Daily Archives: June 6, 2020

June 6 Life-Changing Moments With God

 

He will quiet you with His love.

Lord God, as with Israel, You did not set Your love on me nor choose me because I was more in number than any other people, for I was among the least of all peoples; but because You love me. I love You because You first loved me. You have reconciled me in the body of Jesus’ flesh through death, to present me holy, and blameless, and above reproach in Your sight.

In this is love, not that I loved You, but that You loved me and sent Your Son to be the propitiation for my sins. You demonstrate Your own love toward me, in that while I was still a sinner, Your Son died for me.

Suddenly, at Jesus’ baptism, Your voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” You love Him, because He lay down His life that He may take it again. Your Son, being the brightness of Your glory and the express image of Your person, and upholding all things by the word of Your power, when He had by Himself purged my sins, sat down at the right hand of Your Majesty on high.

Great is Your love, Lord God! All praise to You!

Zephaniah 3:17; Deuteronomy 7:7–8; 1 John 4:19; Colossians 1:22; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8; Matthew 3:17; John 10:17; Hebrews 1:2–3[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 173). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

June 6 Learned Behavior

 

I have learned to be content.
(Philippians 4:11, NASB)

Ajoyful attitude is a learned behavior. Your attitude creates your environment. Look around at the jobs people have but hate; the marriage they endure, but never enjoy. Why? Because they’re waiting for others to do something, instead of realizing they are responsible for their own lives.

Have you ever smelled Limburger cheese? It’s awful! When grandpa was taking a nap, the kids put some of it on his moustache as a joke. When he awoke, he said, “This room stinks.” So he went into the kitchen, and it stank, too. Finally, when he went out into the backyard to get some fresh air, he exclaimed, “The whole world stinks!” You may smile, but until you get rid of the Limburger cheese in your attitude, your world will always stink.

Which song is yours? “Make the World Go Away”, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, “I Did It My Way”, or “Oh What A Beautiful Morning”? The song you choose is the song you’ll sing! Paul was in prison when he wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). Notice, the one on the inside is telling the ones on the outside to rejoice! That’s where he also wrote, “I have learned to be content” (Philippians 4:11, NASB). He’s teaching us something he himself had to learn.

 

Ask God to help you learn it, too![1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 157). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

June 6, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

A Great Benediction

John 20:29

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

It is a remarkable characteristic of the Word of God that it is filled far more with blessings than with curses. There are curses, to be sure. There are warnings of judgment. But when all is put together, the blessings are far more numerous and more wonderful than any of these more somber elements.

The Bible begins with a blessing, for we are told that after each day of creation God commented upon the work, saying, “It is good.” The Bible ends with a blessing, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen” (Rev. 22:21). In between are such verses as: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’ ” (Gen 1:28); “I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2); “After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him” (Gen 35:9); “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Num 6:24–26); “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked” (Ps. 1:1); “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12); “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless” (Ps. 119:1); “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him” (Rom. 4:7–8; cf. Ps. 32:1–2); “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Rev. 14:13). In my concordance I find 375 Old Testament passages that deal with God’s blessing. I find 108 separate passages in the New Testament.

It is not surprising in view of this wonderful characteristic of our God and of his revelation to find that the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate God, also had many words of blessing during the days of his ministry. We think of the beatitudes of Matthew 5, an obvious example (vv. 3–11). There are blessings pronounced upon children (Mark 10:16), upon one or more of the disciples (Matt. 13:16; 16:17), upon faithful servants of God (Matt. 24:46), upon those who hear the Word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28). There is the benediction at the close of John’s Gospel, which is our text: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

This blessing, the fifth of Christ’s “last” words in John’s Gospel, is great for several reasons, among them that it is the last of Christ’s blessings spoken while on earth. Appropriately, it is one that concerns not just a single person or a limited group of people but rather all who should believe on him as Savior.

What Does Christ Mean?

What does Jesus mean when he says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”? Does he mean that a subjective faith is better than an objective faith, that a faith that has no relation to evidence is better than a faith that has? Does he mean that only a faith like that is blessed? It is hard to think that this is his meaning, because he has just provided tangible evidence of his resurrection for Thomas by appearing to him and inviting him to put his finger into the holes of his hands and thrust his hand into Christ’s side. Again, it is clear that John did not interpret Christ’s words in this way, because immediately after this John says that he has written certain things in his Gospel in order that those who read might believe.

So we may grant that Jesus is not advocating a faith entirely without evidence. But that still does not answer the question. What does Jesus mean? I believe he is speaking, not of a subjective faith, but of a satisfied faith. He is speaking of faith that is satisfied with what God provides and is therefore not yearning for visions, miracles, esoteric experiences, or various forms of success as evidence of God’s favor. More than that, he is saying that a faith without these things is not inferior to but is actually superior to a faith based upon them.

Take these things one at a time and see why this is so. Take visions, first of all. If you are a normal Christian, I am sure there have been times when you have been discouraged, perhaps overcome with doubt, and you have said, “Oh, if God would only reveal himself to me in some special way so that my sight, touch, or hearing could assist my faith.” We remember that there were people in the Bible who had such evidence. Abraham saw visions; he spoke with the three angelic visitors; he heard the voice of God from heaven on Mount Moriah. Moses met God on the mountain; on one occasion Moses was hidden in a cleft of the rock and witnessed the fire, wind, and earthquake as Jehovah passed by. Isaiah had a vision of God high and lifted up. The disciples saw Christ in the days of his flesh. Paul was caught up to the third heaven. John himself had the magnificent visions recorded for us in the Book of Revelation. “Why can’t we have something similar?” we argue. “Surely we could believe much better and be far more effective in our Christian walk and witness if we did.”

But that is not true, even though we like to tell ourselves that it is. For one thing, we usually want such experiences for the wrong reason—vanity. We would have a far higher opinion of ourselves if we should be granted an experience which most do not have. For another thing, visions do not necessarily lead to greater faith. In the opening pages of Miracles by C. S. Lewis, the well-known Oxford professor and author tells of a friend of his who once saw a ghost. Before the vision, she disbelieved in an immortal soul. After it, she still disbelieved. Obviously, faith gives meaning to experience rather than the other way around.

Second, there are miracles or other special acts of God’s providence. Do you pray for miracles? Do you think you could believe God better if you saw some? The opposite is the case. If you are looking for miracles (which God sometimes does provide, but seldom), you will gradually become insensitive to the thousands of normal evidences of God’s mercy which you receive constantly.

Third, there are people who think they would be stronger in faith and be better able to live the Christian life were they to have some special esoteric experience. We read a passage like 1 Corinthians 12:9–10, where Paul speaks of God granting to some “gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues,” and we think that if we could only do or experience something like that, we would be stronger and happier as Christians. But that is not true either. God sometimes grants such experiences for the good of his church; the very fact that Paul lists these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 is evidence that he does. But surely anyone who reads these chapters carefully will note that Paul does not encourage us to seek these experiences. If anything, he seems to warn against them, and he certainly does not pronounce any special blessing upon their exercise. Why? Because the blessings of the gospel are for those who live by faith and not by sight, who live by their faith in the character and benevolence of God and not in the evidence of visions, miracles, or other such experiences.

There is one other item which must not be left out, if only because it is so common in our day. It is the supposed evidence of success, measured by the number of people converted, church growth, income for Christian institutions and other such things. Does this mean that we are not to work to see as many people converted as possible? Does it mean that we are not to be concerned with church growth? Does it mean that we should not be concerned with the level of income necessary to run Christian schools, missions, churches, and other institutions? Not at all. But it does mean that we are not to tie our faith in God to such circumstances. We are to pray and believe and go on working even when we do not see this kind of numerical blessing.

What is faith? Faith is believing God on the basis of his Word and then acting upon it. This is true faith. It is this that God blesses. God promises a blessing upon those who have faith. We cannot repeat that enough. God blesses faith, and not the living out of some unusual experience.

How could it be otherwise if (1) God is to be fair in his dealings with his people and (2) the blessings of which he speaks are to be for all? Suppose it to be the other way. Suppose God’s blessing were linked to the unusual. In that case, either his blessing would be for a small and select company only, or else the things we consider unusual would have to become commonplace, in which case they would cease to have the character of “special evidences.” They would be like those other countless evidences of God’s providence which we enjoy daily but do not regard so highly, simply because they are common. No, the blessings of God are for all; and they are based, not upon the unusual in Christian experience, but upon faith which by its very nature and definition is common to all who call upon the name of Christ as God and Savior. This is why the Gospel of John ends on this note. It ends here because John wants to encourage everyone to believe on Jesus and enjoy God’s blessings.

What Blessings?

What are those blessings? There are many ways to answer that question, because faith is discussed again and again throughout the Bible. But we may answer it at this point just from John’s Gospel, remembering that John’s Gospel is the Gospel of faith preeminently. In John the Greek word for faith (pistis) always occurs in its verbal form (pisteuō) and is therefore translated “believe.” But in that form it occurs more often in John than in any other biblical book, even Romans (which has much to say about faith) or books that are longer. We find the word 101 times in John’s Gospel, compared with a combined use of “faith” and “believe” 64 times in Romans and only 22 times in Mark. So John is obviously concerned with faith and considers it of prime importance. What does he say of the blessings that flow from it? The following ten items are prominent.

  1. It is by faith that we become children of God and thus enter into the privileges of being in God’s spiritual family. John indicates this at several points but especially in the first chapter, where he says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12). Certainly this is a great blessing and the source of many others that follow.
  2. It is through faith that we have eternal life. This is the teaching of the best-known verse in the Gospel, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Death is an “enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26). But death shall be conquered by faith, which unites us to Christ who conquered it.
  3. By faith we are delivered from judgment. John quotes Jesus as saying, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (5:24).
  4. John 6:35 teaches that faith ushers us into the blessings of spiritual satisfaction now: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” To come to Christ is to believe on Christ; that is what the parallelism suggests. So belief in Christ is set forth as the key to having all spiritual longings fulfilled.
  5. Jesus also calls faith the means for entering into the final resurrection: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (11:25–26). The blessings of the resurrection are for those who believe on Jesus.
  6. Faith in Jesus is also said to be the way in which we become blessings to others, as the Holy Spirit who communicates all God’s blessings works through us. This is taught in John 7:38–39: “ ‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” The image is of a broad river flowing through a desert land, giving life and joy to all who come upon it.
  7. Through faith we see the glory of God. “Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ ” (11:40). Without faith we will be like the heathen, who are surrounded by the glory of God in nature, yet either do not see it or else attribute it to that which is not God by a worship of idols. It is only as we look to God that our eyes are increasingly opened to see what he is doing.
  8. Faith is the secret of a holy life. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (12:46). In biblical language, darkness is the darkness of sin (cf. 1 John 1:5–10). So walking in the light means walking in holiness by means of the spiritual and moral life which God gives.
  9. The blessing of a fruitful and effective life comes by faith. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (14:12). This does not necessarily refer to what we would call miracles, though taken together the disciples may well have performed more miracles than Jesus did. It refers rather to the many works of witnessing, preaching, and Christlike service performed by Christian people. They are performed by those who take God at his word and go out boldly to do his bidding.
  10. Finally, it is through faith that we receive the benefits of Jesus’ prayers on our behalf. He said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message” (17:20). If, as we are told in James, “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (5:16), how much more shall the prayers of the Lord Jesus Christ avail for us! If we lacked all other promises of blessing through faith, this alone should be enough.

Only Believe

What I have written here applies most directly to those who are Christians, to those who have believed on Jesus and to whom these blessings are therefore given. But it applies to non-Christians too in that you are challenged to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Do not say, as many do, “I think I could believe in Jesus if he would just appear to me in some special way. I could believe if I had some miraculous vision.” That is not true, though you may think so. Pharaoh did not believe though he witnessed the greatest collection of signs and wonders ever granted to one man at one period of history. Those things are of no use to you. The problem is not miracles or the lack of them. The problem is sin. You are a sinner, and Jesus is the answer to your sin. He died for you, bearing your punishment. Now you must come to him in simple faith. You cannot see him. But you can find him if you seek him with your whole heart.[1]


29 The first clause of v. 29 may be a statement (so KJV, NIV) or a question (so NET, RSV). The latter is perhaps better: “Because you have seen me, have you believed?” Then comes the contrast: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The entire Christian church from the ascension onward is comprised of those who have believed without seeing. If physical seeing were necessary to convince people of the reality of the resurrection, the church would have faltered within the first year of its life.[2]


29 Jesus addresses to Thomas a word of approval, but one that goes far beyond Thomas to those who had not required so much before believing. Thomas believed on the basis of sight: he saw Jesus and believed.84 Some commentators think that Jesus is administering a rebuke to his hard-headed follower. This may be so, but if so it is a very gentle rebuke. We must bear in mind that if it is true that Thomas believed on the basis of what he himself saw, this is also the case with all the others John has so far mentioned. While some may well have believed on the basis of the testimony of Mary Magdalene and others John has not said so. There is possibly significance also in the fact that when Jesus goes on to speak of those who believed without seeing he says they are “blessed” (cf. 13:17), not “more blessed.” This does not look like a comparison, with Thomas worse off than the others. But Jesus does pronounce a blessing on those who have believed without seeing. At the time the words were spoken this would not have been a large number, but perhaps not all the first Christians were as skeptical as Thomas. Some had believed Peter and the others (Luke 24:34). These are now said to be blessed. And, of course, the words will refer as well to all those who in the future would follow in the same way. There is a special blessing for those possessed of a faith that can trust absolutely and that does not need to “see” at every turn.[3]


29 As a rule, Jesus does not respond with enthusiasm to confessions of faith in him in any of the Gospels. The exception is Peter’s confession in Matthew, to which Jesus replies with a beatitude, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father in the heavens” (Mt 16:17). Here too is a beatitude, but not for Thomas: “Jesus says to him that ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who did not see, and believed’ ” (v. 29). Yet it should not be read as a rebuke to Thomas either. He believed because he saw, just as John did (1:34), just as the anonymous witness to the spear thrust did (19:35), just as the beloved disciple did (v. 8), just as Mary Magdalene did (v. 18), and just as the other disciples did (v. 20). The only real exception within the narrative is the royal official who “believed” simply on the basis of Jesus’ word that his son would live (4:50), and even he had his faith eventually verified by sight (4:53). As we have seen, his faith stands as the paradigm for the faith Jesus commends here, on the part of those who “did not see, and believed.”

