Daily Archives: July 26, 2020

God is Sovereign — Christian Research Network

19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. Acts 4:19-28 (NASB) Read verses 23-28 on the site.

When we make statements like, “God is Sovereign.” we sometimes include a qualifier in that statement like this, “God is Sovereign over ‘something.” That is a fallacious statement though meant well. God is Sovereign….

There is no need to add any qualifier to that statement. I have heard many well meaning people say, “God is Sovereign over salvation.” Well, He is, but He is also Sovereign over all of creation. There is nothing over which He is not sovereign.

In this post we will look at the ten miracles in the book of Jonah. In Jonah we have a prophet who ran from God’s command to preach to the people of Ninevah. Jonah ran because he hated the Assyrians, but the root of his problem was that he had a rebellious and prideful heart.

The first miracle is found in Jonah 1:4.

4 The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Jonah 1:4 (NASB) 

View article →

via God is Sovereign — Christian Research Network

America’s Major Cities Are Being Turned Into War Zones, And It Is Not Going To End In November — End Of The American Dream

The civil unrest that we witnessed all across America this weekend was extremely alarming.  For a few weeks, it seemed like the chaos that erupted in the immediate aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd was subsiding, but in recent days there has been a dramatic resurgence.  Within the last 48 hours, there have been eruptions of violence in major cities such as Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Louisville, Austin and Richmond.  At this point we have seen sustained protests and rioting for nearly two months straight, and it looks like the chaos isn’t going to disappear any time soon.

Over the past few weeks, a few people have written me emails suggesting that the civil unrest will disappear if Joe Biden wins the election in November.

But I don’t believe that this is true.  Virtually all of the rioting is happening in cities that are controlled by Democrats, and the leftist politicians that run those cities do not have any control over the Marxist protesters at all.

For example, just look at what has been happening in Seattle and Portland.  The politicians that run those cities are radical Democrats, and yet those radical Democrats have been completely and utterly unable to end the violence.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

The streets of Seattle turned violent Saturday when protesters set fire to a youth detention center and a police precinct. Other protesters threw rocks, bottles, fireworks and other explosives at cops, with the unrest leading local authorities to declare protests had turned into ‘riots that afternoon’.

Portland geared up for its 59th night of unrest Saturday with swathes of demonstrators marching from the federal building to the Portland Marriott where they believe federal officers are staying, in the wake of a violent night Friday that ended with at least one person stabbed.

To me, it is absolutely amazing that Portland has had 59 days of protests in a row.

One man that actually lives in downtown Portland says that his neighborhood has essentially been turned into “a war zone”

Gabriel Johnson has lived in the Essex House Apartments in downtown Portland for seven years. He has loved it — until now.

“I compare it to a war zone and some people will take that and say he must be exaggerating but no,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he is kept awake by the nightly demonstrations taking place just two blocks from his home. The sounds of fireworks and flash bangs, he said, are overwhelming. The tear gas is bad, too.

And Johnson certainly knows what a “war zone” is like, because he is actually a military veteran.

Elsewhere, two very heavily armed militia groups nearly came face to face in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend…

More than 300 members of the Atlanta-based Black militia NFAC, or “Not ******* Around Coalition” came to Louisville demanding justice for 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, an ER technician who was fatally shot by officers in March.

The group came close to 50 far-right “Three Percenter” militia members, who were also heavily armed. Police kept the sides apart and tensions eventually dissipated.

If just one person had gotten an itchy trigger finger, that situation could have gotten out of control very rapidly.

But there was one unfortunate incident when a member of the NFAC accidentally had a gun discharge

Police confirmed three members of the NFAC were struck by gunfire when someone’s gun discharged while participating in a demonstration Saturday.  All three victims went to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, things got really crazy down in Atlanta.

Rioters attacked the local ICE and DHS field office, and they came close to setting it on fire

Atlanta also endured a night of unrest across Saturday evening into the early hours of Sunday as protesters took aim at the city’s ICE and DHS field office, smashing windows and attempting to set fire to the building.

Reports suggest that nobody was inside the building at the time, however extensive damage was caused to the front of the facility.

Agents were seen patrolling the grounds early Sunday, as FBI officers snapped pictures of the shattered windows and what appeared to be scorch marks left from fireworks on the office’s walls.

It is important to understand that these rioters are very serious about their goals, and they aren’t going to be happy with just a few half-hearted “reforms”.

For many of them, nothing short of the overthrow of the entire system will suffice.

And as we draw closer to the November election, anything and anyone associated with President Trump will be a potential target.  Trump supporter Bernie Trammell  probably never imagined that his support of Trump would get him gunned down in front of his own business, but that is precisely what just happened

Bernell Trammell, a Black Donald Trump supporter, was reportedly shot and killed in Milwaukee on Thursday (July 23).

According to Fox 6, the 60-year-old was gunned down during a drive-by shooting in the neighborhood where he was known for displaying signs reading “Vote Trump 2020” and recited Bible verses.

Trammell was discovered dead in front of his business. A makeshift memorial containing flowers and candles has been set up on the sidewalk where Trammell died.

One could probably imagine something like this happening in Seattle, Portland or Los Angeles.

But Milwaukee?

It is so sad to watch our major cities being torn apart, but a lot of Democrats out there seem to think that all of this chaos is just temporary and that it will come to an end once Trump is removed from office.

Unfortunately, the truth is that these protests were never primarily about Trump.  Yes, the protesters hate Trump, but they aren’t exactly fans of Joe Biden and other moderate Democrats either.  As Susan Duclos has pointed out, if Joe Biden and the Democratic Party actually believe that they will be able to control these protesters if they win in November they are being extremely delusional…

This is a political calculation on the part of the liberal media and democrat politicians. Support the violent protesters, cause as much chaos and mayhem as possible before the 2020 presidential election, hoping that Trump will be blamed and their candidate, Joe Biden, will win.

The problem, for them, is even if it works there is no way they control the monster they created and if they think they can, they are more delusional than originally thought.

I have been warning that this civil unrest was coming for a very long time, and it is eventually going to get much, much worse no matter who wins in November.

If you currently live in the heart of one of our major cities, please do not be fooled into thinking that these protests are just temporary and that things will eventually go back to normal.

These protesters have a fervor that is almost on a religious level, and they are entirely convinced of the righteousness of their cause.  They are never going to give up, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

via America’s Major Cities Are Being Turned Into War Zones, And It Is Not Going To End In November — End Of The American Dream

Profile of an Apostate — The Aquila Report

Genuine Christians abide in Christ. They remain. They may go through the worst tribulation imaginable, yet they remain attached to the Vine. However, when tribulation descends on the disingenuous professing Christians they do not endure because they have no root in themselves. The world and the deceitfulness of riches cause others to fall away. These are not genuine believers.

 

20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:20-22 (NASB)

The Bible very clearly teaches that Christians should examine themselves quite often in order to see what their spiritual condition is. Genuine Christians are not perfect people. Neither are they always full of happiness, in perfect health while having plenty of money in the bank. No, the fact that all believers are called to be humble, poor in spirit, meek, pure in heart and many other things that are growing in their character means that they will spend much of their time in the fires of sanctification. It is during these times of pruning that believers are in the greatest danger of becoming despondent, discouraged, and even depressed if they have not learned to view their circumstances correctly.

Despite what many in the Easy-believism or Universalism camp teach, there are people who profess Christ who are not genuine. They are not regenerate nor do they have the Holy Spirit. They are not in Christ. Genuine Christians abide in Christ. They remain. They may go through the worst tribulation imaginable, yet they remain attached to the Vine. However, when tribulation descends on the disingenuous professing Christians they do not endure because they have no root in themselves. The world and the deceitfulness of riches cause others to fall away. These are not genuine believers.

19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19 (NASB)

The English word “Apostate” describes one who has renounced their religious faith. It implies that he or she is a defector. Many apostates make no public profession of their defection from Christ yet they are because their allegiance is to another Jesus, not the genuine Christ of the Bible. What are the traits of an apostate so that we may recognize them? Is that possible? Our Lord’s brother, Jude, wrote a book bearing his name that we find in the New Testament. It contains just one chapter. We find the purpose of this book in vv3-4.

3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4 (NASB)

As we look at the profile of an apostate, we should also be encouraged to contend earnestly for the faith so let us begin. Jude lists the attributes that are common traits of apostates. Some will have them all while others will have fewer. We have already seen the first three attributes in v4 where Jude tells us that apostates are ungodly, morally perverted, and have denied Christ.

The Greek Word that is translated as “ungodly persons” is a combined word that means “without worship.” It describes one who is godless and without fear and reverence of God. It does not mean irreligious, but one who actively practices the opposite of what the fear of God demands. Therefore, we must come to grips with the fact that professing Christians can be apostate.

The phrase, “turn the grace of our God into licentiousness,” describes people involved in “unrestrained vice” or “gross immorality.” This means they have shameless lifestyles while irreverently flaunting God’s grace by indulging in unchecked and open immorality.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Romans 6:12-15 (NASB)

This brings to mind those demanding the freedom to live any way they desire while insisting on being regarded as genuine Christians. This is a demand by apostates.

The last trait from v4 is, “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” The Greek word Jude used for “Master” is “despotes.” It is translated as “Lord” in other parts of the New Testament. It means “master of slaves.” The Greek word Jude used for “Lord” in v4 is “kurios.” It means “Lord and Master.” What is he saying in this phrase? The apostates disowned Christ as sovereign Lord (despotes) and disdained any recognition of Christ as “Lord and Master” (kurios). They did this by their wicked behavior. All apostates pervert what the Bible declares is true about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read More

via Profile of an Apostate — The Aquila Report

The State of Grace — The Aquila Report

Undoubtedly, Christians are not perfect. However, this does not tell the whole story of what God’s saving grace in Christ grants them in this life. It accents one of the principal blessings of Christ’s saving work—forgiveness. But it leaves unmentioned several inseparable blessings that are also imparted to believers who are united to Christ by faith.

 

Though readers of Tabletalk are not likely to glean their theology from bumper stickers, undoubtedly many of you have noticed the one that reads, “I am not perfect, just forgiven!” While this bumper sticker purports to capture the truth about our state as sinners who are saved through God’s gracious forgiveness in Christ, it falls short of the mark.

Undoubtedly, Christians are not perfect. However, this does not tell the whole story of what God’s saving grace in Christ grants them in this life. It accents one of the principal blessings of Christ’s saving work—forgiveness. But it leaves unmentioned several inseparable blessings that are also imparted to believers who are united to Christ by faith. When Christ by His Spirit and Word imparts the manifold blessings of His saving work as Mediator, these blessings include not only forgiveness but also deliverance from the dominion of sin and renewal by the sanctifying power of His Spirit.

To use the language of Human Nature in Its Fourfold State by the great Scottish Puritan Thomas Boston, when God saves lost sinners through the work of Christ and the ministry of the Spirit, He does not leave them powerless in the face of the tyranny of the devil, their own sinful flesh, and the world under the dominion of sin. He brings them out of their lost estate in Adam and into their new state of grace in Christ. Whereas all fallen sinners are unable not to sin (non posse non peccare), redeemed sinners are able not to sin (posse non peccare). Believers are graciously enabled by the Spirit of Christ to begin to conform to God’s will in true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. This beginning may be “small,” but it is a beginning of “perfect obedience,” as the Heidelberg Catechism so nicely puts it. Believers in union with Christ are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” who guarantees their inheritance until they take full possession of it (Eph. 1:13–14). They experience the beginnings of eternal life in fellowship with God, and these beginnings are a kind of firstfruits of the fullness of life they will enjoy in the new heavens and earth.

Through the ministry of the Spirit and Word of Christ, believers are brought into fellowship with Christ and begin to enjoy the spiritual blessings that are theirs in Him.

Union with Christ and the Order of Salvation

To appreciate the richness of the spiritual blessings granted to believers in the state of grace, we need to remember that Christ imparts these benefits through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. John Calvin uses a lovely phrase to capture the relation between what Christ has accomplished for His people and how the Spirit works to unite them to Christ so that they participate in all the benefits of His saving work. The Holy Spirit, Calvin says, is the “minister of Christ’s liberality.” Through the Spirit, Christ freely and lavishly grants to His people the blessings He has obtained for them. So intimate is the relation between the Spirit and Christ that the Apostle Paul can say that “the Lord is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17) or that He has “become a life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). As Calvin puts it, the Spirit is the “bond of communion” between Christ and His elect bride. He communicates to believers the riches of their inheritance in Christ.

