Monthly Archives: December 2019

December 31 The Challenge to End Well

Scripture Reading: Philippians 1:3–6

Key Verse: Philippians 1:6

… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

A writer once penned a story about Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China. He reported that the government of China commissioned a biography to be written portraying the missionary negatively. Yet the purpose of the assignment backfired: “As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.”

Taylor’s life spoke of God’s goodness beyond the grave. He followed Christ faithfully, and was rewarded for carrying out the mission given to him. This principle encourages Christians to continue living faithful, godly lives that will impact future generations.

The apostle Paul knew that the only real difference that could be made in a person’s life was to introduce him or her to Christ. He performed his duty faithfully until his death, and his testimony endures.

You are challenged to end well so that God’s grace will show itself in you. Just like Paul and Hudson Taylor, people will hear of your faithfulness and they will believe in God. Live in courageous godliness to the end.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving care throughout this past year. Give me courageous godliness so that I can end not only this year properly but my time on earth as well.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Glorify and Enjoy God — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

As we approach the precipice of 2020, it’s essential to remember that to glorify God is not to lead a boring life. It’s actually quite the opposite. To live a life of submission and obedience to God with a goal of glorifying God is to live a life that is not only thrilling, but is one that actually enjoys God himself in the process.

Paul writes these words in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” As we find ourselves at the crossroads of life in this upcoming decade—will we intentionally evaluate such decisions and directions of life to see if we are bringing God glory and honor? As the catechism states:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: To glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Perhaps you are considering some resolution for the upcoming year regarding your health or finances, but have you considered your spiritual life? Have you asked honest questions about what it means to life a life for God’s glory? Before we focus on our waistline or bank account—perhaps we would do better to consider the fact that we have been purchased by God with the high price of Jesus’ blood. Therefore, we do not belong to ourselves. We have a Master that we belong to and we must submit ourselves to him.

What is God’s will for you in 2020? That may be different for all of us in regard to our business, jobs, or ministry work—but one thing remains the same—we are called to glorify God. The focus on glorifying God in our body, as Paul says in his letter to the church in Corinth, is intended to bring to the surface the actions that are precipitated by the inner motives of the heart. It’s the way we put our faith into action. And we must always remember what James said, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26).

So, whatever you find yourself doing in 2020 and beyond—may your decisions and commitments glorify God so that you will not lead a boring and miserable life focused on yourself.

Psalm 19:14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 

via Glorify and Enjoy God — Christian Blogs – Delivered By Grace

December 31 The Journey of Faith

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:8–10

Key Verses: Romans 8:28–29

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

You can’t reach the mountaintop unless you scale its slopes. You can’t reach your destination unless you hazard the journey. That’s what it means to take a step of faith, to risk the comfort of the familiar and trust God to take you to new places. Doing anything less is a form of compromise.

At the beginning of his trip of a lifetime, Abraham could not say with certainty that he understood God’s reasons or methods. But he did grasp God’s good purpose and knew that the only way to live it was to surrender himself to the experience.

In her book Faith: The Substance of Things Unseen, Penelope Stokes describes the value of the risk of faith:

It’s a frightening concept, new birth … to be catapulted like helpless infants into an unfamiliar, perhaps hostile world … to give ourselves over, heart and soul, to the God who calls us out into new life, into new experiences, into deep spiritual waters.

Both before and after my experience of surrender to Christ on September 15, 1970, I can see the hand of God working in my life, drawing me toward spiritual consciousness, leading me on the journey of faith … And all along the way, I see altars of sacrifice, times in which God called me to a new place, a different level of intimacy, continued growth … We must take the risk to go forward as God leads us to new levels of life in the Spirit.

Lord, thank You for being my Guide on this spiritual journey. I rejoice to see how You directed my footsteps during this past year. I face the future in faith and confidence.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Can You Think of An Adequate Analogy or Metaphor for the Trinity? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

In this video, J. Warner joins Stand to Reason’s Amy Hall to answer questions in an episode of #STRAsk. They answer a question submitted through Twitter: Given all the traditional metaphors and analogies given for the Trinity, can any of them be trusted. Should any of them be used when teaching new Christians? Which analogy is best? Be sure to subscribe to Stand to Reason’s great lineup of podcasts.

via Can You Think of An Adequate Analogy or Metaphor for the Trinity? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

December 31 The Good News About Death

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1–9

Key verse: Acts 2:28

You have made known to me the ways of life;

You will make me full of joy in Your presence.

Christianity is the only religion in the world that has the final word on death. While other belief systems hypothesize about death, leading to such mysterious offerings as reincarnation, Christianity alone presents a clear and compelling portrait that is defined in the death and resurrection life of Jesus Christ.

Lawrence Richards writes,

In view of the varied and terrible meanings that Scripture ascribes to death, it would be wrong to think of Jesus’s death as a mere biological event. When the Bible teaches that Jesus suffered and tasted death (Hebrews 2:8), a full experience of all that death involves is implied … Death is the direct result of sin. And the fact of death testifies to the overwhelming importance of a personal, obedient relationship to God.

The dying Christian has the calm assurance that biological ending is nothing but a new beginning. When our earthly tent is destroyed, we go to be with the Lord “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again from the dead. His resurrection is a historical fact, verified by the testimony of the Scriptures. It was impossible for death to reign over Him (Acts 2:28).

The last word about death is good news for Christians.

O Lord, thank You for taking the fear of death from me. I praise You that when my earthly tent is destroyed, I will be in Your presence.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 382). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

When The Gospel Is Marginalized There Is Always An Agenda — The Heidelblog

Over the past decade a floodwater of cultural change in our country has occurred, leaving a massive impact on the church in America. Twenty years ago, there was a push to address the issue of mercy ministry and evangelism in our churches. Much of this was, no doubt, a helpful corrective to a perceived deficiency in local churches.

Today, the loudest voices speak incessantly about issues related to social justice, intersectionality, and human flourishing. Time will most certainly tell whether this was a needed corrective or a toxic corrosive for the church. Movements and organizations spring up almost as fast as they whither. The leaders of many social and para-ecclesial syndicates wish to influence the church in such a way that the church will embrace the obligations they press on her.

When I sit back and read the deluge of thoughts and opinions online about what the church ought to be doing, I sense a noticeable lack of focus on the Gospel. In the many Twitter rants that recur on a daily basis, there is a discernible deficiency with regard to Scripture and the Gospel. Any intellectually honest assessment of the content of so much that is bandied about on the Internet must necessarily lead to the conclusion that people are bored with the Gospel.

Either they don’t believe that it is “the power of God unto salvation for those who believe,” or they have convinced themselves that the Gospel is simply one among many messages that ought to take front seat in the message and ministry of the church. In either case, the only conclusion we can draw from the fact that the preaching of the Gospel is no longer the center of gravity in the message and ministry of many churches in our day is that people don’t believe the Gospel works. They are not astonished by the glory, majesty, unspeakable greatness of the message of Christ crucified and risen.

Nick Batzig, Are You Bored With the Gospel?

via When The Gospel Is Marginalized There Is Always An Agenda — The Heidelblog

Climate Prediction Swings & Misses: A Decade Of Alarmist Strike-Outs, 2010-2019 | ZeroHedge

Authored by Anthony Watts via,

Climate alarmists think they are always right, and when they aren’t… they just move the goalposts ahead 10 years. Our friend Willis Eschenbach calls itserial doomcasting“.

Some perspective:

“What historians will definitely wonder about in future centuries is how deeply flawed logic, obscured by shrewd and unrelenting propaganda, actually enabled a coalition of powerful special interests to convince nearly everyone in the world that CO2 from human industry was a dangerous, planet-destroying toxin.

It will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world – that CO2, the life of plants, was considered for a time to be a deadly poison.” ~ Richard Lindzen

What follows are climate predictions forecast to come true during the 2010s – one for each year.

A few timely missed predictions for 2020 are also added as a bonus feature.

Source: Climate Prediction Swings & Misses: A Decade Of Alarmist Strike-Outs, 2010-2019

John Brennan has committed treason, says counter-terror expert | WND

A former FBI counter-terrorism agent contends John Brennan, the director of the CIA for Barack Obama, committed sedition and “I would argue treason.”

