Daily Archives: April 22, 2019

Worshiping the Earth — Christian Research Network

All pagan religion, including goddess/Earth worship seeks peace and harmony with nature, thinking that this is the solution to all of humanity’s ills.  But it ignores the fact that the problem really lies in the human heart.  Trying to save the environment will not save our souls or bring about a utopia.  

(Clete Hux – The Aquila Report)  “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather then the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.” (Rom. 1:22-23; 25)

It should come as no surprise to the spiritually minded that America has become increasingly pagan over the last few decades.  Political correctness, moral relativism, religious pluralism, and dissatisfaction with the Judeo-Christian worldview have helped fan the flames of this religious shift….For some time now, there has been a huge movement of humanity away from the patriarchal God of the Bible towards goddess worship and the worship of creation or Mother Earth. After all, Earth Day has been recognized as a calendar holiday for quite some time.

The basic worldview which has influenced us in this direction is pantheism, the belief that all is God and God is all.  It is the teaching that all is divine by nature.  This is the worldview of Hinduism.  It is also the basis for the New Age Movement and influences the Neo-pagan worldview of Wicca which is based on ancient fertility cults.  In ancient Greece, the earth itself was known as the mother of all living things.  Gaia, the Greek goddess of the earth, soon became recognized as Mother Earth or Mother Nature.

Ancient religions that worship nature are manifested not only in these specific religious movements like Wicca and the New Age, but have also been profoundly influential in the radical women’s movement and in what could be called the green to extreme ecology movement.[1] In this article I will trace the development of the influence of goddess worship and offer a brief biblical response.  View article →

Research

New Age Movement & Spirituality

via Worshiping the Earth — Christian Research Network

April 22, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (7:18–19)

Here is the climax of the text. Aaron is replaced by Christ. God has set aside the old and imperfect and has replaced it with the new and perfect. Setting aside (athetēsis) pertains to doing away with something that has been established. It is used, for example, of annulling a treaty, a promise, a law, a regulation, or of removing a man’s name from a document. The whole paraphernalia of the sacrificial system, the whole ceremonial system, was canceled, annulled, done away with entirely. God assured its end in a.d. 70, when He allowed the Temple to be destroyed.

The old system could reveal sin. It could even cover sin, in a certain way and to a certain temporary degree. But it could never remove sin, and so itself had to be removed. It brought nothing to conclusion. It gave no security. It gave no peace. A man never had a clear conscience. But the priesthood of Jesus Christ made all of what Israel looked forward to a reality. It brought access to God.

Peter tells us, “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look” (1 Pet. 1:10–12). In other words, those Old Testament saints only saw salvation from a distance. They were neither fully certain nor secure until Christ came. They trusted in hope, looking ahead for a conscience freed from sin. But now we can go into God’s presence and we can sit down before Him and, with the apostle Paul, say, “Abba, Father.” We have access to God.

Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. (10:19–22)

A young woman had run up a lot of bills and charged far beyond what she was able to pay. She was in debt over her head and saw no way to get out. She was in trouble and the situation looked hopeless. Then a young man came along and fell deeply in love with her. After some months he proposed. She also loved him very much, but felt that she should tell him about her debts before she agreed to marry him. When told, he said, “Don’t worry. I’ll pay all your debts. Just leave them to me.” Before the wedding he gave her an engagement ring and reassured her many times that he would take care of her debts. She trusted him implicitly and knew he was a person of his word. She had every reason to be confident and hopeful. But she was not yet actually free of her debts and, consequently, could not be at peace about them. Finally they were married, and he paid her debts. Not only that, but he told her that he was wealthy beyond her wildest dreams and gave her a joint checking account with himself. She would never again need to be concerned about debts. From that time on she was secure in the riches of the one she loved and who loved her.

That is how much better off a person is under the New Covenant than under the Old. In Christ we are freed from all sin’s debts, and we live forever in the riches of the One we love and who loves us.[1]


18. For there is verily a disannulling, or abrogation, &c. As the Apostle’s discourse depends on this hinge, that the Law together with the priesthood had come to an end, he explains the reason why it ought to have been abolished, even because it was weak and unprofitable. And he speaks thus in reference to the ceremonies, which had nothing substantial in them, nor in themselves anything available to salvation; for the promise of favour annexed to them, and what Moses everywhere testifies that God would be pacified by sacrifices and that sins would be expiated, did not properly belong to sacrifices, but were only adventitious to them. For as all types had a reference to Christ, so from him they derived all their virtue and effect; nay, of themselves they availed nothing or effected nothing; but their whole efficacy depended on Christ alone.

But as the Jews foolishly set up these in opposition to Christ, the Apostle, referring to this notion, shews the difference between these things and Christ. For as soon as they are separated from Christ, there is nothing left in them, but the weakness of which he speaks; in a word, there is no benefit to be found in the ancient ceremonies, except as they refer to Christ; for in this way they so made the Jews acquainted with God’s grace, that they in a manner kept them in expectation of it. Let us then remember that the Law is useless, when separated from Christ. And he also confirms the same truth by calling it the commandment going before; for it is a well-known and common saying, that former laws are abrogated by the latter. The Law had been promulgated long before David; but he was in possession of his kingdom when he proclaimed this prophecy respecting the appointment of a new priest; this new Law then annulled the former.

19. For the Law made nothing perfect, &c. As he had spoken rather harshly of the Law, he now mitigates or, as it were, corrects that asperity; for he concedes to it some utility, as it had pointed out the way which leads at length to salvation. It was, however, of such a kind as to be far short of perfection. The Apostle then reasons thus: The Law was only a beginning; then something more perfect was necessarily to follow; for it is not fit that God’s children should always continue in childish elements. By the word bringing in, or introduction, he means a certain preparation made by the Law, as children are taught in those elements which smooth the way to what is higher. But as the preposition ἐπὶ denotes a consequence, when one thing follows another; it ought, as I think, to be thus rendered, “but added was an introduction into a better hope.” For he mentions two introductions, according to my view; the first by Melchisedec as a type; and the second by the Law, which was in time later. Moreover, by Law he designates the Levitical priesthood, which was superadded to the priesthood of Melchisedec.

By a better hope is to be understood the condition of the faithful under the reign of Christ; but he had in view the fathers, who could not be satisfied with the state in which they were then, but aspired to higher things. Hence that saying, “Many kings and prophets desired to see the things which ye see.” (Luke 10:24.) They were therefore led by the hand of the Law as a schoolmaster, that they might advance farther.

