Daily Archives: January 4, 2021

The U.S. Has Lost More Than 110,000 Restaurants, Setting The Stage For A Commercial Real Estate Collapse Of Epic Proportions — The Economic Collapse

The restaurant industry is in the midst of a complete and total meltdown that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before.  If you ask Google how many restaurants there are in the United States, it will tell you that there are 660,755, although that number is a few years old.  But for the purposes of this article, that is a good enough estimate.  Americans love to eat out, and restaurant workers are some of the hardest working people in the entire country.  So it is incredibly sad to see more restaurants constantly going under.  In some cases, restaurants that have served their communities for decades are deciding to permanently close their doors.  For example, over the weekend Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse in New York City announced that it had finally reached the end of the road

Landmark New York City restaurant Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse has closed its iconic basement-level doors as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple the restaurant industry.

The Lower East Side fixture was famous for its latkes spreads, chopped liver, and vodka bottles frozen in blocks of ice and was known as a boisterous party spot frequented by celebrities.

Unfortunately, Sammy’s is far from alone.

In fact, in a recent article that he penned for Fox Business, Adam Piper lamented the fact that more than 100,000 U.S. restaurants have gone out of business during this pandemic…

State and local governments have wielded the coronavirus pandemic as license to steal freedom and opportunity in pursuit of unprecedented omnipotence. Unreasonable, unnecessary and hypocritical actions have forced over 100,000 restaurants to close and endanger countless others.

And according to Bloomberg, the true number of dead restaurants is now over 110,000…

More than 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently or long-term across the country as the industry grapples with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Just think about that.

More than one out of every six restaurants in the U.S. is already gone, and the National Restaurant Association is warning that there will be more carnage in the months ahead because the industry is in “an economic free fall”

“The restaurant industry simply cannot wait for relief any longer,” Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the association, said in a letter to Congress. “What these findings make clear is that more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type — franchise, chain and independent — are in an economic free fall.”

This is what an economic depression looks like.

With tens of thousands of restaurants sitting empty, and with tens of thousands of others not paying rent, the stage has been set for a commercial real estate disaster of unprecedented scope and size.

Of course there are millions of square feet of office space and retail space that are not being productive right now as well.  In a recent article, Lee Adler referred to this looming commercial real estate nightmare as “a monster in the room”…

I think that if there’s anything that illustrates the head in the sand problem of the banks, it’s this. Commercial real estate (CRE) finance. There’s a monster in the room. All that empty space. No longer income producing.

For now, big financial institutions are doing their best to hide their coming losses, but according to Adler for certain sectors the losses will simply be unavoidable

Multifamily will take a haircut but will survive. My guess is that industrial, while overpriced and overvalued, will produce enough income to get by. Office and retail? Kiss it goodbye. It’s done. Over. Kaput.

Sadly, he is right on target.

The coming commercial real estate crisis is going to make the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008 and 2009 look like a Sunday picnic.

And the longer this pandemic stretches on, the larger the losses will ultimately become.

For residential real estate, the big story is that hordes of Americans are fleeing both coasts and are moving to smaller communities in the middle of the country.

So even as housing prices drop substantially in major cities on the east coast and the west coast, they are rising rapidly in cities such as Pittsburgh, Boise and Austin

Smaller metropolitan markets like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Boise, Idaho, Austin, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee are seeing some of the strongest price gains in the nation now, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices in those cities are now at least 10% higher than with a year earlier.

And as I discussed yesterday, we are actually starting to see hyperinflation for high end properties in desirable rural and suburban areas of the country.

Just recently, a friend sold a home that is located not too far from us for a price that almost made my eyes bug out of my head.  I literally had a difficult time believing the insanely high price that they were able to get, but this is what happens in a hyperinflationary environment.

2020 may have been a “personal financial disaster” for 55 percent of all Americans, but thanks to the hyperinflation in the stock market the wealthy have more money to throw at high end real estate than ever before.

Unfortunately, all of this wild money printing is not going to be able to prevent the coming crash in commercial real estate.

No matter how much money they have, many Americans are simply too afraid of COVID to eat out right now, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

And we are going to continue to see more Americans migrate away from the large cities on both coasts, and more businesses in those core urban areas will continue to fail.

As the commercial real estate crash unfolds, a lot of financial institutions simply won’t be able to make it without government help.

So will the federal government bail them out?

You never know, but every dollar the federal government borrows and spends just makes our long-term problemseven worse.

All of the dominoes are starting to fall, and we are still in the very early chapters of this horrifying economic collapse.

Unfortunately, most Americans still don’t understand what is happening, and most of them have no idea that economic conditions will soon get even worse.

The U.S. Has Lost More Than 110,000 Restaurants, Setting The Stage For A Commercial Real Estate Collapse Of Epic Proportions — The Economic Collapse

Yes, There is Only One Way to Heaven (No, That’s not Unfair) — The Aquila Report

Humans demonstrate our fallenness by our never-ending insistence on being autonomous, that is, being free from any and all standard—including God. People don’t naturally want accountability nor a standard to live up to. But that’s what God gave us in the Ten Commandments. That is His righteous standard, so to speak. And for humans, it’s an impossible standard. So what do we do? In steps Jesus. The one way to God, who lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15) and died a sinner’s death. And He did this for all who believe in Him (John 3:16).

One of the most despised doctrines of the Christian faith is the doctrine of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. Western culture hates it. Even some within the church shy away from it because they don’t want to offend or cause conflict. It’s not popular.

However, the lack of popularity doesn’t mean we should back down from believing it. The exclusivity of Christ is an essential tenet of Christianity. Jesus is the only way to God. If we disregard, ignore, or even deny it, we are calling Jesus a liar, since in many places He explicitly said He’s the only way, no more clear than in John 14:6.

The Way, Truth, and Life

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus said in John 14:6. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (ESV). From the mouth of the Son of God: “I’m your only hope.” Indeed, He is our only hope. Or take another example: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬).

The only salvation you’ll get outside of Christ is a phony salvation. It’s made up. It doesn’t exist. Salvation only is through Jesus, for “there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Only the Son of God can save you.

For us to deny or shy away from this would be a proverbial slap in the face to Jesus. Do we trust Him? Then we must trust what He says. According to Jesus, you’re not getting to Heaven unless it’s by His blood. We should echo that truth. We should shout it from the rooftops! We should tell everybody of this beautiful fact! This isn’t news to be kept to ourselves even if it offends.

Read More

Yes, There is Only One Way to Heaven (No, That’s not Unfair) — The Aquila Report

What If You’re Wrong About What Happens After You Die? — BLOG – Beautiful Christian Life

Image by  Vincenzo Di Leo
Image by Vincenzo Di Leo

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning Beautiful Christian Life LLC may get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through its links, at no cost to you.

Think you are a pretty good person? After all, you try hard to do the right thing. Sure, you’re not perfect, but who is? Maybe you think that—if there is a God—he (or she or it) is going to look at your heart, see that you made an honest effort, and let you enter heaven. If there is a hell, you’re not going there because that’s the place for the really bad people.

Take a moment and imagine that you are driving on a freeway. You look around and see people in their cars in front, behind, and beside you. Now consider that each person around you has a belief system regarding what will happen when he or she dies. All of these people base their life choices on this belief system. Will life after death turn out to be exactly what each person has believed it to be? Can they all be right, even though their views may be wildly different?

This is impossible since the most common views of the afterlife are mutually exclusive. For example, Christianity teaches that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27), while Hinduism holds the belief of reincarnation. Furthermore, it is unrealistic to think that we can imagine into reality what happens after we leave this earth.

What will happen if you are wrong?

Now let’s get back to the thinking that your good efforts will be good enough for God to let you into heaven. Here are two questions to consider:

  • Why do you think you are correct?
  • What is going to happen if you are wrong?

According to the Bible, there was once a way to enter to heaven based on our own good efforts, but it crumbled when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2–3). Because of humankind’s rebellion against God, we are all inherently sinful and unable to stand before a holy God (Rom. 3:23).

God must uphold his attributes of holiness, goodness, justice, and righteousness. Thus, we must keep God’s laws perfectly because his nature requires it, but none of us is able to do it. Without God’s intervention, we are all under condemnation (John 3:18). Yet, this is not the end of the story!

God in his love and mercy sent his Son to earth for us. 

Because we are no longer able to climb up to heaven due to our own tainted nature and works, God in his love and mercy sent his Son to earth for us. Jesus humbled himself by taking on human flesh, “becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). He lived the perfect life we should have lived (but failed to do) and he redeemed us (something we couldn’t do for ourselves) by offering himself up as the perfect sacrifice for our sins (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 10:4; Heb. 10:14).

It is by God’s grace alone—through faith in Christ alone—that we have peace with God and enter into his presence. If Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself to serve us, why should we think our pride-filled works could ever grant us access to God?

We need to humble ourselves before our almighty God.

Jesus’ humility was both the means and the model for our own humility before God. In the book of Luke, Jesus taught about the necessity of a penitent heart:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9–14)

We don’t have to look very far to see that something is wrong with the world—terribly, terribly wrong. While there are various explanations for the presence of evil, the Bible says that rebellion against God is at the root of it all. We can never clean ourselves up enough—or do enough good works—to reach heaven on our own efforts. One day each of us will stand before God to answer for how we lived on this earth—whether we like it or not.

The only thing that will matter is how God views you.

On that day we can humbly rest upon the perfect work of Christ done on our behalf, which we receive by faith alone, or we can proudly proclaim to God a list of our own self-perceived accomplishments, which are nothing more than filthy rags (Isa. 64:6; Phil. 3:4–9). Thankfully, the Bible contains many verses that happily assure us that all who trust in Christ are no longer under God’s condemnation but instead are cleansed from all unrighteousness (John 3:17–18; Rom. 8:1; 1 John 1:9).

In the end, it won’t matter how you view yourself. The only thing that will matter is how God views you. Christ came to earth the first time in humility to serve, but the next time he will come in glory to rule. If you haven’t done so already, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and receive Christ as your savior. Wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so. As Jesus reminds us, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Stop thinking that you can sovereignly determine what happens to you after you die, and seek the truth while it can be found.

Related Articles:


Le Ann Trees is managing editor of Beautiful Christian Life.Click Here to Subscribe to BCL’s Free Monthly Newsletter and Weekday Devotional

This article is adapted from “You Have to Be Perfect to Get into Heaven” at corechristianity.com.

What If You’re Wrong About What Happens After You Die? — BLOG – Beautiful Christian Life

January 4 Evening Quotes of the Day

A Christian’s Greatest Work Is in the Heart
Matthew 12:34–35; 15:18; Luke 6:45

The first and great work of a Christian is about his heart. There it is that God dwells by his Spirit, in his saints; and there it is that sin and Satan reign, in the ungodly. The great duties and the great sins are those of the heart. There is the root of good and evil: the tongue and life are but the fruits and expressions of that which dwells within.

RICHARD BAXTER

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Arminius Recommends Calvin’s Commentaries
1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Timothy 4:11

After the reading of Scripture, which I strenuously inculcate, and more than any other … I recommend that the commentaries of Calvin be read.… For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable, and that his commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the Bibliotheca of the Fathers; so much so, that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed above all. His Institutes, so far as respects commonplaces, I give out to be read after the Catechism, as a more extended explanation. But here I add—with discrimination; as the writings of all men ought to be read.

JAMES ARMINIUS

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

January 4, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

15:11 Having mentioned the inability of Jews and Gentiles alike to fulfill the law perfectly, Peter insisted that salvation is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, which means it is a free gift. Rituals such as circumcision cannot save anyone.[1]


15:11 through the grace of the Lord Jesus. A resounding affirmation of salvation by grace through faith alone (see notes on Ro 3:24, 25).[2]


15:11 — “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

A wealthy woman once objected to being saved in the same way as her poor servant. “You do not have to be saved at all,” came the reply, “but if you ever are saved, it will be in the same way as anyone else.”[3]


15:11 we shall be saved in the same manner as they: These are the last words of Peter in the Book of Acts. He leaves us with the eternal truth that we are saved through faith by grace alone. The emphasis in the Book of Acts now moves from Peter to Paul, from the presentation of the gospel message among the Jews to its presentation to the Gentiles.[4]


15:11. Peter’s conclusion echoes the theme of Paul and Barnabas’s missionary journey, namely, God’s grace. The NKJV translation “we shall be saved” communicates a future sense to salvation foreign to the Biblical text. Rather, the Apostle Peter literally affirms, “we believe [it is necessary] to be saved according to the same manner as they.”[5]


15:11 Peter’s final decision is worthy of special notice. He expressed the deep conviction that through the grace of the Lord Jesus (and not through law-keeping) we (the Jews) shall be saved in the same manner as they (the Gentiles). One would have expected Peter, as a Jew, to say that the Gentiles would be saved the same as the Jews. But grace is here seen triumphing over ethnic distinctions.[6]


15:11. The statement, We are saved, just as they are, is amazing. A Jew under the Law would say the opposite and in reverse order (“they are saved as we are”), but one who knew God’s grace, as Peter did, would not say that. Salvation for anyone—Jew or Gentile—is by God’s grace (v. 11) and is by faith (v. 9; cf. Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8).[7]


15:11 This is a summary of salvation by grace through faith (for Peter cf. Acts 2–3; for Paul cf. Rom. 3–8; Gal. 3; Eph. 1–2). Notice the way of salvation is the same for Jews and Gentiles (cf. Rom. 4; Eph. 2:1–10).[8]


10. “Now therefore, why do you test God by placing on the necks of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11. But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”

  • Restrictions. Peter concludes his address to his fellow apostles and elders by advising them to cancel the demand for obeying Old Testament regulations that include circumcision. These are Peter’s last words recorded by Luke in Acts and as such they are weighty. He sums up his remarks about God’s work among the Gentiles and then queries whether the Judaizers realize that they are putting God to the test.

