Daily Archives: May 8, 2019

May 8 In Jesus’ Name

Scripture Reading: John 14:11–14

Key Verses: John 14:13–14

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

In Jesus’ name. These powerful words are often used to close the prayers of the faithful and the obedient. There is power in the holy name of Jesus, and we are clearly instructed to use it in prayer.

As Jesus prepared to depart from earth, He gave this instruction: “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13–14). This passage, however, is often misinterpreted. Simply tacking on the name of Jesus to the end of any prayer will not guarantee a desired result. When we carefully examine these verses, we find two qualifying situations: “that the Father may be glorified” and “in My name.”

Essentially, prayers in Jesus’ name must glorify God and parallel the things Jesus Himself would ask. Think of attaching the name of Jesus to your prayers as making a request on behalf of someone you love. For example, if your mother would not approve of a decision, would you make it in her name? Most likely not.

As you seek to strengthen your prayer life, carefully examine your requests to God. Do they bring glory to Him? Are they based upon ideals, values, and principles that Jesus would support?

Lord Jesus, when I ask for things in Your name, help me to understand that it is only in Your name when it is also the Father’s will.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 135). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 8 Dressed for the Battle

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 10:3–4

Key Verse: 1 Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

It is not surprising that the evil we face today is so intense: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12 nasb).

When the enemy attacks, make sure you are dressed for the battle by claiming God’s armor daily:

The belt of truth. When you claim God’s truth, you are victoriously empowered to stand against the falsehood of the enemy.

The breastplate of righteousness. Satan’s accusations are groundless because you are righteous through Christ.

The shoes of peace. Whatever you face, Jesus faces it with you. You can rest in His peace because He is in control.

The shield of faith. God is your complete and perfect shield against the fiery darts of the enemy. He will protect you.

The helmet of salvation. When your mind is focused on Christ, you will not be led astray.

The sword of the Spirit. Nothing is more powerful than the Word of God. It’s your offensive weapon against Satan’s assaults. Claim a verse of Scripture that pertains to your need, and steadfastly cling to it.

Precious Lord, I clothe myself in my spiritual armor today. I take the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. I am ready for battle.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 135). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 8 He Never Slumbers

Scripture reading: Acts 17:22–31

Key verse: Psalm 121:3

He will not allow your foot to be moved;

He who keeps you will not slumber.

At no time are you outside the presence of God. The apostle Paul made that clear while speaking to the philosophers on Mars Hill. Near there they had erected an altar to the “unknown god.”

The Athenians were zealous in their pagan worship and wanted to make sure no god was overlooked. Thus, they made a place of worship for those who remained unknown. Realizing they would not understand the basis of Christianity, Paul shifted his delivery of the gospel to include this peculiarity of their pagan beliefs. He explained that the true God, the one they deemed as “unknown,” was really the Creator of all things.

The Lord is a personal God, not limited by time or space, One who inhabits the hearts of all who believe in Him. Therefore, no temple or building can contain His presence because He is eternally present throughout the universe.

Have you ever thought that God is with you in all you do and say throughout the day? He is not just present in the morning when you awake. He is with you in the grocery store, in the doctor’s office, at work, even at play. No matter where you go, God goes with you. Praise Him for His care over your life, for His devotion that never slumbers.

Father, thank You for Your constant care over me. Your devotion never slumbers. You are with me every moment of each day.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 135). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 8, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump defended himself on Wednesday following a media report that said his businesses had lost more than $1 billion from 1985 to 1994, saying he had leeway with his taxes as a real estate developer.

The United States is planning to impose further sanctions on Iran ‘very soon’, a senior White House official said on Wednesday, as Tehran announced it was scaling back some curbs to its nuclear program.

Iran announced on Wednesday it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear program, announcing steps that stop short of violating its 2015 deal with world powers for now, but threatening more action if countries did not shield it from U.S. sanctions.

The German government is concerned about Iran’s announcement that it will scale back curbs to its nuclear program, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday, adding any action that could jeopardize regional stability should be avoided.

Last week’s “strike drill” in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of rockets and at least one short-range ballistic missile was “regular and self-defensive,” the North’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, according to state media.

The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations.

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the Trump administration may continue sending asylum seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico while the government appeals a lower court ruling that found the policy violated U.S. immigration law.

The United States will raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent effective on Friday, according to a notice posted to the Federal Register Wednesday.

Britain, the birth place of coal power, has gone seven days without electricity from coal-fired stations for the first time since its 19th century industrial revolution, the country’s power grid operator said on Wednesday.

Colorado police on Wednesday tried to determine why two students walked into their school and allegedly opened fire with handguns, killing one person and wounding eight, miles from the site of one of the nation’s deadliest school massacres.

AP Top Stories

One student is dead and eight students were injured in a shooting at a Colorado school on Tuesday, according to authorities. The deceased male, who has not been identified, was 18 years old.

The Taliban targeted the police on Tuesday in Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province, killing four police officers, including a district police chief, provincial officials said.

Former self-help guru Keith Raniere was a “predator” who preyed on young women, including a 15-year-old girl, and turned them into sex slaves as part of a cult-like organization, a federal prosecutor told a jury at the start of the trial on Tuesday.

Senator Cory Booker put forth a national licensing proposal calling for all gun owners to obtain federal firearms licenses.

A U.S. Navy hospital ship will embark on another humanitarian mission to help countries cope with an influx of Venezuelans fleeing a deep economic and political crisis, the Trump administration announced Tuesday.

More than 2,000 people have been arrested in Venezuela for political reasons since the beginning of the year, most of them detained during anti-government protests, an NGO reported Tuesday.

Troops loyal to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar said Tuesday they shot down a warplane and captured its foreign “mercenary” pilot near the capital Tripoli.

The Iraqi judiciary has tried and sentenced more than 500 foreigners since the start of 2018 for joining the Islamic State group, the country’s Supreme Court announced on Wednesday.

Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act walked free from prison on Tuesday after more than 500 days behind bars.

Just months after the Army’s new training brigade returned from Afghanistan, its teams are preparing for a different type of deployment that will scatter them around the world. Rather than putting all 800 soldiers in one war-torn nation, the Army is expected to begin dispatching the unit’s small teams separately to countries in Europe, Africa or other regions where they will train and advise local forces.


The Cuban government has cancelled the country’s 12th annual march against homophobia.

At least seven people have been killed in a shooting at a prison near the Guatemalan capital Guatemala City.

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy, has left the country, officials have confirmed. Her conviction was overturned last year by the Supreme Court.

Eight European countries have called for an ambitious strategy to tackle climate change – and to spend a quarter of the entire EU budget on fighting it. The joint statement says the EU should have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 “at the latest”.


The Arizona State Senate voted Monday to declare pornography a public health crisis, but beyond stating such on their resolution, no further action is set to be taken.

The State University of New York-Plattsburgh offered students the chance to de-stress with therapy donkeys, just ahead of finals.

Mid-Day Snapshot · May 8, 2019

The Foundation

“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” —Benjamin Franklin (1722)

Dems Claim Election Fears While Undermining Elections

They’re warning Trump won’t accept defeat after the last two years of their own denial.

No Making Fun of Leftists: Twitter Bans AOC Parody Account

Yet parody accounts mocking Donald Trump are given free rein by the social-media giant.

‘Climate Anxiety’: There’s a Guide for That (Seriously)

For all the panicked young people out there, climate alarmists say they feel your pain.

UN: 1 Million Species Extinct if World Not Reorganized

Yet another apocalyptic claim followed by the “solution” of global socialism.

The High Cost of Renewable Energy

Are “renewable portfolio standards” worth the price to reduce carbon emissions?

You Are the Mother!

Pondering the changes in and consequences from modern motherhood.

Video: Booker Wants National Gun Registry and License

Democrat candidate proposes that all gun owners be licensed by the federal government.

Video: The Rise of Citizen Journalists

John Stossel talks with Tim Pool, a citizen journalist who works for himself.

Today’s Opinion

Ryan T. Anderson
Nancy Pelosi’s Equality Act Would Undo Trump’s Most Significant Achievements
Star Parker
The Suicidal Equality Act of 2019
Dennis Prager
Why the Left Mocks the Bible
Jonah Goldberg
If Democrats Crave Return to ‘Normalcy,’ Why Are Their Candidates So Radical?
Michelle Malkin
Keeping Fake Illegal Alien Families Together
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

White House triggers executive privilege, Ninth Circuit surprises, Iran bails, ICE empowers local police, Twitter censors, and more.

Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Warren, Jill Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and more.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

News – 5/8/2019

US deploying 4 B-52 bombers in response to ‘possible attack’ by Iran
The U.S. is deploying B-52 bombers to the Middle East in preparation for potential attacks that have been threatened by Iran or its allies on U.S. troops. The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that the deployment includes four B-52 bombers, two of which reportedly departed Tuesday from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisana, and are expected to arrive Wednesday at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar

China stole NSA hacking tools and used them against US: report
Chinese intelligence agents stole hacking tools from the National Security Agency (NSA) and used them in cyberattacks against targets in the U.S., Europe and Asia, cybersecurity experts have found. Symantec researchers say the spies then repurposed the tools in order to wage several attacks on U.S. targets in 2016, including highly sensitive defense targets, such as technology companies in the space, satellite and nuclear industries…

Use of Chinese animal feed in US raises concern as killer swine disease rages abroad
American pork producers are using feed from China for their pigs, raising concerns about bringing a contagious disease to the U.S. At least 129 cases of the African swine fever in China have been reported since August, and the incurable viral disease has spread to other parts of Asia, including Vietnam and Mongolia. The fear is it could reach the U.S., where it could devastate the more than $20 billion pork industry.

State Rep. John ‘Kill Them Now’ Rogers announces bid for Senate, offers more hot takes on abortion
we hadn’t before heard of Alabama State Rep. John Rogers until video surfaced of him arguing against proposed pro-life legislation, in which he argued that in the case of unwanted kids, “you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair.” So now Rogers apparently wants to be promoted to state senator, where he’ll be even better positioned to keep crazy and retarded kids from ever being born.

Globalist Pope Francis calls for new ‘supranational’ authorities that would to rule countries and enforce UN goals
Pope Francis made a strong new push,… calling for a supranational, legally constituted body to enforce United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and implement “climate change” policies.

