Daily Archives: July 3, 2019

July 3 What Is Truth?

Scripture Reading: John 8:31–36

Key Verses: John 8:31–32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

You may know when sin has a stranglehold on your life, but it is more difficult to discern the subtle traps of inferiority, inadequacy, and insecurity that the enemy may use to enslave you. Jesus said the truth will make you free. What is the truth? It can be found in His Word.

The truth is related to your position, person, and possessions in Christ. You will be made free when you stop living by perceptions and feelings and start living by fact. For believers, these are the facts:

  • Position: As a child of God, you have been forgiven of your sins because of your acceptance of Christ. God has applied the righteousness of Christ to your account and sent His Spirit to live inside of you. Why should anyone feel inferior when God loved them enough to do all of that?
  • Person: You have been redeemed and justified because of Christ’s work. You are a child of God, the son or daughter of the King of the universe, a saint on the way to glory. You are worthy, no matter what anyone else says or thinks! God says so!
  • Possessions: Paul summed it up in Philippians 4:13 when he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You should have a great sense of confidence to know that you have the Spirit of the living God inside of you, equipping you for whatever God requires of you.

Father, help me to stop living by perception and feelings and start living by fact. I am Your child. I have been redeemed and justified. I can do all things through You.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 194). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 3 Freedom from Wrong Emotions

Scripture Reading: John 10:7–15

Key Verse: John 10:10

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

You see a moving television program—tears flow.

A drunken man at the basketball game leans over and spills his drink on you—anger swells.

You drive up to your house surrounded by paramedics and ambulances—fear surges.

Each is an emotion, an intrinsic part of every individual’s personal identity.

We talk of emotional moments. We say that some people are unemotional while others freely express their feelings.

Whether suppressed or inhibited, the emotional makeup of a person is an integral part of his behavior. As such, it can be a problematic area for many Christians.

The good news for the believer is that you are now inhabited by the person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit searches the innermost parts of your being, seeking to touch every aspect of your personality. Progressively He can heal damaged emotions, control runaway passions, and harness selfish affections.

If your emotions are fragile or volatile, the Holy Spirit can act as the inner healer, providing an unseen source of comfort. Your emotional infirmities are His supernatural specialty.

O God, I yield my emotions to You. Holy Spirit, be my source of comfort. Help me realize that my emotional infirmities are Your supernatural specialty.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 194). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 3 Peace with God

Scripture reading: Romans 5:1–11

Key verse: Romans 5:10

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Thirty years after the crime, he was finally apprehended, tried, and found guilty by a jury. The arrest and conviction shocked both family and community. His life had been pleasant enough, raising a family, working as a salesman, even participating in many civic activities.

Men and women who are separated from God are in a similar predicament. While they may enjoy reasonably happy and successful lives, they live at enmity with their Creator and Judge.

Paul noted, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10). Other passages refer to man’s alienation from God and his position as an enemy of “the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18).

Yet the love of God stretches across the chasm of sin and offers a solution to the hostility. The only path to true peace is faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. That decision alone gives a person peace with God, establishing an eternal relationship with Christ.

True peace—the kind that lasts forever, the kind that reconciles God and man—is yours through faith in Christ. Don’t deceive yourself or others with false appearances. Trust Him today.

Dear Lord, I thank You that true peace is mine through faith in Jesus Christ. I trust Him today![1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 194). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

July 3, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Paul Was Thankful For The Privilege of Being Led by a Sovereign God

But thanks be to God, who always leads us (2:14a)

Recognizing the Lord’s sovereign leading is foundational to a pastor’s (or any believer’s) joy, and it is the undergirding strength of his ministry. Paul’s confident hope was that God … always leads believers, through every circumstance of life. No matter what trials or persecutions he endured in Corinth, Ephesus, or anywhere else he ministered, Paul rejoiced that God was in control.

The apostle never lost his sense of wonder at the privilege of belonging to the ranks of the sovereign Lord, of marching behind the Commander in Chief in His Triumph. To Timothy he wrote,

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:12–16)

Contemplating the marvelous privilege of being led by God instead of fretting over his circumstances contributed to turning Paul’s discouragement into joy.

paul was thankful for the privilege of promised victory in christ

in triumph in Christ, (2:14b)

In keeping with the imagery of the Roman Triumph, Paul proclaimed that God leads believers in triumph in Christ. They follow the all-conquering Commander in the victory parade, sharing in the triumph of His decisive victory over sin, death, and hell. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus spoke of His ultimate victory over Satan and the forces of hell: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” His followers share in His victory, as Paul declared in Romans 16:20: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” The writer of Hebrews also spoke of that victory: “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). In 1 John 3:8 the apostle John wrote, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Christ won that victory on the cross: “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (Col. 2:15). As Paul wrote to the Romans, “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Believers are not only coconquerors with Christ, but also “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17; cf. Gal. 3:29; Eph. 3:6; Titus 3:7; James 2:5). They follow behind their Commander in the Triumph, bringing the spoils of war—the souls of men and women “rescued … from the domain of darkness, and transferred … to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13; cf. Rom. 8:18–25, 28–30).

Though they may suffer setbacks and discouragement, believers’ ultimate triumph is certain. They will march victoriously in the Lord Jesus Christ’s Triumph on that glorious day when the heavenly choir cries out, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Believers will forever reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3–5).

paul was thankful for the privilege of having influence for christ

and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (2:14c)

The sweet aroma of the Triumph arose from the incense-filled censers carried by the priests in the parade and from the garlands of flowers that were thrown into the streets. The fragrance speaks of influence; Paul’s point is that God, in wonderful condescending grace and mercy, manifests through believers the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ in every place. He uses human preachers to give off the sweet aroma of the gospel, to influence people with the saving knowledge of Christ. To the Romans Paul wrote, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things’!” (Rom. 10:14–15).

It is not that believers deserve such a high privilege of being influences for the eternal gospel. Paul was keenly aware of his unworthiness for such service to God. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 he wrote, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” To the Ephesians he added, “I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:7–8). As previously noted, he expressed to Timothy his wonder that Christ chose him, a persecutor of the church, to preach the gospel:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:12–16)

No preacher should take lightly his inestimable privilege of proclaiming the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether or not preachers are successful, achieve popularity, or fulfill their ambitions is immaterial. The satisfaction of having an eternal influence for Jesus Christ should be sufficient. The issue is not results, but privilege. The disheartened preacher is disheartened because he focuses on circumstances; the joyful preacher is joyful because he focuses on the eternal worth of his service to God. The disheartened preacher considers his difficulties; the joyful preacher considers his privilege.[1]

14. But thanks be to God. Here he again glories in the success of his ministry, and shows that he had been far from idle in the various places he had visited; but that he may do this in no invidious way, he sets out with a thanksgiving, which we shall find him afterwards repeating. Now he does not, in a spirit of ambition, extol his own actions, that his name may be held in renown, nor does he, in mere pretence, give thanks to God in the manner of the Pharisee, while lifted up, in the mean time, with pride and arrogance. (Luke 18:11.) Instead of this, he desires from his heart, that whatever is worthy of praise, be recognised as the work of God alone, that his power alone may be extolled. Farther, he recounts his own praises with a view to the advantage of the Corinthians, that, on hearing that he had served the Lord with so much fruit in other places, they may not allow his labour to be unproductive among themselves, and may learn to respect his ministry, which God everywhere rendered so glorious and fruitful. For what God so illustriously honours, it is criminal to despise, or lightly esteem. Nothing was more injurious to the Corinthians, than to have an unfavourable view of Paul’s Apostleship and doctrine: nothing, on the other hand, was more advantageous, than to hold both in esteem. Now he had begun to be held in contempt by many, and hence, it was not his duty to be silent. In addition to this, he sets this holy boasting in opposition to the revilings of the wicked.

Who causeth us to triumph. If you render the word literally, it will be, Qui nos triumphatWho triumpheth over us. Paul, however, means something different from what this form of expression denotes among the Latins.2 For captives are said to be triumphed over, when, by way of disgrace, they are bound with chains and dragged before the chariot of the conqueror. Paul’s meaning, on the other hand, is, that he was also a sharer in the triumph enjoyed by God, because it had been gained by his instrumentality, just as the lieutenants accompanied on horseback the chariot of the chief general, as sharers in the honour. As, accordingly, all the ministers of the gospel fight under God’s auspices, so they also procure for him the victory and the honour of the triumph; but, at the same time, he honours each of them with a share of the triumph, according to the station assigned him in the army, and proportioned to the exertions made by him. Thus they enjoy, as it were, a triumph, but it is God’s rather than theirs.

He adds, in Christ, in whose person God himself triumphs, inasmuch as he has conferred upon him all the glory of empire. Should any one prefer to render it thus: “Who triumphs by means of us,” even in that way a sufficiently consistent meaning will be made out.

The odour of his knowledge. The triumph consisted in this, that God, through his instrumentality, wrought powerfully and gloriously, perfuming the world with the health-giving odour of his grace, while, by means of his doctrine, he brought some to the knowledge of Christ. He carries out, however, the metaphor of odour, by which he expresses both the delectable sweetness of the gospel, and its power and efficacy for inspiring life. In the mean time, Paul instructs them, that his preaching is so far from being savourless, that it quickens souls by its very odour. Let us, however, learn from this, that those alone make right proficiency in the gospel, who, by the sweet fragrance of Christ, are stirred up to desire him, so as to bid farewell to the allurements of the world.

He says in every place, intimating by these words, that he went to no place in which he did not gain some fruit, and that, wherever he went, there was to be seen some reward of his labour. The Corinthians were aware, in how many places he had previously sowed the seed of Christ’s gospel. He now says, that the last corresponded with the first.[2]

14 Paul likens the irresistible advance of the gospel, in spite of temporary frustration, to a Roman triumphus (“triumph”) in which the victorious general, along with his proud soldiers, used to “lead in triumphal procession” (thriambeuō, GK 2581; see Notes) the wretched prisoners of war, who were thus exposed to public ridicule. Paul sees himself and his fellow apostles not as exultant soldiers who share in their general’s victory pageant but as willing, joyful captives who count it a privilege to be part of God’s “triumph” and as vocal witnesses to the General’s victorious strength. Paul’s implied prior “defeat” will be his Damascus encounter when he surrendered to God or Christ (Php 3:12). In this context, “in Christ” will mean “through our union with Christ” or “in the cause of Christ,” though it may possibly mean “in Christ’s triumphal procession” (NEB, REB). The only other NT use of the verb thriambeuō is in Colossians 2:15, where the despoiled powers and authorities are seen as unwilling, sullen captives driven before the triumphal chariot of God, silent witnesses to the General’s power and majesty.

