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In 2016, friends of ours gave us a bottle of Hart of Gold English sparkling wine.

That was the year Hart of Gold won a Gold Medal at The International Wine Challenge.

We rather enjoyed it, and now that the height of summer is upon us, my British readers might be interested in sparkling refreshment.

Hart of Gold makes a reasonably priced host/hostess gift that everyone who likes a glass of fizz will enjoy.

(Image credit: wine-searcher.com)

The bottle is also a delight to read. The front label says:

MADE IN THE REALM OF ALBION

The back label winsomely describes the occasions which it suits best:

Just the ticket for boating expeditions and sheltering from the rain in a marquee, it is also worth opening a bottle at the end of a long day, just to toast the sunset reflected in your loved one’s eyes (even if your loved one is a labrador).

A quote from Justin Howard-Sneyd MW (Master of Wine) follows:

We hope you enjoy it!

Hart of Gold was made and bottled in Ditchling, Sussex, by Ridgeview Wine Estate, owned by the Roberts Family.

They use Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes to come up with a very good product indeed.

Glass of Bubbly has more interesting information about this sparkling wine, which cannot be called Champagne, as it was not made in that region of France.

The English references hearken back to the days in mediaeval times when England was a wine producer (yes!):

‘Hart of Gold’ which is inspired by England’s rich history of viticulture especially in the Middle Ages. The name draws on folk legends of an elusive and mysterious white stag with golden horns – The Hart. This legend fascinated Richard II, who made the Hart his personal symbol.

Their article says that Justin Howard-Sneyd MW has spent his whole career in selling — and, more recently, making — wine:

Justin Howard-Sneyd MW has spent years buying wine and advising winemakers on how to make and market their wines, so has now decided to put his money where his mouth is and launch his own English Sparkling Wine.

After working at Chapel Down in 1997, Justin went on to buy English wine for Safeway, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, being instrumental in planting the John Lewis Partnership’s vineyard at Leckford Estate in Hampshire.

Whilst Global Wine Director at Laithwaite’s Wine, Justin started an initiative whereby anyone who worked in the Theale office was invited to adopt a vine in the 700-vine award-winning Theale vineyard …

Justin has worked with the Roberts Family at Ridgeview to produce Hart of Gold …

The article provides the tasting notes:

Eyes: A lovely pale gold in colour, with a persistent stream of fine bubbles.
Nose: A combination of citrus and stone fruit with rich toasty notes
Mouth: Complex flavours of refreshing citrus, alongside distinctive toastiness are underpinned by balanced acidity and a long mouth-watering finish.

Domaine of the Bee has more detailed information for oenophiles.

Time’s running out to buy Hart of Gold, as the drinking window expires in 2018.

This is your last chance to buy what remains of Hart of Gold 2010.

On Sunday, July 29, 2018, Geraint Thomas made history as the first Welshman to win the Tour de France.

Once again, Team Sky triumphed. They have now won six out of the past seven Tours de France!

Meanwhile, no Frenchman has won since 1985: the legendary Bernard Hinault.

The love-hate attitude towards Team Sky and Chris Froome

The French have been angry with Team Sky ever since Chris Froome began winning.

Odd that they fawned all over Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins — without the ‘Sir’ — when he won in 2012. Back then, I wrote (emphases mine below):

The Telegraph had a roundup of media reactions, beginning with a front-page splash on France’s L’Equipe, which also devoted pages 2 to 11 to Wiggins.  Christian Prudhomme, race director, told the sports daily that cycling has truly taken root in English-speaking countries, which are taking their place alongside Continental countries as victors of the world’s great races.

L’Equipe was not alone. Le Monde also had multiple photo spreads and articles on Wiggins’s sartorial style and tastes in music: ‘so British!’

When Froome raced to victory the following year — he had been Wiggins’s domestique (helper) in 2012 — no one in French media liked him.

Chris Froome did all the right things: readily granted interviews, was polite to the media, represented Team Sky well and showed grace under pressure on and off the road. This year, people actually booed him. Why?

Similarly, the French saw Team Sky as a phenomenon in 2012. Now they hate the team. Even Thomas was booed on the penultimate time trial stage this year, when it was clear he would win the Tour. It was an anti-Sky gesture.

Team Sky has done everything correctly. They train throughout the year, not just part of it. They have a phalanx of trainers and nutritionists who fine tune each rider to deliver the best for the team in a low-key, professional way. There was one stage in the 2018 Tour where one of the ITV4 commentators said that the team’s nutritionist and trainer were regulating Froome’s food and water intake every two hours so that he would deliver his best performance. No doubt, they did the same thing with Geraint Thomas, who performed brilliantly.

In any event …

Chris Froome is the Donald Trump of cycling.

Team Sky is the Donald Trump of cycling.

On RMC’s Les Grandes Gueules, the mid-morning political talk show, Team Sky came in for a lot of criticism. In the last half of the Tour, the panellists moaned about Team Sky winning a sixth Tour, calling it a mockery of cycling. Today, the day after Thomas won, the panel complained that Sky has a budget of €40m, substantially more than any other Tour de France team. What they forget is that money can be frittered away. Sky, led by Sir Dave Brailsford, knows how to use that big budget to produce big results.

The Independent gave an insight from a French newspaper along the same lines:

An article in Le Parisien this weekend compared the Tour de France to an episode of Columbo, “where the killer was known from the first minutes. In this edition, the killer was English,” the paper wrote, perhaps not aware that Thomas is Welsh. It has been a theme throughout the Tour: that Sky are suffocating the peloton, and that no one wants to watch its slow death.

The writer suggested a list of measures to tackle the problem. Cap wages, because Team Sky are like Paris Saint-Germain; unplug earpieces, because they undermine the advantage of instinctive riders like Philippe Gilbert and favour meticulous planners like Sky; invent new routes, because the team time trial played into Sky’s hands. They are desperate measures for what is becoming a desperate cause.

Well, in response to those suggested measures: a) every team has had earpieces for the past few years and b) there were new — punishing — routes this year.

Sky wins because Sky is meticulous.

Why aren’t other teams analysing how Sky does it and emulate them?

This is Team Sky today. From The Independent:

It is now six wins in seven Tours for Team Sky, four grand tour victories in a row, and there is a growing fear that they might never lose a three-week race again, slowly disbanding the idea of competition in favour of 21 days sipping champagne on an elaborate vineyard tour. They are the richest team with the strongest riders and the shrewdest management, the giant at the front of the peloton, and one that is still evolving.

