Daily Archives: August 26, 2018

August 26: Lives of Spiritual Opulence

Isaiah 52:1–54:17; Luke 20:41–21:24; Job 12:1–12

The Pharisees upheld a faulty religious system. They were supposed to be the Jews’ spiritual leaders, but they were more interested in making themselves the religious elite. They loved “greetings in the marketplace and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets” (Luke 20:46). Their ministry was built on the backs of the poor.

In contrast, the widow depicted in Luke 21 chose to give all she had. Because she had so little, her generosity was sacrificial. Those who gave out of abundance didn’t feel the loss of income like she did. But the contrast between the widow and the Pharisees shows us much more. Luke says that spiritual wealth can be present where we least expect it—that things aren’t always as they appear.

Although Jesus is the long-anticipated Messiah, following Him is never going to bring a life of glory and fame. Jesus is ushering in a kingdom like a mustard seed (Luke 13:18–19) or yeast (Luke 13:20–21). It will grow and swell through perseverance rather than praise. It requires a life of sacrifice like the widow’s, not the glory-seeking of the Pharisees.

Through these examples, Jesus warned his disciples to look beneath the shiny veneer for something more valuable. It would have been tempting simply to follow those in charge—in some ways it would have been much easier. But piety that pleases God isn’t found in striving after position or place. Following Jesus means sacrifice and service.

How are you serving God with everything you have?

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.

Where Do You Keep You Mind?

The Outspoken TULIP

Don’t our thoughts wander? Reading Philippians 4:6-9 today, I could sure see that my mind doesn’t always dwell on pure, honorable, excellent and lovely things. And I do allow myself to feel anxious rather than praying for what I want and trusting the Lord to answer in whatever way most glorifies Him.

I’d have so much more peace if I’d keep my mind fixed on Him, wouldn’t I?

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August 26 Hoping in God

“[Love] hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).

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Love refuses to take human failure as final.

Even when faith falters, hope comes to the rescue. It is that long rope that keeps us linked to the sovereignty and power of God.

The Apostle Peter wrote to believers who were experiencing severe trials. To encourage them he began, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Our hope is “a living hope” because our God is a living God. No matter how bleak your situation might seem, God is at work to accomplish His purposes. As Christ hung on the cross, it seemed as if sin had finally triumphed over righteousness. But sin’s finest hour became its death knell when Christ arose from the grave as the Lord of life and the Redeemer of His people. Now “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal [body] through His Spirit who indwells you” (Rom. 8:11). Trials and death have no power over you. They simply bring you closer to Christ.

When ministering to others, hope gives you confidence that as long as there is life, human failure is never final. God refused to accept Israel’s failures; Jesus refused to accept Peter’s; and Paul refused to accept that of the Corinthians. When your attempts to cover the sins of others have failed or your righteous expectations have been shattered, hope says, “Don’t give up. God can still work this out for good.”

Hope is illustrated in the true story of a dog who was abandoned at the airport of a large city. He stayed there for over five years, waiting for his master to return. People at the airport fed and cared for him, but he refused to leave the spot where he last saw his master. If a dog’s love for his master can produce that kind of hope, how much more should your love for God produce abiding hope?

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His sovereignty and power and for the hope that is yours in Christ.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 42, noting how the psalmist related the distressing circumstances of his life to his hope in God.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 251). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of John McCain

Sen. John McCain will be the 34th person to lie-in-state in the Capital Rotunda, an honor reserved for a select group of men and women who led highly distinguished lives displaying unusual heroism, courage and devotion in service to the American republic.

He will thus join the likes of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, as well as Rosa Parks, Billy Graham and unknown soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

And like every one of those who preceded him in the honor, McCain combined in one person traits that are easily admired, as well as weaknesses and some ugliness that to a greater or less degree are found in every man and woman.

The Good

There is no doubt that McCain was a genuine American war hero. He was shot down on a bombing mission over Hanoi, North Vietnam in 1967 when a Soviet-supplied ground-to-air missile blew a wing off of his Navy A4 Skyhawk ground attack jet.

McCain ejected and landed in a lake in the center of Hanoi, breaking both arms and his right knee in the process. He was beaten and stabbed in the foot by the North Vietnamese soldiers and civilians who dragged him from the lake. And that was only the beginning of nearly six years of horrendous treatment in the Hanoi Hilton prisoner-of-war (POW) camp.

The torture methods used by the North Vietnamese included keeping the POWs in solitary confinement most of the time and subjecting them to extreme pain that worsened injuries inflicted by guards or suffered in combat before their capture. The POWs famously learned to communicate with each other despite their solitary confinement, using a form of the Morse Code.

