Daily Archives: February 2, 2019

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Here Is Love — The Thirsty Theologian

Here Is Love

imageHere is love, vast as the ocean,
loving-kindness as the flood,
when the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion
fountains opened deep and wide;
through the floodgates of God’s mercy
flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
poured incessant from above,
and heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
kissed a guilty world in love.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting
as I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and pow’r on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.

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



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

via In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Here Is Love — The Thirsty Theologian

February 2 How to Deal with Sin

Scripture Reading: Romans 6:15–23

Key Verse: Romans 6:22

Now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

You accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, recognizing that He paid the penalty for your sins on the cross. You know that you’re forgiven, cleansed, and righteous in God’s eyes. But still, a particular sin plagues you. You think it’s gone and the fight is over, but the temptation comes back. You cave in again at a moment of weakness or a time when your guard is down. Maybe you even wonder how God can still love you.

You’re not alone. Paul expressed the same sentiment of frustration and exasperation. He said, “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish” (Rom. 7:19 nasb). Paul knew that even though he was saved, the power of sin was still there, doing daily battle with his new nature.

What is the solution? First, you must see your sin, including recurring sin, for what it is—an offense against a holy God that can be removed only by the blood of Jesus. Confess the specific sin to Him, and refuse to become entangled by false guilt. You’re forgiven freely.

Remember that you belong to Him completely; nothing else has the power to hold you captive. Turn to the One who frees you from sin when temptation strikes, and you will win every time.

Heavenly Father, I confess my recurring sins as offenses against You. Please cleanse them by the blood of Jesus. Remove my guilt, and let me realize I am forgiven and set free. Nothing has the power to hold me captive.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 35). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

EChurch@Wartburg 2/2/18 — The Wartburg Watch

The Face of Grace by Wade Burleson

Welcome to a Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=1936&picture=tree-in-fog-at-nightTree in a fog

A Collect for Saturdays
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world
rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures:
Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties,
may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary,
and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest
promised to your people in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 Nicene Creed (From LCMS)

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only‐begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried.
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
whose kingdom will have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

Hosea 1 NIV

The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash[a] king of Israel:

Hosea’s Wife and Children
2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” 3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

4 Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.”

6 Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. 7 Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them—not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.”

8 After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. 9 Then the Lordsaid, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.[b]

10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ 11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.[c]


Wade Burleson: A Mind that Thinks “Never Seeking, Always Pursued” from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.


The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

via EChurch@Wartburg 2/2/18 —

How Can I Know God?

How can I know God? Paul’s Letter to the Romans tells the important true story about who we are, what we need, and what God has done for us. Paul writes that “There is none righteous not even one… there is none who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23) – separation from God. But God offers the incredible gift of eternal life by belief in Jesus (Romans 6:23). We can be justified (or declared by God to be righteous) by grace through the redemption in Christ (Romans 3:24), by belief in Him (Romans 3:28). We can know God in a personal way.

Being declared righteous (or justified) gives us peace with God (Romans 5:1), so we are no longer condemned by Him (Romans 8:1), and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:34-39) – so we are secure in Him forever! What a joy to know that one day we will be like Christ and will be glorified with Christ (Romans 8:28-30). Then we will know God face to face!

John records the words of Jesus telling the story this way: that we are in need of being spiritually reborn (John 3:7), and that by believing in Jesus we are granted eternal life (John 3:16, 6:47) and we can know God (John 17:3).

But what do we need to know about Jesus to believe in Him? Paul answers this in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, in what he calls the “gospel” (or good news): “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He adds that this gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). We need to understand that He died to pay for sin on our behalf (so we wouldn’t have to pay the un-payable debt ourselves), and we need to understand that He was qualified to pay that debt – His resurrection proved that He was capable of paying that price for us. Anyone can die, but only Christ could die for someone else, because He had no guilt for which He had to pay. So, we are saved by grace through believing in Jesus, and we can believe in Him (or put our trust in Him), understanding who He is and what He did for us.

Some might think that is the end of the story: believe in Him and have eternal life. But that is really only the beginning. Those who have believed in Him are new creations, and old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have new life in Him, and that new life is designed so that we can know Him – to have a close relationship with Him (John 17:3). We get to know Him better by studying the Bible (Colossians 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17), and we talk to Him in prayer (1 Peter 5:7, Colossians 3:16-17). The more we study what He has said, the better we can understand what is His design for our lives (Romans 12:1-2).

We can be very thankful for His grace – that God loved us (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4) enough to give us life by grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:4-10). We can be encouraged, knowing that life has meaning (Ephesians 2:10), and that we can know God and walk with Him, confidently facing the challenges of life.

—Dr. Christopher Cone, Th.D, Ph.D, Ph.D, serves as President of Calvary University and as Research Professor of Bible and Theology. He has formerly served in executive and faculty roles at Southern California Seminary as Chief Academic Officer and Research Professor of Bible and Theology, and at Tyndale Theological Seminary as President and Professor of Bible and Theology. He has served in several pastoral roles and has also held teaching positions at the University of North Texas, North Central Texas College, and Southern Bible Institute. He is the author and general editor of more than a dozen books, and his articles are published at http://www.drcone.com. Christopher lives in the Kansas City area with his wife Cathy, and their two daughters, Christiana, and Cara Grace.

Source: How Can I Know God?

Same Obama Appointed – Mueller Selected Judge Who Keeps Manafort in Solitary Confinement Threatens Gag Order on Roger Stone! — The Gateway Pundit

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointed liberal judge with a corrupt disposition and anger towards Americans who think differently than Obama, continues put her own distorted interpretation of reality ahead of the US Constitution.

She is now overseeing Roger Stone’s case and is threatening to put Stone under a gag order while she continues to abuse Paul Manafort by keeping him in solitary confinement.

We reported months ago and again in May 2018, that Obama appointed liberal activist Judge Amy Berman Jackson, was assigned to the most important court case in US history, the Manfort case in the Trump – Russia fake investigation.  Now she has been assigned to another Mueller case, the Roger Stone case.  With thousands of judges in the US, it is no accident that this corrupt judge is overseeing another dirty cop Mueller case –

As we’ve previously reported, Judge Jackson has a horrible far left record on the bench. In 2013 Judge Jackson rejected arguments from the Catholic Church that Obamacare’s requirements that employers provide cost free coverage to contraceptive services in spite of being contrary to their religious beliefs. Her judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court.

In 2017 Judge Jackson dismissed the wrongful death suit against Hillary Clinton filed by two of the families who lost loved ones in Benghazi. The families argued that Clinton had done little to help their sons and then lied to cover it up.

Then on January 19, 2018, Paul Manafort’s case was reassigned to Judge Jackson, a few weeks after being filed.

POLL: Should President Trump Pardon Roger Stone?

It is unknown why she was assigned to this case or by whom. What is clear is that with her atrocious and slanted record to date, the Deep State and the Mueller team certainly wanted Judge Jackson overseeing the Manafort case and this is supported by her record to date.

On January 3, 2018, we reported that Paul Manafort filed a suit against the “Deep State” DOJ (Jeff Sessions), Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein and Corrupt Investigator Robert Mueller that should have shut down Mueller’s corrupt investigation!

We reported for months on the many criminal and corrupt actions taken by numerous parties related to the Mueller investigation. Mueller never should have taken on the job in the first place due to numerous conflicts. He is best friends with fired leaker and former FBI Director James Comey. He met with Comey shortly before Comey testified with Congress and stratigized with him. For this alone he should have recused himself. The team Mueller built to attack President Trump and have him removed is all Deep State liberal attorneys and crooks. Mueller’s record in the past is scattered with actions that let the Clintons off scot-free on numerous occasions when they should have been put in jail.

We now know that the FBI had an investigation into the Clintons and moneys they received from Russia in return for giving Russia 20% of all US uranium. Prior to the Obama administration approving the very controversial Uranium One deal in 2010 handing Russia 20% of America’s Uranium, the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering in order to benefit Vladimir Putin. The FBI approved the deal anyway.  We also know that Rosenstein and Mueller were the ones who allowed the Uranium One deal to go forward. This was the real Russia collusion story involving the US government.

We know that Mueller’s team illegally obtained documents related to the Trump transition team and these emails were protected under attorney-client privilege. Mueller and his entire team should have resigned after this.

But perhaps one of the most damning aspects of the Mueller investigation is that it is not legal. The corrupt Mueller investigation is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. Mueller is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable.

FOX News Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett explained this in an article in 2017 that the entire Mueller investigation is lawless. Jarrett argued that:

… George Papadopoulos pled guilty to a single charge of making a false statement to the FBI. He was not charged with so-called “collusion” because no such crime exists in American statutory law, except in anti-trust matters. It has no application to elections and political campaigns.

It is not a crime to talk to a Russian. Not that the media would ever understand that. They have never managed to point to a single statute that makes “colluding” with a foreign government in a political campaign a crime, likely because it does not exist in the criminal codes.

Jarrett then turned his attention to Corrupt Hillary:

It is against the law for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to funnel millions of dollars to a British spy and to Russian sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump “dossier.” The Federal Election Campaign Act (52 USC 30101) prohibits foreign nationals and governments from giving or receiving money in U.S. campaigns. It also prohibits the filing of false or misleading campaign reports to hide the true purpose of the money (52 USC 30121). This is what Clinton and the DNC appear to have done.

Most often the penalty for violating this law is a fine, but in egregious cases, like this one, criminal prosecutions have been sought and convictions obtained. In this sense, it could be said that Hillary Clinton is the one who was conspiring with the Russians by breaking campaign finance laws with impunity.

But that’s not all. Damning new evidence appears to show that Clinton used her office as Secretary of State to confer benefits to Russia in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband. Secret recordings, intercepted emails, financial records, and eyewitness accounts allegedly show that Russian nuclear officials enriched the Clintons at the very time Hillary presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America’s uranium supply to Russia.

If this proves to be a corrupt “pay-to-play” scheme, it would constitute a myriad of crimes, including bribery (18 USC 201-b), mail fraud (18 USC 1341), and wire fraud (18 USC 1343). It might also qualify for racketeering charges (18 USC 1961-1968), if her foundation is determined to have been used as a criminal enterprise.

The US statutory law is clear and Jarrett points it out. He concluded with the following –

…Mueller’s appointment by Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein violated the special counsel law.

As I pointed out in a column last May, the law (28 CFR 600) grants legal authority to appoint a special counsel to investigate crimes. Only crimes. He has limited jurisdiction. Yet, in his order appointing Mueller as special counsel (Order No. 3915-2017), Rosenstein directed him to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” It fails to identify any specific crimes, likely because none are applicable.

To put it plainly, Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. He is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable.

Manafort sued the DOJ, Mueller and Rosenstein because what they are doing is not supported by US Law.

Manafort’s case also argued in paragraph 33 of its filing that the special counsel put in place by crooked Rosenstein gave crooked and criminal Mueller powers that are not permitted by law. Mueller was given the latitude to investigate whatever he wanted to and that is not permitted by the law. Manafort’s filing paragraph 33 stated –

But paragraph (b)(ii) of the Appointment Order purports to grant Mr. Mueller further authority to investigate and prosecute “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That grant of authority is not authorized by DOJ’s special counsel regulations. It is not a “specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” Nor is it an ancillary power to address efforts to impede or obstruct investigation under 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

Manafort’s case was solid but the judge was Obama’s corrupt liberal Judge Jackson. On April 27, 2018, Judge Jackson dismissed Manafort’s plea.