In recent discussions of salvation through union with Christ, much has been said on the question of how this union is related to the spiritual blessings that are enumerated in the so-called order of salvation (ordo salutis) in the state of grace. These discussions have sometimes generated more heat than light. Nonetheless, it is generally agreed that the order of salvation provides a biblical account of all the spiritual blessings granted to believers who are united to Christ. Through the ministry of the Spirit and Word of God, believers are brought into fellowship with Christ and begin to enjoy the spiritual blessings that are theirs in Him. The order of salvation seeks to provide a biblical account of these blessings as distinct, yet inseparable, aspects of the one great work of the Spirit in the salvation of sinners.

Perhaps the clearest biblical witness to the rudiments of the order of salvation is Romans 8:29–30. In this passage, we find what is often called the golden chain of salvation:

For those whom [God] foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

This passage is important not because it provides a complete order of salvation but because it provides a clear account of the way God’s gracious purpose of election is linked to the effectual call of the gospel, which draws lost sinners to Christ in the way of faith and repentance, grants the blessing of justification, and ensures the believer’s glorification. When taken with other Scriptural testimony to the work of God’s grace in the salvation of the elect, this passage is a touchstone for a more complete formulation of the order of salvation.

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via The State of Grace — The Aquila Report

Identity Politics, Multiculturalism, and Social Disintegration — CultureWatch

Multiculturalism and identity politics are destroying societies, not helping them:

Identity politics is killing us – literally. Consider just two very recent and very tragic cases of people losing their lives because they fell afoul of various groups pushing radical identity politics. A 24-year-old Indiana nurse who told Black Lives Matter protestors that all lives matter was shot and killed moments later: http://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12109716/family-jessica-doty-whitaker-black-lives-matter-indiana/

Also in America we have this horrific story:

Black Trump supporter Bernell Trammell was murdered on Thursday afternoon in broad daylight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin just hours after giving an interview in which he urged his fellow African Americans to vote for President Donald Trump in the November election. Hours later Trammell, who was known in his community as a respected and peaceful man with no enemies, was gunned down “execution style” in front of his store. The shooting occurred in front of Trammell’s business, which is called Express Publications and is covered in signs, including most prominently signs saying “Vote Donald Trump 2020,” and “Re-Elect Trump 2020.” newspunch.com/black-community-elder-shot-to-death-execution-style-hours-after-pro-trump-interview/

It seems clear that these are both hate crimes – cases of politically motivated murder. Yet the mainstream media refuses to call this out. It seems things are only newsworthy when a white kills a black, or when someone from some other identity politics group is targeted, such as a homosexual.

We of course have many examples of identity politics spinning out of control, and of the related issue of failed multiculturalism. Recounting such sad examples could fill this and many more articles. But I want to look at a few voices of sanity on this.

Many have been warning us about where all this is heading. Mark Steyn for example said that multiculturalism “is a cult of tolerance in which you demonstrate your sensitivity to other cultures by being almost totally insensitive to your own.” Or as Thomas Sowell put it, “What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.”

But here I want to highlight one important thinker who we must all be aware of. British Rabbi and moral philosopher Jonathan Sacks has long been speaking out on these matters. Back in 2007 for example he penned the vital book, The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society. A few years later I quoted from an article based on the book:

Multiculturalism has run its course, and it is time to move on. It was a fine, even noble idea in its time. It was designed to make ethnic and religious minorities feel more at home, more appreciated and respected, and therefore better able to mesh with the larger society. It affirmed their culture. It gave dignity to difference. And in many ways it achieved its aims. Britain is a more open, diverse, energising, cosmopolitan environment than it was when I was growing up.

But there has been a price to pay, and it grows year by year. Multiculturalism has led not to integration but to segregation. It has allowed groups to live separately, with no incentive to integrate and every incentive not to. It was intended to promote tolerance. Instead the result has been, in countries where it has been tried, societies more abrasive, fractured and intolerant than they once were.

Liberal democracy is in danger. Britain is becoming a place where free speech is at risk, non-political institutions are becoming politicised, and a combination of political correctness and ethnic-religious separatism is eroding the graciousness of civil society. billmuehlenberg.com/2010/01/25/whither-multiculturalism/

In a 2011 article he discussed how “Having pride in Britain protects all cultures.” The piece began: “David Cameron was right to say that multiculturalism has failed, echoing similar statements by Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. It was undertaken for the highest of motives. It was intended to create a more tolerant society, one in which everyone, regardless of colour, creed or culture, felt at home. Its effect has been precisely the opposite.”

Image of Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times
Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times by Array

And in an important speech delivered that year he said this:

Multiculturalism is part of the wider European phenomenon of moral relativism, a doctrine that became influential as a response to the Holocaust. It was argued that taking a stand on moral issues was a sign of an ‘authoritarian personality’. Moral judgment was seen as the first step down the road to fanaticism. But moral relativism is the deathknell of a civilization. In a relativist culture, there is no moral consensus, only a clash of conflicting views in which the loudest voice wins.

That is where we are today. The extremists command attention and capture the headlines, and they become the role models for the young. Since there is no national identity to claim their allegiance, there is no contest. Hence the phenomenon, widespread throughout Europe today but rare in the past, that the children of immigrants are more hostile to the host society than their parents were, and feel themselves more alien to its values. billmuehlenberg.com/2011/02/13/the-death-of-multiculturalism/

In his brand-new book, Morality (Hodder & Stoughton, 2020), he continues this theme. In Chapter 9 on “Identity Politics” he speaks further to the matter of multiculturalism. Let me close out this article by speaking to what is found there. He says this:

“Identity was not a key word in the public conversation until the 1950s, when the work of psychologist Erik Erikson brought it into prominence. The phrase ‘identity politics’ is more recent still, dating back no earlier than the 1980s. Yet it has come to be seen as one of the key dimensions of contemporary politics in the West.”

He notes how religion was for most of human history the “deepest and most tenacious” form of identity. But the Enlightenment project changed all that, and three secular substitutes for religion arose: nation, race and class. He then says this:

While this was happening at an intellectual level, another development was taking place at a political level in Europe and the United States: multiculturalism. This was a response on the part of governments to the demographic changes in Europe and America brought about by a rise in levels of immigration. I have written elsewhere about why I believe that multiculturalism, embarked on for the highest of motives, was a disastrous policy, misconceived and profoundly damaging to the social fabric of every society into which it was introduced. Intended to promote the integration of minority ethnic and religious groups into the wider society, instead it led to segregation. Meant to promote tolerance, it has given rise to new and dire forms of intolerance. It turned society from a home into a hotel, in which each group has its room but where there is little if any sense of collective belonging.

He continues:

Identity politics deepens the fragmentation caused by multiculturalism, adding to it not just culture and ethnicity but also other forms of identity based on gender and sexual orientation. There is a real danger here of the splitting of society into self-segregating, non-communicating ghettoes. One of its axioms is that ‘Only a member of my group can understand my pain.’ This is the very opposite of Terence’s dictum ‘I think nothing human alien to me.’ Over three hundred years the West has, with some success, developed an ethic of tolerance and respect for difference, and in a liberal society the prejudice and discrimination that undoubtedly still exist are to be fought wherever they occur. But that is precisely incompatible with an identity politics that builds walls around minorities, allowing no one else to enter, and at the same time insists on recognition from the wider society.

He closes the chapter with these words: “Identity politics is a symptom of the breakdown of national identities and the institutions of civil society. Lose the moral basis of society and you will then have what Hobbes described as ‘the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death’. That is no place for the collective grace of a free society.”

If you are interested in learning about how Sacks proposes that we deal with this and other problems discussed in this incisive volume, you are advised to grab a copy of it and read it for yourself. But I can offer the very last words of the book to give you some indication of his thoughts:

There is nothing inevitable about the division, fragmentation, extremism, isolation, the economics of inequality or the politics of anger that have been the mood of Britain and America in recent years. They have been the legacy of the misplaced belief that societies can function without a moral bond. They cannot, or at least not for long. That is why we are where we are.

But we can change. Societies have moved from ‘I’ to ‘We’ in the past. They did so in the nineteenth century. They did so in the twentieth century. They can do so in the future.

And it begins with us.

(Australians can find the book here: http://www.koorong.com/product/morality-why-we-need-it-and-how-to-find-it-jonathan-sacks_9781529342635 )

via Identity Politics, Multiculturalism, and Social Disintegration — CultureWatch

John MacArthur: Not an hour to fear, but triumphant hour for the church — Capstone Report

John MacArthur and Grace Community Church meet in defiance of local orders discriminating against churches.

MacArthur urged Christians to view this as a triumphant time for the church.

MacArthur: Church is not only essential but only hope for doomed sinners

Pastor John MacArthur threw the gauntlet down to Leftist tyrants telling church members in his congregation and around America that this is not a time to fear.

“This is not a problem to be feared. This is a triumphant hour for the church to be the church,” MacArthur said. “Standing for the glory of our Lord is more important in this hour than I’ve ever known it in my life. For His glory, we will stand and meet and worship and preach the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

MacArthur received a raucous welcome at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California today, Sunday July 26, 2020. MacArthur’s church defied local orders banning the church service—and it appeared a large crowd attended with many of the attenders boldly not wearing a mask. Earlier it was unclear how the State of California and local authorities would react. However, the service concluded without the power being cut as Grace To You Executive Director Phil Johnson worried.

MacArthur read from the Book of Daniel, chapter 6 and explored the purpose of the church and the eternal condition of the lost world citing Scripture that shows the lost world does not understand the spiritual things—in fact the things of God are foolishness to the world.

MacArthur pointed out the double standard during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

“They kept the abortion clinics open…along with the liquor stores,” MacArthur said noting how the State of California and local officials prioritized their own interests over the spiritual interests of the church.

In another part of the message, MacArthur made a specific point of highlighting how the secular world does not understand the church.

“We understand that the world does not understand the importance of the church,” MacArthur said. “The world does not understand that it is not only essential, but it is the only hope for eternal life for doomed sinners.”

MacArthur pointed out that the places providing spiritual needs were shut down while other needs were places for physical needs were kept open.

What comes next?

What comes next for MacArthur, Grace Community Church and even other churches around America?

Dr. James White suggested a backlash. He tweeted, “Clear, compelling, unashamed. If you prayed for John MacArthur today, as I did, you saw your prayers answered. Now—that was great. But it will bring the wrath of sinners like you won’t believe. We must stand together and call this nation to repentance. Boldly.”

We will provide updates if there are any additional developments or reaction from the state and local leaders.


via
John MacArthur: Not an hour to fear, but triumphant hour for the church — Capstone Report

July 26 Damaged Goods

 

He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, … to set at liberty them that are bruised.
(Luke 4:18)

Tamar was King David’s daughter. She was also a rape victim. If you’re like her, Jesus said He came to heal the brokenhearted and to set at liberty them that are bruised (see Luke 4:18). If you feel like “damaged goods,” He’s saying to you today, “I will heal you and deliver you; I will renew you and release you!”

Tamar’s future was greater than her past—because she was a child of the King. So are you! You’ll come through this and sing the song of the overcomer—because you’re His child. Your recovery will begin when you learn to live in the present, not the past. Allow God’s love to touch the hurting places inside you. Give all your secrets to Him, and leave them there. The enemy wants to destroy you through what happened, but God wants to restore you as if it had never happened. Like Tamar, you survived! That’s a victory worth celebrating. Begin to thank God that you made it! Through Jesus’ blood, you’ll recover the loss you’ve suffered at the hands of your abuser.

 

You’ll get back all that was stolen from you. God will heal your broken places and rebuild your self-esteem. Receive it today.[1]

 

[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 207). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

Exactly Correct – Devin Nunes: “Robert Mueller Was An Avatar”… — The Last Refuge

Representative Devin Nunes appears on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the latest declassified releases in the corrupt DOJ operation against President Trump.

About midway through the interview the topic shifts to Robert Mueller.  Nunes notes that Mueller was “an avatar”, a fraud brought in to give the public face of a special counsel.  This is exactly correct.  Mueller was present in name only, the resistance unit of 17 lawyers, 50 FBI agents & 40 staff members were running the entire DOJ for almost two years.

via Exactly Correct – Devin Nunes: “Robert Mueller Was An Avatar”… — The Last Refuge

WOKE YET? Colin Kaepernick Has Become Incredibly Wealthy Taking Millions From Nike Who Makes Sneakers Using Chinese Factory Slave Labor — Now The End Begins

Colin Kaepernick, who in 2018 signed a multi-million-dollar contract to become a megaphone for Nike products, rails against America’s ‘racist past’ while profiting from Chinese Uyghur slave labor.

