Daily Archives: December 16, 2018

DECEMBER 16 THE WONDER, THE MYSTERY, THE MAJESTY

And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

—Matthew 17:6

“Awesome wonder and overpowering love” in the presence of that ancient Mystery, that unspeakable Majesty, which the philosophers call the Mysterium Tremendum, but which we call our Father which art in heaven….

The evangelical rationalism which tries to explain everything takes the mystery out of life and the mystery out of worship. When you have taken the mystery out you have taken God out, for while we may be able to understand Him in some measure, we can never fully understand God. There must always be that awe upon our spirits that says, “Ah, Lord God, Thou knowest!”—that stands silent and breathless or kneels in the presence of that awful Wonder, that Mystery, that unspeakable Majesty, before whom the prophets used to fall, and before whom Peter and John and the rest of them fell down as if dead, before whom Isaiah recoiled and cried, “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). WMJ005-006

Lord, the disciples heard Your voice and fell on their faces before You, as did Isaiah when he caught a glimpse of Your glory. May I be overwhelmed today with a glimpse of the Mysterium Tremendum. Amen. [1]


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

December 16 Peace on Earth?

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.

Luke 2:14, nasb

As we hear so often at Christmas, the beginning of [Christ’s] earthly life was heralded by angels who announced peace on earth (Luke 2:14).

There never really has been peace on earth, in the sense we think of it. Wars and rumors of wars have characterized the entire two millennia since that first Christmas, and all the time before it.

That announcement of peace on earth was a two–pronged proclamation. First, it declared the arrival of the only One who ultimately can bring lasting peace on earth (which He will do when He returns to bring about the final establishment of His earthly kingdom).

But more important, it was a proclamation that God’s peace is available to men and women. Read the words of Luke 2:14 carefully: “‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”

Who are those with whom He is pleased? The ones who have yielded their lives to the authority of His government.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 377). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Want to Give a Book for Christmas? Here’s My Top Ten List for Books on the Authority of Scripture

The ignored story of ‘America’s biggest serial killer’

A Short Primer on the Bible and Homosexual Practice

‘We have more evidence than we need’ to prove Christianity, apologist says

Korn’s Brian ‘Head’ Welch recalls overcoming addiction, finding God in new doc

As Last Abortion Center in Nashville Closes, Tennessee Doctor Reveals Why Life is Winning

Is a Virgin Birth Possible? That Depends on God’s Existence

Petition Calls Deadpool/Jesus Poster ‘Religious Discrimination’

Lauren Daigle and homosexuality: Why we should all be prepared to answer the question

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad

Last week’s edition is here.

Source: Worldview and Apologetics in the News

Obama Vows To Fight President Trump

Former President Obama is set to go to the streets with President Donald Trump.

Figuratively anyway.

The 44th President of the United States is irate that his signature law, Obamacare, was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge on Friday and he has vowed to fight on.

The former president took to Twitter on Saturday to tell his fans that the fight is not over.

There are two things you need to know today about health care.

First, today’s the last day of open enrollment. That means it’s the deadline to make sure you and the people you love have health insurance in 2019. So head over to HealthCare.gov to get covered!

Second, you might have heard about a federal court decision on a Republican lawsuit trying to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. That can be a scary thing to hear, particularly if you or someone you care about has a pre-existing condition. And that’s why it’s so important for you to know that last night’s ruling changes nothing for now. As this decision makes its way through the courts, which will take months, if not years, the law remains in place and will likely stay that way. Open enrollment is proceeding as planned today. And a good way to show that you’re tired of people trying to take away your health care is to go get covered!

A lot of good people are fighting to ensure that nothing about your care will change. The ACA protects your pre-existing conditions, no matter how you get your insurance. Young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. Preventive care like checkups, mammograms, and contraceptive care are still covered. Mental health care is still covered. Women can’t be charged more just for being a woman. All of that is guaranteed by the ACA as long as it’s the law.

Do you support the judge’s decision?

But all of this should also be a reminder that Republicans will never stop trying to undo all that. If they can’t get it done in Congress, they’ll keep trying in the courts, even when it puts people’s pre-existing conditions coverage at risk. The only way to convince them to stop trying to repeal this law, and start working to make health care better, is to keep voting, in big numbers, in every election, for people who’ll protect and improve our care.

So go get covered today at HealthCare.gov!

The fight is not over. That is correct.

It will likely head to the Supreme Court.

But the chances of it being saved this time are microscopic as President Trump destroyed the thing that saved it.

It was a genius move after Congress denied his idea to repeal and replace.

President Trump got rid of the individual mandate, the tax on the uninsured that saved it in the Court.

It was argued that the mandate made it a tax and Congress is charged with levying taxes with made it legal.

No individual mandate, no tax.

No tax, not constitutional.

It is 4D chess and President Trump is a master.

Source: Obama Vows To Fight President Trump

Number of Americans believing Christmas should be about Christ declining

A new study from LifeWay Research found two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) say, “Christmas should be more about Jesus,” down from 79 percent in 2014. | (Photo: Pexels)

While the majority of Americans believe the Christmas season should be more about Jesus, that number is steadily decreasing, a new study has revealed.

The study from LifeWay Research found two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) say, “Christmas should be more about Jesus.” The study of 1,004 Americans conducted in September found that Christians (81 percent) are more likely to agree with that statement compared to other religions (35 percent) and nonreligious (28 percent).

However, those looking for more Christ in Christmas are significantly fewer than four years ago. A 2014 LifeWay Research study found 79 percent of Americans at that time said Christmas should be more about Jesus.

While the biggest drop occurred among members of other religions and the nonreligious, fewer Christians believe Christmas should be more about Jesus as well, the survey found. In 2014, 92 percent of Christians agreed, marking an 11 percent drop in 2018.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said the research shows there is “less cultural expectation for celebrations of the Christmas holiday to include the religious aspect.”

When asked if it’s offensive when someone says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” around a third of Americans (32 percent) agreed, compared to 40 percent of Christians. A similar number (33 percent) say the same about using “X-mas” instead of “Christmas.”

Interestingly, Americans age 50 and older are almost twice as likely to say they find “Happy Holidays” offensive than those age 50 and younger (42 percent to 22 percent). Overall, frequent religious service attendees are more likely to be offended by “Happy Holidays” (47 percent) than those who do not attend church.

“It’s likely that Christians and older Americans are nostalgic for previous years or reluctant to acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Christmas this time of year,” said McConnell.

“Many have the idea that most Americans are the same or that we share one culture of baseball, apple pie and Christmas, but that’s not the case,” he continued. “And when we encounter someone who believes differently from us, that can be jarring and even seem offensive for some.”

“Christians may be better served finding a way to wish their non-Christian friends and family … all the blessings possible during the season in which believers celebrate God blessing Earth with His Son,” he said.

The Lifeway Research study corroborates a December 2017 report from the Pew Research Center which found that of the 90 percent of Americans who celebrated Christmas that year, 55 percent viewed it as a religious holiday, down from 59 percent who responded to an identical poll in 2014.

Fewer than half of respondents (46 percent) said they saw Christmas as “more of a religious holiday” than a “cultural holiday,” down from 51 percent four years ago.

The Pew survey also found that just 57 percent of Americans believe the main elements of the biblical account of the birth of Christ, down from 65 percent in 2014. The four elements of the Christmas story as told in the Bible are: that Jesus was born of a virgin mother; that three Magi came to visit, bearing gifts; that an angel announced the baby’s birth; and that the infant was cradled in a manger.

Based on their findings, Pew concluded that “some of the ways Americans think about and commemorate Christmas appear to be moving in a more secular direction.”

In a recent op-ed, conservative Jewish radio personality Dennis Prager warned that if “current trends continue,” saying “Merry Christmas” might be a “thing of the past.”

“If so it’s a shame, a further coarsening of the culture — and worse,” he said. “It is yet another an example of the removal of religion, specifically Christianity, from a country that has long been the most religious major industrialized democracy in the world.”

The elimination of the word “Christmas” should worry Christians, he said, because it represents the Left’s attempts to create a “thoroughly secular society.”

“Most people do not realize that the Left believes in secularism as fervently as religious Christians and Jews believe in the Bible,” he said. “That’s why ‘Merry Christmas’ bothers secular activists. It’s a blatant reminder of how religious America is — and always has been. That’s why I predict activists on the left will sooner or later seek to remove Christmas as a national holiday.”

Source: Number of Americans believing Christmas should be about Christ declining

Sunday Talks: HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes Discusses Flynn Case… — The Last Refuge

House Permanent Sub Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Chairman Devin Nunes appears on with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the current state of issues with Michael Flynn.

Chairman Nunes draws attention to the latest documents (released Friday). One of the documents is written by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe who noted that Flynn was aware the FBI had the content of a phone call between himself and Russian Ambassador Kislyak, prior to the FBI interview. Therefore it is highly unlikely Flynn would lie about the content of that Kislyak phone call.

Most people forget the background of how the Mueller probe was constructed. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI chief legal counsel James Baker selected most of the special counsel investigators; those two then recommended to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein that he hire Robert Mueller as special counsel lead.

Comey was fired. The remaining ‘at-risk’ corrupt FBI leadership (McCabe and Baker), positioning to defend their own interests, selected the “small group”; then Mueller was selected and brought on his additional team members. The entire  purpose of the special counsel operation was to cover-up the DOJ/FBI activity.