Judge Jackson is not only wrong in her judgements, she is also overly abusive to Manafort. She scolded Manafort and his team for a statement his spokesman issued maintaining his innocence and said the comments appeared to run afoul of the order she issued in November limiting public statements about the case by lawyers involved and by the defendants. Of course she says nothing about the many leaks from the corrupt Mueller team.

In May 2018 Judge Jackson addressed another argument from the Manafort team and basically threw it out as well. (There’s no way Manafort is getting a fair trial with Judge Jackson overseeing his case.)

A federal judge delivered a setback to President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Friday by refusing to throw out some of the criminal charges against him.

Manafort’s legal team had argued in a Washington, D.C., court that he was being charged twice for the same offense of lying to federal officials. Manafort maintained that the stacking up charges could negatively influence a jury against him, The Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, however, said in a ruling Friday that any harm or prejudice Manafort could face would be handled by giving the jury “proper” instructions, according to the AP.

The judge dismissed the motion from Manafort without prejudice, meaning he can revisit it after his trial in the case, which is scheduled for September, the AP noted.

The corrupt and criminal Mueller team worked with Obama Appointed Judge Amy Berman Jackson to place President Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort in solitary confinement. This was a conscious action to literally torture Manafort for working with Trump during the campaign.

Bernard Kerik at Newsmax wrote an excellent post on why Manafort was placed in solitary confinement. According to Kerik –

In a very small regional jail in Warsaw, Virginia, sits Bob Mueller’s big fish, Paul Manafort.

Mueller, the U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel appointed to investigate any possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, has charged Manafort with multiple counts of conspiracy, money laundering, tax crimes, false statements, and anything else they can wad into a big ball and throw up against the wall to see what sticks.

After his arrest, Manafort was placed on house arrest on a $10 million-dollar bail, until the government recently accused him of witness tampering and convinced U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson to revoke his bail, and remand him to jail pending trail.

To a casual observer, this would seem justified, however, to anyone that has been through it, or has witnessed the government’s selective and political prosecutions over the past few decades, they would tell you that it is all a part of a prosecutorial strategy.

Solitary confinement in prison lingo is also referred to as a special housing unit (SHU), or punitive segregation unit (PSU), and their individual cells are called a box, hole, or cage.

It’s basically a deathtrap. A 12′ x 8′ solid steel or concrete box with a metal bed, stainless steel sink and toilet, and if you’re lucky, a small concrete or metal writing table and stool. On the solid steel metal door, there may be a 4 x 24-inch window that gives the inmate a slight view of the outside corridor, that can be blackened out by the correction staff at a moment’s notice.

Kerik continues –

Where prison itself demeans, degrades, and demoralizes a defendant, solitary confinement goes far beyond the normal deprivation of freedom, where the strain of isolation can cause a prisoner to suffer from manic depression, hopelessness and despair, paranoia, anxiety and, quite often experience hallucinations. It can send suicidal prisoners over the edge, and incite juveniles to act out.

Pre-trial inmates can easily be manipulated into confessions and or guilty pleas, with promises or suggestions of being released from the box, and quite often they will do anything to be freed from the mentally and emotionally breaking cell, including lying, and pleading guilty to something they never did.

Again later in 2018, corrupt Judge Jackson –

…denied a request by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to suppress evidence seized by the FBI from his home as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

Manafort’s lawyers had sought to limit the scope of evidence that prosecutors can rely on for his upcoming September trial in Washington, D.C., claiming that the search warrant was overly broad and unconstitutional.

“Given the nature of the investigation, the warrant was not too broad in scope,” wrote Judge Amy Berman Jackson for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in her ruling.

No individual who disagrees with Obama will receive justice in Judge Jackson’s court.

Manafort’s only crime is he worked for and supported President Trump during his campaign for the Presidency. The Mueller team is a national travesty. It will go down in history as the most corrupt and criminal enterprise in US history. Corrupt Judge Jackson is part of this corrupt enterprise.

Attorney Sydney Powell discussed the many corrupt actions that Mueller’s number one in command, Andrew Weissmann has taken during his career. Thousands of individuals lost their jobs with former accounting firm Arthur Andersen and four individuals who worked for Merrill Lynch were sent to prison with at least one in solitary confinement.

Now the most corrupt judge in US history is assigned to the Mueller gang’s case against Roger Stone.  There is no way this assignment was random.  Stone will soon be put under the same gag order corrupt Judge Jackson put Paul Manafort under while Manafort continues to sit in solitary confinement.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson should be thrown in jail for her blatant abuse of the US judicial system in torturing and destroying those who worked with President Trump.  She should be held to the same criminal treatment that she has taken on too many people to date. Americans want justice!

via Same Obama Appointed – Mueller Selected Judge Who Keeps Manafort in Solitary Confinement Threatens Gag Order on Roger Stone! — The Gateway Pundit

HATE HOAX: Jussie Smollett’s Story Falls Apart – “Persons of Interest” Were Walking Away, Not in the Area – Jussie Was Carrying Sandwich When He Returned Home — The Gateway Pundit

The Jussie Smollett ‘assault’ story continues to fall apart before our eyes.

And, once again, the American media took the bait and ran with the unsubstantiated and ludicrous allegations by a vocal Trump-hating leftist.

Actor Jussie Smollett arrived in Chicago on Monday night. He was out to get fast food at 2 a.m.  when he was allegedly attacked by two Trump supporters in MAGA hats who recognized him in the freezing cold, beat him, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.

It was -15 to -30 degrees wind chill on Tuesday morning.

Smollett’s story keeps changing.

The manager later told police he overheard the assault.


Jessie Smollett said he was assaulted and suffered a cracked rib but condo surveillance video shows Smollett walking past security to the elevator without telling them he had just been attacked by thugs who “beat the hell out of him” and “broke his ribs.”

Via Michelle Malkin:

And Jessie Smollett says he was talking to his manager during the assault but he won’t turn over his phone.

Now this…
The Associated Press reported that police had released images of “persons of interest” from surveillance camera footage, but were unable to find footage of Smollett being attacked.

The persons depicted in the police release were said to be walking away from the scene prior to 1:45AM.

Jussie refused to turn his phone over.

Jussie claims he got his ass beat in -15 degree weather but at least they didn’t take his sandwich!

via HATE HOAX: Jussie Smollett’s Story Falls Apart – “Persons of Interest” Were Walking Away, Not in the Area – Jussie Was Carrying Sandwich When He Returned Home — The Gateway Pundit

Christians, Stay Away From Psychology! — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

I’ve previously posted many articles about the fraudulent and spiritually dangerous teachings and practices of psychology, especially a 7-part series in November 2011.  However, I just found a sheet in my file with reasons to not trust psychology and I felt I should post it here. I don’t remember if it is a collection I personally drew up or if I got it from somewhere else, but it’s a good list nevertheless.
Seven Reasons to NOT Trust Psychology:
1. It is not a genuine science.
2. It is relatively ineffective.
3. It is motivated more by money that by compassion.
4. Labels produce dysfunction rather than healing.
5. Psychology is incompetent in dealing with the inner person.
6. It cannot produce healing from the past.
7. It is incompatible with Christianity; it is a competing faith. Psychology by definition is the study of the soul. Without Christ, one cannot solve the problem.

via Christians, Stay Away From Psychology! — The Watchman’s Bagpipes

But Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:5-8). (emphasis added)

As my readers are aware, I really love gotquestions.org.  I have yet to find any topic from the Word covered by gotquestions with which I disagree.

What was it Like in the Days of Noah? (from gotquestions.org)

***I encourage the reader to click on the Scriptures in…

View original post 1,340 more words

February 2 A Lamp and a Light

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:105–112

Key verse: Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Have you ever hidden God’s Word in your heart? If you have memorized a particular verse or passage because it spoke to you in a special way or helped you deal with a certain burden or sin, then you have hidden God’s Word in your heart, just as the psalmist did.

Many Christians struggle with staying motivated to read the Bible. In their workaday world, wedging a quiet time into a manic schedule can be difficult. And once you’ve missed a day or two, the enemy will whisper his discouragement to keep you from your daily soul nourishment.

The Bible is your blueprint for life. The Bible can guide you through all circumstances. It can even keep you from the ravages of sin:

Your word I have hidden in my heart,

That I may not sin against You. (Ps. 119:11)

In the same chapter, Psalm 119:105 tells us that God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. This isn’t just a literary device for pretty writing. Why do you need a lamp or a light? Because the evil world system is full of darkness, and its temporary overseer is the Prince of Darkness. The only way you can see the right path and avoid the enemy’s pitfalls is to consistently carry a lamp.

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. There is a reason. Its main purpose is to hail the importance of God’s Word.

Thank You for Your Word, dear Lord. It is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 35). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 02/02/2019

OB/GYNs, Nurses Speak Out Against NY Abortion Law: It Is Never Necessary to Kill Baby for Health, Life of Mother   Jan 28, 2019 08:42 pm

Photo Credit: Alejando Heredia A number of pro-life obstetricians and nurses nationwide have spoken out against the New York Reproductive Health Act signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week, which not only codifies the “right” to an abortion, but also allows mothers to obtain an abortion past the 24-week mark and without limitation if the child in their…

Continue reading the story

Days After Enshrining ‘Right’ to Kill Preborn, NY Governor Signs Bill Making ‘Gender Identity’ Discrimination Illegal   Jan 26, 2019 11:15 am

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Just days after enshrining in New York law the “right” for mothers to have their unborn children murdered, and in some cases, even up until birth, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now signed two new bills into law: The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) adds “gender identity and expression” to existing prohibitions against discrimination in…

Continue reading the story

After Signing of Bill Allowing Abortion Up Until Birth, Group Pushes to Legalize Assisted Suicide in N.Y.   Jan 29, 2019 03:50 pm

Photo Credit: RawPixel/Pexels ALBANY, N.Y. — A week after New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill codifying the “right” to an abortion in state law—and allowing abortion up to birth in cases where the baby is not expected to survive or to “protect” the health or life of the mother—a group has again launched a campaign to legalize physician-assisted…

Continue reading the story

Idaho Lawmakers Draft Bill That Would Outlaw Abortion, Classify as Murder   Jan 31, 2019 06:59 pm

Photo Credit: Valerio Lo Bello BOISE, Idaho — Two state representatives in Idaho have drafted a bill that would remove an exemption for abortion from existing homicide statutes, and would consequently classify abortion as an act of murder. “Idaho code defines a fetus as a human and says killing a human is murder. Abortion is in contradiction to the…

Continue reading the story

Pennsylvania Library to Host ‘Drag Queen Story Fun Time’ Featuring Man Who Goes by Stage Name ‘Annie Christ’   Jan 30, 2019 11:43 pm

LANSDALE, Pa. — A prayer gathering and rally is scheduled for Saturday outside of a Pennsylvania library in response to a “Drag Queen Story Fun Time” for children that will feature a man who goes by the stage name “Annie Christ”—a play-on-words of Anti-Christ. “Trusted officials and library staff are promoting a foul-mouthed adult entertainer named ‘Annie…