In the reference to the diffusion of “fragrance,” Paul may simply be developing the imagery, for perfumes were sometimes sprinkled or incense burned along the processional route. Through the apostles God was spreading far and wide the fragrant knowledge of Christ (Php 3:8, 10).[3]

14 The sudden and unheralded introduction9 of triumphal imagery is striking. To be sure, Paul has spoken of God’s comfort and deliverance of him (1:3–11), but nothing has prepared the reader—then or now—for the remarkable thanksgiving with which he begins the section on the ministry of the new covenant (2:14–7:4).

There is a natural structure to this powerfully metaphorical verse. A brief thanksgiving (“But thanks be to God”14) is followed by two participles, one that God “always leads us in triumphal procession,” the other—which amplifies the first—that God “spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of [Christ16] through us in every place.” Each participle is qualified by a universal: God “always leads us … spreads in every place the … knowledge of [Christ] through us.”

Thanks be to




  who always




us in triumph in Christ








  spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of [Christ]


  in every place.


Set against the barely escaped deadly perils of Asia (1:8–10), the writing of the emotion-wrought letter (2:4), and the deep disappointment in Troas (1:12–13), Paul gives thanks to God that, despite everything, he leads his minister, Paul, in triumph.

It is, indeed, the triumph of God, here accentuated by the universals “always … in every place”; if Paul triumphs, it is not of himself but only of God, and that through weakness. There is paradox here, as implied by the metaphor “lead [captive] in triumph,” which points at the same moment to the victory of a conquering general and the humiliation of his captives marching to execution. The metaphor is at the same time triumphal and antitriumphal. It is as God leads his servants as prisoners of war in a victory parade that God spreads the knowledge of Christ everywhere through them. Whereas in such victory processions the prisoners would be dejected and embittered, from this captive’s lips comes only thanksgiving to God, his captor. Here is restated the power-in-weakness theme (cf. 1:3–11) that pervades the letter.

It is quite possible that Paul’s use of the “triumph” metaphor is calculated to answer those Corinthians who, we infer, regard him as physically and spiritually debilitated (10:3–4, 7, 10; 13:3). To be sure, his ministry is marked by suffering, but so far from that disqualifying him as a minister, God’s leading him in Christ as a suffering servant thereby legitimates his ministry. Christ’s humiliation in crucifixion is reproduced in the life of his servant. All that he endures as a preacher is in continuity with the crucified Christ he preaches (5:21; cf. 6:4–10). There is no hiatus between the sufferings of Christ and the sufferings of the apostle in a world blinded to God and alienated from God (4:4; 5:18–20). The “sufferings of Christ” do indeed flow over into the apostle’s life (1:5). His “weaknesses” are “on behalf of” Christ (12:10). It is “for Jesus’ sake” that he is their “slave” (4:5), that he is continually being given over to death (4:11).

The image of the captive-slave in a military procession is critical both to the sovereignty of God and to his servants’ sufferings “in Christ” as they proclaim him; it is “in Christ” that God leads him.

The continuity of suffering shared by the obedient Christ and his faithful servant forms a point of contrast with newly arrived “superlative” apostles (11:5; 12:11). These “false apostles” (11:13) corrupt the message of Christ to their own advantage (2:17; cf. 4:2), possibly avoiding some of the opprobrium of the world by so doing. It appears that they compound that sin by pointing to the apostle’s distress as evidence of his inferiority in contrast to their various gifts, which are evidence of their supposed superiority to him (see on 10:12–12:13 passim).

Powerful as the triumphal but antitriumphal image is, however, it must not be separated from that of the fragrance-aroma image employed in the third section of this verse and which reappears with different vocabulary in v. 15 and the same vocabulary in v. 16, but transmuted in those verses to a new image, that of the Levitical sacrifices. In this verse as “God … spreads … the fragrance of the knowledge [of Christ] through us,” it is probably connected with the image of the Roman triumph, in which the prisoners in the captivity procession strew incense as they walk.23

God makes manifest the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere through “us.” But this manifestation of Christ is not located in Paul’s person—as if by some kind of incarnation—but in his gospel ministry. This is clear from the immediate context, which shows that Paul is referring to his reason for coming to Troas, namely, “for the gospel of Christ” (v. 12). It is by Paul, as herald of Christ, that God manifests the knowledge of Christ. It is not in his person alone, but through Christ crucified and risen whom he proclaims and whose sufferings he replicates, that Paul manifests the knowledge of Christ. The proclamation of Christ is like a strong fragrance, unseen but yet powerful, impinging on all who encounter Paul in his sufferings as he preaches Christ wherever he goes. In the victory parade metaphor of this verse, the apostle is God’s captive, whom God leads about spreading the knowledge of Christ—incense-like—by means of the proclamation of Christ.[4]

2:14 / Paul’s defense commences with a thanksgiving to God for his apostolic ministry as revelatory mediator. We note here again Paul’s use of the so-called apostolic/literary plural (us) with reference to himself, since Paul’s apostleship is the main issue in this section. This verse is so pivotal to Paul’s argument and yet so difficult to interpret that we will need to give it special attention.

The main problem is the interpretation of thriambeuein, which is correctly translated leads in triumphal procession. For some interpreters, this usage of the term conjures up an image of the apostle that seems quite unlikely, coming as it does as part of a thanksgiving at the very beginning of his defense for the legitimacy for his apostolic ministry. Further, Paul would thus seem to be portraying himself as a complete disgrace, a prisoner of war who is led by the conquering general (God!) in a triumphal procession that culminates in the apostle’s death. Many scholars have sought to avoid this interpretation either by proposing an idiosyncratic usage of thriambeuein (e.g., “make known” [G. Dautzenberg]) or by assuming the use of a rhetorical strategy whereby the meaning of verse 14 is ultimately positive. More recently, however, the trend has been to recognize the unequivocal usage of thriambeuein, with its negative implications for Paul, and then to correlate the passage with Paul’s apostolic self-conception as expressed elsewhere, particularly in his admissions of personal weakness and suffering in the Corinthian correspondence (cf. 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 4:10–11).

Whereas most interpretations of 2 Corinthians 2:14 consider the metaphor of triumphal procession only with respect to Paul, no interpretation so far has examined the metaphor with respect to God as the acting subject. In order to grasp this we will first recall a basic motif of the Roman triumphal procession, with its focus on the triumphant general and his chariot. Then we will investigate how Paul uses this imagery metaphorically in our text.

The Roman triumphal procession was originally led by the victorious general appearing symbolically as the living image of Jupiter. By the time of the empire, however, the procession was celebrated to honor the gods in thanksgiving for the victory. The Roman magistrates, the Senate, people carrying booty from the campaign, the priests leading the bulls for sacrifice, and enemy captives (who were executed at the end of the ceremony) entered the city, followed by the victorious general on a chariot leading his army. Normally, the chariot was a quadriga, that is, a two-wheeled chariot drawn by four horses harnessed abreast, although four elephants were sometimes used instead (cf. Plutarch, Pompeius, 14.4; Pliny, Natural History 8.4). Since Roman imperial coins frequently included images of the emperor in a triumphal chariot, the concept of triumphal procession was familiar throughout the Roman Empire. What do these findings imply for our text? If, by using thriambeuein, Paul portrays himself as being led by God in a Roman triumphal procession, then the image is one of God riding in a quadriga.

The metaphor in 2 Corinthians 2:14, as with all metaphors, presents us with two thoughts of different things—tenor and vehicle—active together and supported by a single word or phrase, whose meaning is a result of their interaction (“two ideas for one”). The “tenor” is the underlying subject of the metaphor, and the “vehicle” is the means by which the tenor is presented. In our passage, the vehicle is the idea of a Roman triumphal procession in which a conquering general rides a quadriga. However, the underlying subject is different. Paul merely uses the idea of the Roman triumphal procession in order to convey another set of associations—the thought that God on his throne-chariot leads the apostle captive.

The divine throne-chariot is found in both the ot and Jewish tradition. Quite commonly, the “chariotry/chariot of God” in Psalm 68:17–18 is taken to refer to the merkabah in which God descended to Mount Sinai. Ezekiel’s prophetic call-vision by the river Chebar (Ezek. 1:4–28; cf. 10:1–22; 43:1–4) gives us a cryptic picture of what later came to be known as the throne-chariot of God. In Jewish tradition, Ezekiel’s vision is interpreted as a reference to a merkabah or “chariot,” drawn by the four living creatures/beasts. This comes out most explicitly in a midrash (Exod. Rab. 43:8) focusing on the golden calf incident, which refers to the chariot of God as a “four-mule chariot.” Also, in Habakkuk 3:8 Yahweh is said to drive a horse-drawn merkabah (cf. M. Haran).

In sum, we have seen that by using thriambeuein, Paul evoked the image of a triumphal procession in which the triumphant leader rode in a four-horse chariot. This, in turn, suggested the familiar idea of the merkabah, which was commonly viewed as a chariot drawn by the four living creatures/beasts of Ezekiel 1. We should not be surprised that Paul would use Roman imagery to suggest an ot idea. Paul, who does not like to discuss his visions and does so only under compulsion (cf. 2 Cor. 12:1ff.), uses a metaphor in order make his point without being overly explicit about ineffable matters.

Furthermore, it is possible that in 2 Corinthians 2:14 Paul is alluding specifically to Psalm 68:17–18. According the lxx version of this psalm, when God in his chariot ascended from Sinai into his holy sanctuary on high, he led captivity captive and received gifts among humanity. Ephesians 4:8 actually applies Psalm 68:18 [lxx 67:19] to the ascension of Christ and the spiritual gifts, including apostles (v. 11), which he gave to the church (cf. G. B. Caird). This kind of interpretation of the psalm would, of course, be very congenial at the beginning of Paul’s defense of his apostolic office in 2 Corinthians 2:14–7:4. The use of Psalm 68:18–19 in Jewish tradition provides further evidence that Paul may have had this passage in mind when he wrote 2 Corinthians 2:14.

In Jewish tradition Psalm 68:18 refers not to God’s ascent on high, corresponding to his merkabah descent to Mount Sinai in verse 18, but to the ascent of Moses, who took captive the Torah and gave the gift of Torah to humanity. Thus, for example, the Targum interprets Psalm 68:18 as a reference to Moses, who ascended into heaven, received the Torah there, and brought the Torah to the people (cf. Exod. Rab. 28:1). According to Midr.Ps. 68:18, Moses ascended to the divine beings and there received the Torah as a “gift” for Israel. In the Jewish tradition, therefore, Psalm 68:17–18 refers to Moses’ merkabah encounter with God on Sinai and the revelation that he mediated to humanity.