By the which we draw nigh, &c. There is to be understood here an implied contrast between us and the fathers; for in honour and privilege we excel them, as God has communicated to us a full knowledge of himself, but he appeared to them as it were afar off and obscurely. And there is an allusion here made to the tabernacle or the temple; for the people stood afar off in the court, nor was there a nearer access to the sanctuary opened to any one except to the priests; and into the interior sanctuary the highest priest only entered; but now, the tabernacle being removed, God admits us into a familiar approach to himself, which the fathers were not permitted to have. Then he who still holds to the shadows of the Law, or seeks to restore them, not only obscures the glory of Christ, but also deprives us of an immense benefit; for he puts God at a great distance from us, to approach whom there is a liberty granted to us by the Gospel. And whosoever continues in the Law, knowingly and willingly deprives himself of the privilege of approaching nigh to God.[2]


18–19 A classical men … de construction sets up the two sides of a sharp contrast: on the one hand, the discarding of the “former regulation” in all its inadequacy, but on the other hand, the introduction of a “better hope.” The focus of the contrast is not so much on the nature of the two dispensations in themselves but on their different effects (not only “weak” but also “useless”). On the one hand, the old system could not “make perfect” (see further on 10:1–4), while on the other hand, the “better hope” enables us to “draw near to God.” So it is made clear that the “perfection” the old system sought and failed to find was the relationship of “nearness” to God, and it will be this theme of approaching God that will in 10:19–23 form the author’s triumphant conclusion to his exposition of the salvation Christ has now provided. If the “former regulation” could not offer that, then it is time for it to go. Notice that in his parenthetical comment in v. 19, the author gets as close as he will ever get to declaring that “the law” itself is no longer worth preserving (see comments at v. 12 above), not just that a specific “regulation” has been set aside.[3]


7:18 / The statements in verses 18 and 19b are linked in the original (cf. rsv “on the one hand” … “on the other hand”). The former regulation (lit., “a former commandment”) refers to the Mosaic legislation concerning the levitical priesthood, which is now set aside (lit., “a setting aside occurs”). This stern note of discontinuity with the law of Moses (anticipated in 7:12; cf. 8:13) is justified by noting that the law was weak and useless (lit., “its weakness and uselessness”). The description of the commandment as weak or ineffective finds a parallel in Paul (Rom. 8:3; cf. Gal. 4:9). The strongest word of all, however, is “uselessness,” which is used in the lxx of Isaiah 44:10 to describe idols (cf. rsv, “profitable for nothing”). The author’s point apparently is that although the law had a proper role to play before the fulfillment brought by the Christ, once that fulfillment has been realized, the law is outmoded and hence useless. It should be noted, however, that it is the law concerning the levitical priesthood and ritual that is particularly in view (cf. 10:9b). The author does not draw further implications.

7:19 / The first sentence in this verse is parenthetical, interrupting the contrast between 18 and 19b. The law literally made nothing perfect. That is, it was unable to bring anything to God’s intended purpose of redemption (cf. 5:9). But in the new situation, which it is the major task of our author to expound, a better hope enters the picture, one which indeed makes it possible to draw near to God, which is exactly what the law of the cultus did not allow, and to realize the fullness of salvation that he promised. Again the language is that of the temple cult, but now transposed to a new key because of the very nature of God’s definitive work in Christ.[4]


7:18–19. Verse 18 shows the weakness of the Law, while verse 19 describes the new hope which Christ’s priesthood provides. Verse 18 makes three statements about the Law and the priesthood connected with it: (1) weak, (2) useless, (3) annulled. The Law provided a standard by which a person could evaluate moral condition, but in its weakness it could not provide life and spiritual vigor to anyone. It was merely a diagnostic tool. It was useless because it could not provide a constant means of access to God. These two deficiencies made it necessary to set the Law aside.

This does not mean that the Law was annulled in that it no longer had any use. It served the function of revealing sin (Rom. 3:20), but it could not bring perfection. It could only demonstrate imperfection. It reminded sinners of their sin. The establishment of a new priesthood meant that the old Levitical priesthood no longer had divine authority. A new priesthood which could give power over sin had come into operation.

Verse 19 introduces a theme of hope (cf. 6:19). The hope Christ provided was better than the empty regulations of the Levitical priesthood and the commandments which produced it. Christ’s priesthood made it possible for sinners to draw near to God (see 10:22 and often in Hebrews).

Wandering sinners seeking for God find much hope in Hebrews. The new priesthood of Melchizedek provided a foundation for such optimism. Believers can draw near to God even though God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). Seekers can actually find God.[5]


18. The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19. (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

This rather lengthy sentence falls into three parts that show balance and contrast. The first part has an explanatory clause that is placed within parentheses.

a.

 

the former regulation—a better hope

 

b.

 

is set aside—is introduced

 

c.

 

because—by which

 

  it was weak and useless—we draw near

 

  (for the law made

 

  nothing perfect)

 

  • The first part of the contrast consists of the adjective former and the noun regulation. The word former actually means “introductory” or “that which precedes.” The implication is that the introductory regulation is temporary and will be succeeded by that which is permanent. The author of Hebrews continues to explain the significance of a tentative regulation that must yield to something that is abiding. The regulation was intended for the members of the priesthood; the hope (anchored in Jesus Christ, 6:19–20) is for every believer.

In the second part of this sentence, the adjective better emphasizes the quality of the hope. Although hope was present during the era of the Levitical priesthood, after the sacrifice of Christ hope has taken on a new dimension. The author speaks of better hope in the sense of a true, living, new, and perfect hope. It is the hope that the believer has in Jesus Christ through his gospel. And that good news for the believer—forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and entrance to heaven—constitutes the better hope that surpasses “the former regulation.”

  • The second part of the contrast concerns the action of both regulation and hope: the one is set aside, the other is introduced. For the writer to state categorically that the divine command about the Levitical priesthood was discarded and to add that “the law made nothing perfect” called for courage. A believer trained in Old Testament law considered the command about the priesthood in particular and the law in general sacrosanct.

But the author is able to write these words in full confidence. He indicates that the “former regulation” was introductory to something much better. In fact, the “better hope” has arrived and the time has come to put the substitute away. In his providence God instituted the Levitical priesthood. The priests offered animal sacrifices so the people might obtain remission of sin. These sacrifices by themselves could not cleanse the consciences of the believers (9:14) and were inadequate to atone for sin; they pointed to Christ. After Jesus as the Lamb of God brought the supreme sacrifice that “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), the need for animal sacrifices offered by the priests was eliminated.

“A better hope is introduced.” The author does not say to whom or to what we are introduced, but the context reveals that we are brought into the presence of Jesus our high priest. The believer no longer needs to approach God through the services of a mortal priest. He can go directly to Jesus Christ, for through him he has direct access to the throne of grace (4:14–16). His hope, then, is centered in Jesus Christ, his Savior and Lord.

  • The third element in the contrast gives the cause and the means. The Levitical priesthood was discarded because the regulation “was weak and useless”; and by a better hope we have access to God.

We nowhere read that the Levitical priesthood and the accompanying regulation were of no value. They had their rightful place in the era prior to the coming of Christ. However, the command with its bearing on the priesthood was “weak and useless.” It was incapable of removing the curse God had pronounced upon the human race; it could not effect eternal salvation for the believer. David testified to the inadequacy of animal sacrifices when he confessed his sin to God: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings” (Ps. 51:16). The command was external and pertained to the duties performed by the priests; it was unable, however, to lead the believer into the presence of God.

What the law could not do, for it made nothing perfect (Rom. 8:3), Jesus did by his perfect sacrifice on the cross: he opened the way to God. In the capacity of high priest Jesus, by entering the Most Holy Place, reconciled God and man. Therefore the believer has full communion with God.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 192–193). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 171–173). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 97). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (pp. 108–109). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 135). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 197–198). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

April 22 When You Are Feeling Condemned

scripture reading: John 8:1–11
key verse: Romans 8:34

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Many Christians fail to grow in their relationship with Christ, not because of indifference or sin, but because of nagging feelings of guilt and condemnation. They feel unworthy of God’s blessings. They are convinced He cannot love them anymore because of what they have done or said.

