Daily Archives: December 17, 2018


O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

—Psalm 95:6-7

Next is adoration, to love God with all the power within us. To love God with fear and wonder and yearning and awe. To yearn for God with great yearning, and to love Him to a point where it is both painful and delightful. At times this will lead us to breathless silence. I think that some of the greatest prayer is prayer where you don’t say one single word or ask for anything. Now God does answer and He does give us what we ask for. That’s plain; nobody can deny that unless he denies the Scriptures. But that’s only one aspect of prayer, and it’s not even the important aspect. Sometimes I go to God and say, “God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already.” God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me. WMJ024

Lord, You have given me so much. Today I ask nothing but Your Presence as I bow before You in silent adoration. Amen. [1]

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

December 17, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump early on Monday again criticized the Federal Reserve for its current series of interest-rate increases, days before the U.S. central bank is expected to push up interest rates again.

President Donald Trump and Congress, embroiled in a feud over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, have only five days to reach a deal before a partial government shutdown could leave about a quarter of the federal workforce without paychecks.

A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was unconstitutional based on its mandate requiring that people buy health insurance, a decision in a case that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump on Saturday hailed a court decision against Obamacare as “a great ruling for our country,” while a U.S. government official said the decision by a Texas judge would have no immediate impact on health coverage.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has aggressively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections, will be leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday, the latest high-profile departure from his administration.

Turkey may start a new military operation in Syria at any moment, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, adding that the White House has responded positively to Ankara’s plans to push into territory where its forces have not previously operated.

The United States came under fire from China and the European Union on Monday, accused by both major trading partners of taking protectionist measures and bringing the WTO to its knees.

Alphabet’s, Google is investing more than $1 billion on a new campus in New York, becoming the second major technology company after Amazon to pick America’s financial capital to expand and create thousands of jobs.

As U.S. bank stocks tanked this month over fears of an impending recession, industry executives downplayed concerns arguing that the economy is in great shape.

AP Top Stories

Several thousand people marched through Hungary’s capital Sunday in a fourth day of demonstrations against new laws that critics say restrict workers’ rights and undermine democracy.

Nicaraguan police have raided the offices of an opposition daily and then stripped human rights and activist groups’ permission to operate, those targeted said Saturday.

A historic council of Orthodox bishops in Kiev has created a new Ukrainian church independent from Russia, President Petro Poroshenko announced on Saturday.

In Marrakech this month more than 180 countries will affirm the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. What began with great optimism as an open, transparent, and inclusive process that would include all of the world’s states has been clouded by global political controversy over the compact and a series of last-minute withdrawals.

The Taliban say they are holding “another” meeting on Monday with U.S. officials, this time in the United Arab Emirates and also involving Saudi, Pakistani and Emirati representatives in the latest attempt to bring a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 17-year war.

A car bomb killed at least nine people including five civilians near a pro-Turkey rebel post in the northern Syrian city of Afrin on Sunday, a British-based war monitor said.

A drive to impose more sanctions on Russia for its capture of Ukrainian navy vessels in November seems to be gaining traction, the United States envoy to the Ukraine conflict, Kurt Volker, told an online briefing on Monday.

Law enforcement officials from up to 45 states have sought assistance from Pennsylvania authorities in pursuit of alleged misconduct by Catholic priests and related efforts to conceal that abuse by the church, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

Democratic Republic of Congo goes to the polls this week in elections which could see the country emerge from 17 years of conflict-ridden rule under controversial President Joseph Kabila. Twenty-one candidates are running to replace Kabila.

The US military said it had carried out six air strikes in Somalia which killed a total of 62 al-Shabab extremists.


The use of electronic cigarettes by US teenagers has dramatically risen this year, a new report says. The percentage of 12th grade students, typically aged 17-18, who reported vaping nicotine rose to 21% from 11% in 2017, a survey by the University of Michigan said. Researchers say the trend is reversing declines in the number of adolescents who use nicotine.

Russia allegedly used every major social media platform to influence the 2016 US election, a report claims. Research is expected to say YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and PayPal – as well as Facebook and Twitter – were leveraged to spread propaganda.

Cambodia has seized more than 3.2 tonnes of African ivory hidden in a storage container from Mozambique, a customs official has said.

A gay Singaporean man has won a landmark court case which will allow him to adopt a child he fathered through a surrogate.


The US Navy has acknowledged that its longstanding operations in Haifa may change once a Chinese firm takes over the civilian port in 2021, prompting Israel’s national security cabinet to revisit the arrangement.

A recent study from Merrill Lynch found that 79 percent of parents continue to serve as the “family bank” for their grown-up children, paying for big-ticket items like college and weddings, but also for smaller, everyday expenses. Parents of adult children contribute $500 billion annually – twice the amount that they invest in their own retirement accounts.

News – 12/17/2018

Top Republican predicts Flynn guilty plea will be thrown out, citing FBI ‘misconduct’
California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that the FBI had “tricked” Flynn into not having a lawyer and had improperly “post-dated” documents to “morph” them into critical evidence against him. He promised Comey would face tough questioning about the episode. “Tomorrow is going to be a very different day for Comey, particularly in light of what we’ve learned — the misconduct during the Flynn investigation was all about, thanks to a judge that demanded to understand what had happened,” Issa told host Maria Bartiromo, referring to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s order last week that led Mueller to turn over key documents in the case.

Comey, dubbed ‘amnesiac with incredible hubris,’ back on Hill for new round of grilling
Former FBI Director James Comey is back on the Hill for an encore, after a controversial appearance more than a week ago in which he told lawmakers seeking answers over the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia collusion probe some version of “I don’t know” at least 245 times.

Iranian general accidentally kills himself
A general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards who fought in Syria and Iraq accidentally killed himself on Sunday while cleaning a gun, The Associated Press reported. The Guards’ website said Gen. Ghodratollah Mansouri has accidentally shot himself in the head while cleaning his pistol.

China ‘expanding’ persecution of religious believers: US ambassador
Dozens of churchgoers and seminary students from the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu have been detained in a police raid on the church, which was shut down by the authorities earlier this year. Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong were among those detained in night raids on people’s homes, according to the U.S.-based Christian rights group ChinaAid.

Signs Of Coming Collapse: Citizens Worldwide Revolt Against Taxation & Illegal Aliens
The main focus: the unrest that is swiftly crossing national borders has a common denominator in France, and now in Belgium and the Netherlands. That common denominator is that of the populace being fed up with the amount of taxation, coupled with the politicos pushing illegal Muslim aliens into nations that have been predominantly Christian for almost a thousand years.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen to be visible in closest flyby in 70 years
“This will be the closest comet Wirtanen has come to Earth for centuries and the closest it will come to Earth for centuries,” Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said. “This could be one of the brightest comets in years, offering astronomers an important opportunity to study a comet up close with ground-based telescopes, both optical and radar.”

Erdogan once again proves he’s a threat to world peace
“We as Germans know what happens in the early stages of a dictatorship. The similarities between the early Nazi regime and Erdogan’s Turkey right now are frightening,” Oliver Bienkowski, one of the activists, told The Independent while adding the Turkish leader “must be stopped before it is too late.” The incident came in mind again watching Erdogan’s latest bellicose actions toward the Kurds in Syria, his renewed vicious rhetoric toward Israel, as well as the publication of a new study documenting the massive crackdown on press freedom in Turkey.

