Daily Archives: August 18, 2018

August 18: Connecting the Dots

Isaiah 37:14–38:22; Luke 13:1–35; Job 9:1–11

When we don’t have all the facts, we still like to connect the dots. Questions make us uncomfortable, so we draw lines with answers that make us feel safe and that fit our worldview. But sometimes we hold too tightly to the picture that results.

Job’s friends were guilty of this error. Although they affirmed true things about God’s character, they connected the dots in unhelpful ways. For example, in Job 8, Bildad pointed to God’s justice and stated that Job’s hardship couldn’t be for nothing. Therefore, he must have sinned. Job also affirmed God’s justice, wisdom, and strength, but he didn’t buy into Bildad’s worldview. In Job 9, he acknowledged that God was beyond his understanding. Job might have suffered, but he kept his high opinion of God.

Job wanted answers, too. He longed for God to make Himself known and settle the matter (Job 9:3). Job mourned that he had no way of defending himself before God: “There is no arbiter between us that he might lay his hand on both of us. May he remove his rod from me, and let his dread not terrify me; then I would speak and not fear him, for in myself I am not fearful” (Job 9:33–35). In the end, when Job requested an answer from God—who alone could answer his questions—God silenced him. He restored Job’s prosperity, but Job still had to live without knowing why.

When we don’t have the answer, we should still affirm God’s love and goodness, acknowledging that “He is the one who does great things beyond understanding and marvelous things beyond number” (Job 9:10). And we do have one answer that quiets our fretful hearts—we know the arbiter and what He has done for us, which makes it easier to live with the unanswered questions.

How are you sharing the good news of Jesus with someone who is dealing with difficult questions?

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 18 Treating Others with Consideration

“[Love] does not act unbecomingly” (1 Cor. 13:5).

✧✧✧

Considerate behavior demonstrates godly love and adds credibility to your witness.

When I was a young child, I loved to slurp my soup. I didn’t see any harm in it, even though my parents constantly objected. Then one evening I ate with someone who slurped his soup. He was having a great time, but I didn’t enjoy my meal very much. Then I realized that proper table manners are one way of showing consideration for others. It says, “I care about you and don’t want to do anything that might disrupt your enjoyment of this meal.”

On a more serious note, I know a couple who got an annulment on the grounds that the husband was rude to his wife. She claimed that his incessant burping proved he didn’t really love her. The judge ruled in her favor, stating that if the husband truly loved her, he would have been more considerate. That’s a strange story but a true one, and it illustrates the point that love is not rude.

“Unbecomingly” in 1 Corinthians 13:5 includes any behavior that violates acceptable Biblical or social standards. We could paraphrase it, “Love is considerate of others.” That would have been in stark contrast to the inconsiderate behavior of the Corinthians—many of whom were overindulging at their love feasts and getting drunk on the Communion wine (1 Cor. 11:20–22). Some women were overstepping bounds by removing their veils and usurping the role of men in the church (1 Cor. 11:3–16; 14:34–35). Both men and women were corrupting the worship services by trying to outdo one another’s spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 14:26).

Undoubtedly the Corinthians justified their rude behavior, just as we often justify ours. But rudeness betrays a lack of love and is always detrimental to effective ministry. For example, I’ve seen Christians behave so rudely toward non-Christians who smoke that they destroyed any opportunity to tell them about Christ.

Be aware of how you treat others—whether believers or unbelievers. Even the smallest of courtesies can make a profound impression.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Holy Spirit to monitor your behavior and to convict you of any loveless actions. As He does, be sure to confess and forsake them.

For Further Study: Read Luke 7:36–50. How did Jesus protect the repentant woman from the Pharisee’s rudeness?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 243). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

AUGUST 18 GOD’S ETERNAL WORK

The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption.

Romans 8:21

Is it possible that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ have forgotten that even though we are Christians, we live day by day in unredeemed physical bodies?

Yes, brethren, this is orthodox Christian theology, given to us by the Apostle Paul in these words: “Even though we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of the body” (see Romans 8:23). These bodies of ours will be redeemed, for that is the promise of God. But in this life they are not yet actually redeemed. That is why we cannot do God’s eternal work ourselves, for only the Holy Spirit of God can bring about His eternal purposes.

If we are to successfully engage in the Christian witness God expects of us while we are here on this earth, we must consciously know and experience the indwelling illumination of the Holy Spirit of God. We must depend upon His gifts and His enduement and His anointing if we hope to cope with the universal blight which is upon mankind.