Paul might be making the same connection between merkabah encounter and revelation in 2 Corinthians 2:14, for here also God both leads him in triumphal procession and “reveals” (phanerounti, spreads) through him the fragrance of the knowledge of God. In other words, Paul is presenting himself here as a mediator of divine revelation on par with Moses, summarizing the whole basis for his apostleship in this one verse. Hence, if metaphor is speaking about one thing in terms suggestive of another, then by speaking of a Roman triumphal procession in connection with divine revelation, Paul evidently suggests the throne-chariot of God and the powerfully complex tradition of Psalm 68:17–18. According to this tradition, God descended to Sinai in his merkabah and revealed himself to Moses and all Israel. Moses, in turn, ascended on high, took the Torah captive, and gave it as a gift to humanity. Although Paul’s image turns this tradition on its head by making the apostle a captive rather than the triumphant one (cf. 2 Cor. 11:30; 12:5), it nevertheless preserves the idea that an encounter with the merkabah effects a revelation to humanity through a mediator. Paul’s claim is especially crucial in the situation at Corinth, where his opponents evidently claim to have numerous visions and revelations (cf. 12:1).

Paul’s thanksgiving in 2:14 (But thanks be to God) fits well in the context of merkabah tradition. The visionary often observed and sometimes participated in the angelic hymns before the throne of God, the praises of the heavenly beings being viewed as the model and example for heavenly worship (cf. 1 En. 71:11–12; Apoc. Ab. 17:4–18:1; K. Grözinger). How much more, then, is Paul’s praise warranted and justified, since his encounter with the merkabah rivals even that of Moses.

If God is said to be leading the apostle in triumphal procession in Christ, then we will do well to recall Martin Hengel’s idea of the conjoint activity between the Father and the Son. As a result of being seated at the right hand of God at the resurrection, the Son now sits in the divine throne-chariot with the Father, and both together, occupying the same throne, now carry out activities together (cf. Mark 14:62). Hence, just as “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19), so also here God “in Christ” leads the apostle in triumphal procession.

Once we recognize the traditional background of our text, it is not difficult to suggest why Paul would refer to his revelation as the fragrance of the knowledge of God. Jewish tradition associates wonderful aromas with the merkabah vision. For example, in the third heaven (= Paradise), where Paul encountered the merkabah (cf. 2 Cor. 12:2–4), the fruit trees are said to be ripe and fragrant, abundant crops give off a sweet smell, and the tree of life itself is indescribable for pleasantness and fine fragrance (2 En. 8:1–3). In sum, 2 Corinthians 2:14 presents God as revealing the knowledge of himself to the world through Paul. In connection with his ongoing encounter with the merkabah, Paul, as minister of the new covenant (cf. 3:6), becomes a revelatory mediator who infuses the world with an aromatic, Torah-like knowledge of God through the Spirit.[5]

14. NowGreek, “But.” Though we left Troas disappointed in not meeting Titus there, and in having to leave so soon so wide a door, “thanks be unto God,” we were triumphantly blessed in both the good news of you from Titus, and in the victories of the Gospel everywhere in our progress. The cause of triumph cannot be restricted (as Alford explains) to the former; for “always,” and “in every place,” show that the latter also is intended.

causeth us to triumph—The Greek, is rather, as in Col 2:15, “triumphs over us”: “leadeth us in triumph.” Paul regarded himself as a signal trophy of God’s victorious power in Christ. His Almighty Conqueror was leading him about, through all the cities of the Greek and Roman world, as an illustrious example of His power at once to subdue and to save. The foe of Christ was now the servant of Christ. As to be led in triumph by man is the most miserable, so to be led in triumph by God is the most glorious, lot that can befall any [Trench]. Our only true triumphs are God’s triumphs over us. His defeats of us are our only true victories [Alford]. The image is taken from the triumphal procession of a victorious general. The additional idea is perhaps included, which distinguishes God’s triumph from that of a human general, that the captive is brought into willing obedience (2 Co 10:5) to Christ, and so joins in the triumph: God “leads him in triumph” as one not merely triumphed over, but also as one triumphing over God’s foes with God (which last will apply to the apostle’s triumphant missionary progress under the leading of God). So Bengel: “Who shows us in triumph, not [merely] as conquered, but as the ministers of His victory. Not only the victory, but the open ‘showing’ of the victory is marked: for there follows, Who maketh manifest.”

savour—retaining the image of a triumph. As the approach of the triumphal procession was made known by the odor of incense scattered far and wide by the incense-bearers in the train, so God “makes manifest by us” (His now at once triumphed over and triumphing captives, compare Lu 5:10, “Catch,” literally, “Take captive so as to preserve alive”) the sweet savor of the knowledge of Christ, the triumphant Conqueror (Col 2:15), everywhere. As the triumph strikes the eyes, so the savor the nostrils; thus every sense feels the power of Christ’s Gospel. This manifestation (a word often recurring in his Epistles to the Corinthians, compare 1 Co 4:5) refutes the Corinthian suspicions of his dishonestly, by reserve, hiding anything from them (2 Co 2:17; 2 Co 4:2).[6]

Ver. 14.—Now thanks be unto God. The whole of this Epistle is the apostle’s Apologia pro vitâ suâ, and is more full of personal details and emotional expressions than any other Epistle. But nothing in it is more characteristic than this sudden outburst of thanksgiving into which he breaks so eagerly that he has quite omitted to say what it was for which he so earnestly thanked God. It is only when we come to ch. 7:5, 6 that we learn the circumstance which gave him such intense relief, namely, the arrival of Titus with good news from Corinth about the treatment of the offender and the manner in which the first letter had been received. It is true that this good news seems to have been dashed by other remarks of Titus which, perhaps, he withheld at first, and which may only have been drawn from him, almost against his will, by subsequent conversations. But, however checkered, the main and immediate intelligence was good, and the apostle so vividly recalls his sudden uplifting out of an abyss of anxiety and trouble (ch. 7:5) that the mere remembrance of it awakens a thankfulness to God which can only find vent by immediate utterance. Now thanks be unto God. The order of the original is more forcible, “But to God be thanks.” The remembrance of his own prostration calls into his mind the power and love of God. Which always causeth us to triumph; rather, who leadeth us in triumph. The verb thriambeuo may undoubtedly have this meaning, on the analogy of choreuo, I cause to dance, basileuo, I cause to reign, etc.; and other neuter verbs which sometimes have a factitive sense. But in Col. 2:15 St. Paul uses this word in the only sense in which it is actually found, “to lead in triumph;” and this sense seems both to suit the context better, and to be more in accordance with the habitual feelings of St. Paul (Gal. 6:17; Col. 1:24), and especially those with which these Epistles were written (1 Cor. 4:9–13; ch. 4:10; 11:23). St. Paul’s feeling is, therefore, the exact opposite of that of the haughty Cleopatra who said, Οὐ θριαμβευθήσομαι, “I will not be led in triumph.” He rejoiced to be exhibited by God as a trophy in the triumphal procession of Christ. God, indeed, gave him the victory over the lower part of his nature (Rom. 8:37), but this was no public triumph. The only victory of which he could boast was to have been utterly vanquished by God and taken prisoner “in Christ.” The savour of his knowledge. The mental vision of a Roman triumph summons up various images before the mind of St. Paul. He thinks of the streets breathing with the fragrance of incense offered upon many a wayside altar; of the tumult and rejoicing of the people; of the fame and glory of the conqueror; of the miserable captives led aside from the funeral procession to die, like Vercingetorix, in the Tullianum at the foot of the Capitoline hill. He touches on each of these incidents as they crowd upon him. The triumph of L. Mummius over the conquest of Corinth had been one of the most splendid which the Roman world had ever seen, and in a.d. 51, shortly before this Epistle was written (a.d. 57), Claudius had celebrated his triumph over the Britons and their king Caractacus, who had been led in the procession, but whose life had been spared (Tacitus, ‘Ann.,’ xiii. 36). The savour of his knowledge; i.e. the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ. By us. The details of the metaphor are commingled, as is often the case in writers of quick feeling and imagination. Here the apostles are no longer the vanquished who are led in procession, but the spectators who burn and diffuse the fragrance of the incense. In every place. Even at that early period, not twenty-five years after the Crucifixion, the gospel had been very widely preached in Asia and Europe (Rom. 15:18, 19).[7]

14 θριαμβεύοντι ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ Χριστῶ, “who is ever leading us in his triumph in the cause of Christ.” God is praised for one special reason. The meaning of the verb θριαμβεύω, “triumph,” is much debated. Bultmann gives four senses, ranging from “celebrate a triumph,” whether military18 or religious, to “cause to triumph” (kjv/av and older commentators, but now out of fashion).20

“To lead in a triumphal procession” has more secure support (BAGD); and Williamson and Collange23 concur in giving a paradoxical nuance: Paul is the conquered slave exposed to public ridicule (1 Cor 4:9, 10, 13), and at the same time “he is the joyful participant in Christ’s victory celebration. It is, in fact, just the kind of paradox Paul loved!” Collange25 appeals to 4:10 and 12:9, and sees in the paradox of “strength-in-weakness” Paul’s theme developed in the succeeding chapters of the letter. Collange notes that Paul needs to justify his kind of ministry in the eyes of the readers who were being influenced by the “triumphalistic” tenor of Paul’s opponents, a motif reinforced by Marshall’s argument that the verb carries the nuance of social disgrace, linked with “the thorn” of 12:7. This background to Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians is opposed by Hickling, who brings the charge of circularity against this reconstruction of false teaching which ex hypothesi Paul is answering in those chapters and indeed throughout the letter. Hickling’s position is that “it was not their beliefs that he is here in chap. 3 controverting in addition to their slanders on his person and claims, but only the latter.” He therefore dismisses the influence of “opponents” as “quite limited” when we ask what motivated the direction of Paul’s thought. All he will concede is that Paul is “vindicating his entitlement to a greater respect than he was being accorded.”

But Paul’s defense of his apostolic ministry and the distance he sets between himself and the “many” (2:17) who have a diametrically opposite idea of ministry is a theological issue, with practical ramifications. It cannot be dismissed simply as a “personal rather than a doctrinal” matter, since for Paul “ministry” and “gospel” are two sides of the same coin. For this reason we regard Collange’s point as well taken, and providing a reason for Paul’s wording, otherwise difficult to explain in context. Besides, Hickling himself30 is compelled to bring in the admission that the passage contains “diversified theological motifs” at the close of his interesting study.

καὶ τὴν ὀσμὴν τῆς γνώσεως αὐτοῦ φανεροῦντι διʼ ἡμῶν ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, “and through us is making known the fragrance of the knowledge of God in all places.” The next participle, φανεροῦντι, “is making known” (rsv: “spreads,” linked with “fragrance of the knowledge of him”), is also a polemical term in this setting, with an eye on those who claimed to manifest the divine power in their lifestyle and ministry.32 Paul’s verb has to be understood in the light of 4:2: “it is by the making known [φανέρωσις] of the truth” that the true commendation (συνιστάνοντες) is shown. The verb in 2:14 is preparing for the debate over apostolic qualifications, a subject hotly discussed at Corinth, just as vv 15–16 will be expanded on in 4:3–6, leading to Paul’s self-description as a “pottery vessel” (4:7) to mark his own frailty and humanity. Yet he is charged with delivering the “treasure” of God’s message, here likened to the “fragrance of God’s revelation.” Barth34 argues that Paul is an “instrument” (Werkzeug) of God through whom God makes his ὀσμή, “fragrance,” known.