Scripture teaches that when man tests God, he approaches God in a spirit of unbelief and disobedience. Testing God is the opposite of worshiping God with singleness of heart (Deut. 6:16). The example of the Israelites in the desert is telling. God had provided water for them at Marah and Elim (Exod. 15:22–27). But when they came to Rephidim and found no water, they complained and asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exod. 17:7, NIV). They tested God by openly doubting his proven ability to supply water. Similarly, Peter asserts, the Judaizers are testing God, who has clearly shown that Gentile Christians are free in Christ.

“Why do you [place] on the necks of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” This penetrating question of Peter echoes comparable words Paul writes in his epistles (e.g., Gal. 5:1; for Jesus’ teaching, see Matt. 23:4; Luke 11:46). What is this yoke that no one is able to bear? Obviously, it is the Mosaic law. The Jews defined God’s law as “the yoke” which every Jew and proselyte had to bear willingly and joyfully. Even Jesus uses Jewish imagery when he invites those who are weary and burdened to take his yoke upon themselves; but he tells them that his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matt. 11:28–30).

In the case before the Jerusalem Council, Peter regards the yoke a burden that gives the believer no delight. No Jew gained salvation by trying to keep the law. It had become a burden to him because his attempts at keeping the law had resulted in failure. By itself, however, the law that God had given was good. But man’s inability to observe God’s law oppressed Peter’s contemporaries and had burdened his forefathers. Further, the ceremonial part of the law and the regulations taught by the rabbis had become an impossible burden to bear. “There is no denying that though traditional Jews could regard the mass of commandments—six hundred and thirteen in all, consisting in three hundred and forty-eight positive precepts—as a means provided by God of acquiring merit, they could also arouse a misguided zeal for external observance alone.”22 Peter expresses what Paul had proclaimed in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch, namely, that a believer cannot be justified by the law of Moses (13:39). A person whether Jew or Gentile, can be justified only through faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Salvation. “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.” Through his atonement, Christ fulfilled the law. Consequently, from the penalty of transgressing the law, he releases everyone who trusts in him. For this reason, the law has assumed a different meaning. That is, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ both Jewish and Gentile believers obtain salvation.

Peter does not suggest that the council should abrogate the law. He objects to making the law a precondition to salvation. Whereas the law is unable to save a person, faith in Jesus Christ indeed saves him. Both Jew and Gentile are equal before the Lord and both gain their salvation through him “as an objective gift of grace.”

Peter reflects on his experience in Caesarea and as a result is in full agreement with the teaching of Paul and Barnabas: do not demand circumcision from Gentile believers and do not subject them to the yoke of the Mosaic law. Neither Peter nor Paul and Barnabas contrived this strategy. God himself directed them to proclaim freedom in Christ to Gentile Christians.[9]


11. By the grace of Jesus Christ. Peter compareth these two together as contrary the one to the other; to have hope in the grace of Christ, and to be under the yoke of the law; which comparison doth greatly set out the justification of Christ, inasmuch as we gather thereby, that those are justified by faith who, being free and quit from the yoke of the law, seek for salvation in the grace of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I said before that the yoke of the law is made of two cords. The former is, “He which doth these things shall live in them;” the other is, “Cursed is every one which doth not continue in all the commandments.” Let us return unto the contrary member. If we cannot otherwise attain unto salvation by the grace of Christ, unless the yoke of the law be taken away, it followeth that salvation is not placed in keeping the law, neither are those which believe in Christ subject to the curse of the law; for if he could be saved through grace, who is as yet enwrapped in the yoke of the law, then should Peter’s reasoning be but foolish, which is drawn from contraries: thus, We hope for salvation by the grace of Christ; therefore we are not under the yoke of the law. Unless there were a disagreement between the grace of Christ and the yoke of the law, Peter should deceive us.

Wherefore, those must needs depart from the righteousness of the law, whosoever desire to find life in Christ; for this contrariety appertained not unto doctrine, but unto the cause of justification.

Whereby is also refuted their surmise, who say that we are justified by the grace of Christ, because he regenerateth us by his Spirit, and giveth us strength to fulfil the law. Those who imagine this, though they seem to ease the yoke of the law a little, yet they keep souls bound with the cords thereof. For this promise shall always stand in force, He which shall do these things shall live in them; on the other side, The curse shall come upon all which shall not absolutely fulfil the law. Wherefore, we must define the grace of Christ far otherwise (whereunto the hope of salvation leaneth) than they dream; to wit, that it be free reconciliation gotten by the sacrifice of his death; or, which is all one, free forgiveness of sins, which, by pacifying and appeasing God, doth make him of an enemy or severe judge,3 and which cannot be pleased nor entreated, a merciful Father. I confess, indeed, that we be regenerate into newness of life by the grace of Christ; but when we are about assurance of salvation, then must we call to mind the free adoption alone, which is joined with the purging [expiation] and forgiveness of sins. For, if works be admitted, that they may make us righteous in part only, the yoke of the law shall not be broken, and so Peter’s contrariety [antithesis] shall fall to the ground, or else be dissolved.

Even as they. Peter doth testify in this place, that though the servitude of the law were laid upon the fathers as touching the external show, yet were their consciences free and quit; whereby is put away that absurdity, which might otherwise have troubled godly minds not a little. For, seeing that the covenant of life is eternal, and the same which God made with his servants from the beginning until the end of the world, it were an absurd thing, and intolerable, that any other way to obtain salvation should be taught at this day than that which the fathers had in times past. Therefore, Peter affirmeth that we agree very well with the fathers, because they no less than we reposed hope of salvation in the grace of Christ; and so, reconciling the law and the gospel together, as touching the end of the doctrine, he taketh from the Jews the stumbling-block which they feigned to themselves by reason of the discord.

Whereby it appeareth that the law was not given to the fathers that they might thereby purchase salvation, neither were the ceremonies added, that, by the observing thereof, they might attain unto righteousness; but this was the only end of all the whole law, that, casting from them all confidence which they might repose in works, they might repose all their hope in the grace of Christ. Whereby is also refuted the doting of those who think that the old people, inasmuch as they were content with earthly goods, did think no whit of the heavenly life. But Peter maketh the fathers partners with us of the same faith; and doth make salvation common to both; and yet there be some which delight in that brain-sick fellow, Servetus, with his so filthy sacrileges. Furthermore, we must note that Peter teacheth that the faith of the fathers [ancients] was always grounded in Christ, seeing that they could neither find life anywhere else, neither was there any other way for men to come unto God. Therefore, this place agreeth with that saying of the apostle, “Christ yesterday, and to-day, and for ever,” (Heb. 13:8.)[10]


The inability of the law to save proves salvation is by grace

Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are. (15:10–11)

Peter warns the Judaizers not to put God to the test. It was not their place to challenge or question God’s gracious gospel. He pointed out the folly of placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither their fathers nor they had been able to bear. The description of the law as a heavy, chafing yoke was an apt one. Describing the legalism of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said, “They tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders” (Matt. 23:4; cf. Luke 11:46). It was foolish of the legalists to expect Gentiles to shoulder a burden they themselves found too heavy to bear and rejoiced to be freed from.

It was equally fallacious to impose on the Gentiles what had not worked for the Jews. Not one of Peter’s Jewish listeners had been saved by the law, purified from their sins by the law, or received the Holy Spirit by keeping the law (cf. Gal. 3:2–3). Since keeping the law could not do any of those vital things for them, why require it of the Gentiles?

Peter closed his speech with a ringing affirmation of the glorious truth that salvation is solely by grace. We believe, he declared, that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are. Whether for Jews or Gentiles, there has always been and always will be only one way of salvation.[11]


[1] Sills, M. D. (2017). Opportunities and Challenges in Global Missions. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1746). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ac 15:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ac 15:11). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1398). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[5] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 561). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1628). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Toussaint, S. D. (1985). Acts. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 394). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Utley, R. J. (2003). Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts (Vol. Volume 3B, p. 183). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[9] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 546–547). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[10] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 2, pp. 58–61). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[11] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1994). Acts (Vol. 2, pp. 67–68). Chicago: Moody Press.

January 4 Afternoon Quotes of the Day

Debtors to God Always Have Payment
Matthew 6:12; 18:23–35; Luke 7:41–43

He who owes a debt to God has more help toward payment than he who is indebted to man. Man requires money for money, and this is not always at the debtor’s command. God demands the affection of the heart, which is in our own power. No one who owes a debt to God is poor, except one who has made himself poor. And even if he has nothing to sell, yet he has something with which to pay. Prayer, fasting, and tears are the resources of an honest debtor, and much more abundant than if one from the price of his estate offered money without faith.

AMBROSE OF MILAN

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Sanctified by Faith, Strengthened by Love
Acts 26:18; Romans 12:12; 15:13

Let us each do what we can, that faith may sanctify us, love strengthen us, and hope make us joyful in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom is honor and glory to ages of ages.

AELRED OF RIEVAULX

Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Cartoons and Memes · Jan. 4, 2021

Nancy Antoinette

Comment | Share


The Nashville Bombing

Comment | Share


Dropping the Ball

Comment | Share


Quick, We Need More Rules

Comment | Share


It Makes Sense Now

Comment | Share


Dad Joke Gone Too Far?

Comment | Share


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

January 4, 2020 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

17:24 made by human hands Since God transcends creation, He does not need a place to live—including the shrines on the nearby Acropolis.[1]


17:24 God who made the world. This teaching flatly contradicted both the Epicureans, who believed matter was eternal and therefore had no creator, and the Stoics, who as pantheists believed God was part of everything and could not have created Himself. Paul’s teaching finds its support throughout Scripture (Ge 1:1; Ps 146:5, 6; Is 40:28; 45:18; Jer 10:12; 32:17; Jon 1:9; Zec 12:1; Eph 3:9; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11; 10:6).[2]


17:24. With crystalline logic, Paul communicated essential distinctives of the true God. “He made the world and everything in it and is Lord of heaven and earth.” Thus He “does not dwell in temples made with hands.” Given that God both created and rules over the universe, why would He dwell in inferior man-made dwellings? The Athenians had various temples readily at hand, rendering Paul’s message immediately relevant.[3]


17:24. Because God made everything, He is supreme over all—the Lord of heaven and earth (cf. 14:15; cf. Ps. 24:1). Such a great God does not live in humanly constructed temples, as the Athenians assumed their Greek gods did (cf. Stephen’s words in Acts 7:48–50).[4]


17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it” Paul’s first theological point is God is creator (cf. Gen. 1–2; Ps. 104; 146:6; Isa. 42:5). The Greeks believed that spirit (God) and matter (atoms) were both co-eternal. Paul asserts the Genesis 1 concept of creation where a personal, purposeful God creates both the heavens and the earth (this planet and the universe).

“does not dwell in temples made with hands” This is a quote from (1) the OT (cf. 1 Kings 8:27; Isa. 66:1–2) or (2) a Greek philosopher, Euripides, Fragment 968. There are several quotes in this context from Greek writers (cf. vv. 25 & 28). Paul was also trained in Greek scholastics.[5]


24. “The God who made the world and all things in it, because he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in manmade temples. 25. And he is not served by human hands as if he needs anything; rather, he gives to everyone life, breath, and all things.”

The message Paul proclaims is thoroughly scriptural. Although the people in his audience are unaware of the references, Paul teaches that God, who is the creator of the heavens and the earth, gives life to all people. He does this by freely quoting the words of Isaiah:

This is what God the Lord says—

he who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,

who gives breath to its people,

and life to those who walk on it. [42:5, NIV]

Paul puts the teaching concerning God and his revelation in the place of the Stoic philosophy that sees deities in every aspect of the world but has no doctrine of creation. Paul teaches monotheism over against Stoic pantheism. He introduces God, who made the world and everything in it. The Greek word kosmos signifies the world arranged in orderly fashion “as the sum total of everything here and now.” When Paul adds to the term kosmos the phrase and all things in it, he stresses the orderliness of creation that finds its origin in one personal God. He says that this God is Lord of heaven and earth. Paul intimates that as Lord, God governs and cares for all that he has made, including this Athenian audience.

Incidentally, Paul’s reference to creation has an echo in the speech he delivered in Lystra (14:15–17; compare Gen. 14:19, 22; Exod. 20:11). There he stressed that God provides the people with plenty of food and fills their hearts with joy. Now he asserts that God rules over everything in heaven and on earth.

“[God] does not dwell in manmade temples.” Again Paul proclaims the teachings of the Old Testament when he points out that God does not live in temples made by human hands (see 7:48; 1 Kings 8:27). Simple reasoning should convince the Athenians that God who has created heaven and earth cannot be restricted to the confines of a temple.

