"All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident." – Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860). "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information infotainment tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and partisan activist opinion/commentary reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.—Revelation 3:20.
See, my soul, what condescension there is in Jesus! It was but on the last evening that thou wert feasted, by his own gracious invitation, at his table; and now the Lord invites himself at thine. So earnest is Jesus to keep up the closest acquaintance and holy familiarity with his redeemed, that if they are at any time backward in inviting him, he will invite himself. Jesus is come, then, this evening, before thou art prepared for him; yea, not only before thou hast invited him, but even before thy poor, timid, and unbelieving heart could have had the idea or expectation of such a guest. And hear what the gracious, kind, affectionate Lord saith—Behold! In which he not only desires to have it heard and known by thee, but all the Church shall know his love in this particular, and be witness of his great grace and condescension. And where is the Lord? Behold! Island, he saith, at the door, and knock! And wilt thou not, my soul, instantly cry out, as Laban of old did to the messenger of Abraham, “Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without?” Oh! the grace that is in the heart of Jesus; that he, who is the sovereign Lord of all, who hath made us, redeemed us, bought us with such a price as his blood, should nevertheless stand without, and beg admittance into the hearts of his people, which he hath made, and new made, and over whom he hath all power to kill and to make alive, to heal and to destroy! Precious, precious Jesus! I bless thy name that I hear thy voice. Thy loud and powerful knocks, by thy word and by thy Spirit, have made me earnest for thy admission. Put in thine hand, Lord, by the hole of the door, and open my heart, as thou didst Lydia’s, and give me all-suited grace to receive thee, to embrace thee, to love thee, to delight in thee, and give thee a most hearty welcome. I would say in the warmth and desire of my soul, and in the language of thine own most sacred words—“Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in!” And what hath my Lord promised, when the door of my poor heart is opened? Yea, thou hast said, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. Bountiful Lord! wilt thou, indeed, give me the precious privilege of an union with thee and communion with thyself and thy graces? Wilt thou feed and feast me at my poor house, as on the last night thou didst at thine own? I have nothing to set before thee; I can bring forth nothing worthy thy acceptance. But methinks I hear my Lord say, I am the bread of life, and the bread of God, which cometh down from heaven. I am all, and provide all, and will give the true relish and enjoyment for all! Lord, I fall down under a deep sense of my vileness and thy glory; my emptiness, and thine all-sufficiency. Yea, blessed Master! be thou all in all, and let my poor soul feast upon thy fulness; and do thou “stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love.”
The unchecked unbridled passions of man are an appetite NEVER satisfied and unfulfilled by the gratification of the flesh (Rom. 7, Rom. 8:5, Gal. 5:17). Like an addict, the unbridled passions of sexually driven men and women create a tsunami of psychological and social discord and physiological disorders that spillover from the individual into our societies and communities. The number one addiction in America today is not cocaine, it is not alcohol, it is not marijuana, it is not heroin, it is not Oxycontin, etc. The number one American addition is this unbridled beast of Eros-erotic love, i.e., sexual addiction (James 1:14-15). This Eros beast is currently reigning supreme and dominant in America in every facet of life, culture, and society. Paul stated very clearly in Romans chapter 7 the complete depravity of fallen man apart from the redemptive intervention by Almighty God (Romans 7). Oh, our humanity!, should be the cry of ALL of Adam’s fallen race; for it is the doom and fate of the Hindenburg(John 3:16-17, 36, Rom. 7:24, Rev. 20:11-15).
The love of God ONLY gives and ONLY seeks that which is the highest and best for its object of love based and rooted in MORAL ABSOLUTES and ETERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS and TRUTH.
ONLY in Jesus Christ is there TRUE and TOTAL deliverance and liberation from the horrific ravishings of the flesh and its control, power, and tyranny (John 8:32,36, Rom. 7:24-25, 8:1-14). In light of our post-Judeo/Christian America, do you know the ETERNAL RIGHTEOUS LOVE of Almighty God, which is found ONLY in His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17)? God so LOVED YOU that he sent His Son to pay the price for your transgressions against the RIGHTEOUS standards of Almighty God (John 3:16-17, Rom. 3:23; 10:4; 1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 4:10). The love of God ONLY gives and ONLY seeks that which is the highest and best for its object of love based and rooted in MORAL ABSOLUTES and ETERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS and TRUTH. How can any say they love you and give you less than Almighty God’s RIGHTEOUS standards and RIGHTEOUS virtues? Almighty God LOVES YOU in RIGHTEOUSNESS and sent His Son to die to make us RIGHTEOUS and to give us ETERNAL LIfe and an ETERNAL future (John 14:3, 1 Cor. 2:9, Rev. 21; 22:1-5)! My dear friend, I do not know how to say anything more wonderful than that! The one true God and Creator of the Universe truly LOVES you (1 John 4:10)! My dear friends, follow the One who LOVED you and GAVE Himself to you that you might be with Him FOREVERMORE in the ETERNAL LOVE of Father (Gal. 2:20). Place your trust in Him today and FOREVERMORE will you sing, “All you need is the ETERNAL God’s love!
“O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee.” (Dan. 6:20.)
HOW many times we find this expression in the Scriptures, and yet it is just this very thing that we are so prone to lose sight of. We know it is written “the living God”; but in our daily life there is scarcely anything we practically so much lose sight of as the fact that God is the living God; that He is now whatever He was three or four thousand years since; that He has the same sovereign power, the same saving love towards those who love and serve Him as ever He had and that He will do for them now what He did for others two, three, four thousand years ago, simply because He is the living God, the unchanging One. Oh, how therefore we should confide in Him, and in our darkest moments never lose sight of the fact that He is still and ever will be the living God!
Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him and expect help from Him, He will never fail you. An older brother who has known the Lord for forty-four years, who writes this, says to you for your encouragement that He has never failed him. In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.—George Mueller.
Luther was once found at a moment of peril and fear, when he had need to grasp unseen strength, sitting in an abstracted mood tracing on the table with his finger the words, “Vivit! vivit!” (“He lives! He lives!”). It is our hope for ourselves, and for His truth, and for mankind. Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines for evermore.—Alexander Maclaren.
“One day I came to know Dr. John Douglas Adam,” writes C. G. Trumbull. “I learned from him that what he counted his greatest spiritual asset was his unvarying consciousness of the actual presence of Jesus. Nothing bore him up so, he said, as the realization that Jesus was always with him in actual presence; and that this was so independent of his own feelings, independent of his deserts, and independent of his own notions as to how Jesus would manifest His presence.
“Moreover, he said that Christ was the home of his thoughts. Whenever his mind was free from other matters it would turn to Christ; and he would talk aloud to Christ when he was alone—on the street, anywhere—as easily and naturally as to a human friend. So real to him was Jesus’ actual presence.
The Word of God is a mirror that causes us to see ourselves as we really are. From one of our Ask Ligonier events, H.B. Charles Jr. explains how regular Scripture reading and prayer help us to recognize our sinfulness and our need of God’s grace.
To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.
Who shall separate us from the lave of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?—Romans 8:35.
