Monthly Archives: October 2019

October 31 End of Construction

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1–3

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:1

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.

In her book, Footprints of a Pilgrim, Ruth Bell Graham provides a suggested epitaph for herself: “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.”

Though humorous, her expression is based in truth. In Philippians 1:6, Paul placed his confidence in the fact that God will continue perfecting the good work He began in us until the day of Christ Jesus. This process of perfection began with sanctification—being set apart—and continues until the end of our lives. It is the period of progression between these two events that requires our full attention.

Once we have been born again, we should begin a life of progressive growth toward Christlikeness. We should seek to be conformed to the likeness of Christ in character, conversation, and conduct (Romans 12:1–2). We should also progress by allowing Christ to live out His life through us (Ephesians 4:1).

Of course, as Christians, we will all stumble and fall at times. However, as we understand more truth and apply it to our lives, we will be better equipped to avert the enemy’s fiery darts.

Examine your life in terms of spiritual growth and progress. Have you increased in biblical knowledge since your conversion? Are you experiencing new levels of intimacy with God? If not, begin moving forward today—away from complacency and toward perfection in Christ.

I know, Lord, that I am under construction and that I will only be completed when I go to be with You. Help me to be a willing participant in this process of sanctification.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 318). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 31 The Moments That Sustain You

Scripture Reading: Psalm 34

Key Verse: Psalm 34:5

They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.

You are made for fellowship with the Lord. Blaise Pascal said, “Happiness is neither within us only, or without us; it is the union of ourselves with God.” Though you may try to fill that void with busyness or a flurry of activity, your deep-rooted need for intimacy with God remains.

Do you set aside a specific time each day to come into His presence, pray, and meditate on His Word? Every area of your life feels the impact of the loss if you do not. That meeting time with God is worth protecting.

In his book Peaceful Living in a Stressful World, Ron Hutchcraft explains,

We’re built to begin our day with our Creator. It started with Adam who met “the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). Since then, men and women have been incomplete—whether they recognize it or not—without their morning walk with God.

David told us while literally running for his life, “Seek peace and pursue it.” With stress his constant pursuer, how could he be so preoccupied with peace? He explained: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant … Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:4–5, 8). David could then go on to “pursue peace” because he had found his quiet center. It came from his time with the Lord!

Dear heavenly Father, as I travel life’s pathway, let me never forget what sustains me and gives me strength for the journey—prayer, meditation, and the Word.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 318). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Happy 502nd Reformation Day — Pulpit & Pen

(Berean Nation) On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, in an attempt to spark discussion among other religious scholars, posted a notice on the local bulletin board – the Castle Church door in Wittenburg, Germany.

A handful of printers (4 specifically we are told) with printing press technology found that notice, now known to history as the 95 theses, and literally spread that notice all over the countryside, without Luther’s knowledge or permission.

The reformation of God had begun in earnest. Even as the Roman “church” was selling Indulgences as a way to raise money, God was taking the ideas raised by these 95 theses and showing that not only was the Roman idea of purgatory a deadly false doctrine, but that in fact humankind would be saved through faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, seen in the Scriptures alone (as opposed to the traditions that were made up by the false religion of a false church), to the glory of God alone.

Luther was not a perfect man, but God used him by His grace to ignite a fire to know God and to return the real Gospel of Christ through His Word to prominence. Other reformers followed, namely Ulrich Zwingle, John Calvin, John Knox, and more began to study God again as He revealed Himself through the Scriptures.

Today, all of Protestant Christianity stands on the shoulders of this one monk turned minister of grace. Thank God for men like Luther, who with all of his imperfections, served Christ by Faith.

For more information about Luther, his life and ministry, for a limited time, you can see the documentary Luther in full for free on YouTube, courtesy of Ligonier Ministries.

[Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared at BereanNation.com and is used with full permission.]

via Happy 502nd Reformation Day — Pulpit & Pen

A Blind Man in a Bell Tower — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Martin Luther didn’t intend to start the Reformation. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul explains how Luther’s 95 Theses spread across Germany and sparked a chain of events he never saw coming.

This Reformation Month, watch a short video every day on the history and insights of the Protestant Reformation. And don’t forget that today is the last day you can request your free digital download of R.C. Sproul’s video teaching series Luther and the Reformation plus the ebook edition of The Legacy of Luther, edited by R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols at ligm.in/Reformation. Offer ends October 31, 2019.

Transcript

The 95 Theses were written in Latin. That’s a key point. Because when he attached them to the church door at Wittenburg, he wasn’t doing violence to the church. That was the bulletin board where announcements were made, and invitations were given to the faculty for academic discussions among themselves. So what Luther was proposing was a serious scholarly discussion about the whole structure of the indulgence system. What happened without Luther’s permission and without his knowledge, some students say the 95 Theses translated them into German and took advantage of the printing press. And within two weeks they were in every village and hamlet throughout Germany, and this huge uproar took place. Karl Barth makes the observation that Luther, when he posted the 95 Theses, was like a blind man climbing a tower in the church, in the bell tower. He began to lose his balance, and he reached out to grab something to stabilize himself but what he grabbed in his blindness was the rope for the church bell and accidentally awakened the whole town by the ringing of the bells.

via A Blind Man in a Bell Tower — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Lesser-Known Protestant Leaders to Remember on Reformation Day — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

A view of the Reformation Wall with statues of William (Guillaume) Farel, John (Jean) Calvin, Theodore de Beze, and John Knox, from left to right, at Bastion Park in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, June 19, 2009. The commemorations of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth has started in Geneva. Calvin was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. | (Photo: AP / KEYSTONE / Salvatore Di Nolfi)

When one thinks about the Protestant Reformation and its leadership, names like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli often come to mind.

While these figures were prominent, the sixteenth century spanned much of Europe and included many other figures including theologians, clergy, and academics.

As with their more famous contemporaries, these individuals were part of the Reformation and oftentimes experienced intense backlash from Catholic authorities. Here are five such people.

Guillaume Farel (1489-1565)

Guillaume Farel (1489-1565), a French Protestant Reformation preacher and writer who was a contemporary of John Calvin. Wikimedia Commons

Reformer and preacher Guillaume Farel is often credited with introducing the Reformation to the French-speaking population of Switzerland.

A native of France, Farel was raised in a devout Catholic home. He graduated from the University of Paris in 1517 and became a supporter of the Reformation soon after.

A preacher known for being confrontational, he moved to Geneva and famously convinced John Calvin to do the same in order to establish a strict Protestant society.

“As lion-like and controversial as Farel could be, he was committed to the spiritual vitality of the French-speaking people,” wrote Johnathon Bowers for DesiringGod.org.

“He produced some of the first Reformation works available in French, writing a commentary on the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer in 1524 and a summary of Reformed teaching in 1529.”

Caspar Schwenckfeld (1489-1561)

Caspar Schwenckfeld (1489-1561), a Polish Protestant Reformation leader of German ancestry. Wikimedia Commons

Born into a noble family in what is now Poland, Caspar Schwenckfeld was a royal court advisor when the Reformation began in 1517. He immediately offered his support for the movement.

After failing to fully join Luther’s movement in 1526, Schwenckfeld developed a following of his own, called the “Confessors of the Glory of Christ” or simply “Schwenkfelders.

Schwenckfeld often found himself at odds with both the Catholic Church and many of his fellow Protestants and spent his remaining years in hiding from both groups.

Due to frequent persecution, most of his followers eventually migrated to colonial Pennsylvania in 1734, where their communities exist to the present day.

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562)

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562), Italian leader in the Protestant Reformation. Public Domain

Peter Martyr Vermigli was a native of Florence, Italy and the son of a shoemaker. He was ordained a priest in 1525, but by the 1540s he had come to support the Reformation.

After being exiled from his home in Italy, he traveled to the Central European city of Strassburg in the 1540s and then taught at Oxford in England beginning in 1547.

Vermigli was again forced to flee persecution from Catholic authorities when Queen Mary took power in England, eventually returning to Strassburg.

“Peter Martyr is little remembered today, but in his day he was widely recognized for his brilliance, his learning, his piety and his influence,” wrote W. Robert Godfrey of Westminster Seminary California in 1999.

“Excerpts from his writings circulated widely as Loci Communes published in Latin in 1576 and in English in 1583. Josiah Simler who preached a funeral oration for him aptly named him ‘an ambassador of Jesus Christ, to divers cities and nations.’”

Click here to read more.
Source: Christian Post

via Lesser-Known Protestant Leaders to Remember on Reformation Day — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

What Was the Reformation All About? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Over 500 years ago, a German monk named Martin Luther started a protest that exploded into a worldwide movement. So what was the Protestant Reformation all about? This short video narrated by R.C. Sproul is a tool to help you give an answer. Share it with your family and friends. Also available in Chinese, FrenchGerman, ItalianPortuguese, and Spanish.

This Reformation Month, watch a short video every day on the history and insights of the Protestant Reformation. And don’t forget that for this month only, you can request your free digital download of R.C. Sproul’s video teaching series Luther and the Reformation plus the ebook edition of The Legacy of Luther, edited by R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols at ligm.in/Reformation. Offer ends October 31, 2019.

Transcript

500 years ago, a German monk named Martin Luther started a protest that exploded into worldwide movement. At that time, Europe lived in the shadow of the Roman Catholic Church. It was more like an empire than a church. It crowned and cast down kings, and used its dominance to keep people in the darkness of superstition. That sounds pretty unfamiliar.

But in some ways, Luther’s day was very much like our own. Just like today, everyone had an opinion about the Bible even though almost no one had actually read it. Like so many of us, they were trusting the thought-leaders and taste-makers of their day to tell them what was in the Bible and whether or not to believe it. Luther was one of the very few people actually reading the Bible, and what he found was earth-shattering. Even though he was a monk, Luther hated the God of the Bible. But when he studied it, the world around him began to make sense. God made sense. The significance of Jesus became clear to him. He discovered the answer to his deepest question: how could evil be overcome? Specifically, how could his own evil—his own sin—be dealt with?

Luther discovered that he couldn’t do anything to fix this problem himself. He had to rely on the finished work of Christ alone. Luther had discovered a central truth. It changed his life. It changed the world. The Protestant Reformation was about two things. It was about who can say what’s true and it was about how to reconcile who we are with who God is. It recognized that God’s Word is the ultimate authority in this world, and that the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ are the only answer for evil and the only basis on which sinners can stand before a holy God. The Protestant Reformation is a story of transformation—a transformation from hate to love, from slavery to freedom, and from blind faith to a glorious discovery of the truth in Jesus Christ.

via What Was the Reformation All About? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

October 31 Your Unmet Needs

Scripture reading: Job 23:1–12

Key verse: Job 13:15

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

While waiting on God’s answer for your unmet needs, you may want to question yourself. Examine your heart. Do your best to objectively consider your motives and to separate desires from needs. In short, contemplate your attitude.

What you hear from God will be affected by the manner in which you ask Him to talk to you. In other words, if you are a proud, egotistical, self-sufficient, rebellious, or indifferent person, your communication with God is hampered.

However, if in approaching God to attend to your unmet needs you are submissive, trusting, and grateful, your petitions will be pleasing in God’s sight. He will answer your prayers in His perfect timing and in His perfect way, but your attitude and faith are catalysts.

Being submissive means agreeing in advance that whatever God decides or asks, you will say, “Yes, Father.” Being trusting means telling God in genuine faith that you know He will never lead you in the wrong direction. You believe what He says is best. Being grateful means that whatever your present circumstance or future answer from God, you’re thankful and secure in the truth that He has your best interests at heart and never will leave or forsake you. In good and bad, thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do for you.

Lord, I am so thankful that You have my best interests at heart, both in the present and in the future. I thank You for all You have done, are doing, and will do for me.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 318). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tom Brokaw Suggests Democrats Don’t Have ‘the Goods’ to Impeach Trump | The Epoch Times

Longtime NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said that, unlike the impeachment effort of President Richard Nixon, Democrats lack “the goods” on President Donald Trump.

