“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
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) accused the Biden administration of lying about helping four Americans escape from Afghanistan on Monday, saying, the false claim “makes me want to PUKE! The State Dept didn’t do a damn thing for these people for 12 days except almost get them killed repeatedly. I know, because my office and the team on the ground led by Cory Mills & @RepMullin facilitated their escape every step of the way.”
Mills is a veteran and former Department of Defense advisor in the Trump administration currently running for Congress who has been in Afghanistan trying to help get Americans out of the country. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) has been in the news for his on the ground efforts to help Americans stranded in Afghanistan.
The State Department put out a statement on Monday saying, “we have facilitated the departure of four American citizens from Afghanistan via an overland route. Our Embassy greeted the Americans as they crossed the border into the third country.”
The claim by the State Department was reported minutes after Jackson had posted about the four Americans leaving Afghanistan. Jackson’s statement did not credit the Biden administration.
“After 2 weeks & multiple life threatening attempts, I am overjoyed to share that 4 U.S. citizens from #TX13 were part of the first successful ground evacuation since the U.S. left Kabul. Thank you to Cory Mills & the other patriots on his team for saving these BRAVE Americans!”
Responding to news reports that the State Department was taking credit, Jackson posted, “This article makes me want to PUKE! The State Dept didn’t do a damn thing for these people for 12 days except almost get them killed repeatedly. I know, because my office and the team on the ground led by Cory Mills & @RepMullin facilitated their escape every step of the way.”
Mills, a veteran who is running for Congress from Florida, confirmed the rescue, “I’m honored @RonnyJacksonTX to have been able to save help save these 4 Americans. Our job is not done yet!”
Jackson spoke to Newsmax about the false claim, saying that during the Kabul evacuation the State Department would only tell the U.S. citizen and her family to show the Taliban their passports and say they are Americans. The Taliban would then beat them and threaten to kill them if they came back to the airport. Jackson said Mills and his team had “snuck across the border” into Afghanistan to rescue the Americans and brought them out safely.
Jackson, a retired Navy admiral who served as White House physician to Presidents Trump and Obama, said he has at least three more American citizen constituents trapped in Afghanistan.
The organizer of a private mission to rescue an American mom, Mariam, and her three children from Afghanistan says the U.S. State Department is now trying to insert itself into the story of her evacuation, despite playing little to no role for much of the rescue effort.
…Cory Mills and a private team of military veterans, drawing on funding by private donors including the Sentinel Foundation, led the effort to rescue Mariam and her three children from Afghanistan, where they had been left behind by the Biden administration, multiple sources with knowledge of Mariam’s evacuation confirmed to Fox News.
Mills and his team worked for weeks to get Mariam’s family out of Afghanistan after Republican Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson alerted him to the family’s plight.
An American mother and her three children have been rescued from Afghanistan, but one of the organizers accused the State Department of trying to take unearned credit for their mission.
Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma tweeted about the successful mission on Monday.
THREAD: A little over three weeks ago, I received an email from a friend asking if there was anything we could do t… https://t.co/xk114CDZJ5— Markwayne Mullin (@RepMullin) 1630934536.0
“Mariam had gone to visit her parents for the first time with the kids and became trapped in Kabul when the Taliban overran the city. We left two weeks ago today to get her, the children, and others out,” said Mullin.
He went on to say that his team faced numerous setbacksin their effort to save Mariam and her children, but they were successfully evacuated Monday morning.
“This morning at 05:32EDT they got out of Afghanistan. Praise the Lord!” tweeted Mullin.
The State Department confirmed the report in a statement.
“U.S. has facilitated the safe departure of four US citizens by overland route from Afghanistan. Embassy staff was present upon their arrival,” said the statement.
Contrary to the claims from the State Department, one of the organizers of the mission accused them of exaggerating their role in the rescue.
“The fact that they’re spinning this, trying to take 100% credit when they didn’t track this family, when they placated this family, when the mother, who was under extreme stress and extreme pressure, reached out to the State Department multiple times and got no help,” said Cory Mills in a statement to Fox News.
Mills and a private team of military veterans were funded in their mission by private donors including the Sentinel Foundation.
“This is an attempt to save face by the administration for the Americans they left behind. This is a woman with three children from age 15 all the way down to two-years-old. And they did nothing to try to expedite this,” Mills continued. “But at the very last minute you have these ‘senior officials’ at the State Department trying to claim credit for this like ‘oh yeah look what we’ve done.'”
Mullin corroborated the accusations against the State Department.
“This is a flat out lie. The Biden Administration abandoned them. Let’s be clear, it was our team of patriots who worked around the clock for two weeks to get them out, despite the many roadblocks from the State Department,” he tweeted.
Mullin added that there are many more Americans still waiting to be rescued.
“There are still many families like Mariam’s who are desperately wanting and waiting to get out. America cannot rest until we get them all home,” he tweeted.
Here’s more about the rescue efforts out of Afghanistan:
Six planes on a mission to rescue more than a hundred Americans wanting to leave Afghanistan were grounded by the Taliban as negotiations continued with the State Department Monday.
The evacuation effort was a part of a mission chartered by Mercury One, the charity founded by conservative media personality and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck.
Newsweek confirmed the details through an NGO working on the evacuation.
According to the report, at least 1,000 people were waiting to board the planes at an airport in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
“The planes are currently empty and its passengers are still waiting in their safe houses for clearance for takeoff from the Taliban,” said one NGO official to Newsweek. “I have more than 1,000 people on the master manifest that want to fly, of which 123 are Americans and the rest are Special Immigration Visas.”