The charges come from John Guandolo, the founder of Understanding the Threat, an organization that trains and consults with federal, state and local leaders and agencies “to defeat the jihadi threat.”

In an interview with Jamie Glazov on the “Glazov Gang,” Guandolo said, “I think if you’re going to stand beside John Brennan like a number of people have and they’ve officially put their names on a list, your putting yourself in the enemy camp.”

He continued: “John Brennan what he’s guilty of is sedition, and I would argue treason. This isn’t something that happened in the last two years. He’s made an entire adult life time of this.”

Guandolo noted that Brennan admitted voting for the Communist Party candidate in the 1976 election, Gus Hall.

“And then you look at the organizations he has supported,” Guandolo said. “Numerous Muslim Brotherhood jihadi organizations in the U.S. that he’s supported, and his behavior toward our system and toward the leadership, specifically the president of the United States.”

Guandolo graduated in 1989 from the U.S. Naval Academy and took a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1996, he began working at the FBI’s Washington headquarters.

He worked in the Counterterrorism Division, developing an expertise in the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic doctrine, the global Islamic Movement and terrorist organizations, including Hamas and al-Qaida.

He was declared an Islam subject matter expert in 2006, and he eventually created the FBI’s Counterterrorism Training Program, focused on the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic doctrine.

Brennan, since leaving the CIA, has been a severe critic of President Trump. The New York Times reported U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating Brennan’s role in the 2016 election, seeking his emails, call logs and other documents.

The federal prosecutor wants to find out what Brennan told other officials, including former FBI Director James B. Comey, about his and the CIA’s views of the debunked Steele dossier’s assertions about Russia and Trump associates.

The Times noted Trump has accused Brennan of being part of a “deep state” cabal that tried to sabotage his campaign.

Durham is also examining whether Brennan privately contradicted his public comments about the dossier and Russian interference, including in May 2017 testimony to Congress.

Sorry about the ‘bad information’

Brennan, now a CNN commentator, has accused Trump of treason, alleging he was an agent of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

But he was forced to backtrack when special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that there was no collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign.

Brennan told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” at the time: “I don’t know if I received bad information, but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was.”

The Washington Post reported that in August 2016, Brennan requested a meeting with President Obama after compiling claims of Russian interference in the election.

That same month, Brennan briefed then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid about the Steele, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Reid then transmitted some of the information in a letter to the FBI.

Brennan already has been investigated for testifying falsely under oath before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier played no role in the intelligence community’s much-touted conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Brennan further declared he did not know who commissioned the dossier, even though senior national security and counter-intelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year it was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Brennan has been accused of lying on other occasions.

After Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., accused the CIA of spying on members of the Senate by hacking into computers used by her intelligence committee’s staffers, Brennan said, “Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on [the committee] or the Senate.”

However, a CIA inspector general’s report found the CIA was indeed spying on the Senate, and Brennan was forced to privately apologize to intelligence committee members.

Brennan also claimed in a 2011 speech that there had not been “a single collateral death” from U.S. drone strikes because of their “exceptional proficiency [and] precision.'”

However, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that one U.S. drone strike alone had killed 42 Pakistanis, “most of them civilians.”

Brennan is regarded as the architect of the now debunked Trump-Russia collusion claim. But he apparently doesn’t understand the foundational premise of the American justice system, innocent until proven guilty.

In an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he said “people are innocent, you know, until alleged to be involved in some kind of criminal activity.”

Zerohedge featured journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Twitter post on Brennan’s statement.

Greenwald wrote, “With sincere apologies in advance to all U.S. liberals who are offended by criticisms of former CIA chiefs, @JohnBrennan’s understanding of the presumption of innocence is completely warped, but in the most unsurprising way imaginable:”

Zerohedge explained: “The presumption of innocence, as a foundation of the U.S. judicial system, has seemingly been under attack since November 8th 2016. An allegation is made, media runs with the narrative, the seed of possibility of guilt is implanted in the minds of zombie Americans, and the accused is maligned forever – no court required. Simple. And now, none other than former CIA Director John Brennan clarifies exactly how the deep state sees ‘due process’…”

Source: John Brennan has committed treason, says counter-terror expert

Some of the Biggest Stories From 2019 — Stand Up For The Truth

What are some of the top news stories of 2019 from a biblical Christian worldview? David and Crash discuss as many as possible on today’s podcast! From all of us at Stand Up for the Truth and Q90 FM, have a great new year! 2020… Wow!

Olive Tree Ministries founder, author Jan Markell states:

Another year draws to a close, and anyone who is discerning the times, knows that headlines today are a herald of His coming. …The spirit of Antichrist is alive and well; Breaking news can be distressing or it can be a warning, as Bible prophecy warns us in advance of things to come. The news cycle really didn’t disappoint in 2019, although few sources report things accurately!

For a Breakpoint commentary on moral relativism and the drag queen movement, John Stonestreet stated:

Ultimately, we’re witnessing the de-civilizing of our society, a sickening illustration of how bad ideas create victims. No culture wakes up and just decides to exploit its children, but the decades-long process of re-defining human beings according to our sexual ideologies rather than their God-designed dignity is what brought us here.

SCRIPTURES mentioned

Matthew 24:3-8, 24:11-14, 24:35-39;  2 Timothy 3:1-13, 2 Peter 3:3, Mark 13:33-37

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
19 “Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

STORIES highlighted today

The genocide of Christians in Muslim countries, author Joshua Harris, Hillsong artist Marty Sampson renouncing their faith, New York’s radical abortion law and the celebration of killing babies, Big tech (Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.) censoring Christian or conservative content, and the Decline of Christianity (PEW) continuing at rapid pace.

The conversion of Kanye West, shooting in Texas church where guns, security saved lives; the NEA (National Education Ass’n) annual meeting promotes perversion, progressive agenda; climate change, Greta Thunberg and adolescent activism; Trump and Obama most admired men.

ARTICLES referenced:

Another Incredible Year – Jan Markell

Top Ten Stream Posts of 2019

Media Refuses to Report on Slaughter of Christians

Teen Vogue: Most Explicit Material Aimed at Children

Kanye West, Former Blasphemer, now Brother

Top Ten Reformation Charlotte Articles of 2019

Do Trump’s personal flaws negate the good he has done?

“That the editor of Christianity Today thinks the president’s personal flaws, whatever they might be, are more important than all the good he has done for conservatives, for Christians, for Jews, for blacks and for America tells us a lot … about Galli and the decline of Christian moral thought.” Dennis Prager

Christianity Today No Longer Speaks for Evangelicals

Doctrines of Demons, I Mean, Democrats

Stanger Things: Top Ten Blogs of 2019 (Sean McDowell)

Drag Queen Invasion Part of LGBT Roll Out

The State of Public Education in 2019 (Duke Pesta)

via Some of the Biggest Stories From 2019 — Stand Up For The Truth

IRD’s Top 10 Evangelical News Stories of 2019 — Juicy Ecumenism

In the year 2019, we saw some unforgettable religion headlines. News stories ranged from the tense divide between Evangelicals over President Trump to a surprising celebrity convert.

It’s also been a busy year of religion news here at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. As is our mission, IRD staff reported on hundreds of challenges facing the Church at home and abroad in hopes of renewal.

As I’ve done in years past, I dug back through the IRD’s archives to find out what stories specific to the Evangelical program resonated most with our readers. Here are our top 10 most-read Evangelical news stories of the past year:

1.) Author Joshua Harris Denounces Christianity

In July, well-known relationship and sexual purity author Joshua Harris, best known for his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” announced that he is no longer a Christian and planned to divorce his wife. Guest writer Abri Nelson responded to the news and suggested where we go from here. I argued that it is better for Harris to denounce the faith altogether (and hopefully temporarily) than to distort it and mislead another generation of young Evangelicals.

