Daily Archives: September 12, 2019

September 12 The Eternal Adventure

Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:6–13

Key Verse: 1 John 5:9

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.

When someone testifies about something—a product, an event, another’s character—the testimony is only as strong as the character of the person giving it. And when it comes to God, there should be no question about what He says. His words are truth.

But there is an even greater benefit to knowing God. As we draw near to Him, we learn that He not only provides the guidance we need at every turn in life, but He also gives us a clear map on how to accomplish His plan for our lives.

John wrote, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:9, 11). The assurance of our salvation is based on God’s Word. We do not have to be afraid that one day we will fall from His grace. This cannot happen to those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. God’s love is eternal. There is never a moment in time when He turns His love in another direction. It is always focused on us.

He provides us the assurance we need through what He has testified about His Son. The moment we accept God’s Word as truth and receive Christ as our Savior, we are saved. The eternal adventure begins with great assurance!

Thank You for salvation and assurance. Thank You, Lord, that Your love is forever focused on me.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 12 A Spokesman of God’s Truth

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:20–21

Key Verse: Mark 2:17

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

George Whitefield, an English evangelist who lived from 1714 to 1770, delivered more than eighteen thousand sermons in his lifetime of being a traveling preacher. In England and America, his strong voice carried through fields to the crowds of thousands that gathered wherever he went. He was so passionate to spread the gospel that he continued preaching even in poor health.

The people around him recognized that the Lord gave him almost superhuman energy and drive. In their book The Light and the Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel described the scene in New Hampshire at his last sermon:

When the time came to speak, he could barely breathe, and one of them said to him, “Sir, you are more fit to go to bed, than to preach.”

“True, sir,” gasped Whitefield. Then, glancing heavenward he added, “Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of it. If I have not finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, and seal Thy truth, and come home and die!”

God answered his prayer. After delivering a more than two-hour sermon, the exhausted Whitefield went to a pastor friend’s home; he died the next morning as he gazed out the window at the sunrise. Because one man was willing to be a spokesman of God’s truth, two nations were touched with His love.

O Lord, make me a spokesman of Your truth. I have not finished my journey. Don’t let me grow weary along the way. Keep me faithful to the end.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 12 – Learning to be a child again — Reformed Perspective

Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them. – Psalm 144:6

Scripture reading: Psalm 144

Once upon a time you cried out to your parent. You might be older – 80’s or 90’s, but you might still remember a day long ago when you cried out to your dad or mom. Were you hurt? Did you get lost? Maybe you woke up from a terrible nightmare. But you cried out – you needed help! And you probably never considered the possibility that your parent would ignore you. You expected to be answered! Here is King David, the most powerful man in the kingdom with guards and fighting men all around him, but he cries out to God. He knows that only God can rescue him. Is this our practical experience of faith? Is this why we pray, how we pray?

Those two things we most need to know – Who God is and who we are – what do we learn about who we are in this verse? Do we learn that we need help? Do you know that you need to be delivered and do you think about it most every day? The Heidelberg Catechism tells us that we must know how great our sins and misery are…why? When your child acts out and sins blatantly, do you discipline him? Why? Because you want him to learn. So too with knowing our sins. We need to remember that God alone saves us. And in the daily struggles, too, God must rescue us. Is this why you pray? Is this how you pray?

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to show you that being a child in His care is a position of peace and joy.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri.

via September 12 – Learning to be a child again — Reformed Perspective

September 12 Taking Charge

Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1:1–12

Key verse: 2 Timothy 1:7

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

She stood to the side of the lobby where she could watch him unobserved. He was an acquaintance from years ago, and she had spotted him coming through her office building. She wanted to speak and reintroduce herself, but something held her back.

Every time she wanted her feet to move, she felt rooted to the floor. Her mouth was going dry, and her hands began to tremble. Would he even remember her? Would he care? What if she looked silly? He might laugh, or he could be completely indifferent. No, she finally reasoned, I’m not going to bother.

Have you ever felt the fear of rejection or failure or embarrassment? You probably also know the longing of wishing you had taken a chance and risked being vulnerable. You do not want to let opportunities pass you by, but somehow you feel unable to change.

