“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
GOP Governors are already telling their attorneys general to prepare for battle against Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vax mandate.
Joe Biden on Thursday declared war on the unvaccinated and threatened GOP governors when he announced a new federal vaccine mandate.
Federal workers will be forced to take the Covid jab under Biden’s new order.
Additionally, businesses with 100+ employees will be forced to either test workers or prove they are vaccinated.
GOP Governors across the country are already preparing litigation over Biden’s new mandate.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said his office is “preparing litigation.”
“My office will vigorously oppose any attempt by the federal gov to mandate vaccines,” O’Connor said. “We are preparing litigation to stand up for our rights and defend the rule of law against the overreach of the federal government.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said he told his state’s Attorney General “to stand prepared to take all actions to oppose this administration’s unconstitutional overreach of executive power. It has no place in America.”
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said he will fight Biden “to the gates of hell” to protect liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said he will “pursue every legal option available” to stop Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts released a statement vowing to fight Joe Biden’s mandate:
“President Biden’s announcement is a stunning violation of personal freedom and abuse of the federal government’s power,” said Governor Ricketts. “This plan isn’t about public health – this is about government control and taking away personal liberties.”
“Americans, not the federal government, are responsible for taking charge of their personal health. It is not the role of the federal government to mandate their choices. Nebraska will stand up to President Biden’s overreach, and we will be working with the Attorney General to explore all our options.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said his attorney general is already working to halt Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.
South Dakota Governor Krisi Noem vowed to fight Biden, “See you in court”
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Biden has no authority to require Americans inject themselves and said the mandate is “unconstitutional.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said Arizona will not stand for Biden’s overreach.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson said his administration will fight back against Biden’s power grab.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey surprisingly shot back at Joe Biden on Thursday.
Idaho Governor Brad Little released a very weak statement in response to Biden’s unconstitutional mandates.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is also preparing to sue the Biden Administration.
Kamala Harris on Thursday met with abortion providers from Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky and New Mexico at the White House to discuss Texas’ new “heartbeat” abortion law.
Speaking on abortion, Harris said state legislatures cannot circumvent the US Constitution.
Harris told reporters at the White House the right of women to make decisions about their bodies is non-negotiable.
“When people are able to make choices without government interference for themselves in terms of their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their family, in consultation with whomever they may choose, we’re a stronger society,” said Harris.
If the Christian church is to have any hope of reversing this decline in biblical beliefs, it must make solid biblical theology a central focus of its preaching. Biblical theology is not something that can be absorbed via osmosis – it must be taught, intentionally and incrementally.
A newly released American study draws attention to a “striking decline” in traditional biblical beliefs among those who claim to be evangelicals. The study by Probe Ministries discovered that 60% of those claiming to be ‘born again’ Christians in America, aged between 18 and 39, believe that Buddha and Muhammad are equally valid paths to salvation. Furthermore, 30% say that Jesus was not perfect and probably sinned.
Similar erosion of traditional beliefs was also noted in regard to morality. Only 16% of evangelicals surveyed indicated a belief in the objective, absolute nature of biblical morals.
What is particularly disturbing about these latest findings is the decline that is apparent when the current results are compared to an identical study conducted by the same organisation ten years earlier. When their 2010 study is compared to this latest study, a marked decline can be seen across all major aspects of traditional evangelical beliefs and values.
For example, belief in the accuracy and inspiration of the Bible, the divinity of Christ and the perfect nature of God fell from 47% in 2010 to 25% in 2020 – and this is among supposed born again Christians. Similarly, adherence to traditional Christian moral standards fell from 32% in 2010 to a mere 16% in 2020.
The authors of the study stated,
“This result is a startling degradation in worldview beliefs of born-again Christians over just 10 years.”
What implication does this have for churches?
Significantly, it means that ministers and preachers can no longer assume that the people attending services and listening to their sermons have a biblical worldview. The fundamental biblical beliefs that once defined evangelical Christianity are no longer a ‘given’ among those attending evangelical churches. When a preacher stands to teach from God’s Word, he or she must now contend with a mish-mash of conflicting worldviews among the congregation and a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to biblical theology.
What has led to this dramatic decline in traditional Christian beliefs and values in such a short period of time? There are several factors that are at play here.
Firstly, the decline in fundamental Christian beliefs has occurred hand-in-hand with the decline in solid theological teaching from the pulpit during the same period of time. The typical sermon over the last few decades has shifted away from the exposition of meaty biblical theology to a more ‘me-focussed’ pop gospel that centres around finding one’s fulfilment and living a successful life.
Once he realized that the Primary Axiom is indefensible, he had to reevaluate his entire worldview. He started off coming to the conclusion that there must be a Creator, and then he began submitting to Jesus. He left Cornell University specifically because the academic environment was hostile to Christian values, but he has not stopped using his scientific talents. He continues to publish in the peer-reviewed literature, doing original research that demonstrates how indefensible the Primary Axiom is (see here, here, and here, for example). He is also president of Logos Research Associates, which is focused on original scientific research related to the field of origins.