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/395717844/content?start_page=1&view_mode=&access_key=key-iJuQoywUHIdWAEmbjBQJ

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via Sunday Talks: HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes Discusses Flynn Case… — The Last Refuge

‘The Everybody Conspiracy’: Nearly Every Part of President Trump’s Life is Under Investigation

President Donald Trump speaks to media he visits Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, during Wreaths Across America Day. Wreaths Across America was started in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester and has expanded to hundreds of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Investigations now entangle Donald Trump’s White House, campaign, transition, inauguration, charity and business. For Trump, the political, the personal and the deeply personal are all under examination.

Less than two years into Trump’s presidency, his business associates, political advisers and family members are being probed, along with the practices of his late father. On Saturday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke became the fourth Cabinet member to leave under an ethical cloud, having sparked 17 investigations into his actions on the job, by one watchdog’s count.

All of this with the first special counsel investigation against a president in 20 years hanging over Trump’s head, spinning out charges and strong-arming guilty pleas from underlings while keeping in suspense whether the president — “Individual 1” in prosecutor Robert Mueller’s coded legalese — will end up accused of criminal behavior himself.

The scope of the scrutiny has shaped Trump’s presidency, proving a steady distraction from his governing agenda. So far, much of it has been launched by federal prosecutors and government watchdogs that eschew partisanship. The intensity is certain to increase next year when Democrats assume control of the House and the subpoena power that comes with it.

Although Trump dismisses the investigations as politically motivated “witch hunts,” his high-octane Twitter account frequently betrays just how consumed he is by the scrutiny. He’s also said to watch hours of television coverage on milestone days in the investigations.

“It saps your energy, diverts your attention and you simply can’t lead because your opponents are up in arms against you,” Cal Jillson, a Southern Methodist University political scientist and historian, said of the scrutiny. “It weakens your friends and emboldens your enemies.”

Almost midway through his term, Trump is struggling to deliver on his central campaign promises. He may end the year without a Republican-led Congress giving him the $5 billion he wants for a border wall. And he’s previewed few legislative priorities for 2019.

Even if he had, it’s unlikely the new Democratic House majority would have much incentive to help a president weakened by investigations rack up wins as his own re-election campaign approaches.

Perhaps not since Bill Clinton felt hounded by a “vast right wing conspiracy,” as Hillary Clinton put it, has a president been under such duress from investigation.

This jeopardy has come with Trump’s party in control of Congress and the Justice Department driving at least three separate criminal investigations. They are the Mueller probe looking into possible collusion, obstruction of justice or other wrongdoing in contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia; the New York campaign-finance case involving hush money paid to Trump’s alleged lovers; and now a case from New York, first reported by The Wall Street Journal this past week, examining the finances and operations of Trump’s inaugural committee and whether foreign interests made illegal payments to it.

Behind those matters is a battery of lawsuits or inquiries from state attorneys general and other parties tied mainly to Trump businesses.

At best, the investigations are overshadowing what has been positive economic news. At worst, the probes are a threat to the presidency, Trump’s family and his business interests.

The deep diving will only grow in the new year when Democrats take over the House. They are expected to launch their own investigations and could pursue impeachment, though party leaders caution they could face a political backlash by taking that step.

Even if Trump avoids impeachment, the Democratic investigations will create headaches. Administration officials will be called to testify before Congress and lawmakers will seek a trove of documents, probably including Trump’s tax returns, which he has refused to make public.

A bare-bones White House staff may struggle to keep up. A tally by the Brookings Institution finds more than 60 percent of Trump’s top aides have left in the first two years, a turnover rate exceeding the previous five presidents. In addition, 10 Cabinet secretaries have departed, more than Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton lost in two years. The shake-ups now have left Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget chief, doing double duty indefinitely as the president’s chief of staff.

That combination makes it hard to imagine a president effectively engaged in policy, even if — as in the case of Clinton — the drawn-out investigations lead to an impeachment that fails to remove the president.

“The modern presidency is extraordinarily complex and demanding so you need the president’s full attention,” Jillson says. “Where your attention should be, you’re also thinking about meeting with your lawyers.”

As the investigations mount, few Republicans have dissociated themselves publicly from Trump. But privately, some lawmakers do worry that the investigations will damage his re-election prospects and their own chances in 2020 House and Senate races.

The federal campaign finance probe has put GOP lawmakers in a particularly awkward position. Prosecutors — as well as Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen and a tabloid company that has long been an ally — assert that Trump directed hush payments to keep women quiet about alleged affairs in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign. Such a payment would violate campaign finance laws. Cohen was sentenced this past week to three years in prison.

Underscoring the balancing act for Republicans, outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah initially stated that he didn’t much care about Trump being implicated in Cohen’s crime, then thought better of his words.

“I made comments about allegations against the president that were irresponsible and a poor reflection on my lengthy record of dedication to the rule of law,” Hatch said in a statement Friday.

Five people in Trump’s orbit have pleaded guilty to charges in the continuing Mueller probe. Among them, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, for a time in Trump’s presidential campaign. George Papadopoulos, a lower-level campaign adviser, was sentenced to 14 days in prison and is out. The others are Michael Flynn, who was Trump’s first national security adviser in office and is to be sentenced Tuesday, and Cohen, who is expected to begin his sentence in March.

In addition, the special counsel’s office says Flynn, in giving 19 interviews and turning over a mountain of documents, has assisted in a criminal investigation that has yet to be revealed.

In other words, there’s no end in sight.

Trump is also exposed to legal peril beyond that from federal prosecutors. Among the lawsuits or investigations:

—Democratic attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia and congressional Democrats are challenging the Trump Organization’s business transactions with foreign and state government interests, such as those at his Washington hotel, citing the constitutional ban on presidents taking payments from such sources without congressional consent.

—Summer Zervos, once a contestant on Trump’s TV show, has sued Trump for defamation for accusing her of lying. She alleged in 2016 that he made unwelcome physical contact with her. He’s failed several times to derail the case.

—New York tax officials are looking into whether Trump or his charitable foundation misrepresented tax liability. In addition, the New York tax department said it is “vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation” after a New York Times report found Trump and his family, going back to transactions by his father, Fred Trump, cheated on taxes for decades. The report said Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father, much of it through dubious tax maneuvers. Trump called the report “a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me.”

—New York authorities allege in a lawsuit that Trump illegally tapped his charitable Trump Foundation to settle legal disputes, help his campaign for president and cover personal and business expenses, including the purchase of a life-size portrait of himself for $10,000.

Stanley Renshon, political scientist at the City University of New York and a psychoanalyst, says all of that adds up to a lot of people, not just the left, “trying to make his presidency untenable.”

It is, perhaps, vaster than the right-wing “conspiracy” the Clintons endured, Renshon says. “I call it the everybody conspiracy.”

SOURCE: CALVIN WOODWARD and JULIE PACE, AP

Source: ‘The Everybody Conspiracy’: Nearly Every Part of President Trump’s Life is Under Investigation

DEEP STATE CROOKS: Mueller Took Down Strzok’s 302 Report AFTER STRZOK WAS CAUGHT in Text Messages PLOTTING AGAINST TRUMP — The Gateway Pundit

Mueller’s Spcecial Counsel team of 13 angry Democrats scrubbed Peter Strzok’s phone and then turned it over to the Office of Inspector General investigators AFTER Peter Strzok was fired from the special counsel.

Peter Strzok was fired from the Special Counsel after text messages surfaced showing that he had a strong hatred for Donald Trump and his supporters.

Peter Strzok was reassigned in the summer of 2017 to the FBI’s human resource department after his dismissal from the Mueller witch hunt in July 2017.

His lover Lisa Page reportedly resigned from the Special Counsel in May 2017 – two weeks before Strzok was fired from the special counsel.

Lisa Page’s phone was scrubbed and not turned over to OIG until September 2018.

Via The Donald page on Reddit:

Strzok’s anti-Trump lover Lisa Page’s phone was also scrubbed clean.

Now this…

The only known 302 report provided by Robert Mueller to Judge Emerson this week was a report created on July 19, 2017, six months after the setup of Flynn by FBI agents in the White House in January.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were caught sharing messages from 2016 where they show a coordination between the FBI and DOJ to destroy Trump with strategic leaks to the media.

Attorney Lisa Page reportedly resigned from the Special Counsel in May 2017 — two weeks before Strzok was fired from the special counsel.

The 302 report Mueller handed over to the judge in Michael Flynn’s case is marked July 19, 2017.

This means Mueller was taking the talking points from a man they knew was extremely biased against President Trump and in affair with anther Deep State official. They had fired him from the Special Counsel around this time period or before.

Dirty Cop Robert Mueller took the 302 report from Strzok AFTER he was caught plotting against Donald Trump. And it appears the 302 report interview took place AFTER his lover quit and he was fired from the special counsel.

Then the Mueller witch hunt scrubbed his phone clean before turning it over to investigators.

via DEEP STATE CROOKS: Mueller Took Down Strzok’s 302 Report AFTER STRZOK WAS CAUGHT in Text Messages PLOTTING AGAINST TRUMP — The Gateway Pundit

Mueller’s ‘Enterprise’ Witch Hunt

The guidelines that govern FBI investigations are the key to understanding the Deep State’s assault on the Trump administration. The FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane case is a sort of “umbrella” investigation, one that subsumes investigations on given individuals, such as Carter Page. The whole issue of the precise nature of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation has arisen once again, in the context of disgraced former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony last week before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). I think it will prove helpful to revisit this topic because, as I hope to show, there are important consequences that flow from this.

