Daily Archives: August 17, 2019

August 17 The Waters of Peace

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1–5

Key Verse: Romans 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

A favorite American gospel hymn contains the powerful but unusual lyric, “I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.” When you think of peace, do you imagine a river?

In the book of Romans, we are told that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (5:5). Again in John 4:14, the analogy of water is used when Jesus told the woman at the well, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Just as a clear mountain stream refreshes and nourishes the wildlife in its midst, the peace of God fills our hearts with comfort through the Holy Spirit. There is no greater peace than that which is available through Jesus Christ.

Try to imagine His peace washing over you like a cool stream of water—soothing your heartache, washing away doubt, and cleansing the wounds of sin and pain. Is the river of peace becoming clear to you now?

The peace that comes from God is not a static, stagnant emotion. Rather, it is a fluid, energetic wave of confidence in the One who holds the universe in His hands. Open your heart. Receive the satisfying waters of peace into your soul and give praises to God for His mercy and love.

Lord, when I am distraught, help me to immerse myself in the running waters of Your peace, so that I may be refreshed.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 240). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 17 – The Gibeonite deception — Reformed Perspective

“Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.” – Joshua 9:14

Scripture reading: Joshua 9

Israel easily succumbs to the deceit and trickery of the Gibeonites because they rely upon their own understanding and do “not ask counsel of the Lord.” These false ambassadors deceive Israel visually (vs. 4-6), verbally (vs. 9-10), and psychologically (vs. 11). This last deception was the most effective of all because it addressed Israel’s ego. When the Gibeonites confess, “We will be your servants.” they were saying, “You are better than us! We want to be more like you! You are great!”

The devil still uses these deceptions today to great effect, especially the third, where he appeals to our natural love of self. Who doesn’t like their ego stroked? Their self-esteem built up? Israel falters because they do not seek out the will of God. They evaluate the situation only through their own eyes and convince themselves that they can handle this on their own. They tell themselves, “This is an easy decision. We’ve got this! The Lord can just relax. We don’t need His help. If something really big comes up, then we will consult Him. But for now, we’re good.”

The devil is no less subtle and deceitful today. He “masquerades as an angel of light.” Are you fully aware of his tricks? Do you know who your enemies are? Daily we must work on walking ever closer to our God through Bible reading and prayer. For the closer we are to the LORD the easier we will see the deception that is all around us.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord for spiritual eyes so that you can see the temptations that surround you. Ask Him to guard and guide your mind and heart. Thank Him for His presence and power that we have in Jesus our Lord.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois.

via August 17 – The Gibeonite deception — Reformed Perspective

August 17 Molded by the Master

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 18:1–6

Key Verse: Jeremiah 18:4

The vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

Young Christians often complain that the Christian growth process is slow and tedious. They become discouraged and stop growing because they want instant knowledge without exerting any effort. Seasoned Christians have some of the same difficulties only in a different way. They perceive themselves as having all the knowledge necessary to live the Christian life, so they stop growing and risk becoming hardened to the intimate love of God.

The Lord has a solution for both of these spiritual abnormalities. It is called being molded into the likeness of Christ, and it’s much more than a one- or two-year process. It is a process through which we grow abundantly as children of God. There is no time for boredom or pride because we are too much in love with Christ.

Elisabeth Elliot wrote: “God will never disappoint us. He loves us and has only one purpose for us: holiness, which in His kingdom equals joy.” Holiness is a priority with God. When we seek to be like Christ, we seek holiness.

But to become holy, we must submit ourselves to the shaping and molding of God’s loving hands. Clay cries out to be molded into something of beauty. The Potter longs to mold and shape your life. Allow Him to take whatever time He needs to create in you joy and devotion of immeasurable worth.

Heavenly Father, mold me into the likeness of Your Son. The clay of my spiritual being cries out to be made into something of beauty.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 240). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

08/17/19 Preaching to Myself — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Psalms 41-45, Romans 8:18-9:5

As a young preacher boy, I loved preaching the Word. I’m sure I was terrible at it, but I couldn’t wait to open the Bible and teach it. One of the things I loved was watching folks nod in agreement if they agreed with my points.

I still love preaching the Word—now more than ever. And, I still love it when eyes light up when others hear and understand the Bible. What I’ve learned over the years, though, is that I need to preach the gospel to myselfmuch more often. I need to hear and apply the gospel to my own life as much as I want others to apply it to their lives.

Psalms 42 and 43 reflect this same kind of thinking. For some reason, the psalmist did not have access to worship in the temple. He remembered times when he used to sing on his way there, but now he could not get there. Meanwhile, his enemies taunted him and grief characterized him. Waterfalls of despair swept over him – that is, until he began to preach the Word to himself: “Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psa 42:5, 11; 43:5).

Three times he asked himself the same questions, and he reminded himself to put his hope in God and continue to praise Him. In faith, he looked forward to coming to the temple again to worship God, his “greatest joy” (Psa 43:4).

PRAYER: “God, be my greatest joy—and help me to turn to You daily.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Review and catch-up day

via 08/17/19 Preaching to Myself — ChuckLawless.com

August 17 A Casual View of Sin

Scripture reading: Romans 6:1–7

Key verse: Romans 6:12

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

How do you describe sin? Separation from God? Yielding to temptation? The bottom line to sin is rebellion against God where we make a conscious decision to step away from what we know is God’s best for us.

Is anyone immune to temptation? No. Even Jesus was tempted to trust His own strength above the provision of God. However, the Son of God was not swayed by Satan’s lies. He refused to listen to the enemy’s words as viable options. Instead, He used Scripture as proof that God was and is sufficient for every need we have.

Sin begins when we fail to see God as our Provider. The enemy whispers lies, stating that we need something more than what we have. He appeals to our five senses (touching, hearing, smelling, tasting, and seeing) and sets emotional traps for us along the way, knowing that we will see his mile markers and be weakened in our desires to have and hold more than what God has provided.

Sin answers the call of misguided desires. Satan stands ready to aid in your wandering, but don’t look to him to help or encourage you when your world falls apart. He will only condemn and ridicule you for your blundering.

Only God is loving enough to rescue one of His wandering flock. Have you strayed? If so, turn back to Jesus, and you will find Him waiting for you.

I reject the lies of the enemy. You are my Provider, God. I thank You that all I need is in You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 240). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

17 Aug 2019 | News

Drug-poisoning deaths in England and Wales at highest level ever recorded
Britain is facing a public health emergency as alarming figures for England and Wales show drug-related deaths have hit record levels, prompting calls for damaging cuts to treatment services to be urgently reversed.

Downpours to aim at Delhi after monsoon kills hundreds and displaces over 1 million
Following news that monsoon rain has claimed more than 300 lives across India, Myanmar and Pakistan so far this month, the risk of flooding will expand to India’s National Capital Region (NCR) this weekend.

Severe floods leave at least 50 dead, thousands of homes destroyed, Sudan
Thousands of homes were destroyed and at least 50 people have been killed in severe floods affecting Sudan over the past 10 days. Flooding has affected 25 localities in 16 of Sudan’s 18 states. Catastrophic health conditions are expected if authorities do not intervene.

Rashida Tlaib And Ilhan Omar’s Botched Israel Trip Was Sponsored By Terror-Linked Organization
Rashida Tlaib’s and Ilhan Omar’s cancelled trip to Israel was sponsored by a Palestinian-based organization whose members have expressed sympathy for terrorist activities and support the BDS movement.

Back to School: Prepping Kids for Gender-Confusing Messages, Internet Temptations, and More
The start of another school year is upon us. The fun and relaxed schedule of the summer will quickly fade as structure and routine settle back into households all around the world. Parents are already dealing with the hustle and bustle of the upcoming school year as they work tirelessly to adjust schedules in advance of the school year’s many activities.

Millennial has meltdown when boss corrects her spelling of ‘hamster’
In a series of tweets on July 12, 2019, Blymire recounted a story she overheard of a millennial “in her late 20s” in Washington, DC, getting feedback on something she had written from her boss, who is also female:

Insider Raises Alarm on Google’s AI Project in China
Whistle Blower Zach Vorhies is raising the alarm on Google’s AI project in China that he’s calling this century’s ‘Manhattan Project’ for artificial intelligence.

