Monthly Archives: March 2019

March 31 The Power Within

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:4–9

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 13:4

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Spiritual power is the divine energy God is willing to express in and through us and the divine authority needed to carry out the work God has called us to do victoriously.

We cannot “harness” the power of the Holy Spirit. This power is not just for preachers, evangelists, or people who work in special ministry; rather, it is available to every believer who willingly surrenders moment by moment in submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

We cannot garner the power of the Spirit in order to use God. Conversely, we experience His power when we surrender to be used by Him. God releases His power through us as we walk in obedience to Him.

He releases His power to us in several ways:

  • Through the fruit of the Spirit: God’s power, and only God’s power, enables us to exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, which reveal the character of Christ in us.
  • Through witnessing: Scripture always refers to the power of the Holy Spirit in relationship to witnessing and glorifying God. It is His power through us that emboldens us and carries out the work.
  • Through the work we are called to do: God will not place you into a position or ask you to accomplish a task for which He will not fully equip you for total victory.

Father, thank You for releasing Your power through me by the fruit of the Spirit manifested in my life, in my witnessing, and in the work I am called to do. I am surely equipped for total victory![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 94). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March 31 You Have It All!

Scripture Reading: John 1:1–18

Key Verse: John 1:4

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Every individual who has trusted Jesus for his salvation has received the Source for his most compelling needs in the person of the indwelling Christ.

Christ is the Bread of Life. He is the Sustenance who nourishes our innermost being. Our hunger for meaning and purpose in life is fully satisfied in Christ. He is meaning; He is purpose. We want not for significance in life when we have Christ as our life.

Christ is the Water of Life. He channels His all-sufficient life through our earthen vessels—drenching us with His joy, peace, love, hope, contentment, strength, and steadfastness. He quenches our thirst for self-worth, assuring us of our inestimable value to Him. He freely gives us His abundant life.

Christ is the Light of Life. He enlightens us with eternal truth, bequeathing us wisdom for the journey. He sheds His light upon what is truly valuable so that we can pursue the things that are profitable, not foolishly chasing empty dreams or false, deceiving philosophies.

When you have Christ, you have it all—meaning, purpose, life in its fullest sense, truth, and wisdom. You belong to the Creator, Sustainer, and End of all things.

Jesus, You are my Bread of Life. You are my Sustenance. You are the Water of Life, channeling Your sufficiency through me. You are the Light of Life, giving wisdom for the journey ahead. In You, dear Lord, I have it all![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 94). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March 31 Intercessory Prayer

Scripture reading: Matthew 5:38–45

Key verse: Job 42:10

The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Usually, the last thing we do for individuals who rub us the wrong way is to pray for them. We would rather gossip, grumble, or backbite in such instances. Have you ever thought why that is true?

Of course, the power of sin within us is one culprit, but there is an even more ominous perpetrator at work. Our crafty and deadly adversary, the devil, busily plies his trade in such strained relationships, realizing that intercessory prayer on behalf of others is the one supernatural ingredient that can tear down his stronghold.

Without Christ, the unbeliever is in the terminal death grip of Satan and sin. With Christ, the believer is freed from the devil’s mastery but is still susceptible to his evil influence.

Behind the behavior of those who offend you is the deceiver at work. As long as you refuse or resist to pray on their behalf, it is unlikely you will see real change in them or in you. Rather than verbally or mentally slur or badger those who irritate you, you must mount an assault on the evil one through regular, sincere intercession. Your petitions can spell the difference between freedom and bondage—for you and them.

Freedom or bondage—my prayers can make the difference! Thank You, dear Lord, for the privilege of interceding for others.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 94). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March 30-31, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

News – 3/30/2019

IDF tank strikes Hamas post in response to explosive devices thrown
An IDF tank struck a Hamas position in the northern Gaza Strip Friday night in retaliation for explosive devices thrown across the security fence during violent riots. The strike came after violent night time riots broke out across the Gaza border which saw several Palestinians wounded by IDF gunfire. Loud explosions were also heard through the night in communities in southern Israel after explosive devices went off in the Strip.

30,000 protesters gather along Gaza fence, attacks reported
30,000 protesters gathered along the Gaza border on Saturday afternoon as a part of the March of Return protests, inciting violence with stone-throwing and tire-burning. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh joined the riots along with members of the Egyptian intelligence, Palestinian media reported. The demonstrations, which Palestinian reports claimed will be peaceful, are part of the March of Return protests along the Gaza border.

Germany’s Ambassador to U.N. compares Israel to Hamas
New York. The German Bild paper published on Wednesday a scathing editorial accusing the country’s UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen of betraying Chancellor Angela Merkel’s security pledge to Israel by comparing the Jewish state to the terrorist organization Hamas. The editorial authored by Filipp Piatov…took Heusgen to task for comparing Israel’s security measures against Palestinian terrorists with Hamas rocket attacks.

Thirty men sentenced for Egyptian church attack plot
Thirty men were sentenced to between 10 years to life imprisonment on Saturday for planning a suicide bombing on a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and other charges, court official said. Authorities said at the time of their arrest that the defendants had embraced the ideas of the Islamic State group and received training abroad and in Egypt.

Afghanistan flood death toll at 17, worsening already desperate situation
Heavy rains caused flash floods in western Afghanistan that killed at least 17 people, destroying homes and sweeping through makeshift shelters that housed displaced families, a government official said on Saturday. Two days of flooding that started on Thursday killed 12 people in Jawzjan and two in Badghis, provinces that border Turkmenistan, said Hasibullah Shir Khani, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Disaster Management Authority.

Trump threatens to shut Mexico border amid migration surge
President Donald Trump has said he is likely to close the US border if Mexico does not do more to stop migrants reaching the United States. The closure would disrupt border crossings, threatening trade worth billions of dollars. Mr Trump’s threat follows a surge in migrants travelling through Mexico to seek asylum in the US.

DEA Never Checked If Its Massive Surveillance Operations Are Legal, Watchdog Says
The Drug Enforcement Administration skirted numerous legal checks on a trio of bulk data collection programs dating back to the early 1990s, according to an internal watchdog. In a heavily redacted, 144-page report…the Justice Department Inspector General revealed the administration failed to fully assess the legal basis for three massive international surveillance operations that ran largely unchecked from 1992 to 2013.

Magnitude 6.1 earthquake hits Papua New Guinea: USGS
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Papua New Guinea’s New Britain island, 186 km (115 miles) east of Kandrian, on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the quake which, USGS said struck at 1120 GMT, the Center added. Earlier reports measured the magnitude at 6.4.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Posts Shock Video Implying United States May Also Support The Building Of A Third Jewish Temple In Israel
From a Bible prophecy perspective, Donald Trump is the greatest president since Harry S. Truman recognized the regathered nation of Israel back on May 14th, 1948. And in many respects, I would dare say that President Trump has outdone his predecessor regarding Israel. So now the question is, just how far is he planning to go? Could it be that part of Jared Kushner’s secret Middle East Peace Plan contains a Third Jewish Temple to be constructed in Jerusalem?

China Develops Cruise Missile that Launches from Cargo Ships
According to U.S. defense officials quoted by the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday, China is developing a long-range cruise missile that can be hidden inside shipping containers and launched from civilian freighters, a type of ship China happens to own in abundance.

Dozens of actors pledge to resist filming in Georgia if the state passes its anti-abortion “heartbeat bill”
…And so stars—led by actress Alyssa Milano, whose Insatiable is currently filming its second season in the state—have now started signing their names to a public letter demanding that governor Brian Kemp veto the bill if it comes across his desk.

1,100 dead dolphins reportedly discovered on French coast this year: ‘There’s never been a number this high’
A staggering number of deceased, maimed dolphins have reportedly been found on the shores of France this year.

After Cyclone Idai, bodies litter Mozambique’s fields, and the true death toll may never be known
The flooding is estimated to have affected nearly 2 million people in Mozambique, where the official number of dead stands at 468. But the actual death toll from Cyclone Idai may never be known.

Fury at German band Rammstein’s ‘repulsive’ Holocaust clip
German hardrock band Rammstein sparked protests from politicians, historians and Jewish groups Thursday with a video showing band members dressed as concentration camp prisoners with nooses around their necks.

An Outbreak Spreads Fear: Of Measles, of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, of Anti-Semitism
A measles outbreak in a New York suburb has sickened scores of people and stoked long-smoldering tensions between the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and the secular world at large.

Presidents #25 and #35 Were Assassinated, Will #45 Be Next?
Trump has shown renewed resolve when it comes to taking on the Deep State since the Mueller nothing burger was delivered. This, in my opinion, has made him a marked man.

Minnesota Attempts to Subvert Electoral College by Slipping Nat’l Popular Vote into Omnibus Bill
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again—or just hide your idea in a giant piece of legislation, where you hope it won’t get noticed.

