Monthly Archives: January 2020

January—31 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.—Ezek. 1:26.

It forms the most satisfying consideration to the breast of the faithful, that every event and every providence concerning the people of God is as much directed, arranged, and determined, as the purposes of redemption themselves. The covenant is “a covenant ordered in all things, and sure.” He who hath undertaken and completed salvation for them, hath no less secured the means that shall infallibly accomplish the end: and all things, how unpromising soever on the first view, shall work together for good to them that love God. When the Holy Ghost would graciously lead the Church into the proper apprehension of this great truth, the Prophet is directed to the contemplation of a vision by the river Chebar, which opened before him. There were living creatures moving in a straight direction upon wheels, wheel within wheel, attended with a noise and a voice; hereby intimating, as it should seem, that the government of every thing, in the kingdom of providence and grace, was regulated by an unerring standard; and that the prophet’s mind might farther understand the vision, he was led to see, above the whole, the likeness of a throne, and the appearance of the likeness of a man upon it. Nothing could be more gracious, by way of teaching the Church that the government of all things is in the hand of Jesus, and the most minute circumstances of his people subject to his control. Amidst numberless improvements to be made of this doctrine, there is one, my soul, which, in the exercises of thy warfare, thou wilt find perpetual occasion to apply: for what can be more blessed than to contemplate this government of thy Jesus, as continually exercised in his sin preventing providences, whereby the Lord keeps back his people from presumptuous transgressions? How often, how very often, might a child of God discover those sweet restraints of the Lord, when hedging up his way with thorns, that he may not find his paths? How often hath some outward affliction, or inward sorrow, sickness in ourselves, or death in our houses, acted in a way of prevention to this end? There is a great variety of ways, by which indwelling corruptions would manifest themselves, and break forth in their several disorders, but for restraining grace. What a beautiful instance was that of David, in the case of Nabal, and what a gracious sentiment to this amount the Psalmist expressed upon it! When Abigail came, in the seasonable moment to check his anger, David discerned the Divine hand in the appointment, and brake out into a devout acknowledgment: “Blessed be the Lord, and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, that hath kept me this day from shedding blood.”—(1 Sam. 25:32.) And who shall say, amidst the ten thousand occurrences of life, what multitudes of instances to the same purport are going on, to restrain the children of God from the commission of evil. Oh! how blessed it is to see Jesus as well in providence as grace, and, like the Prophet, to keep an eye to that throne, and to see one like the Son of man sitting upon it, regulating and ordering all things for his own glory, and the salvation of his people. Precious Jesus! keep me in the hour, and from the power of temptation. Do thou order my steps by thy word, so shall no iniquity have dominion over me.[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 36–37). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

12 Simple Strategies to Pray More —

I know very few people who don’t struggle with prayer. Sometimes we try to fix this problem by seeking to become a prayer warrior overnight. A better approach is to build your prayer life one step at a time. Here are some simple strategies for increasing your prayer:

  1. Establish prayer “triggers.” Associate prayer with daily activities, and then develop prayer patterns. For example, you might pray before you turn the ignition on your car or as you cook a meal, clean a room, or walk on the treadmill.
  2. Use the church bulletin or calendar as a prayer guide. Find the list of scheduled church events for the week, and pray each morning for each day’s activities.
  3. Develop a “Family Focus” prayer strategy. Each week, focus on a different family in the church. Find out what prayer needs they have, and pray for them.
  4. Follow the ACTS paradigm. Build a prayer list based on Adoration (praising God for who He is), Confession (admitting sin), Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude) and Supplication (praying for others). The intentionality of this strategy will help you stay focused during prayer.
  5. Use a “Focused ACTS” strategy for one week. On Monday, adore God throughout the day. On Tuesday, ask God to bring to light all of your sin so you might confess it. Wednesday is for thanksgiving, and Thursday is for supplication/praying for others.
  6. Do “drive by” praying. Watch for church buildings, and pray for the pastors of those congregations. Intercede for children and teachers as you drive past a school. If you pass a “For Sale” sign in your neighborhood, pray for that family.
  7. Set some “prayer power points.” A “prayer power point” is a set time each day when you stop to pray. I find it best to set the alarm on my watch, and that reminder calls me away from my desk to pray.
  8. Pray the “Model Prayer” of Matthew 6:9-13 daily. I don’t want this strategy to become routine and repetitious, but Jesus taught us to pray this prayer. Start each day this way. Pause long enough to meditate on each phrase.
  9. Pray as you read or listen to the news. Intercede for countries in war. Pray for families affected by crime or natural disasters. Ask God to guide government leaders. Pray for missionaries in each country in the news.
  10. Send an email prayer to someone each day. Take ten minutes, pray for someone else, and send a written prayer to that person. Just a few sentences of prayer will encourage somebody unexpectedly.
  11. Pray proactively about temptation before you ever get out of bed in the morning. That’s the way Jesus taught us to pray—ask God to keep us from temptation and the evil one before we’ve ever faced the temptation (Matt 6:13). Don’t wait until the battle heats up to begin praying.
  12. Pray at least briefly with your spouse each day (or with someone else if you’re single). Even a quick one-minute daily prayer together can strengthen a relationship.

Remember, you won’t become a prayer warrior overnight . . . but start somewhere. Becoming a furnace of prayer begins with just a spark.

via 12 Simple Strategies to Pray More —

January 31 Streams in the Desert

He giveth quietness.” (Job 34:29.)

QUIETNESS amid the dash of the storm. We sail the lake with Him still; and as we reach its middle waters, far from land, under midnight skies, suddenly a great storm sweeps down. Earth and hell seem arrayed against us, and each billow threatens to overwhelm. Then He arises from His sleep, and rebukes the winds and the waves; His hand waves benediction and repose over the rage of the tempestuous elements. His voice is heard above the scream of the wind in the cordage and the conflict of the billows, “Peace, be still!” Can you not hear it? And there is instantly a great calm. “He giveth quietness.” Quietness amid the loss of inward consolations. He sometimes withdraws these, because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joy, our ecstasies, our transports, or our visions, with too great complacency. Then love for love’s sake, withdraws them. But, by His grace, He leads us to distinguish between them and Himself. He draws nigh, and whispers the assurance of His presence. Thus an infinite calm comes to keep our heart and mind. “He giveth quietness.”

“He giveth quietness.” O Elder Brother,

Whose homeless feet have pressed our path of pain,

Whose hands have borne the burden of our sorrow,

That in our losses we might find our gain.

“Of all Thy gifts and infinite consolings,

I ask but this: in every troubled hour

To hear Thy voice through all the tumults stealing,

And rest serene beneath its tranquil power.

“Cares cannot fret me if my soul be dwelling

In the still air of faith’s untroubled day;

Grief cannot shake me if I walk beside thee,

My hand in Thine along the darkening way.

“Content to know there comes a radiant morning

When from all shadows I shall find release;

Serene to wait the rapture of its dawning—

Who can make trouble when Thou sendest peace?”[1]


[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 34–35). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Is the Church Doing Enough to Teach Apologetics? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

Cold case detective, J. Warner Wallace, answers questions following a presentation at Ohio State University. Given the fact that our young people face so many objections to Christianity today, are churches doing enough to prepare their members to respond to these objections? How can we increase the teaching of apologetics in our churches? Be sure to check out Eric Chabot’s ministry on the campus of Ohio State.

