Daily Archives: January 9, 2020

January 9 Streams in the Desert

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18.)

I KEPT for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is as entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibers having taken place. The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all—and it never is without great labor and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.

I happened to witness the first efforts of my prisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. Very probably the confining fibers were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo! immediately, and with perfect ease, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shrivelled wings. In vain I watched to see that marvelous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of divers colors which were all there in miniature, I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain. My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings. I have thought of it often, often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress; and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared? The far-sighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Our Father’s love is too true to be weak. Because He loves His children, He chastises them that they may be partakers of His holiness. With this glorious end in view, He spares not for their crying. Made perfect through sufferings, as the Elder Brother was, the sons of God are trained up to obedience and brought to glory through much tribulation.—Tract.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 9–10). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

The Gag-Reflex and the Doctrine of Hell: Realigning Our Emotional Response to God’s Justice — Credo Magazine

The new issue of Credo Magazine focuses on the question, “Will all be saved?” The following is an excerpt from Denny Burk’s article, “The Gag-Reflex and the Doctrine of Hell: Realigning Our Emotional Response to God’s Justice.” Denny Burk (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as associate pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Burk edits The Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood and speaks and writes extensively about gender and sexuality. His books include Transforming Homosexuality (P&R, 2015) and  What is the Meaning of Sex (Crossway, 2013). He keeps a popular blog at DennyBurk.com.


In his recent book arguing for universalism, David Bentley Hart explains why he abhors the doctrine of hell as eternal conscious torment. It turns out that his reasons are not first of all to do with God’s revelation in scripture but with a gag-reflex—his moral revulsion against a deity that would preside over an eternal conscious torment in hell. Hart writes,

How viciously vindictive the creator of such a hell would have to be to have devised so exquisitely malicious a form of torture and then to have made it eternal, and how unjust in condemning men and women to unending torment for the “sin” of not knowing him even though he had never revealed himself to them, or for some formally imputed guilt supposedly attaching to them on account of some distant ancestor’s transgression.[1]

Hart’s rejection of the traditional doctrine of hell at least has the virtue of being clear. He does not mince words or hedge in the least. He rejects what the church has overwhelmingly taught and believed throughout its two-thousand year history. He knows he’s in the minority on this, but he nevertheless soldiers on in his contempt for any view of hell as eternal conscious torment. And it is clear that the doctrine of hell is not the only doctrine in his crosshairs. Hart is aware that the doctrine of hell sits atop a foundation of other theological commitments, including the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of man, and even the doctrine of God. Nevertheless, it is his doctrine of God that most drives his scorn for the biblical doctrine of hell. He simply will not bow the knee to a God who would preside over a hell of eternal fire and torment. Hart writes, “My conscience forbids assent to a picture of reality that I regard as morally corrupt, contrary to justice, perverse, inexcusably cruel, deeply irrational, and essentially wicked.”[2] Again, at least he’s clear.

A familiar objection

John Stott also reflects the instinctive reaction that many people have to the idea of eternal conscious torment.[3] He writes, “I find the concept intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain.”[4] Stott and Hart are not alone in recoiling from the idea of “eternal conscious torment.” Hardly anyone can contemplate the horror of an eternal hell without shuddering at the thought of someone having to bear such a fate. Nevertheless, are our visceral feelings about hell really a reliable guide to evaluating the doctrine of hell?

What if the gag-reflex that people experience against hell is wrong? Obviously, serious Christians wish for God’s revelation in scripture to be the ultimate arbiter of the debate. But oftentimes our feelings can blind us to doctrines that we prefer not to be in the Bible. And that is often the case when it comes to people’s grappling with the biblical doctrine of eternal conscious torment.

To be sure, many people oppose the doctrine of eternal conscious torment on exegetical grounds, and I have addressed those arguments at length elsewhere.[5] But many others simply express a moral revulsion at the doctrine and then revise or forsake the Bible’s teaching. Herman Bavinck explains, “The grounds on which people argue against the eternity of hellish punishment always remain the same.”[6]

The first three reasons he lists are based less on specific scripture than they are on human judgments about the way God ought to behave: (1) Eternal punishment contradicts the goodness, love, and compassion of God and makes him a tyrant; (2) Eternal punishment contradicts the justice of God because it is in no way proportionate to the sin in question; and (3) Eternal punishment that is purely punitive and not remedial has no apparent value.[7]

Over 1,500 years ago, Augustine dealt with similar questions in his defense of eternal conscious punishment.[8] Again, these objections are not new nor is people’s abhorrence for the doctrine. Hart argues that such objections have no good answers under the traditional view. We are left with the “primary question of whether the God who creates a reality in which the eternal suffering of any being is possible… can in fact be the infinitely good God of love that Christianity says he is.”[9] Given that the Bible teaches hell to be eternal conscious torment and God to be just, then hell must be an indication of how grave and awful it is to sin against an infinitely holy God. Click To Tweet

Reforming the gag-reflex

When I was in seminary, I wrestled with my own emotional response to the doctrine of hell and how my affections might be rightly ordered towards God’s eternal wrath against sinners. There were two items that shaped my thinking during that period and that still shape my thinking today. The first was a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, “The End of the Wicked Contemplated by the Righteous.”[10] This sermon is a meditation on Revelation 18:20, which says, “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”

Edwards observes something profound revealed in this text. One day, God will turn to His glorified people and command them to “rejoice” over the destruction of the wicked in hell. Why? For several reasons: because God has finally given justice to His people by punishing her persecutors (Rev. 18:20b); because God’s judgment reveals His righteousness and justice (Rev. 19:2a); because God’s judgment ends Babylon’s wickedness (Rev. 19:2b); because God’s judgment vindicates the martyrs (Rev. 19:2c; cf. 6:10); because God’s judgment is eternal (Rev. 19:3); and because God’s judgment reveals that He reigns as the true King (Rev. 19:6).

This text from Revelation reveals that—regardless of my feelings now—there is coming a day when I will rejoice in the justice of God revealed in his punishment of sinners. That observation led me to ponder the crucial question: Why would I hold in contempt now the very thing that I will praise God for in the age to come? In the age to come, my heart will be made new, and my affections will be rightly ordered. In that day, I will no longer be haunted by indwelling sin and its distorting influence on my view of things. Therefore, I ought to aspire to be now what God will enable me to be perfectly in the age to come. I won’t be despising God’s righteous judgement in that future day, so I shouldn’t be despising it now.

That doesn’t mean that the thought of hell ceases to horrify me. It does horrify me. I am overwhelmed by the thought that the most powerful Being in the universe will inflict all his holy wrath upon the damned for eternity. I tremble to think that when the damned have suffered a million ages of despair, pain, anguish, and aloneness, their horror will only have just begun. I shudder to imagine the shock and astonishment of the damned, that their grief and pain will only increase forever. So I understand the emotional recoil that causes some people to soften the doctrine of hell or to jettison it altogether. I have felt it.

When I feel it, however, I try to remind myself that the problem is not with the doctrine. The problem is with me. My gag-reflex is malformed and needs to be adjusted to reality. I just don’t see things as I ought to see them. I don’t see things the way I will see them when I am made new. What is it about me now that tempts me to resist what I will one day embrace? It’s my inability to perceive and feel the greatness of an infinitely holy God. My vision of Him tends to be so dim that an infinite hell seems to be an overreaction to finite sin committed in time.[11] If I understand the true greatness of God and the utter horror of sin, I would see that hell is not an overreaction on God’s part. It is an expression of his justice.

*Read Dr. Burk’s entire article in the latest issue: Will all be Saved?

via The Gag-Reflex and the Doctrine of Hell: Realigning Our Emotional Response to God’s Justice — Credo Magazine

January 9 From Silence to Singing

Psalm 30:11–12

You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.

