Daily Archives: October 11, 2019

October 11 The Keys to Success

Scripture Reading: Galatians 6:6–10

Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:24

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

They say that in any organization 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work, so this devotion is dedicated to those faithful saints who carry the overwhelming load of responsibility in their congregations.

Though your faithful service is indispensable to the church, there is danger that you will take on so much responsibility that you begin to burn out or, worse, become prideful about your service.

Anthony Hanson has this reminder for you: “The service the Christian does is not his, but Christ’s.… This knowledge, far from inhibiting action, actually releases the Christian from that appalling feeling of responsibility that has driven so many … to despair.… Work done conscientiously by the Christian is his share in Christ’s service; but it is Christ’s service, and therefore the Christian need neither be proud because it has succeeded or overwhelmed because it has failed.”

You may feel like the work won’t get done if you don’t do it—but remember it is God who accomplishes the work through you. First Thessalonians 5:24 promises that it is God who will ultimately do the work. Service is not something we do for God, but something God does through us.

Just as God empowers you to fulfill your duties, He can equip others. Trust Him. Rest in Him, and He will accomplish His will.

Father, I rest in You. I know You will accomplish Your will in and through me.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 298). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 11 Thy Kingdom Come

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:5–15

Key Verse: Matthew 26:39

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them.” Lewis was clearly writing from personal experience because he said later, “If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?”

Have you ever looked back at past circumstances and been grateful God did not give you what you wanted? It is a common experience. As human beings, we cannot see life from God’s infinite and all-wise perspective.

That is why Jesus taught us how to pray with these words: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9–10 nasb). He told us to begin with the humble acknowledgment that we do not know best, but God does.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before His arrest and crucifixion, prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39 nasb). Setting all theological debates aside, it is important to recognize Jesus’ submission to the Father.

If you have not ever thanked God for being a wise Father to you, begin today.

Dear God, thank You for the times You have denied my requests. You know best. Thank You for being a wise Father.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 298). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 11 A Way in the Wilderness

Scripture reading: Isaiah 43:18–19

Key verse: Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

It is amazing how God’s still small voice can echo so loudly as soon as we step outside His plans for us. The restlessness we sometimes feel but can’t figure out may be a sure sign God is working in our lives. “Behold, I will do a new thing,” God promises in Isaiah. He doesn’t say that He could or might do something. He says He will do it. So what hinders Him? Almost exclusively, we do.

God often sends frustration, a slight pressure, a restlessness to keep us from settling outside His will. We may think we know best about the most mundane of crossroads, but God has a unique way of showing us when we’re wrong.

If you feel certain that you are right about a circumstance, honestly assess whether you have conferred with God enough to have reached your conclusion. Have you asked His opinion? Have you searched His Word? Have you asked His guidance?

If you are within God’s will, His restlessness may fill you when you are about to step outside His will. If you already have stumbled, you will never have true peace until you have asked His forgiveness and guidance down even your most familiar paths. It boils down to a matter of trust. Do you trust an all-powerful God who loves you so much that He pledges to make roadways in the wilderness and rivers in the desert?

Father, I trust You to make a way in the wilderness of this world. Don’t let me settle for anything less than Your perfect will.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 298). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

New York Fed Adds $82.7 Billion To Financial System in Latest Repo Transaction | WSJ.com: Markets

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York added $82.7 billion to the financial system Friday, using the market for repurchase agreements, or repo, to relieve funding pressure in money markets.

Source: New York Fed Adds $82.7 Billion To Financial System in Latest Repo Transaction

QE4 “Not A QE” Begins: Fed Starts Buying $60BN In Bills Per Month Beginning Next Week | ZeroHedge News

Just one day after we laid out what Goldman’s revised forecast for the Fed’s “NOT A QE” will look like, which for those who missed it predicted that the Fed would announce “monthly purchases of about $60BN for four months, split across Treasury bills and short maturity coupon Treasuries, in order to replenish the roughly $200bn reserve shortfall and support the pace of growth in non-reserve liabilities”, the Fed has done just that and moments ago – well ahead of consensus expectations which saw the Fed making this announcement some time in November – the US central bank announced it would start purchasing $60BN in Bills per month starting October 15. This will be in addition to rolling over “all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities and the continued reinvestment all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities received during each calendar month.”

In short, the proposed schedule is virtually identical to the one Goldman “proposed” yesterday, one which sees the Fed purchase a grand total of $100BN or so in TSYs the near term, and one which is meant to “engineer a one-off level shift of roughly $200bn over the course of four months.

But wait there’s more, because just as today’s surprising spike in repo use suggested, mere “NOT A QE” may not cut it, and just in case, in order to provide an “ample supply of reserves”, the Fed will continue with $75BN in overnight repos and $35 billion in term repos twice per week, “at least through January of next year.”

Where the Fed’s announcement differs from Goldman’s proposed POMO schedule, is that this appears to be a far more aggressive form of “NOT A QE” because as the Fed notes it will continue well into the second quarter of 2020, meaning it will last beyond the 4 months proposed by Goldman, to wit: “in light of recent and expected increases in the Federal Reserve’s non-reserve liabilities, the Federal Reserve will purchase Treasury bills at least into the second quarter of next year in order to maintain over time ample reserve balances at or above the level that prevailed in early September 2019.”

The Fed’s proposal indicates that between the continuation of repo operations, and the net $60BN balance sheet expansion, the Fed’s balance sheet will reach roughly $4.2-$4.3 trillion some time in Q2 2020.

Here is the full statement from the Fed explaining all of the above:

In light of recent and expected increases in the Federal Reserve’s non-reserve liabilities, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) directed the Desk, effective October 15, 2019, to purchase Treasury bills at least into the second quarter of next year to maintain over time ample reserve balances at or above the level that prevailed in early September 2019. The Committee also directed the Desk to conduct term and overnight repurchase agreement operations (repos) at least through January of next year to ensure that the supply of reserves remains ample even during periods of sharp increases in non-reserve liabilities, and to mitigate the risk of money market pressures that could adversely affect policy implementation.

In accordance with this directive, the Desk plans to purchase Treasury bills at an initial pace of approximately $60 billion per month, starting with the period from mid-October to mid-November.  These reserve management purchases of Treasury bills will be in addition to the Desk’s ongoing purchases of Treasury securities related to the reinvestment of principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities. Detailed information on the schedule for reserve management purchases of Treasury bills will be announced on or around the 9th business day of each month on the Treasury Securities Operational Details site.

Consistent with this directive, the Desk will roll over at auction all principal payments from the Federal Reserve’s holdings of Treasury securities. As Treasury bill holdings mature, the principal payments will be rolled into new Treasury bill securities.

In addition, at least through January of next year, the Desk will conduct overnight and term repo operations to ensure that the supply of reserves remains ample and to mitigate the risk of money market pressures. Term repo operations will generally be conducted twice per week, initially in an offering amount of at least $35 billion per operation. Overnight repo operations will be conducted daily, initially in an offering amount of at least $75 billion per operation. Detailed information on the schedule of term and overnight repurchase agreement operations will be announced on or around the 9th business day of each month on the Repurchase Agreement Operational Details site.

So with a combined firepower between POMO and Repo in the $100s of billions per month, someone will still have the gall not to call this QE 4 “NOT A QE”?

Why yes: the Fed itself, because the last thing the Fed needs is for pundits to start asking question why Powell is launching QE when the economy is supposedly stable (and just weeks after Trump said the Fed should do “some QE”), to wit:

These actions are purely technical measures to support the effective implementation of the FOMC’s monetary policy, and do not represent a change in the stance of monetary policy.

Sure, Jerome, whatever you say: A $60BN Bill POMO + $75BN in weekly O/N Repo + $70BN (2x$35BN) in weekly Term Repo is clearly “NOT A QE“.

Source: QE4 “Not A QE” Begins: Fed Starts Buying $60BN In Bills Per Month Beginning Next Week

If You’re Even Mildly Tempted To Vote Democratic In 2020, This 3-Minute Clip Of The Recent CNN LGBTQ+ Town Hall Will Instantly Change Your Mind — Now The End Begins

CNN tonight hosted nine back-to-back town halls with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, this one was exclusively for the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile community

We can tell you till the cows come how insanely radical the Democratic Party has become, and you might get the idea. Or, we can have you watch the 3-minute video in the this article and there will be absolutely no doubt of any kind how crazy the Democrats are in 2020. From applauding 9-year old transgender boys to punishing churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages, this is not your father’s Democratic Party.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” John 16:1-3 (KJV)

Donald Trump is absolutely a ‘chaos candidate‘, but then we told you that God had installed him in office for that very reason, as judgment on America and the world. But God is using President Trump to be a blessing the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, much like He used King Cyrus to bless the Jews coming out of Babylon. But mark my words, should Trump lose in 2020, and the Democrats take over, what  you see on this video will be just the very tip of the end times iceberg. Life in America, if America continues past that, will be frightening to anyone who remembers how things used to be. Pray very hard that the Democrats do not win in 2020.

9 key lines from CNN’s LGBTQ+ town hall

FROM CNN: The candidates took questions on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues from a live studio audience. Beto O’Rourke said Thursday that religious institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage.

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights or the full civil rights of every single one of us,” the former Texas congressman said at CNN’s Equality Town Hall in Los Angeles.