In the frequent beatings that McCain and the other POWs often endured, his left arm and three ribs were broken. The re-broken arm never healed properly and his injuries and malnutrition in captivity left him permanently unable to remove a suit jacket without pained effort and walking with a distinctly hobbled gait.

When the North Vietnamese discovered McCain was the son and grandson of famous Navy Admirals, they sought to use him for propaganda purposes. At one point, he signed a statement admitting to unspecified “black crimes,” an act that was the most humiliating of his life.

But when the North Vietnamese offered McCain an early release and an end to the torture and pain, he refused, knowing that many of his fellow POWs had been imprisoned longer, some as long as three years, and suffered more than he had.

That singular act of redemptive refusal is what most people likely think of when referring to McCain as a war hero. Whatever else he may or may not have done or been in his life, choosing to continue to suffer with his fellow POWs demonstrated the American spirit at its best.

The Bad

McCain’s voting record in Congress was generally that of a moderate conservative, somewhat in the mold of his professed political hero, Ronald Reagan. But McCain often seemed determined to prove his independence by taking positions and casting votes he knew would outrage conservatives. No wonder former Human Events editor Jed Babbin described McCain as an “apostate conservative.”

The legislation he is most remembered for is the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002, which he co-sponsored with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.). Conservatives opposed the measure because they believed it represented an incumbent protection act that entrenched senators and representatives who were controlled by special interests.

Even more serious were the constitutional concerns conservatives voiced about McCain-Feingold. The measure made it illegal to advertise for or against a candidate for weeks prior to an election and set limits on how much any individual could contribute to a candidate, incumbent or challenger.

Related: John McCain — Republican Maverick, War Hero — Is Gone

The legislation also turned the Federal Election Commission into a bureaucratic arbiter of campaign practices that conservatives feared could be abused for partisan advantage or partisan punishment that would subvert democratic elections.

Much to the surprise of many of McCain-Feingold’s conservative critics, the Supreme Court upheld the measure and it remains in force today. But in its Citizens United decision in 2010, the high court effectively addressed one of the conservative critique’s main concerns, ruling that campaign contributions and advocacy are protected speech under the First Amendment.

Even more frustrating to conservatives than McCain-Feingold was McCain’s casting the deciding vote in 2017 against a measure repealing Obamacare. McCain had vigorously opposed the Democrats’ government-run health care program proposed by President Barack Obama, joining 38 colleagues in voting no on final passage in 2010.

McCain had also promised during his final re-election campaign in 2016 to vote to repeal Obamacare, as virtually every Republican in the country had promised. But when it came down to a vote in the Senate on a repeal measure muscled through by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, McCain was on the wrong side.

“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict party-line basis without a single Republican vote,” he said in a statement issued shortly after the vote.

“We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of the nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people.”

Not a few conservatives believed McCain’s vote had nothing to do with restoring regular order and everything to do with defying President Donald Trump, with whom the Arizonan had become entangled in a bitter feud.

The Ugly

Soldiers coming home from war zones with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a far more familiar phenomena in recent years, especially with the frequency of military personnel serving multiple tours of combat duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

When McCain came home in 1972, however, the terrible long-term psychological effects of being a POW in North Vietnam weren’t nearly as well understood. High divorce rates among the former POWs were described within five years of their return.

But there was nothing to indicate, at least in the public record, that McCain’s 1980 divorce from his first wife, Carol, was connected to his POW years.

Related: Hollywood Celebrities Use John McCain’s Death to Trash President Donald Trump

“He was looking for a way to be young again, and that was the end of that,” Carol McCain told People Magazine earlier this year. “I didn’t know anything about it, I had no idea what was going on, I was pretty much blindsided and it broke my heart.”

What Carol McCain didn’t know was that her famous husband had met somebody else the year before in Hawaii. Cindy McCain, who was at his side Saturday when he died, was 25 years old when she married John, who was then 43. The two were married two weeks after his divorce from Carol McCain was granted.

“He introduced himself to me and I just didn’t know what to expect. What I saw was this incredible human being that was a lot of fun to be around,” Cindy McCain told People of her first encounter with her future husband.

“I really didn’t think he’d propose. He was older. I knew he cared very deeply for me. I did know that,” she told People.

Doug McCain, one of Carol’s sons who was adopted by John McCain in 1965, told People the divorce “left a bad taste in my mouth ’cause I knew it wasn’t what my mother wanted. By the same token you know that sometimes things are beyond your control. I think the divorce rates among the POWs were extraordinarily high so in hindsight it’s probably not unexpected.”

Judging by Carol McCain’s comments reported earlier this year by People, time doesn’t heal all wounds but it often does ease at least some of the pain.

