Daily Archives: April 17, 2019

April 17 This Grace Is Yours

Scripture Reading: John 1:19–29

Key Verse: John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

One of the most encouraging things you can receive from God is the hope that comes from being given a second chance. This is especially important when you have yielded to temptation or feel that you have fallen short of His plan and purpose for your life. The truth is that God never limits the opportunity for forgiveness.

Second chances encourage us to go on and not to give up even when the whispers of the world around us seem to say the opposite. After his denial of Christ, Peter was in need of a second chance, and Jesus, through His grace, provided this (John 21:15–17).

How many of us have longed for God’s cleansing touch when we become trapped by our wrongful actions? The only cure for sin or failure of any kind is God’s grace applied to our lives. This is what changes the stumbling sinner into a person living victoriously for Jesus Christ.

Even before you knew Him, Jesus knew and loved you. It was His love that saved you, and it is His love that will keep you throughout eternity. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Are you struggling with the idea of grace and how it applies to your life? Realize that God loves you. He stands beside you and is pleased to call you His own. This grace is yours.

Lord, thank You for Your grace—Your love and kindness toward me even when I don’t deserve it. I accept Your extended grace.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 112). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Jared Kushner Tells Foreign Diplomats That Middle East Peace Plan Will Be Released in June Right After Ramadan — Now The End Begins

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor, told foreign diplomats on Wednesday that the “deal of the century” will be released in June, after Ramadan, a source familiar with the remarks told The Jerusalem Post.

The timing for the release of Jared Kushner’s long-awaited peace plan, right at the conclusion of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, could not be more interesting. One has to wonder just what Team Kushner has up their collective sleeves. Certainly they are not going to be trotting out the same old tired and failed lame attempts at peace. They know that won’t work. So just what are they thinking?

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (KJV)

We told you last week how Secretary of State Mike Pompeo teased a shot of the Third Temple in the officially-released video of his trip to Israel, the implications of that were kinda interesting, to say the least. That would make the Jews very happy to say the least. But what carrot do they have that will make the Muslims equally happy? I can only imagine.


FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: Jared Kushner spoke in front of 100 foreign diplomats and ambassadors at the Blair House and asked them to keep an open mind regarding the plan. However, he did not provide any new details about the plan itself.

“We will all have to look for reasonable compromises that will make peace achievable,” Kushner said.

Whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, which is the Palestinians’ core demand, remains unclear.

During his remarks, Kushner pushed back on the idea that the Trump peace plan mostly centered around the economic package, saying the political component is “very detailed,” the source said.

“Kushner said the plan will require concessions from both sides but won’t jeopardize the security of Israel,” a source said. “It requires everybody approaching the plan with an open mind.”

Jason Greenblatt, special representative for international negotiations, tweeted Tuesday that the peace team will not release any details of the plan ahead of time. “Continued speculation doesn’t help anyone & harms the effort. We kindly suggest a stop to the guessing games,” he wrote.

Greenblatt added that while only the parties themselves can resolve the conflict, he believes that the plan can help them achieve that goal. “We’ve been working hard drafting what we believe is a fair, realistic & implementable plan. Fair agreements require compromises,” he said.

Meanwhile, newly sworn in Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said in the interview on Tuesday night that “There are no partners in Palestine for Trump. There are no Arab partners for Trump and there are no European partners for Trump.” He added that Trump’s peace plan will be “born dead.”

On Monday night, The Washington Post reported that the “deal of the century” will include “practical proposals” for improving the lives of Palestinians, but will probably stop short of recommending the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel. READ MORE


via Jared Kushner Tells Foreign Diplomats That Middle East Peace Plan Will Be Released in June Right After Ramadan — Now The End Begins

Ocasio-Cortez ‘Hired Top Hollywood Talent Agency’ To Get Book Deal, But Project Fell Through — The Gateway Pundit

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist who has become the darling of the mainstream media, reportedly hired one of the top Hollywood talent agencies in an effort to get a book deal, but the effort fell though for unknown reasons.