To whom is Jesus referring? Quite clearly to the readers of the Gospel, and others of their generation, whether Jews or Gentiles, who now believe in Jesus without having lived through the events of his ministry. Yet the aorist participles are surprising: “Blessed are those who did not see, and believed.” We might have expected, “Blessed are those who will believe—or even just ‘believe,’ as in 17:20—without having seen.” How seriously are we to take the past tenses? The only past example of such faith is, as we have noted, the royal official at Cana (4:50). It is as if Jesus is speaking here not in narrative time—a week after his resurrection—but in the reader’s time, looking back on his ministry from the reader’s perspective long after the fact. The reader knows of “those who did not see, and believed,” because the reader is, almost by definition, one of them. The beatitude is for the reader’s benefit. In that sense, the pronouncement parallels Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is he who reads [aloud], and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written in it, for the time is near.” And yet, the aorists also have a certain credibility within the narrative as well, for Jesus has said, “other sheep I have, which are not from this courtyard” (10:16), and the Gospel writer has spoken of “the children of God who are scattered,” and yet to be “gathered into one” (11:52). Here Jesus speaks of these “other sheep” or “children of God” as if they have already believed, knowing that when they do believe, it will in fact be without seeing, at least in the way Thomas and his fellow disciples have seen. The beatitude is one of just two in the Gospel of John, the first for those who “do” (see 13:17), the second for those who “believe.”[4]


20:29 / Because you have seen me, you have believed. There is no question either about Thomas’ belief or about the basis of it. Jesus does not say that Thomas touched him, and there is no evidence in the text that his skepticism went so far as actually to accept the challenge laid down in v. 27. He believed because he saw, just as the rest of the disciples did (vv. 20, 25; cf. v. 8).[5]


Ver. 29.—Jesus saith to him, Because thou hast seen me thou hast believed. Our Lord does not bid him rise, nor say, as the angel did to John in the Apocalypse, “Worship God;” nor did he reject the homage which is here so grandly paid; but he describes this very state of mind which induced the disciple to say, “My Lord and my God!” as that high, holy acquisition which throughout his ministry he had treated as the main, prime condition of all spiritual blessings. “Thou hast believed,” said he, “and because thou hast seen me; thou hast become a believer in all that I am, because thou hast received this crowning proof of the reality of my victory over death.” There are critics or scholars (Lachmann, Meyer, Ewald, etc.), who treat the expression as an interrogative: Because thou hast seen me, hast thou believed (art thou now a believing man?); and the Revisers have placed this punctuation in their margin. A few cursives thus point the words, but it is improbable, for it would seem, even still, to have suggested a doubt or question in the mind of the Lord touching the reality of the apostle’s faith. Moreover, the obvious contrast between those who have seen and those who saw not would be obscured by the punctuation. Observe that Christ did not say, “Because thou hast touched me, thou hast believed.” The vision alone brought the apostle back to that high tension of faith which he, with others, had reached on the night of the Passion (see ch. 16:30–32, and notes). All the tide of overmastering love surged up within him. But the condition of multitudes was even then less privileged than that of Thomas. It could not be a part of the conduct of the kingdom of God that each separate soul should have all the elements of conviction which the apostles had enjoyed, all the vision and all the inspiration of the chosen prophets of the Lord. There may and will come a time when “every eye shall see him” as Thomas saw him, when all shall have the function and powers, equal faculties and opportunity, of seeing him. In the Apocalypse the evangelist, at the very commencement of his visions, saw for himself all the mystery and the certainty of this crowning victory. Meanwhile faith upon testimony, faith in reality through the power of truth, is declared to be the law of the kingdom, and the great beatitude which Christ left as his latest legacy is, Blessed (are) they who saw not, and believed. Of whom is he speaking? Clearly not of those who had already received the same advantage which Thomas had now enjoyed so tardily! The apostles, at first, did not accept the testimony of the women, nor the voices and messages of angels, nor the objective fact of the deserted grave. John rebuked himself for not knowing that the Christ must rise from the dead, whether he should have personal ocular evidence of it or not; and he blamed himself for not believing throughout the earthly ministry of Christ that “the Holy One could not see corruption.” Still, the fact was patent, that not until the disciples saw the Lord were they glad. Even in their gladness there was the mingling of surprise and incredulousness. To whom, then, did the blessedness apply? Surely, first of all to the multitudes of loving, waiting souls, who were prepared by their reverence and the new life given to them, and by the bewildering rumours of the Easter week, to believe in the Divine necessity of the Resurrection. Christ told the disciples, on their way to Emmaus, that they were foolish and dull of heart in not accepting all that the prophets bad spoken. Before the final assurance given by their identification of his Person, he persuaded them to accept his statements, and believe in all that he was, including the fact of his resurrection. Whether they should ever have more convincing evidence or not, they were bound to believe that the suffering Messiah was, in the very nature of things, and by Divine necessity, Victor of death, and must see the travail of his soul. This does but repeat the same ides, “Blessed are they who saw not as Thomas and the other disciples were at this moment doing, and yet believed.” But the beatitude includes the whole future of the Church. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” So said St. Peter to the widely scattered Church. The Lord does not sever the link between external facts and spiritual principles, and thus propound a group of subjective conceptions for a series of objective realities (as Baur and others have urged); but he does pronounce a great benediction on those who can rise to faith in himself through the word which he has spoken, and which his apostles would continue to proclaim without intervention of physical contact or visible manifestation. “If Christ be not risen, then is your faith vain; ye are yet in your sins.” These words are charged with the grounds of conviction for others. Instead of the first disciples being disposed to transform hallucinations of spiritual manifestation into tangible and visible objective facts, they appear to have been more prone and tempted to transform some utterly indisputable facts into spiritual phenomena. There were objective facts, but every attempt which has been made to discredit the Resurrection while admitting these facts has utterly broken down. Even if the narratives of the four Gospels, with their divergent representation, be left out of sight, nothing can be more certain than that, in the space of a quarter of a century, the Churches of Christ in Antioch, Corinth, Philippi, Rome, Ephesus, and Ancyra were existing, and held, without doubt or question, the objective fact. Paul (1 Cor. 15:1–11) simply recounts, not for the first time, but as a resumé of long-since-delivered instruction, the indubitable fact of the Resurrection. It was not an incredible thing, even to Agrippa, that God should raise the dead; nor need it be so now to any one who accepts as true Christ’s account of the Father. The creation of the Church unquestionably turns on the settled conviction of the first disciples that Jesus rose from the dead. That conviction cannot be accounted for independently of the fact. Every attempt to explain it apart from the fact itself has hitherto been wrecked.

Vers. 30, 31.—(6) The conclusion of the argument of the Gospel. Controversy has prevailed from the days of Chrysostom to our own, as to whether these verses are the summary and conclusion of the Gospel as a whole, or have special reference to the record only of the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection. It cannot be doubted that as St. John sums up in ch. 12. the general teaching of Christ and its effect upon the people, to the termination of his public ministry, so at the close of this chapter, before recording the special bearing of the resurrection-life and spiritual power of Christ on the subsequent condition of the Church—a narrative of peculiar interest in itself corresponding with the prologue of the entire narrative—he gathers up the general significance of his Gospel and its relation to other books.[6]


29. Because thou hast seen me, Thomas. Christ blames nothing in Thomas, but that he was so slow to believe, that he needed to be violently drawn to faith by the experience of the senses; which is altogether at variance with the nature of faith. If it be objected, that nothing is more unsuitable than to say that faith is a conviction obtained from touching and seeing, the answer may be easily obtained from what I have already said; for it was not by mere touching or seeing that Thomas was brought to believe that Christ is God, but, being awakened from sleep, he recalled to remembrance the doctrine which formerly he had almost forgotten. Faith cannot flow from a merely experimental knowledge of events, but must draw its origin from the word of God. Christ, therefore, blames Thomas for rendering less honour to the word of God than he ought to have done, and for having regarded faith—which springs from hearing, and ought to be wholly fixed on the word—as bound to the other senses.

Blessed are they who have not seen, and have believed. Here Christ commends faith on this ground, that it acquiesces in the bare word, and does not depend on carnal views or human reason. He therefore includes, in a short definition, the power and nature of faith; namely, that it does not rest satisfied with the immediate exercise of sight, but penetrates even to heaven, so as to believe those things which are hidden from the human senses. And, indeed, we ought to give to God this honour, that we should view His truth as (αὐτόπιστος3) beyond all doubt without any other proof. Faith has, indeed, its own sight, but one which does not confine its view to the world, and to earthly objects. For this reason it is called a demonstration of things invisible or not seen, (Heb. 11:1;) and Paul contrasts it with sight, (2 Cor. 5:7,) meaning, that it does not rest satisfied with looking at the condition of present objects, and does not cast its eye in all directions to those things which are visible in the world, but depends on the mouth of God, and, relying on His word, rises above the whole world, so as to fix its anchor in heaven. It amounts to this, that faith is not of a right kind, unless it be founded on the word of God, and rise to the invisible kingdom of God, so as to go beyond all human capacity.

If it be objected, that this saying of Christ is inconsistent with another of his sayings, in which he declares that the eyes which behold him present are blessed, (Matth. 13:16,) I answer, Christ does not there speak merely of bodily sight, as he does in this passage, but of revelation, which is common to all believers, since he appeared to the world as a Redeemer. He draws a comparison between the Apostles and the holy kings and prophets, (Matth. 13:17,) who had been kept under the dark shadows of the Mosaic Law. He says, that now the condition of believers is much more desirable, because a brighter light shines around them, or rather, because the substance and truth of the figures was made known to them. There were many unbelievers who, at that time, beheld Christ with the eyes of flesh, and yet were not more blessed on that account; but we, who have never beheld Christ with the eyes, enjoy that blessedness of which Christ speaks with commendation. Hence it follows, that he calls those eyes blessed which spiritually behold in him what is heavenly and divine; for we now behold Christ in the Gospel in the same manner as if he visibly stood before us. In this sense Paul says to the Galatians, (3:1,) that Christ was crucified before their eyes; and, therefore, if we desire to see in Christ what may render us happy and blessed, let us learn to believe, when we do not see. To these words of Christ corresponds what is stated in another passage, in which the Apostle commends believers, who love Christ whom they have not seen, and rejoice with unspeakable joy, though they do not behold him, (1 Pet. 1:8.)

The manner in which the Papists torture these words, to prove their doctrine of transubstantiation, is exceedingly absurd. That we may be blessed, they bid us believe that Christ is present under the appearance of bread. But we know that nothing was farther from Christ’s intention than to subject faith to the inventions of men; and as soon as it passes, in the smallest degree, beyond the limits of the word, it ceases to be faith. If we must believe without reserve all that we do not see, then every monster which men may be pleased to form, every fable which they may contrive, will hold our faith in bondage. That this saying of Christ may apply to the case in hand, we must first prove from the word of God the very point in question. They bring forward the word of God, indeed, in support of their doctrine of transubstantiation; but when the word is properly expounded, it gives no countenance to their foolish notion.

30 Many other signs also Jesus did in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, you may have life through his name.[7]


29. In response, Jesus told Thomas, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Thomas came to believe because he saw the risen Lord, but Jesus did not praise Thomas’ pathway to faith; rather, he pronounced a blessing upon those who have not seen the risen Jesus yet have believed in him nevertheless. These are those who hear or read the witness to Jesus borne by the disciples and confirmed by the Spirit (15:26–27). This is the second pronunciation of blessing by Jesus in the form of a beatitude in the Fourth Gospel (cf. 13:17: ‘Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them’).[8]


Ver. 29. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen yet have believed.—

Who is blessed?:—Thomas’s conduct was strange but honest. How much better to be doubting Thomas than the believing priests! They believed the resurrection, or they would never have given to the soldiers the price of a lie. They believed, but they would not believe. Thomas doubted, but would gladly have believed. In the matter of faith and unbelief men may be divided into four classes.

  1. Those who will not believe even what they see. Such were the men who apprehended our Lord. Not one of them in his past life had fallen, or seen another fall, at a word. But now they all fall. Yet they apprehend the mysterious Man, just as if nothing special had occurred. Such was Pharaoh. What evidence will ever convince him that he had better let Israel go? But nothing less than ruin will convince him. Such was Ahaziah (2 Kings 1). More sad and shocking still, perhaps, is the case of Stephen’s judges. Whether the accused be like an angel or a fiend, matters little or nothing to the Sanhedrim. Yes; there is a class of men like Solomon’s fools, whose folly will not leave them, though they be brayed in a mortar; men who can hear nothing softer than thunder, who can feel nothing lighter than vengeance.
  2. Those who believe only when they see. To this class Thomas for a time belongs, and Abraham and the apostles Our Lord, in the plainest words, and more than once, had said that He should rise on the third day. Who believed it? To this class, of course, belong the men of the world. One can hardly draw a line between saint and worldling so strong and so clear as this. The worldling trusts in himself, or his friends, or his wealth, or his stars; the saint trusts in God.

III. Those who have not seen, and yet have believed. Without this faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith a man may be a logician, a mathematician, a general, a man of business; but by what possibility can he be a child of God? Take faith from the earth; let everything be done by sight; let the consequence of every action be immediate and irresistibly evident; and what is left but calculation and business, time-tables and statistics? Life has become a counting-house, in which all we want is a sharp eye and a strong hand. With faith has gone every high and holy feeling—all patience, courage, largeness of heart. The believer is every way blessed. 1. He has the best moral education which even the All-wise can give him. What better exercise than to rise from the seen to the unseen? Who can be more noble than he who, in the very sunshine of prosperity, refuses to trust flattering appearances, or even flattering facts? And of all brave men is not he the bravest who, in the darkest and saddest hours, maintains an unflinching trust in the God who hides Himself? 2. He wins an infinite prize. Eternal life is the goal of faith. Do we want an example of steady faith? See it in Noah, who for one hundred and twenty years built the ark. How the faith shines through the long, slow years!

  1. Those who believe not only without but against appearances—as Abraham when commanded to offer Isaac, and Job when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” and the three Hebrew children. (W. J. Frankland.)

 

The blessedness of faith:

  1. Religious privilege now under the common grace of the gospel is greater than that possessed by those who companied with Christ in the flesh. This is the case as regards—1. The evidences of Christ’s Godhead and Divine Apostlate. At first sight it would seem impossible that any evidences should transcend that accorded to Christ’s contemporaries. Yet against this was the constant presence of the Lord’s manhood, which must have been fruitful in misgivings. But this wellspring of incredulity is now sealed. We know not Christ after the flesh. When we connect this with the moral effects of Christianity, the testimony of millions to Christ’s power to bless and save, it is clear that a return to the Apostle’s position would be a loss. 2. The substance of Christian truth. The multitudes to whom Christ spake in parables had no pre-eminence over ourselves; for they were left in ignorance of much that Christ taught His disciples. But these disciples were left in ignorance of many things they were not able to hear until the descent of the Spirit, and all the fruits of their subsequent inspiration we enjoy. 3. The prime grace of the gospel, the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins. Here, perhaps, more than anywhere, we are apt to draw unfavourable contrasts. Could we but bring our spiritual pollution to where the leper knelt! The music of that word “forgiven,” uttered by Christ’s own lips—did that but fall upon our ears! But are we sure that if Christ were upon earth we should be inclined to seek Him? That the same hindrances of shame, worldliness, &c., would not still operate? And then why should the utterance of Christ’s own lips be more satisfactory than the inward witness of the Holy Spirit? But in two respects one privilege is immeasurably higher. (1) We understand better than they did the way of salvation by Christ. (2) Christ is accessible to us, as He was not to the bulk of mankind then. 4. The comparative means for obtaining a perfect preparation for eternal life. (1) The aids incentive to holiness with which Christ’s attendants were privileged were transcendently great. Think of His teaching on the character of God, the evil of sin, the excellence of religion; His miracles; the moral force of His example. (2) Yet we may easily over-estimate this privilege. It was not of itself, and as a matter of course, an instrument of salvation, as the case of Judas makes only too clear. (3) Besides, the disciples had no such opportunity of securing holiness as we have, for the Holy Spirit was not given till Jesus was glorified.
  2. In accordance with the general principles upon which God governs His creatures, it is better that we are called to live for a while by faith and not by sight. 1. Inward satisfaction in the service of God is in proportion to the difficulties of the service. Were it not for the renunciation of the world, the crucifixion of self, the wrestling with evil, which go hand in hand with the return of a sinful spirit to God, there would be little of that joy which come so often with the first revelation of Christ. If evangelical truth in its sublimer mysteries were accessible to every vagrant aspiration, how poor a harvest of Divine delight would they furnish compared with that now yielded to the toilsome husbandry of thought and devotion! And when we pray, and labour, find peace, thereby we owe it to the spiritual hindrances which block our approach to God and to outward pressure and trial. 2. A life of faith is fitted to produce a symmetry and perfection of Christian character such as could scarcely come by a less trying process. Those Christians are the wisest, and meekest, and most spiritual to whom the largest share of providential trouble has fallen, and the perfecting of the Church for the duties of time and for the felicity and services of heaven is only to be secured under the operation of faith in the unseen Saviour. Were the presence which faith imposes lifted off the Church, pride would take the place of humility, and self-worship consecration to Christ, and hardness charity. 3. The ultimate rewards of creatures like ourselves are determined by the severity of the ordeal which constitutes moral probation. If there be creatures whose final estate is determined apart from probation, we can hardly imagine them possessors of a blessedness comparable to those who have suffered and so are perfected. There is not a good, even of this world, the fruits of pains and trouble, which is not the sweeter from the price we pay for it.

III. The text has other significant aspects. 1. Towards Christian belief. It shows a strong shadow on millinarianism. Whatever advantage such a state of things might be supposed to confer on the Church, on the principle of the text it would be a diminution, not a heightening, of its present privilege. 2. Towards Christian sentiment and observance. It distinctly frowns upon all interposition of the material and human between God in Christ and our souls. The entire genius of Christianity is hostile to religious symbolism, and the history of the Church utters a strong caution against the use of sense as a helpmate to faith. Faith needs it not. It is impious to set up Moses’ candlestick again now that the Sun has risen. 3. Towards Christian character and life. (1) It rebukes the spirit of religious discontent and envy. (2) It suggests the greatness of our religious obligation as Christians. (3) It opens a glorious prospect of blessing from God as the recompense of faith. (J. D. Geden, D.D.)

A simple faith:—A peasant of singular piety, being on a particular occasion admitted to the presence of the King of Sweden, was asked by him what he considered to be the nature of true faith. The peasant entered fully into the subject much to the King’s comfort and satisfaction. When the king was on his death-bed he had a return of his fears as to the safety of his soul, and still the same question was perpetually put to those around him, “What is real faith?” The Archbishop of Upsal, who had been sent for, commenced in a learned and logical manner a scholastic definition of faith, which lasted an hour. When he had finished, the king said, with much energy, “All this is ingenious, but it is not comfortable; it is not what I want. Nothing but the farmer’s faith will do for me.” (J. Everett.)

Faith and sight:

  1. Sight without faith—sin. 1. Ancient—the sin of the Jewish people. 2. Common—the sin of many now. 3. Great—since that which in Christ is presented to the eye of faith and reason ought to lead to heart acceptance of Christ.
  2. Faith after sight—salvation. Exemplified—1. In the disciples (except perhaps John) (ver. 8), who believed in Christ risen after they had seen Him. 2. In those who to-day believe in Christ only after their intellectual difficulties as to Christ have been solved.

