Daily Archives: January 16, 2020

January—16 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.—Luke 14:16.

Is not this certain man designed to represent the Father of mercies, and God of all grace? And is not the great supper intended to set forth the full, generous, free, and plentiful feast made for poor sinners by Jesus Christ in his gospel? My soul, thou art invited, for the message of grace is to the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Jesus keeps a noble house, and it is an open house. The evening is come—the hour of supper is arrived: arise, then, and accept the invitation. Behold, Lord, I am come! And now what are the spiritual delicacies of thy table? First, methinks I hear the generous Lord proclaim a hearty welcome. And it is a sweet thought for my poor soul to cherish, that in whatever heart Jesus is welcome, that heart is welcome to Jesus; for as a poor hungry sinner needs a full Saviour, so a full Saviour needs a poor empty sinner, to give out of his fulness upon, and grace for grace. Neither is a poor sinner more happy in receiving Jesus, than Jesus is glorified in receiving a poor sinner. “The Lord waits to be gracious.” And what are the viands at his table? The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Here, then, I find the whole of the blessed feast. Here is Jesus himself, the bread of life, and the water of life, whose flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed. Here are pardon, and mercy, and peace; here is strength to help in every time of need; all grace treasured up for his people in himself, and now to be imparted as their several circumstances require. Moreover, the King himself is come to his table. I could not be mistaken in his voice. He saith, “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends! drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved!” What doth our Jesus mean by “his myrrh with his spices?” Doth he mean the preparing the souls of his guests for this banquet, by enduing them with the spirit of repentance and faith? or is it to set before them his own sufferings and death, “by whose stripes they are healed?” In either sense, blessed be my bountiful Lord! he is himself the provider; it is his table, and he furnisheth the whole of it. He is the substance, the life, the way, the means, the end, the first and the last of all; it is all his own, and of his fulness do we all receive. And, dearest Lord! art thou pleased with thy guests when they come at thine invitation, under a deep sense of want, earnestly desiring to partake of thy bounty, approaching under the sweet leadings of thy Holy Spirit, and clothed in the wedding-garment of thine own righteousness? O thou bountiful Lord! how blessed are they that sit in thine house, they will be continually praising thee! Now, my soul, thou hast eaten, and art full; arise from the holy table as one fed and filled with the Spirit, bless the kind Master of the feast, and give thanks, crying out with holy Simeon, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 19–20). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

January 16 Streams in the Desert

And there arose a great storm.” (Mark 4:37.)

SOME of the storms of life come suddenly: a great sorrow, a bitter disappointment, a crushing defeat. Some come slowly. They appear upon the ragged edges of the horizon no larger than a man’s hand, but, trouble that seems so insignificant spreads until it covers the sky and overwhelms us.

Yet it is in the storm that God equips us for service. When God wants an oak He plants it on the moor where the storms will shake it and the rains will beat down upon it, and it is in the midnight battle with elements that the oak wins its rugged fibre and becomes the king of the forest.

When God wants to make a man He puts him into some storm. The history of manhood is always rough and rugged. No man is made until he has been out into the surge of the storm and found the sublime fulfillment of the prayer: “O God, take me, break me, make me.”

A Frenchman has painted a picture of universal genius. There stand orators, philosophers and martyrs, all who have achieved pre-eminence in any phase of life; the remarkable fact about the picture is this: Every man who is pre-eminent for his ability was first pre-eminent for suffering. In the foreground stands that figure of the man who was denied the promised land, Moses. Beside him is another, feeling his way—blind Homer. Milton is there, blind and heart-broken. Now comes the form of one who towers above them all. What is His characteristic? His Face is marred more than any man’s. The artist might have written under that great picture, “The Storm.”

The beauties of nature come after the storm. The rugged beauty of the mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm-swept and the battle-scarred.

You have been in the storms and swept by the blasts. Have they left you broken, weary, beaten in the valley, or have they lifted you to the sunlit summits of a richer, deeper, more abiding manhood and womanhood? Have they left you with more sympathy with the storm-swept and the battle-scarred?

Selected

The wind that blows can never kill

The tree God plants;

It bloweth east, it bloweth west,

The tender leaves have little rest,

But any wind that blows is best.

The tree that God plants

Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,

Spreads greater boughs, for God’s good will

Meets all its wants.

There is no storm hath power to blast

The tree God knows;

No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,

Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane;

When they are spent, it doth remain,

The tree God knows,

Through every tempest standeth fast,

And from its first day to its last

Still fairer grows.

Selected[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 18–19). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

January 16th The D. L. Moody Year Book

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.—Nehemiah 8:8.

WE must study the Bible thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.

