Daily Archives: November 2, 2018

Abortion debate: a secular case against legalized abortion

WINTERY KNIGHT

Note: this post has a twin! Its companion post on a secular case against gay marriage is here.

Now, you may think that the view that the unborn deserve protection during pregnancy is something that you either take on faith or not. But I want to explain how you can make a case for the right to life of the unborn, just by using reason and evidence.

To defend the pro-life position, I think you need to sustain 3 arguments:

  1. The unborn is a living being with human DNA, and is therefore human.
  2. There is no morally-relevant difference between an unborn baby, and one already born.
  3. None of the justifications given for terminating an unborn baby are morally adequate.

Now, the pro-abortion debater may object to point 1, perhaps by claiming that the unborn baby is either not living, or not human, or not distinct from the mother.

Defending point…

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November 2 Proving You Are Wise

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.”

James 3:13

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Divine wisdom produces a changed life.

The one who possesses godly wisdom will show it in his life. That’s why James says, “Let him show by his good behavior his deeds” (3:13, emphasis added). The phrase “let him show” is a command to demonstrate one’s wisdom and understanding. That is the thrust of James 2:14–26, summarized in verse 26: “Faith without works is dead.” A person’s claim to have faith will be validated by his works. Similarly, James is saying that if you claim to be wise, you need to demonstrate it. From God’s perspective, wisdom is made manifest by the way a person conducts his life.

How will a person show he has true wisdom? By his “good behavior” (3:13). The Greek word translated “good” means “lovely,” “beautiful,” “attractive,” “noble,” or “excellent.” The term translated “behavior” speaks of one’s lifestyle or activity. If a person truly has divine wisdom and living faith, he will show it by his good conduct and excellent lifestyle.

James becomes specific when he says, “Let him show by his good behavior his deeds” (v. 13, emphasis added). He is focusing on the details. The wisdom of God alters not only your general conduct, but also what you do specifically. Every act within a person’s life is consistent with how he conducts his entire life. If it’s a life based on the wisdom of God, each aspect of his life will reveal that. The general pattern of his life and the specific things he does will reflect the work, the way, and the will of God. Take time to examine your life and see whether your conduct proves that you possess the true wisdom of God.

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Suggestions for Prayer: A wise person will manifest good behavior. Read Psalm 119:33–40, making the prayer of the psalmist your own.

For Further Study: Your conduct will reveal whether you’re living wisely. What do the following verses say about how you should live: Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12; and 2 Peter 3:11?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Muhammad’s Bloody Creed | Frontpage Mag

Robert Spencer’s new magisterial work reveals Jihad as a holy war to convert the world.

Reprinted from Quadrant Online.

Once upon a time in a primitive land of polytheist idolaters far, far away, an egomaniac zealot with high ambitions hit on a bright idea.  On learning of the ancient Jewish prophecy of a Messiah, and the newish Christian communities’ worship of Jesus as the “Chosen One”,  he decided to nominate himself  as the latest in the line – the  Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets.  If the Angel Gabriel could give the name ‘Jesus’ to Mary, why couldn’t Gabriel be recruited to authenticate Muhammad’s pronouncements?

The polytheists who worshipped 360 idols in the Ka’aba of Mecca thought this was fake news and made life difficult for the would-be prophet-poet. In thirteen years he attracted only 150 followers.  So he decamped to another town. The Jews of Medina first welcomed him as a protector, but after they heard his story about travelling to Jerusalem and then to Paradise on a winged white horse with a human head, and questioned him on religion, they declared him a phony. Muhammad decided a new business model was needed: conversion by the sword. Beginning as a highwayman raiding passing caravans, he invented a unique rallying cry: “Allahu Akbar!” (My) God is the Greatest!  The shout inspired his followers to kill, loot and enslave. It continues to terrify the world 1400 years. later.

I have paraphrased and simplified a complicated and disputed history of the origins of the most powerful movement the world has seen. Nobody can be certain of these events because the first account, by Ibn Ashaq, relying on hearsay and legend, was not set down until a hundred years later. But what is clear from Islam’s texts is that Muhammad set himself up as spokesman for Allah and, therefore, gatekeeper to hell and paradise. What sets Islam apart from Western notions of warfare, and the horrific excesses of the most brutal dictatorships (which it resembles), is that holy war is a central tenet, waged essentially for spiritual reward. Often seemingly irrationally. But before his death Muhammad could claim: “I have been made victorious with terror.”

That is the important message in Robert Spencer’s new book, The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS. Heavily documented but eminently readable, its magisterial sweep reveals Jihad as a holy war to convert the world, or at least compel non-believers into submission. From the Battle of Badr in 624 to the latest suicide bombing or vehicle ram-raid, there has been a continuum of atrocities with a single purpose. The immense extent of the horrors of jihad are largely unknown, or have been forgotten. For too many, especially those in authority, they have been conveniently ignored, as they welcome millions of migrants into their midst.

Spencer’s 16 books on Islam, his speeches, broadcasts and pamphlets have made him a controversial figure in the United States. He has been attacked as Islamophobic and banned from entry to Britain by Prime Minister May as a presence “not conducive to the public good.”  A descendant of a Christian family forced to flee from an area now part of Turkey, for the last fifteen years Spencer has published a blog Jihad Watch, which daily records and updates attacks by Muslims around the world. He is also closely associated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative think tank opposing the political left in the US.

Spencer’s thesis is simple – there are elements within Islam that pose a challenge to free societies. He cites chapter and verse from Islam’s own scriptures to support his assertions.  But importantly, he does not say that  every individual Muslim responds to the challenge to wage jihad. His message is more subtle: the Islamic imperative for Jihad remains, whether or not any Muslim individual decides to take it up. He condemns the refusal to recognise this in his final chapter entitled: “The West Loses the Will to Live.”

He cites as evidence the bizarre assertions of Western leaders that Islam is simply the “religion of peace”. After the 9/11 hijackers had done to the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon exactly as Islam had always taught, President Bush declared: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” Barack Obama, his successor, went further when visiting Cairo in 2009: “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed…Partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.” Most extreme in his stupidity, in Spencer’s view, was Pope Francis in 2013: “…authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Qur’an are opposed to every form of violence.” These fantasy views of Islam lead to calls for “respect” instead of reform. They result in the demonisation of people with real life experience of the problems Islam inflicts on the societies where it takes root — people such as Geert Wilders, apostate Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

In ten chapters, sourced at every relevant step from Islam’s own texts, he explains that Jihadists have always been candid about their reason for waging war – to subjugate infidels under the rule of Islam. Spencer starts with the 27 battles Muhammad waged from Medina, (many against his own tribe, the Quraysh), showing how conveniently Allah’s claimed pronouncements provided authority for his actions, and then became holy writ. Piety, not military might won battles, he said: “Victory is not except from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Qur’an 3:123-126).

When his forces lost the Battle of Uhud, it was not Allah’s defeat, but the result of the Muslim’s failure of courage and lust for the things of this world. “Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter. Then he turned you back from them that He might test you.” (Qur’an 3:152).

In fact, like marauding armies throughout history, the warriors who waged jihad for Muhammad were essentially mercenaries. They fought for the booty, the treasure and especially the women they could acquire as sex slaves. As always the commander had first choice, and the defeated combatants were usually slaughtered. (The Prophet said, “The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty or will be admitted to Paradise. (Bukhari Vol. 1 Book 2  Nr 35).