III. Faith without sight—blessedness. 1. It implies a larger measure of Divine grace. 2. It exhibits a higher degree of Christian virtue. 3. It secures a richer experience of inward felicity. 4. It wins a readier commendation from the lips of Christ. (T. Whitelaw, D.D.)

The Bible a help to the sight of faith:—You may have stood on the sea coast while a friend has been looking out to sea through a telescope, perhaps it was when you were at Douglas waiting the arrival of a steamer from Liverpool, on which you were expecting a beloved relative. While you are standing on the rock, your friend is looking through the glass, and saying, “Yes; I see him!” You reply, “Let me have the glass! I cannot believe it, unless I see too.” You lift the glass, and in a little while, you say, “Ah, I see him; now, he sees us, and is waving his handkerchief to us!” Here is a telescope which God has provided for every man. We can see, through it, that the record of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, are facts, as plainly as if we had seen Him with our eyes and touched Him with our hands. We also see that He is our Saviour, who died in our room and stead; and that we are saved from the penalty of eternal death, because our iniquities were laid on Him instead of on us. We see through this Divine telescope, that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, He died, not for His own sins, but for ours! Through this glass we see the water of life, and notice to our joy that any thirsty soul may drink thereof, without money and without price. Through this blessed glass, we see the hand of the Lord directing our paths, and holding us up in slippery ways. It is the most wonderful telescope in the world. It shows us our departed friends and children in a beautiful land, where they wear white robes and have neither any sorrow nor sin; and it shows that we have a mansion in paradise on which our names are written; but, best of all, it reveals that we—we!—shall actually enjoy the blessedness of heaven! (W. Birch.)

Meditation a help to the sight of faith:—Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, through which we see the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye, and enables us to see Jesus after a better sort than we could have seen Him if we had lived in the days of His flesh; for now we see not only Jesus in the flesh, but the spiritual Jesus; we see the spirit of Jesus, the core and essence of Jesus, the very soul of the Saviour. O happy you, that spend much time in contemplations! I wish that we had less to do, that we might do more of this heavenly work. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Sight and faith:—Walking by sight is just this—“I believe in myself;” whereas walking by faith is—“I believe in God.” If I walk by sight I walk by myself; if I walk by faith, then there are two of us, and the second one—ah! how great, how glorious, how mighty is He—the Great All-in-all—God-all-sufficient! Sight goes a warfare at its own charges, and becomes a bankrupt, and is defeated. Faith goes a warfare at the charges of the King’s Exchequer, and there is no fear that Faith’s bank shall ever be broken. Sight builds the house from its own quarry, and on its own foundation but it begins to build and is never able to finish, and what it does build rests on the sand and falls. But faith builds on the foundation laid in eternity, in the fair colours of the Saviour’s blood, in the covenant of grace. It goes to God for every stone to be used in the building, and brings forth the top-stone with shoutings of “Grace, grace unto it!” (Ibid.)

Sight of faith:—Sight is the noblest sense; it is quick; we can look from earth to heaven in a moment: it is large; we can see the hemisphere of the heavens at one view: it is sure and certain; in hearing we may be deceived; and, lastly, it is the most affecting sense. Even so, faith is the quickest, the largest, the most certain, the most affecting grace: like an eagle in the clouds, at one view, it sees Christ in heaven, and looks down upon the world; it looks backwards and forwards; it sees things past, present, and to come. (R. Sibbes, D.D.)

Faith, not sight:—By constant sight, the effect of objects seen grows less; by constant faith, the effect of objects believed in grows greater. The probable reason of this is, that personal observation does not admit of the influence of the imagination in impressing the fact; while unseen objects, realized by faith, have the auxiliary aid of the imagination, not to exaggerate them, but to clothe them with living colours, and impress them upon the heart. Whether this be the reason or not, the fact is true, that, the more frequently we see, the less we feel, the power of an object; while, the more frequently we dwell upon an object by faith, the more we feel its power. (J. B. Walker, M. D.)

Faith without sight:—1. Those who saw and believed not were far from being blessed. 2. Those who saw him, and believed, were undoubtedly blessed. 3. Those who have not seen, and yet have believed, are emphatically blessed. 4. There remains the superlative degree of blessedness in seeing Jesus face to face without need of believing in the same sense as now. 5. But for the present this is our blessedness, this is our place in the gospel history—we have not seen, and yet have believed. What a comfort that so high a degree of blessedness is open to us!

  1. Do not let us diminish this blessedness—1. By wishing to see. (1) By pining for some imaginary voice, or vision, or revelation. (2) By craving marvellous providences, and singular dispensations. (3) By hungering for despairs or transports. (4) By perpetually demanding arguments and logical demonstrations. (5) By clamouring for conspicuous success in connection with the preaching of the Word, and the missionary operations of the Church. (6) By being anxious to believe with the majority. Truth has usually been with the minority. 2. By failing to believe. Believe—(1) Practically, so as to act upon our faith. (2) Intensely, so as to laugh at contradictions. (3) Livingly, so as to be simple as a child. (4) Continually, so as to be evenly confident. (5) Personally, so as to be assured alone, even if all others give the lie to the doctrines of the Lord. (6) Thoroughly, so as to find the rest of faith.
  2. do not let us think this blessedness unattainable. 1. This blessedness is linked for ever with the faith which our Lord accepts: in fact, it is the appointed reward of it. 2. God deserves such faith of us. He is so true that His unsupported word is quite enough for faith to build upon. Can we only believe Him as far as we can see Him? 3. Thousands of saints have rendered, and are rendering, such faith, and are enjoying such blessedness at this moment, We are bound to have fellowship with them in like precious faith. 4. Hitherto our own experience has warranted such faith. Has it not? 5. Those of us who are now enjoying the blessed peace of faith can speak with great confidence upon the matter. Why, then, are so many cast down? Why will they not believe?

III. Do not let any of us miss it. The faith which our Lord described is exceedingly precious, and we ought to seek after it, for—1. It is the only true and saving faith. Faith which demands sight is not faith at all, and cannot save the soul. 2. It is in itself most acceptable with God. Nothing is acceptable without it (Heb. 11:6). It is the evidence of the acceptance of the man and his works. 3. It is a proof of grace within: of a spiritual mind, a renewed nature, a reconciled heart, a new-born spirit. 4. It is the root-principle of a glorious character. 5. It is exceedingly useful to others: in comforting the despondent, in impressing unbelievers, in cheering seekers, &c. 6. It enriches its possessor to the utmost, giving power in prayer, strength of mind, decision of character, firmness under temptation, boldness in enterprise, joy of soul, realization of heaven, &c. Conclusion: 1. Know you this faith? 2. Blessedness lies that way. Seek it! (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Faith with and without sight:

  1. What were some of the advantages enjoyed by those who lived and served God in the times of miracle? 1. To a considerable extent the pious Jews and the first Christians believed because they saw. Not that they walked wholly by sight. Noah was “warned of God of things not seen as yet.” Abraham went out of his old home, “not knowing whither he went.” And those worthies mentioned in Heb. 11 acted without assistance from the objects of time and sense, in the instances that are specified. But taking into the account the whole course of their lives, they were much more aided by sight than we are. (1) For it was a dispensation of supernaturalism. Who could be an atheist as he stood under Mount Sinai. Who could query the possibility of miracles, when he saw the waters of the Red Sea rising up; when he saw the shadow go back upon the sun-dial: when he heard Christ call up Lazarus from the tomb. (2) Now there was something in this, unquestionably, that rendered faith in God’s power comparatively easy. Jacob, e.g., must have found it no difficult thing to trust in a Being who was directing him, watching over him, and delivering him. 2. How differently the modern believer is situated! Generation after generation has come and gone, but no celestial sign has been given. Christians have believed that God is, but they have never seen His shape nor heard His voice. They have had faith in immortality, but no soul has ever returned to make their assurance doubly sure. In some instances, this reticence has produced an almost painful uncertainty, and wakened the craving for some palpable evidence of unseen realities. And all the attempts of Spiritualism are another testimony to the craving natural to man for miraculous signs. Sceptics contend that the miracle is irrational. But, certainly, nothing is irrational for which there is a steady and constant demand upon the part of human nature.
  2. Some of the advantages which the Church of God experiences in these latter days, when there is no miracle to assist faith. Believing without seeing—1. Is a stronger faith; and the stronger the faith, the greater the blessedness. (1) If Thomas had put credit in the affirmation of the other disciples, it is evident that his faith in Christ would have been greater. For Christ had foretold that He was to be crucified and to rise. Thomas had witnessed the crucifixion, and knew that this part of his Lord’s prophecy was fulfilled. If, now, he had believed the remainder, he would have believed the disciples’ report. But his demand evinced that his faith needed to be helped out by sight. (2) If we examine the Scriptures, we shall find that that faith is of the best quality which leans least upon the creature and most upon the Creator. Take the case of Abraham. He was the subject of miraculous impressions; but there were some critical points in which His experience resembled more that of the modern believers, and it is with references to them that he is styled the “father of the faithful.” Consider the trial of his faith when commanded to sacrifice Isaac. (3) It is to this high degree of faith that the modern believer is invited. We have never seen a miracle. We have only read the record of what God did, in this way, thousands of years ago. Our faith must therefore rest more upon the simple authority of God, and be more spiritual. The inward powers of the soul are nobler than the five senses; and their acts have more worth and dignity than the operations of the senses. There is no very great merit in following the notices of the five senses. An animal does this continually. But when I believe that God is great and good, when phenomena seemingly teach the contrary; when my faith runs back to the nature and attributes of God Himself, and is not staggered by anything that I see, then I give God great honour. All that this kind of faith requires is, to be certain that the Divine promise has been given; and then it leaves all to Him. 2. Honours God more. We cannot show greater respect for any one than to take his bare word. There are comparatively few men of this first class and standing. And just as far as we withhold our confidence in God until we can see the wisdom of His ways, we dishonour Him. Suppose a sudden and inexplicable sorrow—a missionary is cut down in the midst of great usefulness; a wise and kind father is taken away from a family that leans entirely upon him: if in these instances no doubts are felt, what an honour do they render to God by such absolute confidence. For the faith in such cases terminates upon the very personality and nature of God. It passes by all secondary causes and reposes upon the First Cause. Oftentimes our faith is of such a mixed character, that it honours the creature as much as the Creator. For example, if we expect that the whole world will be Christianized, partly because of the Divine promises and partly because the wealth and civilization and military power of the earth are in the possession of Christian nations, we honour the creature in conjunction with the Creator; and this is to dishonour Him, for He says, “My glory will I not give to another.” The faith of the Church is of the purest, highest kind only when she trusts solely and simply in God, and looks upon all favouring circumstances as results, not as supports, of His promise. Take away the promises and agency of God, and where would be the wealth, &c., of Protestant Europe and America? “Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defence is sure.” The early Church, with the civilization of the Greek and Roman world arrayed against them, could not lean upon it in conjunction with God, if they would. They were shut up to the mere power and promise of the Most High. And what honour did they give Him in this: and how did He honour them in return? Conclusion: From this subject it is evident—1. That God is the sole object of faith. There is a difference between belief and faith. We may believe a man; but we may believe in and on God alone. Faith is the resting of the mind; and the mind can find no rest in a creature. 2. If God is the sole object of faith, then we must beware of a mixed or partial faith. We must not trust partly in God, and partly in His creatures. He will receive no divided honours. As in our justification we cannot trust partly in the blood of Christ, and partly in our own good works, so in our more general relation to God, our confidence must not rest upon any combination or union between Him and the works of His hands. 3. We know these things, happy are we if we do them. (Prof. Shedd.)

Faith of Thomas:—Faith, resting upon the word of promise, upon a Divine testimony, is more noble, spiritual, and ingenuous; displays more candour and humility, and brings more glory to God, than that which is the result of sensible manifestation. In illustrating these words, let us—

  1. Examine the nature of that faith which is here commended by our saviour. Faith, in its most general sense, is the strong persuasion of any truth, the firm assent of the mind to it. This persuasion may be founded on the evidence of our senses: thus Thomas believed that Jesus was risen, because he saw, felt, and heard Him; thus I believe there is a sun, because I behold it, and am warmed by its beams. Sometimes this persuasion is founded on the deductions of reason: thus, because I discover in the universe so many effects, to produce which there must have been an intelligent First Cause, I believe there is a God (chap. 10:37.) But though the word faith is thus used, both in common language and in the Scriptures, to signify that persuasion which is founded on the evidence of the senses or the deductions of reason, yet, in its more strict and proper reason, it denotes that assent of the mind which is founded on testimony. It is in this manner we believe, although we do not see. Thus I am told that there is such a city as Rome, such a river as the Nile; and though I have never seen them, I am persuaded of their existence, because it is confirmed to me by witnesses who had opportunities of knowing, and who had no interest in deceiving me. Their testimony fully supplies the place of the evidence of the senses or the deductions of reason. If the testimony be that of man, there results from it human faith; if the testimony be that of God, there results from it Divine faith; if it be of God through Jesus Christ and His apostles, there results Christian faith. But that we may more fully understand the nature of this faith, let us consider a few of its properties—1. It is enlightened. To believe without seeing is very different from believing without evidence or proof. The believer is not a weak being, receiving every thing without examination; nor any enthusiast, assenting without motive or light. 2. This faith is humble. A thousand objects connected with the being, attributes, and purposes of God, with the schemes of providence, or the plan of redemption, necessarily present to him abysses which no finite mind can fathom; but, filled with veneration and wonder before the Infinite, the incomprehensible, he submits his understanding; he strives not to break through those barriers which the Eternal has placed around His throne. 3. This faith is firm. The foundation of his belief is more stable than the heavens and the earth. It is not a mere probability, a wavering hope, an uncertain guess; but the declaration of God, on which he rests his assured belief and his everlasting interests. 4. This faith is universal in its object: receiving as true the whole of the sacred volume, its histories, its predictions, its doctrines, its precepts, its threatenings, its promises. 5. Finally, this faith is active, efficacious, purifying. It is not confined to a barren admiration of the truths and facts that are revealed; it descends into the heart, and sanctifies all its powers; it receives the precepts and commands of God as well as His promises; it requires the sacrifice of corrupt passions as well as the submission of our reason. Let us not deceive ourselves; the conviction of the understanding must pass to the heart, and then be manifested in all the actions of a holy life.
  2. Inquire why those who thus believe, although they do not see, are blessed. 1. They are so because they display true wisdom, both in the choice of objects to occupy their mind, and in the rules they follow in giving their assent to them. They select for their belief, and contemplation, the most important truths. Place by their side the most sublime human sciences; and in comparison these sciences, to Him who judges without prejudice, and with a reference to the eternal duration of man, will appear only a vain and pompous ignorance. How trifling in reality are the pursuits of the greatest earthly philosopher, if he is ignorant of the science of salvation! More happy and more wise are they who are contented to behold with the eyes of God what they cannot behold with their own; who submit to be directed by the infallible Father of lights; who, “though they see not, yet believe.” 2. Happy also because they act not only in the wisest, but also in the most advantageous manner, since they thus avoid misery and secure felicity. Without this faith, what overwhelming doubts, what cruel uncertainties, what multiplied fears surround us! Without it, what hope has the penitent? Can God forgive the rebel, in consistence with His holiness? In what mode can the remission of our sins be secured? These and a thousand other questions are unanswerable. Without it, what adequate consolation is there to the persecuted and oppressed? What relief to the bereaved? What comfort to the dying? (H. Kollock, D.D.)

Faith in an unseen Christ:—Here is another “beatitude” in addition to what Matthew gives. Christ was Himself the “Blessed One”; and well knew who were “blessed,” and what made them so. But how and why are believers so specially “blessed?”

  1. They throw themselves upon the bare word of God. So that their faith rests on no divided evidence; and the foundation they build on is not partly strong and partly weak, partly iron and partly clay, partly rock and partly sand, but wholly rock, iron, strong. Sight may change; to-day bright, to-morrow dim; but God’s testimony changes not.
  2. They come directly into contact with God Himself. No medium comes between them and God. The soul touches Him who is a Spirit, needing no interpreter nor introducer.

III. They get more into the heart and reality of the things of God. Sight often crusts over spiritual things, or builds a wall. Simple faith goes in at once to the heart and core of things. Instead of cruising along the rocky sea-board, it strikes inland, and pitches its tent amid the gardens and by the streams of a richer and more glorious country. It is in itself simpler, purer, and more direct; and hence it finds its way into regions into which faith of a grosser kind could never penetrate: it rises up, with a buoyancy all its own, into a higher atmosphere, disentangled from the things of earth. Like a being without a body to clog it, it moves more at will, and rejoices in a liberty to which faith of a more material kind is a stranger.