Paul’s metaphor ὀσμή, “fragrance” (but perhaps a more neutral term such as “odor” should also be entertained, as Paul will distinguish two sorts of smell [v 15]), may be drawn from the use of incense scattered along the victor’s route in a Roman imperator’s return from a campaign. The point of this illustration is that it explains how ὀσμή, “fragrance,” can be understood as εἰς θάνατον, “leading to death” for prisoners, and εἰς ζωήν, “leading to life” for the victorious army. But the evidence for this practice is weak, and the same criticism stands against Lohmeyer’s suggestion37 that “perfume” is a general term for the divine presence in many religions.

A more specific application to OT wisdom literature (Sir 24:15; 39:14; 50:15) makes Paul link “the knowledge of God” with wisdom under the common figure of a sweet odor.40 But with this view, as with the appeal to OT sacrifices, described as εὐωδία, “aroma” (v 15; Gen 8:21; cf. Exod 29:18; Lev 1:9, 13, 17; Ezek 20:41), the difficulty remains that v 15 makes a distinctive contrast based on two reactions.

Manson is therefore able to meet this objection with his appeal to rabbinic literature.43 The Torah is often called a medicine or drug (סם, sam; סמא, sammāʾ in Aramaic) that may bring benefit or harm according to the circumstances of its use. In fact, the medicine is unchanged—it is the Torah; but those who come into contact with it find it to be either an elixir of life (סם חיים, sam ḥayyim) or a deadly poison (סם המות, sam hammāwet); i.e., to Israel it is life, to the Gentiles it is death. Paul is taking this twofold effect of Torah and is applying it to his gospel, or more concretely, the γνῶσις τοῦ θεοῦ, “knowledge of God,” which Paul was charged to make known in his ministry. Provided we can make the short transition from “perfume” (ὀσμή) to “medicine,” we can see the linkage. Paul’s apostolic work is to offer Christ as the repository of divine knowledge (cf. Col 2:3), which may either be accepted as life-conferring or rejected (in which case it is death-dealing). In Christ is the remedy for sin: if it is taken, it is a life-giving medicine; if it is refused, the apostle’s ministry acts like deadly poison. Hence the claim in v 17 that Paul does not offer an adulterated word from God, as his rivals are said to do. On Manson’s theory, the issue is christological; and this may well tie in with recent discussion of οἱ πολλοί, “the many,” in the light of 11:4.[8]

14. But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us God makes known the fragrance of the knowledge of himself everywhere.

  • “But thanks be to God.” The tone of Paul’s discussion changes when he expresses his thanks to God. He turns from a depressing narrative to a cheerful hymn of praise. Especially in this epistle, but also in Romans and I Corinthians, Paul often breaks forth in gratitude to God. He frequently contrasts words of praise with the immediately preceding context. The emphasis is on Paul giving personal thanks to God for making him joyful and happy.
  • “Who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession.” The scene Paul portrays with this imagery is that of a victorious Roman general who leads his armies in a triumphal parade into the capital of the empire. The general parades the prisoners of war through the streets and exhibits them to all the spectators, while the sweet fragrance of burning spices fills the air. At the conclusion of the procession, these captives usually are executed as a tribute to the conqueror. For the victors, the flagrance is sweet; for the captives, the fragrance is the smell of death.

How does this imagery apply to Paul himself? And how are we to interpret the clause “Christ always leads us in triumphal procession”? Scholars propose a number of views:

First, many commentators have been unable to accept the picture of Paul being led to his death in God’s victory parade. They think that the apostle himself should be celebrating the victory; and they say that portraying Paul as a defeated enemy of Christ is incongruous with the context. Why should a prisoner of war who is about to be executed express exuberant thanks to God? Hence, Paul should be depicted as a triumphant partner in Christ’s procession.

Next, some writers are of the opinion that the Greek verb thriambeuein (to lead in triumph) should not be taken literally (as in Col. 2:15) but should be given a causative sense: “to cause to triumph.” For instance, Calvin writes, “Paul means that he had a share in the triumph that God was celebrating.”

For a similar view, some commentators supply the word soldier as a predicate of the verb thriambeuein (to be a soldier in the triumphal procession). Hence, Paul depicts himself as a soldier who marches in a victory parade. But support from Greek literature is lacking for this interpretation.

Third, still another suggestion is to translate the Greek verb thriambeuein as “making a spectacle [of us].” This reading appears in a number of ancient translations of the Greek text, including the Coptic and the Syriac, and has merit.

Last, Greek literature in New Testament times lacks examples that present a figurative use of the verb in question. On the basis of Greek and Latin usage in Paul’s time, the verb to lead in triumph should be taken literally. It refers to “the triumphal procession in which the conquered enemies were usually led as slaves to death, being spared this death only by an act of grace on the part of the one celebrating the triumph.” The context of the verse itself forces us to look closely at the wording: “[God] in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession.” God is the subject and Paul is the object of the verb to lead. The verb is in the present tense and denotes not single but continued action. Moreover, the verb is strengthened by the adverb always. And last, the phrase in Christ qualifies the object us. God is the victor who continuously leads Paul as a captive, a prisoner “in Christ” to his death.

Taking verse 14a literally, we interpret it to mean that God leads Paul as a captive in Christ and uses him as his servant. Paul’s suffering as Christ’s servant is a major theme in the Corinthian epistles (1 Cor. 4:8–13; 2 Cor. 1:5–10; 2:14–16b; 4:7–12; 6:4–10; 11:23–28). The imagery that Paul conveys is that of a suffering slave who faces death. Nonetheless, in Christ Paul constantly preached and taught God’s revelation. Paul’s lot of being led to death is inseparably linked to his call to preach God’s Word as the source of life. In the context of suffering, Paul’s preaching is God’s celebration of triumph. “God, the victorious general, always celebrates his victory over Paul. He conquered Paul and now Paul spreads his fame.”

  • “Through us God makes known the fragrance of the knowledge of himself everywhere.” Here Paul uses still more imagery taken from his environment. Roman victory parades were both political and religious, for the conquering general would lead his captives to the temple of Jupiter where sacrifices were offered. “In no other Roman ceremony do god and man approach each other as closely as they do in the triumph.” Paul describes the odor of these sacrificial offerings with the words fragrance and aroma (v. 15). These two synonyms in the Old Testament characterize the sacrifices offered to God. Paul uses metaphors that depict preaching Christ’s gospel as the fragrance of the knowledge about God and the aroma of Christ. But he credits God for using him as an instrument to spread the fragrance of Christ’s good news everywhere.

Knowledge of God is not merely an intellectual awareness of a divine being. It includes serving God obediently and loving him with heart, soul, and mind. The application of true knowledge emits a fragrance that people cannot help but notice. Wherever God’s servants proclaim the gospel, its sweet-smelling savor becomes evident. Believers are God’s agents to reach people everywhere with the gospel of salvation. Thus, Paul’s work as Christ’s apostle is on display as he marches in God’s victory parade.[9]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 70–72). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 156–158). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 455–456). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 147–152). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 60–64). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 303). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Corinthians (pp. 39–40). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Martin, R. P. (2014). 2 Corinthians. (R. P. Martin, L. A. Losie, & P. H. Davids, Eds.) (Second Edition, Vol. 40, pp. 185–188). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[9] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 88–90). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Social Justice: Modern Roots and Promoters — Christian Research Network

“[Timothy] Keller is a well-known pastor (recently retired), theologian and apologist. A co-founder of the Gospel Coalition with D. A. Carson, Keller has published several books, many of which have value and substance.  His doctrinal positions would be more biblical than any of those mentioned above, but within conservative evangelical circles, he is a major leader in the social justice movement.  The vision statement at his church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, provides a clear declaration combining both the spiritual and social gospels.”

(Gary Gilley – Think On These Things)  As we attempt to evaluate the social justice movement,  especially in light of the debates within evangelicalism surrounding the publication of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, it would be helpful to trace its roots….

The emphasis on social justice that is now all but omnipresent within Christianity did not appear out of thin air; there are predecessors and forerunners who have paved the way for comingling of the biblical gospel with a social agenda producing a hybrid gospel and mission for the church.  In two earlier TOTT papers, “The Social Gospel” Parts 1&2,[2] the development of the 19th century Social Gospel movement which led to theological liberalism was detailed. In those articles, it was documented that German rationalism, higher criticism, Enlightenment and Romanticist thought were interlaced and embraced by first European and later American Protestantism. When the dust had settled, the authority of Scripture had been undermined, all cardinal doctrines had been diluted, and the gospel itself had been lost in the majority of formerly evangelical churches, denominations, seminaries and organizations. In the wake of these theological compromises emerged a “liberal” church which no longer held to the traditional faith of the Scriptures.  In its place was a religion wrapped around improving life on the planet by attempting to reduce poverty, aiding the weak and marginalized, and seeking social justice for all people.  It was not that the conservative church had not been concerned about these things and had not done much to enhance lives all over the globe through benevolent acts.  But the Protestant church to that point had not confused its message or its mission. Its message was one of reconciliation to God through the preaching of the gospel and the discipling of those who had been redeemed by faith in Jesus Christ.  Its mission was to focus attention and resources on doing the one thing that the church can do, as no other organization can: taking the biblical gospel of reconciliation to the world.  However, the Social Gospel first elevated social needs to equality with the biblical gospel and ultimately replaced it with the social agenda altogether.  This has been the pattern throughout church history when social interests begin to eclipse the message of redemption. It is the concern of many today that that pattern is being repeated within conservative evangelicalism and is the motivation for The Statement.  View article →


Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via Social Justice: Modern Roots and Promoters — Christian Research Network

Obama’s Homeland Security Director: Democrat Presidential Candidates Are Open Borders – It’s Unworkable and Unwise — The Gateway Pundit

New York Post cover after Democrats push free healthcare for illegal aliens.

Barack Obama’s Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson did not hold back in a recent interview on the current crop of Democrat presidential candidate.

Jeh Johnson called the proposed Democrat plan of decriminalizing illegal immigration a policy of “open borders.

From The Washington Post:

During last week’s debate, presidential candidate Julián Castro proposed decriminalizing illegal border crossings — a position other Democrats in the race rapidly adopted. …

“That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders,” said Jeh Johnson, who ran the Department of Homeland Security during President Barack Obama’s second term. “That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that.”

Elizabeth Warren as well as 8 of the 10 Democrats on last Thursday night’s debate stage including  Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Pete Buttigieg have all embraced the radical position of decriminalizing illegal immigration.