He added: “And so as president, we are going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”

Here’s the key takeaway from each candidate’s town hall:

  • Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator called violence against the LGBTQ community a “national emergency” and noted that he has proposed an “Office on Hate Crimes and White Supremacy.” Booker said: “We live in a country where we still see regular, everyday violence and intimidation and bullying against Americans, because of who they are.” READ MORE
  • Joe Biden: The former vice president spoke out about the need to root out discrimination, homophobia and the impact that a country’s approach to gay people should have on American foreign policy. Biden said in 2012 that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, a comment that put him – at the time – ahead of then-President Barack Obama. READ MORE
  • Pete Buttigieg: The South Bend, Indiana, mayor said he would overhaul rules prohibiting gay men who have had sex within the last year from donating blood — recalling a poignant moment when his office led an annual blood drive. “So when I’m president, I will direct the FDA to revise the rules based on evidence, based on individual risk factors, and without regard to the prejudice that has driven the current policy.” READ MORE
  • Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator said she was wrong, in 2012, to say “I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars” to pay for a transgender inmate’s gender confirmation surgery. “It was a bad answer,” she said. “And I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care they need. And that includes people who are transgender who, it is the time for them to have gender affirming surgery. I just think that’s important.” READ MORE
  • Kamala Harris: The California senator said that she, as president, would make ending HIV/AIDS within a generation a priority, telling an audience that she learned about the impact of the impact of the virus from her first campaign manager. She also vowed to tackle homelessness among LGBTQ youth. READ MORE
  • Beto O’Rourke: The former Texas congressman said that conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that seeks to change the sexual orientation of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, “should be illegal” because it is “tantamount to torture.” He said: “As president, we will seek to outlaw it everywhere in this country.” READ MORE
  • Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota senator said that so-called conversion therapy should be illegal because it “makes no sense at all.” Klobuchar also said she would recognize a third gender marker option on a federal level. READ MORE
  • Julián Castro: The former Housing and Urban Development secretary said, as president, he would make foreign aid contingent on how the rights that other nations afford to the LGBTQ community. He also called on his successor, Ben Carson, to resign over disparaging remarks the Trump appointee made about transgender people. READ MORE
  • Tom Steyer: The businessman said he would put measures in place to increase oversight over health care access to LGBTQ asylum seekers if elected president. “I think it’s absolutely critical for the United States of America to treat people in a humane and decent fashion,” he said. READ MORE

Joe Biden Playacted Like He Was Gay at CNN’s LGBTQ+ Town Hall

FROM SLATE: Joe Biden started his spiel at Thursday’s Democratic presidential town hall on LGBTQ issues with a disclaimer. All the candidates support LGBTQ rights, Biden warned, so there wouldn’t be much space between their positions. Any difference between the candidates, he said, would be in their “degree of emotional concern.”

To prove the depth of his own emotional concern for queer people, Biden decided to act like one. He flirted with multiple men, joked that he was about to come out as gay, and at one point, clasped Anderson Cooper on the shoulder and mimed giving him a kiss. READ MORE

 Everything You Missed From The CNN LGBTQ+ Town Hall

Watch everything you missed from the CNN LGBTQ+ town hall, including interruptions, apologies, and flubs.

via If You’re Even Mildly Tempted To Vote Democratic In 2020, This 3-Minute Clip Of The Recent CNN LGBTQ+ Town Hall Will Instantly Change Your Mind — Now The End Begins

October 11, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump on Thursday used a campaign rally to blast the impeachment inquiry against him as a brazen attempt by Democrats to overthrow him, vowing the attempt to remove him from office would backfire.

President Trump said that U.S.-China trade talks were going well as the second day of top-level negotiations aimed at rolling back tensions between the world’s two largest economies begins.

California Governor Gavin Newsom called a widespread electricity shutdown triggered by a power company to prevent wildfires “unacceptable”, as gale-force winds and dry weather posed a critical fire threat to the north of the state.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his peacemaking efforts which ended two decades of hostility with longtime enemy Eritrea.

An Iranian-owned oil tanker was struck, probably by missiles, in the Red Sea off Saudi Arabia’s coast on Friday, Iranian media said, an incident that if confirmed will stoke tension in a region rattled by attacks on tankers and oil sites since May.

Three people were stabbed at a shopping center in the northern English city of Manchester on Friday and police said counter-terrorism detectives were leading the investigation.

Turkey stepped up its air and artillery strikes on Kurdish militia in northeast Syria on Friday, escalating an offensive that has drawn warnings of humanitarian catastrophe and turned Republican lawmakers against U.S. President Donald Trump.

United Airlines said on Friday it is extending cancellations of Boeing 737 MAX flights until Jan. 6, as regulators continue to extensively review proposed software changes to the grounded plane.

For America’s working poor, an often essential ingredient for getting and keeping a job – having a car – has rarely been more costly, and millions of people are finding it impossible to keep up with payments despite prolonged economic growth and low unemployment.

Since January, the U.S. government has ordered 13,000 migrants under 18, including more than 400 infants, to wait with their families in Mexico for U.S. immigration court hearings, a Reuters analysis of government data found.

Hundreds of mask-wearing pro-democracy protesters marched through Hong Kong’s central business district on Friday, occupying a main thoroughfare and disrupting traffic as the Chinese-ruled city braced for another weekend of unrest.

AP Top Stories

A cargo plane carrying presidential staff crashed in eastern Congo on Thursday, and all eight passengers and crew are feared dead.

The European Union imposed tariffs as high as 66.4% on steel road wheels from China, targeting manufacturers such as Zhejiang Jingu Co. and Xingmin Intelligent Transportation Systems Co.

Egypt on Thursday unveiled two archaeological discoveries in Luxor including an industrial zone at the southern city’s West Valley, also known as the Valley of the Monkeys.

U .S. asylum seekers camped out in a dangerous Mexican border town occupied a bridge to Brownsville, Texas on Thursday, leading to the closure of the crossing.

Addressing an LGBTQ community fearful that their gains in equality are slipping, Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday promised an aggressive agenda to end workplace discrimination, improve health care and ensure protections for people who face threats, or worse, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Deep in the Amazonian forest, young couples looking to wed or baptize children often turn to Sister Alba, who fills in where Catholic priests cannot be found. But in many remote areas, there are not even enough nuns to go around, and it is lay women who play a key role in the evangelization of indigenous people. Many Amazonian bishops present at a three-week assembly at the Vatican want the Roman Catholic Church to create official roles for them.

The U.S. military is moving to take several dozen ISIS fighters into custody from Kurdish prisons in northeast Syria, and already holds two British fighters involved in the murder of freelance journalist James Foley and other Western hostages of the terror group, according to U.S. officials.

A Michigan man convicted of killing and dismembering a woman was sentenced to at least 100 years in prison Thursday after the victim’s mother carrying her daughter’s cremains shouted at him: “You threw her out like trash.”

A pair of wildfires have destroyed dozens of homes near Los Angeles and forced thousands of residents to evacuate, fire officials and local media reported on Friday, days after power cuts were ordered across the state to prevent fires.


Texas Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn was speaking at the White House alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director, Matthew T Albence. Waybourn compared the treatment of border officials to Vietnam War veterans.

Protesters in Ecuador have released ten police officers who were taken hostage amid violent demonstrations triggered by austerity measures. Before being freed, some of the officers were forced to carry the coffin of an indigenous activist allegedly killed during the unrest.

Marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge will make a second attempt to run the distance in under two hours in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday. The Kenyan runner, who ran the marathon in two hours and 25 seconds in his first attempt, told BBC Sport Africa he’ll feel like the first man on the moon if he does it.


Being a woman is apparently not the same as being female, according to a new “Gender Pronoun Education/Awareness Initiative” introduced by the University of California System. The initiative is “focused on educating staff around how we can support trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming staff by implementing simple changes in how we use pronouns in the workplace.”

Mid-Day Snapshot · Oct. 11, 2019

The Foundation

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors?” —Thomas Jefferson (1781)

‘Whistleblower’ Has Ties to Biden

Former CIA and White House officials say the “whistleblower” worked with Biden.

Democrats Embrace Cultural Devolution

CNN’s “LGBTQ” forum was a chance for Dems to show their true intolerance.

‘Woke’ NBA Bows to Communist Tyrants

But Chinese influence over the decisions of American companies is growing.

Free Speech Is Not ‘Killing Us’

Uncivil speech is not the threat some make it. But we could all use the Golden Rule.

Facts Are a ‘Smear,’ Says Fake News WaPo

The Washington Post circles the wagons for its favorite candidate, Elizabeth Warren.

No, Billionaire Tax Rates Aren’t Lower Than Middle-Class Rates

The Washington Post says the wealthy aren’t paying their “fair share.”

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Trust, but verify who you vote for. Character and integrity beat charisma and personality.

Video: Ellen Sits With Bush, Leftists Go Nuts

The backlash was swift, as progressives took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

Video: About Trump’s Syria Pullout

It betrays Kurdish allies, and it might jeopardize U.S. interests elsewhere too.

Today’s Opinion

Ben Shapiro
Corporate Social Activism Is All About the Dollars
Larry Elder
The Rise of Young Black Conservatives
Cal Thomas
Trump Channels George McGovern
Hans von Spakovsky
‘Disinformation’ Can Sort Itself Out
Victor Davis Hanson
Members of Previous Generations Now Seem Like Giants
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday Top News Executive Summary

Biden’s wild whisteblower link, Virginia felon vote, Planned Parenthood deception, and more.

