Daily Archives: February 20, 2019

February 20 The Way to Life

Scripture Reading: Romans 14:7–12

Key Verse: Galatians 6:14

God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Whenever we become tangled in sin, our first response should be one of grief and remorse, not just over what we have done but over whom we have hurt. When we say yes to sin, we grieve the heart of God.

When you are tempted to sin, ask yourself, Who is the boss of my life? If Jesus Christ is, then the desire to become involved with things that do not reflect God’s nature usually fades and disappears over time.

Though each of us faces temptations periodically, saying no to sin should not be something we have to think over. Saying no is easy when you realize that saying yes hurts Someone whose love you can’t live without.

Have you ever thought of God in this way—as Someone who loves you more than all the rest? Jesus came to demonstrate God’s personal love to mankind. His death at Calvary said it all. He bore our sins out of love and eternal devotion.

Oswald Chambers spoke to this issue: “The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’ … The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened—but the crash is on the heart of God.”

Dear heavenly Father, You are the divine Boss of my life. I say a resounding no to sin and an eternal yes to You. I choose to walk the way of life.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 53). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February 20 The Power of the Gospel

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:9–16

Key verse: Acts 26:18

To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

Two powerful dynamics about the good news of Jesus Christ make it exceedingly attractive to man.

First, the good news of the gospel is divinely powerful. When the wonderful news about Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation is heard and received, it comes with unequaled and unbridled power.

Embraced, the good news transfers a man from the kingdom of Satan (living under the dominion of sin) into the kingdom of God. It ushers him into the presence of God from whom he was alienated.

We are no longer helpless to deal with our habits. God is with us. We are no longer prisoners of circumstance or passion. God is for us and in us, sovereignly orchestrating our lives.

Second, once we partake of the good news, we possess a message to share with others. We have truth, hope, encouragement, comfort, and joy to share with others. We have something to give that everyone needs.

The good news is hope for the hopeless, strength for the weary, peace for the striving, freedom for the oppressed—and it is available to anyone who will receive it.

Have you experienced the power of the gospel that is revealed in the Word of God? If so, are you spreading the message about the good news of salvation through Christ?

Thank You for the power of the gospel that has transformed my life, dear Lord. Empower me to spread its message of salvation through Christ to a lost and dying world.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 53). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

February 20, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

God’s Evaluation

Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts, and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (4:5)

God has a day planned when He will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts. Those two phrases refer to the attitudes of the inner man, which only God can see. Ultimate judgment of every kind, including the evaluation of His servants’ ministries, will be by Him and in His time. God’s people, including the ministers themselves, have no business passing judgment before [that] time. We see only the outside, the visible, and cannot know what is hidden in the recesses of the soul.

Because Paul speaks here of each man’s praise, I do not believe things hidden in the darkness refers to sins or anything evil, but simply to things presently unknown to us. The passage emphasizes that every believer will have praise, no matter what his works and motives, because “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). All Christians will have some reward and some praise. Who will receive much and who will receive little only God knows. But once the wood, hay, and straw are burned away, the gold, silver, and precious stones will remain to be eternally rewarded.

We do know, however, that the rewards given will not be based on the degrees behind our name, the numbers we have preached to or witnessed to, the programs we have planned and directed, the books we have written, or even the number of converts won to Christ through us. It will be based on one thing alone: the motives (boulē, “secret thoughts”) of [our] hearts.

One of the marvelous experiences we will have on that day will be to realize that many dear saints, completely unknown to the world and perhaps hardly known to fellow believers, will receive reward after reward after reward from the Lord’s hands—because their works were of gold, silver, and precious stones. Their hearts will have been pure, their works will have been precious, and their rewards will be great.

Because God will reward according to the motives of men’s hearts, our single purpose in life should be that, “whether, then [we] eat or drink or whatever [we] do, [we] do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). That motive should determine everything we think and do.

It is good when fellow Christians can speak well of us sincerely. It is good when our own conscience does not accuse us. But it will be wonderful beyond description if, on that day, our Lord can say of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Paul’s purpose here is to show that because all ministers are no more than servants and stewards, because neither we nor they can properly evaluate the value and worth of their ministry, and because God alone can and will give the proper estimate in a future reckoning day, it is not only destructive but ridiculous to cause divisions in the church by arguing over who is the most honored servant.[1]

5. Therefore judge nothing before the time. From this conclusion it is manifest, that Paul did not mean to reprove every kind of judgment without exception, but only what is hasty and rash, without examination of the case. For the Corinthians did not mark with unjaundiced eye the character of each individual, but, blinded by ambition, groundlessly extolled one and depreciated another, and took upon themselves to mark out the dignity of each individual beyond what is lawful for men. Let us know, then, how much is allowed us, what is now within the sphere of our knowledge, and what is deferred until the day of Christ, and let us not attempt to go beyond these limits. For there are some things that are now seen openly, while there are others that lie buried in obscurity until the day of Christ.

Who will bring to light. If this is affirmed truly and properly respecting the day of Christ, it follows that matters are never so well regulated in this world but that many things are involved in darkness, and that there is never so much light, but that many things remain in obscurity. I speak of the life of men, and their actions. He explains in the second clause, what is the cause of the obscurity and confusion, so that all things are not now manifest. It is because there are wonderful recesses and deepest lurking-places in the hearts of men. Hence, until the thoughts of the hearts are brought to light, there will always be darkness.

And then shall every one have praise. It is as though he had said, “You now, O Corinthians, as if you had the adjudging of the prizes, crown some, and send away others with disgrace, but this right and office belong exclusively to Christ. You do that before the time—before it has become manifest who is worthy to be crowned, but the Lord has appointed a day on which he will make it manifest.” This statement takes its rise from the assurance of a good conscience, which brings us also this advantage, that committing our praises into the hands of God, we disregard the empty breath of human applause.[2]

5 This sentence, beginning with hōste (“as a result”; NIV, “therefore”), gives Paul’s conclusion from the previous four verses, though it comes in the form of a present tense negative command: “Do not judge [or “stop judging”] anything [NIV, “judge nothing”] before the appointed time [kairos, GK 2789].” In contrast to chronos (GK 5989), which generally denotes chronological time, kairos means time in the sense of “opportunity” or “appointed moment.” Undoubtedly here the word denotes the time of final judgment, for Paul explains it in the next phrase as the time when the Lord returns.

