Daily Archives: May 9, 2019

May 9 Prayerful Planning

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:26–33

Key Verse: Luke 14:28

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?

Have you made a financial plan for your future? Whether you are young or old, married or single, it is important to establish security for the years ahead.

As we examine today’s Scripture passage, we find that there is biblical basis for wise planning. As Jesus spoke poignantly to the crowds around Him, He questioned, “Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” (Luke 14:28).

Jesus, along with His followers, was familiar with the ridicule persons could receive from failing to complete a project due to poor planning. With this in mind, He encouraged His listeners to include careful calculations in their future plans.

How can you incorporate this advice into your own life? First, realize that God expects us to not only trust Him but also actively make plans under His counsel. Second, we should study the Scriptures to develop a Christ-centered strategy of financial protection. Finally, we must subject our financial matters to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Praying over decisions that will affect your future, and possibly the future of your children, is essential. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

As you plan with God’s will in mind, He will honor your diligence and obedience.

Lord, be at the heart of my planning so that I may be wise with my resources, but follow the leadings of Your will.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 136). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 9 A Damaging Influence

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:14–22

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 10:21

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.

The believer is firmly—if reluctantly—engaged in spiritual warfare with Satan and his demons. Although you are no longer under the devil’s mastery, you are not immune to his plots and schemes.

The battle is not one of possession, for you belong to Christ alone, but for control. It is not one of destiny, for your future with Christ in heaven is secure, but for daily victory.

The adversary seeks an opening from which he can build a spiritual stronghold and influence your thoughts and actions for evil. You can give demonic forces unnecessary inroads into your life by participating in questionable activities—watching movies overloaded with sensuality or horror, reading materials laced with raucous references to a carnal lifestyle, listening to music with lyrics promoting lewdness and rebellion.

This is not an attempt to be legalistic. Anything that usurps Christ’s role as Lord in your life, competing for your devotion and time, can be fodder for demonic activity. The important issue is to examine your life, asking God to reveal any area of thought or deed that could give Satan and his powers opportunity for a damaging influence.

Dear heavenly Father, I know I am not immune to the plots and schemes of the enemy. Please reveal any area of thought or deed that could give Satan and his powers opportunity to influence my life.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 136). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 9 An Act of the Will

Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

Key verse: Psalm 22:22

I will declare Your name to My brethren;

In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

The error comes in believing that to give thanks, one has to feel thankful or happy. But that was not what Paul was talking about in his first letter to the Thessalonian church.

When the car breaks down without warning or the children are sick or your husband loses his job or a good friend rejects you, your emotions are tender. You do not feel as if you are walking on cloud nine; and most important, the Lord does not expect you to. Jesus knows what it is like to experience grief and heart pain so deep that it tears at the fiber of your being.

If giving thanks is not always an expression of emotion, then what is it? Thanksgiving is an act of the will. It means looking at a negative circumstance and acknowledging that God allowed it into your life for a reason and an ultimately good purpose. You can thank Him in full faith because you know that the current pain is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His grace on your behalf.

Have you ever met a fellow believer who felt as though he had to manipulate his emotions into a constant “high” in order to be obedient and joyful? Such a state is unnatural, and it is only a matter of time until he comes to the realization that God is not requiring artificial displays of passion. God desires your faith and trust that He will bring a blessing.

Father, I thank You that my current pain is an opportunity for You to demonstrate Your grace on my behalf.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 136). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sexual Orientation Trumps Religious Freedom in Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Equality Act’ — Faithwire

Just days before the midterm elections, now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed from Harvard University to make passing the “Equality Act” one of her top legislative priorities — and she wasn’t bluffing.

The House Judiciary Committee voted last week to advance the deceptively named “Equality Act,” which, according to the conservative legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, “gives people of faith an ultimatum: Change your faith-based practices or face government punishment.”

If the proposal is approved — which isn’t out of the question, given it has 240 co-sponsors — the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act would both be amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding and the jury system.

The bill would, among a whole host of other things, reverse the Trump administration’s effort to protect employers who object to covering abortion services on religious grounds, a shift away from a controversial policy advanced by the Obama White House.

It would also put the president’s ban on transgender troops in jeopardy. The law could potentially be used to force the U.S. military to foot the bill for gender reassignment surgeries.

If passed, the legislation would bar people like cake baker Jack Phillips from refusing to provide goods or services that go against their religious convictions on issues like the definition of marriage and sexual orientation.

This trend is not new, but it seems to be picking up speed.

Pete Buttigieg, a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has addressed his sexual orientation often, targeting Vice President Mike Pence over his religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

Though the vice president has never once taken issue with Buttigieg or even addressed his sexual orientation publicly, Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in April, “If you’ve got a problem with who I am, then your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Buttigieg, who is Episcopalian, also suggested Pence “stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump.”

All of this — both Buttigieg’s comments and the Equality Act — goes back to our society’s issue with tolerance.

In denying morality, and now even giving up on reality by allowing people to identify in whatever way they see fit, we are kissing tolerance goodbye. By arguing there is no difference between race and sexual and gender identity, the Equality Act delegitimizes those who hold to a mainstream biblical understanding of marriage as well as what it means to be male and female.

For those who hold to a mainstream Christian interpretation of Scripture, marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman, and in Genesis, it was clear God created two distinct sexes: male and female.

The Equality Act, though, would effectively trump the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, preventing people and organizations from using the 1993 bill as a protection against claims of discrimination.

A floor vote in the House could come as early as next week.

via Sexual Orientation Trumps Religious Freedom in Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Equality Act’ — Faithwire

The superiority of Christ, the cost of discipleship, and the genuine Gospel

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 (NASB) 

The Church in the early part of the 21st Century is very sick. This sickness has not happened all at once. Instead, it is the result of centuries of compromise after compromise on the…

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Israeli leader vows to put Bible on the moon, stresses importance of studying the Bible, addresses Intl. Bible Quiz held today, Israel’s 71st modern birthday.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

BibleQuiz-2019(Jerusalem, Israel) — The newly re-elected premier of Israel made an intriguing proposal on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of Israel’s prophetic rebirth as a sovereign nation in 1948.

As he attended the International Bible Quiz and made the case for the importance of studying and knowing the Bible, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called…for a printed Bible to be carried to the moon by the next Israeli spacecraft to make the journey, and credited Judaism’s foundational text for the ‘daring’ and ‘spirit’ Israelis demonstrate in the attempt,” reports the Times of Israel.

“Speaking at the International Bible Quiz for Youth, which is held every year on Independence Day, the prime minister vowed to send a second spacecraft after the first, dubbed ‘Beresheet’ (Genesis), crashed onto the lunar surface on April 11 due to complications resulting from a gyroscope failure,” noted the Times.

“Last month we felt tremendous excitement: the spacecraft…

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May 9, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Venezuelan intelligence agents detained opposition leader Juan Guaido’s congressional deputy on Wednesday, using a tow truck to drag his vehicle away with him inside, prompting the U.S. government to warn of “consequences” if he was not released.

Denver will become the first city in the United States to decriminalize magic mushrooms, based on final unofficial results on Wednesday of a ballot initiative about the hallucinogenic drug.

N. Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles, the South’s military said, less than a week after its leader, Kim Jong Un, oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and a missile.

The United States called on North Korea on Thursday to “dismantle all political prison camps” and release all political prisoners, who it said numbered between 80,000 and 120,000.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed one of the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr., to answer questions about his contacts with Russia, two congressional sources said.

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Wednesday held the first of two high-dollar fundraisers in Los Angeles, which he opened to the press in a bid to counter criticism he is relying too heavily on the often closed-door events.

Pope Francis issued a landmark decree on Thursday making bishops directly accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up, requiring clerics to report any cases to Church superiors and allowing anyone to complain directly to the Vatican if needed.

President Vladimir Putin watched intercontinental nuclear missile launchers roll across Red Square on Thursday as Russia put on its annual show of military might to mark the Soviet Union’s World War Two victory over the Nazis.

China appealed to the United States to meet it halfway to salvage a deal that could end their trade war, with its chief negotiator in Washington for two days of talks hoping to stave off U.S. tariff hikes set to be triggered on Friday.

OPEC is in the dark on the oil supply outlook for the second half of this year, with Iranian and Russian outages looking increasingly significant but Saudi Arabia reluctant to pump more due to fears of a price crash, sources in the organization said.

In fresh show of naval force in the contested South China Sea, a U.S. guided missile destroyer conducted drills with a Japanese aircraft carrier, two Indian naval ships and a Philippine patrol vessel in the waterway claimed by China, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday.

The relatively slow growth of middle class incomes, widening inequality, and declining prospects for the poor to move up the economic ladder are “crucial” problems for the U.S. to tackle in coming years, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday.

AP Top Stories

Donald Trump ordered new sanctions against Iran on Wednesday hours after Tehran said it was relaxing some restrictions on its nuclear program.

American officials say the U.S. is poised to move more military assets to the Middle East in response to perceived threats from Iran.

Afghan forces fought for hours against Taliban insurgents who killed at least four civilians and wounding dozens more when they stormed an aid organization in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, security officials said.

A Russian-backed Syrian government offensive in the rebel-held northwest has killed dozens of people and forced more than 150,000 to flee, the biggest escalation in the war between President Bashar al-Assad and his enemies since last summer.

