Daily Archives: June 23, 2019

June 23 Unshakable Faith

Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:1–11

Key Verses: Matthew 6:33–34

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Clinging to your faith in times of trouble is not a casual undertaking. To stand strong in faith, unwavering in your stance, takes determination, purpose, and intentional action. In the life of David, we see the determination and resolve it took for his own mind to stay on the Lord rather than on the enemies that hotly pursued him. In Psalm 16:8, David shared, “I have set the Lord always before me … I shall not be moved.”

That’s determination. He purposed to concentrate on who the Lord is instead of on who was chasing him. He intentionally acted on faith rather than on fear. Did David ever experience moments of fear? He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t. Yet the key is, how did David respond? The key is, how do we respond?

If we believe God is truly in control, we need not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:33–34). The first step in responding to times of uncertainty is to focus on God. Get in His Word and learn about His character.

That sovereign character of the Lord Almighty is what will remind you that this life is all about Him. His purpose is always at hand. You will not experience any trial, hardship, or even loss of life on earth until the Lord has allowed it. Will you trust that the sovereign God knows what is best for your life?

Lord, help me be focused on Your kingdom, determined in my purpose, and intentional in my actions as I serve You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 182). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 23 Broken for His Purposes

Scripture Reading: Psalm 143

Key Verse: Psalm 143:11

Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

Brokenness is not the exception in the Christian life—it is the norm.

We like to recite the triumphs of stirring biblical characters: Moses and the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Paul and the spread of the gospel. Their moving exploits, however, are incomplete apart from the bleak contrast of their afflictions.

Moses wandering in the wasteland, David hiding in caves, Paul moving from one jail to another. Their times of idleness, misunderstanding, rejection, and isolation were thorny preparations for their triumphs. They were ushered into the work of the kingdom not amid applause and affirmation but on the wings of the storm.

The same principle is at work in Christians today. Following God is not like driving on a scenic highway with one majestic experience after another. The pathway of discipleship is often downward before it is upward, emptying before it is filling.

God uses men and women who have been broken by Him for His purposes. The breaking can be strenuous, but the result is a vessel fit for the Master’s use. And isn’t that what we should desire the most?

Dear God, break me for Your purposes. Make me a vessel that You can use. That is what I desire.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 182). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 23 New Gods, New Arrivals

Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 32:15–17

Key verse: Exodus 20:5

You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.

Our modern culture relegates the concept of idols to pagan or Eastern religions. Certainly, we, in our enlightened society, do not worship ornate statues or sacred artifacts, we may think. Yet our idols are just as real. The Bible describes an idol as anything to which we give our time, energy, and attention to the exclusion of Jehovah God.

In rebuking the Israelites for their idolatry, Moses described such impostors as “new gods, new arrivals” (Deut. 32:17). The “new gods” can be career, prestige, money, and/or pleasure. Given preeminence, they become demanding gods that increasingly command our adoration and service.

The root evil in idolatry is that our worship is ultimately laid at Satan’s feet. He always competes for our allegiance. He deceives us into thinking that we are following our own ambitions or pleasures.

God demands our worship and devotion. Sacrifices given to fulfill our agendas are given to a false god.

If you have carved an idol, return to your first love, Jesus Christ. Place Him first in all you do; and He will order your life with dignity, integrity, and joy.

Take every idol from my life, dear Lord. Order my life with dignity, integrity, and joy.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 182). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sunday Talks: President Trump on Meet The Press – Full Unedited Interview and Transcript… — The Last Refuge

President Trump sat down last Friday for a lengthy one-on-one interview with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press.  In credit to NBC they provide the full unedited interview. WATCH:

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[Transcript]

via Sunday Talks: President Trump on Meet The Press – Full Unedited Interview and Transcript… — The Last Refuge

Six Reasons the Church in America is Becoming Increasingly Impotent — Just Thinking…for Myself

“We can never worship God acceptably unless we worship him regularly; and how can we do that if we are ignorant of the rules and elements of religion?”
Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity


My purpose in writing this article is to expound on the tweet below, which expresses my own personal opinions and are not intended to set off a theological firestorm.

The impetus for what is expressed in the aforementioned tweet was simply my desire that professing Christians become more aware of what they believe about the Christian faith and why they believe it.

The above list is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive. It was never meant to be.

The reasons why evangelicalism in America is so powerless, in my estimation, number exponentially more than six. In fact, it could easily be six-thousand—or six-million (or more). Nevertheless, given the character-count constraints of Twitter, I was obliged to be as concise as possible in sharing my opinions—and they are only opinions.

You—yes, you—are a theologian

It wasn’t long after posting the above tweet that some, not many, responded that they found the multi-syllabic theological terms mentioned in the tweet too “deep” to comprehend. And though I can understand why someone might think that, I would respectfully disagree with them. Admittedly, such terms can seem weighty to those unfamiliar with them. But they are not so opaque that they cannot be understood through effortful and disciplined study.

In Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology, the late Dr. R.C. Sproul, Sr. (1939-2017) explains that: “The purpose of theology is not to tickle our intellects but to instruct us in the ways of God, so that we can grow up into maturity and fullness of obedience to Him. That is why we engage in theology.”

Dr. Sproul is right.

Theology—the study of the Word of God—is not limited to seminary-trained “professional” theologians.

Whether we realize it or not, every Christian, regardless of education, occupation, or socio-economic station, is a theologian—a student of God’s Word. The only question is how good a theologian you are. As is stated on the website Got Questions?: “All Christians should be consumed with theology—the intense, personal study of God—in order to know, love, and obey the One with whom we will joyfully spend eternity.”

As followers of Christ, our study of God and of His Word is to be both “intense” and “personal”—neither of which necessitates the undertaking of formal seminary training (Acts 4:13). That is not to suggest or imply that seminaries do not play an important role in helping us to better understand, apply, and articulate what is contained in Scripture. Not at all. (I would think that that much would go without saying.)

Nevertheless, seminary isn’t for everyone. Not to mention that, ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit, not any seminary professor, who illuminates the truth of God’s Word to our minds and hearts (John 16:13-14).

Do you understand what you’re reading?

In Acts 8:30, Philip, at the urging of the Holy Spirit, encountered an Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the book of Isaiah. He asked of the eunuch the same question you and I must consider when studying the Word of God for ourselves: “Do you understand what you’re reading?” 

The verb “understand” in the Greek means to come to know or to gain knowledge of. As believers, not only must we read God’s Word but we must read it toward the larger goal of understanding it. The importance of Christians having a proper understanding of Scripture is conveyed by pastor and author John MacArthur who, in Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Biblical Truth, says that:

“The intellect shapes what we believe and love in our heart. Our will desires what we love and repudiates what we hate. Our actions then accord with what we want most. The mind shapes the affections, which shape the will, which directs the actions. Theology is not fully finished until it has warmed the heart (affections) and prompted the volition (will) to act in obedience to its content.”

The study of God’s Word takes effort—lots of effort. And that effort often involves the diligent application of oneself to learning what certain “deep” and multi-syllabic theological terms mean. To earnestly commit ourselves to the disciplined study of God’s Word benefits not only ourselves in terms of our own sanctification, but also the church and society in general (Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Titus 3:1-2).

But, I digress. . . .on to the list.

Read more: Six Reasons the Church in America is Becoming Increasingly Impotent — Just Thinking…for Myself

Trey Gowdy: Mystery FBI Transcript ‘Actually Changed My Perspective’ Of Russia Probe | Daily Caller

Transcript is believed to be of FBI encounter with Papadopoulos

  • Trey Gowdy said Sunday that an FBI transcript he reviewed while in Congress changed his “perspective” of the Mueller investigation.
  • Republicans have alluded to the mystery transcript, which is believed to be from an FBI informant’s interactions with George Papadopoulos.
  • Gowdy has previously said the transcript is a potential “game-changer” in terms of the public’s opinion of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. 

Former Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said Sunday that his “perspective” of the special counsel’s investigation changed after he saw a transcript of an interaction between the FBI and a Trump campaign associate believed to be George Papadopoulos.

“I was supportive of [Robert] Mueller. I was supportive of the idea to initiate, to investigate what Russia did, but when I saw this transcript, it actually changed my perspective,” Gowdy said in an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Republicans have hinted at the existence of a transcript that contains exculpatory information for Papadopoulos, who the FBI claims was the catalyst for its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

Papadopoulos had encounters with several mysterious figures during his stint on the Trump campaign. He met Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer and Stefan Halper, a former Cambridge professor who was identified as an FBI informant in 2018. (RELATED: Gowdy: FBI Has Transcripts That Are A ‘Potential Game-Changer’ In Russia Probe)

Gowdy, who served on the House Intelligence Committee before leaving office in January, said in a May 19 interview on Fox News that the public would likely see the transcript as a “game-changer” if it was ever released.

Gowdy said Sunday the mysterious transcripts were not provided to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which approved four FBI surveillance warrants against Carter Page, another Trump campaign adviser. The applications cited information from the unverified Steele dossier and also mentioned Papadopoulos.

Republicans have accused the FBI of misleading the FISC by withholding details of the information gathered in its investigation of Trump & Co.

Gowdy went on to describe what he says is a pattern of bias at the FBI against the Trump campaign. He pointed to Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI officials who exchanged anti-Trump text messages while working on the Russia probe.

“When you have exculpatory information and you don’t share it with the court, when you give two different kinds of defensive briefings to the candidates depending on who you like and who you don’t, then you’re bias begins to impact the investigation. That’s what what I thought when I saw the transcript, but your viewers should be entitled to make up their own minds,” Gowdy said.

WATCH:

Former FBI officials have said that the bureau opened its investigation of the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after receiving information about Papadopoulos from the Australian government.

Downer, who met with Papadopoulos in London on May 10, 2016, wrote in a memo that Papadopoulos had mentioned that Russia might release information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton close to the election. The Australian government provided that information to the FBI in late July 2016, after WikiLeaks began releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee.

Downer has denied recording his conversation with Papadopoulos, which took place at a London bar.

Halper, the alleged FBI informant, had contact with both Papadopoulos and Page.

Halper and Page first met on July 10, 2016, at an event held at the University of Cambridge. They remained in contact through September 2017.

Halper reached out to Papadopoulos on Sept. 2, 2016 with an offer of a trip to London and $3,000 to write an academic paper on energy security issues in the Mediterranean Sea. Papadopoulos, who worked in that field at various think tanks, accepted the offer and met with Halper in mid September 2016.

Halper was joined by a woman he claimed was his assistant. The New York Times has reported the woman, Azra Turk, was actually a government investigator.

Papadopoulos has said that both Halper and Turk asked him whether he or the Trump campaign was working with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election. He has said that he denied working with Russia.

The special counsel’s report undercut the premise of the FBI’s initial probe of the Trump campaign. Mueller, the special counsel, said in the report that prosecutors failed to establish that the campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election. The report also said that there was no evidence that Trump associates acted as agents of Russia.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in the investigation to lying about the timing of his interactions with Mifsud, the Maltese professor. Papadopoulos told the FBI in an interview on Jan. 27, 2017 that Mifsud had told him during a meeting in London in April 2016 that he had learned that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

Papadopoulos has maintained he did not tell anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks and that he did not handle, see or disseminate any Clinton emails. He admitted to making false statements when he claimed that he met with Mifsud prior to joining the Trump team in March 2016.

Source: Trey Gowdy: Mystery FBI Transcript ‘Actually Changed My Perspective’ Of Russia Probe

June 23, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Jesus Is The Only Door To The Fold

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (10:7–10)

Here Jesus changed the metaphor slightly. In the first figure of speech, He was the Shepherd; here He is the Door to the sheepfold. This is the third of seven statements in John’s gospel where “I AM” is followed by a predicate nominative (v. 11; 6:35; 8:12; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5).

Since the religious leaders had failed to understand His first figure of speech, Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” Sometimes the shepherd slept in the opening of the sheepfold to guard the sheep. No one could enter or leave except through him. In Jesus’ metaphor He is the door through which the sheep enter the safety of God’s fold and go out to the rich pasture of His blessing. It is through Him that lost sinners can approach the Father and appropriate the salvation He provides; Jesus alone is “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through [Him]” (14:6; cf. Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 1:30; 3:11; 1 Tim. 2:5). Only Jesus is the true source of the knowledge of God and salvation, and the basis for spiritual security.

The Lord’s assertion, “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers,” does not, of course, include Israel’s true spiritual leaders (such as Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, among many others). Jesus was referring to Israel’s false shepherds—her wicked kings, corrupt priests, false prophets, and pseudo-messiahs. However, the true sheep did not hear them; they did not heed them and were not led astray by them (see the discussion of vv. 4 and 5 above).