This inner turmoil is the work of Satan, who seeks to destroy your fellowship with the Father. A distorted view of your performance lies at the root of this evil. You somehow think if you live righteously enough, you merit God’s approval; if you falter, you must face His disapproval.

This kind of thinking is false. God has accepted you completely—based on the forgiveness provided by Christ Jesus on the cross. You are no longer under God’s wrath, but you are a recipient of His grace, which is given without respect to performance. Grace came to you freely at salvation and continues to flow thereafter.

No misdeed can sever your personal relationship with God. If you have sinned, confession and repentance restore total intimacy. Sacrifice or penance in the form of good works or self–denial is useless.

If feelings of guilt have stunted your fellowship with Christ, they can be removed instantly by your humble confession. Never let your performance hinder God’s grace.

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that no misdeed can sever our relationship. Thank You for the grace that came to me at salvation and continues to flow today.[1]


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

22 april (1860) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Full redemption

“There shall not an hoof be left behind.” Exodus 10:26

suggested further reading: Revelation 20:1–10

A man once wrote a book to prove the devil a fool. Certainly, when all matters shall come to their destined consummation, Satan will prove to have been a magnificent fool. Folly, magnified to the highest degree by subtlety, shall be developed in Satan. Ah! Thou trailing serpent, what hast thou now after all? I saw thee but a few thousand years ago, twining around the tree of life, and hissing out thy deceptive words. Ah! how glorious was the serpent then—a winged creature, with his azure scales. Yes, and thou didst triumph over God. I heard thee as thou didst go hissing down to thy den. I heard thee say to thy brood,—vipers in the nest as they are,—“My children, I have stained the Almighty’s works: I have turned aside his loyal subjects; I have injected my poison into the heart of Eve, and Adam hath fallen too; my children let us hold a jubilee, for I have defeated God.” Oh, my enemy; I think I see thee now, with thy head all broken, and thy jaw-teeth smashed, and thy venom-bags all emptied, and thou thyself a weary length of agony, rolling miles afloat along a sea of fire, tortured, destroyed, overcome, tormented, ashamed, hacked, hewed, dashed in pieces, and made a hissing, and a scorn for children to laugh at, and made a scoff throughout eternity. Ah! well, brethren, the great Goliath hath gained nothing by his boasting: Christ and his people have really lost nothing by Satan. All they lost once, has been re-taken. The victory has not simply been a capture of that which was lost, but a gaining of something more. We are in Christ more than we were before we fell. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”

for meditation: Victory over Satan will be celebrated with joy (Revelation 12:10–12; Romans 16:20) but for the moment we must remain on our guard against him (1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:27; 6:11; 1 Timothy 3:6, 7; 1 Peter 5:8, 9).

sermon no. 309[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 119). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

22 APRIL 365 Days with Calvin

Finding Peace and Happiness

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely [i.e., find tranquility]: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6

suggested further reading: Isaiah 26:1–13

The first requirement for a happy life is a tranquil and quiet mind. When all the things that people covet and what they think are necessary for happiness are heaped together, people cannot be other than miserable if their minds are not at ease.

It is then with good cause that tranquility is added when mention is made of salvation. Experience teaches us that we have no salvation unless we, in reliance on Christ the Mediator, have peace with God. Paul also mentions peace with God as the fruit of faith (Rom. 5:1). We can only be miserable without peace with God. Paul also says that miseries aid our salvation, for afflictions produce patience, patience exercises hope, and hope never makes us ashamed. Peace with God is the proof of salvation, because with it God truly shows that he is present with us.

We thus see how appropriate it is for the prophet to connect tranquility of mind with happiness. It is certain that we do not yet enjoy either full salvation or peace such as are promised here. But let us learn by faith what salvation and rest are, even in the midst of the agitations to which we are continually exposed, for we find rest in God only when we cast our anchor in heaven.

The prophet says Judah will be saved and that Israel will find tranquility. By this we know that he is referring to the kingdom of Christ from the beginning to the end. Therefore it is no wonder that he speaks of perfect happiness, the first-fruits of which are now beginning to appear.

for meditation: Restlessness and agitation are normal in the midst of challenges and difficulties. Looking to Christ anchors us in hope and quiets our anxieties. Have you found rest in the Eternal Hope? How is this simply a foretaste of what is yet to come?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 131). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Monday Briefing April 22, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 A big theological story hits the pages of the New York Times, denying the sovereignty of God, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and much more

PART II

 The radical candor of modern liberal theology: A new religion to replace Christianity

PART III

 The 100 most influential people? What TIME’s cover story tells us about TIME and America

PART IV

 Horrible headlines from Sri Lanka: A tragic story as old as Christianity

ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

NEW YORK TIMES

 Reverend, You Say the Virgin Birth Is a ‘Bizarre Claim’?, by Nicholas Kristof

PART III

PART IV

WASHINGTON POST

 Death toll in the Sri Lanka bombings jumps to 290, by Joanna Slater, Amantha Perera, and Shibani Mahtani
— Read on albertmohler.com/2019/04/22/briefing-4-22-19

‘They are Christians’: Obama & Clinton lambasted for calling bombed Sri Lankans ‘Easter worshipers’ — RT USA News

Some people believe prominent Democrats deliberately avoided using the word “Christian” when condemning bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday as part of a policy to undermine Christian faith in the US.

The eight bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, which killed almost 300 people on Easter Sunday, sparked worldwide condemnation. But the way some US politicians expressed their condolences sparked a minor outcry among conservative Americans. Former President Barack Obama and the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, were blasted for using the term “Easter worshipers” instead of “Christians” when referring to the victims of the attacks.

— Read on www.rt.com/usa/457206-obama-clinton-easter-worshipers/

Russia-Derangement Syndrome Brought the Democrats to Their Knees in 2016. It Will Happen Again | Russia Insider

Two years ago authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign that within 24 hours of her 2016 electoral loss, Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staff decided to blame the loss on Russian interference. Given the apparent source of the charge in 

Two years ago authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign that within 24 hours of her 2016 electoral loss, Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staff decided to blame the loss on Russian interference. Given the apparent source of the charge in opposition researchfunded by the Clinton campaign, the move seemed both desperate and pathetic— a thread for Clinton’s true believers to hang onto, an effort to keep campaign contributions rolling in and a ploy to cleave liberals from the left through red-baiting.

For perspective, from the time leading up to the 2016 election through today, I chose to live amongst poor and working-class people of color, with occasional forays into the rural working and middle classes and the urban bourgeois. What became apparent early on is that the audience for the Russian interference story was the urban and suburban bourgeois who had seen their lots by-and-large restored by Barack Obama’s bank bailouts and who had no knowledge of, or interaction with, the 90% of the country that is living, by degree, hand-to-mouth.

What this implies is that the received wisdom amongst bourgeois Democrats— the bosses, bank managers, academics, realtors and administrative class, looks to be what it is: a combination of class loathing that their ‘lessors’ didn’t perceive the munificent blessing of their electoral choice; mass delusion on the part of self-styled ‘high-information voters’ about who really controls American ‘democracy;’ and studied ignorance of the consequences of the last half-century of bi-partisan neoliberal governance.

As I wrote in early 2018:

“Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.”

