Daily Archives: May 21, 2019

May 21 Have You Talked to God?

Scripture Reading: Psalm 105:1–5

Key Verse: Psalm 105:1

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!

Call upon His name;

Make known His deeds among the peoples!

When problems face us, we frequently try to figure out the solution ourselves. If we can patch it up, glue it down, or tape it on, we attempt to do so. Other times, we’ll call someone to ask for a solution, but we are actually seeking sympathy and support to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes what we really need is for somebody to say, “Well, I appreciate you calling me, but have you talked to God about it? Have you prayed?”

Solving problems should begin with seeking the Lord before there is a crisis. In times of peace, we will experience the joy and contentedness that comes from worshiping God, reading His Word, and communicating with Him. When we set our hearts toward the Lord, our faith is strengthened, and we develop godly habits that sustain us through trials. We will awaken each morning thinking about God and talking to Him. We will ask God throughout the day about His plans for us and will act accordingly. Prayer will become our customary response.

Then, whenever we face any kind of problem, our first thought will be, “Father.” In that one word, we acknowledge our relationship with Him, our awareness of His presence, and our dependence upon Him. God loves to hear His name on our lips, and He promises to respond to the prayer that follows.

But what if you are presently in the midst of trouble but haven’t been seeking Him consistently? Begin now by humbly confessing this to God. Receive His forgiveness and then take every situation to Him in prayer.

Father, forgive me for trying to solve my problems without first seeking Your wisdom. Write Your name on my lips so that I may call on You first.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21 The Warfare of Prayer

Scripture Reading: Matthew 12:22–30

Key Verse: Psalm 143:8

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.

Why do we so easily neglect prayer? Why do we so often seek solutions in our own strength and resources instead of quickly turning to God in prayer?

True, our flesh is weak; but there is another reason why our prayer life can be ineffective or sporadic: we have an archenemy, the devil, who constantly works to keep us off our knees. Why? Our adversary—and he is exactly that—knows that victory comes as we seek and trust God in personal prayer.

Satan craftily gets us too busy to pray. He deceives us into thinking that life is lived only on the physical plane. As a believer, you are preeminently a spiritual being, indwelt by the Spirit of God. Therefore, you have a spiritual enemy—Satan—and to defeat him, you must employ spiritual weapons.

No weapon is mightier than prayer. That is where the battle is fought and won. When we turn to God and trust Him, we have placed the matter squarely in the hands of the One who has soundly defeated the devil and who leads in His sure triumph.

Your enemy is too strong for you, but not for your risen and ascended Lord. Come to Him in prayer, and watch Him win the battles that you could not achieve in your own strength.

Precious Lord, the enemy is too strong for me, but You are greater than all his powers. Please fight my battles. I cannot win in my own strength.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

Mid-Day Snapshot · May 21, 2019

The Foundation

“Industry is increased, commodities are multiplied, agriculture and manufacturers flourish: and herein consists the true wealth and prosperity of a state.” —Alexander Hamilton (1790)

Trump’s USMCA Boosts American Wages

The U.S., Mexico, and Canada work toward finalizing a new comprehensive trade deal.

Obama Judge Backs Democrat Subpoena Showdown

The witch hunt into Trump continues, as Demos vacuously claim congressional oversight.

No, the GOP Tax Cuts Are Not Increasing the Deficit

Not surprisingly, yet another Democrat claim about tax revenue proves to be false.

Averting a War With Iran

Despite Leftmedia hyperventilating, the Trump administration is making some good moves.

Former Sen. Dole, a Decorated WWII Veteran, Promoted to Colonel

“Dole is the only living recipient of such an Army promotion.”

Video: Fear and Justice

Bill Whittle talks about the whiff of fear he detects among the Obama deep state.

Video: Discipline = Freedom

Navy Seal (Ret.) Jocko Willink offers some hard-learned, practical advice and life lessons.

Today’s Opinion

Cal Thomas
The Pro-Life Movement’s Moment
Ken Blackwell
U.S. Can Manage the Threat of Iranian Terrorism; Iran’s People Can Eliminate It
Tony Perkins
Immigration: It’s in Our DNA
Dennis Prager
Are You Sure You Want to Play Russian Roulette With Your Child’s Values?
Stephen Moore
How to Modernize Immigration Laws
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday Top News Executive Summary

Trump-finance subpoena, Don McGahn sidelined, Justin Amash pilloried, ESPN concedes, and more.

Tuesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Frank J. Fleming, Adam Schiff, Tim Cook, Jeff Daniels, 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 – 5/21/2019

Trump Admin Kicks Off Plan to Foster Israeli-Palestinian Peace
The Trump administration has started to implement its multi-faceted plan to foster peace between Israel and the Palestinians, a process that will begin in June when Bahrain hosts a forum to promote economic development in key Palestinian territories, according to senior administration officials. The Trump administration’s long rumored peace plan is just beginning to spill into public view, with senior officials organizing a June 25 business forum in Bahrain that will bring together a range of political and business officials in the region to develop methods to spur growth in the Palestinian economy.

Yes, the BDS Movement Is Anti-Semitic, Similar to Nazi Campaigns
The BDS movement is fundamentally anti-Semitic, comparable to the Nazi regime’s efforts to isolate and weaken the German Jewish community.

Israeli Minister Performs Kohanic Blessing on Temple Mount
Ariel is a long-time advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and a Kohen (descendant of Aaron the High Priest).During his tour of the Temple Mount Compound, Ariel stopped on the steps leading up to the gold-domed Dome of the rock which stands on the site where the two Jewish Temples once stood. He began by specifying the prime minister, the president of Israel, the IDF, the Israeli police, and the security forces for being blessed. He then recited Birkat Hakohanim (the priestly blessing) as it appears in Numbers 6:23-27: It should be noted that the Israeli police did not prevent the minister from performing the ritual.

Iranian Military Commander: Iran On the Brink of ‘All-Out Clash With the Enemy’
The Iranian leadership continues to prepare for further economic, political and military tensions with the United States, while the United States continues to build up its military forces in the Persian Gulf region.

Trump threatens Iran with ‘great force’
US President Donald Trump said on Monday Iran would be met with “great force” if it attempted anything against US interests in the Middle East. “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” he wrote.

Knesset gives equal treatment to same sex spouses
Partners of gay MKs to get same rights as heterosexual husbands and wives; director-general of Israeli parliament tells Ynet that the institution is ‘mirror image of Israeli society’ and is ‘sending a message’ to the country.

Facing Financial Crisis, Hezbollah Launches ‘Financial Jihad’
The Hezbollah terror organization is contending with the worst financial crisis in its history, and has engaged in a broad fundraising campaign, dubbed “financial Jihad.” The Lebanon-based organization has cut back it communal services to the Shiites, has called back fighters from Syria to cut back on salaries and has fired employees, and has scaled back its communications and educational operations.

