Daily Archives: August 2, 2018

August 2: Small Players

Isaiah 2:6–4:6; Luke 1:39–66; Job 1:13–22

A priest should know better. A man representing the spiritual state of God’s people shouldn’t be so quick to question God’s promises. But for Zechariah, obedience became complicated. When the angel Gabriel told him he’d have a son, he responded with doubt: “By what will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years!” (Luke 1:18). Such happy news—such unexpected goodness—deserved a glad, believing response.

While Zechariah fully expected to encounter God in the temple, Mary wasn’t anticipating anything like Gabriel’s appearance. Yet she readily responded to the angel’s declaration with bold, simple allegiance: “Behold, the Lord’s female slave! May it happen to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Her alignment with God echoes Job’s response after he endured crippling loss: “Naked I came out from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. Yahweh gives, and Yahweh takes. Let Yahweh’s name be blessed” (Job 1:21).

It’s easy to view doubting or believing responses like these in a distant way. We don’t expect to experience such miraculous events or such crippling loss in our own lives. Because of this, we feel like small players in God’s plan—small players who need only small faith.

Regardless of whether we encounter such earth-shattering events in our lives, we did experience the most dramatic, miraculous act of God in history when Jesus died. We have been buried with Him and will be resurrected with Him (Rom 6:3–4). Because of this, we’re expected to put our hope and faith in God. Like Mary, we’re expected to fully align ourselves with Him; like Job, we are to bless Him in the difficult times. And finally, we’re expected to praise God when He shows us mercy we don’t deserve, as He did to Zechariah (Luke 1:64).

How can you boldly and sincerely step out in faith?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


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

August 2 A Hymn of Love

“I show you a still more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31).

✧✧✧

Without love, spiritual gifts are meaningless.

First Corinthians 13 has been called a hymn of love, or a lyrical interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount—the Beatitudes set to music. It’s a beautiful portion of Scripture that comes as a breath of fresh air in a book dealing with one problem after another.

This chapter has often been isolated from its context, but its real power lies in the balance and correction it gives to the rest of the book. The Corinthians, like all Christians, had been gifted by God at the moment of salvation to benefit the church in a special way. But many were abusing their gifts, seeking prominence for themselves rather than ministering to one another. So in chapter 12 Paul discusses the concept of spiritual gifts, in chapter 14 their proper use, and in chapter 13 the need to use them in love.

Like many Christians today, the Corinthians forgot that spiritual gifts can operate effectively only in a person who is truly spiritual. They had the gifts of the Spirit, but they weren’t displaying the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), the first of which is love.

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul begins, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” Love must be the motive and driving force behind everything we do!

How has God gifted you for ministry? Are you using your gifts in love?

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to purify your love and make you a more effective minister of the gifts He has given to you.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 12. ✧ Who distributes spiritual gifts? ✧ Which gifts did Paul mention? ✧ What is their purpose?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 227). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

AUGUST 2 GOD WOULD STIR US

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Matthew 5:6

There is no way that any of us can talk ourselves into getting a “longing for God.” Spiritual desire and hunger must come from God Himself! It cannot be whipped up.

As a grown boy, I tried selling peanuts, popcorn, chewing gum, candy and books on the old Vicksburg and Pacific railroad. I did not sell enough to become any great success, but I recall that we often tried to stir up some desire for our wares among the passengers. We would go through the coaches and give each person a few salted peanuts. No one seemed to want to buy on the first trip through, but when we came back, nearly everyone who had tasted was ready to buy. This was a common trick on the trains.

But it is a different story when we consider the spiritual life. No one but God through His Spirit is able to stir up spiritual desire among us. Those who have accepted a common state of spiritual living and have no deep desire for Him will never be stirred by human means.

Lord, Your Word says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). I desire to grow closer to You, Lord. I don’t want to merely sustain a distant relationship with an unknowable God.[1]


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

‘Hilarious & paranoid’: Lavrov laughs at idea that Russia uses memes to destroy US democracy

The idea that Moscow is swaying elections and bringing down US democracy by ‘meme-sharing’ is preposterous, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The accusations hurled at Russia by the US lawmakers left him baffled.

“It’s just hilarious when I hear that funny pictures can undermine American democracy,” Lavrov told reporters on Thursday, answering RT correspondent’s question about the latest US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on alleged Russian interference in US domestic affairs.