I was totally sold on evolution. It was my religion; it defined how I saw everything, it was my value system and my reason for being.
In his incredible book, Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Human Genome, he tells the reader some of what led him to change his mind. He defines the “Primary Axiom” as the belief that man is merely the product of random mutations plus natural selection. He then writes:
Late in my career, I did something which for a Cornell Professor would seem unthinkable. I began to question the Primary Axiom. I did this with great fear and trepidation. By doing this, I knew I would be at odds with the most “sacred cow” within modern academia…To my own amazement, I gradually realized that the seemingly “great and unassailable fortress” which has been built up around the Primary Axiom is really a house of cards. The Primary Axiom is actually an extremely vulnerable theory – in fact, it is essentially indefensible. Its apparent invincibility derives largely from bluster, smoke, and mirrors. (2nd edition, p. vi)
Then it must be time for more Monday Morning MemesTM!
Won’t it be nice when this listicle ceases to be relevant, and all these tropes can finally become yesterday’s news? For a while I’ve dared to hope this might happen. The feeling sort of crept up on me.
Perhaps I’m being silly, but I hope you’ve felt this creeping hope too. It might be the best (and only?) way to counteract all this creeping fear!
Yes we have actually got to the place with all the hysteria and fear over this virus that the traditional understanding of sin and salvation are now being thrown in the air. You may have thought that there are no new sins – just the plain old standard ones like murder, theft, lying, etc. Well, it seems that some folks have managed to create a whole new sin: the sin of being unvaccinated.
Sadly we have gotten to the place where some believers are basically arguing that fully submitting to medical mandates is somehow tied in with being a good Christian. Indeed, one wonders if some of these folks now believe this to be a requirement for salvation!
Two millennia ago the Apostle Paul had to chew out the Galatians because they were adding to the gospel. They wanted to add works of the law to their salvation by grace through faith. Paul asked them: ‘Who has bewitched you?’ (Gal. 3:1).
There have always been temptations to add to the gospel and to make salvation dependent upon various works that we might perform. Now we have those who have hesitancy about various health mandates being viewed as subpar Christians – maybe not even Christians at all.
If you have questions about the efficacy of masks, or lockdowns, or the new Covid vaccines, you are looked at like some sort of despicable heathen. You are treated with contempt by some of these ‘Christians’ as they try to make you feel like you cannot possibly be saved. You are now a heretic who dares to differ from this New Gospel of theirs.
In the old days one could ask if a person was actually saved if they had not been baptised or who had not done certain religious works. Now we have a new test for Christian orthodoxy. And we have the zealous Covid evangelists preaching their gospel to the unclean unconverted. Sadly I have had to deal with many of these evangelical Pharisees.
I know of too many of these folks who are utterly obsessed with the Rona jab, and they spend all their time attacking and denouncing any believer who dares to ask honest questions and show the least bit of hesitancy about them. They are convinced that we are all evil, deluded conspiracy theorists who must repent and get saved – saved to the New Covid Vaccine Gospel.
This shocking new development should greatly bother every true Christian out there. And some are speaking out. Sydney church leaders like Archbishop Anthony Fisher of the Catholic Church and Archbishop Kanishka Raffel of the Anglican Church have both taken a strong stance against this.
The latter for example said this: “Jesus is Lord of all, and his gospel is a gospel for all. A ‘No Entry’ sign at the door of the church is wholly inconsistent with the gospel preached inside. Neither race, gender, ethnicity, age, nor economic or educational status – or vaccination status – are to operate as divisions within the Christian community or barriers to the fellowship we share because of Jesus.” sydneyanglicans.net/news/consultations-begin-on-post-lockdown-plans
A Scottish pastor, now based in Sydney, David Robertson, recently wrote a piece on these issues that is worth quoting from:
Getting vaccinated may be an act of love (although it could just as easily be an act of fear, self-preservation or guilt), but love is never compelled by law.
Those who are vaccinated are protected against the virus. Granted it may not fully protect them from getting or passing on Covid, but the evidence so far suggests that it greatly diminishes the possibility of serious illness or death. Therefore, if you are protected from the virus, why are you scared of other people, who through their own choice, have decided not to take it? If you fear the vaccine does not work, then why did you take it, and why insist that everyone else you meet has to take it? The Church cannot be bullied by irrational people who demand that others should be excluded in order to cater for their fears.
If we want to insist on total safety, then we should probably close down all public worship gatherings. That way we would ensure that no-one ever caught anything from another person in church. Plus, think of the lives that would be saved by not travelling or risking going outside – where there may be a lion! (Proverbs 22:13 “the sluggard says, ‘there is a lion outside! I shall be killed on the streets.”)
