Daily Archives: June 28, 2019

June 28 Strategies for the Faithful

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 17:12–27

Key Verse: 1 Samuel 17:26

Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

A faithful child of God will reckon spiritual victory as sure and certain by applying the strategies David used against Goliath:

  • Fight the battle before the battle. Get on your face before God and pray through the challenge. Let the Lord prune, sift, sand, and weed you as you hash over the situation with Him. Do this until you are certain that you know the will of God.
  • Reaffirm in your heart that the battle is the Lord’s. Only the Lord can work in your situation for good, and only He can bring about true victory.
  • Declare the victory. David not only promised to slay Goliath but also said the Lord would destroy the entire Philistine army. His was the most ambitious of declarations, because he served the most certain, true God.
  • Wait on God’s timing. It wasn’t until David declared what the Lord would do through him that the Lord brought about the victory. Sometimes He asks us to wait. Always His timing is perfect.
  • Proceed in God’s way. We are prone to rely upon the world’s ways when we get into battles. We have to trust God always—even when He asks us to do something that doesn’t make sense immediately.
  • Trust God. Pray unceasingly. Fight with confidence. Believe God’s promises. Take Him—at His Word. Wait for His victory.

The battle is Yours, Lord! I will wait for Your timing and proceed in Your way, trusting You to give the victory.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 187). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 28 Healing the Pain of Brokenness

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7–10

Key Verse: Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.

The promises of God are dear to the hearts of those who have experienced brokenness:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. (Ps. 51:17 nasb)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18 nasb)

He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. (Ps. 147:3 nasb)

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. (Isa. 61:1 nasb)

If you are in the midst of brokenness and bereft of hope, meditate on these Scriptures. They share the heart of our Father God who longs to embrace and heal the pain of your brokenness. He promises to be near you, sustain you, watch over you, and bring relief with His healing hand.

The end of brokenness is the healing touch of the Father, the touch of grace and mercy. It is the gift of His strength for Your weakness, His hope for your despair, His contentment for your anxiety.

Dear God, heal my heart. Bind up my wounds. Be near me in the midst of my brokenness, and let me sense Your presence. Exchange my despair for hope, my anxiety for contentment, my weakness for Your strength.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 187). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Crops Devastated As More Ferocious Storms Pound The Midwest: “Hard To Get Your Head Around Just How Bad It Is” | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American dream,

It has gotten to the point where maybe we should just expect violent storms to hammer the Midwest every single day of the week.  Highly destructive storms ripped through the Midwest on Tuesday, it happened again on Wednesday, and the forecast calls for more powerful storms on Thursday.  This growing season has been a complete and utter nightmare for U.S. farmers, and each day it just gets even worse.  Millions of acres will not be planted at all this year, but an even bigger problem is that fact that crops are dramatically failing on tens of millions of acres that were actually planted in time.  Every major storm does even more damage, and that is why what we have witnessed so far this week has been so alarming.

For example, on Tuesday the middle of the country was absolutely pummeled by “more than 120 damaging storms”

More than 120 damaging storms were reported from Montana all the way to Florida on Tuesday, a barrage that included 70 mph winds from Texas to Illinois, golf ball-sized hail Nebraska and up to half a foot of rain in parts of southern Iowa.

Then on Wednesday a series of severe storms dumped enormous amounts of rain “from Washington state to Illinois”.

And of course we aren’t done yet.  According to AccuWeather, Thursday was another very rough day for the heartland

More severe weather is likely on Thursday over parts of the North-Central states.

The storms may take a more west-to-east track across the northern Plains to the Great Lakes region during Thursday afternoon and night.

During this period, a complex of storms is likely to travel from the eastern part of South Dakota to across Lake Michigan and much of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Storms are forecast to roll through Minneapolis in the morning and then Milwaukee later in the day or evening.

In recent weeks, some people that clearly don’t live in the middle of the country have left some really negative comments on my articles about the enormous toll that this disaster is taking on Midwest farmers.  For whatever reason, some people want to try to minimize the nightmare that these farmers are living.  But the truth is that it would be very difficult to overstate the scope of this crisis at this point.

Recently, Missouri farmer Kate Glastetter told one reporter that her fields “are washing away” and that they currently resemble “lakefront property”…

Kate Glastetter has worked on her family farm all her life. Alongside her father, the 25-year-old farmer grows row crops—wheat, bean, and corn—and runs a cow and calf operation in Scott County, Missouri. Normally, at this time in the season, farmers would be starting to plant soybeans, and corn should already be in the ground. Instead, Glastetter says, their fields are covered in water. “It’s like lakefront property,” she says. “The fields are washing away.”

It’s a common story across the Midwest and Great Plains, where the Missouri and Mississippi River basins are still recovering from a catastrophic deluge: Since March, record flooding in the central United States has caused historic crop delays. The Mississippi River received levels of rain and snow at 200 percent above normal this spring, causing corn and some soybean farmers to wait longer to plant their crops than ever recorded in Department of Agriculture data.

How would you feel if you had to watch your income for the year literally wash away right in front of your eyes?

This is happening in state after state, and it is truly a disaster unlike anything we have ever seen before.  In fact, one agricultural expert told AgWeb that it is “hard to get your head around just how bad it is”

“I never thought we’d see this widespread of a weather issue — all the way from South Dakota to Ohio,” Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, told Farm Journal’s AgWeb.

“It’s hard to get your head around just how bad it is.”

Meanwhile, U.S. farmers are also being absolutely devastated by our trade war with China.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China published new data Monday that shows agricultural imports from the US have fallen, as Chinese buyers shift supply chains out of the US to other countries because of the deepening trade war.

In the first five months of 2019, imports of agricultural products from the US crashed 55.3% YoY. Much of decline was due to a 70.6% YoY decline of soybeans in the same period.

Chinese importers went to Brazil, Argentina, and ASEN countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Laos). Data showed imports from the EU, Australia, and Canada also jumped in the first five months as Chinese buyers ditched American products.

Farmers are being financially destroyed all over the country, and yet there are some people out there that seem to think that it is appropriate to mock them and make light of their suffering.

I just don’t get it.

Look, the truth is that we are all going to be hurting as a result of this crisis.  Food prices are going to go up, gas prices are going to go up as less corn is available for ethanol, and the massive income loss that U.S. farmers are suffering is going to have ripple effects throughout the entire U.S. economy.  Those that are mocking others should be busy preparing for harder times instead.

And of course this all comes at a time when we are experiencing the worst economic downturn since the last recession.

For many months, I warned that a “perfect storm” was coming, and now we can see evidence of it all around us.

For U.S. farmers, it is hard to imagine that things could get even worse than they are right now, and so let us hope that better weather is right around the corner.

Source: Crops Devastated As More Ferocious Storms Pound The Midwest: “Hard To Get Your Head Around Just How Bad It Is”

Memo To Trump: Trade Bolton For Tulsi | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

“For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end.”

Donald Trump, circa 2016?

Nope. That denunciation of John Bolton interventionism came from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. At 38, she was the youngest candidate on stage.

Gabbard proceeded to rip both the “president and his chickenhawk cabinet (who) have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”

In a fiery exchange, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that America cannot disengage from Afghanistan:

“When we weren’t in there they started flying planes into our buildings.”

“The Taliban didn’t attack us on 9/11,” Gabbard replied, “Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11. That’s why I and so many other people joined the military, to go after al-Qaida, not the Taliban.”

When Ryan insisted we must stay engaged, Gabbard shot back:

“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? ‘Well, we just have to be engaged.’ As a solider, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable…

We are no better off in Afghanistan that we were when this war began.”

By debate’s end, Gabbard was the runaway winner in both the Drudge Report and Washington Examiner polls and was far in front among all the Democratic candidates whose names were being searched on Google.

Though given less than seven minutes of speaking time in a two-hour debate, she could not have used that time more effectively. And her performance may shake up the Democratic race.

If she can rise a few points above her 1-2% in the polls, she could be assured a spot in the second round of debates.

If she is, moderators will now go to her with questions of foreign policy issues that would not have been raised without her presence, and these questions will expose the hidden divisions in the Democratic Party.

Leading Democratic candidates could be asked to declare what U.S. policy should be — not only toward Afghanistan but Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century,” and Trump’s seeming rejection of the two-state solution.

If she makes it into the second round, Gabbard could become the catalyst for the kind of globalist vs. nationalist debate that broke out between Trump and Bush Republicans in 2016, a debate that contributed to Trump’s victory at the Cleveland convention and in November.

The problem Gabbard presents for Democrats is that, as was shown in the joust with Ryan, she takes positions that split her party, while her rivals prefer to talk about what unites the party, like the terribleness of Trump, free college tuition and soaking the rich.

Given more airtime, she will present problems for the GOP as well. For the foreign policy Tulsi Gabbard is calling for is not far off from the foreign policy Donald Trump promised in 2016 but has since failed to deliver.

We still have 2,000 troops in Syria, 5,000 in Iraq, 14,000 in Afghanistan. We just moved an aircraft carrier task force, B-52s and 1,000 troops to the Persian Gulf to confront Iran. We are about to impose sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister with whom we would need to negotiate to avoid a war.

Jared Kushner is talking up a U.S.-led consortium to raise $50 billion for the Palestinians in return for their forfeiture of sovereignty and an end to their dream of a nation-state on the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital.

John Bolton is talking of regime change in Caracas and confronting the “troika of tyranny” in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Rather than engaging Russia as Trump promised, we have been sanctioning Russia, arming Ukraine, sending warships into the Black Sea, beefing up NATO in the Baltic and trashing arms control treaties Ronald Reagan and other presidents negotiated in the Cold War

U.S. policy has managed to push our great adversaries, Russia and China, together as they have not been since the first Stalin-Mao decade of the Cold War.

This June, Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing where he and Xi Jinping met in the Great Hall of the People to warn that in this time of “growing global instability and uncertainty,” Russia and China will “deepen their consultations on strategic stability issues.”

Xi presented Putin with China’s new Friendship Medal. Putin responded: “Cooperation with China is one of Russia’s top priorities and it has reached an unprecedented level.”

At the end of the Cold War, we were the lone superpower. Who forfeited our preeminence? Who bled us of 7,000 U.S. lives and $6 trillion in endless Middle East wars? Who got us into this Cold War II?

Was all this the doing of those damnable isolationists again?

Source: Memo To Trump: Trade Bolton For Tulsi

What the Bible Does (and Doesn’t) Say About the Life (or Death) of the Soul — Cold Case Christianity

What the Bible Does (and Doesn’t) Say About the Life (or Death) of the SoulAs Christians, we believe humans are more than merely physical creatures. We are also “soulish” beings; living souls who also possess physical bodies. As a result, the vast majority of Christians believe our souls are unaffected by our physical death. We are eternal beings, even though our earthly bodies eventually die. Other groups, also using the Bible as their source of information about the soul, have argued souls die along with the body, entering what is sometimes called “soul sleep”. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and Christadelphians all hold this position. Part of the problem is simply a matter of terminology. When we use the term “soul” as we have been using it in this post, we are referring to the existence of our immaterial being. But when Bible translators translate the original Hebrew and Greek words used by the Biblical authors, they are actually translating words typically used to describe something else:

The Old Testament word, “nephesh” (neh’-fesh)
This word has been translated as “soul” on occasion in the Old Testament, but that’s not how the ancient Israelites understood the word. They used it throughout the Old Testament to describe any breathing creature or animal, and it is more often translated as “appetite”, “beast”, “body”, “breath”, “creature”, “dead”, “lust”, “man”, “mind”, “person”, or “life”, than it is translated as “soul”.

The New Testament word, “psuche” (psoo-khay’)
Like “nephesh”, this word has been translated as “soul” as well, but literally means “breath” and can accurately be translated as “heart”, “life”, “mind”, “us”, or “you” in addition to the connotation we would understand as “soul”.

How, then, are we to know exactly how the original writers of Scripture were using these words? How do we know whether they were using the words to describe some aspect of our temporal life or whether they were using the words to describe the soul? Let’s take, for example, Ezekiel 18:4, a passage often cited by Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to make the case we, as living souls, die or sleep when our bodies die:

Ezekiel 18:4
“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.”