Brokaw was speaking while promoting his new book, “The Fall of Richard Nixon.”

“The big difference is … if they still don’t have what you would call ‘the goods’ on this president in terms of breaking the law and being an impeachable target for them,” Brokaw said during an appearance on MSNBC this week, “they’re going to start the process but they don’t have the same kind of clarity that the people who were opposed to Richard Nixon had because it was so clear that these were criminal acts he was involved in.”

Host Andrea Mitchell noted that the tapes from the Oval Office helped bring Nixon down.

“There are no more taping systems in the Oval Office,” Brokaw said.

“That we know of,” Mitchell said. Brokaw agreed.

House Democrats have for weeks been conducting an impeachment inquiry, trying to establish grounds for impeaching Trump.

President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the Medal of Honor ceremony for Army Master Sgt. Matthew Williams in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Oct. 30, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The House was slated on Thursday to vote for a resolution laying out the next phase of the inquiry, including the possibility of public hearings, while changing key rules from the impeachment inquiries of Nixon and President Bill Clinton to give Republicans and Trump fewer rights.

Democrats have hyped the transparency they say the resolution would bring to the process while Republicans have railed against the majority party for the rule changes.

The session was slated to start at approximately 10:30 a.m., with a vote coming after debate and procedural motions.

During his appearance, Brokaw said a big takeaway from his book is the different environment the current inquiry is happening in versus the era of Nixon.

“I think the big lesson I took away from the book, at that time, everybody took it very seriously, it was not something that played out like a television game show, which we have a lot of that now with the President, you know, having comments about everything. Everybody has access to an opinion of one kind or another,” he said.

“Social media has changed everything, frankly. I mean, I think it’s a great, great instrument, but you don’t know what you can believe and what you can’t believe. That’s a huge, huge difference between then and now.”

Source: Tom Brokaw Suggests Democrats Don’t Have ‘the Goods’ to Impeach Trump

Senior NatSec Official Who Was on Trump-Zelensky Phone Call DESTROYS Schiff – Testifies, ‘I Was Not Concerned That Anything Illegal Was Discussed’ — The Gateway Pundit

Tim Morrison

Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s Senior Director for European Affairs appeared on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify in Schiff’s sham impeachment hearing.

WATCH:

Morrison, who was on the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call testified Thursday that nothing illegal was discussed.

This is why Schiff is conducting the hearings behind closed doors.

Schiff doesn’t want the American public to know that President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was completely above board.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” Morrison said.

“Morrison also testified that the memorandum of the call released by the White House is accurate to his recollection and he does not know the whistleblower’s identity,” reported CBS News White House correspondent Arden Farhi.

The Federalist reported that Morrison testified that the Ukrainians weren’t even aware that security aid was being delayed by the Trump Administration.

Morrison testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that certain military funding had been delayed by the Trump administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call, casting doubt on allegations that Trump somehow conveyed an illegal quid pro quo demand during the July 25 call.

“I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the [military funding] review until August 28, 2019,” Morrison said. That is the same day that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chief anti-Trump inquisitor in the U.S. House of Representatives, disclosed on Twitter that funding had been held up. Politico also published a story that day, sourced to anonymous leaks, that military funding had been temporarily held up.

There was no quid pro quo and no threats, yet the Democrats are moving full steam ahead with their Soviet-style impeachment proceedings.

via Senior NatSec Official Who Was on Trump-Zelensky Phone Call DESTROYS Schiff – Testifies, ‘I Was Not Concerned That Anything Illegal Was Discussed’ — The Gateway Pundit

More Secret Hearings Still Scheduled After House ‘Impeachment Inquiry’ Vote | Breitbart

More secret, closed-door hearings in the “impeachment inquiry” are scheduled for the next several days, despite a vote by the full House of Representatives Thursday to authorize public hearings.

Source: More Secret Hearings Still Scheduled After House ‘Impeachment Inquiry’ Vote

Former NSC Official: ‘Not Concerned That Anything Illegal Was Discussed’ During Trump Ukraine Call | Breitbart

Former senior White House official Tim Morrison has reportedly testified to congressional investigators on Thursday that he was not concerned any illegal activities occurred during President Donald Trump’s phone call with the leader of Ukraine.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” Morrison, who resigned Wednesday as former National Security Council’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, told lawmakers, according to The Federalist. The publication also reports Morrison conveyed to lawmakers that Ukrainian officials were unaware that the Trump administration had delayed U.S. military aid to the eastern European country until the end of August 2019 —  roughly one month after President Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the [military funding] review until August 28, 2019,” the former Trump official reportedly stated.

“I am pleased our process gave the president the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance,” he added. “I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump administration accomplish.”

Morrison also testified that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor’s deposition possessed several inaccuracies, including the false claim that Morrison met with Ukraine’s National Security advisor at a hotel, reports The Federalist.

“My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to [Ukrainian National Security Advisor Andriy] Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation,” Morrison reportedly said.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, described Morrison’s testimony as “devastating to the false Democrat narrative that anything illegal or improper happened on the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call.”

“It’s also devastating to the credibility of certain other witnesses who have asserted there was anything illegal or improper,” he added.

News of Morrison’s testimony comes after the House voted for a resolution that formally authorizes the impeachment investigation of President Trump.

The lower chamber voted 232-196 in favor of House Resolution 660. The vote split mostly down party lines, with four members abstaining. No Republican voted for the resolution and two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson (MN) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ) — voted against the resolution. One independent lawmaker, former Republican Justin Amash (MI), favored the bill.

Among other things, the measure directs “certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, president of the United States of America, and for other purposes.”

The resolution also enables Republicans to request witnesses and documents, authorize committees to release interview transcripts and outline public hearings. It also allows Trump and White House counsel to attend hearings, question witnesses and recommend additional testimony and evidence.

“The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!” the president tweeted after the vote.

In a statement after the vote, the White House defended Trump and faulted Democrats for trying to “destroy” his presidency.

“Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “Instead of focusing on pressing issues that impact real families, like reducing gun violence or passing the USMCA, improving healthcare, lowering proscription drug costs, securing our southern border, and modernizing our aging infrastructure, the Democrats are choosing every day to waste time on a sham impeachment — a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the president.”

The UPI contributed to this report. 

Source: Former NSC Official: ‘Not Concerned That Anything Illegal Was Discussed’ During Trump Ukraine Call

BREAKING: NSC Official Testifies He Heard Nothing Illegal On Trump-Zelensky Call, Transcript Accurate | Town Hall

BREAKING: CBS News is reporting that Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s Senior Director for European Affairs, testified before Congress on Thursday that he heard nothing illegal on the phone call between President Donald J. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Morrison also reportedly testified that the transcript released by the White House was accurate.

The Federalist is also reporting this according to transcripts obtained by the outlet.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison testified today, according to Sean Davis.

“My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to [Ukrainian National Security Advisor Andriy] Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation, Morrison testified according to the Federalist.

“I am pleased our process gave the president the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance,” he added. “I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump administration accomplish.”

After a government whistleblower came forward, Congressional Democrats accused President Trump of offering an illegal quid pro quo, pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid. On Thursday, they voted to conduct an official impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s actions.

This is a breaking news post and will be updated as needed. 

Source: BREAKING: NSC Official Testifies He Heard Nothing Illegal On Trump-Zelensky Call, Transcript Accurate

Trump meets with 25 Christian leaders at White House: ‘We are unwavering in our support’ | WND

President Donald Trump met privately Tuesday with 25 Christian leaders who came to the White House to affirm their support for the president amid the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats.

“We assured him that evangelicals across America support him,” Pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, told Fox News. “We are unwavering in our support for the president.”

Trump did not appear to dwell on the activities of House Democrats, but preferred to talk about progress on achieving the agenda put forth by America’s faith leaders, according to those at the meeting.

“I have never seen a president more focused, more in command than what we saw with President Trump yesterday,” Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told Fox.

“The primary purpose of the informal meeting with faith leaders Tuesday was for the president to brief faith leaders on the continuing, remarkable accomplishments of this administration — especially in areas that are important to evangelicals,” Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas told CBN.

“It was abundantly clear, he’s totally unfazed by this,” the Rev. Johnnie Moore, president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, said to Fox.

Graham said the group prayed for Trump.

“We prayed for the president, with thanksgiving, as always, that he would know God’s wisdom and strength as the president of the United States,” Graham told Fox.

Trump “always welcomes,” prayers for him, Graham said, and is ever “appreciative of the people who pray for him across the country.”

Moore noted the effort by House Democrats to push Trump from office is also, to faith leaders, an assault on the values that Trump’s evangelical supporters hold dear.

“Evangelical leaders see this, not as impeaching Donald Trump, but they’re trying to impeach me and my values,” Moore said. “Donald Trump is pretty good at fighting alone — but he isn’t going to have to on this one.”

“Everybody felt this way. This isn’t actually about Donald Trump,” he said.

“It’s about the agenda that he’s put forward, the success he’s had in advancing the agenda.”

“We take it very personally because they’re going after our values,” Graham said, adding that House Democrats are conducting a “sham of an investigation.”

Reed said the faith leaders were there “as representatives of the tens of millions who intercede for this president every single day.”

“Tens of millions of Americans of faith are extremely grateful that President Trump defends time-honored values and the right of Christians and other religious minorities to religious freedom,” he said.

“I pray for the president, the first family and his staff every day. It is a privilege and honor to pray for any president, and most especially this president given his leadership,” he added.

The conversation was without any pretense, Moore said.

“He doesn’t try to be any different than he is,” Moore said.

“That’s one of the things we appreciate about him.”

The White House said the group meeting with Trump included the following faith leaders:

  • Pastor Paula White Cain, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center
  • Lourdes Aguirre, president of Eresamerica
  • Michelle Bachmann, former congresswoman
  • Pastor Luke Barnett, senior pastor of Dream City Church
  • Gary Bauer, President of American Values
  • Dr. Tim Clinton, president of American Association of Christian Counselors
  • Apostle Alberto Delgado, pastor of Alpha & Omega
  • Dr. James Dobson, founder of Dr. James Dobson Family Institute
  • Shirley Dobson, co-founder of Dr. James Dobson Family Institute
  • Pastor Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel
  • Pastor Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church San Diego
  • Dr. Jack Graham, senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church
  • Pastor Harry Jackson Jr., senior pastor of Hope Christian Church
  • Pastor Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas
  • Pastor Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship
  • Apostle Guillermo Maldonado, co-founder and senior pastor of El Rey Jesús
  • Pastor Robert Morris, senior pastor of Gateway Church
  • Pastor Tom Mullins, senior pastor of Christ Fellowship
  • Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of Faith & Freedom Coalition
  • Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
  • Dr. Jay Strack, founder of Student Leadership University
  • Cissie Graham Lynch, Samaritan’s Purse
  • Reverend Johnnie Moore, president of The Kairos Company
  • Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council
  • Pastor Matte Gregg, senior pastor of First Baptist Houston

“President Donald J. Trump met with faith leaders this morning in the Roosevelt Room at the White House,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

“They took the time to pray for the President and for the Nation. The leaders discussed the Administration’s many accomplishments for the American people and how the communities they represent from across the country are benefitting from these important policies.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Source: Trump meets with 25 Christian leaders at White House: ‘We are unwavering in our support’

BREAKING: Al Mohler to be Nominated as Next Southern Baptist Convention President — Christian Research Network

“This may come as a shock to some, but Mohler is no conservative. To be fair, he isn’t a liberal either. He is a moderate — at least on the political spectrum. Theologically speaking, he tends to be on his game when it comes to the essential issues of doctrine and faith. However, Mohler has continually supported, promoted, and platformed both theological and political liberals under his watch.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  This news may come as a surprise to some, but to those who are intricately aware of how the Southern Baptist Convention operates, this is really old news….