District is running roughshod over the First Amendment’ A public school instructing teachers to greet Muslims during Ramadan with “Ramadan Mubarak” and adjust test schedules is raising the specter of official district endorsement of Islam, contends a non-profit legal group. The Freedom of Conscience Legal Defense Fund is warning the Dieringer School District in Lake Tapps, Washington, about its implementation of guidelines issued by the terror-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Morocco is sending 422 imams to Europe for “religious guidance” during Ramadan – which starts today
Morocco’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs is sending 422 imams to Europe for religious guidance during Ramadan. In an effort to ensure the unity of their community and the preservation of their mosques abroad, scholars will be sent to France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, among other countries the ministry explained.

Iran likely to move ballistic missiles through Persian Gulf – report
Intelligence received by the US showed that Iran is likely to move short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf, according to a CNN report. This was one of the main reasons the US decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Middle East, according to several officials who are knowledgeable about the situation. This intelligence, along with other threads of intelligence from multiple sources, led the US to believe that Iran was able and ready to launch strikes against US targets or US interests.

Islamic Jihad leader expects war with Israel to break out next summer
A leader of the Islamic Jihad said in a televised interview that he expects a war with Israel to break out by next summer. Speaking to Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese news channel, on Tuesday night, secretary general of the Islamic Jihad Ziad al-Nahala described the most recent escalation against Israel as “just preparation for the greater battle”.“The resistance in Gaza is fully prepared for any war,” Nahala said, adding that when the ceasefire was reached they were about to shoot rockets at Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu on Iran: We will not let them get nuclear arms
Israel will not let Iran attain nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday just hours after Iran announced that it will continue its nuclear program. Netanyahu’s comments came at the government’s central Remembrance Day ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery honoring the country’s 23,741 fallen soldiers.

Iran threatens uranium enrichment if world powers do not keep promises
Iran said it had started scaling back parts of its commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal on Wednesday and threatened to do more if world powers did not protect it from U.S. sanctions… President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran would move on to resuming high level uranium enrichment if the remaining signatories – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – did not make good on promises to shield its oil and banking sectors in the next 60 days.

700 rockets, 4 dead Israelis: Is the Iron Dome getting worse?
After the weekend’s fighting between Hamas and the Israeli army, some Israelis have raised questions about the strength of their country’s missile defenses. Over the course of the weekend, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched nearly 700 rockets from Gaza at Israel, killing four people and injuring more than 200. According to Haaretz, of the 690 rockets launched from Gaza, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 240.

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Iraq amid Iran tensions
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unscheduled, fleeting visit to Iraq, amid growing tensions with Iran. Mr Pompeo cancelled a trip to Berlin to meet Iraqi leaders during a four-hour stop in the capital Baghdad. He told the leaders that the US doesn’t “want anybody interfering in their country”, and asked them to protect US troops in Iraq.

Colorado shooting: Teenager killed in high school attack
A teenager has been killed and seven others injured after two pupils allegedly opened fire in a US school. The attack at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, near Denver, Colorado, took place on Tuesday, police said. Both attackers have now been arrested. Highlands Ranch is just 8km (5 miles) from Columbine High School – the site of one of the US’s worst school shootings 20 years ago.

US climate objections sink Arctic Council accord in Finland
US objections to wording on climate change prevented Arctic nations signing a joint statement at a summit in Finland, delegates said. It is the first time such a statement has been cancelled since the Arctic Council was set up in 1996. A Finnish delegate, Timo Koivurova, said “the others felt they could not water down climate change sentences”.

More than 7,000 Robots Will Work in Construction by 2025
Research firm Tractica today projected a $226 million revenue market by 2025 for the construction robotics space, an area that traditionally has been labor-intensive and not focused on robotics as much as industries such as manufacturing, supply chain logistics, and health care. In a new report…Tractica said growing interest in construction robots will drive revenue from $22.7 million in 2018 to the $226 million figure by 2025.

Area mosques report receiving threats after video shows Muslim children reciting violent poems, songs
Several local Muslim leaders say their mosques have received threatening phone calls after a video was posted Friday of children reciting violent poems and songs in Arabic during a program at a North Philadelphia Islamic center. That prompted the Philadelphia branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to issue an advisory Monday to all Islamic institutions to increase security precautions throughout the month.

Exorcism goes mainstream: Combined Churches assemble in Rome to learn ‘best practice’ eviction of demons
Exorcism is going multi-denominational. Where once those competing for the souls of followers would burn each other as heretics and engage in bloody wars, the world’s mainstream Christian denominations are now rallying together to battle a resurrected threat. And that’s no less than Satan himself. The Roman Catholic Church has for the first time opened up its annual exorcism class in Rome to representatives of all major Christian faiths.

Islamic Jihad says war with Israel coming this summer
Leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group believes the recent deadly flare-up between Israel and Gaza militants was a “military exercise” ahead of a large-scale war in the coming summer…”I anticipate a war to erupt in the summer, following Israel’s attempts to disarm the Palestinian factions in Gaza,”…Ziad al-Nakhala said…adding the ceasefire was reached “just hours” before the militants…planned to launch rockets at Tel Aviv.

Exclusive: China backtracked on nearly all aspects of U.S. trade deal – sources
The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.

Population Control Activist Paul Ehrlich: Human Extinction Will Happen if People Don’t Start “Having Fewer Children”
CNN interviewed discredited environmental catastrophist Paul Ehrlich in its coverage of the United Nations’ latest warning of ecological collapse due to human activities and climate change.

Not One Democrat Presidential Candidate Defended Israel During Onslaught of 700 Rocket Attacks
Not one of the more than 20 candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020 tweeted this past weekend about the nearly 700 rockets that Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched against Israel over two days.

China’s Big Brother Social Control Arrives In Australia
In Darwin, they’ve already constructed “poles with speakers, cameras and Wi-Fi,” to monitor people… the monitoring will be done mainly by artificial intelligence…

US deploying 4 B-52 bombers in response to ‘possible attack’ by Iran
The U.S. is deploying B-52 bombers to the Middle East in preparation for potential attacks that have been threatened by Iran or its allies on U.S. troops.

Baptist Pastor Writes In USA Today That The Bible Can’t Be Trusted, And That The Church Must Accept Open LGBTQP Members In Order To Survive • Now The End Begins
If you ever needed proof that we are knee-deep into that great time of apostasy that Paul calls the ‘falling away’, look no further. This article we present to you today will confirm that for you a hundred times over. On the USA Today site, it says that Oliver Thomas is a retired American Baptist minister and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. He has written an article so Liberal and so Far Left that even Joel Osteen would have trouble putting his name on it. Well, maybe not.

TABLES TURN: Attorney General WillIam Barr Begins Investigation Of Former FBI Boss James Comey With Everything Including Hillary Clinton On The Table
James Comey, a long time benefactor and protector of Hillary Clinton, is nothing if not smug and condescending. Worse than that, since the day that he allowed Crooked Hillary Clinton to walk free in spite of a mountain of evidence, he has considered himself untouchable. But guess what? Attorney General William Barr just touched him., and it’s about to get really bad really fast.

Trump administration forces China to sell the Port of Long Beach
The Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security has forced China’s state-owned Cosco* to sell the Port of Long Beach over security concerns.

Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time
Would you let a stranger eavesdrop in your home and keep the recordings? For most people, the answer is, “Are you crazy?” Yet that’s essentially what Amazon has been doing to millions of us with its assistant Alexa in microphone-equipped Echo speakers. And it’s hardly alone: Bugging our homes is Silicon Valley’s next frontier.

Classified Air Force Laser Weapon For Stealth Jets Shoots Down Missiles 
“…our directed energy systems are on track to be a game-changer for our warfighters.” 

Headlines – 5/8/2019

Britain needs to recognise Palestine as an independent state

PA asks EU, Russia to counter Trump plan, warns it could resort to demographics

Israeli city to name square after Donald Trump

Canadian who has vowed Jerusalem embassy move kicks off election bid

Somber Memorial Day events begin with siren and ceremony at Western Wall

After four die in Gaza onslaught, some ask if Iron Dome still as effective

Islamic Jihad leader: we expect war with Israel this summer

Palestinian President : I thank the Emir of Qatar for money to help Palestinians

Israel slams Putin adviser for claim Ukraine to move Jews into ‘cleansed’ area

Syria war: UN alarm at escalation of hostilities in Idlib

Russia and Turkey landgrab ‘behind fresh Syria bombardment’

US says ‘transparent’ elections is in Turkey’s own interest

While Erdogan lauds Istanbul vote re-run, Berlin says it is ‘incomprehensible’

Is Erdogan Losing His Grip on Turkey? Most serious losses for his party since 2002

Iran currency slips to around 7-month lows as U.S. tensions rise

Iran to announce partial withdrawal from nuclear deal

Iran halting curbs on enrichment in partial withdrawal from nuke deal

Rouhani: Iran to resume uranium enrichment if world powers do not keep promises

Europe ready to reimpose sanctions if Iran breaches nuclear deal: official

Iran likely to move ballistic missiles through Persian Gulf – report

U.S. Sends B-52s To Deal With Threat Of Attack By Iran, Iran Says ‘Despised’ U.S. To Blame

US likely to send four bombers to the Middle East: officials

Iran says US sending carrier, bombers to Mideast is ‘psychological warfare’

US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Iraq amid Iran tensions

Sudan’s military council wants Islamic Sharia law to be source of legislation

Area mosques report receiving threats after video shows Muslim children reciting violent poems, songs

Blast in Pakistan’s Lahore kills at least 9, wounds 24

Paris police ban ‘yellow vest’ protests near WWII commemorations

Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro Danced on TV During Military Uprising

Backers ‘failed to follow through’ in abortive uprising, Guaido tells AFP

China denies having ‘concentration camps,’ tells US to ‘stop interfering’

Trade war a cloud over Trump’s 2020 prospects

Trade war fears are crushing stocks, and sell-off could keep going if there is no deal by Friday

Limbaugh mocks Pelosi’s claim of Trump ‘goading’ Dems to impeach

McConnell rails against Mueller report politics in blistering floor speech: ‘Case closed’

DOJ threatens executive privilege over Mueller report if Dems carry out contempt vote

DOJ reached agreement with Clinton lawyers to block FBI access to Clinton Foundation emails, Strzok says

Attempt to hack email server stunned Clinton aide, FBI files show

‘Deep fake’ videos that can make anyone say anything worry U.S. intelligence agencies

Baltimore City Hall Computer Network Infected With Ransomware Virus, Officials Say

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 25,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

Midwestern Floods Pit Communities Against One Another as Levees Rise Ever Higher

More Storms, Flooding on the Way as Rivers Continue to Rise in Texas and Oklahoma

Bush fire destroys four villages in South Sudan, kills 33

The Federal Reserve is preparing the American financial system to withstand climate change, Chair Jerome Powell tells Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz

Great-grandmother with CBD oil arrested at Disney World

‘Heartbeat’ law sets up possible challenge to Roe v. Wade

Porn deemed a public health crisis by Arizona politicians

School shooting in Colorado kills one, wounds eight students, two suspects in custody

Colorado school shooting prompts Dem presidential hopefuls to call for gun reform

Louisville dad accused of hitting infant son in head, killing him, after losing video game

State Department continues efforts to deny American citizenship to the son of a gay binational couple

Bud Light reveals rainbow bottle for Pride Month

A woman could face prison for posters that show a famed icon of Jesus and the Virgin Mary with LGBT rainbow halos

Exorcism goes mainstream: Combined Churches assemble in Rome to learn ‘best practice’ eviction of demons

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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther


Alexander: Tyranny of the Left — The So-Called “Equality Act”

This Orwellian legislation dictates that our individual and corporate views must comport with those of the Left, under penalty of law.