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.

via Is the Church Doing Enough to Teach Apologetics? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

The Plan of Salvation (Hodge) — The Reformed Reader

I always appreciate Charles Hodge’s clear explanation of Christian doctrine and teaching.  I was recently reading volume two of his Systematic Theology – specifically his discussion of God’s sovereign plan of salvation.  After talking about other views, Hodge mentions the Augustinian view.  This is, of course, the view Hodge takes.  After he mentions this view he spends some time explaining it based on the sovereignty of God and the various Scriptures that talk about God’s great plan of salvation.  Here’s Hodge:

The Augustinian scheme includes the following points:
(1.) That the glory of God, or the manifestation of his perfections, is the highest and ultimate end of all things.
(2.) For that end God purposed the creation of the universe, and the whole plan of providence and redemption.
(3.) That He placed man in a state of probation, making Adam, their first parent, their head and representative.
(4.) That the fall of Adam brought all his posterity into a state of condemnation, sin, and misery, from which they are utterly unable to deliver themselves.
(5.) From the mass of fallen men God elected a number innumerable to eternal life, and left the rest of mankind to the just recompense of their sins.
(6.) That the ground of this election is not the foresight of anything in the one class to distinguish them favourably from the members of the other class, but the good pleasure of God.
(7.) That for the salvation of those thus chosen to eternal life, God gave his own Son, to become man, and to obey and suffer for his people, thus making a full satisfaction for sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness, rendering the ultimate salvation of the elect absolutely certain.
(8.) That while the Holy Spirit, in his common operations, is present with every man, so long as he lives, restraining evil and exciting good, his certainly efficacious and saving power is exercised only in behalf of the elect.
(9.) That all those whom God has thus chosen to life, and for whom Christ specially gave Himself in the covenant of redemption, shall certainly… be brought to the knowledge of the truth, to the exercise of faith, and to perseverance in holy living unto the end.

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, p. 333.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54002

via The Plan of Salvation (Hodge) — The Reformed Reader

January 31st The D. L. Moody Year Book

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.—John 1:12.

YES, sons of God! Power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil; power to crucify every besetting sin, passion, lust; power to shout in triumph over every trouble and temptation of life, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me!”[1]


[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 26). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

The Gospel Coalition Implies Both Political Parties Are Morally Equivalent, So it Doesn’t Really Matter How You Vote — Christian Research Network

“Of course, any biblically-minded person who is actually informed on the subject knows that this is completely absurd and that only a Democrat would make this argument. If we actually examine the facts, a born-again Christian who knows the Scriptures can only come to the conclusion that the Democrat party is completely vicious…”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  The Gospel Coalition is on a mission to move Evangelicals in a leftward direction both politically and theologically….

While most of the contributors to the organization overlap with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission — another organization designed to uproot conservatism in the Church — there is no shortage from either camp of pro-Democratic materials.

Disguised as “politically-neutral,” The Gospel Coalition knows that in order to move the Evangelical voting bloc to the left, they must downplay the importance of conservative ideology — since the vast majority of Evangelicals are traditionally conservative — and give the impression that politics really “don’t matter that much.”  View article →


The Gospel Coalition

Social Justice “Christianity”

via The Gospel Coalition Implies Both Political Parties Are Morally Equivalent, So it Doesn’t Really Matter How You Vote — Christian Research Network

Dr. Dobson Asks Why Fox Says ‘Yes’ to Drag Queens, ‘No’ to Abortion Survivors in Super Bowl Ads — Faithwire

By Steve Warren

After Fox Sports declined to air a pro-life advocacy group’s television commercial during the Super Bowl this Sunday, Dr. James Dobson, the founder and president of the James Dobson Family Institute, asked the network, “Why are you saying ‘yes’ to drag queens and ‘no’ to abortion survivors?”

As CBN News reported, Lyric Gillett, director of Faces of Choice and producer of the ad, claimed earlier this week that Fox is essentially censoring their commercial after stringing her group along since last July.

According to the Washington Times, Fox said they did not accept the commercial because their ad spaces sold out early. Yet just six days ago, the network announced it had additional ad slots available, according to Variety.

“Fox’s response would have been acceptable in November but we have been working with their legal team since July, so executives claiming ad space was not available is intentionally deceptive. And it’s such an uninventive excuse to say they ran out of space, which is easily disprovable,” Gillet said in a statement. “Faces of Choice provided every answer and documentation the legal team requested, and though the network has every right to decide which advertisers to accept, stringing along an eager advertiser who met every demand is professionally shady.”

“The ad features several people who survived abortions, a part of the population whose voices are rarely heard, so what bigger stage to allow them to speak than on a Super Bowl commercial?” Gillet continued. “In an era where voices that have previously been silenced are allowed to be heard, this particular rejection by Fox Sports seems like a more calculated decision to deem abortion survivors worthy of being ignored.”

She also announced her group has already started discussions with CBS for airing a commercial in the network’s presentation of the Super Bowl in 2021.

Watch Faces of Choice’s television commercial below: 

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, weighed in on the issue, warning families they might want to have their remote control ready.  A commercial for Sabra hummus will feature a pair of drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“This year, families may want to rethink their plans, or at least keep the remote close at hand. I’ve learned that on Sunday, Fox plans to broadcast a commercial featuring drag queens. I hope I don’t need to explain to parents why their young children might be troubled or confused at the sight of men dressed up as women,” he said in a statement.

“It amazes me that Fox would choose to transform the Super Bowl from a family-friendly event into an opportunity to promote a gender ideology that goes against the most basic biological realities, as well as the sincerely held religious beliefs of millions of Americans. To say I’m disappointed would be a huge understatement,” Dobson added.

“What’s worse, news reports suggest that Fox has refused to approve a pro-life commercial produced by Faces of Choice for Super Bowl Sunday, one in which abortion survivors tell the world that they are precious human beings who deserve a chance to participate in the ultimate contest – life,” he continued. “So there you have it. Fox has said ‘yes’ to drag queens and ‘no’ to abortion survivors. Celebrating sexual fantasy while denying the value of every life… could the soul of America be any more lost?”

“I urge you to make your voices heard. Contact Fox and demand that they prioritize family entertainment and the value of life over harmful gender ideology and sexual fantasy. Also, please consider signing the My Faith Votes petition in support of Faces of Choice,” Dobson noted.

“There is such a thing as truth. Let’s stand for it,” he concluded.

The last time a commercial with a pro-life message aired in the Super Bowl was ten years ago. The commercial featured then-college quarterback Tim Tebow, whose mother rejected a doctor’s advice to have an abortion after she contracted amoebic dysentery. The ad sponsored by Focus on the Family did not include the words “abortion or pro-life” in it. However, CBS received furious responses from pro-choice groups over its decision to air the commercial.

via Dr. Dobson Asks Why Fox Says ‘Yes’ to Drag Queens, ‘No’ to Abortion Survivors in Super Bowl Ads — Faithwire

January 31, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

14 Fear of the Lord, godly. One’s prospects in this life depend on reverential fear. This verse contrasts the one who “always fears” (mepaḥēd tamîd) with the one who hardens his heart. The first is blessed, and the second falls into trouble. The verse gives no object for “fear”: various translations have assumed that the Lord is its object (so NIV), especially in Proverbs. But yirʾâ (“fear”) is not used here. Perhaps the verse means fear of sin. In other words, the one who is always apprehensive about sin and its results will be more successful at avoiding it and finding God’s blessing. Or perhaps the blessing is the avoidance of sin, for, ʾašrê ʾādām (cf. Ps 1:1, ašrê hāʾîš, “Blessed is the man”) describes the heavenly bliss of the one who is right with God.[1]