CLINTON BODY COUNT: Former Clinton And Obama Advisor Alan Krueger Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide Ahead Of New Book Release In June
Professor Alan Krueger, a man who had a new book coming out in June and everything to live for, suddenly decided to commit suicide for no apparent reason, stunning his colleagues and associates. But I could tell you two people not stunned by this news, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Why? Because they have long since grown accustomed to the people they used to work with dying under sudden and suspicious circumstances. This profoundly unlucky group of people, nearly 60 in total, are members of what we like to call The Clinton Dead Pool. Since they can no longer speak, we shall speak for them.

Headlines – 3/30/2019

UN Urges Israel and Hamas to Avoid Violence on Protest Anniversary

Gaza border protests: 190 killed and 28,000 injured in a year of bloodshed

40 children killed in year of Gaza border protests, says UN

Hamas said to back Egypt’s plan for Gaza calm ahead of huge anniversary protest

Islamic Jihad warns Israel of war if civilians killed during protests

Israel said to warn Hamas any error could lead to war, as IDF preps for violence

Netanyahu: Military operation in Gaza only as last resort

Jews, Israel Take Center Stage in Ukraine’s Surreal Presidential Contest

Starting with Golan, Trump surprises aides, allies with series of abrupt decrees

Arabs seek unity on Golan, but summit likely to expose rifts on Syria

Thousands Protest in Jordan Over Trump’s Recognition of Golan Heights as Israeli Territory

Saudi Arabia rejects Trump decision on Golan Heights, Jerusalem

Iran to ‘resist’ Trump decision on Golan Heights

US Mideast strategy includes expelling Iran from Syria, Pompeo says

Southeast Asia should be aware of Iran’s tactics to evade oil sanctions: U.S.

Houthi leader attacks UK’s Jeremy Hunt over efforts to relax Saudi arms ban

A million protesters call for Algerian president to step down

Trump to welcome Egypt’s Sissi back to White House, continuing break with Obama

New Zealand Muslim leader dismisses colleague’s claims Mossad ordered killings

At memorial, New Zealand mosque survivor says he forgives attacker

U.S. Readying Russia Sanctions for U.K. Poison Attack, Sources Say

US Congress to get redacted Mueller report by mid-April

Border Patrol begins releasing migrant families on the streets of Yuma

Trump threatens to close border ‘next week’ if Mexico doesn’t ‘immediately stop’ flood of illegal immigrants

Mexico braces for new caravan of Central American migrants

Venezuela returns to ‘Middle Ages’ during power outages

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal for third time

Parliament sinks May’s Brexit deal again, EU braces for no-deal exit

Her Brexit strategy in tatters, British PM’s days are numbered

U.S. Trade Negotiators Take Aim at China’s Cybersecurity Law

Retail apocalypse? JCPenney, Payless, LifeWay announce 3,000+ combined store closures

Huge leaps in AI have made facial recognition smarter than your brain

Rocket Lab launches US military space experiment, aiming to soon fly rockets ‘every two weeks’

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Nishinoomote, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Cempa, Indonesia

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 26,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 14,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

The Farm Belt faces an expensive cleanup after already-costly record flooding

Floods in Midwest: Will you pay more for food after extreme weather?

After Cyclone Idai, climate chief warns of more extreme weather

Fueled by climate change, extreme weather disasters hit 62 million people in 2018, U.N. says

Ocasio-Cortez: Republicans made ‘total fools of themselves’ attacking the Green New Deal

Thousands rally in Tel Aviv to demand action against climate change

US jury awards man $80m in Monsanto Roundup cancer case

Monsanto, Roundup and Cancer: Cutting Chemicals From Agriculture Is a Cost We Can’t yet Afford

Mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus and dengue fever may have access to 1 billion more people in the years ahead

Could dogs be the source of a new flu?

An Outbreak Spreads Fear: Of Measles, of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, of Anti-Semitism

In a religious N.Y. community, an unprecedented response to measles puts trust in government to the test

NY county exec says ban on unvaccinated minors is working – ‘We’ve gotten their attention’

Measles: Few attend first free vaccination clinic since Rockland declared state of emergency

Utah Bans Abortions after 18 Weeks

Georgia’s anti-abortion ‘heartbeat’ bill heads to governor’s desk

Alyssa Milano, 49 celebrities threaten Georgia with ‘loss of billions’ over new abortion bill

85-y-o-man attacked, beaten while praying outside Planned Parenthood abortion clinic

Utah Legalizes Sex Outside Marriage After Governor Signs Bill Rolling Back 1973 ‘Fornication’ Law

Chick-fil-A was banned from San Antonio’s airport. The Texas attorney general says it’s ‘discriminatory.’

Amazon, other Washington companies, get perfect scores for LGBTQ policies, but some advocates ask for more

Amazon, Google, Facebook pen letter opposing Texas bills ‘that allow for the exclusion of LGBTQ people’

Google deletes ‘conversion therapy’ app savaged by the LGBTQ community

Pope signs new law to prevent child abuse at Vatican HQ and embassies

News – 3/31/2019

Israel reopens Gaza commercial crossing in sign of easing tensions
Israel reopened its commercial crossing with the Gaza Strip on Sunday but kept military reinforcements deployed on the volatile frontier, a day after a smaller than expected Palestinian protest along the border. Gaza medical officials said four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations on Saturday marking the first anniversary of the “Great March of Return” protests.

Former Mayor of London: It’s not antisemitic to hate Jews of Israel
The notorious anti-Zionist former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said last week that it is not antisemitic to hate Israeli Jews, during a rant in which he said “cooperations” were spreading lies about antisemitism in the UK Labour Party to prevent its leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister. Livingston made his comments…during a speech he gave last week to the Labour Against the Witch-hunt organization…

North Korea says Madrid embassy raid was ‘grave terror attack’
North Korea has described a break-in at its embassy in Spain last month as a “grave terrorist attack”. In its first official comment, the government demanded an investigation and said it was closely watching rumours that the FBI had played a role. On Wednesday a group committed to ousting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Cheollima Civil Defense, said it carried out the raid.

Dismay after Trump moves to cut aid to Central America
US opposition politicians and aid agencies have questioned a decision by President Donald Trump to cut off aid to three Central American states. Mr Trump ordered the suspension of aid payments to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to push their governments to stop migration into the US. Critics say the decision will hurt programmes that already aim to persuade people to stay at home.

The Russians Just Did A Fly-By Of Area 51
The Russians are operating their Tu-154M aircraft configured for surveillance flights sanctioned under the Open Skies Treaty that allows member countries to conduct surveillance flights over each other’s territory…The aircraft are equipped with imaging equipment with specific limitations and monitors from the country being surveilled are onboard the flights to make certain the party complies with the parameters of the treaty.

Jews scared to speak out as antisemitism spreads in Orban’s Hungary
The image on the front page of the Hungarian pro-government magazine could easily have been propaganda from Nazi Germany: a portrait of Andras Heisler, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, surrounded by a shower of high-denomination banknotes. Yet the reaction there was muted. Viktor Orban, the right-wing prime minister and leader of the Fidesz party, refused to condemn the magazine.

Arab summit expected to reject U.S. decision over Golan
Arab heads of state, long divided by regional rivalries, are expected to unite at a summit on Sunday to oppose a U.S. decision to recognize Israel’s annexation of Arab lands captured in 1967. Arab leaders are already grappling with unrest in Algeria and Sudan, international pressure over the war in Yemen, regional splits over Iran’s influence in the Middle East and a bitter Gulf Arab dispute.

Conversion is not your mission, pope tells Catholics in Morocco
Pope Francis told Morocco’s tiny Catholic community on Sunday their role in the predominantly Muslim country was not to covert their neighbors but live in brotherhood with all other faiths. Francis has used his two-day trip to stress inter-faith dialogue. He has also backed Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s efforts to spread a form of Islam that promotes inter-religious dialogue and rejects violence in God’s name.

My uncontrollable sobbing while watching ‘Unplanned’
This weekend, history will be made as the movie “Unplanned” will open in more than 1,100 theaters across the nation. And you can expect the backlash to be intense. And I mean very intense. The foundations of the pro-abortion movement, in particular, those of Planned Parenthood, will be challenged. Evil will be exposed and hope will be exalted.

More than 1 million acres of U.S. cropland ravaged by floods
At least 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of U.S. farmland were flooded after the “bomb cyclone” storm left wide swaths of nine major grain producing states under water this month, satellite data analyzed by Gro Intelligence for Reuters showed.

Nancy Pelosi: We Have a “Moral Responsibility to Protect G-d’s Creation,” Just Not Babies From Abortion
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes Americans need to protect “God’s creation” for future generations, but not future generations from abortion.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Pope Francis Meets With Muslim King In Morocco And Declares That Jerusalem Should Never Belong Solely To The Jews
Just like everything that comes out of the mouth of the Roman pope, it was a tiny nugget of truth encompassed about with layers and layers of lies. Yes, Jerusalem is claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims, absolutely, but of those three only the first two are mentioned in the bible as being ordained by God. The Muslims are the bastard children of Abraham, and are specifically mentioned in the Bible as have none inheritance. The children of Abraham through Hagar are to be “cast out” as we see here

The FCC Has Collected Just $6,790 Of $208 Million It Has Fined Robocallers
“That number stands on its own. We’re proud of it; we think our enforcement program is pretty strong.”