“Multiple publishing industry sources told The Daily Beast that the freshman Democrat retained the talent agency CAA [Creative Artists Agency] and took meetings earlier this year about writing a potential book. The project, one industry source said, was ultimately pulled, but for reasons that remain mysterious,” the Beast wrote.

It’s unclear if the book project is functionally dead and if the congresswoman still works with CAA. The agency would neither confirm nor deny that it had recently been working with Ocasio-Cortez. Corbin Trent, communications director for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declined to address the story directly, saying it fell beyond matters of congressional work.

“I can’t help you with it,” Trent said. Asked if he was confirming, denying or offering no comment, Trent said “I’ve said everything that I’m going to say about that.”

Members of the House are prohibited from accepting book advances, so it’s unclear how the payment would work should the deal be revived. At least two others House lawmakers have book deals, the Beast reports. “Sources told The Daily Beast that Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) also sold a book late last year after he won election and was mocked by Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson for the eye patch he wears following a combat-related injury. Crenshaw’s office did not return a request for comment. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also announced earlier this year she has a book deal.”

Both Omar and Crenshaw “inked deals before officially joining [C]ongress, likely avoiding the rule limiting advance payments.”

Ocasio-Cortez also wouldn’t be the only active socialist in Congress to be cashing in. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont, has spent much of his career ripping “The One Percent,” those at the top of the income pyramid in the U.S. But it turns out he’s a millionaire, too.

“I wrote a best-selling book,” Sanders said this week after releasing his tax returns. He wrote “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” after he lost to Hillary Clinton in in the 2016 Democratic primaries.  “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”

Vermont magazine “Seven Days” reported in 2016 that Sanders and his wife bought a four-bedroom house on the shore of Lake Champlain in Vermont — with 500 feet of lake frontage — for about $600,000. The Sanders own at least three houses, with another in Burlington, Vermont, and one on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Ocasio-Cortez also recently moved into a luxury Washington D.C. apartment building with an infinity pool and a nearby Whole Foods, the Washington Examiner reported in February

But Ocasio-Cortez’s new building — built by leading D.C. developer WC Smith — is part of a luxury complex whose owners specifically do not offer affordable units under Washington, D.C.’s Affordable Dwelling Units program.

Oh, those socialists.

via Ocasio-Cortez ‘Hired Top Hollywood Talent Agency’ To Get Book Deal, But Project Fell Through — The Gateway Pundit

America’s War in Yemen Is Plainly Unconstitutional — National Review

President Donald Trump listens as he meets with Danny Burch, a former hostage in Yemen, Washington, D.C., March 6, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The president’s veto of a bipartisan resolution demanding the end of American involvement in the conflict further degrades our constitutional architecture.

Yesterday, Donald Trump vetoed a bipartisan congressional resolution demanding an end to U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war. It’s now official: The president who ran for office pledging to reduce military entanglements abroad is involving American forces in a foreign war in direct defiance of the plain language of the Constitution.

First, some background. Beginning in 2015, the Obama administration recklessly inserted itself into Saudi Arabia’s proxy war with Iran, backing Saudi military action against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. America has long been an important source of arms for Saudi Arabia, but Obama’s support went well beyond merely providing planes and bombs. His administration also authorized other active, indispensable support, including aerial refueling and targeting assistance.

This direct involvement represented an act of war by any reasonable measure, and there is no meaningful argument that it was enabled by any existing congressional war authorization. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force enacted after the 9/11 attacks plainly doesn’t apply to Iran-backed Shiite rebels fighting in Yemen (though it does apply to al-Qaeda cells active in the country), nor does the subsequent Iraq War authorization.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution grants Congress the exclusive authority to declare war. Yes, Article II declares that the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but reading the two clauses together, their meaning is plain: The president commands American forces when Congress declares war. Yes, the president has inherent authority to order immediate military actions in times of crisis, but he should also promptly seek congressional approval for such actions.