If A Decline In Births Is A Problem Nationally, It’s A Full-On Crisis In Illinois
According to separate U.S. Census data analyzed recently by Wirepoints, Illinois’ birth rate has fallen faster than the national average since the turn of the century. And that’s a real issue given the state’s massive pension debts and its declining population. Barring structural pension reforms, Illinois will be trapped in a downward spiral where growing government debts fall on fewer and fewer people.

NRA helps sheriffs fight gun laws in Second Amendment ‘sanctuaries’
In a rural pocket of New Mexico, Sheriff Ian Fletcher fights back against new state firearm laws he calls unconstitutional, decrying “out-of-state gun control groups” in a column the Catron Courier newspaper published this spring. “These measures make it harder for law-abiding New Mexicans to exercise their Second Amendment rights, waste scarce law enforcement resources, and do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” the column says. Fletcher’s missive is part of a campaign among representatives of at least 75 cities and counties nationwide that call themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, opposing enforcement of gun background checks and emergency protection orders.

Israel and Hamas agree on six-month ceasefire
Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have reportedly agreed to a six-month ceasefire in the aftermath of the latter launching hundreds of rockets earlier this month into the Jewish state and caused four civilian deaths.

Hundreds Of Illegal Muslim Migrants From Africa Storm The Charles de Gaulle Airport In Paris Shouting ‘France Does Not Belong To The French!’
The very idea of these people who have no right to even be in France, taking over an entire terminal and shouting ‘France does not belong to the French’ is the very essence of what these illegal migrants are looking to do, and that is to tear down the sovereignty of free nations.

Washington school district caught promoting Islam for Ramadan; lawyers send cease and desist letter
A Washington school district “promoted Islam through a Ramadan policy that provides special privileges for Muslim students”, but fortunately a “legal team has dispatched a cease-and-desist letter.” This is how far the school went, after CAIR suggested “various changes in policy and practice that would benefit Muslim students”…

Illegal alien from Kenya charged with murdering a dozen elderly Texans but is implicated in a THOUSAND more
It seems too unreal to even contemplate, but authorities in Texas are taking it seriously. An illegal alien from Kenya was arrested last week and charged in connection with a dozen deaths of mostly elderly white women in Texas, but according to authorities, he may actually have had a hand in at least a thousand other murders.

Christian broadcasting studio attacked by arson on Shabbat morning
Police have confirmed that an arson attack occurred over the weekend at Daystar’s Jerusalem studio. “We have opened an investigation,” Israel Police Spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post. “All directions are being looked at.” Daystar is a pro-Israel Christian network. The studio is located in Abu Tor and had been undergoing extensive renovations for more than one year.

Trump’s ‘genocidal taunts’ will not end Iran – Zarif
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed US President Donald Trump’s “genocidal taunts” and warned him not to threaten the country. Amid rising tensions, Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.” Mr Zarif said the US president should look to history. “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone… Try respect – it works!”

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism
Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.

Billboard: ‘Welcome To Colorado, Where You Can Get A Safe, Legal Abortion’
A controversial billboard advertising Colorado as a safe space for abortions has some applauding the state for its progressive views, while others are left worried that it implies Colorado condones murder. The billboard, paid for by “Keep Abortion Safe,” is featured along I-70 eastbound, for those visiting Colorado from Utah. The billboard reads “Welcome to Colorado, where you can get a safe, legal abortion.”

Iran Accelerates Production of Enriched Uranium as Tensions Rise
Iran has accelerated the rate at which it’s enriching low-grade uranium four-fold, weeks after threatening to gradually scale back its commitments under a 2015 deal meant to prevent it from developing a nuclear bomb…Tasnim news agency quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, an official at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, as saying that Iran had increased its output of 3.67% enriched uranium as of Monday…the United Nations nuclear watchdog had been informed.

Uber driver identified as Somali war criminal who burned men alive, executed others approved
Yusuf Abdi Ali, “an alleged Somali war criminal accused of burning men alive and shooting a captor five times at point-blank range”, yet still, “Uber and Lyft approved him to drive”.

Actress Jameela Jamil: Killing My Baby in an Abortion Was the “Best Decision I Ever Made”
How far society has fallen that women now brag about aborting their own children.
Jameela Jamil, an actress known for her role in NBC’s “The Good Place,” slammed Georgia’s new pro-life law Tuesday by sharing how she aborted an unborn baby years ago.

What did Israel just blow up in Syria?
The Syrian news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying that that on Friday night, Syrian air defenses reacted to “hostile targets” coming from the direction of the Quenitra region on the edge of the Israeli Golan Heights, claiming that Syrian air defenses shot down several projectiles. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported three explosions southwest of Damascus but it was not clear if the explosions were caused by the airstrikes or Syrian surface-to-surface missiles.

Middle School Invites Drag Queens To ‘Teach’ Students How ‘People are Different’
A middle school in North Carolina last week hosted an array of local drag queens to talk, educate, and celebrate ‘how people are different.’

Angela Merkel: Trump Has Almost Destroyed The ‘New World Order’
German chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted that the New World Order is ‘under threat’ due to the rise of President Trump and the trend of Trump-supporting populist leaders winning elections around the world in the past year.

Emanuel Kidega Samson sought to kill 10 white churchgoers, prosecutor says
A prosecutor said Monday that a black man charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers and cited a 2015 massacre at a black church in South Carolina.

Wells Fargo banker guilty of helping launder cartel drug money
A Wells Fargo personal banker pleaded guilty on Thursday to knowingly opening bank accounts for people working with the Sinaloa cartel.

Climate change scare stories reach the point of psychological TERRORISM… while scientists blame the fear on the “climate crisis”
…The quack science hoax of so-called “climate change” is used to terrorize the public into believing that their planet will somehow be destroyed by carbon dioxide — the very molecule that has been rapidly re-greening the Earth over the past four decades

US Embassy in Iraq Nearly Leveled by Rocket as Iran Tensions Soar
Last week’s warning to US workers in Iraq could not have come a moment too soon, apparently. Due to increasingly hostile actions by the government of Iran, US officials last week demanded that non-essential American personnel leave the country of Iraq for feat that the regime in Tehran would soon launch a series of attacks.  As it turns out, this was far more prophetic than anyone could have imagined because, just days later, a rocket has nearly leveled the US Embassy in Baghdad.

U.S. school fails Christian student for refusing Islamic prayer
The declarations could have been made by an imam in a mosque sermon. “Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.” “Islam at heart is a peaceful religion.”

Hundreds Of Illegal Muslim Migrants From Africa Storm The Charles de Gaulle Airport In Paris Shouting ‘France Does Not Belong To The French!’
As the bleeding heart of the moronic Liberal tells us that these ‘poor, disadvantaged immigrants‘ only want to ‘live in peace’ and have a ‘better life’, these illegal Muslim migrant criminals are on a search-and-destroy mission to do as much damage as they possibly can. The very idea of these people who have no right to even be in France, taking over an entire terminal and shouting ‘France does not belong to the French’ is the very essence of what these illegal migrants are looking to do, and that is to tear down the sovereignty of free nations.