Continue reading the story

Video: Virginia Lawmaker Admits Bill Would Allow Abortion Up to Birth Due to Mental Health of Mother   Jan 30, 2019 07:37 pm

RICHMOND, Va. — Video footage of a member of the Virginia House of Delegates admitting that an abortion bill she had proposed would allow an unborn baby to be killed up until birth should the pregnancy “impair the mental health of the woman” has generated outrage nationwide. Republicans in a state subcommittee stopped the bill from proceeding. Del. Kathy…

Continue reading the story

Vermont Bill Proclaims ‘Fundamental Right’ to Abortion, But No ‘Independent Rights’ for Unborn   Feb 01, 2019 09:37 pm

Photo Credit: Credit Tomasz Kobosz MONTPELIER, Vt. — Lawmakers in Vermont have proposed a bill that would codify abortion in state law as being a “fundamental right,” while also stating that ” fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.” Republican governor Phil Scott says that he is supportive on the concept of…

Continue reading the story

Muslim Police Officers, Others Beat and Arrest Christian in Kenya   Jan 27, 2019 05:36 pm

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Muslim policemen on Saturday, Jan. 19 beat and arrested a Christian man on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya in retaliation for refusing to recant Christianity, his relatives said. Accompanied by two Muslims of Somali descent who had attacked him previously, the policemen arrived at the home where Hassan (surname withheld for…

Continue reading the story

Trump Tweets Support for State Bills That Would Authorize Offering of Elective Bible Classes in Schools   Jan 31, 2019 03:57 pm

WASHINGTON — President Trump tweeted his support on Monday for recently-introduced state bills that would authorize the creation of elective Bible courses in public schools. “Numerous states introducing Bible literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!” he wrote. Trump’s remarks reportedly came after…

Continue reading the story

Restaurant to Pay $7K in Penalties, Legal Costs After Employee Tells Man Not to Use Women’s Restroom   Feb 01, 2019 02:58 pm

WASHINGTON — A restaurant in the nation’s capital has agreed to a settlement that includes the payment of $7,000 in penalties and legal costs after the attorney general of Washington, D.C. found the eatery guilty of discrimination against a man who identifies as a woman. According to a press release from the office of D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, the Cuba…

Continue reading the story

Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week · Feb. 2, 2019

The Macabre Leftist Culture of Death

Destroying all limits on abortion “rights” is the ultimate goal for Democrats.

Demo 2020 Frontrunner Vows to Destroy Private Health Care

ObamaCare was never the end goal; Democrats have always wanted single-payer.

Turns Out the Shutdown Didn’t Kill the Economy

“Job growth in January shattered expectations, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 304,000.”

Democrats Cut Jobs, Republicans Cut Taxes

It’s tax-filing season, which is going to be great news for millions of Americans.

Attacking Christian Schools

But they’re producing citizens who are compassionate, thoughtful, fair-minded, and principled.

Voter Fraud — Accuracy or Advocacy?

The real story about the 95,000 noncitizen voters discovered on the rolls in Texas.

Fossil-Fuel-Burning Elon Musk Finds an Enemy in WaPo

But other climate crusaders are allowed to do business as usual without fear of Leftmedia vilification.

Measles Outbreak Reveals Problem of Anti-Vaccination Trend

Individual freedom versus collective societal health has sparked a debate about the role of government.

Dems Know Nothing About the Appeal of Howard Schultz

The former Starbucks CEO is a loyal Democrat, but he’s a straight, white, wealthy male.

Dems Are ‘For Border Security,’ They Just Oppose Securing the Border

They should explain how refusing to fund a border barrier is an effective way to secure the border.

Quote Of The Week

“Please stop killing undocumented infants who are trying to cross the border of the birth canal in hopes of a better life. Every undocumented infant deserves a chance at the American dream.” —Matt Walsh

Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey Admits Twitter Colludes with Far Left Activist Groups and Governments Like Pakistan to Censor Users — The Gateway Pundit

Isn’t it time for Twitter to move its headquarters to Lahore?


We reported in July 2018 that Twitter has long been accused of censoring conservatives.  Twitter was indeed censoring and shadowbanning the President of the United States, Donald Trump’s twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.

Twitter is still at it!

In July 2018 we reported that a study by the leftist website VICE News found that Twitter is censoring top pro-Trump lawmakers.   Twitter is targeting pro-Trump Republican lawmakers Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and John Ratcliffe with the same shadowbanning technique.

Twitter is also censoring prominent pro-Trump accounts including: Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, Paul Joseph Watson, TGP’s Jim Hoft, TGP’s Cassandra Fairbanks and Laura Loomer among others.

Last year Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told the Daily Caller Foundation on Wednesday he is considering filing a FEC complaint over Twitter’s preferential treatment of liberals versus its censoring of prominent conservatives.

In July there was even video proof that President Trump’s Twitter page is being censored.

Gateway Pundit contributor Cristina Laila received a notice in 2018 that her tweet violated Pakistani law.
What the h*ll?

The President has over 57 million followers on his account but rarely does he receive more than 20,000 retweets or 100,000 likes on his tweets.

On Friday Twitter founder Jack Dorsey admitted to Joe Rogan that Twitter colludes with governments and far left activist groups to censor users.

We already knew Twitter was working with CAIR to silence critics of radical Islam.

via Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey Admits Twitter Colludes with Far Left Activist Groups and Governments Like Pakistan to Censor Users — The Gateway Pundit

Dr. Walter Bradley lectures on scientific evidence the creation and design of the universe


Dr. Walter L. Bradley Dr. Walter L. Bradley

This lecture is special to me, because I bought a VHS tape of it just after I started working full-time, and watched it a million times. A lot of people come to their convictions about God’s existence because of parents or church or intuitions, but for me it’s all about the scientific evidence. This lecture changed my life. I wish more people taught their children about this evidence! This lecture was delivered at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

About the speaker:

Dr. Bradley received his B.S. in Engineering Science and his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Bradley taught for eight years at the Colorado School of Mines before assuming a position as Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU) in 1976.

During his 24 years at Texas A&M, Dr. Bradley served as Head of the Department…

View original post 1,071 more words

You Need a Better God?

Unfathomable Grace

The Egyptians take great pride in believing themselves to be the sovereign superpower of the world. Their empire is vast, their military is dominant, their economy is prosperous, and oh how they love their castles, houses, tombs, and walls. Most of those who rule and live in Egypt are pretty pleased with their current state. However, Pharaoh and his court are currently in the process of being re-educated, and in the process they are discovering they have over-estimated their state sovereignty. They are at war with a King and Kingdom with whom they cannot compete.

Not only are the Egyptians over-estimating their state sovereignty, they are also over-estimating the power and sovereignty of their gods. The Egyptians are a devoutly religious people. In their daily lives, they worship dozens of deities — some whom they fear and others whom they trust. They worship Hapi, Osiris, Nu, Khnum, and Isis; these…

View original post 984 more words

February 2, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Sublime Riches of Christ’s Love

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (13:1)

The Feast of the Passover was the annual Jewish festival commemorating God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. The name derived from the angel of death’s passing over the houses of the Hebrews when he killed the firstborn of the Egyptians (Ex. 12:7, 12–13). This Passover would be the last divinely authorized one. From this point on there would be a new memorial—not one recalling the lambs’ blood on the doorposts but the blood of the Lamb of God (1:29, 36; Rev. 5:6; 6:9; 7:10, 17; 14:4, 10; 15:3; 19:9; 22:1, 3) “poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). The Last Supper celebrated by the Lord with His disciples gave Him opportunity to use the elements of the Passover meal to form a transition from the old covenant Passover to the new covenant Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23–26).

An apparent discrepancy exists at this point between John’s chronology and that of the Synoptic Gospels. The latter clearly state that the Last Supper was a Passover meal (Matt. 26:17–19; Mark 14:12–16; Luke 22:7–15). John 18:28, however, records that the Jewish leaders “led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early [Friday morning; the day of the crucifixion]; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.” Further, according to John 19:14 Jesus’ trial and crucifixion took place on “the day of preparation for the Passover,” not the day after the eating of the Passover meal. Thus the Lord was crucified at the same time that the Passover lambs were being killed (cf. 19:36; Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12). The challenge, then, is to explain how Jesus and the disciples could have eaten the Passover meal on Thursday evening if the Jewish leaders had not yet eaten it on Friday morning.

The answer lies in understanding that the Jews had two different methods of reckoning days. Ancient Jewish sources suggest that Jews from the northern part of Israel (including Galilee, where Jesus and most of the Twelve were from) counted days from sunrise to sunrise. Most of the Pharisees apparently also used that method. On the other hand, the Jews in the southern region of Israel counted days from sunset to sunset. That would include the Sadducees (who of necessity lived in the vicinity of Jerusalem because of their connection with the temple). Though no doubt confusing at times, that dual method of reckoning days would have had practical benefits at Passover, allowing the feast to be celebrated on two consecutive days. That would have eased the crowded conditions in Jerusalem, especially in the temple, where all the lambs would not have had to be killed on the same day.

Thus, there is no contradiction between John and the Synoptics. Being Galileans, Jesus and the Twelve would have viewed Passover day as running from sunrise on Thursday to sunrise on Friday. They would have eaten their Passover meal on Thursday evening. The Jewish leaders (the Sadducees), however, would have viewed it as beginning at sunset on Thursday and ending at sunset on Friday. They would have eaten their Passover meal on Friday evening. (For a further discussion of this issue, see Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977], 74–90; Robert L. Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry, A Harmony of the Gospels [Chicago: Moody, 1979], 321–22).

John repeated Jesus’ declaration that His hour had come (12:23); no longer was it future as in 2:4; 7:30; and 8:20 (cf. 7:6, 8). The Lord knew that the time had come for Him to depart out of this world to the Father. He was in full control of everything that was happening, and was never a victim of circumstances, or of men’s evil schemes.

Though He yearned to return to His full glory in the Father’s presence (cf. 17:5), Jesus never wavered in His focus on loving His own (cf. 10:29) who were in the world. The Lord loved them to the end. Telos (end) means “perfection,” or “completeness,” and signifies that Jesus loves His own with the fullest measure of love. There is a general sense in which God loves the world (John 3:16) of lost sinners (Matt. 5:44–45; Titus 3:4), but He loves His own with a perfect, eternal, redeeming love—a love “which surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). The words of the hymn writer capture the Lord’s marvelous love for believers:

Loved with everlasting love,

Led by grace that love to know;

Gracious Spirit from above,

Thou hast taught me it is so!

O, this full and perfect peace!

O, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease,

I am His, and He is mine.

In Romans 8:35–39 Paul exulted,

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Even the imminent arrival of His own death could not separate His disciples from His love. That reality becomes even more wonderfully clear in His prayer in the seventeenth chapter.[1]

Love Letters from the Lord

John 13:1

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

In 2 Timothy 3:16–17 the apostle Paul writes that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” But having acknowledged that this is indeed true, that all Scripture is God’s gift to us and is of inestimable value, we nevertheless recognize that for one reason or another some sections of the Bible are particularly valuable and are therefore especially prized and loved by God’s people. We come to such a section in this volume.