What kind of investigation is Crossfire Hurricane?

Back on March 20, 2017, then FBI Director Comey testified before HPSCI regarding Russian “active measures” during the 2016 election. Chairman Nunes characterized the committee’s work as concerned with Russian “active measures” during the 2016 presidential election, but the Democrats stated that it was all about “collusion” between the Trump campaign and “the Russians.” In his testimony Comey confirmed for the committee that the FBI’s investigation, which we now know as Crossfire Hurricane and which began in late July 2016, was concerned with “any coordination between people associated with the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

This is important, because in Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rod Rosenstein’s letter of May 17, 2017, in which he appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel (SC), Rosenstein’s authorization closely tracks Comey’s testimony: [Emphases added throughout]

The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump; …

There are several important bits of information that we need to take special note of in this.

  • First, Mueller is not starting up a new investigation — he’s taking over an already existing investigation, the same one that was confirmed by Comey two months earlier.
  • Second, and very importantly, Mueller’s investigation is not authorized as a general investigation into Russian “active measures” (i.e., interference, meddling) in the 2016 campaign but instead is rather narrowly focused on “coordination between people associated with the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

In other words, Rosenstein did not authorize Mueller to investigate coordination between people associated with the Clinton campaign and the Russians–only the Trump campaign.

In his testimony last week, which included testy exchanges with Republican Congressmen including Trey Gowdy, Comey hewed closely to his previous testimony. Specifically,

  • he categorically denied that the investigation was an investigation of “the Trump campaign or Donald Trump himself;”
  • he confirmed, however, that the investigation was of “four Americans” who “did not include the candidate;”

All this is made explicit in a key document: The HPSCI Report on Russian Active Measures, dated March 22, 2018. There we read:

The Committee’s investigation also reviewed the opening, in summer 2016, of a FBI enterprise counterintelligence investigation into [REDACTED] Trump campaign associates: [REDACTED] Carter Page, [REDACTED] Because of “the sensitivity of the matter,” the FBI did not notify congressional leadership about this investigation during the FBl’s regular counterintelligence briefings. Three of [REDACTED] original subjects of the FBI investigation have been charged with crimes and the Committee’s review of these cases covers the period prior to the appointment of Special Counsel in May 2017.

Finally we learn exactly what kind of investigation Crossfire Hurricane was: it was an “enterprise counterintelligence investigation … Trump campaign associates.” One of those associates was Carter Page and the other three are easily guessed from the context

What exactly is an “Enterprise CI Investigation”?

Fortunately, there’s no need for guesswork here. The relevant FBI and DoJ documents that explain what an “enterprise” investigation is are available to the public: FBI Domestic Investigations And Operations Guide (DIOG) (Section 8) and The Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations (pp. 23-24).

An “enterprise” is simply “an organization or group.” Naturally, an enterprise can be a highly structured, formal organization such as a presidential campaign. On the other hand, an enterprise can also be an informal grouping of individuals — possibly without any formal organizational affiliation or possibly affiliated with some formal organization. So, for example: A group of four Americans associated with the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, even though not constituting a legal entity and acting for purposes other than those of the Trump campaign, might in certain circumstances be regarded as forming an “enterprise” of their own. What would those circumstances be? DIOG 8.2 Purpose, Scope and Definitions, explains that:

Enterprise defined:

An enterprise is a group of persons associated together for a common purpose of engaging in a course of conduct. The term “enterprise” includes any partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact, although not a legal entity.

Associated in fact defined:

The term “associated in fact” means the persons have an ongoing organization, formal or informal, and that the persons function together as a continuing unit.

The purpose of these distinctions is simply this: The First Amendment protects Freedom of Association, our freedom to group together in associations or … enterprises. The idea is to safeguard our constitutional rights against the likes of, well, the FBI and DoJ — the government. And so the FBI, in opening enterprise investigations, must be careful not to violate those constitutional protections.

Let’s apply these principles to our fact situation.

Here we have four Americans — call them Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos — all associated in one way or another with the Trump presidential campaign. If they should “associate together for a common purpose,” for example, to conspire with the Russian government to engage in criminal activity to secure the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, why, they will constitute an enterprise. They would be “associated in fact”, “functioning together as a continuing unit”, “engaged in a common purpose.” What we would need to do, as investigators, to start an investigation on their enterprise would be, in the words of the AGG, to establish:

“an articulable factual basis … that reasonably indicates that the group … may be … be engaged in planning or preparation” of their scheme.

Easy? As it happens, I’ve done this in both the national security and criminal fields and, no, it isn’t necessarily easy. The reason is simply that, by their very nature as associations, enterprises whether legal or criminal in purpose, behave in similar ways. Without getting into the details, I will flatly assert that, absent source information, the FBI would not have been able to come up with an “articulable factual basis” for launching an enterprise investigation in this situation.

So, imagine the good fortune of the FBI. It turned out that they had a trusted and, supposedly, reliable source of information on Russia: Christopher Steele. He happened to be working for the Clinton campaign, doing opposition research as a contractor for Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS, but the FBI was willing to use his reports (later compiled into his famous “dossier“) and to repeatedly vouch for his reliability. In those reports we read such things as:

– Former top Russian intelligence officer claims FSB has compromised Trump …

– A well developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump] and the Russian leadership …

– Further evidence of extensive conspiracy between Trump’s campaign team and Kremlin …

– Agreed exchange of information established in both directions …

– … managed on the Trump side by the Republican candidate’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, and others as intermediaries …

Spice this up a bit with informant tittle tattle gleaned from undercover approaches to Trump campaign members, and especially the verifiable fact that Page actually did travel to Russia, and that apparently was sufficient to pass muster as “an articulable factual basis” for an enterprise CI investigation.

What’s the purpose of an Enterprise Investigation?

But, what’s the point of having an enterprise investigation? Wouldn’t it be possible to simply investigate each individual who was involved in the conspiracy? Wouldn’t that amount to the same thing? Not necessarily. Recall that the purpose is to safeguard Freedom of Association. If the FBI were to start going after random members of the Trump campaign people might get the wrong idea. They might think the FBI was targeting the Trump campaign itself, or Trump himself, rather than some rogue operatives. DIOG has that covered:

The purpose of an Enterprise Investigation is to examine the structure, scope, and nature of the group or organization including: its relationship, if any, to a foreign power; the identity and relationship of its members, employees, or other persons who may be acting in furtherance of its objectives; its finances and resources; its geographical dimensions; its past and future activities and goals; and its capacity for harm.

There’s our answer. The opening of an enterprise investigation covers the FBI’s tail legally. If questioned on why they appear to be targeting other individuals in the Trump campaign beyond the original four, they can respond that they’re simply trying to identify all the members who are “associated in fact.” It might take some imagination, but creative investigators will find justifications to start looking at more and more people in the campaign.

And that takes us back to Comey’s claim that the FBI wasn’t investigating the Trump campaign or Trump himself. Technically, that’s true. I don’t expect anyone will ever discover an FBI file captioned “Trump Presidential Campaign,” or “Donald J. Trump, aka, The Donald.” But no one who has perused the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page can doubt who the real target of Crossfire Hurricane was. Nor can anyone who has perused the list of Mueller’s prosecutors — chock full of donors to the Clinton campaign — entertain any doubt as to their target. Everything points in the same direction: Trump. But this enterprise investigation device allows Mueller’s witchhunt to continue, even after three of the original four targets have pleaded to totally unrelated charges and the case against Carter Page has become little more than a sick joke. They’ve been replaced by Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr., maybe Jared Kushner.

About Rosenstein’s authorization of a Special Counsel

Let’s return to Rod Rosenstein’s letter authorizing the SC. On its face, it may appear to be perfectly on the up and up. The SC is, in effect, simply piggy backing on Crossfire Hurricane. Crossfire Hurricane was already up and running, and Rosenstein took its predication and handed it off to Mueller. But there are a number of problems with that.

The first problem is that Rosenstein’s rationale is threadbare at best: “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” Why could that not be accomplished by the FBI, the nation’s lead CI agency, an agency set up to investigate such matters, and the agency whose agents would, in any case, be tapped to do the investigating?

There’s another problem with that rationale. While it sounds somewhat reasonable, in fact it doesn’t jibe with the actual authorization that follows. As we have seen, the Crossfire Hurricane enterprise CI investigation that Mueller took over was not simply an investigation into “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” It was specifically an investigation into four Americans associated with the Trump campaign, and Rosenstein’s letter specifically refers to this fact by stating as clarification: “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump.” The letter, in effect, assumes as warranted what in fact needs to be demonstrated: that any Russian “interference” was mediated through the Trump campaign.

And that is the major problem. The Rosenstein letter assumes the validity of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation’s predication. But we have witnessed numerous FBI officials acknowledge that the main source of the predication — the Steele dossier — had never been verified in any of its details. To rely solely on the supposed reliability of Steele as a source is, as I have argued, unwarranted in general. It is even less warranted when we bear in mind that Steele was doing opposition research for the Clinton campaign, as an employee of Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS. For the FBI to state, as it did in its Carter Page FISA application (Section III. B), that Simpson never told Steele what the motivation was for Simpson’s research into Trump’s “ties to Russia” is simply insulting to anyone’s intelligence and part of a clear fraud on the FISA court.