Netanyahu: Israeli ties to Arab world stronger without the Palestinians
“What is happening at the moment is that we are in a process of normalization with the Arab world without progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said.

Israel joins the race to become a quantum superpower
“The global race is already underway and various countries are investing huge sums in developing the field – and if we do not run forward, the State of Israel will be left behind,” said Prof. Yaffa Zilbershatz, chairwoman of the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee. China and the US have made substantial investments and advancements in some area of quantum research.

Israel could face ICC charges if bill expelling terrorist families passes, expert warns
Israel will likely face criminal charges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague if it approves legislation to expel the families of Palestinian terrorists from their homes, a top Israeli human rights expert warned on Monday. The bill received preliminary approval in the ministerial committee for legislation on Sunday.

Decision expected today on plans to upgrade egalitarian Kotel prayer plaza
After years of controversy, the Regional Committee for Planning and Construction of the Finance Ministry is scheduled to vote Monday afternoon on plans to upgrade and renovate the egalitarian prayer section of the Western Wall. The committee, which is comprised of professional ministry civil servants as well as some Jerusalem Municipal Council politicians, is expected to approve the planned renovation.

Hungarians rally again against ‘slave laws’
About 10,000 people have rallied in Hungary’s capital Budapest against new labour laws, which have been labelled “slave” legislation by opponents. The crowds marched towards parliament and the state TV headquarters, in what was the fourth and largest protest since the laws were passed last week. Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters near the TV station.

Facebook ‘temporarily bans Israeli PM’s son over posts’
A son of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says Facebook blocked him for 24 hours amid a spat over several posts railing against Palestinians and Muslims. Last week, Facebook removed a post by Yair Netanyahu in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of two Israeli soldiers killed by a Palestinian. A post in which the 27-year-old said he would prefer if “all Muslims leave the land of Israel” was also taken down.

Central London in facial recognition trial
Christmas shoppers could have their faces scanned in central London this week as part of a police trial. The Met says it will invite people to take part in testing the technology rather than scanning people covertly. The trials will be held near Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square on Monday and Tuesday.

China and Russia band together on controversial heating experiments to modify the atmosphere
China and Russia have modified an important layer of the atmosphere above Europe to test a controversial technology for possible military application, according to Chinese scientists involved in the project. A total of five experiments were carried out in June. One, on June 7, caused physical disturbance over an area as large as 126,000 sq km (49,000 square miles), or about half the size of Britain.

FBI, CIA Told WaPo They Doubted Key Allegation In Steele Dossier
“We sent reporters to every hotel in Prague, to all over the place trying to – just to try to figure out if he was ever there, and came away empty.”

Fight against ‘Big Brother’ surveillance toys gets serious
Privacy organizations have been campaigning in the United States for several years for regulations to protect children from internet-connected “smart” toys such as dolls and games that enable the manufacturers to listen to their playtime.

Sydney storms: 55,000 city and central coast properties left without power
More than 55,000 properties in Sydney and the central coast are still without power after thunderstorms savaged the New South Wales coast and the clean-up is expected to take several days.

Church of Sweden votes against ban on Islamic call to prayer so that “more people could encounter the love of Allah”
Yes, imagine how amazing it will be when Muslims who have encountered the love of Allah conquer and subjugate the native Swedes, and force them to pay the jizya (tax) and accept the other humiliating and discriminatory regulations of dhimmitude that deny them basic rights,

Iran’s Rouhani threatens US: “You will not be safe from a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism” – how will Trump respond?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predicted a “deluge” of drugs, refugees and attacks on the West if U.S. sanctions weaken Iran’s ability to contain them.

Let’s face the facts, all-out war between Israel and Hezbollah is coming – and Lebanon might cease to exist because of it
Analysts have been saying for years that it was only a matter of time until Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist militia were again engaged in open conflict. The events of the past several days have finally woken most Israelis up to the seriousness of those warnings.

Boys can have periods too, children to be taught in latest victory for transgender campaigners
School children will be taught that “all genders” can have periods in new sex education lessons, in a victory for transgender rights campaigners.

New Rules of engagement between Syria and Israel, as Russia changes its position
Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

Universities to sell emergency contraception Plan B from VENDING machines for just $30
Universities across the country are starting to install vending machines whereby college students can obtain emergency contraception from a vending machine.

Germany to ‘Re-Educate’ Children from Conservative ‘Right Wing’ Families
When the government starts deciding how your children will think even before they have left pre-school, you can safely say you’re locked inside an Orwellian system controlled by oppressive bureaucrats.

Pro-LGBTQ Jesuit Priest Promotes Catholic ‘Rainbow Rosary’ With Prayers Asking For ‘Full Acceptance’ Of Same-Sex-Couples
The Bible clearly states that God, under no circumstances will accept fornication, drunkenness, drug use, lying, evil speaking, cheating, bearing false witness, murder, extortion or any such like thing as a behaviour He will be bless. That means if we are to follow God, we must reject these things, repent, and walk after Him according to His word.

Aerosol flu vaccine with live virus to be sprayed on all Americans? It’s already ‘approved for deployment’ in Australia
Sure, you’ve heard of nasal vaccines, like for Polio, but have you heard of the needle-free vaccine that’s sprayed down on you from the sky? Remember the mass aerial spraying over Miami during the great Zika hoax recently? If you’re worried about chemtrails and the mosquito truck spraying poison all over your neighborhood and your kids out playing in the yard, get ready for the most insane, involuntary, unauthorized, unconstitutional, unethical, unsafe, untested and immoral form of forced medication ever unleashed on a nation. And you thought fluoridated water was bad.

Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments.” —James Madison (1789)

A Short-Lived Victory Against ObamaCare?

Texas Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the laughably named “Affordable” Care Act.

Left Uses Coffin of Migrant Child as Campaign Soapbox

A little girl died after being taken into custody following an illegal border crossing.

FBI/DOJ Corruption Getting Impossible to Ignore

The “collusion” investigation is looking more like a counteroffensive to cover up Demo malfeasance.

Modern Education: Activism Has Displaced Academics

Fascism in our schools is raising kids who are the antithesis of what the Founders stood for.

Mixed Messages for Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Congress is muddling an alliance with its vote to undermine American foreign policy.

The Bill of Rights

Today is the anniversary of the 1791 ratification of our Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution.

Boston Tea Party

On Dec. 16, 1773, “radicals” from Boston threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.

Video: Seven Things About Free Speech in Schools

Part of a video series on free speech and the law by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh.

Monday Short Cuts

“For the 66th year in a row, Miss Universe is a biological woman. The bigotry is astounding.” —Matt Walsh

Monday Top Headlines

ObamaCare unconstitutional, Mueller tops $25 million, Comey back on Hill, shutdown theater, and more.