NOW, who is going to do it? Devils? men? angels? Paul throws down a challenge. He challenges heaven, and earth, and angels, and men, and principalities and powers; and not only that, but all things past, present and to come; all creatures, internal or external; all states, death or life, height or preferment, depth or dungeon, prison or stripes.
Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ. Let my enemies come collectively or singly, I don’t care. Let them come one and all. I have no foes that can overcome me. Why? Because God has justified me. I do not dread death. Why? Because Christ has tasted death for me. I dread no judgment. Why? That Is past, I dread no separation, and I anticipate no failure.
Trey Gowdy appears on Fox to discuss the anticipated points and counterpoints, accusations and defenses, and strategy within the upcoming impeachment trial.
Today it was also announced that President Trump’s defense team added Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Ray, Pam Bondi and Jane Raskin. Those five will join Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow who are the primary defense lawyers.
16 The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 10:16–18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
17–18 God’s kingship was revealed to Israel (Ex 15:18) and came to expression in Israel. Because God is faithful to the covenant, he has promised to judge (NIV, “defending,” v. 18) the needy. “The fatherless [cf. v. 14] and the oppressed” is a reference to the class of people who were most easily wronged (cf. 82:3) but were protected by God’s law (Ex 22:22–24; Dt 10:18; 16:11, 14; cf. Isa 1:17; Jer 7:6; Jas 1:27; cf. F. C. Fensham, “Widow, Orphan, and the Poor in Ancient Near Eastern and Wisdom Literature,” JNES 21 : 129–39; see Reflections, p. 119, Yahweh Is King).
God grants to the needy their “desire” (v. 17) by stopping the reign of terror by people who act as gods. The MT has two infinitive constructs—“to judge” and “to terrify”—translated in the NIV with God as the subject of the judging and “man” as the subject of the terrorizing. Parallelism requires that God be the subject of both verbal forms: “defending … and terrifying.” But the negative particle bal (“not”) changes the second colon into a result clause (so NIV). Craigie, 121, renders bal in an affirmative sense: “Once again, he will continue to execute judgment for orphan and oppressed, to terrify mere earthlings!” (for the basis, see C. F. Whitley, “The Positive Force of the Hebrew Particle בל,” ZAW 84 : 213–19).
The idiom “man, who is of the earth” expresses the weakness of people (ʾenôš; cf. 9:19–20). People are weak and confined to the earth, an “earthling” (Craigie, 123), whereas God is King. Calvin, 1:157, comments appropriately, “The phrase of earth contains a tacit contrast between the low abode of this world and the height of heaven” (cf. Isa 2:22).
10:17–18 (Tāw) The psalm closes with a final expression of confidence: The desires of the afflicted, O Lord, you hear. As one might expect, the poetic references to the body feature prominently: You make firm their hearts, you make ready your ear. Throughout the psalm, a pressing issue has been that the wicked oppress the innocent. The psalm ends with the affirmation that God judges the wicked for the very purpose of protecting the innocent—there is no separation between the two actions.
The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more (vv. 16–18). The psalmist ends with a song of complete confidence in the Lord, and he was so certain of being heard by him that he describes the result of his prayers as a present reality. He recognises that the Lord exercises his kingship over the whole land, and will even destroy the enemies from it. That thought is remarkable, because in the psalm the enemies are opponents within Israel. However, the concept of judgment on the enemies reminds him that God will also deal with the external enemies of Israel. Verse 17 contains the assurance that the prayers he has already expressed for the afflicted are indeed heard by God (notice the variety of terms the psalmist uses for the needy: weak, verse 2; innocent, verse 8; helpless, verse 12; fatherless, verses 14 and 18; afflicted, verse 17; oppressed, verse 18). What God does is to make the heart firm (niv ‘encourage’; for the negative use of this expression, see Ps. 78:8). Man, who boasts of his might, is but frail man (Heb., ʾenôsh, cf. Ps. 9:19) who will no longer be able to terrify others. He is ‘of the earth’, a mere earthling who cannot stand before the judge of all. This psalm reminds us that under persecution and oppression we must turn to God for relief. Our pattern is Jesus who, ‘when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly’ (1 Pet. 2:23–24). The same epistle counsels us that if we suffer we are to commit ourselves to our faithful creator and continue to do good (1 Pet. 4:19).
10:16–18 / The psalm’s closing verses return to hymnic forms, which do offer praise to God but also serve to remind him of the actions he must now reenact. Again, the verbal echoes tie the psalm into an integrated unit:
The Lord reigns forever (v. 7).
The Lord is king forever and ever (v. 16).
You have rebuked the nations …
The nations will perish from his land.
The memory of them has perished (vv. 5–6).
Nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish (v. 18).
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted (vv. 16–17).
He will judge the world in righteousness …
… judging the fatherless and the oppressed (v. 18).
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed (vv. 8–9).
Declaring One’s Confidence in the Judge (10:16–18)
10:16–18. The psalm concludes with a declaration of praise: The Lord is King forever and ever. He has a confident look at the final, future state, when everyone will recognize the Lord for who He is and always has been—the true King of all the earth (cf. 47:7)—and nations (lit., “Gentiles,” i.e., those opposed to the true God and His people) will have perished from His land (i.e., all of the redeemed/recreated “new earth”; cf. Zch 14:9; Rv 21:1). The use of the past (i.e., perfect) tense verbal expression—in this case, have perished—is a common feature of prophetic-predictive statements in the OT and is intended to underscore the absolute certainty of a future event. Such events are described, as it were, from God’s timeless perspective, as if they had already happened. The Lord had heard the request of the humble and would vindicate the orphan and the oppressed. The man who is of the earth, the person who is not following God, will no longer cause terror because they will no longer be in power over the righteous and innocent (cf. 49:12, 20; 56:4, 11; 62:9; 118:6–9).
16–18. Nothing can be more beautiful than this close. By strong faith in the divine goodness, though the Psalm began under the deepest sorrow, in the apprehension of God’s withdrawing, yet now, taking confidence in the faithfulness of Jehovah, here is full triumph. The cause of Christ, his Church, his redeemed, is God’s own cause; and while the Lord Jehovah is preparing mercy for his redeemed, and deliverance from all their enemies, he is preparing their hearts to receive it. And the deliverance shall be so great, their triumphs so complete, and their salvation so finished, that the man of sin shall no more be permitted to oppress them. Hallelujah. Amen.
10:16–18. God is King
Because God is King, the nations that seek to destroy him and his people will come to nothing (v. 16). While the wicked person boasts about the cravings (tā’ăwâ, v. 3) of his heart, so God hears the desire (tā’ăwâ, v. 17) of his afflicted people and will encourage them. God takes care of those who are weak and vulnerable (the fatherless and the oppressed), with the result that no mere person will ever again strike terror in God’s people.
The psalmist (of Pss 9 and 10) celebrates God’s past victories over the evil nations, while at the same time calling on him to intervene in the midst of a present crisis. The enemy in view is a hostile nation, although the threat leads the psalmist to reflect on the nature of the wicked man (10:2–11). While the psalmist believes God is absent at present (10:1), he is confident that he will have the final victory (10:16–18).