A key to victory over insecurity and social fear is remembering your identity in Christ. You are not a failure, even when you mess up. You are not ridiculous, even when you make silly mistakes. Paul wrote, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Stepping out and taking a chance is not an opportunity for pain; it’s opening up your life in an area of weakness to allow God to demonstrate His strength (2 Cor. 12:9–10). Let the Lord absorb the risk.

God, You have not given me the spirit of fear. You have given me power, love, and a sound mind. Let me reach out to others today.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 267). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Don’t panic about e-cigarettes | The Economist

Banning them all will cause far more harm than good

“IT’S TIME to stop vaping,” says Lee Norman, a health official in Kansas. Six people are dead in America, apparently from smoking e-cigarettes. More than 450 have contracted a serious lung disease. So Mr Norman’s advice sounds reasonable. The Centres for Disease Control and the American Medical Association agree: the country’s 11m vapers should quit. A new idea is circulating, that vaping is worse than smoking. On September 11th the Trump administration said it intends to ban non-tobacco flavoured vaping fluid (see article). Some politicians want a broader ban on all e-cigarettes.

The facts have gone up in smoke, as so often happens during health scares. Although more research is needed, the evidence so far suggests that the recent vaping deaths in America did not come from products bought in a shop but from badly made items sold on the street. In five out of six cases, the tainted vaping products were bought illicitly; the other involved liquid bought in a legal cannabis shop in Oregon. One theory is that the vape fluid was mixed with vitamin E. This is an oil—something that should not enter the lungs. If inhaled, oil causes the type of symptoms that the stricken vapers display.

Source: Don’t panic about e-cigarettes

September 12, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

grace verse 2

His Perfect Provision

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (4:16)

The One who understands us perfectly will also provide for us perfectly. “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, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Jesus Christ knows our temptations and will lead us out of them.

Come to God’s Throne of Grace

Again, the Holy Spirit appeals to those who are yet undecided about accepting Christ as their Savior. They should not only keep from going back into Judaism, but they should hold on to their confession of Christ and, finally—and necessarily—go on to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.

Most ancient rulers were unapproachable by the common people. Some would not even allow their highest-ranking officials to come before them without permission. Queen Esther risked her life in approaching King Ahasuerus without invitation, even though she was his wife (Esther 5:1–2). Yet any penitent person, no matter how sinful and undeserving, may approach God’s throne at any time for forgiveness and salvation—confident that he will be received with mercy and grace.

By Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, God’s throne of judgment is turned into a throne of grace for those who trust in Him. As the Jewish high priests once a year for centuries had sprinkled blood on the mercy seat for the people’s sins, Jesus shed His blood once and for all time for the sins of everyone who believes in Him. That is His perfect provision.

The Bible speaks much of God’s justice. But how terrible for us if He were only just, and not also gracious. Sinful man deserves death, the sentence of justice; but he needs salvation, the gift of grace. It is to the very throne of this grace that any person can now come with confidence and assurance. It is the throne of grace because grace is dispensed there.

How can anyone reject such a High Priest, such a Savior—who not only permits us to come before His throne for grace and help, but pleads with us to come in confidence? His Spirit says, “Come boldly all the way to God’s throne that has been turned into a throne of grace because of Jesus. Come all the way up, receive grace and mercy when you need it—before it is too late and your heart is hard and God’s ‘today’ is over.” The time of need is now.

What a High Priest we have. He sympathizes and He saves. What more could He do?[1]

16 Verses 14–15 have set side by side the two essentials for the perfect high priest: to be in the position of ultimate authority with God in heaven, and yet also to have a personal knowledge of our human condition. No earthly priest could offer the first, and no angel the second, but in Jesus we have both. So there can be no barrier to the parrēsia (GK 4244), “confidence” or lack of inhibition, with which we can approach God (cf. 10:19–22, where the same word parrēsia is used). In the OT, the priests alone were entitled to “approach” the sanctuary, but now through our great high priest all of us can fearlessly approach God himself. Of course we must not forget the absolute holiness and majesty of the God who “lives in unapproachable light” (1 Ti 6:16), but through Jesus we have come to know that the throne of majesty is also a “throne of grace,” a place of welcome, not of rebuff, where “mercy” and “grace” are freely available through the high priest who has gone there to intercede for his people (7:25). This theme of access to the presence of God will be graphically developed in 12:18–24. And its relevance is not only to our ultimate acceptance before God when this earthly life is finished but also to the present crises of life on earth; in such “time of need,” too, effective “help” is there for the asking.[2]