Experts, brought as witnesses to testify before the Senate on Wednesday, spoke about Russia allegedly using the “less news, more memes” approach online to divide the US public. This led the lawmakers to raise concerns over how Russian “meme-sharing” affects American voters.

“I think that’s just paranoia that goes off the scale,” Lavrov chuckled, saying that talk of weaponizing memes only makes the Senators themselves look bad. “It’s not respectable for American lawmakers to make a sensation out of nothing.”

US politicians consistently accused ‘Russian trolls’ of waging a coordinated campaign to influence elections in the country – something Moscow denies. During repeated hearings in Congress, lawmakers failed to provide any concrete evidence that the alleged nefarious online activity was tied to Russia, and to present data on the effects such a campaign might have caused.

In fact, last year, tech giants Facebook, YouTube and Twitter told Senators that the content allegedly produced by “Russian operatives” made up a tiny fraction of their feeds.

Source: ‘Hilarious & paranoid’: Lavrov laughs at idea that Russia uses memes to destroy US democracy

August 2, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The U.S. Senate passed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Wednesday, backing President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms.

The U.S. Congress is sending President Donald Trump legislation that would force technology companies to disclose if they allowed countries like China and Russia to examine the inner workings of software sold to the U.S. military.

U.S. Republican senator Rand Paul is due to lead a U.S. delegation to Moscow and will meet Russian members of parliament on Aug. 6, Russian agencies cited senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachov as saying on Thursday.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama dipped into November’s midterm election fight for the first time on Wednesday, endorsing 81 Democrats in 14 states with a focus on young, diverse candidates and lower-level races.

Sweden will buy the Patriot air defense missile system from U.S. arms manufacturer Raytheon Co, the government said, as it looks to boost its defenses amid growing tensions with Russia.

More than 10,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Greece from Turkey through the northern Evros river crossing in the first half of 2018, a nongovernmental organization said on Thursday, a quicker pace of arrivals compared to 2017.

Russia will deploy its military police on the Golan Heights frontier between Syria and Israel, its defense ministry said on Thursday, after weeks of mounting volatility in the area.

The Roman Catholic Church formally changed its teaching on Thursday to declare the death penalty inadmissible whatever the circumstance, a move that is likely to be viewed askance in countries where capital punishment is legal.

The United States imposed sanctions on two top officials in Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s Cabinet on Wednesday in a new attempt to get NATO ally Turkey to turn over an American pastor accused of backing a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.

U.S. sanctions imposed on Turkey over the trial of an American pastor accused of backing terrorism are unacceptable and will have limited impact on the Turkish economy, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Thursday.

AP Top Stories

A divided U.S. appeals court on Wednesday struck down a key part of President Donald Trump’s contentious effort to crack down on cities and states that limit cooperation with immigration officials, saying an executive order threatening to cut funding for “sanctuary cities” was unconstitutional.

Duterte ordered the demolishment as part of his government’s anti-smuggling and corruption campaign, according to a press release from the Cagayan Provincial Information Office. The vehicles had been smuggled into the country from the U.S. Their combined value was $5.5 million.

Muslim women and their allies organized protests in two Danish cities on Wednesday, as a ban on wearing face veils in public took effect in Denmark.

Gun rights activist groups found a way around the temporary halting of 3D-printed gun blueprints by publishing another set of blueprints on a new website Tuesday, which they say is activity protected under the First Amendment.

The Navy expects that new weapons and sensors will better enable the ship to destroy swarming small boat attacks, support carrier strike groups, conduct dis-aggregated operations, attack enemies with an over-the-horizon missile and engage in advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare, service statements specify. The Navy Is Moving Fast to Build a New Frigate.

BBC

As Europe bakes in another heatwave, forecasters say the all-time temperature record could be broken in the coming days. The current European record is 118.4F set in Athens in July 1977. Temperatures are rising in Spain and Portugal, aided by a surge of hot air sweeping in from Africa. Forecasters say the heat in some parts could keep rising, breaking national records and even the 41-year-old European record.

A sprawling, endlessly complicated pro-Trump conspiracy theory has jumped from fringe social media sites to mainstream attention. “We are Q,” read one sign at the event in Florida. “WHERE WE GO ONE WE GO ALL,” read another. Others wore T-shirts with the letter “Q” and slogans such as “The Great Awakening”.

Google is developing a version of its search engine that will conform to China’s censorship laws, reports said. The company shut down the engine in 2010, complaining that free speech was being limited.