14 This proverb presents the oxymoron blessed is the human being (ʾašrê ʾādām, see 3:13) who trembles (see 3:24) continually (cf. 5:19), probably an equivalent of to “fear of the Lord.” Trembling here refers to the fear of reverence, not of bondage; of caution, not of distrust; of diligence, not of despondency. Instructively this verb in Piel occurs both times (cf. Isa. 51:13) with the person whose inner psyche is fixed in its hostility to God and people, presumably to indulge sinful pride and/or sensual pleasure. His opposite is the one who hardens (maqšeh) his heart (see I: 90). When one hardens his heart his psyche can no longer feel, respond, and opt for a new direction. The hardened heart is fixed in unbelief and unbending defiance to God (Exod. 7:3; Ps 95:8); insensible to admonition or reproof it cannot be moved to a new sphere of behavior. Durham glosses it “stubborn-minded” The imprecise inner core parallels assume that the trembling heart is one that is open heart to God and responds to the prompting of his Spirit to redirect his life away from this hostility. In its outer frame, the parallels contrast their fates. The God-fearer maximizes life as God intended and without sin’s penalties.122 Godly fear and true happiness are inseparable. By contrast, the person fixed against God will inevitably will fall, an important metaphor for defeat/destruction (11:5, 14, 28; 13:17; 17:20; 22:14; 24:17; 26:27; 28:10, 14, 18), into evil (berāʿâ, see 17:20), the ruin that belongs to his vile behavior (see 10:27; 14:2, 27; 15:33; 16:20; 19:23; 23:17f; 29:25; 1 Cor 10:12; Philippians 2:12; 1 Pet 4:8.) But not every calamity is the manifestation of the divine judgment (see Job 1–2; 27:2–6; 42:7). Paradoxically, saints fear God and are bold as lions (28:1).[2]

28:14. How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

This proverb follows logically on the heels of the previous one. Verse 13 initiates the process, but verse 14 is the life that issues from that event. There must be the event of confessing and forsaking sin. But, if that is genuine, there will come a lifestyle that is characterized by new direction.

The first line views ‘the man who fears always.’ There is no object of his fear stated. Some translations have added ‘the Lord’ (niv, rsv, nrsv). But, the word translated ‘fears’ is not used of the fear of the Lord (cf. Prov. 1:7, 9:10; 23:17). That word speaks of holy reverence and awe, whereas our word here is a strong one that described a quaking dread (Prov. 1:26, 27, 33; 3:24, 25). It is in an intensive verbal form and the accompanying ‘always’ stresses the continuous nature of the fear. The only other occasion of this verb in this form is found in Isaiah 51:13, and there it also has our same word for ‘always.’ The implied object should be considered sin, or its consequences. Of course, in view of what has taken place in verse 13, the necessary and appropriate fear of the Lord stands everywhere behind this fear of sin and its consequences.

‘A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless’ (Prov. 14:16). The result of living such a lifestyle is to be ‘blessed’ (cf. Ps. 1:1).

The adversative form of this proverb then sets forth the contrast (‘But’) of the first line—both in attitude and outcome. Instead of one who ‘fears always,’ we have here ‘he who hardens his heart.’ Presumably, the hardening is toward God, His word, the truth about the man’s sin, and anyone who might represent any of the above. The example of Pharaoh immediately comes to mind (Exod. 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 34, 35; 10:1, 20, 27). Also, we should not forget that a similar hardness of heart set in on the people of Israel not long afterward (Exod. 17:7; Ps. 95:8). We are reminded that incomplete repentance renders a person no better off than the entirely unrepentant person (cf. Rom. 2:5).

The result is that such a person ‘will fall into calamity.’ The word translated ‘calamity’ is, more literally, ‘evil.’ It has here, however, the sense of sudden downfall. Such a man ‘falls into’ it as into a trap. ‘A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy’ (Prov. 29:1).[3]

28:14. This proverb is a beatitude for the man who fears always. But what does he continually fear? This could refer to the fear of the Lord. However, that is not clear, since “fear” here is a different Hebrew word than that usually used in the phrase “the fear of the Lord,” and the Lord is not specifically mentioned here. The antithetical second line helps to clarify. A person who hardens his heart to his foolish sin will fall into calamity. He is boldly arrogant in his sinful way, unwilling to repent (cf. v. 13) and to hear wise reproof. Lacking sensitivity and insight, he has no fear of the dreadful consequences of his sinful ways. The wise, in contrast, will fear the consequences of such a sinful lifestyle. In the end, of course, that kind of fear is really inextricably bound to the fear of the Lord as well. Proverbs 14:16 is similar, although it seems to lay greater emphasis on the fear of the Lord (since “fear” there is the same Hb. term as the “fear of the Lord”).[4]

Ver. 14. Happy is the man that feareth alway.The happiness of fearing alway:

He who sincerely confesses and forsakes his sins will be afraid of sin for the future, having felt the smart of it.

  1. What is the fear that men ought to maintain alway? It is a fear of God for Himself, and a fear of other things for God, or in reference to Him. We ought to entertain—
  2. A filial and reverential fear of God. Slavish fear will never make a man happy. Slavish fear is mixed with hatred of God; filial fear with love to Him.
  3. We must entertain a fear of jealousy over ourselves.
  4. A fear of caution and circumspection. This makes a man walk warily.
  5. Some things in relation to which we should entertain this holy fear.
  6. With respect to himself. Happy is the man who keeps a jealous eye over himself. Be jealous over your principles, your hearts, your tongues, and your senses.
  7. With respect to our lusts and corruptions. He is happy who can say he fears nothing so much as sin. Fear the sin of your nature; sins by which you have been formerly led astray. These forsaken lovers will again make suit to you, and will get in upon you, if you grow secure. Fear little sins. There is no sin really little, but many most dangerous ones that are little in man’s esteem.
  8. With respect to our graces. Grace is a gift to be stirred up. It is in hazard of decay, though not of death. The way to keep the treasure is to fear.
  9. With respect to our duties. The whole worship and service of God is called fear; so necessary is our fear in approaching Him.
  10. With respect to our attainments. They are in hazard of being lost.

III. The necessary qualification of this duty. “Alway.” This fear must be our habitual and constant work. This fear should season all we do, and be with us at all times, cases, conditions, places, and companies. Because—

  1. We have always the enemy within our walls. While a body of sin remains within us, temptations will always be presenting themselves.
  2. Because there are snares for us in all places and in all circumstances. There are snares in our lawful enjoyments; snares at home, in the field, waking, and at table. Many ditches are in our way, and many of these are so concealed that we may fall completely into them before we are aware. At all times we are beset.
  3. The advantage attending this duty. “Happy.” For—
  4. This prevents much sin, and advanceth holiness of heart and life. He that fears to offend God is most likely to keep His way.
  5. It prevents strokes from the Lord’s hand. Where sin dines judgment will sup. Holy fear prevents falls.
  6. This fear carries the soul out of itself to the Lord Jesus Christ, the fountain of light, life, and strength. Improvement:

(1) You who are in a joyful frame, join trembling with your mirth.

(2) You that are in a mourning frame, fear alway.

(3) You that have not met with Christ; what shall I say to you? Fear lest your sharing in Christian privileges leave your affections more deadened, and your consciences more seared. To all of you I say, “Fear alway.” (T. Boston, D.D.)

A holy fear:

What is this Bible-enjoined fearing? It is not the paralysis of terror, the shrinking and subsiding into nothingness of the craven spirit within. It is the ballast of the soul. Calm cautiousness. It is our Scotch maxim, “Ca’ canny!” Retrospective, introspective, perspective, circumspective. Nervousness of experience, caution, cannyness of reflection, the fearing here embodies.