2.) Paula White and Concerns Over Ministry Nepotism

President Donald J. Trump’s spiritual advisor and non-denominational televangelist Paula White officially stepped down as senior pastor of her Apopka, Florida megachurch, New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC). She has pastored NDCC since 2012 and made the unexpected announcement to her 10,000-member church in May. White raised eyebrows when she announced the installment of her son as a successor. Read more here.

3.) What Are America’s Largest Seminaries in 2019?

In August 2016, I set out to understand the state of Protestant seminaries in the United States by evaluating student enrollment among accredited schools. The results revealed that students seeking training for church ministry were overwhelmingly attracted to orthodox, evangelical Protestant institutions. Meanwhile, the smallest accredited Protestant seminaries in the nation included three Episcopal seminaries and two Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) seminaries.

What of those rankings today? I wondered if there have been any significant changes in attendance at America’s largest Protestant seminaries over the last four academic years. And what of those small, progressive seminaries? How have they fared over the last three years? Had they seen miraculous growth or a continued decline? Learn more here.

4.) The Passing of Christian Author Rachel Held Evans

Sadly, on May 4, progressive Christian author Rachel Held Evans died after severe swelling of her brain. She leaves behind a toddler son, baby daughter, and husband Dan. May God comfort their aching souls as they mourn the loss of Rachel.

I offered a brief reflection here.

5.) Why the Red Letter Christian Movement Is Not Growing

Tony Campolo called his Red Letter Christian (RLC) movement “embryonic” and assessed, “we just can’t get this thing off the ground” during a gathering at Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, North Carolina on October 2, 2019. The gathering was part of RLC’s #GoldsboroRevival, hosted alongside the Rev. William Barber II and Repairers of the Breach.

During the revival, Campolo, who co-founded the RLC movement with Sojourners editor Jim Wallis fifteen years ago, offered a few interesting explanations for why he believes the RLC movement has yet to gain prominence in the United States. I report more here.

6.) Mark Galli and Christianity Today’s New Impeachment Orthodoxy

Evangelical gatekeepers at Christianity Today argue that impeachment of the President “is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.” Guest writer Keith Pavlischek takes issue with this new statement of faith in his response here.

7.)  Nadia Bolz-Weber Asserts Life Begins at Breath

During an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, Nadia Bolz-Weber, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor-turned-public theologian, argued: “life began with breath.” She claimed:

[F]or a very long time, the Judeo-Christian thought held that life began with breath. In Genesis, it says that God breathed into dust to create humanity, that that was the moment that we had a living soul


So this idea of life and breath being connected is something that people can sort of hold on to, if they still have an attachment to Judeo-Christian thought, and still allow for, hey, women need to be able to have the decision around family planning and whether they’re going to go through with a pregnancy or not.

Read the whole story here.

8.) “Sort-Of Socialist” Church Pastor Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Buzzfeed News reported on a “quasi-socialist” Baptist church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that is fighting the “ills of capitalism” by paying off the debt of its congregants and community members.  John Thornton Jr. is one of three co-pastors at Jubilee that the piece glorifies:

He’s a classic extrovert who thrives on more conversations, more coffee meetings just to chat. But he’s funnier, and far less dorky-dad, than your typical youth pastor. He’s also a raging socialist who wrote his first divinity school paper on how the church should focus on debt forgiveness, and he hasn’t shut up about it since.

He is also accused of “abusive sexual behavior via online” by a young woman, the INDY Week reports. The woman alleges Thornton pressured her to send him nude photos, undress for him via a FaceTime video connection, and engage in sexual conversations. Read on, here.

9.) Urbana 18 Speaker Dismisses God’s Holiness in Sermon to Students on “Holy, Holy, Holy”

At Urbana 18, students learned to denounce capitalism, apologize for Christianity, set aside the doctrine of justification, and exchange God’s holiness for pantheism. IRD Intern Joshua Arnold reported on activist Danielle Strickland’s irreverent and syncretistic interpretation of Revelations 4. Read Joshua’s report here.

10.) What Should We Make of Kanye West’s Christianity?

Hip Hop artist Kanye West declared himself a born-again Christian while visiting Washington, D.C., on October 12. “I’m not here for your entertainment,” West said during Howard University’s Homecoming. “We’re here to spread the Gospel.”

In a video published by the entertainment site TMZ, West is heard directing the audience’s attention to Philippians chapter 2 before adding, “Excuse me if I mispronounce anything, I’m a recent convert. Means I recently got saved within this year.” One clip shows West reading Ephesians 4:9, and in another, he is heard discussing Mark 1:15, which he called one of his favorites verses.

Continue reading here.

via IRD’s Top 10 Evangelical News Stories of 2019 — Juicy Ecumenism

James White, Rosaria Butterfield, And The Secret Changing Of Minds — Christian Research Network

“Here, I am obligated to speak some common sense into James’ life and help him with the discernment he is sorely lacking.”

(JD Hall – Pulpit & Pen) In my previous post on this subject, I entitled it A Brief Condescension to James White and explained that his defenses for Rosaria Butterfield are so embarrassingly bad the man is hardly worth responding to at all.

White claimed that Butterfield’s positive referencing of heretics was merely part of a “bibliography.” When I pointed out that Butterfield drew from these books her perspectives on Same-Sex Attraction in the body of the book and that list they were later mentioned in it was not a bibliography but a list of “recommended reading.”…

James went on to mock and deride me for not knowing what a bibliography is, saying that “recommended reading is just a less-scholarly, nicer way of saying “bibliography.” He then asked me in front of his foam-mouthed, frenzied Facebook toadies who lather him up with daily adoration and praise if I had noticed that the Recommended Reading list was nothing but a list of works cited in the book.

Of course, James was wrong. Most of the books in Butterfield’s Recommended Reading list are not mentioned in the book. That’s because it’s matter-of-factly not a bibliography. This is a list of toxic, profane, sodomite books and authors recommended by Butterfield both in the list and inside the book itself. She credits them with helping to shape her thought. View article →




James White

via James White, Rosaria Butterfield, And The Secret Changing Of Minds — Christian Research Network

Putin Calls Trump To Thank Him For Helping Russia Thwart Terrorist Attack — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump on Tuesday said Russian President Vladimir Putin called to thank him for helping Russia stop a terrorist attack.

“President Putin of Russia called to thank me and the U.S. for informing them of a planned terrorist attack in the very beautiful city of Saint Petersburg. They were able to quickly apprehend the suspects, with many lives being saved. Great & important coordination!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Putin called Trump late Sunday and thanked him for information that helped foil the terrorist attack. The Kremlin released a readout on the conversation between the leaders, saying Trump and Putin “discussed a range of issues of mutual interest.” On Monday, Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley issued a statement on Monday, saying, “President Vladimir Putin of Russia called President Donald J. Trump to thank him for information the United States provided that helped foil a potential holiday terrorist attack in Russia.”

Tass, Russia’s state news agency, released this statement about the planned attack:

Two Russian nationals plotting terror attacks in Russia’s second largest city St. Petersburg during the New Year holidays have been detained by officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) thanks to the information shared by the United States, a FSB spokesman told TASS on Sunday.

“On the basis of information provided earlier by the American partners, Russia’s Federal Security Service on December 27 detained two Russian nationals who had planned to commit terror attacks in places of mass gathering in St. Petersburg during the New Year holidays,” he said.

According to the spokesman, materials evidencing preparation of terror attacks were seized from the men. A criminal case was opened on charges of preparing a terror attack (part 30, article 205 of the Russian Criminal Code) and participating in a terrorist organization (article 205.1 of the Russian Criminal Code).

“Russian news agency Interfax reported that the Federal Security Service distributed a video showing one of the detained men allegedly swearing an oath to the Islamic State,” the Washington Post wrote.

via Putin Calls Trump To Thank Him For Helping Russia Thwart Terrorist Attack — The Gateway Pundit

Pontifical Biblical Commission In The Vatican Publishes New Book Saying That The Sin Of Sodom Was A ‘Lack Of Hospitality’ And Not Homosexuality — Now The End Begins

In what many see as an effort to normalize homosexuality in the Catholic Church, the Vatican has released a new book that reduces the sin of Sodom to “a lack of hospitality.”