Christians today are in the midst of a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10–20), but they can call on Jesus their Warrior to battle the ‘powers and authorities’. They can be confident that Jesus will have the final victory. Jesus himself was killed by wicked men (‘with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross’, Acts 2:23), but God had the final victory through the resurrection (‘it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him’, Acts 2:24).
While the psalmist speaks of the wicked man as opposed to the righteous (10:2–11), Paul cites verse 7 along with a number of other passages from Psalms and Isaiah in order to describe the pervasive sinfulness of all humanity (see Rom. 3:9–20). He makes this point in order to emphasize that our salvation is not the result of our own efforts, but rather through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’, Rom. 3:23–24).
Ver. 17. Thou hast heard the desire of the humble.—The desire of the humble encouraged:—
The characters here spoken of. Though there be great difference between man and man with regard to natural character, yet the truly humble before God are those only whom He has humbled. The humble are those whom God doth teach the plague of their own hearts. He humbles them by discoveries of themselves.
The desires here spoken of. The soul of man is a restless principle. The souls of the humble ones do desire. The humble soul wants a clearer inward witness of his adoption; a renewed application of the blood of Christ to his conscience; a deeper sense of his acceptance in the Beloved; a closer walk with God.
III. The encouragements here spoken of. Three expressed in the text—
“Thou hast heard the desire of the humble.”
“Thou wilt prepare their heart.”
“Thou wilt cause Thine ear to hear.” (J. Evans.)
The desire of the humble:—
Here is a character described—“the humble.” It is a characteristic of all Christians. Humility befits us if we regard—
The meanness of our origin—“dust.”
That pride is hateful in the sight of God. What evil it has wrought; how unwarrantable it is.
But God hears the desire of the humble. What is that desire? It is to know the want of Himself. To have an interest in Christ. To think highly of others. To adore the goodness of God, and to be obedient to His will.
God prepares such a heart.
By giving conviction of sin.
By encouraging trust in Christ.
By giving desire after holiness.
By emptying him of self.
III. God hears and answers prayer.
Because they come in Christ’s name. Because—
He is their Father.
He Himself has bidden us pray; and
Prepared their hearts to do so. He who will not pray has no excuse. (T. Scott, M.A.)
The lowliest form of prayer may be most true and acceptable. “The desire of the humble.” It is only a desire. It may not be uttered. Many prayers are very prettily expressed, in fact, so grandly that their tawdry fineries will not be tolerated in heaven. God will say, “They were meant for men, let men hear them.” The desire of the humble may not be recommended by any conscious attainments. If your stock-in-trade is made up of empty vessels, and little else, the Lord can deal with you as He did with the prophet’s widow, “who had empty vessels not a few.” Your little oil of grace He can multiply till every vessel is filled; and you may have no confident expectation. I would chide your unbelief, but I would encourage your desires, for that desire which God hears is not to be despised. Note that it is “the desire of the humble.” It has this advantage about it that it is free from pride. Now, to be humble is a sweet thing; there is no lovelier spot on the road to the Celestial City than the Valley of Humiliation: he that dwells in it dwells among flowers and birds, and may sing all day long. The desire of the humble is saturated with a gospel spirit, and therefore is acceptable to God.
And He is quick to hear it. “Thou hast heard the desire.” This must be a Divine science. We hear much about thought-reading now. Whatever this may be, here is a wonderful instance of it with the Lord. It is an act which God has exercised in all ages. “Thou hast heard,” &c. It is a matter of frequent fact, the record of a deed.
III. The heart is the main matter in prayer. Desires are the fruit of the heart. “Thou wilt prepare their heart.” When a fair wind fills the sails of desire, then make all possible headway.
God Himself prepares the hearts of His people. “Thou wilt prepare their heart.” I am rejoiced at this statement, because preparation is such an important business. And it is often difficult as it is important. Surely none but the Lord can prepare the heart for prayer. One old writer says it is far harder work to raise the big bell into the steeple than to ring it when it is there. This witness is true. In that uplifting of the heart lies the work and the labour. Now, God prepares the heart by restraining wandering thought, by giving us deep sense of need, and by working in us strong faith.
Prayer from prepared hearts must be heard. “Thou wilt cause Thine ear to hear.” He will, for if God had love enough to prepare your heart He has grace enough to give you the blessing. His goodness and faithfulness ensure that He will. Where God leads you to pray, He means you to receive. Be comforted, therefore, you beginners in prayer. God is inclining His ear to catch the faintest moan of your spirit. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
The gracious desires and prayers of the humble:—
Lord Bolingbroke once asked Lady Huntingdon how she reconciled prayer to God for particular blessings with absolute resignation to the Divine will. “Very easy,” answered her ladyship; “just as if I were to offer a petition to a monarch of whose kindness and wisdom I have the highest opinion. In such a case my language would be, ‘I wish you to bestow on me such a favour; but your majesty knows better than I how far it would be agreeable to you or right in itself to grant my desire. I therefore content myself with humbly presenting my petition, and leave the event of it entirely to you.’ ”
Verse 17.—There is a humbling act of faith put forth in prayer. Others style it praying in humility; give me leave to style it praying in faith. In faith which sets the soul in the presence of that mighty God, and by the sight of him, which faith gives us, it is that we see our own vileness, sinfulness, and abhor ourselves, and profess ourselves unworthy of any, much less of those mercies we are to seek for. Thus the sight of God had wrought in the prophet (Isaiah 6:5), “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” And holy Job speaks thus (Job 42:5, 6), “Now mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” This is as great a requisite to prayer as any other act; I may say of it alone, as the apostle (James 1:7), that without it we shall receive nothing at the hands of God! God loves to fill empty vessels, he looks to broken hearts. In the Psalms how often do we read that God hears the prayers of the humble; which always involves and includes faith in it. Psalm 9:12, “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble,” and Psalm 10:17, “Lord thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou will prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” To be deeply humbled is to have the heart prepared and fitted for God to hear the prayer; and therefore you find the Psalmist pleading sub forma pauperis, often repeating, “I am poor and needy.” And this prevents our thinking much if God do not grant the particular thing we do desire. Thus also Christ himself in his great distress (Psalm 22), doth treat God (verse 2), “O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season am not silent. Our fathers trusted in thee. They cried unto thee, and were delivered. But I am a worm, and no man; reproached of men, and despised of the people; (verse 6) “and he was “heard” in the end “in what he feared.” And these deep humblings of ourselves, being joined with vehement implorations upon the mercy of God to obtain, is reckoned into the account of praying by faith, both by God and Christ. Matt. 8.—Thomas Goodwin.
Verse 17.—“Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble.” A spiritual prayer is a humble prayer. Prayer is the asking of an alms, which requires humility. “The publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13. God’s incomprehensible glory may even amaze us and strike a holy consternation into us when we approach nigh unto him: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee.” Ezra 9:6. It is comely to see a poor nothing lie prostrate at the feet of its Maker. “Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.” Gen. 18:27. The lower the heart descends, the higher the prayer ascends.—Thomas Watson.
