Daily Archives: January 24, 2020

January—24 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body’s sake, which is the church.—Col. 1:24.

What can the Apostle mean from these expressions? Not, surely, that the sufferings of Jesus were incomplete, or that the sufferings of his people were to make up a deficiency: for in treading the wine-press of the wrath of God against sin, Jesus trod it alone, and of the people there was none with him. And so perfectly finished and complete was the whole work of redemption by Jesus, that by the one offering of himself, once offered, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. But what a sweet scripture is this of the Apostle’s, when it is interpreted with reference to Jesus, that in all the sufferings of his people, Jesus takes a part! Jesus suffered in his own person fully and completely, when, as an expiatory sacrifice for sin, he died, the just for the unjust, to bring his people to God. These sufferings as a sacrifice were full, and have fully satisfied; they cease for ever, and can be known no more. But the sympathy of Jesus with his people gives him to bear a part in all their concerns. And the consciousness of this made the Apostle tell the Church that he rejoiced in all his exercises, because Jesus took part, and thereby endeared the affliction. My soul, cherish the thought also. Thy Jesus knows all, measures out all, bears part with thee in all, and will carry thee through all, and finally crown all with his love and blessing. The same interest that Jesus felt in the persecution of Saul over his afflicted ones, when he called from heaven to restrain Saul’s rage, and said, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?—the same interest he feels in every minute event with which his redeemed are exercised now. Whosoever toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. Blessed Lord! may my soul keep in remembrance those endearing views of thy love. Give me to keep alive the recollection of the oneness between the glorious Head and all his exercised members. I see that a child of thine cannot mourn, but Jesus marks it down, and puts the tears in his bottle. He notes his sorrows in his book. So that by this fellow-feeling, Lord! our interest in thee is most fully proved. And while thy people partake in thy righteousness, thou takest part in their sorrows. As it was in the days of thy flesh, so is it now in the fulness of thy glory: “in all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.”[1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 28–29). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Is It Biblical to Say “God Loves the Sinner, but Hates the Sin?” — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Does God “love the sinner but hate the sin”? From one of our Ask Ligonier Live events, Burk Parsons explains his concerns related to this common phrase and offers a clearer alternative.

If you have a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org to ask your question live online.

via Is It Biblical to Say “God Loves the Sinner, but Hates the Sin?” — Ligonier Ministries Blog

January 24 Streams in the Desert

But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him. … And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf.” (Gen. 8:9–11.)

GOD knows just when to withhold from us any visible sign of encouragement, and when to grant us such a sign. How good it is that we may trust Him anyway! When all visible evidences that He is remembering us are withheld, that is best; He wants us to realize that His Word, His promise of remembrance, is more substantial and dependable than any evidence of our senses. When He sends the visible evidence, that is well also; we appreciate it all the more after we have trusted Him without it. Those who are readiest to trust God without other evidence than His Word always receive the greatest number of visible evidences of His love.—C. G. Trumbull.

“Believing Him; if storm-clouds gather darkly ’round,

And even if the heaven seem brass, without a sound?

He hears each prayer and even notes the sparrow’s fall.

“And praising Him; when sorrow, grief, and pain are near,

And even when we lose the thing that seems most dear?

Our loss is gain. Praise Him; in Him we have our All.

“Our hand in His; e’en though the path seems long and drear.

We scarcely see a step ahead, and almost fear?

He guides aright. He has it thus to keep us near.

“And satisfied; when every path is blocked and bare,

And worldly things are gone and dead which were so fair?

Believe and rest and trust in Him, He comes to stay.”

Delays are not refusals; many a prayer is registered, and underneath it the words: “My time is not yet come.” God has a set time as well as a set purpose, and He who orders the bounds of our habitation orders also the time of our deliverance.—Selected.[1]


[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 27–28). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Is Our Notion of Morality Just an Example of Cultural, Moral Relativism? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

Cold case detective, J. Warner Wallace, answers questions following a presentation at Ohio State University. Are moral truths rooted entirely in cultural norms? Are our moral values simply an example of cultural relativism, especially when compared to the moral values of other cultures? Be sure to check out Eric Chabot’s ministry on the campus of Ohio State.

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

via Is Our Notion of Morality Just an Example of Cultural, Moral Relativism? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

January 24th The D. L. Moody Year Book

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.—Isaiah 35:10.

JOSEPH PARKER of London uttered something that I thought was splendid in regard to the thirty-fifth of Isaiah, where it says: “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Take up an old dictionary, he said, and once in a while you will come across a word marked “obsolete.” The time is coming, he said, when those two words, “sorrow” and “sighing” shall be obsolete. Sighing and sorrow shall flee away, to be no more. Thank God for the outlook![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. 22). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

January 24, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

4 Boldness of faith is not naive belief. The external difficulties are insignificant in comparison with the psalmist’s deep desire to experience more fully the presence of God. In God’s presence fear is banished. The longing for God’s temple expresses the intensity of the psalmist’s seeking after God himself (cf. Mt 6:33). The enjoyment of God’s presence assures the evident goodness and love of God (cf. 23:6).

The psalmist desires to dwell in the temple of God for the rest of his life (cf. 15:1; 23:4–6). The temple was the visible expression of God’s presence and was sought after by the godly. While sitting in God’s temple, he planned to “gaze” on the Lord’s beauty and to “seek” (inquire after) him in his temple. In the act of gazing on the Lord’s beauty, the psalmist submits himself fully to experience the beneficent fellowship with God. God’s “beauty” is an expression of his goodness to his people (cf. 16:11; 90:17). When Moses saw his glory, the Lord revealed his perfections of love and compassion (Ex 34:5–6). The “beauty” of the Lord is his favor toward his own (cf. 90:17; 135:3; see C. S. Lewis’s intriguing essay “The Fair Beauty of the Lord” [Reflections on the Psalms, 44–53]; Reflections, p. 931, The Ark of the Covenant and the Temple).

In the experience of God’s presence, the psalmist also intends to “seek” him (cf. 73:17). Little consensus exists on the meaning of the verb “seek” (see A. A. Anderson, 1:222–23). Was the psalmist seeking him as in the day of trouble, or does the word have a more technical sense? It is probable that he was looking for a divine word or action that would satisfy the longing in his heart (cf. v. 8). The desire for God’s presence arose out of a need. The psalmist is not an escapist, for he wants to hang on to God until he is fully assured of his glorious presence.[1]

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (v. 4). The opening of verse 4 has no parallel anywhere in the Old Testament. It is a statement of exclusive trust in the Lord. His faith is such that he wants to live continually in God’s presence. In particular he wants to see the glory of the Lord symbolised by the ark of the covenant and the associated ceremonies of worship, and to be able to see the Lord at the sanctuary. Such ‘seeking’ may well have been in connection with the military dangers he faced, when advice from the priest concerning the will of the Lord would be sought. The clause ‘that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life’ is very similar to words in Psalm 23:6, ‘that I may return to the house of the Lord for length of days’. ‘House’ (báyit) can designate the temple (see 2 Sam. 7:13; Ps. 122:1), and this is made clear in the context by the use of ‘temple’ (hêkâl) later in the verse. Expressions such as these may well have been part of the standard religious language in Israel. The desire to ‘see’ God may refer to visionary experience, such as Isaiah experienced (Isa. 6:1), but the verb used can have wider connotations of perception and appreciation. Hence it is probably synonymous with the verb to ‘seek’.[2]

27:4 to gaze on the beauty of the Lord. Perowne suggests that the best translation of the Hebrew word for “beauty” (no‘am) is “favor” (Ps. 90:17), combining the ideas of beauty, personality, and kindness (cf. Prov. 31:30). In Psalm 90:17 Moses uses the same word to pray that the beauty of the Lord would be upon Israel, and that he would establish their work.

to seek him in his temple. Four different words, all synonyms, are used for the sanctuary (see below): “house” (bayit) and “temple” (hekal, 27:4), “tabernacle” (sukkah, 27:5; NIV: “dwelling”), and “tent” (’ohel, 27:6). If the psalm is of Davidic vintage, “temple” (hekal) occurs here as a reference to the tabernacle, as it does also in 1 Samuel 3:3 (but see 27:5 below).[3]