Then Jesus reiterated the vital truth of verse 7: “I am the door;” and He added the promise, “If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved” from sin and hell. Christ’s sheep will experience God’s love, forgiveness, and salvation; they will go in and out freely, always having access to God’s blessing and protection, and never fearing any harm or danger. They will find satisfying pasture as the Lord feeds them (cf. Ps. 23:1–3; Ezek. 34:15) on His Word (cf. Acts 20:32). In utter contrast to the thieving false shepherds who, like their father the devil (8:44) came only to steal and kill and destroy the sheep, Jesus came that they may have spiritual and eternal life (cf. John 5:21; 6:33, 51–53, 57; Rom. 6:4; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13), and have it abundantly. Perissos (abundantly) describes something that goes far beyond what is necessary. The matchless gift of eternal life exceeds all expectation (cf. John 4:10 with 7:38; see also Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 9:15).[1]


Life, More Life

John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I am pausing in our study of the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel to give particular attention to verse 10; for it contains an idea that has become popular in some Christian circles, and it is important that we understand it. The idea is that of the abundant life. Verse 10 suggests it: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

What is the full or abundant life? It is not necessarily a long life, although there are verses that promise a long life to some, such as to those who honor their father and mother (Exod. 20:12; cf. Eph. 6:2–3). It is not necessarily a life free from sorrow or sickness either, although God certainly does spare us many sorrows that we might otherwise have and often preserves us from sickness. It is not a life of sickly piety, where everything is “beautiful” or “precious” or “just wonderful.” The abundant life, as Scripture speaks of it, is, above all, the contented life, in which contentment comes from the confidence that God is equal to every emergency and does indeed supply all our genuine needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

The contented life is the life of the sheep who finds himself in the hands of a good shepherd. There may be dangers; in fact, there will be dangers. There may be storms at times, even drought and famine. Still, in the hands of a good shepherd the sheep is content and life is bountiful.

Abundance

Contentment means satisfaction, and satisfaction means to have enough. This understanding is reinforced by the meaning of “abundance” in English and in most ancient languages.

Our English word “abundance” comes from the two Latin words ab and undare which mean “to rise in waves” or “to overflow.” The first translation gives a picture of the unceasing rise of the waves upon a seashore. There the waves rise again and again. One wave surges forward and exhausts its force on the sand, but another follows and another and another. Thus it will continue as long as time lasts. The other picture is of a flood. This makes us think of a river fed by heavy rains, rising irresistibly until it overflows its banks. The abundant life is, therefore, one in which we are content in the knowledge that God’s grace is more than sufficient for our needs, that nothing can suppress it, and that God’s favor toward us is unending.

The Greek word for “abundance,” perissos, has a mathematical meaning and generally denotes a surplus. In this sense it is used of the twelve baskets of food that remained after Christ’s feeding of the five thousand, as related in Matthew’s Gospel (14:20). It is translated “remains.” The comparative is used to say that John the Baptist excelled the Old Testament prophets in dignity and importance (Matt. 11:9) and that love is more important than all sacrifices (Mark 12:33).

Made Alive

Before one can know the abundant life, he must first know life. That is, he must first be made alive through faith in Christ. Christ is speaking of this when he says, “I have come that they may have life.” It is only after this that he adds, “and have it to the full.”

Are you aware that you have been made alive spiritually? You should be just as certain of this as you are that you have been made alive physically. In fact, one whole book of the Bible has been written so that Christians (who have been made alive through the new birth) might be certain of it and might grow in Christ on the basis of that assurance. The book is 1 John, and John tells us that this is his purpose in writing. He says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). A few verses earlier he tells us that God has given life to all who believe on Jesus as God’s Son and that they can be assured of this because God himself tells them that this is what he has done.

The Twenty-third Psalm

This brings us to the abundant life itself, and in order to discuss it in its fullest biblical framework I want to take you to the Twenty-third Psalm. This psalm is, above all, the psalm of the contented life. When it begins by saying “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” this is precisely what it is talking about. Not to be in want is to be content, and this state can exist only when the sheep is in the care of a good shepherd. In the psalm David tells us that he is content in the Lord in reference to five things.

First, he does not lack rest. He indicates this by saying, “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

In the small but very rewarding book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, author Phillip Keller, who was himself a shepherd, tells of the difficulty there is in getting a sheep to lie down. Sheep do not easily lie down, he says. In fact, “It is almost impossible for them to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met. Owing to their timidity they refuse to lie down unless they are free of all fear. Because of the social behavior within a flock sheep will not lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind. If tormented by flies or parasites, sheep will not lie down.… Lastly, sheep will not lie down as long as they feel in need of finding food. They must be free from hunger.” Freedom from fear, tension, aggravation, and hunger! These are the four necessities. And the important thing, as Keller points out, is that it is only the shepherd himself who can provide them.

This is an interesting picture. For when the psalm begins with the sheep at rest it begins with a picture of sheep who have found their shepherd to be a good shepherd, that is, one who is able to meet their physical needs and to provide them with release from anxiety. Moreover, it is interesting that it begins at this point. For the other advantages of the contented life—guidance, comfort, safety, provision, and a destiny—come only to one who has found the Lord adequate to his every need.

Guidance

Second, the psalmist tells us that he does not lack guidance. For “he leads me beside quiet waters” and “he guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Sheep are stupid creatures. In fact, they are probably the most stupid animals on earth. One aspect of their stupidity is seen in the fact that they so easily wander away. They can have a good shepherd who has brought them to the best grazing lands, near an abundant supply of water—still they will wander away over a hill to where the fields are barren and the water undrinkable. Or again, they are creatures of habit. They can have found good grazing land due to the diligence of the shepherd; but then having found it, they will continue to graze upon it until every blade of grass and even every root is eaten, the fields ruined, and themselves impoverished. This has actually happened to sheep and the land they graze on in many parts of the world—Spain, Greece, Mesopotamia, North Africa, parts of the western United States, and New Zealand.

No other class of livestock requires more careful handling and more detailed directions than do sheep. Therefore, a shepherd who is able to give good guidance is essential for their welfare. He will move the sheep from field to field (before deterioration sets in) and will always stay near water. He will chase strays. He will plan the grazing to fit the seasons of the year. In the same way, we too need the Good Shepherd. We do not lack guidance if we will but have it.

Safety

Third, David tells us that he does not lack safety, even in the presence of great danger. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

This verse often has been taken as providing words of comfort for those who are dying; and it is not wrongly used in that way. God certainly is a source of comfort in death. Primarily, however, the verse speaks of the shepherd’s ability to protect the sheep in moments of danger. The picture in this verse is of the passage from the lowlands, where sheep spend the winter, through the valleys to the high pastures where they go in summer. The valleys are the places of richest pasture and of abundant water. But they also are places of danger. Wild animals lurk in the broken canyon walls to either side. Sudden storms may sweep down the valleys. There may be floods. The sun does not shine so well into the valleys. So there really is shadow, which at any moment might become death’s shadow. It is through such experiences that our Lord leads us in safety.

In the book that I referred to earlier, Keller notes how often Christians speak of their desire “to move on to higher ground with God,” wanting to move above the lowlands of life and yet not realizing that mountaintop experiences are entered into only by passing through the valleys. Strong faith comes from having faith tested. Patience comes from having lived through tribulations. This means that life will not necessarily be smooth under the direction of our Shepherd. He will sometimes lead us through rough places. Nevertheless, as we go through them we can know of his ability to keep us from falling and to present us before the presence of his Father with great joy.

Keller writes: “The basic question is not whether we have many or few valleys. It is not whether those valleys are dark or merely dim with shadows. The question is how do I react to them? How do I go through them? How do I cope with the calamities that come my way? With Christ I face them calmly. With His gracious Spirit to guide me I face them fearlessly. I know of a surety that only through them can I possibly travel on to higher ground with God.”

Provision

Fourth, Psalm 23 speaks of the shepherd’s provision for each physical need of the flock. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

Keller thinks that the reference to preparing the table refers to the shepherd’s advance preparation of the high tablelands or mesas where the sheep graze in summer. If so, it refers to the elimination of hazards, the destruction of poisonous plants, and the driving away of predators—all before the sheep arrive. If it does not refer to this, it must be taken merely of God’s provision of peace and feeding even when enemies lurk nearby. In such a time, says David, God anoints him with oil and fills his cup of wine to overflowing.

In biblical imagery oil and wine speak of joy and prosperity; for the growing of olives and grapes and their transformation into oil and wine take time and gentle care. In times of domestic turmoil or war these tasks were forgotten.

Moreover, oil and wine well suited the inhabitants of a dry and barren land and were therefore highly valued. In Palestine, where the sun shines fiercely most of the year and the temperature continually soars up into the hundreds, the skin quickly becomes cracked and broken, and throats become dusty and parched. Oil soothes the skin, particularly the face. Wine clears the throat. Therefore, when a guest arrived at the home of a friend in Palestine in Christ’s or David’s day, hospitality demanded the provision of oil and wine so that the ravages of travel might be overcome and friends might make merry in each other’s company. David spoke of this elsewhere when he prayed, “O Lord … let your face shine on your servant” (Ps. 31:14, 16). A shining face was the face of a friend. In another passage he thanks God for “wine that gladdens the heart of man, [and] oil to make his face shine” (Ps. 104:15).

David knew of God’s great love and provision; his face shone, and his heart was made merry because of it. Oh for the shining face and the merry heart today! Far too many have scowling faces and gloomy hearts, but that is not what God intends for his children. Instead, if we will allow him to lead us to the high pastures of the Christian life we will find our table prepared, our heads anointed with purest oil, and our cups overflowing with the wine of joy.

A Heavenly Home

Finally, having spoken of all these provisions, David adds no less gladly that he does not lack for a heavenly home. He is blessed in this life, but it is not in this life only that he knows God’s goodness. He will know it forever. Thus he declares, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

To have a sure home is one of the great desires of the nomadic people who have generally occupied that area of the Near East bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the great Arabian desert. T. E. Lawrence, who gained fame as Lawrence of Arabia during World War I, has written of this eloquently in his classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom. He tells in the opening pages of that book how, because of the geography of this area, one tribe after another came out of the desert to fight for the lush Judean highlands, which contained the best trees, crops, and pastures. The Israelites in their conquest of Palestine under Joshua were just one of these peoples. When one group (like the Israelites) succeeded, the conquered people generally moved just a bit south into the Negev (which was also good land but not quite as good as that to the north) and displaced others. Those who were displaced in turn displaced others, and those displaced still others, with the result that there was always a constant movement around the entire area. The last of the peoples would be forced back into the desert with nothing before them but Damascus. At some point all the peoples of the Near East had this background. So, for most of them, Damascus with its ample rivers and fields became the symbol of true abundance at the end of life’s pilgrimage. It symbolized home.

For us who know the Good Shepherd there is also a similar longing; but the longing is not for Damascus or any other earthly home. Our longing is for that great and final home that the Lord Jesus Christ has himself gone to prepare for us. He has said, “I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2–3). With such a promise we know that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Of our state in that home John the evangelist later wrote in the Book of Revelation: “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:16–17).

The blessings of this life and heaven too! Nor can we forget that this was achieved for us by One who himself became a lamb in order to die for us so that we might be able to enter into the fullness of such a great salvation.[2]


Life Abundant

John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Why did Jesus Christ come into this world? There could hardly be a more important question. Jesus spoke of this frequently, including some of his most memorable sayings.

For instance, when Peter and the other disciples wanted Jesus to impress people with his miraculous power, Jesus refused, since he had not come for that reason. “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also,” he said, “for that is why I came” (Mark 1:38). Jesus came to reveal God and preach his gospel to the world. But those who would limit Jesus’ mission merely to teaching fail to realize that this was just the beginning.

As Jesus drew near to the end of his time on earth, he spoke further about the reason for his coming. In Luke 19:10, he said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” In Matthew 20:28, Jesus emphasized his death on the cross: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

But probably the greatest statement of the reason for Jesus’ coming into the world is found in John 10:10, as the conclusion of his claim to be the door to salvation. Jesus had said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (10:9). He meant that those who trust in him would be saved, would be safe, and would be satisfied. Then, to make his great purpose clear, Jesus added, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (10:10). It was to give eternal life that Jesus came and taught, and gave his life on the cross.

