Daily Archives: May 31, 2018

May 31: Fighting Loneliness

1 Chronicles 28:1–29:2; 2 Timothy 4:9–22; Psalm 90:1–17

Loneliness is one of the most disheartening feelings a person can know. Being alone in a time of pain is even worse. Several recent surveys suggest that lonely people—especially teenagers—subtly reach out through their social networks, desperately looking for someone who cares. In a world where anyone can get attention online, we’ve moved away from authentic community. We continue to crave personal interactions—perhaps more so because we have electronic witness to the interactions of others. We as Christians should see this as an opportunity to reach out to disenfranchised, lonely people and show the love of Christ to others.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy illustrates how feelings of loneliness are amplified by pain. He makes one of the most candid statements in the Bible:

“At my first defense, no one came to my aid, but they all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord helped me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fulfilled and all the Gentiles might hear, and he rescued me from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:16–18).

Paul is angry and hurt, but he’s well aware that God has been and will continue to be his strength. He acknowledges that he needs and craves community, but he clearly states that God is foremost in his life. He then reminds Timothy of God’s work in his life and others’—ending with “Amen,” meaning “So be it.” Paul’s reliance on God’s past faithfulness bears a striking resemblance to a statement from Psa 90: “O Lord, you have been our help in all generations. Before the mountains were born and you brought forth the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God” (Psa 90:1–2).

This psalm emphasizes that God always has and always will be a “help” to His people. While we can take comfort in that, we should make every effort—as people aspiring to live like Christ—to help others. For Paul found God not only in His provision of spiritual strength, but in the kindness of others.

How can you show God’s kindness and faithfulness to people who are lonely?

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.

May 31 Making Worthless Things Valuable

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2–4).

✧✧✧

In God’s hands you can be a precious and effective instrument.

The story is told of a great concert violinist who wanted to prove a point, so he rented a music hall and announced that he would play a concert on a $20,000 violin. On concert night the music hall was filled to capacity with music lovers anxious to hear such an expensive instrument played. The violinist stepped onto the stage, gave an exquisite performance, and received a thunderous standing ovation. When the applause subsided, he suddenly threw the violin to the ground, stomped it to pieces, and walked off the stage. The audience gasped, then sat in stunned silence.

Within seconds the stage manager approached the microphone and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, to put you at ease, the violin that was just destroyed was a $20 violin. The master will now return to play the remainder of his concert on the $20,000 instrument.” At the conclusion of his concert he received another standing ovation. Few people could tell the difference between the two violins. His point was obvious: it isn’t the violin that makes the music; it’s the violinist.

The disciples were like $20 violins that Jesus transformed into priceless instruments for His glory. I trust that you have been encouraged to see how God used them despite their weakness, and I pray that you have been challenged by their strengths. You may not be dynamic like Peter or zealous like James and Simon, but you can be faithful like Andrew and courageous like Thaddaeus. Remember, God will take the raw material of your life and will expose you to the experiences and teachings that will shape you into the servant He wants you to be.

Trust Him to complete what He has begun in you, and commit each day to the goal of becoming a more qualified and effective disciple.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Make a list of the character traits you most admire in the disciples. Ask the Lord to increase those traits in your own life.

For Further Study: Read 1 Timothy 1:12–17, noting Paul’s perspective on his own calling.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 164). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Persecution Attacks on Christians in India Increased 20% in 2017 | Persecution

ICC Note: A group of human rights activists, Christian leaders, and others gathered together in India to mark the fourth anniversary of the rise of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At this gathering, these leaders expressed their concern over growing religious intolerance and violence being faced by religious minorities. According to one speaker, attacks on Christians are up 20% in 2017.

05/31/2018 India (World Watch Monitor) – Amid growing extreme Hindu nationalism in India, dozens of speakers have called for concerted action to uphold the country’s constitution and fundamental rights, at a conference to mark four years of government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“There is a grave threat to plurality,” Professor Ganesh Narayan Devy, a scholar on India’s religious and linguistic diversity, told the 25-27 May ‘Citizens’ Conclave’ on ‘Building an Inclusive India’ in New Delhi, attended by over 800 delegates from across the country.

“We are living at a time when you are questioned about the food you eat, about the god you worship and branded as anti-national for expressing a different view [contrary to Hindu nationalism],” said Devy.

“They [Hindu nationalists] demonize and attack us: 2017 saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of atrocities against Christians,” Tehmina Arora, a lawyer and director of rights group ADF India, told the conference.

On the status of Christian minorities, she added: “When you go to police, they hardly cooperate and often refuse to register complaints. There is a growing culture of impunity. We could file only 25 criminal cases, as against the 240+ incidents reported in the year.”

Instead, she said that anyone who is accused of converting Hindus “will be beaten up”. “You [can be] taken to a police station when you pray!” she added.

A pastor having a birthday party was recently arrested and accused of converting Hindus in southern Karnataka state, even though it is not a state which has an ‘anti-conversion law’ in place.

“Even I could be accused of ‘conversion’ for addressing this house [with many non-Christians],” Arora said, pointing to the “worsening intolerant atmosphere” during the government under the BJP, known for pursuing a Hindu-nationalist agenda.

She cited the instance of more than 50 villages in central Chhattisgarh state passing resolutions banning the Christian faith soon after the BJP government assumed office on 26 May, 2014.

[Full Story]
— Read on www.persecution.org/2018/05/31/attacks-christians-india-increased-20-2017/

Teens Turn Away From Facebook, Head To YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat

Facebook (FB) is no longer the most popular online platform among U.S. teens, who now favor YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat (SNAP) more than they do the world’s largest social network, says a Pew Research Center survey.

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The survey of people age 13 to 17 showed the YouTube platform of Alphabet (GOOGL) is now used by 85% of teens. That’s followed by the Instagram platform owned by Facebook, at 72%, then Snapchat at 69%. Facebook was fourth at 51% — a figure that’s down from 71% in a comparable poll three years ago.

Following Facebook was Twitter (TWTR), at 32%.

When asked which platform they use most often, 35% of teens said Snapchat, followed by YouTube at 32%, Instagram at 15%, Facebook at 10% and Twitter at 3%.

The Pew survey found that some 95% of teens now say they have or have access to a smartphone. That’s a 22% increase from three years ago.

Online Almost Constantly

A growing number of teens, 45%, say they’re online almost constantly, a figure that has nearly doubled from the 24% who said so three years ago. Another 44% say they go online several times a day, meaning nearly nine out of 10 go online at least multiple times per day.

Shares of Facebook were up 2.4%, near 192, during afternoon trading on the stock market today. Its relative strength line is floating just below a new 52-week high, a positive sign ahead of a potential breakout.

Alphabet shares were up 2.3%, near 1,103, while Snapchat was up 6.3%, near 11.70.

The Pew Research survey included interviews with 1,058 parents with teenagers in the age group, as well as interviews with 743 teens. Interviews were conducted online and by phone from March 7 to April 10, 2018.
— Read on www.investors.com/news/technology/teens-leave-facebook-pew-survey/

MAY 31 LIVE RIGHT OR DIE

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labours.

Revelation 14:13

We modern Christians seem to be a strange breed in many of our ways. We are so completely satisfied with earthly things and we enjoy our creature comforts so much that we would just rather stay on here for a long, long time!

Probably most of us do not tell God about that kind of desire when we pray. But I have made a practice of writing many of my earnest prayers to God in a little book—a book now well worn. I remind God often of what my prayers have been.

One prayer in the book—and God knows it well by this time—is an honest supplication:

O God, let me die rather than to go on day by day living wrong. I do not want to become a careless, fleshly old man. I want to be right so that I can die right! Lord, I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify You all of my days!

I would rather go home right now than to live on—if living on was to be a waste of God’s time and my own!

Lord, it’s true that shelter and security are key human pursuits as we strive to provide for ourselves and our families. But help me find a balance between focusing too much on myself and not enough on You and Your plan for this world.[1]


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

Conservative Alternative to Facebook

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 31, 2018 /Christian Newswire/ — Many people are looking for a conservative alternative to Facebook, because of Facebook censoring conservatives. Others have privacy concerns with Facebook and want a new solution to protect their personal data. There is a conservative social network, USA.Life, “people are switching to,” so “they are not censored for sharing life, liberty and happiness,” said Steven Andrew, the founder.

USA.Life is “the answer to Facebook censoring conservatives, Christians and liberty,” said Andrew. He saw how much the “massive censorship being done” affected people. As a result, he took the initiative to start the conservative alternative to Facebook and “save the USA.”

He said, “People are signing up by the droves” to get their free accounts at www.USA.Life.

“The conservative social network members are filled with great enthusiasm,” said Andrew.

“We began in 2017 and want to launch during the summer of 2018,” he said. Although to make this goal, “we are looking for people who want to be part of this historic project and contribute $10 or more.” Those who give $1,000 or more to save the Internet will get their name, business or loved one’s name on the Founders Wall.

Andrew set up a crowdfunding page with the details.

USA.Life is working to be “the number one social network” and boldly plans to “replace Facebook and Twitter,” he said.

Andrew is uniquely qualified to lead this new conservative social network, since he is a respected Christian and technology leader. He has run complex Internet initiatives before. In Silicon Valley, Andrew stands out since he believes like the founding fathers, compared to the “liberal anti-American leaders” at Facebook and Twitter.

“Conservatives feel hope when they hear of the conservative Facebook replacement, knowing they can share photos, news, messages and videos without Facebook,” Andrew said. People anywhere can get accounts.

Source: Conservative Alternative to Facebook

Dinesh D’Souza Celebrates Presidential Pardon With Epic Smackdown of Obama Hack Preet Bharara — The Gateway Pundit

Conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza faced political persecution after he directed and released anti-Obama film, “2016: Obama’s America”. He was indicted over illegal campaign contributions.

It was an obvious witch hunt.

In January, D’Souza said his FBI file, obtained by the House Intel Committee shows the FBI red-flagged him as a “critic of Obama” and subsequently allocated $100,000 to investigate a $20,000 case.

An official petition requesting President Trump pardon Dinesh D’Souza was created in April, seeking 100,000 signatures.

On Thursday President Trump announced he will pardon Dinesh D’Souza later today.

AMEN!

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!

Dinesh D’Souza celebrated on his Twitter account with an epic smack down of the Obama hack who made his life hell, former US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Bharara used his position as a US Attorney to go after Dinesh with a vengeance during the Obama years.

Shortly after Trump was sworn into office, the President fired Preet Bharara.

Dinesh blasted the Obama hack on Thursday with a viral smackdown!

Dinesh tweeted: KARMA IS A BITCH DEPT: @PreetBharara wanted to destroy a fellow Indian American to advance his career. Then he got fired & I got pardoned

Dinesh D’Souza

@DineshDSouza

KARMA IS A BITCH DEPT: @PreetBharara wanted to destroy a fellow Indian American to advance his career. Then he got fired & I got pardoned

Dinesh also thanked President Trump and everyone for praying for him and supporting him over the years.

Dinesh D’Souza

@DineshDSouza

My heartfelt thanks to those who prayed for me, supported me & reached out on social media to President Trump to pardon me

Dinesh D’Souza

@DineshDSouza

Obama & his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for fully restoring both

Dinesh D’Souza

@DineshDSouza

Bharara & his goons bludgeoned me into the plea by threatening to add a second redundant charge carrying a prison term of FIVE YEARS https://twitter.com/preetbharara/status/1002199018439692288 

via Dinesh D’Souza Celebrates Presidential Pardon With Epic Smackdown of Obama Hack Preet Bharara — The Gateway Pundit

CNN Audience Plunges 25% As Fox News Dominates Prime Time

In a new TV ratings report published Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research, Fox News Channel continues to reign supreme in the cable news wars, while CNN’s primetime audience has collapsed by a shocking 25%.

 

” Fox News extended its run of consecutive months at number one to a staggering 197, while building hitting another impressive milestone: Fox News has now beaten every other network in basic cable for 23 months straight, based on total day ratings, with an average total day audience in May of 1.4 million viewers,” said Forbes.

“In prime time, Fox News destroyed its competition, with an average total audience of 2.381 million viewers, compared to MSNBC’s 1.384 million and CNN’s 835,000. Among viewers 25-54, the group most coveted by advertisers, Fox News shook off a challenge in recent months from MSNBC to claim a clear victory: 461,000 viewers, well ahead of MSNBC (329,000) and CNN (265,000).”