“And he is not served by human hands as if he needs anything.” God is immeasurably greater than the human mind can ever fathom. Therefore, in the psalms God says that because everything in this world belongs to him, he has no need for bulls and goats as sacrificial animals (Ps. 50:8–13). To the point, God is not dependent on sacrifices that man brings to him. With this teaching, Paul finds a listening ear among the Athenian philosophers. “Here may be discerned approximations to the Epicurean doctrine that God needs nothing from human beings and to the Stoic belief that he is the source of all life.…”

“Rather, he gives to everyone life, breath, and all things.” God is a personal God who not only creates but also sustains everything he has made. This self-sufficient God daily cares for man and for his great creation in the minutest details. God is the source of life, for he gives breath to all living creatures. Note the striking contrast Paul makes in this verse (v. 25). He says that God, who does not “need anything,” provides “all things” for everyone. In the Greek, the expression all things connotes that God in his support of man excludes absolutely nothing from the totality of creation. God gives man everything he needs and thus upholds him by his power.[6]


24. Paul’s proclamation is concerned with the God who made the universe and all that it contains, and who is therefore Lord of heaven and earth. His language is based on the Old Testament description of God (e.g. Isa. 42:5; Exod. 20:11), but what he said would also have been accepted by the Greek philosopher Plato. The Old Testament does not employ the word world (Gk. kosmos), since there is no corresponding term in Hebrew; rather it speaks of ‘the heaven and the earth’ or ‘the all’ (Jer. 10:16). But the word was used in Greek-speaking Judaism (Wisdom 9:9; 11:17; 2 Macc. 7:23), and it is not surprising to find it here (cf. Rom. 1:20); Paul employs the language that we would expect a Greek-speaking Jew to use, especially when addressing pagans. A God who is Creator and Lord clearly does not live in a temple made by human hands (cf. 7:48; Mark 14:58; the phrase was used of man-made idols in contrast with the living God, Lev. 26:1; Isa. 46:6). There is perhaps an echo of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple when he recognized its inadequacy as a house for God (1 Kgs 8:27). Again, this was a sentiment that would be accepted by Stoic philosophy.[7]


24. God, who hath made the world. Paul’s drift is to teach what God is. Furthermore, because he hath to deal with profane men, he draweth proofs from nature itself; for in vain should he have cited testimonies of Scripture. I said that this was the holy man’s purpose, to bring the men of Athens unto the true God. For they were persuaded that there was some divinity; only their preposterous religion was to be reformed. Whence we gather, that the world doth go astray through bending crooks and boughts, yea, that it is in a mere labyrinth, so long as there remaineth a confused opinion concerning the nature of God. For this is the true rule of godliness, distinctly and plainly to know who that God whom we worship is. If any man will intreat generally of religion, this must be the first point, that there is some divine power or godhead which men ought to worship. But because that was out of question, Paul descendeth unto the second point, that the true God must be distinguished from all vain inventions. So that he beginneth with the definition of God, that he may thence prove how he ought to be worshipped; because the one dependeth upon the other. For whence came so many false worshippings, and such rashness to increase the same oftentimes, save only because all men forged to themselves a God at their pleasure? And nothing is more easy than to corrupt the pure worship of God, when men esteem God after their sense and wit.

Wherefore, there is nothing more fit to destroy all corrupt worshippings, than to make this beginning, and to show of what sort the nature of God is. Also our Saviour Christ reasoneth thus, John 4:24, “God is a Spirit.” Therefore he alloweth no other worshippers but such as worship him spiritually. And surely he doth not subtilely dispute of the secret substance [essence] of God; but by his works he declareth which is the profitable knowledge of him. And what doth Paul gather thence, because God is the creator, framer, and Lord of the world? to wit, that he dwelleth not in temples made with hands. For, seeing that it appeareth plainly by the creation of the world, that the righteousness, wisdom, goodness, and power of God doth reach beyond the bounds of heaven and earth; it followeth, that he can be included and shut up within no space of place.

Notwithstanding this demonstration seemeth to have been in vain, because they might readily have said, that images and pictures were placed in temples to testify God’s presence; and that none was so gross but that he knew that God did fulfil [fill] all things. I answer, that that is true which I said a little before, that idolatry is contrary to itself. The unbelievers said, that they worshipped the gods before their images; but unless they had tied the Godhead and power of God to images, and had hoped to be holpen thereby, would they have directed their prayers thither? Hereby it came also to pass, that one temple was more holy than another. They ran to Delphos that they might fet [fetch] the oracles of Apollo thence, Minerva had her seat and mansion at Athens. Now we see that Paul doth touch that false opinion, whereby men have always been deceived; because they feigned to themselves a carnal God.

This is the first entrance into the true knowledge of God, if we go without ourselves, and do not measure him by the capacity of our mind; yea, if we imagine nothing of him according to the understanding of our flesh, but place him above the world, and distinguish him from creatures. From which sobriety the whole world was always far; because this wickedness is in men, naturally to deform God’s glory with their inventions. For as they be carnal and earthy, they will have one that shall be answerable to their nature. Secondly, after their boldness they fashion him so as they may comprehend him. By such inventions is the sincere and plain knowledge of God corrupt; yea, his truth, as saith Paul, is turned into a lie, (Rom. 1:25.) For whosoever doth not ascend high above the world, he apprehendeth vain shadows and ghosts instead of God. Again, unless we be carried up into heaven with the wings of faith, we must needs vanish away in our own cogitations. And no marvel if the Gentiles were so grossly deluded and deceived, to include God in the elements of the world, after that they had pulled him out of his heavenly throne; seeing that the same befel the Jews, to whom notwithstanding the Lord had showed his spiritual glory. For it is not without cause that Isaiah doth chide them for including God within the walls of the temple, (Isaiah 66:1.) And we gather out of Stephen’s sermon, that this vice was common to all ages; which sermon is set down by Luke in the 7th chapter and 49th verse.

If any man asked the Jews, whose grossness the Holy Ghost reproveth, if they thought that God was included in their temple, they would stoutly have denied that they were in any such gross error. But because they did only behold the temple, and did rise no higher in their minds, and trusting to the temple, did boast that God was as it were bound to them, the Spirit doth for good causes reprehend them, for tying him to the temple as if he were a mortal man. For that is true which I said even now, that superstition is contrary to itself, and that it doth vanish away into divers imaginations. Neither have the Papists at this day any defence, saving that wherewith the Gentiles went about in times past to paint or cover their errors after a sort. In some, superstition doth feign that God dwelleth in temples made with hands, not that it will shut him up as it were in a prison; but because it doth dream of a carnal (or fleshly) God, and doth attribute a certain power to idols, and doth translate the glory of God unto external shows.

But if God do not dwell in temples made with hands, (2 Kings 19:15,) why doth he testify in so many places of Scripture, that he sitteth between the cherubims, and that the temple is his eternal rest? (Psalm 80:1; 132:14.) I answer, As he was not tied to any place, so he meant nothing less than to tie his people to earthly signs, but rather he cometh down to them that he might lift them up unto himself. Therefore, those men did wickedly abuse the temple and the ark, who did so behold those things that they stayed still upon earth, and did depart from the spiritual worship of God. Hereby we see that there was great difference between those tokens of God’s presence which men invented to themselves unadvisedly, and those which were ordained by God, because men do always incline downwards, that they may lay hold upon [apprehend] God after a carnal manner; but God by the leading of his word doth lift them upward. Only he useth middle signs and tokens, whereby he doth insinuate himself with slow men, until they may ascend into heaven by degrees (and steps.)[8]


17:24 / Paul’s answer to that question is that God is the creator. He has made the world and everything in it. The proposition comes straight from the Old Testament (e.g., Gen. 1:1; Exod. 20:11; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 74:17; Isa. 42:5; 45:7); the language, however, does not, for there is no corresponding word in Hebrew for “the world.” The Hebrew Bible speaks of “the heaven and the earth” or “the all” (Jer. 10:16). “The world” (Gk. kosmos) is found in Greek-speaking Judaism (Wisd. 9:9; 11:17; 2 Macc. 7:23), but Paul’s choice of it here may have been influenced less by that than by the use made of it by Plato and Aristotle. In any case, his point was that the world was not a thing of chance, but the work of God. A number of things follow from this: First, God is not detached from the creation, as the Epicureans thought, and second, God is greater than the creation. Therefore he cannot be confined to temples built by hands (the Stoics would have heartily agreed, though from a different premise). Again, Paul’s words had an edge to them, and this time it may have been noticed, for “made with hands” was an expression commonly used by Greek philosophers and Jews alike in their attacks on idolatry (see disc. on 7:48). The second half of this verse may be a deliberate echo of the sentiment expressed in Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 8:27).[9]


24 He then begins to tell them about the true God. He it is who created the universe and everything in it; he is Lord of heaven and earth. Here is the God of biblical revelation; no distinction is pressed between a supreme being and a demiurge who fashioned the material world. The God who is creator of all and universal Lord is introduced in language strongly reminiscent of the Old Testament scriptures. Equally reminiscent of those scriptures is the language in which Paul describes the true God as not inhabiting sanctuaries built by human hands. If even the shrine at Jerusalem, erected for the worship of the true God, could not contain him, how much less the splendid shrines on the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated as they were to divinities that had no real existence! True, even the higher paganism had acknowledged that no material house could accommodate the divine nature,65 but the affinities of the terms here used by Paul are biblical rather than classical.[10]


24–25 The substance of Paul’s Athenian address concerns the nature of God and the responsibility of people to God. Contrary to all pantheistic and polytheistic notions, God is the one, Paul says, who has created the world and everything in it: he is “the Lord of heaven and earth” (v. 24; cf. Ge 14:19, 22). He does not live in temples “built by hands” (en cheiropoiētois); nor is he dependent for his existence on anything he has created. Rather, he is the source of life and breath and everything else that humanity possesses (v. 25). Earlier in the fifth century BC, Euripides asked, “What house built by craftsmen could enclose the form divine within enfolding walls?” (Fragments 968); and in the first century BC, Cicero (Verr. 2.5.187) considered the image of Ceres worshiped in Sicily worthy of honor because it was not made with hands but had fallen from the sky. While Paul’s argument can be paralleled at some points by the higher paganism of the day, its content is decidedly biblical (cf. 1 Ki 8:27; Isa 66:1–2) and its forms of expression are Jewish as well as Greek (cf. Isa 2:18; 19:1; 31:7 [LXX]; Sib. Or. 4.8–12; Ac 7:41, 48; Heb 8:2; 9:24 on the pejorative use of “built with hands” for idols and temples).[11]


Creator

The God who made the world and all things in it (17:24a)

Paul’s bold assertion that God made the world and all things in it was a powerful and upsetting truth for some of the Athenians to hear. It ran contrary to the Epicureans, who believed matter was eternal and therefore had no creator, and to the Stoics, who as pantheists believed everything was part of God—who certainly couldn’t have created Himself. But it was still the basic approach required. Whenever the logic of a creator has been eliminated, people are cut off completely from God.

The truth that God is the creator of the universe and all it contains is just as unpopular in our day. The prevailing explanation by the ungodly for the origin of all things is evolution. It is taught dogmatically by its zealous adherents (including, sadly, many Christians) as a scientific fact as firmly established as the law of gravity. Yet evolution is not even a scientific theory (since it is not observable, repeatable, or testable), let alone an established fact.

The impressive scientific evidence against evolution can be briefly summarized as follows. First, the second law of thermodynamics shows that evolution is theoretically impossible. Second, the evidence of the fossil record shows evolution in fact did not take place. (Among the many helpful books presenting the scientific case against evolution are Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis [Bethesda, Md.: Adler and Adler, 1985]; Duane T. Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say NO! [El Cajon, Calif.: Institute for Creation Research, 1995]; Henry M. Morris, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985]; Henry M. Morris and Gary E. Parker, What Is Creation Science? [San Diego: Master Book Publishers, 1984].)

The second law of thermodynamics, one of the most well-established principles in all of science, states that the natural tendency is for things to go from a more ordered to a less ordered state. Noted atheist Isaac Asimov acknowledged that “as far as we know, all changes are in the direction of increasing entropy, of increasing disorder, of increasing randomness, of running down” (cited in Henry M. Morris, ed., Scientific Creationism [San Diego: Creation-Life, 1976], 39). Yet, incredibly, evolutionists argue that precisely the opposite has happened. According to them, things have gone from a less ordered state to a more ordered one. Attempts to harmonize evolution with the second law of thermodynamics have not been successful, and it remains a powerful witness against evolution (cf. Emmett L. Williams, ed., Thermodynamics and the Development of Order [Norcross, Ga.: Creation Research Society Books, 1987]).

The only way to determine if evolution has happened is to examine the fossil record, which contains the history of life on earth. Although presented in popular literature and textbooks as proof for evolution, the fossil record is actually a major source of embarrassment for evolutionists. The innumerable transitional forms between phylogenetic groups demanded by evolution are simply not found. Although an evolutionist, David B. Kitts of the University of Oklahoma admits,

Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of “seeing” evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists the most notorious of which is the presence of “gaps” in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them. (“Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory,” Evolution 28 [September 1974]: 467)

Even Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University, perhaps the most well-known contemporary defender of evolution, candidly admits,

The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. (“Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” Natural History LXXXVI [May 1977]: 14)

Paul’s affirmation that God made the world and all things in it finds its support in Scripture. The Bible opens with the simple declaration “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). In Psalm 146:5–6 the psalmist writes, “How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God; Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them.” Isaiah asks rhetorically, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable” (Isa. 40:28). In Isaiah 45:18, Isaiah describes God as “the God who formed the earth and made it.” Jeremiah 10:12 says of God, “It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.” Taking comfort in God’s power, Jeremiah exclaims, “Ah Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee” (Jer. 32:17). Zechariah 12:1 refers to God as He “who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.”

The New Testament also teaches that God is the creator. Ephesians 3:9 declares that God “created all things.” Colossians 1:16 says of Jesus Christ, “By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him.” The great hymn of praise to God in Revelation 4:11 reads, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.” In Revelation 10:6 an angel “swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it.”