4. While we distinguish Christ here also, as our glorious Head, thus seeking, above all things, communion with the Father; and while we behold the blessed Jesus spending whole nights in prayer to God (Luke 6:12), we may, by virtue of our union with him, and interest in him, see how delightful an evidence this becomes of our new life. My brother, if the Lord Jehovah be indeed your light and salvation, then this one thing will also be the one thing needful, and the grand desire of your soul: no one, who hath once seen the King in his beauty, will feel his heart captivated with any other. To contemplate the glory, grace, wisdom, love, and faithfulness, in God the Father, as manifested most eminently in the redemption by his dear Son; to behold the glories of Christ’s person, the infinite beauties in himself, and the infinite riches in his salvation; and to admire and adore the love, and grace, and condescension of God the Spirit: whoever hath thus seen Jehovah, in his threefold character of person, will find, under Christ, a heart constrained, by the same influence, to desire this one thing, and this one only, as the sum total of all happiness.[4]

4. “One thing.” Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment. The man of one book is eminent, the man of one pursuit is successful. Let all our affection be bound up in one affection, and that affection set upon heavenly things. “Have I desired”—what we cannot at once attain, it is well to desire. God judges us very much by the desire of our hearts. He who rides a lame horse is not blamed by his master for want of speed, if he makes all the haste he can, and would make more if he could; God takes the will for the deed with his children. “Of the Lord.” This is the right target for desires, this is the well into which to dip our buckets, this is the door to knock at, the bank to draw upon; desire of men, and lie on the dunghill with Lazarus: desire of the Lord, and be carried of angels into Abraham’s bosom. Our desires of the Lord should be sanctified, humble, constant, submissive, fervent, and it is well if, as with the Psalmist, they are all molten into one mass. Under David’s painful circumstances we might have expected him to desire repose, safety, and a thousand other good things, but no, he has set his heart on the pearl, and leaves the rest. “That will I seek after.” Holy desires must lead to resolute action. The old proverb says, “Wishers and woulders are never good housekeepers,” and “wishing never fills a sack.” Desires are seeds which must be sown in the good soil of activity for they will yield no harvest. We shall find our desires to be like clouds without rain, unless followed up by practical endeavours. “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” For the sake of communion with the King, David longed to dwell always in the palace; so far from being wearied with the services of the Tabernacle, he longed to be constantly engaged in them, as his lifelong pleasure. He desired above all things to be one of the household of God, a home-born child, living at home with his Father. This is our dearest wish, only we extend it to those days of our immortal life which have not yet dawned. We pine for our Father’s house above, the home of our souls; if we may but dwell there for ever, we care but little for the goods or ills of this poor life. “Jerusalem the golden” is the one and only goal of our heart’s longings. “To behold the beauty of the Lord.” An exercise both for earthly and heavenly worshippers. We must not enter the assemblies of the saints in order to see and be seen, or merely to hear the minister; we must repair to the gatherings of the righteous, intent upon the gracious object of learning more of the loving Father, more of the glorified Jesus, more of the mysterious Spirit, in order that we may the more lovingly admire, and the more reverently adore our glorious God. What a word is that, “the beauty of the Lord!” Think of it, dear reader! Better far—behold it by faith! What a sight will that be when every faithful follower of Jesus shall behold “the King in his beauty!” Oh, for that infinitely blessed vision! “And to enquire in his temple.” We should make our visits to the Lord’s house enquirers’ meetings. Not seeking sinners alone, but assured saints should be enquirers. We must enquire as to the will of God and how we may do it; as to our interest in the heavenly city, and how we may be more assured of it. We shall not need to make enquiries in heaven, for there we shall know even as we are known; but meanwhile we should sit at Jesus’ feet, and awaken all our faculties to learn of him.[5]

[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. 283). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, pp. 246–247). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

[3] Bullock, C. H. (2015). Psalms 1–72. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 1, p. 200). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Job–Psalms (Vol. 4, p. 248). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, pp. 2–3). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

January 24, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Donald Trump will become the first U.S. president to attend the annual
“March for Life” to be held in Washington on Friday, organizers said,
underscoring his outspoken support for the anti-abortion movement as it
celebrates key legislative gains.

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats presenting the case to remove
President Donald Trump from office wrap up their impeachment case on

China shut part of the Great Wall and suspended public transport in 10
cities, stranding millions of people at the start of the Lunar New Year
holiday on Friday as authorities rush to contain a virus that has killed 26
people and infected more than 800.

A Nepali student home from China tested positive for the new coronavirus,
an official in Kathmandu said on Friday, making it the first confirmed case
in the Himalayan nation.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday a caravan of
Central American migrants that crossed into Mexico this week was not
spontaneous, signaling that Honduran activists were driving the movement
for political ends.

The European Commission asked the EU’s highest court on Friday to freeze a
new Polish law that allows for the dismissal of judges critical of
government changes to the judiciary.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis rallied in central Baghdad on Friday calling
for the expulsion of U.S. troops, but the protest mostly dissipated after a
few hours despite fears of violence following a cleric’s call for a
“million strong” turnout.

AP Top Stories

In November, Utah Governor Gary Herbert proposed a new rule to ban
conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors in the state. The ban went into effect
Tuesday night, making Utah the 19th – and most conservative – state to ban
the discredited practice.

President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed a threat to terminate an accord that
allows American forces to train in the country unless Washington restored a
visa of a political ally linked to human rights violations.

People left in the Chinese city of Wuhan are stockpiling food and fuel, and
avoiding the streets, after authorities sealed off the city of 11 million
people to try and prevent the spread of a mysterious coronavirus that has
killed at least 17 people.

As the world marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of a swathe of
Nazi concentration camps, the hitherto neglected site of the Gusen camp in
northern Austria has become a bone of contention, with the Polish
government demanding it be better preserved.

One day after a vigilante group revealed that it was using children as
young as 8 as “recruits” for armed defense patrols, Mexico’s president said
Thursday that drug cartels too are recruiting ever-younger kids.

John Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc, on Thursday was
sentenced to 66 months in prison for his role in a bribery and fraud scheme
that contributed to the U.S. opioid crisis.

Australia’s bushfires are contributing to one of the biggest annual
increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere
since record-keeping began more than 60 years ago, according to a forecast
published by Britain’s Met Office.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar asked Greece to demilitarize 16 Aegean
islands near Turkey he claims were illegally armed, in a move that may
exacerbate strains in the countries’ relations.

Employees at a vineyard in the heart of California’s wine country
discovered with dismay on Wednesday that one of their giant tanks had
opened – and Cabernet Sauvignon was gushing out. Just over 97,000 gallons
of the wine – enough to fill eight tanker trucks – spilled after the door
of a blending tank popped open at the Rodney Strong Winery.


China is marking the Lunar New Year, one of the most important dates in its
calendar, while concerns grow about the coronavirus outbreak.

The American founder of US-based militant neo-Nazi group The Base is
directing the organization from Russia, a BBC investigation has found.

The UN has called for international help to fight huge swarms of desert
locusts sweeping through east Africa. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are all
struggling with “unprecedented” and “devastating” swarms of the
food-devouring insects. The agency fears locust numbers could grow 500
times by June.

Up to 40 Syrian soldiers have been killed in an assault by hundreds of
militants in north-western Syria, according to Russia’s defense ministry.


At a private dinner event at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, billionaire activist George Soros excoriated President Trump,
warning the 2020 election will determine the “fate of the world.”

Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of nearly 9 to 1 among college
professors, according to new statistics.

Faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota are gearing up to undergo
pronoun training in order to make the campus a more welcoming environment
for “transgender” and “non-binary” community members.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 24, 2020

The Foundation

“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

Impeachment Trial Day 3: Can We Get a Witness?

Haggling over witnesses continues, Nadler blows it, and Schiff whiffs on the truth.

FISA Court Declares Two Carter Page Surveillance Warrants Invalid

More evidence reveals the scandal of the Obama administration’s targeting of Trump.

Trump Becomes First President to Attend March for Life

Trump boldly demonstrates his full support for the pro-life movement.

The Racist History of Gun Control

Gun laws were originally intended to keep firearms out of the hands of blacks.

Citizens United: A Decade of ‘Dark Money’

Ten years after the monumental Supreme Court decision, has political funding changed?

SCOTUS Appears to Side With Public Funding for Religious Schools

The Court heard arguments in a case over a Montana public scholarship fund.

The 21st Century Content of Character Minority Report

Discipline problems with black students are caused by a lack of character, not color.

Video: Will Hunter Biden Testify in the Impeachment Trial?

If he does, it’s likely to buttress Donald Trump, while further blemishing the Bidens.

Video: Hillary Says Nobody Likes Bernie

History repeats itself!

Video: All the Narratives Died in Richmond

It was total success despite constant smearing, says Matt Christiansen.