After subduing Arabia, Muhammad set out to take Jihad to what are now Iraq, Syria, the Byzantines and Persians. From the first raids on the Byzantine empire, he encountered significant populations of Jews and Christians. Spencer explains that from this point Muhammad declared that Jews and Christians were entitled to special consideration as ‘People of the Book’.  They had three choices: convert to Islam, submit to Islamic rule and pay the special poll tax jizya, (They must pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued: Qur’an 9:38-39) or be slaughtered. The jizyabecame a form of Mafia protection racket which then financed Islam’s further expansion.

After Muhamad’s death the Arab armies swept out of Arabia with immense force and embarked on a series of conquests unparalleled in human history for their rapidity and scope.  Spencer’s history records the years from 632 to 661 as the Golden Age, according to Muslim scholars. The jihad gave them almost all of Syria, entry to Jerusalem, Armenia, Cyprus and Egypt.

After a rapid subjugation of the former Roman colonies of northern Africa, the eighth century saw the launch of Muslim forces under a freed Berber slave, Tariq ibn Ziyad, across the strait to Gibraltar (Derivation: the mountain of Tariq) to confront the Visigoth rule in the Iberian peninsula. To focus his troops on conquest, he ordered all their boats to be burned.

I  first came to understand the myth of an idyllic multi-cultural,  tolerant society in the Moors’ occupation of Spain by reading the sacred texts recorded in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. This anthology of primary sources by Andrew Bostom traced the systemic Jewish dhimmitude under the Ottomans, and the Qur’an-sanctioned oppression ever since. So it was no surprise to find Spencer debunking the myth of  multicultural convivencia in al-Andalusia, where Jews and Christians supposedly lived in mutually beneficial harmony with their Muslim overlords. Again, the jizya was the basis for subjugation. The occupation was swift, penetrating and brutal.

We don’t need to take Spencer’s word. Professor Dario Fernandez-Morera of Northwest University had already detailed the reality in his Myth of the Andalusian Paradise. Spain, he explained, was a violent society, of religious and cultural repression.  Internecine conflict raged between the Umayyad caliphs and the Abbassids, and later the Berber Almoravids of Morocco. A Christian army that opposed this last invasion was routed; the Muslims beheaded the corpses of their enemies and arranged the heads into piles. The muezzins then climbed on top of the piles of heads to call the Muslims to prayer.

Even when Jews and Christians were not facing active persecution, as dhimmis (subsidiary citizens) they could be lawfully killed or sold into slavery under the Sharia. “Satan has gained the mastery over them, and caused them to forget God’s Remembrance. Those are Satan’s party; why, Satan’s party, surely they are the losers.” (Qur’an 58:20). The world tends to forget that France and the rest of Europe were saved from invasion in the Spanish jihad of 732 only by Charles Martel’s victory at the Battle of Tours. The same year, 711, that Tariq ibn Ziyad invaded Spain, the Islamic governor of Iraq sent a force into Sindh, now part of Pakistan. It was the start of the jihad conquest of India that lasted, intermittently for the next seven centuries, and has been largely overlooked by Western historians.  It took tens, if not hundreds of millions of lives.

The Hindus, Jains and Buddhists the general Muhammad ibn Qasim encountered in Hindustan were not ‘People of the Book’, so no jizya could be demanded from them. Their choice was to convert to Islam, or face the sword of Islam. Hindu temples were considered centres of idolatry; thousands were destroyed. Revered idols of gold and precious stones were smashed and plundered. Spencer explains the viciousness of the invasion with the story of the punishment of ibn Qasim himself, despite his victories. When he sent the daughters of the king of Sindh as a gift of sex slaves to the Iraqi governor, one of the girls defended herself by saying she had already been raped by ibn Qasim. Enraged at being sent second-hand goods, he ordered the general to be shipped home in a rawhide sack. When he arrived, he was already dead.

The occupation of India was renewed in successive jihads – in the tenth, twelfth and fourteenth centuries. These included the seventeen large-scale jihad incursions into the Subcontinent by Mahmud of Ghazni. Over thirty years in the tenth century he converted thousands of temples into mosques. He met resistance when trying to subdue Gujarat, and 50,000 were killed. An account by an Islamic historian of Ghazni’s attack on Thanessar in Hindustan  described the blood of the infidels as flowing so copiously that the stream was discoloured and people were unable to drink from it. The jihad in India continued under Muhammad Ghori, Qutbuddin Aibak, Shamsuddin Iltutmish and Jalaluddin Khalji, each responsible for tens of thousands slaughtered or sold into slavery.

There was one benefit only for civilization from the successive jihads in India. Hindu mathematicians had been the first to numeralise the zero, a concept the Arabs adopted, leading to the revolutionary numeral system 0-9, we know as Arabic, the foundation of modern mathematics.

As the jihad pressed into Europe -, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Croatia – it became inevitably the turn of Constantinople, the eastern pillar of Christendom.  In 1339, the Byzantine emperor Andronicus III appealed to Pope Benedict XII to heal the schism between the churches, and help organize a crusade against the approaching Ottomans. His appeal was rejected. Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453.

Spencer draws a bitter comparison between that suicidal lack of resolve and modern refusal to recognise the threat of Islam: “Not until the days of Pope Francis would the See of Rome have an occupant more useful to the jihad force than Benedict XII”, he writes.

There are some surprises in the book. Suleiman the Magnificent’s failed siege of Vienna in 1529 is well known, but less mentioned in many histories is the subsequent attempt on the city by Mehmet IV. This ended in a crushing defeat by a Polish army led by Jan Sobieski in 1683 which led to the retreat of the Ottomans from the Balkans. A bigger surprise was the extent of the ravaging by the Barbary Pirates. A terrorist maritime force in the Mediterranean from their base in Libya, they even plundered the southern coasts of England, in the 17th century, burning ships and capturing hundreds of villagers for the African slave trade.

When the pirates attacked American trading ships, Thomas Jefferson’s protests received this response from  Tripoli’s ambassador to London:

“Tripoli was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, and written in their Qur’an, that all nations who should not have answered [Islamic] authority were sinners, that it was the Muslim right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Muslim who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

The world jihad declined in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Spencer explains that 1856 was a major turning point when the British and French governments agreed to help the Ottoman empire against Russia only if it abolished the dhimma, the so-called contract of protection for Jews and Christians. But they were still not equal citizens; even today there is no Muslim-majority country in which all faiths have equal rights.

In modern history, the jihad has alternatively ebbed and raged. Spencer enumerates: The Armenian genocide; the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 (“Fight them until there is no fitnah(sedition) and worship is for Allah” : Qur’an 2:193); the Saudi embrace of Wahabism and their financing of mosques and madrassas all over the world; the PLO and attacks on the Jewish state (“Drive them out from where they drove you out”: Qur’an 2.191); the Iranian revolution (Ruhollah Khomeini: “Islam’s Holy War is a struggle against idolatry, sexual deviation, plunder, repression and cruelty…But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Island wants to conquer the whole world.”); Osama Bin Laden’s al-Quaeda (The Base); the Chechnya jihad against Russia; the September 11, 2001 attacks, and finally “The Promise of Allah”, the audacious attempt from 2014 to 2017 to restore the caliphate – The Islamic State.