Still, the truth that God is the creator of all things is widely rejected—even by some who profess to believe in His existence. They see Him as a remote first cause, who merely set in motion the evolutionary process and can make no claim on anyone’s life. But the creator God can and does. Sinful men are uncomfortable with the thought that they are accountable to One who created them and hence owns them.

When preaching to Jews, Paul began with the Old Testament Scripture; but with Gentiles, he began with the need to explain the first cause (see the discussion of 14:15 in chapter 7 of this volume).

Ruler

since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands (17:24b)

Because God created them, He is Lord of heaven and earth, and their rightful ruler. Genesis 14:19 describes God as “possessor of heaven and earth,” while David says in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” The psalmist wrote: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all” (Ps. 103:19). Humbled by God’s devastating judgment on him, the pagan king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was forced to admit:

[God’s] dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, “What hast Thou done?” (Dan. 4:34–35)

The God who created the universe obviously does not dwell in temples made with hands. In 1 Kings 8:27 Solomon said, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built!” (cf. 2 Chron. 2:6; 6:18). David expressed that same truth in Psalm 139:1–12:

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,” even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.

The folly of idolatry is most clearly seen in its denial of God’s infinity.[12]


[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ac 17:24). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ac 17:24). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] Valdés, A. S. (2010). The Acts of the Apostles. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 573). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[4] Toussaint, S. D. (1985). Acts. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 403). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] Utley, R. J. (2003). Luke the Historian: The Book of Acts (Vol. Volume 3B, p. 208). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 17, pp. 632–634). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 303). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[8] Calvin, J., & Beveridge, H. (2010). Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 2, pp. 157–161). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] Williams, D. J. (2011). Acts (p. 305). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[10] Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Book of the Acts (p. 336). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[11] Longenecker, R. N. (2007). Acts. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 983). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[12] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1994). Acts (Vol. 2, pp. 135–139). Chicago: Moody Press.

Mid-Day Snapshot · Jan. 4, 2021

THE FOUNDATION

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

Comment | Share

IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

A Very Consequential First Congressional Week

Mark Alexander

There are perilous moving parts this week that will have broad political implications for the coming years.

On Sunday, the 117th Congress was sworn in, though only a handful of Democrat Party members still honor any residual obligation to their oaths “to support and defend” our Republic’s Constitution.

The House will remain under the dictatorial thumb of leftist Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who was reelected to her fourth term as speaker. She retained Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn as her underbosses.

House Republican leadership remains in the competent hands of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise. And, notably, Democrats hold a smaller marginal control of the House after their majority was cut down to 222-211 in November, with two seats still open.

In the Senate, the tenures of Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Thune, who were reelected in November, hang in the balance of the Georgia runoff elections on Tuesday.

With Republicans now holding 50 seats, if the GOP doesn’t retain at least one Georgia seat, the Senate will be evenly divided, meaning with tie votes, presumed incoming leftist VP and Senate President Kamala Harris will provide the tiebreaker.

Though we expect the GOP will retain at least one of the two contested seats, the runoff results may be delayed given the likely prospect that the results will be contested, despite the fact that basic measures to reduce fraud are in place. Unfortunately, those measures are too little, too late for the integrity of election results in some Democrat states that allowed substantial bulk-mail balloting fraud — the failure to certify who was voting — resulting in contestable November election results.

If both Georgia seats are lost, the presumed incoming president, Joe Biden, will empower Senator Chuck Schumer and his Whip Dick Durbin to do his bidding, including the rapid undoing of many of Donald Trump’s successful initiatives. Regardless, Biden will be rapidly undoing Trump’s executive initiatives by way of reversing or overwriting those executive orders.

The Demos’ ground game in Georgia has proven very effective and, arguably, President Trump’s contesting of the national election and vacillation on the ChiCom Virus pandemic bill for relief funding have undermined conservative voter turnout.

Then, on Wednesday, Congress meets in a joint session to count and certify Electoral College votes, currently standing at 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for Trump — the biggest post-election step for a peaceful transition of power.

Senator McConnell declared that the Electoral College vote certification will be “the most consequential I have ever cast.”

It will also be the most controversial, as a group of Senate Republicans headed by Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley will be joined by a contingent of House Republicans contesting the certification. Vice President Mike Pence said, through his chief of staff, that he “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before Congress and the American people.”

Buckle up — this is going to be an interesting week!

Comment | Share

Implications of Georgia Senate Races Loom Large

Nate Jackson

Donald Trump and Joe Biden are facing off on the campaign stump once again today, this time in Georgia, which, you might have heard, is in the midst of two Senate runoff election races. Trump and Biden are holding rallies for the four respective candidates today. More than three million Georgians have already cast their ballots, and for good reason — there are huge stakes for years to come.

Much of the buzz coming into this week was President Trump’s weekend phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the hour-long conversation, Trump pressured Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to show that Trump really won the Peach State, though Raffensperger was having none of it. The sharp disagreement over how Georgia conducted the November election looms large.

But the point of this story is what’s at stake in the U.S. Senate.

GOP Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler each failed to reach the requisite 50% of the vote in November, and thus they face Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively. Ossoff is an inheritance welfare liberal and Warnock a radical racist pastor who preaches a very different gospel than that put forth in either Scripture or by Martin Luther King, whose church Warnock pastors. Warnock’s is a gospel of socialism and hate, but in his ads he comes across as an all-too-likable and compassionate man who loves puppies (no kidding).

A victory for both of these Democrats would make New York Senator Chuck Schumer the majority leader, giving Democrats unified control of DC and the ability to force through their radical leftist agenda. That means Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, statehood for the Democrat strongholds of DC and Puerto Rico (meaning four more Democrat senators), and packing the Supreme Court are all on the line. That’s to say nothing of economy-hampering taxes and regulations to cap off a pandemic shutdown and gut any recovery.

As Louisiana Senator John Kennedy darkly joked in November, if Democrats win, “you’ve got nothing to worry about unless you are a taxpayer, a business owner, a parent, a cop, a gun owner, a person of faith, or an unborn baby.”

There’s also the not-so-small matter of having a Republican check on a thoroughly corrupt incoming Democrat regime. Want to get to the bottom of FBI abuse of power or the Biden family’s dealings with China? Forget about it with a Democrat Senate. Want moderation in judicial picks? It won’t happen. And Democrat committee chairmen, including Bernie Sanders, will be happy to run roughshod, as will the party as a whole if Democrats decide to nuke the legislative filibuster.

It certainly seems that Republicans are at grave risk tomorrow. Trump is both fueled by and fueling allegations of voter fraud in Georgia and elsewhere. A divided party could turn into a defeated party. The division is bad enough, but the defeat would be a big one — not just for Georgia, but for the entire nation.

Comment | Share

Trump and Democrats Try to Out-Spend Each Other

Douglas Andrews

If we as Americans can agree on any one thing, let it be this: No matter how massive or how extensively loaded with domestic goodies a congressional spending act might be, it should never come to the president’s desk with anything even remotely resembling the following language: “Of the funds appropriated under title III of this Act that are made available for assistance for Pakistan, not less than $15,000,000 shall be made available for democracy programs and not less than $10,000,000 shall be made available for gender programs.”

And yet, as Power Line’s Steve Hayward notes, there it was, right there on page 1,497 of the 5,593-page, $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending bill passed by our 116th Congress and reluctantly signed over the holidays by President Donald Trump. (To mention that the bill also contains $15 million to help Sri Lanka refurbish an old Coast Guard cutter we gave it and $1.65 billion to let Jordan spend however it pleases seems like piling on. But some things in life are just begging to be piled upon.)

Seriously. If we can’t — all of us — agree that burdening our grandchildren with deficit spending of this sort is an abomination, then we’ve really jumped the shark as a nation. (If you want to get your blood boiling, just click here and see how long it takes you to scroll through the entire bill.)

President Trump had originally resisted signing the bill, posting a video in which he called it “a disgrace,” called its $600 individual outlays “ridiculously low,” and admonished Congress to “send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package.”

Ultimately, though, the president caved. And for what? Not much of anything, it appears. The legislation “has been signed into law in exactly the form Congress passed it,” notes Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff. “It does not include the $2,000 handouts Trump wanted. It includes all of the wasteful spending he decried.”

The president issued a “signing statement” in which he invoked the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to remove the bill’s wasteful spending. In addition, he called on the Senate to increase the individual checks to $2,000, repeal the onerous Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that allows Big Tech to selectively publish content with legal impunity, and begin an investigation into voter fraud. But none of these three commandments is binding on Congress.

What, then, is the president’s play here? By fighting for those $2,000 checks, he’s certainly donned the mantle of populist, but so has Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. And those checks wouldn’t exactly be going to the most needy among us. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board writes, “Mr. Trump’s proposal is somewhat less spendthrift in leaving payments to children age 18 or younger at $600. But he would still provide benefits to a family of five earning up to $266,000 a year and add $315.5 billion to the debt.”

What we have, it seems, is a profligate spending contest between a Republican president and a Democrat Congress. “Mr. McConnell called this ‘another fire hose of borrowed money that encompasses other people who are doing just fine,’” the Journal continues. “The bill that has already passed Congress is better targeted at the unemployed and low-income workers with more cash, more food stamps, more child-care subsidies, and higher jobless benefits.”

Ultimately, we might all be a lot better off if the president and our elected representatives had just stood there instead of trying to do something.

Comment | Share

Serf’s Up

Arnold Ahlert

“If we give these tin-pot dictators, these governors, more money, they’re less likely to open the economy. The answer’s not printing up and distributing free money. It’s opening the economy.” —Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Rand Paul has let the proverbial cat out of the bag and — tragically — precious few Americans want to hear what he has to say. That’s because those tin-pot governors and the rest of the Ruling Class have discovered there’s nothing quite like fostering desperation when it comes to making Americans as “pliable” as possible.

Following the passage of a $900 billion stimulus package two weeks ago — best described as a “bipartisan” 5,593-page middle finger to Middle America — a hard-pressed public will be receiving a whopping $600 apiece to weather their ongoing battle with a health-related virus, along with weathering the far more severe virus of megalomania that afflicts those aforementioned tin-pot dictators.

There is no question that millions of Americans are desperate, driven to the depths of economic despair by a virus and arguably the most contemptuous media-driven fear campaign this nation has ever endured, even as the definition of “quarantine” — detention or isolation imposed upon those suspected of being infected or contagious — was bastardized beyond recognition. Everyone, including the healthy, were “locked down” to “flatten the curve.”

Of course, not quite everyone. The term “essential workers” was also bastardized beyond recognition, as little distinction was made between the genuine heroes that included front-line healthcare workers, food producers, delivery people, etc. and the feckless hacks with political connections such as Hollywood movie producers, selective groups of protesters whose protests occasionally “intensified” into looting, arson, and murder, and an inner-circle of hairdressers and high-end restauranteurs needed to accommodate the “lockdowns for thee, but not for me” hypocrites who have made it clear the concept of a government of, by, and for the people has, for all practical purposes, been tossed on the ash heap of history.

In short, take your $600, stay inside — and shut up.

Perhaps the most maddening aspect of this debacle is the typical bureaucratic incompetence that accompanies it. No distinction was made between those who really needed support and those who needed no support at all. Perhaps this explains that while millions of Americans remain in dire straits, personal savings rates have quadrupled from 8% to 32%. In short, those Americans with jobs or other wherewithal simply put those checks in a savings account, while their less fortunate and “nonessential” fellow citizens struggled to make ends meet.

This economic bifurcation — arguably the largest separation between the rich and the rest of the citizenry in the history of mankind — is completely inimical to a nation conceived as one in which one’s class was largely determined by one’s talent and ambition, rather than one’s connections.

Yet even as this increasing separation is being further realized, the weak thinkers, long marinated in stew of grievance politics, wish to exacerbate it. The progressive dogma of “intersectionality” aims to increase the number of oppressed minority-within-minority victims as a means of equalizing outcome instead of opportunity. When one supplants meritocracy with the color of one’s skin or one’s gender under the auspices of increasing “fairness,” however, the very same capriciousness by which our tin-pot dictators determine which parts of the economy are more or less “worthy” of being opened or closed is exponentially increased.

Another thing Americans don’t wish to hear about is the national debt, which has reached a staggering $27.5 trillion. For most people it is a meaningless number, and all the warnings about mortgaging the future to pay for the present were largely ignored, even when the economy was booming. Due to the pandemic, massive levels of deficit spending, no matter how irresponsible, is viewed as a necessary and legitimate response to the ongoing emergency.

All well and good — for now. But as columnist Kevin Williamson warns, “We are training a generation of Americans to wait by the mailbox for their check from the government.”

No doubt. But that training is likely a prelude to the much more deleterious — and power-consolidating — level of training that will convince Americans to embrace Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI has long been championed by progressives as a means of providing incomes for Americans whose jobs will supposedly be permanently eliminated by technology.

Add to the mix a Data for Progress survey released last April. It reveals that 66% of Americans supported a $1,000 monthly payment — for the duration of the pandemic.

That “duration” is an extremely flexible term? It remains to be seen how long millions of American will tolerate (or is that enjoy?) life without being “bogged down” by work, especially when it becomes apparent they will instead be bogged down by an unprecedented level of oppression that inevitably occurs when one relinquishes Liberty — and dignity — for security.

Moreover, Senator Paul’s warning about “less likely” in terms of opening certain sectors of the economy may become “never again,” especially for many small business owners who remain the most “problematic” group of Americans for a corporate oligarchy intent on eliminating competition and consolidating its power as a result.

In the meantime, Americans will be forced to endure the pitiful machinations of a ruling class that has somehow convinced itself that debating the difference between $600 and $2,000 is a noble pursuit — as if either amount will even remotely compensate the tens of millions of “nonessential” Americans forced to remain out of the workforce for nearly a year — even as our “representatives” themselves haven’t missed a single paycheck since the communist Chinese-precipitated crime against humanity began.