The first death in what could eventually trigger a civil war. Also, in New Zealand police going door-to-door to confiscate guns have already resulted in the death of one man.

Israeli tanks hit Hamas positions in Gaza after rocket fire
Hollywood threatened Georgia with a boycott if the state passed a bill that limited abortions to the first six weeks. Peach State lawmakers passed the bill and left-wing celebrities are erupting.

On what should have been Brexit weekend, churches and cathedrals open their doors for prayer and dialogue
The first weekend after the UK was supposed to leave the European Union, churches and cathedrals are offering spaces for conversation and prayer on Brexit. Many churches across the country are holding prayer vigils this weekend on what should have marked the start of a new post-Brexit era for the UK.

Headlines – 3/31/2019

Tens of thousands of Gaza protesters join anniversary of ‘March of Return’

Palestinians riot, throw explosives at Gaza border as part of March of Return protests

Palestinian man and teenage boy killed by Israeli fire, officials say

IDF apprehends, sends back 8-year-old Gazans who crossed into Israel with knife

Israel expresses satisfaction as Hamas contains volatile anniversary protests

IDF: Hamas operated with unprecedented restraint during Land Day protests

Gaza Protests: Israel Will Reward Hamas for Its Restraint, but Any Incident Could Reignite the Flames

Gazans shoot five rockets at Israel after day of ‘restrained’ border protests

Hamas chief: Ceasefire arrangement to be signed ‘within days’

Hamas leaders say agreement with Israel ‘not a peace agreement,’ aims to force Israel to ‘lift siege.’

Netanyahu has a goal – To shatter the Palestinian Authority, says Russo

40 years of peace with Israel – an Egyptian perspective

Brazil’s Bolsonaro visits Israel amid speculation on embassy

Iran tells Arabs to resist Trump’s pro-Israel moves

Furious Over Trump’s Decision on Golan Heights, Erdogan Confirms Hagia Sophia Will Become a Mosque

Erdogan: Turkey will solve Syria issue “on the field” after Sunday’s elections

Afghan vice president narrowly escapes death for a second time

Pope departs on Morocco trip to highlight Christian-Muslim ties

Muslim World League holds Moscow conference on religious peace and coexistence

Pope and Moroccan King Call for ‘Peaceful Coexistence’ in Jerusalem

Pope in Morocco urges Jerusalem be protected for all religions

Hijacked captain recalls ‘horror’ in Mediterranean Sea as migrants took over ship

German police arrest 10 suspected of planning terror attack

Thirty men sentenced for Egyptian church attack plot

Facebook to consider live video restrictions after NZ attacks

Trump administration OKs nuclear energy transfers to Saudi Arabia, sparking new battle with Congress

South Korea’s Moon to meet Trump over stalled North Korea talks

The day North Korea talks collapsed, Trump passed Kim a note demanding he turn over his nukes

Trump: North Korea sanctions I reversed were not ‘necessary’

EU to probe allegations of aid diverted to Philippine Communist rebels

Brexit: Theresa May ponders fourth bid to pass deal

Early election talk grows as Brexit supporters accuse British MPs of betrayal

Fresh documents keep up pressure on Canada’s Trudeau over scandal

State Department says US cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

Trump condemns ‘weak’ US immigration laws, reiterates threat to ‘close the Border’

‘We’ve never seen anything like this’: As Trump threatens to close border, migrants overwhelm Texas cities

A woman held 33 immigrants in her Illinois home in forced labor scheme, federal court documents say

Zuckerberg backs Internet privacy and election laws: ‘We need a more active role for governments’

Judge rules Trump executive order allowing offshore drilling in Arctic Ocean unlawful

Seismic activity in Montana means potential for large earthquake

6.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Mid-Indian Ridge

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Gizo, Solomon Islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Itea, Greece

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Auki, Solomon Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Planchon Peteroa volcano in Chile erupts to 15,000ft

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

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Afghanistan floods kill 17, worsen already desperate situation

Iran evacuates flood-threatened villages after heavy rains kill dozens

More than 1 million acres of U.S. cropland ravaged by floods

Mozambique says cholera cases up to 271 in cyclone-hit city

1 in 4 people near Congo’s Ebola outbreak believe virus isn’t real, new study says

Infowars host Alex Jones admits Sandy Hook killings were real, blames ‘psychosis’ for his conspiracy claims

Police raid of Arizona home over non-vaccinated child with high fever shows limits of parental rights

Trump administration awards $1.7 million family planning grant to anti-abortion group

TV channels reject ads for R-rated anti-abortion movie

Chick-fil-A pulled from Buffalo airport after company’s alleged ‘anti-LGBTQ rhetoric’ sparks backlash


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Beware of Obama’s Outrage Trap – Susan Rice’s “By The Book” Memo… — The Last Refuge

With the Mueller probe coming to a close, there is increased focus on congress (Lindsey Graham and/or Devin Nunes), along with President Trump, beginning a process toward accountability for those who constructed the Russia collusion/conspiracy hoax. However, amid the increased calls for sunlight and accountability, there are well-intended voices walking perilously close to an outrage trap.

The issue(s) surround President Obama and high-ranking Obama intelligence officials, notably: Comey, Clapper, Brennan and Yates, intentionally lying and/or misrepresenting issues to president-elect Donald Trump and the transition team in/around the transition period and shortly after the January 20, 2017, inauguration.

Some of the misinformation stems from intelligence officials telling direct lies (ex. telling President-elect, and President Trump he was not under investigation).  Other aspects were lies of omission surrounding the Steele Dossier during the January 6th, 2017, intelligence briefing session with the President-elect in Trump Tower.

In essence, there were many misleading and false statements, with varying scales of severity, during the period from November 9th, 2016, through mid-May 2017 when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

The FBI, DOJ, ODNI, CIA and intelligence officials were intentionally not being direct and honest with President Trump and key members of his new administration.  Obviously their lack of honesty was a serious issue, and in some cases had serious ramifications.

The expressed finding by Robert Mueller’s two-year probe of ‘no Trump-Russia collusion, no Trump-Russia conspiracy, and no Trump-Russia obstruction’ has led to some hindsight reviews by media voices where anger surfaces about the now visible deception.

However, there is a trap laid here and Democrats are hoping outraged voices will walk straight into it.   Some are already getting very close.

At 12:15pm on January 20th, 2017, Obama’s outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote a memo-to-self.  Many people have called this her “CYA” (cover your ass) memo, from the position that Susan Rice was protecting herself from consequences if the scheme against President Trump was discovered.  Here’s the email:

On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election, President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Corney and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book“.

The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.

From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.

[Redacted Classified Section of Unknown length]

The President asked Corney to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Corney said he would.

Susan Rice ~ (pdf link)

As stated, many have looked at this as a “CYA” memo, but that’s not what this is.

This is a justification memo, written by an outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice to document why there have been multiple false and misleading statements given to the incoming President Trump and all of his officials.

This is not a “CYA” memo, this is a justification memo for use AFTER the Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy narrative collapsed; if the impeachment effort failed.

The “By The Book” aspect refers to President Obama and Susan Rice being told by CIA  Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, that President Trump was the subject of an active counterintelligence investigation to determine if he was under the influence of the Russian government.

Even the timing of the memo, written 15 minutes prior to the end of the Obama administration, is ex-post-facto useful as evidence of the author’s intent.

Put aside the nonsense aspect to the origination of the investigation for a moment; that part doesn’t apply here…. Accept their position ‘as if’ it is substantive.

We are talking about Brennan, Comey, Clapper and Yates telling President Obama and NSA Susan Rice that President-elect Trump is under a counterintelligence investigation where the suspicion is that Donald J Trump is an agent of a foreign power.

Under that auspices (fraudulent though it may be) the incoming President is a counterintelligence investigation target. A potentially compromised Russian asset. Under this auspices all of the officials would be permitted to lie and mislead their target, so long as they did so “By The Book.”

That’s their justification for a lengthy series of lies and false statements.

That’s why FBI Director James Comey can lie to the President and tell him he’s not the target of the ongoing Russia investigation.  That’s the justification for keeping the accusations inside the Steele Dossier (remember, the Dossier is evidence) from the President-elect.  That’s the justification for all of the officials to lie to President Trump, and even mislead the media if needed.

The Susan Rice email is one big Justification Letter; setting the stage for all of the participants to have a plausible reason for lies to anyone and everyone.

Call out John Brennan for telling Harry Reid about the Steele Dossier during his gang-of-eight briefing, but not telling Go8 member Devin Nunes about it.  Brennan escapes by saying Nunes was on the Trump transition team; and briefing a conflicted politician on the dossier would have compromised the FBI investigation.  See how that works?

Call out James Comey for lying to President-elect Trump during the January 6th Trump Tower meeting…. Comey escapes by saying Trump was a target of the FBI investigation for potential compromise as a Russian asset; informing the target of the evidence against him would have compromised the investigation. See how that works?

Every lie, every omission, every false and/or misleading statement, must first be filtered through the “By The Book” prism of Trump being considered a Russian asset.  This is the justification trap democrats are waiting to exploit for maximum damage and diminishment of counter attack.

