Daily Archives: January 11, 2019

January 11 Growing Your Faith

Scripture Reading: Matthew 17:14–20

Key Verse: Matthew 17:20

[Jesus said to them,] “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

How do you respond when presented with a challenge that calls for a surge of faith in God? Hesitantly? Tentatively? Fearfully? Optimistically?

The key to breaking the faith barrier and anchoring our trust in God is an exalted view of God Himself.

“But I thought to have more faith, I had to work at it more,” you say. You do, but your work is to see God for who He really is, not to struggle to obtain more faith or have a more positive mind-set.

When the disciples thirsted to have more faith, Jesus told them all that was necessary was faith the size of a mustard seed. “Use what you have,” Jesus was saying, “and your faith will grow in the process.”

We use what faith we have, as little as it may seem, by magnifying the heart’s view of God. When Moses was scared to go to Pharaoh, God exploded Moses’ worries with the revelation of Himself: “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Ex. 3:14 nasb).

We grow in faith by seeing God in a new light. Our faith is as big as our God. If your notion of God is grand, your faith will soar. If it is little, your faith will sag. How big is your God? See Him as He is, and the faith barrier will shatter before you.

Dear God, let my faith soar. Grow faith in me that is as big as You are. O God, I want to see You as You are. Shatter the obstacles of fear, disobedience, and faithlessness in my life. I want to break through the faith barrier.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

CNN Disinvites Local San Diego News Team After Discovering Their Local View Border Walls Work… — The Last Refuge

San Diego local news station KUSI shares how they were contacted by CNN “asking if a reporter could give them a local view of the debate surrounding the border wall and government shutdown.”  However, after KUSI agreed to provide a reporter with extensive knowledge of the effectiveness of a border wall, CNN changed their mind.

(VIA KUSI) […] We believe CNN declined a report from KUSI because we informed them that most Border Patrol Agents we have spoken to told us the barrier does in fact work.

We have continuously been told by Border Patrol Agents that the barrier along the Southern border helps prevent illegal entries, drugs, and weapons from entering the United States, and the numbers prove it.  (link)

via CNN Disinvites Local San Diego News Team After Discovering Their Local View Border Walls Work… — The Last Refuge

‘Just fire him!’: Ron Paul blasts Bolton, Pompeo for undermining Trump

Former Congressman Ron Paul has come out swinging against neoconservative voices in President Trump’s cabinet. John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, he said, should be punished for insubordination.

President Trump’s announcement last month that he would withdraw all US forces from Syria and the news that he was mulling a partial pullout from Afghanistan seemed to be the fulfilment of an often-repeated campaign promise. “I don’t want to be in Syria forever,” Trump said in December. “It’s sand and death.”

Read more

#ICYMI: Trump's Syria pull-out method is going to be slow, messy and angry (VIDEO)

Nevertheless, war enthusiasts in both parties and their cheerleaders in the media reacted with shock. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, known in DC as a foreign policy hawk, called the pull-out a “colossal” mistake and a “grave error that’s going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come.”

However, Trump found resistance coming from within his own cabinet too. First, National Security Advisor John Bolton walked back the initial 60-100 day timeline for the Syria withdrawal. Bolton noted that the withdrawal would only occur after the US had drawn up a contingency plan with its allies in the region to protect Kurdish fighters in Syria from Turkish forces, and to contain Iranian influence in the war-stricken country.

Then, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took off on a whirlwind trip to the Middle East in the new year, assuring allies that the US would remain open to intervention in Syria, and would maintain a “liberating” presence in the region: business as usual.

“When America retreats, chaos follows,” Pompeo said, in a swaggering, cocksure speech in Cairo on Thursday. “America will not retreat until the terror fight is over.”

“I think what Pompeo and Bolton did was insubordinate,” Ron Paul told RT’s Rick Sanchez later that day. “And I don’t know why Trump puts up with it.”

Trump, he continued, “stakes out, politically, a risky position by boldly saying ‘we should come home.’” Paul, a consistent opponent to foreign wars and interventionism, then blasted Trump for backing down to the likes of Bolton and Pompeo.

“These people who really run the show, they come down very hard on him and then he backs down. But if he were to ask me ‘what should I do with this Bolton guy?,’ I would say ‘just fire him, he’s not helping you in any way!'”

Paul also criticized Trump for calling on the Pentagon to keep its watchdog reports secret. In a cabinet meeting last week, Trump criticized the Department of Defense for releasing a report detailing money wasted in the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and territorial losses by the Afghan government.

While Trump called the release of the report “insane” and an aid to America’s enemies, Paul said it proves the United States should not be in Afghanistan in the first place.

“No matter what kind of a crowd I talk to… the solution is following the rules,” he said. “It’s only the people, through their members of Congress, who decide when you get involved in war, and that’s totally ignored, and it’s ignored by both parties.”

Source: ‘Just fire him!’: Ron Paul blasts Bolton, Pompeo for undermining Trump

“Something Biblical Is Approaching” – Here Are The Scenarios Of The Collapse

Submitted by Tuomas Malinen of GNSEconomics

2019 has started more calmly after a very volatile year-end in the markets. Focus has been on the trade deal between China and the US and the words of the central bankers, most notably those of Jay Powell. However, this is all just a distraction, a side-show. The market volatility was only the first sign of an approaching global economic crisis, as we warned in December 2017.

As the recent PMI figures across the globe show, a global downturn has started and the world is utterly unprepared for it. The global imbalances that have been growing for years cannot lead to anything else than a global crisis . However, there are different paths the crisis could take.

Here, we present three scenarios that the global economy is likely to follow, when the global downturn morphs into something much more sinister.

We’ll start with the most likely scenario: Global Depression.

Scenario I: Global Depression

In a depression, everything that has been driven the economic expansion goes into reverse. Asset markets experience severe contraction (in excess of 50 percent), credit becomes restricted, corporations and households de-lever fiercely, and global trade flows stall (for more details see Q-review 2/2018). GDP falls dramatically, between 10 to 25 percent. Unemployment skyrockets. The standard means of stimulus by central banks and governments are exhausted without any notable improvement in the economic environment.

The implosion of the current asset bubble will start a relentless unwinding of leverage and risk in the global financial system. Because major central banks are still “all-in” with rates pinned at or near historic lows, and balance sheets bloated to extreme levels, their ability to respond will be highly restricted. Governments are also highly-indebted, and when interest rates rise, some sovereigns are likely to default, aggravating the global banking crisis, which will probably be in motion already. Combined with the zombified global business sector and a hard landing in China, these factors will lead the world economy into a depression. However, a possibility of something even more ominous is lurking in the background.

Scenario II: Systemic Meltdown

Systemic crisis would mean that the global financial melts down due to an existential deficit of trust between counterparties within the system. Before 2008, a systemic meltdown was mostly a theoretical construct. However, in mid-October in 2008, global leaders were faced with the possibility that banks would not open on Monday. The interbank markets had frozen, because no one knew the amount of the losses banks carried on their books. The global financial system was grinding to a halt. Politicians and central bankers saved the day by guaranteeing bank deposits and by providing capital and extraordinary guarantees to keep the important financial institutions standing and credit flowing.

Now the problem is that many of these measures are already in play and when the next crisis hits, the solvency of governments and central banks will also be in question. This creates a perilous situation because, for example, the shares of the global systemically important banks, G-SIBs, have been falling since the beginning of last year, which was also the time when the balance sheet normalization (QT) program of the Fed kicked into full gear. This is no coincidence and it implies that troubles are, once again, brewing in the banking sector.

Because a crash in the asset values would affect the collateral of banks and because global depression would lead to a massive increase in loan losses, the already-impaired banking sector could, again, face collapse. However, this time around, there is very little authorities can do to stem the panic. These factors make the systemic meltdown an ominously-likely scenario.

Systemic meltdown would mean that all banking actions, distribution of money, loans, swaps, banking services, etc., through the banking sector would stop. Credit cards would cease to function, ATMs would not give out money and loans could not be originated or rolled-over. Following the likely collapse of global trade, the world economy would also collapse. This would imply that the global GDP would experience a harrowing fall of 20 to 40 percent. Modern societies would cease to exist in their current form.

Scenario III: The fairy tale

Could this all be averted somehow? We’ve been pondering this for two years now, and our resounding answer is no. The leverage in the system usually results in a crash at some point, and asset bubbles very rarely deflate in a controlled manner. However, CBs can probably still postpone the inevitable, if they could re-start QE programs or find some other way to push artificial central bank liquidity into the financial markets.

To soften the eventual blow, and as an extremely desperate measure, central banks could, at least in theory, engage in a “QE-squared”. In it, major central banks would buy a hefty chunk of global risk assets, estimated to total $400 trillion. This would mean that the balance sheet of major CBs would need to expand at least five-fold from the current level of approximately $20 trillion. To cover the crippling losses to their collective balance sheets that these purchases would be likely to inflict, they would need to use their money-printing ability to paper them over.

Central banks earn seigniorage-revenue from all the money they create. This is the difference between the nominal value and the production costs of the money. Because production costs of digital entries are very close to zero, the seigniorage revenue CBs receive from each entry is close to 1-to-1. Still, this would mean that they would need to create new money in the range of tens of trillions of US dollars. By comparison, in 2017, the global nominal GDP of the world was approximately $75 trillion.

To distribute such incomprehensible sums of new money, central banks would need to give it directly to consumers and governments. Even in normal circumstances, the production side of the economy would be unlikely to be able to respond to such a massive increase in (artificially created) demand, and this time there would have been wide-spread corporate bankruptcies driven by global depression. A hyper-inflation would be likely to follow.

There’s also the alternative that CBs would make a complete U-turn and continue to backstop market losses. This would be the “way of Japan”, where the BoJ already owns over 40% of the sovereign bond universe. It would eventually mean the effective nationalization of capital markets which would continue to function in name only.

We have no historical experience with what the expropriation of modern capital markets would cause. However, it would be unlikely to be anything good as capital markets have been around for several centuries, and they are extremely important in allocating financial capital efficiently. If central banks take a permanent active role in the capital markets, it would lead to financial market socialism. It would be likely to bring similar horrors as regular socialism in the form of lost incentives (breaking down of the risk-reward relationship) and inflated asset values. It is unlikely that global central bankers would be willing, or that they would be allowed, to do so.

The endgame nears

The global balance sheet of central banks turned in August 2018 (see Figure1). This marks the start of global QT and thus the end of the most reckless monetary policy experiment in history.