From a simple reading of this passage, it sure sounds like souls die. But the word being used as “soul” is “nephesh” and we know it is more often used to describe living physical beings (creatures). So this passage could just as easily (and may more accurately) be translated in this way:

“Behold, all lives are Mine; the life of the father as well as the life of the son is Mine. The person (life) who sins will die.”

See the problem here? We really can’t make the case for the mortality of the soul from a simple word study in the Old or New Testament. But Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the only ones who have to be careful. Those who try to prove the soul is immortal from a simple word study also fall into this same trap. Let’s take one example:

Psalms 84:2
“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

Those arguing for the immortality of the soul use this passage to demonstrate the soul is clearly defined as something different than the heart and the flesh of the body. But once again we have to remember the word used for “soul” (“nephesh”) is most often translated in a different way. This could just as easily be what the psalmist intended:

“My entire being yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

What the Bible Says About the Everlasting Nature of the Soul
Word studies
simply don’t help us understand the nature of the soul in regard to its immortality. There is a better way to examine the Biblical evidence without relying on any interpretation of “nephesh” or “psuche”. Let’s simply study examples in the Scripture where people are described as living beyond their physical bodies. If we see instances of “living disembodiment”, it is fair to conclude we are immaterial beings who live beyond our physical existence:

Luke 23:39-43
And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us.” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? “And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Even though both Jesus and the thief were about to experience physical death, Jesus clearly said something about our eternal life. He said our lives would continue and extend right from the point of death: “today you will be with me in paradise.” The word used here for “paradise” is the Greek word, “paradeisos” and it is the same word Paul used to describe heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know-God knows. And I know that this man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows- was caught up to paradise.”) The Bible clearly describes a disembodied life here (what we would describe as the “soul”), even though it is not given a name. From this passage it is obvious the soul lives beyond the death of the body. Here is another important passage:

Luke 16:19-31
“Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day. And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them,’ But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”

In this passage, the dead are repeatedly described as performing actions characteristic of the living. But that’s not all. How can this be? This is only possible if the physically dead are still immaterially alive. That’s why as Christians, we recognize we are living souls and immortal by nature:

Matthew 17:1-3
And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

In this scene, Jesus was talking to Elijah and Moses. They obviously died long before Jesus was born, so how could this scene be true unless they still existed as immortal souls (and not simply as physical bodies)? We have another example of disembodied life after death, something possible only if we exist as living, immortal souls.

Matthew 22:31-32
“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alive at the time of this statement? No. How, then, could they be described as living? This could only be true if they are actually immortal souls alive after death (and prior to their physical resurrection in the future). If they are immortal souls (immaterial beings), the passage begins to make sense.

1 Kings 17:19-23
And he said to her, “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her bosom and carried him up to the upper room where he was living, and laid him on his own bed. And he called to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, hast Thou also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORD, and said, “O LORD my God, I pray Thee, let this child’s life return to him.” And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.”

This passage describes Elijah’s reviving of the widow’s son. The “life” of the child is said to “return to him”. The word used here is “shuwb” (shoob) and it really means “to turn back”, as if to retreat. But to turn back from where? Where is the “life” prior to being “returned”? The passage affirms the notion our true lives exist beyond death. God has the ability to return this “true” life to the body. This is consistent with what has been described elsewhere about the nature of the disembodied soul.

Ecclesiastes 12:5-7
Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

This passage also describes life beyond the grave. After our death, while people are still mourning our absence, we are on our way to the God who created us. We are not stationary. We are not lying in the grave. We are alive and moving. We all know that our bodies will someday die. We don’t need to make a case from the Bible for this; we get to see it (unfortunately) every day. The real question is: “Do we live beyond the grave, beyond the physical life?” The scriptures seem to answer that question in a straightforward manner:

John 11:17-26
So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him; but Mary still sat in the house. Martha therefore said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother shall rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

John 8:51
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

We have a powerful promise here. When we place our trust in Christ we will never see death. Our bodies may cease to function, but there will never be a time when we could be considered dead. There is no soul sleep, even though the body dies. Once we understand what the Bible does (and doesn’t) say about the life (or death) of the soul, we can have confidence we will be reunited to God and in His presence the moment we leave this temporal life.

When we place our trust in Christ we will never see death. Our bodies may cease to function, but there will never be a time when we could be considered dead.
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For more information about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator, please read God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. This book employs a simple crime scene strategy to investigate eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable explanation. The book is accompanied by an eight-session God’s Crime Scene DVD Set(and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

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

via What the Bible Does (and Doesn’t) Say About the Life (or Death) of the Soul — Cold Case Christianity

Russell Moore’s George Soros-Funded Evangelical Group Attack’s Trump’s National Security Agents — Reformation Charlotte

Russell Moore is one of the heads of the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a front group for the George Soros-funded National Immigration Forum (NIF) which calls for open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens. The fact that the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head, Russell Moore, has never had to explain his association with George Soros is telling of the direction the denomination has gone. The Southern Baptist Convention is now primarily an outlet to propagandize semi-conservative pew-sitters with left-wing politics.

In a recent open letter to the Trump administration, Russell Moore and his Evangelical Immigration Table blasted border patrol and national security agents for the “mistreatment” of criminal trespassers who have willfully breached the nation’s Southern borders. The letter calls on the Trump administration to use tax-payer dollars to fund free healthcare, sanitation services, and quickly give legal status to these criminals who would otherwise “qualify” for it — despite the fact they’ve broken the laws and illegally invaded the country. All in the name of Jesus, of course.

Read more: Russell Moore’s George Soros-Funded Evangelical Group Attack’s Trump’s National Security Agents — Reformation Charlotte

The Gospel Coalition Reinforces Redefinition of “Complementarian” — Pulpit & Pen

The Gospel Coalition, a progressive political organization funded by millions of dollars in mysterious dark money, is continuing to push America’s churches to the left. On the heels of the complementarian debate sparked by Beth Moore’s slamming of conventional gender roles, The Gospel Coalition is now actively redefining the term, ‘complementarian.’

Read more: The Gospel Coalition Reinforces Redefinition of “Complementarian” — Pulpit & Pen

The PCA General Assembly Affirms the Nashville Statement — Denny Burk

Last night I stayed up until after 1am watching the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The debate went into the wee hours of the night because the assembly had several measures before it relating to sexuality and gender identity. The most controversial measure was Overture 4, which is titled “Declare the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood’s ‘Nashville Statement’on Biblical Sexuality as a Biblically Faithful Declaration.”

Overture 4 is remarkable not only because it affirms the Nashville Statement, but also because it calls on the PCA to use the Nashville Statement in discipleship materials produced by the denomination. Here are the relevant lines from the overture:

Therefore be it resolved that the Calvary Presbytery hereby overture the 47th General Assembly and asks it to declare the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood’s “Nashville Statement” on biblical sexuality as a biblically faithful declaration and refer the “Nashville Statement” to the Committee on Discipleship Ministries for inclusion and promotion among its denominational teaching materials.

Melton Duncan introduced Overture 4 to the assembly, read the entire text of Nashville, and then spoke in favor of its adoption. What followed was a debate that lasted for over an hour. Greg Johnson and Scott Sauls were among those who spoke against the overture. Lig Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, Rick Phillips, and Harry Reeder were among those who spoke in favor of it. The debate was lively but charitable.

Opponents of Overture 4 attempted a parliamentary procedure to derail Overture 4, but that attempt failed as nearly 70% of the assembly voted against it. In the end, 67 percent of the Assembly voted to affirm the Nashville Statement.

I think it is really important to put last night’s events into a larger context. The PCA has been facing a great deal of internal controversy over the last year because of the Revoice Conference which was hosted by a PCA church in St. Louis. In fact, Greg Johnson, the pastor of the church that hosted Revoice, rose to speak against Overture 4 in the debate last night. Revoice was mentioned during the debate, and it certainly formed a part of the backdrop for the introduction of Overture 4 in the first place.

This is significant because the founder of Revoice has said that he started Revoice as a response to The Nashville Statement. The founder and other Revoice supporters often identify as “gay Christians,” and they took particular offense at Article 7 of The Nashville Statement, which says “We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.” That is why it was no surprise that Greg Johnson spoke against Article 7 in particular during the debate.

Nevertheless, nearly 70 percent of the PCA General Assembly went on record to affirm the very statement that Revoice was founded to oppose. What makes this even more remarkable is that this happened right on the heals of the Southern Baptist Convention’s adoption of a similar measure earlier this month—a resolution that relies on the Nashville Statement as a response to the Revoice controversy. Thus two major evangelical denominations have weighed-in in a single month, and both have affirmed the theological perspective of Nashville.

It is remarkable that some of the people who spoke against Overture 4 last night began their remarks by affirming Nashville. In other words, some of the people who opposed the overture were open about the fact that they couldn’t find anything wrong with what the Nashville Statement actually says. Their problems were ancillary to the theological substance of the debate. In fact, almost no one raised any issues with the substance of the Nashville Statement, which I think is telling.

As I mentioned above, Greg Johnson was a notable exception to this. He came the closest to actually engaging the substance of Nashville when he criticized Article 7 of the Nashville Statement. Johnson claimed that Article 7 precludes “gay Christians” from acknowledging their own sin struggles. But this is a distortion of Article 7. Several same-sex attracted Christians were instrumental in the drafting of Article 7. Neither them nor any of the other drafters ever intended what Johnson alleges. Look again at the language of Article 7:

“We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.”

Adopt means to embrace or endorse. The point of the article is simply to say that it is out of bounds to embrace an understanding of oneself or one’s sin that is at odds with God’s design in creation and redemption. This is not a controversial point, or at least it should not be among Christians.

Other opponents of Overture 4 claimed that the Nashville Statement has the wrong tone or isn’t “pastoral” enough in its language and can’t be used in actual ministry to gay people. But I think this objection fundamentally misunderstands how confessions function as pastoral documents. When someone asks me, “What must I do to be saved?” I don’t throw a copy of The Baptist Faith & Message at them and tell them to go sort themselves out. That is not how confessions come to bear in tender pastoral moments.

Our confessions give expression to our fundamental beliefs and mark out biblical boundaries so that we can both listen and speak with clarity in tender pastoral moments. That is what the Nashville Statement does. It gives theological guidance. It is not a script for evangelism or pastoral counseling. We don’t use any of our confessions as such a script, and it would be wrong to criticize the Nashville Statement on those grounds. Anyone who does criticize the Nashville Statement on those grounds needs to understand that all confessions would fail by that standard.

Having said that, I think the “tone” criticisms of the Nashville Statement are misplaced. To prove my point, I would simply encourage you to read the Nashville Statement. As far as confessions go, it actually is unusually pastorally friendly. There are lines in there that I actually would use in an evangelistic encounter or in pastoral counseling. For example:

“The grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and… this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Article 12).

“We affirm that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure. We deny that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach” (Article 14).

These are precious gospel truths that we hold out to ALL sinners, including those struggling with same-sex attraction or identity issues. That is the good news that the Nashville Statement communicates to all sinners.

One last observation about last night’s debate. Greg Johnson spoke powerfully of his own experience, and I was genuinely moved by what he said. I have dear friends and brothers in Christ who have shared with me the exact same kind of suffering that Johnson described last night. I think it is good for all of us to understand this suffering, to be able to enter into such suffering with friends and neighbors, and to bring the mercy of God in Christ to bear in those situations. I would argue, however, that theological clarity is not at odds with ministering well in those moments. On the contrary, such clarity is essential to such ministry.

The PCA General Assembly brought theological clarity last night. They will do so in the days ahead as a study committee continues to work on these issues. And that is something we can give thanks for.

via The PCA General Assembly Affirms the Nashville Statement — Denny Burk

June 28 A Divine Sin-Blocker

Scripture reading: Romans 5:17–21

Key verse: 2 Corinthians 8:7

As you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.

For years she was entangled in an immoral lifestyle. Finally, through a friend, she came to know Jesus as her Savior. Several years passed before there was any hint of trouble; then friends discovered she was concealing a deep emotional hurt.

Instead of being transparent with God or talking her feelings out with a pastor or counselor, she allowed anger to fester and infect her emotional well-being. Sin resurfaced; only this time it was far more consuming.

Jesus loves us unconditionally. His grace is sufficient. We can lay all our hurts safely at His feet, knowing He will support and carry us through the difficulties of life.