Colin Kaepernick is the man who started his ‘take a knee’ protest during his short time as an NFL player, to kneel during the playing of the American National Anthem, and protest the ‘racist past’ of America and police brutality. In 2018, Kaepernick sign a multi-million dollar deal with Nike, a company that uses Chinese slave labor to produce its overpriced sneakers. Colin Kaepernick has not said word one about that while he is busy trying to tear down America. I wonder why he’s so silent on slave labor?

The reason for this deafening silence on Nike and Chinese slave labor is money, boat loads of money, which is really what it’s all about any way. They tell us that ‘black lives matter’, but only if it’s the approved type of black life. The lives of black babies don’t matter one bit, if they did, the ‘peaceful protesters’ would be out front of Planned Parenthood who kills over 800 black babies a day. The life of retired black cop David Dorn doesn’t matter, you haven’t read one singe story about how BLM militants murdered him, and you never will.

Colin Kaepernick is a liar, and a hypocrite, who is only in it for the money. But you can prove me wrong Colin, just give back the millions and start protesting Nike slave labor. 🤣🤣🤣

black-lives-matter-destroying-minority-owned-businesses-killing-african-american-people-antifa-race-riots-david-dorn

Nike should quit lecturing on social justice — and atone for using slave labor in China

FROM THE NY POST: Woke companies are constantly hectoring America on its failings. The Social Justice Warriors who run Nike, for example, pompously inform us that they are fighting “against discrimination in communities worldwide.” Not only that but they are “work[ing] every day to erase the stain of racism and the damage of injustice.”

Really, Nike? Then why do you have your shoes made by an oppressive, morally bankrupt regime? China is the ugly poster child, the living exemplar, for all of the evils that you are so quick to condemn America for. Right now, at this very moment, the Chinese Communists are eliminating the Uyghurs, a Turkish-speaking people who live in China’s Far West, from the face of the earth.

They’ve locked up over a million Uyghur men in concentration camps, aborted and sterilized hundreds of thousands of the women, and are busy selling the young — in batches of 100, no less — to Chinese factory owners as slave labor.

Secret drone footage has revealed some of the brutality of this campaign. It shows hundreds of Uyghur men, handcuffed, blindfolded and heads shaved, being herded onto a train bound for a secret camp.

But it’s even worse for Nike, the wokest of woke companies. It turns out that some of these Uyghurs have been slaving away making basketball shoes with the famous swoosh on them.

An Australian Strategic Policy Institute report published this March, “Uyghurs for sale,” found Uyghur slave labor working in factories supplying 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing, shoe and automotive sectors, including Apple, GM, Gap — and Nike.

Nike contracts with a Qingdao company, for example, that as of January of this year had 600 Uyghurs cobbling together its shoes. Yes, the same company that funds organizations asking for reparations for a practice that ended in the US in 1865 has actually used slave labor in China to make its products — and its profits — for many years.

(Nike claimed on July 21, 2020, on the basis of assurances it had received from the Chinese managers of the Qingdao factory, that all the Uyghur workers had been sent away.)

Like Nike, the pro-sports officials, owners and athletes of the NFL and the NBA who are making big money off the China market have also turned a blind eye to the brutal oppression of minorities there, all the while making woke noises about how racist America is.

The poster child for all of this anti-American demagoguery is NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2018 signed a multi-million-dollar contract to become a megaphone for Nike products.

I wonder if the same man who kneels to protest America’s slave-owning past might one day stand for the freedom of slaves in China. It would only be fitting. It was Uyghur slaves, after all, who might have stitched his Kaepernick brand of Air Force 1 shoes together.

While we wait for that moment of self-awareness to strike the young progressive, we at least have the redoubtable Josh Hawley. The Missouri senator this week tweeted Nike and the NBA to ask them to certify that their products are “Slave Free.”

The Trump administration is also doing something about Chinese companies who use slave labor, many of whom are also suppliers to American firms. Those who labor under the delusion that America is the root of all the world’s evil will ignore this, of course, but it is a step in the right direction.

As for Nike, it has pledged to donate “$100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.”

But I have a better idea, Nike. Why don’t you take the blood money you have earned from employing slave labor in China and open a factory in the US? Choose a site in the inner city, employ minorities, and provide jobs and a way out of poverty. That would go a lot further toward ensuring racial equality and social justice, not to mention hope for the future of America, than anything else you could do. READ MORE

Nike Uses Chinese Slave Labor To Make Their Sneakers

According to research conducted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, tens of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are being dispatched from a network of detention camps in far northwestern China to work in factories that produce clothes, technology and automotive parts for some of the biggest brands in the world. Canberra-based ASPI has been examining the supply chains of scores of global companies including Apple, BMW, Nike and Sony.

via WOKE YET? Colin Kaepernick Has Become Incredibly Wealthy Taking Millions From Nike Who Makes Sneakers Using Chinese Factory Slave Labor — Now The End Begins

Christians Across Asia Told to Abandon God or be Refused Aid — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Families in Bangladesh are given food aid during the coronavirus

Persecution watchdog Open Doors UK and Ireland says it is “inundated” with reports of Christians worldwide who are being asked to renounce their faith in exchange for emergency COVID-19 aid.

Christians from countries including Bangladesh, India, Sudan and Malaysia, say they are facing an ultimatum – they must abandon their faith if they want to receive emergency food.

Jan VermeerAsia communications director at Open Doors International said: “We have been inundated with reports of Christians telling us their communities would only give them food if they re-converted back to their original faith.

“While some have returned to the dominant religion in their country, others have contemplated suicide.”

Pastor Sam, who coordinates Open Doors’ work in South East Asia, says in rural Bangladesh people cannot survive without help from the community.

“People may die or convert back to Islam if they don’t have the means to survive,” he said.

Meanwhile Christian converts in Sudan face hunger and homelessness in lockdown unless they return to Islam.

Economic decay on the back of the pandemic especially for Christians who have given up the right to family and community support in turning from Islam has been severe, says one pastor in Western Sudan who cannot be named for security reasons.

“Believers from Muslim backgrounds have to be entirely self-reliant because they aren’t given any support from their family, tribes or community, because of their faith,” he said.

“But because people aren’t able to work in lockdown they don’t have money for food and are finding themselves being kicked out of their homes, unable to pay rent.

“When Christian converts do ask for help from their Muslim community, they are told they have to give up Christianity if they want to be helped.

“It is a tragedy.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Assist News

via Christians Across Asia Told to Abandon God or be Refused Aid — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Joe Biden Continues to Hide From Press, Refuses to Sit Down For Interview with Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace — The Gateway Pundit

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday invited 2020 presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden to sit down for an interview.

Biden’s camp said the former VP was not available.

Chris Wallace said he will keep asking Biden every week to sit down for an interview.

President Trump last week sat in the hot seat and sparred with Chris Wallace who peppered him with gotcha questions.

Trump never hides from the press.

Biden, however has been hiding in his Delaware basement virtually the entire 2020 election season.

“In our interview last week with President Trump, he questioned whether his opponent Joe Biden could handle a similar encounter. Well, we asked the Biden campaign for an interview and they said the former VP was not available. We’ll keep asking every week,” Chris Wallace said.

WATCH:

Last week Biden refused to answer any questions from reporters during a campaign event in Newcastle, Delaware.

“Thank you for listening. I look forward to having your questions at another time,  but I’m off to another event,” Biden said as he hurried off stage.

Reporters yelled questions at Biden, however, he ignored them and walked away.

Biden did the exact same thing at a campaign event in Delaware a couple weeks ago.

Reporters wanted to ask Biden questions after he concluded his speech.

“Mr. Vice President, time for a few questions?” a reporter asked as Biden closed his notebook and walked off stage.

White House Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany slammed corrupt Joe Biden for hiding in his basement.

via Joe Biden Continues to Hide From Press, Refuses to Sit Down For Interview with Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace — The Gateway Pundit

July 26 Father–Son Talks

 

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Mark Twain is given credit for the following remark: “When I was a boy of fourteen my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” If that were a true record of a young man’s awakening to wisdom, Mark Twain would not be the first to whom it happened. Many a young man has listened to advice from his father and discounted it—until the day he needed it. Then it turned out to be more wisdom than advice.

One of the oldest father–son talks in history is recorded in the Book of Proverbs. Solomon, the world’s wisest man in his day (and likely in ours), used his throne as king of Israel to dispense his wise sayings to his subjects and to those who came from afar to sit at his feet and learn. Solomon was known throughout the surrounding nations for processing uncanny wisdom, discernment, and insight.

The principles of wisdom will work for anyone who puts them to use. But it is only those who fear the Lord who will want to practice them over a lifetime.[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 217). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

July 26, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

The Attitude of Evangelistic Prayer

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. (2:8)

Therefore indicates that this verse goes with the preceding section, not with what follows. The change of subject comes in verse 9, as the word “likewise” shows (cf. 3:8, 11). Having stressed the importance of evangelistic prayer, Paul now tells us with what attitude we are to pray. Want is from boulomai, and could be translated “I command,” or “I purpose.” Men is from anēr, and means men as opposed to women. Men are the leaders when the church meets for corporate worship. When prayer is offered for the lost during those times, the men are to do it. In the synagogues, only men were permitted to pray, and that was carried over into the church. The phrase in every place appears four times in Paul’s writings (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Thess. 1:8). All four times it refers to the official assembly of the church.

Some might argue that this teaching contradicts 1 Corinthians 11:5, where Paul permits women to pray and proclaim the Word. That passage, however, must be interpreted in light of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35, which forbids women to speak in the assembly. Women are permitted to pray and proclaim the Word, but not “in church”—that is, when the church meets for its corporate worship services. That in no way marks women as spiritually inferior (cf. Gal. 3:28). Not even all men proclaim the Word in the assembly, only those so called and gifted. (For a further discussion of this issue, see my book Different By Design [Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1994].)

The Old Testament saints frequently prayed lifting up their hands (cf. 1 Kings 8:22; Neh. 8:6; Pss. 63:4; 134:2; 141:2; Isa. 1:15). But Paul’s emphasis here is not on a particular posture for prayer. The hands symbolize the activities of life, thus holy hands represent a holy life. That is a prerequisite for effective prayer (cf. Ps. 66:18). Holy translates hosios, which means “unpolluted,” or “unstained by evil.” Those who pray for the lost must not be characterized by wrath and dissension. They must be holy in heart and deed.

The greatest example of evangelistic praying is our Lord Himself. Isaiah 53:12 tells us He “interceded for the transgressors.” On the cross He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). God answered those prayers with three thousand converts on the Day of Pentecost, and countless thousands more through the centuries.

Do we pray for the lost like that? Do we have the passion that inspired John Knox to cry out, “Give me Scotland or I die”? Is our attitude that of George Whitefield, who prayed, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul”? Can we, like Henry Martyn, say, “I cannot endure existence if Jesus is to be so dishonored”?

God honors evangelistic prayer. Standing among those who killed Stephen was a young man named Saul of Tarsus. Could it be that the great apostle’s salvation was in answer to Stephen’s prayer, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”? Evangelism begins with evangelistic prayer.[1]


8 Paul now moves past his first main point (the offering of all kinds of prayer, vv. 1–2) to his second (related) injunction (oun, “then,” here [untranslated in NIV] and in v. 1). He wants the “men” in the congregation to unite in prayer (proseuchomai, GK 4667; cf. v. 1 and 5:5) without any hint of “anger” (orgē, GK 3973) or “disputing” (dialogismos, GK 1369). Just as ritual purity was essential for Jews, NT believers were to pray with their hands cleansed from all spiritual defilement or impurity (“holy hands”). The plural seems to reflect a plurality of men leading the congregation in prayer and worship (cf. 2:12; 3:2, 5; 4:11–16; 5:17).

The immediate reference of “everywhere” (lit., “in every place”) is to the various house churches making up the Ephesian church (so Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: A Dialogue with Scholarship,” in Women in the Church, ed. Andreas J. Köstenberger, Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995], 113), though ultimately the scope is universal (Barrett, 54: “in every Christian meeting place”; Kelly, 65: “wherever the gospel is preached”; cf. 1 Co 1:2; 2 Co 2:14; 1 Th 1:8; cf. Mal 1:11 [LXX]; see Quinn and Wacker, 208–9).

The lifting up of hands in prayer was practiced in OT times and is attested in Jewish intertestamental, Greco-Roman, and Christian literature (cf. Knight, 128–29). By this time, lifting up hands in prayer may have become a figurative expression similar to “washing the feet of the saints” (5:10). In this congregation devoted to prayer, there must be neither “anger” (cf. Eph 4:31; Col 3:8) nor “disputing” (cf. Php 2:14). The apostle’s teaching here mirrors that of Jesus (Mt 5:22–24 cf. 6:14–15; 18:21–35; Mk 11:25).

