Daily Archives: December 8, 2018

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Comfort, Comfort Ye My People — The Thirsty Theologian

Comfort, Comfort Ye My People
GENEVAN 42 Isaiah 40:1–5

imageComfort, comfort ye My people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness,
mourning ’neath their sorrows’ load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them!
Tell her that her sins I cover
and her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
blotting out each dark misdeed;
all that well deserved His anger
He no more will see nor heed.
She hath suffered many a day,
now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness
into ever-springing gladness.

For Elijah’s voice is crying
in the desert far and near,
bidding all men to repentance,
since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey,
now prepare for God a way;
let the valley rise to meet Him,
and the hills bow down to greet Him.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain,
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits His holy reign;
for the glory of the Lord
now o’er earth is shed abroad,
and all flesh shall see the token
that His Word is never broken.

Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017).

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/AFD6mwe8CWI?rel=0

The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

via In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Comfort, Comfort Ye My People — The Thirsty Theologian

DECEMBER 8 THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

—Matthew 22:37

In worship several elements may be distinguished, among them love, admiration, wonder and adoration. Though they may not be experienced in that order, a little thought will reveal those elements as being present wherever true worship is found.

Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that the essence of true worship is the love of God. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). Our Lord declared this to be the sum of the Law and the Prophets….

It is quite impossible to worship God without loving Him. Scripture and reason agree to declare this. And God is never satisfied with anything less than all: “all thy heart… all thy soul… all thy mind.” This may not at first be possible, but deeper experience with God will prepare us for it, and the inward operations of the Holy Spirit will enable us after a while to offer Him such a poured-out fullness of love. TIC126

Lord, weed out of my life any conflicting interests, that I might indeed love You with all my heart, soul and mind. Amen. [1]


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

December 8 The Blessing of Supporters

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill.

Philippians 1:15

It hurts to think of so dear a saint as Paul enduring opposition to the point of reporting, “At my first defense [the first trial in Rome] no one stood with me, but all forsook me” (2 Tim. 4:16). When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he was so bereft of friends that he said of Timothy, “I have no one like–minded” (Phil. 2:20).

But Paul also wrote that some were preaching Christ “from goodwill” according to today’s verse, which denotes satisfaction and contentedness. Paul’s supporters were content with what God was doing in their own lives and in Paul’s life. They were sympathetic toward him and grateful for his ministry.

There are also people like that today—what a blessing, encouragement, and source of joy they are! I thank God for filling my life with people like that.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 369). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 8, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Contact

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” (4:7–15)

As Jesus sat beside the well that evening, tired and thirsty from His journey, there came a woman of Samaria to draw water. The cool of the evening was the time when women customarily performed that chore (Gen. 24:11). This woman came at high noon, perhaps because of her desire to avoid public shame. What was also unusual was that this woman came such a long distance to this well when there were other sources of water closer to the village. But she, for reasons that will soon become evident, was an outcast. She would rather walk the extra distance in the hottest time of the day than face the hostility and scorn of the other women at the closer well earlier or later in the day.

The Lord’s simple request, “Give Me a drink,” was in that culture a shocking breach of social custom. Men did not speak with women in public—not even their wives. Nor did rabbis associate with immoral women (cf. Luke 7:39). Most significant of all in this situation, Jews customarily wanted nothing to do with Samaritans (cf. the discussion of v. 9 below). But Jesus shattered all of those barriers. The parenthetical note that the disciples had gone away into the city to buy food explains why Jesus was sitting at the well by Himself. It also indicates that our Lord did not pay attention to the taboos of the strict Jews, who would not eat food handled by Samaritans.

Taken aback that Jesus spoke to her, the Samaritan woman said in astonishment, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” As noted above, it was culturally incorrect for a man, especially a rabbi, to speak to any woman, particularly an immoral outcast. But her question reveals that what she found most surprising was that Jesus, being a Jew, would speak to her, a Samaritan woman since, as John explained in an understated way, Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Even more astounding was His willingness to ceremonially defile Himself by drinking from her water pot, since He had no vessel of His own from which to drink (v. 11). (The word translated dealings in John’s explanatory note literally means “to use the same utensils.”) But Jesus was the infinitely holy God in human flesh. He could not be defiled by a Samaritan water pot. Whatever He touched—even corpses (Luke 7:12–15) or lepers (Matt. 8:2–3)—did not taint Him, but instead became clean.

The bitter rivalry between the Jews and the Samaritans had been going on for centuries. After the fall of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians, the ten tribes of

Israel [were] carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria … [and] the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sephar-vaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. (2 Kings 17:23–24).

The foreign non-Jews intermarried with the population of Jews who had not been deported, forming a mixed race known as the Samaritans (the name derives from the region and capital city, both called Samaria). The new settlers brought their idolatrous religion with them (2 Kings 17:29–31), which became intermingled with the worship of Yahweh (vv. 25–28, 32–33, 41). In time, however, the Samaritans abandoned their idols and worshiped Yahweh alone, after their own fashion (for example, they accepted only the Pentateuch as canonical Scripture, and worshiped God on Mount Gerizim, not at Jerusalem).

When the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, their first priority was to rebuild the temple. Professing loyalty to Israel’s God, the Samaritans offered their assistance (Ezra 4:1–2). The Jews’ blunt refusal (Ezra 4:3) enraged the Samaritans, who then became their bitter enemies (Ezra 4:4ff.; Neh. 4:1–3, 7ff.). Rebuffed in their attempt to worship at Jerusalem, the Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim (c. 400 b.c.). The Jews later destroyed that temple during the intertestamental period, further worsening relations between the two groups.

After centuries of mistrust, there was a deep animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans. The writer of the apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus expressed the scorn and contempt the Jews felt for the Samaritans. Claiming that God detested the Samaritan people, he derisively referred to them as “the stupid people living at Shechem” (50:25–26). The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day manifested this same prejudice. In fact, when they wanted to insult Jesus, the worst they could do was to call Him a Samaritan (8:48). The Samaritans, of course, reciprocated the Jews’ hostility—as was illustrated when one of their villages refused to receive Jesus because He was on His way to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51–53).

In response to the woman’s query, Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The Lord’s reply turned the tables on her. When the conversation began, He was the thirsty one, and she the one with the water. Now He spoke as if she were the thirsty one and He the one with the water. The woman’s reply reflected her confusion. Still thinking in terms of physical water she asked, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep (cf. the discussion of v. 6 above); where then do You get that living water?” She did not understand that Jesus was talking about spiritual realities. The living water that He offered her was salvation in all its fullness, including forgiveness of sin and the ability and desire to live an obedient life that glorifies God.

The Old Testament uses the metaphor of living water to describe the spiritual cleansing and new life that comes at salvation through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Disobedient Israel was guilty of having foolishly “forsaken [God], the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13). Later Jeremiah warned that “all who forsake [the Lord] will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord” (17:13). Both passages emphasize that God is the only source of salvation; He alone is the “fountain of life” (Ps. 36:9), and in Him the redeemed “will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation” (Isa. 12:3; cf. Isa. 1:16–18). Isaiah 55:1 echoes God’s gracious offer of salvation: “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters,” and this invitation is reiterated in the book of Revelation (21:6; 22:17). As God Himself promised regarding the new covenant:

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezek. 36:25–27; cf. Isa. 44:3)

John applies these themes to Jesus as the living water, which symbolizes eternal life (v. 14; 6:35; 7:37–39).

The woman’s question, “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” expects a negative answer. She was skeptical of this stranger’s ability to provide the living water He offered. Even the revered patriarch Jacob could not provide water without expending the effort to dig this well. And in her mind this Jewish traveler certainly was not greater than Jacob. But as D. A. Carson notes, “Misunderstanding combines with irony to make the woman twice wrong: the ‘living water’ Jesus offers does not come from an ordinary well, and Jesus is in fact far greater than the patriarch Jacob” (The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991], 219).

Patiently, Jesus answered her skeptical question and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jacob was rightly accorded a place of honor by both Jews and Samaritans. Yet, as Jesus pointed out, everyone who drank of the water from his well would thirst again. It is a measure of Jesus’ incomparable greatness that whoever drinks of the water that He will give him shall never thirst; but the water that He will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life (cf. Isa. 12:3). Here was the living water of spiritual life (cf. 7:38) that her parched soul desperately needed (cf. Ps. 143:6).

Still thinking primarily on the physical level, she replied eagerly, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” Her response parallels that of the Galilean crowd, who responded to Jesus’ teaching about the bread from heaven, “Lord, always give us this [physical] bread” (6:34; cf. v. 26). Whatever else the living water did, she was ready to receive it if it would eliminate her daily trip to the well and give her also eternal life.

At this point, the woman does not appear to have been clear on the matter of spiritual transformation. Jesus had spoken to her about the water of eternal life, and she seemed willing to accept it, but no conditions had been stated. As with any lost sinner, this woman needed to understand two crucial issues before she could receive the living water of eternal life—namely, the reality of her sin and His identity as Savior. In these last two points, Jesus addressed both of those issues.[1]


Living Water

John 4:7–14

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

In the city of Philadelphia, where I live, there is a beautiful drive that leads out of the city along the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River. Along the drive there is a section of the riverbank lined with boathouses, called Boathouse Row; and across from Boathouse Row there is a statue of a pilgrim with a Bible under his arm. Many who pass the statue by car never see more than the pilgrim. But if a person is on foot and is exploring the riverbank, he soon finds a stream that empties into the Schuylkill near the pilgrim, as well as a trail that winds along it. If he follows this trail up over Sedgley Hill toward Brewery Town, he comes upon the source of the spring. There, over the spring’s source, he sees an inscription once placed by the city government—“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.”

The quotation over the source of Sedgley spring is true, so far as it goes. No one would think of denying it. But it is only half a quotation. For the other half of the quotation one must turn to Christ’s words to the woman of Samaria when she came to Jacob’s well to draw water.

As Jesus spoke to the woman about water he made the obvious statement—“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” But then he also made a second statement, and in this statement there is a great promise. He offered a new kind of water, saying, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This promise is the basis for our study in this chapter.

A Weary Christ

It is not often that I have been really thirsty—certainly not in this country—but of one thing about thirst I am convinced: most people understand very little about it until they spend time in a tropical land, particularly an arid and extremely warm land such as the Middle East. Several times when I have been traveling in the Middle East I have found myself in places where a traveler dared not drink the water. I remember vividly how uncomfortable and at times almost desperate one becomes until a place is reached where the water is drinkable and intense thirst can be quenched. People seldom experience this in America and other English-speaking lands. So in our literature water appears often as a symbol of beauty or perhaps (in great quantities) even of destruction but seldom as a symbol for life. It is entirely different in a culture where water is a symbol of that without which a person will surely die.

We must see this as we turn to Jesus’ conversation with the woman of Samaria, for the point there is that Jesus is as necessary for spiritual life as water is for physical life.

Jesus had been traveling with his disciples from the area of the lower Jordan to Galilee and had to go through Samaria, as the story tells us (v. 4). This was not entirely true in a purely geographical sense. From the area of the lower Jordan to Galilee there were two routes. One led through Perea on the eastern side of the Jordan to the northern end of the valley where it crossed over into Galilee. The other, the way Jesus took, went through Samaria, the country west of the Jordan. Normally, orthodox Jews would take the eastern route; it was longer but it avoided Samaria. They did this because of their hostility toward the Samaritans. When John tells us, then, that Jesus “must needs” go through Samaria, he obviously means Jesus had to go that way to meet the Samaritan woman.

So Jesus went through Samaria. About noon on the second day of travel he came to the vicinity of the Samaritan town of Sychar. Being tired from his journey, he sat at the foot of the hill leading up to Sychar, on the edge of Jacob’s well. The disciples were sent off to the city to buy something to eat while Jesus rested.

What a picture of Jesus! Here was a Jesus who was not wearied merely by the heat. He could have stayed in the cooler area of the Jordan. Here was a Jesus who was wearied in his search for sinners and who had become thirsty seeking those to whom he was to offer the water of life. On the same errand he would one day experience an even greater thirst on the cross. One of the great devotional writers of our time, Geoffrey T. Bull, a missionary the Chinese imprisoned on the Tibetan border from 1950 to 1953 but later released, remarks on this aspect of Jesus’ encounter with the woman: “If she could have seen just then what Jesus saw, she would have glimpsed another noonday when the sun would mourn in blackness and this same Stranger cry out from a Roman cross, ‘I thirst!’ She would have seen in him the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, the smitten Christ from whom the living waters flow. … He was thirstier than she knew. He was speaking for the very heart of God. He was moving in the travail of his soul and looked for satisfaction in the restoration of this sin scarred woman.”

