Daily Archives: August 1, 2019

August 1 Prevailing Peace

Scripture Reading: Psalm 34:1–8

Key Verse: Psalm 34:8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;

Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

Even before he was king of Israel, David understood feeling overwhelmed with life. While he was being hunted by Saul, David fled to Gath, where he found out his reputation as a warrior preceded him. He pretended to be insane so that King Achish of Gath would not have him killed.

No one should doubt that David experienced stress during this episode. Yet during that time, he wrote about God’s goodness in Psalm 34. David found true sanctuary in the Lord.

Today, as in David’s time, peace is still a difficult thing to come by. The day is often filled with conflicts and stressful interruptions. Sometimes it can seem impossible to escape the tumult and achieve serenity. Yet Jesus offers you the same tranquility that David found: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

The only way to have peace is to trust God wholeheartedly, as David did. Allow His peace to permeate your life, and you will be able to say as Charles Wesley did, “I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade, my griefs expire, my troubles cease; Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed, wilt keep me still in perfect peace.”

Father, thank You for the peace that passes human understanding. Thank You for keeping me in perfect peace.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 224). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 1 Butterfly Living

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17–21

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

To get a grasp of this verse, imagine the old you as a caterpillar and the new you in Christ as a matured butterfly. What you may find in your life experience, however, is that even though you are a butterfly, you are still drawn to the caterpillar way of life. How can you end this tension?

In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote to exhort them to consistent “butterfly living.” The temptations in their society to relapse into “caterpillar living” were strong, much as they are today. He wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2 nasb).

This principle is so dynamic, you cannot afford to miss it. “Transformed” is a translation of the Greek metamorphosis, the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

Renewing your mind is in essence taking on the mind of Christ; it means changing your thinking in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. What you believe about God defines the quality of that relationship. Remember, you are not a caterpillar with wings glued on—you are truly a butterfly.

Dear Lord, thank You for changing my “caterpillar” mentality, so I can experience butterfly living. This month, as I reflect on the wonders of spiritual change, continue Your divine miracle of transformation.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 224). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 1 Back on Course

Scripture reading: 1 Kings 19:9–15

Key verse: 1 Kings 19:13

So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah had just come away from a tremendous spiritual victory. In fact, the victory won on Mount Carmel was the highlight of his career as a prophet of God. However, immediately following the victory came a time of serious testing.

Elijah had stood firm in his faith, and God had destroyed all of the prophets of Baal, reaffirming the fact that He was Jehovah God. In a horrific fit of anger, Queen Jezebel sent a message to Elijah stating, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them [a prophet of Baal]” (1 Kings 19:2). In other words, Jezebel planned to kill Elijah. Filled with fear, Elijah fled.

Finally, at Mount Horeb he collapsed. That was where God spoke to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was a reasonable question to ask. Elijah was accustomed to living in the shadow of God’s greatness and power. Why was he hiding out like a common criminal?

Maybe God is asking you the same question: “What are you doing here? Why are you running? Why are you fearful?” God did not let go of His prophet. Instead, He instructed Elijah to get back into the thick of things. And this is His word to you. If you have gotten off course, don’t give up. Tell the Lord what you are struggling with, and He will send His encouragement and hope to you.

Lord, I am struggling, running, and fearful. Help me get back on course with You. Strengthen me with Your Word.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 224). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Surprise, surprise? Americans think of media as even more destructive than banks & corporations — RT USA News

A recent survey has revealed that most Americans believe that the news media, more than any other institution, have a negative impact on their country – findings that are hardly surprising, according to media analyst Lionel. 

Conducted by the Pew Research Center, the poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe that the media has a damaging effect on the United States – making them more loathed than other often-demonized institutions such as banks (39 percent) and large corporations (53 percent).

“This doesn’t surprise anybody,” media analyst Lionel told RT.

The media are not here to provide information …so that you can make intelligence decisions. No, that’s not what the media are. The media are corporate tools.

But numbers don’t lie and the news media shouldn’t feel singled out. With growing distrust in corporations – especially tech companies – America’s establishment institutions can take solace in the fact that none of them enjoy majority support.

