Daily Archives: March 9, 2019

Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? | CARM


One of the most common questions CARM gets is whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation. Sometimes people are asking in order to try to understand or challenge the reformed position of “perseverance of the saints.” Or the question might be asked when someone is reading in Hebrews 6 or Hebrews 10, or stories like that of the Holy Spirit departing from King Saul. A surface level reading can often leave a believer wondering what to think, so a careful walk through the context of these passages is in order.

Sometimes, however, the question is not an intellectual exercise at all, but rather a desperate, heartfelt concern for one’s soul. Often, Christians who have fallen into sin or strayed from their Christian walk can find themselves at the point of despair, worried that they have fallen into apostasy and think perhaps God will not take them back into His grace. They are wondering if they have actually lost their own salvation.

Such was the case with a dear sister who recently called the Matt Slick Live radio program. She was in the midst of that deep, personal struggle of faith where she needed more than just academic answers. She needed a pastoral reminder of the grace of our Lord and the triumph of Christ over even the worst of our sins.

Whether you are struggling with this issue right now or not, we all need regular reminders of that same gospel truth of Christ’s enduring love. I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch that conversation HERE or download the audio to the whole episode HERE.

March 9 Genuine Security

Scripture Reading: James 4:13–14

Key Verse: Proverbs 27:1

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

The older we grow, the more security conscious we become. The prospects of putting kids through college and providing for retirement, savings, and investments take on disproportionate significance.

In reality, however, our sense of well-being is never assured. Economic collapse, sickness, political or environmental fluctuations, or any number of unknown factors could seriously jeopardize our best-laid plans.

That is possible at any stage of life. That is the disquieting point of Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

Our only genuine security lies in our relationship with Jesus Christ. That is universally applicable because God is sovereign, which means that God is in control. He “guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men and directs everything to its appointed goal for His own glory” (The New Bible Dictionary). Your security lies in His power to work everything for your good and His glory.

That is also eternally relevant because God is immutable. That means God is always the same and operates on unchanging principles.

Almighty God, I praise You that every detail of my life is directed by Your sovereign hand. I rest in the assurance that You govern each event and circumstance. I am secure in the knowledge that Your power weaves the dark and rough threads of life into a pattern for my good and Your glory.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 72). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

9 facts you need to know if you’re considering an abortion

Bill Hybels Allegations Are Credible, Willow Creek Investigation Finds

Can Science Explain Everything?: John Lennox vs. Scientism

6 Things to Understand before Ministering to the Transgender Community

Women pastors — What does the Bible say?

The Church Made Vagina Sculptures Long Before Nadia Bolz-Weber

Former Student Warns of ‘Predatory’ Atheist College Profs

Movie Review: Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy

Book Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Provides Moral Cover For Abortion On ‘The View’

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger

They Are Real: Meet Born-Alive Abortion Survivors

Resurrection: The Day God Raised Me From the Dead

New Evidence- The Girl Scouts USA is an Abortion-Supporting Organization

How to Avoid Despair at Our Crumbling Culture

On Communism and Socialism, Many Americans are Still Clueless

Book Review: Seven Types of Atheism

Confirming the Big Bang: The Recent Decades

Galileo Myth Goes Marching On

Bill Dembski On Censorship Of Books At Amazon

Courage and Godspeed,

Our edition is here.

via Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

The Holy God, an Unholy People, and a Remarkable Prophet — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Isaiah’s call to be a prophet was a traumatic experience. In his vision of the divine throne room, he saw angels hide their faces and heard them cry out, “Holy, holy, holy!” In that moment, he understood that God is holy and he was not, and he trembled in awe and terror.

The Israelites should have been trembling, too. They had become prideful, selfish, and idolatrous, a far cry from the righteousness the holy God demands. So God sent Isaiah on a dreadful mission: Isaiah would prophesy God’s wrath, but the people would not listen. Instead, they would be hardened for the coming judgment.

Yet there remained a glimmer of hope in Isaiah’s prophecies, for he saw far beyond the imminent war and exile to the future promise of redemption.

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul takes an in-depth look at these prophecies and explains why the church has long treasured them. In Isaiah, we find staggering predictions about the Messiah who will bear the sins of His people and redeem them—filling the earth with God’s glory much like His throne room in heaven.

Watch today’s message

via The Holy God, an Unholy People, and a Remarkable Prophet — Ligonier Ministries Blog

March 9 A Personal Invitation

Scripture reading: Matthew 11:28–30

Key verse: Psalm 116:7

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

It marked a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. He preached to great crowds, His words convicting and startling. He healed many, to their wonder and amazement. Yet up to that point, only the disciples had experienced personal intimacy with the Savior. Following a stinging rebuke to those who refused His message, Jesus issued a compassionate invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

“I’m here,” Jesus in essence said to His listeners, “to lift the burdens of life from your shoulders. I’ll take them on Me if you will let Me.”

If you are oppressed and bent under the accumulation of too many demands and concerns, Jesus stands ready to lighten your load. If you are exhausted from juggling bills, kids, work, and other pressing problems, Jesus can restore your weary spirit.

He invites you to come to Him. There are no strings attached, no restrictions, no fine print. He won’t condemn you for past failures. His arms are open wide to take you as you are and give you the help you need.

What a relief! What a Savior! Accept His personal invitation, and get out of the pressure cooker and into His rest. In the shadow of His wings you will find unconditional love and acceptance. Whatever you are facing, let the Savior face it with you.

I accept Your invitation, Lord. I enter into Your rest and hide myself in the shadow of Your wings.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 72). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 03/09/2019

Alabama Judge Recognizes Personhood of Murdered Baby in Father’s Lawsuit Against Abortion Facility   Mar 06, 2019 09:04 pm

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A probate judge in Alabama has granted a teenager’s request to represent his aborted son or daughter in his lawsuit against a local abortion facility. The teen says that the child was killed despite his wishes that his girlfriend keep the baby. “I’m here for the men who actually want to have their baby,” Ryan Magers, 19 and the father of the…

Continue reading the story

Walmart Releases ‘Love Is in the Aisle’ Video Depicting Two Men Meeting Up for ‘Blind Date’ at Store   Mar 04, 2019 10:13 am

“He’s Pat. He’s Andy. They’re going on a blind date at their local Walmart to see if love is in the aisle,” states a controversial video recently posted to social media by mega-retailer Walmart. The Facebook post is one of three “Love Is in the Aisle” videos released by Walmart in February, which depict single shoppers meeting up to go on a blind date at the…

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‘The Kind of Guy He Takes Home to Mother’: Cottonelle Latest Among Brands Using Homosexuality in Advertising   Mar 06, 2019 05:18 pm

Kimberly-Clark’s toilet paper brand Cottonelle is the latest to use homosexuality in promotional advertising, as one of the commercials in its recently-released “DownThereCare” series centers on advising a man to give himself a “confidence boost” in meeting his partner’s parents for the first time. “Down there, because today you meet the parents,” the 15-second…

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‘Tiniest Baby Boy’ Leaves Tokyo Hospital   Mar 03, 2019 10:57 pm

Photo Credit: Keio University Hospital (BBC) — A baby boy who weighed just 268g (9.45oz) at birth has been released from hospital in Japan, and is believed to be the smallest boy in the world to have been successfully treated. The baby was born by emergency C-section in August, and was so small he could fit into a pair of cupped hands. The infant was…

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Street Preacher Who Had Been Arrested Following Complaint of ‘Islamophobia’ Speaks: ‘God Has Been So Faithful’   Mar 02, 2019 02:43 pm

LONDON — A pastor and missionary originally from Nigeria who had been arrested last Saturday in the UK after refusing to leave as a bystander complained to authorities that the man was “Islamophobic” is now thanking supporters and says that he was able to go back to the same spot where he was arrested and continue preaching without interruption. “I am well. I am…

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Chair Says Idaho Bill to Outlaw Abortion ‘Adamantly Opposed’ by ‘Pro-Life’ Groups, ‘Hopes It Never Sees Light of Day’   Mar 04, 2019 05:57 pm

Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Fred Martin BOISE, Idaho — An audio recording posted online on Sunday captures the pro-life identifying chairman of a Senate committee in Idaho telling a constituent that local pro-life groups are “adamantly opposed” to a bill that seeks to outlaw abortion in the state, and that he likewise finds it to be “detrimental to the pro-life…

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Colorado Drops Action Against Christian Baker Who Declined ‘Gender Transition’ Cake Order   Mar 05, 2019 04:59 pm

DENVER, Co. — The Colorado attorney general’s office announced on Tuesday that it will drop its action against Christian bakery owner Jack Phillips, and Phillips has consequently agreed to dismiss his lawsuit against the entity. The State had initially concluded that a complainant had standing against Phillips after he declined to make a cake for a “gender…