Today’s Opinion

Adriana Cohen
The Rampant Hypocrisy of the Democratic Party
Erick Erickson
The Sound, Fury, and Predictability
David Harsanyi
Happy Anniversary to Citizens United
Neil Patel
Policy Innovator Donald Trump
Gary Bauer
Pence in Jerusalem
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Friday News Executive Summary

FISA abuse, whistleblower double standards, Blaine Amendment, and more.

Friday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Mark Meadows, Jonathan Turley, Stacey Abrams, 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 – 1/24/2020

Netanyahu, Gantz to travel to Washington next week for peace plan’s unveiling

Trump confirms PM, Gantz to visit; rejects ‘speculative’ reports on peace plan

Trump says he’ll likely release plan before Tuesday meet with Netanyahu, Gantz

Trump plan said to give Israel sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, all settlements

Jordan’s FM warns annexation would end chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace

PA furious at Trump peace plan – warns Israel, US not to cross ‘red lines’ after Netanyahu, Gantz invited to White House

Right-wing politicians react with caution to reports on Trump peace plan

Blue and White said to accuse US of trying to help PM delay immunity hearings due to invite to Washington over peace plan

Rocket siren tripped by unexplained Gaza explosion, IDF says

Israeli High Court Allows DNA Testing to Prove Judaism

25 Muslim faith leaders make ‘groundbreaking’ visit to Auschwitz

This must never happen again, says Saudi cleric as Muslim group tours Auschwitz

Rise in far-Right visits to former Nazi concentration camps

At Yad Vashem, German president says Germans haven’t learned lesson of Holocaust

Another Holocaust is possible, warns former chief rabbi

Iran ‘most anti-Semitic regime on the planet’ says Israel’s Netanyahu

Among dozens of world leaders in Jerusalem, Putin proves the dominant presence

Holocaust forum: Netanyahu urges world to unite to confront Iran

Pence: In spirit of Holocaust remembrance, we must stand strong against Iran

US official warns Soleimani’s successor faces ‘same fate’ if he kills Americans

Iran: US threat to kill Soleimani successor a sign of ‘governmental terrorism’

Iranian IRGC officer suggests taking US hostages to make up for sanctions

Pompeo: If you facilitate Iran’s activities, you will be sanctioned

Syria war: Jihadist assault ‘kills dozens of soldiers’

Venezuela crisis is ‘comparative to Syria’: Opposition leader Juan Guaido pleads for international support in Davos

Lebanon’s former foreign minister tries to defend Davos trip as country faces economic collapse

Political manipulation seen behind Lebanon violent protests: UN

ISIS resurgence possible if US pulls out of Iraq: General

Hundreds gather for Baghdad rally to demand US troops leave

Thousands rally in Baghdad against presence of US troops in Iraq

US general says troop surge in Middle East may not end soon

Why Planned U.S. Troop Cuts in Africa Cause Alarm: Extremist groups on the continent have set ‘a record pace of activity in 2019

Libyan sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks that killed US envoy

Libya conflict: Haftar forces threaten to target civilian planes

Libya ‘chaos’ could spread, warns Turkey’s Erdogan

Saudi Arabia to host World Economic Forum Middle East Summit

Rohingya Hail UN Ruling That Myanmar Act to Prevent Genocide

Philippines’ Duterte threatens to end military deal with US

Next stop, Brexit: Britain’s EU divorce bill becomes law

Trump expected to sign US-Mexico-Canada trade deal next week

The US picked the ‘wrong time’ for a trade war with China, Hong Kong businessman says

Rudy Giuliani threatens to go public with Biden corruption allegations

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said President Trump is not backing down on his belief that the Biden family’s business dealings must be investigated

Republican Senators Are Literally Playing With Kids’ Toys During The Impeachment Trial

Iowa caucus app sparks election security concerns

Soros accuses Facebook of helping re-elect Trump

George Soros rips Trump and Xi, says the ‘fate of the world’ is at stake in 2020

Doomsday Clock moves to 100 seconds to midnight – closest point to nuclear annihilation since Cold War

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near El Hoyo, Argentina

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Karakenja, Tajikistan

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Moquegua, Peru

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Karakenja, Tajikistan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 11,000ft

Bushfire crisis: more than half of all Australians found to have been directly affected

Why The Coronavirus Is A Real Threat To Oil Markets

China coronavirus outbreak: Death toll jumps to 25 as authorities race to lock down cities in unprecedented bid to contain virus

Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: ‘This time I’m scared’

Explained: Why Wuhan is so important to China’s economy and the potential impact of the coronavirus

Chinese cities cancel New Year celebrations, travel ban widens in effort to stop coronavirus outbreak

Chinese tourist says she evaded coronavirus checks to fly to France

People are freaking out that coronavirus outbreak is like movie 2011 “Contagion”

New H5N6 bird flu hits swans in China’s Xinjiang: ministry

Virginia Senate passes bill to let transgender people get new birth certificates

Puberty blockers can be ‘life-saving’ drugs for trans teens, study shows

LGBTQ education is now mandatory in N.J. schools. Here’s how teachers are preparing.

Miss Utah is the first openly bisexual Miss USA contestant

Warren promises at least half of her Cabinet will be ‘women and nonbinary people’ if elected president

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

China Goes On Lockdown With Wuhan Coronavirus As Health Authorities Alarmingly Predict Sickness Will Soon Infect 350,000 In Chinese Province — Now The End Begins

China has gone into lockdown today as authorities and businesses scramble to shut tourist attractions and public transport systems in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly new Wuhan coronavirus that has killed at least 26 people.

China is struggling to deal with the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus that has the potential to breakout globally, 26 people are dead and thousands more infected. The current panic over the Wuhan coronavirus reminds me of a few years ago and the very similar situation of the Ebola virus. Remember that one?

Sadly, we live in an age where a pandemic is no longer a pandemic, but something that could also be caused by the intentional release of micro bio-agents created in government laboratories. No tin foil hat here, just a honest acknowledgment of the truth of times we live in.  In the 21st century, everything is weaponized, from the sickness to the cure. I don’t trust any of it.

China lockdown of 14 cities as Wuhan coronavirus outbreak worsens

FROM DAILY MAIL UK: In a drastic turn of events, part of the Great Wall of China and Disneyland in Shanghai have been closed as authorities desperately try to stop people spreading the Wuhan coronavirus amid fears as many as 10,000 are already infected with the killer virus.

Fourteen cities, home to around 40 million people, are reported to have gone into some form of lockdown in the past two days, with public transport halted and roads closed.

And a report written by researchers from England, Scotland and Florida, has predicted that a staggering 350,000 people may be infected just in Wuhan – the city where the outbreak started – by the beginning of February.

In the US, one man in Washington State is being monitored after being confirmed to have the disease and other suspected cases are being tested in California and Texas. Across the Atlantic, British authorities have tested 14 people but no cases have been confirmed yet.

Other shocking developments in the outbreak today include:

  • Chinese New Year celebrations, planned for the following week, have been cancelled in Beijing and Hong Kong
  • Officially, at least 850 people around the world have been infected with coronavirus and 26 have died
  • Footage has emerged reportedly showing military personnel guarding a train station
  • Videos from inside hospitals show patients crammed into overcrowded corridors and laid on the floor
  • In the UK, the Government will meet later today to discuss its response after 14 patients were tested for the virus
  • In the US, 12 people have been tested for the virus but still only one case has been confirmed – on Monday

Shanghai Disney Resort posted on its website: ‘In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and… announce the reopening date upon confirmation.’

A section of the Great Wall known as the Badaling section – one of the most visited parts – has been closed to tourists, Al Jazeera reports.

The following measures have been taken to control the disease’s spread in and around China:

  • Beijing’s Forbidden Palace, which hosts the Palace Museum, will be closed to visitors from tomorrow, Saturday
  • The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, has been closed
  • A four-day carnival planned in Hong Kong, from January 25 to 28, has been cancelled by the state tourism board
  • Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year World Cup football tournament has been called off
  • All public Lunar New Year events in Macau, home to more than half-a-million people, have been cancelled

A report shared with MailOnline after being produced yesterday by researchers from Lancaster University in England, the University of Florida and the University of Glasgow, estimated that only five per cent of all the coronavirus cases are being diagnosed.

Dr Jonathan Read, a biostatistics researcher at Lancaster, wrote with colleagues: ‘If no change in control or transmission happens, then we expect further outbreaks to occur in other Chinese cities, and that infections will continue to be exported to international destinations at an increasing rate.

‘In 14 days’ time (4 February 2020), our model predicts the number of infected people in Wuhan to be greater than 250 thousand (prediction interval, 164,602 to 351,396).