Today’s Opinion

Ryan T. Anderson
Misguided Proposal From Christian Leaders and LGBT Activists Is Anything but ‘Fairness for All’
Todd Starnes
Teacher Fired for Refusing to Call a Transgender Student by Preferred Pronoun
Kathryn Jean Lopez
The Indecency of the Death Penalty
Tony Perkins
House GOP Takes Issue With Tissue
Gary Bauer
Media Malpractice

Today’s Meme

Today’s Cartoon

Headlines – 12/17/2018

Jordan: Australia’s Jerusalem recognition breaches int’l law

Knesset speaker: Australian recognition of only West Jerusalem is a setback

Knesset Speaker: Australia’s Jerusalem Policy May Cause Palestinian Violence

Netanyahu warns Hamas after deadly West Bank attacks

Hamas leader ‘not denying’ that West Bank terror attacks were ordered from Gaza

Israel claims leaders of PA, Hamas ‘united’ in support for Palestinian terrorism

Mother who lost infant in attack: The blood of Israel pulses through my veins – baby managed to unite all of Israel

Bennett, 8 other ministers join protest against government response to terror

Bennett protests Netanyahu Defense appointment in cabinet

Settlers move into outpost near Hebron, in wake of Palestinian attacks

Ministers advance bill that would legalize 66 outposts deep in the West Bank

Ministers back bill to expel terrorists’ families from their homes

Haniyeh: ‘Any IDF soldier who enters Gaza will be killed or caught’

Yair Netanyahu temporarily banned from Facebook after anti-Muslim posts

Netanyahu: Israeli ties to Arab world stronger without the Palestinians

Rivlin warns Hezbollah will lead to destruction of Lebanon

Weary Lebanese take to the streets to protest political stalemate

Netanyahu says Israeli agents ‘periodically visit’ Iran to monitor nuke program

Pakistan summons Iran envoy over militant attack near border

Iranian general fatally shoots himself in the head by accident

How Iran, Turkey use Qatar to undermine regional security and US interest

Commentary: Erdogan once again proves he’s a threat to world peace

Syrian Kurds Declare Turkish Threats an ‘Act of War’ as U.S. Troops Dig in for Long Stay

Ankara calls for coordination with Moscow and Washington in Syria

Turkey Would Consider Working With Syria’s Assad if He Won a Democratic Election

Eight Killed in Car-bombing in Syrian Town Held by Turkish-backed Opposition Forces, Watchdog Says

Iraqi air raids kill 16 aides of ISIS leader Baghdadi in Syria

Despite truce, intense clashes hit Yemen’s Hodeidah with 22 Houthis killed

Yemen crisis: Hudaydah ceasefire delayed after clashes

Saudi Arabia rebukes US Senate resolution condemning Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi murder

Qatar is ‘counting on’ Kuwait and other allies to resolve Gulf crisis, foreign minister says

Georgia’s new pro-Western president seeks unity after vote protests

Hungary sees 4th day of protests over overtime, other issues

Thousands march in Brussels against U.N. migration pact

Macron govt hopes ‘yellow vest’ protests running out of steam

UK flirts with second referendum to escape eternal Brexit chaos

Dems, White House refuse to budge over border wall as Friday shutdown looms

Dems defy Trump shutdown threat: ‘He is not going to get the wall in any form’

New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep

Giuliani rules out Mueller interview with Trump: ‘Over my dead body’

Trump blasts FBI over ‘missing’ text messages, Michael Cohen ‘break-in’

Comey blasts Trump over tweet about FBI raid of Michael Cohen’s office

Trump: ‘Unfair’ media coverage should be tested in courts

Parrot used Amazon Alexa to order items while his owner was away

A Bright Green ‘Christmas Comet’ Will Fly the Closest to Earth Tonight And Won’t Be This Close Again For Thousands Of Years

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Carnarvon, Australia

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Finschhafen, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 45,000ft

Cleveland volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupts to 30,000ft

Soputan volcano in Indonesia erupts to 28,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Ambrym volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 26,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,000ft

Veniaminof volcano on the Alaskan Peninsula erupts to 12,000ft

Storms shatter records in the East, create massive waves in the West

Drenched city: 2018 is now Washington’s wettest year ever recorded

Susan Collins: Brett Kavanaugh ruled ‘impartially, independently’ in Planned Parenthood case

To Expand Access to Emergency Contraception, Some Colleges Try Vending Machines

Boys can have periods too, children to be taught in latest victory for transgender campaigners

Miss Spain to make history as first transgender contestant on Miss Universe

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Romans 7: The Mature Christian’s Struggle

Hard Times at Harvest

Drag Performance in Luther Seminary’s Chapel

Conservative Christians Want to Stop Kids Meditating at School

Sales from LGBT ‘Rainbow’ rosary promoted by Fr. James Martin funds pro-abortion groups

Faithful Flock to Pay Tribute to Effigy of Virgin Mary That Appeared Near Artesia Church on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Iranians Are Converting To Evangelical Christianity In Turkey

Chinese police raid children’s Bible class, shut down underground megachurch

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The US Government Will (Likely) Shut Down On Dec. 21: What To Expect

As we creep closer to the Dec. 24 government shutdown deadline, the ongoing impasse between Trump and Schumer has sent PredictIt’s shutdown odds to a contract high of 58%, suggesting the market is confident the US government will shutdown at midnight on Friday 21.

And so as both traders and pundits are convinced the market will likely shut down at midnight on December 21st, here’s what to expect courtesy of UBS analyst Peter Hahn.

The good news, is that in this particular instance, the impact to price action should be largely discounted – 5 out of 12 appropriation bills accounting for 75% of discretionary spending have already been approved, so only 25% of discretionary spending is at risk. Even if 100% of discretionary spending were at risk, we would generally need to see a prolonged shutdown before there were to be a meaningful impact to growth.

Having said that, it can be useful to understand what typically happens in price action even if in order to fade the move the market gets it wrong (in either direction). UBS took a look at the moves in equities, rates, curves, and USD in various time windows leading into the government shutdown across 19 shutdowns since 1976 (Tables 1 and 2). The Swiss bank also measured the largest move (from minimum to maximum or vice versa) within 1 month of the shutdown to get a sense for which direction the volatility was. DXY lower and curves steeper were the most consistent asset price moves ahead of upcoming government shutdowns, where each moved more than 60% of the time in all of the given windows, indicating a robustness in the signal.

Table 1: Moves in major asset classes ahead of 19 government shutdowns

Table 2: Dates of government shutdown included in sample

A broad rule of thumb may be to discount any potential move by 75% given the partial nature of a potential shutdown on December 21st, but in the event that a shutdown looks like it may drag on for longer than expected, the past can at least help us to understand the direction in which the risk may end up going.