Jesus became man and experienced all that we experience, but the point of the incarnation is that he did this to redeem men. So if he was weary, thirsty, hot, and on the road to even greater suffering, he was weary and hot for your sake and mine. Jesus suffered for the Nicodemuses, the women of Samaria, and the others whom this world holds. If you are already a believer, perhaps you should ask yourself whether you have ever wearied yourself in the pursuit of other men and women. Have you ever become hot or uncomfortable trying to communicate the gospel to others?

A Thirsty Woman

There is another picture in the first verses of John 4. The one picture is of a wearied Christ. The second is of the woman. She was a Samaritan, and she undoubtedly had had many opportunities to return the hatred of the Jews for the Samaritans by hating the Jews in return. Perhaps she had even had a taste of their hostility a few minutes before meeting Jesus, for she was coming down the hill at the same time that Peter and the other disciples had gone up, and we can be certain that at this stage of their lives, Peter and the others would never have moved off the path for any woman, much less a Samaritan and one with loose morals at that. Perhaps she had been pushed aside or made to wait while the body of Galileans marched by.

Probably she came to the bottom of the hill with this fresh reminder of the hatred of the Jews in her mind, and as soon as she got to the well the first thing that she discovered was another Jew. She could tell he was a Jew by his dress. She was silent. She wasn’t about to speak to him! While she was getting ready to lower her bucket into the well, however, Jesus made a request. He asked for a drink. When she remarked at the fact that he, a Jew, should do something as unheard of as to ask water of a Samaritan woman, he aroused her curiosity even further by offering her a new kind of water, “living water,” that would be a spring of water within her “welling up to eternal life.”

This is always the way it is in the spiritual realm. Jesus comes to us first. If we were left to ourselves, we would leave him sitting on the edge of the well forever. But he does not leave us to ourselves. Instead he comes to us. He asks the first question. He initiates the conversation. He uses all devices to break through to our hearts. Sometimes it is a question, sometimes a command, sometimes a chance remark made by someone else, but it is always from him.

Jesus offered the woman “living water.” But what does that mean? What does it mean when he offers it to us? The woman, of course, at first understood the words with crude literalness, just as Nicodemus had understood the words about being “born again” literally. In Jewish speech the phrase “living water” meant water that was flowing, like water in a river or stream, as opposed to water that was stagnant, as in a cistern or well. Living water was considered to be better. Therefore, when Jesus said that he could give her “living water” the woman quite naturally thought of a stream. She wanted to know where Jesus had found it. From the tone of her remarks it is evident that she even thought his claim a bit blasphemous, for it was a claim to have done something greater than her ancestor Jacob had been able to do. Had Jacob been able to find a stream he would certainly not have taken the trouble to dig a well that was roughly a hundred feet deep. This was the level on which the woman was thinking.

Still the phrase should have meant more than this to anyone who was accustomed to thinking biblically. It should have meant more than this to the woman. Many times in the Old Testament God is pictured as the One who alone can supply living water to satisfy the thirst for God that exists in man’s soul.

Isaiah wrote, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:3). David said, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Ps. 42:1). God declared through Jeremiah, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:13). In Isaiah 44 God makes the promise, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land” (Isa. 44:3). In chapter 55 he declares, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!” (v. 1). Several times in the writings of Ezekiel and Zechariah there is a picture of a river of life flowing out from God’s presence in Jerusalem (Ezek. 47:1–12; Zech. 13:1; 14:8). In the New Testament, in the Book of Revelation, there is a reference to these themes in the promises for the end time, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17).

Much of the Old Testament is filled with this pictorial religious language revealing the thirst of the soul, a thirst that can be satisfied only by God. However, the woman chose to misunderstand Christ’s words by taking them literally. She was blind because she would not see.

Jesus was claiming to be the One who alone can satisfy human longing. Have you tested his claim? You may try to fill your life with the things of this world—money, fame, power, activity—but though these will satisfy for a time, they will not do so permanently. I have often said that they are like a Chinese dinner. They will fill you up well, but two or three hours later you will be hungry again. Only Jesus Christ is able to satisfy you fully.

A Springing Fountain

There is one more point that is of great importance to this study. Up to now we have been thinking mostly about the phrase “living water” from verse 10. Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” This verse is important, but we must not overlook the point that four verses further on, in verse 14, Jesus repeats his offer with a significant variation. In verse 14 he says, “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

No one has ever seen a well of water springing up. Only the water in a spring springs up. The water in a well just lies there. So Jesus is not talking about a well. The woman had come to a well. Jesus has invited her to a spring. Now he adds that if she allows him to place this spring within her, the spring will never cease but will continue to bubble away forever.

Imagine, if you will, that you have just purchased a piece of property upon which you are going to build a house. There is water on the property. If the water is in a well, the water will give you no trouble. If you are there with your bulldozers to clear the ground for your house, all you have to do is push some dirt into the hole and the well will be gone forever so far as you are concerned. It is entirely different, however, if the source of the water on your property is a spring. Try to do the same as you did with the well. You push some dirt over a spring, and it seems to be gone. Five o’clock comes. The workmen go home. But the next morning, when the workmen come back, the stream will be there again, having simply pushed its way through the ground. A well can be covered. A spring seeps through anything you may place over it.

This is what the Lord Jesus Christ is saying. He is promising to place a spring within the life of anyone who will come to him. This spring will be eternal, free, joyous, and self-dependent. But he is also warning you that you will never be able to bulldoze anything over it!

We try, of course. I have done it myself. I know of many who have believed in Christ but who have come to a place in their lives where his way seems inconvenient and who have tried to stifle his presence by piling some foreign substance over the spring. Some have said, “I’m glad that I’m saved, but I’m going to go my way while I’m young. I paid too much attention to religion in my youth. Now I’m just going to cover it up.” So they try. But instead of succeeding they discover that God just comes bubbling through.

Let me ask another question: What happens when a spring comes bubbling through dirt? The answer is: It produces muddy water. Is it the spring’s fault? No! The fault lies in the dirt that has been pushed on top of it. Does this describe your life? Are you a Christian who has run from God, trying to cover over his presence, but instead only had your life filled with muddy water? If this does describe you, why don’t you allow the Lord Jesus Christ to remove the dirt and purify the spring of his life within you?

Let me warn you that you cannot go your own way indefinitely. You will never get away with that. God must be true to his character, and God says that in his holiness he is determined to perfect the image of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, within you. If God were to allow you to go any way you want and make a success of it, then he would be a liar when he says that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. God is no liar. So he will make a mess of your life, a ruin of your life, if he has to, until you come to the point where you will let him perfect that work in you he began when you first tasted of the Lord Jesus.

Will you yield to him? If you do, he will satisfy any longing that you may ever have had. He put it there in the first place. And he will do with you that which is pleasing in his sight and which will bless others.[2]


Living Water

John 4:10–14

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13–14)

In 1509, Don Diego Columbus arrived on the island of Hispaniola to rule as Spanish governor in the West Indies. Don Diego, the son of the great explorer Christopher Columbus, arrived with several relatives, a large retinue of cavaliers, and a troop of well-bred ladies sent to marry and civilize the leading colonists of New Spain. Among those colonists was Juan Ponce de Leon, governor of Puerto Rico. Ponce had distinguished himself in battle and was revered as a personal companion of Christopher Columbus. Though an old man, he was animated with the ambitions of youth. He watched in frustration as the young courtiers took their young wives and set off for wealth and renown. One biography relates, “The enjoyment of life had ever been an exquisite pleasure to him, and his desire to prolong his earthly existence in vigor was intense.”

Because of this desire, Ponce was inspired by legends he had heard of “crystal waters flowing from living springs … in which he who bathed would be instantly endowed with immortal youth and great beauty.” Outfitting a small fleet, he began searching for this “Fountain of Youth.” Being first directed to the Bahama Islands, he bathed in every stream and lake there. Disappointed, he extended his search northwest. On Easter Sunday he landed at what is now St. Augustine, having been drawn there by the perfume of flowers wafting over the ocean. Believing himself to have discovered paradise, he claimed the land for Spain and named it Florida in honor of the flowers. Certain that the Fountain of Youth must be among the magnolia-laden streams nearby, and eager to taste the promised golden fruit proffered by the hands of lovely maidens, Ponce searched in earnest but also in vain. Frustrated at his failure to find the fountain, Ponce returned to Puerto Rico having gained not immortal youth but immortal fame for discovering Florida and for seeking eternal life.

Jesus’ Offer of Living Water

If Ponce de Leon had trusted his Bible instead of native legends, he would have learned that the fountain of eternal life is found not in the Bahamas or Florida but at an ancient well outside the town of Sychar in Samaria. According to Jesus, the source of living water was not in Jacob’s well itself, on which he sat with the Samaritan woman. Rather, Jesus himself is the fountain of eternal life. “If you knew the gift of God,” he said, “and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Pointing to the well, he added, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (4:13–14). Though lacking the scented flowers, the golden apples, and lovely maidens, here was a fountain of youth and vigor from which Ponce de Leon might have drunk without sailing in ships, and from which any one of us may benefit simply by believing in Jesus Christ.

Jesus employs the Bible’s frequent use of the link between water and life. Water is absolutely necessary for life in this world. If you are flying over the Great Plains in the Central United States, you will look down on a brown landscape slashed with green lines and dotted with green squares and circles. The green lines are rivers, where water brings life to the earth; the squares and circles are farmlands watered by irrigation systems. Where there is water, there is life. Jesus is using his earthly situation, sitting on a well, to make a point about spiritual life. As a well gives water for our bodies, so also does God give life to our souls.

In Jesus’ day, the expression “living water” referred to fresh, running water, in contrast to the stagnant water found in wells. But those familiar with the Bible will also see this as a reference to the gift of abundant life through the Holy Spirit that God promised through the Messiah. In Jeremiah 2:13, God described himself as “the fountain of living waters.” Psalm 36:9 says, “For with you is the fountain of life.” Isaiah 44:3 tells of the coming day of salvation: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring.” The last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, depicts “the river of the water of life,” flowing from the throne of God and of his Son, the Savior-Lamb (Rev. 22:1). One writer therefore describes living water as “the soul-satisfying grace of God, or that which only God can give to satisfy a soul. It is … the transforming life and power that God alone gives in and through the gospel of His Son, that leads to eternal life, and that satisfies as nothing else can.”

In making this offer, Jesus summarized his entire gospel in terms of two things that the world needs to know. He notes, “If you knew the gift of God.” This is what we need to know: God has life as a gift for those who will receive it. He says, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” (Isa. 55:1), and we may bring the parched soil of our hearts to be watered by him. Second, Jesus says, “If you knew … who it is that is” speaking (John 4:10). We need to know who Jesus is as well: the Savior sent by God to bring eternal life to this dying world. In these two statements is our whole gospel; this is what we and others need to know in order to be saved: what is the gift of God and who Jesus is as the One who offers it. Then we must ask of him, and he will bring eternal life as living water for our souls. We need it—God’s gift of eternal life—from him—the Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus promises: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (4:10).

Unquenched Thirst

Jesus’ offer produced a revealing response from the woman: “The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?’ ” (John 4:11). Here we have another depiction of unbelief. We saw in John 3:19 that unbelief is caused by a moral commitment to sin: Jesus said, “Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” We also observed that many people are kept from God by cultural barriers, which Jesus crossed in speaking to this Samaritan woman. Now, in her response, we see yet another reason for unbelief: spiritual inability. She simply was not able to grasp what Jesus meant in his offer of salvation. She was an earthly, worldly person, unable to think in spiritual terms.

The Bible teaches that fallen mankind is dead to spiritual things (see Eph. 2:1–3). Paul explains, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). This woman was a perfect example of this teaching, for she could think only in terms of physical water and literal wells. Nicodemus was similarly unable to understand Jesus in John 3. Jesus said to him, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

The woman’s reply to Jesus was almost comical. She did not see how he could offer what she understood only as running water. First, Jesus had no pail: “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?” (John 4:11). Second, she could not see how Jesus could do better than so great a man as the patriarch Jacob: “Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock” (4:12). Jacob’s well remains in Samaria today; it is over a hundred feet deep and was likely deeper then. Some scholars believe that Jacob’s well might have been the deepest in all of Palestine. How could this stranger—a man with no apparent distinction or station—hope to do better than Jacob and his well?