Soros Implementing His Radical Leftist Agenda by Investing in Criminal Justice
For many years leftist billionaire George Soros has used his wealth to remake our society. His latest area of focus is criminal justice. From Texas to Philadelphia to Virginia, Soros has reportedly spent millions in backing candidates for district attorneys or prosecutors.

Corrupt FBI was running a treasonous espionage operation against Trump… and it’s all about to come out
By now it should be obvious to fair-minded, thinking Americans concerned about the loss of trust in our country’s governing institutions that elements of the Obama administration and careerists in the Deep State conspired to keep Donald Trump out of the White House — and when that didn’t work, to undermine him and his administration with the goal of ousting him from office.

Teen Vogue Attempting To Turn Teenage Girls Against Their Parents By Posting To Snapchat And Instructing Them To Seek Out Secret Abortions
This is not about ‘reproductive rights’ or ‘healthcare freedom’, no it’s nothing of the kind. Abortion is being used by the Left to not only murder unborn babies, the majority of which are black, but abortion is also being used to destroy the nuclear family by pitting children against their parents.

Grapefruit-size hailstone in Colorado breaks state record
The sky wasn’t falling, but it might have felt like it in Colorado this week. Indeed, a storm there delivered a record-breaking hailstone that measured 4.83 inches in diameter — roughly the size of a grapefruit, weather services said.

Source: 17 Aug 2019

Hillary’s 30,000 deleted ‘yoga’ emails found | WND

Hillary Clinton jokes with reporters Aug. 18. 2015, in Las Vegas about whether she “wiped” her email server clean before giving it to the FBI (Screenshot)

Copies of nearly all of the emails Hillary Clinton sent and received while she was secretary of state – including the infamous missing 30,000 messages – were stored at a cryptically named Gmail address, according to a new Senate report.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported the newly disclosed finding means that copies of classified and deleted emails likely existed on Google’s U.S.-based servers.

The FBI, according to the Senate report, was aware of that fact and the suspicious explanation for it but did not alert other intelligence agencies or the public.

The suspicious Gmail address was set up by an IT aide, Paul Combetta, who worked for a company that managed Clinton’s unauthorized server, Platte River Networks, according to the FBI.

It was Combetta who used the software program BleachBit to permanently erase copies of Clinton’s emails after they were subpoenaed by the House.

Combetta misled the FBI about his actions and was given immunity from prosecution, the Daily Caller noted.

He refused to cooperate with the Justice Department Inspector General and with the authors of the Senate report about his use of the Gmail address. He previously pleaded the Fifth before Congress in September 2016 about his deletion of emails.

The investigative team of Charles McCullough, the intelligence community inspector general, found that every one of Clinton’s emails except four were secretly copied to the the Gmail address, CarterHeavyIndustries@gmail.com, according to the report.

McCullough investigator Frank Rucker told Senate investigators that when he brought the findings to Peter Strzok, the anti-Trump FBI agent seemed uninterested and did not ask any follow-up questions.

A redacted and paraphrased version of the interview transcript was released Wednesday.

Rucker told the Senate staffers the Gmail address “appears in the metadata of almost all of her emails.”

He also told investigators that an email on Clinton’s server from former congressman and convicted sex offender Anthony Weiner said that Weiner’s email had been hacked. The system was configured to forward all his emails to someone else, further raising Rucker’s suspicions that something similar could be happening on Clinton’s server.

Rucker said that the FBI refused to tell him the explanation for the email address, leaving him concerned.

The IT aide Combetta refused to speak to both the Justice Department inspector general and Senate investigators.

FBI agents believed that Combetta repeatedly lied to them, declaring he did not delete emails.  After prosecutors gave him immunity, he confessed to doing so.

Gohmert: ‘Raises more questions’

In a House Oversight and Judiciary Committee hearing in July 2018, Strzok told Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, he didn’t remember what Rucker told him.

The Senate report also says Strzok and another FBI official denied remembering anything Rucker told them.

“The trouble is the version of the truth that’s come out now only raises more questions,” Gohmert told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

“When Peter Strzok said I remember Rucker coming over but I don’t remember anything we talked about, that’s when I knew he was lying,” Gohmert continued.

“Whether they knew about it before or not, there’s no way that kind of blockbuster info would not have made an impression on Strzok as head of intelligence,” he said. “You’re disinterested because you don’t want to know or you don’t want anyone else to know.”

Gohmert said it “raises more questions about the honesty and integrity of those in the FBI that they gave a pass on this and during the House and Senate inquiries into this, nobody mentioned that he had set up another address.”

“It makes the FBI look either incompetent or dishonest, because it didn’t come out from the FBI until the ICIG was so forthcoming that the FBI had no choice,” the congressman said.

“I think Combetta ought to be prosecuted,” Gohmert, a former judge, said.

He noted that typical immunity deals can be canceled if the person has lied at any point.

“And just because there’s incompetence, doesn’t mean there’s not also conspiracy there.”

Source: Hillary’s 30,000 deleted ‘yoga’ emails found

Joe Biden has been a self-professed gaffe machine for decades but Democratic primary voters don’t seem to care, yet | Business Insider

Associated Press

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden’s signature off-the-cuff speaking style has helped him cultivate a down-to-earth image, but his frequent gaffes have raised some questions about his viability as a candidate.
  • During the Iowa state fair, Biden made a series of eyebrow-raising misstatements in a row that had the Internet collectively cringing, including mistakenly saying that “poor kids are just as smart as white kids.”
  • Biden’s various controversial statements haven’t hurt his poll numbers yet, largely because his base is made up of older and African-American voters who tend to be more moderate and less concerned with gaffes.
  • “When it comes to Biden, people might think his head is out to lunch but they know his heart is in the right place,” one Democratic strategist told INSIDER.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s signature off-the-cuff speaking style has helped him cultivate a down-to-earth image, but it can also get him into trouble.

Biden has been a self-admitted gaffe-machine throughout his entire political career, but his tendency to twist his words into a pretzel or make controversial comments has received more scrutiny than ever as he competes in a historically crowded field.

The former vice president was mocked for flubbing the address of his campaign website in his closing statement during the second Democratic debate.

And during the weekend of the Iowa state fair, Biden made a series of eyebrow-raising misstatements in a row that had the Internet collectively cringing, including:

  • Accidentally saying that “poor kids are just as smart as white kids” while speaking to the Asian-Latino Coalition of Iowa. He later corrected himself and said he meant to say that poor kids are just as smart as wealthy kids.
  • Saying he valued “truth over facts” at another event.
  • Mixing up former British Tory leaders Margaret Thatcher, who was prime minister in the 1980s, and Theresa May, who was PM until earlier this year.
  • Claiming that while he was vice president, he met with survivors of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting — which happened in February 2018, over a year after he left the White House.

Read more: Joe Biden made a glaring gaffe and said poor kids are ‘just as smart as white kids’

Biden’s camp predictably dismissed the criticism and concern over his gaffes as a primarily media-driven narrative that doesn’t translate to Democratic voters themselves — and to some extent, they’re right.

 

Biden has remained the frontrunner of the Democratic race throughout multiple controversies, including changing his position on a controversial abortion-related rule after public backlash, accusations that he inappropriately touched multiple women, and fondly remembering his time working with notoriously pro-segregation Senators.

Out of the entire Democratic primary electorate, Biden’s base is least likely to be bothered by gaffes

While his poll numbers slightly dipped after the first Democratic debate, Biden has maintained above 30% of the vote in Morning Consult’s survey. Biden similarly holds a plurality of around a third of support among voters above the age of 50 and majority support among African-American voters, with 51% of black voters in South Carolina backing him in a recent Monmouth poll.

“Joe Biden isn’t the frontrunner because he’s first in the polls, it’s because of who he’s polling well with,” Ford O’Connell, a veteran campaign strategist and adjunct professor at George Washington University‘s Graduate School of Political Management, told INSIDER in a Wednesday interview.

“Biden has the majority of support with African Americans, particularly African-American women and seniors. The reason why that matters is because those two groups traditionally turn out the most in Democratic primaries,” he added.

Older voters, in particular, are less likely to see Biden’s gaffes as a major impediment to his candidacy, and will likely continue to support him as long as he is the most viable candidate to take on President Donald Trump.

