Daily Archives: January 28, 2019

January 28 The Way of Faith

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11

Key Verse: Hebrews 11:6

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11 is an emotional chapter. Spread before you are the spiritual sagas of generations who placed their unwavering trust in God, who took them on adventures beyond their imaginations. Some never saw the end result of their faith, but a great many did. Do you notice some common denominators among their experiences? No matter how different their particular stories might have been, certain principles held true for them all.

Faith was the way of trials. Noah certainly didn’t ask for the ridicule and doubt of his neighbors. Moses would have preferred an easier way out of Egypt. But God used the rough times to sharpen them for the future and to be an even more powerful testimony to others.

Faith was the way of the most misunderstanding. Abraham’s choice to follow God wherever He led was surely confusing to some. It didn’t make sense from an earthly point of view for Rahab to hide the Israelite spies. From God’s perspective, however, their unquestioning obedience opened the door to His blessing.

Faith was the way of patience. David had to wait many years before God fulfilled His promise of giving him the kingship. And many of the believers of the New Testament were put to death after prolonged periods of persecution. God’s ultimate rewards for them were (and are) worth the wait.

Dear heavenly Father, I realize that the way of faith is often a journey of trials. Use the rough times to prepare me for the future. Give me patience to endure the darkest hours.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 29). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

5 Unshakeable Proofs That God Loves You — The Blazing Center

Do you believe that God loves you?

I mean really, really loves you?

Not just in a generic, we are the world, God loves everybody, kind of way.

But in an intense, deeply personal, you’re my child, kind of way.

My goal is to convince you, to persuade you beyond the shadow of a doubt that God loves you with a love so profound it’s beyond your comprehension.

Because when you believe that God loves you, it changes everything.

1. God Loves You Because He Created You

Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

You are not an accident. God himself created you, fearfully and wonderfully crafting every facet of your being. Every fiber of your DNA is the result of God’s master craftsmanship, and because he created you, God loves you.

Have you ever created something and been absolutely thrilled with the results? That’s how God feels about you. He created you in his image. When he looks at you, he sees something of himself, and it fills him with joy.

After God created Adam, God looked at him and said, “Very good.” God says the same thing when he looks at you. You are his creation and he looks on you with great joy.

The very fact that God created you is proof that he loves you.

2. God Loves You And He Died For You

What is the greatest way you can prove you love someone? By sacrificing for them. And what is the greatest sacrifice a person can make for another? Giving up his life for them.

Which is exactly what God did for you.

As Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Do you want unshakeable, unmistakable, unbreakable proof that God loves you? Look no further than Jesus dying for you on the cross. On that bloody, splintered cross, God himself died for you.

God. Died. For. You.

Ponder the enormity of those words. The Immortal One submitted to death. The Giver of Life allowed himself to be swallowed by darkness. The King of Kings was humiliated.

For you. Because God loves you more than you could possibly imagine. Because God’s love for you is so extravagant that he was willing to sacrifice his son to save you.

Tim Keller puts it like this:

The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.

Do you believe that God loves you so much that Jesus was glad to die for you?

I John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us…”

Jesus willingly went to the cross for you. Why? Because God loves you so very, very much.

3. God Loves You Because He Adopted You

If the only thing God gave you was the forgiveness of sins, it would be proof enough that God loves you. But he’s gone so much gloriously further than that. God has also adopted you as his own beloved child.

Ephesians 1:4-5 puts it this way, “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

I have friends who adopted two children from Uganda. It cost them thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to make the adoption happen. Why did they go to such effort? Because they deeply love those two children.

Adoption is always an act of staggering love.

God wasn’t content to simply forgive you. God loves you with such an intense affection that he wouldn’t rest until he brought you into his family. Now you are a child of God, and as God’s child, he loves to pour out blessing after blessing on you.

Just like I love to give gifts to my children, so God takes deep pleasure in blessing you.

Because you are a child of God.

J.I. Packer puts it this way:

You sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.

What do you make of the reality that God is truly and really your Father? It should absolutely change the way you live. Being adopted by God changes everything. It is unmistakable proof that God deeply loves you.

4. God Loves You And He Is Praying For You

Who do you pray for most? It’s the people you deeply love, right? You pray for your children, your spouse, your parents, your close friends. You want God to do good to them and so you passionately intercede on their behalf.

Did you know that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are praying to the Father for you? That’s how much God loves you? Jesus and the Spirit are c0nstantly asking the Father to do good to you and the Father takes great joy in answering their prayers.

Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

There are times when you’re weak, weary, and don’t even know what to pray. But the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for you. When your prayers are nothing more than groans, the Spirit pleads with the Father to give you exactly what you need, and the Father joyfully responds.

Why does the Holy Spirit pray for you? Because God loves you.

Romans 8:34 says, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

Just as the Holy Spirit prays for you, so Jesus also intercedes on your behalf. He prays that God would deliver you from the condemning accusations of Satan. He prays that God would keep you from evil. Just like Jesus prayed for his disciples, so Jesus is constantly praying for you.

Doesn’t that encourage you and warm your heart with affection for God?

Why does Jesus pray for you? Because God loves you with an unfathomable love.

5. God Loves You And Is Faithful To You

How many times has God been faithful to you throughout your life? How many prayers has he answered? How many times has he protected you or kept you from making a stupid decision? How many times has he strengthened you when you were weak?

Thousands upon thousands.

Why? Because God is faithful to those he loves, and God loves you deeply.

Psalm 86:5 says, “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”

God’s love for you is steadfast. It’s a faithful, unshakable, immovable love. God was faithful to save you and he will continue to be faithful as he makes you into the image of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

This verse describes the profound depths of God’s faithful love toward you. He began a good work in you and you can be absolutely sure that he will also finish it.

Would God be faithful to you if he didn’t love you? Absolutely not. God is faithful to you because God loves you.

The Ocean of God’s Love

Charles Spurgeon said it like this:

If a man could know that he was loved by all his fellowmen, if he could have it for certain that he was loved by all the angels, yet these were but so many drops, and all put together could not compare with the main ocean contained in the fact that “God loved us.”

Are you convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that God loves you? I hope you are.

When you know that God loves you, it frees you to follow him with joy and gladness. It allows you to throw off the chains of legalism and run hard after God, knowing that you’re his beloved child.

Don’t doubt God’s love any longer. Take to heart the glorious words of 1 John 3:1:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

via 5 Unshakeable Proofs That God Loves You — The Blazing Center

When God’s Law Becomes God’s Grace

Unfathomable Grace

None of us deserve any good thing from our Creator and Judge. We cannot claim to deserve any of his kindness. Instant excommunication and eternal condemnation is all we have earned by our wickedness. However, despite our arrogant rebellion, God has chosen to grant some of us written copies of his Law and Gospel. For some unknown reason, we are people who possess the Book that contains divine revelation not possessed by all in the world. And friends, how blessed are we to be the people to whom God specially speaks.

In Genesis 41, God gives a divine vision to Pharaoh and provides the divine interpretation through Joseph. To this world leader, God gives both inside information about an upcoming famine and a winning strategy to be followed. How blessed are they who receive inspired truth from the One True God:

Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh…

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Spotify joins Google, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter in censoring Prager University


Prager University explains the central insights of the conservative worldview Prager University explains the central insights of the conservative worldview

Have you ever wondered who is doing a good job of countering the lies of the secular left? Alliance Defending Freedom does a good job on defense at the Supreme Court, but who is on offense, changing the culture? I think one answer that no one would disagree with is Prager University.

Certainly, the secular leftists in Big Technology agree, which is why they keep censoring Prager University videos and ads.

The Daily Caller explains:

Music-streaming platform Spotify removed PragerU’s advertisements from its platform, noting the content does not comply with the company’s editorial policies, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

“Our policy team has re-reviewed the ads that you have submitted through Ad Studio and determined that the content of the ads do not comply with our editorial policies,” Spotify noted in an email to PragerU.

[…]“Our policy…

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Ungovernable — Christian Research Network

“The congressional swearing-in event introduces profound incoherence into the solemn ceremonies of investiture that seek to protect the nation from immoral subversion. Biblically-based law (the truth) and Sharia law (the lie) are irreconcilable. One cannot combine these competing “moral” systems without introducing at the highest level a totally chaotic and irrational basis for our nation’s governing principles.”  