See below for a more detailed look into what to expect around the mechanics of the government shutdown process

Government Shutdown: A Quick Look:

  1. Congress can avoid a partial shutdown on December 21st by passing another Continuing Resolution (CR).  Congress has already issued two CRs for the current budget thus far – in September, Congress issued a CR to extend the deadline to pass the remaining 7 appropriations (out of 12) to December 7th, which was again extended by 2 weeks to the current deadline of December 21st. To the extent that Congress doesn’t want to be responsible for a shutdown, they could easily issue another CR to extend the deadline again.
  2. Congress is ultimately in control: If President Trump refuses to sign a CR passed by Congress, Congress does have the option to overrule the veto (2/3 in both House and Senate). And conventional wisdom would say that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats would benefit from another shutdown.
  3. 75% of discretionary spending has funding through the end of fiscal year 2019 (Oct 1, 2018 – Sep 30, 2019): The 5 appropriation bills that have been passed so far (Energy & Water; the Legislative Branch; Military Construction & VA; Department of Defense; and Labor, Health and Human Services) account for 75% of discretionary spending.  The outstanding appropriation bills are for Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior, Environment; State, Foreign Ops; Transportation, HUD.
  4. Brief shutdowns may have no effect on the economy: In a study from January this year, UBS Economists estimated that each day of a full shutdown would reduce GDP by 2.4bp, but also found that the true effect would depend on the length of the shutdown.  Shorter shutdowns (<1week) may have zero effect.  Not all government expenditures cease during a shut down and some employees labelled “essential” still work.  Additionally, expenditures that would have occurred during the shutdown have generally been made up shortly after the government reopens.
  5. The debt ceiling will be the bigger risk for markets next year: The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is March 2, 2019.  However, this could be extended through extraordinary measures for many months depending on how tax receipts come in for March (corporate taxes) and April (personal taxes). In March 2017, extraordinary measures lasted the government all the way through September (6+ months).

Source: The US Government Will (Likely) Shut Down On Dec. 21: What To Expect

Alan Dershowitz Discusses Tomorrow’s Flynn Sentencing Hearing… — The Last Refuge


Michael Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow by Judge Emmet Sullivan.  Former constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz discusses his opinion on the possibility that Judge Sullivan could throw out the case.

Mr. Dershowitz has an opinion piece today at THE HILL going over this issue – SEE HERE

The media is asking the wrong question about the Michael Flynn case. They are asking whether Flynn lied or the FBI acted improperly, as if the answers to those two questions are mutually exclusive. The possibility that both are true, in that Flynn did not tell the truth and that the FBI acted improperly, is not considered in our hyper partisan world where everyone, including the media, chooses a side and refuses to consider the chance that their side is not perfectly right and the other side not perfectly evil. Read More

via Alan Dershowitz Discusses Tomorrow’s Flynn Sentencing Hearing… — The Last Refuge

Is the NYSE Composite Signaling Difficult Times Ahead? — Kimble Charting Solutions

The NYSE Composite (NYA) is testing the bottom of its 12-month trading range this month. In fact, it’s breaking down and out of it… it’s sink or swim time. Will this be a quick undercut and reversal? Or the start of a deeper correction/bear market? Bulls need to reverse this right now, or it could be a long winter. Looking…

via Is the NYSE Composite Signaling Difficult Times Ahead? — Kimble Charting Solutions

Deep State FBI and DOJ Worked at Light Speed to Frame Gen. Flynn – Delayed for Months and Destroyed Evidence When Caught — The Gateway Pundit

Guest post by Joe Hoft

The Deep State corrupt characters in the FBI and DOJ worked overtime and at the speed of light in their efforts to frame and set up General Michael Flynn and the Trump Administration.  After they were caught, they delayed for months in providing evidence to the US Senate and the DOJ Inspector General’s Office and eventually destroyed evidence that would have clearly shown their criminal deeds.

The Deep State actors in the FBI and DOJ in their attempt to overthrow the Trump Administration were corrupt and criminal but they weren’t lazy.  They only pretend to be lazy and sloppy when they are caught and are asked to provide evidence that would unravel their crimes.  Before President-elect Trump’s Inauguration, these corrupt employees of the Obama Administration even worked overtime and on the weekends to usurp the will of the American people.

For example, on December 29 of 2016, right after President – elect Trump won the election, his soon to be National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, contacted Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.  The call was well within the mandate of General Flynn’s new role in the soon to be Trump administration.

General Flynn’s calls were intercepted by the Obama Administration and its deep state players in the intelligence community. Per an article released by the far-left Washington Post in late January  the calls were reviewed by the FBI in late December –

This means that the FBI reviewed these calls in a matter of hours after they were made by General Flynn on December 29th 2016. The 29th was a Thursday and the 30th was a Friday with New Year’s eve landing on Saturday that year.  So the FBI or some other intelligence agency intercepted these calls and then the FBI reviewed these intercepts on either the 29th or 30th during normal working hours or on the 31st – that Saturday.

The FBI worked at light speed to intercept, record and review General Flynn’s calls with the Russian Ambassador to the US.

Only a couple of days later, on January 5th, 2017, shortly before President Trump’s Inauguration, fired FBI leaker and liar James Comey, the Head of the FBI, met with President Obama in the White House with other Deep State players –

FBI Director James Comey held a secret Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama two weeks before Trump’s inauguration and may have deliberately misled Congress about it, according to an email sent by National Security Advisor Susan Rice that GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham partially unclassified.

The meeting — which Comey never previously disclosed to Congress — occurred in the White House on Jan. 5, 2017. It included Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Rice deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Comey. The topic of the meeting was potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

By failing to inform the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the meeting in his June 8, 2017, testimony, Comey may have deliberately and intentionally misled Congress about his interactions with the former president, especially a meeting so close to Trump entering the White House.

“President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office,” Rice wrote in an email written the day before the inauguration.

The National Archives gave Grassley and Graham “classified and unclassified emails” about the meeting.

Previously, Comey contended he only met with the Obama twice, once in 2015 and another “to say goodbye in late 2016,” according the former FBI director’s June 8, 2017, testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

It’s odd that Susan Rice felt the need to record this meeting the last day of the Obama Administration.

We now know from a Senate request for information, that the very next day, on Friday, January 6th, 2017, crooked Comey came into the office to update top FBI gang members about information from the “sensitive matter team”. It’s unknown who that team was but likely it was related to the Obama meeting the day prior.

That afternoon, January 6th, 2017, the dishonest Comey met with President-elect Trump and shared with him, his notes on the Russia dossier. Then on Saturday, Comey put in some overtime to share with the FBI leadership team that he “executed his session exactly as [he] had planned” –

Then on Sunday, January 8th, 2017, the other former Head of the FBI fired over the past two years, Andrew McCabe, shared an email with a group of FBI Deep State loyalists stating the “Flood is coming”. A few days later ‘fake news’ CNN released a report stating that the President was briefed on the fake news dossier which was also released by far-left BuzzFeed –

A couple of days after that, on January 12th, 2017, the far-left Washington Post released an article insinuating that Trump supporter, General Mike Flynn, spoke with Russians on the phone while insinuating that his call was against the law. It was against the law to unmask the civilian Flynn’s name and then leak it along with the story to the WaPo.  We still don’t know who did this.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017 –

The DOJ Inspector General uncovered text messages between two members of the Mueller Special Counsel team who were way up in the FBI and also lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.  Mueller was told of their texts and the information on them apparently and they were soon removed from the Mueller gang of corrupt Democrats working to overthrow the Trump Administration.

Mueller’s Special Counsel team of angry Democrats next 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.

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

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

When the FBI works to frame or setup individuals or overthrow the US government, they work at light speed.  When they are caught and evidence is requested from them from Congress or the Inspector General, they delay and even destroy evidence.  This is the reality of America’s Deep State FBI and DOJ today!  God save America!

Hat tip D. Manny

via Deep State FBI and DOJ Worked at Light Speed to Frame Gen. Flynn – Delayed for Months and Destroyed Evidence When Caught — The Gateway Pundit

The evil of the Roman Catholic hierarchy “would make the Mafia blush” — Triablogue

I urge you to watch this. It’s only six minutes long, but it would be hard to find a Protestant who has ever said more scathing things about the Roman Catholic hierarchy, than Michael Voris says here.