Figure 1. The combined balance sheets of the Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve during 2018. Source: GnS Economics, BoJ, ECB, Fed

When this is combined with the slow-down in China, the engine of the world economy since 2008 (see Figure 2), we have finally entered the endgame of at the current business cycle. The desperate measures of central bankers and China enacted after the financial crisis have pushed the global debt and financial alchemy to never-seen heights. The global financial system has become rigged with leverage, moral hazard and regulatory failures to a point where a “purge” has become all-but-impossible to avoid. This is the end.

Figure 2. Gross capital formation in Australia, Canada, China, euro area, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States in constant (2010) US dollars. Sources: GnS Economics, World Bank

Fortunately, even depressions and systemic crises have the tendency to bottom-out and recover. This is driven by resiliency. Even when faced by cataclysmic economic shock, businesses and people try to move forward, and rebuild their lives. Societies just do not spiral into anarchy and mayhem, even if the system should break down.

Still, every company, household and government should start to make contingency plans. Something ‘biblical’ is approaching.

Source: “Something Biblical Is Approaching” – Here Are The Scenarios Of The Collapse

Grand Mosque of Mecca Plagued by Swarm of Locusts

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

As we continue to watch the worldwide convergence of events which correlate with Bible prophecy, occasionally a news story comes out with such apocalyptic overtones – it can prompt even the unbeliever to take notice.

The holiest site in Saudi Arabia  – the Grand Mosque of Mecca – has been plagued by swarms of locusts and black grasshoppers.

I’m very glad that this story came out in an Israeli news source, the Times of Israel.

From timesofisrael.com

Mecca’s Grand Mosque Plagued by Swarm of Locusts

Authorities dispatch cleaning crews to eradicate insects for the ‘safety and comfort of guests of God’s house’

A massive swarm of locusts plagued Mecca, Saudi Arabia, earlier this week, prompting authorities at Islam’s holiest site to launch a cleaning operation to remove them.

Videos posted to social media showed the insects swarming around cleaners and worshipers in the city’s Grand Mosque, where millions of Muslim…

View original post 131 more words

Divine Message? Mecca’s ‘Grand Mosque’ Plagued by Massive Swarm of Locusts (VIDEOS) — The Gateway Pundit

 

A massive swarm of locusts blanketed Mecca, Saudi Arabia this week which prompted a cleanup crew to come in a remove the pests.

Every year, millions of Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca’s ‘Grand Mosque’ which is considered Islam’s holiest site.

The Times of Israel reported that authorities in Mecca said, “Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects.”

CNN identified the locusts as “black grasshoppers” and reported that 138 people were a part of the cleanup crew to deal with the infestation.

VIDEO:

Many took to social media to posts pictures of the insect invasion.

In the book of Exodus, in a demonstration of power, God sent swarms of locusts to plague Egypt in order to humble Pharaoh after he refused to free enslaved Israelites.

The locusts swarmed Egypt, darkened the sun, blanketed the ground and destroyed vegetation.

Is this a divine message?

via Divine Message? Mecca’s ‘Grand Mosque’ Plagued by Massive Swarm of Locusts (VIDEOS) — The Gateway Pundit

This ‘n’ That for January 11, 2019 — Do Not Be Surprised…

  • Well, we can pray that it’s a start, I guess.
  • Just because you’re proposing marriage is no reason to leave sound theology by the wayside. Sorry, Tebow, she’s not “internally flawless.”
  • Love and doctrine are not mutually exclusive.
  • I prefer hymnals, but in my opinion, if you’re using them, get rid of the screens. We humans love to stare at screens and we get enough of it in our daily lives as it is.
  • Good for her. But wait, shouldn’t she have waited for a man to come help her? After all, beating someone up—even someone trying to mug you—isn’t very feminine. (Do you sense the sarcasm? I hope you do.)
  • What’s up with that star of Bethlehem?
  • This is very cool, but it makes me think of this (unfortunately).
  • I’m very thankful this young lady has been found.

Now, there is no help against original sin but almighty grace, and there is no way of having almighty grace except through the free gift of God. This He may give as He pleases, for He has a right to bestow it or to withhold it; but He promises to give it to all who come humbly confessing their sin, and casting themselves, by faith, upon Jesus Christ, His Son. —Charles Spurgeon

via This ‘n’ That — Do Not Be Surprised…

January 11 Unconditional Love

Scripture reading: 1 John 4:13–21

Key verse: Romans 5:8

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God is not afraid to love us just the way we are, with all our flaws and shortcomings. He is secure in who He is. Therefore, He loves us unconditionally and without regard to our failures.

He created us not to live apart from His love but to be partakers of His holiness. However, He knows that there will be times when we look and act unholy. Our misguided actions do not erase or stop the love of God. Sin can separate us from His blessings and intimate fellowship, but there is never a time when God withholds His love.

In loving us, God knows that we can never give back to Him what He has given to us, but He does require us to love one another with the same love that He has demonstrated toward us.

In his book Mighty Is Your Hand, David Hazard paraphrases the words of Andrew Murray,

In our life with people, the one thing on which everything depends is love. The spirit of forgiveness is the spirit of love. Because God is love, He forgives. Consequently, it is only as we are dwelling in the love of God that we can forgive as God forgives.

Our love for others is the evidence of our love for God. It is our grounds for confidence before God in prayer. It is our assurance that our prayer will be heard (1 John 4:20).

Let your love for God be a symbol of love and forgiveness to all you meet.

Lord, let Your presence shine through my life as a symbol of Your unconditional love and forgiveness.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Weekend Apologetics Hit & Misc: Read the Bible Better

Source: Weekend Apologetics Hit & Misc: Read the Bible Better

Trump Preparing To Replace Ginsburg As Rumors Say She Could Retire Today

President Donald trump has begun to work on a plan to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as rumors of her retirement have started.

Some prominent pundits have said they have heard rumors that she would retire as soon as this week.

“A little birdie (in DC) tells me Ruth Bader Ginsburg announces her retirement tomorrow. If so, get ready 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome squared. Libs will need kiss from mommy, straight jacket & rubber room. Lots of moaning, wailing & heads banging against doors,” Newsmax TV’s Wayne Allyn Root wrote.

A little birdie (in DC) tells me Ruth Bader Ginsburg announces her retirement tomorrow. If so, get ready 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome squared. Libs will need kiss from mommy, straight jacket & rubber room. Lots of moaning, wailing & heads banging against doors.

— Wayne Allyn Root (@RealWayneRoot) January 11, 2019

“Word is Ruth Bader Ginsburg is about to retire…President @realDonaldTrump and the Republican controlled Senate will have another chance to confirm a Conservative Justice. 3 Trump appointed Supreme Court Justices to lead our nation’s Laws back to God,” Pastor Mark Burns, who often appears on Fox News, said.

Word is Ruth Bader Ginsburg is about to retire…President @realDonaldTrump and the Republican controlled Senate will have another chance to confirm a Conservative Justice. 3 Trump appointed Supreme Court Justices to lead our nation’s Laws back to God. #PromisesMadePromisesKept

— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) January 11, 2019

And those rumors are being helped by news that President Trump is preparing to replace her, Politico reported.

The White House is reaching out to political allies and conservative activist groups to prepare for an ailing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the Supreme Court — an event that would trigger the second bitter confirmation battle of President Donald Trump’s tenure.

Should Justice Ginsburg retire?

The outreach began after Ginsburg, 85, on Monday missed oral arguments at the court for the first time in her 25 years on the bench. The justice, who was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, announced in late December that she underwent a surgical procedure to remove two cancerous growths from her lungs.

The White House “is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process,” said a source familiar with those conversations, who spoke on background given the delicate nature of the subject. “They’re doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren’t caught flat-footed.”

Ginsburg had a pulmonary lobectomy, the Supreme Court said in a statement, and her doctors said that post-surgery there was “no evidence of any remaining disease.” She has also recovered from several past health scares. But her departure from the Court would allow Trump to nominate a third Supreme Court justice — the most in one presidential term since President Ronald Reagan placed three judges on the highest court during his second term.

The nine-member court is currently divided 5-4 between its conservative and liberal wings. Ginsburg’s departure would allow Trump to create the Court’s strongest conservative majority in decades, a scenario sure to bring intense opposition from Democrats and liberal activists still furious over the October confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“It would be a brutal confirmation,” said John Malcolm, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. “The first two were not easy at all, but this would be much harder in this respect: When Neil Gorsuch was the nominee, you were replacing a conservative with a conservative. With Kavanaugh, you were replacing the perennial swing voter, who more times than not sided with the so-called conservative wing, so that slightly solidified the conservative wing.”

“But if you are replacing Justice Ginsburg with a Trump appointee, that would be akin to replacing Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas,” Malcolm added. “It would mark a large shift in the direction of the court.”

Justice Ginsburg has stated that she wants to stay on the Court until age 90, but she has said she would retire when she could no longer do the job at 100 percent, The Washington Examiner reported.

Although Ginsburg said last summer that she hopes to serve until she is 90, she has been consistent about when it will be time for her to hang up the robe: “I said I will do this job as long as I can do it full steam,” she said on Dec. 17 at the New York City premier of “On the Basis of Sex,” a movie based on her early career. Five days later, Ginsburg underwent surgery to remove early-stage cancerous nodules and was hospitalized for several days.

Last February, Ginsburg used the same phrase during an event at the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. “As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here,” she said.

“I will retire when it’s time,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Totenberg in 2016. “And when is it time? When I can’t do the job full steam.” She used the same “full steam” phrase on at least two other occasions.

Source: Trump Preparing To Replace Ginsburg As Rumors Say She Could Retire Today

CNN Reports A Grisly Scene Near The Border Hours After Jim Acosta Took A Selfie Video Boasting Of Tranquility

‘We’re not seeing any kind of imminent danger’

Mexican authorities discovered five abandoned vehicles and at least 20 bodies at a rural location 56 miles west of McAllen, Texas, Wednesday, CNN reported.

News of the discovery came just hours after CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on the area’s apparent safety and tranquility. (RELATED: Tucker Mocks ‘Renaissance Poet’ Jim Acosta For Border Wall Video)

“We’re not seeing any kind of imminent danger. There are no migrants trying to rush toward this fence here in the McAllen, Texas, area,” Acosta said in a video posted to his Twitter account Thursday. “No sign of the national emergency that [President Donald Trump] has been talking about. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty tranquil down here.”

Acosta posted a follow-up video a couple of hours later to point out that McAllen’s border wall only covered a short distance, and he said that “a lot of the residents we talked to say this is a very safe community and they don’t see migrants coming into their community causing a lot of crime and mayhem.”

