Daily Archives: September 29, 2019

September 29 Restored by Grace

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:11–16

Key Verse: Luke 15:14

But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.

Independence is a highly valued quality. We teach it to our children, and we demand it for ourselves. There is even a statue called the Independent Man on top of the state capitol of Rhode Island. It stands as a tribute to self-sufficiency and freedom.

In the story of the prodigal son, we see a different aspect of independence in someone who takes charge of his own life and shuns his father’s care and protection. The account reveals both the downward spiral of sin and the restoring grace of God.

Sin means acting independently of God’s will. It begins with a desire that is outside His plan. Next comes a decision to act on the desire. When we act, we find ourselves, like the prodigal, in a distant country, which is anywhere outside the will of God.

To remain there requires deception. We deceive ourselves by thinking that we know better than God, and ignoring any consequences. Defeat follows. For a time, all will seem fine, but, like the reckless son in the story, we will find our way leads to defeat. Finally, we will arrive at despair resulting from famine of spirit, emotions, or relationships. That leads into desperation, where our choices are few, and all distasteful.

The prodigal son ended up there. But desperation is not the end of the prodigal’s story, nor is it the end of ours when we sin. Jesus gave this account of an earthly father’s forgiving love because He desired to point us to the restoring grace of our heavenly Father. God waits with open arms for us, His wandering children.

Father, thank You for the assurance of Your love—that You wait with open arms to welcome Your wandering children home.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 284). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 29 Your Place in the Marketplace

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:5–9

Key Verse: Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

The slogan of a major automobile manufacturer is this: “Quality is job one.” The company tells customers that its priority is sending top-notch cars off the assembly line. Manufacturers know that consumers look for quality in everything they buy. You don’t want to purchase items you know are below par and don’t represent someone’s best effort.

The way you do your job every day reflects your personal quality standard. With each assignment or phone call or meeting, you tell others how you value your job and your employer. Do you work just enough to get by, or do you work at maximum capacity?

You can discover real and lasting motivation when you understand that your accountability is to Jesus Christ (Col. 3:24).

Perhaps your boss is unreasonable or your job doesn’t meet your expectations. Maybe you aren’t paid what you feel the position is worth. Remember, Jesus is the One who understands your needs and gives you the strength for every task, no matter how difficult or how trivial it may seem.

In every job, your goal is the same—to point those around you to your Savior and Master by working with a passion for excellence.

Dear Lord, help me work with a passion for excellence in all I do. Help me remember I am accountable to You. Let my personal standards point those around me to You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 284). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

September 29 Responding to Rejection

Scripture reading: Colossians 1:18–22

Key verse: John 1:22

Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

It is one of Satan’s favorite traps to get a child of God to feel belittled by himself. Often, when people feel a gnawing sense of rejection, it comes not from an outside source such as criticism, but from within. Many people feel rejected because they’ve rejected themselves.

The root of these feelings could be one of many factors: something that happened in the past, an overbearing or apathetic parent, perceived physical flaws. These feelings also can manifest themselves for decades. Well into their adult years, people who feel rejection may practice perfectionism or be domineering or seek isolation.

If you are a believer, you are a child of God. If Satan buffets you with feelings of rejection or the notion that you do not measure up, let your Father answer him:

  • John 1:12 declares, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
  • John 3:16 tells you that God loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins.
  • In 1 John 3:1, you again learn the liberating truth that the only opinion that matters belongs to God.
  • And you belong to Him too: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).

I am Your child, Father—a child of the King. Help me realize it and act like who I really am in You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 284). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Limbaugh on Ukraine Drama: America in Middle of a ‘Cold Civil War’ | Newsmax

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh says America is in the middle of a “Cold Civil War,” and suggests the whistleblower complaint is another attempt to overturn the 2016 presidential election.

“Bottom line, there isn’t anything really new here,” Limbaugh said Friday on his show, “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

“This is just the next phase of “Get Trump.”

Trump is readying himself to defend against impeachment proceedings, initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week following the release of a transcript between the president and Ukraine’s president in which Trump pressures the European leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

A complaint filed by an intelligence officer about Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine was published Thursday. It reads, in part: “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the president of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

The moves by Democrats are being made to make “sure the American people do not learn the extent of the corruption in the Obama administration and the Democratic Party at large, and particularly among these people in the deep state who did what they did to deny Trump his election victory,” Limbaugh said.

“It encompasses overturning the election results of 2016, it is also about protecting and defending the deep state, the Washington establishment going forward. Their careers, their fortunes, their corruption. There are terribly big stakes involved here for these people. And Trump is on the cusp of overturning it and exposing it. They cannot allow that to happen.”

Source: Limbaugh on Ukraine Drama: America in Middle of a ‘Cold Civil War’

Watch: Mark Levin Hammers FNC’s Ed Henry over Allegation of Trump ‘Illegal’ Behavior During Call with Ukraine President | Breitbart News

Conservative radio host Mark Levin, the author of “Unfreedom of the Press,” defended President Donald Trump against a whistleblower complaint on Sunday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.”

The interview got heated when co-Host Ed Henry asked if Trump did anything “illegal” during his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Levin responded, “What crime was violated? It’s not illegal. The question is whether Biden did something illegal. The president didn’t do anything illegal. You know how I know? Because Nancy Pelosi’s been on every tv show and she can’t cite one section of the United States code where it’s illegal. My question is, why is Joe Biden above the law? Why is his son above the law? Where is Hunter Biden today? Where is the media? Don’t they want to know? Don’t they want to know if the leading contender for the Democrat nomination is a crook and if his son is a crook?”

Henry said, “I’m asking you are you OK with a president asking his counterpart — this is a simply yes or no —to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden and his son? Are you OK with that?”

Levin shot back, “First of all, your question is not honest. So I don’t give yes or no.”

Henry interjected, “That’s a quote from the transcript, sir.”

Levis said, “Let me finish. You have all morning. I have two minutes. It’s not an honest question. Show me in the transcript where the president said that … nowhere.”

He continued, “The media have taken sides here and what I’m saying is this is an utterly corrupt political, partisan process. And it’s about time we had some real reporters who would try to get to the bottom of this.”

He added, “There’s going to be a huge backlash in this country one way or the other. You can’t disenfranchise 63 million people who are on to this, who have alternative forms of information. Real cover-up here. Gee, we have the letter, and we have the transcripts, and all I get are reporters trying to tell me what the transcript says as opposed to what I read with my own eyes and telling me it’s the offense of the century that the president of the United States dares to mention something that’s in the American newspapers to the Ukrainian president.”

“He doesn’t say get Biden,” Levin continued. “He doesn’t say I’m digging up dirt on Biden. He doesn’t say do me a favor and get Biden. He says, ‘Why don’t you talk to my attorney general, look into this. People have questions.’ Wow. And all the sleazy activity that’s going behind the scenes. I want to know. I want to know if Adam Schiff and his staff, working with this phony whistleblower. I want to know who the lawyers are who helped him write that complaint as I was the first to point out before. I want to know the whole activity that’s taking place in the shadows of this government to try and bring down a president of the United States.”

“Things are being done to this president that have never been done to prior presidents,” he added. “Where did they keep the transcript of the phone call? Who gives a damn! The president has a power to issue an executive privilege order. Doesn’t matter if he kept it in his pillow. He can still protect that, but he didn’t. He gave it up.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

Source: Watch: Mark Levin Hammers FNC’s Ed Henry over Allegation of Trump ‘Illegal’ Behavior During Call with Ukraine President

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Speaks Out – Says Joe Biden’s Son Hunter Biden Should Be Investigated — The Gateway Pundit

The Democrat-media complex is outraged that President Trump discussed the deep state attempted coup against his administration.  The left is also outraged that President Trump would discuss the Biden Family $8 million pay-for-play scandal with the current Ukrainian president on a phone call.