According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis from earlier this month citing recent polling from Gallup and YouGov/HuffPost, older voters’ support for Biden is primarily motivated by wanting to get Trump out of office by any means possible, whereas younger voters prioritize nominating a candidate who aligns with their policy positions.

Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth’s Polling Institute, further wrote in late July that “black Democrats tend to be more moderate than white primary voters. Biden is the best-known candidate currently occupying that lane.”

Read more: 2020 Democrats excoriated Joe Biden for his record on immigration and for repeatedly invoking Obama’s name on the campaign trail

Michael Gordon, a Democratic strategist and principal at a strategic communications firm Group Gordon, characterized some of Biden’s recent gaffes as “somewhere between mind-boggling and shocking” in an interview with INSIDER — but also said he didn’t see them “having a significant impact on the race.”

“Voters tend to focus on whether they liked the person, what they stand for, and the substance of the issues,” Gordon added. “With the proliferation of the Internet, people are more informed than they used to be. When it comes to Biden, people might think his head is out to lunch but they know his heart is in the right place.”

O’Connell said that Biden’s gaffes will only become a campaign problem if they fundamentally threaten his perceived electability.

“Either the Democratic electorate has to believe that he can’t go up against Donald Trump or someone else has to prove that they can,” O’Connell said of Biden. “Until that happens, he’s going to be the nominee.”

Commentators disagree on whether Biden’s gaffes are fair game

Both Gordon and O’Connell noted that Biden’s gaffes pale in comparison to Trump’s own frequent propensity to similarly gaffe (like when he recently misstated the location of a recent mass shooting in Ohio), and make outright false statements and/or highly inflammatory comments in his own public appearances.

“Joe Biden’s biggest enemy in terms of winning the nomination is Joe Biden. And it’s not because he’s making gaffes, it’s the type of gaffes that question his fitness and whether or not he can go toe to toe with Donald Trump,” O’Connell said.

Several Biden staffers and other political commentators similarly denounced criticism of Biden’s gaffes as petty and playing into Trump’s hands. In instructing the media to “lay off” Biden, Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman argued that Biden’s misstatements have no bearing on what kind of president he’d be.

Read more: Joe Biden accused Trump of ‘fanning the flames of white supremacy’ in a blistering speech

But AlterNet’s Cody Fenwick pushed back on Waldman’s argument, writing on Thursday that while some of Biden’s slip-ups are undeniably honest mistakes, his other gaffes and comments on sensitive topics like race and gender could “reveal troubling prejudices” — like touting his work with pro-segregation senators — about his implicit attitudes on those topics.

Fenwick argued that in the context of a Democratic primary, Biden needs to be fully battle-tested and scrutinized at every level before taking on Trump.

“Not only would it be bad for Democrats to put forward a candidate who share some of Trump’s failings, but this choice would also make it more difficult for that candidate to attack the president on these grounds,” Fenwick wrote.

Some of Biden’s close allies are even concerned about the increased frequency of gaffes, according to a report in The Hill, and have even suggested limiting the number of his public appearances and especially those that occur during the afternoon and evening, when he is more likely to be tired and make questionable gaffes.

But David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and host of “The Axe Files,” publicly disagreed, tweeting that it was “bad advice.”

“You can’t cloister the candidate and win. He either can cut it or he can’t, and the only way he can prove he can is to be an active and vigorous candidate,” Axelrod argued. “He’s running for president of the United States, for God’s sake!”

Source: Joe Biden has been a self-professed gaffe machine for decades but Democratic primary voters don’t seem to care, yet

August 17, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Reconciliation Is by the Will of God

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, (5:18)

The phrase all these things points back to the immediately preceding section of this epistle, which described the total transformation taking place at conversion (vv. 14–17). In that passage Paul described believers’ death and resurrection in Christ as being transformed into new creatures. All these things, that is, those related to the transformation, come from God (cf. 1 Cor. 8:6; 11:12; James 1:17); sinners cannot be reconciled to Him on their own terms. Unregenerate people have no ability to appease God’s anger against sin, satisfy His holy justice, or conform to His standard of righteousness. They are guilty of fatally violating God’s law and face eternal banishment from His presence. The deadly, deceptive premise of all false religion is that sinners, based on their own moral and religious efforts and achievements, can reconcile themselves to God. But God alone designed the way of reconciliation, and only He can initiate the reconciliation of sinners; that God … reconciled us to Himself is precisely the good news of the gospel.

God so loved the world that He made the way of reconciliation. He desired to reconcile sinners to Himself—to make them His children. Such a desire is not foreign to God’s holy character but consistent with it. One of the glorious realities of God’s person is that He is a Savior by nature.

From before the foundation of the world, God freely and apart from outside influence determined to save sinners in order to eternally display the glory of His grace. He chose those He would rescue from His own wrath on sin and wrote their names in the Book of Life. He is no reluctant Savior; in fact, Scripture frequently gives Him that title (Ps. 106:21; Isa. 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Hos. 13:4; Luke 1:47; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6; Jude 25).

From Genesis 3:8–9 where God said, “Where are you?” He has been seeking to save sinners. Ezekiel 34:16 says, “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick.” He Himself is the eager reconciler, as Paul wrote to the Romans:

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Rom. 5:9–11)

It is to God’s plan through Jesus Christ that we owe the gratitude for our reconciliation.

Both the verb katallassō (reconciled) and the noun katallagē (reconciliation) appear in the New Testament only in Paul’s writings. The terms always portray God as the reconciler and sinners as the ones reconciled, since it was human sin that ruptured the relationship between God and man (cf. Isa. 59:2). In Romans 5:11 Paul declares, “We also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” To the Ephesians Paul wrote,

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (Eph. 2:13–16)

Colossians 1:20–22 affirms that God chose

through [Christ] to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.

Thus, reconciliation is not something man does but what he receives; it is not what he accomplishes but what he embraces. Reconciliation does not happen when man decides to stop rejecting God but when God decides to stop rejecting man. It is a divine provision by which God’s holy displeasure against alienated sinners is appeased, His hostility against them removed, and a harmonious relationship between Him and them established. Reconciliation occurs because God was graciously willing to design a way to have all the sins of those who are His removed from them “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12), “cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19), and “cast all [their] sins behind [His] back” (Isa. 38:17).

In the most magnanimous expression of sacrificial love the universe will ever know, God reconciled believers to Himself through Christ; that is, at His expense. God the Son’s perfect sacrifice is the only one that could satisfy the demands of God the Father’s holy justice. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5; cf. Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24), and “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). God, for His own purpose and by His own will, designed the sacrificial death of His Son to reconcile believers to Himself:

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (Eph. 2:13–16)

“[Christ] has now reconciled [them] in His fleshly body through death,” making them “holy and blameless and beyond reproach” in the sight of God (Col. 1:22). “Now once at the consummation of the ages [Jesus Christ] has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26); “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). His sacrifice propitiated God’s holy wrath (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), making reconciliation possible.

It is to all reconciled people that God gives the ministry of reconciliation. This is equal to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20) and all calls to proclaim the gospel. Diakonia (ministry) denotes humble service, such as serving meals (cf. Luke 10:40; Acts 6:1). But though the messengers may be humble (see the discussion of 4:7 in chapter 10 of this volume), the message they proclaim to the lost world is the most exalted one ever proclaimed.[1]


18. All things are of God. He means, all things that belong to Christ’s kingdom. “If we would be Christ’s, we must be regenerated by God. Now that is no ordinary gift.” He does not, therefore, speak here of creation generally, but of the grace of regeneration, which God confers peculiarly upon his elect, and he affirms that it is of God—not on the ground of his being the Creator and Artificer of heaven and earth, but inasmuch as he is the new Creator of the Church, by fashioning his people anew, according to his own image. Thus all flesh is abased, and believers are admonished that they must now live to God, inasmuch as they are a new creature. (verse 17.) This they cannot do, unless they forget the world, as they are also no longer of the world, (John 17:16,) because they are of God.