At that time, the Lord Jesus will bring to light all the hidden things we have done—attitudes and actions we have hidden from others and perhaps even from ourselves (cf. 2 Co 5:10). Jesus will also make manifest what lies deep within the recesses of our hearts. The idea that God and the Son of God know what is inside our minds and hearts is a frequent testimony of the Scriptures (e.g., 1 Sa 16:7; Ps 139:1–2, 23; Mt 9:4; Jn 2:25). If our works, including our motivations, have indeed measured up to what God has expected of us, we will receive praise from him (cf. a similar point in 1 Co 3:14). Once again, that is the only judgment worth being concerned about.[3]

4:5 / Paul draws to a close the metaphor that he began at 4:1. The emphatic character of his statement is evident from the beginning of the verse, Therefore. The words that follow are a single complex construction in Greek, as one sees in the three correlated sentences into which the niv breaks the verse. These lines reiterate the thought of 3:10–15, where Paul used the metaphors of building and fire to call for “faithful” and appropriate construction on the foundation of Christ crucified.

Paul now applies the logic of the preceding lines to the Corinthians. Paul exhorts them, saying, Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time. An overreading of the decree takes the statement to mean that they are to refrain from all evaluation, but Paul’s ensuing discussions in chapters 5–6 make that interpretation impossible. Moreover, in context Paul is discussing the Corinthians’ tendency to criticize and compare various stewards of God for the purposes of their own boasting. His command here should not be taken out of that context. Thus, “before the appointed time” refers to the predilection of the Corinthians to judge from a human perspective, a mistaken tendency not to think eschatologically in terms of God’s ultimate values. The Corinthians are disqualified from judging in the present matters over which the Lord alone has a final say; they are to wait till the Lord comes. Then judgment will take place.

The promise of judgment comes in striking form, in the language of apocalyptic eschatology. Paul expects the coming of Christ in the end, saying that his coming will create a separation of light and darkness, apocalyptic language for good and evil. Christ’s final judgment will be universal, disclosing and exposing all things, what is hidden in darkness, even the motives of [the] heart. Nothing can be or will be concealed from the Lord at the appointed time. In the end, the focus turns to God, who enacts the results of the judgment that Christ effected by giving each whatever praise is due. One should not miss this essentially positive conclusion to a discussion that was less than purely positive in tone. Despite present difficulties, Paul expects the Lord’s judgment to result in good things from God![4]

4:5. Paul drew a conclusion from the foregoing argument. Because God restrains final judgment until the day of the Lord, Christians should judge nothing before the appointed time. Instead, they should wait for the day when Christ will expose what is hidden, even the motives of men’s hearts. In many passages, Paul affirmed his belief that Jesus’ return will be accompanied by a great judgment for all people. Not only will God judge actions, but he will also judge intentions and motives (Heb. 4:12). As a result, at this final judgment everyone will receive his praise from God (see Rom. 2:29). God will honor those who prove faithful to Christ.

Paul mentioned these facts about future judgment so the Corinthians would stop judging him. It seems evident from Paul’s objections to the Corinthians’ behavior that they stood against Paul, judging him to be foolish and weak. For example, in their divisions, the Corinthians not only supported Apollos or Peter but opposed Paul. As the rest of the chapter would show, they evidently thought him low and foolish, preferring human wisdom to the wisdom he preached. Paul wanted them to stop judging him and to accept his authority as he addressed their problems.[5]

5. Therefore, do not judge anything before the end-time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will reveal the purposes of the hearts. And then each man’s praise will come from God.

Note the following points:

  • The Lord’s return. “Do not judge anything before the end-time, until the Lord comes.” Paul now closes the discussion on adverse comments that he and his co-workers have received. He concludes that because Jesus himself is Paul’s judge, the Corinthians should refrain from judging him. He instructs them not to judge anything but to wait until the end-time when the Lord returns. When they with Paul will stand before the judgment seat, then the time will have come to criticize the work performed by Paul (see 6:2–3). The obvious intent of this remark is to show the Corinthians that then they also will face judgment.

Notice that Paul gives the readers an emphatic command, which literally reads: “not before the end-time judge anything.” Linking the consummation of the age to the return of the Lord, he tells the believers to cease uttering their judgmental comments. He is not saying that they should suspend judging altogether. Surely not! When a pastor or teacher fails to adhere to the truth of God’s Word and in his teachings and life goes contrary to the Scriptures, the church must judge. But Paul forbids criticizing a person whose teaching and conduct are in harmony with Scripture. When Jesus returns—and no one knows when that will be—every believer may take part in the judging (6:2).

  • The Lord’s revelation. “Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will reveal the purposes of the hearts.” The Lord will expose both the external and internal things that pertain to man. He will dispel the darkness and thus bring to light all kinds of things that until then remain hidden. Although the term darkness frequently has a sinister meaning (see, e.g., the blinding of the magician Bar-Jesus [Acts 13:11] or the command to expose unfruitful deeds of darkness [Eph. 5:11]), here the word has only a neutral connotation and refers to matters that are unknown. God is the ruler of everything he has created, and that includes darkness. David notes that darkness is the same as light to God (Ps. 139:12). In the judgment day, numerous items that were unknown to the believers will come to light.

Moreover, people are able to hide thoughts and intentions in the inner recesses of their hearts. Many of these intentions never come to light during a person’s earthly life. But when Jesus comes again he will expose them, so that all secrets will be disclosed (Rom. 2:16; Rev. 20:11–13).

  • Praise from God. “And then each man’s praise will come from God.” Who receives praise from God? God commends the person who possesses the inner regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and consequently listens obediently to the Word as a recipient of God’s commendation (see Rom. 2:29). God will graciously apportion praise to the individual believer on the judgment day when Christ reveals all things (Rev. 22:12).

Instead of writing words of rebuke, Paul concludes this section with a positive note on praise. It serves as an exhortation to the Corinthians to desist from judging Paul and his associates and to wait for praise not from men but from God.

Practical Considerations in 4:5

We should see Paul’s emphasis on praise in the context of this particular verse. For example, he begins by indicating when the Christian will receive praise, namely, at the appointed time when Jesus comes. Next, he states that each person will receive praise individually. And last, this praise comes from God, not from human beings.