Paul’s concern (similar to that of Jesus) is the removal of barriers to ensure effective prayer (1 Co 7:5; Eph 4:26–27; 1 Pe 3:7; cf. Did. 14:2). The apostle’s main emphasis is on the adjective “holy” (hosious, GK 4008; cf. Tit 1:8; Heb 7:26). The picture painted here is that of a church submitted to authority and united in prayer for the salvation of all.[2]


8 At this point, Paul engages the congregation according to gender groups. In this adaptation of a household code, he takes the men first and speaks to them authoritatively, enlarging on the instruction about community prayer22 initiated at 2:1. There are several issues to be addressed. First, in Greek the term “men” is ambiguous and could mean “husbands” or “men.” Typically either a standard modifying possessive pronoun or similar device will clearly indicate “husband” (e.g. 3:2, 12; 5:9; Titus 1:6; 2:5; 1 Pet 3:1; Eph 5:22), or something else in the context will specify the meaning. The absence of such a signal might support the more generic reference, but the context nonetheless suggests the husband/wife relationship is largely in view (especially when discussion of the women is considered, see below). On the one hand, the norm for men and women was marriage, and this is the assumption in reference to the women and childbearing in v. 15. On the other hand, the language and content of the proscribed “sumptuousness” of wealthy women in 2:9–10 has in mind mainly a trend among wealthy married women (and widows; see on 5:6, 11–15) to adopt a new liberated lifestyle of dress and sexual promiscuity (see below). If this is the case, the generic categories of “men” and “women” are almost certainly intended to express more precision.

Second, Paul is specifically concerned about the holiness and demeanor of men when they pray. This is set out in positive terms first by reference to the symbolic gesture of raising the hands in prayer (coupled with allusion to the rite of hand washing to signify purity). The background is the biblical tradition in which prayers in various contexts (invoking God’s intervention, pronouncing blessing on others) were accentuated by the raising or extending of hands. Within Israel’s cultic regimen, the actual outward act of washing the hands was a fundamental preparatory step for priests to enter the Tent of Meeting (Exod 30:19–21). The visible public act of purification signified the presumed inward condition of purity/holiness of those about to engage in ministry. From the act and its significance, the image of “purified hands” acquired metaphorical status in its reference to moral purity (e.g. 1 Clement 29:1; LXX Pss 25:6; 72:13) just as the image of “bloody” or stained hands signified metaphorically the reverse (Isa 1:15). The combination of the adjective, “holy/pure,” and the symbolic gesture depicts one who is completely (outwardly and inwardly) ready for ministry.

Measured negatively, the holiness that facilitates acceptable prayer is devoid (“without”; 5:21) of attitudes and actions that put relationships at risk. Here Paul highlights two such things. First, the presence of “anger” indicates the absence of patience, kindness and forgiveness, all of which are requisite to the maintenance and fostering of relationships. Consequently, refusing to harbor anger (and related feelings) towards other people (Eph 4:31; Col 3:8), along with taking the positive step of forgiveness (e.g. Mark 11:25), is a condition of effective prayer. Second, hostile feelings issue in hostile actions, and Paul illustrates this with a very relevant reference to “disputing.” This is an almost certain reference to the modus operandi of the false teachers, whose false doctrines and teaching style engendered disputes and division in the community.28 But in the nearer context a reference to some kind of volatile interaction between men and women (who teach) may also be in mind. For the thought that one’s moral condition will affect one’s prayer, positively or negatively, see James 1:19–20 and 1 Pet 3:7.

Third, a subtly inserted phrase often overlooked in translations and commentaries, “in every place” (“everywhere,” TNIV) initiates an OT echo designed to invite the readers/hearers to understand the significance of their entire worship activity in the eschatological framework of God’s redemptive promise to save the nations.29 In the NT the phrase is Pauline, restricted elsewhere to three occurrences (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 2:14; 1 Thess 1:8). Notably, in each of these instances either Paul’s prayer (1 Cor 1:2) or preaching mission (2 Cor 2:14; 1 Thess 1:8) is in view. Both of these features and the sense of universality suggest that the phrase originated in and consciously echoes Mal 1:11:

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place (en panti topō) incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

Within Judaism, Mal 1:11 was associated in the Targumic tradition with prayer. Didache 14:3, perhaps influenced by the interests in 1 Tim 2:8 and certainly by those of Judaism, later conflated Mal 1:11 and 14 to construct a citation, attributed to the Lord, that instructed those quarreling to reconcile before praying. But in the OT context, “prayer,” that is, the offering of incense and declaring of God’s name, is not the sole topic; it is rather symbolic of the gracious outward turn of God to the nations and pronouncement of judgment on the corrupt temple-centered worship.

The function of the echo in the Pauline texts is to explore the implications of this prophetic promise in the new eschatological reality of the church. Viewed within this line of OT promise, the churches’ prayer (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Tim 2:8) and Paul’s apostolic ministry (2 Cor 2:14; 1 Thess 1:8; 1 Tim 2:7) become signs of the fulfillment of God’s promise to offer salvation to “the nations.” Equally, the church in its proclamation and prayer becomes the vehicle by which promise is fulfilled. This is exactly the eschatological perspective Paul had of his ministry (Rom 9–11; 15:9–13; Gal 1:15–16), so it is hardly surprising to find it extended here to a discussion of the church’s prayer responsibility within the Pauline mission.33 Within the broader context of 1 Tim 2:8, this echo of Mal 1:11 resonates with the theme of universality and prayer in support of Paul’s mission (2:1–6) and Paul’s self-understanding of his calling to the Gentiles (“herald, apostle … teacher of the Gentiles”; 2:7) to underline the intrinsic place of prayer within the gospel ministry and the ministry of this church. Paul’s audience would have been sensitive to the thematic cue. But equally this missiological frame forces the conduct both of Christian men (holiness) and women (modesty) to be evaluated in terms of its effect on observant outsiders.[3]


2:8 / This sentence is tied to what precedes by the conjunction oun (“therefore”), untranslated in the niv (probably because it was understood to be transitional). “Therefore,” Paul says, “while we’re on the subject, as the people gather to pray be sure it is for prayer and not in anger or disputing.” That is, the instruction is neither that men should pray nor that only men pray nor that they should do so with uplifted hands, but that when at prayer they should do so without engaging in controversies.

This is to be so everywhere, that is, “in every place where believers gather in and around Ephesus” (the house-churches). To lift up holy hands while in prayer is the assumed posture of prayer in both Judaism and early Christianity (see note). The imagery is that of ritual purity, hands cleansed before praying, and here refers to their not being “soiled” by anger or disputing, the particular sins of the false teachers.[4]


Instructions for men

2:8. Therefore, I desire men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and disputing.

This verse picks up the theme of prayer from 2:1. Paul instructs men in the church to pray and he lays down a few guidelines for how they are to pray. It is important to see from the outset the universal nature of this command. Paul desires men ‘in every place’ to pray. This clearly goes back to verse 1, where Paul commands prayer ‘for all people’. Wherever there is a community of God’s people, the men are to pray.

The universal quality of this command sets the tone for the entire passage. Those who deny that Paul’s instructions to women in the verses that follow apply to the church today typically do so on the basis that his words are conditioned by the culture of the day or the local situation. However, nothing in the verses that follow warrants such an understanding, and the universality of Paul’s command here suggests that these are his instructions for propriety in all the churches of God. The direct instructions for men to pray makes it clear that men are to lead in public worship (cf. 1 Cor. 14:33–36).

Paul goes on to say two things about how that prayer is to be offered. First, men are to pray ‘lifting up holy hands’. The practice of praying with lifted hands was common in the Old Testament (e.g., Exod. 9:29; 1 Kings 8:22; Isa. 1:15) and was adopted by Jews and the early Christians. It symbolizes the lifting up of our hearts to God, seeking his face and worshipping him. Therefore, our hands must be ‘holy’; that is, our prayers to God should be lifted up from pure hearts.

Secondly, prayer is to be offered ‘without anger and disputing’. This qualification expounds Paul’s reference to ‘holy’ hands, though the absence of anger and disputing is certainly not the totality of what it means to be holy. These sins are only representative. Scripture clearly teaches elsewhere that our relationships with others directly affect our prayers to God (cf. 1 Peter 3:7; Matt. 6:15). ‘Anger’ indicates rupture in church relationships, not the peace and forgiveness that are to characterize the people of God. Paul’s reference to ‘disputing’ may reflect the dissension caused by the false teachers in Ephesus, yet lack of unity is common wherever ransomed sinners meet together. Indeed, it seems to characterize all the churches that Paul addresses in his letters.[5]


Ver. 8.—Desire for will, A.V. the men for men, A.V. in every place for everywhere, A.V. disputing for doubting, A.V. I desire, etc. He takes up the subject again which he had opened in ver. 1, but had somewhat digressed from in vers. 4–7, and gives further directions as to the persons who are to make the prayers spoken of in ver. 1, viz. men (τοὺς ἄνδρας), not women, as it follows more at large in vers. 9–15. The stress is clearly upon “men” (or, “the men”—it makes no difference); and there is no force in Alford’s remark that in that case it would have been τοὺς ἄνδρας προσεύχεσθαι. The prayers had been already ordered in ver. 1; the additional detail, that they were to be offered by men, is now added. In every place; not, as Chrysostom thinks, in contrast to the Jewish worship, which was confined to the temple at Jerusalem, but merely meaning wherever a Christian congregation is assembled. Lifting up holy hands. Alford quotes Clem. Rom. ‘To the Corinthians,’ Ep. i. ch. 29: Προσέλθωμεν … ἐν ὁσιότητιψυχῆς ἁγνὰς καὶ ἀμιάντους χεῖρας αἴρουντες πρὸς αὐτόν (comp. Ps. 26:6; 28:2; 44:20; 63:4; 2 Chron. 6:12, 13). Without wrath. It appears from several passages in Chrysostom that the habit of praying angry prayers was not unknown in his day. “Do you pray against your brother? But your prayer is not against him, but against yourself. You provoke God by uttering those impious words, ‘Show him the same;’ ‘So do to him;’ ‘Smite him;’ ‘Recompense him;’ … and much more to the same effect” (‘Ham.’ vi.). In ‘Hom.’ viii. his comment on this passage is: “Without bearing malice.… Let no one approach God in enmity, or in an unamiable temper.” And disputing (διαλογισμοῦ). The exact meaning of διαλογισμός is perhaps best seen in Luke 5:21, 22, where both the verb and the substantive are used. The διαλογισμοὶ are cavillings, questionings proceeding from a captious, unbelieving spirit. They are διαλογισμοὶ πονηροὶ (Matt. 15:19). The word is always used in a bad sense in the New Testament. Forms of prayer were not yet established in the Church, but these cautions show the need of them.[6]


8. I wish therefore that men may pray. This inference depends on the preceding statement; for, as we saw in the Epistle to the Galatians, we must receive “the Spirit of adoption,” in order that we may call on God in a proper manner. Thus, after having exhibited the grace of Christ to all, and after having mentioned that he was given to the Gentiles for the express purpose, that they might enjoy the same benefit of redemption in common with the Jews, he invites all in the same manner to pray; for faith leads to calling on God. Hence, at Rom. 15:9, he proves the calling of the Gentiles by these passages. “Let the Gentiles rejoice with his people.” (Ps. 67:5.) Again, “All ye Gentiles, praise God.” (Ps. 117:1.) Again, “I will confess to thee among the Gentiles.” (Ps. 18:49.) The material argument holds good, from faith to prayer, and from prayer to faith, whether we reason from the cause to the effect, or from the effect to the cause. This is worthy of observation, because it reminds us that God reveals himself to us in his word, that we may call upon him; and this is the chief exercise of faith.

In every place. This expression is of the same import as in the beginning of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, “with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” (1 Cor. 1:2,) so that there is now no difference between Gentile and Jew, between Greek and barbarian, because all in common have God as their Father; and in Christ is now fulfilled what Malachi had foretold, that not only in Judea, but throughout the whole world, pure sacrifices are offered. (Mal. 1:11.)