The governor of the US state of Georgia on Tuesday signed into law a ban on abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected — one of the most restrictive such laws in the country.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday imposed new sanctions on Iran, targeting revenue from its exports of industrial metals, the latest salvo in tensions between Washington and Tehran over a 2015 international accord curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.


European powers have said they remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal but that they “reject any ultimatums” from Tehran to prevent its collapse.

Australia’s latest A$50 note comes with a big blunder hidden in the small print – a somewhat embarrassing typo. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) spelled “responsibility” as “responsibilty” on millions of the new yellow notes.

At least seven people have been killed in a shooting at a prison near the Guatemalan capital Guatemala City. Some 1,500 soldiers and police officers were reportedly sent to the prison to try and stop the violence. Another 20 people were injured in the gunfire.

Zimbabwean-born scholar Tererai Trent has been named one of the 10 most inspiring women in the world as part of an initiative called “Sculpted for Equal Rights”, the Herald newspaper reports. A life-size bronze statue of the US-based academic will be unveiled alongside those of other honorees at Rockefeller Centre in New York City on August 26.

The Norwegian businessman behind a “millionaire dating” site has been handed a six-month suspended sentence for promoting prostitution. The site caused a scandal in 2017 after advertising “sugar daddies” to Belgian university students.


Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans may have a $2.5 trillion impact, negatively affecting “almost all marine ecosystem services,” including areas such as fisheries, recreation and heritage. But a breakthrough from scientists at Berkeley Lab could be the solution the planet needs for this eye-opening problem – recyclable plastics.

The number of American teenagers who have attempted suicide by self-poisoning is on a stunning rise, having more than doubled since 2000. The Central Ohio Poison Center say the number of suicide attempts has more than tripled for girls and young women over the 18-year study period.

Mid-Day Snapshot · May 9, 2019

The Foundation

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” —Samuel Adams (1749)

Dems Claim ‘Constitutional Crisis’ Over Faux Scandal

Trump asserts executive privilege over Mueller report; Barr held in contempt anyway.

Notable Factors in the Colorado Attack

Two anti-American, anti-Christian assailants, and one of them was a female “transitioning” to male.

Another Obama Gender-Agenda Fail

Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin was removed from the Air Force Academy for poor performance.

An Epidemic of Loneliness

Even as we have myriad methods of communications, we’re lonelier than ever before.

Boeing in MAX Trouble

The company knew about flaws with the safety system long before two recent crashes.

Massive Migration From Guatemala, Honduras

But Dems are more concerned with making the Mueller report say the opposite of what it found.

Here’s Why Biden Will Trump Sanders in Dem Primary

The latest polling shows that a lot of voters aren’t entirely keen on socialism.

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.

Robotics Students Build Power Wheelchair for Two-Year-Old

“Cillian Jackson needed a power wheelchair. The Farmington High School Robotics team got to work.”

Video: Radical Left Silences You and Targets Your Money

How far will the radical left go to shut down people on the right? Pretty far, it seems.

Video: Absurd Gun Comments Made by Joe Biden

The Democrat presidential candidate has been caught contradicting himself many times.

Today’s Opinion

Victor Davis Hanson
Progressives Face a Bleak Post-Mueller Landscape
Larry Elder
Trump’s ‘Infrastructure’ Plan Versus Obama’s ‘Stimulus’: What’s the Difference?
Cal Thomas
A Solution to College Debt
Tony Perkins
Liberals Break the Facts Machine
Edwin J. Feulner
When Reality Bucks Certain Democratic Wishes and Dreams
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday Top News Executive Summary

Barr contempt vote, border apprehensions, new fencing, Export-Import Bank, Vatican overhaul, and more.

Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , Joe Biden, Eric Swalwell, Jennifer Rubin, Jerry Nadler, 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 – 5/9/2019

North Korea fires 2 short-range missiles, 5 days after previous launch; US tests long-range missile within 10 minutes
The U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, tested a long-range missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California within 10 minutes of the reported launch by Pyongyang. The American intercontinental ballistic missile flew 4,200 miles into Pacific from a base in California, according to the Air Force. The launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental missile was the second missile launch this month and the fourth this year.

As tariff hike looms, China asks U.S. to meet it halfway, denies backtracking
China appealed to the United States to meet it halfway to salvage a deal that could end their trade war, with its chief negotiator in Washington for two days of talks hoping to stave off U.S. tariff increases set to be triggered on Friday.

U.S. carrier to deter Iran passes through Suez Canal
The US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, deployed by President Donald Trump’s administration to the Middle East as a warning to Iran, passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday, the Suez Canal Authority said. The deployment of the carrier strike group is meant to show the United States will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any attack, national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.

Pope issues sweeping decree holding bishops accountable for sex abuse or cover-ups
Pope Francis introduced sweeping changes in Catholic Church law on Thursday to hold bishops accountable for sexual abuse or covering it up, making reporting obligatory for clerics and allowing anyone to complain directly to the Vatican if needed.

Islamic Jihad: We are preparing rockets
Abu Hamza, spokesman for the Islamic Jihad’s “military wing”, the Al-Quds Brigades, said on Wednesday that the Palestinian “resistance organizations” would start from the point at which the last round of the conflict ended should the “enemy” refuse to implement the understandings. The escalation began after Palestinian Arab terrorists opened fire at Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border in southern Israel, wounding an officer and a soldier.

Germany issues ‘early warning’ report about rise of Islamist antisemitism 
The top intelligence agency in Germany has written what is being called its most comprehensive analysis of rising antisemitism by Islamist extremists. “Antisemitism in Islamism” homes in on the Islamist extremist component, which represents a looming threat, the agency said, though relatively few anti-Semitic crimes in Germany have been attributed to Islamist extremism. The report distinguishes between “Islam” the religion and “Islamism,” which it describes as a form of political extremism that “aims at the partial or complete abolition of the liberal democratic constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Are These the Terms of the ‘Deal of the Century’?
According to the newspaper, the peace plan states (translated from Hebrew):
Army — The new Palestine would no longer have to form an army. The only weapon would be light weapons held by the police. A defense agreement will be signed between Israel and the new Palestine in which Israel will guarantee the new Palestine from all external aggression and the new Palestine will pay Israel for this protection. The cost of this payment shall be in negotiations between the parties, mediated by the supporting countries.

Germany issues ‘early warning’ report about rise of Islamist antisemitism
The top intelligence agency in Germany has written what is being called its most comprehensive analysis of rising antisemitism by Islamist extremists. “Antisemitism in Islamism” homes in on the Islamist extremist component, which represents a looming threat, the agency said, though relatively few anti-Semitic crimes in Germany have been attributed to Islamist extremism. The report distinguishes between “Islam” the religion and “Islamism,” which it describes as a form of political extremism that “aims at the partial or complete abolition of the liberal democratic constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Bud Light reveals rainbow bottle for Pride Month
For the first time ever, Bud Light is selling rainbow bottles for Pride Month to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

More Storms, Flooding on the Way as Rivers Continue to Rise in Texas and Oklahoma
Heavy rain will continue to batter the Plains this week and it won’t stop there. Storms will hit cities across Texas and Oklahoma Tuesday and Wednesday with the possibility for damaging winds, large hail and even tornadoes.

Great-grandmother with CBD oil arrested at Disney World
Disney World may be the most magical place on Earth, but it turned into a legal nightmare for a great-grandmother with arthritis.

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.

Mongolian Couple Dies of Bubonic Plague After Eating Raw Marmot Kidney
Nine tourists were left stranded in a remote region of Mongolia after an unidentified local couple died from the bubonic plague.

Seattle School District Urges Teachers to Follow CAIR Guidelines on Blessing Muslim Students During Ramadan
Dieringer School District in Seattle, Washington, is calling on its teachers to follow CAIR-issued guidelines regarding adherence to Islam. The school district is urging its teachers to bless Muslim students by reciting Arabic to them during Ramadan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Announces That The Terms Of The Jerusalem Embassy Act Of 1995 Have Been Fulfilled, Waivers To Forever End
Alot of Christians are not aware of something called the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, passed by both the House and the Senate, which called for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to be moved to Jerusalem. The act left final decision making in the president’s hand to either move it or exercise a waiver that would last for 6 month, and then either decide to move it or use the waiver. Well, gutless 2-term presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Hussein Obama all used the waivers for a total of 46 times over a 23 year period, even though all had promised to move it while campaigning for office. Only Donald J. Trump had to guts to do it.

“It’s Pornography” Parents Outraged as California Targets Kindergartners With Transgender Propaganda
California is targeting children as young as Kindergarten with transgender propaganda in a revised sex education guide for teachers.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation sues over Bible at VA hospital
A group of veterans in New Hampshire has filed a lawsuit to remove a Bible on display in the lobby of a VA hospital in the state’s largest city, Manchester.

Deep Cover Source Reveals 8,000 Russian Spetsnaz Troops Poised to Attack American Infrastructure
Please note that the cover photo for this article is a 2013 photo of Russian Spetsnaz an American soldiers at Fort Carson Army base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This will figure prominently later in this article.