If a friend were to see me searching about a building, and were to come up and say, “Moody, what are you looking for? have you lost something?” and I answered, “No, I haven’t lost anything; I’m not looking for anything in particular,” I fancy he would just let me go on by myself, and think me very foolish. But if I were to say, “Yes, I have lost a dollar,” why, I might expect him to help me to find it.

Read the Bible as if you were seeking for something of value. It is a good deal better to take a single chapter, and spend a month on it, than to read the Bible at random for a month.[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. 17). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

“Everyone Is Extremely Long ‘Frothy’ Stocks”, World’s Biggest Hedge Fund Warns; Sees Gold Soaring As Dollar Loses Reserve Status | Zero Hedge

“There will no longer be an attempt by any of the developed world’s major central banks to normalize interest rates. That’s a big deal.”

With the market meltup accelerating at an unprecedented pace, and hitting new all time highs day after day even as broad S&P valuations are now at nosebleed levels last seen during the dot com bubble…

… investing luminaries have emerged from the woodwork to issue increasingly dire warnings to anyone who buys stocks here.

And so, two days after Oaktree founder Howard Marks told Bloomberg TV that “now is not a good time to be investing“, Greg Jensen, the co-CIO of Bridgewater, warned that he his fund was cautious on stocks, describing them as “frothy” as “most of the world is long equity markets in pretty extreme situations”, and predicted that gold would soar to $2000 and higher because the Fed and other central banks would let inflation run hot for a while and “there will no longer be an attempt by any of the developed world’s major central banks to normalize interest rates. That’s a big deal.”

In an interview with the FT, the man who oversees $160 billion at the world’s biggest hedge fund, also anticipated even more “political turbulence” on multiple fronts as slowing US economic growth exacerbates the divide between rich and poor while tensions rise with China and Iran.

Bridgewater co-CIO, Greg Jensen.

It is against this backdrop that Jensen said gold could rise 30% from its current price of $1,550 and should be considered as “a cornerstone of investors’ portfolios.”

“There is so much boiling conflict. People should be prepared for a much wider range of potentially more volatile set of circumstances than we are mostly accustomed to.” Jensen told the FT.

Addressing an issue we have repeatedly said is the weakest link in the bubble-bust loop, namely the Fed’s inability to correctly measure and thus target inflation, Jensen said even if inflation were to reach the central bank’s 2% target, “the Fed won’t be pre-emptive” which “takes off the table, in the short term, the normal reason cycles end . . . For most of the post-World War II recessions, the Fed dealing with inflation has ended the cycle.”

In short, as Richard Breslow said earlier, the Fed now “owns” this bubble, and once the market crashes so will the last trace of Fed reputation. 

And not just the Fed: soaring recession fears in 2019 which sent a record $17 trillion in debt in negative yield territory prompted 49 central banks around the world to cut rates 71 times in 2019, according to JPMorgan. The Fed itself reduced interest rates three times last year, and launched QE4 in October ostensibly to “fix” the repo market but in reality to push stocks higher, just as the president had demanded.

It gets worse: while the “tinfoil” blogosphere has repeatedly said the Fed could cut rates back to zero, if not negative, Jensen is one of the first “serious people” who told the FT he would not rule out the possibility that the Fed could slash rates to zero this year as it looks to avoid recession and disinflationary pressures.

But the main reason why Bridgewater is going long gold is also the most startling one: as a result of coming inflation surge and the ballooning US budget and trade deficits, the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency could be threatened.

“That could happen quickly or it could happen a decade from now. But it’s definitely in the range of possibilities. And when you look at the geopolitical strife, how many foreign entities really want to hold dollars? And what are they going to hold? Gold stands out.”

What about other assets? After all, Bridgewater is mostly an equity fund? Well, if there was one word to summarize Jensen’s position it would be that of Howard Marks: “sell.”

Although rate cuts by the Fed have bolstered equity markets, Jensen said the group was “more cautious” on US stocks, describing them as “frothy.” Echoing what we said in “Institutions, Retail And Algos Are Now All-In“, Jensen warned that “most of the world is long equity markets in pretty extreme situations”, particularly in the US, raising the appeal of emerging markets.

What happens next? Well, since humans are rather predictable creatures, he expects even more frothiness until it all comes crashing down: “a decade-long outperformance of the US is now being extrapolated and so people are generally under geographically diversified.”

Is Bridgewater talking its book?  Probably – its flagship Pure Alpha strategy was flat in 2019, while its All Weather fund gained 16 per cent for the year. That said, it is unclear if the “book” that is being talked in this case is the long gold, or short equities one.