How Thomas won

Another article from The Independent explains Geraint Thomas’s victory:

Geraint Thomas – who now joins the fabled list of Tour de France winners – did it with unabating pressure. He snatched every available second, each a small but significant psychological blow, never taking his foot off the throttle. He took time from his closest rival Tom Dumoulin on seven separate stages, and that gradual accumulation of wealth also helped him to seamlessly usurp Chris Froome as Team Sky’s de facto leader, not by bloody coup but instead by a gentle undermining of power.

The end result was so effective that you wondered whether a team as meticulous as Sky might have planned it all along. Was Froome the Trojan Horse from which the unassuming Thomas sprang? Perhaps that’s reading a little too deeply into what can be such a chaotic and unpredictable sport, but there is no doubt Dave Brailsford and his management team thought the Welsh rider could win this Tour from the beginning.

His victory will go down as a surprise to many, but there were plenty of signs. He showed pedigree in recent Tours, challenging in the top 10 and wearing yellow during last year’s race, and in June he won the Dauphiné, always a strong indicator of who will challenge in July.

Tom Dumoulin, who finished in second place, said it wasn’t about Sky’s vast coffers of money as much as it was Thomas’s riding skill:

Asked to reflect on whether he had been beaten by Team Sky’s riches, Dumoulin was clear. “Of course having more money to spend makes life easier, but in this tour it didn’t really make a difference. We couldn’t control the race like Sky, but they had the strongest guy in the bunch. It’s too easy to say that Geraint Thomas had a big advantage with his team. He was the absolute strongest rider over the last three weeks.”

Thomas won the stage at Alpe d’Huez:

The Independent described how gruelling the stage was for him:

“Alpe d’Huez was probably the most I suffered,” Thomas said. “To win there in the yellow jersey was just insane. I didn’t expect it. That day was just about following the guys in front. That will always stay with me, it was incredible.”

The win on the Alpe was stylish, capped by the image of Thomas throwing his head back and roaring into the sky, the photo he’ll probably have framed at the top of the stairs.

Then there was the Col de Portet, when it became clear a Froome victory this year was no longer a possibility:

… his third-place on the Portet was even grittier and more definitive, the moment any lingering notion of Thomas as a rider who cannot stand three hard weeks on the front line of a grand tour was extinguished.

There, on one of the hardest climbs you could possibly dream up, Froome cracked and suddenly Thomas was exposed, both in the sense that he was now without question the team’s leader and that he was out on the mountain without his Sky brigade. He coped brilliantly, shaking off furious attacks of Dumoulin and Roglic before escaping at the finish to extend his lead.

Thomas has had his share of upsets in cycling, but his time has come:

Thomas’s nod to his own run of bad luck was qualified by an insistence that he has worked “super hard” for this triumph, meticulously preparing his season to peak in the Alps and the Pyrénées, where this Tour was ultimately won. “I’m glad it’s finally paid off,” he said with a sense of palpable relief. It really has, culminating in his relentless pursuit of the yellow jersey, and on the ride to the Champs-Élysées he finally took his foot off the throttle.

Thomas’s demeanour is similar to that of Sir Bradley Wiggins: self-effacing. He speaks like Wiggins, like ‘a regular bloke’, some might say. The Independent covered his victory speech on the Champs Elysées in Paris:

I’ve not got a good track record with speeches so I’ll keep it short,” Thomas said on the podium. “I just want to say thanks to the team, they’ve just been incredible for the whole three weeks. Big respect to Froomey, obviously it could have got awkward, there could have been tension, but you’ve been a great champion and I’ll always have respect for you.

“I’m pretty tired. The whole team was incredible, the staff as well. I got into cycling because of this race. I remember running home from school to watch it. The dream was always just to be a part of it. Now I’m here in the yellow jersey it’s just insane. I just want to say a final thanks to the crowd, you’ve just been amazing. Oh, and my wife.

Kids, just dream big. If people tell you it can’t be done, keep going and believe in yourself. With hard work, everything pays off in the end. Thank you very much and vive le Tour.”

Here are a few tweets from Team Sky:

And from the Tour de France:

Next year’s Tour will begin in Brussels:

Thanks to ITV4 and ITV1

In closing, many Tour de France fans in the UK will have appreciated the even longer coverage ITV4 was able to broadcast — entire stages, start to finish. That was a welcome televisual first!

Also, this was the first time that the ITV1 showed final, iconic stage, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Long may both broadcasts continue. Many thanks, ITV!

Bible ancient-futurenetThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy have omitted — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 19:23-27

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

——————————————————————————————————————————

Last week’s entry was about Paul’s future travel plans to extend Christianity.

The passage is where the story of the riot in Ephesus begins. Today, we discover the background to the riot.

Interestingly, St Luke — the author of Acts — once again wrote of ‘the Way’, which was the ancient term for Christ and Christianity. A previous use of ‘the Way’ was earlier in Acts 19, when some of the Ephesian Jews spoke vilely of it.

In today’s reading, the pagan silversmith Demetrius, along with others, was consterned about the increase of Christians in Ephesus. This was brought about by the failed exorcism of two of the Sons of Sceva which brought out converts who voluntarily confessed to practising the dark arts, which resulted in an equally voluntary ‘book’ (scroll) burning. The name of Jesus was glorified. The church in the port city grew and grew.

Ephesus had a huge following of the goddess Diana — Artemis — the huntress. Demetrius, along with other silversmiths, made silver shrines of her, which was a lucrative trade in the city for reasons which John MacArthur explains (emphases mine):

The temple of Diana was big business, a monstrous place, 420 feet by 250 feet. A huge place. And hundreds of people preached to eunuchs, temple worshippers, priestesses, prostitutes, the whole thing, all worshipping up there. And this temple also was a treasure house for gold and silver. So it was a very, very, very, wealthy place. A very famous place, people from all over the world came there. In fact there were a whole multiple of pillars. And these pillars were donated by princes and rulers from all over the world.

So it was a very, very famous place. And periodically during the year it had a string of pilgrims making an influx into the city. So tourist traffic in the worship of Artemis was really big business. And the silversmiths made their living by selling these little shrines to the tourists. And to the people making pilgrimages to the city of Ephesus to worship at the shrine of Artemis. Now the best we can tell was that these were little models of the temple or else little statues of Artemis. Now this was an interesting thing.

It is thought that these were small ‘shrines’ that one could carry in one’s pocket or put in one’s home. As such, they were easy to transport, so that a pilgrim could take a few home to give to family and friends.

Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen made a comfortable and reliable living fashioning these shrines (verse 24). We do not know if Demetrius was the leader of the local silversmith’s guild or if he was a prominent member who took it upon himself to speak in a position of leadership.

Whatever the case, he gathered together these craftsmen and those in related trades to say that they had all made a lot of money by producing these Artemis-themed things (verse 25) and that Paul’s preaching against man-made gods was ruining their livelihood — not just in Ephesus but across Asia Minor (verse 26).