WATCH:

The steel slats don’t run the entire length of the border in the McAllen area. We found one part where there is a chain link fence. Occasionally migrants come thru but residents say their community is quite safe. pic.twitter.com/ivpPl0XT48

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 10, 2019

Mexican federal police found four burnt-out trucks, a sedan and the bodies, most of them charred, in a rural community near the town of Miguel Aleman, authorities told CNN. The grisly scene appeared to be the result of a battle between rival gangs, Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios Mojica told Carmen Aristegui, who works for CNN and hosts a radio show in Mexico.

CNN reported on the incident Thursday evening.

Source: CNN Reports A Grisly Scene Near The Border Hours After Jim Acosta Took A Selfie Video Boasting Of Tranquility

Friday Briefing Jan. 11, 2019

download (size: 16 MB )

The moral revolution perfectly illustrated as Methodist leaders call for change on homosexuality

Transgender people welcomed into Anglican church in ‘baptism-style services’. Why this liturgical change raises huge theological questions

Has acceptance of LGBT identity become ‘too firmly established to dislodge’?

Meditation in the modern age: Deepak Chopra has not just become a tech evangelist, but also an investor in Silicon Valley

Source: Friday, Jan. 11, 2019

Yes, There Is A Crisis At The Border — The Numbers Show It — Christian Research Network

“Even if Cato [Institute] is right that the crime rate among Hispanic illegals is a bit lower than for natives, that’s cold comfort to victims of these crimes, which would not have happened had the border been more secure. They would likely agree with Trump about their being a crisis at the border.”

(Investor’s Business Daily)  Democrats and the mainstream press accuse President Donald Trump of manufacturing a crisis at the border. The numbers tell another story.

As soon as the words “growing humanitarian and security crisis at our Southern border” left Trump’s lips in his Oval Office address this week, Democrats and media “fact-checkers” were trying to dispel it as a deliberate lie.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump “must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.”

Border Crossings Climbing

NPR’s “fact check” — like countless others — dismissed Trump’s claim as false because “illegal border crossings in the most recent fiscal year (ending in September 2018) were actually lower than in either 2016 or 2014.”

What they aren’t telling you is border patrol agents apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the country illegally in just October and November of last year. Or that that number is way up from the same two months the year before.

Nor do they mention that last year, the border patrol apprehended more than half a million people trying to get into the country illegally. And that number, too, is up from the year before.

Downplaying Number Of Illegals

Trump’s critics certainly don’t bother to mention that those figures only count illegals the border patrol caught. It does not count the ones who eluded border patrol agents and got into the countryView article →

via Yes, There Is A Crisis At The Border — The Numbers Show It — Christian Research Network

January 11, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

government is by divine decree

For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (13:1b)

First, Paul says, human government is ordained by God for the benefit of society. In whatever of the many forms it exists, civil authority derives directly from God. Like marriage, it is a universal institution of God, and, like marriage, it is valid regardless of place, circumstance, or any other consideration.

There is no civil authority, Paul says, except from God. No matter what form it takes, no human government at any time in history, at any place on earth, among any people on earth, at any level of society, has ever existed or will ever exist apart from the sovereign authority of God, because all “power belongs to God” (Ps. 62:11). The entire world, everything in heaven and earth, including Satan and his hosts, are subject to their Creator. God sovereignly created and absolutely controls the universe, with no exceptions or limitations. Also without exception, the power that any person, group, or society may possess is divinely delegated and circumscribed. How well or how poorly that power is used is another matter. Paul’s point here is that this power has only one source—God.

Yet, in His sovereign wisdom, God has permitted Satan to have vast but limited power over the world and the affairs of men. Although Satan was not directly responsible for man’s sin at the Fall, it was his seductive enticement that led Adam and Eve to disobey God and thereby commit the first sin, a sin which they bequeathed to all their posterity. Satan does not have power to make men sin, but since that tragic day in the Garden of Eden, he has used every means at his disposal to entice men to indulge their sinful impulses and thereby express their defiance of God. Paul reminded the Ephesian believers that “you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1–2). In other words, man’s natural propensity to sin is exploited by Satan’s evil wiles.

Consequently, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), who is “now the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11; 14:30). At His temptation, Jesus did not question Satan’s claim to “all the kingdoms of the world” or his ability to give Jesus “all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:6).

From Daniel 10 it is evident that some, if not all, nations are under the charge of a specific demon, or perhaps a group of demons. The context makes clear that “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” (v. 13), who withstood the holy angel (vv. 5–6, 11–12) “for twenty-one days,” was himself supernatural, not human. He was not defeated until “Michael, one of the chief princes” of the holy angels, came to help (v. 13). After predicting the death of the proud and blasphemous king of Babylon (Isa. 14:4), Isaiah addresses one who has “fallen from heaven,” and calls him “star of the morning [Lucifer]” and “son of the dawn” (v. 12). The close association of the human king and the supernatural agent seems to indicate that Satan himself took special charge of that pagan nation.

Although addressed as “the king of Tyre,” the being that Isaiah refers to as having “had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty,” as being in “Eden, the garden of God,” and whom he calls “the anointed cherub” (Ezek. 28:12–14) is clearly supernatural and could only be Satan.

In both the Isaiah and Ezekiel accounts, Satan is closely identified with the kings of the nations involved. It becomes clear that, although human government was instituted by God and fulfills, to some extent, His plan for maintaining order on earth, many governments, if not most, are under the influence of Satan and are a means of promoting and perpetuating satanic activity.

The autocratic, ruthless, and demonic regimes of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung were no exceptions to God’s command to be subject to civil authority. The equally ruthless empires of ancient Assyria and Babylon were no exceptions. The Roman empire, sometimes ruled by caesars who proclaimed themselves to be gods, was no exception. The apostate and heretical “Christian” kingdoms of the Middle Ages were no exceptions. Shaman ruled primitive and animistic tribes of South America are no exceptions. There are no exceptions.

That is part of the truth Paul declared before the pagan philosophers in Athens: “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:24–26).

That is the primary reason we are to submit to human government: it is instituted by the decree of God and is an integral part of His divine plan for fallen mankind.[1]


Authority

Romans 13:1

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

In the fall of 1561 an important conversation took place in Scotland between Queen Mary and the Calvinistic Protestant preacher John Knox.

Mary was a Catholic. She had been educated in Catholic France, and she believed that sovereigns—she herself was one—had absolute power over the consciences of their subjects. Knox was a reformer. For his uncompromising preaching he had been sentenced to serve as a galley slave for nineteen months. After his release, he had studied in Geneva under John Calvin from 1553 to 1559. Then, in the summer of 1560, he had participated in the drafting of the Scottish Confession of Faith that stated that Jesus Christ “is the only Head of His Kirk” (sections 11 and 18). Knox had returned just two years before his celebrated conversation with Queen Mary.

In the interview Mary accused Knox of having wrongly taught the people to receive another religion than their princes allow. “And how can that doctrine be of God, seeing that God commands subjects to obey their princes?” she asked. She was referring to Romans 13:1 and other texts.

Knox answered, “Madam, as right religion took neither [its] origin nor authority from worldly princes, but from the Eternal God alone, so are not subjects bound to frame their religion according to the appetites of their princes.”

He admonished Mary, “God commands queens to be nurses unto his people.”

“Yes, but you are not the church that I will nourish,” she retorted.

Knox replied, “Your will, Madam, is no reason.” In this way the issues of church and state and the proper role and function of the state were framed in Scotland in the sixteenth century. There was no relief in Scotland until Mary’s forced abdication in 1567.

Christians and the State

What is the role of the state in human affairs? How is the state to relate to the church of Jesus Christ? How are Christian people to relate to the government’s authority? It is these questions that Paul raises and answers in the first seven verses of Romans 13.

What a source of controversy they have been! J. C. O’Neill in Paul’s Letter to The Romans wrote, “These seven verses have caused more unhappiness and misery in the Christian East and West than any other seven verses in the New Testament.” That is probably not true. But they have certainly puzzled many and caused unhappiness among some scholars. Some of them, like the one I just quoted, have attempted to eliminate the verses from the letter, reasoning that they are un-Pauline and come rather from a Stoic source. Such persons think the verses have been interpolated, arguing that verse 8 would follow nicely after 12:21, and that there is nothing quite like this section anywhere else in Paul’s writing.

This is true, but that does not mean that Paul did not write it. Furthermore, it can be argued equally well that his discussion of the legitimate authority and proper function of the state is a natural follow-up to the immediately preceding section in which he presented the duty of the Christian to return good for evil, since to do that does not mean that a Christian always has to be victimized by evil persons. It is the state’s duty to restrain and punish evil.

Again, a discussion of the role of the state is natural in a letter to Christians living at the center of the Roman world. Jews were notoriously resistant to all outside authority. They had fomented numerous rebellions, and the greatest one of all, the rebellion that was to be crushed by the Roman general Titus in 70 a.d., was only a decade away from the time Paul wrote this letter. In the sixties Christians were shielded under a law originally promulgated by Julius Caesar, but turmoil was coming. Were the followers of Christ to align themselves with the coming revolution, or were they to be loyal citizens of the all-encompassing Roman empire? If so, what about the lordship of Jesus Christ? Was he King, or was he not? If they were not to be loyal citizens, what was their position regarding Rome to be?

The Starting Point: God is Sovereign

The starting point of Paul’s argument is found in the reason he gives for his categorical opening statement that “everyone,” not only Christians, “must submit himself to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1). Why? The answer is not that you will get into trouble if you don’t, or even that obedience is necessary for maintaining social order. Those are excellent pragmatic reasons that Paul understands and will bring into the discussion in due time, but they are not the reasons he gives at the beginning. What he says in verse 1 is that we must obey the authorities because “there is no authority except that which God has established” and “the authorities that exist have been established by God.”

In other words, the starting point for Paul’s argument is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, in this case in regard to human rulers. God is sovereign. Therefore, those who exercise authority do so because God has established them in their positions.

We have to take this sovereignty seriously, because it is easy for us to accept God’s being sovereign when we are given Christian rulers or when people of high moral character are elevated to positions of responsibility. But what about evil rulers? What about Nero, the corrupt emperor who was reigning in Rome at the very time Paul was writing this letter? What about rulers who persecuted the church? Or, for that matter, what about such evil leaders as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Idi Amin, or even elected officials like Richard Nixon, who betrayed our trust and disappointed us?

Romans 13:1 tells us that even these authorities have been established by God, and that we have a legitimate (though not unlimited) responsibility to obey even them.

We have already come across one example of an evil but nevertheless God-established ruler in Romans, though Paul was not specifically thinking about the role of the state when he brought him into his discussion. This example is Pharaoh, the oppressor of the Jews. He worked them as slaves and arrogantly resisted Moses’ demand that he let God’s people go. God judged this arrogance. Egypt was ruined by a series of ten plagues, culminating in the death of all the firstborn children of the country. In the end Pharaoh and his armies were destroyed by drowning in the Red Sea. But evil as this man was, he had nevertheless been put into his position by God, which Paul clearly says.