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Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act Moving Forward as Bill Assigned to Favorable House Committee   Mar 07, 2019 07:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas — A bill that would outlaw abortion in Texas is taking its first steps forward in the state legislature as it has now been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, which is chaired by a lawmaker who co-sponsored an identical bill to abolish abortion in 2017. Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has…

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Chinese Villages Setting Up Boxes to Report Christian Churches and Other ‘Illegal Religious Activities’   Mar 05, 2019 02:35 pm

Photo Credit: Bitter Winter (Bitter Winter) — Religious belief is common among China’s rural population, representing the most significant base of believers. In an effort to attack religion at its core, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been mobilizing the masses to monitor and report each other using a variety of means. The latest tool is the revival of…

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RI House Committee Approves Bill Codifying Roe Into Law, Removing Criminal Penalties for Causing Death of Unborn   Mar 06, 2019 11:51 am

Photo Credit: Daisy Laparra PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a city that was founded in 1636 by Baptist theologian Roger Williams, and was named after “God’s merciful providence,” lawmakers in the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee have approved a bill that codifies the “right” to abortion under Roe v. Wade into law, and also removes a segment from the state’s…

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Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week · Mar. 9, 2019

The House Impeachment Subterfuge to Obstruct MAGA

Democrats’ “Hate Trump” Phase 2 plan — the impeachment obstruction of the MAGA agenda — is now underway.

Fascist Democrats Won’t Condemn Anti-Semitism

Even Ilhan Omar voted for the resolution that was originally supposed to rebuke her.

Demo-Controlled States Plan Electoral College Subversion

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact means the winner takes all votes.

The Unemployment Rate Can Only Go So Low

Only 20,000 jobs added in February, but unemployment is down and wages are up.

Violent MS-13 Crossing Border, Spreading Throughout U.S.

Begun by El Salvadorans in LA in the ’70s, the gang has spread all over America.

Methodists Hold Firm to Scripture … for Now

The nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination keeps the Biblical stance on homosexuality.

Save Social Security or Expand It?

Democrats have a plan to keep it solvent, but, of course, it would do just the opposite.

Hyperventilation Over the Trade Deficit

The biggest reason for the increase is that the Trump economy is doing so well.

DNC Blacklists Fox Dem Debate Coverage

Arguing the network is pro-Trump, Tom Perez ignores the blatant history of pro-Dem MSM bias.

Democrats Are Goose-Stepping Towards Irrelevancy

In a party where loyalty is paramount but the goalposts keep moving, what happens next?

Quote Of The Week

“Even if [Ilhan Omar] isn’t embarrassed by her anti-Semitism, she should be embarrassed about how she’s being coddled. ‘She just didn’t know.’ ‘She’s from a different culture!’ ‘She needs education.’ So, basically, it’s not that she’s an anti-Semite, she’s just an idiot. Gotcha.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Clinton Foundation Connected AGT Forwarded Top Secret US Intel to RUSSIA – FBI/DOJ Covered It Up – Part VIII — The Gateway Pundit


A 2016 DOJ criminal investigation was suppressed and buried by the DOJ/FBI that involved a major NY Democratic power broker and the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation.

The investigation revolved around the illegal sale of controlled US Homeland Security technology to Russia and China in the years before the 2016 election by a company named AGT.

The DOJ terminated its internal investigation in 2016 despite clear and irrefutable evidence of criminal activity and hid it from the public!

In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT.

In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR classified products were provided to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.

(Below is an AGT article about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.)

In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!


In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the facility.

In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of selling to the Russians. AGT personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands. This information was provided by AGT senior managers like Gadi Lenz, a US national who also held a key executive position at the US based defense contractor 4D Security Solutions.

The image below shows an AGT C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.

In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed Law Enforcement Agents (LEA’s) and former Federal and political figures in in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.

In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND.

AGT management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and noted that “since the blog will be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names.” This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.

Today in Part VIII of our series we’ll provide evidence that AGT assisted a group of Chinese citizens to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying their  purpose, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and devices.

On June 5, 2012, AGT announced in its company newsletter that it had just signed an agreement in Guangzhou, China, with a group of Chinese and Singapore individuals to implement its highly classified and sophisticated ‘safe city’ system in the world’s largest metropolitan area.

A month later the top leadership at AGT discussed a visit to NYT by a group of Chinese individuals to the AGT location in New York City on Park Avenue.


There is no way the individuals from China would have been allowed into the US to obtain information on the company’s ITAR regulated product called ‘Wisdom’ which was renamed around the world as an alias such as ‘Safe City’, if US authorities knew the product was being provided to the Chinese.  Therefore it is also very probable that these individuals coming to the US were somehow allowed into the US on a visa that mischaracterized their visit purpose.  These individuals also were then moved to the AGT Headquarters on some sort of underhanded move unbeknownst to law enforcement authorities.

The individual who set up the meeting with top executives at AGT was Rami Kirshblum –

Then in December 2012 a group of Chinese individuals visited the AGT location in the Netherlands and this was promoted through the company’s newsletter –

This company was so corrupt it had to be involved with the Clinton Foundation!

The AGT family of companies participated in numerous corrupt and criminal activities. The leaders of the company were Clinton friends and major donors to the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons in turn helped promote AGT.

AGT then participated in numerous shady and criminal activities, the worst of which were selling US ITAR regulated products and information to the Russians and Chinese.

The DOJ/FBI started an investigation of AGT but then covered it up. The investigation into the Clinton Foundation and AGT was material to the 2016 US election and yet the FBI and DOJ concealed it from the American public.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Clinton Foundation and the DOJ and FBI must be investigated and the crimes committed by these entities must be brought to justice!

via CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Clinton Foundation Connected AGT Forwarded Top Secret US Intel to RUSSIA – FBI/DOJ Covered It Up – Part VIII — The Gateway Pundit

Read or listen to F. A. Hayek’s classic book “The Road to Serfdom” for free


No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity

I want to recommend to everyone a famous book about how socialism leads to mass murder by government. The book is written by Nobel prize winner F. A. Hayek. This is one of my favorite books on economics. The full PDF of the book is available for download on archive.org.

The audio version is available FOR FREE on YouTube:


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Former Harvest Employees Say James MacDonald Lived Large on Church’s Dime — Julie Roys

In 2015, James MacDonald went on a worldwide missions trip that was so stressful, he needed a safari in South Africa to help him recover from it. At least, that’s what MacDonald, the recently-fired founder of Harvest Bible Chapel, claimed to justify the church paying for the safari for him and two others, according to his bodyguard at the time, Jacob Ross.

But that’s not all.

In a letter Ross submitted to Harvest leadership in late January and was recently leaked to me, Ross writes that MacDonald wasn’t satisfied with his initial budget of $5,000 for the safari. “James decided he wanted to shoot a high value animal,” Ross writes, “a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.”

So, Ross writes that MacDonald called Fred Adams, former Harvest CFO, and got him to wire additional money from the church to the safari company, “citing his stress from the trip and need for a relaxing vacation doing something he enjoyed.”

“’James decided he wanted to shoot a high value animal . . . a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.’ So, Ross writes that MacDonald called Fred Adams, former Harvest CFO, and got him to wire additional money from the church.”

Ross also writes that on the same missions trip, Harvest paid for a three- to four-day stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic for MacDonald, Ross, and Harvest Executive Pastor Jeff Donaldson. (Both Donaldson and Ross had also joined MacDonald on the safari.)

Not only did Harvest pay for the three men, Ross wrote, the church also paid for their wives to fly out and join them. “Again, James justified this expense as the result of the extreme stress he was under on the trip.”

These are just two of numerous incidents in Ross’ letter, showing that MacDonald lived large on the church’s dime. Plus, Ross is not the only former Harvest employee alleging these things. A letter by another former employee alleges that while Harvest was imposing “austerity measures” like removing the coffee and water dispensers, MacDonald was remodeling his office for $150,000 and authorizing a $40,000 fence for a whitetail trophy deer herd at Camp Harvest.

These expenditures were in addition to MacDonald’s salary, which the church continues to keep private. However, Dave Corning, a founding elder who chaired the elder board for 21 years, told me that in 2009, MacDonald was making a combined $550,000 from both the church and Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s broadcast ministry.

Six Devastating Letters Sent to Elders, but Suppressed

Ross’ letter was one of six letters by former and present staff that were presented to Harvest elders about five weeks ago, according to Elder Dan George and former Elder Mike Dunwoody.

These letters are devastating, documenting scores of incidents where MacDonald mocked, threatened, and belittled staff, contractors, and other Christian leaders; lied and reneged on promises; raged at those around him; and prospered financially at the church’s expense. I reached out to the church and MacDonald for comment about these letters, but they did not respond.