People think the same way today. Jesus is not someone they take seriously because he does not head a powerful organization or command worldly resources. The people who matter, they think, are those who allocate riches and promotions, or who provide valued goods and services. Despite his unparalleled religious status, Jesus is thought to be of little earthly good—and most people, like this Samaritan woman, think only of earthly things. Jesus did not bring any advanced technology and simply could not compare with people who really matter—such as Jacob, who at least was head of a great nation. She was interested in plumbing, not salvation; she wanted an easier way to get better water from the well. Likewise, people today want advice on relationships, work, and play, not theological jargon about Jesus.

The problem with such thinking goes back to Jesus’ offer: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is [speaking] to you” (John 4:10). The truth is that the spiritual realm is superior to the material realm; God’s gift of spiritual life is more valuable than earthly riches. Moreover, though Jesus Christ seems so easy to dismiss, in fact God has “seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet” (Eph. 1:20–22). Even when it comes to our earthly concerns—jobs, families, and health—Jesus has far more power than any earthly authority. But more importantly, Jesus has authority over our eternal souls. Unless we come to him in faith, we are condemned already, John says, for not believing in the name of God’s only Son (John 3:18).

Does this not inspire us to tell people what they do not know? This woman had many needs—she needed relationship advice, she had the stress of being rejected by other women, and she needed help getting water from this well, surely along with many other problems. But her greatest need was to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. This is why we need to preach the gospel—not lifestyle tips or the self-help plumbing that today’s worldly men and women also crave. The Bible says, “The gospel … is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16), so we must proclaim it.

With this very thing in mind, Jesus replied to the woman, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again.” Every earthly source of life and satisfaction will always fail to satisfy our souls. The woman might get beautiful pipes bringing the well water all the way to her house. Yet she would thirst again. Thirst is one of the strongest cravings, and the souls of men and women are thirsty for God, whether they know it or not. Nothing but God satisfies the soul made by God for himself. St. Augustine wrote at the beginning of his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Whether we know it or not, Psalm 42:1 speaks for us all: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

This was true for this Samaritan woman, and it is true for you. You might have all that this world can offer—riches, rank, place, and power—yet be utterly unfulfilled. Isn’t this the story of our own time? Amid gaudy affluence and ever-ready entertainment, with unparalleled leisure and earthly excitements, ours is a generation aching with thirst. A. W. Pink summarizes the human condition:

Whether he articulates it or not the natural man, the world over, is crying “I thirst.” Why this consuming desire to acquire wealth? Why this craving for the honors and plaudits of the world? Why this mad rush after pleasure, the turning from one form of it to another with persistent and unwearied diligence? Why this eager search for wisdom—this scientific inquiry, this pursuit of philosophy, this ransacking of the writings of the ancients, and this ceaseless experimentation by the moderns? Why the insane craze for that which is novel? Why? Because there is an aching void in the soul. Because there is something remaining in every natural man that is unsatisfied. This is true of the millionaire equally as much as the pauper: the riches of the former bring no real contentment. It is as true of the globe-trotter equally as much as of the country rustic who has never been outside the bounds of his native country: traveling from one end of the earth to the other and back again fails to discover the secret of peace. Over all the cisterns of this world’s providing is written in letters of ineffaceable truth, “Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again.”

Remember Ponce de Leon? The tragedy of his life is not that he never found the Fountain of Youth. The tragedy is that even if he had found it, its unending earthly pleasures would not really have satisfied him. So what are you seeking? Riches? Pleasure? Fame? The tragedy today is that people seek these things but find no satisfaction when they gain them. Jesus warns that regardless of whatever earthly fulfillment you might gain, you will only thirst again. Especially when our seeking leads us into sin, we end up like broken cisterns not even capable of being satisfied, no longer even able to hold water, unless Christ should come and heal our souls.

Malcolm Muggeridge was one of the leading journalists and writers of his generation. Through the thirst of his own soul, he learned what Jesus sought to communicate to this Samaritan woman. He reflected:

I may … pass for being a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets—that’s fame. I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Inland Revenue—that’s success. Furnished with money and a little fame … [I] may partake of trendy diversions—that’s pleasure. It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote … represented a serious impact on our time—that’s fulfillment. Yet I say to you, and I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing—less than nothing, a positive impediment—measured against one draught of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty.

God’s Gift of Life

That was Jesus’ message to the woman at the well. He told her that by drinking from worldly troughs she would always thirst again, but he added, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

There is a condition for what Jesus offers. He specifies: “Whoever drinks.” Jesus did not direct us to fulfill some quest or perform morally or religiously at a certain high level. He does not place a price tag on his living water, but simply says, “Whoever drinks.” He is speaking, of course, of simple faith. John 3:16 told us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Leon Morris explains: “The gift of the living water is not a reward for meritorious service. It is a gift that brings to anyone who receives it, no matter how insignificant and limited he or she may be, a totally new experience, a new power, a new life—the life that is eternal.”

Notice that this woman’s sins did not keep Jesus from offering her salvation. He brings up her sins later in the conversation, not before but after he offers salvation, knowing that if she believes, his death on the cross will cleanse her from all sin. George Hutcheson writes, “Christ, who makes offer of grace before we seek it, will not refuse it to them who ask it, nor will former sins hinder their acceptance who come to seek grace; for even to this wicked woman he saith, ‘Thou wouldest have asked, and he would have given thee living waters.’ ”

When we fulfill the condition of salvation—receiving God’s gift through faith alone—there is a glorious consequence: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” Jesus offers to satisfy our souls. This does not mean that all our trials cease and that life in this world is transformed into unending ease. Far from it! To follow Jesus is to pick up his cross and endure many hardships in life—not the least of which is our warfare with sin. But we gain soul-fulfillment through our fellowship with God. Earthly things lose their appeal—the more worldly and sinful they are, the more thoroughly their luster fades—and we find permanent satisfaction for the thirst of our souls.

Finally, Jesus speaks of a change that will result: “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This refers to the new birth by the Holy Spirit. To be born again is to have a spiritual fountain welling up within you, as God himself lives and moves in your heart.

The results of this change, with the ever-flowing fountain of spiritual power that it opens up in us, are faith, godliness, and unfailing spiritual joy. Psalm 16:11 says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Do you experience that? If you are not a Christian, this is what Jesus offers you—not the dreary, negative lifestyle you have been told that Christians endure. If you come to Jesus, he will save you through faith and give you life abundant (see John 10:10).

If you are a Christian, are you experiencing this? Do you enjoy the blessings of the Holy Spirit’s fountain in your heart? The tragedy of Ponce de Leon was that he sought a Fountain of Youth that did not exist. But how much greater is the tragedy of Christians who have found the true fountain of eternal, spiritual life, but who know little of its blessings of righteousness, peace, and joy.

The sad fact is that far too many Christians live without enjoying the spiritual blessings that Jesus has given them. This is one reason why our witness is often ineffective. There are a number of explanations for this. Some Christians live close to the world and fill their hearts with worldly things. Are you like that? Are you still filling your soul with water that will leave you thirsty again? If so, wean your heart from earthly pleasures and treasures and start serving Jesus at home, in your work, and in your play. Stop craving for worldly success, stop drinking from worldly troughs, and renew your commitment to Christ, and you will find refreshing waters flowing freely once again. Others have stopped up the spring of the Holy Spirit with sinful habits or attitudes. If you are truly a Christian, you can never ultimately block God’s Spirit, but how much better for you to repent or forgive as needed and to walk in the light, cleansed by Christ’s blood and refreshed by his fellowship. Jesus says to all who come to him, for the first time or once again: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.”

The woman heard Jesus’ offer of life—its condition, its consequence, and its change—and still responded with only worldly understanding. She said, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:15). Jesus was not done with her, and he would continue working into her heart until she understood and believed. When she finally did, she responded with a joy that changed her life and the lives of many others. May we likewise know the gift of God and the Savior who offers it, and may many others drink from his living water through our witness in the world.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 142–146). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 276–281). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 225–233). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

Trend Carefully – Global Financial Markets At Critical Point

Via Dana Lyons’ Tumblr,

The numerous important trendline tests currently underway across the financial markets suggest this is a key juncture.

Volatility in global equity markets has kicked back into hyper-drive this week with an average daily true range in the S&P 500 approaching a staggering 3% for the week. The volatility (at least the downside part of it) has resulted in “tests” of a number of important trendlines throughout the financial markets — both in the U.S. and abroad. This proliferation of important tests suggests that we are near an important juncture in the markets. Specifically, as the tests pertain to stocks, it’ll be critical for the various markets to hold their respective uptrend lines. Should they fail here, it could be a long way down to the next significant support levels.

We could have spent all day posting about key trendline tests presently in play. However, as highlighted in our #TrendlineWednesday feature on StockTwits and Twitter, here are some of the most important ones across the financial markets, in the U.S. and abroad.

First off, we have the Russell 2000 testing its post-2009 Up trendline.

Similarly, the Nasdaq 100 is testing its post-2009 Up trendline that it held last month.

Across the pond, we see perhaps the most prolific trendline in the global stock market universe — the broken post-2000 Down trendline in France’s CAC-40 Index — getting tested at the moment.

Staying in Europe, we also have the UK’s FTSE 100 testing its post-2009 Up trendline.

And at perhaps the lowest end of the European equity spectrum, we see Deutsche Bank testing the trendline connecting its series of lower lows over the past decade.

Elsewhere in the world, we see, once again, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index testing its broken decade-long Down trendline.

And it’s not just stocks getting having all the trendline fun. We see, among other bond tickers, the 30-Year U.S. Treasury Yield testing its post-2016 Up Trendline.

Like I said, we can go on and on here. I think the message behind all of these important tests is that this is a critical juncture in the market. If, in the case of the stock indices, the tests are successful, a solid rally may finally take hold after the recent correction. If not, like we said, it could be a long way down.

Source: Trend Carefully – Global Financial Markets At Critical Point

Thirty Days of Jesus Redux: Day 12, The Son!

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

We’ve flowed through the first section of this series, in looking at verses that prophesy Jesus’ coming, His arrival, and His early life.

Starting today, from Day 12-16 we will look at verses that focus on Jesus as The Son.

thirty days of Jesus day 12

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Further Reading

Ligonier: What does ‘the world’ mean in John 3:16?

Ligonier: John 3:16 and man’s ability to choose God

Crosswalk: Why John 3:16 should be more than a slogan

Spurgeon: Devotional on John 3:16, His Love, His Gift, His Son

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Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship

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Love Thy Neighbor? That’s only half of it

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

We hear the term ‘love they neighbor’ a lot. We hear it so frequently that it’s almost a motto or a mantra, bandied about. But it’s a Bible verse, which means it’s spoken from the mouth of God. ‘Love thy neighbor’ is also not the whole verse. The verse is in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The verse is known as The Greatest Commandment. The first part of the verse is to love God with all your mind, heart, and strength. The second part is to love your neighbor. Here it is in full-

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18). Emphasis added.

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall…

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Matthew Vines and Michael Brown debate homosexuality and the Bible on Moody radio

WINTERY KNIGHT

The audio of the Matthew Vines vs Michael Brown debate is streamed here on the Moody site.

Details:

Can you be gay and Christian? Matthew Vines says you can and he’s created a viral video and best-selling book defending his view. This Saturday on Up for Debate, Vines joins host Julie Roys to debate author and leading evangelical apologist, Dr. Michael Brown. Is gay monogamy an option for Christians? Is it unloving to reject gay marriage? Listen and join the discussion this Saturday at 8 a.m. Central Time on Up for Debate!

Summary key: Julie Roys (JR), Matthew Vines (MV), Michael Brown (MB)

Summary:

Opening speeches:

  • JR: Why should Christians be open to reinterpreting the Bible on homosexuality?
  • MV: Consider the lives and testimonies of gay Christians. Here is my personal story.
  • MV: According to the Bible, a person with same-sex attractions would have to embrace lifelong celibacy. I refuse to do that.

