America Under Democrats: Forcing Americans To Pay For Abortion And Banning Chick-Fil-A — The Federalist

It’s very concerning that so many U.S. lawmakers and elected officials are now ignorant, or maybe just dismissive, of the constitutional rights of those they govern.

Last week, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden changed his position on the Hyde Amendment, joining the other front-runners for his party’s nomination. The amendment, which blocks federal funding for abortions (with a few exceptions), is a critical safeguard in protecting the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans who morally oppose the procedure.

The First Amendment guarantees not only our right to speak freely, it protects other forms of expression like religious practices and personal financial contributions. Our Founders understood this and were careful to make sure our nation’s laws cannot restrict the free practice of religion. Forcing people to fund an act that many faiths prohibit certainly falls within that scope.

It’s very concerning that so many of the candidates seeking the U.S. presidency — and so many of our lawmakers and elected officials — are ignorant, or maybe just dismissive, of the constitutional rights of those they govern. It doesn’t portend well for people of faith in this country, but the reality is, we shouldn’t be surprised that the Hyde Amendment now sits on shaky ground. The far left has been chipping away at First Amendment rights for years.

From college campuses to places of business, the free speech rights of conservatives, in politics and faith, have long been regularly suspended. Just last month, news outlets reported that the University of Chicago is now allowing mandatory student fees to fund abortions on campus. A student government bill to block mandatory student fees from being used in this way was soundly defeated.

According to U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of U.S universities, the University of Chicago ranks third in the nation, behind Princeton and Harvard universities. Given that a portion of U-Chicago’s $1,500 “Student Life Fee” that may be used to fund on-campus abortions is mandatory, pro-life students who wish to attend this prestigious school are therefore forced to violate their consciences.

The trade-off is unfair: we all know that elite schools are influential in future success, from the quality of education to the connections to top jobs and networking. More than unfair, however, this form of bullying is illegal and an underexposed form of violating freedom of speech.

The threat is much broader than on college and university campuses. More and more examples are coming to light that reveal conservative views could lead to individual job loss or restrictions on companies’ ability to do business.

Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich was forced to resign for his private financial contribution in support of the pro-marriage Proposition 8 in 2017 and Linda Bean, the granddaughter of L.L. Bean, endured a similar attack in 2018 when protesters called for her to be removed from the company’s board for her personal contribution to a free-market political action committee. Bean stood up to the bullying, but others lack the power.

We’re learning that conservatives must often hide their political and religious views to protect their jobs. A Google engineer, Michael Wacker, recently published an essay on Medium exposing the restrictions Republicans and Christians must follow, or risk getting fired at this major global tech company. According to Wacker, “these outrage mobs will hunt down any conservative, any Christian, and any independent free thinker at Google who does not bow down to their agenda.” Wacker cites a fellow employee who was reported to HR for a complementary comment about psychologist, professor, and bestselling author Jordan Peterson.

The assault on freedom of speech, and freedom of religion specifically, is particularly striking in light of the double standard. Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, and other celebrity CEOs have been very active in voicing and advancing their political views. Cook even penned an op-ed in the Washington Post opposing religious freedom laws. Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Target, and many other major companies have used their platforms to push leftist values and political views.

At a Bloomberg Global Business Forum in 2017, Apple CEO Cook stated, [p]eople should have values … [c]ompanies are nothing more than a collection of people. So by extension, all companies should have values. As a CEO, I think one of your responsibilities is to decide what the values of your company are and lead accordingly.” Cook’s and his company’s personal political engagement are certainly protected by the First Amendment — and they should be. But we’ve seen that this freedom has only been protected for some companies: those that support  leftism.

Companies guided by Christian values or even companies whose owners hold traditional Christian views separate from business policies, like Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy, have not received the same protections. Small bakeries and pizza shops have been fined or put out of business for their company values, and Chick-fil-A has been discriminated against in cities across America. San Antonio and Buffalo are currently being sued for violating the First Amendment for banning Chick-fil-A from their city’s airports.

Just three years ago, Hillary Clinton said religious “beliefs have to be changed” if they don’t fit political goals, and this cycle’s crop of Democratic presidential hopefuls are doubling down on efforts to remove the barriers that faith poses to political ends. If this doesn’t send chills through the spines of Americans, it should.

This assault threatens the very fabric of the United States of America — an exceptional nation founded on the principle that people are born free and that no government or body may impede that freedom. It’s why our Founders designed a republic rather than a democracy — to protect the minority from “majority rule.”

A cursory study of history and current events shows that religion is the first threat totalitarian governments target for elimination in order to solidify social control. Millions have flocked to the United States because it guarantees rights that make us free individuals, like freedom of religion and conscience.

The United States is a safe haven for so many persecuted groups. It’s sad and alarming to see our own form of persecution rear its head on our land. The threat is real, and the repercussions are visible. We must recognize it when it takes place, expose it, and demand protection for free speech in all of its forms, including religion.

via America Under Democrats: Forcing Americans To Pay For Abortion And Banning Chick-Fil-A — The Federalist

What Is the Orthodox Faith? 9 Facts about the Orthodox Church — Logos Bible Software Blog

Until 1054, there was simply the Church. No Eastern Orthodox Church, no Roman Catholic Church, no Reformation, and no denominations. There were just two large branches of the same tree: the church in the West and the church in the East.

But in 1054, tension between the two came to a head in what is now known as the Great Schism—a split between the two that has yet to be mended. The result was two broad strands of Christianity: the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Here are nine facts about the Eastern Orthodox Church.

1. They split from the West for several reasons

On a basic level (whole books are written on these matters), the divisions between the East and West boiled down to doctrine, culture, and authority.

Though the schism is complex and any simple explanation is bound to miss much of the nuance, some of the primary issues related to:

  • Language differences (Eastern churches used a Greek rite and sacred text while the church centered in Rome used a Latin rite and the Latin Vulgate)
  • The filioque clause, affirmed by the Western church as a part of the creed but denounced by the Council of Constantinople […]1
  • The use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist by Western churches
  • Ecclesiastical authority

The issue of ecclesiastical authority underlies and punctuates the specific doctrinal differences. In 553, John IV, Patriarch of Constantinople, adopted the title Ecumenical Patriarch. The pope objected to this title, arguing that it went beyond the authority and position afforded to the see of Constantinople. In 1054, Pope Leo IX sent a delegation led by Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, O. S. B. to object to the current Patriarch of Constantinople Michael I Cerularius’ use of the title Ecumenical Patriarch and to insist (among other things) that he recognize the pope as the head of the Church (caput et mater ecclesiarum). Cerularius refused and in response Humbert excommunicated him. Cerularius in turn excommunicated Humbert and the rest of the papal legates (notably, though, not Leo IX himself).

It is worth noting that though 1054 is generally held to be the formal date of the schism, there were many subsequent events (such as the crusades) that drove the two sides further apart. Though there were further attempts at reunification (such as the Council of Florence), nothing has been successful.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople lifted the mutual excommunications. However, this was largely symbolic and didn’t resolve the original theological differences or the many doctrinal differences that had accumulated in the previous 1,000 years (especially the effects of scholasticism and the enlightenment on western theology).

2. The Orthodox Church affirms the Nicene Creed, but with one exception

The Orthodox Church affirms the Nicene Creed, but slightly different from the Western church. The Orthodox Creed does not include the phrase “and the son” (Latin filioque). With the filioque clause, this section in the creed reads:

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceedeth from the Father ⟨and the Son⟩.

Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.

Why was this phrase added, and why did the Eastern church object to it?

In an attempt to counter Arian claims that Christ was different from God the Father, a sixth-century church council in Toledo, Spain, added the word filioque to a creed describing the procession of the Holy Spirit. The creed affirmed that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son (John 14:26). The Eastern church objected to this addition, arguing that it exceeded what the Bible said about the procession of the Spirit […].2

3. Orthodox means “straight teaching”

The word Orthodox literally means “straight teaching” or “straight worship,” being derived from two Greek words: orthos, meaning “straight,” and doxa, meaning “teach­ing” or “worship.” As the encroachments of false teaching and division multiplied in early Christian times, threatening to obscure the identity and purity of the Church, the term “Orthodox” quite logically came to be applied to it.

4. The Orthodox Church doesn’t have a pope

Whereas the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome (the pope), resides in the Vatican, the Orthodox Church does not necessarily have one primary leader.

If there were one, though, it would be the Ecumenical Patriarch, the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of Constantinople. He resides in Istanbul, Turkey, and is considered “primus inter pares (first among equals) among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church.”3

The current Ecumenical Patriarch is Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

5. Theosis is a major emphasis of the Orthodox Church

Théosis is becoming like God. It is “is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamartía (“missing the mark”), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation.”4

Athanasius, commenting 2 Peter 1:4, says that theosis is “becoming by grace what God is by nature.” In this way theosis is about more than sanctification; it is participating in the life of God and becoming more like him as we do.

6. The Orthodox Church highly values the Church Fathers

There is a strong sense in which the Orthodox Church sees themselves as the living continuation of the ideas of the Church Fathers, like St. John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus, known as “the three holy hierarchies.” St. John Chrysostom’s Easter homily, for example, is read in many Orthodox churches during the holiday.

7. Orthodox Churches are replete with iconography

Whereas Protestant churches are averse to iconography and images of God in worship, the Orthodox Church gives icons a prominent place in its worship.

The Greek Orthodox Church of America explains the presence of icon in their services this way:

An icon is a holy image which is the distinctive art form of the Orthodox Church. An icon may be a painting of wood, on canvas, a mosaic or a fresco. Occupying a very prominent place in Orthodox worship and theology, icons depict Christ Our Lord, Mary the Theotokos, the saints, and angels. They may also portray events from the Scriptures or the history of the Church, such as the Birth of Christ, the Resurrection, or Pentecost

The icon is not simply decorative, inspirational, or educational. Most importantly, it signifies the presence of the person depicted. The icon is like a window linking heaven and earth.5

8. Many Orthodox Churches lack pews or chairs; worshippers stand during the service.

First-time visitors to Orthodox churches are often surprised not to see pews or chairs in the nave. This is because most worshippers in this tradition stand during the service.

Rev. G. S. Debolsky explains that when the prophets saw visions of saints worshipping in heaven, the saints were standing (Isaiah 6:2; 1 Kings 22:19; Daniel 7:10; Apocalypse 7:11). Additionally, the saints in the Old Testament were said to be standing during their worship (2 Chronicles 5:12; 6:2; 20:5, 13; Nehemiah 8:7; 9:4, 5).6

In fact, it is technically forbidden to kneel on Sundays or during the Paschal season.

This tradition is a broader reflection of the Orthodox Church’s commitment to follow the Bible’s prescription for worship as closely as possible.

9. Orthodox priests can be married

The language is intentional here: “be married” versus “marry.” As Wesley Smith writes,

It is a misnomer to say that Orthodox priests can marry. They can be married, and indeed, most Orthodox priests are. But a priest can’t marry while a priest. If he wishes to have a family life, he must get hitched before he is ordained to the diaconate, the penultimate step before becoming a priest.7

In Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, it is the norm for bishops to be celibate.

There is much more to the Orthodox Church than these nine facts, of course. Explore our special Orthodox library packages in Logos, packed to the brim with enriching resources from the Orthodox tradition.

via What Is the Orthodox Faith? 9 Facts about the Orthodox Church — Logos Bible Software Blog

20 JUNE 365 Days with Calvin

Finding Fault

Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1

suggested further reading: James 4:1–12

“Judge not” is not an absolute prohibition against criticism. Rather, Jesus’ words here are intended to cure a disease that is natural to us all.

We all have the tendency to flatter ourselves while passing severe censure on others. This vice provides us with a kind of strange enjoyment, for hardly anyone exists who is not tickled with the desire of asking about other people’s faults. Yet we also acknowledge that it is an intolerable evil to overlook one’s own vices while being critical of others.