“Dunwoody and George said when the elder board met on February 5th, Harvest Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald . . . adamantly opposed releasing the letters. So they were withheld.”

I have read all six of the letters, though only five were given to me to publish. I am releasing information today from two of them, which relate to finances—Ross’ letter and a letter by Dean Butters, former executive director of business operations at Harvest. Both Ross and Butters authenticated their letters with me but declined to comment due to non-disclosure agreements.

Dunwoody and George said these six letters were key in the board’s decision to fire MacDonald. (The final straw was MacDonald’s vile recorded comments that were aired on Mancow Muller’s Chicago radio show.)

But Dunwoody and George added that the full board almost didn’t get to see the letters. They said most of the letters initially were sent to Campus Pastor Greg Bradshaw, who had been asked by the board to review the letters with three other elders. Dunwoody and George said when the elder board met on February 5th, Harvest Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald, who was on the board at the time but has since stepped down, adamantly opposed releasing the letters. So they were withheld. I reached out to Donald for comment, but he did not respond.

Then on February 6th, George said he and several elders met with MacDonald at Harvest’s Elgin campus. And at that meeting, George said MacDonald argued that the letters should go to Crossroads Resolution Group, the company Harvest had hired to manage their “reconciliation process” with aggrieved parties. George said Donald and Elder Steve Huston, who chaired the elder executive committee before it was dissolved, argued strongly in favor of MacDonald’s suggestion.

However, George said he was able to obtain all the letters independently soon after that meeting. He then distributed the letters to other elders—the last of them going to elders on February 12th, the same day MacDonald was fired.

More Evidence MacDonald Spent Church’s Money for Lavish Lifestyle

Like Ross, Butters’ letter documents numerous incidents where MacDonald spent the church’s money to support his lavish lifestyle. And apparently, MacDonald’s African safari was not an isolated incident. Butters writes that MacDonald “led various hunting trips throughout the U.S. and Africa for his friends and couched them as a business expense.”

Butters also said that when MacDonald moved from his Inverness home to his Elgin home, the church paid $50,000 to move and store his personal possessions. Butters added that MacDonald also donated a broken hot tub to the church that cost more to fix than to replace. Yet according to Butters, MacDonald took an $8,000 tax write-off for the donation.

Butters letter also reveals that MacDonald and other executives at Harvest were given bonuses when the church hit certain “revenue target(s).” He adds that one year, someone manipulated the books, attributing income from Camp Harvest to the general fund so church executives would qualify for bonuses.

Butters also writes that MacDonald:

  • Bought more than $500 in cigars with church funds

  • Tipped a waitress $400 with church funds

  • Spent more than $50,000 of church money on his camp site the first year of “Act Like Men Palooza.”

  • Demanded that fiber optic cable be installed at Camp Harvest so the internet service would be faster, costing $20,000 per month on a three-year contract.

  • Demanded that the church pay to repair his truck after he scraped and dented it on one of the columns in the Elgin church parking garage, blaming security for “setting the cones up wrong.”

  • Demanded that his office be remodeled in 2013 for about $150,000, while all senior and middle management, and their direct reports, took a 10-percent pay cut. The church had also removed coffee/water for employees as “austerity measures” due to low giving. (Ross also writes about the remodel, noting that many expenses “exceeded reasonable,” including Ross’ “custom built in hardwood desk that cost several thousand dollars.”)

  • During the same time period, the church bought fencing for the new deer herd at Camp Harvest for over $40,000.

Harvest’s “Black Budget” & “Executive Checkbook”

It’s not clear how the church justified paying for MacDonald’s lavish personal expenses, or how these expenses were budgeted. I sent emails this week to the elder board, as well as Harvest CFO Jeff Sharda, but no one responded.

However, as I reported earlier in WORLD Magazine, two former Harvest executives said the church hid about 20-percent of its budget from all but top church staffers and the executive committee (EC). Both said this so-called “black budget” was controlled by Fred Adams.

Also, this week, Bill Sperling—a former member of the EC and a current elder and church treasurer—gave some insight to MacDonald’s spending at a question and answer meeting. According to Sperling, the church maintained an “executive checkbook” that amounted to one-percent of the annual income of the church—about $250,000. Sperling admitted that this “checkbook” was “too liberal” and “not dotting i’s and crossing t’s.” He added that members of the former executive committee knew about this checkbook, as well as the auditors. (Capin Crouse conducts annual audits of Harvest.)

“According to Sperling, the church maintained an ‘executive checkbook’ that amounted to one-percent of the annual income of the church—about $250,000. . . . He added that members of the former executive committee knew about this checkbook, as well as the auditors.”

Four of the five members of the former executive committee remain on Harvest’s elder board. They are Bill Sperling, Steve Huston, Jeff Smith, and Sam Booras. Former EC member Ron Duitsman resigned in February.

Sperling’s account seems consistent with what Ross wrote in his letter. Ross said that MacDonald had a church credit card “that was given outside of normal church protocol—set up directly through Fred (Adams).” Ross said he and MacDonald’s former assistant, Chiquita Brown, were also issued credit cards tied to that account.

Ross said he was instructed to put “anything related to James on James’ card.” At the end of each month, Ross said he would give the card statements directly to Adams with descriptions of each charge. Ross said these monthly charges were “regularly in excess of $10,000,” and occasionally as high as “$20,000 to over $30,000.”

Ross said in 2015, MacDonald instructed him to book a vacation at a resort in Naples, Florida, for MacDonald and his wife, Kathy, and to charge it to his church-issued credit card. Ross said MacDonald authorized him to spend “whatever was necessary.” Ross added, “(MacDonald) told me he’d call Fred and his friends on the elder board to justify the expense as necessary due to the tough year he had and the toll it took on him.” Ross said the vacation cost more than $20,000.

According to Rusty Leonard of the watchdog group, Ministry Watch, using church funds for personal use normally qualifies as embezzlement. However, if MacDonald’s spending was approved by the executive committee, it’s not legally embezzlement because the board gave MacDonald the cover he needed to take the money.

However, Leonard said he suspects the IRS might view some of MacDonald’s expenditures as income. So, if MacDonald didn’t pay tax on that income, it could be considered tax evasion.

Ross & Butters Break Silence Due to Hope for Change

Ross said he left his position after continued berating by MacDonald, calling him “stupid,” “incompetent,” “worthless,” and “of no use to him,” proved too much. Ross said he remained silent until now because of a mixture of fear and a desire to not “harm my church.”

He said he finally broke his silence because he believed the vast majority of staff, elders, and members of Harvest are “not privy to many of the situations” he highlighted in his letter. Ross added, “Those who are seeking to make the correct decision regarding the future of Harvest Bible Chapel simply can’t without the correct information.”

Similarly, Butters writes that he left the church because his “ability to continue believing the best about (the leaders over him) diminished.” He added that the “things I was seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears, and feeling in my soul became more convincing than the narrative that was continually being spun.”

Butters said he wrote his letter “with the hope that it will help to prevent others from being spiritually manipulated and brutalized by James MacDonald and others at Harvest Bible Chapel who carry out his commands.”

via Former Harvest Employees Say James MacDonald Lived Large on Church’s Dime — Julie Roys

Taken Captive By False Teachers & False Doctrines – 10 signs — Christian Research Network

“The captivated are desperate to alleviate the cares of this world, or increase their comforts in this world. Promises of breakthrough, healing, favour, pleasant “suddenlies,” transfers of wealth, supernatural encounters and miracles, entice those with itching ears or troubled souls. Like clouds without water false teachers fail to deliver. They promise their followers an encounter with God, but instead deliver an emotional experience or Kundalini spirit.” 

(Rick Becker – Famine In The Land)  We’re closer to the end. Some would have us believe the greatest revival the world has ever seen is upon us, but scripture teaches the opposite. There will be false anointed ones, a departure from the faith, apostasy, and doctrines of demons will deceive many within the visible church. Those within the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) ignore what scripture teaches, they are hoping to be activated by a super apostle and be a part of a new breed of revivalist that will walk through walls, raise the dead, and conquer the seven spheres of society. These deluded folk have not been activated, but captivated by false teachers and false doctrines:

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8

Under the guise of fresh revelation, anointings, impartations, new ways to hear God and walk in the supernatural, false teachers of the NAR come to steal, kill, and destroy. But it’s not just the NAR that is leading people into deception, there are other movements and denominations in the visible church that are responsible for seducing people into error. The health and wealth gospel, word of faith heresy, false philosophies, traditions, new age doctrines, and mysticism have captivated millions in the visible church. In this post I offer ten signs that will help identify those who have been captivated by false teachers and false doctrines.