“A lot of people tried to get me to say bad things about him during that time,” she told the makers of a film on McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “And I was like, ‘Are you crazy? I would never do that, you don’t know me or you wouldn’t ask me.

“I mean, I love the man. I would never do anything to harm him in any way,” she said. “I am very sad that he is going to be leaving us in the next year. It’s heartbreaking. It’s not fair.”

Source: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of John McCain

Complete List: History of John McCain Calling for War Around the World — The Gateway Pundit

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) passed away on Saturday after a year-long battle with cancer.

Senator McCain had a long career of serving his country. He was captured and imprisoned by the North Vietnamese from October 1967 to until his release in March 1973.

John McCain was the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and lost to far left Democrat Barack Obama.

McCain was loved by many and criticized by many others.  The liberal media found a new found love for McCain when his attacks on Donald Trump and his supporters made headlines.

Several Americans objected to his frequent calls for war.

Here is a complete list of John McCain calling for war around the world.

Zero Hedge and GeopoliticsAlert posted this last July.


Senator John McCain in Syria on a fact-finding mission in 2013

The list is of course a history of all the instances McCain has called for US-led intervention around the world. There’s obviously a long history here, so Geopolitics Alert has compiled the largest examples from Europe to Asia. We’ll start with the obvious wars first.

Afghanistan and Iraq
Obviously every US senator (besides California’s Barbara Lee) voted to give president George W. Bush the power to invade Afghanistan following the events of September 11th. However, McCain wasn’t happy with just moving to invade Afghanistan. No, he had other targets on his mind as early as the day after the towers fell.

Despite McCain’s claim in 2014 that “the Iraq war probably wouldn’t have happened” if he had won the 2000 Republican primary and then general election, this assertion seems ridiculous. On September 12th 2001, McCain appeared on MSNBC presenting a long list of countries he felt were providing a “safe harbor” to groups like al Qaeda. This list of course included Iraq and several other countries that appear later on this list.

Syria
Another country on that 2001 list (of course) was Syria. Now, the Bush regime may have never gotten a chance to continue toppling Mideast countries (thanks to the failure in Iraq and the exposure of that war being sold on lies). But McCain seemingly never lost sight of his hatred for Bashar Al-Assad.

Shortly after the Arab Spring “broke out” in Syria, McCain – and his constant partner in war crimes Sen. Lindsey Graham – quickly found communication channels with the “Syrian opposition.” Just a few short months after the US endorsed protests in Syria (even having their ambassador attend), McCain and Graham began calling for arms to start flowing to the Free Syrian Army and other “rebel” groups.

Libya
McCain’s plans for Syria never quite worked the way he wanted but he probably should’ve know they would never yield a positive result. If McCain didn’t want to look at Iraq to prove that point, he had another more recent example he could’ve used: the NATO intervention in Libya.

It was less than a year before McCain wanted to arm Syrian takfiris that he had supported with the bombing and no fly zones in Libya. McCain even wanted tougher actions against the country. Which has now become an anarchic Wild West that’s home to all sorts of horrors from the Islamic State to a new slave trade.

West and Central Africa
McCain is also a champion of the “war on terror” in other parts of Africa. While McCain hasn’t directly supported terrorists in some countries in Africa, he still has called for more US intervention across the continent.

This list includes countries dealing with Islamic insurgencies, such as Mali. McCain has also called for plans like “deploying Special Forces” to rescue girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria and intervention in Sudan, where McCain and his wife have invested money for some time.

Iran
Another country on the list of hated nations originally put forth by Bush undersecretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, and also another long time target of McCain, is of course Iran.

Although McCain has always said “he prays” there will never be at war with Iran, the man constantly calls for it and even jokes about bombing the country when he feels the mood is right. The truth of the matter is, McCain’s positions towards Iran are so hostile that even flagship neoconservative institutions like the Cato Institute think he is too hawkish.

Bosnia and Kosovo
But McCain isn’t satisfied with just backing salafi jihadists in the traditional Middle East and North African theaters. He’s also backed violent radicals across the fringes of Europe. This trend really started in the mid 1990’s when McCain was a vocal supporter of then president Bill Clinton’s war in Bosnia.

Many of the Muslims traveling to Bosnia joining the mujahideen there have joined groups like IS in recent years. And IS flags can occasionally be seen in the Sunni areas of Bosnia now. McCain was still backing potential takfiri movements, recently accusing Russia of interfering in local affairs, and calling for more US intervention in the country.

McCain made similar decisions when he advocated US intervention in Kosovo in the late 90’s. In the Kosovo conflict, McCain backed the Kosovo Liberation Army: a genocidal jihadist organization with ties to Al Qaeda under Osama Bin Laden.