MacArthur surmises that Demetrius might have sounded the alarm during a high period of pilgrimage and found that his business was in a slump:

… this was probably according to some chronologists, the month of May and it was a big time and this was really the place that was filled with worshippers and this was the time of making big money. And what happened was the gospel had hit him right in the money bag. The gospel was fouling up their business. Because people were accepting the truth of Christ and turning from idols. Bad business.

Demetrius then said that they should all be very worried about the possible end results: a) that they personally could fall into disrepute and b) they might be put out of business if more people turn away from Artemis towards Jesus Christ (verse 27). Note that he took special pains to mention that the Artemis cult was worshipped not only in Asia Minor but everywhere else, too.

Matthew Henry’s commentary says that Demetrius was warning them that their persons could be in danger in addition to their livelihoods. There was an undercurrent in Demetrius’s thinking that Paul have must been wrong because everyone had worshipped Artemis for a very long time:

He reminds them of the danger which their trade was in of going to decay. Whatever touches this touches them in a sensible tender part: “If this doctrine gains credit, we are all undone, and may even shut up shop; this our craft will be set at nought, will be convicted, and put into an ill name as superstition, and a cheat upon the world, and every body will run it down. This our part” (so the word is), “our interest or share of trade and commerce,” kindyneuei hemin to meros, “will not only come into danger of being lost, but it will bring us into danger, and we shall become not only beggars, but malefactors.” [4.] He pretends a mighty zeal for Diana, and a jealousy for her honour: Not only this our craft is in danger; if that were all, he would not have you think that he would have spoken with so much warmth, but all his care is lest the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed; and he would not, for all the world, see the diminution of the honour of that goddess, whom all Asia and the world worship. See what the worship of Diana had to plead for itself, and what was the utmost which the most zealous bigots for it had to say in its behalf. First, That it had pomp on its side; the magnificence of the temple was the thing that charmed them, the thing that chained them; they could not bear the thoughts of any thing that tended to the diminution, much less to the destruction, of that. Secondly, That it had numbers on its side; All Asia and the world worship it; and therefore it must needs be the right way of worship, let Paul say what he will to the contrary.

And this is the lesson for us, that mankind inherently seeks sin and the world rather than the light of Christ:

Thus, because all the world wonders after the beast, therefore the dragon, the devil, the god of this world, gives him his power, and his seat, and great authority, Revelation 13:2,3.

Acts 19 moves from the Jews denouncing the Way to pagans denouncing it. MacArthur points out:

Why does God take up all this 20 verses to tell us about a riot? One of the reasons is because it’s exciting to see the successes of Christianity put in the mouths of the pagans, do you see? It isn’t just us that’s claiming God’s power. The pagans are admitting it. Do you see how important that kind of apologetic is? It’s one reason why it’s here. And another thing, the reason the spirit puts it here is because the rioters are so frustrated because there’s nothing they can really do because there’s no-one to blame and there’s nothing evil that Christians have done.

So again, God lets the pagans state the case that Christianity is successful, God is turning people from idols and secondly there’s nothing you can criticize him for. That’s why the whole account’s here. And as you’ll see in a minute, they all get together and riot like crazy, but they don’t know what to do.

And who is responsible for this incredible transformation, with God working through him? Paul. Paul — and the purified church in Ephesus. The Holy Spirit was also working through them:

What brought the success first of all was one man totally committed to Jesus Christ. Do you believe that one man totally committed to Jesus Christ can make a difference in a province? In a state, in a country?

This man did. Paul. One man committed to Jesus Christ came into one city and turned a province on its ear. One man. But you know what that one man spent his time doing? Night and day, praying and teaching with tears the Word of God. And what an effect he had. So it was first of all the success that came by the presence of one man dedicated. But secondly it was the success that came by the presence of a purified church. You know when those people who believe, Verses 17 to 19 of chapter 19. “When they believe, they who believe” verse 18 says, “confessed and showed their deed or revealed their secrets and burned their magic books.” And so forth and so on. And when the church got purified, man things began to happen

The account of the riot continues next week.

For now, the important message is that the Lord bestoed massive blessings on Paul from his many heartfelt prayers, enabling him to present the Gospel story in a true doctrinal way which, in turn, brought about a purified church in Ephesus as more people converted and those who had sinned in private voluntarily admitted it and repented. As such, the church increased dramatically afterwards to the extent that even unbelievers noticed it.

Next time — Acts 19:28-34

What follows are the readings for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, the Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

There are two sets of first readings, each with an accompanying Psalm from which the celebrant can choose. I have given the second selection blue subheadings below. Emphases mine throughout.

First reading

While David sent his troops out to battle against the Ammonites, he remained in Jerusalem in the lap of luxury. This idleness brought him into serious sin through sleeping with Uriah the Hittite’s wife Bathsheba. She became pregnant. Uriah returned at David’s request. David encouraged Uriah to go home to Bathsheba, so that it would appear that he had impregnated her. Uriah, being loyal to God and to his mission, refused to go. David got Uriah drunk, but, still, he refused to go home. David sent Uriah to deliver a letter to Joab, leading the battle against the Ammonites, to put Uriah in the front line so that he would be killed. Otherwise, in time, Uriah would have figured out the David was the father of Bathsheba’s child. Uriah’s death is recorded later in the chapter.

Adultery is dangerous business.

2 Samuel 11:1-15

11:1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

11:2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.

11:3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”

11:4 So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house.

11:5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

11:6 So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David.

11:7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going.

11:8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king.

11:9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.

11:10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?”

11:11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.”

11:12 Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day,

11:13 David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

11:15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”

Psalm

The Psalm warns against foolishness in denying God and also warns against sin. However, God will deliver the righteous.

Psalm 14

14:1 Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.

14:2 The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.

14:3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.

14:4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the LORD?

14:5 There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the company of the righteous.

14:6 You would confound the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.

14:7 O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

First reading

This reading goes well with today’s Gospel account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand.

Elisha had served three kings and done the Lord’s work during a time of divine judgement through famine. The Lord worked through Elisha to keep the people fed during this time. The verses preceding the passage below describe how the prophet made contaminated food clean by adding grain. Today’s passage describes how he was able to feed 100 people on small amounts of food — the first fruits of the harvest, meant for the ritual offering — with the result that all felt they had consumed an entire meal, even though there were leftovers, as the Lord had ordained.

This is analogous to Christ’s miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes. It also presages the spiritual nourishment we have through Christ Jesus.

2 Kings 4:42-44

4:42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.”

4:43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'”

4:44 He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.

Psalm

The accompanying Psalm points to God satisfying the needs of His creation through His infinite mercy.