  1. The captivated have compromised truth through pragmatism.

Pragmatism evaluates success based on results. If for example a pastor wants to grow his small congregation, the fashionable route for him to take would be a “church growth” seminar or Willowcreek conference. This will give him the methodologies necessary to increase numbers. He will discover that it’s not too difficult to grow a church in this generation. Successful business models are utilized in the church because apparently pagan entrepreneurs know better than Jesus or the authors of scripture.

All the pastor has to do is water down the gospel, focus on topical and motivational messages, create expectation, and exchange biblical terms like sin, judgement and suffering for legacy, shift, presence, and prophetic etc. Dim the lights, and let the contemporary sounds of Bethel or Hillsong bypass the minds while bringing goosebumps to the enthralled congregation and voila! – “church growth.” This probably without one single convert, and certainly without any of the previous members who may be saved, growing in their faith. God has not given the “increase,” a pragmatic approach has, compromise has.

Experience and results should never define our theological persuasions. When we exchange truth with “what works” we have exchanged truth for a lie. Pragmatism causes truth to be relative, and when truth becomes relative, by definition it is no longer truth. When it’s no longer truth – it’s toxic. The fruits of pragmatism in the church are mega churches full of false converts and biblically illiterate believers carried about by every wind of doctrine.

  1. The captivated serve a personality.

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Acts 20:29-30.

I have had many conversations with people who have been deceived by a false teacher.  They usually avoid an invitation to compare the teachings of their idol (because that’s really what the false teacher has become) to scripture. Instead, they resort to their first line of defense –  “but do you know pastor X, have you met him/her ?” Their faith is in a personality instead of the principles of God’s word. These false teachers have crafted an impressive persona. Like the super apostles Paul described in Corinthians, contemporary false teachers disguise themselves as “servants of righteousness.” They come across as individuals who know God intimately, and make sure everyone else is aware of their unique gifts and special relationship with God. Instead of hearing sermons that exegete the word of God, followers are subjected to countless stories and experiences – the pastor of course being the central figure. In short, they commend themselves – the direct opposite of Paul taught: “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12. The captivated will drive thousands of miles to a stadium event (performance) to receive an “impartation” from their favourite personality, but that’s not all that drives them that far…. View article →


Wolves!  RUN!! 

via Taken Captive By False Teachers & False Doctrines – 10 signs — Christian Research Network

ICE now detaining 50,000 in all-time high, and yet Congress continues to oppose POTUS Trump’s emergency declaration — Christian Research Network

“So the Northern Triangle governments have said to us – they will say to you – ‘please send us our children back. We want them reunited with our families and communities here.’”

(Jon Dougherty – The National Sentinel)  The number of people being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reached an all-time high of 50,000 as migrants from Central America and Mexico continue to stream towards the United States, deepening the humanitarian crisis.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified to a Democrat-controlled House this week that the federal government and, specifically, her border agencies, are fast running out of resources to deal with the rising numbers of migrants as well as space to detain them. But while some Republicans offered encouraging or sympathetic words, Democrats seemed unfazed.

In reporting the latest figures provided by the government, The Daily Beast reported:

It’s an increase of approximately 2,000 people in the month-plus since Jan. 30, when ICE, it previously told The Daily Beast, was detaining 48,088 people. And it’s just another 2,000 people shy of the 52,000-person daily detentions ICE is asking Congress to fund in its next budget.  View article →

via ICE now detaining 50,000 in all-time high, and yet Congress continues to oppose POTUS Trump’s emergency declaration — Christian Research Network

HUGE: New Evidence Suggests Nellie Ohr Was Working for CIA When She Passed on Junk Trump-Russia Dossier and Info on Trump Children — The Gateway Pundit

Nellie and Bruce Ohr

In December 2017 the head of opposition research firm Fusion GPS admitted in a court filing that his firm paid Nellie Ohr, the wife of senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, to help dig up damaging information on then-candidate Donald Trump.

The connections between Nellie Ohr and the ‘Spygate’ scandal were hidden at a distance for months.

As noted previously at TGP, Nellie Ohr is a Communist sympathizer connected to Russia as well as a corrupt Never-Trumper.

Author Diana West at the American Spectator posted an article on Nellie Ohr last year.  Nellie Ohr is “the “dossier” spying scandal’s woman in the middle.”

To one side of Ohr, there is the Fusion GPS team, including fellow contractor Christopher Steele. To the other, there is husband Bruce Ohr, who, until his “dossier”-related demotion, was No. 4 man at the Department of Justice, and a key contact there for Steele.

What’s more revealing about Nellie Ohr is the men in her life are protecting her involvement in the Russia scandal:

Notably, the “dossier” men in her life have tried to shield Ohr from public scrutiny, even at professional risk. Her husband, as the Daily Caller News Foundation reports, failed to disclose his wife’s employment with Fusion GPS and seek the appropriate conflict-of-interest waiver, which may have been an important factor in his demotion from associate deputy attorney general late last year.

Under Senate and House questioning, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson consistently failed to disclose Nellie Ohr’s existence as one of his firm’s paid Russian experts, let alone that he hired her for the red-hot DNC/Clinton campaign Trump-Russia project.

Even Christopher Steele may have tried to keep Nellie Ohr “under cover.” Steele, put forth as the “dossier” author ever since its January 2017 publication in BuzzFeed, does not appear to have let on to his many media and political contacts that he had “dossier”-assistance from at least two fellow Fusion GPS Russian experts, Nellie Ohr and Edward Baumgartner. Baumgartner, interestingly, was a Russian history major at Vassar in the 1990s when Nellie Ohr taught Russian history there.

It appears that the men in Nellie’s life did all they could to prevent Nellie Ohr from being outed for being involved in the dossier because she also has links to the CIA and therefore to John Brennan.

Now this…

New evidence suggests Nellie Ohr was working for the CIA and Fusion GPS when she passed on the junk Trump-Russia dossier and information on the Trump Children to the DOJ-FBI.

Via The Last Refuge – Conservative Treehouse:

The latest FOIA requests indicate Nellie Ohr was working for the DOJ in 2015-2016.

This means Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS AND the DOJ at the same time.

This implicates Rod Rosenstein.

In September 2018, Nellie Ohr, wife of twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr, refused to appear for a Congressional deposition that was supposed to be conducted in a closed-door session.

If Brennan is outed as the quarterback of the dossier scandal, then by association, so is his boss, former President Obama.

It now appears likely that communist sympathizer Nellie Ohr, and the men who surrounded her, her husband, business partners, John Brennan, and by association President Obama, were all connected.  Together they attempted to prevent Candidate Trump from being elected and later to remove duly elected President Trump from office. 

via HUGE: New Evidence Suggests Nellie Ohr Was Working for CIA When She Passed on Junk Trump-Russia Dossier and Info on Trump Children — The Gateway Pundit

Democratic Presidential Contender Tulsi Gabbard Takes a Strong Stand For WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Press — The Gateway Pundit

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who has already taken a lot of heat from her party for being outspoken against senseless war and regime change, has released a strong statement in support of WikiLeaks.

Gabbard, who is also a veteran, took to Twitter to talk about the dangers of designating the award-winning news organization a “hostile intelligence agency.”

“If the government can change the designation Wikileaks from being a news organization (Obama Admin’s designation of Wikileaks) to a hostile intelligence agency (Trump Admin’s designation), then any entity – online and offline – is in danger of being designated a ‘hostile intelligence service’ if they carry out investigative reporting that the US government or a particular administration considers to be hostile to itself,” Gabbard wrote in a series of tweets on Saturday. “This will have a chilling effect on investigative reporting of powerful government agencies or officials, including the president, intel agencies, etc. This is a serious breach of our constitutional freedoms and every American – Democrat, Republican or Independent – must stand up against it.”

During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump repeatedly expressed support for WikiLeaks, even saying that he “loves” the publisher, yet his administration has dramatically ramped up efforts to extradite the website’s founder Julian Assange to face charges in the US.

Whistleblower and WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning is currently sitting in jail after refusing to testify before a secret grand jury regarding WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of the war logs. Manning was granted immunity for the testimony, but refused to participate in the political persecution of the news organization as she has a deeply held opposition to secret grand juries.

Gabbard is famous for taking a stand when others won’t, even resigning from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election — as she supported Senator Bernie Sanders and was no longer impartial. She has faced backlash from both the right and the left for her principled belief in avoiding war whenever possible.

Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19, 2012. He was soon granted political asylum. The UK has long refused to acknowledge the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD), which found that Assange is being arbitrarily and unlawfully detained and must be immediately released without the threat of arrest and compensated.

via Democratic Presidential Contender Tulsi Gabbard Takes a Strong Stand For WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Press — The Gateway Pundit

March 9, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3  Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 55:1–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

1. Ho, all that are thirsty. Here the Prophet describes in lofty terms of commendation the goodness of God, which was to be poured down more copiously and abundantly than before under the reign of Christ, “in whose hand are hid all the treasures” (Col. 2:3) of the grace of God; for in him God fully explains his mind to us; so that the saying of John is actually fulfilled, “We have all drawn from his fulness, and have received grace for grace.” (John 1:16.) The fathers were, indeed, partakers of that divine goodness and spiritual kindness which is here mentioned. “How great,” says David, “is thy goodness, which hath been laid up for them that fear thee!” (Ps. 31:19.) But he hath poured it out far more liberally and abundantly in Christ. Thus, it is a remarkable commendation of the grace of God, which is exhibited to us in the kingdom of Christ; for the Prophet does not instruct us what has been done once, but also what is done every day, while the Lord invites us by his doctrine to the enjoyment of all blessings.

Come to the waters. Some view the word “waters” as referring to the doctrine of the Gospel, and others to the Holy Spirit; but neither of these expositions, in my opinion, is correct. They who think that it denotes the doctrine of the Gospel, and who contrast it with the law, (of which the Jewish writers think that the Prophet speaks in this passage,) include only one part of what the Prophet meant. They who expound it as denoting the Holy Spirit have somewhat more plausibility, and quote that passage of John’s Gospel, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10.) And a little after, Christ appears to expound this passage when he says, “Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever shall drink of the water which I shall give to him shall never thirst; but the water which I shall give to him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life.” (John 4:13, 14.)

But I have no doubt that under these words, “waters, milk, wine, bread,” Isaiah includes all that is necessary for spiritual life; for the metaphors are borrowed from those kinds of food which are in daily use amongst us. As we are nourished by “bread, wine, milk, and water,” so in like manner let us know that our souls are fed and supported by the doctrine of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, and other gifts of Christ.

The Prophet exclaims, as with a voice above the usual pitch, Ho! for so great is the sluggishness of men that it is very difficult to arouse them. They do not feel their wants, though they are hungry; nor do they desire food, which they greatly need; and therefore that indifference must be shaken off by loud and incessant cries. So much the more base and shameful is the indolence of those who are deaf to this exhortation, and who, even when they are so sharply urged forward, still indulge in their slothfulness. Besides, the invitation is general; for there is no man who is not in want of those “waters,” and to whom Christ is not necessary; and therefore he invites all indiscriminately, without any respect of persons. But men are so miserable that, although they know that they are in need of Christ, they contrive methods by which they may be deprived of this benefit, and rather believe the devil, who offers various obstructions, than this kind invitation.

We must therefore inquire what is the true preparation for receiving this grace. The Prophet describes it by the word “thirsty.” Those who are puffed up with vain confidence and are satiated, or who, intoxicated by earthly appetites, do not feel thirst of soul, will not receive Christ; because they have no relish for spiritual grace. They resemble those persons who are in want of nourishment, but who, because they are filled and swollen with wind, loathe food, or who, being carried away by their own vain imaginations, feed on their own stupidity, as if they were in want of nothing. The consequence is, that they who are puffed up with pride or a false opinion of their own righteousness, or whom the allurements of the flesh have seized with lethargy, despise or reject the grace of God. It is therefore necessary that we have “thirst,” that is, an ardent desire, in order that it may be possible for us to receive so great blessings.

Buy without money. He does not mean that there are any persons who have money in abundance, but the words ought to be explained thus. “Although they are poor, although they are sunk in the deepest poverty, yet the way is open for them to come to Christ, through whom these blessings are freely bestowed.” “But how is it possible,” it will be said, “to buy without a price?” I reply, “buying” denotes figuratively the method by which we procure anything; and שבר (shābăr) is here put for “procure,” and “price” for labour or industry, or any other method by which men obtain anything. He shews that we are poor and utterly destitute, and that we have nothing by which we can become entitled to God’s favour; but that he kindly invites us, in order that he may freely bestow everything without any recompense.[1]

1–5 Many commentators hear the voice of the Near Eastern water vendor in vv. 1–2, while others discern the accents of personified wisdom (Pr 9:1–6). Either is appropriate, for Isaiah is a master of illustrations from nature and contemporary culture. Moreover, as Whedbee has shown, at least for the chapters acknowledged to be by Isaiah of Jerusalem, he has definite contact with the Israelite wisdom tradition. We may, in fact, discern overtones of both. The water carrier is also a wise counselor.

Young (in loc.) has pointed out that the introductory word hôy, which lies behind the first instance of the English “Come” in v. 1 (“ho” in the KJV), “is mainly an attention-getting device, but it expresses a slight tone of pity.” Young goes on to say, “The prophet is an evangelist with a concern for the souls of men and a realization of their desperate condition without the blessings that the servant has obtained.”

The water vendor is, of course, part of the normal commercial scene in the Near East; but God through the prophet offers the people in Babylon not only water but also more costly drinks and also invites them to a banquet (Lk 14:15–24). Verse 2, with its mildly chiding tone, probably alludes to the people’s preoccupation with settling down in Babylon. As Thexton (in loc.) puts it: “They had been in Babylon for many years—some for the whole of their life. They had grown roots, acquired property and commercial interests, were prosperous and secure. The prophet does not plead or argue, but throws into the quiet pool of their complacency a disturbing pebble, as he asks: ‘Does all this really satisfy you? Is this what you are for?’ ” He speaks with urgency, “Listen, listen to me” (v. 2; see Overview of 51:1–52:12).

A substantial group of modern scholars (e.g., Eissfeldt, Westermann, Whybray) consider that in vv. 3–5 God promises his people that he will take the Davidic covenant (1 Sa 7:8–16) away from the royal line and give it to the people as a whole, thus perhaps putting it on a par with the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. But Eaton, 87–88, points out: “If the author had intended to make a fundamental change in the Davidic doctrine … he would surely have needed to be more explicit.… The nation is to be blessed within the radius of the Davidic covenant, but the destiny of the royal house remains.… It would be a poor sort of eternity that the covenant would have, if its heart were taken out!”

The faithfulness of God to the Davidic covenant is extolled in much of Psalm 89. It is true that the author expresses puzzlement at the ills befalling David’s house in his day (see esp. Ps 89:49), but this very passage in Isaiah, interpreted in terms of Jesus of Nazareth, is God’s answer to his concern, for this passage, which constitutes an important link with the promises of a Davidic Messiah given earlier in the book, is quoted by Paul in Acts 13:34 with reference to the resurrection of Christ, through whose risen kingship the promises of this passage receive their eternal and therefore their final fulfillment.

During David’s reign, Israel’s kingdom reached its greatest extent. David, as a faithful worshiper of the Lord, was therefore a witness to God’s truth to all the people in his empire, as well as being their leader. He therefore anticipated in himself the prophetic and kingly functions of the Messiah. In God’s future for his people, as here depicted, the empire will be wider still (cf. 9:7). The far parts of the earth will come up to Zion (cf. 2:1–5; 60:1–14) because she will attract them by the beauty her God has given to her (cf. 54:11–12). This means then that while ch. 54 depicts blessing for Zion, ch. 55 sees this blessing as going far beyond it and so reminds us of the universal mission of Christ, which took his messengers out from Jerusalem to a needy world.[2]

A call to come (55:1–3)

Initially, this sounds like the invitation to a feast. Water, wine, milk, bread and other food are all on offer. If that isn’t enough, it is entirely free (the price was paid by the Servant in ch. 53) and satisfaction is guaranteed. It is only when we get to verse 3 that it becomes clear that this is a feast designed to bring life to the soul. The promise attached is of ‘an everlasting covenant’ like the one the Lord made with David (2 Sam. 7). In his own way, David had been a servant of the Lord.

A call to behold (55:4–5)

This call is to behold David and, by implication, his greater Son. Just as David was glorified for the benefit of the surrounding nations, so too will his greater Son be ‘lifted up’ (52:13) for the benefit of the Gentiles and the establishment of an everlasting kingdom.[3]

55:1–5 / The community is longing for nourishment, for upbuilding, for the restoration of morale, for a conviction that it has a future. The prophet knows that the message of chapters 40–55 is the one that will meet its needs, and here he makes one last appeal to it to come for that nourishment. It is not clear whether verse 2 refers to literal expenditure on other religious resources such as the making of images, or whether its language is simply part of the detail of the picture that is not to be pressed.

