“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
Jim turned out the lights, locked his office, and headed for the parking lot. He glanced at his watch—8:30pm. He would have usually grabbed a late dinner on the way home, but he couldn’t stop thinking about that subtle, alluring gesture from Kelly, his new personal assistant. Was it an invitation?, he thought to himself as he climbed into his car and started the engine.
Jim leaned back in the leather seat and closed his eyes. He wanted adventure—something more than his wife, children, church, and work seemed to offer. Kelly’s house wasn’t exactly on the way home, but he figured no harm in just driving by. He put the car in gear, exited the parking lot, and winded his way toward Kelly’s neighborhood. He turned down her street.
As he approached her house, he slowed the car and looked up toward the front windows. To his surprise, Kelly spotted him and waved through the kitchen window; he saw her heading toward the front door. No harm in just stopping to say hi, he reasoned.
His car glided to a stop and Jim got out.
The Way of Temptation
Proverbs 4:14–15 tells us, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.” As if to be more specific, Solomon explains,
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword…. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house. Prov. 5:3–4, 8
Too often, we put ourselves in the way of temptation, even when we know our flesh is weak. Too often, we “go near the door of her house”—
that website that (we know) will lead to more explicit images
that bar where we consume more than we know is right
the card tables where we blow our money
the store that sells pain-relieving drugs, even when the pain has long gone
the literal door of a woman’s house who’s not your wife
It’s been said that when fantasy meets opportunity, the result gives birth to sin. We oftentimes hear the condemnation of the fantasy, the lust, and the greed. And rightly so—they not only lead to spiritual ruin, but they also displease our loving heavenly Father.
But what about the opportunity? What about the way of temptation? Proverbs tells us to “turn away from it and pass on.” We need to understand the actual danger and life-shattering effects of sin, and that the way of temptation is lined with the wreckage of good intentions. Countless men and women have found themselves trapped in a hopeless, dark existence because they believed the lie that way of temptation is safe. It’s not.
My brothers and sisters, we need to heed this warning: putting ourselves in the way of temptation exposes our weakness to sin, and sin produces inner turmoil, relational damage, spiritual darkness, and a fractured experiential relationship with God. Nothing good comes from travelling down the way of temptation. May we “make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14) and “give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). May we turn aside from the way of temptation and not go near the door of her house.
But we’re not called to only avoid temptation; we’re called to soar—with freedom and hope and new-dawn mercies—on the highway of holiness.
The Highway of Holiness
Isaiah’s prophecy, though much of it bleak and filled with many warnings for God’s people, envisions a day when God will gather and save His people from their sins through a Suffering Servant. And when the Lord comes, His people will rejoice in His presence and sing for the wonder of His amazing grace.
Isaiah develops the picture: “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness” (Isa. 35:8). God doesn’t save us that we would continue in the way of temptation and sin; He saves us that we might be a holy people, as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:16). He saves us to be His treasured possession who proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).
And this, my friends, is mercy that comes in the morning. This is the clear conscience and peaceful soul you long to enjoy when you lay your head on your pillow at night. Walking in the highway of holiness brings the oil of gladness and cup of blessing, the joy of treasuring Christ and the feet that tread on high places. Walking in the highway of holiness is bringing all of your life in submission and service to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Oh, you who put your trust in the merits of Christ, turn aside from the way of temptation and flee to the One whose yoke is easy, and whose burden is light. Though tempted in every way, as we are, Jesus never gave in. He was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. He walked in the way of suffering, that we would walk in the way of holiness.
Two Practical Take-Aways
I want to leave you with two very practical ways to turn aside from the way of temptation and onto the highway of holiness. First, regularly avail yourself to the means of grace—God’s Word, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer—with sincerity and eagerness to gain greater knowledge of and love for Christ. God uses these ordinary means to accomplish His purposes in you. The child of God who meditates upon the Scriptures will have a growing distaste for the way of temptation and growing desire for the highway of holiness. You will become that tree planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in its season (Ps. 1:3).
Second, for my brothers, you need other men who both know and love you. You need men who care for you—your life, your marriage, your health, and your soul—and who will caution you against paths of temptation. You need brothers who will weep in your weeping and rejoice in your rejoicing, and who point you to the Savior. And they need you to do the same.
For my sisters, please be patient with your brothers and encourage them in holiness. You, too, need fellow pilgrims—both older and younger women who spur you on to love and good works. Temptation comes in many forms and its path is never far away. But treasure the Scriptures each day and plead your heart to the Lord. Don’t give up; we love (and need) to see your purity, your tenderness, and your desire walk with Jesus.
May our God bless and keep you, and may He lead you in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps. 23:3).
Preaching to Remind Romans 15:15; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Peter 1:12–13; Jude 5
God has appointed a particular and lively application of his word, in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of religion, their own misery, the necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; to stir up the pure minds of the saints, quicken their affections by often bringing the great things of religion to their remembrance, and setting them in their proper colors, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Without Christ, Knowledge Is Vain Proverbs 14:6; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 8:1
Whatever a man knows and understands is mere vanity, if it is not grounded in true wisdom; and it is in no degree better fitted for the apprehension of spiritual doctrine than the eye of a blind man is for discriminating colors. We must carefully notice these two things—that a knowledge of all the sciences is mere smoke where the heavenly science of Christ is wanting; and man, with all his acuteness, is as stupid for obtaining himself a knowledge of the mysteries of God as an ass is unqualified for understanding musical harmonies.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
How do you know that something is “real?” More than abstract speculation, this question should drive us to the Creator of everything that exists. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul examines how Plato and Aristotle wrestled with the question of “being” and “becoming.” Today, watch the entire message for free.