The heathen in ancient times cited proverbs to condemn such inconsistencies, for the tendency to excuse ourselves while faulting others has existed in all ages as well as today. What is more, judging often includes another, worse sin, for most people who condemn others then think they have more freedom themselves to sin.

Jesus warns against the depraved eagerness for backbiting, censuring, and slandering others when he says, Judge not. He is not saying that believers should be blind to the faults of others, perceiving nothing, but only that they should refrain from the undue eagerness to judge. If they indulge themselves, everyone who wants to pass sentence on others will exceed the boundaries set by Christ.

Judging may also be influenced by wrongful curiosity about the actions of others. This disease includes the injustice of magnifying any trivial fault of others, as if it were a very heinous crime. In addition, it includes the insolent presumption of looking disdainfully at every action of others, passing unfavorable judgment on it even when it might be viewed in a good light.

for meditation: This frequently quoted verse is often cited to excuse sin, contrary to Christ’s original intent. Those of us who are fond of quoting it forget that we, too, will be judged by Christ himself. Does the coming Judgment Day ever humble you and rein in your quickness to judge others? The next time you are about to criticize someone, stop yourself and ask whether you could and should express that disapproval in a loving manner directly to that person (see Matt. 18:15–17).

How is Jesus’ admonition not to judge a cure for the common kind of fault-finding that alienates people from others? What steps can you take to eradicate criticizing others from your thoughts and speech?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 190). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Beth Moore’s Beliefs on Homosexuality Are Called into Question in Open Letter from Bible Teachers – Christian News Headlines

Beth Moore’s Beliefs on Homosexuality Are Called into Question in Open Letter from Bible Teachers

Nearly a half a dozen woman Bible teachers have called Christian author Beth Moore’s views on homosexuality into question this week.

In an open letter signed by Susan Heck, Debbie Lynne Kespert, Michelle Lesley, Martha Peace and Elizabeth Prata, the women ask Moore why she has not spoken out on the issue of homosexuality, despite being a loud voice against misogyny and racism.

The women noted how Moore speedily condemned the Covington Catholic School boys earlier this year whom the media falsely portrayed as racists and bigots, but how in regard to homosexuality, she has avoided making comments altogether. “It is this Johnny-on-the-spot readiness to engage issues related to misogyny and racism that makes your virtual silence on the issue of homosexuality so puzzling,” the letter notes.

The letter continues, focusing heavily on Moore’s seemingly close relationships with two progressive Christian authors, Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt, who have openly shown support for the LGBTQ community. Merritt has even expressed that he had “at least one homosexual encounter about a decade ago.”

The letter notes that Hatmaker and Merritt are “known for their belief that practicing homosexuals can be Christians” and questions if – since Moore is adored by them both – she too subscribes to the same ideology.

The letter, however, does not make a definitive assumption and instead asks Moore to answer this series of questions regarding homosexuality:

1.     Do you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful?

  1. Do you believe that the practice of the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with holy Christian living?
  2. Do you believe a person who dies as a practicing homosexual but professes to be a Christian will inherit eternal life?
  3. Do you believe same-sex attraction is, in and of itself, an inherently sinful, unnatural, and disordered desire that must be mortified?
  4. Why have you been so silent on this subject in light of your desire to “teach the word of God?”

The letter concludes with its authors noting that they only “ask these questions to you out of genuine concern.”

“As Bible teachers, all of us are held to a very high standard and will give an account for how we handle God’s word.  As you know, homosexuality is widely discussed and debated amongst evangelicals and society at large,” it continues.

“Many families are affected by this issue. The most loving thing obedient Christians can do for them is to clearly communicate God’s truth. We look forward to your clarification on these pressing issues,” the letter concludes.

Moore has yet to directly respond to the letter. 

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Terry Wyatt/Stringer
— Read on

Downing of US drone a ‘clear message’ to Washington — Iran’s IRGC commander — RT World News

The head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards says the downing of a US drone over its territory was a “clear message” to Washington, proving Tehran will react strongly to any military aggression.

Just hours earlier, Iran claimed to have shot down a US RQ-4 spy drone over Hormozgan Province. Images of the suspected hit were later posted online, showing a burning device falling from the sky.

Also on

“The downing of the American drone was a clear message to America,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief, Hossein Salami, told local media. He added that any intrusion across Iran’s borders would be seen as a “red line” and would be met with strong resistance.

Iran is not seeking war with any country, but we are fully prepared to defend Iran.

Salami’s comments were reiterated by Iran’s Foreign Ministry which said that any “violations of Iran’s borders” would be responded to.

We warn of the consequences of such illegal and provocative measures.

Tehran said later that the drone had taken off from a US airbase in the region and had its tracking equipment turned off during the flight, contravening aviation laws.

Also on

Washington has yet to officially respond to the incident. However, unnamed US Navy sources told Reuters that the maritime version of the Global Hawk – the MQ-4C Triton – had been shot down over international waters.

It is the latest incident adding to heightening tensions between the US and Iran in recent months. Earlier, Washington blamed Iran for attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

However, these claims somehow contradict a statement by the company operating one of the ill-fated tankers. The ‘Kokuka Courageous’ owner – one of the vessels hit in the assault – said its sailors had seen “flying objects” in the sky before they were attacked.

— Read on

Iran Shoots Down US Drone, Says “Ready For War” | Zero Hedge

“We will defend Iran’s airspace and maritime boundaries with all our might…”

Tensions between the US and Iran flared again on Thursday when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard shot down an American drone that was said to have flown into Iranian airspace. The drone was reportedly flying over the Strait of Hormuz – that critical chokepoint for the global oil trade – not far from where two oil tankers were recently attacked.

“We will defend Iran’s airspace and maritime boundaries with all our might,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary-general for the Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying by state-run Islamic Students’ News Agency. “It doesn’t matter which country’s aircraft cross our airspace.

IRGC Commander Hossein Salami said shooting down the drone had a clear and strong message: Iran’s borders are ‘red lines’ and though Iran doesn’t seek war, Iran is ready for war.

The news sent oil prices surging, with Brent up more than 2.5%. President Trump has been briefed on the incident, and the US military has branded the shooting “an unprovoked attack.”

Particularly after the US dispatched more troops to the region last week, tensions between the US and Iran just won’t subside, with Tehran still furious over US sanctions on oil sales.  With Tehran poised to violate its agreements under the JCPOA on enriched uranium stockpiles, many are fearful that a ‘hot war’ between the US and Iran might erupt.  If it did, some of Washington’s biggest geopolitical adversaries (Russia and China) could get involved, triggering WWIII. 
— Read on

Thursday Briefing June 20, 2019 –


 What Is Really Revealed in the Gender-Reveal Controversy? Common Grace vs. the Sexual Revolution


 Virtue Signaling in Corporate America: What’s Really Behind a Recent Letter from 180 CEOs


 Not Gay Enough? — Why the Same Sex Marriage of Pete Buttigieg Isn’t Radical Enough for Some of the Moral Revolutionaries


 Gender Fluid Tomatoes? What Does ‘Normal’ Even Mean Anymore?







 Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Are a Traditional Wonder, by Frank Bruni


June 20, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

To Glorify God’s Incomprehensibility

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (11:33–36)

Paul bursts out with a marvelous doxology, in which he rejoices that God’s temporarily setting Israel aside glorifies His incomprehensibility. The full wonder of God’s gracious omnipotence is wholly beyond human understanding. It staggers even the most mature Christian mind, including the mind of the apostle himself.

Having completed his argument and affirmed God’s sovereignty, integrity, and generosity, Paul has nothing more to add but a paean of praise for the depth of the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Further description and explanation are completely beyond the realm of human expression and comprehension. Like a mountain climber who has reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the apostle can only stand awestruck at God’s beauty and majesty. Unable to further explain an infinite and holy God to finite and sinful men, he can only acknowledge that God’s judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable!

Unfathomable translates anexichniastos, which literally refers to footprints that are untrackable, such as those of an animal that a hunter is unable to follow. It is the exact idea expressed by the psalmist in declaring of God: “Thy way was in the sea, and Thy paths in the mighty waters, and Thy footprints may not be known” (Ps. 77:19). Only God’s own “Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:10).

Scripture is God’s divine revelation of Himself and of His will, and He has not given it to mock and confuse men but to enlighten them and bring them to Himself. The Lord has made certain that any person who genuinely seeks Him can know enough of His truth to be saved. Although “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14), God nevertheless gives the gracious assurance that “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Believers who faithfully study God’s Word can learn and have a certain understanding of His truth—all that is necessary “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,” in order for us to “be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Our gracious God gives us more than all the truth we need to know Him, trust Him, and serve Him. But no matter how diligently we may have studied His Word, we must confess with David that “such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it” (Ps. 139:6).

As his praise ascends in this doxology, Paul presents three rhetorical questions which serve to exalt God, the answer to each of which is obvious and the same. The first two questions, quoted from the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), are: For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? (cf. Isa. 40:13). The very asking shows both questions to have but one answer: No one. Men can ponder the mind of the Lord, but only the Lord Himself can know it. Among men, “in abundance of counselors there is victory,” or safety (Prov. 11:14), but God’s only counselor is Himself.

It is not the countless unrevealed things about God of which Paul is speaking, but the depths of the things which we do know through His self-revelation. Yet even these partially knowable truths conceal elements that are far beyond our comprehension (cf. Deut. 29:29).

Paul’s third question is also taken from the Old Testament. Quoting Job, he asks, Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? (cf. Job 41:11). Because no one was before God and none can give to God what has not first been received from Him, the answer here must also be: No one. God is sovereign, self-sufficient, and free from any obligation except those He places on Himself. He owes the Jew nothing and the Gentile nothing.

We stand in awe before our gracious Lord and rejoice that from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. With the twenty-four elders, who “will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne,” we proclaim, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (Rev. 4:10–11; cf. 1 Cor. 15:24–28).

To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

That is the inspired apostle’s culminating comment on the first eleven chapters of this magnificent epistle. After traversing all the great realities of salvation, Paul ends with an ascription of glory to his Lord. This simple doxology draws a clear line between the doctrinal section and the final five chapters on Christian duty.[1]

A Christian World-View

Romans 11:36

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

One thing we have a lot of today is buzz words. “Buzz word” is itself a buzz word. But there are also buzz words in psychology (Freudian slip, guilt complex); politics (Reaganomics, sound bytes, a thousand points of light); education (political correctness); computer technology (input, down time); and business (bottom line, bullish or bearish, and market driven). One of my favorites is “paradigm shift.” A paradigm is a complete model or pattern, originally referring to a list of all the inflectional forms of a verb or noun, showing its complete conjugation or declension. A paradigm shift is a total reordering of how one looks at or evaluates something.

If you love someone and then for some reason cease to love that person and begin to hate him or her instead, that is a paradigm shift. If you began as a communist, as the leaders of the Eastern Bloc countries all originally did, and then become a capitalist, that is a paradigm shift of great proportions.

What is the greatest of all paradigm shifts? The greatest paradigm shift is the one that takes place when a person becomes a Christian—or at least that is when it begins to take place. In our unsaved, unregenerate state, everything revolves around ourselves. We are the measure of all things. Everything in the universe is for us and for our glory. When we become Christians, we see that the world and all that is in it is actually from God, is governed by him, and exists for his glory. It is what the last verse of Romans 11 expresses when it says of God, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

Let me do something unusual here. Let me give a second introduction to this study. It is in the form of a trivia question: What was the last song recorded by the Beatles before their breakup in the seventies? Answer: “I, Me, Mine.” That “last song” is actually the first song as well as the last song of the unregenerate heart. But—in significant and radical contrast—the song of the redeemed is Romans 11:36.

Secular Humanism Is Not New

If we think that the universe revolves around ourselves or that we are the only valid measure of all that is, we are “secular humanists.” That is a buzz word, too, of course. It is particularly popular with fundamentalists and television preachers, who speak of secular humanism as if it were the unique and particularly dangerous enemy of our time. But it is not new at all. In fact, it is the ancient, natural inclination of the unsaved mind and heart.