To many persons the Gospel of John, as the most intense and spiritual of the Gospels, is the “holy place” of Scripture. But if this is so, then these chapters, 13 through 17, which contain the final discourses of the Lord with his disciples just before his crucifixion and which conclude with his great high-priestly prayer on their behalf, are the “holy of holies.” Nowhere in the entire Bible does the child of God feel that he is walking on more holy ground. For here, more than in many other portions of Scripture, he hears the voice of Jesus leading him into a greater understanding of his new place before the Father and consequently also of his new position in the world. These chapters contain teaching about heaven, the new commandment, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the mutual union of Christ with the disciples and the disciples with Christ, and prayer.

To what can we compare these chapters? They can only be compared to love letters, in this case love letters from the Lord. For here the One who is the great and faithful Bridegroom of the church speaks to those who are themselves the church and assures them of his special and enduring love for them.

Not for Everyone

This means that the truths contained in these chapters are not for everyone. They are for the Lord’s people only. We have one evidence for this in the fact that they were spoken only to the Twelve in the upper room and not more widely. This irritates some people, of course, for it suggests partiality on the part of God, and in their view partiality is both unjust and despicable. But such people do not recognize the nature of the partiality that is found here, nor do they recognize how much they practice partiality themselves, in some cases even with justification.

We can immediately see the justice of these chapters not being for everyone if we simply extend the idea of these being the Lord’s love letters. What would we think of a man who, for instance, is married to one woman but who writes intimate and endearing letters to many other women whom he knows? We would call that man a philanderer, a hypocrite, a liar. We recognize at once that while he may rightly have friendly contacts with many persons, including other women, nevertheless the most intimate things, those that belong in a marriage, deserve to be spoken only between husband and wife. Marriage is a private relationship. Consequently, it must be partial. In the same way Jesus has taken unto himself a special people, the church. These are his bride. It is entirely fitting and even expected that he should have special, loving, and touchingly tender words for them only.

Is this partiality? Not at all! It is grace. For it is God, of his own sovereign will, choosing those whom he thus determines to save and bless abundantly. This has nothing to do with any supposed merit in God’s people, for there is none. It is simply that when men had rejected God, choosing to go their own way, God out of infinite mercy still elected to save and bless some. If he had not done so, not one soul would have been saved. That he has done so, is tremendous.

The World

It is not surprising in view of the special nature of these chapters that the verse that begins them makes the contrast between those who are Christ’s own and those who are not, sharper than any other comparable passage in the Word of God. It is true that Paul does much the same thing in Romans 9 and 10. A similar contrast is found in Ephesians 2, and many times in the Old Testament. But nowhere is the contrast clearer and the categories involved more absolute. For here, in the first verse of John 13, we are at once introduced to those who are Christ’s own, whom he loved faithfully until the end.

The verse says, “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

Who are Christ’s own? The answer has already been given many times in John’s Gospel. They are those who have been given to Christ by the Father (6:37, 44). They are those for whom Christ was about to die (10:11, 15). They are those who were born, “not of natural descent, nor of human decision or of a husband’s will, but born of God” (1:13). They are those to whom Christ gives eternal life, who shall never perish, and who therefore shall never be plucked from Christ’s hand (10:28–29). What is the world? The world is the human race out of which Christ called them.

It is worth considering this term “world,” for, as we pointed out in one of the studies toward the end of John 4, this is one of the most important concepts in the fourth Gospel. There are several Greek words that are translated “world” in our Bibles, but the one we are interested in is kosmos, from which we get our word “cosmopolitan.” Kosmos means “world.” Politēs means “citizen.” So a citizen of the world is a cosmopolitan. The Greek word kosmos occurs 185 times in the New Testament. But what is extremely interesting is that of these 185 occurrences of the word kosmos, 105 are in the books traditionally ascribed to John. There are 78 occurrences of the word in the Gospel, 24 in the Epistles, and 3 in the Book of Revelation. Moreover, the importance of the word in John’s Gospel is made even more obvious when we compare its 78 occurrences to the 8 times it occurs in Matthew and the merely 3 times each it occurs in Mark and Luke.

What does kosmos mean? The answer to the question is a complex one, for the word is old and therefore in time has acquired multiple meanings. The word originally meant “an ornament,” that is, a decorative object, the unique feature of which was its fine proportions or beauty. This meaning is preserved in our English word “cosmetic,” though in this case the meaning has shifted from what is beautiful in itself to that which is used to improve features that perhaps are not. In time the word was applied to the universe or world globe, as the well-proportioned ornament of God. This meaning occurs in John 1:9 and 10, which tell us that the Light “that gives light to every man was coming into the world” and that “the world was made by him.” Even here another meaning is also present, however, for verse 10 goes on to say that “the world [that is, the people in the world] did not recognize him.”

Since kosmos was used to describe the “world globe,” it was natural that it next came to denote “the world of human beings.” In this second sense we might also translate it as “the human race.” It is said of the world in this sense that God loved it and gave his only Son for it (John 3:16), that it is the object of his saving purposes (John 3:17), that Jesus died for it (1 John 2:2), that he is its Savior (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). It must be understood of this use of the word that it refers to the human race collectively and not necessarily to each individual, otherwise the verses cited would imply a universal salvation of all men that is clearly repudiated elsewhere.

The third and major use of the word kosmos is the one that occurs in our text and that comes to dominate the remaining chapters of John’s Gospel. This usage also signifies the world of human beings, but with the additional thought that this world stands in rebellion against God. At times we may translate this use of kosmos as “the world system,” including the world’s values, pleasures, pastimes, and aspirations. It is said of the world in this sense that the world does not know God (1 John 3:1), that it rejected Jesus (John 1:10–11), and consequently that it also does not know and therefore also hates his followers (15:18–21; 17:14). This sense of the word is involved in every instance in which Christ’s own are distinguished from the world. For example, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (15:18). Or again, “I have given them your words and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world” (17:14).

In summary we may say that, in the first sense, Christians are to receive the world and be thankful for it, for it is God’s gift. In the second sense, they are to love the world and seek to evangelize it, for God also loves the human race. In the third sense, however, believers in Christ are to reject the world and then by God’s grace also order their lives according to an entirely different set of values.

All Things for Some

The difference between God’s relationship to the world and his relationship to his own has sometimes been stated in this way. God has done some things for all men, that is, everyone in the world. He has created them, sustained them, kept them from the worst that is possible, even tolerated them and thus kept them for a time from hell. On the other hand, God has done all things for some men. These are his own. They do not lack and will never lack any good thing.

What has God done for his own? In one sense the chapters we are to study are themselves the full answer to that question. The answer will come in fullness only as we study them. But as we stand at the threshold of these chapters cannot avoid at least a partial answer by way of expectation. The answer has at least six parts.

  1. The first and greatest teaching of these chapters is that Jesus specifically loved those who are his own. This is how the section begins: “Jesus … having loved his own who were in the world … showed them the full extent of his love” (13:1). It ends with: “I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (17:26). It is not necessary to say at this point that there is no love of God for the world in general. There is a sense in which the love of God extends to all people. It is only necessary to say that the love of which we are speaking here is a special, saving love as a result of which those who are Christ’s own become his own and are kept by him. For having loved them, “he showed [and continues to show] them the full extent of his love.”

While this undoubtedly gives some special privileges to those who are his own, it also gives them equally special obligations. For if they are loved, they also are to love. In this lies the basis for Christ’s new commandment. “A new command I give unto you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (13:34).

  1. The second great teaching of these chapters is that Jesus has gone to prepare a place known as heaven for his people. We are not told a great deal about heaven or what awaits us there. But we are told that in it there is a place for us who believe in him, and we are also promised that he will return one day to guarantee that we get there. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am” (14:2–3). Even if heaven did not exist, the love of the Lord that we have come to experience here on earth would be wonderful in itself. But, in addition to this, there is heaven. In this promise we learn that the fact that the Lord loved his own “to the end” does not merely mean “to the end of Christ’s life” or even “to the end of our lives.” Rather, it means “to the very end,” “to the uttermost.” His love for us will never end; it is eternal.
  2. During these last discourses, the disciples were naturally troubled, for they had been told that the Lord, whom they loved, would be leaving them in order to return to the Father. In this context, Jesus’ words about heaven were a source of great comfort. But there is another source also, and in this is found the third of Jesus’ teachings. He tells the disciples, and therefore also tells us, that he is going to send a replacement for himself; that replacement, the Holy Spirit, would come and dwell within those who belong to Jesus. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him; for he dwells with you, and will be in you” (14:16–17).

It is also the work of the Holy Spirit to lead the apostles into all the truth concerning Jesus, bringing it to their remembrance (14:26; 16:13), and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (16:8–11).

  1. The fourth teaching of the Lord concerns his commissioning of the disciples to a special work, indeed a different work in each individual case. We find it in the fifteenth chapter. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (v. 16). According to this verse, each of us has a spiritually fruitful work to perform. The promise of the Lord is that all we will accomplish in this area will remain.
  2. We are told in these chapters that the Lord intercedes or prays for us. Here the seventeenth chapter is itself one long example. It is encouraging; for in these verses the Lord prays that his own might be kept from the evil that is in the world, that they might have his joy fulfilled in them, that they might be sanctified by means of the Word of God, that they might be one, and finally that they might be with Jesus in heaven. Can God turn his back on a request made by his own dear Son? Of course not! We rightly sing,

The Father hears him pray,

His dear anointed One;

He cannot turn away

The presence of his Son.

So these requests are already fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled. They carry the same weight as direct promises. We shall be kept from evil. We shall have joy. We shall be one. We shall be with Jesus in heaven.

  1. Finally, just as Jesus has prayed for us, so he invites us to pray, describing this as a new and blessed privilege. “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (16:23–24).

These are the themes that are developed fully in this important fourth section of John’s Gospel. Perhaps the best comment about them is that of Paul in the great eighth chapter of Romans: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (vv. 31–32). God has indeed given us all things. But to whom much has been given, much shall also be required. May God use our study of John 13–17 to help us become increasingly his obedient and therefore also his exceedingly joyous children.

Having Loved, He Loved

John 13:1

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

In the previous study of the first verse of John 13 we saw that, while God has done some things for all men, he has, in addition to this, done all things for some. This is a tremendous truth. But, like all great truths, it almost cries out for an explanation. Fortunately the explanation is in our text also. For having distinguished between those who are of the world and those who are Christ’s own, the verse goes on to say, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he showed them the full extent of his love.” Love is the explanation. Jesus loves his own; he loves us. This is the entire explanation of why God has done all things for those who are his spiritual people.

No Explanation

When we say this, however, we must immediately recognize that love itself is unexplainable. For if we go on to ask, “But why did God love us? Why does Jesus love us?” there is just no answer to be given.

Obviously we are not loved because we are lovable, for we are not. It is true that some of us may be lovable to some others of us, but this is only when we look at the matter from a human perspective. From God’s perspective there is nothing in us to make us even remotely desirable. He is holy; we are unholy. He is just; we are unjust. He is loving; we are filled with hatred and all forms of sin. In short, we are sinful and in willful rebellion against him. Yet he loves us. In fact, this is so great a marvel that God even uses it to commend his love to us. He says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6–8).