The US has formally locked out apparel products from Rwanda after the East African nation banned imports of second-hand clothes and shoes.

Reports that one of Japan’s most prestigious medical universities tampered with female applicants’ entrance exam scores have sparked an outcry on social media. Japanese paper Yomiuri Shimbun says Tokyo Medical University began altering results in 2011 to ensure under 30% of successful applicants would be women.

WND

Hillary Clinton is setting her sights on a new office: executive producer. The former secretary of state is teaming with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television to bring Elaine Weiss’ critically acclaimed book The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote to the small screen. The drama will mark Clinton’s debut as an exec producer.

The price of a can of Coca-Cola? Likely going up. A package of Pampers? That too. Plane tickets? They also may be more expensive. These items and more may cost more in the coming months as people start feeling the effects of higher fuel prices and raw-material costs as well as a range of tariffs.


News – 8/2/2018

Trump mocks Charles Koch for saying tariffs unfair to foreign workers: ‘He is correct’
“Charles Koch of Koch Brothers, who claims to be giving away millions of dollars to politicians even though I know very few who have seen this (?), now makes the ridiculous statement that what President Trump is doing is unfair to ‘foreign workers.’ He is correct, AMERICA FIRST!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. Trump has taken aim at the Koch network this week, blasting the Koch brothers as a “total joke” on Tuesday and promising he would be a “puppet for no one” amid rising tensions over his trade policies.

Vatican changes teaching to oppose death penalty in all cases
The Roman Catholic Church formally changed its teaching on Thursday to declare the death penalty inadmissible whatever the circumstance, a move that is likely to be viewed askance in countries where capital punishment is legal.

Trump Donates $400,000 Salary to Repair Military Cemeteries
In a much under-reported move, U.S. President Donald Trump has donated his $400,000 salary for the repair of military cemeteries. In a White House spending report sent to Congress it noted that the president’s salary was sent to the Department of the Interior.

Return of the Biblical Harp
After more than 2,000 years, the prophetic sound David’s harp is heard once again in Jerusalem. When the Third Temple is rebuilt, these biblical harps will return, to be used in Jewish worship.

IAF struck 7 ISIS militans in overnight strikes in Syrian Golan Heights
Israel struck seven ISIS militants who were 200 meters from the Israeli border in an air strike on the Syrian-held Golan Heights overnight Wednesday, the army confirmed on Thursday. At 10:30 p.m. IAF jets hit seven armed terrorists, who were tracked by Israel for several kilometers. The terrorists were situated between the Alpha line and the border. No terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory…

Report: Iran hacks Israel in cyber attack
A group of “highly active” hackers based in Iran have been found to be trying to steal vital information from governments in the Middle East. The group, dubbed “Leafminer,” has attacked networks in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and Afghanistan, according to a report issued by US cyber security firm Symantec.

Andrew Brunson: US hits Turkey with sanctions over jailed pastor
The US has imposed sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers over the continued detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. The evangelical from North Carolina has been held for nearly two years over alleged links to political groups. “We believe he’s a victim of unfair and unjust detention,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Saudi Arabia’s women are allowed to drive, but not everyone is happy about it
From the very first day 31-year-old Salma Barakati got behind the wheel of her car after Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving, the men in her village near Mecca would gather around her and unleash a torrent of insults. The insults soon turned to threats. Then, less than 10 days after women were allowed to drive, a neighbor woke up Barakati in the middle of the night: Her car was on fire.

Iran readying massive military exercise in Persian Gulf, officials say
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard is expected to soon begin a major naval exercise that could demonstrate its ability to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial conduit for global energy supplies, US officials say. The exercise in the Persian Gulf could begin as soon as the next two days, according to two US officials directly familiar with the latest assessment of the Revolutionary Guard’s troop movements.

Lieberman halts fuel shipments to Gaza citing continued fire balloon terrorism
Israel will stop shipments of fuel and gas to the Gaza Strip from Thursday in response to militants in the enclave launching incendiary balloons that have torched fields in Israel. “The decision has been taken in view of the continued terror of incendiary balloons and friction along the (border) fence,” a statement from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office said.