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/markets/everyone-extremely-long-frothy-stocks-worlds-biggest-hedge-fund-warns-expects-gold-soar

Trump Trial Begins – Guilty As Charged? by Ron Paul

Article Image
• Ron Paul Liberty Report

After a bizarre pause in the impeachment proceedings, House Speaker Pelosi has finally decided to send the House-passed articles of impeachment over to the Senate for trial. Constitutional duty…or political grandstanding? And are they missing the whole point on impeachment?

Kanye West to Join Host of False Teachers for Awaken 2020 Conference — Christian Research Network

“It appears that Kanye West has fully embraced the charismatic New Apostolic Reformation “signs and wonders” movement and will be joining a host of self-proclaimed “prophets” and “apostles” at the Awaken 2020 Conference this weekend. Some of the false prophets and false apostles heading up the event include Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Guillermo Maldonado, Brian Welch, and many others.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Kanye West’s supposed conversion to Christianity. While I’ve been hopeful that his conversion is true, I’ve been skeptical about the sincerity of his conversion and have refrained from promoting him or his music to other believers.

While others have urged us to give him time to show fruits, we’ve held the position that if West is truly born-again, our criticism isn’t going take that away from him. In fact, as a highly visible popular figure — and one who now claims Christ — this does place him in a position to be scrutinized publicly for his words, actions, and associations. View article →

Research

New Apostolic Reformation

Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel

Watch Out! Apostasy Alert – naming names

via Kanye West to Join Host of False Teachers for Awaken 2020 Conference — Christian Research Network

Somber Impeachment Ceremony Concludes With The Impeachment Dancers — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It was a somber day for the U.S., as House Democrats formalized the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took seven solemn hours to sign the articles of impeachment with 582 custom pens on silver trays before she sent them over to the Senate. As the articles were handed over, the Impeachment Dancers entered the room, marking the dark day with a well-choreographed dance number accented by a tasteful amount of pyrotechnics.

“It is gravely serious to accuse the president of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Pelosi said as dancers gyrated behind her. “And we do this reluctantly and with a heavy heart.”

After the ceremony and the dance number concluded, Democratic leaders all had a moment of silence to reflect on the gravity of their undertaking, the only sound now being the making of impeachment balloons by the Impeachment Clowns there to entertain the children.

With President Trump officially impeached and the trial now in the hands of the Senate, the House Democrats left feeling their important work was done — except for all the fundraising emails they had to write.

via Somber Impeachment Ceremony Concludes With The Impeachment Dancers — The Babylon Bee

11 Self-Refuting Arguments Against Christian Truth — The Fight of Faith

If you publicly express your faith in Jesus, you will undoubtedly face challenges to your beliefs. This should not surprise us because Jesus told us this would happen. Thankfully, for those of us in the United States, most of these challenges are only verbal in nature. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world face threats to their property and lives. Wherever we find ourselves, Scripture calls us to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in us, and that answer is always, Jesus.

The context in which we must give that answer will vary. For those of us facing intellectual challenges to our faith, we must be ready to expose fallacious arguments as well as give them the gospel. With that in mind, here are 11 common self-refuting arguments. I will break them down into three categories

Truth is relative.

Whenever someone claims that truth is relative, it is important to remember that that would apply to their statement as well. The statement, “truth is relative” would also be relative. This would make their statement about the relativity of truth just as true or false as any of your statements. Thus they lose all authority to speak. Here are a few ways this argument presents itself.

1. Language cannot communicate truth.

Postmodernism has taken root, not only in secular society, but in more liberal denominations as well. About 10 years ago, it was called the emergent church. Though that name has died, these ideas are still infiltrating many churches. Postmoderns argue that language is an invention of man and therefore cannot communicate truth, but they always try to communicate it using language.

2. Propositions are not truth.

The idea with this argument is that experience is truth, not words. This is a clear attack on the word of God. The funny part is, they often try to use the word of God to defend their point, which, of course, would only work if the word of God can communicate propositional truth.

3. There are no metanarratives

This idea that truth is relative leads them to believe that there are no metanaratives. There is no one story that controls all other stories. There are no universal beliefs through which all people should be viewed like creation, fall, and redemption. They believe all metanarratives are a masked play for power. This, of course, is the one overarching story they use to control all other stories. It is the lens they universally apply to everyone else.

4. Christians should not disagree about doctrine.

Their belief in the subjectivity of truth leads them to downplay biblical doctrine. From here, they argue that Christians should not disagree about doctrine. The problem is that this is a doctrinal disagreement they are having with you. Let’s not be naive, doctrinal disagreement can go too far, but to censure all doctrinal discernment leaves the arguer with only one option: to close their mouth and nod in agreement to everything you say.

5. Humans are prone to error so they cannot be trusted.

Finally, you will sometimes see another self-refuting argument in the way they try to justify their belief that truth is relative, but every argument comes back to haunt them. Every time they use the fact that man can err to make everything untrustworthy, they make themselves untrustworthy.