The Clinton campaign’s decision to blame her electoral loss on Russian interference demonstrates why she was, and still is, unqualified to hold elected office. In the first, the U.S. – Russian rivalry is backed-up by hair-trigger nuclear arsenals that could end the world in a matter of minutes. Inciting tensions based on self-serving lies is stunningly reckless. In the second, the claim demonstrates utter contempt for her most loyal followers by feeding them purposely misleading explanations of the loss. And most damagingly for political opponents of Donald Trump, these actions give credence to the insurgent status of his retro-Republicanism against liberal and left defenders of the political establishment.

Most damaging to the burgeoning left in the U.S. is the deeply ugly character assassination of poor and working-class voters carried out by the urban bourgeois, many from the self-described radical left. People I know and like, but with whom I disagree politically but am working hard to convert, have spent the last three years being derided as traitorous, marginally literate hicks too stupid to know they are pawns of the Kremlin. The irony, if you care to call it that, is that they knew the Russian interference story was cynical bullshit all along while the graduate degree crowd was following every twist and turn as if it were true knowledge.

The Democratic Party ‘leadership’ that pursued this story is as stupid as it is corrupt. The purpose of Russia-gate was apparently to keep the Party faithful, faithful. But as was demonstrated in 2016, the faithful alone can’t win an election. This leadership turned what could have been an effective ‘give ‘em enough rope’ strategy against arrogant jackass Trump back on itself. The establishment-left had been in the process of giving self-described socialists someone to vote for in 2020. Too-clever-by-half liberal twaddle about ‘post-truth’ now has liberals— universally conflated with the left, perceived as both idiots and liars. And rightly so.

Democrats who spent the last three years making less than plausible (and politically retrograde) accusations against Mr. Trump likely still don’t understand their current position. Their call for an exhaustive investigation carried out by people they trust was honored. While the investigation was underway, the mainstream press put one ludicrous fantasy after another forward as news. This while a host of real issues affecting real people’s lives were studiously ignored. As incredulous as I am that it could be done, liberal Democrats have made corrupt oligarch Trump appear to be righteously aggrieved. Who says these people have no talent?

The New York Times and Washington Post have been publishing politically motivated ‘fake news’ in support of establishment interests since their inceptions. Their service to powerful interests is why they are still around. The FBI, CIA and NSA have been putting out politically motivated bullshit since their respective inceptions. They exist to serve the rich and powerful against all comers. To claim these as bastions of integrity was always a tough sell. To continue to claim it is the stuff from which revolutions are made. In this case, right-wing revolutions.

While the urban bourgeois have long been dismissive of the ‘burn it down’ contingent of Trump voters, they seem incapable of seeing their own roles as defenders of the establishment as corrupt and ultimately, politically suicidal. I voted for a woman for president and a black man for vice president in 2016. But they weren’t Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she is a corrupt, neoliberal, militaristic piece of shit. Ironically, or not, most of Trump voters I’ve spoken with know more about the Democrats’ actual record than the highly educated urban bourgeois pontificating on NPR or in the New York Times.

A quick bet is that the 2020 presidential election is now Donald Trump’s to lose.

[Liars] like James Clapper and John Brennan will tie their lots to whomever will fund their adventures in mal-governance as the world burns and species become extinct. The tragedy here is that there are real issues in need of resolution. The Democrats’ three-year adventure in red-baiting served to legitimate a financial-military-industrial complex that apparently intends to end the planet as it makes as many people miserable in the process as is possible. Congratulations.
— Read on russia-insider.com/en/russia-derangement-syndrome-brought-democrats-their-knees-2016-it-will-happen-again/ri26654

John 3:16 and Man’s Ability to Choose God | Ligonier Ministries

It is ironic that in the same chapter, indeed in the same context, in which our Lord teaches the utter necessity of rebirth to even see the kingdom, let alone choose it, non-Reformed views find one of their main proof texts to argue that fallen man retains a small island of ability to choose Christ. It is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

What does this famous verse teach about fallen man’s ability to choose Christ? The answer, simply, is nothing. The argument used by non-Reformed people is that the text teaches that everybody in the world has it in their power to accept or reject Christ. A careful look at the text reveals, however, that it teaches nothing of the kind. What the text teaches is that everyone who believes in Christ will be saved. Whoever does A (believes) will receive B (everlasting life). The text says nothing, absolutely nothing, about who will ever believe. It says nothing about fallen man’s natural moral ability. Reformed people and non-Reformed people both heartily agree that all who believe will be saved. They heartily disagree about who has the ability to believe.

Some may reply, “All right. The text does not explicitly teach that fallen men have the ability to choose Christ without being reborn first, but it certainly implies that.” I am not willing to grant that the text even implies such a thing. However, even if it did it would make no difference in the debate. Why not? Our rule of interpreting Scripture is that implications drawn from the Scripture must always be subordinate to the explicit teaching of Scripture. We must never, never, never reverse this to subordinate the explicit teaching of Scripture to possible implications drawn from Scripture. This rule is shared by both Reformed and non-Reformed thinkers.

If John 3:16 implied a universal natural human ability of fallen men to choose Christ, then that implication would be wiped out by Jesus’ explicit teaching to the contrary. We have already shown that Jesus explicitly and unambiguously taught that no man has the ability to come to him without God doing something to give him that ability, namely drawing him.

Fallen man is flesh. In the flesh he can do nothing to please God. Paul declares, “The fleshly mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7, 8).

We ask, then, “Who are those who are ‘in the flesh’?” Paul goes on to declare: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Rom. 8:9). The crucial word here is if. What distinguishes those who are in the flesh from those who are not is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. No one who is not reborn is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. People who are in the flesh have not been reborn. Unless they are first reborn, born of the Holy Spirit, they cannot be subject to the law of God. They cannot please God.

God commands us to believe in Christ. He is pleased by those who choose Christ. If unregenerate people could choose Christ, then they could be subject to at least one of God’s commands and they could at least do something that is pleasing to God. If that is so, then the apostle has erred here in insisting that those who are in the flesh can neither be subject to God nor please him.

We conclude that fallen man is still free to choose what he desires, but because his desires are only wicked he lacks the moral ability to come to Christ. As long as he remains in the flesh, unregenerate, he will never choose Christ. He cannot choose Christ precisely because he cannot act against his own will. He has no desire for Christ. He cannot choose what he does not desire. His fall is great. It is so great that only the effectual grace of God working in his heart can bring him to faith.

This excerpt is taken from Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul.
— Read on www.ligonier.org/blog/mans-ability-choose-god/

The Real Reason Why Fewer Americans Think Religion Matters — Cold Case Christianity

A recent Gallup Poll (released on December 24th) chronicles the continuing decline of religious influence in America. In 1952, 75% of Americans said religion was very important in their lives. Today, only 51% report this to be true. In addition, most Americans now believe religion is losing its influence on America. In 1957, only 14% of would have made such a claim.

A dramatic shift has taken place in America related to the way we view religious belief. Hidden in the data from the Gallup research lies a clue to the reason for this change in public opinion. Why do fewer Americans think religion matters? The answer lies in our love of autonomy.


Why do fewer Americans think religion matters? The answer lies in our love of autonomy.
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The Rise of Informational Autonomy
The trend away from religious belief hasn’t decreased steadily without interruption. In some survey years, the number of people who claimed religion was very important to them actually increased. There was an observable jump in religious interest, for example, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Gallup poll recorded this jump at the time (64% said religion was very important to them following attacks, compared to 52% who said this in 1978). Many churches experienced this increase in interest firsthand. Church attendance “boomed” after 9/11, as houses of worship were “jammed with parishioners seeking refuge, community and a place to grieve.” But just twelve months later, church attendance was back to normal.