(Peter Jones – truthXchange)   Last November’s elections brought into Congress some of the most extreme office holders ever seen. Recently defeated Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said: “I’d be lying if I did not say I was worried about this place. It just does not work as well as it used to.”[1]Paul Kane of The Washington Post describes how in the early meetings of the new Congress “tensions flared and lawmakers walked toward each other in the well of the House. The chance of physical confrontation seemed to grow by the second… Shouting, near fisticuffs, emotions high…Today’s Washington could get worse.”

In terms of economic and political theory, progressive socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to destroy the traditional definition of America, calling for open borders, taxes of 70%, free schooling and free medical care for everyone from cradle to grave. Ocasio-Cortez is the latest radical progressive to enter the halls of government. According to one observer, three of the four members of the Democratic Steering and Policy committee have backgrounds with the Communist Party USA, indicating that “the 116thcongress consists of more hard-left members of Congress enjoying more power than at any time in U.S. history.”[2]Loudon adds: “the federal government is infested with hard-core socialists and communists.”[3]How long can a government remain stable with such a deep incoherence between consistent socialism/communism and classic free-market capitalism?

The clash between the Left and the Right is not restricted to political theory. Progressives today target traditional religious beliefs regarding both sexuality and spirituality, paving the way for secular relativism to march into all realms of American society. Senator Kyrsten Sinema is the whole deal. She entered the Senate claiming to be the first bi-sexual senator having summoned a “Pagan cluster” of witches to help in her election bid. Not a hint of moral absolutes of good and evil based on religious truths will hold back such progressives’ application of evolving cultural norms as the basis for defining morality. Progressives use all instruments available to them to enforce their code of secular virtues. One is religious incoherence.  View article →

via Ungovernable — Christian Research Network

Court Orders Planned Parenthood to Answer Questions about Sale of Fetal Tissue, Organs — Blogs

A court has ordered four Planned Parenthood affiliates to answer questions regarding the profits they earned from the procurement and sale of fetal tissue.

According to Life Legal Defense Foundation, Planned Parenthood along with several of its affiliates filed suit against the Center for Medical Progress some three years ago claiming that CMP had lied about Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of organs and tissue from aborted babies. CMP had sent investigators into various Planned Parenthood clinics and events to investigate the organization’s involvement with fetal tissue sale and procurement, where they caught several high-level Planned Parenthood employees on tape discussing the illegal sales.

Planned Parenthood has continuously claimed that CMP altered the video recordings to fit their narrative saying they were “misleadingly edited” to implicate Planned Parenthood in the illegal sale of fetal tissue. The organization stated that they filed the lawsuit to “expose the falsity” of CMP’s videos and to help them “recover millions of dollars in damages for the alleged harm the videos caused,” the Life Legal Defense Foundation writes.

The videos have since been ruled “not deceptive” by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, WND reports.

Throughout the course of the lawsuit, investigators have also found more evidence that could implicate the largest abortion clinic in the country.

According to the Life Legal Defense Foundation, investigators uncovered that the four most prominent affiliates who worked with Planned Parenthood, kept no records of their allowable costs while still receiving payments from fetal tissue brokers. In other words, this discovery begs the question of was Planned Parenthood and or its affiliates making a profit off of the sale and trade of aborted babies’ fetal tissue – an action that violates both state and federal law.

Planned Parenthood is continuing to deny that their revenue exceeded their cost, despite the House Select Panel investigators’ discovery that the cost of the procurement is “nominal to non-existent.”

Planned Parenthood and its affiliates will have until January 31 to answer questions regarding the financial records.

via Court Orders Planned Parenthood to Answer Questions about Sale of Fetal Tissue, Organs — Blogs

Mega-Churches Having Trouble Filling Pulpits With Pulpit Personalities — Reformation Charlotte

Disclaimer: Reformation Charlotte does not endorse Thom Rainer or his ministry, however, this article carries interesting factual information. Further, I would add to this argument that the reason these churches are failing is simply that they are not real churches. They are Sunday morning entertainment venues.

THOM RAINER – You could see it unfolding. Boomer megachurch pastors are retiring. The number grows every month. And, as we thought might take place, the churches are having difficulty finding their successors. In fact, we are seeing search committees or their equivalents taking longer and longer to find a pastor. This trend will soon become a crisis.

So, how did we get here? How did we get to the point where some of the largest churches in North America are having trouble finding pastors? Here are a few observations:

  • These churches have similar profiles of the type of pastor they want. And there aren’t many that meet that profile. I see it repeatedly. The requisite age is 38 to 49. The candidate must have proven leadership experience. The prospective pastor must currently be serving in a church with an attendance of 500 or more. Dynamic preaching is a given. Doctoral degrees are preferred but not mandated by all churches. Oh, and the candidate must be happily married with 2.6 children.
  • The number of Millennials who are in vocational ministry and meet the profile is small. I am amazed at the same prospective candidates I hear every time one of these growing vacancies unfolds.
  • Fewer Millennials are excited about leading a megachurch. They don’t view bigger as better. They want to plant themselves and their families in a community. They are not the prototypical ladder climbers.
  • Millennials are concerned about the large worship centers many megachurches have. They would rather have more services and more campuses than one large worship center. They see a number of megachurches that can’t come close to filling their current space even now.
  • Many search committees (or their equivalent) try to look for a pastor in the old traditional path. You know that path. Vote on a search committee. Have meetings every third week except on holiday weeks. Receive resumes without a filter. And if the church belongs to a denomination, ask the denomination to send the same recycled names. One recent exception, Mariners Church in Irvine, California, retained Vanderbloemen Search Group to take the non-traditional path and found a pastor in relatively short order. Too many of the megachurch search processes simply are old and stale.
  • Many megachurches did not have a succession plan. For the life of me, I don’t understand why. This process, if done well, could save a lot of time and heartache.


via Mega-Churches Having Trouble Filling Pulpits With Pulpit Personalities — Reformation Charlotte

January 28, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


The U.S. government reopened on Monday with about 800,000 federal workers returning after a 35-day shutdown as lawmakers geared up for talks to avoid another standoff before funding runs out again in three weeks.

President Donald Trump expressed skepticism on Sunday that U.S. lawmakers seeking to avoid another government shutdown could reach a deal on border security that he would accept, as he renewed his vow to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

Britain’s food security could be threatened if it leaves the EU without a deal and suffers an abrupt hit to trade with the bloc, a lobby group representing firms including Sainsbury’s, Asda, McDonald’s and KFC said on Monday.

Grief over the hundreds of Brazilians feared killed in a mining disaster has quickly hardened into anger as victims’ families and politicians say iron ore miner Vale SA and regulators have learned nothing from the recent past.

Russian police said on Monday they had arrested a man caught on camera taking a painting off the wall of a major Moscow art gallery and strolling out with it under his arm.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Monday plans to increase the standard minimum monthly wage by about 11 percent, the first such hike since the country’s debt crisis erupted almost a decade ago.

A senior U.S. government official, speaking after six days of U.S. peace talks with Afghan Taliban militants, said on Monday that Washington was committed to withdrawing foreign forces from Afghanistan to end more than 17 years of war.

Psychiatrists say internet addiction, characterized by a loss of control over internet use and disregard for the consequences of it, affects up to 8 percent of Americans and is becoming more common around the world.

A blast of super-cold arctic air is bringing dangerous sub-zero cold to the U.S. Midwest and Northeast as the system cartwheels through the Dakotas into Chicago, Illinois, and on to New England. By Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, Chicago will hit an astounding 20-to-25 below-zero Fahrenheit.

AP Top Stories

The Treasury Department on Sunday announced it was lifting sanctions on three companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Pope Francis warned on Sunday against excessive expectations for next month’s Vatican summit on the global sexual abuse crisis, saying it was human problem that would continue.

A memorial service was held Sunday for a Singaporean actor and soldier who died from injuries at a military exercise, a case that has renewed scrutiny of the tiny Southeast Asian nation’s system of mandatory conscription.

Syria state media said Sunday the country’s air defense systems intercepted and destroyed three “hostile” targets over a Russian air base in the country’s coastal region.

Save the Children and other aid agencies on Saturday appealed to Italy to allow minors rescued in the Mediterranean to land, amid the latest diplomatic row over the fate of migrants saved at sea.