Verse 17.—“Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble,” etc. How pleasant is it, that these benefits, which are of so great a value both on their own account, and that of the divine benignity from whence they come, should be delivered into our hands, marked, as it were, with this grateful inscription, that they have been obtained by prayer!—Robert Leighton.
Verse 17.—“The desire of the humble.” Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God in the name of Christ, for such things as are agreeable to his will. It is an offering of our desires. Desires are the soul and life of prayer; words are but the body; now as the body without the soul is dead, so are prayers unless they are animated with our desires: “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble.” God heareth not words, but desires.—Thomas Watson.
Verse 17.—God’s choice acquaintances are humble men.—Robert Leighton.
Verse 17.—He that sits nearest the dust, sits nearest heaven.—Andrew Gray, of Glasgow, 1616.
Verse 17.—There is a kind of omnipotency in prayer, as having an interest and prevalency with God’s omnipotency. It hath loosed iron chains (Acts 16:25, 26); it hath opened iron gates (Acts 12:5–10); it hath unlocked the windows of heaven (1 Kings 18:41); it hath broken the bars of death (John 11:40, 43). Satan hath three titles given in the Scriptures, setting forth his malignity against the church of God: a dragon, to note his malice; a serpent, to note his subtlety; and a lion, to note his strength. But none of all these can stand before prayer. The greatest malice of Human sinks under the prayer of Esther; the deepest policy, the counsel of Ahithophel, withers before the prayer of David; the largest army, a host of a thousand Ethiopians, run away like cowards before the prayer of Asa.—Edward Reynolds, 1599–1676.
 VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 159–160). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Jacobson, R. A., & Tanner, B. (2014). Book One of the Psalter: Psalms 1–41. In E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, & R. L. Hubbard Jr. (Eds.), The Book of Psalms (p. 143). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has called for a full investigation into coordination between Congressional Democrats and members of the media, after articles of impeachment against President Trump appear to have been deliberately ‘slow walked’ in order to coincide with two ‘bombshell’ developments in the Ukraine story.
“Why did they time this? Why did they wait?” asked Fox Business host Trish Regan.
“First off, Rachel Maddow should be a witness of fact now. She should be brought in,” replied Bannon – referring to the seemingly coordinated media blitz surrounding Lev Parnas, an indicted former Rudy Goiliani associate whose undated, hand-written notes appear to support the claim that President Trump pressured Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden for corruption.
“We ought to have all the emails and all the text messages between Schiff, between Nancy Pelosi, Phil Griffin at MSNBC News. We ought to bring the whole thing out. How did this get dropped? Why have they been working on this for so long? How did this just come about at the last second? She admitted she’s been working on this for months, and the House just got this. The Republicans didn’t even see this when the vote when down,” said Bannon, adding “This is now a complete farce.”
“I think there was collusion between MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Lev Parnas’s attorneys, and the entire process.” -Steve Bannon
“So why did this not come forward earlier?” asks Regan.
“You know why, because they wanted to drop their “big reveal,” this was going be such a big bombshell. This is all total hearsay from a guy trying to talk his way into a lesser sentence because he’s already indicted. It’s so obvious what he’s trying to do.”
Adding to the collusion / ‘slow walk’ theory is the completion of a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requested by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, which found that President Trump’s pause of US aid to Ukraine violated the law. Of note, virtually every previous administration has received a similar nastygram from the GAO – just not the day after directly related impeachment articles were delivered to the Senate ahead of a trial.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts is poised to become a key figure in the political life of President Donald Trump.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne will meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday to discuss Tehran’s shooting down of a Ukrainian airline last week, killing all 176 people on board, including 57 Canadians.
An opposition politician in Moscow urged Russians to take to the streets this weekend to protest against sweeping constitutional reforms floated by President Vladimir Putin.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday his government was monitoring the situation on his country’s southern border as a caravan of Central American migrants approached from Guatemala.
Hungarian Jews on Friday marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Budapest ghetto and the end of the Holocaust, which killed more than 500,000 Jews and destroyed a once-vibrant Jewish culture across Hungary.
The mayor of Biñan has ordered residents to collect ash blanketing homes, cars and roads and put it in sacks to be sent to a state-owned factory and turned into bricks. The facility can produce up to 5,000 bricks a day which will be used to rebuild schools damaged since Taal, one of the Philippines’ most active and deadliest volcanoes, began spewing massive clouds of ash, steam and gas on Sunday.
U.S. homebuilding surged to a 13-year high in December as activity increased across the board, suggesting the housing market recovery was back on track amid low mortgage rates, and could help support the longest economic expansion on record.
As cash runs short at Lebanon’s banks, so has the patience of depositors. Hit by restrictions on withdrawals, some are taking extreme steps, occupying branches and in one case taking an employee hostage, to squeeze what they can from their accounts.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Friday it will review a petition asking the agency to formally investigate 500,000 Tesla Inc models over sudden unintended acceleration reports.
AP Top Stories
The Senate approved President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement on Thursday, handing the president a major political win on the same day senators will be sworn in as jurors in his impeachment trial.
The Philippines said Friday it was reimposing a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries.
The U.S. military is resuming operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq and is working to soon restart training Iraqi forces, U.S. officials said Wednesday, despite deep divisions over the American drone strike that killed a senior Iranian commander in Baghdad and the resulting missile attacks by Iran on Iraqi bases.
Guatemala’s new President Alejandro Giammattei cut diplomatic ties with the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday and ordered the closure of its embassy in Caracas.
In her first term, President Tsai Ing-Wen secured more than $10 billion in high-profile U.S. weapons to defend Taiwan against China. Over the next four years, it may be more important to acquire less glamorous, but nimbler weapons to prevent Beijing from considering an invasion.
A Pakistani court has sentenced 86 members of a radical Islamist party to 55-year prison terms each for taking part in violent rallies in 2018 over the acquittal of a Christian woman in a blasphemy case, a party official said Friday.
A major healthcare conference in San Francisco this week has sparked a debate about the California city’s homeless crisis as wealthy executives and investors complain of feeling ‘unsafe’.
The Taliban have given the U.S. envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days, Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations said Thursday.
The Trump administration warned European officials in three countries that if they didn’t put Iran on notice about nuclear deal violations, the US government would slap a 25% tariff on all European cars.
China’s birth rate has fallen to its lowest since the formation of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago – despite the easing of the one-child policy.
Three brothers from Scotland have set three world records after rowing the Atlantic Ocean in just 35 days.
Arguing the Founders “understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions,” President Trump announced new protections Thursday for prayer and religious expression in public schools.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said he will “call for civil disobedience” if Virginia Democrats pass several gun control bills during this year’s General Assembly session.
Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 17, 2020
“It is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government… Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever persuasion, religious or political.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)
Global Turmoil Abounds As Researchers Now Saying That Over 40% Of The World’s Population Is Going To Experience Civil Unrest In 2020
Speaking of civil unrest, we told you way back in 2009, that God placed Barack Obama in office as a judgment on America, and it certainly was that. You can thank Obama for legalized same-sex marriage, transgenders as a protected class, billions in funding to our enemy Iran, taxpayer-funded abortion in Obamacare, and the list goes on an on. When Donald Trump was elected, and we warned you before he was elected, that God was going to use that in something we called the global shaking. Nice to see that in 2020, the elite researchers have finally caught up to us.