Ukraine
Don’t be fooled into thinking that McCain only supports jihadists in Eastern Europe though! He also backs the overt Nazis acting as death squads for Kiev in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.

This of course started in 2014, but McCain has continued to pledge support for Kiev’s crimes in the Donbass region to this day. This is all par for the course in McCain’s larger theme of challenging Russia– the country he believes controls the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia
The story of McCain’s hatred of Russia spans back to the Cold War. We won’t get into McCain’s fear of communism that’s evolved into just general Russophobia. But we will say he didn’t have many excuses to focus on making threats towards Moscow for a good 15-20 year stretch.

This changed in 2008, with the war in South Ossetia between Georgia and Russia. During this conflict McCain was the loudest voice saying the US “should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation.”

This same situation repeated in Ukraine in 2014 but McCain’s worst comments came this year. As soon as the US Intelligence Community’s accused Russia of interference in the 2016 US elections– and without any evidence– McCain was first to say the event was an “act of war.”

North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK/North Korea) was also an early target of McCain’s making his September 12th wish list. More recently though, the restyled “Trump opponent” McCain was all-in on the new regime’s saber rattling. Calling on Trump to strike the nuclear armed country.

Bonus: China
China is kind of in its own class with McCain, who’s made strange vague threats towards the country in the past. Such as “the Arab spring is coming to China,” whatever that means. China may be a target on the periphery for McCain but he does still encourage antagonizing the country to this day. Calling for things like more “freedom of navigation drills” and other naval exercises in the South China Sea.

via Complete List: History of John McCain Calling for War Around the World — The Gateway Pundit

Pope Francis Knew About McCarrick for Years, And Did Nothing — Zwinglius Redivivus

The Washington Post reports

A former Vatican ambassador to the United States has alleged in an 11-page letter that Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis — among other top Catholic Church officials — had been aware of sexual misconduct allegations against former D.C. archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick years before he resigned this summer.

The letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who was recalled from his D.C. post in 2016 amid allegations that he’d become embroiled in the conservative American fight against same-sex marriage, was first reported by the National Catholic Register and LifeSite News, two conservative Catholic sites. The letter offered no proof, and Viganò on Sunday told The Washington Post he wouldn’t comment further, beyond confirming that he was the letter’s author.

Of course they knew.  They simply did nothing to stop it.  They knew and allowed the behavior to go unpunished.  That’s despicable.  People who know evil is taking place and who do nothing to stop it are themselves evil.

via Pope Francis Knew About McCarrick for Years, And Did Nothing — Zwinglius Redivivus

AUGUST 26 PRAYER—AND GOD’S SPIRIT

We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.

Romans 8:26

Probably none of us really knows as much about prayer as we should—but as students of the Word of God, we may agree that only the Spirit can pray effectively.

The idea has been expressed that “wrestling in prayer” is always a good thing, but that is by no means true. Extreme religious “exercises” may be undergone with no higher motive than to get our own way!

The spiritual quality of a prayer is determined not by its intensity but by its origin. In evaluating prayer we should inquire who is doing the praying—our determined hearts, or the Holy Spirit? If the prayer originates with the Spirit, then the wrestling can be beautiful and wonderful; but if we are the victims of our own overheated desires, our praying can be as carnal as any other act.

Consider Jacob’s wrestling: “A man wrestled with him till daybreak” (see Genesis 32:24). But when Jacob had been beaten upon, he cried, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!” (32:26). That wrestling was of divine origin, and the blessed results are known to every Bible student!

Lord, Your way is the best way. Our way is fraught with selfish intentions. Help me and my family to have pure motives whenever we pray to You.[1]


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

Syria Never Used And Will Not Use Chemical Weapons – Ambassador to Russia

TSKHINVALI (Sputnik) – After a series of unjustified allegations that Syria reportedly kept chemical weapons, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said on Sunday that the state eliminated all of its chemical arsenal in 2013.

Source: Syria Never Used And Will Not Use Chemical Weapons – Ambassador to Russia

BOMBSHELL: Former Vatican Ambassador and Arch-Bishop Accuses Pope Francis of Failing to Act in Bishop McCarrick’s Abuse Case — The Gateway Pundit

The Trump curse continues.

Radical left-wing Pope Francis was accused of covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States made the damning accusations in an 11-page testament that was released this weekend.

Pope Francis has been a frequent critic of US President Donald Trump.

 

Catholic News Agency reported:

Vatican City, Aug 25, 2018 / 07:00 pm (National Catholic Register).- In an 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, wrote that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.

Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor,” claiming that the former archbishop of Washington advised the pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

Archbishop Viganò, who said his “conscience dictates” that the truth be known as “the corruption has reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy,” ended his testimony by calling on Pope Francis and all of those implicated in the cover up of Archbishop McCarrick’s abuse to resign.