Psalm 145:10-18

145:10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you.

145:11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,

145:12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

145:13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.

145:14 The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.

145:15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.

145:16 You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

145:17 The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.

145:18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Epistle

Readings continue from Paul’s letters to the Ephesians. Here, Paul ends with a prayer to God to keep the Christians in Ephesus strong in their faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

Older translations of verse 14 make this relationship clear, which would have been Paul’s objective for the Ephesians:

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 3:14-21

3:14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,

3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.

3:16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,

3:17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

3:18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

3:20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,

3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel

The Gospel readings switch from Mark to John. This is John’s account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, which is Christ’s miraculous fulfilment of what God demonstrated through Elisha in the reading from 2 Kings above and the aforementioned verses from Psalm 145.

John 6:1-21

6:1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias.

6:2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick.

6:3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.

6:4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near.

6:5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”

6:6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

6:7 Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,

6:9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

6:10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.

6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

6:12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”

6:13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.

6:14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

6:15 When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

6:16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,

6:17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.

6:18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.

6:19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.

6:20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

6:21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.

This is what happened next, but not many Christians know how Jesus rebuked the people who had followed Him to Capernaum for wanting another miraculous meal.

Instead, He referred to Himself as ‘living bread’, which will be in next week’s Gospel.

He lost many disciples that day (John 6:66) and also mentioned that one of the Twelve would betray Him (John 6:70-71).

Although President Trump has been roundly criticised for meeting with President Putin, this meeting is important for world peace.

Remember that those criticising it are afraid of the intel Putin told — and gave — to Trump.

The Gateway Pundit has more on outrage from frightened Democrats (emphasis in the original):

Mueller, Rosenstein, Obama, the Clintons and many more have questionable actions in the past related to Russia. These people do not want Trump to obtain evidence of their sordid actions with Russia. They are trying to prevent Trump from meeting Putin and finding out.

Uranium One is but one example:

No doubt Putin and Trump discussed the ‘Russian hack’ — more like an inside leak — of the Democratic National Committee’s emails. On that subject:

At least one anti-Trump Republican chimed in, too:

As did Bush II’s CIA director, Michael Hayden:

Putin has been observing all the reaction, as he explained in a talk about the summit on July 19. The following video is subtitled. ‘Going off script’, he says that the ‘forces’ are Americans with ‘political ambitions’. Enough said:

The meeting, as all between the US and Russia have been in the past, was one of global importance:

Before Helsinki 2018 on Monday, July 16:

Despite a small protest going on outside, inside Finland’s Presidential Palace, things went to plan, including Trump’s characteristic handshake:

It is bound to produce positive long-term results:

Affirmation for President Trump came from Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky):

And from best-selling author and film producer Larry Schweikart:

And from Dilbert’s Scott Adams:

And actor James Woods:

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee) took exception to media reports of Trump’s ‘weakness’:

Trump also received support from the Australian prime minister:

Independent journalist Michael Tracey observed that diplomacy involves a certain amount of flattery. In 2009, it came from Obama, but no one objected:

And what about this from 2012, when Obama said he ‘would have more flexibility after the election’?

PJ Media’s Roger Simon contrasted Trump with Obama (emphases mine below):

The bad cop part is what Trump actually does concretely — and, as Putin certainly knows, this is far more important than photo ops and press conferences with all the attendant words.  Trump’s actions vis-a-vis Russia have been considerably more stringent than his predecessor’s — opening the energy spigots, increasing sanctions, arming the Ukrainians, ejecting 60 Russian agents, etc.  As Walter Russell Mead pointed out, if Trump is in Putin’s pocket, he’s doing a terrible job of it.

Barack Obama — although the New York Times would burn down its own building rather than admit it — did an abysmal job with Putin and was indeed the one who was truly “owned” by the Russian.  And it wasn’t just the silly reset button and the embarrassing video of Barack whispering into Medvedev’s ear to tell Vlad he — Barack — would be more flexible on missiles after the election.  (What a toady!)  Even worse, in his Chamberlainesque ardor to make a deal with Iran’s mullahs, Obama let Putin play him in Syria, agreeing not to honor his redline against Assad’s use of chemical weapons in order not to endanger the  deal.  Trump never did anything nearly that pathetic.  Actually, he stands up strong.

Furthermore, other previous presidents had a jolly time with Putin — and no one cared:

Check out Buzzfeed‘s The 25 Biggest Bromance Moments Between George W Bush and Vladimir Putin. Remember this one? Emphasis in the original:

12. When Bush invited Putin to his home in Maine for a ‘lobster summit.’

And Kennebunkport welcomed him with open arms.

In fact, until Trump, the only president in recent years to be criticised for meeting with a Russian leader was Ronald Reagan:

In closing:

Good things will come from this meeting — better than from any previous president.

I have dozens of tweets about the outrage and opprobrium President Donald Trump received after Helsinki 2018 on Monday, July 16, 2018.

It’s truly remarkable.

CNN and Time

Here’s Jake Tapper covering the summit. Never mind him, check out the banner at the bottom:

Fortunately, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) appeared later on CNN to call out Wolf Blitzer and others on their Trump Derangement Syndrome:

The channel’s ex-CIA guy (summer job only), Anderson Cooper — Gloria Vanderbilt’s son — aired his outrage with Trump:

There’s truth in humour:

The following day, Trump reacted …

… and had another go that Thursday:

Perhaps Trump had seen that week’s Time magazine cover of a morphed Putin-Trump. Hideous:

A few days later, Jake Tapper admitted to a bemused news panel that Trump has been ‘tough’ on Russia:

Helsinki 2018 press conference

Here’s Trump at the press conference following the meeting he and Putin held:

Nonetheless, the summit and Trump’s words drew opprobrium from politicians, media and members of the intelligence community.

This was the reaction from former CIA director John Brennan:

Senator Rand Paul responded in an interview with Fox News:

Bernie Sanders chimed in on Trump’s meeting:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) wanted the interpreter for the summit meeting subpoenaed:

A possible reason for the anger

There is a possible reason for the outrage and opprobrium.

What did Putin tell Trump? Did he give him any information to take away?

I’m not a Hal Turner Radio Show listener, but someone on The_Donald is, therefore, a tip of the hat to him for this link from July 17 (updated two days later), ‘Dear God; They Caught Them ALL! …’

We can only hope and pray this is true. Please read Hal’s post in full.

Excerpts follow, emphases in purple mine (those in bold and red are Hal’s):

Thanks to my long-time former colleagues from the Intelligence Community, whom I worked with in my years with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, from both inside and outside the US, I am pleased to be the ONLY media outlet to be able to report this extraordinary information . . . .