NYC Schools Chief Accused Of Creating Environment “Hostile” To White People
“There’s a toxic whiteness concept going on… decisions are being made because DOE leadership believes that skin color plays a role in how to get equity…”

Headlines – 5/21/2019

US invites Israel to Bahrain confab on Palestinians

Palestinians reject US economic peace summit in Bahrain, say they won’t attend

Palestinian gov’t says it was not consulted about US-led economic conference

Donald Trump’s peace conference will fail, Palestinians say

Bahrain vows support for Palestinians after economic ‘workshop’ announced

Jared Kushner: Palestinians deserve to live in dignity

Greenblatt: Peace plan is not only economic

Israel, Hamas said to agree to six-month ceasefire in Gaza

Hamas and Israel deny report of six month truce

MKs advance bill to expand cabinet, giving Netanyahu more coalition leeway

Gantz derides Netanyahu’s bid to expand cabinet as ‘political bribery’

Hikind: Hasidic Teens Harassed With Calls Of ‘Allah Akbar’ And ‘We Love Hitler’

Video shows Iran Guards transporting S-300 air defense systems near Arabian Gulf

Iran quadruples low-enriched uranium production

Trump places the Middle East on ‘a knife edge’

Trump willing to talk with Iran, but provocations will be met with ‘great force’

Graham: Overwhelming military response needed if Iran threatens US interests

Trump’s Iran warning ‘the right thing’ as US ‘tightens the screws’ on Tehran, Graham says

Britain to Iran: Don’t underestimate US, Trump will retaliate if provoked

Hitting back at Trump, Zarif says ‘genocidal taunts won’t end Iran’

Rouhani says in current situation Iran chooses path of ‘resistance only’

US aircraft carrier seen as barometer of tensions with Iran

Trump: Iran’s economy continues to collapse, very sad for Iranian people

Top Trump administration officials to brief Senate, House on Iran on Tuesday

Iraqi Shiite figures warn US-Iran war could ‘burn’ Iraq

UN team unearths 12 mass graves in Iraq probe of ISIS crimes

ISIS militants riot in Tajikistan prison, 32 killed

Russia says it repelled an attack on its main Syrian air base: RIA

Russian air strikes kill 10 civilians in northwest Syria

After Bus Bombing, Egypt Says It Killed 12 Militants Suspected of Ties to Muslim Brotherhood

Libyan National Army bans access to Libya’s western ports

Turkish opposition slams Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party for elections ‘injustice’

Turkey orders arrest of 249 foreign ministry staff

Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missiles heading toward Mecca, Jeddah

North Korea urges UN chief to act against US ship seizure

India’s election has left the country more divided than ever

Rural Iowans ponder Trump alternatives as China trade war drags on

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism

Pelosi clashes with fellow Dems in closed-door debate on impeachment

Rep. Cicilline: Time to open impeachment inquiry if McGahn doesn’t testify

Judge upholds Dem subpoena for Trump financial records – can investigate the president without beginning formal impeachment proceedings

Prosecutors examining tens of thousands of Trump inauguration documents

AG Barr: ‘I felt the rules were being changed to hurt Trump’

WikiLeaks founder Assange’s Swedish rape case could hamper extradition to U.S., Napolitano says

Inside Facebook’s New Robotics Lab, Where AI and Machines Friend One Another

Thanks to Facebook, Your Cellphone Company Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever

Your phone is spying? The truth behind the strange phenomenon

New York might make it illegal to text while walking

Whitney Houston estate working on hologram tour, new album

5G Danger: Hundreds Of Respected Scientists Sound The Alarm About Health Effects As 5G Networks Go Up Nationwide

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Calingasta, Argentina

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 15,000ft

Subtropical Storm Andrea forms over Western Atlantic

Winter-weary Americans express dismay as May snow falls in the Midwest and West

From Texas to Oklahoma, more than 40 tornadoes touch down

40,000 troops on standby as extremely heavy rain hits Taiwan, debris flow warnings issued for 214 streams

Joe Biden tells young activists he started push to tackle climate change in 1987

Trump Wants Exceptions in Abortion Bans, Urges Pro-Lifers to ‘Stay United’

Alaska Lawmaker Files Bill to Outlaw Abortion in State

Delaware County Church Vandalized With Abortion Rights Graffiti

Jim Carrey’s pro-abortion tweet backfires: ‘You blessed the pro-life movement with this’

Judge: Parents of Dead West Point Cadet Can Use His Sperm

Trump on Buttigieg Embracing Husband on Stage: ‘I Think It’s Great’

Taiwan furious after China attempts to take credit for LGBT marriage win

Tens of thousands of North Korean women ‘sold into China sex trade and systemically raped’

Authorities find 123 missing children in just ONE day during a Michigan sex trafficking operation

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Christian Broadcaster Daystar’s Jerusalem Studio Destroyed by Firebomb

The Epidemic Of A Seared Conscience

IHOP-KC’s Mike Bickle: “There’s no biblical definition for contemplative prayer”

Joel Osteen account offering prayers for money is a scam, Lakewood Church warns

Delaware County Church Vandalized With Abortion Rights Graffiti

Pete Buttigieg Equates Radical Shia and Wahabi Islam With Christianity

Joe Biden Will Force Christians to Pay for Abortions

China Launches Campaign to ‘Dismantle’ and Eliminate House Churches

Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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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 21 Marching into Battle

Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 20:1–19

Key verse: 2 Chronicles 20:17

You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.

The massive enemy army was coming. We can only imagine how news traveled in Jehoshaphat’s day—by messenger on foot or by rider on horseback. One day life was normal, filled with regular activity. The next day the nation of Judah awoke to news of enemy invasion.

Reports of the threat spread quickly, igniting feelings of panic. Even King Jehoshaphat became fearful, but he also recognized that no enemy was stronger than the Lord God.

He immediately proclaimed a fast, and then he called the people together to pray. The Lord’s Spirit filled the temple area where the people were praying and spoke through the prophet Jahaziel: “Listen, all you of Judah … Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s … Position yourselves … and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you’ ” (2 Chron. 20:15–17).

God instructed Jehoshaphat to place the choir in front of the people as they marched into battle. What an act of faith by Jehoshaphat!

Can you do what Judah did—march into battle singing? They heard the word of the Lord and understood that the victory was theirs. All they were called to do was to watch, pray, and praise. When we praise Him, God works in miraculous ways!