Scripture definitely teaches that there will be rewards in heaven for the Christian. Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). The Bible teaches not that a person can earn salvation, but rather that God showers his praise on the believer who faithfully does God’s will. Thus, in the teaching of the parable of the talents, we hear Jesus say about both the servant with the five talents and the servant with two talents, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt. 25:21, 23, NKJV).[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 102–103). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 1, pp. 156–157). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 291). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 88–89). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 61). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 131–133). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Missing the Point on Sexual Abuse — Pyromaniacs

t has been an eventful week on the topic of sexual abuse and the church, as the Houston Chronicle published a series of articles on the scope of the problem within the Southern Baptist Convention, a problem which has been exacerbated by the relative lack of oversight, information sharing, and accountability within the highly decentralized organization. Highly-ranking SBC leaders have already spoken out, acknowledged the magnitude of the problem, and promised reforms, including and most importantly for the purposes of this piece, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

The statement is a good model for taking ownership and responsibility for one’s own past words and actions, and although a few critics have persisted in demanding Mohler’s resignation or questioning his sincerity, and others are (perhaps more understandably) adopting a “wait and see” attitude, the general response from interested Christians has been appreciation, and gratitude to God, and this latter group includes internationally-recognized sexual abuse expert and survivor advocate, Rachael Denhollander.

I was honestly somewhat surprised to see criticism of Mohler from the other direction, however, with one commenter Monday calling it a “gratuitous and unnecessary apology” in the midst of an article that missed the point so badly that I can only assume it originates from a massive blind spot. The author, Doug Wilson, is certainly no stranger to either controversy or verbal pugilism (ha!), and yet despite that fact I cannot recall even a single time over the past decade-plus that he’s ever actually issued a material apology or owned up to a significant mistake in thinking, so perhaps the blind spot lies somewhere therein. Perhaps more likely, however, is the reality that Wilson’s perspective on sexual abuse is so astonishingly wrong-headed that it has led to tragic results in at least two cases which have been documented thoroughly in the public record. If the records are a bit too dry for you, Rod Dreher went into the Sitler case in some detail a few years ago.

Given Scripture’s clear admonition to us in Matthew 7:3-5, one might think that perhaps Wilson is not the most appropriate or helpful messenger on the topic of either apologies or sexual abuse, even as Mohler heeds his own conscience in extending his own apology and seeking forgiveness for his own overt statements and actions in support of C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly known as Sovereign Grace Ministries). And that is precisely where Wilson misses the point. He spills much ink on the concept of the presumption of innocence, despite the fact that aside from some secular Title IX administrators and other radical left wingers, most people are not really contesting that point, certainly not that I’ve seen within the church.

The point here relates to integrity of speech. Mohler is not apologizing for his presumption of innocence. He is apologizing for going far beyond that in his own past, overt statements of support for Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, which he made without sufficiently investigating the other side of the story per Proverbs 18:13 & 17, and with partiality in judgment per Proverbs 24:23 & 28:21. Obviously, Mohler is personally convicted over these matters, and when one has erred publicly, one ought to make amends publicly as well. As someone in a position of spiritual authority myself, I would be loath to get in the way of a man moved by the Spirit to correct himself, lest he risk grieving the Holy Spirit per Ephesians 4:30 or searing his conscience per 1 Timothy 4:2. And for any Christian minister, we know from 1 Timothy 1:4-5 that maintaining a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith are fundamental to efforts toward loving instruction and advancing the Kingdom of God.

There’s another important point to consider here, however, and that is the fact that an elder must be above reproach and have a good reputation with those outside of the church, as clearly stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. One need not discard either the presumption of innocence or the requirement in 1 Timothy 5:19 for a charge against an elder to have two or three witnesses in order to note that there exist differing levels of proof, and that the Bible nowhere requires conviction of a crime—which requires “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” under our criminal justice system—in order to establish that an elder is not qualified for the office, as Wilson seems to imply. Indeed, for many matters relating to moral failure, there will never be a criminal conviction, because adultery, to use one example, is simply not enforced as a crime in any US jurisdiction.

Instead, in even the T4G statement itself (since deleted) that Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan released to defend Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, they indicated in an apparent nod to being above reproach and having a good reputation with those outside of the church that “A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry.”

What Mohler now seems to acknowledge is that the charges against Mahaney and Sovereign Grace were more serious than he’d initially believed. As a trained attorney, Denhollander has done an admirable job of highlighting precisely why this is, and her devastatingly detailed March 1, 2018 summary not only provides a credible charge with witnesses that has existed for years, for those who took the time to investigate,[*] in my view it basically establishes a prima facie case that demands a substantive response. It is simply light years more substantial than mere gossip, or biased axe grinding, or anonymous complaints.

Sadly, from my perspective, the response from Sovereign Grace has been to attack straw men, disingenuously deflect, point to procedural maneuvers as a vindication, and steadfastly refuse to address the issue in an (increasingly vain) effort to move along in the apparent hope that people will just forget about it.[**] They’re also eager to tout their relationship with “Ministry Safe” as an apparent talisman against criticism, but given the fact that Ministry Safe has become the go-to organization for many major insular entities when accused of sexual abuse (including Doug Wilson’s own denomination, and others such as the United States Olympic Committee, Bob Jones University, and Nazarene Global Ministries), at the risk of seeming jaded, I’ve become rather skeptical of how strong the safeguards implemented by the husband-and-wife legal team at Ministry Safe truly are.

Regardless, in light of this background, I literally laughed out loud when Wilson scolded, “[Denhollander] has gotten out of her lane.” It’s a backhanded insult that attempts to define and confine her only in relation to her direct testimony as a survivor, when in fact she has become the best advocate for and expert on sexual abuse reform that I have ever known. She’s really a textbook example of what earnest and well-intentioned Christian “social justice” advocates might be able accomplish, were they laser-focused on a real and present issue with tangible and measurable injustices, and proposing specific and effective reforms consistent with biblical principles. Her “lane” is precisely sexual abuse and the law, and despite Wilson’s patronizing comment about not being trained to identify ambulance chasers, the legal code of ethics which Denhollander presents and teaches on actually requires lawyers to identify and avoid ambulance chasers.

The comment was so ludicrous, so lacking in self-awareness and situational understanding, that I have to wonder whether any of it stems from discomfort that Denhollander has righteously barged into the lanes of coddlers and enablers of abusers who would vastly prefer that she simply shut up and allow them to remain under cover of darkness, rather than expose them pursuant to Ephesians 5:11.

