Here are the audio and video links from this morning’s service, my sermon on Paul’s anguish over Israel’s unbelief
by Mike Ratliff
1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind. 2 Peter 1:1-15 (NASB)
In the 1960s, the premier football team in the NFL was the Green Bay Packers. They won the NFL title in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967. They also won the first two Super Bowls. Their coach through all of these winning seasons was Vince Lombardi.
I was watching the news one day in 1966 during the NFL preseason drills. During the sports segment they showed some film from the Packers’ training camp. The players were in the background going through drills. The reporter asked Vince Lombardi several questions about team depth, returning starters, et cetera. I will never forget his answer. (This is from memory so I will paraphrase.) He said, “I can’t answer any questions about who is starting or who is playing what positions. Right now we are focusing on fundamentals.” I remember being amazed at that. This team was full of the best players in the NFL and Coach Lombardi was making them go through tackling and blocking drills that would hone those fundamental skills these guys have been using since they were kids. I do not remember hearing about any of those players complaining about it either.
I am constantly amazed at how often God takes me back to fundamentals. I have this deep hunger and drive to soar in the spiritual realm. I want God to fill me with all of the wisdom, knowledge and grace I can handle then let me fly. However, that is not how He works with me at all. This deep thirst and hunger for the things of God is still there because He put it there, but there are times He seems far away and I feel like I am floundering. During those times, I will find myself feeling very empty and alone as I try to do His will. Silence from the throne is like death to me. I have found, though, all I need to do is leave the details alone and return to simply seeking His face and being content with His presence. The act of “seeking the Lord’s face” is simply turning all of our attention to Him and away from everything else. This requires time alone with the Lord in prayer and meditation. It is a very warm and wonderful place to be. Obedience at that point is a joy beyond expression as it is completely by His grace.
When I became a runner in 1979, I wanted to run in a race. I selected a 10k race that was a few months out and started running every day trying to get ready. On the day of the race, I arrived early and was stunned to see several thousand runners getting ready. We lined up and I jockeyed myself into a good position. When the gun went off, I took off like a rocket. It became apparent after the first mile or so I had taken off way too fast and was not going to be able to finish. I walked back to my car and drove home. It was a painful and humiliating experience. I continued to run, but I was very leery about running in another race, however, I continued to run as much possible.
In June 1980, I moved from Maryland to Oklahoma. My Dad was a serious runner and we trained together. After a few weeks, we decided to run in a 5-mile race scheduled for the July 4th in a nearby city. I was very nervous about it. I didn’t want a repeat performance of that 10k. It was a hot day and the course was unknown. The gun went off at the start and I did not take off like a bullet this time. I simply ran a pace that was a little faster than I trained. After a mile or so I realized I was very comfortable and could go faster. I then sped up and started passing people. I ended up running those 5 miles at a 6:30 pace (six minutes and thirty seconds per mile). I knew I could have run it much faster, but I was very happy that I had finished. I was awarded a 3rd place trophy for my age group, which was a complete surprise.
What’s the point? In the first race, I was convinced I could simply out-will everyone and run past them. I found that I was completely out-classed and was not prepared to run in the race. In the second race, I was prepared. I was training the right way, eating the right way, and when I got into the race, I ran with my head not my emotions.
This Spirit-led walk, running the race God has set before us, is like that as well. Sometimes we get our eyes on what we want or what we have done in the past then step out on our own full of self-confidence. When we do this, we expect our circumstances to be God-blessed and everything to go our way. Well, that is how we stumble right into a failure. Why? We have taken our eyes off Christ and this has opened the door to our enemy who does all he can to get us out of the race. Being Spirit-led is not based on how we have walked in the past or how we are going to walk in the future. No, it is how we are walking right now. How are we do this and what is the right way to run this race?
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)
We must keep our eyes fixed on Christ. Any let up is an invitation to disaster. Those “sin[s] which so easily entangles us” are those besetting sins that we harbor in our hearts that habitually cause us to stumble. When we run the race with our eyes fixed on Christ, we are denying our sinful desires and we are aggressively uprooting them. This is the mortification of our sins. However, when we take our eyes off Christ we have actually turned our hearts away from Him. When we do that, we turn to self-gratification, self-focused, mode. Our “OLD MAN” sin nature comes out of hiding and demands to be fed. If we do not catch this and turn our hearts back to Christ, we are in big trouble and those besetting sins are waiting on us.