August 1, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day


Guidelines for Single Christians

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. (7:8–9)

These verses answer the question, “Should those who were married and divorced before becoming Christians remarry?” No doubt that was a key question in the Corinthian church. Formerly married people came to salvation in Christ and asked if they now had the right to marry someone else. Paul’s response here is uniquely fitted to those who want to know their options.

The unmarried and widows are the two categories of single people mentioned here, but there is a third category of single people (“virgins”) indicated in verse 25. Understanding the distinctions in regard to these three groups is essential. “Virgins” (parthenoi) clearly refers to single people who have never been married. Widows (chērais) are single people who formerly were married but were severed from that relationship by the death of the spouse. That leaves the matter of the unmarried. Who are they?

The term unmarried (agamos, from “wedding, or marriage,” with the negative prefix a) is used only four times in the New Testament, and all four are in this chapter. We need go nowhere else for understanding of this key term. Verse 32 uses it in a way that gives little hint as to its specific meaning; it simply refers to a person who is not married. Verse 34 uses it more definitively: “the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin.” We assume Paul has two distinct groups in mind: whoever the unmarried are, they are not virgins. Verse 8 speaks to “the unmarried and to widows,” so we can conclude that the unmarried are not widows. The clearest insight comes in the use of the term in verses 10 and 11: “the wife should not leave [divorce] her husband (but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried.…).” The term unmarried indicates those who were previously married, but are not widows; people who are now single, but are not virgins. The unmarried woman, therefore, is a divorced woman.

Paul is speaking to people who were divorced before coming to Christ. They wanted to know if they had the right to marry. His word to them is that it is good for them who are now free of marriage to remain even as I. By that statement Paul affirms that he was formerly married. Because marriage seems to have been required for membership in the Sanhedrin, to which Paul may once have belonged, because he had been so devoutly committed to Pharisaic tradition (Gal. 1:14), and because he refers to one who could have been his wife’s mother (Rom. 16:13), we may assume that he was once married. His statement here to the previously married confirms that—even as I. Likely he was a widower. He does not identify with the virgins but with the unmarried and widows, that is, with the formerly married.

The point is that those who are single when converted to Christ should know that it is good for them to stay that way. There is no need to rush into marriage. Many well-meaning Christians are not content to let people remain single. The urge to play cupid and matchmaker can be strong, but mature believers must resist it. Marriage is not necessary or superior to singleness, and it limits some potential for service to Christ (vv. 32–34).

One of the most beautiful stories associated with Jesus’ birth and infancy is that of Anna. When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice, the prophetess Anna recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Much as Simeon had done a short while before, “she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Her husband had lived only seven years after their marriage, and she had since remained a widow At the age of 84 she was still faithfully serving the Lord in His Temple, “serving night and day with fastings and prayers” (Luke 2:21–38). She did not look on her lot as inferior and certainly not as meaningless. She had the gift of singleness and used it joyfully in the Lord’s work.

Later in the chapter Paul advised believers to remain as they were. Staying single was not wrong, and becoming married or staying married were not wrong. But “in view of the present distress” the Corinthian believers were experiencing, it seemed much better to stay as they were (7:25–28).

If, however, a single believer did not have self-control, that person should seek to marry. If a Christian is single but does not have the gift of singleness and is being strongly tempted sexually, he or she should pursue marriage. Let them marry in the Greek is in the aorist imperative, indicating a strong command. “Get married,” Paul says, for it is better to marry than to burn. The term means “to be inflamed,” and is best understood as referring to strong passion (cf. Rom. 1:27). A person cannot live a happy life, much less serve the Lord, if he is continually burning with sexual desire—even if the desire never results in actual immorality. And in a society such as Corinth’s, or ours, in which immorality is so prevalent and accepted, it is especially difficult not to succumb to temptation.

I believe that once a Christian couple decides to get married they should do it fairly soon. In a day of lowered standards, free expression, and constant suggestiveness, it is extremely difficult to stay sexually pure. The practical problems of an early marriage are not nearly as serious as the danger of immorality.

Deciding about marriage obviously is more difficult for the person who has strong sexual desires but who has no immediate prospect for a husband or wife. It is never God’s will for Christians to marry unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14), but neither is it right just to marry the first believer who will say yes. Though we may want very much to be married, we should be careful. Strong feelings of any sort tend to dull judgment and make one vulnerable and careless.