Lifting up pure hands. As if he had said, “Provided that it be accompanied by a good conscience, there will be nothing to prevent all the nations from calling upon God everywhere. But he has employed the sign instead of the reality, for “pure hands” are the expressions of a pure heart; just as, on the contrary, Isaiah rebukes the Jews for lifting up “bloody hands,” when he attacks their cruelty. (Isa. 1:15.) Besides, this attitude has been generally used in worship during all ages; for it is a feeling which nature has implanted in us, when we ask God, to look upwards, and has always been so strong, that even idolaters themselves, although in other respects they make a god of images of wood and stone, still retained the custom of lifting up their hands to heaven. Let us therefore learn that the attitude is in accordance with true godliness, provided that it be attended by the corresponding truth which is represented by it, namely, that, having been informed that we ought to seek God in heaven, first, we should form no conception of Him that is earthly or carnal; and, secondly, that we should lay aside carnal affections, so that nothing may prevent our hearts from rising above the world. But idolaters and hypocrites, when they lift up their hands in prayer, are apes; for while they profess, by the outward symbol, that their minds are raised upwards, the former are fixed on wood and stone, as if God were shut up in them, and the latter, wrapped up either in useless anxieties, or in wicked thoughts, cleave to the earth; and therefore, by a gesture of an opposite meaning, they bear testimony against themselves.

Without wrath. Some explain this to mean a burst of indignation, when the conscience fights with itself, and, so to speak, quarrels with God, which usually happens when adversity presses heavily upon us; for then we are displeased that God does not send us immediate assistance, and are agitated by impatience. Faith is also shaken by various assaults; for, in consequence of his assistance not being visible, we are seized with doubts, whether or not he cares about us, or wishes us to be saved, and things of that nature.

They who take this view think that the word disputing denotes that alarm which arises from doubt. Thus, according to them, the meaning would be, that we should pray with a peaceful conscience and assured confidence. Chrysostom and others think that the apostle here demands that our minds should be calm and free from all uneasy feelings both towards God and towards men; because there is nothing that tends more to hinder pure calling on God than quarrels and strife. On this account Christ enjoins, that if any man be at variance with his brother, he shall go and be reconciled to him before offering his gift on the altar.

For my part, I acknowledge that both of these views are just; but when I take into consideration the context of this passage, I have no doubt that Paul had his eye on the disputes which arose out of the indignation of the Jews at having the Gentiles made equal to themselves, in consequence of which they raised a controversy about the calling of the Gentiles, and went so far as to reject and exclude them from the participation of grace. Paul therefore wishes that debates of this nature should be put down, and that all the children of God of every nation and country should pray with one heart. Yet there is nothing to restrain us from drawing from this particular statement a general doctrine.[7]


8. Paul now resumes the subject of prayer. The authority which he has just vindicated shines out in the opening verb I want (boulomai), which may be regarded almost as a command. Paul is expressing more than a passing desire. For him prayer was a matter of great importance.

Presumably the singling out here of men as those who should pray must be taken in conjunction with what is afterwards said about women (verse 9). In using the phrase everywhere (lit. ‘in every place’), Paul may be echoing Malachi 1:10–11 (cf. Brox), but the phrase is typically Pauline (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Thess. 1:8), while the practice of lifting up hands was common among Jews and pagans as well as Christians when in the attitude of prayer (cf. Lock). Although constant prayer is here regarded as a matter of Christian obligation, the gesture mentioned is incidental to the qualifying adjective holy. Worshippers with hands stained by unworthy deeds must first be cleansed before approaching God in prayer (cf. Ps. 26:6). The closing words of this verse without anger or disputing show that wrong attitudes of mind are as alien to the holy place of prayer as sullied hands. Not merely pure actions but pure motives are essential in Christian worship.[8]


Men and their prayers (2:8)

Everywhere (literally ‘in every place’, namely wherever public prayer is offered) the men are to lift up holy hands … without anger or disputing (8). Here are three universal characteristics of public prayer, or, expressing them negatively, three hindrances to prayer, namely sin, anger and quarrelling. The reference to ‘holy hands’ reminds us of Psalm 24, in which those who wish to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in his holy place must have ‘clean hands and a pure heart’. Here too Paul uses ‘the outward sign for the inward reality, for our hands indicate a pure heart’. So it is useless to spread out our hands to God in prayer if they are defiled with sin.79 As for anger and quarrelling, it is obviously inappropriate to approach God in prayer if we are harbouring resentment or bitterness against him or other people. As Jesus himself insisted, reconciliation must precede worship.

So holiness, love and peace are indispensable to prayer. But what about the lifting up of our hands—is this equally essential? No, bodily postures and gestures in prayer are cultural, and a wide range of variations occurs in Scripture. The normal posture while worshipping was to stand, as when the Levites summoned the people to ‘stand up and praise the Lord your God’. And while standing before God, it seems to have been common either to ‘lift’ the hands to him or to ‘spread’ them before him, as an expression of dependence and faith. So we read: ‘I lift my hands towards your Most Holy Place’, and ‘Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven’.82 Meanwhile, the eyes could also be lifted up in expectation or else be cast down in humble penitence.84

But standing was not the only acceptable prayer posture. David ‘sat before the Lord’, and many times we read of people, especially in times of humiliation, anguish or confession, bowing down or kneeling before God.86 Sometimes it seemed natural to God’s people to express their sense of awe in his presence by prostrating themselves, with their faces to the ground, especially after a vision of the majesty of God.88

To sum up, although holiness, love and peace should always accompany our prayers, yet whether we stand, sit, bow down, kneel or fall on our faces, and whether our hands are lifted, spread, folded, clasped, clapping or waving are matters of little consequence, although we may be inclined to agree with William Hendriksen that ‘the slouching position of the body, while one is supposed to be praying, is an abomination to the Lord’. Otherwise, we need to make sure that our posture is both appropriate to our culture and genuinely expressive of our inward devotion. For Jesus warned us of the dangers of religious ostentation,90 and our worship must never be allowed to degenerate into ‘a piece of sacred pantomime’.[9]


Ver. 8. Pray everywhere.

Prayer:

  1. Let us consider the subject of attention. This is prayer. And what is prayer? Prayer is the breathing of desire towards God. Words are not essential to it. As words may be used without the heart, so the heart may be engaged where words are wanting. Words are not always necessary to inform a fellow-creature, and they are never necessary to inform God, who “searcheth the heart,” and knoweth what is in the mind. What interesting looks will the hunger of the beggar at the door display! How is it in the family? You have several children: the first can come and ask for what he wants in proper language, and the second can only ask in broken terms, but here is a third who cannot speak at all: but he can point, he can look, and stretch out his little hand; he can cry, and shall he plead in vain? “No! no!” says the mother, refuse him? his dimpled cheeks, his speaking eye, his big round tears, plead for him. Refuse him? Further, we notice the kinds of prayer. Prayer may be considered as public. There is also domestic prayer, by which we mean the prayer that is offered every morning and every evening at the family altar. Mr. Henry observes, “A house without this has no roof.” Prayer may be considered as private. “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and shut thy door, and pray to thy Father which seeth in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Prayer may be considered as ejaculatory, a darting up of the mind to God, as the word signifies. This may be done at any time, and under any circumstance. Nehemiah was the king’s cup-bearer, and while he was in the room attending upon his office, he prayed to the God of heaven.
  2. Observe the injunction. “I will that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

III. Where it is to be offered. “Everywhere.” Now, this is opposed to restriction or respect. Let us see what we can make of it in either of these views. You remember the Assyrians thought that the God of Israel was the God of the hills, and not of the valleys. And when Balaam was baffled in one of his endeavours to curse Israel, he went to another place to see if he could be more prosperous, and to try if he could curse them from thence. You see how the devotions of the heathens always depended upon times, and places, or pilgrimages. Anong the Jews, who were for a time under a Theocracy, God chose a place where He might reside, and where were the symbols of His presence, and there all the males resorted thrice in the year; but even then God said to Moses, “In all places where I record My name, I will come unto thee and bless thee.” What think you of those sons and daughters of superstition and bigotry who would confine God to particular places and stations? Where was Jacob when he said, “This is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven”? Where did Paul take leave of his friends? “He kneeled down on the seashore.” Where did the Saviour pray? “He went out into a private place,” “He went into a desert place,” “He went up into a mountain to pray.” When Jones, a famous Welsh preacher, was commanded to appear before the Bishop of St. David’s, the bishop said to him, “I must insist upon it that you never preach upon unconsecrated ground.” “My lord,” said he, “I never do; I never did; for ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof’; and when Immanuel came down to set His foot upon our earth, the whole was sanctified by it.” God is no more a respecter of places than of persons. This should also encourage you when you are under disadvantageous circumstances. For instance, if you are called to assemble in a very poor place, or in a very small place, He Himself hath said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name”—let it be where it will—“there am I in the midst of them.” But now, further, as men may pray everywhere, so they ought to pray everywhere. The injunction not only allows, but enjoins, universal prayer. The duty is more opposed to neglect than even restriction. Men should pray everywhere, because they may die everywhere. They have died in all places: they have died in a bath, they have died in a tavern, they have died upon the road, they have died in the temple of God. You are therefore to pray everywhere. But what are we to say of those who, instead of praying “everywhere,” pray nowhere?

  1. Let us notice how this duty is to be discharged. It is to be offered up under three attributes. 1. The first implies purity, “lifting up holy hands.” Solomon says, “The prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.” David says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” You have heard the Dutch proverb, “Sinning will make a man leave off praying, or praying will make a man leave off sinning.” These will not do well together, therefore they must be separated. It would be better for a man to neglect his benefactor than to call at his house to spit in his face, or to smite him on the cheek. James says, “Can a fountain bring forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” 2. The second attribute is kindness. This is expressed by the opposite extreme. “Without wrath.” There are those whose lives may be far from egregious vices, but whose tempers do not partake of the meekness and gentleness of Christ; they bring their rancorous spirit into their worship, and think to appease the anger of God for their uncharitableness by offering it up on the altar of devotion. “He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 3. The third attribute is confidence. This is expressed negatively: “I will that men pray everywhere,” not only “without wrath,” but “without doubting.” Our Lord says in the Gospel by St. Matthew, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.” This confidence includes a persuasion in the lawfulness of the things we pray for. Then it takes in confidence in the power of God. “Believe ye that I am able to do this”? This confidence takes in the disposition of God towards you; you are not only to “believe that He is,” but that “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Especially you must have confidence in the mediation of Christ. (W. Jay.)

A Scripture description of prayer:

  1. The employment which is here commended. 1. That prayer must be addressed exclusively to God. This grand truth is introduced, and ought to be solemnly and uniformly affirmed, in direct contradiction to those mistaken propensities and systems by which men have addressed invocations to idols—mere imaginary beings, or beings really existing but created and inferior. 2. Prayer must be offered to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an established and a cardinal principle in all revealed religion that man as a guilty sinner can have no access to God but through a Mediator—One whose merits, as having offered a sacrifice for sin, must be alleged as constituting a satisfactory ground for favour and acceptance. 3. Prayer offered to God through the Lord Jesus Christ must be presented by all mankind. The statement of our text is, that men are to “pray everywhere”; wherever men exist, men are to pray. The universal call to prayer arises from the fact that men are universally in precisely the same relationship to God. They are everywhere characterized by the same guilt, the same wants, the same responsibility.
  2. The spirit with which this employment is to be inseparably associated. “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1. First the apostle recommends importunity. Importunity is symbolized by the figure of the “lifting up of hands”—an attitude which was practised in prayer in ancient times, as externally indicating the place from whence man expected blessing, even heaven the dwelling-place of God, and the spirit with which they desired to receive blessing, laying hold (as it were) by eagerness and by strength of what they desired to receive from Him. Who, for example, can pray for pardon, for sanctification, for knowledge, for love, for protection, for comfort, for victory over death and hell, and for the final enjoyment of a happy immortality in heaven—without importunity? It is palpable that coldness to a rightly regulated mind must be utterly and finally impracticable. 2. But again; the expressions of the apostle, when they recommend importunity, also recommend purity. “Lifting up holy hands”—these expressions, or the epithets with which the expressions we have noticed already are connected, referring to a custom, frequent or universal among the Jews as well as other Oriental nations, of carefully washing the hands before they engaged in the performance of any act of devotion, this being intended to be the sign and symbol of moral rectitude and of the preparation of the heart. Hence it is that in the Old Testament Scriptures you find a connection established between the cleanness of the hands and the purification or holiness of the heart. For instance, in the Book of Job we have this statement—“The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger”—there being of course an identification between the two expressions. In the twenty-fourth Psalm David inquires thus—“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.” This being the import of the expression, we might refer it to the state, which must be rendered judicially pure or holy by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, dependence on whom we have already advocated and required; but we must especially regard it as referring to the heart, which must undergo the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, so as to be morally conformed to the character and the law of God. In all ages, God demands to be worshipped in “the beauties of holiness.” 3. The apostle also recommends benevolence. “I will that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath.” The expression “wrath” of course must be regarded as having respect to other men; we are to be careful against indulging towards them resentment or dislike, arising from whatever source, and we are to cultivate towards them the spirit of benevolence and of good-will, these prompting on their behalf intercession for their interests before the throne and in the presence of God. The apostle well knew that there is a great disposition to the indulgence of selfishness in prayer; and hence it was that he bore in the present instance his solemn protest against it. 4. The apostle at the same time recommends faith. “I will that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”; the term “doubting” is placed as the converse of faith. Faith in regard to the exercise of prayer, must not merely have respect to the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Mediator through whom prayer is to be presented, but must have respect to the entire testimony of God regarding prayer—in its mode, matter, and results. There may perhaps be stated certain limitations to the exercise of faith, as connected with the employment of prayer. Those limitations may justly have respect to the desires we are accustomed to present before the Divine footstool, for the impartation of what we deem temporal blessings.