  1. They take fewer false steps, and make fewer mistakes. Simple faith sees, as it were, everything with God’s eyes, and hears everything with God’s ears; and thus comes to no false conclusions, and is kept from the continual mistakes into which sense is falling. It not only sets the right estimate on the evidence of sense and feeling, but it puts the true interpretation upon all the facts and phenomena coming under the eye or sense. Exercising simple faith on the bare word of Him who has given me the record respecting His crucified, dead, buried, risen Son, I see myself crucified, dead, buried, risen with Him. Though seeing in myself the chief of sinners, I know and believe that there is no condemnation for me. Thus I believe not only without, but against seeing; and put the right construction upon things seen and temporal, looking at everything with the eyes of God.
  2. They are thus subjected to discipline of the best and most effectual kind. This life of believing keeps the body under, while it lifts up the soul; it loosens us from the earthly, and fastens us to the heavenly. It calms us, too, in a stormy world. It awakes us and keeps us awake, amid scenes fitted to lull us asleep. It makes us more truly “children too of the light and of the day,” by transporting us beyond this world of night and darkness, into the kingdom of the unsetting sun. (H. Bonar, D.D.)

Dr. Arnold’s death:—When Dr. Arnold was suddenly stricken with his mortal agony, he was seen, we are told, lying still, with his hands clasped, his lips moving, and his eyes raised upwards as if in prayer; when all at once he repeated, firmly and earnestly: “And Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen,” &c. (Bp. Westcott.)[9]


29. Jesus said to him, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are they who, though not seeing, are yet believing. There was nothing wrong with the words of the confession which Thomas uttered. There was something wrong with the manner in which he reached this level of faith. He should have believed even apart from sight. For the benefit of those who would come to believe in him in the years that were to follow, Jesus now says, “Blessed are they who, though not seeing, are yet believing.” Faith which results from seeing is good; but faith which results from hearing is more excellent. This is the clear lesson of Scripture throughout; see, for example, Matt. 8:5–10; John 4:48; Rom. 10:14; and 1 Peter 1:8.[10]


[1] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1611–1616). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 651). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John (pp. 753–754). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 1018–1019). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2011). John (p. 350). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, pp. 478–480). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 2, pp. 278–280). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Kruse, C. G. (2003). John: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, p. 379). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: St. John (Vol. 3, pp. 441–448). London: James Nisbet & Co.

[10] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Vol. 2, p. 466). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

June—6 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

So Christ was once offered, to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.—Heb. 9:28.

My soul! pause over this blessed portion, for it is most blessed, and seek from God the Holy Ghost, grace to gather all its sweets for thine evening enjoyment. Every word is big with importance. And, first, who is it that is here said to have been once offered? Even Christ, the sent, the sealed, the anointed of Jehovah. So that when thou goest to a throne of grace, to plead for mercy in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, thou goest in his name, whom thy God and Father hath appointed. Thou then tellest thy God, what thy God first told thee. He, in whose name, blood, and righteousness, thou askest redemption, is he whom Jehovah himself “hath set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood.” Hence it is impossible not to succeed. “I have given him” (saith the Lord) “for a covenant to the people.” Next, consider the fulness, the greatness, the all-sufficiency, of this sacrifice, which thy Jesus hath offered. He was once offered. Yes! it is enough: “For by that one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” There was, and is, more merit in that one offering of the Lord Jesus Christ, to take away sins, than there is demerit in all the sins of his people for ever. Mark this down also, when thou goest to the throne. Thou art seeking redemption upon the plea and footing of a full and rich equivalent made by thy surety, under Jehovah’s own appointment and authority. Then go on to that other most interesting part of this precious verse: “And unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Pause, my soul, over these words. When thy Jesus appeared the first time, he came as the burden-bearer of all the sins of his redeemed. And though in himself “he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens,” yet he was made both “sin and a curse for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Hence all the sins of his redeemed were charged upon him, and “the Lord Jehovah laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” But when he had by himself purged our sins, the whole weight and pressure of sin, with all its tremendous effects, were for ever done away. And therefore unto them that look for him, when he shall appear the second time, it will be without sin unto salvation. He put away sin by his first coming: and by his second, he will put all his redeemed into the complete possession of that salvation which, by his one offering of himself for sin, he hath eternally secured. What sayest thou, my soul, concerning thyself, and thy personal hope in these glorious things? Art thou one of that blessed happy number who are thus looking for Jesus? Dost thou believe that Jesus died and rose again? Art thou so well pleased with the merits and efficacy of this one offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all, as to seek no other, to desire no other; yea, to renounce and despise every other? Pause, and duly consider. These are solemn soul transactions. A mistake here is a mistake indeed. Oh! it is blessed to be well pleased with what Jehovah hath declared himself well pleased with: and to be satisfied, yea, well satisfied, with what Jehovah is well satisfied. For then thou wilt be daily on the look-out for thy Lord’s return, as one that is on the look-out for a dearly beloved friend. And thus, if thou art in love with his appearing; loving all that appears to promote thy Redeemer’s glory on earth, in the conversion of sinners, and comforting of saints, loving his Church, his Zion, his ordinances, his people; shortly the hour will arrive, in which the Master will come, and call for thee; thou shalt hear his chariot-wheels at the door, and his voice will be distinctly heard by thy waiting spirit: “Arise, my fair one, and come away!”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 173–175). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Rebellious Bible-Twister, Beth Moore, Says God is Reckoning America Over Misuse of Bible — Christian Research Network

“Beth Moore says that she believes that America is facing a “reckoning” from God because America has used God and the Bible to sin.”

(Jeff Maples – Reformation Charlotte)  Moore began her career as a small-group women’s Bible-study teacher. Fair enough, though the Bible says that women should remain silent in Church, no sane-minded Southern Baptist would have argued in favor of women preachers, especially those who teach men until recently….

Over the last several years, Beth Moore’s influence has grown to astronomical levels, drawing crowds of tens of thousands at times in audiences of both men and women. She preaches at churches on Sunday mornings, behind the pulpit. And, she mocks God.

There have been quite a number of sound theologians and teachers who’ve held consistently to the Biblical teaching that women should not preach. Yet, Moore has consistently held her middle finger up to God. While setting aside sound teaching to embrace homosexuality, Beth Moore has repeatedly insisted that not only does she have the right to teach and preach to men, but that nothing is going to stop her and even saying that she’d be “terrified” to be a biblical woman. Following the footsteps of the serpent in the Garden, she goes on to question God’s Word on biblical womanhood as she mocks.  View article →

Research

Beth Moore

via Rebellious Bible-Twister, Beth Moore, Says God is Reckoning America Over Misuse of Bible — Christian Research Network

Coronavirus lockdown was a ‘SHAM’ – Tucker Carlson unloads on doctors for backing Black Lives Matter protests | RT – Daily news

Coronavirus lockdown was a ‘SHAM’ – Tucker Carlson unloads on doctors for backing Black Lives Matter protests

Not all protests are equal. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has excoriated the medical establishment for giving its blessing to Black Lives Matter protesters, having condemned the anti-lockdown protests just weeks earlier.

The coronavirus pandemic left in its wake an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties and freedom of movement in the US. Medical experts backed the lockdown measures, arguing that public health trumped normality, and they said putting the brakes on the US economy was necessary to stave off literally millions of deaths.

“They were lying. We always thought they were lying and now we know for sure,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared on Friday. “Because today we have an open letter signed by more that 1,200 doctors, professionals and public health officials. And it explains that the riots you’re watching must be allowed, but any other demonstration… must be suppressed.”

Paul Joseph Watson

@PrisonPlanet

Tucker Carlson is trending for being completely correct.

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The letter in question was written by a collection of infectious disease researchers at the University of Washington, and urged support for protests – but only protests against “systemic racism.”

When armed and “predominantly white” demonstrators turned up at the Michigan State Capitol to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s controversial stay-at-home order, the letter’s authors wrote that they “privately mourned” the division between the public and the scientific community.

Now, with protests and riots engulfing the US’ major cities for nearly two weeks, the experts “support them as vital to the national public health.”

“White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to Covid-19,” they wrote, arguing that protests against stay-home orders are “rooted in white nationalism” and must be opposed.

Despite their show of support for one kind of protest, the experts still cautioned that local and state governments should “prepare for an increased number of infections in the days following a protest.”

Also on rt.com

Black Lives Matter ‘more important’ than coronavirus: Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of London (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

“These are public health officials,” Carlson remarked. “This is insanity. Just days ago you were told that any kind of gathering could kill thousands of people. You would be a murderer. You would be a genocidal murderer. That is before we learned that viruses have their own woke political agenda.”

Carlson was torched on Twitter for his opinion, a regular occurrence for the iconoclastic Fox host. However, he isn’t the only commentator arguing against the apparent double standard. Twitter users unloaded this week on a crowd of nurses in New York who emerged from hospitals to applaud a parade of ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrators marching by, weeks after accusing the lockdown protesters of murdering their own relatives.

Sarah Walton

@SarahWaltonNews

Hospital staff come out to applaud protestors in New York – demonstrators shout back ‘Thank You’.

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Despite the scientific community’s best efforts to argue otherwise, the coronavirus does not discriminate politically. Dr Anthony Fauci, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus adviser, wrote on Sunday that the George Floyd demonstrations could kickstart a deadly second wave of infections.

Also on rt.com

Floyd protests are ‘perfect recipe’ for Covid-19 surge, says top US infectious diseases expert Fauci. Others argue: blame racism

“As I sat in front of the TV and watched the screen go from Washington DC to New York City to Los Angeles to Philadelphia, I got really concerned,” he told the Sunday Times, calling the demonstrations a “perfect recipe” for a surge in cases.

Demonstrations, meanwhile, are expected to continue. A massive crowd descended on the White House on Saturday and protests were held in other US cities and around the globe, with little concern for the social distancing everyone was obsessing about only days earlier.

Source: Coronavirus lockdown was a ‘SHAM’ – Tucker Carlson unloads on doctors for backing Black Lives Matter protests

June 6 Memorials of God’s Faithfulness

 

Exodus 3:15

This is My name forever; and this is My memorial to all generations.

God wants us to have memorials so we won’t forget. He preserved Noah and his family through the flood and then gave them the memorial of the rainbow. From that day on, we can look into the sky at a rainbow and remember how God delivered Noah and has promised never again to destroy the earth by water.

God gave the Israelites the ark of the covenant that they carried with them. Inside the ark were the Law that God had given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the stone tablets to remember when God had given His people a code of conduct by which to live, and a little jar. The Bible says that inside that jar was some of the manna God had fed the people during their forty years of wandering. Why manna? It was another memorial to the fact that God can feed people right there in the desert where there were no restaurants.

The Lord was wise. He instituted memorials. Why? Because we have a tendency to forget. We need to remember that we have a God who has worked in the past, and because He has worked in the past, He is willing to work in the present.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 165). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

June 6-7, 2020 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

Weekend Snapshot · June 6, 2020 – Top Stories This Week

Remembering D-Day

An epic battle in defense of American Liberty, and by extension, that of all mankind.


A Reopening Economic Miracle

The U.S. added 2.5 million jobs in May, but we have a long way to go for full recovery.


MLK Would Condemn Rioting, Not Condone It

Leftists on social media have fraudulently invoked MLK to defend rioting across the country.


Riots and the Media

Between excusing the riots and over-covering them, the media gets it wrong.


When Is It ‘Enough’ Insurrection?

Key Pentagon and former military leaders confront Trump over presidential power.


Antifa: The White Radical Organizers of Black Urban Violence

Antifa’s bond is radical ideology — the same model that binds Islamist terrorist networks.


Trading Liberty for Security?

On the wisdom — or lack thereof — of labeling antifa a terrorist organization.


The Obama-Biden Racial Tag Team

The former president and his would-be successor weigh in on nationwide race riots.


Keith Ellison’s Gamble on Charging Police

The radical race-baiting Minnesota AG may be setting up the system for “failure.”


The Hoax — and Its Aftermath

It’s instructive to revisit the Democrats’ Russia-collusion narrative from 75,000 feet.


Rosenstein Squirms and Deflects in Senate Hearing

Former deputy AG admits FISA warrants against Carter Page should never have been issued.


Afghanistan: Bad Policy, Bad Strategy, Bad Politics

As U.S. policymakers ponder withdrawal later this year, here are some warnings.


Americans Aren’t Having Enough Babies

A worrying trend has continued and it will inevitably lead to problems down the road.


Are You a White Supremacist?

Here’s all the racial guilt you didn’t even know you had depicted in one leftist chart.



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.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Authoritarian Democratic leaders were eager to send law enforcement to arrest law abiding citizens at church, or in the parks. But, when it comes to violent protestors & looters, suddenly these same leaders are deciding it’s bad politics to enforce the law.” —Senator Ted Cruz

“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)


Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 06/06/2020

Video Shows Lawless Mob Dragging Chicago Police Officers Around, One Punched in Head   May 30, 2020 09:43 pm

Following the death of George Floyd, protests have erupted around the country in a number of major cities, including in Chicago, but not without violence. In one video posted online, a lawless mob in the Windy City is shown attacking several police officers and dragging them around on the ground — with one of the officers appearing to have been punched in the…

Continue reading the story 

‘It’s Destructive Unity’: George Floyd’s Brother Condemns the Violence, Says His Brother ‘Was About Peace’   Jun 01, 2020 01:16 pm

(ABC News) ⁠— The younger brother of George Floyd is pleading with protesters not to “tear up your town” as violent demonstrations have taken place in numerous cities across the country. In an interview with ABC News’ Alex Perez on Sunday night, Terrence Floyd said that he understands why people are angry, but he worries his brother’s memory will be…

Continue reading the story 

Chief Justice Roberts Joins Liberals in Rejecting Challenge to State Limits on Church Attendance   May 30, 2020 05:24 pm

(Newsweek) — In a 5-4 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, a request from a California church that challenged the state restrictions on attendance at religious services during the coronavirus pandemic was rejected. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals, turning away the appeal brought by the South Bay United…

Continue reading the story 

Evangelical Pastor in Rome Says Christians Must ‘Gently Challenge’ Roman Catholicism With the Word of God   Jun 02, 2020 03:19 pm

Photo Credit: Screenshot YouTube/Ligonier Ministries ROME — An evangelical pastor in Rome says that Christians must “gently challenge” Roman Catholicism with the word of God rather than blindly uniting with the Vatican, as “the Reformation is not over the gospel is still at stake.” Leonardo De Chirico, the pastor of Breccia di Roma, leader of the Reformanda…

Continue reading the story 

‘Only One Rainbow Matters’: Skittles Releases Rainbow-Less ‘Pride Packs’ to Recognize Homosexual Pride Month   Jun 02, 2020 06:42 pm

Mars, Inc., which owns the candy brand Skittles, has announced that it is releasing rainbow-less “Pride Packs” in the United States in recognition of Pride Month, and part of the proceeds will be donated to the homosexual advocacy group GLAAD. Some Christians have pushed back against the company’s “only one rainbow matters during Pride” slogan, noting that the only…

Continue reading the story 

Iranian House Church Leaders Summoned to Begin Five-Year Prison Sentences   Jun 02, 2020 12:07 pm

(Article18) — Four Iranian Christian converts have been summoned to begin their five-year jail sentences for leading house-churches, for which they were convicted of “acting against national security.” Hossein Kadivar, Khalil Dehghanpour, Kamal Naamanian and Mohammed Vafadar were summoned on May 28 and told they must submit themselves at Tehran’s Evin…

Continue reading the story 

Evangelical Churches in Italy Reopen With ‘Gratitude to God and the Desire to Return to Normality’   Jun 03, 2020 08:22 pm

(Evangelical Focus) — Following the measures signed with the government in the “Protocol with the Protestant, Evangelical and Anglican churches,” the Italian evangelical churches were able to reopen their places of worship after May 18. The first Sunday of reopening was May 24, but several churches decided to wait another week to organize themselves better,…

Continue reading the story 

US Dept. of Ed. Finds Inclusion of Transgenders in Girls’ Track Resulted in ‘Lost Opportunities’ for Female Athletes   Jun 04, 2020 07:30 pm

Photo Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has concluded an investigation into the complaint of three female track athletes who contend that they are being denied fairness in women’s sports as the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) implemented a policy allowing…

Continue reading the story 

Trump Signs Executive Order Prioritizing International Religious Freedom in US Foreign Policy   Jun 04, 2020 12:35 pm

Photo Credit: Open Doors USA WASHINGTON — President Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday directing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator John Barsa to develop a plan to prioritize religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy and in foreign assistance funding. “Religious freedom,…

Continue reading the story 

Chaos! Stores Destroyed, Fires Blazing and Looting in Broad Daylight as Violence Breaks out Nationwide   Jun 01, 2020 08:06 am

Following the death of George Floyd, demonstrations broke out over the weekend in at least 30 cities across America in order to condemn Floyd’s death at the hands of police. While thousands came together peacefully, the events have not been without large scale looting and violence — even in broad daylight — as well as messages of hatred spray-painted on buildings…

Continue reading the story 


Riots, like military org., ‘attack and dethrone God’ – Former FBI agent
Former FBI deputy counterterror director Terry Turchie told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Friday when speaking on the news that the riots occurring throughout the United States in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police is not unlike the extreme leftist Weather Underground Organization (WUO), claiming one of its intentions was to “attack and dethrone God.”

