Daily Archives: December 12, 2019

December 12 Stopping Short of God’s Plan

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1–10

Key Verse: Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What would you think of a marathon runner who, only fifty feet from the finish line, decided to stop running without completing the course? How much esteem would you attribute to a football player who stopped five yards from the end zone? In the world of sports, fans rarely applaud half-hearted efforts. Instead, crowds cheer for those who defy all obstacles in their pursuit of victory.

The Christian life is like a sporting event in many ways. For this reason, the apostle Paul referred to one’s spiritual life as a “race” five times throughout his epistles. This race takes preparation, determination, and diligence, and it requires completion.

Ephesians 2:1–10 lays out God’s plan for His children. First, God demonstrates amazing patience toward sinful people. Second, He extends His saving grace to those who seek Him. For many people, these two steps are all that matter.

However, the third part of God’s plan is just as vital. The third step is to accept the responsibility that comes with salvation. While salvation cannot be attained through good works, a godly change in character is essential to the Christian life.

Have you allowed the grace of God to change your outward behavior, or have you stopped short of God’s plan for your life? Pray for God’s strength as you strive to finish the race.

Lord, I don’t want to stop short of Your plan. Give me divine strength to finish my race in victory.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 363). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The True Nature of Eyewitness Testimony Explains the Differences in the Gospels (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

In this video, recorded as part of the Cold-Case Christianity Course at Southern Evangelical Seminary, J. Warner Wallace describes the nature of eyewitness testimony. Given the reality of eyewitness testimony, why would anyone be surprised about the degree to which the gospels differ? For more information about Southern Evangelical Seminary, please visit their website: http://www.ses.edu.

via The True Nature of Eyewitness Testimony Explains the Differences in the Gospels (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

December 12 Beyond Ourselves

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 1

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:12

Our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

Many secular books and talk shows feature individuals who have made a comeback of some kind. Men and women who were once trapped in a bad situation dug themselves out of despair through sheer willpower and made themselves what they are today.

Many say something such as, “I just reached within myself to discover a strength I didn’t know I had. When you understand how much power you really have, how much potential is locked within, you can release an inner force that helps you be successful.”

Does this lingo sound familiar? It is the cry of modern man depending on himself and making himself the measure of all things. These speakers don’t discuss, however, what to do when this self-generated energy runs out, when the problem gets too big for simple do-it-yourself answers. Human effort and power go only so far.

Can you imagine the apostle Paul saying that he had survived merciless beatings and shipwreck and public rejection through his own willpower? Absolutely not. Instead, Paul said this: “Our proud confidence is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you” (2 Cor. 1:12 nasb). This is your one sure hope as well.

Precious heavenly Father, I can’t do it in myself. I don’t have the energy or the wisdom. My confidence is in You. I am depending on Your power.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 363). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 12 A Role Reversal

Scripture reading: Luke 16:19–31

Key verse: Hebrews 9:27

As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

What a role reversal! The poor man who once begged bread beside the rich man’s table is with God forever, and the rich man is in perpetual torment in Hades. It’s quite a stark image.

Jesus wasn’t emphasizing the difference between rich and poor, however. He was calling attention to the decisions they made in life. The rich man was so caught up in his wealth that he had no concern for his spiritual well-being. Even the presence of the poor man at his gate was not enough to stir his conscience and move him to compassion.

The verse that is the most gripping in this whole sad scene is the one in which the rich man cried out to Father Abraham for relief. Abraham replied, “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can these from there pass to us” (Luke 16:26).

In other words, there were no more chances. The rich man’s place in Hades was permanent and unchanging. His chance to make a decision to seek God was when he was still alive, and he turned a deaf ear. Part of his torture was living with eternal regret.

Are you putting off thinking about God until a better time? That “better time” might not come. Jesus is waiting to hear from you right now—don’t put off the decision any longer. Ask Him to come into your heart.

Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Prepare me for eternity. Give me hope for the future.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 363). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Poll Finds Most People Would Rather Be Annihilated By Giant Tidal Wave Than Continue To Be Lectured By Climate Change Activists — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—A new study found that most people would rather be annihilated by a giant tidal wave caused by climate change than continue to be lectured by climate change activists.