I have always thought that the very best statement of secular humanism is to be found in the Bible, in the Book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar was king in Babylon at this time. One day, when he was walking on the roof of his royal palace he looked out over the great capital city of his empire and took unto himself all the glory for its existence. He said—this is the classic statement I referred to—“Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30). Nebuchadnezzar was saying that the great city of Babylon and its empire, which he admired (and desired) more than anything else in the world, was from him (he “built” it), through him (“by my mighty power”) and for him (“for the glory of my majesty”).

God did not look at it that way, of course. So the next paragraph tells how Nebuchadnezzar was judged by God with insanity and was driven away to live with the wild animals, to look like and behave like them. He was insane for seven years, until he came to his senses both mentally and spiritually, which was God’s way of saying that secular humanism is a crazy way of looking at the world.

Anyone who thinks he or she is the center of the universe is spiritually insane. A person who thinks like this is out of his or her mind.

The Regenerate Mind

The regenerate mind is a renewed mind, as Paul is going to make clear at the beginning of the next chapter: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2a). This mind thinks differently about things. But specifically how? What form does a renewed mind take? Or, to express it differently, what is a genuinely Christian world-view?

Here is an initial statement of what is involved, made by A. W. Tozer in a chapter in The Pursuit of God called “Restoring the Creator-Creature Relation.” Tozer says,

The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all we step out of the world’s parade. [I think that is a great expression: “out of the world’s parade.”] We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of the world, and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.

Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by his name, it is true, and pay some token respect to him, but a simple test will show how little he is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let me be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout life.

“Be thou exalted” is the language of victorious spiritual experience. It is the little key to unlock the door to great treasures of grace.

A Christian World-View Text

Romans 11:36 is what I call a Christian world-view text. That is, it expresses in classic language this altered understanding of who God is and who we are and what we owe to God.

It is not the only verse in Paul’s writings that is along these lines, of course. I think also of 1 Corinthians 8:6 (“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live”) or Ephesians 4:4–6 (“There is … one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”) or Colossians 1:16 (“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him”). Yet Romans 11:36 stands out from these other verses as a particularly succinct statement of the Christian outlook: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

There are two areas in which we specifically need to think through what this means.

  1. God and creation. We think of the creation first because of the words “all things”—“For from him and through him and to him are all things.” “All things” means “all that is,” the entire universe. Romans 11:36 teaches that everything in the universe is from God; it has come into existence and is then sustained through God’s creative power, and it is for God’s glory. John Murray unfolds the meaning of the verse like this: God “is the source of all things in that they have proceeded from him; he is the Creator. He is the agent through whom all things subsist and are directed to their proper end. And he is the last end to whose glory all things will redound.”

There was a time when God was alone. In that time before all time, when even space did not exist, God, the great “I am,” existed and was as perfect, glorious, and blessed in his eternal existence as he is now. Before there was a sun, the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—dwelt in light ineffable. Before there was an earth on which to rest it, the throne of God stood firm. If that great God, dwelling in perfect solitude, chose to create anything at all, whether the universe of which we are a part or any other possible universe, it is clear that the conception of it and plans for it must have come from him, since there was no other from whom they could have come.

But it is not only the plan that has come from God. The actualization of the plan was through him as well. That is, he is also the Creator and then the Sustainer of the universe. When God set out to create the heavens and earth, he did not call for help, since there were none to help him. He did not even make use of existing matter, for matter itself did not exist. God created everything out of nothing. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). That means creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). It is one of the most profound statements ever written, for it is based on the inescapable assumption that if anything exists, then God, the uncaused First Cause, must exist and be the Creator of it all.

For what were the heavens and earth created? That is, what was the purpose of creation? We think of the universe as being made for us. But since God is a purposeful God and planned the universe for an altogether wise and noble purpose before any of us existed, even in his own mind, it is clear that he could not have taken as his purpose a creature that did not then exist. And that means that his motive must be entirely in himself. Creation must be for his glory.

The text is right when it tells us “to him are all things.” And Albert Barnes is right in his Notes on the New Testament when he says, “The reason or end for which all things were formed … is to promote his honor and glory.… It is not to promote his happiness, for he was eternally happy; not to add anything to him, for he is infinite; but that he might act as God, and have the honor and praise that is due to God.”

This should humble us since, if we understand it, we will understand that even the ability to dispute with God or, for that matter, to deny his existence comes from him. This is a point that got through to that brilliant English professor C. S. Lewis and led in part to his conversion. Lewis wrote, “In the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found that I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark.”

We could pursue this at greater length, but it should be clear from what I have said how important Romans 11:36 is, when it teaches that the entire universe is from God, through God, and to God. If you have been thinking differently and come at last to think in this biblical way, it will be a paradigm shift of huge proportions.

  1. God and the gospel. This is the second area in which we need to think through the meaning of Romans 11:36. Like the first, this is obvious, since it is the gospel of salvation by grace that Paul has been concerned about in this letter, and with this context we cannot miss that the way of salvation is also from God, through God, and for his glory.

It is from him, for he has planned it all. Who else could have planned it? No priest. No rabbi. No shaman. No guru. Only God could have planned a way of salvation that meets the austere requirements of his unyielding justice and yet also justifies sinners. Only God could have planned a salvation that is apart from human merit or good works—it is all of grace—and yet be able to transform those who are saved so they achieve a level of righteousness and produce good works that surpass the righteousness and good works of those who are trying to be saved by them.

Even the timing of salvation is of God. He ordained the precise moment in history when the Savior should be born in Bethlehem (Gal. 4:4). He planned the moments of his appearance to the people, his identification by John the Baptist, his years of teaching and healing, his betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. And God ordained the precise time of the resurrection and of Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

The accomplishment of our salvation was through him, that is, through what Jesus Christ has done. Salvation is not achieved through anything you or I have done or can do. We can do nothing. Jesus did it all. We rightly sing:

There was no other good enough

To pay the price of sin;

He only could unlock the gate

Of heaven and let us in.

Moreover, that plan of salvation is to his glory. To be sure, it also achieves an eternity of blessing for those who are redeemed. We benefit greatly and will praise God forever, thanking him for what he has done for us. But if you understand what Paul has been writing about in Romans 9–11, you will know that our happiness is not God’s chief purpose in ordering the plan of salvation as he has. All you have to ask is: “Why are some chosen to be saved while others are passed over? Why are some brought to faith while others are rejected?” The answer is that salvation is for God’s glory and that God is glorified in each case. In the case of the elect, the love, mercy, and grace of God are abundantly displayed. In the case of the lost, the patience, power, and wrath of God are equally lifted up.

Give God the Glory

The final thing I want to accomplish in this study is to make Romans 11:36 very personal for you. For it is obvious that if the entire creation is “from him and through him and to him” and if the way of salvation is likewise “from him and through him and to him,” then you, as a part of that creation (especially if you are a part of that redeemed creation), are “from him and through him and to him” as well. You also exist for his glory and should give it to him.

Let me start with your natural endowments or talents. Where do they come from? That keen mind, those winsome aspects of personality, that attractive appearance and gracious disposition, that smile that you possess—they all come from God. They have been designed for you by his sovereign decree and imparted to you by his providential working. But they are for his glory, not for yours. The Corinthians were a particularly vain people, boasting of their individual superiorities to other people. Paul called them arrogant. But he asked them, “Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

You are no different. Therefore, glorify God.

Let’s move to salvation. We have seen that the plan of salvation was conceived by God, that it was accomplished through the life and death of Jesus Christ, that its ultimate goal is God’s glory. If that is so, and it is, you should abandon the arrogant assumption that getting saved was your idea or that it was accomplished by you, even in part, or that it is meant to honor you. It is not for your honor, but for God’s glory.

Do you think God saved you because of any righteousness you possess or might one day acquire by your efforts? The Bible says, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).

Do you think it was because of some little germ of faith that God was able to find in you but not in some other less deserving person? The Bible says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9).

Have you had any longings after God? Do you want to pray? Do you find that you want to read God’s Word and come to understand it better? Do you seek to worship God? Are you attracted to the company of other Christian people? If those things are true of you, let me ask: Where do you think those desires came from if not from God? They are not from you. You are sinful. In yourself you have no aspirations after God. Holy desires come from a holy God and are present in you through the working of his divine Spirit. They are for his glory.

Therefore, glorify God. Praise him for them.

What about temptation? We live in a world in which sin and evil bombard us and in which we are attacked even by the powers of evil themselves. What keeps you from falling? What is it that enables you to stand your ground against Satan’s forces? It is God, God alone. The Bible says, “… God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

It is God who keeps you. Therefore, glorify God.

Finally, I ask you to think about your work, particularly your work for God as a Christian. Perhaps you say, “Surely that at least belongs to me, is achieved by me, and can be for my honor.” Really? If in your unsaved state you had no righteousness of your own, understood nothing of spiritual things, and did not seek God (as Romans 3:10–11 tells us), how could you even have had a desire to work for God unless God himself put it there? Our work for God flows from our love of God. But “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). How can anything be achieved except through God? Even the ability to plan a secular project or the strength to dig a ditch comes from him, since all is from God. If that is true of even secular efforts, how much more true must it be of Christian work? Spiritual work must be accomplished through God’s Spirit. So it is not you or I who stir up a revival, build a church, or convert even a single soul. Rather, it is as we work, being led in the work by God, that God himself by the power of his Holy Spirit converts and sanctifies those whom he chooses to call to faith.

Do not take the glory of God to yourself. It is fatal to do that in any work, but especially in Christian work. Instead, glorify God.

I end with these words from Charles Spurgeon:

“To whom be glory forever.” This should be the single desire of the Christian.… He may desire to see his family well brought up, but only that “To God may be glory forever.” He may wish for prosperity in his business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this—“To whom be glory forever.” He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that “To him may be glory forever.”

At my work behind the counter, or in the exchange, let me be looking out to see how I may glorify him. If I be walking in the fields, let my desire be that the trees may clap their hands in his praise.… Never be silent when there are opportunities, and you shall never be silent for want of opportunities. At night fall asleep still praising your God; as you close your eyes let your last thought be, “How sweet to rest upon the Savior’s bosom!” In afflictions praise him; out of the fires let your song go up; on the sick-bed extol him; dying, let him have your sweetest notes. Let your shouts of victory in the combat with the last great enemy be all for him; and then when you have burst the bondage of mortality, and come into the freedom of immortal spirits, then, in a nobler, sweeter song, you shall sing unto his praise. Be this, then, your constant thought—“To him be glory forever.”

What is the chief end of man? The answer comes from The Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Soli Deo Gloria

Romans 11:36

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

The title of this study is not an exact translation of the second half of Romans 11:36, but I have selected it because it is the way the Protestant Reformers expressed what this verse is about and because the words, though in Latin, are well known. Soli Deo Gloria means “To God alone be the glory.” Soli Deo—“to God alone.” Gloria—“the glory.” These words stand virtually as a motto of the Reformation.

The Reformers loved the word solus (“alone”).

They wrote about sola Scriptura, which means “Scripture alone.” Their concern in using this phrase was with authority, and what they meant to say by it was that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. These other sources of authority are sometimes useful and may at times have a place, but Scripture is ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities differ from Scripture, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected, rather than the other way around.

The Reformers also talked about sola fide, meaning “faith alone.” At this point they were concerned with the purity of the gospel, wanting to say that the believer is justified by God through faith entirely apart from any works he or she may have done or might do. Justification by faith alone became the chief doctrine of the Reformation.

The Reformers also spoke of sola gratia, which means “grace alone.” Here they wanted to insist on the truth that sinners have no claim upon God, that God owes them nothing but punishment for their sins, and that, if he saves them in spite of their sins, which he does in the case of the elect, it is only because it pleases him to do so. They taught that salvation is by grace only.