The problem in this woman’s life stemmed from a lack of communication. Out of fear of rejection, she failed to communicate her need to God. Did He know of it? Yes, but He wants us to bring every tear, every heartache, to Him in prayer. It is a matter of yielding and loving Him above all else.

The chain reaction from an inner hurt can move quickly from self-pity to feelings of rebellion and then a return to sinful behavior. But God’s grace applied to your life is a divine sin-blocker. All you need to do is to walk in the light of His forgiveness.

Apply Your grace to my life, Lord. Let me walk in the light of Your forgiveness.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 187). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

PCA General Assembly Approves the Nashville Statement as a Faithful Declaration on Biblical Sexuality — The Aquila Report

At its 47th General Assembly meeting in Dallas, Texas, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) approved the Nashville Statement as being a biblically faithful declaration on the matter of biblical sexual ethics. The PCA GA was responding to questions and issues raised throughout the church arising from the Revoice Conference that was held in St. Louis, Mo., in July 2018. Eleven presbyteries filed overtures with the General Assembly requesting it to provide responses and guidance for the PCA arising from Revoice.


The General Assembly specifically responded to Overture 4 that had been submitted by Calvary Presbytery in South Carolina. The Overture asked “the 47th General Assembly to declare the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood’s Nashville Statement on biblical sexuality as a biblically faithful declaration….”


After lengthy debate on the recommendation of the Overtures Committee to answer Overture 4 in the affirmative, the General Assembly approved it by a vote of 803-541.


The GA also accepted the recommendation of the Overtures Committee to answer Overture 42, “Establish Study Committee on Sexuality,” in the affirmative as amended. As is the custom in the PCA, the Moderator will appoint the members of the study committee.


All of the other overtures were answered with reference to Overture 4. The exception was Overture 11 “Commend and Distribute RPCNA’s ‘Contemporary Perspectives on Sexual Orientation: A Theological and Pastoral Analysis,’” which was answered in the affirmative with some amendments.

via PCA General Assembly Approves the Nashville Statement as a Faithful Declaration on Biblical Sexuality — The Aquila Report

California School System To Feature Mandatory 2nd Grade Field Trips To Gay Bars — The Babylon Bee

SACRAMENTO, CA—Calling the measure a “major breakthrough” for the state’s education system, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday a bill that mandates field trips to gay bars, strip clubs, and abortion clinics for the state’s second graders.

“It’s important that our kids receive a comprehensive education,” Newsom said in a ceremony marking the bill’s signing. “For too long, kids in our elementary schools today have not had a fully interactive LGBTQ+ experience. Sure, they can go to their local library and have a drag queen read them a story, or they can dress in drag themselves and go dance at gay bars as we applaud their actions. But it’s not enough.”

“That all ends today with the signing of the Gay Bar Field Trip Equality Act. Now, we can be assured that our state’s kids will be fully immersed in alternative lifestyle education,” he said proudly.

Kids will be taken to a local gay bar and given a free beer. They will be free to ask any questions about the LGBT lifestyle, as long as they don’t condemn it. Some lucky students may even be selected to work at the bar. “This isn’t creepy, trust me,” Newsom said.

Governor Newsom continued to assure parents, however, that California public schools are unbiased institutions and that the kids are not being brainwashed to accept the LGBT agenda.

via California School System To Feature Mandatory 2nd Grade Field Trips To Gay Bars — The Babylon Bee

June 28, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump on Friday sardonically asked his Russian counterpart
to please not meddle in U.S. elections, appearing to make light of a
scandal that led to an investigation of his campaign’s contact with the
Kremlin during 2016 elections.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether President Trump acted
lawfully when he moved to end a program that shields from deportation
hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country
illegally as children, a key part of his hardline immigration policies.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Trump a stinging defeat, blocking
his contentious citizenship question planned for the 2020 census because
officials gave a “contrived” rationale and prompting Trump to suggest an
extraordinary delay in the constitutionally mandated population count.

U.S. immigration officials took reporters on a tour of a Texas migrant
holding facility on Thursday that was still overcrowded a week after
lawyers raised concerns about conditions.

More than 1,000 people, mostly students dressed in black, rallied outside
government offices in Hong Kong on Friday as protests over a controversial
extradition bill that has plunged the Chinese-ruled city into turmoil
showed no signs of let-up.

The United States will sanction any country that imports Iranian oil and
there are no exemptions in place, the U.S. special envoy for Iran said on

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened opponents with prison
if they try to impeach him, the latest in what a top U.N. official and an
Asian lawmakers’ group this week called a pattern of persecution and
assaults on free speech.

U.S. consumer spending increased moderately in May and prices rose
slightly, pointing to slowing economic growth and benign inflation
pressures, which could give the Federal Reserve ammunition to cut interest
rates next month.

The Vatican asked China’s communist government to stop intimidating
Catholic clergy who want to remain unequivocally loyal to the pope and
refuse to sign official registration forms.

AP Top Stories

A new bill would calculate potential costs of reparations – and by Yahoo
Finance estimates, these could reach as high as $17.1 trillion.

The GOP-held Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan $4.6 billion measure
to deliver aid to the southern border before the government runs out of
money to care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children.

People are heading to New York from as nearby as Washington, D.C., to as
far away as Tunisia, Greece and Taiwan. This year, the draw especially
comes from the 50th anniversary of the famous Stonewall riots, a pivotal
milestone in LGBTQ history.

Missouri’s only abortion clinic awaited a decision on Friday whether it can
stay open until August, when an arbiter will hear Planned Parenthood’s
challenge of the state health department’s refusal to renew the clinic’s

UK – A mentally ill pregnant woman who was ordered by a judge to abort her
baby will now be able to give birth after an appeal. The woman, who is in
her twenties and 22 weeks pregnant, has the mental age of a six- to

The Supreme Court says law enforcement officers can generally draw blood
without a warrant from an unconscious person suspected of driving drunk or
while on drugs.

Israel allowed Gaza fuel deliveries to resume and expanded its fishing zone
on Friday in exchange for calm in the enclave, Israeli and Palestinian
officials and a UN source said.

NASA said it’s sending a drone called Dragonfly to explore Saturn’s largest
moon, Titan. Using propellers, the drone will fly and land on spots to
study whether it can support microbial life.

Michigan’s attorney general sued to shut down twin 66-year-old oil
pipelines in the Great Lakes, saying they pose an “unacceptable risk” and
the state cannot wait five to 10 years for Enbridge Inc. to build a tunnel
to house replacement pipes running through the Straits of Mackinac.


France has hit its highest recorded temperature 113.2F – amid a heatwave in
Europe that has claimed several lives.

Authorities in Iran have seized roughly 1,000 Bitcoin mining machines from
two former factories, according to state TV reports. The action was taken
following a spike in electricity consumption. Demand for power rose by 7%
in June and cryptocurrency mining was thought to be the main cause.

Police have seized cocaine from a Brazilian air force officer who was due
to accompany President Jair Bolsonaro home from the G20 summit in Japan.
Officers arrested the man on Tuesday in Seville after allegedly discovering
86lbs. of cocaine in his luggage.

North Macedonia is holding its first ever Pride parade on Saturday,
although there are plans for a rival march in support of “traditional
family values”.


While not as bleak as China’s social credit system, today Line, Japan’s
dominant social media company, introduced a slew of new products-the most
alarming among them, Line Score, reports the Verge. Line Score will use AI
to give a social credit score to Line users.

Veteran conservative activist Ralph Reed said Wednesday that the
faith-based group he leads plans to spend at least $50 million on
get-out-the-vote efforts in 2020.

The rates of certain types of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, are
rising dramatically for both male and female service members, according to
a recent report.

New research conducted at Columbia University finds that time spent sitting
in front of a television is much worse for heart health than sitting at

Mid-Day Snapshot · June 28, 2019

The Foundation

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson (1798)

Roberts Helps Dems Rig Elections

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked Trump’s citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Demo Debate 2: ‘Food Fight’

Along with pushing further left, this contest featured far more personal attacks.

A Second Dose of Sanders’s Socialist Snake Oil

Prior to his debate performance, Bernie made the case against Trump’s “corporate socialism.”

SCOTUS Rules It Has No Role in Gerrymandering

“Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between the two major political parties.”

A Law to Protect Campus Speech?

We wouldn’t have thought it necessary in America, but South Dakota may lead the way.

‘America Was Never Great’?

So say too many Democrats. But they’re very wrong about our history and our future.

Video: Does Anyone Deserve to Have a Billion Dollars?

The New York Times asks 2020 Dems, and Matt Christiansen evaluates the answers.

Video: Can You Name Any Dem Presidential Candidates?

Ferlon Webster goes to DC to ask people if they can name any 2020 Democrats.

Today’s Opinion

David Harsanyi
Bernie’s #CancelStudentDebt Is a Dangerous Scam
Guest Commentary
Trump Should Act Quickly to Secure 2020 Census Question in Light of Court Ruling
Hans von Spakovsky
Why the Supreme Court Got It Right on Gerrymandering
Erick Erickson
Maybe Try Winning
Rich Lowry
The Buttigieg Illusion

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday Top News Executive Summary

Biden bushwhacked, census delay, Twitter speech patrol, border funding, and more.

Friday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Jonathan Allen, Kamala Harris, Michael Moore, Matt Walsh, and more.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

News – 6/28/2019

‘Transfer all of the Palestinians to Jordan’
A right-wing Dutch parliamentarian is calling for the transfer of Palestinian Authority residents from Judea and Samaria to Jordan, offering the plan as an alternative to the US-backed ‘Deal of the Century’ Middle East peace plan.
“In The Hague there is hardly any interest in this Trump project. My plan, the Wilders plan, is a better plan; all Palestinians back to Jordan.” In 2010, Wilders proposed renaming the Kingdom of Jordan as ‘Palestine’, and turning the country into a homeland for residents of the Palestinian Authority. “Jordan is Palestine. Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland.”

Billionaire Israeli-American Philanthropist Praying for Day When ‘Book of Trump’ Will be Added to Bible
Billionaire philanthropist Miriam Adelson wrote an article in her newspaper, Israel Hayom, on Thursday titled “A Time of Miracles” in which she stated that she was praying the day when “The Book of Trump” would be added to the Bible. In the article, she credited U.S. President Trump for her blissful marriage and for bringing the same bliss to the country.” “Under his watch, America has finally made good on its decades-old pledge to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there,” Adelson wrote. “In another service to historical justice, Trump declared the Golan Heights to be Israeli territory, and in service to the security of Israel and the whole world, he withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal with Iran that was a contemporary echo of the Munich Agreement.”

Preparation for War?: Israel, US and UK Conduct First joint F-35 drills over Mediterranean
Israeli F-35 fighter jets participated this week in an international exercise alongside F-35s from the United States and United Kingdom, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Wednesday.

Straight Pride March set to take Place in Israel
The event’s main organizer, Attorney Naama Sela, told Breaking Israel News that the march was the initiative of both religious and secular Israeli citizens looking to emphasize the importance of traditional family values. “We feel that the country is being taken away from us by a gay lobby with a very specific agenda – to obliterate the nuclear family,” Sela said.

‘Obama left Israel a parting gift of betrayal’
when …. Obama ended his term in 2016, his administration “left a parting gift; I would say partying betrayal to the State of Israel. UN Resolution 2234, which deemed all of Judea and Samaria, all of Jerusalem… all of it was deemed to be illegally occupied territory.”

Bubonic Plague In LA: California On The Verge Of Becoming A Third World State
Los Angeles is quickly descending into a cesspool of decay and disease. With bubonic plague now likely present amongst residents, the city and the state of California are on the verge of becoming a third-world hellscape. Some say that that’s already happened…

One-third of Americans would back nuclear strike on North Korea — even if it killed a million civilians, survey shows
Surprisingly, the researchers found, little changed when the scenarios were switched from a conventional to a nuclear attack. Rather, it said, “33 percent preferred a preventive nuclear first-strike.”

Scientists Race to Build Vaccine for African Swine Fever
But it only escalated to what Dirk Pfeiffer calls “the biggest animal disease outbreak ever” when it reached China last August, spreading like wildfire across the world’s largest pig congregations. “There’s so many pigs in China, it was just a matter of time,” says Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the City University of Hong Kong and the UK’s Royal Veterinary College. The disease not only threatens the world’s largest pork industry, but also the global supply of the blood thinner heparin, most of which is produced by Chinese pigs.