God is certainly with us when things are going well, but He is also with us when things aren’t going so well. God is there when we achieve a major accomplishment or victory in life, but He is also there in the hospital room when we receive the bad news we were hoping not to hear. Whether in the ups or the downs, God is with us in every case.

The key thought is this: Whether you are going through weeping or joy, give thanks to God. Whether you are in an up time or a down time, give thanks to God. If you are experiencing prosperity or poverty, give thanks to God. If you are in times of dancing or mourning, give thanks to God. Don’t ever forget that the one constant in all of life is God’s presence with you, and for that He deserves to be praised.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 10). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

How to Respond to the Claim: “We Don’t Have Free Will” (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

In this video, recorded at a Fearless Faith Seminar, J. Warner Wallace helps answer an audience question: If God is in control of everything, and if God knows the beginning from the end, how can we, as humans, have any free will?

via How to Respond to the Claim: “We Don’t Have Free Will” (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

January 9 Life-Changing Moments With God

You have given a banner to those who fear You,

that it may be displayed because of the truth.

Jehovah Nissi: Lord-My-Banner. When my enemy comes in like a flood, Your Spirit, Lord, will lift up a standard against him.

I will rejoice in my salvation, and in the name of my God I will set up my banner! You, Lord, have revealed my righteousness. Let me declare in Zion the work of the Lord my God. I am more than a conqueror through You who loved me. Thanks be to You, God, who gives me the victory through my Lord Jesus Christ.

I will be strong in You, Lord, and in the power of Your might. I will be valiant for the truth … and fight Your battles. “Be strong, all you people of the land,” You say, “and work; … do not fear!” I look at the field, white for harvest. For yet a little while, and You who are coming will come and will not tarry.

Light and dark; spirit and flesh; truth and lies; tolerance and discrimination … The battles are many, Lord. Keep me focused on You, a rallying point, my guide in conflict, and a banner of victory.

Psalm 60:4; Exodus 17:15; Isaiah 59:19; Psalm 20:5; Jeremiah 51:10; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Ephesians 6:10; Jeremiah 9:3; 1 Samuel 18:17; Haggai 2:4–5; John 4:35; Hebrews 10:37[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 18). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Donald Trump takes victory lap as court rules border wall building can proceed

President Trump claimed victory Thursday morning hours after a federal appeals court lifted a hold on some of his border wall construction plans, freeing the government to build what Mr. Trump called “one of the largest sections” of wall.

Source: Donald Trump takes victory lap as court rules border wall building can proceed

Trump’s Approval Rating Among Terrorists Hits All-Time Low — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—President Trump’s approval rating among terrorists hit an all-time low today according to a CNN poll. This comes just days after he killed several of them.

Of those surveyed, only six percent of terrorists–mostly white nationalists–said they approve of Trump’s performance. Of the 94 percent who disapproved, just half said they would like to see the president dead. The others claimed they would be perfectly happy with a pallet full of cash.

Trump was briefed on the issue this morning, but it is unclear whether or not he was paying attention. He did, however, offer a thumbs up in between bites of chocolate ice cream, according to CNN.

“We need to understand the importance of these numbers,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar, who participated in the poll. “These numbers not only tell us how terrorists view our president, but they also represent widespread disapproval of the American idea in general. If we can murder terrorists, it’s only a matter of time before we order drone strikes on our own citizens.”

President Trump is scheduled to speak with the media in regard to the poll this afternoon and promises to answer any and all questions as long as Mike Pompeo answers them first.

via Trump’s Approval Rating Among Terrorists Hits All-Time Low — The Babylon Bee

Fed Adds $83.1 Billion in Short-term Money to Markets

The New York Fed added $83.1 billion in temporary liquidity to financial markets, as a top official said the central bank may keep adding temporary money to markets for longer than policy makers had expected in September.

Source: Fed Adds $83.1 Billion in Short-term Money to Markets

Migrant Apprehensions at Border Drop for Seventh Straight Month

The apprehension of migrants crossing the southwest border from Mexico fell in December. A CBP report issued on Thursday shows a drop in apprehensions for the seventh straight month following the implementation of new asylum and border enforcement policies by the Trump administration.

Source: Migrant Apprehensions at Border Drop for Seventh Straight Month

Jail video of Jeffrey Epstein’s first suicide attempt was deleted, prosecutors reveal

Video footage from outside the cell of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein that was recorded at the time of his first reported suicide attempt in July

Source: Jail video of Jeffrey Epstein’s first suicide attempt was deleted, prosecutors reveal

Trump Says Soleimani Wanted To ‘Blow Up’ U.S. Embassy In Iraq, Tells Pelosi He Doesn’t Need Her Permission (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump on Thursday that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani “were looking to blow up our embassy” in Iraq before Trump ordered the U.S. military to take the terrorist out.

Trump also declared that as president, he doesn’t need congressional approval to make “split-second” decisions to protect Americans.

“We took him out. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy,” Trump said an impromptu press conference in the White House. “I think it was obvious. And he had more than that particular embassy in mind.”

Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani last Friday, which congressional leaders on the Democratic side quickly condemned. Ira retaliated by firing missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq in an ineffectual attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to call a vote on Thursday to restrict Trump’s presidential authority to take military action U.S. foes.

Trump said he doesn’t need Congress.

“I don’t have to [get authorization],” Mr. Trump said. “It would all depend on the circumstance. You have to make a split-second decision sometimes. We had a shot at him, and I took it, and that shot was pinpoint accuracy.”

Trump said Pelosi and her fellow Democrats “are trying to defend a monster” by condemning the killing of Soleimani.

“When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats want to defend him, I think that’s a very bad thing,” he said.

After Trump ordered the attack on Suleimani, Pelosi said the president should have asked for permission from Congress before conducting the airstrike.

“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” she said last week.

But Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, launched more than 2,800 on Iraq and Syria without congressional approval.

“The U.S. military has been conducting strikes in Iraq for 10 months, and began striking directly at targets in Syria last September as part of Mr. Obama’s announced campaign to degrade the capabilities of the Islamic State,” The Washington Times reported in April 2015.

This past weekend’s attacks brought the total to 1,458 strikes in Iraq and 1,343 in Syria by U.S. forces. Coalition forces allied with the U.S. have conducted another 655 attacks on Iraqi targets and 95 in Syria.

Mr. Obama has justified the attacks under his commander in chief powers and under the 2001 resolution authorizing force against al Qaeda, and the 2002 resolution authorizing the ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said Mr. Obama is stretching those laws and that the strikes could be illegal — though they say they want to put them on firm footing by passing a new authorization.

WATCH:

via Trump Says Soleimani Wanted To ‘Blow Up’ U.S. Embassy In Iraq, Tells Pelosi He Doesn’t Need Her Permission (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Four Reasons To Believe in God From Science — The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network

Four Reasons To Believe in God From Science

by Dr. Michael G. Strauss

As a scientist who studies the most fundamental particles and forces in the universe, I tend to only accept something as true if it is supported by abundant objective evidence. You might think that a person like me, who wants testable reasons for everything, could never be a Christian since Christianity is based on faith in God. However, real Christian faith as described in the Bible is always based on evidence and is more accurately defined as “trusting God based on the evidence that he is trustworthy.” Since I am an experimental particle physicist who needs facts to back up my beliefs, I have studied many of the objective reasons to believe and trust in God from history, science, philosophy, sociology, and other academic disciplines. Perhaps some of my findings will give you additional tangible reasons to believe in God.