The One Who Gives Life

We should remember that Jesus spoke these words in the midst of his dispute with the Pharisees. In John 9, Jesus had healed the man born blind, but the Pharisees immediately afflicted this man and even cast him out from the synagogue. So everything that Jesus says about himself in John 10 is intended to contrast with the attitude of the false religious leaders. This accounts for the first half of John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

This is Jesus’ assessment not only of the Pharisees, but of all false religious leaders. Those who preach a way of salvation based on good works or ritual performance or the paying of money—or any way other than faith alone in Christ—are as wolves among the sheep. The Pharisees were widely admired in their day, but their attitude toward Jesus and his followers showed the evil in their hearts. Today, false religious leaders include those who preach tolerance for sin but who will not tolerate the Bible’s teaching. They also include those who minister for personal gain and twist the gospel to attract followers. Jesus, by his atoning death on the cross, is the one and only door to true life, and faith alone is the one way of entering through him. All others who try to enter themselves and would lead others over the wall are thieves and robbers. Jesus says that they come “only to steal and kill and destroy.”

This is even more true when we consider unbelieving, worldly leaders, who entice the masses with their myths of utopia. D. A. Carson comments:

The world still seeks its humanistic, political saviours—its Hitlers, its Stalins, its Maos, its Pol Pots—and only too late does it learn that they blatantly confiscate personal property (they come “only to steal”), ruthlessly trample human life under their foot (they come “only … to kill”), and contemptuously savage all that is valuable (they come “only … to destroy”).

Moreover, this is true not only of blatant despots but also of the more pleasurable tyrants of materialism and sensualism. Just as the idols of the Old Testament always enslaved their followers, the more sophisticated idols of consumer society never give life but only take it. This is why God’s Son came: to grant life. It was the Tree of Life that Adam and Eve lost when they fell into sin, and only the Savior from heaven can deliver us from sin and restore us to true and eternal life.

When it comes to eternal life, we have a tendency to think mainly in terms of its quantity. It is life everlasting. But in John 10:10, Jesus emphasizes the quality of the life he gives: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus came to give abundant life. In this chapter, he paints a living portrait of the plentiful life he gives, using the illustration of a flock of sheep under the care of a good shepherd. He says that his flock will come in for safety and go out for rich provision in pastures prepared by God, all under the watchful eye of their loving Shepherd.

When we picture this imagery, those familiar with the Bible may think of the Twenty-third Psalm, which depicts weak and foolish sheep who find life and blessing simply because they can say, as the psalm begins, “The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23:1).

I Shall Not Want

Psalm 23 poetically describes the life provided to those who trust the Lord as their Shepherd. Phillip Keller wrote a valuable book on this theme, based on his own experience as a shepherd. He points out the importance of the shepherd’s care to the sheep’s well-being:

The welfare of any flock is entirely dependent upon the management afforded them by their owner.… For Him there is no greater reward, no deeper satisfaction, than that of seeing His sheep well contented, well fed, safe and flourishing under His care.… He will go to no end of trouble and labor to supply them with the finest grazing, the richest pasturage, ample winter feed, and clean water.… From early dawn until late at night this utterly self-less Shepherd is alert to the welfare of His flock.

Based on this analogy, when Jesus says that he came to give abundant life, this doubtless involves his providing care. Meeting the needs of his sheep absorbs a shepherd’s time and energy. And because of this care, those who belong to Jesus can say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1).

But this raises a question. When Jesus says that he came to give abundant life, and when Psalm 23 says, “I shall not want,” what sort of provision is promised? This is an important question because of the spread of the so-called prosperity gospel, which teaches that God promises material wealth to all who trust in him.

So widespread is this teaching today that TIME magazine has run a cover story titled “Does God Want You to Be Rich?” The article begins with the testimony of George Adams. Adams lost his job at an Ohio factory and moved his family to Houston, Texas, so that he could join the church of the popular prosperity teacher Joel Osteen. Osteen’s inspirational best seller, Your Best Life Now, is widely credited for spreading the prosperity gospel from Pentecostal churches into the evangelical mainstream. He preaches a Christian faith that not only provides blessings in heaven, but also consists of happiness, success, and fulfillment here on earth. Embracing Osteen’s positive message, George Adams approached life with a new confidence. Applying for a job as a car salesman, he immediately began making sales. He exults, “It’s a new day God has given me! I’m on my way to a six-figure income!” When asked what he hopes to receive through his faith, he says, “Twenty-five acres, and three bedrooms. We’re going to have a schoolhouse.… We want horses and ponies for the boys, so a horse barn. And a pond. And maybe some cattle.” “I’m dreaming big,” Adams declares, “because all of heaven is dreaming big.”4

Osteen expresses his version of the prosperity gospel: “I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. I think he wants us to enjoy our lives.” And he unabashedly defines these in material terms. A more extreme example comes from the popular and aptly named Creflo Dollar, whose list of “Believer’s Rights” consists of financial wealth, glowing good health, power to heal the sick, bearing children, positive answers to all prayers, and constant protection. Moreover, Dollar claims the believer’s right to be a capitalist: “Owning corporations is a part of your destiny as a believer,” he writes. Finally, true believers have power to raise the dead: “If Jesus raised the dead, so can you,” he insists.

What are we to make of this prosperity gospel? First, we might note some of its positive influences. Prosperity teachers often point out that many people feel downtrodden and hopeless and are inhibited by poor self-esteem. They frequently point out that Christians should not approach life pessimistically or doubtful of God’s favor. In this, they are right. When they emphasize that changes in our life demand changes in our thinking, they are also right. Furthermore, people who think optimistically do tend to be more successful. Given the widespread depression in our society today, it is not surprising that people are flocking to hear an upbeat message promising prosperity.

One great concern about the prosperity gospel is its reluctance to speak about sin and our need to find grace at the cross. Sin is a depressing topic, its proponents explain, and telling people to confess their sins and seek forgiveness injures their self-esteem. Prosperity is promised by the sheer power of believing, as though our faith exercised divine power on its own. Moreover, one does not receive God’s favor merely by believing or declaring it to be so, as prosperity teachers emphasize; only sinners who come to God by the blood of Christ will be saved, and only they may rely on God’s blessing in this life and the life to come. To teach otherwise is to deceive the unredeemed with a false hope of God’s favor.

What about the prosperity gospel’s central claim that God wants all his children to enjoy earthly wealth, perfect health, and worldly success? Is this biblical? The answer is No.

Prosperity-gospel preachers typically teach that trials such as an illness, the loss of a job, and relationship problems are the result of a lack of faith. But the Bible says that trials are part of God’s fatherly plan for growing believers into maturity. The apostle James taught, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2–3). Moreover, it is disturbing to read of prosperity believers’ defining salvation almost exclusively in terms of houses, ponds, stables, and other possessions. Jesus taught, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19–20). He concluded with a stinging rebuke to all who focus on earthly prosperity: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). This means that those whose treasures are on earth do not have their heart set on God, and it raises questions about the eternal situation of those whose gospel is of earthly riches. Jesus called his followers to self-denial in this life, not self-absorption: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

John 10:10 is frequently cited by prosperity preachers because Jesus states that he came to give abundant life. But Jesus did not say that he came to give an abundance of things. He came to give life, and that abundantly. And Jesus taught, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The fact is that money and possessions do not convey happiness, much less life. Kent Hughes writes, “Money can buy things—it can even buy a pasture, but it cannot buy satisfaction.” Jesus promises a satisfied soul, especially as his sheep feed in the plentiful pastures of his life-giving Word.

Spiritually mature Christians will often enjoy worldly success, though not always. Those who are blessed with material riches should not feel guilty about it, so long as their true treasure is in heaven. The stewardship of wealth is a high calling, and those with excess wealth to give are often a great help to the cause of the gospel. Nonetheless, Jesus often warned that money is a spiritual snare; he said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20).

It has sometimes been noted that God is a father, not a grandfather: he does not spoil his children but trains them in righteousness. He promises to meet all the genuine needs of his people, but not to gratify our earthly cravings. Paul exulted, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). Our main needs are spiritual. Every believer may rely on God’s provision of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

In fact, God especially delights to cause us to prosper spiritually in the midst of earthly difficulties. This is one of the points of the book of Job. Satan argued that Job trusted God only because of his earthly prosperity, but when Job continued to praise God in the midst of suffering, God was greatly glorified. The believer’s true wealth is that his or her joy does not depend on earthly prosperity. Jesus supplies us with abundant spiritual life in any circumstance, so that Christians can contentedly praise him: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1). Those who pursue worldly happiness will ever be restless, always needing more. But those who find their contentment in Christ can say with the psalmist: “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters” (23:2).

Guidance for the Journey

Having spoken of provision, Psalm 23 goes on to promise the Good Shepherd’s guidance: “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3).

The comparison between Christians and sheep is not a compliment. James Montgomery Boice writes: “Sheep are stupid creatures. In fact, they are probably the most stupid animals on earth. One aspect of their stupidity is seen in the fact that they so easily wander away.” Sheep like to eat foods that poison them, and they like to do things that will cost them their life. Therefore, sheep require a shepherd to survive.

The same is true of us spiritually. When Jesus says that he came to give life to his sheep, this involves his ongoing guidance. This is why we have the Bible; the abundant life that Jesus gives is one that is lived under the guidance of his Word. He also provides leaders in the church as well as fellowship among believers. When needed, he is willing to extend his staff to pull us back into line. By all these means, Jesus promises life-giving guidance to all who follow him.

Spiritual Comfort

Psalm 23 continues with spiritual comfort, which the Good Shepherd gives to his flock. Jesus promises abundant life, but still we live in a world shadowed by death. Psalm 23:4 therefore says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

The shadow of death deprives many people of the joy of life. But not so the Christian who knows the Lord’s promise. We must face death, but we need not fear it. Why? Because the Lord promises to be with us, and his sin-atoning cross has removed everything that a Christian has to fear in death.

Some time ago I had the privilege of ministering to a Christian brother who was facing the rapid approach of death. At our last meeting, we both knew that he would pass through death within a day or two. Psalm 23 comforted him with its message that the valley of the shadow of death is not the end; indeed, it is in the middle of the psalm. It tells the believer that death is now but a shadow, the substance of death having been conquered on the cross. But still, my friend worried about the actual experience of dying. He asked me, “Pastor, what is it going to be like to die?” I had to confess that I had little to say, except that the Lord has promised to be with him for comfort and to remove any harm from the experience: “For you are with me,” David exulted; “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Even more, Christians have every reason to look forward to the life that awaits us beyond the grave. Here is where full and unfettered prosperity truly awaits us, where moth cannot destroy, thief cannot steal, and time will cause no rust.

Psalm 23:5 makes three comforting promises about the life to come. First, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” This speaks of our acceptance into God’s glorious presence. Despite the accusations of sin and the devil, a place has been prepared for each believer in Christ. Whatever famine lies before us here, a table of feasting awaits us above. Jesus promised: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.… I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

Second, the psalmist wrote, “You anoint my head with oil.” Ancient hosts provided wine and oil to the weary traveler—oil to soothe the skin and wine to cleanse the dusty throat. For this reason, a shining face was known as the face of a friend. In Psalm 104:15, David thanks God for “wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine.” Here we have a vision of Christ welcoming us into heaven with oil to soothe the hurts of our passage through life and death.

Third, Psalm 23:5 comforts us with promised abundance in the life to come: “My cup overflows.” Whatever we hope for in heaven, holding out our longings as a cup to the Lord, what we actually experience will cause that cup to overflow. What a comfort it is, living in a sinful, difficult world like ours, to know that overflowing glories await us in heaven.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Jesus came to give us not money, not possessions, not earthly positions of power and prestige. He came to give us life. And that life is found through fellowship with him. “In him was life,” John wrote, “and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). David concluded Psalm 23 with a similar statement of divine fellowship and life, both now and in eternity: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

But what is the key to this abundant life? Does prosperity depend on our cultivating high self-esteem and a bright outlook, or developing effective life skills? According to Psalm 23, the abundant life depends not on the supposed strength, wisdom, or skill of the sheep themselves. In fact, the characteristic of all sheep is that they have little of these. What matters is having the right Shepherd—a Good Shepherd who will provide for us, guide us, comfort us, and receive us into the green pastures of the life to come. Jesus came as a life-giving Savior. He promises, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Can you say of Jesus, “The Lord is my shepherd”? If not, then what could possibly keep you from coming to him for this loving care and provision? Is it your love of sin? Surely, as the Spirit helps you, you can see that the beaten-down path of sin never leads to such green and quiet places. Jesus died to free you from the bondage of sin’s false advertising; his cross is the gate to the sheep pen so that there you might confess your sins, have the burden of your guilt drop from your back, and be received into the fold of his purchased, privileged flock.