Friday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro, Erick Erickson, 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 – 10/11/2019

Lieberman Proposes the “Only Plan Which Could Prevent an Election”

‘Useless,’ ‘unhelpful’: Blue and White, Likud sources trash Liberman unity plan

Netanyahu during Yom Kippur War memorial: ‘We always remember our guiding principle: Israel will defend itself, by itself, against every threat.’ – Israel must be ready to act alone

German prosecutor says synagogue shooter planned Yom Kippur ‘massacre’

Halle synagogue killer’s guns jammed 3 times as he fired directly at victims

US Jewish leader in Halle shul: God counted us, one by one, as deserving of life

Merkel vows ‘zero tolerance’ for hate after deadly anti-Semitic attack

Rivlin tells Germany’s president that Israel and Germany are ‘partners in the fight against anti-Semitism’

Following German Synagogue Shooting, Israel’s UN Envoy Urges World to ‘Declare War on Antisemitism’

Jews demand action from Germany after deadly anti-Semitic attack

Germany’s Jews Feel ‘Under Siege’ Following Rise in Anti-Semitism

As vigils held, Halle Jewish leader says he’s now ‘not sure Germany is our home’

In rare move, Hamas condemns Germany synagogue attack

Israel will reopen economic agreements with Palestinians

Israeli farmers to Jordan king: Don’t cut us off from our lands

A look at who’s who in northeast Syria as war fears rise

As US pulls out of Syria, Netanyahu insists Israel can defend itself on its own

Netanyahu condemns Turkish invasion of Syrian Kurdistan, offers aid

Netanyahu Warns Against Turkey’s Ethnic Cleansing of ‘Gallant Kurds’; Vows to Assist

In Rare Rebuke, Evangelical Leaders Slam Trump Over Turkish Assault on Syria’s Kurds

Turkey’s Syria invasion: Member of US Special Forces says, ‘I am ashamed for the first time in my career’

Trump’s Syria decision tests the bounds of Republican support as he demands solidarity on impeachment

Sarah Sanders: Syria situation is ‘sad tragedy’ but Trump made the right decision

Erdogan threatens EU with refugee influx if it criticizes Syria operation

More than 60,000 displaced by Turkey assault on Syria – monitor

Thousands flee, hundreds reported dead in Turkish attack on U.S.-allied Kurds in Syria

Turkey shelled prison holding IS foreign fighters Kurdish-led administration

For Putin, Turkish move into Syria a chance to ramp up Middle East role

Iran FM pitches ‘expansive’ security, cooperation plan to Gulf states

Apple, Google Pull Hong Kong Protest Apps After China Uproar

Ukraine President Says Trump Didn’t Seek to Blackmail Him

Ukrainian President says will “happily” investigate wether Ukraine interfered in 2016 U.S. elections.

Two Giuliani associates linked to Ukraine investigations indicted on campaign finance charges

Political Campaigns Know Where You’ve Been. They’re Tracking Your Phone.

EU warns of 5G cybersecurity risks, stops short of singling out China

Half of Americans think a recession is coming in the next year – and they admit they’re unprepared

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Macquarie Island region

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Saumlaki, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Passo, Indonesia

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 26,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador eurpts to 17,000ft

Ebeko volcano on the Kuril Islands erupts to 14,000ft

Spokane, Washington has snowiest October in 44 years as storm strengthens over northern US

A Record-Setting Blizzard Is Set to Blast the Midwest

Welcome to California’s new dark age. Get used to it, it is the new ‘new normal’

In California, food spoils, businesses close as power outages imposed

A carbon tax is ‘single most powerful’ way to combat climate change, IMF says

Alaska Supreme Court hears youth climate change lawsuit

Environmentalists have a new target: Charmin toilet paper

Vatican Synod on Amazon Proposes Recognition of ‘Ecological Sins’

More fetal remains found in vehicle trunk of abortion doctor

Uganda plans bill imposing death penalty for gay sex

Nervous Nation: 1 In 5 Americans Believe They Have An Undiagnosed Anxiety Disorder

Young people are quitting their jobs in droves for mental health reasons

NYPD Suicides: Commissioner O’Neill Says Department Is Dealing With A ‘Mental Health Crisis’

Did Pope Francis say that Jesus isn’t God? Don’t believe the report, Vatican says

Apostasy Watch

Mike Ratliff – Being A Good Servant of Jesus Christ in the Midst of Apostasy

Off With Columbus’ Head, Celebrate the Aztecs Instead

Kenyans To Pay 75,000 To Eat With Bishop TD Jakes

$3G ‘Jesus Shoes’ filled with holy water sell out within minutes – this is not satire

Pro-Sodomy Feminist “Pastor” Suffers From Depression, Can’t Figure Out Why

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

Weekly Watchman for 10/11/2019

Study on ‘Discipline of the Mind and Devotion’

It takes time, commitment, and discipline to train our flesh and mature in Christ, and one of the most important disciplines is investing in God’s Word. Growth in personal holiness is determined by our progress in self-discipline.

Victory always comes at a price. The effective Christian life demands we exercise self-discipline in areas like food, drink, sleep, our speech, family priorities, work, leisure, time management, and money. We must exercise self-control and restrict our liberties in whatever would hinder us from winning the prize.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

The Great Tribulation & Return of Christ: Matthew 24

Three times in this sermon alone, Jesus mentions false teachers will deceive “many.” Also, the utter destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was a prophecy, not a “sign,” it was a judgment of God on the Jewish people for rejecting the Messiah. Persecution often reveals traitors within the Church as well as enemies outside, and the test of any age is endurance. Those who endure to the end will be saved and the gospel must first be preached as a witness to the nations, then comes the end.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

October 11, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Conflict with Others

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? (4:1a)

The Greek text of this sentence has no verb, and reads more literally, “Whence quarrels and whence conflicts among you?” Polemos (quarrels), from which we get the English “polemics,” relates to general, prolonged, and serious disputing or combat and is often rendered “war” (e.g., Matt. 24:6; Heb. 11:34; Rev. 11:7; 16:14). Conflicts translates machē, which refers to a specific fight or battle. Both terms are used here metaphorically of violent personal relationships, which, in the extreme, can result even in murder (v. 2).

Among you indicates that these combative relationships were between members of the churches to whom James wrote. As will be discussed under verse 4, some of those members obviously were not saved. And because they were thereby enemies of God, they were also enemies of each other and of true believers within the churches.

A pastor friend once told me he had discovered that the root cause of his quarreling, wrangling church board was that half of the men were saved and half were not. In such a situation, conflict is inevitable.

Paul understood this when he wrote:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14–18)

Sometimes making such separation is difficult, since the separation of the wheat and tares can be done only by the Lord (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43).

But conflict within the church is not in God’s will or design. Jesus said to the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35), and later in His high priestly prayer He entreated His Father that believers “may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (17:21). After Pentecost, “the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them” (Acts 4:32). Paul exhorted factious church members in Corinth, “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10), and called on believers in Philippi to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27; cf. 2:1–4).

Just as in the church since, conflict was a frequent problem in the early church. After giving Corinthian believers the exhortation just mentioned above, Paul later scolded them, saying, “I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:1–3). Still later, he wrote them, “For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances” (2 Cor. 12:20).

Paul admonished Titus to tell believers under his care to remember their former lives apart from God:

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (Titus 3:1–3)

Such normal conflict among the unconverted sadly finds its way into the church.[1]

1 As with 3:13, James begins with a rhetorical question, and puts its answer also in the form of a question: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” The double use of pothen (“from where?”) signals impassioned preaching at this point (Davids, 156). The term for “fights” (polemos, GK 4483) could refer to literal wars or battles (e.g., Mt 24:6; Lk 14:31), but it also had a figurative meaning, as it does here, that spoke of relational antagonism or conflict. “Quarrels” (machē, GK 3480) is roughly synonymous to the previous term, although machē can connote disputes or arguments (2 Co 7:5; 2 Ti 2:23; Tit 3:9), and this repetition of similar ideas may indicate a high level of intensity in the situation. The word for “not” (ouk) at the beginning of the second sentence anticipates a positive answer. Thus the rhetorical question implies that fighting and quarreling characterize the communities being addressed, so the question provides us a clarifying peek at the relational discord that seems to be an underlying concern of the book (Ropes, 252). The fragmentation of these communities had reached serious levels, and James confronts the discord quite directly and forcefully.

He answers his own question by pinpointing their “desires” (hēdonē, GK 2454), or “pleasures,” as the stimulating factor behind the infighting among these believers. Although the term could be used in the ancient world to speak of enjoyment or pleasantness, here, as elsewhere in the NT, it refers to evil pleasures that have a negative spiritual effect (Lk 8:14; Tit 3:3; 2 Pe 2:13). In fact, the “fights” and “quarrels” in the churches are symptomatic of a deeper condition, since the internal conflicting desires resident in each person are in a state of “battle” (strateuō, GK 5129). The word translated “battle” could mean “to serve as a soldier” (1 Co 9:7; 2 Ti 2:4) but here refers figuratively to some type of fight or conflict (cf. 2 Co 10:3; 1 Ti 1:18; 1 Pe 2:11). Thus the phrase translated “within you” (NIV), or “in your members” (NASB), refers to the evil desires inside these people rather than merely desires played out in conflicted community relationships (Laws, 168; Davids, 157).[2]

1 Having declared at the end of ch. 3 that true wisdom is peace, and false wisdom, strife, James naturally begins ch. 4 with some remarks on the genesis of strife: it springs, he says, from our lusts. We fight, we even pray, for the means of gratifying those lusts: no wonder those prayers are not answered. The twofold “whence … whence” in the Greek without the customary “brothers” (see v. 13) reveals the intensity of his feeling, as does the duplication in wars and fightings, one broader and the other narrower in meaning without any sharp distinction here, like our “trouble and strife” (Ger. Streit und Hader), and in the regular sense of the plural fightings, i.e., of battles fought without actual weapons—fightings, quarrels, strife, disputes in church and society. In later Greek “fightings” was used of philosophical contests and in disputes about words (Prov. 25:10; 2 Tim. 2:23; possibly 2 Cor. 7:5) and personal quarrels (Prov. 15:8; Sir. 28:8); but there is no reference here to doctrinal disputes, political or literal warfare between rival religious Jewish factions in Samaria and Galilee. The whole tone of the Epistle suggests a period of quiet stability; even the “confusion” of 3:16 does not suggest politics or violence (see too 1:8; 3:8).