That is the teaching of Romans 9:17, where Paul quotes God as telling Pharaoh, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (quoting Exod. 9:16). God raised Pharaoh up so that he might display his wrath in judging him. It was not a desirable appointment, but still it was God who had raised him up simply because God is sovereign in all things.

A second example is Nebuchadnezzar, another arrogant ruler. He thought he was superior to Jehovah because he had been able to conquer Jerusalem, raze the temple, and carry off to Babylon the gold and silver objects that had been used by the Jewish priests in their worship. The first four chapters of Daniel are a record of the struggle that took place as Nebuchadnezzar contended for sovereignty and God worked to humble him and show him that God alone, not Nebuchadnezzar, is the Most High God and ruler of all.

Three times in Daniel 4 the text says that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (vv. 17, 25, 32): (1) Nebuchadnezzar heard these words in his dream; (2) Daniel recited them to him as the words of God; (3) Nebuchadnezzar heard them from heaven when God uttered his important, symbolic judgment of insanity upon the stiff-necked ruler. This is an important truth, and in the end Nebuchadnezzar seems to have gotten the message, for he confessed:

I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;

his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

All the peoples of the earth

are regarded as nothing.

He does as he pleases

with the powers of heaven

and the peoples of the earth.

No one can hold back his hand

or say to him: “What have you done?”…

Everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Daniel 4:34–35, 37

Another example is Cyrus the Persian, who is also mentioned in Daniel (1:21, 6:28, 10:1). He was an unusually humane ruler, whom God used to bring the Jews back to Jerusalem from Babylon. In Isaiah 45:1 this pagan king is even called the Lord’s “anointed,” which means messiah, the very title given to Jesus as the Messiah of God.

These rulers—Nero, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus—and all others have been set in their places by God, simply because God is sovereign and, as the Westminster Confession of Faith says, “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” (III, 1). There is no ruler anywhere or from any time in history who was not set in his exalted position by God.

Obeying the Sovereign

Of course, the problem for us is not so much that God has established whatever rulers there may be. We can believe that abstractly and either like and approve of our rulers, or not like them and disapprove of them, or perhaps even reject them. The problem is that we are told that it is the duty of Christians to obey those who exercise such authority, and that includes all authorities, not just kings and presidents but also policemen, judges, schoolteachers, bosses, and other such “governing authorities.” We do not want to do that.

Paul is writing about the civil government in Romans 13, but these other authorities come into the picture tangentially because they have governing roles and have been set in place by God.

There are many obvious problems at this point. First, Paul does not answer a lot of our questions. For example, when is a government a legitimate government, and when isn’t it? When is it right to rebel against an unjust or tyrannical government, or isn’t it permitted at all? What about our own American War of Independence? If we had been living then, what side should we have been on, with England or with the colonists? What are we to do when there are rival claimants to the throne? Which one should we obey? Again, at what point does an unjust ruler become legitimate?

Or what about limits? Paul says we are to obey the governing authorities. But does this mean that we are to obey everything they command? What about unjust acts commanded by an evil government? Killing civilians? Lying? Clandestine operations even for such an important branch of government as the CIA? Are there no limits to what must be obeyed?

We are going to explore the limits to the obedience Christians can give a civil government in the next study. But the point I am making here is that the matter of obedience to those in authority cannot be taken lightly, as we are so often inclined to do.

As far as Romans 13:1 is concerned, it would be difficult, probably impossible, for anyone to write a more all-encompassing, absolute, or utterly unqualified statement than the one Paul has given: “Everyone [literally, ‘every soul’] must submit himself to the governing authorities.”

This is written so strongly that Robert Haldane thinks that it requires an obedience to secular rulers that is almost absolute: “Everyone, without exception, is, by the command of God, to be subject to the existing powers, whatever were the means by which they became possessed of the situation in which they stand. … If God has appointed every government that exists in the world, his people are bound to submit to every government under which their lot has been cast.”

Power or Authority?

There are limits, of course, but the place to begin is not with the limits, but by trying to understand the nature of the authority that has been given to civil rulers. The key word is authority, which occurs six times in these verses.

Two Greek words are used of political power that are closely connected but need to be distinguished. The first is kratos, which refers to what we might call “the naked power of rule.” It can be legitimate or illegitimate, as in the case of the devil, who, we are told, has “the power of death” (Heb. 2:14) but who will lose it when Jesus returns. His power will be taken away, and he will be cast into the lake of fire. This word has proved useful in describing the various types of government. For example, we speak of democracy. Dêmos means people, crowd, or public assembly. Kratos means rule. So democracy means rule by the people (or by many people). A plutocracy is a system in which the rich (or aristocrats) rule, because ploutos means wealth.

So when we speak of power (kratos) we recognize that there can be both legitimate and illegitimate power. And, of course, Christians are under no obligation to obey a power that is illegitimate. Just because a man with a gun orders us to do something does not mean that we should do it necessarily. The man has power, but it is illegitimate. What we need is a legitimate power—a policeman—to subdue him.

The other word that is used of political as well as other kinds of power is exousia, which is the word Paul uses in Romans 13. Exousia is a delegated power, power that is given to a person or group of persons by another. Paul uses it in Romans 13 because he wants to make explicit that the authority of the governing powers is from God.

Nevertheless, they are responsible for how they exercise it. That is the important thing. They are responsible to God, precisely because God has given them the power. So here in one word is both the legitimacy and the necessary accountability of human government.

Jesus Before Pilate

An important example is Jesus Christ’s trial before Pontius Pilate. Jesus was tried for treason because, as his accusers put it, he “claim[ed] to be a king” (John 19:12). It did not take Pilate long to discover that the kind of kingdom Jesus was talking about was no direct threat to Rome, because it was a kingdom of truth. Jesus told him, “I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). After he had heard that, Pilate knew that this was a religious matter and was of no concern to him.

Yet the leaders of the people were still clamoring for Jesus’ death, and it became clear that Pilate was soon going to bow to their wishes. He wanted to help Jesus, but Jesus was not speaking to him. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” (John 19:10).

At this point Jesus replied with one of two classic texts for helping us understand the God-given role of civil government and the right relationship of the church to the state. He answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” (John 19:11).

The word that is translated power in this verse is the same word that Paul uses in Romans 13, and it is used in exactly the same way. The authority that was given to Pilate was a delegated authority, because it had been given to him by God. It was a true authority. Pilate had the right to try Jesus and render judgment as he thought right. But he was responsible to God for what he did and for how he did it. That is why Jesus was able to remind him, “Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” The sin of the Jewish leaders was greater than the sin of Pilate, because they were sinning against the Scriptures, which pointed to Jesus and were fulfilled by Jesus, and against their consciences, as even Pilate recognized (“It was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him,” Matt. 27:18). Nevertheless, Pilate was also sinning by condemning an innocent man, and he would have to answer to God for it.

Pilate had authority in Christ’s trial. He could decide as he wished. He decided wrongly, but he had authority to make that decision even if it was wrong. This is because his authority was from God, and Jesus did not suggest that it be wrested from him even because he had made so great an error as condemning the Son of God. If nothing else, the example of Jesus before Pilate shows us that for Christians revolution for the sake of revolution alone (“I would rather be king than you”) is wrong.

Indeed, instead of being revolutionaries, Christians are obligated to be the very best citizens possible. We should obey speed limits, pay our taxes honestly, vote in elections, and in all other respects respond with respect and compliance to those who are over us.

To Tell the Truth

Yet this does not mean that Christians are merely to be pliant, lying down in the face of evil and doing nothing to oppose it. Again, we have the example of Jesus. Jesus did not show disrespect to Pilate. He did not warn him that if he failed to rule justly, Jesus’ followers would rise up and do their best to unseat him and the Roman government. Jesus knew what the governor would do, and he accepted it as from God, which it surely was. But Jesus was not silent. He spoke of the truth, which he had been sent to make known, and he reminded Pilate that Pilate was sinning and would therefore one day himself have to answer for it.

That is our role. We speak often today of the separation of church and state, and we should be thankful for that separation. It is a dearly won liberty to have a church free from government interference or control and to have a state free from clerical domination. But the separation of church and state does not mean the separation of God and state. And though we do not rule the state, nor should we, it is nevertheless our duty as Christians to speak out against the civil ruler’s sins and remind the governing authorities that they are ultimately accountable to him from whom their authority comes.

So we are accountable too! We are accountable to speak up. We do not have the power of the sword. That is reserved for the civil authorities, as Paul will show in Romans 13:4. Our weapon is truth, for we are a kingdom of the truth. The truth is stronger than the sword. But woe to us if we do not wield the sword of truth powerfully.[2]


1. Let every soul, &c. Inasmuch as he so carefully handles this subject, in connection with what forms the Christian life, it appears that he was constrained to do so by some great necessity which existed especially in that age, though the preaching of the gospel at all times renders this necessary. There are indeed always some tumultuous spirits who believe that the kingdom of Christ cannot be sufficiently elevated, unless all earthly powers be abolished, and that they cannot enjoy the liberty given by him, except they shake off every yoke of human subjection. This error, however, possessed the minds of the Jews above all others; for it seemed to them disgraceful that the offspring of Abraham, whose kingdom flourished before the Redeemer’s coming, should now, after his appearance, continue in submission to another power. There was also another thing which alienated the Jews no less than the Gentiles from their rulers, because they all not only hated piety, but also persecuted religion with the most hostile feelings. Hence it seemed unreasonable to acknowledge them for legitimate princes and rulers, who were attempting to take away the kingdom from Christ, the only Lord of heaven and earth.

By these reasons, as it is probable, Paul was induced to establish, with greater care than usual, the authority of magistrates, and first he lays down a general precept, which briefly includes what he afterwards says: secondly, he subjoins an exposition and a proof of his precept.

He calls them the higher powers, not the supreme, who possess the chief authority, but such as excel other men. Magistrates are then thus called with regard to their subjects, and not as compared with each other. And it seems indeed to me, that the Apostle intended by this word to take away the frivolous curiosity of men, who are wont often to inquire by what right they who rule have obtained their authority; but it ought to be enough for us, that they do rule; for they have not ascended by their own power into this high station, but have been placed there by the Lord’s hand. And by mentioning every soul, he removes every exception, lest any one should claim an immunity from the common duty of obedience.