What is the solution? We must continue in the fundamentals. However, the following is usually what happens. God uses us in a wonderful edifying way, people tell us how knowledgeable and spiritual we are, and we make the mistake of believing them. The next step for us is to stumble. Why? We get out of the process of walking by faith, running the race, and abiding in Christ by thinking that we have arrived. We must not think like that. We must consider ourselves babes in Christ who are helpless. No matter how successful we become in this Spirit-led walk the danger is there to become prideful in our humility. Success in this walk will come to those who understand it is not them who is doing all of that wonderful spiritual work in the heart. It is God and God alone who can and will grant us repentance. No matter how hard we try to be godly, we cannot do it. We must put all of our effort into drawing as close to God as we can. Allow Him to break up the fallow, uncultivated, ground of our hard hearts. When we become tenderhearted, we can hear and obey Him.
The Apostle Paul is a good example for us. He was very godly. His spiritual insight was awesome. However, even after years of serving God with his entire being he confessed he was still a work in progress.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)
The way to run the race God has set before us, not stumbling or falling, is returning to the fundamental process of focusing our entire being on Christ. When we are victorious or God uses us in wonderfully, deep spiritual ways we must continue to fix our heart’s focus on Him in all humility. The alternative is an ugly “parasitic sin.”
The fundamentals that keep the Spirit-led believer in the Walk by Faith are amazingly simple to understand yet are very difficult to master. Here is a list that I put together back in 2004-2005 when I was still teaching Bible Study classes at our old church in Kansas that shows the process of becoming a growing Spirit-led believer. When I taught it I tried to show my students that, since this was a process, we had to think of it as “a loop” that we continually went through.
- Fear God (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
- Come to Jesus (Matthew 22:28)
- Take on the Yoke of Christ (Matthew 22:29
- Learn what Christ teaches (Matthew 22:29)
- Present our bodies as living sacrifices by the mercies of God (Romans 12:1
- Keep the Lord’s commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
- Renew our minds and become transformed unto Christ-likeness (Romans 12:2)
- Discern God’s Will and submit to it (Romans 12:2)
The reason it is difficult to master is we think once we have been through this loop or cycle several times we cannot be sucked back into the old way of walking. Success comes only as we remain submitted to our Lord as He takes us through whatever growth cycles He has designed specifically for us. That means we must never let up on our pursuit of God. My experience has shown me I must be extremely diligent in staying focused on my Lord. Any let down and I will be on my knees very soon confessing and repenting of some sin.
What is the secret? How can we stay in the race? What has to change so we keep our spiritual eyes on Christ?
- It takes time and it takes the constant sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to change us.
- We must change our attitude so we view our salvation, our citizenship in the Kingdom of God, as our most valuable treasure. When we do that we treasure it, we protect it and we focus our whole being on living the life that builds up that treasure and the treasury of Godliness in our hearts.
- We must ask God to grant us repentance.
- We must develop godly habits as we get rid of worldly habits.
- We must fast from the things of the flesh as we feast on God.
- We must not compromise with the world and its ways.
These fundamentals open up our hearts so God can break up its callousness or hardness. This is God circumcising our hearts. This enables us to fall in love with Him like never before.
6 “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)
This is the key. God must roll away our reproach by actually breaking up the hardness in our hearts so we can hear Him and love Him. This is the point we become Spirit-led. Our part is total surrender and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When God has drawn us into this submission and we have obediently gone hard after Him then He will cut away our spiritual blindness by circumcising our hearts. It is a wonderful day when we realize God has altered our entire value system. How can we discern this? With a now tender heart our godly value system, housed in our conscience, has a clear and undefiled reign in us. A clear and undefiled conscience is a wonderful part of the treasury of godliness in our hearts. Why? This conscience is in complete bondage to sacred Scripture. Where do we read and learn God’s value system? When we study the Bible and meditate on its truths God will write His Word on our hearts. This is the imparting of His value system into our conscience.
Spirit-led believers are those who have matured by submitting themselves to God this way, by continually dedicating themselves to sticking to the fundamentals. The godly habits of feasting on God while fasting from the flesh are paramount. The walking in Repentance with Joy is a constant in their life. This believer stays in the cycle of fearing God, turning to Jesus, taking up His yoke, learning what He teaches, submission as a living sacrifice, obedience, mind renewal and discerning and doing God’s will. Why? These fundamentals not only bring the believer into being Spirit-led, they keep him or her there. God uses these fundamentals to build genuine humility in the heart of the Spirit-led believer. This humility grows and grows all the way through the rest of their lives.
Genuine humility is the opposite of self-confidence. That means the more mature a believer becomes the less they will have confidence in self. That fact can be quite disturbing. In fact, one self-check that all of us can do right now is to see if we are confident in our walk before the Lord. Go ahead, do it. If you are pretty sure that you are fine and can do all this then you are in trouble. How do I know this? I’ve been there. We must admit that on our own we will deceive ourselves and think we are on top of things and we don’t need to focus on the fundamentals anymore. Red Flag! Yes we do!