In addressing the problem of dualism, and in trying to bring everything into unity, Aristotle developed what we call his “theory of substance.” Plato had his theory of ideas. Aristotle had his theory of substance. And what Aristotle meant by this is that all individual entities, everything that exists in this world, exists as a primary substance. Now, he said two very important things about these individual entities. Remember the concrete entities that we find in this world according to Plato were called “receptacles.” They were imperfect copies of the real ideas that exist in this other world, in the ideal world. For Aristotle, the individual objects, entities, and things that we encounter in this world are real. And they are substantial. And every substance is comprised of two aspects, or two things: matter and form. Sometimes Aristotle’s philosophy is referred to as the “theory of form.” And, I would say that there is no element of Aristotle’s thought that has been more perplexing to later philosophers, who have sought to analyze and understand the depths of his thinking, than his concept of form. And I’ll just mention in passing that even to this day, there is an ongoing debate among experts in Aristotelian philosophy about exactly what Aristotle meant by his concept of form. But in this idea of substance that he distinguishes between matter and form, he finds the resolution of the ancient problem of “being” and “becoming.” Now, remember in Plato, “being” is found in the idea up here, and “becoming” in the receptacle or material things down here. For Aristotle, “being” and “becoming” are found in each individual entity. Every substance that there is, contains within it both matter and form. “Form” is that which gives the object, or the subject, its being. Without participating in being, without containing being, whatever is couldn’t be, so that you couldn’t have any real things or real objects unless there was some being within them. But also, things in this world, physical things, “material things” as we know them, also have elements of change, elements of “becoming.” That is part of the matter of a thing. Let me see if I can illustrate this in our own contemporary ways of thinking. We talk as Christians about a human person as being made up of two distinct substances. This is what we call a “substantial dichotomy,” a duality. This is not a dualism, but a duality of body and soul. And if you don’t have a body, then something is lost from your entity, and if you have no soul you couldn’t live at all. So, for Aristotle, within each object, there was matter and form. The “form” is the eternal being and the “matter” is that which is changing and is the locus of potential.
The child of God is like a lame man that goes the right way, but yet halts at every step. Abraham and Sarah desire issue, that is from the Spirit; but they desire issue by Hagar their handmaid, that is from the flesh. Rebekah seeks the blessing for Jacob, that is a work of the Spirit; but she seeks it by lying, that is from the flesh. Peter eats with the Gentiles, that is from Christian liberty. He afterwards separates himself, that is from corruption. Thus we see that the best works are imperfect and mixed with corruption, and that for the best works we must humble ourselves and seek pardon, not in respect of the goodness of the work, but in respect of the defect thereof.
William Perkins, Commentary on Galatians, in Works, 2:103 (HT: Inwoo Lee).
8:37 We are more than conquerors not by our ability but because God loved us.
8:37 more than conquerors. The strength shown in enduring the hostility of persecutors and the pain of circumstances is astonishing.
8:37 Christians are more than conquerors, because God turns everything—even suffering and death—into good.
8:37 overwhelmingly conquer. A compound Gr. word, which means to over-conquer, to conquer completely, without any real threat to personal life or health.
8:37 The trials and difficulties listed in v. 35 not only do not separate us from Christ’s love; they make us more than conquerors by forcing us to depend even more on God.
8:37 Instead of separating us from Christ’s love, these things only succeed in drawing us closer to Him. We are not only conquerors, but more than conquerors. It is not simply that we triumph over these formidable forces, but that in doing so we bring glory to God, blessing to others, and good to ourselves. We make slaves out of our enemies and stepping stones out of our roadblocks.
But all of this is not through our own strength, but only through Him who loved us. Only the power of Christ can bring sweetness out of bitterness, strength out of weakness, triumph out of tragedy, and blessing out of heartbreak.
“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer”
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors”
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors”
“No, in all these things we have complete victory through him”
“these are the trials through which we triumph”
This was an intensified form of the term “conquer.” Paul must have coined this term (hyper + nikaō). This is a wonderful mixed metaphor, “conquering sheep.” Believers are conquerors through Christ (cf. John 16:33; 1 John 2:13–14; 4:4; 5:4). See Special Topic: Paul’s Use of Huper Compounds at 1:30.
37.In all these things. Possibly a Hebraism, meaning ‘despite all these things’, ‘for all that’.
We are more than conquerors. Greek hypernikōmen, ‘we are super-conquerors.’
37. We do more than conquer, &c.; that is, we always struggle and emerge. I have retained the word used by Paul, though not commonly used by the Latins. It indeed sometimes happens that the faithful seem to succumb and to lie forlorn; and thus the Lord not only tries, but also humbles them. This issue is however given to them,—that they obtain the victory.