Who hath reconciled us. Here there are two leading points—the one relating to the reconciliation of men with God; and the other, to the way in which we may enjoy the benefit of this reconciliation. Now these things correspond admirably with what goes before, for as the Apostle had given the preference to a good conscience above every kind of distinction, (verse 11,) he now shows that the whole of the gospel tends to this. He shows, however, at the same time, the dignity of the Apostolical office, that the Corinthians may be instructed as to what they ought to seek in him, whereas they could not distinguish between true and false ministers, for this reason, that nothing but show delighted them. Accordingly, by making mention of this, he stirs them up to make greater proficiency in the doctrine of the gospel. For an absurd admiration of profane persons, who serve their own ambition rather than Christ, originates in our not knowing, what the office of the preaching of the gospel includes, or imports.

I now return to those two leading points that are here touched upon. The first is—that God hath reconciled us to himself by Christ. This is immediately followed by the declaration—Because God was in Christ, and has in his person accomplished reconciliation. The manner is subjoined—By not imputing unto men their trespasses. Again, there is annexed a second declaration—Because Christ having been made a sin-offering for our sins, has procured righteousness for us. The second part of the statement is—that the grace of reconciliation is applied to us by the gospel, that we may become partakers of it. Here we have a remarkable passage, if there be any such in any part of Paul’s writings. Hence it is proper, that we should carefully examine the words one by one.

The ministry of reconciliation. Here we have an illustrious designation of the gospel, as being an embassy for reconciling men to God. It is also a singular dignity of ministers—that they are sent to us by God with this commission, so as to be messengers, and in a manner sureties. This, however, is not said so much for the purpose of commending ministers, as with a view to the consolation of the pious, that as often as they hear the gospel, they may know that God treats with them, and, as it were, stipulates with them as to a return to his grace. Than this blessing what could be more desirable? Let us therefore bear in mind, that this is the main design of the gospel—that whereas we are by nature children of wrath, (Eph. 2:3,) we may, by the breaking up of the quarrel between God and us, be received by him into favour. Ministers are furnished with this commission, that they may bring us intelligence of so great a benefit, nay more, may assure us of God’s fatherly love towards us. Any other person, it is true, might also be a witness to us of the grace of God, but Paul teaches, that this office is specially intrusted to ministers. When, therefore, a duly ordained minister proclaims in the gospel, that God has been made propitious to us, he is to be listened to just as an ambassador of God, and sustaining, as they speak, a public character, and furnished with rightful authority for assuring us of this.[2]


18 The unemphatic particle (de) at the head of this sentence marks a further development in the writer’s line of thought. Paul begins by affirming that God is the source of all things (“All things [are] from God”). He then declares God to be the subject of two acts:5 (1) his action by which he “reconciled us to himself through Christ,” and (2) his gift to “us” of “the ministry of reconciliation.”

But all things are from

 

God,

 

   
  who reconciled

 

us to himself

 

 
      through Christ

 

  and gave

 

us the ministry of

 

      reconciliation.

 

Whereas verses 14–17 were christocentric, v. 18, with v. 19, is theocentric. God is the subject of the verbs in these verses, most strikingly of the verb “reconcile,” which has “the world” as its object in v. 19. The assertion “All things [are] from God” (cf. 1 Cor 8:6; 11:12b) appears to apply particularly to God’s action in reconciling “the world” to himself. “All things” also picks up the “all” for whom Christ died in vv. 14, and 15, as well as the cosmological “new creation” of v. 17.

Christ, however, is the agent of the reconciling work that emanates from God. In vv. 14–17 are clustered universal (“all”—vv. 14, 15) and cosmological (“new creation”—v. 17) categories in consequence of the eschatological action (“no longer … now”—vv. 15–17) in which Christ died and was raised (vv. 14–15). In 5:18–6:2 Paul declares that cosmological reconciliation (“of the world”—v. 19) has been achieved “through Christ” (v. 18), signaling a new eschatological and soteriological moment (“now is the day of salvation”). Nothing could be clearer than that Christ—crucified and risen (vv. 14–15)—is the locus and the means of fulfilling God’s purposes for history, humanity, and the world and creation.

Since “all things” flow “from God” and are brought to pass “though Christ,” it follows that God and Christ are in perfect agreement, sharing the same mind as to the needs of humanity and the world, and what should be done to meet those needs.

The phrase “through Christ” is explained by the wider context as “through Christ’s death” (vv. 14, 15, 21; cf. “we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son”—Rom 5:10). This is supported by the parallel phrase in the next verse, namely, “not counting their sins against them.” It is through Christ’s death, by which he does not count sins against people, that God has reconciled the world to himself. This is made clear in the climactic text, v. 21, where, on account of the sinless one being “made … sin, we become the righteousness of God.” The relational blessing (“reconciliation with God”) rests on forensic forgiveness (“righteousness”), as in the parallel passage in Romans where “being reconciled to God” (5:10) depends on “being justified” (5:1, 9). Here the aorist tense, “reconciled,” is significant, pointing to the completed character of the divine action. God has effected reconciliation objectively, prior to and independent of subsequent human response, and, indeed, in the face of human hostility (see Rom 5:8, 10). By his initiative God has dealt with the trespasses that alienated humankind from him, removing from his side the obstacle to peace with him, his settled displeasure (“wrath”) aroused by human sin.

With v. 18 is introduced into this letter—and indeed into Paul’s epistolary corpus—the theme of “reconciliation,” whose most extensive treatment occurs here (but see also Rom 5:10–11; cf. Rom 11:15; Eph 2:16; Col 1:20, 22). In vv. 18–21 the verb “reconcile” or the noun “reconciliation” occurs no less than five times.

Reconciliation, one of the blessings of the end time, is, like all the eschatological blessings of God, “realized” in Christ “now.” This cosmic restoration (cf. Rom 11:15), while pointing ultimately to the reordering of all that is chaotic and distorted in the created world alienated from God and hostile to him, here applies specifically to human alienation from God. It is “their trespasses” that are “not reckoned to them.” Reconciliation with God, however, implies reconciliation among God’s people (cf. Eph 2:16), something Paul later calls “your mending” or restoration (13:9, 11). There is a close connection between “new creation” (v. 17) and “reconciliation”; both are cosmic and end-time blessings, and both impact humans, to be accepted and given expression “now.” Astonishingly, this cosmic reconciliation arises from a death, the death of that One (vv. 14–15) who, although without sin, was “made sin” by God to impute the “righteousness of God” to all who believe (5:21). The “righteousness of God,” too, appears to be a blessing of God belonging to the end time, which, however, has “now” been brought into the present “in Christ.”

Who, then, is the “us” whom God has reconciled to himself and to whom he has given the ministry of reconciliation? Is the second “us” to be, or not to be, identified with the first? Here there is no consensus among commentators. It is widely held that both references to “us” are to the community of believers. Some hold that the first “us” refers to Paul, with the second referring to believers.14 But most who do not equate the two references see the first pointing to the believing community, with the second pointing to the apostles.

In our view both references to “us” apply in the first instance to Paul, with the first reference also inclusive of all believers (as in 3:18; 4:14, 16–5:10). This verse belongs to a wider passage (5:11–6:13), that is implicitly or explicitly autobiographical and that brings to a climax Paul’s extended apologia for his apostolic office (2:14–7:4). As the passage moves on to its conclusion, the “we”/“us” references are unambiguously apostolic and personal (5:20–6:13). Paul the writer (“we”/“us”), who is defending himself to the Corinthians, also appeals directly to the Corinthians (“you”—5:20; 6:1, 11; cf. 5:12–13). The Corinthians are not those to whom the ministry and word of reconciliation have been given. Rather, they are to submit to that ministry and word, given to God’s minister, Paul (6:3–4), which is directed to them.

In short, Paul is here saying, autobiographically, “God reconciled me … gave to me the ministry of reconciliation.” But his words “reconciling the world” in the next verse immediately indicate that his words “reconciling us” are not narrowly autobiographical; he is speaking representatively for all believers (as also in vv. 14–17) and for “the world.” However, the clause, “and entrusted to us the word of reconciliation” (v. 19), balancing “and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,” suggests that this ministry/word is to be understood rather more narrowly, that is, as relating to Paul in his apostolic office. Paul, to whom God has given this ministry and word, will immediately address the Corinthians, calling directly on them to be reconciled to God and to his apostle (5:20–6:2, 11–13).