Verses 3b–5 sum up the content of the message. Once God had made a covenant with David, that famous servant of Yahweh. Other prophets promised that this commitment to David would find expression in the re-establishment of the Davidic monarchy, and periodically something like this happened. It happened in the period after the Maccabean crisis in the second century b.c., and Christians saw an expression of this fulfillment in the fact that the world’s deliverer came from David’s line. The Poet takes a different tack. As Psalm 89 points out, Yahweh had not kept the promises to David. But these promises will be fulfilled not in another individual David, but in the life of the Davidic people. That, after all, was God’s intention from the beginning. Having kings was God’s second-best according to 1 Samuel 8–12, and God has now been proved right as monarchy has been discredited. It is another way of expressing the promise that the people will fulfill the role of Yahweh’s servant.[4]

Come (Isa. 55:1–5). The invitation is extended to “everyone” and not just to the Jews. Anyone who is thirsting for that which really satisfies (John 4:10–14) is welcome to come. As in Isaiah 25:6, the prophet pictures God’s blessings in terms of a great feast, where God is the host.

In the East, water is a precious ingredient; and an abundance of water is a special blessing (41:17; 44:3). Wine, milk, and bread were staples of their diet. The people were living on substitutes that did not nourish them. They needed “the real thing,” which only the Lord could give. In Scripture, both water and wine are pictures of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39; Eph. 5:18). Jesus is the “bread of life” (John 6:32–35), and His living Word is like milk (1 Peter 2:2). Our Lord probably had Isaiah 55:2 in mind when He said, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27, NKJV).

People have to work hard to dig wells, care for flocks and herds, plant seed, and tend to the vineyards. But the Lord offered to them free everything they were laboring for. If they listen to His Word, they will be inclined to come; for God draws sinners to Himself through the Word (John 5:24). Note the emphasis on hearing in Isaiah 55:2–3.

“The sure mercies of David” involve God’s covenant with David (2 Sam. 7) in which He promised that a Descendant would reign on David’s throne forever. This, of course, is Jesus Christ (Luke 1:30–33); and the proof that He is God’s King is seen in His resurrection from the dead (Acts 13:34–39). Jesus Christ is God’s covenant to the Gentiles (“peoples”), and His promises will stand as long as His Son lives, which is forever.

Isaiah 55:5 indicates that God will use Israel to call the Gentiles to salvation, which was certainly true in the early days of the church (Acts 10:1ff; 11:19ff; 13:1ff) and will be true during the kingdom (Isa. 2:2–4; 45:14; Zech. 8:22). Jerusalem will be the center for worship in the world, and God will be glorified as the nations meet together with Israel to honor the Lord.[5]

55:1–5. At the outset, the Lord invites Israel to come and enjoy the nourishing presence of God and His blessing, and thereby experience spiritual satisfaction. This section highlights not only the amazing provisions of God, but also that these provisions are free. In contrast to those who charge the thirsty for drink, God offers water and wine at no charge (v. 1). The rhetorical questions (v. 2) continue the previous thought, emphasizing the futility of spending hard-earned money on food that will not nourish. God calls His people to eat what is good and rich without charge. The figurative nature of the previous verses is evident in what follows (v. 3). Though physical sustenance will surely be provided, Israel will be sustained through their obedience to the Lord and His provision of the everlasting covenant, a reference to the new covenant (see Jr 31:31–34), guaranteeing God’s ongoing nourishment. Next, the Lord explains how to respond to the invitation, namely by turning to the Servant, the Davidic Messiah (v. 4). In this verse, the Lord shifts from addressing Israel (you, your, v. 3) to speaking of the Servant-Messiah (him). He is described as a witness, a leader, and a commander. That these are to be understood as messianic is evident in that: (1) this language is too exalted for any other ruler and (2) the word leader (nagid) is specifically used of the Messiah (Dn 9:25). That the antecedent to these titles is David (v. 3) does not negate the messianic interpretation in that the prophets frequently call the Messiah “David” (cf. Jr 30:9; Ezk 36:23–24, 37:24–25; Hs 3:4–5) by metonymy because He and David are so closely connected and He is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (called here the faithful mercies shown to David, 55:3; cf. 2Sm 7:12–16). The word witness refers to one who speaks truthfully. Leader means “ruler” and is used as a synonym for “king” (see 1Sm 9:16; 10:1; 1Kg 1:35). Commander refers to a leader with authority to issue commands, a royal lawgiver. The Lord’s Servant-Messiah is addressed directly (55:5) where God tells Him that He will have command over a nation that He does not know because the Lord has glorified Him. When the Servant-Messiah takes His throne, He will not only rule Israel but the Gentile nations as well.[6]

55:1–5 Poverty, abundance, mission. 1–3 The fourfold come is as wide as human need (note the stress on unsatisfied longing in vs 1–2, as in e.g. Ec. 1:3; Jn. 4:13) and as narrow as a single individual (note the intertwined singulars and plurals in v 1, more evident in av, rv). The Bible closes with an echo of it (Rev. 22:17), and Jesus made the same identification of comeand eat with ‘come to me’ in Jn. 6:35. The paradox of buywithout money throws into relief the twin facts of sure possession and total dependence which are implied in grace (cf. the union of the undoubting and the undeserving in Heb. 4:16).

3–5 These verses raise the invitation to the fully personal plane, engaging mind and will and drawing the hearers into covenant, to share in the world mission of the Messiah. David is named only here in chs. 40–66, but this is enough to identify the kingly Messiah of 7:14 etc. with the Servant of 42:1 etc. for whom the nations wait. (The suggestion that the promise given to David in 2 Sa. 7:12–16 is here transferred from king to people, goes ill with the emphasis in v 3b on its permanence. Rather, David’s vision in Ps. 18:43–45, 49, of nations subdued for a witness to the Lord, is enlarged by the prospect of nations converted: cf. v 5 with Zc. 8:20–23; 9:9–10).[7]

55:1–2. God invites people in need to come (this word occurs four times in v. 1) to Him. By coming they indicate that they are trusting in and relying on Him for salvation and are agreeing to obey His commandments. The blessings God gives them are available without cost. Salvation is a free gift of God, whether it refers to spiritual redemption or physical deliverance. Probably both are intended here. The Lord asked the people how they could be interested in other things besides Himself as He is the only One who can bring genuine satisfaction. Throughout all history people have tried to find satisfaction through many things other than God.

(2) An everlasting covenant.[8]

55:1 The Spirit of God sends out the evangelistic invitation to Israel to return, and at the same time invites everyone everywhere to the gospel feast. All that is necessary is a consciousness of need (thirst). The blessings are the waters of the Holy Spirit, the wine of joy, and the milk of the good Word of God. They are the free gift of grace, without money and price.

55:2–5 In its alienation from God, Israel has been wasting its energy and resources. True satisfaction and lasting pleasure are found only in the Lord. If Israel returns to the Lord, they will receive all the sure mercies promised to David in the everlasting covenant (see Psalm 89:3, 4, 28, 29). These blessings are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus and in His glorious reign. The Gentile nations, too, will share in the benefits of the kingdom, and there will be amicable relations between Israel and the nations.[9]

55:1, 2 Ho is an exclamation of pity. Everyone: The ones addressed at first are the covenant nation, the remnant who respond to God. But they will be the means for bringing the same message of God’s salvation to the nations (v. 5). Thirsts is a metaphor for desiring what satisfies a person’s spirit (41:17; 44:3; Pss. 42:1, 2; 63:1; Matt. 5:6). Waters is a metaphor for the enjoyment of salvation in God (John 4:10–14; 7:37). Wine and milk are symbols of complete satisfaction (v. 2). Not only does God’s salvation supply what is necessary for life, but it also provides what brings joy. You who have no money … buy expresses that salvation cannot be bought, but is a free gift for those who desire it (52:3; Deut. 8:3; Rom. 6:23).

55:3 Incline your ear and Hear are synonyms for come to Me. The everlasting covenant (54:10) refers to the Davidic covenant and to the New Covenant. The sure mercies of David are God’s promises of an eternal Offspring, throne, and kingdom (2 Sam. 7:12–16; 1 Kin. 8:23–26; Ps. 89:19–37). The pronoun Me includes the Servant of the Lord, Jesus the Messiah (48:16; 61:1). you: The promises of the Davidic covenant are extended to all who come to God; they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (4:2; 7:14; 9:6; 11:1–5) and His church (Rom. 16:20).

55:4, 5 God’s fulfillment of the promises to the house of David, climaxing in the resurrection of Christ, serves as a witness to the nations (43:10, 12; 44:8). Jesus Christ is a leader … for the people (42:6; 49:6; Dan. 9:25; Heb. 2:10; 12:2).[10]

55:1 Every one. The Servant’s redemptive work and glorious kingdom are for the benefit of all who are willing to come (53:6). The prophet invites his readers to participate in the benefits obtained by the suffering of the Servant in chap. 53 and described in chap. 54. no money … Without money … without cost. Benefits in the Servant’s kingdom will be free because of His redemptive work (53:6, 8, 11; Eph 2:8, 9). wine and milk. Symbols for abundance, satisfaction, and prosperity (SS 5:1; Joel 3:18).