That they might at the same time remember whence this invincible power proceeds, he again repeats what he had said before: for he not only teaches us that God, because he loves us, supports us by his hand; but he also confirms the same truth by mentioning the love of Christ. And this one sentence sufficiently proves, that the Apostle speaks not here of the fervency of that love which we have towards God, but of the paternal kindness of God and of Christ towards us, the assurance of which, being thoroughly fixed in our hearts, will always draw us from the gates of hell into the light of life, and will sufficiently avail for our support.
8:37in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Paul assures the believer of future victory with his choice of words “more than conquerors” (hypernikaō). Nikaō is a favorite word of Revelation for the victorious destiny of believers who are faithful to Christ despite being persecuted for their faith (e.g., 2:7, 17, 26; 3:5).
37 The “but” (Gk. alla) connects this verse with v. 35. Paul assumes a negative answer to the question of v. 35 and here proceeds to go even further: not only are such things as enumerated in that verse unable to separate us from Christ’s love, but, on the contrary, we are “more than conquerors” with respect to them. “More than conquerors” is a felicitous rendering, going back to the Geneva Bible, of the intensive verb Paul uses. If more than simple emphasis is intended, perhaps Paul wants to emphasize that believers not only “conquer” such adversities; under the providential hand of God, they even work toward our “good” (v. 28). But the victory is not ours, for it is only “through the one who loved us”1265 that it happens.
38 The assurance expressed in v. 37 is now grounded in a more
37 There are three observations. (1) “More than conquerors” is a felicitous rendering. What is stressed is the superlative of victory. Appearance to the contrary places the reality and completeness of the victory in bolder relief. Martyrdom seems to be defeat; so it is regarded by the perpetrators. Too often we look upon the outcome of conflict with the forces of iniquity as mere escape, perhaps by the skin of our teeth. In truth it is victory and that not merely but completely and gloriously. The designs of adversaries are wholly overthrown and we come off as conquerors with all the laurels of conquest. (2) This victory is always the case—“in all these things”. In every encounter with adversity, even with the hostility that is unto death, the victory is unqualified. Unbelievable! Yes, indeed, were it not for the transcendent factors perceived only by faith. (3) “Through him that loved us”—this must refer to Christ specifically, in view of verse 34 and the reference to the love of Christ in verse 35. The tense of the verb “loved” points to the love exercised in and exhibited by the death upon the cross. This is not to suggest in the least that the love of Christ is in the past. Verse 35 conceives of this love as abiding and, as such, insuring the security of the believer. But it is the love exercised towards us when we were alienated from God, sinners and without strength (cf. 5:6–10), that certifies the reality and intensity of Christ’s love. We may well have staggered at the superlative terms in which the victory had been described. Here we have the explanation and validation—it is only “through him that loved us”. This is the transcendent factor which contradicts all appearance and turns apparent defeat into victory. Without question the constant activity of Christ as risen and at the right hand of God (vs. 34) is contemplated in the mediation reflected on here. But we cannot but think also of the conquest secured once for all by Christ himself in that cross which exhibited his love. It was then that he “despoiled the principalities and the powers and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).
37 Here Paul bursts into a magnificent piece of eloquence, as he will do on occasion (e.g., 1 Co 3:21–23; 1 Co 13). This passage (vv. 37–39) is especially notable for its largeness of conception and majesty of expression: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (cf. NASB, “we overwhelmingly conquer,” which some find puzzling; it could mean that believers turn their enemies into helpers, as 5:3–5 suggests, but this is rather conjectural). BDAG, 1034, affirms that the verb hypernikaō (GK 5664) used here is a heightened form of “conquer” and suggests the translation, “we are winning a most glorious victory.” Bauernfeind (TDNT 4:945) renders it, “we win the supreme victory through him who loved us.”
By saying “loved us,” Paul does not intend to restrict Christ’s love to the past; rather, he is emphasizing the historic demonstration of this love on the cross that gives assurance of its continuing under all circumstances. Nothing in all of life, with its allurements and dangers and trials, can separate the believer from that love. Not even the last and great enemy, death, can separate him or her from that love (cf. 2 Co 5:8; Php 1:21). Death has lost its sting and victory (1 Co 15:54–55).
More Than Conquerors
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
There are passages of the Bible that are so familiar that we often pass over truths that would be startling if we were coming to them for the first time. Romans 8:37 is an example. We have just been reminded in the previous verse, by a quotation from the Old Testament, that the people of God “face death all day long” and are “considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Ps. 44:22). But now, in verse 37, we are told that nevertheless we are all “more than conquerors.”
Sheep that conquer? We can think of lions that conquer, or wolves or polar bears or wild buffalo. Edgar Allan Poe even spoke of “the conquering worm,” meaning that at last death comes to all. But sheep? The very idea of sheep as conquerors seems ludicrous.
This is figurative language, of course. But the image is not meaningless, nor is it as ludicrous as it seems. In contrast to the world and its power, Christians are indeed weak and despised. They are as helpless as a flock of sheep. But they are in fact conquerors, because they have been loved by the Lord Jesus Christ and have been made conquerors “through him.”
