Daily Archives: August 8, 2019

August 8 God Is in Control

Scripture Reading: Psalm 147:1–7

Key Verse: Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted

And binds up their wounds.

In A Godward Life, author and pastor John Piper offers these thoughts: “Human strength can never impress an omnipotent God, and human bigness can never impress a God of infinite greatness.…”

Psalm 147 is a thrilling statement of hope for people who enjoy God being God: “He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names” (verse 4 esv). Now this is more than we can absorb! “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6 esv).

The earth, where we live, is a small planet revolving around a star called the sun which has a volume 1.3 times that of the earth. There are stars a million times brighter than the sun. There are about a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, which is one hundred thousand light years across.… The sun travels about 155 miles per second, and so it would take two hundred million years to make a single revolution on its orbit in the Milky Way.…

The good news for those who enjoy God being God is that He enjoys them. He delights in those who hope in His immeasurable power. It is therefore no literary coincidence that the verses on either side of God’s greatness in Psalm 147:4–5 show Him caring for the weak (verses 3 and 6). He loves to be God for the weak and childlike, who look to Him for all they need.

Lord, my peace comes from the knowledge that You are in control. Thank You for that assurance.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 231). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 8 The Worth of Weakness

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1–10

Key Verses: 2 Corinthians 12:9–10

He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In our society, physical strength is a hallmark of success and power. It doesn’t take long to figure out the messages behind countless advertisements for fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise equipment.

Of course, staying in shape and taking good care of your body are worthy, healthful goals with the right perspective (1 Tim. 4:8). But the underlying assumption of people who value physical training as an ideal in itself is that weakness is shameful. For them, physical weakness represents who you are as a person, pathetic and helpless and unattractive.

In spiritual terms, weakness carries a far different message. It says, “I have a problem, and I need a Savior who can fix it.” Weakness becomes an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power on your behalf: “ ‘My [God’s] grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I [Paul] will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9–10 nasb).

Do weaknesses prompt you to hide or attempt to make the changes by yourself? They should be your signal to ask the Lord for the help that only He can give.

Precious Lord, there is intrinsic value in weakness. Help me embrace it, realizing that therein lie dormant strength and unlimited potential for greatness.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 231). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 8 Focused on the Battle

Scripture reading: James 1:12–16

Key verse: Proverbs 1:10

My son, if sinners entice you,

Do not consent.

Is your consuming desire each day to please your Commanding Officer? Or do you become too involved in “civilian affairs”? In his book Brave, Strong, and Tender, Phil Downer explains the importance of spiritual focus, especially in spiritual warfare on the home front:

God wants us focused on the battle. We are His soldiers, and a soldier thinking about something else is completely worthless in a fight.

Not only are we God’s soldiers, we are His servants, serving at His command. God is in the battle of the ages, fighting Satan and his forces all over this world …

I’ve seen too many men in the ministry forget about their families, then have their ministries crumble because of the weakness in their family life … It’s happening with Christian men today. Their sons are involved with the culture rather than Christ. Their daughters are more concerned with fashion and popularity than holiness and morality.

We can’t afford to lose a generation of believers. Satan wants to destroy our children as much as he wants to destroy us, so we’ve got to be focused on the battle.

That means setting an example in front of our kids, letting them see Christ at work in us. It means making them part of our team … and letting them experience our ministry.

I am Your soldier, Lord. Keep me focused on the battle. Strengthen me, and give me the ability to strengthen my family and those who depend upon me.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 231). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

How Not to Fall Away (William Boekestein.) | Reformation21 Blog

“I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.” So was the recent confession by former pastor, Joshua Harris. It is not uncommon for people to fall away from Christianity. But Harris’ recent announcement is particularly troubling. It is hard when a seemingly humble and genuine follower of Jesus, a gifted author, and a pastor of a large congregation falls out of love with the God of Scripture and renounces the faith. It is impossible to say whether Harris’s rejection of the Christian faith is evidence of an unregenerate heart or of serious backsliding of a true Christian. Still, this is a learning moment for us.  Paul used particular instances of apostasy to warn the church and urge believers to press on. He mentioned Hymenaeus and Alexander who had blasphemed and “concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck” (1 Tim. 1:19-20). What a terrible image. But Paul wasn’t exaggerating. He had been shipwrecked (2 Cor. 11:25). He knew that apostasy was no less tragic than the sinking of a vessel on which people’s lives depended. These particular apostates punctuate Paul’s charge to the church to “wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience” (19). How can we learn from others’ failures in order to be diligent to resist falling away? Take Heed Lest You Fall  The surest way to fall away from the faith is to assume you are immune to falling away (1 Cor. 10:12). “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:12-13). Jesus charged his closest friends: “Abide in Me… If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw t…

Continue Reading at Reformation21 Blog

Source: How Not to Fall Away (William Boekestein.)

Hollywood Is Launching A “Satirical” Movie About “Elites” Hunting, Killing Trump Supporters | ZeroHedge

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

A new thriller by Universal Studios called “The Hunt” has been met with fury in the wake of two politically motivated mass shootings. The horrifying plot features liberal “elites” who go to a resort called The Manor where they are able to hunt down and brutally murder a dozen “deplorables.”

I swore I was going to stay away from politics but…well, let’s just say if you haven’t muttered “WTF” yet today, you will soon.

The plot

But don’t worry. It’s “satire.”

The violent, R-rated film from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse follows a dozen MAGA types who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals…

The Hunt stars Betty Gilpin from GLOW and Hilary Swank, representing opposite sides of the political divide. It features guns blazing along with other ultra-violent killings as the elites pick off their prey. The script from Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter revolves around third-rail political themes. (Original title: Red State Vs. Blue State.) (source)

Ads were pulled last weekend.

The trailers for the movie were so gory and horrifying, particularly in the aftermath of last weekend’s mass shooting tragedies, ESPN  pulled the ads.

Over the Aug. 3 weekend, ESPN pulled an ad for the film that it had previously cleared, while AMC ran the spot during the season premiere of its drama The Preacher. It’s unclear whether the ads were identical, but the one yanked by ESPN opened with a sound resembling an emergency broadcast signal. A rep for ESPN parent Disney declined to comment on the move, but an ESPN source says no spots for the film will appear on the network in the coming weeks. (source)

Studio gossip hints that people within Universal are divided about the advertising for this film.

While one high-level Universal source says the studio has pulled some ads that are beginning to air and appear online “for content and placement,” others say the matter is still under discussion internally. A major ad blitz on television and the web had been planned for the beginning of September, says one insider. A trailer is already online.

Given the fraught political climate — particularly in the wake of the attack in El Paso, which was motivated by anti-immigrant bigotry — studio sources say Universal is evaluating its plans in what one called “a fluid situation.” A high-level insider says top executives want to stand by Blum, one of the studio’s most prolific and successful producers, as well as filmmaker Craig Zobel, and see the project as a satire addressing an issue of great social importance. But this person says plans could change “if people think we’re being exploitative rather than opinionated.” (source)

This is sick, regardless of where your political beliefs lie.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and “liberal snowflakes” were being hunted by a bunch of red-hat wearing rednecks. The media would go wild and reasonably so.

But when conservatives are in the crosshairs? Crickets.

Even as a person who is apolitical – neither Republican nor Democrat, I’m truly sickened by this, particularly in these divisive times. It’s important to note that I don’t believe most Democrats would find this movie acceptable either. Despite what the media would have us believe, most Americans don’t loathe everyone of a different political party. This will appeal to extremists, however, and extremists are the ones that turn into actual domestic terrorists.

Here’s the trailer.

Chillingly, in the trailer, a woman’s voice is heard saying, “We pay for everything. So this country belongs to us.”

The “satire” is due to be released on September 27, just as the election gets into full swing. Considering that the last election resulted in violence between the political parties, it’s hard to imagine this twisted movie would be without fans willing to do some re-enactments.

“This certainly shows Hollywood for what it really is — demented and evil. At a time when journalists try to blame President Trump for every act of violence in the world, wannabe Tinseltown terrorists are making sick murder fantasies about right-wingers,” Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor told Fox News. (source)

Even political satirist Tim Young feels like the movie goes too far.

Why would anyone think it’s a great idea to have a movie about hunting down someone who doesn’t agree with them politically? It’s remarkable to me that the left blames Donald Trump’s rhetoric for violence, then literally spends millions to normalize the killing of people based on politics…

…We’re told over and over again by the left, especially in Hollywood, that this country is more divided than ever and we need to come together… is this what they mean by it? Come together to murder your neighbors that you don’t agree with? This film is sick and shows just how hateful the left has become…

…The executives at Universal and those even willing to promote this or run ads for it, should know better than to promote political violence. (source)

But promote it they will. And if you already thought this election cycle was going to be outrageous and even more divisive than the 2016 election, this will ensure it.

Fire, meet gasoline.

Source: Hollywood Is Launching A “Satirical” Movie About “Elites” Hunting, Killing Trump Supporters

August 8, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

comfort verse

The Person of Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (1:3)

After the salutation Paul began the body of his epistle with the affirmation that God is to be blessed. Eulogētos (blessed) is the root of the English word “eulogy” and literally means, “to speak well of.” The Old Testament frequently refers to God as the “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (e.g., Ex. 3:6, 15, 16; 4:5; 1 Kings 18:36; 1 Chron. 29:18; 2 Chron. 30:6). But the New Testament identifies Him as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 11:31; Rom. 15:6; Eph. 1:3, 17; 1 Peter 1:3), since “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1–2).

Unlike Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Old Testament prophets, Jesus Christ is the same essence as the Father; “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3). Jesus shocked and outraged the Jewish authorities by boldly declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). To His equally obtuse disciples Jesus stated plainly, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Paul wrote to the Philippians that Jesus “existed in the form of God” (Phil. 2:6), and to the Colossians, “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15) and, “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). The New Testament teaching that Jesus is God in human flesh is the central truth of the gospel (cf. John 1:1; 5:17–18; 8:58; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20), and those who reject it cannot be saved (John 8:24).

Some may wonder why, since they are fully equal, the Father is referred to as the God … of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mark 15:34; John 20:17). In His deity Jesus is fully equal to the Father, but in His humanity He submitted to Him. Paul’s statement reflects Jesus’ submission to the Father during the Incarnation (cf. John 14:28), when He voluntarily gave up the independent use of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:6–7; cf. Matt. 24:36).

The title Lord Jesus Christ summarizes all of His redemptive work. Lord describes His sovereign deity; Jesus (the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Yeshua; “God saves”) describes His saving death and resurrection; Christ (“anointed one”) describes Him as the King who will defeat God’s enemies and rule over the redeemed earth and the eternal state.

Paul further described God using two Old Testament titles. He is the Father of mercies to those who seek Him. Faced with a choice of punishments, David said to Gad, “Let us now fall into the hand of the Lord for His mercies are great” (2 Sam. 24:14). In Psalm 86:15 he wrote, “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” “The Lord is compassionate and gracious,” he added in Psalm 103:8, “slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” Later in that same psalm David further praised God’s mercy, compassion, and lovingkindness: “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.… The lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him” (vv. 13, 17). The prophet Micah described God’s mercy and compassion in forgiving sins:

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Mic. 7:18–19)

The New Testament also reveals God’s mercy. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, spoke of “the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us” (Luke 1:78). To the Romans Paul wrote, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom. 12:1). Later in that epistle he declared that “the Gentiles [would] glorify God for His mercy (Rom. 15:9). In Ephesians 2:4 he described God as “being rich in mercy.” It was “His great mercy [that] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

The Old Testament also reveals God to be the God of all comfort. In Isaiah God said of suffering Israel, “ ‘Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God” (Isa. 40:1). In Isaiah 49:13 the prophet exulted, “Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted.” “Indeed,” he confidently asserts, “the Lord will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody” (Isa. 51:3; cf. 52:9; 66:13).

In the New Testament Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). To the Thessalonians Paul wrote, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word” (2 Thess. 2:16–17).