God has not loved us because we first loved him; he is not merely returning our love. We did not love him. On this point the apostle John writes clearly, “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

Again, the Lord did not love us because of anything that we could do for him, for we had nothing to offer. He does not need praise; the angels praise him. He does not even need spiritual children; for, as Jesus said, he is able of stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even our numbers are not an asset. So why does God love us? The only answer is the one he gave Moses concerning the children of Israel. “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers” (Deut. 7:7–8). The reason God loves us is that he loves us. Beyond that, his love is unexplainable. It is without reason, at least without reason known to us.

Empirical Data

If we were to stop at this point, I suppose that in that thought alone we would have enough to keep us pondering on the love of God for eternity. But there is more. For the verse that tells us that God loves without reason also tells us that God loves without variation and without end. His love is eternal. The verse says, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he showed them the full extent of his love.

We want to come back to that phrase, “the full extent.” But before we do so we need to see the reasons God gives why we should believe that his love is eternal. We cannot see into the future; therefore, rationally at least, the future lends no evidence. Why should we believe in this everlasting quality of God’s love? The answer is an empirical one. It has to do with observable data, particularly data from the past and present. First, there is the past: “Having loved.” Second, there is the present: “he showed.” This second occurrence is a past tense (an aorist); but the sense is present, for it refers to what Jesus was then doing and was about to do.

In other words, the verse calls our attention to the observable past and present love of Christ, and it is asking us to reason on that basis. Is not love his nature? Will not he who loved in the past and loves in the present also love in the future? If he loved his disciples to the end, will he not love us similarly?

Past and Present Love

What do we know about the love of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ in the past? Obviously that is a big question, the answer to which can never fully be given. But we can suggest some areas in which the answer can be seen.

First, we can see the love of God in the creation of ourselves and other human beings. We refer at this point, not merely to the fact of our existence, for our existence in itself might prove nothing. We refer rather to the fact that in creating us God created us with a spiritual vacuum within that can be filled only by himself. In other words, he created us, not to a meaningless existence but to an existence that is the highest existence possible for any created object, namely, communion with the One who created it. So it is as Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” The fact that we can know God and are restless until we do know him is proof of his love.

Second, God’s love is seen in the fact that he, by the Holy Spirit’s regenerating power has called us to himself. We have seen this several times in John’s Gospel. We are told, on the one hand, that no one can come to God unless God draws him. In this fatal inability we measure the extent of our depravity. But then, on the other hand, we are told that God does draw some to himself and that none of these can be lost. In this we see God’s love, for apart from the sweet drawing of that love, no one would ever come to him.

Third, we see God’s love in Jesus’ death for his people. This, if you will, completes the trinitarian formula, for in creation we see the love of the Father. In the effectual calling of God’s people we see the love of the Holy Spirit. In the act of redemption we see the love of Jesus Christ, the Son.

The love of the Lord Jesus Christ in dying for us may be illustrated by the following story as told by Harry Ironside. Many years ago, Czar Nicholas I of Russia knew a young man for whom he cared a great deal. He was the son of a good friend of his. Because of his interest in this young man, Nicholas had him assigned to a border fortress of the Russian army and caused him to be given charge of the money used for paying the soldiers. The young man started well. But he fell into bad habits, took to gambling, and eventually gambled away not only his own wealth but also a great fortune taken from government funds. He had taken just a few rubles at a time, but these had mounted up and become prodigious. One day he received notice that on the following day an official would be coming to inspect the books. The young man knew he was in trouble. So he took out the records to find out how great his debt was. He totaled the amount. Then he went to the safe, took out his own small amount of money, and counted it carefully. He subtracted the lesser from the greater. The debt was astronomical. As he sat looking at the final figure, the young officer picked up his pen and wrote in large letters, “A great debt; who can pay?” Then, because he did not see how he could face the terrible dishonor the next day held, he determined to kill himself with his revolver at the stroke of twelve.

The night was warm and drowsy. So as he waited for the midnight hour, in spite of himself the young man’s head dropped lower and lower and he fell asleep.

It happened that Nicholas, who was in the habit of sometimes putting on the uniform of a common soldier and visiting the troops to see how they were getting on, did so this night, coming around to the halls of the very fortress in which the young officer was sleeping. Most of the lights were out, as they should have been. But when Nicholas got to the door of this one room he noticed a light shining under it. He knocked. No answer! He tried the latch and opened the door. There was the young officer, whom he recognized, asleep. He saw also the books and the money. The whole thing became clear in a moment. His first thought was to awaken his young friend and place him under arrest. But as he read the young man’s note, his heart went out to him. “A great debt; who can pay?” Moved by a generous impulse, the Czar leaned over, picked up the pen that had fallen from the hand of the sleeping officer, wrote just one word, and tiptoed out.

For an hour or so the young man slept. Then he suddenly awoke and, seeing that it was long past midnight, reached for the revolver. As he did so his eye caught sight of his note—“A great debt; who can pay?”—and under it the one word that had not been there before: “Nicholas.” He was astonished. Dropping his gun, he raced to the files where the signature of the Czar was available. He pulled this out and carefully compared it with the signature on his note. It was the real signature. He said to himself, “The Czar has been here tonight and knows all my guilt; yet he has undertaken to pay my debt; I need not die.” So instead of taking his life, he rested upon the word of Nicholas and was not surprised when, early the next morning, a messenger came from the palace bearing precisely the amount of money needed to satisfy the deficit. Later, when the inspector came, everything was found to be in order.

Thus did Jesus love us and pay our great debt. We are sinners. There is no possible way for us to atone for that sin. But Jesus has paid that debt. He has signed his name to our bankrupt account. No wonder we sing:

Jesus paid it all,

All to him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain—

He washed it white as snow.

That is the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for us as seen in the past. It is that to which God points us and directs our eyes. Thus has he loved. Who then can doubt that he will continue to love us unto the end?

Full Extent … Unto the End

The phrase “the full extent” brings us to the second half of our text. The King James Version says “unto the end.” It raises the question: Unto the end of what? There are several answers.

First, it means “unto the end of the earthly life of Jesus Christ.” Even the context suggests this, for the verse is given to us at the start of those chapters that tell of Christ’s final ministry to his disciples prior to his crucifixion. We must admit that we are not always appreciative of this, for we take Christ’s love for granted. Yet, if we would think of the possible hindrances to love both on his part and on the part of the disciples during these days, we would be more sensitive.

On his part there were great hindrances, as the verse indicates. It says, “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father,” thereby indicating that Jesus knew clearly that he was about to die. So if we were to read that in those moments his thoughts turned from his own to himself so that, at least for a time, he ceased to love them or think about them, who could blame him? Yet knowledge of his impending death did not deter him. There were also hindrances on the part of the disciples. They were worldly, for instance. He thought spiritually. But every time he tried to teach them spiritual things, they interpreted his words on a wordly level. Moreover, they were dull. He explained great truths to them, and they did not understand. In fact, he had been explaining that he was to leave them to go to the Father, but they could not understand even this. Not one of the disciples was a fit companion for the Lord Jesus Christ. So if he had said to himself, “I have thought about these men long enough; I have done everything for them that I know how to do; it is time I thought of myself,” who could blame him? No one! Yet he loved them, fully and unselfishly, to the end of his life.

Second, he obviously also loved them to the end of their lives. True, he was to be the first to die. He died before Peter, James, John, or any of the others. But then he rose, and as the risen Lord he returned to bestow his own Spirit upon the disciples and then guide them and preserve them until the time when each would go to be with him in glory.

Finally, the phrase also means “to the very end,” that is, “to the end of ends” or “without end,” “forever.” In Greek the word is telos, which literally means “perfection.” Jesus, having loved his own who were in the world, loved them perfectly. So we sing:

The love of God is greater far

Than tongue or pen can ever tell;

It goes beyond the highest star,

And reaches to the lowest hell.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

Such love is indeed forever. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loves them to the end.

Love Others, Love Him

How shall we apply these truths? On the one hand, we must apply them to believers, and, on the other, to those who are not yet believers. The word to those who believe on Christ is this: If this is the way in which God has loved us, then should we not love one another, and also fervently love him? We will never in this life love as he loved, but we can begin to try to love as he loved—unselfishly, without discrimination, without wavering. We should also serve him. For, as the hymn declares:

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Again, there is a word for those who have still not become true Christians. If you are not yet a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, let me ask you a question that flows from everything I have been saying. If God loves like this, how can you afford to be without such a great love? There is no love on earth like it. Your husband or wife will not love you like this. Your children and parents will not love you like this. Your neighbors and friends will not love you like this. Only Jesus Christ loves with a perfect and everlasting love! Moreover, one day you must stand before the judgment seat of his Father, whom you have offended by your ungodly conduct and by your rejection of his great grace. What will you do in that day—if you refuse the love of the Lord Jesus Christ? What will you do without having him to stand by you and say, “This is one of my own; this is one for whom I died; this is one whose debt I undertook to pay; this is one I love unto the end”? Without such love you will be lost forever. Fortunately, the day of God’s grace is still present; you may yet come to Jesus Christ as your Savior.[2]

Love to the End

John 13:1

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

John 13:1 stands at the very center of the teaching of John’s Gospel. Not only does it begin the second half of the Gospel, but it looks both backward to what John has written and forward to what is yet to come. John’s key statement is that “having loved his own who were in the world, [Jesus] loved them to the end.”

For many Christians, the Gospel of John is the spiritual high point of the entire Bible, which is why John is often recommended as a first book to read for those new to Scripture. Within John, the chapters that present Jesus’ final teaching to his disciples, his arrest, and his crucifixion are especially precious to believers’ hearts. F. W. Krummacher describes the events of the second half of John in terms of the Israelites’ entry into the temple sanctuary. First, there is the outer court, which describes Jesus’ Last Supper teaching to the disciples; then comes the Holy Place, the outer room with its sacred objects, which Krummacher compares to the account of Jesus’ arrest and trial; and finally we enter the Most Holy Place, the inner sanctum where God’s glory dwelt, which he compares to John’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The first section of John’s Book of the Passion presents material found nowhere else in the New Testament. It is now the night of the Passover Feast, at which Jesus would celebrate his Last Supper with the disciples. This momentous evening, the eve of the cross, is unfolded in John chapters 13–17. Chapter 13 relates Jesus’ symbolic act of washing the disciples’ feet. It is followed by a lengthy instruction dealing with Jesus’ coming departure and God’s provision in his absence, from the end of chapter 13 through chapter 16. Chapter 17 concludes the section with Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, in which he commits his disciples into the care of the heavenly Father. In all these events, Jesus was motivated by the knowledge “that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (John 13:1). Of this matchless material, James Montgomery Boice writes:

Nowhere in the entire Bible does the child of God feel that he is walking on more holy ground. For here, more than in many other portions of Scripture, he hears the voice of Jesus leading him into a greater understanding of his new place before the Father and consequently also of his new position in the world. These chapters contain teaching about heaven, the new commandment, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the mutual union of Christ with the disciples and the disciples with Christ, and prayer.