There are several things that Christians in this dilemma ought to do. First, they should not simply seek to be married, but should seek a person they can love, trust, and respect, letting marriage come as a response to that commitment of love. People who simply want to get married for the sake of getting married run a great risk of marrying the wrong person. Second, it is fine to be on the lookout for the “right person,” but the best way to find the right person is to be the right person. If believers are right with God and it is His will for them to be married, He will send the right person—and never too late.

Third, until the right person is found, our energy should be redirected in ways that will be the most helpful in keeping our minds off the temptation. Two of the best ways are spiritual service and physical activity. We should avoid listening to, looking at, or being around anything that strengthens the temptation. We should program our minds to focus only on that which is good and helpful. We should take special care to follow Paul’s instruction in Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (4:8).

Fourth, we should realize that, until God gives us the right person, He will provide strength to resist temptation. “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Finally, we should give thanks to the Lord for our situation and be content in it. Salvation brings the dawning of a new day, in which marriage “in the Lord” (v. 39) is an option.[1]

9. But if they cannot contain. While he advises to abstain from marriage, he always speaks conditionally—if it can be done, if there is ability; but where the infirmity of the flesh does not allow of that liberty, he expressly enjoins marriage as a thing that is not in the least doubtful. For this is said by way of commandment, that no one may look upon it as mere advice. Nor is it merely fornicators that he restrains, but those also who are defiled in the sight of God by inward lust; and assuredly he that cannot contain tempts God, if he neglects the remedy of marriage. This matter requires—not advice, but strict prohibition.

For it is better. There is not strictly a comparison here, inasmuch as lawful marriage is honourable in all things, (Heb. 13:4,) but, on the other hand, to burn is a thing that is exceedingly wrong. The Apostle, however, has made use of a customary form of expression, though not strictly accurate, as we commonly say: “It is better to renounce this world, that we may, along with Christ, enjoy the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom, than to perish miserably in carnal delights.” I mention this, because Jerome constructs upon this passage a childish sophism—that marriage is good, inasmuch as it is not so great an evil as to burn. I would say, if it were a matter of sport, that he foolishly amuses himself, but in a matter so weighty and serious, it is an impious scoff, unworthy of a man of judgment. Let it then be understood, that marriage is a good and salutary remedy, because to burn is a most base abomination in the sight of God. We must, however, define what is meant by burning; for many are stung with fleshly desires, who, nevertheless, do not require forthwith to have recourse to marriage. And to retain Paul’s metaphor, it is one thing to burn and another to feel heat. Hence what Paul here calls burning, is not a mere slight feeling, but a boiling with lust, so that you cannot resist. As, however, some flatter themselves in vain, by imagining that they are entirely free from blame, if they do not yield assent to impure desire, observe that there are three successive steps of temptation. For in some cases the assaults of impure desire have so much power that the will is overcome: that is the worst kind of burning, when the heart is inflamed with lust. In some instances, while we are stung with the darts of the flesh, it is in such a manner that we make a stout resistance, and do not allow ourselves to be divested of the true love of chastity, but on the contrary, abhor all base and filthy affections.

Hence all must be admonished, but especially the young, that whenever they are assailed by their fleshly inclinations, they should place the fear of God in opposition to a temptation of this sort, cut off all inlets to unchaste thoughts, entreat the Lord to give them strength to resist, and set themselves with all their might to extinguish the flames of lust. If they succeed in this struggle, let them render thanks unto the Lord, for where shall we find the man who does not experience some molestation from his flesh? but if we bridle its violence, before it has acquired the mastery, it is well. For we do not burn, though we should feel a disagreeable heat—not that there is nothing wrong in that feeling of heat, but acknowledging before the Lord, with humility and sighing, our weakness, we are meanwhile, nevertheless, of good courage. To sum up all, so long as we come off victorious in the conflict, through the Lord’s grace, and Satan’s darts do not make their way within, but are valiantly repelled by us, let us not become weary of the conflict.