Lord, as I march into the battles of this day, I praise You! The victory is mine![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 148). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

May 21, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

19 Disputes, their effect. Serious disputes create insurmountable barriers among friends. The Hebrew is difficult; it seems to say that “an offended brother is [more isolated] than a strong city, and disputes are like the barred gates of the city”; but see the textual variations (see Note). The proverb is talking about changing a friend into an enemy by abuse (McKane, 520). Kidner, 130, notes that these walls are easy to erect and hard to demolish.[1]

19  This proverb asserts the difficulty of terminating a dispute and, to judge from the connection with verse 18, specifically through the lot. Its imprecise parallels, “offended brother” and “conflicts,” imply the estranged brother is engaged in the conflict. Offended (nipšaʿ, cf. 10:12, 19; 12:13; 17:9, 19) glosses a unique Niphal of pšʿ. R. Knierim defines the verb in Qal as meaning “[it] designates situations involving property offenses or breaks with someone” and glosses its Niphal “to suffer loss, to suffer crime, to suffer breach (of a fraternal relationship).” Perhaps this should be reduced to “to sustain a breach (of a brotherhood) through a perceived crime.” Brother (ʾāḥ, see 6:19; 17:2; 18:9) in this context has an extended meaning beyond “relative” by blood to a “brother” by choice (i.e., “a dearly loved companion,” cf. 2 Sam 1:26; Neh. 5:10). In view is a party in the closest human relation with another, whether by blood or choice, who feels wronged and has cut himself off from the other with a deep sense of personal injury. The difficulty of penetrating beyond the psychological barriers he consciously erects to make himself invulnerable to any and every approach toward reconciliation is presented first by the metaphor a strong city (see 18:11). Verset B compounds his resistance by a synonymous simile. Conflicts (midyānîm, see v. 18) with the offended brother are like the bar of a citadel (berîaḥ ʾarmôn). Berîaḥ refers to the strong bolt that secured from within a gate or door (cf. Judg. 16:3; 1 Kgs. 4:13; Isa. 45:2; Ezek. 38:11; Neh 3:3). The most vulnerable defensive point in a wall was its gate, which had to be secured by a very strong bolt to resist attack. ʾArmôn refers to a strongly fortified place, such as the most massively fortified place of a king’s palace (1 Kgs. 16:18; 2 Kgs. 15:25). It is unclear whether the proverb intends the closer the relationship, the greater the alienation when offense occurs, and so the more difficult to effect the reconciliation, as is often alleged. Nevertheless, to judge from 18b, unless the conflict is eliminated, the non-reconciled litigants will afflict great damage upon one another. Though reconciliation is difficult, the proverb pair asserts the lot can put an end to the conflict and that “there exists the possibility that confidence will be re-established, injuries forgiven and friendship renewed.”[2]

18:19 / Apparently intended as synonymous, but the text is uncertain. See Additional Notes. The niv seems to mean that when all mutual trust is lost (both metaphors in a and b point to unyielding resistance) there can be no reconciliation between the opposing parties.[3]

19. No feuds so difficult of adjustment as those of relatives; hence great care should be used to avoid them.[4]

Ver. 19.—A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city. Something must be supplied on which the comparative notion min, “than,” depends. So we may understand “resists more,” or something similar. A brother or a once close friend, when injured or deceived, becomes a potent and irreconcilable enemy. The idea of the preceding verses is carried on, and the primary thought is still concerning lawsuits and matters brought before a judge. This is shown in the second clause by the use of the word “contentions” (midyanim). And their contentions are like the bars of a castle. They close the door against reconciliation, shut the heart against all feeling of tenderness. True it is. ξαλ εποὶ πόλεμοι ἀδελφῶν (Eurip., ‘Fragm.’). And again, ‘Iph. Aul.,’ 376–

Δεινὸν, κασιγνἠτοισι γίγνεσφαι λόγους

Μάχας θʼ, ὄταν ποτʼ ἐμπέσωσιν εἰς ἔριν.

Aristotle also writes thus (‘De Republ.,’ vii. 7): “If men receive no return from those to whom they have shown kindness, they deem themselves, not only defrauded of due gratitude, but actually injured. Whence it is said, ‘Bitter are the quarrels of friends;’ and, ‘Those who love beyond measure also hate beyond measure.’ ” An English maxim gloomily decides, “Friendship once injured is for ever lost.” Pliny (‘Hist. Nat.,’ xxxvii. 4), “Ut adamas, si frangi contingat malleis, in minutissimas dissidit crustas, adeo ut vix oculis cerni queant: ita arctissima necessitudo, si quando contingat dirimi, in summam vertitur simultatem, et ex arctissimis fœderibus, si semel rumpantur, maxima nascuntur dissidia.” Ecclus. 6:9, “There is a friend, who being turned to enmity will also discover thy disgraceful strife,” i.e. will disclose the quarrel which according to his representation will redound to thy discredit. The Vulgate and Septuagint have followed a different reading from that of the present Hebrew text: “Brother aided by brother is like a strong and high city, and he is powerful as a well-founded palace,” Septuagint. The last clause is rendered in the Vulgate, Et judicia quasi vectes urbium; where judicia means “lawsuits,” legal disputes; these bar out friendship. The first member of the sentence in the Greek and Latin recalls Eccles. 4:9, etc., “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour,” etc. St. Chrysostom, commenting on Eph. 4:3 (‘Hom.,’ ix.), writes, “A glorious bond is this; with this bond let us bind ourselves together alike to one another and to God. This is a bond that bruises not, nor cramps the hands it binds, but it leaves them free, and gives them ample play and greater energy than those which are at liberty. The strong, if he be bound to the weak, will support him, and not suffer him to perish; and if again he be tied to the indolent, he will rather rouse and animate. ‘Brother helped by brother,’ it is said, ‘is as a strong city.’ This chain no distance of place can interrupt, neither heaven, nor earth, nor death, nor anything else, but it is more powerful and stronger than all things.”[5]

19 The translation of this verse is uncertain; see Note 19.a. There is a beautiful statement in Deut 1:16–17 of equity among the community, describing how disputes are to be resolved. This saying deals with a difficult case. It envisions the hard feelings that ensue after a serious dispute, whether or not it has gone to court. The “offended brother” may feel mistreated and continue to harbor resentment; cf. v 1. Especially among close relatives and friends can this be true. The comparison of the strife to the bars of a castle or fortress is not clear. Perhaps the reference is to the difficulty of penetrating any well protected and barred building. Similarly, the “brother” is not going to be won over easily. In any case, the wisdom of Prov 17:14 is applicable: squelch a dispute before it begins.[6]

18:19. Contentions with an intimate such as a brother are especially difficult. This offended person is “a party in the closest human relation with another, whether by blood or choice, who feels wronged and has cut himself off from the other with a deep sense of personal injury” (Waltke, Book of Proverbs 15–31, 84). Reconciliation is so difficult because his hard feelings make him as impenetrable as a strong city or the bars of a citadel. Better to prevent such conflict in the first place (cf. 17:14). After all, “family feuds are the bitterest conflicts and civil wars are the bloodiest wars” (Clifford, Proverbs, 172).[7]

18:19. The reason for the caution urged in verses 17–18 is given here. When a brother (the word can mean either a friend or a blood relative) is offended in a dispute, it may be as difficult to restore his friendship as it would be to conquer a heavily fortified city. The estranged relationship is like … barred gates, hard to remove.[8]

18:19 Quarrels between close relatives are often the hardest to mend. It is easier to conquer a fortified city than to effect reconciliation between offended brothers. Their contentions are like the bars of a castle—cold, straight, and immovable. Civil wars are always the bitterest.[9]

[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 163). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Waltke, B. K. (2005). The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15–31 (pp. 84–85). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Murphy, R. E., & Carm, O. (2012). Proverbs. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (p. 92). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 397). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Proverbs (pp. 351–352). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] Murphy, R. E. (1998). Proverbs (Vol. 22, p. 137). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[7] Finkbeiner, D. (2014). Proverbs. In The moody bible commentary (p. 933). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[8] Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 945). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 839). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

May 21 A Passionate Temptation

scripture reading: Judges 16:1–22
key verse: John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Perhaps the most passionate, potent temptation of all is sexual allure. Even the strongest–willed men and women are overcome by its illicit attraction. Even the best marriages are destroyed by adulterous relationships.