Massive U.S. defense policy bill passes without strict China measures
The U.S. Senate passed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Wednesday, backing President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms. The Senate voted 87-10 for the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. The annual act authorizes U.S. military spending but is used as a vehicle for a broad range of policy matters…

China calls for peace mechanism for Korean peninsula
China on Thursday called for a push to establish a peace mechanism for the Korean peninsula as well as denuclearization. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he hoped the United States and North Korea – who agreed at a summit in June to end a nuclear standoff – would maintain contact and resolve each other’s concerns to have success in their talks.

Catholic Church changes teaching to oppose death penalty in all cases
The Roman Catholic Church formally changed its teaching on Thursday to declare the death penalty inadmissible in all circumstances. The 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church has allowed the death penalty in extreme cases for centuries, but the position began to change under the late Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005.

Conservatives Banned From Social Media? Here’s What They Can Do About It
“I do fear that that the social justice aggression within corporations against conservatives is part of a larger and more subversive plan. If one studies the leftist tactics of socialist gatekeeper Saul Alinsky, one would discover that they often use the strategy of harassing their enemies to illicit a vicious overreaction. “

Item fast-tracked by Bill Clinton kills at least 22
At least 22 women have been killed, and hundreds more have ended up with ectopic pregnancies or have required blood transfusions and hospitalization due to an abortion pill fast-tracked by the Bill Clinton administration.

Christians United For Israel Faces Strange Prospect Of Completed Goals
What do you when you’ve accomplished all of your major goals? It’s not something most organizations ever need to ponder, as they often spend decades working toward a single legislative victory in Washington. In the case of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), however, it’s no longer an idle question.

The Number Of Americans Living In Their Vehicles “Explodes” As The Middle Class Collapses
..As the gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase, the middle class is steadily eroding.  In fact, I recently gave my readers 15 signs that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  More Americans are falling out of the middle class and into poverty with each passing day, and this is one of the big reasons why the number of homeless is surging.

Nearly 120,000 displaced in Myanmar floods
Nearly 120,000 people have been displaced after floods submerged a vast swathe of southeastern Myanmar, killing 11 people and sending panicked residents fleeing for dry ground with children perched on their shoulders and few belongings in tow.

Police on alert for violence as Jerusalem prepares for largest-ever Pride Parade
2,500 officers to be deployed throughout city ahead of Thursday march; dozens of right-wing extremists and anti-LGBT activists say police warned them not to disrupt it

Pennsylvania Diocese Publicly Identifies 71 Priests Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania released the names of the 71 clergymen accused of child sex abuse Wednesday and blamed bishops for failing to stop the abuse.

South Africa Passes New Law to Legally Confiscate White Farmer’s Land
The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has ruled that African National Congress must now initiate a parliamentary process to reserve the right of legal land grabs of white farmers land without compensation.

Popular travel site calls Jerusalem an ‘Israeli settlement’
…Michael Freilich, chief editor of the Joods Actueel newspaper in Belgium, said, “I thought it was a hoax until I checked it out and saw it with my own eyes.” He said he had been tipped by a reader about the treatment of Jerusalem by Booking.com.


Headlines – 8/2/2018

Netanyahu warns that Israel will stop any Iranian attempt to close Red Sea

Israel Warns Iran of Military Response If It Closes Key Red Sea Strait

Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel would help Saudis destroy Iranian blockade

Iran just heated up tensions with Trump in a major show of force to practice closing the Strait of Hormuz

Can Iran Crash Oil Markets By Blockading The Strait Of Hormuz?

Iran’s parliament summons Rouhani as economy falters under US pressures

Germany’s central bank imposes rule to stop cash delivery to Tehran

Russia says Iranian forces pulled back from Golan in Syria; Israel unsatisfied

Lieberman: IDF prepared to act and respond on two fronts

Lieberman halts fuel shipments to Gaza citing continued fire balloon terrorism

US Senate passes huge defense bill including $550 million for Israel

Israel inaugurates Jewish heritage center in hotly contested East Jerusalem neighborhood

In battle for East Jerusalem, property deeds are the weapon of choice

US said to have sought clarifications from Israel on nation-state law

Amnesty International alleges Israeli spyware linked to Saudi Arabia

Middle East expert: Yemen is the biggest humanitarian crisis on the planet

Egyptian president may seek to break two-term limit, petition suggests

Trump slaps Turkish ministers with sanctions over detention of US pastor

Turkey says to retaliate against US decision to impose sanctions over pastor

Erdogan accuses US of ‘Zionist mentality’ in pastor’s case

Denmark’s ban on ‘Burqa’ enters into force amid expected rally

American Couple Who Spent Life Savings to Bike Around the World Killed in ISIS-Claimed Attack