9/11 revealed the relationship between religiosity and autonomy. When we feel like we are in control, like we can find the answers on our own, we are less interested in what religion has to offer in these areas. The more powerful we think we are, the less likely we are to turn to a greater power. If, for example, we think we have all the answers (or can get them on our own), we’re less likely to turn to religion when we have a question.

The information age has only exacerbated this reality. Almost anything we want to know, want to own, or want to do, is available online – whenever and however we want it. We now have autonomous access to information in more ways than we’ve ever had before. Unsurprisingly, without a national tragedy to shake our sense of informational autonomy, fewer Americans say religion is important to them.

The Rise of Moral Autonomy
The second part of the Gallup Poll surveyed the degree to which Americans think religion can answer today’s problems. “For the first time in more than six decades, less than half of Americans, 46%, say ‘religion can answer all or most of today’s problems.’ The public is now more closely divided than ever before in its views of religion as the answer to what ails society.”

To be sure, autonomy has a role to play in this part of the survey as well. Moral autonomy has been the driving force in America for decades. A recent national survey found that “according to a majority of American adults (57 percent), knowing what is right or wrong is a matter of personal experience.” Americans increasingly believe that individuals decide what is morally appropriate, and this form of moral autonomy is even stronger in teens. A study of Gen Z Americans (ages 13-18) revealed that teens are more than twice as likely to believe “what is morally right and wrong changes over time based on society” than Boomers (born between 1946-1964).

Religions make moral proclamations that transcend individual belief and cultural consensus. They also make moral claims that require our submission. Unsurprisingly, as America shifts toward moral autonomy, fewer Americans rely on religious systems that make transcendent, unchanging, ethical claims and demands.


If our sense of informational and moral autonomy continues to increase, fewer of us will turn to religion for answers or direction.
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Our love of autonomy is the reason for the shift we are seeing in America. The Gallup poll reveals more about our desire for personal independence than it does about our interest in religion. If our sense of informational and moral autonomy continues to increase, fewer of us will turn to religion for answers or direction.

This article first appeared at TownHall.com

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Apologetics at Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academyfor kids.

via The Real Reason Why Fewer Americans Think Religion Matters — Cold Case Christianity

April 22, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

16:10 — For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

This verse is an important prophecy about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, quoted by Peter in Acts 2:27. Peter argued that since David had died and his body decayed, the verse had to apply to the Messiah, Jesus.[1]


16:9, 10 Assured of God’s constant care and protection, the Savior faces the future with confidence. His heart is glad. His soul rejoices and His body is safe. He knows that God will not leave His soul in Sheol or allow His body to see corruption. In other words, Christ will be raised from the dead.

The reference to Sheol needs a word of explanation. It is the word used in the OT for the grave, for the “netherworld,” and to describe the disembodied state. It is equivalent to the NT Greek word “Hades.” Sheol did not so much indicate a geographical location as the condition of the dead—the separation of the personality from the body. It was used to describe the condition of everyone who died, whether believer or unbeliever. On the other hand the NT equivalent, Hades, is used only of unbelievers. Sheol was a very indefinite, imprecise word. It did not convey a clear picture of life after death. In fact, it expressed more of uncertainty than of knowledge.

In the NT, all that is changed. Christ has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10). Today we know that when an unbeliever dies, his spirit and soul are in a state of suffering called Hades (Luke 16:23), while his body goes to the grave. The spirit and soul of the believer go to be with Christ in heaven (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23), while his earthly body goes to the grave.

When the Savior said “… You will not leave my soul in Sheol,” He revealed His foreknowledge that God would not allow Him to remain in the disembodied state. Though He entered Sheol, He did not remain there.

God did not allow the usual process of decomposition to take place. By a miracle of preservation, Christ’s lifeless body was kept from corruption for three days and nights.[2]


16:10 These words expressed the confidence of the lesser David, but were applied messianically to the resurrection of the Greater David (the Lord Jesus Christ) both by Peter (Ac 2:25–28) and Paul (Ac 13:35).[3]


16:10 you will not abandon my soul to Sheol. The immediate application of this psalm is to David and to the Old Testament saints. It refers to deliverance from the immediate threat of death, but it points prophetically to the Son of David whom the historical David reflected and anticipated. Both Peter and Paul recognized that Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of this psalm (Acts 2:25–28; 13:35).[4]


16:10 David was confident of his deliverance from Sheol and “the Pit”; that is, from death. The Lord will protect his faithful worshiper from it. In its Israelite application, the context could be the struggle against the adherents of false religions, “those who take another god” (v. 4). Still occupying enclaves within Canaan, these peoples ignored the “boundary lines” (v. 6) by which the Lord allocated the promised land to the tribes of Israel (Jos 13–17). Opposition from these polytheistic groups often took the form of open warfare, endangering the king’s life. But the psalm has a prophetic application to the coming King, the Messiah (“Faithful One”). At Pentecost, Peter quoted these words with reference to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:8–31); Paul used the psalm the same way in a sermon at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:25). If David’s words stopped short of affirming a bodily resurrection, they were certainly consistent with that hope. Because Christian believers participate in Jesus’ resurrection (e.g., Rm 6:4, 8; 8:29; Col 3:1; Rv 1:5), the words of the psalm apply to the “faithful ones” of all ages—we will not be abandoned to the decay of the grave.[5]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 16:10). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 567–568). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 16:10). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 748). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[5] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 802). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

GTY Blog Post – Christ Plus Asceticism

One Sunday morning, I was about to finish preaching when suddenly a man approached the pulpit yelling at the top of his voice, “I have something to say. I have something to say!” Before the ushers could escort him out, the tape recorder picked up what he shouted to the congregation: “You people are religious phonies—materialistic hypocrites. If you really loved God you’d get rid of your cars and your fancy houses and give all that you have to the poor. You’d serve God in poverty like Jesus did.” That was his view of spirituality, and he wanted everyone to know it.

Fortunately, that kind of behavior is uncommon. But that view of spirituality is not uncommon at all. It’s called asceticism, and it has threatened the church for centuries. In fact, it was one of the heretical gospel additives that Paul warned the Colossian Christians to avoid:

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Colossians 2:20–23)

An ascetic is someone who lives a life of rigorous self-denial as a means to earn forgiveness from God. The extremes of asceticism are usually associated with monasticism, which appealed to people who believed that expiation of sin and thus true spirituality required abject poverty or giving up everything to become a nun or a monk.

Our Lord requires us to take up our cross and follow Him, and there are many testimonies to the blessedness of godly self-denial. Biblically it is not an attempt to gain forgiveness or spirituality through self-abasement. Rather it is the willing response of a heart dedicated to serving Christ at any cost. Asceticism is a different matter. It is motivated by pride rather than humility, and it is an attempt to accomplish in the energy of the flesh a right relationship with God, which can be brought about only by a divine transformation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul said that we have “died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world” (Colossians 2:20). That means we aren’t in bondage to any religious systems that require some kind of abstinence to make us acceptable to God. Such teachings are not wise or even helpful. On the contrary, they’re deceptive and destructive because they feign wisdom and establish a false standard of spirituality—one that is “of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Colossians 2:23).