Democrats want him impeached for discussing the Biden Crime Family.  Discussing the criminal activity of a Democrat politician running for higher office is strictly forbidden.

Now this…
Former Ukrainia Prime Minister Mykola Azarov called for an investigation of Hunter Biden this weekend.

Hunter Biden was placed on the board of Ukraine’s gas and oil company two months after he was kicked out of the US Navy for his drug use.

Reuters reported:

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov is calling for an investigation into the son of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden in order to assess whether Hunter Biden’s role in a Ukrainian gas company complied with the nation’s laws.

Azarov made the call in an interview with Reuters following a week in which revelations about President Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky prompted a formal impeachment inquiry in the House.

Azarov, who served as prime minister from 2010 to 2014, did not address any specific laws. No evidence has been provided that suggests Hunter Biden committed wrongdoing while serving on the board of Burisma Holdings Limited.

via Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Speaks Out – Says Joe Biden’s Son Hunter Biden Should Be Investigated — The Gateway Pundit

Lying fake news media edits out 500 words from Trump-Ukraine phone transcript … | Natural News

Image: Lying fake news media edits out 500 words from Trump-Ukraine phone transcript to make president look guilty of impeachable offense

(Natural News) We already knew that Democrats were playing the role of political low-lifes in fabricating yet another “scandal” involving President Trump, this time over a phone call he made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the summer.

But now we find that, once again, the garbage mainstream media, which serves as the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party, dutifully played its role in helping to fabricating the story.

At issue are claims made by Democrats and their media allies that Trump improperly asked a foreign leader to help dig up “dirt” on a political rival — 2020 presidential contender and former vice president Joe Biden. This is pretty much what Biden and his boss, Obama, did to Trump via the “Spygate” scandal.

The reality is that President Trump mentioned to Zelenskyy that there was some scuttlebutt his administration was hearing that Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees from a previous Ukrainian president if he didn’t fire a prosecutor investigating corruption tied to a company where Hunter Biden, Joe’s son, was being well-paid as a board member.

Biden’s guilt is not in question; he admitted as much during a forum last year sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and it was caught on video.

But that’s about it. He didn’t threaten to withhold military aid from Ukraine, as was reported (based on the word of an anonymous whistleblower who wasn’t even around when Trump made the phone call).

He didn’t repeatedly press Zelenskyy for assistance — eight times — as was reported by the same fake news media.

In fact, according to a transcript of the phone call released by the White House, nothing that has been reported that Trump allegedly did and said has been accurate. So what did the media decide to do next? (Related: BUSTED: Democrats accusing Trump of “treason” for asking Ukraine to help with Biden probe did the SAME thing to find dirt on HIM.)

The Democrat-aligned media is SO dishonest

They omitted some 500 words of text from the transcript to make it appear as though the president did what they initially said he did.

Hey everyone!

If you are reporting on the “favor” line from the transcript, without mentioning that the VERY next sentence is about wanting an investigation into meddling in the 2016 election…

…you are being misleading.

It’s right here. Come on. pic.twitter.com/JRThTjAza9

— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) September 25, 2019

How media edited the Trump-Ukraine transcript. pic.twitter.com/DxEpHP8BKd

— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) September 25, 2019

Even Fox News anchor Shepard Smith mislead viewers when he reported on the transcript.

Here’s Fox News Shep Smith going straight from “favor” to Biden and omitting a pretty critical 500+ word part of the transcript.

The “favor” was looking into 2016 election meddling. Not Biden. Why no mention of this? pic.twitter.com/T0rlpOSvTd

— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) September 25, 2019

In fact, that portion of the president’s conversation was centered around one objective: To learn more about Ukraine’s role in Spygate, which was launched by Obama and his administration to depose Trump and turn America into the world’s biggest banana republic.

Hey look, CNN just did it again.

Again, this is not an accurate reading of the transcript. pic.twitter.com/0vDmGSD2ma

— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) September 25, 2019

The full portion of the transcript reads:

I would like you to do us a favor, though, because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… the server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you and your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you said yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

However, as The Federalist notes, mainstream outlets like CNN skipped some 540 words after “favor” to connect it with Trump asking the Ukrainian president to “look into former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s” very suspicious business dealings with a Ukrainian gas company that was under investigation.

CNN actually reported on-air: “I would like you to do us a favor… There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

That’s quite a bit of difference — and dishonesty — by the media.

Sources include:

TheFederalist.com

TheNationalSentinel.com

Source: Lying fake news media edits out 500 words from Trump-Ukraine phone transcript …

After Trump Accused Of Cover-Up, Susan Rice Admits Obama Put Transcripts On Top Secret Server Too | ZeroHedge News

After Trump Accused Of Cover-Up, Susan Rice Admits Obama Put Transcripts On Top Secret Server Too

After President Trump was accused of a cover-up for moving details about his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a separate, highly secured computer system, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice admitted that Obama did the same thing.

The difference? Rice says that Trump’s conversation didn’t meet the threshold to justify that level of classification, according to The Federalist.

We never moved them over unless they were legitimately, in the contents classified,” Rice said at the Texas Tribune Festival when asked how often the Obama administration engaged in this practice – without explaining the methodology used to determine what qualified.

Rice’s revelation may soften arguments of a cover-up by the Trump administration to “lock down” the conversation.

The revelation from Rice comes amid media reports and comments from political leaders that have painted the use of this top secret server as proof that Trump was trying to cover up the contents of his conversation with the Ukrainian leader, a full transcript of which the administration has now released to the public.

While Rice admitted that the Obama administration also used this server to protect sensitive presidential phone calls, she left open the question of whether the Trump administration used the server in this particular case to save the president from damaging, perhaps even impeachable, comments he made to Zelensky regarding investigations into political rival Joe Biden. –The Federalist

What’s more, The Federalist notes that “reporting from ABC News shows that this practice of securing presidential phone transcripts has been in use in the White House since early 2017, after sensitive conversations with foreign leaders were leaked to the press.”

In an August 12 letter, a CIA ‘whistleblower’ claimed that President Trump had inappropriately pressured Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, after the elder Biden bragged about forcing Ukraine to fire its lead prosector ‘or else’ $1 billion in US loan guarantees would be pulled. Moreover, Democrats have also pointed to the Trump administration pausing nearly $400 million in US military aid as a bargaining chip.

Both Trump and Zelensky have denied that there was any pressure, which was made clear when Trump released a transcript of the call in question. In addition, Zelensky had no clue the $400 million was being withheld until a month after the call, according to the New York Times’ Kenneth Vogel in a Wednesday tweet.

The Trump administration says the call with Zelensky was only added to the top secret server after guidance from a National Security  Counsel attorney.

Source: After Trump Accused Of Cover-Up, Susan Rice Admits Obama Put Transcripts On Top Secret Server Too

Rasmussen: Voters Say Reelection Far More Likely Than Impeachment, Defeat | CNS News

Pres. Donald Trump (Screenshot)

Nearly three times as many U.S. voters now say the reelection of President Donald Trump is more likely than his impeachment, a new national Rasmussen Reports survey shows.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted September 25-26, reveals that voters also say Trump is far more likely to defeat his Democrat opponent – if his fate is left up to the 2020 national election.

“Which is more likely – that President Trump will be reelected in 2020, that he will be defeated by the Democratic nominee in 2020 or that he will be impeached before serving his full term in office?”