  1. The action. “Feareth.” It is evangelical fear, for only the gospel can bring it. It is three-faced. The first outlook of it is towards God. The fear of God is not that turbulent tornado of terror that tears up and destroys; it is the gentle fall of the summer rain on the thirsty soil; it is the soft dew-descent of the Holy Ghost; it is the fear of God for himself. It is the holy hush in His almighty presence, the calm instinct of regeneration that gives sympathetic dignity to the soul. It is the “strength of the Lord.” Another outlook of this fear is towards yourself. Your worst enemy is your next-door neighbour, and on his gate is your own name. He is yourself. To draw illustration from mining, your heart is full of inflammable gas. Sin fills every chink, and it is all ready for the tempting flame. Another outlook of this fear is towards your surroundings. Look up, look in, but also look round. The world is an intertwined network of devildom. Take care, beware!
  2. The time for this action. The longest day has a nightfall. In this activity of the soul no swinging bell heralds a release; without a break or gap the night-shift succeeds to day, and the day-shift to night, and the same worker is in both. “Happy is the man that feareth alway.” At all times, in all circumstances, in all companies, you are in danger of going to the bottom. Alway fearing is alway safe.

III. The consequence of it. “Happy is the man.” Because for time and eternity he is ready. It is never waste of wind or time to keep to the path, even though it wind and wind like an eternal corkscrew. He is happy because this fear saves him from the fear of man. That fear ever bringeth a snare. The Christian filled with the gospel fear of God is happy, too, because it empties the soul. You and I are unblessed to-day because we are too full. (John Robertson.)

The happy influence of fear:

He is not an unhappy man whose heart is continually governed by this fear. It has a happy influence upon his soul, to guard it from the temptations of Satan and the world, and to keep it close to the Redeemer. It tends not to obstruct but to promote the exercise of faith and hope and joy in the Lord. Thus fear is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and a blessed means of establishing the heart in the love of God. It is a happy sign of an interest in the everlasting covenant of mercy, and in that special favour of God which is the source of all our joys. But wretched is the man who is not afraid to sin against his Maker and Judge. His heart is hard as the nether millstone. (George Lawson, D.D.)

Holy fear:

Holy fear is a searching the camp that there be no enemy within our bosom to betray us, and seeing that all be fast and sure. For I see many leaky vessels fair before the wind, and professors who take their conversion upon trust, and they go on securely, and see not the under water till a storm sink them. (H. G. Salter.)

But he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.Hardening the heart:

The whole system of moral and religious duty is expressed as the “fear of God.” The religion which makes fear the great principle of action, implicitly condemns all self-confidence, all presumptuous security; and enjoins a constant state of vigilance and caution, a perpetual distrust of our own hearts, a full conviction of our natural weakness, and an earnest solicitude for Divine assistance.

  1. What he is to fear, whose fear will make him happy. The primary object of fear is sin. The dread of sin produces the dread of temptation. The continual recurrence of temptation and the imbecility of nature make many doubtful of the possibility of salvation. In fear many have fled from possibilities of temptation into deserts and monasteries. But this is not the worthy way of meeting fear. And in cloisters men do not escape from themselves. True fear is a constant sense of the Divine presence, and dread of the Divine displeasure. True fear inspires prayer.
  2. What is meant by hardness of heart. Hardness of heart is a thoughtless neglect of the Divine law: such an acquiescence in the pleasures of sense, and such delight in the pride of life, as leaves no place in the mind for meditation on higher things. To such men Providence is seldom wholly inattentive. They are often called to the remembrance of their Creator, both by blessings and afflictions; by recoveries from sickness, by deliverances from danger, by loss of friends, and by miscarriage of transactions. As these calls are neglected, the hardness is increased, and there is danger lest He whom they have refused to hear should call them no more. This state of dereliction is the highest degree of misery.

III. How, or by what causes, the heart is hardened. The most dangerous hardness proceeds from some enormous wickedness, of which the criminal dreads the recollection, and finding a temporal ease in negligence and forgetfulness, by degrees confirms himself in stubborn impenitence. A less dangerous hardness consists, not in the perversion of the will, but in the alienation of the thoughts: by such hearts God is not defied; He is only forgotten. Of this forgetfulness the general causes are worldly cares and sensual pleasures. Such men are usually either stupidly or profanely negligent of these external duties of religion, which are instituted to excite and preserve the fear of God. A great part of them whose hearts are thus hardened may justly impute that insensibility to the violation of the Sabbath. Many enjoyments, innocent in themselves, may become dangerous by too much frequency. Whatever tends to diminish the fear of God, or abate the tenderness of conscience, must be diligently avoided.

  1. The consequence of hardness of heart. “Shall fall into mischief”—both into wickedness and misery. He that hardeneth his heart shall surely become both wicked and miserable. (S. Johnson, LL.D.)[5]

[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 225). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Waltke, B. K. (2005). The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15–31 (pp. 418–419). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Kitchen, J. A. (2006). Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary (pp. 636–637). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[4] Finkbeiner, D. (2014). Proverbs. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 959). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). Proverbs (pp. 648–650). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

January 31, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial faces a climactic vote on
Friday, when senators are due to decide whether to call witnesses and
prolong the historic proceeding or instead bring them to the swift
conclusion that Trump wants.

The United Kingdom leaves the European Union at 2300 GMT on Friday, ending
its 47-year membership of the world’s biggest trading bloc.

The United States and other countries tightened travel curbs on Friday and
businesses said they were facing supply problems because of the coronavirus
in China, a day after the World Health Organization declared a global
health emergency.

Russia said on Friday it would begin moving its citizens out of China via
its Far Eastern region on Feb. 1, in response to the coronavirus outbreak,
regional authorities said.

Kenya’s high court said the government could go ahead with a new digital ID
scheme, as long as it brought in stronger regulations and did not use it to
collect citizens’ DNA and geo-location data.

Frustrated by one of the world’s highest rates of sexual assault, poor law
enforcement and tribal taboos that keep people quiet about gender violence,
some Nigerian women are breaking with tradition to take self-defense

U.S. consumer spending rose steadily in December, but tepid income gains
pointed to moderate consumption growth this year, which together with
slumping business investment likely set the economy on a slower growth path
this year.

AP Top Stories

The coronavirus, a pneumonia like virus, which originated in Wuhan, China,
has infected more than 9,700 people and killed 213. So far, the virus does
not seem to be as deadly as SARS, which killed 774 people from 2002 to
2003. SARS had a mortality rate of 9.6%, whereas about 2% of people
infected with the new coronavirus have died. But the number of people
infected after one month has already surpassed the SARS outbreak’s
eight-month total. Many patients with coronavirus have already made full
recoveries. According to Chinese officials, most of those who’ve died were
elderly or had other ailments that compromised their immune systems.

The House on Thursday moved to block President Donald Trump from taking
military action against Iran without the approval of Congress, voting to
repeal a 2002 war authorization and to bar him from using federal funds to
mount an unauthorized strike against the country.

Mexico will not tolerate the presence of Central American migrants who
intend to enter the country violently or with an aim to cause trouble, the
foreign minister warned Thursday.

A chartered plane carrying a total of 368 South Korean citizens arrived on
Friday in the South from Wuhan, Eighteen South Koreans evacuated from the
Chinese city of Wuhan have been hospitalized after showing symptoms while
350 others are in quarantine, Seoul’s health authorities said Friday, as
concerns mount about a wider outbreak of the SARS-like virus.

The Trump administration said that it will continue – at least for now –
its policy of not sanctioning foreign companies that work with Iran’s
civilian nuclear program. But to signal that its pressure campaign against
Tehran continues, Treasury announced new sanctions targeting the head of
Iran’s nuclear program and the agency he directs.