There has been a lot of changes in 2019 in the Roman Catholic Church, wrought by the Vatican, with perhaps the biggest two changes being the creation by Pope Francis of the One World Religion of Chrislam, and the massive preparation to welcome the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile Movement into the RCC. We even showed you how the Vatican helped fund the Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ complete with the first-ever gay male sex scene in a major Hollywood film. But in order to fully welcome the LGBTQ+ into the Roman Catholic Church, the biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah needs to be purged of its convicting truth about the homosexual lifestyle, and the Vatican has done exactly that with a release of a new book.

“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” Genesis 19:4-7 (KJV)

Now I will grant you, the homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah were no panty-waisted sissies, not by a long shot, and I can easily see in the Genesis 19 account that they had a lack of hospitality to a very high degree, but that was not their sin. Nope. Their sin was same-sex marriage, male sodomy and everything else that goes along with the gay lifestyle that God condemns in both Testaments. This is why Pope Francis has requested this new book to be published by the Vatican in order to entice the LGBTQ+ to come into the Roman Catholic Church. He has spent years wooing them and this new book will be the cherry on top of the end times sundae he has been building. Take a look:

2020 will be a year of great change, tremendous upheaval and prophetical events will be in the spotlight, that’s the type of year I personally see coming and the type of new year that I am personally preparing for. I hope you all will continue to stand with me on the front lines of the end times, and help me to use this great and powerful global platform that is Now The End Begins to warn the lost of coming judgment, and to call the saints to action. Flight #777 is nearly full but there’s still a few seats left. Get yourself some NTEB Gospel Tracts and hand out boarding pass to someone in your life, and urge them to get on the plane while time remains. I’ll see you here, there…or in the air. Keep looking up.

Vatican publishes new book reducing ‘sin of Sodom’ to ‘lack of hospitality’ and not homosexuality

FROM LIFE SITE NEWS: “The story about the city of Sodom … illustrates a sin that consists in the lack of hospitality, with hostility and violence towards the stranger, a behavior judged to be very serious and therefore deserving to be sanctioned with the utmost severity,” the new book asserts.

Sources consulted by LifeSite described the book’s treatment of the sin of Sodom as “utter banality” and “obviously ridiculous.” One theologian exclaimed, “Thank God this stuff isn’t magisterial.”

The new volume, titled What Is Man? An Itinerary of Biblical Anthropology (Che cosa è l’uomo? Un itinerario di antropologia biblica), was released on December 16 by the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) and endeavors to examine the scriptural understanding of the human person. Jesuit Father Pietro Bovati, secretary for the Pontifical Biblical Commission, said the work was carried out at the express wish of Pope Francis.


With a preface by Cardinal Luis Ladaria, S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the volume is composed of four chapters: The human being created by God (ch. 1); The human being in the garden (ch. 2); The human family (ch. 3); and the human being in history (ch. 4).

Its 10-page treatment of homosexuality comes in chapter three, in a section entitled “transgressive ways” that also includes incest, adultery, and prostitution.

The treatment on homosexuality begins by affirming that “the institution of marriage, constituted by the stable relationship between husband and wife, is constantly presented as evident and normative through the entire biblical tradition. There are no examples of legally recognized ‘unions’ between persons of the same sex.”

The commission then notes the emergence, particularly in the West, of “voices of dissent” with respect to the “anthropological approach of scripture, as understood and conveyed by the church in its normative aspects.”

The authors continue:

All this is judged to be a reflection of an archaic, historically conditioned mentality. We know that various biblical affirmations, in the cosmological, biological and sociological spheres, have been gradually considered outdated with the progressive affirmation of the natural and human sciences; similarly — it is deduced by some — a new and more adequate understanding of the human person imposes a radical reservation on the exclusive value of heterosexual unions, in favor of a similar acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual unions as a legitimate and worthy expression of the human being. What is more — it is sometimes argued — the Bible says little or nothing about this type of erotic relationship, which should therefore not be condemned, also because it is often unduly confused with other aberrant sexual behavior. It therefore seems necessary to examine the passages of Sacred Scripture in which the homosexual problem is the subject of homosexuality, in particular those in which it is denounced and criticized.

This paragraph has been misquoted in the media to make it seem as though the PBC endorses positions whose existence it merely notes. However, in noting the existence of these radical dissenting voices, it positions itself rhetorically between them and the traditional teaching of the Church. Therefore, the document is certainly not without blame in this question, as it is employing a rhetorical strategy to move the perceived teaching of the Church toward the radical gender ideology of our day, without attempting to reverse the whole of that distance in a single bound.

An informed source in Rome commented on the book’s treatment of homosexuality, saying: “This book is utter banality, which is evidenced first and foremost in the fact that it can be abused by everyone.”

Sodom’s inhospitable mob

While the Pontifical Biblical Commission cannot straightforwardly be accused of simply endorsing the positions voiced above, it certainly goes a long way in insinuating them, particularly in its treatment of the sin of Sodom.

The commission in fact examines several Old and New Testament passages (Gen. 19, Judges 19, Lev. 18:22 and 20:13). The analysts preface their examination, noting that “the Bible does not speak of the erotic inclination towards a person of the same sex, but only of homosexual acts.”

Doom Town, the story of Sodom

Turning to the “sin of Sodom” and the city’s total destruction by divine justice for a “wickedness” beyond remedy (Gen 19:1–29), the biblical commission asks: “But what was Sodom’s sin, that deserved such an exemplary punishment?” The authors observe that “in other passages of the Hebrew Bible which refer to Sodom’s guilt, there is no allusion to a sexual transgression practiced against people of the same sex.” Instead, they note, these passages (Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:49) speak of “betrayal,” of “adultery,” and of “pride.”

The commission concludes that a “significant [Old Testament] biblical tradition, attested by the prophets, has labeled Sodom (and Gomorrah) with the emblematic, but generic, title of the evil city.” But, they argue, at the dawn of the New Testament (particularly 2 Pt 2:6–10 and Jude 7), in the second century, a “different interpretation” of the sin of Sodom began to emerge and became the “customary reading” of the biblical account.

“The city of Sodom is then blamed for an unseemly sexual practice called ‘sodomy,’ consisting of the erotic relationship with people of the same sex,” the commission writes.

The PBC continues: “This would seem to have, at first sight, a clear support in the biblical narrative. In Genesis 19 it is said, in fact, that two ‘angels’ (v.1), hosted for the night in Lot’s house, are besieged by the ‘men of Sodom,’ young and old, the whole population (v.4), with the intention of sexually abusing these strangers (v.5).”

Turning the traditional understanding of the sin of Sodom on its head, the Pontifical Biblical Commission then makes this claim: “The story, however, is not intended to present the image of an entire city dominated by irrepressible homosexual cravings; rather, it denounces the conduct of a social and political entity that does not want to welcome the foreigner with respect, and therefore claims to humiliate him, forcing him to undergo an infamous treatment of submission.”

Confident in their interpretation, the commission members write: “This way of reading the story of Sodom is confirmed by Wisdom, (19:13–17) where the exemplary punishment of sinners (first Sodom and then Egypt) is motivated by the fact that they had shown a deep hatred towards the foreigner.” READ MORE

via Pontifical Biblical Commission In The Vatican Publishes New Book Saying That The Sin Of Sodom Was A ‘Lack Of Hospitality’ And Not Homosexuality — Now The End Begins

The rise of the ‘Nones’: Growing percentage of Americans reject organized religion | Fox News

The ‘Nones’: What explains the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans?

“The rise of the ‘nones’. Why is it happening?” FOX News contributor and Fox Nation host Tom Shillue asked a panel of experts on “Deep Dive.”

Shillue was referring to new Pew Research Center polling that shows that more Americans than ever before say that they are not connected to any religious faith. The Pew survey, conducted in 2018 and 2019, found that the percentage of the U.S. population that described themselves as “religiously unaffiliated” had risen to 26%, up from 17% in 2009. At the same time, the percentage of Americans describing themselves as Christians has declined 12 percentage points over the past decades.