Have you ever seen any of those old black and white movies from the 1930’s about men in prison? They wore black and white striped shirts and pants. They had a heavy iron ball chained to one of their legs. They spent their entire day, every day, hammering away with sledgehammers at big rocks to make little rocks. I have never figured out why they had to do that. However, this makes a good analogy for the point we are making here about becoming that broken and usable believer according to God’s will.
The self-focused heart is hard. This hard-heartedness blinds us. It espouses a form of unbelief. The Spirit-led believer became that way by God circumcising their heart. He cuts through the callousness as the believer submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This opens the heart up so the believer can hear God. Think of this process as God taking a sledgehammer and breaking up our hard hearts. Hard hearts are like large, rock-hard boulders. When God circumcises our hearts, the boulders are broken up into small rocks. This process is one of making these small rocks smaller and smaller until they become the fertile soil of a tender heart. Some believers may race through this and become tenderhearted very quickly, however, most of us take much more time because we have some very deep-seated strongholds and idols that need to be demolished.
The mature Christian’s heart is not rock hard at all. The particles of the fertile soil of their heart are very small and soft. There are no weeds because, being good gardeners, they are constantly pulling them up, roots and all, as the Lord reveals them. Weeds and rocks in the garden are the result of self-focus, self-confidence and self-gratification. No weeds or rocks are the result of continual brokenness before the Lord. The broken, fertile soil of the tender heart is poison to pride. Pride thrives on the rocky sour and poor soil of the hard heart.
God is calling us all to make it through the refinement of becoming mature Christians then submit again to the call of complete brokenness and helplessness that pulverizes our hearts into the fertile soil God can mold and make as He wills. This surrender will take us to a place where God can use us any way He chooses. The processes will be those fundamental steps we took while being refined, but with the added emphasis on being completely empty and humble before our Lord. It will be all for His Glory. I know I have a long way to go, but I want it.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Looks like things with Hunter Biden are going to go from bad to much, much worse.
Fox New’s Maria Bartiromo has been analyzing the subpeonas for the case on Hunter’s laptop and boy has she made a huge discovery.
During a segment with Senator Ron Johnson, Bartiromo dropped the bombshell that one of the FBI agents assigned to Hunter Biden’s case was an agent who specialized in child pornography cases.
She just busted the doors wide open, folks!
Watch the video:
This is huge.
Surely there will be more to come in the following days and weeks on this insane case.
Well, it looks like Biden is still expertly dodging the press.
While he was out getting milkshakes, a brave reporter asked Biden for his thoughts on the FBI seizing Hunter’s laptop.
All Biden did was annoyingly wave his hand and quickly walk away.
The press can also be heard laughing at the reporter for asking what they perceive to be a “foolish” question.
Watch the video:
Ironically, one question from the press that wasn’t getting any laughs was a reporter asking Biden what flavor of milkshake he got.
Biden actually answered this question: vanilla and chocolate.
This is absolutely absurd.
The media actually laughs at questions regarding a massive scandal involving a former Vice President and current presidential hopeful.
But questions on his milkshake order are fine.
We have the absolute worst media.
Here’s some of the reactions on Twitter to this absurdity:
Seriously, how much longer is the media going to baby Biden?
The American people can see what a sham this is.
If Trump were out to get a milkshake, do you think reporters would just ask him the flavor?
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region around about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.—Matthew 3:5, 6.
THINK of the whole population going out into the wilderness to hear this wonderful open-air preacher, to be “baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins!” John was a preacher of repentance. Perhaps no one ever rang out the word “Repent!” like John the Baptist. Day after day, as he came out of the desert and stood on the banks of that famous river, you could hear his voice, “Repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We can almost now hear the echoes of his voice as they floated up and down the Jordan.
Many wonderful scenes had been witnessed at that stream. Naaman had washed away his leprosy there. Elijah and Elisha had crossed it dryshod. Joshua had led through its channel the mighty host of the redeemed on their journey from Egypt into the promised land. But it had never seen anything like this: men, women, and children, mothers with babes in their arms, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, publicans and soldiers, flocked from Judea, Samaria and Galilee, to hear this lonely wilderness prophet.
 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. 184–185). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.
Biden is a ‘national security crisis…’
In a recent interview with Revolver, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon admitted that he’s the architect of a coordinated roll-out of the Hunter Biden laptop contents, and that there’s much, much more to come.