Nielsen reported that Fox News secured an impressive ten of the top fifteen shows in all of the cable news, with Fox News’ Sean Hannity finishing in the top most-watched cable news show in May. Aside from ESPN and the NBA playoffs, Hannity had more viewers than any other show on cable.

In total viewers, “Hannity” had 3.261 million, followed by MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” (2.627 million), and Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2.617 million), “The Ingraham Angle” (2.617 million) and “The Five” (2.153 million).

On a year-over-year basis, Fox News viewership increased +6 percent to 2.381 million viewers during primetime. MSNBC declined -2 percent to 1.654 million viewers, and CNN collapsed -25 percent in viewers to 888,000.

Regarding demographics, the prime working age American (25- to 54-year-old) coveted by corporations for advertising purposes, Hannity gained the top spot with 650,000 of these viewers. A handful of companies late last year dropped their advertisement programs with Hannity over the Roy Moore interview. Reflecting on that decisions, well, it seems like those companies made a terrible advertising mistake. Maddow secured second, with 513,000 prime age working Americans, while Laura Ingraham finished in the third slot, with 523,000.

When it comes to financial news, most Americans have now gravitated to Fox Business for their daily dose of mainstream economics. Fox has been leading the financial segment of news for twelve consecutive months in a row over its rival CNBC. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” has been a grand slam for the network — now ranked most-watched cable business program, with 319,000 total viewers. “Varney & Co.” with Stuart Varney placing second, with 232,000, and “Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman” was third, with 178,000.

Wrapping up the top five were “After the Bell” on Fox Business, with 176,000 viewers, and CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street/Squawk Alley,” with 172,000. Mad Money with Jim Cramer was nowhere to be found.

In total views during market hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fox Business had an average of 187,000 viewers to CNBC’s 165,000. However, CNBC did surpass Fox Business in the total views for the prime working age cohort, but not by much – possibly due to CNBC’s crypto trader segment.

Americans who get their daily dose of news, politics, and economics from mainstream news outlets appear to have received the message blasted by President Donald Trump that “liberal media” is fake news, and nowhere is it more obvious than in the ratings collapse of Trump’s nemesis: CNN. Which begs the question: is the Fourth Estate indeed collapsing as many believe, or is it just shifting increasingly to conservative media?

Source: CNN Audience Plunges 25% As Fox News Dominates Prime Time

May 31, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump said talks with North Korea in New York have been very positive and he is expecting the delegation from Pyongyang to travel to Washington on Friday to deliver a letter to him from leader Kim Jong Un.

The United States said it was moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending a two-month exemption and potentially setting the stage for a trade war with some of America’s top allies.

President Trump said he will grant a full pardon to conservative commentator Dinesh D’souza, who was sentenced in 2014 to five years of probation for federal campaign law violations.

Illinois joined 36 U.S. states on Wednesday when it ratified an U.S. constitution Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) intended to ensure women are treated the same as men under state and federal laws, more than three decades after a deadline to approve it.

The Illinois Senate passed a $38.5 billion fiscal 2019 general fund budget that was hailed by legislators as being balanced and bipartisan in a departure from years of political gridlock.

Federal and NY state officials say they will hold drills in the weeks leading up to primary elections for the U.S. House and Senate to prevent hacking and cyber threats to voting systems.

President Donald Trump said he expects major drug companies to slash prices on their products in two weeks, but did not provide details on which companies would do so or how such reductions would be made.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is sending two teams of war surgeons to Gaza and setting up a surgical unit in the enclave’s main hospital to treat heavy casualties from clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

U.S. consumer spending increased more than expected in April, a further sign that economic growth was regaining momentum early in the second quarter, while inflation continued to rise steadily.

Denmark has banned the wearing of face veils in public, joining France and other parts of Europe in outlawing the burqa and the niqab worn by some Muslim women.

AP Top Stories

Life expectancy in the U.S., has gone down for the third time in as many years. The Centers for Disease Control says the drop is directly related to the rise in opioid abuse.

Senior Taliban officials have been secretly negotiating with Afghan officials on a possible ceasefire, the Pentagon said Wednesday, even as US forces killed over 50 Taliban leaders in a series of strikes.

Syria on Tuesday recognized the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent from the former Soviet state of Georgia, prompting Tbilisi to cut diplomatic ties with Damascus.

Islamic State militants, including two suicide bombers, dressed in military uniforms and riding in two armored vehicles launched a surprise attack on the Interior Ministry in Kabul on Wednesday but Afghan forces managed to repel the assault, leaving all the attackers dead.

The office of Brazilian President Michel Temer said in a written statement on Wednesday that it was committed to the financial health of Petroleo Brasileiro SA and it would continue to preserve the state-led oil firm’s fuel pricing policies.

A 2016 survey of more than 3,200 Americans from the financial firm Allianz found that more than 60 percent of baby boomers fear running out of their savings more than death.

BBC

Police have been deployed to a small village in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province where thousands of people are reported to have flocked in search of gold.

European judges have ruled that Lithuania and Romania violated the rights of two al-Qaeda terror suspects by allowing the CIA to torture them.

Uganda’s parliament has passed a law to impose a controversial tax on people using social media platforms. It imposes a $0.05 daily levy on people using internet messaging platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Twitter. The law should come into effect on 1 July but there remain doubts about how it will be implemented.

Immigrants’ rights groups have condemned the US government after a transgender immigrant died in US custody while seeking asylum.

President Donald Trump has signed a bill giving terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments not approved by the government. The new bill does not mandate that drug makers give access to unapproved drugs to patients asking for them.

Algerian authorities have seized more than 1,543lbs of cocaine smuggled aboard a container ship and made 20 arrests.

The Catholic Church has confirmed it will be part of a national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse in Australia. Among harrowing stories, it heard that 7% of Australia’s Catholic priests abused children between 1950 and 2010.

Neighbors will feature Australian TV’s first same-sex wedding, it has been confirmed. The long-running soap will air the nuptials between Aaron Brennan, played by Matt Wilson, and David Tanaka, played by Takaya Honda, in September. It follows the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country in December 2017.

WND

Demands to restrict firearms and beef up school security have dominated the debate following the shootings, but flying under the radar is the surge of interest in homeschooling as parents lose faith in the ability of public schools to protect students from harm.

The U.S. Supreme Court likely will consider the case of a school district that has taken away the privacy rights of the vast majority of students to provide special rights to a few.


News – 5/31/2018

Russia Brokers Deal Keeping Iran Out of Region Bordering With Israel

Russia is doubling-down on its demand that non-Syrian forces step back from the border with Israel. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed the situation in Syria on Tuesday at the international Primakov Readings Forum, an international think-tank annual summit held in Moscow. TASS Russian news agency reported his statements. “We have well-known agreements concerning the southwestern de-escalation zone,” he said. “Those agreements were concluded by Russia, the United States, and Jordan.”

Israel Has Nothing to Fear from Trump’s Plan?

Jonathan S. Tobin, editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Syndicate, argues that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has nothing to worry about!” when it comes to the expected Trump plan that recognizes “Palestine” with Jerusalem as its capital, even though such a plan normally “would be fiercely opposed by the Israeli right and could potentially set off a coalition crisis.” Why is this lack of concern? Because “Palestinians will reliably say ‘no’ to any peace deal,” making it virtually certain that “Trump’s peace plan will be dead on arrival.”

Former Mossad chief: In 2011, Netanyahu ordered 2-week Iran attack plan

According to the former Mossad chief, Israel was closer than ever to attacking Iran in 2011. This is when Netanyahu instructed Mossad chief Pardo and then-chief of staff Benny Gantz to prepare for the P15+ plan, which meant improving Israel’s defense so that it would be prepared to attack Iran within 15 days of the order.

After another round of violence, it is time for a Gaza plan

As a delicate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza appeared to go into effect on Wednesday after the biggest escalation since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, it was time to play the blame game. While Egypt was credited with mediating a truce between the parties and Jerusalem officially held Hamas accountable for the dozens of rockets fired at Israel on Tuesday…

Haley calls Security Council response to Gazan volleys ‘outrageous’

Nikki Haley, US President Donald Trump’s envoy to the UN, tore into the organization on Wednesday for what she characterized as a lackadaisical response to the firing of over 70 rockets on Israel from Gaza the day before…”Apparently some council members didn’t think Hamas launching rockets qualified as terrorism,” she continued, but “the United States begs to differ.”

Key North Korea official meets Pompeo in New York

The right-hand man to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York to discuss a historic summit. Gen Kim Yong-chol dined with Mr Pompeo after flying in from China, and the two are due to meet again on Thursday. He is the most senior North Korean to visit the US in nearly 20 years.

Colombia Hidroituango dam: ‘The river took my house’

…Puerto Valdivia is just one of the communities affected by a series of emergencies which have hit Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam project, Hidroituango. Tens of thousands of people living downstream from the dam have been evacuated and the emergencies just keep coming. The Hidroituango dam over the river Cauca, …was just months from completion when on 28 April a landslide near the site blocked a tunnel built to divert the river’s flow while construction was going on.

Assad: There are no Iranian forces in Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad has rebuffed claims of an Iranian military presence in his country, while accusing Israel of launching attacks on his territory and of propagating “lies” about its massive aerial offensive launched earlier in May. “Israel is attacking us, but we are only becoming stronger and improving our defenses even more,” he said in an interview with Russia Today. “That is the only way to stop the Israeli attacks, and we are doing that.”

U.S. to slap tariffs on steel, aluminum from EU on Thursday

Washington will announce plans to slap tariffs on EU steel and aluminum imports as early as Thursday morning, sources said, while the U.S. commerce secretary said any escalation of their trade dispute would depend on the bloc’s reaction. The two sources briefed on the matter said the decision would land before a Friday expiration deadline for exemptions to the planned tariffs.

China rejects ‘ridiculous’ U.S. accusation of South China Sea militarization

U.S. assertions that China is militarizing the South China Sea are “ridiculous”, China said on Thursday, after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington would confront China’s actions in the disputed waterways. Mattis said on Tuesday the United States would push back against what it sees as China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea despite China’s condemnation of a voyage through the region on the weekend by two U.S. Navy ships.

China says carrier group has reached ‘initial’ combat readiness

The carrier group led by China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has reached “initial” combat readiness, the defense ministry said on Thursday, in another significant step in the country’s ambitious military modernization program. Little is known about the aircraft carrier program, which China regards as a state secret.

It’s going to be hard to boycott this new Israeli cancer vaccine cures 90% of types with just ONE shot

Another medical miracle from Israel…

Israel announces that the option to invade Gaza and exterminate Islamic terror groups once and for all is on the table

After biggest mortar barrage since 2014 Operation Protective Edge, the minister said that security and political officials were considering all options, including taking control of Gaza.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG: Transgender Prisoners In Connecticut Can Now Get Housed Based On Gender Identity, Despite Obvious Dangers

Transgender prisoners in Connecticut can now live with other inmates according to their gender identity rather than their biological sex, marking a departure from federal law and other state laws mandating that prisoners are housed according to biology.

Israeli rabbis: This year marks the end of ‘the left’

“The left” is going down!  This year!  That’s according to two Jewish rabbis, one a leading Sephardic rabbi who is the spiritual head of a political party and the second a Torah Codes expert who has analyzed what he regards as clues hidden in the Scriptures.

Vatican & Banks Overthrow Election In Italy

The European Union political establishment, allied with Pope Francis & the Vatican, have overthrown democracy in Italy. Leo Zagami reports from Italy on how this happened and what is likely to happen next.

Planned Parenthood Caught Performing Abortions On 12-Year-Old Girls – Not Reporting Crimes To Police

A new study by Live Action reveals that Planned Parenthood was caught performing abortions for girls as young as 12-years-old and not reporting the sexual crime to authorities.

Storms and lightning kill at least 47 in India

Storms and lightning across a swathe of northern India have killed at least 47 people, officials said Tuesday, the latest deaths from freak weather that has battered the country this month.

‘Kind of alarming’: Number of new gonorrhea cases in Alaska skyrockets in 2017

The number of new gonorrhea cases in Alaska increased by 51 percent in 2017 compared to the year before, a statistic that’s concerning to public health officials, the state health department said. “This is kind of alarming,” said Susan Jones, HIV and STD program manager for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. “Alaskans need to know what’s going on to protect themselves.”