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1791)

Democrat Party principals in Congress, that alternate universe inside the Beltway, will schedule a vote this month on the so-called “Equality Act,” which is, they claim, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity and sexual orientation.”

But in the name of “equality,” this legislation will affect all Americans by dictating that our individual and corporate views must comport with those of the Left, under penalty of law. This is not about equality, and all is most certainly not equal.

The House Judiciary Committee, the same group of dullard leftists taking their queues from Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), took a pause from their feverish collusion conspiracy theories and their dream of impeaching President Donald Trump in order to send the “Equality Act” to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a floor vote.

Naturally, the vote will be scheduled ahead of “Gay Pride Month,” when gender-confused souls are out and about en masse demanding the “normalization” of their pathology. Sadly, there’s nothing normal about gender-disorientation pathology.

One would think that the Democrats’ largest voting bloc is its gender-dysphoric constituency, but these folks represent only a small fraction of voters — less than 3%. So, to whom are Democrats pandering with their over-the-top support for this tiny group?

The answer: women. This is the Democrats’ largest voter constituency, and many of them tend to strongly empathize, if not actually identify, with homosexuals, particularly homosexual men. This legislation, then, is predicated on the perennial assumption that Democrat women are emotionally incontinent idiots, too irrational to discern and reject emotive efforts to lure their vote.

According to a Pew Research study, “Over the last nine presidential elections, women have consistently voted for Democratic presidential candidates at higher rates than men.” Indeed, female majorities have elected every Democrat president since 1960 and have been a major force in midterm elections.

In other words, far more women than men vote for Democrats, accounting for their victories — and there are more women voters than men.

Women even elected Bill Clinton in 1992 — despite credible accusations of rape and sexual assault. Clinton won 7% more of the female vote than male vote in his first election. Apparently, some women prefer their candidates to be misogynistic sexual predators rather than honorable men like George H.W. Bush. In 1996, Clinton won 55% of the female vote.

Of course, majorities of women also elected Barack Obama.

Democrats are counting on that same calculus for victory in the 2020. Thus, they bait their hooks with identity politics, including this Orwellian Equality Act.

This is all part of the Democrats’ strategy to use their stable of now-22 (and counting!) presidential candidates to rally their various constituencies and fold them all into one “collective constituency” behind a single 2020 candidate. This collective strategy hinges on the Democrats’ foundational “Hate Trump” platform.

This female affinity for homosexuals is also driving the popular candidacy of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who rose from nowhere to third place within a week of announcing his candidacy despite offering nothing but gender confusion to differentiate himself. Buttigieg isn’t riding a “rainbow wave.” He’s riding an emotive-female wave.

But as for this farcical piece of “equality” legislation, let me state an overarching, irrevocable, and irrefutable truth: There is no such thing as “transgendered,” and the word itself constitutes an egregious deception. Additionally, a gender-disoriented person may “identify” as the other gender, or one of the now-countless variations between the two, but they and their gender-mutilated counterparts will always be the same gender they were at conception — male or female. Anyone who claims otherwise is — to borrow a popular leftist trope — “anti-science.”

Having stated that fact, let me offer one more before the heterophobic gender deniers label me as “homophobic”: While discerning right from wrong in culture and society, as a Christian and sinner I am called to love other sinners, not predicate my love for them on condition of their obedience to moral truth — which is as clear as biological truth. We are called to discern, but judgment is God’s alone.

So, let’s start with some surreal snapshots from the “Theater of the Absurd” in sports. Add this to the growing list of absurdities related to gender dysphoria, notably the invasion of schools by sexual deviants and men invading girls’ dressing rooms and restrooms.

These cases represent some of the most obvious and tangible objections to the notion that gender identity is fluid. They are proverbial “tip of the iceberg” examples of what will be codified into law if the Demos’ “Equality” Act becomes law.

In March, New Zealand weightlifter Gavin “Laurel” Hubbard won gold medals in the snatch and clean-and-jerk categories in a national competition. But Hubbard is a male who “identifies” as a female, and he snatched, cleaned, and jerked those gold medals away from actual female competitors.

In April, after witnessing the New Zealand objections over men competing as women, the USA Powerlifting committee told lifter JayCee Cooper that “transgender” people have a “direct competitive advantage” and ruled that he couldn’t compete as a woman. Cooper complained, “I really do love this sport, and it’s not fair to genetically eliminate an entire group of people.” And that sums up the confusion — these sports are divided by gender. Cooper is not a woman, and if he wants to compete, he’s free to do so with the rest of his biological group.

In May, responding to Cooper’s protests about not being allowed to compete, a man who calls himself “Mary” Gregory smashed four women’s world powerlifting records in Virginia. Of his newfound fame, Gregory exclaimed, “As a transgender lifter I was unsure what to expect going into this meet and everyone … made me welcome and treated me as just another female lifter — thank you!”

So special.

The same thing is happening in other women’s sports from middle school to high school to college and beyond, including cycling and track and field, where males are dominating females.

Despite the rise of men competing as “women,” last week the Olympic Court of Arbitration for Sport declared in a landmark ruling against Caster Semenya, a two-time 800-meter Olympic champion, that female athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone would be disqualified from competing. Semenya has a rare biological order that gives her an athletic advantage over her competitors.

So at the same time the Olympics are ruining their competitions by allowing men to compete as women, they’re restricting real women with high testosterone levels from competing.

Duke law professor and former 800-meter Olympic runner Doriane Coleman, an expert on sports law with a focus on Olympic eligibility issues, responded, “The gender studies folks have spent the last 20 years deconstructing sex and all of a sudden they’re facing an institution with an entirely opposite story. We have to ask, ‘Is respecting gender identity more important or is seeing female bodies on the podium more important?’ Distinguishing people on the basis of their biology actually matters a lot. It matters because if we failed to do it, we will lose the capacity to isolate the best females on the planet. We would never see a female body on the podium.”

So, what are the implications for the rest of culture and society if we fail to distinguish people “on the basis of their biology”?

It’s an absurd question, but such questions must now be asked, given that Obama used the power of his office to set this gender spiral into motion by redefining marriage and forcing our military and other branches of government to assimilate gender-dysphoric individuals.

Obama’s “gay” legacy was perhaps best defined just before midnight on his last day in office, when he disgracefully pardoned a traitor, transgender poster child and former soldier Bradley “Chelsea” Manning, who was convicted of stealing 750,000 classified documents and providing them to WikiLeaks before being dishonorably discharged and sentenced to 35 years.

Fortunately, the Trump administration is turning back the clock on some of Obama’s use of our military for social engineering.

Against all odds, however, there are some growing divisions in the Democrat Party’s gender-identity camps over its “equality” agenda. In fact, those divisions have united radical feminists and conservative Christian women.

The leftist Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) and conservative Concerned Women for America (CWA) issued a joint statement condemning the Equality Act because enacting it would “make ‘gender identity’ a protected characteristic under federal law” that would “erase the protected category of sex.” The combined group’s statement declared, “The Equality Act … includes gender identity rules that have received little public focus regarding their adverse impact on sex stereotyping bans, or the danger they pose to women and children.”

Thankfully, there appears to be trouble in “Demo-Identity Paradise.” We’ve already witnessed how that trouble can manifest when a lesbian woman on Baltimore’s LGBTQ commission refused to use a female pronoun when referring to a “transwoman” and was bounced off that commission. The ranks of homosexuals rejecting the transgender lie are growing.

WoLF board chair Natasha Chart and CWA CEO Penny Nance have stated their objection: “Clearly this is a historic and momentous occasion when women on the left and right have put aside differences to come together on behalf of all women. … The Equality Act threatens to erase protections for women — protections that benefit women and society as a whole. Legislative and policy ‘reforms’ proposed in this dangerous bill will lead to blatant violations of our safety, privacy, and dignity. … If the Equality Act succeeds in making ‘gender identity’ a protected class under federal law, it will erase the protected category of ‘sex,’ which for decades has been the foundation for securing the rights and opportunities of women and girls in the United States. Under a policy of unrestricted self-identification of ‘sex,’ such as the act proposes, a man can simply say he is a woman, and everyone must act as if this is true. … Pay attention to the powerful message conveyed by our united purpose in opposing this bill.  Simply put: If Americans, activist organizations, and our representatives in government genuinely want to prevent discrimination against women and girls, they cannot erase the legal recognition of sex as biologically male and female. As women, CWA and WoLF stand united to protect ourselves and all women and girls from the injustice of the so-called Equality Act.”

Conservative women have a built-in affinity for Liberty, and they already oppose this political encroachment on those principles. Whether enough Democrat women will stop drinking the gender Kool-Aid to undermine this legislation’s support in the House, we will see. I have my doubts, but maybe the Demo strategists are wrong about their female constituents being emotionally incontinent idiots.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776


Of Course We Should Continue Criticizing the Work of Rachel Held Evans — Christian Research Network

Worse yet, she accuses the authors of the Bible of being blasphemous liars, allegedly speaking for God in literally hundreds of passages when it was “really” what they wanted.  She quoted this with her approval:  God never told the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. The Israelites believed that God told them to kill the Canaanites.

(Get a load of the tweets at the end)

(Eternity Matters)  The Bible didn’t shy away from criticizing Judas after he died, so why would we ignore Rachel Held Evans’ false teachings?  And given that her death will lead many to read her works, it is as important as ever to respond to her falsehoods.

The social media reactions by her fans were as sad as they were predictable.  If you dared question her salvation they immediately – and with complete tone-deafness to their hypocrisy – insisted that you weren’t a real Christian.  Meditate on that.