Yet even that is not the most startling thing about this verse, for the victory of Christians is described as being more than an ordinary victory. In the Greek text a single compound verb, hypernikōmen, lies behind the five English words “we are more than conquerors.” The middle part of the word is the simple verb nikaō, meaning “to overcome” or “to conquer.” (The famous statue “Winged Victory” in the Louvre in Paris is called a Nike, which means “victory” and was the name given to the goddess of victory in Ancient Greece.) The first part of the verb, hyper, means “in place of,” “over and above,” or “more than.” From it we get our word super, which means almost the same thing. When we put the two parts of the word together we find Paul saying that believers are all “super-conquerors,” or “more than conquerors” in Jesus Christ.
But how can that be? How can those who are despised and rejected—troubled, persecuted, exposed to famine and nakedness, danger and sword—how can such people be thought of as overcomers, superovercomers at that?
It is a question worth pondering—and answering. Let me suggest a few reasons we may think like this.
Against Supernatural Forces
The first reason why the victory given to Christians by Jesus Christ is a superlative victory and why we are “more than conquerors” is that we are fighting against an enemy who is more than human.
This is the note on which Paul ends his letter to the Ephesians, reminding the Christians at Ephesus that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). In this passage Paul is thinking of the devil and his hosts, and he is saying that our battle, however human it may seem, is actually supernatural. It is a spiritual battle. If our enemies were mere human beings or mere natural forces, our victory, if we achieved it, would be a natural victory. But, as it is, our foes are supernatural, and therefore our victories are supernatural, too. We are more than conquerors.
The devil is the embodiment of these hostile spiritual forces, and he is a cunning foe. I have often said that we must not overrate Satan’s strength, as if he were the evil equivalent of God. Satan is a creature. Therefore he is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. Only God is that.
However, Satan is very dangerous.
And crafty! The devil devises more schemes in a minute than we can conceive in a lifetime, and all of them are directed toward our destruction. How can we stand against such an evil, crafty foe, let alone be a “superconqueror” of him and his forces? It is not in our own strength, of course. It is as the text says: “through him who loved us.” Martin Luther stood against these spiritual forces, prevailed over them through Christ, and wrote about it in the hymn we know as “A Mighty Fortress”:
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his Name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.
None of us could stand against Satan’s hostile forces even for a moment, but in Jesus Christ we can stand firm and fight on to victory.
Second, Christians are “more than conquerors” because the warfare we are engaged in requires us to fight lifelong battles.
In his excellent study of this verse Donald Grey Barnhouse sharply contrasts our battles as Christians with the limited battles other soldiers fight: “In earthly battles soldiers are sometimes called upon to fight day and night. But there comes a moment when flesh and blood cannot take more and the struggle comes to an end through the utter exhaustion of the soldier. But in the spiritual warfare there is no armistice, no truce, no interval. The text is in the present tense … in the Greek: ‘For thy sake we are being killed all the day long’ (rsv). From the moment we are made partakers of the divine nature, we are the targets of the world, the flesh and the devil. There is never a moment’s reprieve. It follows, then, that our conquest is more than a conquest, and thus we are more than conquerors.”
The third reason why Christians are more than conquerors is that the spiritual victories achieved by God’s people are eternal. This is a very important point and one we need to remind ourselves of constantly.
We are creatures of time, and we live in a perishing world. Apart from spiritual battles and spiritual victories, everything we accomplish will pass away, no matter how great an earthly “victory” may seem in the world’s eyes or our own. How can it be otherwise when even “heaven and earth will pass away” (Matt. 24:35)? Great monuments will crumble. Works of art will decay. Fortunes will be dissipated. Heroes will die. Even great triumphs of the human intellect or emotion will be forgotten. Not so with spiritual victories, for our spiritual victories impart meaning to the very history of the cosmos.
I am convinced that this is what our earthly struggles are about and that this is how we are to view them. When Satan rebelled against God sometime in eternity past, God was faced with a choice, humanly speaking. He could have annihilated Satan and those fallen angels, now demons, who rebelled with Satan against God. But that would not have proved that God’s way of running the universe is right. It would only have proved that God is more powerful than Satan. So, instead of punishing Satan immediately, God allowed Satan’s rebellion to run its course. In the meantime God created a universe and a new race of beings, mankind, in which the rebellion of Satan would be tested. Satan could have his way for a while. He could try to order things according to his will rather than God’s. He would even be allowed to seduce the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, into following him in his rebellion.
But God would reserve the right to call out a new people to himself, the very people Paul has been writing about in Romans 8. These individuals would be foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified—all according to God’s sovereign will. And when they were called they would be thrust into the spiritual struggle that Satan and his demons had brought upon the race. Satan would be allowed to attack, persecute, and even kill God’s people. But for them, for those who have been brought to know the love of God in Christ Jesus, these sufferings would not be an intolerable hardship but would instead be a privilege that they would count themselves happy to endure for Jesus.
I am convinced that in his supreme wisdom God has ordered history in such a way that for every child of Satan who is suffering, a child of God is suffering in exactly the same circumstances. And for every child of Satan who enjoys the fullness of this world’s pleasures, there is a child of God who is denied those pleasures.