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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther
The rich are getting richer, and everyone else is getting poorer.
There is no hiding anymore, the United States has become an oligarch owned banana republic with nukes, and with a monopoly currency which has allowed it to rig the markets for half a century. But now we are only a couple of hours from curtain – Midnight in America.
With the stock market at all-time highs, virtually no unemployment (or so they say), and brisk GDP growth (supposedly) in the last decade, economic analysts would declare that the US economy is in excellent shape. But, it isn’t. The stock market is a central bank inflated asset bubble, and what GDP growth there has been, is an illusion brought about by the very same financial bubble and by pumping the economy up with record federal borrowings to finance the deficits that America cannot afford. Rigged statistics showing artificially low inflation serve to hold together the Trumped-up American economic narrative. (About the rigged inflation statistics, see this report). And the low unemployment figure is nothing but a chimera based on misleading statistics.
In reality, the US economy is failing – and the country with it. At least two-thirds of the population has seen dramatic declines in living standards and half are back to levels of developing nations – without the development.
The big story covered up by all the happy macroeconomic figures repeated by rote by the US establishment – everybody from the president to cable television pundits and Trump fanboys – is the gradual impoverishment of the American worker. That’s an inconvenient truth increasingly difficult to hide as the American dream has turned into a nightmare for huge swathes of the population. As the figures we present below show, the rich are really getting richer, the middle class has been decimated, and half of Americans are poor and destitute of any financial wealth. The super-rich are gobbling up an ever-increasing slice of the American pie at the cost of all the rest who get nothing but table scraps on one side and leftover crumbs on the other, if anything. The resulting stratification of society has brought back a medieval servant economy, where the have-nots are doing odd jobs, cleaning houses, fetching groceries, running errands and deliveries for the feudal rich and the remaining shrinking middle class.
Thanks to the Fed (the American oligarch owned central bank) pushing easy money into the hands of the privileged elite, the super-rich Dismal Decimal – the top 0.1% – have by now amassed as much wealth as they had just before the Great Depression that started with the stock market crash in 1929. A lesson not learned. Back to square one. How will it end this time?
BTW all the data in this report is derived from official US government sources and American experts analyzing them.
During the last decades, the financial rewards from the rigged markets first flew exclusively into the pockets of Top 10%, but later it was increasingly Top 1%, which pocketed most, perfectly illustrated by below charts.
1. The income of Top 1% has grown five times as fast as that of Bottom 90% income since 1970, who now earn double the amount of income than 160 million poor of the lower 50% stratum.
The fortunes of Top 1% and Bottom 50% are now reversed.
2. Top 1% now holds as much wealth as Bottom 50% combined.
Income inequality obviously leads to wealth inequality, but here the figures are yet more striking in showing the magnitudes of the grab at the top. Since 1989, Top 1% captured $21 trillion in wealth, while Bottom 50% lost $900 billion, actually pushing them down to negative wealth, meaning they have more debt than they have assets. On a net analysis, half of Americans own nothing of real value.
3. Until the creeping coup under Reagan, income equality was improving
It was bad enough in 1995 when Top 1% earned as much as Bottom 50%, but today the richest 1% already take 20% of all income leaving the bottom half with only 12%. As the chart shows, back in 1978 – before the neoliberal creeping coup really got going – the trends were reversed. Below chart compares income growth since 1920 of Top 1% to Bottom 90% (that is, all the rest except Top 10%). We see that right after Ronald Reagan entered the presidency with his Chicago School snake oil influenced backers, the income growth of the 1% started its dizzying growth, which is continuing to this date.
4. Back in 1962, the share of Top 1% of America’s wealth at 33% was equal to that of Bottom 90%, but in the early 1980s the share of Bottom 90% started a steep descent and by 2016 their share had dwindled down to 21%. Especially after the Federal Reserve shifted its market rigging low-interest-rate money-pumping policy into high gear from the beginning of 2000s, the superrich have experienced a massive rise in their fortunes, as illustrated by below chart.
But by today Top 1% are losers compared with Top 0.1% – the Dismal Decimal – who are where the music plays.
5. Top 0.1% now holds as much wealth as Bottom 90% combined.
A recent study revealed that the concentration on the top is yet much more pernicious. It’s not any more a question of Top 10%, and not even Top 1%, as it is the Top 0.1% – the Dismal Decimal – that has now concentrated the wealth of the nation (and half the world) in their greedy hands. Top 0.1% now holds as much wealth as Bottom 90% combined. As the below chart shows, we are essentially back to the Roaring Twenties…a lesson not learned. Actually, in the aftermath of the Great Depression, America entered an unprecedented era of four decades of prosperity with a more equal distribution of wealth as Bottom 90% recovered strongly in distribution of wealth at the expense of Top 0.1% parasites.
6. Top 0.1% earnings grew 347% between 1979 and 2017, while Top 1% “only” gained 157% – the rest gained nothing
7. The next chart takes a longer perspective – while widening the sample to Top 10% – and shows their share of the total income since 1910 to 2010. The Roaring Twenties – the period before the 1929 stock market crash and the ensuing Great Depression – experienced the same level of glaring inequality as today’s America. With Franklin D. Roosevelt’s reforms the egregious average income inequality was tamed and stayed relatively low until Reagan’s fatal presidency. And it’s been downhill ever since – or uphill, if we look at it from the perspective of the rich.
8. The only economic figure that has managed to look good is the GDP, but that is so only until you bother to find out where it comes from – from the Federal Reserved fueled asset bubble and massive federal budget deficits financed by record national debts. For an excellent exposé of how rigged and debt-ridden the US economy is, I refer to my earlier report published on the Saker blog: New World Order in Meltdown, But Russia Stronger Than Ever https://thesaker.is/new-world-order-in-meltdown-but-russia-stronger-than-ever/
Shortly: The US economy must be seen as a giant Ponzi scheme, which will implode sooner or later. And we are getting to that sooner part now.
Trump habitually and regularly brags about the stock market reaching another all-time high. But that’s really being out of touch with the electorate. Stock market gains exclusively flow to the rich increasing inequality and the cost of living for the rest. Thing is that, beyond the richest 10% very few Americans have a stake in the stock market. In 2016, the richest one percent held more than half of all outstanding stock, financial securities, and all other sorts of equity. The remainder of those asset categories were held by the rest of Top 10%, who owned over 93% of all stock and mutual fund ownership. What wealth the remaining 90% may own is largely residential housing, the homes where they live. According to Jonathan Tepper, the wealthiest 1% own nearly 50% of stock and the top 10% more than 81%. The so-called middle class owns only 8% of all stock.
This also kills the myth that record highs on the stock market would be good for American retirement savings – with the richest few holding all the shares there’s nothing in it for the overwhelming majority.