‘We predict the cities with the largest outbreaks elsewhere in China to be Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu. We also predict that by 4 Feb 2020, the countries or special administrative regions at greatest risk of importing infections through air travel are Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.’

Businesses around China – the world’s biggest nation and home to more than one billion people, a seventh of the world’s population – are already having to take drastic measures. READ MORE

China Locks Down Wuhan Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The Chinese city at the center of a widening respiratory-virus outbreak suspended outbound flights and rail service, as China ramps up efforts to contain an illness that’s killed at least 17 people and infected hundreds. The travel halt by the city of Wuhan was reported by state broadcaster CCTV. The city of 11 million people also suspended travel by bus, subway and ferry. Residents shouldn’t leave without special reasons, the report said.

via China Goes On Lockdown With Wuhan Coronavirus As Health Authorities Alarmingly Predict Sickness Will Soon Infect 350,000 In Chinese Province — Now The End Begins

CAN’T HIDE THIS: Times Square Billboard Runs Joe Biden Clip Threatening Ukraine (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

The Committee to Defend the President—one of America’s largest pro-Trump super PACs—is running a new billboard in New York City, criticizing Democratic candidate Joe Biden over the Ukraine scandal.
The billboard, located at 1500 Broadway and 43rd Street, is two-sided and both sides will feature the video of Biden admitting to withholding aid to Ukraine until its government fired the prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter.
Here is the video:
The billboard will also direct New Yorkers to visit SubpoenaBiden.com, where the Committee is now running a signature collection petition that will ultimately be sent to Senate Republicans, urging them to subpoena Biden for his Ukrainian corruption.

Committee chairman Ted Harvey sent The Gateway Pundit this statement on the project

“The Biden family name is synonymous with corruption, especially in Ukraine. Our goal is to educate Americans about the shady deals and ruthless power moves that ‘Quid Pro Joe’ executed on behalf of his son, Hunter, and at the expense of the Ukrainian government. The American people deserve to know the truth, and we are committed to sharing it with them.”

In terms of cost, the Committee will spend $40,000 to run the billboard until March 1st, in addition to spending at least $10,000 on Facebook advertising to spread the word.

via CAN’T HIDE THIS: Times Square Billboard Runs Joe Biden Clip Threatening Ukraine (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Donald Trump Making History Today As First Sitting United States President To Address March For Life Anti-Abortion Rally In Washington DC — Now The End Begins

When thousands of anti-abortion rights activists gather for March For Life in Washington, D.C., on Friday, President Trump will be there.

Donald Trump will make history today as the first-ever US president actively still serving who has addressed the March For Life anti-abortion gathering in Washington, DC. Donald Trump continues to defy expectations, and to the eternal consternation of the Democrats who hate him beyond logic or reason, Donald Trump is going to have a bang-up day today.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJB)

The hate-spewing Liberals who spend their days and weeks conspiring against him must be wondering what magic power he has to constantly be able to escape out of their clutches time and time, and time again. What they don’t understand, and cannot understand, is that God placed Donald Trump in power to shake things up. And that is exactly what is happening.

You can watch his speech live in the live stream box at the bottom of the article. Enjoy, and pray for our president, someone just might take a shot at him today.

President Trump To Face Friendly Crowd At March For Life

FROM NPR: It’s the first time a sitting president will address the March for Life, an annual event organized decades ago in response to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Trump will face a friendly audience at a key moment — with his impeachment trial underway, and just months to go before the 2020 election. The president has leaned in to his connection to religious and social conservatives, frequently praising “the evangelicals” who comprise a key portion of his base, and courting anti-abortion rights groups like the Susan B. Anthony List.

That group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, called Trump’s appearance at the march “a moment of celebration for the pro-life movement.” In an interview with NPR, she said it’s a reminder of how far Trump has come in the minds of some conservatives who were initially skeptical because of his past support for abortion rights.

“Everyone doubted where he was on the abortion issue. He stated what he believed. There were doubts all over — I mean, I was one of them,” Dannenfelser said. “…So he’s actually become the person that he says he is.”

Dannenfelser said she is pleased with Trump’s appointment of conservative federal judges — most notably to the Supreme Court. Just this week the Trump administration signed off on federal funding for a family planning program in Texas that excludes groups like Planned Parenthood that provide abortion services.

“No one in that crowd needs persuading, but everyone in that crowd needs reminding what’s at stake this coming election,” Dannenfelser said. “…It won’t be a cajoling and a persuasion moment; it will be a momentum moment.”

On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a post by the March for Life, adding, “See you on Friday…big crowd!” READ MORE

WATCH LIVE: President Trump delivers remarks at anti-abortion March for Life rally

President Donald Trump addresses the March for Life rally on Friday, making him the first sitting president in the event’s 47-year history to attend in person the Washington protest against the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling. (NOTE: when the event begins at Noon this first video feed will be live.)

via Donald Trump Making History Today As First Sitting United States President To Address March For Life Anti-Abortion Rally In Washington DC — Now The End Begins

January 24 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

January 24.—Morning. [Or February 16.]
“In the world ye shall have tribulation.”

JOSEPH was Jacob’s best loved and most tried son. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. This chapter opens a long scene of suffering.

Genesis 37:2–14; 18–24; 28; 31–35

Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

His piety led him to protest against the wrongdoing of his brethren. He would not join them in evil, nor aid them by concealing their evil deeds.

¶ And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

9, 10, 11 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. (Whom God favours the ungodly are sure to dislike. The evil hate the righteous.)

12, 13, 14 And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them.… So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

18, 19, 20 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

21, 22 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him.

24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

31, 32 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood: And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.

33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.

34, 35 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sack-cloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. (This was a very painful transaction, but let us not forget that the Lord overruled it for the highest good.)

Crosses and changes are their lot,

Long as they sojourn here;

But since their Saviour changes not,

What have his saints to fear?

January 24.—Evening. [Or February 17.]
“The Lord shall preserve thy soul.”

Genesis 39:1–6; 16–23

AND Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

Grace enabled Joseph to make the best of his position, and to be amiable, industrious, and useful. This was as it should be. A child of God, even as a slave, should honour his religion, and God will bless him in so doing.

And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

This shews that Joseph did not fall into Egyptian idolatry, but avowed his faith in Jehovah, so that his master saw that Jehovah was with him.

And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. (The fear of God leads to honesty and faithfulness, and this is often the road to promotion even among men. Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is.)

And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. (This became a trial to him. Personal beauty is a dangerous gift: we must not be proud of it, but be the more guarded in our conduct if we possess it.)

Joseph found a tempter in his master’s wife, who would have led him into great sin. He refused to listen to her disgraceful request, and said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” The wicked woman again and again sought to lead him astray, and at last seized him, and held him, so that, to escape from her, he had to leave his garment in her hand. Then her wicked heart turned to malice, and she charged Joseph with being guilty of that unclean action which he had so earnestly refused.

16, 17, 18 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me. And it came to pass as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.

Thus she convinced her husband by showing the garment, which, could it have spoken, would have declared his innocence. A great deal of evidence may be brought against a perfectly innocent man. Let us, therefore, be slow to condemn persons of unblemished character.

19, 20 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

Here his feet were hurt with fetters, and the iron entered, into his soul.

21 ¶ But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (God is as much with his servants in a prison as in a palace; he does not desert us however low we may be brought.)

22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.

When a good man is thrown down he is soon up again. Truth ever floats where sin is drowned.

23 The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

May each youthful descendant of godly parents be so kept by God’s grace that the Lord may always be with him. Keep God’s favour, and nothing is lost. Lose that, and all is gone.

Endow me, Lord, with godly fear,

A quick discerning eye,

To look to thee when sin is near,

And from the tempter fly.

Create in me a holy mind,

A sin-abhorring will,

That tramples down, and casts behind

The baits of pleasing ill.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 47–48). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

January 24 Worship and Wonder

Acts 3:10

They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Worship and wonder, which are so closely connected, are all about coming to the end of our measurements. In the presence of Almighty God, as the apostle John discovered, the sense of wonder comes naturally and leaves us changed. How could we respond any other way? But without the capability of awe, where we stand at the edge of ourselves and gaze beyond, we will never come into His presence.

Do you ever wonder? How long has it been since you’ve been a child again, gaping with wide eyes? How would it change your life if you could live like that every day? How would it change the people around you?