Paul had experienced much pain, suffering, and heartbreak, particularly because of the false teachers at Corinth. They slandered his character to discredit him in the minds of the people and, even more painful to the apostle, sought to deceive the Corinthian church with lies about the gospel. But in God’s merciful comforting of him he received the strength he needed to carry on. For that Paul was deeply grateful and blessed God.

The Promise of Comfort

who comforts us in all our affliction (1:4a)

God comforts His people not only because He is by nature a merciful comforter but also because He has promised to comfort them. The Lord is a “friend [who] loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17); “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24), who promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5; cf. Deut. 31:6, 8; Ps. 37:28; Isa. 41:10).

The apostle Paul knew this blessed truth not only by divine revelation but also from his experience. Later in this epistle he wrote, “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Cor. 7:6). In Romans 8:31–39 he wrote,

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Having paid the ultimate price to redeem believers, the death of His Son, God will be with them to love, strengthen, protect, and comfort them in every extremity. Paul previously had reminded the Corinthians, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and 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, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). To the Philippians he wrote, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). It is God’s sovereign plan to be with His children and comfort them.

Affliction translates the Greek word thlipsis, which literally means, “pressure.” Throughout all the stress, persecution, and trials he experienced in his turbulent life, Paul experienced God’s comforting, strengthening presence. The apostle’s life was thus an amazing juxtaposition of affliction and comfort, a seeming paradox he expressed later in this letter:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (4:7–11)

Because God constantly comforted and protected him, Paul was indestructible until the time came in God’s sovereign plan for him to die. Though his enemies repeatedly tried to kill him (cf. Acts 9:23; 14:19; 20:3; 21:30–31; 23:12–13), they were unsuccessful, because “there is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). The promise to all believers is that God will faithfully sustain and strengthen them as long as they are obedient to His will, until His appointed time to bring them to Himself.

The Purpose of Comfort

so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.… But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. (1:4b, 6–7)

Paul viewed God’s comforting of him not only as an end in itself to express His care and fulfill His promise but also as the means to an end. Suffering believers receive God’s comfort so that they will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction. Believers receive comfort as a trust or stewardship to be passed on to others. This purpose of comfort is to equip the comforted to be comforters.

God had used Paul to confront, challenge, and convict the Corinthians. As noted in the introduction to this volume, 2 Corinthians is the fourth letter Paul wrote to them; in addition to 1 Corinthians, the apostle wrote them two noninspired letters. In those letters Paul rebuked them for their sin. Now, having confronted them, he was able to comfort them with the comfort with which he had been comforted by God. Paul viewed himself as a conduit through which God’s comfort could flow to the Corinthians—a conduit widened by all the suffering he had endured. Those who experience the most suffering will receive the most comfort. And those who receive the most comfort are thereby most richly equipped to comfort others.

An incident in Peter’s life illustrates that truth. Knowing that he would soon face a severe trial (his denial of Christ), Jesus said to him in Luke 22:31–32, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Having received divine comfort in his trial, Peter would then be able to draw from that to comfort and strengthen others.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that believers are comforted by God, who alone is the source of true comfort. As noted earlier, Paul wrote later in this epistle that it is God “who comforts the depressed” (2 Cor. 7:6). The early church experienced “the comfort of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:31). Paul reminded the Thessalonians that it is “God our Father who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace” (2 Thess. 2:16). Comfort based on human wisdom is short-lived, because it does not address the deep issues of the heart. The only true source of hope and strength is God’s supernatural, transcendent comfort that comes by the Spirit and the Scriptures.

In the course of godly living and ministry, it is inevitable that believers will be afflicted. Paul warned Timothy that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). But in God’s providence, even the apostle’s suffering brought comfort and salvation to the Corinthians. Paul could have been referring to the time of their salvation, when he suffered much to bring them the gospel (cf. Acts 18:1–17). But more likely the apostle referred not to their justification but to his ongoing involvement in their sanctification. Perhaps no other church caused Paul more pain and grief than the Corinthian assembly. Even after the apostle had invested at least eighteen precious months of his life ministering in Corinth, the church remained divisive, worldly, and rebellious. But God comforted Paul in his affliction, enabling him to better comfort the very people who had caused part of his suffering.

Not all the Corinthians, of course, were suffering for their sins. Some were, like Paul, suffering for righteousness’ sake. The apostle was able to extend to them comfort, which was effective in strengthening them for the patient enduring of the same sufferings which he and Timothy also suffered. And in the mutuality of ministry in the body of Christ, they were then enabled to comfort Paul. Believers are in a partnership with each other and must never view their suffering in isolation. When they suffer for Christ, God comforts them and equips them to comfort others.

Because righteous suffering for Christ is a mark of true believers (2 Tim. 3:12), Paul was able to say confidently to the faithful believers in Corinth, Our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. They demonstrated the reality of their faith by their willingness to share Paul’s and Timothy’s sufferings for the gospel. Because of their faithful endurance, they also were sharers of the same comfort with which God comforted Paul and Timothy.[1]


3. Blessed be God. He begins (as has been observed) with this thanksgiving—partly for the purpose of extolling the goodness of God—partly, with the view of animating the Corinthians by his example to the resolute endurance of persecutions; and partly, that he may magnify himself in a strain of pious glorying, in opposition to the malignant slanderings of the false apostles. For such is the depravity of the world, that it treats with derision martyrdoms, which it ought to have held in admiration, and endeavours to find matter of reproach in the splendid trophies of the pious.5 Blessed be God, says he. On what account? who comforteth us—the relative being used instead of the causal particle.2 He had endured his tribulations with fortitude and alacrity: this fortitude he ascribes to God, because it was owing to support derived from his consolation that he had not fainted.

He calls him the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not without good reason, where blessings are treated of; for where Christ is not, there the beneficence of God is not. On the other hand, where Christ intervenes, by whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (Eph. 3:15,) there are all mercies and all consolations of God—nay, more, there is fatherly love, the fountain from which everything else flows.

4. That we may be able to comfort. There can be no doubt, that, as he had a little before cleared his afflictions from reproach and unfavourable reports, so now he instructs the Corinthians, that his having come off victorious through heavenly consolation was for their sake and with a view to their advantage, that they may stir themselves up to fellowship in suffering, instead of haughtily despising his conflicts. As, however, the Apostle lived not for himself but for the Church, so he reckoned, that whatever favours God conferred upon him, were not given for his own sake merely, but in order that he might have more in his power for helping others. And, unquestionably, when the Lord confers upon us any favour, he in a manner invites us by his example to be generous to our neighbours. The riches of the Spirit, therefore, are not to be kept by us to ourselves, but every one must communicate to others what he has received. This, it is true, must be considered as being applicable chiefly to ministers of the Word.4 It is, however, common to all, according to the measure of each. Thus Paul here acknowledges, that he had been sustained by the consolation of God, that he might be able himself to comfort others.[2]


3–4 Paul generally follows his salutation with thanksgiving for the divine grace evident in the lives of his converts (e.g., 1 Co 1:4–9) and a summary of his prayer requests for them (e.g., Php 1:3–11; Col 1:3–12). Here, however, he offers praise to God for consoling and encouraging him (see Notes), while later (v. 11) he solicits his converts’ prayer for himself. This untypical preoccupation with his own circumstances shows the distressing nature of the experience in Asia he had so recently been delivered from (vv. 8–10) and the depth of the depression he had experienced in Troas and Macedonia (2:12–13; 7:5–6). He highlights the aspects of God’s character he had come to value in deeper measure as a result of personal need and divine response, namely, God’s limitless compassion (cf. Ps 145:9; La 3:22; Mic 7:19) and never-failing comfort (cf. Isa 40:1; 51:3, 12; 66:13). Throughout 2 Corinthians the divine comfort Paul is describing is a consolatory strengthening in the face of adversity that affords refreshment.

Paul sees his suffering (cf. Ac 9:15–16; 20:22–23) not merely as personally beneficial, driving him to trust God alone (v. 9; 12:7), but also as directly benefiting those he ministered to: “God … comforts us … so that we can comfort.…” To experience God’s comfort in the midst of one’s affliction is to become indebted and equipped to communicate the divine comfort and sympathy to others who are in any kind of affliction or distress.[3]


3 The opening verse of the benediction (vv. 3–7) commences with “praise be,” an ascription often made to the God of Israel in the OT,16 and within the Jewish liturgical tradition. Strikingly, however, Paul directs this blessing to “the God” who is at the same time (1) “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”18 and (2) “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” The latter establishes continuity with the known character of the God of the OT as currently worshiped in the synagogues (see below), but the former expresses the recent historic revelation of the inner being of God as Father of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The verse has a chiastic (crisscross) structure:

Blessed be the

 

God

 

the Father of mercies

 

  and

 

and

 

  Father of our Lord …

 

the God of all comfort.

 

The effect of this rhetorical device is to emphasize that the God who is here “praised” is both (1) Father of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and (2) Father (= source) of mercies. The former part continues from “grace and peace from God our Father” of the verse preceding, whereas the latter part, “the God of all comfort,” is preparatory for “who comforts us” in the verse following.

Also repeated from the previous verse is the emphasis “our”—“our Father … our Lord.” Paul and the saints of Corinth share in common the one Father and the one Lord, his Son. The unity of the messianic community with its apostle and their reciprocity of relationships—important themes throughout the letter—are affirmed at the outset.

This benediction focusing on “the Father of our Lord” echoes back to God his own gospel word to us, with its dual emphasis on “the Son of God” and “Jesus Christ as Lord,” which appear within the letter as summaries of the message first brought to the Corinthians (1:19; 4:5). This reminds us of the close association between the apostles’ proclamation and, subsequently, the believers’ confession in the church (cf. Rom 10:9, 14–15). The word God speaks as gospel is returned to him by the church as the “blessing” of his name.

It is probable that “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” is to be understood as “God, even the Father,” that is, as Paul’s gloss on the synagogue benediction of God (cf. 11:31; Rom 15:6). The God of the patriarchs blessed by Paul the Jew is now blessed especially as “the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ” and “our Father” (v. 2). This is the first occasion within Paul’s (extant) letters that he has adapted the synagogue liturgy in this way, and it may reflect his response to the judaizing pressure evident at Corinth at that time (cf. 11:22, 31).

“The Father of mercies” is an ascription of God found in synagogue prayers contemporary with Paul, which in turn derives from the OT (e.g., Exod 34:6; Ps 25:6; 69:16). “Comfort” (paraklēsis), or perhaps better “encouragement” or “consolation,” is the keyword in the benediction (occurring ten times), and is frequently used within the letter, evoking OT images of the messianic age (Isa 40:1; 49:13; 51:3, 12, 19; 52:9; 61:2; 66:13). By NT times Jews were looking for the “consolation [comforting] of Israel” (Luke 2:25; cf. Matt 5:4). An environment of hostility against God’s people, but also the firm promise of deliverance from that hostility, is implied by the notion of “comfort.”

This cluster of references to “comfort” at the beginning of the letter, notwithstanding the implications of suffering, suggests that the twin notions of the messianic age and the messianic people are important themes (cf. 1:20; 3:3; 6:1–2) for Paul to impress upon the Corinthians at a time when, perhaps, the distinctive “newness” of the present dispensation is questioned by a judaizing influence. But the messianic “comfort” is mediated by the God who is “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” his Son.

“The God of all comfort,” like the “Father of mercies,” originates in traditional synagogue piety: “May the Lord of consolations comfort you. Blessed be he, who comforts the mourners.” Such a view of God arises from many references in the Psalms.23 Paul’s insertion of the adjective “all”—implying “every kind of” or “immeasurable”—intensifies the believers’ devotion to the God who is now revealed as Father.