Here are Four Reasons to Believe in God from Science…

I'm with Clive!FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE:
Four Reasons To Believe in God From Science

via Four Reasons To Believe in God From Science — The Poached Egg Christian Worldview and Apologetics Network

January 9, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The First Wedding

Genesis 2:22–24

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

When God brought the first woman to the first man, as we are told in the second chapter of Genesis he did, he did not merely provide Adam with a suitable helper and companion. He also established marriage as the first and most basic of all human institutions. Long before there were governments or churches or schools or any other social structures God established a home based on the mutual respect and love of a husband and wife, and all other human institutions came from it. From the authority of the father there developed the patriarchal and later tribal systems of human government. These gave rise to monarchical systems and then democracies. From the responsibility of parents to raise and educate their children came more formal systems of education: academies, institutes, colleges, and centers of higher learning. From the need to care for the family’s health came hospitals. From the obligation of parents to educate their children in the knowledge of God and the ways to worship came synagogues and then churches. One cannot think of a contemporary social or cultural organization that does not have a derivative relationship to the home and marriage.

And that is the problem! Today marriage is under attack. It is being destroyed, and if marriage falls then all these other institutions—churches, schools, businesses, hospitals, and governments—will inevitably fall with it.

Four-Pronged Attack

It is not difficult to discern directions from which the contemporary attack against marriage comes. There are four. First, marriage is attacked by the rampant hedonism of our age. It has been called the “new” hedonism or the “Playboy” philosophy. But it is new only in the sense that it is being accepted as never before, and it is “play” only in the sense that a child can play with matches or a pagan can play around with sacred things.

Hedonism says that the chief goal in life is pleasure and that this is to be pursued regardless of whatever long-range detrimental effects there may be. Generally it denies them. Sex is for fun, says hedonism, and the more of it with the greater variety of partners there may be, the better. Certainly one does not have to be married to enjoy a sexual relationship. In a strange way, this new hedonism has been supported by so-called Christian theologians through what has come to be called the “new morality,” though it is actually no more new than the old hedonism. The new morality has been popularized by such well-known churchmen as Bishop John A. T. Robinson of England, Joseph Fletcher, Harvey Cox, and others. It says that there are no ethical norms except for the one rather vague norm of love. Anything goes. Anything is permissible “as long as it does not hurt the other person.” Whether it will or not is to be determined solely from the situation.

The difficulty, of course, is that it is not so easy to define a situation. A couple in the privacy of a living room or bedroom may decide that intercourse outside marriage will not hurt them and that no one else need know. But they cannot be sure that it will not hurt them, and they cannot foresee the consequences that go beyond their own relationship. If nothing else, their decision will change their attitude toward marriage, and that, as I am pointing out, has consequences for the whole of society.

A second direction from which an attack on marriage comes is the widespread acceptance of adultery. Indeed, it is worse than acceptance. There is a sophisticated justification for it in the argument that adultery is often a tonic for a lackluster marriage and may well revive it. I have noticed a strange thing about this, however. People who are having affairs readily buy this argument as a defense of their own activity. They feel they are better lovers or at least happier and more interesting spouses to be married to. But when they discover that their spouse has been doing the same thing they are shocked, outraged, wounded, and often quickly on the way to the divorce courts.

It does not require a great deal of effort to think clearly on this matter. A person simply has to put the burgeoning divorce statistics next to the justification of adultery to see what is wrong. If adultery is good, if it is a tonic to faltering marriages, if it helps to hold homes together (as is so often claimed), if it is common (as we know it is), why are there so many divorces? The divorce rate has been rising for decades. In some areas of America more than half the marriages do not make it. One does not have to be brilliant to see that the fault is in the theory. It is not true that adultery helps failing marriages. Adultery actually destroys them, though by the grace of God (particularly in the case of Christians who sometimes also sin along these lines) it does not have to. The theory is a lie. No doubt those who want to sin this way and need to justify their conduct will go on believing the lie. Eve believed the devil’s lie when she wanted to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (“You will not surely die,” Gen. 3:4). But Christians at least should not believe it. Let us stand by the truth and warn even non-Christians of where their sin will lead them.

A third source of attack on marriage is the ease of divorce itself, for which our changing social mores and laws are responsible. A generation ago, when divorce was still considered a disgrace, it was not nearly so easy to get a divorce and there was enormous social pressure to hold the home together. No one would be so foolish as to say that all such homes became happy homes. Many were terribly unhappy. But the homes did hold together, and the children did grow up with the benefit of both parents. Besides, in other cases the need to live together and work things out, in spite of what may have been their first desires, did lead many couples to do precisely that with the result that their home became stronger.

Which is the better of the two ways? An approach to marriage that recognizes that it is often hard to live together and that therefore determines to work hard to make the marriage viable? Or an approach that demands easy perfection and that is prepared to dissolve the marriage if the perfection is not immediately forthcoming? The second is increasingly common, but it is not for the good of the couple or society.

The fourth attack on marriage is more recent and more subtle. It is the legalization of abortion on demand in which abortion is made an exclusively private affair between a woman and her doctor. Why is this detrimental to marriage? It is detrimental because it excludes the father from a decision affecting his as well as the woman’s offspring and, even more importantly, excludes him from the time-honored obligation and right to defend his child.

Not long ago Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a New York doctor who had probably performed more abortions in the country than anyone else, published a book in which he turned his back on his past and called for a reversal of the 1973 Supreme Court decision permitting abortion on demand, which he had worked for. One of his reasons for this change was a gradually dawning realization of what he had done. He had considered himself working in utilitarian fashion for “the greatest good of the greatest number.” But he came to see that, whatever his justifications may have been, he was actually presiding over multiple murders—seventy-five thousand by his direct action, and countless others indirectly. He now argues that each human life, however small, is precious. A second reason for this change of mind is the family. It is being dissolved, he maintains. By fiat of the high court the father has been denied the natural right to defend his child. And if he has, then he cannot reasonably be saddled with any other responsibility toward it—to society’s detriment.

The conclusion is clear. By upholding the right to kill the newest member of a family, the court makes the state a foe of the family. Marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth act as cohesives holding the family together. Sexual activity separated from the family and from childbearing tends to dissolve the family and destroy other social institutions.

Dr. Mildred Jefferson, a general surgeon at Boston University Medical Center and a foe of abortion, agrees with Nathanson. In an interview published in connection with her appearance in the film seminar Whatever Happened to the Human Race? she said, “The omission of the father in the 1973 decision implied that he was considered to have no rights in the matter. Later, when the court spoke directly, striking down the Missouri laws in 1976, the courts further denied the father any rights to protect the life of his child before birth.”

Nor is this only a problem for the father. It concerns a mother too, in a case involving the pregnancy of an unmarried minor daughter. According to many state laws, a daughter who is a minor has a right to an abortion without even the requirement of informing, let alone obtaining the consent of, her parents. In this case parents are put in an inferior position even to the abortionist. As Jefferson says, “The abortionist has complete and direct access to the teenagers walking in and out of their clinics; whereas the parents are denied the opportunity of even knowing what is happening.” We have not seen the full effects of these decisions yet. But we will undoubtedly see them in an intensifying weakening of the family and other social relationships, unless such tragedies are reversed and America undergoes a genuine spiritual recovery.

Can We Recover?

Is a recovery possible? I do not know. With God all things are possible, but given a fixed set of historical circumstances not all things are—unless there are changes. What I do know is that there will be no recovery unless Christians first recover a sense of what God intends marriage to be and then set about to achieve that in their own lives and communities.

The reason I say that Christians are the key to recovery is that only they have a gospel adequate to do what needs to be done. More than anything the innate selfishness of the human heart must be broken. It is a poisonous weed that must be attacked at the root and struck down. That does not happen naturally. It happens supernaturally and then only through the surrender of self to God in salvation.