The unbeliever curses his or her lot if deprived and made to suffer. The believer trusts and praises God and looks to him for ultimate deliverance. Unbelievers boast of their superiority if they are fortunate in securing this world’s success or treasure. Believers acknowledge God as the source of whatever good fortune they enjoy, and if deprived of these things, as is frequently the case, they say, as Job did, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21b).
And the angels look on, as they also did in Job’s case. “Is Satan’s way best?” they ask. “Does the way of the evil one produce joy? Does it make him and God’s other creatures happy? Or is the way of God best? Are believers the truly happy ones, in spite of their suffering?”
We, too, may pose such questions, and even wonder about the truth of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit.…
Blessed are those who mourn.…
Blessed are the meek.…
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.…
Blessed are the merciful.…
Blessed are the pure in heart.…
Blessed are the peacemakers.…
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.…
Those words are indeed true! They are profoundly true. They are what God’s people are proving every day of their lives as they suffer and in some cases are put to death, being literally counted “as sheep to be slaughtered.”
“But the poor in spirit are despised,” someone says.
True enough, but “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“But those who mourn, mourn alone,” says another.
They often do, in human terms. But when they mourn an unseen presence stands beside them, Jesus himself, and they are truly “comforted.” They know “the peace of God, which transcends all [human] understanding” (Phil 4:7).
“But the meek are crushed and beaten down.”
In this world they are. Indeed, for God’s sake “we face death all day long.” But our kingdom is not here, any more than Jesus’ kingdom was here, though in the end we will “inherit [even] the earth.”
“But those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are strange, odd. Most people don’t want to have anything to do with them.”
True, but their longings will be satisfied by God himself, while those who seek earthly pleasures will fall short of joys here and in the end will be cast into the lake of fire, where thirst is never quenched.
“But the pure in heart have no welcome here, no secure place.”
True enough, but they will see God. They have a home in heaven.
“Why do we need peacemakers?” asks another person. “We need strong armies to fight the world’s conflicts.” Peacemakers are despised. The strong and powerful are favored.
But those who make peace “will be called sons of God.”
“Who would want to be persecuted, especially for righteousness’ sake?”
No one, of course. But when Christians are persecuted, they count it a privilege, for it shows that they are standing with Jesus, belong to his kingdom, and have a reward laid up for them in “the kingdom of heaven.”
Victories in such sufferings are eternal in the same way that the victory of our Lord upon the cross is eternal. Our sufferings endure for a moment, but they achieve an eternal victory. They point to the truth and grace of God forever. I am convinced that in the farthest reaches of heaven, in what we would call billions of years from now, there will be angels who will look on everyone who has been redeemed by Jesus Christ and thrust into spiritual warfare by him, and they will say, “Look, there is another of God’s saints, one who triumphed over evil by the Lord’s power!” Revelation 12:11–12 describes how they will exclaim of our great victories over Satan:
“They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!”
In achieving those eternal victories, we who love the Lord Jesus Christ will have indeed been more than conquerors.
The fourth reason why we are more than conquerors in the struggles of life is that the rewards of our victory will surpass anything ever attained by earthly conquerors.
The kings of this world generally fight for three things: territory, wealth, and glory, often all three. And they reward their soldiers with a proportionate share of these attainments. The Romans settled their soldiers on land won from their enemies, though chiefly to consolidate their territorial holdings. Armies have usually been allowed to share in war’s spoils. Napoleon said that men are led by “trinkets,” meaning titles, medals, and other such glory symbols. The world’s soldiers have their rewards, but they are earthly rewards. The people of God look for rewards in heaven. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “… Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:24–25).
In this life, like our Master, we may wear nothing but a crown of thorns. But in heaven we will wear crowns that are incorruptible and will possess an inheritance that will never slip away.
No Greater Cause
The final reason why we are more than conquerors is that the goal of our warfare is the glory of God, and that is an infinitely worthy and utterly superior thing.
A few lines back I wrote of our reward as being imperishable crowns, using the image the Bible itself gives us. With that in mind I call your attention to a scene in Revelation 4:1–11. The setting is the throne room of heaven, and there, before the throne of Almighty God, are twenty-four elders who represent the people of God saved from all nations and all ages. They, too, are seated on thrones and wear crowns, because the saints reign with Jesus. In the center, immediately surrounding the throne, are four living creatures who cry out day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (v. 8).
Whenever the four living creatures worship God with these words, the twenty-four elders rise from their thrones, fall before God, and worship him. Then—and this is the point for which I recall this picture—they lay their crowns before the throne, saying,
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being” [v. 11].
This picture is extremely beautiful, for it shows that the crowns of victory won by God’s people are won by God’s grace and therefore rightly belong to him. They are our crowns, but they are laid at the Lord’s feet to show that they were won for his honor and by his strength. In this, as well as in all the other things I mentioned, we are more than conquerors.
But there is one more thing to say: The way to victory is not by “going up” to any self-achieved glory but rather by “stooping down” in suffering.
Remember the picture of Satan given in Isaiah 14? Satan said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (vv. 13–14). But God tells Satan, “You [will be] brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit” (v. 15).