Panama rolled out the red carpet for Pope Francis for World Youth Day celebrations, but here and across Latin America the Catholic Church is losing ground to a growing evangelical movement.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Sunday church bombings on a southern island in the Philippines that killed at least 20 people, the deadliest attack in the restive region in years, Reuters reports.

A 3-year-old boy who was found after missing for two days in the North Carolina woods, says he “hung out with a bear.”

A military base deep inside Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles, experts and satellite images suggest, evidence of the type of weapons program it has long criticized its archrival Iran for possessing.


The UAE has been mocked over a tweet announcing the winners of awards for gender balance that featured only men.

The US has warned Venezuela that any threats against American diplomats or opposition leader Juan Guaidó will be met with “a significant response”.

A Duke University in North Carolina professor has been removed as director of a graduate program, amid a furor over an email she sent urging students not to speak Chinese. She said that not speaking English could lead to “unintended consequences” for international students.

Six children in south-western Tanzania have been killed and had their ears and teeth removed. Some of the bodies of the children, aged between two and nine years old, were also missing limbs. “This is all about superstitious beliefs and many believe they will get help from witchcraft.”

Denmark has started building a 43-mile fence along its border with Germany in an effort to control the migration of wild boar.

A no-deal Brexit threatens the UK’s food security and will lead to higher prices and empty shelves in the short-term, retailers are warning.


A showdown between religious freedom and transgender privileges is underway in Texas, where six pro-LGBTQ bills are targeting the constitutional rights of Christians.

No less than $136 million was paid during 2018 by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists. The salaries were paid to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners.

The federal government has approved “spouse” or “fiancé” visas for children as young as 13.

Mid-Day Snapshot

The Foundation

“It behooves you, therefore, to think and act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.” —Thomas Jefferson (1775)

Shutdown Politics: Where to Now?

By all appearances, Pelosi beat Trump, but there’s a strategic play yet to be made.

‘Peace Deal’ for Afghanistan Departure?

U.S. and Taliban agree in principle to a peace deal that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops.

First They Came for MAGA Hats…

For far too many leftists, the MAGA hat provides a springboard for rationalizing sub-humanization.

Bullying: A Problem Sometimes Used as a Tool

In teaching our kids not to bully, are we actually creating more bullies and more victims?

Planned Parenthood Promotes Facade of Health Care

The abortion mill isn’t about “women’s health”; it’s about killing unborn babies.

BuzzFeed CEO Has History of Promoting Fake News

Second Amendment advocate John Lott reveals the corrupt practices of BuzzFeed’s founder and CEO.

Humor Video: The 2020 Apology Tour

Listening to these Democrats makes you realize how insincere they really are.

Humor Video: Social Justice Warrior Therapist

Louis has been feeling sad, but since he’s a straight white cis man, he shouldn’t be.

Today’s Opinion

Hans von Spakovsky
It’s Time to End DACA — It’s Unconstitutional Unless Approved by Congress
Cornwall Alliance
Does Fighting Global Warming Help or Hurt the Poor?
Gary Bauer
Open Again, For Now
William Federer
History of Hospitals & Healthcare
Tony Perkins
Abortion’s Status Cuomo
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

News – 1/28/2019

CRISPR gene-edited monkeys cloned in China
New research out of China has confirmed the birth of five gene-edited monkey clones. Two recently published papers describe how a CRISPR-gene-edited long-tailed macaque has been successfully cloned, demonstrating the first time in the world a gene-edited monkey has been effectively cloned. It has been suggested that by editing this single gene the monkey would subsequently exhibit a variety of different symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and even schizophrenia-like behavior.

Facing populist assault, global elites regroup in Davos
For most of the past quarter century, the worldview symbolized by the World Economic Forum — of ever-freer world trade and closer ties between countries — had dominated. Then came a backlash from Americans and Europeans whose jobs were threatened by low-wage competition from countries like China and who felt alienated at home by wealth inequality and immigration. In 2016, U.S. voters elected Trump, who advocated restricting immigration and scaling back free trade, and the British chose to leave the EU.

Mild Earthquake in Northern Israel; Scientists Wonder When the Pre-Messiah Big One Will Hit
Rabbi Haim Shvili, a 20th-century Jewish mystic, described precisely how these earthquakes will play out. In “Cheshbonot HaGeula” (Accountings of the Redemption), Rabbi Shvili’s book of predictions concerning the Messiah published in 1935, he assessed that these earthquakes will come during the holiday of Sukkot, coinciding with the War of Gog and Magog. Rabbi Shvili noted that the seismic activity will specifically target Muslim and Christian sites, destroying pagan temples and monuments to foreign gods throughout Israel.

Iran Demands Russian Protection From Israel in Syria But Russia Says They Are Protecting Israel..But Are They?
“The Israelis claim their actions are against Iran, while they are attacking Syrian infrastructure, security and defense installations,” Falahat-Pisheh said to Iranian media. He went on to say that Russia was responsible for not activating countermeasures against Israeli warplanes while they flew over Lebanon.

Human drug trials explore strange link between gum disease bacteria and Alzheimers
A provocative new study, published in the prestigious journal Science Advances, is suggesting the same bacteria responsible for gum disease is also the primary pathogenic cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but a new drug developed to inhibit these bacterial toxins and treat Alzheimer’s is moving into major human clinical trials later this year

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Fiji island
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit near the Pacific island nation of Fiji just before 8:00 local time (2:30 am IST) on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said. Shortly after, the area felt another smaller tremor, which registered 5.2 magnitude.

World War 3: ‘Resistance axis’ of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah ‘planning for war with Israel’
HEZBOLLAH has warned it could team up with Iran and Syria to bomb Israel, and is already planning for “the next war”, the Lebanese group’s leader has said, ramping up tensions in the region still further.

Argentina RAT virus: Incurable disease kills 11 after spreading at party – WHO warning
A DEADLY virus has killed 11 people and infected several others after an outbreak in Argentina. The Hantavirus a disease carried by rats and other rodents is believed to have first broken out from a party in the village of Epuyén. There is no treatment, cure or vaccine for hantavirus infection, and the case-fatality rate can reach 35-50 percent.

Chicken-killing Newcastle disease spreads to Norco
The virulent Newcastle disease that has prompted 500,000 Southern California chickens to be euthanized has now been detected in a small flock of backyard chickens in Norco, the city announced Friday afternoon. Beside quarantining those birds, all feed stores in Norco have been quarantined and restricted from having birds on site, the city said.

Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Slovakia leaders to meet Netanyahu in Jerusalem
The leaders of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – the so-called Visegrad states – will meet in Israel in February for a summit that will bring Israel’s relations with these countries up a level. The Visegrad Group is considered the most right-wing of the countries making up the 28-state European Union, and is one of the sub-alliances that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is developing in the EU…

U.N. signs agreement with Qatar for one-time $20 million grant for Gaza
The United Nations and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding Sunday night for a one-time grant of $20 million for humanitarian projects in Gaza, which the world body has in the past described as mired in a state of “constant humanitarian crisis.” The money is in addition to the close to $10 million distributed in Gaza over the weekend to 94,000 poor families. Each family received $100 in cash.

Brexit: May urged to secure backstop concessions from EU
Theresa May is being urged to secure changes from the EU to the Northern Irish backstop as part of her Brexit deal to get it past parliament. Ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson says winning a “freedom clause” would be “unadulterated good Brexit news”. MPs on Tuesday will vote on a series of amendments to the PM’s plans that could shape the future direction of Brexit.

Venezuela crisis: White House ‘will respond to threats against diplomats’
The US has warned Venezuela that any threats against American diplomats or opposition leader Juan Guaidó will be met with “a significant response”. National Security Adviser John Bolton said any such “intimidation” would be “a grave assault on the rule of law”. His warning comes days after the US and more than 20 other countries recognised Mr Guaidó as interim president.

Border Patrol struggles with flood of sick migrants
Border Patrol agents have spent nearly 20,000 hours since October driving asylum seekers to and from hospitals for medical evaluations, according to newly released Department of Homeland Security data. Since Oct. 1, 2018, the Border Patrol, which works in rural areas between border crossings, has “seen an increase in the numbers of apprehended individuals requiring medical assistance.”