No one should pretend that there aren’t constitutional gray areas in this structure, of course: How long can a president respond to an emergency before Congress must ratify or reject the conflict? Once Congress has authorized any given action, how far can a president extend or expand a conflict? Does the authorization of force against al-Qaeda extend to, say, al-Qaeda progeny such as ISIS? Does the authorization of war in Iraq extend to actions deemed militarily necessary to stabilize the country, like the use of force in Syria?

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These are all good constitutional questions, but they’re beside the point because none of them apply to the conflict in Yemen. President Obama wasn’t responding to a true national emergency in backing the Saudis against the Houthis, and President Trump isn’t responding to a true national emergency in continuing to back the Saudis. They were (and are) waging a new conflict against a new enemy.

Late last year, in the resolution Trump just vetoed, Congress rejected military action in Yemen under the provisions of the War Powers Act, a controversial 1973 statue passed over Richard Nixon’s veto. The Act attempted to answer the thorny constitutional issues outlined above by requiring a president to consult with Congress within 48 hours of the introduction of American forces into foreign hostilities. Congress can then, by resolution, terminate American involvement. 50 U.S.C. Section 1544(c) states that “at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.” (Emphasis added.)

Presidents have opposed the War Powers Act ever since its passage, even as they’ve frequently complied with its terms. They have historically taken such a broad view of their commander-in-chief powers as to functionally write Congress’s war-making power out of the Constitution. If a president can fight when he wants, where he wants, and for as long as he wants, then Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 is meaningless.

Moreover, even Trump’s veto is an unconstitutional act. A declaration of war requires an affirmative act of Congress. A bipartisan majority’s rejection of American participation in the Yemeni conflict is anything but an affirmation. And when the Constitution requires congressional affirmation, then congressional rejection can’t be vetoed by the president.

I understand and support the core holding of Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, which ended the practice of so-called legislative vetoes — instances where the legislature invalidated executive acts by mere majority vote — but Constitution gives war-making powers explicitly to Congress. When it is construed as allowing the president to launch war on his own and then to continue that war in the absence of congressional supermajorities, the constitutional structure is fatally undermined.

Debates about different American wars are debates for a different time. There is no longer any constitutional justification for continuing American participation in Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen. Congress has spoken. Trump doesn’t have the choice of vetoing the resolution. It’s now his obligation to order American forces to stand down. His refusal to do so further degrades America’s already-shaky constitutional structure.

via America’s War in Yemen Is Plainly Unconstitutional — National Review

April 17 A Symbol of Life

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 1:18–21

Key Verse: 1 Peter 3:18

Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

Blood is not a pleasant topic for most people, and most of us are happy if we go a long time without seeing any. Unless you are in the medical profession or a related occupation, you probably do not deal with blood very often.

But in Jesus’ day, the presence of blood was a real part of daily life; in fact, it was a part of sacrificial worship in the temple. According to Mosaic Law, God required the blood of an unblemished animal as the atonement, or payment, for a person’s sin. The rules for slaying the animal and handling the blood were extremely complex, and only members of the priesthood were allowed to perform the ceremonies. Since the death of one animal did not pay for all sins, the system of sacrifice was continual.

What Jesus did on the cross, however, was a once-and-for-all blood sacrifice (1 Peter 3:18). No doubt that was a new and difficult concept for the disciples to grasp, and Jesus’ words at their last Passover meal together were critical for their understanding of what was about to happen.

Jesus shed physical blood for you. He was in agony, His flesh was torn for you, and He experienced temporary separation from the Father because of your sin. The next time you take Communion, think about His blood—not as a symbol of death but as a symbol of the new life that you have through His sacrifice.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the blood of Jesus, which is the symbol of life. Thank You for the new life I have because of Calvary.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 112). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.