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