Compounded with their support of illegal immigrants receiving tax-payer funded, government-run health care, Democrats have made it known that they place the interests of illegal immigrants before the interests of American citizens.

The RNC reported:  It’s not a Republican talking point that Democrats are the party of open borders. Obama’s DHS secretary says that is exactly what they are for.

via Obama’s Homeland Security Director: Democrat Presidential Candidates Are Open Borders – It’s Unworkable and Unwise — The Gateway Pundit

8 Times The Media Said There Was No Crisis At The Southern Border — The Federalist

Political pundits are having to eat their own words from just a few months ago claiming that the border crisis was manufactured by President Trump as a political stunt.

Now that media-savvy congressional Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have brought attention to the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border caused by Congress’s refusal to fix our exploited immigration laws, political pundits are having to eat their own words from just a few months ago claiming that the border crisis was manufactured by President Trump as a political stunt.

Last week, before President Trump departed for the G20 Summit in Japan, he told reporters on the White House lawn that his critics are now seeing he was right all along.

“It’s humanitarian aid, it’s very important and I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that I was right when I said we have a crisis at the border,” Trump said. “…A crisis at the border wasn’t a manufactured crisis, which they were saying, it wasn’t manufactured at all. We have a crisis at the border.”

So who are the people he’s referring to? Many of the journalism world’s favorite pundits and media institutions. Here are the receipts.

Read more: 8 Times The Media Said There Was No Crisis At The Southern Border — The Federalist

Costi Hinn- The Dangers of the Prosperity Gospel and What To Do About It — Servants of Grace

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave Jenkins and Costi Hinn discuss his personal involvement in the prosperity gospel, the history of the prosperity gospel, and how to respond to it and warn people about it, along with his new book, God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies (Zondervan, 2019).

What you’ll hear in this episode

  • What precisely the prosperity gospel is.
  • The history of the prosperity gospel and how it came into being.
  • Why warning people about the prosperity gospel is essential.
  • The proper response to the prosperity gospel.
  • The importance of understanding the sovereignty of God.
  • How the prosperity gospel teaching is at odds with the sovereignty of God.
  • What Costi’s background growing up the nephew of a famous televangelist and his father in pastoral ministry was like.
  • When Costi first began doubting the prosperity gospel.
  • How the prosperity gospel uses media to advance its message.
  • The need for expository preaching.
  • How Christians should respond to suffering in their lives.
  • Why questioning the teachings, Costi grew up with was so hard for him.
  • The danger of a “performance-based” mindset in the Christian life and the prosperity gospel.
  • The importance of the home to ministry.
  • When Costi realized that the lavious lifestyle he and his family were living was supported by people who didn’t live anything like he and his family did.
  • How for Costi meeting his wife helped changed the trajectory of his life from being in the prosperity gospel and thinking ministry was a higher priority than marriage to a more biblically balanced view.
  • Costi’s relationship with his family looks like today.
  • The importance of Christians getting in a solid local church.
  • The importance of serving in a solid local church for the Christian life.

About the Guest

via Costi Hinn- The Dangers of the Prosperity Gospel and What To Do About It — Servants of Grace

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez telling the truth about treatment of illegal immigrants?


AOC photo-op: crying over a fake fence in a parking lot AOC photo-op: crying over a fake fence in a parking lot

I do think it’s important that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement treat illegal immigrants humanely while they are awaiting processing. But I’m not sure if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the right person to keep them accountable. She went down to the border to inspect how ICE is doing with detainees, but I don’t think she did a very good job of investigating, for two reasons.

Here’s an article from the Washington Examiner about her visit.

First, she never actually did a tour of the facilities, and instead spent her time yelling at ICE personnel in a manner they found threatening:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., screamed at federal law enforcement agents “in a threatening manner” during a visit to a Border Patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, and refused to tour the facility, according to two people who witnessed the incident.

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Central American Governments Turn Blind Eye to Immigration as Citizens Send Billions Home from U.S. — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, the Rev. Fernando Cuevas, left, of the Scalabrinian Missionaries, celebrates Mass at a Catholic church in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, on the border with Mexico. “Having no immigration policy is also a policy,” Cuevas said. “There are too many conflicts (of interest) to stop migration.” (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

TECUN UMAN, Guatemala (AP) — From the steps of his church in this Guatemalan border town, the Rev. Fernando Cuevas has watched the flow of migrants evolve from massive caravans that filled the nearby plaza to small groups of families arriving by bus to scramble aboard rafts waiting to carry them to Mexico.

What hasn’t changed is the Guatemalan government’s attitude toward migrants. In Tecun Uman recently, there was no sign of authorities even making a show of trying to dissuade people from crossing into Mexico illegally aboard rafts.

“Having no immigration policy is also a policy,” Cuevas said. “There are too many conflicts of interest to stop migration.”

The governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were conspicuously silent as Mexico twisted in the wind last month under the threat of crippling tariffs from U.S. President Donald Trump. It was their citizens, not Mexico’s, who had drawn Trump’s ire by arriving in huge numbers at the U.S. southern border, yet Mexico was facing the brunt of the potential consequences.

A major reason for their silence: The countries of the so-called Northern Triangle rely heavily on the money their citizens send home from abroad. In Honduras, remittances totaled more than $4.8 billion last year — more than 20% of gross domestic product, according to its Central Bank. In Guatemala it was more than $9 billion, and in El Salvador some $5.5 billion.

Through negotiation Mexico has bought itself a reprieve for now on the threatened U.S. tariffs. But it faces a September deadline to get the flow of migrants under control and is now scrambling to win the cooperation of its Central American neighbors. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is betting on a United Nations-backed development plan for the region and southern Mexico and says he has a commitment from the U.S. government to guarantee investments.

Last month, he offered El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, a $30 million donation for a reforestation and jobs program. López Obrador is expanding his own version of that program with the expectation it will keep Mexicans in rural areas from opting to migrate to the U.S.

But Mexico has also deployed thousands of National Guard troops across its territory to help rein in migration.

It has yet to be seen whether the Northern Triangle governments have the political will or the resources to attack the deep-rooted poverty, crime and violence that are the main drivers of their emigration.

In the meantime, there has been plenty of finger-pointing.

Last month, Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero indicated where she thought the blame should fall.

“The Americans really believe that we’re not doing our job,” she said. “We are doing it. The truth is that the issue isn’t that we’re not doing the job. The issue is the humanitarian crisis in Honduras” and the rest of Central America.

Sanchez Cordero said Honduran officials told Mexico that some 500,000 of their citizens had left the country since last fall.

Guatemala has been making its own attempt to smooth tensions with Washington.

In late May, while acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was visiting the region, Guatemala announced that it had broken up a human-smuggling ring that made some $10 million taking people to the U.S. The U.S. is also sending immigration agents to work as advisers to their Guatemalan counterparts.

“The policy or attitude of the Central American governments toward the topic of immigration has been of total disinterest for practically the past two decades,” said Fernando Neira Orjuela, of the Research Center for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“That the migrants leave, for some of these governments, is like shedding problems — fewer jobs to worry about, fewer social issues to attend to,” Neira said. “On the contrary, they’ve taken it as a benefit to the extent that for Central America the flow of remittances has a big impact on gross domestic product.”

Asked about the tension between Mexico and the United States over immigration, Honduran Deputy Foreign Affairs Secretary Nelly Jerez said: “Those are bilateral situations between the United States and Mexico.”

But this week, on the eve of a visit by the acting U.S. homeland security secretary, Bukele struck a tone unusual for the region’s leaders: He took responsibility.

“We can speak blame to any other country, but what about our blame? I mean, what country did they flee?” the Salvadoran president said of the tragic deaths of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned last week while trying to cross the Rio Grande into Texas.

“They fled El Salvador. They fled our country. It is our fault,” Bukele said.

The Northern Triangle has not completely escaped Trump’s gaze.

Last month the Trump administration said it would restore $432 million of the $615 million in assistance it ordered cut in March for previously approved projects in the Northern Triangle. But it added that no new funding would be forthcoming until their governments decreased the number of their citizens arriving at the U.S. border.

Immigration expert Sally Valladares said the remittances Honduras relies on from abroad are a major factor for that country’s virtual silence on migration.

“They have tried to distract from their responsibility,” Valladares said, adding that when forced to confront the huge caravans departing last year, Honduran government officials blamed the opposition.

Meanwhile, people continue to flee.

On a recent day, Joshue Manuel Quintanilla stepped onto Mexican soil after crossing the Suchiate River from Guatemala. The 28-year-old from San Salvador said he had worked as an automotive technician, but crime forced him to flee.

Asked what his government would have to do to keep him and others from migrating he didn’t hesitate: “First they have to combat crime, then create jobs.”

“We have had 20 years of government … and the only thing they’ve done is steal money. The poor get poorer, the rich richer,” Quintanilla said.

Noting that Bukele, who took office only last month, has promised change, he added: “We hope there’s change and in five years we can say, ‘Well, we’re going back to our country because it’s better there.’”


Associated Press writers Marcos Alemán in San Salvador, El Salvador; Marlon González in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and María Verza in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, contributed to this report.


via Central American Governments Turn Blind Eye to Immigration as Citizens Send Billions Home from U.S. — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Irish Linen Button-Down Top $89, Movoado Museum Classic Watch $595, Claiming to be at a Holding Facility When You’re Not – Priceless! — The Gateway Pundit

Photos were released on Tuesday of Democrat Socialist leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sobbing at a border entrance gate.  We now know that she was wearing nearly $1,000 worth of clothes and accessories to put on the hoax!

The horror of the experience moved her to tears.  It was suggested that AOC was sobbing presumably at the sight of migrant children being inhumanely detained.

The sobbing Ocasio-Cortez was holding her hands over her face to hide her pain.

AOC posted the sad photos to her Twitter page.

These photos were debunked after additional pictures showed Ocasio-Cortez crying in an empty lot.

Here’s another shot from the empty lot.

Via Summit News

This was the media being complicit with radical Democrats to create a hoax!

Via Jack Posobiec:

Now we know that the hoax cost some money.  AOC was dressed in nearly $1,000 of attire to put on the hoax.


Hat tip Yaacov Apelbaum

via Irish Linen Button-Down Top $89, Movoado Museum Classic Watch $595, Claiming to be at a Holding Facility When You’re Not – Priceless! — The Gateway Pundit

MiniAOC Deletes All Social Media Accounts After Harassment Of Family — The Gateway Pundit

Sadly, MiniAOC is gone.

Ava Martinez, the 8-year-old girl who perfectly impersonated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was forced to delete all of her social media accounts after she and her family were harassed by liberals.

Ava’s stepfather, Salvatore Schachter, who goes by “Sicken Tirade” on Twitter, said things had just gotten out of hand.

Twitter exploded on Wednesday morning as rumors flew that someone had hacked the MiniAOC account or that Twitter had suspended it.