Consistent with the profoundly eschatological character of the passage 5:14–6:2 (“no longer … now”), God’s gift of this “ministry” (diakonia) must likewise be seen as eschatological. By means of the “one” who died for “all,” Christ, through whom God reconciled his enemies, God established his eschatological midpoint, his moment of “new creation” (v. 17). At that point he also established the ministry of reconciliation, which Paul earlier referred to as the ministry of a “new covenant” (3:6), a ministry of “the Spirit” and of “righteousness” (3:8, 9). As an apostle, Paul is “minister” in “this ministry” (4:1; cf. 6:3).[3]


5:18 / The new world order in Christ is from God in the sense that God took the initiative in providing it in accordance with his divine plan. Apocalyptic literature of the ot and early Judaism consistently emphasizes that in the last days God himself will intervene in world affairs to establish his kingdom. Ultimately, joint effort plays no part in this process; God is at work from start to finish.

God is described by means of two, parallel participial clauses that emphasize his reconciliatory deed, on the one hand, and the consequent reconciliatory word, on the other. About the deed, the first clause makes clear that participation in the new creation presupposes that God reconciled Paul to himself through the substitutionary death of Christ. Here again the apostle portrays his experience as prototypical of that of all believers (cf. 5:1, 16–17), although it is not impossible that the first person plural actually includes all believers at this point. As we have seen, Paul’s use of the first person plural can shift quite suddenly in any given context (cf. 1:3–11). But in verse 20, which draws an inference from the previous context, the first plural clearly refers to the apostle. Furthermore, the second participial clause almost certainly refers to Paul’s own ministry of reconciliation.

The verb reconciled is used in the sense of making peace between enemies (cf. Rom. 5:10–11; 1 Cor. 7:11). In Hellenistic-Jewish texts, it is hoped and prayed that God will turn away his wrath and reconcile himself either with individual people or with Israel as a whole (cf. 2 Macc. 1:4; 7:33; 8:29; Philo, On the Life of Moses 2.166; Josephus, Ant. 3.315). Ephesians 1:14–18 gives us an encompassing picture of the reconciliation that Christ, in his body, has accomplished between former enemies—between Jews and Gentiles, on the one hand, and between God and humanity, on the other—creating “one new man” and making “peace.” Likewise, according to Isaiah 53:5, the Suffering Servant of the Lord was expected to be “wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that brought us peace, and by his bruises we are healed” (O. Hofius). The “peace” of Isaiah 53:5 is the same as the “reconciliation” of which Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 5:18–21. The atoning, substitutionary death of Christ for sinners effects “peace with God” and “reconciliation” (Rom. 5:1–10). Hence, Paul begins his letters with the formulaic greeting that refers to this peace: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (e.g., 2 Cor. 1:2).

The second participial clause, about the reconciliatory word, shows the apostle’s involvement in proclaiming God’s reconciliatory deed: Paul has already used the word ministry (diakonia) and “minister” (diakonos) in the previous context to refer to his own ministry of the new covenant in contradistinction to Moses’ “ministry” of the old covenant (cf. 3:6, 7, 8, 9; 4:1). Here, too, he implies a typological comparison to Moses. Both Philo (On the Life of Moses 2.166; Questions and Answers on Exodus 2.49) and Josephus (Ant. 3.315) portray Moses as “reconciler” (katallaktēs, diallaktēs), in the sense that he intervened before God on behalf of the people after the golden calf incident (Exod. 32:11–13; cf. Exod. Rab. 43:2; Deut. Rab. 3:15). Paul sees himself as being commissioned with a similar ministry of reconciliation and mediation, although, as we shall see, Paul’s ministry is greater since it encompasses the whole world and comes solely from divine initiative. Paul’s role is primarily one of preaching the gospel and of persuading people (cf. 2 Cor. 5:11). On the way to Damascus, God himself revealed his Son to Paul and gave Paul the commission to preach the gospel of the Son of God among the nations (Gal. 1:16). When Paul states that God gave him the ministry of reconciliation, this is another way of saying that he has an apostolic office directly from God.[4]


18. allGreek, “the.”

things—all our privileges in this new creation (2 Co 5:14, 15).

reconciled us—that is, restored us (“the world,” 2 Co 5:19) to His favor by satisfying the claims of justice against us. Our position judicially considered in the eye of the law is altered, not as though the mediation of Christ had made a change in God’s character, nor as if the love of God was produced by the mediation of Christ; nay, the mediation and sacrifice of Christ was the provision of God’s love, not its moving cause (Ro 8:32). Christ’s blood was the price paid at the expense of God Himself, and was required to reconcile the exercise of mercy with justice, not as separate, but as the eternally harmonious attributes in the one and the same God (Ro 3:25, 26). The Greek “reconcile” is reciprocally used as in the Hebrew Hithpahel conjugation, appease, obtain the favor of. Mt 5:24, “Be reconciled to thy brother”; that is, take measures that he be reconciled to thee, as well as thou to him, as the context proves. Diallagethi, however (Mt 5:24), implying mutual reconciliation, is distinct from Katallagethi here, the latter referring to the change of status wrought in one of the two parties. The manner of God reconciling the world to Himself is implied (2 Co 5:19), namely, by His “not imputing their trespasses to them.” God not merely, as subsequently, reconciles the world by inducing them to lay aside their enmity, but in the first instance, does so by satisfying His own justice and righteous enmity against sin (Ps 7:11). Compare 1 Sa 29:4, “Reconcile himself unto his master”; not remove his own anger against his master, but his master’s against him [Archbishop Magee, Atonement]. The reconciling of men to God by their laying aside their enmity is the consequence of God laying aside His just enmity against their sin, and follows at 2 Co 5:20.

to us—ministers (2 Co 5:19, 20).[5]


18. And all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

  • “And all things are from God.” No one can ever say that renewal has its origin in human beings, for Paul clearly teaches that God is the originator and source of renewal. God created all things through Christ Jesus (John 1:3; Col. 1:15–18; Heb. 1:2) and recreates all things for his children. They are in Christ Jesus, for God is the cause of their membership in the body of Christ (refer to 1 Cor. 1:30).
  • “Who reconciled us to himself through Christ.” This astounding statement reveals God’s infinite love. We offended God by breaking his commands and sinning against him. Therefore, the initiative for reconciliation should have come from us, for we are the offending party. Instead we read that God, as the offended party, reached out to us to achieve restoration of relationships. God took the initiative and completed the work of reconciliation before we, as sinners, began to respond to God’s gracious invitation to be reconciled to him (Rom. 5:10–11). In brief, God restored the relationship between himself and us, so that his new creation for us could be fully realized.

In apostolic times, the Jews believed that man had to initiate reconciliation with God, chiefly by prayer and confession of sin. For instance, the writer of II Maccabees uses the verb to reconcile four times, but all of them are in the passive voice. They disclose that human beings petition God to be reconciled to them.

By contrast, the New Testament teaches that God restores us to himself by “putting us in right relations with himself.” God is the subject and we are the object whenever the verb to reconcile is in the active voice. But when in the same context this verb is in the passive voice, we are the subject (see v. 20). God did not cause alienation between himself and us and, therefore, did not have to reconcile himself to us. Yet in love God reconciles us to himself through the atoning work of his Son Jesus Christ. For this reason, Paul says that God brings about restoration through Christ, that is, through Jesus’ redemptive work. The phrase through Christ alludes to his death and resurrection (vv. 14–15), which bring about both a new creation (v. 17) and a reconciliation (vv. 18–20).