Where Satan aimed to sit is in some measure where the saints of the ages are raised, for they sit on the “mount of assembly,” higher than anything except the throne of God, as we have just seen. But notice how they get there. Not by trying to dislodge the Almighty from his throne. Rather, they are exalted because they have followed in the steps of their Master, who
… did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus was the prototype—the true sheep fit only “to be slaughtered.” He was “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). But he was also a super-conqueror, and we are more than conquerors through him.
 Pate, C. M. (2013). Romans. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 180). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Moo, D. J. (2018). The Letter to the Romans. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Second Edition, pp. 565–566). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
 Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 144). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
“The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130
One winter evening as I was driving through thick fog, I had a hard time seeing the road. I focused hard on the dim reflectors that marked the lanes. Inching my way from light to light, I managed to get home.
In my spiritual journey also there are times when I have a hard time finding my way. What helps me at a time like that? I focus on the light of God’s Word. A verse in the Bible will light up as though I am seeing it for the first time. Sometimes, a friend will give me a Scripture coupled with the words “I will pray for you.” After I’ve read it, I jot down my friend’s name beside it. Verses such as:
“The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm37:23)—given by Margaret
“You will keep on guiding me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” (Psalm 73:24)—given by Dolores
“The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry…” (Isaiah 58:11)—given by Agnes
Margaret, Dolores, Agnes—each friend has held up a reflector of God’s truth. As I’ve focused on it, hope has revived me. With God as my Guide, I will find my way home.
Can you think of someone today who could use an encouraging word from the Bible?
Father, thank you for the light of your Word and for people who hold it up high for us to find our way.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
What guards your heart? What protects your mind? Did you know that the peace of God can stand guard over our hearts and minds? That’s the apostle Paul’s promise to us in this passage. If we will present our requests to God, with thanksgiving, then God’s peace that is greater than any explanation and that transcends our ability to comprehend it, will stand sentry over our hearts and minds. You want an example of how this is true? Look at the book of Job. All that befalls him. All that wounds him. Yet still he doesn’t become hard of heart or go insane. What is the key to his survival? His ongoing conversation with the LORD. He will not relinquish that relationship no matter how badly he hurts, how much he is confused, nor how badly he is ridiculed.
Father, I need your peace. There are wounds that pierce my heart, but I don’t want it to become hardened and callused. There are times my mind is so confused that I fear I may lose my rationality. Dear Father, I trust that as I cling to Jesus, and as I speak openly with you about my life and your grace, that you will bless me with your peace and will protect my heart and my mind from destruction. Thank you, dear Father, for the reminder that even as I struggle with my troubles, I also need to give you thanks for all the good things that you have blessed me with in my life and my walk with you! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Seek Advice from the Wise and God-Fearing Proverbs 11:14; 15:22
Do not open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs with one who is wise and who fears God.
THOMAS À KEMPIS
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Better to Endure Want for God Philippians 4:11–12; 1 Timothy 6:6–8; Hebrews 13:5
It is better to endure some want for God’s sake than to abound in plenty. For the want that is borne for God begets humility, the source of all good. Whereas abundance produces pride, the root of all evils.
HUGH OF ST. VICTOR
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
One of the challenges of the book of Daniel is that the first six chapters read like a story and the latter six like an account of one man’s strange dreams. We find it easier to read the story part and harder to read the dream sections, right? It can be helpful to ask what Daniel’s purpose is. Does he act as a deliverer or a prophet? Does he intervene for the well-being of God’s people like Esther when she spoke up to King Xerxes to avert a disastrous genocide in Persia?
Looking closely, Daniel doesn’t actually serve God’s people as their deliverer even though he is in a high position. He opposes the king’s edicts, but he doesn’t lead a revolution. He warns the king of his pride, but doesn’t put a stop to the taunting of the exiles by the Babylonians (Psalm 137:3).
The Lord raised up Daniel to chiefly serve as His prophet. He is not their champion, but he is their teacher of what it means to live with a fear of God. The text tells us in verse 17 about this calling to interpret visions and the remainder of the book shows us Daniel’s primary role as a messenger of the LORD to God’s people. The LORD anointed Daniel with His Spirit so that Daniel might proclaim God’s favour and covenant faithfulness to His people. Daniel and Esther foreshadow different aspects of Jesus’ ministry of revelation and redemption (Hebrews 1:1-4). Both are required and bring blessing to you!
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that the LORD would continue to reveal His truth to you! Praise God that He is both our Redeemer and the One who reveals the Way, the Truth, and the Life to us!
Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church and he is the husband of Rosanna and father of Elliott. Prior to being ordained in the Associated Presbyterian Church, he was the pastor of Adoration United Reformed Church in Ontario. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
Johns Hopkins Doctor Dismisses Walensky Fear-Mongering: “Most Of The Country Is At Herd Immunity” Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, disputed CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky’s contention that COVID-19 variants could set back the march to herd immunity from COVID-19 during a Thursday afternoon appearance on Fox News’ “The Story.” To put things in context, during the mildest flu season in the last eight years, there were 24 million cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and approximately 447,000 daily cases during its peak week. By comparison, we’re averaging 49,641 daily COVID cases. That same mild flu season resulted in 280,000 hospitalizations. By comparison, current COVID hospitalizations as of May 1 are 34,905. the public-health threat is now defanged and below seasonal-flu levels. Given the harm of social isolation, we need to abandon the goal of absolute risk elimination at all cost.