Do Not Tell People How to Live

6. Morality is subjective.

A second area were people often refute themselves is when they argue that morality is relative, and that we ought not tell people how to live. What they fail to realize is when they say “we ought not tell people how to live” they are telling people how to live.

7. Do not judge.

The “Do not judge” argument is probably the most common version of this argument. Of course, if you misinterpret Jesus’ words to mean you have no right to tell people when they they wrong, you refute yourself because you are telling someone they are wrong.

Everything Must be Proven with Science

There are people who take the benefits of scientific inquiry and try to make it the sole source of truth, but they fail to realize that there is a philosophy of science which must under gird all scientific endeavors. Here is how a few of these arguments present themselves.

8. Everything must be empirically proven.

When someone says you should only believe in things that can be experienced with the five senses, realize, their theory cannot be experienced or proven with the five senses.

9. Science is the only source of truth.

Never forget, science itself depends upon immaterial realities like the laws of logic, mathematics, time, and space.

10. Metaphysics are a waste of time.

This one is a little more sophisticated, but it suffers from the same problem. Metaphysics, according to the dictionary, is the study of first principles. These first principles include abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. Often, as a Christian, when you begin delving into these topics, you will hear this argument from naturalists. The problem, for them, is that they make this statement because of there naturalistic metaphysical pre-commitments to these questions.

11. Humans are programmed by natural selection.

Finally, let us not forget that the naturalist often considers themselves free thinkers because they do not buy into “superstition,” but their own views of a closed system of cause and effect means that their own thought is the product of a closed system of cause and effect just like everyone else’s. The only conclusion that can be drawn from a closed system of cause and effect is determinism, and determinism leaves no room for freedom.

As Christians, let us be aware of fallacious arguments, but more importantly, let us stay close to our Savior and His word. The goal of apologetics is to help clear the intellectual impediments to the gospel, but if we never give them the gospel, or if we are not living close to our Lord and His word, we might as well not do apologetics at all. Though apologetics is helpful and important, it does not save the soul. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

-D. Eaton

via 11 Self-Refuting Arguments Against Christian Truth — The Fight of Faith

January 16, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

3 With the dawning of each new day, prayer is renewed, with the hope that the Lord will soon respond. The “morning” is symbolic of a renewal of God’s acts of love (cf. La 3:23). The change from darkness to light brings with it the association of renewed hope. In the early morning hours (cf. 55:17; 88:13; 92:2) the psalmist sought the Lord (his covenantal God) in prayer because he knew that Yahweh would not forsake him. It is to this end that he presented God with his “requests” (or “offerings”; see Notes). During the day he waited “in expectation” to see what the Lord would do for him.[1]


3. Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation (v. 3). Just as there were morning sacrifices, so prayers were directed to the Lord at that time. This was part of the threefold pattern of daily prayer (cf. Dan. 6:10). The language of sacrifice is carried over here, for ‘lay my requests’ represents the verb used of laying in order the wood (Lev. 1:7) or the victim for sacrifice (Lev. 1:8; 6:12). The psalmist then waits expectantly for God’s answer.[2]


5:3 I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. The Hebrew verb for “lay” is used of laying wood on the altar (Lev. 1:7), preparing a lamp (Ps. 132:17), setting a table (Ps. 23:5), laying out a legal case (Ps. 50:21), and setting forth thoughts (Ps. 40:5; see KJV).2 The NIV translates the verb in the last sense, supplying the missing object “my requests.” The ESV chooses the first meaning, “prepare a sacrifice.” Coupled with the imagery of the morning (sacrifice), this meaning seems preferable, although the ambiguity here is quite impressive (see “Historical and Cultural Background”). The verb “wait” has the same meaning in Habakkuk 2:1, where the prophet stations himself in the tower to “watch” (NIV: “look”) for the oncoming messenger.[3]


3. What a blessed view is here again given of Jesus! The apostle saith he was heard in that he feared. Heb. 5:7. And what an assurance have all the faithful of being heard, when they are led by his Spirit, act faith upon his person and mediation, and thus direct their prayer with the first dawn of the morning, unto him that proves himself the hearer of the prayer of the poor and destitute, and despiseth not their desire. Reader! do put it down as a sure unerring mark, that wherever the Spirit gives grace to pray, the Lord is already come forth to answer prayer. Isaiah 65:24.[4]