One reason is the enormous emphasis our society places on sexuality. Sensuality permeates our entire culture, titillating us through television, magazines, books, and fashion.

Sexual temptation is also extremely pleasurable to contemplate. Here, more than anywhere else perhaps, Satan disguises his mischief as an angel of light, concealing its dark consequences.

But a more basic reason is the natural, God–given desire for physical relationships. Sex is God’s idea but only within the bounds of marriage. Thus, Satan takes a legitimate desire for sexual fulfillment, seeking to twist and distort it, and deceives us through the illegitimate means of adultery, fornication, pornography, and other forms of sexual abuse.

The fierce struggle is to enjoy your sexuality as God intends while resisting Satan’s alluring, but devastating temptation. Be thankful that God provides a way of escape.

Heavenly Father, keep me from sexual sins. You have provided a way of escape. Let me choose it. I want to conquer my sinful passions.[1]

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

21 may (preached 20 may 1860) 365 Days with Spurgeon

A sense of pardoned sin

“Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Isaiah 38:17

suggested further reading: Psalm 32

We are saved by faith, and not by feeling. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Yet there is as much connection between faith and hallowed feeling, as there is between the root and the flower. Faith is permanent, just as the root is ever in the ground; feeling is casual, and has its seasons. Just as the bulb does not always shoot up the green stem; far less is it always crowned with the many, many-coloured flower. Faith is the tree, the essential tree; our feelings are like the appearance of that tree during the different seasons of the year. Sometimes our soul is full of bloom and blossom, and the bees hum pleasantly, and gather honey within our hearts. It is then that our feelings bear witness to the life of our faith, just as the buds of spring bear witness to the life of the tree. Presently, our feelings gather still greater vigour, and we come to the summer of our delights. Again, perhaps, we begin to wither into the dry and yellow leaf of autumn; nay, sometimes the winter of our despondency and despair will strip away every leaf from the tree, and our poor faith stands like a blasted stem without a sign of greenness. And yet, my brethren, so long as the tree of faith is there we are saved. Whether faith blossom or not, whether it bring forth joyous fruit in our experience or not, so long as it be there in all its permanence we are saved. Yet we should have the gravest reason to distrust the life of our faith, if it did not sometimes blossom with joy, and often bring forth fruit unto holiness.

for meditation: True joy cannot exist without saving faith (1 Peter 1:8–9), but sometimes our salvation needs to have its joy restored (Psalm 51:12).

sermon no. 316[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 148). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

21 MAY 365 Days with Calvin

Offering Hope in the Midst of Fear

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. Micah 4:1

suggested further reading: Psalm 46

Though the prophet publicly proclaims a promise of hope, he undoubtedly offers it only to the children of God, for others are not capable of receiving this consolation. We see the same thing in the writings of other prophets whose practice is to add consolations to threats, not for the sake of all people, but to sustain hope in the faithful, who might have despaired had not a helping hand been stretched forth to them.

We know the faithful tremble when God manifests any token of wrath, for the more one is touched with the fear of God, the more one dreads God’s judgment and fears his threats. We thus see how necessary it is for prophets and teachers to moderate threats and terrors against the children of God, for they have enough fears without heaping more on them.

Formerly Micah spoke to the wicked who despised God while putting on the cloak of religion. But now the prophet turns to address the true and pious worshipers of God. In addressing the faithful of his age, his doctrine especially belongs to us now, for otherwise how could the kingdom of God have been propagated through all parts of the earth? How could the truth of the gospel have come to us and we be made partakers with the ancient people of the same adoption, unless this prophecy was fulfilled?

So the calling of the Gentiles, and consequently our salvation, is included in this prophecy of Micah.

for meditation: The thought of God’s disfavor was very distressing to godly people in Micah’s day. Is it to you? They needed no more than a hint of judgment to upset them. How loud must God thunder before you listen?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 160). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Tuesday Briefing May 21, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com


 How Long Can Christians Genuinely Hold to Christian Convictions and Stay in the Medical Field?


 A Dark Warning: The Culture of Death Now Argues that Physicians who Oppose Abortion on Religious Grounds Should Not Enter Obstetrics and Gynecology


 Moral Relativism on Display in the Public Library as Drag Queen Reads at Storytime: Even the Library Is Not a Safe Space for Christian Parents and Children Anymore 


 Now Starring in the Latest Box Office Sensation? Man’s Best Friend





 Canada Court: Doctors Must Euthanize, Abort, or Refer, by Wesley J. Smith



 Can Doctors Refuse to Treat a Patient?, by Sandeep Jauhar




 A Dog’s Box-Office Journey, by Gregory Wakeman

THE CORRUPT CONNECTION: How Clinton Email Scandal and Deep State Targeting of Trump Are “Two Sides of the Same Coin” — These Christian Times

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discusses how the Clinton Email Scandal and the Deep State targeting of President Trump are related.

via THE CORRUPT CONNECTION: How Clinton Email Scandal and Deep State Targeting of Trump Are “Two Sides of the Same Coin” — These Christian Times

May 21, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

11. And Jehovah will always conduct thee. He now describes more clearly what he had spoken briefly and figuratively, that God will be their guide, so that they shall be in want of nothing for a full abundance of blessings. God is said to “conduct” us, when we actually feel that he goes before us, as if he were placed before our eyes.

And will satisfy thy soul in drought. The Prophet adds that the aid promised shall not be of short duration, because God never forsakes his people in the middle of the journey, but continues his kindness towards them with unwearied regularity, and for this reason promises that they shall be satisfied amidst the deepest poverty; because God never is in want of any benefits for relieving their poverty, and his act of blessing is of more value than the most abundant rains of the whole year. And yet he does not promise to believers a rich and abundant produce of fruits, or a plentiful harvest, but that God will nourish them, though the earth yield no food. In this way he bids them depend on God’s assistance and be satisfied with it, though they be not altogether free from the distresses of famine. In this sense he adds,—

And will make fat thy bones. He does not say that they shall be fully and highly fattened, but that they shall be so lean that the “bones” shall protrude even through the skin. Thus he gives the appellation of “bones” to those who have been worn bare by hunger or famine, men who have hardly anything remaining but dry skin and “bones;” and he means that the Jews will have to contend with want of all things and with leanness, till God shall restore them.