Moreover, because of Congress’s willful contempt for the public, the state-level tin-pot dictators will continue to dictate, because they have no incentive whatsoever to stop.

Just one question remains: How long will it be before “stimulus” and “serfdom” become interchangeable terms?

Comment | Share

Biden to Delay ‘Day One’ Immigration Policy Changes

Thomas Gallatin

During the campaign, Joe Biden promised to end President Donald Trump’s effective immigration and asylum polices on Day One of his coming into office. We noted that such a dramatic ending of the Trump administration’s immigration polices would serve only to invite another border crisis, as migrants assured by Biden’s promises would surge toward and across the border with the expectation of no longer being forced to wait out their asylum requests in Mexico.

It therefore comes as little surprise to learn that Biden is now backtracking on his Day One immigration promise. As The Washington Post reports, “Top advisers to president-elect Joe Biden [say] they will not immediately roll back asylum restrictions at the Mexico border and other restrictive Trump administration policies, walking back some of Biden’s campaign promises for ‘Day One’ changes.”

Susan Rice, the infamous Benghazi fabricator and Biden’s newly chosen domestic policy advisor, sought to provide cover for Biden’s failure to follow through on his ill-advised immigration campaign promise by foisting the blame for the delay onto the coronavirus pandemic. “Our priority is to reopen asylum processing at the border consistent with the capacity to do so safely and to protect public health, especially in the context of COVID-19,” Rice declared. “This effort will begin immediately, but it will take months to develop the capacity that we will need to reopen fully. Processing capacity at the border is not like a light that you can just switch on and off.” Rice added that asylum seekers “absolutely should not believe those in the region peddling the idea that the border will suddenly be fully open to process everyone on Day 1.” Of course, the one “peddling the idea” was none other than Joe Biden himself.

Despite the delay, the Biden transition team sought to downplay any suggestion that Biden won’t follow through on implementing his promised hard-left immigration policy. “This starts with restoring order, dignity and fairness to our system and day-one actions to restore due process to give families the opportunity to seek asylum, reinstate DACA, and introduce immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship,” his team asserted. “[Biden is] committed to having an open dialogue with groups across a wide spectrum to ensure his administration is meeting the needs of the community.”

So, is Biden moving the goal posts on his immigration policy plans? It looks to be the case, at least when it comes to his promised time frame, that the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” However, there is little to suggest that Biden doesn’t plan to eventually undo all of Trump’s immigration policies, especially his “Remain in Mexico” asylum rule. Yet the conundrum for Biden remains, as rolling back Trump’s immigration policies will have the effect of creating another border crisis no matter the timing of his policy change.

Immigration policy analyst Mark Krikorian wonders about Biden’s delay, observing, “Ironically, by delaying the full effect of his immigration promises, Biden sets up a situation where news of the renewed border crisis caused by his rollback of Trump’s policies may only break through the inevitable media blackout just when the midterm-election campaign is underway. Republican candidates would do well to start preparing now.”

The fact of the matter is that Biden has set himself up with this no-win scenario. By demonizing Trump’s rational and lawful border-enforcement approach, Biden is left with on the one hand trying to placate the open-border insanity of his party’s increasingly hard-left base while at the same attempting to deny and avoid the obvious and disastrous ramifications of implementing such foolish anti-American policy changes.

Comment | Share

A Peaceful Transition of Power?

Robin Smith

A political narrative is being framed around the dispute between warring camps supporting their respective presidential candidates. If one accepts the premise of the fight to be singularly about the outcome of the November 3 election, giving that victor the right to occupy the White House for the next four years, the terms of the debate are shallow and expose the intents, motives, and insatiable ambitions of those perpetrating this shallow discussion.

Instead, the terms of the debate must reflect the actual issue at hand — whether voter fraud occurred as a critical component of the national election overriding state legislatures, existing law, and the U.S. Constitution. Only then will deliberations prove worthy of the trust of Americans and our great nation’s founding.

On January 20, 2021, there’s an expectation of a “peaceful transition of power” characteristic of this great constitutional republic. Is that peaceful transfer a demand, an expectation, or the result of the integrity of the institution of elections in America? Americans deserve the answer to that question to prove to be the latter. In reality, peaceful transitions of power are a result of a trusted process, not simply an organic outcome.

History demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power began between bitter rivals — John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams, the incumbent, was challenged by Jefferson in 1800 in a bitter election between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, the newly formed partisan parties. Confusion reigned when the Electoral College tied, and the outcome of the election was determined by the House of Representatives casting 36 ballots for Thomas Jefferson to be America’s third president. The process was not pretty, yet the process worked.

Two hundred twenty years later, the electoral process is still in place. But the American public has witnessed drastic changes. A two-tiered system of voting was constructed for 2020. If one voted in person, greater identity verification and security measures were observed, while those casting ballots by mail had to meet a lower bar. As votes were being counted on November 3, some states were observing extensions of the voting period past Election Day through court decisions, not actions of state legislative bodies as specified in the Constitution.

While various groups are engaged in trench warfare to defend or disprove the tallies of November 3, facts are mounting that voting irregularities at best and actual criminal fraud at worst have occurred in many states:

  • In Nevada, at least 1,500 listed as deceased, more than 19,000 nonresidents of the state, and almost 4,000 noncitizens cast ballots.
  • In Arizona, almost 28,000 duplicate ballots were counted in Maricopa County.
  • In Wisconsin, more than 200,000 mailed-in ballots were in question as clerks filled in missing information or harvested ballots.
  • In Michigan, a sworn affidavit reflects one review of a sampling of 30,000 absentee ballots revealed 2,660 at invalid addresses and 229 cast on behalf of dead people.
  • In Pennsylvania, an accounting analysis revealed that 202,377 more votes were counted than were actually cast.
  • In Georgia, there were an estimated 70,000 ineligible votes because of lack of signature verification.

In a 345-page DOJ report entitled “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses,” a sweeping statement is made that we must acknowledge and embrace: “Our constitutional system of representative government only works when the worth of honest ballots is not diluted by invalid ballots procured by corruption. As the Supreme Court stated in a case upholding federal convictions for ballot box stuffing: ‘Every voter in a federal … election … whether he votes for a candidate with little chance of winning or for one with little chance of losing, has a right under the Constitution to have his vote fairly counted, without its being distorted by fraudulently cast votes.’”

The truth is that voter fraud has been and remains an issue, and we must insist that legal votes alone are counted and that those committed to illegal voting and corruption are prosecuted.

Comment | Share

God %$@! America, Again?

Willie Richardson

The infamous chant from Reverend Jeremiah Wright spoken so eloquently in a sermon in 2003 rang around the world in 2008 — or at least it should have, since he was the pastor of Barack Hussein Obama. Wright preached:

When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. The government put them in chains. She put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in sub-standard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America… No, no, no! Not God bless America, God d—n America! That’s in the Bible.

If you didn’t think that was enough, we have a new black liberation theologist acting as a preacher on the Atlanta, Georgia, scene. He is trying to trade in his pastoral duties for the work of the ministry of politics. His name is Reverend Raphael Warnock, and he’s running on the liberal and controversial radical ticket for Senate. Like his predecessor, Warnock hates America and what she stands for. He stated the exact words of his mentor, Jeremiah Wright: “God d—n America!”

Where does this radical rhetoric come from? Why does the Left always seem to find the token black guy standing behind a pulpit as a puppet? It goes without saying that the Left uses pandering in exchange for the minority vote and filthy lucre.

Warnock said about the criminal justice system, “Somebody’s got to open up the jails and let our children go.” What?! I have over 20 years of experience working with “our children” in and out of jail. Oftentimes, “our children” are returned to civilization after being incarcerated, but they return to prison before long. Opening the jail cell and letting criminals leave sounds like a novel and compassionate idea, but it doesn’t hold water. What “our children” need are parents who love them, accountability for their actions, and a strong faith.

Warnock has fallen off his rocker, saying that if “black theology and the black church” will not support “dismantling the prison-industrial complex,” then “both deserve to die.” Are you shocked that a pastor would put the gospel of Jesus Christ on the back burner to the gospel of social justice? I’m not. This is business as usual with many black pastors. They claim to never “preach politics,” but they are always urging their members to vote. Vote or die.

Fair or not, Georgia has become a swing state with the recent election. It doesn’t need a radical to represent it in the Senate. Keep Georgia red!

Comment | Share

NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Top of the Fold

  • Mike Pence rightly removes himself from President Trump’s Electoral College hustle (Washington Examiner)
  • Congress overrides Trump’s defense bill veto (NewsNation Now)

Georgia Runoff

  • Warnock and Ossoff level misleading claims that Loeffler is “campaigning with a Klansman” (Fox News)

Government & Politics

  • Nothing to see here… Hunter Biden email associate is on DOJ transition team (Washington Times)
  • Census Bureau misses year-end deadline for delivering numbers for House seats (NPR)
  • U.S. votes against UN budget over anti-Israel measure, lack of Iran action (Fox News)
  • Obamacare, jocks, gay “rights,” and religion: The biggest Supreme Court cases of 2021 (Washington Examiner)
  • Proposed House rules strike “non-inclusive” words (Daily Wire) | Pelosi just proposed banning gendered terms like “father, mother, son, daughter” in the House. Yet she has “mother” and “grandmother” in her Twitter bio. (Not the Bee)

Leftmedia

  • New York Times helps teen cancel classmate with four-year-old video of slur (The Federalist)

Health

  • Luke Letlow, 41-year-old congressman-elect, dies from COVID complications (Fox News)
  • Novavax starts late-stage trial of vaccine in United States (Reuters) | UK authorizes Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (NY Times)
  • China’s puppet, the World Health Organization, pledges not to find “guilty” party in COVID probe (Daily Signal)
  • Abortion leads 2020 cause of death with 42.7 million killed (Disrn)

Nanny State

  • LA sheriff Superspreader Task Force (yes, that’s a thing) detains 900 during party busts (FOX 11)
  • New Mexico fines two churches $10,000 each for Christmas Eve services (Disrn)

Education

  • The totalitarian mob comes for a Princeton professor over harmless Twitter poll question (Power Line)
  • University of Chicago professor pilloried for criticizing “no white men” hiring rules (The Federalist)
  • Chicago Teachers Union leader pushes for schools to remain closed … while sitting by a pool in Puerto Rico (Not the Bee)

National Security

  • Julian Assange’s extradition to U.S. denied by British judge (Fox News)
  • ICE deports more than 185,000 illegal aliens and 4,200 gang members in 2020 (Breitbart) | ICE says arrestees had average of four criminal convictions or charges each (Fox News)
  • U.S. facing another potential border crisis as Biden takes office (National Review)
  • Iran says it plans to increase enrichment of uranium (ABC News)

Business & Economy

  • President Trump extends suspension of work visas through March (Disrn)
  • Mom and pop landlords struggle through eviction freeze (Washington Examiner)
  • Britain’s trade agreement with the European Union enters legal force (UPI)

Annals of the “Social Justice” Caliphate

  • Portland mayor, antifa enabler now asks for federal and state help against “radical Antifa” (Disrn)
  • Emancipation Memorial honoring freed slaves in Boston officially removed (Disrn)
  • New York City shootings doubled in 2020 (Washington Examiner)
  • Chicago ends 2020 with 769 homicides (AP)

Around the Nation

  • In 2020, FBI saw largest yearly increase of background checks in 20 years (Just the News)
  • Louisville officer who fatally shot Breonna Taylor to be fired (Disrn)
  • Massachusetts allows abortions without parental consent, codifies Roe v. Wade (Disrn) | Meanwhile, Ohio governor signs bill requiring cremation or burial of aborted babies (Disrn)

Non Compos Mentis

  • Ilhan Omar calls fatal police shooting of black man “state sanctioned murder.” But police say he fired first. (The Blaze)

Other Notables

  • Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home vandalized on New Year’s Day (ABC 7)
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci admits to fudging the truth (The Federalist)
  • Trump ends Obama’s 12-year run as most admired man (The Hill)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: The real villain of 2020 was Big Government (FEE)
  • Policy: Trump’s regulatory legacy: A first draft (Cato)
  • Humor: Government feeds five people with just 2.3 trillion loaves and fishes (Babylon Bee)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit Headline Report.

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

Comment | Share

VIDEOS

America 2030 — Hellish 2020 caps decade of decline, but offers hope for next 10 years.

Satire: Facts About the Fact-Checkers — Who are the all knowing fact-checkers who have never been wrong?

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

 

 

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

SHORT CUTS

Political futures: “Such allegations [of massive voter fraud] — if true — raise significant doubts about the elections of at least some of the members of the United States House of Representatives that, if not formally addressed, could cast a dark cloud of suspicion over the validity of this body for the duration of the 117th Congress. After all, those representatives were elected through the very same systems — with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials — as were the electors chosen for the President of the United States under the laws of those states, which have become the subject of national controversy.” —Rep. Chip Roy

Sad, but true: “I supported Trump, but he lost. It’s a shame he can’t find it within himself to accept that and appreciate — as, for example, Richard Nixon did in 1960 — how threatening to national cohesion a protracted post-election crusade could be. But how much more damage are his diehard supporters willing to do to the Republican Party and the conservative cause it purports to serve?” —Andrew McCarthy

For the record: “You’re not going to pretend that the King family legacy is the same thing as what [Raphael Warnock is] promoting. If you’re a pastor, you must stand for Christian values first and foremost, so politics cannot supersede what the holy Bible says. I’m very convinced that he’s manipulating his pulpit, the Bible, and everything else.” —Alveda C. King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. (As The Washington Times notes, “As senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Rev. Raphael Warnock has played up his connection on the Georgia Senate campaign trail to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”)

Alpha jackass: “Who are Mitch McConnell’s neighbors? I’m just saying Rand Paul’s neighbor did what a true Kentucky hero should do. It’s your turn to step up.” —2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson, whom the Council of Chief State School Officers claimed “empower[s] his students – many of whom have experienced trauma – to become civically minded social advocates.”