On June 20, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on the order of Pope Francis, prohibited former Cardinal McCarrick from public ministry after an investigation by the New York archdiocese found an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor was “credible and substantiated.” That same day, the public learned that the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey had received three accusations of sexual misconduct involving adults against McCarrick. Since then media reports have written of victims of the abuse, spanning decades, include a teenage boy, three young priests or seminarians, and a man now in his 60s who alleges McCarrick abused him from the age of 11. The pope later accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals.

More at the National Catholic Register.

via BOMBSHELL: Former Vatican Ambassador and Arch-Bishop Accuses Pope Francis of Failing to Act in Bishop McCarrick’s Abuse Case — The Gateway Pundit

Former Vatican Official Accuses Pope Francis of Knowingly Reinstating Abusive Cardinal

In a bombshell report, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States has accused Pope Francis of reinstating Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to a position of prominence despite knowing of McCarrick’s sexual abuse of priests, seminarians, and laypeople, including minors.

Source: Former Vatican Official Accuses Pope Francis of Knowingly Reinstating Abusive Cardinal

A CORRUPTED ACT: Bruce Ohr Is the Linchpin Of The Steele Dossier Controversy And It Reveals How DOJ/Jeff Sessions Is Ignoring Criminal Corruption

Thanks Jeff Sessions for not being ‘improperly influenced by political considerations.’ It seems he is okay that Robert Mueller is undermining President Trump, but refuse to hold other accountable for their corruptible act. The swamp runs deep and they only protect their own. Judicial Watch Director of Investigations Chris Farrell says Bruce Ohr’s abused his position by attempting to steer a U.S. election and profit from it.

Source: A CORRUPTED ACT: Bruce Ohr Is the Linchpin Of The Steele Dossier Controversy And It Reveals How DOJ/Jeff Sessions Is Ignoring Criminal Corruption

Russia Sends Warships to Syrian Shores as US Suspected of Preparing Strike

The Russian Defense Ministry warned that militants in Idlib may be preparing to stage a chemical weapons attack against the local civilian population and thus create a pretext for a US strike.

Source: Russia Sends Warships to Syrian Shores as US Suspected of Preparing Strike

The New Obama: Don’t Say You Were Not Warned

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Do you remember the keynote speaker at the DNC in 2004? If you don’t, let me tell you about him.  He came onto the stage after years of being groomed by George Soros. He was picked by the Left to be their “champion” of Hope and Change.  I guess that gave it away.

The keynote speaker at the DNC that year was Barack Hussein Obama. Even my sons, who had never been interested in politics, were mesmerised by this man. His speech launched him as the darling of the Dems, and he would go on to serve as president of the U.S. for 8 years.

And he would nearly destroy our country.

This was not from incompetence – it was a deliberate attempt to destroy us, born out of hatred for America and Capitalism.  President Trump is attempting to clean up the massive mess left to him by Obama.

Enter…

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August 26, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Worry Is Unreasonable Because of Our Faith

Do not be anxious then, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “With what shall we clothe ourselves?” For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. (6:31–33)

Worry is inconsistent with our faith in God and is therefore unreasonable as well as sinful. Worry is characteristic of unbelief. Ethnoi (Gentiles) literally means simply “peoples,” or “a multitude.” In the plural form, as here, it usually referred to non-Jews, that is, to Gentiles and, by extension, to unbelievers or pagans. Worrying about what to eat, drink, and clothe themselves with are things the Gentiles eagerly seek. Those who have no hope in God naturally put their hope and expectations in things they can enjoy now. They have nothing to live for but the present, and their materialism is perfectly consistent with their religion. They have no God to supply their physical or their spiritual needs, their present or their eternal needs, so anything they get they must get for themselves. They are ignorant of God’s supply and have no claim on it. No heavenly Father cares for them, so there is reason to worry.

The gods of the Gentiles were man-made gods inspired by Satan. They were gods of fear, dread, and appeasement who demanded much, promised little, and provided nothing. It was natural that those who served such gods would eagerly seek whatever satisfactions and pleasures they could while they could. Their philosophy is still popular in our own day among those who are determined to grab all the gusto they can get. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” is an understandable outlook for those who have no hope in the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:32).