US planning to reduce troops in Africa despite growing terrorist threat

Trump suggests China meddling in North Korea talks amid trade tensions with US

China Is Trying to Wipe Taiwan Off the Map

Trump Administration Threatens Even Higher Tariffs On China

Mueller is taking another shot at interviewing Trump as the president escalates his attacks on the Russia probe

Trump Pushes for Interview With Mueller Against Lawyers’ Advice

Trump urges end to probe ‘right now,’ setting off new storm

Trump calls on Sessions to stop Mueller’s Russia probe, raising specter of attempted obstruction

Durbin: Trump ‘Dangerously Close to Obstruction of Justice’

Donald Trump’s reckless tweeting may be foolish, but it isn’t obstruction of justice

Trump lawyer Giuliani says midterms will answer impeachment question

Reporters, Celebs Call Trump Supporters ‘Nazis,’ ‘KKK,’ Want Them ‘Euthanized’ After Tampa Rally

Is compassion fatigue inevitable in an age of 24-hour news?

Trump’s order threatening to withhold funding from ‘sanctuary cities’ is unconstitutional, court rules

Recession looming? Two classic warning signs are already here

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Pijijiapan, Mexico

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Jiajuedibu, China

Cayambe volcano in Ecuador erupts to 36,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Australia’s drought is like a cancer eating away at farms and families

Climate change could increase heat wave deaths 2,000 percent by 2080: study

2017 shatters global climate records including highest sea levels, hottest year without El Nino

Death Valley Records Planet’s Hottest Month, Scientists Warn It May Become Uninhabitable

The Carr Fire, the 7th Most Destructive in California History, Rages On

More than 1,000 homes torched as California wildfires reach ‘uncharted territory’

Scientists Develop A Strain Of Genetically Modified Rice That Neutralizes HIV

Drug-resistant superbugs may have just learned a new trick

Germs gaining resistance to hand gels in hospitals

Gay Valedictorian Rejected By Parents Gets Over $80,000 In Donations To Go To College


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DEFENDING CAIN: Pope Francis Changes Official Catholic Church Catechism Teaching On Death Penalty — Now The End Begins

The Vatican announced on Thursday Pope Francis approved changes to the compendium of Catholic teaching published under Pope John Paul II.

One of the many lies put forth by the Catholic Church is that they “never change” their doctrines and teachings. But in reality, they change quite often. Such is the case with today’s announcement that the Catholic Church, reversing centuries old doctrine, now says that the death penalty is ‘inadmissible’ in all circumstances and cases. And as usual, this is in flagrant disregard of clear Bible teaching in both Testaments.

“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Genesis 9:6 (KJV)

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:4 (KJV)

FROM THE CATHOLIC CRUX: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the death penalty now is no longer admissible under any circumstances. The Vatican announced on Thursday Pope Francis approved changes to the compendium of Catholic teaching published under Pope John Paul II.

“The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church now says on the death penalty, adding that the Church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

This is a departure from what the document, approved under Pope John Paul II in 1992, says on the matter: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” READ MORE

As the Catholic Church under Pope Francis becomes more and more Liberal, the split within their church grows ever wider. Many Vatican watchers says this in being done in anticipation of allowing the LGBTQ to officially be welcomed within their ranks.

Whatever the case, the raging turmoil engulfing the Catholic Church swirls ever closer to the breaking point. For a church that ‘never changes’, the changes are coming almost too fast to count. Now about those sex scandals

via DEFENDING CAIN: Pope Francis Changes Official Catholic Church Catechism Teaching On Death Penalty — Now The End Begins

August 2, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

14 An initial reading of this verse seems to indicate Mordecai’s unwavering hope in the providence of God. Even if Esther keeps silent, deliverance will arise from another place, but Esther herself has the opportunity to be a significant player in the deliverance of her people. Nevertheless, it is not at all clear how to read the statement about deliverance by itself and then how to read it in the context of the rest of the verse and the potential threat at the end of v. 13. For whatever reason, Mordecai has just warned Esther that she is not immune in the king’s household, and he repeats the warning here: “you and your father’s house will perish.” The latter warning includes him, as he is her only “family.” That would be particularly poignant for her as she has been nurtured by him in the absence of her “father’s house.”

