February 17, 2019

Who was Joseph in the Bible?

[source: Got Questions?]

Question: "Who was Joseph in the Bible?"

Answer: Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, his first son through his favored wife, Rachel. Joseph's story is found in Genesis 37—50. After the announcement of his birth, we see Joseph next as a seventeen-year-old returning from shepherding the flock with his half-brothers to give Jacob a bad report of them. We are also told that Jacob "loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him" (Genesis 37:3). Joseph’s brothers knew their father loved Joseph more than them, which caused them to hate him (Genesis 37:4). To make matters worse, Joseph began relating his dreams to the family—prophetic visions showing Joseph one day ruling over his family (Genesis 37:5–11).

The animosity toward Joseph peaked when his brothers plotted to kill him in the wilderness. Reuben, the eldest, objected to outright murder and suggested they throw Joseph into a cistern, as he planned to come back and rescue the boy. But, in Reuben’s absence, some merchants passed by, and Judah suggested selling Joseph into slavery; the brothers accomplished the task before Reuben could rescue him. The boys took Joseph's robe and, after dipping the robe in goat's blood, deceived their father into thinking his favorite son had been slain by wild beasts (Genesis 37:18–35).

Joseph was sold by the merchants to a high-ranking Egyptian named Potiphar and eventually became the supervisor of Potiphar’s household. In Genesis 39 we read of how Joseph excelled at his duties, became one of Potiphar’s most trusted servants, and was put in charge of his household. Potiphar could see that, whatever Joseph did, God looked favorably on him and he prospered in all that he did. Unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph. Joseph consistently refused her advances, showing honor for the master who had entrusted him with so much and saying that it would be "a wicked thing and a sin against God" for him to go to bed with Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:9). One day Potiphar's wife caught Joseph by the cloak and again made sexual advances. Joseph fled, leaving his cloak in her hand. In anger, she falsely accused Joseph of attempted rape, and Potiphar put him in prison (Genesis 39:7–20).

In jail, Joseph was again blessed by God (Genesis 39:21–23). Joseph interpreted the dreams of two of his fellow prisoners. Both interpretations proved to be true, and one of the men was later released from jail and restored to his position as the king’s cupbearer (Genesis 40:1–23). But the cupbearer forgot about Joseph and failed to speak to Pharaoh about him. Two years later, the king himself had some troubling dreams, and the cupbearer remembered Joseph’s gift of interpretation. The king summoned Joseph and related his dreams. Based on Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph predicted seven years of bountiful harvests followed by seven years of severe famine in Egypt and advised the king to begin storing grain in preparation for the coming dearth (Genesis 41:1–37). For his wisdom, Joseph was made a ruler in Egypt, second only to the king. Joseph was in charge of storing up food during the years of plenty and selling it to Egyptians and foreigners during the years of famine (Genesis 41:38–57). During these years of plenty Joseph had two sons—Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 41:50–52).

When the famine struck, even Canaan was affected. Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain (Genesis 42:1–3). He kept Benjamin, his youngest and the only other son of Rachel, behind (Genesis 42:4). While in Egypt, the men met their long-lost brother, whom they did not recognize. Joseph, however, did recognize his brothers. He tested them by accusing them of being spies. He confined them for three days then released all but one, sending with them grain for their households and requiring them to come back with their youngest brother (Genesis 42:6–20). Still unaware of Joseph's identity, the brothers were afflicted with guilt for having sold their brother years before (Genesis 42:21–22). Joseph overheard their discussion and turned aside to weep (Genesis 42:23–24). He retained Simeon and sent the others on their way, secretly returning their money to their grain sacks (Genesis 42:25). When the brothers later realized the money had been returned, they feared even more (Genesis 42:26–28, 35). Once home, they told Jacob all that had transpired. Jacob mourned again the loss of Joseph and the added loss of Simeon. He refused to send Benjamin, despite Reuben's promise that, if he did not return with Benjamin, Jacob could kill Reuben's two sons (Genesis 42:35–38).