After each reverse, Islam has found new means to continue the Jihad. The 30,000 foreign fighters from a hundred countries  who had joined the caliphate in Iraq and Syria, returned home to individualise the struggle. Massacres and atrocities flourished all over the West, followed by candlelight prayer vigils and flower carpets as politicians blamed unspecified “terrorists” and appeased immigrants.

The response to this epic expose of Islam’s great game plan to conquer the world for sharia was to denounce Robert Spencer as an Islamophobe and his book as ‘hate speech’. The radical left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center in the U.S. pressured Visa and Mastercard to block all donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and to cut off Spencer’s fund-raising. There were attempts by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to stop Amazon selling his book. But that’s quite tame compared with the Brotherhood’s global objective. As Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood’s candidate in the Egyptian presidential campaign of 2012, declared:

“The Qur’an is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in the name of Allah is our goal …”

Spencer’s history demonstrates why the recurring terrorist atrocities in Western cities perpetrated by Muslims should not be dismissed as mere “lone wolf” attacks by deranged individuals.  Individual efforts they may be, but they are explicit responses to Islam’s militant missionary movement – its age-old call for jihad against the kafirs (unbelievers). As for the so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims who make up the bulk of that group in Western societies, they are either ignorant, apathetic or complacently breeding, while waiting for their militant brothers to make the running. Brothers like  Hamza Abbas, one of the quartet allegedly planning the Christmas 2016 attack in Melbourne: “I have pledged my allegiance to ISIS. I do want to destroy your nation.”

In the 700 years since the Ottoman empire threatened Constantinople, nothing has changed except the willingness of western leaders to recognise the threat Islam poses to their societies. In the 1390s, Roman Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus responded thus to Muslim scholars anxious to convert him to Islam:

“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Peace, in Islamic terms, comes only with submission.

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Geoffrey Luck was an ABC journalist for 26 years.
— Read on www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/271826/muhammads-bloody-creed-geoffrey-luck

After 17 years of war, top US commander in Afghanistan admits Taliban cannot be defeated

The Afghanistan war cannot be won militarily and peace will only be achieved through a political resolution with the Taliban, the newly-appointed American general in charge of US and NATO operations has conceded. 
— Read on www.rt.com/usa/442939-miller-afghanistan-war-lost-taliban/amp/

November 2 The Hope That Assures

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1).

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Faith is the solid ground on which we stand as we await the fulfillment of God’s promises.

An elderly man, on his seventy-fifth birthday, received an invitation to fly over the little West Virginia town in which he had spent his entire life. Although he had never before flown, the man accepted the gracious offer.

After circling the town for about twenty minutes, the pilot safely returned his passenger to the ground. The man’s grandson greeted him excitedly, asking, “Were you scared, Grandpa?” “No,” he replied sheepishly, “but I never did put my full weight down.”

Unlike that hesitant grandfather, true faith trusts fully in its object. For the Christian, that means resting in God and His promises. That’s the primary characteristic of each faithful individual listed in Hebrews 11. They all believed God and responded accordingly.

People often confuse faith with a wistful longing that something, however unlikely, will come to pass in the future. But “assurance” in Hebrews 11:1 speaks of essence and reality—the real thing as opposed to mere appearance. Faith, then, involves absolute certainty.

For example, the Old Testament saints had the promise of a coming Messiah who would take away sin. They believed God, even though their understanding of Messiah was incomplete and somewhat vague. They knew their hopes would be fulfilled, and that assurance dominated their lives.

It’s the same for New Testament believers. Peter said, “Though you have not seen [Christ], you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8–9).

Man’s natural tendency is to trust only in the things he can see, hear, touch, or taste. But our physical senses may lie, whereas God cannot (Titus 1:2). It is far better to believe God and to trust in His promises.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Which promises of God are especially meaningful to you today? Thank Him for them, and reaffirm your commitment to living on the basis of His Word.

For Further Study: Skim Hebrews 11, and note all the divine promises you find there. To gain a fuller understanding of each one, find other Scripture references that mention the same promises.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 319). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

4 Ways We’re Getting Women’s Discipleship Wrong, and How We Can Get it Right!

Michelle Lesley

In the days leading up to Wednesday’s observance of Reformation Day, I directed your attention, in part, to the brave and godly women who played a part in the Protestant Reformation. A few days ago, I shared this post on my Facebook page…

…and asked:

Is the women’s Bible study you’re attending preparing you for something like this?

Of course, when I say, “something like this,” I don’t mean only being executed for your faith. I mean something hard. Life-shattering. Devastating. The loss of your spouse. A stillbirth. Your adult child choosing the prodigal life. A terminal diagnosis. Losing your business or your job because you won’t compromise on Scripture.

And it isn’t just the big, life-altering things, either. What about “smaller” issues like humility, serving without resentment, gratitude, glorifying God instead of self, submitting to your husband, patience, and prioritizing your time in a godly way? What…

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Friday Briefing Nov 2, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Download MP3

As Americans face electoral Rorschach test, both political parties seek to address big questions in Tuesday’s election

Why American voters generally, and Democrats specifically, are more interested in presidential elections than midterm elections

The unavoidable human equation: When casting a ballot, are we voting for personality, character, or ideas?
— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/11/02/briefing-11-2-18/

Does John 3:16 teach that anyone can be saved?

The End Time

RC Sproul often spoke in defense of the Doctrines of Grace when someone challenged them by quoting John 3:16. Here is one of his responses over the years to that challenge:

By RC Sproul
From “Knowing Scripture

“The principle of literal interpretation gives us another rule, namely that the Bible in one sense is to be read like any other book. Though the Bible is not like any other book in that it carries with it the authority of divine inspiration, nevertheless, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over a written text does not turn verbs into nouns or nouns into verbs. No special, secret, arcane, esoteric meaning is poured into a text simply because it’s divinely inspired. Nor is there any such mystical ability we call “Holy Ghost Greek.” No, the Bible is to be interpreted according to the ordinary rules of language.”

“Closely related to this…

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White Helmets’ Incitement: Last Chance for Allied Intervention in Syria – Author – Sputnik International

The White Helmets members are preparing new provocations with chemical weapons in Syria offering local residents to participate in filming staged attacks in exchange for food, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said on October 31.
— Read on sputniknews.com/amp/analysis/201811021069442269-syria-white-helmets-provocation/

Peter Schiff: The Truth Is We Don’t Have A Booming Economy; We Have A Bubble | Seeking Alpha

By SchiffGold

A rally in the last two days of the month was the lone bright spot in an abysmal October. It was the worst month for global equities in more than six years. Globally, stock markets lost 7.5%, their worst month since May 2012. Even with the late rally, it was the biggest monthly decline in the Nasdaq since ’08.