What is most wrong with marriages today, in my opinion, is the love of self that our culture encourages. We put ourselves first. Consequently, if the other person does not contribute to my sense of well-being, serve my goals, and bolster my ego, I am ready to dissolve the relationship. An article by Margaret Halsey in Newsweek magazine entitled, “What’s Wrong with Me, Me, Me?” is very perceptive. It begins by identifying ours as the “me” generation and analyzes its foundations as the belief that “inside every human being, however unprepossessing, there is a glorious, talented and overwhelmingly attractive personality [which] will be revealed in all its splendor if the individual just forgets about courtesy, cooperativeness and consideration for others and proceeds to do exactly what he or she feels like doing.” Halsey denies this assumption on the grounds that most people are just normal human beings and then calls on them, not to intensify the search for this elusive, wonderful person to whom all others should defer, but rather to get down to the rather difficult and demanding task of constructing a personality that is desirable.

All in all, Halsey’s analysis is quite good. But it does not go far enough at the point of a solution. It is true that so long as we put ourselves first all relationships will suffer, including marriage. But how does one overcome what is apparently an innate human desire to put oneself first? Humanly speaking, we cannot. But when the love of self is broken at the cross of Christ—when we see ourselves as sinners in rebellion against God and bow before him—then something happens that inevitably spills over into other relationships. We are less inclined to be self-centered.

The second thing that Christians have and others do not, at least to the same degree, is a proper sense of service. We live to serve, not to be served, and for this reason we are willing to submit ourselves to one another within marriage.

When Paul writes about marriage in that great fifth chapter of Ephesians he instructs wives to be submissive to their husbands. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (vv. 22–24). He tells husbands that they are to love their wives. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies” (vv. 25–28). Clearly this is a relationship in which husbands are to love their wives and be true heads of their homes and wives are to thrive in this relationship. There is a true headship “as Christ is the head of the church,” and there is a true submission “as the church submits to Christ.” Nothing can deny this. But it is significant that the verse immediately before this calls on Christians to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (v. 21).

Is this contradictory? Are we faced with two different models from which we may choose, taking one and rejecting the other? Not at all. It is merely that the husband and wife submit to and serve one another in different ways. The husband serves his wife by loving her as Christ loves the church, building her up, and leaving his father and mother in order to live with her exclusively. The wife serves her husband by submitting to him as head of her home. The place husbands and wives learn to do this is in fellowship with Christ, who served us by taking the nature of a servant, assuming human likeness, and humbling himself and becoming “obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7–8). This is why Paul can say, “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:32).

Because of Christ, Christians understand service differently from non-Christians. To most non-Christians service means servility; it implies that the one serving is of little or lesser worth. Christians can never think this way. Christ, who has the greatest worth of all (“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,” Phil. 2:9), is at the same time the servant. We remember that in the upper room, at the very time he was giving his last instructions to his disciples, Jesus took off his outer clothing, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin, knelt down, and washed his disciples’ feet. He then said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14–15). We are being most Christlike when we serve the other person.

We can sum up by this statement: A marriage does not exist for me, but for us—for the children and society and for the glory of God.

God’s Glory

That brings me to my last point, namely, that marriage exists for God’s glory. This is why God instituted marriage. During the week I was preparing this message I attended a membership class at Tenth Presbyterian Church in which the teacher, one of our elders, said that God created sheep so that Christians might understand how they act and what they are. I had never thought of it that way, although I should have. I had thought of it the other way around, that God had created sheep and that Jesus came along and discovered that they made a good illustration. Our elder meant that God had created sheep with this end in view—that Jesus would have the illustration when he should come to this important part of his teaching. The point is: If this is true of sheep, it is even truer of marriage, for the Bible tells us explicitly that God created marriage in order that by marriage we might understand the most important of spiritual relationships.

That is why Jesus is portrayed to us in the Bible as the great bridegroom and husband of the church. It is why we who believe on him are portrayed as his bride. How are we going to communicate this greatest of all relationships if we who are Christians do not demonstrate it in our marriages? On the other hand, if we do demonstrate it there, then the world around will have a real-life illustration of how God works toward us in Christ to bring us to faith and save us from our sins.[1]


24  Therefore man forsakes his father and mother. Von Rad notes and is puzzled by the fact that in a patriarchal society it is the man who leaves his home rather than the wife who leaves hers. One explanation of this verse is that it reflects an erēbu marriage, in which the husband leaves his family and lives with his wife’s family. M. M. Bravmann offers another explanation, interpreting the verse psychologically. Referring to the saying that “A son is a son till he gets him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life,” he suggests that the new husband has more of an emotional detachment from his home than the new wife does from her home.12 He leaves home to a degree that she never does.

Perhaps the most crucial element in this verse is the verbs it uses: forsakes and clings. The verb forsake frequently describes Israel’s rejection of her covenant relationship with Yahweh (Jer. 1:16; 2:13, 17, 19; 5:7; 16:11; 17:13; 19:4; 22:9; many other examples from the OT could be cited). By contrast, the verb cling often designates the maintenance of the covenant relationship (Deut. 4:4; 10:20; 11:22; 13:5 [Eng. 4]; 30:20). Thus, to leave father and mother and cling to one’s wife means to sever one loyalty and commence another. Already Scripture has sounded the note that marriage is a covenant rather than an ad-hoc, makeshift arrangement.

Now covenantally joined with his wife, the man and his spouse become one flesh. Nothing is said yet about any procreating roles that this couple shall assume. The man does not leave one family to start another family. What is being pinpointed is solidarity. A man by himself is not one flesh. A woman by herself is not one flesh.[2]


2:24 / The narrator’s comment here is an aside from the main story, for it speaks about parents, and these first humans had no parents.

In joining with a woman, a man will leave his parents. Some interpreters have taken this extraordinary wording as assuming a matriarchal order, but the context does not sustain this view. Consequently, this wording is a shocking rhetorical device that communicates how radically marriage alters a son’s authority lines, especially in a patriarchal family. In antiquity parents arranged marriages at significant financial cost, and the groom’s parents might easily have thought that they had authority over their son despite the marriage. Therefore the son must leave his parents by breaking the authority line to them and honor his wife as his true counterpart, the central person in his life.

Furthermore, this instruction provides perspective on the commandment to honor one’s father and mother (Exod. 20:12; Lev. 19:3). It preempts parents from using the fifth commandment to challenge the supreme place a wife has for their son. This does not mean a son no longer has responsibilities to his parents, but it does mean his wife has a higher standing.

A man also must strive to prevent any dissolution of the relationship by clinging or cleaving (dabaq, niv be united) to his wife. Clinging conveys commitment to maintaining the union in loyal love. The Hebrew term does not emphasize the sexual side of the relationship; rather, it describes the closeness and the enduring quality of the bond between people, whether it is among women (Ruth 1:14) or among men (Prov. 18:24; G. Wallis, “dabaq,” TDOT 3:81). In a relationship of mutual trust, a male and a female are free to be open and vulnerable in each other’s presence; their commitment to each other provides a secure setting for them to explore their God-given sexuality. The bond between the marriage partners grows as each person contributes significantly to the other’s life. Marriage, then, is one community in which a man and a woman can establish the rapprochement that is possible because humans are made in the image of God. The use of “cling” supports this claim, for in Deuteronomy it describes the desired way Israel is to relate to Yahweh, with whom the nation is in covenant (e.g., Deut. 10:20; 11:22; 13:4).