Hamas and Israel agree to restore calm to Gaza border
Israel and Hamas reached an understanding Friday to restore calm to the Gaza border… Army Radio reported earlier that the main points relating to the understanding, include “stopping the firing of balloons and controlling the demonstrators along the border fence.” “Following the UN and Egyptian appeals, Israel will allow the expansion of the fishing zone and the transfer of fuel after Hamas pledges to stop the violence against Israel,” the official said.

New discovery in Jerusalem’s City of David: 2,000-year-old pilgrimage road
In 2004, a sewage pipe burst in…Silwan in southeast Jerusalem. The municipality sent in a crew of construction workers to fix the leak, and…they were accompanied by a team of archeologists. As the repairs progressed, the construction workers stumbled upon some long and wide stairs a few dozen meters from where the Shiloah – the ancient pool Jewish pilgrims would dip in before beginning the religious ascent to the Temple…

Putin: Russian president says liberalism ‘obsolete’
Vladimir Putin has said liberalism is “obsolete” in an interview before he left for the G20 summit. The Russian president said the ideology that has underpinned Western democracies for decades had “outlived its purpose”. The Russian premier also praised the rise of populism in Europe and America, saying ideas like multiculturalism were “no longer tenable”.

Russia denies role in Israeli airport GPS jamming
Russia has denied Israeli suggestions that it is behind disruption of GPS signals at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. Since early June, GPS signals at the airport have been unreliable for pilots and planes using the location. The missing navigational data has had a “significant impact” on airport operations, said Israel’s Airports Authority.

Migrant crisis: US House ‘reluctantly’ passes bill after showdown
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to send $4.6bn (£3.6bn) in aid to tackle the humanitarian migrant crisis at the Mexico border. House Democrats had originally wanted to pass a stricter bill with extra protections for migrant children, but the Senate voted it down. The aid plan comes amid outrage over US detention conditions and an image showing a drowned father and daughter.

North Korea Threatens U.S., Pompeo for Breakdown in Diplomacy
North Korea issued new warnings….blasting…statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and threatening military action if diplomacy…continues to falter…North Korea’s foreign ministry said the U.S. “viciously slandered” the country, citing the…State Department reports about human trafficking and religious freedom that rank North Korea poorly, and Pompeo’s comments…that 80 percent of North Korea’s economy remains under U.S. sanctions.

Line just went Orwellian on Japanese users with its social credit scoring system
It appears other countries besides China are heading toward a bleak dystopian future where a human being is scored by their online activities. Only this time, it’s a tech company and not a government implementing the social credit score. While not as bleak as China’s social credit system, today Line, Japan’s dominant social media company, introduced a slew of new products—the most alarming among them, Line Score, reports the Verge.

Temperature records are melting away in Miami
The heat has risen to a whole new level in Miami over the past week. The city has experienced heat that is extreme, even by its own sultry standards, with a slew of new record high temperatures. Most notably, Miami soared to 98 degrees Monday, tying its highest June temperature ever recorded and its second-highest temperature in any month.

Chlamydia, Syphilis Cases on the Rise Among US Military Members
Cases of some sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are rising in the U.S. armed forces, a trend that mirrors the general population but alarms military health officials who treat affected troops.

Super-termite headed for Tampa Bay, chews through concrete
…there’s one species considered that terrifies even the most experienced pest control person..It’s the “super-bug,” and it’s all over South Florida, specifically Miami. Experts say there’s no doubt these termites are headed for Tampa Bay. It’s not a question of if, but rather, when.

Cartoon Wars: LGBT Content Expands Across Kids Programming
If you think your kids are not coming under the influence of LGBT indoctrination – think again.   While most of us have grown up on cartoons that were mindless entertainment, many still tried to communicate certain lessons or moral messages.

New Age Witch And Spiritual Advisor To Oprah Marianne Williamson Announces That She Will Be Running As A Democratic Candidate For President In 2020
2019 may just be looked on as the ‘year of the witch’ before it is over, never before in America has black magic and the occult held such prominence in our national discourse. From the upcoming  Christian Witches Convention to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady using spells and incantations to win Super Bowls, it looks like witchcraft is here to stay.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Makes Stunning, Unprecedented Statement About Israel
In a stunning admission, Sheikh Khaled Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister of Bahrain, acknowledged the historical legitimacy of the state Israel, telling Israeli interviewer Barak Ravid, “Israel is a country in the Middle East. It is part of the heritage of this region. The Jewish people has a place amongst us.”

Generation Z: The Path of LGBT Resistance
For everyone who’s tired of scrolling through rainbow pride this month, here’s some good news. This constant saturation of LGBT messaging may finally be having an effect — and not the one liberals were counting on. Turns out, the Left’s in-your-face approach to sexuality is backfiring, and in the least likely generation of all.

It’s An Invasion Force! When Does 15K Mexican Troops Become 50K?
I have been told by many military and intel experts and it is a simple matter of common sense,that before a Red Dawn invasion can take place, the United States must first be destabilized domestically. Further, assets would need to be deployed in advance of any invasion. All of the criteria are in the process of being met.

Arkansas Hardest Hit By Trade War, Farmers Now Resort To Desperation Loans For Survival
Farm bank lenders who specialize in agriculture have been tightening credit standards as a farm bust could be nearing…

Headlines – 6/28/2019

Palestinian PM: Bahrain workshop ‘divorced from reality,’ nothing likely to come of it

Panning Bahrain workshop, Abbas says national rights not a real estate deal

Iraqis storm Bahrain embassy in Baghdad to protest peace conference

Tillerson reveals frustrations about Kushner working behind his back

Haley: Trump peace plan doesn’t compromise Israel’s security

Greenblatt says he prefers to call settlements ‘neighborhoods and cities’

Some 100 Blazes Caused by Gaza Firebombs at Israeli Border Communities This Week

Israeli official confirms agreement with Hamas to end arson attacks

Israel, Hamas Agree on Extended Calm on Gaza Border, Report Says

Police shoot dead East Jerusalem man, say he launched fireworks at them

Germany sees big increase in anti-Semitic acts of violence

Plan to pump desalinated water to Sea of Galilee may open diplomatic floodgates

Israeli F-35s train alongside US, UK in first international exercise

IDF chief: Our enemy is now an organized army, but whose civilians are unprotected

After US-Russia summit, Netanyahu says Israel won’t halt hitting Iran in Syria

Iran, nuclear deal partners to meet as accord under threat

Iran says Vienna meet is ‘last chance’ to save nuclear deal

Iran seen breaking nuclear pact limit in days; Trump says ‘no time pressure’

Uranium limit breach wouldn’t end nuclear deal, Iran says

Trump Blew Up The Iran Nuclear Deal. Now He Wants Allies To Help Him Get An Iran Nuclear Deal.

US envoy says war with Iran ‘unnecessary,’ but military buildup going ahead

Senate Democrats To Force Vote On Trump’s Power To Launch War With Iran

Iran warns Trump against ‘illusion’ of short war

Zarif accuses Trump of threatening ‘genocide’ of Iranians

Germany-Iran trade collapses under U.S. sanctions: report

Twin suicide attacks rock central Tunisia

ISIS claims responsibility for attacks on police in the Tunisian capital

Tunisia’s president rushed to hospital on same day as twin suicide attacks

Hong Kong protesters continue to demonstrate as leader hides from public

China’s economy has been acting especially strange heading into Trump and Xi’s G20 showdown

Trump says no tariff reprieve for China, expects productive talks with Xi

New North Korea sanctions would tell Chinese banks: It’s us or them

Leaks, accusations and staff shuffle: Turmoil inside DHS

House approves bipartisan border funding bill, after Pelosi reverses course under GOP pressure

Trump slams Dems for backing health care for undocumented immigrants

Vintage clip shows Obama warning migrant families: ‘Do not send your children’

Trump: People are realizing I was right about the crisis on the border

U.S. Supreme Court blocks Trump’s census citizenship question, for now

Justices, Blocking Citizenship Question on Census, Call Trump’s Push ‘Contrived’

Trump seeks 2020 census delay after Supreme Court blocks citizenship question

Democratic debate: Rivals target Biden as Democrats’ rifts emerge on race, age

NBC News analysis declares Donald Trump the winner of first Democratic debate

Trump jokes to Putin: ‘Don’t meddle in the election, please’

Trump’s next tweet could get a warning label following Twitter rule change

Facebook’s Effort to Build an Internal Court for Content Is Far From Simple

Gov. Cuomo says Israeli self-driving tech could pilot NYC’s subways

As Trump touts stocks, bonds send an ominous message

Trump may ‘murder’ the stock market by doing nothing at the G20

Shutdown of fire-gutted massive Philadelphia refinery pushes gas prices higher, costs 1,000 jobs

NASA headed towards giant golden asteroid that could make everyone on Earth a billionaire

Astronomers Spotted a Car-Size Asteroid Just Hours Before Impact

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

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Pangai, Tonga

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Enarotali, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Abepura, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near La Serena, Chile

Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts to 50,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 14,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 11,000ft

The heat wave in Europe is so intense that a weather map of France looks like a screaming heat skull of death

New York City declares a climate emergency, the first US city with more than a million residents to do so

Global warming is only going to get worse. One reason: Those cloud trails airplanes leave behind in the sky

12-year-old contracts flesh-eating bacteria while vacationing in Florida

Cocaine Is Back. Blame Technology for It.

Latest flu vaccine failing against current strain, CDC reports

A shooting ended an Alabama woman’s pregnancy. Police say she’s to blame.

Madonna makes powerful gun control statement in disturbing music video: ‘We need to wake up’

Controversial ‘Straight Pride’ parade gets approval from Boston to be held in August

Prince William: ‘I’d support my child if they were gay’

Apostasy Watch Daily News

Mike Ratliff – The Lamb of God and the Atonement

Why Churches Should Ditch The Projector Screens And Bring Back Hymnals

Hillsong ‘Worship’ Concert Includes Women on Stage, Writhing in Towels

Pastor Anthony Haynes sentenced to life in prison for arranging sexual encounters between a young girl and two other pastors

Paige Patterson, seminary sued over alleged mishandling of sex abuse claim

Does meditation carry a risk of harmful side effects?

CA Legislators Blame Religious People For High LGBT Suicide Rates

Christian School Kicked Out of Voucher Program for Biblical Views on Sexuality

Elizabeth Warren Says She Supports Abortions Up to Birth, Killing Babies is a “Basic Human Right”

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

Weekly Watchman for 06/28/2019

Comments and Questions: No Topic Off Limits!

It’s Friday! That means we hear from you about things the Christian community are concerned about. Comments and Questions discussed on today’s program:
Keeping an eternal perspective during these challenging times
Calvinism creeping into more churches?
Public school lunch and breakfast programs
The pornography epidemic and its affect on children and its dehumanization of women
Is “conservative Christian” just another word for Nazi?
Was Pastor David Platt wrong in praying for President Trump at his church – or – was he wrong to explain why (apologize?) to his congregation?
Sharing the pain and trial of cancer can be a blessing in disguise?
Can a person be truly saved and still attend Catholic Church and hold to its beliefs and traditions?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

Uh Oh: A Middle East Peace Plan in the Works

For Christians seeking to understand the last days, fewer things grab our attention than talk of a Middle East Peace Plan between Israel and her enemies.  Many believe Daniel chapter 9 talks about a seven year peace treaty between Anti-Christ and Israel that will usher in the final countdown to the return of Jesus to judge all men and nations.

President Trump is unveiling his “Deal of the Century,” aimed at bringing peace between Israel and her enemies, and many in the Christian community are watching to see if it is eventually accepted and implemented.  But before we get the cart before the horse, let’s take a look at the practicality of the plan being acceptable to all parties concerned. And remember, even if a peace plan is eventually signed that doesn’t mean it is the peace treaty Daniel prophesies. There have been others before this.

John Loeffler of Steel on Steel Radio joins Mike and David to talk about this as well as continue our discussion from yesterday on Marxism invading American Christianity.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Growing Acceptance of Marxism in Churches

As American Christianity generally bends over backwards to be seen as “loving” to the world, we have seen secular culture extend its influence within the church.  From the social justice movement to the powerful LGBTQ lobby, we see more and more churches accommodating things of this world directly contradictory to the Bible.  And now, with another presidential election on the horizon we are seeing an enhanced push for the church to embrace something that is directly opposed to the Bible: Marxist Socialism.