3. The words a sacrifice are a translators’ assumption, though probably a correct one. The Hebrew has the single word prepare, which can be used for setting out in order anything from a feast (23:5) to a case at law (50:21), and therefore perhaps for one’s plea to God (av), or one’s self-preparation (‘I hold myself in readiness for you’, jb); but it is often a priestly term for laying the altar fire and arranging the pieces of the burnt offering (Lev. 1:6f.). The emphasis on the morning rather suggests this by its possible allusion to the daily sacrifice at God’s threshold, ‘where I will meet with you, to speak there to you’ (Exod. 29:42). David, it seems, puts his praying into such a context (as in 141:2) to express the assurance of atonement and the total commitment with which he comes before God. But he also comes expectantly. The word watch is used of God’s prophets posted to report the first sign of his answers: cf. Isaiah 21:6, 8; Micah 7:7; Habakkuk 2:1. As at the tent of meeting, God would ‘speak there’, not only listen.[5]


Ver. 3. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee.—How to begin every day with God:

  1. The good work itself that we are to do. To pray. A duty dictated by the light and law of nature, but which the gospel of Christ gives us better instruction in. See how David expresses his pious resolutions.
  2. My voice shalt Thou hear. Understand as promising himself a gracious acceptance with God. “Thou wilt hear.” It is the language of his faith, grounded upon God’s promise, that His ear shall be always open to His people’s cry. Wherever God finds a praying heart, He will be found a prayer-hearing God. Understand as David’s promising God a constant attendance on Him, in the way He has appointed. God understands the language of the heart, and that is the language in which we must speak to God. We must see to it that God hears from us daily. He expects and requires it. Thus He will keep up His authority over us; and testify His love and compassion towards us. We have something to say to God every day: as to a friend we love, and have freedom with; as to a master we serve, and have business with. Our happiness is bound up in His favour. We have offended Him, and are daily contracting guilt. We have daily work to do for God and our own souls. We are continually in danger. We are dying daily. We are members of that body whereof Christ is the head, and are concerned to approve ourselves living members. Lay all this together, and consider whether you have not something to say to God every day. If you have all this to say to God, what should hinder you from saying it? Let not distance, or fear, hinder you. Let not His knowing what your business is hinder you. Let not any other business hinder our saying what we have to say to God.
  3. We must direct our prayer to God. We must with deliberation and design address ourselves to Him. The term “direct” indicates fixedness of thought, and a close application of mind, to the duty of prayer. It speaks the sincerity of our habitual intention in prayer: the steadiness of our actual regard to God in prayer.

III. We must look up. We must look up in our prayers; and after our prayers, with an eye of satisfaction and pleasure; with an eye of observation, what returns God makes to our prayers. Let us be inward with God in every duty, to make heart-work of it, or we make nothing of it. The particular time fixed for this good work is the morning. Then we are fresh and lively. Then we are most free from company and business. Then we have received fresh mercies from God, which we are concerned to acknowledge. In the morning we have fresh matter ministered to us for the adoration of the greatness and glory of God. In the morning we are addressing ourselves to the work of the day, and therefore are concerned by prayer to seek unto God for His presence and blessing. (Matthew Henry.)

Morning prayer:

  1. The Christian’s resolution. To pray.
  2. Prayer is a duty and a privilege. It implies spiritual life—filial relationship—freedom of access to God. The spirit of prayer must be earnestly cultivated.
  3. God is the supreme and immediate object of prayer. “I will direct my prayer unto Thee.” The mediation of priests and saints or of the Virgin Mary superfluous. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble,” &c.
  4. Prayer must be definite in its aim. “I will direct,” &c. A soul soliloquy is not prayer. Nor is the enumeration of the Divine attributes hid. True prayer is the earnest expression of the deep necessities and longings of the soul in the simplest language possible. The grain of prayer should not be lost in the chaff of vague generalities.
  5. The best time for private prayer. “In the morning,” &c.
  6. There is a greater freedom from the distracting cares of the family, business, &c.
  7. We should seek Divine strength in anticipation of duties, trials, temptations, &c.
  8. A day begun with prayer, generally proves a happy day.
  9. The most eminent Christians have devoted the early morning to prayer. Mention some.

III. The becoming attitude for a prayerful soul. “I will look up.” Describe watch-tower.

  1. We should not be satisfied without the conviction that our prayers have been heard by God. Many prayers never reach the goal of the throne of grace.
  2. Our prayers should not be forgotten, but an answer looked for. It will be so if our eye be single and our aim definite.
  3. Such an attitude prepares us for the recognition of the Divine hand in answer to our prayers. (Homilist.)

Morning devotion:

The essence of real religion is a filial disposition of heart towards God.