  • Reelected: 46%, unchanged from July
  • Defeated: 28%, down from 33% in July
  • Impeached: 17%, up from 11% in July (down from high of 29% in Dec. 2017)

Far more unaffiliated voters say it’s most likely that Trump will be reelected (43%) than think impeachment (17%) is the most likely outcome.

Unsurprisingly, four of five Republicans (80%) think Trump is more likely to be reelected next year, compared to 19% of Democrats and, conversely, 28% of Democrats and a mere 6% of GOP voters think impeachment is more likely.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 25-26, 2019 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Source: Rasmussen: Voters Say Reelection Far More Likely Than Impeachment, Defeat

New anti-Biden ad will be devastating blow to Joe’s campaign | WND

If the Democrats looking for poster boys for white privilege, a viral political advertisement says, they should look no further than Joe and Hunter Biden.

The ad, released last Wednesday, is a concise, one-minute recapitulation of the exploits of Hunter Biden in both China and Ukraine — and how they seem to have a curious connection to the vice presidential activities of his father.

The spot comes from Great America PAC, a pro-Trump super PAC that’s been hitting Biden hard of late.

“What does white privilege really look like?” the ad begins.

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It then notes that “weeks after Joe Biden visits China as vice president, his son secures a private $1.5 billion deal with the Bank of China.”

It goes on to discuss Hunter’s appointment to the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma came shortly after Biden was named the top diplomat to that country. This came despite the fact that the then-vice president’s son had “no relevant experience” in the sector.

“And before Ukraine’s top prosecutor can investigate the shady dealings of Biden’s son, he gets the prosecutor fired, then brags about it,” the voiceover states.

Then, of course, comes Biden himself, bragging about the firing at a Council on Foreign Relations event in 2018: “I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars … if the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b—, he got fired.”

“Instead of another failed presidential witch-hunt, House Democrats should investigate one of their own,” the ad concludes.

A URL provided at the end of the ad, InvestigateBiden.com, directs users to a Great America PAC donation site.

According to Ballotpedia, Great America “spent six figures” on the ad. It’s unclear whether this total includes buying television airtime or in what markets the airtime was purchased in.

In terms of the scandals, the ad is certainly not wrong, although the details are rather thinly sketched out here.

Back in December 2013, according to the South China Morning Post, Hunter Biden traveled with his father on Air Force Two to China. Twelve days later, he joined the board of BHR Partners, a newly formed group that would raise $1.5 billion from the Bank of China.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers, however, have stated that at the time he was an unpaid board member that merely advised the board where to invest. According to The Washington Post, it wasn’t until 2017 that Hunter Biden acquired a 10 percent interest in the private equity company.

The timing has still struck many as suspicious, however, particularly given the Burisma scandal.

Whether or not fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was dismissed simply for being incompetent and corrupt — a new report from The Hill’s John Solomon seems to question this, as well as the assumption that Shokin’s investigations into Burisma were wrapped up by the time of the firing — the former vice president clearly had a conflict of interest pressuring the Ukrainians to do so.

And then there’s that video clip. Oh, that video clip.

If only Joe Biden could stop himself from saying things he shouldn’t, my guess is that his lead in the Democratic primary race wouldn’t have evaporated quite as rapidly as it has. Sure, he would have regressed back to the mean, but not like this.

That’s the major problem this ad poses for Biden and his campaign.

If it’s strategically aimed at early primary states, Great America PAC isn’t just going to be reaching Republicans. It’s also going to unsettle Democrats who may be going for the former veep based on the electability factor. The beneficiary of this is likely to be a candidate far more liberal (and unelectable) than Biden is.

Furthermore, it’s yet another sign the Ukraine call could damage Biden more than it does Trump.

Democrats are hurtling toward impeachment even though the polling suggests the outcome would be electorally iffy at best. Meanwhile, the scandal has reignited voters’ interest in Burisma — if, indeed, they had any in the first place — and introduced them to Hunter Biden’s dealings in China.

This is one of the first major ads to attack Joe Biden on this angle. Rest assured, it won’t be the last. Next time, however, the spot could realistically be coming from the Democratic side of the aisle.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Source: New anti-Biden ad will be devastating blow to Joe’s campaign

Adam Schiff’s Impeachment Fun Playhouse | American Thinker

The political and media elites cannot fathom that their globalist worldviews were wrong and that Trump was right.

In tacit recognition that his party will never beat the President in 2020 with the gang of whackos vying to head their ticket and that no real impeachment will ever occur, Congressman Adam Schiff, with the acquiescence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called to order what they are calling an “impeachment inquiry.” It’s presumably designed to see whether formal impeachment proceedings should begin. (Impeachment proceedings cannot take place without a vote to do so in the House. Vulnerable Democrats would never vote for it any more than would almost all Republican Congressmen. And conviction and removal from office for impeachment would have to occur after a full hearing and two-thirds vote in the Senate. Which also will not happen. The Democrats, again, are counting on the civics and Constitutional ignorance of their base.) It flopped, in any event. The hearings, in fact, show that this is simply the rerun of the Russian Collusion scam. Only the name of the country has changed — this time, it’s Ukraine; a country you may know is a major enemy of the Russians.

As Daniel Greenfield persuasively argues, these investigations are attempts to delegitimize the President and his Administration, and I predict people are sick of this nonsense. I urge you to read this article in its entirety. Here’s but a sample.

The impeachment push is the same discredited scam that the Democrats had pushed on the country at the cost of millions of dollars, years of legislative stalemate, ruined lives and fake news. It’s like getting a scam email from a Nigerian prince, turning him down, and then receiving another email from the same address, except he now claims to be a Zambian prince, but still wants you to cash the same check. [snip]  In April, the Mueller report was released. And it was a big, giant nothing. Democrats tried to play it for all they could. At the end of May, Mueller officially called it quits. At the end of July, despairing House Dems dragged him in to testify. Mueller had more trouble remembering things than Joe Biden.

The vicious scam that had begun with the Steele Report was finally dead. Time for a new edition.

The day after Mueller killed the Russia smear dead, President Trump spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky of the Ukraine. And the Democrats immediately slotted it in as the new Steele Report. A few weeks into August, the complaint was filed. And by August’s end, it was passed along to Rep. Adam Schiff through the connivance of an intel oversight official who made sure it ended up in Adam’s sweaty hands.

That’s the same scheme which took a product of the Clinton campaign and routed it through the DOJ, FBI and intelligence agencies in order to give the Steele Report a veneer of official legitimacy. This time around the key players fixed the problem that came up when the Steele Report was traced to its source, who turned out to not only be an FBI informant, but was being paid to smear Trump by Hillary Clinton.

Background

There’s a backstory (or two) behind the President’s call to Ukrainian President Zelensky, which forms the basis of the “whistleblower’s”(actually gossip’s) complaint.

Treaty

There’s a treaty signed by then President Bill Clinton and ratified on October 18, 2000 which provides that the U.S. and Ukraine are to mutually assist one another in “the prosecution of a wide variety of crimes” and includes  “taking of testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records and articles of evidence; serving documents; locating or identifying persons; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searched and seizures; assisting in proceedings related to restraint confiscation,, forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state.”

Right now, presumably in accord with this provision, Department of Justice attorney John Durham is exploring the role Ukraine (and other countries) played in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. At the same time — perhaps in connection with this — the President’s counsel Rudy Giuliani, at the request of the State Department, is working with the recently elected new Ukrainian government on how to proceed.