At a minimum, Rosenstein should have offered some statement in his letter certifying that he had reviewed the relevant investigative documents and had found upon review that they presented “an articulable factual basis” that would warrant hobbling the new administration in this way. Rosenstein’s failure to provide such assurances leads inevitably to the suspicion that hobbling the new administration was exactly what he had in view — a suspicion that is only strengthened by the recent revelations concerning Rosenstein’s meetings with Andrew McCabe regarding measures designed to actually remove Trump as president. One wonders whether such issues were discussed before the authorization of the SC, as they surely have been since.

What is to be done?

An FBI investigation is not a forever thing; the plug can be pulled, for cause. The case agent should be constantly reviewing his findings to be sure that the investigation is still warranted, and the prosecutor who is assigned to the case should be doing the same thing. If they realize at some point that the original predication has turned out to be incorrect, then that’s the point at which the case should be terminated. The case should not be continued as simply an investigation of a person, in which new theories are constantly being tried out in the hopes of making something stick.

It appears to me transparently clear that that point has long since passed with Crossfire Hurricane. After more than two years the evidence that the original predication was bogus — a political hit job dressed up as a “narrative” that I call the Russia Hoax — seems overwhelming. Further proof can be found in the shameful convictions that Mueller has obtained against Flynn and Papadopoulos, which amount to the criminal equivalent of jaywalking and have nothing to do with Russia. The conviction of Manafort, while in a different category, is also totally unrelated to the predication for Crossfire Hurricane. As for the monstrous injustice that has been perpetrated against Carter Page, words fail me. Where, now, is the “enterprise”?

The true scandal in all this is the perversion of our justice system. President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William P. Barr, has in public remarks extending at least a year back, expressed criticism of Mueller’s handling of the Special Counsel’s office in its hiring, as well as support for some of President Trump’s expressed views — if not the Trumpian style. He is certainly aware of the difficult political situation he would be stepping into. The hope is that he will enter office with a determination to recover for the FBI and DoJ the respect and reputation that they show no signs of regaining under the leadership they have had for the past two years. If Barr is to accomplish this, he will need to take the Special Counsel bull by the horns and conduct a searching inquiry into the origins and legitimacy of Crossfire Hurricane, respecting no person or institution in pursuit of the public good.

Image credit: Donkey Hotey

Source: Mueller’s ‘Enterprise’ Witch Hunt

As for Me and My House…

Leftists want to make you choose between God and their vision for America. You’re not allowed to be neutral.

Candidly, I have not written in a while because I’ve been in a funk.  I caught Rabbi Jonathan Cahn on TV sharing devastating stats confirming that we (conservatives) have lost the culture war – the battle for the hearts and minds of America.

New York City has legalized a “third gender” on birth certificates.  Not that long ago, over 40 states passed resolutions supporting God’s definition of marriage – between one man and one woman.  According to the Public Religious Research Institute, a majority of Democrats, Republicans, blacks, whites, Latinos, Catholics, and white mainline Protestant denominations support so-called “marriage” between people of the same sex.  The majority of evangelical Millennials support redefining marriage.

Years ago, LGBTQ activists claimed that openly homosexual leaders admitted into the Boy Scouts had no intention to change the organization from its founding on Christian principles.  As it turned out, first on the LGBTQ agenda was to remove “morally straight” from the Scout Oath.

We are living in a pretty sick time when “morally straight” is deemed hateful and offensive.

Recently, “Boy” has been removed from the name of the organization, changed to “Scouts BSA” to appeal to girls.  The Girl Scouts are in a huff.  They are suing the Boy Scouts because they feel that the Boy Scouts is now in competition with them for girls.  The Girl Scouts has also been changed, infected with radical feminism – promoting transgenderism, lesbianism, and abortion.  Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned a $100,000 donation, a fourth of its annual fundraising goal, because the donor requested that the gift not be used to support boys pretending to be girls.

Leftists’ war on sex includes absurdly claiming that having separate organizations for boys and girls is hateful and discriminatory.

The Bible says in the last days, man will seek to change nature, moving toward what is unnatural.  We are seeing this happen.  First, leftists claimed they desired only tolerance for the unnatural.  Today, anyone who does not fully approve of the unnatural is high-tech executed.

After 34 years, Disney World has canceled its annual Christian Music Festival.

Six thousand to 10,000 churches close each year in America, over 100 per week.

In Dover, Ohio, a Nativity scene and a Ten Commandments display were removed from public property after an atheist group complained.

The new “Batwoman” TV series will feature the first lesbian superhero on television.

“Whiteness Forum” seeks to ban the Christian cartoon Veggie Tales, claiming that it is racist.

A Virginia middle school banned Christmas songs with “Jesus” from its “winter concert.”

Children seeking to transgender themselves has skyrocketed – 4,500 percent for girls and 1,250 percent for boys.  My wife Mary alerted me to this horrifying truth.  U.S. doctors are performing double mastectomies on healthy 13-year-old girls who think they want to be boys.  Leftists have launched a war on sex that far too many Americans either have embraced or are afraid to talk about or push back against.

Over the holidays, I will be celebrating with various family members.  Many of them see nothing wrong with practically every TV show, movie, and commercial promoting homosexuality.  If I dare mention the media blitz intended to normalize what the Bible says is wrong, I will be viewed as the crazy, intolerant, and hateful old patriarch who is out of touch with the times.

After listening to Rabbi Cahn describe our nation’s moral and cultural decline, I felt discouraged, heartbroken, and angry.  Rabbi Cahn encouraged Christians to remain faithful, fighting and standing up for what is right.  Still, I couldn’t shake feeling why I should continue writing articles when a majority of Americans embrace leftists’ evil agenda.

Angrily, I questioned why stupid parents gleefully support drag queens reading LGBTQ stories to their children at libraries.   Any idiot can see that leftists are purposely sexing our kids as early as pre-school with homosexual Christmas children books like “Santa’s Husband.”

In Austin, Texas teacher at a poverty-level school expressed her frustration.  The students struggle with reading, writing, and math.  And yet, the school principal made it top priority for teachers to instruct students to embrace all things LGBTQ.  The frustrated teacher who sounded the alarm said she was tasked with explaining and presenting homosexuality in a positive light to pre-K four-year-olds.

Frustrated, I asked God, why do the wicked prosper?  Discouraged men of God in the Bible asked God the same question.  God revealed to his faithful servants that the wicked prosper only for a season and will eventually receive their just reward (Psalm 73).

God instructs, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:3-4).

I repent from allowing myself to become discouraged, not trusting God.  I will continue fighting back, standing up for what is right.  Leftists are evil masters of deception, portraying themselves as all-powerful, winning everything. They are not.

I cannot, nor do I desire to control others.  “But, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth: http://bit.ly/2kZqmUk
http://LloydMarcus.com

Source: As for Me and My House…

James Comey, Menace to Society

Is there a person on earth more oleaginous than James Comey?  The man known for his phonogenic and photogenic memory suddenly can hardly remember anything at all.  In short, he lied, over and over again while being questioned by members of Congress recently.   Given his memory deficits, he was most assuredly too incompetent and unaware to be head of the FBI . Yeah, right.  He has a good memory and he’s a practiced but bad liar.  He thinks he is a cover-up artist.

If there is any justice left in America, he will be charged with a panoply of crimes.  He obviously should have been fired long ago, certainly on the first day of the Trump administration.   Like his pal Robert Mueller, Comey has long pretended to be non-partisan when in fact he is a vicious and supremely arrogant anti-Trump zealot.   In the talk he gave at the 92nd Street Y a week ago, he bragged about flaunting the process and took advantage of the “chaos” of an administration four days old.

In collusion with John Brennan, James Clapper, Andrew McCabe, the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration, Comey orchestrated the agreed-upon plan to take Trump down and out before the election with their fake “dossier” and then, once Trump won, to see that he would not be inaugurated or would be removed from office posthaste.

These are very dangerous people, these self-appointed guardians of their own radical agenda and the power they’ve attained to protect it.  Not one of them cares about the citizens of this nation; we are a constant thorn in their sides.  They hate that we have the right to vote and that our votes count. And when our votes don’t go their way?  They will find a way to reverse our decision.  They will lie, cheat and steal any election they can, and they get away with it, year after year.  Which is why they remain so stunned that they did not, could not, guarantee the election of Hillary Clinton.   They are full of rage that their carefully -calculated and well-coordinated scheme failed.

Comey is a classic narcissist in the same vein as Obama; arrogant and characterized by a profound sense of superiority.  The left commonly calls Trump a narcissist, but he does not fit that list of symptoms nearly as perfectly as Comey.  No narcissist could or would withstand the 24/7 personal attacks hurled at Trump every single day since he announced his candidacy.  Not one; they would be suicidal.
Trump shrugs the left’s incessant vilification off like a bit of snow on his suit.  Then he tweets his response, designed to inflame and inform.  Trump does not lack empathy and is envious of no one.  He is a successful, confident man who loves this country.  He saw it going down the drain thanks to the progressive left, so he threw his hat in the ring.  He won, despite the secret strategies of Comey and his pals to see that he would not, because a majority of Americans agree with him:  the left is in the business of destroying America as founded and they have been phenomenally successful to that end.  Someone from outside DC needed to step in and try to save us.

