bless You” can spark something worse than a microaggression. They fear it could spark an Islamophobic microaggression. That’s right, folks—saying “God Bless you” is considered a form of “Islamomisia.”

That bit of information is tucked inside the college’s Anti-Oppression Library Guide—an exhaustive collection of words and phrases that could trigger perpetually offended collegiate snowflakes. Islamomisia is a fairly new malady that until recently was known as Islamophobia. “In North America (and throughout much of the western world), people who follow Christianity have institutional power, therefore Islamomisia is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against Muslim people due to their religion or perceived religious, national or ethnic identity associated with Islam,” the document states.  READ MORE

65% of Americans save little or nothing; Half struggle in retirement…

Posted: 16 Mar 2018 05:31 AM PDT

65% of Americans save little or nothing; Half struggle in retirement…Despite a low unemployment rate and increasing wage growth, Americans still aren’t saving much. That’s according to a new survey from Bankrate.com, which found that 20 percent of Americans don’t save any of their annual income at all and even those who do save aren’t putting away a lot. Only 16 percent of survey respondents say that they save more than 15 percent of what they make, which is what experts generally recommend.

A quarter of respondents report saving between 6 and 10 percent of their income and 21 percent say they sock away 5 percent or less. At this rate, many people could be setting themselves up to fall short in retirement, Bankrate warns. “With a steady, significant share of the working population saving nothing or relatively little, it’s virtually guaranteed that they’ll be unable to afford a modest emergency expense or finance retirement,” says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. “That amounts to a financial fail.” READ MORE

US blames Russia for attacks on power grid

Posted: 16 Mar 2018 05:29 AM PDT

US blames Russia for attacks on power gridThe Trump administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, marking the first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure.  Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and

manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday. The Department of Homeland Security and FBI said in the alert that a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” had targeted the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.” The alert did not name facilities or companies targeted. READ MORE

FIU pedestrian bridge collapses, Multiple deaths reported and cars trapped

Posted: 15 Mar 2018 05:55 PM PDT

FIU pedestrian bridge collapses, Multiple deaths reported and cars trappedA pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed Thursday, just days after crews had dropped an elevated 950-ton span in place in a project that was intended to give Florida International University students a safe route across the busy roadway.  The bridge gave way suddenly while the traffic light for motorists on Tamiami Trail was red and the concrete span flattened a row of at least eight stopped

vehicles. Police on the scene said at least six people could be dead but the exact number of victims remained unconfirmed. Motorists scrambled out of their cars to help. At least one woman, Katrina Collazo, escaped from a half-crushed car, pulled out unscathed by rescuers. “Thank God … my daughter is alive,” said her mother, Ada Collazo, in Spanish, after rushing to the scene. “I thought my granddaughter was in the car, but she wasn’t. She’s in school.” READ MORE

NASA prepares plan to send spacecraft to blow up doomsday asteroid…

Posted: 15 Mar 2018 05:52 PM PDT

NASA prepares plan to send spacecraft to blow up doomsday asteroid…Nasa has drawn up plans for a huge nuclear spacecraft capable of shunting or blowing up an asteroid if it was on course to wipe out life on Earth.  The US space agency published details of its Hammer (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) deterrent, an eight-tonne spaceship which could deflect a giant space rock. Nasa has said previously that Earth is overdue a huge

asteroid strike and programmes are in places across the globe to map dangerous rocks as they move through the Solar System.  Last year an 100-foot asteroid named 2012TC4 passed within 27,000 miles of Antarctica, a distance that astronomers described as ‘damn close.’In detailed plans published in the journal Acta Astronautica, Nasa and the National Nuclear Security Administration, calculated the time  and payload it would take to move or destroy the 1,600-foot-wide asteroid Bennu. READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: Russia warns it Will Attack U.S. Military if Trump Strikes Syria Again