They used the most wicked and vitriolic language while insisting that they were the tolerant ones.  One lady graciously pointed out Evans’ theological flaws and was blasted by Evans’ kind, loving fans with the following: “wrong, gross, unkind, unloving, disgusting, opportunist, cruel, arrogant, horrid, disgraceful, insensitive, hypocrite, nasty, judgmental, condescending, Pharisee, poisonous, heathen, unsaved, good only for compost, evil, abomination, hellspawn (my personal favorite, lol), b**ch.”

Stay classy, “Christian” Leftists.

And when the unrepentant LGBTQX lobby views you as their favorite Christian and thanks you for bringing them back to “church” then you know you had bad theology.

I’ve written on Evans many times.  Sure, I hope God reached her before she died, but I have the same sentiment for the ~150,000 people who die every day.  She made a living mocking the word of God and did so until the end, and her writings that survived her need to be refuted.  Here’s my catch-all. View article →


Rachel Held Evans

Progressive Christianity

via Of Course We Should Continue Criticizing the Work of Rachel Held Evans — Christian Research Network

Terrified by Spread of Christianity, Iranian Politician Orders Mass Interrogation of Christians — Faithwire

Iran’s minister for intelligence has ordered a number of recent Christian converts to explain to the government why they have chosen to follow Jesus. This comes after the minister expressed concern over the increasing number of Muslims who have fled Islam and embraced Christ.

According to the International Shia News Association, in a speech delivered before various high-powered Muslim clerics Saturday, Mahmoud Alavi blamed the spike in conversions on “evangelical propaganda,” and vowed to assign intelligence resources to “counter the advocates of Christianity” in every way possible.

Despite Christianity being outlawed in the Islamic Republic, Iran has one of the fastest-growing house church movements in the world.

Indeed, the hard-line Iranian minister openly admitted to the clerics that a mass religious conversion to Christianity is “happening right before our eyes.”

The mass interviews, he said, were organized to try and figure out why so many are leaving Islam and embracing Christ.

According to Open Doors USA, there are an estimated 800,000 Christians currently residing in Iran, despite the fact that they face arrest and prosecution for simply believing in Christ.

“Any Muslim who leaves Islam faces a charge of apostasy, and can be thrown in jail or worse,” the charity notes on its Iran fact sheet. “The government sees them as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran.”

Just before Christmas, Iranian authorities arrested over 100 Christians in order to stem the flow of evangelism that takes place over this holy period.

Another way the Iranian government is cracking down on the Christian community is to close down house churches at a rapid rate.

“Several house churches were raided during the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, including arrests or detainment of entire congregations. Most are no longer functioning as house churches,” Open Doors noted.

Please continue to pray for all these faithful believers, who know what it means to “count the cost” of being a disciple of Christ.

via Terrified by Spread of Christianity, Iranian Politician Orders Mass Interrogation of Christians — Faithwire

While Cracking Down On Fringe Conspiracy Theorists, Facebook Accidentally Bans CNN — The Babylon Bee

MENLO PARK, CA—As Facebook went after fringe conspiracy theorists earlier this week, there was an accidental casualty on the social network: CNN.

According to Facebook reps, the automated system that scans the network for wild conspiracy theories like Holocaust denial, weather manipulation, flat earthers, and Russian collusion flagged CNN as one of the most prominent promoters of fake news on the network.

“Our algorithm looked for pages and people that were constantly peddling outlandish conspiracy theories, and it seems to have banned CNN for some reason,” a Facebook representative said in a statement. “It appears that since CNN is still insisting that President Trump colluded with Russia, despite a mountain of facts and evidence showing that he did not, our computer systems determined that our network would have much less fake news without CNN.”

Facebook apologized for the error and reinstated CNN while banning 59 more conservative pages to make restitution for the mistake.

via While Cracking Down On Fringe Conspiracy Theorists, Facebook Accidentally Bans CNN — The Babylon Bee

Colorado shooter hated Christians for disagreeing with homosexuality, praised Democrat Obama


Richard Dawkins on atheism, morality, free will and human rights Richard Dawkins on atheism, morality, free will and human rights

This is just a quick post of the straight facts from the reliable Washington Times. The Washington Times reported on his views and values from his social media accounts. It turns out he’s a Democrat who attacked President Trump, praised President Obama, and posted all sorts of hateful criticism of Christians, because of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and natural marriage.

The Washington Times reports:

Devon Erickson, 18, has been held in the attack at STEM School Highlands Ranch in which seven students were injured and one killed, reported 9News, the Denver NBC news outlet.

[…]Mr. Erickson had said on social media, according to a report in Heavy.com, that he hated Christians for their teaching on homosexuality and his accounts suggested suggested he was not a fan of President Trump.

“You know what I hate? All these Christians who hate gays, yet…

View original post 702 more words

Is Marxism All That Bad? — Christian Research Network

“The preferred term these days is Neo-Marxism, and while even this term is not used in political circles, it now defines a more humane variant of its atheistic forebear. Actually this version of Marxism, sometimes called “cultural Marxism,” is even more radical than the old Marxism. It has to go beyond the anti-capitalist liberation of the worker because the free market eventually took care of the worker’s economic needs. Neo-Marxism brings a full-orbed Marxist cosmology—a complete worldview seeking to liberate from any creational norms not just the worker’s economic situation but the worker’s psyche and his or her sexual fantasies.” 

(Peter Jones – truthxchange)  I have long vowed not to employ simplistic theological and spiritual categories in debates over politics, since there are genuine Christians in each political party. But as some politicians lunge to wild extremes, Christians need to pause long enough to understand the larger picture. Ultimately, politics starts with worldview. Do we need to be “woke” and if so, to what? Is the new vision valid and valuable?

Christians are called by God to be sensitive to injustice, generous with those in need and eager to see each human being, made in God’s image, receive respect and compassion. In the early church, believers were so dedicated to loving one another that they eagerly distributed their goods and funds to those in need. Isn’t such a system better than greedy capitalism, in which billionaires find tax loopholes and wealthy families deprive worthy students of a place in college by paying off a sports coach on the take?

In light of unfair practices such as these, many voting citizens are considering the possible benefits of a socialist or semi-Marxist cultural structure.  Some contend that Marx, in his hostility to Christianity, was only attacking the wealthy Christians of his day, not criticizing true Christianity’s concern for the poor. Under proper circumstances, can religion not sit down at the table with some kind of socialist or Marxist economic theory? Can we not mitigate the worst aspects of capitalism while avoiding the worst effects of old-style Marxism? Such equitable, moderate terminology is attractive. Perhaps we could create a Neo-Marxism—a more humane variant of its atheistic forebear.

In such a discussion, we must first understand the core tenets of the “old-style” Marxism. What did Marx believe? What did he advocate? Marx was a thorough-going materialist who hated religion with an unrelenting passion because he considered it a huge barrier to creating a “just” socialist society. In his book Marxism and Religion Marxist scholar David McLellan says that “for Marx religion is metaphysically and sociologically misguided” and that “its disappearance is the necessary pre-condition for any radical amelioration of social conditions.”[1] For Marx, God only exists in man’s imagination as a projection of himself. If Marx is right about that, then we cannot derive our dignity from being made in God’s image, because there is no God. If Marx is right, then justice is defined and enforced by whichever (sinful) human bureaucrats hold the power. In history, Marxism has never worked out well. Old-style Marxism included the destruction of the family and the practice of abortion, two hauntingly familiar ideals prevalent in our own culture, which aspires to redefine the family and rationalize infanticide. Marxism is pure secular Oneism, in which the only reality is selfish humanity without any transcendent laws to reign in evil. If selfishness is not curtailed, those in power will freely impose their will on others. Needless to say, today’s neo-Marxists realize that it would be political suicide to build a platform on an openly anti-Christian agenda—though those who favor infanticide are getting close!  View article →

via Is Marxism All That Bad? — Christian Research Network

Jim Jordan Brilliantly Recaps Political Motives of Jerry Nadler to Impeach AG Bill Barr… — The Last Refuge

During the House Judiciary Committee farce debate toward a pre-written impeachment resolution, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan outlines the political motives of House democrats to try and avoid the looming investigation by Attorney General Bill Barr.


A full contempt vote normally follows the creation of the contempt resolution; which is an outcome of the debate.  However, to showcase just how ridiculous and political the agenda of Nadler has become, the actual contempt resolution was already written – SEE HERE.


via Jim Jordan Brilliantly Recaps Political Motives of Jerry Nadler to Impeach AG Bill Barr… — The Last Refuge

Southern Baptist ERLC Ditches Gospel Conference For #MeToo Feminist Event — Christian Research Network

“The conference is designed to garner sympathy and effect a paradigm shift towards egalitarianism in the Southern Baptist Convention. They will still call it complementarianism, but it will be redefined to look nothing like what the Bible teaches.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) is really nothing more than a pandering bridge-builder between the professing Church and the Pagan culture. At every opportunity, the ERLC seeks some kind of common ground — friendship, if you will — between the world and Christianity. Essentially, the ERLC is on a never-ending image campaign that attempts to appease the world by speaking nuance into the consciences of a world in rebellion to God.

This year, the ERLC was scheduled to hold a gospel conference. Its theme was “Gospel Courage: Truth and Justice in a Divided World.” Seems like a noble topic for the Church, especially since the Great Commission of the Church is to go out into the world and make disciples. Yet, the ERLC — like any progressive outfit that never seeks to let a good crisis go to waste — has dropped the gospel-themed conference in favor of a #metoo cry-party.  View article →


Progressive Christianity

via Southern Baptist ERLC Ditches Gospel Conference For #MeToo Feminist Event — Christian Research Network

May 8, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

1. And it came to pass. This chapter contains a most memorable narrative. For although Abraham, through the whole course of his life, gave astonishing proofs of faith and obedience, yet none more excellent can be imagined than the immolation of his son. For other temptations with which the Lord had exercised him, tended, indeed, to his mortification; but this inflicted a wound far more grievous than death itself. Here, however, we must consider something greater and higher than the paternal grief and anguish, which, being produced by the death of an only son, pierced through the breast of the holy man. It was sad for him to be deprived of his only son, sadder still that this son should be torn away by a violent death, but by far the most grievous that he him self should be appointed as the executioner to slay him with his own hand. Other circumstances, which will be noted in their proper place, I now omit. But all these things, if we compare them with the spiritual conflict of conscience which he endured, will appear like the mere play, or shadows of conflicts. For the great source of grief to him was not his own bereavement, not that he was commanded to slay his only heir, the hope of future memorial and of name, the glory and support of his family; but that, in the person of this son, the whole salvation of the world seemed to be extinguished and to perish. His contest, too, was not with his carnal passions, but, seeing that he wished to devote himself wholly to God, his very piety and religion filled him with distracting thoughts. For God, as if engaging in personal contest with him, requires the death of the boy, to whose person He himself had annexed the hope of eternal salvation. So that this latter command was, in a certain sense, the destruction of faith. This foretaste of the story before us, it was deemed useful to give to the readers, that they may reflect how deserving it is of diligent and constant meditation.