Supreme Court Leaves In Place Law That Effectively Bans Abortion By Pill

The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to hear a challenge to an Arkansas abortion law that, in practice, bars abortions by pill instead of by surgical procedure.

Roseanne Says Having 7 Personalities Is Tough

…Roseanne, who first told the world that she has multiple personality disorder in 1994, says it’s not easy dealing with switching between “Somebody” and “Nobody.” Those are just two of the names the former sitcom queen has given to her personalities, which she says total seven in all. The rest she calls Baby, Cindy, Susan, Joey, and Heather. In an interview in the August issue of Esquire magazine, Roseanne says that after 10 years of hard work, she’s managed to integrate the differing personalities.

School’s suspension of privacy rights headed to Supremes?

The U.S. Supreme Court likely will consider the case of a school district that has taken away the privacy rights of the vast majority of students to provide special rights to a few. The few contend they are of the opposite sex. That is, some boys say they are girls, and some girls say they are boys. And when they demanded the right to use the rest rooms and locker facilities of their choice, the school, Boyertown Area School District, simply said yes.

Feds want to program genes to halt flu, other threats

The federal government is launching a research effort that will look for ways to program genetic codes to protect people, especially military service members and first responders, from the flu, other pathogens and more..

So-Called ‘Prison Bus For Babies’ Was Made Under Obama, Viral Photo Is Two Years Old

While Americans are treated like dirt in Mexico’s prisons, the children of illegal immigrants detained in America are taken on field trips in specially built entertainment buses

77 holistic practitioners now dead since 2015: This is beyond strange, they are dropping like flies and MSM ignores them

Since June of 2015, 77 holistic practitioners, more with other deaths associated with them, have died, official causes ranging from suicide to heart attacks, with the latest woman, doctor Annie Fairbanks, found murdered in her home, along with her husband, their 3-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son, in Arizona.

‘Start ‘Em Young’: J.Crew Selling Boys Pink ‘I’m a Feminist Too’ T-Shirts

Retail Giant J.Crew is now selling pink “I am a feminist too” shirts for boys.


 Mid-Day Snapshot

Gowdy and Rubio Affirm ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ Justification

“The FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do,” Gowdy asserted.

Trump and Sessions Aren’t Arch Enemies

The president’s latest criticism of his AG is simply a reiteration of his same complaint.

WaPo Hates Strong Conservative Women Like Diane Black

The paper featured a mocking hit piece on Black’s thoughts about the culture of violence.

Fourth Amendment: Supremes Get One Right … Or Do They?

What exactly is admissible criminal evidence and when is a warrant needed?

Moral Relativism Led to Violent Society — How to Turn the Tide

Ideas have consequences, and the morally bankrupt theory of moral relativism has done damage.

A Crack in the Justice System: The Story of Matthew Charles

After rehabilitating himself thoroughly, Charles is headed back to prison for a decades-old offense.

Trump’s China Tariff Threat Is Back on the Table

He’s ratcheting up the pressure again on China after North Korea’s flip-flop.

The Trump Investigation: Origins and Motives

The genesis of the Trump/Putin collusion investigation from the perspective of a seasoned federal prosecutor.

Thursday Short Cuts

America First: “The war on coal is over. We’re going to be energy dominant and energy independent.” —Scott Pruitt

Thursday Top Headlines

Nuclear talks, tariffs, Italy, Ukraine, “right to try,” racism, gun safety, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Victor Davis Hanson

The Carnivores of Civil Liberties

Cal Thomas

Ireland Makes Its Decision on Abortion

Jeff Jacoby

Your Father’s Republican Party Has Vanished. His Democratic Party Has, Too

Edwin J. Feulner

Forging a Better Strategy on Iran

Larry Elder

Roseanne Is Out? Explain Maher, Sharpton and Olbermann


Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


The Foundation

“Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.” —Thomas Jefferson (1775)

 ZeroHedge Frontrunning: May 31

  • Trump Is Planning to Impose EU Steel, Aluminum Tariffs (Read More)
  • Europe will give determined response to any U.S. tariffs: Merkel (Read More)
  • IFJ calls Russian journalist Babchenko affair ‘intolerable’ (Read More)
  • Even a Strong Economy Might Not Save Spain’s Government (Read More)
  • Deutsche Bank’s U.S. Operations Deemed ‘Troubled’ by Fed (Read More)
  • Soros View on Global Crisis Is ‘Ridiculous,’ Morgan Stanley CEO Says (Read More)
  • Why Wall Street Traders Aren’t Rejoicing (Yet) Over Volcker Rule (Read More)
  • F.B.I. Official Wrote Secret Memo Fearing Trump Got a Cover Story for Comey Firing (Read More)
  • Harvey Weinstein and the Clinton Protection Racket (Read More)
  • GM’s autonomous vehicle unit gets $2.25 billion funding from SoftBank (Read More)
  • As U.S. Jobs Go Begging, Forget Those Monthly Gains of 200,000 (Read More)
  • In Venezuela, There’s No Traffic or Road Rage—and It’s Awful (Read More)
  • Ahead of November election, old voting machines stir concerns among U.S. officials (Read More)
  • Russia’s Deripaska empire bets on mid-summer plan to escape U.S. sanctions (Read More)
  • Kremlin calls staging of Russian journalist’s death in Kiev strange (Read More)
  • Trump’s Net Worth Slides to $2.8 Billion, Lowest Since Campaign (Read More)
  • Telegram says Apple has prevented it from updating since April (Read More)

Headlines – 5/31/2018

Kuwait blocks US bid to condemn Gaza rocket fire at Security Council

US blasts Security Council as measure condemning Hamas blocked

Haley Rips Security Council’s ‘Outrageous’ Failure to Condemn Hamas for Rocket Attacks: ‘Height of Hypocrisy’

Nikki Haley to UNSC: no country would accept 70 rockets fired at it

Nikki Haley slams Security Council over Gaza rockets: Hamas committed to Israel’s destruction

PA envoy blames Israel for Gaza rocket attacks, says Gaza escalation followed an “Israeli provocation”

MK Zahalka: IDF strikes in Gaza part of ‘continued Israeli aggression’

Bennett: Iran behind Gaza escalation to distract us from fight against it

Palestinians in Gaza launch biggest rocket barrage in years, then claim they have agreed to cease-fire

Hamas says armed groups agree to Gaza ceasefire if Israel reciprocates

Bombs stop raining over southern Israel in response to informal cease-fire

Israeli official: ‘If fire resumes, strikes in Gaza will intensify’

UN envoy: Gaza escalation a warning that ‘brink of war’ near

IDF says it targeted unmanned Hamas submarines in Gaza airstrikes

IDF: Strikes hit arms depots, drones storage, naval abilities in Gaza

IDF releases satellite images of ‘significant’ Gaza targets hit in airstrikes

Netanyahu: Israel dealt Gaza terror groups ‘harshest blow in years’

IDF general: Gaza terror groups ‘deeply deterred,’ not interested in war

Galant: ‘Anyone suggesting to take Gaza had better consider who would replace Hamas’

Intelligence minister calls to end fuel, water supply to Gaza

Israel restores electricity to Gaza

US avoids condemning Israel after 2,000 settlement homes approved

White House encourages Israel to scale back on settlements

Despite alignment with Israel, Arab powers still spreading antisemitism

Liberman heads to Moscow to lobby against Iranian presence in Syria

Assad: Israel threatening Syria because it is panicking, hysterical

Assad denies any Iranian presence in Syria

Russia tells Iran to immediately remove militias from Syrian-Israel border

US condemns Syria’s plan to recognize breakaway regions in Georgia

Ukraine accuses Russia in Kiev assassination of journalist critical of Putin

U.S. Gives Russia ‘Unexpected Present’ With Iran Sanctions and Oil Price Surge

Iran seeks OPEC support against US sanctions

Adviser to Iran’s supreme leader pushes uranium enrichment

Former Mossad chief: Netanyahu planned Iran strike in 2011

Mattis says rocket used in Houthi attack on Saudi tanker was delivered by Iran

US Marines kill more than 70 Taliban leaders in Afghanistan

ISIS claims suicide bombing at Afghan ministry in Kabul

Nicaragua using ‘shoot to kill’ strategy on protesters, Amnesty International says

3 sets of talks aimed at arranging summit between Trump, Kim

Pompeo meets top North Korean to plan possible Trump-Kim summit

Kim Jong Un wants to open burger joint as ‘show of goodwill’

Kim Jong Un reportedly cried over North Korea’s bad economy, and it could show he’s ready to cave to Trump

Japan says it’s spotted Chinese ships doing illegal business with North Korean vessels at sea

China would retaliate against US trade crackdown, Beijing official warns

Trump looks prepared to kick off a trade war with the European Union

U.S. Plans to Hit EU With Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

George Soros Says Trump Destroyed the Transatlantic Alliance, Warns Europe it Faces ‘Existential Crisis’

Brexit: Time is running out, big business warns May

EU industry lobby adds to pressure on Britain over Brexit talks

Italy crisis: Interest rates on government bonds double in a month

Brazil faces calls for return to military dictatorship amid truckers’ strike

Brazil oil workers begin strike in new blow to government

Singapore Airlines to launch world’s longest commercial flight in October

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Volcano, Hawaii

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Aratoca, Colombia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Isangel, Vanuatu

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Greenland Sea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupts to 10,000ft

Hawaii lava has destroyed more than 70 homes

Kilauea’s Fast-Moving Lava Threatens Another Community, Volcanic Haze Reaches Guam

New evacuations ordered as fast-flowing Hawaii lava blocks major volcano escape route

The Surprising Tourism Bump From Hawaii’s Spewing Volcano

Remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto hit Chicago, trigger rains breaking record for wettest May

Storm in North Carolina triggers flash floods and landslides – and almost caused a dam to fail

After Pair of 1-In-1000 Year Floods, Ellicott City, Md Seeks Safeguards

‘Critical Situation’ in Northern India as Pre-Monsoon Storms Kill Dozens of People

India’s crazy weather has killed over 200 people in one month

Eight million bottles’ worth of Champagne grapes wiped out by freak hailstorms

Incredible dust storm with near hurricane force winds batters eastern Iran

Effects of E.coli Outbreak in Lettuce Ripple Through U.S. Food-Supply Chain

Cryptic emergency alert panics Oregon city’s residents

This mock pandemic killed 150 million people. Next time it might not be a drill.

Why we should be cautious about the ‘game-changer’ Ebola vaccine

Ebola outbreak opens way to chaotic jockeying to test experimental drugs

Uber installs panic button for riders to curb sexual assault

Amber Alert Baby Found Dead in Diaper Box, Mother Arrested After Claiming Daughter Was Kidnapped

Trump sees media bias in handling of ‘Roseanne’ cancellation


ApostasyWatch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – Apostates, tares, fiery trials, and tests

Tony Alamo’s Child Brides Speak Out

They Call It “Bibliolatry” (Bible Worship) – But Could it Be a Contemplative Smoke Screen?

Church Sued for $2.3 Million for Not Hosting LGBT Event in Building It Owns

Baptist Church Votes to Remove Statue of Jesus Because It Looks Too ‘Catholic’

Study: Infant Mortality Rates Higher in Christian Fundamentalist Communities

Christ at the Checkpoint in the Age of Trump

Tim Challies – How To Tell if it’s a Prosperity Gospel Church

Coming out: Michael Brown proudly NAR – advocating New Apostolic Paradigm

Willow Creek Hires Independent Firm to Help Reconcile With Bill Hybels’ Accusers; Women Say They Want Truth First

Hawaii Governor Signs Bill Banning Help for Homosexual Youth, Claims ‘Sexual Orientation Is Not an Illness’

Philly Student Uncomfortable Sharing Bathrooms With Opposite Sex Told to ‘Tolerate It,’ ‘Make It as Natural as Possible’

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:51 AM PDT

Philly Student Uncomfortable Sharing Bathrooms With Opposite Sex Told to ‘Tolerate It,’ ‘Make It as Natural as Possible’A Philadelphia high school student who was required to share bathrooms with members of the opposite sex was reportedly told by a school administrator to “tolerate it” and “make it as natural as possible.”  “It’s amazing to think that one quick trip to the bathroom can change your life,” the student, Alexis Lightcap, began an op-ed for The Inquirer, published on Thursday.