There is a sense in which each of these phrases is contained in the great Latin motto Soli Deo Gloria. In Romans 11:36, it follows the words “for from him and through him and to him are all things,” and it is because this is so, because all things really are “from him and through him and to him,” that we say, “To God alone be the glory.” Do we think about the Scripture? If it is from God, it has come to us through God’s agency and it will endure forever to God’s glory. Justification by faith? It is from God, through God, and to God’s glory. Grace? Grace, too, has its source in God, comes to us through the work of the Son of God, and is to God’s glory.

Many Christian organizations have taken these words as their motto or even as their name. I know of at least one publishing company today that is called Soli Deo Gloria. It is also an appropriate theme with which to end these studies of the third main (and last doctrinal) section of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Indeed, what greater theme could there be? For what is true of all things—that they are “from” God, “through” God, and “to” God—is true also of glory. Glory was God’s in the beginning, is God’s now, and shall be God’s forever. So we sing in what is called the Gloria Patri.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son

and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now

and ever shall be:

World without end. Amen.

Haldane’s Revival

At the beginning of this series—in volume 1, chapter 2—177 studies ago, I mentioned a revival that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, under the leadership of a remarkable Scotsman named Robert Haldane (1764–1842). He was one of two brothers who were members of the Scottish aristocracy in the late eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His brother, James Haldane (1768–1851), was a captain with the British East India Company. Robert was the owner of Gleneerie and other estates in Perthshire. When he was converted in the decade before 1800, Robert sold a major part of his lands and applied the proceeds to advancing the cause of Jesus Christ in Europe. James became an evangelist and later an influential pastor in Edinburgh, where he served for fifty-two years.

In the year 1815, Robert Haldane visited Geneva. One day when he was in a park reading his Bible, he got into a discussion with some young men who turned out to be theology students. They had not the faintest understanding of the gospel, so Haldane invited them to come to his rooms twice a week for Bible study. They studied Romans, and the result of those studies was the great Exposition of Romans by Haldane from which I so often quote.

All those students were converted and in time became leaders in church circles throughout Europe. One was Merle d’Aubigné, who became famous for his classic History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century. We know the first part of it as The Life and Times of Martin Luther. Another of these men was Louis Gaussen, author of Theopneustia, a book on the inspiration of the Scriptures. Others were Frédéric Monod, the chief architect and founder of the Free Churches in France; Bonifas, who became an important theologian; and César Malan, another distinguished leader. These men were so influential that the work of which they became a part was known as Haldane’s Revival.

What was it that got through to these young men, lifting them out of the deadly liberalism of their day and transforming them into the powerful force they became? The answer is: the theme and wording of the very verses we have been studying, Romans 11:33–36. In other words, a proper understanding of God’s sovereignty.

We know this because of a letter from Haldane to Monsieur Cheneviere, a pastor of the Swiss Reformed Church and Professor of Divinity at the University of Geneva. Cheneviere was an Arminian, as were all the Geneva faculty, but Haldane wrote to him to explain how appreciation of the greatness of God alone produced the changes in these men. Here is his explanation:

There was nothing brought under the consideration of the students of divinity who attended me at Geneva which appeared to contribute so effectually to overthrow their false system of religion, founded on philosophy and vain deceit, as the sublime view of the majesty of God presented in the four concluding verses of this part of the epistle: Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. Here God is described as his own last end in everything that he does.

Judging of God as such an one as themselves, they were at first startled at the idea that he must love himself supremely, infinitely more than the whole universe, and consequently must prefer his own glory to everything besides. But when they were reminded that God in reality is infinitely more amiable and more valuable than the whole creation and that consequently, if he views things as they really are, he must regard himself as infinitely worthy of being more valued and loved, they saw that this truth was incontrovertible.

Their attention was at the same time directed to numerous passages of Scripture, which assert that the manifestation of the glory of God is the great end of creation, that he has himself chiefly in view in all his works and dispensations, and that it is a purpose in which he requires that all his intelligent creatures should acquiesce, and seek and promote it as their first and paramount duty.

A testimony like that leads me to suggest that the reason we do not see great periods of revival today is that the glory of God in all things has been largely forgotten by the contemporary church. It follows that we are not likely to see revival again until the truths that exalt and glorify God in salvation are recovered. Surely we cannot expect God to move among us greatly again until we can again truthfully say, “To him [alone] be the glory forever! Amen.”

To Him Be the Glory

Romans 11:36 is the first doxology in the letter. But it is followed by another at the end, which is like it, though more complete: “To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Rom. 16:27). It is significant that both doxologies speak of the glory of God, and that forever. Here are two questions to help us understand them.

  1. Who is to be glorified?

The answer is: the sovereign God. For the most part, we start with man and man’s needs. But Paul always started with God, and he ended with him, too. In fact, the letter to the Romans is so clearly focused on God that it can be outlined accurately in these terms. Donald Grey Barnhouse published ten volumes on Romans, and he reflected Paul’s focus in the titles for these ten volumes, all but the first of which has God in the title. Volume one was Man’s Ruin. But then came God’s Wrath, God’s Remedy, God’s River, God’s Grace, God’s Freedom, God’s Heirs, God’s Covenants, God’s Discipline, and God’s Glory. We say with Paul, “To God be the glory forever! Amen.”

  1. Why should God be glorified?

The answer is that “from him and through him and to him are all things,” particularly the work of salvation. Why is man saved? It is not because of anything in men and women themselves but because of God’s grace. It is because God has elected us to it. God has predestinated his elect people to salvation from before the foundation of the world. How is man saved? The answer is by the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus, the very Son of God. We could not save ourselves, but God saved us through the vicarious, atoning death of Jesus Christ. By what power are we brought to faith in Jesus? The answer is by the power of the Holy Spirit through what theologians call effectual calling. God’s call quickens us to new life. How can we become holy? Holiness is not something that originates in us, is achieved by us, or is sustained by us. It is due to God’s joining us to Jesus so that we have become different persons than we were before he did it. We have died to sin and been made alive to righteousness. Now there is no direction for us to go in the Christian life but forward. Where are we headed? Answer: to heaven, because Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for us. How can we be sure of arriving there? It is because God, who began the work of our salvation, will continue it until we do. God never begins a work that he does not eventually bring to a happy and complete conclusion.

“To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

The great Charles Hodge says of the verse we are studying;

Such is the appropriate conclusion of the doctrinal portion of this wonderful epistle, in which more fully and clearly than in any other portion of the Word of God, the plan of salvation is presented and defended. Here are the doctrines of grace, doctrines on which the pious in all ages and nations have rested their hopes of heaven, though they may have had comparatively obscure intimations of their nature. The leading principle of all is that God is the source of all good, that in fallen man there is neither merit nor ability, that salvation, consequently, is all of grace, as well satisfaction as pardon, as well election as eternal glory. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom be glory forever. Amen.

So let us give God the glory, remembering that God himself says:

I am the Lord; that is my name!

I will not give my glory to another

or my praise to idols.

Isaiah 42:8


For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.

How can I let myself be defamed?

I will not yield my glory to another.

Isaiah 48:11

People Who Give God Glory

What of the objections? What of those who object to the many imagined bad results of such God-directed teaching? Won’t people become immoral, since salvation, by this theory, is by grace rather than by works? Won’t they lose the power of making choices and abandon all sense of responsibility before God and other people? Won’t people cease to work for worthwhile goals and quit all useful activity? Isn’t a philosophy that tries to glorify God in all things a catastrophe?

A number of years ago, Roger R. Nicole, professor of systematic theology at Gordon-Conwell Divinity School in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, and now at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, answered such objections in a classic address for the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology (1976), basing his words on an earlier remarkable address by Emile Doumergue, a pastor who for many years was dean of an evangelical seminary in southern France. Nicole’s address was likewise titled “Soli Deo Gloria.” The quotations below are from his answers to three important questions.

  1. Doesn’t belief in the sovereignty of God encourage evil by setting people free from restraints? Doesn’t it make morality impossible?

“I suppose one could proceed to discuss this in a theological manner—to examine arguments, consider objections, and line up points in an orderly disposition. I would like, however, instead of going into a theological discussion, to challenge you in terms of an historical consideration. In the Reformation, there was a group of men who made precisely these assertions. Over against the prevailing current, they said that man is radically corrupt and is therefore totally unable by himself to please God. He is incapable of gathering any merits, let alone merit for others. But did these assertions damage morality? Were these people a group of scoundrels who satisfied their own sinful cravings under the pretense of giving glory to God? One does not need to be very versed in church history to know that this was not so. There were at that time thefts, murders, unjust wars. Even within the church there was a heinous and shameful trafficking of sacred positions.

“But what happened?

“These people, who believed that man is corrupt and that only God can help him, came forward like a breath of fresh air. They brought in a new recognition of the rights of God and of his claim upon the lives of men. They brought in new chastity, new honesty, new unselfishness, new humbleness, and a new concern for others. “Honest like the Huguenots,” they used to say.… Immorality was not promoted; it was checked by the recognition of the sovereignty of God.

“ ‘That is impossible,’ some say. Yet it happened.”

  1. Doesn’t belief in the sovereignty of God eliminate man’s sense of responsibility and destroy human freedom? Doesn’t it destroy potential?

“Again, rather than going into the arguments of the matter, let us merely examine what happened in the sixteenth century when the sovereignty of God was asserted. Did the people involved allow themselves to be robbed of all initiative? Were they reduced to slavery under the power of God? Not at all! On the contrary, they were keenly aware of their responsibility. They had the sense that for everything they were doing, saying and thinking they were accountable to God. They lived their lives in the presence of God, and in the process they were pioneers in establishing and safe-guarding precious liberties—liberty of speech, religion and expression—all of which are at the foundation of the liberties we cherish in the democratic world.

“Far from eclipsing their sense of freedom, the true proclamation of the sovereignty of God moved them toward the recognition and expression of all kinds of human freedoms which God has himself provided for those whom he has created and redeemed.

“ ‘It is impossible that this should happen,’ we are told. Perhaps! But it happened.”

  1. Doesn’t commitment to God’s sovereignty undercut strenuous human activity? Doesn’t it make people passive?

“We may make an appeal to history. What did these people—Calvin, Farel, Knox, Luther—what did they do? Were they people who reclined on a soft couch, saying, ‘If God is pleased to do something in Geneva, let him do it. I will not get in his way’? Or, ‘If God wants to have some theses nailed to the door of the chapel of Wittenberg Castle, let him take the hammer. I will not interfere’? You know very well that this is not so. These were not people lax in activity. They were not lazy. Calvin may be accused of many things, but one thing he has seldom been accused of is laziness. No, when the sovereignty of God is recognized, meaningfulness comes to human activity. Then, instead of seeing our efforts as the puny movements of insignificant people unable to resist the enormous momentum of a universe so much larger than ourselves, we see our activity in the perspective of a sovereign plan in which even small and insignificant details may be very important. Far from undermining activity, the doctrine of the sovereignty of God has been a strong incentive for labor, devotion, evangelism and missions.

“ ‘Impossible!’ Yet it happened.”

God’s Blessings for Our World

Nicole continues: “In the first century the world was in a frightful condition. One does not need to be a great authority on Roman history to know that. There were signs of the breakdown of the Roman Empire—rampant hedonism and a dissolution of morals. But at that point God was pleased to send into the world that great preacher of the sovereignty of God, the apostle Paul, and this introduced a brand new principle into the total structure. The preaching of Paul did not avert the collapse of the Roman Empire, but it postponed it. Moreover, it permitted the creation of a body of believers that persisted through the terrible invasions of the barbarian hordes, and even through the Dark Ages.…

“In the sixteenth century … the church had succumbed to deep corruption. It was corrupt ‘in its head and members.’ In many ways it was a cesspool of iniquity. People did not know how to remedy the situation. They tried councils, internal purges, monastic orders. None of these things seemed to work. But God again raised up to his glory men who proclaimed the truth of his sovereignty, the truth of God’s grace. In proclaiming this truth they brought a multitude of the children of God into a new sense of their dependence upon and relationship to Christ. In proclaiming this truth they benefited even the very people who opposed them in the tradition of the church. They are small, these men of the Reformation. They had little money, little power and little influence. One was a portly little monk in Germany. Another was a frail little professor in Geneva. A third was a ruddy but lowly little man in Scotland. What could they do? In themselves, nothing. But by the power of God they shook the world.