Mike and David look at the growth of socialist ideals within professing Christianity and why this is ominous and dangerous to the church.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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On the Brink of Middle East War?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Defining Grace, the Gospel, and the Church

David Fiorazo and Crash Connell discuss many important issues with Grace To You’s Cameron Buetell on today’s program. Christian maturity, discipleship, evangelism, and a new slant on ‘seeker-sensitive’ churches!

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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RenewAmerica Newsletter for June 28, 2019

June 27, 2019
JERRY NEWCOMBE — Last week’s cross decision was a major case for religious liberty. Perhaps it even spells the death knell of the so-called Lemon Test…an aptly-named decision from the early 1970s that has often been used against any religious expression in the public square. The Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot memorial cross in the state of Maryland was not unconstitutional. The cross was built beginning in 1919 to commemorate many soldiers from Prince George’s County who died in service to their country in World War I…. (more)

June 27, 2019
JAMES LAMBERT — I fondly remember the time during my freshman year (second semester) in college when John Parrott was my roommate at “New Dorm.” I lost my previous roommate during my first semester when he decided to leave the college in 1969…. (more)

June 27, 2019
BRYAN FISCHER — Bob Mueller will testify before two congressional committees on July 17, a day which promises to be the worst day of his life. The problem for Mueller is that even though the Democrats have called these hearings, Republicans get to ask questions too, a prospect which will have Mueller quaking in his Gucci loafers…. (more)

June 27, 2019
NEWSMAX — The Democratic-controlled House voted Thursday to send President Donald Trump a bipartisan, Senate-drafted, $4.6 billion measure to care for migrant refugees detained at the southern border, capping a Washington skirmish in which die-hard liberals came out on the losing end in a battle with the White House, the GOP-held Senate and Democratic moderates…. (more)

June 27, 2019
HUMAN EVENTS — During the first Democratic Primary debate, the candidates were not just speaking a different language literally. They were speaking a different political language than the rest of America. The debate encompassed most of the major and controversial political issues Americans care about the most. Yet the candidates did not only fail to understand where Americans stand on these issues – – they were LITERALLY speaking a different language…. (more)

June 27, 2019
WHO TV — President Donald Trump signed a new executive order Monday to make medical billing more transparent. The executive order requires hospitals to provide patients with the cost of healthcare before it is given…. (more)

June 27, 2019
JACK CASHILL — On Wednesday, the major media were compelled, however reluctantly, to acknowledge James O’Keefe once again. This time, President Trump forced their hand. “We should be suing Google and Facebook and all that,” said Trump during a phone interview with Fox Business Network…. (more)

June 27, 2019
HUMAN EVENTS — Google has the means to prevent another “Trump situation” in 2020 by throttling conservative voices across its platforms. Executives at the firm seem willing to exercise it, according to new footage released by Project Veritas. A Google insider blew the whistle on the search giant’s suppression of conservative content creators on YouTube and Google News…. (more)

June 27, 2019
NEWSMAX — Veteran conservative activist Ralph Reed said Wednesday that the faith-based group he leads plans to spend at least $50 million on get-out-the-vote efforts in 2020. It’s part of a large-scale marshaling of evangelical resources that’s poised to benefit President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign…. (more)

June 27, 2019
DAILY WIRE — Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo slammed socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Wednesday during a press conference over her recent remarks comparing immigrant detention facilities to concentration camps…. (more)

June 27, 2019
DAILY SIGNAL — The Department of Homeland Security revealed just how common “fraudulent families” are among the thousands of illegal immigrants reaching the U.S.-Mexico border every month…. (more)

June 27, 2019
DAILY WIRE — A gut-wrenching photo that strikes at the heart of the immigration debate went viral this week. It shows a father and his young daughter face down on the shore of the Rio Grande. The girl has her arm around the man’s neck. Both are dead. Any parent – – well, any human being with a functioning conscience – – can’t help but be moved and devastated by the scene…. (more)

June 27, 2019
NEWSMAX — The National Security Agency improperly collected phone call data of Americans last fall, USA Today is reporting. The newspaper attributed its information to documents released Wednesday to the American Civil Liberties Union in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Word of the collection of phone call records came after a previous breach by the NSA forced the agency to destroy millions of records…. (more)

June 27, 2019
CNS NEWS — Despite the boycott of filming in Georgia launched by Hollywood liberals angry over the state’s new pro-life “Heartbeat” law, legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood will be making his latest movie, “The Battle of Richard Jewell,” in Atlanta this summer, reported NBC Charlotte and other media…. (more)

June 25, 2019
WES VERNON — Communist China’s seemingly never-ending attempted influence on what you see, read, watch, or do allows no escape at your favorite movie theater. In today’s Hollywood, there is one director and that’s China. So claims a report by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council…. (more)

June 24, 2019
PUBLIUS HULDAH — If the American People (and American lawyers) had been properly educated, they would know that our federal Constitution created a federal government of enumerated powers only, and that most of the powers delegated to Congress over the Country at Large are listed at Art. I, §8, clauses 1-16, U.S. Constitution…. (more)

June 24, 2019
NEWSMAX — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Sunday faced growing fallout over a fatal police shooting in South Bend, an incident that has exposed simmering racial tensions in the Indiana city where he is mayor and which is complicating his presidential ambitions…. (more)

June 24, 2019
WORLDNETDAILY — Momentum is building to free conservative former Congressman Steve Stockman from prison. The outspoken conservative activist was targeted by the Deep State after he stood up to the Obama administration, which included him calling for the arrest of Lois Lerner. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly misusing nonprofit funds for political purposes…. (more)

June 23, 2019
TONY PERKINS — Most schools can’t give a child an aspirin without getting a parent’s OK. But in Vermont, kids are about to get a whole lot more than Tylenol. Under a new rule, they’ll be able to get entirely new bodies – -in some cases, without ever calling home…. (more)

June 23, 2019
AP NEWS — U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. officials said Saturday…. (more)

June 22, 2019
DAILY CALLER — An ideologically divided Supreme Court delivered a victory for property owners Friday, over a vigorous dissent from Justice Elena Kagan that accused the conservative majority of smashing “a hundred-plus years of legal rulings to smithereens.”… (more)

June 22, 2019
BREITBART — Mexican officials announced plans this week to deploy approximately 6,500 of its national guard troops at 12 checkpoints near the country’s southern border. The move comes in response to nearly 400,000 Central American and other migrants who entered the nation in the last three months on journeys to the U.S. Mexico City also discussed plans to deport approximately 2,500 migrants per day…. (more)

June 22, 2019
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Republican governor of Texas announced Friday the deployment of an additional 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border because, he said, Border Patrol lacks the resources to deal with the number of people being taken into custody…. (more)

June 20, 2019
YOUTUBE — In one of her trademark instagram live videos, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, claims that America is running concentration camps on the southern border. AOC doesn’t provide any evidence of the outrageous claim and goes on to claim that Trump is a fascist…. (more)


June 28, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Speech of Proclamation

praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. (4:3–4)

Paul turns from prayer, which is speech directed to God, to the proclamation of the gospel, which is speech directed to people. Having exhorted the Colossians to pray, he gives them a specific request, to pray at the same time for us as well. The plural pronoun us probably includes the list of Paul’s friends and co-workers that begins in 4:7. The content of Paul’s request was that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ. A door in the New Testament usually refers to an opportunity. In 1 Corinthians 16:8–9, Paul writes, “I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” He later wrote to the Corinthians of the door that had opened for him at Troas (2 Cor. 2:12).

Believers are to pray for open doors because it is God who opens them. At the end of Paul’s first missionary journey, he and Barnabas reported to the church “all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). In Acts 16, after several doors had been shut, “a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’ ” (v. 9). Upon seeing the vision, Luke writes, “immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10). Revelation 3:7 describes Jesus as the One “who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens.” That was literally the case when God opened locked prison doors and freed Peter to preach the gospel (Acts 12:1–11).

Paul desired an open door so he could speak forth the mystery of Christ. As already noted in the discussion of 1:26–27, the term mystery refers to something hidden in the Old Testament but manifest in the New. In the present context, it refers to the content of the gospel. Paul asks the Colossians to pray that he would have an open door to speak the full truth of the gospel.

It was for the sake of the gospel that Paul was imprisoned. In Jerusalem, at the end of his third missionary journey, he was falsely accused of bringing a Gentile into the area of the Temple forbidden to them. He was rescued from the angry crowd by the Romans and eventually sent by them to Felix, the governor of Judea. After languishing in custody for two years, Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen and appealed his case to Caesar (Acts 25:11). Following a harrowing voyage, during which he was shipwrecked following a violent storm, he reached Rome. The book of Acts closes with Paul under house arrest there (Acts 28:16, 30).

Paul’s imprisonment did not spell the end of his ministry. It was during this period that he wrote Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon. He also evangelized those he came into contact with, whether the mob in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1ff.), Felix (Acts 24:10ff.), Herod Agrippa (Acts 26:1ff.), Roman soldiers (Phil. 1:13), members of Caesar’s household (Phil. 4:22), or members of Rome’s Jewish community (Acts 28:17ff.). Paul’s activity during his imprisonment in Rome is summed up in Acts 28:30–31: “He stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” For Paul, there were no devastating circumstances, only unique opportunities.

Paul further asked the Colossians to pray that when God opened a door for the gospel, I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Ought can be understood in two ways. First, it refers to the compulsion Paul felt to preach the gospel. That was a constant burden in his life. To the Romans he wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). In 1 Corinthians 9:16 he said, “If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.”

Second, ought to speak refers to the mandate for using the God-ordained method of presenting the gospel. Paul preached the gospel by “solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). “Solemnly testifying” is from diamarturomai, which means to give a thorough and complete testimony. The gospel should be proclaimed clearly, boldly (Eph. 6:19), wisely (Prov. 25:11), and graciously (Eph. 4:15).

There are three popular kinds of evangelism that this instruction precludes. First, experience-centered evangelism is inappropriate. It focuses not on delineating the gospel message from Scripture passages, but on a person’s testimony of personal feelings and experiences. The obvious danger in this method is that people may not really understand the gospel at all, yet respond to what was said emotionally and think they are saved.

A second kind of evangelism to be avoided is ego-focused evangelism. This evangelism sells Jesus as the panacea for all of life’s problems and as the source of earthly comfort, well-being, and prosperity. It promises that continual happiness and freedom from struggle are available through Him in this life. In short, it is man-centered, not God-centered. Although salvation does bring joy and peace, the gospel does not guarantee a life without difficulty. Paul warned that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Jesus told the disciples that “a slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20; cf. Matt. 5:11, 44; 10:23). In fact, Jesus promised, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

A final form of evangelism to be avoided is expedience evangelism. This wrong method of evangelism uses high-pressure tactics, manipulation, cleverness, emotional stimulation, or technique to force commitments. It, too, often results in false professions of faith (Matt. 13:19–22; cf. James 2:14–26).

Paul wanted people to pray that he would speak as he ought to speak, as God wanted him to speak. That should be our prayer for everyone who proclaims Christ.[1]

3. Pray also for us. He does not say this by way of pretence, but because, being conscious to himself of his own necessity, he was earnestly desirous to be aided by their prayers, and was fully persuaded that they would be of advantage to them. Who then, in the present day, would dare to despise the intercessions of brethren, which Paul openly declares himself to stand in need of? And, unquestionably, it is not in vain that the Lord has appointed this exercise of love between us—that we pray for each other. Not only, therefore, ought each of us to pray for his brethren, but we ought also, on our part, diligently to seek help from the prayers of others, as often as occasion requires. It is, however, a childish argument on the part of Papists, who infer from this, that the dead must be implored2 to pray for us. For what is there here that bears any resemblance to this? Paul commends himself to the prayers of the brethren, with whom he knows that he has mutual fellowship according to the commandment of God: who will deny that this reason does not hold in the case of the dead? Leaving, therefore, such trifles, let us return to Paul.