After these things God did tempt Abraham. The expression, “after these things,” is not to be restricted to his last vision; Moses rather intended to comprise in one word the various events by which Abraham had been tossed up and down; and again, the somewhat more quiet state of life which, in his old age, he had lately begun to obtain. He had passed an unsettled life in continued exile up to his eightieth year; having been harassed with many contumelies and injuries, he had endured with difficulty a miserable and anxious existence, in continual trepidation; famine had driven him out of the land whither he had gone, by the command and under the auspices of God, into Egypt. Twice his wife had been torn from his bosom; he had been separated from his nephew; he had delivered this nephew, when captured in war, at the peril of his own life. He had lived childless with his wife, when yet all his hopes were suspended upon his having offspring. Having at length obtained a son, he was compelled to disinherit him, and to drive him far from home. Isaac alone remained, his special but only consolation; he was enjoying peace at home, but now God suddenly thundered out of heaven, denouncing the sentence of death upon this son. The meaning, therefore, of the passage is, that by this temptation, as if by the last act, the faith of Abraham was far more severely tried than before.

God did tempt Abraham. James, in denying that any one is tempted by God, (James 1:13,) refutes the profane calumnies of those who, to exonerate themselves from the blame of their sins, attempt to fix the charge of them upon God. Wherefore, James truly contends, that those sins, of which we have the root in our own concupiscence, ought not to be charged upon another. For though Satan instils his poison, and fans the flame of our corrupt desires within us, we are yet not carried by any external force to the commission of sin; but our own flesh entices us, and we willingly yield to its allurements. This, however, is no reason why God may not be said to tempt us in his own way, just as he tempted Abraham,—that is, brought him to a severe test,—that he might make full trial of the faith of his servant.

And said unto him. Moses points out the kind of temptation; namely, that God would shake the faith which the holy man had placed in His word, by a counter assault of the word itself. He therefore addresses him by name, that there may be no doubt respecting the Author of the command. For unless Abraham had been fully persuaded that it was the voice of God which commanded him to slay his son Isaac, he would have been easily released from anxiety; for, relying on the certain promise of God, he would have rejected the suggestion as the fallacy of Satan; and thus, without any difficulty, the temptation would have been shaken off. But now all occasion of doubt is removed; so that, without controversy, he acknowledges the oracle, which he hears, to be from God. Meanwhile, God, in a certain sense, assumes a double character, that, by the appearance of disagreement and repugnance in which He presents Himself in his word, he may distract and wound the breast of the holy man. For the only method of cherishing constancy of faith, is to apply all our senses to the word of God. But so great was then the discrepancy of the word, that it would wound and lacerate the faith of Abraham. Wherefore, there is great emphasis in the word, “said.” because God indeed made trial of Abraham’s faith, not in the usual manner, but by drawing him into a contest with his own word.2 Whatever temptations assail us, let us know that the victory is in our own hands, so long as we are endued with a firm faith; otherwise, we shall be, by no means, able to resist. If, when we are deprived of the sword of the Spirit, we are overcome, what would be our condition were God himself to attack us with the very sword, with which he had been wont to arm us? This, however, happened to Abraham. The manner in which Abraham, by faith, wrestled with this temptation, we shall afterwards see, in the proper place.

And he said, Behold, here I am. It hence appears, that the holy man was, in no degree, afraid of the wiles of Satan. For the faithful are not in such haste to obey God, as to allow a foolish credulity to carry them away, in whatever direction the breath of a doubtful vision may blow. But when it was once clear to Abraham, that he was called by God, he testified, by this answer, his prompt desire to yield obedience. For the expression before us is as much as if he said, Whatever God may have been pleased to command, I am perfectly ready to carry into effect. And, truly, he does not wait till God should expressly enjoin this or the other thing; but promises that he will be simply, and without exception, obedient in all things. This, certainly, is true subjection, when we are prepared to act, before the will of God is known to us. We find, indeed, all men ready to boast that they will do as Abraham did; but when it comes to the trial, they shrink from the yoke of God. But the holy man, soon afterwards, proves, by his very act, how truly and seriously he had professed, that he, without delay, and without disputation, would subject himself to the hand of God.[1]

1  It is impossible to identify Some time later (see 15:1) with a specific antecedent. Is it some time after Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech, or is it some time after the disappearance of Hagar and Ishmael? And how much later is it? Days? Months? Years? It is more likely years, since Isaac does not appear to be a newborn or a toddler in ch. 22. Yet Abraham’s reference to Isaac as a naʿar, a “lad” (v. 5), suggests that Isaac is not a man who is physically in the prime of life. Then again, to one who has reached the century mark the term naʿar would understandably have a broad range. Early Jewish tradition (Midrash Gen. Rabbah 56:8) suggested that Isaac was 37 at the time of his binding by Abraham. This number is arrived at by subtracting the age at which Sarah gave birth to Isaac (90) from the age at which she died (127), a sudden death caused by discovering that Abraham is about to slaughter Isaac. By putting Isaac in his late 30s, Jewish tradition gives a much larger role to Isaac than Christian tradition, which has highlighted the obedience of Abraham and the faithfulness of God.

Two items in v. 1 highlight the intensity of the situation. One is the addition of the definite article to ʾĕlōhîm (hence, lit., “the God”). This feature appears also in vv. 3, 9, but not in vv. 8, 12. In the narrator’s mouth “the God” is used, but in direct discourse “God” is sufficient. The three instances in which ʾĕlōhîm is definite describe God as “speaking” (ʾāmar) to Abraham. The affixing of the article in these three instances may be the narrator’s way of emphasizing that it was God, Abraham’s God, who was speaking to Abraham. What he was hearing came from no other source nor from his own imagination.

The second feature is the word order. Normal Hebrew syntax calls for the verb to precede the subject; hence we would expect: “tested Elohim Abraham.” But the placing of the subject first, as here, draws special attention to it: “the Elohim—he tested Abraham!” Since the “he” is already contained in the verb, “the Elohim” must be taken as a casus pendens.

The text clearly makes the point that what follows is a divine testing, not a demonic temptation. This particular verb, with God as the subject, does not occur again until Exod. 15:25 (and cf. Exod. 16:4; Deut. 8:2, 16; 33:8 for references to the same time period; also Deut. 13:4 [Eng. 3]; Judg. 2:22; 3:1, 4 for other divine testings). The wilderness period, after the departure from Egypt, is a testing experience. Will the Israelites take freedom with all the insecurities that freedom brings, or will they take incarceration and the guarantee of regular meals? That is the test. Whenever a human being is the subject of this verb and God is the object, the testing is negative, uncalled for, and out of place. Perhaps the closest parallel to Gen. 22:1–19 for the “divine testing” motif occurs in Exod. 20:20, right after the revelation of the Decalogue. In both instances the source of the test is hāʾĕlōhîm, some form of the verb nāsá is used (nissá/nassôṯ), and the aim of the testing is to evidence the fear of God (yerēʾ ʾĕlōhîm, Gen. 22:12; tihyeh yirʾāṯô, Exod. 20:20). The major difference between the two is that in Exod. 20:20 the people know well, via Moses, that through the revelation of his law God will test his people. How will his people respond to this God who has revealed himself in word and act? By contrast, the reader, but not Abraham, knows that what he is about to hear is a divine test.[2]

22:1 / Some time later, God put Abraham to the supreme test. To prepare the reader to hear this disturbing account, the narrator departs from the usual oblique style of the patriarchal narratives by stating at the outset the purpose of what was about to take place: God was going to test Abraham. God, however, never gave Abraham a hint that this was only a test.

That God needs to test a person might seem incomprehensible in light of the belief in God’s full knowledge, but God is involved with those who fear him—leading, guiding, and testing them. There are many references in the OT to God’s testing Israel (Exod. 15:22–26; 16:4; 20:18–20; Deut. 8:12–16; 13:1–3; Judg. 2:21–22; 3:1–4). God’s test of Hezekiah is another reference to an individual being examined (2 Chron. 32:31). God examines people not only to discover their true character but also to develop in them certain desirable qualities.

On this occasion God called Abraham, speaking his name a single time. This style contrasts with the times God repeated a name to get a person’s attention (e.g., v. 11; Exod. 3:4, the call of Moses; 1 Sam. 3:10, the call of Samuel). The ease with which God got Abraham’s attention attests that he was in close fellowship with God. Responsively Abraham replied: “Here I am,” indicating that he was ready to do whatever God asked.[3]

Ver. 1.—And it came to pass—the alleged mythical character of the present narrative (De Wette, Bohlen) is discredited not more by express Scripture statement (Heb. 11:17–19) than by its own inherent difficulties—after—how long after may be conjectured from the circumstance that Isaac was now a grown lad, capable of undertaking a three days’ journey of upwards of sixty miles—these things (literally, words, of benediction, promise, trial that had gone before—that God—literally, the Elohim, i. e. neither Satan, as in 1 Chron. 21:1, compared with 2 Sam. 24:1 (Schelling, Stanley), nor Abraham himself, in the sense that a subjective impulse on the part of the patriarch supplied the formal basis of the subsequent transaction (Kurtz, Oëhler); but the El-Olam of ch. 21:32, the term Elohim being employed by the historian not because vers. 1–13 are Elohistic (Tuch, Bleek, Davidson,)—a hypothesis inconsistent with the internal unity of the chapter, “which is joined together like cast-iron” (Oëhler), and in particular with the use of Moriah in ver. 2 (Hengstenberg),—but to indicate the true origin of the after-mentioned trial, which proceeded neither from Satanic instigation nor from subjective impulse, but from God (Keil)—did tempt—not solicit to sin (James 1:13), but test or prove (Exod. 16:4; Deut. 8:2; 13:3; 2 Chron. 32:31; Ps. 26:2)—Abraham, and said unto him,—in a dreamvision of the night (Eich-horn, Lange), but certainly in an audible voice which previous experience enabled him to recognise—Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. “These brief introductions of the conversation express the great tension and application of the human mind in those moments in a striking way, and serve at the same time to prepare us for the importance of the conversation” (Lange).[4]

1 The introduction, “After these things God tested Abraham,” is of great moment, both from a dramatic and a theological perspective. It serves to cushion the listener from the full impact of the horrific command to Abraham, and it diverts attention from the question whether Isaac will be sacrificed to whether Abraham will stand up to the test. “After these things” suggests that some time has elapsed between this trial of Abraham and the events recorded in chap. 21 (cf. 21:34, “Abraham dwelt … many days”). It may well be that Isaac is now to be envisaged as at least a teenager, just as Ishmael was when expelled from Abraham’s household; in both narratives they are called “lads” (נער; cf. 22:12; 21:12).

