Daily Archives: December 5, 2018

DECEMBER 5 ADMIRING AWE AND SINCERE HUMILITY

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

—1 Peter 5:6

Those of us who have been blessed within our own beings would not join in any crusade to “follow your feelings.” On the other hand, if there is no feeling at all in our hearts, then we are dead! …

Real worship is, among other things, a feeling about the Lord our God. It is in our hearts. And we must be willing to express it in an appropriate manner.

We can express our worship to God in many ways. But if we love the Lord and are led by His Holy Spirit, our worship will always bring a delighted sense of admiring awe and a sincere humility on our part.

The proud and lofty man or woman cannot worship God any more acceptably than can the proud devil himself. There must be humility in the heart of the person who would worship God in spirit and in truth. WHT084

Lord, I bring to You a heart filled with adoration and humility. Accept my worship as something that brings joy to You. Amen. [1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Nation’s Christians Shocked That Popular CCM Artist Doesn’t Have Robust Theology

U.S.—After a popular CCM artist recently gave a vague answer when asked whether or not homosexuality is a sin, the nation’s believers expressed their utter shock that someone in the Christian music industry doesn’t have a strong, well-grounded theology of God and the Bible.

Christians across the nation were reportedly blindsided to discover that a CCM artist doesn’t have a robust understanding of the Bible and the character of God.

“Just based on the music alone, you’d think they’d have a full-fledged understanding of God,” said one man in Nebraska. “I used to listen to CCM and accept every line as gospel truth. But now I guess I’ve gotta be careful and use some discernment—it’s almost like the people behind the vapid, vague lyrics might have vapid, vague theology, sometimes.”

Many Christians said their sole source of theology was Christian radio up until this point.

“I never really read the Bible or anything. I just listened to Air1 or KLOVE and that was my theological truth for the day,” said a concerned believer in Southern California. “I guess I should turn to the Word of God to find out what God says, rather than people who write and perform CCM for a living.”

Source: Nation’s Christians Shocked That Popular CCM Artist Doesn’t Have Robust Theology

Midweek Apologetics Hit & Misc: Why Biblical Archaeology Is Important

Source: Midweek Apologetics Hit & Misc: Why Biblical Archaeology Is Important

People aren’t paying their credit cards and more accounts are being shut down, and it could be a sign that ‘economic clouds are darkening’

  • Credit-card delinquencies, application rejections, and involuntary account closures are all on the upswing, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • The Fed says these developments are “potentially concerning” given the strength of the economy and comparatively low interest rates.
  • The trends most likely indicate that credit-card companies issued debt too freely in the preceding years.
  • But they could also signal that lenders are bracing for an economic downturn and paring back risk accordingly.

The economy is robust, unemployment is sitting at 3.7%, its lowest mark in nearly half a century, and interest rates, though moving upward, are still relatively low.

So why are credit-card delinquencies, application rejections, and involuntary account closures all on the upswing?

That’s what the Federal Reserve Bank of New York would like to know.

The Fed released the results this week of its “Credit Access Survey” — a quarterly report on US borrowers — and it surfaced a couple of alarming trends that suggest credit-card issuers are getting skittish and paring back risk: Both credit-card rejection rates and involuntary account closures are on the rise.

Rejection rates for credit-card applicants came in at 20.8% in the October survey, up from 14.4% a year ago, while the rejection rate for credit-limit increases ticked up to 31.7%, compared with 24.9% a year ago.

Meanwhile, the proportion of respondents who had an account shut down by a lender reached its highest level since the Fed launched the “Credit Access Survey” in 2013. In October, 7.2% of surveyed consumers reported having an account involuntarily shut down in the previous 12 months, up from 5.7% last year and 4.2% in 2016.

Most of these account shutdowns are credit cards or retail-store cards.

A separate New York Fed report released last month, the “Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit,” produced a similar finding. The report, which mines Equifax consumer credit reports for data, showed an uptick in the past year and a half in account closures, again primarily from credit cards.

Why are credit-card issuers rejecting more customers and shuttering more accounts?

One reason is that they may be spooked by the increasing number of people who aren’t paying off their cards. Credit-card delinquency rates began to climb sharply toward the end of 2016, a trend that hasn’t reversed in 2018, according to Fed data.

Given the healthy state of the economy and low unemployment, an increase in delinquencies is “potentially concerning,” according to the Fed, and most likely signals that card companies issued debt too freely and to less-trustworthy borrowers in preceding years and are now trying to reverse course.

That’s consistent with the fact that credit-card issuance inflated substantially starting in 2013 — credit-card balances were up from $670 billion in the third quarter of 2013 to $844 billion in the same quarter this year — and that the sharpest increase in delinquencies is among borrowers with lower credit scores, according to Fed data. The increase in delinquencies among higher credit-score brackets, however, suggests loose lending wasn’t limited to subprime borrowers, the Fed points out.

The uptick in delinquencies, rejections, and account closures could also be symptoms of a much darker malady: early cracks in a weakening economy.

When people lose their jobs or are struggling financially, credit cards tend to be one of the first bills they stop paying, as compared with secured loans for a home or a car in which people risk losing those crucial assets.

If the economy is turning, card issuers have a giant incentive to get ahead of the trend, especially amid the environment of climbing interest rates, which potentially makes life even more difficult for cash-strapped cardholders.

“Credit-card lenders are tightening up the credit approval process as the economic clouds are darkening for our economy. They see a downturn coming, so, in anticipation of that trend, are reducing their risk exposure in the unsecured card space,” Robert Hammer, the CEO of the payments consulting firm R.K. Hammer, told Business Insider when asked about the latest Fed report.

Lenders are already facing a tough outlook heading into 2019 with a saturated US market and declining return on assets, according to Brian Riley, the director of Mercator Advisory Group’s credit-card consulting business.

He predicts growth will slow next year for card issuers as they brace for higher delinquencies among the country’s 470 million cardholders.

It’s too early to say whether the economy will dip into recession or whether delinquencies, rejections, and involuntary account closures will continue to streak higher, but the Fed will be keeping a close eye on these trends, saying in its report that it plans to “continue investigating these issues.”

Source: People aren’t paying their credit cards and more accounts are being shut down, and it could be a sign that ‘economic clouds are darkening’

Alexander: Tailwinds and Following Seas, President Bush

“There is a God and He is good, and His love, while free, has a self-imposed cost: We must be good to one another.” —GHWB

“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.” —Samuel Adams (1780)

George Herbert Walker Bush, our nation’s 41st president, died in peace last Friday evening. He was 94. With him passes an era, as he was the last warrior statesman of the “Greatest Generation” to serve our nation as president.

Much has been said and written about President Bush in the days since his passing — and it’s no small irony that much of it is in the same Leftmedia forums that were so abjectly biased against him in their coverage of his presidency.

Prior to his single term in office, GHWB served two terms as President Ronald Reagan’s vice president. As my friend Cal Thomas wrote, “Any epitaph on the life of George H.W. Bush must include at least three words: character, honor and integrity. From his service in World War II, to his political career and post-presidency, not to mention his faithfulness to Barbara, his wife of 73 years.”

Indeed, all of President Bush’s service to our nation, and his life in retirement, is framed by his high character, honor, and integrity — and, I would add, heroics.

President Bush was a contemporary of my own father, also a WWII naval fighter pilot, and while I had met Mr. Bush briefly on occasions when he was serving with President Reagan, what I knew best about him was what I knew about my own father and their shared generation: They were prepared to give their lives en masse to defend Liberty for their countrymen and all people.

Like many warriors of their generation, Mr. Bush was shaped to a degree by survivor’s guilt, having witnessed so many friends perish.

During a 1944 bombing sortie in the Bonin Islands, on approach to his target, the then-20-year-old Lt. Bush’s VT-51 squadron TBM Avenger was hit by flak and caught fire. He recounted that he thought to himself, “My God, this thing’s going to go down.”

With his engine ablaze, he completed his bomb drop and piloted his plane and crew back over sea, where he ordered his two-man crew to “Hit the silk” — bailout. But his radioman, Petty Officer Second Class John Delaney, and substitute gunner, Lt. j.g. William White, did not survive. Shortly after he entered the water, Bush was rescued by the submarine USS Finback as the rest of his squadron circled above.

Mourning the loss of his crew, he wondered, “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?” He asked himself that question on many days since. In essence, he knew at that point that he owed his life to others, to something much bigger than himself.

Indeed, he was a faithful man, and God had much in store for him.

George H.W. Bush hailed from an old, wealthy, Northeastern dynasty of establishment Republicans. His father was Prescott Bush; his mother was Dorothy (Walker) Bush. Prescott was a Wall Street investor and later a U.S. senator from Connecticut. George was a product of Greenwich Country Day School and Andover, but in defiance to his father’s insistence that he go straight to Yale, he enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday.

He married Barbara Bush while still in the Navy. Mrs. Bush said, “I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell my children that, they just about throw up.”

She offered this observation not long before her death: “At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”

Shortly after they were married, George wrote to Barbara, “How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.” And they were. Of their 73 years together, Mr. Bush said, “I have climbed the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.”

Their marriage was a remarkable testament to that sacred institution.

GHWB returned to Yale after the war to complete his education.

His eldest son, George W., was born in 1946.

After graduating in 1948, Bush broke ranks with his family and moved to west Texas, where he pursued a successful career in the oil business. “I was offered a job on Wall Street by my uncle,” he later said, “But I wanted to get out. Make-it-on-my-own kinda thing.”

Five more children were born in Texas: Robin in 1949 (who died of cancer three years later), Jeb in 1953, Neil in 1955, Marvin in 1956, and Doro in 1959.

GHWB lost a 1964 Senate run but was elected a 7th District House representative in 1966 and served two terms. He succeeded by displacing much of his Northeastern establishment Republicanism with Texas conservatism, much as George W. Bush would in 2000.