16 Therefore, says our author, let us come with full confidence to the throne of grace. This throne of grace is the throne of God, where Jesus, as his people’s high priest, sits exalted at the Father’s right hand. It is the antitype, in our author’s mind, to the “mercy-seat” in the earthly sanctuary, of which he speaks below in 9:5; in Tyndale’s New Testament and the Great Bible (1539) the same rendering, “the seat of grace” (following Luther’s Gnadenstuhl), is used both there and here. It was at the earthly mercy-seat that the work of atonement was completed in token on the Day of Atonement and the grace of God extended to his people; the presence of the Christians’ high priest on the heavenly throne of grace bespeaks a work of atonement completed not in token but in fact, and the constant availability of divine aid in all their need. Thanks to him, the throne of God is a mercy-seat to which they have free access and from which they may receive all the grace and power required “for timely help” in the hour of trial and crisis.71[3]

16 Because “we,” as God’s people, have this kind of high priest, the pastor urges us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence” in order to receive the help we need for victorious living. Under the Old Covenant none could “approach” God’s “throne,” the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place, save the high priest, and he but one day in the year. This annual approach was with great fear because God’s throne was the place of judgment against sin.

Now, however, God’s people are urged to draw near to the true heavenly “throne” of God “with confidence” because their High Priest has made that “throne” a throne “of grace,” a true “mercy seat,” for those who approach God through him. God is no less holy than he was in the OT (cf. 4:12–13; 12:25–29), but Christ’s obedient sacrifice has taken away the sin of the faithful and “cleansed” their “consciences from dead works” (9:14) so that they can come into the presence of this holy God. Thus the “confidence” (3:6; 10:19–23, 25) with which God’s people approach is more than a feeling. Through the work of Christ they have received authorization to enter God’s presence. As God’s people the recipients of Hebrews and we as their heirs can be sure of God’s gracious acceptance.

The combination of “mercy and grace” powerfully pictures the total adequacy of the benefits God’s people receive when they enter God’s presence through this “merciful” (2:17) High Priest. “Mercy” is reminiscent of God’s covenant love and unfailing faithfulness demonstrated in the history of Israel and culminating in Jesus Christ. Through God’s “mercy” the faithful are forgiven and released from their sins. The words translated “find grace” are often used in the Greek OT of finding “favor” in someone’s eyes.29 As noted above, this “throne of grace” is a place where God’s people meet with God’s favor and acceptance. “Grace,” however, is much more than passive divine acceptance. “Grace” is the new reality of redemption freely available for God’s people through the death of Christ (2:9) and mediated by God’s Spirit (10:29). God’s “grace” provides the power to overcome temptation and to live faithfully in all the circumstances of life. God’s “help” is “timely” because it is available twenty-four hours a day—whenever his people face trials and temptations. His “help” is sufficient to enable his people to “hold firmly to the faith” they “profess” despite opposition and persecution.

These two exhortations, the first in v. 14 and the second in vv. 15–16, mutually support one another. Because our “great High Priest” (the one who is “the Son of God” and has entered heaven on our behalf) is also “Jesus” (v. 14a), who sympathizes “with our weaknesses” (v. 15), we, as God’s faithful, both can and should draw near to God confident of acceptance and of finding the “help” (v. 16) needed to “hold fast” the “faith we profess” (v. 14b NIV).[4]

4:16 / If the readers are to “hold firmly to the faith” (v. 14), they will need to avail themselves of the help that comes from the very presence of God. Using imagery drawn from the temple cultus (e.g., approach), the author encourages boldness: with confidence (cf. 10:19). It is no light matter to draw near to the throne of grace. But there the readers will find the mercy and grace they need, and just at the time of need. In keeping with the language of the cultus, this throne of grace is probably analogous in the author’s mind to the mercy-seat in the holy of holies (cf. 9:5). It is assumed rather than stated that the high priest who is able to help is there at the throne (cf. v. 14 and 1:3, etc.).