Earlier on Sunday the State Department sent an email to members of Congress to alert them about the negotiations with the Taliban. The email reportedly said that the planes had permission to land in Doha, Qatar, but only after the Taliban allowed them to leave.
“The Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans,” said a congressional source to CBS News.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said Sunday on Fox News that the Taliban had the Americans in a hostage situation.
“In fact we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” McCaul said. “State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”
A spokesperson told Newsweek there were unable to confirm whether Americans were waiting to board the planes to escape.
“We do not have personnel on the ground, we do not have air assets in the country, we do not control the airspace—whether over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region,” the unidentified official said.
There are few safe havens for thoughtful people in today’s world; few forums where curious folks and creative thinkers feel comfortable enough voicing certain questions or contrarian thoughts. Church, let’s seize this opportunity, inviting our secular neighbors into what once was, and can be again, the world’s most electrifying intellectual community.
Free thinking, fearlessly open dialogue, a willingness to voice unpopular ideas: these are increasingly endangered species in a society ever more surveilled by Orwellian thought police. A new, fundamentalistic secular religion has emerged, with tenets that demand total adherence. To question the logic of any aspect of this secular creed—for example, a statement like “transgender women are women”—is to be branded a hateful heretic. Books that logically challenge prevailing orthodoxies are being banned by Amazon. There are countless more examples.
In a strange twist, Christianity—long accused of being narrow-minded, anti-intellectual, and afraid of difficult questions—has the potential to fill a growing void in Western culture. In a world where we increasingly walk on eggshells—unsure when, if, and how we’re allowed to speak publicly on contested issues—Christianity can become a grace-filled haven for curious questioners, doubting dissidents, and anyone seeking truth in a world where partisan narratives take precedence.
In short, Christianity has an opportunity to again become the most fertile intellectual ground—as it was for most of the last 2,000 years (until fairly recently). Why? Because a truly fruitful intellectual culture must be built on unshakeable, transcendent foundations—which Christianity has in God’s Word. Without this, all discourse about “truth” is arbitrary and devolves into power struggles. All claims become mere ammo for inflicting injury on one identity or another, rather than bricks for building in a shared intellectual project.
Scriptural Foundation Should Inspire Intellectual Curiosity
The secular approach to discourse results only in deconstruction—as we’re seeing. With no ability to gain consensus on truth, secularism can only cancel, condemn, ban, silence. It’s fundamentally destructive. But the Christian approach can be constructive because there’s a solid foundation on which to build. This is why, in my “Wisdom Pyramid” rubric, Scripture is the foundation. God’s infallible Word functions both as a horizontal, “solid ground” foundation and as vertical scaffolding, keeping the structures above it rightly ordered. We can build knowledge using all sorts of materials—books, the arts, nature/science, reason, community, lived experience—but none of it will be structurally sound, in the end, unless it is built on an unshakable foundation.
God’s objective, transcendent, true-for-everyone Truth is not a constricting, check-your-brain-at-the-door truth. It’s a liberating, world-expanding, galvanizing, purposeful truth that gives a common vocabulary and telos for intellectual pursuits. As Jesus says, it’s the truth that “will set you free” (John 8:32). This liberating truth is what inspired the founding and flourishing of Oxford, Harvard, and most of the great universities. It’s the truth that undergirded the world-changing discoveries and revolutionary ideas of Johannes Kepler, Nicholas Copernicus, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, and many others. It’s the truth that, for countless artists, writers, and philosophers, provided life-giving illumination and impetus to explore.
As C. S. Lewis famously said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”
God’s Word is the settled truth that unsettles our intellectual complacency and compels us to plumb the world’s mysterious depths. It’s a framework through which we can read and study widely and know how to evaluate the relative merits of an idea. It gives us bearings to navigate a fallen world glutted with ideas—some true, some false—in a way that doesn’t turn into a nomadic, frustrating wander.
Challenges for the Church
In recent history, though, many Christians have failed to see Scripture as the catalyst it should be for profound intellectual energy and curiosity—and that’s a scandal.
Rejoice to Bear the Reproaches of Christ Matthew 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:14
By faith sustain yourself, and comfort yourself in your Lord, and be strong in His power; for you are in the beaten and common way to heaven when you are under our Lord’s crosses. You have reason to rejoice in it, more than in a crown of gold; and rejoice, and be glad to bear the reproaches of Christ.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Works Do Not Make Us Holy Romans 3:27; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5
Works indeed are good, and God strictly requires them of us, but they do not make us holy.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
As someone who has always attended and ministered in churches that hold historic Baptist doctrines, I have a deep appreciate for these churches’ missionary zeal and doctrinal clarity. As a young man growing up, there was a single phrase that most all good Baptists knew: “Once saved, always saved.” Early in Baptist life, you were taught John 3:16 before you were taught John 11:35 (“Jesus, wept.”). When I was young, that was all I thought I needed to know on the subject of the gospel. It wasn’t until I got into my early 20’s that the phrase itself became a bit troubling to me. Expressions like this are intended to promote the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints or eternal security. This I whole-heatedly applaud and stand in doctrinal agreement, but I have seen many a person claim “once saved, always saved” and yet live like the devil. They believe that since they said a prayer, they are good with God.
One of the recurring questions that I often hear in the ministry is, “How can I be sure that I am saved?” Working with students for the past twenty years has allowed me to answer this question often. It is a genuine question that many have asked. It may be one that you are asking now. To find the answer, I believe we need to look at three different areas.