If you have done that, if you can say, “Yes, I am part of that flock, for the Lord is indeed my Shepherd,” then surely you ought to refresh your faith in him, renew your vow of love for him, and follow with new strength in the path where he is leading. “The Lord is my shepherd,” we say by faith. And Jesus replies with words of manifold blessing: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).[3]


10. The thief cometh not. By this saying, Christ—if we may use the expression—pulls our ear, that the ministers of Satan may not come upon us by surprise, when we are in a drowsy and careless state; for our excessive indifference exposes us, on every side, to false doctrines. For whence arises credulity so great, that they who ought to have remained fixed in Christ, fly about in a multitude of errors, but because they do not sufficiently dread or guard against so many false teachers? And not only so, but our insatiable curiosity is so delighted with the new and strange inventions of men, that, of our own accord, we rush with mad career to meet thieves and wolves. Not without reason, therefore, does Christ testify that false teachers, whatever may be the mildness and plausibility of their demeanour, always carry about a deadly poison, that we may be more careful to drive them away from us. A similar warning is given by Paul, See that no man rob you through vain philosophy, (Coloss. 2:8.)

I am come. This is a different comparison; for Christ, having hitherto called himself the door, and declared that they who bring sheep to this door are true shepherds, now assumes the character of a shepherd, and indeed affirms that he is the only shepherd. Indeed, there is no other to whom this honour and title strictly belongs; for, as to all the faithful shepherds of the Church, it is he who raises them up, endows them with the necessary qualifications, governs them by his Spirit, and works by them; and therefore they do not prevent him from being the only Governor of his Church, or from holding the distinction of being the only Shepherd. For, though he employs their ministry. still he does not cease to fulfil and discharge the office of a shepherd by his own power; and they are masters and teachers in such a manner as not to interfere with his authority as a Master. In short, when the term shepherd is applied to men, it is used, as we say, in a subordinate sense; and Christ shares the honour with his ministers in such a manner, that he still continues to be the only shepherd both of themselves and of the whole flock.

That they may have life. When he says that he is come, that the sheep may have life, he means that they only who do not submit to his staff and crook (Psalm 23:4) are exposed to the ravages of wolves and thieves; and—to give them greater confidence—he declares that life is continually increased and strengthened in those who do not revolt from him. And, indeed, the greater progress that any man makes in faith, the more nearly does he approach to fulness of life, because the Spirit, who is life, grows in him.

11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But the hireling, and he who is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth, and the wolf teareth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known by mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, I also know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.[4]


10 Using vivid language, Jesus says that the Jewish establishment (the “thief”) has as its purpose “to steal and kill and destroy.” But this is not true of Jesus the shepherd—he has come so that his followers “may have life, and have it to the full.” The former are life denying, while Jesus is life affirming. The life that Jesus came to provide is not physical but spiritual. Yet that which is spiritual naturally overflows into every aspect of physical existence. Life embraces all that it means to be alive in this world and firmly attached by faith to the living Lord. Fullness of life is the reward of faith. It is by trusting Jesus and forgetting self that real life—physical and spiritual—breaks into one’s consciousness like the dawning of a new day (cf. Mk 8:35 par.).[5]


10 The thought is further developed by a contrast with the thief. His interest is entirely selfish. He steals or kills for food, and even destroys the sheep. He comes only for harm to the flock and with no interest in its welfare. Christ by contrast (“I” is emphatic) came for the benefit of the sheep. He came that they might have life (for this term see on 1:4), and not only life, but a more abundant life (cf. 20:31). There is nothing cramping or restricting about life for those who enter his fold.[6]


10 Jesus now returns briefly to the subject of the “thieves and robbers,” before stating in classic Johannine terms why he came into the world. “The thief does not come except that he might steal and slaughter and destroy,” he continues, adding that “I came that they might have life, and have [it] in abundance” (v. 10). The stark contrast between “the thief” and Jesus is striking, as if to guard against any misunderstanding of certain traditional sayings attributed to Jesus in which his “coming” is actually compared to the coming of a thief (see Mt 24:43–44; Lk 12:39–40; Rev 3:3; 16:15; also 1 Thess 5:2, 4). That a thief “steals” is a truism, but “slaughter” and “destroy” are more surprising. These words are part of the metaphor, because “slaughter” has to do with the killing of animals (in this instance, sheep).68 The supposition is that sheep are stolen not in order to be added to someone else’s flock, but to be slaughtered for food, and thus “destroyed.” The accent is on “destroy,” for being “destroyed” or “lost” is in this Gospel the very opposite of gaining “eternal life” (see 3:16; 6:39–40). Here the thief comes to “destroy,” while Jesus comes “that they might have life.” “Life” corresponds to “pasture” within the metaphor, except that the “life” Jesus gives is “in abundance,” that is, more than mere survival or safety (v. 9), more than “pasture” (v. 9) in the sense of basic sustenance for a sheep or a human. “Life” is nothing less than “eternal life” with God (just as in 3:16 and 6:40, and frequently throughout the Gospel).[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). John 1–11 (pp. 430–431). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 747–752). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 633–642). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, pp. 401–402). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 502). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[6] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (p. 452). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[7] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 584–585). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

June 22-23, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

News – 6/22/2019

Bolton lands in Israel ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Netanyahu
US National Security Advisor John Bolton landed in Israel on Saturday and is expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday during a special summit meeting in which regional security concerns will be discussed. The meeting will also include Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev and high-ranking Israeli security officials. Making it a summit in which Israel will present its views, and listen to, both Russia and the US.

Hong Kong extradition bill: Police brutality inquiry ruled out
Hong Kong Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng has rejected calls to investigate police brutality during ongoing mass protests in the Chinese territory. However, she did apologise for the Hong Kong government’s handling of the extradition bill which is at the root of the unrest. Police vowed a “stringent” response to the latest protest, when their headquarters was besieged for 15 hours.

Russia suspends flights to Georgia after violent clashes
President Vladimir Putin has temporarily banned Russian airlines from flying to Georgia following a spate of violent unrest in the country. He signed the decree – which will be implemented from 8 July – on Friday. It came after some 240 people were hurt a day earlier in protests that were ignited by the appearance of a Russian MP in Georgia’s parliament.

EU warns Turkey of sanctions for Cyprus drilling
The EU has threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey if it continues “illegal drilling” in waters near Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. The warning came at an EU summit in Brussels. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called Turkey’s actions “totally unacceptable”. Turkey launched a second drilling ship – the Yavuz – on Thursday for natural gas and oil prospecting off Cyprus.

US-Iran: Airlines re-route flights after drone incident
A number of airlines are cancelling flights or re-routing them away from Iran after a US drone was shot down in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran confirmed it had shot down the drone, saying it had violated Iranian airspace. The US denies this. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency order prohibiting US airlines from flying over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.

Cuba Ration Lines Grow Tense as Economy Flails
A 91-year-old former comrade of Cuba’s late dictator Fidel Castro recently startled Cubans when he announced government plans to breed ostriches to help feed the masses. Comandante Guillermo García raved on Cuba’s main TV news show about the giant flightless bird, “which produces more [meat] than a cow.” The comandante, who runs some of Cuba’s cattle-breeding operations, also extolled the meat of the hutia, a giant rodent…as better than beef.

Mysterious white spheres spotted above KC
Kansas Citians had their eyes to the sky Thursday evening, trying to get a glimpse of two mysterious white, spherical objects floating over the city. The National Weather Service of Kansas City brought attention to the matter just before 8 p.m. and posted a photo to Twitter, adding it had “no explanation” for the small orbs.

Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It’s time to switch.
You open your browser to look at the web. Do you know who is looking back at you?…My tests of Chrome versus Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions. In a week of web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker “cookies” that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer, but were automatically blocked by Firefox.

UK court orders forced abortion for disabled woman
A British judge has authorized doctors to perform an abortion on a pregnant Catholic woman with developmental disabilities and a mood disorder, despite the objections of the woman’s mother and the woman herself. The woman is 22 weeks pregnant…“I have to operate in [her] best interests, not on society’s views of termination,” Lieven explained, arguing that her decision is in the best interest of the woman.

Researchers Trying To Figure Out Why So Many Dolphins Are Dying Along The Gulf Coast
Scientists are puzzled by a disturbing trend in the waters along four Gulf Coast states. Almost 300 dead and dying dolphins have washed ashore since February. Off the coast of St. Petersburg, Erin Fougeres with NOAA Fisheries took CBS News out on their dolphin research vessel. We found a pod of eight or nine dolphins, all healthy, swimming a half-mile from shore.

Iran says it will respond firmly to any U.S. threat as tension spikes
Iran said on Saturday it would respond firmly to any U.S. threat against it, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, amid escalating tension between Tehran and Washington over the shooting down of an unmanned U.S. drone by the Islamic Republic. On Thursday, an Iranian missile destroyed a U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone. Tehran said the drone was shot down over its territory and Washington said it had occurred in international airspace.

Pope Calls for New Catholic Theological Curriculum – Teaching Students to View Muslims as Brothers
Pope calls on faithful to be as blind to real life dangers as he is. This guy is a continued clown show. When he’s not pushing global warming and open borders, he’s pushing partnership and brotherhood with Islam. God save your church!

Democrats Legalize Abortion Up Until Birth in Rhode Island
Democrats in Rhode Island have legalized abortions up until the point of birth in the state.

Madonna: Something ‘Poetic and Sometimes Sexual’ About Jesus Hanging on the Cross
Left-wing pop star Madonna claimed in an interview this week with Australian television presenter Andrew Denton that there’s something “sexual” about seeing Jesus Christ “practically naked” hanging on the cross.

High School Mulls Spending $600,000 To Remove George Washington Murals Because They ‘Traumatize’ Students
A high school in San Francisco is now weighing three options to get rid of what they consider a terribly politically incorrect set of murals of America’s first president, George Washington.

Fatality No. 10: Bride Dies Upon Return From Honeymoon in Punta Cana
Tragically, the number of mysterious American deaths in the Dominican Republic has reached double digits.

JUST IN: ICE to Begin Pre-Dawn Immigration Raids in 10 Major US Cities on Sunday
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is set to begin raids with court-ordered removals in 10 cities beginning Sunday.

Missouri won’t renew Planned Parenthood’s license, jeopardizing legal abortions in state
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis said Friday Missouri’s department of health will not be renewing their license to perform abortions, bringing the state one step closer to becoming the first with no legal abortion access since Roe v. Wade.

Palestinians say 7 wounded in riots along Gaza border
Several thousand Palestinians took part Friday in the weekly protests along the Gaza Strip border, with hundreds rioting, throwing explosive devices and stones at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

Bernie Sanders reaffirms that illegal immigrants should be covered under universal health care
Sen. Bernard Sanders on Friday reaffirmed that illegal immigrants living in the United States would be covered under his vision for universal government-run health care.

Deepfake Technology Can Put Words in ANYONE’S Mouth – Even YOURS
Did you know that technology exists that can create images of people that are not real? And, did you know that technology exists that can make those “people” talk?

COMMUNIST UTOPIA: Cuba Rations All Meat, Government Urges Residents to Eat ‘Giant Rodents’
Cuba’s struggling economy continued to falter in recent days; prompting government officials to regulate meat rations and other consumer goods as the communist nation’s food supplies dwindle.

Kenai Peninsula Borough In Southern Alaska Opens Government Meeting With Invocation Prayer Of ‘Hail Satan’ Delivered By Satanic Temple Worker
The members of the Satanic Temple want you to know that modern-day satanism has nothing to do with the Devil or Satan, and is really a fight for social justice and equality in America. They repeat this manta endlessly in the hopes you will believe it, but like every other thing of the Devil, it’s a lie. So why are we suddenly seeing the rise of open satanism now? There’s a very good and biblical reason behind it. We are entering the last days warned of in scripture.

Trump confirms he called off retaliatory Iran attack ‘10 minutes before the strike’
President Trump confirmed early Friday that he called off a retaliatory attack on Iran in response to the downing of a U.S. drone “10 minutes before the strike,” saying the number of expected casualties was not “proportionate” to what Tehran did.

‘Unmatched Wickedness’: Tribunal Confirms Longstanding Allegations of Organ Harvesting by China
The Chinese regime is killing prisoners of conscience and carving out their organs for transplant, a panel of lawyers and experts have found after a yearlong investigation. The independent people’s tribunal, in its final judgment (pdf) delivered in London on June 17, said there was clear evidence that forced organ harvesting has taken place in China for years “on a significant scale.”