All This Chaos Might Be Giving You ‘Crisis Fatigue’
When you’re faced with a threat, the adrenal glands…flood your body with the stress hormone cortisol…and adrenaline…But it can also be overwhelming…when our brains are being bombarded by an absolute onslaught of crises: the Covid-19 pandemic, economic distress, and nationwide civil unrest… You might at this point feel lost or numb, and that’s perfectly natural. Psychologists call it crisis fatigue…

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Are Coming to the U.S.
This summer, for the first time, genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the U.S. On May 1, 2020, the company Oxitec received an experimental use permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to release millions of GM mosquitoes…every week over the next two years in Florida and Texas. Females of this mosquito species, Aedes aegypti, transmit dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses.

Looters who hit L.A. stores explain what they did: ‘Get my portion!’
The young man flanked the shattered entry of a ransacked CVS in Santa Monica, where people had swept the shelves clean of everything from diapers to detergent. The man, who did not cover his face, admitted he was a looter. He did not apologize. “We’ve got no other way of showing people how angry we are,” he said. Out of the store ran another young man, this one holding a carton of eggs…“We’re doing it because we can,” he said.

Indigenous deaths in custody: Why Australians are seizing on US protests
Anger over the death of George Floyd has spread to Australia, with Black Lives Matter protests being held across the country. But Australian demonstrators are not just expressing solidarity. Many are using the moment to vent fury about indigenous deaths in custody in Australia. So what is the situation?

Trump ‘approves plan’ to withdraw US troops from Germany
US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to withdraw 9,500 American troops from bases in Germany by September, US media say. Mr Trump, who has long complained that European members of Nato should spend more on their own defence, reportedly wants US troop levels capped at 25,000. Troops would either be redeployed elsewhere or return home, US media report, citing a government official.

Towards a global intifada
The ongoing protests over the May 25 police killing of George Floyd and the United States political establishment’s heavy-handed response to them are seminal developments in modern American history. They not only expose the deep-rooted racism of the American society but also provide yet another refutation to American exceptionalism – the widely-held belief that the US is fundamentally different from and superior to other nations.

Syrian defences intercept Israeli missiles in Hama
Syrian air defences have intercepted an Israeli attack near a central town that caused explosions and a large fire in the area. Syrian news agency SANA said the Israeli air attack occurred near the town of Masyaf in the Hama countryside. There was no immediate word on casualties or damage. Residents in neighbouring Lebanon reported hearing the Israeli warplanes flying at low altitude…on their way to bomb Syria…

Northern Ireland under worst drought since 1976
Farmers in Northern Ireland are facing the worst drought since 1976. It came after an unusually dry spell and the sunniest spring ever, with records dating back to 1929. Allan Chambers, a member of the UFU’s Seeds and Cereals Committee, said the lack of rainfall placed farmers under a dire situation. According to Met Office, this year’s spring, which spans from March to May, was the sunniest on record for the region.

Russian-U.S. Tensions Rise in Syria as Moscow Expands Presence – Reports
Tensions flared between Russia and the United States as the Russian military reportedly seeks to expand its presence in U.S.-controlled northeastern Syria, news outlets reported this week. The latest flare-up follows the Russian military’s reported attempt to build a base near the Turkish and Iraqi borders last week.

Russia declares state of emergency after second largest oil spill in Arctic Circle
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency in Norilsk, Siberia, on June 4, 2020, following a 20 000 tonne-oil spill in the Arctic Circle. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) described the disaster as the second largest in modern Russian history since the 1994 oil spill in the northwestern region of Komi. Meanwhile, Greenpeace Russia compared it to the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill.

In Rare Statement, Soros Denies Paying Protesters To Riot
Following accusations that paid protesters are hijacking the George Floyd protests and inciting riots, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation has issued a rare statement claiming that he – nor anyone else, is funding the chaos.

May gun sales hit all-time record in face of COVID, riots 
Americans are in a better position to defend themselves and their families after another record month of gun sales.

D.C. mayor has ‘Black Lives Matter’ painted on street leading to White House
On Friday, photos and video went viral of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” being painted in giant yellow letters on a street in Washington, D.C., but the art project highlighted divisions between several of the key leaders in our nation’s capital, as President Donald Trump, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the D.C. Chapter of Black Lives Matter traded criticisms back and forth.

THUG LIFE: Pretend Christian Kanye West Joins Black Lives Matter Anti-Police Protests, Scrubs Twitter Feed Of Nearly All His ‘Sunday Service’ Tweets
Oh, it was such fun while it lasted, wasn’t it? Pretend Christian Kanye West deceived millions of biblically illiterate and lukewarm Laodicean Christians with his phony ‘Sunday Service’ garbage, where Ye was glorified and Jesus came in a close second. Remember how hard on me you were when I pointed out to you that he was deceiving you to make millions? Well, Kanye West made about $250 millions off of you people who bought his stuff. Remember you said that he was just a “baby Christian” and to give him time? Time’s up, welcome to reality.

Are You One Of the Spiritually Deceived And Mentally Deficient People Who Are Kneeling Before Black Lives Matter Repenting Of Your Whiteness?
That what I am writing about today is even a thing is beyond disturbing to me on not just many levels but on every level. As the end times insanity heats up, and ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter domestic terrorists continue to loot, pillage, burn, steal and destroy, white Liberals have begun kneeling before their captors and asking to be forgiven of their “whiteness”, and their “white privilege”. Are you one of those weak, pathetic, deceived and virulently pusillanimous people engaging in such behaviour? If so, do you think such ridiculous efforts will “stop racism” in America and around the world? Let me give you a much-needed reality check.

Shocker! Economy gains 2.5 million jobs in May
The economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May lowering the unemployment rate to 13.3%, the Labor Department said Friday in an employment report.

At least 50 handguns stolen in overnight heist in California, police say
More than 50 handguns were stolen in an overnight looting spree in California, marking another escalation in nearly a week of protests seeking justice for George Floyd.

The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine turned into laughing stocks as widely-touted hydroxychlorine study found to be based on fabricated data organized by science fiction writer and adult content model
Just as the mainstream media utterly destroyed its credibility in trying to remove President Trump from office, the medical establishment is committing credibility suicide in a mad rush to try to suppress the truth about hydroxychloroquine, an off-patent drug that can save patients from covid-19.

George Soros Uses Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA to Turn Minneapolis Into A War Zone
Right now the city of Minneapolis is besieged and under attack, but not from Muslim terrorists or some other foreign national group.

Amazon allies with communist-funded Antifa terrorism
If you were wondering where Amazon stands on all the looting and rioting taking place across America, the company has indicated that it is in full support of it.


Headlines – 6/6/2020

Jerusalem minister: ‘We will not accept’ Palestinian state in Trump peace plan

US still working to bring Palestinians to the table on peace plan, diplomat says

UN seeks meeting of Mideast mediators on Israel-Palestinians as annexation looms

TV: German FM to make urgent visit to Israel to warn against annexation

Prominent British Jews urge Israel not to annex West Bank lands

Russia’s foray into Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking

Palestinians Tell ICC That Israeli Annexation Nullifies Oslo Accords

Police removes anti-annexation protest restrictions, thousands to march

Breaking China: A rupture looms between Israel and the United States

Israel Marks 53 Years Since ‘Defining Moment’ of Six-Day War

UN atomic watchdog says Iran now violating all restrictions of nuclear deal

Nuclear Watchdog Voices Serious Concern About Iran’s Blocking of Old Sites

Iran FM throws ball back in Trump’s court on nuclear deal

U.S says door remains open for diplomacy with Iran

US circles proposal to extend Iran arms embargo among Security Council members

India, China Agree to Resolve Border Dispute ‘Peacefully’

India and Australia sign pacts to strengthen military ties as tensions simmer in South China Sea

U.S. military commander says China pushing territorial claims under cover of coronavirus

U.S. warship steams through Taiwan Strait

US jails three Chinese nationals for photographing navy base

Mexico police set on fire during protests against fatal beating

Fearing violence, France bans George Floyd protests at U.S. Embassy, Eiffel Tower

Justin Trudeau takes a knee at anti-Black racism protest in Ottawa

‘No Kneeling’: Trump renews criticism of nonviolent anthem protests

As US protests calm, demonstrators vow to sustain momentum until change happens

White House to be under siege Saturday as protesters plan massive swarm on Washington

57 Buffalo cops resign from special squad after 2 suspended for shoving 75-year-old protester to the ground

Cities Ask if It’s Time to Defund Police and ‘Reimagine’ Public Safety

All This Chaos Might Be Giving You ‘Crisis Fatigue’

Which rights take precedence in a pandemic turned civil crisis? If coronavirus restrictions on religious services are enforced while anti-racism mass protests are allowed, are the lockdowns still valid?

George Floyd: ‘Pandemic of racism’ led to his death, memorial told

Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick: The real way to address racism is for Americans to “accept Jesus Christ”

Searching Twitter for ‘racist’ shows you President Donald Trump’s account

Twitter, Facebook disable Trump campaign’s Floyd video tribute over copyright

Chris Cuomo Proves He Has No Idea What the Constitution Says During Humiliating Live Segment

Biden: “10 to 15 Percent” Of Americans Are “Not Very Good People”

Trump: Good jobs numbers are a ‘great day’ for murdered George Floyd

Trump touts job gains as ‘greatest comeback in American history’

Shocking job numbers raise hopes for quicker recovery

Dow jumps more than 800 points, Nasdaq hits a record after surprise jobs surge boosts recovery bets

China’s Digital Currency Could Challenge Bitcoin and Even the Dollar

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Sincik, Turkey

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Banos, Philippines

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 23,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 11,000ft

Tropical Storm Cristobal to make a run at the US coast

Tropical storm warning issued for metro New Orleans ahead of Cristobal

Lightning bolt strikes the Washington Monument

Earth has hottest May on record, with 2020 on track to be one of the top 10 warmest years

Russia declares state of emergency over Arctic Circle oil spill caused by melting permafrost

Pope Francis: Wounds of Mother Earth ‘Bleed in Us’

Vast locust swarms in East Africa put almost 5 million people at risk of hunger and famine: Experts

Scientists Fight Plan to Release Gene-Hacked Mosquitoes in TX, FL

Russia Developing Coronavirus Treatment That Disinfects the Body With UV Light From Inside

Bolsonaro Threatens World Health Organization Exit as Coronavirus Kills ‘A Brazilian per Minute’

White House forces reporters to ditch social distancing

White House reporters had their seats moved closer together in violation of CDC guidelines because it ‘looks better’

CDC Director ‘Very Concerned’ Warnings About Coronavirus Aren’t Resonating with American Public

CDC: Americans desperate to kill coronavirus are dangerously mixing cleaners, bleaching food

Coronavirus vaccine: White House narrows focus, a billionaire scientist jumps in the race

Surveillance Technology Will Only Get More Intense After Covid

Jim Cramer: The pandemic led to ‘one of the greatest wealth transfers in history’


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

Author Terry Turchie: The Democrat Party has Adopted All of the Weather Underground Strategies for Resistance Into Their Party Platform (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Author Terry Turchie joined Laura Ingraham on Friday night to discuss the ongoing rioting, police attacks and mass protests organized by the American left in numerous cities across the US.

The riots going on today around the country are no surprise.  They are backed by domestic terrorists, Black Lives Matter, US Islamists and others linked to the Democrat Party as we have previously pointed out.

The riots also have everything to do with the prior Barack Obama administration that is still  leading the Democrat Party.  These operational tactics were used by the militant Weather Underground 50 years ago.

The Weather Underground was a group of young violent communists, including Bill Ayers, who were against the war in Vietnam and were active in bombing buildings across the country in their attempts to end the war and create societal change.  Ayers later would be associated with Barack Obama in Chicago, a claim that Obama denied.  Others believe Ayers was very close to Obama.

Author Terry Turchie on the Ingraham Angle, noted the following about the Weather Underground last night:

What was their strategy?  Their strategy was resistance.  Not too long, maybe 5 minutes after President Trump won the election in 2016, Democrat Party leaders came out and said we’re going to resist.  We’re going to embark upon a strategy of resistance of the President.  But that’s not, that’s only the beginning.

The document, the Prairie Fire document, actually contained 6 points that the Weather Underground felt very important about.  These were the planning points that would bring about this revolution.

Here are the points from the Weather Underground on “Revolutionary anti-Imperialism” noted by Turchie:

Police brutality was used by the Weather Underground.  Turchie continues:

Police racism then and police racism now is a phony issue.  It has always been a phony issue.   It’s the issue that Communist societies use to literally tear apart America and be divisive.

Turchie then argues that, “All of this has been adopted into the 2016 party platform in almost the same language you have on the screen.”

Listen to more about Obama’s Democrat Party below.

Via The Ingraham Angle:

via Author Terry Turchie: The Democrat Party has Adopted All of the Weather Underground Strategies for Resistance Into Their Party Platform (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Discouraged by the Madness? — Blog & Mablog

If you are tempted to be discouraged by the madness of the year 2020, with the waves of our demented culture frothing the way they do, just remember that they are doing this because they are crashing into the everlasting rocks of God’s purposes. All of this is occurring, all of it, in the palm of God’s hand. So always remember the opening words of this great Genevan psalm: “Why do the heathen nations vainly rage, what prideful schemes are they in vain devising . . .?”

The words below are not words from Scripture, but they are a good testimony to the fact that there really is nothing new under the sun.

“Stable government will be at an end; one faction will prevail over another, caring nothing in their day of power for king or leading men of rank. A man may want to visit a city, but will not be able to do so; for ambition and rivalry will have reduced cities to chaos, destroyed houses and filled men with panic. A man will violently assault his neighbor’s house and plunder his goods; no pity will restrain him, when he is in the grip of famine and grinding misery.”

2 Esdras 15:16-19 (NEB)

So when you stare agape at one more unbelievable round of the evening news, you wonder aloud, “What is happening?” It is fine to ask the question — necessary to ask the question, in fact — but make sure you conclude with the biblical answer. God is throwing the pride of man headlong into the cauldron of his self-made inconsistencies and contradictions. That is what is happening.

Explains everything. If you need reassurance on the point, just play Psalm 2 again.

via Discouraged by the Madness? — Blog & Mablog

America Dealing With Insurrection, Not Media-Described Unrest — Christian Research Network

The visceral hatred of the “Resistance” toward the president has shifted to the hatred of the 63 million who voted for America’s 45th, and the hatred won’t stop until they get their way.

(Judi McLeod) June 2, 2020: Americans woke up this morning following the seventh consecutive night of looting, rioting; injured citizens and injured police officers trying to protect the wanton destruction of small businesses, including some of those operated by minorities—all media-described as “unrest”.

But it is not “unrest” that Americans are waking up to this morning but galvanized “insurrection”—an organized and orchestrated insurrection at that.

Dangerous, Deadly Full-Out Anarchy

What innocent masses have been subjected to during the past three months alone is as shocking as it it outrageous: millions still in government-imposed Lockdown even as the Coronavirus is on the wane; millions of healthy people restricted to home isolation; millions of people daily losing the jobs they need to support their families.

Barely hanging on in a teetering economy brought on by the pandemic, small business owners watch helplessly as their businesses are burned to the ground by what the media calls ‘peaceful’ protests.

Anarchists on the rampage are not protesting for George Floyd Justice.  They hijacked the George Lloyd protests, turning them into dangerous, deadly full-out anarchy.

“Unrest” is a passive term, “insurrection”  from anarchy, that destroys human lives far more deadly.

It’s been getting worse each night out on the streets of major American cities, with seemingly no end in sight.

“A video emerged Monday night that showed an SUV plowing through a line of officers responding to a protest in Buffalo, N.Y., hitting two law enforcement officers and speeding away. The officers were listed in serious condition and the suspected driver was apprehended.” (Fox News, June 2, 2020)  View article →

via America Dealing With Insurrection, Not Media-Described Unrest — Christian Research Network

June 6th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face.—1 Corinthians 13:12.

THE word Paul used, properly translated, is “mirror.” Now, we see God, as it were, in a mirror, but then, face to face.

Suppose we knew nothing of the sun except what we saw of its light reflected from the moon? Would we not wonder about its immense distance, about its dazzling splendor, about its life-giving power? But all that we see, the sun, the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, the flowers, and above all, man, are a grand mirror in which the perfection of God is imperfectly reflected.[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. 98). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

June 6 Thoughts for the quiet hour

 

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord … I know that … whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day

John 11:21, 22, 23,

Beware, in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of your place in Christ; and expect great things.