Headlines – 5/9/2019

On its 71st Independence Day, Israel’s Population Crosses 9 Million Mark

Report: Israeli Newspaper Leaks Terms Of Trump’s “Deal Of The Century” Middle-East Peace Plan

Germany issues an ‘early warning’ report about rise of Islamist anti-Semitism

UN Security Council to meet on Friday regarding Syria’s Idlib

Trump moves to strangle Iran economy as nuclear deal withers

Trump unveils Iran mining sanctions, but hopes ‘someday’ for talks with Tehran

Trump envoy: Iranians ‘do not want to eat grass so that the regime can have a nuclear weapon’

Democrats warn Trump is leading US toward war with Iran

Brian Hook: US not seeking war with Iran, but ready to respond to any attacks

As Iran walks back nuke deal obligations, Europeans struggle to preserve accord

U.S. warns European banks, businesses against using Iran-EU trade mechanism

Despite nuke deal, European firms have been reluctant to work with Iran

Iran challenges Europe and China to stand up to US over nuclear deal

EU urges Iran to respect nuclear deal, regrets US sanctions

China, France say Iran nuclear deal should be fully implemented

UK says Iran will face consequences if it breaks nuclear deal

Iran tells Russia its partial roll back of nuclear deal is legal

Netanyahu vows to keep Iran from nukes after Tehran backs away from deal

Maduro providing a ‘safe haven’ for Iranian terrorists in the West, Pence says

South Sudan president: Formation of unity government should be delayed

US will need forces in Afghanistan until no insurgency left, says top General

Singapore passes ‘fake news’ law despite fierce criticism

As trade truce collapses, US, China scramble to revive a deal

Immigrant Arrests Smash Records, and U.S. Border Struggles to Handle the Crush

Feds released 168,000 illegal immigrant family members into communities

Mexican officials find 289 migrants in tractor-trailer rigs including some children with measles and other illnesses

Appeals court allows Trump administration to send back asylum seekers to Mexico to wait out court process

FBI Is Investigating 850 Cases Of Potential Domestic Terrorism

Gov. DeSantis signs controversial bill arming teachers in Florida public schools

Anonymous Tip Leads To ATF Bust Of More Than 1,000 Rifles, Firearms At Holmby Hills Home

Senate intelligence committee subpoenas Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr. Rebuffs Senate GOP Subpoena for More Russia Hoax Testimony

House Judiciary Committee votes to hold Barr in contempt after Trump asserts executive privilege

House Dems subpoena full Mueller report, following Barr contempt vote

Nadler declares ‘constitutional crisis’ after contempt vote, accuses Trump of attacking ‘essence of our democracy’

Pelosi: Jails Will Be ‘Overcrowded’ If We Start Arresting Trump Officials

Jeff Sessions backs AG Barr on ‘spying’ claim

Repeated leaks and revelations are chipping away at Trump’s attempts to keep his tax records secret from the American public

Hans von Spakovsky: NY Times publication of Trump tax information violates his legal right to confidentiality

Facebook auto-generates videos celebrating images by terror groups, extremists

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Minas de Marcona, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Vila, Vanuatu

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Arctic outbreak breaks numerous minimum temperature records for the month of May, France

When ‘1-In-100-Year’ Floods Happen Often, What Should You Call Them?

First-Ever Record of 400 Years of El Ninos Shows They Really Are Getting More Brutal

As Trump visits Florida, farmers awaiting federal disaster aid lament Washington ‘bickering’

FAO: Famine on rise in Near East and North Africa

Human lifespan could soon pass 100 years thanks to medical tech, says BofA

Experimental brain implants studied as opioid deaths rise

Denver first in U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms

Nearly One in Two Americans Takes Prescription Drugs

Tampa judge orders chemo for young cancer patient; leaves door open for alternatives

San Francisco Investigates Doctor Over Measles Vaccination Exemptions

A student sued because he didn’t want the chickenpox vaccine because it was derived from “aborted fetuses.” Then he got chickenpox

Texas Republican Says Vaccines Are ‘Sorcery,’ Claims ‘Parental Rights’ Are More Important Than Science

Kennedy Family Asks Public To Disregard RFK Jr. On Vaccines

Rush To Produce, Sell Vaccine Put Kids In Philippines At Risk – The deaths of about 600 children are under investigation

‘We Will Only Get Louder’: Pro-Lifers Plan Major Rally to Respond to Dem Who Harassed, Threatened Teens

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Men Behind ‘Heartbeat’ Bills ‘Don’t Know the First Thing About a Woman’s Body Outside of the Things They Want From It’

Supreme Court to take up LGBT job discrimination cases

California OKs new sex-ed guidelines for teachers despite objections from parents, protesters over LGBT material

California’s new sex ed guidelines encourage teachers to talk to students about gender identity, masturbation

California bill to end alleged LGBT discrimination on sex offender list stirs controversy

Jerry Falwell Jr. denies report he got Trump’s ‘fixer’ to bury embarrassing ‘racy’ photos

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Thomas Bradstreet – The Rise of the Evangelical State Theologian

Is James MacDonald the Next Jim Bakker? Allegations of Secret Budget Grow as Pastor Prepares Comeback

Colorado School Shooter – ‘I Hate…All These Christians Who Hate Gays’

After 40 years, ‘megachurch’ pastor slams Christianity and quits, deacon claims he had affair

HBO releases trailer for new televangelist comedy series ‘The Righteous Gemstones’

27 dead; 18 hospitalised after Pastor makes them drink jik in church

Iran’s war on Christianity

Asia Bibi Finally Leaves Pakistan a Free Woman

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


May 9, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

28 Luke’s note on the passage of time—“about eight days after Jesus said this” (meta tous logous toutous hōsei hēmerai oktō, lit., “after these words about eight days”)—is less precise than “after six days” in Matthew and Luke. It is obviously an alternative way of indicating the passage of approximately one week; however, commentators have not agreed as to any specific reason for the different wording. Luke is, as pointed out above, more precise than the other Synoptics in linking the transfiguration with Jesus’ preceding sayings by a specific reference to Jesus’ “words.” There may be an allusion here to the time Moses waited on Mount Sinai for the revelation of God (Ex 24:15–16). This is even more likely in Matthew and Mark, where the phrase “after six days” corresponds directly to the period Moses waited.

Peter, John, and James had been taken into Jesus’ confidence elsewhere, e.g., at 8:51 and in the garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14:33). Luke uses the definite article to (“the”) with “mountain” (see NASB; NIV has “a mountain”), from which we may infer that the original readers knew what location he had in mind. On the other hand, the construction might indicate that Luke uses “mountain” symbolically. Symbolism is not infrequent in references to mountains, in Matthew especially; but this does not rule out a specific geographical location. The locale of the transfiguration could have been any high mountain (Mk 9:2; see Notes). The article with oros (“mountain,” GK 4001) is normal in similar grammatical constructions in the Gospels (except for Mt 5:14). If we think of the exodus as a frame of reference, then Sinai is symbolically in mind; if the Parousia, then the Mount of Olives may be symbolized (Zec 14:4; Ac 1:10–12). Once again, Luke mentions that Jesus is at prayer—an observation repeated in v. 29 but absent from the account in Matthew 17:1–2 and Mark 9:2.[1]

9:28. The narrative unequivocally connects Jesus’ saying in v 27 with the Transfiguration account that follows—thus fulfilling His words. Jesus and the three “inner circle” disciples, Peter, John and James, ascend the mountain to pray (cf. 6:12). These three apostles exemplified the kind of believer who would save their lives for kingdom reward: Peter who remained faithful after failure; James who died under unjust persecution for his faith; and John who died of natural causes after a long life of faithfulness to Christ.[2]

9:28. Luke places the transfiguration about eight days after the confession of Peter, a somewhat unusual precision for Luke. Matthew and Mark refer to six days. Both are ways of saying “a week later.” There may be differences in Jewish and Greek calendars at work or different ways of relating Jesus’ transfiguration to Moses’ ascension of the mountain to see God in Exodus 24 after God’s glory rested on Mount Sinai for six days. Luke knows his reckoning is approximate.

Jesus took his three closest followers (see Mark 5:37; 13:3; 14:33; Luke 8:51) with him up a mountain (cf. Exod. 24:9). Identifying the mountain is impossible, since the text gives no clues. Tradition links it with Mount Tabor, but this is uncertain. As he often did (see 9:18), Jesus turned aside to pray. He taught prayer by example.[3]

28. Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took along Peter and John and James, and went up into the mountain to pray.

The expression about eight days after these sayings is not in conflict with “six days later” (Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2). While Luke was probably using the inclusive method of time computation, including in his count both the day of Peter’s confession and that of Christ’s transfiguration, the other synoptists were likely referring only to the six intervening days. Besides, Luke does not even intend to be precise, for he says “about eight days.”

It should be added, however, that by stating “about eight days after these sayings” the beloved physician is not only furnishing a chronological note, but also providing a logical link between the “sayings,” on the one hand, and the Master’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, on the other; that is, 9:31 is explained by and explains 9:22.

Why did Jesus take with him Peter and John and James when he ascended the Mount of Transfiguration? For a discussion of this question see above, on 8:51.

It is impossible with certainty to identify the “mountain” (Luke 9:28), or “high mountain” (Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2), to which Jesus brought the three. Some say, “It was Mount Tabor.” However, in view of the fact that there was at that time a city or fortress on top of that mountain it is not easy to see how the Lord and these three men could here have found the privacy they were seeking. Mount Hermon is favored by others. However, when Jesus (with the three) descends from the mountain he is met by “a great multitude,” including scribes (Mark 9:14). This seems to indicate that “the Mount of Transfiguration,” as it can safely be called, was not in the far north, populated mostly by Gentiles. A far more logical place is Jebel Jermak (or Jermuk) in Upper Galilee, the highest elevation in that entire region, rising 4,000 feet above the Mediterranean Sea, affording a beautiful view in all directions. From this mountain it was but a relatively short distance to Capernaum, which Jesus seems to have reached soon afterward (Matt. 17:24; Mark 9:28, 33). We are, of course, not certain that this was the mountain to which Luke refers, but at least it fills all the requirements.