But that is a completely foolish and unreasonable philosophy for those who do have hope in the resurrection, for those whose heavenly Father knows that [they] need all these things. To worry about our physical welfare and our clothing is the mark of a worldly mind, whether Christian or not. When we think like the world and crave like the world, we will worry like the world, because a mind that is not centered on God is a mind that has cause to worry. The faithful, trusting, and reasonable Christian is “anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [lets his] requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). He refuses in anyway to “be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

Within this series of rebukes Jesus gives a positive command coupled with a beautiful promise: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. The cause of worry is seeking the things of this world, and the cause of contentment is seeking the things of God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

De is primarily a conjunction of contrast, for which but is a good rendering. In the present context it carries the idea of “rather,” or “instead of.” “Rather than seeking and worrying about food, drink, and clothing like unbelievers do,” Jesus says, “focus your attention and hopes on the things of the Lord and He will take care of all your needs.”

Out of all the options that we have, out of all the things we can seek for and be occupied with, we are to seek first the things of the One to whom we belong. That is the Christian’s priority of priorities, a divine priority composed of two parts: God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.

As we have seen in the discussion of the Disciples’ Prayer (6:10), basileia (kingdom) does not refer to a geographical territory but to a dominion or rule. God’s kingdom is God’s sovereign rule, and therefore to seek first His kingdom is to seek first His rule, His will and His authority.

Seeking God’s kingdom is losing ourselves in obedience to the Lord to the extent that we can say with Paul, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). To seek first God’s kingdom is to pour out our lives in the eternal work of our heavenly Father.

To seek God’s kingdom is seek to win people into that kingdom, that they might be saved and God might be glorified. It is to have our heavenly Father’s own truth, love, and righteousness manifest in our lives, and to have “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). We also seek God’s kingdom when we yearn for the return of the King in His millennial glory to establish His kingdom on earth and usher in His eternal kingdom.

We are also to seek … His righteousness. Instead of longing after the things of this world, we are to hunger and thirst for the things of the world to come, which are characterized above all else by God’s perfect righteousness and holiness. It is more than longing for something ethereal and future; it is also longing for something present and practical. We not only are to have heavenly expectations but holy lives (see Col. 3:2–3). “Since all these things [the earth and its works, v. 10] are to be destroyed in this way,” Peter says, “what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet. 3:11).[1]


33 In view of vv. 31–32, this verse makes it clear that Jesus’ disciples are not simply to refrain from the pursuit of temporal things as their primary goal in order to differentiate themselves from pagans; instead, they are to replace such pursuits with goals of far greater significance. To seek first the kingdom (“of God” in some MSS) is to desire above all to enter into, submit to, and participate in spreading the news of the saving reign of God, the messianic kingdom already inaugurated by Jesus, and to live so as to store up treasures in heaven in the prospect of the kingdom’s consummation. It is to pursue the things already prayed for in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer (vv. 9–10).

To seek God’s righteousness is not, in this context, to seek justification (contra Filson, McNeile). “Righteousness” must be interpreted as in 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1. It is to pursue righteousness of life in full submission to the will of God, as prescribed by Jesus throughout this discourse (cf. Przybylski, Righteousness in Matthew, 89–91). Such righteousness will lead to persecution by some (5:10), but others will themselves become disciples and praise the Father in heaven (5:16). Such goals alone are worthy of one’s wholehearted allegiance. For any other concern to dominate one’s mind is to stoop to pagan fretting. “In the end, just as there are only two kinds of piety, the self-centered and the God-centered, so there are only two kinds of ambition: one can be ambitious either for oneself or for God. There is no third alternative” (Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 172). Within such a framework of commitment, Jesus’ disciples are assured that all the necessary things will be given to them by their heavenly Father (see comments at 5:45; 6:9), who demonstrates his faithfulness by his care even for the birds and his concern even for the grass.[2]


6:31–33. With these three verses, having illustrated and supported his theme, Jesus built his climax. In verse 32, he made two more points about anxiety. First, it was downright pagan; anxiety was the attitude of those who were not a part of God’s kingdom. Second, it was totally unnecessary to worry about what to eat or drink or wear, because your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

If our life is not to be preoccupied with fretting over basic needs, what is our concern to be? The answer is, his kingdom and his righteousness. Those two terms are almost synonymous. God’s kingdom means his sovereign rule in heaven and on earth, most particularly in and through the life of the individual believer. To seek his kingdom is to seek to ensure that his righteousness is done in heaven, on earth, and, most particularly, in and through our lives.

We are to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. Everything starts here. This is to be our consuming priority. So it is important to remind ourselves of some basic kingdom realities. How does a person find God’s righteousness that characterizes his kingdom? Jesus started his sermon by pointing out our utter spiritual bankruptcy. We have no righteousness of our own. Even our best attitudes and actions do not procure it. Righteousness comes as a merciful gift, grace through faith (Eph. 2:4–10).