Southern Baptist pastor, HB Charles of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida has announced his intention to nominate Al Mohler at the next convention meeting in Orlando in June 2020.

See the tweets on the site

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entity circuit works like this: you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. The same people have continuously rotated around through different entity leadership positions and speaking circuits in exchange for nominations, votes, and notoriety. View article →

Research

Albert Mohler

Southern Baptist Convention

via BREAKING: Al Mohler to be Nominated as Next Southern Baptist Convention President — Christian Research Network

TRICK OR TREAT: Nancy Pelosi And The Democrats Ram Through First Formal Vote On Impeachment Of President As Witch Hunt Becomes Official — Now The End Begins

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats rammed a package of ground rules for their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump through a sharply divided House Thursday, the chamber’s first formal vote in a fight that could stretch into the 2020 election year.

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats celebrated the dark holiday of Halloween today by pushing through and successfully voting on passage of the first stage of ground rules for proceeding forward with the impeachment of President Trump. Things just got real. However divided this country was yesterday pales in comparison to the rift that was opened up today in Congress.

Why are the Democrats doing this? Because Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren or any of the other Democrats running for office in 2020 are incapable of beating Donald Trump in a fair, head to head fight. The Russian Dossier didn’t work, the Russian Collusion Hoax didn’t work, the Mueller Report didn’t work, 3 relentless year of the fake news media advocating on behalf of the Democrats in attempting to destroy Donald Trump didn’t work.

Impeachment is the only thing they had left, it’s their only chance of preventing 4 more years of a Trump presidency. It comes at the cost of Civil War, but they don’t care, all they want is power and plenty of it, and at any cost. Game on. NTEB has told you from the beginning that Donald Trump was God’s appointed man to rule America, now that the Democrats have voted to impeach, it’s time to see what God will do. Pray for our president, he is in the fight of his life.

Democrats push impeachment rules package through House

FROM THE AP: The tally was 232-196, with all Republicans who voted opposing the resolution and just two Democratic defectors joining them: freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and 15-term veteran Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, one of his party’s most conservative members. Both represent GOP-leaning districts.

The vote laid down the rules as lawmakers transition from weeks of closed-door interviews with witnesses to public hearings and ultimately to possible votes on whether to recommend Trump’s removal from office.

The action also took on more than technical meaning, with each party aware that the impeachment effort looms as a defining issue for next year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. The vote, which occurred on Halloween, drew a familiar Twitter retort from Trump: “The greatest Witch Hunt in American History!”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats of an “unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding.”

During the debate, Democrats spoke of lawmakers’ duty to defend the Constitution, while Republicans cast the process as a skewed attempt to railroad a president whom Democrats have detested since before he took office.

“What is at stake in all this is nothing less than our democracy,” said Pelosi. Underscoring her point, she addressed the House with a poster of the American flag beside her and began her remarks by reading the opening lines of the preamble to the Constitution.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Trump had done nothing impeachable and accused Democrats of trying to remove him “because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box.”

No. 3 House GOP leader Steve Scalise, R-La., accused Democrats of imposing “Soviet-style rules,” speaking in front of a bright red poster depicting St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow. READ MORE

House Passes Rules Formalizing Impeachment Probe

The Democratic-led House has approved 232 to 196 a package of ground rules for their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. It was the chamber’s first formal vote in an epic clash that could stretch into early next year. (Oct. 31)

via TRICK OR TREAT: Nancy Pelosi And The Democrats Ram Through First Formal Vote On Impeachment Of President As Witch Hunt Becomes Official — Now The End Begins

MUST READ: The Complete List of DNC “Whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella’s Conflicts of Interests WILL SHOCK YOU! — The Gateway Pundit

It should be clear to everyone by now that this guy was not a “whistleblower” complaint but a planned, prepared and organized Democrat Party coup attempt.

CIA snitch Eric Ciaramella filed a whistleblower complaint on August 12 over President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky where the two discussed ferreting out corruption.  This included talk on the Biden crime family.

** The so-called “whistleblower” Eric Ciarmella is a Democrat who had a “professional” tie to a 2020 Democrat.

** Ciaramella  coordinated and took guidance from Adam Schiff’s staff and Schiff lied about it.

** Schiff’s staff recommended attorneys for the so called “whistleblower.”

** Ciaramella’s attorneys worked for James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and donated to Joe Biden.

** The attorneys for Ciaramella is a member of the #Resistance.

** Ciaramella  worked with Joe Biden in the executive branch when he was Vice President.

** Ciaramella traveled with Joe Biden to the Ukraine.

** Ciaramella worked with DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa in the creation of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.

** A former associate of James Clapper, Charles McCullough, assisted Ciaramella with his complaint against Trump.

** And Adam Schiff’s aides, Abigail Grace and Sean Misko worked with Ciaramella in the White House.

Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018, was hired by Schiff in February.

Sean Misko, an NSC aide until 2017, joined Schiff’s committee staff in August, the same month the whistleblower submitted his complaint.

And Schiff kept this a secret from Republicans while he was working with Eric Ciaramella before he filed his complaint in August.

The same conservative groups who came together to file an ethics complaint against Nancy Pelosi should do one against the two former NSA staffers who are now working for Rep. Adam Schiff in his office on the sham impeachment hearings.

Abigail Grace and Sean Misko are alleged to have coordinated with Eric Ciamarella to manipulate the rules on here-say and help create the fraudulent whistleblower complaint.

Eric Ciamarella is also alleged to be the conduit to leak the phone call information from whistleblower Number 2 Alexander Vindman who testified in the secret basement star chamber on Tuesday.

It is apparent already that this was an attempted coup of the US president.

Wait until the American public find out how much they have been lied to!

via MUST READ: The Complete List of DNC “Whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella’s Conflicts of Interests WILL SHOCK YOU! — The Gateway Pundit

‘It Is a Joke of Due Process’: GOP Slams House Impeachment as Dems Approve Official Inquiry | CBN News

CAPITOL HILL – Today the House of Representatives voted to formalize the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. It includes plans for public hearings after House Republicans demanded transparency for weeks.

The resolution to launch an official inquiry passed along party lines. Only two Democrats voted against it and no Republicans supported it.

Both House and Senate Republicans argue the rules outlined in the resolution from House Democrats rob President Trump of the basic right of due process – even as they prepare to hold public hearings and release prior witness testimonies.

“Legitimizing an unfair process by voting doesn’t make it fair,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBN News.

The resolution gives top lawmakers on both sides more time to question witnesses. While it also allows Republicans to request witnesses, the fine print gives Democrats the power to veto those requests.

“Republicans can’t subpoena witnesses unless Schiff agrees – so it is a joke of due process,” continued Graham.

Sen. Graham has introduced his own resolution in the Senate labeling the whole process a sham.

“They’re creating a process that will be damaging to the presidency. Forget about Trump for a moment, if the House in the future can have closed-door hearings where the President’s lawyers can’t participate, you selectively leak information out to the public to drive the numbers of the president down, you can literally destroy the presidency,” warned Graham. “The reason they’re not doing it like they did before is because they don’t have a case. This is all politically driven.”

Democrats maintain they’re following tradition.

“They are going forward with one which is something the President and others have insisted on. Secondly, the process is going to be open,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

They’re calling on their Republican counterparts to focus concerns on Colonel Vindman’s testimony that the transcript of the infamous Ukraine phone call was incomplete.

“It certainly concerns me if the White House has released an incomplete transcript,” commented Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Graham tells CBN News the changes Vindman suggests don’t make a difference to him.

“I’ve made my mind up, there’s nothing wrong with this phone call and the changes he suggests make no difference to me,” concluded Graham.

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has heard each witness testify, stands by the “no quid pro quo” defense and says he’s not concerned with Vindman’s testimony.

“The fundamental facts have never changed – read the call, we know what President Trump and President Zelenksy have said and the facts I just went through so no it doesn’t trouble me,” said Jordan.

He adds that his biggest concern is only one member of Congress knows the whistleblower’s identity – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

“That’s what troubles me more than anything else, particularly now that we’re less than 13 months before an election,” added Jordan.

Source: ‘It Is a Joke of Due Process’: GOP Slams House Impeachment as Dems Approve Official Inquiry

Kevin McCarthy Blasts Do-Nothing Democrats: “This Congress’ Records is More Subpoenas Than Laws, That’s the Legacy” (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blasted the do-nothing Democrats and their sham impeachment resolution.

McCarthy said that Congress has not gathered to the House Floor to fund the government, to pay our troops, to approve a new trade deal or to debate critical national security issues.

Congress is obsessed with impeaching President Trump so all they have done is issue subpoenas and waste time with secret impeachment hearings.

“We are not [here] working for the American people. Those items would resemble the achievements of a productive Congress — a Congress that truly works for the people,” McCarthy said.

“This Congress’ records is more subpoenas than laws – that’s the legacy. It is not just devoid of solutions for the American people, it is now abusing its power to discredit democracy,” he added.

WATCH:

The House of Representatives passed the sham impeachment resolution along party lines in a 232-196 vote Thursday morning.

Pelosi lied to the American public saying the process being voted on today — also called the Schiff Empowerment Act — gives Republicans and the White House the equal power as the crooked Democrats and their leader Adam Schiff in this sham impeachment process.

The resolution approved a Soviet-style proceeding which denies President Trump due process.

According to the impeachment resolution, ranking member of the House Intel Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) can only issue subpoenas, call in witnesses and introduce evidence with Democrat Chairman Adam Schiff’s permission.

Under normal impeachment proceedings, Minority members of the committees would have equal subpoena power and they would be able to call in witnesses.

The Democrat-controlled House has issued more subpoenas than laws; imagine how tyrannical they would be if they (God forbid) were to ever take back the Senate and the White House.

via Kevin McCarthy Blasts Do-Nothing Democrats: “This Congress’ Records is More Subpoenas Than Laws, That’s the Legacy” (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

October 31, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Sheep’s Responsibilities to the Great Shepherd—Part 1: Joyfulness, Prayerfulness, and Thankfulness

(1 Thessalonians 5:16–18)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (5:16–18)

If God’s flock is to be healthy, above all else the relationship between the sheep and the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ the Son of God, must be right. For that to happen, believers must be mindful of their responsibilities to worship and serve the Lord their King. The words of the first three stanzas of Frances Havergal’s classic hymn, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” perhaps capture the essence of those responsibilities better than any ordinary prose could:

Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to thee.

Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing, Always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from thee.

Explicitly and implicitly, that hymn contains the spirit of the first three of Paul’s exhortations to the Thessalonians to strengthen their inner spiritual lives and thus be able to fulfill their responsibilities to God (1 Thess. 5:16–22). The three exhortations go right to the starting point of the believer’s attitude: the exhortation to constant joyfulness, to constant prayerfulness, and to constant thankfulness.

The Exhortation to Constant Joyfulness

Rejoice always; (5:16)

A thorough and accurate understanding of Christian joy is essential for all believers. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to rejoice always may seem absurd and impossible to obey given life’s inevitable difficulties, but as a divinely inspired command, believers must heed it. Any failure to do so constitutes a disregard for Scripture’s clear instructions and therefore sinful disobedience.