Nato members increase defence spending by $100 billion after Donald Trump called them ‘delinquents’
Nato states will increase their defence spending by 100 billion dollars in response to Donald Trump’s demands that European allies shoulder a greater financial burden, the alliance’s secretary general has said. Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the alliance had heard Mr Trump’s call for non-US members to shoulder a greater financial burden “loud and clear” and that allies are “stepping up.”

Netanyahu: Nasrallah left ’embarrassed’ by Israel destroying its tunnel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was left feeling “very embarrassed” following Israeli military’s “tremendous success” in Operation Northern Shield, which saw the army locate and destroy six sophisticated tunnels dug by the Lebanese based terror group into Israel.

Polar Vortex To Invade Midwest, Wind Chills May Exceed 50 Below Zero
States such as North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa are bracing for some of the coldest weather in years as we round out the month of January. Major cities, including Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago, could see historic levels of cold by Wednesday with daytime highs staying in the teens and 20s below zero.

GRAPHIC: Cartel Dumps Tortured Bodies Along Mexican Border City Highway
Gulf Cartel gunmen dumped the bodies of three victims along one of the highways in this border city. A large deployment of police forces responded to secure the crime scene. The violence comes at a time when rival factions of the Gulf Cartel continue their fight for control of the border region.

I add colour to Auschwitz registration photos to educate people about the Holocaust
…After getting permission from the museum to colourise the photos that Brasse saved I put together a team of volunteers who helped me create Faces of Auschwitz, a platform where we not only colourise these photos, but tell the stories of those in them.

Russia sends 400 armed mercenaries to try to defeat Venezuela’s uprising against the tyranny of socialist Maduro
As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse and social unrest rises in response to new political instability, Russia has sent hundreds of “mercenaries” to the South American country in support of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

FINALLY: Republican Senate to dig into massive Obama-Clinton scandals that have been swept under the rug by the media
Since taking over the House, Democrats have promised to open the investigation floodgates. If Donald Trump or anyone in his administration ever so much as misplaced a paper clip, you can be sure there would be hearings. When the Mueller probe reveals that there is no evidence of Russian collusion, they will start their own investigation, no doubt. Their main objective is to make sure Trump is not reelected, and in the meantime, they will do everything they can to make it impossible for him to govern. To them, that is called transparency and accountability.

LUNACY: Baltimore school board unanimously votes against allowing police officers to carry firearms in schools
The school board of Baltimore City Public Schools in Baltimore, Maryland, unanimously voted its opposition to arming school resource officers on Tuesday.

Iowa Bans Most Abortions As Governor Signs ‘Heartbeat’ Bill
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bills into law on Friday.

Iran to Conduct Naval Operation in Western Atlantic, as a Warning Message to the United States
A top Iranian commander said on December 4 that Iran will dispatch a fleet of warships on a joint operation with Russia in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Many see Iran as a mere regional power. Yet as the successors to the Persian Empire, Iran is showing the world that it sees itself as a global power.

Iran publicly hangs man on homosexuality charges
The Islamic Republic of Iran publicly hanged a 31-year-old Iranian man after he was found guilty of charges related to violations of Iran’s anti-gay laws, according to the state-controlled Iranian Students’ News Agency.

Headlines – 1/28/2019

Settler held on suspicion of attacking, wounding 2 Palestinians with an ax

After West Bank death, UN envoy condemns ‘settler violence’

Palestinian President Abbas to shake up his government

Polish PM: Hitler’s Germany responsible for Holocaust, not Nazis

California Holocaust ceremony interrupted by man shouting anti-Semitic slurs

2018 was deadliest year for anti-Semitic violence since 1994 – Israeli report

Discovery of Hezbollah ‘attack tunnels’ rattles a northern Israeli town

Ex-IDF chief dismisses Hezbollah claim of more cross-border attack tunnels

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah chief of Israel’s ‘lethal’ power

‘Israel Must Secure Its Existence,’ Merkel Says on Syria Airstrikes

UN envoy meets Arab League chief for Syria talks

Syria air defenses target suspected drones over Russia base

The once vast ISIS ‘caliphate’ is now reduced to a pair of villages in Syria

Damascus condemns Turkish presence in north as breach of deal

Erdogan and Assad: A former friendship damaged beyond repair?

Iran’s military chief warns his forces could shift to ‘offensive approach’

Iran fumes as Germany bans Iranian airline for security reasons

Bashir says Sudan protesters trying to emulate Arab Spring

Afghan Women Fear Peace With Taliban May Mean War on Them

Philippines vows to crush ‘terrorists’ after church bombs kill 20

France’s ‘Red Scarves’ take to the streets to oppose ‘Yellow Vests’ in Paris

Theresa May’s government could declare a state of emergency and introduce martial law under a no-deal Brexit

Venezuela’s Maduro rejects European demands for new election

Netanyahu: Israel decided to recognize Venezuela’s opposition as official government

Graham says Trump floated using military force in Venezuela

‘End this nightmare,’ Pompeo urges U.N. member nations on Venezuela’s political crisis

As West turns on him, Venezuela’s Maduro flexes military muscle

Venezuela’s Guaido calls for new protests as pressure mounts on Maduro

Venezuela’s Christians urge prayer as crisis mounts

Nato members increase defence spending by $100 billion after Donald Trump called them ‘delinquents’

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 15,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 11,000ft

Peru landslide kills at least 15 at hotel wedding party

Polar vortex plunge to bring ‘brutally cold’ air to Midwest with ‘life threatening wind chills’

Chicago’s record for coldest temperature ever could fall as polar vortex has city ‘in the crosshairs’

Freezing Finland hits Europe’s winter record low temperature

New Alarms in Brazil as a Second Mining Dam Threatens to Collapse

Washington is under a state of emergency as measles cases rise

Superbug From India Spread Far and Fast, Study Finds

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Where Did All This Pentecostalism Come From? – A Breif History of the Azusa St. Revival

Why did Hillsong apostolic founder threaten pastor and journalist Philip Powell?

Leclaire Lunacy This Week — The Devil’s Digital Dossier

Perry Noble Explains Why He’s Unqualified As His Second Chance Church Opens

A “Reformed Church” Where You Can Believe Whatever You Want, as Long as it Isn’t the Bible

Former minister indicted on indecency charge linked to Cedar Hill youth camp

Pope Francis Calls Mary History’s Biggest ‘Influencer’

Alhambra outlawed marijuana dispensaries, but at least two self-proclaimed churches are selling it

Christian missionary could be tried for genocide after mistakenly entering land of remote tribe

Christians-only foster care agency gets waiver from Trump admin

Jolo church attack: Many killed in Philippines

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January 28 Freedom from Pride

Scripture reading: Romans 8:6–9

Key verse: Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction,

And a haughty spirit before a fall.

  1. C. S. Lewis spoke of pride:

In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that—and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison—you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.

The virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called humility … The utmost evil is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that are mere fleabites in comparison. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind …

If you want to find out how proud you are, the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or patronize me, or show off?… Is it because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise?” … Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.

The greatest struggle of a believer is with pride. All other sins flow from this one polluted stream. Ask God to free you from pride’s grasp. Boundless freedom awaits those who make the journey.

Dear God, free me from pride’s grasp. I want to walk humbly with You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 29). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

January 28, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Claim

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. (10:25–31)

But Jesus already had told them plainly who He was (cf. 5:17ff.; 8:12, 24, 58); in fact, He had spent the last three years doing so. Not only that, the works that He did in the Father’s name also demonstrated that He was the Messiah; the Son of God; God in human flesh (cf. vv. 32, 38; 3:2; 5:36; 7:31; 11:47; 14:11; Acts 2:22). The Lord’s twice-repeated declaration, you do not believe, indicates that the problem was not due to any ambiguity in the revelation of the truth, but rather to their spiritual blindness. They lacked understanding, not because they lacked information, but because they lacked repentance and faith. Their unbelief was not due to insufficient exposure to the truth, but to their hatred of the truth and love of sin and lies (John 3:19–21). Anyone who willingly seeks the truth will find it (7:17), but Jesus refused to commit Himself to those who willfully rejected the truth. Had He again given them the plain answer they were demanding, they would not have believed Him anyway (cf. 8:43; Matt. 26:63–65; Luke 22:66–67).