III. The reasons by which this employment in this spirit may especially be enforced. 1. First, this employment in this spirit is directly commanded by God. 2. Again; this employment in this spirit is connected with numerous and invaluable blessings. Is it not associated with blessing to ourselves, and have we not been distinctly informed that the great instrument of the continuance of spiritual blessings to us, when converted by Divine grace, has been the agency of prayer? 3. And then it must be observed that the neglect of this employment in this spirit is attended and succeeded by numerous and by fatal evils. No man is a converted man who does not pray. No man can be a happy man who does not pray. No man can possess the slightest indication of the spiritual favour of God who does not pray. (J. Parsons.)

Prayer without anger:—“Anger,” says he, “is a short madness, and an eternal enemy to discourse and a fair conversation: it is a fever in the heart, and a calenture in the head, and a sword in the hand, and a fury all over and therefore can never suffer a man to be in a disposition to pray. For prayer is the peace of our spirits, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our temper; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts: it is the daughter of charity and the sister of meekness: and he that prays to God with an angry, that is, with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and sets up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison to be wise in. For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upwards, and singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and rise above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over: and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel.” (Jeremy Taylor.)

Praying everywhere:—Forty years ago, Audubon, the distinguished American naturalist, was pursuing his vocation in a wild, remote, and, as he believed, perfectly uninhabited district of Labrador. Rising up from the bare ground after a cold night’s rest he beheld, on one of the granite rocks which strew that desolate plain, the form of a man accurately outlined against the dawn, his head raised to heaven, his hands clasped and beseeching. Before this rapt and imploring figure stood a small monument of unhewn stones supporting a wooden cross. The only dweller on that inhospitable shore had come out from his hut to the open air, that without barrier or hindrance his solitary supplication might go up directly unto Him who does not dwell in the temples that are made with hands.

Wrath and prayer:—Prayer is represented in the gospel as a holy and solemn act, which we cannot surround with too many safeguards, in order to prevent anything of a profane and worldly nature from interfering with the reverential freedom of this con verse between the creature and its Creator. Prayer prepares for acts of self-denial, courage, and charity, and these in their turn prepare for prayer. No one should be surprised at this double relation between prayer and life. Is it not natural that we should retire to be with God, that we may renew our sense of His presence, draw on the treasures of light and strength which He opens to every heart that implores Him, and afterwards return to active life, better provided with love and wisdom? On the other hand, is it not natural that we should prepare by purity of conduct to lift up pure hands to God, and carefully keep aloof from everything that might render this important and necessary act either difficult, or formidable, or useless? The words introduced at the end of the verse so unexpectedly, and which we believe, for a moment, excite surprise in every reader—these words, “without wrath and doubting,” contain a very marked and impressive allusion to the circumstances in which Christians were then placed. The question is anew brought before you at every new attack of your enemies; in other words, every new attack will necessarily tempt you to wrath and disputation as you are men, if it do not urge you to prayer as you are Christians. You cannot escape from wrath except by prayer, nor from hatred except by love; and not to be a murderer, since hatred is murder, you must as much as in you lies give life to him to whom you wished to give death. At least it is necessary to ask it for him, it is necessary by your prayers to beget him to a new existence; it is necessary in all cases, while praying for him, to exert yourselves in loving him. It is necessary that wrath and disputation be extinguished and die away in prayer. Two classes of men may excite in us wrath and disputation. The former are the enemies of our persons, those who, from interest, envy, or revenge, are opposed to our happiness, and more generally all those who have done us wrong, or against whom we have ground of complaint. The latter are those who become our enemies from the opposition of their views and opinions to ours, or the opposition of their conduct to our wishes. Both are to us occasions of wrath and disputation. The gospel requires that they be to us occasions of prayer. In regard to the former, I mean our personal enemies, I might simply observe that God does not know them as our enemies. God does not enter into our passions, or espouse our resentments. He sanctions and approves all the relations which He has Himself created, those of parent and child, husband and wife, sovereign and subject. But the impious relation of enemy to enemy is entirely our work, or rather the work of the devil. God knows it only to denounce it. Besides, in His eye the whole body of mankind are only men, and some in the relation which they stand to each other, only brethren. You would wish to pray for your friends alone; but this very prayer is forbidden, and remains impossible, if you do not extend it to your enemies. And if you persist in excluding them from your prayers, be assured that God will not even accept those which you offer to Him in behalf of the persons whom you love. Your supplications will be rejected; the smoke of your offering will fall back upon your offering; your desires will not reach that paternal heart which is ever open. Not only ought we to pray for our enemies, although they be our enemies; but we ought to pray for them because they are our enemies. As soon as they again become to us like the rest of mankind another distinction takes place, and a new right arises in their favour. They are confounded for a moment with all our other fellows, in order afterwards to stand forth from the general mass as privileged beings, with a special title to our prayers. When we meet with an opposition which frets and irritates us, Christian prudence counsels us to pray that the temptation may be removed; and, in particular, that our self-love and injured feelings may not weaken our love for our neighbour. But this prudence, if it counsels nothing further, is not prudent enough. If the same feeling which disposes us to pray does not dispose us to pray for our enemies or opponents, it is difficult to believe that it is a movement of charity. Charity cannot be thus arrested. Its nature is to overcome evil with good, and this means not merely that it does not render evil for evil, but that in return for evil it renders good. It would not be charity if it did less. Its first step overleaps the imaginary limit which it does not even see or know. It does not restrict itself to not hating; it loves. It would not do enough if it did not do more than enough. Can we renew our hatred for one for whom we have prayed? Does not every desire, every request which we send up to God for him endear him to us the more? Does not each prayer set him more beyond the reach of our passions? No; not till then is the work of mercy accomplished. We have no evidence of having pardoned an enemy until we have prayed for him. For to allege the gravity, the extent of the offence which we have received, has no plausibility. If we have brought ourselves to pardon him who has committed it, we might surely bring ourselves to pray for him; and if we cannot pray for him we have not pardoned him. An offence! But think well of it; can we really be offended? The term is too lofty, too grand for us. The offence may have grated very painfully on our feelings, or thwarted our interests, but it has gone no farther. Whatever injustice may have been done us, whatever cause we may have to complain, that is not the real evil. What evil absolutely is there in having our faith tried and our patience exercised? Because our fortune has been curtailed, our reputation compromised, our affections thwarted, does the world go on less regularly than it did? Not at all. The evil, the only real evil is the sin of that soul, the infraction of the eternal law, the violence offered to Divine order; and if any other evil is to be added to this, it will be by our murmurings, since the effect of them will be to make two sinners in place of one. Do you then seek a reason for refusing your intercession, and consequently your pardon to your adversaries? I have found one, and it is a fit ground for resentment: God your Father was insulted in the insult which you experienced. But show me, pray, the extraordinary man who, quite ready to pardon on his own account, cannot resolve to pardon on God’s account! It may belong to God to be angry with them; us it becomes only to pity them, and pity them the more, the more grievously God has been offended. But alas! instead of seeing in the injury which we have received only an injury done to God, we insolently appropriate to ourselves the offence of which He alone is the object. In what hurts Him we feel ourselves offended, and consequently become angry, instead of being grieved. It will be well if, instead of praying, we have not cursed! Contrast the ordinary fruits of wrath and debate with these results of prayer. In yielding to the former, not only do you place yourself in opposition to the holy law of God, but you destroy the peace of your life and the peace of your soul; you aggravate the evils of a situation already deplorable; you kindle up hatred in the heart of your enemy; you render reconciliation on his part, as well as on yours, always more difficult; you run from sin to sin in order to lull your pride, and this pride gives you only a bitter, poisoned, and criminal enjoyment. How much better, then, is prayer than wrath and strife! But personal enemies are not the only ones who are to us the occasion of wrath and strife. The class of enemies, as we have already said, includes all those whose opinions, views, and conduct are in opposition to our interests or our principles. How little does the impatience which they excite differ from hatred! With regard to such enemies, our usual method is to hate in silence if we feel ourselves weak, or to dispute obstinately if we believe ourselves strong. The gospel proposes another method. It approves neither of hatred nor strife. Zeal, courage, perseverance, indignation itself, must all be pervaded with charity, or rather, proceed from charity. Indignation and prayer must spring from a common source; the former from love to God, the latter from love to men, and consequently both from love. How widely different is this conduct from that which is commonly pursued in the world! Let Government commit an error, it is greedily laid hold of and bitterly commented on; and this is all that is done. Let a religious teacher profess a system which is judged dangerous; his minutest expressions are laid hold of, and isolated so as to distort their meaning; his life is boldly explained by his opinions, or his opinions by his life, and there the matter rests. To pray, to entreat the Lord to shed His enlightening Spirit on this government, on that teacher, on that individual; to wrestle for them in presence of the Divine mercy, ah! this is what is seldom thought of. Ah! the Divine Intercessor must have fully established His abode in the soul before the spirit of intercession can dwell there! How difficult is it for the old leaven to lose its sourness! What seeds of hatred, what homicidal germs are in the heart which has received Jesus Christ! How much of Cain still remains in this pretended Abel! And what avails it to believe much if we love little, or to believe if we do not love? And truly, what have we believed, in whom have we believed, if we do not love? (A. Vinet, D.D.)[10]


2:8 “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray” Not all men can pray in public/corporate worship. The phrase “in every place” probably refers to house churches in or near Ephesus. Acceptable prayer is defined in three ways in verse 8: (1) lifting holy hands, (2) unstained by anger, and (3) without dissensions. These qualifications clearly show Paul is speaking to the faithful believers and excluding the false teachers, their surrogate speakers (possibly young widows), and their followers.

© “lifting up holy hands” This was the normal position of Jewish prayer. It mandates that believers’ words and lives ought to agree (cf. James 4:8).

© “without wrath” This is the Greek term orgā, which means “a settled opposition” (cf. Matt. 5:23–24; 6:15). Anger at others does affect our relationship with God (cf. Matt. 5:21–24; Mark 11:25; 1 John 2:9, 11; 4:20–21).

©

NASB

 

“dissension”

 

NKJV

 

“doubting”

 

NRSV, TEV, NJB

 

“argument”

 

Greek philosophers used this term for a teaching session or dialogue. In the NT it has a negative connotation. Here, it refers to either the context of the teachings or the inappropriate, angry, and disruptive attitude of the debaters.[11]


8. I will then that in every place the men offer prayer.

Paul, exercising his full authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ, continues to give directions. The translation of the A.V. “I will” fits the context and suits the word that is used in the original. The word then (either loosely inferential or continuative; cf. N.T.C. on John, Vol. II, p. 386, footnote 246) connects this paragraph with the preceding. Prayers must be offered in behalf of all people (verses 1–7); hence, let these prayers be offered; not, however, by the women but by the men (verse 8). It is clear that the verb offer prayer or simply pray must here be taken in the broadest sense, including every form of invocation mentioned in 2:1 (see on that passage).

Such prayers must be offered “in every place” of public worship. Often a large room in the house of one of the members would be used for that purpose. There were probably several places of worship in Ephesus and surroundings. In order and manner of worship the customs prevailing in the synagogue were followed as far as possible. The idea that the men should lead in prayer cannot have surprised those who were used to the synagogue, except in so far as Paul’s emphasis on the equality of the sexes “in Christ” (Gal. 3:28) may have caused some to wonder whether this spiritual emancipation of women might not imply a change in their position in public worship. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that many of the converts had been gathered from the Gentile world. And the church was still very young, with new centers of worship being established right along. Moreover, the possibility that false teachers had been spreading erroneous ideas with respect to the respective roles of men and women “in church” must not be entirely dismissed. However this may have been, Paul knew, at any rate, that instruction was necessary with respect to this point. He emphasizes that the Christian faith does not call for a complete break with the past. The presence of women in the religious assembly is, of course, assumed. Paul’s point is that these women should pray as Hannah did, “She spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard” (1 Sam. 1:13).