Many other statements throughout God’s Word enjoin the believer to have joy in all situations (Deut. 12:18; Neh. 8:10; Pss. 2:11; 5:11; 32:11; 68:3; 100:2; 132:16; Isa. 29:19; Joel 2:23–24; Hab. 3:17–18; Matt. 5:10–12; Luke 6:22–23; 10:20; John 16:20–22; cf. Pss. 16:8–9; 21:6; 28:7; 132:16; Isa. 35:10; 55:12; 56:7; Zech. 9:9; Acts 5:41; Rom. 15:13; 2 Cor. 10:17; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 2:17–18; 4:4; Col. 1:24; James 1:2; 5:13; 1 Peter 1:6; 4:13). While he was aware of the many injunctions to rejoice, Paul also recognized the existence of negative human emotions like sorrow and distress (e.g., Acts 20:19, 37–38; Rom. 12:15; Phil. 3:18; cf. Isa. 32:11–12; Matt. 9:23; Mark 5:38–39). However, the apostle also knew believers must transcend their sorrows with a continual focus on true joy; they must be as he wrote of himself, “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). Such a focus is possible because biblical joy comes from God, not merely from a superficial emotional response to positive circumstances (cf. Phil. 3:3). Christian joy constantly flows from what the believer continually knows to be true about God and about his eternal, saving relationship to Him—regardless of circumstances (Pss. 16:11; 68:3; Luke 2:10–11; 24:52; Acts 16:34; Rom. 5:2, 11; 1 Peter 1:8). Supernatural joy is from the Holy Spirit; thus Paul listed it as an aspect of spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22; cf. Rom. 14:17).

The phrase translated rejoice always literally reads “at all times be rejoicing” and emphasizes that truly joyful Christians will always have a deep-seated confidence in God’s sovereign love and mighty power on behalf of His own, and in His providential working of all things according to His perfect plan (Matt. 6:33–34; Rom. 8:28–30; 11:33; Phil. 1:12; cf. Gen. 50:20; Ps. 139:1–5). Therefore, no event or circumstance in the Christian’s life, apart from sin, can or should diminish his true joy.

A proper perspective on biblical joy provides numerous reasons for believers to rejoice. First of all, they should rejoice always in appreciation for God’s righteous character, which, even in trouble, He demonstrates so faithfully to believers. The psalmist declared, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him” (Ps. 28:7; cf. Neh. 8:10; Pss. 71:23; 89:16; Isa. 61:10). Second, they should have constant joy out of appreciation for Christ’s redemptive work, which derives from a gracious, loving, merciful, and compassionate God (Luke 2:10; 10:20; Rom. 5:1–2, 11; 1 Peter 1:8–9), and for His infallible instruction (John 15:11; 16:30; 1 John 5:20). Third, they should rejoice in appreciation of the Holy Spirit’s ministry on their behalf (Acts 10:44; Rom. 14:17; cf. 8:14–27). Fourth, believers should rejoice always because of the vast array of spiritual blessings they possess (cf. Eph. 1:3–4; Phil. 4:13, 19; Col. 2:9–14; 2 Peter 1:3). Fifth, they should have joy in God’s providence as He orchestrates everything for their benefit (Rom. 8:28–30; James 1:2–4). Sixth, they should be joyful out of gratitude for the promise of future glory (cf. Ps. 16:8–11; Matt. 5:12; Luke 10:20; 1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 1:18–21; 3:20; Jude 24). Seventh, answered prayer should always be a source of joy (Pss. 66:20; 116:1, 17; 118:21; John 16:24), as should an eighth reason, an appreciation for the gift of God’s Word (Col. 3:16; cf. Pss. 19:7–11; 119:14, 111, 162; Jer. 15:16). Ninth, the privilege of genuine fellowship should bring continual joy to the believer (1 Thess. 3:9; 2 Tim. 1:4; Philem. 7; 2 John 12). And finally, true believers cannot help but express their joy at the saving proclamation of the gospel, as the early church did: “Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they [Paul, Barnabas, and other believers] were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren” (Acts 15:3; cf. Phil. 1:18).

The joyful Christian is more concerned about glorifying God than about avoiding temporal difficulties (Rom. 8:18; cf. Heb. 11:13–16, 25). He thinks more of his spiritual riches and eternal glory than he does any present pain or material poverty (1 Peter 1:6–7; 4:13; James 5:11; cf. 2 Cor. 6:4–10; 1 Peter 5:10). Believers who live like that will fulfill the command to rejoice always.

The Exhortation to Constant Prayerfulness

pray without ceasing; (5:17)

Joyful believers will also be prayerful believers. Those who live their Christian lives in joyful dependency on God will continually recognize their own insufficiency and therefore constantly be in an attitude of prayer. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing is thus a divine mandate to all believers. Pray is from proseuchomai, the most common New Testament word for prayer (e.g., Matt. 6:5–6; Mark 11:24; Luke 5:16; 11:1–2; Acts 10:9; Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:13–15; Eph. 6:18; Col. 1:9; 2 Thess. 3:1; James 5:13–14, 16). It encompasses all the aspects of prayer: submission, confession, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. Without ceasing means “constant” and defines prayer not as some perpetual activity of kneeling and interceding but as a way of life marked by a continual attitude of prayer.

One cannot begin to understand Paul’s command to continual prayerfulness without considering how faithfully Jesus prayed during His earthly ministry. As the Son of God, He was in constant communion with the Father, and the Gospels provide many examples of the Lord’s consistent prayer life (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 9:18, 28–29; cf. John 6:15; 17:1–26). During times when He went to the Mount of Olives to pray all night (Luke 21:37–38; John 8:1–2) He undoubtedly prayed with a kind of intensity that believers know little or nothing about. The classic example of such intensity is when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray.… And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:41, 44). Matthew 26:38–46 records that Jesus’ prayer in the garden was a prolonged experience in which He pleaded three times for the Father to spare Him from “this cup” (v. 39)—the divine wrath against sin, which He would have to bear the next day in His substitutionary death on the cross for sinners. (For a complete exposition of this passage, see Matthew 24–28, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1989], 167–78.) That level of intense agonizing is beyond anything Christians have to face, but it illustrates the persistence Jesus spoke of in the parables of the friend in need (Luke 11:5–10) and the relentless widow (Luke 18:1–8). It also uniquely exemplifies what the apostle Paul meant when he instructed the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing.

From its inception, the early church demonstrated a Christlike earnestness and constancy in its prayer life. Luke wrote how devoted Christ’s followers were to prayer, even before the Day of Pentecost: “These all [the apostles] with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14). Later they gave themselves regularly to prayer (Acts 2:42). In their role as leaders of the young church, the apostles determined to devote themselves “to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Also, diligent prayer by believers played a part in Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:11–16; cf. 4:23–31).

The New Testament emphasis on the importance of prayer cannot be overstated. Already in 1 Thessalonians, Paul had written, “As we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face” (3:10). Many of Paul’s other epistles also indicate the importance of prayer (Rom. 12:12; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 6:18–19; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 2 Thess. 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:8).

The strong scriptural emphasis on prayer suggests a substantial list of motivations for Christians to pray without ceasing. First of all—and the highest of all motives for believers—is their desire to glorify the Lord. Jesus taught the disciples in His model prayer, “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ ” (Matt. 6:9–10; cf. Dan. 9:4–19). Second, the desire for fellowship with God motivates believers to pray: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1–2; cf. 27:1, 4; 63:1–2; 84:1–2). Jesus said believers’ prayers would be answered in order that “the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13; cf. v. 14).

Third, believers will pray for God to meet their needs: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11; cf. Luke 11:9–13; 1 John 5:14–15). Fourth, Christians will pray persistently for God’s wisdom as they live in the midst of a sinful world: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5; cf. Matt. 6:13; 1 Cor. 10:13). Fifth, the desire for deliverance from trouble motivates prayer. Jonah is a vivid example of such motivation: “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, ‘I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice’ ” (Jonah 2:1–2; cf. Ps. 20:1).

Sixth, all Christians desire relief from fear and worry. Paul encouraged the Philippians: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7; cf. Ps. 4:1). A seventh motive is gratitude for past blessings, as the psalmist prayed:

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us the work that You did in their days, in the days of old. You with Your own hand drove out the nations; then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, then You spread them abroad. For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them. You are my King, O God. (Ps. 44:1–4a; cf. Phil. 1:3–5)

Eighth, believers pray to be freed from the guilt of sin. David expressed this when he wrote, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; and You forgave the guilt of my sin” (Ps. 32:5; cf. Prov. 28:13; 1 John 1:9). Ninth, believers’ concern for salvation of the lost causes them to pray. Paul captured this motivation in his words to Timothy:

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1–4; cf. Matt. 9:37–38; Rom. 10:1)

Finally, and certainly as important as any of the motivations for Christians to pray without ceasing, is their desire for spiritual growth—for themselves and for fellow believers. Paul’s petition to the Lord for the Ephesians is a model in this regard:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14–21; cf. 1:15–19; Col. 1:9–12)

The Exhortation to Constant Thankfulness

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (5:18)

Being unthankful is the very essence of the unregenerate heart. The apostle Paul identified unbelievers as ungrateful: “For even though they knew God [through conscience and general revelation], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21). But when God regenerates an individual, He produces a new heart that longs to obey Paul’s injunction and in everything give thanks. That simple, direct statement allows believers no excuses to be ungrateful. In everything (en panti) refers to all that occurs in life. No matter what struggles, trials, testings, or vicissitudes occur in the lives of Christians (with the obvious exception of personal sins), they are to give thanks (Acts 5:41; cf. James 1:2–3; 1 Peter 1:6–9). Thankfulness therefore should be part of the fabric of the regenerate life (Ps. 136:1–3; Dan. 6:10; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17; Heb. 13:15), a gracious fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work within the believer’s heart (cf. Col. 2:7).

It is spiritually abnormal for Christians to be unthankful. Unthankfulness disobeys the many Scripture texts that enjoin the believer to a life of gratitude. Romans 8:28 sets forth the overarching principle: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” God’s providence—His sovereign blending of all of life’s contingencies for believers’ ultimate blessing—causes them to be thankful for everything in life, knowing that it fits into His eternal purpose for them (cf. Gen. 50:20; Pss. 37:28; 91:3–4; 145:9; Prov. 19:21).

When the early church met, one of its main purposes was to give thanks to God. That is implicit even in Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians concerning the proper use of tongues (languages) during their worship services.

So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. (1 Cor. 14:12–17)

Paul’s other letters remind believers to express their thankfulness and thereby be distinct from the ungrateful, unbelieving culture around them. “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:3–4; cf. 2 Cor. 4:15; 9:11).

Ephesians 5:18–20 clearly affirms that Christians ought to be known by their constant thankfulness:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. (cf. Col. 2:6–7; 3:15–17; 4:2.)

Even in times of great anxiety, fear, worry, and stress, a prayerful attitude of thanksgiving should characterize believers (Phil. 4:6–7).

Paul’s statement, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, attaches to all three commands in this passage. It is God’s will that all those who are in Christ Jesus should express constant joy, constant prayer, and constant thanksgiving. And God not only mandates those expressions of righteousness, but He makes it possible for believers to articulate them (cf. Phil. 2:13)—and is pleased when they do.[1]


The Spirit of Joy

1 Thessalonians 5:16–22

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16–18)

Having arrived in the final section of Paul’s message to the Thessalonians before his benediction, we are prompted to ask a question: What is the purpose of the church? This question is closely linked to Paul’s final exhortations, since from the beginning of this letter he has identified the Thessalonian congregation as a good church. Paul has not written to correct a major doctrinal error, as in Galatians, or to rebuke major moral lapses, as he will later do in 1 Corinthians. Instead, Paul has written to express his joy over the Thessalonians’ faith, love, and hope, to address questions about Christ’s second coming, and to deal with minor concerns. As he concludes his letter, he gives his general pastoral encouragement for them to press on and fulfill their calling together.

So what is the primary calling of the church? Some people say that the main purpose of the church is evangelism. After all, Jesus told the apostles to “go … and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Those who think this way look on the church as an army conquering the world through its witness. Others answer that the church’s purpose is to do ministry in the world. Jesus rejoiced in Matthew 25, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink” (25:35). On this view, the church is mainly a social-service agency. Still others think of the church as a safe place where we can escape the damage occurring in our world. Those who think this way look on the church as a fortress and a refuge.