Of the same import are the metaphors which he adds, a watered garden, and a spring of waters. Isaiah cannot satisfy himself in describing the kindness of God, which he displays towards his sincere worshippers, that men may not seek anywhere else than in themselves the causes of barrenness. It amounts to this, that this fountain of God’s kindness never dries up, but always flows, if we do not stop its course by our own fault.[1]

11. satisfy … in drought—(Is 41:17, 18). Literally, “drought,” that is, parched places [Maurer].

make fat—rather, “strengthen” [Noyes]. “Give thee the free use of thy bones” [Jerome], or, “of thy strength” [Horsley].

watered garden—an Oriental picture of happiness.

fail notHebrew, “deceive not”; as streams that disappoint the caravan which had expected to find water, as formerly, but find it dried up (Job 6:15–17).[2]

Ver. 11.—The Lord shall guide thee continually; i.e. “direct thee in all thy paths—teach thee the way that thou shouldst walk in.” In drought. In time of spiritual depression and weariness. Make fat thy bones; i.e. sustain thy strength. Thou shalt be like a watered garden (comp. Jer. 31:12).[3]

11 The reason for this lies not in the influence or power of the poor and afflicted but in the particular concerns of God. He cares for them, and he supports those who do his will in this regard. For Darius, this meant guidance, sustenance, and power. For Judah, it meant prosperity “like a watered garden,” a permanent “spring of water.”[4]

[1] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 238–239). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 496). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Isaiah (Vol. 2, p. 373). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[4] Watts, J. D. W. (2005). Isaiah 34–66 (Revised Edition, Vol. 25, p. 844). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

GAME CHANGER: Secret FBI Transcripts Reveals Shocking Bombshell About Russian Hoax As Loretta Lynch Turns On James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Email Scandal — These Christian Times

On Monday Rep. Doug Collins released the remaining transcripts from the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into decisions made at the DOJ and FBI to exonerate Hillary Clinton and spy on candidate Donald Trump. Secret FBI transcripts from Russia probe could be a ‘game-changer’ according to former Rep. Trey Gowdy.

via GAME CHANGER: Secret FBI Transcripts Reveals Shocking Bombshell About Russian Hoax As Loretta Lynch Turns On James Comey Over Hillary Clinton Email Scandal — These Christian Times

May 21 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Numbers 30; Psalm 74; Isaiah 22; 2 Peter 3


peter urges his readers to “wholesome thinking” (2 Peter 3, especially v. 1), in particular about the Lord’s return. This presupposes that unwholesome thinking about the Lord’s return was circulating. Today even more forms of unwholesome thinking about this event exist than in the first century. Peter stresses that:

(1) In every generation there will be scoffers who sneer at the notion of Christ’s return (3:3). Sometimes this scoffing will be grounded in a profoundly anti-Christian worldview. In our own day, philosophical naturalism obviously has no place for the ultimate supernatural visit to Planet Earth, nor even for an end of history brought about by God himself. The stance may be tied to some uniformitarian perspective (3:4). Never should we forget that such perspectives often have moral dimensions to them. It is so much more convenient, for those who cherish their own moral autonomy, to deny that there is a final accounting (3:3).

(2) We should never overlook the fact that God has not left himself without witness in this regard. Not only has he imposed massive judgments on powerful nations and empires (often by “natural” means), but two events in the record of the earth’s existence testify to God’s cataclysmic intervention: Creation, and the destruction of the Deluge (3:5–7). Here our society suppresses, for example, the extremely articulate forms of the argument from design: we “deliberately forget” what God has done. Our evaluation of these matters is tied to our moral and spiritual alienation from God our Maker.

(3) The delay before Christ’s return reflects not only God’s very different view of the pace of events (3:8), but his matchless forbearance: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (3:9). Paul says something similar: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).

(4) When Christ does return at the end, however, his return will be sudden, unmistakable, and cataclysmic (3:10). It will mark the end of the universe as we know it. During the 1950s, when residents of North America were sometimes asked to build nuclear bomb shelters to shield themselves from the holocaust that threatened, I asked my dad if we should build one. He quietly replied, “Why? When Jesus comes, the very elements will be destroyed [cf. 3:10, 12]. Be ready for him, and fear nothing else.”

(5) And that is the point. In light of all this, “what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (3:11–12). The test of eschatology is ethics.[1]

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

How to Slay Sin Part 2 | BTWN #349 | Bible Thumping Wingnut Network

BTWN continues to share the biblical imperative to slay sin.

Practical and specific. Lay aside your old manner of life and adopt behavior consistent with your new nature. Put off the old and put on the new. Weaken old, sinful habits and cultivate righteous, godly behavior.

Video of this episode:

Bible Thumping Wingnut

Hosts Tim and Len are a couple of regular guys who started their ministries on YouTube making videos defending the faith and dismantling the arguments of atheism, skepticism, cults and radical unbelief. The Bible Thumping Wingnut Podcast started April 1st of 2014 to encourage Christians to engage in apologetics, evangelism and polemics, and to equip them with the tools and resources to do so to the Glory of God.

The post How to Slay Sin Part 2 | BTWN #349 appeared first on Bible Thumping Wingnut Network.

Millennials and Gen Z Are Increasingly Pessimistic About Life, Deloitte Survey Finds — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Millennials need help finding a career, not a job.
SOURCE: Getty Images

Uneasiness and pessimism abound among the majority of the world’s population.

Deloitte has released its Global Millennial Survey of 13,416 Millennials (born between 1983 and 1994) spread across 42 countries and 3,009 Gen Z respondents (born between 1995 and 2002) from 10 countries. The firm has conducted the survey for the past eight years.

The percentage of respondents who think that businesses are making a positive impact dropped six points from 61% in 2018 to 55%.

“I would say that for businesses, the most important takeaway is the continuously diminishing trust of Millennials and Gen Zs,” says Deloitte Global Chief Talent Officer Michele Parmelee.

While the two generations have strikingly similar views of the world, Parmelee said survey data shows that their points of view differ in a few significant areas, such as life priorities and their perception of society and work.

Generally, only about half of both groups aspire to purchase a home, and even fewer desire to start a family. “Instead, travel and seeing the world was at the top of the list (57%) of aspirations,” the report said.

Only 52% of the Millennials surveyed responded that earning a high salary was a top priority while 56% of their Gen Z peers did so. And 39% of the Millennials saw starting a family as very important, while 45% of the younger cohort agreed.

Because some among the Gen Z age group are still studying, they are generally more likely to expect educators to provide them with the skills they’ll need in the labor market. Millennials, on the other hand, expect businesses to give them access to more skills.