New Image Shows Mars Helicopter Completing 5th Flight Ingenuity Mars helicopter “completed its 1st one-way trip and 5th flight on Mars. It touched down at its new location, kicking off a new demo phase where we test this new tech and see how it can aid future missions on Mars and other worlds.”
Texas Senate Approves Permitless Carry Of Handguns House Bill 1927 passed the Republican-led Senate in an 18–13 vote following a lengthy debate and will now head back to the House to debate amendments and settle differences between the two chambers’ versions. The House had passed the measure in mid-April.
Jews Fired their Weapons under Arab Attacks in Sheikh Jarrah Violent clashes broke out on Thursday night between Arabs and Jews in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. Jewish residents who had been attacked in the riots pulled out guns near a vehicle that was ignited by Arab rioters and fired several shots at unidentified targets. Earlier, Arabs threw stones and chairs at Jews and used pepper spray.
EXCLUSIVE China urges U.N. states not to attend Xinjiang event next week China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday. “It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”
Saudi Arabia re-evaluates policy towards Syria – analysis Recent moves by Saudi Arabia signal a major shift in the oil-rich kingdom’s foreign policy as it tries to recalibrate its regional approaches and relations with its neighbors. This policy shift is not limited to Saudi Arabia; Turkey also is reassessing the direction of its foreign policy and has started to mend fences with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Violent clashes break out at Temple Mount Violent clashes broke out at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday, the last day of Ramadan. Clashes broke out between worshipers and security forces on the scene of the Temple Mount, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered to mark the last Friday prayers of the Ramadan.
Torah Codes: Lapid coalition will establish pre-Messiah left-wing rule of heresy The end of days implications of this possible Israeli government was explained by Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, a renowned expert in Torah codes. “The son of David will not come until the kingdom is converted to the belief of heretics.” “Similarly, the world will be redeemed only when the Jewish people reach their lowest point.” Rabbi Glazerson noted that if Lapid does form a government and become the leader of Israel, this will undoubtedly fulfill the Talmud’s prediction of Israel converting to heresy.
Massive fire breaks out near Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant A massive fire broke out in Iran’s southwestern city of Bushehr near the Islamic Republic’s only functioning nuclear power plant late on Friday night, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Saturday. Dozens of people in Bushehr were quick to upload footage of the fire to social media as bystanders moved away from the flames.
Violent clashes break out at Temple Mount, hundreds injured Violent clashes broke out at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday, the last day of Ramadan. Clashes broke out between worshipers and security forces on the scene of the Temple Mount, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered to mark the last Friday prayers of the Ramadan month of fasting.
China’s space debris: What we know so far A 22.5-metric-ton piece of space debris belonging to the Chinese Long March 5B rocket is about to make an uncontrolled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, with little information about when or where it will land. Here is what we know so far. The debris itself is the core stage of the Long March-5B rocket, which is surrounded by four side boosters it uses to place its payload directly into low orbit.
US jobs figures fall far short of expectations US employers hired fewer workers than expected last month despite a huge stimulus package that saw the government send $1,400 (£1,000) cheques to most Americans. Just 266,000 jobs were added in April and the unemployment rate edged up to 6.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It said a hiring spree among leisure and hospitality businesses was offset by declining courier numbers.
Deep M6.1 earthquake hits Fiji region A deep earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.1 hit the Fiji region at 23:35 UTC on May 7, 2021, at a depth of 384 km (238 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.0 at a depth of 392 km (243 miles). The epicenter was located 344 km (214 miles) WNW of Pangai, Tonga, and 426 km (265 miles) SE of Labasa, Fiji.
Massive Child Sex Ring Busted at State Youth Facility—Hundreds of Kids Tortured and Raped According to a recent investigation by the state of New Hampshire’s attorney general’s office, a state-run youth detention center has been ground zero for an utterly horrifying child torture and sex abuse ring spanning the course of decades. According to officials and a recent lawsuit, hundreds of victims have come forward alleging the abuse by over 100 government employees, and multiple arrests have been made.
Scientists warn that mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are causing BLOOD CLOTS Scientists warn that the Wuhan coronavirus vaccines sold by Pfizer and Moderna can also cause blood clots. The two vaccines, developed using messenger RNA technology, have seen widespread use in many countries. Reports of the vaccines’ deadly side effects emerged following bans on Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca’s adenoviral vector vaccines, which were the first to be linked to blood clots.
Nazis and Democrats share the stain of hatred The title of an article posted here on September 18, 2018 read: “When it ends, where will all the hate [inside the Democrat Party] go?” No answer was offered; it was too soon to know. But, on 9 November 2016, the day after Trump won, we began to see where Democrat hate was headed.
Denmark PERMANENTLY BANS Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine over blood clot deaths Denmark announced that it will no longer use the Johnson & Johnson Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine after more reports linking it to blood clots. The Scandinavian country previously dropped the AstraZeneca vaccine because of blood clots in some vaccinated citizens. Denmark’s decision contrasted that of U.S. health authorities who lifted the suspension on the J&J vaccine.