In 1971, Bush became President Richard Nixon’s UN ambassador, and in 1973 he took over the Republican National Committee as Watergate was swamping Nixon’s administration. Bush was among those who recommended that Nixon resign in the interest of the party and our country rather than face impeachment, and Nixon complied on August 9th of 1974. After the resignation, Bush noted in his diary, “There was an aura of sadness, like somebody died. … The [resignation] speech was vintage Nixon — a kick or two at the press. … One couldn’t help but … think of his accomplishments and then think of the shame.”

In some important respects, Bush held the Republican Party together through its most arduous challenges of the 20th century.

Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, appointed Bush as chief liaison to China (in effect, ambassador), and his 14 months there under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger are viewed, historically, as very beneficial to U.S.-China relations.

In 1976, Ford brought Bush back to serve as CIA director, a role he served in for less than a year before Jimmy Carter replaced him with Stansfield Turner, who, like Carter, proved to be inept.

GHWB’s rise to the presidency came after his resounding defeat in the GOP’s 1980 presidential primary, in which he ran as a moderate alternative to Ronald Reagan. After Reagan’s victory, he added Bush to the ticket for two of the most successful presidential terms in our nation’s history. Despite Bush’s infamous and spurious 1980 claim that Reagan’s supply-side policies constituted “voodoo economics,” President Reagan’s economic and foreign policies were an enormous success — the former launching a historic economic boom and the latter bringing our arch nemesis, the USSR, to collapse.

That success elevated Bush to what was perceived to be a “third Reagan term” in 1988. However, while he shared Reagan’s character and integrity, he did not possess Reagan’s fighting spirit, his ability to create political coalitions, or his broad appeal with grassroots Americans.

Notably, in terms of temperament and personality, our current president, Donald Trump, is the antithesis of Presidents Bush and Reagan. But in terms of domestic and foreign policy success, Trump has excelled beyond even President Reagan’s record of achievements at his first midterm. This is to say that President Bush’s steadfast character, honor, and integrity, while admirable traits that all presidents should demonstrate, do not ensure policy success.

Riding high on Reagan’s economic and foreign policy successes over the previous eight years, Bush declared in his 1988 Republican National Convention acceptance speech: “We are a nation of communities, of thousands and tens of thousands of ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional, and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary, and unique. This is America … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. … I am guided by certain traditions. One is that there is a God and He is good, and His love, while free, has a self-imposed cost: We must be good to one another.”

In his inaugural address, President Bush said: “There has grown a certain divisiveness. We have seen the hard looks and heard the statements in which not each other’s ideas are challenged but each other’s motives. And our great parties have too often been far apart and untrusting of each other. A new breeze is blowing, and the old bipartisanship must be made new again.”

He concluded, “The American people await action. They didn’t send us here to bicker. They ask us to rise above the merely partisan. ‘In crucial things, unity’ — and this, my friends, is crucial.”

Unfortunately, in the years since, the Left’s “bickering” has devolved into politically deranged divisions with its resulting uncivil discourse.

Bush’s decisive leadership as commander-in-chief during the Desert Shield/Storm offensive to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and to contain his other regional ambitions was the high point of GHWB’s presidency. Within days of Iraq’s retreat from Kuwait, however, American military leaders were suggesting we should have pursued Saddam all the way to Baghdad and overthrown his regime. That perceived insubordination by some senior officers resulted in their quiet resignation, including that of Commanding General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf after his return in 1991.

Arguably, Bush 41’s reluctance to move beyond the UN mandate and remove Saddam from power, combined with the failure of Bill Clinton to take down Osama bin Laden on numerous occasions, resulted in the 9/11 Islamist attack on our nation and George W. Bush’s subsequent launch of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Those operations, and subsequent regional operations, have been very costly in terms of human life and national treasure. Of course, the most costly failure in the region was the unchallenged rise of the Islamic State under the Obama/Clinton watch — left for the current administration to clean up. Fortunately, the Trump administration’s military leaders have done that.

All said, the point is that the domino effect of not finishing the job can be very costly.

On the domestic front, perhaps GHWB’s greatest lasting achievement was his nomination and subsequent appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas, following his unfortunate nomination of David Souter, who became a reliably liberal vote on the High Court. Bush also elevated the judicial careers of future Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Ahead of his 1992 reelection bid, Bush broke his bold 1998 campaign promise — “Read my lips: no new taxes!” In doing so, he betrayed Reagan’s grassroots coalition. His mistake, of course, was one that other Republican presidents have made: trusting Democrats to do what they promised — in this case, to make $2 in spending cuts for every $1 of tax increase in order to reduce the federal budget deficit.

As columnist Ken Blackwell observed, “Despite a stratospheric 91% approval rating following his lightning victory over Saddam Hussein’s forces in the first Gulf War, Bush’s standing sagged for two years. His broken promise fueled grassroots rage and the Perot challenge. Bush 41 fell to Bill Clinton in the 1992 election, gaining an abysmal 37% of the popular vote. Columnist George Will said he had made a sow’s ear of the Reagan silk purse.”

In March of 1992, Bush lamented: “I thought this one compromise — and it was a compromise — would result in no more tax increases. I thought it would result in total control of domestic discretionary spending. And now we see Congress talking about raising taxes again. So, I’m disappointed, and given all of that, yes, [it was] a mistake.”

As economist and scholar Thomas Sowell concluded, “When the first President Bush looked at his watch during a nationally televised Presidential debate, he epitomized what has been wrong with Republicans for years. A member of the audience had just asked a stupid question. Ronald Reagan would have been all over him, like a linebacker blitzing a quarterback. But Bush 41 just looked at his watch, as if he couldn’t wait for this to be over.”

Bush’s character, honor, and dignity did not translate to an effective reelection campaign, and he appeared to be out of fight.

Contributing to his defeat, however, was a lot of “fake news.” That’s right — the mainstream media was saturating its consumers with a lot of fake news then, too.

One example would be the perennial myth that Bush lost a second term because of a failing economy. The fact is, Bush’s last month in office was the 22nd consecutive month of positive growth, capped by an average 3.2% GDP growth for 1992, his last year in office.

And one particularly memorable and effective example of the New York Times’s long history of fake-news reporting occurred during Bush’s reelection campaign.

Under the headline, “Bush Encounters the Supermarket, Amazed,” the Times asserted that, upon visiting the technology section at a National Grocers Association convention, President Bush had never seen an electronic grocery checkout scanner, which had been in wide use for more than 15 years. The Times declared, “This career politician, who has lived the cloistered life of a top Washington bureaucrat for decades, is having trouble presenting himself to the electorate as a man in touch with middle-class life. … Today, for instance, he emerged from 11 years in Washington’s choicest executive mansions to confront the modern supermarket.”

This fake news was consequential because it was dutifully repeated ad nauseam by the rest of the Leftmedia propagandists.

Problem is, it didn’t happen, as columnist Larry Elder documented and debunked in a recent review of NYT fake news. No Times reporter covered the event — they were just headlining some other pool reporter’s fake news. Of the NYT’s reporting, the systems analyst who showed Mr. Bush the scanner said, “The whole thing is ludicrous.”

But the intended damage was done, and the image of Bush as a rich, out-of-touch politician was solidified.

The Party of Reagan withered under the “kinder, gentler” administration of his successor, and, consequently, the nation suffered further indignity under two scandal-plagued Bill Clinton (and Hillary Clinton terms).

But as William Murchison observed, “That man — Bush 41 — did his best for the country he loved and served; furthermore, he did it with class rather than showmanship, dignity and honor rather than demagoguery and the crossing of fingers inside coat pockets.”

Indeed he did.

And President Bush demonstrated his class when, after being defeated in an ugly campaign, he left a kind letter to Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. He wrote in part: “There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course. You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.” (That letter stands in stark contrast to the Clinton regime’s actual tenure and, notably, the fact that they and their staff vandalized and looted the White House upon their departure.)

Notably, in another letter to his granddaughter after leaving office, he wrote, “I was right when I said, as President, there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.” Indeed, his life was characterized by service to others, and the same can be said of his sons George and Jeb in their years of public service.

I will remember President Bush best through a few quotes that best capture his character — the talk he walked.

“There is a God and He is good, and His love, while free, has a self-imposed cost: We must be good to one another.”

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.”

“In crucial things, unity. In important things, diversity. In all things, generosity.”

“This is America … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

“Be bold in your caring, be bold in your dreaming and above all else, always do your best.”

“No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.”

“We know what works: Freedom works. We know what’s right: Freedom is right. We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on Earth: through free markets, free speech, free elections, and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state.”

“The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change, a symbol of hope to all the world.”

“Losing is never easy. Trust me; I know something about that.”

“Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Forgive. Stay the course.”

“I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.”

President Bush should also be remembered for his lighter moments, such as declaring, “I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

And recall his reaction to “Saturday Night Live” comedian Dana Carvey’s Bush impersonation at the White House Christmas in 1992. He quipped, “I have opinions of my own — strong opinions — but I don’t always agree with them.”

In self-deprecation, he said, “Fluency in English is something I’m not often accused of.” George W. received that gene!

And he said, “I like a colorful sock. I’m a sock man.” He will be interred in a pair of his favorite colorful socks.

Lying in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Monday evening, there were long lines of dignitaries and citizens bidding him farewell.

Addressing those gathered in the Capitol, Vice President Mike Pence said, “The Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn, and grieve with those who grieve. And today, on behalf of the First Family, and my family, and the American people, we offer our deepest sympathies and respects to your family. And we thank you for sharing this special man with our nation and the world.”

President and Mrs. Trump quietly paid their respects, and typical of the Bush family, they have ensured that the ceremony at National Cathedral Wednesday did not become a “bash Trump” spectacle as did the funeral earlier this year of Sen. John McCain. A Bush family spokesman noted in advance that it would be a fitting “celebration of the noble public service that George H.W. Bush gave. It’s not going to be about anybody else.”