This “God, even the Father of Christ,” is the divine source from whom flow down his “compassion and all comfort.” Such a conceptual model—which rests on the notion of the Father as source and the Lord Jesus Christ as channel—is found elsewhere in Paul’s writings. For example,

there is but one God, the Father,

 

   
  from whom all things came …

 

 
and … one Lord, Jesus Christ,

 

   
  through whom all things came. (1 Cor 8:6)

 

 

Paul’s is a vertical model, the Father being at the top—as it were—the blessings of “compassion and comfort,” as well as of divine self-disclosure, flowing from him through and in his Son, our Lord, to his people. The prepositions “from” (ek) and “through” (dia), though unstated in our passage, are implicit in the imagery of God as the “Father [i.e., source] of compassion … comfort.”

The Lord Jesus Christ does not stand next to the Father as a co-regent, but beneath him as mediator to humankind of the blessings of God, and at the same time revelator of that God. The Lord who came to us and who is now over us put a human face to God, brought God to us as One whom we could readily recognize. The glory of God shines on the face of Jesus Christ (4:6). Whatever else, the “great, mighty and fearful God” of the Jewish synagogue is forever to be known as “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

4 From his ascription to God as the source of all comfort the benediction is now personalized in terms of Paul and the Corinthians. The God whom he blesses comforts Paul so that, in turn, Paul is enabled to comfort others—that is, the Corinthians—with the comfort he himself has received from God. In the succeeding clauses Paul will elaborate on the dark theme of suffering (“all our troubles”) that he has introduced in this verse. But for the moment (in the two opening verses of the benediction) he wishes to concentrate on God and his comfort.

Once again (cf. v. 3) we find a chiastic structure, based on “God … us … we … God”:

[God]

 

who

 

    A

 

  comforts

 

us

 

in all our affliction

 

B

 

                that we may be able

 

 
to

 

comfort

 

  those who are in any affliction

 

B

 

  with the

 

     
  comfort

 

     
    with which we ourselves

 

   
are

 

comforted

 

     
by God.

 

    A

 

The chiasmus is complex and uneven, serving to direct our attention to “God … us,” the latter accentuated by the emphatic pronoun, “we ourselves are comforted.” There is also repetition: “all comfort … all affliction … every affliction”—and striking contrast between “comfort” and “affliction,” the vocabulary that dominates the benediction and that, in the case of “affliction,” significantly carries over to the next passage (“affliction in Asia”—v. 8).

Though continuing an idiom influenced by the synagogue benediction (see on v. 3), Paul’s use of the participial clause “God … who comforts” is also hymnic, calling to mind, for example, “the Lord … who forgives … who redeems … who crowns … who satisfies” (Ps. 103:2–5). This grammatical idiom points to actions that God typically does, in this case “God … comforts.” The God whom Paul blesses is dynamic in relationships; he is no heavenly abstraction (as was the theos of the Greeks).

Isaiah’s report of God’s command to him, “Comfort, comfort my people,” with which Isaiah 40–55 commences (a passage upon which Paul depends heavily throughout the letter) appears to be in Paul’s mind. As noted in v. 3, the notion of “comfort” (paraklēsis) implies both (1) the sufferings of God’s people in an alien environment, and (2) the hope of God’s deliverance from those sufferings.

Who, then, are the “us … we” in this verse who receive and give the comfort of God: (1) Paul, speaking of himself as apostle in the plural? (2) Paul with his co-sender Timothy? or (3) believers in general? The first option appears to be the most likely. Paul’s clear contrast “we”/“us … you” (vv. 6–7; cf. v. 11) suggests that Paul’s “we”/“us” is a plural reference to himself in his apostolic ministry.

Paul’s “in all our afflictions” introduces one of the keywords of the letter, which, as noted above, is significantly repeated within the next passage (v. 8) as an example of “troubles.” The vocabulary (thlipsis/thlibein) carries the idea of “pressure” felt inwardly resulting from difficult outward circumstances usually associated with Christian ministry and witness in the face of hostility. Both Paul and the Corinthians are subject to “trouble.” In Paul’s case “all our troubles,” as spelled out in the catalogue of missionary suffering (11:23b–12:10), expresses a life marked by suffering; in the Corinthians’ “in every—that is, in various kinds of—affliction.”33 “Afflictions” are the portion of the messianic people, but so too, is the divine “comfort.” The obvious linkage between “God … who comforts us in all our affliction” (v. 4) and “the afflictions we suffered in … Asia” (v. 8) gives this benediction its concrete character; there is nothing theoretical or remote here.

The corporate character of the messianic fellowship (= those who are “in Christ”) clearly emerges from this. God comforted Paul by Titus, who had been comforted by the Corinthians (7:6–7), enabling Paul in turn (by means of these words in this letter) to comfort the Corinthians—and indeed members of other churches—with the comfort of God. The Corinthians had sustained pain through Paul’s “Severe Letter” to them (7:7–11); now he comforts them. Thus God’s “comfort” comes full circle among his people. The closeness and reciprocity of fellowship within, and between, congregations as expressed here by Paul is rather pointed, given the Corinthians’ coolness to him at that time. It also calls into question the individualism of modern Christianity and the sense of remoteness within and among many contemporary churches.

How does God comfort his people? Although the later reference reveals God’s use of human intermediaries (7:6–7), in this verse there is no hint of such mediation. The exercise of “comfort” appears as a charisma, a concrete manifestation of the grace of God, a divine intervention. Paul declares that God’s “comfort in affliction” is divinely purposeful—as indicated by the purpose construction—“in order to enable” those comforted to comfort others.36 Basic to this process is the sense of sympathy for others evoked by God’s comfort of oneself in afflictions. God’s comfort is to stir up compassion leading to the passing on to others of the comfort of God; it is not to terminate on the receiver.[4]


1:3 / The apostle introduces his thanksgiving with a wish. Here, Paul expands the normal ot and Jewish liturgical formula “Blessed [is/be] God” (cf. J. Scharbert) by adding the words, “and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This reference to the Father recalls the greeting in verse 2, where God is called “our Father.” For the third time in the first three verses of the letter, Paul is pointing out the divine kinship that he and the Corinthians share together in Christ, the firstborn Son of God (cf. Rom. 8:29). Later, Paul will return to this notion of divine adoptive kinship to argue that the Corinthians should dissociate themselves from his opponents, who stand outside the sphere of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 6:18 in the context of 6:11–7:4).

Paul then elaborates on the words “God” and “Father” in chiastic order: the Father of compassion (cf. Lev. Rab. 17:4 to 14:34) and the God of all comfort (Rom. 15:5). For Paul, God is the one “who comforts the downcast” (2 Cor. 7:6). What exactly does this comfort include here? Is Paul speaking here of an inner feeling of relief or consolation? Or should we think rather of concrete help and assistance that God brings to the apostle in a dire circumstance? Or both? The following verses help us see more clearly.

1:4 / The descriptions of God continue in verse 4, giving the reason for which God is blessed. Starting in this verse, however, Paul suddenly shifts from using us/our in an inclusive sense to using it to refer to himself alone. Verse 6 highlights the explicit contrast between “we” (Paul) and “you” (Corinthians). Yet Paul’s train of thought helps us realize that the change most probably took place already in verse 4. Paul’s point at this juncture is not that God comforts us believers in general in all our troubles, but rather that God comforts Paul in particular in all his troubles; his comfort, in turn, overflows to the Corinthians (cf. vv. 5–6). The comfort that Paul receives belongs fundamentally to his apostolic ministry.

What does it mean that God “comforts” Paul in all his troubles? The word trouble (thlipsis) is used in Paul almost exclusively in the sense of the “oppression” or “tribulation” that is caused by outward circumstances or events (e.g., Rom. 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 1 Cor. 7:28; 2 Cor. 1:8; 4:17; 6:4; 7:4–5; 8:2; Phil. 4:14; 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3, 7; 2 Thess. 1:4, 6). The other use of the word, in the sense of an inner “distress” or “anguish,” occurs only in 2 Corinthians 2:4 and Philippians 1:17. That the former use of the term is intended here is shown by the fact that thlipsis in verse 4a (and the verb thlibesthai in v. 6a) corresponds to “the sufferings of Christ” in verse 5a (see below). When Paul speaks comprehensively of all our troubles, he has in view especially the tribulation portrayed in 1:8–11, for the introductory eulogy in verses 3–7 is explained and substantiated in verses 8–11. There Paul speaks of the “tribulation” (thlipsis) that he experienced in the Roman province of Asia (v. 8a) and describes it as an extremely dangerous situation that almost cost him his life (see further below).

If verses 8–11 make it clear that “troubles” refers to a dangerous situation caused by outside circumstances, then comfort refers primarily not to an inner feeling of encouragement or consolation, but to divine intervention in the perilous situation and deliverance from it (cf. v. 10). Hence the expression “the God of all comfort” (v. 3b) corresponds to the “God, who raises the dead” (v. 9b), and the phrase “who comforts us in all our troubles” (v. 4a) relates to “who has delivered us from such a deadly peril and will deliver us” (v. 10a). The language from Israel’s hymnal, the Psalms, bears a close resemblance to Paul’s description here (see Additional Notes below).

The purpose for which Paul is comforted in all his troubles is given in verse 4b. The divine comfort (= deliverance) that Paul receives as an apostle is thus mediated to others through Paul. Far from disrupting his apostolic ministry, Paul’s trials actually contribute to its efficacy. In being comforted (delivered) from adversity, Paul is able to spread that comfort to others.[5]


3. This thanksgiving for his late deliverance forms a suitable introduction for conciliating their favorable reception of his reasons for not having fulfilled his promise of visiting them (2 Co 1:15–24).

Father of mercies—that is, the source of all mercies (compare Jam 1:17; Ro 12:1).

comfort—which flows from His “mercies” experienced. Like a true man of faith, he mentions “mercies” and “comfort,” before he proceeds to speak of afflictions (2 Co 1:4–6). The “tribulation” of believers is not inconsistent with God’s mercy, and does not beget in them suspicion of it; nay, in the end they feel that He is “the God of all comfort,” that is, who imparts the only true and perfect comfort in every instance (Ps 146:3, 5, 8; Jam 5:11).

4. us—idiomatic for me (1 Th 2:18).

that we may … comfort them which are in any trouble—Translate, as the Greek is the same as before, “tribulation.” The apostle lived, not to himself, but to the Church; so, whatever graces God conferred on him, he considered granted not for himself alone, but that he might have the greater ability to help others [Calvin]. So participation in all the afflictions of man peculiarly qualified Jesus to be man’s comforter in all his various afflictions (Is 50:4–6; Heb 4:15).[6]


Ver. 3.—Blessed be God (Eph. 1:3). This outburst of thanksgiving was meant to repress the relief brought to the overcharged feelings of the apostle by the arrival of Titus, with news respecting the mixed, but on the whole good, effect produced at Corinth by the severe remarks of his first letter. It is characteristic of the intense and impetuous rush of emotion which we often notice in the letters of St. Paul, that he does not here state the special grounds for this impassioned thanksgiving; he only touches upon it for a moment in ch. 2:13, and does not pause to state it fully until ch. 7:5–16. It is further remarkable that in this Epistle almost alone he utters no thanksgiving for the moral growth and holiness of the Church to which he is writing. This may be due to the fact that there was still so much to blame; but it more probably arose from the tumult of feeling which throughout this letter disturbs the regular flow of his thoughts. The ordinary “thanksgiving” for his readers is practically, though indirectly, involved in the gratitude which he expresses to God for the sympathy and communion which exists between himself and the Church of Corinth. Even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek is the same as in Eph. 1:3, where, literally rendered, it is, “Blessed be the God and Father.” The same phrase is found also in 1 Pet. 1:3; Col. 1:3. The meaning is not, “Blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (although the expression, “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” occurs in Eph. 1:17; comp. John 20:17), but “Blessed be God, who is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” and who is therefore “our Father” by adoption and redemption, as well as our God by creation. The Father of mercies. This corresponds to a Hebrew expression, and means that compassionateness is the most characteristic attribute of God, and emanation from him. He is the Source of all mercy; and mercy

“Is an attribute of God himself.”