Coronavirus injections are an extinction-level event In case you have not noticed, the “old normal” is never coming back now that the globalists have tipped the dominoes to usher in the “new normal.” What comes next is a man-made extinction-level event (ELE) that will eventually depopulate the world to minimal levels.
Facebook Permanently Bans LifeSiteNews Citing COVID-19 MisinformationPosted: 07 May 2021 05:13 PM PDT(ETH) – LifeSiteNews, a conservative news website, has been permanently banned by Facebook for repeatedly violating the social platform’s policies regarding COVID-19. The Religion News Service (RNS) reports the often faith-themed news website announced Facebook’s ban of its content in a story on its own website Tuesday.“Facebook has just permanently banned LifeSiteNews’ Facebook page,” the story read. “This apparently is not a temporary measure: It is gone for good.” The story also quoted LifeSiteNews marketing director Rebekah Roberts, who framed Facebook’s decision as “another case of Big Tech silencing free speech on their platform.”“Facebook has been silencing any voice that goes against their beliefs and agenda,” Roberts said.Continue reading Facebook Permanently Bans LifeSiteNews Citing COVID-19 Misinformation at End Time Headlines.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK “No country on Earth is as obsessed with the ‘sins’ of its past as we are. Is that because those other countries have no sins? No. Many of them have done much worse, and done it for much longer. Yet they live in the present and we stay stuck in the past. It’s absurd and pathetic.” —Matt Walsh
American whistleblower Edward Snowden and many others mocked a former CNN White House correspondent for insinuating that US government lies and spying were unique to the Trump administration and reporters don’t expect it.
Michelle Kosinski, who worked as CNN’s White House correspondent between 2014 and 2019, claimed on Saturday that “as an American journalist, you never expect” your “own govt to lie to you,”“hide information the public has a right to know,” and “spy on your communications.”
“Trump’s unAmerican regime did all of these. No one should accept this,” she concluded.
As an American journalist, you never expect: 1. Your own govt to lie to you, repeatedly 2. Your own govt to hide information the public has a right to know 3. Your own govt to spy on your communications
Trump's unAmerican regime did all of these. No one should accept this.
Kosinski was quickly ridiculed, both for suggesting that American journalists were so naive and for making government surveillance and disinformation appear exclusive to former President Donald Trump’s brief administration.
As an American journalist, you should probably expect all of these things in enormous quantities https://t.co/QGqLkQHXV9
— Emily G (not a newspaper) (@EmilyGorcenski) May 8, 2021
As an American journalist, this tweet made me burst out laughing.
Whistleblower and former CIA employee Edward Snowden – who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program on civilians and had to flee the US – told Kosinski, “I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
“You are hideously unqualified to be a journalist if you think this, good lord,”tweeted another person, while journalist Alan MacLeod called Kosinski’s thought process “the level of naive state worship required to get a top job in the media.”
Despite the heavy criticism, Kosinski stood by her post, claiming Trump’s “tens of thousands of outright lies, treasonous allegiances, and attacks on democracy” weren’t “equivalent” to the mass surveillance and disinformation campaigns from previous administrations.
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy look at soaring lumber prices adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of building a new house. In the second half, Max interviews Mitch Feierstein of PlanetPonzi.com about the population loving the boom times of planet Ponzi as the free money drives a surge in consumer spending and stock and property manias.
Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs and Michigan Congresswoman Lisa McClain discuss the different regions of the world where immigrants are coming from to illegally cross the Southern Border – Via Newsmax TV’s ‘Saturday Report.’
The number of people facing severe food insecurity and needing urgent life and livelihood-saving assistance hit a five-year high in 2020, according to a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC).
The humanitarian agency, set up by the European Union and the United Nations, said the situation has been worsening since 2017. Last year saw an increase of around 20 million people in annual terms, driving the total number to at least 155 million across 55 countries and territories.
“One year after the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for 2021 and beyond is grim. Conflict, pandemic-related restrictions fueling economic hardship and the persistent threat of adverse weather conditions will likely continue driving food crises,” the report said.
According to the research, around 133,000 people were in the most severe ‘catastrophe’ level of acute food insecurity in 2020. Urgent action is needed in Burkina Faso, South Sudan, and Yemen to avert widespread death and a collapse of livelihoods, the GNAFC said.
Also on rt.com
At least another 28 million people (across 38 countries/territories) faced an ‘emergency’ level of acute food insecurity in 2020, meaning they were one step away from starvation.
Thirty-nine countries/territories have experienced food crises during the five years that the GNAFC has published its annual report. These populations have been affected by high levels of acute food insecurity, with an increase from 94 to 147 million people between 2016 and 2020.
Africa remained the continent most affected by food crises, accounting for 63% of the global total number of people in ‘crisis’ or worse as of last year, up from 54% in 2019.
Afghanistan, Haiti, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe all had at least 40% of their analyzed population in ‘crisis’ or worse.
Also on rt.com
According to the report, 7.2 million children suffered from wasting and 31.9 million suffered from stunting in the 10 worst food crises.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of the global food system and the need for more equitable, sustainable and resilient systems to nutritiously and consistently feed 8.5 billion people by 2030,” the GNAFC said.