In his statement on the passing of President Bush, President Trump noted, “Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world. Along with his full life of service to country, we will remember President Bush for his devotion to family — especially the love of his life, Barbara. His example lives on, and will continue to stir future Americans to pursue a greater cause. Our hearts ache with his loss, and we, with the American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family, as we honor the life and legacy of 41.”

Wednesday morning at National Cathedral, President Bush was eulogized by his devoted son, George W. Bush. He was joined in remarks by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, and his biographer Jon Meacham.

According to Meacham:

“He believed that to whom much was given, much is expected, and because life gave him so much, he gave back again, and again, and again. … in his personal life, he stood in the breach against heartbreak and hurt, always offering an outstretched hand, a warm word, a sympathetic tear. … Abraham Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’ and George H.W. Bush’s ‘thousand points of light’ are companion verses in America’s national hymn. For Lincoln and Bush both called on us to choose the right over the convenient, to hope rather than two fear, and two heed not our worst impulses but our best instincts.”

For his part, George W. offered these endearing words for the father he loved:

“For Dad’s part, [his] brushes with death made him cherish the gift of life and he vowed to live every day to the fullest. … Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was and empathetic man. He valued character over pedigree. And he was no cynic — he looked for the good and each person and he usually found it. Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary — that one that can serve with integrity and hold true to important values like faith and family. … He recognized that serving others enriched the giver’s soul. To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light. … He loved to laugh [and] placed great value on a good joke. That’s why he chose Simpson to speak! … We tested his patience — I know I did — but he always responded with the great gift of unconditional love. Last Friday, when I was told he had minutes to live, I called him. The doctor who answered the phone said, ‘I think he can hear you but he hasn’t said anything for most of the day.’ I said, ‘Dad I love you and you’ve been a wonderful father.’ And the last words he would ever say on earth were, ‘I love you too.’ … Finally, every day of his 73 years of marriage, Dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband. … After Mom died he was strong but all he really wanted to do was hold Mom’s hand again. … In his inaugural address, he said this: ‘We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and his town better than he found it.'”

In conclusion, George W. said, “Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever. So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you … the best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again.”

The tears he shed with those final words spoke volumes about the love between a father and son, as well as the foundation of love upon which this family was built.

On Thursday, President Bush will return to Houston for a memorial service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and eulogies by his grandson, George P. Bush, and former Secretary of State James Baker.

God bless you President Bush. Tailwinds and Following Seas. And on your final flight, we wish you Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited!

December 5 Seeing the Reality of a Transformed Life

Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.

Acts 28:30–31

Today’s verse shows that while Paul was under house arrest “in his own rented house,” he continued to minister. In spite of the circumstances, Paul continued to do what he had been called to do.

You may find yourself thinking, I can’t go and preach the gospel. I can’t be an evangelist, or a Bible teacher. I’m stuck with my job. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re chained to a desk, an assembly line, a classroom, a car, or a sales position—they all provide opportunities for you to further the gospel. The worse your confinement, the greater the opportunity for a godly life to shine.

People often tell me how hard it is to witness where they work. My response is that it is generally harder to witness under ideal conditions than in a more difficult situation. That’s because in difficult situations the reality of a transformed life is more apparent, and that can’t help but be attractive to those who haven’t experienced it.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 366). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 5, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

5 ואהבת את יהוה אלהיך, “you shall love YHWH your God”—as W. Moran has remarked, the command to love belongs to the treaty language of the ancient Near East (CBQ 25 [1963] 144–47). It should be noted, however, that the language of loving God is not drawn directly from treaty terminology as such (see J. W. McKay, Tg. 22 [1972] 426–35). The effect is to emphasize that God’s actions in the historical events that make up the exodus-conquest provide the motivation for a covenant relationship between God and his people.

בכל לבבך ובכל נפשׁך ובכל מאדך, “with all your heart and with all your being and with all your might.” The pairing of לבב, “heart,” and נפשׁ, “being, soul-life,” suggests that a distinction of some sort is being made between mental and emotional energy and activity. In terms of modern depth psychology, we would say that our love for God is to embrace the whole of our mind, both conscious and unconscious. Self-discipline is required, in that we are to love God with all our might (מאד) as well.[1]


6:5. The faith statement of the Shema is followed up by the charge to love the Lord your God, implying complete devotion to Him and not just emotional attraction. Moses’ sense of love is to express loyalty to Him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. The whole person is to express this loyal devotion to God. The heart was generally associated in Hebrew thinking with the mind, the soul denoted the innermost being or emotions, and might refers to doing the previous two injunctions exceedingly (lit., “very, very much”). The repetition of the word “all” shows that Israel’s commitment to the Lord was to be undivided and complete.[2]


6:5. To love the Lord means to choose Him for an intimate relationship and to obey His commands. This command, to love Him, is given often in Deuteronomy (v. 5; 7:9; 10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:3; 19:9; 30:6, 16, 20). Loving Him was to be wholehearted (with all your heart) and was to pervade every aspect of an Israelite’s being and life (soul and strength).[3]


6:5 — “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Of all God’s commandments, this is the central and most important one. When we love God first and foremost, obedience follows as a natural result and ceases to be a chore (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3).[4]


6:5 love. See 4:37. all. That the Lord alone is Israel’s God leads to the demand for Israel’s exclusive and total devotion to him. heart … soul … might. All Israelites in their total being are to love the Lord; “this is the great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:38). In Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27, Jesus also includes “mind.” In early Hebrew, “heart” included what we call the “mind”. “Might” indicates energy and ability.

6:5 Love for God is the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37–38). One’s relation to God himself is central to life, and true love for God and reconciliation to God are possible only in Christ (John 14:6; Rom. 5:1–10).[5]


6:5 you shall love The command is not a demand to manufacture false emotion but to cultivate a disposition (see Lev 19:17–18).

with all of your heart and with all of your soul The Hebrew terms levav (often translated “heart”) and nephesh (often translated “soul”) do not refer to separate components of the human person. Rather, the terms overlap in meaning, conveying the internal life, dispositions, emotions, and intellect.

might The Hebrew word here is not a noun but an adverb meaning “exceedingly.” This description of love of Yahweh thus implies totality: as Yahweh is undivided unity and alone worthy of worship, so the Israelites must have undivided loyalty to Him.[6]


6:5 all your might. The Hebrew expresses totality. For this reason the New Testament sometimes renders it with “mind and strength” (Mark 12:30). This is the language of devotion. God does not demand mere outward obedience to a law, but the heartfelt love and commitment of the whole person (Prov. 23:26).[7]


6:5 The principle of love is a major theme in Deuteronomy. In Luke 10:27 Jesus stressed love as the essence of pure religion, and elsewhere He referred to it as a kind of “eleventh commandment” (Matt. 22:34–40; John 13:34; cf. Rom. 13:10).[8]


[1] Christensen, D. L. (2001). Deuteronomy 1–21:9 (Vol. 6A, p. 143). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[2] Coakley, J. F. (2014). Deuteronomy. In The moody bible commentary (p. 277). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] Deere, J. S. (1985). Deuteronomy. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 274). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Dt 6:5). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 341). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Dt 6:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 254). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[8] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Dt 6:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

December 5, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump’s top diplomat promised on Tuesday a new democratic world order in which Washington will strengthen or jettison international agreements as it sees fit to stop “bad actors” such as Russia, China and Iran from gaining.

Croatia is suffering a severe labor shortage, most glaringly in its booming seaside tourist resorts, that is compounding obstacles to economic growth and dimming hopes of catching up to more developed European Union peers.

A team from Yemen’s Saudi-backed government left for Sweden on Wednesday to attend peace talks with members of the Iran-aligned Houthi group, in a renewed U.N. push to end a war that has pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

Doctors in Sierra Leone’s public hospitals were on strike on Wednesday to protest against low wages and poor working conditions, and nurses said they may follow suit.

Scores of people were arrested in Italy and other European countries on Wednesday in a raid on the ‘Ndrangheta cocaine-trafficking group that officials said is the largest sweep of its kind.

Alphabet’s Waymo on Wednesday launched a significant development in its costly, decade-long quest for autonomous transportation: self-driving taxis that actually generate fares.

In a vast warehouse complex 40 miles north of London, staff are wrestling with ways to cram in more goods after a surge in demand from companies building stockpiles ahead of Brexit.

Britain’s BT Group said on Wednesday it was removing Huawei Technologies’ equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the Chinese company in central parts of the next network.

Finland’s Supercell, maker of the Clash of Clans mobile game, said on Wednesday it would fund a new software programming school free of tuition fees to be established in Helsinki next year, to combat a lack of skilled coders.

German auto giant Volkswagen will begin rolling out its last generation of combustion engine cars in 2026 and predicted that the last vehicle with a combustion engine would be sold around 2040, in its latest green pledge as it looks to turn the corner on the “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal.

AP Top Stories

The number of migrants arriving in Yemen is set to rise 50 percent this year compared to 2017, with almost 150,000 risking all on the journey from the Horn of Africa toward the Arabian Gulf, the U.N. migration agency said on Tuesday.

The United States urged the European Union on Monday to apply sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program, calling it a “grave and escalating threat.”

The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday at the request of France and Britain after they accused Iran of test-firing a medium-range missile at the weekend.

Teachers employed by a Chicago charter school network took to the picket lines in what their union described as the first strike at any of the privately run, taxpayer-funded schools in the U.S.

Pope Francis has suggested that being gay has become “fashionable” in some modern-day societies ― a remark that has prompted concern among queer Catholics. Francis reportedly said that there is “no place for this kind of affection” in the lives of Roman Catholic priests, religious brothers and religious sisters.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley is urging countries at the United Nations to back a US-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinian Hamas movement, warning in a letter that the United States takes the vote “very seriously.”

Russia will develop missiles now banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty if the United States exits the arms control pact and starts making such weapons, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Mexico’s new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he was sending a bill to Congress to eliminate presidential immunity, which the anti-establishment leftist says has fueled corruption.

Wisconsin Republicans are attempting a dramatic re-shifting of power in the state that would undermine the incoming Democratic administration even before they even start their first day.