There is an intermediate kind of temptation—when a man does not indeed admit impure desire with the full assent of his mind, but at the same time is inflamed with a blind impetuosity, and is harassed in such a manner that he cannot with peace of conscience call upon God. A temptation, then, of such a kind as hinders one from calling upon God in purity, and disturbs peace of conscience, is burning, such as cannot be extinguished except by marriage. We now see, that in deliberating as to this, one must not merely consider whether he can preserve his body free from pollution: the mind also must be looked to, as we shall see in a little.[2]

9 Here again Paul implies that one of the main purposes of marriage is so that one can find sexual fulfillment in a God-glorifying context. We should take careful note of the condition used here. Paul uses ei plus the indicative, which suggests that he is expressing a reality that is taking place (i.e., “if, as indeed some are doing, they are not exercising control …”). In other words, Paul knows there are those who are not married but are still having sexual relations, probably with prostitutes (see comments at 6:12–20). Rather than live this lifestyle of porneia, Paul says, marriage is preferable by far.

What does Paul mean here by pyroō (GK 4792, “burn with passion”; lit., “burn”)? The verb itself can denote various types of burning: the “flaming” darts of Satan (Eph 6:16), the destruction of the heavens “by fire” (2 Pe 3:12), the “glowing” feet of Jesus in John’s vision (Rev 1:15), or the inner burning passion of Paul (2 Co 11:29). Of these options the best choice seems to be the last one, i.e., a reference to one’s inner emotions and passions (so NIV). Marriage offers an appropriate outlet for passionate sexual urges.[3]

9 For many later Christians what Paul says next has been the troubling sentence. The apostle is seen to be arguing in the preceding sentence for all singles to stay that way, then as making allowance for marriage for those who cannot remain continent, for it is better to be married than to be consumed with sexual passion. But it is doubtful whether Paul’s point is quite so stark. In the first place, Paul does not say (as the NIV and others have it), “if they cannot control themselves,” as if it were simply a matter of self-control. Rather, he says, “if they do not practice, or are not practicing, continence (or exercising self-control).” That is, the issue for Paul is not the sexual drive as such, but the sinful practice of some of the brothers for whom marriage, rather than sin, is to be the proper order of things. The implication is that some of these people are doing the same as some of the married in the opening paragraph: practicing “sexual immorality,” that is, probably also going to the prostitutes. The antidote for such sin is to get married96 instead.

With an explanatory “for” Paul appends a reason: “It is better to marry (or to be married) than to burn.” This final word is the difficult one. The usage is clearly metaphorical, but it could refer either to burning with desire or burning in judgment (cf. 3:15). Since both of these can be supported from Jewish sources, that evidence is not decisive.100 The question must finally be decided contextually—and by Paul’s usage in the next letter (2 Cor. 11:29), which is almost certainly a metaphor for inner passion, which accounts for this addition in the NIV. Even though the larger context, including his earlier warning (6:9–10), could be argued to support the judgment metaphor, such an idea is missing altogether from the immediate context. It seems more likely, therefore, that Paul intended that those who are committing sexual sins should rather marry than be consumed by the passions of their sins—although it is also possible that Paul was himself intentionally ambiguous, so that the clipped nature of the clause was intended to catch his initial readers a bit off guard in the same way it has his later ones(!).

In this case, what needs final emphasis is that Paul is not so much offering marriage as the remedy for sexual desire for “enflamed youth,” which has been the most common way of viewing the text; rather, marriage is to be understood as the proper alternative for those who are already consumed by that desire and are sinning.

A text like this one is difficult for moderns. But if our interpretation is correct, then its advice is twofold. On the one hand, consistent with the general view in Jewish and Christian antiquity, Paul urges the formerly married to remain in their present single state. He will encourage that again later (vv. 39–40). But he also clearly recognizes that that represents what he thinks is “good”; it may not be elevated to the position of a commandment (i.e., being “right” or “wrong”). On the other hand, it is a strong word against the formerly married who are not living in continence, that in fact it is sin. For them, marriage is the proper alternative to their being consumed by such sin.[4]