At the meeting in Helsinki, Finland, between Presidents Putin of Russia and Trump of the USA, the Russians gave to Trump at least 160 TERABYTES of Russian Intelligence Intercepts which expose horrifying activities of many, many, people to deliberately foment social, cultural, and political chaos, violent riots, demonstrations, media smears, phony scandals, and fake news. 

Some of those intercepts reveal who has been financing weapons, supplies, travel, hotel, vehicle rentals and secure communications gear for Terrorist groups, inside Syria, Iraq, and terror attacks in Europe and the US.   

Among the intercepted communications are mostly international phone calls, faxes, emails by members of the US Congress, US Senate, federal Judges, state-level elected officials from California, Oregon, Washington, New York (City & State), New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia.  Once those communications left the United States, they became fair game for any country to spy on.

A great number of these communications were encrypted, but Russia has found a way to BREAK much of the encryption!  And as part of their effort to improve relations with Trump, they provided the original encrypted versions of the intercepts AND the key which decrypts them so the US can use US-obtained intercepts (which may still be encrypted) along with the Russian-provided decryption key to prove the info is accurate and unedited!!!

Holy moly! Turner says this international group comprises politicians, members of the intelligence community, military officers, wealthy people, social media managers — and, of course, journalists.

Turner writes that he was told:

Foggy Bottom (the nickname for the State Dept.) is turning out to be THE epicenter of evil for a lot of things . . .

Uh oh.

Turner’s sources also deeply implicated the US Department of Justice:

Worst of all, some of the Signals Intelligence grabbed-up certain well-known individuals inside the US Department of Justice. What these people have done will no doubt smash the reputation of the legal system for decades. Not only are some people inside the Justice Department going to prison, their liability for things they’ve done WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION, will expose them to personal liability which will utterly destroy them and their families civilly.

Wow.

Allegedly:

During that meeting, Putin laid out the inner workings of the vast global network of “elites” and the activities they have engaged in to bring wars, refugees, all manner of social and political chaos to countries around the world, much of it in the USA. Russia even provided charts showing “organizational” structures (which are not really “organizations” but more defacto operational realities); who is tasked with what topics or activities, how much they have been paid and by whom.

Actual copies of communications and Signals Intercepts with descrambled recordings of phone calls, descrambled “secure” fax transmissions, descrambled encrypted emails.  Vast reports on money transactions via wire transfer, control numbers, account names, amounts, dates, purposes . . .  and the recipient info too.

In total, more than 160 TERABYTES of this type of data was given to President Trump in the form of 1 Terabyte USB Flash Memory Drives.   The USB drives are  DataTraveler® HyperX® Predator 3.0 USB Flash drives which hold 1 terabyte of data each.

The level of criminal conspiracy is so enormous, and the global scale and reach of these efforts is so gigantic, it boggles the mind.

Bankers and titans of industry are also involved. I can also report that Union bosses figure prominently in the intercepts.

Dear me.

Brexit

On Brexit, Turner says his sources revealed that Remainers — including Conservatives — dislike not only the Royal Family but also Britain itself.

Remainers want to remain in the EU to weaken Britain:

These are ELECTED officials who are literally trying to destroy the sovereignty of their own country!

The Clintons

Turner alleges that both Clintons have been under Russian surveillance since 1992. There’s a lot of information:

Now, I’m told, President Trump has it all.

Next steps

Turner says that trusted members of the Trump administration have been sworn to absolute secrecy — including denial — about these data and have been told to sort through them carefully:

paying particular attention to any activity which resulted in violence, death or property damage, so as to be able to criminally prosecute ALL the Conspirators based on any end-result violence or property loss/damage.  Whether the Conspirators intended such acts or not, the acts themselves “were a foreseeable consequence” of their efforts, thus making them ALL guilty

I asked if any of this evidence can actually be used in court since none of it was obtained via Warrant? I was told that ALL of it is admissible because the United States did not solicit the information and had no part in it being illegally obtained! Thus, there is no “fruit of a poison tree” to block admissibility!

Hal’s conclusion

Turner says this information will take a long time to catalogue but foresees that it is the reason for the outrage and opprobrium:

It seems as though the Putin-Trump meeting in Helsinki has, in fact, become the worst nightmare of a whole slew of people. 

Prior to the summit, many people took extraordinary efforts to try to derail the meeting altogether. 

After the meeting, those folks and their minions are making enormous noise about anything they can. 

They’re worried they’re caught.  They think they might be caught.   I can report tonight, they are right to worry; they ARE caught!

They think that creating distractions through scandals will prevent them from being held accountable.  It won’t.

And this is why the Democrats are scurrying around in a panic:

Democrat Senators and Congressmen ARE COMPLETELY FLIPPING-OUT OVER THIS; they’re calling for Congressional Hearings and to bring Trump’s Interpreter in to testify as to what was discussed and what happened in that meeting!

I sincerely hope this is true.

Q has returned from a three-week absence and, while he/they did not mention this information for obvious reasons, this was one of the first messages to appear on July 24:

Now we know for certain — it’s no longer speculation — why there has been such a hullabaloo over a) Brexit, b) Trump’s election as US president and c) Democrat (including media) rage against Russia!

More on Helsinki tomorrow.

In reading about Helsinki 2018, it was gratifying to see that the Finns were so supportive of President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, in the US, he is still loathed (image below from Rumpole2 in New Zealand):

As Trump said over a year ago:

This week, former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper gave credit to Obama for the Mueller probe:

President Obama is responsible for that, and it was he who tasked us to do that intelligence community assessment in the first place. I think that’s an important point when it comes to critiquing President Obama.

In other words (image from 8chan):

Remember that Clapper and a whole host of other intelligence community people still have their security clearance, even if they are no longer working in government.

So, it comes as good news to read that Trump is thinking of taking action — based on criticism he received after Helsinki 2018. From Bloomberg (emphases mine):

President Donald Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of former FBI Director James Comey, ex-CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama-era national security officials who have criticized him.

Trump has been seething over criticism of his Helsinki summit last week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and public doubts Trump expressed about U.S. intelligence findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Brennan called Trump’s performance “treasonous.”

The president is “exploring the mechanism” to remove their access to classified information because of criticism the officials have leveled against his conduct of relations with Russia, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday.

“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service and security clearances,” Sanders said. “Making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate.”

Sanders said Trump also was considering stripping security clearances from James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence; Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency; and Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser …

“This is just a very, very petty thing to do,” Clapper said on CNN. “The security clearance has nothing to do with how I or any of us feel about the president. I don’t get briefings, I don’t have access to any classified information, it’s frankly more of a courtesy.”

In other words (image from 8chan):

EXACTLY!