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Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 12/08/2018

Popular CCM Artist Lauren Daigle: ‘I Can’t Say One Way or the Other’ If Homosexuality Is Sin, ‘I’m Not God’   Dec 01, 2018 07:34 pm

Popular contemporary Christian music (CCM) artist Lauren Daigle said this week on the “Domenick Nati Show” that she can’t answer whether homosexuality is a sin because there are people that she loves that are homosexual and she is not God. She noted that people should read the Bible to find out for themselves, and let her know what they learn. “Do you feel…

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‘Ministers’ Claim Sex Before Marriage, Hookups ‘Not Sinful,’ Say Chastity Is ‘Outdated and Silly’ Expectation   Dec 03, 2018 07:10 pm

Robertson/Screenshot YouTube Three false ministers, including one who identifies as homosexual and another as polyamorous, recently told the Huffington Post that they believe that sex before marriage is “not sinful,” and that it is rather “unreasonable,” “outdated and silly” to expect people to stay chaste until marriage. One said that he doesn’t “judge” those…

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Thomas Altizer, 91, Proponent of ‘God Is Dead’ Theology, Dies   Dec 05, 2018 03:01 pm

(The New York Times) — Thomas J. J. Altizer, one of a handful of radical theologians in the 1960s who espoused that “God is dead,” has died in Stroudsburg, Pa. He was 91. His daughter, Katharine Altizer, said the cause was complications of a stroke. Dr. Altizer, who lived in Mount Pocono, Pa., was under hospice care at the time. The idea that God was dead…

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Husband in Custody Battle for Son Accused by Wife of Being ‘Emotionally Abusive’ for Not ‘Affirming’ Child as Girl   Dec 03, 2018 12:50 pm

James on right DALLAS, Texas — A man in Texas who is in the midst of divorce and custody proceedings has been accused by his wife of being “emotionally abusive” for not affirming their son as a girl. The man says that his son chooses to present himself as a boy when away from his mother, who has been dressing him as a female for the past three years and calling…

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Discovery of Giant Synapsid Fossil in Poland ‘Throws a Wrench’ in Evolutionary Expectations for Triassic Layers   Dec 04, 2018 05:01 pm

Photo Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikipedia The remains of a large synapsid the size of an elephant has been discovered in Triassic rock layers in Poland, much to the surprise of researchers who thought that colossal mammal-like creatures had died out prior to the existence of dinosaurs. Christians, however, state that the find is no surprise and again points to the…

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New Orleans Police Identify, Arrest Teenager Who Fatally Ran Over Pastor’s Wife in Carjacking   Dec 02, 2018 08:07 pm

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Police in Louisiana have identified and arrested a teenager who carjacked a pastor’s wife on Tuesday and then ran over her with her own vehicle. “Thanks to non-stop work by NOPD’s Homicide Division, we have made multiple arrests in this case,” the New Orleans Police Department announced on social media on Saturday. Jontrell Robinson, 17, is…

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Oklahoma Senator Again Introduces Bill to Abolish Abortion in State, Criminalize Act as Murder   Dec 01, 2018 02:54 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — A senator in Oklahoma has again introduced a bill that would abolish abortion in the state and would result in homicide charges against abortionists. Senate Bill 13, filed by Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, states that the definition of a human being includes the unborn, and “from the moment of fertilization.” Therefore, under existing…

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Dutch Court Denies Businessman’s Request to Legally Identify as 20 Years Younger   Dec 03, 2018 02:09 pm

(Fox News) — The Dutch businessman who claimed he was a “young god” when he launched a legal battle last month to officially roll back his age 20 years will remain 69. A Dutch court on Monday rejected Emile Ratelband’s request to shave off two decades from his age, saying that amending his date of birth would “cause 20 years of records to…

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Missions Organization Defends John Chau’s Aim to Reach the Sentinelese With the Gospel   Dec 06, 2018 02:14 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A missions organization in Missouri is providing a defense in light of criticisms against American missionary John Chau, who was killed last month while seeking to reach an isolated tribal group on North Sentinel Island. Pam Arlund of All Nations told Christian Today that the organization was aware that Chau was planning on traveling to the…

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Christian Family in Algeria Charged With ‘Inciting a Muslim to Change His Religion’   Dec 06, 2018 04:55 pm

(World Watch Monitor) — Four Algerian Christians appeared in court last week, charged with “inciting a Muslim to change his religion” and “performing religious worship in an unauthorized place,” reports Middle East Concern (MEC). If found guilty, they face to two to five years in prison and a fine of up to one million dinars (approx. US $8,700). A verdict…

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Weekend Snapshot · Dec. 8, 2018 — Top Stories This Week

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

Socialist Climate Policies Drive France’s Riots

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

Climate Alarmists’ Chicken Little Routine Over New CO2 Report

Meanwhile, the EPA announces a rollback of Obama’s coal-killing emissions regulations.

By the Numbers: Welfare for Illegals

Noncitizens consume far more in welfare benefits and are much less likely to have health insurance

Black Males Twice as Likely to Murder Black Males

A new report on “gun violence” frames the issue as race rather than culture.

More ‘Right-Wing Violence,’ or More Furthering an Agenda?

Recent Leftmedia reports deliberately mislead regarding who exactly is “right wing.”

Main Street vs. Wall Street

While the stock market has been increasingly volatile, the overall economy is quite strong.

China, NAFTA, and the Trade Trump Card

The president made some progress toward his goals over the weekend with key trade deals.

Paul Ryan’s Tarnished Speakership

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

Is Mueller’s Investigation Wrapping Up?

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

Pope Francis: Homosexuals Should Leave Priesthood

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

Teaching Americans to Despise America

Recent indications are that younger citizens don’t think — or know — much of their own country.

Quote Of The Week

“The respect you get is usually the respect you earn, and the Bush family put on a public rite of national mourning that reflected well on the character of their father and the entire Bush clan, and gave the country a moment of shared respect it desperately needs.” —The Wall Street Journal

December 8 Christ’s Identification with Sinners

“… Made in the likeness of men.”

Philippians 2:7

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Christ was fully God and fully man.

In his Systematic Theology theologian Charles Hodge wrote, “The Scriptures teach that Christ had a complete human nature. That is, He had a true body and a rational soul. By a true body is meant a material body which in everything essential was like the bodies of ordinary men…. It is no less plain that Christ had a rational soul. He thought, reasoned, and felt.”

Hodge’s assessment is correct, for Christ was given all the essential attri–butes of humanity. He was more than God in a body. He became the God–man, being fully God and fully man. Like a man, Jesus was born and increased in wisdom and physical maturity (Luke 2:52). Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same.” Christ had the same flesh and blood that we have. When He came into the world, He came in normal human flesh that experienced all the effects of the Fall. He knew sorrow, suffering, pain, thirst, hunger, and death. He felt all effects of the Fall without ever knowing or experiencing the sin of the Fall.

Hebrews 2:17 points out how Christ’s humanity has a direct bearing on your life: Jesus “had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” For Christ to feel what you feel, He needed to be made like you. He experienced all the tests and temptations you do, but He never gave in to sin. That’s why He is such a faithful and understanding High Priest. Be encouraged, for we “do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank Christ for being your faithful High Priest.

For Further Study: What human characteristics did Christ show in the following verses: Matthew 4:2; 9:36; 23:37; John 4:6–7; 11:34–35; 19:30?[1]


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

December 8 Daily Help

BE it ever in your remembrance, that to keep strictly in the path of your Saviour’s command is better than any outward form of religion; and to hearken to his precept with an attentive ear is better than to bring the fat of rams, or any other precious thing, to lay upon his altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ’s commands to his disciples, I pray you be disobedient no longer. “To obey,” even in the slightest and smallest thing, “is better than sacrifice.” It is a blessed thing to be teachable as a little child, but it is a much more blessed thing, when one has been taught the lesson, to carry it out to the letter.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 346). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

Tucker Carlson Says “Not Capable” Trump “Hasn’t Kept His Promises” | Zero Hedge

So much for ‘Promises made, promises kept.’

Promises made, promises kept.

That has been President Trump’s unofficial motto since he started implementing his ambitious conservative agenda almost immediately after his inauguration (remember the uproar over the first iteration of the Trump travel ban?)

But apparently, Tucker Carlson believes Trump’s claim that he has kept all of his campaign promises is disingenuous. During an interview with Die Weltwoche, the Fox News host and founder of conservative media website The Daily Caller accused Trump of not being “capable” of executing his duties as president in what might be the most incisive criticism of President Trump and his agenda delivered by a Fox News personality.

The fact that Carlson is giving an interview to Switzerland’s “Newspaper of Record” isn’t surprising since gangs of Antifa thugs effectively ran him out of his home by threatening his wife (“ Tucker, we know where you sleep at night!”) He’s spent the past month off the air at Fox,

Do you think he has kept his promises? Has he achieved his goals?

No.

He hasn’t?

No. His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund planned parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things. There are a lot of reasons for that, but since I finished writing the book, I’ve come to believe that Trump’s role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does. I don’t think he’s capable. I don’t think he’s capable of sustained focus. I don’t think he understands the system. I don’t think the Congress is on his side. I don’t think his own agencies support him. He’s not going to do that.

I think Trump’s role is to begin the conversation about what actually matters. We were not having any conversation about immigration before Trump arrived in Washington. People were bothered about it in different places in the country. It’s a huge country, but that was not a staple of political debate at all. Trump asked basic questions like’ “Why don’t our borders work?” “Why should we sign a trade agreement and let the other side cheat?” Or my favorite of all, “What’s the point of NATO?” The point of NATO was to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe but they haven’t existed in 27 years, so what is the point? These are obvious questions that no one could answer.

But that wasn’t the only criticism levied at Trump during the interview. Carlson also complained about Trump’s “boastfulness” after his Swiss interviewer acknowledged that the Swiss are generally suspicious of braggarts.

The Swiss are very suspicious of anybody who is boastful. That’s why I have a question about Trump…

…I hate that about him. I hate that… it’s not my culture. I didn’t grow up like that.

Though he did spare a few unkind words for the Democrats, whom Carlson accused of abandoning the middle class. He even traced the exact moment when the party “shifted” its alignment away from the workers and in favor of a more corporatist approach: This shift happened during the tech boom years of Clinton’s second term.

The Democratic Party is out of touch with the working class.

Well, that’s the remarkable thing. For 100 years the Democratic Party represented wage earners, working people, normal people, middle class people, then somewhere around– In precisely peg it to Clinton’s second term in the tech boom in the Bay Area in Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Democratic Party reoriented and became the party of technology, of large corporations, and of the rich. You’ve really seen that change in the last 20 years where in the top 10 richest zip codes in the United States, 9 of them in the last election just went for Democrats. Out of the top 50, 42 went for Democrats. The Democratic Party, which for 100 years was the party of average people is now the party of the rich.

Donald Trump, who is often seen as this world-changing figure is actually a symptom of something that precedes him that I sometimes wonder if he even understands which is this realignment. He served the purpose of bringing the middle class into the Republican Party, which had zero interest, no interest in representing them at all. Trump intuitive, he felt, he could smell that there was this large group of voters who had no one representing them and he brought them to the Republican side, but the realignment is still ongoing.

In other words, the Democratic Party used to represent the middle class, it no longer does, it now hates the middle class. The Republican Party which has never represented the middle class doesn’t want to. That is the source of really all the confusion and the tension that you’re seeing now. I do think, going forward the Republican Party will wake up and realize these are our voters and we’re going to represent them whether we want it or not.

Well, that’s the remarkable thing. For 100 years the Democratic Party represented wage earners, working people, normal people, middle class people, then somewhere around– In precisely peg it to Clinton’s second term in the tech boom in the Bay Area in Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Democratic Party reoriented and became the party of technology, of large corporations, and of the rich. You’ve really seen that change in the last 20 years where in the top 10 richest zip codes in the United States, 9 of them in the last election just went for Democrats. Out of the top 50, 42 went for Democrats. The Democratic Party, which for 100 years was the party of average people is now the party of the rich.

Asked if he’s ever spoken with Trump, Tucker said he does, on occasion, receive calls from Trump – though Tucker said he’s not a policy advisor to the president (before adding that he could easily be one, because, in Carlson’s estimation, most policy advisors are “pretty stupid.”)

I read that the President is watching your show regularly?

Yes.

Have you heard from him? Has he ever commented on your show?

Yes. Occasionally he’ll call.

Does he say you did a good job or what does he say?

Yes. No. Not regularly, but I’ve heard from him before and I am emphatically not a policy adviser to him or anyone. My job is just to say what I think is true.