What’s really amazing is that, because Voris has had interactions with federal and state investigators, what he says here is no doubt highly factual.

Some of his phraseology:

The institution … operates as an international organized crime syndicate that has access to enormous amounts of wealth from multiple sources …

Consider the effects of compound interest for a 1500 year old organization.

… [This syndicate within the hierarchy] flies under the cover of “religion”, and under that cover, has been unexamined and unchecked for the past half century …

Ok, I would extend that to about 1000 years … “unchecked” since the eastern churches broke off from Rome in about 1054 AD, leaving Rome not merely the “first among equals”, but simply “the first” in its part of the world (western Europe).

… To a man (among prosecutors and investigators), they are all coming to the conclusion that this evil monster that has seized operational control of the church is far-flung, and motivated by sexual and financial corruption on a scale that staggers even these veterans … There is a corrupt, organized, criminal syndicate running the church, putting itself in place for decades now. A criminal syndicate that would make the mafia blush with shame …

These investigations will be going on for years, and they will be in the major news media for years to come. It is hard to imagine where it will all end.

You can tell a tree by its fruit.

via The evil of the Roman Catholic hierarchy “would make the Mafia blush” — Triablogue

This is where selling pressure could really ramp up! — Kimble Charting Solutions

Even though stocks have been weak of late, breaks of certain price levels could actually trigger much more selling than stocks have seen so far. This 4-pack applies Fibonacci extension levels to the S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq 100 and Transports. Each of these indices hit key extension levels earlier this year at each (1), where strong uptrends…

via This is where selling pressure could really ramp up! — Kimble Charting Solutions

Paul Copan responds to questions frequently asked by postmodern relativists


Lets take a closer look at a puzzle Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

Four articles from Paul Copan over at the UK site “BeThinking”. Each article responds to a different slogan that you might hear if you’re dealing with non-Christians on the street.

“That’s just your interpretation!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Gently ask, ‘Do you mean that your interpretation should be preferred over mine? If so, I’d like to know why you have chosen your interpretation over mine. You must have a good reason.’
  • Remind your friend that you are willing to give reasons for your position and that you are not simply taking a particular viewpoint arbitrarily.
  • Try to discern if people toss out this slogan because they don’t like your interpretation. Remind them that there are many truths we have to accept even if we don’t like them.
  • ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’ is a statement that is presented as a…

View original post 379 more words

A persecuted pastor in China has issued a “Declaration of Faithful Disobedience” — Denny Burk

You may have read the news last week that the Communist government in China has cracked down on a church in the city of Chengdu. A couple weeks ago, Chinese authorities arrested pastor Wang Yi, his wife, and over 100 Christians who attend Early Rain Covenant Church. The Communists regard religion as a threat to the regime, and so authorities charged them with “inciting subversion of state power.” Wang Yi and his wife have not been heard from in over a week.

Foreseeing his arrest, Pastor Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours. The declaration “explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out.” This English translation was originally published on the China Partnership Blog on December 12, 2018, and is replicated here with permission. Thanks are due to Brent Pinkall and the China Partnership translation team for their work.

We had a portion of this letter read from our pulpit yesterday. I think every Christian would do well do read the entire thing. Pastor Yi is teaching us how to bear faithful witness, and we need to pray for him, his wife, their children, and their entire church as they are suffering persecution.



By Pastor Wang Yi

On the basis of the teachings of the Bible and the mission of the gospel, I respect the authorities God has established in China. For God deposes kings and raises up kings. This is why I submit to the historical and institutional arrangements of God in China.

As a pastor of a Christian church, I have my own understanding and views, based on the Bible, about what righteous order and good government is. At the same time, I am filled with anger and disgust at the persecution of the church by this Communist regime, at the wickedness of their depriving people of the freedoms of religion and of conscience. But changing social and political institutions is not the mission I have been called to, and it is not the goal for which God has given his people the gospel.

For all hideous realities, unrighteous politics, and arbitrary laws manifest the cross of Jesus Christ, the only means by which every Chinese person must be saved. They also manifest the fact that true hope and a perfect society will never be found in the transformation of any earthly institution or culture but only in our sins being freely forgiven by Christ and in the hope of eternal life.

As a pastor, my firm belief in the gospel, my teaching, and my rebuking of all evil proceeds from Christ’s command in the gospel and from the unfathomable love of that glorious King. Every man’s life is extremely short, and God fervently commands the church to lead and call any man to repentance who is willing to repent. Christ is eager and willing to forgive all who turn from their sins. This is the goal of all the efforts of the church in China—to testify to the world about our Christ, to testify to the Middle Kingdom about the Kingdom of Heaven, to testify to earthly, momentary lives about heavenly, eternal life. This is also the pastoral calling that I have received.

For this reason, I accept and respect the fact that this Communist regime has been allowed by God to rule temporarily. As the Lord’s servant John Calvin said, wicked rulers are the judgment of God on a wicked people, the goal being to urge God’s people to repent and turn again toward Him. For this reason, I am joyfully willing to submit myself to their enforcement of the law as though submitting to the discipline and training of the Lord.

At the same time, I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely. The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws.

But this does not mean that my personal disobedience and the disobedience of the church is in any sense “fighting for rights” or political activism in the form of civil disobedience, because I do not have the intention of changing any institutions or laws of China. As a pastor, the only thing I care about is the disruption of man’s sinful nature by this faithful disobedience and the testimony it bears for the cross of Christ.

As a pastor, my disobedience is one part of the gospel commission. Christ’s great commission requires of us great disobedience. The goal of disobedience is not to change the world but to testify about another world.

For the mission of the church is only to be the church and not to become a part of any secular institution. From a negative perspective, the church must separate itself from the world and keep itself from being institutionalized by the world. From a positive perspective, all acts of the church are attempts to prove to the world the real existence of another world. The Bible teaches us that, in all matters relating to the gospel and human conscience, we must obey God and not men. For this reason, spiritual disobedience and bodily suffering are both ways we testify to another eternal world and to another glorious King.

This is why I am not interested in changing any political or legal institutions in China. I’m not even interested in the question of when the Communist regime’s policies persecuting the church will change. Regardless of which regime I live under now or in the future, as long as the secular government continues to persecute the church, violating human consciences that belong to God alone, I will continue my faithful disobedience. For the entire commission God has given me is to let more Chinese people know through my actions that the hope of humanity and society is only in the redemption of Christ, in the supernatural, gracious sovereignty of God.

If God decides to use the persecution of this Communist regime against the church to help more Chinese people to despair of their futures, to lead them through a wilderness of spiritual disillusionment and through this to make them know Jesus, if through this he continues disciplining and building up his church, then I am joyfully willing to submit to God’s plans, for his plans are always benevolent and good.

Precisely because none of my words and actions are directed toward seeking and hoping for societal and political transformation, I have no fear of any social or political power. For the Bible teaches us that God establishes governmental authorities in order to terrorize evildoers, not to terrorize doers of good. If believers in Jesus do no wrong then they should not be afraid of dark powers. Even though I am often weak, I firmly believe this is the promise of the gospel. It is what I’ve devoted all of my energy to. It is the good news that I am spreading throughout Chinese society.