Radically corrupted, but sovereignly purified!

Radically enslaved, but sovereignly emancipated!

Radically unable, but sovereignly empowered!

“These men were the blessing of God for our world.”

“To God alone be glory!” To those who do not know God that is perhaps the most foolish of all statements. But to those who do know God, to those who are being saved, it is not only a right statement, it is a happy, wise, true, inescapable, and highly desirable confession. It is our glory to make it. “To him be the glory forever! Amen.”[2]

36. For from him and through him, &c. A confirmation of the last verse. He shows, that it is very far from being the case, that we can glory in any good thing of our own against God, since we have been created by him from nothing, and now exist through him. He hence infers, that our being should be employed for his glory: for how unreasonable would it be for creatures, whom he has formed and whom he sustains, to live for any other purpose than for making his glory known? It has not escaped my notice, that the phrase, εἰς αὐτὸν, to him, is sometimes taken for ἐν αὐτῷ, in or by him, but improperly: and as its proper meaning is more suitable to the present subject, it is better to retain it, than to adopt that which is improper. The import of what is said is,—That the whole order of nature would be strangely subverted, were not God, who is the beginning of all things, the end also.

To him be glory, &c. The proposition being as it were proved, he now confidently assumes it as indubitable,—That the Lord’s own glory ought everywhere to continue to him unchangeably: for the sentence would be frigid were it taken generally; but its emphasis depends on the context, that God justly claims for himself absolute supremacy, and that in the condition of mankind and of the whole world nothing is to be sought beyond his own glory. It hence follows, that absurd and contrary to reason, and even insane, are all those sentiments which tend to diminish his glory.[3]

36 By means of three prepositions—ek (“from”), dia (“through”), and eis (“to”)—Paul asserts that God is the source, the means, and the goal of all things. The exalted and moving ascription of praise in vv. 33–36 has in view God’s plans and operations in the history of salvation affecting the great segments of humankind, Jew and Gentile. That they are true in a wider sense is evident from parallel Pauline passages such as 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:16–17. Perhaps the only suitable way in which to bring Romans 9–11 to an end is with this magnificent doxology. “To him [God] be the glory forever!”[4]

36  Paul’s affirmation of the centrality of God in all of creation may relate specifically to v. 35—no one is in a position to demand anything from God, for he is …27—but probably reflects on all of vv. 33–35. The concept of God as the source (ek), sustainer (dia), and goal (eis) of all things is particularly strong among the Greek Stoic philosophers. Hellenistic Jews picked up this language and applied it to Yahweh; and it is probably, therefore, from the synagogue that Paul borrows this formula. An ancient and widespread interpretation finds a reference to the Trinity in the three prepositional phrases. But this view is now, correctly, almost universally rejected. Paul is clearly speaking of God the Father; and his purpose is to underline the uniqueness and sovereignty of God that has been the focus of these verses. What should be our response to our contemplation of God’s supremacy in all the universe? Like Paul’s, doxology.[5]

11:33–36 / Eastern Orthodoxy has always taught that worship begins where theology ends. Where the legs of reason grow weary, the heart may yet soar on wings like eagles. Verse 33 marks the frontier between theological argumentation and sublime worship. Paul’s long and difficult philosophy of history now yields to a doxology to God’s wisdom. A lesser soul than Paul, having plunged into the labyrinth of divine sovereignty and human sin, might, like Job, have emerged shaking his head in despair. Not so the apostle. The severity of the problem magnifies the greatness of God. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (v. 33). What the mind cannot know, the heart, as Pascal recognized, may know by other reasons. The limits of reason lead not to defeat and despair but to the threshold of faith.

The doxology at 11:33ff. does not follow the normal pattern of Jewish doxologies. It is patterned rather after the end of chapter 8, though here the doxology exalts God’s wisdom rather than his love. This doxology is not the result of Paul’s argument in chapters 9–11, but the assumption which underlies it. Paul begins with God’s unsearchable judgments (v. 33), just as he began chapter 9 with God’s sovereign judgments in Israel. He concludes with God’s inscrutable ways (v. 33), just as he concludes chapter 11 with the mystery of God’s redemption of Israel. Unfathomable love governed God’s work of redemption at the end of chapter 8; unspeakable wisdom directs God’s course in history at the end of chapter 11. Where the mind cannot know God’s thoughts (v. 34), the heart may yet trust his character. If God’s love spelled salvation by surprise, his wisdom results in sovereign acts in history leading to mercy. All things, says Paul, are from him and through him and to him (v. 36). This verse finds a close parallel in 1 Corinthians 8:6, though whereas the prepositions there refer to Christ, here they refer to God, who is at once creator, sustainer, and goal of creation. To him be the glory forever! Amen.[6]

36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom—“to Him”

be glory for ever. Amen—Thus worthily—with a brevity only equalled by its sublimity—does the apostle here sum up this whole matter. “Of Him are all things,” as their eternal Source: “through Him are all things,” inasmuch as He brings all to pass which in His eternal counsels He purposed: “To Him are all things,” as being His own last End; the manifestation of the glory of His own perfections being the ultimate, because the highest possible, design of all His procedure from first to last.

On this rich chapter, Note, (1) It is an unspeakable consolation to know that in times of deepest religious declension and most extensive defection from the truth, the lamp of God has never been permitted to go out, and that a faithful remnant has ever existed—a remnant larger than their own drooping spirits could easily believe (Ro 11:1–5). (2) The preservation of this remnant, even as their separation at the first, is all of mere grace (Ro 11:5, 6). (3) When individuals and communities, after many fruitless warnings, are abandoned of God, they go from bad to worse (Ro 11:7–10). (4) God has so ordered His dealings with the great divisions of mankind, “that no flesh should glory in His presence.” Gentile and Jew have each in turn been “shut up to unbelief,” that each in turn may experience the “mercy” which saves the chief of sinners (Ro 11:11–32). (5) As we are “justified by faith,” so are we “kept by the power of God through faith”—faith alone—unto salvation (Ro 11:20–32). (6) God’s covenant with Abraham and his natural seed is a perpetual covenant, in equal force under the Gospel as before it. Therefore it is, that the Jews as a nation still survive, in spite of all the laws which, in similar circumstances, have either extinguished or destroyed the identity of other nations. And therefore it is that the Jews as a nation will yet be restored to the family of God, through the subjection of their proud hearts to Him whom they have pierced. And as believing Gentiles will be honored to be the instruments of this stupendous change, so shall the vast Gentile world reap such benefit from it, that it shall be like the communication of life to them from the dead. (7) Thus has the Christian Church the highest motive to the establishment and vigorous prosecution of missions to the Jews; God having not only promised that there shall be a remnant of them gathered in every age, but pledged Himself to the final ingathering of the whole nation assigned the honor of that ingathering to the Gentile Church, and assured them that the event, when it does arrive, shall have a life-giving effect upon the whole world (Ro 11:12–16, 26–31). (8) Those who think that in all the evangelical prophecies of the Old Testament the terms “Jacob,” “Israel,” &c., are to be understood solely of the Christian Church, would appear to read the Old Testament differently from the apostle, who, from the use of those very terms in Old Testament prophecy, draws arguments to prove that God has mercy in store for the natural Israel (Ro 11:26, 27). (9) Mere intellectual investigations into divine truth in general, and the sense of the living oracles in particular, as they have a hardening effect, so they are a great contrast to the spirit of our apostle, whose lengthened sketch of God’s majestic procedure towards men in Christ Jesus ends here in a burst of admiration, which loses itself in the still loftier frame of adoration (Ro 11:33–36).[7]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (Vol. 2, pp. 134–136). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: God and History (Vol. 3, pp. 1465–1480). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (p. 448). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 181). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Moo, D. J. (1996). The Epistle to the Romans (pp. 743–744). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[6] Edwards, J. R. (2011). Romans (pp. 278–279). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[7] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 251–252). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

K–12: Red Ed — American Thinker

Why do we see so many socialists swarming over the Democratic Party and the country generally? Short answer: Red Ed.

If you want to understand the mystery of why we spend so many billions of dollars and get crummy schools, here are some options.  You can read a hundred books.  You can spend many years earning a Ph.D. in history.  You can try to bribe the director of the CIA — or consult a psychic.  Alas, you probably won’t find the truth.

I suggest you spring for the lazy-man, two-word explanation: Red Ed.

Arguably, that’s what we’ve got.

The almost comical thing about the U.S. is that most people persist in believing that the top educators are harmless, nice, pleasant, typical Americans.  But the field of education has been a whirlpool or cesspool of socialist-communist-collectivist thinking for more than 120 years.  Throughout that time, these subversives operated covertly but belligerently.  They were the tireless termites in our basement.

At first, John Dewey wanted to call himself what he was, a socialist, but he realized that the public wasn’t ready for the S-word.  He urged the Socialist Party of America to change its name.  Dewey ended up calling himself a Progressive, a Liberal, or a Democrat.  Point is, explicating American history is difficult because the Left was always hiding and lying.

Suffice it to say that the far Left was a growing force in America by the late 1890s, years before the Communist Revolution.  These “change agents” quietly wormed their way into foundations, newspapers, universities, everything not well defended.  The best example of big, fat. and undefended was the public school system.

John Dewey’s ideologues seized a lot of power before World War I, and the pace accelerated after the Russian Revolution.  In 1921 the USSR launched the Communist International, AKA the Comintern.  The plan was to seize the planet by out-tricking and out-working everyone else.  There were many hundreds of front groups; only sophisticates knew they were communist.  (If a group called itself a league, union, or council, it was probably the enemy.  Americans tend to name their groups Lions, Optimists, and Moose.)

Indeed, there was a famous private school in Manhattan, the Little Red School House, founded in the busy year of 1921.  Everybody on the Left got the joke. “Red, get it?”  Somebody actually said those three words to me in the 1980s.

Here’s a quick summary of the 20th century in the United States.  On the surface, if one asked scholars and survey-takers, virtually everyone was an American of some ordinary stripe.  The malcontents and revolutionaries were a tiny sliver of the population.  But it was this fraction of 1% that was more and more shaping the country.  How is that possible?  By the muscular device of infiltrating the command structure of any organization you encounter.  Universities.  Businesses.  Churches.  Foundations.  Political organizations.  Publishers.  Media.  Showbiz organizations.  If you see any possible political or propaganda benefit, try to take over.

Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov has explained to American audiences how cunning the Russians were at psychological warfare, subversion, and manipulating Western society.  The KGB thought they needed only about 20 years to undermine and destroy most countries.

Sometimes it seems that Russians love deception more than victory itself.  They love what spies call “the game.”  If they could fool Americans into surrendering their country, Russia would win the biggest duel in history without firing a shot.  For the rest of eternity, they could brag about how smart they are and what clueless dopes the Americans are.

A small example known as the Diamond Technique illustrates Russian ingenuity.  Only four people, correctly arranged, can control a crowd.  One person in front, one in back, one on the left, one on the right.  People in the audience hear the same opinion coming from every direction and assume that this is the popular opinion.  Russians dote on such tricks.

One small incident tells the big story.  Premier Khrushchev, at the U.N. in 1960, bragged: “We will bury you.”  Many claimed that Khrushchev banged his shoe.  In any case, he was loud and aggressive.  Ask yourself, how could he be so confident in 1960 that his much weaker country would win?  Because Khrushchev, more than anyone else on the planet, knew how totally his spies and apparatchiks, his front groups and agents of influence, his pseudo-educators and corrupted politicians, had penetrated every nook of this country.  The USSR was running the USA as a puppeteer makes puppets dance.  When today we see how ineffective the Republican Party is, we have to wonder who is really in control.