I hope you’re already sensing it—your heart’s very desire. This is what has been lacking in so many lives. We’ve wandered through the emptiness when we could have been wondering at the fullness of the love of God. Your heart’s desire, even if you haven’t come to realize it, is to live every moment in the wonder of worship.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 25). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

17 Questions about Salvation | Crossway Articles

1. What is the human condition?

Though created good and made for fellowship with our Creator, humanity has been cut off from God by self-centered rebellion against him, leading to lawless living, guilt, shame, death, and the fear of judgment. This is the state of sin. (Genesis 3:1–13; Psalm 14:1–3; Matthew 15:10–20; Romans 1:18–23; 3:9–23) 2. 

2. What is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the good news that God loves the world and offers salvation from sin through his Son, Jesus Christ. (Psalm 103:1–13; Isaiah 53:4–5; John 3:16–17; 1 Corinthians 15:1–5) 3. 

3. How does sin affect you?

Sin alienates me from God, my neighbor, God’s good creation, and myself. Apart from Christ, I am hopeless, guilty, lost, helpless, and walking in the way of death. (Genesis 3:14–19; Psalm 38; Isaiah 53:6; 59:1–2; Romans 6:20–23)

4. What is the way of death?

The way of death is a life without God’s love and Holy Spirit, a life controlled by things that cannot bring me eternal joy, leading only to darkness, misery, and eternal condemnation. (Genesis 2:16–17; Deuteronomy 28:15–19; Proverbs 14:12; John 8:34; Romans 1:24–25)

5. Can you save yourself from the way of sin and death?

No. I have no power to save myself, for sin has corrupted my conscience, confused my mind, and captured my will. Only God can save me. (Psalm 33:13–19; Isaiah 43:8–13; John 3:1–8; Ephesians 2:1–9)

6. How does God save you?

God forgives my sins and reconciles me to himself through his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he has given to the world as an undeserved gift of love. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ( John 3:16; see also Psalm 34; Zechariah 12:10–13:2; Romans 3:23–26)

7. Why does God save you?

Because he loves me, God saves me from sin and judgment, so that I may love and serve him for his glory. (Psalm 98; Isaiah 42:5–9; John 3:17; Romans 5:8–10; 2 Corinthians 5:18–21; Ephesians 1:3–14)

8. Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world. Fully divine, he took on our human nature, died on the Cross for our sins, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now rules as Lord and King over all creation. (Numbers 21:4–9; Psalm 110; John 3:13–15; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:15–20)

9. Is there any other way of salvation?

No. The apostle Peter said of Jesus, “There is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only one who can save me and reconcile me to God. (Psalm 2; Isaiah 42:1–4; John 14:5–6; 1 Timothy 2:5–6)

10. How should you respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

As soon as I receive and believe the Gospel, I should repent of my sins, put faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, and prepare to be baptized. “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2; see also Psalm 32; Isaiah 55:6–7; Acts 2:37–39)

11. What does it mean for you to repent?

To repent means that I have a change of heart, turning from sinfully serving myself to serving God as I follow Jesus Christ. I need God’s help to make this change. (Psalm 51:16–17; Isaiah 57:15–19; Acts 3:19–21; 1 John 2:1–2)

God forgives my sins and reconciles me to himself through his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he has given to the world as an undeserved gift of love.

12. What does it mean for you to have faith?

To have faith means that I believe the Gospel is the truth: that Jesus died for my sins, rose from the dead, and rules over my life. Therefore, I entrust myself to him as my Savior, and I obey him as my Lord. (Psalm 40:1–10; Proverbs 3:5–8; John 1:9–13; Romans 10:9–10; Hebrews 11:1, 6)

13. How can you repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ?

With God’s help, I can acknowledge and turn from my sins, receive the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, and embrace the new life he freely gives me. (Psalm 86:1–7; Joel 2:32; Acts 16:30–34; Romans 10:11–13; Hebrews 12:1–2)

14. What should you do as the sign of your repentance and faith?

After receiving instruction in the faith, I should be baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, thus joining his Body, the Church. If I have already been baptized, I should confess my sins, seek the guidance of a minister, affirm the promises made at my Baptism, and take my place as a member of the Church. (Psalm 51:5–7; Ezekiel 36:25–27; Matthew 28:19–20; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:18–22)

15. What does God grant in your new life in Christ?

God grants me reconciliation with him (2 Corinthians 5:17–19), forgiveness of my sins (Colossians 1:13–14), union with him in Christ (Romans 6:3–5), adoption into his family (Galatians 4:4–7), citizenship in his kingdom (Ephesians 2:19–21; Philippians 3:20), new life in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4–5), and the promise of eternal life ( John 3:16; 1 John 5:12).

16. What does God desire to accomplish in your life in Christ?

God desires to free me from captivity to sin and transform me into the image of Jesus Christ, by the power of his Holy Spirit. (Exodus 33:18–23; 34:29–35; Psalm 27:4, 7–14; Matthew 17:1–9; Romans 6:5–11; 2 Corinthians 3:12–18) 

17. By what means will God transform you into the image of Jesus Christ?

The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Following this pattern, I will be transformed within the life of the Church through reading Scripture and receiving the sacraments, through worship and prayer, and through fellowship with God’s people and loving witness to the world. (Deuteronomy 6:1–9; 2 Chronicles 7:1–3; Psalm 1; Acts 2:42–47; Hebrews 10:23–25)

This article is adapted from To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism edited by J. I. Packer and Joel Scandrett.

Joel Scandrett (PhD, Drew University) serves as assistant professor of historical theology and director of the Robert E. Webber Center at Trinity School for Ministry.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

— Read on www.crossway.org/articles/17-questions-about-salvation/

40 Million Quarantined, 900 Infected As Wuhan Hospitals Overwhelmed By Patients | Zero Hedge

Researchers warn more than 4,000 might already be infected…

‘Please, Help Us!’: Supply Shortages Rock Wuhan As Outbreak Overwhelms Chinese Healthcare System

Summary: Here’s a glimpse of new virus-related developments that occurred overnight.

  • Total number of confirmed cases now 900+, 26 dead.
  • China restricts travel for 40+ million people as the death toll surges.
  • Two deaths have been reported outside Wuhan.
  • Some residents displaying symptoms are being turned away from hospitals.
  • Hospitals in Wuhan make urgent pleas for help and supplies.
  • UK and US governments tell citizens to avoid outbreak zones.

* * *

Asian markets closed on Friday for the Lunar New Year holiday, which officially begins on Saturday. But in China, the Communist Party leadership are scrambling to contain the virus as 13 cities in Hubei Province are now under quarantine, meaning more than 40 million Chinese will be forced to spend the holiday week at home, the South China Morning Post reports.

Health authorities reported 66 more suspected cases overnightas a result of broader criteria for people showing symptoms, bringing the total number of suspected cases to 236 as of Friday morning in Hong Kong. Among those cases, more than 100 are now in isolation. Across China, Hong Kong and Macau, authorities have closed schools and suspended the start of the new semester. Even Disneyland Shanghai has announced plans to close for the holiday.

As authorities in Beijing try to convince the world that they have the outbreak under control, researchers in the US and UK have warned that the total number of cases might be closer to 4,000, according to the New York Times.

South Korea and Japan have each confirmed their second cases, while the US worries that a second case may have been discovered in Texas.

Though it’s slightly out of date, this map is the most up-to-date accounting of the geographic dispersion of the virus.

S&P Global Ratings has issued a statement claiming that, if the situation worsens, the outbreak could knock 1.2 percentage points off China’s GDP. Yet, as the number of cases explodes despite the travel ban, the World Health Organization is insistent that the situation hasn’t risen to the level of a global pandemic – at least not yet.

Back in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Video purportedly showing the hospital at the center of the outbreak paints a picture of widespread misery as health care workers collapse on their feet, infection rates explode even among those responsible for treating patients. Local media has also reported that there aren’t enough testing kits and medical workers available to diagnose new cases.

There have even been reports of patients showing concerning symptoms being turned away from hospitals. Nice to see that their good ol’ socialized health care system is clearly so well-prepared for such an outbreak. Desperate for money and supplies, hospitals in Wuhan have resorted to begging the government and the public for help.

In the meantime, reports claim that China’s censors are removing all frightening videos from domestic social media outlets. There have been reports of people in Shanghai and in Wuhan being herded into makeshift quarantine camps erected near hospitals around the country. In some places, authorities are scrambling to build whole new hospital wings as fast as they can. Chinese officials are scrambling to build a whole new hospital in just five days.

Just as we expected, a shortage of facemasks that inspired hoarding and price gouging in Hong Kong has now spread across Asia, according to the Japan Times.

While they’ve disappeared from the Chinese Internet, videos showing sick or collapsing patients and health-care workers are flooding US social media.

Especially for those who have been turned away, the mood on the streets of Wuhan is turning into full blown panic as hundreds of worried patients plead with hospitals for help. ‘Please help us’ the city’s leadership begged as it implored its neighbors for help.

Typically, LNY is the most important holiday in China and celebrations typically begin the night before, which this year is Friday night.  Chinese who work typically make it home in time to prepare a meal of fried dumplings and sticky rice cakes before hosting reunion dinners with family. At midnight, Chinese typically set off firecrackers to ring in the new year.

But this year, an anxiety-laden quiet is expected instead.

“We won’t have a new year celebration tonight. There’s no feeling for it, and no food,” a Wuhan resident named Wu Qiang, told the NYT.

Qiang added that his family is so on edge, that a simple sneeze from his son set off alarm bells at home.

“I think he’s O.K., but now even an ordinary sneeze makes you worry,” Mr. Wu said. “You start to think every cough or sneeze might be the virus.”

Another woman put it more bluntly.

“Today should be the Chinese people’s happiest day,” she said, “but this sickness has destroyed that feeling.”

Whatever impact the virus had on markets seemed to reverse after the WHO decided not to label the virus a global pandemic. But as the videos and images flooding out of China look increasingly concerning, one analyst warned that the massive response to suppress the virus could be a double-edged sword.

After the State Department issued, then retracted, a travel warning yesterday, the American Embassy in Beijing advised travelers from the US to avoid Hubei Province and the surrounding area. The notice was classified as a Level 4 advisory, the most serious travel warning issued by the US government: Other Level 4 warnings issued by the State Department cover travel to Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela and Yemen, among other places.

In the US, infections have popped up in Washington State and in Texas, where a student at Texas A&M is believed to have been infected.

“Drastic steps, such as city-wide quarantine measures, can be a double-edged sword when it comes to market impact,” ING senior rates strategist Antoine Bouvet wrote in morning note. “On the one hand they signal the authorities are taking the problem seriously and help containment, on the other hand, they help paint a dramatic picture to investors unfamiliar with dealing with this sort of risk.”

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/please-help-us-supply-shortages-rock-wuhan-outbreak-overwhelms-chinese-healthcare

January 24 Thoughts for the quiet hour

He made as though he would have gone further

Luke 24:28

Is not God always acting thus? He comes to us by His Holy Spirit as He did to these two disciples. He speaks to us through the preaching of the Gospel, through the Word of God, through the various means of grace and the providential circumstances of life; and having thus spoken, He makes as though He would go further. If the ear he opened to His voice and the heart to His Spirit, the prayer will then go up, “Lord, abide with me.” But if that voice makes no impression, then He passes on, as He has done thousands of times, leaving the heart at each time harder than before, and the ear more closed to the Spirit’s call.

  1. Whitfield[1]


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

Being led by the Spirit: What does it mean exactly? Should I expect to hear directly from Him? part 2 — The End Time

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday in part 1 I’d examined the fact that women for generations now have been taught from so-called Bible teachers and book & devotional authors that we hear directly from God. Whether these revelations or direct contacts are in the form of whispers, prompts, visions, impressions on our heart, ‘told me,’ or audibly, we’ve been taught that it’s supposed to be normal to have a relationship full of lively, direct communication.

I’d said no, that is not the normal method of communication from God, He speaks from the Bible and the Bible alone.

Now that begs the question, how does the Spirit lead us? He dwells within us. He’s in our bodies. He transforms our mind. He convicts of sin. He illuminates the scriptures to our mind, and He leads us on our sanctifying walk. There IS some form of direct communication from God to us, but do we feel it? Know it at the time? Respond to it consciously?

One verse in particular comes to mind, Romans 8:14, where it says so.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Now, the Holy Spirit does guide us and convict us and teach us and help us but not in a way we know at the time. You might look afterwards and say, gee, that sure was from the Lord. But at the time, we cannot, must not, rely on feelings, prompts, whispers, inclinations, or imaginations, and attribute them to God. That is dangerous because the flesh is at war with the Spirit. One can never really know if it’s the flesh or not. We are commanded not to obey the flesh, but to slay it. (Mt 16:24). Just because these celebrity women teach that if the feeling is persistent long enough it must be God, something Beth Moore explicitly taught, is ridiculous on the face of it. The flesh is persistent. Very persistent.

Priscilla Shirer teaches in her book “Discerning the Voice of God” that our primary problem is that we’re not listening. I don’t think Paul was listening when God made Himself heard. I don’t think Amos was listening when he heard the voice of God, he was just picking figs and shepherding his sheep. When God wanted to say something he made Himself heard. He has that ability, you know.

Shirer says we have to restrain ourselves “so we can hear the Spirit’s whisper”. With these women, God never speaks, (Luke 9:35), thunders (2 Samuel 22:14), resounds (Psalm 18:13), or roars (Revelation 1:15). With these supposed revelations you would think God has only one speaking mode and one volume, the much-mentioned whisper.

It’s also mysticism and divination to follow promptings and attribute them to God. How can we interpret? How can we measure this prompting against the Bible? We can’t. So while the Spirit leads, His main ministry is to point to Jesus, who is the Word. John 16:14. That’s why a good teacher also points to the Word, which is more sure. (2 Peter 1:19).

Notice this: John and James saw the transfigured Jesus in Matthew 17. They heard the voice of God above. They were stunned at this experience. Then immediately after in Matthew 18 they wanted to know who was greatest. By Matthew 20 they’d gotten their mother involved to settle the argument and to request to sit at His right and left hand. They actually had heard directly from God, and yet their flesh reared up immediately and polluted the experience with pride.

So how can we be sure our promptings and whispers etcetera aren’t polluted with pride? We cannot. That is why Peter who was also there at the transfiguration, said the word is more sure. (2 Peter 1:19).

Here is John MacArthur on the Romans verse 8:14, with a very simple explanation of the Spirit’s leading:

How does He lead us? Two ways. Externally, by the Scripture – externally, by the Scripture, Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Show me the truth of Scripture. Externally by Scripture, internally by sanctification. Those two ways. Externally, Scripture; internally, sanctification.

Therefore, there’s no need for a teacher such as Moore or Shirer or Bill Hybels to teach an extra-biblical process for figuring out if the prompting is imagination or not.

Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Ministries has a good take on leading by the Spirit, which concurs with MacArthur’s in terms of the main leading of the Spirit being illumination of the scriptures. Remember, the point of the Spirit’s ministry is to point to Christ – who is the Word. (John 16:14, 1 John 4:2).

Spirit of Light, by Sinclair Ferguson
Why, then, are Christians today—in contrast to their fathers—so thirsty to experience immediate revelation from God, when His desire for us is the ongoing work of the Spirit opening up our understanding through the mediated revelation of the New Testament? There seem to be three reasons:

1. It is more exciting to have direct revelation rather than Bible revelation. It seems more “spiritual,” more “divine.”

2. For many people, it feels much more authoritative to be able to say, “God has revealed this to me” than to say, “The Bible tells me so.”

3. Direct revelation relieves us of the need for painstaking Bible study and careful consideration of Christian doctrine in order to know the will of God. In comparison to immediate revelation, Bible study seems—to be frank—boring.

Lest we be brow-beaten and develop a kind of siege mentality as Reformed Christians, here are some things we should bear in mind about the work of illumination:

This is the divine method that produces authentic Christian growth, because it involves the renewal (not the abeyance) of the mind (Rom. 12:2) and it is progressive (it takes time and demands the obedience of our wills). Sometimes God does things quickly. But His ordinary way is to work slowly and surely to make us progressively more like our Lord Jesus.

The result of the Spirit working with the Word of God to illumine and transform our thinking is the development of a godly instinct that operates in sometimes surprising ways. The revelation of Scripture becomes, in a well-taught, Spirit-illumined believer, so much a part of his or her mindset that the will of God frequently seems to become instinctively and even immediately clear—just as whether a piece of music is well or badly played is immediately obvious to a well-disciplined musician. It is this kind of spiritual exercise that creates discernment (see Heb. 5:11–14).

In other words, the Spirit leads us by slowly conforming us to Christ-likeness through the application and illumination of the word in us.

Now, is there such thing as impressions or promptings? Ferguson below then Phil Johnson below that, explain…yes…and no.

Ferguson from the Ligonier article above:

Well-meaning Christians sometimes mistake the Spirit’s work of illumination for revelation, which, unhappily, can lead to serious theological confusion and potentially unhappy practical consequences. But the doctrine of illumination also helps us explain some of the more mysterious elements in our experience without having to resort to the claim that we have the gift of revelation and prophecy.

Here the late John Murray spoke with great wisdom: “As we are the subjects of this illumination and are responsive to it, and as the Holy Spirit is operative in us to the doing of God’s will, we shall have feelings, impressions, convictions, urges, inhibitions, impulses, burdens, resolutions. Illumination and direction by the Spirit through the Word of God will focus themselves in our consciousness in these ways”. (Collected Writings, I, p. 188).

Again, it’s through the Word.

Phil Johnson, Shepherds Conference 2002, “Super Seminar: Private Revelations

Now, does the Spirit of God ever move our hearts and impress us with specific duties or callings? Certainly. But, even in doing that, He works through the Word of God. Experiences like this, impressions and all, are not in any sense prophetic or authoritative except as they echo what the Word already says. They are not revelation. Those sensations, those impressions, those feelings you get are not revelation, but they are the effect of illumination. When the Holy Spirit applies the Word to our hearts, and opens our spiritual eyes to His truth. And, we need to guard carefully against allowing our experiences and our own subjective thoughts and imaginations to eclipse the authority and the certainty of the more sure Word of God. This is a very practical application of the principle of Sola Scriptura.

Think about this…to what ever degree you seek private messages from God outside His Word, you have abandoned the principle of Sola Scriptura.

It is simpler and more direct to say something like “My husband and I decided to adopt 3 children” rather than “The Spirit led us to the adoption agency.” It’s more honest to say, “We decided to purchase the organ for the church because we adhere to the biblical principle of cheerfully giving” than to say “We felt led by the Spirit to drive down Main Street where we saw the organ store and God clearly told us to buy it.”

In other places Johnson has said it’s better just to say “I decided to minister to my friend because she came to my mind and I decided to go to her…” rather than attribute any specific prompting to the Spirit…because we can’t know for sure. Ministry is deciding things anyway. In scripture you see the Apostles just deciding to go here or there or do such & such. Providence is God’s taking our decisions and making them conform to our mind and His plan.

Luke 1:3 decided to write the Gospel,
Acts 11:29 decided to help the brethren in Judea,
Acts 19:21 decided to go to Jerusalem
Acts 15:22 decided to send men to Antioch,
2 Corinthians 9:7 deciding what or how much to give

They knew the Spirit was leading them, but they made decisions that seemed good to them. It’s a mystery how we decide to go here or there or reach out to that one or this one, and also God foreordains it, it’s providence’s outworking.

The Spirit leads us into sanctification, where we gradually and inexorably conform to Jesus’ likeness, not by having Him specifically give us explicit directions for certain actions at any given time. But what a joy to know He does lead us, and providentially conforms our actions and decisions to His plan!

Further Reading below the photo if you care to continue.

Spurgeon on impressions: Here is Nathan Busenitz at The Cripplegate unraveling that one: “Spurgeon, Impressions, and Prophecy

Phil Johnson at the Shepherds Conference 2002, “Super Seminar: Private Revelations

“Now, does the Spirit of God ever move our hearts and impress us with specific duties or callings? Certainly. But, even in doing that, He works through the Word of God. Experiences like this, impressions and all, are not in any sense prophetic or authoritative except as they echo what the Word already says. They are not revelation. Those sensations, those impressions, those feelings you get are not revelation, but they are the effect of illumination. When the Holy Spirit applies the Word to our hearts, and opens our spiritual eyes to His truth. And, we need to guard carefully against allowing our experiences and our own subjective thoughts and imaginations to eclipse the authority and the certainty of the more sure Word of God. This is a very practical application of the principle of Sola Scriptura. Think about this…to what ever degree you seek private messages from God outside His Word, you have abandoned the principle of Sola Scriptura.”

Phil Johnson, sermon Providence IS Remarkable

But how do we understand that inner sense, especially when God seems to use it to prompt us to pray, or to witness, or to duck and run at exactly the right moment?  Because, let’s be honest, that kind of thing does happen to most of us from time to time.  Here’s the point.  I do believe that God might providentially use a spontaneous thought in my head to accomplish something wonderful.  But that’s what it is, and nothing more. It is a remarkable providence, not a prophecy. As I’ve been saying, God ultimately controls and uses everything providentially. And here’s the problem.  That is as true of my sins as it is of the thoughts in my head.  God can and does use them all for His good purposes. The fact that He uses an idea in my mind to achieve some good purpose doesn’t make the idea itself inspired. It also doesn’t make a bad idea good just because God uses it for good.

via Being led by the Spirit: What does it mean exactly? Should I expect to hear directly from Him? part 2 — The End Time

Friday, January 24, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com


 Coronavirus Spreads in China as Government Quarantines 25 Million People: Echoes of Plagues Past, Present, and Future


 Apocalypse Coming: The Doomsday Clock Reminds Us That Humans Share a God-Given Sense of a Coming Reckoning


 Christopher Tolkien Dies at 95: Remembering the Beloved Son, Youngest Inkling, and Faithful Steward of Middle Earth




China Locks Down City at Center of Coronavirus Outbreak, by Shan Li, James Areddy, and Chao Deng


What We Know About the Wuhan Coronavirus, by Betsy McKay



Doomsday Clock is 100 seconds to midnight, the symbolic hour of the apocalypse, by Hannah Knowles and Abby Ohlheiser


Time to Stop the ‘Doomsday Clock’, by Lawrence M. Krauss

24 Jan 2020 – Rapture Ready News

Trump to become first president in history to speak at March for Life
President Trump will deliver an in-person speech on Friday at the March for Life, an annual rally held in Washington protesting the legalization of abortion.

Obama Led Cover-Up of Democratic Involvement In Burisma- Major US Banks and Prominent Democrats Implicated
The trail to unravel the Ukrainian criminality involving so many officials within our government is extremely complicated. To keep the presentation simple, it is important to segment and compartmentalize the information. For every piece of evidence I am offering below, there is at least a thousand times more of the same evidence.

‘Unprecedented’ locust swarms devastating several countries in Africa fueled by multiple weather factors
Unusually heavy rain is being cited as a factor in one of the worst outbreaks of desert locusts in decades across parts of East Africa and posing what officials say is an “unprecedented” threat to crops in third world countries, according to a recent report

Winter storm in Spain caused surge that ‘ravaged’ major delta area
A powerful winter storm that battered Spain for days, killing at least seven people, also spawned devastating flooding in a major delta area.

Major Chinese city goes into lockdown as new virus death toll rises to at least 17
The death toll from China’s coronavirus has jumped to at least 17 as of Thursday, January 23, 2020. Amid heightening concerns, officials in Wuhan– the outbreak’s epicenter– announced a partial lockdown of the city in efforts to contain the outbreak. Wuhan is the capital of the Province of Hubei and the seventh most populous Chinese city, with a population of 11 million.

House bill targets use of Pentagon networks for child pornography
Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) introduced legislation on Tuesday meant to halt the use of Department of Defense (DOD) computer networks by users for sharing or procuring pornographic images of children.

At Holocaust forum, Pence calls on world to stand against anti-Semitism, Iranian threats
Vice President Mike Pence commemorated the victims of the Holocaust on Thursday in a speech in Jerusalem, saying the world must stand strong against anti-Semitism and against Iran’s threats to annihilate Israel.

LGBTQ+P For Pedophile Advocacy Group ‘Garden State Equality’ Begins Forced Reeducation Of New Jersey Public School Teachers In Gay Curriculum
The advance of the end times agenda of the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile Movement is not only swift but stunning to the degree in which they have been and are able to effect radical change in states all across America. In New Jersey, public school teachers in 12 different districts are being ‘re-educated’ by LGBTQ+ advocacy group Garden State Equality on how to teach the new queer curriculum to the students. New Jersey can thank their Democratic governor Phil Murphy for making this nightmare a reality.

HERE WE GO… Happening Tomorrow! Rudy to Begin Revealing Top Level Democrats Making Millions of Dollars Selling Their Public Office
President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani dropped a bomb Thursday morning warning that he is going to start revealing documents related to the Biden family’s corrupt and criminal dealings in the Ukraine and elsewhere around the world.

Alleged al-Qaeda Jihadis Caught Trying to Enter U.S. with Fake Passports
American authorities identified and apprehended three Syrian nationals accused of belonging to al-Qaeda in Dallas, Texas, from Colombia, the Colombian news agency RCN reported on Thursday, publishing images of the three individuals’ fake passports.

Weaponized coronavirus invades the USA as world panics over possible pandemic 
The next wave of attack against humanity has just been unleashed. The so-called “novel coronavirus” (2019-nCoV) is now spreading across Mainland China, and with the Chinese New Year travel surge under way, China’s residents are “exporting” the virus everywhere. Confirmed cases have cropped up in Taiwan, and the CDC has confirmed that at least one patient in the United States has been infected and hospitalized (after being misdiagnosed for a week, during which he most likely spread the infections to others).

Secret Court Issuing Website “Takedown” Orders in America, Targeting “Vaccine Truth” Sites
 Take note, all independent media publishers and vaccine skeptics: A Natural News investigation has discovered the existence of a “secret court” in America which is run by the vaccine industry and is currently issuing takedown orders to tech companies and hosting infrastructure companies to cause targeted disruptions (sabotage) of independent media websites that question any official vaccine narrative.

One million new cases of sexually transmitted disease diagnosed each day, WHO warns
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one million cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are contracted every day, with chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis infections being the most worrisome.

George Soros in Davos: 2020 Election Will Determine ‘Fate of the World’
Left-wing billionaire George Soros on Thursday reportedly warned that the 2020 election will determine the “fate of the world” and lashed out at President Donald Trump during a private dinner event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

— Read on www.raptureready.com/2020/01/24/24-jan-2020/

Salvation and Seeing Your Sin | Tabletalk

If you were to survey people about why Jesus came to earth, you’d probably get a variety of answers. I did this very thing a few years ago with some high school kids when I was on staff with Young Life. They gave answers they’d heard from people at various times.

You can probably guess the answers they gave. Some people thought Jesus came to show us a better way to live. He came as an example of love, and He wanted to call us to a higher, more loving way of life. Others said He came to shine a light on the plight of the less fortunate. He came as a sort of social activist, to right the wrongs in society. Some said He came as a liberator, to free slaves and women and downtrodden people from their oppressors.

There may be a grain of truth to each of these views, but they tend to miss the clear teaching of Scripture in passages such as 1 Timothy 1:12–17:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Why did Jesus come into the world? Paul tells us in verse 15: to save sinners. In this series on 1 Timothy 1:12–17, we’re looking at Paul’s paradigm of salvation, how it gives us the what, the how, and the why of salvation. We’ve previously covered the what of salvation, and in this installment, we’re going to look at the how.

Paul introduces this statement by calling it “trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.” This statement summarizes the gospel in just a few words. And its applicability is immediately obvious. If you are a sinner, this statement has meaning for you. We need someone to save us. And Jesus came to do just that.

To speak of salvation is to introduce a big topic. Paul doesn’t tell us all that is involved in salvation here, but he expands on it elsewhere in his letters. In Romans 3, he tells us that we gain righteousness through Christ apart from our works. In Romans 5, he tells us that we are saved by confessing our faith in Christ. In Galatians 4, he says we are adopted into God’s family through the work of Christ.

Christ came to save sinners, and He has surely accomplished what He set out to do. That salvation is not hypothetical; it is not contingent.

From these things, we can say that whatever else we might note about salvation, we know that it happens through the work of Christ. Salvation was the aim of Christ’s work. It is what He came to accomplish. Salvation—deliverance from sin and reconciliation with the Father—is tied up with, it is accomplished by, the work of Christ.

It is good news for us that Christ came to save sinners. Paul included himself among those who need to hear that good news as well, for in 1 Timothy 1:15 he calls himself the foremost of sinners. This may be a strange thought, as we often think of Paul after his conversion. This is the guy who wrote much of the New Testament, who planted churches all around the Mediterranean Sea, who endured hardship and persecution so that others could hear the gospel. How can he say that he’s the foremost of sinners?

Probably what he had in mind was a comparison with the Lord rather than a comparison to other people. You can see this in how Paul describes himself in some of his other letters. There’s a progression over the course of his life as a Christian. In 1 Corinthians 15, he calls himself the least of the Apostles. In Ephesians 3, he says he is the least of the saints. And here, he says he is the foremost of sinners.

It is often the case that as we progress in the Christian life, we gain a greater awareness of our sin. We seem to sink lower and lower in our own eyes. This is related to the fact that, at the same time, our understanding of God’s holiness grows higher and higher so that the gap between our sin and God’s holiness grows bigger and bigger.

This is probably what Paul is thinking. Maybe you’ve been in the same place. You look at the gap between your sin and God’s holiness, and it’s overwhelming. As Paul reflects on God’s mercy, he is deeply aware of how far short of God’s holiness he fell. His sin loomed large, such that he saw himself as the greatest of sinners. But the good news is this: the cross of Christ is able to bridge that gap. Always. No matter how deep someone’s sin, he can be saved.

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 1:16 how salvation becomes ours. He speaks of “those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” We are to believe. In believing in Christ, in having faith in Christ alone, we receive the work that He has done on our behalf and we rest upon it, not trying to add our own works and trusting that it is sufficient for our salvation.

Christ came to save sinners, and He has surely accomplished what He set out to do. That salvation is not hypothetical; it is not contingent. It will not be undone when God realizes what big sinners we are.

Paul knows that if Christ saved him, who had done so much to persecute the church, then no one was beyond saving. Even that person who we might think can never be saved. Even you and me. The cross of Christ covers the sins of anyone in this world who has faith in Him. No one is beyond the reach of the Lord.


— Read on tabletalkmagazine.com/posts/salvation-and-seeing-your-sin-2020-01/

An Illustration of Repentance — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Westminster Shorter Catechism has an excellent definition of repentance in Question 87: “Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.”

In the heat of the Christian life, however, that definition may seem more theoretical than practical, not particularly helpful when seeking to live a life of repentance (See the first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.) We recognize that repentance is a grace. That is, it is a gift from God. It is not something we work up for ourselves. It is not turning over a new leaf. It is a turning away from sin and a turning to God that is fueled, as it were, by the Spirit of God at work within us.

We all recognize that the first act of repentance is only the beginning. We recognize that sins must be mortified. We recognize that there is the problem of indwelling sin in the life of the believer. But I suspect that we don’t often attach repentance to these things. In part, this may be because we do not have a sense of what repentance looks like when God is working repentance in us.

Perhaps an illustration will help. Imagine repentance as a man walking in one direction who suddenly realizes that he is walking in the opposite direction from which he should be walking. He stops. He turns around. Then he begins walking in the new direction. It is a quick and simple process. He realizes. He stops. He turns. But imagine someone on a bicycle realizing he is going the wrong direction. In one sense, it is still obvious. He stops. He turns around. He begins bicycling in the new direction. But it is a longer process. He has to come to a stop. Depending on his speed, that may take some time. The turning around also takes longer. And it takes longer to get up to full speed in the new direction. The process is the same for a man in a car. But it takes longer than for the man on the bike, and it may require going somewhat out of his way before he gets back on the right track. The process is the same for a man in a speed boat. He has to slow down, enter the turn, and come back. But the time and distance required to do so is much longer than what was required for the man walking. Now imagine that the man is piloting a supertanker. It takes him miles to slow the ship down enough to even begin to make the turn. The turn itself is immense, taking him quite a distance from his intended course. Then again it also takes a large amount of time to get up to full speed in the new direction.

Now apply the images to repentance. Some sins are small and easy. We stop and walk the other way. Some sins, like the bicycle, are a little more difficult. In God’s work in the believer, He takes a little time to bring the believer to an awareness that his course is actually a sinful one. Then there is the process of coming to a stop, the process of the turn itself, and the process of getting up to speed in faithfulness. But some sins are enormous. We may not be aware that they really are sins. Or they may be so deeply ingrained in us that we are not willing, at first, to recognize them as sins. God works patiently with us, carefully slowing us down, as the captain does with the ship, so that He can bring us through the turn and into the new direction, where He can bring us up to full speed.

There are two things that I find helpful about this illustration. First is the fact that God does not work repentance in us instantaneously, but over time. So the awareness of sin and the desire to change come gradually. God brings us, as it were, to a full stop slowly and carefully. So there are going to be many slips and falls on the way to that stopping point. The second thing has to do with the turning itself. In the image of the ship turning, there is a long time when the ship is neither on the old course, nor on the new course but, as it were, dead in the water. So it may well be in the life of the Christian. The sin has been admitted. The slips and falls have gotten fewer. But there seems to be little progress. We seem to be dead in the water. At that point, we are in the turn. Speed will pick up. Godliness will grow. But it will do so slowly, as God patiently works with us.

So if you have prayed for repentance for some particular sin, and there has been no instantaneous change, keep praying. God has promised to work, and He will. And you will be glad in the end that He did it slowly and carefully.

Benjamin Shawn is professor of Old Testament at Reformation Bible College. Originally published at GPTS Rabbi.

via An Illustration of Repentance — Ligonier Ministries Blog