The first reference to righteousness that we find in Scripture is Genesis 15:6. Abraham knew how a person received grace, and the apostle Paul confirmed it (Rom. 4:2–25). The New Testament makes it clear that the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22–24). That is the only way we may enter into God’s kingdom. Jesus clarified this issue for Nicodemus (John 3:3). We cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are “born again.”

So everything begins with our seeking his kingdom and righteousness. In fact, we are to keep on seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness. But we are not to seek in the sense of looking for something hidden. Rather, we are to look for every opportunity to expand more fully his already established rule in our lives and in our world, in anticipation of the day when believers will reign with him (Matt. 19:27–29; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26–27; 3:21) when he establishes his kingdom fully on this earth.

Notice how this passage (6:25–34), which seemed to be taking us in a new direction, actually returns us to the theme of 6:19–24—that we are not to allow anything to distract us from total devotion to God and his kingdom. This is the one priority we must embrace. Money and other concerns can distract us.

Three times in verses 32 and 33, we find the phrase all these things. We might imagine Jesus using it somewhat disparagingly. This was not to belittle the importance of basic necessities, but to place them at the back of the mind of his disciples, far behind his kingdom and righteousness in importance. “All these things” are what pagans (and the Pharisees) scrambled after. “All these things” are thoroughly known by the Father. “All these things” will fall into place when we put God’s kingdom and righteousness in its proper place and serve the kingdom’s interests.[3]


A climactic positive command reinforces the lesson that one should place his trust entirely in the heavenly Father: 33. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be granted to you as an extra gift. Over against the Gentiles, who crave food, drink, garments, etc., Christ’s followers are urged to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. The verb seek implies a being absorbed in the search for, a persevering and strenuous effort to obtain (cf. 13:45). The form of the verb that is used also allows the rendering, “Be constantly seeking” (cf. Col. 3:1). Note: seek first; that is, give God the priority that is his due (2 Cor. 4:18).

The object of this seeking is “his kingdom and his righteousness.” The listeners are exhorted, therefore, to acknowledge God as King in their own hearts and lives, and to do all in their power to have him recognized as King also in the hearts and lives of others, and in every sphere: education, government, commerce, industry, science, etc. For the concept “kingdom of heaven” see pp. 249, 250. It stands to reason that when God is recognized as King, righteousness will prevail. For this concept see pp. 274, 317. These two (kingdom and righteousness) go together. In fact, “the kingdom of God is [means, implies] righteousness” (Rom. 14:17), a righteousness both imputed to men and imparted to them, both of legal standing and of ethical conduct.

Now it is true that the kingdom and its righteousness are gifts, graciously bestowed. They are his kingdom and his righteousness. They are, however, also objects of continuing, diligent search; of ceaseless, strenuous effort to obtain. These two are not contradictory. An example from nature will clarify this. Of itself a tree has no power to maintain itself. Its roots are, as it were, empty hands stretched out to the environment. It is dependent on the sun, the air, the clouds, and the soil. It does not even have the strength to absorb the nourishment it requires. The sun is the source of its energy. But does this mean that the tree is therefore inactive? Not at all. Its roots and leaves, though completely receptive, are enormously active. For example, it has been estimated that the amount of work performed by a certain large tree in a single day to raise water and minerals from the soil to the leaves was equal to the amount of energy expended by a person who carried three hundred buckets full of water, two at a time, up a ten-foot flight of stairs. The leaves, too, are virtual factories. They, too, are tremendously active.

The same holds also with respect to the citizens of the kingdom. They receive the kingdom as a gift. Yet, after the new principle of life has been received, the recipients become very active. They work very hard, not by means of anything in themselves but by the power that is being constantly supplied to them by the Lord’s Spirit. They “work out their own salvation,” and are able to do this because “it is God who works in them both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12, 13. See also Matt. 7:13; cf. Luke 13:24; 16:16b). They trust in God’s promises, pray, spread the message of salvation, and out of gratitude perform good works to benefit men and to glorify God.

The reward of grace: “all these things will be granted to you as an extra gift.” While they are concentrating their attention on the kingdom and its righteousness, God’s gift to them, their heavenly Father sees to it that they have food, drink, and clothing. For further elucidation see 1 Kings 3:10–14; Mark 10:29, 30; and 1 Tim. 4:8.[4]


6:33. The kingdom includes both a future cataclysmic coming and present effects (see the commentary on Mt 13). To seek first His kingdom involves not only being prepared for its future coming but also incarnating its values and glorifying its King in the present time. His righteousness (see 6:1) surely includes what He demands of His children ethically (see the connection of kingdom and ethical righteousness in Rm 14:17). All these things include the basic essentials of life. There is no guarantee that God provides luxury items when people claim them or visualize their reception. The main point of 6:33 is that God so demands His people’s undivided attention that He promises to provide their necessities so that they will not worry about them and can fully concentrate on Him.[5]