As we have a signal example of modesty, in the circumstance that Paul calls others to his assistance, so we are also admonished, that it is a thing that is replete with the greatest difficulty, to persevere steadfastly in the defence of the gospel, and especially when danger presses. For it is not without cause that he desires that the Churches may assist him in this matter. Consider, too, at the same time, his amazing ardour of zeal. He is not solicitous as to his own safety; he does not ask that prayers may be poured forth by the Churches on his behalf, that he may be delivered from danger of death. He is contented with this one thing, that he may, unconquered and undaunted, persevere in a confession of the gospel; nay more, he fearlessly makes his own life a secondary matter, as compared with the glory of Christ and the spread of the gospel.

By a door of utterance, however, he simply means what, in Eph. 6:19, he terms the opening of the mouth, and what Christ calls a mouth and wisdom. (Luke 21:15.) For the expression differs nothing from the other in meaning, but merely in form, for he here intimates, by an elegant metaphor, that it is in no degree easier for us to speak confidently respecting the gospel, than to break through a door that is barred and bolted. For this is truly a divine work, as Christ himself said, It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. (Matt. 10:20.) Having, therefore, set forward the difficulty, he stirs up the Colossians the more to prayer, by declaring that he cannot speak right, except in so far as his tongue is directed by the Lord. Secondly, he argues from the dignity of the matter, when he calls the gospel the mystery of Christ. For we must labour in a more perfunctory manner in a matter of such importance. Thirdly, he makes mention also of his danger.

4. As I ought. This clause sets forth more strongly the difficulty, for he intimates that it is no ordinary matter. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, (Eph. 6:20,) he adds, ἵνα παῤῥησιάσωμαι, (that I may speak boldly,) from which it appears that he desired for himself an undaunted confidence, such as befits the majesty of the gospel. Farther, as Paul here does nothing else than desire that grace may be given him for the discharge of his office, let us bear in mind that a rule is in like manner prescribed to us, not to give way to the fury of our adversaries, but to strive even to death in the publication of the gospel. As this, however, is beyond our power, it is necessary that we should continue in prayer, that the Lord may not leave us destitute of the spirit of confidence.[2]

3–4 Despite his being an apostle par excellence (1:1, 24–29), Paul was by no means too prideful to ask the Colossians to intercede for him and his coworkers in the gospel (cf. Ro 15:30–32; 2 Co 1:11; 1 Th 5:25; 2 Th 3:1). Paul has engaged in ceaseless prayer for the Colossians (1:9); he now asks them to return the spiritual favor by remembering him in their prayers. The apostle does not ask the assembly to expend their prayers for the sake of his petty preferences or personal pleasures. (Contrast the narcissistic prayer of Jabez [1 Ch 4:10].) On the contrary, Paul asks them to pray that God might “open a door,” i.e., make or enable a way (cf. Ac 14:27; 1 Co 16:9; 2 Co 2:12; Rev 3:8), for Paul and his associates to declare the word, i.e., the gospel (cf. 1:5, 25; 3:16; see also Eph 6:17; Php 1:14; 2:16; 1 Th 1:6, 8; 2:13 [three times]). How Paul envisioned this open door eventuating remains an open question. Was he hoping to be able to declare the gospel freely in chains (cf. Ac 28:31; Php 1:12–14)? Was he entertaining the idea of being released from his chains (cf. Php 1:23–26)? Though Paul was bound, he wanted the boundless love of God expressed in the gospel to be unbound so that people might abound in grace.

Paul’s desire is to declare the gospel; he has been grasped by God to share with Gentiles Christ’s reconciling work (1:24–27; cf. Ro 1:15–16; 1 Co 9:16; Gal 1:15–16; 2:7; Eph 3:7–10). In this verse, Paul describes the word as “the mystery of Christ.” Earlier in the letter, Paul employed the term “mystery” (mystērion, GK 3696) to speak of the glorious riches of Christ dwelling in and among Gentile people (1:27). In 2:2–3, he depicts Christ as “the mystery of God,” the divine repository of “wisdom and knowledge.” Taken together, these passages show that Paul regards Christ and the proclamation of him to the nations to be a divine mystery. Previously hidden, the mystery is now a clear revelation of God in Christ and of the gospel, which is for and to be shared with all peoples (see esp. Ro 16:25–27; cf. Eph 1:9). Paul had become a minister of this mystery (1:23, 26; cf. Eph 3:7–10) and now was a prisoner for this mystery.

Paul does not indicate where he is in captivity, nor does he offer historical reasons for his detention. Instead, he asks the Colossians to pray that he may have an opportunity to declare the mystery and that he may proclaim the gospel “clearly” (“openly” or “boldly”). The apostle regards his proclamation of the mystery to be a necessity, a commission that God has given him, a fire that God has put within him (cf. Jer 20:9). Paul heralds the gospel not because he might but because he must. Here, as elsewhere (cf. esp. 1 Co 9:16), he says, “It is necessary for me to speak [the gospel]” (lit.). For Paul, the true gospel, initiated by a gracious, righteous God and grounded in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Ro 1:16).[3]

3–4  As in the parallel passage in Eph. 6:18, the exhortation to general prayer leads into a specific request for prayer for Paul and his associates. The plural pronoun in “pray also for us” refers primarily to Paul and Timothy (cf. Col. 1:1), but no doubt it includes friends and companions who are mentioned later in this chapter. But Paul is conscious of his special need of spiritual strength and wisdom. His commission to make known among the Gentiles the Lord who had been revealed to him on the Damascus road remained unfinished so long as earthly life lasted; and his present restrictions, far from hindering the prosecution of this commission, gave him unforeseen opportunities of discharging it. The “mystery of Christ” which he has to declare is identical with the gospel which he received at his conversion “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12); indeed, in the light of Col. 2:2, we might treat “of Christ” as a genitive of definition and identify the mystery with Christ, the Son of God, whom the Father “was pleased to reveal” to him on that occasion (Gal. 1:16). For Paul, to preach the gospel was to preach Christ, and so to make known the “hidden wisdom” of God, which was “decreed before the ages” for his people’s glory (1 Cor. 2:7).

The Colossians are asked to pray, then, that a “door” may be opened for the message. The figure of a door being opened for the gospel message (and for the messenger) is found elsewhere in the NT; we may compare 1 Cor. 16:9 (where Paul says that at Ephesus “a wide door for effective work has opened”) and 2 Cor. 2:12 (where at Troas, he says, “a door was opened for me in the Lord”). Deissmann thought that Paul might have found the expression current in general speech;13 this may very well be so, as similar phrases are known from contemporary idiom. That an open door was indeed set before Paul in Rome is evident from the closing words of Acts and from his own account in Phil. 1:12–18 (“what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel”). The opportunities were great, but the situation called for special wisdom, whether Paul was “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ” to those who frequented the lodgings where he lived under house arrest (Acts 28:30–31), or looking forward to his appearance before the imperial tribunal when his appeal came up for hearing. He would have to answer the charges brought against him, but he desired to do so in such a way that the content and nature of his apostolic preaching would be made plain to all who heard. He was in Rome, under official custody, on account of Christ and the gospel; it was of the highest importance that the interests of Christ and the gospel should be promoted by the way in which he made his defense before the supreme court. For this he prayed himself, and asked his friends to pray too.[4]

3 Because the Colossians devote themselves to a life of prayer, Paul asks them to pray for his mission (cf. Eph 6:19–20). It all begins innocently enough: “And [at the same time] pray for us, too.” That is, for Paul and Timothy (Col 1:1) and Epaphras (4:12–13) and all Paul’s co-workers in mission. Paul says that Epaphras devotes himself to prayer for the Colossians (4:12–13), which suggests reciprocation on their part (see 1 Thess 5:25; 2 Thess 3:1; 2 Cor 1:11; Rom 15:30–32; Eph 6:19). The most forceful of these requests is Rom 15:30–32 (followed closely by 2 Thess 3:1–2): “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.”

Paul gives concrete clarity to what he wants them to pray: “that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (4:3–4). At heart Paul was an apostolic evangelist who established new churches by evangelizing Gentiles into the new family of God. So Paul wants opportunities, which he here calls “a door for our message,” but he wants God’s work to move forward, so he asks the Colossians to pray for God to open doors. We read much the same idea in 1 Cor 16:9 and 2 Cor 2:12 (Acts 14:27) and also at Eph 6:19–20. Notice, too, that he asks for a door not for himself but for the gospel because this gospel is alive and active (cf. Col 1:6). The hinge here is that the door is open for the “message” of the gospel (so NIV) or “word” (CEB: logos), a specialized term Paul uses for the public proclamation or declaration of the gospel, namely, that the Jesus who was unjustly crucified was raised from the dead and in his name there are both forgiveness and hope of everlasting life (Col 1:5, 25; 3:16). Most dramatically, Paul preached a thoroughly Jewish Messiah in the Roman world and watched God’s Spirit prompt one Gentile after another to participate in that Jew’s death and resurrection. In this prayer request about the open door, we now ask, what specifically did Paul have in mind? Two answers are possible: release from prison to carry on the mission (Phlm 22), or expansion of the gospel while imprisoned (2 Thess 3:1; Phil 1:12–14; Acts 28:17–31). The second seems more likely.

The open door for the message finds its purpose in “so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.” The focal energy of Paul’s mission is not simply to preach the gospel but to preach the gospel to Gentiles in order to bring them into the new fictive fellowship, a church of both Jews and Gentiles (3:11). Paul calls this mission God’s “mystery.” As observed at 1:26 (see commentary there), there are two elements of Paul’s mystery: (1) something formerly undisclosed is now disclosed in Christ and (2) through his gospeling the people expands to include the Gentiles. This term “mystery” is Paul’s favorite term for describing the newness of the age in mission: what was once given to Abraham as intended to be a blessing to the nations (Gen 12) is finally fully underway in the Pauline mission to the Gentiles. Hence, the “mystery” is not so much something mysterious, secretive, and known only to a select few (as in the mystery religions) but something previously unknown or “hidden for ages and generations” but now revealed to all in the power of the Spirit. In Col 4:3 he says the mystery “of Christ,” or better yet the mystery that is Christ, while the near parallel in Eph 6 speaks of the mystery “of the gospel” (6:19).

Paul’s gospel mission has its own risks: “for which I am in chains.” Courageous preaching of the gospel, sometimes in the face of opposition from Jews and at other times from Roman authorities, landed Paul in prison more than once (see 2 Cor 11:23, 26; Phlm 1, 9; Eph 6:18–19; Phil 1:7, 13–14, 17; Acts 16:23–40; 21:27–28:31). The experiences were unforgettable and matchless as experiences of God’s grace and power, and so he inserts a reminder of where he now sits. We have argued in the introduction that Paul is in prison in Ephesus, though the traditional theory locates Paul’s imprisonment in Rome.352 Imprisonment was not, as is the case most often in the United States, the result of a sentence and thus the punishment itself but instead a place of waiting—for trial, for protection, and for execution. The discomfort, disadvantages, and outright dangers have been adequately summarized by Brian Rapske, and while they may differ somewhat from prison to prison, the general experience remains the same: “The wearing of chains and/or stocks, while securing prisoners from escaping, was an additional physical rigour. Weighty iron chains restricted prisoner mobility and were also frequently the cause of untold sufferings: rusty, they chafed and corroded the skin; too tight, they were an innovation in torture; too heavy, they would pain or even cripple their wearers; in addition they contributed, when the prisoner moved, to the general din and sleeplessness of the whole prison environment.”

It was expected that prisoners would attend to their own nourishment. Those who could rely upon provisions from family, friends, or contracted providers might have better prospects of staying healthy. Poverty and the need to rely upon officially provided prison rations, however, were often a recipe for disaster. The daily prison ration was more often than not severely restricted in its variety, quality, and quantity.

On this expression “for which I am in chains,” Markus Bockmuehl has suggested on the basis of typical Pauline grammar a different reading that separates 4:3c from 4:3b, with 4:3c opening a new thought—one more concerned with the divine intent of his imprisonment (e.g., Phil 1:7, 12–13). His translation looks like this: “And pray that God may open for us an opportunity for proclamation, so that we may speak for the mystery of Christ. [4:3c] For it is to this end that I have been imprisoned, in order that I might manifest it, as indeed I am obliged to do.” I find his proposal convincing, one that should lead to new translations or at least new marginal readings.