On that note, as someone who deeply appreciates statistics as a basis of measurement and comparison, especially in relation to demographics, I wanted to challenge Wilson’s attempt to dismiss the Houston Chronicle articles. First, the reporters were only able to catalog cases where reporting could be found, so the count necessarily excludes many rural areas that have very limited reporting, and cases that were not considered newsworthy. Second, obviously, the cases fail to include situations where direct or indirect or cultural pressure resulted in no report being made, this number is currently unknown due to a lack of studies on the topic, but investigations into various organizations such as the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Bob Jones University, Ethnos 360 (formerly known as New Tribes Mission), the Independent Fundamental Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention as mentioned previously, and Protestants generally all sadly seem to indicate a major problem. Third, it has been known from insurance reports since at least 2007 that the scale of the sexual abuse problem in Protestant churches is arguably at least as large as the one in the Roman Catholic Church, which nearly all observers (including Wilson) agree is a genuine scandal.

Finally, I wanted to say a word about Wilson’s concerns regarding the trajectory of “woke” justice and capitulation on biblical principles to the worldly spirit of the age. Candidly, I share a number of his concerns, and have said as much on this blog, many times. I’m well aware that numerous egalitarians are using legitimate concerns over sexual abuse to attack the notion of biblical complementarianism itself, just as certain other social justicians are using a legitimate hatred of the sin of racism to attack a biblical understanding of what it means to regard no one according to the flesh, in true unity, which refuses to elevate the importance of trivial surface distinctions between Jew and Greek.

But whether from the left or the right, pragmatic concerns over trajectory and potential results should never trump basic biblical ethics. Mohler obviously believes that in his prior full-throated defenses of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, he spoke too soon, with partiality, and without sufficient investigation. It is right and proper that he make equally public amends for that, just as it is right and proper that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace provide a substantive response for their actions in light of Denhollander’s prima facie case. The alternative is a cloud of scandal persisting over their ministry as they remain subject to legitimate reproach, and establish and confirm an increasingly poor reputation with those outside (and inside) the church.

An independent investigation, which Denhollander, Mohler, and even all Wilson appear to support, despite the latter’s skepticism about the existence of an appropriate organization—and by the way, my understanding is that although Denhollander has spoken well of Boz Tchvidjian’s GRACE organization, she has not at all insisted it is the only legitimate organization—would be one way of commencing to clear that cloud. With every passing day of intransigence, however, Mahaney and Sovereign Grace make the dispersal of that cloud more and more difficult, and at this point I do wonder whether they will ever recover any credibility whatsoever. Like Wilson, they’ve badly missed the point, whether it’s their responses to sexual abuse cases, their attitudes and actions toward survivors, or their doubling down on a continuing strategy of stonewalling and diversion after being called on it.

Learning from Mohler’s apology, rather than Wilson’s defense, would perhaps be the bare beginnings of a start.

Hohn's signature

[*] I was one who failed to do so, instead simply accepting the assurances of people like Dever, Duncan, and Mohler, until a bit under two years ago when a blogpost commenter pointed me to Mahaney’s May 22, 2014 statement in which he claimed, “I look forward to the day when I can speak freely. For now, the simple and extraordinarily unsatisfying reality—for myself and others—is that in the face of an ongoing civil lawsuit, I simply cannot speak publicly to the specifics of these events.” And yet even after the dismissal of that lawsuit, Mahaney has refused to address any of it substantively, an omission that seems so out of step with his May 22 statement that it again implicates the issue of integrity of speech.

[**] A point-by-point establishment of these patterns I’ve perceived is beyond the scope of this blogpost, but pick just about any public response by Sovereign Grace over the years, and I’d be happy to break it down and fill out my opinion more specifically.

via Missing the Point on Sexual Abuse — Pyromaniacs

February 20, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump expressed confidence on Tuesday that he would prevail against a lawsuit filed by 16 U.S. states seeking to block his declaration of a national emergency to fund a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

President Trump will likely visit Japan for a state visit on May 26.

Moscow will match any U.S. move to deploy new nuclear missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

The governor of Illinois vowed on Tuesday to seek tighter gun control measures after learning the man who shot five co-workers dead last week was wrongly granted a firearms permit but never forced to surrender his weapon.

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Tuesday it will cancel $929 million in federal funds awarded by the Obama administration for a California high-speed rail project and is “actively exploring every legal option” to seek the return of $2.5 billion the state has already received.

North Carolina poll workers told election officials they illegally viewed early election results last year, the latest evidence in a probe of voting irregularities in a still unsettled congressional race.

The German Defence Ministry is evaluating bids from NATO and Canada to buy a high-altitude surveillance drone prototype that has been parked at a German air base for years after the cancellation of the Euro Hawk program in 2013.

A prominent Chinese businesswoman dubbed the “Ivory Queen” was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Tanzanian court on Tuesday for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants, weighing nearly 2 tons, to Asia.

Victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy demanded to meet Pope Francis personally to press demands that bishops who covered up such offences be dismissed from the priesthood.

U.N. investigators have identified perpetrators of pervasive rape and killings and torture in secret safe houses in South Sudan, and believe oil revenues have driven much of the violence in its civil war, a report said on Wednesday.

Taiwan’s government said that it would propose a draft law to allow same-sex marriage in Asia’s first such bill amid a heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled island.

AP Top Stories

A high school student from Covington, Kentucky, sued the Washington Post for defamation, claiming the newspaper falsely accused him of racist acts and instigating a confrontation with a Native American activist in a January videotaped incident at the Lincoln Memorial. Nicholas Sandmann, 16, seeks $250 million.

For some Americans, this tax season so far has come with an unwelcome surprise – either a smaller-than-expected refund or, even worse, a jarring bill from Uncle Sam. Some are getting refunds that are half their normal size, while others are thousands of dollars in the hole for the first time. People who owe are pulling from savings, taking out a loan or signing up to pay off the IRS in installments. They plan to consult with tax pros, so they can avoid another money disaster next year.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday directed the Pentagon to develop plans to create a new Space Force within the Air Force, accepting less than the full-fledged department he’d wanted.

US-backed forces said several jihadists and dozens of civilians quit the Islamic State group’s last patch of territory in Syria Tuesday, and warned remaining fighters should surrender or face death.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court bench Tuesday to hear oral arguments for the first time since undergoing cancer surgery in December.

European officials on Monday gave a cold shoulder to a call by US President Donald Trump to take back citizens captured in the fight against Islamic State jihadists in Syria for prosecution back home.

The only major Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Russian-annexed Crimea is set to close, its head told AFP, following a historic religious split between Kiev and Moscow.