  1. Morning is the time for reflection. It seems natural to think, and to be quiet, in the early morning. The very laws of our physical being demand quiet in the morning.
  2. Morning is the time for observation. The curtain is drawn aside, and we look upon the face of God’s creation.
  3. Morning is the time for purpose. We may begin again, every morning, with fresh purposes, that will be achieved if the strength of God is made perfect in our weakness.
  4. Morning is the time for prayer. As the morning gives wings to the day, so prayer gives wings to the morning. Wise reflections will become wiser through the power of prayer, and our purposes will only be binding on the conscience, or wrought out in the life, as prayer gives them their character of sincerity or religiousness. Mornings are monitors, text-books, and registers. (W. G. Barrett.)

The protective power of prayer:

Among the elegant forms of insect life, there is a little creature known to naturalists, which can gather round it a sufficiency of atmospheric air—and so clothed upon, it descends into the bottom of the pool, and you may see the little diver moving about dry and at his ease, protected by his crystal vesture, though the water all around and above be stagnant and bitter. Prayer is such a protector—a transparent vesture, the world sees it not—but a real defence, it keeps out the world. By means of it, the believer can gather so much of heaven’s atmosphere around him, and with it descend into the putrid depths of this contaminating world, that for a season no evil will touch him; and he knows where to ascend for a new supply. (James Hamilton.)

Morning prayer:

A battle is every morning fought in every Christian’s closet. The morning is the key of the position. The season of morning prayer is, so to speak, the citadel, the Hougomont, the critical point in each successive day. If he wins those morning minutes, the devil knows he has won that day. (Ibid.)

The upward look:

It is said that the monks of Mount Athos are accustomed to hypnotise themselves into trance conditions by gazing at their own bodies—no very ennobling objective if true. In some of the Buddhist monasteries of Eastern Asia devotees are pointed out who have sat facing blank walls for twenty or thirty years and have gazed themselves into mysterious ecstasies. In the modernised Buddhism of London and New York theosophy the same virtue is ascribed to intense and sustained contemplation. What change, think you, ought to effect itself within us if with the same steadfastness we contemplate the personality of Him who is the leader and consummator of our faith? (Thomas G. Selby.)[6]


My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Observe, this is not so much a prayer as a resolution, “ ‘My voice shalt thou hear,’ I will not be dumb, I will not be silent, I will not withhold my speech, I will cry to thee, for the fire that dwells within compels me to pray.” We can sooner die than live without prayer. None of God’s children are possessed with a dumb devil.

In the morning.” This is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.

If we merely read our English version, and want an explanation of these two sentences, we find it in the figure of an archer, “I will direct my prayer unto thee,” I will put my prayer upon the bow, I will direct it towards heaven, and then when I have shot up my arrow, I will look up to see where it has gone. But the Hebrew has a still fuller meaning than this—“I will direct my prayer.” It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: “I will arrange my prayer before thee;” I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice. I will arrange my prayer; or, as old Master Trapp has it, “I will marshal up my prayers,” I will put them in order, call up all my powers, and bid them stand in their proper places, that I may pray with all my might, and pray acceptably.

And will look up,” or, as the Hebrew might better be translated, “ ‘I will look out,’ I will look out for the answer; after I have prayed, I will expect that the blessing shall come.” It is a word that is used in another place where we read of those who watched for the morning. So will I watch for thine answer, O my Lord! I will spread out my prayer like the victim on the altar, and I will look up, and expect to receive the answer by fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

Two questions are suggested by the last part of this verse. Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility. We are live men who present themselves before a king without a petition, and what wonder is it that we often miss the end of prayer? We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running; for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer. It is idle to pull up the flood-gates of a dry brook, and then hope to see the wheel revolve. Prayer without fervency is like hunting with a dead dog, and prayer without preparation is hawking with a blind falcon. Prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he works by means. God made man, but he used the dust of the earth as a material: the Holy Ghost is the author of prayer, but he employs the thoughts of a fervent soul as the gold with which to fashion the vessel. Let not our prayers and praises be the flashes of a hot and hasty brain, but the steady burning of a well-kindled fire.

But, furthermore, do we not forget to watch the result of our supplications? We are like the ostrich, which lays her eggs and looks not for her young. We sow the seed, and are too idle to seek a harvest. How can we expect the Lord to open the windows of his grace, and pour us out a blessing, if we will not open the windows of expectation and look up for the promised favour? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers.[7]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 115). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, pp. 117–118). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[3] Bullock, C. H. (2015). Psalms 1–72. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 1, pp. 39–40). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Job–Psalms (Vol. 4, p. 175). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Kidner, D. (1973). Psalms 1–72: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 15, pp. 74–75). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Exell, J. S. (1909). The Biblical Illustrator: The Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 93–95). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company; Francis Griffiths.

[7] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 1-26 (Vol. 1, p. 46). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

January 16, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

The U.S. Senate takes formal steps on Thursday to consider the removal of U.S. President Donald Trump on charges that he abused his power, even as key issues such as whether witnesses will appear at his impeachment trial remain up in the air.