Furthermore, his challenge to consider the reason she has been brought to the royal position has its force only if there were no other alternative! Otherwise, she could easily be tempted to do nothing but simply rest in the hope that relief will indeed come from somewhere else. One way of addressing the issue is to posit that help might arise (yaʿamôd), but elsewhere, and the proximity of the royal palace to Haman and the center of the maelstrom would mean that Esther and Mordecai will get swept away.

John M. Wiebe (“Esther 4:14: ‘Will Relief and Deliverance Arise for the Jews from Another Place?’ ” CBQ 53/3 (1991): 409–15) interprets the second clause of this verse as a rhetorical question that assumes a negative response. The relevant portion would read, “if you keep silent at this time, will help and deliverance come for the Jews from another place? [Answer: ‘No, it won’t …;] and you and your father’s house will perish [‘as well’].” This rendition addresses the problems that are incumbent in the traditional reading of the text, namely, that if help does arise from (whatever is meant by) “another place,” why would not Esther’s family, and especially Mordecai, also be delivered by this agent? As a result of the truly dire nature of Mordecai’s challenge, Esther’s mood changes dramatically, and the narrative takes a decisive turn.

The use of “who knows” in this context is not an ambivalent expression of doubt but rather a strong statement that Esther is indeed the Jews’ only hope and that she has been brought to this point for this time. On the confidence of the expression, see Joel 2:14 and Jonah 3:9. Mordecai’s closing statement may be an oblique acknowledgment that Esther’s experience in getting to that point has been a horrifying one for her and for him as her guardian.[1]


4:14 — “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place .… ”

God is never bound by our faithlessness or cowardice. He desires to use us to bless His people, but if we fail to trust Him, He will use someone else. But He will always accomplish His will.[2]


4:14 relief and deliverance. Mordecai exhibited a healthy faith in God’s sovereign power to preserve His people. He may have remembered the Lord’s promise to Abraham (cf. Ge 12:3; 17:1–8). you … will perish. Mordecai indicated that Esther would not escape the sentence or be overlooked because of her prominence (cf. 4:13). such a time as this. Mordecai indirectly appealed to God’s providential timing.[3]


4:14 deliverance will rise. Despite his emotional turmoil (v. 4), deep down Mordecai is sure that the Jews will survive. This reflects his faith that God will protect his people, though the text does not make this explicit. from another place. Mordecai does not seem to know what other source of help would appear, but he expresses confidence that God will somehow rescue his people. your father’s house. Esther’s family on her father’s side. Since Mordecai is sure the Jews will be delivered, his statement that Esther and her family will perish presumably means that they will be punished for Esther’s refusal to act. God is apparently the one who will punish them, though again, this is not explicitly said. you have … come … for such a time as this. The strongest hint yet of Mordecai’s belief in divine providence.[4]


4:14 For if indeed you keep silent This remark of Mordecai’s is one of the most faithful responses in the book, yet it lacks any direct mention of God. Mordecai’s thinking seems to reflect that of Judaism in general—that God would find a way for his people to survive, no matter what (compare Isa 10:20). Mordecai may see this relief coming from another person, another city, or God in general.

you and the family of your father will perish Mordecai could be saying that it will be too late for the Jewish people living in Susa by the time deliverance comes or that divine retribution would come to Esther for her inaction (compare Num 14:18).

Who knows Mordecai’s remark parallels Joel 2:14, where a similar phrase occurs. In both passages, divine relief and deliverance are sought.

for a time such as this Mordecai does not assert why Esther has been appointed queen, but seems to imply that it very well could have been for a divine purpose.[5]


4:14 Though the name of God does not appear in the Book of Esther, the phrases “who knows” and “from another place” in this verse are clearly “God language” set within a context giving evidence that Yahweh God has placed Esther in a position to save her people, who also are God’s people by way of covenant.[6]


4:14 Mordecai acknowledged the sovereignty of God. He knew that Haman could not ultimately succeed in his campaign because God’s design cannot be thwarted. God is the one in control and He was committed to the preservation of the Jews, who are beneficiaries of God’s covenant with Abraham (Gn 17:1–9).[7]


[1] Phillips, E. (2010). Esther. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles–Job (Revised Edition) (Vol. 4, pp. 634–635). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Es 4:14). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Es 4:14). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 858). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Es 4:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Es 4:14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 726). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

August 2 Jesus vs. Demons

When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him … and they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”—Matt. 8:28–29

Demons can attack people mentally, physically, or spiritually. Spiritually, they oppose true religion, promote the false, and control the occult. Intellectually, they advocate false ideologies, insanity, and masochism. Our Lord always recognized demonized people as being victims of powers beyond their control and in need of deliverance, not condemnation or exhortation.