It is Luke alone who mentions that Jesus went up into the mountain to pray. It is exactly Luke who could be expected to report this purpose. See above, Introduction, point I A 5b. It is understandable that the Mediator would often pour out his heart to the Father in prayer, and that he would do this especially now, since he knew that before long he would be wending his way toward Jerusalem and the bitter agony that awaited him there.[4]

Ver. 28.—And it came to pass about as eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. Some eight days after this question asked in the neighbourhood of Cæsarea Philippi, and its reply, and the sermon to the people on the subject of “No cross, no crown,” which immediately followed, our Lord summoned the three leading disciples and took them up into a mountain to pray. They had spent the last few days apparently in quiet converse together. SS. Matthew and Mark speak only of six days. St. Luke gives the period in round numbers, counting portions of the first and last days as whole days. We may well imagine that this was a period of intense depression in the little company of Jesus. Their Master’s popularity was fast waning among the people. His powerful enemies seemed gathering closer and closer round the Teacher whom they were determined to crush. The late utterances of Jesus, too, whether spoken to them alone, or publicly to the people, all foreshadowed a time of danger and suffering in the immediate future for him and for them—a time which, as far as he was concerned, would close with a violent death. To raise the fainting spirits of his own, to inspire them with greater confidence in himself, seems to have been the immediate purpose of that grand vision of glory known as the Transfiguration. It is true that to only three was vouchsafed the vision, and silence was enjoined on these, but the three were the leading spirits of the twelve. If Peter, James, and John were brave, earnest, and hopeful, there was little doubt that their tone of mind would be quickly reflected in their companions. Tradition, based on the fairly early authority of Cyril of Jerusalem, and of Jerome (fourth century), speaks of the mountain as Tabor, but the solitude evidently necessary for the manifestation would have been sought for in vain on Mount Tabor, a hill which rises abruptly from the Plain of Esdraelon, not very far from Nazareth to the south-east, for the summit of Tabor at that time was crowned with a fortress. The mountain most probably was one of the lower peaks of Hermon, at no great distance from the fountain source of the Jordan and Cæsarea Philippi, in which district we know Jesus and his companions had been teaching only a few days before.[5]

28 Luke totally reformulates Mark 9:2. Without any great departure from Mark’s sense, he manages to retain of Mark’s language only the names (in a different order), the reference to a mountain (but “a high mountain” has become “the mountain”), Mark’s verb for “taking along” (used in a different form), and the word “days” (but now “about eight days”). As often, Luke introduces an ἐγένετο, “it happened,” construction. He ties the account more closely with what precedes by his more specific “after these words.” With his ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτώ (lit. “about eight days”), Luke is probably abandoning Mark’s six, which has no particular significance for him (Mark may have perceived a link with the period of preparation in Exod 24:16 before God spoke to Moses out of the cloud), and making the time frame about a week (cf. the French idiom; the idiom is not to my knowledge documented for Greek, but seems most likely here [and possibly in John 20:26]; it is too fanciful to find reference to the eighth day as the day of resurrection; see Barn. 15:9, “we too celebrate with gladness the eighth day when Jesus also rose from the dead … and ascended into heaven”). The point is the link between 9:27 and the present episode.

Luke uses the names of his three companions in the order in which he has referred to the privileged inner group in 8:51. Peter and John are paired in 22:8; Acts 3:1, 3, 4, 11; 4:13, 19; 8:14. In Gal 2:9 Peter and John come together after James (not, this time, John’s brother). The pairing will reflect a historical link between the two in the early life of the church. Luke makes the account much more an experience in the life of Jesus than did the Markan version (but nonetheless this and similar texts still have a strong christological and theological focus rather than so much a psychological interest). So here already, Luke has: Jesus “went up onto the mountain to pray” instead of Mark’s “he took them onto a high mountain.” The phrase “onto the mountain to pray” is to be found identically in 6:12. Important events for Jesus are linked to his prayer. In light of what is to come, the trip up the mountain here may be linked to Moses’ meeting with God on Mount Sinai (Exod 24; 33–34). More speculative is a link between Jesus’ three companions and Moses’ close associates in Exod 24:9.[6]

28. an eight days after these sayings—including the day on which this was spoken and that of the Transfiguration. Matthew and Mark say (Mt 17:1; Mk 9:2) “after six days,” excluding these two days. As the “sayings” so definitely connected with the transfiguration scene are those announcing His death—at which Peter and all the Twelve were so startled and scandalized—so this scene was designed to show to the eyes as well as the heart how glorious that death was in the view of Heaven.

Peter, James, and John—partners before in secular business; now sole witnesses of the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter (Mk 5:37), the transfiguration, and the agony in the garden (Mk 14:33).

a mountain—not Tabor, according to long tradition, with which the facts ill comport, but some one near the lake.

to pray—for the period He had now reached was a critical and anxious one. (See on Mt 16:13). But who can adequately translate those “strong cryings and tears?” Methinks, as I steal by His side, I hear from Him these plaintive sounds, “Lord, who hath believed Our report? I am come unto Mine own and Mine own receive Me not; I am become a stranger unto My brethren, an alien to My mother’s children: Consider Mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate Me with cruel hatred. Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail. Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth: Show Me a token for good: Father, glorify Thy name.”[7]

[1] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 178–179). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Gospel according to Luke. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 272–273). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[3] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 147–148). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 503–504). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Luke (Vol. 1, p. 238). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] Nolland, J. (1998). Luke 9:21–18:34 (Vol. 35B, pp. 497–498). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[7] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 107). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

May 9 How to Resist the Devil

scripture reading: Psalm 25
key verse: Acts 26:18

To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

How do you resist your conquered but still dangerous foe, the devil?

First, understand that you fight in God’s supernatural strength, not your own. That strength is yours through the indwelling presence of the “God of all grace, who … will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10 nasb). Your faith in God’s might is like a spiritual smart bomb that thwarts the devil’s schemes.

Second, submit and draw near to God (James 4:7–8). You do not submit to your temptation; you submit to God: “Lord, You know I am strongly attracted to this person, but I am even more attracted to You. I surrender to You.” When you turn and yield to God instead of your temptations, you place yourself in the “mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6 nasb).

Third, persevere “with all prayer and petition” (Eph. 6:18 nasb). You are righteous in Christ, and God hears and answers the prayers of the righteous.

Prayer routs the enemy, overrunning his evil command and control system with the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Pray quickly; pray hard; pray confidently. You are already on the winning side.

Father, I fight in Your strength. I submit and draw near to You. Help me persevere in prayer until complete victory is mine.[1]

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

9 may (1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The world turned upside down

“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” Acts 17:6

suggested further reading: Matthew 5:1–12

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful are not much respected in this world—at least if they are imprudently merciful; the man who forgives too much, or who is too generous, is not considered to be wise. But Christ declares that he who has been merciful—merciful to supply the wants of the poor, merciful to forgive his enemies and to pass by offences, shall obtain mercy. Here, again, is the world turned upside down. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The world says, “Blessed is the man who indulges in a carefree life.” If you ask the common run of mankind who is the happy man, they will tell you, “The happy man is he who has abundance of money, and spends it freely, and is freed from restraint—who leads a merry dance of life, who drinks deep of the cup of intoxication—who revels riotously, who, like the wild horse of the prairie, is not restrained by reason, but who dashes across the broad plains of sin, unharnessed, unguided, unrestrained.” This is the man whom the world calls happy: the proud man, the mighty man, the Nimrod, the man who can do just as he wishes, and who spurns to keep the narrow way of holiness. Now, the Scripture says, not so, for “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”

“Blest is the man who shuns the place Where sinners love to meet;

Who fears to tread their wicked ways, And hates the scoffer’s seat.…”

The man who cannot touch one thing because that would be lascivious, nor another because that would spoil his communion with his Master; a man who cannot frequent this place of amusement, because he could not pray there, and cannot go to another, because he could not hope to have his Master’s sanction upon an hour so spent—that man is blessed!

for meditation: The world was turned upside down through men who had been turned upside down (Mark 9:34, 35; 10:42–44). Do we need to know a lot more of that in our churches and individual lives?

sermon no. 193[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 136). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

9 MAY 365 Days with Calvin

Not Willing the Death of Sinners

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: Joshua 24:19–27

How does God wish all men to be saved? He does this today by the Spirit’s convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment by the gospel, just as he did this in days past through the law and the prophets (John 16:8). God makes clear to people their great misery so that they may come to him. He wounds that he may cure, and slays that he may give life.

We maintain that God does not will the death of sinners, since he equally calls all people to repentance and promises he is prepared to receive them if they only seriously repent. Some may object, saying that this would deny God’s election, for he has predestinated a fixed number to salvation. The prophet does not speak here of God’s secret counsel, but only of God calling those in misery from despair that they may apprehend the hope of pardon, and repent and embrace the offer of salvation.