For there is no power, &c. The reason why we ought to be subject to magistrates is, because they are constituted by God’s ordination. For since it pleases God thus to govern the world, he who attempts to invert the order of God, and thus to resist God himself, despises his power; since to despise the providence of him who is the founder of civil power, is to carry on war with him. Understand further, that powers are from God, not as pestilence, and famine, and wars, and other visitations for sin, are said to be from him; but because he has appointed them for the legitimate and just government of the world. For though tyrannies and unjust exercise of power, as they are full of disorder, (ἀταξίας,) are not an ordained government; yet the right of government is ordained by God for the wellbeing of mankind. As it is lawful to repel wars and to seek remedies for other evils, hence the Apostle commands us willingly and cheerfully to respect and honour the right and authority of magistrates, as useful to men: for the punishment which God inflicts on men for their sins, we cannot properly call ordinations, but they are the means which he designedly appoints for the preservation of legitimate order.[3]


1 The teaching that follows is addressed to “everyone” (pasa psychē), i.e., every believer rather than everyone in general, even though government is necessary for society as a whole. Paul could admonish only Christians. What he requires is “submission,” a term that calls for placing oneself under someone else. Here and in v. 5 he seems to avoid using the stronger word “obey” (hypotassō, GK 5718), and the reason is that believers may find it impossible to comply with every demand of the government. A circumstance may arise in which they must choose between obeying God and obeying human authority (Ac 5:29). But even then they must be submissive to the extent that if their Christian convictions do not permit compliance, they will accept the consequences of their refusal.

Those to whom submission must be rendered are called “the governing authorities.” Two different words are used for “authority” in this passage. In v. 1, the word exousiai (GK 2026) is not a specific or technical term; it simply means those who are over others. With respect to the second word, archōn (GK 807; v. 3), we find Josephus using it, as Paul does, with reference to Roman rulers, but specifically to those who ruled in the name of Rome over the Jews in Palestine (J.W. 2.350).

Paul makes a sweeping statement when he says, “There is no authority except that which God has established.” It is true even of Satan that what authority he exercises has been given to him (cf. Lk 4:6). God has ordained this tension between authority and submission: “God has so arranged the world from the beginning—at the creation, by all means, if you like—as to make it possible to render him service within it, and this is why he created superiors and subordinates” (E. Käsemann, “Principles of the Interpretation of Romans 13,” in New Testament Questions of Today [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1961], 208).

It is probably significant that the name of Christ does not appear anywhere in the passage. The thought does not move in the sphere of redemption or the life of the church as such, but in the relationship to the state that God in his wisdom has set up. While Christians have their citizenship in heaven (Php 3:20), they are not on that account excused from responsibility to acknowledge the state as possessing authority from God to govern them. They hold a dual citizenship.[4]


13:1. When it came to presenting oneself as a living sacrifice to God, Paul “urged” the Christians to do so (Rom. 12:1). But when it came to submitting oneself to the governing authorities of the land, urging was replaced by commanding: Everyone must submit himself (hupotasso; present passive imperative) to the governing authorities. Why the imperative, the command? Because, in principle (though not always in specifics), to submit to the civil authority is to submit to God. The statement in this command which unlocks its meaning, and which gives Christians ground to accept it and apply it, is this: There is no authority except that which God has established. This is a statement of the overarching sovereignty and rule of God in the affairs of this world. If God has appointed every civil ruler, every governing authority, then why should any Christian fear submitting to that which God has appointed?

Daniel said that God “sets up kings and deposes them” when he praised God in prayer for revealing to him the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:21). When Daniel conveyed the dream and its meaning to the king, he said plainly, “The God of heaven has given you [Nebuchadnezzar] dominion and power and might and glory … he has made you ruler” (Dan. 2:37–38). Daniel continued illustrating Paul’s point: “After you [Nebuchadnezzar], another kingdom will rise.… Next, a third kingdom … will rule.… Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom” (Dan. 2:39–40). Then, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44).

Daniel’s point is conclusive: from Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom to God’s final kingdom, God is in control, setting up and taking down kings to accomplish his perfect will. Later, Nebuchadnezzar recounted another dream he had in which he was told by “holy ones” (angels) that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men” (Dan. 4:17). Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar was to become a living illustration of his own dream as he was driven from his throne for seven years (Dan. 4:24–27).

What Paul wanted the believers in Rome to understand was that, in the Roman Empire (or any other), “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another” (Ps. 75:6–7). And even after he is in office, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Prov. 21:1). Therefore, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero (those Roman emperors spanning the lifetime of the Roman church up until Paul’s writing) had ascended to power with God’s permission—actually, by his direction (have been established by God)—as have the rulers of today.

As an aside, it should be noted in the name of thoroughness that Paul does not contradict himself between what he says here and in 1 Corinthians 6:1–8. In the latter passage, where Paul commands believers not to air their dirty laundry in front of civil magistrates, he is not encouraging them to bypass the duly constituted legal process for redress of grievance. Rather, he is asking the Corinthian believers, “Why do you have any grievance at all?” This is not a matter of being unwilling to obey the governing authorities. It is a matter of the shameful condition the church was in when they could not find among themselves enough wisdom to settle differences without having to ask for the help of unspiritual, civil judges.

To admit that, with God’s help, in the body of Christ we cannot solve our differences, is to admit defeat. It would be better to suffer the wrong than to admit to the world the inability to solve the dispute (1 Cor. 6:7–8). A private defeat with a believer’s name shamed is better than a public defeat with God’s name shamed.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 218–220). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The New Humanity (Vol. 4, pp. 1638–1646). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (pp. 477–479). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 195). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 392–393). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

 

January 11, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Trump, facing the prospect of the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, is considering declaring a national emergency that would escalate a policy dispute with Democrats over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall into a court test of presidential power.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he is planning changes to H-1B visas, which are issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants so they can work in specialty occupations, that would create simplicity, certainty and a possibility that the workers could become U.S. citizens.

Republicans in and around Forth Worth, Texas, rejected a controversial call to oust a vice chairman of the county party because he is a Muslim.

California’s Death Valley National Park, famed for its record-breaking heat, is keeping its visitor center and some restrooms open during the partial U.S. government shutdown with donations from a non-profit group and two hotels, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

A Myanmar court on Friday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act, saying the defense had not provided sufficient evidence to show they were innocent.

Greek police on Friday fired teargas to disperse hundreds of teachers protesting against government plans to change hiring procedures in the public sector.

Portugal’s parliament unanimously changed the law on Friday to expand the definition of rape to cover all sex without consent, joining just seven EU countries with such a wide definition.

U.S. consumer prices fell for the first time in nine months in December amid a plunge in gasoline prices, but inflation pressures remained firm as rental housing and healthcare costs rose steadily.

AP Top Stories

Friday is payday for many Americans, but not for hundreds of thousands of federal workers affected by the government shutdown. They’re missing their first paychecks as Congress and President Donald Trump continue feuding over whether to build a border wall. Today is day 21 of the partial government shutdown, which this weekend could become the longest in U.S. history.

After days of conflicting statements about a timeline for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out American troops from Syria, a U.S. military official said Friday that the withdrawal process has begun, declining to comment on specific timetables or movements.

Ford said early Thursday it will cut hourly and salaried jobs in Europe as part of a “comprehensive transformation strategy to strengthen its brand and create a sustainably profitable business in Europe.” Ford employs 50,000 people across Europe. Cuts will be a “significant number of positions.”

Donald Trump has said “100 per cent” he will declare a national emergency to build his Mexico border wall if he fails to reach a deal with the Democrats to end the government shutdown.

The United States plans to jointly host a global summit focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, next month in Poland, the U.S. State Department said on Friday. The gathering will take place in Warsaw from Feb. 13 to Feb. 14.

The United Nations expressed “grave concern” about an upsurge of violence in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, which has been ravaged by Islamist group Boko Haram’s insurgency.

Fewer than a third of U.S. Catholics rate the honesty and ethical standards of clergy as “very high” or “high,” the latest evidence of the hierarchy’s diminished credibility as a result of the clergy sex abuse scandal, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

Aid groups voiced optimism Thursday that the United States would ease restrictions on operations inside North Korea amid warming relations between Washington and the impoverished country.

France on Friday called on Iran to immediately stop all activities linked to ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons after Tehran said it could put two satellites into orbit in the coming weeks.

A total of 800,000 workers are either furloughed or working without pay as President Trump and Democrats continue a heated conflict over funding for a border wall. In all, these federal workers owe an estimated $438 million in rent and mortgage payments.

Apple plans to launch three new iPhone models this year, including one with an LCD screen, to succeed its struggling XR mode.

BBC

A Chinese rover and lander have taken images of each other on the Moon’s surface. The Chinese space agency says the spacecraft are in good working order after touching down on the lunar far side on 3 January. Also released are new panoramic images of the landing site, along with video of the vehicles touching down.

Jakiw Palij, a former Nazi collaborator, who served as a labor-camp guard in World War Two has died in Germany aged 95, local media report. He was thought to be the last Nazi collaborator living in the US, was deported to Germany last year after a lengthy legal battle.

WND

Once Steven Andrew saw Facebook block millions of people from getting his posts, he deciding to use his Silicon Valley leadership skills to start a new social network that allows people to speak freely about life, liberty and happiness. This new site is called USA.Life and is pro-American. USA.Life is the answer to Facebook and Twitter censorship of Christians, conservatives and liberty.

On Thursday, the Daily Mail reported that a man who has been a suspect in the murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey in 1996 reportedly admitted he killed her. The crime has been unsolved for 22 years.

The former chief executive of Insys Therapeutics pleaded guilty on Wednesday to participating in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid medication and has agreed to become a government witness.


Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” —Thomas Paine (1776)

Leftmedia Buzzword of the Week: ‘Manufactured Crisis’

Barack Obama’s Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan, says the crisis is “not manufactured.”

‘National Emergency’ Threat Puts Pressure on Dems

The president continues to float invoking his national-emergency powers to fund the border wall.

The Ecofascist ‘Green New Deal’

Like FDR’s New Deal, the plan expands government power while forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

China Confab With NoKo’s Kim Is Tariff Gamesmanship

Beijing summoned its puppet to talks because Trump’s trade moves are hurting.

Statism Isn’t Working in South Korea, Either

Higher taxes and minimum wage in the name of economic growth aren’t working there either.

Faking Happiness at Facebook

Former employees say company maintains a “cult-like” culture that discourages dissenting opinions.

Video: Acosta’s Own Goal — He Proves Walls Work

He posted a video showing viewers how an already-walled section of the border is “crisis-free.”

Video: How Wokescolds Are Ruining Everything

The Daily Wire gang discuss how Hollywood is hurting itself by embracing political correctness.