The intolerant progressives have virtually criminalized Christianity and Judaism while protecting Islam.  Even left-wing Jews are now openly anti-Semitic. Progressives have been largely successful in outlawing the scientific notion of gender to embrace the sheer moonbattery of the “fluid gender” crowd.  So besieged with the desperate plight of LGBT persons, millennials actually think they make up 40% of our population when they are only about 4.5%.   For an even tinier percentage of people, elementary school bathrooms must be open to anyone and everyone, even men pretending to be women.

Education, K – 12 and university is now all about, only about, indoctrination.  Dead white males like Shakespeare, Dickens, and Twain, are verboten.  Anyone who thinks their son or daughter will become educated on any university campus (except Hillsdale and a few others) is sadly misguided.  They will return from college spouting all the race, class, gender, and climate change nonsense that is the stuff of “education” today.  They will have learned nothing but contempt for all those people who do not agree with their newfound, professor-inculcated intellectual superiority.

Our mainstream media is an arm of the Democrat/progressive (socialist) party.  Our entertainment industry is as well.  We are living in a tyranny, a dictatorship eerily similar to Orwell’s dystopian 1984.   No freedom of speech.  Words no longer mean what they used to mean.

All of which brings us back to James Comey,  a self-appointed member of the Big Brother crowd.  He/they will decide who can and will be President.  He/they will decide what is justice and who deserves it.  We most certainly have a two-tiered system of justice, one for Democrats and elites, quite another for persons without power or on the wrong side of the left.

Hillary Clinton belongs in prison for her many, many crimes over the past thirty years, but she remains confident that she will never be charged with any crime.  Comey, Brennan, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Yates, Rosenstein, and others all colluded to prevent Trump from winning the presidency, and to do so, created out of whole cloth a tale of “collusion with Russia.”  They covered up Clinton’s many crimes.

These people do not value the Constitution, truth, the law or honor, and yet Comey wrote all about his “Higher Loyalty.” What a crock!  Over the eight years of the Obama administration, the FBI, CIA, DOJ, and IRS became weapons of political power in order to destroy the Republican party.  James Comey has been a charter member and prime mover in this “progressive” shift toward fascism in America.  He is a menace, along with his partners in crime, to American society.

Image credit: Donkey Hotey

Source: James Comey, Menace to Society

“United Nations, Your Silence is Getting Worse”: Extremist Persecution of Christians, September 2018

by Raymond Ibrahim

  • “[T]wo young masked men entered the pharmacy and dragged my father outside. They told him to kneel in the street. They put two guns at my father’s head and told him to convert to Islam. But he shook his head. Then they shot him.” — Open Doors, August 23, 2018, Egypt.
  • “Our father, Bashir Masih, was a sanitary worker,” explained the family’s son Fiaz Masih. “He built this house a few years back, when he retired from his job; however Muslims could not bear that Christians would live in such a good, big, and furnished house. We are the only Christian family in the neighborhood. They wanted to snatch our property. Therefore, they started threatening us to leave the house otherwise they will [accuse us of] committing blasphemy against Islam.” — Pakistan.
  • “Indonesia had a reputation for an interpretation of Islam that embraced religious tolerance. But Muslim extremists have been urging the adoption of Islamic law throughout Indonesia, creating religious divides.” — Voice of America, October 1, 2018.
In Kenya, Islamic terrorists stopped a bus that was traveling to Garissa and murdered two Christians for refusing to convert to Islam. Pictured: A road in Garissa, Kenya. (Image source: Adam H T Geelle/Wikimedia Commons)

The Slaughter of Christians

Central African Republic: As many as 42 people — mostly Christian women — “were hacked to death … after suspected Islamist rebels attacked a group of civilians in the central town of Bria” between September 4-5. Some died by machete, others by gunshot. At least one of the butchered women was pregnant. “They [Seleka militants] don’t want to see any Christians here,” one church leader said. “Christians never go to town…. They have barricaded all roads, and if you venture out, you are at your own peril. We Christians have nothing else to do, no food to eat, no place to go. We rely only on prayers. Please pray for us!”

Democratic Republic of Congo: Armed Muslim militants slaughtered as many as 40 people in the Christian town of Beni. According to one report:

“… the assailants, in great number, attacked the city by surprise at around 5.30pm … They fired light and heavy weapons, and targeted residential areas, causing panic among the inhabitants… Eyewitnesses said some of the victims were killed with machetes, while an undetermined number of others were injured. According to a local pastor, at least 27 victims have been identified as members of local churches.”

A week earlier, on September 18, the same extremists murdered a Christian grandmother and injured four of her grandchildren. “These rebels who call themselves the Muslim Defense International also hit near our base in Ngadi three times,” said an aid worker. According to the report, the group “has operated in the region since 1995, has been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths over the past four years and of trying to uproot Christians from north-eastern DRC through attacks, rape, looting, kidnap and murder.”

Kenya: Extremists murdered two Christians in the name of Islam for refusing to abjure their faith. According to one report, on September 14:

“… a group of Islamic terrorists stopped a bus that was traveling to Garissa. The militants ordered everyone off the bus and demanded identification… the terrorist group of seven men separated the Muslims from the Christians. They demanded three of the passengers recite the statement of faith [the shahada, ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger,’ which instantly transforms a nonbeliever into a Muslim]. The two Christians who refused to recite the statement were tied up and executed.”

One week later, on September 22, a Muslim mob stoned three Christians to death while chanting “Allahu Akbar!” (“Allah is greater!”). The attack came in response to the killing of jihadi terrorists at the hands of governmental security forces. According to an eyewitness:

“Fredrick [one of the three slain] was on top of a new house he was contracted to build. His two assistants were on the ground mixing mortar when the mob arrived in [a] hurry, chanting takbir, takbir, takbir [that is, calling on the mob to shout “Allahu Akbar”]. From a distance, I saw the men hurling construction stones towards Fredrick and his coworkers. The three managed to flee into a nearby hotel for safety, although they had been badly injured. The Muslims relentlessly followed them up and stoned them to death.”

“This is a sad day in our family,” added Frederick’s brother:

“We have lost a man who was skilled in construction and loved all of us. He always reminded us to pray and trust God even in difficult times. That is what is keeping us going after losing him. We were expecting to see him before the end of the year but now what we have is the memories, a widow, and two children to take care of…. Where were the police to protect [them]?”

Pakistan: Resentful that a Christian was in a position over them, Muslim hospital employees attacked Faraz Masih, 26, with acid on September 5. His face highly disfigured and with several other burns around his body, he finally succumbed to death ten days later in a hospital. According to the victim’s father, Badar Masih:

“Faraz was a young graduate and serving as Assistant Admin Officer in a local hospital for about two years. On September 5th at around 2 a.m, when he was going home from the hospital, some unknown assailants sprayed acid upon him… My son was targeted for his Christian faith. I don’t think we, the Christians, are safe in Pakistan. However, it is our country and we love it with our soul and spirit. We won’t seek refuge.”

Faraz had been harassed and beat several times before. A few months earlier, a group of men wearing masks surrounded him and “stuck their boots in his mouth, claiming that ‘a Christian is not even able to lick their shoes.'” His father adds: “They threatened to kill him unless Faraz left his job. They said that his spiritual impurity contaminated the health of ‘pure Muslims.'” “Faraz often complained that some of his Muslim staff members were unhappy with his excellent performance and they disliked Faraz for his honesty and Christian background,” said his mother. “My son was running my kitchen. He was very gentle to everyone in the vicinity. He had no enmity. He was an active member of the Church. However, he was usually not given a day off to go to Church for Sunday prayer service.”

Philippines: On September 2, Muslim militants bombed a café in the town of Insulan. Jun Mark Luda, an 18-year-old catechist who taught Christian principles in public schools during his free time, and his 15-year-old cousin, Marialyn Luda were killed in the blast; 14 others were injured. Jun Mark Luda “was smart and talented. His jolliness was contagious. We are saddened by his death,” said a church acquaintance before adding that such ongoing attacks “destroy the harmony between Muslims and Christians.” Army commander Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana “blamed the attack on the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.” The same group was accused of bombing St Anthony’s Catholic Cathedral on April 29, 2018.

Egypt: A September 4 report revealed how Palestinian Islamists murdered a Christian man for refusing to convert to Islam:

“[A] few years ago [the Christian] family lived at peace with their Muslim neighbors in El-Arish, a small city on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast… Baghat was a veterinarian who had good relations with his Muslim colleagues and friends. However, everything changed when Palestinian immigrants with a very strict view on Islam moved to the village…. [They] began threatening believers by spreading leaflets warning Christians to leave the city or die…. One Sunday morning, Baghat woke up early to go to church, and then went to work at the veterinarian clinic of one of his Muslim friends.”

Baghat’s 17-year-old son Marqos recounts what happened next: “[T]wo young masked men entered the pharmacy and dragged my father outside. They told him to kneel in the street. They put two guns at my father’s head and told him to convert to Islam. But he shook his head. Then they shot him. When I heard he’d died, I couldn’t walk to the morgue.”