Headlines – 6/22/2019

Bahrain summit has united Palestinians, but not how U.S. intended

PA: Bahrain workshop aims to normalize Israel without demanding withdrawal

Ahead of Bahrain summit, Trump’s top Mideast envoy reveals insights in peace plan

Hundreds of Jordanian Islamists protest Trump peace plan, Bahrain summit

U.S. Embassy in Israel Bars Employees From West Bank During Bahrain Conference

UN to Appeal for $1.2 Billion to Help 5 Million Palestinians

Palestinians say 7 wounded in riots along Gaza border

Israelis Welcome ‘Miracle’ Rains as Sea of Galilee Rises

Ancient city gate from the time of King David discovered in Israel

Specter of anti-Semitism weighs heavy on American Jews

With Morsi’s death, Muslim Brotherhood future in limbo

Iran almost shot down US Navy plane with 35 crew as ‘message’ to US

Iran received message from Trump via Oman warning of imminent attack

Report: Trump approved Iran strike, then pulled back

Trump says he was ‘cocked & loaded’ to attack Iran, but called off strikes 10 minutes before

Trump says he called off disproportionate Iran strike that would have killed 150

Did Trump Just Blink or Bluff in Standoff With Iran?

Inside Trump’s Iran decision: ‘I really watched him agonize over this’

Trump says he doesn’t want war with Iran, but there will be ‘obliteration’ if it comes

Trump Leaves Iran, Allies Uneasy Even After Stopping Airstrike

UK in regular contact with U.S. over Iran, urges de-escalation

Russia accuses U.S. of pushing Iran situation to brink of war – RIA

Putin says US military action against Iran would be a ‘catastrophe for the region’

‘America First’ allies say Trump saved presidency from John Bolton by scrapping Iran strike

After Drone Incident, Nancy Pelosi Says U.S. Can’t Be ‘Reckless’ On Iran

Anti-Trump former CIA Director John Brennan applauds president for Iran reversal

Netanyahu urges support for U.S. against Iran’s ‘aggression’

As threat of conflict with Iran grows, US has temps running the Pentagon

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council: We don’t take Trump seriously

Iran group tied to Trump advisers rallies in Washington to demand regime change

What is the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran shot down US Navy drone?

Airlines are canceling or re-routing flights near Iran after drone was shot down

US said readying to evacuate contractors from Iraqi base due to security threat

Senate votes to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan

Russia suspends flights to Georgia after violent clashes

British lawmaker suspended after video shows him violently grabbing female protester by the neck

Trump not joking about foreign help in elections: Hicks

Joe Biden recalls working with segregationist senators: ‘At least there was some civility’

“Apologize for What?”: Biden Doubles Down as Segregation Scandal Escalates

AOC’s ‘concentration camps’ claim was just tip of the iceberg — Here are some of her most controversial comments

Texas governor to send 1,000 National Guard troops to border over growing migrant crisis

ICE raids targeting migrant families slated to start Sunday in major U.S. cities

The Dow is now on pace for its best June return in 80 years

‘It’s Too Late to Be Bullish’: Record Stock Run Is Drawing Worriers

Cuba Ration Lines Grow Tense as Economy Flails

Massive explosion at refinery in Philadelphia: reports

How will the Philidelphia oil refinery fire affect gas prices?

Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It’s time to switch.

Alexa Gone Bad: When A.I. Assistants Turn On Us

Can you get ‘horns’ from smartphone use? Here are some problems our devices cause

European space mission to get close-up view of new comet

‘No explanation’: Flying objects over Kansas City leave locals suspecting aliens

6.2 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kandrian, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits south of the Kermadec Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

Pacific Ring Of Fire, Southern California and Yellowstone all have experts a little jumpy this month as “swarmageddon” hits downtown Los Angeles

Deep earthquake swarm south-east of Bardarbunga volcano

Raikoke volcano in the Kuril Island erupts to 43,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Flooding to threaten southern China, Philippines and Japan regardless of tropical development

Before-and-after satellite images show dramatic effects of drought, late monsoon arrival in India

Researchers Trying To Figure Out Why So Many Dolphins Are Dying Along The Gulf Coast

Restaurants could be 1st to get genetically modified salmon

Genetic research simplified with ‘Google Maps for genes’

Full steam ahead for gene editing? Russian scientist plans more babies with altered DNA

Missouri Refuses To Renew License For State’s Last Abortion Provider

UK court orders forced abortion for disabled woman

Cleaners find abandoned foetus blocking plane’s toilet in S.Africa

Hollywood’s Top Gay Donors Have Mixed Feelings About Buttigieg

Writer says Trump raped her in department store dressing room in mid-90s

No jail time for man who sexually assaulted 11-year-old girl and infected her with STD

U.S. psychoanalysts apologize for labeling homosexuality an illness

The Divorce Rate Is at a 40-Year Low, Unless You’re 55 or Older

Woman’s ‘Hail Satan’ invocation prompts walkout from Alaska town meeting

Stonehenge: Druids have their moment in the sun


News – 6/23/2019

Bolton in Israel: Iran can never have nuclear weapons
US National Security Advisor John Bolton met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, amid ongoing tensions with Iran. Netanyahu delivered his remarks, saying that the US has no better ally than Israel and vice-versa, and added that Bolton’s visit will only strengthen the relations between the countries to discuss ongoing threats in the Middle East.

Iranian MP’s celebrate drone attack: “Psychological defeat” of US
Iranian members of Parliament and officials are continuing to celebrate the downing of a US drone last Thursday. In a letter that Fars News published, 250 parliament members put out a statement praising the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, celebrating the downing and the “overthrow” of American technology as a “psychological defeat of the enemy after its aggressive [drone] flew into Iran’s airspace.”

Kushner’s economic peace plan faces broad Arab rejection
US President Donald Trump’s economic vision as part of the wider plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with contempt, repudiation and exasperation in the Arab world, even as some in the Gulf called for it to be given a chance. The $50 billion “peace to prosperity” plan, set to be presented…in Bahrain next week, envisions a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.

Fatah calls for days of violence against Israel over Bahrain Conference
Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, has called for days of violence against Israel in response to the Bahrain Conference, where the economic part of President Trump’s Middle East plan will be unveiled. The PA has refused to send any representation to the conference and several senior officials in the faction have called for violence against Israel.

White House releases detailed economic plan for Palestinian people
Three days ahead of the Bahrain summit, the White House unexpectedly released the financial part of its Middle East peace plan…highlighting a potential $50 billion in investments over the next decade. Under the title “Peace to Prosperity – The Economic Plan: A New Vision for the Palestinian People,”…lays out a detailed vision…from roads and rail to taxes and education, which…is to be built upon…: “the people, the economy and the government.”

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un receives ‘excellent’ letter from Trump
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has received a personal letter from US President Donald Trump, state media report. Mr Kim praised the letter as “excellent” and said he would “seriously contemplate the interesting content”, the KCNA news agency says. He also praised Mr Trump’s “extraordinary courage”. Earlier this month, Mr Trump said a beautiful letter had been sent to him by the North Korean leader.

Climate protesters storm Garzweiler coalmine in Germany
Police in western Germany are removing climate change protesters from an open-cast coalmine after hundreds of them stormed the site. Activists broke through a police cordon on Saturday to get into the Garzweiler mine, in a campaign against fossil fuel use. Many protesters are resisting attempts by police to clear the huge site.

Deportations after deal: The new reality for migrants in Mexico
Mexico is sending thousands of troops to the border with Guatemala as part of a deal with the US to stem the flow of undocumented migrants…At an improvised checkpoint on the main road leading to Tapachula, soldiers and the federal police now stop all cars while immigration officials check the identification of people travelling by bus and shared taxis. Any foreigner caught without proper documentation is taken away and likely to be deported.

US ‘launched cyber-attack on Iran weapons systems’
The US launched a cyber-attack on Iranian weapons systems on Thursday as President Trump pulled out of air strikes on the country, US reports say. The cyber-attack disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers, the Washington Post said. It was in retaliation for the shooting down of a US drone as well as attacks on oil tankers that the US has blamed Iran for, the New York Times said.

Trump announces a two week DELAY on planned dawn raids by ICE…
President Donald Trump has said that he is delaying planned enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove thousands of illegal immigrants… ‘At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!’ Trump said…

Mutant DNA-edited babies created by ‘Frankenstein’ scientist ‘secretly born in China’
Scientist He Jiankui was condemned around the world last year where he brazenly announced in a YouTube video he had produced the first gene-edited humans in history – dubbed “Frankenstein babies” by some critics. Dr Pete Mills, the Assistant Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, attended the scientific conference in Hong Kong where the world first learnt about the experiment.

Human trafficking in America among worst in world: report
The United States is again ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for human trafficking. According to a recently released report by the State Department, the top three nations of origin for victims of human trafficking in 2018 were the United States, Mexico and the Philippines.

The Earth Is Being Terraformed for the Purpose of Depopulating All Humans
…..At this point, we must consider two important possibilities. First, we may be in the process of being setup for Project Blue Beam which would the use of advanced technology to “simulate” a fake alien invasion. The goal of this project would be to present a fake image of Jesus commanding the governments of the planet to unite (ie New World Order).

Jesuit high school stripped of ‘Catholic’ label over gay teacher, Indianapolis Archdiocese says
A Jesuit high school in Indianapolis, Ind, will no longer be recognized as Catholic by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis because it refuses to fire a teacher who’s in a same-sex marriage.

New York State To Issue Driver’s Licenses For Illegal Immigrants
The state of New York, will be joining the list of twelve other states plus Washington, D.C., that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, including California and Connecticut.

A Surprising Unanimous Pro-Life Ruling from America’s Most Liberal Appeals Court
The most liberal federal appeals court in the country has unanimously delivered a surprising ruling in favor of a Trump administration pro-life policy.

Iran Activated Air Defenses In Syria After Learning Of US Attack: Report
The Iranian forces in Syria activated their air defenses after learning of the U.S. planned attack this week, the Russian publication Avia.Pro reported on Friday.

Dozens of Christian Girls in Pakistan Targeted for Rape, Abduction, Forced Conversion
A poor Christian family in Pakistan is calling for justice after their teenaged daughter was reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint and raped by five Muslims.

‘Unlike Anything You’ve Seen’: A Powerful Show About Jesus’ Life
Filmmaker Dallas Jenkins has broken records and boundaries with his new project, “The Chosen,” the first-ever multi-season TV series about Jesus’ life. This innovative project is also the biggest crowdfunding media project in world history, with more than 16,000 investors giving over $10 million.

Disgraced Vice President of Walt Disney Convicted of Child Rape, Gets 6 Years
The disgraced top executive at Disney has been convicted and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison on multiple counts of sexually abusing children.

Churches In London Suffer Arson Attacks as ‘666’ Pentagrams Marked on Doors
Three churches located in the East end of London have suffered arson attacks in just two days, with each door being marked with satanic pentagrams and the number 666.

Headlines – 6/23/2019

White House finally unveils ‘Peace to Prosperity’ economic plan for Palestinians

Kushner unveils economic part of ‘deal of the century’ Middle East peace plan

A look at some of the details of the economic aspect of the Trump peace plan

Trump’s Mideast Plan: $50 Billion for Palestinian Projects, Travel Corridor Between West Bank and Gaza

US economic plan avoids saying much, but does hint at future Israeli concessions

Gantz supports economic deal, clarifies: Gaza Strip must be demilitarized

Bahrain agenda reveals a search for ideas rather than provision of solutions

Trump’s Mideast envoy: Palestinians must be told the truth

Palestinians reject US economic plan as attempted bribe instead of a state

PA: U.S. wants to use Arab money to kill off political aspirations of Palestinian people

Hamas: Our nation will resist U.S. attempts to turn Palestinian issue into economic one

Kushner is repeating the same mistake – The real obstacle to peace was and is Palestinian fantasies

EU Pushes Two State Solution During Meeting with Kushner

US embassy warns of expected anti-American demos in Gaza, West Bank over Bahrain

Hamas leader details terms for calm with Israel

Report: Civilian foils terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City

New York Cardinal: Israel-Vatican Ties Have ‘Made the World a Better Place’

Jordan’s King Abdullah is facing new risks—from his own friends

Bolton lands in Israel ahead of unprecedented security summit

Trump says he will be Iran’s ‘best friend’ if it renounces nuclear arms

Foreign Office minister to visit Iran to call for ‘urgent de-escalation’

Patrick J. Buchanan: War with Iran would become ‘Trump’s war’

With Iran reversal, did Trump break pledge to never ‘telegraph’ military ops?