Posted: 15 Mar 2018 05:47 PM PDT

RUMORS OF WAR: Russia warns it Will Attack U.S. Military if Trump Strikes Syria AgainTop Russian officials have threatened to retaliate with force if President Donald Trump orders an attack that could endanger the lives of its soldiers stationed there in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign against rebels and jihadis near Damascus. Army General Valery Gerasimov warned on Tuesday that the U.S. was preparing to launch raids against Moscow’s ally, the Syrian

government, as it attempted to clear bastion of jihadis and rebels—some of which were once backed by the West—in the suburbs of the capital city of Damascus. The leading military official claimed that the U.S. would strike under the false pretense of a chemical weapon attack—a tactic that Russia has denied the Syrian military utilizes—and vowed to fight back. READ MORE

Oklahoma School District Bans Chaplain From Praying With Football Team

Posted: 15 Mar 2018 10:14 AM PDT

Oklahoma School District Bans Chaplain From Praying With Football TeamA Baptist pastor will no longer be permitted to serve as a chaplain for an Oklahoma high school football team after a notorious group of atheists filed a formal complaint. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers, was triggered by reports that the Cherokee Baptist Church had been feeding and providing assistance to the Putnam City High School football team.

Mike Keahbone, the church’s senior pastor, had been invited on occasion to deliver pre-game prayers in the team’s locker room. “Public school football teams cannot appoint or employ a chaplain, seek out a spiritual leader for the team or agree to have a volunteer team chaplain, because public schools may not advance or promote religion,” Freedom From Religion Foundation attorney Christopher Line wrote in a letter to Putnam City Schools.Keahbone told the “Todd Starnes Radio  Show” that he was the team’s honorary chaplain. READ MORE

Did George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Prophetic Message Manifest Yesterday?

Posted: 15 Mar 2018 10:12 AM PDT

Did George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Prophetic Message Manifest Yesterday?(By Michael Anthony) “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” So writes George Orwell in his eerily prophetic novel, 1984. If you’re not concerned about where America is nowadays, and where we’re heading, you’re not paying attention. But if you’re only concerned, you’re wasting your time and energy. Merely being concerned about a problem never does anything to solve it. Never mind a school walkout. We, God’s people, need to start really walking with the Lord. The future of our nation depends upon it.

Yesterday’s 17-minute National School Walkout was good—and bad. In fact, it was very bad. The demonstration designed to eulogize the 17 lives lost during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, to appeal for stricter gun control, was a telling sign that, unlike any other time in America, an alarming number of young people are mistaking the government for God. Brace yourself, because this will not end well if we continue on this path. Many students are rightly concerned about their safety, security, and lives—but they, like a majority of us, are turning to the wrong entity to protect them. Most of us in God’s house are doing the same thing in various ways. We look to food, entertainment, sex, fashion, social media kudos and so much more, to fill the void that only Christ can fill. READ MORE


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Patrick the Saint: Behind the fanciful legends of the fifth-century British missionary stands a man worthy of embellishment

A fleet of 50 currachs (longboats) weaved its way toward the shore, where a young Roman Brit and his family walked. His name was Patricius, the 16-year-old son of a civil magistrate and tax collector. He had heard stories of Irish raiders who captured slaves and took them “to the ends of the world,” and as he studied the longboats, he no doubt began imagining the worst.

With no Roman army to protect them (Roman legions had long since deserted Britain to protect Rome from barbarian invasions), Patricius and his town were unprepared for attack. The Irish warriors, wearing helmets and armed with spears, descended on the pebbled beach. The braying war horns struck terror into Patricius’s heart, and he started to run toward town.

The warriors quickly demolished the village, and as Patricius darted among burning houses and screaming women, he was caught. The barbarians dragged him aboard a boat bound for the east coast of Ireland.

Patricius, better known as Patrick, is remembered today as the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland, the teacher who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and the namesake of annual parades in New York and Boston. What is less well-known is that Patrick was a humble missionary (this saint regularly referred to himself as “a sinner”) of enormous courage. When he evangelized Ireland, he set in motion a series of events that impacted all of Europe. It all started when he was carried off into slavery around 430.

Escape from sin and slavery

Patrick was sold to a cruel warrior chief, whose opponents’ heads sat atop sharp poles around his palisade in Northern Ireland. While Patrick minded his master’s pigs in the nearby hills, he lived like an animal himself, enduring long bouts of hunger and thirst. Worst of all, he was isolated from other human beings for months at a time. Early missionaries to Britain had left a legacy of Christianity that young Patrick was exposed to and took with him into captivity. He had been a nominal Christian to this point; he now turned to the Christian God of his fathers for comfort.