On the lighter side of things, Coca Cola are personalising their bottles on request (image from The_Donald):

But I digress.

On to Helsinki 2018 — Monday, July 16, 2018 — and various tweets that show the Finnish capital that day.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland was welcoming:

Here are the two leaders’ planes at the airport:

The ‘summit’ took a lot of planning:

This was the scene at the site of Helsinki 2018 that morning …

… ready to host a historically significant meeting:

Security was tight:

Nonetheless, crowds of onlookers appeared:

It’s a shame that Trump received such scathing — and unwarranted — criticism. Could this be the reason?

But, there’s something more to the Democrats’ and GOPe’s criticism: they’re afraid of intelligence Putin might have given Trump about them and their friends in Washington DC.

Regardless:

How true.

I’ll cover the outrage in tomorrow’s post.

Monday, July 15, 2018 was not the first time President Trump had a meeting with President Putin.

They had met at the G20 in 2017:

Also:

The Left and the GOPe in hysterics over Helsinki 2018. Hmm!

Anyway, before going into the Trump-Putin summit, this is what happened beforehand.

The president, first lady and their entourage arrived in Helsinki, Finland, on Sunday, July 15:

Many locals lined the motorcade route:

Jack Posobiec of OAN was also in town to cover the event:

This was the president’s schedule for Monday, July 16:

President Trump renewed his friendship with President Sauli Niinistö, whom he had hosted at the White House on August 28, 2017 (fashion notes here):

There American and Finnish officials had a working breakfast (another video here):

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was an important part of the delegation and was grateful to Finnish officials for their hard work in setting up not only the breakfast meeting but also arrangements for meetings with the Russians. Pompeo met with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

While the presidential motorcade was on its way to the Hilton Helsinki, Putin’s plane was landing. Putin went straight to the Presidential Palace for his meeting with Trump.

Trump’s and Pompeo’s staff met up. Pompeo visited the US embassy.

The Finnish president and first lady escorted their American counterparts into the Presidential Palace, in the eastern part of the city:

The Trumps greeted Putin:

This is where they met:

The Russians and Americans shared a working lunch:

When their meeting ended, the two presidents held a joint press conference (OAN videos here and here), after a member of the press corps had to be escorted out by the Secret Service for holding up a written message about a nuclear weapons ban (videos here and here):

Then, Putin lobbed a few zingers, such as this one:

And this one:

Putin also gave a World Cup football to Trump, which worried Senator Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina):

Trump said he would give the ball to his 12-year-old son Barron.

Ultimately:

Fox News posted press conference highlights, and the White House has a full transcript, excerpted below, emphases mine:

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted.) Distinguished Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: Negotiations with the President of the United States Donald Trump took place in a frank and businesslike atmosphere. I think we can call it a success and a very fruitful round of negotiations.

We carefully analyzed the current status — the present and the future of the Russia-United States relationship; key issues of the global agenda. It’s quite clear to everyone that the bilateral relationship are going through a complicated stage, and yet those impediments — the current tension, the tense atmosphere — essentially have no solid reason behind it.

The Cold War is a thing of past. The era of acute ideological confrontation of the two countries is a thing of the remote past, is a vestige of the past. The situation in the world changed dramatically …

We’re glad that the Korean Peninsula issue is starting to resolve. To a great extent, it was possible thanks to the personal engagement of President Trump, who opted for dialogue instead of confrontation …

Once again, President Trump mentioned the issue of the so-called interference of Russia when the American elections, and I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including the election process

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Thank you. I have just concluded a meeting with President Putin on a wide range of critical issues for both of our countries. We had direct, open, deeply productive dialogue. It went very well.

Before I begin, I want to thank President Niinistö of Finland for graciously hosting today’s summit. President Putin and I were saying how lovely it was and what a great job they did.

I also want to congratulate Russia and President Putin for having done such an excellent job in hosting the World Cup. It was really one of the best ever and your team also did very well. It was a great job …

But our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that. Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage. But that would not accomplish anything. As President, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct

During today’s meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections. I felt this was a message best delivered in person. We spent a great deal of time talking about it, and President Putin may very well want to address it, and very strongly — because he feels very strongly about it, and he has an interesting idea.

We also discussed one of the most critical challenges facing humanity: nuclear proliferation. I provided an update on my meeting last month with Chairman Kim on the denuclearization of North Korea. And after today, I am very sure that President Putin and Russia want very much to end that problem. They’re going to work with us, and I appreciate that commitment …

Q Thank you. Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it’s U.S. foolishness, stupidity, and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in U.S. relations with Russia. Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular? And if so, what would you consider them — that they are responsible for?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago — a long time, frankly, before I got to office. And I think we’re all to blame …

But I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore.

So far, that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they’re going to have try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. That was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily. And frankly, we beat her — and I’m not even saying from the standpoint — we won that race. And it’s a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it.

People know that. People understand it. But the main thing, and we discussed this also, is zero collusion. And it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe …

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted) …

We heard the accusations about the Concord country [sic]. Well, as far as I know, this company hired American lawyers. And the accusations doesn’t — doesn’t have a fighting chance in the American courts. So there’s no evidence when it comes to the actual facts. So we have to be guided by facts and not by rumors.

Now, let’s get back to the issue of these 12 alleged intelligence officers of Russia. I don’t know the full extent of the situation, but President Trump mentioned this issue, and I will look into it

Moreover, we can meet you halfway; we can make another step. We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller — we can let them into the country and they will be present at this questioning

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent a huge amount of money — $400 million — as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted.) I’d like to add something to this. After all, I was an intelligence officer myself, and I do know how dossiers are made up. Just a second. That’s the first thing.

Now, the second thing: I believe that Russia is a democratic state, and I hope you’re not denying this right to your own country. You’re not denying that United States is a democracy. Do you believe the United States is a democracy? And if so, if it is a democratic state, then the final conclusion in this kind of dispute an only be delivered by a trial by the court, not by the executive — by the law enforcement.

For instance, the Concord company that was brought up is being accused — it’s been accused of interference. But this company does not constitute the Russian State. It does not represent the Russian State. And I brought several examples before.

Well, you have a lot of individuals in the United States — take George Soros, for instance — with multibillion capitals, but it doesn’t make him — his position, his posture — the posture of the United States? No, it does not. Well, it’s the same case. There is the issue of trying a case in the court, and the final say is for the court to deliver.

We’re now talking about the private — the individuals, and not about particular states. And as far as the most recent allegation is concerned about the Russian intelligence officers, we do have an intergovernmental treaty. Please, do send us the request. We will analyze it properly and we’ll send a formal response

Of course, all of this blew up that day and the rest of the week. More on that to follow.