“Of no value against fleshly indulgence” is a difficult phrase to interpret. It may mean that false, legalistic standards of spirituality are of no value in combating the desires of the flesh. That’s certainly true. Asceticism can’t restrain the flesh. That’s why so many legalistic Christians fall into gross immorality.

More likely, however, the phrase means that false standards of spirituality serve only to indulge the flesh. Self-styled asceticism elevates the flesh and makes a person proud about his sacrifices, visions, and spiritual achievements. It takes away from Christ and enslaves the ascetic to fleshly pride.

In reality, vows of poverty, cloistered isolation, and rigorous self-denial never catch God’s attention or garner His favor. Asceticism is nothing more than a superficial façade of piety concealing the same darkened heart that all pagans have. True growth in holiness springs forth from a regenerate heart that delights in pleasing God through obedience. That is authentic life in Christ.

  

(Adapted from Our Sufficiency in Christ)

— Read on www.gty.org/library/blog/B190422

April 22 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Leviticus 26; Psalm 33; Ecclesiastes 9; Titus 1

 

the last three chapters of Ecclesiastes bring together a reflective parenthesis (chap. 10) and a positive conclusion (chaps. 11–12). First, however, Ecclesiastes 9 strips us of any final illusions if our vantage point is “under the sun” (9:3).

The Teacher has come to the conclusion that “the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands” (9:1). But what kind of a God is he, when you look at things only “from below,” from “under the sun”? Considering all the morally ambiguous things that happen in this world, does God love us or does he hate us (9:1)? Does he accept us or does he reject us? The world overflows with both beauty and ugliness, with warm intimacy and cruel terror. How can those who think only from below sort this out?

The Teacher lays out three vicissitudes that make certainty impossible for such people—yet he sets out the case as far as they can take it:

(1) We all face death (9:2–10). The case is put most baldly in 9:2–3: the just and the unjust, good people and sinners, face the same end. Qoheleth himself protests that this is not right; this is an evil that happens under the sun (9:3). He is not yet ready to provide any answer. But even from this perspective, there is a robust common sense conclusion to be pursued: even though life here may be hard and ambiguous, most of us concur that it is better than death (9:4–6). From this “under the sun” vantage point, verses 7–10 tell us how we should attack life, knowing that life is better than death. One hears the tension in a verse like 9:9: “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.” The problems of coherence, self-fulfillment, and meaning have not been resolved; but pragmatic conclusions, even by the worldly person who lives exclusively “under the sun,” quickly pile up and drive us toward robust and even grateful living—if the only alternative is a meaningless death.

(2) We all face time and chance (9:11–12). Apart from a God who tells us more, there is such a randomness to life that thoughtful human beings must not count on too much.

(3) We all face the fickle folly of other human beings (9:13–18). Even when genuine wisdom is offered, the masses are more likely to be impressed by wealth than by wisdom.

Qoheleth is frank and honest. But we cry for God’s perspective.[1]


[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann: Trump ‘Godly’ And ‘Biblical’ | Daily Wire

GOP Presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks at a rally on August 19, 2011 in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina.

On April 13, former presidential candidate and former member of the House of Representatives Michele Bachmann appeared on “Understanding the Times with Jan Markell,” a Christian podcast.

During her time on the show, Bachmann spoke with Markell about numerous political issues including the Russia investigation, and the way in which progressive Democrats have turned on Israel.

At approximately the 30 minute mark, Bachmann spoke about the Trump administration’s actions on abortion and religious freedom, stating in part:

For items that we are concerned about biblically, this president has done more to advance the pro-life movement and the pro-life cause than any other president has ever done. Just this week, Secretary of State Pompeo had announced the Mexico City Policy would be enforced even wider than it had before. The Mexico City Policy says not one dime of U.S. taxpayer money will go to pay for foreign abortions. Well, that should be a given, but that isn’t the way it was under Barack Obama. We were paying for foreign abortions …

Not only have we said “No” to that, but now Mike Pompeo … has said even those nonprofits that are contracting with other nonprofits, they can’t perform abortions. So, that policy’s gone even further, plus defunding of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in America.

Planned Parenthood is being exposed for their deeds of darkness, and we’re pulling back money from Planned Parenthood as well through the Trump administration. So, that’s just a the pro-life issue.

On the area of religious freedom, we are doing more to advance religious freedom and to protect Christians who are being murdered and persecuted in the Middle East like we have not seen before…

We’ve talked about pastor Andrew Brunson, that the president would not relent until this pastor was released out of Turkey. Now I’ve spoken to pastor Brunson myself at the National Prayer Breakfast, and he is back and his ministry has continued…

[Trump] has stood up where most Republicans wouldn’t dare to stand up. Donald Trump has had the courage and the fortitude, and I will say to your listeners, in my lifetime, I have never seen a more biblical president than I have seen in Donald Trump. He has so impressed me with what he’s done, and we haven’t even talked about Israel, what he has done to advance Israel.

He is highly biblical, and I would say to your listeners, we will in all likelihood never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetime. So, we need to be not only praying for him, we need to support him, in my opinion, in every possible way that we can.

Bachmann isn’t wrong on the issues quoted.

In January 2017, President Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” which “requires foreign NGOs to agree, as a condition of receiving global health assistance, that they will not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning,” according to USAID.

In March, the Trump administration expanded the rule to include NGOs that provide financial assistance to secondary organizations that might provide abortions.

NBC News reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the expanded rule: “We will enforce a strict prohibition on back-door funding schemes and end runs around our policy. … American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions.”

In March, Health and Human Services (HHS) ruled that Title X funding could not be “used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” and that there must be “physical and financial separation” between what falls under the umbrella of accepted Title X activities and what does not.

Here’s the pertinent text (citations omitted):

This rule, promulgated pursuant to the Department’s authority, will ensure compliance with, and enhance implementation of, the statutory requirement that none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning, as well as related statutory requirements…

This rule finalizes requirements that ensure clear physical and financial separation between a Title X program and any activities that fall outside the program’s scope. This physical and financial separation will ensure compliance with the statutory requirement that Title X funding not support programs where abortion is a method of family planning…address[ing] concerns over the fungibility of Title X resources and the potential use of Title X resources to support programs where, among other things, abortion is a method of family planning…

In October 2016, American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had lived in Turkey for more than twenty years, was accused of “political or military espionage” and of “membership in an armed terrorist organization,” according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). He was arrested and imprisoned.

In July 2018, his sentence was reduced to house arrest.

In August 2018, the Trump administration sanctioned Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu. The U.S. Department of Treasury issued a press release announcing the sanctions, stating in part:

…any property, or interest in property, of both Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Turkey’s Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

In October 2018, Brunson was sentenced to more than three years in prison. However, he was also immediately released on what essentially amounted to “time served.” Brunson swiftly returned to the United States. The United States lifted the previously imposed sanctions on Turkish officials.

Following Brunson’s release, Trump tweeted: “Pastor Andrew Brunson, released by Turkey, will be with me in the Oval Office at 2:30 P.M. (this afternoon). It will be wonderful to see and meet him. He is a great Christian who has been through such a tough experience. I would like to thank President @RT_Erdogan for his help!”

The line about Erdogan’s “help” was met with some derision, considering he is the president of the country in which Brunson was arrested and held for more than two years.

When Brunson met with the president, he prayed over him.