7:9 / Nevertheless, Paul continues and tells this particular group that they should marry in certain circumstances. Paul reasons from the charismatically formed assumption that the capacity to remain unmarried is a spiritual gift. The translation of this line in the niv and other similar translations, But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, is easily misunderstood. Paul is not saying, “If you are not practicing self-control, get married.” In Paul’s well-known list of the fruit of the Spirit at Galatians 5:23 one finds the noun “self-control,” so although Paul uses the verbal form of “self-control” (translated as “control themselves,” meaning “to practice self-control”), he is referring to a Spirit-empowered directing of one’s self. If an unmarried person in Corinth does not have the Spirit-given ability to be chaste, then Paul says that person should marry. Paul is not so much saying “Fight the urge” as he is advising “Recognize the gift or its absence.” Such honesty according to Paul is better than trying to accomplish something (refraining from marriage and sexual relations in that context) that God has not given one the gift to do.[5]

Ver. 9.—If they cannot contain; rather, if they have not continency. Let them marry. In 1 Tim. 5:14 he lays down and justifies the same rule with reference to young widows. It is better to marry than to burn. The original tenses give greater force and beauty to this obvious rule of Christian common sense and morality. The “marry” is in the aorist—“to marry once for all,” and live in holy married union; the “burn” is in the present—“to be on fire with concupiscence.” Marriage once for all is better than continuous lust; the former is permitted, the latter sinful.[6]

9. But if they do not exercise self-control, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire.

  • Passion. “If they do not exercise self-control, let them marry.” Paul fully understands human nature and gives sensible advice. Already he has spoken of incontinence (v. 5); now once more he states that some people do not exercise restraint, presumably because of their lack of self-control. To them, Paul offers the solution which God has instituted for this situation: “Let them marry!” There is no reproach, no word of disapproval for incontinence, no mention of sin. To preclude the possibility that they might fall into sin because they lack continence, Paul advises wedlock for the unmarried. Let them enter the state of matrimony and thus lead honorable and pure lives.

“For it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire.” The Greek has only the verb pyrousthai (to burn), but the context demands the addition of the words with sexual desire. Translators know that the verb by itself is incomplete and calls for an explanation. Talmudic rabbis together with scholars from the third century to the present have interpreted this verb to refer to burning in hell. They perceive it as God’s righteous judgment on the sinner who continues to violate sexual mores. But Paul alludes to burning with sexual desire. The common understanding of the verb to burn in this context is related to incontinence.

In his discussion of this sensitive subject, Paul is frank but at the same time discreet. His expressions are often incomplete so that the reader has to fill in the obvious meaning. For example, he instructed husbands and wives not to deprive each other (v. 5), but left the completion of the sentence for the reader. By saying that it is better to marry than to burn, he again invites the reader to complete the sentence. In the present verse, he teaches that incontinence has its solution within the bounds of marriage and urges the unmarried who lack self-control to seek marriage partners (v. 9). For him, marriage is the context in which husbands and wives find satisfaction for their sexual desires.

With the comparative word better Paul is placing marriage over against burning. Paul writes that one should enter marriage as a one-time act to avoid a state of continual desire. But his advice fails to cover every situation. G. G. Findlay astutely observes, “Better to marry than to burn; but if marriage is impossible, better infinitely to burn than to sin.”[7]

7:9. Nevertheless, Paul also recognized that reality is usually not ideal. So, he conceded a hierarchy of preferences, with celibacy being the most desirable for the unmarried Corinthians. But “the unmarried and the widows” (7:8) were to marry if they could not control themselves sexually. Marriage was not as advantageous as celibacy, but it was better than burning with passion. Literally, Paul did not say, “If they are not able to control themselves,” but “If they do not control themselves,” that is, “If they lose control and fall into sexual immorality.” Paul did not suggest that marriage would eliminate lustful thoughts, but that it could help believers abstain from sexual immorality.[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1984). 1 Corinthians (pp. 162–164). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 1, pp. 235–237). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 317). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2014). The First Epistle to the Corinthians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Revised Edition, pp. 320–322). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (p. 144). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Corinthians (p. 225). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 18, p. 218). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 115). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

DOJ declines to prosecute James Comey on inspector general referral for leaking classified info | Washington Examiner

The Justice Department declined to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey following a criminal referral from the agency’s independent watchdog, which concluded that Comey had leaked classified information and showed a lack of candor with investigators.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz reached out to prosecutors about one of the memos Comey leaked to a friend, which detailed a conversation he had with President Trump, after he was fired by President Trump in May 2017.