If anyone again objects, saying this proves that God acts with duplicity, the answer is ready: God always wishes the same thing, though by different ways, and in a manner we cannot understand. Although God’s will is simple, yet it involves great variety, as far as our senses are concerned. It is not surprising that our eyes should be so blinded by intense light that we cannot judge with certainty how God wishes all to be saved and yet has devoted the reprobate to eternal destruction and wishes them to perish. While we now look through a glass darkly, we should be content with the measure of our own intelligence (1 Cor. 13:12). When we one day are like God and see him face to face, then what is now obscure to us will become plain.

for meditation: In dealing with texts like these, we should not try to exalt our reason over God’s revelation, depriving the text of its power. Rather, we should glory in the great and free salvation offered to all who hear the gospel. This is the good news we must bring to everyone around us: God is willing to save sinners who turn to him.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 148). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Prata Potpourri: RHE,divine order, false humility, book sale! more — The End Time

If you’re not over-saturated with the Rachel Held Evans news of her death and influence, I found these essays to be thoughtful and helpful in putting the whole thing in context. One of the charges made to even the sensitively written essays and obituaries was that no one should “speak ill of the dead” and/or that it was “too soon” to write anything negative about her. These essays deal with these issues.

How should Christians respond to the death of Rachel Held Evans?

Rachel Held Evans denied the God of the Bible and, instead, created a god in her own image – a god that allowed her to exist comfortably alongside those who worship the sexual revolution. Out of all the tragedies surrounding her death, the most tragic thing is that all evidence points to the reality that Rachel Held Evans entered eternity under the wrath of God.

Should we stop calling Rachel Held Evans a false teacher?

At the same time, we must not pretend that her teachings honored the Lord.  Both Denny Burk and Allen Nelson IV have documented the serious errors in her theology, and I strongly urge you to read their articles.  Rachel Held Evans espoused a liberal theology that strips the Bible of its authority, thereby putting her followers in danger of becoming false converts.


Over the weekend, Rachel Held Evans’ followers have been thanking her, in memoriam, for encouraging them to be gay, feminist, a woman pastor, to worship a female version of God, to not feel guilty about voting for a woman’s right to choose abortion, to celebrate doubt, and to cut essential doctrines out of the Christian faith. What she taught in life, she’s being celebrated for in death. And yet we who know the truth are expected to remain silent about the danger they are in? We’re supposed to hide our light under a bushel until—when, exactly?

This essay isn’t particularly about RHE specifically but its recent publication after her death and resulting reactions speaks to the state of Christian civil (uncivil) dialog that I found helpful.

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:

Blaspheming St. Rachel Held Evans

Just so we’re clear: if you believe that it’s morally wrong for people to respond to the death of RHE by tearing into her legacy viciously, then I agree with you. There may be a time for doing that, but four or five days after she is dead is not that time. It’s a matter of respect. But if you believe that there is no morally acceptable way to write critically about her legacy so soon after her passing, well, we’ve got a problem.

In OTHER news:

A good one from TableTalk Magazine I found helpful in clarifying an issue I’ve long had with responses to encouragement.

False Humility

“Thank you so much for taking time to bring me dinner while I’m sick. I’ve noticed that you have a selfless, others-focused life, and I’m so grateful to be a beneficiary of that grace in you.”
“Well, glory to God!”
I see these sorts of exchanges often. Someone writes or speaks a word of encouragement, specifically pointing out God’s goodness in the life of a friend. The recipient of the kind message, perhaps not knowing how to respond, deflects the encouragement with a statement such as “Glory to God.”
Of course, it’s important and right to consistently acknowledge the Lord and not to take credit and glory for the gifts that God has provided or the opportunities you have, but it’s another thing to deflect all encouragement so that we appear humble.

Run, do not walk to this sale! I checked the prices of all the offered books and they are deep markdowns even from comparing to Amazon WITH a Wikibuy coupon. I happen to know that if you spend $50 or more, you will receive free standard shipping, within Continental USA. It is a limited stock and when they are gone, they’re gone.

Godly Women
Banner of Truth Trust’s sale on books about Godly women.

Women preaching seems to be all the rage these days. Own Strachen has a few thoughts about that.

Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching

Our culture today does not embrace divine order in either scriptural form or natural form. Our culture is anti-order. Think of what Christopher Hitchens once wrote: “We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine.” In Hitchens’ mind, the greatest evil is not the priest, but hierarchy–another word for divine order.

The Pyromaniacs have some thoughts on Thinking Like a Slave. It’s timely for me, I was surprised a few weeks back when I posted that Christians must regularly attend church, I received several vociferous replies that I was quite wrong. Dan Phillips here explains/rebuts/destroys the very reasons I received that are often given as justifications for failing to worship corporately. In other words, he nailed it.

Combined with the essay above regarding the rebellion of the ‘saved’ Christian against a divine order & hierarchy, it’s a nice bookend piece. Here’s Dan-

But no. I can roll them all together, and deal with them all in one. Every one of these excuses, though presented in great deal and with great conviction, shares the very same fatal flaw. Every one of them views the Christian life as a process of negotiation.

A good article on why music is becoming increasingly derivative and less creative

The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy (and Quality)

Besides the decline of music literacy and participation, there has also been a decline in the quality of music which has been proven scientifically by Joan Serra, a postdoctoral scholar at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona. Joan and his colleagues looked at 500,000 pieces of music between 1955-2010, running songs through a complex set of algorithms examining three aspects of those songs:

The advent of drones makes aerial photography easier to produce for anyone without a pilot’s license and a plane. This series from My Modern Met depicts our connection with water. Beautiful photos

Stunning Aerial Photos Reveal the Natural Human Connection with Water

From the ocean, lakes, and rivers to hot baths and swimming pools, people are drawn to all types of water. For many, these bodies of water are cool, warm, comforting sanctuaries. Even from the early days of humanity, people sought out large expanses of water for survival, but also because it simply feels good to be in and around it.

These really ARE the Best Black Bean Burgers You’ve Ever Had. The secret is to briefly bake the black beans first, drying them out a bit. I am making these this weekend. Along with some yellow rice and an avocado it will be a delicious Saturday lunch!

I have been enjoying Netflix’s old BBC show Dad’s Army. A comedy about the WWII Home Guard. Clean and actually funny as well as heartwarming.

Enjoy your weekend!



via Prata Potpourri: RHE,divine order, false humility, book sale! more — The End Time

Thursday Briefing May 9, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com



 Christine Quinn claims the life in a mother’s womb isn’t a human being, raising the question, “What then is the standard for recognizing human life?”


 Should prisoners be allowed to vote? The morality of human nature and the consequences of evil


 Avatar baptisms? Why there can be no such thing as a virtual reality church





The Liberal Hypocrites Who Want to Be Our Moral Betters — American Thinker

Imagine these people appointing themselves your ethical betters and teachers on matters moral, and you have a portrait of the modern left-wing hypocrite.

Watching the recent and laughably hypocritical social media authorities’ crackdown on “hate speech” (which means “speech that we don’t like”), one is reminded strikingly of a confrontation recorded in the Gospels between Jesus Christ and the Pharisees.  Christ directed attention to the longstanding Pharisaical pretension to be just and holy men, although He in His omniscience saw them privately indulging in the very vices they publicly condemned:

Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel.  Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine and uncleanness[.] … So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matt. 11:23–27)

Virtue-signaling liberals would have you believe they are the most conscientious of people, perfectly positioned to lecture the public on matters of morality, but in truth, they defend and promote so many abominable injustices that it is impossible to ignore their rank hypocrisy.  The most recent attempts of the left to play the part of public virtue police recalls an almost infinite treasury of liberal hypocrisy:

  • Demanding that private businesses (like Christian bakeries) be forced to violate their convictions of conscience by baking homosexual “wedding” cakes (though not critiquing Islamic or homosexual bakeries for similar practices) while defending other “private” businesses (like Facebook) censoring or de-platforming whomever they wish
  • Insisting that the government be allowed to regulate the most nitpicking minutiae of private life, down to how many ounces of soda you can drink, while equally insisting that the same government should never interfere in “private” decisions about your body (like, say, a woman extinguishing the life of her offspring in utero)
  • Lambasting the “violence” of “hate speech” (i.e., speech that dissents from leftist dogma) while assaulting restaurant patrons for wearing MAGA hats
  • Demanding that American taxpayers freely allow aliens to illegally cross into their communities, and blasting those who disagree as “racists,” while themselves choosing to live in predominantly white, low-immigrant areas; building expansive walls around their own homes; and steadfastly refusing to open their own properties to immigrants when asked.
  • Pretending to be great lovers of “science” if it seems to support leftist dogma like climate change while completely ignoring or denying what science has to say about the innate biological differences between the sexes or about the beginnings of life in the womb
  • Confidently asserting that homosexual desires are fixed and unchangeable, such that laws must be made preventing homosexuals who voluntarily seek to change from doing so, while also asserting that fixed and immutable biological traits (like possessing a Y chromosome) are totally fluid and changeable merely by “identifying” as a woman
  • Decrying the state-sponsored execution of guilty murderers, rapists, and terrorists while celebrating and promoting the state-sponsored execution of innocent unborn (and now even born!) children
  • Urging that we “await all the evidence” before dismissing obvious hoaxes (e.g., Jussie Smollet’s staged “hate crime”) while rushing to (false) judgment when the narrative fits preconceived biases (e.g., “racist” Catholic high school students allegedly “oppressing” American Indian veterans)
  • Forming the vanguard of an alleged resurgence in sexual mores and propriety toward women via the “Me Too” movement while also allowing its Hollywood branch to continue pumping out a steady stream of foul and semi-pornographic filth that largely created and sustains the very rape-and-smut culture they now claim to decry
  • Denouncing political commentary as causing “violence” against Democratic politicians, then quietly ignoring similar condemnations after shootings against Republican congressmen (committed by a Bernie Sanders–supporter)
  • Focusing keen media attention on (extremely rare) incidents of terrorism directed against mosques (particularly when there is any slight hope of pinning the blame on a right-winger) while studiously ignoring actual genocide committed worldwide against Christians, especially to avoid drawing attention to the Islamic origins of such genocide
  • Obsessively fixating on suppressing “hateful ideology” that leads to “violence” while fostering a new mold of political representatives who now openly advocate for socialism (Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), an  ideology that has claimed 100 million lives
  • Denouncing non-leftist politicians who use filthy words in private but preparing to support and vote for leftist politicians who commit filthy actions, like fondling women and even children in public (and on camera)
  • Insisting on the provision of “safe spaces” for adult college students who may be “triggered” or threatened by hearing ideas which differ from their own while denying those same safe spaces  in the form of single-sex locker rooms for minor students who may be threatened by actions from those with nefarious intentions
  • Forever attempting to restrict citizens’ rights to defend themselves with firearms, while ensuring that their own political and celebrity leadership always be flanked by heavily armed security