Toward the end of his interview, Carlson was asked about the trend of former Fox News stars like Megyn Kelly faltering after leaving the network. Carlson said the key is to “not go crazy.” Carlson’s own star has only risen since former Fox stalwarts like Kelly and Carlson’s predecessor in prime time, Bill O’Reilly, left the network.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-07/tucker-carlson-says-not-capable-trump-hasnt-kept-his-promises

Hearing Next Week on Clinton Foundation ‘Pay-To-Play’ Allegations Will Include 6,000 Pages of Whistleblower Documents

It’s flown a little under the radar because every news outlet is focused on Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen and whether or not there was collusion with Russia or a campaign finance violation on the part of the Trump campaign, but there’s a hearing scheduled next week into the ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

And when the hearing opens, House Congressional members will have before them “6,000 pages of evidence attached to a whistleblower submission filed secretly more than a year ago with the IRS and FBI.”

In a 48-page, secret submission filed with the IRS and the FBI back in 2017, whistleblowers offered 95 exhibits, including internal legal reviews, that have “flagged serious concerns about legal compliance, improper commingling of personal and charity business and “quid pro quo” promises made to donors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State,” reports The Hill.

The submission also cites an interview its investigators conducted with Andrew Kessel that quotes the foundation’s longtime chief financial officer as saying he was unable to stop former President Clinton from “commingling” personal business and charitable activities inside the foundation and that he “knows where all the bodies are buried.”

“There is probable cause that the Clinton Foundation has run afoul of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt charitable organizations and has acted inconsistently with its stated purpose,” MDA Analytics alleged in its submission. “The Foundation should be investigated for all of the above-mentioned improprieties. The tax rules, codes, statutes and the rule of law should and must be applied in this case.”

The evidence was complied by a firm called  MDA Analytics LLC, a private firm that focuses on non-profits and who decided to fund the investigation into the Foundation on its own dime. Investigators with the firm have a quite a pedigree: compliance experts with experience investigating private Wall Street firms; Drug Enforcement Administration agents who have money-laundering investigation experience; investigators who had examined terrorism-financing probes; and others who had been involved with U.S. attorney prosecutions.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who heads up the conservative House Freedom Caucus and is the chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, said the hearing next week is to assess the status of the Foundation investigation.

According to Fox News, one of the primary reasons the situation is garnering more scrutiny is because of remarks Clinton Foundation CFO Andrew Kessel made to MDA Analytics in November 2016 regarding the behavior of Bill Clinton.

During the meeting, Kessel said that “one of the biggest problems was [former President Bill] Clinton’s commingling and use of business and donated funds and his personal expenses.” A separate interview memo stated that Bill Clinton “mixes and matches his personal business with that of the foundation. Many people within the foundation have tried to caution him about this but he does not listen, and there really is no talking to him.”

“Whenever we look at the possibility of ‘pay to play’ by government officials, current or former, it demands answers,” Meadows added, “and anyone who uses public office to sell access for their own financial benefit must be held accountable.”

Next week is shaping up to be a battle between competing stories of potential criminal behavior at the highest levels of the federal government.
— Read on www.redstate.com/slee/2018/12/07/hearing-next-week-clinton-foundation-pay-play-allegations-will-include-6000-pages-whistleblower-documents/

December 8 Christ’s Radiance and Representation

“He is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).

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Jesus is both God manifest and God in substance.

Just as the rays of the sun give light, warmth, life, and growth to the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men and women. As “the radiance of God’s glory,” Jesus expresses God to us. No one can see God in His full glory; no one ever will. The radiance of that glory that reaches us from God appears in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Just as the sun was never without and can never be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun, and neither is Jesus’ incarnation glory exactly the same as God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, and yet a distinct Person within the Triune Godhead.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As the radiance of God’s glory, Christ can transmit that light into your life and mine, so we can radiate the glory of God to a dark world.

In using the term “exact representation” to describe Christ’s relationship to God’s nature, the writer employs terminology usually associated with an impression reproduced on a seal by a die or a stamp. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God—the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space.

How wonderful to realize that Jesus Christ, who is both the full expression of God and the exact reproduction of God’s nature in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God! His light is the source of our spiritual life. And His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything—for all eternity.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He determined to become a man so we could know what He is like.

For Further Study: Read 2 Corinthians 4:3–6 and note who allows people to see or not see spiritually.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 355). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 8, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

  1. Jehovah is my light. This commencement may be understood as meaning that David, having already experienced God’s mercy, publishes a testimony of his gratitude. But I rather incline to another meaning, namely, that, perceiving the conflict he had to wage with the sharpest temptations, he fortifies himself beforehand, and as it were brings together matter for confidence: for it is necessary that the saints earnestly wrestle with themselves to repel or subdue the doubts which the flesh is so prone to cherish, that they may cheerfully and speedily betake themselves to prayer. David, accordingly, having been tossed with various tempests, at length recovers himself, and shouts triumphantly over the troubles with which he had been harassed, rejoicing that whenever God displays his mercy and favour, there is nothing to be feared. This is farther intimated by the accumulation of terms which he employs, when he calls God not only his light, but his salvation, and the rock or strength of his life. His object was, to put a threefold shield, as it were, against his various fears, as sufficient to ward them off. The term light, as is well known, is used in Scripture to denote joy, or the perfection of happiness. Farther, to explain his meaning, he adds that God was his salvation and the strength of his life, as it was by his help that he felt himself safe, and free from the terrors of death. Certainly we find that all our fears arise from this source, that we are too anxious about our life, while we acknowledge not that God is its preserver. We can have no tranquillity, therefore, until we attain the persuasion that our life is sufficiently guarded, because it is protected by his omnipotent power. The interrogation, too, shows how highly David esteemed the Divine protection, as he thus boldly exults against all his enemies and dangers. Nor assuredly do we ascribe due homage to God, unless, trusting to his promised aid, we dare to boast of the certainty of our safety. Weighing, as it were, in scales the whole power of earth and hell, David accounts it all lighter than a feather, and considers God alone as far outweighing the whole.

Let us learn, therefore, to put such a value on God’s power to protect us as to put to flight all our fears. Not that the minds of the faithful can, by reason of the infirmity of the flesh, be at all times entirely devoid of fear; but immediately recovering courage, let us, from the high tower of our confidence, look down upon all our dangers with contempt. Those who have never tasted the grace of God tremble because they refuse to rely on him, and imagine that he is often incensed against them, or at least far removed from them. But with the promises of God before our eyes, and the grace which they offer, our unbelief does him grievous wrong, if we do not with unshrinking courage boldly set him against all our enemies. When God, therefore, kindly allures us to himself, and assures us that he will take care of our safety, since we have embraced his promises, or because we believe him to be faithful, it is meet that we highly extol his power, that it may ravish our hearts with admiration of himself. We must mark well this comparison, What are all creatures to God? Moreover, we must extend this confidence still farther, in order to banish all fears from our consciences, like Paul, who, when speaking of his eternal salvation, boldly exclaims, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:34.)

  1. When the wicked, &c. There is no reason for translating this sentence, as some interpreters do, into the future tense. But while we retain the past tense which the prophet employs, the words may be explained in a twofold manner. The meaning either is, that David celebrates the victory which he had obtained by the blessing of God; or there is a reference to the manner in which he had encouraged himself to hope the best, even in the midst of his temptations, namely, by thinking of God’s former favours. The latter is the exposition which I prefer. They both, however, amount to the same thing, and imply that David had no reason henceforth to doubt of God’s assistance when he considered his former experience; for nothing is of greater use to confirm our faith, than the remembrance of those instances in which God has clearly given us a proof not only of his grace, but of his truth and power. I connect this verse, accordingly, with the following one. In the former, David recalls to mind the triumphs which, by God’s help, he had already obtained; and from this he concludes, that by what hosts soever he may be environed, or whatever mischief his enemies may devise against him, he would fearlessly stand up against them. The Hebrew word קרב, karab, signifies to approach; but here it refers to the irruption that David’s enemies made upon him when they assaulted him. Some translate it to fight, but this translation is flat. To testify his innocence, he calls them wicked or froward, and by saying that they came upon him to eat up his flesh, he expresses their savage cruelty.[1]

27:1–3. David’s confidence was based on the Lord (rather than man or a group of men) who was his light and … salvation. The word light here, as elsewhere in the OT, is a metaphor for comprehensive salvation, spiritual and physical, both present and eternal. This metaphor of God as light also includes the concept of God illumining David’s darkness (cf. 2Sm 22:29) and directing his life toward obedience to the Lord (e.g., Pss 18:28; 119:105). Furthermore salvation encompasses not just deliverance from enemies, but more significantly spiritual redemption as well (e.g., Pss 3:8; 9:14; 13:5; 18:2, 46; 27:9). David’s dependence on God as the defense of [his] life is further emphasized by his specific use of the two verbs fear and dread (v. 1). This recalls the uses of both verbs when God urged the Israelites to take confidence that they would succeed in possessing the land not because of any ability on their part, but because God Himself will “put the dread and fear” of them “upon the peoples everywhere” (cf. Dt 2:25; Est 8:17). No matter what happens (enemies, a host, or war), he shall be confident.[2]


1–3 Confidence in the Lord affirmed. 1 Light, metaphorically, in contrast to the ‘darkness’ of surrounding trouble (Is. 50:11; Jn. 8:12). Salvation, deliverance in and from trouble. Stronghold …, the place where my life dwells in safety 2. David faces people bent on evil (evil men/‘evil doers’), full of savagery (devour, like beasts of prey) and hostility (enemies, foes). It is in this situation that he finds faith (1) and prayer (4–5, 7–9) sufficient. They will, emphatic, ‘It is they (not me!) who will stumble’. 3 enlarges the scope of faith-security. Will I be, ‘I remain trustful/confident’. Faith is sufficient even when enemies become armies and enmity open warfare.[3]


27:1 For example, when the chief priests, the captains of the temple and the elders came to the Garden of Gethsemane to capture Christ, He said to them, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53). But at this very moment He may have been consoling Himself with the thought:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life;

Of whom shall I be afraid?

God was His light as the darkness settled in. God was His salvation, that is, His Deliverer from earthly enemies. God was the stronghold of His life, a refuge in the time of storm. With such protection, He need not be afraid of anyone!

27:2 When men came to arrest the Lord Jesus, He asked them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” As soon as He said “I am He,” they recoiled and fell to the ground (John 18:6). At that moment Christ could well have been meditating on these words:

When the wicked came against me

To eat up my flesh

My enemies and foes,

They stumbled and fell.

They pounced on Him like birds of prey, but the glory of His deity as the Great I AM shone through His garb of humanity, and His captors were knocked to the ground.[4]


27:1 — The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

We don’t need to be afraid of the dark when the Lord gives us His light. We don’t need to fear the power of enemies when we walk in the power of God’s Spirit. John says, “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).[5]


27:1 light. This important biblical word picture with exclusively positive connotations pictures the light of redemption in contrast to the darkness of condemnation (cf. Pss 18:28; 36:9; 43:3; Is 60:1, 19, 20; Mic 7:8; Jn 8:12; 12:46; 1Jn 1:5).

27:2 to devour my flesh. An allusion to the psalmist’s enemies being like vicious beasts (cf. Pss 7:2; 14:4; 17:12; Job 19:22; Jer 30:16; 50:7). This wording was also employed to describe slander and defamation (cf. a close Aram. parallel in Da 3:8; 6:24). they stumbled and fell. This doublet conveys thorough defeat (cf. Is 3:8; 8:15; 31:3; Jer 46:6).[6]


27:1 Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12).

27:2 to eat up my flesh. The picture here is probably of evildoers as wild animals who would “devour” the faithful (cf. 14:4 and Mic. 3:3 for similar expressions; see Ps. 7:2; 10:9; 17:12; 22:13, 21 for the comparison).[7]


27:1 Yahweh is my light Represents Yahweh’s guiding presence (43:3). See note on 18:28; Job 29:2–4.

is the refuge of The word ma’oz used here describes high walls or a rocky fortress. It emphasizes the stable protection God provides for those who call on him.

27:2 eat my flesh The psalmist portrays his enemies as wild animals who devour and oppress him (Ps 14:4; Prov 30:14).[8]


27:1 light. God brings clarity, order, and understanding, while darkness is evil and chaotic. See Nah. 1:8, where the defeat of the enemy is shown by their being pursued into darkness. Also see “God Is Light: Divine Holiness and Justice” at Lev. 11:44.