Friday Short Cuts

Friendly fire: “For too long in our country, politicians have weaponized religion for their own selfish gain.” —Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Friday Top Headlines

Payday without pay, CNN shoots itself in foot, gun-ban bill, Cohen to testify, Ocasio-Cortez hypocrisy, and more.

Today’s Opinion

David Limbaugh
Hold Tight on the Wall, President Trump
David Harsanyi
It’s About Time the United States Embraced My Immigration Plan
Rich Lowry
No, Don’t Declare an Emergency
Jonah Goldberg
Bigoted King Out of Step With American Ideals
Erick Erickson
Social Media Is People

Today’s Meme


Today’s Cartoon


News – 1/11/2019

American withdrawal from Syria begins
American forces deployed in Syria have begun withdrawing from the war-torn country, an American military spokesman said Friday.  While no formal time-table for the pullout has been released, President Trump reportedly agreed to spread the pullout over four months.

The scientific experts who hate science
This week, the American Psychological Association proved once again that it is a political body rather than a scientific one. This isn’t the first time a major mental health organization has favored politics over science – in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association famously reclassified “gender identity disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, calling it “gender dysphoria” and then explaining that living with the delusion that you are a member of the opposite sex is not actually a mental disorder at all. That ruling was based on zero scientific evidence – much like the original DSM-5 classification of pedophilia as a “sexual orientation” before it was renamed “pedophilic disorder” under public pressure.

Plague of Locusts Attacks Islam’s Holiest Mosque in Mecca
Saudi Arabia, in particular the location of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca, has recently been inundated by swarms of locusts, crickets and cockroaches. Social media users have posted images and uploaded several videos of swarms of locust infesting the Great Mosque of Mecca, the holiest in all of Islam. It is the focus of the hajj, the pilgrimage, which draws millions of Muslims a year to Saudi Arabia.

The Problem With AI: Machines Are Learning Things, But Can’t Understand Them
Computers Can’t “Think” The “artificial intelligence” of sci-fi dreams is a computerized or robotic sort of brain that thinks about things and understands them as humans do. Such artificial intelligence would be an artificial general intelligence (AGI), which means it can think about multiple different things and apply that intelligence to multiple different domains. A related concept is “strong AI,” which would be a machine capable of experiencing human-like consciousness. We don’t have that sort of AI yet. We aren’t anywhere close to it.

Visits to Israel by Iraqi Officials Stir Controversy
Visits by Iraqi officials to Israel announced by the Jewish state stirred controversy Monday in Iraq, where the deputy parliamentary speaker demanded a probe to identify those who crossed a ‘red line’. Israel’s foreign ministry said on Twitter on Sunday that three Iraqi delegations visited Israel in 2018, and details were also later released by media. Baghdad does not recognize Israel, and is technically in a state of war with it.

Prayers For Rain Answered: Sea of Galilee Rises 7 Inches in 48 Hours
Prayers for rain seemed to have been answered this week as the heavens over Israel opened up this week bringing much needed rain to the drought-stricken region. Beginning on Tuesday and continuing steadily for two days, the heavy rains were accompanied by falling temperatures. Most of the rain fell in the north, revitalizing the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) the main source of Israel’s drinking water. The level of the Kinneret on Wednesday was recorded at 214.24 meters, up 22cm (8.66 inches) in the past week.

White House Prepares For Ginsburg Supreme Court Vacancy: Report
The White House has been reaching out to political allies and conservative activist groups to discuss preparations for an ailing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the bench, according to Politico.

Sanhedrin’s Noahide Court: Messiah Revealed When Nations Keep the Sabbath
“We are to teach the nations about Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) and if we do not, the opposite will happen. We will learn idolatry from them, God forbid,” Rabbi Schwartz told Breaking Israel News. “Every Jew knows that the basis of the Torah is the Sabbath. Someone who does not keep the Sabbath, it is as if they are worshiping idols.”Rabbi Schwartz explained that many of the problems facing the world today are due to not recognizing the Sabbath.

U.S.-led coalition begins withdrawal from Syria
The US-led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, its spokesman said on Friday, affirming the start of a pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from US officials. President Donald Trump announced last month the decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops who have deployed to Syria in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia in the fight against Islamic State.

Palestinians in West Bank on verge of revolt against social security law
For nearly 100 hundred days Palestinians have been staging protests against a widely-detested social security law, raising the pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ government. The law, passed by decree, established the Social Security Corporation, an entity that administers retirement benefits on behalf of Palestinian West Bank residents.

PLO calls for UN to restore ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution
The United Nations must restore the defunct resolution declaring that “Zionism is racism,” the Palestinian Authority said on Thursday, in response to Israel’s opening of an “apartheid road” in the West Bank outside of Jerusalem. “To all those who are defending the state of occupation, it’s time to drop the claim that its the only democracy in the Middle East now that it has opened the apartheid road, which separates Israeli and Palestinian drivers,”…

Snow brings parts of Europe to standstill
Heavy snowfalls brought chaos to parts of Germany and Sweden on Friday, leaving roads blocked, trains halted and schools shut. The Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the southern German state of Bavaria as schools and rail services were also hit. A nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree on Thursday. Northern Sweden was hit by a storm that made roads impassable.

Cancer pioneer Martin Gore’s sudden death from routine jab
A pioneering cancer expert described by the Duke of Cambridge as an “inspiration” died suddenly yesterday after a routine inoculation for yellow fever. Martin Gore, 67, suffered total organ failure soon after having the jab, which is recommended for travellers to parts of Africa, the Caribbean and South and Central America. His death highlights the increased risks associated with the vaccine for the growing number of older travellers…

Earth’s magnetic pole is on the move, fast. And we don’t know why
Planet Earth is alive. Deep beneath its skin, its life blood — rivers of molten iron — pulse around its core. And this mobile iron is what generates the magnetic field that causes auroras — and keeps us alive. But, according to the science journal Nature, something strange is going on deep down below. It’s causing the magnetic North Pole to ‘skitter’ away from Canada, towards Siberia.

Exclusive: Leading Brexit donors say Britain will reverse decision to leave EU
Two of the biggest donors to the Brexit campaign say they now believe the project they championed will eventually be abandoned by the government and the United Kingdom will stay in the European Union. Peter Hargreaves, the billionaire who was the second biggest donor to the 2016 leave campaign, and veteran hedge fund manager Crispin Odey told Reuters they expect Britain to stay in the EU despite their campaign victory in the 2016 referendum.

Memo to Trump: Declare an emergency
In the long run, history will validate Donald Trump’s stand on a border wall to defend the sovereignty and security of the United States. Why? Because mass migration from the global South, not climate change, is the real existential crisis of the West.

DC Comics Set To Release New Superhero Comic Book ‘Second Coming’ Starring A Bungling, Incompetent Jesus Who Gets Kicked Out Of Heaven
On that day 2,000 years ago when Jesus of Nazareth was busy paying for the sins of the people who would write this mocking piece of trash in 2018, He was also being mocked, humiliated and spat on. They taunted Him, as  you see written below, if He reallywas the Saviour, to jump off the cross and save Himself.

Communist Paradise? Cuba Allegedly Censoring Text Messages Critical Of New Constitution
Cuba’s government is being accused of censoring text messages in an attempt to suppress opposition to its new proposed constitution.

Popular Megachurch Pastor Says 10 Commandments No Longer Apply To Christians. He’s Wrong.
Popular megachurch pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Ministries (NPM) says Christians need to stop erecting monuments to the Ten Commandments because they apparently no longer apply to Christians, which is completely false.

SOYLENT GREEN: Big Pharma Giant GlaxoSmithKline Spends $300 Million For Access To DNA Database Of Genealogy Tracking Company 23AndMe
In case it hasn’t dawned on you yet, you are a commodity just like hand cream, dish soap and laundry detergent. In the 21st century, we are all in the process of becoming one of the batteries that provides the fuel for The Matrix that we live in.

Brazil’s New President Eliminates LGBT Office on First Day in Office
On Jan. 1, the day he was sworn in as Brazil’s new president, conservative Jair Bolsonaro signed an executive order removing LGBT concerns from the government’s human rights ministry, apparently affirming his traditional Christian, pro-family views and his rejection of “gender-based ideology.”

Revealed: Number Registered to Vote in Los Angeles County Far Exceeds Population of US Citizens
A leftover from earlier in the week that I wanted to make sure didn’t get buried amid fast-moving news cycles: The state of California is being forced to purge up to one-and-a-half million voters from its statewide rolls, following a legal settlement that arose from a Judicial Watch lawsuit.

U.S. fertility rate too low to replace population: Report
The U.S. fertility rate currently is too low to replace the nation’s population over time, according to federal statistics published Thursday.

Jade Helm 16’s Dress Rehearsal for the Coming Civil War II
To many of us in the Independent Media, we clearly understood that both Jade Helm 15 and Jade Helm 16 were anti-American, globalist-inspired, American take-down activities. We knew that the anti-American, Deep-State-inspired destruction of America, under the traitor, Obama, was behind both Jade Helm exercises.

Norovirus outbreak sickens 277 on Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is returning to a Florida port a day early and giving passengers full refunds of their fare after 277 guests and crew members were hit with an outbreak of Norovirus as it sailed to Jamaica.

To the BBC, history is something to be twisted by the tyranny of Now
For a while, as a 13-year-old, I was obsessed with rabbits — the consequence of having read Watership Down by Richard Adams. I tried to share my enthusiasm for the book with my parents, but my father told me that he thought the scenario depicted by Adams was ‘improbable’.

Oprah Made Brazilian ‘Miracle Healer’ Named ‘John Of God’ A Celebrity, Now He Prepares To Go To Trial Over Rape And Sexual Assault Allegations
His given name is João Teixeira de Faria, and he is a phony faith healer from Brazil who goes by his stage name, John of God. He laboured in local obscurity for many years until being discovered by Oprah back in 2010, and became a celebrity after being featured on her ‘Next Chapter’ show.

Will backing anti-BDS bills be a liability for 2020 Democratic hopefuls?
There are at least seven Senate Democrats eyeing a presidential run. Only two support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, and just one is willing to cosponsor it.

Iran: Hezbollah, Palestinian Terror Groups Armed to ‘Annihilate’ Israel
Senior Iranian officials are warning that terror groups sponsored by the Islamic Republic have been so thoroughly armed that they can “annihilate” Israel in any future conflict.

As Irish abortions begin, gov’t makes plans to censor pro-life dissent
The euphoria of the “Yes” campaign on winning the Irish abortion referendum last May is turning decidedly sour.