These battles arise from the lusts within your body which fight against righteousness. Despite its philosophic guise, lusts is to be taken in a practical and bad sense (see, e.g., 4 Macc. 1:22; 5:23), probably, against Ropes, equivalent to “desires” of 1:14 (RV “lusts”; see Dibelius, p. 198, n. 3): here members is used collectively as the abode of the passions. We have already noted (Jas. 1:2, 12ff.) that James owes his doctrine of desire to the Jewish yetser, and, like the rabbis, associates the passions with the physical body—a point made explicit by the present verse, where the bodily appetites are said to reside in the flesh. But particularly in view of the Pauline use (e.g., Rom. 7:23; 1 Cor. 6:12–18), it is possible that members should not be understood literally. James has already used the expression in a natural and more individual manner of the tongue as one of the members, 3:6. Here the use is more figurative. According to C. A. Anderson Scott, Paul uses members (and “body”) “not so much in their physical connotation as in their function of giving expression to the personality.” This suggests that like Paul, especially in his doctrine of the “flesh,” James traced all sin neither to pleasure nor desire, but ultimately to the core of disordered personality.

A good commentary illustrating this passage is 1 Cor. 1:10–16. “You ask,” etc. (v. 3) suggests not abandoned sinners but false Christians: and it is Christians James is addressing.[3]

The Question (4:1a)

James opens ch. 4 as he did 3:13, with a question loaded with rhetorical force: “Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from?” He will answer that question with another question, “Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?” This question assumes an answer of yes. The NRSV’s rendering of 4:1a, while justifiable, both adds information with “those” and gathers up the nouns and the questions into two separable corners.226

A pressing question, and one not asked often enough in the Western world, is whether James’s terms “conflicts and disputes” refer to physical or verbal fights. A more graphic, if less elegant, translation brings out word connections: “warring and swording.” The word translated “conflicts” (polemoi) could refer to a state of hostility or to an outright war or battle, which is the common meaning in early Christian literature (Matt 24:6; Luke 14:31; 1 Cor 14:8; Heb 11:34; Rev 9:7, 9). But polemoi can also be metaphorical. Furthermore, the second word, “disputes” (machai), can have the same flexible meaning: either physical or metaphorical battles. The New Testament evidence supports a metaphorical meaning (2 Cor 7:5; 2 Tim 2:23; Tit 3:9). Even if some might think “among you” would point toward a metaphorical meaning, that is not the case: there can be as much a physical as a metaphorical battle among those who claim attachment to Jesus. At a minimum, the expressions refer to rivalrous factions gathering around the teachers, even if we cannot be sure what they were fighting about or how they were fighting. It is not at all impossible that “among you” could refer to the wider Jewish world.233

Religious violence, anchored as it was in both Old Testament and ancient ways, was more common to that society than most of us care to admit, and a good example is Paul’s own example (Acts 8:3; 9:1–2, 21; 22:4, 19; 26:10–11; Gal 1:23). Nor has the church failed to keep the pace with ancient violence—one needs to think of the bloody battles around Nicea, Constantine, the Crusades, the Reformation, the Inquisition, and beyond. I am not completely convinced that “conflicts and disputes” refers directly to physical violence, but that should remain as an open option, and v. 2 may well decide the issue. Ralph Martin speaks for this view: “Since James and his community were situated in a Zealot-infested society and since it is quite conceivable that (at least) some of the Jewish Christians were former Zealots (cf. Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), the taking of another’s life is not out of the realm of possibility for church members as a response to disagreement.” Physical or not, even to this day the words of James should embarrass those who are committed to a Lord who taught the way of love, the way of peace, and whose cross brought into graphic reality a new (cross) way of life.236

The question of 4:1a is directed at the teachers. The answer will probe deeply into their hearts. The Question Answered with a Question (4:1b)

James answers this first question with a second one that implies the answer: “Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?” The implication is this: “Yes, in fact, the conflicts and disputes do come from our cravings.” James anchors the zeal and ambition that lead to conflicts and disputes in the teachers’ “cravings.”238 While it is popular to utilize the etymology of “cravings” (hēdonai) and leap into a diatribe against hedonism in our culture, James’s use needs to be seen for what it is, and there is no evidence of a hedonism in what James is addressing. The teachers’ “cravings” uppermost in his mind are for power, control, and partisanship. It is wise to connect James’s use of hēdonai here with 1:14–15 and with Peter’s (1 Pet 1:14; 2:11; 4:2–3) and Paul’s use of the word “desires” (epithymiai, Rom 1:24; 6:12; 7:7–8; 13:14), but there is little reason to expand the desires in random directions. James has the teachers in mind, and their problem was loose tongues used to abuse individuals and divide the community. The use of the verb “You want something” (epithymeō) in 4:2 secures the importance of connecting the terms “cravings” and “desires.”

The “cravings” are “at war within you.” Does this mean that the cravings fight for control within each person/teacher (as in Romans 7) or create war among the members of the messianic community? There is evidence on both sides, and it would exceed the evidence to render a judgment too firmly for either view. To begin with, “within you” translates en tois melesin hymōn, which literally would be “among your members.” Inasmuch as “members” (melos) was used in the early church for church members, and inasmuch as James clearly speaks of division among the members (2:4–7), the term could be ecclesial. But an anthropological point could also be possible. After all, James knows of the divided soul (1:6–8) and the potency of human desires to overwhelm a Christian’s intent to do what is right (1:13–15); furthermore, Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Christians knew of various parts of the person and fashioned various dualisms: heart, soul, mind, conscience, flesh, and body. Inasmuch as James, at least in the immediate context, is less concerned with anthropology than with ecclesial division, I lean toward the ecclesial understanding of these terms.

Regardless, James’s language is violent: “that are at war.” Nothing comments on this quite like the struggle described in Romans 7, which, even if it is the story of Israel’s own experience in history under the Torah (as many today believe), still personifies or “corporatizes” the inner moral struggle to do what is good. Thus, Romans 7:21–23:

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

The standard evidence for the war among us or within us favors a more individualistic, anthropological reading of these verses. Thus, Galatians 5:17: “For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.” When Peter turns to exhort his churches in his first epistle, he is on the same page as Paul: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul” (2:11). Indeed, this is clearly an image for the individual’s moral struggle, but, because of recent discussions, we should also observe that it cannot be argued that this must be Greek, even if Plato’s famous lines in Phaedo 66c or Philo’s own borrowings (On the Decalogue 151–53) might suggest that James is now on Greek soil. One need look no further than the Dead Sea Scrolls to find something altogether similar (1QS 3:21–4:3):

The authority of the Angel of Darkness further extends to the corruption of all the righteous. All their sins, iniquities, shameful and rebellious deeds are at his prompting, a situation God in His mysteries allows to continue until His era dawns. Moreover, all the afflictions of the righteous, and every trial in its season, occur because of this Angel’s diabolic rule. All the spirits allied with him share but a single resolve: to cause the Sons of Light to stumble. Yet the God of Israel (and the Angel of His Truth) assist all the Sons of Light. It is actually He who created the spirits of light and darkness, making them the cornerstone of every deed, their impulses the premise of every action. God’s love for one spirit lasts forever. He will be pleased with its actions for always. The counsel of the other, however, He abhors, hating its every impulse for all time. Upon earth their operations are these: one enlightens a man’s mind, making straight before him the paths of true righteousness and causing his heart to fear the laws of God.[4]

4:1 / What causes fights and quarrels among you? That is a good question, for if God’s wisdom is found in peacemakers, community strife does not come from them. A conflict with the pagan world or the synagogue might be the inevitable result of following Christian standards, but these are quarrels within the church (i.e., among you); civil war, not national defense.

James asks the question rhetorically, for he knows the answer: Don’t they come from your desires? As in 1:13–15, he will not blame external forces: the source is their own evil impulses or, as Paul would say, the old (or fleshly) nature. Their quarrels may be “only human,” but this is fallen humanity; until they recognize and repent of their sin, there is no hope for peace in the church.

The real battleground, then, is internal: The desires continually battle within you. The evil impulses in a person are not a part of the body (which can serve God as easily as evil) but are in the body and fight to control it. In theory, given the Spirit or “the wisdom from above,” people should be able to conquer these impulses, but given the fact that their allegiance is divided between God and the world (James 4:4, 8), there is no victory for these people but only a constant struggle between the part of them God has and the part controlled by the world. The language is graphic; the struggle is a deep experience.[5]

1. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

We have the impression that the early Christian church was marked by peace and harmony. Think of the time after Pentecost when “all the believers were one in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). This picture of the church, however, fades within the span of a decade or more. The recipients of the Epistle of James fight, quarrel, and are filled with selfish desires that drive them into sin, as the writer puts it in the first verse of the fourth chapter.

A word-for-word translation of the text is this: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (NKJV). We do well to interpret this passage figuratively, in the “sense of strife, conflict, quarrel.”1

Many translators refrain from giving a literal version of the Greek text. They think that the expression war points to an area of conflict outside the Christian community. James, however, is not describing international conflicts. As a pastor who is interested in the spiritual welfare of his people, he addresses “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” (1:1).

Note that James asks the penetrating question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” He wants to know the origin of these fights and quarrels—the use of the plural indicates that they were not confined to an occasional disagreement. Thus, he looks beyond the symptoms to the cause of all these conflicts.

James answers his own question with a rhetorical question that elicits an affirmative reply: “Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” The term desires (note the plural) is the key word. It signifies that in his life, man chooses worldly pleasures that are contrary to the expressed will of God. As Jesus says in the parable of the sower, “the desires for other things come in and choke the word [of God], making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19; also see Luke 8:14). In time, man becomes a slave to the desires of his heart and separates himself from God (Rom. 1:24; 2 Tim. 4:3; James 1:14; 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 16, 18).