Oil tanker attacks in the Strait of Hormuz requires an ‘international response,’ US envoy to Iran says

Iran issues warning to US, vows to defend its borders

Iranian commander: US bases are within our range

Iran Will ‘Firmly Confront’ Any U.S. Threat, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Says

Iran general: ‘Firing one bullet at Iran’ will ‘set fire’ to US interests

Iran says its airspace is ‘fully safe’, open to flights of all airlines

Surveillance drone may have tracked Japanese tanker, experts say

Iran executes ‘CIA spy’ amid Gulf tensions

Germany’s Merkel says Iran issue will be discussed at G20

Germany’s Merkel urges political solution in Iran crisis

Oil prices rise amid concerns of US-Iran military conflict

Trump Says Military Action Against Iran Still on Table as He Eyes More Sanctions

Trump says US to hit Iran with ‘major’ new sanctions Monday

Iranian hackers wage cyber campaign amid tensions with US

Iranian hackers step up cyber efforts, impersonate email from president’s office

Iraq boosts security measures at base where US trainers stay

Whoever Wins Istanbul’s Mayoral Election, There’s Trouble Ahead for Erdogan

Morsi ‘killed’ by Egyptian government, son says

Suspected jihadists kill 4 workers in Egypt’s Sinai

Ethiopia proposes civilian-majority ruling body for Sudan, say protest leaders

Militants killed while attacking Kenya police base

Afghan leaders begin peace summit in Pakistan

Georgians rally for justice over crackdown on anti-Russia protest

Hong Kong Protesters Disband After Besieging Police Headquarters

Hong Kong protesters are in ‘deep fear’ about leaving a digital footprint

Bibles Threatened by US Trade War with China, Christian Publishers Warn

Police called to home of UK leadership hopeful Boris Johnson amid domestic row

Johnson ‘row’ blows UK leadership race open, as nationwide campaign begins

Trump delays planned ICE raids to see if Congress can solve border crisis

Ocasio-Cortez, other Dems accuse ICE and CBP of ‘killing’ children, call for hold on funding

Oregon Senate closes due to ‘possible militia threat’ after Republican walkout

Bitcoin Is Back Above $10,000 and Investors Say This Rally Is Different – The world’s most popular cryptocurrency gets a boost from Facebook’s plan to launch Libra

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Puerto Madero, Mexico

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits off the coast of Oregon

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Changning, China

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near the Vanuatu region

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits off the coast of Oregon

4.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Plainville, Kansas

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 29,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Raikoke volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 15,000ft

Europe to experience ‘intense heat’ in multi-day heat wave

Japanese sign up for DNA matchmaking as country faces demographic crisis

NY pair gives millions to anti-vaccination group working in ultra-Orthodox areas

Federal court allows Trump admin. rule banning abortion funding through Title X to take effect

Human trafficking in America among worst in world: report

P&G Launches New Film Highlighting Its Internal Journey for LGBT+ Inclusion

Australia Sets New Guidelines to Make Sports “Inclusive” for “Transgender & Gender Diverse” Athletes

Jesuit high school stripped of ‘Catholic’ label over gay teacher, Indianapolis Archdiocese says

State Dept. releases religious freedom report: A ‘chilling array of abuses’ committed in 2018


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

Former Ethics Officer Calls Chicago State’s Attorney Kim Foxx a ‘Liar’ for Handling of Jussie Smollett Case — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Hours after State’s Attorney Kim Foxx deflected blame to her former chief ethics officer for her decision to not appoint a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, that former staffer called Foxx’s assertions lies.

April Perry, who served as Foxx’s chief ethics officer until May, sent an email to reporters Friday that contradicted statements Foxx made shortly after a Chicago judge slammed her handling of the Smollett case and appointed a special prosecutor Friday.

Foxx said she was just following “the advice and counsel of my then Chief Ethics Officer” when she opted out of ordering a special prosecutor — but Perry said the opposite to be true.

“My advice was that First Assistant Joseph Magats seek the court’s approval and request a Special State’s Attorney appointment in this matter. I prepared a motion and order to that effect, and e-mailed it to the First Assistant on February 20. Shortly after sending that email, the First Assistant advised me that State’s Attorney Foxx determined that the motion and order should not be filed,” Perry wrote in an email.

Records of Perry’s emails were obtained by The Post in April and back up her claims. A special prosecutor order was never filed in the case, according to court records.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Page Six, Gabrielle Fonrouge

via Former Ethics Officer Calls Chicago State’s Attorney Kim Foxx a ‘Liar’ for Handling of Jussie Smollett Case — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Fitton: We now have proof the ‘mainstream media’ was working with the Obama deep state… | The National Sentinel

Article Image
https://thenationalsentinel.com, By Jon Dougherty

In the age of President Donald Trump, it became obvious that the Washington establishment press has also served as a ‘useful idiot’ conduit for the deep state, essentially regurgitating whatever information an intelligence or federal law enforcement official fed them.

So long as it negatively impacted the president.

On Friday, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discussed a rarity — actual evidence of media-deep state collusion in an ongoing attempt to knock off our duly elected president, proving without question that the Fourth Estate in America has allowed itself to become precisely the thing our founders attempted to prevent: An official organ of government.

In particular, Fitton, during an appearance on Fox Business Network, addressed information his organization uncovered showing that a reporter at The New York Times was feeding bogus information to the FBI to help effectuate the “Spygate” scandal.

Do Americans Support Military Action Against Iran? | ZeroHedge News

It has emerged that President Trump approved military strikes against Iran before pulling back at the last minute when planes were in the air and ships were in position. U.S. military and diplomatic officials were expecting strikes against several Iranian radar and missile sites in response to the downing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in the early hours of Thursday morning. Yesterday it appeared Trump was keen on de-escalation, with the president saying the shoot down could be attributed to a “loose and stupid” Iranian officer and the president did not believe the airstrikes were a proportionate response.

How does the U.S. public feel about a military clash with Iran? As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, after the two tanker attacks in the Strait of Hormuz last week but before the drone shootdownYouGov polled Americans about their thoughts on military action.

You will find more infographics at Statista

If the U.S. government’s claims that Iran was behind the tanker attack are true, 47 percent of U.S. adults would somewhat or strongly support military action while 31 percent would be somewhat or strongly opposed. Unsurprisingly, the polling uncovered a deep partisan divide with 77 percent of Republicans backing a military strike compared to just 31 percent of Democrats.

Source: Do Americans Support Military Action Against Iran?

Trump says US to hit Iran with ‘major’ new sanctions Monday | Times of Israel

Article Image
https://www.timesofisrael.com, By AFP

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the United States would impose “major” new sanctions on Iran in two days — a move sure to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic republic inflamed by the downing of a US spy plane.

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said Saturday that the United States would impose “major” new sanctions on Iran in two days — a move sure to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic republic inflamed by the downing of a US spy plane.

Trump tamped down the threat of military action on Friday, when he called off retaliatory strikes at the last-minute because the response was not “proportionate” to the drone’s destruction over the Strait of Hormuz.

But he had said military action is still an option and brandished the threat of sanctions ever since.

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Now, he has set a timetable for fresh punitive economic measures to heap more pressure on an Iranian economy already reeling from the sanctions in place since Trump withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Tehran.

“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” Trump tweeted.

Iran cannot have Nuclear Weapons! Under the terrible Obama plan, they would have been on their way to Nuclear in a short number of years, and existing verification is not acceptable. We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday. I look forward to the day that…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019

“I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”

Earlier, before heading to Camp David for meetings with his advisers on the situation, Trump said he would be Iran’s “best friend” and that the Islamic republic could be a “wealthy” country if it renounced nuclear weapons.

“We’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.

“When they agree to that, they’re going to have a wealthy country. They’re going to be so happy, and I’m going to be their best friend. I hope that happens.”

“Let’s make Iran great again,” he added, tweaking for the occasion his main domestic political mantra.

Last year, Trump withdrew the United States from the deal designed to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief, and reinstated measures designed to choke off Iranian oil sales and cripple its economy.

As part of the spike in tensions, the US has beefed up its military presence in the Middle East and blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers on the Gulf of Oman. Iran denies any responsibility.

Head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh looks at debris from what the division describes as the US drone which was shot down on Thursday, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 21, 2019 (Meghdad Madadi/Tasnim News Agency/via AP)

“Everyone was saying I’m a war-monger, and now they say I’m a dove,” Trump said Saturday as he was peppered with questions about the Iran drama.

“I think I am neither, if you want to know the truth. I’m a man with common sense, and that’s what we need in this country, is common sense.”

Trump insisted it is up to the Iranian leadership how the current crisis plays out.

“If the leadership of Iran behaves badly, then it’s going to be a very, very bad day for them,” he said.

“But hopefully they’re smart and hopefully they really care for their people and not themselves, and hopefully we can get Iran back on to an economic track that’s fantastic, where they’re a really wealthy nation, which would be a wonderful thing,” he added.

Source: Trump says US to hit Iran with ‘major’ new sanctions Monday

The Coming Show Trial Of Julian Assange | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Chris Hedges via Truthdig,

On Friday morning I was in a small courtroom at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. Julian Assange, held in Belmarsh Prison and dressed in a pale-blue prison shirt, appeared on a video screen directly in front of me. Assange, his gray hair and beard neatly trimmed, slipped on heavy, dark-frame glasses at the start of the proceedings. He listened intently as Ben Brandon, the prosecutor, seated at a narrow wooden table, listed the crimes he allegedly had committed and called for his extradition to the United States to face charges that could result in a sentence of 175 years. The charges include the release of unredacted classified material that posed a “grave” threat to “human intelligence sources” and “the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States.” After the prosecutor’s presentation, Assange’s attorney, Mark Summers, seated at the same table, called the charges “an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.”

Most of us who have followed the long persecution of Assange expected this moment, but it was nevertheless deeply unsettling, the opening of the final act in a Greek tragedy where the hero, cursed by fortuna, or fate, confronts the dark forces from which there is no escape.

The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded and publishes, is not a U.S.-based publication. The message the U.S. government is sending is clear: No matter who or where you are, if you expose the inner workings of empire you will be hunted down, kidnapped and brought to the United States to be tried as a spy. The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny. Publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian, which devoted pages to the WikiLeaks revelations and later amplified and legitimized Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange, are no less panicked. This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime.

The WikiLeaks publisher was trapped for nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been granted political asylum. He feared being sent to Sweden to face sexual offense allegations, which he has denied, and then extradited to the United States. Two months ago, although diplomatic missions are considered sovereign territory, he was physically dragged out of the embassy by British police when the new government of Ecuador revoked his asylum and the Ecuadorian citizenship that had been granted to him. (Assange retains his Australian citizenship.) He was transported to court within three hours of his arrest, given 15 minutes to prepare a defense and summarily handed a 50-week sentence for a dubious bail violation. He was sent to Belmarsh, a notorious high-security prison in southeast London.

On Thursday, the day before Assange appeared in court, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid advanced the process for his removal to the United States by signing an extradition request. It is a clear signal to the courts where the British government stands.

We know what will be done to Assange. It has been done to thousands of those we kidnapped and then detained in black sites around the world. Sadistic and scientific techniques of torture will be used in an attempt to make him a zombie. Assange, in declining health, was transferred two weeks ago to the hospital wing of the prison. Because he was medically unable to participate when the hearing was initially to be held, May 30, the proceeding was reset. Friday’s hearing, in which he appeared frail and spoke hesitantly, although lucidly, set the timetable for his extradition trial, scheduled to take place at the end of February. All totalitarian states seek to break their political prisoners to render them compliant. This process will define Assange’s existence over the next few months.

Listen to Chris Hedges’ 2013 interview with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 

Assange’s psychological and physical state, which includes a dramatic loss of weight that was apparent Friday, came as Nils Melzer, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, spoke out after he, with two physicians, went to Belmarsh Prison to assess Assange. Melzer said Assange had undergone prolonged psychological torture. He went on to criticize what he called the “judicial persecution” of Assange by Britain, the United States, Ecuador and Sweden. He warned that Assange would face a politicized show trial in the United States if he were extradited to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act, each carrying a potential sentence of 10 years, for his role in publishingclassified military and diplomatic cables, documents and videos that exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. An additional charge that he conspired to hack into a government computer carries a maximum sentence of five years.

At last week’s hearing, Assange spoke only briefly.

He does not have access to a computer, and his attorneys have complained that the heavy restrictions imposed upon him make it nearly impossible for him to prepare his case.

“I know there has been an indictment brought against me,” Assange said through the video conference system.

“My lawyers have not yet given me the paperwork.”

He raised objections to the prosecutor’s charge that he and WikiLeaks attempted to hack into a U.S. government computer, insisting “WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher.” The United States has charged him with offering to hack into a government computer to help Chelsea Manning—who passed the files and documents to WikiLeaks—conceal her identity. The government concedes, however, that no such hack ever took place.

“The prosecution attorney told the BBC yesterday I was wanted in the U.S. for computer hacking,” he said.

“This is unquestionably false. Even the U.S. admits there was no hack. No passwords were broken. There is no evidence that I, WikiLeaks or Chelsea Manning engaged in hacking. I have 175 years of my life at stake. This is a signal that the prosecution will misrepresent the charges to mislead the press.”