We have now reached that stage in the author’s argument where he must set forth the qualifications of Jesus as high priest. This he does by first reviewing the role and the nature of the office according to the ot Scriptures, and then by showing how Jesus fulfills the same criteria.[5]

16. Let us therefore come boldly, or, with confidence, &c. He draws this conclusion,—that an access to God is open to all who come to him relying on Christ the Mediator; nay, he exhorts the faithful to venture without any hesitation to present themselves before God. And the chief benefit of divine teaching is a sure confidence in calling on God, as, on the other hand, the whole of religion falls to the ground, and is lost when this certainty is taken away from consciences.

It is hence obvious to conclude, that under the Papacy the light of the Gospel is extinct, for miserable men are bidden to doubt whether God is propitious to them or is angry with them. They indeed say that God is to be sought; but the way by which it is possible to come to him is not pointed out, and the gate is barred by which alone men can enter. They confess in words that Christ is a Mediator, but in reality they make the power of his priesthood of none effect, and deprive him of his honour.

For we must hold this principle,—that Christ is not really known as a Mediator except all doubt as to our access to God is removed; otherwise the conclusion here drawn would not stand, “We have a high priest who is willing to help us; therefore we may come boldly and without any hesitation to the throne of grace.” And were we indeed fully persuaded that Christ is of his own accord stretching forth his hand to us, who of us would not come in perfect confidence? It is then true what I said, that its power is taken away from Christ’s priesthood whenever men have doubts, and are anxiously seeking for mediators, as though that one were not sufficient, in whose patronage all they who really trust, as the Apostle here directs them, have the assurance that their prayers are heard.

The ground of this assurance is, that the throne of God is not arrayed in naked majesty to confound us, but is adorned with a new name, even that of grace, which ought ever to be remembered whenever we shun the presence of God. For the glory of God, when we contemplate it alone, can produce no other effect than to fill us with despair; so awful is his throne. The Apostle, then, that he might remedy our diffidence, and free our minds from all fear and trembling, adorns it with “grace,” and gives it a name which can allure us by its sweetness, as though he had said, “Since God has affixed to his throne as it were the banner of ‘grace’ and of his paternal love towards us, there is no reason why his majesty should drive us away.”

The import of the whole is, that we are to call upon God without fear, since we know that he is propitious to us, and that this may be done is owing to the benefit conferred on us by Christ, as we find from Eph. 3:12; for when Christ receives us under his protection and patronage, he covers with his goodness the majesty of God, which would otherwise be terrible to us, so that nothing appears there but grace and paternal favour.

That we may obtain mercy, &c. This is not added without great reason; it is for the purpose of encouraging as it were by name those who feel the need of mercy, lest any one should be cast down by the sense of his misery, and close up his way by his own diffidence. This expression, “that we may obtain mercy,” contains especially this most delightful truth, that all who, relying on the advocacy of Christ, pray to God, are certain to obtain mercy; yet on the other hand the Apostle indirectly, or by implication, holds out a threatening to all who take not this way, and intimates that God will be inexorable to them, because they disregard the only true way of being reconciled to him.

He adds, To help in time of need, or, for a seasonable help; that is, if we desire to obtain all things necessary for our salvation. Now, this seasonableness refers to the time of calling, according to those words of Isaiah which Paul accommodates to the preaching of the Gospel, “Behold, now is the accepted time,” &c., (Is. 49:8; 2 Cor. 6:2;) for the Apostle refers to that “to-day,” during which God speaks to us. If we defer hearing until to-morrow, when God is speaking to us to-day, the unseasonable night will come, when what now may be done can no longer be done; and we shall in vain knock when the door is closed.[6]

16. come—rather as Greek, “approach,” “draw near.”

boldlyGreek, “with confidence,” or “freedom of speech” (Eph 6:19).

the throne of grace—God’s throne is become to us a throne of grace through the mediation of our High Priest at God’s right hand (Heb 8:1; 12:2). Pleading our High Priest Jesus’ meritorious death, we shall always find God on a throne of grace. Contrast Job’s complaint (Job 23:3–8) and Elihu’s “IF,” &c. (Job 33:23–28).

obtain—rather, “receive.”

mercy—“Compassion,” by its derivation (literally, fellow feeling from community of suffering), corresponds to the character of our High Priest “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb 4:15).

find grace—corresponding to “throne of grace.” Mercy especially refers to the remission and removal of sins; grace, to the saving bestowal of spiritual gifts [Estius]. Compare “Come unto Me … and I will give you rest (the rest received on first believing). Take My yoke on you … and ye shall find rest (the continuing rest and peace found in daily submitting to Christ’s easy yoke; the former answers to “receive mercy” here; the latter, to “find grace,” Mt 11:28, 29).