The declaration they will become one flesh describes further the unity of a man and a woman. The focus is not on the resulting sexual relationship or the children to be born, though it does not exclude these expressions of their union. Rather, the emphasis is on the spiritual and social unity of the new couple. In becoming one flesh a man and a woman become more closely bonded than their blood kinship (Wenham, Genesis 1–15, p. 71). This understanding of the union between a man and a woman is the grounds for the laws of incest (Lev. 18, 20). Because the deepest human relationship is found in marriage, any spouse’s abuse or domination of the other denies their mutuality and disrupts the harmony God intended. Divorce, moreover, is a shattering experience.[3]


2:24–25. Marriage is described as consisting of three essential actions (reflecting the three clauses in the Hebrew text), all of which, if not always perfectly realized in a marriage, are nonetheless intended as life-long ideals for which a married couple is to strive unceasingly. The first action, represented by the statement a man shall leave his father and his mother, is that of clearly shifting one’s primary human loyalty to his spouse. The man is the subject of the verb (the “doer” of the action), suggesting not that the leaving is to be done only by the man, but that the degree of relational “severance” will typically be greater for him than he should expect it to be for his wife.

The second essential action is noted in the clause and he shall be joined to his wife (or “cleave to” KJV), in which “be joined to” (davaq) refers not to the sexual union of the couple, but rather to an intentional and unbreakable commitment, with the best interest of the other party being both the motivation and the goal of the one making that commitment. This verb is often used to describe the ideal of Israel’s (or an individual’s) covenant relationship with God, as in Jos 23:8: “But you are to cling (tidbaqu) to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day” (cf. Dt 30:20; 2Kg 18:6; Ps 63:8; Jr 13:11). The word is also used to describe Ruth’s commitment to Naomi, “Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung [daveqa] to her” (Ru 1:14). Ruth clarified this commitment in her following statement: “Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (v. 16). These sentiments expressed by Ruth are intended to characterize the “cleaving” within marriage. Genesis 2:24 presents the man as the subject (i.e., the one “doing” the cleaving) perhaps because men frequently have greater difficulty with marital commitment.

The third action is expressed by the statement, and they shall become one flesh. This refers not merely to the sexual union within marriage, but in fact to the uniting of two people into one. It refers to two people sharing of all of life in common so as to be like one person. Sexual union is a way to express this exclusive unity and a reason the Bible limits sexual relations to married couples.

On entering into the marriage union both the man and the woman are obligated to meet the physical needs of the other, just as they would hope for those same needs to be met in themselves. Paul made this point in Eph 5:28–30: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” As a result of the first couple experiencing marriage in this perfect setting, they are described as being naked and were not ashamed, indicating the lovely innocence and intimacy available in marriage.[4]


2:24. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and he shall cling on to his wife. And they shall become one flesh.

The author now inserts an editorial comment on the scene that has unfolded. Moses understands that the marriage of man and woman is to serve as a paradigm, a pattern that God has set in time and history prior to the fall of mankind. Marriage is a creation ordinance and institution. The verse is a description of divine intention.49

In a marriage, the man must leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Only then will the man have full authority within the family. Otherwise his parents still retain authority over the family. The result is that the man and woman become ‘one flesh’, a complete unit. But it is much more than physical unity, also including moral, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects. The two may now serve and obey God in a bonded, total relationship.[5]


Ver. 24 Cleave unto his wife.Marriage:—

  1. The nature and end of marriage. It is a vow of perpetual and indissoluble friendship.
  2. It has long been observed that friendship is to be confined to one: or that, to use the words of the axiom, “He that hath friends, has no friend.” That ardour of kindness, that unbounded confidence, that unsuspecting security which friendship requires, cannot be extended beyond a single object.
  3. It is remarked, that friendship amongst equals is the most lasting, and perhaps there are few causes to which more unhappy marriages are to be ascribed than a disproportion between the original condition of the two persons.
  4. Strict friendship is to have the same desires and the same aversions. Whoever is to choose a friend is to consider first the resemblance or the dissimilitude of tempers. How necessary this caution is to be urged as preparatory to marriage, the misery of those who neglect it sufficiently evinces.
  5. Friends, says the proverbial observation, “have everything in common.” This is likewise implied in the marriage covenant. Matrimony admits of no separate possessions, no incommunicable interests.
  6. There is yet another precept equally relating to friendship and to marriage, a precept which, in either case, can never be too strongly inculcated, or too scrupulously observed; “Contract friendship only with the good.” Virtue is the first quality to be considered in the choice of a friend, and yet more in a fixed and irrevocable choice.
  7. By what means the end of marriage is to be attained. The duties, by the practice of which a married life is to be made happy, are the same with those of friendship, but exalted to higher perfection. Love must be more ardent, and confidence without limits. It is therefore necessary on each part to deserve that confidence by the most unshaken fidelity, and to preserve their love unextinguished by continual acts of tenderness: not only to detest all real, but seeming offences: and to avoid suspicion and guilt, with almost equal solicitude. (John Taylor, LL. D.)

Marriage:—

  1. Marriage of man and woman is an ordinance of God Himself. And is therefore called the covenant of God (Prov. 2:17). By which He is said to join the married persons together (Matt. 19:6). Of which conjunction especially the apostle speaks, when he warns every man to walk as God hath called him (1 Cor. 7:17). Neither in reason can it be otherwise; seeing—
  2. We are God’s and not our own; and therefore none of us having power over his own person, can be disposed of otherwise than He directs (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).
  3. We bring forth children unto God (Mal. 2:15). Which He therefore calls His own (Ezek. 16:21), as born unto Him.
  4. Married persons must be wholly and entirely one to another. According to the form of that stipulation mentioned (Hos. 3:3), which extends unto all conjugal duties only. One may love other friends, but only his wife with a conjugal love and affection, rejoicing in her alone (Prov. 5:18, 19); dwelling with her as an inseparable companion; advising and jointly labouring with her for upholding and governing of the family (1 Cor. 7:3) and the like—in those the married persons must be wholly one to another. But so that they also, as well as others, must still hold themselves obliged to those general duties of love, due reverence, and service, unto all other persons, according to their several relations.

III. Married persons are not only to refrain themselves from all others, but resides to adhere and cleave firmly one to another. (J. White, M.A.)

The unity of husband and wife:—

Husband and wife should be like two candles burning together, which make the house more lightsome; or like two fragrant flowers bound up in one nosegay, that augment its sweetness; or like two well-tuned instruments, which, sounding together, make the more melodious music. Husband and wife—what are they but as two springs meeting, and so joining their streams that they make but one current? (W. Secker.)

Two hallowed institutions:—

Two hallowed institutions have descended to us from the days of primeval innocence, the wedding and the Sabbath. The former indicates communion of the purest and most perfect kind between equals of the same class. The latter implies communion of the highest and holiest kind between the Creator and the intelligent creature. The two combined, import communion with each other in communion with God. Wedded union is the sum and type of every social tie. It gives rise and scope to all the nameless joys of home. It is the native field for the cultivation of all the social virtues. It provides for the due framing and checking of the overgrowth of interest in self, and for the gentle training and fostering of a growing interest in others. It unfolds the graces and charms of mutual love, and imparts to the susceptible heart all the peace and joy, all the light and fire, all the frankness and life of conscious and constant purity and goodwill. Friendship, brotherly kindness and love, are still hopeful and sacred names among mankind. Sabbath keeping lifts the wedded pair, the brethren, the friends, the one-minded, up to communion with God. The joy of achievement is a feeling common to God and man. The commemoration of the auspicious beginning of a holy and happy existence will live in man while memory lasts. The anticipation also of joyful repose after the end of a work well done will gild the future while hope survives. Thus the idea of the Sabbath spans the whole of man’s existence. History and prophecy commingle in its peaceful meditations, and both are linked with God. God is; He is the author of all being and the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. This is the noble lesson of the Sabbath. Each seventh day is well spent in attending to the realization of these great thoughts. (Prof. J. G. Murphy.)[6]


2:24 “leave his father and his mother” This VERB (BDB 736, KB 806) is a Qal IMPERFECT, possibly used in a JUSSIVE sense. The importance of the family causes the comment to be read back into this early account. Moses is reflecting on his own day and the importance of the family unit in an extended family living situation. Marriage takes precedence over in-laws!