In times of clearer thinking, an individual who manifested the above thought patterns without noticing the profound hypocrisy present therein would be denounced as a malignant wretch, or else as certifiably insane.  Today, such a one is hailed as a morally irreproachable champion of progress and often encouraged to run for political office so he can inflict his insanity on entire nations.

What makes hypocrisy — and leftist hypocrisy in particular — most galling and most outrageous is the spectacle of a wicked man holding himself out as a teacher of the good.   It’s one thing for a man to cheat on his wife, but quite another for the same man to bid farewell to his mistress just before taking the stage to deliver a public lecture denouncing adultery.

Modern leftist virtue-policing has now arrived at a position of self-caricature, as if Pablo Escobar had joined the late Nancy Reagan in her “just say no” campaign against drugs.

Liberal virtue police are skilled at mobilizing their angry social media mobs to attack instances of any of the “sins” these hypocrites count as transgressions of the good, but their own manifestly wicked conduct should be enough to prevent their virtue-signaling antics from ever being treated seriously by any thinking person.

Take just one example from the long dirty laundry list already discussed: abortion.  It’s low-hanging fruit because even some leftists intuitively understand that murdering infants is indefensible.  And yet, in abortion, we have perhaps the best example of leftist hypocrisy, straining out the gnats of their numberless petty outrages while swallowing the camel of mass slaughter:

[Y]ou must realize that we are living in the most evil of all the ages[.] … I will take only one example — abortion.  We have killed more children than any people in history, and no one else is even in the ballpark!  Hitler, Stalin and the other monsters of history must peek through the flames of Hell and gaze in awe and professional admiration at the level of our barbarity[.] … I remember being horrified when I read in school about the Aztec Indians throwing children alive into the fire as a sacrifice to their god.  How barbaric!  But count the numbers.  What is the output of the abortion clinics in this country each day?  Who are the barbarians?  Who are the monsters?” (Source)

Imagine those fitting the above description appointing themselves your ethical betters and teachers on matters moral, and you have a portrait of the modern left-wing hypocrite.

The cartoonish lack of self-awareness shown by the liberal hypocrite was well summarized by G.K. Chesterton: “He is himself more preposterous than anything he denounces.”
Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/05/the_liberal_hypocrites_who_want_to_be_our_moral_betters.html#ixzz5nQ2FubFj
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

via The Liberal Hypocrites Who Want to Be Our Moral Betters — American Thinker

Albert Mohler: Facebook’s Move Gives Cause for Concern – TownhallReview.com

Facebook has removed seven people identified as “extremists.”

The New York Times reported it this way:

After years of wavering about how to handle the extreme voices populating its platform, Facebook … evicted seven of its most controversial users, many of whom are conservatives, immediately inflaming the debate about the power and accountability of large technology companies.

Louis Farrakhan of the nation of Islam and Alex Jones of the Infowars website were among those evicted.

But the Times made a point of identifying them as “conservative.”

Are we looking at a more ominous threat?

The question is: Is this the beginning of excising all unwanted speech from Facebook?

We don’t have any assurances that this is not the case.

And we know well the political and cultural climate at Facebook. When you consider the fact that 2.4 billion people on the planet use Facebook, we have every reason to be concerned.


— Read on townhallreview.com/2019/05/albert-mohler-facebooks-move-gives-cause-for-concern/

THAT’S OLD NEWS: CNN Gloats Over The President Old Taxes, But This Fakenews Disaster Was Mentioned By Trump 15 Years Ago — These Christian Times

CNN gloated over the Tax return of President Trump, but this fakenews disaster was mentioned by him 15 years ago.
But anyone who watched Trump’s NBC show “The Apprentice” from the very beginning was aware of the huge business losses — they were mentioned in the opening segment of the premiere episode, which aired January 8, 2004.

CNN wants you to believe this is groundbreaking news and gloat over his taxes. WOW this is where people get their news from?

via THAT’S OLD NEWS: CNN Gloats Over The President Old Taxes, But This Fakenews Disaster Was Mentioned By Trump 15 Years Ago — These Christian Times

FIGHTING BACK: President Trump Says Enough Is Enough And He Is About To Go To War With The Deep State — These Christian Times

Enough is enough. President Trump is about to go to war with the Deep State. President Trump exerts executive privilege over all aspects of the Mueller report and the Democrats lost it. War is coming within both parties and Trump stands in the way of those seeking to destroy our nation.

via FIGHTING BACK: President Trump Says Enough Is Enough And He Is About To Go To War With The Deep State — These Christian Times

May 9, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

The Divine Perspective

having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we … should be to the praise of His glory. (1:11, 12b)

Our discussion here will follow the order of the Greek text of verse 12, in which (as reflected in the King James Version) should be to the praise of His glory precedes “who were the first to hope in Christ” (which phrase will be discussed below in relation to the human perspective).

God’s perspective on our inheritance in Christ is here shown in His predestination, His power, and His preeminence.

God’s predestination. having been predestined according to His purpose. As Christians we are what we are because of what God chose to make us before any man was created. From eternity past He declared that every elect sinner—though vile, rebellious, useless, and deserving only of death—who trusted in His Son would be made as righteous as the One in whom they put their trust. As Paul has already established, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (v. 4).

William Hendriksen’s comment on this passage is helpful and concise:

Neither fate nor human merit determines our destiny. The benevolent purpose—that we should be holy and faultless (verse 4), sons of God (verse 5), destined to glorify him forever (verse 6, cf. verses 12 and 14)—is fixed, being part of a larger, universe-embracing plan. Not only did God make this plan that includes absolutely all things that ever take place in heaven, on earth, and in hell; past, present, and even the future, pertaining to both believers and unbelievers, to angels and devils, to physical as well as spiritual energies and units of existence both large and small; he also wholly carries it out. His providence in time is as comprehensive as is his decree from eternity. (New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Ephesians [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967], p. 88)

God’s power. who works all things after the counsel of His will. Works is from energeō, from which we get such English words as energy, energetic, and energize. God’s creating and energizing are one in His divine mind. When He spoke each part of the world into existence it began immediately to operate precisely as He had planned it to do. Unlike the things we make, God’s creations do not have to be redesigned, prototyped, tested, fueled, charged, and the like. They are not only created ready to function, they are created functioning.

Energizing is an indispensable part of His creative plan and work. Because in His wondrous grace God chose us to be His children, citizens of His kingdom, and joint heirs with His Son, He will bring all of that to pass. “For I am confident of this very thing,” Paul declared, “that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God works out what He plans. He energizes every believer with all the power necessary for his spiritual completion. It is not sufficient to think that God only makes the plan. He also makes it work out.

God’s preeminence. should be to the praise of His glory. As mentioned above, this phrase begins verse twelve in the Greek text, and that order fits logically with what Paul has been saying about God’s perspective on our inheritance. The Lord’s perspective and working are seen in His predestination, in His power, and, as we see here, in His preeminence. Man is redeemed for the purpose of restoring the divine image marred by sin. Because God’s intention in creating men was that they should bear the divine image, salvation’s goal is creation’s goal. God desires creatures that will give Him glory by both proclaiming and displaying His glory. For that reason He redeems men.

Scripture always presents salvation from God’s side, in order that He should have full credit. In our humanly-oriented society, God’s wanting exclusive credit seems inappropriate—but only because men have no concept of His greatness, holiness, and glory. What views they may have of Him are simply projections of themselves. The praise and glory that men so much desire are totally undeserved, and their motives for wanting them are purely sinful. But God seeks glory for the right reasons and because He alone is deserving of it. His seeking glory is a holy desire of which He is supremely and singly worthy.