The Russian parliament overwhelmingly backed President Vladimir Putin’s surprise choice for prime minister on Thursday after what one daily called a “January revolution”, a major political overhaul that some say could set Putin up as leader for life.

Ukraine has appealed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for help in investigating a suspected cyber-attack by Russian military hackers on the energy company Burisma, a Ukrainian interior ministry official said on Thursday.

The S&P 500 crossed 3,300 for the first time and the Dow and the NASDAQ opened at new highs on Thursday, after the United States and China signed an initial trade deal and Morgan Stanley wrapped up big bank earnings on a strong note.

U.S. retail sales increased for a third straight month in December, with households buying a range of goods even as they cut back on purchases of motor vehicles, suggesting the economy maintained a moderate growth pace at the end of 2019.

China has lost millions of pigs in outbreaks of the disease, pushing its pork prices to record highs, forcing purchases of costly imports and roiling global meat markets. African swine fever has spread to Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, with cases found in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, Poland, Belgium and Bulgaria. Around the globe, those countries and others that have so far sidestepped the epidemic are cracking down on travelers, increasing cargo screenings and banning meat imports.

AP Top Stories

The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Marine Corps could soon get the Navy’s new Naval Strike Missile for use as a shore battery, according to the Navy’s acquisitions chief.

Finland plans to increase its naval modernization budget in 2020 as part of a broad and ambitious effort to deepen its overall presence and surface capability in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia.

Representatives of two top business groups warned that it’s getting increasingly harder for foreign companies to put their money in Mexico and said that messages from President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government that hinder investment need to stop.

America’s leading newspapers are aiding China’s communist regime by running the oppressive government’s propaganda, respected watchdog organization Freedom House reported. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times have all run paid supplements from China Daily, the Chinese government’s state media arm. The paid supplements, dubbed “China Watch,” are designed to look like real news articles.

Parts of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir have been hit by heavy rain and snowfall since Sunday, triggering deadly avalanches and landslides in and around the region. At least 76 people have died in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

BBC

Ukraine says it has launched a criminal investigation into alleged illegal US surveillance of former American ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. It follows the release of text messages that suggested Ms Yovanovitch was being spied on.

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, who is embroiled in a huge financial scandal, has suggested that she may seek to become the country’s president.

US politicians expressed concerns about the accuracy and growing use of facial recognition software, at a hearing on Wednesday. The technology is being developed by firms including Amazon and Microsoft and increasingly used by law enforcement worldwide. Some facial recognition technologies misidentify women and people of color.

Mexico says it will not grant transit visas or free passage for hundreds of migrants who have left Honduras in an attempt to reach the US border. The interior ministry said officers would check the status of each migrant and offer them the option of remaining in the country legally.

Peru’s top court has ruled that the dissolution of the country’s Congress on 30 September was legal.

A 1,758-carat diamond unearthed in Botswana has been sold to French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton for an undisclosed sum. The second-largest found in a century.

A Kenyan teachers’ union wants teachers in areas affected by militant attacks to undergo military training and have guns for their own safety.

WND

A Texas high school apologized after a question about rape was included in a biology assignment for freshman students. The assignment asked, “Suzy was assaulted in an alley and is a victim of rape. The police collected a sample of sperm that was left at the crime scene and now have three suspects in custody. Which of the suspects raped Suzy?”


Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 16, 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)

Sanders and Warren Face Impeachment Conundrum

Is Pelosi working to give Biden a leg up in Iowa with her impeachment delay? Not likely.


Trump Signs China Trade Deal, Pelosi Signs Impeachment Articles

While Dems press on with their impeachment charade, the president gets another trade win.


A FISC-Deep State Alliance?

An Obama-era FBI apologist and left-wing blogger will head up “reform.”


‘Jeopardy!’ Jeopardizes Facts About Israel

“What is Palestine?” Wrong answer to a botched question on a sensitive topic.


Bloomberg’s Brokered Demo Convention Gambit

Bloomberg is positioning himself as an insurance policy against Sanders’s nomination.


Texas Church Shooting Hero Receives Medal of Courage

“I feel more as a protector than I do a hero,” Wilson said with the medal around his neck.


Video: Illegal Aliens Offered Exclusive Faculty Mentoring at Cali University

The program’s website demonstrates how “oppressed” illegal aliens are in the age of Trump.


Video: The Debate Night of the Living Dead!

Joe Biden is alive (barely), CNN reveals its agenda, and Bernie Sanders scraps with Elizabeth Warren.


Video: TikTok’s Nurse Holly Slammed for Abstinence Advice

Did Nurse Holly jeopardize the health of impressionable young girls?