According to Paul, none of these is the primary calling of the church. Certainly, the church must evangelize, minister, and protect, but these are not God’s main purposes for the church. According to Paul, the purpose of the church is that we, God’s people, should grow spiritually so that we increasingly attain to Christlike holiness and maturity. This principle is perhaps most clearly expressed in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, a letter that is widely regarded as the most full and developed expression of Paul’s pastoral philosophy. There, he writes that we are to attain “to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.… Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph. 4:13–15).

This definition challenges the kind of Christianity that is common today. For many church members, Christian faith resides in the background of their lives. They think little about the Bible or God or their own spiritual condition, and they draw from very little of the power for godliness that is available to them in Christ. For many, Christianity is mainly the comfort that we can dial 911 to heaven and make an emergency call when needed. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks, “Is Christian truth something you like to have, and to know that it is there if you are taken desperately ill, or some loved one is taken ill, or if you are suddenly confronted by the loss of your income, or when some disaster takes place, or when you are on your death bed?”

If this describes your Christianity, then you should realize that it is very far from the conception not only of Paul but also of Jesus Christ. “And this is eternal life,” Jesus prayed, “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). The essence of salvation is knowing God in a personal relationship that grows continually in this life until, in eternity to come, we are “filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).

A Trinitarian Relationship with God

As Paul concludes his first letter to the Thessalonians, he is concerned to direct the new believers to a spiritual maturity in which their relationship to God has grown and been strengthened. Here, as elsewhere, Paul conceives of our relationship to God in terms of the doctrine of the Trinity. There is only one God, but God is known in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Paul’s concluding exhortations clearly follow this biblical pattern: through our relationship with God the Son, believers are brought into communion with God the Father, through the power provided by God the Spirit (Eph. 2:18).

In 1 Thessalonians 5:14–15, the apostle calls believers to enter sacrificially into the ministry of the Son. To heed Paul’s call to “admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who began the Last Supper by donning a servant’s towel and washing his disciples’ feet. “I have given you an example,” he said, “that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:15). His example called them, as it calls us, to humble, personal, and sacrificial care for the well-being of others.

Paul’s exhortations in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–22 open up further dimensions of the Trinity by teaching us how to relate to the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that while the Son accomplishes our salvation, the Father plays the role of ordaining his saving will for us. Paul describes in verses 16–18 “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” in terms of living consciously in the Father’s love. Moreover, the Holy Spirit has the role of applying God’s saving work in our lives. Therefore, in verses 19–22, Paul urges us to walk intentionally in step with the Holy Spirit.

Living in the Father’s Love

Since our study of 1 Thessalonians 5:14–15 considered Paul’s charge to imitate the servant ministry of God’s Son, we progress in verse 16 to living consciously in the presence of the Father’s love. Paul expresses this principle in terms of a threefold exhortation: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). All three of these responses—joy, prayer, and thanksgiving—are by-products of a life consciously opened to the Father’s love.

When speaking of Christian joy, we must first differentiate between true spiritual joy and the giddy emotionalism of the world. Unbelievers are happy when their circumstances are good. Christian joy, in contrast, does not depend on how well things are going, but is able to flourish even amid great afflictions. This was the setting in Thessalonica: it was to a persecuted church with many troubles that Paul gave his exhortation, “Rejoice always.”

The commands of 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 are very terse, lacking any development. This probably reflects the fact that Paul had recently spent time with the Thessalonians, so they could remember his more detailed teaching on subjects such as joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. Fortunately for us, Paul expands on these themes in his other letters, as do the other apostles in their writings, so we may consider his brief teaching in our passage in light of that broader instruction.

Speaking of joy, if pleasant circumstances are not the cause of a Christian’s happiness, then what are the sources of our rejoicing? First, Christians rejoice in the Father’s gift of his Son to be our Savior. The Christian says, “No matter what the world may do to me, God has given his Son Jesus for my salvation!” Paul reasoned this way in Romans 8:32, saying that since God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” John Lillie notes some of our reasons for rejoicing in Christ:

What is there that our ruined nature needs, which it cannot find in Christ?—atoning blood, to cleanse from all sin—a righteousness, in which not even the eye of the Divine holiness can discern spot or blemish—subduing, renewing power, to form us into the Divine image—a Teacher, to instruct our ignorance—a Friend, to cheer us—a kindred High Priest, to intercede for us in the heavenly places, and reconcile us to God—a wise, faithful, gentle, almighty Shepherd, to lead us, and feed us, and guard us through the wilderness into the bright, spacious, ever fresh and unfading pastures of eternity.

According to Peter, rejoicing in Jesus is one of the chief marks of a true Christian. He writes: “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8). Jesus spoke in the same emotional key when he said that “father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day” (John 8:56). The angels who heralded Jesus’ birth gave us an example of rejoicing by announcing “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Christians may and should rejoice in all settings for God’s gift of his Son.

A second source of Christian joy is the relationship with the Father that Jesus has secured by his saving work—what Paul described in Romans 5:1 as “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The knowledge of God’s sovereign care compensates for all manner of earthly troubles, so that Christians can rejoice even in the most barren times. Habakkuk memorably expressed this reality:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength;

he makes my feet like the deer’s;

he makes me tread on my high places. (Hab. 3:17–19)

This example points out a third source of the believer’s joy, namely, the Bible’s testimony to God’s saving promises. God’s Word assures us that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Psalm 55:22 encourages us, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” These and myriad other promises enable the Christian to “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” and even to “rejoice in our sufferings” (Rom. 5:2–3).

In addition to joy, Christians are to live in an attitude of continual prayer. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul says (1 Thess. 5:17). He is not suggesting that Christians drop all our other activities so as only to pray, but urges a heart that is always open to God. Paul advocates prayer not merely as an action but also as an attitude. J. B. Lightfoot wrote: “It is not in the moving of the lips, but in the elevation of the heart to God, that the essence of prayer consists. Thus amidst the commonest duties and recreations of life it is still possible to be engaged in prayer.” The prayerful attitude that Paul seeks was lived by Enoch and Noah, who according to the Bible “walked with God” (Gen. 5:24; 6:9).

It is not difficult to see the relationship between rejoicing in the Lord and prayer, since Paul frequently connected them. In Romans 12:12, he wrote: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Similarly, in Philippians, when he commanded believers to “rejoice in the Lord always,” he followed this command with an exhortation to prayer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:4, 6). Starting with the joy of knowing God, “believers are so to cultivate a spirit of constant prayerfulness that their whole lives will be permeated by the presence of God.”

The third leg of Paul’s call to live in God’s presence is to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). How are Christians to be thankful for trials and tribulations? The answer is that our faith turns us away from ourselves and onto God. Just as David faced giant Goliath without fear by his faith in God, Christians face all threats and dangers with gratitude to the God who they know is sovereignly ruling for his glory and our salvation.

The great Princeton theologian Benjamin Warfield told the story of a Christian man who traveled west during the days of the pioneers. One day he found himself in the middle of a gunfight in a wild western town. The whole town was in an uproar, but he saw one man who—despite all the commotion—remained calm, cool, and collected. The traveler was so amazed at the man’s composure that he said to himself, “Now there is a man who knows his theology.” At this he walked up to him and asked the first question in the Shorter Catechism, “What is the chief end of man?” The man answered correctly, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” “Ah!” said he; “I knew you were a Shorter Catechism boy by your looks!” “Why that is just what I was thinking of you,” was the rejoinder. Young people who are raised on the biblical truth of God’s sovereignty as summarized in the Shorter Catechism grow up to be adults who possess confidence in God’s working for his glory and our salvation.

Thinking on this truth caused the Scottish preacher George Matheson to grow in spiritual maturity. Matheson had often trusted God to help him manage the near-blindness that he had suffered since childhood, but he could not remember ever thanking God for this dreadful affliction. Then he prayed: “My God, I have never thanked you for my ‘thorn’. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my ‘thorn’.… Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbows.” Likewise, when we realize that God is sovereignly working in all our circumstances, knowing the faithfulness of his love, we will thank the Lord at all times.

Paul notes that these gracious responses to God’s loving presence are “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18). God does not necessarily will that we should have good health or earthly riches, faithful friends or successful careers. God does something better than these things for us: he gives us his Son to be our Savior, and in his Word he promises us eternal life in glory. It is his will that we should grow into the maturity of joy, prayer, and thanksgiving, because of and “in Christ Jesus.” God’s grace is revealed to us in Christ, and the Holy Spirit’s power for this spiritual transformation comes through faith in Jesus.

Knowing that these blessings are found in Christ Jesus warns us against directly seeking after joy, prayerfulness, or thanksgiving. We do not attain to joy by seeking to be happy, but by seeking Christ and by coming to God through the promises of his Word. We do not attain to prayer by means of rigorous schedules, but by realizing all that God is and has for us in Christ. We will become thankful not by means of reminders that we place on our desks but by coming to know God better and reflecting on everything that he has secured for us eternally in his Son. In short, it is through a worshiping heart that is directed to God that these graces arise in our souls. Psalm 16:8–9 declares: “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices.” It is the trusting and worshiping heart, David asserts, that knows the joy of the Lord.

Fueling the Flame of the Holy Spirit

Paul’s final exhortations concern the believer’s cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Just as Christians are to enter sacrificially into the servant ministry of the Son and live consciously in the Father’s love, we are also to fuel the flame of the Holy Spirit.

Along these lines, Paul urges his readers, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). The ministry of the Holy Spirit is sometimes compared to a fire (Matt. 3:11; Acts 2:3), so resisting the Spirit’s ministry is similar to dousing a fire with water or ashes. Presumably, this quenching takes place when believers crowd out God’s Word, prayer, and corporate worship with earthly pursuits or sinful pleasures. The result is that the effects of the Spirit’s work are diminished, like the flickering flames of a fire that has been deprived of oxygen. Leon Morris suggests problems that Paul had identified earlier in this letter: “Loafing, immorality, and other sins … will quench the Spirit in a man’s life, and result in the loss of spiritual power and joy.”

Paul’s particular concern focuses on neglecting or rejecting God’s revealed Word. “Do not despise prophecies,” he writes (1 Thess. 5:20). Paul occasionally mentions the New Testament prophets (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 3:5; 4:11). We remember that these early churches did not yet possess the written New Testament, so God provided prophets to declare God’s Word concerning salvation in Jesus Christ. These prophets might also foretell future events, but their main job was to “forth-tell” the gospel: they were preachers of the New Testament message before that message was recorded in writing. These gifted men belonged to the foundation-laying era of the apostles, and once the canon of the Bible was completed, their foretelling function ceased in the church (see also Eph. 2:20).

Today, the analogy to prophecy is the preaching of God’s Word. This means that to fuel the flame of God’s Spirit, we must devote ourselves to the ministry of the Bible, in personal reading and especially in the preaching ministry of the church. Either the Word of God will shape our thinking or the message of the world will drown out God’s voice and quench the ministry of God’s Spirit.

Whenever we emphasize the importance of following teachers of God’s Word, however, there is the serious danger of false teachers who lead many people astray. The New Testament frequently warns against wolves “in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15)—false teachers who intentionally lead followers astray, along with self-serving religious charlatans (Phil. 3:18–19). Paul’s ministry was frequently opposed by false teachers, many of whom were outwardly more impressive than he was (1 Cor. 2:1–4). It was important, therefore, for the Thessalonians to listen to true prophets and close their ears to false teachers. How could they tell the difference? Paul writes: “Test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21–22).

We are living in a time when spirituality is big business and also when spiritual discernment among Christians is low. For this reason, one of the most dangerous places for an undiscerning believer is the average Christian bookstore. Whether it is mystical paganism dressed up in Christian garb or the lies of the so-called prosperity gospel, deadly false teaching is aggressively marketed by many Christian businessmen, most of whom are themselves unaware of the danger they are posing. In this kind of environment, the apostle John urges us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

The way to test someone’s teaching is to compare it with the written Word of God. This is what the Bereans had done during Paul’s recent visit there to preach the gospel. Acts 17:11 commends the Bereans as being “more noble” than others, because “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Preachers are to base their messages on the Bible, proving their doctrine through straightforward appeals to Scripture and not with clever displays of logic or flights of emotion. Moreover, Jesus said that the personal character and conduct of teachers would reveal the soundness of their teaching: “You will recognize them by their fruits.… Every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:16–17).