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“First of all, I think the best way to understand ‘nones’ is ‘none of the above’ because that’s usually how the question is asked,'” said Fox News contributor, theologian and ethicist, Jonathan Morris, a former priest. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Much worse would be ‘I don’t believe in anything.’ That’s not really what this study says.”

In fact, Pew Research Center has noted that among those who identify as “religiously unaffiliated” in their survey, “many… believe in God.”

“It’s not ‘I don’t believe in God,'” continued Morris. “I remember when I was working down in lower Manhattan, which is a very young population. There were so many young adults who would come and say, ‘my parents aren’t really practicing anything’, but they grew up as Presbyterian or Catholic and they didn’t give me anything. And they were kind of ticked off. And they were saying, ‘I want something.’ So none of the above is not necessarily all that bad.”

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Fox News chief religion correspondent Lauren Green said that she spoke to one theologian who attributed the rise of the ‘nones’ to the “breakdown in the family.”

“It’s the family unit where you normally play out your faith, where you get your morals, your ethics because it’s lived out in that sense. And you’ve got a high divorce rate. You’ve got kids are growing up with no center in their family. And so they’re looking for other things to do to fill that void,” she added.

Shillue asked the panel if the apparent proliferation of atheist books could be interpreted in a positive way because it indicated that people are searching for meaning in life.

“This whole cottage industry of atheistic activism… influences people, I think, in a negative way,” said Morris.  “It substitutes the search for real meaning by saying ‘I am committed to’ almost ‘I belong to’ the religion of atheism… And I think in the end, there’s going to be a lot of people asking the same question that people have asked for millennia. That is, ‘who am I? Where am I going? Let’s figure this out.’ And that will never end.”

Most Popular Articles of 2019 — The Master’s Seminary Blog

At The Master’s Seminary Blog, our writers have covered a range of topics this year – from biblical theology to hermeneutics, apologetics, missiology, and much more. We hope this year has been as helpful to you as it has been to us. As we prepare for another year ahead, we wanted to pause and remind you of your favorite posts from this year.

Our earnest prayer is that our blog would lead you to treasure Christ more dearly as revealed in His word. Thank you for being part of the TMS family.

A Theology of Addiction -21. Enslaved: A Theology of Addiction

by John Street

Can you ever truly be free of addiction? The answer is yes, because you are enslaved, not addicted. And there is always hope of liberation.

Read Article>>

Meaning and Scripture-22. What Does This Verse Mean to You? 

by Brad Klassen

In everyday life, we understand well that meaning is rooted in its source. But we are not always consistent, especially when it comes to the Bible.

Read Article>>

Thoughts for Those3. Thoughts for Those Considering the Call to Ministry

by Jerod Gilcher

The call to ministry is not the voice in your head that says “go,” but the multiplicity of voices in a local church that train you to treasure Christ.

Read Article>>

Mistaking4. Mistaking the Voice of Man for the Voice of God

by Brad Klassen

It is far too easy to mistake the voice of man for the voice of God. Our lives depend upon being able to tell the difference.

Read Article >>

How to Study Well-25. How to Learn Well

by Paul Twiss

In an age saturated with distraction and information, how does a theology of the image of God inform the way we learn?

Read Article>>

Should We Interpret the Old Testament Like the Apostles?-16. Should We Interpret the Old Testament Like the Apostles?

by Brad Klassen

Did the apostles adhere to a grammatical-historical hermeneutic when reading the Old Testament? And are we supposed to follow them?

Read Article>>

Can I Adapt the Gospel Message?7. Can I Adapt the Gospel Message to Make Evangelism Easier?

by Mike Riccardi

When we preach the gospel, can and should we mold the message to fit into our present cultural moment?

Read Article>>

Humility and Helpfulness-18. Humility and Helpfulness: Learning to Think Well and Love Others

by Jack Smith

When we stop spending our time thinking about ourselves and how others perceive us, it is amazing the ways we can use our brain to serve others.

Read Article>>

Glasses-29. Objectivity and the Interpretation of Scripture

by Brad Klassen

What is the relationship between the single meaning of a text and how it impacts a range of believers in various stages of life?

Read Article>>

How Not to Preach Yourself on the Mission Field 10. How to Not Preach Yourself on the Mission Field

by Mike Riccardi

How much should a missionary adapt his life and message to the surrounding world in order to reach the lost?

Read Article>>

via Most Popular Articles of 2019 — The Master’s Seminary Blog

December 31, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

19–24 In stark contrast, the tone changes in the very next breath. The poet confesses that in spite of the natural response to such devastating calamities, he chooses to foster a confident expectation in Yahweh. The Hebrew syntax of v. 20 uses the intensifying infinitive plus the cognate finite verb to emphasize that the experience of affliction and uprootedness is unforgettable: literally, “I certainly remember.…” Further, the certain recollection invites depression: “My soul is downcast within me.” Nevertheless, the stanza ends (v. 21) on a note of hope. The poet points to the choice of whether to focus on the calamity itself and be buried in self-pity, or on God’s character and his promise and, once again, on the confident expectation that doing so engenders (cf. v. 18).

The “this” in v. 21 that the lamenter chooses to recall points ahead to the next three-verse stanza. The grounds of this confident expectation are the many manifestations of God’s ḥesed (GK 2876)—his “loyal love”—and rāḥamîm (GK 8171)—“compassions”—which never expire or wear out. To the contrary, they are constantly being renewed. Addressing God directly, the poet confesses, “Great is your faithfulness/steadfastness.” It is because of these characteristics, he declares, that “we are not consumed” (v. 22).

He finishes the stanza by reflecting on the practical application of this truth: the locus and content of trust are often expressed over time and under trying circumstances. The poet’s choice of words invites the first audience to reflect on the significance of saying, “Yahweh is all I have—and all I need.” His use of the expression “the Lord is my portion” draws his audience back to the narrative of the book of Numbers, where Aaron and his priestly descendants are told that while the rest of the family would receive a “portion” of the land as an inheritance, they would not. Rather, Yahweh told them, “I am your share [portion] and your inheritance”—that is, you have me! (Nu 18:20). And for the third time in this poem, the outcome of confident expectation is emphasized: “Therefore I will [confidently] wait for him.” Thus ends the first part of the poem that speaks in the first person singular.[1]

3:22–24 / Het. The eighth stanza is the most optimistic of the entire poem. Indeed, it is the most optimistic of the entire book. The fact that it is found in the middle indicates that while hope is present, it is neither the beginning nor the final thought. The pain is still too fresh and the end is not yet in sight. Even so, this stanza, though brief, indicates that the poet is has not completely abandoned himself to hopelessness.

The first line (v. 22) initially strikes one as odd. After all, the poet has repeatedly expressed the sentiment that his/their suffering is deep and pervasive. The destruction is nearly total. But here the poet acknowledges that though he and those he speaks of are deeply afflicted, they are still there. They are not completely consumed, and he attributes this to God’s grace as expressed in his khesed (covenantal love) and his rekhem (compassion). Psalm 77 is the poem of a desperate person who attributes his suffering to God. He accuses God of betraying his khesed and rekhem in verses 8–9. The poet in Lamentations sees the fact that anyone survived the debacle as evidence of God’s love and compassion.

Not only do God’s love and compassion not wear out, grow weak, or vanish over time, they are new every morning. That is, they are renewed as vital as ever before. In addition, verse 23 introduces yet a third quality of God’s covenantal love toward his people, his faithfulness (ʾemuna). This word refers to God’s persistence in his relationship with his people. God is often praised as displaying faithfulness in the Psalms (33:4; 92:2 [3]; 143:1).