in time of needGreek, “seasonably.” Before we are overwhelmed by the temptation; when we most need it, in temptations and persecutions; such as is suitable to the time, persons, and end designed (Ps 104:27). A supply of grace is in store for believers against all exigencies; but they are only supplied with it according as the need arises. Compare “in due time,” Ro 5:6. Not, as Alford explains, “help in time,” that is, to-day, while it is yet open to us; the accepted time (2 Co 6:2).

help—Compare Heb 2:18, “He is able to succor them that are tempted.”[7]

16. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

What encouraging words! The writer throughout his epistle exhorts the readers numerous times, but in this particular verse he has a special word for us. This time he does not exhort believers to rectify their way of life; he commends us for coming in prayer to God and urges us to do so confidently.

  • “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence.” The invitation to approach the throne of grace implies that the readers are already doing this. The author also uses the same verb in Hebrews 10:22 (“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith”). He later repeats the same invitation in slightly different wording (see Heb. 7:25; 10:1; 11:6; 12:18, 22).

The verb approach may have a religious connotation, because it often referred to the priests who in their cultic service approached God with sacrifices (Lev. 9:7; 21:17, 21; 22:3; Num. 18:3). In Hebrews 4:16 the writer urges us to come near to the throne of grace in prayer, for the only sacrifice a believer can bring is a broken and a contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). The great high priest has brought the supreme sacrifice in offering himself on the cross on behalf of his people. The merciful and faithful high priest invites the weak and tempted sinner to come to the throne of grace.

What is meant by the phrase throne of grace? This is an explicit reference to the kingship of the Son of God (Heb. 1:2–4). Jesus sits at the right hand of God and has been given full authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). But the word grace implies that the reference is also to the priesthood of Christ. The sinner who comes to the throne of grace in repentance and faith indeed finds the forgiving grace of Jesus.

Moreover, we are exhorted to come to the throne with confidence; that is, we may come boldly (Heb. 3:6; 10:19, 35), not rashly or in fear of judgment, but “in full confidence, openness to God and in the hope of the fullness of the glory of God.” Jesus invites his people to approach freely, without hesitation. He holds out the golden scepter, as it were, and says, “Come!”

  • “So that we may receive mercy and find grace.” Although the terms mercy and grace are often interpreted as being synonyms, their difference ought to be noted. Westcott makes the distinction succinctly:

Man needs mercy for past failure, and grace for present and future work. There is also a difference as to the mode of attainment in each case. Mercy is to be “taken” as it is extended to man in his weakness; grace is to be “sought” by man according to his necessity.

The mercy of God is directed to sinners in misery or distress; they receive God’s compassion when they approach him. And whereas God’s mercy extends to all his creatures (Ps. 145:9), his grace, as the writer of Hebrews indicates in Hebrews 4:16, extends to all who approach the throne of God. Mercy is characterized as God’s tender compassion; grace, as his goodness and love.

  • “To help us in our time of need.” Help is given at the right moment in the hour of need. The author is not saying that the help is constant, but rather that it alleviates the need of the moment. That need may be material, physical, or spiritual. When we call on the name of the Lord in faith and approach the throne of God, he will hear and answer. He stands ready to help (see Heb. 2:18).

This aid, in the form of grace, comes when temptation seems to sway us. God provides the means to find a way out of our temptations. God is faithful (1 Cor. 10:13).[8]

4:16. Given the fact that we have a sinless Savior, what can we do? What should be our response?

First, we must approach. Worshipers used this verb (Heb. 7:25) in describing their movement into God’s presence. We are to come to God with all the reverence and awe which his worship demands.

Second, we come to the throne of grace. This is a reverent reference to God’s presence. It is the place where God gives out his free favor. The term describes an attitude more than a place. The seeking sinner will find this throne of grace (Luke 18:9–14).

Third, we come in an attitude of confidence. Although we must approach God with reverence, we can enter his presence with freedom and without fear. The term describes a boldness based on an awareness that God has all the grace we need. It is the attitude of customers coming to a store seeking an important item which they know is plentifully stocked.