27:2 eat up my flesh. The enemy seeks the physical harm of the psalmist. The expression also has a figurative meaning, “to slander me.”[9]


27:1 Light is parallel to salvation, which in this context refers to rescue from danger. Darkness represents danger (23:4), but light dispels darkness, eliminating the immediate threat (18:28). With God’s protection, there is no need to dread regardless of the peril (v. 3; Rm 8:31).

27:2 Devouring flesh is probably related to the imagery of wild animals as seen elsewhere in relation to enemies (see notes at 7:1–2; 14:4).[10]


[1] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 450–452). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Rydelnik, M., Vanlaningham, M., Barbieri, L. A., Boyle, M., Coakley, J., Dyer, C. H., … Zuber, K. D. (2014). Psalms. In The moody bible commentary (p. 784). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] Motyer, J. A. (1994). The Psalms. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 502). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 585). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 27:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 27:1–2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 970). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 27:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[9] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 759). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[10] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 840). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Historic Debt Is At The Core Of Our Decline | Zero Hedge

“Debt is a drug. The banks have known this for quite some time and have exploited the opiate of easy money to leverage entire nations and cultures into servitude or self-destruction…”

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

This article was originally published at Birch Gold Group

As I predicted just after the 2016 presidential election, a sordid theater of blame has exploded over the state of the U.S. economy, with fingers pointing everywhere except (in most cases) at the true culprits behind the crash. Some people point to the current administration and its pursuit of a trade war. Others point to the Federal Reserve, with its adverse interest rate hikes into economic weakness and its balance sheet cuts.

Some blame the Democrats for doubling the national debt under the Obama Administration and creating massive trade and budget deficits. And others look towards Republicans for not yet stemming the continually increasing national debt and deficits.

In today’s economic landscape, the debt issue is absolutely critical. While it is often brought up in regards to our fiscal uncertainty, it is rarely explored deeply enough.

I believe that economic crisis events are engineered deliberately by the financial elite in order to create advantageous conditions for themselves. To understand why, it is important to know the root of their power.

Without extreme debt conditions, economic downturns cannot be created (or at least sustained for long periods of time). According to the amount of debt weighing down a system, banking institutions can predict the outcomes of certain actions and also influence certain end results. For example, if the Fed was interested in conjuring a debt based bubble, a classic strategy would be to set interest rates artificially low for far too long. Conversely, raising interest rates into economic weakness is a strategy that can be employed in order to collapse a bubble. This is what launched the Great Depression, it is what ignited the crash of 2008, and it is what’s going on today.

The massive debt burden makes recovery difficult, if not impossible, and thus the system becomes increasingly dependent on the banking elites to resolve the problem.

Debt is the fuel that keeps the centralization machine running. I am not talking about standard lending, though this can be a factor. What I’m talking about is debt created through policy; debt that’s created in an instant through the use of subversive and arbitrary measures, like central bank balance sheet initiatives or interest rates. And, debt that’s created through collusion between central banks, international banks, ratings agencies, and government using the removal of regulations, or the implementation of unfair regulatory standards.

Debt is a drug. The banks have known this for quite some time and have exploited the opiate of easy money to leverage entire nations and cultures into servitude or self-destruction. To illustrate this point, let’s look at the debt numbers today.

The national debt is closing in on $22 trillion, with over $1 trillion a year currently being added for the American taxpayer.

Corporate debt is at historic highs not seen since 2008, with S&P Global reporting over $6.3 trillion in total debts and the largest companies holding only $2.1 trillion in cash as a hedge.

U.S. household debt currently stands at around $13.3 trillion, which is $618 billion higher than the last peak back in 2008, during the credit crisis.

U.S. credit card debt surpassed $1 trillion for the first time in 2018, the highest single year amount since 2007 (once again, we see that debt levels are spiking beyond the lines crossed just before the crash of 2008).

So how can this debt be exploited to engineer an economic crisis? 

Let’s start with household and consumer debt.

One would think that with so much lending and creation of consumer debt, we would see a massive expansion in home and auto markets. And for a time, we did. The problem was that most home purchases were being undertaken by major corporations like Blackrock, as they devoured distressed mortgages by the thousands and then turned those homes into rentals. In the auto market, there was a large spike in buying driven by lending, but this lending was accomplished through ARM-style car loans, the same kind of loans with lax standards that helped cause the mortgage crisis in 2008.

Today, both in the housing market and the auto market, a crash is indeed taking place as the Fed raises interest rates and makes holding these loans ever more expensive.

Pending home sales have tumbled to a four-year low, as one in four homes on the market is now forced to lower prices. Debt is becoming expensive, and therefore demand is slumping.

Overall U.S. auto sales began a precipitous decline this September, which has continued through November, mostly due to higher interest rates.

It is clear that an economic crash, which some are merely calling a bear market, is indicated in the swift decline in housing and autos, two of the most vital consumer sectors.

But what about corporate debt? Let’s use GE, GM and Ford as litmus tests.

GE is currently in the red for over $115 billion. And this doesn’t include its pension promises to employees, which amount to over $100 billion. Given that only $71 billion has been earmarked to cover the payments, any rate hikes from the Fed constitute a millstone on the necks of GE. The likely result will be continued layoffs. Last December, GE announced 12,000 jobs to be cut through 2018, and it is likely cuts will continue into 2019.

GM, with long term debt of $102 billion (as of September) and cash holdings of around $35 billion, is now cutting over 14,000 jobs and shutting down multiple factories in the U.S. This is due, in part, to a combination of interest rate hikes and tariffs. However, the true point of fracture is because of the expansive debt that GM is responsible for. Without such debt, neither rate hikes nor Trump’s tariffs would have as intense an effect on these corporations.

Ford, not to be outdone by GM, is set to announce up to 25,000 job cuts, though the bulk of them may be implemented in Europe. Ford has called this report by Morgan Stanley “premature”, but we saw many similar “non-denial-denials” of these kinds of info leaks during the crash of 2008, and most of them ended up being true.  Ford saw its debt rating downgraded by Moody’s earlier this year to one step above junk. With current liabilities of around $100 billion and only $25 billion in cash holdings, Ford is yet another company of the verge of crumbling due to huge liabilities it cannot afford to pay more interest on.

We can see the stress that the Fed is able to place on corporations by looking at their stock buyback expenditures over the past few years. Until recently, it was the Fed’s low interest rates, overnight loans, and balance sheet purchases that allowed companies to buy back their own stocks and thereby artificially prop up the markets. In fact, one could argue that without stock buybacks, the bull rally that started in 2009 would have died out a long time ago and we would have returned to crash conditions much sooner.

Well, this is exactly what is happening today.  Stock buybacks in the last half of 2018 are dwindling as the Fed tightens policy and interest rates draw ever closer to the designated “neutral rate” of inflation.  All it took as a measly 2% increase in interest to create a crisis, but with the level of debt choking the system, this should not be surprising to anyone.

By lowering interest rates to near zero, what the Fed did was create a culture of irresponsible risk, and I believe they did this knowingly. Even Donald Trump has tied himself to the performance of the stock market and embraced the debt addiction, arguing for the Fed to stop or reduce interest rate hikes to keep the debt party going.  Though, with Trump’s White House crawling with international banking agents and think-tank ghouls there might be far more than meets the eye as Trump anchors himself to the performance of the Dow.

The Fed is not going to stop. Why would they? They have created the perfect bubble. A bubble that encompasses not only corporate debt, consumer debt, and stock markets, but also bond markets and the U.S. dollar itself. If the goal is a move to centralize power, then the banking elites have the perfect crisis weapon in their hands, and they barely need to lift a finger (or raise rates) to trigger the event.

As noted earlier, it is not only stock investors that are dependent on Fed interest rates, but also the U.S. government, as treasury debt becomes less desirable for foreign buyers.  The higher the potential interest barrier for the US, the higher the cost, and the less faith foreign buyers have in our ability cover our liabilities while the Fed is still tightening.

Both China and Japan have been quietly reducing treasury holdings and purchases. Failing bond auctions have been cited as a trigger for spikes in Treasury yields since the beginning of 2018. Again, even U.S. debt and the dollar are embroiled in the “everything bubble”.

Debt in itself is not necessarily just a tool to gain more wealth; it is also a tool to change and mold societies through financial leverage and disaster.  To understand who is creating any fiscal downturn, and to understand who benefits from economic crisis, one only needs to consider who controls the debt.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-07/historic-debt-core-our-decline

The New Church Militant:  Why the Wheaton Summit on Sex Abuse Is Doomed Before It Even Starts | The Wartburg Watch 2018


 “The only summit meeting that can succeed is the one that does not take place.” —Barry Goldwater

This post was a collaborative effort between Dee Parsons and Ryan Ashton.

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December 1st, a group known as The Media Project posted an article titled, “Protestants also face #ChurchToo scandals. Reporters: Here’s a Handy Way to Assess Them” authored by Richard Ostling. Upon further investigation I wasn’t surprised by the tone of negativity—noticed by many others—given The Media Project’s ties to a tribe with which we have history.

The central claim in Ostling’s piece is that yours truly, and others I work with in the advocacy community, are “militant” and untrustworthy sources of information on abuse in the Church. I was called “sharp elbowed,” but there were no corresponding quotes or explanation for that pejorative. In contrast, “mainstream” organizations, such as the upcoming Wheaton Summit on Church Abuse, were presented as better alternatives.

We will examine those claims, but first, some context.

What is The Media Project?

Before we begin, let’s examine The Media Project itself.

According to their website:

“The Media Project is a network of mainstream journalists who are pursuing accurate and intellectually honest reporting on all aspects of culture, particularly the role of religion in public life in all corners of the world. TMP welcomes friends from other faiths to join us in our discussions and training.”

There is a great need for an entity such as The Media Project since I like the idea of accurate and intellectually honest reporting. I am disappointed, however, in their failure to exercise basic journalism before writing about me or the organizations I work with.

For example, I have been studying the Christian counseling movement for some time. Go to this post and see how I quote directly from their materials.  In fact, I received correspondence from academics thanking me for using the exact words of those within the movement to define what it is I am talking about. It’s not just journalistic integrity—it’s good manners.

The partners of The Media Project/Joe Carter

Regular readers know that I regularly write posts which encourage people to read the websites of religious organizations prior to visiting in order to avoid unforeseen problems. So, I decided to look at the partners of The Media Projectto investigate why the tone and negativity towards us. It is very quickly apparent that the journalists of this organization mightier be relying upon the information given to them by their partners.

The aforementioned tweet from Scottie Day was rather remarkable since Joe Carter, the editor of The Gospel Coalition, is involved with the Acton Institute as a Senior Fellow. Joe Carter is also a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, as well as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicatorand an editor of theNIV Lifehacks Bible.

For those unaware of Joe Carter’s history with TWW, Joe Carter is a huge supporter of CJ Mahaney and accused me of libel in my ongoing coverage of the Sovereign Grace Ministry scandal. There was a particularly nasty exchange that The Christian Post covered when Joe Carter leveled the charge of libel as well.

Joe Carter’s history with me, calling The Wartburg Watch ”a hateful, lying blog,centers on Carter’s following claims: (Remember, he is an expert of arguing like Jesus)

  1. That I was pathologically dishonest because I believed that CJ Mahaney had participated in the cover up of child sex abuse,
  2. That I was defaming Mahaney by publishing posts that said I (and others) believed the victims’ claims were true,
  3. That I was guilty of “slander” because I believed in the victims’ claims,
  4. That I could be sued because I believed the victims.

TWW Responds to Joe Carter, Editor for The Gospel Coalition, Who Called This a Hateful, Lying Blog.

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See also: The Gospel Coalition, Christian Bloggers Spar Over Sovereign Grace Ministry, C.J. Mahaney on Twitter

“Parsons defended herself, claiming that “everyone has a right to express their point of view. Also, I tend to believe the victims.”

“Slander/defamation is well defined as deliberately telling a lie in order to hurt another. I have never knowingly told a lie at TWW & have never said anything to deliberately hurt another. When I have been confronted with an obvious mistake, I have apologized and corrected it,” continued Parsons on Twitter.

__________

Carter has concentrated his wrath on TWW for years, regularly attempting to classify me as a “liberal Christian” while remaining supportive of CJ Mahaney, whose ministry imploded due to the voluminous amount of credible allegations that sexual abuse was enabled and covered up within Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Therefore, it is not surprising to see associates of Joe Carter, whom I do not know and have never been acquainted, immediately seek to smear the work I and fellow advocates do.