Although prosecutors found the watchdog’s findings compelling, they decided against prosecution under classified information protection laws because of there being too much uncertainty surrounding Comey’s intent, according to the Hill. A month after he was fired, Comey testified to Congress he had leaked his notes to a friend to give to the media, hoping that it would spark a special counsel investigation. 

Commentary Editor Tim Carney on the expanded Washington Examiner magazine

Then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel the day after the New York Times first reported on details from one of Comey’s leaked memos, which claimed Trump pressed his FBI director to drop an investigation into his national security adviser Michael Flynn. That memo was classified as “confidential” — the lowest classification level — after Comey sent the information.

With other investigations focused on the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation underway, one source said the DOJ did not want to “make its first case against the Russia investigators with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive.”

Comey’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for the DOJ and its inspector general also did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

The news comes hours after conservative watchdog group Judicial Watchannounced it had obtained an FBI log about special agents arriving at Comey’s home in June 2017 to retrieve his memos. The notes show Comey handed over four of them to the FBI agents, and he said to the best of his recollection two might be missing.

Although the DOJ declined to prosecute in this case, Comey, who has become a vocal critic of the president since his ouster, is not yet in the clear.

Comey is also a possible target of Horowitz’s separate investigation into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse. He signed three of the four FISA applications targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page before being fired by Trump. Horowitz’s report is expected to be released after Labor Day. 

It is also likely that Comey’s actions as FBI director will be scrutinized during the “investigation of the investigators,” a review of the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, being led by Attorney General William Barr and the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, John Durham.
— Read on www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-declines-to-prosecute-james-comey-on-inspector-general-referral-for-leaking-classified-info

August 1 The Holy Spirit

scripture reading: John 16:7–15
key verse: John 15:26

When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Although the Holy Spirit is defined to a degree by His various roles—teacher, guide, and helper—His identity rests on three truths:

First, the Holy Spirit is God. In several instances, the Holy Spirit is referred to as “the Spirit of God.”

Second, He is one with God, the third person of the Trinity. As such, He possesses the inherent nature and character of God. The Greek word for “another” in John 14:16–17 is literally translated “another of the same kind.” Thus, the Holy Spirit is God Himself, omnipotent (Job 33:4), omnipresent (Ps. 139:7–10), and omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10–12).

Third, since the Holy Spirit is a person, He is God. The Holy Spirit likewise is marked by a distinct personality. He is not an “it.” He has a will (1 Cor. 12:11), emotions (Eph. 4:30), and intellect (Rom. 8:27).

As a person, the Holy Spirit can be resisted, lied to, and grieved. The Holy Spirit is life. The Holy Spirit helped birth the universe (Gen. 1:2). Christ was conceived by an act of the Holy Spirit. The believer is given God’s life through His indwelling, and the abundant life is possible only through His activity.

Heavenly Father, during the coming days, reveal Your Holy Spirit to me in a new way. I want to live the Spirit–filled life.[1]

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

How to Take Unruly and Stubborn Thoughts Captive | True Woman Blog – Revive Our Hearts

You know those moments when you’re sitting back in the peace and quiet of your home (possibly a rare or common thing in your home) and one of those thoughts pops into your head. A fear, a what if, a lie, a sin from the past, an unkind thought of another, a false assumption, or some other kind of unruly thought. As much as you don’t want to think on it, it’s there and flourishing. These thoughts are stubborn and sticky. Like a fly you keep chasing away, they return, just as determined as before to sink deep into your mind. It seems that no matter what you do, these thoughts continue to return whenever you have a quiet moment to yourself.

As those who have been redeemed by Christ, we should have heavenly thoughts. As Paul says to the Colossians, 

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col. 3:2–4). 

But how do we do this? How do we take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ? By installing Philippians 4:8 as a guard over our minds.

What Is an Unbiblical Thought?

Before we form a plan for conquering our unruly and stubborn thoughts, we need to be able to recognize them. These thoughts are tricky—they know how to twist God’s Word and make what is dark appear as light (2 Cor. 11:14). This is how Satan gets us; in Eden, Satan led Eve to doubt God’s command and then twisted it (Gen. 3). We need a discerning filter to run our thoughts through to see if they line up with the truth. Philippians 4:8 is this filter.

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things (CSB).