Non compos mentis: “Dems open congress with a prayer that ends ‘amen and awoman.’ Amen is a Latin word that means ‘truly’ or ‘so be it.’ Awoman is a nonsense word that means nothing. Dems find a way to make everything stupid and nonsensical. Utter clowns, all of them.” —Matt Walsh

And last… “Incredibly, 2021 is already dumber than 2020.” —Ben Shapiro

Comment | Share

TODAY’S MEME

Share

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

Share

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Read Online

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

Democrats set 117th Congress stage for godlessness

Democrat Rep. Emanuel Cleaver opened the 117th Congress in a prayer — of sorts — to “the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths.” And then he wrapped with “amen and a-woman.” With this prayer, Dems are essentially giving the boot to God from government.

Source: Democrats set 117th Congress stage for godlessness

Democrats Attempt To Erase The Words ‘He,’ ‘She,’ ‘Mother,’ And ‘Father’ From The House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is attempting to excise all references to either sex in House business to ‘honor all gender identities’ and ‘promote inclusion and diversity.’

Source: Democrats Attempt To Erase The Words ‘He,’ ‘She,’ ‘Mother,’ And ‘Father’ From The House

Biden Promises Nationwide Mask Mandate And Womandate — The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In light of recent events, Biden has updated his COVID plan to include not just a mask mandate, but a mask womandate as well. In a prepared statement given to his nurse and posted on Twitter, the completely legitimate and unquestioned president-elect apologized for the sexist language in his plan.

“Listen folks– we all make mistakes. I realized this morning that my COVID plan includes a mask mandate, but not a womandate. I have amended and also awomended my plan to include a mask womandate,” Biden read off his teleprompter. “We will also be adding a mask non-binarydate, a mask genderqueerdate, a mask two-spiritdate, a mask polygenderdate, and a mask non-binarytrans-speciesdate. More ‘dates’ will be arriving as we continue to do our research to make sure no one is left out.”

According to sources, the Biden transition team has grown alarmed at the number of times the word “men” appears in the English language. They have been working around the clock to replace all usages of the word “men” in their plan with the word “women.” Unfortunately, it was determined that the word “women” is also problematic, they then replaced the word “women” with “people who menstruate.” 

“We have a long way to go,” said Biden, “but I know that in time we will mend our nation’s wounds– er, I mean, peoplewhomenstruated them.”

Biden Promises Nationwide Mask Mandate And Womandate — The Babylon Bee

Democrats Have Placed United States 117th Congress Under A Curse By Opening The First Session With Prayer To The Hindu Pagan God Brahma — Now The End Begins

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), who is an ordained United Methodist minister, opened the first session of the 117th Congress on Sunday by praying in the name of Hindu god Brahma and twisting the word “amen” into a commentary on gender.

For months now, we’ve been telling you that 2020 would pale in comparison to what would be taking place in 2021, and we didn’t get 72 hours into the new year before chart-topping events started taking place. We told you that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is going to introduce rules to make Congress gender neutral. Yesterday, Democrat Emanuel Cleaver officially opened the first session of the 117th Congress with a prayer to the Hindu god Brahma, placing it under a curse.

“For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.” Psalm 96:4-7 (KJB)

2021 will be the year that America will cease to exist as we have known her to be over the centuries since 1776, America has been judged and her fall will be great. God has given us leaders according to the desires of our hearts, wicked leaders who will rule over us in wickedness. This is what we, as a nation, have asked for, and God has granted that request.

‘Amen And Awoman’: Minister Invokes Hindu God Brahma, Offers Gender Lesson During Opening Prayer For 117th Congress

FROM THE DAILY WIRE: “Eternal God, noiselessly we bow before your throne of grace as we leave behind the politically and socially clamorous year of 2020,” began Cleaver, who served as the pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1972 to 2009.

“We gather now in this consequential chamber to inaugurate another chapter in our roller coaster representative government. The members of this august body acknowledge your sacred supremacy and therefore confess that without your favor and forbearance, we enter this new year relying dangerously on our own fallible nature,” he continued.

Cleaver went on to ask divine assistance during what he described as “a moment when many believe that the bright light of democracy is beginning to dim.” Imploring God to empower the 117th Congress to maintain liberty for future generations, he also asked God to maintain his presence even during times of “heightened disagreement.”

Quoting the benediction from Numbers 6:24-26, Cleaver closed, “Now may the God who created the world and everything in it bless us and keep us. May the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance on us and give us peace; peace in our families, peace across this land, and — dare I ask, O Lord — peace even in this chamber, now and evermore.”

Though his prayer was replete with explicitly Christian themes, terminology, and references, Cleaver closed it by appealing to the deities of “many different faiths,” implying they are all the same.

“We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and ‘god’ known by many names by many different faiths,” said Cleaver. “Amen and a-woman,” he closed, in an apparent attempt to render the word fair to both sexes.

Brahma is a four-faced Hindu deity who “was born from a golden egg and created the earth and all things on it,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. He was later believed to have come out of a lotus that emerged from the navel of Vishnu, another Hindu deity.

The word “amen,” often translated “so be it,” finds its root in the Hebrew for “faithfulness” or “fidelity.” It has been used adverbially since antiquity to express affirmation of belief and agreement, and has nothing to do with gender. Cleaver was involved in the ordeal that led to the House chaplain’s exorcism of the lower chamber in July 2019.

Cleaver was presiding over a contentious debate when shouting erupted on the floor over a resolution to condemn tweets from President Donald Trump that urged members of “the Squad” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Claiming both sides “just want to fight,” an exasperated Cleaver threw down the gavel and abandoned the chair in a historic display of frustration. READ MORE

First Session Of 117th Congress Placed Under A Curse With Prayer To Hindu God Brahma

Democrats Have Placed United States 117th Congress Under A Curse By Opening The First Session With Prayer To The Hindu Pagan God Brahma — Now The End Begins

Now Congress Opens With a Prayer To Hindu God Brahma: Remember KALI on the Empire State Building? Is It any Surprise That the Fierce Judgment of God is Against Us?

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Yes, brethren – Congress has opened with a prayer to a demonic Hindu God.

Almost six years ago, NYC celebrated the killing of the innocent babies by shining the image of Hindu Goddess KALI – Goddess of Destruction; also known as “The Dark one” and “She who is Death.

Brahma is the “Creator God” in Hinduism. Satan must be ecstatically happy that the U.S. is recognizing a Hindu “creator” but not our God of the Universe and of the Bible!

From Dailycaller.com

From learnreligions.com Who is Lord Brahma HERE

Original Article about KALI:

God will NOT be mocked!

The powers that be in NY glory in their unthinkable rulings on…

View original post 1,391 more words

What will happen if the Democrats win the Senate on Tuesday

WINTERY KNIGHT

On Tuesday, we’re going to find out if the Democrats are able to gain control of the House, Senate and White House in 2021. If they win the two Georgia Senate seats on Tuesday, then they will pass the “Equality Act”. This bill makes it illegal to speak words critical of sexual orientation and gender identity. It also makes it illegal for Christians or Christian-owned businesses (including churches) to disagree with the LGBT agenda.

The bill was passed in 2019 by House Democrats. If the Democrats take the Senate on Tuesday, it will pass there. Then it will presumably go to Joe Biden, who will sign it into law.

So what’s in the law?

The Federalist described some effects of the Equality Act bill:

On the surface, the “Equality” Act is supposed to protect LGBT folks from discrimination by adding the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to all…

View original post 935 more words

January 4 Morning Quotes of the Day

Remind Yourself that You Are Going to Die
Psalm 39:4; 144:4; Ecclesiastes 6:12; 8:8

Think day by day that you are going to die, and you will not fidget yourself about tomorrow.

ANSELM OF CANTERBURY

Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Hasten to that Day of God
Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 65:17–25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–15

Let us, my brothers, with regard to those who have left us in the Lord, let us, with regard to ourselves and our own future, be ever looking for and hasting to that day of God; the day when that better thing which God has provided for us shall be manifested, and they with us shall be complete, who without us were not perfect.

HENRY ALFORD

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

January 4, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

32:10 I am not worthy. A spiritual transformation had taken place in Jacob: he submitted to Esau and recognized his unworthiness before God.

steadfast love … faithfulness. Words often used to describe God’s loyalty to His covenant promises (24:27; Ex. 15:13 note; Ps. 40:11; 61:7). Jacob now identified himself fully with God’s covenant to Abraham and Isaac, and his faith rested firmly on God’s covenant promises.[1]


Ver. 10. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies A pilgrim’s acknowledgment of God’s goodness:—

Here we have the typical nature of this narrative brought out before us, as applying, first, to the material; secondly, to the mental; and thirdly, to the spiritual.

  1. First, with regard to the material. If we can show that it is typical; if it applies to the human nature of the present day, then what we wish you to do is this, not to leave the acknowledgment of God’s providence for future years and old age, when you will be able to say, “It is all Thy doing”; but even now to acknowledge the goodness and providence and omnipotence of God, and depending on Him to try and work in commercial matters in a righteous and God-fearing spirit. Look at the matter as typically understood. Jacob has prospered, and has come to a spot in his career when the circumstances of his poverty are brought to mind, and he falls down in thankful adoration. Are the types of this history died out in our own land? Is this narrative very different to the narrative we could give one of another?
  2. But the narrative also, we believe, is typical in a mental, sense. A man is about to study for a profession—no matter what it may be, he has toil, arduous labour, before him. He begins with nothing but good wishes from his friends that he may be successful, a good name and earnest determination; and he becomes eminently successful. And when he is sitting on the Chancellor’s seat in the House of Lords, or has otherwise acquired fame and fortune, will he not remember the Power that has done it all, and, remembering, devoutly and most thankfully acknowledge that he was not worthy of so great a mercy? If a man has reflection, honesty and common-sense, and believes in the existence of a Deity, he is forced to admit that this is true; and therefore we say, oh! what ingratitude not to thank Him for the health and strength supplied, and the providential ordering of circumstances which produced the result! Now, if you go thus far, you must go still farther. Ought you not to ask His blessing on everything you do? And if you do this He will bless; and in your old age, when you take a review of the past—of the circumstances under which you began life, the hopes and the fears that passed through your mind, and the prosperity that attended your path, you will be able to say, and to say with joy and happiness, “Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, and now I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

III. But we want now to come to the spiritual. And here perhaps we shall be joined by the experience of more than even the other two classes. It is not every one of us that can become rich—not every one of us that can develop our mental powers to the highest; but it is within the reach of all to be spiritually minded. Now, you have been a Christian for many years; now your example has been a help to others, and you are filled with joy and peace. You live in the Lord Jesus Christ; your “life is hid with Christ in God,” and you are looking forward to the period when you shall enter the eternal world. In a little time your body will be committed “dust to dust”; but you know and feel joyfully assured that there is a glorious resurrection life beyond, in the many mansions purchased with the blood of your Redeemer. Even now, in imagination, you join in the heavenly songs. You have felt the pressure of the golden crown on your forehead, and your fingers have seemed to sweep the strings of the golden harp. And sometimes you have felt to have a more intimate communion with Christ than you ever expected while in the body. When calling all this experience to mind, can you but remember the grace which has made you to differ from others, and remembering, say—“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan: and now I am become two bands”? And feeling thus—remembering what God has done for you—can you be content to go through life without doing anything for Him, or without trying to serve Him? (W. Cuthbertson, B.A.)

Jacob’s character:—

  1. The estimate which he formed of his own character. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies,” &c. This acknowledgment implies—
  2. He was a believer in God.
  3. He was a worshipper of God.
  4. He was a follower of God.
  5. His grateful acknowledgment of the Divine goodness. “All the mercies, and all the truth,” &c.
  6. They were abundant mercies.
  7. They were unceasing mercies.
  8. They were covenant mercies.

III. His conscious unworthiness of such peculiar blessings. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies”; or rather, “I am less than all the compassions,” &c.

  1. This is the language of conscious dependence.
  2. This is the language of grateful recollection.
  3. This is the language of deep self-abasement. How amiable is this disposition; it is the characteristic distinction of all the righteous (Gen. 18:27; 1 Chron. 17:16, 17; Eph. 3:18; 1 Pet. 5:5). We may infer—
  4. The design and advantage of Scripture biography (Rom. 15:4).
  5. The duty of imitating the piety of the primitive saints (Heb. 6:12).
  6. The necessity of cultivating a spirit of humility and gratitude (James 4:10). (Sketches of Sermons.)

Humility the friend of prayer:—

Jacob’s character was far from faultless, but equally removed from despicable. He was a man full of energy, active, enduring, resolute, and hence his infirmities became more conspicuous than they would have been in a quieter and more restful nature. Say what you will of him, he was a master of the art of prayer, and he that can pray well is a princely man. He that can prevail with God will certainly prevail with men. It seems to me that when once a man is taught of the Lord to pray, he is equal to every emergency that can possibly arise. The very first sentence of Jacob’s prayer has this peculiarity about it, that it is steeped in humility; for he does not address the Lord as his own God at the first, but as the God of Abraham and Isaac. The prayer itself, though it is very urgent, is never presumptuous; it is as lowly as it is earnest.