When God no longer rules man’s life, the pursuit of pleasure takes over, and peace is disrupted because of frequent fights and quarrels.

The New International Version gives the reading your desires that battle within you. Other translations have “in your members” instead of “within you.” Is the conflict a personal matter (within yourselves) or a congregational dispute (among the members of your church)? We find an answer to this question when we study the word member in its scriptural context.

In a few places, Paul uses the expression members to describe the church as the body of Christ (Rom. 12:4–5; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27; Eph. 4:16; 5:30). But more strictly, this expression refers not to a theological or sociological context but to the human body. In the absence of a clear indication that James is thinking of the church, we interpret the term members to mean the physical bodies of the persons he addresses.[6]

4:1. Two rhetorical questions try to locate the source of struggles and fights among Christians. Such fights and quarrels come from desires that battle within you.

The fights and quarrels involved conflicts among Christians. The plural form of both words indicates the conflicts were chronic rather than a one-time incident. The disputes could have taken the form of arguments and controversies between teachers and factions in the churches. It could also have involved struggles about worldly affairs such as personal influence and financial gain.

The Greek word translated “desires” is related etymologically to the English word, hedonism, the philosophy that the chief purpose of living is to satisfy self. Jesus used the same word to describe people “choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and … do not mature” (Luke 8:14).There “pleasures” described any personal goal such as money, reputation, or success, which contributes to personal accomplishment rather than God’s will.

These sinful desires lay within each Christian. Even believers find in themselves an alien army which seeks self rather than God. These desires express our pre-Christian nature still seeking to control our lives (see Rom. 7:14–25). Christians will never be freed from the evil influence of these subtle desires, but by God’s grace we can escape their domination.[7]

1. The passion for self-gratification is the cause of wars and fightings (verses 1, 2). Verse 1 contains two rhetorical questions. The first concerns the source of conflict in human relations: From whence come wars and fightings among you? “Wars and fightings” refers not to international wars but to feuds and conflicts in the Christian community. The two words mean about what we mean by “wars” and “battles.” That is to say, the first word denotes chronic hostility, and the latter word is used of a single encounter. The intensity of James’ feeling on the matter is brought out in the asv more clearly than it is in the kjv. The former reads: “Whence come wars and whence come fightings among you?” Note the repetition of the word “whence.”

Apart from what is told us here, we have no information on the nature or the occasion of these conflicts. Some have felt that James was thinking of disputes between rival teachers and their contentions for personal authority and distinction. Plummer thinks James is referring to “private quarrels and law-suits, social rivalries and factions, and religious controversies” (p. 215). John Adam feels that the reference is to “struggles about ordinary temporal affairs, about worldly interests and objects, about influence, reputation, position, and especially property, money, gains” (p. 283). But whatever the occasion, we know that feuds and conflicts among professing Christians are not confined wholly to the past. Who has not seen one section of a church drawn up in hostile array against another section of the same church? Instead of seeing one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord, they view themselves as adversaries and antagonists.

The latter part of the first verse gives the answer to James’ question: Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? The Greek word translated “lusts” literally means “pleasure” or “enjoyment.” However, it is used not only for the pleasure itself but of the desire for pleasure as well. Hence it is translated “passions” (rsv), “cravings” (Goodspeed), “cravings for pleasure” (Beck), “pursuit of pleasure” (Ropes). Found in only three other passages in the Greek New Testament, it always has a bad connotation. Luke 8:14 speaks of the “pleasures of this life” which along with “cares and riches” choke the Word so that it cannot take root in the heart. Titus 3:3 lists enslavement to “divers lusts and pleasures” as a characteristic of the unregenerate life. 2 Peter 2:13 refers to those who think that “pleasure consists in the self-indulgence of the moment” (tcnt). The teaching in our passage is that quarrels and conflicts arise because men make pleasures their aim. Their lives are not God-centered but self-centered.

Continuing the metaphor of warfare introduced earlier in the verse, James explains that these self-centered desires war in your members. Peter uses similar language when he urges Christians to abstain from fleshly lusts “which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). James is less specific. He simply asserts that cravings for pleasure have their camp in the bodily organs (including the mental faculties), and from these they launch their attack against anything and everyone that dares to interfere with their gratification. Tasker writes: “The human personality has, as it were, been invaded by an alien army which is always campaigning within it.… Human nature is indeed in the grip of an overwhelming army of occupation” (p. 85).

Verse 2 develops more specifically the connection between “lusts” (pleasures) and “wars and fightings.” The verse should be read in the rsv: “You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask.” The construction is practically equivalent to a conditional sentence: “If you desire and cannot obtain, the result is that you kill. If you covet … the result is.…”

Ropes, commenting upon this, correctly observes that “James is not here describing the condition of any special community, but is analyzing the result of choosing pleasure instead of God. The final issue of the false choice is flagrant crime” (p. 255). Tasker similarly explains that James was writing a general letter and was not necessarily thinking of circumstances actually existing in a particular Christian community. He was emphasizing what can and does happen when men choose pleasure rather than God as a way of life. The laws of God are disregarded, and the desire for pleasure drives men to do things they never dreamed they were capable of doing. The story of Ahab and Naboth stands as a biblical reminder of the terrible end to which covetousness can lead.

The words translated ye lust and ye … desire are not exactly the same in meaning. The former word essentially means “to desire strongly,” and may be used of any intense longing. Such desire is wrong only if it is misdirected or excessive. Here it has an evil connotation. It may be rendered “lust” (kjv), “desire” (Williams), “want” (tev), “crave” (tcnt), “continually crave” (Montgomery). The latter word may also be used either in a good sense or in a bad sense. In a good sense it means to burn with zeal, to strive for, to desire. In a bad sense (as here) it means to burn with envy, to be filled with jealousy. F. J. A. Hort feels that in the present passage it expresses “envy of position or rank or fame … sordid and bitter personal ambition.” In line with this the neb reads, “You want something which you cannot have, and so you are bent on murder; you are envious, and cannot attain your ambition, and so you quarrel and fight” (italics mine).

James makes clear in the last statement of verse 2 that the reason why men, after all their coveting, envying, and struggling, still do not possess what they desire is found in the neglect of prayer. They hunger for satisfaction but are seeking it in the wrong place. “You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it” (tev). Richard Baxter stated it well: “The manna lieth about your tents; walk out, gather it up, take it home, and feed upon it.” James’ statement assumes, of course, that the things desired are in themselves legitimate and within the will of God.

Someone has said that there are times when “the pull of our prayer may not move the everlasting throne, but like the pull on a line from the bow of a boat, it may draw us into closer fellowship with God and fuller harmony, with His wise and holy will.”[8]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1998). James (pp. 184–186). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 252–253). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Adamson, J. B. (1976). The Epistle of James (pp. 166–167). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] McKnight, S. (2011). The Letter of James (pp. 321–325). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (p. 98). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 128–130). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 318). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Vaughan, C. (2003). James (pp. 82–84). Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press.

October 11 Unshakable Faith

scripture reading: Daniel 6:10–28
key verse: Psalm 103:19

The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

An unshakable faith is anchored in a living, unchanging, sovereign God: “For He is the living God …” (Dan. 6:26 nasb).

Your faith works because you trust in a personal, living God who hears your pleas and works on your behalf. The living God never sleeps or slumbers. There is no hour, day or night, when you cannot instantly and confidently approach Him. He lives.

“For He is the living God and enduring forever …” (Dan. 6:26 nasb).

Your faith is firm because God is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the same for every man, woman, and child of every generation, of every culture. His ways never change; His character is unalterable. He is the stability of our times.

“… And His dominion will be forever” (Dan. 6:26 nasb).

Your faith is steadfast because God is sovereign, ruling over people and affairs to achieve His purposes. God is in control even when everything seems out of control. He overrules all evil, using even bitter, painful moments for divine good.

God lives. He lives forever. His kingdom and rule on earth are being established now and will be permanently installed upon His return. You can trust God without reserve or regret.

Unshakable faith—that’s what I want, Lord. You are in control, even when everything seems out of control. I praise You that You are using everything that touches my life—both good and evil—for Your divine purposes.[1]


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

11 october (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon


“Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.” Genesis 49:4

Suggested further reading; 2 Peter 3:14–18

Who are these unstable ones? When they were boys they could never complete a game; they must always be having something fresh; and now they are just as childish as when they were children. Look at them in doctrine: you never know where to find them. You meet them one day, and they are very full of some super doctrine; they have been to some strong Calvinist place, and nothing will suit them except the very highest doctrine, and that must be spiced with a little of the gall of bitterness, or they cannot think it is the genuine thing. Very likely next week they will be Arminians; they will give up all idea of a fixed fate, and talk of free-will, and man’s responsibility like the most earnest Primitive Methodist. Then they steer another way. “Nothing is right but the Church of England. Is it not established by law? Ought not every Christian to go to his parish church?” Let them alone; they will be at the most schismatical shop in the metropolis before long. Or if they do not change their denomination they are always changing their minister. A new minister starts up; there is no one, since the apostles, like him; they take a seat and join the church; he is everything to them. In three months they have done with him; another minister rises up some distance off, and these people are not particular how far they walk; so they go to hear him. He is the great man of the age; he will see every man’s candle out, and his will burn on. But a little trouble comes on the church, and they leave him. They have no attachment to anything; they are merely feathers in the wind, or corks on the wave.

for meditation: Do you recognise yourself here? If not, guard your own stability carefully. But if you do, realise that we are not supposed to remain babes in Christ, but are to grow up (Ephesians 4:14, 15). Perhaps you are not sure whether Spurgeon is describing you; one question may help you decide—who has the rule over you? (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

sermon no. 158[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 291). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Criticism of President Trump’s Syria decision escalates: How should Christians relate to him? — Denison Forum

Turkey is continuing its offensive on Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria this morning. The BBC reports that at least eleven civilians have died while tens of thousands have fled their homes. The offensive began two days ago after President Trump moved American troops out of the area.