Another report that appeared on September 13 presents statistics concerning the plight of Egypt’s Christians:

“Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority bore the brunt of Islamist extremist persecution of Christians in 2017. ISIS’s operations across Egypt, including its Sinai insurgency, intentionally killed 97 Copts in 18 attacks…. Attacks against Coptic Christians comprised 53 per cent of the group’s public activity, including 11 assassinations. The deadliest incident occurred in April, when two suicide bombers coordinated attacks on Palm Sunday celebrations, killing 47 people. ISIS carried out a number of multi-casualty assaults against Copts, killing a total of 69 people in only three incidents… ISIS has declared that Coptic Christians are apostates who must be eliminated from Egypt. The group outlined its hatred in a video in February 2017, describing Copts as its “favorite prey” and vowing to “kill every infidel” and “liberate Cairo.” In the footage, the group threatened to wipe out all “worshippers of the cross,” specifically referring to the Coptic pope and wealthy Copts. Hundreds of Copts reportedly left Sinai in response to increased violence and fear in February, coinciding with ISIS’s threats. Overall, the Middle East’s Christian population is in decline.”

Nigeria: On September 7, following the burning alive of a pastor, his wife, and children at the hands of Muslim Fulani herdsmen, the Rev. Ezekiel Dachomo appeared in a short video surrounded by a mournful crowd carrying the body of another killed Christian woman. He made an impassioned appeal for assistance from the U.S., Britain and the U.N.:

“America, please stand for us. We are dying … Please, allow us to survive. We have nobody. Only God in heaven can stand for us. Please, I am begging you. United Nations, your silence is getting worse … Please, please, I’m begging you stand for the helpless … Yesterday, one of my colleagues, the reverend, was slaughtered with his wife and his children, and I was right there … Look at the women; immediately they were commiserating, after the Fulani herdsmen have fully burned down two villages…. Who would stand for us? There is nobody. Everybody … We are now ready to do [our] last prayers, since an Islamic agenda is taking over the nation….They have already [been] assigned our lands … Our villages have been reallocated to Fulani herdsmen, and nobody is talking. Even my colleague reverends are keeping quiet. Women are dying every day, men are dying. What do you want us to do? Please, please, I am begging you, congressmen, [men] of London…please I am begging you, stand for the helpless. There is nobody [else]!”

Niger: Suspected extremists kidnapped an Italian priest, leaving “the communities he served for 11 years in shock and sorrow.” Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli, 57, was abducted by eight armed men who entered his parish in Bamoanga late at night and seized him from his bedroom. Two nuns were also taken, though initial reports indicate that they escaped. On hearing of his kidnap, various communities gathered around his parish in Bamoanga. According to the mayor, Diara Banyoura:

“There was a feeling of sorrow among them. Dozens gathered in silence. Others can hardly hide their emotions. They shed tears as they tried to express their emotions, saying: ‘How can this happen to someone who has been always giving a helping hand to people in need?'”

Jihad on Christians in Pakistan:

Local Muslims looted and then burned a Christian home—the only one in the neighborhood of Gujar Khan—because they did not want Christians living near them. “Our father, Bashir Masih, was a sanitary worker,” explained the family’s son Fiaz Masih.

“He built this house a few years back, when he retired from his job; however Muslims could not bear that Christians would live in such a good, big, and furnished house. We are the only Christian family in the neighborhood. They wanted to snatch our property. Therefore, they started threatening us to leave the house otherwise they will [accuse us of] committing blasphemy against Islam.”

On September 20, local strongman Muhammad Kamran burst into the family home and beat his elderly parents. “My father got injuries and mother’s hand got fractured,” said Fiaz. “Muhammad Kamran often threatened us to bear the consequences if we don’t leave the house. His abusive and threatening conversation is recorded on the mobile phone.” On the following day,

“[a]n armed group of Muslims led by Muhammad Kamran intruded [the family] house in daylight and thrashed the entire family…. The attackers beat men, women, and children of the family and therefore some of us have severe injuries. They set fire to the house, including beds, furniture, sofa, cabinets, televisions, refrigerator, air-conditioners, fans, and vandalized vessels and other stuff. A new vehicle was set on fire and other valuables [including] cash money, jewelry, prize bonds, and mobile phones were looted.”

According to a subsequent account:

“The family reported the incident to the local police at Gujar Khan Police Station. At that time the police refused registration of a crime and told the Masih that if they pursued a First Information Report (FIR) they themselves would be charged with blasphemy. …the police forced an already perplexed family into a state of terror leaving them to dread potential blasphemy charges.”

Separately, a Muslim man hurled an 18-year-old Christian woman, Binish Paul, from a rooftop because she refused to convert to Islam and marry him. Her legal representative said she suffered “severe fractures to her legs and spine” as a result of the impact before elaborating: “For months, Taheer [her professed Muslim suitor] had been putting pressure on Binish to convert to Islam. Over and over again, she refused. This culminated in the violent act.” Not only did local police ignore the family’s pleas for intervention, but “[t]hey also received serious threats from the family of the perpetrator. If the case were not closed, then they would all be accused of blasphemy.”

A young Christian student, who reportedly lost sight in one of his eyes during a separate Muslim mob attack on his family home on August 28, was in fact blinded in both eyes, noted a September 5 report. Vikram Alvin, the victim, explained in an interview:

“I can’t believe this has happened to me. I was going to complete my studies in civil engineering this year and now that opportunity has been taken away from me. After completing my course, I had a job lined up with a large firm but the stable future I saw before me is now fraught with uncertainty…. I have done nothing to deserve such treatment I only stayed faithful to God, yet these evil men began to be jealous of the success of our family and the hatred they have for our faith boiled over…. I am unmarried and few women will want to marry me now what is left of my life will now be very difficult.”

Finally, as an indicator of the widespread abuse of Christians in Pakistan, a September 13 report “documented 14 cases of severe persecution, human right [sic] violations, and violence against Christians” in just the previous month alone:

“In less than 31 days, four Christians were killed…. Three women were raped… and three more were forced to convert to Islam…. Entire Christian communities also suffered greatly, as a community in Kasur was attacked and beaten for seeking to protect their church… 11 Christians … were severely beaten and tortured throughout Pakistan…. Doctors in Khanewal also had to remove the uterus of a Christian teenager who was brutally raped by three men.”

Attacks on Christian Churches and Cemeteries

Indonesia: On September 27, authorities shut down three churches on Sumatra Island. “[T]he authorities cited violation of public order and building permit ordinances. Dozens of congregants wept as the churches were closed,” notes one report. “We had been worshipping here since 2004 and fulfilled all building license requirements,” said the pastor of one of the closed churches. “We have even built a good relationship with the local authorities. Yet the permit was not granted. The rapid church growth in the area during the last decade may have caused restlessness among the majority-Muslim neighborhood.” Another local source said the churches were closed to forestall a planned Muslim protest:

“The [Muslim] village head filed a complaint with the higher authorities and rallied the support of radical group Islamic Defenders Front to hold protests against the churches. The day before the church closures, a letter had been circulated saying that a thousand Muslim residents would rally in front of the three churches on Friday, September 28. The government decided to seal the churches to prevent the commotion.”

As to why the churches lack the necessary permits, “[t]he local government,” explained Reverend Gomar Gultom, secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, “keeps delaying the process to have the permit, or just reject it without any reasons.”

“There are thousands of other [Muslim] places of worship that don’t have permits, but continue to operate. I just can’t understand why they won’t let us have our churches. I can understand if [the local government] prohibited us from having the permits if we used the buildings for criminal activities, but we used them to praise God.”

According to a report:

“The move by officials in the West Kenali village of the Alam Barajo district of Jambi province is the latest push to close churches in a move that followed more than 1,000 closures in more than a decade. Until then, Indonesia had a reputation for an interpretation of Islam that embraced religious tolerance. But Muslim extremists have been urging the adoption of Islamic law throughout Indonesia, creating religious divides.”

Egypt: Because they “objected to the presence of a church in the area,” hundreds of Muslims rioted and attacked Christian homes and knifed two Christians, one in the head the other in the face. According to one report:

“Four [Christian] homes were ransacked, looted and partially set on fire by a Muslim mob during the three-hour-long attack, which was reportedly in protest of one of the properties being used as a home church. A local source … said the small Coptic community had been warned about the attack on August 31 a few days before it took place. Despite reporting the threat to police, officers did not respond until the attack had nearly finished…”

The attack occurred in the village of Dimshau Hashim. Approximately 450 of its 30,000 population are Christian. “A similar assault for the same reason had taken place in a neighboring village weeks earlier,” notes another report.

A year after the government established a committee to affect a 2016 law for the swift legalization of churches, only 220 of the 3730 churches waiting have been legalized, another report revealed. At this rate 17 years are expected to pass before all the churches — many of which have already waited between 15-20 years — are legalized.

Due to the notable dearth of churches, “Coptic Christians in various parts of Egypt have been left with no choice but to hold funeral services in the streets because of the closure of their churches,” said Egypt’s Watani. For example, denied a church and attacked for trying to use a home as one, the funeral of a 68-year-old Christian was held in the streets of Dimshau Hashim — where a Muslim attack on Christian homes mentioned above occurred — under tight security on September 6 (video and pictures here). A few days earlier in the village of Qasr Haidar the funeral of another man was also held in the streets after the village church was closed due to Muslim protests and riots. In yet another instance, the “funeral service of a Coptic man was held outside St. Moses Church in the town of Dairout. The church was closed 20 years ago and since then the Christian community has not been able to receive a permit for its re-opening.”