To review, last month the New York Post set off a nuclear bomb when they released evidence from the younger Biden’s hard drive obtained by Rudy Giuliani, after a computer repair shop owner initially approached the FBI, which appears to have concealed evidence of Biden family corruption in Ukraine and elsewhere while President Trump was being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate exactly that.
And Steve Bannon is master of ceremonies for this October surprise.
As former Breitbart journalist Lee Stranahan – who’s not exactly Bannon’s biggest fan – puts it, “I can’t think of a single example of him saying he had the goods on the story that didn’t pan out,” adding “If he says a lot more is coming he’s not shooting blanks.”
I can’t think of a single example of him saying he had the goods on the story that didn’t pan out.
If he says a lot more is coming he’s not shooting blanks.
— Lee Stranahan ⏳ (@stranahan) October 18, 2020
Interview with Steve Bannon via Revolver.com (emphasis ours)
Last week the NY Post took the political world by storm with its release of shocking material from Hunter Biden’s hard drive indicating corruption, sexual depravity, and more. The Post reported that a lawyer for former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani obtained the hard drive from a computer repairman and that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon had alerted the Post to the existence of the hard drive in July.
Steve Bannon has since clarified to Revolver News that he was brought into the project based on familiarity with corruption in corporate America, on Wall Street, and within the Chinese Communist Party and America’s political class. Mr. Bannon revealed that he “worked up and executed the roll out plan” of the information contained in the Hunter hard drives. Given his close knowledge and familiarity with an issue of such explosive importance to the election, Revolver asked Mr. Bannon a few questions pertaining to the contents of Hunter’s hard drive and the political implications of their release.
Revolver: What is the most incriminating thing on the hard drive? Rudy has suggested illegal things, and as Revolver reported, the FBI person tasked with the hard drive is associated with the child pornography division. Could you give more insight into how bad it is we’re talking about?
Mr. Bannon: Joe Biden is a liar, a fraud, and compromised by Chinese cash. In short, he is a national security crisis. The hard drive combines emails and text messages that show a massive involvement with companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Also, there are 25,000 images that show a drug-addled, depraved lifestyle — one that decent hardworking Americans will not want near the White House.
Revolver: The FBI has been holding onto the hard drive for almost a year? Any sense of why? Was there any indication that they were seriously interested in a criminal case, assuming that there is, in fact, illegal material on there? If not, why would the FBI simply hold onto information like that?
Mr. Bannon: The President must confront the director of the FBI on why the information housed on this hard drive was not moved on immediately. If the content of the hard drive had been released when received in November 2019, there would have been no impeachment of Trump, and Bernie Sanders would be the Democratic Party nominee. This confrontation should take place this weekend in the Oval Office. If Wray doesn’t have a bulletproof reason he should be fired in the room.
Revolver: What are your best estimates on how many foreign entities may have obtained possession of the hard drive? Chinese intel?
Mr. Bannon: It’s the actions represented on the hard drive that the American people must understand our enemies know about. The cash and equity given for access to Biden, the favors done for that cash, the drugs, the depravity. The CCP, Russian Intel, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Intel Services — they know the Bidens are for sale.
Revolver: Is there any reason to expect that the contents of the hard drive will be revealed before the election? If yes, will people actually care enough for it to substantially affect the outcome?
Mr. Bannon: The Bidens are about to be hit with multiple stories from multiple media sources based off evidence beyond the hard drive. Fox and Peter Schweitzer have already started but bigger more mainstream companies are going to weigh in. We already have set in motion the various apparatuses that will release everything.
Revolver: What are your thoughts on the efforts to discredit the hard drive as “Russian disinformation?” Is there any evidence this is Russian disinformation at all? At any rate, what matters is not whether Biden-supporting media calls it “disinformation” — what matters is whether it’s true. Has the Biden camp explicitly denied the factual accusations pertaining to the hard drives?
Mr. Bannon: Rupert Murdoch’s team at the NY Post is as sophisticated and tough as there is in all media. They had the metadata and they signed off to go forward. The Russia excuse — and it is an excuse —collapsed when Fox verified the information with someone on the email chain. The Biden campaign has yet to say these emails or photos are not real. The reason? Hunter’s lawyer sent emails trying to recover the hard drive. These are real — the Bidens know they are real — and they are going to have to deal with that reality.
* * *
We release tonight. @OANN
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 18, 2020
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes appear with Maria Bartiromo to discuss current events.
Topics include the Hunter/Joe Biden scandal; the social media platform censorship; and the efforts of the FBI and DOJ to protect the interests of the Biden campaign.
As Devin Nunes explains the FBI is involved in the cover-up. FBI Director Chris Wray is a domestic enemy of the republic.
Donald Trump was the bait we needed to wake up the Monster Voters.