 

 

 

NASB

 

“cleave”

 

NKJV

 

“be joined”

 

NRSV

 

“clings”

 

TEV

 

“is united with”

 

NJB

 

“becomes attached to”

 

This is a Hebrew idiom of loyalty, even intimacy (BDB 179, KB 209, Qal PERFECT, cf. Ruth 1:14; Matt. 19:5–6; Eph. 5:31).

“one flesh” This shows the complete union and priority relationship of married couples. The SINGULAR form of “one” speaks of the joining of the two persons.[7]


[1] Boice, J. M. (1998). Genesis: an expositional commentary (pp. 136–142). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Hamilton, V. P. (1990). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17 (pp. 180–181). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Hartley, J. E. (2012). Genesis. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (pp. 63–64). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Rydelnik, M. A., & Vanlaningham, M. (Eds.). (2014). Genesis. In The moody bible commentary (p. 44). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[5] Currid, J. D. (n.d.). A Study Commentary on Genesis: Genesis 1:1–25:18 (Vol. 1, p. 113). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.

[6] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Genesis (Vol. 1, pp. 195–196). London: James Nisbet & Co.

[7] Utley, R. J. (2001). How it All Began: Genesis 1–11 (Vol. Vol. 1A, p. 50). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

Top IRGC General: Strikes on US Forces in Iraq Just Beginning of Full-Scale Op Across Region

Iran launched a missile strike on US positions in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of its IRGC General Qasem Soleimani. According to US statements, this attack didn’t result in any casualties and only caused minor damage to American bases.

Source: Top IRGC General: Strikes on US Forces in Iraq Just Beginning of Full-Scale Op Across Region

“Profoundly Dangerous” Market Exposed As Hedges, Shorts Evaporate | ZeroHedge News

“This is a market looking through fundamental data, looking through corporate guidance and data points, looking through Fed guidance itself,” Lisa Shalett, the chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, told Bloomberg Television.

“It is a market that wants to go up in the short term. That is what makes it so profoundly dangerous.

Blasphemy to most on Business TV, but it’s time someone from the ‘industry’ came clean as to the farce that is occurring in the US (and global) stock markets.

For a sense of the decoupling – bottom-up – here are three major holdings compared to their 2020 Consensus EPS forecasts…

Source: Bloomberg

And top-down, stock prices are as decoupled from fundamentals as they have ever been…

Source: Bloomberg

And, by now, everyone knows why…

Source: Bloomberg

However, as Shallett warns above, the situation is getting a bit out of hand, where even The Fed may not be able to rescue any downturn.

No one is hedging…

The cost of a bearish put option versus that of a call continued to slide, recently touching levels that have been rare throughout the bull market.

Source: Bloomberg

Everything is rising together…

The latest surge has taken 82% of S&P 500 firms above their average price for the past 200 days, the highest percentage in two years.  Frank Cappelleri, a senior equity trader and market technician at Instinet in New York, says the current reading is a “frothy indicator we need to watch.” According to Cappelleri, the last time so many firms topped the key level, the benchmark fell into a correction not long after. “Eventually, many stocks will slip back below their long-term moving averages — like they always do,” Cappelleri wrote to clients Wednesday.

Source: Bloomberg

And Shorts have disappeared…

Short sales in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, known by its ticker SPY, as a percentage of shares outstanding fell to 1.1% Tuesday, according to data from IHS Markit Ltd. That’s the lowest level since January 2018, before the event known as “Volmageddon” sent stocks swooning.

Source: Bloomberg

And Greed is at record highs…

Despite recent wobbles on geopolitical chaos, complacency is back at record highs…

Source: CNN

The red flags continue to pile up.

Source: “Profoundly Dangerous” Market Exposed As Hedges, Shorts Evaporate

Explaining the partisan reaction to Soleimani’s death: How we see the world changes how we experience the world — Denison Forum

Listen to The Daily Article Podcast, then subscribe.

President Trump told the nation yesterday that no Americans were hurt by Iran’s missile attack in response to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. He stated that Iran appears to be “standing down” and indicated that American forces would not respond further.

Unsurprisingly, reaction in America to Soleimani’s death has fallen largely along partisan lines. For example, a Fox News commentator stated that “Soleimani was an unparalleled organizer and a pitiless murderer. His death was richly earned.” A CNN commentator, by contrast, called his killing a “reckless gamble.”

This partisan divide is sadly familiar, of course. But I recently read an explanation for it that was both insightful and relevant to more than our politics.

Four ways to do foreign policy 

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat views American foreign policy through a prism developed by scholar Walter Russell Mead, who created this famous typology named for four American statesmen:

  • Hamiltonian: protection of commerce
  • Wilsonian: moral principle
  • Jeffersonian: maintenance of a democratic system
  • Jacksonian: populist values and military strength.

Douthat describes the Hamiltonians as “business-minded internationalists, cold-eyed and stability-oriented and wary of wars that seem idealistic rather than self-interested.” He describes the Wilsonians as “idealists, whether neoconservative or liberal-humanitarian, who regard the United States military as a force for spreading democracy and protecting human rights.” He claims that most foreign policy leaders in Washington “belong to one of these two groups.”

According to Douthat, however, “far more American voters are either Jacksonians or Jeffersonians.” He describes Jeffersonians as “more common on the left than on the right,” an impulse that “regards global hegemony as a corrupting folly and America’s wars as mostly unwise and unjust.” Their defining attitude is “No blood for oil.”

Douthat locates the “Jacksonian tendency” as “more common on the right than on the left” and describes it a “pugilistic nationalism that’s wary of all international entanglements but ready for war whenever threats arise.” Its essential credo is “More rubble, less trouble.”

According to Douthat, President Trump is a Jacksonian working within the Hamiltonian-Wilsonian strategic framework that dominates Washington’s political leadership. As with much of the president’s agenda and actions, the killing of Maj. Gen. Soleimani doesn’t fit within their ideology, which helps explain the polarization and rancor of our political discourse.

Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to note the formative power of a leader’s worldview in shaping foreign policy in practical ways. How we see the world goes a long way toward determining how we experience it.

Seeing Iran through spiritual eyes 

The same is true for us spiritually. For example, a church worker in Iran told CBN News that, forty years after Iran’s Islamic revolution, there’s another spiritual revolution underway in his country.

He states, “More people have come to faith [in Christ] in Iran in the last forty years than in the previous 1,400 years.” Believers there say that persecution in Iran is not hindering the church. In fact, it is growing it.

One missional leader explains: “When the persecution stops, the growth stops. What we want is the Gospel to spread far and wide and deep in Iran.”

Seeing our souls through spiritual eyes 

Henri Nouwen made an extended observation that seems especially relevant to this point in history:

“When we lose a family member or friend through death, when we become jobless, when we fail an examination, when we live through a separation or a divorce, when war breaks out, when an earthquake destroys our home or touches us, the question ‘Why?’ spontaneously emerges. ‘Why me?’ ‘Why now?’ ‘Why here?’ It is so arduous to live without an answer to this ‘Why?’ that we are easily seduced into connecting the events over which we have no control with our conscious or unconscious evaluation.