European plane maker Airbus will pay $4 billion to settle corruption probes
by U.S., British and French authorities into contract dealings, lifting a
legal cloud that has hung over the world’s largest aircraft maker for

Radioactive water from the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima should be
released into the ocean or vaporized into the air, an expert panel advised
the Japanese government on Friday. The proposal is non-binding and sets no
deadline for the government to decide or carry out procedures to deal with
the water.


US life expectancy rose in 2018 for the first time in four years, a welcome
reversal for health officials combating a drug epidemic gripping the
country. Deaths from drug overdoses declined for the first time in over 20
years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Overall life
expectancy improved by 0.1 years from 2017, to 78 years and seven month,
the agency said.

Facebook has settled a long-running legal dispute about the way it scans
and tags people’s photos. It will pay $550m to a group of users in
Illinois, who argued that its facial recognition tool was in violation of
the state’s privacy laws.

Australia has defended its plan to send citizens evacuated from the
coronavirus outbreak in China to an immigration detention center on
Christmas Island for two weeks.


A convicted child rapist is reportedly to be released from prison in Iowa
because he is no longer deemed a threat since he began transgender hormone
treatments and is considering gender reassignment surgery.

A university professor just learned that differences between the two
genders matter as she has been assigned two male security guards to protect
her from threats coming from transgender-rights activists.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 31, 2020

The Foundation

“If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check.” —Thomas Jefferson (1811)

Impeachment Charade Almost Over?

Republicans have the votes to block new witnesses, which should lead to Trump’s immediate acquittal.

Americans Are Feeling Pretty Optimistic

As DC political hatred reaches an apex, the rest of the country is doing alright.

The Flu and You: Perspective and Preparedness

Your primary defense against such contagions is the capacity to shelter in place.

The UK Steps Away

Brexit is finally happening today, as Great Britain leaves the European Union.

‘Compassionate’ Dems Just Can’t Solve Homelessness

The problem needs innovative solutions, not just more taxpayer dollars wasted.

Crime, Punishment, and the Second Amendment

It’s not creating new laws that will save lives; it’s consistently enforcing old ones.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

The Left has been pitting us against each other for decades.

Video: Democrats Are Huge Hypocrites on Impeachment

They’ve been pious and sanctimonious on impeachment from the get-go.

Video: Iowa Lets ‘Transitioning’ Child Molester Out of Jail

This ming-boggling news is manufactured by — what else? — “social wokeness.”

Video: ‘Why Would You Vote for Me?’ Biden Wonders

Even leftist media outlet Vice News is mystified.

Today’s Opinion

Adriana Cohen
It’s High Time to End This Schiff Show
David Harsanyi
The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan Is a Much-Needed Dose of Reality
Erick Erickson
The News Pace Quickens; Attention Shortens
Tony Perkins
Our Military Should Be Cultivating Masculinity, Not Denigrating It
David Limbaugh
Actual vs. Counterfeit Intolerance
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday News Executive Summary

Impeachment endgame, Carter Page sues, WHO a global health threat, and more.

Friday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from William Barr, Nancy Pelosi, Mazie Hirono, and more.

Today’s Meme

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

Today’s Cartoon

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

Headlines – 1/31/2020

Three rockets fired from Gaza, newborn hurt in rush to shelter

Israel strikes Hamas in Gaza after rocket attack, as region heats up

Rocket sirens sound in south for second time in 24 hours

Defying US and Israel, Palestinian Authority Pays Out $150 Million in Terrorist Salaries in 2019

Army, police gird for possible violence amid fury over Trump plan

Fearing riots, police to beef up presence on Temple Mount during Friday prayers

Kushner: US won’t support West Bank annexation decision before March 2 election

Annexation, stalled: How Trump, Netanyahu fell out of step on core part of deal

Ayelet Shaked: Application of sovereignty must not be delayed

Trump’s plan will not bring peace to Israel and Palestine. What will?

Hamas’s Meshal Says United Palestinians Working to Foil Trump Plan

‘Things are getting worse’: Trump plan met with disgust across Jordan

Egypt Is Too Busy Worrying About Looming Water Shortage to Care About Trump’s Plan

Jimmy Carter says Trump plan dooms two-state solution

Macron on US peace plan: I believe in two sovereignties

Twenty-three nations embrace Trump peace plan, 7 in Middle East

Commentary: Netanyahu Supports the Trump Plan Because He Knows It Will Fail

Netanyahu, Putin talk Syria, Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ in Kremlin

Netanyahu tells Putin that Trump peace deal is a ‘new opportunity’

Putin non-committal as ‘supreme leader’ after a government commission said it was considering the idea

Trump administration rolls out new sanctions over Russian occupation of Crimea

Passenger threatens to blow herself up on Russian flight

Iran can obtain nuclear weapons far quicker than widely recognized

House of Representatives passes two measures limiting Trump’s ability to go to war with Iran

White House threatens veto of Democrats’ Iran measures

US hits Iran with new sanctions, keeps some waivers in place

Iranian regime does not allow negotiations with ‘enemies’ of Soleimani: Official

Iranian media: CIA agent behind Soleimani killing shot down in Afghanistan

Pentagon seeks Iraqi permission to deploy missile defenses after attack by Iran

Iraq says joint operations with US-led coalition resume

Assault on Syria’s Idlib pushes 700,000 to flee: US envoy

Isis starting to reassert itself in Middle East heartlands, UN warns

UN Security Council calls for ‘return to de-escalation efforts’ in Yemen

Pakistan releases 42 Christians convicted of ‘terrorism’ for participating in 2015 riots

Algerian Protests Calming Without a Shot Fired in Anger

U.S. will not completely withdraw forces from Africa: Pentagon chief

The liberal international order faces an existential threat, warns the UN Secretary-General, and the world is in grave danger of splitting in two

UN chief outlines solutions to defeat ‘four horsemen’ threatening our global future

‘Dawn of a new era’: UK’s Johnson ‘respectfully’ marks Brexit day

Britain bids farewell to European Union

Trump insists he isn’t worried about impeachment: ‘This is a happy period’

Republicans increasingly confident impeachment trial could end by Friday

Swing-vote GOP Sen. Alexander comes out against witnesses, paving way for imminent Trump acquittal

‘A Shameful Episode in Our History’: Carl Bernstein Scorches Senate for ‘Cover-up’ After Alexander’s Likely Trial-Ending No Vote

Chief Justice Roberts admonishes both sides at Senate impeachment trial, after marathon session erupts into shouting match

Roberts visibly reacts to Warren’s impeachment question about his ‘legitimacy’ without trial witnesses

Alan Dershowitz tears into CNN on CNN: Your network ‘distorted’ my argument to ‘misinform viewers’

Newt Gingrich: Adam Schiff’s fake Trump-Putin conversation shows he’s a ‘pathological liar’ and a ‘deranged human being’

Impeachment trial to end but its aftershocks will rock America

Kenneth Starr: Beware the Revenge Impeachment

Biden unleashes on Trump in final Iowa blitz: ‘He’s more a bully than a president’

Bloomberg Has Already Dropped More Than $100 MILLION on Trump Attack Ads

FBI probes use of Israeli firm’s spyware in personal and government hacks

Zuckerberg pledges Facebook users privacy upgrades after $550 million facial recognition settlement

Mysterious fireball lights up Southern California night sky. What caused it?