When the president announced that he was withdrawing our forces from this region, reaction was swift even from his most consistent supporters. Franklin Graham asked his readers to pray with him that the president would reconsider his decision. Pat Robertson warned that “the president of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen.” And Sen. Lindsey Graham, usually a staunch defender of the president’s foreign policy, called the decision a “major blunder.”

For more on the Kurds and Syria, please see my website article, “Who are the Kurds? Why is Turkey invading Syria? How should Christians respond?

The questions we receive most 

The questions our ministry has received most frequently since President Trump’s election can be summarized this way: How can Christians support a president whose policies and personal character they find objectionable? We could ask the same question about governors, mayors, and many others in political office.

Let’s begin with this note: Denison Forum is a nonpartisan ministry. Our purpose is not to support political candidates or parties. Rather, our mission is to offer biblical perspective on contemporary issues, seeking to equip Christians in using their influence to advance God’s kingdom in our culture.

As a result, my purpose today is not to offer personal commentary on the president but to help us think biblically about ways Christians can relate to him as a leader and a person.

Relating position and person 

Scripture consistently teaches that we are to respect our governing authorities.

Peter was clear: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13–14). Paul added: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).

Note that Peter and Paul made these statements when Nero, one of the most notorious and ungodly leaders in history, was the Roman emperor. In fact, he later ordered the execution of both apostles.

Their injunctions make clear that whatever we think about those in public authority, we are under the clear biblical mandate to respect their position and pray for them. We’ll say more about this subject shortly.

Public leadership and personal character 

God often surprises us with the people he uses to advance his kingdom agendas. For instance, he used the Egyptian pharaoh to elevate Joseph and save his people. He used the Persian King Cyrus to liberate the Jews from their Babylonian captivity.

In the same way, some evangelicals see President Trump as a Cyrus-like leader whose chief responsibility is to protect the nation. I know pastors who distinguish between Romans 13 leadership and Sermon on the Mount personal character. They say they would not want Donald Trump to teach Sunday school in their church, but they want someone with his strong personality to lead our nation in these days. They note that “he’s our president, not our pastor.”

Similarly, some prioritize the president’s leadership agendas over concerns about his personal character. For instance, many Christians voted for Mr. Trump because they valued his pro-life stance and campaign promise to make nominations to the Supreme Court and other judicial positions that are consistent with this commitment. They appreciate his strong support for religious liberty and for the State of Israel as well.

On the other hand, many Christians believe that personal character is foundational to public leadership. They point to the clear biblical expectations of overseers and others in church leadership (cf. 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1) and assert that such integrity is essential to all effective leadership.

They also consider the president to be America’s global representative and model for our national culture and character. As John the Baptist rebuked King Herod for personal immorality (Mark 6:18), they believe Christians should oppose President Trump if they object to his personal character.

Four biblical principles 

Whatever our position on President Trump’s public leadership and personal character, it is vital that we relate to him in ways that honor our Lord and advance our witness. Consider four biblical principles.

One: We are commanded “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2). Jesus taught us to go directly to others (Matthew 18:15), saying about them only what we would say to them.

Two: When we object to the president’s decisions or actions, we should turn our concerns into intercession (1 Timothy 2:1–2). Oswald Chambers notes: “Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to fault finding.”

Three: We should defend biblical principles when they are relevant to political decisions. For instance, I respectfully disagreed with President Obama when he reversed his position on same-sex marriage. But we should do so in biblical ways, refusing to slander others and “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Four: We should pray for our leaders to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. Our Lord’s call to sacrificial discipleship (Luke 9:23) is for everyone. The “fruit of the Spirit” is his intention for us all (Galatians 5:22–23).

What matters most today 

I am sure that some reading this article would want me to make an unconditional personal endorsement of the president, just as others would want me to state the opposite. But as I noted earlier, my mission is not to offer personal opinion but nonpartisan biblical perspective on cultural issues. My goal is to advance a movement of culture-changing Christians.

Therefore, I believe God’s people should measure everything we say and do by two questions:

  1. Will this glorify my Lord?
  2. Will it lead more people to him?

Our calling is not to win debates but souls. If Christians drive people away from Christ through the way we support or oppose the president, we have lost far more than we might gain.

Ten thousand millennia after the Trump administration has ended, Jesus will still be King.

What matters most in eternity is what matters most today.

via Criticism of President Trump’s Syria decision escalates: How should Christians relate to him? — Denison Forum

11 OCTOBER 365 Days with Calvin

Remitting or Retaining Sins

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. Ephesians 2:17

suggested further reading: Matthew 16:13–20

When we refuse to receive gospel peace, let us fear lest Jesus Christ change his voice, for it is certain that the gospel always promises damnation to those who do not conform themselves to God’s will.

It is with good reason that the Scripture speaks of binding as well as loosing (Matt. 16:19), for our Lord Jesus Christ shows us that the very nature and office of the gospel is to pluck us out of the bondage and prison in which we are held until he sets us free. However, he also says bonds are prepared for those who do not take Christ as their Redeemer and do not allow themselves to be set free by him.

That is what Christ means by saying, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23). He thereby shows that when we preach the gospel we must first of all declare the message of reconciliation. What we continually have to do is to show that God has been so kind to us as to reconcile himself to us in the person of his Son. He receives us to himself that we might be washed and cleansed from all our filthiness and be accepted as righteous before him. Look how wretched souls are released, how poor captives are let out of prison, and how those who were plunged in the shadows of death are brought to the light of life (Matt. 4:16).

On the other hand, we have a commission to “retain sins” by threatening despisers of the Word with God’s dreadful wrath. We must tell people that when they refuse the Word and think they have escaped judgment, the doctrine they have heard will bind them like ropes and fetters.

for meditation: The gospel of Jesus Christ draws a line right through all of humanity, separating all those who believe from all those who refuse to believe. There is no middle ground. If you have heard the gospel, you do not have the luxury of failing to respond. How did you respond? Are your sins remitted or retained?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 303). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

What makes Fox News’s ‘Trump impeachment’ poll totally unreliable | American Thinker

How did the Fox polling unit come up with 51% of Americans wanting Trump impeached?

Journalism and those claiming to be journalists in America have been not only increasingly and overtly partisan over the past 25 years, but also increasingly indolent.  Far too many rely on the lunacy, vitriol, and rumor-mongering on social media as the primary source of many of their stories and to make assumptions as to what American society thinks on any particular issue.  Another source of so-called “news” is generated by their ideological cohorts in the polling industry.

Polling in modern America has degenerated into a vehicle to create news and headlines and to shape public opinion on an issue or an individual.

Over the past few days, the lead on every cable news channel and the headline in virtually all newspapers is Fox News claiming in its exclusive poll that 51% of Americans now favor impeachment and removal of President Trump.

How did the Fox polling unit come up with this number?

The Fox news polling companies interviewed 1,003 registered voters, ostensibly throughout the length and breadth of the United States.  Many polling companies use either all adult Americans (254 million) or registered voters (158 million in 2016) as their universe for polling.  Obviously, the greater the number of potential people to contact and question, the easier a poll is to complete and to skew a result.  In reality, what matters is who votes in an election.  In 2016, 86% (or 136.6 million) of registered voters cast a vote.  A poll of likely voters would inherently be more reliable but more difficult to achieve.  Currently, only Rasmussen among national polls uses exclusively likely voters and they are among the most reliable.

As the issue of impeachment is overtly political, the political make-up of the respondents in any poll is critical.  In this recent Fox poll, 48% of those polled claimed to be Democrats, 40% Republican, and 12% independent.  However, as Gallup points out in its most recent research, 31% of all Americans identify as Democrats, 29% as Republican and 38% as independent.

Ideally, all polls, as does Rasmussen, should strive to reflect that political affiliation dichotomy or as close as possible, considering the difficulty in finding people willing to be polled and be honest in their responses.

Therefore, the Fox poll, with its political make-up of respondents, is manipulated to come up with a desired result.  The issue isn’t the difference between the number of Democrat and Republican respondents, but the gross undercounting of independents and the massive overcounting of Democrats.

Over the past three months to date, in a variety of polls, an average of nearly 84% of all Democrats favored the impeachment of Donald Trump.  Therefore, when Fox uses 48% Democrat registered voters, the poll immediately, before taking into account any other group, will indicate 41% in favor of impeachment and removal.  Thus, to get to 51%, only 20% of those identifying as Republican or independents in this poll would have to be in favor of impeachment.

However, if Fox had used the actual political breakdown of 32% of Americans identifying as Democrats, then instead of an immediate impact of 41% in the result, it would have been 27%, or 14 percentage points less.

Further, over the past three months, polls have averaged 92% of Republicans and 56% of independents opposed to impeachment and removal.  If the Fox poll sample had been 29% Republican and 39% independent, using these average poll results, the final tabulation would have been 44% instead of 51%.

But there would have been no headlines and breathless anchors on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC, nor any banner headlines in the Washington Post and New York Times trying to convince the nation that the citizenry is turning on Donald Trump.

The polling firms can manipulate the results by 1) using adults or registered voters, 2) skewing the universe of those polled, and 3) tinkering with the make-up of the questions asked.  As virtually all polling firms are in league with the Democrats and the media, any poll result splashed across the front page of a newspaper or as a major topic of conversation in the electronic media must be assumed to be biased and the end product of manipulation.

— Read on www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/10/what_makes_foxs_trump_impeachment_poll_totally_unrealiable.html

Are hordes of Muslims coming to Christ though dreams of Isa?

The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata


I wrote about the Muslim Dream conversion stories issue in 2011. At that time I investigated and my conclusion was a big NO.