Gen Zs are less likely to be dissatisfied with their work situation than Millennials.

Climate change, protecting the environment and natural disasters topped the list of most respondents on a personal level, but less than three in ten of both the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts cited it as a worry. The next-highest concern for Millennials is income inequality or distribution of wealth. Terrorism, crime and concerns about personal safety were also high on the list.

The 2020 U.S. election will be the first in which nearly all members of Generation Z will be able to cast their vote for president.

Click here to see more.

SOURCE: Bloomberg – Marie Patino

via Millennials and Gen Z Are Increasingly Pessimistic About Life, Deloitte Survey Finds — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

10 Infectious Diseases in the Church — ChuckLawless.com

Some years ago, C. Peter Wagner wrote about “diseases” in unhealthy churches. Others, including me, have added to that list over the years (see here). In this post, I want to list other church diseases that I believe are infectious ones—that is, they spread, sometimes even to healthy church members.

  1. “Prayer gossip disease.” One person couches gossip in a “prayer request,” and others follow their lead to do the same. It all sounds spiritual, but it’s sin.
  2. “‘It’s time to go’ flu.” A few people decide it’s time for the pastor to move on, and they begin to gather supporters behind the scenes.
  3. “Withhold my tithe-itis.” Somebody decides to stop giving because he doesn’t like the direction of the church, and he encourages others to join him.
  4. “‘Gather the troops’ disease.” Some members want to make sure the congregational vote goes the way they want it, so they enlist members who haven’t attended in years to support their cause.
  5. “Small group rebellion disease.” This disease never begins with the whole group; it begins with one person—often the group leader—who essentially tries to create his own congregation.
  6. False teaching syndrome.” Heresy seldom shows up in the entire congregation at once. Rather, one false teacher works his way into a position of influence, teaches something contrary to the Word, and convinces others of his position.
  7. “‘You’re not like us’ disease.” In many cases, this disease can also be called prejudice. It brings out roots of arrogance and bigotry often engrained in people—and one person who expresses it gives others permission to add their sinful voice.
  8. “Revolving door-itis.” The church has had so many short-term pastors that they’ve convinced themselves that no pastor will stay long; for that reason, they’ve grown to oppose any change a new pastor recommends.
  9. “‘We just won’t sing’ disease.” They don’t like the music, so one-by-one they decide just to stand there during worship. One silent protestor leads to others joining their choir of rebellion.
  10. “‘What’s the point?’ syndrome.” Congregations with this syndrome have given up on needed change because a church bully or a power group controls the church. Discouraged member after discouraged member comes to decide that nothing’s ever going to change.

So, how do you avoid these diseases in your church? The answer is simple: don’t be a carrier of any of them.

via 10 Infectious Diseases in the Church — ChuckLawless.com

The World’s Greatest Spectacle — Unlocking the Bible

Into the spectacle-loving world, with all of its spectacle makers and spectacle-making industries, came the grandest Spectacle ever devised in the mind of God and brought about in world history—the cross of Christ. It is the hinge of history where all time collides, where all human spectacles meet one unsurpassed, cosmic, divine spectacle.

The goal of crucifixion was nothing short of the “elimination of victims from consideration as members of the human race,” a “ritualized extermination” of offenders unfit to live.[1] It was role play, says one theologian—“the mocking and jeering that accompanied crucifixion were not only allowed, they were part of the spectacle and were programmed into it.”[2]

As the Gospel of Luke tells us: “the crowds . . . had assembled for this spectacle” (23:48). Scripture foreshadowed that Christ would see the masses “stare and gloat over me” (Psalm 22:17). This theatrical enactment of sadism inside the human heart drew a large crowd. And they saw a show! A man mocked, scorned, beaten, bloodied, and raised up on a tree. But they also saw creation shudder. The earth winced. The temple curtain split top to bottom. The noonday sun was eclipsed for three hours. Tombs broke open. The dead bodies of many Christians were raised to life.

The death of Jesus Christ was not just another crucifixion spectacle; it was the pinnacle of all crucifixion spectacles. For the Romans, “every cross was a mocking throne for rebels,” but the cross of Christ “was a parodic coronation and enthronement.”[3] The cross of Christ was the greatest spectacle in cosmic history for what it ironically subverted. There on the hill of Calvary, Christ “disarmed the powers and authorities,” and in his victory, “he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15, NIV). To die on a tree was to die under the curse of God. But by hanging on a tree, Christ became a curse for us.[4]

From this moment on, God intended all human gaze to center on this climactic moment. It is as if God says to us: “This is my beloved Son, crucified for you, a Spectacle to capture your heart forever!”

Or, as Augustine said in the age of Roman spectacles, “Do not think, brethren, that our Lord God has dismissed us without spectacles.” No, for there is nothing greater in the world to see than this: “the lion vanquished by the blood of the Lamb.”[5] By divine design, Christians are pro-spectacle, and we give our entire lives to this great Spectacle, now historically past and presently invisible.

By faith, this ultimate Spectacle is now the life I live. The supreme spectacle of the cross brings a cosmic collision with the spectacles of this world. And we’re in the middle. I have now been crucified to the world, and the world has been crucified to me.[6] Our response to the ultimate spectacle of the cross of Christ defines us.

Depending on how you see it, the cross is one of two spectacles—the mocking of a faux king, or the coronation of the true King of the universe. The cross was either a tragic misunderstanding and a ruthless murder of an innocent man, or it was a preplanned spectacle orchestrated by God to display to the world a beauty unsurpassed.

The spectacle of Christ is driven home in conversion when I look back on my life and see that my sins stabbed holes in the bloodied body of Christ. He who loves me, I have pierced.[7] To unfallen eyes—and to redeemed eyes— the cross was a spectacle that this world has never, and will never, rival in weight or significance or glory.

So it is wholly appropriate for theologian John Murray to brand the cross of Jesus Christ as “the most solemn spectacle in all history, a spectacle unparalleled, unique, unrepeated, and unrepeatable.”[8]

Like the venomous snake cast in bronze and raised up as a healing spectacle to cure thousands of poisoned bodies, Christ’s broken body was raised up on a Roman cross as a healing spectacle to revive millions of sinful souls.[9]

Christ risen up at Calvary marked the pinnacle spectacle for which all other spectacles in world history will never reach, the preeminent spectacle of divine life and divine love, freely offered to the gawking world.

The axis of the cross marks the turning point for God’s plan for this universe.[10] The cross points in four directions as the spectacle that brings together heaven, earth, all nations to his left, and every nation to his right. Rejected by earth, forsaken by heaven, this cross-beam held the Savior’s arms open wide. Here divine wrath and divine mercy collided.

Even more expressive than the global flood, the cross of Christ was a public display of God’s righteous anger toward billions of sins, once passed over, and now judged in the full manifestation of his wrath in visible human history.[11]

In light of this supreme spectacle, Charles Spurgeon rhetorically asked: “Was there ever such a picture as that which God drew with the pencil of eternal love, dipped into the color of Almighty wrath on Calvary’s summit?”[12]Answer: no.