Gasoline shortages are popping up outside of Caracas after last month’s sanctions created a de facto ban on Venezuelan fuel purchases from the U.S. Lines are forming in states west of the capital, such as Portuguesa and Barinas, where drivers now traverse vast stretches on the road without passing by an open service station and are forced to park behind hour-long lines to refuel their tanks. Afraid that shortages are here to stay, drivers are also filling up plastic drums with fuel to store at home.

Cuba denied on Tuesday it has security forces in Venezuela and charged the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign of lies paving the way for military intervention in the South American country.


Russia’s parliament has voted to ban soldiers from using smartphones while on duty, after their social media use raised issues of national security.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has released guidelines against targeting people on the basis of their hairstyle, classing this as racist discrimination.

Brazil says it will send humanitarian aid to its border with Venezuela by the weekend, despite the protests of embattled President Nicolás Maduro.

The Rwandan government wants the parliament to pass a bill banning single use plastics in the country to protect environment.


More than 7,000 people have signed a petition to “sell” Montana to Canada for $1 trillion and use the proceeds to pay down the U.S. national debt – and it seems our northern neighbors would gladly welcome this bite out of the 49th Parallel.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Feb. 20, 2019

The Foundation

“If by the liberty of the press were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it.” —Benjamin Franklin (1789)

Smollett Is the Latest in a Long List of Leftist Hate-Hoaxes

The sheer number of anti-Trump hoaxes in just two years is staggering. Here’s a small sampling.

Libel: Covington Boys and a SCOTUS Review

Sandmann files suit against WaPo for libel, while Justice Thomas suggests revisiting a libel ruling.

Government’s a Problem, Say a Record Number of Americans. But Why?

Unfortunately, it’s not a renaissance for limited government. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Liberty v. Socialism: Trump on Foreign and Domestic Socialists

Trump’s address on socialism to Americans of Venezuelan descent is enlightening.

Leftmedia Whines Over Dems Exposed as Extreme Leftists

An NYT “reporter” complains that Republicans are calling Democrats what they are.

Video: National Emergency to Stop Armed Invasion

Democrats, and 16 states attorneys general, say it’s unconstitutional. What next?

Today’s Opinion

Hans von Spakovsky
Trump Forced to Declare Emergency Because of Congressional Apathy, Negligence and Incompetence
Michelle Malkin
Malkin’s Handy History of Fake Noose
Ben Shapiro
3 Lessons From the Jussie Smollett Hoax
Rich Lowry
The FBI Is Not a Separate Branch of Government
John Stossel
Bogus Gun Research
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top Headline Summary

Washington Post sued, Justice Thomas on libel, Jeff Rosen to DOJ, California bullet rain, Space Force, and more.

Wednesday Short Cuts

The BIG Lie: “I am not a Democratic socialist.” —Kamala Harris

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

News – 2/20/2019

Landmark research creates “universal” stem cells using CRISPR gene editing
In an incredible milestone, scientists have for the first time created “universal” stem cells by using CRISPR gene-editing technology to produce pluripotent stem cells that can be transplanted into any patient without generating an immune system response. Pluripotent stem cells are those incredible cells that have the ability to become any kind of cell that the body needs.

Buckle up and hunker down: Coast-to-coast storm to bring weather misery to 200 million
A powerful storm that began its journey Sunday in California will roar across the country over the next two to three days, spreading heavy snow, torrential rain and crippling ice to more than 200 million Americans. That’s about 60 percent of the population, AccuWeather said. “Parts of 39 of the 48 contiguous United States will be touched by the massive storm, including every state east of the Mississippi River,”

‘Spill all of their blood’: Woman who called for terror attacks at Memorial Day parades begging to return to US
Hoda Muthana, 24, left Hoover, Alabama in 2014, in order to join ISIS in Syria, where she would later call for US Muslims to ‘spill all of the blood’ by launching terror attacks during Memorial Day events. Now, having lost two of her three jihadi fighter husbands and living in a squalid refugee camp, she claims to have been brainwashed and made a ‘big mistake’ when she travelled to Syria.

Judicial Watch Sues for Coup Documents
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for all records of communication of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the Office of the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or the Office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussing the 25th Amendment or presidential fitness. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks all recordings made by any official in the Office of the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General of meetings in the Executive Office of the President or Vice President. The suit was filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to three separate FOIA requests dated September 21, 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00388)). The lawsuit seeks all written and audio/visual records of any FBI/DOJ discussions regarding the 25th Amendment and plans to secretly record President Trump in the Oval Office.

The President of the United States of America Has Confirmed a Coup Attempt Against the Presidency
President Donald Trump agreed that alleged discussions of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein invoking the 25th Amendment in the days after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey constituted an illegal coup attempt in a Monday morning tweet. “The biggest abuse of power and corruption scandal in our history, and it’s much worse than we thought. Andrew McCabe (FBI) admitted to plotting a coup (government overthrow) when he was serving in the FBI, before he was fired for lying & leaking.” @seanhannity @FoxNews Treason!

Air Force Under Secretary tells Vance airmen to prepare for new conflicts
Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan told airmen at Vance Air Force Base to prepare themselves for a new era of superpower competition similar to the Cold War, during a graduation address at the base on Friday. Donovan told the graduates Friday they should expect a world that looks “eerily similar” to the one he faced when he graduated. “As I sat in my graduation seat, the threat of Soviet power was never more real, and we would continue to face the Warsaw Pact for another eight years,” Donovan said.

‘Irritated’ by Russia, Navy Admiral sends US destroyer to Black Sea in support of Ukraine
Adm. James Foggo, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, ordered the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook to join Ukraine for exercises in the Black Sea as they anticipate another attack from Russia, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.

Earthquake reveals mountain ranges ‘bigger then Everest’ buried in Earth
Unearthed due to one of the biggest earthquakes on record, geologists from Princeton University have discovered massive mountain ranges some 660km deep beneath Earth’s crust in mysterious inner region known as the mantle. Instead of a peak sticking out with free space above, the rocky landscape grate up against other layers of rock. According to the researchers, these hidden mountains are unlike anything on earth. “It’s hard to compare them to the mountains we see at the surface. This is a solid-solid boundary, with solid above and solid below,” lead scientist Jessica Irving told The Sun. “They could be as big as Everest, and maybe even bigger.”

Netanyahu postpones trip to Moscow, new date to be set soon
The planned meeting in Moscow on Thursday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Syria has been postponed, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Wednesday morning. No reason for the postponement was given, though it led to speculation that it had to do with the political situation in Israel and Thursday’s deadline for party mergers.