The Wheaton Summit on Sex Abuse

Going back to The Media Project’s article, “Protestants also face #ChurchToo scandals. Reporters: Here’s a Handy Way to Assess Them,” this is how the upcoming Wheaton Summit is introduced:

“…the host, Ed Stetzer, a trend-watcher who directs Wheaton’s Billy Graham Center…”

To begin, until recently, Ed Stetzer was the church planting expert for the Southern Baptist Convention and was part of the in-crowd, following in the footsteps of Al Mohler. Stetzer never spoke out against the problems in Sovereign Grace Ministries. But now suddenly, Stetzer is the new authority on sex abuse in the SBC. Why? He never paid much attention to it until it became an issue that garnered press. It is obvious from his choice of participants in the Wheaton GC2 Summit—lacking survivors, advocates, and professionals that survivors trust and who have been confronting church abuse for years—that he has little understanding of the #ChurchToo Movement.

  1. He did not invite Emily Joy and Hannah Paasch, the women who started the #ChurchToo hashtag, a tag that was co-opted for the summit until various media groups pointed out those who were missing,
  2. There are few, if any, experts in attendance,
  3. Christine Caine plagiarized from an abuse survivor for her new book and settled out of court, but has not apologized. Moreover, she remains silent over her longtime colleague, Hillsong founder, Brian Houston, who covered up his own father’s pedophilia. .
  4. Belinda Bauman, a “visionary” of the #SilenceisNotSpiritual movement has been dead silent during the Jules Woodson/Andy Savage story. Perhaps #SilenceIsSpiritual when it’s your friends who are accused?
  5. Thankfully, Nancy Beach is scheduled to appear. A victim in the Willow Creek disaster, Ms. Beach has credibility within the survivor community.

The Wheaton GC2 Summit is part of the “Well-Meaning Establishment” 

It is obvious to many observers that this summit has been poorly planned. Organized by someone unknown to abuse advocates, featuring compromised speakers with a history of abuse and cover-up themselves, it is worth asking why the Wheaton Summit should be considered part of the “well-meaning establishment” in The Media Project’s article. Of particular concern is the way seasoned advocates have been smeared in the process.

The Courage Conference is Militant and Comprised of Progressives

Read this following quote carefully.

“Wheaton’s confab represents the well-meaning establishment, in contrast with the more militant Courage Conference led by Easter, who is affiliated with the theologically ’inclusive’ Progressive Christian Alliance. Parsons, Tchividjian and Woodson were among speakers at the third annual Courage Conference in Raleigh (NC) Oct. 19-21.

Courage involves evangelicals and believers from all religious communities. Importantly, it rejects “any ideology that places women in a more vulnerable position and reinforces men to a unilateral position of power and control.”

In case you missed it, that language is a direct shot at complementarians, who will doubtless be represented at Wheaton.

Is the author implying that those who confront sex abuse in the Church, helping survivors like Jules Woodson by amplifying her voice, are militant? At what point do is confronting abuse worse than the abuse itself?  Since when has this become an issue between liberals and conservatives?

This is the part where Ostling reveals his lack of understanding of sex abuse and survivor advocates. The Courage Conference had indeed invited me as a speaker. I am a conservative Lutheran. Ashley is a progressive Christian. This conference is like the advocate community it serves: an all-inclusive cohort of people from many backgrounds working together on a common, pervasive problem. Advocates don’t limit people due to their theological viewpoint—theological doorkeeping is what abuse enablers do. We do not engage in idealogical bias. Instead, The Courage Conference makes it quite clear in their value statement that an ideaology—such as patriarchy—has an alarming amount of abuse inherent with its theology. Those who participate at The Courage Conference do so with the understanding that confronting abuse means we have to take a hard look at our theology as well. That’s it.

Quite simply, we all agree that church abuse is evil and must be confronted. It’s amazing how much people who differ in theological perspective can find in common when it comes to standing up for those abused in the Church.

Mr.Ostling did not do his research when he made this statement. If he did, he would realize there were many conservatives at The Courage Conference, like myself, who decide to love survivors and work with advocates because abuse is a worse problem than people who do not agree with me theologically.

If egalitarianism was an issue, then why include Nancy Beach in the Wheaton Summit? I know Nancy Beach who was part of the Willow Creek Church, which has women as pastors.

Again, this isn’t a war between liberals and conservatives. This is a confrontation between those who take abuse seriously and those who want to uphold the system that enabled it to begin with.

Yours Truly is “Sharp Elbowed” 

One of the more laughable epithets in Mr. Ostling’s piece was calling me “sharp elbowed.” I do admit I can get testy when people are being abused in the Church and the “well-meaning establishment” looks on and does nothing. I have a great deal of experience with the “well-meaning establishment” doing anything but being well-meaning. Does Ostling know how many nights I have a hard time sleeping when I think about stories like the fourteen kids molested at NewSpring Church? My response is to write about it and pray for the children. If that’s “militant,” I’d hate to see what Ostling would do with stories like that.

Abuse survivors are pouring out of the Church like a deluge, and it isn’t the “militant” exposing this travesty that are the problem. The establishment that allowed it to begin with—for decades—is far more culpable than Mr. Ostling dares to realize.

I would love Ostling to visit my church and see me participating in a conservative worship service. I would bet he would find my church suitable when it comes to his definition of the ”well-meaning establishment.”

As for being “sharp elbowed,” I invite Mr. Ostling to re-examine the issues Joe Carter has with me, as stated  above. I have to be strong because the establishment has run over too many people without care or compassion. I stand strong because  the victims deserve it. Until blogs, victims were  voiceless and powerless. Is that militant?

It is the height of journalistic malpractice to frame these current struggles for decency and integrity in the Church in the way The Media Project has. Abuse survivors deserve better. The advocates and professionals working to serve the hurting deserve better. Most of all, the truth deserves better, which is trodden underfoot every time the advocate community is smeared so the establishment can call itself “well-meaning.”

Ostling forgot some folks.

The advocate community is deep and diverse, full of characters I would have liked to see added.  Julie Anne Smith, Amy Smith and Todd Wilhelm are investigative bloggers of the highest caliber. Both of them are doing some really great work on exposing abuse in the Church. Neither would be invited to speak at Wheaton’s Summit, but any survivor who attends would doubtless know of these bloggers and their hearts for the wounded.

The work GRACE does, with Boz Tchividjian at the helm, is enormous. He has assembled a team of professionals that are beyond compare when it comes to addressing abuse in religious communities. Among them, Mike Sloan, a former pastor who travels the country, educating churches on how to prevent and respond to abuse. GRACE Board Member Dr. Diane Langberg has worked with trauma survivors for over 45-years and has a Twitter account that is a gold mine for those looking for encouragement, help, and ways to address abuse. Justin and Lindsay Holcomb, also GRACE Board Members, wrote a book, God Made All of Me, which educates children on age-appropriate ways to identify their anatomy and establish proper boundaries.

Wade Mullen’s PhD dissertation on how toxic religious environments seek to control the narrative and manage their image when scandal hits is a must read, as is his Twitter, which regularly features educational tips any leader would do well to know. Christa Brown, an advocate for abused within the SBC, has for decades been working to establish a database of abusive pastors within the convention, and has paved the way for many of us. Brad Sargent, a blogger and frequent collaborator of Julie Anne Smith, regularly unpacks how abuse works in a system. Rachael and Jacob Denhollander are conservative Christians making inroads within the secular world of sports and fighting to see the statute of limitations changed in our country. Claire and Peter Roise of Moscow, Idaho, have established a network called “Awaken,” seeking to address domestic violence in their region. Joy Forrest has done the same in North Carolina with “Called to Peace.” Jimmy Hinton is a pastor who turned in his pedophile pastor father—unlike Hillsong’s Brian Houston—and has a must-hear podcast which regularly addresses abuse.

Rebecca Davis is a blogger and conservative Christian who has deep ties with many of these advocates, regularly analyzing theology that has been destructive but in a way that doesn’t tear apart Christianity as a whole. David Pittman serves male survivors of abuse with his ministry “Together We Heal.” Stephanie Tait, Cyndie Randall, Kimberly Harris, and Sarah Smith are writers, poets, and journalists who work to see justice and healing for all. Ryan Ashton is a graphic designer who has collaborated with many of these survivors and advocates, and is building a website to bring abuse advocates together. Jules Woodson has become a leader in the #churchtoo movement.

There are so many others I have not had the chance to name. But we all work with one, overriding purpose: to see voices amplified that have been silenced, to see justice roll down the mountains, to see a Church that is safe—a refuge from abuse, rather than a predator’s paradise.

If these people, conservative and progressive alike, seem a threat to you, then you are on the wrong side.

The New Church Militant is not here to fight anything but abuse and those who enable it.

Strap yourselves in. The world is changing, and my sharp elbows have barely gotten started.
— Read on thewartburgwatch.com/2018/12/07/the-new-church-militant-why-the-wheaton-summit-on-sex-abuse-is-doomed-before-it-even-starts/

Stockman: The Donald Undone – Tilting At The Swamp, Succumbing To The Empire | Zero Hedge

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

You can’t build the Empire and drain the Swamp at the same time. That’s because the Swamp is largely the fruit of Empire. And it’s also the reason that the Donald is being rapidly undone.

Indeed, it is the Empire’s $800 billion national security budget which feeds Washington’s vast complex of weapons suppliers, intelligence contractors, national security bureaucrats, NGOs, think tanks, K-street lobbies, so-called “law” firms and all-purpose racketeers. It’s what accounts for the Imperial City’s unseemly and ill-gotten prosperity.

It goes without saying that the number one priority of these denizens of Empire is to keep the gravy train rolling. That is accomplished by inventing and exaggerating threats to America’s homeland security and by formulating far-flung and misbegotten missions designed to extend and reinforce Washington’s global hegemony.

As we demonstrate elsewhere, a true homeland security defense budget would consist of the strategic nuclear triad and modest conventional forces to defend the nation’s shoreline and air space; it would cost about $250 billion per year plus a few $10 billion more for a State Department which minded its own business.

So the $500 billion difference is the fiscal cost of Empire, which is pushing the US toward an immense generational fiscal crisis. But it’s also a measure of the giant larder that fills the Swamp with the projects and busywork of Washington’s global hegemony.

In fact, it is the vast depth of that $500 billion larder which gives rise to the forces that not only thwart the Donald’s desire to drain the Swamp, but actually enlist him the cause of deepening its brackish waters.

Moreover, these missions encompass far more than direct military occupations, such as in Afghanistan and Iraq; or indirect aggressions, such as in Washington’s arming of anti-government terrorists in Syria and facilitating and supplying Saudi Arabia’s genocidal bombing campaign in Yemen; or even the kind of rank provocation implicit in the 29,000 troops Washington still bivouacs on the Korean peninsula 65 years after the war there ended and the thousands of US and NATO forces which conduct virtually constant maneuvers and war games on the very borders of Russia.

OFAC And Washington’s Economic Sanctions Strike Force 

Beyond the Empire’s purely military dimension lies a vast stratum of economic and financial warfare. The US currently has sanctions—-trade, financial and proscribed nationals—on more than 30 countries including highly visible alleged malefactors like Russia, Iran and North Korea—but also Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, to name a few.

These sanctions are enforced by an office in the US Treasury Department, which is aptly named the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). Being openly in the business of controlling the assets of foreign countries, in fact, its name speaks volumes about the daily purposes of the Imperial City.

In addition to enforcement actions against the above named three dozen countries, OFAC’s global reach has been fantastically expanded by the so-called war on terror, and the mechanism of sanctioning “Specially Designated Nationals” or SDNs.

We are here talking about individual citizens and officers of foreign countries, one at a time. It so happens that the OFAC periodically publishes a list of SDNs and the latest one (May 24, 2018) is a staggering 1,132 pages long. By our reckoning it lists in excess of 500,000 foreign evil doers of one type or another.

The fact that it takes 221 pages just to get through the “A’s” in its alphabetical listing—owing to the prevalence of Ali’s, Abdul’s, and Ahmed’s—-is perhaps indicative of the nature and scope of Washington’s SDN dragnet.

Needless to say, sanctioning 500,000 foreigners generates endless make-work for the denizens of the Swamp and the phalanx of national security agencies and private contractors which employ them. But it’s all in a day’s work in the Empire because this list exists only by virtue of Washington’s self-appointed role of global policeman and hegemon of global order.