The first place to look for this answer is God’s Word. You may have been taught doctrine when you were young, but all doctrines need to be tested by Scripture. Does the Bible teach that a person can have eternal life? It most certainly does. John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life.” Later John writes, “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). He even illustrates it in chapter 10 by saying, “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Paul’s letters are filled with such great assurances as well. We find them in Ephesians 1:3–13, Ephesians 4:30, Philippians 1:6, and many more places. However, my favorite is found in Romans 8, where Paul writes, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. . . . Who can bring a charge against God’s elect?” If God calls and God saves, then God also keeps. If a saved person is promised that he will be glorified one day, then it is a promise from God.
When we look to the Word, it is apparent that a true child of God can indeed have eternal life and security in it by trusting God’s promises from Scripture.
Again in Romans 8, Paul makes an astounding statement. He says in verse 16, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” Here we see that the Holy Spirit is our inner witness that we are one of God’s children.
There are two witnesses here, however. First, the Holy Spirit bears witness that we are children of God, but second, we also have a role in bearing witness, as verse 15 indicates. We (our human spirits) cry out, “Abba, Father.” Both the Holy Spirit and our spirits are testifying to God the Father that we are his children.
We can see the fruit of this in verse 26, which asserts that the “Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we pray.” Only one who is a child of God can have the third person in the Trinity bear witness for them. So, if you are ever struggling with this common question of assurance, one of the best ways to help find comfort is to ask the Comforter and Witness Bearer for help in applying the promises of the Word in your life.
Finally, we should look at our work, both internally and externally.
Do you hate sin? Do you repent of your sin when you sin? Do you love to worship the Lord and to see Him glorified?
If these are true, then these are all signs of the Spirit’s work in you. An unregenerate person cannot have these qualities (Romans 3:10–11). In Galatians 5, Paul describes what this looks like for us in the fruit of the Spirit. Are these fruits bearing in your life? These are all works of the Spirit in you.
Another piece of evidence that God is indeed at work in you is that it flows from the internal into your external life and work as well. In his first letter, John provides believers tests for their assurance. If these things are true of you, then the test of works should help you rest assured that you are a child of God.
1 John 1:5-7 (Walking in the Light)
1 John 1:8-10 (Confession of Sin)
1 John 2:3-4 (Obedience)
1 John 2:9-11 (Love for the Brethren)
1 John 2:15-17 (Hatred for the World)
1 John 2:24-25 (Perseverance in Doctrine)
1 John 3:10 (Righteousness)
1 John 4:13 (Spirit’s Testimony)
We must remember that even an unbeliever can live “well” by a legalistic list of rules. Unbelievers can exhibit self-control, longsuffering, and many other fruits. If they are only external qualities and not internal, then it could be easy to have a false sense of security as the Pharisees did.
However, when you have both the internal work (your heart is for God and the Kingdom) and its overflows into external work (love for your brother, obedient living, and a transformed life), then this work is evidence of your salvation.
After considering these three areas, you should be able to do as Peter said in 2 Peter 1:10, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities, you will never fall.” There is nothing mystical about having assurance. You don’t have to climb a mountain and camp for a week, eating only fruit and drinking water while in a constant state of prayer like a monk. God’s Word, witness, and godly work are all evidence that you are a child of God.
There may be times in your life when you sin, and you ask yourself, “How could I be a believer and continue in this sin?” This is an excellent question to ask. It may be that you never really have believed in the Lord. It may be that you have outward signs of faith but no inward witness. If this is the case, then repent and believe. The gospel is for you.
However, if you simply need a check because you have seen some sin creep up in your life, then I encourage you to repent and consider these three areas. The Lord is not in the business of hiding himself from his children. He has given us the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Guide. If you seek assurance of your salvation, I encourage you to pursue these areas to help you rest assured that you are in him and that he is in you.
If you could either save your own life or risk it to save others, what would you do? That was Esther’s predicament. Find out how she responded when you listen to a message about trusting God’s providence. That’s on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg!
15:55Where, O death, is your victory Paul quotes Hos 13:14 to taunt death on account of Christ’s victory.
15:55 This verse may well be a taunt song which believers sing as they rise to meet the Lord in the air. It is as if they mock Death because for them it has lost its sting. They also mock Hades because for them it has lost the battle to keep them as its own. Death holds no terror for them because they know their sins have been forgiven and they stand before God in all the acceptability of His beloved Son.
15:55. As in the allusion to Isaiah 25:8 (1 Cor. 15:54), Paul again recalled an Old Testament passage which prophesied the cessation of death (Hosea 13:14). (The recollections were adapted by Paul and do not correspond exactly to any of the extant Gr. or Heb. texts.) The apparent victories of Satan, in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:13) and on Golgotha (Mark 15:22–24) were reversed on the cross (Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14–15) and vindicated in the resurrection of Christ. From the vantage point of the certain resurrection of the saints, Paul voiced his taunt against death and Satan.
15:54b–55. Paul looked forward in these verses to the fulfillment of two Old Testament prophecies at the general resurrection: Death has been swallowed up in victory (see Isa. 25:8); and Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? (see Hos. 13:14). Though he did not quote either of these texts precisely, these were unmistakably his references. These quotes may represent Paul’s own rendering of these verses from the Hebrew. Of course, his point is clear: because believers’ resurrected bodies will be immortal and imperishable, death will never affect them. Death will not be able to destroy them or to plague them. Instead, believers will live eternally, free from the worry of physical deterioration and death.
Paul issued these taunts to death in the present tense. Although the general resurrection had yet to occur, Paul’s confident hope in Christ to bring about the resurrection removed all fear of death. Further, because he understood believers’ resurrections to be an outworking of Christ’s own resurrection, and because Christ’s resurrection had taken place, he saw death already in the process of being defeated.