Others pointed out the hypocrisy of liberals — who endlessly preach tolerance — bashing an 8-year-old girl for simply mocking a member of Congress.

In her videos, Ava nailed AOC’s Valley Girl speech patterns. “Like, hello America, AOC here again,” Ava said one video. “But this time from Washington, D.C., which is named after our first president — George Washington D.C.”

“Like, I want to tell you about my plan to single-handededly save the planet. I call it the Green New Deal. I picked green because I’m still learning my colors. I came up with my plan after we were watching, like, the most important documentary on climate change. It’s called Ice Age 2: The Meltdown,” she said, referring to the animated 2006 hit movie. “That’s not me saying it, that’s science.”

“My Green New Deal will cost, like, 93 trillion dollars. Do you know how much that is? Me neither. Because it’s totally worth it. If sea levels keep rising, we won’t be able to drive to Hawaii any more,” she said.

Sitting in a little pink car, Ava said: “I just got this electric car. it’s eco-friendly and everyone has to drive one under my deal. And that’s why I bought one for my boyfriend, too, illegally, using campaign donations. Well, you bought it for him.” Her so-called boyfriend drives up and she tells him not to speak. “I do the same thing to Pelosi and Schumer,” Ava says, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats.

As the boyfriend drives away, you can see a sign on the back of the car that reads: “Free @RealJamesWoods.”

Hilarious. And how is that different from “Saturday Night Live” bashing President Trump week after week?

via MiniAOC Deletes All Social Media Accounts After Harassment Of Family — The Gateway Pundit

Pope Francis unleashes his inner pagan in Pan-Amazonian document laying foundation for ‘new’ Christianity — Christian Research Network

“The document is fraught with references to “Mother Earth” while touting a “New Pentecost” based on the “diversity of religion and culture” in the Amazon region of South America that Francis sees as a template for the world.”

(Leo Hohmann)  Pope Francis has released the preparatory document for the Vatican’s upcoming Pan-Amazonian Synod in October, and it contains yet another window into the pope’s green-friendly worldview in which he subtlety and deceptively turns traditional, biblical Christianity on its head.

You will recall that just a couple of months ago a group of more than 30 Catholic scholars and clergy signed an open letter to the bishops, pleading that they hold the pope accountable for his anti-Christian, anti-Catholic teachings with regard to marriage, moral teaching, etc. They declared him guilty of at least seven heresies.

The Pan-Amazonian document, titled Instumentum Laboris, will do nothing to assuage the fears of these 30-plus brave Catholic leaders. It’s classic Francis, peppered with radical political ideas cloaked in religious verbiage and lovingly promoted as “ecotheology.”

Among the many strange document proposals are:    View article →


Roman Catholicism

via Pope Francis unleashes his inner pagan in Pan-Amazonian document laying foundation for ‘new’ Christianity — Christian Research Network

July 3, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday the names of two nominees to
fill vacant posts on the Federal Reserve Board, after two of his earlier
choices withdrew from consideration in the face of criticism.

In a stinging defeat for President Donald Trump, his administration ended
its effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census, saying
that it will begin printing forms that do not include the contentious

Government investigators warned of dangerous overcrowding at more migrant
facilities on the southwest U.S. border, publishing photos on Tuesday of
packed cells in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley where some children have no access
to showers or hot meals.

Iran will boost its uranium enrichment after July 7 to whatever levels it
needs beyond the cap set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, President
Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, while calling on Washington to rejoin the

An air strike hit a detention center for mainly African migrants in a
suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli late on Tuesday, killing at least 44
people and wounding more than 130, the UN said.

The United States has targeted Cuba’s state-run company Cubametales as part
of its Venezuela-related sanctions, according to the U.S. Treasury
Department’s website on Wednesday.

Oil prices rebounded on Wednesday after a steep fall in the previous
session when OPEC and its allies’ decision to extend output cuts was not
enough to counter investors’ concerns about the slowing global economy.

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a five-month high in May as imports of
goods increased, likely as businesses restocked ahead of an increase in
tariffs on Chinese merchandise, overshadowing a broad rise in exports.

AP Top Stories

Taliban officials are due to meet a group of Afghan delegates in Doha this
weekend as diplomatic efforts build to withdraw foreign forces from
Afghanistan and end years of violence that continued this week with a
devastating bomb attack in Kabul.

At least 30 migrants were killed in an overnight strike on a Tripoli
migrant detention center and dozens were injured, the United Nations
refugee agency said on Wednesday.

An Italian judge said Tuesday that Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete was
free to go, three days after her arrest for docking with 40 migrants aboard
her rescue ship in defiance of an Italian ban.

Migrant apprehensions at the U.S. southern border fell 30% in June from the
previous month, Mexico said on Tuesday, after introducing controls as part
of a deal with the United States to curb the flow of migration or face
possible trade tariffs.

Organizers of the so-called “Straight Pride” parade planned in Boston later
this summer say they were sent “suspicious packages” that turned out to be
“glitter and vague ominous letters.”

Russian forces have been jamming GPS systems in the Middle East. The
electronic-warfare campaign could affect U.S. forces gathering in the
region in advance of potential strikes on Iran.

President Donald Trump said he wants to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan
but is concerned that without an American military presence, the country
could be used as a base for terrorist attacks on the United States.

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged US President Donald Trump to “show
flexibility” towards North Korea, including the “timely” easing of
sanctions, at the G20 summit last week.

An Australian family is still grieving over the unexpected loss of their
father, who fell gravely ill after allegedly eating a gecko on a dare.

M Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has promised thousands of
jobs to migrants waiting on the northern border for U.S. asylum, but some
employers are refusing to hire them unless the government screens for
potential criminals.

Federal officials raised the alert level Tuesday for the world’s largest
active volcano, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984.

The U.S. added more European Union products to a list of goods it could hit
with retaliatory tariffs in a long-running trans-Atlantic subsidy dispute
between Boeing Co. and Airbus SE.

South Sudan’s army and several armed groups killed more than 100 civilians
in a surge in violence in a southern region of the country after the
signing of a peace deal last year.


A 10-year-old from the US state of Maryland won a writing competition and
threw the first pitch at a baseball game – with no hands or prosthetics.

The US city of Denver is culling Canada geese and donating their meat to
“needy families” in an effort to tackle a rising population of the birds.
Officials say the birds have destroyed vegetation, created sanitation
issues and caused increasing “human-wildlife conflicts” in the Colorado

Thousands of skywatchers gathered in South America on Tuesday to witness a
rare solar eclipse. Beginning in the Pacific, the 6,000-mile long band of
darkness carved its way across areas of both Chile and Argentina. The
eclipse also made its way across several of the world’s most powerful
telescopes, all located in the region.


The Old West desert town of Needles, California, is where the beleaguered
Joad family crossed the Colorado River into California in John Steinbeck’s
classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath” and was a boyhood home to “Peanuts”
creator Charles Schulz. Leaders have declared it a “sanctuary city” for
people who believe California’s strict gun laws have encroached too much on
their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Many Americans claim they simply don’t earn enough money to build any type
of savings account or amass any meaningful financial assets. Over 63% of
American children and 55% of Americans live in “asset poverty.”

Mid-Day Snapshot · July 3, 2019

The Foundation

“Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” —George Washington (1796)

Trump Drops Citizenship Question After Roberts Rules

With time running out, DOJ goes forward with printing census sans citizenship question.

Zogby: Dems May Win 2020 But…

A strong economy and Democrat elitism and identity politics will work against them.

Unmasking the Antifa Hoodlums

They’re only “brave” enough to commit violence because they’re cowering behind masks.

AZ to Nike: Tax Breaks Rescinded

“Nike has made its decision,” Doug Ducey said. “And now we’re making ours.”

SCOTUS Again Grants Bureaucrats Victory Over Justice

Chief Justice Roberts shows huge deference to unelected bureaucrats.

The Fauxcahontas Profit Model for Dummies

A white-owned business garners lucrative contracts by claiming Cherokee status.

Americans Need to Remember Gettysburg

As the maxim goes, the failure to learn from history all too often dooms us to repeat it.

Kaepernick and the 4th of July ‘American Flag Oppression’

I’m reminded of Frederick Douglass’s speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.”

Video: What Is Really Dividing America?

Andrew Klavan says Democrats are playing into what separates Americans, not unites them.

Today’s Opinion

Michelle Malkin
America Takes an Antifa Beating
Star Parker
No, Democrats, America Works
Terence Jeffrey
A Founding Father Who Was Wrong — Then Right
Kay Coles James
Green New Deal’s Centralized Government Approach Won’t Ensure a Cleaner Environment
Walter E. Williams
Assault on Western Civilization
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Wednesday Top News Executive Summary

July 4th parade, unpatriotic leftists, GOP financial windfall, Jefferson’s injustice, and more.

Wednesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Rand Paul, Fareed Zakaria, Frederica Wilson, Joy Reid, 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 – 7/3/2019

‘It just really ethically scares me’: Caution urged as scientists look to create human-monkey chimeras
Some Alzheimer’s researchers are proposing the creation of human-monkey chimeras — part-human beings with entire portions of the brain entirely human derived. Alzheimer’s research relies heavily on rodents. Munoz is trying to develop a monkey model of Alzheimer’s, because one of the biggest reasons for the staggering string of flops in the search for an effective treatment for the brain-ravaging disease is the species gap. The rat brain is a long way away from the human brain. Not so much a monkey’s.

Urgent consultations in Washington, Moscow on reported US-Russian submarines in firefight
First reports reaching DEBKAfile’s military sources say that a US submarine intercepted a Russian nuclear sub in American waters opposite Alaska. The Russian sub escorting the nuclear submarine responded with a Balkan 2000 torpedo and scuttled the US vessel. Urgent consultations in both the White House and the Kremlin were taking place on Tuesday night. US Vice President Mike Pence called off an appearance in New Hampshire after being recalled to Washington for a conference called by President Donald Trump without explanation.

Iran’s Navy Has a Big Problem: A Track Record of Getting Crushed in Battle
If war breaks out, American forces could target Iran’s small navy as well as the vessels belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps militia. The battle could be brief. Iran’s fleet has a long history of waging losing fights with the United States and other Western powers.

Presbyterians Descend Into Depravity With Drag Service, First Non-Binary Pastor
Just when you think it can’t get any worse in the church, it does. With Gay pride flags covering the hall and rainbow candles on the church stage, Cincinnati’s Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church greeted its visitors this past Sunday with Drag Queen “Sparke Leigh”, complete in purple dress, makeup, high heels and a glitter beard. Following the song “God Welcomes All” by the church choir, Sparke Leigh walked up on stage and, rather than reading from the Bible, read the book Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag to the audience.