Because of God’s love, compassion, and faithfulness, the poet, on behalf of the community, expresses his willingness to wait for him. Now things are bad, but God will make them good again. The metaphor of portion comes from land distribution. Joshua 19:9 refers to the land allotted to the tribes as their portion and associates the word with the word “inheritance” (nahala). The Levites had God as their special portion (Deut. 10:9), since they did not receive land, and now the man of affliction on behalf of the community lays claim to the same type of relationship.[2]

3:22 Because of the Lord’s great love. The word hesed, stressing God’s faithful and loyal covenant/relational love, stands at the front of the verse and is plural. The NIV’s “great” is implied. This plural construction of hesed is fairly rare, occurring only five times in the Old Testament. In some of these texts it refers to actions or deeds resulting from this covenant love: “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised” (Isa. 63:7); “do not blot out what I have so faithfully done” (Neh. 13:14). If this is the nuance, then it is God’s faithful loving actions (plural) and his compassions (plural) that are new (plural) every morning (3:23).

we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. The words translated as “consumed” (tamam) and “fail” (kalah) are practically synonyms, both meaning “to come to an end” or “to be completely finished.” The NIV translation correctly understands the subject of tamam as “we,” although several other translations understand the subject to be God’s hesed. The nuance is “We have not come to an end because his compassions have not come to an end.” The word translated as “compassions” conveys warm, emotional, tender care like that of a mother for her newborn. The term probably refers to what God does (“acts of compassion”) and not just what he feels. The stressed aspect of God’s tender, compassionate acts is their continuity; they never cease or stop. This is what gives hope in the midst of an otherwise hopeless situation. The term “new” refers to a fresh renewal of God’s acts of faithful love and compassion.

3:23 great is your faithfulness. The word translated as “faithfulness” connotes firmness, reliability, steadfastness, or fidelity. This line is a summary of the three lines above. God is incredibly trustworthy, as is seen through his repeated and renewed acts of faithful love and compassion.

3:24 The Lord is my portion. The word translated as “portion” is used of the portions created when either splitting up captured spoils of war or splitting up land for inheritance purposes. Although both meanings fit the context (spoils of Jerusalem carried off by Babylonians; all land inheritance lost), the reference probably is to the lost land inheritance. Having lost his land inheritance, the speaker turns to God as his inheritance—an inheritance that cannot be lost.

therefore I will wait for him. The word translated as “wait” (yahal) is the same word translated as “hope” in 3:21 and “wait” in 3:26. The noun form of this word occurs in 3:18, translated as “hoped.” This word implies an enduring expectant hope.[3]

3:19–24. Jeremiah’s condition was parallel to Judah’s. His outward affliction (v. 19a; cf. vv. 1–4) and inward bitterness (v. 19b; cf. vv. 5, 13, 15) pushed him toward despair—he was bowed down (v. 20). However, his hope was sustained by recalling (surely my soul remembers) God’s loyal covenant love and His deep compassion for His people. There are two possible interpretations of v. 22 based on the textual variants. The Masoretic text has a first person plural verb of the Hebrew verb for “complete” (tamam) yielding the translation “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish” (HCSB and similarly, KJV, NKJV, NIV). However, the various ancient texts (LXX, Syriac, Aramaic) have an alternate reading with a third person plural verb of the same Hebrew verb, yielding the translation the Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease (NASB and similarly, ESV, RSV, NET). This variant reading is preferred because of the strong external support and the internal evidence of the synonymous parallel statement that follows, for His compassions never fail.

The Lord was punishing Judah for her sin, but He did not reject her as His covenant people. The word lovingkindnesses is chesed, a word describing God’s special characteristic of “loyal love” to those with whom He is in a covenant relationship (Dt 7:9, 12). Further, God’s “loyal love” is frequently linked with His forgiveness and mercy (Ex 34:6–7; Ps 103:4). Despite the Lord’s judgment, which resulted in sorrowful conditions, God would never abandon the people whom He had chosen. The covenant He made with Abraham (Gn 12:3) and confirmed with Isaac and Jacob (Gn 26:1–5; 28:4) was an unconditional, unbreakable covenant (Jr 31:35–37). The Sinai covenant made with Israel (Dt 28) had not been abrogated. In fact, God’s loyal love could be seen in His faithfulness in carrying out the consequences (curses) of the Sinai covenant. He had promised judgment for disobedience, while at the same time preserving a remnant of the people. This judgment on Jerusalem itself testified to God’s faithfulness and was proof that He had not abandoned His people. God’s never failing compassions (His gentle feeling of concern for those who belonged to Him) were still evident.

Could Judah push God so far that He would finally abandon her forever? Was God’s supply of loyal love and compassion limited? Jeremiah’s answer was, “No!” God’s lovingkindnesses are new every morning (Lm 3:23). God offered a fresh supply of loyal love every day to His covenant people, based on His character and covenant keeping faithfulness to Israel. He was faithful to discipline them for their sin because of His great love for them. He had not abandoned them or terminated His relationship with them despite their sin, and those who repented of their sin experienced His love, even in the midst of judgment. For Jeremiah and the faithful remnant living through the days of judgment, God’s presence and comfort were new every morning. Today those who love the Lord Jesus, but are going through difficult times, can daily experience the love and faithfulness of God’s presence and care by trusting Him, spending time in prayer, reading Scriptures, and staying in the fellowship of others who love and serve the Lord. Much like the manna in the wilderness, the faithful supply of God’s love could not be exhausted. This truth caused Jeremiah to call out in praise, Great is Your faithfulness (v. 23). Because of this, Jeremiah resolved to wait for God to act and bring about restoration and blessing. He could trust God despite his circumstances because he understood the inexhaustible supply of God’s loyal love.[4]

Truth remembered (21–24)

But there is another kind of memory. It is the deliberate, determined, teeth-gritting decision to call something to mind. It is an action of the will, not a reaction of the emotions. It is a conscious and difficult choice: ‘I will think about this.’ That is the flavour of the remarkable verse 21—which though it is the last line of a stanza of negative remembering (19–20), becomes the first line of a glorious positive affirmation and the turning point of the whole chapter. ‘Nothing is heavier than one’s head when one is struggling; raising one’s eyes requires great effort. Yet such effort is exactly what is called for here. The man takes himself in hand. He makes a decision, voluntarily affirming his faith, and acts with resolution and determination.’

This,’ says the Man, with powerful contrasting emphasis, ‘This I call to mind’ (21). But call to mind feels a little too weak. The Man says (Heb.) ‘This I cause to return to my heart’. The heart in Hebrew is the seat not so much of the emotions as of the mind and will. The Man does not just happen to remember something. He makes it come back into his conscious thinking, so as to change his whole perspective. This is something he knows that he knows, and he knows that he needs to get it back into his thinking right now. Sometimes it takes a very emphatic act of will to remember what we already know, when everything in our present experience threatens to deny it and overwhelm us.

Something similar happens in the middle of Psalm 73. The author has been lamenting the prosperity of the wicked and the seeming futility of trying to live a godly life when all you get is daily afflictions (Ps. 73:1–14). But then, as we say in Northern Ireland, he catches himself on. He knows that he is thinking wrongly and if he were to voice his thoughts it would be a betrayal (v. 15). So he goes to the place of worship, into the presence of God, and ‘then I understood’ (v. 17). There is no apparent change in his circumstances, but a radical reversal of his perspective. So the psalm can confidently end where it falteringly began, by affirming the goodness of God (vv. 1, 28).

Something like that happens when the Man chooses to remember this. The hope that he thought had abandoned him forever reappears: therefore I have hope. The contrast between the end of verse 18 and the last word of verse 21 is astonishing. What can he have remembered that lifts a man who says he has lost all he ever hoped for into a place where he can say I have hope? What is the this that emphatically opens verse 21?

The opening words of verse 22 are the dramatic answer. In fact, they seem to be the intended object of what he calls to mind in verse 21: ‘This is what I call to mind … YHWH’s acts of faithful love!’

This is what happens, you see, when you let YHWH’s name into the text, even by the back door—as he did at the end of verse 18. Once utter the Lord’s name and you cannot help remembering the multiple proofs of his covenant love. After all, it is how YHWH proclaimed his own identity at the start of Israel’s journey with God

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God,

slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness …

That journey seemed to have come to an end in the darkness and death of 587 bc and exile. But if YHWH was still God, then it surely could not be the end. For the character of the Lord God must be as eternal as God himself. And that is what verse 22 affirms in a beautiful chiastic structure:

This I call to mind


Verse 23 turns this reality into a daily-renewed reminder, new every morning, and comes full circle back to the greatness of God’s faithfulness.