The death toll in California’s Cam Fire has been lowered from 88 to 85 after authorities realized that the remains of at least one person had been mistakenly put into different bags, Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea said Monday.

Madrid has ordered electric scooters off the city’s streets within 72 hours amid claims they are a public nuisance and just days after a 90-year-old pedestrian was killed in a collision.

BBC

A satanic group has added its own statue to a series of displays in the government building of the US state of Illinois to mark the festive season. Placed between a Christmas tree and a menorah, the four-foot sculpture depicts a snake coiled around an outstretched arm holding an apple. It’s the first display sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Temple of Satan.

A healthy baby girl has been born using a womb transplanted from a dead person. The 10-hour transplant operation – and later fertility treatment – took place in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2016. The mother, 32, was born without a womb. There have been 39 womb transplants using a live donor, including mothers donating their womb to their daughter, resulting in 11 babies. But the 10 previous transplants from a dead donor have failed or resulted in miscarriage.

WND

Detroit woman heading out the door on her way to church Sunday shot and killed an intruder who forced her and two other women back into their home. Detroit Police determined the woman who fired the gun, age 55, acted in self-defense and won’t face any charges.

A principal in Nebraska banned red and green items from her school this time of year because they are “Christmas colors.” But the draconian order from Principal Jennifer Sinclair of Manchester Elementary School in the Elkhorn Public Schools District was overturned after her actions drew a response from Liberty Counsel.


News – 12/5/2018

Survey Reveals Many Christians Deeply Confused About Biblical Theology
To give an example of how the survey exposed heretical beliefs held by the majority of the Christians interviewed, 52% responded that most people are basically good, 51% believe that God accepts the worship of all religions and 78% subscribe to the Arian Heresy, which teaches that Jesus was the first and great being created by God the Father. In fact, Jesus is not a created being; He is God the Son.

Rouhani: If we can’t export oil, no one will
Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday appeared to threaten to disrupt other countries’ oil shipments through the Gulf if Washington presses ahead with efforts to halt Iranian oil exports, Reuters reported. “America should know that we are selling our oil and will continue to sell our oil and they are not able to stop our oil exports,” Rouhani said in a televised speech during a trip to the northern Iranian city of Shahroud.

Yellow vest protesters reject Macron government U-turn on fuel tax hikes
However, many of the “gilets jaunes” who have been blocking roads and even fuel depots around France for the past three weeks insisted the measures were “too little too late” and called for fresh protests next Saturday. Most opposition figures said the same. “We don’t want crumbs, we want the whole baguette,” said Benjamin Cauchy, one of the founding figures of the movement, who called for nothing short of a “new division of wealth in France”.

Australia to pass sweeping anti-encryption laws
Technology companies are concerned that the law would undermine cyber security for businesses by allowing the government to force the installation of back doors allowing for secret access. They argue that it is not technically possible to create a back door which only government authorities could access. Despite these criticisms, the government has warned companies that they could face multi-million dollar fines if they fail to comply with its orders. “But this compromise will deliver security and enforcement agencies the powers they say they need …”.

As crisis grips France, Europe holds its breath
The man who won French elections in a landslide is seen increasingly as tin-eared when it comes to the concerns of millions of French people. They are motivated by the perception that the system now favours only the rich, the elites and the ruling class. Sound familiar?

Iran to increase missile range despite US criticism
Iran plans to increase the range of its missiles, a senior military official said Tuesday, according to Reuters. “One of our most important programs is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition,” said the head of the Iranian air force, Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Rand Paul: Deep State is rising
The Washington Examiner reported Paul was reacting to a briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in which only a select few senators were admitted. This is the very definition of the Deep State,” the Republican senator said. “The Deep State is that the intelligence agencies do things, conclude things, make conclusions, but then the elected officials are prevented from knowing about this.

U.S. Asserts Authority at NATO in Stinging Criticism
Pompeo, addressing a gathering of NATO leaders on Tuesday, offered a sobering rebuke of the international treaty group, telling the crowd the Trump administration will not stand down in the face of rising threats from a host of rogue regimes. Pompeo had harsh words for the United Nations as well, telling leaders the international organization has failed to uphold Western values amid rising threats from rogue nations that seek to buck the global order. “At the United Nations, peacekeeping missions drag on for decades. The U.N.’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations as a vehicle to redistribute wealth,” Pompeo said.

Media: Turkey planning to create naval base in Northern Cyprus
Turkey is planning to create a naval base in Northern Cyprus, Turkish media reported Dec. 3. The reports note that the issue was discussed against the backdrop of tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean. The naval base is expected to be established in early 2019, the reports said. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has earlier said that Turkey can establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus, if necessary. He noted that the presence of the Turkish armed forces in the territory is very important.

US Navy sends aircraft carrier to Persian Gulf in display of force after Iran’s ballistic missile test
Following Iran’s brazen nuclear-capable ballistic missile test over the weekend, the U.S. is deploying an aircraft carrier to the region. USS John C. Stennis and its support ships are en route to the Persian Gulf in the first U.S. military activity in the region in some eight months, a presence intended to act as a show of force against Iran,

Russia offers reserved support for Israel’s anti-tunnel operation
Moscow expressed reserved support on Wednesday for Israel’s efforts to neutralize terror tunnels from Lebanon, but said it hoped these efforts will not conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 1701. That resolution from 2006 put an end to the Second Lebanon War and called for the Blue Line, the border between Israel and Lebanon, to be respected.

Lebanese president tells army to ‘closely monitor’ IDF anti-tunnel operation
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun called on Lebanon’s military and security wings to “closely monitor” the situation in the south on Tuesday, in response to the initiation of the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield, according to Lebanese news agency Naharnet. The IDF had launched an operation in which the military is seeking out and destroying suspected Hezbollah built tunnels leading into Israel.

US reopens diplomatic mission in Somalia after 28-year closure
The US has established its first diplomatic presence in Somalia for nearly 30 years. The state department said the “historic event” reflected the progress the east African nation had made. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto is heading the embassy in Mogadishu. Previously it had been based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Satanic Sculpture Installed At Illinois Statehouse, Just In Time For The Holidays
In the Illinois Capitol rotunda this month, several traditions are being celebrated. There’s a Nativity scene for Christmas, a menorah for Hanukkah, and then something a little different: an arm holding an apple, with a snake coiled around it. It’s a gift from the Chicago branch of The Satanic Temple. Called “Snaketivity,” the work also has a sign that reads “Knowledge Is The Greatest Gift.”

IMF’s Lagarde urges US, others to reject ‘dystopian’ path
Countries that go it alone and fail to adapt to new economic realities could face a “dystopian” future where an angry majority are left behind, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Tuesday. She urged world leaders to remember the lesson of the global recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis: “international cooperation is essential, not optional.”

Hezbollah’s plan to conquer the Galilee
Hezbollah’s “Conquering the Galilee” plan has made headlines long before the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield…to expose and neutralize terror tunnels…along the Israel-Lebanon border… The plan entails fighters from Hezbollah’s elite Radwan unit infiltrating Israel from Lebanon, entrenching themselves in Israeli communities near the border while taking hostages and using Israeli citizens as human shields.

Islamic State executing people in Syria’s Deir al-Zor: U.N.
The United Nations has reports of Islamic State (ISIL) executing people perceived as cooperating with rebel fighters in Deir al-Zor governorate in eastern Syria, the U.N. human rights boss said on Wednesday. Michelle Bachelet, speaking to a news conference in Geneva, voiced deep concern for 7,000 civilians who she said were trapped between Islamic State fighters preventing them from leaving Deir al-Zor and air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition.

New Caledonia, Vanuatu order evacuations after powerful quake, but suffer little impact
New Caledonia and Vanuatu ordered coastal evacuations on Wednesday after a powerful undersea earthquake triggered tsunami warnings in the South Pacific, but appeared to have suffered little damage. The quake tmsnrt.rs/2QdrtkL of magnitude 7.6, which struck east of New Caledonia, was just 10 km (6 miles) deep and about 155 km (95 miles) east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

First sun-dimming experiment will test a way to cool Earth
Researchers plan to spray sunlight-reflecting particles into the stratosphere, an approach that could ultimately be used to quickly lower the planet’s temperature.

Nancy Pelosi Tries to Reassure Jews After Incoming Democrats Back Anti-Israel BDS
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the likely next Speaker of the House, is trying to reassure Jewish groups after several newly-elected Democrats have vowed openly to support “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” (BDS) against Israel.

LADYBOY: The Odds-On Favorite To Win The Miss Universe Pageant In Thailand This Year Is Actually A Transgender Man Named Angela Ponce
can remember when being a woman was seen as a special thing. Think about it. Only half of anyone ever to be born, in all of human history, could be one. No painting, so sculpture, no line of music, however exotic or compelling, could ever hope to compare with the visual beauty seen in the face of a God-created woman. After God had given Adam literally everything, He had to make a women in order for Adam to be complete and fulfilled. Not any more.

Just In: Thousands Of Emails Of Top Republican Officials Stolen In Major Hack
..Email accounts from four top aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were hacked and surveilled for several months. The hack was first detected in April by an MSSP, a managed security services provider that monitors the NRCC’s network; the FBI was then alerted.

Iran vows to increase missile range despite looming UN meet
Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting concerning Iran’s weekend test of a nuclear-capable missile, Tehran’s air force chief adopted a defiant tone Tuesday, insisting his country would continue to increase the range of its missiles.

Criminal Record for Doctor Who Gave Illegal Sex Hormones to Kids
A GP who gave out sex-change hormones to children as young as 12 has been fined £14,000 after she was criminally convicted of running an illegal online gender clinic from her home in Wales.

Leaked Documents Reveal Democrats’ Plans to Control Social Media
A leaked memo has exposed plans by the Democratic Party to take control of the Internet’s leading tech platforms.