Trump tweeted his thanks to the Finnish president:

And to the people of Helsinki:

That evening, the president and first lady arrived in Washington (another video here):

More on Helsinki 2018 to follow.

After President Donald Trump met Britain’s two most powerful women and gave an exclusive interview to ITV’s Piers Morgan, he and First Lady Melania Trump headed to Scotland for what was to be a weekend of rest and relaxation.

Although his son Don Jr was in St Tropez, Eric was already at the Trump Turnberry golf resort to greet his father:

This video shows the presidential motorcade early that evening:

It was widely reported that protests would continue, which they did.

The best known of these was the Greenpeace paraglider. His message of ‘below par’ was a compliment in golfing terms. Greenpeace meant ‘below par’ as a president:

Then, there were protesters near the course itself:

The Scottish police protection for the president upset some Trump supporters. Yet, others thought the police did a good job:

On Saturday, July 14, Trump tweeted:

Meanwhile, the reaction to the Greenpeace paraglider from Trump supporters varied from bemusement to anger.

This is how close the man was to the US president and his entourage of administration officials:

That day, Gateway Pundit explained the potential danger, particularly in a no-fly zone:

As of this writing the flyer has not been caught. The flyer could very easily have had an IED on their person or built into their chair that could have been detonated over Trump and the dozens of guests and clueless security on the ground. Greenpeace reportedly alerted U.K. authorities about the flight ten minutes before. Even with warning the paraglider was not blown out of the sky but instead was allowed to make a mockery of the no-fly zone supposedly in place to protect Trump.

And, yes, snipers were nearby:

On Sunday — two days later — news emerged that Police Scotland had arrested the paraglider. The Express reported:

Police Scotland said in a statement: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 55-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an incident when a powered parachute was flown in the vicinity of the Turnberry Hotel around 9.45 pm on Friday, 13 July 2018.”

The force earlier said the incident was being treated as breach of the air exclusion zone that was in place.

The Trumps left for Finland on Sunday, July 15:

However, there was a sad ending to their weekend in Scotland, as a Secret Service agent suffered a fatal stroke:

The White House issued a statement on Wednesday, July 18, which reads in part:

Earlier this week, United States Secret Service Special Agent Nole Edward Remagen suffered a stroke while on duty in Scotland. Yesterday, he passed away, surrounded by family and fellow Secret Service agents. Our hearts are filled with sadness over the loss of a beloved and devoted Special Agent, husband, and father. Our prayers are with Special Agent Remagen’s loved ones, including his wife and two young children. We grieve with them and with his Secret Service colleagues, who have lost a friend and a brother.

A five-year veteran of the United States Marines, Special Agent Remagen spent 19 years with the Secret Service. At the time of his passing, he was among the elite heroes who serve in the Presidential Protection Division of the Secret Service. Melania and I are deeply grateful for his lifetime of devotion, and today, we pause to honor his life and 24 years of service to our Nation.

Homeland Security also issued a statement:

His fellow Secret Service agents also mourned:

The Daily Mail reported that the Americans were most grateful for the medical care Special Agent Remagen received in Scotland:

It is during his stay at Turnberry that the secret service agent became ill and was taken to hospital.

A spokesman for the Secret Service said before the agent’s death: ‘We are incredibly grateful for the emergency medical service providers and physicians in Scotland who are providing much needed critical care.’  

More than 150 US agents were brought in for the visit to protect Trump during his stay in the UK.

President and Mrs Trump visited Joint Base Andrews that day:

Whilst at Joint Base Andrews, President Trump gave a brief address in Special Agent Remagen’s memory:

The Daily Mail reported:

‘Our hearts are filled with sadness over the loss of a beloved and devoted Special Agent, husband, and father,’ President Trump said. ‘Our prayers are with Special Agent Remagen’s loved ones, including his wife and two young children. We grieve with them and with his Secret Service colleagues, who have lost a friend and a brother.’

President Trump commended his military service, commenting that he served for five years in United States Marines.

‘At the time of his passing, he was among the elite heroes who serve in the Presidential Protection Division of the Secret Service,’ he said. ‘Melania and I are deeply grateful for his lifetime of devotion, and today, we pause to honor his life and 24 years of service to our Nation.’

Trump added: ‘The incredible men and women of the United States Secret Service travel wherever they are needed around the world, spend long periods of time away from their families, and make tremendous sacrifices for our safety and security. They make up the most elite protective agency in the world, universally admired for their extraordinary skill, devotion, and courage. We are forever in their debt.’

Interestingly, on July 18, CNN reported that he died on July 15:

The 42-year-old agent, who is now being identified as Special Agent No[le] E. Remagen, was working on protection for national security adviser John Bolton on the midnight shift when he was found to be unresponsive by colleagues at Trump’s Turnberry resort Saturday night.

Remagen was quickly attended to by a White House doctor and Secret Service colleagues before being rushed to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, where he passed away on Sunday, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Remagen is survived by a wife and two small children, and was the son of a retired Secret Service employee.

The President and first lady Melania Trump departed for Joint Base Andrews Wednesday afternoon to see Remagen’s family, the White House said.

Some Trump supporters wonder if whatever happened to cause Remagen’s stroke was intended for the president himself.

Others thought the paraglider was sending an ominous message to Trump.

This, whilst unrelated, is the predominant narrative among the Left. This issue of the New Yorker hit the news stands on July 19 (image courtesy of 8chan):

https://media.8ch.net/file_store/63e6225c4e4c3c21bac64b035ebb86505602d14ee2d4adfa347912d66ac3c416.png

Sick.

Depraved.

The guys on the Qresearch boards at 8chan are analysing the events of that weekend, because the death of a Secret Service agent during the course of active duty is rather rare. One wrote:

… So now we have:

1) Trump arrives at his golf course. Glider enters POTUS airspace and comes extremely close to POTUS (20 yards approx) at exact time of POTUS arrival (speculation – had to have spotter who relayed arrival to make it at exact time at the very least).

2) Green Peace UK claims that local PD and air tower authorized it before hand yet neither notified Secret Service

3) Secret Service rush POTUS into proshop at course.

4) Scotland begins manhunt for glider flyer. Why if he had “permission”?

5) Secret Service Agent dies of stroke at golf course “surrounded by fellow agents” and claim also of “by family” (?).

6) Eight hours after “manhunt” begins the glider flyer is arrested. Is it really hard to track a fucking glider?

7) Flyer released an hour later.

8) Green Peace UK releases statement that they “Hit Trump where it hurts”

I am convinced this was an attempted hit and that agent took a poison round or some delivery system.

Someone responded with criticism of local police.

Another received information that has not been substantiated at this time. If true, the number of blood clots in Remagen’s brain was shockingly serious:

I received this this morning.