Hunter Biden

We’ve earlier noted Joe Biden’s boasting (captured on video) that he extorted Ukrainian officials warning that he’d hold up a billion-dollar transfer to them if they did not fire the prosecutor looking into the payoffs to Hunter, then on the Board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm registered in Cyprus.

The fired prosecutor has written a notarized statement dated September 4 of this year stating that he was fired because of Joe Biden’s demand that he be removed:

Less attention has been paid to the letter in May of last year that 3 Democrat senators, Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin, and Patrick Leahy, wrote to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, who had closed out four investigations they deemed critical to Mueller’s probe.  The letter carries a not very subtle hint that if their wishes were denied, support for the new government was at stake

This letter is in direct contrast to Speaker Pelosi’s claim this week:

Ironically, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared Tuesday that the mere possibility that President Trump had asked Ukraine to continue an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden — even without a quid pro quo — was enough to trigger an impeachment inquiry.

As Congressman Devin Nunes notes, this isn’t the only such irony:

  • Joe Biden bragged that he extorted the Ukrainians into firing a prosecutor, who happened to be investigating Biden’s own son.
  • Three Democrat senators wrote a letter pressuring the Ukrainian general prosecutor to reopen investigations it reportedly froze on former Trump campaign officials.
  • Another Democratic senator [Chris Murphy D. CT] went to Ukraine and pressured the Ukrainian President not to investigate corruption allegations involving Biden’s son.
  • According to Ukrainian officials, Democratic National Committee contractor Alexandra Chalupa tried to get Ukrainian officials to provide dirt on Trump associates and tried to get the former Ukrainian President to comment publicly on their alleged ties to Russia.
  • Ukrainian official Serhiy Leshchenko was a source for Nellie Ohr, wife of Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, as she worked on the anti-Trump operation conducted by Fusion GPS and funded by the Democrats.
  • And of course, Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump.

The Trump-Zelensky Phone Call

Doubtless assuming that the President was the usual Republican, clueless to their machinations, Democrats lied about the nature of the phone call. Here is the full transcript (unlike the “annotated ones” the NYT and Washington Post published to make it seem other than what it was). I suspect Schiff thought the president would not do that, and their fake interpretation would rule the day as a fight over executive privilege was fought. Similarly Schiff probably thought the Administration would refuse to release the complaint by the person described as the “whistleblower.” Outsmarted again.

Both documents show that there is no there there. As Britt Hume tweeted when the transcript was released:

“As of Wednesday morning, when the Ukraine phone call transcript was released, the public knew more about what transpired on the call than the whistleblower knew when he/she filed the complaint.”

Indeed, the transcript was so devastating to the Democrats’ claims that Schiff, instead of reading it, read what he called a “parody” of it — but conceded it was faked only after he was called out for manufacturing what it actually said.

At first, some Democrats claimed that the transcript was faked. It wasn’t. Two CIA employees detailed to the White House made the transcription. Others claimed the ellipses in the transcript revealed hidden redactions. Actually, they simply signified a pause by the speaker.  Interestingly, sometime between May 2018 and August of this year, the form for filing a whistleblower report was changed substantially with little if any notice. As of May 24, 2018 the relevant Form (IC IG ICWPA FORM 401) required the report involve “urgent concerns,” be about an “intelligence activity,” be “reliable first-hand knowledge” and not be “second-hand knowledge.” If, like me, you believe coincidences like this in D.C. are too rare to mention, this should get your antennae twitching.  This complaint merely repeats second-hand knowledge. It is utterly false about the nature of the Trump-Zelensky conversation, and reflects, instead of wrongdoing by the President, that there are some in the bowels of the government who have policy differences with him and wish to wound him.

The Ukraine call complaint against Trump is riddled not with evidence directly witnessed by the complainant, but with repeated references to what anonymous officials allegedly told the complainant: “I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials,” “officials have informed me,” “officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me,” “the White House officials who told me this information,” “I was told by White House officials,” “the officials I spoke with,” “I was told that a State Department official” [snip]

The complainant also cites publicly available news articles as proof of many of the allegations.

“I was not a direct witness to most of the events” characterized in the document, the complainant confessed on the first page of his August 12 letter, which was addressed to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)… Hearsay is generally inadmissible as evidence in U.S. federal and state courts since it violates the constitutional requirement that the accused be given the opportunity to question his accusers.

…While the complaint alleged that Trump demanded that Ukraine physically return multiple servers potentially related to ongoing investigations of foreign interference in the 2016 elections, the transcript of the call between Trump and Zelensky shows that such a request was never made.

The complainant also falsely alleged that Trump told Zelensky that he should keep the current prosecutor general at the time, Yuriy Lutsenko, in his current position in the country. The transcript showed that exchange also did not happen.

Additionally, the complaint falsely alleged that T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a U.S. State Department official, was a party to the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. [snip]

In a legal opinion that was released to the public along with the phone call transcript, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) determined that the complainant’s submission was statutorily deficient and therefore was not required to be submitted to Congress. The White House nonetheless declassified and released the document to Congress late Wednesday evening.

Dissecting the complaint, Henry Olsen, writing in the Washington Post, sagely suggests the Democrats’ best option is to stop relying on this confection (something clearly written by several people, some of whom probably are on Schiff’s committee staff):

Democrats now have a difficult choice to make. The wisest course of action would probably be to drop the complaint as a significant piece of evidence, since it raises almost nothing new. That would be politically embarrassing since they have made so much of it, but they could claim that the whistleblower’s job has been done since it unearthed the alleged wrongdoing and placed it in the public domain.

The alternative course sets the Democrats on a dangerous path. If the whistleblower’s complaint is probative of impeachment, then the whistleblower must testify to find out who gave the person the information that is described. That cannot be done without Republicans present and likely means the whistleblower’s identity must be disclosed. It is one thing to keep that person’s identity secret when the matter is largely handled internally; it is quite another when it is being used to try to remove the democratically elected leader of our nation. The accused must have a chance to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him, and that right applies as much to Trump as it does to anyone accused of wrongdoing.

Investigation of the whistleblower’s allegations also inserts the House Democrats into the deepest workings of the administration, such as the alleged discussions among White House officials to “lock down” records of the phone call. The president would be remiss if he did not assert executive privilege over these discussions. That will inevitably present Democrats with a Hobson’s choice: Either delay the impeachment hearings to fight such assertions of privilege in court or drop the matter to proceed to a vote without having all the evidence before it. Neither will help them achieve their likely aim: the swift resolution to impeach the president before the election year starts in earnest.

The last year has seen an avalanche of fake news — about one major story a month by my count. In my view they have only further discredited the already on its last legs major media and the Democratic Party they promote. I’m inclined to agree with Scott Adams that the political and media elites cannot fathom that their globalist worldviews were wrong, and that Trump was right. Rather than concede that Trump and the voters have popped their narcissistic bubble, they invented a movie in their heads in which he’s a monster and the evidence of that is just around the corner.

I agree as well with Conrad Black that in 2020, Trump will steamroller this ragtag crew of kooks and retreads desultorily arrayed against him.

Congress has now scheduled a two-week recess. Schiff promises that work on the funhouse probe will continue. I hope so. As long as it continues funds will keep pouring in by the millions to both Trump’s re-election campaign and his impeachment defense fund.

Coorection made: Senate conviction on impeachment requires a two-thirds Senate vote

Source: Adam Schiff’s Impeachment Fun Playhouse

September 29, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Remain

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. (20–21)

For those of us who are Christians to exercise discernment and protect ourselves from being led astray, we must remain on the path of sanctification. Doing so involves first building ourselves up on our most holy faith. We must become doctrinally strong if we would recognize error and effectively fight the battle for truth. The present, active participle translated building yourselves up has an imperatival sense—meaning it is not optional. Metaphorically, the idea of building up refers to personal edification and spiritual growth, and it implies the establishment of the firm foundation of sound doctrine. As in verse 3, the most holy faith is the objective body of biblical truth.