Moreover, the list now encompasses far more than the Abdul’s and Ahmed’s arising from the Imperial City’s misbegotten “war on terror”. In truth, the latter has actually been a hatchery of terror in the form of blowback and vengeful retaliation for Washington’s military devastation of the Middle East and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, there are also thousands of Russian, Iranian and Chinese names on this list owing to Washington’s putting a hex on certain disapproved behaviors and policies of these nations. And many tens of thousands more names appear for the sin of not compliantly observing Washington’s sanctions on third-parties with which they had wished to do business.

That is, OFAC is now into a higher level of economic warfare: Sanctioning those who fail to sanction the sanctioned.

Here’s the thing. Almost none of this busywork of Empire has anything to do with the safety and security of the American homeland.

It is the fruit of middle eastern interventions and occupations which should never have happened— going all the way back to the first Gulf War and all that followed.

Indeed, it goes back even further in time to Washington’s siding with Saddam Hussein during the 1980s Iran/Iraq War and to the so-called Charlie Wilson’s War during which the CIA recruited and armed the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Soviets after the latter’s misbegotten invasion of the “graveyard of empires” in 1979.

It is also the fruit of a needless demonization of Russia and Putin, which , as we have seen, comprise no threat to the American homeland whatsoever; and also, increasingly, the designation of alleged Chinese malefactors for failure to enforce Washington’s foreign policy.

Imperial Arrogance: Sanctioning China For Not Enforcing Washington’s Economic War On Iran

The Trump Administration’s recent attempt—-purposeful or not—to destroy China’s second largest telecom supplier (ZTE) is an hideous case in point. Once upon a time that would have been considered an act of war, but under the aegis of Empire the shoe goes on the other foot: It’s China’s fault, apparently, that ZTE failed to comply with Washington’s hex on Iran.

In effect, the Donald is getting sucked into functioning as another handmaid of Empire rather than actually performing the noble work of draining the Swamp. After all, the essence of draining the Swamp boils down to shrinking the state and unleashing the energies of free market capitalism–including generation of more export to the rest of the world.

But in the ZTE case, Trump and his neocon and warhawk advisors were doing just the opposite.They had slapped an edict on US telecom component and software suppliers like Qualcomm, prohibiting them from engaging in acts of trade with China’s #2 telecom equipment manufacturer and the #4 mobile phone provider in the world.

That is, they were about the business of pumping the Swamp full with even more busybody regulation and bloat—and once again bamboozling the Donald with phony threats to national security.

In this case, ZTE apparently violated “sanctions” put upon Iran and North Korea by the Empire in its self-appointed role of global policeman.

That’s right. There have been no charges that ZTE has “stolen” American technology or subsidized exports to the harm of American cell phone factories—-because, well, there are none left.

The Chinese state-owned company’s only alleged offense, in fact, was not functioning as a complaint enforcement arm of Washington’s foreign sanctions strike force.

But threatening to bring daily production at ZTE to a halt because it cannot (in the short-run) make cell phones without those designed-in Qualcomm parts, the Donald was also in danger of putting the kibosh on American production, jobs and leadership in the high technology components end of ZTE’s business.

Since ZTE sits on a giant mountain of debt, however,the Chinese had no choice in the near term except to bend over and request Washington’s bar of soap. To that end, in fact, they are now negotiating the complete housecleaning of the company’s board and top executives and replacing them with names satisfactory to Washington.

Indeed, when this compromise settlement with China was announced a few months ago, we learned that the Donald had told his “friend” President Xi Jinping that in return for letting ZTE off the sanctions hook, Washington would be happy to collect a $1.3 billion fine and take control of company’s board and management!

But here’s the thing. ZTE is not only a state-owned company; it’s also a core national technology champion in the Red Ponzi’s statist scheme of economic management.

So the idea that Washington should control ZTE is flat-out idiotic, yet it stems 100% from the Empire’s hex on Iran and North Korea—-a futile, destructive exercise in the sanctions game which never should have happened in the first place.

As we have frequently explained, Iran should be free to conduct a foreign policy of its own choosing in its own middle eastern neighborhood; and that if we got the machinery of war and empire out of the way, the Koreans—north and south—would readily find a way to denuclearize, demilitarize and economically reunite.

And yet that’s not the half of it. The Donald’s doddering Secretary of Commerce and former crony capitalist thief, Wilbur Ross, explained to bubble vision at the time of the July deal that “compliance” would be assured by placing an entire squadron of Washington operatives inside the company on a permanent basis to makes sure it does not again violate Washington’s sanctions and other edicts.

That’s right. Wilbur proposes to run China’s giant state telecom company from the Commerce Department Building on Constitution Avenue.

That’s draining the swamp?

Well, at least there is some irony—surely not intended—-in proposing to control a communist state industrial behemoth from Constitution Avenue.

Then again, through the largesse of the state and the Fed’s Bubble Finance, Wilbur Ross became a self-proclaimed billionaire, like his boss.

So how would either have a clue about draining the real statist Swamp?

China Trade Deal—Recipe For A Big Washington Trade Nanny

And that gets us to the Donald utterly wrong-headed pursuit of an overall “trade deal” with China—a prospect that has the far-flung agencies and contractors in the Imperial City giddy with anticipation.It would simply mean a whole new regime of economic meddling, trade management, bureaucratic enforcement and sanctions for not measuring up.

It would also have the meters running overtime at Washington’s law firms and consultancies, which would be over-run with demand from Chinese companies and state agencies seeking help with “compliance”.

The fact is, America doesn’t need no stinkin’ trade deal with China.

Yes, as we have seen, we did import $526 billion last year from China compared to just $130 billion of exports. But that $396 billion deficit is due to factors that trade negotiators and enforcement bureaucrats could not fix in a month of Sundays. As we have shown, it’s an artifact of bad money and the machinations of central bankers, starting with the Fed.

So even though China doesn’t import much, it’s not mainly owing to its high tariffs or its labyrinth of non-tariff barriers. Instead, it results from the fact that Beijing has run the People Printing Press overtime for the last 25 years and has thereby buried its economy in $40 trillion of unsustainable and unrepayable debt—-debts that will eventually grind its economy to a halt or trigger the mother of all financial implosions.

In the interim, however, it won’t import much because most foreign suppliers—and most especially the US—cannot compete with a state controlled economy temporarily blessed with spanking new, debt-financed capital equipment, essentially proletarian labor in a red economy and a minimal welfare state burden on businesses owing (temporarily) to favorable demographics and the stingy benefit policies of its allegedly socialist rulers in Beijing.

Thus, even if the Donald should succeed in strong-arming Beijing into tripling its current $15 billionof agricultural imports from the US and doubling its $20 billion of energy imports, the resulting $50 billion uptick in combined exports from these sectors wouldn’t make a dent in the trade deficit.

And even if they do cut their tariffs on auto imports as promised, that’s not going to amount to a hill of beans, either. That because a long time ago all high volume US auto producers—-GM, Ford and Chrysler—recognized that taking coals to Newcastle was the better part of wisdom.

That is, they all moved their assembly plants and their parts suppliers to China where they face capital and labor costs that are only a fraction of those in the US. Accordingly, there is not a snowball’s chance in the hot place that US based production—-other than perhaps in the case of tiny volumes of niche or prestige vehicles—can compete in China’s 30 million unit auto market.

In fact, autos and parts exports to China currently amount to less than $5 billion, and there is no reason to believe there is much upside at all—even with a zero tariff.

Even when it comes to the heavy capital equipment made by Caterpillar or the advanced commercial aircraft supplied by Boeing—–these US suppliers are doing a increasing share of their  production and valued added in their own or JV plants in China, not Peoria and Seattle.

And as to most consumer goods, fuggetaboutit!

On the other hand, the Donald doesn’t have a clue about the other side of the equation—the $526 billion of annual US imports from China. That baleful fact, however, is the legacy of 30 years of monetary central planning by the Fed, not cheating by the Chinese.

The essence of the Fed’s false prosperity trick was to enable American households to live beyond their means by raising their debts by nearly 6X to $15.6 trillion during the last three decades—- even as wage and salary incomes grew by only 3.7X.

The difference essentially reflected unearned consumption borrowed from the economic future, but also on the margin was supplied by goods emanating from the far lower cost factories of the Red Ponzi.

The 30-Year Borrowing Binge: Household Debt Versus Wage And Salary Income

At the same time, as we have seen, the Fed’s insensible pursuit of 2.00% inflation essentially inflated the cost-price-wage structure of the US economy, and at the very worst time imaginable: That is, after Mr. Deng’s early 1990’s pronouncement that it is “glorious to be rich” and its adoption of mercantilist, credit fueled, state-driven economic development model.

In a word, China was draining its rice paddies of cheap industrial labor, thereby driving the global labor cost curve downward—at the very time that the geniuses in the Eccles Building did their level best to inflate the nominal wage levels of US factories in the opposite direction. The result was that the borrowed consumption of the American household sector got supplied by the peasantry-turned-factory worker in the Red Ponz1.

So, is some kind of Imperial City fostered “trade deal” going to alter these deeply embedded historical legacies?

No, they will not—that is, at least not until sound money policies are once again replanted in the Eccles Building.

The arrival of Janet Yellen in tie and trousers at the helm of the Fed, however, means that the one chance the Donald had to do something meaningful about the China trade gap has been blown.

That’s not only owing to the appointment of Jerome Powell, who is a Keynesian Imperial City lifer, but also due to the constant drumbeat of suggestion from the White House that the Donald is a “low interest man” and would prefer to keep the monetary status quo in place; or more recently, has even demanded that the Fed cut an interest rate target that is still negative in real terms..

So why is the Donald wasting his time and fueling growth of Imperial Washington via his “art of the deal” dueling with President Xi?

In part, of course, that’s because the Donald has been a life-long dyed-in-the-wool protectionist—a virtual paragon of 18th century mercantilism.

Needless to say, protectionism and mercantilism are the health of the Swamp because they rest on government-to-government deals, not the enlightened self-interest and mutual benefits of capitalist commerce.

Accordingly, the central pillar of the Donald’s economic policy—-new bilateral “trade deals”— is inherently designed to fill the Swamp, not drain it.

In the first place, if the Red Suzerains are economically benighted enough to figuratively throw rocks into their own harbors to repel imports and to subsidize exports with cheap credit, repressed wages and other state subventions, guess what?

It’s their wealth being penalized, not America’s. The Red Ponzi is effectively sending foreign aid to America!

Technology Protectionism—-Trojan Horse Of The Warfare State

And it is here where the Imperial City has taken the Donald by the short orange ones. The Warfare State sees trade as just another venue of battle—–and in this case based on the completely spurious notion that China’s alleged theft of US intellectual property is a threat to national security.

That just patent nonsense because nearly every technology in today’s world is dual use. So if you start with the false premise that China has the will and capability to threaten America militarily—either now or in the relevant future—-you are automatically embarking down the road of state control of the economy and an ever deeper Swamp in the Imperial City.

The fact is, the Red Ponzi is a giant house of cards that cannot survive in the long-run, and in the mid-term is completely dependent of US markets to earn the dollar surpluses that it needs to keep its $40 trillion tower of debt from having a crash landing.

So the truth is, it doesn’t matter what technologies the Chinese have—-they are almost definitionally not a threat to the American homeland. Nevertheless, the Donald’s glandular protectionism plays right into the hands of the Washington hegemonists.

They now have him busily attempting to administer a trade spanking to China because purportedly it does not buy enough American soybeans, LNG and Ford Explorers.

But the Deep State has something far bigger in mind. Namely, the complete control of trade in the name of national security in the new age of advanced information technology—and on that front the Donald is turning out to be a battering ram beyond their wildest dreams.

For instance, here is what a true Swamp creature has to say about the matter. Mr. Paul Rosenzweig is apparently a Republican but actually a certified denizen of the Imperial City.

“I knew what was critical in 1958 — tanks, airplanes, avionics. Now, truthfully, everything is information. The world is about information, not about things,” said Paul Rosenzweig, who worked with CFIUS while at the Department of Homeland Security during President George W. Bush’s second term. “And that means everything is critical infrastructure. That, in some sense, means CFIUS really should be managing all global trade.”

Needless to say, the misbegotten China Trade Deal is only one of the many avenues by which the Empire has enlisted the Donald in the business of deepening the Swamp, not draining it.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-07/stockman-donald-undone-tilting-swamp-succumbing-empire