As for the public witness, the Church is not a business, and we are not so much concerned for our own reputation as others. I remember once being told that our church welcoming down and outs was a bad witness because it encouraged ‘these sort of people’ into ‘our’ streets. Do we really want to go down that route? Businesses may choose to exclude – does that mean churches should follow suit? Perhaps our new Woke Jesus says, “come to me, all you who are weary and vaccinated, and I will give you rest…and yea, the unvaccinated shall be cast into outer darkness”?
A few years ago, a young couple came into our church, weathered and bruised by drugs. The first thing they said to me was, “Hi, we’ve got Aids, can we come in?”. Maybe for the ‘safety’ of the congregation I should have said no? Instead, we said, ‘of course’ and we welcomed them, the same as we would welcome anyone else. There may be circumstances where refusing entrance to a sinner into a church could be right, but these are few and far between, and certainly do not include the sin of refusing to be vaccinated!
But what about the government ordering us? Don’t we have to obey government? Are there no limits to that? It may be that in an authoritarian tyranny we don’t have any other option. We are not under that kind of State – although the signs are that we are heading in that direction.
However, while we are part of what remains of Western Christian-based democracies, we need to remind the State that it is not absolute. There is a line. When the State tells the Church who can and who cannot come to church, we simply say ‘no’. Thus far and no further; you are way over the line.
Churches need to be preparing and campaigning on this now. It will be too late when the enabling laws are passed. (I note that as I write this the Anglican and Roman Catholic archbishops of Sydney have both expressed their opposition to mandating vaccination in order for people to attend places of worship).
We must tell government now that there are no circumstances in which we will obey any government dictate which tells us how, when and who can worship. The spiritual independence of the Church, and the Headship of Christ over the Church, is the principle on which my denomination, the Free Church of Scotland, was founded. It is one we should not give up.
Whatever our church, surely if all Christians stood together and declared we will not give to Nicola, Boris, Joe, and Scott what is Christ’s, then our governments would have to listen. Or have we already gone too far down the rabbit hole? theweeflea.com/2021/09/04/vaccine-passports-for-church-ct/
Terrific stuff David. Well said. Let me offer one final word here. In a great article titled “Will the Unvaccinated Be Saved?” Jane Stannus discusses these matters. She concludes with these words:
“Unleashing a panicky witch hunt on the unvaccinated wouldn’t just be cruel and illogical. It would, and already has, set child against parent, brother against sister, neighbor against neighbor, worker against worker. It is an act of violence against the fabric of society—a greater evil, it seems to me, than the shared suffering of disease.” http://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/will-the-unvaccinated-be-saved
Beware those who come to you preaching another gospel.
No word better describes the prophet Daniel. Believers have long marveled at his willingness to boldly endure a night in the presence of hungry lions—knowing that death was a likely outcome—because he esteemed God over man.
There is a simple moral in Daniel’s story: stand for God, no matter the consequences.
And the application seems obvious. Have the same courage as the prophet. Don’t compromise your convictions, even if death is the result. Of course, following Daniel’s example isn’t always as simple. That kind of conviction can be costly, and oftentimes dangerous. Daniel-like courage can come at the price of life itself, and who is willing to pay that?
To understand why Daniel had such courage—and how we can as well—we need to understand that the fuel for Daniel’s courage was not his convictions. It was the God he served.
Obviously, Daniel was a man of conviction. However, he didn’t build those convictions himself. Instead, he saw the will and work of God in him and all around him.
True and experiential knowledge of who God is and what He’s doing transformed Daniel.
Our pagan society—our modern-day Babylon—is not all that different than the society of Daniel’s day. Twenty-first century believers have much in common with the people of God in the ancient world. We too are aliens in a foreign, pagan land. We too are asked to compromise our beliefs, pledge allegiance to men over God, and forsake our devotion to our Heavenly King. And if we are to share Daniel’s resolve, we must draw our courage from the same source he did. The stories we tell about this great man of God are less about the man and more about his God. Though the call to be courageous and faithful can be difficult, it is not impossible because it is not dependent on our strength. Our courage can be the same as Daniel’s because our God is his God.
In this article, I will share three encouragements for a courageous life that can anchor our gospel courage not in ourselves, but in the gracious and generous God who grants deep-rooted convictions and life-long faithfulness.
God Establishes Where We are Planted
The book of Daniel begins by describing the tragic fall of the Jewish people into the hands of the Babylonians (606-605 BC). The narrative describes a complete takeover by a king, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who believes he defeated Yahweh Himself when he transported “vessels of the house of God… to the house of his god, and the vessels into the treasury of his god” (Dan. 1:2).