Practically speaking, edification centers on studying the Word of God and learning to apply it. In Acts 20:32 Paul tells the Ephesian elders, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” All the ministries of the church should result in edification (Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 14:12, 26; Eph. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:11; cf. 1 Cor. 8:1). God gave the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers to proclaim His Word, which results in “the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11–12; cf. Col. 2:6–7). Peter wrote that believers should desire the Word for spiritual growth, just as babies desire milk for their physical nourishment (1 Peter 2:2). Along those same lines, the apostle John wrote that the spiritually strong believers, those capable of successfully waging effective warfare for the truth, are those in whom the Word of God abides (1 John 2:14).

A second essential element of sanctification involves praying in the Holy Spirit. That expression does not refer to speaking in tongues, but to praying for that which is consistent with the Spirit’s will—His desires, directives, and decrees. Although His will is revealed through the plain commands of Scripture (Deut. 17:19–20; Pss. 19:7, 11; 119:11, 105, 130; Prov. 6:23; Matt. 4:4; Luke 11:28; John 5:39; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16–17; James 1:25), we as believers do not always know how to practically apply it to the various issues of life. Therefore the Holy Spirit intercedes for us before the Father with genuine sympathy and inexpressible fervor (Rom. 8:26–27). Of course, the Spirit’s will and the Father’s will—and even praying in Jesus’ name—are one and the same. When we pray in the Holy Spirit we submit ourselves to Him, rest on His wisdom, seek His will, and trust in His power (cf. John 14:14–17; 1 John 5:14–15).

As we who believe pursue sanctification, we must also keep ourselves in the love of God. This is a vitally important principle, and it means to remain in the sphere of God’s love, or the place of His blessing (Rom. 5:5; 8:39; 1 John 4:16). On a practical level, it means that we must stay obedient to God, since divine blessing is promised only within the sphere of obedience. As Jesus told the apostles:

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:9–11; cf. 1 John 2:5)

On the other hand, if we become disobedient, we move from a position of blessing to a position of chastisement (Heb. 12:3–11).

Finally, as we pursue sanctification, we Christians must be waiting anxiously for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. The verb translated waiting anxiously (prosdechomai) means “to wait for,” or “to welcome,” and connotes doing so with great expectancy. Thus we are to live with eternity in view as we eagerly anticipate the Lord’s return (1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:12–13; cf. 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:11–13 and the commentary on these three verses in chapter 9 of this volume). On that great future day, all of us who have trusted in Him will experience Christ’s final mercy and enjoy the fullness of eternal life (cf. Rom. 2:7; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 John 5:13) as we experience the resurrection and glorification of our bodies (John 5:24; 17:3; Rom. 5:17; 2 Tim. 1:10; 1 John 5:20; cf. Dan. 7:18).[1]


21 / Jude exhorts his readers, Keep yourselves in God’s love. That love was responsible for their call to faith in the first place (v. 1). But believers have their part to play. They must continue to respond to God’s love (John 15:9–10; Rom. 8:35–39; 1 John 4:16) and thereby maintain and strengthen their relationship with him. The false teachers have demonstrated that it is all too possible to turn away from God’s love (Rev. 2:4) and as a consequence to cool in their love for others.

Persistence is called for in this matter, as in so many other aspects of the Christian life. The final outcome for believers is assured, and this certain hope is referred to by the words as you wait. Yet this expectant attitude toward the future must be balanced. “If too great attention is paid to the future hope, the Christian tends to become so other-worldly that he is not much use in this world. If, however, as is the greater danger today, the future element is soft-pedalled, Christianity becomes a mere religious adjunct to the social services” (Green, p. 185).

All God’s gifts to the believer are due to the divine mercy, a note struck in the opening prayer (v. 1). God has committed the final judgment to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:22), and it is he who will bring you to eternal life, for that life is his gift (John 17:2). It begins in this world, and will be known in all its fullness in the next.[2]


Keep yourselves in God’s love (21a)

God’s basic attitude towards humankind is his love, by which Jude means the strong passion he has to save us from his rightful indignation at our disobedience. He has given us promises of salvation, and the correct response of his covenant people to his covenant love is to echo his love by our obedience. There are always two sides to this. On one side, as Paul found out, ‘Christ’s love compels us’15 as an inexorable force, and he prayed that the Ephesians might ‘grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ’. But on the other side, Jesus warned us to ‘remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.’17 Although God’s love towards us is fixed and promised in his covenant, then, it is possible for us to position ourselves outside it, and instead to face his anger.

Jude has written about both sides of God’s love. He opened his letter by telling us that we are ‘loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ’ (verse 1), and now as he closes he tells us to keep ourselves in God’s love. We know from his letter that the way we do this is by ensuring that we are constantly obeying God. If we want to know what happens to those who do not keep themselves in God’s love, we need look no further than the examples of the Israelites in the desert, the angels, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain, Balaam and Korah. If we want to see the present counterparts of those people and places, we need only look at those who behave in the same way and share their mocking attitude to God’s law.

Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (21b)

Christianity makes sense only if the promises God makes are kept. God gave the Old Testament believers wonderful promises about what he would do, and they responded to him by patiently and faithfully waiting. Micah saw that all around him the Israelites were deserting the covenant. ‘But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me.’ The New Testament opens with the hope being kept alive as Zechariah led the temple worshippers in prayer for the Messiah to come. And when the baby Jesus was brought to the temple for the first time, he was recognized by Simeon, who had been ‘waiting for the consolation of Israel’, and by Anna, who ‘spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel’. Once Jesus had made it clear that he was going back to heaven and would return only later, it became the turn of his disciples to behave ‘like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him’.20

Jude urges us to wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life. This indicates that only God’s final intervention in our world will ultimately prove that God’s Word is true, and that it is his great gift to those who believe it. We do of course enter into eternal life now as Christians, but what we experience in this life is largely dominated by a battle because we are still waiting for our new resurrection bodies. Paul wrote that ‘the whole creation has been groaning … right up to the present time’. Christians ‘groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies’. Even the Holy Spirit himself ‘intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express’. It is important to realize how supremely right it is that creation, Christians and even God himself ‘groan’ in this way. God’s promises are still waiting for their final fulfilment, and Christians pin their destiny on the future rather than the present.

Jude’s prescription has involved the Christians with the living Trinity: they obediently keep themselves in God’s love, pray in the Holy Spirit and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a powerful and effective antidote to the poison of the people Jude opposes. For their part, they wilfully ‘change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality’ (verse 4); they cannot pray because they ‘do not have the Spirit’ (verse 19); and they rebelliously ‘deny Jesus Christ’ (verse 4). Jude’s opponents would not find themselves ‘groaning’ as they battle to be holy. Instead, they grumble (verse 16), complaining that God places such heavy demands on them. They long to produce selfish cries of delight as they ‘follow their own evil desires’ (verse 16). Will they have any hope of mercy on that day? Only if we take some action towards them, as Jude is about to tell us.[3]


21. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

  • “Keep yourselves in God’s love.” Of the four Christian virtues enumerated in this passage, Jude introduces the third, namely, love. Amid the uncertainties, difficulties, and temptations that surround the believers, Jude admonishes them to keep themselves within the circle of God’s love and literally to stay in that sphere. Christians are recipients of this love when they strive to do God’s will by loving him with heart, soul, and mind and by loving their neighbor as themselves (see Matt. 22:37–39).