>Agent was taken to the hospital and brain surgery was performed where they discovered multiple (double digit) blood clots in the brain. The White House docs apparently never left the hospital until after he was deceased. The .mil flight bringing this Patriot home is on its way at this time – landing at Andrews.

How horrible.

Meanwhile, former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino has set up a GoFundMe account for the Remagen family.

In closing, my deepest condolences and prayers go to the Remagen family. May they find comfort at this difficult time.

Bible GenevaThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy have omitted — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 19:21-22

A Riot at Ephesus

21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

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Last week’s entry discussed the deep faith and further conversions that came about after two of the Sons of Sceva saw their fake exorcism foiled by the demon in the man they were hoping to notionally heal. The incident left the converts of Ephesus in awe. They extolled the name of the Lord Jesus, and those who were still practising the dark arts voluntarily came out in public to burn their rare and esoteric books, which were very expensive.

The principal verse in that reading is verse 20:

20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

I will come back to that at the end of the post.

For now, Luke — the author of Acts — took pains to tell us that Paul was planning another visit to places where he had established churches and then journey southward once more to the poor church in Jerusalem, after which he wanted to go to Rome (verse 21).

There are several points to make about verse 21.

First, Luke wrote: ‘Paul resolved in the Spirit’. Students of Acts will remember that the Holy Spirit did not allow him, Silas and Timothy to travel eastwards in Asia Minor (Luke 16:6-10). They went westward instead and ended up in Troas where they met Luke for the first time. Luke was with them for a short time, as they all went to establish the church in Philippi, where Lydia, the purple goods seller, was their initial point of contact and first convert on European soil (Luke 16:11-15).

Secondly, Achaia was the province where Corinth was located, so Paul would have wanted to visit the church he had established there. Corinth was where he met his friends and fellow tent makers, Priscilla and Aquila.

Thirdly, after visiting the Christians in Jerusalem, he wanted to go northwest to Rome. Recall that Priscilla and Aquila — along with other Jews and Jews who became Christian — had been exiled from the city by edict. Matthew Henry’s commentary says that, by the time Paul was thinking of visiting:

it was upon the death of the emperor Claudius, who died the second year of Paul’s being at Ephesus … because while he lived the Jews were forbidden Rome, Acts 18:2.

Therefore, it was finally safe for Paul to visit the heart of the Roman Empire.

Verse 22 tells us that, for the meantime, Paul remained in Ephesus while he sent the aforementioned Timothy and Erastus, about whom we know little other than it was a common name in that era, to go to Macedonia. Our commentators say that he wanted them to go to Macedonia in order to collect money for the church in Jerusalem, which can be cross-referenced in his letters to the Corinthians. While the men were in Macedonia, Paul stayed in Ephesus to preach and teach not only there but in the area surrounding the city.

Henry’s commentary tells us:

He sent Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, to give them notice of the visit he intended them, and to get their collection ready for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Soon after he wrote the first epistle to the Corinthians, designing to follow it himself, as appears 1 Corinthians 4:17,19, I have sent to you Timotheus; but I will myself come to you shortly, if the Lord will. For the present, he staid in Asia, in the country about Ephesus, founding churches.

MacArthur says:

The church of Jerusalem was very poor. And Paul wanted to take a love offering from his churches as a gift to the church at Jerusalem. The reason he wanted to go to Macedonia and Achaia was to collect his offering. And I think that’s kind of an exciting reason, really if you want to know. In several places in Corinthians he alludes to this offering just to maybe I can point out one or two of them. Chapter 9, verse 1 “is touching the administering to the saints that is superfluous for me to write you for I know the readiness of your mind for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia and Achaia.”

The riot in Ephesus to which the title of today’s passage refers starts in my next entry. For now, MacArthur has a great explanation of Acts 19:20, which I cited above and how important the church in Ephesus was to Asia Minor.

At this point, we are reading about Paul’s ministry in the port city after he had been there for around two-and-a-half years. MacArthur says (emphases mine):

He has been there for nearly three years teaching. He knows they know enough. There are elders there of quality enough to lead the church. The Christians are grown up, they’re mature. The work has matured.

There are churches elsewhere in Asia Minor. Also of note is this:

… we think that at least all seven churches [in] the book of Revelation possibly could have been founded during this three year period while Paul was in Ephesus.

MacArthur tells us that Paul had a grand plan, in accordance with the Lord:

Now just keep this in mind. Paul was a strategist and he wanted to reach as far as he could reach with the gospel. And Paul’s plan was this. To plant the gospel in key cities on a line from Antioch to Rome.

By the way, there already was a church in Rome, possibly started by Jews — later converts — who had been in Jerusalem to witness the first Pentecost, but it was not very well organised at the time.

MacArthur continues:

And if you follow the ministry of Paul, he just stops all the way along at key points on the great road from Antioch to Rome. And he’s planting the churches in the key centers. And from there they spread to the province. If Paul could knock off the capital of the province, he felt he had a running start on the province. And so he wants to go one step further to reach Rome. And incidentally that wasn’t the end of it either as you’ll see in a minute. Now after he had planted the church in Ephesus, he realized that the line of witness would then begin to spread from Ephesus. And so he would go to Rome, plant the witness there, there was already a church there, but perhaps he could enhance the witness. And then it would begin to spread.

And then as all these centers began to spread, they would sort of cross-pollinate and the whole area would be saturated with the Gospel. And he believed in the process of reproduction of evangelism by reproduction. Where you would win some people to Christ, establish a church, that church would grow, send out others to establish other churches and by multiplication you would conquer an area. Not by the superficial sweep and so this was his plan. Now when he got to Rome, that was only a step on the way to somewhere else.

Paul’s intention was to keep travelling west to what is now Spain. That would have been one amazing journey. MacArthur says:

So he could go all the way from Jerusalem, Antioch and straight out as far as he could go to reach Spain with the Gospel. This was in his mind to do. He was a strategist planning his conquests. He writes to the Romans in chapter 1 verse 13 of Romans. “I would not have you ignorant brother in the off times I purpose to come unto you but was prevented thus far that I might have some fruit among you even as among other Gentiles. I am better to the Greeks, to the Barbarians, to the wise, to the unwise so much as in me as I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.”

From this point on, even though Paul doesn’t attain his objective until the end of Acts — chapters 27 and 28 — his goal is Rome:

But he doesn’t get there in the way that he thought he would get there. But he gets there. From here on out, his sights are set on Rome. And he’s going to make it. And man is it an exciting trip getting there.

Next week the story of the riot in Ephesus begins. The Artemis-worshipping craftsmen felt deeply threatened by Christianity, as it was diminishing their trade.

Next time — Acts 19:23-27

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