Having seemingly stripped the Jewish people of their God, Nebuchadnezzar then asked and demanded whatever he wanted of them. He drafts the sons of Israel into his personal service (Dan. 1:3-5), and he educates these Hebrew boys in the customs and systems of Babylon. He even administers name changes that disassociate these men from their heritage and instead assimilate them into a new, pagan culture. Given those circumstances, Daniel would have had every reason to be broken, distressed, or indignant. But that is not the case because Daniel recognizes God’s providence in his life. Daniel 1:2 holds the key to Daniel’s courage in a hostile environment. It says the chaos, the loss of a home, the dominance of a foreign power, the need to assimilate to a new culture were ordained by God Himself. “The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him” (Dan. 1:2). What Nebuchadnezzar never imagined was that his conquest of God’s people fit perfectly into the will and purposes designed by God for His people.
The world did not slip out of God’s grasp in Daniel’s day. Neither has it today. In God’s wisdom, he always plants his people in fertile soil where they can live and minster with courage. What good is courage if it is unnecessary? When the world seems most against God’s people, His servants have the greatest opportunity to show that they are people of conviction and supernatural boldness. While the nations rage, the King of heaven laughs and scoffs (Ps. 2:1-4). Thus, God’s people neither tremble nor fear. If God has brought us here, He will see us through.
The present age has grown increasingly tumultuous, and at times, it can be tempting to think the church’s future is bleak.
But before losing heart or becoming desperate, remember that even today belongs God. He has given it to us so that we might boldly prove to be His.
God Encourages Those Who Risk it All
As a young man in a foreign land, Daniel accepted much in his new way of life. He endured three years of re-education, learned a new language, and even embraced a name change. But he could not adopt everything that came with this life makeover. When offered the delicacies of the king’s table, “Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself with the king’s choice foods or the wine which he drank” (Dan. 1:8).
In part, Daniel’s stand had to do with food devoted to pagan idols. Partaking would equate with acknowledging the gods of Babylon. It is also likely that the food from the king’s table would have veered away from Jewish dietary restrictions (Lev. 11). Certainly, Daniel did not want to break God’s law. But even more so, he wanted to show the world where his allegiance was. His plan to go vegan (kidding) instead of enjoying the king’s buffet was a declaration of his dependence on God rather than the self-proclaimed god of Babylon.
The beauty of this story is that God honors Daniel’s resolve.
The young man committed himself to the Lord, and for that, he and his friends became stronger and better in appearance than the king’s other servants (Dan. 1:14-16). Despite his rebellious request, he found favor in the sight of those meant to rule over him. God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the hearts of his enemies (Dan. 1:9).
Our faith is tempted daily in this modern-day Babylon. The people of God are still enticed to dine in the world’s luxurious market rather than the Lord’s generous table. But only those resolved to honor God are honored in the end.
This world’s goods are going to expire. The Lord’s bread lasts forever.
Daniel was bold because he did not fear death. We can be bold because true and eternal life awaits. We, like that great prophet, must live committed to what the Savior preached: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).
Those who fear God have no need to fear anything else. And those who walk in the fear of the Lord walk in the path of God’s favor, one that chiefly promises life everlasting (Prov. 8:32-36). The world can neither tamper nor thwart what God has promised His people. Because eternal life is ours, we can boldly stand in our convictions.
God Enables His People for a Lifetime
It is worth noting how the first chapter of Daniel ends. After the young man was taken from his home, placed into captivity where his life was at stake, and thereafter rewarded along with his friends for his allegiance to the Lord, the text says “And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king” (Dan. 1:21). God’s provision was not a one-time event. He enabled Daniel to serve him faithfully over a long period of time, and under multiple kings.
Cyrus was not king at the beginning of this story. He would not enter the scene until 539 BC when his forces conquered the Babylonians. When King Cyrus arrived in that land, he found an old Jewish sage who, for almost 70 years, continued to faithfully devote Himself to his God in a foreign, pagan land.
So often believers live as though they will need courage “one of these days.” We look and perceive that the battle is far off, so our guards are down and our training for war fades. But the courage needed on the day of combat will not be there if we do not deepen our convictions right now.
The message in Daniel is that we cannot wait and see if we will have courage when it is most needed. A faithful life develops one day at a time.
If we are to stand for God one day, we must deepen our relationship and devotion to Him today. The one who faithfully commits himself to the Lord, frequently basking and worshipping God for His character and testimony, will be ready to withstand the world’s pressure whenever it comes. Daniel was found faithful in the end because he was dependent from the beginning. Those who depend greatly are built up to endure the test of time (Matt. 24:13).
Courage for Today
The courage that sustained Daniel is still offered to His people today. Over the last several years, it has been a joy and privilege to benefit firsthand from the preaching and pastoral care of Pastor John MacArthur. I often wonder how he does it, and how he keeps doing it. Fifty-two years of faithful ministry, week-after-week, Sunday-after-Sunday, verse-by-verse, preaching the Word of God and equipping godly men with the tools needed to unearth the treasures in Scripture. And he does all this in a world that has grown increasingly hostile, dismissive, and ambivalent toward the gospel of Christ.