  1. Our first observation is that humility is the fit attitude of prayer. Observe that he here speaks not as before man, but as before God; and he cries, “I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies.” He had been talking with Laban—Laban who had made a slave of him, who had used him in the most mercenary manner, and who had now pursued him in fierce anger because he had quitted his service with his wives and children that he might go back to his native country. To Laban he does not say, “I am not worthy of what I possess,” for, as far as churlish Laban was concerned, he was worthy of a great deal more than had ever been rendered to him in the form of wage. To Laban he uses many truthful sentences of self-vindication and justification. The same man who speaks in that fashion to Laban turns round and confesses to his God, “I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies.” This is perfectly consistent and truthful. Humility is not telling falsehoods against yourself: humility is forming a right estimate of yourself. As towards Laban it was a correct estimate for a man who had worked so hard for so little to claim that he had a right to what God had given him; and yet as before God it was perfectly, honest and sincere of Jacob to say, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto Thy servant.” Now, whenever you go to prayer, if you have previously been compelled to say some rather strong thing as to your own integrity and industry; or, if you have heard others speak in your praise, forget it all; for you cannot pray if it has any effect upon you. A man cannot pray with a good opinion of himself: all he can manage is just to mutter, “God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are,” and that is no prayer at all.
  2. Brethren, it would ill become any of us to use the language of merit before God; for merit we have none; and if we had any, we should not need to pray. It has been well observed by an old divine, that the man who pleads his own merit does not pray, but demands his due.
  3. Let me add, also, that in times of great pressure upon the heart there is not much fear of self-righteousness intruding. Jacob was greatly afraid and sore distressed; and when a man is brought into such a state the lowliest language suits him. They that are filled with bread may boast, but the hungry beg. Let the proud take heed lest while the bread is yet in their mouths the wrath of God come upon them.
  4. I call your attention to the present tense as it is used in the text—Jacob does not say, as we might half have thought he would have said, “I was not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou hast made to pass before Thy servant,” but he says “I am not worthy.” He does not merely allude to his unworthiness when he crossed this Jordan with a staff in his hand, a poor solitary banished man: he believes that he was unworthy then; but even now, looking upon his flocks and his herds and his great family, and all that he had done and suffered, he cries, “I am not worthy.” What! Has not all God’s mercy made you worthy? Brethren, free grace is neither the child nor the father of human worthiness. If we get all the grace we ever can get we shall never be worthy of that grace; for grace as it enters where there is no worthiness, so it imparts to us no worthiness afterwards as we are judged before God. When we have done all, we are unprofitable servants; we have only done what it was our duty to have done.
  5. Secondly, the same thought will be kept up, but put in a somewhat differing light, while we note that those considerations which make towards humility are the strength of prayer.
  6. Observe, first, that Jacob in this prayer showed his humility by a confession of the Lord’s working in all his prosperity. He says with a full heart, “All the mercies and all the truth which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant.” Well, but Jacob, you have immense flocks of sheep, but you earned them, and through your care they greatly increased—do you not consider that those flocks are entirely your own procuring? Surely you must see that you were highly industrious, prudent, and careful, and thus grew wealthy? No; he takes a survey of his great estate, and he speaks of it all as mercies—mercies which the Lord had showed unto His servant. I do not object to books about self-made men, but I am afraid that self-made men have a great tendency to worship him that made them. It is very natural they should. But, brethren, if we are self-made, I am sure we had a very bad maker, and there must be a great many flaws in us. It would be better to be ground back to dust again, and made over anew so as to become God-made men.
  7. The next point is a consideration of God’s mercies. For my part, nothing ever sinks me so low as the mercy of God, and next to that I am readily subdued by the kindness of men. The man who has a due sense of his own character will be laid low by words of commendation. When we remember the loving kindness of the Lord to us we cannot but contrast our littleness with the greatness of His love, and feel a sense of self-debasement. I have a dear brother in Christ who is now sore sick, the Rev. Mr. Curme, the vicar of Sandford, in Oxfordshire, who has been my dear friend for many years. He is the mirror of humility, and he divides his name into two words, Cur me? which means, “Why me?” Often did he say, in my hearing, “Why me, Lord? Why me?” Truly I can say the same, Cur me? Tills exceeding kindness of the Lord all tends to promote humility, and at the same time to help us in prayer; for if the Lord be so greatly good, we may adopt the language of the Phœnecian woman when the Master said to her, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs,” She answered, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” So we will go and ask our Lord to give us crumbs of mercy, and they will be enough for us poor dogs. God’s crumbs are bigger than man’s loaves; and if He gives us what to Him may be a crumb, it shall be a meal to us. Oh, He is a great Giver! He is a glorious Giver! We are not equal to His least gift.
  8. Again, a comparison of our past and our present will tend to humility and also to helpfulness in prayer. Jacob at first is described thus, “With my staff I passed over this Jordan.” He is all alone, no servant attends him; he has no goods, not even a change of linen in a parcel, nothing but a staff to walk with; now, after a few years, here is Jacob coming back, crossing the river in the opposite direction, and he has with him two bands. He is a large grazier with great wealth in all manner of cattle. What a change! I would have those men whom God has prospered never to be ashamed of what they used to be; they ought never to forget the staff with which they crossed this Jordan. I had a good friend who preserved the axle-tree of the truck in which he wheeled home his goods when he first came to London. It was placed over his front door, and he never blushed to tell how he came up from the country, worked hard, and made his way in the world. I like this a deal better than the affected gentility which forgets the lone half-crown which pined in solitude in their pockets when they entered this city.

III. And now, as time flies, we must dwell upon the third point, still hammering the same nail on the head: true humility supplies us with arguments in prayer.

  1. Look at the first one, “I am not worthy of all Thy mercies”; nay, “I am not worthy of the least of all the many mercies which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant. Thou hast kept Thy word and been true to me, but it was not because I was true to Thee. I am not worthy of the truth which Thou hast shown to Thy servant.” Is there not power in such a prayer? Is not mercy secured by a confession of worthiness?
  2. Then please to notice that while Jacob thus pleads his own unworthiness he is not slow to plead God’s goodness. He speaks in most expressive words, wide and full of meaning. “I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies. I cannot enumerate them, the list would be too long! It seems to me as if Thou hadst given me all kinds of mercies, every sort of blessing. Thy mercy endureth for ever, and Thou hast given it all to me.” How he extols God as with a full mouth when he says, “All Thy mercies.” He does not say, “all Thy mercy”—the word is in the plural—“the least of all Thy mercies.” For God has many bands of mercies; favours never come alone, they visit us in troops.
  3. Notice, next, how he says “Thy servant.” A plea is hidden away in that word. Jacob might have called himself by some other name on this occasion. He might have said, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou hast showed unto Thy child”: it would have been true, it would not have been fitting. Suppose it had run—“Unto Thy chosen,” it would have been true, but not so lowly; or “unto Thy covenanted one”—that would have been correct, but not so humble an expression as Jacob felt bound to use in this time of his distress, when the sins of his youth were brought to his mind. He seemed to say, “Lord, I am Thy servant. Thou didst bid me come hither, and hither I have come because of that bidding: therefore protect me.” Surely a king will not see his servant put upon when engaged in the royal service. Jacob was in the path of duty, and God would make it the path of safety. If we make God our guide, He will be our guard. If He be our Commander He will be our Defender.
  4. Jacob had yet another plea which showed his humility, and that was the argument of facts. “With my staff,” says he, “I passed over this Jordan.” “This Jordan,” which flowed hard by, and received the Jabbok. It brings a thousand things to his mind, to be on the old spot again. When he crossed it before he was journeying into exile, but now he is coming back as a son, to take his place with loved Rebekah and father Isaac, and he could not but feel it a great mercy that he was now going in a happier direction than before. He looked at his staff, and he remembered how in fear and trembling he had leaned upon it as he pursued his hasty, lonely march. “With this staff—that is all I had.” He looks upon it, and contrasts his present condition and his two camps with that day of poverty, that hour of hasty flight. This retrospect humbled him, but it must have been a strength to him in prayer. “O God, if Thou hast helped me from abject want to all this wealth, Thou canst certainly preserve me in the present danger. He who has done so much is still able to bless me, and He will do so.”
  5. In closing, I think I discover one powerful argument here in Jacob’s prayer. Did he not mean that, although God had increased him so greatly, there had come with it all the greater responsibility? He had more to care for than when he owned less. Duty had increased with increased possessions. He seems to say, “Lord, when I came this way before I had nothing, only a staff; that was all I had to take care of; and if I had lost that staff I could have found another. Then I had Thy dear and kind protection, which was better to me than riches. Shall I not have it still? When I was a single man with a staff Thou didst guard me, and now that I am surrounded by this numerous family of little children and servants, wilt Thou not spread Thy wings over me? Lord, the gifts of Thy goodness increase my necessity: give me proportionately Thy blessing. I could before run away and escape from my angry brother; but now the mothers and the children bind me, and I must abide with them and die with them unless Thou preserve me.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Jacob’s remembrance of past blessings:—

  1. Jacob’s thankful remembrance of his past blessings.
  2. The source to which Jacob here traces his blessings.
  3. He refers his blessings first to the mercy of God; for observe, he calls them mercies, and this shows us that he traced them all to God’s free bounty and grace.
  4. But the patriarch mentions also here, the truth of God. He couples it, you observe, with mercy, and this blending together of these two things as the source of our mercies is very remarkable in Scripture. “Not unto us, O Lord,” says David, “not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake.” “God will send forth His mercy and truth.” “Mercy and truth are met together.” “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.” And in Jacob’s case the connection between these two things is very plain. He deserved nothing of God; whatever, therefore, God bestowed on him came from God’s mercy. But God promised to bestow many blessings on him; these blessings, therefore, when bestowed might be said to come also from God’s truth. Mercy made the promise and prepared the blessings; truth fulfilled the promise and sent the blessings.

III. The time when jacob thus remembered his blessings. We well know when we remember mercies; it is generally when they are first given us, and the heart is warmed and glowed by the first possession of them. And very little disappointment and vexation will, almost at any time, drive away all our thankfulness for them. Men, generally, never dream, when they get into trouble, of taking up the language of praise. But look back to the circumstances under which this patriarch thus thinks of mercy and truth. If we went no farther than the text, we should say he has just received some new proof of God’s love to him. There he is, we should say, once again travelling, with joy and gladness, his native plains, and pitching his tent there in security and peace. But not exactly thus; he is in an extremity, and a very painful one. And yet, before any deliverance or any prospect of deliverance appears, we hear Jacob talking of mercy and truth; and he blesses God for His past goodness.

  1. The effect produced in jacob by the remembrance of his mercies—or one of the effects. I allude to this, a deep sense of his own unworthiness and nothingness. “I am less than all Thy mercies”—less, not only than the most signal of them, but less than any, the least of them; I cannot think of any one of them that is not larger than I am. He seems to dwindle away to nothing in his own view as he contemplates God’s mercy towards him. There is no proportion between these mercies and myself; it is not only mercy, but abundant, marvellous mercy, that has bestowed them on me. And what has brought him into this state of feeling is, doubtless, a vivid remembrance at this time of those mercies. As his mind ran over them from year to year, tracing their multitudes and ways, there was something connected with them which he could not pass over—the vileness and nothingness of the creature on whom they had been bestowed. He thought, perhaps, of the baseness of his conduct which had driven him at first from his father’s house; but, if that did not enter his mind, he thought, doubtless, of the ingratitude and many sins that had stained him since. A sense of God’s love towards you lays you humble; and there is a tradition among the Jews, that all through his life this man was kept down. It is said, as a proof of his humility, that he had in his hand the staff which he carried with him over Jordan, when he went to Padan-aram; that he never afterwards parted with his staff; that it was upon this he leaned when he blessed the sons of Joseph, and that it was lying by him when he died. Now, let me ask you, Do you understand this truth? Have you ever experienced anything like it? Have the mercies of God towards yourselves ever made you shiver, as it were, from a sense of your guiltiness and nothingness? (C. Bradley, M.A.)

Jacob’s experience illustrative of the life of a child of God:—

  1. Jacob’s condition at the commencement of his journey to Padan-aram. “With my staff I passed over this Jordan.” It is difficult to imagine a state of greater destitution. And well did the patriarch bear it in mind. It was engraven deeply upon his memory, and he could not forget it. It would have been his sin and his shame, if he could have banished it from his recollection. O, my dear friends, who haw the God of Jacob for your refuge, but who know Him under an immeasurably dearer relation, as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “look to the rock from whence ye are hewn, and the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” What was your natural condition? A spiritual state immeasurably more dark and dreary than were the circumstances of Jacob, when he set forwards on his journey.
  2. But while Jacob reverted to his past wretchedness, he contrasted it with the prosperity into which God had brought him. “Now I am become two bands.” He had thus divided his wives and children, and servants and cattle, that if one were smitten, the other might escape; and the separation proved his wealth. Thus it is, that they whom the grace of God hath brought manifestly within the covenant, must compare the wretchedness of the past with the mercies and the blessedness of the present, for His glory who graciously made the change. It is for each of them to say, as I trust may be said by each of many among yourselves, “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.”