There was a period doing World War II when super-spy Alger Hiss sat almost knee to knee with President Roosevelt day after day.  Influencing FDR, safe to say.  And each night, Hiss sent his observations by courier to the Kremlin.  Each morning, Stalin knew everything that had happened in Washington, D.C. the day before.

Relentless intrigue and redundancy — these were always the key ingredients in the Russian juggernaut.  Russians had spies in the State Department; that goes without saying.  They also had spies in the Treasury Department, the Agricultural Department, and all the rest.  Why?  Because secret files passed back and forth over every desk.  Surely, there was something valuable in almost every one.  Of course, the Russians had their people throughout the media, unions, and education.  There’s always an acrid sense of overkill.  Anything remotely an obstacle had to be conquered again and again.

I Led Three Lives, a television drama in the mid-1950s, captures the hothouse atmosphere.  The main character was simultaneously an ad executive, a Russian spy, and an FBI double agent.  Watch even 10 minutes of any episode, and you get the whole picture.

For me, the most bizarre thing about Russian history is that starting around 1920, the Russians pretended that the Russian Revolution had ushered in a higher stage in Russian consciousness.  Then I read a book about Ivan the Terrible, roughly 1550.  Nothing had changed in 400 years.  Everything that defines Ivan’s Russia — dictatorial rule, secret police, torture, people disappearing, distinct social classes where the vast majority were serfs — was institutionalized in the USSR.

If you want to understand how all these influences flowed through our society, read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, and remember that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton idolized Alinsky.  Consider that almost every American attended public schools created by people like these three radicals.  Arrogant and manipulative — that’s the type.

Why do we see so many socialists swarming over the Democratic Party and the country generally?  Short answer: Red Ed.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book is Saving K-12: What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?  He deconstructs educational theories and methods at

via K–12: Red Ed — American Thinker

06/20/19 I Took You from the Pasture —

READING: 1 Chronicles 17-19, John 19:31-20:18

I suspect that many of us who are pastors don’t think enough about what God has done in us to make us a leader. In fact, it may be that most believers too quickly forget where they were before God intervened in their lives. The result is that we appreciate grace far too little, and we take too much for granted.

In today’s Old Testament reading, it’s the word of the Lord to David via Nathan that makes me think of this issue. I realize I’m picking up only the beginning of Nathan’s statement, but it’s hardly insignificant: “Now, therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader over My people Israel’” (1 Chron 17:7).

So much in this text grabs my attention. First, it was God who picked David. The Creator chose him. Second, God called him out the shepherd’s field, knowing that His plan for the shepherd was something mightier. Third, David would be God’s leader over His chosen people. He who had been a shepherd of sheep would lead God’s people, not because he was worthy but because God had chosen and called him to this task.

From shepherd boy to king—that’s a marker of the grace of God.

PRAYER: “Lord, remind me that I’m not worthy to be Your child . . . or a leader among Your people.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  1 Chronicles 20-22, John 20:19-21:14

via 06/20/19 I Took You from the Pasture —

As Tensions Between Iran And The United States Continue To Rise, Israel Holds Massive Military Exercises Debuts F-35 Adir Stealth Fighter Jet — Now The End Begins

Israel wrapped up its largest military drill in years on Wednesday, with thousands of troops from the army, navy and air force simulating a future war with the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group amid fears that Iran would draw its Shiite proxy into the recent growing tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Israel made history this week by being the very first nation anywhere in the world to hold war games using the incredibly powerful new F-35 Adir stealth fighter jet. The Hebrew word “Adir” means “mighty ones” and these planes certainly are that. It gives the Israeli Air Force advantages in the air that no other nation in the Middle East currently has.

“Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.” Joel 3:11-13 (KJV)

Made by Lockheed Martin and purchased from the United States, Israel has taken the F-35 and has heavily upgraded it to be even superior to the planes now flying in the United States Air Force. They are the only foreign nation to have done this. Clearly God is preparing Israel and the Jews for something quite intense in the very near future. As the drill concluded today in Israel, Netanyahu remarked “I say to our enemies: The military has very great destructive power. Don’t test us.” That may be the biggest understatement of the year.

The Israeli Air Force began a week-long drill on Sunday, simulating a multi-front war with all the platforms and squadrons, including for the first time the F-35i Adir stealth fighter jet.

FROM ABC NEWS: The Israeli military said the four-day exercise had been planned long in advance and focused on the immersion of all branches against threats emanating from Israel’s north. It included a large deployment of unmanned aircraft and the first use of the F-35 stealth fighter planes to prepare for scenarios of missile attacks and underground infiltrations from Lebanon.

But rising tensions between Iran and the United States clearly served as a backdrop.

Iran recently announced it was breaking its compliance with the nuclear deal with world powers amid the renewal of crippling American sanctions. The Trump administration has ordered 1,000 more troops to the Middle East amid accusations that Iran was behind a series of strikes against oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

Israeli officials fear Iran may try to mobilize Hezbollah as its most potent toll against Israel in a confrontation. Israel has long identified Iran as its greatest threat, citing its suspect nuclear program, development of long-range missiles and hostile rhetoric.

The Lebanese Shiite militant group battled Israel to a stalemate in a month-long war in 2006 and has since gained valuable battle experience in the Syrian civil war. Over the past 13 years, Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes against suspected weapons shipments from Iran through Syria to Lebanon and has engaged in several dust ups. But its field training has been primarily aimed toward delivering a far more decisive victory in its next full-scale war with Hezbollah.

Though the military would not mention it by name, Hezbollah was clearly the central focus of the drill.

“I am very impressed by the improvement in readiness, by the fighting spirit of the soldiers and commanders, and mainly by the destructive power,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he attended part of the drill. “I say to our enemies: The military has very great destructive power. Don’t test us.”

Netanyahu, who has been a vocal critic of Iran over the years, has been uncharacteristically quiet throughout the latest escalation in the Persian Gulf.

Speaking Tuesday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was far more specific in identifying the threat.

“We caution Hezbollah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda, and we caution Lebanon not to be used as a launching pad for attacks against Israel,” Rivlin said. “We are not happy to go to war, but the military is fully prepared to respond to any threat and any scenario.”

The drill in northern Israel featured the country’s ever-growing arsenal of unmanned aircraft, already deployed continuously in reconnaissance missions along Israel’s borders.

Though never confirmed by Israel, the drones are also suspected of being able to carry out surgical aerial strikes that have lightened the load of Israel’s fleet of fighter jets. Able to carry out missions that would be more challenging and perilous to manned flight, the drones look to play a major role in any future war with Hezbollah, said Capt. M, the deputy commander of the Black Snake Drone Squadron, who could only be identified by his first initial according to military protocol.

“The north is a more complex fighting arena,” he said. “We are preparing for a prolonged round of fighting and the drones are an integral part of it.”

Israel’s multi-layer aerial defense systems were also being integrated into the drill, with the assumption that a war would entail massive missile fire toward all parts of the country. The Arrow rocket system is designed to intercept the longest-range missiles, including outside the atmosphere.

“Arrow was certainly developed to defend from the Iranian threat,” said Maj. Rimon Weiss, an Arrow missile commander. READ MORE

Israeli Air Force Holds Multi-Front War Simulation Drill

Israeli Air Force F-35 ADIR in Action

F-35 Adir—or “Mighty Ones”—will be the only F-35 variant to enter service heavily tailored to a foreign country’s specifications. Israel is also developing two different sets of external fuel tanks to extend the F-35’s range. The first will be non-stealthy 425-gallon underwing tanks developed by a subsidiary of Elbit—these could be dropped when approaching enemy airspace (the pylons holding the drop tanks would reportedly detach as well so as not to compromise stealth), or used for missions in which stealth isn’t necessary. Further down the line, IAI wants to co-develop with Lockheed bolt-on conformal fuel tanks which “hug” the F-35 airframe so as not to compromise stealth and aerodynamics .

via As Tensions Between Iran And The United States Continue To Rise, Israel Holds Massive Military Exercises Debuts F-35 Adir Stealth Fighter Jet — Now The End Begins

China: The Perfect High-Tech Totalitarian State | Zero Hedge

China is in the process of fulfilling what Stalin, Hitler and Mao could only dream about: The flawless totalitarian state, powered by digital technology… where the individual has nowhere to flee from the all-seeing eye of the Communist state.

Authored by Judith Bergman via The Gatestone Institute,

  • In China, censorship, now largely automated, has reached “unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.” — Cate Cadell, Reuters, May 26, 2019.

  • As in other Communist regimes, such as that of the former Soviet Union, the Communist ideology does not tolerate any competing narratives. “Religion is a source of authority, and an object of fidelity, that is greater than the state… This characteristic of religion has always been anathema to history’s totalitarian despots…” — Thomas F. Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, in testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, November 28, 2018.

  • In 2018, China had an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras, with plans for 626 million surveillance cameras by 2020. China’s aim is apparently an “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” which will integrate and coordinate data from surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology, citizen ID card numbers, biometric data, license plate numbers and information about vehicle ownership, health, family planning, banking, and legal records, “unusual activity”, and any other relevant data that can be gathered about citizens, such as religious practice, travels abroad, and so on, according to reports of local officials and police.

  • At the moment, China is in the process of fulfilling what Stalin, Hitler and Mao could only dream about: The flawless totalitarian state, powered by digital technology, where the individual has nowhere to flee from the all-seeing eye of the Communist state.

The 30th anniversary on June 4 of the Chinese regime’s 1989 massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square served to highlight the extreme censorship in China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and President Xi Jinping.

The Tiananmen anniversary is referred to euphemistically in mainland China, as ‘the June Fourth Incident’. The regime there evidently fears that any talk, let alone public commemoration, of that historical event will stir up anti-regime unrest, which could endanger the Chinese Communist Party’s absolute power.

The internet in China is under control of the Chinese Communist Party, especially through the rigorous censorship practiced by the party’s top internet censor, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), established in 2014. In May 2017, according to a Reuters report, the CAC introduced strict guidelines requiring all internet platforms that produce or distribute news “to be managed by party-sanctioned editorial staff” who have been “approved by the national or local government internet and information offices, while their workers must get training and reporting credentials from the central government”.

Freedom House, in “Freedom on the Net 2018,” its 2018 assessment of freedom on the internet in 65 countries, placed China dead last. Reporters without Borders, in its 2019 worldwide index of press freedom, ranked China 177 out of 180 countries, surpassed only by Eritrea, North Korea and Turkmenistan. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at the time of its 2018 prison census, counted at least 47 journalists jailed in China, but according to the CPJ, the number could be much higher: “authorities are deliberately preventing information from getting out”. In March 2019, the CPJ was investigating at least a dozen additional cases, including the arrests in December 2018 of 45 contributors to the human rights and religious-liberty magazine, Bitter Winter, which China targets as a “foreign hostile website“.

On ‘sensitive’ occasions such as the Tiananmen anniversary, entire websites are blocked. Since April, ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary, Wikipedia had been blocked in all languages. Wikipedia’s Chinese-language site has been blocked by China since 2015. Websites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other websites have also long been blocked in China.

Search terms are also blocked on such ‘sensitive’ occasions. In the past, even common, innocuous words such as ‘today’ or ‘tomorrow’ have been blocked.

For the anniversary of Tiananmen, the Chinese Communist Party reportedly began its crackdown in January 2019: On January 3, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced on its website that it had launched a new campaign against “negative and harmful information” on the internet. The campaign was to last for six months — coinciding with Tiananmen’s June 4 anniversary. The definition of “negative and harmful information” was all-inclusive: Any content that was “pornographic, vulgar, violent, horrific, fraudulent, superstitious, abusive, threatening, inflammatory, rumor, and sensational,” or related to “gambling,” or spreading “bad lifestyles and bad culture” had to be removed from every conceivable internet platform. The CAC added, “Those who let illegal behavior go free will not be tolerated but be severely punished”.