“I was a junior in high school when I ducked into the girls’ room at school one day to find … a boy. I froze. Three years at this particular school, and that had never happened to me before,” she explained. “The girls’ bathroom had always been the girls’ getaway place — a place for privacy, mostly, but also a little refuge — a place to get away from boys, maybe talk about boys, but not meet boys.” READ MORE

12 dead whales found washed up on beaches in New Zealand in “Rare Event”

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:46 AM PDT

12 dead whales found washed up on beaches in New Zealand in “Rare Event”Twelve dead sperm whales have now been found on a South Taranaki beach in what the Department of Conservation is calling a rare event.  Eight of them were found on Kaupokonui Beach last Thursday, three additional ones yesterday, and another one today. The Department of Conservation said all of

them were male but it didn’t know why they had been stranded. Its biodiversity ranger Callum Liley said biopsies had been taken of the mammals which will give them more information regarding their genetics. There could be more dead whales from the same pod washed up somewhere else, he said.  READ MORE

Why Are So Many Concerned About The Potential Health Dangers Of The 5G Cell Phone Network That Is Going Up Nationwide?

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:41 AM PDT

Why Are So Many Concerned About The Potential Health Dangers Of The 5G Cell Phone Network That Is Going Up Nationwide?(By Michael Snyder) The new 5G cell phone network that is being rolled out across the nation is going to make communicating by cell phone super smooth and super fast. It will basically revolutionize the entire cell phone industry, and for multitudes of phone users this new era cannot get here fast enough. But will there be a great price to pay for this amazing technology? Right now, U.S. wireless companies are

installing hundreds of thousands of new antennas, and each one of these new antennas is a microwave transmitter. If you live or work near one of these antennas, that means that you are literally being bombarded by microwave radiation on a constant basis, and once this entire network goes up nationwide it will be extremely difficult for anyone to get away from this radiation completely. Some experts are warning us to consider the health implications before it is too late to do anything about it. READ MORE

The U.S. Has Decided To Fight Trade Wars With China, Europe, Canada And Mexico Simultaneously

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:37 AM PDT

The U.S. Has Decided To Fight Trade Wars With China, Europe, Canada And Mexico Simultaneously(By Michael Snyder) One trade war may be enough to push the struggling global economy into another recession, but the U.S. government has apparently decided that it is time to fight trade wars with pretty much all of the major economies around the world at the same time. This is utter insanity, and it is going to have disastrous consequences that will be felt all over the planet. Yes, we need to get tough on trade. If you have followed my work for the last eight years, than you know that I have been a very strong advocate

of protecting U.S. manufacturers and U.S. workers. But these things have got to be handled delicately, because any significant disruption at this point could lead to an absolutely crippling global economic crisis. Negotiating on an international level requires a great deal of finesse, because if you mess up it can have monumental consequences. For example, one thing that you shouldn’t do is make an agreement with the second largest economy in the world and then tear it up less than two weeks later…READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: Israel nears the threshold of war

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:32 AM PDT

RUMORS OF WAR: Israel nears the threshold of warDefense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday that the IDF would not hesitate to attack any place from which rockets were fired at Israel.  “Every place from which the terrorist organizations fire into Israeli territory is a legitimate target for the air force to attack, with all that entails. On behalf of all the people of Israel, I wish to commend the soldiers and commanders of the IDF for the dedication and

determination and the residents of the Gaza vicinity for their steadfastness and to act in every way to ensure security and quiet for the citizens of Israel. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said in an interview with Army Radio that “we are closer to the brink of war than we have been since Operation Protective Edge – we are not interested in this and the other side is not, but we have a red line.” He stressed: “Toward evening, the situation will worsen.” READ MORE

Critical infrastructure in the US at risk for hackers

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:23 AM PDT

Critical infrastructure in the US at risk for hackersThe hacking threat to critical infrastructure in the United States and beyond is growing larger, with nation states and other malicious actors looking to gain a foothold in sensitive technologies to conduct espionage and potentially stage disruptive or destructive attacks.  Dragos, a firm that specializes in industrial cybersecurity, has released new research asserting that a hacker group responsible for

deploying highly sophisticated, destructive malware to an industrial plant in the Middle East last year has begun to expand its operations beyond its initial targets.  “This is no longer about data theft or business disruption. Someone can get hurt. It’s about physical consequences,” said Dan Scali, senior manager for FireEye’s industrial control system security consulting practice. Last week, researchers at Dragos released new details about a threat group they call “Xenotime.” READ MORE

Life-Sized Jesus Christ Cake Has Ignited a Firestorm Among Christians

Posted: 31 May 2018 05:18 AM PDT

Life-Sized Jesus Christ Cake Has Ignited a Firestorm Among ChristiansAn Argentine minister issued a public apology after he gleefully ate a piece of a cake shaped like the body of Jesus Christ at an art exhibition in Argentina, Newsweek reported.  Enrique Avogadro, the Minister of Culture for Buenos Aires, took to Facebook to apologize, saying he “sincerely regrets” offending people’s “most intimate beliefs” by eating the life-size cake.

The Jesus cake was created by the artist duo Pool & Marianela. According to both videos and photography, Avogadro smiled widely while indulging in a piece of Jesus’s “arm.” Images and videos of the controversial moment were posted online and quickly gained viral traction. Avogadro’s action triggered outrage from Christians in Argentina and around the world. READ MORE

Residents of Maryland town reeling from pair of 1,000-year floods…

Posted: 30 May 2018 06:53 PM PDT

Residents of Maryland town reeling from pair of 1,000-year floods…

The deadly flash flood that devastated a Maryland town’s historic center in July 2016 was dubbed a 1-in-1000 year event. Less than two years later, an even more treacherous flood ravaged the town, gutting shops and killing a visitor.  Exasperated locals, just starting the strenuous task of picking up the pieces from Sunday’s disaster, are calling for authorities to energetically focus on finding a

permanent stormwater solution for Ellicott City’s downtown district, situated in a ravine some 13 miles (20 kilometers) west of Baltimore. “Who would have thought this was going to happen in two years? But it happened again. And maybe we’re never going to see Old Ellicott City again,” said resident Sahil Saini, standing outside a  community center doubling as a shelter.  Flooding is hardly new for historic Ellicott City, a onetime home to mill workers that transformed into a tourist hub known for its restaurants, antique shops and nightlife.  READ MORE

New evacuations ordered as fast-flowing Hawaii lava blocks major volcano escape route

Posted: 30 May 2018 06:45 PM PDT

New evacuations ordered as fast-flowing Hawaii lava blocks major volcano escape routeFast-moving lava flows on Hawaii’s Big Island from the Kilauea volcano have blocked one major evacuation route and are headed toward the crossroads of another, prompting a new round of evacuations for rural neighborhoods in the area.  Authorities going door to door in the early-morning hours Wednesday called for emergency evacuations in the Kapoho, Beach Lots and Vacationland areas, about 35 miles from Hilo, the island’s biggest city.

The lava crossed Highway 132 on Tuesday afternoon and was moving diagonally toward an intersection known as Four Corners, where Highways 132 and 137 cross near the coast. Both highways are the primary evacuation routes for the area, raising concerns that authorities might have to bulldoze an emergency route through the jungle connecting several existing small roads. They’ve also made plans for helicopter evacuations using military aircraft. READ MORE

Israel puts crosshairs on Iran for recent Gaza rocket attacks!

Posted: 30 May 2018 06:41 PM PDT

Israel puts crosshairs on Iran for recent Gaza rocket attacks!Israel is pointing a finger at Iran for being behind the most serious escalation on it’s southern front in four years. Less than a month after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps fired 32 rockets toward Israel’s northern Golan Heights, the Iranian-funded Islamic Jihad along with Hamas fired some 180 Iranian-made 120-mm. mortar shells and 107-mm. rockets toward communities in southern Israel. It was the largest salvo fired from the Gaza Strip since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

In response, Israel carried out the most extensive retaliation since 2014, striking 65 Hamas targets across the entire Gaza Strip, including a dual-purpose tunnel dug one kilometer into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and then 900 meters into Israeli territory.  According to IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, the tunnel was meant not only to carry out attacks against Israel but also to smuggle weaponry into the blockaded coastal enclave.  READ MORE

Dutch Citizen Becomes First Person Allowed to Change Birth Certificate to Register As Neither Male nor Female

Posted: 30 May 2018 12:16 PM PDT

Dutch Citizen Becomes First Person Allowed to Change Birth Certificate to Register As Neither Male nor FemaleA Dutch citizen born in 1961 has won the right to change the gender on their birth certificate to align with their assumed identity. In addition, judges are pushing lawmakers to recognize the third gender in the registry.  The Limburg District Court in Roermond ruled that the unnamed individual could now be recorded in the Dutch Birth Registry as “gender undetermined.”

According to the Judges; ‘At birth in 1961, this person’s gender could not be determined, and the parents decided to register the person as male, to make things easier at the time,’ Furthermore, in 2001 the plaintiff, the unnamed individual, had an operation to change their gender from male to female. ‘Eventually, it also turned out that the female gender did not fit the person, whose personality is experienced as gender-neutral, feeling neither like a man nor a woman,’ the court continued. READ MORE

Extremely rare evidence of Roman crucifixion uncovered in Italy

Posted: 30 May 2018 12:03 PM PDT

Extremely rare evidence of Roman crucifixion uncovered in ItalyA lesion on the foot of a 2,000-year-old skeleton discovered in a Roman burial site in northern Italy appears to constitute rare tangible evidence of execution by crucifixion, according to an interdisciplinary team of Italian researchers.  Although broadly attested to in historical writings — including the New Testament — it is only the second known archaeological proof of the particularly

cruel form of capital punishment practiced by the Romans against criminals, as well as revolutionaries such as Jesus Christ. The findings — published in the April 2018 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences under the title “A multidisciplinary study of calcaneal trauma in Roman Italy: a possible case of crucifixion?” — are based on new analysis of a skeleton that was discovered in 2007 during a salvage excavation of an isolated tomb. READ MORE

Record-breaking rains flood parts of Karnataka

Posted: 30 May 2018 08:24 AM PDT

Record-breaking rains flood parts of KarnatakaRecord-breaking rains have hit parts of the Indian state of Karnataka over the past 24 hours, with up to 366.5 mm (14.4 inches) of rain within 24 hours. The Southwest Monsoon has now covered entire Kerala, most parts of Coastal Karnataka, some parts of South Interior Karnataka and some more parts of interior Tamil Nadu on May 30. It has also advanced further into some parts of central Arabian Sea.

At least 3 people have been killed on May 29 and 30. Panambur in Mangalore (or Mangaluru), an Arabian Sea port and a major commercial center in the Indian state of Karnataka, received record-breaking 334 mm (13.1 inches) of rain within 24 hours to 08:30 IST, May 30, breaking the previous record of 330.8 mm (13 inches) set in 1982. Normal rainfall for the month of May for Mangaluru is 168.6 mm (6.6 inches). The highest rainfall was recorded in Chelairu, Dakshina Kannada, Mangalore at 366.5 mm (14.4 inches) over the same period. READ MORE

China Steps Up The Pace In Nuclear Arms Race With Russia And US

Posted: 30 May 2018 08:04 AM PDT

China Steps Up The Pace In Nuclear Arms Race With Russia And USExperts warn of an increase in the risk of conflict after word surfaced that China was ramping up a nuclear arms race with the United States and Russia.  According to Chinese state media, a number of their recent nuclear arms tests have “outpaced” the US.  Between September 2014 and last December, China carried out around 200 laboratory experiments to simulate the extreme physics of a nuclear blast, the China Academy of Engineering Physics reported in a document released by the government earlier this year and reviewed by the South China Morning Post this month.