Telescope gives earthlings first close-up view of the sun

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Karpathos, Greece

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Muara Siberut, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lagunas, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Kuril Islands

Earthquake swarm and possible magma accumulation beneath Mt. Thorbjorn on Reykjanes peninsula on Iceland

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Kluychevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 20,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Flooding fears renewed as persistent rainfall targets Paraguay, southern Brazil

Australia wildfire overruns firefighters in minutes as ‘day turns to night’ in dramatic video

Record heat forecast for coming years

Antarctica’s ‘doomsday glacier’ reveals alarming new trait to scientists

WHO deems coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency – Here’s what the ‘extraordinary event’ means

CDC confirms first human-to-human transmission of coronavirus in US

China virus death toll hits 212, nearly 2,000 new cases

Coronavirus cases in China overtake SARS – and the economic impact could be ‘more severe’

World markets tumble as fears over virus outbreak spread

Ex-Obama health advisor: US needs to ‘stop panicking and being hysterical’ about coronavirus

Pilots, flight attendants demand flights to China stop as virus fear mount worldwide

Wuhan: Image of dead man on empty street reflects tragedy in China’s coronavirus ground zero

‘I’m in an apocalypse:’ American student trapped in coronavirus-hit Chinese city

American describes scene in Wuhan amid coronavirus outbreak: ‘Like something out of a sci-fi movie’

Super Bowl security threats range from terrorism to the coronavirus

Dating apps face US inquiry over underage use, sex offenders

Poll: Majority supports decriminalizing sex work

Apostasy Watch

Michelle Lesley – 9 Things that Are Still Sins Whether We Agree or Not

Willow Creek apologizes for allowing Bill Hybels’ mentor to teach at church despite abuse allegation

Rodney Howard Browne Says Jesus Would “Beat The Crap” Out of former Trump Official

Christian Colleges and Seminaries in More Trouble Than Ever As Many Plunge Into Emergent Spirituality

Methodist Pastor Prays for Women to Have the Right to Kill Their Babies in Abortions

Virginia Senate passes bill removing abortion safety standards; governor expected to sign

Bloomberg’s $10 Million Super Bowl Ad Says He’s “Fighting for Every Child,” But He Supports Abortion

Warren vows that ‘young trans person’ will choose her Secretary of Education

Church of England apologizes for saying only married heterosexuals should have sex

Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

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

“A Deranged Human Being… Pathological Liar… Lied for Two-and-a-Half Years” – Newt Gingrich Says What Everyone Is Thinking About Adam Schiff — The Gateway Pundit

Former US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was on the Ingraham Angle on FOX News on Thursday night.  Newt said what we all have been thinking for some time about Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich talked about the Democrats unconstitutional impeachment this past week and in particular about Adam Schiff.  He said what we all are thinking.

Laura Ingraham: The man is pathological, it is a reflexive Pavlovian response to Trump. You have to just make stuff up. You can’t argue the case you have to make it up.

Newt Gingrich: I think it is also a comment on Schiff. I mean Schiff is obviously a person a deranged human being. This is about Schiff. You know, Schiff is a guy who is a pathological liar. He seems to have no ability to distinguish between the truth and falsehood. He lied for two-and-a-half years about the Russian collusion. It all disintegrated. You look like a fool, you learn nothing… And you’re right. Here we are at the end of a cycle and he goes back and decides to lie again. At some point people have to decide Adam Schiff is a compulsive, uncontrollable liar and should be dealt with that way.

That about sums it up.

Per the Ingraham Angle on FOX News:


via “A Deranged Human Being… Pathological Liar… Lied for Two-and-a-Half Years” – Newt Gingrich Says What Everyone Is Thinking About Adam Schiff — The Gateway Pundit

January 31 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

January 31.—Morning. [Or March 1.]
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee.”

Genesis 49:1–15

AND Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. (Jacob was about to speak by inspiration. The blessing of a parent whose tongue is taught of God is priceless beyond conception.)

¶ Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

Though he was the firstborn Reuben missed the birth-right, because he was light and loose. Whatever good points may be in a man, if he be not sober, steady, and substantial, he will come to nothing. To be unstable as the waves of the sea is one of the worst of faults and mars the whole character.

¶ Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

A great wrong was here disavowed by Jacob. He could not prevent it, for his sons acted hastily in selfwill, and he knew nothing of their murderous deed till it was over, but he takes care to bear his witness against it in the most solemn manner. The follies of youth will come home to men in their riper years. It is a great mercy when from our childhood, we walk uprightly.

¶ Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. (When the dying patriarch reached that name which is a type of Christ, he rose to a higher key, he had no more faults to mention, but fell to blessing.)

Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? (Who dare defy the Lion of the tribe of Judah? Jesus the Lord is terrible to his enemies.)

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (When our Lord came his enemies said, “Behold, the world is gone after him.” To this day he is the greatest of loadstones to attract mens’ hearts. He came just when the kingdom had gone from Judah, and now he reigns as our Shiloh, the Prince of Peace.)

11, 12 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. (Truly in our Immanuel’s land the wine and milk flow in rivers. Come ye and buy without money and without price.)

13 ¶ Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. (May our sea-faring people be favoured of the Lord, and never sit in darkness as Zebulun came to do.)

14, 15 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. (Though quiet and industrious, it may be Issachar was somewhat deficient in courage and energy. There are no perfect characters; but it were greatly to be wished that our contented brethren were also more energetic. Yet as Issachar was a true son of Jacob, we trust our slow-moving brethren are the same. It were well, however, for each of us to be more in earnest than ever, for we serve an earnest God.)

We leave the rest of the blessing for our next reading.

God of mercy, hear our prayer

For the children Thou hast given;

Let them all Thy blessings share,

Grace on earth, and bliss in heaven!

Cleanse their souls from every stain,

Through the Saviour’s precious blood;

Let them all be born again,

And be reconciled to God.

January 31.—Evening. [Or March 2.]
“I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”

WE will now read the rest of the benedictions pronounced by Jacob upon his sons.

Genesis 49:16–33

16 ¶ Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. (Dan signifies judge; the patriarch declared that he would verify his name.)

17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

18 I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.

Here Jacob made a pause. His utterance of weakness has neither petulance nor complaining in it, but is expressive of hope growing out of long confidence. Soon he hoped to enjoy the fulness of salvation in the presence of the Lord.

19 ¶ Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. (This is often exemplified in the believers life. Many trials press him down, but he rises up again.)

20 ¶ Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

21 ¶ Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. (Vivacity of spirit was linked with readiness of speech, a good combination for a minister of the gospel.)

22 ¶ Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb;

26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. (The heart of the venerable patriarch was enlarged concerning Joseph; he evidently felt that he could not pour out a benediction copious enough. And truly, if we turn our thoughts to Jesus, the greater Joseph, no language can ever express our desires for his exaltation. Watts has well put it

“Blessings more than we can give,

Be, Lord, for ever thine.”

27 ¶ Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night, he shall divide the spoil.

This was to be a contentious tribe. Though Benjamin stood high in his father’s natural affection, he did not dare for that reason to invent a blessing for him, but speaks the word of the Lord neither less nor more. To fight from morning to night is a sorry business, unless it be against sin.

28 ¶ All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.

29, 30 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

He was not left even after death among the Egyptians, but slept in the family tomb of the pilgrim band, to awake with them at the resurrection. In all things he maintained his character as a sojourner with God, looking for a city yet to be revealed.

Shrinking from the cold hand of death,

I soon must gather up my feet;

Must swift resign this fleeting breath,

And die, my father’s God to meet.

Number’d among thy people, I

Expect with joy thy face to see;

Because thou didst for sinners, die,

Jesus, in death, remember me![1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 61–62). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

January 31 Maybe Not!

John 4:35

Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!

Tennessee pastor Robert Shockey doesn’t believe in chance encounters. To him, every contact is an opportunity to evangelize. When he answers the phone, for example, and hears the person on the other end saying, “Sorry, I must have the wrong number,” Bob responds: “Maybe not!”