A recent report also showed that only 10% of Americans are invested in pension plans. That is down from 60% in 1980. And those who are, are traditionally more weighted towards bonds and money-market instruments, which suffer from the rigged markets with the artificially low interest rates. The pension savers are hence literally paying for the super gains flowing into the pockets of Top 1%. On the other hand the super low interest rates are out of grasp for the all but Top 1% who gobble up the wealth of the nation with that largesse delivered to them by their Federal Reserve. At the same time the common household is paying double-digit rates on their credit card debt traps.
9. Below Top 10% wages and total household income have been stagnant, at best.
10. Average income of the bottom 50% has stagnated at around $16,000 since 1980, while the income of the top 1% has skyrocketed by 300% to approximately $1,340,000 in 2014
11. 45% of Americans earn annually only 18,000 or less. A recent study found that 53 million Americans or 44% of the working age population earn a median average annual salary of only $18,000. Basically then, at least half of the Americans are working-poor.
12. Middle-class households had in 2015 basically the same income as they had in 1979
13. In the two decades from 1997 to 2017, only Top 5% of households saw their income increase
14. For most American workers, real wages have barely budged in decades. By end of 2018, the real inflation-adjusted average wage had about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago.
15. As the below chart illustrates, the real average hourly wage which was $20.27 in 1964 had only inched up to $22.27. David Stockman calculated that the real hourly worker’s wage was in 2019 still at 1972 levels.
16. For full-time employed men real wages have fallen 4.4% since 1973, according to economist Paul Craig Roberts.
The total average income of men at $51,212 in 2015, was lower in real terms than it had been in 1974.
17. As of 2014, the average hours worked per week had fallen from around 39 hours in 1970s to under 34 hours. Economist Mike Shedlock calculated that the actual hours worked and the average hourly earnings would deliver a weekly income of $690, well below its $825 peak back in the early 1970s. If we multiply the hypothetical weekly earnings by 50, we get an annual figure of $35,497. That would in 2014 have translated to a 16.4% decline from its peak in October 1972.
18. All labor productivity growth since the 1970s have gone to the robber capitalists. From 1973 to 2013, hourly compensation of a typical (production/nonsupervisory) worker rose just 9% percent while productivity increased 74%.
19. Nowhere is income inequality and the egregious worsening trend as manifest as in the case of CEO pay. In the 1970s, CEOs made 30 times what typical workers made, but by 2017 the CEOs made 361 times the workers’ pay. According to the Economic Policy Institute CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978, while typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time.
The Fed fueled financial market orgy is the main cause for the windfall riches of CEOs as stock options and the accompanying share buybacks make up a huge part of CEO pay packages. This rising pay of executives was the main factor in Top 0.1%’s super grab of household income
20. A 2017 study found that 40% of US adults struggle to pay for basic necessities like food, healthcare, housing, and utilities.
21. Most Americans have depleted all their spare resources as a staggering 78% of full-time workers are reported to live from paycheck to paycheck.
22. Nearly 70% of Americans have virtually no savings. Bottom 55% have zero savings, while the following 24% – the core of the former middle class – have only $1,000 stashed away.
23. Correspondingly Bottom 70% of Americans don’t own any real wealth (beyond rapidly depreciating durables).
24. The other side of the (non-existent) coin is that the same 50% of Americans would obviously struggle to come up with $400 for an unexpected expense. By extension, the former middle class – those with the miserly savings of $1,000 – would also have real troubles in coping with any kind of bill for medical treatment without dipping into more debt. Considering the above reported findings (see the chart) only the Top 10% would be financially secure in a medical emergency.
25. According to shocking findings by the American Cancer Society, 137.1 million US residents suffered medical financial hardship in 2018. Americans had to resort to borrow a total of $88 billion in 2018 only to cover for essential medical treatment.
26. A third of young adults, or 24 million of those aged 18 to 34, lived with in their parents’ home because they cannot afford a home of their own.
27. The income and wealth gap pictures get worse yet when we look at the age distribution of wealth. Younger generations are earning less and own next to nothing (that is, if you are not the golden youth of the 10%). Baby Boomers born between the end of the Second World War and 1964 currently hold wealth that is 11 times higher than that of millennials.
Median Income for Younger and Older Families in Inflation-Adjusted Dollars
28. The number of full-time jobs with life-sustaining wages – what economist David Stockman calls breadwinner jobs – have not been growing since 2000, by 2014 their number was still 3.5 million or 5% lower than it was at the peak in early 2001. In the same period 4 million part-time and gig jobs were created.
While the official unemployment figure is presently near historical lows – and at levels what some economists would like to call full employment – there are some big problems with it. 1. Problems with the official unemployment statistics. The officially touted unemployment figure (so-called U3 unemployment) record only those who have been looking for a job during the last 4 weeks, while discouraged long-term unemployed are cleansed from the statistics and left unrecorded as if they would not be in the workforce at all – makes stats look beautiful for the powers that shouldn’t be. 2. The labor participation rate has been falling. 3. New job creation has amounted to only a third of the annual increase in working age population. 4. Part-time and gig jobs count as full-time employment. Any person who takes a part-time or gig job for just a few hours a month is recorded among the employed, although they would rightly be considered unemployed merely clutching at straws. 5. Connected with the previous point, there is also a more general problem with the quality of jobs created. Most jobs created in the last two decades are low-paid low-skill jobs that do not provide a life-sustaining income considering the cost of living in the United States.
More than one third (36%) of U.S. workers are in the gig economy, doing part-time work or side hustles for companies like Uber, Lyft, Etsy, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Freelancer.com, Ebay or just any odd job they can get from time to time.
29. To make up for the shrinking earnings, the regime is pushing the American population into 21st century debt peonage. Ensnared in the debt trap, US households had nearly $14 trillion in outstanding debt at the end of the third quarter 2019. That debt load now equals 73% of GDP. By end of 2019, consumption debt alone (not including asset acquiring mortgages) was up by $2 trillion since 2014.
Since 2004, the weight of the student loan millstone has gone up fivefold from only $250 billion to today’s $1.5 trillion.
That’s due to the huge price inflation in higher education. The cost of both public and private college escalated by 40% over the general consumer price inflation between 2005 and 2015.
31. The present oligarch controlled rigged crony capitalist system has killed the American dream, the belief that anyone, regardless of parents’ social status and incomes can attain success and wealth by hard work and ingenuity. The gates for upward mobility have been shut for the overwhelming majority. The monopolization of practically all sectors of the economy, the ever increasing bureaucratic restrictions on doing business, the extreme concentration of ownership, and the rigged financial markets have made it increasingly hard for people outside the top echelon of penetrating the financial membrane protecting the elites. A 2017 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that the probability that a household outside the top 10% made it into the highest tier within 10 years was twice as high during 1984-1994 as it was during 2003-2013.
The United States is an oligarchy
This concentration of the income and wealth on the top, proves that the United States is an oligarchy. A 2014, study by Princeton University https://www.businessinsider.com/major-study-finds-that-the-us-is-an-oligarchy-2014-4 demonstrated how the US is a political oligarchy. With this report showing the insanely widening income and wealth inequality, my aim is to show, that the country is an economic oligarchy, too. In fact, economic super riches are the precondition for their political power, too. In America, as always, the oligarchy has achieved their uncontested power in a hermeneutical feedback loop, where the initial wealth of the superrich has bought them increased political power, which has given them increased riches, which has bought them more political power, and so on, until today, when they own practically the whole economy and the entire government. Clearly the source of higher inequality has been Fed policies, which has pushed cheap money into the pockets of the already rich, who have exclusively then benefited from soaring stock and real estate prices.