The US only carried out only 50 simulated tests between 2012 and 2017, which comes out to about 10 a year according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These types of tests are typically carried out using high-powered gas guns which fire projectiles at weapons-grade materials in laboratories. Over the past three years, Chinese nuclear scientists have performed more such tests than their American counterparts have in 15 years. READ MORE

FBI Issues Warning to Protect Your Home From Russian Hackers

Posted: 30 May 2018 07:52 AM PDT

FBI Issues Warning to Protect Your Home From Russian HackersThe FBI has issued a warning and is advising people to turn their routers off and back on again to help halt the spread of a dangerous piece of Russian malware.  The software has infected hundreds of thousands of devices.  The FBI sent out a warning which states the Russians could use the routers to collect information by reading people’s internet activity or to shut down their internet entirely.  “The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device

exploitation and blocking network traffic,” the FBI said, adding the scope of the problem is “significant.” In response, the FBI recommends routers be restarted to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid in the potential identification of infected devices. “Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware,” the warning read. READ MORE

Israel Strikes Back After 100+ Rocket Attacks from Gaza

Posted: 30 May 2018 07:49 AM PDT

Israel Strikes Back After 100+ Rocket Attacks from GazaThe United States is calling on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Hamas rocket fire against Israel when it meets on Wednesday. After a day and a half of shelling, Israelis returned to their routines and children went back to school following the heaviest rocket attacks since the end of the 2014 Gaza conflict. Children went to school and Israelis returned to their routines following the

heaviest rocket attacks since the end of the 2014 Gaza conflict. Islamic Palestinian groups launched about 100 rockets and mortars at southern Israeli communities around the Gaza border. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel won’t accept criticism for defending its children. “This is full force terror. Israel will defend itself, by itself, and we will not accept any criticism for defending our children,” he said. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Over 20 Mysterious Booms and explosions reported in Philadelphia

Posted: 30 May 2018 07:39 AM PDT

DEVELOPING: Over 20 Mysterious Booms and explosions reported in PhiladelphiaA joint investigation into the mysterious booms rattling the communities of Bucks and Lehigh Counties reveals the cause to be explosions, according to police.  Authorities said Tuesday that more than 20 explosions during the early-morning hours are the reason for the booms happening in the

area since April 2. Police also say they are still working with federal law enforcement to uncover the source and culprit behind the explosions. To date, police say no one has reported any injuries related to the explosions. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Threat erupts to take Jerusalem ‘by force’

Posted: 29 May 2018 06:17 PM PDT

PROPHECY WATCH: Threat erupts to take Jerusalem ‘by force’A Palestinian Islamic leader who appears regularly on Palestinian Authority television is warning that Muslims, if not given Jerusalem peacefully, will take it “by force.”  The threat was captured by Palestinian Media Watch, which monitors and analyzes media reports in the Middle East.  The sermon was broadcast from the Al-Omari Mosque in El-Bireh.

The speaker was not identified except that he was one of the “mosque’s regular preachers.”  Among his statements: “The Jews are an arrogant and tyrannical enemy, occupying Jerusalem and Palestine. … Allah willing, we will soon take what was taken from us, if not peacefully then by force.” PMW said the preacher called on Allah to help “drive out the Jews” from Jerusalem, using the Muslims to do so.  READ MORE

Homes evacuated after huge sinkhole opens up on A26 in Kent, UK

Posted: 29 May 2018 06:08 PM PDT

Homes evacuated after huge sinkhole opens up on A26 in Kent, UKHomes have been evacuated in Kent after a sinkhole opened up in the middle of the main road, causing “substantial” damage.   Ten homes have been evacuated as a large sinkhole, approximately six feet across, appeared on the A26. Witnesses saw police rushing to the scene just before parts of the road began collapsed.

Motorists said they heard a “crunching sound” before the sinkhole appeared. Lauren Bourke was in a car with her fiance when the road between Maidstone and Tonbridge began to give way.  She said: “The bottom of a bus hit the dipping tarmac and made a slight crunching sound which is when we knew the road definitely wasn’t safe.  READ MORE

When God REMEMBERS his Word

Posted: 29 May 2018 02:50 PM PDT

When God REMEMBERS his WordIn this message, we want to encourage by showing you how God remembers us in our darkest trials and deepest valleys! He has counted every tear that has fallen from your eyes and will bring your breakthrough in due season!

Pastors Arrested Without Warrants While Teaching Class

Posted: 29 May 2018 01:41 PM PDT

Pastors Arrested Without Warrants While Teaching ClassChinese Agents Interrupted a seminary class in China’s Eastern Jiangsu Province on Wednesday and detained two Pastors without first issuing warrants. China has increased its assault drastically against Christianity over the last several months, is the increase in Atheism the cause?  Chinese Agents and Police Officers detained two Pastors without warrants, claiming that the Pastors were operating

without the proper credentials for managing a school. Roughly, seven police officers and several other agents from the local Religious Affairs Bureau busted into a classroom at approximately 10:00 am on May 23rd, 2018 and threatened to arrest the teacher and more than twenty students without cause.  The students negotiated with the police and requested that the police detail the law that allowed them to be arrested arbitrarily. According to ChinaAid, who spoke with a Christian student; the argument became physical; however, “the police softened a little, but they still brought away Pastor Fang and Pastor Wang.”  READ MORE

Violent thunderstorms produce more than 400,000 lightning strikes in 48 hours in Europe

Posted: 29 May 2018 01:37 PM PDT

Violent thunderstorms produce more than 400,000 lightning strikes in 48 hours in EuropeSevere thunderstorms swept through most of Europe on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, 2018, producing more than 400,000 lightning strikes. One person was killed in Britain and another seriously injured in Germany.  A violent electrical storm swept over the UK late Saturday into Sunday, May 27, 2018, producing up to 60,000 lightning strikes in 24 hours. Some areas of the country received the equivalent of one month’s average rainfall in just one hour. According to AP,

meteorologist Charlie Powell said information suggested that there were somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 strikes across the United Kingdom overnight. Weather forecasters said they had never seen so many lightning strikes from a single storm. Five properties were struck by lightning in Warwickshire and a phone box burst into flames in Dawlish, Devon, after a telephone pole was also hit by lightning, Sky News reported. READ MORE

Lightning and hailstorms claim 45 lives across India, death toll rises to at least 250

Posted: 29 May 2018 01:31 PM PDT

Lightning and hailstorms claim 45 lives across India, death toll rises to at least 250Severe storms that hit several Indian states on Monday and Tuesday, May 28 and 29, 2018, claimed at least 45 lives, officials said. The storms are just the latest in a series of unusually strong storms in India this year. The death toll since the start of the month has now reached at least 250. More than 440 people were injured.  18 people were killed and at least 12 injured in the state of Bihar where

several houses were damaged and trees uprooted, trapping people.  In the neighboring state of Jharkhand, 12 people were killed and at least 28 injured due to lightning. 15 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh and more than 12 injured in storm, rain and lightning-related incidents, Xinhua reports.  The power supply was disrupted in many locations after storms downed trees and power poles. READ MORE

Iran Plotting With U.S. Allies to Skirt Trump’s New Sanctions…

Posted: 29 May 2018 01:26 PM PDT

Iran Plotting With U.S. Allies to Skirt Trump’s New Sanctions…Iranian officials are plotting with U.S. allies across the globe to develop a series of measures meant to counter new sanctions by the Trump administration following its abandonment of the landmark nuclear deal, setting up a global economic showdown between America and its allies over their future business dealings with the Islamic Republic.  Iranian leaders disclosed on Tuesday that they had recently held high-level meetings with European Union nations and leaders in India and Thailand to

explore options for skirting new U.S. sanctions.  Iran’s efforts and the warm reception it is receiving from many nations has roiled leaders on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are already moving to confront these countries and ensure they face harsh repercussions for any breach of U.S. sanction law. The State Department also is scrambling to respond to Iran’s efforts by building a counter-coalition aimed at isolating Tehran and any nation that works with Iran to skirt new U.S. sanctions, U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon.  READ MORE

Violence Against Christians Reaches All-Time High

Posted: 29 May 2018 10:42 AM PDT

Violence Against Christians Reaches All-Time HighViolence attributed to militant Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria has reached a record high this year.  The governor of the central state of Benue said this week that 492 people have been killed in his state alone so far this year.  Governor Samuel Ortom was speaking May 22 at the mass burial of 19 Catholics, including two priests,

killed during early morning Mass at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, by herdsmen a month ago.  Such attacks have become recurrent in Benue in recent months. Since the introduction in Nov. 2017 of a controversial law banning herders from open grazing in the state, attacks have been carried out on an almost daily basis. At least 18 of Benue’s 23 local government areas have been attacked, said Ortom. READ MORE

Primary School Tells Kids to Tattle on Transphobia

Posted: 29 May 2018 10:37 AM PDT

Primary School Tells Kids to Tattle on TransphobiaA primary school in Cambridge is telling children that calling someone by the ‘wrong’ pronoun is “illegal.”  Arbury Primary, which takes children between 4 and 11 years old, holds special celebratory assemblies when a child ‘”transitions” from one gender to the other and allows children to use whichever toilets match their chosen gender identity.  The school also urges parents to change their

child’s name by deed poll if they “change gender,” in guidance which is being used by a number of other schools.  David Davies, member of Parliament, criticized the school’s “completely irresponsible” advice, saying: “It’s ludicrous that a school would suggest something as radical as a legal name change for children this young. He added that the school should instead concentrate on teaching pupils reading, writing and arithmetic.  READ MORE


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May 31, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Characteristics of the Worthy Walk

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4:2–3)

Here Paul gives five essentials for faithful Christian living, five attitudes on which walking worthily in the Lord’s call are predicated.

humility

These characteristics, of which humility is the foundation, form a progression, the genuine exercise of one leading to the exercise of those that follow.

Tapeinophrosunē (humility) is a compound word that literally means to think or judge with lowliness, and hence to have lowliness of mind. John Wesley observed that “neither the Romans nor the Greeks had a word for humility.” The very concept was so foreign and abhorrent to their way of thinking that they had no term to describe it. Apparently this Greek term was coined by Christians, probably by Paul himself, to describe a quality for which no other word was available. To the proud Greeks and Romans, their terms for ignoble, cowardly, and other such characteristics were sufficient to describe the “unnatural” person who did not think of himself with pride and self-satisfaction. When, during the first several centuries of Christianity, pagan writers borrowed the term tapeinophrosunē, they always used it derogatorily—frequently of Christians—because to them humility was a pitiable weakness.

But humility is the most foundational Christian virtue. We cannot even begin to please God without humility, just as our Lord Himself could not have pleased His Father had He not willingly “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and … humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7–8).

Yet humility is terribly elusive, because if focused on too much it will turn into pride, its very opposite. Humility is a virtue to be highly sought but never claimed, because once claimed it is forfeited. Only Jesus Christ, as the perfectly obedient Son, could justifiably claim humility for Himself. “Take My yoke upon you,” He said, “for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29). He came to earth as God’s Son, yet was born in a stable, raised in a peasant family, never owned property except the garments on His back, and was buried in a borrowed tomb. At any time He could have exercised His divine rights, prerogatives, and glory, but in obedience and humility He refused to do so because it would have been to go outside His Father’s will. If the Lord of glory walked in humility while He was on earth, how much more are His imperfect followers to do so? “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Although humility is at the heart of Christian character, no virtue is more foreign to the world’s ways. The world exalts pride, not humility. Throughout history, fallen human nature, ruled by Satan, the prince of this world, has shunned humility and advocated pride. For the most part humility has been looked on as weakness and impotence, something ignoble to be despised. People unashamedly claim to be proud of their jobs, their children, their accomplishments, and on and on. Society loves to recognize and praise those who have accomplished something outstanding. Ostentation, boasting, parading, and exalting are the world’s stock in trade.

Unfortunately the church often reflects that worldly perspective and pattern, building many programs and organizations around the superficial enticements of awards, trophies, and public recognition. We seem to have found a way to encourage boasting that is “acceptable,” because such boasting is done in the name of the gospel. But in doing so we contradict the very gospel we claim to promote, because the hallmark of the gospel is humility, not pride and self-exaltation. God’s work cannot be served by the world’s ways. God’s call is to humility and His work is only accomplished through humility.

The first sin was pride, and every sin after that has been in some way an extension of pride. Pride led the angel Lucifer to exalt himself above his Creator and Lord. Because the bright “star of the morning” continually said, “I will, I will, I will” in opposition to God’s will, he was cast out of heaven (Isa. 14:12–23). Because he said, “I am a god,” the Lord cast him “from the mountain of God” (Ezek. 28:11–19). The original sin of Adam and Eve was pride, trusting in their own understanding above God’s (Gen. 3:6–7). The writer of Proverbs warns, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor” (11:2), “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (16:18), and again “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin” (21:4).

Isaiah warned, “The proud look of man will be abased, and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11; cf. 3:16–26). “Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one,” God declared against Babylon, “For your day has come, the time when I shall punish you. And the arrogant one will stumble and fall with no one to raise him up” (Jer. 50:31–32). The last chapter of the Old Testament begins, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff” (Mal. 4:1). The Beatitudes begin with “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), and James assures us that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; cf. Ps. 138:6).