Lord, Your Word says that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). I know from personal experience that I need the power of Your indwelling Spirit to overcome the influence of the flesh.[1]


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

How The Left Is Outsourcing Censorship Of The Internet…

Liberals control every newspaper in America, as far as I know, except the Manchester Union Leader. They control CBS, ABC, NBC and every cable network except Fox News. They control what is left of the news magazines, and pretty much every other magazine, too. Only talk radio and the pesky internet lie outside their grasp, so that is where they seek to impose censorship.

But they have a problem: the First Amendment. The government can’t suppress conservative speech on the ground that it is “hate speech,” i.e., something that liberals don’t like. That was recently reaffirmed by a 9-0 decision of the Supreme Court.

So liberals have outsourced censorship of the internet to the tech titans of Silicon Valley.

Unfortunately, most political conversation these days occurs not on the “free” internet, where independent sites like Power Line reside, but rather on social media–Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on. Other players include Google (in its search capacity), Apple, Pinterest, Spotify, etc. Happily–if you are a leftist–all of these tech companies are run by liberals. And because they are private companies, they are not constrained by the First Amendment. They can restrict or ban conservative communications on the ground that they are “hate speech,” or on no grounds whatsoever, with impunity.

And that is exactly what they are doing. This is a big topic. I brought it up this morning while hosting the Laura Ingraham radio show, and it blew up, ultimately consuming half of the three-hour show. Many aspects of the left’s outsourcing of censorship to liberal-run corporations need to be explored, but for now, this is an astonishing example: “Silicon Valley Strikes Back: Facebook Censors PragerU After Google Lawsuit.”

Source: How The Left Is Outsourcing Censorship Of The Internet…

Clinton Saga Continues: Watchdog Publishes New Batches of Hillary’s Emails

The email scandal continues to haunt Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and ex-Democratic presidential nominee, as Judicial Watch, a non-profit conservative organization, has unearthed two new batches of Clinton’s emails and called for a new investigation into her mishandling of classified government data.

Source: Clinton Saga Continues: Watchdog Publishes New Batches of Hillary’s Emails

Senate intel committee head sees no evidence of Russian collusion, says probe ‘frustrating as hell’

 

After 19 months of a “frustrating as hell’ probe, the Senate Intelligence Committee has found “no factual evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Moscow, the chairman, Richard Burr, says.

Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), who heads the last bipartisan probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, shared in an interview with AP while there is “no factual evidence today that [it] received” on any collusion between President Donald Trump and Moscow after almost two years of the probe, the committee is not ready to end it. After all, he says he doesn’t want to be the guy who missed something in the town where nothing “stays classified or secret forever.”

Burr would not give a timeline for the end of the investigation, and the committee wants to do some challenging interviews. It has recently requested that persecuted WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange testify before committee staff “at a mutually agreeable time and location.” Senators also want to talk to Christopher Steele, the author of the notorious dossier about Trump that turned out to be paid for by Democrats.

As for the other episode that the mainstream media and the ‘Resistance’ love to single out as proof of collusion (the Trump Tower meeting), Burr said that he sees no “reason today” to bring back Donald Trump Jr., who appeared before the committee in 2017, to testify about his short meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

So far, the work of the bipartisan probe has not been marred by tensions between Democrats and Republicans, as was the case with the probe in the House that ruled there was no collusion. The leading Democrat on the Senate committee, a known ‘Russiagater’ from Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner, expressed his confidence in Burr in May.

In July, the committee backed the conclusions of 2017 intelligence community assessment (ICA) that Russia meddled in the US presidential election, saying that it “believes the conclusions of the ICA are sound” and confirmed by “open source” information.

The ICA document, released in January 2017, is long on faith and assertions and short on evidence. It stated that the key judgments made by the US intelligence community came from “a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behaviour.” It even devoted several pages to RT, focusing mainly on its output from 2012 as examples of Russian media influencing American voters in 2016.

Back then, Assange slammed the report for its lack of sources. While the topic of Russia’s meddling in US affairs never seems to fade away, no solid facts have been presented so far. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations. “Until we see facts, everything else will be just blather,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

Source: Senate intel committee head sees no evidence of Russian collusion, says probe ‘frustrating as hell’

Press needs to restore its credibility on FBI and Justice Department — Christian Research Network

 

“This is an absolutely stunning development, suggesting a “deep state” conspiracy hidden even from superiors and driven on the basis of undisclosed dollars ultimately from the opposition candidate going to the wife of a DOJ official. Even moderate senators like Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been shocked by this and called for a special counsel to investigate the FBI.”  

(Mark Penn – The Hill)  I will never call the mainstream media “the enemy of the people.” But I will call them out for having strayed from fairly reporting some of the biggest stories of the last two years. No matter how egregious their errors, they insist on pointing fingers elsewhere and reinforcing their political biases, in ways unimaginable to those of us who grew up in the Walter Cronkite era.