Our predestined salvation, including our attendant eternal and boundless blessings, are therefore designed that they should be to the praise of His glory.[1]

God’s Heart (1:11a)

“In him we were also chosen,” says Paul (Eph. 1:11). The words echo what has already been said about all believers earlier in this long sentence: “[God] chose us in him” (Eph. 1:4). Our tendency in English is simply to insert a form of the verb “to be” to make sense of this phrase, “God chose us (to be) in him.” But the meaning is deeper and different than that. If we were chosen to be in him, then the focus is on the end of the process, or what results. And while that truth is present, the focus is more on the origin of God’s choosing than its end results. Although the NIV offers the translation “chose” and “chosen” for the verbs in both verses 4 and 11, in actuality the words in Greek, while overlapping conceptually, are distinct. Here the Greek word (eklērōthēmen) indicates that “we are apportioned as an inheritance.” The passive voice favors the notion that “we” are those who are made to be the inheritance rather than those who have obtained an inheritance. The apostle is making it clear that God’s love is based on something in his heart rather than on anything that we would achieve or claim for ourselves—just as an heir does not inherit because of what he has gained but because of what his father gives.

The chosen people of Israel were not chosen because of anything in them. They were not more holy, more numerous, or more distinguished than any other nation. Moses tells the people in Deuteronomy, “The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest” (Deut. 7:6–7); and, “It is not because of your righteousness or integrity that … the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. Remember this and never forget how you provoked the Lord your God to anger in the desert” (Deut. 9:5–7). As the Old Testament people of God were called God’s inheritance (e.g., Deut. 4:20; 9:29; 32:8–9; Ps. 33:12; 1 Kings 8:51), so too his new covenant people are God’s portion and inheritance (Eph. 1:18). This apportioning is according to God’s own choice (he is the agent—implied in the passive verb—who apportions the inheritance), which is further emphasized by Paul when he discusses God’s predestining purpose.

Why were the people to remember that their God loved them because of what was in his heart rather than what was in theirs? So that the people would “know therefore that the Lord your God is God” (Deut. 7:9). The concept of choosing, which sometimes raises questions about God’s fairness, is actually being used here to comfort God’s people. Paul wants everyone to remember that we are loved not because of what is in us but because of what is in God. The loving faithfulness of God that is revealed in Christ is the cause of our being his. The locus, or cause, of the covenant people being God’s is moved from them to him; they are his because of what is in his heart.

God’s Plan (1:11b)

Divine causation is emphasized in the words that follow the reminder of God’s choosing. The covenant people were chosen “having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Eph. 1:11b). These words follow close on the heels of Paul’s earlier statement that the will of God purposed in Christ is “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Eph. 1:10). God plans to bring everything under his Son, and even now the Father is making everything work together for that purpose—everything! The scope of these words our humanity has not the capacity to contain.

One summer I took a group tour with a botanist through meadows in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to showing us the marvelous colors of the wild flowers we so easily fail to notice, he also used a hand-held microscope to reveal the incredible design of violets, clover, and orchids at the cell level. And while these flower cells were whispering the glory of God, the mountains above us were at the same moment shouting his greatness. I was moved to awe in those moments by remembering that all things—as great as mountains and as small as flower cells—are being coordinated according to God’s plan to bring glory to his Son as the head of all things.[2]

11. Through whom also we have obtained an inheritance. Hitherto he has spoken generally of all the elect; he now begins to take notice of separate classes. When he says, we have obtained, he speaks of himself and of the Jews, or, perhaps more correctly of all who were the first fruits of Christianity; and afterwards he comes to the Ephesians. It tended not a little to confirm the faith of the Ephesian converts, that he associated them with himself and the other believers, who might be said to be the first-born in the church. As if he had said, “The condition of all godly persons is the same with yours; for we who were first called by God owe our acceptance to his eternal election.” Thus, he shews, that, from first to last, all have obtained salvation by free grace, because they have been freely adopted according to eternal election.

Who worketh all things. The circumlocution employed in describing the Supreme Being deserves attention. He speaks of Him as the sole agent, and as doing everything according to His own will, so as to leave nothing to be done by man. In no respect, therefore, are men admitted to share in this praise, as if they brought anything of their own. God looks at nothing out of himself to move him to elect them, for the counsel of his own will is the only and actual cause of their election. This may enable us to refute the error, or rather the madness, of those who, whenever they are unable to discover the reason of God’s works, exclaim loudly against his design.[3]

11 The NIV starts a new paragraph here, though, of course, the sentence that started with 1:3 continues through 1:14. It starts with the now familiar “in him” (lit., “in whom”), detailing yet another divine action for those who are incorporated in Christ. Paul employs the verb klēroō (GK 3103), which means “to appoint or obtain by lot” (cf. BDAG, 548). If Paul intends the idea of “appoint,” then he means that in Christ we were appointed to be his possession or to become his inheritance. Thus O’Brien, 115, defends the translation “we were claimed by God as his portion.” The NIV interprets this as “we were also chosen” (cf. v. 4). If the sense centers more on “obtain,” then Paul might mean that in Christ the church obtained its inheritance (cf. NASB). Muddiman, 76–77, translates this phrase as “in whom we have gained our allotted portion.” This would parallel the idea of predestination that follows: what God has determined for his people. It is difficult to make a choice here, for both make good sense in the context and fit the uses of the verb elsewhere, though this is its only occurrence in the NT. Perhaps the former has a slight edge, given the common OT sense of the people of Israel as God’s inheritance (e.g., Dt 4:20; 9:29; 32:8–9; 1 Ki 8:51; Pss 33:12; 106:40; cf. Col 1:12). In either case, we note the corporate emphasis again: we are God’s inheritance as members of the corporate Christ, or we obtain our inheritance in Christ.

As in v. 5, Paul appends the verb “predestine,” but we do not find what God has predetermined for his people until v. 12—that “we … be for the praise of his glory.” Before saying that, however, Paul provides insight into the way God predestines such things. Compounding synonyms, Paul affirms that God predestines in a very purposeful way. The outcomes do not occur randomly, nor are they in any doubt, for they follow from the prothesis (“plan, purpose, resolve,” GK 4606) of God, who accomplishes what he does (“all things”) according to the boulē (“resolution, decision,” GK 1087) of his thelēma (“will, desire,” GK 2525; cf. v. 1). The structure proves somewhat opaque; again the language is florid and expansive, and the meanings of the terms overlap. Paul’s point is not in doubt. In Christ God is accomplishing a very carefully worked-out plan for his people.[4]

11  The verb translated “we were claimed … as his portion” has been rendered more freely in a number of recent versions. In the RSV it is taken together with the following participle and rendered comprehensively “we … have been destined and appointed.” The NEB, less freely, renders it “we have been given our share in the heritage.” The NIV renders it “we were … chosen.” But we are dealing with a passive form of the verb which means “appoint by lot,” “allot,” “assign,” and the passive sense should be brought out unless there is good reason to the contrary. The reason for the rendering “we were claimed by God as his portion” (rather than “we were assigned our portion”) is that it is in keeping with OT precedent.86 In the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:8–9) the nations of the world are assigned to various angelic beings (“the sons of God”), but Yahweh retains Israel as his personal possession:

for the Lord’s portion is his people,

Jacob his allotted heritage.”

So here, believers in Christ are God’s chosen people, claimed by him as his portion or heritage. That this is the sense is confirmed by the reference in v. 18 to “the glorious wealth of his inheritance in the saints.”

The idea of the divine foreordination is repeated from v. 5. There God is said to have foreordained his people “according to the good pleasure of his will”; here this is said to be part of his eternal governance of the universe, for he “works all things according to the counsel of his will.” His will may be disobeyed, but his ultimate purpose cannot be frustrated, for he overrules the disobedience of his creatures in such a way that it subserves his purpose. So in Acts 4:27–28 the apostles in their praise and prayer acknowledge before God that Herod and Pontius Pilate and the other enemies of Jesus conspired together, all unwittingly, “to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place.”[5]

Inheritance (v. 11)

We have been predestined not only to adoption and to holiness (vv. 4–5), but also to “an inheritance,” Paul says in verse 11. But what is that “inheritance”? Does Paul have in mind the list that we have been piecing together over the last few paragraphs? In other words, are sanctification, adoption, redemption, and forgiveness our “inheritance”? Or is Paul thinking in this verse about our “inheritance” in heaven? Perhaps both! We do have a great many spiritual blessings, even now, do we not? But, all the more thrilling, these things will be perfected when our “inheritance” is deeded over in full, someday, in heaven! Moreover, on that day we will see Jesus face to face! We will see the nail prints in his hands and feet, and be with him forever! What an “inheritance”! What a reason to say with Paul, “Blessed be God”![6]

That Christ’s interest in this church is deep, indeed, is shown also in the statement which follows, namely, in him 11. in whom we—I, Paul, and you, the addressed—also have been made heirs. Note the word “also,” meaning: not only did we, in vital union with Christ, receive such blessings as redemption, forgiveness of sin, and spiritual illumination (wisdom, insight), favors which have already been mentioned (verses 7–10 above) but, in addition to these initial favors, which, though they have abiding significance, focus the attention upon the past (deliverance from that terrible power by which we were bound, pardon of past sins, banishment of former darkness), the right to future glory was bestowed upon us. “We were made heirs,” says Paul. Heirs are those who, apart from any merit of theirs, were given the right to all the blessings of salvation in Jesus Christ, nevermore to lose them. The inheritance is given to them in two stages: certain blessings are bestowed upon them in the here and now, others in the hereafter (see on verses 13 and 14 below).