15:55 This is a reference to Hosea 13:14, which reverses the order by quoting the Septuagint. Most OT quotes in the NT are from the Greek translation of the OT. It was the Bible of the first century church.
55. Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
Verse 54a is a continuation and a verbal repetition of verse 53. By adding two time references, when and then, and changing the tense of the verb to put on to the past, Paul speaks as if a future event has already occurred. To be precise, the fulfillment of Paul’s words took place when Jesus rose from the dead. And with that resurrection, all believers know that also they will rise from the grave. This text is a vivid illustration of the constant tension in the New Testament of the now and the not yet. Through Jesus Christ, we acknowledge the reality of the resurrection, and through his promise to us we shall appropriate it at the consummation.
For the last time in this epistle, Paul quotes prophetic passages from the Old Testament Scriptures (Isa. 25:8; Hos. 13:14). He puts the fulfillment of the first prophecy in the future with these introductory words, “Then the saying that is written will be realized.” He quotes from the prophecy of Isaiah, but follows neither the Hebrew text nor the Septuagint. This is the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures: “He will swallow up death forever” (Isa. 25:8). And the Greek translation reads, “Death forcefully has swallowed [them] up.” According to the Hebrew text, the subject is God and death the object. But notice that Paul makes death the subject with the verb to swallow up in the passive. He adopts the Semitic style of writing the passive to circumvent the use of the divine name; he implies that God has eliminated death, that is, the power of death (refer to Heb. 2:14). And last, Paul changes the Hebrew translation forever to “in victory.” His wording accords with readings in other Greek translations of the Hebrew text.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” Looking back at Jesus’ triumph over death and forward to the resurrection of all believers, Paul bursts out in jubilation. He understands the demise of life’s mortal enemy: death. Even though death continues to wield power as Christ’s last enemy (v. 26), Paul knows that God will destroy it. Death’s days are numbered.
Paul taunts death and asks mockingly: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” He borrows this second prophecy from Hosea, who writes that God will ransom the children of Israel from the grave and will deliver them from death. The prophet queries, “Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” (Hos. 13:14). The Greek translation reads: “Where, O death, is your penalty? Where, O grave, is your sting?” Paul has changed the word penalty into “victory” to suit the flow of his presentation. And in the second question he has substituted the word death for “grave,” which in the Septuagint is Hades. But Paul never uses Hades in all his epistles. Perhaps he feared being misunderstood by those Greek readers who were acquainted with ancient mythology in which Hades was a Greek god and the underworld was called “the house of Hades.” This word, then, could not be part of Paul’s vocabulary.
A last comment on this verse. When Jesus stopped Paul on the way to Damascus, he said that it was hard for Paul to kick against the goads (Acts 26:14). Paul had to cope with the scars of these goads the rest of his life. Now Paul sees that death no longer has a goad and is, in a sense, powerless. Other scholars refer to the word sting as that of a scorpion. Both a goad and a sting strike fear into the heart of man. But those who are in Christ do not fear death with its goad or sting, for they know that Jesus indeed has conquered death. 
55. In language reminiscent of Scripture (Hos. 13:14), Paul sings of the triumph to come. He is not basing an argument on Scripture, but using scriptural language for his exultation over the total defeat of death. The word kentron (sting) may refer to a goad (as in Acts 26:14), but it is also used of the sting of bees, scorpions and the like (cf. Rev. 9:10). Death is a malignant adversary, torturing people. But Christ has drawn its sting, and it is harmless to those who are in him.
15:55 / Paul continues to quote Scripture, but now turns to Hosea. How he knew or produced this harmonized, blended quotation is uncertain, although the two original prophetic words are made closer by the alteration of the wording of Hosea. The word victory (Gk. nikē) is an original element of Isaiah, but Hosea reads “judgment” (Gk. dikē), which has been changed to victory so that the texts blend smoothly. This doubling up of questions produces great rhetorical force and dramatizes the point.
55 In light of the swallowing up of death in the victory of the resurrection-transformation, Paul proceeds to taunt death in the language of Hosea (13:14, somewhat modified). Whether Paul intended to “cite” this passage as such, as part of the preceding “fulfilled” word, is moot. By a series of modifications, Paul seems to be taking over the text of Hosea so as to make it his own derision of death in light of the preceding affirmation (vv. 51–53) and the citation from Isaiah (v. 54). He does this in three ways: (1) by changing the LXX word dikē (“penalty”) to nikos (“victory”), thus bringing it into verbal agreement with the previous quotation from Isaiah; (2) by substituting in the second line the vocative “O Death!” for the “O Grave!” of the LXX, thus making both lines a derision of death itself; and (3) by bringing forward the possessive pronoun “your” to first position (after “where”), followed immediately by the vocative, thus emphasizing the personification (lit., “where your, O Death, Victory?” which replaces the LXX’s “where the penalty of you, O Death?”).
The net result is a powerful taunt of death that looks in two directions at once. First, it completes the argument of the paragraph as a whole as well as the citation from Isaiah. Even though Paul still lives in the “already,” and in his own body experiences both the perishability and mortality of the present age that is passing away, the apostle has also seen the risen Lord. Thus with a clear vision of what is to be he mocks the enemy, whose doom has been sealed through Christ’s own death and resurrection; and it is precisely because of Christ’s victory that the mockery obtains, even if in the meantime believers “fall asleep.” Thus this taunt is Paul’s way of looking forward to the triumph of the ages. Death’s victory has been overcome by Christ’s victory; and death’s deadly sting has been detoxicated—indeed, the stinger itself has been plucked—through Christ’s resurrection. Death, therefore, is “powerless over the dead”;398 God’s people will be raised and changed into the likeness of the risen and ever-living Christ himself.