A few days ago, The Hill’s John Solomon revealed that Congress has discovered that Bruce Ohr — one of the highest-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) officials reporting to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — was in continuous secret communication with former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the salacious Trump-Russia dossier produced for an opposition research firm on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party.

Steele also just happened to be a paid informant for the FBI but was later dismissed for lying about his contacts with the media. The FBI used Steele’s dossier to apply for warrants to surveil Trump campaign consultant Carter Page. And, it turns out, part of the FBI’s substantiation for those warrants was a Yahoo News article which was, in fact, not independent reporting but simply the same story from the same source — Steele — although Steele apparently never told the FBI he was connected to it. View article →

via Press needs to restore its credibility on FBI and Justice Department — Christian Research Network

Top Senate Investigator: After 19 Months, Still No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion — The Gateway Pundit

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia to fix the 2016 presidential election, told the Associated Press in an interview published Saturday that after nineteen months of investigation, “there is “no factual evidence today that we’ve received” on collusion or conspiracy between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.”

 

Sen. Richard Burr, official photo.

That should have been the headline and lede of the AP report about the interview, instead that was buried in the fourth paragraph. The AP headline is the anodyne, “AP Interview: Top Republican says Russia probe difficult“.

The lede:

For much of the last two years, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr has been the Russia investigator who is seen but rarely heard on Capitol Hill.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, the North Carolina Republican opened up about the investigation that has now consumed 19 months of his life. He says it has been “frustrating as hell” and much more difficult than he originally envisioned. But he says the integrity of the investigation — and its importance to the institution of the Senate — is something he has labored to protect.

The buried lede:

Burr said there is “no factual evidence today that we’ve received” on collusion or conspiracy between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. But he said he’s still open on the issue and hasn’t personally come to any final conclusions, since the investigation isn’t finished.”

Burr is careful to tell the AP that because the investigation is ongoing, he has not drawn a final conclusion and is open to the idea of Trump-Russia collusion. However, Burr and a fellow Republican on the Intel committee, James Lankford (OK), warn that when the committee issues its report it will likely provoke ‘vehement disagreement’ about its conclusions. Burr notes what may be an insurmountable standard for Trump’s accusers, that the committee must be able to prove any claims of collusion.

Burr won’t give a timeline for the end of the investigation or a final report, which could create fissures in the panel’s so-far bipartisan unity. Many Democrats are likely to disagree that there is no evidence of collusion, if that is the committee’s final conclusion.

“I am sure there will be people at the end of this who feel that we came to a conclusion that they vehemently disagree with,” Burr said. “I know that from a committee’s integrity standpoint we’ve got to prove what we find. And if you can’t prove it then we can’t make the claim.”

…Lankford says it’s possible the final report will split the committee.

“The hardest part is when staff starts going through all of the details and writes the last report,” Lankford says. “And then we start having people say, I won’t say that. That’s the threat.”

The AP article, which can be read at this link, states the committee is working on two reports set to be issued by the end of September,”one on the Obama administration’s response to Russia’s election interference, and a second on Russia’s election meddling on social media.”

The committee is in the midst of negotiations with attorneys for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, seeking testimony from both men.

via Top Senate Investigator: After 19 Months, Still No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion — The Gateway Pundit

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Maria Butina and UK Big Lies

Article Image

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (MZ below) said conditions in Syria are improving – despite conflict resolution far from achieved.

“Over the past two weeks, the Syrian forces successfully liberated about 2,000 square kilometers,” MZ explained – over 90% of the country free from US-supported terrorists.

In scores of liberated areas, many thousands of Syrian refugees returned to their home towns and villages.

“(I)ntensive work is underway to create an infrastructure for accommodating almost 1 million refugees and IDPs,” said MZ.

Russia continues spearheading efforts to supply food, medical care and other humanitarian aid to many thousands of Syrian civilians.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry slammed the disgraceful involvement of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Israel in evacuating White Helmets terrorists from liberated Syrian areas.

MZ blasted the White Helmets saying the following:

“(H)ow come these fearless humanitarian workers need to be evacuated from Syria? (Why an urgency to do it?) Why can’t the White Helmets stay there as peace returns to cities and communities?”

“How come the White Helmets are not there to distribute bread rations or to restore medical aid stations and civilian infrastructure?”

“Have they thought about Syrian children who have to go to school, and what are civilians supposed to do?”

“What happened to their commitment to the humanitarian cause? As a matter of fact, it never existed to begin with.”

“All the White Helmets did was contribute to fake stories, in exchange for huge sums of money, on the alleged chemical weapons attacks, and helped spread this propaganda online.”

“They alleged that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people. That is all there is to it. That is what all these would-be humanitarian efforts were all about.”

White Helmets are US, NATO, Israel, UN-supported terrorists – not civil defense workers, as falsely claimed. Aiding them is a high crime against humanity.