Pride is the supreme temptation from Satan, because pride is at the heart of his own evil nature. Consequently, Satan makes sure that the Christian is never entirely free from the temptation of pride. We will always be in a battle with pride until the Lord takes us to be with Himself. Our only protection against pride, and our only source of humility, is a proper view of God. Pride is the sin of competing with God, and humility is the virtue of submitting to His supreme glory.

Pride comes in many forms. We may be tempted to be proud of our abilities, our possessions, our education, our social status, our appearance, our power, and even our biblical knowledge or religious accomplishments. But throughout Scripture the Lord calls His people to humility. “Before honor comes humility” (Prov. 15:33); “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life” (22:4); “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (27:2).

Humility is an ingredient of all spiritual blessing. Just as every sin has its roots in pride, every virtue has its roots in humility. Humility allows us to see ourselves as we are, because it shows us before God as He is. Just as pride is behind every conflict we have with other people and every problem of fellowship we have with the Lord, so humility is behind every harmonious human relationship, every spiritual success, and every moment of joyous fellowship with the Lord.

During the days of slavery in the West Indies, a group of Moravian Christians found it impossible to witness to the slaves because they were almost totally separated from the ruling class—many of whom felt it beneath them even to speak to a slave. Two young missionaries, however, were determined to reach those oppressed peoples at any cost. In order to fulfill God’s calling they joined the slaves. They worked and lived beside the slaves, becoming totally identified with them—sharing their overwork, their beatings, and their abuse. It is not strange that the two missionaries soon won the hearts of those slaves, many of whom accepted for themselves the God who could move men to such loving selflessness.

A person cannot even become a Christian without humility, without recognizing himself as a sinner and worthy only of God’s just condemnation. “Truly I say to you,” Jesus said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself …” (Matt. 18:3–4). At the height of his own fame and recognition as a prophet, John the Baptist said of Jesus, “I am not fit to remove His sandals” (Matt. 3:11) and “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Martha was busy doing many things supposedly for Jesus’ sake, but on three different occasions we see Mary simply sitting humbly at Jesus’ feet. In all four gospels the writers hide themselves and focus attention on Jesus. How easy it would have been for them to subtly include accounts favorable to themselves. Matthew identifies himself as a despised tax-collector, which none of the other gospel writers does. On the other hand, he does not mention the feast that he gave for his fellow tax-collectors to meet Jesus. Because of Matthew’s humility, it was left to Luke to write about that.

Mark probably wrote under the tutelage of Peter, and possibly because of that apostle’s influence he does not report two of the most amazing things that happened to Peter during Jesus’ ministry—his walking on water and his confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. John never mentions his own name, referring to himself simply as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

In a compilation of old quotes is an excellent paragraph written by Thomas Guthrie:

The grandest edifices, the tallest towers, the loftiest spires rest on deep foundations. The very safety of eminent gifts and preeminent graces lies in their association with deep humility. They are dangerous without it. Great men do need to be good men. Look at the mighty ship. A leviathan into the sea, with her towering masts and carrying a cloud of canvas. How she steadies herself on the waves and walks erect on the rolling waters like a thing with inherent, self-regulating life.… Why is she not flung on her beam’s end, sent down floundering into the deep? Because unseen beneath the surface a vast well-ballasted hull gives her balance and takes hold of the water, keeps her steady under a pressive sail and on the bosom of a swelling sea. Even though to preserve the saint upright, to preserve the saint erect and safe from falling, God gives him balance and ballast bestowing on the man to whom He has given lofty endowments, the tendant grace of a proportionate humility.

Humility begins with proper self-awareness, “the virtue,” said Bernard of Clairvaux, “by which a man becomes conscious of his own unworthiness.” It begins with an honest, unadorned, unretouched view of oneself. The first thing the honest person sees in himself is sin, and therefore one of the surest marks of true humility is daily confession of sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–9). “We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves,” Paul says; “but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12). It is not only unspiritual but unintelligent to judge ourselves by comparison with others. We all tend to exaggerate our own good qualities and minimize the good qualities of others. Humility takes off our rose-colored glasses and allows us to see ourselves as we really are. We are not “adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves,” says Paul, “but our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).

Second, humility involves Christ-awareness. He is the only standard by which righteousness can be judged and by which pleasing God can be judged. Our goal should be no less than “to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6), and Jesus Christ walked in perfection. Only of Jesus has God ever said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

Third, humility involves God-awareness. As we study His life in the gospels we come to see Jesus more and more in His human perfection—His perfect humility, His perfect submission to the Father, His perfect love, compassion, and wisdom. But beyond His human perfection we also come to see His divine perfection—His limitless power; His knowing the thoughts and heart of every person; and His authority to heal diseases, cast out demons, and even forgive sins. We come to see Jesus Christ as Isaiah saw the Lord, “sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted” and we want to cry out with the seraphim, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory,” and with the prophet himself, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:1, 3, 5).

When Paul looked at himself in self-awareness, he saw the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). When Peter looked at himself in Christ awareness, he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). When Job looked at himself in God awareness, he said, “Therefore I retract, I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

Our business success, fame, education, wealth, personality, good works, or anything else we are or have in ourselves counts for nothing before God. The more we rely on and glory in such things, the greater barrier they become to our communion with God. Every person comes before the Lord with nothing to commend him and everything to condemn him. But when he comes with the spirit of the penitent tax-collector, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner,” God will willingly and lovingly accept him. “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:13–14).

gentleness

Humility always produces gentleness, or meekness. Meekness is one of the surest signs of true humility. You cannot possess meekness without humility, and you cannot possess meekness with pride. Because pride and humility are mutually exclusive, so are pride and meekness, or gentleness.

Many dictionaries define meekness in terms such as “timid,” or “a deficiency in courage or spirit”; but that is far from the biblical meaning. Praotēs (here translated gentleness) refers to that which is mild-spirited and self-controlled, the opposite of vindictiveness and vengeance. Jesus used the adjective form in giving the third beatitude (“Blessed are the gentle,” Matt. 5:5) and to describe His own character (“For I am gentle,” Matt. 11:29). Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23) and should characterize every child of God (Col. 3:12; cf. Phil. 4:5).

The meaning of praotēs has nothing to do with weakness, timidity, indifference, or cowardice. It was used of wild animals that were tamed, especially of horses that were broken and trained. Such an animal still has his strength and spirit, but its will is under the control of its master. The tamed lion is still powerful, but his power is under the control of his trainer. The horse can run just as fast, but he runs only when and where his master tells him to run.

Meekness is power under control. Biblical meekness, or gentleness, is power under the control of God. A meek person is normally quiet, soothing, and mild mannered, and he is never avenging, self-assertive, vindictive, or self-defensive. When the soldiers came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane and Peter drew his sword to defend His Lord, Jesus said, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Even in His humanity Jesus had access to infinite divine power, which He could at any time have used in His own defense. Yet not once did He choose to do so. His refusal to enlist divine resources for anything but obeying His Father’s will is the supreme picture of meekness—power under control.

David displayed such meekness when he refused to kill King Saul in the cave near Engedi, although he had easy opportunity and considerable justification from the human point of view (1 Sam. 24:1–7). After David himself became king, he again showed the restraint of meekness when he refused to retaliate against the malicious taunts, curses, and stone throwing of Shimei (2 Sam. 16:5–14).

Moses is described as, “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). Yet he fearlessly confronted Pharaoh in the Lord’s name (see Ex. 5–12), angrily confronted Israel with her rebelliousness and idolatry (32:19–29), and even boldly confronted the Lord to forgive the people’s sin (32:11–13, 30–32). Yet Moses’ confidence was not in himself but in the Lord’s character and promises. When God first called him, Moses replied, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (4:10). As he served the Lord throughout his life, Moses had God’s rod to remind him that the great work to which the Lord had called him could be accomplished only in the Lord’s own power. That he himself was nothing and God was everything were the marks of Moses’ meekness. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones has observed, “To be meek means you have finished with yourself altogether.”

Yet the meek person is also capable of righteous anger and action when God’s Word or name is maligned, as Jesus was when His Father’s house was made into a robber’s den and He forcibly drove out the offenders (Matt. 21:13). As Paul affirms later in this letter, it is possible to be angry and not sin (Eph. 4:26). Like the Lord Himself, the meek person does not revile in return when he is reviled (1 Pet. 2:23). When the meek person becomes angry, he is aroused by that which maligns God or is harmful to others, not by what is done against himself. And his anger is controlled and carefully directed, not a careless and wild venting of emotion that spatters everyone who is near.

One of the marks of true meekness is self-control. People who are angered at every nuisance or inconvenience to themselves know nothing of meekness or gentleness. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32). Two other marks of meekness, already mentioned, are anger at God’s name or work being maligned and lack of anger when we ourselves are harmed or criticized.

The meek person responds willingly to the Word of God, no matter what the requirements or consequences, humbly receiving “the word implanted” (James 1:21). He is also a peacemaker, who readily forgives and helps to restore a sinning brother (Gal. 6:1). Finally, the person who is truly meek and gentle according to God’s standards has the right attitude toward the unsaved. He does not look down on them with a feeling of superiority but longs for their salvation, knowing that he himself was once lost—and would still be lost but for God’s grace. We are to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks [us] to give an account for the hope that is in [us], yet with gentleness (praotēs) and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). Not only Christian women but all believers should be adorned “with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 3:4).

patience

A third attitude that characterizes the Christian’s worthy walk is patience, which is an outgrowth of humility and gentleness. Makrothumia (patience) literally means long-tempered, and is sometimes translated longsuffering. The patient person endures negative circumstances and never gives in to them.

Abraham received the promise of God but had to wait many years to see its fulfillment. “Thus,” the writer of Hebrews tells us, “having patiently waited, he obtained the promise” (Heb. 6:15). God had promised that Abraham’s descendants would be a great nation (Gen. 12:2) and yet he was not given Isaac, the child of promise, until after Abraham was nearly a hundred years old. “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20).

God told Noah to build a ship in the wilderness, far from any body of water and before there had ever been rain on earth. For 120 years Noah worked at that task, while preaching to his neighbors of God’s coming judgment.

In the chronicle of faithful Old Testament saints in the book of Hebrews, Moses’ patient endurance is mentioned twice. He chose rather “to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:25–27).

James said, “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10). When God called Jeremiah, He told the prophet that no one would believe his message and that he would be hated, maligned, and persecuted (Jer. 1:5–19). Yet Jeremiah served the Lord faithfully and patiently until the end of his life. Similarly, when the Lord called Isaiah he was told that the nation would not listen to him nor turn from their sin (Isa. 6:9–12). Like Jeremiah, however, he preached and ministered with patient faithfulness.

Paul was willing to endure any hardship, affliction, ridicule, or persecution in order to patiently serve his Master. “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?” he asked the Christians at Caesarea after the prophet Agabus predicted the apostle’s arrest and imprisonment. “For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).

When H. M. Stanley went to Africa in 1871 to find and report on David Livingstone, he spent several months in the missionary’s company, carefully observing the man and his work. Livingstone never spoke to Stanley about spiritual matters, but Livingstone’s loving and patient compassion for the African people was beyond Stanley’s comprehension. He could not understand how the missionary could have such love for and patience with the backward, pagan people among whom he had so long ministered. Livingstone literally spent himself in untiring service for those whom he had no reason to love except for Christ’s sake. Stanley wrote in his journal, “When I saw that unwearied patience, that unflagging zeal, and those enlightened sons of Africa, I became a Christian at his side, though he never spoke to me one word.”

Aristotle said that the greatest Greek virtue was refusal to tolerate any insult and readiness to strike back. But that is not God’s way for His people. The patient saint accepts whatever other people do to him. He is “patient with all men” (1 Thess. 5:14), even those who try his patience to the limit. He is patient with those who slander him and who question his motives for serving the Lord.

The patient saint accepts God’s plan for everything, without questioning or grumbling. He does not complain when his calling seems less glamorous than someone else’s or when the Lord sends him to a place that is dangerous or difficult. He remembers that God the Son left His heavenly home of love, holiness, and glory to come to earth and be hated, rejected, spat upon, and crucified—without once returning evil for evil or complaining to His Father.

forbearing love

A fourth characteristic element of the worthy Christian walk is forbearance to one another in love. Peter tells us that such “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). It throws a blanket over the sins of others, not to justify or excuse them but to keep the sins from becoming any more known than necessary. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions” (Prov. 10:12). Forbearing love takes abuse from others while continuing to love them.