“God” (here and in vv 3, 8 with the definite article). It is unusual that this story begins with this generic form rather than with his personal name, “the Lord.” Frequently in Genesis where the body of a story speaks of “God,” the narrator prefaces it by a comment, using his proper name (e.g., 17:1; 21:1). Here the term “God” is used in vv 1, 3, 8, 9, and “the Lord” first appears in v 11 when “the angel of the Lord” calls from heaven. If we assume that this variation is more than a literary whim, it may be that “God” is used to avoid the anachronistic implication that Abraham knew him by the name “the Lord” (v 8; cf. Exod 6:3). But since, contrary to his usual practice, the narrator also avoids using “the Lord” to introduce the narrative, Delitzsch may be correct to see a theological motive behind the variation. “He who requires from Abraham the surrender of Isaac is God the creator … but it is Jahveh in his angel who forbids the extreme act, for the son of promise cannot perish” (Delitzsch, 2:91). In Gen 2–3, the covenant creator is consistently termed “the Lord God,” but in the temptation scene, where alienation between deity and humanity becomes evident, the word “God” appears by itself (3:1–5). Similarly, here in the first half of the story where God is acting in a strange, remote, and inexplicable way, he is called אלהים, but when he is revealed as savior and renews the covenant promises, his personal name, “the Lord,” is appropriate and is reintroduced.

“Tested” (נסה). “Testing” shows what someone is really like, and it generally involves difficulty or hardship. The queen of Sheba tested Solomon with riddles (1 Kgs 10:1); Daniel and his companions were tested by being put on a simple diet (Dan 1:12, 14). God is often said to test Israel through hunger and thirst in the wilderness (Exod 15:25; 16:4; 20:20; Deut 8:2, 16), through false prophets (Deut 13:4 [3]), or through foreign oppression (Judg 2:22; 3:1, 14). The purpose of such trials is to discover “what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deut 8:2; cf. Exod 16:4), “to humble you … to do you good in the end” (Deut 8:16; cf. Heb 12:5–11). The use of the term here hints that Abraham will face some great difficulty but that he will ultimately benefit from it. This is the only time God is said to have tested an individual, but pace Westermann, this is no proof of the lateness of this text. Early non-religious usage (e.g., 1 Kgs 10:1) certainly covers individuals.

1b–2 Scene 1: A divine monologue matching scene 6, with clear echoes of Gen 12:1. “Abraham … Here I am.” It is not really necessary to preface the command with the two brief speeches found here; the narrative could simply begin “Abraham, please take …” (cf. 12:1; 15:1; 16:8; 17:2). Yet this prolongation is suggestive. Is God hesitating before giving his awful order? The text does not say so, but the break in the address raises such questions. And it certainly allows Abraham’s attentiveness and potential obedience to come through in his reply, “Here I am.” Three times in this story we have the refrain “Abraham (my father)” with its response “Here I am” (vv 1, 7, 11); each signals a tense new development in the narrative.[5]

22:1 after these things: A new story is about to begin (15:1). The term God includes the definite article (“the God”; Gen. 6:2; 27:28; 31:11; 46:3; 48:15). This is a way of indicating that the “Genuine Deity” or the “True God” is making these demands, not a false god or a demon. Note that the same use of the definite article occurs in 41:32 twice. This is the seventh time that God revealed Himself to Abraham since Abraham came to the land of Canaan. God tested Abraham in order to give Abraham an opportunity to show his true character. The verb does not suggest entrapment to harm or to destroy Abraham and his faith, but to refine him, to allow him to display his inner character. The words “do not lead us into temptation” in Matt. 6:13 suggest thee same idea.[6]

22:1 — Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham .…

God permits testing for all of His children, including His own Son, Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:1). For Abraham, this had to be a dark time—but it lasted only so long as was necessary for God to accomplish His purpose in Abraham’s life.[7]

[1] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 1, pp. 559–562). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Hamilton, V. P. (1995). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 18–50 (pp. 100–101). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Hartley, J. E. (2012). Genesis. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 206). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Genesis (pp. 282–283). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Wenham, G. J. (1998). Genesis 16–50 (Vol. 2, pp. 103–104). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 42–43). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ge 22:1). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

May 8 Eternally Defeated

scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1–7
key verse: Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Once you become aware of the severe nature of your spiritual conflict, you must realize God has issued an authoritative call to arms.

“Resist him [the devil],” Peter told the suffering saints in his first epistle (1 Peter 5:9 nasb).

“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil,” Paul told the Ephesian believers (Eph. 6:11 nasb).

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” James wrote the early church (James 4:7 nasb).

God does not ask you to obey an impossible command. If it is useless to resist Satan, why would the Father insist on your defiance?

The devil was met and defeated by Christ in His life, death, and resurrection. On Calvary He dealt a mortal blow to the devil’s chief weapon—death—destroying its power for those who believe in the Savior.

Although Satan conducts guerrilla warfare and still possesses deadly weapons of unbelief, doubt, and temptation, he has been confronted on the battlefield of the ages—Golgotha—and has been decisively and eternally defeated.

You can resist the devil. You can overcome his temptations and live an abundant, overcoming Christian life.

Father, thank You for the mortal blow dealt to Satan at Calvary. Because of that victory, I can stand firm and resist the devil’s tactics.[1]

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

8 may (1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The necessity of the Spirit’s work

“And I will put my Spirit within you.” Ezekiel 36:27

suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1–13

Talking one day with a countryman, he used this figure: “In the middle of winter I sometimes think how well I could mow; and in early spring I think, how I would like to reap; I feel just ready for it; but when mowing time comes, I find I have no strength to spare.” So when you have no troubles, couldn’t you mow them down at once? When you have no work to do, couldn’t you do it? But when work and trouble come, you find how difficult it is. Many Christians are like the stag, who talked to itself, and said, “Why should I run away from the dogs? Look what a fine pair of horns I’ve got, and look what heels I’ve got too; I might do these hounds some mischief. Why not let me stand and show them what I can do with my antlers? I can keep off any quantity of dogs.” No sooner did the dogs bark, than off the stag went. So with us. “Let sin arise,” we say, “we will soon rip it up, and destroy it; let trouble come, we will soon get over it;” but when sin and trouble come, we then find what our weakness is. Then we have to cry for the help of the Spirit; and through him we can do all things, though without him we can do nothing at all. In all the acts of the Christian’s life, whether it be the act of consecrating one’s self to Christ, or the act of daily prayer, or the act of constant submission, or preaching the gospel, or ministering to the necessities of the poor, or comforting the desponding, in all these the Christian finds his weakness and his powerlessness, unless he is clothed about with the Spirit of God.

for meditation: The Christian is dependant on the Holy Spirit for gifts, graces (Galatians 5:22, 23) and devotions (Romans 8:26). Do you serve God in the strength which he supplies (1 Peter 4:11) or are you content to struggle on uselessly in your own strength?

sermon no. 251[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 135). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

8 MAY 365 Days with Calvin

Rescuing the Perishing

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Ezekiel 18:23

suggested further reading: Revelation 22:16–21

God earnestly desires that those who are perishing and rushing to destruction should return to the way of safety. For this reason the gospel is spread abroad in the world. In this, God bears witness through all the ages how inclined he is to pity the lost.

The heathen may be destitute of the law and the prophets, yet they are always endued with some taste of this doctrine. True, they are suffocated by many errors, but they are also induced by a secret impulse to seek pardon from God. Also, the sense in some way is born in all people that God will be appeased by all who seek him. God bears witness to this clearly in the law and the prophets.

In the gospel, we hear how familiarly God addresses us when he promises us pardon (Luke 1:78). We can know salvation by embracing the mercy that he offers us in Christ.

It follows, then, that what the prophet now says is true, that God does not will the death of a sinner. God meets the sinner of his own accord. He is not only prepared to receive all who fly to his pity, but also calls them toward him with a loud voice when he sees how they are alienated from all hope of safety. Note also the manner in which God wishes all to be saved, namely, that they turn away from their wicked ways. God does not wish all men to be saved to renounce the difference between good and evil. Rather, he stresses that repentance, or turning aside from wicked ways, must precede pardon.

for meditation: God cannot compromise his just character for men and women to be saved. He desires their salvation, but he still demands satisfaction for their sins. They must repent and trust in Jesus Christ and the salvation provided through him. Have you truly repented, or are you simply banking on God’s loving character? His love will not compromise his justice. We must flee to Christ in true repentance.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 147). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

A New Kind of Pharisee — The Cripplegate

Have you seen them?

There is a new kind of Pharisee today. Things like social media have paved the way for them. And they are not rare or quiet.

Here is a partial profile of the new Pharisees:

  1. They have seated themselves in the chair of Moses.

The tactic of the new Pharisees communicates that they are in the highest seat of judgment and above questioning. As such, they behave as if God has charged them to prosecute those who do not conform to their law. In this way, they make themselves and their standards well-known on social media. They hand out violations on partial information and without the full story. They lack grace and learning. They’re watching you, waiting in the shadows to trap you in a statement, plotting together how they might trap you in what you say.

2. They are judgmental in the true sense.

Ironically, the most abused verse in the Bible can safely be said of them: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matt. 7:1). In the name of compassion, they are judgmental. They need little data and a skewed view of the big picture to persecute and slander. Just one piece of a ten-piece pie is enough for them to smear you.

Similarly, they believe the worst and make presumptuous conclusions. They seem to not be concerned that their info is wrong or slanted. Rarely, if ever, do they ask, “Hey, so, you said this. What do you mean by that? It seems like you are saying A or B. But I want to avoid presumption and answering a matter before I hear.” No. That’s no fun. That doesn’t deliver the self-righteous high like putting you in a proverbial giant-suplex before their fanfare on social media. Instead of approaching issues with logic, humility, intelligent conversation, and asking questions, they come with hateful judgment, seeking prosecution on bits of information.