Recently Discovered Ancient Factory for Blue Dye Techelet: “Fulfillment of Prophecy in Zechariah”
Techelet is a blue dye highly prized by ancient Mediterranean civilizations and mentioned 49 times in the Hebrew Bible. It was used in the clothing of the High Priest, the tapestries in the Tabernacle, and in tzitzit (ritual fringes worn by Jewish men). The practice of dying one thread in the tzitzit was discontinued after the destruction of the Temple and the knowledge of how to produce the dye was lost however according to some opinions, the dye was made from the murex snail. Rabbi Tuly Weisz, the head of Israel365, believes this recent archaeological discovery has powerful implications for the Redemption.

Former IRGC commander: We should have accepted U.S. call to negotiate
“It would have been better to have negotiated when [US President Donald] Trump announced he would leave JCPOA, and tried to prevent it, or when Trump said he would negotiate without preconditions,” said Hossein Alaee, the former IRGC commander. “We should have responded, saying that we will negotiate but based on our own agenda. Alaee added that “we cannot leave aside negotiations, whether at the apex of power or in a position of weakness.”

Total solar eclipse casts a shadow on South America
During the total solar eclipse, the moon’s shadow darkened parts of the South Pacific, Chile and Argentina.

Navy SEAL found not guilty in death of Islamic State fighter
The jury found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder, willfully discharging a firearm to endanger human life, retaliation against members of his platoon for reporting his alleged actions and attempted murder of two noncombatants in other incidents the same year. He was found guilty for posing for a photo with a human casualty — a violation of the Army’s code of conduct — and faces a maximum sentence of four months in prison, although he has already served six months.

New Vatican constitution to centralize power in state secretariat
Focus on the forthcoming changes has largely fixed on the perception that a reformed and enlarged Dicastery for Evangelization will be “ranked above” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the change said to imply a shift in priorities for the universal Church. In fact, a recent draft of Praedicate Evangelium obtained by CNA proposes a far more significant change in the governing structure of the Church, one which represents a consolidation of power in Rome unprecedented in the modern era.

Trump: By Not Striking Iran Over Drone, ‘We’re in a Position to Do Far Worse’
Trump said that by not striking Iran in retaliation for downing the drone, “I built up a lot of great capital,” which means that “if something should happen, we’re in a position to do far worse by not doing it. But, hopefully, we don’t have to do anything.”

Military Tanks Arrive In DC For Trump’s Fourth of July Party
President Trump confirmed the military vehicles would be present at the celebration on Thursday. “I’m going to be here, and I’m going to say a few words, and we’re going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes too and we’re gonna have some tanks stationed outside,” Trump said.

Barbara now a major hurricane on NASA satellite imagery
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that Barbara intensified early during the morning of July 2 and could strengthen a little more. Fortunately, Barbara is over 1,000 miles west of the southern tip of Baja California, and there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

China conducts massive land, sea and air military drill amid Hong Kong protests
The massive land, sea and air forces conducted the live ammunition military exercise as thousands of protestors continue to challenge the city’s Beijing-backed government. Images and video footage of the demonstration included search and rescue drills in waters, marching formations, close quarter combat and live fire exercise with assault rifles and machine guns. The military exercise reportedly took place last Wednesday.

Lindsey Graham to unveil plan for Iranian nuclear power
A leading US Senator, Republican Lindsey Graham, plans to unveil an alternative to the Iranian nuclear deal that would allow for Tehran to have nuclear power plans but without the ability to enrich uranium. The nuclear power plan without fuel would also be include Arab states in the region…“When you don’t make your own fuel, your can’t make a bomb. It is possible to have nuclear power without enriching and reprocessing,” Graham told reporters…

Rouhani: Iran will increase uranium enrichment to whatever levels needed
Iran will increase its level of uranium enrichment after July 7 to whatever levels it needs beyond the 3.67% cap set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to the IRIB news agency. If the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal with world powers do not fulfill their promises, then the Arak nuclear reactor will return to its previous activities after July 7, Rouhani said.

Hamas tests rockets, launches several towards the sea
A rocket alarm was heard in the Gaza border communities area on Wednesday morning was eventually declared a false alarm by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, while several rockets were reported to have been fired towards the sea, according to media reports. Although no rocket was launched towards Israeli territory, it was revealed that shortly before the alarm was heard, Hamas tested several rockets by launching them towards the sea north of Gaza…

Libya migrants: Attack kills dozens at detention centre
An attack has killed up to 40 migrants at a detention centre on the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli, government officials say. Some 80 people were injured at the centre, which the UN-backed government says was hit by an air strike. Anti-government forces led by warlord Gen Khalifa Haftar have accused government forces of bombarding it.

US criticises Chinese ‘missile launches’ in South China Sea
The US has accused China of conducting missile launches in the South China Sea, describing Beijing’s actions as “meant to intimidate”. US media first reported the launches citing unnamed Pentagon officials. Beijing had announced military drills but did not confirm the allegations that it launched missiles in the disputed waters.

Caution urged as scientists look to create human-monkey chimeras
The monkeys in Douglas Munoz’s Kingston lab look like other monkeys. They socialize and move around and eat and drink in the same way. They don’t fall over or stagger around. In fact, the only thing separating the macaques from their unaltered lab mates is the elevated level of a specific human protein implanted inside their brains — proteins that accumulate in the brains of humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite Turkey’s assurances, U.S. still eyes sanctions, F-35 exit
The Trump administration still plans to impose sanctions on Turkey and remove it from a critical fighter jet program if the NATO ally acquires Russian air defenses, U.S. officials told Reuters, despite the Turkish president’s assurances to the contrary. After meeting U.S. President Donald Trump…Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would be spared damaging U.S. sanctions once Russia’s S-400 air defense system starts arriving in Turkey…

Days of Lot: New Survey Finds That Evangelical Christian Support for Gay Marriage Has More Than Doubled
A new survey just released by the Pew Research Center has found that support for gay marriage in the United States is at an all-time record high. According to the survey, 62 percent of all Americans are now in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to get married, and only 32 percent are opposed.

Local News: A new water mark: Flood of 2019 likely to ‘easily’ set a record for duration
Barring an unlikely rapid fall in the next two weeks, it appears the Mississippi River will set a record later this month for consecutive days above flood stage at Cape Girardeau.

Record rains hit Japan, 1.2 million under evacuation advisory
Evacuation advisories were issued to 1.2 million people on July 1, 2019, as heavy rains caused by seasonal rain front hit Kyushu region in Southwest Japan and other areas, killing one person.

Newly formed tropical depression to bring flooding, mudslides to China and Vietnam this week
A new tropical depression formed in the South China Sea on Monday and will bring days of heavy rainfall to parts of China and Vietnam this week.

Barbara explodes from a tropical storm to major Category 4 hurricane in 24 hours
Soon after becoming the Eastern Pacific’s first major hurricane (Category 3 or higher), Barbara reached Category 4 status on Tuesday and is forecast to become a Category 5 with maximum sustained winds of at least 157 mph.

Albania’s President Accuses Soros of ‘Conspiracy’ to Destabilise Country
The president of Albania has accused globalist George Soros of being involved in a ‘conspiracy’ to destabilize his country following the municipal elections that took place on Sunday.

PURE WICKEDNESS: Drag Queen Story Hour Is Now Encouraging Children To Lay On The Floor With Men In Dresses After Storytime Is Over
The LGBTQ+P for Pedophile Movement is nothing if not smart, clever and calculating. So smart in fact that they are succeeding despite the lukewarm protests Drag Queen Story Hour has received.

Mexico Confirms Illegal Immigrants Trying to Buy Children to Cross Border
Mexico has confirmed that illegal immigrants are attempting to buy children from vulnerable mothers to use as a tool to help them cross the border into the United States.

George Soros and Charles Koch Have Teamed Up to Form a Think Tank
Progressive billionaire George Soros and right-leaning billionaire Charles Koch have formed an unusual alliance to advocate for pacifist foreign policy, teaming up to create an anti-war think tank known as The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Organ harvesting from euthanized humans begins in CANADA, with full support from medical authorities
 It would appear as though Communist China’s illicit organ harvesting racket has finally creeped its way into North America, as new reports indicate that euthanasia patients in Canada are now having their vital organs collected while they’re still alive, and “voluntarily” donated for profit after their deaths.

Headlines – 7/3/2019

At July 4 party, Netanyahu says he’ll keep ‘open mind’ on Trump peace plan

In first, US embassy celebrates Independence Day in Jerusalem

Democrat Klobuchar vows to keep US embassy in Jerusalem if elected

Violent protests erupt in Israel over police shooting of unarmed Ethiopian teen

Dozens of police hurt, 60 arrested as Ethiopian Israeli protests turn violent

Erdan says zero tolerance for violence as 111 cops hurt in Ethiopian community protests

Erdan vows to stop ‘anarchy’ as police disperse Ethiopian Israeli protests

President Rivlin to Ethiopian community: This is not a war of brother v. brother

Gaza militants fire rockets into sea, triggering alerts in Israeli towns

Syria accuses Israel of ‘state terrorism’ for alleged strikes

Russia says it is concerned about Israeli strikes on Syria

Russia: Israel behind Syria strikes, threatens regional stability

Netanyahu says Iran trying to ‘blackmail’ world by violating nuclear deal

Rouhani: Iran will enrich uranium to ‘any amount we want’

Trump claims Iran was violating nuclear deal ‘long before’ he became president

Iran Guards chief says enemy focused on economic conflict

Iranian state TV puts responsibility on Europe to protect economy, save nuclear deal

European powers won’t trigger Iran deal dispute mechanism for now: diplomats

Iranians say US sanctions hurt the people, not government

Iran says several suspected U.S. spies face possible death sentences

Libya attack: airstrike on Tripoli migrant detention centre leaves at least 40 dead

Left-wing billionaire George Soros accused by Albania’s president of ‘conspiracy’ aimed at destabilizing country

Beijing issues ominous warning after ‘atrocities,’ but Hong Kong protesters undeterred

South Korea leader says Trump-Kim meeting marked ‘end of hostile relations’

Norway says Moscow told of ‘gas explosion’ on Russian sub

Russian submarine fire kills 14 sailors

Russia denies reporting ‘gas explosion’ in submarine incident: Interfax

Air Force chief details US response to Russian nuclear attack

Pence abruptly cancels trip, is summoned to White House, sparking speculation

Pence’s office tight-lipped after VP abruptly cancels New Hampshire trip to return to White House

Officials on alert as activists plan two days of Washington protests

Mexico offers to send asylum seekers turned away by U.S. back to home countries

Homeland Security Report Details Poor Conditions in Border Patrol Stations

‘Dangerous overcrowding’ decried at Texas migrant detention centers

DHS faces pressure to accept diapers, soap donations for detained migrants

Hispanic pastors tour border facility lambasted by AOC and say they are ‘shocked by misinformation’

Rep. Crenshaw: AOC ‘getting bolder with her lies’ about border crisis, refuses to offer illegal immigration fix