RETURN OF THE PLAGUES: Watch a swarm of black crickets invade the grand mosque in Mecca
Viewers spread the images and videos with the hashtag #crickets (in Arabic) on Twitter, expressing disgust at the sight of crickets clinging to pilgrims’ outfits and covering the walls and floors of mosque, and they demand an explanation as to where the invasive insects came from.

The IDF promotes its highest ranking Christian soldier
In February, the IDF will promote a Christian soldier to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, making him the first soldier of his faith to achieve that rank. This comes as the result of a six-year process intended to help the indigenous Christian community integrate into mainstream Israeli society.

France keeps blackening Israel, in sickening display of anti-semitism
Relations between France and Israel have been ambivalent and complex for decades, and there have been ample occasions when the French government has set out expressly to blacken Israel. President Emmanuel Macron is seemingly a new type of Frenchman.

Starbucks Installs Needle-Disposable Boxes After Baristas Poked by Syringes, Find Drug Baggies and Blood All Over the Walls in Bathrooms
You’re gonna love the new Starbucks! Starbucks is being forced to make a minor tweak several months after it implemented its socials justice warrior “Third Place Policy” which means employees should consider anyone who enters the establishment a customer regardless whether they make a purchase.

The Men Who Would Defend Trump From a Coup-The “Travelers”
For nearly four years, well over 120 bankers were assassinated. As this article will demonstrate, they were assassinated by a confederation ex-special operations forces and military contractors as well as paramilitary forces employed by the US military in combat zones.

Christian Zionist lobby makes its case to Washington’s liberal Jews
Christians United for Israel is no stranger in this city: It has become a key player in recent years in Congress’ passing of pro-Israel legislation, often of the kind favored by the more hawkish elements of the pro-Israel community.

After Using Contemporary Christian Music Fans To Become Famous, Lauren Daigle Rebrands Herself As A Secular Recording Artist
Funny thing about most Christian recording artists. At the start of their career, when they desperately need fans, it seems they can’t help but talk about God and Jesus. Some even lead large group prayer at their concerts. Then they get famous, and Hollywood comes calling, and they run away from Christianity faster than Joseph did from Potiphar’s wife.


Headlines – 1/11/2019

Hamas say Egypt to fully reopen Gaza border despite PA pullout

Hamas renews funding for incendiary kite units ahead of expected escalation

In first, Israel opens road with wall dividing Israeli and Palestinian traffic

US: Muslim group sues to block ‘No Boycott of Israel’ bill

Hamas chief’s visit to Moscow postponed, senior official in terror group says

IDF chief: Hezbollah had grandiose attack plan to ‘shake Israel’

New IDF battalion to act as first line of defense against Hezbollah invasion

Two-thirds of Israelis say US exit from Syria will harm national security

Pompeo takes anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states

Pompeo promises ‘Every last Iranian boot’ will be expelled from Syria

Report: US to leave troops in southern Syria as bulwark against Iran

US military moving equipment out of Syria as pullout begins

Russia says U.S. wants to stay in Syria despite announced exit

Pompeo meets Egypt’s Sisi amid concern over US Middle East policy

Israel confirms F-16 sale to Croatia nixed over Washington’s objections

Pompeo repudiates Obama Mideast policies, ‘willful blindness to danger of Iran’

Iran’s Zarif on Pompeo: U.S. brings chaos where it interferes

Top Iranian general vows to ‘annihilate’ Israel

Rouhani says Iran will send satellites into orbit soon

First-ever church in modern Turkey to be built starting February

An Improvised Explosive Device: How operatives used the Khashoggi murder and the American press for political ends

Instead of shunning Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi killing, investors flock to $7.5 billion bond sale

UN envoy to Yemen ‘alarmed’ by escalation of violence

Yemen government denounces Iran’s disobeying of UN resolutions

West ‘risks helping political hijack of Libya’s peace talks’

Anti-Semitism among ‘yellow vest’ protesters demoralizes France’s Jews

Yellow vests knock out 60% of all speed cameras in France

Widespread gas shortages in Mexico

Obama Border Patrol Chief Begs Donald Trump to ‘Stay the Course’ on Border Wall

Test of steel prototype for border wall showed it could be sawed through

CNN’s Jim Acosta mocked for accidentally proving that border walls work

Trump says China is ‘more honorable than Chuck and Nancy’

As U.S. shutdown nears record length, Trump weighs declaring emergency

Trump says he has ‘absolute right to declare a national emergency’

Trump administration eyes disaster money to fund border wall

As Trump visits border, Texas landowners prepare wall fight

Trump highlights human trafficking as he calls for ‘strong barrier’ during visit to US-Mexico border

The ‘doomsday’ scenario: Here’s what happens if the shutdown drags on

Fed Chairman Powell says he is ‘very worried’ about growing amount of US debt

AT&T says it’ll stop selling location data amid calls for federal investigation

Twitter Users in China Face Detention and Threats in New Beijing Crackdown

Something very strange is happening to Earth’s magnetic North Pole and no one knows why

Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits South of Tonga

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Palaikastron, Greece

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 50,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 16,000ft

Camp Fire tops 2018 list of costliest disasters in the world

California’s Gov. Newsom hits Trump over threat to pull FEMA money after fires, accuses president of playing ‘games with lives’

Effects of global warming on our oceans equivalent to A-bomb explosion every second for 150 years

Toxic red tide continues to impact Florida beaches

Beware of Mengla: New virus similar to Ebola found in bats in China

Biggest jump in drug overdoses was among middle-aged women

New York Gov. Cuomo: No budget unless abortion made legal for any reason until birth

Microsoft Bing not only shows child pornography, it suggests it

Openly gay rapper murdered in Puerto Rico amid wave of violence

California church draws backlash for sign: ‘Bruce Jenner is still a man’

DC Comics to release controversial ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Beth Moore’s Anti-Bible Tweet-Storm

Evangelist Rick Stanley, stepbrother to Elvis, dies at 65

Mecca’s Grand Mosque plagued by swarm of locusts


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RenewAmerica Newsletter for January 11, 2019

January 11, 2019
BRYAN FISCHER — Here is the message that greeted me on Monday morning as I opened my computer and began researching yesterday’s program: We’ve temporarily limited some of your account features… (more)

January 11, 2019
NEWSMAX — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday that President Donald Trump should declare a national emergency and bypass Congress to fund a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier – even if the government were to be reopened – virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier,” Graham said in a statement…. (more)


January 10, 2019
Even if it stops only 3% to 4% of expected illegal crossers
WORLDNETDAILY — A study shows that President Trump’s southern border security wall would save American taxpayers far more than it would cost. The analysis comes from Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, who pointed out that the key issues are the cost of each illegal immigrant compared to the cost of a wall…. (more)

January 10, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Senators passed a bill Thursday to ensure all federal employees, whether they are still working or were furloughed, will be paid in full when the partial government shutdown ends. The shutdown will cross the three-week mark on Friday, which is also the same day that they will miss their first paychecks…. (more)

January 10, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump Wednesday assured federal workers sidelined by the partial government shutdown that they’ll get paid retroactively. “They’re all going to get the money and I think they’re going to be happy,” he told reporters at the White House on the 19th day of the shutdown…. (more)

January 10, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Congressional Democratic leaders have embraced the goal of increased border security in their fight with President Trump, proposing measures to harden the U.S. ports of entry – – but omitting the barrier they supported five years ago. Those designated border crossings account for roughly 2.5 percent of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border…. (more)


January 10, 2019
Ex-Obama official bought ads on fake pages during midterms
WORLDNETDAILY — Led by a former Obama official, Democratic operatives bought ads on misleading Facebook pages to suppress Republican voter turnout in the recent midterm elections, reported the Daily Caller News Foundation…. (more)

January 9, 2019
Disappointingly ‘somber and stern’ in televised response to Trump
NEWSMAX — Democratic leadership appears to “struggle…to relate to Americans,” strategist Andrew Feldman said Wednesday. In a panel discussion Wednesday on The Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, a day after President Donald Trump’s Oval Office speech on border security, Feldman said he was disappointed in the somber and stern televised response from Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif…. (more)


January 9, 2019
BIZ PAC REVIEW — Liberal pundit Geraldo Rivera and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino got into a volcanic shouting match while debating illegal immigration and the border wall on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Hannity slammed Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for their cavalier approach to border-wall discussions, which led to the government shutdown…. (more)

January 9, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Illegal immigration across the Southwest border ticked down in December, though the number of migrant families shattered records with nearly 32,000 caught trying to jump the border, officials said Wednesday. The numbers were fueled by migrant caravans and other changes to the way migrants travel the route from Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border…. (more)

January 9, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the city will provide illegal immigrants with a way to obtain affordable health care as part of a broader program to cover city residents traditionally shut out of insurance options. The liberal mayor said it is unacceptable that 600,000 city residents still lack options. They include immigrants who cannot access federal benefits but rack up costs anyway when they show up at emergency rooms…. (more)

January 9, 2019
NEWSMAX — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Department of Justice in the coming weeks, according to reports. ABC News attributed the information to unnamed “multiple sources” in a report posted Wednesday. It also said that Rosenstein has notified President Donald Trump of his intentions…. (more)


January 9, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen has affirmed the organization’s commitment to providing abortions after she claimed the news media misconstrued her earlier statements about expanding non-abortion services. Ms. Wen clarified Tuesday that Planned Parenthood’s “core mission” is to provide, protect and expand access to abortion. “We will never back down from that fight – – it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake,” she tweeted…. (more)

January 9, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Roger Simon, a New York Times best-selling author and former chief political columnist at Politico, floated a hypothetical this week asking if fans of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be willing to give up days of their lives in order to extend hers…. (more)


January 9, 2019
NEW YORK TIMES — The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the novelist MacKenzie Bezos announced on Twitter Wednesday that they are getting divorced after 25 years of marriage. In a statement posted on Mr. Bezos’s Twitter account, the couple said they had been separated for a long period of time, but planned to remain involved as “parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects.”… (more)


January 8, 2019
ALAN KEYES — President Trump continues to refine the substance behind the “Wall” meme he has used so effectively to dramatize the urgent need to regain control of our nation’s southern border. In an article I wrote in January of last year, I observed and supported his efforts to do so:… (more)

January 7, 2019
PETER LEMISKA — “Monolithic” is one word often used to describe the Democrat Party. Whether it’s universal health care, abortion, or opposition to President Trump, Democrats invariably stand united. But even loyal party members must find it hard to toe the party line on immigration, when the party line continuously changes…. (more)

January 7, 2019
TIMOTHY BUCHANAN — Time was, that Democrats would wait for their promises to be forgotten before allowing them to be exposed as lies. But this is new era of overt fraudulence and unrestrained hostility, and liberals are desperate to reclaim power. Incoming House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave a speech this week in which she promised transparency and bipartisanship after accepting the speaker’s gavel from Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Let us recall that “transparency” was the well-worn and swiftly broken promise made by former presidents Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Hussein Obama in 2008…. (more)