Christ’s Particular Love for His Own

One reason that these chapters are precious to believers is that they highlight Jesus’ particular love for “his own.” This touches on a truth emphasized throughout John’s Gospel, that there is a people set apart by God the Father for his Son and that these elect people are the objects of a special and saving love. Not that Christ loved only his own. Christ’s love for the whole world is strikingly revealed in John. But there is a difference between Christ’s love for the world and his love for his own, just as there is a difference in a man’s love for his bride compared to his love for others. Boice explains this difference: “God has done some things for all men … [but] on the other hand, God has done all things for some men.” It is Christ’s all-saving love for those who are “his own” that is the concern of these chapters.

How did believers come to be Christ’s own? The first answer is that Christ chose them. Jesus says in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” Charles Spurgeon comments: “A man may surely choose his own wife, and Christ chose his own spouse, he chose his own church; and while the Scripture stands, that doctrine can never be eradicated from it.” Having chosen us in his gracious love, Jesus made us his own by purchase, redeeming us from our sins through the blood of his cross. Therefore, Paul writes to believers: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

A second answer is that believers are Christ’s own because we were given to him by the heavenly Father. Jesus said: “All that the Father gives me will come to me.… And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:37, 39). This presents the biblical doctrine of election, which states that in eternity past God predestined particular people to be joined to his Son for their salvation and his glory. Paul writes that God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4). Therefore, Jesus prays in his High Priestly Prayer: “Yours they were, and you gave them to me” (John 17:6).

The first and second reasons why Christians are “Christ’s own” center on God the Son and God the Father. It makes sense that the third reason focuses on God the Spirit. We are Christ’s own because we were born again as children of God through the Holy Spirit. The effect of this is that we have taken Christ for our own and given ourselves to him, so that for us life holds no more glittering crown than to be called “Christ’s own.” Spurgeon exults:

The fact that you are truly Christ’s is the fountain of innumerable pleasures and blessings to your heart. Jesus calls us “his own”—his own sheep, his own disciples, his own friends, his own brethren, the members of his body. What a title for us to wear, “His own”!… Thus he distinguishes us from the rest of mankind, and sets us apart unto himself. “My name shall be named on them,” says he[;] … surely, this is the highest honour that can be put upon us even in the last great day.

Knowing that we are Christ’s own is even more glorious when we realize how great is the love of Christ for his own. This is the theme of these chapters: “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

The love of Christ for us is mirrored in the love he showed to his first disciples, despite their great unworthiness. Consider these men whom Christ loved! How often they had been foolish, wayward, and unbelieving! All this would be especially revealed in the hour of the cross. Yet, observes J. C. Ryle, “knowing perfectly well that they were about to forsake Him shamefully in a very few hours, in full view of their approaching display of weakness and infirmity, our blessed Master did not cease to have loving thoughts of His disciples.” This tells us that we can look to the love of Christ despite our failures and sins. However we might fall short of our calling, believers are still Christ’s own and enjoy his unfailing love. How this ought to motivate us to please him in the manner of our lives.

Moreover, if there were ever a time when we might excuse Jesus for turning his thoughts away from his disciples and turning inward to his own problems, this would be such a time. Spurgeon writes: “If you and I had to bear all that Christ had to suffer, it would engross our thoughts, we should not be able to think of anything else but that; but it did not engross our Lord’s thoughts. He still thought of ‘his own.’ ”

What is closest to one’s heart is usually made apparent in the hour of his death. Some are preoccupied with their business affairs, so there is a rush to get affairs settled before dying. Some reveal their love for family, and others for the fleeting pleasures of life. Likewise, Jesus revealed what is closest to his heart as his cross came near. It was his love for his own that dominated his thoughts and feelings, and “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Does this not prove that there is no greater blessing than to be called one of Christ’s own? While Christ has chosen his own, it is equally true that anyone who takes him for Lord and Savior is one of those chosen. If you will yield your faith to Jesus, then you may know the incomparable blessing of being loved as one of his own.

Having Loved Them

I said that John 13:1 stands at the very center of John’s Gospel. His key phrase, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end,” looks both backward and forward on Jesus’ love. What, then, do we see if we look backward from the cross on the love of Christ? How has he “loved his own”?

This quest will take us all the way back to the creation of the world. John’s Gospel began with a statement of Christ’s deity that deliberately reflected the creation account in Genesis 1. John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1–3). Therefore, when Genesis 1 recounts that “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image’ ” (Gen. 1:26), Christ was that Word by which man came into being. We were made as spiritual beings capable of fellowship with our Creator and called to reflect his glory in the world. Boice writes: “He created us, not to a meaningless existence but to an existence that is the highest existence possible for any created object, namely, communion with the One who created it.” This is the fundamental dignity stamped onto every human soul, the result of Christ’s love for us in creation.

Following with John’s prologue, we see that Christ loved us in his incarnation. John writes, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It was for love that Christ left the glories of heaven for the miseries of earth. And it was a mark of his love that he was born not in a palace amid jewels and gold, but in the poverty of a stable in the midst of the world in need. Krummacher writes: “He associated with sinners, that He might bear them eternally on His heart.”

The particular love of Christ for his own was seen in the calling of his disciples. They came at his invitation: “Come and you will see” (John 1:39). Matthew, the tax collector, was sitting in his sin when Jesus approached and called, “Follow me” (Matt. 9:9). Peter, James, and John were tending their nets when Jesus promised them: “From now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10). Every Christian can look to the same love that called him or her to faith with effectual grace. Jesus called us not because of what we can give to him but because of what he can do for us and what he can make of us. “You were called to freedom, brothers,” wrote Paul (Gal. 5:13): freedom from worldliness, misery, bondage, and sin. We were called to “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18), all by the love of Christ for his own.

Furthermore, Jesus loved his own by teaching and leading them during the three years of their discipleship. The Twelve could never have imagined the things they would hear from the loving lips of Jesus. How often had he called them aside for a special word of truth, or patiently borne with their questions and objections. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,” Jesus told them, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). Likewise, Christians are taught the Word of truth in the Scriptures by the ministry of Christ through his Spirit.

Had the disciples been told at the start the dangers and threats they would face in Jesus’ company, they would have probably fled in terror. But Jesus guided them through all these trials. Ever the Good Shepherd, he constantly brought them beside still waters, restored their burdened souls, and led them in paths of righteousness (Ps. 23:2–3). All for love! Every Christian can look back on the life of faith, with many joys and trials, and say of that same love: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (23:1).

How Jesus Loved to the End

But now John turns to the future, and the immediate future facing Jesus and his disciples was as dark as could be. What would become of Christ’s own in this dreadful hour? What provision would there be for them in light of the cross? John answers, “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

The expression “to the end” (Greek eis telos) can be taken in a number of ways. It can mean that Jesus loved them perfectly or thoroughly, and that is certainly true, for Jesus was about to show the disciples the full extent of his love. But probably the best way to take this is by its temporal meaning. Jesus did not just love them up to this point, but kept on loving them to the end.

First, Jesus loved his own to the end of his own life. Undoubtedly, this was John’s major point of view, since this passage takes place in the shadow of the cross. If love for his own required Jesus to die for their sins, then he loved them to that end; the cross was indeed the fullest extent of his love. “Greater love has no one than this,” Jesus explained, “that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Krummacher comments:

O how He loved them, when He took their sins with Him into judgment, and cast Himself into the fire which their transgressions had kindled! How He loved them, when His own blood did not seem to Him too dear a price to be paid for them, although it was they who were the transgressors; He loved them to the end; and to this day He loves them that are His in a similar manner!

What should the love of Christ on the cross mean to us? An analogy is presented in the movie Saving Private Ryan. It tells of a rescue operation after the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. The War Department has learned that three out of four boys in a family named Ryan died in battle on the same day. So the Army’s top general orders that the fourth son be rescued from behind German lines, where he parachuted. An elite squad of Army Rangers is assigned to find Private James Ryan. Their search leads to a bridge where German tanks are attacking, and the squad is destroyed as their quest finally succeeds. As the captain who saved him lies dying on the bridge, surrounded by the bodies of the men from his squad, he draws Ryan close and gasps, “Earn this. Earn it.” The movie concludes with Ryan, as an old man, walking across a field of crosses, marking the graves of men who died for him. Falling to his knees at Captain Miller’s grave, he says to the white plaster cross, “Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. I’ve tried to live my life the best I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes, I earned what all of you have done for me.”

Of course, none of us could ever earn the death of God’s own Son for our sins. Our forgiveness in Christ’s blood is a free gift, received not by works but by simple faith alone. Yet it ought to open up a fountain of gratitude and love in our hearts. Every believer should turn to Christ’s wooden cross and pray, “If you, with all your glory, died for me, I can live for you today.” We are called to live for him because he loved us to the end that was his cross, because he died for us.

But this expression “he loved them to the end” can be taken a second way. Jesus loved his disciples not only to the end of his life but also to the end of their lives. The striking of the Shepherd on the cross would scatter the sheep; the disciples would cower in fear, Peter even denying Christ three times on the night of his arrest. Yet far more would be demanded of them in years to come. They would be persecuted, afflicted, tempted, and tried as they served their Master in the world. How could they even hope to endure, much less to conquer in faith? The answer is that the risen and ascended Christ would continue in his love to the end of their lives.

This is why the chapters to come focus heavily on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ would send to his own from heaven after his own departure. Indeed, Jesus himself would continue to disciple them—teaching, guiding, disciplining, and strengthening his own—through the ministry of the Spirit. And from his throne of authority and power in heaven, Jesus would intercede for his own with the Father. In John 17, Jesus prayed:

I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me.… While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost.… But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.… I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.… Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:11–17)

Note the key expression “in the world.” “The world” is mentioned eighteen times in Jesus’ prayer. The same expression, “in the world,” occurs in John 13:1: “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Jesus knows that he has left us “in the world,” that is, in the midst of sin, darkness, misery, temptation, and affliction. Spurgeon writes: “The church of God … is nothing but a camp in the midst of heathendom.” In this world we will suffer losses and bear crosses. Like Lot living in Sodom and the Israelites journeying through the barren desert, without the love of our Lord we would never make it through. But Jesus knows where we are—he knows what temptations bring us down, what doubts beset us, what furnaces try our faith—and he loves us to the very end of our lives, providing all that we need to continue unto salvation. He not only grants us the great privilege of prayer, but prays with and for us, sending the Spirit to help us in our weakness.

That leads us to a third and final way to understand Jesus’ love “to the end.” He loves us to the very end of history, all the way to our eternity in glory. In Hebrew, the expression “to the end” means “forever.” And Jesus’ love for us abides forever. When this world has passed away, when God’s enemies have been judged, and when the cosmos is renewed in the glory of the final reign of Christ, his love for his own will not have changed. Therefore, Paul could extol:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35–39)

What an encouragement this is for us to rely on Jesus’ love now. Do you turn to Jesus’ love with your joys and sorrows, with your wants and your needs? He who loved you to his own end on the cross has promised to love you to the very end. Do you realize that being saved by Christ means far more than going to heaven in the end—all-important though that is—that it also means that his love is resting on you all through this present life? If you do not realize this, then it is no wonder that you struggle with spiritual weakness, that you feel dry and distant from the Lord, or that you fear to return to Christ when you falter or fall into sin. Yet his nail-scarred hands are held out to you even now, marked with eternal emblems of a sin-conquering love. More fundamental than our faith in Jesus and our will to live in obedience to him is the unchanging, unending, unfailing love of Christ for his own. No one is more devoted to your good, more sympathetic to your plight, or more interested in your heart than Jesus Christ, who loves his own to the end. Every one of his own should therefore daily sing:

Jesus, lover of my soul,

Let me to thy bosom fly.