Forbearing love could only be agapē love, because only agapē love gives continuously and unconditionally. Erōs love is essentially self-love, because it cares for others only because of what it can get from them. It is the love that takes and never gives. Philia love is primarily reciprocal love, love that gives as long as it receives. But agapē love is unqualified and unselfish love, love that willingly gives whether it receives in return or not. It is unconquerable benevolence, invincible goodness—love that goes out even to enemies and prays for its persecutors (Matt. 5:43–44). That is why the forbearance of which Paul speaks here could only be expressed inagapēlove.

unity

The ultimate outcome of humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance is being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Spoudazō (to be diligent) basically means to make haste, and from that come the meanings of zeal and diligence. One commentator describes it as a holy zeal that demands full dedication. Paul used the word in telling Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15; cf. Titus 3:12–13).

Preservation of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace should be the diligent and constant concern of every believer. Paul is not speaking of organizational unity, such as that promoted in many denominations and in the ecumenical movement. He is speaking of the inner and universal unity of the Spirit by which every true believer is bound to every other true believer. As Paul makes clear, this is the unity of the Spirit working in the lives of believers. It does not come from the outside but the inside, and is manifested through the inner qualities of humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearing love.

Spiritual unity is not, and cannot be, created by the church. It is already created by the Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.… There are many members, but one body” (1 Cor. 12:13, 20; cf. Rom. 8:9). It is this very unity of the Spirit for which Jesus so earnestly prayed in the Upper Room shortly before His betrayal and arrest: “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are, … that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us.… And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity” (John 17:11, 21–23).

The church’s responsibility, through the lives of individual believers, is to preserve the unity by faithfully walking in a manner worthy of God’s calling (v. 1), manifesting Christ to the world by oneness in Him (cf. Rom. 15:1–6; 1 Cor. 1:10–13; 3:1–3; Phil. 1:27). The world is always seeking but never finding unity. All the laws, conferences, treaties, accords, and agreements fail to bring unity or peace. Someone has reported that throughout recorded history every treaty made has been broken. There is not, and cannot be, any peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22). As long as self is at the center; as long as our feelings, prestige, and rights are our chief concern, there will never be unity.

The bond that preserves unity is peace, the spiritual belt that surrounds and binds God’s holy people together. It is the bond that Paul described in Philippians as “being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (2:2). Behind this bond of peace is love, which Colossians 3:14 calls “the perfect bond of unity.”

Humility gives birth to gentleness, gentleness gives birth to patience, patience gives birth to forbearing love, and all four of those characteristics preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. These virtues and the supernatural unity to which they testify are probably the most powerful testimony the church can have, because they are in such contrast to the attitudes and the disunity of the world. No program or method, no matter how carefully planned and executed, can open the door to the gospel in the way individual believers can do when they are genuinely humble, meek, patient, forbearing in love, and demonstrate peaceful unity in the Holy Spirit.[1]


The Worthy Life

Ephesians 4:1–3

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Years ago when my wife and I were in a Christian education class in seminary, we were given an assignment to design a Sunday school curriculum. It was to have various age levels and an overall theme, tying the various subjects, classes, and age groupings together. Today, years later, there is much about this curriculum that I have forgotten, but the unifying concept is still vivid in my mind. It was based on the principle that “input” (what is taught as content) should equal “output” (the expression of content in practical works of service).

This curriculum was never put into practice; it was only an exercise. I cannot say how successful we might have been in matching each bit of information to some practical expression, but I do know that the principle itself is valid. The apostle Paul followed the same principle in his major epistles. Anyone who has studied Paul’s letters knows that they tend to begin with a doctrinal section and that this is customarily followed by a section containing practical advice or application.

The epistle to the Romans fits this pattern. The doctrinal sections are in chapters 1–11. The practical section is chapters 12–15, beginning with the words: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” In Galatians the division is between chapters 1–4, on the one hand, and chapters 5 and 6 on the other. The latter section of Galatians begins: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

This is the point to which we have now come in our study of Ephesians. With the possible exception of Romans, no New Testament letter contains a stronger or more exhilarating presentation of theology. Chapters 1–3 have spoken of predestination and election, adoption and redemption, the work of the Holy Spirit, rebirth, the work of God in joining people from all nations and all walks of life together in the one holy body of Christ, the church. This is so marvelous a section that Paul ends chapter 3 with a doxology. We want to say with Paul, “To [God] be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (v. 21). And we do say this, passionately and intently—if we have understood the teaching in these chapters.

Yet the letter does not stop. Paul immediately goes on to say, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” He is telling us that doctrinal “input” must be matched by an equal, practical “output” of that doctrine in our lives.

Scales of Life

This important idea is also contained in the word “worthy,” which Paul uses in verse 1. “Worthy” means to have worth or value. But it is more than that. It means to have a worth equal to one’s position. A worthy opponent is one whose gifts equal one’s own. A workman “worthy of his hire” is one whose service merits the wages he receives. In his commentary on Ephesians, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes this as a scale in which the weight on one side always equals the weight on the other, in this case the weight of practice equaling the weight of doctrine: “The Apostle … is beseeching them and exhorting them always to give equal weight in their lives to doctrine and practice. They must not put all the weight on doctrine and none on practice; nor all the weight on practice and just a little, if any at all, on doctrine. To do so produces imbalance and lopsidedness. The Ephesians must take great pains to see that the scales are perfectly balanced.”

But that is hard to achieve.

There are some Christians who are primarily intellectual in nature. They love books, enjoy study, and delight in the exposition of the Bible’s great doctrinal passages. This is a good thing. It is proper to love doctrine and rejoice at what God has done for us in Christ. Paul himself obviously did this; we can tell from the way he has unfolded his doctrines in the first three chapters of this letter. But the intellectual believer faces a great danger and often has a great weakness as a result of failing to overcome the danger. He loves doctrine so much that he stops with doctrine. He reads the first three chapters of Ephesians and delights in them; but when he comes to chapter 4 he says, “Oh, the rest is just application. I know all about that.” Then he skips ahead to the next doctrinal section and neglects what he perhaps most needs to assimilate.

On the other hand, some Christians are primarily oriented to experience. They thrive under the teaching found in the second half of this book. They want to know about spiritual gifts and their own exercise of them. They are excited about Paul’s teaching about the family and other such things. This is “where it’s at” for them; they find the doctrinal section dry and impractical.

But, you see, each of these is an error. Doctrine without practice leads to bitter orthodoxy; it gives correctness of thought without the practical vitality of the life of Christ. Practice without doctrine leads to aberrations; it gives intensity of feeling, but it is feeling apt to go off in any (and often a wrong) direction. What we need is both, as Paul’s letters and the whole of Scripture teach us. We can never attach too much importance to doctrine, for it is out of the doctrines of God, man, and salvation that the direction and impetus for the living of the Christian life spring. At the same time, we can never attach too much importance to practice, for it is the result of doctrine and proof of its divine nature.

Calling and Conduct

Paul’s way of teaching this truth in verse 1 is to urge us to live worthy of our Christian calling. The old versions used the word “vocation” at this point, but “calling” is better, at least in contemporary speech. Vocation has come to mean something we choose, while calling is something for which we are chosen. We remember here that the word “church” (Greek, ekklēsia) means “the called out ones.” The emphasis is upon what God has done, which is the point Paul has been elaborating in the opening chapters of Ephesians. Because God has set his hand upon us and called us, changing us from what we were into what we have now become, we are to live as Christians in this world.

Two parts of this calling deserve special notice. First, God has called us “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). This means that we have been given understanding. Before our calling we were like the blind man in John 9. We could not see Christ, and we were not even fully appreciative of our blind condition since, having never seen, we could never fully value sight. We thought the way to happiness was the world’s way. We did not know that we were spiritually bankrupt, emotionally warped, and morally naked. When God called us, opening our eyes to the blessed truths of the gospel, for the first time we understood the nature of God’s way and perceived how desirable it is. This is so basic to the experience of salvation that if a person has not had an opening of the eyes to see things differently, we may properly wonder if he has actually been saved. How can a person be urged to live a life worthy of his calling if he has not begun to understand what that calling is?

But there is more than this. The first part of God’s calling involves being brought into light from darkness; that is, it involves understanding. The second part involves God’s calling us out of death into life, which is what Paul emphasized in Ephesians 2:4: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” This means that God, who has awakened us to a new life also gives us the power to live that life. It is because we are now spiritually alive, where before we were spiritually dead, that we are able to heed Paul’s urging and live for God.

Life Together

In the remainder of this letter Paul is going to develop two main themes, both aspects of the worthy life: (1) unity among believers and (2) the godly life, particularly in regard to relationships. The first will be considered in 4:4–16. The second is from 4:17 to the end. However, in the first three verses of chapter 4 Paul gives a preliminary statement embracing both: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” There are five specific characteristics of the worthy life in these verses.

  1. Humility. Everyone knows that Christians should be humble. Humility is the opposite of pride or self-assertion. If we are saved “by grace … through faith … not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9), it is evident that Christians cannot be proud. We are to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility [are to] consider others better than [our]selves,” as Paul says in Philippians 2:3.

But it is not easy to do, because our pride is easily wounded by what we consider thoughtless or unfair conduct by others.

In his commentary on Ephesians, Watchman Nee of China tells of a brother in south China who had his rice field on a hill. During the growing season he used a hand-worked water wheel to lift water from the irrigation stream that ran by the base of the hill to his field. His neighbor had two fields below his, and one night he made a hole in the dividing wall and drained out all the Christian’s water to fill up his own two fields. The brother was distressed. But he laboriously pumped water up into his own field, only to have the act of stealing repeated. This happened three or four times. At last he consulted his Christian brethren. “What shall I do?” he asked. “I have tried to be patient and not retaliate. Isn’t it right for me to confront him?”

The Christians prayed, and then one of them replied. “If we only try to do the right thing, surely we are very poor Christians,” he said. “We have to do something more than what is right.”

The Christian farmer was impressed with this advice. So the next day he went out and first pumped water for the two fields below his and then, after that, worked throughout the afternoon to fill his own field. From that day on the water stayed in his field, and in time the neighbor, after making inquiries as to what caused him to behave in such a fashion, became a Christian. This is humility. It is refusing to insist on our rights and actually putting our neighbor’s interests before our own.

  1. Gentleness. In the older versions this is called meekness, but for us “gentleness” is probably better, simply because meekness is so generally misunderstood. To most, meekness suggests weakness. But that is not the idea at all. Meekness was the chief characteristic of Moses, according to Numbers 12:3 (where the niv uses the word “humble”), but Moses was not a weak man. He was a strong man, strong enough to appear before Pharaoh, declaring, “This is what the Lord says: Let my people go” (Exod. 8:1). Similarly, the Lord Jesus was meek or gentle, yet strong. He said of himself, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28–29). He told his disciples, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
  2. Patience. It takes time to learn patience, and unfortunately one of the chief ways we learn it is through suffering. A rather pious individual once came to a preacher and asked him to pray for him that he might have patience. “I do so lack patience,” he said, trying to be humble as he said it. “I wish you would pray for me.”

“I’ll pray for you right now,” the preacher replied. So he began to pray: “Lord, please send great tribulation into this brother’s life.”

The man who had asked for prayer put a hand out and touched the preacher on the arm, trying to stop his prayer. “You must not have heard me rightly,” he said. “I didn’t ask you to pray for tribulation. I asked you to pray that I might have patience.”

“Oh, I heard what you said,” the preacher answered. “But haven’t you read Romans 5:3, ‘And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience’? It means we acquire patience through the things that we suffer. I prayed that God would send tribulations so that you would have patience.”

Another valid translation of the word “patience” is “long-suffering,” which means “suffering long.” It is what God does with us. He suffers long with us; if he did not, there would be no Christianity. Therefore, we ought to suffer long or be patient with each other.

  1. Bearing with one another. The suffering aspects of patience come out clearly in this next Christlike characteristic, but there is a difference. This one relates specifically to trials we have as a result of uncharitable conduct toward us by other Christians. When the non-Christian neighbor stole the field-water of the Chinese Christian, the Christian showed patience, gentleness, and humility in the way he dealt with the offense—and won the unbeliever to Christ. But what if that neighbor is a Christian, wronging us in this or some other way? What is to be our attitude to him or her? Paul’s answer is that we are to endure the wrong, suffer the slight. Thus, we are to demonstrate a way of life superior to that of the ungodly world and show the special unity which is ours in Jesus Christ.
  2. Unity. The fifth characteristic is that believers are to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (v. 3). It is evident at this point, in case we had missed it before, that each of these characteristics is related to the others (which the translators show in part by their groupings of them) and that they have all been tending in the direction of this great matter of unity, which is to be Paul’s theme for the next thirteen verses. Christians are to be one because, as he will say in just a moment, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (vv. 4–6).