The judge, Emma Arbuthnot, cut him off, saying “this is not the time to go into this.”

Commenting in 2018 when Assange’s lawyers requested that the warrant for his arrest be dropped, Arbuthnot said, “I accept that Mr. Assange had expressed fears of being returned to the United States from a very early stage in the Swedish extradition proceedings but, absent any evidence from Mr. Assange on oath, I do not find that Mr. Assange’s fears were reasonable,”

This statement by the judge captures the Alice-in-Wonderland quality of the judicial persecution of Assange. She dismisses as unreasonable Assange’s fears that if he voluntarily left the Ecuadorian Embassy he would be arrested by British police and extradited to the United States because he did not appear in court to express them. And yet, she is now presiding over his extradition trial.

This circular logic is not the only disturbing aspect of Judge Arbuthnot’s overseeing of the Assange case. She is married to James Arbuthnot, who sits in the House of Lords, is a British Conservative Party politician, was the minister of state at the Ministry of Defense and for nine years was the chairman of the Defense Select Committee in the House of Commons, a committee that oversees the operation of the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces. Arbuthnot, who was reprimanded while a member of Parliament for diverting public funds to maintain his two homes, is a director at SC Strategy, established by John Scarlett, the former head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6. The politician also is on the advisory board of Thales UK, a huge arms manufacturer whose corrupt business practices, which included massive bribes to heads of state in exchange for arms contracts, were exposed when some of its internal documents were published by WikiLeaks.

The judge “has a strong conflict of interest,” Melzer said from Vienna when I interviewed him by video link for my television show, “On Contact.” “Her husband had been exposed by WikiLeaks.”

Assange’s lawyers have asked the judge to recuse herself. She has refused.

“I was able to visit Mr. Assange in Belmarsh Prison,” Melzer said in the interview. “I was accompanied by two medical experts—a forensic expert and a psychiatrist. Both of them were specialized in identifying, examining and documenting psychological and physical torture. What we found was Mr. Assange showed all the symptoms that are typical for a person who has been exposed to prolonged psychological torture. What we’re talking about is severe traumatization. Chronic anxiety. Intense, constant stress, and an inability to relax or focus, to think in a structured, straight line. Someone who is in a constant, hyper-stimulated stage and can no longer relax.”

“Psychological torture can have various consequences,” Melzer continued. “It is difficult to predict exactly how the situation will evolve. What you see now, during my visit, was already alarming. What we have seen since then, his state of health has dramatically deteriorated as predicted by the psychiatrist who accompanied my visit. What can happen during the prolongation is it can have irreversible damage, even on the physical level. First on the psychological and emotional level. But then also on the physical level it can lead to a nervous breakdown and to cardiovascular damage that is no longer reversible.”

Melzer, who is an attorney, closely examined the 2010  Swedish allegations against Assange. He said he found a series of disturbing judicial anomalies and indications that the sexual assault charges were being manipulated by Swedish authorities to extradite the publisher to the United States. When legal proceedings were initiated against Assange, for example, they were immediately made public. Assange learned about the allegations in the press.

“He was in Sweden at the time,” Melzer said. “He immediately went to a police station himself and said, ‘Could I please make my statement and participate in this?’ Sweden law prohibits the publication of the name of the complainant and the suspected offender in a sexual offense case. His statement was taken. Two or three days later, the prosecutor closed the case, saying, ‘There was no evidence of any crime being committed at all.’ ”

But a few days later the case was reopened by a different prosecutor.

“Mr. Assange voluntarily stayed on in Sweden for three weeks, saying, ‘I’m at the disposal of the prosecution for any questions you have to ask,’ ” Melzer said.

Assange had a commitment in Britain and, Melzer noted, received permission from the prosecutor to leave Sweden. Once he arrived in the United Kingdom, however, Sweden issued an arrest warrant, claiming he was trying to avoid questioning.

“They asked him to come back to Sweden for questioning,” Melzer said. “Then Mr. Assange became a little bit suspicious. ‘I thought we had dealt with this. What is the issue?’ He was afraid that he was being called back so Sweden could surrender him to the U.S.”

Sweden has on several occasions surrendered foreign nationals to the CIA without due process, including handing over two Egyptian nationals, Mohammed al-Zari and Ahmed Agiza, to CIA operatives on Dec. 18, 2001, for transfer from Stockholm to Cairo. The men were seeking asylum in Sweden. Once returned to Egypt they were imprisoned and tortured. Sending asylum seekers to countries that are known to engage in torture is a violation of international law.

When Assange’s lawyers asked for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the United States, Swedish authorities refused. Assange’s lawyers said he would be willing to undergo questioning by video link from Britain, a proposal Sweden rejected despite having used this procedure in past criminal cases. Assange proposed to be questioned by Swedish officials in Britain. This offer, too, was rejected. The Swedish authorities insisted he return to Sweden.

“That is why Mr. Assange looked for refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy once the extradition proceedings to Sweden didn’t go in his favor at the Supreme Court in the U.K.,” Melzer said.

“What is called a rape allegation [in the Swedish case] is not what would be called a rape in English or Swedish or any other language in the world,” Melzer said. “I know what I’m talking about because I speak Swedish. What the rape allegation refers to is an offense that doesn’t involve any violence. He has been alleged of intentionally ripping a condom during consensual intercourse with a woman. She said it was intentional. He said it was an accident. Predictably, this is something no one will ever be able to prove. The piece of evidence submitted to the prosecution, the condom, was examined and did not have any DNA on it from him, or from the complainant, or anyone else.”

“There is no evidence that he committed a sexual offense … ,” Melzer said. “This whole narrative is extremely important. It dominated his presence in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years.”

A leaked email exchange between Swedish judicial authorities, who sought to drop the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017, and Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, handling the Assange case, included a message to the Swedes warning them not to “get cold feet!!!”

Assange’s 50-week sentence is for violating his bail conditions by refusing to surrender to the British authorities and accept extradition to Sweden. After he requested and took political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British government refused him safe passage to the airport, trapping him in the Ecuadorian compound. The Swedish judiciary, which conveniently reopened its case against Assange the moment he was taken from the embassy, has since dropped its extradition request, clearing the way for his extradition to the United States.

In 2017 Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador. He sought to mend relations with the United States and agreed, apparently in exchange for debt relief, to unilaterally revoke Assange’s asylum status and the Ecuadorian citizenship he had been granted under the previous administration. Ecuador was given a $4.2 billion debt relief package by the International Monetary Fund three weeks before Moreno authorized British police to enter the embassy in London.

Judge Michael Snow called a disheveled Assange “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own self-interest” when he appeared in court three hours after being dragged out of the embassy April 11. The only words Assange spoke during that hearing were “I plead not guilty.” The 50-week sentence he received for bail violation is only two weeks short of the maximum provided by law.

“This shows the disproportionate sentencing and bias against him,” Melzer said. “Normally a bail violation would end in a fine and perhaps in a very grave case a short  prison sentence [much less than 50 weeks].”

Melzer said he is convinced Assange cannot “get a fair trial in the United States” after nearly a decade of “unrestrained public mobbing, intimidation, calls for his assassination and instigation to violence against him.”

“He has been exposed to public ridicule, including by serving officials and former officials of government, by prominent personalities,” Melzer said.

“A fair trial requires legality—that he’s actually being charged for something that is punishable,” Melzer said. “Seventeen out of the 18 charges are under the Espionage Act. All of them relate to activities that any investigative journalist would conduct and would be protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 18th charge, the so-called hacking charge, doesn’t relate to him. The U.S. doesn’t claim he actually hacked a computer to receive information. He obtained all of the information he published [from] someone who had full clearance. He received this information. He may have perhaps encouraged the source, as any journalist would do, to give him the information and then published it. The hacking charge relates to him unsuccessfully attempting to help the source break a password that would have allowed her to cover her tracks. But he didn’t succeed.”

“I don’t see any possibility that Mr. Assange would be acquitted in the U.S. or that he would receive a very light sentence of six weeks in prison,” Melzer said. “That is utterly unrealistic, especially under the so-called espionage court, in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he has been charged. There has been no defendant that has been acquitted there of national security charges.”

“A fair trial requires equality before the law,” Melzer said. “When a government prosecutes a whistleblower, let alone a journalist, for having exposed serious crimes by government agents—we’re talking about war crimes—and then these war crimes are not being prosecuted [this is not equality before the law].”

“There is no longer the rule of law,” Melzer said. “There is no longer equality before the law. There are no longer transparent court proceedings when you have a secret grand jury and a secret session debating classified evidence. These are proceedings skewed against the defendant. I don’t think Julian Assange would get a fair trial.”

“Britain, Sweden and Ecuador have violated the convention against torture,” Melzer said. “They should release Mr. Assange. They may question him in response to the sexual offenses. Frankly, I don’t think there is much behind that. If there is, I think he has suffered more than his share already through that ill treatment. He should be released. He should be compensated and rehabilitated by those states.

Source: The Coming Show Trial Of Julian Assange

Well Lookie-Lookie: Latest Goofy Trump Accuser Is Linked to Activist Attorney Lisa Bloom, Is She Getting Paid Too? — The Gateway Pundit

The latest goofy lady to claim President Trump molested her years ago turns out to also be connected to Lisa Bloom.  Of course this isn’t the first time Ms. Bloom was connected to someone who wanted to slander the President and claim he abused her.  Then again, Lisa is of course the spawn of Gloria Alred.

Last week we reported that another woman falsely accused President Trump of sexually abusing her years ago –

E. Jean Carroll claimed in a New York Magazine article which was published on Friday that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her.

The accusation is actually from an excerpt from a new book Carroll is slinging — SHOCKER — she’s selling a book and wants publicity.

President Trump responded quickly and directly saying –

“Regarding the ‘story’ by E. Jean Carroll, claiming she once encountered me at Bergdorf Goodman 23 years ago. I’ve never met this person in my life. She is trying to sell a new book — that should indicate her motivation. It should be sold in the fiction section,” the president wrote.

“Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda—like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump asserted. “It’s just as bad for people to believe it, particularly when there is zero evidence. Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news—it’s an epidemic.”

Now it turns out that E. Jean Carroll is not just goofy, she appears to be connected to Lisa Bloom.  A picture of the two women from 2006 was reported this week.

Of course, Lisa Bloom is famous for paying off women before the 2016 election up to $750,000 each for accusing Donald Trump of sexually abusing them.  She and her mother Gloria Alred are famous for pushing fake sex scandals against conservatives while representing real predators like Harvey Weinstein.

In 2017 Bloom represented failed comedian Kathy Griffin.  Griffin tried to defend herself for holding a fake head that looked like President Trump with blood all over it.  After being called out for being violent and gross and not funny, Griffin hired Bloom and held a press conference.

During the conference a California reporter representing the Gateway Pundit (TGP) asked Griffin about her bullying of 11 year-old Barron Trump.  Griffin and Bloom both defended the attacks on the president’s young son.  Then at the end of the presser the reporter pulled out an artist’s image of Kathy Griffin holding the head of her lawyer Lisa Bloom and asked if they thought it was appropriate.

This was stellar reporting by the TGP California reporter!

Women like Gloria Alred and her daughter Lisa Bloom are hurting women.  Their lies in attempts to disparage conservatives are only making it difficult if not impossible for women who really are raped to find justice.  Shame on them.

Hat tip D. Manny

via Well Lookie-Lookie: Latest Goofy Trump Accuser Is Linked to Activist Attorney Lisa Bloom, Is She Getting Paid Too? — The Gateway Pundit

About Time! MN Star-Tribune FINALLY Reports on Ilhan Omar Being Married to Two Men at Once and ‘Possibly Her Own Brother’ — The Gateway Pundit

In early June Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was ordered to pay a $500 civil fine for violating campaign finance law.

Omar had to pay an additional $3,469 fine for improperly used campaign funds.

But the investigation into Ilhan Omar and the findings released by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board revealed something even more serious.

It appears Ilhan Omar may have filed fraudulent federal and state tax returns.

Michelle Malkin immediately jumped into the fray and called Ilhan Omar out on her fraudulent marriage to her brother and how she filed joint tax returns with a man who she was not married to.

Ilhan Omar knows she is in a bind after breaking federal law for several years.

During online discussions this week Ilhan Omar’s ‘fixer’ Ben Goldfarb admitted that Ilhan Omar has been successful in getting the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to kill anti-Ilhan reports.