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
China Trade Deal: A Big Win
Cal Thomas
The Iran Protests
Victor Davis Hanson
Energy Paradoxes Put Europe in a Precarious Position
Tony Perkins
The Unrest Is History
Larry Elder
Ilhan Omar and Steve King: A Tale of Two Flamethrowers
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Thursday News Executive Summary

Pelosi’s impeachment souvenirs, House handoff, China trade deal, and more.


Thursday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Gary Bauer, Ted Cruz, Jerry Nadler, Liz Warren, 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 – 1/16/2020

Abdullah: What if world gives up on two-state solution? Failure to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict endangers world peace

IDF strikes Hamas in Gaza in response to rocket fire, as sustained calm tested

Experts advise US synagogues on use of armed security personnel

Gaza theme park’s new train ride simulates the ‘return’ journey to Jerusalem

Netanyahu urges immediate return of international sanctions on Iran

US expects UN sanctions on Iran to ‘snap back into place’: Treasury Secretary

Iran rejects UK’s call for ‘Trump deal’ to replace nuclear accord

Iran’s Zarif Says 2015 Nuclear Deal Is ‘Not Dead’

Iran nuclear deal in serious danger, needs diplomatic solution: France

“A proxy response”: Iran has retaliation options beyond Hormuz in hitting Gulf oil supplies

Iran’s secret underground ‘missile city’ unveiled

US-Iran war would bring ‘untold chaos’ warns Jordan’s King

Trump Defends Killing Iranian ‘Son of a *****’ Soleimani in Profanity-laced Rally

Iran’s Rouhani slams disqualification of thousands from running for parliament

US troops in Iraq resuming operations against Islamic State

Turkey, Russia talks over ‘secure zone’ in Syria’s Idlib to enforce ceasefire: Turkey

Saudi Arabia rejects Turkish military presence in Syria: Saudi FM

Arab Parliament condemns Turkey sending troops to Libya

Lebanon protests turn violent for second night

Lebanese banking association condemns delay in forming new government: Statement

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to finalize agreement on Blue Nile dam later this month

Putin consolidates power as Russian government resigns

Russia’s prime minister resigns after Putin suggest constitutional amendments to boost power

Shock as Putin taps new PM, proposes reforms that could secure his grip on power

Russian parliament to review Putin PM pick after shock overhaul

Sen. Kennedy: Pelosi ‘swollen with partisan rage’ as she sends Trump impeachment articles to Senate

House leaders march Trump impeachment articles to Senate for trial

Pelosi names Schiff, Nadler as prosecutors for Trump trial

Rep. Adam Schiff: We feel the weight of history with impeachment

New evidence against Trump is likely to emerge during Senate impeachment trial, Schiff says

McConnell makes case for Trump acquittal ahead of trial

Republican leader in Delaware ousted after blaming Jews for Trump impeachment

Political Turmoil to Be ‘New Normal’ for 2020, Risk Firm Says

Northam declares state of emergency, Capitol weapon ban ahead of gun rights rally

Navy may arm new destroyer with conventional missile able to hit anywhere on Earth in an hour

Top-secret UFO files could ‘gravely damage’ US national security, Navy says

Asteroid that shot fireball at us ‘could be dangerous to life on Earth’

This Year Will Mark the Lowest Solar Activity in Over 200 Years

NY governor visits Puerto Rico, authorizes deployment of 115 National Guard to island as temblors continue

In quake-hit Puerto Rico even the bees are fleeing their homes

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kuqa, China

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Huarmey, Peru

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Guanica, Puerto Rico

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Nemuro, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near San Martin, Argentina

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Naisano Dua, Indonesia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 21,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

At least 77 killed and 94 injured after avalanches bury homes in Pakistan

Pineapples have turned gray in the Philippines from ash spewed by Taal volcano

Major floods hit Iran after a year’s worth of rain in 3 days, at least 3 dead and over 20 000 homeless

A blob of hot water in the Pacific Ocean killed a million seabirds, scientists say

Fever chart: Earth had its hottest decade on record in 2010s

California Teachers Could Be Required To Teach About Climate Change

Thousands of teens protest education minister’s remarks about LGBT couples

Christians see ‘alarming’ trend worldwide as China builds ‘blueprint of persecution’


Apostasy Watch

Mike Ratliff – Wheat and Tares

Joseph Mattera adds his NARpostolic ‘weight’ to the latest Todd Bentley scandal

Demonic Kundalini Spirit at The Send Conference? Watch and Tell Us Your Thoughts

Charismatics Freak Out Over Moon’s Color Again

Hardline Hindus protest huge Jesus statue in India’s Karnataka


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