Putin: We’ll target USA if Washington deploys missiles in Europe
Russia will respond to any US deployment of short or intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe by targeting not only the countries where they are stationed, but the United States itself, President Vladimir Putin said… In his toughest remarks yet…Putin said Russia was not seeking confrontation and would not take the first step to deploy missiles in response to Washington’s decision this month to quit a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty.

Israel unveils Rafael’s new advanced bunker buster missile, ‘Rocks’
With tensions still high between Israel and Iran a new air-to-surface long-range missile designed for to destroy targets deep underground in heavily defended areas has been developed by Israeli defense giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Dubbed “Rocks,” the innovative missile is being presented this week for the first time at the Aero India Air Show in Bangalore, India.

Ukraine mall displays Nazi swastika on staircase
A shopping mall in Ukraine that is located on a street named for a collaborator with the Nazis decorated a staircase with a large swastika. Images and footage from inside the Horodok shopping mall on Kiev’s Bandera Avenue surfaced Monday on Facebook. They show shoppers climbing up and down the staircase, whose middle-section stairs feature a large swastika locked in a white rhombus encircled by red, similar to Nazi Germany’s flag.

Catholic cardinals urge end of ‘homosexual agenda’
Two prominent Roman Catholic Church cardinals have urged an end of what they call “the plague of the homosexual agenda”, telling bishops to break their complicity over cases of sexual abuse. In an open letter, Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller say the Church has wrongly blamed the abuse of power by clergy as the main cause of the scandals. Instead, they say the cases involve priests who have “gone away from the truth of the Gospel”.

House launches probe of US nuclear plan in Saudi Arabia
The US is rushing to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a new congressional report. A Democratic-led House panel has launched an inquiry over concerns about the White House plan to build nuclear reactors across the kingdom. Whistleblowers told the panel it could destabilise the Middle East by boosting nuclear weapons proliferation.

Google admits error over hidden microphone
Google has acknowledged that it made an error in not disclosing that one of its home alarm products contained a microphone. Product specifications for the Nest Guard, available since 2017, had made no mention of the listening device. But earlier this month, the firm said a software update would make Nest Guard voice-controlled.

Cyber-thieves set sights on hijacking payment data
Thousands of websites are being hit by cyber-thieves who implant code to scoop up payment card numbers, research suggests. Security giant Symantec found more than 4,800 websites were being hit by these “form-jacking” attacks every month. High-profile victims of these attacks include airline BA and Ticketmaster.

Gory spirit festival lights up Cambodian capital
Spirit mediums in headdresses and lurid make-up, their cheeks pierced by needles and tongues cut by knives, led a striking procession Tuesday through the Cambodian capital to mark the end of Chinese New year. Hundreds of people poured through an alley for the colourful annual festival, known as the Hei Neak Ta, or the spirit parade. The procession mixes Chinese ritual and local folk traditions in a country where beliefs in the spirit world run deep.

You may soon have to give your DNA to the state and pay $250 for the privilege
Arizona could soon be one of the first states to maintain a massive statewide DNA database. And if the proposed legislation passes, many people — from parent school volunteers and teachers to real estate agents and foster parents — will have no choice but to give up their DNA. Under Senate Bill 1475…DNA must be collected from anyone who has to be fingerprinted by the state for a job, to volunteer in certain positions or…other reasons.

Palestinian president rejects tax money from Israel
The Palestinian Authority (PA) will no longer accept tax revenues collected on its behalf by Israel following its decision to trim the sum over the PA’s financial support of militants’ families, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said. The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, an interim self-government body set up following the 1993 Oslo peace accords, has suffered a series of financial blows in the past year.

US Palestinian mission to merge with Israeli embassy next month
The United States Consulate General in Jerusalem, which serves Palestinians, will be absorbed into the new US Embassy to Israel in March, a US official said on Tuesday, giving a date for a merger that has been condemned by Palestinians. The decision to create a single diplomatic mission was announced last October by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who did not say at the time when this would take place.

Waqf demand leads to fears of fresh Temple Mount clashes
A year and a half after the crisis over using metal detectors at the Temple Mount compound, new tensions are developing at the Jerusalem site holy to Jews and Muslims, which threaten to erupt into violence. In recent days, the Waqf —the Islamic trust tasked with maintaining the Muslim structures at the site — has been trying to reopen a small compound in the eastern part of the Mount, on the inner side of the Golden Gate entrance.

Planned Parenthood kept aborted babies alive to harvest organs, ex-technician says
In an undercover video released Wednesday, a former technician for a tissue-harvesting company details how an aborted baby was kept alive so that its heart could be harvested at a California Planned Parenthood facility, raising more legal questions about the group’s practices.

Praising God at Hell’s Gate: Pastor Starts a Church at Planned Parenthood to Fight Abortion
When Pastor Ken Peters of Spokane, Washington, says he believes the church is the the greatest hope to end abortion, he means it. That is why he decided to bring the church to where it was most necessary: to the very front door of a Planned Parenthood facility. Called “The Church at Planned Parenthood,” the church plant, or new congregation of an already-established church, gathers once a month to pray and worship God right outside the facility’s doors.

Israeli-made goggles give surgeons X-ray vision
The headset by Israel-based Augmedics projects X ray-like 3D visualization of the patient in real time, allowing surgeons to “see” through the patient’s skin, muscle tissue, and bone.

Abortionist Calls Himself a “Christian Abortion Doctor” Who “Does the Lord’s Work”
Abortion, in and of itself, is a moral horror. But for abortion activists to claim the name of Jesus Christ in order to justify killing unborn children, that crosses over into new territory. I’m not talking about the moral gymnastics of equivocation employed by so many Christian progressives to justify abortion in extreme cases, as wrong and harmful as that is. I’m talking about Christians actually celebrating and promoting abortion as God’s work. For instance, those mainline Protestant priests and pastors who pray God’s blessing over abortion clinics. That’s just blasphemy.

CDC: Zombie Virus Spreading in US, Humans Could be Infected
The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a deadly disease that is spreading across the United States. Chronic Wasting Disease, also known as ‘zombie deer disease,’ is an illness that infects the brain, spine, and tissue of elk, moose and deer.

Mystery: ‘Light explosions’ detected in clear skies
A new phenomenon – light explosions in the sky – has attracted the attention of scientists as well as a rabbi who notes that lights in the “heaven” are “one of the signs the Messiah is imminent.”