These verses (22–23), resonating as they do with harmonics from all over the scriptures, are deservedly famous. It is grievous that they suffer from being so often extracted from their context in the midst of the surrounding pain of the whole book of Lamentations. But ironically, they are often quoted and sung in the midst of personal suffering and danger by believers who may know nothing of what our Poet describes—the horrors of 587 bc—but who do know personal or community suffering (illness, bereavement, poverty, persecution, war, dislocation, disaster, etc.). So, in the devotions and songs of multitudes of believers ever since, the sustaining truth at the heart of the Man’s memory becomes embedded again in surrounding trauma, bringing a transforming perspective and renewed hope.

Lamentation is not the sole response of those who believe and are broken.

Or better—Lamentation also, though rarely and tentatively—smiles.

As here. Come, urges the poet, walk with me out of the night. God is still God, the promise holds firm.

Indeed, so psychologically and spiritually powerful is this new act of remembering that the Man forgets for a moment his self-absorption with the suffering that God (‘He …’) has afflicted on him and speaks directly to that same God—great is your faithfulness. He has not done this before. Lady Zion has addressed God, but the Poet has only ever spoken of God in the third person. ‘For the first time in the poem, he addresses God directly, as though God had been his silent audience all along and he knows he can turn and make contact with the divine Eavesdropper.’30

When he turns to more prolonged prayer in the second part of the chapter, it will be in a somewhat different tone. But when we get there we should not forget that the confession, protest and appeals that we will hear there are grounded on the solid affirmation of faith here: YHWH is the known and remembered God of proven covenant love, compassion and faithfulness—no matter what he has done, or has not yet done. All his actions must be viewed within that light, even if it strains our theology to the limits (as it will).

So the Man talks to himself yet again. In verse 18 (so I say …), he had voiced his utter loss of future and hope. Now, with his perspective transformed by what he has forced back into his mind, he can say something very different: I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’ (24). ‘I will wait’ is the verb of the same root as the lost ‘hope’ of verse 18. ‘Hope springs eternal’, but only when its focus is on the eternal Lord God.[5]

22–24. Hope because of God’s faithfulness! Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed … The well-known Hebrew word ḥesed (great love) is used in the plural here. It refers to God’s covenantal love, his deeds of kindness towards his people. This verse declares that God has not made a complete end to his people (the plural we is used), despite their terrible plight, because he is still a God of compassion and ‘loving kindness’ (echoing Exod. 34:6–7). God’s great and loyal love and his compassion enfold Israel’s existence just as these words literally enfold the words in between in verse 22, thus forming a chiasm, with the second part reading ‘not to an end come his compassions’ (for ‘compassion’ see also Jer. 31:20).

Verse 23 states that God’s compassions are new every morning. Every day presents a new opportunity to experience a fresh outpouring of God’s great love and compassion, as well as his faithfulness, his steadfast consistent loyalty (cf. Ps. 92:2 where the first word is ḥesed and the second faithfulness, as in Lam. 3:23). The poet speaks of God as his portion (v. 24), a term used in the context of receiving a part of the Promised Land. The Hebrew word is translated as share in Deuteronomy 10:9 and Joshua 19:9, and is used in conjunction with the word inheritance. In several of the psalms, it is used as a metaphor for God as the psalmist’s highest treasure (see Pss 73:25–26; 142:5, where he is clinging to God in the midst of distress). The speaker resolves to wait for God; the verb also appears in verses 18 and 21, translated as hope.[6]

3:22 This verse seems to contradict all that had been written up to this point (2:1–5). Yet the fact that there was a prophet left to write these words and a remnant left to read them show that not every person in Jerusalem had been consumed. The fact that there was a remnant at all was due to the mercies and compassions of God. Even in His wrath (2:1–4), God remembers to be merciful.

3:23 new every morning: Every day presents us with a new opportunity to discover and experience more of God’s love. Even in the midst of terrible sorrow, Jeremiah looked for signs of mercy. Great is Your faithfulness: Here is the heart of the Book of Lamentations. The comforting, compassionate character of God dominates the wreckage of every other institution and office. God remains “full of grace and truth” in every situation (Ex. 34:6, 7; John 1:14).

3:24 The Lord is my portion: This expression is based on Num. 18:20, in which Aaron was denied an inheritance in the land but was told instead that the Lord Himself was his portion and inheritance. The same idea is also found in Pss. 16:5; 73:26; 119:57; 142:5. I hope in Him: Hope is not a wishful thought, but a confident expectation in Lord. The Hebrew verb rendered hope suggests the idea of a “waiting attitude” (v. 21).[7]

3:22 — Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

Do you know the Lord as trustworthy, reliable, and consistent? Or do you question whether God will be there for you in your hour of need? From cover to cover, the Bible proclaims, “God is there, and He cares!” He never abandons us.


Lam. 3:23, 24

God’s people have only one way to face life: confidently. After all, He loves us, has saved us from eternal death, and is committed to guiding us through every moment of life. God wants us to live confidently—but too often we allow feelings of personal inadequacy and unworthiness to derail our confidence.

The apostle Paul lived through horrendous circumstances—rejected by his Jewish peers, stoned, abandoned for dead, ridiculed, ignored, and often beaten and imprisoned for his devotion to Christ. But Paul continued to maintain a confident hope, right up to the very end. How did he manage this?

When the apostle did not think he could face another day, he recalled one simple truth: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). He focused on his Lord, just as Jeremiah had: “Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!” ’ (Lam. 3:23, 24).

The classic hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness expands on this important idea. Next time you sing it, don’t miss the wonder of it: God is faithful and does not change (Heb. 13:8). In this one truth we find our reason for hope and unwavering confidence. God’s unchanging nature teaches us that even when we feel unlovely, we remain beautiful to Him. We can do nothing to change His love for us—it is unconditional and flows freely from His throne of grace.

If God decided to change who He is, then every promise He has made would be in jeopardy. He would become untrustworthy. But the legacy of God is this: He loved us unconditionally yesterday, and He loves us with the same love today and tomorrow.

Do you trust Him? Have you experienced a strong assurance that comes from placing your faith in His unfailing love? Roll the burden of your heart onto Him and you will discover that you too can sing, “great is Thy faithfulness.”

See the Life Principles Index for further study:

  1. God assumes full responsibility for our needs when we obey Him.

Roll the burden

of your heart

onto Him.

Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (La 3:22–24). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles. 3:22 lovingkindnesses. This Heb. word, used about 250 times in the OT, refers to God’s gracious love. It is a comprehensive term that encompasses love, grace, mercy, goodness, forgiveness, truth, compassion, and faithfulness.

3:22–24 His compassions never fail. As bleak as the situation of judgment had become, God’s covenant lovingkindness was always present (cf. vv. 31, 32), and His incredible faithfulness always endured so that Judah would not be destroyed forever (cf. Mal 3:6).

3:23 Great is Your faithfulness. The bedrock of faith is the reality that God keeps all His promises according to His truthful, faithful character.[8]

3:22 God’s steadfast love (his “covenant mercy” or beneficial action on his people’s behalf) never ceases, even in the face of Judah’s unfaithfulness and the resulting “day of the Lord” (cf. Joel 2:1–2; Amos 5:18; Zeph. 1:14–16). mercies. Or “compassion.” This type of mercy goes the second mile, replacing judgment with restoration. never come to an end. God is willing to begin anew with those who repent.

3:23 new every morning. Each day presents another opportunity to experience God’s grace. faithfulness. God’s covenantal fidelity and personal integrity remain intact no matter what happens.

3:24 my portion. As with the Levites (Num. 18:20), God is the speaker’s only inheritance (see Ps. 73:26). says my soul. This is what the speaker remembers in Lam. 3:21. I will hope in him. God daily offers fresh opportunities for reconciliation (cf. v. 18).[9]

3:22 steadfast love. On the Hebrew word (ḥesed) see Ps. 36:5 note. The plural form, used here, recalls many acts or perhaps the riches of divine love.

mercies. God’s covenant devotion is always joined with His compassion, a term of profound emotion. We are not consumed because God’s compassion is not consumed. God’s wrath toward His people will end because His compassion cannot end (4:22; Hos. 11:8).