Repeatedly during this unique season, I think of two words that Pastor John has often said when thinking through the reason he can stand so boldly for Christ and His church:
Those we admire as courageous derive their boldness from assurance. Surety breeds confidence. If we are to be encouraged at all to stand for truth in the fullness of conviction until our dying breath, let us gaze, wonder, and worship the God who is true and whose promises are sure.
Waiting for God’s Providence Psalm 5:3; 33:20; 130:5–6; Lamentations 3:25
I will charge my soul to believe and to wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Be Assured That the Son Protects His Sheep Luke 12:32; John 10:27–28
If, in these distracted and warring times, we see states blaze up and fall to ruin, then look away to the Son of God, who stands in the secret counsel of the Godhead and guards His little flock and carries the weak lambs, as it were, in His own hands. Be persuaded that by Him you also shall be protected and upheld.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities (Psalm 130).
How are you feeling today? The ‘depths’ and the difficulties that the psalmist faced caused him to cry out to the Lord and we can do the same. You may be facing all sorts of problems: health worries, financial difficulties, anxieties over loved ones, or uncertainties about the future. We can bring all of these to God, but what is your biggest problem?
We shouldn’t be taking the current situation lightly, but Covid-19 is not the biggest problem that you and I are facing. Don’t get me wrong, Covid-19 is serious and we need to heed the warnings and follow the instructions of the government carefully, but this psalm also reminds us that there is a bigger danger.
We are sinners and as the first part of this psalm explains, this puts us in the terrible situation of being the enemies of God, the one who made Heaven and earth and is perfectly holy in every way. If the Lord were to mark our iniquities, who could stand? Not you nor I, we would all be rightly condemned for our evil hearts and living our lives in direct contradiction to how God created us to be. We would have no hope, and face an eternity in hell without our Creator and every good thing he has created.
With God there is forgiveness. God loved you and me so much that he sent his only Son to do what we couldn’t do and live the perfect life of obedience that God rightly demanded. He then died on the cross, taking the punishment we deserve as the Father turned his face away from him. He endured God’s wrath on Calvary and then came back to life again three days later, breaking the power of death and offering new life to all who believe in him.
My dear friend – have you been saved? Have you turned to Christ in faith and asked him for forgiveness? If you are a child of God your biggest problem is no more!
You may be feeling worried today, perhaps you are worrying about coming out of lockdown, or perhaps you have a difficult family or health concern, but this psalm gives us perspective. As a child of God, you are safe and free! The biggest problem and danger you have ever faced has been dealt with, and you have a glorious future as you safely travel home to your Father’s arms.
As Paul said in Romans 8:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).
Wait for the Lord
The first part of Psalm 130 is truly wonderful as we see the reality of the forgiveness that a child of God experiences, but what about those times when God feels far away and we don’t have instant answers to our prayers? What about the times that we have to wait for the Lord?
As Christians, there are certain things that we don’t need to wait for: our salvation is secure and we can enjoy full acceptance and access to God through Jesus Christ. However, in this world, there will always be an element of waiting as Paul said:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).
Difficult times and uncertainties can test our faith and can cause us to question the goodness and sovereignty of God, but we are told to wait and hope. This waiting and hoping is not done as a pie in the sky kind of hope in a religious system. It’s not rooted in our own ability to keep going. No, we wait for the Lord and hope in his Word, and that is real hope!
The Lord will not let us down; his love is steadfast and his redemption is real and effective; Christ was, and is, a real man; the cross was real and the resurrection really happened, therefore we have certainty that the same power works in us for the glory of God. Christ is now in Heaven, interceding for us and the same hands that were crucified for you and me are now working everything out for our good and for his glory.
So today, wait for the Lord. Let your soul wait and hope for him even more than the watchmen wait for the morning. The night may be dark and uncertain, but as the watchmen knew that the morning was coming, we know that our Lord and Saviour is coming!
But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. (Isaiah 33:21)
The Lord will be to us the greatest good without any of the drawbacks which seem necessarily to attend the best earthly things. If a city is favored with broad rivers, it is liable to be attacked by galleys with oars and other ships of war. But when the Lord represents the abundance of His bounty under this figure, He takes care expressly to shut out the fear which the metaphor might suggest. Blessed be His perfect love!