They seem to use fear tactic. Words are carefully chosen so as to strike fear in those who might challenge them. Many are scared about being publicly labeled an “ ‘ist” or “abuser” (ironically) and so they often do not receive the challenge they need. They keep correction at bay by these careful tactics.

3. They are revilers of the brethren.

They are skilled at reviling. They do not call people out with the end of lovingly presenting others complete in Christ (Col. 1:28). We might wonder if they humbly and lovingly pray in secret for those they revile. They are not correcting others to help others become sound in the faith.

The reviling often comes from undealt-with bitterness. Many of us understand that. Hurt is real. People are really sinned against in bad ways. And yet, the love of Christ and the body of Christ is sufficient to bind up and have victory in such situations. He’s that good.

But what we must not do is let Satan get the foothold in our lives by becoming bitter. Reviling without humble question-asking is often a symptom of sinful bitterness. Though we experience real hurt and sin, our all-loving, all-sufficient Lord does not permit us to stew internally in bitterness and consequently spew externally with reviling. There is a more excellent way. But the new Pharisees haven’t traveled it.

4. They are experts at setting aside the commandments of God in order to keep their tradition.

These new Pharisees are sort of like really bad cable news. They often create boogeyman problems with what they say and post. Crying down often phantom issues with passionate, but baseless zeal, they and their followers rejoice in heroic slaying of mythical dragons. They stir up anger and dissension by taking a myopic view of an issue and exploding them, demanding adherence to man-made standards.

Humbly submitting to, and plugging in with, a biblical local church is not adequate for them. God’s ways are too oppressive. Forget about the piles of commands for godly operations within the local church that are undergirded with humility (cf. Rom. 12:1-3; 1 Cor. 14:34-35; Phil. 2:3-5; 1 Tim. 2:11-12; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 4:8, 5:5). Forget about the fact that God—not a man, not a pastor, not any human—but God gave commands for men and women to have order in Christendom; for the pastor/elder role to be filled by men, and for women to “quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness” (1 Tim. 2:11-12). Nevermind that those verses are actually in the Bible, and the Bible was given by God. We seem to know better than God what God said. And for some, if you dare mention these things, you are prosecuted and sentenced without a trial. Yeah, those verses might be in the Bible, but you are a raging something ‘ist if you dare to bring them up. The irony could not be greater.

As such, these new Pharisees are experts at setting aside the commandments of God in order to keep their tradition. They have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. No one knows their law like they do. It’s everyone else who is below their bar of adjudication. Everyone else is the sinner unless they join their Bible-forsaking, man-made laws.

5. They are blind and unteachable.

They could never imagine themselves as the new Pharisees. Yet, they are more angry about a few cultural sins than they are over their extraordinary lack of biblical humility. When it comes to such sins, it’s not them. They, after all, are the guardians and enforcers of law. Therein, they are tragically blind. They nearly break social media with irony when they speak. For every one probably-not-actually-a-sin sin they rage against, they commit ten actual sins.

If you question or confront them, they self-righteously accuse you too. You are guilty of an ‘ism simply by the fact of questioning them. They refuse to receive correction, notwithstanding some 30 verses in Proverbs commending the practice.

They have no time or toleration for pause, reflection, and objectively observing all the facts of a situation. They are too trigger-happy. It’s not as fun to wait. They don’t have patience for pausing in case they might be answering a matter before they hear (Prov. 18:13).

They would read an article like this and could not imagine themselves as pharisaical. It’s someone else. It’s the other sinners. It’s the “crowd which does not know the law [who] is accursed” (John 7:49). They are all law and no grace towards anyone who would ask questions about the validity of their claims.

6. Much of their fruit is anger, condemnation, and unforgiveness.

If you do not conform to their man-centered, man-made standards, you will become the recipient of anger and unforgiveness, ironically. If you challenge them, even gently, brace yourself. You will become the object of hate-filled verbal violence. Your name will be drug threw miles of social-media mud.

But even worse is if you do sin against them in word. This is the ultimate infraction. Sins against them seem unforgivable. If you say something uncharitable in one of your less noble moments, you will pay dearly. Their Bible does not have verses like:

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18).

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God” (Rom. 12:19).

“Why not rather be wronged?” (1 Cor. 6:7).

“Love does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Cor 13:5).

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).

“Let your gentle spirit be made known to all men. The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5).

“[K]eep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).

In the way they condemn others, they are often quick to speak, slow to hear, and quick to anger. Many of them have forgotten Proverbs 17:27-28:

“He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool sprit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, hei is considered prudent.”

They cannot forgive, perhaps because, for many, they have yet to experience the Lord’s forgiveness (cf. Matt 18:35, Eph 4:32).

7. They say things and do not do them.

There is often an abysmal inconsistency in the moral standard they demand and that which they exercise. As they patrol social media, they exercise an ethic inconsistent with the standard they exact from others. While they aggressively condemn others on social media, they commit those very things behind closed doors.

They demand compassion, but harshly disdain others.

They cry for justice, but presumptuously condemn.

They insist on grace, but punish those who disagree.

They demand equality, but exercise partiality.

They insist on love, while treating those who disagree with hate.

8. They seek to justify themselves and view others with contempt.

In this sense, the new Pharisees tend towards legalism. It’s difficult to attain to justification in their system. You can do it, but you must cling to their cultural commands. You canachieve justification in their system. But, you must achieveit.

Their law is tricky. You must be as angry at yourself as they are about you regarding sins you never committed. You must be able to speak and cry down the ever-growing lists of ‘ists that they keep. You must not keep silent. No, silent reflection; a heart that ponders how to answer; these are sins in this system.

You must answer a matter before its heard. You must be the first to plead a case. You must not look at the bigger picture. If you do, you are part of the evil, cursed crowds who do not know the law (cf. John 7:49).

You must hold to guilty until proven innocent. There is no time for humble, thorough truth searching.

Actual great sins—if anyone accuses another of such a sin—cannot be studied with slow, objective examination of all sides from all angles so as to arrive at truth. Truth is not really the goal. If your rage meter does not soar as high as theirs, well, you are guilty and unforgiven. Justification comes through equaling, or surpassing, their rally-cry in the latest preferential cultural fad; and joining them in graceless, baseless reviling of others.

They place a yoke upon others’ neck which no one can bear. Theirs is a burdensome system of salvation. Biblical justification by faith alone in Christ alone isn’t enough to admit you into their church and their heaven. Seeing, loathing, and confessing your personal sin; putting broken child-like confidence in Christ and his finished work on the cross for acceptance with God—all this is insufficient. You must join them in getting as angry, and as social-media patrolling, and woked as them, whatever the current standard happens to be. Then, maybe, you’ll be saved.

9. Their spirituality is only external.

The outside of the cup looks clean because of the false spirituality. They cry down the easy-to-condemn fouls outside of them in greater culture. In the meantime, they do not cry down the fouls inside of them. As such, they lack the true inner spirituality Jesus calls for (Matt. 5:3-5, 7:3-5).

The behavior of some of the new pharisees is telling. It’s almost like they are trying to live the photo-negative of Jesus’ beatitudes:

They act, not as impoverished of spirit, but self-made-rich in spirit. The way they disdain others who differ with their man-made ethic is revealing.

They do not mourn their own inner heart sins, but rage against others outside of themselves with no humility and compassion.

They do not hunger for inner, heart-holiness. They hunger for nothing as to their own inner righteousness. Instead, theirs is a hunger solely for others to conform to their skewed, sub-cultural standard. They hunger to be exalted by pushing the moral fences far away from themselves, and towards culturally fashionable faux pas. They are blind to their spiritual bankruptcy, crying for an external form of righteousness while utterly lacking true inward righteousness. They demand outward confirming to their narrow, standard while failing to confirm to God’s inward beatitude brokenness.

10. Theirs is an intoxicating external righteousness.

The new Pharisees have found a system of self-made righteousness that is rewarding. It’s not difficult to get it, which makes the moral buzz all the more enticing. They craft a righteousness by fleeing the humble, sober, biblical spirituality of mourning one’s own heart-idols and rejoicing in the substitutionary atoning work of Jesus Christ.

They find an external, cultural issue to rally around. After all, that’s much easier than embracing Jesus’ true spirituality of examining and mourning one’s motives; of repenting of invisible heart idols; of seeing, loathing, confessing, and fleeing the secret lusts in one’s own heart. They loathe true spiritual loathing. They hate the true spiritual hatred Jesus identified as the genuine, living spirituality (cf. Luke 14:26).

So instead, they travel outside themselves to loathe on the far-too-easy-to-loathe cultural sins, some of which are no sins at all. Again, they patrol social media looking for the self-worshiping moral buzz. They find some poor individual who challenges their self-righteousness; who says, “Hey, Jesus said this also…” They tend to attack without asking questions for clarification. The buzz is there. You don’t ask questions when you’re a Pharisee. The intoxication is too good. Just jump. Just revile. Just cry foul. And, it’s all good because you will have plenty of others, also strung out on the self-actualizing crack, to affirm the utterly self-righteous, presumptuous tactic. And today, their spiritual crack is available for cheap on every corner of Twitter. It’s all so easy. It’s all so intoxicating. And it is all so utterly sinful and self-righteous.

In all this; in the self-righteous zeal, they miss the true mission of Christ of disciple making through the humble, tactful, and biblical preaching of the gospel and repentance. As such, they are a poor witness to the great name of Christ.

These are the new Pharisees. Beware of their leaven.

via A New Kind of Pharisee — The Cripplegate

May 8, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

4:11 — “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”

As the Creator, God is worthy of all praise and adoration. He has a special concern for judging those who destroy His creation (Rev. 11:18), for that creation was meant to display His glory.[1]

11 The praise of the elders differs from that of the living creatures in that it is addressed directly to God and is based on his work in creation rather than his divine attributes. Here is direct refutation of the dualistic idea that God as spirit would not himself be involved in a material creation. Lilje notes that the first words of the hymn are taken from the political language of the day: “You are worthy” greeted the entrance of the emperor in triumphal procession, and “our Lord and God” was introduced into the cult of emperor worship by Domitian.43 For the Christian only the One who sits on the heavenly throne is worthy: the claims of all others are blasphemous. The earlier doxology (4:8) ascribed glory and honor to God. To this the elders now add “power.” He is worthy because in accordance with his will all things “were created and have their being.” The unusual Greek construction translates literally, “they were and they were created.” This suggests that all things that are, existed first in the eternal will of God and through his will came into actual being at his appointed time.