3:23 every morning. God’s love will bring the morning of salvation (Ps. 90:14; Mal. 4:2; Luke 1:78).

faithfulness. The unqualified reliability of God makes Him worthy of faith (Hab. 2:4).

3:24 my portion. This phrase recalls the territorial allocations to the Israelite tribes. The priests and Levites, who were landless, had the Lord as their portion (Num. 18:20; cf. Ps. 73:26).[10]

[1] Ferris Paul W., J. (2010). Lamentations. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah–Ezekiel (Revised Edition) (Vol. 7, p. 618). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Longman, T., III. (2012). Jeremiah, Lamentations. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 368–369). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Hays, J. D. (2016). Jeremiah and Lamentations. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 343). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[4] Dyer, C. H., & Rydelnik, E. (2014). Lamentations. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (pp. 1195–1196). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Wright, C. J. H. (2015). The Message of Lamentations: Honest to God. (A. Motyer & D. Tidball, Eds.) (pp. 110–113). England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[6] Lalleman, H. (2013). Jeremiah and Lamentations: An Introduction and Commentary. (D. G. Firth, Ed.) (Vol. 21, p. 357). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[7] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 951–952). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[8] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (La 3:22–23). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[9] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1487). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1138). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

Tulsi Gabbard Defends ‘Present’ Vote; Warns Impeachment Will Backfire | ZeroHedge News

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) has taken flack from the left after voting “present” during last week’s formal House impeachment vote, and now says that the process may only “embolden” President Trump and increase his chances of reelection (which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned about before she caved to her party).

“I think impeachment, unfortunately, will only further embolden Donald Trump, increase his support and the likelihood that he’ll have a better shot at getting elected while also seeing the likelihood that the House will lose a lot of seats to Republicans,” said Gabbard in a Saturday interview with ABC News in Hudson, New Hampshire.

Gabbard also told CBS News that impeachment may allow Republicans to regain the majority in the House after the 2020 election.

Gabbard — a 2020 president candidate — noted that the prospect of a second term for Trump and a Republican-controlled House is a “serious concern” of hers, adding that she’s worried about the potential ramifications that will be left if Trump is acquitted.

She told ABC News that it could leave “lasting damage” on the country as a whole.

The Democratic congresswoman — who is known to be an outspoken critic of her own party — was the lone lawmaker to not choose a side on impeachment, and has faced intense criticism for her choice. –ABC News

Gabbard defended her decision to vote present, calling it an “active protest” against the “terrible fallout of this zero sum mindset” between Democrats and Republicans. She told ABC News that her vote was “not a decision of neutrality,” and that she was indeed “standing up for the people of this country and our ability to move forward together.

Source: Tulsi Gabbard Defends ‘Present’ Vote; Warns Impeachment Will Backfire

50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe — The Economic Collapse

One of the best ways to determine where things are heading is to look back at how much has changed over the past 12 months.  2019 has been one of the most memorable years in our history, and it has certainly set the stage for the critical events of the decade to come.  However, not everyone views this moment in our history the same way.  For example, one “expert” that is being heavily quoted by the mainstream media is claiming that 2019 was the culmination of “the best decade in human history”.  His main argument seems to be that since “the ecological footprint of human activity” appears to be shrinking, the world must be a better place than it was before as a result.  And certainly there are many other voices out there that are boldly proclaiming that we have entered a golden new era of peace and prosperity and that the best is yet to come.  You can buy that argument if you want, but there are other voices that believe that everything that is wrong with our society is reaching a very dangerous crescendo.  For those with that perspective, it appears that we are very close to a societal tipping point and that the years ahead are when we will finally pay the price for decades of exceedingly bad decisions.

So what do you think?

Will the 2020s be the best of times or the worst of times?

As you ponder that question, here are 50 numbers from 2019 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 According to a Gallup poll that was just released, Barack Obama and Donald Trump came in tied for “the most admired man in America” this year.  They both got 18 percent in the survey, and no other man had more than 2 percent.

#2 At 10 percent, Michelle Obama topped the list in the Gallup poll for “the most admired woman in America” this year.

#3 Global stocks have increased in value by more than 25 trillion dollars over the past 10 years.

#4 In the United States, 84 percent of all stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

#5 The U.S. government is now more than 23 trillion dollars in debt.

#6 During the Obama and Trump administrations, we have added more than 12 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#7 Over the past 12 months alone, we have added another 1.1 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#8 Every single hour of every single day, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans.

#9 According to the IMF, total global debt has now reached the 188 trillion dollar mark.

#10 U.S. corporations are now close to 10 trillion dollars in debt.

#11 Total corporate debt has now reached 47 percent of U.S. GDP.  That is the highest level in our history.

#12 Total U.S. household debt is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark.

#13 A study that was recently released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially right now.

#14 The average family in the United States cannot afford to buy a home in 71 percent of the country.

#15 58 million jobs in the United States pay less than $793 a week.

#16 According to the Social Security Administration, 50 percent of all Americans make less than $33,000 a year.

#17 63 percent of the jobs that have been created in the United States since 1990 have been low wage jobs.

#18 Roughly 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity.

#19 70 percent of Americans “have cried about money”.

#20 A recent survey found that more than two-thirds of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession”.

#21 According to the most recent government figures, 24.6 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the last 30 days.

#22 If you can believe it, 46 percent of all Americans have taken at least one legal pharmaceutical drug within the last 30 days.  That is almost half the country.

#23 A New York woman named Alexa Kasdan recently went to see her doctor because she had a cold and a sore throat.  Her insurance company was billed $25,865.24 for the visit.

#24 Americans spend more than 140 billion dollars a year treating cancer.

#25 If you are an American woman, there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.

#26 If you are an American man, there is a 1 in 2 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.

#27 Over the past decade, the suicide rate among young Americans has risen by 56 percent.

#28 The suicide rate for the overall population increased by 41 percent between 1999 and 2016.

#29 One survey has discovered that 15-year-old students in China are almost four full grade levels ahead of 15-year-old students in the United States in mathematics.

#30 A different survey discovered that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.

#31 According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults, a whopping 88 percent of all Americans believe that the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year.

#32 48 million Americans still have holiday debt from last year.

#33 23 percent of all U.S. children live with a single parent.  That is the highest rate in the entire world by a wide margin.

#34 Today, approximately 40 percent of all babies in America are born to unmarried women.

#35 The U.S. fertility rate has fallen 15 percent since 2007 and is now at the lowest level ever recorded.

#36 One very alarming survey found that the average American spends 86 hours a month on a cellphone.

#37 The average person will watch more than 78,000 hours of television programming over the course of a lifetime.

#38 Today, almost half of all homeless people in the entire nation live in the state of California.

#39 Over half of all California voters have considered leaving the state.

#40 According to an American Bar Association survey, only 38 percent of all Americans know that the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land.

#41 58 percent of American adults under the age of 35 agree that some version of socialism “would be good for the country”.

#42 Almost one-third of all U.S. Millennials are still living with their parents.

#43 According to the Pew Research Center, only 65 percent of Americans now consider themselves to be Christians.  That is the lowest level ever recorded.

#44 The bird population of North America has declined by 3 billion since 1970.

#45 Scientists are telling us that at the current rate of extinction, nearly all insects could be gone “in 100 years”.

#46 African Swine Fever has already killed one out of every four pigs in the world, and many experts believe this crisis is still in the very early stages.

#47 Within the last 365 days, there have been approximately 37,000 earthquakes of at least magnitude 1.5 in the United States.

#48 The upcoming election is a “significant source of stress” for 56 percent of U.S. adults.

#49 A survey that was conducted a couple of months ago found that 67 percent of all Americans believe that we are “on the edge of civil war”.

#50 The final full moon of this decade was on 12/12 at precisely 12:12 AM eastern time.  And it turns out that it was also exactly 6,666 days from 9/11.

via 50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe — The Economic Collapse