He is “full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Ps. 86:15). “The Law,” says the Talmud, “begins and ends with an act of mercy. At its commencement God clothes the naked; at its close he buries the dead” (‘Sotah,’ f. 14, 1). Thus every chapter but one of the Korân is headed, “In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful;” and it is an Eastern expression to say of one that has died that “he is taken to the mercy of the Merciful.” Comp. “Father of glory,” Eph 1:17; 1 Cor. 2:8 (“of spirits,” Heb. 12:9; “of lights,” Jas. 1:17). The plural, “compassions,” is perhaps a plural of excellence, “exceeding compassion” (Rom. 12:1), and may be influenced by the Hebrew word rachamim, often literally rendered by St. Paul “bowels.” The article in the Greek (“the Father of the compassions”) specializes the mercy. The God of all comfort. So in ch. 13:11 God is called “the God of love and peace;” Rom. 15:5, “the God of patience and of comfort;” 2:15, “the God of hope.” This word “comfort” (unfortunately interchanged with “consolation” in the Authorized Version) and the word “affliction” (varyingly rendered by “trouble” and “tribulation” in the Authorized Version), are the key-notes of this passage; and to some extent of the whole Epistle. St. Paul is haunted as it were and possessed by them. “Comfort,” as verb or substantive, occurs ten times in vers. 3–7; and “affliction” occurs four times in succession. It is characteristic of St. Paul’s style to be thus dominated, as it were, by a single word (comp. notes on ch. 3:2, 13; 4:2; see note on ch. 10:8†). The needless variations of the Authorized Version were well intentioned, but arose from a false notion of style, a deficient sense of the precision of special words, and an inadequate conception of the duties of faithful translation, which requires that we should as exactly as possible reflect the peculiarities of the original, and not attempt to improve upon them.

Ver. 4.—Who comforteth us. The “us” implies here, not only St. Paul and Timothy, but also the Corinthians, who are one with them in a bond of Christian unity which was hitherto undreamed of, and was a new phenomenon in the world. St. Paul always uses the first person in passages where he is speaking directly of individual feelings and experiences. In other passages he likes to lose himself, as it were, in the Christian community. The delicate play of emotion is often shown by the rapid interchanges of singular and plural (see vers. 13, 15, 17; ch. 2:1, 11, 14, etc.). The present, “comforteth,” expresses a continuous experience, with which the Christians of the first age were most happily familiar (John 14:16–18; 2 Thess 2:16, 17). In all our affliction. The collective experience of affliction is sustained by the collective experience of comfort. That we may be able to comfort. Thus St. Paul takes “a teleological view of sorrow.” It is partly designed as a school of sympathy. It is a part of the training of an apostle, just as suffering is essential to one who is to be a sympathetic high priest (Heb. 5:1, 2). In any trouble. The original more forcibly repeats the words, “in all affliction.” Wherewith we ourselves are comforted. By means of the comfort which God gives us, we can, by the aid of blessed experience, communicate comfort to others.[7]


Blessed be God (1:3–7)

If in his opening sentences Paul follows the established letter-writing format, in the next five sentences he observes another convention, also christianized, the Jewish blessing of God. Those who attended the synagogue of that time would pray, ‘Blessed art thou, O Lord our God and God of our fathers.’ The re-shaping of this prayer, now directed to ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’, gives some indication of the impact of Jesus as the Son of God on early Jewish Christian believers like Paul and Peter. The christianization of both the greeting and blessing as expressions, respectively, of Greek culture and Jewish religion, are evidence for the profound conversion to Christianity of the Hellenistic Jew, Saul of Tarsus. As with so much else in this letter, what he writes here is a direct commentary on his own personal circumstances. In the midst of acute suffering (1:8–9) Paul had experienced the comfort of God, and for this he devoutly declared his blessing on the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (verse 3). He was also locked in a fierce debate with the Judaizing ‘apostles’ who proclaimed what Paul calls ‘another Jesus’. It was important for him to establish at the outset that God, the God of the Old Testament and of the Jews, was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 3). God is to us the Father of Jesus and also ‘our Father’ (verse 2). Let those Corinthians who were succumbing to the Judaizing influence understand that God is able to be known as Father only as they acknowledge Jesus to be God’s Son and their Lord. Their understanding of Jesus’ relationship with God profoundly affected their own relationship with God. To reject Jesus as Lord would be to repudiate God as Father.

Paul’s blessing of God is tightly packed with interlocking ideas, three of which we now examine.

  • Christ’s sufferings carry over to us

In writing the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives (verse 5), Paul is teaching that some kind of solidarity exists between Christ and his people. Jesus foresaw that both he and his followers would suffer. God would ‘strike the shepherd,’ he said, ‘and the sheep will be scattered.’ He was referring not only to the events of the evening of his arrest but also to the scattering of his followers throughout the whole period until his return. Moreover, he taught that he and his followers were one in ministry both received and withheld. Referring to the future withholding of food, clothing and care from his ‘brothers’ the disciples, he said, ‘Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Paul had good reason to understand this. After Paul had heaped suffering on the believers, the risen Lord asked him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ This understanding of the solidarity of Christians with Christ in his suffering is by no means confined to Paul. Peter told his readers in Asia Minor to ‘rejoice … as you participate in the sufferings of Christ’.29 The messianic age began with the coming of Jesus; but it is an age marked by sufferings—his own and those of his people.

In this short paragraph the verbs and nouns for comfort (which presupposes suffering) occur ten times, for trouble three times and for suffer(ing) four times’. Directly or indirectly, suffering is referred to seventeen times in five verses! But to which suffering is he referring? Paul had in mind, in particular, what he called troubles (verse 4). The Greek word contains the idea of ‘pressure’, the ‘pressure’ which he felt as a result of his ministry. Paul’s challenge to idols and idolatry in Ephesus brought upon him such an oppressive sense of burden that he expected to die as a result of the experience (1:8–9). His insistence on sincere repentance among the Corinthians led him to write to them ‘out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears’ (2:4; cf. 7:8–10). While Paul doubtless was as prone to money worries, health problems and relationship conflicts as other people, faithfulness to Christ and to the ministry were the chief source of his troubles.

  • God comforts us

God is the Father of compassion (verse 3), which means he is a compassionate Father as well as the source of all compassion. Moreover, he is the God of all comfort (verse 3) something which reminds us of God’s call to Isaiah to ‘comfort, comfort my people’ (Is. 40:1). That this may be a picture of motherly tenderness is implied by God’s words through Isaiah: ‘As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you’ (Is. 66:13). The God of the Greeks, by contrast, was quite indifferent to human pain. This deity, which merely existed, possessed no knowable qualities and exerted no influence in the world. The God who is revealed in the Bible, however, has knowable qualities (the God of all comfort) and is active in his creation (he comforts us).

If God is the source of mercy and comfort, Christ is the channel through whom these things come to us. It is through Christ that our comfort overflows (verse 5). This means, as in all our relationships with God, we seek comfort and compassion in the name of Jesus, that is, as Christian believers. Whatever doctrines about Jesus the newcomers were teaching, the apostle made it clear that while all good things have their origin in God, they come to us through Christ. Thus he taught that not only the ‘new creation’ and ‘reconciliation’ (5:18) but also ‘comfort’ and ‘compassion’ come to us from God, through Christ

  • We are to comfort others

These verses teach us that Christian believers are united both with Christ and with one another. On the one hand, both troubles and comfort come to us through Christ; on the other, we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (verse 4). The comfort we receive from God through Christ we are both to give to and receive from one another. God’s comfort, therefore, is not to terminate on the one who receives it. God comforted Paul by the coming of Titus to Macedonia (7:6), just as Titus had previously been comforted by the Corinthians (7:7). Paul in turn will comfort the Corinthians (verse 6), God’s comfort thus having come full circle, from the Corinthians, through Titus to Paul, back to the Corinthians.

The intimacy of relationships in and between the New Testament churches is striking. Because the members knew one another they were able to give and receive comfort. In modern churches we often shrink from those relationships through which the comfort of God could be imparted. How are we to comfort others? Clearly we need to care about others and to be sensitive to their feelings and emotions, to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’. Modern counselling methods stress the importance of paying serious attention, with full eye-contact, as people speak to us. There is, moreover, a helpful emphasis on identifying the emotions, including depression. If we would be used by God to comfort and encourage, we must be prepared to listen without interruption so as to allow others to express to us their deepest feelings. While all Christian ministry must be directed ultimately to the mind and the will, it will frequently begin with the emotions.

Power and weakness, which together represent the unifying theme of this letter, are hinted at in this opening paragraph. All believers, like Paul and the Corinthians, suffer the weakness of troubles through their Christian service. Nevertheless the power of God in his mercies and comfort meets us at our point of need. Great though our sense of weakness may be, the power of God is always greater. Some ministers today unhelpfully raise the hopes of their people by promising them immediate health and prosperity, as their due portion from God. These promises appear to be tailor-made for a society whose need for instant gratification is unprecedented in history. Paul, by contrast, soberly refers to his readers’ sufferings, and he promises, not immediate healing and success, but God’s comfort which they will experience as they patiently endure (verse 6).[8]


3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.

  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

After the initial greeting, Paul bursts out in joyful praise with a Jewish benediction: blessed be the God. This is a liturgical formula frequently uttered by God’s people in worshipful praise and prayer. Doxologies in the five books in the Psalter, for instance, direct praises to God (Ps. 41:13 [40:14]; 72:19 [71:18]; 89:52 [88:53]; 106:48 [105:48]; 150:6). Paul voices a blessing or a eulogy that is identical to any Jewish benediction addressed to God (compare Luke 1:68). In nearly all his epistles, he utters praises and thanksgiving directed to God on behalf of the addressees. In verse 3, Paul expresses a benediction in which he urges the people to praise and to thank God (see Rom. 1:25; 9:5; 2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3; and 1 Peter 1:3). The expression blessed be the God is in the passive voice; the passive connotes that the agent, the Christian community, together with Paul, blesses God the Father.

Paul links the Christian formula of our Lord Jesus Christ to the nouns God and Father. R. C. H. Lenski interprets this correlation as follows: “For Jesus in his human nature God is God, and for Jesus in his deity God is his Father; his God since the incarnation, his Father from all eternity.”11 Moreover, through Jesus Christ all believers may freely address God as God and Father. On Easter Sunday Jesus instructed Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples: “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). Amplifying a familiar Jewish blessing with a Christian formula, Paul invites the recipients of his epistle to join him in praising God the Father.

  • “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” The two nouns God and Father are now reversed and supplied with descriptive modifiers. With the phrases Father of compassion and God of all comfort, Paul alludes to the Scriptures (Ps. 103:13, 17; Isa. 51:12; 66:13) and to a Jewish liturgical prayer, Ahabah Rabbah, offered in synagogue worship services. He stresses the love of the Father, who, by granting mercy to his erring children, sets them free.

Compassion is God’s love that seeks out, extends to, and transforms the sinner. Out of compassion flows God’s comforting love. God has tender love for those who are hurting and he comforts them in their hour of need. Notice that Paul writes “the God of all comfort.” This means that God is always ready to comfort those people who call on him. Whatever the hardships may be, God proves to be near to his saints and reassures them with his all-encompassing support (compare Rom. 15:5; 1 Cor. 10:13).

A last remark: The two phrases the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort fittingly introduce Paul’s discussion on comfort, trouble, hardship, and deliverance (vv. 4–11).