Study participants were given the option of having the earth flooded by massive tidal waves or listening to virtue-signaling, smarmy lectures by environmentalists for the next decade. Over 87% of respondents selected, “Bring on the tidal wave.” A few people said they’d rather take the lectures, but after hearing a few minutes of the lectures, quickly changed their minds. Several respondents rushed straight to the ocean, arms outstretched, and asked the sea to take us all.

“Come, sweet death,” one man scrawled on the survey response form after hearing just 30 seconds of a Greta Thunberg lecture. “O, sweet release that ends my suffering on this mortal plane! Embrace me in your salty arms, great wave of destiny.”

“Honestly, between Greta and the climate change, I’ll take the climate change,” said one man in Minnesota. “Heck, it’s Minnesota, don’t ya know. We could use a little warming. But even if it turns out to be catastrophic — I’ll take the tidal wave.”

Fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and bees also polled higher than the activists.

via Poll Finds Most People Would Rather Be Annihilated By Giant Tidal Wave Than Continue To Be Lectured By Climate Change Activists — The Babylon Bee

Ratcliffe: Obama Admin Asked Foreign Governments to Investigate Candidate Trump

Ratcliffe argued that Trump asking Ukraine to investigate “wasn’t just appropriate, it was absolutely the president’s constitutional duty.”

Source: Ratcliffe: Obama Admin Asked Foreign Governments to Investigate Candidate Trump

Trump asked 50 Christian leaders to cram into the Oval Office & pray for him | WND

In the midst of a difficult impeachment fight, President Donald Trump asked 50 Christian leaders to come into the Oval Office and pray for him last week.

According to The Christian Post, the group included worship leaders and Christian music artists — most notably Brian Houston, founder of Hillsong Church.

Fox News reported that the event was organized by Paula White-Cain, the president’s spiritual adviser. She’s also the leader of the White House’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

“Here I am at the White House. Never say never,” Houston said in an Instagram video from outside the White House.

View this post on Instagram

WHITEHOUSE! #neversaynever

A post shared by Brian Houston (@brianchouston) on

“It is a great honor to go into the Cabinet Room and even into the Oval Office to pray for the president of the United States of America.”

In a separate Twitter video posted to the White House’s Twitter account, Houston said the visit was not only praying for a strong America but one that would “help freedom of religion.”

“As an Australian, I really believe that we need a strong America in the world,” Houston said.

“With America strong, the world is a better place. What a great opportunity it’s been to see some of the initiatives that are happening to help freedom of religion and to just see, generally, the great spirit in the White House with people who are optimistic about the future.”

“All 50 of us crammed into the Oval Office. He sat at his desk and he said, ‘pray for me,'” Sean Feucht, a worship leader with the influential worship group Bethel Music, told Fox News.

When was the last time you heard of a president wanting prayer that much?

Feucht is running for Congress in California’s 3rd Congressional District. He’s also known for traveling to some of the countries that have seen the worst persecution of Christians.

“We just laid our hands on him and prayed for him. It was like a real intense, hardcore prayer. It was so wild,” Feucht said, according to Fox.

“I could not believe he invited us in. That he carved out time to meet with us.”

The group also prayed for an hour in the Eisenhower Building, with Bethel Music among the many musicians providing worship leadership.

For those who were in the Oval Office last week, this wasn’t about supporting cultural conservatism in American politics — at least publicly.

“To me, it is not about politics. It is about the position,” Houston said.

“[A]nd a significant man like the president of the United States could use all the prayer we could possibly give him.”

Nashville-based worship leaders Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes were equally effusive about meeting the president.

“The thing that moved me the most was just how everyone is so for making sure we’re changing people’s lives and not leaving those that are marginalized and those that have been trafficked … They’re working to end these things and change these things,” Jobe said.

Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed the gathering, also shared his take on the meeting.

“Wonderful stopping by a worship leaders briefing today at the @WhiteHouse!” he wrote in a Twitter post. “America is a proud Nation of believers and our Administration will always defend the freedom of religion of every American, of every faith!”

Of course, there’s going to be plenty of noise about the president surrounding himself with members of the faith community as impeachment is coming to a head. One remembers how Bill Clinton become suddenly close to the Rev. Jesse Jackson as impeachment became an inevitability.