With careful attention to biblical faithfulness, and by keeping watch for the personal conduct of teachers and the spiritual quality of their ministry, believers cooperate with the Holy Spirit. “Test everything,” Paul says, and “hold fast what is good.” Paul’s word for the idea of testing means to “prove” the soundness of metals. Like a goldsmith gazing intently on a bar of precious metal, believers are to examine teaching for its genuine biblical quality, taking from it “what is good” and true according to Scripture, and always being careful to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21–22). Whenever it is clear that teaching is promoting self-worship, malice, greed, sexual indecency, or falsehood, Christians are responsible to recognize violations of God’s law and to flee from worldliness and sin.

In Galatians 5:25 (niv), Paul wrote that believers are to “keep in step with the Spirit.” The Spirit is, of course, the author of the Bible, having supernaturally inspired its human writers. The way to hear the Spirit today is not by opening our hearts to mystical impressions but by directing our minds to the pages of the Bible, where the Spirit of God speaks and gives life to God’s people. We live in a day when worldly, sensual voices will soon quench the Holy Spirit’s influence if we walk in a casual, careless manner. But if we give attention to the Bible and “keep in step” with the Spirit’s application of Scripture to our lives, he will bear the good fruit by which God’s ministry is known, the fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).

Weaned from Earthly Things

Paul’s message to the Thessalonians is one that our generation of Christians greatly needs to hear. Having begun well in the faith, they are urged by Paul to grow up. He commends to us a childlike faith that receives God’s true Word in simplicity and love (Matt. 18:3), but never a childish faith that is easily tossed back and forth by every fad and deceitful teaching (Eph. 4:14).

Yet this is the predominant situation in churches today. Os Guinness laments that “we are people with a true, sometimes a deep experience of God. But we are no longer a people of truth.” Pollster George Gallup cites “the glaring lack of knowledge about the Bible, basic doctrines, and the traditions of one’s church … [and] the superficiality of faith, with many people not knowing what they believe, or why.”9 Such a church culture will never impress unbelievers with the value of the Christian message, nor will it safeguard believers from the deadly worldly influences that seek to crowd out our faith, quench the Spirit’s voice, and steal the joy that ought to be ours.

The first priority for the Thessalonians then and for us today is to return with new devotion to the sacred book. In the Bible, Christians meet with God so as to live consciously in the Father’s love and walk intentionally in step with the Holy Spirit. Donald Grey Barnhouse testifies to what countless Christians have experienced through a devotion to God by means of his Spirit-inspired Word:

It begins, as we read it, by being a book with cover and paper pages, overprinted with ink. Little by little, we forget the work of the printer and are brought into the presence of God Himself, the Author of the Book. We are brought face to face with Him and He speaks to us therein.… Our heart is then opened to the truth and becomes receptive to His grace.… From one end of the Bible to the other there are verses that now stand before me as bushes which burn, but which are not consumed, where once I put my shoes from off my feet and stood on holy ground. I can read these verses today and remember how the Lord spoke to me there in a time of need, how He drew me away from myself to follow Him, how He weaned me from earthly things to feed me with the living bread of Christ, how He cleansed me from sin, how He maintained me in Christ in a time of difficulty, and how He gave me the power to walk before Him in a way that was pleasing to Him.[2]


Responsibilities to Oneself (5:16–18)

16 Compliance with the social regulations of vv. 12–15 is impossible apart from personal communion with God. Thus Paul turns to the believer’s inner life. In the exhortation to “be joyful always” he voices a theme that is characteristic of NT writings. Though this probably goes back to the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:10–12), it recurs both in the historical (Ac 5:41; 16:25) and epistolary (e.g., Php 1:18; 4:4) writings. The uniqueness of Christian joy lies in its emergence under the most adverse circumstances. Paul states the paradox succinctly in 2 Corinthians 6:10: “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” The Thessalonian Christians had already maintained joy in suffering (1:6), as had Paul himself (3:9). The challenge is for this joyful outlook to become constant (“always”). From a human perspective, they have every reason not to be joyful—persecution from outsiders and friction among themselves. Yet in Christ they can rejoice more and more.

17 Intimately related to constant joy is incessant prayer—the only way to cultivate a joyful attitude in times of trial. Uninterrupted communication with God keeps temporal and spiritual values in balance. Adialeiptōs (GK 90, “continually”; cf. Ro 1:9; 1 Th 1:2–3; 2:13) does not mean some sort of formal, nonstop praying. Rather, it implies constantly recurring prayer growing out of a settled attitude of dependence on God. Whether words are uttered or not, lifting the heart to God while occupied with miscellaneous duties is the vital thing. Verbalized prayer will be spontaneous and will punctuate one’s daily schedule, as it does Paul’s writings (3:11–13; 2 Th 2:16–17).

18 A final member of this triplet for personal development is “give thanks in all circumstances.” No combination of happenings can be termed “bad” for a Christian because of God’s constant superintendence (Ro 8:28). Seeming aggravations are but a temporary part of a larger plan for a Christian’s spiritual well-being. With this perspective, one can always discern a cause for thanks. In fact, failure to do this is a symptom of unbelief (Ro 1:21).

“For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” justifies all three brief commands. Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks do not exhaust God’s will but are vital parts of it. “In Christ Jesus” is a significant qualification of God’s will because only here can inner motives be touched. Paul’s earlier rule, the Mosiac law, was strong on outward conformity but helpless to deal with human thoughts. It could not dictate an inner attitude even though it was a perfect expression of God’s will (cf. Best, 236). In union with Christ, together with an accompanying inward transformation (2 Co 5:17), however, compliance with God’s standards can extend to motives.

These three commands penetrate the innermost recesses of human personality—the spring from which all outward obedience flows. If the source is contaminated, fulfillment of God’s will in outward matters is impossible. Such is the note sounded by the Lord Jesus in his own teaching (Mt 5–7). True victories in life for Christians come to those who are joyful, prayerful, and thankful.[3]


Exhortation to Continue Basic Christian Piety (5:16–18)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

With the preceding community-related emphases in hand, Paul turns his attention next to how the community is to live its corporate life in the face of their present difficulties. Again, we encounter sets of “staccato imperatives,” but now with the verbs themselves second, a most unusual word order for an imperative even in Greek. In this first set the verbs are preceded by nearly synonymous adverbs, in the next set by nouns or pronouns. In both cases we are once again not quite prepared for what we get, which probably says something about the distance factor between ourselves and these early Gentile believers. Nonetheless, anyone who has spent very much time in the letters of Paul will quickly recognize how thoroughly Pauline these admonitions are.

In light of the preceding verse 14 and verses 19–22 that follow, this present set of imperatives is best understood within the context of the gathered community at worship, the context in which the letter itself would be read. That is, these are not aimed primarily toward how individual believers live out their faith in Thessalonica—although neither is that excluded—but with how these believers as a gathered community are to respond in the midst of their present difficulties. In addition, this first set focuses altogether on vocalized worship that is directed toward God, while the next set focuses on vocalized worship directed toward the building up of the believing community.

Indeed, the set of imperatives that immediately follows (vv. 19–22) comes as something of a surprise, in the sense that nothing in the letter itself or in the immediate context quite prepares us for what is there said. But one element of the surprise, its place in the immediate context, is alleviated somewhat if one recalls that for Paul the activities of rejoicing and prayer presuppose the activity of the Holy Spirit in the community. Indeed, in some ways what Paul says in 1:6 prepares us for this understanding; there he recalls their experience of conversion as accompanied by both great affliction and the joy of the Holy Spirit. The point is that Paul, in a thoroughgoing way, understood joy, prayer, and praise (thanksgiving) as both the result and the evidence of the Spirit’s presence. Thus in Galatians 5:22, the second item on Paul’s list of the “fruit” of the Spirit is joy, and in Romans 14:17 the joy of the Spirit is evidence of the presence of the kingdom of God. Similarly, 1 Corinthians 14:15; Romans 8:26–27, and Ephesians 6:18 all verify that for Paul prayer was especially an activity of the Spirit.

16  It is of some interest that the admonition “always rejoice” precedes the imperatives “continually pray” and “in all circumstances give thanks.” This most likely reflects Paul’s own piety as it has been conditioned by the Psalter. Thus, it is especially important in the context of the more saccharine Christianity of a later time to note that Paul’s emphasis here is not so much on the experience of joy, but on the active expression of it. They are to “rejoice always,” which, as Philippians 4:4 bears out, means not simply to express joy in general, but specifically to “rejoice in the Lord.” This is not a sugar-coated call for putting on a happy face in the midst of difficulties. Here is a church that is undergoing severe hardship because of its faith in Christ. God’s will for such a community, both as individuals and as they gather for worship, is that as a matter of first importance they continue to exalt Christ by rejoicing, with him as the focus.

17–18a  In this context they should also “continually pray,” constantly offering their petitions to God. Continual prayer is the ongoing reminder that God’s children are always and wholly dependent on their heavenly Father for all things. It is also in this context that they are “in all circumstances” to “give thanks”—including those of their present lot. It is especially important to note that the modifier in this case does not say “for all things,” but “in all circumstances.” It is neither reasonable nor biblical piety to imagine that God wishes his children to be thankful for all things that befall them, good or ill. Rather, a thankful heart should simply be a way of life for those whom God has redeemed through Christ.

18b  The “this” in Paul’s concluding clause, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” is almost certainly intended to modify all three of the imperatives, not simply the giving of thanks in all circumstances. Paul, after all, did not write in numbered verses! The three imperatives are intentionally similar in structure, all three beginning with a synonymous term for urging ongoing activity on their part: “always, continually, at all times.”38 Thus, all of “this” is a way of adhering to what God wills for his children.

One should note at the end that Paul himself is as good as his word. See especially 3:9–10, where he had already in this letter combined prayer, joy, and thanksgiving. He will do the same again in the much later letter to Philippi (Phil 1:3–4), where he mentions joy and thanksgiving as inherent to his praying—and the latter in the context of a trying imprisonment. Thus, what we find being urged on the Thessalonian believers is something that has already long marked the life of the apostle himself, and will continue to do so right to the end.[4]


God’s will (vv. 16–18)

Here is God’s will in three specific areas which affect our everyday lives. These instructions must direct our hearts and lives to live more fully for his glory.

‘Be Joyful Always.’ The great composer, Joseph Haydn, was once asked why his church music was so cheerful. He replied, ‘When I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen, and since God has given me a cheerful heart it will be pardoned me that I serve him with a cheerful spirit.’ A Christian’s joy is not a natural joy that ebbs and flows according to the circumstances that surround us, but a supernatural joy that comes from God and is rooted in our relationship with him. It is a joy that fills our hearts even in the midst of persecution. Joy was one of the marks of primitive Christianity, which amazed the heathen world and attracted men to Christ. Paul is concerned that the joy of the Thessalonians might be strangled by suffering, so he urges them to rejoice not in what was happening to them, but in their Saviour and all that he has done for them.

‘Pray Continually.’ Martin Luther, when pressed by huge volumes of work, did not use it as an excuse to stop praying, but said, ‘I have so much to do that I cannot get on without three hours a day of praying.’ The way to rejoice always is to pray continually and to have a close walk with the giver of joy. We must cultivate a spirit of constant devotion so that our lives are filled with the presence of God. Prayer is a lifting up of our hearts to God in humble submission and dependence, trusting him as our loving Father and acknowledging him as our almighty Lord. Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians to take hold of God in every situation and at all times, to draw near to him especially in times of conflict, and to develop an intimate relationship with him.