Second, even though the taunt has to do with the future resurrection of believers, it is expressed in the present tense, precisely because the beginning of the End has “already” set in motion the final victory that for us is still “not yet.” The mention of the word “sting,” therefore, leads Paul from the future to the present; what is to be has in effect already begun. Thus, he concludes this exalted description of the “not yet” with an appropriate reminder of the victory that is “already” theirs in Christ (vv. 56–57). It has been well said, “Death is also powerless over the living.”
55 Because God’s last word is resurrection, glorified and imperishable bodies, and the abolishment of death, Paul cries out in the words of Hosea, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (cf. Hos 13:14). Right now death does have a sting. Right now it appears as though death does have the victory, for there is not a single human being alive who will escape death if the Lord tarries. But what appears to be victory for “the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon” (Rev 9:11), will ultimately end in his defeat, for death itself will be vanquished along with its angel (20:10, 14–15).
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Co 15:55). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
 Soards, M. L. (2011). 1 Corinthians (p. 355). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
 Fee, G. D. (2014). The First Epistle to the Corinthians. (N. B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, G. D. Fee, & J. B. Green, Eds.) (Revised Edition, pp. 889–890). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
 Verbrugge, V. D. (2008). 1 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 404). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we may say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
While visiting my daughter in Swaziland (S. Africa) I needed a break from all the travelling we were doing. I asked to be excused from the next sightseeing trip. “I will be just fine spending the week in your little duplex here on the school compound,” I said. The next morning I bravely said good bye to my son and daughter. But when I saw the tail lights of their car disappear over the sandy ridge, panic seized me. What have I done? We were told to never be alone. It’s too dangerous. How will I survive the next week all alone?
I ran into the house, double-locked the door as I’d seen my daughter do, climbed under the mosquito net and lay there shivering. Whom will I call in case of an emergency? I don’t know a single person.
A voice as clear as if it had been spoken out loud said, “Me! You call on Me. I have not left you.”
I grabbed my Bible and read “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we may say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
As I kept repeating the words, a calm settled into my soul and with it came a plan of action. I got out of bed, grabbed a small photo album I’d brought with me, and stepped outside. In the yard next door, I saw a young woman and small boy. “Would you like to see my photos?” I blurted out. She did. After I told her about my life in Canada, she told me bits of her life. (Luckily she spoke English)
Soon a group of children gathered around us. They loved the action choruses I taught them and they laughed at my funny pronunciation of their language. Then the children wanted me to come home and meet their parents. I was delighted to find that some knew Jesus. What a rich time of fellowship we had!
I learned so much from this experience. God is present with us as a real Person, not just in a thought or wishful thinking. A real Person who speaks comfort into our hearts: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Thank you, Father, that when you say “never will I forsake you,” you mean never. You are with me now.
In November 1532, some princes of Germany who were sympathetic to the Reformation invited Martin Luther to preach for them in Worlitz. His text was 1 Timothy 1:5-7. In the sermon, among other things, Luther explained to the princes the dangerous error of mixing God’s judgment seat and his mercy seat, the law and the gospel:
“For the Scriptures teach me that God establishes two seats for men, a judgment seat for those who are still secure and proud and will neither acknowledge nor confess their sin, and a mercy seat for those whose conscience is poor and needy, who feel and confess their sin, dread his judgment, and yearn for his grace. …We must now learn to distinguish between the two parts which are called the law and the gospel.”
“…[In 1 Tim. 1] Paul is rebuking the error and ignorance of those who were extolling and preaching the law and yet neither understanding it themselves nor showing how what one can do about it or how it can be performed. They could do no more than babble words: keep the law, keep the commandments and be saved, do good works, and so on. Just as to this day they are scribbling books and spewing the churches full of this idle wish-wash. …They talk a lot about faith but they mix things together, as a barkeeper mixes water and wine, by saying if you live in such and such a way God will be gracious to you, and they turn the mercy seat into a judgment seat and the judgment seat into a mercy seat.”
“…They mix it all up in one brew…. What good is all this shrieking: if you want to get to heaven, you must keep the commandments? You won’t accomplish it that way, not by a long shot! For just look into yourself and search out the evil within you and you will find that you were born in sin and have lived in sin and are unable to produce what the law demands.”
“And now I am compelled to say: even though I may have lived a good life before men, let everything I have done or failed to do remain there under the judgment seat as God sees fit, but as for me, I know of no other comfort, help, or counsel for my salvation except that Christ is my mercy seat, who did no sin or evil and both died and rose again for me, and now sits at the right hand of the Father and takes me to himself under his shadow and protection, so that I have no doubt that through him I am safe before God from all wrath and terror. Thus faith remains pure and unalloyed, because then it makes no pretensions and seeks no glory or comfort save in the Lord Christ alone.”
In the end, though, not even the hyper-partisan “fact-checker” at USA Today could protect Joe Biden from himself.
Last week, we reported on Facebook and Instagram having hit rock-bottom when they censored a Gold Star mom. Now it’s the “fact-checkers’” turn.
We’ve known for some time that the mainstream media’s “fact-checking” industry was a deeply partisan operation — one whose sole purpose is to protect the Left and its prevailing narratives against damaging truths. And what truth could be more damaging than that of a Democrat commander-in-chief repeatedly checking his watch during the most solemn of events — the transfer ceremony of 13 fallen warriors at Dover Air Force base?
Enter USA Today’s resident “fact-checker,” Daniel Funke, who tried to ride to Joe Biden’s rescue when he all but called multiple Gold Star parents liars for having correctly noted that Biden checked his watch multiple times during the transfer ceremony.