Andrew Murray[1]

 

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

Less than 1% of mainstream media TV protest coverage dedicated to those killed in riots: study | Disrn

Less than 1% of ABC, NBC, and CBS television coverage of the protests and riots that have engulfed America has been dedicated to reporting on those killed in the unrest, a study from media watchdog Newsbusters reveals.

— Read on disrn.com/news/less-than-1-of-mainstream-media-tv-protest-coverage-dedicated-to-those-who-have-died-in-riots-study/

June 6 Streams in the Desert

 

Watch unto prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7)

GO not, my friend, into the dangerous world without prayer. You kneel down at night to pray, drowsiness weighs down your eyelids; a hard day’s work is a kind of excuse, and you shorten your prayer, and resign yourself softly to repose. The morning breaks; and it may be you rise late, and so your early devotions are not done, or are done with irregular haste.

No watching unto prayer! Wakefulness once more omitted; and now is that reparable! We solemnly believe not.

There has been that done which cannot be undone. You have given up your prayer, and you will suffer for it.

Temptation is before you, and you are not ready to meet it. There is a guilty feeling on the soul, and you linger at a distance from God. It is no marvel if that day in which you suffer drowsiness to interfere with prayer be a day in which you shrink from duty.

Moments of prayer intruded on by sloth cannot be made up. We may get experience, but we cannot get back the rich freshness and strength which were wrapped up in those moments.—Frederick W. Robertson.

If Jesus, the strong Son of God, felt it necessary to rise before the breaking of the day to pour out His heart to God in prayer, how much more ought you to pray unto Him who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and who has promised all things necessary for our good.

What Jesus gathered into His life from His prayers we can never know; but this we do know, that the prayerless life is a powerless life. A prayerless life may be a noisy life, and fuss around a great deal; but such a life is far removed from Him who, by day and night, prayed to God.—Selected.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 169–170). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

June 6, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 12:5–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


6–7 Sparrows (v. 6) and hairs (v. 7) are so insignificant that this kind of argument (from lesser to greater) has a great effect in pointing up the supreme worth of the disciples in God’s eyes. References to “hair” in the context of divine protection reappear in 21:16–19 and Acts 27:34. These references have their background in OT sayings that highlight God’s sovereignty (cf. D. C. Allison, “ ‘The Hairs of Your Head Are All Numbered,’ ” ExpTim 101 [1990]: 334–36).[1]


6–7 Key to Jesus’ overall message according to Luke is his portrayal of God, so his return to this subject in his instruction on faithfulness in the context of persecution is not unexpected. What may be unsettling, however, is that Jesus does not present God as “savior” in the usual way—that is, as one who rescues his people from danger. Sparrows, though of little value in the marketplace (a “penny” is a small coin whose value is measured as one-sixteenth of a denarius), are remembered by God; arguing from lesser to greater, Jesus can thus affirm that disciples are similarly not forgotten by God. Nevertheless, that none of them is forgotten by God does not keep sparrows from being sold in the marketplace and eaten, nor does God’s knowledge of the number of hairs on “your head” portend a divine guarantee of one’s safety.

It is true that elsewhere in the Lukan narrative reference to hair can be related to divine protection, but in those instances notions of care and security are stated explicitly (cf. 21:18; Acts 27:34). This is not true in the present co-text. Here an alternative interpretive tradition is being accessed. This is the conceptualization of God as one who can count what humans cannot count and, so, whose knowledge surpasses that of humans and whose design, therefore, cannot be grasped fully by humans.15 The point, then, is that sparrows can be bought and sold and that humans can suffer persecution, but not apart from God’s attentiveness, not outside of God’s care, not in a way that circumvents the redemptive plan of God. Jesus’ words contrast the limited knowledge of human beings with the mysterious omniscience of God, in this co-text with reference to the significance of the experience of even life-threatening hostility among Jesus’ followers.

Human ignorance might lead to hasty and unsuitable responses to persecution, but, according to the theodicy of this text, recognition of the mystery of God’s incomparable wisdom makes evil endurable. It may also deter Jesus’ followers from responding faithlessly in the ordeal of persecution. God is not absent from or unaware of persecution; rather, as will become clear in the following verses, it is precisely in such circumstances that the Holy Spirit enables inspired witness. A God who has the authority to cast people into Gehenna ought to be feared over those who can only kill the body (12:4–5), but the God who has this authority is also the God whose redemptive will or care is not confuted by persecution.[2]


12:6 / sparrows: Lit. “small birds” (sparrows were not actually eaten). The reference is to small birds sold for food. A “penny” (lit. assarion) was the smallest of Roman coins, worth 1/16 of a denarius (which in turn was equivalent to a day’s wage). Lachs (p. 185) cites the following rabbinic saying: “R. Simon ben Yohai said: ‘No bird perishes without God, how much less man’ ” (Genesis Rabbah 79.6; Pesiqta de Rab Kahana 10 [88b]).[3]


12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Small birds (“sparrows” is probably too precise) were sold as food for the poor and as pets for the rich. If something so cheap nonetheless matters to God, how much more his people matter! Little birds still die, of course, and so do disciples; but this is not a matter of indifference to God.[4]


Vers. 6, 7.—Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Though persecution and bitter suffering, even death, may be the guerdon of the Lord’s true servants here, none of these things can happen without the consent of God. This thought will surely give them courage to endure. Suffering undergone in God’s service, inflicted, too, with his entire consent, so that the suffering becomes part of the service,—what an onlook is afforded to the brave, faithful servant by such a contemplation! Oh the welcome from God he is sure to meet with when such a death has been endured! These extreme instances of God’s universal care—his all-knowledge of everything, however little and insignificant, belonging to his creatures—are chosen to give point to the Master’s words. If he knows of the death of these little, almost valueless, birds—ay, even of the falling of one of the many hairs of your head—surely you cannot doubt his knowledge of, his caring for, the life or death of one of his proved and gallant followers. These little sparrows were sold in the markets, strung together, or on skewers.[5]


6–7. But his basic concern is to reassure his friends, not to frighten them. He goes on immediately to the care God has for his people and illustrates from the little birds. Five sparrows were sold for two pennies. Matthew tells us that two sparrows went for a penny. Evidently one was thrown in for nothing when two pennyworth were bought. But not one of them (not even the free one!) is forgotten before God. God takes notice of the commonest and cheapest of birds. Much more, then, will he be concerned for people. Jesus brings out this point with the information that the hairs of our heads are all numbered. The importance of this does not lie in the actual count, but in the fact that God cares enough about his people to know the minutest detail about them. He knows things they do not know about themselves. So those who are of more value than many sparrows should face life without fear.[6]


12:6 What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? The copper coin here is an assarion [787, 837], a Roman coin worth 1/16th of a denarius. As Bilkes (2000:915) has noted: “Sizable transactions were made in the denomination of the talent (Matt 18:24; 25:14–28) or the mina (19:13–25). The debtor of Jesus’ parable owed alternatively 10,000 talents (Matt 18:24) or 500 denarii (7:41). The smaller denominations (the chalkos, lepton, assarion, and quadrans) were used in more daily affairs, for which a purse would be carried (22:36).”[7]


Vers. 6, 7. Not one of them is forgotten before God.

God’s universal oversight:—You see the Bible will not be limited in the choice of symbols, and there is hardly a beast, or bird, or insect which has not been called to illustrate some Divine truth—the ox’s patience, the ant’s industry, the spider’s skill, the hind’s surefootedness, the eagle’s speed, the dove’s gentleness, and even the sparrow’s meanness and insignificance. In Oriental countries, none but the poorest people buy the sparrow and eat it, so very little meat is there on the bones, and so very poor is it what there is of it. The comfortable population would not think of touching it any more than you would think of eating a bat or a lamprey eel. Now, says Jesus, if God takes care of such a poor bird that is not worth a cent, won’t He care for you, an immortal? We associate God with revolutions. We can see a Divine purpose in the discovery of America, in the invention of the art of printing, in the exposure of the Gunpowder Plot, in the contrivance of the needle-gun, in the ruin of an Austrian or Napoleonic despotism; but how hard it is to see God in the minute personal affairs of our lives. We think of God as making a record of the starry host, but cannot realize the Bible truth that He knows how many hairs there are on your head. It seems a grand thing that God provided food for hundreds of thousands of Israelites in the desert, but we cannot appreciate the truth that when a sparrow is hungry God stoops down and opens its mouth, and puts the seed in. We are struck with the idea that God fills the universe with His presence; but cannot understand how He encamps in the crystal palace of a dewdrop, or finds room to stand, without being crowded, between the alabaster pillars of a pond lily. We can see God in the clouds. Can we see God in these flowers on this platform? We are apt to place God upon some great platform, or try to do it, expecting Him there to act out His stupendous projects; but we forget that the life of a Cromwell, an Alexander, a Washington, or an archangel is no more under Divine inspiration than your life or mine. Pompey thought there must have been a mist over the eyes of God because He so much favoured Cæsar; but there is no such mist. He sees everything. We say God’s path is in the great waters. True enough; but no more, certainly, than He is in the water in the glass on this table. We say God guides the stars in their courses—magnificent truth!—but no more certain truth than he decides which ferry-boat you shall take to-morrow morning to New York. God does not sit upon an indifferent and unsympathetic throne, but He sits down beside you to-day, and stands beside me to-day, and no affair of our lives is so insignificant but that it is of importance to God. 1. In the first place, God chooses for us our occupation. I am amazed to see how many people there are dissatisfied with the work they have to do. I think three-fourths wish they were in some other occupation; and they spend a great deal of time in regretting that they got in the wrong trade or profession. I want to tell you that God put into operation all the influences which led you to that particular choice. You know a man having a large estate. He gathers his working hands in the morning, and says to one, “You go and trim that vine”; to another, “You go and weed those flowers”; and to another, “You plough that tough glebe”; and each one goes to his particular work. The owner of the estate points the man to what he knows he can do best; and so it is with the Lord. He calls us up, and points to that field for which we are best fitted. So that the first lesson coming from this subject is: Stay cheerfully where God puts you. 2. I remark, further, that God has arranged the place of our dwelling. What particular city, or town, or street, or house you shall live in seems to be a mere matter of accident. You go out to hunt for a house, and you happen to pass up a certain street, and happen to see a sign, and you select that house. Was it all happening so? Oh, no. God guided you in every step. He foresaw the future. He knew all your circumstances, and He selected just that one house as better for you than any one of the ten thousand habitations in the city. 3. I remark, further, that God arranges all our friendships. You were driven to the wall. You found a man just at that crisis who sympathized with you and helped you. You say: “How lucky I was.” There was no luck about it. God sent that friend just as certain as He sent the ravens to feed Elijah, or the angel to strengthen Christ. Your domestic friends, your business friends, your Christian friends, God sent them to bless you; and if any of them have proved traitorous, it is only to bring out the value of those who remain. If some die, it is only that they may stand on the outpost of heaven to greet you at your coming. You always will have friends—warm-hearted friends—magnanimous friends; and, when sickness comes to your dwelling, there will be watchers; when trouble comes to your heart, there will be sympathisers; when death comes, there will be gentle fingers to close the eyes and fold the hands, and consoling lips to tell of a resurrection. Oh! we are compassed by a bodyguard of friends. Every man, if he has behaved himself well, is surrounded by three circles of friends; those on the outer circle wishing him well; those in the next circle willing to help him; while close up to his heart are a few who would die for him. God pity the wretch who has not any friends; he has not behaved well. 4. I remark, again, that God puts down the limit to our temporal prosperity. The world of finance seems to have no God in it. You cannot tell where men will land. The affluent fall; the poor rise. The ingenious fail; the ignorant succeed. An enterprise opening grandly shuts in bankruptcy; while out of the peat dug up from some New England marsh, the millionaire builds his fortune. The poor man thinks it is chance that keeps him down. The rich man thinks it is chance which hoists him, and they are both wrong. It is so hard to realize that God rules the money market, and has a hook in the nose of the stock gambler; and that all the commercial revolutions of the world shall result in the very best for God’s dear children. My brother, don’t kick against the Divine allotments. God knows just how much money it is best for you to have. You never lose unless it is best for you to lose, and you never gain unless it is best for you to gain. You go up when it is best for you to go up, and go down when it is best for you to go down. Prove it, you say. I will. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” You go into a factory, and you see twenty or thirty wheels, and they are going in different directions. This band is rolling off this way, and another band another way; one down and the other up. You say—“What confusion in a factory.” Oh, no, all these different bands are only different parts of the machinery. So I go into your life, and see strange things. Here is one providence pulling one way, and another in another way; but they are different parts of one machinery by which He will advance your present and everlasting well-being. (Dr. Talmage.)

Of the providence of God:

  1. There is a providence. This appears—1. From plain Scripture testimonies (see Psa. 103:19; Eph. 1:11). 2. From the nature of God, who being independent, and the first cause of all things, the creatures must needs depend upon Him in their being and working. He is the end of all things, wise, knowing how to manage all for the best; powerful to effectuate whatever He has purposed, and faithful to accomplish all He has decreed, promised, or threatened. 3. From the harmony and order of the most confused things in the world. Everything appears to a discerning eye to be wisely ordered, notwithstanding the confusions that seem to take place. 4. From the fulfilment of prophecies, which could not possibly be without a providence to bring them to pass.
  2. Let us, in the next place, consider the object of providence, or that which it reacheth and extendeth to. And this is all the creatures, and all their actions—“Upholding all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3). “His kingdom ruleth over all” (Psa. 103:19).

III. I proceed to consider the acts of providence. They are two, preserving and governing the creatures and their actions. 1. God by His providence preserves all the creatures. 2. God does not only preserve the creatures, but governs and manages them, which is the second act of providence; whereby He disposes of all things, persons, and actions, according to His will; “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov. 21:1). “The lot is cast into the lap: but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). “A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9). And this act of providence is also necessary: for as the creature cannot be or exist without God, so neither can it act without Him (Acts 17:21). God does not make man as the carpenter doth the ship, which afterwards sails without him; but He rules and guides him, sitting at the helm, to direct and order all his motions: so that whatever men do, they do nothing without Him; not only in their good actions, where He gives grace, and excites it, working in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure; but also in their evil actions, wherein they are under the hand of providence, but in a very different manner. (1) God permits sin, when He does not hinder it, which He is not obliged to do. (2) God leaves the sinner so far as He sees meet to the swing of his own lusts, and denies him restraining grace. (3) God bounds sin. and restrains men in their sins, as He does the raging sea, allowing it to go so far, but no further. (4) God overrules all to a good end. God has one end in wicked actions, and the sinner another. The sinner minds and intends evil, but God means and designs good by them all.

  1. Our next business is to consider the properties of Divine providence. 1. God’s providence is most holy (Psa. 145:17). 2. It is most wise (Isa. 28:29). 3. Providence is most powerful. I shall conclude with an use of exhortation. 1. Beware of drawing an excuse for your sin from the providence of God, for it is most holy, and has not the least efficiency in any sin you commit. 2. Beware of murmuring and fretting under any dispensations of providence that ye meet with; remembering that nothing falls out without a wise and holy providence, which knows best what is fit and proper for you. And in all cases, even amidst the most afflicting incidents that befall you, learn submission to the will of God. 3. Beware of anxious cares and diffidence about your through-bearing in the world. (T. Boston, D.D.)

Providence in our occupations:—Hugh Miller says, “I will be a stone-mason”; God says, “You will be a geologist.” David goes out to tend his father’s sheep; God calls him to govern a nation. Saul goes out to hunt his father’s asses, and before he gets back finds the crown of mighty dominion. (Dr. Talmage.)

Not forgotten by God:—We talk about God’s remembering us, as if it were a special effort, a laying hold by His great mind of something outside of Himself, which He determined to remember. But if we could only know how truly we belong to God it would be different. God’s remembrance of us is the natural claiming of our life by Him as a true part of His own. When the spring comes, the oak-tree, with its thousands upon thousands of leaves, is alive all over. The great heart of the oak-tree remembers every remotest tip of every farthest branch, and sends to each the message and the power of new life. It is no harder work for the oak to feed and sustain and remember a million leaves than to feed and remember only one. The thrill of the common life is passed on, without effort, to each. Somewhat in this way we may think of God’s remembrance of His millions of children. We may be no more than far-off leaves upon the great tree of His life. But we are remembered just as the heart remembers the finger-tips to which it sends the crimson blood. (Victor Hugo.)

Minuteness of God’s care:—It has been said, “God is great in great things, but He is very great in little things.” This was illustrated by an incident which occurred in a room during a Scripture reading. There was a beautiful engraving on the wall of the Matterhorn mountain. It was remarked that the wondrous works of God were not only shown in those lofty, snow-clad mountains, but also the tiny mosses found in their crevices. A friend present said, “Yes, I was with a party at the Matterhorn, and, while we were admiring the sublimity of the scene, a gentleman of the company produced a pocket microscope and, having caught a tiny fly, placed it under the glass. He reminded us that the legs of the household fly in England are naked; then called our attention to the legs of this little fly, which were thickly covered with hair”; thus showing that the same God who made these lofty mountains rise, attended to the comfort of the tiniest of His creatures, even providing socks and mittens for the little flies whose homes these mountains were. (Christian Age.)