“I would pray constantly during the daylight hours,” he later recalled. “The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more. And faith grew. And the spirit roused so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly less.”

After six years of slavery, Patrick received a supernatural message. “You do well to fast,” a mysterious voice said to him. “Soon you will return to your homeland.”

Before long, the voice spoke again: “Come and see, your ship is waiting for you.” So Patrick fled and ran 200 miles to a southeastern harbor. There he boarded a ship of traders, probably carrying Irish wolfhounds to the European continent.

After a three-day journey, the men landed in Gaul (modern France), where they found only devastation. Goths or Vandals had so decimated the land that no food was to be found in the once fertile area.

“What have you to say for yourself, Christian?” the ship’s captain taunted. “You boast that your God is all powerful. We’re starving to death, and we may not survive to see another soul.”

Patrick answered confidently. “Nothing is impossible to God. Turn to him and he will send us food for our journey.”

At that moment, a herd of pigs appeared, “seeming to block our path.” Though Patrick instantly became “well regarded in their eyes,” his companions offered their new-found food in sacrifice to their pagan gods.

Patrick did not partake.

The prodigious son returns

Many scholars believe Patrick then spent a period training for ministry in Lerins, an island off the south of France near Cannes. But his autobiographical Confession includes a huge gap after his escape from Ireland. When it picks up again “after a few years,” he is back in Britain with his family.

It was there that Patrick received his call to evangelize Ireland—a vision like the apostle Paul’s at Troas, when a Macedonian man pleaded, “Help us!”

“I had a vision in my dreams of a man who seemed to come from Ireland,” Patrick wrote. “His name was Victoricius, and he carried countless letters, one of which he handed over to me. I read aloud where it began: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ And as I began to read these words, I seemed to hear the voice of the same men who lived beside the forest of Foclut … and they cried out as with one voice, ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’ I was deeply moved in heart and I could read no further, so I awoke.”

Despite his reputation, Patrick wasn’t really the first to bring Christianity to Ireland. Pope Celestine I sent a bishop named Palladius to the island in 431 (about the time Patrick was captured as a slave). Some scholars believe that Palladius and Patrick are one and the same individual, but most believe Palladius was unsuccessful (possibly martyred) and Patrick was sent in his place.

In any event, paganism was still dominant when Patrick arrived on the other side of the Irish Sea. “I dwell among gentiles,” he wrote, “in the midst of pagan barbarians, worshipers of idols, and of unclean things.”

Demons and druids

Patrick did not require the native Irish to surrender their belief in supernatural beings. They were only to regard these beings in a new light as demons. The fear of the old deities was transformed into hatred of demons. If Christianity had come to Ireland with only theological doctrines, the hope of immortal life, and ethical ideas—without miracles, mysteries, and rites—it could have never wooed the Celtic heart.

Predictably, Patrick faced the most opposition from the druids, who practiced magic, were skilled in secular learning (especially law and history) and advised Irish kings. Biographies of the saint are replete with stories of druids who “wished to kill holy Patrick.”

“Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity,” Patrick wrote, “but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere.”

Indeed, Patrick almost delighted in taking risks for the gospel. “I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation. Neither must we fear any such risk in faithfully preaching God’s name boldly in every place, so that even after my death, a spiritual legacy may be left for my brethren and my children.”

Still, Patrick periodically avoided such confrontations by paying protection money: “Patrick paid the price of 15 souls in gold and silver so that no evil persons should impede them as they traveled straight across the whole of Ireland,” wrote one biographer.

Patrick was as fully convinced as the Celts that the power of the druids was real, but he brought news of a stronger power. The famous Lorica (or “Patrick’s Breastplate”—see I Rise Today), a prayer of protection, may not have been written by Patrick (at least in its current form), but it expresses perfectly Patrick’s confidence in God to protect him from “every fierce merciless force that may come upon my body and soul; against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of paganism, against false laws of heresy, against deceit of idolatry, against spells of women and smiths and druids.”