55:2 not bread. This is the “bread of deceit” (Pr 20:17) and not the “bread of life” (Jn 6:32–35).

55:3 everlasting covenant. The New Covenant that God will give to Israel (54:8; 61:8; Jer 31:31–34; 32:40; 50:5; Eze 16:60; 37:26; Heb 13:20). faithful mercies shown to David. The Davidic Covenant promised David that his seed would be ruler over Israel in an everlasting kingdom (2Sa 7:8, 16; Ps 89:27–29). Paul connected the resurrection of Christ with this promise (Ac 13:34), since it was an essential event in fulfilling this promise. If He had not fully satisfied God by His atoning death, He would not have risen; if He had not risen from the dead, He could not eventually sit on David’s earthly throne. But He did rise and will fulfill the kingly role (v. 4). Cf. Jer 30:9; Eze 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25; Da 9:25; Hos 3:5; Mic 5:2. The whole world will come to Him as the Great King (v. 5).[11]

55:1 Come, everyone who thirsts. The invitation is urgent in tone and universal in scope, addressing a deep spiritual longing to “seek the Lord while he may be found” (v. 6). Thirst is not a problem but an opportunity (cf. John 7:37–39). come … come.… Come. This is all one needs to do in order to find mercy in God.

55:2 Why do you spend your money? Isaiah exposes how costly but disappointing unbelief is. Listen diligently to me is how the banquet of the gospel of Christ is enjoyed (and eat what is good).

55:2 God’s offer of food is fulfilled in Christ, who is the food and drink of eternal life (John 6:52–58).

55:3 an everlasting covenant. This term appears in 61:8; Jer. 32:40; Ezek. 37:26, referring to the experience of the returned exiles. steadfast, sure love for David. The blessing is focused on the house of David, out of which the messianic servant will arise (cited from the Septuagint in Acts 13:34).

55:4 God established David (v. 3) as the authoritative world ruler—as a spokesman for God and as an ancestor of the Messiah (cf. Ps. 18:49–50).

55:5 You addresses the glorious son of David, the messianic servant, through whom God attracts the nations, bringing history to its appointed consummation (cf. Rom. 1:1–5). a nation that you do not know. I.e., people previously outside of God’s covenant (cf. Eph. 2:11–12).[12]

55:1 come to the waters In 44:3, Yahweh’s blessing is likened to the renewing power of water. Likewise, the promised salvation provides satisfaction for all the exiles’ spiritual needs.

Jesus alludes to this verse in John 7:37–38; the people’s response in John 7:40–41 demonstrates His allusion was understood as a messianic reference. Since the speaker in Isa 55:1–5 is God, the connection made by John’s Gospel reinforces the idea of a divine messiah.

55:3 an everlasting covenant The renewal of a covenant relationship between Yahweh and His people will be enduring and based on His promises to David (see Psa 89:33–35). The restored covenant is an everlasting covenant (Isa 61:8), a covenant of peace (54:10; Ezek 37:26), and a new covenant (Jer 31:31). This new covenant replaces the conditional and temporary covenant God made with Israel—which they had broken (see note on Isa 54:10).

55:4 a witness to the peoples Yahweh’s relationship with David and the establishment of David’s earthly power was a symbol foreshadowing the power and reign of the Davidic Messiah. The Messiah would rule the world with complete authority (see 11:1–10).

a leader and a commander for the peoples Foreshadows the Messiah alluded to by Peter in Acts 5:31. The Messiah’s political role is described in Isa 9:6–7.

55:5 You shall call a nation In v. 3, “you” is plural and refers to the people with whom Yahweh will establish a new covenant. Here, “you” is singular, suggesting it refers to an individual. Since the person has been glorified, it may refer to the messianic Servant (compare 4:2). The salvation brought by the Messiah will be offered to Gentile nations, not just Israel. The salvation of the nations is part of God’s plan (2:2–5; 19:24–25).[13]

55:1 everyone. This address follows logically on the previous section (vv. 13, 17) and expresses the worldwide applicability of the gospel.

thirsts … no money. The thirst is for spiritual things that money cannot buy (52:3; Deut. 8:3; Ps. 42:2; 63:1; Prov. 9:5, 6; Matt. 5:6; John 7:37, 38; Rev. 21:6; 22:17).

waters. Isaiah frequently describes the new era of salvation, God’s kingdom and its divine blessings, in terms of an abundance of water (1:30, 31 note).

buy … without money. This paradox signifies that salvation is a free gift for anyone who desires it (Matt. 11:28; Rom. 10:13; Titus 3:5).

wine and milk. These are symbols of complete satisfaction.

55:3 you. The promises of the Davidic covenant are now extended to all who come to God.

everlasting covenant. In the covenant as given to David, God promised him a permanent throne and lasting dynasty (2 Sam. 7:12–16; 1 Kin. 8:23–26; Ps. 89:27–37). David’s royal house will rule over the nations. These elements are fulfilled in Christ and His church (4:2; 7:14; 9:6; 11:1, 2 and notes).

55:4 made him a witness. This was accomplished especially by raising Jesus Christ of the house of David from the dead (Acts 13:34).[14]

55:1, 2 In ch. 55 the Lord issues a general call to all who would call themselves by His name, to abandon the Babylons of this world and to find their satisfaction and their security in Him alone, and in that city of joy and peace that He will build. This passage is a call to revival for all who have wandered far from the Lord or from that grace which is the basis for our relationship with Him. It is also a call to salvation for any who have not known Him, promising a free but abundant and eternal life that is better than money can buy. The call is issued to the thirsty and the penniless—all who will recognize their need for spiritual blessing and their inability to meet the need themselves. “Waters” and “wine and milk” are symbols of abundant spiritual blessings.

55:3 The reference to the “sure mercies of David” speaks of the Davidic covenant (2 Sam. 7), which promises that a descendant of David will rule eternally over a kingdom that will bless all the nations (cf. Luke 1:32, 33; 2:30–32). Verses 3–5 promise that all who respond to God’s call will benefit from that covenant as members of the royal family, princes of the King. Furthermore, they will become witnesses to the nations of God’s grace and power (v. 5; cf. Acts 1:8).[15]

[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 155–157). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Grogan, G. W. (2008). Isaiah. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, pp. 812–813). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Thomson, A. (2012). Opening Up Isaiah (pp. 136–137). Leominster: Day One.

[4] Goldingay, J. (2012). Isaiah. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 313–314). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Comforted (pp. 145–146). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] Rydelnik, M. A., & Spencer, J. (2014). Isaiah. In The moody bible commentary (pp. 1092–1093). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Kidner, F. D. (1994). Isaiah. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 664). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[8] Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1110). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 981–982). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 864–865). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[11] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 55:1–3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[12] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1341). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[13] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 55:1–5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[14] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1031). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[15] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Is 55:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

March 9 Understanding God’s Character

scripture reading: Job 23:8–10
key verse: Psalm 66:12

You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

You can handle adversity only when you understand several essential truths about God:

God is not the author of evil. God uses adversity to accomplish His purposes, but He does not originate evil.

God is sovereign over all adversity. He can use any pain to honor Him and benefit you because He fits all events—good and bad—into His plan for you. Margaret Clarkson writes in Destined for Glory: “We must recognize with absolute certainty that God is in control of His universe. He is sovereign over evil, sin, death.… (Satan) may hurt, but he cannot ultimately harm us.”

God is trustworthy. Your pain is not outside His wisdom, love, and power; and He has promised never to fail you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5).

Understanding these truths, you must decide to trust God in your times of affliction. Margaret Clarkson writes further in Grace Grows Best in Winter: “We set ourselves to believe in the overruling goodness, providence, and sovereignty of God and refuse to turn aside—no matter what may come, no matter how we feel.”