As for the men, they should offer prayer, lifting up holy hands without wrath and evil deliberation. Posture in prayer is never a matter of indifference. The slouching position of the body while one is supposed to be praying is an abomination to the Lord. On the other hand, it is also true that Scripture nowhere prescribes one, and only one, correct posture during prayer. Different positions of arms, hands, and of the body as a whole, are indicated. All of these are permissible as long as they symbolize different aspects of the worshipper’s reverent attitude, and as long as they truly interpret the sentiments of the heart. Note the following Prayer Postures:

(1).        Standing: Gen. 18:22; 1 Sam. 1:26; Matt. 6:5; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11; Luke 18:13. (Note the contrast between the last two passages. It makes a difference even how and where one stands.)

(2).        Hands Spread Out or/and Lifted Heavenward: Ex. 9:29; Ex. 17:11, 12; 1 Kings 8:22; Neh. 8:6; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 134:2; Psalm 141:2; Is. 1:15; Lam. 2:19; Lam. 3:41; Hab. 3:10; Luke 24:50; 1 Tim. 2:8; James 4:8. (Compare the “Orantes” of the Catacombs. And see A. Deissmann, Light From the Ancient East, translated by L. R. M. Strachan, fourth edition, New York 1922, pp. 415, 416.)

(3).        Bowing the Head: Gen. 24:48 (cf. verse 13); Ex. 12:27; 2 Chron. 29:30; Luke 24:5.

(4).        The Lifting Heavenward of the Eyes: Psalm 25:15; Psalm 121:1; Psalm 123:1, 2; Psalm 141:8; Psalm 145:15; John 11:41; John 17:1; cf. Dan. 9:3; Acts 8:35.

(5).        Kneeling: 2 Chron. 6:13; Psalm 95:6; Is. 45:23; Dan. 6:10; Matt. 17:14; Mark 1:40; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Acts 20:36; Acts 21:5; Eph. 3:14.

(6).        Falling Down with the Face Upon the Ground: Gen. 17:3; Gen. 24:26; Num. 14:5, 13; Num. 16:4, 22, 45; Num. 22:13, 34; Deut. 9:18, 25, 26; Jos. 5:14; Judg. 13:20; Neh. 8:6; Ezek. 1:28; Ezek. 3:23; Ezek. 9:8; Ezek. 11:13; Ezek. 43:3; Ezek. 44:4; Dan. 8:17; Matt. 26:39; Mark 7:25; Mark 14:35; Luke 5:12; Luke 17:16; Rev. 1:17; Rev. 11:16.

(7).        Other Postures: 1 Kings 18:42 (bowing, with face between the knees); Luke 18:13 (standing from afar, striking the breast).

As is clear from this final reference, the indicated postures and positions of members of the body may occur in various combinations. In Luke 18:13 (1) and (7) are combined. 1 Kings 8:22 (Solomon) combines (1) and (2). Neh. 8:6 combines (1) and (3). John 11:41 (see verse 38) links (1) with (4). In addition to being combined with (1), number (2) may also be combined with (5), “Solomon arose from the altar of Jehovah, from kneeling on his knees, with his hands spread forth toward heaven” (1 Kings 8:54; cf. Ezra 9:5). Moreover, the bow (3) was often so deep that the person would fall prostrate upon the ground (6). See, for example, Num. 22:31. In fact, a favorite method of prostration among Orientals has always been falling upon the knees (5), then gradually inclining the body, bowing the head until it touches the ground (3), which may become (6). And even in most cases where Scripture does not definitely indicate this, it may be gathered from the context that the man who spread out or lifted up his hands was standing. That is the case also in our present passage (1 Tim. 2:8).

Now all these postures were appropriate. The standing position (1) indicates reverence. The lifting up or spreading out of the hands (2)—arms outstretched, with palms upward—is a fit symbol of utter dependence on God and of humble expectancy. Bowing the head (3) is the outward expression of the spirit of submission. The lifting heavenward of the eyes (4) indicates that one believes that his help comes from Jehovah, from him alone. Kneeling (5) pictures humility and adoration. Falling down with face toward the ground (6) is the visible manifestation of awe in the divine presence. Striking the breast (7) beautifully harmonizes with the feeling of utter unworthiness.

The present custom of closing the eyes while folding the hands is of disputed origin. Though unrecorded in Scripture and unknown to the early church, the custom may be considered a good one if properly interpreted. It helps the worshipper to shut out harmful distractions and to enter the sphere where “none but God is near.” It is, at any rate, far better than some postures of the body that prevail among moderns when prayer is being offered.

What is stressed, however, throughout Scripture and also in the passage now under study, is not the posture of the body or the position of the hands but the inner attitude of the soul. The hands that are lifted up must be holy, that is, they must be hands unpolluted by previous crimes. A man who has just committed a murder or an act of adultery or a theft must not think that without pardon and restitution, when this “making good” is possible, his hands can now be lifted up in a prayer that is pleasing to God. See Psalm 24:3, 4; cf. Matt. 5:23, 24.

Moreover, this lifting up of hands must be done “without wrath and evil deliberation.” Wrath (cf. N.T.C. on John 3:36), that is, settled indignation against a brother, the attitude of the unmerciful debtor of the parable (Matt. 18:21–35), makes prayer unacceptable (see also, in this connection, Matt. 6:14, 15; Eph. 4:31, 32; Col. 3:8; Jas. 1:19, 20). And so does evil deliberation of any kind whatever. The word used in the original is related to our English word dialogue. The soul of man is so constituted that it can carry on a dialogue with itself. Thus a man can debate within himself whether he shall do this to his neighbor or that, balancing one thought against another (our word deliberate—from Latin de and libra—literally means to thoroughly weigh, libra being a balance). Although the word used in the original does not in itself brand the dialoguing as being evil (see Luke 2:35, in which passage the deliberations referred to are not necessarily evil), yet it is worthy of note (cf. Gen. 6:5; 8:21) that in almost every passage in which it is used the deliberation referred to is clearly of a sinful nature (Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; Luke 5:22; 6:8; 9:46, 47; Rom. 1:21; 14:1; 1 Cor. 3:20; Phil. 2:14. In Luke 2:35 it indicates doubting, questioning). Here in 1 Tim. 2:8 the use of the word in conjunction with wrath makes this meaning certain.

The sum and substance, therefore, of the present admonition is that in public worship the men, not the women, should stand with uplifted hands and offer prayer aloud. The elders naturally would take the lead (1 Tim. 5:17). These hands, however, must be holy, and the prayer must be offered in the proper spirit. If the heart of a person is filled with wrath or malice against his brother, so that he is planning evil against him, prayer will not be acceptable.[12]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 1 Timothy (pp. 74–75). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 1 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 513). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 201–204). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[4] Fee, G. D. (2011). 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (pp. 70–71). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Barcley, W. B. (2005). A Study Commentary on 1 and 2 Timothy (pp. 87–88). Darlington, England; Webster, NY: Evangelical Press.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Timothy (pp. 34–35). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (pp. 63–65). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, pp. 87–88). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Stott, J. R. W. (1996). Guard the truth: the message of 1 Timothy & Titus (pp. 82–83). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[10] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: First Timothy (pp. 121–125). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[11] Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, p. 30). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[12] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 102–105). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Media Won’t Cover This Up: Trump Renews Criticism of Biden’s Mental Capabilities

The president has on more than one occasion criticised his likely opponent in the presidential election for his public gaffes, using them to justify the claim that Biden is unfit to lead the country.

Source: Media Won’t Cover This Up: Trump Renews Criticism of Biden’s Mental Capabilities

July—26 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

 

An altar of earth.—Exodus 20:24.

Every thing and every service, in the old testament dispensation, as well as in the gospel Church, points to Christ. Behold, my soul, in the Lord’s appointment of “an altar of earth,” how jealous the Lord is of his honour. If the altar dedicated to the Lord’s service, be of earth, or if it be of stone, there was not to be the least mixture. Nothing hewn, nothing polished by man’s art, or man’s device; “for if,” saith Jehovah, “thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.” Behold, how fully Jesus was preached here! There can be nothing offered to the Lord for his acceptance, but what is the Lord’s. Jesus is the Father’s gift to poor sinners; and when a poor sinner presents before the Father the Lord Jesus, as his whole altar, sacrifice, and offering, he presents to the Father what the Father first presented to him. If the sinner were to join any thing of his own with this offering, this were to pollute it. Sweet thought! my soul, cherish it in the warmest of thine affections; carry it about with thee for thy daily exercise of faith, upon the person of Jesus, that nothing of thine may mingle with the pure, and perfect salvation, which is alone in him. And, depend upon it, thy God and Father is more honoured, more glorified, and will be more beloved, by such a perfect reliance upon him, in whom his soul delighteth, than he would be by the greatest and most costly sacrifice of thine own providing. The infinite and eternal worth and efficacy of Jesus’s blood and righteousness is upon everlasting record. God is well pleased with him, and his people in him; and a voice from heaven hath proclaimed it to the earth. To offer any thing of our own, by way of making it pleadable, is to pollute it; yea, it is to make it questionable, as if we thought it not complete. And by thus doing, we declare that our hearts are not thoroughly pleased with what Jehovah hath declared himself well pleased, but are seeking to rest our souls, not upon the altar, which is wholly the Lord’s, but adding to it of our own. Oh! for grace to make Jesus what the Father hath made him, the all in all of man’s salvation; and be ever ready to let him have all the glory, who alone hath accomplished it, “in believing the record that God hath given of his dear Son.”[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 225). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

Ironside: “Broken Vessels for Christ”

By Harry A. Ironside

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:10,11)

This fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians is the apostle Paul’s statement of power for ministry. He  shows us in these stirring verses that God is not looking for brilliant men, is not depending upon eloquent men, is not shut up to the use of talented men in sending His Gospel out in the world.

God is looking for broken men, for men who have judged themselves in the light of the Cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to an end of  themselves, and whose trust and confidence is not in themselves but in God.

There were those who were calling in to question the apostleship of Paul himself, for he did not  seem to them to be what an apostle, according to their estimation of the office, ought to be. There was not the pomp nor the dignity they would expect; he did not come to them with great swelling words, there was no making anything of what he was after the flesh, no drawing attention to his natural ability or education; and in this the method of the apostle Paul was in very vivid contrast to the method pursued by many today who pose as servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. This man went through the world a broken man, a lowly man, a man seeking only the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and the blessing of souls, a man who might have occupied a very high place among the great and distinguished of earth. But he was a man who for Jesus’ sake had turned his back upon all that and could say:

God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)

That Cross spoke of the deepest shame and ignominy, and Paul gloried in it because through the work that took place upon it, his soul had been saved, and he had learned that the preaching of the Cross, while it is “to them that perish foolishness,” is “unto us which are saved . . . the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). And so he went forth, content to be broken in order that the light of the grace of God might shine out. You will notice in verse 6 that

. . . God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:6,7)

It is easy to see what he has in mind. He is thinking  undoubtedly of that very striking incident of which we read in Judges, when Gideon and his three hundred men took their lives in their hands, were delivered unto death, as it were, and  went forth against the vast armies of the Midianites. Surely, no other army was accoutered [equipped] as this one. They carried in one hand a trumpet and in the other a pitcher, and in this pitcher was a lamp. The light of the lamp was not seen though it was already lit. It was not seen as long as it was in the earthen jar. They surrounded the army of the Midianites in the middle of the night, and suddenly at the command of their leader, the jars were crashed to earth, and the light shone out, and the Midianites sprang up startled. They heard the crash and saw the light, and thought they were surrounded by a tremendous army, and they turned their swords upon one another. It was God through Gideon that led the army to victory. A broken pitcher in order that light might shine out! The apostle says, as it were, “That is it! If you want to be a light for God in a world like this, be content to be broken, to have your hopes, your ambitions, all dashed to pieces, and then God can take you up and use you in order to carry the light of Christ to darkened hearts.”

How are we broken? By affliction, by trouble, by the discipline of the Lord, sometimes by sickness, by pain, and anguish. All these are the divine methods for breaking God’s pitchers in order that the light may shine out to His praise and glory. Men may misjudge us, misrepresent us, persecute us bitterly; we may not have enough food to eat or water to drink; we may be cast down; we may suffer all kinds of sorrows; but it is all right if it breaks us in order that God may be able the better to use us. And so he says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8,9); for in all these experiences, we are simply “bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our body.” He “came from Godhead’s fullest glory down to Calvary’s depth of woe.”