“When we have cursed ourselves or allowed others to curse us, it is very tempting to explain all the brokenness we experience as an expression or confirmation of this curse. Before we fully realize it, we have already said to ourselves, ‘You see, I always thought I was no good. . . . Now I know for sure. The facts of life prove it.’

“The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. This is not as easy as it sounds. The power of the darkness around us is strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people.

“But when we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us. Physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the blessing is experienced in ways radically different from physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the curse.”

How King David approached conflict 

King David was no stranger to war with his enemies and with himself. In a time of intense conflict, he made this simple but profound declaration: “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4:5).

As we work, God works. As we face conflict in our nation and in our souls, the key is to do what only we can do and trust God to do what only he can do.

What “sacrifice” will you offer him today?

What challenge will you trust to him today?

 

via Explaining the partisan reaction to Soleimani’s death: How we see the world changes how we experience the world — Denison Forum

‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists’ Provides President Trump Legal Justification for Soleimani Strike — The Gateway Pundit

Sorry Liberals but the President had ample legal justification for the hit on Iranian Leader Qasam Soleimani last week.

There is ample evidence that supports the President’s actions in the bombing of Iranian leader Qasam Soleimani last week.  One argument suggests that the President has this right as a result of the ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists‘ Law that was initiated on September 18, 2001, shortly after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon.

This law states that:

In general the law states that the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

This may be why one of the reasons for targeting Soleimani as tweeted by Vice President Mike Pence on January 3rd was related to the terrorist’s actions in assisting the terrorists involved in 9-11:

There is ample evidence to support the targeting and bombing of Iranian devil Soleimani.  Don’t believe the liberals when they attempt to say the opposite.  They are putting terrorists before the American people.

Hat tip D. Manny

via ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists’ Provides President Trump Legal Justification for Soleimani Strike — The Gateway Pundit

“I’m Probably Going to Lose Friends for Saying this but THANK YOU Mr. Trump” – Iranian American Activist Erica Kasraie Lashes Out at Fake News Media over Soleimani (Video) — The Gateway Pundit

Erica Kasraie was born in Iran but is now an American citizen and a human rights activist.

Following the death of Qassem Soleimani Erica posted a heartfelt video on Facebook and Youtube to the American people.

Erica begged Americans not to believe the lies on mainstream media about Soleimani and Iran. She mentions the 1,600 young protesters killed by the regime in November for peacefully protesting. She describes how at 7-years-old she was forced to chant “Death to America” in her classroom.

Eric Kasraie then thanks President Trump, “I’m probably going to lose a lot of friends for saying this but thank you Mr. Trump for making a very hard decision and for having the moral courage to do something that probably a lot of world leaders wouldn’t have had.”

Hat Tip Andrea-

The video already has over 3 million views on YouTube — not counting Facebook!

 

via “I’m Probably Going to Lose Friends for Saying this but THANK YOU Mr. Trump” – Iranian American Activist Erica Kasraie Lashes Out at Fake News Media over Soleimani (Video) — The Gateway Pundit

January 9, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

Iran spurned the U.S. president’s call for a new nuclear pact and its
commanders threatened more attacks, after both sides backed off from
intensified conflict following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and
Tehran’s retaliatory missile strikes.

Trump administration officials failed to convince Democratic U.S.
lawmakers, and some Republicans, on Wednesday that an imminent threat had
justified the killing of a top Iranian military commander, and
congressional Democrats scheduled a vote on legislation to rein in the
president’s ability to wage war.

The Trump administration on Wednesday said it was too late to renew the
effort to push through a decades-old proposed amendment to the U.S.
Constitution that would ensure American women have equal rights to men.

A U.S. congressional report called for sanctions against China over human
rights abuses, and for U.S. officials to keep rights concerns in mind
during dealings with Beijing, including trade negotiations.

China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that a U.S. Congressional report
that called for sanctions against Beijing over human rights abuses was
neither objective nor credible.

Grassroots donors gave about $1 billion to Democratic candidates and
progressive groups in 2019 through the online fundraising organization
ActBlue, the nonprofit said.

Australian authorities urged another mass evacuation across the heavily
populated southeast on Thursday as a return of hot weather fanned huge
bushfires threatening several towns and communities.

Technology companies transformed smartphones and televisions into
continuous fountains of revenue. Now, big tech wants to work with
automakers to do the same thing for your car. With the widespread rollout
of autonomous vehicles still years away, the two industries have converged
on the idea of cars providing services and features delivered “over the
air” – that is, over the same wireless data networks used by smart phones.

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a plan to speed permitting
for major infrastructure projects like oil pipelines, including by dropping
consideration of their potential impact on climate change.

AP Top Stories

The Philippines will no longer require its citizens to leave Iran and
Lebanon as worries of a broader conflict in the Middle East eased, but the
mandatory evacuation order for workers in Iraq remains in force, officials
said on Thursday.

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake on Wednesday rattled an area less than 30 miles
from Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant near the country’s Gulf coast.

Responding to a growing crisis on the streets of California’s major cities,
Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday his state budget proposal would
include more than $1 billion in funds directed at homelessness.

Keeping Lebanon without a government is “increasingly irresponsible”, a
senior U.N. official said on Wednesday, in tough criticism of Lebanese
leaders as their country sinks deeper into crisis without a rescue plan.

Police chased and stuck protesting students with batons after they marched
through India’s capital Thursday to demand the resignation of a university
official following an attack at their school by masked assailants.

President Donald Trump threatened to impose deep sanctions on Iraq if it
moves to expel U.S. troops and said Sunday he would not withdraw entirely
unless the military is compensated for the “extraordinarily expensive air
base” there.

Thousands of people protested in Serbia’s capital Wednesday against the
alleged suppression of religious and other rights of Serb minorities in
neighboring countries, answering a call to action by the Serbian Orthodox
Church.

A nine-day Sino-Pakistani naval exercise commenced in Pakistan’s port of
Karachi on Monday with the arrival of a Chinese naval task group from its
South Sea Fleet. Sea Guardians 2020 is the sixth in the bilateral series,
which, according to the Pakistan Navy, will focus on “augmenting
interoperability and strategic cooperation.”

BBC

Two-thirds of Puerto Rico is still without power, and a quarter is without
running water, after a series of earthquakes this week. At least one person
died and 300 homes were destroyed in a 6.4-magnitude quake and 6.0
aftershock on Tuesday.

A judge in Brazil has ruled that a film depicting Jesus as gay must be
removed from the TV streaming service Netflix. The film, The First
Temptation of Christ, infuriated fervent Christians in the country.

Norway has offered to take in 500 migrants who were evacuated to Rwanda
from Libyan detention centers. Sweden has already taken in seven migrants.

WND

A recent online survey of college students found that almost half – 49
percent – disapprove of the U.S. killing Qassem Soleimani.

A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor recently called
free speech racist and said he worries that if a Democratic presidential
candidate wins the 2020 election it could spark another Civil War.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 9, 2020

The Foundation

“In times of peace the people look most to their representatives; but in war, to the executive solely.” —Thomas Jefferson (1810)

Capitol Hill War Powers Dust-Up — Symbolism Over Substance

GOP senators Lee and Paul fight for Congress following Trump admin Soleimani briefing.


Energy Independence Trumps Middle East Quagmires

America has quietly risen to become a net oil exporter. That’s huge for foreign policy.


VA Dems Target Shooting Ranges

The NRA is the clear target of this latest anti-Second Amendment legislation.


The Trump Administration — Keeping America Great in 2020 and Beyond!

Democrats’ best hope in 2020 — drive the economy into recession.


Texas Man Turns Christmas Trees Into Canes for Vets

The free gifts for veterans all started from his own need of a cane.


Video: CO ‘Red Flag’ Law — Confiscation 95% of the Time?