According to legend, it worked. The King, Loiguire, set up a trap to kill Patrick, but as the bishop came near, all the king could see was a deer. (Thus the Breastplate has also been known as the Deer’s Cry.)

There was probably a confrontation between Patrick and the druids, but scholars wonder if it was as dramatic and magical as later stories recounted. One biographer from the late 600s, Muirchœ, described Patrick challenging druids to contests at Tara, in which each party tried to outdo the other in working wonders before the audience:

“The custom was that whoever lit a fire before the king on that night of the year [Easter vigil] would be put to death. Patrick lit the paschal fire before the king on the hill of Slane. The people saw Patrick’s fire throughout the plain, and the king ordered 27 chariots to go and seize Patrick.…

“Seeing that the impious heathen were about to attack him, Patrick rose and said clearly and loudly, ‘May God come up to scatter his enemies, and may those who hate him flee from his face.’ By this disaster, caused by Patrick’s curse in the king’s presence because of the king’s order, seven times seven men fell.… And the king, driven by fear, came and bent his knees before the holy man.…

“[The next day], in a display of magic, a druid invoked demons and brought about a dark fog over the land. Patrick said to the druid, ‘Cause the fog to disperse.’ But he was unable to do it. Patrick prayed and gave his blessing, and suddenly the fog cleared and the sun shone.… And through the prayers of Patrick the flames of fire consumed the druid.

“And the king was greatly enraged at Patrick because of the death of his druid. Patrick said to the king, ‘If you do not believe now, you will die on the spot for the wrath of God descends on your head.’

“The king summoned his council and said, ‘It is better for me to believe than to die.’ And he believed as did many others that day.”

Yet to Patrick, the greatest enemy was one he had been intimately familiar with—slavery. He was, in fact, the first Christian to speak out strongly against the practice. Scholars agree he is the genuine author of a letter excommunicating a British tyrant, Coroticus, who had carried off some of Patrick’s converts into slavery.

“Ravenous wolves have gulped down the Lord’s own flock which was flourishing in Ireland,” he wrote, “and the whole church cries out and laments for its sons and daughters.” He called Coroticus’s deed “wicked, so horrible, so unutterable,” and told him to repent and to free the converts.

It remains unknown if he was successful in freeing Coroticus’s slaves, but within his lifetime (or shortly thereafter), Patrick ended the entire Irish slave trade.

Royal missionary

Patrick concentrated the bulk of his missionary efforts on the country’s one hundred or so tribal kings. If the king became a Christian, he reasoned, the people would too. This strategy was a success.

As kings converted, they gave their sons to Patrick in an old Irish custom for educating and “fostering” (Patrick, for his part, held up his end by distributing gifts to these kings). Eventually, the sons and daughters of the Irish were persuaded to become monks and nuns.

From kingdom to kingdom (Ireland did not yet have towns), Patrick worked much the same way. Once he converted a number of pagans, he built a church. One of his new disciples would be ordained as a deacon, priest, or bishop, and left in charge. If the chieftain had been gracious enough to grant a site for a monastery as well as a church, it was built too and functioned as a missionary station.

Before departing, Patrick gave the new converts (or their pastors) a compendium of Christian doctrine and the canons (rules).

Self doubt

Despite his success as a missionary, Patrick was self-conscious, especially about his educational background. “I still blush and fear more than anything to have my lack of learning brought out into the open,” he wrote in his Confession. “For I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.”

Nevertheless, he gives thanks to God, “who stirred up me, a fool, from the midst of those who are considered wise and learned in the practice of the law as well as persuasive in their speech and in every other way and ahead of these others, inspired me who is so despised by the world.”

Over and over again, Patrick wrote that he was not worthy to be a bishop. He wasn’t the only one with doubts. At one point, his ecclesiastical elders in Britain sent a deputation to investigate his mission. A number of concerns were brought up, including a rash moment of (unspecified) sin from his youth.

His Confession, in fact, was written in response to this investigation. Reeling from accusations, Patrick drew strength from God: “Indeed he bore me up, though I was trampled underfoot in such a way. For although I was put down and shamed, not too much harm came to me.”

If Patrick was not confident about his own shortcomings, he held a deep sense of God’s intimate involvement in his life. “I have known God as my authority, for he knows all things even before they are done,” he wrote. “He would frequently forewarn me of many things by his divine response.”