Lebanese Army On High Alert As Israel Launches ‘Operation Northern Shield’ To Destroy Complex Network of Hezbollah Underground Tunnels
Since 2012, terror group Hezbollah has had a plan they call ‘Conquering the Galilee‘, and it is basically what you would think it is. It is the endless and ongoing operation by Islamic terrorists to drive the Jews into the sea, and destroy Israel once and for all.

South Africa: Johannesburg names road after “Palestinian” terrorist Leila Khaled
This is no surprise. South Africa’s government has long distinguished itself for its Jew-hatred. Pro-jihad former South African President (and polygamist and accused rapist) Jacob Zuma had downgraded  South Africa’s embassy in Israel to “Liaison Office” status. Along with Mahmoud Abbas, they have tried to stop Israel from achieving further diplomatic relations with African countries.


Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“It is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our government… Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

Is Mueller’s Investigation Wrapping Up?

The special prosecutor recommends no jail time for Flynn. Meanwhile, Grassley reminds us of Clinton.

Socialist Climate Policies Drive France’s Riots

French protesters want what all socialists want: Lavish benefits paid for by someone else.

Trump and Graham Play Good Cop, Bad Cop

Trump’s strategy is to keep the Saudis in our corner but get them to be better allies.

Paul Ryan’s Tarnished Speakership

Despite his reputation as a budget hawk, Ryan watched as spending skyrocketed again.

Pope Francis: Homosexuals Should Leave Priesthood

“It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life.”

Government and Alcohol

Today marks the 85th anniversary of the end of Prohibition … at least federally speaking.

Video: Google and Facebook Cross ‘The Creepy Line’

John Stossel talks about how they collect information about us and sell it to advertisers.

Wednesday Short Cuts

Non Compos Mentis II: “Face it — you can’t claim to be a feminist and still eat eggs.” —PETA

Wednesday Top Headlines

NRCC cyber intrusion, Dow plunges, troop deployment extended, INF treaty in limbo, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Jonah Goldberg
George H.W. Bush Was a Steward of Stability
Marc A. Thiessen
For Just a Few Days, Let’s Be the Nation George H.W. Bush Wanted Us to Be
Hans von Spakovsky
Cohen, Manafort Developments Don’t Reveal Any Illegal Conduct or Collusion by Trump, His Campaign
Walter E. Williams
Miseducated or Stupid?
Star Parker
Thinking About What’s Right in America

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


Headlines – 12/5/2018

Israel’s Army Says It Found Tunnels Dug By Hezbollah Beneath Border With Lebanon

Israel announces operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels under its northern border

IDF says 200-meter attack tunnel from Lebanon uncovered as operation launches

Israel uses robot to fire on Hezbollah operatives in discovered tunnel

Katz: Nasrallah was left ‘in shock’ by Israel’s tunnel operation

Lebanese president instructs security forces to ‘closely monitor’ Israeli operation

Operation Northern Shield expected to take weeks to complete

‘Operation could be precursor to war’

Hezbollah tunnels are ‘concrete threat’ to Israel’s Galilee region, Netanyahu says

Tunnels are only a precursor to the real threat

Analysts: dealing with Hezbollah tunnels first step before going after missiles

Hezbollah: Netanyahu is in crisis

Israel to protest Hezbollah tunnels as violation of U.N. resolution

Israeli delegation to UN to file complaint against Lebanon’s hostilities

Bolton: U.S. strongly supports Israel’s efforts against Hezbollah

US envoy: ‘we strongly support Israel’s efforts to defend itself’

Minister says northern op proves Liberman resignation was ‘irresponsible’

White House Asks Arab Countries to Support UN Resolution Against Hamas

Israeli envoy confident UN condemnation of Hamas will pass

Netanyahu hated George H.W. Bush’s peace plan. Now it’s his policy

Hundreds Of Holocaust Survivors Speak Up About Anti-Semitism At Global Hanukkah Event

Evidence of Rohingya genocide is ‘compelling,’ US Holocaust Museum says

Syrian Army Raises Alert Over Israel Air Force Activity Along Lebanese Border, Report Says

The Russian-Israeli Crisis over Syria Lacks an Exit Strategy

Like Ukraine, Israel Must Confront Putin and His Evil Intentions

Analysis: The Iranian plan for attacks from Syria that Israel wants to thwart

Iran moves closer to adopting law against funding terrorism

Cracks in Iran deal coalition? Europeans fume over Tehran missile test

Iran wants to expand missile range despite US ire

US urges UN to condemn Iran missile test

UN Security Council to meet on Iranian missile test

Missiles have given ‘veto power’ to Iran in strategic regional issues

Iran’s Rouhani renews threat to blockade Gulf oil shipments

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatens to close Strait of Hormuz if US blocks oil exports

US will not stop Iran exporting oil, Iranian president says

Oil prices slip on global growth concerns, swelling U.S. supply

Kremlin: Putin doesn’t feel snubbed by Trump canceling talks

U.S. threatens to kill nuclear treaty after Russia found in violation

Russia says U.S. has shown no evidence it is in breach of nuclear treaty

Kremlin: US ultimatum on nuclear treaty is tactical ploy

Growing split in Seoul over North Korea threatens Korea detente, nuclear talks

John Bolton says North Korea failure to meet commitments requires second Trump-Kim summit

After CIA Briefing, Senators Lay Blame On Saudi Crown Prince In Khashoggi Killing

Trump largely alone as world leaders take aim at nationalism

Study: More than 7-in-10 California Immigrant Households Are on Welfare

Mattis orders US troops to stay on southern border through Christmas

Republican campaign emails hacked months before election

Mueller memo says Michael Flynn has provided ‘substantial assistance,’ recommends lenient sentence

Roger Stone pleads Fifth, won’t give testimony or documents to Senate Judiciary Committee

Grassley wants answers about FBI raid on whistleblower with information on Clinton Foundation, Uranium One

In the Age of Trump, Can Scandal Still Sink a Politician?

IMF’s Lagarde urges US, others to reject ‘dystopian’ path

Donald Trump Building New Liberal World Order Despite Global Critics, Mike Pompeo Declares

Trump says there will be a ‘REAL DEAL’ or no deal at all with China

Dow falls 800 points on China trade confusion and mounting fear tariffs are choking global growth

Bank stocks fall the most since June 2016, enter bear market

Britain can unilaterally stop Brexit process, EU lawyers say

Digital-media bubble is bursting. That’s hurting generation of promising young journalists.

Secret Service testing use of facial recognition outside White House

NYPD launches drone program

Strong earthquake hits South Pacific on “Ring of Fire”

7.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Tobelo, Indonesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sibolga, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Farallon de Pajaros, Northern Mariana

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sarangani, Philippines

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 10,500ft

France protests: Will the environment be the true victim of the fuel-tax riots?

France’s protesters are part of a global backlash against climate change taxes

Trump points to French riots to justify pulling out of Paris climate deal

5.1 million pounds of beef added to recall due to salmonella

Wisdom Tooth Surgery a Gateway to Teen Opioid Addiction, Study Finds

500 British kids get emergency vaccinations after measles spreads from Israel

Blood test to detect cancer within just 10 minutes developed by scientists

World’s First Baby Born Via Uterus Transplant From Deceased Donor

Rumours Claim The Chinese ‘CRISPR Babies’ Scientist Has Gone Missing

China’s 30-40 Million Men Who Will Never Have Wives Driving Sex Slavery of Girls

Gamblers Doubling Down on Transgender Miss Universe Contestant to Win Pageant

‘VeggieTales’ Called Racist Because Enemies Are ‘Vegetables of Color’

Satanic Sculpture Installed At Illinois Statehouse, Just In Time For The Holidays

Satanic statue displayed at Illinois capitol building alongside nativity scene, menorah

Phrases like ‘bringing home the bacon’ may soon be eschewed following rise in veganism, academic claims


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December 5 Christ Remained God

“Although He existed in the form of God, [Christ] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself.”

Philippians 2:6–7

✧✧✧

Christ emptied Himself without ever surrendering His deity.

Note the contrast in Philippians 2 between verses 6 and 7: Christ didn’t think equality something to be grasped but instead emptied Himself. Paul used the contrasting connective “but” to show that being equal with God didn’t lead Christ to fill Himself up but instead to empty Himself.

The Greek verb translated “emptied” (kenoo) is where we get the theological term kenosis—the doctrine of Christ’s self–emptying as part of His incarnation. The verb expresses Christ’s self–renunciation, His refusal to cling to His advantages and privileges as God.

What did Christ empty Himself of? Certainly not His deity. He coexists with the Father and the Spirit. For Him to become less than God would mean the Trinity would cease to exist. Christ could not become less than who He truly is.

Professor Paul Enns, in his Moody Handbook of Theology, explains the emptying of Christ this way: “The emptying was not a subtraction but an addition. The four following phrases (Phil. 2:7–8) explain the emptying: ‘(a) taking the form of a bond–servant, and (b) being made in the likeness of men. And (c) being found in appearance as a man, (d) He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.’ The ‘emptying’ of Christ was taking on an additional nature, a human nature with its limitations. His deity was never surrendered.” Christ didn’t exchange deity for humanity; He retained His divine nature.

In his hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” Charles Wesley correctly presented the truths of Christ’s deity when he wrote:

Veiled in flesh the God–head see;

Hail th’ incarnate Deity,

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus, our Emmanuel.

May those words be the song of your heart as well.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for emptying Himself for your sake.

For Further Study: Read 2 Corinthians 8:9. Why did Christ become “poor”? ✧ Look at Romans 8:3. Why did God send “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh”?[1]


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

Is the Clinton stadium tour going to be cancelled?

Toronto, 83% empty.  Screen grab from Daily Mail video.

How much money is the publicly-owned, NewYork Stock Exchange-listed concert promoter willing to lose?

So far, half of the events scheduled for the stadium tour of Bill and Hillary Clinton have been canceled.  Even worse, both of the two out of four events canceled were in the United States, and the two conversations delivered to audiences were both in Canada.