The best commentary on Paul’s imprisonments was penned by Paul himself:

Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (2 Cor 11:23–27)

4 Paul’s request from prison: “[NIV: Pray] that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” This request takes us back to the prayer of 4:3 (and again, Eph 6:20). If Bockmuehl is correct, “Pray” is not necessary: instead, the imprisonment is tied to the proclamation. What he wants most is for the Colossians to see that a God-opened door for gospel preaching is at work in the imprisonment. The term Paul uses here, however, is a bit masked by translations:

NIV: “that I may proclaim it clearly”

CEB: “that I might be able to make it clear.”

The term behind “proclaim” or “make it clear” is phaneroō, which means “to make manifest.” The term is probably attached to the mystery theme in 1:26 and is intensely christological (3:4), so the emphasis in this term transcends proclaiming and refers to the divine disclosure, or revelation, of good news for Gentiles in Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. Thus, “It describes the revelation of God in Jesus Christ (1:26), the eschatological unveiling of the new life together with him (3:4), and the proclamation of the gospel in between the two (4:4).”

This conclusion leads us to another and more momentous conclusion about Paul’s ministry, namely that there is a redemptive implication in Paul’s own mission. This salvation-historical mission is Paul’s special calling, and hence he says “as I should,” with “should” meaning divine vocation and necessity. As especially with Jesus (Luke 2:49; 4:43; 9:22; 13:14, 16, 33; 17:25), so with Paul (1 Cor 9:16; Rom 15:17–22; Col 1:24)—God’s call makes their service a necessity for the unfolding of God’s plan and thus becomes noticeably cruciform in the experience of suffering in order to participate in God’s mission of redemption (Col 1:24).[5]

that he will preach christ freely (v. 3a): Prayers are requested so that all obstacles hindering the work are removed and a door opened which will give Paul opportunity for the preaching and teaching of the gospel (Rev. 3:8). This, however, does not guarantee that Paul will not have opposition or trouble as he does the will of Christ (1 Cor. 16:9). Pastors and all engaged in evangelism and church planting need prayer support. This is an act of fellowship in the gospel, and Paul requested this fellowship on several occasions (2 Cor. 1:11; 1 Thes. 5:25; 2 Thes. 3:1–2).

that he will preach christ truly (v. 3b): Who and what Jesus Christ is must be faithfully and consistently made known when Paul and his team preach the gospel, for it reveals the incarnate Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the world (Eph 6:19–20). Jesus Christ is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit and this is the ‘mystery’ Paul preaches (1:26–27; 2:2; Eph. 3:3–4, 9). There is no other Saviour (John 14:6).

that he will preach christ clearly (v. 4): He requests that he and his team will be able to speak clearly and boldly to sinners about the glories and love of Christ. He wishes to make the gospel ‘manifest’, ‘to make clear by uncovering’. He wants to speak plainly and not incomprehensibly, in order that others can share in the joy of eternal life (Rom. 15:13; 1 John 1:4). He wants to be able to discern when to speak and how much to say, and how to ‘package’ the message so that it is not misunderstood.[6]

4:3–4 / From a general admonition on prayer, Paul turns to a personal and specific request that God will open a door for our message. Door comes from the Greek thyra, and is an expression used in Scripture as a metaphor for opportunities to witness (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12). The content of Paul’s message is the unveiling of the mystery of Christ, something that he already has explained in 1:26 and 2:2 (cf. Eph. 3:3–6, 9).

Paul indicates that he is in chains (dedemai, a perfect passive of deō; cf. 4:18). His request for an opportunity to preach may imply a desire for personal release (cf. Philem. 22); but Paul often used his imprisonment to share the gospel as well (Acts 28:30) and felt that these circumstances “served to advance the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). This desire is not only for himself, since he includes his co-workers (the plural us) such as Timothy (1:1), Epaphras (1:7; 4:12), Tychicus (4:7), Onesimus (4:9), and others he mentions in his final greeting (4:7–18). The desire for clarity (Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, phaneroō) in his proclamation must not be taken as a second request, because this “purpose clause” is subordinated to the previous one: Paul simply wants an opportunity to preach the mystery of Christ clearly.[7]

Ver. 3.—Praying at the same time also for us (Eph. 6:19; Rom 15:30–32; 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1, 2; Heb. 13:18). In Ephesians and Romans the apostle implores prayer for himself alone, and dwells on his personal circumstances. Here and in the Thessalonian letters he unites his fellow-labourers with him in the request. That God may open to us a door for the word (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:9; 2:1). “The word” is the Word of God which the apostle preaches (ch. 1:5, 25; 1 Thess. 1:6; Gal. 6:6; 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 16:6); and “a door” is wanted, in his presented difficulties, through which that Word may freely pass, such as he speaks of in 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12 (comp. Acts 14:27; Rev. 3:8). It is fanciful to give “door” here the sense of “mouth.” The “opening of my mouth,” in Eph. 6:19, expresses the subjective freedom (corresponding to “as I ought to speak,” ver. 4); “the door for the word,” the objective liberty desired by St. Paul in his imprisonment. To speak the mystery of Christ, because of which also I am bound (ch. 1:23–29; Eph 6:19; 3:1–13; 4:1; Phil. 1:12–14; Philem 9; 2 Tim. 2:8–10; Acts 20:22–24). Were his prison door once opened, the apostle would be able freely to preach the gospel to the Gentiles—for this “the mystery of Christ” chiefly signifies (ch. 1:25–29; Eph. 3:1–8; 1 Tim. 2:3–7.) (On “mystery,” see note, ch. 1:26.) It is this very mission which makes him long for freedom, that keeps him a prisoner (ch. 1:23; Eph. 3:13). He is in the strange position of an “ambassador in chains” (Eph. 6:19; Philem 9, 10: comp. 2 Tim. 2:9). This “I am bound” (singular) shows that the “for us” of the former clause designedly includes others with himself.

Ver. 4.—That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak (Eph. 6:20; 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:1–6, 5:11, 20–6:10; Rom. 12:6; 2 Tim. 2:24–26; 3:10; Acts 20:18–21, 27, 33–35). This clause qualifies the last; the “open door” is to be asked for the apostle, that he may make effective use of it. The mystery has been made manifest by God in the mission of Christ (ch. 1:27; 2:15, note; 2 Cor. 5:19, etc.); but that manifestation has to be made known to the Gentile world (Eph. 3:9; 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 10:14). To this end he had received a special manifestation of “the mystery of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6; 5:19; Gal. 1:15, 16; Acts 9:15, 16; 22:14, 15, 21; 26:16–18). How the apostle conceives that he “ought to speak” appears from the parallel passages (see especially 2 Cor. 5; 6; and Acts 20.).[8]

3. The apostle’s exhortation to persevering prayer is immediately followed by a request for the intercession of the Colossians for himself and his coworkers. He offers petition regularly for them (1:3, 9) and now asks that as they pray for the coming of the kingdom they will at the same time (ἅμα denotes the coincidence of two actions in time, BDF para. 425[2], BAG, 42) consistently remember him before the throne of grace (προσευχόμενοι, “praying,” a present tense, suggests an ongoing intercessory activity). Clearly he attached great importance to this regular, reciprocal intercession by his converts and other Christians in the gentile mission since he appeals for this prayerful support elsewhere (Rom 15:30–32; Eph 6:19; Phil 1:19; 1 Thess 5:25; 2 Thess 3:1, 2, and Phlm 22). He earnestly desired their understanding and help in his struggle for the gospel and there was no better way to express this than by intercessory prayer. The request is that they might pray “for us” (περὶ ἡμῶν, which corresponds to the περὶ ὑμῶν προσευχόμενοι, “praying for you,” of 1:8; cf. v 9 and note the similar correspondence at 2 Thess 3:1 and 1:11; see Riesenfeld, TDNT 6, 54, and Wiles, Prayers, 259–84), a reference that no doubt includes his friends and colleagues mentioned later in the chapter who were messengers of the gospel (perhaps Timothy, [1:1] and Epaphras [4:12, 13] are especially in view; so Lightfoot, 229). But it is clear that Paul is thinking primarily of his own need for he slips into the first person singular later in the sentence (“for which I am in chains, that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should,” vv 3b, 4).

ἵνα ὁ θεὸς ἀνοίξῃ ἡμῖν θύραν τοῦ λόγου. The content of the prayer (expressed by ἵνα, “that”; cf. Rom 15:31; Eph 6:19; 2 Thess 3:1) is not for the personal benefit of Paul and his companions but for the preaching of the gospel: it is that “God may open a door for our message.” The image of an open door turns up in Hellenistic thought (Epictetus employs it in the sense of a person being free to go anywhere; “opened doors” is also a figure of literary activity, cf. Jeremias, TDNT 3, 174) as well as in later Judaism where man opens the door to God by repenting, while God opens the door to man by giving him opportunities for intercession or repentance, or by granting grace (Str-B 1, 458; 2, 728; 3, 484, 485, 631; Jeremias, TDNT 3, 174). Within the New Testament this picture of an open door, which is used in missionary contexts, denotes the provision of opportunity. God opens a door for the missionary by giving him a field in which to work (1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12) and he opens a door of faith to Gentiles so that they might believe (Acts 14:27; elsewhere ἀνοίγω is used of the opening of the eyes, Luke 24:31; Acts 26:18; of the understanding, Luke 24:45; of the heart, Acts 16:14; and of Scripture, Luke 24:32; Acts 17:3). In Colossians 4:3 God is to be petitioned to open a door for the gospel message (several commentators, both ancient and modern, on the basis of Eph 6:19, have taken this to mean “the door of our speech,” i.e. “our mouth,” cf. Beza, Bengel; note also Lohmeyer, 161, who understands it of access by Paul to the right thing to say. But this interpretation is less likely)—this of course also means a door for the messenger, but here the emphasis falls upon the dynamic, almost personal, character of the Word (cf. 2 Thess 3:1, a prayer request, “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may run and be honored”). Paul is concerned for an opportunity for effective evangelism; and it is just possible that he is asking them to pray for his release from prison (so many commentators; cf. Phlm 22, and on Paul’s imprisonment see xlix–liv). On the other hand, even when he was at liberty such doors did not open up to him automatically (1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12) and the apostle did not regard imprisonment as a serious interruption of his missionary work (Phil 1:12, 13; so Caird, 210). At the conclusion of the Book of Acts (28:30, 31) Luke indicates an open door was set before Paul in Rome. The opportunities were considerable though special wisdom was called for (cf. Bruce, 298).

The apostle earnestly desires that God would open a door for the word (and requests the Colossians to pray along these lines) λαλῆσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ Χριστοῦ (“so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ”; the infinitive λαλῆσαι, “to speak,” “to proclaim,” could be either one of result or intended result, which is tantamount to purpose, for the distinction between the two is a fine one, cf. Robertson, Grammar, 1089, 1090; see also Lightfoot, 229, Abbott, 297, Meyer, 465, Lohmeyer, 161). Once again in Colossians the word “mystery” is used to denote God’s plan of salvation centered in Christ and which has special reference to Gentiles (cf. 1:26; 2:2 and see on these verses; here as at Rom 16:25 and Col 1:26 “mystery” is closely related to the message or Word of the gospel, for it is in the effective preaching and teaching of the gospel that the mystery is made known; cf. Brown, Background, 55; the genitive too τοῦ Χριστοῦ, “of Christ,” could be either epexegetic indicating that Christ himself is the mystery [so Feuillet, Christ, 292], or objective meaning “the mystery as it is revealed in the Messiah”: Zeilinger, Der Erstgeborene, 113, claims both are possible).

διʼ ὅ καὶ δέδεμαι, “For which I am in chains.” It was on account of his apostolic activity in making known this mystery that Paul was imprisoned (on the use of δέω, to “bind,” as signifying imprisonment see Matt 14:3; 27:2; Mark 6:17; Acts 9:2, 14, 21; 12:6, etc cf. Büchsel, TDNT 2, 60, and BAG, 177, 178). This is the only place in which Paul uses this verb in a literal sense, though he employs δεσμοί of his “bonds” or “fetters” at Philippians 1:7, 13, 14, 17; Colossians 4:18 and Philemon 10, 13 (cf. 2 Tim 2:9) as well as δέσμιος (“prisoner”) at Philemon 1, 9 (cf. Eph 3:1; 4:1; 2 Tim 1:8). The transition to the singular was natural since he moved from what was common to himself and others to what was peculiar to himself (regarding his imprisonment, see the Introduction).