I also understand that this happens to be the very reason why the Communist regime is filled with fear at a church that is no longer afraid of it.

If I am imprisoned for a long or short period of time, if I can help reduce the authorities’ fear of my faith and of my Savior, I am very joyfully willing to help them in this way. But I know that only when I renounce all the wickedness of this persecution against the church and use peaceful means to disobey, will I truly be able to help the souls of the authorities and law enforcement. I hope God uses me, by means of first losing my personal freedom, to tell those who have deprived me of my personal freedom that there is an authority higher than their authority, and that there is a freedom that they cannot restrain, a freedom that fills the church of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

Regardless of what crime the government charges me with, whatever filth they fling at me, as long as this charge is related to my faith, my writings, my comments, and my teachings, it is merely a lie and temptation of demons. I categorically deny it. I will serve my sentence, but I will not serve the law. I will be executed, but I will not plead guilty.

Moreover, I must point out that persecution against the Lord’s church and against all Chinese people who believe in Jesus Christ is the most wicked and the most horrendous evil of Chinese society. This is not only a sin against Christians. It is also a sin against all non-Christians. For the government is brutally and ruthlessly threatening them and hindering them from coming to Jesus. There is no greater wickedness in the world than this.

If this regime is one day overthrown by God, it will be for no other reason than God’s righteous punishment and revenge for this evil. For on earth, there has only ever been a thousand-year church. There has never been a thousand-year government. There is only eternal faith. There is no eternal power.

Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ.  When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me. Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them.

Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.

And so, respectable officers, stop committing evil. This is not for my benefit but rather for yours and your children’s. I plead earnestly with you to stay your hands, for why should you be willing to pay the price of eternal damnation in hell for the sake of a lowly sinner such as I?

Jesus is the Christ, son of the eternal, living God. He died for sinners and rose to life for us. He is my king and the king of the whole earth yesterday, today, and forever. I am his servant, and I am imprisoned because of this. I will resist in meekness those who resist God, and I will joyfully violate all laws that violate God’s laws.

First draft on September 21st, 2018; revised on October 4th. To be published by the church after 48 hours of detention.

Appendix: What Constitutes Faithful Disobedience

I firmly believe that the Bible has not given any branch of any government the authority to run the church or to interfere with the faith of Christians. Therefore, the Bible demands that I, through peaceable means, in meek resistance and active forbearance, filled with joy, resist all administrative policies and legal measures that oppress the church and interfere with the faith of Christians.

I firmly believe this is a spiritual act of disobedience.  In modern authoritarian regimes that persecute the church and oppose the gospel, spiritual disobedience is an inevitable part of the gospel movement.

I firmly believe that spiritual disobedience is an act of the last times; it is a witness to God’s eternal kingdom in the temporal kingdom of sin and evil. Disobedient Christians follow the example of the crucified Christ by walking the path of the cross. Peaceful disobedience is the way in which we love the world as well as the way in which we avoid becoming part of the world.

I firmly believe that in carrying out spiritual disobedience, the Bible demands me to rely on the grace and resurrection power of Christ, that I must respect and not overstep two boundaries.

The first boundary is that of the heart. Love toward the soul, and not hatred toward the body, is the motivation of spiritual disobedience. Transformation of the soul, and not the changing of circumstances, is the aim of spiritual disobedience. At any time, if external oppression and violence rob me of inner peace and endurance, so that my heart begins to breed hatred and bitterness toward those who persecute the church and abuse Christians, then spiritual disobedience fails at that point.

The second boundary is that of behavior. The gospel demands that disobedience of faith must be non-violent. The mystery of the gospel lies in actively suffering, even being willing to endure unrighteous punishment, as a substitute for physical resistance. Peaceful disobedience is the result of love and forgiveness. The cross means being willing to suffer when one does not have to suffer. For Christ had limitless ability to fight back, yet he endured all of the humility and hurt. The way that Christ resisted the world that resisted him was by extending an olive branch of peace on the cross to the world that crucified him.

I firmly believe that Christ has called me to carry out this faithful disobedience through a life of service, under this regime that opposes the gospel and persecutes the church. This is the means by which I preach the gospel, and it is the mystery of the gospel which I preach.

The Lord’s servant,
Wang Yi

First draft on September 21st, 2018; revised on October 4th. To be circulated by the church after 48 hours of detention.


Image Credit: China Aid

via A persecuted pastor in China has issued a “Declaration of Faithful Disobedience” — Denny Burk

Amidst Controversy, James MacDonald Bows Out of SBC Pastor’s Conference — Pulpit & Pen

Remember when James MacDonald stormed the gates of Grace Community Church to pass out his continuationist garbage-book with Mark Driscoll? Remember when James MacDonald scoffed at Mark Dever and those who opposed the satellite church model, right before his own satellite empire collapsed? Remember when James MacDonald was fired as CEO of his church and retained just to preach? Remember when James MacDonald sued reporters for saying true things about him? Remember when James MacDonald brought in Oneness Pentecostal anti-Trinitarian and prosperity preacher, TD Jakes, at the Elephant Room and embraced him as a brother-in-Christ? This guy was invited to preach at the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference, apparently because he’s such a good example of what a pastor should be. He’s recently bowed out of the event, ostensibly because of controversies surrounding his pastorate.

Whoever invited MacDonald to preach to Southern Baptist pastors at a pastors’ conference was insanely idiotic to begin with. Nonetheless, he’s now out.

The Southern Baptist Convention is into celebrities, not soundness.

Julie Roys, who herself was targeted by MacDonald for reporting truths about him and Harvest Bible Church, wrote a stunning investigative piece for World Magazine on December 13. Although MacDonald and Harvest deny her reporting (although not specifically), they are apparently reeling from the controversy.

via Amidst Controversy, James MacDonald Bows Out of SBC Pastor’s Conference — Pulpit & Pen

December 17 Christians and Christmas

He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord.

Romans 14:6

The Puritans in early America rejected Christmas celebrations altogether. They deliberately worked on December 25 to show their disdain. A law passed in England in 1644 reflected a similar Puritan influence; the law made Christmas Day an official working day. For a time in England it was literally illegal to cook plum pudding or mince pie for the holidays.

Christians today are generally not opposed to celebrating Christmas. The holiday itself is nothing, and observing it is not a question of right or wrong. As Paul wrote, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:5–6). Every day—including Christmas—is a celebration for us who know and love Him.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 378). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 17, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Appreciation for the Indwelling Holy Spirit

The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (3:24)

The blessing promised to the one who keeps His commandments is that he abides in Christ and He in him. The term translated abides (from the verb menō, “to stay, remain”) is one of John’s favorite words for salvation (see John 15:4–10) and is a repeated reference in this letter (cf. 2:6, 10, 24, 28; 3:6; 4:13, 16). (For more on the theme of abiding, see the earlier discussions of 2:6 and 2:28 in chapters 5 and 10, respectively, of this volume.) That shared life is possible only by the Spirit whom He has given (cf. Luke 11:13; 12:12; John 14:16–17, 26; 15:26; Acts 1:4–8; Rom. 5:5; 8:11, 16; Gal. 4:6; 5:16, 22; Eph. 1:13–14; 1 John 2:20, 27; 4:1–2, 13).