In China, censorship, now largely automated, has reached “unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition”, according to a recent Reuters report. It quotes Chinese censors as commenting:

“We sometimes say that the artificial intelligence is a scalpel, and a human is a machete… When I first began this kind of work four years ago there was opportunity to remove the images of Tiananmen, but now the artificial intelligence is very accurate”.

China’s severe censorship runs parallel to its severe suppression of religious freedom. The President of the Religious Freedom Institute, Thomas F. Farr, at a November 2018 hearing at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, described China’s religious suppression as “the most systematic and brutal attempt to control Chinese religious communities since the Cultural Revolution”. As in other Communist regimes, such as that of the former Soviet Union, the Communist ideology does not tolerate any competing narratives.

“Religion is a source of authority, and an object of fidelity, that is greater than the state,” Farr wrote. “This characteristic of religion has always been anathema to history’s totalitarian despots, such as Stalin, Hitler, and Mao…”

The brutal religious and cultural oppression of Tibetans in China has been ongoing for nearly 70 years, but China has not only sought to destroy the Tibetan religion. Christianity, for instance, was seen from the beginning as a threat to the People’s Republic of China when it was established in 1949. “This was especially true at the height of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), when places of worship were demolished, closed, or reappropriated and religious practices were banned”, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Some Christian clerics have been imprisoned for nearly 30 years. In recent years, oppression of Christians in China has apparently surged. Since the late 1990s, the Chinese regime has also targeted the Falun Gong.

China has been shutting down churches and removing crosses. They have been replaced with the national flag, and images of Jesus have been replaced with pictures of President Xi Jinping. Children, future bearers of the Communist ideology, have been banned from attending church. In September 2018, China shut down one of the largest underground churches, Beijing’s Zion Church. In December 2018, the pastor of the underground Early Rain Church, Wang Yi, and his wife were arrested and charged with ‘inciting subversion’, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Along with the pastor and his wife, more than 100 church members were also arrested. In April 2019, Chinese authorities forcibly took away an underground Catholic priest, Father Peter Zhang Guangjun, just after he celebrated Palm Sunday Mass. He was reportedly the third Catholic priest to be taken by the authorities in one month.

According to a confidential document obtained by Bitter Winter, China is currently also getting ready for a clampdown on Christian churches with ties with foreign religious communities.

The government has also been sending Uighurs, a populace that includes around 11 million people, mostly Muslim, in the western Xinjian province of China, to internment camps for ‘political reeducation’. China has said that the camps are vocational education training centers aimed at stemming the threat of Islamic extremism. Uighurs have launched several terror attacks in China, according to one 2017 report, “Uighur Foreign Fighters: An Underexamined Jihadist Challenge” by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. The report also states:

“Uighurs consider themselves separate and distinct in ethnicity, culture, and religion from the Han Chinese majority that governs them. These distinctions form the basis of the Uighurs’ religious ethno-nationalist identity, leading some of them to engage in violent activities aimed at establishing their own state, East Turkestan…

“… the appeal of radical Islamic ideology outside of China has attracted many Uighurs to participate in violent jihadism as part of their religious identity and as a way to further their struggle against the Chinese authorities.”

“The [Chinese] are using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps,” Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs recently said. “[G]iven what we understand to be the magnitude of the detention, at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens out of a population of about 10 million” could be imprisoned in the detention centers.

According to The Epoch Times, in the Chinese detention camps, Uighurs have been drugged, tortured, beaten and killed by injection. “I still remember the words of the Chinese authorities when I asked what my crime was,” said Mihrigul Tursun, a woman who escaped to the United States with two of her children. “They said, ‘You being a Uyghur is a crime'”.

Physically persecuting religious minorities, however, does not suffice for the Chinese Communist Party. It also seems to have campaigned against Christianity in schools throughout the country. It has, for instance, forced students to swear an oath to resist religious belief. Teachers were also indoctrinated to “ensure that education and teaching adhere to the correct political direction.” Classics taught in schools have been censored: In Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, references to the Bible were deleted, and references to Sunday service or God in stories by Anton Chekhov and Hans Christian Andersen were expunged.

Additionally, the use of ‘sensitive’ words related to religion, such as ‘prayer’, are not allowed in the classroom.

In both the oppression of religion, as in the censorship of free speech, the Chinese Communist Party is utilizing high-tech means to achieve its goals. There are reports that Xinjiang is being used as a testing ground for surveillance technology: Uighurs in Xinjiang, according to a report published in the Guardian, are “closely monitored, with surveillance cameras mounted over villages, street corners, mosques and schools. Commuters must go through security checkpoints between all towns and villages, where they undergo face scans and phone checks”. China uses facial recognition technology that matches faces from surveillance camera footage to a watch-list of suspects.

In 2018, China had an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras, with plans for 626 million surveillance cameras by 2020. China’s aim is apparently an “Integrated Joint Operations Platform,” which will integrate and coordinate datafrom surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology, citizen ID card numbers, biometric data, license plate numbers and information about vehicle ownership, health, family planning, banking, and legal records, “unusual activity”, and any other relevant data that can be gathered about citizens, such as religious practice and travels abroad.

At the moment, China is in the process of fulfilling what Stalin, Hitler and Mao could only dream about: The flawless totalitarian state, powered by digital technology, where the individual has nowhere to flee from the all-seeing eye of the Communist state.
— Read on

37 California Lawmakers Trying To Pass ACR-99 Which Would Make Preaching The Whole Counsel Of The Bible To LGBTQ+ People A Crime — Now The End Begins

California Assemblyman Evan Low and three dozen other lawmakers are pushing resolution ACR-99 in the state Assembly Judiciary Committee that’s aimed at telling religious leaders in California what they should preach from their pulpits.

The attacks on Christianity in America are coming so fast and so often now that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of it at the same time. But in a nutshell, the pendulum is swinging all the way from a nation being founded on Christianity and the Bible, to a nation rejecting and persecuting Christianity and the Bible.

“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:40-42 (KJV)

It is my personal belief, based on nearly 30 years of studying the scriptures, that America is right now under the active judgment of God which as near as I can figure began under President Obama back in 2012. Over the past 7 years, we have watched the LGBTQ+P for Pedophile Movement rise to a level of power and control once thought unimaginable. In this war for the soul of America, to be neutral is to concede defeat. Which side are you on?

CA Lawmakers Trying to Force Pastors to Embrace Pro-LGBTQ+ Ideology

FROM CBN NEWS: The California Family Council reports that Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 (ACR 99) calls on “counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators” and institutions with “great moral influence” to stop perpetuating the idea that something is wrong with LGBT identities or sexual behavior. ACR 99 also condemns attempts to change unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion as “unethical,” “harmful,” and leading to high rates of suicide.

Two formerly gay individuals, Pastors Ken Williams and Elizabeth Woning, argue against the resolution, calling it “discriminatory” against people like themselves, who overcame suicidal thoughts by following their faith away from their LGBT identities. They now lead a ministry called Equipped to Love that helps others like them to find health and wholeness.

“For us, walking out our faith with biblical conviction means life and hope. Our faith has saved us from suicide and given us freedom to live with clear consciences,” Woning said. “We too would like to be acknowledged and affirmed…Instead, activists attack our efforts to care for like-minded friends by promoting dangerous counseling restrictions and stifling our free speech,” she added.

Williams feels the same way. “For years, I believed that even God hated me because of my behavior,” he said. “But in my early 20s, I encountered a God who loved me despite my sins and temptations. Today, I love my life. I have been married to my beautiful wife for 13 years, and we have created four incredible children together. To someone like me, California Assemblyman Evan Low’s proposed resolution, ACR-99, feels like an unfair and direct attack.”

Despite Low’s claim that this resolution has the support of some California religious leaders, other pastors and religious leaders with a traditional view on gender and sexuality are publicly opposing ACR 99.

Besides Woning who wrote, “The Not So Subtle Discrimination of ACR-99,” and Williams who wrote, “Controlled by the State,” ordained pastoral counselor Pastor Joe Dallas published, “Pride of Ownership,” in which he argues, “While warning against the dangers of so-called Conversion Therapy, ACR 99 restricts much more than counseling, which attempts to change internal sexual responses.”

“It, in fact, dictates to pastors that they cannot teach that homosexuality is a sin, nor can they encourage homosexually-attracted people who hold a traditional Biblical view to live in accordance with their own faith,” Dallas added.

A coalition of professional counselors, doctors, attorneys, and faith-based non-profits, have also signed onto a letter pointing out the resolution’s inaccuracies and its threats to basic liberty. “People should have the freedom to pursue what brings them true happiness and joy. ACR 99 is trying to cut people off from their own pathway to happiness,” writes the coalition.

The letter goes on to provide proof that traditional faiths are not the cause for high suicide rates among those identifying as LGBT. It points out, “Professional organizations agree that same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria are not simply biologically caused, they often change.” And “contrary to misrepresentations, therapists who are open to a client’s goal of change use non-aversive, well-established mainstream practices and evidence-based treatments for trauma and addictions used by professional therapists worldwide.”

A comment in the letter emphasizes seeking assistance from traditional therapists, pastors, and faith-based ministries who can help with unwanted homosexuality and gender dysphoria.

The letter concludes by expressing “grave concern that Assemblyman Low’s resolution, like the discriminatory guilds he references, privileges sexual and gender minorities of so-called ‘progressive’ values and goals at the expense of those of traditional values and goals. It is unconstitutional to strip any person of any First Amendment freedoms, and it is inhumane to prohibit individuals from addressing their own personal pain and desire for healing and change.”

One News Now reports that Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, outlines ACR-99 as “an outrageous violation of the state deciding to pressure what pastors teach and preach as they minister to individuals who are struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity issues.”

CBN News previously reported on Christian therapy saving lives: “I walked out of a Christian bookstore suicidal when I was 17 because they didn’t have any books to help me. Thank God I found a counselor who was able to partner with me in my choice to not live according to my same-sex desires,” shared Ken Williams, a pastor at Bethel Church and a former homosexual.

Another man, Edward Byrd, said, “I didn’t know I could have freedom. How will people know they can get out of this lifestyle?” he asks. “I know people in the lifestyle now who don’t know a way out.” READ MORE

What is Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99?

via 37 California Lawmakers Trying To Pass ACR-99 Which Would Make Preaching The Whole Counsel Of The Bible To LGBTQ+ People A Crime — Now The End Begins

The Need for Authentic and Reliable Communication of the Gospel Around the World — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

There is so much we in the Western World can Learn from the Rapidly Reproducing Church Planting and Disciple Making Movements in the Global South

When you hear news reports, or when someone tells you something, how do you know if it’s true or not?  How much confidence can you have in the source of information you receive every day?  These are pretty important questions, and in some cases, could be a matter of life and death.

Several years ago I spent a good amount of time in Washington D.C.  I frequently participated in various conferences, conventions and events.  Sometimes they were covered by major news media sources.  On occasions I would see the evening news reports of those events.  Seeing the news coverage was often very different than the actual event that I had attended and observed first hand.  In fact, from the news coverage, one would hardly recognize many of them as the same events.

The Need for Reliable Sources and Spiritual Discernment

Everyone is subject to being mislead or deceived in some way.  Sadly, we are living in a time when the majority of the people of the world are being deceived or mislead, especially in the spiritual realm.  Prophets of old warned of a time when there would be great deception and darkness, where good would be called evil, and evil good.

As followers of Jesus and as ambassadors (representatives) of the Lord, it’s important that we have a safeguard against being deceived or mislead ourselves.  Otherwise, we could be subject to misleading others.  For those of us who have access to the Word of God in written form, in a language we can understand and the ability to read it with comprehension, it is a great blessing and privilege indeed.  However, a large percentage of the world’s population, even today, do not have access to the Scriptures.  Many who have access to Scripture do not read or know it.