Usually there is a pause on the line, followed by something like, “What do you mean?” That gives Shockey an opening to initiate a conversation about the gospel. He has led more than one person to faith in Christ that way.

Evangelist Billy Graham once answered the phone in his hotel room. The person on the other end asked for so-and-so, and Mr. Graham told him he had the wrong number. There was a pause, and the person said, “You sure sound a lot like Billy Graham.”

“This is Billy Graham,” replied the evangelist. During the ensuing conversation, the caller gave his life to Christ.

There are opportunities to witness for Christ all around us, some in unexpected places. We are ambassadors for Christ—harvesters—witnesses. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will lead you to someone today who needs a word from the Lord.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 32). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

January 31 Thoughts for the quiet hour

Christ is all, and in all

Col. 3:11

The service of Christ is the business of my life.

The will of Christ is the law of my life.

The presence of Christ is the joy of my life.

The glory of Christ is the crown of my life.



[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

Alan Dershowitz tears into CNN on CNN: Your network ‘distorted’ my argument to ‘misinform viewers’ | Fox News

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz tore into CNN during his appearance on the anti-Trump network over its coverage of his argument he made in opposition to the impeachment of President Trump. 

In 1999, Biden Argued Senate Should Acquit Clinton Without Witnesses

In a secret 1999 memo to Democrat senators, Joe Biden argued that senators had no obligation to call witnesses or hear live testimony during impeachment. 

Pelosi argues Trump ‘cannot be acquitted,’ suggests defense team should be disbarred | Fox News

In scathing comments Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued that President Trump “cannot be acquitted” if his Senate impeachment trial lacks the witness testimony and documentation that Democrats have been seeking.

Friday Briefing January 31, 2020 –


 “Waiting” for a Pro-Life Democrat? The Wait Is Apparently Very Long Indeed


 The Buttigieg Dilemma: No Real Possibility of a “Moderate” Position on Abortion


 Cable News Condescension on CNN: It’s Part of the Programming Now




Waiting for a Moderate Democrat on Abortion, by Carl Anderson



Addressing the Exodus of Young People from the Church — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

This article is well done and is on a vital subject I’m deeply concerned about: the numbers of young people leaving the church, in what this article calls “the church exodus crisis.” I encourage pastors, parents, and those serving with youth to read this and take it to heart. —Randy Alcorn

Rediscovering Evangelism: Curbing the Exodus of Christian-raised Teenagers from the Church

This article was written by Samuel Bodnar, a junior at Indiana University studying journalism and religious studies. He conducted three interviews for a class project:

Isabella McCoy scowled at her church’s dusty, stained glass windows. No more early Sunday mornings. No more midweek Bible studies trapped beneath the church’s leaky and splintered floors. No more judgmental people who know little about their faith. She tried seeking answers from her parents, her youth group leader, even her pastor. Nobody answered her objections to the Bible. Nobody equipped her to defend her faith against non-believing friends. McCoy, a born and raised churchgoer, was done. She has joined the 70 percent of Christian-raised teenagers who have abandoned their faith. Prominent Christian figures hesitate on labeling students like McCoy as “Christian.” Once one joins the body of Christ and experiences His love and power, they never leave.

However, playing semantics with terminology distracts from a legitimate crisis getting worse by the day: young men and women raised in the church are walking away and few are returning.

Dozens of studies have highlighted the mass exodus of high school and college students from Christianity. Yet, few expound upon resolutions to this issue. Here are a few individuals within ministry-type occupations striving to stifle this trend with suggestions for students, parents, pastors and college ministries:

Jack Hibbs, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CCCH) in Chino, Calif.

Christian-raised teenagers are not equipped, not involved with their church and not in a real relationship with Jesus, according to Hibbs. It is these deficiencies that allow skeptical students and college professors to easily rattle the beliefs of ill prepared Christians.

“We are putting them in the lion’s den without the pure fundamental of the Bible,” Hibbs says.

Not Equipped : Hibbs sees Scripture as the roadmap that guides everyone through taking opportunities and responding to tragedies. Without the proper navigation tools, however, students going into college will be unable to defend their faith or make disciples. According to a LifeWay survey cited in Ken Ham and Britt Beemer’s “Already Gone,” only ⅓ of Christian-raised college students who left the faith actually plan on returning. For this California pastor, parents and youth ministries must challenge students with the tough questions and provide resources they can learn and share.

Hibbs invites apologists to his congregation and encourages his high school pastor to teach apologetic tactics like the moral and cosmological arguments. He also challenges parents to read up on early church history and material that soundly defends the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.

“You’ve got to hand the baton,” he says.

Norman Geisler, the late author, theologian and founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary, joins Hibbs in the belief of passing the baton. For him, however, he reminds the body of Christ about answering— and teaching others to answer— with tact and humility.

“Humility is how it’s done and content is what’s being done,” he says. “We need to concentrate on winning the soul not the argument.”

Not Involved: Growing up, Hibbs’ church brought the congregation to the streets of Newport Beach for evangelizing. Initially, the experiences were uncomfortable and scary. Over time, however, they taught him about why Jesus sent His disciples to preach the good news without Him.

“Students need a faith that does,” he says. “They aren’t connected with active ministries and have never shared the gospel to see the power of God at work.”

Hibbs wants parents acting as vehicles. They should remind their kids that what they are doing glorifies God and to stop second guessing if sharing the gospel with strangers “feels right.”

“I want to be the most loving person in the world knowing I’ll be hated,” Hibbs says. “I want them to leave everyone with a picture of Jesus.”

No Relationship: When a believer shares their testimony, it often contains moments of doubt and struggles involving abuse, drugs, sexual urges, etc. No matter the sins before accepting Jesus, a redeemed son or daughter can articulate how God has transformed their heart throughout their “faith crisis.” “You can be religious because it’s recreational, cultural or convenient but that’s not what counts,” Hibbs says. “Overcoming a faith crisis involves a genuine encounter with Christ that changes them internally and externally.” A personal relationship with God follows from a healthy devotion life. Long time believers hear this echoed repeatedly but students going into college don’t know what it means. Youth pastors and parents should start and continue asking their students about their prayer life and how their actions reflect God’s heart to others. Hibbs believes if more students can acknowledge how God delivered them, they would be more grateful to Him and less resistant to serve, pray to and praise Him.

Jim Warner Wallace, author and apologist

As a cold case homicide detective, Wallace uses circumstantial evidence to carefully constructs his cases. Through analyzing eyewitness statements of people he never met and researching case information that’s decades old, he has been able to help convict men and women of their crimes. Interestingly enough, he did this job as an atheist during a portion of his career.

Although unanswerable questions can frustrate this detective, Wallace explains how examining Christianity’s direct and circumstantial evidence from nearly 2000 years ago brought him to Jesus.
“I had to remove presuppositional bias the same way we ask juries not to be locked in one side,” he says. “Today, believers need to take away the lame excuses and answer the objections of today’s age.”

What Wallace believes can help combat the church exodus crisis is a refocus on talking about evidence itself. He encourages incoming college freshman, their youth pastors and parents to familiarize themselves regarding objections brought against the faith and avoid first search results on Google. Proper preparation to answering objections is key.

“Give two whys for every what,” he says. “The internet is full of whats and pastors and parents should be able to convey why the student should care.” Christian-raised teenagers should distinguish facts from false information. They need to be coached on how to approach basic questions with well-constructed, reasoned responses. To do this, Wallace says a distinction between teaching and training should be made.

“Teaching imparts knowledge but training requires an activity,” he says. “We need to provide for our people by getting them involved in evangelism so they can do life together and serve actively.” By preparing the youth ministry groups of today to understand what it means to examine evidence, they will produce credible answers to raised objections. If mature believers encourage students to evangelise and properly understand the evidence behind their beliefs, Wallace thinks they will be well equipped to defend the faith and make disciples on their college campuses.