‘Give Thanks In All Circumstances.’ George Matheson, the Scottish minister and hymnwriter, who was practically blind at eighteen, once prayed, ‘My God, I have never thanked you for my “thorn”. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my “thorn”. I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross as itself a present glory. Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my “thorn”. Show me that I have climbed to you by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.’ Thanksgiving to God is to be given in adversity and prosperity, for no matter what happens all things work together for the believer’s good. To be thankful is a fruit of grace and is in contrast to the constant grumblings and ingratitude of a godless world. For Christians there is no situation in which we cannot give thanks. Even in affliction we are more than conquerors as the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us. In our blessings we would do well to remember the Chinese proverb, ‘When you drink from the stream, remember the spring.’ A life of prayer and devotion leads to a thankful heart.[5]


5:16–18 / Some things vary in the Christian experience; they come and go. But some things have an “always” attached to them. These verses name three, for the explanatory clause at the end of these verses almost certainly refers to them all (despite the singular “this” of v. 18 which might appear to refer only to the last of the three). Thus it was God’s will for them first, that they should learn to face all that comes with irrepressible joy (niv be joyful always). Paul’s intent is explained more fully in Philippians 4:4, where he has “rejoice in the Lord always.” We might have little in the world to be glad about (cf. 1:6), but in the Lord we have much, and the world cannot take that joy from us (cf. John 16:22). The phrase “in the Lord” points to the objective grounds for our rejoicing in what God has done for us in Christ: “God so loved … that he gave …” (John 3:16). But this is linked with a subjective capacity to rejoice, which is no less God-given: once again a part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; cf. Acts 13:52; Rom. 14:17). In short, joy lies at the heart of the gospel—a truth echoed in the common root, in Greek, of two words, grace and joy (charis, chara). It is God’s joy to be gracious to us, while our joy has its grounds in his grace.

Second, they should face all that comes with prayer—pray continually, that is, live always in the spirit of prayer. Prayer acknowledges our utter dependence upon God and the utter dependability of God in all circumstances. Prayer as much as joy is the product of God’s grace. For the adverb, “continually,” adialeiptōs, cf. 1:2 and 2:13, and for the injunction to pray continually, compare Jesus’ intention in telling the parable of the Persistent Widow: “that they (the disciples) should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). See also Romans 12:12, where the thought is again of persistence in prayer. Paul’s own letters are a case in point. They are full of prayers for his readers, and their picture of Paul as a man of prayer is corroborated by Luke’s account of him in Acts (cf. Acts 9:11; 13:2f.; 14:23; 16:25; 20:36; 21:5; 22:17–21; 27:35; 28:8).

Third, God’s will for them was that they should give thanks in all circumstances. This is not a stoical indifference to all that comes. Paul regards the Christian as vulnerable. He or she can be hurt, disappointed, confused, or defeated, but never driven to total despair, never forsaken, never destroyed (2 Cor. 4:8–11), for God is always there. As in verse 17, so here, there is the implied qualification: “to the Lord.” Compare Paul’s thanksgiving for joy “in the presence of our God” in 3:9. His love and his power give the strength to meet every situation in life. The thanks are not for the circumstances but for the fact that in all circumstances the Lord is there. The same association of thanksgiving with prayer in these verses occurred earlier in 1:2 and reappears in Philippians 4:6. According to Romans 1:21, the failure to give thanks is a mark of human sinfulness, and elsewhere Paul urges those whose sins have been forgiven to “overflow with thankfulness” (Col. 2:7; cf. also Eph. 5:4, 20; Col. 3:15, 17; 4:2). To be able to give thanks in all circumstances presupposes a recognition of God’s sovereignty, that in all these circumstances (whatever the appearance might be) he is working “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Finally, we note that God’s will is said to be in Christ Jesus. In these particular matters, as in all others (for God’s will includes far more than is mentioned here; note that “will” in the Greek lacks the definite article—“a will of God for you is …”), his will is made known to us in Christ, whether in his practice or in his precepts, whether in the days of his flesh or through his Spirit. Moreover, only as we are “in Christ” are we empowered through that same Spirit to do what God’s will demands (for Christ, see note on 1:1, and for his oneness with the Father, see disc. on 3:11 and 2 Thess. 2:16).[6]


16–18. While in verses 12–15 Paul has shown what should be the attitude of the Thessalonians toward their leaders, to fellow-members characterized by particular shortcomings, to those who have injured them, and finally to one another and to all, in verses 16–18 he sets forth what should be their inner attitude and how this inner attitude should express itself with reference to God. Hence, we now have the following three beautiful, closely related, and tersely expressed admonitions:

Always be joyful.

Ceaselessly pray.

In all circumstances give thanks.

The Thessalonians were no strangers (see on 1:6) to the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8), the “great joy” which resulted from the incarnation of Christ and from the redemption wrought through his cross. Yet with persecution from without and disturbances within, there was a danger (humanly speaking, of course!) that this joy would disappear. Hence, Paul, who himself again and again rejoiced in the midst of persecution and hardship (3:7–9; cf. Phil. 3:1; 4:4, 10), urges his readers to always be joyful.

Of course, in seasons of distress and grief he alone is able to find relief and even be joyful (in view of Rom. 8:28, 35–39) who at the Father’s throne makes all his wants and wishes known. Hence, the directive “Always be joyful” is immediately followed by “Ceaselessly pray.” The most comprehensive word for prayer (προσευχή, προσεύχομαι is used here. For synonyms see the striking passage Phil. 4:6. What Paul means is: there must be no decline in the regularity of the habit of “taking hold on God” in the midst of all circumstances of life. Cf. Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2. The apostle could afford to say this, for he himself gave the example (3:10; 2 Thess. 1:11; Eph. 1:16; 3:14).

When a person prays without giving thanks, he has clipped the wings of prayer, so that it cannot rise. Hence, the trio of admonitions concludes with, “In all circumstances give thanks.” This phrase in everything (ἐν παντί probably with χρήματι understood) includes affliction, for even in the midst of all these things (“tribulation, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword”) believers are not merely conquerors but “more than conquerors” (super-invincibles), inasmuch as all these things actually help them to reach their predestined goal! See Rom. 8:35–37.

For this is the will of God (not merely the word of Paul, Silas, and Timothy) is in Christ Jesus for you. The will of God, as clearly set forth by means of the redemptive work and revelation of Jesus Christ, is this very thing, namely, that believers should always be joyful, should ceaselessly pray, and should in all circumstances give thanks.[7]


Inner attitudes (5:16–18)

5:16. Paul admonished, Be joyful always. This is short and to the point. The key, however, is the word always. Paul meant this literally. Christian joy is not bound by circumstances or hindered by difficulties. In fact, joy in the New Testament is often coupled with sorrow or suffering.

The Thessalonian believers had already experienced this strange duet, like an inspiring song played in minor key (1 Thess. 1:6). When the sorrow or suffering results from being identified with Christ, the Holy Spirit creates a supernatural joy—a wellness of soul that cannot be dampened by adverse situations. The explanation may be found in 2 Corinthians 4:16–18: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

But we should remember that we have a part in this joy. We are the ones commanded to be joyful. It is a choice, a deliberate response that focuses on the grace and goodness of God. As the writer to the Hebrews directed us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:2–3).

5:17. The next staccato note follows: pray continually. This means never stop praying. Paul was a busy missionary, and he wrote about the Christian’s duty to fulfill daily responsibilities, so this is not a command about speaking non-stop prayers. It refers, however, to the attitude of prayer, or reverence before God. The Christian’s life of righteousness and his approach to relationships and responsibilities should be such that he maintains a constant attitude of being in God’s presence. Such a person will pray often and about many things, including requests, praise, and thanksgiving. This command also means that we should never quit praying.

5:18. The next command requires trust in the sovereignty of Christ: give thanks in all circumstances. It recognizes God’s eminence in all events.

A thankful spirit does not come naturally to most of us. Certainly it pushes us beyond our natural capacities when difficult or painful situations invade our life. This command to be thankful, no matter what happens, is possible only by God’s grace. When we can agree with God that he works all things out for good to those who love him and are committed to obedience (Rom. 8:28), then we can thank him.

For those who wonder about God’s will, here it is emphatically stated: this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. There is no need for searching, seminars, books, or “fleeces.” God’s will is that we are to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful because we are his children.[8]


Their Attitudes toward Those Who Persecute (5:16–18)

5:16–18. These verses probably have more relevance to the Thessalonians’ historical situation than often thought. They were facing the prospect of insufferable persecution, yet Paul commanded (note the imperative mood of these verbs) them to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. “Uttered without any connecting particles, these crisp injunctions ring out with arresting terseness, delineating the attitude that must characterize their inner life” (Heibert, Thessalonian Epistles, 239). To rejoice always (pantote) has the idea of rejoicing in all circumstances—even those not naturally conducive to joyfulness. To pray without ceasing (adialeiptos) has the idea of prayer—not as an uninterrupted vigil but “constantly recurring” as well as with faithful consistency. “In the Christian life the act of prayer is intermittent but the spirit of prayer should be incessant” (Heibert, Thessalonian Epistles, 241). To give thanks, in everything is not to say “give thanks for everything” but to look past circumstances and know that “all things work together for good” (Rm 8:28). Jesus gave similar instruction for those facing similar hardships (rejoice and give thanks find a parallel in rejoicing and being glad in Mt 5:12; “pray for those who persecute you” is what the Lord taught in Mt 5:44).[9]


16–18 A series of brief, staccato commands indicates the basis for Christian living. They are quite general and would apply to any group of believers. Christians have grounds for joy in both their experience of salvation and their hope of what God will do in the future, but they need to express that joy; there is a right and proper place for the expression of joyful emotion. Christians must also pray—here probably in the sense of making requests to God, since the next command is about the need to be thankful. Common to the three commands is the stress on fulfilling them all the time and in all circumstances; this does not mean, for example, that one prays uninterruptedly but that one prays regularly and frequently. Such a life is made possible, Paul adds, because God intends it to be so; he wants his people to be joyful, prayerful and thankful, and he makes it possible for them to be so.[10]


personal living (5:16–18)

These exhortations—dealing with attitudes—are addressed to believers as individuals concerning their personal lives before God.

5:16. God wants His people to be joyful and He gives them every reason to be. But Paul knew human nature well enough to sense the need for a reminder to rejoice at all times (cf. Phil. 3:1; 4:4). This is a command. A Christian’s joy does not spring from his circumstances, but from the blessings that are his because he is in Christ. “The Christian who remains in sadness and depression really breaks a commandment: in some direction or other he mistrusts God—His power, providence, forgiveness” (A.J. Mason, “The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians,” in Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 8, p. 145). These two words (pantote chairete) constitute the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament.

5:17. Continual prayer is not prayer that prevails without any interruption, but prayer that continues whenever possible. The adverb for continually (adialeiptōs, also in 1:3) was used in Greek of a hacking cough. Paul was speaking of maintaining continuous fellowship with God as much as possible in the midst of daily living in which concentration is frequently broken.

5:18. The two previous commands deal with one’s time (“always” and “continually”); this one deals with his circumstances. Christians are to give thanks to God in every circumstance of life. The fact that God works everything together for good for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28) is the basis for this entreaty.

These three exhortations in verses 16–18 are not just good advice; they are God’s will for every Christian. They are not the totality of God’s will, but they are a clear and important segment of it. God’s will means joy, prayer, and thanksgiving for those who are in Christ Jesus.[11]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2002). 1 & 2 Thessalonians (pp. 183–190). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2015). 1 & 2 Thessalonians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 247–257). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Thomas, R. L. (2006). 1 Thessalonians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 431–432). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2009). The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians (pp. 213–215). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[5] Shenton, T. (2006). Opening up 1 Thessalonians (pp. 108–110). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[6] Williams, D. J. (2011). 1 and 2 Thessalonians (pp. 99–100). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of I-II Thessalonians (Vol. 3, pp. 138–139). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[8] Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, pp. 74–75). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[9] Zuber, K. D. (2014). 1 Thessalonians. In The moody bible commentary (p. 1889). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[10] Marshall, I. H. (1994). 1 Thessalonians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1284). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

[11] Constable, T. L. (1985). 1 Thessalonians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 708–709). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

October 31, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of forces from northern Syria in
October united the Democratic candidates hoping to take on the Republican
president in the November 2020 election, who roundly denounced the move as
damaging to U.S. credibility.