Algeria: Suspected Islamists desecrated over 30 Christian graves at La Reunion War Cemetery, one of few Christian cemeteries remaining in the Muslim nation. According to one report:

“The graves were ransacked and tombstones smashed. Investigators believe that Islamist motives are at play. While the government is pursuing an investigation, the desecration of these graves come at a time when the Algerian authorities have increasingly harassed the church. During the past year, a number of churches have closed by authorities citing vague safety reasons. Although some have reopened, it is widely believed that these closures are part of a broader strategy pursued by the government to isolate [the] Christian community. Algeria is a Muslim majority country which is governed by Islamic law.”

Another Christian cemetery was vandalized a few weeks earlier.

Pakistan: A brief report with few details noted that unknown arsonists torched a Christian church under construction on a small plot on September 25 in the 97% Muslim majority nation.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

Source: “United Nations, Your Silence is Getting Worse”: Extremist Persecution of Christians, September 2018

Obama Tried to Undermine Trump Straightaway in Office

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Harry Truman reportedly once said “(i)f you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” 

The city is a swamp too deep to drain, reflecting the its corrupt state, too debauched to fix, rigged to serve powerful interests, a cesspool of unaccountable criminality.

There’s plenty about Trump to criticize, notably his serial lying and broken promises, his racism, his crimes of war and against humanity, his subservience to Wall Street and other corporate crooks, his contempt for ordinary people everywhere, and much more.

He’s like all the rest on both sides of the aisle. The institutions of government have no good guys. Rare exceptions prove the rule.

According to heavily redacted State Department FOIA-obtained documents released by Judicial Watch (JW), the Obama regime “provided Russiagate (witch hunt) documents to multiple senators immediately ahead of Trump’s inauguration” – aiming to undermine him straightaway, likely because he defeated DNC/media darling Hillary.

Neither figure is fit to hold any public office, let alone the highest in the land. Undemocratic Dem Senators Mark Warner and Ben Cardin got the documents. So did GOP Senator Robert Corker.

US intelligence community claims about Russian US election were fabricated. Not a shred of evidence was ever released, backing the accusation because none exists.

Obama and regime officials apparently were and likely remain hellbent on undermining Trump. His “State Department urgently gather(ed) classified Russia investigation information and disseminat(ed) it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.” 

It was likely an unprecedented stunt, wanting an incoming president undermined straightaway in office – based on a Big Lie. The notion of Russian interference in America’s electoral process was long ago discredited.

Yet it remains a Big Lie that won’t die. In early January, two weeks before Trump took office, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs/neocon extremist Victoria Nuland  “attempted to get Russian investigation related documents to the office of Senator Mark Warner as quickly as possible,” said JW.

She circulated information about former MI6 spy Christopher Steele’s doggy dossier on Trump.

It contained spurious accusations without evidence, unverified rubbish, alleging misconduct and collusion between Trump, his campaign, and Russia during the presidential campaign – including phony accusations of Russian US election interference.

Hillary and the DNC were behind it, vilifying Trump for the wrong reason. Since taking office, there are plenty of justifiable ones.

Nuland and other Obama regime State Department officials knew they were transmitting classified information with pure evil intent – fabricated stuff, but it didn’t matter.

They “were eager to provide the classified material before Trump was sworn into office,” said JW – part of the campaign to vilify him for the past two years over nothing instead of holding his feet to the fire for serious offenses, not fabricated stuff, hush money to prostitutes, or other rubbish.

Trump “was inaugurated less that 24 hours” after the above information was delivered to the three named senators, circulated to others by them.

JD president Tom Fitton minced no words, saying “(t)hese documents show remarkable evidence of the non-stop, unethical effort in the Obama State Department to gather and send its own dossier of classified information on Russia in an effort to discredit the incoming Trump administration.”

If it’s not a criminal act, it should be, all those involved held accountable. A March 2017 Baltimore Sun report said the following:

“Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin received classified information about Russia’s (nonexistent) involvement in elections when the Obama (regime) was attempting to disseminate that material widely across the government in order to aid in future investigations, according to a report Wednesday.”

“Obama officials were concerned, according to (a NYT report), that the Trump (regime) would cover up intelligence once power changed hands.”

No credible intelligence exists on alleged Russian US election interference because it never happened.

Everyone in Washington knows it or should, most of all the DNI, FBI, CIA and NSA.

One day, documents will reveal that accusing Russia of US electoral interference was a colossal hoax – perhaps obtained through FOIA lawsuits, unredacted enough to reveal dirty hard truths.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Source: Obama Tried to Undermine Trump Straightaway in Office

Trump rips FBI over ‘missing’ Peter Strzok-Lisa Page text messages, Michael Cohen ‘break-in’

President Trump suggested the Federal Bureau of Investigation treated him differently than Hillary Clinton in a tweet Sunday where he blasted the agency for breaking into his former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s office.

He questioned why FBI agents didn’t force their way into Ms. Clinton’s office or the DNC to examine its server after it had reportedly been hacked by Russians during the 2016 election.

“Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE! Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?” the president tweeted.

He also took shots at former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page for their erased text messages, calling it an outrage.

The two former agents, who were engaged in an affair, exchanged thousands of anti-Trump messages during their probe into Ms. Clinton’s improper use of government email and the investigation into Russian interference during the election.

But a recently revealed inspector general report detailed how subsequent messages had been cleared from their phones, which had been issued during the special counsel probe, once those had been turned over following their dismissals from the agency.

“So where are all the missing Text messages between fired FBI agents Peter S and the lovely Lisa Page, his lover. Just reported that they have been erased and wiped clean. What an outrage as the totally compromised and conflicted Witch Hunt moves ever so slowly forward. Want them!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The anti-Trump messages were used by GOP lawmakers to question former FBI Director James Comey earlier this month about whether the agents’ bias interfered with their handling of the probes into the 2016 candidates. Mr. Comey is expected to appear before lawmakers again Monday.

Source: Trump rips FBI over ‘missing’ Peter Strzok-Lisa Page text messages, Michael Cohen ‘break-in’

December 16, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Hope Is Established by Love

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (3:1)

John was overcome with wonder by the fact that sinners by divine grace became God’s children. The opening phrase of this verse, see how great a love, reflects the apostle’s amazement. The word translated see (idete) is both a command and an exclamation that exhorts readers to give close attention to the rest of the statement. How great (potapēn) is a seldom-used term that has no precise parallel in English. Concerning this word, D. Edmond Hiebert wrote,

The adjective rendered “what manner” [“how great”] (potapēn) occurs only seven times in the New Testament and implies a reaction of astonishment, and usually of admiration, upon viewing some person or thing. The expression conveys both a qualitative and quantitative force, “what glorious, measureless love!” (The Epistles of John [Greenville, S.C.: Bob Jones University Press, 1991], 133; cf. Matt. 8:27; 2 Peter 3:11)

God loves believers with a love that is impossible to articulate in any human language and that is utterly foreign to normal human understanding and experience. This is agapē love, God’s volitional love that He, of His own free and uninfluenced choice, has bestowed on all whom He has called to savingly believe in Jesus Christ. The Lord summarized it this way: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). And later in this letter, John notes,

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (4:9–10; cf. vv. 16, 19; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 8:39; Eph. 2:4; Titus 3:4)

Such love seeks, at a great cost to itself, but only to give freely and spontaneously for the benefit of another, even if that person is not worthy of such an expression (cf. Deut. 7:7–8).

Since all of God’s attributes work in perfect harmony, His love necessarily operates in conjunction with each of His other attributes. He is lovingly holy (Rev. 4:8; 15:4), just (Isa. 30:18; Rom. 3:26; 1 Peter 3:18), merciful (Ps. 86:15; Luke 6:36; 2 Cor. 1:3), gracious (Ps. 103:8; 1 Peter 5:10), patient (2 Peter 3:9, 15), omniscient (Ps. 147:5; Rom. 11:33–34), omnipotent (Rom. 1:20; Rev. 19:6), omnipresent (Ps. 139:7–10; Jer. 23:23–24), and even wrathful (Ps. 7:11; Rev. 19:15). With regard to mankind, God’s love has a twofold expression: it is general toward unsaved humanity (common grace; Ps. 145:9; Matt. 5:45; cf. Mark 10:21a) and specific toward believers (special grace; cf. John 13:1; Rom. 5:8; 8:38–39; 9:13–15; Eph. 5:25). It is this specific and unique love of God for His own that stands as one of the unshakeable foundations of eternal hope.