The phrase the love of God can mean either God’s love for man or man’s love for God. Even though the choice is difficult to make, the context seems to favor God’s love for man. As Jude states in the salutation in verse 1, the readers “are loved by God the Father” (also compare John 15:9–10; 1 John 2:5). God comes to man and surrounds him with divine love; in response man comes to God with human love.

  • “As you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the fourth Christian virtue Jude introduces: hope. Granted that the word itself is not in the text, we know that the context clearly expresses the idea. To hope and to wait eagerly are twin concepts to which the text, in effect, testifies. The text literally says: “As you are waiting with anticipation.” For instance, this expression also is used to describe our expectation of the resurrection (Acts 24:15), the prospect of eternal glory (Thus 2:13), and servants who await the return of their master (Luke 12:36).

A Christian waits with eager expectation for the day of judgment in which Christ’s mercy will acquit him. In other words, the text calls attention to the judgment day when all believers will experience “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but all the wicked will receive their just reward. Notice that Jude once again (see v. 17) refers to Jesus as “our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is, the believers who acknowledge him as their Lord and Savior know that he grants them eternal life.

  • “To bring you to eternal life.” In this last phrase Jude summarizes the work of the Trinity (God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Lord Jesus Christ) and the result of four Christian virtues (faith, prayer, love, and hope). Believers have everlasting fellowship with God when they experience the fullness of eternal life in his presence.[4]

20–21. Knowing the reality of false teachers, how do we safeguard ourselves against them? The niv seems to suggest three instructions, but the Greek gives us four participles: building, praying, keeping, and expecting. To arm ourselves against false teachers, we must (1) build yourselves up in your most holy faith, (2) pray in the Holy Spirit, (3) keep yourselves in God’s love, and (4) wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

To build oneself up in the most holy faith means to grow spiritually. Fundamental to such growth is to learn as much as possible of the truth of Scripture and to set one’s life to believe and obey it. The most holy faith is that which was once for all entrusted to the saints (v. 3). It embodied the teaching of Jesus and the apostles and is now recorded in the Scriptures. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). If we want to be trained in righteousness and equipped for every good work, we must make the Scriptures a central part of our lives.

Praying in the Holy Spirit is not necessarily a reference to speaking in tongues but may include this as one part of prayer (see John 4:23–24; Rom. 8:15–16; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 6:18). Rather, it refers to praying under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit, trusting him to intercede for us with “groans that words cannot express” (Rom. 8:26). The how of praying may not be so much in focus here as the need for life in the Spirit which the false teachers did not have (v. 19). They did not have the Spirit because they did not pray for the Spirit and did not let the Spirit guide them in their prayers. Those who build themselves up in faith do so not by mystic journeys to the heavens or by self-glorying speech but by spending time with the Holy Spirit.

Keeping oneself in God’s love does not suggest that our salvation depends on our own effort, but rather that we live in faith and obedience to God. Repeatedly in his Gospel and in his first epistle, John reminds us that if we love God, we keep his commandments (John 15:10; 1 John 3:24). So keeping ourselves in God’s love must include keeping God’s commandments from the heart (Rom. 6:17). Keeping those commandments finds its ultimate expression in love of the brothers (1 John 3:14; cf. 1 Thess. 4:10; 1 Pet. 1:22; 3:8).

To wait for the mercy of our Lord … to bring eternal life probably refers primarily to the hope of Christ’s return. Jesus might come at any moment. Titus 2:13 captures the idea: the “blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Waiting in hope infuses all of life with expectancy and the desire to do all that Jesus expects of us so we will have no shame when he returns. This expectant waiting is a fourth means of building ourselves up.

Even if Jesus doesn’t come in our lifetime, when we die and go into the presence of the Lord, we will receive his mercy and eternal life. That promise should be enough to motivate us to resist false teachers and to obey Christ by building ourselves up through prayer, love, and hope.[5]


Abiding in His Love (21a)

21a. Believers were further admonished to keep themselves in the love of God. Believers do this by focusing on prayer that is energized by the Holy Spirit and by continually being built up in the faith (cf. 20). God’s love that first drew the believer (1) should be demonstrated to others (2). Jesus’ words from Jn 15:19 apply here: “I chose you out of the world.”

Looking for His Coming (21b)

21b. Furthermore believers must be looking for the coming of our Lord Jesus to eternal life. At Christ’s return the promised eternal state will be realized.[6]


21 Keep yourselves in God’s love complements what was said of their position in v 1. Once people have realized that they are the unworthy objects of the love of God in Jesus Christ they are challenged to respond in love. That love must be shown in behaviour. Jn. 15:9–10 shows that such response is the way to remain in the consciousness of God’s love. Not to do this will deaden the heart to God’s love and will result finally in the loss of this consciousness. Wait for the mercy: error is best avoided by a keen sense of expectation of the Lord’s return, when his mercy, already experienced initially (1) and daily (2; cf. La. 3:22–23) will be finally realized as the work of salvation is completed. Tit. 2:11–14; 1 Pet. 4:7 and 2 Pet. 3:11–12 lay similar stress on the advent hope as a motive for godly living.[7]


Nurturing themselves (vv. 20–21).

VV. 20–21. In addition to remembering what the apostles had said about the apostates, Jude’s readers were to give attention to themselves. Here is the heart of his message: build yourselves up in your most holy faith … pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love, and wait for Christ’s return. (The niv seems to suggest three exhortations, but the Greek has four parallel participles: building, praying, keeping, expecting.) The evident contrast of these actions to the scoffers was introduced by the words But you. And for the third time Jude addressed his readers as dear friends (vv. 3, 17, 20).

Personal edification (“build yourselves up”) comes from progressing in the knowledge of “your most holy faith.” This “faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (v. 3) was the teaching of the apostles now recorded in the Scriptures, to be studied (Acts 20:32; 2 Tim. 2:15).

Praying in the Holy Spirit is not speaking in tongues, but is “praying out of hearts and souls that are indwelt, illuminated, and filled with the Holy Spirit” (George Lawrence Lawlor, Translation and Exposition of the Epistle of Jude, p. 127). It is praying in the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph. 6:18).

Keeping oneself “in God’s love” (Jude 21) does not indicate that salvation depends on one’s own efforts, for that would contradict other Scripture passages (e.g., v. 24). Instead, a believer is nurtured as he is occupied with God’s love for him, and is in fellowship with Him (cf. John 15:9–10, “remain in My love”).

Waiting (prosdechomenoi, “looking expectantly”) for the blessed hope, the return of Christ for His church, is a fourth means of personal nurture. Waiting for that event is waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in the sense that the Rapture will be the consummating evidence of His mercy. Jude added that it will bring you to eternal life, that is, to enjoying never-ending life in God’s own presence (cf. 1 Peter 1:5, 9, 13).[8]


21 Then again believers are to keep themselves in the love of God. Here the love of God can be compared to the sunshine. The sun is always shining. But when something comes between us and the sun, we are no longer in the sunshine. That’s the way it is with the love of God. It is always beaming down upon us. But if sin comes between us and the Lord, then we are no longer enjoying His love in practice. We can keep ourselves in His love first of all by lives of holiness and godliness. And if sin should come between, then we should confess and forsake that sin immediately. The secret is to let nothing come between us and God.

Nothing between my soul and the Savior, Naught of this world’s delusive dream; Nothing preventing the least of His favor, Keep the way clear, let nothing between.