Dr. Frank Turek, author, apologist and founder of Cross Examined

Similar with Hibbs and Wallace, Turek recommends introducing apologetics at churches so the body of Christ can strengthen itself and be prepared to share it with the youth. That 70 percent margin, Turek believes, would probably decrease.

“Suppose the past 50 years churches had been teaching apologetics. What would the number of students leaving actually be?”

Exactly how much the exodus percentage would decrease is unknown. Nevertheless, Turek professes it would make a decent impact on the numbers. Throughout the year he travels the country giving presentations from his and Geisler’s book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. The hope behind presenting through his Cross Examined ministry is showing church congregations and college campuses that Christianity is true beyond a reasonable doubt.

By fortifying the faith of believers and challenging skeptics to reconsider their positions, Turek and his ministry demonstrate the importance of taking the gospel to everyone. There is one issue, however, with presenting the truth behind Christianity. Teaching truth will only accomplish so much.

“I can’t force people to accept the truth,” Turek says. “I can’t force people not to deny the truth. You can’t bring everyone to Christ but you can bring Christ to everyone.”

Turek recognizes that some non-believers carry volitional reasons for why they reject Christ. Intellectually, the faith can make sense, but some suppress the truth so they can live the lifestyle they desire.

For Turek, he wants mature Christians to make sure that qualms with a particular aspect of Christianity are intellectual, not volitional. If it’s intellectual, apologetics and a firm biblical knowledge will help answer the questions. If the qualms are rooted in volitional reasons, Turek poses this question:

“If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?”

Asking the youth in today’s churches and teaching them to use this question in their interactions with non-believers will help the body of Christ understand the position of non-believers and respond informatively. Along with Turek, fellow apologist Josh McDowell also acknowledges these non-believers’ reservations and encourages the body of Christ to speak the truth in love
moving forward, even in the face of negativity.

“Almost all other people in their faith are commanded to love the lovable, but as a Christian, you’re commanded to love the unlovable,” McDowell says. “It’s so great being a Christian.”

For more information about strategies to help you teach Christian worldview to the next generation, please read So the Next Generation Will Know: Training Young Christians in a Challenging World. This book teaches parents, youth pastors and Christian educators practical, accessible strategies and principles they can employ to teach the youngest Christians the truth of Christianity. The book is accompanied by an eight-session So the Next Generation Will Know DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

This article originally appeared on Cold-Case Christianity and is used with permission.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

via Addressing the Exodus of Young People from the Church — Randy Alcorn’s Blog

Five Truths About the Holy Spirit — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Now, I don’t want to bring cold coals to Newcastle by giving you information with which you are already familiar, so let me just briefly give some background on this verse. You know that the Greek word translated here as “Helper” is parakletos. In its technical form, it has a legal dimension; it refers to one who would be an advocate. In its wider context, it speaks of comfort, of protection, of counsel, and of guidance. Jesus also spoke of the Spirit as the Helper in John 14 and introduced Him as “the Spirit of truth” (14:17; 16:13).

I think it best for me to simply say a number of things concerning the identity of this Helper with little embellishment.

First, we need to notice that the Holy Spirit is a unique person and not simply a power or an influence. He is spoken of as “He,” not as “it.” This is a matter of import because if you listen carefully to people speaking, even within your own congregations you may hear the Holy Spirit referenced in terms of the neuter. You may even catch yourself doing it. If you do, I hope you will bite your tongue immediately. We have to understand that the Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, is personal. As a person, He may be grieved (Eph. 4:30), He may be quenched in terms of the exercise of His will (1 Thess. 5:19), and He may be resisted (Acts 7:51).

Second, the Holy Spirit is one both with the Father and with the Son. In theological terms, we say that He is both co-equal and co-eternal. When we read the whole Upper Room Discourse, we discover that it was both the Father and the Son who would send the Spirit (John 14:16; 16:7), and the Spirit came and acted, as it were, for both of Them. So the activity of the Spirit is never given to us in Scripture in isolation from the person and work of Christ or in isolation from the eternal will of the Father. Any endeavor to think of the Spirit in terms that are entirely mystical and divorced from Scripture will take us down all kinds of side streets and eventually to dead ends.

Third, the Holy Spirit was the agent of creation. In the account of creation at the very beginning of the Bible, we are told: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:1-2). The Hebrew word translated as “Spirit” here is ruach, which also can mean “breath.” The ruach elohim, “the Breath of the Almighty,” is the agent in creation. It is not the immateriality of the Spirit that is in view here, but rather His power and energy; the picture is of God’s energy breathing out creation, as it were, speaking the worlds into existence, putting the stars into space. Thus, when we read Isaiah 40:26 and the question is asked, “Who created these?” we have the answer in Genesis 1:2—the Spirit is the irresistible power by which God accomplishes His purpose.

Tangentially, one of the questions of Old Testament scholarship concerns the extent to which we are able to discover the distinct personhood of God the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament. In other words, can we understand the nature of His hypostasis in the Old Testament alone? When we read Genesis 1, it is not difficult to see that we have in the second verse, certainly in light of all that has subsequently been revealed, a clear and distinct reference to the third person of the Trinity.

In his book The Holy Spirit, Sinclair B. Ferguson notes that if we recognize the divine Spirit in Genesis 1:2, that provides what some refer to as the missing link in Genesis 1:26, where God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Ferguson observes that this is a clear antecedent reference to the Spirit of God who is at work in Genesis 1:1-2.

This issue reminds us, incidentally, that it is helpful to read our Bibles backward. As we read from the back to the front, we discover the truth of the classic interpretive principle attributed to Augustine: “The New [Testament] is in the Old [Testament] concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed.” In other words, we discover the implications of those teachings and events that come earlier in the Scriptures.

Fourth, the Holy Spirit is the agent not only of creation,but also of God’s new creation in Christ. He is the author of the new birth. We see this in John 3, in the classic encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus, where Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (v. 5). This truth, of course, is worked out in the rest of the Scriptures.

Fifth, the Spirit is the author of the Scriptures. Second Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God. …” The Greek word behind this phrase is theopneustos, which means “God-breathed.” In creation, we have the Spirit breathing His energy, releasing the power of God in the act of creation. We have the same thing in the act of redemption, and we see it again in the divine act of giving to us the record in the Scriptures themselves. The doctrine of inspiration is entirely related to the work of God the Holy Spirit. Peter affirms this view, writing, “No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The men who wrote the biblical books were not inventing things. Neither were they automatons. “They were real people in real historical times with real DNA writing according to their historical settings and their personalities. But the authorship of Scripture was dual. It was, for instance, both Jeremiah and God, because Jeremiah was picked up and carried along. Indeed, in Jeremiah’s case, God said, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth” (1:9). He did so without violating Jeremiah’s distinct personality, and he then wrote the very Word of God. This is why we study the Bible—because this is a book that exists as a result of the out-breathing of the Holy Spirit.

Concerning the identity of the Helper, we could go on ad infinitum, but we must be selective rather than exhaustive. His identity is as “another Helper.” The word translated as “another” here is allos, not heteros. Jesus promised a Helper of the same kind rather than of a different kind. The Spirit is the parakletos, the one who comes alongside. Jesus said He would “be with you forever … he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). In other words, His ministry is both permanent and personal.

This excerpt is adapted from Alistair Begg’s contribution to Holy, Holy, Holy: Proclaiming the Perfections of God.

via Five Truths About the Holy Spirit — Ligonier Ministries Blog