President Trump has indeed presided over several significant policy changes about which Christian conservatives should be delighted. Perhaps that’s what Bachmann meant when she said that the president is “godly” and “biblical” (and there’s no one arguing that Christians shouldn’t pray for their leaders). That said, to use such terminology about a man who has shown time and time again his lack of personal Christian ethics, or ethics in general, might be a mistake.
— Read on www.dailywire.com/news/46225/former-rep-michele-bachmann-trump-godly-and-frank-camp

Brannon Howse: April 18, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

Guest: Susan VanMeter. Topic: Colorado, like many states, is working on legislation that would force vaccines on children even against the recommendation of the child’s doctor. Today, Susan Van Meter joins us to talk about how her son was severely injured by vaccines. What recourse do parents have for situations like this? Are the vaccine manufacturers held responsible? Colorado has introduced HB19-1312. What is this bill all about? How many hundreds of parents turned out to testified until 4am before the House Health and Insurance Committee? What are the most concerning problems with this bill? What options will Colorado parents have if this bill passes? What are the next steps for Colorado? Do you think this bill is just about vaccines or is it about control and power? How will this Colorado bill affect the rest of the country? How will this bill impact parental authority, the doctor patient relationship, and conservatives, Christians and homeschool families? Topic: We take lots of your calls. 

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-april-18-2019

CNN Op-Ed Admits “Mueller’s Report Looks Bad For Obama” | Zero Hedge

The partisan warfare over the Mueller report will rage, but one thing cannot be denied: Former President Barack Obama looks just plain bad…

Article Image

With Congressional Democrats tantruming over redactions, presidential candidates out-virtue-signalling one another in denigration of Trump (for what it is unclear) calling for impeachment (again, for what is unclear) and the liberal media desperate for a distraction from the embarrassment of their two-year harassment in lieu of the main headline – “no collusion, no obstruction;” few if any among the mainstream have noticed (or mentioned) one tiny little detail in the Mueller Report… the ‘confirmed’ interference by Russia in the 2016 US Election took place – knowingly – under President Obama’s watch.

But amid all this sound and fury, something odd happened. The ‘powers-that-be’ at CNN – ground zero for the Trump’s-a-traitorous-Putin-Puppet propaganda – have allowed the publication of an op-ed amid their hallowed pages that casts blame at the anointed one.  CNN contributor Scott Jennings – soon to be exiled from every social media platform we suspect – dared to point out that the Mueller report looks bad for Obama.

The partisan warfare over the Mueller report will rage, but one thing cannot be denied: Former President Barack Obama looks just plain bad. On his watch, the Russians meddled in our democracy while his administration did nothing about it.

The Mueller report flatly states that Russia began interfering in American democracy in 2014. Over the next couple of years, the effort blossomed into a robust attempt to interfere in our 2016 presidential election. The Obama administration knew this was going on and yet did nothing. In 2016, Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice told her staff to “stand down” and “knock it off” as they drew up plans to “strike back” against the Russians, according to an account from Michael Isikoff and David Corn in their book “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump”.

Is this some kind of penance on this holy weekend for CNN’s past sins of omission? Perhaps. But Jennings then asked the hard question: Why did Obama go soft on Russia?

My opinion is that it was because he was singularly focused on the nuclear deal with Iran. Obama wanted Putin in the deal, and to stand up to him on election interference would have, in Obama’s estimation, upset that negotiation. This turned out to be a disastrous policy decision.

Obama’s supporters claim he did stand up to Russia by deploying sanctions after the election to punish them for their actions. But, Obama, according to the Washington Post, “approved a modest package… with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic.” In other words, a toothless response to a serious incursion.

But don’t just take my word for it that Obama failed. Congressman Adam Schiff, who disgraced himself in this process by claiming collusion when Mueller found that none exists, once said that “the Obama administration should have done a lot more.” The Washington Post reported that a senior Obama administration official said they “sort of choked” in failing to stop the Russian government’s brazen activities. And Obama’s ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said, “The punishment did not fit the crime” about the weak sanctions rolled out after the 2016 election.

A legitimate question Republicans are asking is whether the potential “collusion” narrative was invented to cover up the Obama administration’s failures. Two years have been spent fomenting the idea that Russia only interfered because it had a willing, colluding partner: Trump. Now that Mueller has popped that balloon, we must ask why this collusion narrative was invented in the first place.

Given Obama’s record on Russia, one operating theory is that his people needed a smokescreen to obscure just how wrong they were.They’ve blamed Trump. They’ve even blamed Mitch McConnell, in some twisted attempt to deflect blame to another branch of government. Joe Biden once claimed McConnellrefused to sign a letter condemning the Russians during the 2016 election. But McConnell’s office counters that the White House asked him to sign a letter urging state electors to accept federal help in securing local elections — and he did. You can read it here.

I guess if I had failed to stop Russia from marching into Crimea, making a mess in Syria, and hacking our democracy I’d be looking to blame someone else, too.

But the Mueller report makes it clear that the Russian interference failure was Obama’s alone. He was the commander-in-chief when all of this happened. In 2010, he and Eric Holder, his Attorney General, declined to prosecute Julian Assange, who then went on to help Russia hack the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016. He arguably chose to prioritize his relationship with Putin vis-à-vis Iran over pushing back against Russian election interference that had been going on for at least two years.

If you consider Russian election interference a crisis for our democracy, then you cannot read the Mueller report, adding it to the available public evidence, and conclude anything other than Barack Obama spectacularly failed America. Subsequent investigations of this matter should explore how and why Obama’s White House failed, and whether they invented the collusion narrative to cover up those failures.

As President Trump just commented, this hoax was “…a big, fat, waste of time, energy and money – $30,000,000 to be exact.”

“It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.

This should never happen again!”

The question is – will CNN follow this ‘racist’ op-ed with some real journalism on who knew what, when and how this farce started? (We will not be holding our breath).

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-19/cnn-admits-muellers-report-looks-bad-obama-op-ed

Easter And Why Government Is Not Our God | Zero Hedge

“We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission…”

Authored by Leesa Donner via Liberty Nation,

The American people have a love-hate relationship with their government. This is as it should be, primarily because government is not our God. Easter Sunday seems an opportune time to remember this and renew our commitment to a republic under God rather than one that displaces or subjugates the creator.

James Madison Had It Right

In 1785 James Madison wrote, “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” Born in King George County, Virginia in 1751, Madison’s words seem prescient when applied to our day and time. Often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” Madison rightly expressed caution and concern for the power that government can assert over its people. It could be said that this quote of his captures the principle difference between the political left and right in America today. Ronald Reagan echoed Madison’s fear when he asserted that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

The Bible speaks of power this way. In Matthew 22:29 Jesus said, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” Real power rests with the creator and not His creation (Job 38-42), and certainly not in the governments of any era which, after all, are appointed by God (Daniel 2:21). Thus true power cannot be attained by governments; it rests with One who will not abuse it (Psalm 86:5).

Ayn Rand’s Pithy Pointers

The mother of objectivism, Ayn Rand, penned yet another perceptive concept that demonstrates why government is not our God. And it cannot be said that Rand adhered to any sort of established religion. Yet the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged was able to put her finger on a dilemma that has reared its head in 21st century America:

“We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”

An era of government tyranny does seem to be fast approaching if it has not already arrived, as many would argue that, indeed, it has. When people labor under such laws as to which straws they are permitted to use and a tax code that is 60,000 pages – an estimated seven times the length of the Bible – one can safely say that the hand of tyranny is upon us, pushing its way into every aspect of our lives.