Lord, if Thou send me wealth like broad rivers, do not let the galley with oars come up in the shape of worldliness or pride. If Thou grant me abundant health and happy spirits, do not let “the gallant ship” of carnal ease come sailing up the flowing flood. If I have success in holy service, broad as the German Rhine, yet let me never find the galley of self-conceit and self-confidence floating on the waves of my usefulness. Should I be so supremely happy as to enjoy the light of Thy countenance year after year, yet let me never despise Thy feeble saints, nor allow the vain notion of my own perfection to sail up the broad rivers of my full assurance. Lord, give me that blessing which maketh rich and neither addeth sorrow nor aideth sin.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. – John 15:4
Scripture reading: Nahum 2:1-2 & John 15:1-13
The interplay of two names for the people of God is significant. It is easy to read a passage and miss this. In our short verse the elect are called Jacob and then Israel. When you read Genesis, you learn that Jacob is a sneaky deceiver. Though he is of the chosen line which will lead to Jesus, he is not an honourable person. Just before Jacob, now married and the father of many children, returns from a distant land to his parents, he encounters a stranger who wrestles with him. The reader learns this is a striving with God. Jacob’s name is changed by this encounter. The LORD calls him Israel. This means he strived, or he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:22-32).
Why does this matter? When a person encounters God, the LORD of heaven and earth, he will be changed. Some, like the people of Nineveh, hear and ultimately reject the revelation of God. Others, like Jacob, are transformed by the encounter. Israel will be restored in majesty and Nineveh will be a pruned branch destined for destruction. Though earlier generations had responded to the word, the nation has ultimately rejected the Vinedresser.
The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as the true vine. Those who reject Jesus prove this by their words and life, and are cut off and burned. Those who believe in Him are grafted into Him. They may experience hardship, a pruning, but this will be for greater fruitfulness. The greatest evidence of fruitfulness is love for God and love for one another.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God, our Father, for His attentiveness and mercy so that His people bear fruit; pray for our nation, that her leaders may heed the warning to be fruitful for the glory of Christ our True King.
Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” — 2 Corinthians 4:18
What do you see most clearly today? Is it what is seen or what is unseen? No matter our belief system, we ultimately have to trust what we can’t see. Even the most atheistic scientist trusts gravity, breathes air, and depends upon principles s/he cannot see until they produce results in the tangible world of human perception. But as Christians, we don’t believe the seen world is as real as the unseen world. The seen world is subject to death, disease, disaster, decay, disorder, and death. I don’t know about you, but if it isn’t any more permanent than that, it’s not very real. I want something to hang on to. That requires I look past the seen to find my Father who is unseen. He is the one who guarantees the unseen!
Eternal Father and God of all peoples, help me see more clearly the spiritual, eternal, and real world of the unseen. I am not seeking novelty, nor am I on some quest for the bizarre. I only want to know you, your truth, and your character so I may more appropriately display them to others and help them come find you in the world of the unseen. Please grant me greater success at reaching others, to your glory. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
“As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs.” Psalm 84:6 (NIV)
Our faith isn’t made only for the mountaintop experiences.
Sometimes we pass through dry seasons and valleys in our journey. It is in the valley that we discover what our faith is made of. Can it survive when we have to walk it out, day by day, even when the height of experience attained on the mountain is merely a memory?
When the Israelites left Egypt, they were thrilled to move into the promise of a better future. But they had scarcely left, or they began to complain. They’d forgotten God’s faithfulness and provision and they had lost sight of the promise. When God gives us a promise, rarely are we transported there instantly. We always need to walk it out. It is in the journey that character is revealed and built. We all need to pass through the valley. What makes the difference, however, is how we pass through. Our heart attitude determines whether we spend 40 days or 40 years in the desert.
Where are you at in your journey?
How are you turning your valley into a place of springs? May you always find the treasure of Jesus in the midst of your own valley.
I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Sin in Speaking Builds Gradually Psalm 34:13; Matthew 12:33–35; 15:10–11; Mark 7:14–15; Luke 6:43–45; James 3:2–12
Say to your tongue: Speak no more evil. For your tongue is as a great rock that rolls from the summit of a mountain, and at first falls slowly, then ever faster and more furiously. It begins with gentle murmuring, then it utters small sins, and then greater, until it finally breaks forth in open blasphemy.
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The Six Largest Wall Street Banks Issue Market Red Alerts Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse And Goldman Sachs. These are some of the biggest Wall Street banks that have issued “red alert” warnings on the US stock market in just the past few days, with some expecting an imminent correction of 10-20%, while others expect a slow burning drift lower over the next few months. Below we summarize the highlights of their surprisingly downbeat views.
Documents Show Fauci-Funded Wuhan Lab Created Novel Coronavirus with ‘Enhanced Pathogenicity’ for Humans Newly released U.S. government documents show that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provided funding for the gain-of-function research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that created novel coronaviruses with the ability to infect humans, and one previously undisclosed SARS-related coronavirus engineered at the Wuhan lab was reportedly demonstrated to be more pathogenic to humans than the virus from which it was originally constructed.