Fittingly, we got end of 2019 a report revealing that the world’s richest people increased their wealth in the year by $1.2 trillion, a staggering 25%, most of which belong to the oligarchs of the United States.
The question – which I have set to explore in my series of Capitalism in America – is whether there has been a game plan, a long-term strategy or whether intermittent achievements have just spurred the oligarchs on to new economic and political power grabs in the course of establishing their totalitarian rule. I tend to think, there has been a long-term plan ever since the establishment of the Federal Reserve. The economic and political history of the United States provide so much circumstantial evidence, which supports the view that there has been a conspiracy of the Wall Street elite. I shall return to this hypothesis in further installments to this series of Capitalism in America. It is however clear – whether through a long-term plan or by a series of ad hoc interventions – the US financial elite has by now completed a creeping coup, which have delivered them absolute economic and political power.
In my investigation of the oligarchization of America – the creeping neoliberal oligarch coop, which set in full force since Reagan – I have so far completed these instalments:
Next due is a report showing how from point of view of political science the oligarchy has destroyed the social fabric of the US economy and deliberately enacted laws that favor the few over the people. Of particular interest here is how the oligarchy has rigged the political system by institutionally solidifying the mendacious Janus- faced two-party system in order to remove any potential challenge to their rule.
In this video, J. Warner joins Stand to Reason’s Amy Hall to answer questions in an episode of #STRAsk. They answer a question submitted through Twitter: Why should we trust the Biblical authors, especially when there aren’t early stories about Jesus from non-Christians? Don’t we need anon-Christian source in order to be certain about the story of Jesus? Be sure to subscribe to Stand to Reason’s great lineup of podcasts.
To fund CAIR, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first awarded monies to the Washington D.C. government, which then selected CAIR and a number of other extremist organizations as suitable sub-recipients. The federal government would likely have been aware, however, that CAIR was a grantee –according to government documentation, it seems sub-grantees must be approved by DHS before funds are distributed.
The administration’s funding of CAIR was the product of the DHS’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program. As my colleague David Swindle recently wrote in the Daily Wire, Congress’s current proposed expansion of the program’s budget, however “well-meaning,” carries enormous “potential for abuse” and will end up providing “millions of taxpayer dollars” to “pro-jihadist Islamist groups .”
This program and others seem to be doing just that. Additional new federal grants of taxpayers’ money handed out to Islamist organizations include over $57,000 to the Muslim American Society (MAS), a national Islamist organization whose Philadelphia branch hosted an event last year at which young children from an MAS-run school recited poetry about the killing of Jews; and $100,000 to Dar al-Hijrah, a hardline Virginia mosque once home to former Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki, and longconsidered a key terror hub by law enforcement agencies.
The Middle East Forum has written before about the enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money being handed out to dangerous Islamist organizations. In 2019, we discovered that over $41 million of federal grants has been given to radical groups since 2007. This total does not include the dozens of more recent awards made in the last few months.
Surprisingly, under the Trump administration, grants to extremist organizations have actually increased. As we noted last year, “between 2017 and 2018, the amount of taxpayers’ money given to organizations either influenced or controlled by Islamist activists more than tripled from $4 million to $13.5 million. Under the Obama administration, the amount given to Islamist-linked organizations averaged a mere $1.7 million each year.”
In August 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau quickly cancelled a proposed partnership with CAIR after a number of Conservative media outlets started investigating the decision. But why this was not enough to stop the federal government from subsequently funding the very group it had previously conceded was beyond the pale?
Over the last few months, some supporters of the administration have reacted to our research into public subsidy and political support for these theocratic groups by acknowledging the problem but arguing that, in many instances, the federal government’s embrace of Islamists and its failure to work instead with moderate Muslims, is an enduring legacy of extant Obama administration policies.
Given the long-standing programs behind many of these grants, this may well be true. If only there were someone to drain the swamp.
Sam Westrop is director ofIslamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.
January 17.—Morning. [Or February 2.]
“Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
AND it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. (This was at once the patriarch’s crowning trial and grandest victory, and it came after he had obtained the choicest blessing of his life. Great privileges involve great trial.)
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 ¶ And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. (His obedience was speedy, unhesitating, and complete. Think of that early hour, and the task of cleaving the wood for such a sacrifice. Could we thus obey the Lord?)
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. (Those days of deliberation must have severely tried him. We can do in a hurry what we should shrink from if we weighed it calmly.)
5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. (Perhaps he feared lest the servants should interpose to prevent his obedient act.)
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
A touching question, but Abraham would not allow his feelings to master his faith.
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: (These were grandly prophetic words, and have been divinely fulfilled;) so they went both of them together.
9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh (or the Lord will provide); as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
15 ¶ And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Thus was the covenant renewed in full, in connection with this great intended act of sacrifice: it is sweet to see the covenant of grace confirmed in the actual offering up of Jesus, the Only Begotten of the Father. O for grace to be in covenant with God in Christ Jesus.)
19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.
My God and Father! while I stray
Far from my home, in life’s rough way,
Oh! teach me from my heart to say,
“Thy will be done!” “Thy will be done!”
If thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prize—it ne’er was mine;
I only yield thee what was thine:
“Thy will be done!”
January 17.—Evening. [Or February 3.]
“He shall see of the travail of His soul.”
THE sacrifice of Isaac reminds us of the Divine Father, who spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all. Let us read Isaiah’s account of the sufferings of the Great Son of God.
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
None believe the gospel, but those who are wrought upon by the power of God.
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (The Eternal Father out of love to man sent forth his Son to be thus dishonoured, and shamefully entreated among men. Herein is love!)
4 ¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Four words are used to describe the pains of the Lord Jesus—“wounded,” “bruised,” “chastisement,” “stripes.” How many, how varied, and how acute were his pains none of us can tell.)
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Here is the essence of the gospel—sin was laid on Jesus, and lies no longer on his people. Jehovah himself made the transfer, and therefore none dare question the lawfulness of it.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; (Jehovah took pleasure in the atoning sacrifice. So great was his love that he bruised the Son of his love to save rebellious sinners;) he hath put him to grief: (Yes, Jehovah himself put his own Son to grief. In this God commendeth his love towards us, and we ought to give our whole souls to him in return.) when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Those who unfeignedly trust in the Lord Jesus may rest assured that their sins have ceased to be, for Jesus has fully discharged their debt: they may also rejoice that the prevalent plea of the exalted Intercessor secures them from all harm. Let us draw near to the cross of Jesus, and rest our souls beneath the shadow of the Crucified. God has provided himself a Lamb for a burnt-offering, the victim is slain, the covenant is established, believers are secure. For this let the Eternal Father be evermore adored.