The “By the Book” justification, where every action could have been taken because Trump might have been an actual Russian operative, is the weapon under the camouflage tarp as the radical left lures-in their political opposition.  They shrug their shoulders and say in condescending voice: ‘well, we didn’t know; we had to be prudent‘, etc.

Getting outraged about the Obama administration’s lies, misstatements and fabrications can backfire if you don’t first think about it from their constructed frame-of-reference.

The ‘By-the-Book’ framework is based on a false-premise; but the action, just about any action, taken to mislead (even undermine) the incoming administration is excusable under this carefully crafted justification memo.   That’s exactly why Susan Rice wrote it; and each of the participating members knows they can use it, when needed.

The way to get around the legal and political defense inside this justification memo is to ignore the activity of those protected by it and go directly to the origin of how they created that false premise in the first place:

♦ Prove the July 31st, 2016, Crossfire Hurricane operation originated from fraud by exposing the CIA operation that created the originating “Electronic Communication” memo.  Declassify that two-page “EC” document that Brennan gave to Comey.

♦ Reveal the November 2015 through April 2016 FISA-702 search query abuse by declassifying the April 2017 court opinion written by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer.  Show the FBI contractors behind the 85% fraudulent search queries. [Crowdstrike? Fusion-GPS? Nellie Ohr?]

♦ Subpoena former DOJ-NSD (National Security Division) head John Carlin, or haul him in front of a grand jury, and get his testimony about why he hid the abuse from the FISA court in October 2016; why the DOJ-NSD rushed the Carter Page application to beat NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to the FISA court; and why Carlin quit immediately thereafter. Squeeze this bastard’s nuts in the proverbial legal vice.

♦ Prove the Carter Page FISA application (October 2016) was fraudulent and based on deceptions to the FISA Court.  Declassify the entire document, and release the transcripts of those who signed the application(s); and/or depose those who have not yet testified.

♦ Release all of the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages without redactions.  Let sunlight pour in on the actual conversation(s) that were taking place when Crossfire Hurricane (July ’16) and the FISA Application (Oct ’16) were taking place.

♦ Release all of Bruce Ohr 302’s, FBI notes from interviews and debriefing sessions, and other relevant documents associated with the interviews of Bruce Ohr and his internal communications. Including exculpatory evidence that Bruce Ohr may have shared with FBI Agent Joseph Pientka.  [And get a deposition from this Pientka fella]

In short, avoid the “justification trap” by ignoring the downstream activity (stemming as a result of the fraudulent origin), and focus on revealing the origin of the fraud.

via Beware of Obama’s Outrage Trap – Susan Rice’s “By The Book” Memo… — The Last Refuge

Clapper Sings – Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Tells CNN Obama Ordered the Trump-Russia Spying Operation (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit


On Monday former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went on with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss the Mueller Report after its release on Sunday.

After two years of investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of angry Democrats did not find any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller also did not find any evidence of conspiracy after President Trump fired crooked leaker FBI Director James Comey.

Clapper defended the Obama administration’s spying on their political opposition during the election.

And then Clapper appeared to put blame on Barack Obama for spying on his opponent during the 2016 presidential election.

Via Red Right Videos:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The 2017 assessment that the President says he now agrees with, that was done while you and then NCI Director John Brennan were still in office. So, how can we reconcile the President attacking you, but apparently after a very long time finally, allegedly saying — or saying he allegedly agrees with the product of the intelligence community that you, yourself oversaw?

JAMES CLAPPER: Yes, well, this is — yes, as we’ve come to know the President, he is not a stalwart for a consistency or coherence. So it’s very hard to explain that. One point I’d like to make, Anderson, that I don’t think has come up very much before, and I’m alluding now to the President’s criticism of President Obama for all that he did or didn’t do before he left office with respect to the Russian meddling. If it weren’t for President Obama, we might not have done the intelligence community assessment that we did that set off a whole sequence of events which are still unfolding today, notably, special counsel Mueller’s investigation.

President Obama is responsible for that, and it was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place. I think it’s an important point when it comes to critiquing President Obama.

via Clapper Sings – Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Tells CNN Obama Ordered the Trump-Russia Spying Operation (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Sen. Lindsey Graham: We Are Calling in All of The Officials Who Signed Carter Page FISA Warrant to Testify (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures to discuss the Mueller Report and upcoming senate investigations and hearings.

Senator Graham said he was going to call in all of the officials who signed the controversial Carter Page FISA warrants.

Former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, and former Attorney General Sally Yates were all required to sign off on the FISC warrant application before it was reviewed and ultimately approved.

Senator Graham said he is going to investigate how the DOJ could use a document to spy on Trump officials that has not been certified to this day.

Senator Graham: I know Bill Barr and he’s pretty upset about how all of this was handled… I hope there is a special counsel appointed to look at DOJ corruption and political bias… I think it’s important to understand that political bias probably drove the Clinton outcome and not the facts… I just want the American people to know that the standards used against Clinton is an outlier. It’s not the way business is done. And why did they choose that path? I think they had a political bias. They wanted Clinton to win, Trump to lose… Well May 1st, Barr is going to bring the Mueller Report over… I’m going to turn looking toward the counter-intelligence investigation. How the Clinton email investigation was handled and FISA abuse.

Via Sunday Morning Futures:

via Sen. Lindsey Graham: We Are Calling in All of The Officials Who Signed Carter Page FISA Warrant to Testify (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

March 31, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Believers’ Proper Relationships

And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (12:21–27)

Whereas the first kind of individualist says, “They don’t need me,” the second says, “I don’t need them.” That attitude is wrong enough in the world, because God has made all of His creation interrelated, especially mankind, whom He has made in His own image. The attitude is much worse in the church, whose members have a common Savior and Lord and a common spiritual body. No eye in the church has a right to say to a hand, “I have no need of you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” That attitude was common in the Corinthian assembly. A few prominent and gifted members acted as if they were self-sufficient, as if they could carry on their ministries and daily Christian living completely by themselves or with only a few select friends. They overestimated their own importance and underestimated that of other believers. Disobeying the principles of Matthew 18:10 and Romans 14:1–15:7, these people were disdaining those they saw as weak and less significant.

On the contrary, Paul continues, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. As important as some of the prominent members of the human body are it is possible to live without them. They are important but not absolutely necessary. You can lose an eye or ear, a hand or leg, and still live. But you cannot lose your heart or liver or brain and live. Those organs are more hidden than the others but also are more vital. You can notice the breathing of your lungs and the pulse of your heartbeat, but their work is not nearly as obvious as what we do with our hands or feet. Those less noticed parts (internal organs) seem to be weaker than much of the rest of the body (external limbs), but they also are more necessary. Consequently they are more guarded by the skeleton and the rest of the body. They are more vital and more vulnerable, and are therefore given more protection. You can live without legs, but not without lungs.

The most vital ministries in a church always include some that are not obvious. The faithful prayers and services of a few dedicated saints who hold no office frequently are the most reliable and productive channels of spiritual power in a congregation. The Corinthian church had failed to be considerate and appreciative of those who did not have the “out front” gifts such as prophecy, languages, or healing. Those with less noticeable ministries are sometimes vulnerable to misunderstanding, and often to neglect and lack of appreciation. They should be protected by fellow believers just as the body protects its vital organs.

Continuing the analogy, Paul reminds us that those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness.

Less honorable probably refers to the parts of our body that are not particularly attractive. It seems best to see this as referring to the torso in general—the part on which we hang clothes. It might include flabby thighs or a paunch, but is usually covered and considered less attractive. The use of the verb peritithēmi (bestow, literally “to put around”) suggests the idea of clothing the body in general. We spend more time and money clothing those parts of our body than the ones that are more presentable (such as face and hands), and by doing so, on these we bestow more abundant honor.

Unseemly (aschēmōn) means shameful, indecent, or unpresentable, and here refers to those parts of the body that are considered private and to be covered. In virtually all societies of history, with the exceptions of a few primitive tribes, those parts of the body have been treated with modesty. The fact that many people today are discarding this natural modesty and are exploiting the display of traditionally private parts indicates the extent of modern depravity.

When people treat these unseemly members with care and modesty they come to have more abundant seemliness. It is not those parts of the body themselves, but the display of them, that is unseemly and shameful. When they are properly treated they become more decent, just as the less honorable parts, when properly treated, become more attractive.

It is from a warped sense of values that a Christian, well known because of a prominent gift, looks down on other Christians who possess no obvious gift and seeks great honor for his own. That attitude is a direct contradiction of the principle of concern that characterizes a body. It is far more consistent with self-preservation that members of the body that have greater outward beauty and more functional abilities devote themselves to the well-being of those parts that are not so well equipped but are essential to life. Every sensible person is more concerned with his heart than his hair.

Those in positions of leadership and prominence not only should not look down on those whose gifts are less noticeable but should take special care to show them appreciation and to protect them when necessary. Specially gifted Christians are specially obligated to “encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, [and] be patient with all men” (1 Thess. 5:14).