4. He comforts us in all our affliction to enable us to comfort those in any kind of affliction through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

  • “He comforts us in all our affliction.” Paul notes that the God of all comfort continually comforts him and all others who are suffering. Paul uses the first person plural pronoun three times in this verse. Does he employ the pronoun editorially? Is he referring to himself and his co-workers, including the recipients of this epistle? Although scholars present arguments that support either position, the immediate context is determinative. It points to Paul’s sufferings in the province of Asia (1:8–9; compare also 11:23–29). Thus we assume that the apostle is speaking primarily about himself. Nonetheless, we surmise that at times the Corinthian believers, like those in Macedonia, especially Thessalonica, faced suffering for the sake of Christ (see 8:2; 1 Thess. 2:14; 3:3). Following Jesus Christ inevitably elicits suffering for him in some form or other. A more inclusive use of the personal pronoun, therefore, cannot be ruled out. And this fact is evident from the second part of this verse.
  • “To enable us to comfort those in any kind of affliction.” If anyone could empathize with Christians who had to endure affliction, it was Paul himself. He had experienced and continued to experience hardships because of his calling to proclaim Christ Jesus. He and Barnabas strengthened the churches of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch and instructed the Christians to remain true to Christ. They said, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

With the words in any kind of, which translate the Greek pas (all), Paul uses an expression that covers any and every affliction the Corinthians may encounter. He is able to testify that affliction produces perseverance, character, and hope (Rom. 5:3). He has learned that allowing affliction in the lives of believers is part of God’s design to save sinners. Paul knows that God not only comforts and sustains him in his distress, but also gives him both the ability and the task to comfort others who suffer hardship.

  • “Through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” In the last part of this verse Paul draws a parallel with the love of God. That is, as recipients of God’s love we are obliged to lose our fellow men. Similarly, the comfort we receive in our affliction must be extended in turn to fellow believers who also endure difficulties. By being encouragers we are able to help effectively those around us when we ourselves have been recipients of God’s comforting care. This text, then, speaks of the corporate responsibility we have toward our fellow men.[9]

1:3–4. Paul began describing his hardships on a positive, exuberant note. The formula praise be to … God derived from the Old Testament (Ps. 41:13), but Paul modified it to express distinctively Christian praise. Not only is God praised, but he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This modification demonstrates that Paul saw Christianity as one with Old Testament religion, but not precisely the same. Christ had become the center of true belief. New Testament believers relate to God as the one who sent Christ.

Paul added that the Father has compassion and all comfort. This praise also derives from the Old Testament (Isa. 51:12; 66:13). Compassion denotes God’s mercy and his concern for the plight of those who suffer. Comfort is what God gives to those who suffer. These terms were appropriate because Paul was about to describe his own troubles in suffering for the gospel.

Paul suffered and was comforted partly so he could bring comfort to others in any trouble. His suffering in ministry was an act of service to the Corinthians. Having suffered and been comforted, Paul could comfort others with the comfort he had received from God. Paul’s use of the first person suggests that he thought primarily about himself and his company in this passage, but the principle applies to all believers. God permits his servants to suffer, and then comforts them so they may in turn comfort others.[10]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 18–24). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 110–112). 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, p. 441). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 68–73). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 24–25). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 299–300). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Corinthians (pp. 1–2). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[8] Barnett, P. (1988). The message of 2 Corinthians: power in weakness (pp. 28–32). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 41–43). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[10] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 303). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

THE HUNT: Liberals Blame Trump For Mass Shootings As Hollywood To Release Movie About The Targeting Killing Of Trump Supporters For Sport — Now The End Begins

A controversial movie called ‘The Hunt’ about privileged vacationers hunting “deplorables” for sport is ruffling feathers more than a month before its scheduled release and after tragic mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

Whoever first said that ‘liberalism is a mental disorder’, I think it was Michael Savage, really hit the nail on the head with that statement. Think about it. At this very moment Leftist Liberal Democrats are blaming President Trump for the recent mass shootings, despite the fact that the Dayton shooter was a Leftist Liberal who hated Trump and wanted Socialism in America. But somehow, Trump is still the problem.

The Liberals who run Twitter has no problem of any kind with allowing the #MassacreMitch hashtag calling for the murder of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  to trend, but when McConnell posts a video to show and prove the threats against him, it is his account that gets suspended for “violent speech”. Wha??? Huh???

Now the same Liberals who decry Trump’s “culture of violence” are applauding a new movie called ‘The Hunt‘ which proudly showcases the hunting for sport of Trump supporters and showing them being gunned downed in very violent fashion. This is what the Democratic Party has become, and it is truly frightening.

There was a day when being a Liberal was a noble calling and it meant that  you stood for fairness, decency and had love for your fellow man. But that day is not today. In 2019, being a Liberal means you share a common brain in a moron’s echo chamber, and are so filled with hatred for everyone who disagrees with you that you have lost the ability for rational and critical thinking as you call for their execution.

Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Hunt’ that satirizes killing of ‘deplorables’ causes outrage: ‘Demented and evil’

FROM FOX NEWS: “The Hunt” is billed as a satire that follows wealthy thrill-seekers taking a private jet to a five-star resort where they embark on a “deeply rewarding” expedition that involves hunting down and killing designated humans. The Hollywood Reporter reported on Tuesday that “Universal is re-evaluating its strategy for the certain-to-be-controversial satire” following the shootings after ESPN reportedly pulled a trailer for the film that had been previously cleared to air on the sports network.

“The violent, R-rated film from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse follows a dozen MAGA types who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals,” THR’s Kim Masters wrote. “It features guns blazing along with other ultra-violent killings as the elites pick off their prey.”

This Is What A Liberal Art Gallery Looks Like:

According to the Hollywood trade publication, characters in the film refer to the victims as “deplorables,” which is what Hillary Clinton famously dubbed Trump supporters during the 2016 election. The report noted that a character asks, “Did anyone see what our ratf–ker-in-chief just did?”

“At least The Hunt’s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables,” a character responds, according to THR.

“Out of sensitivity to the attention on the country’s recent shooting tragedies, Universal Pictures and the filmmakers of The Hunt have temporarily paused its marketing campaign and are reviewing materials as we move forward,” a Universal Pictures spokesperson told Fox News late Wednesday.

DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News that the movie is “harmful to a culture that surely needs messages of unity and understanding” during the current climate.

“It says something sad about the state of the ‘entertainment’ industry that this movie ever got conceived and produced. Hollywood clearly thinks it is OK to stereotype so-called deplorables and set them up for a hunt,” McCall said. “Thank heavens some sensible outlets are pulling the promotional ads.”

“The Hunt” stars Betty Gilpin and Hillary Swank, who play characters who represent “opposite sides of the political divide,” according to Masters, who added that it was originally titled, “Red State vs. Blue State.” READ MORE

Liberals Call For The Shooting Death Of Deplorables

This Is How Scary It Is To Be A Liberal In 2019

GRAPHIC WARNING: At the latest ‘Trump is Not a Racist: Change My Mind’ event, Steven Crowder deals with an insane, violent protester who calls himself “Jesus Christ.”

It’s Not Racist Is Liberals Say It

We asked people if they thought Trump’s statement on Baltimore were racist, except they were actually Bernie Sanders’ comments.

via THE HUNT: Liberals Blame Trump For Mass Shootings As Hollywood To Release Movie About The Targeting Killing Of Trump Supporters For Sport — Now The End Begins

Left-Wing Church Leaders Condemn “Christian Nationalism” — Juicy Ecumenism

A group of left-wing Christian officials and pastors has published a declaration against what it calls “Christian nationalism” and also includes statements made by some of the signatories.

“Christians Against Christian Nationalism” Specifically references the confluence of American and Christian identities that the authors believe has long existed on the right. This statement has been endorsed by Rev. Dr. Paul Baxley, Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, and Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

“Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy,” The statement reads, giving an impression that Christian nationalism is a clear danger to the political system of the United States.

According to the statement, Christian nationalism endangers democracy because, “Christian nationalism demands that Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian.” Furthermore, the authors of the report accuse Christian nationalism of providing, “cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.” The authors of this statement go on to specifically condemn Christian nationalism as a “damaging political ideology” and urge all Christians to join them in fighting this enemy of both Christianity and democracy.

The statement goes on to list and endorse several statements of faith targeted at the specter of Christian nationalism that the authors have created. However, most of these statements are ones that few people disagree with. Statements such as, “People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square” and “Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions” are agreed upon by the vast majority of Americans and are only contentious in fringe circles on both the Left or the Right. The statement continues, “Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions. One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing in the civic community. Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion.” The statements of belief targeting Christian nationalism continue to be nonissue softballs designed to be palatable to all but the most radical Christians. The rest of the statements follows this pattern.

The final point on this list is one of the most interesting: “We must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship.” While all acts of hate are to be explicitly condemned and disavowed, domestic terrorists who identify as Christian are few and far between. The core doctrines of Christianity forbid terrorist violence, and Christians know this.

A list of endorsers is included alongside the statement. Each figure listed also included a short comment on the problems with Christian nationalism, and many of these statements serve to expand on the original declaration somewhat. The point that conflating political ideology and religion is fundamentally idolatrous is made repeatedly.

“The merging of faith and politics into a single ideology is idolatrous and dangerous,” writes Jimmy Hawkins, director of the Office of Public Witness for the Presbyterian Church (USA). While this is certainly something to be avoided, I doubt it is a major issue among the evangelicals despite the insistence of left-wing Christians.

David Closson, Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview for the Family Research Council, recently published an article on the Statement Against Christian Nationalism. In this article he takes a less than charitable view of both the article and the authors saying, “No one is seriously arguing that “to be a good American, one must be a Christian.” This points to the insincere motives of this movement…” Closson argues that the idea of Christian nationalism, in the way it is defined by the religious left, does not represent an honest critique of evangelicalism in the United States, but instead, “theologically liberal Christians are fearful of the gains social conservatives have made in the last few years, and they are attempting to sideline faithful Christians by creating… a “radioactive term” to sully their reputation.”

The current uproar over Christian nationalism has not been brought on by a massive rise in this ideology on the Religious Right, but instead has been manufactured by the Religious Left as a strawman argument with which to tar conservative and traditionalist Christians as part of an ongoing campaign to silence those who disagree with them.

via Left-Wing Church Leaders Condemn “Christian Nationalism” — Juicy Ecumenism

The Fake News Media Wants You To Forget That Under President Obama Over 631 People Were Killed And Wounded In Mass Shootings In America — Now The End Begins

In the wake of mass shootings, Obama on Monday issued a lengthy statement urging Americans to reject leaders who feed “a climate of fear and hatred.”

The Far Left Liberals over at Time Magazine were nice enough to produce an article showing all the people killed or wounded in mass shootings here in America going all the way back to 1982. For the purpose of this article today, we focused only on the years between 2008 – 2016, the 8 years that Barack Obama was president. Time says that an astonishing 631 people were killed and wounded in mass shootings. Talk about an eye-opener.

So it comes with just a tiny bit of surprise that former president Obama would dare to rebuke President Trump for mass shootings on his watch while on Obama’s watch a veritable river of blood was flowing through the streets of America. But that’s what the fake news media is hoping for, that if they just relentlessly pound Trump 24 hours a day, you will forget about all the really terrible things that took place when Obama was president.

Obama Forgetting His Own Past As He Rebukes Trump Over Mass Shootings

FROM THE HILL: President Trump on Tuesday morning addressed former President Obama’s statement about the mass shootings last weekend, tweeting a quote from “Fox & Friends” co-anchor Brian Kilmeade criticizing the former president’s response to mass shootings during his presidency.

Trump tweeted the quote shortly after Kilmeade expressed dismay with Obama’s statements regarding the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend that left at least 32 people dead.

“I’m just wondering did [George W. Bush] ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook?” Kilmeade asked, referring to a 2012 mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. “[Obama] had 32 mass shootings of four or more during his reign. Not many people said, ‘wow President Obama is out of control.’ 17 so far for President Trump. It’s way too high.”

“But I have news for you. Mass shootings were happening before the president thought about even running for president of the United States,” he continued.

In the wake of the shootings, Obama on Monday issued a lengthy statement urging Americans to reject leaders who feed “a climate of fear and hatred.”

“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred and normalizes racist sentiment,” he said. “Leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”

Obama did not mention Trump by name, but his words amounted to an implicit rebuke of Trump.