After a run through California for fundraisers, President Donald Trump heads back to Nevada for a Make America Great Again rally at Carson City Airport in Carson City, NV. Anticipated Start Time 7:00pm – [Livestream Links Below]
“This is a struggle for the survival of our nation. This election will determine whether we are a free nation, or whether we have only the illusion of Democracy but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system.” (link)
One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Lord, this is the blood of the covenant which You have made with me. The life of the flesh is in the blood, and You have given it upon the altar to make atonement for my soul. It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
So Jesus said, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” With His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. I know peace with You, God, through the blood of His cross.
I was not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot … manifest in these last times for me.
When You, Lord, sprinkle clean water on me, and I am clean, You cleanse me from all my idols. So let me draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having my heart sprinkled from an evil conscience.
Thank You for sending Your Son to die for me that I might be cleansed by His blood!
John 19:34; Exodus 24:8; Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 10:4; Mark 14:24; Hebrews 9:12; Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18–20; Ezekiel 36:25; Hebrews 10:22
3 The this (zeh) that opens the verse refers to that which is expressed in vv. 1–2: everyone, regardless of merit, will die! The translation of this opening sentence is awkward in English and may actually have the force of the superlative. This view is shared by the Vulgate (pessimum) and Ibn Ezra and is best articulated by Christian Ginsburg, who states: “the preposition bᵊ in bᵊkōl gives to rāʿ the force of the superlative, making it stand forth prominently as evil in the midst (bᵊ) of all other evils; none of all those by which it is surrounded can eclipse it.”
The remainder of the verse reasserts the tragedy that death is the end of everyone in spite of the way they live or conduct themselves in the cult. It adds the moral dimension that human beings are thoroughly sinful while they live. The use of rāʿ here must be moral, thus supporting the moral translation of it in its first occurrence in the verse. The course of one’s life is characterized by evil and madness, and what can a person expect at the end? Death. The abrupt syntax at the end of the verse is intentional and reflects the suddenness of death in the midst of life.
Ver. 3.—This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun. The “evil” is explained in the following words, which speak of the common fate. The Vulgate (followed by Ginsburg and others) takes the first words as equivalent to a superlative: Hoc est pessimum inter omnia, “This is the greatest evil of all that is done under the sun.” But the article would have been used in this case; nor would this accurately express Koheleth’s sentiments. He looks upon death only as one of the evils appertaining to men’s career on earth—one of the phases of that identity of treatment so certain and so inexplicable, which leads to disastrous results (Ch. 8:11). That there is one event unto all. The “one event,” as the end of the verse shows, is death. We have here the old strain repeated which is found in Ch. 2:14–16; 3:19; 5:15; 6:12; “Omnes eodem cogimur” (Horace, ‘Carm.,’ ii. 3. 25). Yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil. In consequence of this indiscriminating destiny men sin recklessly, are encouraged in their wickedness. Madness is in their heart while they live. The “madness” is conduct opposed to the dictates of wisdom and reason, as Ch. 1:17; 2:2, 12. All their life long men follow their own lusts and passions, and care little for God’s will and law, or their own best interests. This is well called “want of reason” (περιφέρεια, Septuagint). And after that they go to the dead. The verb is omitted in the Hebrew, being implied by the preposition אֶל, “to;” the omission is very forcible. Delitzsch, Wright, and others render, “after him,” i.e. after man’s life is ended, which seems rather to say, “after they die, they die.” The idea, however, appears to be, both good and evil go to the same place, pass away into nothingness, are known no more in this world. Here at present Koheleth leaves the question of the future life, having already intimated his belief in Ch. 3 and 8:11, etc.
3. Death is not a ‘natural’ phenomenon to the Preacher, but an invincible evil. Also linked with evil is madness, connected elsewhere with glib frivolity (2:2), corruption in society (7:7), folly (10:12f.), self-justifying disobedience (1 Sam. 13:13) and inclinations to violence (1 Sam. 26:21) or pride (2 Sam. 24:10); its usage suggests, therefore, a moral wildness that is impetuous and irrational. The problem of our fallen nature (cf. 7:29) is universal, for evil is ascribed to the sons of men in general. It characterizes the whole inner nature of man (the heart), irremediable (life-long, while they live), dominant (we are full of it). The grimmest aspect (the ‘sting’, 1 Cor. 15:56) of death is found here, for with such a heart are we brought ‘to judgment … to his eternal home … to God’ (11:9; 12:5, 7).
Ver. 3. The heart of the sons of men is full of evil.—Scriptural statement of the doctrines of human corruption, and of the renewal of the heart to holiness:—
- Man’s natural corruption.