Are Massive Numbers of Muslims Coming to Christ?

I wrote again in 2018 when unfortunately, IMB President David Platt affirmed these dreams and second hand stories, and worse, blasphemously called The Messiah Isa. This was during his International Mission Board report in June 2018. Again I said a big NO.

Blasphemy: Isa is not Jesus and Jesus is not Isa.

Again in 2019 the issue comes up. Here is Justin Peters dispelling these stories with a good dose of truth, in a minute and a half video. He said he receives this question all the time, continuing to be raised after the issue first surfaced 8 or 9 years ago. The question and the answer is important because the method that is related by…

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Friday Briefing October 11, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com


 “There Are No Easy Answers in Syria”— The U.S. Withdrawal and the Plight of the Kurds


 Planned Parenthood Pledges $45 Million to Pro-Abortion Candidates in 2020 Elections, a Reminder that Every Election Is a Choice Between Worldviews


 Why Is Legal Deference Given to Religious Beliefs? Defending Our God-Given First Liberty in an Increasingly Hostile Age





 Trump’s Syria Mistake, by The Editors


 Turkey and the Kurds: It’s More Complicated Than You Think, by Andrew C. McCarthy



Reformed and Always Reforming | Ligonier Ministries

The year 2017 was the Martin Luther year. We remembered the Reformation and we celebrated it. But we must also continue the Reformation. The Reformation is not a museum to be visited occasionally on a tour bus. It was and is a vital movement for truth and life in the church of Jesus. How should we maintain and advance the cause of reform? Some believe that the answer to that question can be found in the slogan reformed and always reforming. We continue the Reformation by always reforming. That slogan is indeed useful if we understand it correctly. The problem is that sometimes the slogan is used to justify the opposite of what it originally intended.

Those who misuse the slogan end up saying something like this: The Reformation had to change things that were wrong in the church, and we have to continue changing things that are wrong with the church. We have to make Christianity more understandable and relevant today. We have to strip away formalism and legalism so that we can get on with the great work of evangelism. We must be always reforming.

At first glance, this use of the slogan may seem good. All of us want Christianity to be vital, understandable, and evangelistic. But too often, those who are always reforming are in fact moving away from the Reformation and its great concerns about the Bible and justification, about worship, preaching, and the sacraments. They are simplifying or minimizing Christianity in ways that leave out many of the great concerns of biblical truth. Always reforming comes to mean increasingly conforming to the demands and standards of the world.

Such an approach to the slogan is not at all what it originally meant—or what it should mean for us today. The exact origins of the slogan are obscure, but its meaning is not. It was designed to make two critical points about who we are as Reformed Christians.


The first point is that we are Reformed. We must remember that calling ourselves Reformed is in fact an abbreviation. The full statement is: We are Christians who have been reformed by the Word of God. Reformed means that the Word of God has changed and purified us. We still are small-c catholic Christians, which means that we accept the canon of the New Testament as did the ancient church and accept the ancient definitions of the Trinity and Christology. We are Augustinian in our soteriology. But we also agree with the Reformers that various traditions of the church, from ancient and medieval times, drifted away from the Word of God and therefore had to be reformed or corrected by the Bible.

When we say we are Reformed, then, we mean that the Reformation, and particularly the Calvinistic wing of the Reformation, rightly understood and applied the Bible to help purify Christian doctrine, the church, and individual Christians. The great insights of the Reformers into the Word of God were summarized and preserved in the confessions and catechisms of the Reformed churches. Those teachings were true and are still true. They are a great, settled accomplishment of the Reformation. We still hold to them and in that sense we are Reformed. Reformed is something defined by the confessions of the Reformed churches, which are still rightly subscribed to by Reformed Christians.

Always Reforming

We recognize, however, that every generation not only needs to learn again what it means to be Reformed, but every generation also needs to be about the business of always reforming. We need to be always reforming because we are sinners. We fail to understand and follow God’s truth as we ought. We recognize that the Reformers were sinners, too, and did not understand everything perfectly. So we want always to reform ourselves and the lives of our churches by turning again and again to the Word of God to allow it to reform us. Always reforming does not mean allowing our clever insights into the needs of our present world to change the biblical inheritance we have received from the Reformation. It means turning as the Reformers did to the Word of God to allow it to change us.

One way in which we can see the need to reform ourselves is in the arena of Christianity and culture. John Calvin was convinced that the church should influence culture by being legally established by the state and by having the state outlaw false religion. Today, most Reformed Christians believe that the Bible teaches something very different about church and state, about Christ and culture. Many American Christians are understandably concerned about the great moral and intellectual changes taking place in our culture. Decades of secular education, liberal media, and immoral entertainment have combined with other forces to lead many Americans into a post-Christian way of thinking and living. As citizens, American Christians are right to recognize the dangers in these developments and to seek cultural alternatives.

We must be careful, however, not to confuse these cultural concerns with the gospel. The gospel is itself not a cultural program. The gospel certainly has cultural significance and implications. But the Christian gospel can flourish in any culture, from pagan Rome to Islamic theocracy to Communist tyranny. The gospel is the good news that Jesus has fulfilled all righteousness, has conquered sin and death for His people, and is building a new humanity of those who repent and believe.

We learn about that gospel and the life of that new humanity produced by that gospel in the Bible. Always reforming means always returning to the Scriptures to be changed and improved. It is a passion to know, love, and live out the Word of God.

A careful examination of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16–20 illustrates this point for us. This important passage has often been claimed by those who misuse the slogan always reforming to justify their innovative and reductionistic approaches to modern church life. But when we really look at the words of Jesus there, we see clearly that He did not say, “Do whatever will advance the cause of evangelism.” What, then, did He say?

  • First, we see that Jesus in the Great Commission is instructing those who were His disciples and His Apostles, those who worshiped Him even if they had some doubts. He intends to prepare them for the work to which He is calling them. He truly is giving them the program for the church that He wants them to pursue.
  • Second, He makes a clear statement about Himself. The disciples will serve Jesus correctly and faithfully only when they know who He is. He is not just their teacher who died and rose again from the dead. He is supremely the Lord. His resurrection does not just mean that He is alive again but that He is glorified as “ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5). All authority is given to Him so that He can indeed build His church, and no forces, temporal or spiritual, can stand against Him (Matt. 16:18). His authority guarantees the success He intends for His church.
  • Third, the disciples are charged to make disciples. Their commission to make disciples is for all nations. They are not limited to Israel or the Jews but are commissioned to take the good news to the nations. But what does it mean to make disciples, which is another way of asking, what does it mean to preach the gospel correctly? Jesus’ commission has two parts, namely, teaching and baptizing. The Apostles must teach the truth about Jesus to make disciples. The preaching and teaching work of the church and especially its official leaders is necessary for making disciples, according to Jesus. The commissioned disciples must also baptize. The Great Commission requires the sacramental ministry of the church as well as its teaching ministry. Baptism is the sign and seal of the disciple’s new life and new identity in Christ.
  • Fourth, Jesus specifies what the disciples are to teach. This point is particularly important. Jesus authorizes no minimal summary of His ministry. New disciples are not made by selected parts of His teaching. Real disciples want, deserve, and must have all of His teaching. Real disciples are eager for the fullness of the revelation of Jesus.
  • Fifth, Jesus assures His disciples that as they carry out His commission, He will always be with them. His authority and lordship will not forsake them. Success does not need to be manipulated because it is assured by the presence and blessing of Jesus.

The Great Commission is indeed the program by which the church must operate. But we must not use the Great Commission as a slogan to justify any approach to evangelism. Jesus did not commission His church to evangelize according to its wisdom, but according to His teaching. The Great Commission is part of His Word, and it must always reform us.

Sometimes in history, the church goes into very serious decline in doctrine or life and must be reformed thoroughly. At other times, Christians may be frustrated with the rate of growth of the church and assume that some drastic reform is needed. Only a close examination of the Word can help us determine which is true. Where reform according to the Word of God—the whole Word—is needed, we must pursue it vigorously. On the other hand, where the church is faithful, she must persevere patiently and wait for seasons of richer grace from the Lord. Luther said of his reform, “The Word did it.” So, of all good continuing reformation we must say, “The Word must do it.”

This post is adapted from an article originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

October 11, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

7:14. Because the problems we face in our country seem overwhelming, getting a grip on any of them is a big challenge. One aspect of the national landscape in particular shows a steep decline after our government took a stand against the Word of God, under the guise of separation of church and state.

Forty years ago, while Bible and prayer still had an important place in the public school system, teachers reported the following as the major school problems: (1) talking in class; (2) chewing gum; (3) making noise; (4) running in the halls; (5) getting out of line; (6) wearing improper clothing; and (7) missing the wastebasket.

Today, they report a very different set of main problems: (1) drug abuse; (2) suicide; (3) alcohol abuse; (4) pregnancy; (5) rape; (6) murder; and (7) assault. Sounds like the description of a penitentiary instead of a public school!

Talking in class versus drug abuse just don’t compare with one another, do they? And chewing gum versus suicide screams to the world, “SOMETHING WENT WRONG!”

Indeed it has! But God’s Word gives us reason for hope regarding both a nation and a culture in serious moral decline. According to 2 Chronicles 7:14, righting our national ship begins with prayer. God has placed the solution to our country’s woes in the laps of those who acknowledge Him. God’s strategy for change goes something like the following.

First, we must humble ourselves. We agree with God that we are not worthy to be fixed. Although America is the greatest nation on earth, we’re not really that great. We must take personal responsibility for the decline: “Father, my country is in the shape it is because I have not done my part to change it.”

Second, we must pray. We must plead for this land. We must pray for every Supreme Court justice by name. We must pray for our president, for those who counsel him, for the members of the Senate and the House. Get the names of state and local authorities and pray specifically for them also.