It is important to say two things about this unity. First, it is “the unity of the Spirit,” which means that it is a unity the Holy Spirit has already given to those who are in Christ. This is a wonderful and often a very visible thing. Harry Ironside writes about how he once fell sick while in the midst of a series of meetings in Minneapolis and was forced to return home to California by train, which was the best mode of transportation in those days. He could barely stand. So the porter made up a lower berth for him and allowed him to recline there throughout the day. The first morning he opened his Bible and began to read it as part of his devotions. A stout German woman happened by and stopped when she saw the Bible. “Vat’s dat? A Bible?” she asked.

“Yes, a Bible,” Ironside replied.

“Vait,” she said, “I vill get my Bible and we vill haf our Bible reading together.”

A short time later a tall gentleman came by and asked, “Vat are you reading?” He was a Norwegian. He said, “I tank I go get my Bible too.” Each morning these three met, and others collected. Ironside wrote that once there were twenty-eight people and twenty-eight Bibles and that the conductor would go through the train, saying, “The camp meeting is beginning in car thirteen. All are invited.” It was a great experience.

At the end of the trip, as the cars divided up in Sacramento, some to go north and some south, the German woman asked, “Vat denomination are you?”

Ironside replied, “I belong to the same denomination that David did.”

“Vat vas dat? I didn’t know dat David belonged to any denomination.” Ironside said, “David wrote that he was ‘a companion of all them that fear God and keep his precepts.’ ”

The woman said, “Yah, yah, dat is a good church to belong to.”

This is a real and wonderful unity, as I said. But at the same time, it is often destroyed by false pride, narrow denominationalism, and sinful striving for position. So Paul says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” This is the second important thing to be said about unity. The first is that we have a unity given to us by the Holy Spirit; it corresponds in some measure to the doctrinal truths of Christianity, which is why Paul lapses into doctrine again in verses 4–6. But, second, we are to keep or maintain this unity, which corresponds to the practical or experiential side of Christianity.[2]


3 Paul concludes his description of the worthy walk he urges his readers to adopt with a fifth trait—one that brings home the point of the preceding ones. Using a present tense participle that modifies the main verb “I urge you,” Paul insists that his readers must continually “make every effort” to keep on maintaining the unity of the Spirit. “Unity” (henotēs, GK 1942), a word occurring only in this letter (also at 4:13), points to a reality they already possess in Christ (recall 2:14–18; see 4:4). Though they have not created this precious commodity, they must maintain it as part of their corporate life as a church. Note how insistent Paul is here. He does not view the maintenance of unity as a luxury; believers must conscientiously and diligently pursue the unity of the Spirit (not the spirit of unity). The genitive case is probably subjective here, for the Spirit is the agent who unifies. In Schnackenburg’s words, 164, we find here the “unity effected by the Holy Spirit.” Recall Paul’s words earlier: “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (2:22). Unity has a spiritual basis, but it has visible results. Perhaps its attainment in history has been so difficult because Christians have not sought spiritual unity. They have pursued only their own (often conflicting) agendas—which they have called “unity.” To strive for the unity the Spirit produces requires that one incontestably pursue God’s agenda.

Paul describes the means for maintaining this unity as the “bond of peace,” or the “bond which is peace” (cf. 2:14–15, 17). Peace, which is not an end in itself, forms a bond, a kind of glue that cements members of the church to one another in Christ. This is the theological reality—the indicative: Christ achieved peace via his death (2:14–18). Now follows the imperative: Christians must implement unity by sparing no efforts to live in peace. In effect, “Become what you are.” Quarreling, fractures, and hostilities—either on the level of the church universal or within each local church—destroy the unity of the Spirit. Paul urges that peace must prevail. As Yoder Neufeld, 173, insists, “The church is the beachhead for a peace that is to extend to the cosmos.” Christians must work at preserving unity by living in peace with one another.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 120–129). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 120–125). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

[3] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 107). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Obama’s spying scandal is starting to look a lot like Watergate — Christian Research Network

(Michael Baron – New York Post)  “F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016,” read a story in the May 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump’s campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparat have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump’s — and the nation’s — own good.

It’s an argument that evidently didn’t occur to Richard Nixon’s defenders when it became clear that Nixon operatives had burglarized and wiretapped the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in June 1972.

Until 2016, just about everyone agreed that it was a bad thing for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to spy — er, use informants — on a political campaign, especially one of the opposition party. Liberals were especially suspicious of the FBI and the CIA. Nowadays they say that anyone questioning their good faith is unpatriotic.

The crime at the root of Watergate was an attempt at surveillance of the DNC after George McGovern seemed about to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, just as the government misconduct in Russiagate was an attempt at surveillance of the Republican Party’s national campaign after Trump clinched its nomination.

In both cases, the incumbent administration regarded the opposition’s unorthodox nominee as undermining the nation’s long-standing foreign policy and therefore dangerous to the country. McGovern renounced the Democrats’ traditional Cold War policy. Trump expressed skepticism about George W. Bush and Obama administration policies on NATO, Mexico, Iran and (forgetting Barack Obama’s ridicule of Mitt Romney on the subject) Russia. View article →

via Obama’s spying scandal is starting to look a lot like Watergate — Christian Research Network

Church Ushers Rough Up First-Time Visitor Trying To Escape Without Filling Out Connection Card — The Babylon Bee

JACKSON, MS—Sources at Third Baptist Church claim the church’s team of ushers “severely roughed up” a first-time visitor who attempted to escape the service without filling out a connection card Sunday morning. The visitor enjoyed the service but didn’t feel like giving the church his contact information. But the ushers had other plans. “Where do…

via Church Ushers Rough Up First-Time Visitor Trying To Escape Without Filling Out Connection Card — The Babylon Bee

Local Charismatic Declares The Gift Of Discernment Has Ceased — The Babylon Bee

PHOENIX, AZ—Local charismatic believer Bryan Potter declared Thursday on his Facebook page that he believes that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit have continued from New Testament times on into today, with the lone exception of the gift of discernment. While Potter believes every Christian can speak in tongues, interpret, heal, prophesy, and more,…

via Local Charismatic Declares The Gift Of Discernment Has Ceased — The Babylon Bee

Paige Patterson Fired by Southwestern, Stripped of Retirement Benefits — Christian Research Network

“Patterson supporters seemed willing to live with the decision but it infuriated many, especially conservative Christian women, who said Patterson had not been explicitly held accountable and had been allowed to retire with his stature intact.”

(Kate Shellnutt – Christianity Today) A week after trustees voted to immediately shift Paige Patterson to “president emeritus” at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), the board’s executive committee has stripped the Southern Baptist stalwart of all “benefits, rights and privileges.”

In a statement announcing Patterson’s termination, the committee stated today that it had confirmed information regarding reports that he mishandled a sexual abuse allegation while president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).

Last Tuesday, a former SEBTS graduate student told The Washington Post that after she reported her rape to Patterson and fellow seminary officials in 2003, they failed to notify authorities and the former president encouraged her to forgive the perpetrator. Patterson did not respond to the claims, but SEBTS launched an internal review of its own.

The news came after weeks of controversy—and calls for Patterson’s dismissal—over his past counsel and statements regarding women, abuse, and divorce.

Best known as the leader who orchestrated the “conservative resurgence” in America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Patterson spent decades as a revered and seemingly untouchable denominational figurehead; previous controversies had come up, but had not threatened his position or reputation until now. His case has been widely viewed as a prominent example of the fallout of the #MeToo movement and how it has changed expectations for institutional leaders. View article →

Related:

The Wrath of God Poured Out: The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention 

Disclaimer: Christianity Today

via Paige Patterson Fired by Southwestern, Stripped of Retirement Benefits — Christian Research Network

May 31 Trusting God for Protection

… but deliver us from evil.—Matt. 6:13b

If you realize the great danger that temptation poses to your soul, this petition will be a plea for God to provide a protection you can’t give for yourself. You will ask God to watch over your entire being so that in whatever you do or say, see or hear, and wherever you go, He will guard you from sin.

Joseph understood that even though ungodly forces intend certain things for our evil, God can use those things for good (Gen. 50:20). But we may not react to every such situation as Joseph did. Therefore we must seize the promise that “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13; cf. John 17:15).

When you sincerely pray “deliver us from evil,” you implicitly submit to your only protection from sin, God’s Word. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Submitting to God is in essence submitting to His Word. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Ps. 119:11).

In a fallen world we are inadequate to deal with sin’s powerful effects. Therefore we must confess the weakness of our flesh and the absolute powerlessness of our own resources to rescue us from sin’s grasp.

ASK YOURSELF

Let this be a new day of triumph for you—a fresh start with God, knowing that His eternal might is greater than the allure of any sinful desire. Why continue on in ways that invariably lead to guilt, coldness, and defeat in your life? Choose the way that leads to unknown adventures with the Lord. Be delivered from evil as you take hold of the Father’s hand and just walk away.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 160). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

MAY 31 THINK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A MORAL FLAME

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace: …But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you….

ROMANS 8:6, 9

One of the most telling blows which the enemy ever struck at the life of the Church was to create in her a groundless fear of the Holy Spirit! He has been and is so widely misunderstood that the very mention of His Name in some circles is enough to frighten many people into resistance.

Perhaps we may help by examining that fire which is the symbol of the Spirit’s Person and Presence.

The Holy Spirit is first of all a moral flame. It is not an accident of language that He is called the HOLY Spirit, for whatever else the word holy may mean it does undoubtedly carry with it the idea of moral purity. And the Spirit, being God, must be absolutely and infinitely pure!

It follows then that whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the holy Scriptures.

At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience.

“Be ye holy” is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth. The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The holy heart alone can be the habitation of the Holy Spirit![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

College Freshmen’s Self-Reports Of Psychological Disorders Doubled Since 2010 — The Federalist

Mental illness diagnoses have been increasing in the United States ever since big-money drugs for them were developed then taxpayer-funded through health welfare programs starting in the 1960s. Taxpayers now pay for the majority of U.S. mental health services, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Concurrently, colleges have for several years been reporting spikes in mental health problems among students, and the Wall Street Journal reports some new numbers:

As many as one in four students at some elite U.S. colleges are now classified as disabled, largely because of mental-health issues such as depression or anxiety, entitling them to a widening array of special accommodations like longer time to take exams…

Small, private schools have the greatest concentration of students with disabilities. Among the 100 four-year, not-for-profit colleges with the highest percentage of disabled students, 93 are private, according to a WSJ analysis of federal data.

Public schools have also seen a significant uptick in test accommodations. From 2011 to 2016, the number of students with special accommodations increased by an average of 71% among 22 flagship state schools, according to data obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

The article includes this graph, in which you can see that while all claimed disabilities have ticked up since 2010, the biggest jump has been in self-described “psychological disorders.”

via College Freshmen’s Self-Reports Of Psychological Disorders Doubled Since 2010 — The Federalist

May 31 A Powerful Return

[Christ] will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Philippians 3:21

Today’s verse assures us that Jesus Christ has the power to do the amazing things He has promised us. Since He can subject the entire universe to His sovereign control, He certainly has enough power to raise our bodies and make us like Him. He has the power to providentially create natural laws and to miraculously overrule them. He has the power to give life and to take it. The apostle Paul said, “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Cor. 15:24–25).

The same power that will recapture the entire fallen universe and give it back to God is what makes it possible for us to become like Christ. Where is your focus? I hope it is on heaven and that you have not been distracted.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 168). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Am I Tuning in at the Wrong Times, or Does CNN Really Have Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Maybe it’s a matter of timing. Maybe I’m not giving this a fair shake. But whenever I happen to tune in to CNN, there’s a panel of talking heads discussing President Trump and the porn star. Or President Trump and the Mueller investigation. Or President Trump and whether he’ll be impeached.
— Read on www.christianexaminer.com/article/am-i-tuning-in-at-the-wrong-times-or-does-cnn-really-have-trump-derangement-syndrome/51684.htm