- One prevailing misconception on the subject of human corruption respects the seat of the disorder. What is the daily language of numbers? “Our lives, it is true, are not exempt from blame. We are guilty of many indiscretions. But our heart is good.” In opposition to this language, the text asserts that the origin of all the evil is within. “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil.” Not the streams alone are filthy and defiled; but the fountain is polluted (Gen. 8:21; Jer. 7:24; 17:9; James 4:1; Matt. 12:34; Matt. 15:19).
- Another ground of misconception on the subject of human corruption respects the degree and extent of the disorder. The text says that this corruption is not only radical but total. Generosity, gratitude, fidelity, and the exercise of many other pleasing qualities between man and man; the spontaneous applause of virtue; the decided condemnation of immorality may all exist, without any tendency in man to what is truly good (Isa. 1:5–6; Rom. 7:18; 8:7; Gen. 6:5).
- The declaration in the text is also absolute. No exception is stated or implied on account of any difference of outward dispensation under which mankind may be placed. The Gospel uniformly proceeds on the supposition that man is born in sin; that his corruption is not accidental, but innate; not acquired, but hereditary. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”
- The renewal of the heart to holiness. If, as the Scriptures teach, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” then every text which points out the nature and extent of human corruption, points out by implication the nature and extent of that moral change which man must undergo.
- Let us thankfully receive the information vouchsafed.
- Let us also profitably use the information vouchsafed. While the text sets before us the picture of mankind in general, let us remember that it sets before us our picture in particular. Let us seek to acquire a deep, an experimental conviction of the truth. Let our experience of the inveteracy of the malady lead us earnestly to seek for help from Him who alone can heal our disordered souls. (E. Cooper.)
The unconverted world:—
- Their guilt. “The heart—full of evil” (Mark 7:21). It applies to all. The most peaceable man alive has often probably committed murder in his heart. The man of purity and chastity may often, in the heart, have been guilty of adultery. Passions, vile and loathsome as the pit from which they spring, only wait their opportunity. Is the man provoked? He is enraged. Is he admired? He is proud and puffed up. Does God afflict him? He is rebellious. Does God cross him? He is discontented and impatient.
- Their madness.
- It is a well-known symptom of natural madness that the poor creature who is thus afflicted is apt to entertain most extravagant notions of his own greatness and importance. Whilst the chains are on his hands, whilst he is confined within the narrow limits of his gloomy cell, he often struts about, and thinks himself a king. Is this acknowledged to be madness? and is there none, then, in the conduct of those men who, being spiritually “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” are saying of themselves, “I am rich and increased with goods, and I have need of nothing”?
- Men who are mad, in the ordinary sense of the expression, are, for the most part, utterly insensible of danger, and incapable of fleeing from it. They walk on unconcerned, where men possessed of reason and of foresight would be shifting for their safety. Are those men, then, to be set down for sober who show an equal unconcern when the danger is eternal?
- But mark another painful symptom of the man who labours under a natural derangement, he knows not his best friend. Those whom, were he in his senses, he would hasten to embrace, he looks on with a cold, unfeeling eye. Nay, perhaps he turns away from them, he counts them enemies. It is also the worst symptom of that spiritual derangement with which the men of this world are afflicted. They also know not their best Friend. They “turn away from Him who speaketh to them from heaven.”
III. Their miserable end. “After that, they go to the dead.” After what? After all the evil and the madness of their earthly course—after having wasted all their years in worldliness and folly—then, “they go to the dead.” Their souls are gathered to the place where all who lived and died like them are gone before. And what place? Can we doubt that hell is meant? Where else do they go “who forget God”? What other wages hath sin, the worldly man’s master, to bestow upon its servants? (A. Robertson, M.A.)
Madness is in their heart while they live.—Moral madness:—
There is a worse madness than mental. Many men intellectually sane are moral maniacs. Wherein does the madness of the unregenerate appear?
- In practically ignoring the greatest Being.
- In ignoring the greatest interests.
III. In ignoring the greatest dignities. The dignity of a pure character, moral conquests, and self-sacrificing deeds. These they never recognize. (Homilist.)
This affirmation is not made of one or two men, nor of some men merely; but of “the sons of men,” as if of them all.
- The insanity spoken of in the text is moral, that of the heart. By the heart here is meant the will—the voluntary power.
- Who are the morally insane? Those who, not being intellectually insane, yet act as if they were. The conduct of impenitent men is the perfection of irrationality. You see this in the ends to which they devote themselves, and in the means which they employ to secure them. An end madly chosen—sought by means madly devised; this is the life-history of the masses who reject God.
- This moral insanity is a state of unmingled wickedness.
(1) It is voluntary—not from the loss but from the abuse of reason.