“Partially false,” said Funke, whose original post and an accompanying tweet said the claim that Biden had checked his watch was “misleading.” He argued that Biden “had properly honored the fallen soldiers and only checked his watch after the ceremony had ended.”
Outrage ensued, as did the publication of multiple photos of Biden having checked his watch numerous times — not just once at the end of the ceremony, as Funke would’ve had us believe. The next day, under mounting pressure, USA Today issued a correction of sorts: “This story was updated Sept. 2 to note that Biden checked his watch multiple times at the dignified transfer event, including during the ceremony itself. The rating on this claim has been changed from ‘partly false’ to ‘missing context.’”
“Missing context” in this case, as in most other “fact-checks,” means that a true and damaging claim about a Democrat hasn’t been effectively offset by Leftmedia smokescreens and irrelevancies. It is, as our Andrew Culper describes it, the catch-all for facts journalists don’t like.
Had Funke not been such a partisan hack, he’d have checked his facts before “fact-checking” the grieving parents who were there at the service, two of whom, Mark Schmitz and Darin Hoover, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity the day after the ceremony that Scranton Joe had glanced down at his Rolex multiple times.
Said Schmitz: “I actually leaned into my son’s mother’s ear and I said, ‘I swear to God if he checks his watch one more time’ — and that was only probably four times in. I couldn’t look at him anymore after that, just considering especially … why we were there. It was, I found it to be the most disrespectful thing I’d ever seen.”
The heat must’ve gotten to Funke and his USA Today fellow travelers. “Journalists and fact-checkers are human (yes, even me!)” he tweeted defensively. “We make mistakes. When we do, we correct them and try to make it right.”
Whatever, dude. Cry us a river.
As Sean Davis replied: “You didn’t ‘get things wrong.’ You peddled deliberate lies about people whose kids were just killed so you could run interference for the doddering old imbecile whose incompetence got them killed.”
Clearly, what we’re talking about here isn’t fact-checking. It’s damage control. It’s partisanship. It’s activism. And these people wonder why we put the term “fact-check” in scare quotes.
Millions of Americans are still opting not to fill a record number of job openings.
It’s Labor Day, and we here in our humble shop are laboring. But millions of Americans still aren’t — meaning they won’t go to work tomorrow, either.
The August jobs report was yet another huge disappointment. Economist predicted well over 700,000 new jobs, but the Labor Department said workers filled just 235,000 spots. That’s not for lack of job openings. There are now a record 10.5 million positions that remain unfilled, and the National Federal of Independent Business says 50% of companies with openings couldn’t fill them.
Worse, there were significant job losses in the retail sector (down 28,500) and no gain in hospitality and leisure. For that, some say we can thank the COVID Delta variant that has cases surging again. Then again, “The problem is not the delta variant,” argues Ben Shapiro. “The problem is the media, the Biden administration, and blue state politicians telling people to freak the hell out about the delta variant. This has resulted in the vaccinated freaking out and the unvaccinated acting as they always did.”
There are two bigger reasons for the dearth of job growth: Government incentives for people not to work and rampant inflation that has crushed real wage growth.
On numerous occasions, we’ve highlighted the fact that the government often pays people more not to work than to take a job. That’s largely thanks to enhanced unemployment benefits, which end this month nationwide absent another extension. But it also goes for other cash transfers like food stamps that just got a 25% bump, and the child tax credit monthly payments that you now have to opt out of receiving.
And then there’s inflation. Economist Stephen Moore notes, “Even though wages are up 4 percent, the cost of living is up more than 5 percent.” And The Wall Street Journal reports, “Wages after inflation have fallen for seven straight months.”
Maybe if the federal government just spends a few trillion more taxpayer dollars that’ll fix it. No, that’s not it. The truth is that we’re looking at such dismal jobs reports because the government has already spent trillions of taxpayer dollars to “fix” it. Virtually every problem in the labor market today can be traced to government policy or spending.
“We can put people to work in good jobs,” Joe Biden told us in his Inaugural Address. Since then, he’s told us numerous times what a great job he’s doing at fulfilling that pledge. The problem is, that’s a lie. While it’s not up to the president to fill job openings, he does have an awful lot of influence over conditions in the economy. On that and so many other marks, Biden is failing miserably, and we’re all paying for it.
The State Department refuses clearances for private rescue flights, while the Taliban looks to be holding other flights hostage.
As if Joe Biden’s disaster in Afghanistan weren’t bad enough, the ongoing efforts to get American citizens, green card holders, and Special Immigration Visa (SIV) holders evacuated from Kabul on privately funded flights have been stymied by both the U.S. State Department and the Taliban.
Rick Clay, the head of a privately funded and run rescue flight operation called PlanB, recently explained that he and two other private rescue organizations have been stuck with full flights at Kabul’s Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport waiting for clearance from Biden’s State Department.
Clay stated: “This is zero place to be negotiating with American lives. Those are our people standing on the tarmac and all it takes is a f—ing phone call. If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands.” He further noted, “It is not the Taliban that is holding this up — as much as it sickens me to say that — it is the United States government.”
Names of some 4,500 Americans, green card holders, and SIVs were listed on Clay’s manifest, 800 of which have been given to the State Department. “If we can get aircraft in a pick up people and bring them out,” Clay argued, “why can’t we take them to Doha [Qatar] to the refugee center or other refugee centers? This makes no sense.”