Charles A. Tindley

Finally, we should be eagerly looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. The mercy of our Lord here refers to His imminent return to take His people home to heaven. In days of darkness and apostasy, we are to keep the light of the blessed hope burning in our hearts. It will prove a comforting and purifying hope (1 Thess. 4:18; 1 Jn. 3:3).[9]


Keep in God’s Love (vv 20–21)

Vv 20–21. The primary instruction is to keep (tēreō, “to keep unharmed or undisturbed”) yourselves in the love of God; that is, to keep from being harmed by the false teachers’ sinful conduct and false teachings. The best place to avoid such harm is in the love of God. To accomplish this Jude reveals three simple disciplines his readers should practice.

First, believers should be building up their most holy faith. Instead of ridiculing doctrines as the false teachers do (v 18), believers should continuously build on their foundation (Christ), the object of their belief. The term faith refers to the body of Christian teachings or doctrine. Again Jude emphasizes the need for Christians to learn, know, believe, and obey God’s Word.

Second, Jude wants believers to be praying in the Holy Spirit, in contrast to the false teachers who do not have the Spirit (v 19). This means that their prayers should be guided by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, oriented to God’s desires.

Third, believers should be looking for (prosdechomai, “anticipating, expecting, or welcoming”) the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Mercy (eleos) is kindness or concern expressed for someone in need, and contrasts with wrath or judgment (cf. vv 5–7, 15). Thus believers who grow in the Lord can expect to receive His mercy and kindness instead of judgment. Jude’s reference to eternal life does not mean that it is received only when believers keep themselves in God’s love. Instead the preposition unto (eis) indicates that believers who keep themselves in God’s love will receive His mercy and kindness temporally until they reach eternity.[10]


20, 21 Jude tells us how to keep ourselves in the love of God. It is clear that Jude is encouraging us in this verse to cultivate our love for Christ, for we cannot be separated from His love for us (Rom. 8:35–39).[11]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2005). 2 Peter and Jude (pp. 200–201). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (p. 264). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Lucas, R. C., & Green, C. (1995). The message of 2 Peter & Jude: the promise of His coming (pp. 223–224). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, p. 406). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 266–267). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Barbieri, L. A. (2014). Jude. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1998). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Wheaton, D. H. (1994). Jude. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1419). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[8] Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 923). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2345). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Doskocil, B. (2010). The Epistle of Jude. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 1245–1246). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[11] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1729). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Sunday’s Hymn: Come, We That Love the Lord — Rebecca Writes

 

 

Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.

Let those refuse to sing
That never knew our God;
But children of the heav’nly King
May speak their joys abroad.

The men of grace have found
Glory begun below;
Celestial fruits on earthly ground
From faith and hope may grow.

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heav’nly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.

Then let our songs abound,
And ev’ry tear be dry;
We’re marching through Immanuel’s ground
To fairer worlds on high.

—Is­aac Watts

 

Other hymns, worship songs, or quotes for this Sunday:

via Sunday’s Hymn: Come, We That Love the Lord — Rebecca Writes

7 Subtle Symptoms of Pride From Jonathan Edwards — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Pride will kill you. Forever. Pride is the sin most likely to keep you from crying out for a Savior. Those who think they are well will not look for a doctor, but there are subtle symptoms of pride we all need to be aware of.

As seriously dangerous as pride is, it’s equally hard to spot. When it comes to diagnosing our hearts, those of us who have the disease of pride have a challenging time identifying our sickness. Pride infects our eyesight, causing us to view ourselves through a lens that colors and distorts reality. Pride will paint even our ugliness in sin as beautiful and commendable.

We can’t conclude that we don’t struggle with pride because we don’t see pride in our hearts. The comfortable moments when I pat myself on the back for how well I am doing are the moments that should alarm me the most. I need to reach for the glasses of Christ-like humility, remembering that nothing good dwells in my flesh, and search my heart for secret pride and its symptoms of pride.

In his essay on undetected prideJonathan Edwards points out seven sneaky symptoms of pride.

1. Fault-Finding

While pride causes us to filter out the evil we see in ourselves, it also causes us to filter out God’s goodness in others. We sift them, letting only their faults fall into our perception of them.

When I’m sitting in a sermon or studying a passage, it’s pride that prompts the terrible temptation to skip the Spirit’s surgery on my own heart and instead draft a mental blog post or plan a potential conversation for the people who “really need to hear this.”

Edwards writes, “The spiritually proud person shows it in his finding fault with other saints. … The eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees so much evil in his own that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts.”

2. A Harsh Spirit

Those who have the symptoms of pride in their hearts speak of others’ sins with contempt, irritation, frustration or judgment. Pride is crouching inside our belittling of the struggles of others. It’s cowering in our jokes about the ‘craziness’ of our spouse. It may even be lurking in the prayers we throw upward for our friends that are—subtly or not—tainted with exasperated irritation.

Again Edwards writes, “Christians who are but fellow-worms ought at least to treat one another with as much humility and gentleness as Christ treats them.”

3. Superficiality

When pride lives in our hearts, we’re far more concerned with others’ perceptions of us than the reality of our hearts. We fight the sins that have an impact on how others view us, and make peace with the ones that no one sees. We have great success in the areas of holiness that have highly visible accountability, but little concern for the disciplines that happen in secret.

4. Defensiveness

Those who stand in the strength of Christ’s righteousness alone find a confident hiding place from the attacks of men and Satan alike. True humility is not knocked off balance and thrown into a defensive posture by challenge or rebuke, but instead continues in doing good, entrusting the soul to our faithful Creator.

via 7 Subtle Symptoms of Pride From Jonathan Edwards — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

September 29 Complete Transformation

scripture reading: Acts 2:14–36
key verse: Acts 2:14

Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.”

Can you remember the first time you were truly excited about learning something new? Maybe it was the day you learned how to ride your first bicycle. For days you tried to pedal without tipping over, but you continued to fall. Finally one afternoon, it all came together and you knew exactly how to do it.

The disciples knew that feeling. Jesus had spent three years with them. His crucifixion had left them despondent and lonely. But the Resurrection changed their view. For the first time they grasped what He had been saying. Can you imagine what it was like to be with Peter when he finally understood?

Acts 2:14–36 provides this account. The man who stood up and spoke on the day of pentecost was not the same man who had denied Christ on the night of His arrest. What changed Peter was not merely being around Jesus; the indwelling of Christ’s Spirit made the transformation complete.

Make Christ the focus of your days and the emphasis of your praise. He knows where He is leading you, and He is aware of all that is needed to make your life complete.

Neither should you become discouraged over the times you fall short of your expectations. Allow God to be in control, and you will discover freedom unlike any you have ever known.

O God, You are the focus of my life. You are all I need to make my life complete. You are in complete control. You are free to set me free.[1]

 

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

How should we respond to those who have left the faith? | Christian Today

(Photo: Unsplash/Kiwihug)

Much – probably too much – has been recently made of a number of individuals who have announced that they now feel they are no longer evangelical Christians, or even Christians. Although it’s tempting to lump these together under the old term apostasy, the reality of what we are seeing is not a single, simple phenomenon.

So, at one extreme we have a few church leaders who, after years of faithful labour, have become burnt out and tiptoed away from their ministry and the faith. At the other extreme we have men and women who, having decided to reject the Christian faith, have defiantly declared that the fault lies not with them, but with Christianity or ‘the church’.

Some of these individuals are exhibiting what is being called ‘de-conversion’: they are now making aggressive attempts not just to defend their departure but to win converts to their new beliefs.