However, Trump isn’t a president who’s particularly fearful of the outcome of the impeachment trial. If anything, he seems to be looking forward to it. This is a guy who seems genuinely invested in having these faith leaders pray for him.

That’s a huge change in the White House. It’s also a favorable one — no matter what the liberal media will want to tell you. Worship of God in the White House is never a bad thing.

Oh, and just in case you needed more reason to love this, the Freedom From Religion Foundation says it’s “investigating” the event.

“Welcoming a group of Christian Nationalists to carry out a governmental ‘takeover’ is deeply disturbing, since it shows a contempt for the foundational American principle of state-church separation,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor, said in a statement. “It should alarm every citizen.”

Actually, strip away the fear-inducing “Christian Nationalist” and “takeover” rhetoric, and basically it means the group thinks Americans should be alarmed that the president is asking religious believers to pray for him.

It should alarm us more if he didn’t.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Source: Trump asked 50 Christian leaders to cram into the Oval Office & pray for him

How Should The Senate Deal With An Unconstitutional Impeachment By The House? | ZeroHedge News

Authored by Alan Dershowitz via The Gatestone Institute,

If the House of Representatives were to impeach President Trump on the two grounds now before it, the senate would be presented with a constitutional dilemma.

These two grounds – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – are not among the criteria specified for impeachment. Neither one is a high crime and misdemeanor. Neither is mentioned in the constitution.

Both are the sort of vague, open-ended criteria rejected by the framers.

They were rejected precisely to avoid the situation in which our nation currently finds itself.

  • Abuse of power can be charged against virtually every controversial president by the opposing party.
  • And obstruction of Congress – whatever else it may mean – cannot extend to a president invoking privileges and then leave it to the courts to referee conflicts between the legislative and executive branches.

Hamilton feared that vague criteria would allow a majority of the House to impeach a president from the opposing party just because they had more votes than the president’s party. He called that “the greatest danger.” Madison worried that open-ended criteria, such as “maladministration” would give Congress too much discretion and power, and turn our republic into a parliamentary democracy in which the chief executive serves at the will of the legislature. To prevent these dangers, the framers settled on criteria with well-established meanings: treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The House Democrats are simply ignoring these words and this history, because they have the votes to do so. They are following the absurd notion put forth by congresswoman Maxine Waters that when it comes to impeachment “there is no law,” and the criteria are anything a majority of the House wants it be, regardless of what the constitution mandates. This lawless view confuses what a majority of congress can get away with (absent judicial review) with what the constitution requires. It places Congress above the supreme law of the land, namely the constitution.

Were Congress to vote to impeach President Trump on the two proposed grounds, its action would be unconstitutional. According to Hamilton in Federalist 78, any act of Congress that does not comport with the Constitution is “void.” This view was confirmed by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison and is now the law of the land.

So, what options would the Senate have if the House voted to impeach on two unconstitutional grounds? Would it be required to conduct a trial based on “void” articles of impeachment? Could it simply refuse to consider unconstitutional articles? Could the president’s lawyer make a motion to the Chief Justice — who presides over the trial of an impeached president — to dismiss the articles of impeachment on constitutional grounds?

This is uncharted territory with little guidance from the Constitution or history. There are imperfect analogies that may be informative. If this were an ordinary criminal case, and a grand jury had indicted a defendant for a non-crime (say, having gay sex) or an unconstitutional crime, the trial judge would be obliged to dismiss the indictment and not subject the defendant to an unconstitutional trial. Impeachment, however, is not an ordinary criminal proceeding. So, the analogy is not directly on point. But impeachment by the House is similar in many ways to indictment by a grand jury, and a removal trial by the Senate is similar to a criminal trial, including being presided over by a judge.

  • It is entirely possible that the president’s lawyers may file a motion seeking dismissal of the impeachment as unconstitutional. It is impossible to predict whether such a motion would be entertained and if so, how it would be decided.
  • Another option would be for the president’s lawyer to seek judicial review of the House’s unconstitutional action. Despite the fact that the Constitution says that the House shall be the “sole” judge of impeachment, two former justices have opined that there might be a judicial role in extreme cases.
  • The most likely option for the president — and the one hinted at by White House sources — is for the Senate to conduct a scaled down trial focusing on the constitutional defects in the articles of impeachment. No fact witnesses would be called: that would turn the proceeding into a he said/she said conflict with no clear resolution. Only legal arguments — neater and quicker — would be presented before a vote was taken.