III. Well, then, did jacob act in giving utterance to the holy gratitude and deep humility of his soul. “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant.” O, never should one who hath experienced the gospel of Christ to be the power of God unto salvation, in believing—never should one in whom Christ hath been “formed the hope of glory,” forget to own the Hand from whence all his blessings come; and his own unworthiness, who yet is privileged so largely and so freely to receive them. Observe the language of Jacob; “not merely the mercy, but all the mercies”; everything from the greatest to the least, and everything in the riches of absolute grace. The spring is inexhaustible, and the streams are many, suited to every need of every individual member in the Church of the Most High. There are mercies past, for which to thank a covenant Father, according to His promise; and there are mercies yet to come, secured to them by the promise. O, it is true grace in exercise, to lie low in the dust before God, acknowledging our vileness, and to know that we merit wrath, while yet we are emboldened to plead for mercy, and to expect it.

  1. The conduct of Jacob will now show us the duty of one who hath access to a covenant God in the time of trial. Jacob’s refuge was the throne of grace, and we find him pre-eminently a man of prayer. O, let trials, temptations, conflicts, sorrows, sins, shortcomings, lead you, dear brethren, thither. (R. P. Buddicom.)

Jacob’s prayer:—

  1. In the prayer itself, consider how sweet it is in the child’s woe, for him to be able to remember that his parents were godly and in favour with the Lord. Then conceiveth he comfort, that he which loved the stock, will not cast away the branch, but graciously respect him. A great cause to make parents godly if there were no other, that their children ever may pray as did Jacob, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, look upon me, &c.
  2. Consider how he groundeth both prayer and hope, upon word and promise, saying, “Lord, which saidst unto me, return unto thy country and to thy kindred, and I will do thee good.” So let us do, and not first do rashly what we had no warrant for, and then pray to God for help wherein we have no promise: yea, if you mark it, he repeateth this promise over again in the twelfth verse, it was such strength unto him to consider it.
  3. Not merit, but want of merit is his plea; I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies, and all the truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant. (Bp. Babington.)

Jacob’s prayer:—

  1. He approaches God as the God of his father; and, as such, a God in covenant. This was laying hold of the Divine faithfulness: it was the prayer of faith.
  2. As his own God, pleading what He had promised to him.
  3. While he celebrates the great mercy and truth of God towards him, he acknowledges himself unworthy of the least instance of either. The worthiness of merit is what every good man, in every circumstance, must disclaim; but that which he has in view, I conceive, is that of meekness. Looking back to his own unworthy conduct, especially that which preceded and occasioned his passing over Jordan with a “staff” only in his hand, he is affected with the returns of mercy and truth which he had met with from a gracious God. By sin he had reduced himself in a manner to nothing; but God’s goodness had made him great. As we desire to succeed in our approaches to God, we must be sure to take low ground; humbling ourselves in the dust before Him, and sueing for relief as a matter of mere grace. Finally, having thus prefaced his petition, he now presents it (vers. 11, 12). This was doubtless the petition of a kind husband, and a tender father; it was not as such only, nor principally, however, but as a believer in the promises, that he presented it; the great stress of the prayer turns on this hinge. It was as though he had said, “If my life, and that of the mother, with the children, be cut off, how are Thy promises to be fulfilled?” (A. Fuller.)

Lessons:—

  1. An humble self-denying frame is best for prayer of faith to God in time of temptation.
  2. It is a special way to humble saints, by comparing themselves with God’s mercy and truth.
  3. The mercy and truth of God go always jointly together (Psa. 25:10).
  4. God’s servants have experience of His mercy and truth in their pilgrimages below.
  5. Gracious souls judge themselves less than any mercy or truth of God.
  6. It is good to keep souls low to remember their former empty conditions.
  7. God can make the solitary a multitude and make the poor to be full.
  8. The remembrance of such mercy from God should humble souls in their approaches to God (ver. 10). (G. Hughes, B.D.)

Mercies remembered:—

Bishop Hutton was travelling between Wensleydale and Ingleton, when he dismounted and retired to a particular spot, where he knelt down and continued some time in prayer. On his return, one of his attendants inquired his reason for this act. The bishop informed him, that when he was a poor boy, he travelled over that cold and bleak mountain without shoes or stockings, and that he remembered disturbing a cow on the identical spot where he prayed, that the might warm his feet and legs on the place where she had lain. His feelings of gratitude would not allow him to pass the place without presenting his thanksgiving to God for His mercies to him.

I am become two bands

  1. The contrast here presented between the early loneliness and poverty of life and its growing riches is universal.
  2. What is life but a constant gathering of riches? Compare the man and the woman of forty with their childhood. They have made themselves a name and a place in life; they are centres of attraction to troops of friends. How rich has life become to them! how full its storehouses of knowledge, power, and love!
  3. That which is stored in the mind, that which is stored in the heart, is the true treasure; the rest is mere surplusage. To know and to love: these are the directions in which to seek our riches.
  4. There is no other way to make life a progress, but to root it in God.
  5. Consider the higher development of the law of increase, the deeper and more solemn sense in which, through the ministry of the angel of death, we become “two bands.”
  6. Through death there has been a constant progress in the forms and aspects of creation. The huge, coarse, unwieldy types which ruled of old in both the animal and vegetable worlds have vanished, and out of their ashes the young phœnix of creation has sprung which is the meet satellite of man.
  7. This is the counsel of God: to make the darkness of death beautiful for us; to make it the one way home; to show us that the progress is not rounded, but prolonged and completed, and that the increase is not gathered, but consecrated by death as the possession of eternity. To bring heaven easily within our reach God separates the bands—part have crossed the flood, part are on the hither side, and the instinct of both tells them that they are one. At the last great day of God they shall be one band once more, met again and met for ever. (J. B. Brown, B.A.)[2]

10. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies. Although this expression sounds harsh to Latin ears, the sense is not obscure. Jacob confesses, that greater mercies of God had been heaped upon him than he had dared to hope for: and therefore, far be it from him that he should plead anything of dignity or merit, for the purpose of obtaining what he asks. He therefore says, that he is less than God’s favours; because he felt himself to be unworthy of those excellent gifts which the Lord had so liberally bestowed upon him. Moreover, that the design of the holy patriarch may more clearly appear, the craft of Satan is to be observed: for, in order to deter us from praying, through a sense of our unworthiness, he would suggest to us this thought, “Who art thou that thou shouldst dare to enter into the presence of God?” Jacob early anticipates this objection, in declaring beforehand that he is unworthy of God’s former gifts, and at the same time acknowledges that God is not like men, in ever becoming weary to continue and increase his acts of kindness. Meanwhile, Jacob collects materials for confidence from the fact, that he has so often found God benignant towards him. Therefore, he had a double end in view; first, because he wished to counteract the distrust which might steal upon him in consequence of the magnitude of God’s gifts; and then, he turns those gifts to a different purpose, to assure himself that God would be the same to him that he had hitherto been. He uses two words, mercies and truth, to show that God is inclined by his mere goodness to benefit us; and in this way proves his own faithfulness. This combination of mercy with truth frequently occurs in the Scriptures, to teach us that all good things flow to us through the gratuitous favour of God; but that we are made capable of receiving them, when by faith we embrace his promises.

For with my staff. Jacob does not enumerate separately the mercies of God, but under one species comprises the rest; namely, that whereas he had passed over Jordan, a poor and solitary traveller, he now returns rich, and replenished with abundance. The antithesis between a staff and two troops is to be noticed; in which he compares his former solitude and poverty with his present affluence.[3]


[1] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (pp. 62–63). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[2] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Genesis (Vol. 2, pp. 270–276). London: James Nisbet & Co.

[3] Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 2, pp. 191–192). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Does Christology Matter? | Ligonier Ministries

“We all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us one and the same Son,

“We all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us one and the same Son, the self-same perfect in Godhead, the self-same perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man … acknowledged in two natures, unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably … the properties of each nature being preserved.”

So wrote the church fathers in the Definition of Chalcedon in AD 451. But even if they spoke “unanimously,” their doctrine of Christ sounds so complex. Does it really matter?

Given the sacrifices they made to describe Christ rightly, one can imagine that if these Christians were present at a group Bible study on Philippians 2:5-11, they might well say to us, “From what we have heard, it never mattered more.”

Imagine the discussion on “Though he was in the form of God … emptied himself” (Phil. 2:6-7, RSV). Says one: “It means Jesus became a man for a time and then went back to being God afterwards.” “No,” says another, “He only emptied himself of His divine attributes and then He took them up again.” “Surely,” says another (not pausing to reflect on the miracles of Moses, Elijah, or the Apostles), “He mixed humanity with His deity—isn’t that how He was able to do miracles?”

Does it really matter if those views are wrong, indeed heretical, so long as we know that Jesus saves and we witness to others about Him? After all, the important thing is that we preach the gospel.

But that is precisely the point—Jesus Christ Himself is the gospel. Like loose threads in a tapestry—pull on any of these views, and the entire gospel will unravel. If the Christ we trust and preach is not qualified to save us, we have a false Christ.

Reflect for a moment on the descriptions of Christ above. If at any point He ceased to be all that He is as God, the cosmos would disintegrate—for He is the One who upholds the universe by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). If He were a mixture of deity and humanity, then He would not be truly or fully human, and therefore would no longer be one of us and able to act as our representative and substitute. He could neither save sinners nor succor saints. This is why Hebrews emphasizes that Christ possesses a humanity identical to ours, apart from sin. No mixing or confusing here.

Most of us are sticklers for clearly describing anything we love, be it science, computing, sports, business, or family life. Should we be indifferent to how we think and speak about our Savior and Lord?

This is why the church fathers, and later the Westminster divines, stressed that God’s Son ever remained “of one substance, and equal with the Father” and yet, in the incarnation, took “upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and infirmities thereof, yet without sin… . So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion” (WCF 8.2).

What makes this statement so impressive is that it safeguards the mystery of the incarnation while carefully describing its reality. The Son’s two natures are not united to each other, but they are united in His one person. So in everything He did, He acted appropriately in terms of His deity or His humanity, one divine person exercising the powers of each nature in its own proper sphere.

This, then, underscores the value of the church’s creeds. They were written by men who had thought more deeply and often suffered more grievously than we do. They spoke out of a deep love for Christ and His people, concerned for a lost world. Their testimony helps us in three ways:

  1. It protects us by setting boundaries for our thinking.
  2. It instructs us by helping us see biblical truth expressed in its briefest form.
  3. It unites us, so that everywhere in the world, Christians can share the same clear confession of who Christ is and what He has done.

Does it really matter? In light of the sacrifices our forefathers made in order to articulate the grandeur of the person of our Savior and what Christ had to be in order to save us, you bet it matters.

Related: The Ligonier Statement on Christology.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

— Read on www.ligonier.org/blog/does-christology-matter/

Monday: No Other Doctrine | James Montgomery Boice

Theme: From Paul to Timothy

In this week’s lessons, we are reminded of the importance of sound doctrine if the church is to function properly and be protected from false teaching.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:1-11

As we begin a study of the Pastoral Epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy, I can’t imagine a portion of the Word of God that is more appropriate or needful for us in these days. These are letters written by the apostle Paul to Timothy, who will in a sense take up the mantle after Paul’s life and ministry are over. In order to do this, Timothy very much needed the divinely-inspired and inerrant instruction that Paul gave. This is relevant and important to us because we find ourselves in something of the same situation. We’re not pioneers, at least not in the sense that Paul was. We’re not blazing new ground in the sense of establishing churches in new areas, working out all of these things for the first time. We’re more in the role of Timothy, picking up where someone else leaves off, and we very much need this kind of instruction.

I think, too, we probably can easily identify with Timothy because he was not the kind of figure Paul was. Paul was undoubtedly a tower of strength and an aggressive personality, so much so that people didn’t always like him. Timothy, by contrast, was younger and timid. Paul tells him to let no one despise his youth, apparently because people were doing that very thing. And in 2 Timothy, in particular, he encourages him to be strong and to press on.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can identify with that pretty easily. Recently, when R. C. Sproul was talking about Elisha picking up Elijah’s mantle, I didn’t have any trouble identifying with Elisha. Elijah was the pioneer; Elisha was the one who has to carry on after him, and no doubt worried about how he was going to do it. It’s easy to identify with people like that. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be a great pioneer like Paul or Elijah? But we’re not all like that, and most of us are entrusted to the task of continuing the work that another has done before us.

It is interesting to see that Paul begins with doctrine. Of all the things that he could say to Timothy here at the beginning of his letter, Paul begins by giving him what we might call a course in pastoral theology. Paul begins with doctrine, because Christian doctrine is the basis of it all.

In our passage, the word doctrine occurs twice, in verses 3 and 10. In verse 3, Paul refers to false doctrines and the word is therefore plural. And in verse 10, Paul speaks of sound doctrine and the word is singular. There are false doctrines today, just as there were false doctrines in Paul’s day, which sadly are found even within the church. On the other hand, you have sound doctrine, which has been committed to the apostles by the Lord Jesus Christ and has been taught in the church down through the ages, including in our own day.

This does not mean, of course, that Christians don’t sometimes see things differently. But when it comes to false doctrine versus sound doctrine, in the main matters of the gospel itself and basic Christian belief, there is a unity and consistency that have been preserved down through church history. So if we are going to learn the practical lessons of Paul’s letters to Timothy, we have to give attention to the sound doctrine of the Word.

Study Questions:

  1. Why does Paul mention doctrine first in this letter to Timothy?
  2. How does Paul use the word “doctrine” in our passage?

Application: In your service to the Lord, how can you make sure that doctrine is the basis for your service?

Key Point: So if we are going to learn the practical lessons of Paul’s letters to Timothy, we have to give attention to the sound doctrine of the Word.

— Read on www.thinkandactbiblically.org/tab/monday-no-other-doctrine