In other words, believers can live in hope because they have experienced God’s love in an eternal, saving way—having been adopted into His family (Rom. 8:16) and called children of God (John 1:12; cf. 2 Peter 1:4). They became His children solely because He lavishly bestowed on them a gracious, unmerited, sovereign love apart from any that has human merit. Such love is inexplicable in human terms. It is not surprising, then, that the world does not know the nature of the relationship between God and His children (cf. Heb. 11:38a), because it did not know Him. Those outside of Christ cannot fathom (1 Cor. 2:15–16; 1 Peter 4:3–4) the true essence and character of believers, which shines forth in their likeness to the heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, their Savior and Lord (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:15; 1 Peter 2:12; cf. 1 Cor. 14:24–25). Even for believers it is a challenge “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:18–19a). Because Christians are so intrinsically different from the world around them, having been transformed by the Father who adopted them, the New Testament appropriately describes them as “strangers and exiles” (Heb. 11:13), “aliens” (1 Peter 1:1), and “aliens and strangers” (1 Peter 2:11). They are those who, in hope, “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16). And having declared them righteous in justification, He is making them righteous in sanctification and will perfect that righteousness in glorification when hope is realized.[1]


1. Behold. The second argument is from the dignity and excellency of our calling; for it was not common honour, he says, that the heavenly Father bestowed on us, when he adopted us as his children. This being so great a favour, the desire for purity ought to be kindled in us, so as to be conformed to his image; nor, indeed, can it be otherwise, but that he who acknowledges himself to be one of God’s children should purify himself. And to make this exhortation more forcible, he amplifies the favour of God; for when he says, that love has been bestowed, he means that it is from mere bounty and benevolence that God makes us his children; for whence comes to us such a dignity, except from the love of God? Love, then, is declared here to be gratuitous. There is, indeed, an impropriety in the language; but the Apostle preferred speaking thus rather than not to express what was necessary to be known. He, in short, means that the more abundantly God’s goodness has been manifested towards us, the greater are our obligations to him, according to the teaching of Paul, when he besought the Romans by the mercies of God to present themselves as pure sacrifices to him. (Rom. 12:1.) We are at the same time taught, as I have said, that the adoption of all the godly is gratuitous, and does not depend on any regard to works.

What the sophists say, that God foresees those who are worthy to be adopted, is plainly refuted by these words, for, in this way the gift would not be gratuitous. It behoves us especially to understand this doctrine; for since the only cause of our salvation is adoption, and since the Apostle testifies that this flows from the mere love of God alone, there is nothing left to our worthiness or to the merits of works. For why are we sons? even because God began to love us freely, when we deserved hatred rather than love. And as the Spirit is a pledge of our adoption, it hence follows, that if there be any good in us, it ought not to be set up in opposition to the grace of God, but, on the contrary, to be ascribed to him.

When he says that we are called, or named, the expression is not without its meaning; for it is God who with his own mouth declares us to be sons, as he gave a name to Abraham according to what he was.

Therefore the world. It is a trial that grievously assaults our faith, that we are not so much regarded as God’s children, or that no mark of so great an excellency appears in us, but that, on the contrary, almost the whole world treats us with ridicule and contempt. Hence it can hardly be inferred from our present state that God is a Father to us, for the devil so contrives all things as to obscure this benefit. He obviates this offence by saying that we are not as yet acknowledged to be such as we are, because the world knows not God: a remarkable example of this very thing is found in Isaac and Jacob; for though both were chosen by God, yet Ishmael persecuted the former with laughter and taunts; and Esau, the latter with threats and the sword. However, then, we may be oppressed by the world, still our salvation remains safe and secure.[2]


3:1 / The idea of being born of God is so inspiring to the Elder that he exclaims (lit.), “Behold! What great love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God!” He explores this theme for three verses before returning to the contrast between sin and righteousness begun in 2:29.

It is love which has motivated God to claim us as his children. While the two previous references to love (agapē; 2:5, 15) were to human love, this is the first reference to God’s love. (God’s love will be the author’s main focus in 4:7–10, 12, 16–18.) God’s love has been lavished on us. The perfect tense connotes love which has been and continues to be given to us, with the continuing consequence that we are called children of God. People are born into God’s family (2:29; John 1:13) and are given the right to become children of God because they have “received” the Word and have “believed in his name” (John 1:12–13). These are the people for whom Jesus died, including believers from “the Jewish nation,” as well as “the scattered children of God” (future Gentile believers), that he might make them one (John 11:52; 17:20–23; cf. John 10:16). Such people “do what is right” (1 John 2:29) and thereby show that they are in reality what God called them to be (and that is what we are!).

The Elder reinforces the divine origin of the believing community because its status as God’s children is unknown to the world; the surrounding culture does not see it and confirm it. The Johannine Christians must hold on to their true identity “against the stream.” But, in being unknown to the world and in having a secret identity, the community can take special pride, for prior to them Jesus (niv, him) was also “unknown” to his contemporaries John 1:10–11; 8:19; 14:7, 9; 15:18–21; 16:3; cf. 3:32; 4:10; 7:27–28; 14:17; 17:25).[3]


God’s Love

3:1

Children of the heavenly Father

Safely in his bosom gather;

Nestling bird nor star in heaven

Such a refuge e’er was given.

—Carolina V. Sandell Berg

trans. Ernst William Olson

1. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Note the following:

  • The love of God

In the Greek, John begins this sentence with a command: “See.” He wants the readers to observe the manifestations of the Father’s love. He introduces the subject of the love of God in the preceding chapter (2:5, 15), briefly discusses it in this chapter (3:1, 16, 17), and fully explains it in the next chapter (4:7–9, 10, 12, 16–18). The readers ought to fathom the kind of love the Father gives his children. That love is great. The Greek word translated “how great” or “what kind of” occurs only six times in the New Testament and “always implies astonishment and generally admiration.”

John does not say “the Father loves us.” Then he would describe a condition. Instead, he writes, “the Father has lavished [his love] on us” and thus portrays an action and the extent of God’s love. John has chosen the word Father purposely. That word implies the Father-child relationship. However, God did not become Father when he adopted us as children. God’s fatherhood is eternal. He is eternally the Father of Jesus Christ and through Jesus he is our Father. Through Jesus we receive the Father’s love and are called “children of God.”

  • Children of God

What an honor! God calls us his children and gives us the assurance that as his children we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). God gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12) to all who in faith have received Christ as Lord and Savior. God extends his love to his Son Jesus Christ and through him to all his adopted children.

John underscores the reality of our status when he writes that already, at present, we are children of God. “And that is what we are!” In other words, God does not give us a promise which he will fulfill in the future. No, in fact we are already God’s children. We enjoy all the rights and privileges our adoption entails, because we have come to know God as our Father.

  1. Knowledge of God

God’s children experience the love of God. They profess him as their Father, for they have an experiential knowledge of God. They put their trust and faith in him who loves them, provides for them, and protects them.

The hostile, unbelieving world, however, does not know the children of God. Unbelievers cannot understand us, says John, because they do not know God (compare John 16:2–3). “The world does not recognize us because it never recognized him.” The unbelieving world lives separated from God and will never know the significance of our spiritual relationship with God. If we were to become worldly, we would forfeit our status as children of God. By rejecting us, however, the world confirms our relationship with God the Father.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 114–116). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 202–204). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 67–68). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 292–294). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Franklin Graham: Allah and the Christian God ‘Not the Same’

Celebrated evangelical pastor Franklin Graham reacted strongly to a recent Islamic terror attack in Strasbourg, France, warning that radical Islam continues to be a major global threat.

Source: Franklin Graham: Allah and the Christian God ‘Not the Same’

December 16 Seeing the Majesty of Christ

“When [Christ] had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

Hebrews 1:3

✧✧✧

God has exalted Christ above everyone and everything.

Christ in His majestic glory is “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2). That’s why it is His right to have the title deed to the earth, spoken of in Revelation 5:1–7. There He opens that deed and takes possession of what is rightfully His as heir of all things.

Hebrews 1 further describes Christ as “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature…. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’? And when He again brings the first–born into the world, He says, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’ ” (vv. 3–6; compare v. 13). Because Christ is the unique Son of God, the angels are called to worship Him.

The Father said of the exalted Christ, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions” (vv. 8–9). Christ is the eternal, righteous God. He is also the Creator who lives forever and remains the same (vv. 10–12).

If you see Christ in His majesty the way the writer of Hebrews did, you’ll want to make the words of Charles Wesley’s hymn “Rejoice—The Lord Is King!” your own:

Jesus the Savior reigns, the God of truth and love;

When He had purged our stains He took His seat above:

Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!

Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Both angels and the redeemed worship the exalted Christ. Use Psalm 103 as the basis of your prayer of worship.

For Further Study: Hebrews 1:10 shows Christ to be the Creator. Based on this and Psalm 148, what honor is He owed?[1]


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

Sunday’s Hymn: See, Amid the Winters Snow — Rebecca Writes

 

See, amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on earth below,
See the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Hail, thou ever blessed morn!
Hail, redemption’s happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies:
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits amid the cherubim.

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
What your joyful news today?
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo! we saw a wondrous light;
Angels singing, peace on earth,
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.”

Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this!

Teach, O teach us, holy Child,
By thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble thee,
In thy sweet humility.

—Edward Caswall

 

 

Other hymns, worship songs, or quotes for this Sunday:

 

via Sunday’s Hymn: See, Amid the Winters Snow — Rebecca Writes

At White House Christmas Party President Trump Congratulates Melania Trump on Beautiful “Christmas” Decorations — The Gateway Pundit

It’s nice to hear the words “Merry Christmas” again.

President Trump congratulated his beautiful wife, First Lady Melania Trump, last night for the magnificent Christmas decorations this year at the Trump White House.

Democrats attacked Melania Trump in November after she unveiled her beautiful Christmas decorations.

Our lovely First Lady unveiled the 2018 White House Christmas decorations themed “American Treasures” on Monday.

Melania Trump organized and oversaw the Christmas decorations and said in a statement this year’s holiday theme “honors the heart and spirit of the American people.”

The First Lady is seen strolling through the East Colonnade, flanked by red trees. The official White House Christmas tree was covered in blue velvet ribbon.

Melania Trump also visited sick children in the hospital this week.

via At White House Christmas Party President Trump Congratulates Melania Trump on Beautiful “Christmas” Decorations — The Gateway Pundit