Obama’s statement came as many Democratic lawmakers called for greater regulations surrounding gun purchases. It also came as more details emerged about the alleged shooter in El Paso. The suspect is believed to have posted an anti-immigrant manifesto on the fringe message board platform 8chan before carrying out the attack on Saturday.

Some have argued that the manifesto, which refers to Hispanics coming to the U.S. as an invasion, echoed Trump’s immigration rhetoric.

Trump on Monday urged the nation to condemn bigotry and white supremacy while delivering remarks from the White House. He also placed support behind “red flag” laws that would allow law enforcement to confiscate guns with a court order. READ MORE

via The Fake News Media Wants You To Forget That Under President Obama Over 631 People Were Killed And Wounded In Mass Shootings In America — Now The End Begins

August 8, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump met victims and first responders from last weekend’s
deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio on Wednesday, as chanting protesters
accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged
rhetoric.

Police in Brazil on Thursday arrested Eike Batista, the charismatic mining
and oil magnate who was once Brazil’s richest man, on suspicion of money
laundering and “capital market manipulation.”

A short-term spike in radiation levels was recorded in a northern Russian
city after a rocket engine exploded at a military testing site on Thursday,
TASS news agency cited a spokeswoman for city authorities in Severodvinsk
as saying.

At least one person was killed in renewed fighting in Aden, the seat of
Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, a day after clashes between supporters of
rival political groups killed around three, local sources said.

Turkey will not let plans for safe zone in northeast Syria to stall over
negotiations with the United States, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said
on Thursday, a day after Washington and Ankara announced plans for a joint
headquarters but offered few details.

Pakistan halted its main train service to India on Thursday and banned
Indian films as it kept up the diplomatic pressure on New Delhi for
revoking the special status of Kashmir, the region at the heart of 70 years
of hostility between them.

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits
unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labor market remains strong
even as the economy is slowing. Initial claims for state unemployment
benefits declined 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 for the week ended
Aug. 3.

Global meat consumption must fall to curb global warming, reduce growing
strains on land and water and improve food security, health and
biodiversity, a United Nations report on the effects of climate change
concluded.

China’s exports unexpectedly returned to growth in July on improved global
demand despite escalating U.S. trade pressure, but the rebound may be
short-lived as Washington prepares to slap even more tariffs on Chinese
goods.

The United States raised its travel warning for Hong Kong, urging increased
caution by visitors to the Chinese territory in the face of what it
described as civil unrest after months of sometimes violent street
protests.

AP Top Stories

Damascus said Thursday it rejects a US-Turkish plan to establish a buffer
zone in northern Syria, blaming Syria’s Kurds for the proposal, state media
said.

U.S. immigration authorities arrested nearly 700 people at seven
agricultural processing plants across Mississippi on Wednesday in what
federal officials said could be the largest worksite enforcement operation
in a single state.

Federal prosecutors say they’ve charged 32 people who sold drugs in a
notorious San Francisco neighborhood as part of an international operation.

A sex-trafficking victim, who was sentenced as a teenager to life in prison
for murder, was released from a Tennessee prison on Wednesday after serving
15 years for killing a man who paid to have sex with her, according to
prison officials. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and singer Rihanna had
taken up Brown’s cause.

Japan has approved the export to South Korea of some key products for the
first time since introducing stricter trading rules amid an ongoing row
between the two US allies.

The United States and the Taliban have resolved differences in peace talks
over the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and guarantees from
the insurgents that they will cut ties with other extremist groups, a
Taliban official said Tuesday.

Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India and suspended trade with
its neighbor as the political row over the disputed territory of Kashmir
escalates.

A former Boy Scout leader was sentenced Wednesday for possession of
thousands of images and hundreds of videos of child pornography.

BBC

Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change, UN experts
have said. A major report on land use and climate change says the West’s
high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fueling global warming. But
scientists and officials stopped short of explicitly calling on everyone to
become vegan or vegetarian.

Green and Social Democrat (SPD) politicians in Germany say the 7% sales tax
(VAT) rate on meat should be raised to 19% to help curb global warming and
fund animal welfare improvements.

UK-based Ryanair pilots have voted to strike in a row over pay and
conditions. The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has announced
two walkouts, one from 22-23 August, while the second strike will be from
2-4 September.

Israeli forces are hunting for the killer of a 19-year-old off-duty
soldier, found stabbed to death in an apparent failed kidnap attempt.

WND

The number of mass shootings in the last week has prompted many to purchase
guns and sign up for classes to earn their license to carry concealed
weapons, according to the people who are doing training.

Researchers from Australia have offered up a potentially groundbreaking
explanation: gonorrhea can be transmitted simply through kissing with
tongue.


News – 8/8/2019

Temple Institute To Jews Worldwide: Build The 3rd Temple
The Temple Institute has released a powerful new video to awaken world Jewry and reframe the traditional period of mourning into one of preparation for the rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple.

Trump aide John Bolton links future Asia missile deployment to protecting allies including Japan
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday linked the deployment of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) in Asia to protecting America’s allies in the region — including Japan — despite Chinese warnings it would take retaliatory countermeasures. Bolton said that any U.S. deployment of the missiles would be a defensive move as China continues to amass a large arsenal of weapons that put American and Japanese military bases and facilities within striking distance.

Political Violence Fuels Globalist Endgame That Has All of Humanity in its Sights
Political violence will fuel an agenda that has a gun held at all of our heads. We cannot give in to the propaganda. Before the nation descends into chaos, remember that there is a larger agenda at play.

Getting Ready: Temple Institute Practices Burning the Red Heifer
Israeli professor involved in test of the Red Heifer ritual calls it an “historical moment” on the road to purity and redemption. The Temple Institute has recently done just that: …Experimenting with the meticulous rabbinic rituals surrounding the red heifer. The effort includes burning a dead cow on a kind of a wooden altar. Into the burning fire were also thrown cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet-dyed wool. The experiment was designed to check the amount of ash produced, and whether it would be enough to purify every Israelite living today.

IDF moves to expand integration of transgender troops
Israel’s army making adjustments from very start of the recruitment process, including addressing soldiers by new names and gender identity, offering special arangements for religious trans soldiers, consultations with doctors and commanders.

Foxes Seen at Temple Mount: Prophetic Proof Jerusalem Returning to Former Glory
In a graphic materialization of the prophecy in Zechariah as explained in the Talmud, foxes are now being seen playing at the Temple Mount. It was reported in The Yeshiva World that visitors to the area have observed the group of about a dozen foxes in the southwestern area of the Western Wall for the last three days in the early hours of the day. This precise scenario was discussed in the Talmud (Makkot 24b). Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem. When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox emerging from the place of the Holy of Holies.

CNN Confirms: Dayton Shooter Had ‘Extreme’ Left-Wing Views; Backed Warren, Sanders
The report — which appears on CNN’s website, but has not apparently appeared on air as of this writing — states: A Twitter account that appears to belong to Dayton mass shooter Connor Bettsretweeted extreme left-wing and anti-police posts, as well as tweets supporting Antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters.

CA Department of Education Prepares Mandatory Anti-Israel Curriculum
“The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum is deeply troubling–not only for its shocking omission of any mention of Jewish Americans or anti-Semitism or its blatant anti-Israel bias and praise of BDS, but for its clear attempt to politically indoctrinate students to adopt the view that Israel and its Jewish supporters are part of ‘interlocking systems of oppression and privilege’ that must be fought with ‘direct action’ and ‘resistance,’

China removes ‘Bible,’ ‘God,’ ‘Christ’ from children’s classics like ‘Robinson Crusoe’
In efforts to bring Christianity further under government control, authorities in China have erased the words “Bible,” “God” and “Christ” from classic children’s stories, including Robinson Crusoe.

Sanders, Harris and Booker stump at church whose pastor said being gay is ‘enough to send you to hell’
Three leading Democratic presidential candidates – all ardent supporters of LGBTQ rights – have made campaign stops in the last two months at a Baptist church led by a controversial Las Vegas pastor who believes that being gay is “enough to send you to hell.”

‘Death Camps for Trump Supporters Now!!!’ Emblazoned on ANTIFA-style Fliers in New York
Today in Patchogue, a city in New York, fliers were found plastered across signage declaring support for “Death Camps for Trump Supporters Now!!!”

NASA Circling DC-8 Jet Around San Andreas Fault Sparks Conspiracy Theories
“Everyone kind of stopped in their cars, looking up. It was big and loud.”

Philippines declares epidemic after more than 600 die from dengue fever
The Philippines declared a national epidemic Tuesday after an outbreak of dengue fever killed more than 622 people this year.

Iran-backed Houthis launch drone attacks on 3 Saudi airports
Waging war on many fronts while the Democrats front for them.

Super-sized hailstorm pounds Watertown, Delano, Maine
The hailstorm that hit Watertown and Delano Monday afternoon was described by area residents as super-sized.

Toxic, treasonous media pushing “white supremacist” hoax and hit lists of Trump supporters in desperate scheme to drive America into civil war
It’s now obvious the malicious, toxic media is pushing a “white supremacist” hoax in a desperate scheme to drive America into a civil war.

Israel Successfully Launches ‘Amos-17’ Satellite to Bring the Internet to Africa
Israel is helping Africa connect to the rest of the world thanks to a new satellite soaring into space.

17 Things You Can Count On When The UN Is Brought In to Quell Racial Unrest Resulting From False Flag Attacks
About a week ago, I received this email which asks a very timely question, what are the Kigali Principlas? Dear Dave, I visit your site every morning and I want to thank you for what you do. You have mentioned something quite frequently called the kigali principle and how they will be used to take away our country. Can you tell us more? Thanks, John

Typhoon “Lekima” strengthening, heading toward Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and Shanghai, China
Typhoon “Lekima,” the 9th named tropical cyclone of the 2019 Pacific typhoon season is strengthening on its way toward southern Ryukyu Islands, Japan, northern Taiwan and Shanghai, China.

China’s H-6K Heavy Bomber Could Soon Air-Launch Hypersonic Missiles For Pre-Emptive Attacks 
“In a war, our main objective is to launch attacks on an enemy’s deep and vital positions, paralyzing their facilities.” 


Headlines – 8/8/2019

PA chairman Abbas meets Democratic members of Congress, stresses importance of “two-state solution”

Abbas: We Reject Any US Decision Related to Us

House legislation seeks to restore USAID projects to Palestinian areas

Gazans renew arson balloon attacks on southern Israel

Israeli Soldier Killed in West Bank Attack; Security Forces Suspect Failed Kidnapping

Israel hunts killer of off-duty soldier in West Bank

Lawmakers blame government policies, push for annexation after student killed

IDF moves to expand integration of transgender troops

Rabbi denies ‘secret’ effort to bypass US Jewish groups in dialogue with Israel

State Department redefines antisemitism: Don’t compare Israel to the Nazis

At summit, Israel, US, Greece, Cyprus agree to boost energy cooperation

Over 100,000 Detained and Missing in Syria’s War, Top UN Official Says

Hezbollah Peddling Drugs to Teens in Syria, Locals Joining the Drug Dealing Bandwagon

Syrian govt: US-Turkish deal is an attack on Syria

The White House Is Split On Iran, With One Side Thirsty For Conflict

Taliban kills 14, wounds over 100 in Kabul suicide bombing amid US ‘peace talks’

Kashmir dispute: Pakistan downgrades ties with India

Kashmir an ‘internal affair,’ India tells Pakistan

US supports direct dialogue between Pakistan, India on Kashmir

More protests as US raises Hong Kong travel warning amid growing unrest

China Warns Hong Kong It Will Intervene if Situation Deteriorates

China Vows to Counter US Deployment of Midrange Arms in Asia

China has a $1 trillion trade war weapon. Will it ever use it?