Whichever option is pursued, the ultimate outcome seems clear: the Senate will vote to acquit President Trump. Regardless of the outcome, the damage will have been done by the House majority that will have abused its power by weaponizing the House’s authority over impeachment for partisan purposes — exactly as Hamilton feared.

Source: How Should The Senate Deal With An Unconstitutional Impeachment By The House?

The GOP’s Four-Point Defense Of Trump Is Devastating — The Federalist

Rep. Jim Jordan and other GOP House members presented four specific facts refuting the Democrats arguments for impeachment.

The GOP’s Four-Point Defense Of Trump Is Devastating

During Thursday’s mark up of the articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee, Republicans unveiled a four-point defense of President Trump that is stunning in its simplicity and blows massive holes in the Democrats allegations of abuse of power. Essentially the Democrats are accusing Trump of shaking down Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky by withholding aid and demanding announcement of investigations, including one involving Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

To this, the central charge in the articles of impeachment, Rep. Jim Jordan and others presented four specific facts. First, both Trump and Zelensky say there was no pressure applied. Second, the transcript does not indicate Trump making any demands or setting any conditions. Third, Ukraine was not aware that the aid was delayed. And fourth, aid flowed without any announcement of investigations. Taken together, these four defenses have more than enough weight to crush the Democrats’ case, but lets look at them one by one.

The fact that Zelensky says on the record that he did not feel pressure from Trump is an important one that has been widely ignored. As Rep. Matt Gaetz argued, there can’t be a shake down if the person being shook down has no idea its happening. Unless Zelensky is lying, the entire case against Trump just disappears.

Democrats on Thursday, as they have before, but more vehemently so, said that of course Zelensky must be lying. He needs American aid so he is lying to stay on the good side of the president. Setting aside the fact that the Democrats making this claim have no evidence to support it, it also undermines the credibility of Zelensky, one of the very things they accuse Trump of doing.

As to the transcript itself, the GOP members honed in on the fact the “favor” in the conversation was not a “a favor for me,” but a “favor for us.” And later the “us” is clarified as “our country.” This also strikes at the core of a case that depends upon the claim that Trump’s only interest in Ukraine policy was getting dirt on Joe Biden to help himself politically.

When Trump says, after asking Zelensky to investigate Ukrainian interference in 2016, “our country has been through a lot.” He means the Mueller probe, and he’s not wrong. How much evidence or information about Russian interference exists in Ukraine is up for debate, but the fact that it is a legitimate subject of interest for the President is not.

One of the few facts in all of this where there is some debate is when exactly Ukraine became aware that the military aid had been delayed. But all versions place it very late in the timeline of events, certainly long after the July 25 phone call with Zelensky. That’s like trying to blackmail someone with scandalous photos of them without letting them know you have any scandalous photos of them. It’s impossible.

The delay of the aid was part of a wider set of concerns regarding how much Ukraine could be trusted with the money. Throughout the late summer and fall, through a set of meetings and phone calls with American officials Zelensky proved to Trump that he could be trusted. That is what Trump wanted to know and why he released the aid without any announcement of investigations.

And that final fact, that the aid was released without the announcements Democrats claim were the condition to release them, really puts the period on the sentence. Democrats claim the aid was only released on September 11 because the White House became aware of the whistleblower report. But this ignores the fact the aid had to release by September 30, and doing so is a two-week process.

So essentially, aid was released on or about the deadline set to release it. That is a much more plausible explanation for the timing than some whistleblower report spooking Trump. Is it possible Trump was angry at yet again being undermined by people in the federal government for exercising his legitimate powers? Sure. But there is no evidence to suggest that Trump was ever planning to ultimately kill the aid.

These four basic points will make up the core of the Republican defense of Trump on abuse of power charges. The White House should be very happy. Unlike the serpentine choose your own adventure story the Democrats have cooked up, this is a straightforward and simple defense, it can be explained quickly and it all makes perfect sense.

via The GOP’s Four-Point Defense Of Trump Is Devastating — The Federalist