Fourth, we come for the purpose of obtaining mercy and grace. God’s mercy prescribes pardon for our many failures. God’s grace provides strength for the demands of God’s service.[9]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 114–115). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 73). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Bruce, F. F. (1990). The Epistle to the Hebrews (Rev. ed., pp. 116–117). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Cockerill, G. L. (2012). The Epistle to the Hebrews (pp. 227–228). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 79). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 109–112). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 450). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 126–127). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[9] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 74–75). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Lindsey Graham: My Goal Is To Declassify FISA Warrant Applications | ZeroHedge News

Via SaraACarter.com,

“My goal is to explain to you and the American public how the system failed and make sure it never happens again,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham on ‘Hannity’ show on Wednesday night.

“We’re going to pursue this in a transparent fashion,” Graham said.

“We’re going to declassify as much as we can, including the FISA warrant applications.”

Graham said he will seek to release to the public as much information possible about former British spy Christopher Steele.

“I’m going to give you all the information that was in the system about how suspicious people were of Christopher Steele, how biased he was, [and] let you read it for yourself. Transparency and accountability is my goal,” he said.

“The system had a lot of notice about [Christopher Steele] bias,” Graham said.

“Mr. Durham will make a decision as to who to prosecute, if anyone,” he added, referencing John Durham, the federal prosecutor tasked by Attorney General William Barr with investigating the origins of the Russia probe.

Source: Lindsey Graham: My Goal Is To Declassify FISA Warrant Applications

WATCH: GOP Senator Hits Back After CEOs Demand Gun Reform: ‘Love Is The Answer, But I Own A Handgun Just In Case’ | Daily Wire

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) responded on Thursday after the chief executives of more than 100 companies wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate urging Congress to pass various anti-gun measures.

Source: WATCH: GOP Senator Hits Back After CEOs Demand Gun Reform: ‘Love Is The Answer, But I Own A Handgun Just In Case’

Judicial ‘Dictators’: When a Single Judge Can Tell the Entire Country What to Do| CBN

WASHINGTON – Of the government’s three branches, the Judiciary is the only unelected one, and at times the most powerful.

The Obama administration faced 20 nationwide injunctions over eight years. President Trump and his administration have already been hit with nearly 40. The judges issuing such injunctions often halt Congress, as well, blocking enforcement of federal laws and policies.

Attorney General William Barr wants to stop these injunctions. In a recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, he wrote, “Shrewd lawyers have learned to “shop” for a sympathetic judge willing to issue such an injunction. These days, virtually every significant congressional or presidential initiative is enjoined—often within hours—threatening our democratic system and undermining the rule of law.”

‘Being a Judge Does Not Mean You’re a Dictator or Czar’

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) told CBN News it provides a judge near-total power.

The House Minority Whip stated, “Being a judge does not mean you are a dictator or a czar. You’re supposed to be there interpreting the laws that are written and upholding the Constitution.  And too often we see a judge that has their own agenda, and they try to carry out whatever they want to do as opposed to what the law says.”

Jeremy Dys is a lawyer fighting for religious freedom through First Liberty Institute.

That becomes a real danger if not properly checked, because who will check the checkers?,” Dys asked. “If the judges themselves are the ones who are going to decide what the Constitution says and we limit that to just one individual, that deprives 330 million Americans of the process that we’re familiar with under our Constitution.”

Dys warned these injunctions should frighten people of faith.

“This comes heavily into play on issues of religious liberty all over the country, where you might have one judge who would have a disagreement with how the Constitution is written or how the First Amendment has been interpreted,” he explained. “But he could shut off those critical civil rights protections for the entire nation.”

How the Process is Supposed to Work

The way it used to be Congress would pass a law, the president would sign it, and it would then take effect. Now if a judge steps in with a nationwide injunction to stop it, the president or lawmakers must slog their way through the entire Judiciary.

“The average case, I think, to the Supreme Court takes roughly six years to percolate up through the system,” Dys noted.

So one judge who differs with what a president decides or a Congress legislates can stymie the whole government.

As Attorney General Barr states in his September 5th Wall Street Journal op-ed, “…nationwide injunctions threaten to turn every case into an emergency for the executive and judicial branches.”

Don’t go to the Judiciary if You Want to be a Lawmaker

As a top lawmaker, it certainly peeves Congressman Scalise.