4. The verb φανερόω (“reveal,” “make known,” “show,” cf. BAG, 852, 853, Bultmann/Lührmann, TDNT 9, 3–6, and see on 1:26) when used with reference to the manifestation of the mystery (1:26; Rom 16:26; 1 Tim 3:16) normally describes God’s revelation. Here, although God is the person whom the Colossians are to petition to effect the opening of the door, it is the apostle who is said to reveal the previously hidden divine purpose (the ἴνα clause, “that …,” of v 4 is dependent on the preceding ἵνα ὁ θεὸς ἀνοίξῃ “that God may open …,” of v 3; Lightfoot, 229, and Abbott, 297. Von Soden, 67, makes the clause dependent on δέδεμαι, “I am bound,” and argues that Paul who was awaiting trial wished to make it clear to his judges as to what he preaches and why he must preach it). Further, this same verb “reveal” is not employed elsewhere to designate the apostolic proclamation (it is usually to “announce,” καταγγέλλω, 1 Cor 2:1; “preach,” εὐαγγελίζομαι, Eph 3:8; “speak,” λαλέω, 1 Cor 2:7; Col 4:3, 4; “proclaim,” κηρύσσω, 1 Cor 1:23, etc). So when Paul’s activity is described as making known the mystery its unique significance of being the proclamation of divine revelation is emphasized (Lohse, 165). What is elsewhere called the work of God is here said to be Paul’s activity, no doubt because of his key role in the plan of God that includes Gentiles. His ministry has salvation historical significance. Yet it is no less the revelation of God for all that, since it is God who is asked to open a door for the Word, and it is he alone who can enable the apostle to publish the mystery openly and in a manner that Paul ought to: the final clause ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι could refer to the necessity of the preaching (so keeping strictly to the meaning of δεῖ) and be rendered “since I am bound to speak it” (see 1 Cor 9:16; Acts 23:11; note Meyer, 466), or the manner of the proclamation (the rightness is then viewed with reference to “any given circumstances in which the apostle is called upon to speak,” Moule, 133, cf. Dibelius-Greeven, 50, and Schweizer, 172) and so paraphrased as “in the way in which it is right that I should speak it.” At first sight it might seem that only the first alternative gives the δεῖ, “it is necessary,” its due weight. However, “a thing which is necessary if one is to do right in certain conditions is virtually what one ought to do” (Moule, 133). We therefore prefer the second alternative.

Accordingly the Colossians are to persevere in prayer with their eyes fixed on the second coming, at the same time interceding for the apostle whose ministry to Gentiles has a salvation historical significance in the purposes of God. Through him God reveals his divine purpose of blessing in Christ for Gentiles.[9]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 183–185). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (pp. 223–224). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 345–346). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 172–174). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] McKnight, S. (2018). The Letter to the Colossians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (pp. 371–375). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[6] McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (pp. 84–85). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[7] Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (pp. 96–97). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Colossians (pp. 209–210). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] O’Brien, P. T. (1982). Colossians, Philemon (Vol. 44, pp. 238–240). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

June 28 Confusion

scripture reading: 2 Samuel 2:1–4
key verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:24

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Is there something you have been praying about for a long time? You know that your request is in keeping with God’s will. You’ve checked the Scriptures to make sure you are on target, and God has confirmed that you are. Each verse the Holy Spirit brings up underscores God’s faithfulness and ability to answer your prayer. However, your request seems to go unanswered.

God anointed David king over Israel when he was a lad and fresh out of service in his father’s sheep field. Yet he did not assume the kingship until several years later. God may give you a promise and then allow you to go through a time of waiting for Him to bring it to completion.

That is when you face the greatest temptation to doubt Him. You wonder what He is doing, and you question His reasoning. Thoughts such as Has God forgotten His promise? run through your head as you worry over doing the right thing. Doubt is the breeding ground for confusion and fear.

Faith is the atmosphere in which hope and joy flourish. If God has promised to do a certain thing, it will be done. Little faith says, “I think God will do it.” Perfect faith says, “It is already done in Christ Jesus. All I have to do is wait for God’s perfect timing.”

Never give up; with God all things are possible. You may be standing on the brink of a tremendous blessing.

I reject confusion! My request is already answered through Christ Jesus! Thank You, Father, that all I must do is wait for Your perfect timing.[1]

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

28 june (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Prayer—the forerunner of mercy

“Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” Ezekiel 36:37

suggested further reading: 1 Samuel 22:9–23:5

First, I enquire what the promise is. I turn to my Bible, and I seek to find the promise whereby the thing which I desire to seek is certified to me as being a thing which God is willing to give. Having enquired so far as that, I take that promise, and on my bended knees I enquire of God whether he will fulfil his own promise. I take to him his own word of covenant, and I say to him, “O Lord, wilt thou not fulfil it, and wilt thou not fulfil it now?” So that there, again, prayer is enquiry. After prayer I look out for the answer; I expect to be heard; and if I am not answered I pray again, and my repeated prayers are but fresh enquiries. I expect the blessing to arrive; I go and enquire whether there is any tidings of its coming. I ask; and thus I say, “Wilt thou answer me, O Lord? Wilt thou keep thy promise. Or wilt thou shut up thine ear, because I misunderstand my own wants and mistake thy promise?” Brethren, we must use enquiry in prayer, and regard prayer as being, first, an enquiry for the promise, and then on the strength of that promise an enquiry for the fulfilment. We expect something to come as a present from a friend: we first have the note, whereby we are informed it is upon the road. We enquire as to what the present is by the reading of the note; and then, if it arrive not, we call at the accustomed place where the parcel ought to have been left, and we ask or enquire for such and such a thing. We have enquired about the promise, and then we go and enquire again, until we get an answer that the promised gift has arrived and is ours. So with prayer.

for meditation: Asking comes in two shapes—questions and requests. God is able to give us all the answers we need (Luke 11:9, 10).

sermon no. 138[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 186). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Blatant Election Rigging: Twitter Wants To Make Sure We NEVER Have Another President Like Trump

Just in time for the 2020 election, Twitter has come up with a new “policy” that is obviously intended to neuter the effectiveness of President Trump’s Twitter account. Right now, Trump has 61.4 million followers on Twitter, and his tweets regularly make headlines all over the world. Trump has been devastatingly effective on Twitter for years, and his social media strategy was one of the keys to his victory in 2016. Needless to say, the radical leftists that run Twitter were absolutely horrified by Trump’s upset victory, and they want to do whatever they can to make sure that such a thing never happens again. They started by deleting, shadowbanning and greatly suppressing the accounts of prominent conservatives. Personally, my own account has been shadowbanned for a very long time. I have over 16,000 followers, but if you check out my account you will notice that I barely get any retweets at all these days. However, a few years ago there was a ton of interaction with my tweets. An expert looked into it and found that just like so many other prominent conservatives, I had been shadowbanned.

But all of the censorship that we have seen so far is apparently not enough for the control freaks at Twitter, and so now they are going after President Trump himself.

On Thursday, Twitter announced a brand new policy which is obviously aimed at the White House. The following comes from Twitter’s official blog post about this new policy…

With this in mind, there are certain cases where it may be in the public’s interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules. On the rare occasions when this happens, we’ll place a notice – a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet – to provide additional context and clarity. We’ll also take steps to make sure the Tweet is not algorithmically elevated on our service, to strike the right balance between enabling free expression, fostering accountability, and reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets.

Who does this apply to?

We will only consider applying this notice on Tweets from accounts that meet the following criteria. The account must:

  • Be or represent a government official, be running for public office, or be considered for a government position (i.e., next in line, awaiting confirmation, named successor to an appointed position);
  • Have more than 100,000 followers; and
  • Be verified.

That said, there are cases, such as direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual, that are unlikely to be considered in the public interest.

They are trying to make this sound like a “neutral” policy that will apply evenly to all government officials, but if you believe that then there is a bridge not too far from Twitter headquarters that I would like to sell you.

In essence, Twitter is telling us that they are going to start suppressing President Trump’s tweets. And if other conservative government officials get out of line, they will be censored too.

This is happening right out in the open, and Twitter is brazenly admitting that any tweets that they slap with this “notice” will “feature less prominently on Twitter”

When a Tweet has this notice placed on it, it will feature less prominently on Twitter, and not appear in:

  • Safe search
  • Timeline when switched to Top Tweets
  • Live events pages
  • Recommended Tweet push notifications
  • Notifications tab
  • Explore

This notice won’t be applied to any Tweets sent before today and, given the conditions outlined above, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter it often. We cannot predict the first time it will be used, but we wanted to give you more information about this new notice before you come across it on Twitter.

And when Twitter decides that something will “feature less prominently”, it might as well not even be there at all. I know that very well, because this is what has been happening to my tweets for years.

I might as well be tweeting into a black hole.

And is it just a coincidence that this new “policy” was announced about 24 hours after President Trump publicly accused Twitter of censoring him?

The move, announced Thursday, came barely 24 hours after President Donald Trump accused the social media platform’s leaders of censoring him in a bid to limit the circulation of his ideas.

Of course Twitter is far from alone.

All over the Internet, social media companies are making an all-out effort to influence the outcome of the 2020 election.

For example, the day before Twitter announced their new policy, Reddit “quarantined” one of the most popular pro-Trump subreddits…

On Wednesday, Reddit “quarantined” a popular pro-Donald Trump forum on its site. Although the move was prompted because the “r/The_Donald” subreddit was hosting violent threats and violating other site policies, it’s likely to add to Republicans’ complaintsthat social media companies are biased against conservatives.

Reddit put the message board, which is a popular place for Trump fans to gather and stir up support, in a sort of virtual detention due to what the company called “significant issues with reporting and addressing violations” of its content policy.

Could you imagine what would have happened if the big social media companies had blatantly tried to rig elections against Barack Obama?

There would have been rioting in the streets and Democrats would have been steaming mad.

So why are conservatives taking this censorship with so much apathy?

During the last election cycle, a number of candidates that were boldly speaking out against social media censorship ran for Congress, but almost all of them lost.

As a result, right now there are only a few members of Congress that are actively trying to do something about this.

We are literally losing our country, and only a very small minority of the people care enough to get involved.

At this point the major social media companies are not even attempting to hide their blatant election-rigging anymore, and it looks like they may totally get away with it.

— Read on themostimportantnews.com/archives/blatant-election-rigging-twitter-wants-to-make-sure-we-never-have-another-president-like-trump

Frank Luntz: Debates show ‘This is not your parents’ Democratic Party’ | Fox News

Frank Luntz reacts to Democratic presidential debates

The Democratic Party is becoming unrecognizable from what it was a generation ago, according to pollster Frank Luntz.

This week’s 2020 Democratic presidential debates are the latest proof the party has lurched to the left in recent years, Luntz said Thursday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

“This is not your parents’ Democratic Party,” he said. “This isn’t even your older sister’s Democratic Party. It has changed considerably. And over the last two-and-a-half years, it has lost the center — both on economic policy and … on social policy.


“The question for the Democrats right now is, are they going to move so far left that they lose the center and have no ability to unite between now and 16 months from now?”

Luntz added he believed Democrats are speaking to a more liberal audience than the eventual nominee will be addressing when that candidate challenges President Trump in a general election debate next year.

“These are Democratic debates,” he said of this week’s events.


Top Biden aides react to first Democratic presidential debate, preview night two


“They are trying to appeal to a Democratic audience — an audience that is often atheist or agnostic or at least not regular churchgoers. So the audience itself represents — the language they are using represents — the average Democrat today.”

One Democratic candidate on the second night’s debate stage also alluded to changes in the Democratic Party.

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., addressed former Vice President Joe Biden, asking him to “pass the torch,” as the longtime U.S. senator from Delaware himself had said during a previous presidential bid.


Swalwell, one of the youngest candidates in the 2020 field, took a direct swipe at Biden’s age during Thursday’s debate.

“I was six years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said, ‘It’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.’ That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden,” Swalwell said.

“Joe Biden was right 32 years ago, and he’s still right today.”

— Read on www.foxnews.com/politics/frank-luntz-2020-debates-show-this-is-not-your-parents-democratic-party