US stock markets closed up for the second straight day on the final day of the month. It was the first back-to-back days of gains in October. As Peter Schiff put it in his most recent podcast, it may have been Halloween, but the bulls had no fear.

https://youtu.be/p8Ed68xcGB4

All of the bulls were out in force on the financial networks claiming that the correction is over. Everybody was confident that the lows are in, that the big back-to-back rally is proof and you better buy now, otherwise you’re going to miss the rally, and this is the typical correction and now it has run its course. And you know what? If this really was the end of the correction, most likely there wouldn’t be so many people that were so confident that it’s over. You’d have a lot more fear, especially on a Halloween. The fact that there is no fear, to me, shows that it’s more likely that this is not the end of the correction, but the beginning of the bear market and that this rally is a correction.”

Peter asks a pretty poignant question: what’s more likely? That the longest bull market in history just had a correction or that it’s finally come to its long overdue end?

Peter noted that it wasn’t just the stock markets that took a beating in October. The junk bond market had its worst month since 2008. This indicates increased worry about defaults.

If the economy is booming, why would people think that the risk of a company defaulting is going up? Because when the economy is really good, that’s when companies don’t default. It’s when the economy is bad, that’s when companies might default.”

But the bulls are oblivious.

All the bulls who are just so confident that this is a correction that’s already over are ignoring all the signs that the economy is not nearly as strong as everybody wants to pretend it is.”

Peter pointed out some other disturbing economic numbers, particularly in housing. Home sales in California are at the lowest level in 10 years. As Peter noted, interest rates are only at 2%. Mortgage rates have just gotten back to 5%. And yet we’re already seeing the negative impact in housing. Keep in mind, the housing market is a leading indicator of the impact of rising interest rates.

If the US economy is really going to stay strong and if interest rates are going to keep rising, how is it possible that the economy can continue to stay strong with high interest rates when the economy, or the strength of the economy, is predicated on debt?”

Peter once again noted the skyrocketing levels of government debt. We shouldn’t be seeing huge deficits like this during a booming economy. And yet, the US Treasury plans to borrow another $425 billion in the final quarter of 2018, bringing total borrowing for the year to $1.34 trillion. This level of borrowing looks more like we’re in the midst of a deep recession.

The truth of the matter is, we don’t have a booming economy. We have a bubble. And when you have a bubble economy, debts go up. Budget deficits go up. Trade deficits go up because you’re not productive. You’re just going into debt to consume.”

The bulls say we shouldn’t worry because nothing has changed. The economy wasn’t fundamentally different in October than it was in September. Peter said they are actually right.

What they don’t understand is nothing has changed, which is exactly why they should be worrying, because the economy was a bubble back then and it’s still a bubble. The only difference is the bubble may have pricked. See, the fundamentals have not changed; that’s true. They were lousy before October and they were lousy in October. That’s what they don’t get. The market never should have been going up.”
— Read on seekingalpha.com/amp/article/4217490-peter-schiff-truth-booming-economy-bubble

Is the Reformation Over? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

There have been several observations rendered on this subject by those I would call “erstwhile evangelicals.” One of them wrote, “Luther was right in the sixteenth century, but the question of justification is not an issue now.” A second self-confessed evangelical made a comment in a press conference I attended that “the sixteenth-century Reformation debate over justification by faith alone was a tempest in a teapot.” Still another noted European theologian has argued in print that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is no longer a significant issue in the church. We are faced with a host of people who are defined as Protestants but who have evidently forgotten altogether what it is they are protesting.

Contrary to some of these contemporary assessments of the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, we recall a different perspective by the sixteenth-century magisterial Reformers. Luther made his famous comment that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls. John Calvin added a different metaphor, saying that justification is the hinge upon which everything turns. In the twentieth century, J.I. Packer used a metaphor indicating that justification by faith alone is the “Atlas upon whose shoulder every other doctrine stands.” Later Packer moved away from that strong metaphor and retreated to a much weaker one, saying that justification by faith alone is “the fine print of the gospel.”

The question we have to face in light of these discussions is, what has changed since the sixteenth century? Well, there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that people have become much more civil and tolerant in theological disputes. We don’t see people being burned at the stake or tortured on the rack over doctrinal differences. We’ve also seen in the past years that the Roman communion has remained solidly steadfast on other key issues of Christian orthodoxy, such as the deity of Christ, His substitutionary atonement, and the inspiration of the Bible, while many Protestant liberals have abandoned these particular doctrines wholesale. We also see that Rome has remained steadfast on critical moral issues such as abortion and ethical relativism. In the nineteenth century at Vatican Council I, Rome referred to Protestants as “heretics and schismatics.” In the twentieth century at Vatican II, Protestants were referred to as “separated brethren.” We see a marked contrast in the tone of the different councils. The bad news, however, is that many doctrines that divided orthodox Protestants from Roman Catholics centuries ago have been declared dogma since the sixteenth century. Virtually all of the significant Mariology decrees have been declared in the last 150 years. The doctrine of papal infallibility, though it de facto functioned long before its formal definition, was nevertheless formally defined and declared de fide(necessary to believe for salvation) in 1870 at Vatican Council I. We also see that in recent years the Roman communion has published a new Catholic catechism, which unequivocally reaffirms the doctrines of the Council of Trent, including Trent’s definition of the doctrine of justification (and thus affirms that council’s anathemas against the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone). Along with the reaffirmations of Trent have come a clear reaffirmation of the Roman doctrine of purgatory, indulgences, and the treasury of merits.

At a discussion among leading theologians over the issue of the continued relevance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, Michael Horton asked the question: “What is it in the last decades that has made the first-century gospel unimportant?” The dispute over justification was not over a technical point of theology that could be consigned to the fringes of the depository of biblical truth. Nor could it be seen simply as a tempest in a teapot. This tempest extended far beyond the tiny volume of a single teacup. The question, “what must I do to be saved?” is still a critical question for any person who is exposed to the wrath of God.

Even more critical than the question is the answer, because the answer touches the very heart of gospel truth. In the final analysis, the Roman Catholic Church affirmed at Trent and continues to affirm now that the basis by which God will declare a person just or unjust is found in one’s “inherent righteousness.” If righteousness does not inhere in the person, that person at worst goes to hell and at best (if any impurities remain in his life) goes to purgatory for a time that may extend to millions of years. In bold contrast to that, the biblical and Protestant view of justification is that the sole grounds of our justification is the righteousness of Christ, which righteousness is imputed to the believer, so that the moment a person has authentic faith in Christ, all that is necessary for salvation becomes theirs by virtue of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The fundamental issue is this: is the basis by which I am justified a righteousness that is my own? Or is it a righteousness that is, as Luther said, “an alien righteousness,” a righteousness that is extra nos, apart from us—the righteousness of another, namely, the righteousness of Christ? From the sixteenth century to the present, Rome has always taught that justification is based upon faith, on Christ, and on grace. The difference, however, is that Rome continues to deny that justification is based on Christ alone, received by faith alone, and given by grace alone. The difference between these two positions is the difference between salvation and its opposite. There is no greater issue facing a person who is alienated from a righteous God.

At the moment the Roman Catholic Church condemned the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, she denied the gospel and ceased to be a legitimate church, regardless of all the rest of her affirmations of Christian orthodoxy. To embrace her as an authentic church while she continues to repudiate the biblical doctrine of salvation is a fatal attribution. We’re living in a time where theological conflict is considered politically incorrect, but to declare peace when there is no peace is to betray the heart and soul of the gospel.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

Is the Reformation Over? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Why You Can Know You’re Saved | Stand to Reason

Greg talks about Mr. Rogers questioning his salvation before his death, then he takes calls on Neil Anderson’s ministry, whether deacons can be divorced, and if Christians should read books by atheists.