Those who have the more noticeable and attractive gifts are the more seemly members [who] have no need of encouragement and protection. Honor comes to them almost as a matter of course, and that honor they should share with members whose gifts and temperaments are less attractive and more likely to be ignored. They should give more abundant honor to that member which lacked.

I believe that the most surprising experience Christians will have is that of seeing the Lord present His rewards at the bēma, the judgment seat of Christ, where every believer will “be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). If there is such a thing as shock in heaven, I believe that is what most of us will feel when the secrets are revealed (cf. 1 Cor. 4:3–5). Jesus said that those who seek to be first in this life will be last in the next (Matt. 19:30), and that spiritual greatness is determined by the spirit of servanthood not by high position or impressive achievements (Matt. 20:27). Jesus’ response to the request of the mother of James and John reveals that suffering is more related to reward than is success (Matt. 20:20–23).

It is clear from what Paul says in the present text that heavenly reward will be based not only on what we do with our own gifts and ministries but on our attitudes toward and support of the gifts and ministries of other believers.

Mutual support and encouragement is necessary to avoid both underconfidence and overconfidence. It is also necessary to avoid division in the body. In our eyes, as in God’s eyes, every believer should be of the highest importance and every ministry of the highest importance (cf. Phil. 2:1–4). In a mature and spiritual congregation, church members will have the same care for one another. We should care as much for the nursery teacher as for the pastor, as much for the janitor as for the Sunday school superintendent.

In the obedient and loving church that God has planned for His children, if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Only that sort of mutual love and concern can prevent or heal division and preserve unity. The one who is hurt is consoled and the one who is blessed is rejoiced with. There is no disdain for one another, no rivalry or competition, no envy or malice, no inferiority or superiority, but only love—love that is patient, kind, and not jealous, boastful, or arrogant; love that does not act unbecomingly or seek its own and is not easily provoked; love that never rejoices in unrighteousness but always rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:4–6).

The only people that can love in that way and be unified in that way are Christians, who are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And only Christ’s love can produce such love.

Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that, individually and collectively, they were Christ’s very body, the church for whom He died. They were one in Him and so should be one in each other. They were “not lacking in any gift” (1:7) and were perfectly equipped to represent and serve the Lord. As a local congregation they were Christ’s body in miniature, a representation of Jesus Christ to all of Corinth. Every local church is fully equipped to serve the Lord, just as every believer is fully equipped to serve Him. Any lacking, any deficiency, is always in our recognition and use of what He has provided.[1]

27. But ye are the body of Christ. Hence what has been said respecting the nature and condition of the human body must be applied to us; for we are not a mere civil society, but, being ingrafted into Christ’s body, are truly members one of another. Whatever, therefore, any one of us has, let him know that it has been given him for the edification of his brethren in common; and let him, accordingly, bring it forward, and not keep it back—buried, as it were, within himself, or make use of it as his own. Let not the man, who is endowed with superior gifts, be puffed up with pride, and despise others; but let him consider that there is nothing so diminutive as to be of no use—as, in truth, even the least among the pious brings forth fruit, according to his slender capacity, so that there is no useless member in the Church. Let not those who are not endowed with so much honour, envy those above them, or refuse to do their duty to them, but let them maintain the station in which they have been placed. Let there be mutual affection, mutual fellow-feeling, (συμπάθεια,) mutual concern. Let us have a regard to the common advantage, in order that we may not destroy the Church by malignity, or envy, or pride, or any disagreement; but may, on the contrary, every one of us, strive to the utmost of his power to preserve it. Here is a large subject, and a magnificent one; but I content myself with having pointed out the way in which the above similitude must be applied to the Church.

Members severally. Chrysostom is of opinion, that this clause is added, because the Corinthians were not the universal Church; but this appears to me rather forced. I have sometimes thought that it was expressive of impropriety, as the Latins say—Quodammodo, (in a manner.) When, however, I view the whole matter more narrowly, I am rather disposed to refer it to that division of members of which he had made mention. They are then members severally, according as each one has had his portion and definite work assigned him. The context itself leads us to this meaning. In this way severally, and as a whole, will be opposite terms.[2]

27 It is understandable, then, how Paul concludes vv. 12–27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” This is how Paul began the discussion about the body in v. 12, and now he ends it in a similar manner. These two verses frame the entire discussion of the church as the body of Christ.[3]

12:27 / Verses 27–31a apply and explain the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ in relation to the Corinthians’ situation. Verse 27 begins with the bold declaration, you are the body of Christ. This statement means there is diversity among the Corinthian Christians in terms of their gifts, although they are united by God’s design and work among them. Despite the differences, each one … is a part of the body, and each and all are necessary for the good of the whole.[4]

Our individuality (27)

As the body of Christ operates in this way, so the individual members will find their real needs met. The need for security is met in the assurance that ‘I belong to the body’. The need for identity is met in recognizing and working at the fact that ‘I have a distinctive contribution to bring to the body’. The need for a proper sense of responsibility is met by assuming concern for others in the body: ‘I need you; I feel with you; I rejoice with you.’ So each individual grows as a person and as a Christian in direct relation to his finding his place as a member of the body. The Scriptures speak of individuality, not of individualism. The latter phenomenon is a perversion of our calling in Christ. It plagues the church of God, spoiling its witness and shrivelling individuals.

This discovery of our individuality within the life of the Christian community remains as revolutionary a message in today’s world as it was in that of Paul and his Corinthian readers. It is a radical alternative both to the tyranny of totalitarianism and to the empty dreams of personal fulfilment through individualism.

There is a further perspective in this chapter, one which prevents such a community turning in on itself and becoming a pious ghetto of religious fanatics. The body of Christ is placed in the world to serve. Ministry is its daily vocation. As the community is mobilized under the Holy Spirit within the real world, its throbbing vitality will be sustained. Gifts are to be used in practical, costly and often very ordinary service (cf. 12:5). The ministry of Jesus through his physical body on earth is continued in the ministry of his body, the church. It is the same ministry: he came, ‘not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ That is the purpose of the body of Christ now: ‘as the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’65[5]

12:27. Paul next applied the analogy of the human body to the church as the body of Christ. He began with the declaration, Now you are the body of Christ. Paul used this metaphor for the church many times in this letter and in other epistles (Rom. 12:5; Eph. 3:6). Here he focused on the diversity and honor of the various members of Christ’s body, starting with this general assertion and then pointing to each person in the church at Corinth. Each one is a part of the body. Without exception every person who has trusted Christ receives a place in the body of Christ.[6]

27. You are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

  • “You are the body of Christ.” Paul addresses the members of the Corinthian church with the personal pronoun you. They are the people who have been made holy in Christ Jesus and are called to be holy (1:2). Yet these people quarreled, caused divisions, failed to expel an immoral brother, brought lawsuits against fellow brothers, criticized the apostles, and did not properly observe the Lord’s Supper. In spite of all these shortcomings, Paul tells the Corinthians that they are the body of Christ.

In the Greek text, Paul uses the noun body in the absolute sense of the word. That is, the word appears without the definite article which, for the sake of acceptable English, we have supplied. Paul does not say “a body” or “the body,” but merely “body” to indicate that this is the one and only, for there is no other body of Christ. He is not referring to Christ’s physical body but rather speaks figuratively about the church as Christ’s body (e.g., Eph. 1:23; Col. 1:24). To say it differently, Paul states that the church to which the Corinthians belong is one entity without division.

The church as Christ’s figurative body exists in him and belongs to him. It is genuinely united with Christ, for every individual member is by faith included in him. Each local congregation is a microcosm of the entire church, so that everyone who observes the congregation’s various functions knows that this body is the church in action. Here Paul states the principle of unity in multiplicity. In the next clause he notes multiplicity in unity.

  • “And individually members of it.” We have no information about the size of the Corinthian church, but Paul avers that every individual member is part of Christ’s body. By saying this, Paul underscores the individuality of the members, for each has received a different gift from the Lord. With these gifts and functions at their disposal, all the members together contribute to the well-being of the Christian community.[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 319–322). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 1, pp. 412–413). 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. 369). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (p. 266). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Prior, D. (1985). The message of 1 Corinthians: life in the local church (p. 216). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 220). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, p. 440). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Sunday’s Hymn: In the Hour of Trial, Jesus Plead for Me — Rebecca Writes

In the hour of trial,
Jesus, plead for me;
Lest by base denial
I depart from thee;
When thou seest me waver,
With a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor
Suffer me to fall.

With its witching pleasures
Would this vain world charm,
Or its sordid treasures
Spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance
Sad Gethsemane,
Or, in darker semblance,
Cross-crowned Calvary.

If with sore affliction
Thou in love chastise,
Pour thy benediction
On the sacrifice;
Then, upon thine altar
Freely offered up,
Though the flesh may falter,
Faith shall drink the cup.

When in dust and ashes
To the grave I sink,
While heav’n’s glory flashes
O’er the shelving brink,
On thy truth relying
Through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying,
To eternal life.