January 7, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump on Sunday pledged not to bend in his demand for a wall along the southern border with Mexico but said the barrier could be made of steel instead of concrete as a potential compromise with Democrats who refuse to fund the project…. (more)

January 7, 2019
REUTERS — U.S. President Donald Trump said he would address the nation on immigration and the southern border on Tuesday at 9 p.m./0200 GMT. Trump announced his prime time address on Twitter on Monday, the 16th day of a partial government shutdown triggered by his demand that Congress fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border…. (more)


January 7, 2019
WASHINGTON TIMES — Sen. Lindsey Graham said that after speaking with President Trump this weekend, it’s clear Mr. Trump is holding firm in his demands for border wall money as part of a deal to end a partial government shutdown. “It was pretty clear to me that we’re never going to have a deal unless we get a wall as part of it,” Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”… (more)

January 7, 2019
JOSEPH FARAH — 1. “Trump has not risen to the mantle of the office.” This cheap shot from Mitt Romney actually came in 2019, but I suspect it was a brazen untruth scripted in 2018. Furthermore, I couldn’t wait another year for the 2019 list. Romney is clearly gunning for another shot at the big show. This will not help him in the least. All it does is show us there’s one more Republican vote in the Senate right-thinking Americans cannot count on…. (more)

January 7, 2019
PJ MEDIA — The Vatican News website recently paid tribute to Cuba on the 60th anniversary of the Communist revolution in a post that was quickly deleted, according to reports. The Communist island nation marked the occasion with celebrations on News Year’s Day, while several leftist Latin American leaders tweeted their best wishes…. (more)

January 6, 2019
DAILY CALLER — President Trump has often criticized former President Barack Obama for having a “10-foot wall” around his house in Washington, D.C. Trump tweeted recently “President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security.”… (more)

January 6, 2019
STARS & STRIPES — Army veteran and Florida Rep. Brian Mast tweeted a photo Thursday marking the swearing-in ceremony of fellow wounded veterans and Republican congressmen Jim Baird and Dan Crenshaw. “5 eyes. 5 arms. 4 legs. All American,” Mast captioned the image in a post on Twitter. “Welcome to Congress, @ElectJimBaird and @DanCrenshawTX.”… (more)

 

Doctor Warns 85-Year-Old Ruth Bader Ginsburg Likely Very Ill — The Gateway Pundit

In light of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s history of cancers and most recently, a surgery to have cancerous tumors removed from her lungs as well as her absence from the bench, Dr. Joseph Bentivegna writes Bader, 85, is quite ill.

Dr. Bentivegna, M.D. says the media who have commented on Ginsburg’s  health are “underestimating the severity of her illness,” and that “President Trump has a reasonable chance” of replacing Ginsburg in his first term.

If Trump wins reelection, the doctor believes Trump has at least an 80% chance of replacing Ginsburg — we believe that chance is much much higher.

The doctor laid out Ginsburg’s history of illness in his blog post, but points out the most significant thing is the justice’s recent surgery on her lungs to remove tumors.

1. She had non-metastatic colon cancer removed in 1999
2. She had non-metastatic pancreatic cancer removed in 2010.
3. She had a stent placed in her coronary arteries in 2014
4. She fell in November of 2018 and broke three ribs.
5. She had surgery in December of 2018 and had two malignant nodules removed from her lungs.
6. Scans found no other cancer in her body.
7. She is 85 years old and has no history of being a smoker.

According to Dr. Bentivegna, the key here is what type of cancer Ginsburg had on her lungs. It has already been determined that the tumors removed were malignant, however, there is one more layer to this.

The doctor points out that we still don’t know what type of cancer Ginsburg has:

Pathologists can usually determine quickly whether a nodule is benign or malignant, but in order to determine the actually type of cancer (that is the tissue source of the cancer), special preparation is required before microscopic examination. This can take several days or weeks to complete. At the time of this writing, we have no published reports stating the results of these tests – or even if they were ever done.

Dr. Bentivegna says that since the modules were malignant, the odds are very high that this is stage IV or metastatic cancer (meaning it can spread to other organs).

In the most optimistic scenario, the tumors removed were “primary lung tumors” meaning her prognosis could be “excellent” writes the doctor.

However, there another more optimistic possibility: that the tumors removed are primary lung tumors. This is obviously what her doctors hoped for, or else they would not have subjected this frail-appearing 85-year-old woman to this brutal surgery. But it is unusual for there to be two primary tumors in the lungs at once – especially in a non-smoker. But if these are primary tumors and they have been completely excised, her prognosis could be excellent, up to a 92% 5-year survival.

However, if the prognosis were excellent, there would have been published pathology reports stating that Ginsburg had a primary type of cancer.

But if this were the case, there should have been published reports stating that the pathology reports showed this to be a type of primary lung cancer. At the time of this writing, this has not occurred. Furthermore Justice Ginsburg appears to be so incapacitated that she cannot attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court – but this could be because she needs more time to recover from her surgery, not because she has cancer.

In the penultimate paragraph of his blog post, Dr. Bentivegna writes that the doctors and the media who have commented on Ginsburg’s health are “underestimating the severity of her illness.”

But in my medical opinion, the doctors and the media who have commented on her health are underestimating the severity of her illness. Here is the bottom line: President Trump has a reasonable chance – at least 35% – of replacing Justice Ginsburg if he finishes his term. If he wins reelection and survives four years, his chance of replacing her is at least 80%.

But as the Italians say at wedding anniversaries: “Cent anni.” (“May you live 100 hundred years.”) That is my wish for Justice Ginsburg.

I would like to thank my friend and colleague Dr. Mehdi Saeedi for his invaluable comments in helping me write this article.

Ginsberg isn’t even in Washington D.C.; she is in New York ‘working from home’ using briefs and transcripts.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka said Thursday night that Ginsburg is preparing to step down from the Supreme Court. Are you ready for what will ensue?

H/T Zero Hedge

via Doctor Warns 85-Year-Old Ruth Bader Ginsburg Likely Very Ill — The Gateway Pundit

Dwayne Johnson Slams ‘Snowflake Generation’: Always ‘Looking for a Reason to Be Offended’

Former wrestling Champion-turned Hollywood superstar Dwayne Johnson criticized the contemporary “snowflake” generation of young people, arguing that “if you are not agreeing with them then they are offended.”

In an interview with Britain’s Daily Star, the Fast and Furious star said that this generation’s penchant for being offended is taking humanity backward.

“I don’t have to agree with what somebody thinks, who they vote for, what they voted for, what they think, but I will back their right to say or believe it. That’s democracy,” the Jumanji star said. “So many good people fought for freedom and equality – but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended.”

Dwayne Johnson went on to argue that the propensity of many young people to take offense is only taking humanity backward rather than forward.

“If you are not agreeing with them then they are offended — and that is not what so many great men and women fought for,” he explained. “We thankfully now live in a world that has progressed over the last 30 or 40 years. People can be who they want, be with who they want, and live how they want. That can only be a good thing — but generation snowflake or, whatever you want to call them, are actually putting us backwards.”

The 46-year-old actor has long expressed an interest in political debate and has previously revealed how he is considering a run for the presidency. Last year, he argued that America needs a return to leadership of people who have a comprehensive understanding of American history and politics, as well as prior political experience.

“What I’m sensing now is that we have to pivot back to people who have a deep-rooted knowledge of American history and politics and experience in policy and how laws get made. I think that pivot has to happen,” Johnson said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I think in a lot of people’s minds, what Trump has proved is that anybody can run for president. And in a lot of people’s minds, what he’s also proved is that not everybody should run for president.”

Source: Dwayne Johnson Slams ‘Snowflake Generation’: Always ‘Looking for a Reason to Be Offended’

Pew Research: “Christians Overrepresented in Congress” — Juicy Ecumenism

As new members of the U.S. Congress step into roles as policy makers, advocates, and national leaders, it is important to take a look at their faith and pray for them in these new positions. It matters who governs. As Christians, we cannot take lightly our call to pray for them.

According to the Pew Research Center, those who affiliate or identify with the Christian faith compose 88.2% of Congress in 2019-2020. This number has dropped from the 115th congress, which was reportedly 91% Christian, but 88% is still an overwhelming majority.

The national media has focused on the record amount of diversity in Congress, and this diversity is truly encouraging. There are more women and minorities in Congress than ever before, reflecting the nation’s changing demographics. But when it comes to religion, those who identify as Christians remain a majority (another Pew study on religious landscape found that America is still around 70% Christian).

Pew headlined the data, “Christians Overrepresented in Congress,” which implies that this is a problem to be fixed. But as Christians, the greatest thing we can hope for is that our law and policy makers know Jesus Christ and use their position to glorify Him and do good in the world. America needs leaders who follow the humble example of Christ, know that they are saved by grace (Ephesians 2) and obey the call to do justly and love mercy (Micah 6:8). The fact that there are so many Christians who are elected to Congress reveals how a majority of Americans trust these representatives to live out Christian values and practices in their roles in government.

There is no doubt that these Members of Congress will be challenged greatly in the next two years. The current partisanship and bitter passions that people show towards the other party are brutal. Not a day goes by where people are not criticizing one another and attacking each other’s ideas.

We should pray that Christian leaders stand firm in the face of opposition. Author and Pastor John Piper writes about leadership, “There will be many days when the temptation is very strong to quit because of unappreciative people. Criticism is one of Satan’s favorite weapons to try to get effective Christian leaders to throw in the towel.” Americans can be especially hostile and untrusting towards those in government positions, no matter the political affiliation. But these men and women play an incredibly important role in our lives. According to Romans 13, they are God’s servants for our good (Romans 13:4) and we should be encouraged by the number of people who have chosen not to give up on the opportunity to serve in our government.

One of the beauties of the Christian faith is that we know the Lord is sovereign. We trust the Lord with those who are in Congress and believe that He is at work through them. Again, Romans 13:1 reminds us that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Christians can rest in the sovereignty of God over all circumstances, even in those who are elected to government positions. We can pray that these Christian congressional leaders are “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [their] labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

As politics changes and new faces enter the government and others leave, I hope that as Christians, we will pray for members of Congress to be not only the leaders of our society, but also gentle and humble spiritual leaders as well.

Christ remains at work in our nation and in our government. As 535 men and women begin a new term, pray that the policies enacted by the 116th congress will truly glorify the Lord and make his name known in our country and in the world at large.

 

via Pew Research: “Christians Overrepresented in Congress” — Juicy Ecumenism