Advance ticket sales for last night’s scheduled event in Sugarland, Texas, a suburb of Houston, were so dismal that prices were slashed by 90% for the cheapest seats.  But even that level of discounting apparently didn’t prevent another prospective sea of empty seats, such as the 83% empty arena in Toronto that had to be humiliating for the fading former first family.

The Sugarland gig last night was canceled but has been face-savingly described as “postponed … in order to attend funeral services for former President George H.W. Bush.”

I call BS.  This claim doesn’t withstand minimal scrutiny.  The state funeral honoring the forty-first president is taking place today, and it takes less than three hours to fly from Houston to Washington, D.C.  I strongly suspect that the Clintons’ contract with Live Nation, the sponsor of the tour, does not have them flying commercial airlines, so a post-presentation departure from the very nice executive terminal at Sugarland Airport (I’ve been there – it’s a busy hub for corporate jets) into Reagan National Airport could have gotten them a full night’s sleep before attending the state funeral today.

So, with all of the American sites so far canceled (the kickoff presentation in Las Vegas was canceled without explanation, it seem quite possible that the entire tour will be deep-sixed, a mercy killing, if you will.

Here is the original list of planned dates:

Hillary and Bill Clinton 2018-2019 Tour: Dates, Tickets 

Nov. 18 – Las Vegas – Park Theater 

Nov. 27 – Toronto – Scotiabank Arena

Nov. 28 – Montreal – Bell Centre 

Dec. 4 – Sugar Land, Texas – Smart Financial Center 

April 11, 2019 – New York – Beacon Theatre 

April 12, 2019 – Detroit – Fox Theatre 

April 13, 2019 – Philadelphia – The Met 

April 26, 2019 – Wallingford, Conn. – Toyota Oakdale Theatre 

April 27, 2019 – Washington, D.C. – DAR Constitutional Hall

April 30, 2019 – Boston – Opera House 

May 2, 2019 – Vancouver, B.C. – Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena 

May 3, 2019 – Seattle – WaMu Theater 

May 4, 2019 – Los Angeles – The Forum 

The contract between the Clintons and the tour-promoter, Live Nation, a publicly owned New York Stock Exchange-listed company with over ten billion dollars a year in sales, is confidential, so I don’t know if the Clintons have a guaranteed minimum compensation.  But it is a pretty safe guess that poor attendance and deep discounts for ticket prices mean that the tour is losing money for Live Nation with each poorly attended show.  It is not cheap to rent stadiums, hire staff, provide security, and charter jets for the Clintons.

How much money would a publicly-owned company be willing to lose in order to save face for the Cintons, nowthat they are unlikely ever to regain use of the Oval Office?

Maybe the evening with the Clintons slated for the Beacon Theatre, a smaller venue right on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, will survive. But I will be watching for further cancellations. There are five while months until the next scheduled appearance on the tour. If I wanted to save face, I’d bury the news of the cancellation around the Christmas holiday  
— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/is_the_clinton_stadium_tour_going_to_be_cancelled.html

December 5 Daily Help

DO not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy. Let us be of good cheer—Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 343). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

If You Murdered A Bunch Of People, Mass Murder Is Your Single Defining Legacy – LewRockwell

Article Image

Thought experiment:

Think of an acquaintance of yours. Not someone you’re particularly close to, just some guy in the cast of extras from the scenery of your life. Now, imagine learning that that guy is a serial murderer, who has been prowling the streets for years stabbing people to death. Imagine he goes his whole life without ever suffering any consequences for murdering all those people, and then when he dies, everyone wants to talk about how great he was and share heartwarming anecdotes about him. If you try to bring up the whole serial killing thing, people react with sputtering outrage that you would dare to speak ill of such a noble and wonderful person.

“Look, I didn’t agree with everything he did, but you can’t just let one not-so-great thing from a man’s life eclipse all the other good things he’s accomplished,” they protest. “For example, did you know he was a baseball captain at Yale?”

“But… what about all those people he murdered?” you reply.

“God, why can’t you just pay respect to a great man in our time of mourning??” they shout in exasperation.

— Read on www.lewrockwell.com/2018/12/no_author/if-you-murdered-a-bunch-of-people-mass-murder-is-your-single-defining-legacy/

George Bush’s Wars Set the Stage for 25 Years of Endless War | Mises Wire

By 1989, it had become apparent to all — everyone except the CIA, of course — that the Soviet economy, and thus the Soviet state was in very deep trouble.

In November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down in the face of Soviet impotence. And, with the Cold-War corpse not even cold yet, president George Bush used the newly apparent Soviet weakness as an opportunity to expand US foreign interventionism beyond the limits that had been imposed on it by a competing Soviet Union. Over the next decade, Bush and his successor Bill Clinton — who very much carried on Bush’s ideals of global interventionism — would place Iraq, Somalia, and Yugoslavia in the crosshairs.

But first on Bush’s list was Panama in December 1989. At the time, the Panamanian state was an authoritarian regime that stayed in power largely due to US support, and functioned as an American puppet state in Central America where Communists were often successful in overthrowing right-wing dictatorships. The US regime’s man in Panama was Manuel Noriega. But, after he stopped taking orders from Washington, Noriega became the first in a long line of foreign politicians who were held up as the next “Hitler” by the American propaganda machine. This was done in order to justify what would become an endless policy of invading tiny foreign countries that are no threat to the US — mostly done in the name of “humanitarian” intervention.

Writing in April 1990, Murray Rothbard summed up the situation in Panama:

The U.S. invasion of Panama was the first act of military intervention in the new post-Cold War world — the first act of war since 1945 where the United States has not used Communism or “Marxism-Leninism” as the effective all-purpose alibi. Coming so soon after the end of the Cold War, the invasion was confused and chaotic — a hallmark of Bushian policy in general. Bush’s list of alleged reasons for the invasion were a grab-bag of haphazard and inconsistent arguments — none of which made much sense.

The positive vaunting was, of course, prominent: what was called, idiotically, the “restoration of democracy” in Panama. When in blazes did Panama ever have a democracy? Certainly not under Noriega’s beloved predecessor and mentor, the U.S.’s Panama Treaty partner, General Omar Torrijos. The alleged victory of the unappetizing Guillermo Endara in the abortive Panamanian election was totally unproven. The “democracy” the U.S. imposed was peculiar, to say the least: swearing in Endara and his “cabinet” in secrecy on a US army base.

It was difficult for our rulers to lay on the Noriega “threat” very heavily: Since Noriega, whatever his other sins, is obviously no Marxist-Leninist, and since the Cold War is over anyway it would have been tricky; even embarrassing, to try to paint Noriega and his tiny country as a grave threat to big, powerful United States. And so the Bush administration laid on the “drug” menace with a trowel, braving the common knowledge that Noriega himself was a longtime CIA creature and employee whose drug trafficking was at the very least condoned by the U.S. for many years.

The administration therefore kept stressing that Noriega was simply a “common criminal” who had been indicted in the US (for actions outside the US — so why not indict every other head of state as well — all of whom have undoubtedly committed crimes galore?) so that the invasion was simply a police action to apprehend an alleged fugitive. But what real police action — that is, police action over a territory over which the government has a virtual monopoly of force —involves total destruction of an entire working-class neighborhood, the murder of hundreds of Panamanian civilians as well as American soldiers, and the destruction of a half-billion dollars of civilian property?

The invasion also contained many bizarre elements of low comedy: There was the U.S. government’s attempt to justify the invasion retroactively by displaying Noriega’s plundered effects: porno in the desk drawer (well, gee, that sure justifies mass killing and destruction of property), the obligatory picture of Hitler in the closet (Aha! the Nazi threat again!), the fact that Noriega was stocking a lot of Soviet-made arms (a Commie as well as a Nazi, and “paranoid” too — the deluded fool was actually expecting an American invasion!)

It’s almost darkly comedic how easy it has been to convince the American people to go along with nearly any justification for invading a foreign country, no matter how flimsy. It may be hard for my younger readers to comprehend, but in the late 80s, the American public was so hysterical with fear over street drugs, that it struck many Americans as perfectly reasonable to invade a foreign country, burn down a neighborhood, and send the US Army to lay siege to Panama’s presidential headquarters to catch a single drug kingpin.

After Panama, President Bush moved on to Iraq.

In 1991, Saddam Hussein became the next Hitler, with the media hinting that if left unchecked, Hussein would invade the entire Middle East. “He gassed his own people!” was the endless refrain. The other justification was that Saddam’s government had invaded another country. Rothbard, of course, noted the irony of this “justification”:

But, “he invaded a small country.” Yes, indeed he did. But, are we ungracious for bringing up the undoubted fact that none other than George Bush, not long ago, invaded a very small country: Panama? And to the unanimous huzzahs of the same U.S. media and politicians now denouncing Saddam?

The Iraq war was an even greater political success than the Panama war.  But more importantly, George Bush provided an immeasurably wonderful service to the national security state by making war popular again, after more than a decade of the so-called “Vietnam Syndrome.” As Bush so enthusiastically declared after the end of the Gulf War, “The ghosts of Vietnam have been laid to rest beneath the sands of the Arabian desert.”

Americans, however, would have done well to keep up with a healthy dose of post-Vietnam cynicism. After all, the 1991 Gulf War — a war said to be humanitarian in nature — accomplished little more than to empower Saudi Arabia, a brutal Islamist dictatorship ruled by friends of the Bush family, and which currently wages a blood-soaked war in Yemen against women and children.

But, thanks to Bush’s efforts, war in America was made popular again, and the stage was set for years of follow-up wars waged by Bush successors.

The Clinton Years

By the mid 1990s, Slobodan Milošević was the new Hitler, stepping in to replace Noriega and Hussein as the world’s greatest threats to peace.

The downside of these new Hitlers, of course, was that any reasonable person could see that none of them were any threat whatsoever to the United States.