Meanwhile, a hostage situation has developed in Kabul. According to Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Taliban is refusing to give clearance for flights to depart Kabul’s airport. “We have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” McCaul complained. “State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”
The confusing and seemingly contradictory information regarding the hampered efforts of private organizations to rescue Americans and Afghan allies is unconscionable, and blame falls entirely at the feet of Biden for his disastrous withdrawal. Of course the Taliban would exploit its advantageous position to hold Americans hostage in an effort to extract more concessions from Biden, such as pallets of cash and full recognition from the U.S. as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. But the notion that an already humiliated Biden administration would stymie efforts by private organizations to show them up in working to rescue Americans they left behind is entirely believable, despicable as it is.
Biden made the fanciful assertion last week that the withdrawal was an “extraordinary success,” but that’s a farce, especially in the light of 13 dead Americans and his broken promise to not leave any Americans behind. In fact, Americans have watched the worst-case scenario come to fruition — at the end of a 20-year war, the enemy has literally been given the victory, and now the Taliban finds itself in a stronger position of power today than before the war started. Now, the prospect for a resurgence of terrorism leading to more Americans dying appears unavoidable.
The American people are also taking a stand, as 3,000 medical professionals are likewise suing.
It has long been the rallying cry of the Biden platform that Grandpa Joe wants to “bring unity” to a country so deeply divided, especially on social issues. In a recent speech, he said much the same regarding unity: “The world is starting to realize what’s been missing of late. Not only do we have to look inward, we also need to look at each other and talk to each other, rebuild communities through empathy and acts of kindness and decency.”
If only his words ever matched his actions. One of his first executive orders was an “anti-discrimination” mandate based on sexual identity. This order tasked different government agencies with making “transgender” people more comfortable by ending so-called discrimination in schools, the workplace, and healthcare. This includes allowing biological males in women’s spaces and on women’s sports teams. This is one of the hotbed topics of the culture wars and is hardly unifying.
Under the auspices of the executive order, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Education (DOE) have been using the Supreme Court case of Bostock v. Clayton County to justify their interference and acquiesce to Biden’s executive order. This Supreme Court decision outlines that employers cannot fire someone based on gender identity or sexual orientation. This all would be condemned as discrimination under Title VII. This case only talks about employment discrimination, yet the EEOC and DOE have used it as precedent to justify pushing the transgender agenda in women’s locker rooms and sports teams.
Aside from the obvious arguments mostly having to do with the erasure of women, or the medical differences between men and women, it’s also a dangerous sidestep of the legislature by the executive branch, which is far from unifying.
There is a solid reason for the Founding Fathers to have separated the powers of each branch of government — so that the branches wouldn’t overstep their bounds. Unfortunately, the legislative and judicial branches have done nothing to stop this gross overreach.
So it is the states that are fighting back. Last week, 20 states, led by Tennessee, joined a lawsuit to fight this executive order. They are suing the EEOC and DOE on the grounds that these agencies have exceeded their powers and changed laws. Congress is the branch of government that is allowed to introduce, vote on, and change laws, not the executive branch arm of the president.
Not only are the states standing up, but the American people are also taking a stand. Three thousand medical professionals are also suing the Biden administration as the executive order was applied to healthcare. The order doesn’t allow the physicians any grounds to object to performing sex-change surgeries. This is a violation of religion and medical judgement of the physicians involved.
If Biden was sincere in his bumbling and really wanted to talk, then he wouldn’t resort to authoritarian means to push an unpopular and misguided agenda. This is not empathy and kindness; this is tyranny, and it is high time someone stood up and fought.
The administration has also lost track of nearly 5,000 migrant children in the U.S.
The Biden administration is working with the government of Tajikistan to help it better secure its border with its neighbor to the south, the newly chaotic Afghanistan. As the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, John Pommersheim, explained, “The United States and Tajikistan enjoy strong security cooperation, and this border detachment project is just another example of our shared commitment to the security and sovereignty of Tajikistan and Central Asia.” Feel good story of the day, right?
The U.S. government has spent over $300 million helping Tajikistan with security since 2002. The recent announcement coincides with Tajikistan’s pledge to accept upwards of 100,000 Afghan refugees. Oh, and by the way, Tajikistan is still a member of Russia’s post-Soviet security bloc.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Joe Biden’s border crisis continues apace. The latest news is that the administration has lost contact with nearly 5,000 migrant children released to sponsors. Biden’s unsecured southern border has resulted in more than 65,000 unaccompanied minors caught illegally crossing into the U.S. since he took office (out of well over a million total migrants). While the Trump administration was widely rebuked by Democrats and the mainstream media for losing track of some 1,500 children, Biden’s near tripling of that total has garnered nary a peep from the MSM.
Republicans are raising concerns over the likely possibility that many of these missing children are being trafficked. Biden’s “compassionate” resistance to securing America’s borders over the delusional claim that doing so hurts people is proving to do just the opposite. He and his administration know this. Why else would they be working to help Tajikistan secure its border?