Third, we must seek His face. We must seek and desperately want what God wants: “Lord, what can I do? Where do I fit in? Where can I have the most impact for righteousness?” And when God gives us direction, we must follow through on what He is telling us. We must not be merely hearers of His word, but doers (James 1:22)..[1]

7:14 if my people. God’s purpose above all is to forgive his penitent people and heal their land. The specific vocabulary of this verse (humble themselves, pray, seek, turn) describes different aspects of heartfelt repentance and will recur throughout chs. 10–36. “Heal their land” includes deliverance from drought and pestilence as well as the return of exiles to their rightful home (6:38). For the Chronicler, this includes the restoration of the people to their right relationship with God. Cf. Jer. 25:5; 26:3.[2]

7:14 heal their land God’s response in 2 Chronicles is somewhat different from in 1 Kings. While 1 Kings focuses on the faithfulness only of Solomon (1 Kgs 9:4–5), the additional material in 2 Chronicles expresses the need for God’s people to be faithful. This call to return to Yahweh, along with His promise of restoration, would have been especially significant for the Chronicler’s audience of returned exiles.[3]

7:14 if my people. God promised that the nation would receive relief from the hardships caused by their sin if the people would turn to Him in humility and prayer. This promise was especially relevant to the restored community following the Babylonian exile. A number of events in the divided and reunited kingdoms illustrate the principles of this passage (12:6; 13:14; 14:8–15; 18:31; 20:5–19; 32:20; 33:12, 13 and notes). Many times in Chronicles the concepts in this passage appear as the decisive factor for divine blessing and curses.

humble. An attitude of contrition and dependence on God (12:6, 7, 12; 30:11; 33:12, 19, 23; 34:27).[4]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (2 Ch 7:14). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 752). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Ch 7:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 606). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

What Does the Bible Say About the Nature and Power of Angelic Beings? — Cold Case Christianity

There are good reasons to believe in the existence of angelic beings, but our reasoning powers cannot reveal everything there is to know about these beings. God’s special revelation (in the Bible) provides us with the information unavailable elsewhere. The Apostle Paul, for example, acknowledged the existence of angelic beings and wrote about the power and influence they have in the world around us. While we are sometimes tempted to focus on the material forces we can see, Paul reminded his readers there are immaterial forces we can’t see. These non-physical powers are at work all around us; their influence often goes unnoticed because we choose to focus narrowly on the natural, material world:

Ephesians 6:12-13
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The Bible says a battle is raging, even as we read these words. It’s not a battle of flesh and blood. It is an immaterial, spiritual battle of angelic proportion. The Bible describes supernatural beings living alongside the natural realm, and these beings are engaged in an epic battle for the hearts and minds of humans. This unseen angelic world is filled with both angels and demons. God created two kinds of sentient, conscious, rational beings. We are not alone in the Universe. The Scriptures says God also created invisible spirits (angelic beings):

Colossians 1:15-17
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created by Him and for Him.

Hebrews 1:13-14
But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

Some of the creatures are holy angels and some are evil demons:

Luke 7:21
At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He granted sight to many who were blind.

Scripture tells us angels and demons are of the same innate nature. They are of the same order. They are spiritual creatures, created by God with the ability to make free will choices. Demons are simply angels who have rebelled against God:

2 Peter 2:4
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment

Jude 6
And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Demons are created angels who made the choice to submit to their own pride rather than to the will of the God who created them. It appears angelic beings were created at a specific time in history. The entire group was created at once, and there is no reason to believe new angelic beings have been created since. It also appears the dark angels fell at a specific point in time, and no additional angels have fallen. When did this fall occur? One possibility is in the period recorded in Genesis chapter three, after God declared His creation was “very good” and prior to the fall of man. But regardless of when the demons and the angels parted company, one thing is clear: they both share powers greater in many ways than those of humans. That’s why their unseen, immaterial activity is so important (and trumps the material activity we see in our visible world):

They Have Super-Human Knowledge (But Not Omniscience)
Angelic beings are not spatially limited like we are. As a result, they have the ability to exist without physical restraint (and they know more than we do based on their ability to observe without material limitations). But while they may know more than we do, they still don’t know as much as God:

1 Peter 1:12
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Matthew 24:36
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

They Have Super-Human Wisdom (But Not All Wisdom)
Wisdom is different from knowledge. Wisdom comes from making mistakes and learning from these errors. You gain wisdom from either learning from your own mistakes or learning from the mistakes of others. Angelic beings have the advantage of learning from our mistakes as well. They observe many more “life errors” than we do (since they live much longer), so their collective wisdom grows as they watch the errors humans make every day. The angels use this wisdom as they help us, but the demons use this wisdom to better target our weaknesses. The Bible describes angelic beings as ever-present and ever-watchful:

1 Corinthians 4:9
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.

Ephesians 3:10-11
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

They Have Super-Human Strength and Power (But Not Omnipotence)
Angelic beings move between the material, physical world and the immaterial, spiritual realm. As a result, they are able to accomplish more than humans, based on our limited and restricted existence. The Bible describes angelic beings as having great power and strength:

2 Peter 2:11
… yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 103:20
Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.

But notice something in these two passages. Angels (those angelic beings who still love and serve God) make the choice daily to operate only within the will of God. Demons, of course, are another matter entirely (more on that later). But lest you think angelic beings are all powerful, it’s important to remember no created being is more powerful than its Creator. Angels and demons do nothave the same power over nature as doe God:

Psalm 72:18
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.

Angels and demons are an important part of our Christian worldview, although many of us come from traditions that have marginalized the power and influence of angelic beings. It’s important to recognize the existence of these beings, however. Our petitions and prayers must always reflect the involvement of these unseen forces, and even our response to the problem of evil must take angelic beings into account. Tomorrow we’ll examine why God would create angelic beings in the first place.

via What Does the Bible Say About the Nature and Power of Angelic Beings? — Cold Case Christianity

Ukrainian Government Will ‘Happily” Investigate Pro-Hillary Election Interference, President Says | Zero Hedge

“Zelensky insisted that there was “no blackmail…”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country will “happily” investigate whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US elections – telling reporters on Thursday that “we can’t say yes or no” without first looking into the matter. 

Zelensky said that it was in Ukraine’s best interest to determine what happened, according to the Associated Press.

During a July 25 phone call, President Trump asked Zelensky to look into various accusations of Democrat malfeasance in Ukraine, which Trump’s political enemies have seized upon as the foundation of an informal impeachment inquiry against Trump. 

Last month, a CIA whistleblower claimed Trump abused his office by pressuring Zelensky to initiate probes into former Vice President Joe Biden and the election interference claims – suggesting that valuable US assistance was used as leverage. 

On Thursday, however, Zelensky insisted that there was “no blackmail,” telling reporters from AP that he learned that the US had paused nearly $400 million in military aid after the July 25 phone call. 

Trump asked Zelenskiy during the call to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, and Congressional Democrats believe Trump was holding up the aid to use as leverage to pressure Ukraine.

Zelenskiy said he thought the call would lead to an in-person meeting with Trump and wanted the American leader to come to Ukraine. –AP via WaPo

Zelensky’s comments came amid an all-day “press marathon” he’s giving in order to answer questions about current events. 

Election interference?

In an appearance on Fox News in early October, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said: “What I’m talking about, this, it’s Ukrainian collusion, which was large, significant, and proven with Hillary Clinton, with the Democratic National Committee, a woman named Chalupa, with the ambassador, with an FBI agent who’s now been hired by George Soros who was funding a lot of it.” 

Ryan Saavedra


Rudy Giuliani: “What I’m talking about, this, it’s Ukrainian collusion, which was large, significant, and proven with Hillary Clinton, with the DNC, a woman named Chalupa, with the ambassador, with an FBI agent who’s now been hired by George Soros who was funding a lot of it”

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According to The Hill, Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly confirmed that DNC contractor of Ukrainian heritage, Alexandra Chalupa, approached Ukraine seeking information on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s dealings inside the country, in the hopes of exposing them to Congress. 

Chaly says that, at the time of the contacts in 2016, the embassy knew Chalupa primarily as a Ukrainian-American activist and learned only later of her ties to the DNC. He says the embassy considered her requests an inappropriate solicitation of interference in the U.S. election.

The Embassy got to know Ms. Chalupa because of her engagement with Ukrainian and other diasporas in Washington D.C., and not in her DNC capacity. We’ve learned about her DNC involvement later,” Chaly said in a statement issued by his embassy. “We were surprised to see Alexandra’s interest in Mr. Paul Manafort’s case. It was her own cause. The Embassy representatives unambiguously refused to get involved in any way, as we were convinced that this is a strictly U.S. domestic matter.

All ideas floated by Alexandra were related to approaching a Member of Congress with a purpose to initiate hearings on Paul Manafort or letting an investigative journalist ask President Poroshenko a question about Mr. Manafort during his public talk in Washington, D.C.,” the ambassador explained. –The Hill

Chalupa, who told Politico in 2017 that she had “developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives,” said she “occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and Clinton’s campaign.

Giuliani also said that former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, Biden had fired, “dropped the case on George Soros’ company called AntAC,” adding “AntAC is the company where there’s documentary evidence that they were producing false information about Trump, about Biden. Fusion GPS was there,” Giuliani added. “Go back and listen to Nellie Ohr’s testimony. Nellie Ohr says that there was a lot of contract between Democrats and the Ukraine. (via the Daily Wire)

Meanwhile, Ukrainians donated the most cash of any country to the Clinton Foundation between 1999 – 2014, followed closely by Brits and Saudis. 

If Hillary does run again in 2020, her Ukraine ties may be her downfall. 

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ukrainian-government-will-happily-investigate-2016-us-election-interference-zelensky