Even the call for “humanitarian” action rung a little untrue for more astute observers. After all, it struck many people as curious as to why Serbia required bombing for its human rights violations while the genocide in Rwanda — which was occurring right around the same time — was steadfastly ignored by Washington. If human rights were such a major concern for the US state in the 90s, why was there no invasion of North Korea in response to thehorrors of the death camps there?

New life was breathed into the military-interventionist camp after 2001 by Osama bin Laden. But “humanitarian” missions and the search for the next Hitler continue to this day.

In 2011, the usual tactics were employed to justify the invasion of Libya — which only made the country a breeding ground for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

And today, of course, we hear the same things about Bashar Assad in Syria. Like Noriega, Hussein, Milošević, and Qaddafi before him, Assad is obviously no threat to the US or its residents. Indeed, Assad is fighting people who potentially are a threat to US residents. But, since the US military establishment wants Assad gone, some excuse must be manufactured for an invasion.

Ultimately, Rothbard concluded that these methods can be employed against any regime on earth, and wrote sarcastically in 1994: “‘we cannot stand idly by’ while anyone anywhere starves, hits someone over the head, is undemocratic, or commits a Hate Crime.”:

We must face the fact that there is not a single country in the world that measures up to the lofty moral and social standards that are the hallmark of the U.S.A.: even Canada is delinquent and deserves a whiff of grape. There is not a single country in the world which, like the U.S., reeks of democracy and “human rights,” and is free of crime and murder and hate thoughts and undemocratic deeds. Very few other countries are as Politically Correct as the U.S., or have the wit to impose a massively statist program in the name of “freedom,” “free trade,” “multiculturalism,” and “expanding democracy.”

And so, since no other countries shape up to U.S. standards in a world of Sole Superpower they must be severely chastised by the U.S. I make a Modest Proposal for the only possible consistent and coherent foreign policy: the U.S. must, very soon, Invade the Entire World! Sanctions are peanuts; we must invade every country in the world, perhaps softening them up beforehand with a wonderful high-tech missile bombing show courtesy of CNN.

George Bush’s wars would prove to be only an introduction to what was to come during the next 25 years of American foreign policy: target a foreign regime that poses no threat to the US, and manufacture a nice-sounding reason for doing so. Today, the methods are the same, and only the names have changed.
— Read on mises.org/wire/george-bushs-wars-set-stage-25-years-endless-war

December 5 God’s Final Revelation

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2).

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Jesus not only brought but in fact was God’s full and final revelation.

A Samaritan woman declared, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). The expectation of that day, even among the Samaritans, was that Messiah would unfold the full and final revelation of God. The Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, affirms that to be true: “God … in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2).

The Old Testament had given divine revelation in bits and pieces. Every piece was true, yet incomplete. But when Jesus came, the whole picture became clear; and though rejected by His own people, He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the messianic hope they had cherished for so many centuries.

The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived. He is God’s final word: “As many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).

God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That’s why John said, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. … No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14, 18). Paul added that in Christ “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

The practical implications of that truth are staggering. Since Christ is the fullness of divine revelation, you need nothing more. In Him you have been made “complete” (Col. 2:10) and have been granted “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). His Word is sufficient, needing no additions or amendments.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to teach you how to rely more fully on your resources in Christ.

For Further Study: Read John 1:1–18 as a reminder of the fullness of God’s revelation in His Son.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 352). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

John MacArthur on Ben Shapiro Show: Reaction Part 1 — The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

I was excited to watch John MacArthur’s interview with conservative talk show host (and Orthodox Jew) Ben Shapiro on Sunday. Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You (John MacArthur’s online ministry) has said John MacArthur is a Charles Spurgeon for this century, and I agree. John has a succinct way of stating the Gospel and applying it clearly. He has good insights on current culture, as well, yet always brings it back to God.

I enjoyed the beginning part of the interview about government, leaders’ morals, and how to assess a candidate for an election.

I also enjoyed the middle part about how to respond to people who say there are contradictions in parts of the Old Testament. I loved the part where John expounded Isaiah 53. When MacArthur concluded his verse-by-verse exposition through the New testament, he then went to Isaiah 53 and preached Christ from that chapter. It was a tremendous series, later formatted into the book The Gospel According to God.

And I enjoyed the end part where the two men discussed how Judaism and Christianity are alike, and different. The two men have belief systems that are complementary, but diametrically opposed. It’s a so close, yet so far situation.

It’s a great interview to watch not only for the theology. It’s a great piece to watch about how two men who disagree can remain listening to one another, and be affable and gracious.

Here’s the link, and it’s embedded below.

Above I mentioned that MacArthur is a Spurgeon for this century. That isn’t just a fangirl claim. I believed it to be so, but before I publicly make a claim like that, I do my diligence and research to see if it’s true. In 2015 I looked both Spurgeon and MacArthur’s service to the Lord. They are quite similar. See the chart at the end.

The Lord sends us honorable and trustworthy overseers, no matter the generation in which we live. He sent the early church fathers, the generation after the Apostles, many of them martyrs: Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement…and He has sent us men from then until now. I’d like to focus on the now and one of these trustworthy and honorable men: Dr. John F. MacArthur

 

John_F._MacArthur_Jr.Source Wikipedia
The Lord sends us honorable and trustworthy overseers, no matter the generation in which we live. He sent the early church fathers, the generation after the Apostles, many of them martyrs: Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement…and He has sent us men from then until now. I’d like to focus on the now and one of these trustworthy and honorable men: Dr. John F. MacArthur

Dr John Fullerton MacArthur was born on June 19, 1939, he is a few months away from 80 years of age. He has been serving as a pastor continuously since 1964. He is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley California, and at this writing is a few weeks shy of being the senior pastor-teacher there for 50 years.

He has preached 3300 sermons at grace Community Church and many others besides at various conferences. He has written over 150 books. He has authored innumerable essays. He is currently President of The Master’s University (though a plan is in place to step down) and The Master’s Seminary, the seminary he founded specifically to raise up men in the faith and strengthen them in solid doctrine. He has participated in countless conferences, one of which he founded, The Shepherds’ Conference, a gathering designed to minister to men.

From Grace Community Church website

To my knowledge MacArthur is the only preacher to have taught expositorily through the whole New Testament, and from one church no less. John Gill, who died in 1771, did it prior to MacArthur. Even more of a blessing, each and every one of those sermons are recorded and transcribed. And best of all, they are all available for free online for the edification of the body. Here is one man’s reaction to that accomplishment who was present for the milestone:

Sunday, June 05, 2011
John MacArthur – Unprecedented Preaching Achievement

In addition, there is solace in trusting a man who has continued to live a long life of holiness and is a leading example of godliness right before our eyes. We mourn but are also saddened and angry when authors, theologians, professors and pastors we had trusted fall, one after another. MacArthur hasn’t swerved either morally or doctrinally.

MacArthur with his wife Patricia on the day he completed
preaching the New Testament verse by verse. 43 years! Source

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)

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Further Reading

Website, many resources: Grace To You

Church: Grace Community Church

John MacArthur’s Biography (and book list)

John MacArthur on Ben Shapiro Show: Reaction Part 1 — The End Time

Wednesday Briefing Dec. 5, 2018 – AlbertMohler.com

Download MP3

Burial and the Christian worldview: What does Scripture tell us about rituals that take place after someone dies?

State funerals: What are they, where did they come from, and why do we recognize them?

What the National Cathedral tells us about America’s history and national identity 

The false promise of civil religion in a secular age
— Read on albertmohler.com/2018/12/05/briefing-12-5-18/

American socialists: Miseducated, stupid or devious? – WND

A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey found that 51 percent of American millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. Only 42 percent prefer the latter. Twenty-five percent of millennials who know who Vladimir Lenin was view him favorably. Lenin was the first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Half of millennials have never heard of Communist Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1959 and was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese people.

The number of people who died at the hands of Josef Stalin may be as high as 62 million. However, almost one-third of millennials think former President George W. Bush is responsible for more killings than Stalin. By the way, Adolf Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people. The Nazis come in as a poor third in terms of history’s most prolific mass murderers. According to professor Rudolph Rummel’s research, the 20th century, mankind’s most brutal century, saw 262 million people’s lives destroyed at the hands of their own governments.

Young people who weren’t alive during World War II and its Cold War aftermath might be forgiven for not knowing the horrors of socialism. Some of their beliefs represent their having been indoctrinated by their K-12 teachers and college professors. There was such leftist hate for former President George W. Bush that it’s not out of the question that those 32 percent of millennials were taught by their teachers and professors that Bush murdered more people than Stalin.

America’s communists, socialists and Marxists have little knowledge of socialist history. Bradley Birzer, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, explains this in an article for The American Conservative titled “Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins.” Joseph Goebbels wrote in 1925, “It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism.” This Nazi sentiment might be shared by Sen. Bernie Sanders and his comrade Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Goebbels added, “I think it is terrible that we and the Communists are bashing in each other’s heads.”

When the tragedies of socialist regimes – such as those in Venezuela, the USSR, China, Cuba and many others – are pointed out to America’s leftists, they hold up Sweden as their socialist role model. But they are absolutely wrong about Sweden. Johan Norberg points this out in his documentary “Sweden: Lessons for America?” Americans might be surprised to learn that Sweden’s experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform. Reason magazine reports: “Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it’s also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum-wage laws.” School vouchers, light business regulation and no minimum-wage laws are practices deeply offensive to America’s leftists.

Our young people are not the first Americans to admire tyrants and cutthroats. W.E.B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian in 1953, said, “Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature.” Walter Duranty called Stalin “the greatest living statesman” and “a quiet, unobtrusive man.” There was even leftist admiration for Hitler and fellow fascist Benito Mussolini. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, George Bernard Shaw described him as “a very remarkable man, a very able man.” President Franklin Roosevelt called Mussolini “admirable,” and he was “deeply impressed by what he (had) accomplished.” In 1972, John Kenneth Galbraith visited Communist China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system. His Harvard University colleague John K. Fairbank believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution, saying, “Americans may find in China’s collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one’s neighbor that has a lesson for us all.”