6:33 The Lord, therefore, makes a covenant with His followers. He says, in effect, “If you will put God’s interests first in your life, I will guarantee your future needs. If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then I will see that you never lack the necessities of life.”[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 425–427). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 217). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, pp. 88–89). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 354–355). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Vanlaningham, M. G. (2014). Matthew. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 1464). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1227). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

August 26 Right Knowledge of Jesus

Two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”—Matt. 9:27

That the blind men called Jesus the “Son of David” means they recognized Him as the Christ. Son of David was one of the most common Jewish titles for Messiah. It was also a royal title indicating that Messiah would come from the family of King David and have a right to rule over the promised divine kingdom.

God first promised that the Deliverer for His people would be a man, the seed of a woman (cf. Gen. 3:15). Later in the Old Testament, the prophet Nathan firmly establishes the extraordinary person and work of the Son of David (2 Sam. 12–14a, 16; cf. Gen. 12:3; 21:12; 49:10). The New Testament reaffirms this great truth at the angel’s Nativity announcement: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:32–33; cf. vv. 68–69; 2:4).

The reality and knowledge of Jesus’ true identity stands out most vividly during His triumphal entry when the people laid branches and garments before Him and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 21:9).

Thus all the onlookers who heard the blind men call Jesus “Son of David” knew it was a clear confession of His messiahship. And the men’s affirmation accompanied their desire for personal deliverance. Genuine salvation is available to all who have a similar right knowledge of Him.

ASK YOURSELF

Think of the names you use to refer to Christ—Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Friend. Spend a few minutes thinking through what these terms actually mean. When you speak of Him by these names in prayer, let the weight of their glory fill your words with depth and texture.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 247). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

AUGUST 26 WE SETTLE FOR WORDS: DEEDS ARE TOO COSTLY

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 JOHN 3:18

The practice of substituting words for deeds is not something new, for the Apostle John saw it in his day and warned against it.

James also had something to say about the vice of words without deeds: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

We settle for words in religion because deeds are too costly. It is easier to pray, “Lord, help me to carry my cross daily” than to pick up the cross and carry it. But since the mere request for help to do something we do not actually intend to do has a certain degree of religious comfort, we are content with repetition of the words. What then? Shall we take a vow of silence? Shall we cease to pray and sing and write and witness until we catch up on our deeds?

I say no, that would not help. While we have breath we must speak to men about God and to God about men. To escape this snare of words without deeds, let us say nothing we do not mean. Break the habit of conventional religious chatter. Speak only as we are ready to take the consequences. Believe God’s promises and obey God’s commandments. Practice the truth so that we may with propriety speak the truth. Deeds give body to words. As we do acts of power our words will take on authority and a new sense of reality will fill our hearts![1]


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

Survey Reveals Lack of Trust in National Press – NRB.org

A recent survey released by the Poynter Institute should give pause to members of the media. A large portion of Americans distrust national press, and a significant group thinks the media has a tendency to fabricate stories.
— Read on nrb.org/news-room/articles/ft/survey-reveals-lack-trust-national-press/

Gallup: A 1st: Dems favor socialism over capitalism

Democrats now view socialism more favorably than capitalism, according to a recent Gallup Poll, marking the first time over the past decade that the blue party has preferred the failed political/economic system over private ownership.
— Read on www.onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2018/08/26/gallup-a-1st-dems-favor-socialism-over-capitalism

A Perfect Storm Threatens America’s Survival

It’s said that just because you’re paranoid, that doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you.  There have been constant serious threats to our country since our founding in 1776, starting with the British through the early 19th century and the Nazis, Imperial Japan, and nuclear-armed Soviets in the 20th century.  Those were primarily external threats.

Today, our civilization is in more danger than ever.  While there are still external challenges, the most serious threats are increasingly internal.  Individually, each is troubling but not necessarily fatal.  Blended together, like adding glycerol to concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids to form nitroglycerin, we have to ask, is America facing a Perfect Storm?
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/08/a_perfect_storm_threatens_americas_survival.html

August 26 The Solid Foundation

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24

The wise person will build his life on the rock. The rock that Jesus is referring to in today’s verse is God’s Word, the Bible. Building on the rock is therefore equivalent to hearing and obeying Christ’s words, and for us that means living according to Scripture.

After Peter confessed, “‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,’” our Lord told him, “‘…flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church’” (Matt. 16:16–18). Jesus’ word for “rock” in this verse is the same one He used in Matthew 7:24. It is the bedrock of God’s revelation, His Word. The rock of the solid foundation is the kind of sure, divine guidance Peter received, and it is the only base on which the true Christian life can rest.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 259). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.