US says Japan, South Korea ‘soul searching’ needed over damaging row

Resume peace talks, Ukraine’s Zelenskiy urges Putin after four soldiers killed

Royal Navy ship shadows Russian vessel through Channel

The trade war is part of a ‘perfect storm’ hitting Europe’s biggest economy

‘No-deal’ Brexit chances rise as EU reportedly claims the UK has no other plan

Britain would face food shortages in no-deal Brexit, industry body says

Venezuela’s Maduro halts talks with opposition after US sanctions

Wanda Vazquez becomes Puerto Rico’s 3rd governor in a week after island’s highest court ruling

ICE raids on Mississippi food processing plants result in 680 arrests

False Reports Of Gunmen In N.Y.C. And Virginia Cause Jitters Following Mass Shootings

‘Everyone is safe.’ USA TODAY headquarters evacuated after unconfirmed report of person with a weapon

Hollywood blockbuster that satirizes killing of ‘deplorables’ causes outrage: ‘Demented and evil’

Amnesty International issues US travel warning citing ‘rampant gun violence’

Protests, political attacks greet Trump as he visits Dayton, El Paso

‘Racist Go Home’: Protesters Chant as Trump Visits Dayton, El Paso

Catholic archbishop deletes tweets telling Trump to ‘stop racism, starting with yourself’

Trump Endorses Background Checks, Rules Out Assault Weapons Ban

White House to meet with internet companies after shootings

White House drafting executive order to tackle Silicon Valley’s alleged anti-conservative bias

Twitter locks McConnell campaign account after posting video of protester shouting threats, profanities

Apple stands in the global antitrust crosshairs

Joaquin Castro outed his own donors in bid to shame Trump supporters

Portland Braces for Another Round of Proud Boys, Antifa Fights

Trump slams the Fed amid market volatility

Janet Yellen told us Trump’s attacks on the Fed are ‘a first’ – and stressed the importance of an independent central bank

India’s central bank cuts rates to 9-year low as economy stumbles

Chernobyl’s ‘sarcophagus’ being dismantled due to ‘very high’ probability of collapse

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Su’ao, Taiwan

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Farkhar, Afghanistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near southern East Pacific Rise

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 24,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador eruts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Asamayama volcnao on Japan erupts to 15,000ft

Mt Etna volcano in Italy erupts to 11,000ft

Typhoon’s Lekima and Krosa take aim for China, Japan and South Korea with more flooding and damaging winds

Thunderstorms drop baseball-sized hail in South Dakota

Flash Flood Hits Tourist Spot in China, at Least 12 Dead

50-year-old records fall as extreme heat bakes western US

Millions in Zimbabwe facing starvation after severe droughts, UN food agency says

162 children in Paris tested for lead poisoning after Notre Dame fire

Military lab, which handles Ebola and other dangerous pathogens, suspended after failing CDC inspection


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Steve Gregg – Is Dispensationalism Indispensable?

What’s the Best Approach To Interpreting the Bible

John Hagee –Where’s My Money! Don’t Make me Send God After You! — A Tithing Tale

God hates visionary dreaming…


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

August 8 Quenching the Spirit

scripture reading: Ephesians 4:25–32
key verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Do not quench the Spirit.

The fire of the Spirit burns continuously to work the will of the Father. However, His flame is not often seen in our behavior because of a “quenching” of His activity. The Spirit can be resisted. His promptings can be ignored. His inner stirrings can be doused.

How do you quench the Spirit?

The Spirit is quenched when you fail to spend consistent time in God’s Word. The Scriptures were authored by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The primary way that the Spirit communicates to you is through the Bible. How can you hear His voice, understand His ways, or carry out His desires if you neglect His Word?

The Spirit is also quenched when you stubbornly cling to a bad habit, a willful sin, or a carnal desire. The Spirit seeks to makes you holy. That is why He is the Holy Spirit. Holiness, however, is not attained unilaterally. It involves your cooperation and your obedience to His cleansing and conviction.

Are you resisting Him at a point? Have you turned a deaf ear to His urgings? His fullness, blessing, and power are yours the instant you obey.

Lord, I don’t want to quench Your work in me. Make me responsive to the conviction of Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, make me holy.[1]


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

Scary: Photo Rendering Reveals What Portland Would Currently Look Like Without Antifa | The Babylon Bee

PORTLAND, OR—Using new photographic future-imaging software Chronologitronic, visual media experts at Portland State University have revealed what Portland would look like had Antifa not been out on the streets hitting old people, beating up journalists, and throwing vegan coconut milkshakes at anybody they deemed “fascist.”

The image reveals a hellscape of authoritarian Nazi reign. The Portland we know today is barely recognizable but for a few familiar landmarks such as the Portland sign, the Portland convention center pointy things, and VooDoo Donuts. Other than that it’s pure nazis as far as the eye can see.

Experts say that the actions of Antifa have abated potential nazi groups from sprouting up in one of the most politically left-leaning parts of the country. Thanks to the vigilante group, only a few very small factions of actual nazis exist, and they don’t even have the funding to make cool helmets and flags yet.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has cited this image-rendering as evidence backing his decision to allow Antifa to, “roam the streets and just go nuts out there.” Wheeler told local diners to provide the group with all the vegan coconut milkshakes they desire and for the police to turn a blind eye if they start wailing on someone with a bike lock or an old pipe. “Sometimes to fight the big fascism, you need some littler fascism,” Wheeler explained. “Antifa, keep doing what you’re doing.”

— Read on babylonbee.com/news/scary-photo-rendering-reveals-what-portland-would-currently-look-like-if-antifa-had-not-fought-the-nazis

8 august (1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Righteous hatred

“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10

suggested further reading: Genesis 39

With regard to some sins, if thou wouldst avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except after Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Fly, fly, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and fly, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attack thee, shut thine eye and stop thy ear, and away, away from it; for thou art only safe when thou art beyond sight and earshot. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavour with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves. Once again, ye that love the Lord, if ye would keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go forth to the day’s duties. We are never safe unless we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, be he who he may, or what he may, though he be renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when thou unlockest thy heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.”

for meditation: There are two sides to victory over temptation—resisting the flesh and yielding to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Sometimes the emphasis will be to flee, sometimes to follow, sometimes to fight (1 Timothy 6:11–12), but neither side will be effective without the other.

sermon no. 208[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 227). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Thursday Briefing August 8, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 Hollywood Present the ‘Matter of Fact’ Abortion: And Then Adds the Obscenity of Humor

PART II

 Abortion and Liberal Judaism: Understanding the Theological Landscape

PART III

 Religion Without Theology: It’s a Pattern Beyond Protestantism


DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

NEW YORK TIMES

Hollywood and the Matter-of-Fact Abortion, by Cara Buckley

MS. MAGAZINE

 When Abortion Becomes Ordinary, by Aviva Dove-Viebahn

PART II

PART III

Shootings Are Not About Gun Control Or White Supremacy. Ask Chicago | The Federalist

The real issue at the heart of these mass shootings lies with the pain the men who commit these acts are feeling.

During the same weekend two lone gunmen perpetrated mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, 55 people were shot in Chicago, seven of them fatally. Two weeks ago, two mothers who took a public stand against street violence were also murdered in Chicago. The irony of these slayings shows the true extent of the tragedy that is taking place in America’s second city.

While the murder toll in Chicago is brandished every year for a shocking media moment, the crisis is not taken anywhere as seriously as it should be, particularly at the national level. Honestly, if politicians had anything to gain from talking about it, we’d never stop hearing about Chicago.

The tragedy of mass shootings deserves a measured emotional response and a thorough analysis to help prevent them in the future. Yet liberals are prone to politicize these shootings to advance their political agenda.

The shootings are not a gun control issue or even a white supremacy issue. The real issue at the heart of these mass shootings lies with the pain the men who commit these acts are feeling. The thoughts expressed in their often-detailed explanations for their actions are symptoms of their intense emotional anguish. What these mass shootings have in common with Chicago is the murderers are in most cases men struggling to cope with life.

Chicago is a failed liberal project. The liberal media ignores the violence in the city because the gun control measures they advocate for have already failed there. Murders are down in Chicago, and it has nothing to do with stricter gun laws. Gun control has loosened in Chicago as murders have gone down, actually.

In 2014, Illinois began allowing concealed carry permits to give regular citizens a better chance to protect themselves from the onslaught. Tougher policing in targeted zones has also helped to curb some of the violence, but ridiculous amounts of shootings still occur.

Violence in Chicago could use more attention and fresh ideas. Yet our overtly political media space does little to address the issue. Partisanship has put the country at-large in a perpetual state of reaction. Instead of reacting to the mass shootings, the media has programmed us to react to President Trump. People now live as if we are in a constant election cycle, and the hysteria on both sides has made the public conversation less effective.

We are built with the wiring to blame our leaders for the problems we face, as it is difficult to cope with the reality that many things are out of our control. For liberals, Trump is the perfect scapegoat. By many of their reactions you’d swear he had pulled the trigger in Texas himself.

Many people believe that simply changing some gun laws would stop these shootings, yet most shooters have either violated existing laws or wouldn’t be stopped by proposed laws. Ignorance is useful for politics, but not so useful in problem solving.

Strict gun control laws did little to deter the violence in Chicago before the laws were relaxed, and it will do little to stop mass shootings. That seven people were killed in Chicago last weekend is just as alarming as these mass shootings. Chicago’s response should be to continue to innovate policing and continue empower people to protect themselves.

Just like last weekend in Chicago shouldn’t distract from the reality that murders are down in the city, these recent mass shootings shouldn’t become election fodder. Stirring racial animus toward white men for the actions of these mass shooters is the same as blaming every black man in Chicago for the sins of a few.

The political leanings of the recent mass shooters are just as irrelevant as the video games the Columbine shooters enjoyed playing. These superficialities are mere coping mechanisms for the void these men feel in their lives.

The violence in Chicago is not a product of rap music, and the violence of mass shooters is not a product of politics. Modern men are violent because they are broken. A few men are born broken, but society is responsible for most broken men. A certain degree of violence cannot be prevented, but in these extreme cases society must be examined.

While smarter policing and giving power back to the people has been a good start in Chicago, the unnecessary violence will continue until America decides that it cares about the plight of the men in the city. According to their own words, these mass shooters don’t feel like they matter much.

Men who resort to violence believe they are doing something that matters. The men in Chicago don’t have much, and the men doing the El Paso and Dayton shootings don’t have much either. Privilege has little to do with either. If we want to truly address the issue of violent men in America, then we have to stop acting like certain men don’t matter.

Mass shootings are beyond the issues of gun control and President Trump’s rhetoric. These kinds of shootings were taking place before President Trump, and they will continue to take place after he is gone. The more’s the tragedy.

Justin McClinton was born on the south side of Chicago. He is a Morehouse Man, a Sowellian, and a lover of all things Chicago sports sans Cubs. He has a PhD in education policy.

We Killed God, Family, And Community — And Now It’s Killing Us | The Federalist

We have discarded social institutions that have helped people understand their value and place in the world for thousands of years. And their decline is not just mirrored in the rise of mass shootings.

Once upon a time, you had meaning. You knew you had meaning because you had a mom and a dad who told you so, a God who loved you, and a community that needed you. 

Once upon a time, if something happened to you, a significant number of people would mourn your death — not only because you were a good person and a good friend, but also because the community would suffer without your presence and skills. Now, the vast majority of people can barely count on one hand the number of people whose life would be truly altered by their passing. 

For the most part, it can easily feel like no one cares about you anymore. Your skills are ubiquitous, you have no true community, and God doesn’t exist. So what, you may ask, is exactly the point?

We have created a society that now offers almost none of the things that make people truly happy. Family, community, spiritual belonging — these are the foundational and primal building blocks of human happiness, and they are rapidly disappearing. 

With the destruction of the family, the church, and the community, the reasons people have traditionally had for their very existence are in danger of receding into the past. And the outcome is predictable: isolation, depression, anxiety, despondency, drug abuse, and death.

When we talk about gun violence, just about no one talks about these root causes. It is not as if we haven’t had large numbers of powerful semi-automatic weapons in this country for many decades. In fact, when I was in high school, my classmates regularly kept rifles in their truck gun racks in the school parking lot. 