—James Montgomery




Other hymns, worship songs, or quotes for this Sunday:

via Sunday’s Hymn: In the Hour of Trial, Jesus Plead for Me — Rebecca Writes

March 31 When Sorrow Flees

scripture reading: Revelation 21–22
key verse: Revelation 21:4

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Counselor and author Larry Crabb writes about the importance of eternity’s perspective on suffering in his book Inside Out:

Modern Christianity, in dramatic reversal of its biblical form, promises to relieve the pain of living in a fallen world.

The message … is too often the same: The promise of bliss is now! Complete satisfaction can be ours this side of heaven.…

The effect of such teaching is to blunt the painful reality of what it’s like to live as part of an imperfect, and sometimes evil, community.

Adversity can wreak havoc in this life. But you can advance through it as you face it with the long–term view of eternity. You can rest in the certain truth that your faithfulness and perseverance will be rewarded in eternity.

The outcome of suffering, when entrusted to God’s sovereign, kind hand, is always merciful. The sufferings of this life, Paul said, cannot compare to the “glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18 nasb).

The light of God’s countenance is upon you in your affliction. But one day you will see Him face–to–face, and that encounter will put all things into place. Sorrow and crying will flee away for all eternity.

I want to face each adversity with eternity in mind, Father. Thank You that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in me![1]

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

Lord’s Day 13, 2019 — The Thirsty Theologian

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. —1 Corinthians 13:8–13

Hymn 38. (C. M.)
Love to God.

Happy the heart where graces reign,
Where love inspires the breast;
Love is the brightest of the train,
And strengthens all the rest.

Knowledge, alas! ’tis all in vain,
And all in vain our fear;
Our stubborn sins will fight and reign,
If love be absent there.

’Tis love that makes our cheerful feet
In swift obedience move;
The devils know and tremble too,
But Satan cannot love.

This is the grace that lives and sings
When faith and hope shall cease;
’Tis this shall strike our joyful strings
In the sweet, realms of bliss.

Before we quite forsake our clay,
Or leave this dark abode,
The wings of love bear us away
To see our smiling God.

—The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book II: Composed on Divine Subjects (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation
if you can possibly help it.
But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.

via Lord’s Day 13, 2019 — The Thirsty Theologian

Be Of Sin The Double Cure — The Outspoken TULIP

In my daily prayer time, I devote some of my attention to various aspects of the Gospel. In so doing, I adore and thank the Triune God for all the ways He brought me to salvation. In the process, I preach the Gospel to myself.

A wonderful component of the Gospel is the amazing truth that Jesus went beyond saving His people from the penalty of sin. Although His grace in that side of salvation gives us more than enough reason to praise Him throughout eternity, His lavish generosity also liberated us from sin’s power over us!

Hymn writer Augustus M. Toplady celebrated this dual function of Christ’s atoning work on the cross in his 1775 hymn, Rock of Ages in the opening stanza. While the following verses also contain robust points of doctrine that inspire worship and praise, today I especially praise the Lord for this glorious double cure from sin. And all both Jesus, the Rock of Ages, lets me hide myself in Him!

via Be Of Sin The Double Cure — The Outspoken TULIP

31 march (1861) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The march

“And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Numbers 10:35

suggested further reading: 2 Chronicles 20:1–30

“Rise up, Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit, we can do nothing without thee; but if thou wilt arise, thine enemies shall be scattered, and they that hate thee shall flee before thee.” Will you and I go home and pray this prayer by ourselves, fervently laying hold upon the horns of God’s altar? I charge you, my brethren in Christ, do not neglect this private duty. Go, each one of you, to your chambers; shut your doors; cry to him who hears in secret, and let this be the burden of your cry—“Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” And at your altars tonight, when your families are gathered together, still let the same cry ring up to heaven. And then tomorrow, and all the days of the week, and as often as we shall meet together to hear his word and to break bread, cry, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Pray for your children, your neighbours, your families, and your friends, and let your prayer be—“Rise up, Lord; rise up, Lord.” Pray for this neighbourhood; pray for the dense darkness of Southwark, and Walworth, and Lambeth. And oh! If you cannot pray for others because your own needs come so strongly before your mind, remember sinner, all you need is by faith to look to Christ, and then you can say, “Rise up, Lord; scatter my doubts; kill my unbelief; drown my sins in thy blood; let these thine enemies be scattered; let them that hate thee flee before thee.”

for meditation: This call to prayer, which comes at the very end of the “New Park Street Pulpit” reminds us of some important lessons—the battle is the Lord’s, the armour is God’s, but the responsibility to pray still rests with us, God’s people (Ephesians 6:10–20).

sermon no. 368[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 97). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

31 MARCH 365 Days with Calvin

Happy are the Blessed

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15

suggested further reading: Matthew 5:1–12

David says that those people are happy to whom divine favor has been shown and manifested.

Should anyone object that only a gross and worldly spirit would estimate man’s happiness in terms of transitory gifts, I would reply that we must read the two things in connection: that those people are happy who recognize the favor of God in the abundance they enjoy. They have a sense of happiness from these transitory blessings that persuades them of their Father’s care and leads them to aspire after the true inheritance of eternal blessings. There is no impropriety in calling those happy whom God blesses in this world, provided they do not show themselves blind to the improvements and uses that they make of God’s mercies or foolishly and lazily overlook the author of them.

The kind providence of God in not suffering us to lack the basic needs of life is surely a striking illustration of his wonderful love. What is more desirable than to be the objects of God’s care, especially if we have sufficient understanding to conclude from the liberality with which he supports us that he is our Father? For everything is to be viewed in reference to this point. It would be better for us to perish for want than to have mere brute satisfaction that forgets the main thing, that only those are happy whom God has chosen as his people.

In giving us meat and drink, God allows us to enjoy a certain measure of happiness, but it does not follow that believers who struggle through life in want and poverty are miserable, for this want, whatever it be, God can counterbalance by better consolations.

for meditation: When God blesses us by meeting our material needs such as food, clothing, housing, and work, we may feel happy. But that happiness is incomplete if we do not look beyond the gifts to the Giver, as well as to the ultimate Gift of all, Jesus Christ our Savior.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 109). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

EChurch@Wartburg 3/30/19 — The Wartburg Watch

The Lord’s Prayer: Traditional

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.

Prayer from LCMS One Year Series Prayers

In peace, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our Synod, her congregations, pastors and workers, that we be given grace to look to the Lord for His aid in every time of need and to find in His gracious hands provision for every want, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all sister churches of the Augsburg Confession throughout the world, that they be strengthened in their mission of holding forth the bread of God for the life of the world, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the government and all entrusted with positions of leadership and for all who protect us, that they would embrace their calling and serve with honor, integrity and uprightness; and for all our citizens, that we would uphold our public servants in prayer and give them the honor due, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For this community of faith, that we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of the bread and the prayers, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those who would be glad to go to the Lord’s house and yet whose frail bodies no longer permit them to regularly gather here with us, that through our care and visits they may know that they are still important members of our congregational family, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those who seek from the Lord’s hand relief of bodily or emotional affliction, and especially for [______________ and]all we name in our hearts, that they may know His saving peace and the comfort of His healing presence, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all who approach the Lord’s altar this day, that receiving the Savior’s body and blood in saving faith, they may be refreshed in spirit and strengthened in hope, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the faithful departed, let us give to God our thanks and praise, asking that He would grant us to feast with them in the joys of the Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Clement of Rome link

We beseech thee, Master, to be our helper and protector.
Save the afflicted among us; have mercy on the lowly;
raise up the fallen; appear to the needy; heal the ungodly;
restore the wanderers of thy people;
feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners;
raise up the sick; comfort the faint-hearted.

1 Peter 4:1-8 (NIV)

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.
2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.
5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Wade Burleson: A Mouth that Speaks Gently, Not Harshly from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

The Aaronic Blessing (What I wish for you this week)

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26)

via EChurch@Wartburg 3/30/19 —

SSB Sunday Gathering – March 31, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board


Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

Photo by Kathi

-by Kathi


Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Lent, Year 1 and may be found here.

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us – so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Galatians 4: 21 – 5:1

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Mark 8: 11 – 21

The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

“Twelve,” they replied.

“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

They answered, “Seven.”

He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”



May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

via SSB Sunday Gathering – March 31, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board

March 31, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Priority: Preaching the Gospel

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, that no man should say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. (1:14–17)

Crispus was the leader of the synagogue in Corinth when Paul first ministered there and was converted under the apostle’s preaching. His conversion led to that of many others in the city (Acts 18:8). Since the letter to the Romans was written from Corinth, this Gaius was probably the Corinthian “host” to whom Paul refers in Romans 16:23. The apostle was grateful that he had personally baptized only those two and a few others.

Jesus did not baptize anyone personally (John 4:2). To have been baptized by the Lord Himself would have brought almost irresistible temptation to pride and would have tended to set such people apart, whether they wanted to be or not. As an apostle, Paul faced a similar danger. But he also had another: the danger of creating his own cult; and so he declared, I thank God … that no man should say you were baptized in my name.