This wrath-bearing burden of Christ, invisible to the naked eye, is the truest Spectacle within the Spectacle, a climactic moment in triune history when the full cup of God’s wrath was handed to the precious Son to drink down to the dregs.[13]

He who knew no sin, became sin, became our sin, and embodied the full ungodliness of our iniquities.[14]

The spectacle of Christ’s body was pinned up before the scoffing eyes of unholy men on the ground and pinned up as the propitiating, wrath-absorbing Spectacle before the forsaking eyes of a holy God.[15]

“When I survey the wondrous cross, what do I see?” asked Martyn Lloyd-Jones. “I see a spectacle that the world has never seen before, and will never see again. . . . The cross, with all its mighty paradoxes, is a spectacle that makes anything that you can think of in history, or anything that you can imagine, simply pale into insignificance.”[16]

And this: “We are living in an age that is very fond of spectacles, in the sense of some remarkable happenings and events, some great show. And the Christian glories in the cross as a spectacle, because the more he looks at the cross the more he sees the glory of God being revealed to him. It displays to him the glory of the triune God, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. He sees all that shining down upon him.”[17]

Content taken from Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke, ©2019. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, http://www.crossway.org.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

[1] Martin Hengel, Crucifixion (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1977), 51–63.

[2] Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015), 91–92.

[3] Peter J. Leithart, Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010), 24.

[4] Deut. 21:22–23; Gal. 3:13–14.

[5] Augustine of Hippo, “Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John,” in St. Augustin: Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. John Gibb and James Innes, vol. 7, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Co., 1888), 50.

[6] Gal. 2:20; 6:14.

[7] See David Clarkson, The Works of David Clarkson (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1864), 1:108.

[8] John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015), 76.

[9] Num. 21:4–9; John 3:14–15.

[10] Eph. 1:10.

[11] Rom. 3:23–26.

[12] C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 10 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1864), 359–60.

[13] Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15–16; Rev. 14:9–10; 16:19 in connection to Matt. 20:22–23; 26:39; Mark 10:38; 14:36; Luke 22:42; John 18:11.

[14] 2 Cor. 5:21.

[15] P. T. Forsyth, Positive Preaching and Modern Mind (New York: A. C. Armstrong, 1907), 318–19.

[16] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross: God’s Way of Salvation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1986), 60, 64.

[17] Ibid., 56.

via The World’s Greatest Spectacle — Unlocking the Bible

05/21/19 He Will Keep His Word — ChuckLawless.com

READING:  1 Kings 7:1-8:21, John 4:46-5:15

They are just a few words in today’s Old Testament reading. They might seem to be a bit buried in Solomon’s blessing over the people of God as he prepared to dedicate the temple, but their significance is magnified throughout the Scriptures.

Here are those words: “The Lord has fulfilled what he promised” (1 Kgs 8:20). The Lord had promised that David’s son would build the temple, and now God had kept His word. Solomon had built the structure for the glory of God’s name.

What I love about the sentence, “the Lord has fulfilled what He promised,” is that these words could be spoken over and over again regarding God’s promises in His plan and His Word. In fact, they eventually will be spoken about anything and everything God has promised. When Jesus has returned and God’s people from every nation, tribe, and tongue gather around His throne to declare Him as holy, all of us could also sing these words again, “the Lord has fulfilled what He promised.”

In the meantime, we have all the reason we need just to trust Him. He will keep His word.

PRAYER: “Father, thank You for being so faithful to Your promises. You’re a good, good God.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Kings 8:22-9:28, John 5:16-47

via 05/21/19 He Will Keep His Word — ChuckLawless.com

May 21 For the love of God (Vol. 1)

Numbers 30; Psalm 74; Isaiah 22; 2 Peter 3


a few years ago I spent some time in a certain so-called “third world” country, well known for its abject poverty. What struck me most forcibly about the culture of that country, however, was not its poverty, nor the gap between the very wealthy and the very poor—I had read up enough on these points that I was not surprised, and I had witnessed similar tragedies elsewhere—but its ubiquitous, endemic corruption.

Here in the West, we are not well placed to wag a finger. Doubtless we have less overt bribery; doubtless we have published prices for many government services that make bribes and kickbacks a little more difficult to institutionalize; doubtless there is still enough Christian heritage that at least on paper we avow that honesty is a good thing, that a man or woman’s word should be his or her bond, that greed is evil—though very often such values are nowadays honored rather more in the breech than in reality. Even so, we are by far the most litigious nation in the world. We produce far more lawyers than engineers (the reverse of Japan). The simplest agreement nowadays must be surrounded by mounds of legalese protecting the participants. A fair bit of this stems from the fact that many individuals and companies will not keep their word, will not try to do the right thing, and will try to rip off the other party if they can get away with it. A lie is embarrassing only if you are caught. Promises and pledges become devices to get what you want, rather than commitments to truth. Solemn marriage vows are discarded on a whim, or dissolved in the heat of lust. And of course, if we easily abandon marriage covenants, business covenants, and personal covenants, it is equally easy to abandon the covenant with God.

Telling the truth and keeping one’s promises in one domain of life spill over into other domains; conversely, infidelity in one arena commonly spills over into other arenas. So, nestled within the Mosaic covenant are these words: “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said” (Num. 30:1–2). The rest of the chapter recognizes that such oaths by individuals may not be merely individual matters; there may be spousal or family entailments. So for the right ordering of the culture, God himself sets forth who, under this covenant, is permitted to ratify or set aside a pledge; that pattern says something about headship and responsibility in the family. But the fundamental issue is one of truth-telling and fidelity.[1]

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

The Public Ministry of John Piper — Pulpit & Pen

John Piper’s public ministry must be evaluated through the lens of his Christian Hedonism, promoted in his book Desiring God (1986). Piper has spent the past three decades promoting his philosophy through his organisation Desiring God, and through his preaching at the annual Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  Our video, The Public Ministry of John Piper, describes his pathway into Christian Hedonism.  He was greatly influenced by Pascal’s truism, ‘All men seek happiness’ and came to the realization that the happiness of God is the foundation of his hedonistic philosophy.  Piper has a profound longing for happiness that lies at the centre of his ministry and even says ‘to be happy is the central command of the Bible.’

Despite Piper’s massive reputation as a sound Bible teacher, a closer look at his ministry reveals how he twists Scripture; quoting verses out of context and even omitting words to change the meaning of the text.  Piper misuses Scripture to create the ‘happy God’ of Christian Hedonism.  He promotes a lawless, antinomian version of the Christian faith, and passionately endorses the counterfeit worldly worship of the Passion Conference.

The key to unlocking Piper’s heresy, is to understand that he skilfully mixes truth and error to propagate his false hedonistic message.


Continue reading here.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written and originally published at The Real John Piper.]

via The Public Ministry of John Piper — Pulpit & Pen