Thus, individual liberty and freedom suffer under myriad regulations that are tantamount to oppression. Step out your door, get in your car, and head on down to the McDonald’s drive-thru; you will likely be violating one law or another. Yes, government can be suffocating, which again shows us that it cannot and should not be our God.

In contrast, Paul wrote in his epistle to the Galatians: “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Of course, Paul was talking about the religious laws of the day, and some non-Christian enthusiasts may counter this with the verse where Jesus says,  “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” (Mark 12:17, KJV), but they would be reminded to read the second part of this verse, which adds “and give to God what belongs to God” (NLT). Even a tyrannical government does not own its people,  though some have tried to sell this assertion to their people.

Milton Friedman Puts Bounty In Perspective

Economist and Nobel prize winner Milton Friedman said: “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”Here we recognize how tyrannical governments are effective in taking rather than giving to their people. While this comment is a bit satirical, as is often said, the truth is in the joke. The leftist politicians of our day are always “running out of” and “requesting more.” There is never enough money to do all the things we don’t want and always a desire to take from those who toil for what they own.

In contrast, Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Professing Christians will attest to the fact that life under the power of God is one where their “cup runneth over” (Psalm 23:5, KJV) – not necessarily with earthly things, but The Things that Matter Most.

Is Easter calling you to throw off the yoke of an all-powerful, tyrannical government whose raison d’être is to rule, take, and enslave?

During the last supper, Jesus said the following to His disciples: “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:25)

And so today – Easter Sunday, 2019 –  may be a time to ask yourself a central question: Who would you rather reign over your life – the liberating, loving, and truly powerful presence of Jesus Christ, who showed humility and sacrificial love in His life, death, and resurrection. Or do you prefer to worship at the altar of a tyrannical government?

Simply put: Who is your God?

New Census Numbers Reveal Americans Are Steadily Migrating West And South – And Away From High Tax Blue States

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released their annual report on how the U.S. population is shifting, and there are some very clear patterns in the data.  If you look at this Census Bureau map, you will see lots of purple (areas where the population is growing) in the west and the south, and you will see lots of orange (areas where the population is declining) in the north and the east.  Of course this is a continuation of a pattern that we have been seeing for decades.  Given the ability to choose, many Americans would rather live in areas of the country that are warm and sunny, and that makes a lot of sense.  But that is not the only pattern that we see in the data.

From July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018 seven of the ten counties that had the largest percentage increase in population were either in Texas or Florida

McKenzie County, ND: 7.1 percent
Williams County, ND: 5.9 percent
Comal County, TX: 5.4 percent
Kaufman County, TX: 4.7 percent
Brunswick County, NC: 4.6 percent
Walton County, FL: 4.5 percent
Midland County, TX: 4.3 percent
Osceola County, FL: 4.3 percent
St. Johns County, FL: 4.2 percent
Hood County, TX: 4.1 percent

Texas and Florida do not have a state income tax, and so that could help to explain these numbers.

The top two counties on the list are both in North Dakota, and a lot of people are being drawn up there for energy industry jobs.  McKenzie County produces more oil than any other county in the state, and even though it can get bitterly cold, many workers find the very high wages paid by the industry very alluring.

Meanwhile, some of the biggest cities in the entire nation are shrinking.

New York City is losing people for the first time in a decade, and the population of Chicago has now fallen for four years in a row

The Chicago area’s population declined for the fourth year in a row in 2018, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates.

There were 22,000 fewer residents in the 14-county metro area than in 2017, a drop of 0.2 percent, and the first time since 2010 that the area’s population has slipped below 9.5 million people. Cook County, which accounts for 55 percent of the population in the metro area, lost 24,000 residents.

Considering all of the gang violence, the absolutely insane politicians and the oppressive levels of taxation, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why people would want to leave the Windy City.

I guess the real mystery is why so many people would want to stay.

According to a report put out by North American Moving Services, Illinois is actually the top state for outbound moves, and Idaho is actually the top state for inbound moves…

Every year, roughly 14% of the US population moves from one state to another, according to Census Bureau data. But after a careful analysis of the data from 2018, North American Moving Services published its latest report on American migration patterns…and it contained some surprising conclusions.

For example, while Illinois was once again the top state for outbound moves (thanks, we imagine, to its dysfunctional state government, high taxes and massively underfunded pensions), the top state for inbound moves was…Idaho?

A quick glance at the data reveals a familiar pattern: Americans are leaving high-tax blue states in favor of red states with low taxes and low cost of living.

Hopefully the secret about how great Idaho is won’t get around too widely, because all the people from California that are moving up here have already driven home prices through the roof.

Another city that is seeing people leave in droves is Baltimore

“Thousands of people are fleeing the city each year as total population plummets to 100-year lows. There are about 46,000 vacant rowhomes scattered throughout the area, or roughly 15% of the housing stock is dormant. On a per capita basis, the city has the highest rate of homicides per 100,000 in the country. Opioids from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical Center continue to flood the poorest of neighborhoods, leaving the African American communities in a perpetual state of addiction, along with the need for constant government assistance programs. With the local economy basically a black market, gangs roam the streets like a third world country.”

I remember going to Orioles games as a kid, and at that time Baltimore was still somewhat of a vibrant city.

But now it is a rotting, decaying, drug-infested nightmare that is slowly dying right in front of our eyes.

And of course we continue to see an exodus from the California coastline, and one of the big reasons for that is because housing has gotten way too expensive

A full 43 percent of Californian voters, and an astounding 61 percent of those aged 18 to 34, feel they can’t afford to live in the state, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. And over three-quarters of voters agree that there’s a “housing crisis.”

The median value for a house in the Golden state is about $550,000, according to real-estate website Zillow. That’s more than twice the national median.

Of course there are many other reasons to leave California as well.  For much more on that, please see my previous article entitled “Nobody Does It Better: The Amount Of Human Feces On San Francisco Streets Is Going Up Every Single Year”.

Before I wrap up this article, I want to also say a bit about retirement migration.

As the Baby Boomers retire, millions of them are moving from cold weather states to warm weather states.

For ages, the state of Florida has been the number one destination for retirees, but now that has apparently changed.  According to Fox Business, this is the very first year that New Mexico is on top of the list…

This was the first year New Mexico topped the list. Forty-three percent of moves to New Mexico were related to retirement, while 60 percent of people moving there were between the ages of 55 and 74. The cost of living in the state is 3 percent less than the national average, while income taxes are low.

I never would have guessed that.

Perhaps the cost of housing is low and that is why a lot of retirees from California see it as a good option.

And yes, lots of Baby Boomers are still retiring in Florida, and the state is still number two on the list

While it did not make the top spot this year, Florida ranked second with 39 percent of moves into the state being retirement related. Aside from the warm weather and beach communities, Floridians are not subject to state income taxes.

In addition to everything that I have just shared, many Americans are migrating across the country for more ominous reasons.  They can see the direction this nation is headed, and they want to be positioned for what America is going to be like in the coming years.

The fabric of our society is unraveling right in front of our eyes, and a lot of people just want somewhere safe, secure and sane to raise their families.

Unfortunately that is not so easy to find anymore, and the social decay that is eating away at our country like cancer is spreading a little bit more with each passing day.
— Read on theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/new-census-numbers-reveal-americans-are-steadily-migrating-west-and-south-and-away-from-high-tax-blue-states