Love Worth Having

The final words in our reflection on this glorious verse should therefore be directed to those who have not yet known the love of Jesus for his own. If Jesus loves like this, and if in his divine power and unending life he will always love his own to the very end, how can you afford not to receive this great and saving love? Can even parents or spouses, can children or friends, offer you a love that will save your soul and endure forever, to the very end of all things? Do you know a love that gladly accepts death in your place? Do you have a love that will even bear your sins before God, so that you may stand spotless in his holy presence, a love that will win you through to an eternity in heaven? In the end, without the love of Christ, you will be lost. But the day of God’s grace is still present, and today should be the day of your salvation through faith in the love of Jesus Christ. Then you will discover how much he has loved you, and how faithfully he will love you as one of his very own, to the very end.[3]

1. Before the feast of the passover. John intentionally passes by many things which, he knew, had been related by Matthew and others. He undertakes to explain those circumstances which they had left out, one of which was the narrative of the washing of feet. And though he will afterwards explain more clearly for what purpose Christ washed the feet of his disciples, yet, before doing so, he states, in a single word, that the Lord testified, by this visible sign, that the love with which he embraced them was firm and lasting; that, though they were deprived of his presence, they might still be convinced that death itself would not quench this love. This conviction ought now to be fixed also in our hearts.

The words are, that Christ loved even to the end his own, who were in the world. Why does he employ this circumlocution in describing the Apostles, but in order to inform us that, in consequence of their being engaged, as we are, in a hazardous and difficult warfare, Christ regarded them with so much the greater solicitude? And, therefore, though we think that we are at a distance from Christ, yet we ought to know that he is looking at us; for he loveth his own, who are in the world; for we have no reason to doubt that he still bears the same affection which he retained at the very moment of his death.

To remove from this world to the Father. This phrase is worthy of notice; for it refers to the knowledge of Christ, that he knew that his death was a passage to the heavenly kingdom of God. And if, while he was hastening thither, he did not cease to regard his own with his wonted love, there is no reason why we should now think that his affection is changed. Now, since he is the first-born from the dead, this definition of death applies to the whole body of the Church, that it is an opening or passage to go to God, from whom believers are now absent.[4]

1 John places the events of the evening just before the Passover Feast. The question of whether the Last Supper was a Passover Feast (Mk 14:12 par.) or a meal on the previous day that had Passover characteristics is discussed at great length in more critical commentaries. Carson, 457, after working through the issue, concludes, “Jesus and his disciples did indeed eat a Passover meal on Thursday, the beginning of 15 Nisan.” Passover was a sacred festival commemorating the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (Ex 12). It took its name from the “passing over” of the angel of death and the sparing of all the firstborn among the Israelites. At the time of the Passover, devout Jews came to Jerusalem from all over the inhabited world to join in that most sacred and holy festival.

Jerusalem was an exciting place during Passover. Religious emotions ran high. Friends from different areas would meet in the crowded streets and excitedly exchange stories of home and family. But for Jesus, his time had come, and only this one last evening remained for him to spend with his disciples. At an earlier point in his ministry, the Pharisees had tried to seize Jesus but were unable to do so because “his time had not yet come” (7:30; cf. 8:20). But now “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (12:23; cf. 17:1). This was the hour toward which, in the eternal plan of God, all history had moved with inexorable pace. It was the hour in which the redemptive love of God would reveal itself as voluntary suffering for the unworthy. A Savior crucified by those he came to save is paradoxical only to those who have not grasped the fact that God wins his victories through suffering, not by an outward demonstration of power or might. In the great throne room scene of Revelation 4–5, the Lion of the tribe of Judah turns out to be a Lamb, who is worthy to open the seals of the scroll because he has been slain and with his blood has purchased human beings for God (Rev 5:5–6, 9).

Specifically, it was the time for Jesus to “leave this world and go to the Father.” For the believer, death is not the end but the beginning. It is a departure from the realm of evil (cf. Gal 1:4) and a going home to the Father. Since Jesus is the “firstborn from among the dead” (Col 1:18), we may logically expect that as his death was a journey to the Father so also will be ours. All ideas of soul-sleep are foreign to NT teaching. Neither is the “soul” entrapped along the way in some place of physical punishment. Paul said it clearly: “Absent from the body … present with the Lord” (2 Co 5:8 KJV). What a remarkable way to complete what we call life! Death has been robbed of its terror and made the passage to our eternal home. Waiting for us is the One whose love bridged the gulf created by our sin. We are the prodigals returning home, and he is the Father who rushes out to meet us. This world has been a place of hostility and heartache. Death is the entrance into joy eternal and inexpressible.

The text says that Jesus “knew” that his time had come. This was more than mere premonition; it was a clear understanding of what must necessarily take place in the dark days that lay ahead. As the Lamb of God whose blood would be shed for the sins of the world, he knew not only what would happen but also that the critical time had arrived. Jesus was not trapped into a sequence of events that unexpectedly led to the cross. With full knowledge of what the future held, he moved steadily through his years of public ministry to a destiny ordained by the Father and known by the Son. This foreknowledge makes his sacrifice all the more remarkable.

Though his disciples had often failed to grasp the full meaning of his words and had demonstrated by their behavior an inadequate commitment to his ethical demands, he “loved his own” and would now show them “the full extent of his love.” In the prologue to his gospel John notes that the Word came to “his own creation,” (ta idia is neuter plural), but “his own people” (hoi idioi is masculine plural) did not receive him (1:11–12). Those referred to in ch. 13 as “his own” comprise a much smaller group. To belong to Jesus—to be “his own”—requires far more than to find oneself somewhat unintentionally within an ethnic or religious organization. It requires separation from the prevailing world system and allegiance to a kingdom that belongs to another world. As Paul puts it, the Christian has his citizenship “in heaven” (Php 3:20). “My kingdom,” said Jesus, “is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). Elsewhere believers are called “a people that are his very own” (Tit 2:14, drawing on Moses’ reference to the Israelites as God’s “treasured possession,” Ex 19:5). To be called God’s own is a reward given to those few who by faith have committed themselves to the reality of a universal kingdom yet undisclosed. As Jesus, misunderstood and rejected, moved among people, so also do his current followers find themselves at odds with much of contemporary wisdom and culture.

Throughout his entire ministry Jesus had loved his own. He bore with their lack of spiritual understanding and put up with their all-too-human reactions. When they failed to understand his teachings, he found other ways to communicate what he wanted them to learn. He loved his disciples. And now he was about to show them “the full extent of his love.” The expression may mean either that he loved them utterly and completely or that he loved them to the end, i.e., to his death. It is better in this case not to separate the two ideas, for because the love of Jesus was of the highest degree, it would consequently carry through to the very end. A bit later he will remind his disciples that “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (15:13 NRSV). One of the most remarkable things about Jesus from a human point of view is that there is no disparity between his words and his life. What he taught he lived.[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 62–64). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 995–1006). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 2, pp. 133–142). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 2, pp. 53–54). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 543–545). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

February 2 A Fresh Encounter with God

scripture reading: Isaiah 6:1–9
key verse: Psalm 23:3

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Many times in the Psalms, David cried out to God to “restore,” “revive,” and “refresh” his soul. He uttered some pleas out of a sense of desperation. Others came out of his desire to know God more intimately.

David was seeking a fresh encounter with God. You, too, often need times of renewed spiritual vitality where you can mount up on fresh wings of the soul.

Although fresh encounters with God cannot be programmed or scheduled, they seldom happen apart from a lifestyle of meditation on God’s Word combined with honest prayer. God can break into your life explosively and suddenly or quietly and gradually. But when He does, you sense His presence anew. You are keenly aware of the Holy Spirit’s active ministry within.

You walk with a new assurance of God’s help. Your problems may stay, your circumstances may remain, but you know God is in control. You are focused on His adequacy, not your inadequacy.

There is no end to the seasons of fresh encounters you may have with God. You can never exhaust His fullness. Personal encounters with God will help you see your weaknesses and magnify the awesome reality of Christ’s love for you. They are encounters of the closest kind that can refresh the driest soul.

Restore me! Revive me! Renew me, O God. This is my cry today. I need a fresh encounter with You.[1]

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

2 february (preached 3 february 1856) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The enchanted ground

“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

suggested further reading: Matthew 26:31–47

You never read that Christian went to sleep when lions were in the way; he never slept when he was going through the river of death, or when he was in Giant Despair’s castle, or when he was fighting with Apollyon. Poor creature! He almost wished he could sleep then. But when he had got half way up the Hill Difficulty, and came to a pretty little arbour, in he went, and sat down and began to read his roll. Oh, how he rested himself! How he unstrapped his sandals and rubbed his weary feet! Very soon his mouth was open, his arms hung down, and he was fast asleep. Again the Enchanted Ground was a very easy smooth place, and liable to send the pilgrim to sleep. You remember Bunyan’s description of some of the arbours: “Then they came to an arbour, warm, and promising much refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above head, beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settles. It had also in it a soft couch, where the weary might lean.” “The arbour was called the Slothful’s Friend, and was made on purpose to allure, if it might be, some of the pilgrims to take up their rest there when weary.” Depend upon it, it is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land of forgetfulness. Old Erskine said a good thing when he remarked: “I like a roaring devil better than a sleeping devil.” There is no temptation half so bad as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we get into confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering.

for meditation: What would have happened to the disciples in Gethsemane if Christ had not woken them up? Are you oblivious to spiritual danger even when God warns you in his Word (Revelation 3:2, 3)?

sermon no. 64[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 40). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Communism Making Comeback as Globalism | CanadaFreePress

by Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.” – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

“It’s a brave new world,” one in which radicals are elected to high office in a system more corrupt and ignorant than ever imagined possible. The voters believe in the “shiny illusions of socialist/communist hell and are racing to implementation.”

It is with sadness, agony, and dread that I see daily evidence of Western democracies turning to Communism

Americans are not quite sure when the surge to communism finally planted its roots in the population at large and things began to change. Some argue it was the 1950s, others the 1960s. Over time, the corrupt main stream media and the progressive-controlled education system brought us slowly but surely to today when good people are overwhelmed by manufactured news and personal attacks meant to marginalize anyone who disagrees with the socialist agenda, while the entire system of liberty and justice for all is collapsing.

The dangerous cult of personality which mesmerized an entire nation into submission to a magical black president now includes Millennials like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), who, despite her International Relations degree, is, by her own admission, totally ignorant of world politics, and two Muslim women who took their oath on a book that contradicts everything our Constitution stands for and are flinging vulgarities and anti-Israel /anti-American insults to the American public.