Insight: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he breaks, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” —John Philpot Curran (1750-1817)
“‘Missing context’ is the fact-checker euphemism for ‘this claim is correct but we don’t want anyone screencapping this as ammo.’” —Noam Blum
“Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans.” —Senator Joe Manchin on the Democrats’ $3 trillion spending bill
“This [Afghanistan fiasco] was the most disgraceful act of foreign policy I believe a president has ever done. I don’t think there’s a parallel and I’ve been looking through history books for the last three days.” —historian Bill Bennett
A trip down memory lane: “The vice president … holds the American record for wrong on the most issues in foreign affairs, ever.” —Charles Krauthammer on Joe Biden, 2012
“There is a lot of political pundit speculation about whether the public outrage over Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal will subside as the mainstream media news cycle focus subsides. But here is what the pundits are missing: The 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attack, the one year anniversary of Biden’s Afghan retreat disaster and all of its consequences, will occur just before the midterm elections next year.” —Mark Alexander
“The president is not going to be removed from office. … I think the way these behaviors get adjusted in this country is at the ballot box. There isn’t going to be an impeachment.” —Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell
“Science is not supposed to be about intimidating, countering interpretation of data, or abusing, or censoring data. Science is not supposed to have a view. Science is only about data and the scientific process. There is never supposed to be ‘an accepted view’ of science.” —Dr. Scott Atlas
Hot air: “The fossil fuel industry and the future of humanity are fundamentally incompatible. They just are. I mean, that’s not a political opinion, that is the science. We continue to burn fossil fuels, our planet will become inhabitable.” —Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
D’oh! “There’s no question the Delta variant is why today’s jobs report isn’t stronger.” —Joe Biden (“I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus.” —Joe Biden, October 30, 2020)
Lack of self-awareness: “I think the world is starting to realize what’s been missing of late. Not only do we have to look inward, we also need to look at each other and talk to each other, rebuild communities through empathy and acts of kindness and decency.” —Joe Biden
Demagogue: “I respect people … who don’t support Roe v. Wade. I respect their views. I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all. I respect that. I don’t agree, but I respect that. Not going to impose that on people.” —Joe Biden (“You actually ARE imposing that on people when you try to force me to fund abortion through my taxes, though.” —Allie Beth Stuckey)
Gaslighting: “I know you’ve never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant. But for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. [The] president believes their rights should be respected.” —White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to a reporter who asked, “Who does [the president] believe … should look out for the unborn child?”
Non compos mentis: “In Texas, you cannot mandate life saving masks to prevent the spread of COVID. You have the freedom to bring your guns into stores and restaurants and churches and even psychiatrist hospitals, but women, trans and non-binary people are not allowed to make their own choices about their bodies. … By next summer, we could be living in our own version of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ where forced birth is the law in large sections of the country, including for children.” —MSNBC’s Joy Reid
Sexism bait: “What this [Texas] law is really about is not stopping abortions across the board. This is about bearing down on the most vulnerable among us. … They’re going to do everything they can if you are vulnerable, if you don’t have alternatives, to make sure that you are forced into carrying a pregnancy that you do not want to carry. And I just think this is fundamentally wrong.” —Senator Elizabeth Warren
Grand delusions: “Important to know that so goes Texas, so will go other states. I believe at the heart of all of this is a deep anti-women movement. It’s in politics, it’s in the church, it’s everywhere. Women have long been viewed as a threat in the Catholic Church. They are viewed as a threat. This is one more tactic to keep them without their own personal rights. This isn’t just about Texas, trust me.” —NBC News anchor Maria Shriver
Despicable: “If you’re an Afghan woman and they offer to resettle you in Texas, what do you do?” —Newsweek editor at large Naveed Jamali
And last… “The Democrat party has a long history in America of devaluing the lives of black people. From slavery to the post-Reconstruction peonage system to redlining to Jim Crow to abortion, Democrats have proven that for blacks to vote for them is to vote for their own self-destruction.” —Darrell B. Harrison
Responding to claims that it is blocking flights carrying Americans and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from leaving Mazar-i-Sharif (MAZ) airport in Afghanistan, the Biden administration’s State Department reportedly admitted that it has few resources available to facilitate the evacuation and that they have no “reliable” information about the trapped flights.
As the Daily Wire noted Sunday, there are conflicting reports as to who is preventing planes carrying individuals rescued by a non-governmental organization (NGO) from taking off from MAZ.
Individuals associated with an organization handling the flights that the State Department is the only obstacle to the chartered planes leaving the airport, but sources close to the situation told the Daily Wire Sunday that while the State Department is not negotiating landing zones, the Taliban is also making significant demands, effectively creating a “hostage situation” on the ground in Afghanistan.
A State Department official, however, told the Washington Free Beacon, that the State Department’s hands are tied, and that they have no resources on the ground to assist or even to provide reliable information on the passengers.
“We do not have personnel on the ground, we do not have air assets in the country, we do not control the airspace—whether over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region,” the official told the Free Beacon. “We understand the concern that many people are feeling as they try to facilitate further charter and other passage out of Afghanistan.”
A spokesman added that, “[g]iven these constraints, we also do not have a reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights, including who may be organizing them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on-board, the accuracy of the rest of the manifest, and where they plan to land, among many other issues.”
The Taliban, of course, said that it has no idea what is going on.
“This is not true. Our Mujahideen have nothing to do with ordinary Afghans. This is propaganda and we reject it,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the BBC.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who has been keeping a close eye on the effort to evacuate Americans trapped in Afghanistan, and says he’s received classified briefings on the situation at MAZ, confirmed to Fox News Sunday that the “Taliban want something in exchange,” per the Free Beacon.
“McCaul has been tracking the situation and says the State Department cleared these flights to leave, but that the Taliban is responsible for stopping them. The State Department reportedly confirmed to Congress that flights from Mazar-i-Sharif are being held until the Taliban gives its approval,” the Free Beacon noted.
Individiuals associated with the NGO organizing the flights told media Sunday that there are both Americans and LPRs waiting to leave Afghanistan and put the number of Americans at around a dozen. The State Department said it could not confirm that number.
A source told the Daily Wire that the Taliban appears to be requesting “tens of millions.”
The Biden administration has, over the past several days, been operating as though the crisis in Afghanistan is over, but it appears some aspects of the crisis in Afghanistan could be just beginning.
On this week’s broadcast of FNC’s “The Next Revolution,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) argued given the calamitous fall of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Central Asian country, President Joe Biden had failed the “commander-in-chief test.”