Ever since the Me Too movement exploded on social media a couple of years ago, we’ve been hearing more and more heartbreaking stories of women who have experienced physical and sexual abuse. If anyone can help and should be helping victims of abuse, it ought to be the church. But, unfortunately, it seems that the people in the evangelical spotlight who are stepping up to advocate for victims are often popular false teachers.
In 2019, we saw Beth Moore take the lead at the Caring Well conference, which centered around helping abuse victims. Christine Caine is the founder and leader of A 21, an anti-human trafficking ministry. In 2018, Lisa Harper was the keynote speaker at the Pastors’ Wives Conference at the annual Southern Baptist Convention where she addressed the issue of abuse. And in addition to stepping out into the spotlight as champions for abuse victims, Beth Moore, Christine…
President Trump signed a historic trade pact with China on Wednesday. Yesterday, senators from both parties approved his administration’s foremost legislative priority—the revised North American Free Trade Agreement.
It is as though two governments are at work in Washington.
Feelings have become facts
When I was a professor of philosophy of religion, I worked with “channels of epistemology”—ways we know what we know. They can be seen as three lanes on a freeway: the rational, the practical, and the intuitive.
We perform mathematical calculations rationally, we use our computers practically (unless we’re computer engineers, in which case we use them rationally), and we like people intuitively. We all do all three, but one “channel” tends to dominate our personality.
It seems our culture is in an intuitive chapter of our history. Our founders built our nation on highly reasoned principles derived from the Judeo-Christian worldview and the Enlightenment. During times of global war or economic crisis, we have been driven by pragmatic responses.
Today, in a postmodern culture that is convinced all truth is personal and subjective, we measure life through our feelings and passions.
“Democracy and the decline of reason”
This is the thesis of William Davies’s important study, Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason. Davies observes: “Experts and facts no longer seem capable of settling arguments to the extent that they once did. Objective claims about the economy, society, the human body and nature can no longer be successfully insulated from emotions.”
He illustrates: “In 82 percent of countries around the world, less than half of the public express trust in media, and this is contributing directly to rising cynicism toward governments. The governmental institutions of the European Union and Washington, DC, are viewed as centers of elite privilege, which serve themselves rather than the public.”
One factor is the speed at which we want to receive information. Trusting experts, whose work takes time, is less appealing than accessing the world through the internet. Davies cites a 2017 survey which found that more people were willing to trust search engines than human editors.
A second factor is our reliance on popular trends. Google and Twitter don’t produce or report facts—they report what is trending. Mass demonstrations, whether in Iran, Hong Kong, or Times Square, convey what Davies calls “the depth of feeling that brought so many people into one place at a time.” What is trending must be true, or so we think.
A third factor is the degree to which many people do not feel represented by their leaders or the so-called experts. Stock market highs ring hollow to those struggling to get by. Proclamations of social progress frustrate those who feel left behind.
Are these facts related?
Feelings are the facts of our day, but are they the best test for right and wrong?
Consider an example: Today’s television programming is full of references to alcohol and depictions of drinking. In one study, alcohol was found to comprise 30 percent of all food and beverages portrayed.
Consider this fact: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
“Teaching” refers to doctrine, “reproof” to exposing error in light of doctrinal truth, “correction” to guidance back to the right path, and “training in righteousness” to “a system of discipline that leads to a holy lifestyle” (New American Commentary).
If we will study and submit to God’s word, we will become “competent, equipped for every good work” (v. 17). Living biblically prepares us to serve Jesus in every dimension of our lives and world.
You and I can live by our feelings as fallen, finite human beings. Or we can live by the facts of biblical truth.
The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
The prerequisite to obtaining help in dealing with our troubles is to realize that we lack sufficient wisdom to sort them out! The argument is this: “When facing trials, it is important to know how to cope with them. The only way we will be able to understand these trials and respond to them properly is by asking for the wisdom that only God can give.” When our friends and loved ones are going through trials, we may think we see what God is doing through the ordeal. But when we are the sufferers, when we are the ones going through the fire, viewing the situation from God’s perspective is a little more difficult. For this reason we are to ask God for wisdom.
As James motivates the troubled believer to seek wisdom, he describes God in such a way as to make us wonder why we have waited so long to reach out for His help.
We know from the Scriptures that God is the source of true wisdom. He is a good God who is not partial to any. He will always answer the prayer for wisdom, never turning away such a request. He may not always answer on our time schedule, but He always answers.
Elisha said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see
2 Kings 6:17
This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one another, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see”; for the world all around us, as well as around the prophet, is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all the events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls. Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we treat it as such; and, on the other hand, even the smallest trial may be a Juggernaut car to crush us into misery or despair if we so consider them. It lies with each of us to choose which they shall be. It all depends, not upon what these events are, but upon how we take them. If we lie down under them, and let them roll over us and crush us, they become Juggernaut cars, but if we climb up into them, as into a car of victory, and make them carry us triumphantly onward and upward, they become the chariots of God.
Has there ever been a more disingenuous person in politics than Nancy Pelosi? Of course, there have been many phony, hypocritical politicians over the course of American history, but few who have quite risen to the appalling behavior of Speaker Pelosi (or Adam Schiff). Even as she visibly declines mentally – she can barely utter a coherent sentence – her party continues to pretend she is not only relevant but that she is lucid, a master strategist.
Like many of her colleagues, the Speaker has been determined to see President Trump impeached since he was elected. That is all she has concentrated on for three years. As her own city morphs into third world status, beset by homelessness, lawlessness, opioid addiction, and public defecation and urination, she has done nothing but try to find a way to impeach the most successful president in US history. She is not a sane person. She does not care about San Francisco or the nation. She is just nursing a nasty, intolerant grudge.
There is not a person on the planet that buys her “prayerful” act, or her oh-so-solemn “historic” nonsense. There is probably not one Democrat who takes her act seriously; they are just happy to see the President have to endure more specious assaults on his presidency. They all surely know Trump will not be removed from office. And yet he is the most investigated President in US history.
Had the Clintons or Obama experienced even a glimmer of the investigative power of the federal government shone upon them, they would all be in prison. Their crimes – electoral, financial and political — were legion. It will take a generation of new historians to unravel all their crimes committed during their terms in office and their devious attempts to overturn an election.
That is what impeaching Trump is all about, a massive cover-up of their own get-rich schemes while in office. The Mueller “probe” was certainly an attempted cover-up of the convoluted plan to take Trump out of the race before the election and then, after the election, their continued attempts to destroy his presidency. Perhaps Peter Schweizer’s new book, Profiles in Corruption, due out in a week, will explain the Democrats’ mounting hysteria. The Clintons, the Pelosi family, the Obamas, the Feinsteins, et. al. have all become fabulously wealthy — multi-millionaires while in office or soon thereafter. Trump, on the other hand, has lost wealth since he became President.
This impeachment farce is just that, a farce. The House Democrats have nothing! Their articles are all pretense without a shred of substance. Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler conducted the most unfair, unconstitutional “inquiry” in history, and everyone knows that. When you deny the subject of impeachment any means of self-defense, any witnesses on his behalf, when you fail to release the transcripts of all the witnesses who were questioned, you have what Trump has rightly called a witch hunt, a Kafkaesque railroading of an innocent man.