2020 Census Won’t Have Citizenship Question as Trump Administration Drops Effort

‘Most vital of questions’: Trump laments lack of citizenship question on census

Democrats celebrate announcement on citizenship census question

Nike and Kaepernick Back in Culture Wars After ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Sneaker Furor

Nike Defends Pulling ‘Betsy Ross’ Shoe and Sparks a National Debate

Governor Ducey to withdraw AZ Nike plant incentives amid Betsy Ross-Colin Kaepernick controversy

Nike blew it by capitulating to Colin Kaepernick and pulling Betsy Ross flag shoe

House Democrats file lawsuit to obtain Trump tax returns

Another massive outage takes down many of the internet’s biggest sites and service

Wikipedia co-founder calls for social media strike over privacy issues

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Carlsberg Ridge

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Lata, Solomon Islands

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits South of Australia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kaktovik, Alaska

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near the Kermadec Islands region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Mendi, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 30,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

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

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 13,000ft

Alert Level Raised at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Volcano, the World’s Largest Active Volcano

A satellite captured a powerful hurricane and a solar eclipse at the same time

Hurricane Barbara Rapidly Intensifies Into Category 4, May Pass Near Hawaii Next Week as a Much Weaker System

Tropical Storm Mun to bring flooding, mudslides to China and Vietnam this week

Entire Japanese city of 600,000 people is evacuated as 35 inches of rain sparks landslide fears

At least 32 people are dead as the Mumbai area gets hit by its heaviest rain in more than a decade

Dam bursts in India after rains, killing six

June was hottest ever recorded on Earth, European satellite agency announces

Austrian parliament backs EU’s first total ban of weedkiller glyphosate

‘It just really ethically scares me’: Caution urged as scientists look to create human-monkey chimeras

The earliest ever case of West Nile Virus was just reported in N.J. on the heels of record-breaking year

California broadens investigation of doctors for issuing questionable vaccine exemptions

Researchers eliminated HIV from the DNA of infected mice. It’s the first step toward a cure for humans, they say

More than 200 companies tell Supreme Court to apply job discrimination laws to sexual orientation, gender identity

Pride March and the Contradictions of the New Sexual Revolution

Fr. Martin at gay ‘pride’ Mass: Pope has appointed ‘many’ pro-LGBT cardinals, bishops

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

July 3 Equipped for Service

scripture reading: Hebrews 13:20–21
key verse: Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Jesus told us in Mark 2:17 that He did not come to the healthy. Instead, He came to the sick. In the Greek, sick is used metaphorically of mental ailments.

The people of Jesus’ day were in need of much more than a physical touch. They were in need of a Savior. They struggled with depravity. Instead of worshiping God in purity, they often were bound to the darkness of their day. Paganism and legalism were just two of the infirmities plaguing them.

Once they were set free, Jesus commissioned them for service. He told them to go and share what God had done for them:

  • The woman caught in adultery told of God’s forgiveness.
  • The demon–possessed lad told of Christ’s deliverance.
  • Mary told of the Savior’s unconditional love.
  • Matthew shared how he had been freed from greed.
  • And Peter spoke of God’s restoration.

That was how the gospel spread, by the testimony of those Jesus touched and healed. It is also how God equips us for service. Believers, once mentally insensitive to the things of God, are freed to share the hope of Jesus Christ.

Your life is a living testimony of the healing power of God. Ask Him to show you how you can share His victorious truth with someone today.

My life is a living testimony to Your power, O God. You changed everything! Show me how to share Your saving power with someone today.[1]

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

Forget G-20 News, The Global Manufacturing Recession Is Here | Zero Hedge

No  trade war truce or central bank quantitative easing is going to change this trend because central planning and demand-side policies are the culprits of stagnation, not the solution…

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

The G20 summit has not generated unexpected or significant headlines and, of course, is not a catalyst for a relevant change in the global economic trends. The United States and China have only agreed to postpone tariff increases, but no real trade agreement has been reached.

If we look at the last G20 meeting conclusions, nothing has really improved. Plans to introduce new tariffs are delayed, and the result is exactly what happened in the previous G20. The real news is the evidence of a manufacturing recession.

Markets have reacted strongly in a relief rally because the trade dispute did not get worse. The safest assets, such as gold, fell while the stock markets rose despite a widespread disappointment in manufacturing PMIs. And therein lies the danger.  Many investors are betting again on monetary policy as the only factor to drive markets and risky asset valuations higher.

It is difficult to think that the agreement in the G20 will improve the global economic outlook, mainly because the weakness of the Eurozone or China and the slowdown of the manufacturing sector have nothing to do with the so-called trade war, but with almost a decade of excess in demand-side policies, which have perpetuated overcapacity, increased debt and made economies less dynamic by zombifying the low productivity sectors through low rates and constant refinancing of non-performing debt.

If there is any positive news for world economic growth, it has not come from the G20, but from the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, after twenty years of negotiations. The European Union liberalizes its agricultural, industrial and service imports and supports an improvement that can be significant for the economic growth of the countries integrated in Mercosur, as well as helping the EU revive its stagnant economy. Or at least try.

Unfortunately, these agreements do not reduce the risk of high indebtedness or excess capacity. The great problem of multilateral agreements is that they often disguise the errors of debt saturation and political spending and sometimes increase those mistakes.

We are living a kind of “Groundhog Day”, the constant repetition of something we have already lived: a few smiles, a handshake, a couple of tweets, reasonably broad and vague messages, but little in terms of concrete measures.

Our estimates of economic growth and corporate profits have not improved after the G20, and it is worth warning of the risk of complacency when macroeconomic indicators worsen and investors increase exposure to risk. What emerges in many cases of this different trend between macro indicators and market valuations is that there is only one synchronized bet: More central bank injections. Investors hoping that data will continue to worsen so that central banks will inject more liquidity and lower interest rates.

At the very least we should be cautious in pro-cyclical exposure. Macroeconomic data show the evidence of the slowdown and risk of stagnation.

After more than 20 trillion dollars of stimulus, massive deficit spending and large incentives to increase capex and debt, manufacturing ind¡ices are in contraction. Businesses have plenty of available capital at low cost, but face the prospect of weakening demand and zombification, so manufacturing is showing one of the worst side effects of cheap money: stagnation from debt saturation and widespread excess capacity.

No  trade war truce or central bank quantitative easing is going to change this trend because central planning and demand-side policies are the culprits of stagnation, not the solution.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-02/forget-g-20-global-manufacturing-recession-here

3 july (1859) 365 Days with Spurgeon

An earnest invitation

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalm 2:12

suggested further reading: Psalm 1

Those that trust in him are blessed; and I would observe, first, that they are really blessed. It is no fiction, no imaginary blessing; it is a real blessedness which belongs to those who trust in God: a blessedness that will stand the test of consideration, the test of life, and the trial of death; a blessedness into which we cannot plunge too deeply, for none of it is a dream, but all a reality. Again, those that trust in him have not only a real blessedness, but they oftentimes have a conscious blessedness. They know what it is to be blest in their troubles, for they are in their trials comforted, and they are blest in their joys, for their joys are sanctified. They are blest and they know it, they sing about it and they rejoice in it. It is their joy to know that God’s blessing is come to them not in word only but in very deed. They are blessed men and blessed women.

“They would not change their blest estate

For all the world calls good and great.”

Then, further, they are not only really blessed, and consciously blessed, but they are increasingly blessed. Their blessedness grows. They do not go downhill, as the wicked do, from bright hope to black despair. They do not diminish in their delights, the river deepens as they wade into it. They are blessed when the first ray of heavenly light streams on their eyeballs; they are blessed when their eyes are opened wider still, to see more of the love of Christ; they are blessed the more their experience widens, and their knowledge deepens, and their love increases. They are blessed in the hour of death, and, best of all, their blessedness increases to eternal blessedness,—the perfection of the saints at the right hand of God. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

for meditation: How often do you take time to count your blessings in Christ?

sermon no. 260[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 191). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

July 3 – Immanuel is our comfort — Reformed Perspective

Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” – Joshua 1:2b-5

Scripture reading: Joshua 1:1-9

It sounds as if the LORD was standing with Joshua, at a place where the whole land was spread out before them. And the LORD says, It’s all yours: every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you. God says it three times, in verses 2, 3 and 6. There it is. You only have to go and take it.

Moses says in Deuteronomy 8 that Canaan was a paradise. There was plenty of water, wheat and barley, vines and fig trees and pomegranates and olive trees; there would be honey, and they would eat bread without scarcity. They would lack nothing. The stones were iron, and they could dig copper out of its hills.

But the Jordan was at flood stage, running high and fast, overflowing its banks. And Joshua remembered the fortified cities and giants that were waiting for them. So, the promise was wonderful, but the idea of entering Canaan was intimidating.

The LORD knew that Joshua needed encouragement. He said, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave or forsake you.”That’s how we know that we will receive the inheritance that God has promised us: we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it (Ephesians 1:13,14).

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for the presence of the Holy Spirit in you, and pray that more and more, by His work, you may be confident of your inheritance in Christ.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Wynia is the pastor of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, Ontario.

Read More!

via July 3 – Immanuel is our comfort — Reformed Perspective

3 JULY 365 Days with Calvin

Ye Have Done it unto Me

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

suggested further reading: Acts 9:1–18

Christ has just told us that our senses do not yet comprehend how highly he values deeds of charity. Now he openly declares that he will reckon as done to himself whatever we have bestowed on his people. We must be extremely sluggish if our compassion is not aroused by this statement that Christ is either neglected or honored in the persons of those who need our assistance. So whenever we are reluctant to assist the poor, let us place before our eyes the Son of God, to whom it would be base sacrilege to refuse anything.

By these words Christ likewise shows that he acknowledges those acts of kindness that have been performed gratuitously and without any expectation of a reward. Certainly, when he enjoins us to do good to the hungry and naked, to strangers and prisoners, from whom nothing can be expected in return, we must look to him who freely lays himself under obligation to us and allows us to place to his account what might otherwise appear to have been lost.

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren expressly recommends believers to our notice. In this Christ does not bid us to altogether despise unbelievers. Though a common tie binds together all the children of Adam, a still more sacred union exists among the children of God. So because those who belong to the household of faith ought to be preferred to strangers, Christ makes special mention of them.

Though Christ’s design was to encourage those whose wealth and resources were abundant to relieve the poverty of brethren, yet it affords no ordinary consolation to the poor and distressed that, though shame and contempt follow them in the eyes of the world, yet the Son of God holds them as dear as his own members. Certainly, by calling them brethren, he confers on them inestimable honor.

for meditation: Calvin points out the striking impact of Christ’s words here. We are to treat our needy brothers and sisters as though we were relieving the needs of Christ himself. How much more gladly and sacrificially we would minister to those around us who are in need if we daily felt the weight of these words![1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 203). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.