In light of these facts, the only sensible question to ask is, what has changed? Instead, politicians and pundits ask all the wrong questions. Do we have too many guns? (We always have.) Are video games and movies too violent? (They always have been.) Do we need more laws? (We have more than we can keep track of.)

Discarding Institutions

No, the thing that has fundamentally changed is that we have discarded those regulating social institutions that have helped people understand their value and place in this world for thousands of years. Their decline is not just mirrored in the rise of mass shootings, but more broadly in a host of statistics that reveal an epidemic of despair. 

For example, between 2000 and 2017, the rate of deaths due to drug overdose increased 400 percent, from 3 per 100,000 to 15 per 100,000. The suicide rate has increased from 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. These horrific increases have literally reduced the life expectancy in the United States from 78.9 in 2014 to 78.6 in 2017. 

These statistics mirror the death of the family and the decline of faith. Children born out of wedlock increased from 20 percent in 1985 to more than 40 percent in 2013, with crime statistics tracking this trend almost exactly. Church membership declined from 70 percent in 1998 to 50 percent today. Taken together, these statistics of despair demonstrate what happens when people feel they have no place, no purpose, and no value in our world.

Inevitable Isolation

Technology exacerbates this phenomenon by allowing and encouraging us to isolate ourselves. Technology allows people to live their lives completely alone. People can sit in front of video games and indulge in violent fantasies. They can view endless pornography or isolate themselves into ideological bubbles that reinforce their desperate ideas. 

The only antidote to this toxic brew is to engage with other people in ways that are beneficial for human flourishing. The only remedies are the institutions that have satisfied the human condition over millennia: family, community, and faith. And we are losing them. In fact, we are killing them.

Human beings are not designed for isolation. We require deep and meaningful connection. We need family and community. We are desperate for life and the love of others. We need people and institutions to help us navigate the world, to help us see that we have purpose, to help us understand right from wrong, and to imbue us with a sense of moral clarity that will hold us up during the desperate times we will all face.

Why would anyone be surprised that when we take away the foundational social structures that have allowed for the flourishing of humanity, bad things will happen? We all know very well what happens when more and more children grow up in single-parent homes. Increased suicide, drug use, drop out, teen pregnancy, and mental disorders. 

We know what happens when communities deteriorate. Isolation, loneliness, and a decline in social norms. And when we destroy the church, the very institution that has been our bedrock of values, morality, and redemption for thousands of years? Despair, immorality, desperation, and evil. 

Combine all three, and we know exactly what happens. An opioid epidemic so severe that it has literally reduced our average life expectancy. A suicide rate that continues to climb for almost all demographic groups. Mass shootings. 

Destroy the family, abandon the community, raze the church to the ground. What could go wrong? Everything.

— Read on thefederalist.com/2019/08/08/killed-god-family-community-now-killing-us/

8 AUGUST 365 Days with Calvin

Becoming Servant Ministers

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 4:1

suggested further reading: Hebrews 3:1–6

It was a matter of no little importance to see the church torn by corrupt factions resulting from the likes or dislikes people had toward various leaders. Paul thus enters into a lengthy discussion about the ministry of the Word.

He offers three basic considerations. First, Paul describes the office of the minister of the church. Second, he shows it is not enough for anyone to have a title or even to undertake a duty; faithful administration of the office is required. Third, as the judgment formed of him by the Corinthians was preposterous, Paul brings himself and his critics to the judgment seat of Christ.

First, then, he teaches how every teacher in the church ought to be regarded. In this regard he modifies his discourse in such a manner that he neither lowers the value of the ministry nor assigns to a man more value than is necessary. Both extremes are dangerous because when ministers are poorly esteemed, contempt of the Word arises. On the other hand, if ministers are extolled beyond measure, they may abuse their liberty and become “wanton against the Lord” (1 Tim. 5:11).

Paul calls teachers ministers of Christ, meaning they ought to apply themselves not to their own work but to that of the Lord, who has hired them as his servants. They are not appointed to rule the church in an authoritative manner but are subject to Christ’s authority. In short, they are servants, not masters, of the church.

for meditation: Ministers of the Word have often been esteemed far above what is suitable for a mere sinner in the service of the Lord; but they have equally often been held in extremely low esteem. As Calvin points out, neither situation is healthy. We must strive to treat our shepherds with proper respect, not placing them on a pedestal nor demeaning and criticizing them. How do you treat your pastor?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 239). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Is Religious Liberty Truly In Peril? A Warning. – AlbertMohler.com

Is religious liberty truly in peril?

That question was debated recently in dueling articles published in the Wall Street Journal. David French, senior writer for National Review magazine argued that religious liberty is indeed endangered in America. Marci Hamilton, a former clerk for retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, who now serves as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, makes the counter argument. It was a genuine exchange of ideas, viewpoints, and divergent worldviews—the arguments are very revealing.

— Read on albertmohler.com/2019/08/07/is-religious-liberty-truly-in-peril

Core Christianity | How is the Holy Spirit Our Helper?

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

(John 16:7)

In his teaching on the Holy Spirit, Jesus began by telling them that judgment would begin within the church. Although the world will judge the church, Jesus said that the ruler of this world had already been judged. Satan may persecute us now on earth, but he can’t prosecute us in heaven! Whatever horrible suffering we might experience on earth does not compare, Paul says, to the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). Because of the work of Christ—because he took his place at the right hand at the Father, because he took that throne, and because Satan has been cast out—all authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth.

In John 16:1–4, Jesus says, “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” That is, your own parents, your own siblings, your own children will consider it an act of piety to turn you over to the police. And so there’s going to be an apostasy within the church itself. That’s already what John the Baptist had proclaimed—a pruning, a period of division within Israel. The Holy Spirit will be the prophet of all prophets; the Holy Spirit will come with that word of prosecution to his people—the word that cuts, that divides. But the Spirit who convicts through the law will also convince sinners of the gospel. So by faith, the heavenly Paraclete, the heavenly attorney, will save his people.

Jesus says he will send another paraklētos. What a wonderful word that is. Unfortunately, “helper” is just about as lame as you can imagine for this description. Part of our demotion of the Holy Spirit is due to our translation of the Greek here. Jesus says, “I will send you allos paraklētos”—“another paraclete.” I think, however, that when we’re talking about Jesus as paraklētos, as in 1 John 2:1—“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”—we should think of Jesus. But when we think of the Holy Spirit as paraklētos, we should translate it as “comforter.” The ESV translates this word as “helper,” but that misses Jesus’ point. Jesus is not saying, “I’m sending someone of lesser importance.” Otherwise, why would he say, “It’s good that I go. But if I go, I will send you another paraclete”? That is, “He is equal to me but different from me. I didn’t hover over the waters in the beginning, impregnating them. I didn’t hover over the waters of the Red Sea, parting them so that my people could pass through. I didn’t hover over the waters of my mother in my own incarnation. But this paraklētos did, and he is the one who will unite you to me.”

Jesus is the one with whom we need to be united, but the Holy Spirit is the only one who can unite us to him! There are certain things the Father does, certain things the Spirit does, and certain things the Son does. While they don’t do different works, they do different things in every work. The Father is the origin, the Son is the mediator, and the Spirit is the perfecter. And that’s why these are the last days. The Spirit will be poured out in the last days, because the Holy Spirit is the perfecter; he’s the one who finishes the job. In other words, Jesus is saying—astounding as it is—“You don’t need me on earth right now.”

Like the disciples, we don’t understand what he’s talking about. How can we not need him on earth right now? Some think it would have been wonderful if Jesus could have stayed on earth after his resurrection. If he hadn’t ascended, then he would still be here today, enjoying long, long life. You could even shake hands with him! But Jesus said, “It is good that I go.” Why? Why is it good that he left? Because if he didn’t, the Paraclete would not have come.

Here’s the thing: Jesus was an evangelist. If you look at the history of evangelism and missions and then look at Jesus, however, you may not think he was too spectacular in this area. But that wasn’t his primary mission. His primary mission was to be the gospel, not to be the missionary of the gospel. His primary mission was to be the Lamb of God that we proclaim. His primary mission was to proclaim good news to the poor—the day of liberation, through his death, burial, and resurrection, and through his ascension to the right hand of the Father. We need one attorney in heaven pleading our case before the Father, with Satan cast out of the courtroom. Jesus says that we need him in heaven; we need another attorney on earth who will actually lead the campaign! If you misunderstand the nature of the kingdom and what the conquest really is, then you won’t appreciate why we need the Holy Spirit on earth right now and not Jesus.

What we see at Pentecost proves exactly what Jesus is saying here. In Acts 2, we’re told that the people were “cut to the quick.” Hundreds, then thousands, and multiplied tens of thousands of people start believing, because Jesus was indeed successful in his mission. He completed his mission to be the gospel, and now the Holy Spirit was being poured out to unite those dead in trespasses and sins to him. Now they would have ears to hear, eyes to see that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God.

The distinction here is not between Jesus as advocate and the Spirit as comforter or helper, but between a heavenly attorney and an earthly attorney. We need Jesus to be our attorney in heaven, exercising his case before the Father for us; but we need the Holy Spirit as our attorney on earth, bringing us to conviction and faith in Jesus the Messiah, so that we will be covered in his righteousness. That verdict of the future—“Justified!”—can be heard even in the present.

Adapted from Michael Horton “It Is to Your Advantage That I Go Away,” Modern Reformation, July/August 2019. Used by permission.
— Read on corechristianity.com/resource-library/3/1414

Throwback Thursday ~ Jesus Wants You to Be a Hater — Michelle Lesley

Hater. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. If you disagree with someone, you’re a hater. If you believe the Bible when it says something is a sin, you’re a hater. If you vote pro-life or pro-marriage, you’re a hater. Gone are the days when a Christian could stand on her convictions without being accused of hating everyone else who does not hold those same convictions.

In fact, when you first read the title of this article, I’m betting that’s what you thought I was saying Jesus wants us to do: hate everyone who doesn’t agree with us.

And I hate that.

I hate the fact that Satan has sold the world – and even the church – the lie that those of us who love Christ with all our hearts hate the sinners He died for.

Did you know that the Bible actually tells us to hate certain things? Not people who disagree with us or people enslaved by sin- that’s the world’s definition of being a hater. Luke 6:27-28 tells us:

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

We are not to hate, but to love, do good to, bless, and pray for those who, because they are at enmity with Christ, are at enmity with us.

But as Christians, the Bible tells us there are certain things it is good and holy for us to hate. If we don’t hate them, we’re being disobedient to our Lord.

We are to hate evil:

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13

We hate evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech because God is good and holy. Evil stands in rebellion against God’s person and in opposition to God’s purposes. Pride and arrogance exalt self over God, who alone is to have preeminence in all things. Dishonest, wicked speech can damage God’s beloved children and lead them away from Him.

We are to hate opposition to God’s word:

Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. Psalm 119:128

When we love the Lord and His ways, we will necessarily come to hate false ways and false doctrine which defy His word and lead us, and others, away from Him.

We are to hate our own sin:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:14-15

While it is good to hate evil in the world, we must also hate the evil that lurks within us in the form of sin. Those who have been born again loathe their sin and continually and sorrowfully turn from it, flinging themselves upon the mercy of Christ for forgiveness.

We are to “hate” all things in comparison to our love for Christ:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

Our devotion to Christ must run so deep that we are gladly willing to sacrifice any relationship -even with our closest family members- any worldly goods, even our lives, if required to by our Lord in His word. Our love for Him should so far surpass our affections for all others that any other love relationship seems like hate in comparison.

There is a time to love, and a time to hate. When we love Christ, we will hate what is evil and cling to what is good. The hatred of the things the Lord calls us to hate is evidence that we love Him and are having our hearts and minds conformed to His.

If you’re a Christian, by God’s definition, you’re a hater. And that’s not a bad thing.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.

via Throwback Thursday ~ Jesus Wants You to Be a Hater — Michelle Lesley