The same MSM that gives them ample air time to insult anyone who disagrees with them, was mostly silent when three new Congressmen, real American heroes and Purple Heart recipients, were sworn in, the “5 eyes, 5 arms, 4 legs … All American” as Rep. Mast said.  Jim Baird (R-Indiana) lost his left arm in Vietnam. Brian Mast (R-Florida) lost both legs in Afghanistan. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) lost his right eye in Afghanistan.  Nobody saw them on the evening news but air time was extended ad nauseam to the “new breed of women politicians” who offends us with overt anti-Americanism.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s strong and strange socialist charisma appeals to a large segment of the American population, liberals and Democrats alike, who have made a cult hero out of a former bartender.

Maduro of Venezuela was a taxi driver before he became president.  He appealed to low-information voters who have now managed to self-destruct under the leadership or lack thereof of a socialist, long on rhetoric, and short on the knowledge how to successfully lead a country rich in petroleum, a formerly prosperous nation, now a basket case of poverty, rationing, and hunger. He drove it into the ground, turning it into the hell-hole of socialism that it is today.

The Cuban model, the Castro brothers communist dictatorship, ended in disaster in Venezuela just as it did everywhere else socialism/communism had been tried.

Should she be ignored in hope that she goes away back to the obscurity she came from? Liberals are already talking of making her president. People with real skill, intellect, sound judgment, and logical arguments must speak out with intelligence and force. But when they do, would anybody listen?

I am not at all surprised that young and old Americans alike are suddenly infatuated with the empty promises of socialism and communism and do not listen to reason. Decades of socialist indoctrination in public schools and progressive MSM are finally paying off for Democrats and their globalist fellow travelers.

In the country of my birth, where millions have suffered and died under the boot of socialism and of Ceausescu’s Communist Party dictatorship, there does not appear to exist a significant and strong conservative wing, politics in Parliament swing back and forth between socialists and communists. How is that possible when their parents and extended families lived in such hell of fear and brutal oppression for decades?

Young generations, with their smart phones, cars, plenty of food, and other electronic gadgets produced by capitalism, indoctrinated by schools and the media into believing that free-market capitalism poses a fundamental threat to their avowed neo-communism

Young Romanians view any foreigners, no matter how poor in their own countries and how far left leaning they are, as rich capitalists who abuse and steal from the poor. Their parents have been told for decades under communism that capitalists exploit the working class, are out to steal their rights to utopian communism that left them hungry, cold, and poor in perpetuity. It is extraordinarily bizarre to see young generations, with their smart phones, cars, plenty of food, and other electronic gadgets produced by capitalism, indoctrinated by schools and the media into believing that free-market capitalism poses a fundamental threat to their avowed neo-communism.

A young American friend, who currently lives with his wife in Romania, is considering moving his family to America. As Darius explained, “she’s fixated on the idea of living in an America that probably hasn’t existed since the 1990s at the latest.” He is afraid to discuss any conservative ideas with the young Romanians who openly and proudly express their communist affiliation, rejecting all other ideas that contradict and diverge from their proletarian ideology.

It is no surprise that such young people were indoctrinated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who made their way into the Iron Curtain as soon as it “fell” in 1990. George Soros boasted in an interview that he was the first to be given access into Romania after Christmas 1989 when Ceausescu was executed for communist crimes against his own people. Soros allegedly met with the minister of education to discuss the new curricula post Ceausescu’s regime.  Scores of young Romanians studied abroad with financial help from his foundations, assuring their allegiance to the new world globalism.

The “sudden” infatuation of the West with socialism/communism has been developing over decades as the communists had planned to go underground and rebrand themselves into the global communists of today

I have met several such students in 1991, who had been brought to an all-black southern U.S. college to study for Masters Degrees in management. When the two-year university indoctrination ended, they went back to work in the recently fashioned government comprised of former communist upper echelon apparatchiks who had rebranded themselves into the new world globalists.

The “sudden” infatuation of the West with socialism/communism has been developing over decades as the communists had planned to go underground and rebrand themselves into the global communists of today, championed by the United Nations and “civil society,” meaning intellectuals, academics, and other lapdogs of liberalism who advertise and promote everything the U.N. publishes.

Vladimir Bukovsky explained these phenomena in the upcoming English version of his book, “Judgment in Moscow.” He had found documents in Russia to prove that the reason the horrific crimes of the former Soviet Union and its satellites were not punished like the Nazi crimes were fifty years before was the “Kremlin’s links to and influence over Western political parties, governments, media, and prominent individuals, as revealed in the documents. It was these powerful links, he writes, that prevented any push to prosecute the extreme human rights abuses that took place over the decades of Soviet rule. As a result, the Communist Party and KGB elite were left to regroup and re-establish their power – with new names and new methods, perhaps, but the same goal: to undermine Western democracy.”

It is with sadness, agony, and dread that I see daily evidence of Western democracies turning back to the future. Some people never learn from history and must repeat it no matter how disastrous.
— Read on canadafreepress.com/article/communism-making-comeback-as-globalism

The evidence is in: Stocks are in a ‘bull trap’ – MarketWatch

The stock market today mirrors the years 2000 and 2007, when prices peaked.

Getty Images

The bulls are back. 

The S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.09%  rose nearly 8% in January and was 14% off the December lows. Which begs the questions: What slowing global growth? What reduced earnings expectations? What trade wars? 

Who cares. It’ll all sort itself out. All that matters was the Federal Reserve caving in spectacularly and laying the foundation for the big bull case. The “Central Bank Two-Step” is back: Dovish + dovish = nothing but higher prices. The lows are in; what else can I buy? This pretty much sums up current sentiment.

And so goes the familiar script during emerging bear markets: A general sense of relief that the lows are in, and a return of optimism and greed after an aggressive counter rally following an initial scary drop. Long forgotten are the December lows after six weeks of higher prices.

While indeed a renewed fully dovish Fed may be all that’s needed to keep 2019 bullish (after all, this playbook has worked for the past 10 years), there is evidence that this rally may turn out to be a big, fat bull trap.

And it’s not a single data point, but rather a confluent set of factors that give credence to this possibility.

Let me walk you through the factors step by step.

First, here’s the big monthly chart, which includes SPX, some basic technical elements, but also a price chart of the 10-year yield TNX, +2.13% and the unemployment rate:

(Click here for a larger version of the chart.)

Note the common and concurrent elements of the previous two big market tops (2000, 2007) versus now:

  • . New market highs tagging the upper monthly Bollinger band on a monthly negative RSI (relative strength index) divergence — check.
  • . A steep correction off the highs that breaks a multi-year trend line — check.
  • . A turning of the monthly MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence) toward south and the histogram to negative — check.
  • . A correction that transverses all the way from the upper monthly Bollinger band to the lower monthly Bollinger band before bouncing — check.
  • . A counter rally that moves all the way from the lower Bollinger band to the middle Bollinger band, the 20MA — check.
  • . A counter rally that produces a bump in the RSI around the middle zone, alleviating oversold conditions — check.
  • . All these events occurring following an extended trend of lower unemployment, signaling the coming end of a business cycle — check.
  • . All these events coinciding with a reversal in yields — check.
  • . All these events coinciding with a Federal Reserve suddenly halting its rate hike cycle — check.

I submit that the counter rally is consistent with all of those factors. Indeed, as with counter rallies in the past, this rally remains below its broken trend line.

What can we learn from the counter rallies during the two previous emerging bear markets?

In 2008, following the 2007 top, SPX fell deep below its 200 MA (moving average), but then saw an aggressive counter rally in a rising wedge pattern that stopped at the 200 MA before everything reversed:

(Click here for a larger version of the chart.)

What did optimistic, coast-is-clear buyers know then? Nothing, as SPX didn’t bottom until it got to 666 points in March 2009.

In 2001, SPX rallied hard from a yearly low in December (similar to now), and the high was made Jan. 31, the last trading day of the month. Unbeknownst to buyers then, that day turned out to be the high for years to come as markets turned south in advance of the coming recession:

(Click here for a larger version of the chart.)

Lows didn’t come until 2002-2003.

Look, my eyes are wide open here, I recognize that between the dovish Fed and a potential China deal, markets may just drift higher and any pullbacks could turn into buying opportunities.

However, as long as SPX remains below its 200 MA without a confirmed breakout above the confluent set of elements discussed above, there is well-founded risk that this market can still turn into a full-fledged bear market. After all, economic growth is slowing, earnings growth is slowing and the last three times the Fed halted its rate-hike cycle a recession soon followed.

And what do we have so far? An aggressive counter rally below the 200 MA in a very steep ascension pattern approaching key 0.618 Fibonacci resistance. (A Fibonacci retracement is created by taking two extreme points on a stock chart and dividing the vertical distance by the key Fibonacci ratios of 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8% and 100%. Then horizontal lines are drawn and used to identify possible support and resistance levels.):

(Click here for a larger version of the chart.)

In early 2018, the 200 MA was support. In the fall it became resistance. SPX remains below it, and I think it’s fair to say we’re no longer oversold. Indeed, a dovish Fed has now been priced in. Chairman Jay Powell made sure of that on Jan. 4 and confirmed it this week. That carrot is gone.

While the bull case remains technically unconfirmed at this stage, the bull-trap scenario will also remain unconfirmed for some time. The first few down days following the peak in January 2001 and the peak in May 2008 did not have anyone waving a big, white flag screaming the top is in. 

It’s easy to see these things in hindsight, but much harder, if not impossible, if you’re in the thick of things. And this is where we are now — in the thick of things — and will be for weeks to come, but I suspect we’ll know more in the next month or two. Stay sharp.

Sven Henrich is founder and the lead market strategist of NorthmanTrader.com. He has been a frequent contributor to CNBC and MarketWatch, and is well-known for his technical, directional and macro analysis of global equity markets. His Twitter handle is @NorthmanTrader.
— Read on www.marketwatch.com/story/the-evidence-is-in-stocks-are-in-a-bull-trap-2019-02-02

Article: C.S. Lewis and 8 Reasons for Believing in Objective Morality — Truthbomb Apologetics

One version of the moral argument for God’s existence is as follows:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral truths do not exist.
2. Objective moral truths exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.

In this featured article, Stephen S. Jordan of Moral Apologetics offers 8 reasons to believe that P2 is indeed true.  They are as follows:

  • Quarreling between two or more individuals
  • It’s obvious that an objective moral standard exists.
  • Mistreatment
  • Measuring value systems
  • Attempting to improve morally
  • Reasoning over moral issues
  • Feeling a sense of obligation over moral matters
  • Making excuses for not behaving appropriately
Jordan writes:

“The cornerstone of the moral argument is the existence of an objective moral standard. If there really is a standard of right and wrong that holds true regardless of our opinions and emotions, then the moral argument has the ability to convince. However, apart from the existence of such an objective standard, moral arguments for God’s existence (and Christian theism) quickly lose their persuasive power and morality as a whole falls to the realm of subjective preference. Although I could say a fair amount about what the world would be like if morality really was a matter of preference (consider The Purge), the purpose of this article is to provide reasons for believing in objective morality (or “moral realism,” as philosophers call it).”

You can checkout this excellent article here.

I would also encourage readers to checkout the excellent resources available at Moral Apologetics.

Courage and Godspeed,

Article: C.S. Lewis and 8 Reasons for Believing in Objective Morality — Truthbomb Apologetics

%d bloggers like this: