Daily Archives: April 13, 2020

April 13th The D. L. Moody Year Book

The Lord bless thee and keep thee.—Numbers 6:24.

GOD can do what He has done before. He kept Joseph in Egypt; Moses before Pharaoh; Daniel in Babylon; and enabled Elijah to stand before Ahab in that dark day. And I am so thankful that these I have mentioned were men of like passions with ourselves.[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. 74). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

April—13 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.—Acts 2:31.

Two sweet, but distinct thoughts, arise out of this scripture: one, concerns the soul of Christ, the other, respects his body; and both are most blessed to the believer in the review. My soul! thou hast attended to the parched state of thy Redeemer, as represented on the cross, and made it the subject of thy morning meditation; do thou now behold what this scripture states, under all his humiliating circumstances, that neither hell nor the grave can have dominion over him. His soul shall not be long in a way of separation from the body, in the invisible state; for very shortly it shall arise from hades, the hell here mentioned. And his body is too holy, harmless, and undefiled, to admit of putrefaction; yea, it must be presented before the Lord for a sweet-smelling savour. Precious thought to the believer! Jesus needed not to lie long under the dominion of death: he had fully paid the debt of sin, by death; and therefore there needed no detention to make farther restitution for the sins of his people, when thus fully cancelled. And as the infinite holiness and purity of his nature could not become subject to the power of corruption, he needed not to lie longer in the grave than might clearly and fully ascertain to his people in all ages the reality of his death, for the better confirmation of the resurrection that followed. Hence Jesus could not be left, as the great representative of his people, in a situation so comfortless, when the work was completed which the Father gave him to do. And as his holy nature could not admit the possibility of corruption, so the covenant of redemption exempted him from it. Add to these, it was needful that, both in soul and body, he who had died for our sins, should rise again for our justification, and not only triumph in our nature over death, hell, and the grave, but return to the right hand of power, “there to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hail! thou holy and triumphant Lord! I bow the knee before thee! In thy holiness thy people are considered holy: and as thy spotless soul could not be detained in hell, neither thy flesh see corruption, so all thy redeemed shall be accounted holy before thee, and through thy righteousness be considered righteous before God and thy Father for ever. Amen.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 111). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

April 13, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

Repentance

For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while—I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (7:8–10)

The Corinthians not only responded correctly to Paul but also to God. They reaffirmed their loyalty to the apostle and acknowledged their disloyalty to him as a sin against God. That recognition is essential to restoring broken relationships.

Paul knew that he had caused the Corinthians sorrow by the strongly confrontational letter he had sent them (2:4). And, as his parenthetical statement I do not regret it; though I did regret it reveals, he did experience temporary remorse over writing that letter. While he anxiously waited for Titus to return with the Corinthians’ response, the apostle worried that the letter might have only made things worse. That letter had in fact caused them sorrow, though only for a while. The Greek text reads “for an hour,” a metaphor for a brief period of time. The pleasure of sin is brief while the sorrow it produces lasts; the sorrow of repentance is brief, while the joy it produces lasts.

Sometimes confronting sin requires going beyond what love and compassion might be comfortable with. But it is necessary to do so, because sin is a deadly killer. Paul was not an abusive, harsh disciplinarian but a reluctant one, and he took no joy in causing even temporary sorrow to the Corinthians. He was like a father who has mixed feelings about disciplining a beloved child. But what motivated him to write the severe letter was his love for them and the truth, and his fear of the consequences of their sin. Despite his temporary regret, Paul knew that rebuking the Corinthians’ sin had to be done.

There are times in the ministry when strong, confrontational words are necessary. Sin crouches at the door; false teachers are everywhere, and Satan constantly seeks to destroy the work of God. The faithful pastor must not shrink from calling his people to obedience to Scripture. That obedience presupposes true repentance, which can only come about when there is sorrow over sin. Therefore, Paul could rejoice, not that the Corinthians were made sorrowful, but that they were made sorrowful to the point of repentance. His regret vanished when he saw the results of the sorrow.

The Corinthians’ remorse was not the sorrow of self-pity, of getting caught, of despair, bitterness, wounded pride, or manipulative remorse. Their sorrow led to repentance (metanoia; a change of heart and life; a turning from sin to holiness), which produced genuine change. They were not defensive; they did not view themselves as victims or seek to justify their sinful behavior. Their sorrow was according to the will of God; it was the healing, transforming sorrow for sin that God intended for them to feel, because it produces repentance.

The Corinthians’ repentance comforted Paul; he was relieved that they might not suffer the loss of anything available through him and his ministry companions. There were many blessings God could pour out on the Corinthians through his ministry. Had they remained alienated from him, they would have forfeited those blessings. The phrase suffer loss also appears in 1 Corinthians 3:15, where it refers to the future judgment of believers’ works. The loss of blessings from Paul’s ministry would have resulted in the Corinthians accumulating valueless “wood, hay, [and] straw,” fit only to be burned (1 Cor. 3:12). Paul’s selfless love made him anxious not only that the Corinthians might experience God’s chastening and lose their present blessings, but also that they might forfeit their future rewards (cf. 2 John 8). His concern was not for his loss, but theirs.

No one who truly repents will ever regret it or the sorrow that led to it, because the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret. The Corinthians’ repentance marked them as genuine believers, in the sphere of salvation. It involved turning from sin to God (1 Thess. 1:9). True biblical repentance is not psychological, emotional human remorse, seeking merely to relieve stress and improve one’s circumstances. Though it inevitably produces the fruit of a changed life (cf. Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20), it is not behavioral, but spiritual. The sorrow of the world—remorse, wounded pride, self-pity, unfulfilled hopes—has no healing power, no transforming, saving, or redeeming capability. It produces guilt, shame, resentment, anguish, despair, depression, hopelessness, even, as in the case of Judas (Matt. 27:3–5), death.

This passage is incompatible with the teaching that repentance is not necessary for salvation. The progression it reveals is obvious: confrontation of sin leads to sorrow, which leads to repentance, which leads to salvation. Nor will this passage allow repentance to be defined as merely changing one’s mind about who Jesus is. The text inextricably connects repentance with sorrow over sin. Repentance is not, of course, a meritorious human work that earns salvation. Like every aspect of salvation, repentance is a gracious work of God in the human heart (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25). (For a discussion of the necessity of repentance for salvation, see John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, rev. ed. [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], and The Gospel According to the Apostles [Nashville: Word, 2000.)[1]


10 This verse describes two ways of reacting to pain or sorrow. God’s way (“godly sorrow” or sorrow “as God intended,” kata theon, vv. 9–11) invariably produces a change of heart, and this repentance “leads to salvation” (both present spiritual vitality and future eternal life) and therefore gives no cause for regret. Sorrow borne in a “worldly” way (tou kosmou, GK 3180), on the other hand, does not lead to repentance but has the deadly effect of producing resentment or bitterness. What makes suffering remedial is not the actual experience of it but the reaction to it; a “godly” or positive reaction brings spiritual benefit, both now and in the hereafter, whereas a “worldly” or negative reaction causes irreparable harm. As an example of “worldly grief,” David Garland, 355, refers to the grief-stricken merchants and slave traders of Revelation 18:11–13 who mourn the loss of their heartless profits, and as an instance of “godly grief” that produced repentance he points to John Newton’s confession of wretchedness and blindness in the hymn “Amazing Grace.”[2]


10 The previous verse is now amplified, as signaled by the initial explanatory “For” (gar), followed by Paul’s much-quoted two-sentence proverb in which he contrasts “godly grief” with “worldly grief.” The one brings about repentance leading to salvation and brings no regrets; the other brings about death.

The first sentence gathers up the references from the previous two verses to “godly grief,” “repentance,” and “regret,” climaxing with a new phrase, “which leads to salvation.” The second sentence introduces the notion of “worldly” grief (in contrast with “godly” grief—v. 9), “which brings death.” The structure of Paul’s verse is:

For

 

         
  the grief

 

     
    that is according to God

 

 
      works repentance

 

 
        [that] leads to salvation,

 

      [which]

 

  is without regret.

 

But

 

         
  the grief

 

     
    that is

 

of the world

 

      works

 

   
          death.

 

Looking closely at the second sentence, one can see that Paul omits certain elements from the first (in reverse form) that are nonetheless implied. Thus it is to be inferred that “grief that is of the world works [unrepentance, which leads to] death [and is with regret].”

Critical to this verse is the word ametamelēton, meaning “without regret” (“unregretted”), which deliberately reverses the twice-repeated verb “regret” (metamelomai) of v. 8, which contrasted how Paul felt when he first dispatched the letter with his present positive feelings in the light of their reported “repentance.”

“Repentance,” which issues from “godly grief”—not the kind that is “of the world,” a superficial kind—leads to and is a prerequisite to “salvation.”20 Continuance in unrepentance, characterized by nothing more than shallow remorse unaccompanied by positive action in disciplining the offender, could have spelled the end of Paul’s ministry to them and led, in time, to their spiritual “death.” But “godly grief,” expressed in “repentance” toward God—as declared practically in the reaffirmation of Paul’s authority in their disciplining of the offender—would mean their “salvation.”22

To be noted is Paul’s verb “works” (NIV, “brings”). The “Severe Letter,” as ministered by Titus, aroused “godly grief,” which “works repentance to salvation.” In the next verse he will write, “See what this godly grief has worked in you.” The Corinthians were a body in whom the Spirit of God was present (1:21–22; 3:2–3); Christ Jesus is “in” them (13:5). They have “received the grace of God” (6:1). Paul’s words remind us that God does “work” in such people (cf. Phil 4:13), despite their evident shortcomings.

Once again we are confronted with the closeness of relationship between the gospel and the apostle who proclaimed it (see on v. 9). Intrinsic to that gospel declared by the apostle was the eschatological reality that in the Son of God, whom Paul and his companions proclaimed in Corinth, the “day of salvation” had dawned, in fulfillment of the promises of God (1:18–20; 6:1–2; cf. 1:6). To reject the apostle—as the Corinthians were effectively doing by their passivity toward the offender—was nothing less than to live as if the “day of salvation” had not come. But repentance toward Paul, God’s coworker and Christ’s ambassador (5:20; 6:1), and therefore repentance toward God, confirmed the Corinthians in their salvation. In line with his pastoral method employed in this and other letters, Paul is, by this statement, reinforcing his readers in appropriate attitudes, in this case “godly grief.”[3]


7:10 / Paul explains what he has just stated in verse 9b about being sorrowful as God intended. Paul’s distinction here between godly sorrow (lit., “sorrow according to God”) and worldly sorrow (lit., “sorrow of the world”) remains somewhat unclear. Evidently, the apostle wants to distinguish between two different motivations for sorrow and their outcomes. On the one hand, there is a kind of godly sorrow that effects a change of mind and behavior. This kind of sorrow leads to salvation in accordance with the will of God. On the other hand, there is a kind of worldly sorrow that brings death, probably because it is not characterized by a genuine change of mind and heart and a corresponding change of behavior. Hence, the sinner incurs the full wrath of God in judgment.[4]


7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. Paul now elaborates what it means to become “sorrowful as God intended” (7:9) and defines two different kinds of sorrow: godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. The former results in “salvation,” the latter in “death.” It is possible that by “salvation” and “death” Paul is thinking only of one’s final eschatological destiny. However, given the gnomic articulation of this truth in the form of general theological principles, it seems more likely that Paul’s thought also includes the benefits or harm produced in this life by the two kinds of sorrow. Godly sorrow produces sincere contrition, together with deliberate action (see 7:11) to rectify the situation. Far from producing “regret,” godly sorrow leads to peace in this life and eternal joy in the next life. “Worldly sorrow,” on the other hand, regrets more the discovery of the sin than the sin itself and is closer to resentment than true repentance. This kind of sorrow cuts a destructive path through this life and finds only despair and death in the next life.[5]


10. For sorrow that is according to God’s will produces repentance that effects salvation, which cannot be regretted. But worldly sorrow produces death.

The contrast in this text is plain: true repentance versus remorse, and salvation versus death. The one side of the proverbial coin is positive and elaborate; the other side is negative and brief. The dissimilarity is so striking that no one can fail to see it.

  • Godly sorrow. “For sorrow that is according to God’s will produces repentance that effects salvation, which cannot be regretted.” Once again, Paul condenses his teaching on God’s law, will, and guidance in the expression according to God (see the comments on verse 9). He means to say that sorrow for sin must be seen in the context of our God who gives us his commandments, makes known his will, and guides his people to obedience.

The sorrow that Paul mentions refers to sadness for sin that has been committed; such sorrow can cause the repentant sinner to shed tears of bitterness. For instance, when Peter disowned Jesus by swearing that he did not know him, he heard the rooster crow. Thereupon he remembered Jesus’ words, went outside, and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:74–75).

Paul writes that godly sorrow produces repentance, but in all his epistles he uses the Greek noun metanoia (repentance) only four times (Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:9, 10; 2 Tim. 2:25). And the related verb to repent occurs only once in his letters (2 Cor. 12:21). Although the Synoptic Gospels repeatedly record the noun and the verb, John’s Gospel and Epistles lack both of them. But Paul and John express this concept with two substitutes, the noun faith and the verb to believe. These two words occur numerous times in the writings of both John and Paul and indicate the action of a sinner turning to God in full dependence on him. The Old Testament teaches that God wants his people to turn away from sin and toward God. This teaching appears graphically in the prophecy of Ezekiel: “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and does what is just and right, he will surely live” (18:21, 27).

Repentance leads to salvation, says Paul, that cannot be regretted. No one can ever say that he or she has made a mistake by having repented and thus receiving salvation. Salvation means restoration to the fullness of life. It means to be whole again, to live in harmony with God and his people. Perhaps Paul’s statement, “Repentance that effects salvation cannot be regretted,” was a well-known axiom In the early church. Whether the clause which cannot be regretted is connected with repentance or salvation is inconsequential. It is a fact that genuine repentance results in salvation, which then can be described as something that is not to be regretted.

  • Worldly sorrow. “But worldly sorrow produces death.” What a contrast! Now we see the opposite of the preceding pronouncement. Genuine contrition is a turning away from sin and a going toward God, but worldly sorrow is remorse that expresses itself in self-accusation. Peter repented and returned to the apostles and afterward met Jesus (Matt. 26:75; Luke 24:33–34). Judas was filled with remorse, but returned to the chief priests who rejected him (Matt. 27:3–5). Peter was restored and became the head of the apostles (John 21:15–19). Judas committed suicide and was doomed to destruction (Acts 1:18–19).

The Corinthians had chosen life by repenting and turning to God. They received salvation full and free and were completely restored in their relationship to God and Paul. When a sinner repents, says Jesus, the angels in heaven rejoice (Luke 15:7, 10). Paul also exulted at the news that the people in Corinth had a change of heart. His letter and Titus’s visit had not been in vain. The people in Corinth had abandoned their evil ways and had turned to the living God, the author of salvation. Hence, Paul’s joy knew no bounds when Titus brought him the news concerning the Corinthian church.[6]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 264–266). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 493–494). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 376–378). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (p. 168). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Hubbard, M. V. (2017). 2 Corinthians. (M. L. Strauss, Ed.) (p. 119). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 254–255). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Is God in Control or Are We in Control? — Cold Case Christianity

I’m often asked where I “land” on the issue of God’s sovereignty and human freedom. How much free will do we actually have as humans? If God is all powerful and all knowing, if God knows the end from the beginning, if God has predestined us to come to faith, doesn’t it follow that humans are simply along for the ride? As a Christian, it’s clear to me that God is powerful enough to accomplish his goals without limit (see Daniel 4:35, Romans 9:15-16, Ephesians 1:5-6, and Romans 1:9-11). I call this power of God to accomplish whatever He wants the “Make Sure” Will of God. But if God is in complete control of every aspect of our lives, how do we answer the following questions?

When people fail to come to faith, is it God who is preventing them?

When evil happens in the world, is it God who is responsible?

How could God ever hold us responsible for anything?

Is the ‘will of God’ a divine plan for our lives?

While the Bible affirms the sovereignty and power of God, it also provides examples when God does not seem to be able to accomplish something He desires. In Matthew 23:37-38, Jesus seems to be unable gather Israel because they were unwilling. In 2 Peter 3:8-10, We are told that God does not wish that anyone of us should perish (but that all of us should come to repentance), yet we know that many people in our world will NEVER accept Jesus, never come to repentance, and simply will not be saved. So what’s up with God’s sovereignty? How can it be that something can be within ‘God’s will’ (God can desire something) yet He seems to be unable to make that something happen?

I think the Bible actually describes two kinds of “will of God”. The first is what I call the “Make Sure” Will of God, the second is what I have come to call the “Sure Wants” Will of God. God wants all of us to be saved; He wants all of us to come to faith in Jesus; He wants all of us to reflect his moral precepts; He wants all of us to love one another. But he also knows that none of this is truly possible unless each and every one of us is allowed to have the ‘freedom’ to love, obey and follow (see Mark 3:34-35, 1 John 2:17, Ephesians 6:5-6, Romans 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 and 1 Peter 2:15-17). Without ‘free will’, humans are simply robots who respond according to pre-programming rather than from a position of true love and obedience.

Yes, it is God’s will that no one should be lost (it’s something that God ‘sure wants’), but this does not mean that God will ‘make sure’ that all come to faith. Yes, it is God’s will that no evil should exist in the world (it’s something that God ‘sure wants’), but this does not mean that God will ‘make sure’ that evil is eliminated. Yes, it is God’s will that we should live a certain way and seek to know His heart and character, but this does not mean that he will ‘make sure’ that no one behaves immorally. There are two kinds of ‘will of God’ passages in the scripture. Some describe God’s sovereignty and some describe God’s moral character and desire for our lives. While it is certainly within God’s power to eliminate all evil, to control our behavior and to allow none of us the possibility of rejecting Him, to do so would eliminate the possibility for something precious to God: the ability to love. (I’ve written more on this in the section on Evil here at ColdCaseChristianity.com)


Yes, it is God’s will that no one should be lost (it’s something that God ‘sure wants’), but this does not mean that God will ‘make sure’ that all come to faith.
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April 13 Streams in the Desert

And the hand of the Lord was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth unto the plain, and I will there talk with thee.” (Ezek. 3:22)

DID you ever hear of any one being much used for Christ who did not have some special waiting time, some complete upset of all his or her plans first; from St. Paul’s being sent off into the desert of Arabia for three years, when he must have been boiling over with the glad tidings, down to the present day?

You were looking forward to telling about trusting Jesus in Syria; now He says, “I want you to show what it is to trust Me, without waiting for Syria.”

My own case is far less severe, but the same in principle, that when I thought the door was flung open for me to go with a bound into literary work, it is opposed, and doctor steps in and says, simply, “Never! She must choose between writing and living; she can’t do both.”

That was in 1860. Then I came out of the shell with “Ministry of Song” in 1869, and saw the evident wisdom of being kept waiting nine years in the shade. God’s love being unchangeable, He is just as loving when we do not see or feel His love. Also His love and His sovereignty are co-equal and universal; so He withholds the enjoyment and conscious progress because He knows best what will really ripen and further His work in us.—Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal.

I laid it down in silence,

This work of mine,

And took what had been sent me—

A resting time.

The Master’s voice had called me

To rest apart;

“Apart with Jesus only,”

Echoed my heart.

I took the rest and stillness

From His own Hand,

And felt this present illness

Was what He planned.

How often we choose labor,

When He says “Rest”—

Our ways are blind and crooked;

His way is best.

The work Himself has given,

He will complete.

There may be other errands

For tired feet;

There may be other duties

For tired hands,

The present, is obedience

To His commands.

There is a blessed resting

In lying still,

In letting His hand mould us,

Just as He will.

His work must be completed.

His lesson set;

He is the higher Workman:

Do not forget!

It is not only “working.”

We must be trained;

And Jesus “learnt” obedience,

Through suffering gained.

For us, His yoke is easy,

His burden light.

His discipline most needful,

And all is right.

We are but under-workmen;

They never choose

If this tool or if that one

Their hands shall use.

In working or in waiting

May we fulfill

Not ours at all, but only

The Master’s will!

Selected.

God provides resting places as well as working places. Rest, then, and be thankful when He brings you, wearied to a wayside well.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 114–115). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

April 13 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

April 13.—Morning. [Or July 24.]
“Wilt Thou not revive us again?”

DURING the bitter tribulations which followed upon the various idolatrous back-slidings of Israel, we can imagine the feelings of godly men in the nation as being very similar to those expressed in

Psalm 80

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. (In ancient times thou wast Israel’s leader, and even yet thou dwellest above the ark, in the tabernacle of Shiloh; therefore be pleased to display thy power on behalf of thy people.)

Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.

The prayer mentions the names of the tribes, even as the Highpriest bore them on his breast for a memorial. O, may God save and bless every section of his one church, and not our own tribe alone.

Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (All will be right if we are right. A turn of character is better than a turn of circumstances. Turn us, and then turn our captivity.)

O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?

Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.

Sorrow was both their meat and drink. Would the Lord never end their miseries? This is mighty pleading.

Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.

When the wicked find mirth in our miseries, and amusement in our amazement, the Lord will hear and deliver us.

Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

This is a repetition, but not a vain one, for it was the chief blessing pleaded for.

Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. (Thus the bringing of the nation into Canaan is poetically described, and pathetically dwelt upon. Past favours make present sorrows very bitter, when we know that the change is caused by our sin.)

12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?

13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

The state was without order or defence, and the most ferocious enemies devastated the land. What woes were concentrated in this! Only those who know what it is to see invaders in their fields and homesteads can even imagine Israel’s low estate.

14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;

15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. (All that was needed was a visit from God, and his anointing upon the judge appointed to deliver. Barak, and Gideon, and Jephthah were nothing without God, but if the Lord appeared they would be fruitful branches.)

16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. (This was the great need of Israel—a leader bold and brave, anointed of the Lord to save. Jesus is our great Leader, and he has the might of Jehovah within him. In a minor sense such were the various judges of the tribes. Man sins alone, but he cannot escape from the consequence of sin without help. O, how much do we all need deliveranee from on high.)

18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. (Impressed by gratitude, they hoped to be faithful for the future.)

19 Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Bad as their case was, conversion wrought by God’s grace would ensure them salvation. It is so with each of us. Let us keep this closing prayer upon our heart and lips for many a day to come.

April 13.—Evening. [Or July 25.]
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

WE have now reached the shortest of the historical books, which contains the sweet rustic story of Ruth. Her history is no doubt recorded in the Scriptures because she was one of the ancestors of our Lord Jesus. He who came to save the Gentiles was pleased so to arrange the order of his genealogy, that a foreigner from a heathen land should be one of his progenitors.

Ruth 1:1–11; 14–18

Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. (They had escaped the famine, but other troubles overtook them. In every land trial will be our lot.)

And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. (Alas, poor soul! The darts of death wounded her terribly! Yet the Lord did not leave her alone in her widowhood; he prepared a loving heart to yield her sympathy.)

¶ Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. (This was glad news, and it came to her in a good and pious form. No idle gossip would have reported the affair in so holy a shape. Perhaps, however, this was Naomi’s way of interpreting the happy event; and it was a most proper one. We ought always to trace good gifts to the giver. Our bread, whether it be temporal or spiritual, comes from the Lord.)

Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

8, 9, 10 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? (And then she reminded them that she had no more sons to become their husbands, and urged them to go back to their own nation, adding,—) for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. (The aged matron acted wisely in testing the young women. Many say they will join the Lord’s people who have not thought of the trials of true religion: they had better count the cost.)

14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. (How like these two women are to certain opposite characters we have met with: one, like Orpah, is pleased with religion, and would fain follow the Lord Jesus, but gives it all up because of difficulty or trial; but the other, like Ruth, being really converted, holds on through fair and foul, and perseveres unto the end.)

15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Thus she joined the Lord’s people, and never did she regret it. Those who cast in their lot with Jesus may have to rough it for awhile; but a fair portion surely lies before them.

18 When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. (She was only too glad to have her for a life-companion. The people of God are glad to welcome sincere souls into their fellowship.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 214–215). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

US Public Debt to Exceed 100% of GDP by End of 2020 – Non-Government Watchdog

The White House previously passed a $2 trillion relief package designed to help businesses and ordinary citizens overcome their difficulties, including economic ones, created by the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected over 554,000 people in the country by 13 April.

Source: US Public Debt to Exceed 100% of GDP by End of 2020 – Non-Government Watchdog

From nanny choppers to police break-ins: Top absurd crackdowns in the fight against Covid-19 | RT – Daily news

As coronavirus lockdowns go on without an end in sight, local authorities are testing the limits of their captive populations — from sending helicopters to break up football games, to recording license plates of rogue worshipers.

The coronavirus epidemic has most of the world going stir-crazy under lockdown — except for the police who’ve been given unprecedented powers to enforce a tempting slate of new laws — and a few rules that they seem to be making up as they go along. Here are some of the silliest — and most disturbing.

Also on rt.com

Daleks, drones, and high-tech cops: Robots come out on top amid coronavirus pandemic

Helicopter parenting

Tunisia, already on the map for sending robotic quarantine-enforcers through the streets of Tunis to check people’s papers, has stepped up its police-state game. Over the weekend, a military helicopter was sent in to break up a youth soccer game that violated the nation’s lockdown order. Video posted to social media of the bizarre intrusion shows the aircraft hovering low enough to kick up huge clouds of dust and make game-play impossible. Sure, we’ve seen this with drones in other countries, but a military helicopter?!

Holiday-patrol

Cops around the world have taken a special interest in ensuring people don’t transmit coronavirus while enjoying the warming weather. In the UK, Central Bedfordshire police were slammed for suggesting (complete with a sinister photo) that rural picnickers would be ambushed by the long arm of the law.

Also on rt.com

‘The UK is dead’: Near-unanimous disgust after British police threaten to ‘appear from shadows’ to bust rural picnics

Over in Australia, Tasmanian police warned would-be holidaymakers that even the most remote campsites would be patrolled — by helicopter! — for those trying to take social distancing really, really seriously.

Planning a party?

Britain has been home to some of the most absurd examples of overzealous coronavirus policing, from cops threatening to paw through people’s shopping carts hunting for “non-essential” items to businesses being threatened for selling Easter eggs. Those who stayed home were assumed to be safe, however — until now. Over the weekend, video of at least four officers barging into one hapless man’s flat after allegedly receiving a call about a “disturbance” went viral. The un-masked, mostly un-gloved officers attempted to justify breaking down the man’s door and poking around his home for the sake of “social distancing,” but beat a hasty retreat after appearing to realize he was alone.

While it’s not clear who reported the man, local police forces have been flooded with calls from civilians concerned their neighbors aren’t following the rules — so much so that several municipalities have set up dedicated apps and tip-lines for the junior Stasi-in-training among the population.

Micro-managers

The town of Beverly, Massachusetts has regimented even the sidewalks to stop the spread of coronavirus, in an effort that appears to mock the state’s culture of neurotic rule-following. Like most of the US, Massachusetts is under lockdown, allowing residents out only to exercise and conduct essential business. But local police “noticed there was a tremendous amount of foot traffic and people walking into each other,” Beverly Police Chief John LeLacheur told Fox News last week, explaining the need for the one-way designations. LeLacheur has already suggested the new rules — which carry a $100 fine for the disobedient — will stick around after the pandemic.

Across the pond, Manchester police went further, inventing their own micro-managing rules, as they cornered a man attempting to deliver food to family members and threatened him with pepper spray. The incident in the town of Fallowfield made headlines, and Greater Manchester police apologized to the man and his family, acknowledging “the incident wasn’t dealt with in the professional way we would expect.”

That’s hardly all — reports of fines issued for purchasing “non-essential items” have proliferated across social media, even as the UK government reminded police there were no official restrictions on what items could be purchased.

No Easter for you

Churchgoers attempting to celebrate Easter clashed with authorities over the weekend across the US. Cars at a Kentucky church were flyered with intimidating warnings from the local police, even after a federal judge ruled drive-in services — in which worshipers remained in their cars with windows closed, maintaining social distancing — could not be banned. Car owners were informed they would be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days, or risk “further enforcement measures.

US District Judge Justin Walker didn’t mince words in his ruling against the ban on drive-in services on Saturday. “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter. That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion.” Others wondered why it was acceptable to sit in one’s car in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but not on church property.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage worldwide, with over 1.8 million confirmed cases as of Monday. The US is home to the lion’s share of those cases — some 558,999 people, most in New York, have contracted the virus, and 22,154 have died with it. Spain and Italy are the next most heavily affected, with 169,496 and 156,363 cases, respectively — though Italy has reported more deaths than Spain. The epidemic, first reported in Wuhan, China in December, quickly spread around the world and cases can now be found in nearly every country.

Source: From nanny choppers to police break-ins: Top absurd crackdowns in the fight against Covid-19

Nunes: More criminal referrals expected in connection with FBI probe of Trump campaign | WND

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.]

By Chuck Ross
Daily Caller News Foundation

California Rep. Devin Nunes said Saturday that he expects to file more criminal referrals based on new revelations from the Justice Department inspector general’s investigation of the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign.

Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has already filed eight criminal referrals related to the U.S. government’s investigation of the Trump campaign. He said in an interview on “Fox & Friends” that he anticipates filing additional referrals based on information in a series of footnotes from the IG’s report that was revealed on Friday.

“I would say that people should go and look at those footnotes that are now public. Likely we’re going to have more criminal referrals based on these,” Nunes said.

Two Senate Republicans published newly declassified footnotes from the IG report that showed that the FBI received evidence in 2017 that the Steele dossier contained Russian disinformation.

The footnotes said that the FBI was provided evidence that Russians fed dossier author Christopher Steele disinformation related to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and a trip that Donald Trump made to Moscow in 2013. (RELATED: Adam Schiff Says He Has No Sympathy For Carter Page)

The footnotes also said that an FBI unit raised concerns in 2015 about Steele’s work for Russian oligarchs.

FBI agents failed to disclose the information in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders against former Trump aide Carter Page. That despite the dossier being “central and essential” to the FBI’s applications for the spy warrants.

WATCH:

Nunes also asserted that one implication of the footnotes is that Democrats spread Russian disinformation by using Steele’s allegations to accuse Trump of colluding with the Kremlin.

“We know that the Democrats were spreading disinformation, Russian disinformation, which we have been saying the whole time.”

He said it “never made sense” that the Clinton “that they know is supposedly getting information from Russian intel folks. That doesn’t pass the straight face test.”

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the current chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, hyped Steele’s allegations during a March 20, 2017 hearing for the House Intelligence Committee.

One Capitol Hill staffer who worked on the Trump-Russia probe summed up Schiff’s role to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday following the release of the footnotes.

“Schiff was slinging Russian disinformation.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.]

Source: Nunes: More criminal referrals expected in connection with FBI probe of Trump campaign

US Deficit To Quadruple To $3.8 Trillion; Total Debt Will Surpass World War II Record: CRFB | ZeroHedge News

Two weeks ago, with US CDS surging ever since the arrival of “helicopter money”…

Fitch became the first rating agency to warn that the US AAA rating was at “risk of a near-term negative action” due to a damning set of reasons including soaring debt, shrinking GDP, and the “helicopter-money” anti-virus actions.

Moments ago, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) issued a report which is sure to pour gasoline on that particular dumpster fire, when it projected that the US budget deficits will total more than $3.8 trillion this year, another $2.1 trillion in 2021, and will total just over $11 trillion by the end of 2025.

And, as we pointed out a few days ago, the CRFB now projects total debt held by the public will exceed the size of the economy, or 100% of GDP, by the end of the year, and will eclipse the record set after World War II by 2023.

* * *

In its report, the CRFB writes that the United States entered the current public health and economic crisis facing high levels of debt and trillion-dollar deficits. Due to the effects of the crisis and legislation enacted to combat it, debt and deficits will now grow much higher, to never-before-seen levels both in dollars and as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The CRFB’s latest projections find that under current law, budget deficits will total more than $3.8 trillion (18.7 percent of GDP) this year and $2.1 trillion (9.7 percent of GDP) in 2021. Meanwhile, debt held by the public will exceed the size of the economy by the end of Fiscal Year 2020 and eclipse the prior record set after World War II by 2023.

The final result will likely be even worse. As the CRFB admits, “These projections almost certainly underestimate deficits, since they assume no further legislation is enacted to address the crisis and that policymakers stick to current law when it comes to other tax and spending policies. The projections also assume the economy experiences a strong recovery in 2021 and fully returns to its pre-crisis trajectory by 2025. Assuming a slower and weaker recovery (but no changes in law), we estimate debt would grow to 117 percent of GDP by 2025.”

Parroting the Fed, every politician and every recipient of bailout funds, the CRFB writes that like the record levels of borrowing undertaken during World War II, “a large share of today’s massive deficits are both inevitable and necessary in light of the current pandemic crisis.” As CRFB president Maya MacGuineas explained recently, “combating this public health crisis and preventing the economy from falling into a depression will require a tremendous amount of resources – and if ever there were a time to borrow those resources from the future, it is now.” But just as World War II was followed by years of fiscal responsibility to restore debt to historic levels, it will be important after the crisis and recovery to ensure that debt and deficits return to more sustainable levels.

Some more from the report:

Deficits Might Quadruple This Year

Last year, the budget deficit totaled $984 billion. Under current law, we project the deficit will be nearly four times as large this year, exceeding $3.8 trillion. Our projections show the deficit will total $2.1 trillion in 2021 and roughly $1.3 trillion per year after that, through 2025. As a share of the economy, we project the deficit will total 18.7 percent of GDP in 2020, 9.7 percent in 2021, and roughly 5.6 percent per year thereafter.

By way of comparison, the previous record for nominal deficits was set in 2009, when borrowing reached $1.4 trillion. As a share of GDP, deficits never rose above 10 percent during the Great Recession. The only time deficits have ever exceeded our projection for 2020 of 18.7 percent of GDP was in a three-year span during World War II – reaching a high of 29.6 percent in 1943.

Our $3.8 trillion deficit estimate builds off of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) pre-crisis baseline projection of $1.1 trillion in borrowing for 2020 and its $134 billion cost estimate for the 2020 effect of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. On top of that, we estimate the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will cost nearly $2.1 trillion in fiscal year 2020 – though the cost could differ depending on spendout rates and amounts for various provisions, the share of loan payments that are recovered, and the budgetary treatment of certain provisions. Finally, we estimate nearly $600 billion in additional deficit spending as a result of feedback effects from lower economic output, slower inflation, higher unemployment, and lower interest rates. Our economic assumptions were generated by averaging a variety of third-party estimates and assuming economic output returns to previously projected levels by 2025.

Through 2025, we estimate deficits will total $11.3 trillion – the sum of $6.8 trillion in previously projected deficits, nearly $200 billion from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, $2.1 trillion from the CARES Act, $1.8 trillion from economic feedback, and $350 billion from debt service. We estimate economic feedback could be as low as $900 billion or as high as $3.2 trillion under different sets of economic assumptions.

Debt Could Exceed the Size of the Economy This Year

During the Great Recession, debt grew by 21 percent of GDP between the end of 2008 and the end of 2010. Under current law, we estimate debt will grow a similar amount over just a seven month period. Specifically, we estimate debt will grow from just under 80 percent of GDP prior to the crisis to over 100 percent of GDP by the end of Fiscal Year 2020, on October 1. Our projections show debt will continue to grow as a share of GDP thereafter, exceeding the prior record of 106 percent set just after World War II by 2023 and exceeding 107 percent of GDP by 2025. The estimates assume a robust recovery in 2021 and a full recovery to pre-crisis projections by 2025.

Though we have not updated our debt projections beyond 2025, the latest projections from CBO suggest debt of 107 percent of GDP in 2025 could grow to between 115 and 120 percent of GDP by 2030. This assumes large parts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expire after 2025.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the CRFB warns that “Debt and Deficits are Likely to Be Far Higher than We Project”

Our updated debt and deficit projections are based on current law and assume a robust and ultimately full economic recovery. In theory, our projections could be too high or too low, but in reality, deficits and debt are likely to be much higher than we project.

On the economic side, we project that a faster recovery (and a full recovery of price levels) could result in deficits of $10.3 trillion through 2025 as opposed to $11.3 trillion, holding debt levels to 102 percent of GDP by 2025. On the other hand, a deeper contraction and a much slower economic recovery could result in deficits of $12.7 trillion through 2025 and debt as high as 117 percent of GDP.

Neither of these scenarios account for the (extremely likely) possibility that further legislation will be enacted to combat the current public health and economic crisis. Policymakers are already considering proposals to extend various parts of the CARES Act and pass further measures to support states, hospitals, businesses, and households. They may also enact more traditional stimulus measures once lockdowns end in an effort to jumpstart the economy.

These policies would further increase deficit and debt levels. For example, if policymakers end up spending another $1 trillion per year over the next three years on additional stimulus measures, debt as a percentage of GDP would be about 12 percentage points higher by 2025. If policymakers use the current crisis as an excuse to enact a number of permanent and unrelated policies, debt could grow even higher and larger deficits would persist in perpetuity.

At some point, such high and rising deficits and debt levels will prove unsustainable, and corrective action will be needed. Putting long-term deficit reduction measures in place sooner rather than later would allow policymakers to phase in changes more gradually and give those affected more warning and ability to prepare.

At this point someone should inform the beancounters at the CRFB about the wondrous thing called the Magic Money Tree (MMT) why explains why becoming the next Weimar Republic/Zimbabwe/Venezuela does miracles for one’s fiscal outlook and confidence in the world’s reserve currency.

And now we look forward to the Congressional Budget Office updating its long-term debt chart which before the Coronavirus pandemic looked like this…

Source: US Deficit To Quadruple To $3.8 Trillion; Total Debt Will Surpass World War II Record: CRFB

Former National Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders Campaign Brags About Letting Biden Off the Hook for ‘Credible Sexual Assault Allegations’ — The Gateway Pundit

The former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders campaign is bragging about the fact that they let former Vice President Joe Biden off the hook for “credible sexual assault allegations.”

The press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, tweeted a list of major issues “relevant to Biden’s electability argument” but boasted about how Sanders never raised them.

Gray likely thought she was making the campaign look good, but it left many wondering if Sanders ever even wanted to win, and why they would protect Biden from being questioned about these issues.

Gray also listed “a pattern of unwanted touching,” “Burisma,” and “lying” about his civil rights record.

The tweet raised eyebrows across the political spectrum, questioning why exactly these issues weren’t raised during his campaign.

In a subsequent tweet, Gray wrote that “the media had a chance to vet these issues seriously and assess for the public how they’ll play out in the general.”

B”ut now, we’ll all get to watch Trump have a field day while Dems wring their hands saying ‘it shouldn’t matter though!’ or ‘but Trump’s a hypocrite’ until Nov,” Gray added.

via Former National Press Secretary for Bernie Sanders Campaign Brags About Letting Biden Off the Hook for ‘Credible Sexual Assault Allegations’ — The Gateway Pundit

Tara Reade accuses Joe Biden of sexual assault during his senate years — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

In this March 15, 2020, photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington. A former aide to Biden is accusing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her during the early 1990s when he was a senator. Biden’s campaign denies the charges. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A former aide to Joe Biden is accusing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her during the early 1990s when he was a senator. Biden’s campaign denies the charges.

In two recent interviews with The Associated Press, Tara Reade alleged the assault occurred in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the spring of 1993. She filed a police report in Washington on Thursday saying she was the victim of a sexual assault by an unnamed person in 1993, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

It’s not the first time Reade has made an accusation against the former vice president. Last year, Reade publicly accused Biden of inappropriate touching, but did not allege sexual assault.

In a statement, Biden deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield said the former vice president has “dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” pointing to his work passing the Violence Against Women Act. She said “he firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully,” but added: “Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press.”

“What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen,” Bedingfield said.

Reade’s charge comes at a pivotal time for Biden. The former vice president is seeking to unify the Democratic Party behind his campaign as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee after Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the primary last week. Women are a crucial voting bloc for Democrats and any erosion of support for Biden could sink his candidacy in the fall.

The November contest between Biden and President Donald Trump will be the first presidential race of the #MeToo era, a movement that spurred numerous women to come forward with allegations of sexual assault, including against several prominent men in politics, entertainment and other industries. Trump has also been accused of assault and unwanted touching by numerous women, charges he denies. He was forced to apologize during the 2016 campaign after he was heard on a recording bragging about using his fame to assault women.

Earlier in the Democratic primary, Biden faced accusations of unwanted touching by several women, who said they were uncomfortable with hugs, hand holding and other actions. Reade was among the women who came forward at the time.

In recent weeks, she’s given a handful of interviews saying Biden’s actions went further that she initially disclosed. In an interview with the AP, she detailed a 1993 encounter that she says occurred when she was asked by a supervisor to bring Biden his gym bag as he was on his way down to the Senate gymnasium. She says Biden pushed her against a wall in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building, groped her and penetrated her with his fingers.

“He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’” she said. “I remember wanting to say stop, but I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up.”

Reade said that she pulled away and Biden looked “shocked and surprised,” and replied, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.”

Reade, who was a staff assistant in Biden’s office at the time, said she wasn’t aware of any direct witnesses to the encounter. She told the AP she did raise accusations of sexual harassment, but not assault, against Biden in multiple meetings with her supervisors, including Marianne Baker, Biden’s executive assistant; Dennis Toner, Biden’s deputy chief of staff; and Ted Kaufman, the senator’s chief of staff.

In a statement provided by the campaign, Baker said that in the nearly two decades she worked for Biden, “I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone.”

The AP spoke to five current or former Biden staffers on Sunday, all of whom worked for him at the time of the alleged incident. None recalled such an incident or a report, and neither Toner nor Kaufman could recall Reade. Both said what she had described was out of character for Biden.

“She did not come to me. I would have remembered her if she had, and I don’t remember her at all,” Kaufman said.

Reade said she filed a written report with a Senate personnel office. But she didn’t receive a copy of it and has been unable to obtain one since because, she says, Biden’s Senate files are currently at the University of Delaware, which has not yet made them public.

The AP has been unable to verify whether a report was made.

Reade says after complaining to supervisors, her job responsibilities were scaled back and she was eventually told by Toner that she was not a good fit for the job and encouraged to find a new one.

Reade told the AP she spoke to at least four people about Biden’s conduct before she went public with her experience: two friends, her brother and her mother. Her mother passed away, and her brother did not respond to a request for comment.

One friend, who knew Reade in 1993, said in an interview Sunday that Reade told them about the alleged assault when it happened. The person, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, didn’t mention the assault allegation during an initial interview with the AP last year, but confirmed those details after Reade went forward with them. The person said they had initially advised Reade against sharing details of the assault because of the negative response to her less serious accusations of harassment.

The second friend met Reade more than a decade after the alleged incident and confirmed that Reade had a conversation with them in 2007 or 2008 about experiencing sexual harassment from Biden while working in his Senate office. But the friend, who requested anonymity to protect the privacy of their family, made no mention of assault.

In the course of reporting on Reade’s allegations, the AP also contacted 21 former Biden staffers from the time and spoke to several of them. While some remembered Reade, none recalled any instances of inappropriate touching or behavior on Biden’s behalf, or any complaints made by Reade.

Melissa Lefko, who worked as a staff assistant for Biden at the same time as Reade, said Biden had very little interaction with staff at their level, and that Reade’s recollection of Biden’s conduct didn’t match her own.

“When you work on the Hill, you know who the good guys are who the bad guys are and who you should avoid and Biden was a good guy, he was never, ever on that list of the bad guys,” she said in an interview.

Biden’s conduct towards women first came under scrutiny just before he announced his presidential campaign last spring. Eight women, including Reade, came forward with allegations that the former vice president made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate physical displays of affection.

Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to “be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.”

The AP spoke with Reade about those complaints in April 2019. During that interview, Reade alleged that Biden rubbed her shoulders and neck, played with her hair, and that she was asked by another aide in Biden’s Senate office to dress more conservatively and told “don’t be so sexy.” The AP declined to publish details of the interview at the time because reporters were unable to corroborate her allegations, and aspects of her story contradicted other reporting.

In recent months, Reade came forward with the additional allegation of assault, speaking first to progressive podcast host Katie Halper, before The New York Times published an extensive review of her claims Sunday.

Reade’s story of sexual harassment had circulated for weeks in both conservative and progressive media outlets. While Reade said she supported Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary, she said that her decision to come forward with new details was not politically motivated.

In her Sunday interview with the AP, Reade said that she was reluctant to share details of the assault during her initial conversations with reporters over a year ago because she was scared of backlash, and was still coming to terms with what happened to her.

“Already I was being threatened and kind of smeared, and I just I wasn’t ready,” she said. “So I talked about the sexual harassment and what I was comfortable talking about, but I wasn’t ready to talk about sexual assault.”

___

via Tara Reade accuses Joe Biden of sexual assault during his senate years — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

NYT’s In-Depth Investigation Of The Allegations Against Biden Reveals That He’s A Democrat — The Babylon Bee

NEW YORK, NY—The New York Times has finally addressed the sexual assault allegations against presidential candidate Joe Biden. After an in-depth investigation, they’ve found that Biden is a Democrat. Furthermore, they found that he is the assumed candidate running against President Trump. With these two facts in mind, they’ve concluded there is no possible way the charges can be true.

“While the charges of sexual assault by Biden’s former aide, Tara Reade, are something we would call extremely credible in any other situation,” reads the article, “our investigation revealed that legitimizing them would be politically unhelpful to Democrats. Thus we conclude the allegations are false for reasons we will fill in later — unless we can just go back to not talking about them and not give any reasons at all. We also find it absolutely necessary to consider Biden’s habit of inappropriately touching women to be ‘charming.’”

This is quite different from The New York Times’s investigation into the charges against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, in which the Times found that Kavanaugh was being appointed by a Republican and thus any and all charges against him “must absolutely be true.”

via NYT’s In-Depth Investigation Of The Allegations Against Biden Reveals That He’s A Democrat — The Babylon Bee

Medical Experts Confirm Democrats Have Developed Herd Immunity To Sexual Assault Allegations — The Babylon Bee

U.S.—Medical experts were excited to announce today that Democrats have achieved herd immunity against sexual assault allegations.

After getting accused of sexual assault thousands and thousands of times for so many years, the Democrats developed some kind of antibodies against the allegations. Researchers are taking blood samples to isolate the antibodies to see if a vaccine can be developed for other groups.

“It’s amazing — the entire Democrat demographic is entirely immune,” said one researcher as he took blood samples from Joe Biden. “After conspiring with the media to squash any accusations that pop up, it seems, over time, Democrats have been able to develop a kind of herd immunity to any allegations.”

Biden has been an important case study for medical experts’ work, as he can publicly sniff people’s hair and inappropriately touch many people on camera and still be entirely protected from any accusation whatsoever. His DNA is being studied for a possible breakthrough for other politicians.

With time, other political parties may be able to use the vaccine, but for now, it seems only Democrats are immune. Other political parties and at-risk conservatives are being advised to quarantine so as to avoid any allegations until a vaccine is discovered.

via Medical Experts Confirm Democrats Have Developed Herd Immunity To Sexual Assault Allegations — The Babylon Bee

Trump: ‘The Light of Christ Will Always Triumph’ Because ‘He Has Defeated Death’

In an Easter statement, President Trump encouraged that “No matter the circumstances, we will always celebrate Easter as a time of rejuvenation, rebirth, and a renewed sense of purpose and faith.” He continued, “The coronavirus will not stop Easter.

Source: Trump: ‘The Light of Christ Will Always Triumph’ Because ‘He Has Defeated Death’

Anticipation Over U.S. Attorney John Durham’s Investigation Builds — Christian Research Network

“I think what happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history. Without any basis, they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president. So I — to sabotage the presidency, and I think that – or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”

(Kristina Wong – Breitbart)  Anticipation over United States Attorney John Durham’s investigation is growing as Attorney General William Barr recently hinted he is building the case to prosecute people.

“He is looking to bring to justice people who are engaged in abuses if he can show that they were criminal violations, and that’s what the focus is on,” Barr told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Thursday. “He’s diligently pursuing it.”

The comments have heartened those who have long awaited consequences for current and former officials who investigated the Trump campaign on the basis of a discredited dossier put together by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that was funded by the Clinton campaign.

Barr tapped Durham last year to investigate the origins of the Obama administration’s investigation into the Trump campaign, as well as actions taken up through President Trump’s inauguration. Last fall, Durham upgraded his investigation to a criminal one.  View article →

via Anticipation Over U.S. Attorney John Durham’s Investigation Builds — Christian Research Network

ICYMI: Indulgences Are Still A Thing In Rome (And The Reformation Still Matters) — The Heidelblog

The Reformation was a complex event, which happened for many reasons but the triggering event on which many have focused over the centuries was Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses (1517). Though provocative, the theses were not themselves all that radical. Luther’s discovery of the basics of the Reformation theology was still in process. He himself identified 1519 as the turning point, after he had lectured through Galatians, Hebrews, and the Psalms (again). Indeed, upon looking back at 1517 he said that he was still a “right roaring Papist” when he wrote the Ninety-Five Theses.

Long before Luther complained, however, the church had been selling indulgences. What are they? In system of piety and salvation that had developed in the medieval church, a Christian was supposed to confess his sins and to be assigned acts of penance. Failure to fulfill these assignments brought with it temporal (in this life and in purgatory) punishments. Indulgences were, in effect, remissions of these penalties. By the early 16th century Rome was selling indulgences as way to raise funds.

One might think that, after the Reformation and certainly in the wake of the modernization of the church following Vatican II (1962–65),Rome abandoned the sale of indulgences. Should one think that, however, one would be wrong. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic Rome announced “special indulgences” on March 20, 2020.

This is a “plenary” [complete] indulgence granted to two classes of Roman Catholics, those afflicted with Covd-19, and thus unable to perform their ordinary religious duties and to Roman Catholic healthcare workers. Rome says:

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.

Note the conditions of receiving a plenary indulgence (a complete deliverance from purgatory): “a spirit detached from any sin” and a “spiritual” union, through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the rosary, a “spiritual” union to the “pious practice” of the way of the cross, the saying of the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, or invocation of the Virgin Mary.

Second,

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

Third,

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

For those who are ill and unable to receive what used to be known as “last rites,” (extreme unction) the church grants indulgence on condition that “they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).”

At the end of the announcement Rome adds language familiar to any regular coupon shopper: “The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.“

We might be thankful that, in this instance, Rome is not openly selling indulgences, though she still does that (see the resources below), but the naked use of “conditions” to be met for the reception of this “gift” tells us all that we need to know about what she means by “gift.”

These are conditions that the Christians is supposed to meet by grace and cooperation with grace. In the Roman system, as in the Remonstrant/Arminian system, and as in too many so-called “evangelical” systems, as in the Federal Vision theology and in other sub-Christian doctrines, grace is said merely to make it possible for the Christian to do his part. Salvation, in this case deliverance from purgatory, is not merely of grace but of “grace and…”. It really matters not what follows the conjunction. Whatever follows annuls grace. How so? The Apostle Paul explains: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8–9; ESV; emphasis added).

When the Apostle Paul speaks of grace, he does not add prior (antecedent) conditions to the reception of it. This is because, in the biblical conception, recovered in the Reformation, grace is scandalously free. It does not save those who do their part, who meet the prescribed conditions but those who cannot. Grace does work within recipients a new desire to obey because of grace, and in union with Christ but not in order to be saved. In the Roman system, our works—the meeting of conditions, however meager they may be, is still works—but because we have been saved.

This is because, as Paul says, grace is one thing and our doing, works, is another:

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace (Rom 11:6; ESV).

Rome, of course, evades the force of God’s Word in these places by re-defining works as signifying keeping the Old Testament ceremonial law. There is a cadre of clever New Testament scholars who have dug up this medieval chestnut and presented it as though it were some breakthrough. It is not new nor is true.

Paul’s great point is to juxtapose our doing with what Christ has done for us. Grace does not come to those who do their part. Grace does not depend upon those who do their part. The very meaning of grace is that it is free, earned for us by Christ, and given freely to helpless sinners. Understand that the system of salvation by grace and cooperation with grace existed in Paul’s day and he rejected it. We reject it still.

Perhaps you noticed Rome’s appeal to the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37)? This use of Scripture was also traditional in the Middle Ages. The parable became the explanation for the way of salvation in the Medieval period and remains so in the Roman communion.

This is an abuse of the text. It reveals the confusion that reigned in the medieval church (and in Rome today) of the law and the gospel. In context, we are meant to see our Lord preaching the law to the lawyer, who “put him to the test” (v. 25), demanding to know of Christ the conditions of salvation. He asked for what, in the Reformed tradition, is known as a covenant of works. So our Lord asked him a question: “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” (v. 26). The lawyer proceeded to summarize the moral law. Jesus replied, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live” (v. 28). Immediately, however, the lawyer did as lawyers do. He tried to negotiate a better deal. He tries, implicitly, to re-define “neighbor” (as lawyers do) to make it possible for him to obey the law sufficiently. It is in this context that Jesus gave the parable.

Our Lord’s intent was not to prescribe for his followers the conditions they must meet in cooperation with grace unto salvation. His intent was to put the lawyer in his place. Do not ignore the last two verses of the passage:

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:36-37; ESV)

Jesus did not let the lawyer off the hook, as it were. He preached the law, “do this and live” all the way through. He did not set up a system of salvation by grace and cooperation with grace. We are not the injured man on the side of the road who only needs a bit of salve (the medicinal, sacramental ministry of the church) with which we must cooperate sufficiently to be saved. Our Lord patiently explained to the wily lawyer who was his neighbor in order to prosecute him, to teach him the greatness of his sin and misery

To be sure, Christians, those graciously, freely, sovereignly saved from divine judgment grace divine favor, through the divine gift of faith (resting, receiving, trusting in Christ and in his finished work for sinners) do endeavor to love their neighbors but only because Christ first loved us. The Apostle John wrote this very thing:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:10-11; ESV).

Rome has it that we are saved because we loved God. Jesus and his Apostles, however, have it, that we love because we were loved first. We love in response. Yes, be a Good Samaritan but only because Christ saved wicked, helpless, Samaritans like you and me and by his free favor, gives new life not to the wounded but to the dead (Eph 2:1–4).

Our Lord Jesus will see his people through this trial and every other trial not by plenary indulgences but by his plenary grace and mercy, which he freely gives to all who ask, not upon our fulfillment of imaginary conditions but freely. He did not obey and die to make salvation possible for those who do their part but to accomplish it and to give it freely as a conquering king gives free gifts to those in his train.

Resources

via ICYMI: Indulgences Are Still A Thing In Rome (And The Reformation Still Matters) — The Heidelblog

SBC condemned China, as Lifeway did business with Communist China — Capstone Report

Warning signs of China’s persecution were legion even as ‘Christian’ publishers took China’s side in trade dispute with Trump, US.

If business makes China stronger, and Lifeway does business with China, then it is clear we should re-examine that relationship.

China’s Crackdown on Christianity

In 2019 at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, messengers approved a Resolution committing Southern Baptists to pray for persecuted Christians in China and North Korea.

The Resolution “On Religious Persecution And Human Rights Violations In North Korea And China” declared China and the Communist Party of China had “used extreme applications of technological surveillance on houses of worship, raided worship services, imprisoned pastors, and in other ways persecuted Christians.”

In other words, China and its leadership were attacking Christianity.

This wasn’t the first time the Southern Baptist Convention took up religious persecution in China. In 2000 messengers approved a resolution (On Religious Persecution In Sudan And The People’s Republic Of China) condemning China’s actions against Christians.

In fact, the SBC called for strong measures against China.

“That we urge the administration and Congress to use every appropriate means to compel the governments in Sudan and the People’s Republic of China to stop the various atrocities and ongoing violations of religious freedoms,” the Resolution said.

However, as the SBC publicly attacked China for its human rights abuses, its publishing arm has a deep relationship with China. As of 2019, Lifeway announced 31 percent of its printing costs were in China. It was publicly taking China’s side in a trade dispute between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. Lifeway fought tariffs on Bibles printed in China.

There is one authorized Bible printer in China—Nanjing Amity Printing Company. The American Center for Law and Justice detailed how China controls Bible distribution in China via this printer and the state church. The regime even stopped online sales of the Bible in 2018.

Voice of the Martyrs detailed how China uses the state church as a means to crackdown on people distributing the Bible. It is a harrowing account of the state police, the state church and the Bible printing business working in tandem to advance the Communist Party’s goal—the remaking of Christianity into China’s image.

Sinicization of Christianity

In March 2019 at the Great Hall of the People Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), China’s state Protestant church, attacked Western Christianity.

“[We] must recognize that Chinese churches are surnamed ‘China’, not ‘the West’,” Xu told delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, according to the South China Morning Post.

Xu then launched into a rhetorical attack on how Christianity was an imperialistic religion.

Xu also said, “Some believers lack national consciousness, and that’s why we have the saying: ‘one more Christian, one less Chinese’.” 

And this is the leader of China’s Protestant church. He has problems with Christianity.

China plans a new Bible translation to address these “problems.” Most of these reforms are laid out in a 2018 document outlining a Five-Year Plan to change Christianity into something more Chinese.

The plan called the Outline of the Five-year Working Plan for Promoting the Sinicization of Christianity in our Country (2018-2022). It is a direct result of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s leadership. In 2016 Xi outlined his vision for Christianity in China—namely, “that China should actively guide religions to adapt to the socialist society.”

Xi then affirmed a religious test—or non-religious test—for involvement in the Communist Party of China. According to The Diplomat Xi said Communist Party members, “should be firm Marxist atheists and must never find their values and beliefs in any religion,”

The Free Beacon reported in August 2018 that these Sinicization of Christianity efforts resulted in a wave of repression—including forcing churches to replace pictures of Jesus with pictures of Xi.

So, Christian leaders during 2019 were aware of China’s crackdown on Christianity. Yet, during 2019 when the US was involved in a trade dispute with China, leading Evangelical publishers including the Southern Baptist Convention’s Lifeway took China’s side. Lifeway argued it would raise the cost of Bibles to impose tariffs on goods printed in China.

Taking China’s side has been the problem for not only government leaders but businesses seeking access to cheap labor.

China’s Economic Development and Geopolitics

According to Michael Pillsbury, “In 2005, a Chinese defector I will call Ms. Tang confirmed for us the economic component of China’s Marathon strategy—to compete with and surpass the United States as the world’s leading economic power.”

In other words, China decided many years ago to improve its economy to surpass the United States and become a new global hegemon.

Pillsbury provides details of these discussions in China dating to the 1980s. China viewed its economy as key to making it into a power capable of challenging the US.

Without a doubt, China’s economic growth made China stronger.

From its navy to outer space, China can challenge the US. China has launched an aircraft carrier (two were active as of December 2019) and submarines. China has shown it has anti-satellite capabilities.

Economic modernization made this possible.

China built its economy and is now building its military power through its mercantilist economic policies—policies that exploit US business and investment.

And US business seems oblivious to how it is funding the rise of a totalitarian, atheist power capable of undermining human rights not only in China, but now around the globe.

China is now advancing its own vision of World Order. It will only become more aggressive in the coming years.

Conclusion: Christian publishers should stop making China stronger

If business makes China stronger, and Lifeway does business with China, then it is clear we should re-examine that relationship.

The Southern Baptist Convention has made clear—China persecutes Christians.

Likewise, we know China’s economic growth made China stronger.

Also, we know China dominates Bible publishing and major “Christian” publishers including the SBC’s Lifeway print in China.

Therefore, we should reconsider this relationship.

Do US Christians in general and Southern Baptists in particular want to make China stronger?

Or, would Southern Baptists rather be good patriots and cease helping China?

It is time to ask tough questions? Do we help fund Chinese state repression of churches by doing business in China?

Or, is there a better way?

via SBC condemned China, as Lifeway did business with Communist China — Capstone Report