God, You are not the author of evil. You are sovereign over the enemy. You are trustworthy. I declare Your goodness and refuse to turn aside—no matter what![1]

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

9 march 365 Days with Spurgeon (preached 8 march 1857)

The leafless tree

“But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah 6:13

suggested further reading: Romans 11:11–24

“The race of Abraham shall endure for ever, and his seed as many generations.” But why is it that the Jewish race is preserved? We have our answer in the text: “The holy seed is the substance thereof.” There is something within a tree mysterious, hidden and unknown, which preserves life in it when everything outward tends to kill it. So in the Jewish race there is a secret element which keeps it alive. We know what it is; it is the ‘remnant according to the election of grace;’ in the worst of ages there has never been a day so black but there was a Hebrew found to hold the lamp of God. There has always been found a Jew who loved Jesus; and though the race now despise the great Redeemer, yet there are not a few of the Hebrew race who still love Jesus the Saviour of the uncircumcised, and bow before him. It is these few, this holy seed, that are the substance of the nation; and for their sake, through their prayers, because of God’s love to them, he still says of Israel to all nations, “Touch not these mine anointed, do my prophets no harm. These are the descendants of Abraham, my friend. I have sworn and will not repent; I will show kindness unto them for their father’s sake, and for the sake of the remnant I have chosen.” Let us think a little more of the Jews than we have been wont; let us pray oftener for them. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love her.” As truly as any great thing is done in this world for Christ’s kingdom, the Jews will have more to do with it than any of us have dreamed.

for meditation: Do you attach anything like the same priority to the Jews as God does (Romans 1:16; 2:9, 10)? “How odd of God to choose the Jews” (William Norman Ewer)—but not as odd as those who choose a Jewish God and hate the Jews.

sermon no. 121[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 75). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

9 MARCH 365 Days with Calvin

When his Ways are Incomprehensible

O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. Psalm 92:5

suggested further reading: Psalm 139

Having spoken in general of the works of God, the psalmist proceeds to speak more particularly of God’s justice in governing the world. Though God may postpone the punishment of the wicked, in due time he shows that he does not overlook or fail to perceive their sins. Furthermore, though God exercises his own children with the cross, he proves in the end that he is not indifferent to their welfare.

The Psalmist makes this particular point because much darkness is thrown upon the scheme of divine providence because of the inequality and disorder that prevail in human affairs. We see the wicked triumphing and applauding their own good fortune, as if there were no judge above. They also take advantage of divine forbearance for additional excesses because they are under the impression that they have escaped God’s hand. The temptation is aggravated by the stupidity and blindness of heart that lead them to imagine that God exerts no control over the world and sits idle in heaven.

We know how quickly we can sink under the troubles of the flesh. The psalmist, therefore, intentionally selects this occasion to show the watchful care exerted by God over the human family. He begins by using the language of exclamation, for such is the dreadful distemper and disorder by which our understandings are confounded that we cannot comprehend the method of God’s works, even when it is most apparent. We are to notice that the inspired writer is not speaking here of the work of God in the creation of the heavens and earth, nor of his providential government of the world in general, but only of the judgments that he executes amongst men.

for meditation: At times, life seems cruel and unfair. We see wickedness and injustice flourish all around us while goodness and justice suffer. We can only maintain a proper perspective by trusting that God is in control, says the psalmist. When has such trust been rewarded in your own life?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 87). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Next recession: Money supply shrinking, lifts odds to 80 percent – Business Insider

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

  • Several experts have raised concern about the growth slowdown of the global monetary base since early 2018.
  • According to David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, the slowdown indicates that liquidity is no longer a tailwind for financial markets.
  • Rosenberg also said this trend has created an 80% chance of recession. 

To the apprehension of several market experts, a key gauge of the global supply of money has stopped growing.

It’s the global monetary base, defined as the sum of currency in circulation, as well as deposits that banks and other depository institutions hold with the Federal Reserve

This gauge matters to market participants because it reflects just how tight central bank policy is. And tighter policy curtails the flow of money.

For an example of just how much this matters to investors, think back to the stock market’s correction late last year, when it looked like the Fed was going full steam ahead with four rate hikes in 2019.

The Fed has since backpedaled on those plans, much to the delight of equity investors. Multiple Fed officials have also said the central bank could stop trimming its balance sheet later this year.

But this U-turn has not been enough to clear the risks that tighter money supply pose, according to market experts including David Rosenberg, the chief economist at Gluskin Sheff.

“Global liquidity conditions have tightened dramatically on the back of either tighter or less accommodative central bank policies,” Rosenberg said in his contribution to Business Insider’s “most important charts” feature.

He continued: “This will hit the world economy with a lag, and history suggests we have as much as an 80% chance of a recession as a result of this tourniquet.”

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Read more: Paul Krugman, Rick Rieder, and 47 more of the brightest minds on Wall Street reveal the world’s most important charts

The concerns shared by Rosenberg and others are mainly two-fold.

The first is that tighter financial conditions always trigger memories of prior recessionswhen the Fed made policy errors by raising rates too quickly, only to lower them when it was already too late. 

Secondly, the money-supply trend tallies with more widespread fears that during the next market crunch, traders may lack the liquidity they need to quickly enter and exit massive positions.

For example, Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s global head of macro, quantitative, and derivatives research, has identified a strong, non-linear relationship between liquidity and volatility: when volatility rises, the depth of the S&P 500 futures market declines exponentially.

Strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have also described the real global monetary base — which fell by 2.2% last year — as “a threat to risk assets.” They forecast that it will contract by another 1.6% year-on-year in 2019. 

The chart below, published in a recent note, puts this trend into wider perspective by examining its three-month moving average. On this scale, the monetary base has shrunk just five times since the 1980s — and each time preceded or coincided with an OECD-defined global slowdown. 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Count the Fed among the skeptics of what this trend portends.  

“The relationships between various measures of the money supply and variables such as GDP growth and inflation in the United States have been quite unstable,” the central bank said in a 2015 note

Indeed, Rosenberg’s chart shows that on a year-over-year basis, monetary-base growth spent a decent chunk of the last four years in negative territory, and yet the economic expansion survived alongside the bull market in stocks. 

But that was a different era. The Fed and other global central banks were still very much enacting accommodative policies and juicing financial assets with liquidity. 

“They clearly don’t want to be seen as supporting asset markets any longer — this goes double for the Federal Reserve,” Rosenberg said.

He continued: “At some point, the monetary authorities will have no choice but to ease, but it may take more concrete signposts that recession risks have materially risen.”

In his view, many of those risks — including the slowing pace of global growth — are already flashing red.

— Read on www.businessinsider.com/next-recession-money-supply-shrinking-puts-odds-at-80-percent-david-rosenberg-2019-3

Deadbeat Nation? 37 Million Credit Cards Were 90 Days Past Due In 4Q18  | Zero Hedge

Is this really the “greatest economy ever”? 

As those who follow our monthly consumer credit updates already knew, aggregate household debt balances jumped in 4Q18 for the 18th consecutive quarter, and were $869 billion (6.9%) above the previous peak (3Q08) of $12.68 trillion. As of late December, total household indebtedness was at a staggering $13.54 trillion, $32 billion higher than 3Q18. Overall household debt is now 21.4% above the 2Q 2013 trough, according to quarterly data from the Fed.

“The increase in credit card balances is consistent with seasonal patterns but marks the first time credit card balances re-touched the 2008 nominal peak,” according to the report.

There are approximately 480 million credit cards in US circulation, that is 1.47 credit cards per citizen, and up more than 100 million since the 2008 financial crisis.

More troubling is that according to the Fed, 37 million Americans had a 90-day delinquent strike added to their credit report last quarter, an increase of two million from the fourth quarter of 2017. These 37 million delinquent accounts held roughly $68 billion in debt.

Credit-card balances slipping into serious delinquency have been growing for the last several years, according to the Fed.  As of 2019, a record number of Americans also have auto loans that are 90 days past due.

“The substantial and growing number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market and warrants continued monitoring and analysis of this sector,” economists Andrew Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klaauw noted in a Feburary report. 

Rising delinquency levels pose a serious risk to consumer spending, which accounts for more than 2/3 of economic activity.

Almost a third of the credit card debt is held by the baby boomer generation, while millennials are up to their eyeballs in student loans. That could be troubling because some of the oldest and youngest borrowers are financially dependent on family members, according to Josh Wright, the chief economist at iCIMS and a former Federal Reserve staffer.

“This tells us that if the expected economic slowdown gets serious, these are the groups that will pose the biggest threat to the economy,” he said.

While President Trump continues to promote the “greatest economy ever” on Twitter, 1Q19 GDP expectations have crashed, a troubling sign that consumers have topped out.

Last week, Goldman published its 1Q19 GDP tracking estimate at a paltry +0.9%. This forecast, as Goldman’s chief economist Jan Hatzius said, “reflects an expected drag from inventories, sequentially slower consumption growth, a decline in residential investment, and a four-tenths drag from the government shutdown.”

Goldman wasn’t the only one echoing low-growth forecasts for 1Q19, but also the NY Fed’s GDP Nowcast, which showed growth crumbled from 1.22% (and 2.17% as recently as a month ago), to a stunning 0.88%, as a result of the collapse in Personal Consumption, Housing Starts, Wholesale Inventories, and others.

The most shocking: Atlanta Fed’s 1Q19 GDP nowcast – recently tumbled to just 0.5%. And while it is possible that consumers hit their maximum threshold of borrowing ahead of the holiday spending season, the growing refusal to service their credit card debts is an ominous sign of a nearing recession.