  • “[God] has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” God himself commissioned Paul and his co-workers to acquaint the readers of this epistle with his work. God wants his servants to be engaged in a restorative ministry by preaching, teaching, and applying the gospel. For Paul, this is ministry of the Spirit of the living God (3:3, 8), and is glorious in bringing forth righteousness (3:9). Also, this ministry secures peace between God and human beings (Rom. 5:1, 10; Col. 1:20; see Acts 20:24). Peace is the result of restoring personal relations that were broken and is “a denotation of the all-embracing gift of salvation.”[6]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 199–201). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Calvin, J., & Pringle, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Vol. 2, pp. 234–236). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 301–305). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 136–138). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 309). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 194–195). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Some Christians Are Getting Disillusioned in the Faith but When Jesus Promised Peace in the Same Breath He Said We Would Have Tribulation — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

EPHESIANS 6:10-11

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Stephen J. Cole writes in his commentary on this passage: “Jesus promised to give us abundant life, but He also said that He was sending us out as sheep in the midst of wolves. That picture might not fit your idea of an abundant life! Jesus promised peace, but in the same breath He said that in this world we would have tribulation. He assured us of His love, but He went on to say that the world would hate and persecute us. In Ephesians, Paul has just shown how the Spirit-filled home is a glorious picture of the loving relationship between Christ and the church. But he continues by telling us that the Christian life is nothing less than warfare against the hideous enemy that Luther called ‘the prince of darkness grim.’ It is vital for your survival as a Christian that you realize that when you became a Christian, you were drafted into God’s army. Daily you are engaged in a battle with an unseen spiritual enemy that seeks to destroy you. Otherwise, when trials hit, you will think that something is wrong. You will wonder why God has allowed this. You won’t understand the reality of your situation.”

via Some Christians Are Getting Disillusioned in the Faith but When Jesus Promised Peace in the Same Breath He Said We Would Have Tribulation — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Tulsi Gabbard lists political correctness among threats to American values | RT – Daily news

Widespread efforts to silence speech deemed to be offensive threaten US constitutional rights, Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard says. Her latest campaign ad takes aim at the hot-button issue of political correctness.
Read Full Article at RT.com

Source: Tulsi Gabbard lists political correctness among threats to American values

Israeli Air Force Strikes Targets In Gaza Strip Following A Barrage Of Rockets Launched By Palestinian Terrorists And Aimed At Southern Israel — Now The End Begins

IAF jets struck several targets in the Gaza Strip Friday night following the launching of rockets towards southern Israel by Palestinian terrorists

After a relatively quiet summer, Palestinian terror group Hamas has once again fired a barrage of rockets at southern Israel. The IAF responded quickly and efficiently with a target strike Hamas offices and homes in the Gaza Strip. Just another day in the Holy Land, right? Consider this.

“For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” Joshua 11:20 (KJV)

Can you imagine just for a moment what it must be like to be Israel, and to be constantly defending your borders and having to sky the skies night and day with no respite of any kind? Now imagine what will happen after the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church takes place in Revelation 4, Jesus releases Antichrist in Revelation 6, and the Jews hail him as the Messiah, and for the first time ever in the 70+ years of regathered Israel’s history they will have peace, and they will have rest. And the whole thing will be a trap sent by God to judge His chosen people the Jews. It will be the time of Jacob’s trouble.

“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:19-22 (KJV)

Pray for Israel and for the Jewish people. Trouble is coming for them that will make the Holocaust look like a church picnic. All Christians should pray for Israel and the Jews, and if you don’t, maybe you aren’t really a Christian.

IDF STRIKES TARGETS IN GAZA FOLLOWING ROCKET FIRE

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: According to the Israeli military, fighter jets and other aircraft struck two underground terrorist infrastructures belonging to Hamas in the north and center of the coastal enclave. “The attack was carried out in response to the rocket fire launched from the Gaza Strip earlier this night,” read a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, adding that “the IDF will continue to work against attempts to harm Israeli civilians, and considers the Hamas terror organization responsible for everything that is done in and that comes out of the Gaza Strip.”

According to local Palestinian media, Israel targeted a Hamas outpost in the Tuffah district of Gaza City as well as targets in the cities of Jabalia and Khan Younis.

Earlier on Friday, explosions were heard in southern Israel after incoming rocket sirens were activated in several communities bordering the northern Strip. Sirens were heard in Sderot, Or Haner, Erez, Gva’im, and Avivim at 9 p.m.

The barrage came as tensions have risen in the South following several violent infiltrations along the border fence. In less than two weeks, six armed Palestinians were able to infiltrate into southern Israel before being engaged by IDF troops and killed.

On Sunday, Israeli troops shot and killed 26-year-old Marwan Nasser, who opened fire on them while trying to infiltrate. No Israelis were hurt in the incident and surrounding communities were not placed under increased security. During his funeral Nasser was seen wearing a green bandana associated with Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades.

The incident came 24 hours after IDF troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians, who attempted to infiltrate with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), AK-47 assault rifles and grenades. While the military hasn’t yet determined which group was behind the foiled attack, they put the responsibility of the attack squarely on Hamas.

The four militants were identified as former Hamas members 21-year-old Abdullah Ismail Al-Hamaida, 19-year-old Abdullah Ashraf al-Ghomri, 20-year-old Ahmad Ayman al-Adeini and 21-year-old Abdallah al-Masri, all of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

On August 1, an IDF officer and two soldiers were injured and a Hamas militant was killed in an exchange of fire at the border in the area of Kissufim in southern Israel.  READ MORE

Debunking the Palestine Lie

This video debunks the Palestinians’ claim and shows that Abbas has been lying about the origins and history of the conflict. Palestinian leaders have rejected partition plans that would have given them much more land for their independent state than the Jews were offered for theirs. Rather than being the innocent victims of a “dispossession” at the hands of the Israelis, the Palestinians rejected reasonable compromises and instead pursued their aim of getting rid of the only Jewish state in the world.

via Israeli Air Force Strikes Targets In Gaza Strip Following A Barrage Of Rockets Launched By Palestinian Terrorists And Aimed At Southern Israel — Now The End Begins

Todd Starnes: Franklin Graham has a warning for Christian ‘influencers’ renouncing their faith | FOX news

We must put our faith in Jesus Christ, not a celebrity influencer. And when we find ourselves facing difficulties in life, we must turn to the Bible instead of self-help books.

Todd Starnes and Franklin Graham

https://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=6073341826001&w=466&h=263Watch the latest video at foxnews.com

Todd Starnes speaks with President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse Franklin Graham about his support for a New Jersey mayor who opposes a law that requires public schools to teach LGBT history.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among so-called Christian “influencers.”

A small, but growing number of people made famous because of their faith are now using their platforms to reject the teachings of Christ.

John Cooper, the lead singer in the rock band Skillet, said it best in a Facebook post: “What in God’s Name is Happening in Christianity?”

Cooper was expressing his deep concerns about so-called Christian leaders who are openly renouncing their faith and others who are turning their backs on biblical teachings.

“We are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20-year-old worship singers as our source of truth,” he wrote. “We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.”

Amen, brother! Preach!

“We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or ‘relevant’ people the most influential people in Christendom,” he wrote.

Over the past few weeks the Christian community has been rocked by revelations that Joshua Harris, the author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” had renounced his faith. And most recently, Hillsong’s Marty Sampson announced his faith in Christ was on “incredibly shaky ground.”

I asked Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, about this weird trend surrounding Christian leaders and influencers during an interview on my nationally-syndicated radio program.

“They’re in a very dangerous place to be out from under God’s protection,” Graham said during an interview on “The Todd Starnes Radio Show.” “For whatever reason they have decided they’re going to turn their back on God and God standards.”

Graham said he is especially disturbed by Christians who publicly renounce their faith in Christ, citing a warning from the Book of Revelation.

“(God) warns churches that turn their back on him and these young men who have renounced their faith have made it so public,” he said. “Why did they make it so public? I think they just want publicity. Otherwise, why didn’t they just leave their faith and just be quiet about it?”

He wondered if the reason why was so that other Christians might join them and fall away from the teachings of the Bible.

“Shame on them,” Graham said. “You’ll stand before God one day and give an account to Him.”

Cooper, in his Facebook post, pointed out a “common thread” among the leaders and influencers who are saying “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.”

“This is just flatly false,” he wrote. “I just read today in a renowned worship leader’s statement, ‘How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.’ As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.”

Graham echoed that point during our interview on my radio show.

“I believe the Bible. I believe the Bible to be the Word of God. I believe every word of the Bible. I do not understand it all but I believe it all,” he said.

We must put our faith in Jesus Christ, not a celebrity influencer. And when we find ourselves facing difficulties in life, we must turn to the Bible instead of self-help books.

“I’m going to keep on doing what I do and I’m going to keep telling people how they can have a relationship with God how they can have their sins forgiven and how it can make and have that hope of heaven one day by putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.”

And that should be our prayer for Christian “influencers” like Mr. Harris and Mr. Sampson – that one day they might truly put their faith and trust in Christ.