We sometimes sing a little hymn that always stirs the heart. I remember hearing Dr. Torrey say  he believed of all the hymns that were used in his meetings around the world, it was the one that seemed to be most blessed of God to the people. It is:

I surrender all,
I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

But that hymn never had the appeal it ought to have for my own heart until one day I found myself changing that chorus. I was thinking of Him who though He was

. . . in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

He surrendered all,
He surrendered all,
All for me, my blessed Savior,
He surrendered all.

And then my heart said, “O Lord, it will be easy to sing it the other way now, for what have I to give up, to surrender, in comparison with what Thou didst give up in order to redeem my guilty soul from going down to the pit?” It is as you and I realize from day to day what it all meant to Him that we can bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. Dying day by day to our own hopes and ambitions, dying to the good opinion of people, dying to human praise and adulation, to everything that the natural heart grasps, dying in the death of Jesus to it all,  because He died for us in order that “the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our body.”

You will notice that in 2 Corinthians 4, verses 10 and 11 are very much alike, and yet the great difference is this: verse 10 suggests something that we do deliberately, consciously, whereas verse 11 is something that God does for us. What is it we are called upon to do? “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus”—reminding ourselves every day that Jesus died for us, “bearing about in the body” and because He died for us, we are gladly to put ourselves in the place of death for Him.

Looking back to the Cross, the apostle Paul could say:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

But this has to be put into practice daily by putting my tastes and ambitions in the place of death. That is my part. But here is God’s part:

We which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11)

You tell God that you are willing to take the place of death with Christ, and He will see that it is made good; you tell God you are going to trust Him, and He will test your faith and show you what it means to trust Him; you tell Him that you are ready to surrender everything to Him, and He will put you in the place where you will begin to find out what full surrender really means. I do not know of anything that it seems should have such an appeal to the Christian heart along this line as the frequent remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ in His death, and I think it is because He realized it is so easy for us to forget that He said to His disciples when He gave them this memorial feast,

This do in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19)

And the Holy Spirit said:

As  often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come. (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Every time we are called upon thus to remember the Lord, it is a new challenge to ask  ourselves, “Am I simply remembering Him in a cold, formal, intellectual way because it is customary, or am I truly in my heart remembering the One who went down beneath the dark waters of death for me, and am I truly ready now to always bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus?”

What a poor thing it is to come together in assemblies to participate in the communion of the Lord’s Supper and then go out from the building and forget what it all really means, forget that our Savior died, that we are linked up with the One who died, and that He has left us an example that we should follow His steps—that is, we should always bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. This seems to me to be linked very intimately with several Old Testament references to which our attention is drawn in Hebrews 11. We read:

By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. (Hebrews 11:22)

Did you ever stop and ask why the Holy Spirit selected that particular incident to dwell upon? He has instanced something that you and I would probably have passed over altogether. What did Joseph do? “Gave commandment concerning his bones.” In Genesis 50:25, we read where Joseph, talking to the children of Israel, says:

God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

That is the close of Genesis. What an odd way to close the book! But God wants us to think about the bones of Joseph. They are there in a coffin in Egypt, but they are to be carried to Canaan.

In Exodus 13, we find that the children of Israel who have been sheltered by the blood of the Passover lamb are starting out for Canaan, and we read:

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. (Exodus 13:19)

Who was Joseph? He was the savior of Israel. If it had not been for him, they had all been destroyed in the famine, but he was their savior, and now he says, “When you leave Egypt to go to Canaan, you carry my bones with you.” When they left, they were very careful to do as they were told, and all the way across the sands of the desert wherever that great caravan went, they were always bearing about in the body the dying of Joseph.

I think I see that great procession winding its way up over the hills; and the Amalekites and the Midianites looking at them in wonder say, “What is that strange dark casket?”

Presently, they call an Israelite and ask him, and he says, “We were once in greatest distress; if God had not had mercy upon us we would have been left to die, but He raised up a savior for us, one of our own people; his name was Joseph and he delivered us; Joseph saved us. But our savior died, and we are marching on to the land that our God has given us, and until we get there, we carry with us the memorial of death, the bones of Joseph. We can never forget him; he died, but we have the memorials still.” And by-and-by when they reached the land, when they arrived at the place that God Himself had selected for them, we are told that after everything else was properly attended to,

The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph. (Joshua 24:32)

There was no need to carry the bones of Joseph through the wilderness any more, for they were at home now. And, beloved, you and I are passing on through the wilderness of this world, we will soon be at Home, but until we reach there, we are called upon to bear about in the body the dying of Jesus, and as we remember Him in the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup, we should challenge our own hearts: Are we simply looking objectively toward that Cross and saying, “There our Savior died,” or are we seeking day by day to practically make it manifest that His death means more to us than all that this world glories in?


This article is also available in booklet format.

(Photos from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission; design by Lighthouse Trails; taken from the cover of Broken Vessels for Christ. )

Source: Ironside: “Broken Vessels for Christ”

July 26th The D. L. Moody Year Book

 

Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!—Numbers 23:10.

THE sanctified man and the unsanctified one look at heaven very differently. The unsanctified man simply chooses heaven in preference to hell. He thinks that if he must go to either one he would rather try heaven. It is like a man with a farm who has a place offered him in another country, where there is said to be a gold mine; he hates to give up all he has and take any risk. But if he is going to be banished, and must leave, and has his choice of living in a wilderness or digging in a coal pit, or else take the gold mine, then there is no hesitation. The unregenerate man likes heaven better than hell, but he likes this world the best of all. The true believer prizes heaven above everything else, and is always willing to give up the world. Everybody wants to enjoy heaven after they die, but they don’t want to be heavenly-minded while they live.[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.) (pp. 126–127). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

Video: The Real Virus Plaguing Humanity. The Numbers of Corona Deaths are Being Skewed. Dr. Annie Bukacek | Global Research

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests are not scientifically suited for “COVID-19” diagnostic purposes. (1)

Governments and media, however, are using results from these tests, and manipulating results from these tests, to create fear and to drive hidden agendas.

We have seen this before, though on a smaller scale. A 2007 New York Times article, “Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t”, recounts that epidemiologists and infectious disease experts admitted that they “placed too much faith in a quick and highly sensitive molecular test” that contributed to unfounded fears that a “whooping cough epidemic was afflicting the Children’s Hospital in Boston.” (2)

The same unfounded, fabricated fears are essential to the Globalist Covid Operation, for which censorship and the amplification of false data are integral parts.

In April 2020, Dr. Annie Bukacek was among the first to publicly shine a light on the real virus currently plaguing humanity, which is the Global Reaction to COVID-19, and not the alleged virus itself.

The real disease, argues Bukacek in the following interview with kla.tv, is that “we have allowed elected and unelected bureaucrats to take our freedoms.” They have abrogated our rights to work (as the economy implodes), to worship, to peacefully assemble, and to visit our loved ones in Long Term Care facilities. In fact, most people are embracing the losses of freedom that they once cherished.

Manipulated test data are not the only culprits. CDC guidelines and administrative pressures have resulted in a “skewing” towards COVID on Death Certificates, wherein presumptions of COVID or an assessment that COVID may be a contributing cause of death, are marked as COVID deaths.

Car accident deaths and gunshot deaths have been marked as COVID, she says.

She notes too, that cash-starved hospitals, that have been cancelling scheduled surgeries for months, receive an extra $13,000.00 for a “COVID” patient, and an extra $39,000.00 if the patient has the misfortune of being placed on a ventilator.

The Global Reaction to COVID-19 is creating untold misery, and untold excess deaths. Dr. Bukacek and others have been painting an accurate, evidence-based assessment for months now, but the world refuses to listen.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Annie Bucacek is an award winning family doctor and physician based in Montana

Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.

Notes

(1) Dr. Pascal Sacre, “The Test Set: Another Brick in the COVID-19 Disinformation Game Plan” Global Research, 09 July, 2020, Mondialisation.ca
(https://www.globalresearch.ca/another-brick-covid-19-disinformation-game-plan/5717040) Accessed 25 July, 2020.

(2) Gina Kolata, “Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t” The New York Times, 22 january, 2007. (https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/health/22whoop.html) Accessed 25 July, 2020.

Source: Video: The Real Virus Plaguing Humanity. The Numbers of Corona Deaths are Being Skewed. Dr. Annie Bukacek

Lindsey Graham teases evidence FBI ‘lied their ass off’ to Congress | WND

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in his opening remarks chairing the House Judiciary Committee testimony of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz Dec. 11, 2019 (screenshot)

By Chuck Ross
Daily Caller News Foundation

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday teased the release of evidence showing that the FBI “lied their ass off” to Congress regarding the reliability of the Steele dossier, which the bureau used as part of its investigation of the Trump campaign.

“I will tell you next week what I found,” the South Carolina Republican said in an interview on “Fox Sunday Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

“Here is what I think I’m going to be able to show to the public. Not only did the FBI lie to the court about the reliability about the Steele dossier, they also lied to the Congress. That’s a separate crime.”

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a declassified FBI memo on July 17 that further undercut the credibility of the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.

According to the memo, a Russia analyst named Igor Danchenko told the FBI in January 2017 that he was the primary source for Steele. Danchenko worked as a contractor for Steele and provided him information in 2016 regarding Donald Trump and members of his campaign.

But Danchenko, a Russian national who lives in the U.S., told the FBI that Steele embellished some of the information that ended up in the dossier. Danchenko also detailed his contacts with six associates who he claimed were sources of the information that he passed to Steele, a former MI6 officer.

Danchenko’s sources didn’t appear to have deep contacts inside the Kremlin, though they are portrayed that way in Steele’s dossier.

The Justice Department’s inspector general issued a report of the FBI’s handling of the dossier on Dec. 9. It faulted investigators for failing to disclose details of Danchenko’s interview with the FBI in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump aide Carter Page.

Graham noted that the FBI asserted that Danchenko seemed truthful in his interviews, but investigators failed to tell the FISA Court that information he shared undermined the dossier’s credibility.

“When the FBI understood that the dossier was no longer reliable they continued to use it,” Graham said.

He said it will be revealed next week that members of Congress requested an FBI briefing in 2018 after raising suspicions about the dossier and Steele’s source.

“We also now have found this, and this will come out next week, that Congress got suspicious about the Russian subsource and the reliability of the Steele dossier, and that members of Congress asked to be briefed about it,” Graham said.

Graham added that he has discovered notes that the FBI drafted ahead of a briefing in 2018.

“Stay tuned next week, you’re going to find that not only did the FBI lie to the FISA court, they lied their ass off to the Congress,” Graham said.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Source: Lindsey Graham teases evidence FBI ‘lied their ass off’ to Congress

Sen. Lindsey Graham: FBI Lied Their ‘A**’ Off to Congress on Steele Dossier | Newsmax

 

sen. lindsey graham addresses reporters

Information will come out next week showing that the FBI didn’t just lie to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court concerning the Steele dossier, but to Congress as well, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday.

“Stay tuned next week,” the South Carolina Republican told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo. “They lied their a** off to Congress.”

He also said that former Obama administration officials will be called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.

Over the past week, Graham declassified several documents and said Sunday there were two things that were declassified so the public could understand “how corrupt Crossfire Hurricane,” or the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, had been.

“Number one was the memo written by an Intel analyst who spent three days interviewing the Russian sub source” of the dossier,” said Graham. “I always thought the Russian subsource was based in Russia in the bowels of Russian government risking their lives trying, you know, to get information out to the Democratic Party. The Russian sub source we now know was on the payroll of Christopher Steele. He also had a working relationship with the Brookings Institute. ”

Also, the memo showed that Steele’s subsource told him that what he had on Trump was “bar talk” and wasn’t reliable.

“What did Christopher Steele do with that? He turned it into a Tom Clancy novel,” said Graham. “He sold it to the FBI. They sold it to the FISA court to get a warrant against Carter Page. What does the memo show? In January 2017 when they found the Russian subsource who was in the United States, he disavowed the dossier being reliable. The FBI knew it.”

Further, FBI agent Peter Strzok, in charge of the investigation, knew that the information was “all bar talk,” and had a duty to notify his superiors that the document used to get the Page warrant was no longer reliable said Graham, and he thinks it’s impossible that former FBI Director James Comey and ex-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe also did not know.

“What were the odds that someone would write a 40-page memo to shred the reliability of the Russian dossier not tell the FBI about it?” said Graham. “I think there is zero chance that happened.”

Source: Sen. Lindsey Graham: FBI Lied Their ‘A**’ Off to Congress on Steele Dossier