(2) It is often deliberate.
(3) It is a total rejection of both God’s law and Gospel. The law he will not obey; the Gospel of pardon he will not accept. He seems determined to brave the Omnipotence of Jehovah. Is he not mad upon his idols? Is it saying too much when the Bible affirms—“Madness is in their heart while they live”? Remarks:—
- Sinners strangely accuse saints of being mad and crazy. Yet those very sinners admit the Bible to be true, and admit those things which Christians believe as true to be really so.
- If intellectual insanity be a shocking fact, how much more so is moral? Suppose the case of a Webster. His brain becomes softened; he is an idiot! There is not a man in all the land but would feel solemn. What! Daniel Webster—that great man, an idiot! How have the mighty fallen! What a horrible sight! But how much more horrible to see him become a moral idiot—to see a selfish heart run riot with the clear decisions of his gigantic intellect—to see his moral principles fading away before the demands of selfish ambition—to see such a man become a drunkard, a debauchee, a loafer. Intellectual idiocy is not to be named in the comparison!
- Although some sinners may be externally fair, and may seem to be amiable in temper and character, yet every real sinner is actually insane. Eternity so vast, and its issues so dreadful, yet this sinner drives furiously to hell as if he were on the high-road to heaven! And all this only because he is infatuated with the pleasures of sin for a season. (C. G. Finney, D.D.)
More than 1,700 parents, students, and alumni of the Moody Bible Institute (MBI) have signed an open letter and petition, urging MBI President Mark Jobe to address an alleged pattern of “dismissal, cover up, and even disciplinary action being taken against survivors of abuse.”
“While many of us have found God and His calling on our lives within the walls of Moody, some of us have also faced harm,” the letter at change.org stated. “Harm that includes instances of stalking, discrimination, sexual assault, and rape. These harms were made worse when members of our community in positions of authority, specifically Dean (Tim) Arens, seem to have an inability or unwillingness to act to address them.”
The letter was posted Friday night and quickly garnered dozens of comments and more than a thousand signatures.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.—1 Peter 5:8, 9.
My soul! thou knowest, and hast long known, from the many wounds given thee by Satan, what a cruel, insidious, and powerful enemy thou hast to contend with; and thou too truly knowest, also, how sadly unequal thou art in thyself to resist his wiles. He is a prince of the power of the air: he is by nature a spirit, and therefore invisible; thou seest not his approaches: he is a tremendous foe, full of envy, malignity, subtilty, craft, and design: and what renders him yet more formidable, is, that in the corruptions and unbelief of thy fallen nature, he hath but too many confederates in thine own heart, to aid him in his diabolical designs. Where then is thy strength to resist him? It cannot be in thyself, nor in thy best exertions. The devil would laugh at these, and all would be but as feathers to the breath of his temptations. Hear what the apostle saith: “Whom resist steadfast in the faith.” See here, where thy strength is. Faith in Jesus is the only, and it is an infallible defence against all the fiery darts of the wicked. There is nothing that Satan dreads, but the blood of the cross. There is nothing that conquers him, but faith in Jesus’s blood. Tell him of the blood which cleanseth from all sin, and he will flee from thee. This was the sole cause by which the holy armies in heaven cast down the accuser which accused them before our God, day and night: “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb;” (Rev. 12:9–11;) and the same will give thee the victory now. Faith in the blood of the cross is the grace by which we have access to God. It is by faith the soul looks to Jesus; by faith the soul is kept steadfastly resting on Jesus; by faith the devil is steadfastly resisted, in taking confidence in the full and complete redemption that Jesus accomplished on the cross. Look then, my soul, for ever to the cross, and while thy faith honours Jesus, Jesus will honour thee; and this will be the standard which the Spirit of Jehovah will lift up, when at any time the enemy cometh in like a flood. (Isaiah 59:19.) Oh! the triumphs of the cross! “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb.”
In various places throughout Scripture, there are a few key moments in which God reveals himself to his people. In these important scenes, God reveals his presence, his name, and his character, and this is the way he is to be remembered throughout all generations. So what can we learn from these special encounters, and what do they teach us about the nature of God himself? Shane Rosenthal discusses these questions with Dr. Richard Bauckham, author of Who is God?: Key Moments of Biblical Revelation.
Source: Who Is God?
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler
He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler. That is, from the little things, the hidden traps and nets that are set for us. Great sins frighten where little snares entangle. It is easier to escape the huntsman’s arrow than the crafty lure.
And where are they not set? Riches and poverty, sickness and strength, prosperity and adversity, friendship and loneliness, the work and the want of it—each has its snare, wherein not only are the unwary caught, but the wise and the watchful sometimes fall a prey. Little things, mere threads, hardly worth guarding against—yet they are strong enough to hold us and hinder us, and may be the beginning of our destruction.