By calling Jesus “Son of God,” the demons controlling the Gadarene men showed they knew His true identity. They recognized Him as their spiritual antagonist who had the full authority to destroy them at will. Their question “Have You come here to torment us before the time?” further recognized that there is a God-ordained schedule, not yet completed, when He will relegate them to eternal damnation. As in other subjects, the demons had a correct doctrine of last things. But such belief is mere recognition, not acceptance. James reveals that even they tremble at the consequences of unbelief: “the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19).

Demons despise everything about God and His Son. Yet they can’t do anything but pay Jesus the greatest deferential respect when in His presence. That supports Paul’s teaching that one day at the name of Christ, “every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11).

ASK YOURSELF

Seeing the demons so obviously in fear of Christ’s dominance should encourage us that He is more than able to handle any situation. Have you been withholding a need from Him, not sure He cared or could do anything about it? Bring it boldly to Him today.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 223). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

AUGUST 2 MANY SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN CHRIST GO UNCLAIMED

Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

EPHESIANS 1:3

Those spiritual blessings in heavenly places which are ours in Christ may be divided into three classes:

The first is those which come to us immediately upon our believing unto salvation, such as forgiveness, justification, regeneration, sonship to God and baptism into the Body of Christ. In Christ we possess these even before we know that they are ours!

The second class is those riches which are ours by inheritance but which we cannot enjoy in actuality until our Lord returns. These include ultimate mental and moral perfection, the glorification of our bodies, the completion of the restoration of the divine image in our redeemed personalities and the admission into the very presence of God to experience forever the Beatific Vision. These treasures are as surely ours as if we possessed them now!

The third class consists of spiritual treasures which are ours by blood atonement but which will not come to us unless we make a determined effort to possess them. These are deliverance from the sins of the flesh, victory over self, the constant flow of the Holy Spirit through our personalities, fruitfulness in Christian service, awareness of the Presence of God, growth in grace, an increasing consciousness of union with God and an unbroken spirit of worship. These are to us what the Promised Land was to Israel, to be entered into as our faith and courage mount.[1]


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

Beautiful Viral Video Shows Humanity of Preborn Baby as It Grows

In a little over three minutes, the mystery and dignity of the beginnings of human life are revealed — and people are responding

In one week, a video depicting the humanity of a preborn baby in vivid detail has amassed tens of millions of views — capturing the hearts, minds and imaginations of viewers.

The video illustrates the processes of fertilization, development, and birth of a baby in a little over three minutes. (See the video at the bottom of this page.)

“Imagine if expectant mothers had a little window into the womb, where everyone could see this development as it happens,” said pro-life advocate Jean Purcell, 79, of Columbia, Maryland, after watching the video. “Abortion might be a thing of the past if the miracle were revealed day by day, and God’s artistry in creating humanity was revealed.”

The creator of the video, Hashem Al-Ghaili, is a Yemeni man who lives in Germany and works as an independent “influencer” primarily through his popular Science Nature Page on Facebook, according to LifeSiteNews. His work has reportedly inspired people to seek him out as a public speaker and media consultant.

Originally uploaded to Youtube but shared to Facebook last week, the video features music and informative captions throughout.

“Welcome to Life!” reads a caption at the end of the video.

Hashem Al-Ghaili’s video has been on Facebook for about a week, during which it has been viewed 47 million times and shared over half a million times. Al-Ghaili’s Facebook page has more than 27 million followers.

The video does not stake out a position on the debate over when human life begins, although settled science establishes that the physical life of a distinct human organism begins at fertilization, rather than implantation.

The video shows several milestones of fetal development, such as the brain, nose, ears, and intestines beginning to form at six weeks; the heart being fully developed by 10 weeks; the baby beginning to kick at 18 weeks; and finally, the wondrous delivery of a baby into the world.

Though preborn babies are fully alive and human from fertilization, some 3,562 abortions are performed each day.

That’s right.

Thousands of times daily, this beautiful process is ended before it has a chance, really. to begin.

— Read on www.lifezette.com/2018/08/beautiful-viral-video-shows-humanity-of-preborn-baby-as-it-grows/