A state fiscal analysis assumes the law will be used to take guns from 170 people yearly.


Video: Did Trump Just Start World War III or Stop It?

Hasn’t Iran been at war with the United States since the 1979 hostage crisis?



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
The President’s Address
Victor Davis Hanson
Iran’s Options in Showdown With America Are All Bad
Larry Elder
The Great Recession: ‘Reparations’ Gone Bad
R. Emmett Tyrrell
Attorney General William Barr, ‘Adult of the Year’
Rebecca Hagelin
Blacks Coming Home to GOP
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday Top News Executive Summary

Pelosi pressured, Schiff sued, border injunction lifted, Iran propaganda, and more.


Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from WSJ, Elizabeth Warren, Ro Khanna, 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 – 1/9/2020

Survey: 71% of Israelis approve of Trump, but global ratings mostly negative

Trump’s peace plan is on the way: Is Israel ready? – analysis

Gantz: Releasing peace plan now would be an intervention in elections

Pompeo: US support for Israeli settlements advances peace with Palestinians

Netanyahu: ‘We will not uproot any community, Jewish or Arab, under any peace plan’

Bennett: Area C of West Bank belongs to us, we’re waging a battle for it

Israeli defense minister seeks ‘million’ settlers in West Bank

Leviathan Marketed as Israelis’ Interest, but 85% of Gas Is Going to Egypt, Jordan

Isreali Tech Companies Raised $39 Billion in Investments in the Last Decade, Report Says

The scholar who wrote the definition of anti-Semitism says it’s been subverted

Stabbings, shootings, assaults weigh on US Jewish youth

Haifa under ‘explicit threats,’ France warns

Israel unveils breakthrough laser to intercept missiles, aerial threats

Israel Now Has a Second Squadron of Deadly F-35I Stealth Fighters

Trump and Netanyahu discuss ‘critical’ issues after Iran missile strikes

US to UN: Soleimani killing was self-defense

Iran missile attack: Did Tehran intentionally avoid US casualties?

Iran chose to miss when firing rockets, British sources suggest

Iran’s missiles intended to ‘kill personnel’ in Iraq, Pentagon says

Iranian leader calls missile attack a ‘slap’ at US bases

Iran’s ‘final answer’ following general’s death is to ‘kick all US forces out of the region,’ Rouhani warns

Trump, full text: The days of tolerating Iran’s destructive behavior are over

Trump backs away from further military confrontation with Iran

Trump pulls back for now but game of chicken with Tehran far from over

US, Iran step back from the brink; region still on edge

The optics of Trump’s announcement: America stands ready to strike

EU leaders relieved as Trump steps away from Iran conflict

Rand Paul, Mike Lee rip administration over ‘insulting and demeaning’ Iran briefing

Iran crisis: US ‘ready for serious negotiations’ with Tehran

Iran’s U.N. envoy dismisses any cooperation with Trump amid sanctions: IRNA

Iran’s Guards Threaten ‘Harsher Revenge Soon’ Against the U.S.

Trump vows immediate new sanctions on already heavily sanctioned Iran

Trump: New sanctions on Iran but U.S. “ready to embrace peace”

Kuwait state news agency hacked, publishes false report on US troop withdrawal

Unswayed by Iran briefings, Democrats seek to check Trump war power

US House to vote on preventing Trump from starting war with Iran

EU ‘will spare no efforts’ to save Iran deal

Two rockets hit near US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone

After missile launch, Iran says it respects Iraqi sovereignty

Iraq set for conflict, even if US and Iran deescalate

Investors are feeling a lot calmer today about the United States and Iran

Iran attack: Oil prices recede after rise on Iraq missile attacks

Oil prices will climb above $100 a barrel if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, analysts predict

How Iran Built a Force to Indirectly Confront a Superpower Enemy

Pompeo urges ‘complete cooperation’ into cause of Ukraine plane crash in Iran

Iran plane crash: Tehran won’t give Boeing or US black boxes

Iran investigators say Ukrainian plane turned back, never called for help

Iran plane crash: Airliner ‘was trying to return to airport’

Timing of Boeing 737 Iran crash ‘very suspicious,’ pilot says

Security agencies said to believe malfunction, not missile, downed plane in Iran

It Sure Looks Like the Ukrainian Airliner May Have Been Accidentally Shot Down in Iran

Ukraine’s President: Considering Several Possibilities Behind Iran Plane Crash

Airlines scramble as Iranian airspace becomes no-go zone

UN Investigators Find Yemen’s Houthis Did Not Carry Out Saudi Oil Attack

NATO chief agrees with Trump that allies should do more in Middle East

US allies see Middle East strategy vacuum that Putin can fill

Putin Launches Pipeline in Turkey With Erdogan, Day After Meeting Assad

Erdogan, Putin Call for Cease-fire in Libya by End of Week

World Bank warns of global debt crisis amid borrowing buildup

N.Y. Governor Suggests Hate-motivated Mass Violence Be Classified Domestic Terrorism

Impeachment standoff deepens, testing McConnell and Pelosi

Feinstein, Manchin join Democrats pressuring Pelosi to send impeachment articles to Senate

Trump, Bloomberg spend $10 million each on dueling Super Bowl ads

Fears of Bernie Sanders win growing among Democratic establishment

U.S. lawmakers say Facebook steps to tackle ‘deepfake’ videos not adequate

China facial-recognition case puts Big Brother on trial

‘Sex tech’ aims to rise above negative image

‘It is very unnerving’: Mysterious drones flying over Colorado prompt investigation

High-tech plane joins search for mysterious drones in Colorado

More than 500 earthquakes have rattled the Puerto Rico region in 10 days. There may be more to come

Puerto Rico slowly brings back electricity after powerful earthquake

Missionaries, church groups in Puerto Rico on surviving earthquake, facing uncertainty

6.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Chukotskiy Avtonomnyy Okrug, Russia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits Southwest Indian Ridge

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Berekua, Dominica

Two earthquakes strike near Iran nuclear plant

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 12,000ft

Ebeko volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 10,000ft

Yellowstone Volcano’s Steamboat Geyser Smashed Record for Eruptions in 2019

Israel: Rains continue to deluge country, causing flooding in coastal, desert areas

Sea of Galilee’s waterline rises by 23 centimeters after heavy rainfall

Australia issues new evacuation alerts as monster bushfires regenerate

‘Alarming Signs’ As 2019 Officially World’s Second-Warmest Year On Record

World’s worst measles epidemic kills 6,000 people in Democratic Republic of Congo

The medications that change who we are

Chick-Fil-A Finally Responds to Salvation Army-FCA Funding Flap, and It May Just Calm Some Tensions

Chick-fil-A pres muddies waters on LGBT donation controversy, now calls Salvation Army ‘outstanding’

Brazilian judge orders Netflix to stop showing gay Jesus movie

California Governor Pushes $1.4 Billion Plan To Tackle Homelessness


Apostasy Watch

Mike Oppenheimer –  Engle’s Angle part 3 Fasting and Prayer

Rick Becker – Bill Johnson – Power over Principle, Honoring the Dishonorable

Christianity Today: “We are theologically conservative . . . ”—CT History Shows Differently

Baptist pastor accused of sexually ‘grooming’ teen babysitter sentenced to 90 days in jail

A Kenyan pastor fatally stabbed his wife in church and then killed himself on the pulpit, police say

Woman sues Mormon church over husband’s abuse disclosure

How CBS Evening News’ coverage of Roe v. Wade helped establish the permanent misrepresentation of that landmark decision

Planned Parenthood Should Lose Its Non-Profit Status, It Uses Our Tax Dollars to Elect Pro-Abortion Democrats


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