Thus John begins his unfolding of what he saw that was soon to take place by taking his beleaguered (and not always faithful) readers of chapters 2 and 3 into the throne room of the eternal God. But no picture of God himself was given; rather, John described the awesome splendor and majesty that surround God. The picture is intensely evocative—of God’s greatness and sovereignty; the only proper response, as one finds in heaven itself, is obeisance and worship. Surely the intent of this is to remind those who are about to suffer that God is nonetheless sovereign Lord of the universe.

But not all has been said. The picture is awesome, and God is wholly other and transcendent. All of this could have been written by any other Jew. But John is a Christian Jew, and there is a divine response to that transcendence—to be found in the slain Lamb of the next vision.[2]

4:11 / The final and most important doxology is fashioned according to deeper logic of Jewish hymnody: the worshipful acclamation of God’s glory and honor and power (4:11a) expresses the conviction that God created all things (4:11b). Notice that John changes the last item of the earlier triad of glory, honor, and thanks (4:9) to power, thereby underscoring his consistent claim for God’s ultimate authority over world history and its ruling elite. In this light, the doxology claims that the purpose of creation is in accord with God’s will by which all things have their being. The humble worship of the elders in laying their golden crowns before God’s throne is reflected in their exaltation of God, who has created the creation by your will and not for the world and its rulers (or even for the church and its elders).

The creator’s purposes for creation, however, are in keeping with the character of God’s reign as indicated by the cumulative force of chapter four’s two concluding doxologies. The Trisagion (“Holy, Holy, Holy”; 4:8) of the living creatures attributes absolute holiness to God, suggesting that God simply will not tolerate evil and is at odds with the natural inclinations of a fallen world and the anti-Christian kingdom which rules over it. The glory and honor and power which the elders then attribute to God in the second doxology (4:11) suggest that it will be God, and not the powers of the evil dominion, who will ultimately determine the destiny of world history. The holy God, who abhors evil, and the worthy God, who is all-powerful, is our Lord and God. These two confessions suggest that God’s final triumph over the forces of death and darkness is inevitable and our worship logical. As a shorthand way to speak of God, the heavenly doxologies are especially relevant for the readers of Revelation, who are under spiritual siege precisely because their worship of God is inhibited by confusing and painful traumas of life and faith, indicated in the two preceding chapters. For John, theodicy is finally settled in doxology, when the worshiping community on earth echoes the choruses of the heavenly community.[3]

11. “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed, that is, they were created.”

  • “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.” Three successive songs in the Apocalypse have the adjective worthy as their opening word, which because of its position receives emphasis (4:11; 5:9, 12). No one in the entire universe is worthy of glory, honor, and power but God and the Lamb. God is worthy because of creation, and the Lamb is worthy because of his sacrificial death. Hence, the Lamb alone is worthy to execute God’s plan of salvation and to fill the role of king in his kingdom.

There is a difference between the song of the four living creatures (v. 8) and the song of the twenty-four elders. The angelic beings glorify God’s holiness, exclusive power, and eternity, while the elders glorify God for his work of creation. Further, instead of the word thanks (v. 9), the song has the expression power.

  • “Because you created all things.” God’s power is revealed in creating all things in this vast universe. We as human beings are unable to absorb everything that exists, for we are limited by time and space. The universe that God created is so boundless that we marvel at God’s power. The Creator has made all things from the smallest particle to the largest star. Thus, the work of creation is the reason for the elders expressing their praise to the Lord God. Notice that they call him “our Lord and God.” In a succeeding song they praise the Lord Christ for purchasing them for God (5:9).
  • “And because of your will they existed, that is, they were created.” The work of creation depends entirely on God’s will; without his will nothing happens. In other words, this world did not come into being by evolving on its own, but God exercised his will (Heb. 11:3). Thus, humanity, the animal and plant worlds, and inanimate matter exist only because of the will of God. This means that everything created by God must serve him.

The last part of this verse has been interpreted in various ways, because the logical sequence should be “they were created, that is, they existed.” Even that wording is imprecise, for the reading really ought to be in the present tense, “they exist,” which is a reading supported by some manuscripts (see NKJV). Still other witnesses delete the words “they were created” to alleviate the problem entirely. The most difficult reading is here, as often, likely the correct one; it forces us to accept the text as is and interpret it to the best of our ability.

The explanation suggested by a number of commentators is that the expression they existed looks back to the fact of creation and the expression they were created has to do with the beginning of their existence. The will of God is the cause of creation, and the Lord Christ is the agent of creation (John 1:1; Col. 1:15–18; Heb. 1:3). This is a fitting conclusion to the account of God’s throne room: God is sovereign in his creation.[4]

Ver. 11.—Thou art worthy, O Lord; or, thou art worthy, our Lord and our God. In B, the Syriac, Andreas, Arethas, TheodoreStud., Arm., and many others, ἅγιος, “the holy one,” is added. To receive glory and honour and power (τὴν δόξαν, etc.). The presence of the article either (1) denotes universality, and the expression is thus equivalent to “all glory,” “all honour,” “all power;” or (2) refers to the glory and honour mentioned in ver. 9. The former view seems more probable (cf. ch. 1:6). The Church is represented as ascribing to God all power (δύναμιν); that power which he exercises in its fulness in heaven, and which, though partially abrogated on earth, he will nevertheless again take up, as foretold in ch. 11:17. For thou hast created all things; or, for thou didst create all things (τὰ πάντα)—the universe. The representatives of creation thank God for their existence; the Church sees in his creation reason to ascribe power to him. Thus the reason for the doxology is given—“because thou didst create.” And for thy pleasure; much better, as in the Revised Version, and because of thy will (διὰ τὸ θέλημα). When God willed it, the universe had no existence; again, when he willed it, the universe came into being. They are, and were created; or, they were, and were created (Revised Version). There are three variations in the reading of this passage: (1) ἦσαν is read in א, A, al40 fere Vulgate, Coptic, Syriac, Arethas, Primasius (in another version), anon Augustine, Haymo; (2) εἰσί is read in S, P, 1, 7, 35, 49, 79, 87, 91, et al. et Andreas; (3) οὐκ ἦσαν is read in B, 14, 38, 51. “They were” signifies “they existed,” whereas before they were not in existence; “and were created” points to the manner of coming into existence and the Person to whom this existence was due. If εἰσί be read, the meaning is the same. Οὐκ ἦσαν would simplify the sentence very much. It would then run: For thy pleasure, or, At thy will they were not existent, and again, at thy will they were created. But the weight of authority is against this reading.[5]

4:11 Their worship acknowledges the Lord as worthy of glory and honor and power because He created all things, and by His will they exist.

The vision prepares us for what is to follow. God is seen as the Almighty Ruler of the universe sitting on the throne of His glory, surrounded by worshiping creatures, and about to send judgment on the earth.[6]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Re 4:11). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (pp. 126–127). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Wall, R. W. (2011). Revelation (pp. 95–96). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Vol. 20, pp. 194–195). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Revelation (p. 148). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2362). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

05/08/19 He Looked at Him — ChuckLawless.com

READING: 2 Samuel 6-8, Luke 22:47-71*

Every time I read Luke 22, I can’t help but rivet my attention on Luke 22:61Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.’” No matter how many times I read the chapter, I’m always caught in the vision of Jesus looking at Peter.

Just hours before, Peter had said that he would go to prison and death for Jesus. Peter had indeed attempted to defend Jesus when Judas betrayed Him, but still he denied knowing Him when the heat was on. Three times, in fact. He said he wasn’t one of His. He said he didn’t follow Him. Didn’t even know Him.

And then the rooster crowed.

And Jesus, on His way to the cross for what Simon Peter was doing, turned and looked at Peter. Their eyes locked. Face-to-face. Eyeball-to-eyeball. Dying Redeemer and denying disciple.

Love met rebellion in the face, and the rugged fisherman melted. All he could do was weep.

If I fail today, I want to weep over my sin. I want mercy and the eyes of the Lord to break me.

PRAYER: “Lord Jesus, don’t let me escape Your eyes when I sin against You.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Samuel 9-11, Luke 23:1-25


*portions of this devotion first published in 2015

via 05/08/19 He Looked at Him — ChuckLawless.com

May 8 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Numbers 16; Psalms 52–54; Isaiah 6; Hebrews 13


probably isaiah’s vision of God and his commission (Isa. 6) took place at the beginning of his ministry, but it is reported only here, for thematic reasons. After the series of “woes” pronounced on the people, Isaiah pronounces one on himself (6:5), which shows that his stance as a prophet has never been self-righteous. Moreover, the sequence of his own call—seeing God (6:1–4), deep awareness and confession of sin (6:5), cleansing (6:6–7) and commissioning (6:8–13)—is precisely the sequence that Israel must experience if they are to return to their proper role as servant of the living God. It is the sequence we must follow too. Moreover, several elements in Isaiah’s call are then picked up in the ensuing chapters (as we shall see), making this placement of the narrative of his vision of God highly strategic. Some notes:

(1) It was when King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord seated on a throne—as if the earthly king had to die before Isaiah could begin to grasp the awesomeness of the divine King.

(2) The seraphs, a high order of angelic beings, enhance the throne by their adoration and praise. God is the “thrice holy” God. In its core usage, “holy” is almost an adjective for God, and embraces both his transcendence and his righteousness (5:16).

(3) When the finite, the unclean, and the mortal comes into contact with the infinite, the pure, and the immortal, there must be, there ought to be, a profound sense of inadequacy. To begin to see God is to begin to see how awful and desperate our plight is. The holiness of God discloses our rebellious and dirty nature to us in a way that mutual comparisons among the members of the rebel race never can. Here Isaiah condemns himself, for in the presence of God degrees of sin seem superfluous.

(4) Only the cleansing provided by the altar that God himself has prescribed will suffice to take away Isaiah’s sin.

(5) For the first time in this vision, God speaks, and looks for volunteers (itself a gracious act of condescension). When Isaiah responds, it is less the cry of the hero than the petition of the pardoned. It is as if he is begging, “Here! Please! Will I do? Is there any way I can help? Will you please use me?”

(6) The substance of the commission Isaiah receives is to preach on until the irrevocable judgment falls. There is no prospect of revival. It is too late. The preaching will serve only to harden the people. The only hint of hope—a hint powerfully developed later in the book (11:1)—is that out of the stump of the destroyed nation new life will spring, and through this remnant the promised seed (6:13b).[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.