What are we to make of it all? My first response would be ‘actually, not a lot’. I believe it’s a handful of cases magnified by the noisy echo chamber of the internet into something that seems more significant than it is. The sad fact is that departures from the faith are not new. In the Old Testament we see both Elijah and Jonah running away from their calling (1 Kings 19; Jonah 1).

In the Gospels, we have a warning from Jesus about falling away. The letters of the New Testament give similar warnings (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 1 Timothy 4:1–3, Hebrews 3:12; 6:5–8; 10:26). That turning your back on faith is not a hypothetical possibility is demonstrated by such people as Judas, Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20), and Demas (2 Timothy 4:10). History shows us other sad stories including a fourth-century Roman emperor, known to history as ‘Julian the Apostate’.

In one sense, there is nothing new here. Yet with these cases of ‘de-conversion’ in particular, there is a genuine twenty-first-century novelty. It is that those involved do not describe their action with any sort of humility or sorrow but instead portray it as some noble and heroic triumph over the unthinking Christian faith. Repeatedly we read that what they left was ‘naïve’, ‘outdated’ and ‘restrictive’.

What lies behind these departures from faith? It is notable that there seems to be no particular intellectual reason. None, to my knowledge, have claimed that they have left the faith because of fresh archaeological discoveries, newly translated texts or some devastating atheist critique.

One fundamental factor, however, exists which could simply be called a ‘spiritual restlessness’. This is a virus that has always affected the church in various degrees and is a mindset that finds itself bored with the ‘old-fashioned’ gospel and constantly hungers for some sort of theological novelty.

The result today is that we have a number of individuals who describe themselves as being ‘post-evangelical’ or ‘post-Christian’. Ironically, for all the language of novelty, this is the ancient problem that Saint Paul memorably described as ‘itching ears’ (2 Timothy 4:3); a seemingly insatiable urge to stray beyond the secure boundaries of historic Christianity.

I have objections to this search for ‘something new’. One is that I understand my orders from God to be to transmit the faith, not to transform it. Another objection is purely pragmatic: despite their adoption of the language and ideals of contemporary society, I do not find these reimagined versions of Christianity to be either producing converts, filling churches or transforming lives. Still another objection is that I am certain that once you ignore the solid, fixed anchor points of trusting Scripture, you have very little to hold you fast on what is the most slippery of slopes. I fear that today’s post-evangelical is in real danger of becoming tomorrow’s post-Christian.

In a further blog I want to make some proposals as to how we can all avoid wandering off the path of faith for the arid wilderness of unbelief. Here, though, let me end with three suggestions as to how we respond to those who have left the faith.

The first suggestion is that we must show grace. While we cannot agree with what such individuals have done, we do not know what battles they have fought. Those who do not find themselves in leadership positions need to remember that the wind blows more strongly on the mountaintop than in the valley. Indeed, one of the devil’s most desired strategies is to encourage leaders to be leavers. A practical application of grace is that we pray for these people. The Bible speaks not just of those who departed the faith but of those who came back: consider Elijah, Jonah, Peter and John Mark. Although it will make for the clumsiest of words, I look forward to seeing cases of ‘de-de-conversion’.

A second suggestion is that we should refrain from speculating on the spiritual state of these individuals and whether they are (or were ever) genuine members of the body of Christ. God alone knows and that’s good enough for me.

A third suggestion – and it is perhaps the most important – is that we all need to beware of any sense of superiority. That is not simply unjust but unwise. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:12, ‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’

‘To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy –to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.’ (Jude v. 24–25)

Rev Canon J John is an evangelist and the director of the Philo Trust. Find him online at www.canonjjohn.com

Source: How should we respond to those who have left the faith?

29 september (preached 26 september 1858) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Declension from first love

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Revelation 2:4

suggested further reading: John 15:9–14

There are some people who always live upon what they have been. I speak very plainly now. There is a brother in this church who may take it to himself; I hope he will. It is not very many years ago since he said to me, when I asked him why he did not do something—“Well, I have done my share; I used to do this, and I have done the other; I have done so and so.” Oh, may the Lord deliver him, and all of us, from living on “has beens!” It will never do to say we have done a thing. Suppose, for a solitary moment, the world should say, “I have turned round; I will stand still.” Let the sea say, “I have been ebbing and flowing these many years; I will ebb and flow no more.” Let the sun say, “I have been shining, and I have been rising and setting for many days; I have done this enough to earn me a goodly name; I will stand still;” and let the moon wrap herself up in veils of darkness, and say, “I have illuminated many a night, and I have lighted many a weary traveller across the moors; I will shut up my lamp and be dark for ever.” Brethren, when you and I cease to labour, let us cease to live. God has no intention to let us live a useless life. But mark this; when we leave our first works, there is no question about our having lost our first love; that is sure. If there be strength remaining, if there be still power mentally and physically, if we cease from our office, if we abstain from our labours, there is no solution of this question which an honest conscience will accept, except this, “Thou hast lost thy first love, and, therefore, thou hast neglected thy first works.”

for meditation: Past love is no substitute for present expressions of it (Philemon: 5–7, 20). Present work is no guarantee that love cannot be lost in the future (Philemon: 24; 2 Timothy 4:10).

sermon no. 217[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 279). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Let All the Earth Be Silent (Part 2 of 2) | Truth For Life

Why does God allow suffering and injustice? Why do the wicked so often prosper in this world? We’ll address these age-old questions as we continue our study of Habakkuk on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.

Listen…

Source: Let All the Earth Be Silent (Part 2 of 2)

29 SEPTEMBER 365 Days with Calvin

Honoring the Weaker Vessel

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

suggested further reading: Ephesians 5:22–33

Let husbands remember that they need prudence to rightly do their duty. Doubtless they may endure many foolish things and bear many unpleasant things, but at the same time, they must beware lest their indulgence fosters folly. The admonition of Peter is not in vain that a husband ought to cohabit with his wife as with a weaker vessel. Part of prudence is that a husband should honor his wife. Nothing destroys the friendship of life more than contempt, nor can we really love anyone but those whom we esteem. Love must be joined with respect.

Moreover, Peter uses a twofold argument to persuade husbands to treat their wives honorably and kindly. The first is derived from the weakness of the sex; the other, from the honor with which God favors them. These things indeed seem to be somewhat contrary—that honor should be given to wives because they are weak and because they excel—but these things well agree with each other where love exists.

God is despised in his gifts unless we honor those on whom he has conferred any excellence. But when we consider that we are members of the same body, we learn to bear with one another and to mutually cover our infirmities. This is what Paul means when he says that greater honor is given to the weaker members (1 Cor. 12:23) so that we are more careful in protecting them from shame.

Peter does not without reason command that women should be cared for and be honored with kind treatment because they are weak. As we more easily forgive children when they offend us through inexperience of age, so the weakness of women ought to make us less rigid and severe toward our wives.

for meditation: How critical it is for husbands to truly understand their wives! The art of understanding one’s mate and responding to him or her with wisdom and patience is a key ingredient to marital happiness. Have you learned to love your wife for ways in which she is different from you? Do you respond to those differences in a kind manner, remembering that you are both—if you are believers—heirs together of the grace of life?[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 291). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

SSB Sunday Gathering – September 29, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board

This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

Scripture is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, Readings for Ordinary Time, Year 1 and may be found here.

Psalm 66

Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sping the praises of your name.”

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot — come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations — let not the rebellious rise up against him.

Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you — vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble. I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats.

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Acts 9: 36 – 43

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.  About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.”She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

Luke 5: 1 – 11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

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May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

via SSB Sunday Gathering – September 29, 2019 — Spiritual Sounding Board