Are Americans who admire the world’s most brutal regimes miseducated or stupid? Or do they have some kind of devious agenda?
— Read on www.wnd.com/2018/12/american-socialists-miseducated-stupid-or-devious/

Once upon a time, pastors were welcomed in gov’t – WND

When Evangelist George Whitefield began preaching the Great Awakening Revival in Philadelphia in 1739, he inspired the idea that the city should have a school for blacks and poor orphans. A short-lived Charity School was formed, but it struggled for lack of funds.

It was purchased by Ben Franklin in 1749 who expanded it into a secondary school for boys called the Academy of Philadelphia, opening in 1751. In 1754, it expanded again as the College of Philadelphia, later being renamed the University of Pennsylvania.

Twenty-one members of the Continental Congress graduated from there. Nine of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were either trustees or alumni from there. A statue of Evangelist George Whitefield is located in University of Pennsylvania’s Dormitory Quadrangle.

A student at the College of Philadelphia was Hugh Williamson, born Dec. 5, 1735. He was in the college’s first class to graduate, May 17, 1757. Five days later, his father died. While Williamson had been a student, he instructed younger students at the Academy of Philadelphia in English and Latin.

Another person who taught at the Academy of Philadelphia was Charles Thomson, who became the Secretary of Congress, signed the Declaration, designed the Great Seal of the United States, and signed Congress’ authorization for Robert Aitken to print the Bible.

Upon retiring from Congress, Charles Thomson spent 19 years compiling the “Thomson Bible” (printed in 1808), which contained the first American translation of the Greek Septuagint.

Hugh Williamson, at age 24, decided to go into the ministry as a Presbyterian preacher. John Neal recorded of Hugh Williamson in the Trinity College Historical Society Papers (NY: AMS Press, 1915): “In 1759 he went to Connecticut, where he pursued his theological studies and was licensed to preach. After returning from Connecticut, he was admitted to membership in the Presbytery of Philadelphia (the oldest in America) … (and there) preached nearly two years.”

Hugh Williamson visited and prayed for the sick, and gave sermons, until a chronic chest weakness convinced him he had to pursue a career that did not involve public speaking.

Want the real story of Santa Clause? Check out Bill Federer’s remarkable book “There Really is a Santa Clause” in the WND Superstore!

He was also disaffected by the theological debates that grew out of the Great Awakening Revival – between the “Old Lights” and the “New Lights,” between the church leaders who were rigid and orthodox in their teachings, and the younger “New Lights” who were zealous and evangelical.

In 1760, Williamson joined the faculty at his alma mater, the College of Philadelphia, where he was professor of mathematics. After four years, Williamson traveled to Europe to study medicine. He received a degree from the prestigious University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. After graduation, Dr. Hugh Williamson practiced medicine in Philadelphia.

In 1773, Williamson sailed for England to raise funds for Newark Academy, but stopped along the way in Boston, where he witnessed the Boston Tea Party. Upon reaching London, the Privy Council summoned him to testify on the rebellious actions in America. When the Privy Council began to discuss how to punish Boston for the Tea Party, Dr. Hugh Williamson warned them that continuing their high taxes would provoke the colonies into rebellion. He argued further that Americans should be entitled to full rights as Englishmen.

An American statesman in London who heard Williamson’s patriotic answers to the Privy Council was Ben Franklin – founder of the school Williamson graduated from and taught at.

Returning to America in 1777, Dr. Hugh Williamson distinguished himself during the Revolutionary War as a Surgeon General caring for wounded North Carolina troops. In 1780, Dr. Williamson was attached to the command of Brigadier General Isaac Gregory. General Isaac Gregory adopted the tactics of South Carolina’s Francis Marion, nicknamed “Swamp Fox” – who would launch surprise attacks on British forces then retreat into inhospitable lands. General Gregory stationed his troops in the Great Dismal Swamp – over 100,000 acres of dangerous wetlands between southeast Virginia and North Carolina. Dr. Williamson’s insistence on sanitation, diet and preventive medicine kept the troops virtually disease free during their six months there. After the War, in 1782, North Carolina elected Dr. Williamson as a representative to Congress.

North Carolina’s 1776 Constitution that was in effect at the time stated in Article 32: “That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of t he Protestant religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.” (“Protestant” was changed to “Christian” in 1835, then changed in 1868 to belief in “Almighty God.”)

While in Congress, Dr. Williamson helped write the Northwest Territory laws. He was part of the committee that proposed a clause, though it was later struck, for: “… reserving the central section of every township for the maintenance of public schools and the section immediately to the northward for the support of religion.”

The final version of the Northwest Ordinance, July 13, 1787, included:

  • “Sec. 13. And, for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected. …”
  • “Art. 1. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory. …”
  • “Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent. …”
  • “Art. 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory.”

From May 25 to Sept. 17, 1787, Dr. Hugh Williamson was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia where he helped write the U.S. Constitution, lodging at the same residence as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Williamson signed the Constitution, then helped convinced North Carolina to ratify it.

Thomas Jefferson related of Dr. Williamson’s reputation at the Constitutional Convention: “He was a useful member, of an acute mind, attentive to business, and of an high degree of erudition.”

Dr. Hugh Williamson later became wealthy through investments and land speculations, and wrote extensively for medical and literary societies, winning international acclaim. He participated with Ben Franklin in conducting electrical experiments.

In 1811, Dr. Hugh Williamson wrote a respected book, “Observations of the Climate in Different Parts of America,” in which he refuted “higher criticism” of Scripture and gave scientific explanation for the credibility of stories in the Bible, such as Noah’s flood and the events of Moses’ exodus.

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Dr. Hugh Williamson served as one of the original trustees of the University of North Carolina. Dying May 22, 1819, Dr. Hugh Williamson is buried at Trinity Church, in New York City.

In addition to Hugh Williamson, other pastors served in America’s government:

  • Rev. John Witherspoon (1723-1794) was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and President of Princeton who was a delegate to the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • Rev. John Peter Muhlenberg (1746-1807) was a Lutheran pastor in Virginia who became a major general during the Revolutionary War, a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator.
  • Rev. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg (1750-1801) was a Lutheran pastor in New York who was elected a U.S. Congressman and was the First Speaker of the House, signing the Bill of Rights.
  • Rev. Abiel Foster (1735-1806) served as pastor in Canterbury, New Hampshire, a delegate to the Continental Congress, the New Hampshire Legislature and a U.S. Congressman.
  • Rev. Benjamin Contee (1755-1815) was an Episcopal pastor in Maryland who served as an officer in the Revolutionary War, a delegate to the Confederation Congress, and a U.S. Congressman.
  • Rev. Abraham Baldwin (1754-1807) served as a minister at Yale, a chaplain in the Revolutionary War, a delegate from Georgia to the Continental Congress, a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator. He is the founding president of the University of Georgia.
  • Rev. Paine Wingate (1739-1838) was a pastor in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator.
  • Rev. Joseph Montgomery (1733-1794) was a Presbyterian pastor in New Castle, Delaware. Married to a sister of Dr. Benjamin Rush, he served as a chaplain in the Revolutionary War with Colonel Smallwood’s Maryland Regiment. He was elected a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress, a judge, and a representative in the State Assembly.
  • Rev. James Manning (1738-1791) was a Baptist pastor in Rhode Island who was the first President of Brown University where, during the Revolutionary War, he allowed General Rochambeau’s French troops to camp on the campus grounds. He was elected a delegate to Congress.
  • John Joachim Zubly (1724-1781) was a Presbyterian pastor in Georgia who was a delegate to the Continental Congress.

President Calvin Coolidge stated at the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, July 5, 1926: “The principles … which went into the Declaration of Independence … are found in … the sermons … of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image. … Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. …”

Coolidge concluded: “In order that they might have freedom to express these thoughts and opportunity to put them into action, whole congregations with their pastors migrated to the Colonies.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.
— Read on www.wnd.com/2018/12/once-upon-a-time-pastors-were-welcomed-in-govt/

Feminism vs. Islamism: Meet Middle East Women’s Coalition – WND

Ola Hawatmeh (Twitter profile)

WASHINGTON – The question has long been asked: Why do feminists give Islamists a pass?

Maybe that question will be answered next Tuesday when the Coalition for Middle Eastern Women’s Rights announces itself at a press club unveiling.

Hot issues for the group including ending “the barbaric practices of child marriages, genital mutilations, honor killings and dress code restrictions by initiating a cultural and religious revolution.”

The group bills itself as “a union of hundreds of women of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S. who are actively working to promote gender equality throughout the world. It includes doctors, lawyers, authors, and celebrities. We are committed to informing the American people about the plight of Middle Eastern women, in the hope of reaching as wide an audience as possible. We will not relent in our fight for women’s rights and our staunch opposition to Middle Eastern practices such as child marriages, genital mutilation, violence directed against women, repressive Islamic dress codes, polygamy, temporary and arranged marriages, honor killings, and unfair inheritance laws.”

Rabia Kazan (Wikimedia)

The leaders include President Rabia Kazan, Turkish bestselling author, and Vice President Ola Hawatmeh, Lebanese American fashion designer, and about 20 other board members.

“We came to this country because of the freedoms and rights offered to all citizens regardless of gender under the U.S. Constitution,” they offered in a recent statement. “We are proud to be American citizens. But we recognize that millions of women in the Middle East don’t enjoy these freedoms, and are forced to live under fanatical and repressive religious regimes, denied basic human rights, freedoms and dignity. Our mission is to give voice to these oppressed women and promote a greater awareness of their suffering. We will not rest until these women are granted full equal rights to those of Middle Eastern men, and treated with honor, respect and dignity.”

They also have a beef with the media, saying they do not provide “sufficient coverage to the plight of these women or give adequate voice to the abhorrent conditions under which they live.”

They also see blindness on the left side of the political spectrum.

Other key issues for the group include:

  • Freedom from their peer violence. We want to see the world free of ‎violence against women in all its forms.‎