This is our command from God: dwell on these things. If a biblical thought is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, then an unbiblical thought is the opposite. It’s false, shameful, unfair, impure, detestable, appalling, inferior, and blameworthy. An unbiblical thought seeks to tempt, corrupt, and ruin. It distorts the truth. It blasphemes God. It calls into question that which God has promised and proclaimed. It would hurt others if they heard it. These are the kinds of thoughts we want to capture and destroy.

What Is a Godly Thought?

As we capture each of our thoughts to examine and test with God’s Word, we can use Philippians 4:8 as our “thought filter” or “glasses” through which to consider each thought. If a thought can’t pass through, it isn’t to be dwelled on. And what does Philippians 4:8 call us to dwell on? That which is . . .

  • True: honest, real, correct, and truthful, the opposite of myths and lies. Though the world says truth is something you can determine, we know that God alone is the source of all truth.
  • Honorable: respected, dignified, moral. “Paul is saying, Get your mind off of low and base things. Get your mind out of the gutter. Get your attention off frivolous things. Focus on the honorable.1
  • Right: just, righteous, upright, and faultless. That which is obedient to God’s law or approved by Him. 
  • Pure: sacred, chaste, innocent, clean, and untainted by sin. Separate from evil and sin.
  • Lovely: acceptable, pleasing, or amiable.
  • Commendable: well-spoken of. “That which is highly regarded or thought well of. It refers to what is generally considered reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.”2
  • Excellent: morally excellent or virtuous, or pure.
  • Worthy of praise: to be admired, approved, or praised.

If you are thinking on that which is true, honorable, right, and pure, there’s no room for the unruly and stubborn thoughts to get a foothold. We can’t simply banish the unruly thoughts—we need to replace them with something better.

Practical Steps for Taking Our Thoughts Captive

How do we apply this practice of filtering our thoughts through Philippians 4:8? How do we dwell on those heavenly things? 

Keep a thought journal. 

In either a physical journal or a note on your computer or phone, keep a log of those unruly thoughts when they pop up. Take note of the following:

  • What was the thought?
  • What provoked the thought? This may help you determine what triggers these unruly thoughts so you can catch them earlier.
  • Why was it unhelpful or sinful? (Use Scripture to back it up.)
  • What is a right and godly thought to replace it with? (Use Scripture to back it up.)

Eventually you will get into the habit of doing this without using a journal.

Philippians 4:8 thought list. 

Make a list of things you can think on based on Philippians 4:8. Whenever one of those unruly thoughts pops up, refer to your list.

Listen to content throughout the day that fits Philippians 4:8.

If you’re struggling with unruly thoughts, try listening to Scripture, audiobooks on Christian living, or worship music and hymns.

Memorize Scripture. 

What better thing to fill your mind with than Scripture itself? Like the psalmist, let’s store up God’s Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him (Ps. 119:11).

Strength in the Holy Spirit.

The practical means nothing if we aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to reside inside us and change our hearts and minds to love God. The nonbeliever might be able to implement some of these practical tips and change their thought life, but what good is that without salvation from sin and death? Where is their hope? They are hopelessly going forward in their own strength. But we have the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead empowering us to obey and love God (Rom. 8:11). If we want to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, we need to be changed by Christ first. We need to be people who have trusted by faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins. 

Those unruly thoughts that seem to rule our minds? They can be taken captive. In the power of the Spirit, we can recognize them, take them captive, and fill our minds with that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Unruly thoughts don’t need to rule us anymore.

1 Steven J. Lawson, Philippians for You, God’s Word for You (Good Book Company, 2017), Kindle, 200.

2 John MacArthur, Dr., The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 1725.
— Read on www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/how-take-unruly-and-stubborn-thoughts-captive/

1 august (1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Sovereign grace and man’s responsibility

“But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Romans 10:20, 21

suggested further reading: Matthew 26:20–25

I see in one place, God presiding over all in providence; and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions to his own will, in a great measure. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act, that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I declare that God so overrules all things, as that man is not free enough to be responsible, I am driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth springs.

for meditation: The Bible does not tell us everything; nor does it give a full explanation of what it does tell us. But it tells us more than enough to give us a sound foundation for our faith and obedience (Deuteronomy 29:29; John 20:30, 31).

sermon no. 207[1]

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 220). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

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