Source: Todd Starnes: Franklin Graham has a warning for Christian ‘influencers’ renouncing their faith

Leaving the Faith by Losing the Focus, Part 1 | Christianity Today

There is a common thread between the recent denouncements of faith by Christian leaders.

Another high-profile Christian voiced his decision to “fall away” from faith. To be fair, Marty Sampson did walk back the position, saying that “he hasn’t renounced the faith.” Nevertheless, both Sampson and Josh Harris chose to invite the public in their season of struggle and straying.

As one would imagine, such public displays of de-affection has led to a range of reactions from the social media sphere—support, shock, and outrage, to name just a few. As we all wrestle with such public vulnerability and rawness, we must always begin with prayer for those who are struggling, and those who have laid the proverbial line in the sand regarding their denial of the Christian faith.

As we pray, there are two particular things I believe those secure in the faith can do. First, we can seek to understand why such people fall away. Second, we can discern and devise ways we can strengthen our discipleship environments to allow the full spectrum of seekers and strugglers have safe environments to belong, become, and believe (and keep on believing).

To help our understanding of why people wander or are tempted to wander from the faith, we can look at the Book of Hebrews, which addresses the need for endurance to not fall away and the environment that tempts one to fall away.

The Endurance to Not Fall Away

The writer of Hebrews addresses believers who were undergoing severe persecution to the point that they were tempted to waver in the faith. So the author writes a letter aimed at encouraging them to endure. In Chapter 11, we find the “Hall of Faith”—and these words:

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors won God’s approval. …

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Source: Leaving the Faith by Losing the Focus, Part 1

The ERLC Publishes an Article on Women Written by a Feminist Lesbian — Christian Research Network

For Rebecca McLaughlin, the New Testament works as a Critical Race Theory / Intersectionality / Liberation Theology manifesto. In the world of Critical Race Theory, the world is divided into identity groups at war in a zero-sum game. For one group to be lifted up, another must be pulled down.”

(Pulpit & Pen)  The ERLC has published an article on Jesus and women written by a lesbian Critical Race Theory / Intersectionality advocate. What could possibly go wrong here?

Rebecca McLaughlin recently wrote an article for the ERLC website on “How the Gospels Show that Jesus Valued Women.” Russell Moore and his ERLC work overtime to push Evangelical Christians leftward in our views of everything from animal rights to private property ownership, while simultaneously mesmerizing simple minds with distracting dribble: Do cats make it to heaven? What about space aliens? Should we baptize robots? All the while the ERLC adroitly avoids what the Bible has to say about the most pressing Ethical and Religious Liberty issues of our day: abortion, Drag Queen Story Hour, the militant homosexualist agenda. So why wouldn’t the ERLC use the writings of a lesbian to teach us how to read our Bibles on the topic of women with fresh eyes? View article →

Research

Progressive (Social Justice) “Christianity”

via The ERLC Publishes an Article on Women Written by a Feminist Lesbian — Christian Research Network

Radical Islamist Connections Between Ilhan Omar, CAIR, the Fort Pierce Islamic Center, the FBI and Obama’s White House Come to Light — The Gateway Pundit

Rep. Ilhan Omar is a staunch supporter of CAIR, a radical organization with links to a support network for Hamas.

CAIR is also connected to the terrorist related Fort Pierce Islamic Center.  CAIR and its leadership were also constant visitors to Obama’s White House.

Rep. Ilhan Omar spoke at a fundraiser for the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) in California in March where she urged the crowd to “raise hell,” get in stranger’s faces, and “make people uncomfortable.”

CAIR and other anti-Jewish groups are big supporters of Ilhan Omar:

Several anti-Israel, jihad-supporting groups are coming together to promote an event “in support of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), including a Muslim and a Jewish group that both have controversial records on terrorism.”

The groups include CAIR, with its associations with Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood organization, and Jewish Voice for Peace, “a radical left-wing organization that hosted convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh at a conference in 2017 before she was deported for lying to U.S. immigration officials about her violent past.”

These groups have called the event “Coalition of Muslim, Jewish Groups” in an attempt to deceive Americans into thinking that they are exponents of Jewish-Muslim unity and dialogue. The truth about this sham event is that it is a clear demonstration in support of the Palestinian jihad.

Nezar Hamze, the CEO of the Florida Chapter of CAIR, was photographed giving weapons training at the mosque in Fort Pierce:

Another leader of CAIR is Hassan Shibly who has given speeches alongside Omar.  Shibly was a frequent visitor to the Obama White House and is considered a terrorist by many governments.  Below he poses with his AK 47:

CAIR is also closely connected to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center.  Members of the Fort Pierce Islamic center have cost humanity several hundred causalities (that’s 49 from Omar Mateen’s Pulse club massacre and a few hundred from Abu-Salha who detonated a truck bomb with 16 tons of explosives in front of a restaurant in Syria).

The Islamic Center of Fort Peirce was the topic of a post in 2016:

Syed Shafeeq Ur Rahman, imam of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce (ICFP), claims that his mosque – the same mosque where Orlando terrorist shooter Omar Mateen regularly prayed at – condemns radical Islam. But if that is so, then why, following the shooting, would the mosque retain a spokesman who is a leader from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that has numerous associations with the terrorist organization Hamas?

The Islamic Center of Fort Pierce or Masjid Subul-as-Salam was incorporated in September 2003. Its founder was Shafeeq Rahman. Today, Rahman is the mosque’s imam and president. The mosque is a converted church, located at 1104 West Midway Road and owned by Azaan, Inc., a Florida business run by the mosque’s Secretary and Treasurer, Imtiaz Jehan Khan.

Weeks ago, the mosque made the news, following the murders of 49 innocent people at Orlando’s Pulse LGBT nightclub by one of the mosque’s congregants. This had been the second large scale terrorist attack linked to the mosque in as many years.

The first was a suicide attack carried out in Syria by then 22-year-old Palestinian-American Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, aka Abu Hurayra al-Amriki. Abu-Salha was a follower of deceased Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda leader who died via a US drone strike in September 2011. Abu-Salha had flown from the US to Turkey and made his way over the border into Syria, soon to join up with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front.

Below are pictures of former Floridian Abu-Salha:

Abu-Salha was the first American suicide bomber in Syria:

Moner Mohammad Abu Salha, alias Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, was believed to be the first American national to carry out such an attack in Syria’s three-year-old war.

The American jihadist on May 25 drove a truck bomb attack onto an army base in Jabal al-Arbaeen area of northwest Syria’s Idlib province. It is unknown how many were killed.

Terrorists later provided pictures and a video of the bombing carried out by Abu-Salha –

Omar Mateen, the Pulse club murderer, killed 49 people at an Orlando gay night club in 2016. He is also connected to the Fort Pierce Islamic Center –

He was connected to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce but CBS and the FBI stated that he was radicalized through the Internet, ignoring these connections:

FBI Director James Comey on Monday echoed President Obama’s statement that the Orlando shooting was not a plot directed from outside the United States and he also outlined the agency’s previous interactions with the shooter.

“So far, we see no indication that this was a plot directed from outside the United States and we see no indication that he was part of any kind of network,” Comey told reporters.

The intelligence community, Comey said, is “highly confident that this killer was radicalized at least in part through the Internet.”

On the day after the Pulse club massacre, then-FBI chief James Comey promised – 

We will leave no stone unturned and we will work all day and all night to understand the path to that terrible night. … I don’t see anything in reviewing our work that our agents should have done differently, but we’ll look at it in an open and honest way, and be transparent about it.”

But Comey, true to his nature, provided zero transparency.  The FBI even redacted Mateen’s endorsement of ISIS in the initial transcripts they released of Omar Mateen’s discussions with hostage negotiators on the night of the shooting.

Comey complained of the difficulty of investigating lone wolf terrorists:

Our work is very challenging. We are looking for needles in a nationwide haystack.”

But Omar Mateen was no lone wolf, he was in the FBI’s back pocket all along. In fact Omar’s father was a paid FBI informant for years and the FBI was responsible for constantly getting Omar Mateen out of trouble including removing him from the US Terror Watch List twice. That is until the day that he flipped on them.

Omar’s father, Sadique Mateen, was also a frequent visitor of the Obama White House.  He attended Hillary rallies and campaigned for her and against American’s second amendment rights.  He also is the Director and Vice President of the Fort Pierce Mosque.