British researchers say pro-Russian influence operation targets US, western news websites The websites of several prominent Western news outlets have been targeted by a pro-Russian influence operation that uses the websites’ comment sections to distort public opinion, research conducted in Britain shows. The study by Cardiff University’s Crime and Security Research Institute found pro-Russian comments often receive an unusually high number of favorable responses. These comments in turn are fed back to Russian-language media outlets and used as the basis for stories to suggest Western public approval of Kremlin policies or discontent with Western governments or institutions.
China discussing takeover of major US military base abandoned in Afghanistan The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study for a potential takeover of the major airfield, according to a source briefed on the plans by Chinese military officials who then spoke to U.S. News & World Report on condition of anonymity. Sources familiar with the alleged Chinese military discussions also told India’s Daily Pioneer that Chinese officials held a meeting with top Taliban leaders to discuss the possible takeover of Bagram Airfield.
Excessive Heat For the West Continues Heat alerts have been issued across parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, where high temperatures could reach between 105 – 116° F. Additional heat alerts are likely to be issued in the days ahead around the region.
Tropical Storm Mindy Forms in the Gulf of Mexico Tropical Storm Mindy (formally Invest 91-L) formed Wednesday afternoon in the Gulf of Mexico with sustained winds of 40 mph. The path takes Mindy east over the Panhandle of Florida through the weekend. Locally heavy rain, gusty winds and isolated tornadoes are anticipated.
Afghan’s last Jew leaves country after previously refusing to The last remaining Jew in Afghanistan, 62-year-old Zebulon Simantov, has fled the country. Simantov previously refused an offer to be rescued after the American withdrawal left the country in the hands of the Taliban. But according to reports on Tuesday, Simantov crossed the border to a neighboring country over the weekend. Apparently he is headed to the United States instead of Israel.
I’m “furious” over “inexcusable” abandonment of Americans, allies in Afghanistan, says … Senate Dem If Joe Biden has lost Richard Blumenthal … then who’s left? The progressive Senate Democrat from deep-blue Connecticut went out of his way to blast Joe Biden and his administration yesterday afternoon for the “inexcusable” abandonment of Americans and allies in Afghanistan. The Armed Services Committee member made clear his fury and precisely where it’s aimed, even if Blumenthal didn’t mention Biden by name
Blinken warns: U.S. close to giving up on Iran deal “I’m not going to put a date on it but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA does not reproduce the benefits that that agreement achieved,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Wednesday, sending out a warning to the Islamic Republic following a scathing report by the IAEA.
Saudi Arabia welcomes release of classified documents of Sept 11 attacks Saudi Arabia’s embassy to the US welcomed on Wednesday the release of classified documents relating to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. The embassy said in a statement that “any allegation that Saudi Arabia is complicit in the September 11 attacks is categorically false.”
Inmates riot across prisons in Israel as manhunt for escaped prisoners continues Security prisoners rioted in jails across Israel as tensions escalate following the escape of six prisoners from Gilboa Prison using a tunnel they dug in their cell. The rioting prisoners, mainly belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, set fire to cells in Ketziot, Ramon and Ofer prisons on Wednesday after Prison Service Commissioner Katy Perry placed new restrictions on inmates and moved over 400 prisoners in order to ensure that only one PIJ prisoner would be in a cell at a time.
New Zealand, Cyprus to boycott Durban IV conference due to antisemitic stance New Zealand and Cyprus will not take part in this month’s event marking 20 years since the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, which was marked with antisemitism and anti-Israel statements. “New Zealand remains strongly committed to combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington said on Thursday.
EU lists rare nerve disorder as possible side-effect of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Europe’s medicines regulator has added an extremely rare nerve-damaging disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as a possible side-effect of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, regular safety updates from the watchdog showed on Wednesday. The European Medicines Agency said a causal relationship between GBS and the AstraZeneca shot, known as Vaxzevria, was “at least a reasonable possibility” after 833 cases of GBS were reported…
Palestinians riot in W. Bank, Jerusalem in solidarity with Gilboa Palestinians numbering in the hundreds clashed with Israeli troops in the West Bank and east Jerusalem overnight Wednesday, firing at IDF troops in Ramallah, after Palestinian inmates rioted across Israeli prisons in the wake of the Gilboa prison breakout. On Wednesday night, demonstrators clashed with Israeli forces near the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus while other incidents occurred across the West Bank…
Severe floods hit Agen after two months’ worth of rain in just 3 hours, France Lot-et-Garonne Department in southwest France was hit by record-breaking rainfall on September 8, 2021, inundating streets of the city of Agen with more than 2 m (6.6 feet) of water. According to Meteo France, La Garenne station in Agen recorded 128.8 mm (5.07 inches) of rain between 19:00 and 22:00 LT on September 8, with as much as 80.5 mm (3.16 inches) in just one hour.