Bernie Sanders Calls For Complete Socialism Saying It Is Time To ‘Finish The Revolution’ Of His Radical Progressive Agenda To Change America
When I was in school back in the 1970’s, they taught us about Socialism in history class. It was presented to us as an inherent form of evil tyranny, akin to it’s older brother of Communism, and something that was to be avoided at all costs. Socialism, we were told, was a precursor to the collapse of a formerly free nation as it slid down into despotism. In 2019, things have radically changed for the worse.

After blaming Israel, Iran says Pakistani carried out suicide attack on troops
The suicide bomber that carried out last week’s attack that killed 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was a Pakistan national, the force’s Sepah news agency reported on Tuesday.

Vatican has a secret process to deal with priests that father children
The Vatican has an established process to deal with priests who father children, a Holy See spokesperson confirmed to The New York Times on Monday.

Kansas Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Censor Internet Pornography
State lawmakers in Kansas recently introduced two bills that would effectively censor pornography in the state by requiring computers and smartphones sold in the state to have porn filters installed.

6 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in NC Running Major Drug Trafficking Operation
Six Mexican cartel-tied illegal immigrants were arrested in North Carolina for running a major cross-border drug trafficking operation, according to reports.

Headlines – 2/20/2019

19 Palestinians arrested in fresh Temple Mount clashes

Jordan gives Palestinians larger role in running Temple Mount

Jordan Adds PA, PLO Members to Islamic Waqf, Fuel to Fire on Temple Mount

U.S. Palestinian mission to merge with Israel embassy in March

First Balloon-arson Fire Since November Hits Forest Near Gaza

Abbas: PA will reject tax money following Israel’s law to deduct terrorists’ salaries from funds

Abbas: We will pay every penny to the martyrs

Netanyahu: Anti-Semitism an ‘epidemic’ that endangers everyone

Netanyahu urges Europe to take a stand against ‘plague’ of anti-Semitism

Amid tensions over Holocaust, Jewish cemeteries vandalized in Poland

Israel should apologize to Poland, U.S. ambassador says

New Right adds French immigrant to party list amid surge in anti-Semitic attacks

Man shot by air rifle outside Paris-area synagogue

French police kill suspect after knife attack in Marseille

Macron vows action as French prepare to rally against anti-Semitism

8th lawmaker quits UK’s Labour over anti-Semitism and Brexit

Farrakhan accuses ‘wicked Jews’ of using him to ‘break up the women’s movement’

Ilhan Omar apologizes to Jewish groups for hurt caused by AIPAC tweet

Jewish Agency head blames social media ‘killing fields’ for rising anti-Semitism

Assad adviser rejects idea of granting Syrian Kurds autonomy

Syria’s Assad Tells Kurds That U.S. Will ‘Put You In Their Pocket’ to Use As ‘Bargaining Tools’

IS ‘trapping 200 families’ in last bastion in Syria

China, Iran meet amid efforts to preserve nuclear deal

British FM: German halt in Saudi arms sales hurting UK industry

House investigates ‘White House plan’ to share nuclear technology with Saudis

House report finds ‘chaos’ characterized Trump administration rush to provide Saudis with nuclear power

Russia’s Putin, Saudi King ready to continue energy cooperation

Deal to free Hodeidah may open way for aid in Yemen, UN envoy says

Death toll from last week’s northwest Nigeria attack doubles to 130

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

India says suicide attack mastermind killed

Facing an aggressive Beijing, Taiwan’s president issues a warning to the world

North Korea’s Kim shuffles nuclear talks team after defections, spying allegations

Kim Jong Un goes after opponents of US-Korea ties with jail and executions, report says

Venezuela closes key maritime, air borders with neighbors amid growing aid crisis

Venezuela crisis: Brazil vows to deliver aid, defying Maduro

‘You’ll Lose Everything.’ President Trump Warns Venezuelan Military to Abandon Nicolas Maduro

Donald Trump Sounds Like a Nazi, Says Venezuela’s Maduro After Fiery Anti-Socialism Speech

Dozens of Missionaries Forced to Flee Haiti amid Growing Violence

A ship has left the UK for Japan with no guarantee of unloading its cargo due to Brexit

Ocasio-Cortez raises eyebrows after comparing Trump’s border wall to Berlin Wall

Boy called ‘Little Hitler’ for using hot chocolate stand to raise money for border wall, parents say

Nancy Pelosi Says She Has Equal Power to Donald Trump in Meeting with European Leaders

McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump’s a Russian asset

Trump signs directive in move to create a US Space Force

Some Yellowstone geysers are getting more active—but why?

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Kota Ternate, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kuripan, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 15,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 15,000ft

Mt Bromo in the Tengger Caldera in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Tropical Cyclone Oma now category 3, changes course for Queensland

First February typhoon since 2015 may threaten Guam, Northern Mariana Islands this week

Jet stream helps flight reach 801 mph due to jet stream: reports

Iowa governor says state will not appeal ruling striking down ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion law

Hormone Therapy During Gender Transition May Worsen Risk For Heart Attack, Stroke, Blood Clots

Trump administration pushes for end to worldwide criminalization of homosexuality

The stakes are high for Pope Francis, Catholics worldwide in unprecedented sex abuse summit

Vatican secret out: There are rules for priests who father children

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – Pharisees and works-righteousness

Christians Pushing the “Biblical Values” of Democratic Socialism

Christalignment Bethel Fortune-Telling New Age Naked with Jesus Extravaganza!

Former Harvest Bible Chapel worship leader says James MacDonald touched her inappropriately

Bernie Sanders Supports Abortions Up to Birth With Absolutely No Limits: “That’s My View”

Dozens of Missionaries Forced to Flee Haiti amid Growing Violence

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February 20 The Requirements of Meditation

scripture reading: Psalm 119:23, 48, 78, 148
key verses: Colossians 3:1–3

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

In Discipline: The Glad Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot writes about the requirements of biblical meditation:

We have been discussing making an offering of the body, which is an act of worship … offered by mind and heart. The next thing we are to do is to let our minds be remade and our whole nature transformed.

We cannot do this by ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit who must do the work. But we must open our minds to that work, submit to His control, think on the things that matter rather than on the things that come to nothing in the end. Here again we see both the necessity of a sovereign God working in and through us and the responsibility of the disciple himself to adapt to what God wants to do.…

In times of prayer and meditation, do not try to think about nothing. “Set your mind,” Paul says, not, “Empty your mind.” Set it on Christ, not on earthly things. One phrase from God’s Word can be taken and repeated quietly, asking that we may be given … the spiritual power of wisdom and vision, by which there comes the knowledge of Him.