Topics:

  1. What are your thoughts on Neil T. Anderson’s ministry? (22:00)

  2. Does 1 Timothy 3:2 mean a deacon can’t be divorced? (32:00)

  3. Should Christians read books by atheists and other opponents of Christianity? (39:00)

Download the mp3…

Mentioned on the Show: 

November 2, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Death of Christ

For if we believe that Jesus died (4:14a)

If does not suggest uncertainty or doubt, but rather logical sequence. Paul says “since,” or “based on the fact that” we believe that Jesus died certain things logically follow. The apostle’s simple statement summarizes all the richness of Christ’s atoning work, which provides the necessary foundation for the gathering of the church. His death satisfied the demands of God’s righteousness, holiness, and justice by paying in full the penalty for believers’ sins. By virtue of Christ’s substitutionary death, when God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21), Christians have been made acceptable to God and thus fit to be gathered into His presence.

Significantly, Paul did not use the metaphor of sleep to refer to Jesus, but says that He died. Jesus experienced the full fury of death in all its dimensions as He “bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). His death transformed death into sleep for believers. T. E. Wilson notes, “Death has been changed to sleep by the work of Christ. It is an apt metaphor in which the whole concept of death is transformed. ‘Christ made it the name for death in the dialect of the church (Acts 7:60) (Findlay)’ ” (What the Bible Teaches: 1 and 2 Thessalonians [Kilmarnock, Scotland: John Ritchie Ltd., 1983], 45). When believers die, their spirit goes immediately into conscious fellowship with the Lord, while their bodies temporarily sleep in the grave, awaiting the Rapture.

the resurrection of christ

and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (4:14b)

The resurrection of Christ indicates that the Father accepted His sacrifice, enabling Him to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Paul taught that truth to the Romans when he wrote that “[Christ] was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Christ’s resurrection proves that He conquered sin and death, and became the source of resurrection life for every Christian. I. Howard Marshall writes, “The death of believers does not take place apart from Jesus, and hence Paul can conclude that God will raise them up and bring them into the presence of Jesus at the parousia. God will treat those who died trusting in Jesus in the same way He treated Jesus Himself, namely by resurrecting them” (1 and 2 Thessalonians, The New Century Bible Commentary [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983], 124).

The phrase even so links believers’ resurrections inextricably to the resurrection of Christ. In John 14:19 Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live also.” In the most detailed passage on the resurrection in Scripture, Paul wrote that “Christ [is] the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:23). Earlier in that same epistle, he stated plainly, “Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power” (1 Cor. 6:14). In his second inspired letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:14).

To further assuage their fears, Paul reassured believers that God will bring with Him [Jesus] those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Their fellow believers who died will not miss out on the Rapture but will return with Christ in glory. Some interpret the phrase God will bring to mean that the spirits of dead believers will come from heaven with Christ to meet their resurrected bodies. Others see in it the truth that at the Rapture, God will bring all believers, living and dead, back to heaven with Christ. While the first view is certainly true, the second one seems to be the emphasis of this passage.

What the passage does not teach is that the spirits of dead believers immediately return to earth with Christ for the establishing of the millennial kingdom. That view places the Rapture at the end of the Tribulation and essentially equates it with the Second Coming. It trivializes the Rapture into a meaningless sideshow that serves no purpose. Commenting on the pointlessness of a posttribulational Rapture, Thomas R. Edgar asks,

What can be the purpose for keeping a remnant alive through the tribulation so that some of the church survive and then take them out of their situation and make them the same as those who did not survive? Why keep them for this? [The] explanation that they provide an escort for Jesus does not hold up. Raptured living saints will be exactly the same as resurrected dead saints. Why cannot the dead believers fulfill this purpose? Why keep a remnant alive [through the Tribulation], then Rapture them and accomplish no more than by letting them die? There is no purpose or accomplishment in [such] a Rapture.…

With all the saints of all the ages past and the armies [of angels] in heaven available as escorts and the fact that [raptured] saints provide no different escort than if they had been killed, why permit the church to suffer immensely, most believers [to] be killed, and spare a few for a Rapture which has no apparent purpose, immediately before the [Tribulation] period ends?… Is this the promise? You will suffer, be killed, but I will keep a few alive, and take them out just before the good times come. Such reasoning, of course, calls for some explanation of the apparent lack of purpose for a posttribulational Rapture of any sort.

We can note the following:

(1)  An unusual, portentous, one-time event such as the Rapture must have a specific purpose. God has purposes for his actions. This purpose must be one that can be accomplished only by such an unusual event as a Rapture of living saints.

(2)  This purpose must agree with God’s general principles of operation.

(3)  There is little or no apparent reason to Rapture believers when the Lord returns and just prior to setting up the long-awaited kingdom with all of its joyful prospects.

(4)  There is good reason to deliver all who are already believers from the tribulation, where they would be special targets of persecution.

(5)  To deliver from a period of universal trial and physical destruction such as the tribulation requires a removal from the earth by death or Rapture. Death is not appropriate as a promise in Rev. 3:10.

(6)  Deliverance from the tribulation before it starts agrees with God’s previous dealings with Noah and Lot and is directly stated as a principle of God’s action toward believers in 2 Pet. 2:9. (“Robert H. Gundry and Revelation 3:10,” Grace Theological Journal 3 [Spring 1982], 43–44)

The view that the raptured saints return to earth with Christ also contradicts John 14:1–3:

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

The phrases “My Father’s house” and “where I am” clearly refer to heaven (cf. John 7:34). Jesus promised to take believers back to heaven with Him when He returns to gather His people. There has to be a time interval, then, between Christ’s return to gather His people (the Rapture) and His return to earth to establish the millennial kingdom (the Second Coming). During that interval between the Rapture and the Second Coming, the believers’ judgment takes place (1 Cor. 3:11–15; 2 Cor. 5:10); a posttribulational Rapture would leave no time for that event.

The phrase in Jesus is best understood as describing the circumstances in which the departed saints fell asleep. They died in the condition of being related to Jesus Christ. Paul used essentially the same phrase in 1 Corinthians 15:18 when he wrote of those “who have fallen asleep in Christ.”

By demonstrating God’s acceptance of His atoning sacrifice, the resurrection of Christ buttresses the first pillar on which the Rapture is based, the death of Christ.[1]


14 For Christians, relief from sorrow is related to what the future holds (cf. Rev 21:4). Just as “Jesus died and rose again,” so will “those who have fallen asleep in him” be raised when God brings them to heaven with Jesus at his parousia. The fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection guarantees as its sequel the eventual resurrection of the dead in Christ. That guarantee is similar to the way his resurrection guarantees his return in 1:10.

Noticeably, Paul does not refer to Jesus’ death as “sleep.” The difference between Jesus’ experience and that of believers is that he endured actual separation from God for the world’s sins. The uniqueness of his death points to the uniqueness of his miraculous resurrection (cf. Bruce, 97). Because of his real death, Christians will not experience that separation; their death has taken on the characteristics of “sleep” (cf. Milligan, 57).