From the perspective of human responsibility, the hostile Jews did not believe because they had deliberately rejected the truth. But from the standpoint of divine sovereignty, they did not believe because they were not of the Lord’s sheep, which were given Him by the Father (v. 29; 6:37; 17:2, 6, 9). A full understanding of exactly how those two realities, human responsibility and divine sovereignty, work together lies beyond human comprehension; but there is no difficulty with them in the infinite mind of God. Significantly, the Bible does not attempt to harmonize them, nor does it apologize for the logical tension between them. For example, speaking of Judas Iscariot’s treachery, Jesus said in Luke 22:22, “The Son of Man is going [to be betrayed] as it has been determined.” In other words, Judas’s betrayal of Christ was in accord with God’s eternal purpose. But then Jesus added, “Woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” That Judas’s betrayal was part of God’s plan did not relieve him of the responsibility for his crime. In Acts 2:23 Peter said that Jesus was “delivered over [to the cross] by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” Yet he also charged Israel with responsibility for having “nailed [Jesus] to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” God’s sovereignty never excuses human sin. (For a more complete discussion of the interplay of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, see the exposition of 6:35–40 in chapter 20 of this volume.)

Repeating what He said in His discourse on the Good Shepherd (see the exposition of vv. 3–5 in the previous chapter of this volume), Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” The elect will heed Christ’s call to salvation and continue in faith and obedience to eternal glory (cf. Rom. 8:29–30).

The Lord continued by articulating the wonderful truth that those who are His sheep need never fear being lost. “I give eternal life to them,” Jesus declared, “and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Nowhere in Scripture is there a stronger affirmation of the absolute eternal security of all true Christians. Jesus plainly taught that the security of the believer in salvation does not depend on human effort, but is grounded in the gracious, sovereign election, promise, and power of God.

Christ’s words reveal seven realities that bind every true Christian forever to God. First, believers are His sheep, and it is the duty of the Good Shepherd to protect His flock. “This is the will of Him who sent Me,” Jesus said, “that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day” (6:39). To insist that a true Christian can somehow be lost is to deny the truth of that statement. It is also to defame the character of the Lord Jesus Christ—making Him out to be an incompetent shepherd, unable to hold on to those entrusted to Him by the Father.

Second, Christ’s sheep hear only His voice and follow only Him. Since they will not listen to or follow a stranger (10:5), they could not possibly wander away from Him and be eternally lost.

Third, Christ’s sheep have eternal life. To speak of eternal life ending is a contradiction in terms.

Fourth, Christ gives eternal life to His sheep. Since they did nothing to earn it, they can do nothing to lose it.

Fifth, Christ promised that His sheep will never perish. Were even one to do so, it would make Him a liar.

Sixth, no one—not false shepherds (the thieves and robbers of v. 1), or false prophets (symbolized by the wolf of v. 12), nor even the Devil himself—is powerful enough to snatch Christ’s sheep out of His hand.

Finally, Christ’s sheep are held not only in His hand, but also in the hand of the Father, who is greater than all; and thus no one is able to snatch them out of His hand either. Infinitely secure, the believer’s “life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

The Father and the Son jointly guarantee the eternal security of believers because, as Jesus declared, “I and the Father are one” (the Greek word one is neuter, not masculine; it speaks of “one substance,” not “one person”). Thus their unity of purpose and action in safeguarding believers is undergirded by their unity of nature and essence. The whole matter of security is summarized in our Lord’s own words in John 6:39–40:

This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

Incensed by what they accurately and unmistakably perceived as another blasphemous claim to deity by Jesus, the Jews, self-righteously exploding in a fit of passion, picked up stones again to stone Him—the fourth time in John’s gospel that they had attempted to kill Him (5:16–18; 7:1; 8:59). Though the Romans had withheld the right of capital punishment from the Jews (18:31), this angry lynch mob was ready to take matters into its own hands.[1]

30. I and my Father are one. He intended to meet the jeers of the wicked; for they might allege that the power of God did not at all belong to him, so that he could promise to his disciples that it would assuredly protect them. He therefore testifies that his affairs are so closely united to those of the Father, that the Father’s assistance will never be withheld from himself and his sheep. The ancients made a wrong use of this passage to prove that Christ is (ὁμοούσιος) of the same essence with the Father. For Christ does not argue about the unity of substance, but about the agreement which he has with the Father, so that whatever is done by Christ will be confirmed by the power of his Father.[2]

30 This verse has received a great deal of attention from exegetes and theologians. In context it seems to refer primarily to the fact that the Father and Son are one in purpose and action. When it comes to preserving the life of the believing flock, they are one in their desire and ability to safeguard every believer. But the verse must mean more than that. It is highly unlikely that the Jews would pick up stones to attack Jesus if all he were saying was that what he was doing was in perfect accord with the will of God. Others could easily make that claim.

It is often noted that the text uses the neuter hen (“one [thing]”), rather than the masculine heis (“one [person]”). The latter reading would lead to the unorthodox position that Jesus and his Father are one person. Rather, the neuter hen means they “belong to the same category” (Lindars, 30). The christological controversies that took place several centuries later would draw heavily on this cryptic statement. It has often been noted that the word “one” refutes the claim of Arianism, which denied unity of essence between Father and Son, and that the plural verb “are” refutes the view of Sabellianism, which denied the diversity of persons.[3]

10:29–30. Sheep signatures, we now know, include belief in the Shepherd, listening to the Shepherd, following the Shepherd, receiving eternal life from the Shepherd, and now protection by the Shepherd’s Father. This is not just the promise of a Galilean prophet whose miracles substantiated his claim to greatness. Throughout the entire narrative of John, Jesus repeatedly referred to the Father’s power. Even if the unbelieving Jews doubted his ability and authority, they could never doubt the omnipotence of the Father.

But that is precisely the point of unbelief. Since they did not believe that this itinerant prophet, this carpenter from Nazareth, had any relationship with God, they did not see him as their shepherd. But his response was clear: I and the Father are one. Numerous verses in the Bible establish the deity of Jesus Christ, but few are as precise and pointed as this one.

Modern theologians argue that Jesus died a martyr’s death because the people of his day misunderstood him. They argue that Jesus never claimed to be God and could have escaped death by denying this confusion. But the confusion is theirs. Jesus intended everyone who heard him speak to understand precisely that he made himself equal with God in every way—and that is why they killed him.

Nor can we miss the hint of election at the beginning of verse 29 when we read, My Father, who has given them to me. There can be no greater security, no safer shelter, no more sure salvation, and no more clear signature than this relationship to the God of the Bible through his Son the Good Shepherd. No wonder Paul could write, “Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

Lightner summarizes for us: “What security! The eternal presence of the Father and the Son guarantees the eternal security of the believer. The life which Christ gives is ‘eternal.’ Those possessing it shall ‘never perish.’ No one shall pluck the sheep from the Shepherd’s hand. The irrevocable word of the Shepherd is, ‘No one shall be able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand’ ” (Lightner, p. 235).[4]

30. In verse 28 Jesus has spoken about his own love for the sheep; in verse 29 about his Father’s love. No one shall snatch them out of the Son’s hand nor out of the Father’s hand, for they are more precious than all others. Hence, with respect to this protecting care, Son (verse 28) and Father (verse 29) are one. Therefore Jesus says, I and the Father, we are one.

However, inasmuch as in other passages it is clearly taught that the oneness is a matter not only of outward operation but also (and basically) of inner essence (see especially 5:18 but also 1:14, 18; 3:16), it is clear that also here nothing less than this can have been meant. Certainly if Son and Father are one essentially, then when Jesus states, “I and the Father, we are one,” he cannot merely mean, “We are one in providing protective care for the sheep.” The economic trinity rests forever upon the essential trinity (see on 1:14 and 1:18).

Note how carefully both the diversity of the persons and the unity of the essence is expressed here. Jesus says, “I and the Father.” Hence, he clearly speaks about two persons. And this plurality is shown also by the verb (one word in Greek) “we-are” (ἐσμεν). These two persons never become one person. Hence, Jesus does not say, “We are one person” (εἶς), but he says, “We are one substance (ἕν). Though two persons, the two are one substance or essence. It has been well said that ἕν frees us from the Charybdis of Arianism (which denies the unity of essence), and ἐσμεν from the Scylla of Sabellianism (which denies the diversity of the persons). Thus in this passage Jesus affirms his complete equality with the Father.[5]

10:29–30. For My Father, who has given them to Me, see comment on 6:37. No one is able to snatch (harpazo, the same word in v. 12) the sheep out of the Son’s (v. 28) or the Father’s hand. This united security points to a unity between the Father and the Son: I and the Father are one (v. 30). The word “one” is neuter, not masculine, confirming that the Father and Son are one in nature and purpose, not one in identity. In other words, Jesus is fully divine, but He is a divine Person distinct from God the Father.[6]

10:30. When Jesus said, I and the Father are One, He was not affirming that He and the Father are the same Person. The Son and the Father are two Persons in the Trinity. This is confirmed here by the fact that the word “One” is neuter. Instead, He was saying They have the closest possible unity of purpose. Jesus’ will is identical to the Father’s regarding the salvation of His sheep. And yet absolute identity of wills involves identity of nature. Jesus and the Father are One in will (and also in nature for both are God; cf. 20:28; Phil. 2:6; Col. 2:9).[7]

10:30 Now the Lord Jesus added a further claim to equality with God: “I and My Father are one.” Here the thought probably is that Christ and the Father are one in power. Jesus had just been speaking about the power that protects Christ’s sheep. Therefore, He added the explanation that His power is the same as the power of God the Father. Of course the same is true of all the other attributes of Deity. The Lord Jesus Christ is God in the fullest sense and is equal with the Father in every way.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 441–443). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, pp. 416–417). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 508). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Gangel, K. O. (2000). John (Vol. 4, pp. 201–202). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 2, pp. 125–126). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[6] Hart, J. F. (2014). John. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1637). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 311–312). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1528). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

January 28 God’s Hand Is Upon You

scripture reading: Psalm 138:7–8
key verse: Psalm 18:35

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.

There are many references to hands in the Bible. Men shook or struck hands as a sign of commitment or pledge. In the United States and many other countries, people shake hands as a way of greeting. In the Bible, raised hands symbolize praise and thanksgiving (Ps. 63:4). The right hand, especially when used in connection with God, is a symbol of might and power (Ps. 44:3). The very touch of another’s hand can communicate blessing and love.

Hands and the way you use them often reflect the inner self. A doctor uses her hands as instruments of healing. Before starting His ministry, Jesus was a carpenter, no doubt with hands of a skilled laborer. More than likely, He had to cut His own wood and transport it back to the carpentry shop. There He would size and shape it to be used for whatever He was building.

The laying on of hands by the apostles in the New Testament separated men for God’s service. It was a physical display of God’s anointing (Acts 13:3). As children, we sang the song “He Has the Whole World in His Hands.” This is the way God likes for us to view His awesome ability. Your entire life is kept safe in the palm of God’s loving hand. There under His watch of safety are tremendous peace and security.

Father, I rest confidently in the fact that my life is in Your hands. Underneath are Your everlasting arms. Hold me secure as I face the challenges of this day.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

28 january (1855) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The kingly priesthood of the saints

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:10

suggested further reading: Mark 14:32–42

Jesus said, “I will take the cup of salvation;” and he did take it—the cup of our deliverance. Bitter were its drops; gall lay in its depths; there were groans, and sighs, and tears, within the red mixture; but he took it all, and drank it to its dregs, and swallowed all the awful draught. All was gone. He drank the cup of salvation, and he ate the bread of affliction. See him, as he drinks the cup in Gethsemane, when the fluid of that cup did mingle with his blood, and make each drop a scalding poison. Mark how the hot feet of pain did travel down his veins. See how each nerve is twisted and contorted with his agony. Behold his brow covered with sweat; witness the agonies as they follow each other into the very depths of his soul. Speak, you lost, and tell what hell’s torment means; but you cannot tell what the torments of Gethsemane were. Oh! the deep unutterable! There was a depth which couched beneath, when our Redeemer bowed his head, when he placed himself between the upper and nether millstones of his Father’s vengeance, and when his whole soul was ground to powder. Ah! that wrestling God-man—that suffering man of Gethsemane! Weep o’er, saints—weep o’er him; when you see him rising from that prayer in the garden, marching forth to his cross; when you picture him hanging on his cross four long hours in the scorching sun, overwhelmed by his Father’s passing wrath—when you see his side streaming with gore—when ye hear his death-shriek, “It is finished,”—and see his lips all parched, and moistened by nothing save the vinegar and the gall,—ah! then prostrate yourselves before that cross, bow down before that sufferer, and say, “Thou hast made us—thou hast made us what we are; we are nothing without thee.”

for meditation: Creating us could not have been easier for God—it took just a word. (Genesis 1:26, 27). Making us right with himself could not have given him more trouble. The work of salvation was terribly hard for the Lord Jesus Christ, but he completed it. It would have been absolutely impossible for us.

sermon no. 10[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 35). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Sam Storms: Oklahoma City, OK > 10 Things You Should Know about Shame and Guilt

Shame and guilt are often confused in people’s thinking. What are they, and how do they differ? More important still, how might we be set free from the debilitating effects of shame? Here are ten things to keep in mind.

(1) Shame is the painful emotion that is caused by a consciousness of guilt, failure, or impropriety, that often results in the paralyzing conviction/belief that one is worthless, of no value to others or to God, unacceptable, and altogether deserving of disdain and rejection. As you can see, shame and guilt are not the same thing.

Guilt is the objective reality of being liable to punishment because of something we’ve done. Shame is the subjective feeling of being worthless because of who we are. As someone said, it’s the difference between making a mistake and being a mistake. Feeling guilt when we sin is a good and godly and healthy response. So we run to God and seek his forgiveness. But feeling shame when we sin is a bad and destructive response that compels us to run from him for fear of his disdain and contempt.

(2) Shame can lead to a variety of emotions and actions. It leads to feelings of being not just unqualified but disqualified from anything meaningful or of having a significant role in the body of Christ.

People enslaved to shame are constantly apologizing to others for who they are. They feel small, flawed, never good enough. They live under the crippling fear of never measuring up, of never pleasing those whose love and respect they desire. This often results in efforts to work harder to compensate for feeling less than everyone else.

(3) Shame has innumerable effects on the human soul. Those in shame have a tendency to hide; to create walls of protection behind which they hunker down and hope no one will see the true you. They are terrified that their true self will be seen and known and rejected by others. So they put on a false face, they adopt a personality or certain traits that they think others will find acceptable. They are convinced that if someone were to see them for who they really are, they’d be repulsed and disappointed. So they are led to be less than their true self. They deliberately stifle whatever strengths they have. They say to themselves: “Whatever I do, don’t be vulnerable. It’s dangerous.”

(4) We must be careful to differentiate between justifiable, deserved, and well-placed shame, on the one hand, and illegitimate, undeserved, and misplaced shame, on the other.

When our actions, attitudes, or words bring dishonor to God we justifiably and deservedly should feel ashamed. There are other actions, attitudes, or words for which we should not feel ashamed, even though they may expose us to ridicule, public exposure, and embarrassment.

Misplaced or unjustifiable shame is often mentioned in Scripture. Here are four examples.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

We should feel boldness and courage in proclaiming the gospel. If people mock us and mistreat us because of our vocal and visible declaration of the gospel, we should not feel any shame. After all, the gospel is the power of God to save human souls. The non-Christian world may think we are weak and silly, but the gospel is powerful and true.

“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8).

If you feel shame when the gospel is made known or when you are identified and linked with someone who is suffering for having made it known, you are experiencing misplaced or unjustifiable shame. Christ is honored and praised when we boldly speak of him and willingly suffer for him.

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Pet. 4:16).

Being maligned and mistreated solely because of your commitment to Christ is no cause for shame. In fact, it serves to glorify God. Thus, shame is not determined based on how we are regarded in the minds of people but rather based on whether or not our actions bring honor and glory to God.

“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor [shame] for the name” (Acts 5:41).

To be arrested and stripped and beaten and exposed to public ridicule is a shameful experience. But the apostles did not retaliate. The willingly embraced the feeling of shame because it ultimately honored God.

(5) Often the Bible speaks of behaviors or beliefs that ought to induce shame in a person’s heart.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

In other words, when we refuse to obey the exhortation of Jesus to be humble and meek because we fear that people will laugh at us for it, we should feel ashamed. When we fail to strive to live a life free of sexual immorality and the world congratulates us for not yielding to an “outdated” view on morality, we should feel shame.

“I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?” (1 Cor. 6:5-6).

“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame” (1 Cor. 15:34).

In both cases their behavior is bringing disrepute on God. They have dishonored him and thus should justifiably feel shame. Two other texts that speak of well-placed shame are:

“But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?” (Rom. 6:21).

“If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Thess. 3:14).

(6) We wage war against the lies that bring shame by fighting for faith in the forgiveness of God. In other words, belief in the truth of the gospel is the power to overcome shame.

The prostitute who anointed the feet of Jesus with ointment and wet them with her tears had much of which to be ashamed. She was a “sinner” and an outcast. But Jesus pronounced that her sins were forgiven and told her to “go in peace” (Luke 7:36-50). Jesus overcame her shame by promising that her sins were forgiven and that she could now live “in peace.” She could have chosen to believe the condemnation and judgment of the other guests, and remain mired in shame. Or she could choose to believe that Jesus had truly forgiven all her sins. The way to wage war against the unbelief that we are not truly forgiven is to trust the promise of Christ.

The solution to sin in our culture is to celebrate it, brag about it, join in a public parade to declare your pride in it. Thus, people tend to cope with the pain and weight of guilt by simply declaring that the behavior in question isn’t bad after all. It’s actually quite good and will contribute to my sense of identity and flourishing in life. As someone said, “By denying sin, they attempt to take away its sting.”

But the solution for shame isn’t celebration or denial but forgiveness. The message of Scripture is that you are probably far worse than even you can imagine, but that you are far more loved than you could ever possibly conceive. You can’t solve your struggle with shame. Only Jesus can. And God’s immeasurable and inconceivable love for you was demonstrated and put on display by his sending of his Son Jesus to endure the judgment you deserved.

Some of you think that the solution to your shame is to try harder, do more, obey with greater intensity. Sometimes you are tempted to create even more rules and commands than are found in the Bible and by legalistically abiding by them all you hope to suppress or diminish or perhaps even destroy your feelings of inadequacy and shame and worthlessness. No! The solution is found in only one place: the cross of Christ, where Jesus took your shame upon himself and endured the judgment of God that you and I deserved.

(7) We overcome the crippling power of shame when the Holy Spirit strengthens us to trust and experience the reality of God’s immeasurable love for us in Christ.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

The Holy Spirit is directly responsible for making possible our experience of feeling and rejoicing in the love God has for us in Christ.

(8) We break free from shame when the Holy Spirit awakens us to the glorious and majestic truth that we are truly the children of God.

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:4-7).

Notice that in both texts the experiential, felt assurance of our adoption as the children of God is the direct result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

(9) We win in the war against shame when, by the power of the Spirit, we turn our hearts to the unbreakable promise of Christ that nothing can separate us from his love.

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (2 Tim. 1:12b-14).

Here we see that Paul overcomes the tendency to be ashamed by trusting the truth of God’s promise that he will guard him. It is “by the Holy Spirit” that we find the strength to guard the good deposit of the gospel. “The battle against misplaced shame,” says Piper, “is the battle against unbelief in the promises of God.” As Paul elsewhere says, “everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Rom. 10:11).

(10) When we are made to feel shame for something that we didn’t do, we conquer its power by entrusting our souls and eternal welfare to the truth and justice of God.

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Cor. 4:3-5).

In other words, explains Piper, “for all the evil and deceitful judgment and criticism that others may use to heap on us a shame that is not ours to bear, and for all the distress and spiritual warfare it brings, the promise stands sure that they will not succeed in the end. All the children of God will be vindicated. The truth will be known. And no one who banks his hope on the promises of God will be put to shame.”

— Read on www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/10-things-you-should-know-about-shame-and-guilt

28 JANUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Righteous Before God

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1

suggested further reading: Matthew 1:18–25

David was in the uttermost distress and, indeed, was almost consumed by a long series of calamities. But he did not sink under his sorrow, nor was he so broken in heart that he could not approach God as his deliverer.

In his prayer, David testifies that, even when he is utterly deprived of all earthly succor, he can still hope in God. Moreover, he addresses his Maker as the God of his righteousness, which is like calling him the vindicator of his right. David appeals to God this way because people everywhere are condemning him. His innocence is besmirched by the slanderous reports of his enemies and the perverse judgments of the common people.

We should carefully note David’s reaction to this cruel and unjust treatment. For while nothing is more painful to us than to be falsely condemned and to endure wrongful violence and slander for doing well, such affliction often daily befalls the saints. It becomes us to learn under such hardship to turn away from the enticements of the world and to depend wholly upon God.

Righteousness is to be understood here as a good cause. David makes God the witness of his own righteousness as he complains of the malicious and wrongful conduct of men toward him. By his example, he teaches us that if our uprightness is not acknowledged by the world, we should not despair because God in heaven will vindicate our cause. Even the heathen know there is no better stage for virtue than a man’s own conscience. But our greatest consolation is to know that, when men vaunt themselves over us wrongfully, we may stand righteous in the view of God and of the angels.

for meditation: What comfort it is to know that we are vindicated in the eyes of God! This knowledge eases the intensity of the pain resulting from false accusations and a tarnished reputation. Remember and emulate David’s reaction the next time that you suffer for the right.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 46). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

The Mailbag: My husband wants to stay at an unbiblical church.

Michelle Lesley

There are unbiblical things happening in my church. I want to leave and find a better church. My husband wants to stay. Do I submit to him and stay at this church or go against his wishes and find another church to join by myself?

I receive some variation of this question several times a year, which absolutely breaks my heart. Normal, everyday disagreements in marriage are hard enough, but when it’s something this important that involves such a huge part of your life, it can be excruciating.

It’s also an impossible question for me to answer a) since I’m so far removed from the situation, and b) because every situation is different. All I can do is ask some questions and provide some resources that may help as you make your decision.

◊ Is the issue at your church actually unbiblical? Just because you don’t like something (the genre…

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Media that bashes Roger Stone went wild over Russian-stolen emails – Washington Times

Trump adviser Roger Stone wasn’t alone in 2016 as he furiously tried to find out when WikiLeakswould dump the next tranche of hacked Democratic Party emails.

Journalists and commentators also were pressing sources during that politically charged July-November span to find out what WikiLeaksfounder Julian Assange had up his sleeve.

Mr. Assange splashed thousands of Democratic and Hillary Clinton campaign emails across the internet in July, October and November. Reporters wrote about the juicy tidbits even while knowing they came compliments of the Kremlin, according to a review of election dispatches.

Today, the storyline is much different: supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

After Mr. Stone’s indictment on Friday on a charge of lying to Congress, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed out the irony.

“I was a member of the campaign, which is why I know there was, as I have said a dozen times, as the president said probably hundreds of times, there was no collusion, there was no wrongdoing by the president,” Mrs. Sanders told CNN. “What I also know is that outlets just like yours, CNN, spent a significant time not only looking for information of WikiLeaks but also reporting on it. Does that mean CNN is guilty of collusion?”

The Russia connection first emerged when CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic Party, released a report on June 15, 2016. It said the party’s computers had been hacked and the culprit was Russian intelligence.

By then, U.S. intelligence knew the fuller story. Two fake sites known as DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. were the Russian vehicles to transport stolen documents. Soon, WikiLeaks would join in.

Meanwhile, working together behind the scenes were two committed Trump partisans: Mr. Stone, a flamboyant Republican operative known for hardball campaigns, and Jerome Corsi, a right-wing conspiratorialist, author and promoter of false Barack Obama “birther” theories.

The pair, who drew disdain from many of Washington’s establishment conservatives, saw their mission as finding out when the WikiLeakssplurge would happen.

— Read on m.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jan/27/media-that-bashes-roger-stone-went-wild-over-russi/

The Task of Apologetics — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Exodus 3 narrates the well-known account of God’s revealing Himself to Moses in the burning bush and commissioning him to tell Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. But that was only part of Moses’ mission. The other task to which the Lord called Moses was to address the Israelites. He was to command the Israelites in the name of God to engage in the largest strike in history. In absolute defiance of the power and authority of Pharaoh, they were to leave Egypt and go out to the desert to worship God at His mountain. And, of course, these events ended in the exodus.