Make sure the place you select for your quiet time is relatively distraction free. Avoid putting God in a spiritual box. Instead, be open to the newness and joy He brings each day as you enter His throne room with praise.

Father, I enter Your throne room with praise. I bow before You in quietness. Transform my earthly nature as I submit to Your divine control.[1]

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

William Lane Craig explains how Christianity explains evil and suffering


A long journey through the night A long journey through the night

A lot of people in the West complain too much about any little suffering they have to experience. But sometimes, when a very harsh suffering is felt by someone who has tried to follow Jesus, an explanation is necessary. I found something very good on the Reasonable Faith web site, written by Dr. William Lane Craig.

He makes the following points:

  1. We are not in a good position to assess the probability of whether God has morally sufficient reasons for the evils that occur.
  2. The Christian faith entails doctrines that increase the probability of the co-existence of God and evil.
  3. Relative to the full scope of the evidence, God’s existence is probable.

I’ve written before about point #1, in which Dr. Craig’s describes the limitations of human knowledge that make it hard for us to know for certain that a specific evil or suffering…

View original post 742 more words

Deep-State Worms Turn Against Their Handlers; RussiaHoax Narrative Collapsing

The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster, and one of our all-time favorite pessimists. We carry his articles regularly on RI. His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed ‘The Dystopians’ in an excellent 2009 profile, along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive). These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here. To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design – it is one of the most-viewed on TED. Here is a recent audio interview with him which gives a good overview of his work.

And so now along comes Andy McCabe, former Number Two at the FBI, publicizing his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, on this Sunday’s CBS 60-Minutes show, confirming what I said on this blog two years ago — that the Deep State would try to run over the Golden Golem of Greatness with the 25th Amendment.

The specter of Mr. Trump entrained by the nuclear “football” — the briefcase with launch codes for World War Three — gave US Intel communitarians such a case of the heebie-jeebies that they first sought desperately to impede his election by unlawful means and, failing in that, concocted a fog of Russian collusion conspiracy to cover up all that and much more nastiness emanating from the Hillary Clinton orbit.

It’s been the opinion here at CFN that Mr. McCabe and a long list of DOJ / FBI / and Intel employees would eventually be summoned to grand juries on charges ranging from lying to their Internal Affairs colleagues all the way to sedition. Those worms now seem to be turning. Both house and senate committees investigating the Russia narrative declared that they turned up no evidence for it. And late this week, William Barr was confirmed as a new Attorney General, meaning the extreme case of bureaucratic constipation in that department may be resolving in a shitstorm of counter-revelations and prosecutions in what amounted to an attempted coup d’etat.

A lot of the evidence for that is already public and overwhelming. It includes:

  • Using FBI counter-intelligence assets improperly and illegally.
  • Using fabricated “opposition research” provided by Mrs. Clinton to obtain warrants to spy on her election opponent, and failing to verify it as evidence (according to strict “Woods” procedures) submitted to FISA court judges.
  • Recruiting Britain’s MI6 to spy on US citizens as a work-around from US laws prohibiting US Intel from spying on Americans.
  • Setting up the notorious Trump Tower meeting to entrap Donald Trump Jr., using a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, in the employ of Fusion GPS, Mrs. Clintons oppo research contractor.
  • Orchestrating leaks of secret FBI proceedings to the news media to feed a Russia collusion hysteria.
  • Malicious prosecutions by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and egregious political conflicts-of-interest among Mr. Mueller’s team of prosecutors.
  • Coverup of the Uranium One scheme facilitated by Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
  • A scheme to surreptitiously and illegally record conversations with Mr. Trump once he became president.
  • Conspiring to bury multiple inquires into illegal conduct of Mrs. Clinton, her employees and associates by failing to obtain evidence and allowing it to be destroyed.
  • Misconduct in office by former CIA chief John Brennan, former National Security Director James Clapper, former AG Loretta Lynch, and members of President Obama’s White House inner circle.

These matters and a lot more have deserved official attention that was bypassed during the peculiar DOJ regime of former AG Jeff Sessions — and now some light may be about to shine on them. The Trump “resistance” already seems demoralized by the collapse of the Russia collusion story, which had been the centerpiece of their impeachment hopes. Several reconstituted house committees under the new Democratic Party chairs, have pledged to keep mining that vein of fool’s gold to keep the hysteria alive long enough for the 2020 elections.

But what will happen in the meantime as their enablers are dragged into courts of law to answer for their roguery? My guess is that it will drive the “resistance” to new depths of delusion and, eventually, derision, as its narrative cloak gets shredded in public testimony and their audacious mendacity is revealed. The heat from these future events may be so intense and disruptive that it will interfere with the 2020 election.
— Read on russia-insider.com/en/deep-state-worms-turn-against-their-handlers-russiahoax-narrative-collapsing/ri26292

20 february (preached 21 february 1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The great reservoir

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

suggested further reading: Matthew 12:33–37

If I should vainly attempt to fashion my discourse after lofty models, I should this morning compare the human heart to the ancient city of Thebes, out of whose hundred gates multitudes of warriors were wont to march. As was the city such were her armies, as was her inward strength, such were they who came forth of her. I might then urge the necessity of keeping the heart, because it is the metropolis of our manhood, the citadel and armoury of our humanity. Let the chief fortress surrender to the enemy, and the occupation of the rest must be an easy task. Let the principal stronghold be possessed by evil, the whole land must be overrun thereby. Instead, however, of doing this, I shall attempt what possibly I may be able to perform, by a humble metaphor and a simple figure, which will be easily understood; I shall endeavour to set forth the wise man’s doctrine, that our life issues from the heart, and thus I shall labour to show the absolute necessity of keeping the heart with all diligence. You have seen the great reservoirs provided by our water companies, from which the water which is to supply hundreds of streets and thousands of houses comes. Now, the heart is just the reservoir of man, and our life is allowed to flow in its proper season. That life may flow through different pipes—the mouth, the hand, the eye; but still all the issues of hand, of eye, of lip, derive their source from the great fountain and central reservoir, the heart; and hence there is no difficulty in showing the great necessity that exists for keeping the reservoir, the heart, in a proper state and condition, since otherwise that which flows through the pipes must be tainted and corrupt.

for meditation: God is the only one who knows the natural wickedness of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), the only one who can renew them (Ezekiel 36:25–26) and the only one who can produce good from them (John 7:38–39).

sermon no. 179[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 58). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.