How many criminal activities took place in Obama’s White House?  The list must be massive!

Hat tip Yaacov Apelbaum

via Radical Islamist Connections Between Ilhan Omar, CAIR, the Fort Pierce Islamic Center, the FBI and Obama’s White House Come to Light — The Gateway Pundit

August 17 Tenets of a Spiritual Walk

scripture reading: Colossians 3:5–10
key verse: Colossians 1:10

That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Walking in the Spirit certainly is not as simple as one, two, three; but a pyramid of biblical truth can help you keep step with His cadence.

When you walk in the Spirit, you are doing what God tells you to do. That entails a consistent reading and hearing of God’s Word and obedience to His commands. You progressively discover what the Spirit of truth reveals through the Scriptures.

When you walk in the Spirit, you are doing what God says to do and how He says to do it. Learning God’s methods comes only through systematic, persistent study of God’s Word. It is not enough to read His truth. You must investigate, explore, and examine His principles.

Finally you walk in the Spirit when you do what God says, how He says to achieve it, and why He says to accomplish it. You apply the why through deliberate meditation on God’s Word. You read and study, but then you delight in, revel in, and ponder the awesome truths designed to glorify Christ that it reveals.

Keep these cornerstone tenets in focus each day, and walking in the Spirit will become natural for you.

Heavenly Father, through Your Spirit, reveal to me today the what, how, and why of each situation. Help me apply the principles I learn in solitude to the hectic arena of my everyday life.[1]


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

08/16/2019 — Wretched

WR2019-0816

•What is the difference between a primary and secondary doctrine?
•Road Trip to Church of the Apostles
•Mike Riccardi preaches the Gospel very well
•Does God hear my prayers?
•What is the biggest obstacle to the Gospel today?
•Must evangelism be accompanied by follow-up?
•Should churches have youth-led services?
•What do I do when my faithful pastor stretches the text?
•What does the Bible say about self-esteem?
•How do I respond to a transgender coworker

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via 08/16/2019 — Wretched

Weekend Snapshot · Aug. 17, 2019 – Top Stories This Week

Indoctrinating and Radicalizing Mass Murderers

Leftist political “gun control” theatrics versus the root causes of sociopathic violence in America.


Senate Dems Give SCOTUS 2A Ultimatum

“Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured,'” they admonish.


‘Red Flag’ Laws Are a Scam

Seizing guns from those disputably deemed more likely than not to be a threat is a hazardous slippery slope.


Israel Bars Entry of Anti-Israel Reps. Omar and Tlaib

Prime Minister Netanyahu evokes Israel’s law banning foreigners who promote the BDS movement for his decision.


Trump Delays New Round of China Tariffs

Eager to stave off a recession, China and the U.S. will now resume trade talks.


China, Tariffs, and Recession Fears Amid Strong Economy

Market volatility continues as markets rise under news of stronger-than-expected retail sales.


DHS Updates Immigration Rule Limiting Welfare Recipients

The Trump administration enacts rules that limit number of immigration applicants who have used welfare services.


Questions Surround Epstein’s Untimely Death

The biggest question of all is: Who benefits now that Epstein will not be tried?


Left Longs for Politically Induced Recession

Bill Maher is increasingly determined to “get rid of Trump” via “a crashing economy.”


Leftmedia Brands Trump a ‘Racist’

“His history is littered with racist and racially charged comments and actions,” WaPo claims.



Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Quote Of The Week

“Israeli law forbids entry to any non-citizen who ‘knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.’ What Omar and Tlaib (and their media cheerleaders and anti-Semitic supporters) were demanding was special treatment that violated Israeli’s own laws.” —Sean Davis

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 08/17/2019

Former Hillsong Songwriter Marty Sampson Renounces Christianity: ‘It’s Not for Me. I Am Not in Anymore’   Aug 12, 2019 07:21 pm

Screenshot YouTube SYDNEY — Marty Sampson, a former songwriter for Australia’s Hillsong worship team and Hillsong United, announced on Instagram on Saturday that he is “losing faith” in Christianity and that he is “happy now.” “Time for some real talk. I’m genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn’t bother me,” he wrote. “Like, what bothers me now is…

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NJ Mayor Stands Against Homosexual, Transgender Curriculum in Schools as ‘an Affront to Almighty God’   Aug 12, 2019 11:47 am

BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A mayor in New Jersey took a stand on Tuesday against a new state law that requires public school curriculum in the state to include information on the contributions of homosexuals and transgenders in American history. According to the Asbury Press, during the regular meeting for Barnegat Township, Mayor Alfonso Cirulli forthrightly…

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Female Student Who Identifies as Male Suspended by Christian College After Obtaining Breast Reduction Surgery   Aug 14, 2019 08:11 pm

Photo Credit: The Tennessean/Screenshot GALLATIN, Tenn. — A female student at a Christian college in Tennessee was recently suspended after school officials learned that she underwent breast reduction surgery for “sex change” purposes. The college says that “attempting to alter one’s bodily identity constitutes a rejection of God’s design for humanity” and…

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Study Claims Komodo Dragon DNA Provides Insight Into Lizard’s Adaptive Evolution, Christians Point to Creator   Aug 15, 2019 08:56 am

Photo Credit: Mark Dumont/Flikr/Wikipedia A study into the DNA of the Komodo dragon claims to provide insight into the “positive selection” adaptive evolution of the unique monitor lizard with a metabolism similar to that of mammals. Christian researchers, however, state that the study doesn’t point to evolution at all, but rather demonstrates the handiwork of…

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UK Teen Regrets Taking Puberty Blockers to Identify as Boy: ‘They Promised Happiness With Little Evidence’   Aug 14, 2019 01:15 pm

(The Christian Institute) — A teenager says puberty blockers were sold as a “miracle cure for being trans”, but instead felt like poison which did not solve her problems. Speaking to The Times, the anonymous child explained how she began taking the blockers aged twelve because she was unhappy as a girl. But now, at 16, she describes it as “the worst…

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Accused Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein Kills Himself Overnight at a Federal Lockup, Officials Say   Aug 10, 2019 10:25 am

NEW YORK (ABC News) — Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced millionaire who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died by suicide early Saturday in his Lower Manhattan prison cell, three law enforcement officials told ABC News. Epstein hanged himself, law enforcement sources said. He was transported in cardiac arrest at 6:39 a.m. from Metropolitan Correctional…

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Minn. Father Facing Murder Charge Says He Dropped His 5-Month-Old Son on His Head for Being ‘Fussy’   Aug 12, 2019 12:27 pm

WOODBURY, Minn. (USA Today/Yahoo News) — A Minnesota father is facing second-degree murder charges after police say he deliberately dropped his 5-month-old boy on his head, killing him. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, authorities arrested 35-year-old Matthew Hoisser at his Woodbury home, roughly 20 miles from Minneapolis, in connection with the death of…

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Nearly 25 Percent of Babies Aborted in England, Wales in 2018   Aug 14, 2019 05:16 pm

Photo Credit: Josh Willink/Pexels (The Christian Institute) — Nearly a quarter of babies are aborted in England and Wales, shocking new statistics reveal. Excluding stillbirths and miscarriages, 23.8 percent of pregnancies were cut short by abortions in 2018. While there were 657,076 live births last year, 205,295 unborn babies were killed – meaning that…

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Teacher Issues ‘Gender Unicorn’ Handout to Students on First Day of School to Explain Why He Goes By ‘Mx’   Aug 16, 2019 10:15 pm

Gender UnicornScreenshot Fox40 News DENAIR, Calif. — Some parents have expressed objection after a middle school teacher in California issued a “gender unicorn” handout to students on the first day of school to explain why he goes by the prefix “Mx.” rather than “Mr.” Luis Davila Alvarado teaches science at Denair Middle School. Last week, he gave students a worksheet that…

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Ill. Governor Signs Bill Into Law Requiring Students to Be Taught About Historical Contributions of Homosexuals   Aug 14, 2019 12:32 pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Democratic governor of Illinois has signed a bill into law that requires curriculum for public school students to include information on the contributions of those throughout history who identified as homosexual or transgender. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 246, sponsored by Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, on Friday. It will go into effect in…

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