On July 15, Russian national Maria was arrested in America, falsely charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent – a bald-faced lie.

In detention, she’s been harshly mistreated, her health adversely affected.

Trump regime efforts are “forc(ing) her to cooperate with” its anti-Russia agenda “by making her living conditions as difficult as possible,” MZ explained.

Accusations against her are “frivolous” and fabricated. She and other Russian nationals are held as US political prisoners.

According to MZ, Russian authorities continue to be denied information about and access to Sergey and Yulia Skripal, adding:

“Britain continues to ignore requests for legal assistance sent by the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation to London regarding the criminal lawsuit opened by the Russian Investigative Committee on March 16 in connection with the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal in a manner that endangers the general public.”

US sanctions imposed on Russia for the incident it had nothing to do with flagrantly violate international law.

They’re all about the Trump and Theresa May regimes partnering in waging political and economic war on Russia – risking something far more serious.

Source: Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Maria Butina and UK Big Lies

FBI Dealt Blow By DC Judge; Must Address Measures Taken To Verify Steele Dossier

The FBI has been dealt a major blow after a Washington DC judge ruled that the agency must respond to a FOIA request for documents concerning the bureau’s efforts to verify the controversial Steele Dossier, before it was used as the foundation of a FISA surveillance warrant application and subsequent renewals.

US District Court Judge Amit Mehta – who in January sided with the FBI’s decision to ignore the FOIA request, said that President Trump’s release of two House Intelligence Committee documents (the “Nunes” and “Schiff” memos) changed everything.

Judge Amit Mehta

Considering that the FBI offered Steele $50,000 to verify the Dossier’s claims yet never paid him, BuzzFeed has unsuccessfully tried to do the same to defend themselves in a dossier-related lawsuit, and a $50 million Soros-funded investigation  to continue the hunt have turned up nothing that we know of – whatever documents the FBI may be forced to cough up regarding their attempts to verify the Dossier could prove highly embarrassing for the agency.

[I]f Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid. –NYT

What’s more, forcing the FBI to prove they had an empty hand will likely embolden calls to disband the special counsel investigation – as the agency’s mercenary and politicized approach to “investigations” will be laid all the more bare for the world to see. Then again, who knows – maybe the FBI verified everything in the dossier and it simply hasn’t leaked.

That said, while the FBI will likely be forced to acknowledge the documents thanks to the Thursday ruling, the agency will still be able to try and convince the judge that there are other grounds to withhold the records.

In January, Mehta blessed the FBI’s decision not to disclose the existence of any records containing the agency’s efforts to verify the dossier – ruling that Trump’s tweets about the dossier didn’t require the FBI and other intelligence agencies to act on records requests.

But then the ground shifted,” writes Mehta of Trump declassifying the House memos. “As a result of the Nunes and Schiff Memos, there is now in the public domain meaningful information about how the FBI acquired the Dossier and how the agency used it to investigate Russian meddling.”

The DOJ also sought to distinguish between the Steele Dossier and a synopsis of the dossier presented to both Trump and then-President Obama in 2016, however Mehta rejected the attempt, writing “That position defies logic,” while also rejecting the government’s refusal to even say if the FBI has a copy of that synopsis.

“It remains no longer logical nor plausible for the FBI to maintain that it cannot confirm nor deny the existence of documents,” Mehta wrote.

It is simply not plausible to believe that, to whatever extent the FBI has made efforts to verify Steele’s reporting, some portion of that work has not been devoted to allegations that made their way into the synopsis. After all, if the reporting was important enough to brief the President-elect, then surely the FBI thought enough of those key charges to attempt to verify their accuracy. It will be up to the FBI to determine which of the records in its possession relating to the reliability of the Dossier concerns Steele’s reporting as discussed in the synopsis.

“This ruling represents another incremental step in revealing just how much the FBI has been able to verify or discredit the rather personal allegations contained in that synopsis derived from the Steele dossier,” said Brad Moss, a lawyer pressing the lawsuit for the pro-transparency group, the James Madison Project. “It will be rather ironic if the president’s peripheral actions that resulted in this ruling wind up disclosing that the FBI has been able to corroborate any of the ‘salacious’ allegations.”

In other words, the FBI must show what they did to verify the claims contained within the Nunes and Schiff memos.

Because the case was heard on appeal, the ruling will not take immediate effect, notes Politico, which adds that the appeals court is now likely to remand the case to Mehta, while the FBI is going to try and convince him the records should remain unreleased.

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/386451281/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-amgM00R2qcTBS0m6lq4N&show_recommendations=false

Source: FBI Dealt Blow By DC Judge; Must Address Measures Taken To Verify Steele Dossier