Mark Guy Pearse
Earlier this week The New York Post released shocking emails that prove Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at the Burisma Ukrainian energy firm. This was a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.
Hunter Biden left his laptop at a computer shop and then neglected to pick it up after several calls. The owner of the computer repair company handed over Hunter’s laptop to the FBI last December. The FBI hid this evidence from congress and the executive branch during the Pelosi impeachment hearings. But before the computer store owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, turned over the computer to the FBI he first downloaded much of its contents. He later gave this information to Rudy Giuliani’s attorney who then worked with Steve Bannon to deliver the information to the New York Post.
The contents from the computer include photos of Hunter Biden with prostitutes and a photo of Hunter sleeping with his crack pipe (or meth pipe) like a pacifier.
On Saturday Steve Bannon sat for an interview with The Revolver. Bannon warned the Biden Crime Family that there is much more to come — from several outlets — in the coming days.
Steve added that there are 25,000 images that show a drug-addled, depraved lifestyle.
The New York Post corroborated Steve Bannon’s numbers.
Neither Hunter Biden’s lawyer nor Joe Biden’s campaign have disputed the validity of the trove of data that The Post obtained after being extracted from a MacBook Pro laptop. The owner of a Delaware computer repair shop said the device was dropped off in April 2019 but never retrieved.
A computer camera roll of nearly 25,000 images is loaded with sexually explicit selfies and porn (which The Post is not publishing), but also has snapshots from Biden’s childhood and vacations.
- Miso Robotics’ kitchen robot, Flippy, just became available to purchase for $30,000.
- Flippy can cook 19 items, including burgers and hash browns.
- Flippy works as a kitchen assistant, moving along a rail.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Robots can flip burgers and fry sides, and Miso Robotics is selling its burger-flipping robot as the perfect fry cook for the COVID-19 era.
Robot assistant Flippy just became commercially available for $30,000, or on a payment plan, with plans to eventually lower the price. Flippy is attached to a rail under the kitchen hood to move back and forth while manning the grill and fryer.
“After we shared a sneak peek of the prototype in January, we’ve seen demand through the roof from operators, especially in light of COVID-19” Miso Robotics CEO Mike Bell said in a press release. The coronavirus pandemic has hit restaurants hard, but fast-food chains have recovered faster with the drive-thru and takeout business not relying on indoor dining, compared to fast-casual chains.
During the pandemic, fast food employees have become essential workers, and labor issues like lack of paid sick time and low wages were thrown into the spotlight. Robots like Flippy in the kitchen could keep fast food locations competitive despite “smaller margins, less foot traffic and new health and safety concerns,” Miso says.
Here’s how Flippy works.
The first version of Flippy could detect when raw patties were placed on the grill and monitor them to cook to order. It also cleaned spatulas and scraped the grill in between burgers.
Later that year, Flippy also gained the ability to work as a frying assistant, piloted at Dodger Stadium.
Flippy was able to place baskets in the fryer, shake baskets in oil, and monitor for appropriate cooking time to make chicken tenders and tots.
In January 2020, Miso announced an updated Flippy operating while attached to a rail.
The design was created to assist busy cooks in a quick-service kitchen, installed under a kitchen hood to move along equipment while staying out of the staff’s way.
By 2020, Flippy had contracts with Dodger Stadium, Chase Field, and multiple CaliBurger locations.
In 2019, Flippy served more than 15,000 burgers and over 31,000 lbs of chicken tenders and tots.
In July, burger chain White Castle announced a partnership with Flippy.
In the midst of a pandemic, implementing Flippy is also a way to reduce human contact with food before it is served, and hopefully, also reduce virus transmission.
For further food safety, Miso teamed up with Pathspot Technologies, which can scan employees’ hands after washing to ensure that they are safe to handle food.
Advances in Flippy and its AI technology have made it work better with human staff while taking over some of the most dangerous jobs, like frying.
ChefUI, Miso’s proprietary software, can identify food types and temperatures, and learn new foods.
A monitor on the robot tells the staff what orders are up next, and staff can also adjust cooking times here for custom orders.
All these advancements made Flippy more sophisticated, and it can now cook 19 foods including burgers, chicken wings, onion rings, and more.
Updates have also allowed Flippy to properly cook the Impossible Burger, which has a different texture and thickness than a traditional burger, so it requires a different grilling technique.
Flippy is able to be completely washed down, and tools are automatically switched and cleaned too.
Miso touts Flippy’s ability to cook a menu item consistently over and over again, the key to the fast-food chain experience.