The Gateway Pundit reached out to The Star-Tribune about Goldfarb’s accusations and we received this response.
(Monday 6-17) Steve Yaeger, the Chief Marketing Officer at the Star-Tribune Media Co. wrote us back with this response: “Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this item. In short, this is a ridiculous claim. No public official dictates or “shuts down” Star Tribune’s coverage of them – period.”

Now this…

On Saturday, after several months of this story being reported online, the Minnesota Star-Tribune finally reported that Ilhan Omar was married to two men at once and “possible her own brother.”

New investigative documents released by a state agency have given fresh life to lingering questions about the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar and whether she once married a man — possibly her own brother — to skirt immigration laws.

Omar has denied the allegations in the past, dismissing them as “baseless rumors” first raised in an online Somali politics forum and championed by conservative bloggers during her 2016 campaign for the Minnesota House. But she said little then or since about Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, the former husband who swept into her life in 2009 before a 2011 separation.

The questions surfaced again this month in a state probe of campaign finance violations showing that Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, while she was still legally married to but separated from Elmi.

Jack Posobiec weighed in…

This does not look good for the America-hating Minnesota congresswoman.

via About Time! MN Star-Tribune FINALLY Reports on Ilhan Omar Being Married to Two Men at Once and ‘Possibly Her Own Brother’ — The Gateway Pundit

Why Trump’s Cyber Attack On Iran Was The Right Move — The Federalist

Cyber attacks are the future of warfare. By launching one against Iran, Trump has increased the threat to Iran without plunging the United States into war.

President Trump faced a difficult choice in the wake of Iran’s downing of an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz last week. Eventually, after ordering an attack, Trump decided against it, because the 150 estimated civilian casualties would have represented a disproportionate response to destroying an unmanned drone. But yesterday we found out he did pull the trigger on a different kind of response, and the United States launched a cyber attack against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, disabling some weapon systems.

Although the concept and capability of cyber warfare has existed since at least the 1980s, it is still in a very nascent, although dangerous stage. High-ranking military officials I have spoken to consider the cyber threat to the United States to be the greatest we face from foreign adversaries. Before looking at Trump’s action, and why it was a good move, it’s good to understand the current state of cyber warfare.

There are basically two types of cyber attacks that nations or non-state actors can employ. One is informational; the other degrades actual capabilities of computer networks. For obvious reasons involving Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 election, the media in the United States has been focused on the informational side. This can include anything from social media election interference, as we saw from the Internet Research Agency, to spying through classified computer systems.

Informational cyber attacks can go on for long periods of time undetected. They are also very cheap to set up and operate. The United States is extremely vulnerable to these kinds of attacks precisely because our society is so free, while our adversaries can simply shut down websites, or the Internet. Thus the United States is struggling, along with social media companies themselves, to combat this growing threat.

The far more serious threat lies in attacks that degrade actual computing and network capabilities. The Pentagon’s top concern in this area is referred to as a cyber Pearl Harbor. This would look something like a foreign power shutting down the electrical grids in major U.S. cities. Such an attack could kill thousands of Americans very quickly. In fact, the military has studied the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as a model of what might happen if we suffered such an attack.

A cyber Pearl Harbor which leveled that kind of death and destruction would almost certainly be viewed as an outright act of war that must be met with a conventional warfare response. However, smaller-scale degrading cyber attacks, such as the one Trump ordered, exist on a murkier spectrum of destruction and response. It is not clear exactly what level of degradation of computing capabilities would cross the line that calls for a conventional response. This is exactly why it was the right move for Trump.

This is likely not the first time the United States has used a destructive cyber attack against Iran. In 2010 the Stuxnet virus wreaked havoc on the Iranian nuclear program. It is widely believed that this virus was created and employed by the United States and Israel. The difference now is that the United States is actually taking credit for this most recent cyber attack. That is a far bolder move than it appears to be on its face, for a few reasons.

First, unlike informational attacks, destructive cyber attacks are a one-and-done enterprise. This is because once the attack happens, the enemy knows it happened and can quickly reverse-engineer the attack. Not only does this protect the enemy from future attacks involving similar software, it can also improve their cyber capabilities, in a sense that after you shoot them, they get to keep the bullet and try to use it on you.

But perhaps more importantly, by taking credit for the attack, the United States is sending a clear message to Iran that it has a powerful cyber arsenal and is not afraid to use it. In fact, America might be able to inflict a cyber Pearl Harbor on Iran. Without dropping a single bomb, it may be able to unleash enormous death and destruction across wide swaths of Iranian territory. This was a very serious cyber shot across Iran’s bow that still leaves in play the eventual option of conventional attack.

Many observers seem to think that President Trump backed down by not bombing a few military installations in Iran. But this cyber attack is in many ways more insidious and dangerous for the Iranian regime. By signing our name to it, the United States is sending a clear message that it is willing and able to use this newest weapon of war, to dramatic effect.

The future of warfare is now and the Pentagon knows it. How Iran responds will determine if greater cyber attacks might be employed. This was the right attack, it is the right threat to emphasize, and it is the dawn of a new kind of war that will shape the course of international relations.

via Why Trump’s Cyber Attack On Iran Was The Right Move — The Federalist

U.S. Attacks Iran With Cyber Not Missiles — A Game Changer, Not A Backtrack | Forbes

The decision by U.S. President Trump to pull back from a retaliatory strike against Iran for the downing of a surveillance drone because there would be “too many deaths for a proportionate response” has been painted as a backtrack. Instead, “President Trump approved an offensive cyber strike that disabled computer systems used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to control rocket and missile launches.”

“Though crippling to Iran’s military command and control systems,” reported the Washington Post, “the operation did not involve a loss of life or civilian casualties—a contrast to conventional strikes, which the president said he called back Thursday because they would not be ‘proportionate’.”

That is not a backtrack, it’s a game changer.

A physical missile strike against military targets in Iran would generate headlines and newsworthy images. It would kill scores of people. But in the end, it would make little difference to the standoff between Washington and Teheran. If, however, the reports are true and the U.S. has compromised Iran’s networks to the extent that Teheran’s core command and control systems are now vulnerable, that changes the dynamics completely.

Offensive cyber capabilities have long been the most sensitive and nationalistic of government activities. Despite all the media speculation, most government cyber spend remains focused on the defense of data and networks. And where offensive cyber attacks have taken place, they are not disclosed let alone publicized. For that reason, the reports on June 21 and 22 on the U.S. cyber attack are significant and not by accident.

The physical and digital are entwined. This decision by the U.S. to treat the disclosure of a cyber attack as it might a physical attack when in truth there is no footage and so no need, clearly shows this to be the case. The mix of physical and cyber, retaliating in one dimension for an attack in the other does the same.

We saw this in Gaza in May, when Israeli forces launched a physical strike in retaliation for a cyber attack in what was a world first. Israeli forces announced that they had “thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work.”

And so to this attack and the Washington Post’s report that “the [U.S. Cyber Command] strike against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was coordinated with U.S. Central Command,” and that the attack had been in the works for weeks, not hours, and could have come any time after the attacks on the oil tankers for which the U.S. blames the IRGC.

There are no official details on the offensive cyber operation which was first reported by Yahoo News. A Department of Defense spokesperson told the media that “as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence or planning.”

According to Yahoo News, the U.S. “digital strike” also targeted the “Iranian spy group… with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps” that supported the tanker attacks and which “has over the past several years digitally tracked and targeted military and civilian ships passing through the economically important Strait of Hormuz.”

The U.S. cyber attack “imposes costs on the growing Iranian cyber threat, but also serves to defend the United States Navy and shipping operations in the Strait of Hormuz,” Thomas Bossert, a former senior White House cyber official the Washington Post. “Our US military has long known that we could sink every IRGC vessel in the strait within 24 hours if necessary, and this is the modern version of what the U.S. Navy has to do to defend itself at sea and keep international shipping lanes free.”

Iran has also been developing its offensive cyber capability, with Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, disclosing the “recent rise in malicious cyber activity directed at United States industries and government agencies by Iranian regime actors and proxies.”

Iranian hackers are thought to be actively targeting U.S. government agencies and commercial organizations. And the U.S. is not alone. The U.K. acknowledged an Iranian cyber attack late last year that compromised high-profile government and commercial systems. Iran does not have anything like the capabilities of China or Russia, but it has made significant improvements in recent years. Iran is now “looking to do much more than just steal data and money,” Krebs said in his statement, “what might start as an account compromise… can quickly become a situation where you’ve lost your whole network.”

Late last week, the National Security Agency confirmed to AP that “there have been serious issues with malicious Iranian cyber actions in the past. In these times of heightened tensions, it is appropriate for everyone to be alert to signs of Iranian aggression in cyberspace and ensure appropriate defenses are in place.”

Krebs attributed this “shift in geopolitical dynamics” to his agency’s decision to issue a formal warning.

Last week, the New York Times cited sources, reporting that the U.S. “is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cyber tools more aggressively.” These new authorities were “slipped into the military authorization bill[which approved] the clandestine military activity deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyber activities against the United States.”

Offensive cyber attacks can be mistakenly portrayed as remote, digital-only exercises. This is not the case. Offensive cyber attacks are not isolated and have a critical physical dimension. Compromising nation state systems is complex and mixes physical and digital assets. A wide range of covert ground-based activity and digital espionage targeting individuals and organizations supports the work of the cyber agencies. And it works both ways. Yahoo News reported on the Iranian “honey pots” which use social media to identify vulnerable U.S. sailors, creating fake profiles of “attractive young women” to “gather intelligence on ship movements.”

The Iranian (and Russian) attacks on the U.S. are nothing new, nation-state attacks on systems have become par for the course. We saw this with the NASA hack, as reported by my colleague Davey Winder for Forbes, which bore many of the hallmarks (albeit unconfirmed) of a state-sponsored action. What is new is the openly militaristic dimension to cyber warfare which was in the minds of those who architected the recent U.S. legislation and the remit of the country’s Cyber Command.

And so while the cyber headlines continue to be dominated by talk of Russian election meddling and the U.S. blacklist against China’s technology giants, including Huawei, the cyber legacy from 2019 looks set to be the integration of cyber and physical forces in a way we have not seen before. Yes, such capabilities have been around for some time and have been used effectively on numerous occasions. But not publicly, and not in the mix and match way we’re seeing now.

Source: U.S. Attacks Iran With Cyber Not Missiles — A Game Changer, Not A Backtrack

SABOTAGE: DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan Accused of Leaking Info on ICE Raids, Putting His Own Agents in Danger — The Gateway Pundit

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was accused of putting his own agents in danger by leaking details about the massive Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation to the media in order to sabotage it.

Multiple outlets are now reporting that sources within the agency believe McAleenan was behind the leaks about the now-postponed plan to deport approximately 2,000 illegal immigrants from ten US cities.

“Leaking the locations and details to stop the operation from happening not only harmed operational integrity, but it put the safety and well-being of his own officers in jeopardy,” said one senior administration official told Buzzfeed News. “The ICE mission is enforcing the nation’s laws and ensuring those who are unlawfully present in the country are removed if ordered by a judge; this will leave an un-erasable mark on his tenure.”

The Washington Examiner also reported that they have multiple sources confirming the same thing.

“I know he has not approved of this operation for months,” one person familiar with those private conversations said during a phone call Saturday night. “The president wouldn’t leak that. ICE wouldn’t leak that. There’s only a few people involved in these discussions … The only one who could have shared the details of those operations were Kevin.”

“That’s our belief,” a second official said when asked if McAleenan was behind the leak. “The secretary was not supportive from day one.”

According to the Examiner’s report, their sources told them that only a handful of people in the White House, ICE, and DHS knew the exact cities, dates and times for the raids.

The report that allegedly caused the president to postpone the operation was published in the Washington Post by a reporter who traveled on a government plane down to the border on Wednesday with McAleenan. It contained information that McAleenan and few others would have been privy to.

The Post also detailed McAleenan’s opposition to the operation.

“Leaking the locations and details to stop the operation from happening not only harmed operational integrity, but it put the safety and well-being of his own officers in jeopardy,” the third official wrote to the Examiner.

“That’s law enforcement sensitive information. You just don’t reveal that,” the second official said. “It gets people hyped up. It gets the NGOs activated, and then anyone wearing a jacket with the ICE name on it is really chastised. Cities are coming out saying, ‘Here’s how you can protect yourself against it.’”

And as reported earlier former ICE Director Tom Homan went off on McAleenan on FOX and Friends Weekend.

On Saturday morning former ICE Director Tom Homan went off on the government official who leaked the cities involved in the upcoming ICE raids.

Homan outed acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan for resisting the upcoming ICE raids and for leaking the timing and location to the press.

via SABOTAGE: DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan Accused of Leaking Info on ICE Raids, Putting His Own Agents in Danger — The Gateway Pundit