“It always angers me when I see these activist judges – judges who are not elected – decide, rather than interpreting the law, they want to make their own law,” he fumed. “You shouldn’t go to the judiciary because you want to be a lawmaker. You should run for Congress.   We’re held accountable every two years for the votes we take, the bills we pass, the positions that we take.”

And two men who did just that — run for Congress — are taking action.

Republican  Senator Tom Cotton  and Congressman Mark Meadows have just introduced the Nationwide Injunction Abuse Prevention Act. If passed, it  would prevent lawful policy changes from being blocked by individual district court judges.

The way the Judiciary is supposed to work is local judges decide cases for the people in front of them. Then disputed local rulings go before the district or circuit courts. And if various circuits disagree with each other, the US Supreme Court decides for the whole nation.

‘A Lot More Eyes on the Situation’

“That would give a lot more eyes on the situation rather than just one individual sitting in his chambers making the decision,” Dys said.

As Barr puts it, “A Supreme Court justice must convince at least four colleagues to bind the federal government nationwide, whereas a district court judge issuing a nationwide injunction needn’t convince anyone.”

Dys said of the usual slow march of a case up the judicial ladder, “It’s designed to be slow like that on purpose so that we have time to deliberate the best understandings of what the law ought to be, to see how it actually impacts the world around us.”

“If one judge sitting by himself in his chamber can decide that law is now void for the entire nation, it sets that entire process on end,” he added.  “Actually, it puts the judge above the legislature, and that’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind with the idea of separation of powers.”

A Real Constitutional Crisis?

Dys had another word of warning about a nationwide injunction.

“The average Joe in the streets of Upland, Indiana needs to realize it’s going to have a real impact on them if one judge sitting in his own chambers can determine that the First Amendment does or does not apply to that person and then also the rest of the country,” he explained. “That can be a real constitutional crisis on our hands.”

Scalise added, “These judges who are appointed for life in some cases don’t think the Constitution is a firm document.  They think they can recreate it in their own view.  And that’s not what the law is all about.”

The Supreme Court itself might step in to do something about all of this.  Justice Clarence Thomas in the 2018 case Trump v. Hawaii labeled nationwide injunctions “legally and historically dubious” and wrote, “If federal courts continue to issue them, this Court is duty-bound to adjudicate their authority to do so.”

Source: Judicial ‘Dictators’: When a Single Judge Can Tell the Entire Country What to Do

Gallup: 83% Blame ‘Failure of Mental Health System’ for Contributing to Mass Shootings | CNSNews

Mass murderer James Holmes. (YouTube)

(CNSNews.com) — Despite calls for more gun control laws in the wake of mass shootings, a new survey shows that the number one factor cited by Americans as contributing to mass shootings is the “failure of the mental health system to identify individuals who are a danger to others,” reported Gallup.

Eighty-three percent of adults see that as the factor contributing “a great deal” and “a fair amount” to the problem.

“Easy access to guns” was cited by 48% of American adults as contributing “a great deal” to mass shootings and another 21% saw it as contributing “a fair amount” to the problem.

Mass murderer Adam Lanza.  (YouTube)

“[T]he factor Americans blame most today remains failure by the mental health system to identify people who might be a danger to others,” reported Gallup on Sept. 11.  “Eighty-three percent of U.S. adults say this contributes a great deal or fair amount to mass shootings, about the same as the 80% from six years ago.”

“There has also been no significant change in those rating drug use (65%) or lack of security at public buildings (62%) as highly responsible,” said the survey firm.

“[J]use one factor — failure of the mental health system to flag dangerous people — is seen by a majority (55%) as contributing a great deal to the problem,” said Gallup.  “The spread of extremist viewpoints on the internet comes close, at 50%.” (Emphasis added.)

President Donald Trump “has pointed to mental health as the key culprit, and has cited violent video games,” said Gallup, “but has faced fierce resistance from public health experts and others who argue that stigmatizing mental illness isn’t the answer.”

In conclusion, the survey firm said, “Americans largely agree that a number of factors are to blame — chiefly reporting by the mental health system, the dissemination of extremist views online and easy access to guns. But they also seem receptive to the arguments that drug use and inflammatory political rhetoric may stoke the flames, while inadequate security at public buildings enables crimes to occur.”

Source: Gallup: 83% Blame ‘Failure of Mental Health System’ for Contributing to Mass Shootings