Though a reader might expect Paul to write “God will raise” instead of “God will bring with Jesus,” he writes the latter because of an unexpressed connection between the two ideas. The verb axei (GK 72, “will bring”) does not refer specifically to resurrection. To be brought with Jesus presupposes believers’ rising from the dead as part of the process, as v. 16 is about to indicate.

Rising from the dead is what the apostle had taught the Thessalonians; yet their ultimate anticipation is not just being raised, but being “with Jesus” (cf. 4:17; 5:10). The dead will be “brought to the place of God, namely heaven” (Wanamaker, 170). Beyond resurrection, such is the consummating desire of Christians. But even more is in store for Christians. The words “God will bring” point to a continuing movement heavenward after the meeting in the air (v. 17) until an arrival in the Father’s presence (3:13; cf. Jn 14:2–3). A more detailed analysis of the process follows (gar; NASB, “for,” v. 15).[2]


The hope of resurrection (v. 14)

The logical conclusion of the death and resurrection of Jesus is that all those who believe in him, whether dead or alive, will rise again to eternal life. The Thessalonians had to realize that not even death severs the union of a believer with Christ, which is the foundation of the Christian’s hope: ‘Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (1 Cor. 15:20).

If there is no resurrection, then Christians are to be pitied more than all men, for our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. But Christ has been raised and so in Christ all believers are made alive.

Paul goes further, for he says that not only will believers be resurrected, but ‘God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him’. The God who raised Jesus will raise the followers of Jesus. He will bring their souls from heaven to be united with their bodies; therefore, all believers can die in peace with the song of triumph on their lips:

‘ “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

‘ “Where, O death, is your victory?

‘ “Where, O death, is your sting?”

‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 15:54–57).[3]


4:14 / This verse, introduced in the Greek by the conjunction gar, “because,” explains the confidence expressed in verse 13. It rests on the events of Jesus’ life: We believe that Jesus died and rose again (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3f.), and on the conviction that in those events the hand of God could be discerned. If God acted in the past to raise Jesus from the dead, he could be relied upon to act again along those lines and to bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him (cf. 1 Cor. 15:23). The verb anistēmi is used here, with reference to Jesus, in an intransitive form (second aorist active), “he rose.” But Scripture also testifies that God raised Jesus, and we should understand this reference in those terms (see, e.g., Acts 3:15; Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 13:4; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; also 2 Cor. 1:9). Significantly, while Paul describes the Christian dead as sleeping, he nowhere uses that expression of Jesus. On the contrary, Jesus is always said to have died (cf. 5:10). The stark truth of that statement puts the miracle of the resurrection into perspective. At the same time it emphasizes that only because he endured the full horror of the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23) can we now “sleep” and expect to “awake.” This understanding is implied in Paul’s reference to believers sleeping in him (in Jesus). The Greek is literally “through” (dia)—through him and what he has done for us (the dia of attendant circumstances). We may merely “sleep” because he has spared us the necessity of dying in the sense of being separated, cut off from the presence of God—“(our) death has been swallowed up in (his) victory” (1 Cor. 15:54)—by virtue of his death and resurrection. Thus the resurrection of believers is not a separate event, but they participate in Jesus’ resurrection: they will be raised up “with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:14). This thought underlies Paul’s statement that those who sleep through Jesus, God will bring from death with Jesus. The focus here, however, is not so much on that, as on its sequel: their participation in his Parousia.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 127–130). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 1 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 415). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Shenton, T. (2006). Opening up 1 Thessalonians (pp. 88–90). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[4] Williams, D. J. (2011). 1 and 2 Thessalonians (pp. 81–82). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Truth Can Set You Free | Devotional by Charles Stanley

Read: John 8:31-36

Freedom is something we all love, but do we really know what it is? Some people think it’s being able to choose or act with few if any restraints, limits, or accountabilities. But that is what God calls rebellion because it’s a rejection of authority, as each one does as he sees fit (1 Samuel 12:14-15). True freedom is being released from bondage to sin, and that is only possible through Jesus Christ.

The first step to freedom is recognizing areas where we are imprisoned. People who have not received Christ as Savior are in bondage to sin and unbelief. They can neither believe God nor trust the promises of Scripture because sin has blinded their eyes to the truth that they need a Savior.

Even followers of Christ can find themselves in bondage to particular sins despite repeated attempts to change. But for some of us, the struggle is with more subtle kinds of enslavement. Habitual feelings of inferiority, insecurity, rejection, or worthlessness can cloud our responses to life’s challenges by altering our ability to think or act while undermining our trust and obedience to God.

The Lord wants us walking in freedom, and Jesus describes the pathway. He says that if we’ll continue in God’s Word, we will know the truth, and it will set us free (John 8:31-32). First of all, we are liberated from sin and its condemnation through faith in Christ. Then, as we continue reading and meditating on Scripture, our mind, will, and emotions will be changed. The sins that once enticed us will become repugnant, and the emotional prisons will be opened as we discover our position in Christ.

By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by Permission

http://www.intouch.org/
— Read on thoughts-about-god.com/blog/charles-stanley_set-free/

GTY Blog Post – John MacArthur on Where We Find the Truth

Where do you find the truth?

In a day dominated by anonymous sources, political spin, and so-called fake news, locating and understanding the truth ought to be a high priority. However, what we see most often is people circling the wagons with others who share their opinions and holding to the version of the facts that reinforces their biases.

People don’t want the truth as much as they want the “truth” that makes them feel comfortable and confident. They want the truth only inasmuch as it confirms what they’re already thinking, saying, and doing. With relativism run amok, the truth only matters to the degree it gives you license.

Tragically, that perspective on truth has infiltrated the church. Today, professing believers want God to speak personally to them through their dreams and mental impressions. The implication is that His Word isn’t enough—that their unique circumstances and needs require a direct line to the Almighty.

We recently asked John MacArthur about this growing desire for a private word from the Lord, and how that assaults the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. Here’s what he said:

https://youtu.be/buJNCDZ-lNM

Next week we will pick up where we left off in our series Mysticism vs. Scripture. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. What experience have you had with the mystical trends pervading the church today? And what impact did they have on your spiritual growth and your confidence in the Word of God?

— Read on www.gty.org/library/blog/B181102

Russia And China Are Apparently Both Under The Impression That War With The US Is Coming… | Zero Hedge

“For most people in this country, war with either Russia or China is not something to even be remotely concerned about… But the Russians and the Chinese both see things very differently…”

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

Could it be possible that the U.S. is heading for a major war?  If you ask most Americans that question, they will look at you like you are crazy.  For most people in this country, war with either Russia or China is not something to even be remotely concerned about.

But the Russians and the Chinese both see things very differently.  As you will see below, Russia and China both seem to be under the impression that war with the United States is coming, and they are both rapidly preparing for such a conflict.

Let’s start with Russia.  After repeatedly slapping them with sanctions, endlessly demonizing their leaders and blaming them for just about every problem that you can imagine, our relationship with Russia is about the worst that it has ever been.

And when the Trump administration announced that it was withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, that pushed things to a new low.  In the aftermath of that announcement, Russian official Andrei Belousov boldly declared that “Russia is preparing for war”

He said: “Here recently at the meeting, the United States said that Russia is preparing for war.

Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it.

“We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people – we are preparing for such a war.”