Hearing Dominant Cultures

Interestingly, in ancient times, in hearing dominant cultures, people had more confidence in a face-to-face spoken communication than a written document. In modern, Western cultures written documents are perceived to be more credible and authentic than spoken or other means of communication.  Actually, just because something shows up in print (text-books, newspapers, magazines, etc.) it doesn’t mean it is true or reliable.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Assist News

via The Need for Authentic and Reliable Communication of the Gospel Around the World — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Hillary Clinton campaign payment to dossier author Christopher Steele broke election laws: lawsuit – Washington Times

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa., Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE **

A conservative nonprofit has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Hillary Clinton campaign of violating election laws when it paid British citizen Christopher Steele to gather Kremlin-provided political dirt on candidate Donald Trump.

Though not stated outright, the lawsuit argues that Democrats violated an admonition issued last week by Federal Election Commission Chairman Ellen L. Weintraub. She decreed that political campaigns cannot accept “anything of value” from foreign nationals.

The lawsuit from The Coolidge Reagan Foundation says the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee accepted something of a value from a foreign national, Mr. Steele, in the form of Kremlin anti-Trump smut.

The suit’s purpose is to persuade a federal judge to order the FEC to vote on whether to open a formal investigation. Coolidge Reagan filed an FEC complaint in August. It was accepted for review, but there has been no formal commission action, according to Dan Backer, the foundation’s founder and president.

Ms. Weintraub issued her warning on June 13 after President Trump told ABC News that he would listen to foreign allegations against a political appointment.

“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,” said Ms. Weintraub, a Democrat. “This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation.”

Ms. Weintraub pinned the statement to her Twitter page, with the headline “I would not have thought that I needed to say this.”

The Coolidge Reagan Foundation said that during the 2016 election, Democrats did precisely what Ms. Weintraub described.

“The Clinton campaign, not Trump, collaborated with the Russians in a desperate, and ultimately failed, attempt to steal the election,” says the August 2018 complaint. It names Mr. Steele, the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Perkins Coie, the Democrats’ law firm, as respondents.

“I think Weintraub is full of hot air,” Mr. Backer told The Washington Times. “I mean after all, she’s very serious about Trump’s comment but she hasn’t done anything about our complaint.

A FEC spokesman told The Times: “A provision of the federal statute prohibits me from commenting on an enforcement matter that has not been closed by the agency.”

The Perkins Coie law firm didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A review by The Washington Times didn’t find any Weintraub criticism of Democrats having paid Mr. Steele to collect foreign political dirt.

In 2017, Perkins Coie acknowledged Democratic funding of Mr. Steele’s dossier after Rep. Devin Nunes of California, top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, subpoenaed bank records.

Mr. Steele, a former British intelligence officer, filled his 35-page dossier with now-debunked conspiracy charges against candidate Trump. Mr. Steele quoted Kremlin intelligence sources as saying Mr. Trump was a spy for Russia and financed its hacking of Democratic Party computers.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no such conspiracy.

Mr. Steele’s $168,000 payment came from the Clinton campaign and DNC, funneled through Perkins Coie, to their opposition research firm Fusion GPS, for whom Mr. Steele worked. Clinton operatives spread the dirt among journalists and Obama administration officials.

“[Hillary for America] and the DNC paid Christopher Steele, a foreign national, to generate the Steele dossier, based primarily on lies and fabrications from current and former Russian government officials and other foreign nationals,” the Coolidge Reagan lawsuit states. “To mask their key role in funding the dossier, HFA and the DNC funneled their payments through their law firm, Perkins Coie, and failed to properly report the purposes of those payments to the FEC as required by federal law.”
— Read on

Too stressed: Americans can’t stomach talking about 1 topic – WND

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a news conference Jan. 17, 2019 (video screenshot)

In the two years President Trump has been in office, Americans believe the state of political discourse has become more negative, less respectful, less fact-based, less focused on issues and less entertaining.

That’s according to a new poll by Pew Research.

“The public renders a harsh judgment on the state of political discourse in this country. And for many Americans, their own conversations about politics have become stressful experiences that they prefer to avoid,” the report said.

Pew found 85 percent of Americans believe the political debate is more negative, 85 percent say it’s less respectful and 76 percent say it’s less fact-based.

They blame Trump for changing the tone and nature of political debate, not Democrats who have fought him and pursued unsubstantiated Russia-collusion allegations or the media, which has backed them.

Fifty-five percent say Trump made the tone worse, while 24 percent say he’s improved it.

“Meanwhile, people’s everyday conversations about politics and other sensitive topics are often tense and difficult. Half say talking about politics with people they disagree with politically is ‘stressful and frustrating,’” the report said.

The conflict is obvious, with Democrats routinely comparing the president to Adolf Hitler.

Trump has responded with nicknames such as “sleepy Joe” for Joe Biden and “Pocahontas” for Elizabeth Warren.

“When speaking with people they do not know well, more say they would be very comfortable talking about the weather and sports – and even religion – than politics. And it is people who are most comfortable with interpersonal conflict, including arguing with other people, who also are most likely to talk about politics frequently and to be politically engaged,” Pew said.

The survey interviewed 10,170 adults April 29-May 13.

It found 78 percent believe that “elected officials using heated or aggressive language … makes violence against those groups more likely.”

And it found: “Majorities in both parties say it is very important that elected officials treat their opponents with respect. But while most Democrats (78 percent) say it is very important for Republican elected officials to treat Democratic officials with respect, only about half (47 percent) say it is very important for officials from their party to treat Republican politicians with respect. There is similar divide in the opinions of Republicans; 75 percent say Democrats should be respectful of GOP officials, while only 49 percent say the same about Republicans’ treatment of Democratic officials.”

Further, majorities say people cannot even any longer agree on what constitutes racist or sexist language.

“As in the past, a majority of Americans (60 percent) say ‘too many people are easily offended over the language that others use.’ Yet there is uncertainty about what constitutes offensive speech: About half (51 percent) say it is easy to know what others might find offensive, while nearly as many (48 percent) say it is hard to know. In addition, majorities say that people in this country do not generally agree about the types of language considered to be sexist (65 percent) and racist (61 percent).”

The survey also found most people say social media companies should be responsible enough to remove “offensive” content.

And what about those personal insults?

“Most Republicans (72 percent) say it is never acceptable for a Democratic official to call a Republican opponent ‘stupid,’ while far fewer (49 percent) say it is unacceptable for a Republican to use this slur against a Democrat. Among Democrats, 76 percent would rule out a Republican calling a Democratic opponent ‘stupid,’ while 60 percent say the same about Democrat calling a Republican ‘stupid.’”
— Read on

Illinois Farmers Have “Given Up” On Planting | Zero Hedge

Farmers in Illinois whose land has been thrashed by flooding have given up on planting.  Instead of growing food, they decided to throw a party. And who could blame them?

The storms that have caused major flooding in Illinois have forced farmers to give up on their crops. Forecasts for even more rain also sent corn futures to a 5-year-high, bringing the food crisis ever closer to reality. Few farmers will even see a benefit from the higher prices because they can’t even get their corn planted in the ground.

Dozens of corn farmers and those who sell them seed, chemicals, and equipment gathered on Thursday at the restaurant in Deer Grove, Illinois, after heavy rains caused unprecedented delays in planting this year and contributed to record floods across the central United States, according to a report by Reuters. Rather than focus on the abysmal farming year, they decided to party instead.

The storms have left millions of acres unseeded in the $51 billion U.S. corn market and put crops that were planted late at a greater risk for damage from severe weather during the growing season. Together, the problems heap more pain on a farm sectorthat has suffered from years of low crop prices and a U.S.-China trade war that is slowing agricultural exports.

“It’s A Disaster Like I’ve Never Seen Before”: 2019 Could Be The Worst Year EVER For U.S. Corn Farmers

James McCune, a farmer from Mineral, Illinois, was unable to plant 85% of his intended corn acres and wanted to commiserate with his fellow farmers by hosting the “Prevent Plant Party” at The Happy Spot. He invited them to swap stories while tucking into fried chicken and a keg of beer in Deer Grove, a village of about 50 people located 120 miles (193 km) west of Chicago. –Reuters

Regardless of the news, it isn’t looking good for farmers in America.Already dealing with the political ramifications of the trade warbankruptcies and suicides at record levels, farmers are now devastated by destructive weather. All things considered, farmers are expected to harvest the smallest corn crop in four years nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency last week reduced its planting estimate by 3.2% from May and its yield estimate by 5.7%. Farmers think more cuts are likely as the late-planted crop could face damage from hot summer weather and an autumn frost.

Because of the flooding and problems in the farming sector, there’s no time like the present to learn to grow your own food. It’s a vital skill when preparing for any catastrophe.

June 20 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Deuteronomy 25; Psalm 116; Isaiah 52; Revelation 22


we may usefully divide Isaiah 52 into three unequal parts.

(1) In the first six verses, the tone is of tender reassurance. So much that has happened to Israel (even though her sin has brought it on) has crushed her. She has been “sold for nothing” (52:3) and “taken away for nothing” (52:5); she has been defiled (52:1), chained (52:2), “oppressed” (52:4), and mocked (52:5). But now she is to wear “garments of splendor” (52:1) and “sit enthroned” (52:2) like a queen in Jerusalem. Though she was sold for nothing, in God’s eyes she is still beyond price (52:3). God still calls Israel “my people” (52:4). Moreover, he attaches his own name to what has happened to them: his name has been “constantly blasphemed” (52:5). Now they can take comfort: the God who foretold their destruction has foretold their restoration (52:6).

What is striking about this list of opposites—the crushing defeat and denigration of Israel on the one hand, and the rapturous categories that the Sovereign Lord uses of her on the other—is that the first set is generated (according to the running argument of the book) by Israel’s own sin, while the second set is generated by God’s gracious goodness and faithfulness in pursuing her and delivering her from the punishment that he himself has imposed.

(2) In the next four verses (52:7–10) the good news that God is reversing the sanctions imposed on Israel is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Not only are the ruins of Jerusalem commanded to burst into songs of joy, but “[t]he Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God” (52:9–10).

(3) The last two verses (52:11–12) call on the exiles to depart, to leave their captivity behind. At the historical level, of course, this could not happen until Cyrus granted his permission. But Isaiah’s prophecy must have stirred anticipation and helped to prepare the people. The language itself is redolent of the Exodus, but the difference in emphasis is striking. When the Israelites left Egypt they were told to bring with them whatever they could get from the Egyptians—valuable jewelry and clothing. Here, however, the people are warned not to touch anything, but to come out “from there” and be pure. This suggests that the ultimate goal is not geographical Jerusalem, but the new Jerusalem, and what must be left behind is more than Babylon, but all that Babylon represents. That reflection enables us to understand how and why Paul uses this passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14–18, and how we should use it today.[1]

[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Brannon Howse: June 18, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

The Tower of Basel (Part 2). Today Brannon continues to explain the goals of the Bank for International Settlements based in Basel, Switzerland. Topic: Facebook announces a cryptocurrency but why? In 1988 The Economist magazine had a picture of a Phoenix rising out of a pile of burning world currencies and it stated the goal was a world currency by 2018. While the 2018 goal was missed how is the Bank for International Settlements and other globalists working to accomplish this goal of a world currency? Topic: The 1988 cover of The Economist Magazine pictured a gold coin on the chest of the Phoenix. Was this to be an actual coin or a cryptocurrency? Topic: Why are people buying cryptocurrencies and what does this tell us about the future? Topic: Many Bible prophecy authors have simply quoted other Bible prophecy writers and have thus pushed the false idea that the ten kings of Revelation and Daniel 2 & 7 are ten leaders out of Europe. Brannon explains why it makes more sense the ten kings will be ten world leaders representing ten regions of the world. Brannon explains how the globalists have already divided the world into ten regions and Brannon names these regions. Topic: We take your calls. 

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