The objection might occur, “But will all the blessings of salvation—future as well as present—really be ours? Does God’s plan for our lives also secure the future?” The apostle answers this by continuing: having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will. Neither fate nor human merit determines our destiny. The benevolent purpose—that we should be holy and faultless (verse 4), Sons of God (verse 5), destined to glorify him forever (verse 6, cf. verses 12 and 14)—is fixed, being part of a larger, universe-embracing plan. Not only did God make this plan that includes absolutely all things that ever take place in heaven, on earth, and in hell; past, present, and even the future, pertaining to both believers and unbelievers, to angels and devils, to physical as well as spiritual energies and units of existence both large and small; he also wholly carries it out. His providence in time is as comprehensive as is his decree from eternity. Literally Paul states that God works (operates with his divine energy in) all things. The same word occurs also in verses 19 and 20, which refer to the working (energetic operation) of the infinite might of the Father of glory, which he wrought (energetically exerted) in Christ when he raised him from the dead. Hence, nothing can upset the elect’s future glory.

Moreover, although everything is included in God’s universe-embracing plan and in its effectuation in the course of history, there is nothing in this thought that should scare any of the children of God. Quite the contrary, for the words clearly imply that the only true God, who in Christ loves his own with a love that passes all understanding, acts with divine deliberation and wisdom. All his designs are holy, and he delights to reward those who trust in him. Human responsibility and the self-activity of faith are never violated in any way. There is plenty of room for them in the decree and in its effectuation. Scripture is very clear on this (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; Phil. 2:12, 13; 2 Thess. 2:13).

Besides, God is not like the heathen deities who are moved by changing circumstances, by whim and caprice, so that one never knows how long their favor is going to last. He who in his love has foreordained his people to adoption as sons will never forsake them, but will finish that which he began in them (Phil. 1:6). He will carry out his plan to the very finish. Nothing will ever be able to frustrate his design. “Nor sin, nor death, nor hell can move his firm predestinating love.”[7]

Ver. 11.—Even in him—in whom we were also made his inheritance. This is the literal rendering of ἐκληρώθημεν, and it is more expressive than the A.V., “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance.” God taking us for his own heritage involves more than our getting an inheritance from God (see Deut. 4:20, “The Lord hath taken you … to be unto him a people of inheritance”). It is implied that God will protect, care for, improve, and enjoy his own inheritance; he will be much with them and do all that is necessary for them. Formerly God’s inheritance was Israel only; but now it is much wider. All that God was to Israel of old he will be to his Church now. Having been predestinated according to the purpose. The reason why the reference to predestination is repeated is to show that this new privilege of the whole Church as God’s inheritance is not a fortuitous benefit, but the result of God’s deliberate and eternal foreordination; it rests therefore on an immovable foundation. Of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will. Predestination is not an exception to God’s usual way of working; he works, or works out (ἐνεργοῦτος) all things on the same principle, according to the decision to which his will comes. When we think of the sovereign will of God as determining all things, and in particular determining who are to be his heritage, we must remember how differently constituted the will of an infinitely holy Being is from that of frail and fallen creatures. The fallen creature’s will is often whimsical, the result of some freak or fancy; often, too, it is the outcome of pride, avarice, sensual affection, or some other evil feeling; but God’s will is the expression of his infinite perfections, and must always be infinitely holy, wise, and good. Wilfulness in man is utterly different from wilfulness in God; but the recoil we often have from the doctrine of God’s doing all things from his mere bene placitum, or according to the counsel of his own will, arises from a tendency to ascribe to his will the caprice which is true only of our own.[8]

1:11 One vital feature of the mystery is that believing Jews and believing Gentiles have their share in this grand program of God. The apostle speaks of the mystery in relation to Jewish believers in verses 11 and 12; in relation to Gentile believers in verse 13; then he combines them both in verse 14.

As for the Christians of Jewish ancestry, Paul writes, In Him also we have obtained an inheritance. Their right to a share is not based on their former national privileges, but solely on their union with Christ. The inheritance here looks forward to the time when they and all true believers will be manifested to an amazed world as the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb.

From all eternity these Jewish Christians were marked out for this place of privilege by the sovereign will of God, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.[9]

11. In whom—by virtue of union to whom.

obtained an inheritance—literally, “We were made to have an inheritance” [Wahl]. Compare Eph 1:18, “His inheritance in the saints”: as His inheritance is there said to be in them, so theirs is here said to be in Him (Ac 26:18). However, Eph 1:12, “That we should be to … His glory” (not “that we should have”), favors the translation of Bengel, Ellicott, and others, “We were made an inheritance.” So the literal Israel (De 4:20; 9:29; 32:9). “Also” does not mean “we also,” nor as English Version, “in whom also”; but, besides His having “made known to us His will,” we were also “made His inheritance,” or “we have also obtained an inheritance.”

predestinated—(Eph 1:5). The foreordination of Israel, as the elect nation, answers to that of the spiritual Israelites, believers, to an eternal inheritance, which is the thing meant here. The “we” here and in Eph 1:12, means Jewish believers (whence the reference to the election of Israel nationally arises), as contrasted with “you” (Eph 1:13) Gentile believers.

purpose—repeated from “purposed” (Eph 1:9; Eph 3:11). The Church existed in the mind of God eternally, before it existed in creation.

counsel of his … will—(Eph 1:5), “the good pleasure of His will.” Not arbitrary caprice, but infinite wisdom (“counsel”) joined with sovereign will. Compare his address to the same Ephesians in Ac 20:27, “All the counsel of God” (Is 28:29). Alike in the natural and spiritual creations, God is not an agent constrained by necessity. “Wheresoever counsel is, there is election, or else it is vain; where a will, there must be freedom, or else it is weak” [Pearson].[10]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 31–32). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 46–48). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 206). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 52–53). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 263–264). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Strassner, K. (2014). Opening up Ephesians (pp. 28–29). Leominster: Day One.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 87–89). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (pp. 4–5). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1910). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 342). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Did the Church Councils Merely Construct Christianity Based On Their Preferences? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

J. Warner Wallace was interviewed by Stelman Smith of the Unapologetic Apologists and addressed the reliability of the New Testament canon of scripture. Is Christianity, as we know it today, merely the version of “Christian” belief that prevailed? Why should we trust what we now call, “Christianity”? Be sure to visit the Unapologetic Apologists on YouTube.

via Did the Church Councils Merely Construct Christianity Based On Their Preferences? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

Core Christianity | What God Gives You to Fight Sin

Pharaoh told the Hebrews to make their own bricks without straw, but God calls us to obedience, by giving us His Holy Spirit, so that we really want to do these things. Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation–but it is not to the flesh to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” The first thing to notice is that he says “if by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body.”

We really do run after the Holy Spirit to try to keep up with him, as Paul talks about in Galatians. But the picture that Paul paints here in Romans 8:12-13 is to kill sin or it will kill you.

Sin is not something that you coddle. It’s not: “you know I have a few pet sins that I tolerate,” no, they’re like lions. You might try to raise a bear from a cub and think, “oh, well I can train it, I can keep it in its pen,” but at a point it’s going to mature and it’s going to eat you alive. Do not tolerate any sin in your life. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to sin, but don’t tolerate it. Don’t say, “This is something that I have a right to. This is just a little sin.”

Little sins grow into big sins. And that’s why earlier in Romans, Paul had said this in Romans 6. “What shall we say then are we to continue in sin that grace may abound. By no means, how can we, who died to sin, still live in it. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.” We’re forgiven our sins. We’re justified. And our sinful nature was drowned, was buried with Christ in the tomb.

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. “Therefore,” he goes on to say, “don’t let sin reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions, don’t offer up the parts of your body to send his instruments for unrighteous but present yourselves to God as those who’ve been brought from death to life.” And the parts of your body, bring them to God is instruments for righteousness, why he says,“For sin will have no dominion over you. Since you are not under law, but under grace” (Rom 8:14).

Now that can be counterintuitive, but his whole argument is just as I told you it, you’re not under law you’re under grace. Because we’re out from under the laws condemnation and dominion and under God’s grace and mercy in Christ, sin cannot reign over you. It’s not just that you can’t be condemned. You also can’t be alive to sin and dead toward God anymore. Believers are not dead in trespasses and sins. We’re still sinful but we’re not dead. This morning I was encouraging my kids because they had done pretty well on their report cards. And one of my son’s said, “You know, Dad, it feels really good to get good grades.”

And you know they were really down last year, when they weren’t doing so well and the grades weren’t so good. Getting a good report card just really puts wind in your sails.

That’s I think the logic that Paul has throughout his letter to the Romans look. You may think that the more you turn to the law, the more liberation and freedom from sin, you’ll have but it’s actually the opposite. The wind is taken out of your sails. When you look at your report card.

What you really need to know is that, yes, you need the law to give you the report card, an honest evaluation of your work, and then you need to run from the report card that you have of your merits and flee to Christ, and his 4.0 GPA gets credited to you. That puts wind in your sails. Now, what do you want to do, do you want to flunk? No, you want to run the race. You go to school happy. That’s what Paul’s talking about here. You no longer have that failing report card. You’re justified in Christ. You’re baptized into His death, burial, and resurrection. You have no excuse not to live for Jesus.

Adapted from an answer given in Episode 162 of the Core Christianity Radio Show. 
— Read on corechristianity.com/resource-library/3/1261