To be sure, the workings of the Holy Spirit include an element of the mysterious; they cannot be controlled or fully understood by frail, sinful human beings. Nevertheless, the results of those workings are readily apparent, as Jesus told Nicodemus by means of a familiar illustration: “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). As the effects of the wind can be seen, felt, and heard, so the Spirit’s working in lives is manifest and those who see that work will know by this that He [Christ] abides in them.

It was the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) who made saints’ spiritually dead souls alive (John 3:5–8; Titus 3:5), gave sight to their blind eyes, caused their sinful hearts to repent (cf. Acts 16:14), and drew them in faith to Jesus (1 Peter 1:2). It was the Spirit who placed them into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) and gifted them for ministry in the church (1 Cor. 12:7; cf. Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Peter 4:10–11). It is through His illuminating instruction that Scripture comes alive for believers as they read and meditate on it (1 Cor. 2:10–14; cf. Eph. 6:17). The Spirit also energizes the saints’ prayers (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20) and intercedes for them (Rom. 8:26–27). He leads and guides Christians (8:14) and assures them that they are children of God (vv. 15–16; Eph. 1:13–14).

Salvation is not a one-time event but a way of life and entails a willingness to follow Jesus no matter the cost (cf. Luke 9:23, 57–62). The presence of genuine holy affections—gratitude toward God, boldness in prayer, submission to His commandments, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and an appreciation of the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives—all characterized and undergirded by a continual love for other believers—marks those who persevere in this true faith (cf. Rom. 2:7; Col. 1:21–23). The presence of those godly virtues gives those who manifest them true assurance (2 Peter 1:8–10; cf. Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12b) and confidence that they have been born from above by the power of God.[1]

The Witness of the Holy Spirit (v. 24)

In the last verse of chapter 3, John introduces two new ideas into the letter, neither of which has even been suggested up to this time. He mentions the idea of a mutual abiding, of Christ in the Christian and of the Christian in Christ; and he mentions the Holy Spirit, through whom the abiding is effected. Because of the development to come in chapter 5, the idea of the witness of the Holy Spirit is the more important of the two new concepts.

When John mentions the Holy Spirit, we might think that he is here introducing a new and subjective criterion by which the Christian may assure his heart before God, much as Paul seems to do in Romans 8:15–16. But this is not the case, for it is not as a subjective witness that the Spirit is mentioned. Here Stott concludes wisely,

The Spirit whose presence is the test of Christ’s abiding in us, manifests himself objectively in our life and conduct. It is he who inspires us to confess Jesus as the Christ come in the flesh, as John immediately proceeds to show (iv. 1ff.; cf. ii. 20, 27). It is also he who empowers us to live righteously and to love the brethren (cf. iv. 13; Gal. vv. 16, 22). So if we would assure our hearts when they accuse and condemn us, we must look for evidence of the Spirit’s working, and particularly whether he is enabling us to believe in Christ, to obey God’s commandments and to love the brethren; for the condition of abiding is this comprehensive obedience (24a), and the evidence of abiding is the gift of the Spirit (24b).

This, of course, returns us to the starting point of this chapter; for it reminds us that the cure of doubt is not to be found in some subjective experience, but rather in knowledge. It is to be found in knowledge of the workings of God in our lives and of his verdict of acquittal of sinners through the work of Christ.[2]

24. And he that keepeth his commandments. He confirms what I have already stated, that the union we have with God is evident when we entertain mutual love: not that our union begins thereby, but that it cannot be fruitless or without effect whenever it begins to exist. And he proves this by adding a reason, because God does not abide in us, except his Spirit dwells in us. But wherever the Spirit is, he necessarily manifests his power and efficiency. We hence readily conclude, that none abide in God and are united to him, but those who keep his commandments.

When, therefore, he says, and by this we know, the copulative, and, as a reason is here given, is to be rendered, “for,” or, “because.” But the character of the present reason ought to be considered; for though the sentence in words agrees with that of Paul, when he says that the Spirit testifies to our hearts that we are the children of God, and that we through him cry to God, Abba, Father, yet there is some difference in the sense; for Paul speaks of the certainty of gratuitous adoption, which the Spirit of God seals on our hearts; but John here regards the effects which the Spirit produces while dwelling in us, as Paul himself does, when he says, that those are God’s children who are led by the Spirit of God; for there also he is speaking of the mortification of the flesh and newness of life.

The sum of what is said is, that it hence appears that we are God’s children, that is, when his Spirit rules and governs our life. John at the same time teaches us, that whatever good works are done by us, proceed from the grace of the Spirit, and that the Spirit is not obtained by our righteousness, but is freely given to us.[3]

24 John concludes the present section and transitions toward the next (4:1–6). Up to this point, the discussion has focused heavily on what the individual must do to establish her status as a true child of God. John has emphasized sinlessness, correct beliefs, and expressions of love—all personal achievements—as the marks of a Christian. Verse 24 highlights the spiritual dimension of genuine Christian experience. Those who obey enjoy the mystical, mutual indwelling with the Father that Jesus requested for his disciples at John 17:20–23. To stress this point, John introduces a community slogan with the formula ginōskomen hoti (“we know”): “He remains [menō] in us” (NIV, “we know that he lives in us”). This proposition is validated by the Christian experience of the Spirit. John closely associates Jesus with the Spirit, so much so that Jesus will come to the disciples in the form of the Paraclete (Jn 14:15–18). The fact, then, that true believers have the Spirit proves that God is with them and that they have passed the tests. John’s implication that the Antichrists do not possess God’s Spirit suggests that belief, ethics, and union with God go hand in hand. Those who do not hold to a proper belief and do not live under Jesus’ commands cannot legitimately claim that God’s Spirit dwells in them. Rensberger, 107, notes that “although the possession of the Spirit and mutual abiding with God are interior events, they are validated by means that are … thoroughly public.”[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 148–149). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (p. 104). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 226–227). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 469–470). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

December 17 The Meaning of Christ’s Exaltation

“God highly exalted Him.”

Philippians 2:9


The Father exalted the Son as the God–man.

A question that often springs to mind regarding the exaltation of Christ is how Jesus could be exalted since He is already God. We find the answer in Jesus’ High–Priestly prayer in John 17, where He asked the Father to restore to Him the glory He had with the Father before the world began (v. 5). Christ’s request shows that He gave up something that God would give back to Him. Christ gave up His glory in the Incarnation. Beyond glorification, in His exaltation Christ would receive more than He had before.

How is that possible? God has it all. Christ didn’t become any more God or any more perfect; He was already the Most High God—King of kings and Lord of lords. But as the God–man, a new state of being for Him, He suffered things and was given things He would not otherwise have had if He had not become the God–man. For example, He never would have had the privilege of being the interceding High Priest for His people if He had never been touched with the feelings of their infirmities—tempted in all points like them. If He had not become the God–man, He would never have become our substitute by bearing our sins in His own body on the cross. As God He was incapable of elevation, but as the God–Man He could be lifted up from the lowest degradation to the highest degree of glory. So in a sense He received from the Father privileges He didn’t have before—privileges He gained because of His incarnation.