President Trump said on Thursday the United States and China would soon
announce a new site where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign a
“Phase One” trade deal after Chile canceled a planned summit set for
mid-November.

U.S. lawmakers planned to cast the first vote on Thursday in the
impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump as the
Democratic-controlled House of Representatives takes up a measure that sets
up the next steps in the fast-moving effort.

North Korea fired two projectiles, which Japanese authorities said appeared
to be ballistic missiles, into the sea between the Korean peninsula and
Japan on Thursday, according to the Japanese coast guard and South Korea’s
military.

Spain will hold its fourth election in four years on Nov. 10 to try and
break a political stalemate that has left the country without a proper
government or budget for many months.

Lebanese troops and riot police deployed on Thursday to reopen a major
highway north of Beirut and a bridge in the capital that anti-government
protesters had blocked.

U.S. forces in armored vehicles were seen on Thursday near the Syria-Turkey
border in a part of northeastern Syria where they had not been observed
since the United States announced a decision to withdraw from the area, a
witness said.

AP Top Stories

Notorious cold spot Peter Sinks, Utah, dipped to an incredible minus 45
degrees early Wednesday. This appeared to be the coldest October
temperature on record anywhere in the Lower 48 states, according to
Utah-based meteorologist Timothy Wright.

The wreck of a British submarine, which vanished at the height of World War
Two, has been discovered lying at the bottom of the sea off Malta,
university marine archaeologists said.

Boeing is facing a fresh and growing crisis after the Australian airline
Qantas found cracks in a 737 Next Generation plane, adding to a growing
number of airlines reporting such issues and grounding some of the planes
as a result.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are deliberating whether to push the
deadline to fund the government into early February to avoid having a
budget fight amid an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that’s
set to stretch at least into December.

The United States and six Gulf allies announced sanctions Wednesday on 25
entities associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and
Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in a move to tighten controls on both group’s
finances.

From budgeting for rural weddings to dressing appropriately and avoiding
online porn, China’s Communist Party has issued new guidelines to improve
the “moral quality” of its citizens. Officials have released several sets
of guidelines this week alongside a secretive conclave of high-ranking
officials in Beijing which discusses the country’s future direction.

With about eight hours to spare before a man convicted of killing a
convenience store clerk was to be put to death Wednesday, Georgia’s highest
court stepped in and temporarily halted the execution. Ray Jefferson
Cromartie, 52, was to receive a lethal injection at the state prison in
Jackson. But the Georgia Supreme Court issued a stay of execution, saying
the execution order “may be void.” In a legal filing Wednesday, lawyers for
the state conceded the order is void.

The U.S. Treasury invited Ethiopia and Egypt for talks as part of
international efforts to quell a dispute over a giant dam that’s being
built on the Nile River, according to Ethiopian officials.

The third strong earthquake this month killed five people Thursday, injured
several others and destroyed buildings that were already damaged by the
earlier shaking in a devastated region in the southern Philippines,
officials said.

President Donald Trump presented the nation’s highest military honor on
Wednesday to a Green Beret who helped save four critically wounded comrades
and prevented the lead element of a special operations force from being
overrun in Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor was presented to Master Sgt.
Matthew O. Williams of Texas, who still serves in the Army.

While the American fleet throughout its history has shifted back and forth
between naval concepts favoring fewer large ships or more smaller ones, the
fleet architecture currently under development for the first time includes
large numbers of robotic vessels.

BBC

Four men have been arrested after Australian police found 882lbs of crystal
methamphetamine hidden inside imported hot sauce bottles.

Chile has pulled out of hosting two major international summits, including
a UN climate change conference, as anti-government protests continue.

Denmark’s approval for a controversial pipeline to pump more Russian gas
into Europe will strengthen Russia’s influence in the region, Ukraine
warns.

WND

A study conducted at Binghamton University finds that an early retirement
can accelerate the usual rate of cognitive decline among the elderly.

When Jesus said there’s “no greater love” than to lay down one’s life for a
friend, he must have had in mind helping a friend procure an abortion,
according to a co-sponsor of an event Tuesday night at the University of
Oklahoma. “Fighting for abortion access is an act of love,” the group says
on its website.

Trump administration officials are touting the success of the “Remain in
Mexico” policy, estimating tens of thousands of illegal immigrants with
bogus asylum claims have given up and returned home.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Oct. 31, 2019

The Foundation

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” —James Madison (1788)

‘Whistleblower’ Unmasked?

More evidence the “whistleblower” complaint was a political hit job to take down Trump.


Why the Economic Slowdown?

Keeping perspective on the third quarter’s less-than-stellar GDP numbers.


Decentralizing the Federal Workforce

“A big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America.”


NOT the Column I Wanted to Write … A Young Patriot Departed

Philip’s passing leaves a large void in the lives of those who knew and loved him, and all those whom he served.


Paralyzed Cop Able to Stand for National Anthem

“I would like to go and get my body back, but I can’t, so I make the best of what I’ve got.”


Video: Can Kanye Make Christ Cool for Kids?

The formerly profane rapper has dropped his new album, “Jesus Is King.”


Video: The Latest War on Halloween

Matt Walsh slams politically correct folks who claim Halloween is problematic for polite society.



Today’s Opinion

Cal Thomas
Trick or Trick
Hans von Spakovsky
In Trump Impeachment Probe, Democrats Refuse to Follow Nixon and Clinton Precedents
Veronique de Rugy
End the Failed Renewable Fuel Standard Experiment
Victor Davis Hanson
Is California Becoming Premodern?
Tony Perkins
Austin-tacious Sex Ed Riles Parents, City
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday Top News Executive Summary

Impeachment collusion, Bolton summoned, GDP, Baghdadi raid video, and more.


Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Mark Meadows, Richard Stengel, Elizabeth Warren, and more.



Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Headlines – 10/31/2019

U.S. Mid-East envoy Greenblatt says Washington to unveil peace plan ‘at the right time’

Even State Department’s Top Mideast Official In Dark About Kushner’s Peace Plan

Third election looking likely with coalition talks at a deadlock

Blue and White, Likud trade blame for political impasse, warn 3rd elections near

Israel frets as imminent EU ruling expected to force settlement labeling

With $2.24 Billion in Funding in a Single Quarter, Israeli Tech Companies Set a Six-Year Record

Israel hails US, Gulf states for sanctioning Iran Guards, Hezbollah

Iran says new drone has become operational

U.S. to renew waivers allowing non-proliferation work with Iran to make it harder for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon

Anti-government Protests in Iraq and Lebanon Threaten Iran’s Regional Influence

Iran’s Khamenei blames U.S. and Israel for protest in Iraq and Lebanon

Israel to world powers: No help to Lebanon unless missiles addressed

Lebanon’s protesters turn on their leaders, breaking taboos

Day After Resigning, Hariri Says Ready to Be Lebanese PM Again, Official Says

Lebanon crisis: President asks Hariri to stay on as caretaker PM

Iraq on edge after al-Sadr calls for removal of prime minister

100 dead, 5,500 wounded in week of Iraq violence: Rights commission

Iraqi soldier killed as rockets fall near US embassy in Baghdad

Trump’s edited picture of dog from al-Baghdadi takedown ignites mainstream media outrage

US releases Baghdadi raid video, warns of likely retribution attack

ISIS Remains Potent, Deadly Despite Baghdadi’s Death, Top Spy Says

Trump wants US companies to tap Syria’s oil, despite experts warning that could be a war crime

Damascus calls on Kurdish forces to join army, police

Heavy clashes between Syrian army, Turkish forces in northeast Syria: Media

Erdogan blasts ‘worthless’ Armenian genocide recognition by US House

Israeli politicians call for recognition of Armenian genocide after US vote

Is a new Arab Spring unfolding in the Middle East?

US ramped up strikes in Afghanistan following collapse of Taliban peace talks

Oliver Stone applauds Putin for role in Syria, calls Russian leader a ‘stabilizing force’ in Middle East

New Russian submarine test fires intercontinental missile for first time

Russia building new empire in Africa: ‘The United States should be hugely concerned’

Facebook has detected a covert Russian influence campaign in Africa, and it has worrying implications for the 2020 US election

Facebook removes Africa accounts linked to Russian troll factory

North Korea fires unidentified projectile: South Korean military

Pompeo slams ‘communist’ China in fiery speech, says US must ‘confront challenges’ from Beijing ‘head-on’

Specter of Nixon impeachment looming over Republican Party

Schumer worried Trump will force shutdown to impede impeachment

Dems push impeachment rules over repeated GOP objections, as exasperation boils over

Trump’s top Russia-Europe adviser quits a day ahead of impeachment testimony

Evangelical leaders gather to pray for Trump at White House, blasting impeachment effort

Impeachment on collision course with possible shutdown

Nancy Pelosi targeted in ethics complaint filed by 40 conservative groups

Twitter to ban political ads in apparent swipe at Facebook

Twitter to Ban All Political Ads After Refusal to Remove Misleading Trump Video Sparked Fury

‘Carmageddon’: LA airport apologizes after Uber policy causes gridlock

6.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Kisante, Philippines

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kota Ternate, Indonesia

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kabare, Democratic Republic of the Congo

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,500ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Nevados De Chillan volcano in Chile erupts to 14,000ft

Copahue volcano in Chile erupts to 12,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 11,000ft

Cyclone Kyarr: Strongest tropical cyclone in 12 years barrels across Arabian Sea

Cyclone ‘Maha’ spins up over Lakshadweep; to become very severe cyclone

Tropical Storm Matmo makes landfall, brings flooding downpours to Vietnam

Hurricane season still spinning out storms as Rebekah forms in the far Atlantic

Chile scraps APEC, climate summits amid mass protests

‘Start Listening’: Greta Thunberg Rejects Major Environmental Award

Varney blames California’s ‘far-left climate change politics’ as wildfires rage

Fires spare Reagan library but menace homes near Los Angeles

Reagan Foundation executive director says area outside library is ‘like a war zone’

Sydney shrouded in bushfire smoke as Melbourne swelters as parts of Victoria set to face hottest October day on record

Hundreds of koalas feared burned alive in out-of-control bushfire near Port Macquarie

Keystone pipeline leaks oil in northeastern North Dakota

Three aid workers killed in S.Sudan, suspending Ebola screening: UN

Connecticut Supreme Court rules against husband in divorce case, says frozen embryos are marital property and can be destroyed

Trump judicial nominee cries at hearing during questioning on attitude toward LGBTQ people

Police officer wins $19 million in lawsuit after being told to ‘tone down’ his ‘gayness’

New Research Reveals Facial Recognition Software Misclassifies Transgender, Non-Binary People

Pathologist says Epstein’s injuries point to murder, not suicide

‘I could see the demons’: An exorcism in Arkansas


Apostasy Watch

Mike Oppenheimer – Having Ears to Hear

Daniel Mann – The “Contradictions” of Scripture: What Do We Do About Them?

“Christian” Fortune Tellers Now Offer Destiny Card Readings

Former Master’s University Professor Explains Why He No Longer Affirms the Deity of Jesus

Anti-abortion street preacher sues city of Portland, alleging his exclusion from Waterfront Park was unconstitutional

Massachusetts Bill Would Legalize Abortions Up to Birth, Allow Infanticide


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

An article and/or blog post link doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the linked article/posting. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

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