Just think of Moses’ task. Moses, an old man who had been tending sheep in the wilderness for years, was to somehow get an appointment with Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler on earth in that day. But in many respects it was even more difficult to go to the people of Israel and say, “Never mind the chariots of Egypt and the armies of Pharaoh. Follow me and I will lead you to the Promised Land.” What slave in his right mind would take Moses at his word? And that is the problem that is addressed particularly in Exodus 4, where Moses says to God, “They will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ ” And the Lord gave Moses many proofs to show the Israelites that his claims were credible.

In this encounter, Moses raised the question of apologetics, the question of how the believer is to defend the faith as reasonable. He had to convince the Israelites of the truth of the mandate and that it came from God. He was dealing with the in-house problem of apologetics, namely, that he had to persuade the church—the people of God—of the veracity of the Word of God and its claim on their lives.

The task of apologetics, of defending the truth of Christianity, has at least three main aims. I think most Christians are familiar with two of these. First, apologetics is to provide an answer to the critics of the Christian faith, to those who seek to undermine the rational basis for Christianity or who critique it from the standpoint of another philosophy or religion. Paul did that in Acts 17 when he confronted the Epicureans and the Stoics, followers of two popular philosophical schools in his day. Early Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr wrote to the Roman emperor to defend Christians against false accusations of atheism (because Christians did not worship the Roman gods) and cannibalism (because pagans misunderstood the Lord’s Supper).

The second major aim of apologetics is to tear down the intellectual idols of our culture. Here, apologetics operates on the offensive, pointing out the inconsistencies and errors of other faiths and worldviews. The third, and what I believe is the most valuable, aim of apologetics is to encourage the saints, to shore up the church—just as the first concern that Moses had was to be able to demonstrate that God had called him to go to the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. Moses was an apologist to his own people.

The toughest three years of my life were my seminary years, because I was a zealous Christian studying in a citadel of unbelief. Every day, the precious doctrines of our faith were attacked viciously by my professors. One professor lashed out at a student in my class for coming to seminary with too many preconceived ideas, such as the deity of Christ. Another professor attacked a student when he preached on the cross. “How dare you preach the substitutionary atonement in this day and age!” the professor said. There was a hostility that was palpable in the air, and it was discouraging. All kinds of questions were raised, and even though I understood the philosophical assumptions behind the critics’ attacks, there were still many questions I was not equipped to answer. Intuitively I knew these men were wrong, but I couldn’t answer them.

At that time, there was basically one major seminary in the United States that was faithful to historic Reformed theology—Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. After classes were over at my seminary for the day, I used to read Westminster professors such as J. Gresham Machen, John Murray, Ed Stonehouse, Ed Young, and others. And they would give me answers to the questions I had. After a while, when I heard a question I wasn’t able to answer, I had confidence that God had raised up great men of learning who knew far more than I did and were able to answer these skeptical questions.

I said to the Ligonier staff many years ago: “The work that we do in apologetics may not be understood in all of the details by all the Christians who hear it. But if we can answer these questions and show the credibility of Christianity, the folks in the church will not be devastated by the voices of skepticism that surround them.” We’ve known students in our churches who’ve gone to college—even professedly “Christian” institutions—and had a crisis of faith. In many cases, they’ve hung on by their fingernails because they were being beaten down every day, ridiculed and scorned for their faith in Christ. What such kids need is the task of apologetics inside the church, to calm their fears. And it is not just college students, it is all of us who live in this fallen world. Because if Satan can’t take away our faith, he might be able to intimidate us to such a degree that we are paralyzed, that we are not quite as bold as we were before. And so, not everybody is called to be a professional apologist, but we are all called to study apologetic issues and to see that there are reasons for the hope that is within us.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

The Task of Apologetics — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Only Cure for Media Malpractice | The American Spectator

There has been much wailing and rending of garments over the weekend about the layoffs of some writers, editors, and other staff at BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Yahoo, AOL, and Gannett. Naturally, the affected employees are upset and inclined to blame malign forces beyond their control. Predictably, the primary villain to emerge is President Trump, who had the temerity to tweet that the real problem is the market: “Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn. Sadly, many others will follow. The people want the Truth!” This is not what these unhappy folks want to hear, but Trump is right.

Trump understands what many journalists refuse to acknowledge — the news business is a business — and the customers are dissatisfied. According to Gallup, the public now has less confidence in the news media than in banks, big business, organized religion, the medical system, the military, public schools, the presidency, the police, etc. This is true for all news sources, including television, newspapers, and the internet. Moreover, because the erosion of public confidence in the media has been a consistent, decades-long process, it cannot credibly be blamed on “attacks” by President Trump.

The erosion became noticeable during the Clinton era and it has continued unabated until the present. In 1993, for example, 46 percent of Americans had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in television news. By 2018 that figure had declined to 20 percent. During the same period of time, public trust in newspapers dropped to 23 percent. Internet news has never enjoyed high levels of public confidence, yet even its credibility has declined to 16 percent. So why are the customers unhappy with what the media are selling? Andrew Sullivan, of all people, uses the Covington Catholic story to spell it out:

How did this grotesque inversion of the truth become the central narrative for what seemed to be the entire class of elite journalists on Twitter? That’s the somewhat terrifying question.… Across most of the national media, led by the New York Timesand the Washington Post, the narrative had been set.… There’s a reason why, in the crucial battle for the legitimacy of a free press, Trump is still on the offensive. Our mainstream press has been poisoned by tribalism. My own trust in it is eroding. I’m far from the only one.

If a guy with Sullivan’s antipathy toward Trump can admit this, it is no rightwing conspiracy theory. This kind of partisan tribalism transcends mere bias. The latter has been a standard feature of the Fourth Estate since the time of the Founders. But the poison to which Sullivan refers is far more dangerous. The journalists of the establishment media see themselves not merely as people who approach politics from different first principles than do Donald Trump and his supporters. They see themselves as members of a superior tribe that is justified in taking any actionto protect its territory and members.

This is why they studiously ignored Hillary’s Clinton’s denunciation of more than 30 million voters as “deplorables,” yet labeled Trump a bigot when he called felons entering the country from Mexico “criminals.” It’s why they run “news” stories, like the BuzzFeed hoax, whose basic fact claims weren’t verified. It’s why they desperately sought a way to continue running the Covington Catholic story even after multiple videos demonstrated that there was no rational way to maintain their transparently false narrative and fraudulent depiction of the “victim.” President Trump and Nick Sandmann are not of the tribe.

Nor is the President’s wife, who has now won two large settlements from British “newspapers” that viciously slandered her simply because she is married to the “other.” The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the Daily Mail had to “pay damages to U.S. First Lady Melania Trump to settle two lawsuits brought in the U.S. and U.K. after it republished allegations that she ‘provided services beyond simply modeling’ when working as a model in the 1990s.” The first lady was paid $2.9 million in damages. Just last week, the Telegraph was also forced to pay damages and issue this humiliating apology:

[W]e have been asked to make clear that the article contained a number of false statements which we accept should not have been published.… We apologise unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations. As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs. Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.

Now imagine for a moment if either of these outlets had published similarly sleazy and fictitious tales about Michelle Obama. There would have been unbridled hysteria in the international media, accusations of racism against both publications by the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, and the rest of the usual suspects. However, because Mrs. Trump is married to a Republican President, any slander is acceptable. A few articles appeared about the lawsuits before they were settled, but “reporters” with the New York Times and other “news” publications were mostly interested in slut shaming.

So, what do we do with creatures like this? The First Amendment allows them to say and write absurd and malicious things. In those cases, the market will handle much of the problem, as it did when ESPN began injecting gratuitous political commentary into their programs and enough customers stopped watching to create financial problems. BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Yahoo, AOL, and Gannett have also responded to market forces and will soon banish a lot of “reporters” and “editors” to outer darkness by the end of January. These journalists could recover by reporting facts rather than propitiating the tribal gods.

But their tribal gods, Alinsky and Marx, are powerful. Their high priests, Bezos, Sulzberger, and Soon-Shiong, sacrifice the truth every day at the altars of the Washington Post, New York Times, and L.A. Times to evoke the chimeras you see on the “news.” And their acolytes, Zuckerberg, Page, and Brin control much of what you see on the internet, whether it purports to be news or entertainment. None of these people are impervious to market forces, but this is a very large market. The cure is to cut them off — all of them. But we would have to deny ourselves as well. Are we capable of doing that? Hmm…

A production still from the feature film Lysistrata (JamesMacMillan/Creative Commons)
— Read on spectator.org/the-only-cure-for-media-malpractice/