Here in the United States, there is very little talk of a potential war with Russia in the mainstream media, but in Russia things are very different.  Russian news outlets are constantly addressing escalating tensions with the United States, and the Russian government has been adding fuel to that fire.  For example, the Russian government recently released a video of a mock nuclear strike against their “enemies”

Russian submarines have recently carried out a mock nuclear attack against their “enemies.” The Russian government has released footage of the atomic strike and it is sparking fears that the third world war is quickly approaching.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has published shocking videos that show a range of nuclear missile drills including a submarine carrying out a mock atomic strike. These videos are the latest in a series of escalating war-games ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according toThe Express UK.

I’ll give you just one guess as to who the primary enemy in that drill was.

And what Russian President Vladimir Putin recently told the press about a potential nuclear war was extremely chilling

If any nation decides to attack Russia with nuclear weapons, it may end life on Earth; but unlike the aggressors, the Russians are sure to go to heaven, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent,” Putin said during a session of the Valdai Club in Sochi.

Under normal circumstances, Putin would never talk like that.

But these are not normal times.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping is ordering his military to focus on “preparations for fighting a war”

China’s President Xi Jinping ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to “assess the situation it is facing and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency” as tensions continue to mount over the future of the South China Sea and Taiwan, while diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing hit rock bottom.

The Southern Theatre Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying during an inspection tour made on Thursday as part of his visit to Guangdong province.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly. “We have to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war” the president-for-life added.

So who are the Chinese concerned that they may be fighting against?

Needless to say, the United States is at the top of the list

The president instructed the military to ramp-up opposition to ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises being undertaken by the US, Australia, France, the UK, Japan and others through the waterway through which arterial shipping lanes have grown since the end of World War II.

Tensions over the South China Sea have been increasing for several years, and starting a trade war with China in 2018 has certainly not helped things.

At this point, even many U.S. analysts can see the writing on the wall.  For instance, just consider what Harvard Professor Graham Allison recently told Steve LeVine

He said, if history holds, the U.S. and China appeared headed toward war.

Over the weekend, I asked him for an update — specifically whether the danger of the two going to war seems to have risen.

“Yes,” he responded. The chance of war is still less than 50%, but “is real — and much more likely than is generally recognized.”

Of course we didn’t get to this point overnight.  Tensions with Russia and China have been simmering for quite a while, and both of those nations have been rapidly modernizing their military forces.  For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “Russia And China Are Developing Impressive New Weapons Systems As They Prepare For War Against The United States”.

Sadly, the vast majority of the U.S. population is utterly clueless about these things.

But those that are serving in the military have a much better understanding, and one recent survey found that about half of them expect the U.S. to be “drawn into a new war within the next year”…

Nearly half of all current military troops believe the United States will be drawn into a major war soon, a jarring rise in anxiety among service members worried about global instability in general and Russia and China in particular, according to a new Military Times poll of active-duty troops.

About 46 percent of troops who responded to the anonymous survey of currently serving Military Times readers said they believe the U.S. will be drawn into a new war within the next year. That’s a jarring increase from only about 5 percent who said the same thing in a similar poll conducted in September 2017.

Those numbers are jarring.

Some major stuff must be going on behind the scenes in order to go from 5 percent to 46 percent in a single year.

We truly are living in apocalyptic times, and our world seems to be getting more unstable with each passing day.

We should hope for peace, but throughout human history peace has never lasted for long.  Major global powers continue to edge closer and closer to conflict, and that is a very dangerous game to be playing.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-01/russia-and-china-are-apparently-both-under-impression-war-us-coming

Brannon Howse: November 1, 2018 | Worldview Weekend

Topic: The possible connection between the prison murder of Whitey Bulger and former FBI Director, and federal prosecutor Robert Mueller. Topic: For 28 years Brannon has been talking about marxism, globalism, internationalism, a coming one-world government, one-world economy, and a shadow government. Many others have been talking about such their entire life only to be mocked and ridiculed. Yet, today, talk of globalism and the shadow government has gone mainstream with the term deep state. Why is it that it has taken the near destruction of America for these topics to now be seen as mainstream and not extreme or conspiracy theories. Topic: Hear audio of John Perkins telling Rick Warren that the reason we have terrorists is because they suffer from a bad self-image. Topic: We take your calls.

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-november-1-2018

November 2 Worldly Influence on John

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”—Matt. 11:2–3

Even the righteous John the Baptist was not totally freed from worldly influences that could cause him doubts about Jesus. The Lord’s ministry did not completely square with what most Jews, including John, thought Messiah would do. The Christ could not set up His own kingdom without first freeing Israel from Roman bondage and injustice. But He had done nothing to oppose Rome. And Jesus’ many miracles had still not yet banished all suffering from Israel or the world.

A common misunderstanding was that other prominent men would precede Him—perhaps Elijah, Jeremiah, and some other prophets. Thus when Jesus later asked the apostles who people thought He was, they replied, “Some say John the Baptist [who by then was dead]; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:14).

The distorted and world-based ideas about Messiah—with Jesus not fitting their preconceived notions—almost inevitably rubbed off on John. Then some Jewish leaders challenged Jesus by asking, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” To this, Jesus responded, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me” (John 10:24–25).

The unbelieving world could affect even John’s confidence in Jesus because it does not grasp God’s plan, since such things “are foolishness to [them]; and [they] cannot understand them” (1 Cor. 2:14; cf. John 10:26). Worldly, unbelieving thinking will always try to sow doubts regarding the truth of Christ.

ASK YOURSELF

Can you identify a sliver of worldly thinking that has slipped into your way of looking at things? Why do we tend to embrace these kinds of perspectives at times? What do you do when you detect an unbiblical line of thought taking hold in your mind and attitude?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 315). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

11/02/18 Shaken — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Acts 1-4, Psalm 110

“When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken.”

Acts 4:31

How I long to see such things happen!

The religious leaders had ordered Peter and John not to preach in the name of Jesus anymore, but they knew were “unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). The warnings from the religious leaders did not stop the disciples, for they next prayed for boldness to continue speaking: “’. . . grant that your servants may speak your word with all boldness . . . .’ When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:29-31).

When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken. Those are the words that grab my attention today. I know that prayer is powerful. I’ve read about it in the Bible. I’ve seen its effects on others. I know what it’s meant in my life. But I’ve never seen a place shaken under the power of prayer. In Acts 4, it was as if an earthquake moved a building under the power of prayer.

I realize that the Word speaks of a literal shaking in Acts 4. God may choose to do that if He wishes, but all I’d like to see is a people so committed to prayer that their whole world is shaken up. Nothing, it seems to me, remains the same when expectant, powerful prayer becomes a part of our life.

ACTION STEPS:  

  • Ask God to shake up your life regarding prayer.
  • Tell somebody about your prayers that God has answered recently.

PRAYER: “God, fall on us in Your power. Help us to speak boldly about Jesus.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Acts 5-8

11/02/18 Shaken — ChuckLawless.com

Migrant Caravan Members File Class Action Lawsuit Against President Trump — The Gateway Pundit

 

Migrants from Honduras in one of several caravans marching through Central America and Mexico have filed a class action lawsuit against President Trump and his administration to stop him from securing the border against the thousands of migrants heading to the U.S.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the migrants by Nexus Services whose Libre by Nexus company charges migrants a reported $460 a month to wear the company’s ankle bracelet while out on immigration bond. Libre by Nexus is reported to be under investigation by state and federal authorities and is “accused of preying on detained undocumented immigrants”.