“The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” —George Washington (1796)
DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING PART 1 (0:0 – 10:24):
Court Rules Against Catholic School’s Firing of a Gay Teacher — Warning Every Religious Institution of the Inevitable Clash of the Sexual Revolution and Religious Liberty
America’s biggest media outlets refused to cover the news this week that the US funded bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology years before the Covid-19 pandemic – a fact Dr. Anthony Fauci has denied.
More than 900 documents were obtained by The Intercept, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that revealed the NIH gave millions of dollars in grants to the US NGO EcoHealth Alliance. Nearly $600,000 was used at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, at least partially “to identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans.”
“Even before the pandemic, many scientists were concerned about the potential dangers associated with such experiments,” The Intercept reported, publishing quotes from several people concerned about the relation between the research and the health crisis affecting the world today.
The grant used to research bat coronaviruses was active between 2014 and 2019. Former president Donald Trump shut down a decision to renew the funding in 2020, after Covid-19 became a global pandemic.
Also on rt.com
Despite the newsworthiness of The Intercept’s bombshell report, the US’ largest media outlets – including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC – failed to air or publish any coverage. Fox News on Thursday scanned through transcripts from CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC News and found the report had not even been mentioned this week. Similarly, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, Axios, USA Today, and even the Associated Press failed to report on the concerning development online.
“Shame on the other networks and print news. It seems they don’t like reporting the truth,”protested one American on social media, arguing that the story was even “bigger than Watergate.”
“If corporate media doesn’t acknowledge, did it really happen?”questioned another person, while others accused the media organizations that omitted the report of being “propaganda outlets” that wanted to suppress the truth.
Conservatives questioned whether National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) President Dr. Anthony Fauci had lied to Congress about the NIH’s funding of Wuhan coronavirus research. Fauci has repeatedly denied the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its sub-institute, the NIAID, funded gain-of-function research since he was grilled about the matter by Republican Senator Rand Paul in May.
Fauci told Paul the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” to which Paul responded with the warning that “it is a crime to lie to Congress.”
Also on rt.com
On Tuesday, following the release of The Intercept’s report, Paul tweeted, “Surprise, surprise – Fauci lied again… And I was right about his agency funding novel coronavirus research at Wuhan.”
Whether the COVID-19 virus escaped from a Chinese research lab, or whether it was deliberately released, isn’t the most important thing to note about the issue that unlikely will ever be fully answered, based on China’s refusal to cooperate with international health interests.
What is important is to see what China has learned from the episode, according to China expert Gordon G. Chang, who wrote a column at Gatestone Institute, where he is a distinguished senior fellow.
And that would be the benefits to the Chinese Communist Party when such pathogens attack other nations’ economies.
That’s because it uses a framework called Comprehensive National Power to assess nations, and COVID taught that it could gain influence if its CNP rating was increased – or if that of other nations was degraded.
“If Chinese leaders realize they have an epidemic on their hands that will lower China’s CNP, it is logical to turn that epidemic into a pandemic by restricting the spread domestically while not stopping the spread internationally,” reported Cleo Paskal, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, documented. “That way, China’s CNP might be lowered, but so will everyone else’s, and China’s relative ranking won’t be affected, in fact, it might even improve.”
The goal then would be, Chang explained, for Chinese scientists to design pathogens targeting only foreigners.
We have often discussedthe increasing bias and advocacy in major media in the United States. While cable networks have long catered to political audiences on the left or right, mainstream newspapers and networks now openly frame news to fit a political narrative. With the exception of Fox and a couple of other smaller news outlets, that slant is heavily to the left. What is most striking about this universal shift toward advocacy journalism (including at journalism schools) is that there is no evidence that it is a sustainable approach for the media as an industry. While outfits like NPR allow reporters to actually participate in protests and the New York Times sheds conservative opinions, the new poll shows a sharp and worrisome division in trust in the media. Not surprisingly given the heavy slant of American media, Democrats are largely happy with and trusting of the media. Conversely, Republicans and independents are not. The question is whether the mainstream media can survive and flourish by writing off over half of the country.
The new study from the non-partisan Pew Research Center shows a massive decline in trust among Republicans. Five years ago, 70 percent of Republicans said they had at least some trust in national news organizations. In 2021, that trust is down to just 35 percent.
Conversely, and not surprisingly, 78 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying they have “a lot” or “some” trust in the media. When you just ask liberal Democrats, it jumps to 83 percent.
For those looking for echo-journalism that reaffirms their assumptions, liberals are more likely to realize such confirmation bias on networks and cable programs. For conservatives and others (see below), they are largely limited to looking to Fox News and a couple other sites to get the other side of stories. This has worked incredibly well for Fox which has rivaled the national networks in some time slots. However, it is not good in the long run for American media, which is jettisoning much of the country in its coverage. We need healthy and multiple news outlets to give citizens a reliable and trusted body of journalism.