God’s care for all creatures:—It is interesting to look round the world, and note the various tokens to be seen everywhere of God’s liberal hand in supplying the wants of His creature man. Dr. Livingstone, writing of some plants that grew in Kalahari Desert, mentions a plant called Leroshua, which he says “is a blessing to the inhabitants of the desert. We see a small plant with liuear leaves, and a stalk not thicker than a crow’s quill; on digging down a foot or eighteen inches beneath, we come to a tuber, often as large as the head of a young child; when the rind is removed we find it to be a mass of cellular tissue, filled with fluid much like that in a young turnip. Owing to the depth beneath the soil at which it is found, it is generally deliciously cool and rcfreshing.”

Caring for a little bird:—We are at a loss to conceive the infinite range of mind, thought, and heart that embraces alike the inconceivable magnitudes and the microscopic minutiæ of the universe. And yet this same phenomenon is witnessed in ourselves—minute images of God. While the great Gustavus Adolphus was in the midst of the dust, smoke, clangour, and excitement of a momentous battle, a little bird, dizzy and bewildered with the noise and wild atmospheric confusion, sank and lighted upon his shoulder. The battle, vast in its proportions, momentous in the interests it involved, still left room in his mind and heart for the distress and peril of that little bird, and he hid it in safety beneath the folds of his dress, and plunged again into the fight. The same trait appears—on a very small scale, it may be—in our own experience, and appearing there, pictures in miniature the all-embracing range of the Divine thought and providential care.

God may be safely trusted:—An aged Christian who had long been an invalid, and was dependent on Christian charity for her support, on sending for a new physician who had just come into the place, and united with the same Church of which she was a member, said to him, “Doctor, I wish to put myself under your care, but I cannot do it unless you will trust my Father.” “Well, Ma’am,” replied the physician, “I believe your Father is rich; I may safely trust Him.” (New Cyclopœdia of Anecdote.)

An ever watchful providence:—A little error of the eye, a misguidance of the hand, a slip of the foot, a starting of a horse, a sudden mist, or a great shower, or a word undesignedly cast forth in an army, has turned the stream of victory from one side to another, and thereby disposed of empires and whole nations. No prince ever returned safe out of a battle but may well remember how many blows and bullets have gone by him that might easily have gone through him; and by what little odd, unforeseen chances, death has been turned aside which seemed in a full, ready, direct career to have been posting to him. All which passages, if we do not acknowledge to have been guided to their respective ends and effects by the conduct of a superior and a Divine hand, we do, by the same assertion, cashier all providence, strip the Almighty of His noblest prerogative, and make God, not the Governor, but the mere Spectator of the world. (R. South, D.D.)

Providence and individuals:—Men talk in a general way about the goodness of God, His benevolence, compassion, and long-suffering; but they think of it as a flood pouring itself out through all the world—as the light of the sun, not as the continually repeated action of an intelligent and living mind contemplating whom it visits and intending what it effects. Accordingly when they come into trouble, they can but say—“It is all for the best—God is good!” and the like, and it all falls as cold comfort upon them, and does not lessen their sorrow, because they have not accustomed their minds to feel that He is a merciful God, regarding them individually, and not a mere Universal Providence, working general laws. And then, perhaps, all of a sudden the new notion breaks upon them, “Thou God seest me!” Some especial providence, amid their infliction, runs right into their hearts; brings it close home to them, in a way they never experienced before, that God sees them. (J. H. Newman.)

Man’s fear and the Divine dissuasive:—Our Lord, while instructing and preparing His disciples for future work as heralds of the kingdom, warns them that they will meet with many dangers and enemies; “but fear not,” says the Master, “you are watched at every step, and come life, come death, you are safe.”

  1. Man’s fears. They are of two kinds—1. Those which respect this world. Some people go through life much more anxiously than others, though in outward circumstances there seems little difference in their respective lots. A good deal depends upon a man’s temperament as to the way in which he will take things. Those on the lower ground have the least care. As we rise higher in the social scale, then it brings increasing solicitude. Provision has to be made not only for the wants of the day, but for appearances. It is right enough that men should look to appearances. God looks to appearances. He has made this world-house beautiful, and we are but following the Divine example when we try to make our life a thing of variety, largeness, and grace. But in doing so, the gates of anxiety are opened to us, and we are careful and troubled. 2. Fears respecting the world to come and our spiritual state and relation to that. The fullest victory over the cares and fears of this life is to be gained only by living for a higher world. Let us try to see Jesus standing as Lord of both worlds, and saying, “Fear not.”
  2. The Divine dissuasive. “Fear not.” This is supported and recommended by several arguments, as the limited power of man and of circumstances. Men may say and do a great deal which may be injurious to you, but you always come to the limit: “After that, there is nothing more they can do.” Again, there is unlimited power with God, and if we are true trusting disciples of Christ this is a great dissuasive from fear. God will use all that infinite power to protect and save His trusting children. “He telleth the number of the stars,” and has regard to every sparrow that flies. Why should we fear? Then our Lord teaches us that we are of more value to God than the inferior creatures. He has a higher care about us. (A. Raleigh, D.D.)

Divine providence:

  1. I shall endeavour, in the first place, to illustrate the subject of a Divine providence. 1. Divine providence implies the preservation of all things. 2. Providence also implies the government of the world by its great and almighty Ruler. (1) Divine providence is particular in its government. A general providence must, in the nature of things, include a particular one. God cannot superintend the larger parts of the universe without taking care of the most minute parts. The all-wise and all-gracious Being who created all things, sustains all things. He is the Preserver as well as the Creator of everything that exists. As no part of His universe can be neglected or overlooked by Him, so no circumstance, however trivial, in the history of any individual is beneath His notice. No created thing can continue either to exist or to act independently of Him. He governs each individual with the same care and attention that He pays to the whole. (2) Divine providence is special in its regards. We know that God Almighty is the Father, the kind and gracious Father of all mankind; His Providence is, consequently, exercised on behalf of all living things. He careth for the animal creation, every part of which is under His government; for “He giveth food unto the cattle, and feedeth the young ravens that call upon Him. The lions roaring after their prey do seek their meat from God; He openeth His hand, and filleth all things living with plenteousness.” His providence is exercised also on behalf of the unholy and unthankful: to them He is kind and merciful, and for them He makes rich and constant provision. His love is not confined—“The Lord is loving unto every man, and His mercy is over all His works.” We must, however, distinguish betwixt that general regard which the Almighty exercises towards the whole race of mankind, and that tender and special regard which He feels towards those who love Him, and constantly worship Him in spirit and in truth. (3) The administration of Divine providence, though often mysterious, is uniformly conducted by infinite wisdom, and with the most benign intentions.
  2. Lessons which flow from this representation of Divine providence. 1. We are reminded of the supreme worth and importance of the friendship of God. 2. By this subject we are taught the duty of devout attention to the dispensations of Divine providence. 3. Reverential submission is another lesson that we derive from this important subject. 4. Finally, we derive from this representation of Divine providence a reason for cheerful and implicit confidence in God. This is the practical and consolatory use to which our blessed Lord applies the great truth now before us: “Fear not, therefore.” If you truly fear God, you need fear none beside. (T. Lessey.)

God’s never-failing providence:—The little creature mentioned is one of the most insignificant that could be thought of; and the Lord selected it, just for that utter insignificance, to bring out thereby a truth which overwhelms the reason. He took out of His immense universe, an object so poor, so small, that nothing could be less important, to illustrate the doctrine on which the system of Christian morals is built; and the truth is this: that God is in intelligent relation with everything that exists; that there are, practically, no limits to His providence; that in the universe nothing is so minute as to be overlooked or forgotten. “Not one of them is forgotten.” It is a striking phrase. It implies a knowledge which lasts, though the thing known may no longer exist; care, consideration, particulars retained in the faithful memory. And in the ephemeral history of the poor little bird, of which the great God and Saviour deigned to speak, not one item is forgotten; each tiny creature’s life, in all its extent, is seen, and known, and borne in mind by Him to whom it owes that life. Now here is a truth, which may be called the beginning of the moral law, the foundation of Christian ethics, the Alpha and Omega of Christian practice. The doctrine of the never-failing providence of Almighty God is the sheet-anchor of man’s safety. 1. The doctrine of God’s providence is, at first, as terrible to contemplate as it is hard to realize; no one can bear to think of it, no one willingly admits it, who is leading an evil life. It means that there is nothing about you, or in you, or of you, but God knows and sees it all; the thoughts of your heart, the springs and motives of your acts, the vices of your blood. Then, also, those eyes sweep the entire circumference of the sphere in which you move; they see your friends and your foes, the tempting spirits which allure you, the guardians set for your defence; they mark the rise of the storms, as yet no bigger than a man’s hand, which are coming up against you, and see, beyond, the sunshine which, after many days, may break out once more. You, just as you are, stand now before God, and simply for what you are, since there is no deceiving Him. 2. The truth of God’s never-failing providence is awful indeed to those who know Him not, nor have Him in their thoughts; but to those who are near Him, and love to set Him ever before them as the Father and the Saviour, it is more precious than words can tell. To such it serves three purposes: it gives them guidance; it gives them strength; it gives the sense of safety. It shows them what they ought to do; it assures them of success; it blesses with the blessing of peace. That is the other side of the picture; and it shines in lovely light. If our sins are before Him, so also are our humble attempts to do right, our desires to win His approval, and regrets when we fear that we have failed. He follows us with merciful and tender consideration. When we go forth, the strong Hand is there to sustain us as we walk, and lead us through peril in safety. When we come in, the faithful guardian opens to us, and bids us rest in the quietness of perfect love and trust. We see Him in each event of life, and in the smallest particulars of each day, as the Friend who is near us all the time; we find Him in our rising up and in our lying down, in the home and its pure joys, in the loving faces there; we bless Him as the Author of every innocent pleasure; when the heart is glad we know that what filled it so full is the habitual sense that God is in our happiness, as the Author and Giver: all is of Him, and to Him do we give thanks. When we take up our daily work, it is with a song in the heart, because He worketh with us and will show us how our work should be done; and when we lay it down, it is with quiet satisfaction, because He has seen all, and remembers, and knows that though we may not have been perfect, we did what we could. His Holy Spirit, called the “Paraclete,” the “Comforter,” and the “Loving Spirit,” is ever near us, and even within, since these mortal bodies are His consecrated temples; and the musical sounds often heard in the soul, like songs without words, are the voice of that Spirit, telling our spirit of the love of God for us and the reward of love for Him. 3. Its own reward follows on just and righteous doing; its reward follows surely on faith. It shall come to you along the three lines of warning, help, and comfort: the assurance of the Providence that never faileth, and never forgetteth, shall bring to you as its fruit, these precious results: A sober and awful sense of responsibility; a check and salutary restraint on action; a courage and energy above natural force; a constant sense of the Divine companionship; a transfiguration of your entire life; and, for the future, a settled restfulness and peace, the harbingers of eternal satisfaction in the likeness of Him whom now His children see by faith, but whom they shall know hereafter even as they are known. (Morgan Dix, D.D.)

God’s wonderful care:—When we think of the labour required to rear the few that are in our households—the weariness, the anxiety, the burden of life—how wonderful seems God’s work! for He carries heaven and earth, and all realms, in His bosom. Many think that God takes no thought for anything less than a star or a mountain, and is unmindful of the little things of life; but when I go abroad, the first thing which I see is the grass beneath my feet; and, nestling in that, flowers smaller yet; and lower still, the mosses with their inconspicuous blooms, which beneath the microscope glow with beauty. And if God so cares for “the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven,” shall He not much more care for the minutest things of your life, “O ye of little faith”? (H. W. Beecher.)

The worth of sparrows:—It is significant that Christ marked with so much interest the more lowly and homely of the creatures around us. He does not say, “Consider the eagle”—the monarch of the air, the symbol of empire and of victory; or, “Consider the nightingale,” the sweet Eastern bulbul, that floods the Jordan banks and the shores of Gennesaret with its passionate music; but, “Consider the raven”—a fowl of ill-omen and unattractive to the eye, or draws attention to the sparrow, a very Pariah among the feathered tribes. It is like His preference for publicans and sinners over the lordly Pharisee and learned scribe. Who but Jesus would have dreamed of getting poetry and theology out of ravens and sparrows! Who but He would have compared Himself, as He did in the most pathetic utterance of His life, to a hen vainly calling her heedless brood to the shelter of her wings! But this fashion of speech became Him who was “meek and lowly in heart”; and who, moreover, being one with the Author of Nature, interprets best her deepest and simplest lessons. And what a revelation Christ’s saying respecting the sparrows gives us of the working of God’s providence! What an omniscience and omnipresence it implies! He declares that God actually notices and cares for every little feathered thing that flits twittering through the air, or hops from bough to bough in innocent and happy freedom, or pipes its solitary note “alone upon the housetop.” And when the tiny creature falls, struck by stick or shot or stone, “it does not fall on the ground,” He says, “without your Father.” Nay, even as it hangs in the poulterer’s stall, strung up with fifty others, waiting for the purchaser, poor almost as itself, who can find the farthing needed to buy two of them, still it is not “forgotten before God.” The pitiful little tragedy, from beginning to end, is watched and recorded by the Supreme Mind! If He observes all that, what is there which He overlooks? If He “caters providently for the sparrow,” and interests Himself in its fate, how solicitous His care for all His living creatures! How minute and delicate and sympathetic, as well as far-reaching and omnipotent, the oversight of His providence, which is not less special than general, not less particular than it is universal. Even a large-minded and noble-hearted man is distinguished above others by his freedom from contempt, by his insight into the meaning of little things, and his sense of the sacredness and the value of common life. His mind is superior to the mere bulk and splendour of outward things. And with God this must be so in the most absolute sense, to the most perfect degree. “He hath respect unto the lowly.” And this “respect” extends in due measure to all His creatures. It is only when we believe that His care is thus universal that we can absolutely rely upon it for ourselves. (G. G. Findlay, B.A.)

Confidence in God’s providence:—After the battle of Manassas, Captain Imboden called upon General Stonewall Jackson, who was severely wounded, and found him bathing his swollen hand in spring water, and bearing his pain very patiently. In the course of their conversation Imboden said: “How is it, General, you can keep so cool, and appear so utterly insensible to danger, in such a storm of shell and bullets as rained about you when your hand was hit?” He instantly became grave and reverential in his manner, and answered in a low tone of great earnestness: “Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me.” He added after a pause: “Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

Remarkable deliverance:—The celebrated author of the “Pilgrim’s Progress” experienced several remarkable providential deliverances. Once he fell into the river Ouse, and at another time into the sea, and narrowly escaped being drowned. When seventeen years of age he became a soldier, and at the siege of Leicester in 1645, being drawn out to stand sentinel, another soldier in the same company desired to take his place. He consented, and his companion was shot in the head by a musket ball, and killed.