The suit is a preemptive move based on President Trump’s recent statements securing the border. The suit seeks to prevent the Trump administration from barring the migrants in the caravan from entering the U.S., from housing them in tents or detention centers without bail and to enforce the Flores agreement with regard to the alleged children of the migrants.

Excerpts from the suit:

Plaintiffs: Maria Doris Pineda, no current address; Maria Doris Pineda, on behalf of her minor child D.R. no current address; Jasmine Ortega Sanchez,  no current address; Jasmine Ortega Sanchez, on behalf of her minor child M.O.R.  no current address; Francisco Javier Castillos, no current address, Holivia Adeline Castillos, no current address; Francisco Javier Castillos, on behalf of his minor child F.J.C. no current address; Holivia Adeline Castillos, on behalf of her minor child F.J.C. no current address; Dina Ruc, no current address; Dina Ruc, on behalf of her minor child J.S. no current address; Marta Lopez, no current address; Marta Lopez, on behalf of her minor child L.D.L. no current address;…

NOW COMES Plaintiffs Maria Doris Pineda, Jasmine Ortega Sanchez, Francisco Javier Castillos, Holivia Adeline Castillos, Dina Ruc, and Marta Lopez, and file this civil action against the Trump administration for violations of their procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, violation of the APA, and for class relief pursuant to Rule 23, Fed. R. Civ. P. In support thereof, Plaintiffs state that:

Trump’s professed and enacted policy towards thousands of caravanners seeking asylum in the United States is shockingly unconstitutional. President Trump continues to abuse the law, including constitutional rights, to deter Central Americans from exercising their lawful right to seek asylum in the United States, and the fact that innocent children are involved matters none to President Trump…

…On top of the above, Trump has repeatedly professed that the caravan people will not get into this county, and just as significant, Trump has taken meaningful steps to ensure the world that this is his policy position/initiative, meaningful steps such as deploying thousands of active military troops to the border, waiting on caravan persons to arrive. The legal problem with Trump’s plan to stop caravan persons from entering this country is that Plaintiffs are seeking asylum, and Trump simply cannot stop them from legally doing so by using military, or anyone.

This Court should also note that President Trump has begun hysterically asserting without any evidence that “many criminals” and “many gang members” are in this “onslaught” of migration. In an effort to create fear and hysteria, Trump has gone so far as to call this “an invasion of our Country.” Despite these statements and actions, Trump has been unable to produce any evidence of criminals and gang members within the caravan, which has largely proceeded peacefully on its journey. Plaintiffs now request that this Court declare Trump’s policy positions/initiatives outlined in this Complaint unconstitutional, to end this case and controversy…

…Plaintiff Maria Doris Pineda is a citizen of Honduras travelling by foot to the United States to seek asylum. She is the mother of “D.R.”…

…Plaintiffs seek to represent the following class: All persons (1) who are Mexican, Central American, or South American citizens (2) who are travelling to the United States or have attempted entry into the United States, whether at a designated port of entry or not, since October 31, 2018, and (3) who are seeking asylum or intending to seek asylum within the United States…

Plaintiffs request that the Court enter a judgment against Defendants and award the following relief:
A. Enter judgment and declaratory judgment in favor of Plaintiffs;
B. Declare all acts argued as unconstitutional within this Complaint as
unconstitutional;
C. Declare all acts argued as violative of the APA as violative of the
APA;
D. Award costs and attorneys’ fees to Plaintiffs; and
E. Order all other relief that is just and proper.”

Nexus Services will hold a press conference in Los Angeles on Friday at 11 a.m. PDT.

Excerpts from the press release:

Caravan Asylum Seekers File Lawsuit against President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, and White-Supremacist Militias Who Threaten Carnage on the US-Mexico Border

Nexus Services, Inc. is funding these lawsuits to protect individuals and families from President Donald Trump and the administration’s xenophobic behavior, defending rights of those seeking liberty, justice and pursuit of happiness

…As thousands flee drug-fueled gang violence, misery and poverty in Central America, President Trump is waging war on the immigrant population and their constitutional right to seek asylum. Sending soldiers to border, Trump continues his campaign to militarize the border and brutalize immigrant families to score political points and enflame racist tendencies among his supporters.

Nexus Services, Inc. is petitioning a federal court to protect these individuals seeking asylum from Trump’s illegal policies and its draconian enforcement by the military and other armed federal agents, as well as gun-toting white-nationalist militias.

Mike Donovan, President of Nexus Services, said: “Federal law enables migrants to apply for asylum in the United States. President Trump and his administration have used ‘increased enforcement,’ like separating families and lengthening detention to violate migrant rights. Now, the President has sent soldiers to the southern border to stop legal immigration and legitimate asylum seekers. The President’s rhetoric has inspired gun-toting racists to flood the border with the desire to shoot and kill migrants, many of whom are women and children. The President is violating federal law, trampling the rights of Americans and legal immigrants to be free from use of the military for law enforcement, and has set up a potential catastrophe at the US/Mexico border all in the name of white nationalism and with the objective of scoring political points. At Nexus we love the good people we serve who come to this country for a better life, and will stand with them against the hate of the Trump White House.”

Nexus Services, Inc. is a leading provider of immigrant bond securitization and of services provided to detained individuals. The organization funds Nexus Derechos Humanos Attorneys, Inc. as a part of its corporate giving plan to open access to justice for disadvantaged people across the United States. http://www.nexushelps.com/

Nexus Derechos Humanos Attorneys Inc. is a civil-rights law firm funded by Nexus Services Inc. Nexus Derechos Humanos is committed to holding public officials accountable for placing money or politics above the lives of human beings, protecting due-process rights, challenging government coercion and demanding justice and enforcement of hard-won civil rights. https://www.ndhlawyers.com…”

Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported on Nexus being under multiple investigations:

Investigations into a Virginia-based company accused of preying on detained undocumented immigrants have expanded.

Libre by Nexus, an immigration bond services company, is the subject of probes by the attorneys general
of Virginia, New York and Washington state, according to state and federal court records.

The previously unreported investigations come on top of a federal probe by the Consumer Financial
“Protection Bureau (CFPB), made public in October.

In a statement, Libre’s parent company, Nexus Services, acknowledged two of the state investigations
and did not deny the third.

“Nexus . . . continues to cooperate with responsible inquiries into our business model and the life affirming work we do every day to support immigrants,” CEO Mike Donovan said.

Libre by Nexus helps post bond for people being held in immigration detention centers while they wait
for their cases to be heard in backlogged courts. In exchange for their freedom, immigrants sign
contracts promising to pay Libre $420 per month while wearing the company’s GPS ankle devices.

The contracts have been the subject of lawsuits and allegations of fraud by immigrants who claim they
did not understand them.

Libre by Nexus has vigorously denied any wrongdoing, saying its contracts are transparent and
preferable to someone remaining behind bars.

End excerpt. Read the complete Post report on Libre by Nexus at this link.

 

Migrant Caravan Members File Class Action Lawsuit Against President Trump — The Gateway Pundit