Indeed, Patrick recorded eight dreams he regarded as personal messages from God. And scattered throughout his Confession are tributes to God’s goodness to him: “Tirelessly, I thank my God, who kept me faithful on the day I was tried, so that today I might offer to him, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of my soul. He saved me in all dangers and perils.… So, whatever may come my way, good or bad, I equally tackle it, always giving thanks to God.”

According to the Irish annals, Patrick died in 493, when he would have been in his seventies. But we do not know for sure when, where, or how he died. Monasteries at Armagh, Downpatrick, and Saul have all claimed his remains. His feast day is recorded as early as March 17, 797, with the annotation; “The flame of a splendid sun, the apostle of virginal Erin [Ireland], may Patrick with many thousands be the shelter of our wickedness.”

Ultimate model

It is difficult to separate fact from fiction in the stories of Patrick’s biographers. It is historically clear, however, that Patrick was one of the first great missionaries who brought the gospel beyond the boundaries of Roman civilization. According to tradition, he had established bishops throughout northern, central, and eastern Ireland. Only Munster, in the south, was to remain pagan until a century after Patrick’s death.

Patrick was the ultimate model for Celtic Christians. He engaged in continuous prayer. He was enraptured by God and loved sacred Scripture. He also had a rich poetic imagination with the openness to hear God in dreams and visions and a love of nature and the created.

He is, then, most worthy of the appellation saint, as one “set apart” for a divine mission. As such, he became an inspiring example. Hundreds of Celtic monks, in emulation of Patrick, left their homeland to spread the gospel to Scotland, England, and continental Europe.

It is a legacy Patrick was proud of: “For God gave me such grace, that many people through me were reborn to God and afterward confirmed and brought to perfection. And so then a clergy was ordained for them everywhere.”

Mary Cagney, a former editorial resident at Christianity Today, has written a screenplay titled A Celtic King.

More resources:

The best starting place to learn about Patrick is with his own words. Few doubt his authorship of the autobiographical Confession and his angry Letter to Coroticus, available in several books, including a new translation by John O’Donohue.

The works are also available in Saint Patrick’s World by Liam de Paor. Combining primary source documents with an informative 50-page “introduction,” it should be in the library of anyone interested in this topic.

If you’re interested in more detail, check out the biography In the Steps of St. Patrick by Brian De Breffny.

Links:

The author of this piece, Mary Cagney, is a former editorial resident for the news department of Christianity Today, where she wrote several articles on the North Ireland peace process.

St. Patrick’s Confession is also available online, as is his Letter to Coroticus.

Some time between the fifth and eighth centuries, a biographical hymn was written about Patrick. Traditionally attributed to Fiacc, a fifth-century Bard, the Hymn of Fiacc is one of the few accepted primary sources for the life of St. Patrick other than his own writings.

Biographies of Patrick abound on the Web. There’s a large one at the Treasury of Irish Folklore. There’s The St. Patrick You Never Knew at American Catholic, a tour company’s True Legend of Saint Patrick, and a biography that doubles as a rant against Catholicism.[1]


[1] Patrick the Saint. (1998). Christian History Magazine-Issue 60: How the Irish Were Saved.

MARCH 16 EXCEPT YE REPENT

The rest of the men…repented not.

Revelation 9:20

There are many compelling lessons to be drawn from the Scriptures, and one of the clearest is that sinful and rebellious people can never be forced into repentance.

The same act that may cause one person to repent and believe will cause others to hate and despise God!

The same Bible sermon that brings the person to tearful submission at an altar of prayer will send others out with pride and a resolve to have their own human way.

Students of the Scriptures are aware that the Old Testament prophets and the writing apostles of New Testament times foresaw and proclaimed God’s coming day of judgment—the consummate settling of accounts between the Sovereign God and His rebellious and sinful creation.

How desperately we would like to believe that in the face of coming judgment, all lost men and women will cry out to God, but such will not be the case: “The rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands…” (Revelation 9:20).

Lord, I pray today that a massive number of people who do not yet know You will turn away from their sin and receive new life in Jesus Christ.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.