At His ascension Christ was seated at the Father’s right hand. He was elevated to that position as the God–man—a state of being that was His only because of His incarnation. Thus He entered upon the rights and privileges not only of God as God, but of God as the God–man. His exaltation was not with regard to His nature or eternal place within the Trinity but with regard to His new character as the God–man.


Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Father for exalting His Son to His rightful place in Heaven.

For Further Study: According to Acts 5:31, in what two ways did God exalt Christ to His right hand? Why?[1]

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

December 17 Daily Help

OUR Lord would have all his people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning his blessed person. As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies. Think how God esteems the only begotten, his unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of him, as they count it their highest honor to veil their faces at his feet. Think of the mighty love which drew him from his throne to die upon the cross! See him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before him as the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, for only thus will your love to him be what it should.[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 355). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

A Federal Judge Finally Exposes The Lies At The Heart Of Obamacare

Obamacare was sold to the American people under false pretenses and upheld by a dishonest Supreme Court ruling. Now it’s coming apart, and it’s about time.
— Read on thefederalist.com/2018/12/17/federal-judge-finally-exposes-lies-heart-obamacare/

December 17 Christ’s Superior Destiny

“To which of the angels has He ever said, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:13–14).


The destiny of Jesus Christ is that ultimately everything in the universe will be subject to Him.

At the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10). This great promise confirms that Jesus Christ is destined to be the ruler of the universe.

Yet notice this about Christ’s rule: “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the one who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). Christ is subordinate to His Father, but only in His role as the Son. While the eternal Son is equally divine, He is officially in subjection to God.

Eventually God will put all kingdoms, authorities, and powers of the world in subjection under Christ when He comes in glory at His Second Coming. “He will rule [the nations] with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’” (Rev. 19:15–16). Christ’s eternal destiny is to reign over the new heavens and the new earth.

But what about the angels? While Christ has the greater destiny, it is their destiny to serve forever those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14)—and that’s us!

Angels protect and deliver believers from temporal danger. They rescued Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom. They went into the lions’ den with Daniel and protected him. In addition to being forever in God’s presence, our destiny is to be served by angels forever—service that begins at the moment of our salvation.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the many ways He takes care of you—by saving you, having Christ intercede for you, giving you the Holy Spirit to teach you, and sending His angels to serve you.

For Further Study: Read 2 Kings 6:8–23, and note the amazing way that angels served the prophet Elisha.[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 364). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas is True by J. Warner Wallace — Truthbomb Apologetics

In this Free Bible Insert J. Warner Wallace shares 5 reasons why you can trust the story of Christmas is true.  They are as follows:

1. The Supernatural Nature of the Virgin Conception Shouldn’t Disqualify It

2. The Claim of the Virgin Conception Appears Incredibly Early in Christian History

3. The Birth Narratives in Luke and Matthew are Not Late Additions

4. The Virgin Conception Was Not an Invention of Early Christians

5. The Virgin Conception Wasn’t Borrowed from Anther Source

He briefly unpacks each reason here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas is True by J. Warner Wallace — Truthbomb Apologetics

Saint Nicholas and the Origins of Santa Claus — Ligonier Ministries Blog

It might surprise many today to find out that Saint Nicholas (spoiler alert) is a real person after all. Is he the white-bearded man with a red suit, a cap, and a sleigh?

Not quite, but he probably was bearded, did wear a hat, and did travel in horse-drawn, not reindeer-drawn, transportation. The legend behind Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop of Myra. His hat was the bishop’s mitre.

Nicholas was born in modern day Turkey to a rather wealthy family. Losing his parents at a young age, Nicholas dedicated both his fortune and his life to the Christian church. Very quickly he was appointed the bishop of Myra, on the southern coast of modern day Turkey.

These were days of persecution for Christians. Roman Emperor Diocletian, who reigned from 284–305, hated Christians and stuffed Roman jails full of them. Bishop Nicholas spent the first few years of the fourth century in jail and faced routine beatings. In the next decade, Constantine legalized Christianity and Nicholas was set free.

As the legend goes, Bishop Nicholas was present at the Church’s First Ecumenical Council at Constantine’s summer palace in Nicea in 325. Hundreds of Bishops gathered there to refute the false views of Arius, a presbyter from Alexandria. Arius denied Christ’s deity. At one point while Arius was addressing the council, Nicholas’s rage got the better of him. According to some of his biographers, Nicholas stood up, crossed the floor to Arius, and promptly punched him in the face.

For the assault, Nicholas found himself back in jail again. The bishops deliberated his fate. Nicholas was repentant and sought forgiveness. After the Council, Constantine granted clemency and restored Bishop Nicholas to his post.

And at his post Bishop Nicholas diligently served. Over the course of his entire life he was known for being extremely generous. He was especially generous to children, regularly giving them gifts. Myra was a busy port city with ships and sailors coming and going. The ships went out of Myra’s port loaded with gifts and goods for the needy, all provided and packed on by Bishop Nicholas. His gifts went all around the Mediterranean world. As sailors went around the world, they took with them the stories of the generosity of Bishop Nicholas.

The year of Bishop Nicholas’s death is uncertain, but the month is firmly believed to be December. As the story of his generosity spread, the stories of his life grew and grew. He was becoming legendary. In the sixth century, a church was dedicated to him and named for him in Constantinople. His image was depicted more in the Middle Ages than any other except those of Christ and of Mary. No longer Bishop Nicholas, now he became Saint Nicholas, and his Feast Day would be December 6.

One of the legends around Nicholas concerned his giving dowries to young poor girls so they would be able to marry. To reflect that legend, images of him carrying bags bulging with gold coins began to appear.

As his legend moved northward, the story takes an even more interesting turn. In Germany, the tradition arose of giving gifts to each other in the name of Saint Nicholas. So, too, in the Netherlands. The Dutch word for him became Sinterklaas. The German word eventually became Santa Claus. These celebrations of gift-giving occurred on December 6, the anniversary of his death. The gift of a gold coin was highly prized and showed great favor.

Even Martin Luther would come to play a role in the legend. Luther wanted a Protestant alternative to the Roman Catholic practice of celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus). Instead of giving gifts in the name of Santa Claus on December 6, Luther started the tradition of giving gifts in the name of the Christ child, Christkindl, on Christmas Eve. Perhaps in this we have an argument for Protestant kids everywhere as to why they should be allowed to open at least one present on Christmas Eve.

Luther loved Christmas. He wanted it to be a celebration of giving around the supreme gift of the babe born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. As he preached in 1530, “He who lies in the virgin’s lap is our Savior . . . give thanks to God, who so loved you that he gave you a Savior.”

Christmas evolved from the word Christ Mass, the celebration of the incarnation of Christ, fixed by tradition as being on December 25. The word Luther coined, Christkindl, also evolved over the centuries. It would become Santa Claus’ other name, Kris Kringle. This effort of Luther’s to move away from the Santa Claus tradition inadvertently veered right toward it.

So we have the story of Santa Claus. Interestingly enough, Saint Nicholas and his legend began in the early church. The stories wove their way through the Middle Ages, and they even made an appearance at the Reformation. Those stories still live with us today.

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College, chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and he teaches on the podcasts 5 Minutes in Church History andOpen Book.

Saint Nicholas and the Origins of Santa Claus — Ligonier Ministries Blog