The doctrine of providence practically improved:

  1. To prove that the providence of God extends to all human affairs; and—II. To point out the practical uses we should make of this doctrine. I. Let us establish, by reference to the Scriptures, this great and important truth, That the providence of God is universal; that it extends to all creatures and things throughout the whole world; but, as that concerns us most, especially to all human affairs. By the providence of God, we mean His preserving and governing all His creatures, and all their actions. 1. This appears even from the light of nature. It seems necessarily to follow from His being the Creator of the world; for it is reasonable to believe, that He who made all things, governs all things (Rom. 1:18–21; Acts 14:17). The existence of God, a Being of infinite power and wisdom and goodness, obliges us to believe that He will take care of His creatures. 2. But we have clearer light and fuller proof of this from the Bible, God’s own revelation of Himself. There we read that God is the great Preserver. “What shall I do unto Thee,” said holy Job, “O thou Preserver of men!” (Job 7:20). And the psalmist exclaims, “How excellent is Thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings. O Lord, thou preservest man and beast” (Psa. 36:6, 7). And in the book of Nehemiah, the good providence of God is celebrated in these exalted strains: “Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all!” (Neh. 9:6). The predictions of future events, and their fulfilment, of both which the Scriptures afford very numerous instances, furnish us with another proof of the reality of a Divine Providence; for if God did not govern the world, He could not foretell what would come to pass. God forewarned Noah of the flood 120 years before it came. He foretold the bondage of Israel in Egypt; how long it should last, and how they should be delivered. The captivity of Judah was foretold long before it happened; how many years it should continue; by whom, and by what means the people should be restored, and the temple rebuilt. All the circumstances relating to the birth, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ were exactly predicted. God, who preserves all creatures, governs them also. He does not commit the management of the world to deputies, as many of the heathen supposed. “The Lord reigneth.” “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: He enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again. He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty” (Job 12:18, 19, 23). The providence of God is to be owned in the affairs of families (Psa. 68:6; 107:41). Nor are individuals beneath His notice, as the text plainly imports; not even the least of their concerns, “for the very hairs of their head are all numbered”; consequently all their more important concerns. Even as to those events which we call contingent, or accidental, even they are under the direction and control of the Almighty (Prov. 16:33). This providence of God, the existence of which we have clearly proved. (1) It is sovereign and uncontrollable. Who hath resisted, who can resist, His will? (2) It is wise. “His work is perfect, all His ways are judgment.” He cannot err: He cannot be deceived or mistaken. (3) It is mysterious. “Clouds and darkness are round about Him.” (4) Always good. “Truly, God is good to Israel.” “His eyes,” directing all human affairs, “run to and fro throughout the earth”; and for what purpose? “To show Himself strong” in behalf of all that fear and love His name. Yes, assuredly; for all “things work together for the good” of His people.
  2. We now proceed to the second part of the subject; namely, To point out the practical uses we ought to make of the doctrine of providence. This doctrine is, in truth, connected with the whole of practical religion. Take away providence, and you destroy the whole system of godliness, and leave no room for prayer or praise. 1. Let us stand in awe of the great Ruler of the world. Do His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men? Is He in every place, beholding the evil and the good? In His hand is our breath and all our ways? Who, then, shall not fear Him? who shall not tremble at His presence? 2. Let us rejoice that the reins of universal government are in the hands of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our Lord—of Him who is our Mediator, our Redeemer, our Brother, and our Friend. 3. The doctrine of providence shows the propriety and utility of prayer; it affords the strongest motive, and the best encouragement to that duty. 4. The doctrine of providence shows the propriety of offering to God the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. 5. It shows the propriety of submission to the will of God. Does the Lord rule? Submit to His government. 6. Improve the doctrine of Divine Providence, as a remedy against anxiety. 7. Finally: let this subject lead our minds forward towards the future and eternal world. (G. Burder.)

The Father’s love for persons:—He is the God of all, and yet He is my God. This view of God we all have a deep interest in impressing on our minds. We must strive to combine, in our conception of Him, the thoughts of a particular and a universal providence. On the one hand, we must not narrow His loving care, as if it were mindful of ourselves alone, nor think of Him only as doing us good. For this would be to rob Him of His infinitude, and darken the splendour of His boundless beneficence. Such a view would make religion the nurse of selfishness, and convert our connection with the Supreme Being into one of self-interest. Never let us try to monopolize God. Never let us imagine that God exists only as administering to our individual wants. Never let us for an instant forget His relation to the universe. But on the other hand, beware lest in thus enlarging your views of the Infinite One, you lose your hold of the correlative truth—that though all beings of all worlds are His care, though His mind thus embraces the universe, He is yet as mindful of you, as if that universe were blotted out, and you alone survived to receive the plenitude of His care. God’s relation to you is not an exclusive one, but it is as close as if it were. Never conceive that your actions are overlooked and forgotten, because of the multiplicity of agents and beings who are to be guided and governed. Never fear that your wants are forgotten, because the boundless Creation sends up a cry to its common Father, and He has an infinite family for whom to provide. Never think that your characters are objects of little interest, because innumerable orders of beings of higher attainments and virtues attract the regards of this munificent King. Were you His only creature alive, He could not think of you more constantly and tenderly, or be more displeased with your resistance to duty, or feel more joy in your fidelity to right, than He does now. The human mind, apt to measure God by itself, has always found a difficulty in reconciling the two views which have just been stated. Through this propensity it fell into Polytheism, or the worship of many gods. Wanting a Deity, who would watch over their particular interests, and fearing that they would be overlooked by the Father of all, men invented inferior divinities—gods for each particular country and nation—and still more household gods, divinities for each particular dwelling, that they might have some superior power beneath which to shelter their weakness

  1. But there is no inconsistency in at once believing in God’s particular providence and in His universal providence. He may watch over all, and yet watch over each, as if each were all. There is a simple truth, which may help us to understand, that God does not intermit His attention to individuals in consequence of His inspection of the infinite whole. It is this. The individual is a living part of this living whole—vitally connected with it—acting upon it and reacted upon by it—receiving good, and communicating good in return, in proportion to his growth and power. From this constitution of the universe it follows, that the whole is preserved and perfected by the care of its parts. The general good is bound up in the individual good. So that to superintend the one is to superintend the other; and the neglect of either would be the neglect of both. What reason have I for considering myself as overlooked, because God has such an immense family to provide for? I belong to this family. I am bound to it by vital bonds. I am always exerting an influence upon it. I can hardly perform an act that is confined in its consequences to myself. Every new truth that I gain makes me a brighter light to humanity. I ought not then to imagine that God’s interest in me is diminished, because His interest is extended to endless hosts of spirits. On the contrary, God must be more interested in me on this very account, because I influence others as well as myself. I am a living member of the great family of all souls; and I cannot improve or suffer myself, without diffusing good or evil around me through an ever-enlarging sphere. In these remarks we have seen, that from the intimate and vital connection between the individual and the community of spirits, God in taking care of each person is taking care of the whole, and that there is a perfect harmony between the general and the particular superintendence of God. From the same vital connection of beings, I derive another encouraging view, leading to the same result. I learn from it that God’s attention to His whole creation, far from withdrawing His regard from me, is the very method whereby He is advancing my especial good. I am organically connected with the great family of the universal parent. Plainly then it is for my happiness, that this family should be watched over and should prosper. Suppose the Creator to abandon all around me, that He might bless me alone, should I be a gainer by such a monopoly of God’s care? My happiness is manifestly bound up with and flows from the happiness of those around; and thus the Divine kindness to others is essentially kindness to myself. This is no theory; it is the fact confirmed by all experience. Every day we receive perpetual blessings from the progress of our race. We are enlightened, refined, elevated, through the studies, discoveries, and arts of countless persons, whom we have never seen and of whom we have never even heard. Daily we enjoy conveniences, pleasures, and means of health and culture, through advancements in science and art, made in the most distant regions. And in so far as we possess elevated, disinterested, and holy characters, or enlarged intelligence, have not these been cherished and encouraged by the examples, writings, deeds, and lives of far-spread fellow-beings, through all ages and nations? How much would each of us assuredly be advanced in happiness, wisdom, virtue, were the community around us—were all the persons with whom we hold intercourse—more humane and more heavenly! Is God, then, neglecting us in His care of others? How could He bless us more effectually than by carrying forward the great spiritual system to which we belong, and of which we are living parts?
  2. Thus having seen how consistent is the doctrine of God’s care for the whole with the doctrine that He watches minutely over every individual, let me now ask you to look at this doctrine more closely, in its practical applications. Consider what affecting ideas it involves! According to this truth, we are, each one of us, present to the mind of God. We are penetrated, each one of us, instant by instant, by His all-seeing eye; we are known, every single person of us, more interiorly by Him than we are known to ourselves. Moment by moment the living God sustains us; and His own life continually flows into us through His omnipotent good-will. In fine, and above all, the Holy One never loses sight of our character and conduct. He witnesses and delights in our virtues. And He too witnesses and condemns every sin. Intimate and tender, beyond our highest conception, is our Heavenly Father’s relationship to us! He is incessantly our creator and renewer, our upholder and benefactor, our witness and judge. The connection of all other beings with us, when compared with this, is foreign and remote. The nearest friend, the most loving parent, is but a stranger to us, when contrasted with God. No words can adequately express this living alliance of the Creator with His creatures. And knowing thus the intensity and the extent of this relationship, how is it possible that I can forget Him? My hearers, I have thus turned your attention to this sublimely affecting subject of our vital connection with God, not for the purpose of awakening temporary fervour, but that we may feel the urgent duty of cherishing these convictions. Were a person, who had lived in ignorance of all beyond mere sensitive existence, suddenly to receive a clear impression of God’s all-embracing presence, he would undergo a greater change of condition, than if he were to awake some morning in a wholly new world, peopled by new beings, clothed in new beauty, and governed by laws such as he had never known by experience. He would be uplifted with the assurance, that at length he had found for his soul an all-sufficing object of veneration, gratitude, trust and love, an unfailing source of strength for every mortal weakness, an exhaustless refreshment of his highest hope, an ever-springing fount of holy emotion, virtuous energy, and heavenly joy, infinitely transcending all modes of good to which he had been wont to look. In a word, he would be utterly transformed. On the other hand, in degree as by faithlessness I lose sight of my intimate relationship with God, I am bereft of inward peace, of the desire for progress, of power to escape from myself. The future grows dim, and hope dies. A change comes over me like that which befals the traveller when clouds overspread the sky, when gathering mists obscure his path, and gloom settles down upon his uncertain way, till he is lost. The light of life is a constant consciousness of Divine fellowship.

III. How then can we attain to an abiding consciousness of living relationship with the living God? How can we reach the constant feeling that He is always with us, offering every aid consistent with our freedom, guiding us on to heavenly happiness, welcoming us into the immediate knowledge of His perfection, into a loving fellowship with Himself? I shall confine myself to what seems to be essential, as the first step, in this approach to true communion with the Father of spirits. My belief is, that one chief means of acquiring a vivid sense of God’s presence is to resist, instantly and resolutely, whatever we feel to be evil in our hearts and lives, and at once to begin in earnest to obey the Divine will as it speaks in conscience. You say that you desire a new and nearer knowledge of your Creator. Let this thirst for a higher consciousness of the Infinite Being lead you to oppose whatever you feel to be at war with God’s purity, God’s truth, and God’s righteousness. Just in proportion as you gain a victory over the evil of which you have become aware in yourself, will your spiritual eye be purged for a brighter perception of the Holy One. (W. E. Channing.)[8]


6, 7. Are not five sparrows sold for two cents?

Sparrows and other small birds were caught, killed, skinned, roasted, and consumed. They were considered delicacies, as is still the case in certain countries. They were (and are) an article of commerce. The price at the time when Jesus spoke these words was “two for an as [or assarion]” (Matt. 10:29), a Roman copper coin worth only about a sixteenth of a denarius. We might call the as a cent or penny; hence, “two for a penny.” Our present passage shows that for the price of two pennies an extra sparrow was thrown in; hence, “five for two cents.”

But even though sparrows were cheap in comparison with other articles, Jesus assures his disciples: Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Not even the most insignificant of God’s creatures lies outside the sphere of his loving care. Jesus adds, In fact, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. God knows how many there are and pays attention to each and to all. Does not each hair belong to one of his children? Jesus adds, Have no fear; you are of more value [or: are worth more] than any number of sparrows. The implication is “Be fearless, trusting.”

Note these last words: “any number of sparrows.” Literally the original reads “many sparrows.” Several translators and commentators prefer this rendering, which is certainly correct. The same idea expressed somewhat more picturesquely would be “a flock of sparrows,” “many flocks of sparrows,” “hundreds of sparrows,” “a great many sparrows.” All of these renderings have been suggested, and there is merit in them all. I can see no valid objection to any of them.

Two other attempts are “sparrows” (“you are worth far more than sparrows,” Moffatt) and “any number of sparrows”; see explanation in N.T.C. on Matthew, p. 473; also N.E.B. Why these last two? Probably to avoid a misunderstanding, as if Jesus were saying, You are worth more than many—but not worth more than all—sparrows.” But all this is a minor matter. The main lesson is this: Jesus is assuring his disciples that God’s tender love and care will never fail them, not even in the hour of death. Cf. Rom. 8:31–39.[9]


12:6–7. Let us illustrate the point from the opposite perspective. Think not of the most powerful force on earth. Think of the weakest thing on earth. Can anything be weaker or less significant than a few birds worth maybe two cents? Literally, they are worth two small coins, each of which is worth one sixteenth of a denarius. A denarius was the ordinary wage for a full day’s work by a day laborer.

But look at God! He knows every one of the sparrows and cares for the daily fate of each one. Compare this to yourself. God knows how many hairs are on your head. Yes, he cares for you in this world and in the world to come. You are valued! Fear and reverence the one who values you, not the one who opposes you.[10]


[1] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 219). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Green, J. B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke (pp. 482–483). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Evans, C. A. (1990). Luke (p. 200). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] France, R. T. (2013). Luke. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (pp. 213–214). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. Luke (Vol. 1, p. 332). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 3, p. 228). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[7] Trites, A. A., William J. Larkin. (2006). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 12: The Gospel of Luke and Acts (p. 188). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[8] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: St. Luke (Vol. II, pp. 545–555). London: James Nisbet & Co.

[9] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 653–654). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[10] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 202–203). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Dwell Deep — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Dwell deep. I heard the Lord say. Just as the rains coming down soak deep into the ground, they are yet feeding the soil that brings new life. Therefore, when the rains of life come, dwell deep. New life will come.

And the rains come “on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45b NKJV)
Life’s events and heartaches and trials and disappointments and griefs and sorrows and…and all the other stuff happens to every one of us. All that junk-du-jour piles up around and within us, and, unfortunately, we end up pulling a veil of camouflage over the Lord.

He’s hidden. Covered over with dishes, diapers, duties, distractions, dates, dues, debts, discouragements, disillusionments, distresses, and all the other D words you can think of.
We wonder, Where is God? And Jesus whispers to us, Abide in Me. But we dash in and dash out of His precious presence. Not giving Him time to soothe our soul with His words of comfort.

The Lord says to us…
Do not rush into My presence looking at your watch. The busyness of life derails your attention. Let down the wings of your disquieted and busy spirit. Prepare by being still. I will be found in quietness and stillness.

If My people would take time to be with Me, they would hear those soothing words of comfort and guidance for which they so desperately yearn. Therefore, be still and know.”
But we’re in a hurry and we don’t sit still. So, again we wonder, “Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?” (Job 35:10 NKJV)

When sleepless nights compel you to toss about and tears dampen your pillow, He draws near and giveth those songs of hope in the night. David sang, “Deep calls unto deep…The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me.” (Psalm 42:7-8 NKJV)

To hear those songs, to find that peace, comfort, and joy, dig beneath all the muck. Dig down through it all and dwell deep in your soul. The Lord is there.

Dwell deep under those layers of discouragement, grief, failure, disappointment, hurt, or heartache. Dwell there, and “Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence.”
(Ecclesiastes 8:3 NKJV) No fitful visit, but a real dwelling, a real abiding.

Abide in Me, He whispers. Do you hear Him?

Dwell deep, my precious friend. Oh, dwell deep. The enemy sends his emissaries to harass you, to toss flaming arrows of heartache at you, to steal all that you hold dear. “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10a TLB)

Just as God told the tribe of Dedan to physically flee their enemy, He tells us spiritually, “Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths.” (Jeremiah 49:8a NKJV) Dwell deep and hide from the enemy.

The Lord is there…dwell deep. Deep down where sweet, intimate fellowship abides, where comfort flows like warm oil of the Spirit.

Dwell deep to gaze upon Him, upon the scarred wounds of His passion, where the reality of the cross pierces the unbelieving heart, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (John 20:27 NLT)

Dwell deep to gaze upon His holiness, where the glory-rays of His abundant life spill over into your soul, where He makes the exchange: your fear for His courage, your defeat for His victory, your darkness for His light, your heartbreak for His heart-rest, your storms for His calm, your discouragement for His hope, your helplessness for His rescue, your doubt for His faith, your suffering for His restoration, your loss for His gain, your brokenness for His wholeness.

To dwell deep is to find the Lord and be changed into His likeness. He says, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10b TLB)

“Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets.” Luke 5:4a TLB

By Lynn Mosher
Used by Permission

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via Dwell Deep — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

This Makes No Sense: In Month When US Was Shut Down, BLS Estimated That 345K New Businesses Were Formed | Zero Hedge

The BLS is back to its old “statistical” tricks.

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As people dig deeper in the entrails of the most bizarre – and most politicized – jobs report in history, they keep finding more and more irregularities.

Consider this: according to the BLS report, which was based on a survey week from May 10th through May 16th when virtually all of the US was still shut down, the government decided that a record number of new businesses were formed. According to the BLS’s Birth/Death model which is used to adjust the raw payrolls data for estimated new business openings and closures, a record 345K new jobs were created due to new businesses opening in a month when – we will repeat again – the US was largely shut down! This also means that over 60% of the business closures from the month of April (April Birth/Death -553K) were somehow undone in a month when the US was still mostly closed down.

Needless to say, this was entirely a statistical adjustment in the “eye of the beholder”, one which even the BLS felt ashamed of, because in a little noticed addendum to the jobs report, the BLS announced it had made “changes” to its net birth-death model due to the coronavirus pandemic, changes which apparently included the modeling of massive business reopenings when millions of small businesses were shutting down. 

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/markets/makes-no-sense-month-when-us-was-shut-down-bls-estimated-345k-new-businesses-were-formed