As already mentioned, it is not wrong to have special affection for certain persons, such as the one who baptized us, especially if we were converted under his ministry. But it is quite wrong to take special pride in that fact or pride in any close relationship to a Christian leader. Paul was not flattered that a group in Corinth was claiming special allegiance to him. He was distraught and ashamed at the idea, as he had already said: “Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1:13). “How could you even think of showing a loyalty to me,” he was saying, “that belongs only to the Lord Jesus Christ?” He wanted no cult built around himself or around any other church leader.

Paul was not certain of the exact number he had baptized in Corinth. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. This comment gives an interesting insight into the inspiration of Scripture. As an apostle writing the Word of God, Paul made no errors; but he was not omniscient. God protected His apostles from error in order to protect His Word from error. But Paul did not know everything about God or even about himself, and was careful never to make such a claim. He knew what God revealed—things he had no way of knowing on his own. What he could know on his own, he was prone to forget. He was one of us.

Another reason for Paul’s baptizing so few converts was that his primary calling lay elsewhere. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. He was not sent to start a cult of people baptized by him. Jesus had personally commissioned him: “For this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; delivering you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:16–18). His calling was to preach the gospel and bring men to oneness in Christ, not in baptizing to create a faction around himself.

As we each have the right priority in our lives, we too will be determined to serve the Lord in truth and in unity, not living in the carnality and confusion of dissension and division.[1]

17. For Christ sent me not. He anticipates an objection that might, perhaps, be brought against him—that he had not discharged his duty, inasmuch as Christ commands his Apostles to baptize as well as teach. Accordingly he replies, that this was not the principal department of his office, for the duty of teaching had been principally enjoined upon him as that to which he should apply himself. For when Christ says to the Apostles, (Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15,) Go, preach and baptize, he connects baptism with teaching simply as an addition or appendage, so that teaching always holds the first place.

Two things, however, must be noticed here. The first is, that the Apostle does not here absolutely deny that he had a command to baptize, for this is applicable to all the Apostles: Go and baptize; and he would have acted rashly in baptizing even one, had he not been furnished with authority, but simply points out what was the chief thing in his calling. The second thing is, that he does not by any means detract here, as some think, from the dignity or utility of the sacrament. For the question here is, not as to the efficacy of baptism, and Paul does not institute this comparison with the view of detracting in any degree from that; but because it was given to few to teach, while many could baptize; and farther, as many could be taught at the same time, while baptism could only be administered to individuals successively, one by one, Paul, who excelled in the gift of teaching, applied himself to the work that was more especially needful for him, and left to others what they could more conveniently accomplish. Nay farther, if the reader considers minutely all the circumstances of the case, he will see that there is irony tacitly conveyed here, dexterously contrived for making those feel acutely, who, under colour of administering a ceremony, endeavour to catch a little glory at the expense of another’s labour. Paul’s labours in building up that Church had been incredible. There had come after him certain effeminate masters, who had drawn over followers to their party by the sprinkling of water;2 Paul, then, giving up to them the title of honour, declares himself contented with having had the burden.

Not with wisdom, of words. There is here an instance of anticipation, by which a twofold objection is refuted. For these pretended teachers might reply that it was ludicrous to hear Paul, who was not endowed with eloquence, making it his boast that the department of teaching had been assigned to him. Hence he says, by way of concession, that he had not been formed to be an orator, to set himself off by elegance of speech, but a minister of the Spirit, that he might, by plain and homely speech, bring to nothing the wisdom of the world. Now, lest any one should object that he hunted after glory by his preaching, as much as others did by baptism, he briefly replies, that as the method of teaching that he pursued was the farthest removed from show, and breathed nothing of ambition, it could give no ground of suspicion on that head. Hence, too, if I mistake not, it may readily be inferred what was the chief ground of the controversy that Paul had with the wicked and unfaithful ministers of the Corinthians. It was that, being puffed up with ambition, that they might secure for themselves the admiration of the people, they recommended themselves to them by a show of words and mask of human wisdom.

From this main evil two others necessarily followed—that by these disguises (so to speak) the simplicity of the gospel was disfigured, and Christ was, as it were, clothed in a new and foreign garb, so that the pure and unadulterated knowledge of him was not to be found. Farther, as men’s minds were turned aside to neatness and elegance of expression, to ingenious speculations, and to an empty show of superior sublimity of doctrine, the efficacy of the Spirit vanished, and nothing remained but the dead letter. The majesty of God, as it shines forth in the gospel, was not to be seen, but mere disguise and useless show. Paul, accordingly, with the view of exposing these corruptions of the gospel, makes a transition here to the manner of his preaching. This he declares to be right and proper, while at the same time it was diametrically opposed to the ambitious ostentation of those men. It is as though he had said—“I am well aware how much your fastidious teachers delight themselves in their high-sounding phrases. As for myself, I do not simply confess that my preaching has been conducted in a rude, coarse, and unpolished style, but I even glory in it. For it was right that it should be so, and this was the method that was divinely prescribed to me.” By the wisdom of words, he does not mean λογοδαιδαλία, which is mere empty talk, but true eloquence, which consists in skilful contrivance of subjects, ingenious arrangement, and elegance of expression. He declares that he had nothing of this: nay more, that it was neither suitable to his preaching nor advantageous.

Lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. As he had so often previously presented the name of Christ in contrast with the arrogant wisdom of the flesh, so now, with the view of bringing down thereby all its pride and loftiness, he brings forward to view the cross of Christ. For all the wisdom of believers is comprehended in the cross of Christ, and what more contemptible than a cross? Whoever, therefore, would desire to be truly wise in God’s account, must of necessity stoop to this abasement of the cross, and this will not be accomplished otherwise than by his first of all renouncing his own judgment and all the wisdom of the world. Paul, however, shows here not merely what sort of persons Christ’s disciples ought to be, and what path of learning they ought to pursue, but also what is the method of teaching in Christ’s school. “The cross of Christ (says he) would have been made of none effect, if my preaching had been adorned with eloquence and show.” The cross of Christ he has put here for the benefit of redemption, which must be sought from Christ crucified. Now the doctrine of the gospel which calls us to this, should savour of the nature of the Cross, so as to be despised and contemptible, rather than glorious, in the eyes of the world. The meaning, therefore, is, that if Paul had made use of philosophical acuteness and studied address in the presence of the Corinthians, the efficacy of the cross of Christ, in which the salvation of men consists, would have been buried, because it cannot come to us in that way.

Here two questions are proposed: first, whether Paul here condemns in every respect the wisdom of words, as opposed to Christ; and secondly, whether he means that eloquence and the doctrine of the gospel are invariably opposed, so they cannot agree together, and that the preaching of the gospel is vitiated, if the slightest tincture of eloquence is made use of for adorning it. To the first of these I answer—that it were quite unreasonable to suppose, that Paul would utterly condemn those arts which, it is manifest, are excellent gifts of God, and which serve as instruments, as it were, to assist men in the accomplishment of important purposes. As for those arts, then, that have nothing of superstition, but contain solid learning, and are founded on just principles, as they are useful and suited to the common transactions of human life, so there can be no doubt that they have come forth from the Holy Spirit; and the advantage which is derived and experienced from them, ought to be ascribed exclusively to God. What Paul says here, therefore, ought not to be taken as throwing any disparagement upon the arts, as if they were unfavourable to piety.

The second question is somewhat more difficult, for he says, that the cross of Christ is made of none effect if there be any admixture of the wisdom of words. I answer, that we must consider who they are that Paul here addresses. The ears of the Corinthians were tickled with a silly fondness for high sounding style. Hence they needed more than others to be brought back to the abasement of the cross, that they might learn to embrace Christ as he is, unadorned, and the gospel in its simplicity, without any false ornament. I acknowledge, at the same time, that this sentiment in some respects holds invariably, that the cross of Christ is made of none effect, not merely by the wisdom of the world, but also by elegance of address. For the preaching of Christ crucified is simple and unadorned, and hence it ought not to be obscured by false ornaments of speech. It is the prerogative of the gospel to bring down the wisdom of the world in such a way that, stript of our own understanding, we show ourselves to be simply docile, and do not think or even desire to know anything, but what the Lord himself teaches. As to the wisdom of the flesh, we shall have occasion to consider more at large ere long, in what respects it is opposed to Christ. As to eloquence, I shall advert to it here in a few words, in so far as the passage calls for.

We see that God from the beginning ordered matters so, that the gospel should be administered in simplicity, without any aid from eloquence. Could not he who fashions the tongues of men for eloquence, be himself eloquent if he chose to be so? While he could be so, he did not choose to be so. Why it was that he did not choose this, I find two reasons more particularly. The first is, that in a plain and unpolished manner of address, the majesty of the truth might shine forth more conspicuously, and the simple efficacy of his Spirit, without external aids, might make its way into the hearts of men. The second is, that he might more effectually try our obedience and docility, and train us at the same time to true humility. For the Lord admits none into his school but little children. Hence those alone are capable of heavenly wisdom who, contenting themselves with the preaching of the cross, however contemptible it may be in appearance, feel no desire whatever to have Christ under a mask. Hence the doctrine of the gospel required to be regulated with this view, that believers should be drawn off from all pride and haughtiness.

But what if any one should at the present day, by discoursing with some degree of elegance, adorn the doctrine of the gospel by eloquence? Would he deserve to be on that account rejected, as though he either polluted it or obscured Christ’s glory. I answer in the first place, that eloquence is not at all at variance with the simplicity of the gospel, when it does not merely not disdain to give way to it, and be in subjection to it, but also yields service to it, as a handmaid to her mistress. For as Augustine says, “He who gave Peter a fisherman, gave also Cyprian an orator.” By this he means, that both are from God, notwithstanding that the one, who is much the superior of the other as to dignity, is utterly devoid of gracefulness of speech; while the other, who sits at his feet, is distinguished by the fame of his eloquence. That eloquence, therefore, is neither to be condemned nor despised, which has no tendency to lead Christians to be taken up with an outward glitter of words, or intoxicate them with empty delight, or tickle their ears with its tinkling sound, or cover over the cross of Christ with its empty show as with a veil; but, on the contrary, tends to call us back to the native simplicity of the gospel, tends to exalt the simple preaching of the cross by voluntarily abasing itself, and, in fine, acts the part of a herald2 to procure a hearing for those fishermen and illiterate persons, who have nothing to recommend them but the energy of the Spirit.

I answer secondly, that the Spirit of God, also, has an eloquence of his own, but of such a nature as to shine forth with a native lustre peculiar to itself, or rather (as they say) intrinsic, more than with any adventitious ornaments. Such is the eloquence that the Prophets have, more particularly Isaiah, David, and Solomon. Moses, too, has a sprinkling of it. Nay farther, even in the writings of the Apostles, though they are more unpolished, there are notwithstanding some sparks of it occasionally emitted. Hence the eloquence that is suited to the Spirit of God is of such a nature that it does not swell with empty show, or spend itself in empty sound, but is solid and efficacious, and has more of substance than elegance.[2]

17 Paul then uses the opportunity to reflect on what Christ did call him to do—“not … to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (euangelizō, GK 2294). It is not, of course, as though Paul considered baptism to be an unimportant or even optional element in a Christian’s life. In Romans 6:3–14, for example, he uses baptism as a powerful argument for living a Christian life that is dead to sin and alive to God, and he assumes that all believers have been baptized (cf. also Col 2:11–12). But Paul’s unique gift—that for which Christ commissioned him as an apostle—was to evangelize. By the same token, however, Paul’s comments on baptism also rule out any sort of magical view of baptism; the crucial thing in a person’s life is to hear the gospel message and to respond in faith.

In the last part of v. 17, Paul shifts his emphasis from the nature of his calling to its execution. When he preaches, he does not do so “with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” Paul does not speak his words in the manner of the Sophists, who were more concerned about eloquence than content. For the apostle, content—namely, the message of the cross of Christ—is the most important thing. It is the message that has the power to save, for “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Ro 10:9). This should be the focus of any preacher’s or evangelist’s message.[3]

1:17 / As one sees from Paul’s statement in here (1:17), he is able to relativize the importance of baptism (which the Corinthians apparently think gives them special identities and status) because he understands his call as a call to preach. The sentence begins with for and looks back to the last phrase of verse 16, “I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.” Baptism is a part of the larger picture of Christian faith and practice, but Paul’s principal interest is in the proclamation of the gospel. Given the particular problem in Corinth with the Corinthians’ concern with baptism and spiritual boasting, Paul claims that he is thankful that baptism per se was not his primary ministry. Paul understands his primary ministry to be to preach the gospel, that is, the cross of Christ.

As Paul continues he creates a remarkable contrast between wisdom and the cross—literally, “the wisdom of word” and the cross of Christ. He articulates disdain for sheer eloquence, for in Paul’s evaluation, loquacious rhetoric that wins allegiance merely through its beauty is inadequate, since it draws attention to itself or to the one who utters such lovely lines. The good news of God’s saving work in the cross of Christ, however, is not a message that is to be sold through elegant presentation. The cross is not a pretty sight, and sheer manipulative eloquence is not a medium that can bear the weight of the message of Christ’s cross. Above all, the shocking claim that God saves humanity in the cross of Jesus Christ demonstrates that God works in defiance of this world’s norms. Paul’s unstated point here is that the substance of the gospel—the message of the cross of Christ—determines the appropriate style of the proclamation of that message. Human wisdom is smooth and easy to hear, but the gospel confronts humanity with power that is real and urgent, even offensive. Paul’s statements here are an aggressive apology for the form of his work and preaching but also for the gospel itself, which is his ultimate concern. Only as the Corinthians hear and heed the gospel will they exist as the church in the way God intends.[4]

1:17. This verse serves as a hinge in Paul’s discussion. It closes his preceding discussion of baptism and transitions to his next topic. The conclusion to the previous matter amounts to an explanation that Christ did not send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel. It would appear that Paul followed the example of Jesus in this matter. Christ preached, and delegated baptism primarily to his disciples (John 4:1–2). Paul followed the same practice; he proclaimed the gospel and left baptism primarily to his converts, who supervised the ongoing life of the church.

The expression “preach the gospel” moved Paul’s thoughts in a different but related direction. What was the nature of the gospel he preached? It was devoid of words of human wisdom. This phrase may be translated more literally, “wisdom of words.” The idea is that his preaching did not rely on cleverness or eloquence. Paul distinguished himself from the Greek orators of his day who sought to persuade with impressive rhetoric and style. Paul insisted that his own preaching was simple and straightforward. He avoided great oratory because he did not want to distract from the message itself. His style of preaching was self-effacing, pointing to the source of salvation, Christ.

Paul was concerned that the cross of Christ not be emptied of its power when presented in preaching. The gospel message contradicts human wisdom, so that it cannot be mixed with the power of human wisdom and manipulative persuasion. For this reason, those in Corinth who tried to defend their faith and practices through human wisdom actually opposed the way of the gospel. The power of the cross was the “power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Salvation comes only from the atonement of Christ, purchased by his suffering on the cross. The recognition and reception of that power was Paul’s chief concern as he proclaimed the gospel.[5]

17. For Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel, not in wisdom of words that the cross of Christ may not be emptied.

In this text, Paul expresses one positive element and three negative ones. The affirmative statement is that Christ sent him to preach the message of salvation. The disclaimers are that Paul was not told to baptize believers, that the proclamation of this message should not become a philosophical treatise, and that Christ’s cross should not lose its central position.

  • Task. In the preceding two verses (vv. 15, 16) Paul emphatically states that he has no interest in baptizing converts. Now he conveys the reason: Christ commissioned him to be a preacher of the gospel (Rom. 1:1; 15:15–16; Gal. 1:16). The task of preaching the gospel requires talent, education, tact, and skill. Baptizing believers is a simple act that requires no training, but preaching is a constant task of leading people to repentance, faith, new life, and growth. Baptizing is a one-time act that distinguishes a Christian from the world, but preaching takes place every Lord’s Day and often on weekdays.

Paul is by no means discrediting baptism. He is following the example Jesus set during his earthly ministry: Christ proclaimed the gospel and the disciples baptized the believers (John 4:1–2). Jesus designated the apostles fishers of men (Matt. 4:19) and commissioned them to catch men through preaching. “To preach the gospel is to cast the net; it is apostolic work. To baptize is to gather the fish now taken and put them into vessels.” Paul had to use all his time and talent to preach the Word and hence left the matter of baptism primarily to others.

  • Manner. “Not in wisdom of words.” Paul does not say “words of wisdom” or “wisdom to speak,” but, to be precise, “in wisdom of words.” This is the first time in the epistle that Paul writes the word wisdom. In the succeeding verses of chapters 1 and 2, he uses the word as he contrasts God’s wisdom and worldly wisdom. But in this verse, the phrase wisdom of words describes the manner of a Greek orator who eloquently delivers a speech. In Greek rhetoric, speakers cleverly presented philosophical arguments to support a particular viewpoint. Paul separates himself from this procedure, for he proclaims the message of the cross in simple terms.

By preaching the gospel in plain terms, Paul follows the example of Jesus. Jesus proclaimed the message of salvation and the common people heard him gladly. Similarly, the apostles were commissioned to preach the gospel with simplicity and clarity. “ ‘To tell good news in wisdom of word’ is a contradiction; ‘news’ only needs and admits of straightforward telling. To dress out the story of Calvary in specious theorems, would have been to ‘empty the cross of Christ,’ to eviscerate the Gospel.”

“[So] that the cross of Christ may not be emptied.” When Paul proclaimed the message of Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross, he was scorned in the Greco-Roman world. That world rejected the message of an ignominious death on a cross. If Paul, however, had adopted Greek practice and had delivered his message with rhetorical eloquence, the message of the cross would have been emptied of its power and glory. Then his message would have had a hollow ring and consequently no conversions and baptisms would have taken place.

The Corinthians knew that Paul had preached the gospel of Christ’s death without resorting to oratory and human wisdom (see 2:1). In humility, he had called them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. He had pointed to the shameful cross of Christ by which they were saved from sin and death.[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 32–33). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 1, pp. 71–78). 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. 267). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (pp. 35–36). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 10–11). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, pp. 50–52). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.