The famine became so severe that Jacob acquiesced. Judah persuaded Jacob to send Benjamin with him, giving his own life as a pledge (Genesis 43:1–10). Jacob agreed, sending also choice fruits and double the money for the grain (Genesis 43:11–14). When Joseph saw the men, he instructed his servants to slaughter an animal and prepare a meal for the brothers to dine with him (Genesis 43:15–17). Afraid at the invitation to Joseph's house, the brothers made apologies to Joseph's steward for the money that had been replaced the first time. Joseph's steward reassured them and brought Simeon out (Genesis 43:18–25). When Joseph returned, the brothers bowed to him, fulfilling his earlier prophecy (Genesis 43:26). He asked about their family's welfare and again wept, this time removing himself to his chamber (Genesis 43:27–30). When the men sat down for the meal, at a separate table from Joseph, they were amazed to be arranged by birth order. Benjamin was given five times the portion the other brothers received (Genesis 43:31–34). Before sending them back to their father, Joseph again tested his brothers by returning their money to their grain sacks and placing his silver cup in Benjamin's sack. He let the brothers start on their journey and then sent his steward after them to feign anger and threaten to kill Benjamin. Back in Joseph’s presence, Judah pleaded for Benjamin's life, saying that, if Benjamin were to die, so would Jacob. Judah told of Jacob's grief over the loss of Joseph and his belief that he could not bear to lose Joseph's brother. Judah also spoke of his pledge to Jacob and offered his life for Benjamin's (Genesis 44).

Upon seeing this proof of his brothers’ change of heart, Joseph sent all his servants away and wept openly and loudly enough to be heard by Pharaoh's household. He then revealed himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1–3). Joseph immediately reassured them, telling them not to be angry with themselves for what they'd done to him and saying that God had sent him to Egypt in order to preserve them (Genesis 45:4–8). Joseph reaffirmed his forgiveness years later, after the death of his father, saying that, although his brothers intended evil to him, God had intended it for good (Genesis 50:15–21). Joseph sent his brothers back to Jacob to retrieve the remainder of his household to come live in Goshen, where they would be near to Joseph and he could provide for them (Genesis 45:9—47:12).

Jacob did come to live in Egypt with all of his family. Before he died, Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons and gave thanks to God for His goodness: “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too” (Genesis 48:11). Jacob gave the greater blessing to the younger of the two sons (verses 12–20). Later in the history of Israel, Ephraim and Manasseh, the tribes of Joseph, were often considered two distinct tribes. Jacob’s descendants lived in Egypt for 400 years, until the time of Moses. When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, he took the remains of Joseph with him, as Joseph had requested (Genesis 50:24–25; cf. Exodus 13:19).

There is much to learn from Joseph’s story. As parents, we have warnings concerning Jacob’s favoritism and the effects that can have on other children as seen in Joseph’s youthful pride and his brothers’ envy and hatred. We have a good example of how to handle sexual temptation—run (Genesis 39:12; cf. 2 Timothy 2:22), and we have a clear picture of God’s faithfulness. He does not forsake His children, even in the midst of suffering: “The Lord was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:3, 5, 21, 23).

There may be many distressing circumstances we find ourselves in, and some of them may even be unjust, as were those in Joseph’s life. However, as we learn from the account of Joseph’s life, by remaining faithful and accepting that God is ultimately in charge, we can be confident that God will reward our faithfulness in the fullness of time. Who would blame Joseph if he had turned his brothers away in their need? Yet Joseph showed them mercy, and God desires that we exercise mercy above all other sacrifices (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13).

Joseph’s story also presents amazing insight into how God sovereignly works to overcome evil and bring about His plan. After all his ordeals, Joseph was able to see God’s hand at work. As he revealed his identity to his brothers, Joseph spoke of their sin this way: “Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. . . . It was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:5, 8). Later, Joseph again reassured his brothers, offering forgiveness and saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Man’s most wicked intentions can never thwart the perfect plan of God.

What the Joseph Story In The Bible Is Really About.

written by Samuel Emadi
[source: The Gospel Coalition]

Moses gives Joseph more time in Genesis than he does any other character—a striking fact given the significance of Genesis’s other main characters: Adam, Noah, and the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This prominence is even more striking considering the apparent insignificance of Joseph in the rest of Scripture.

What then do we make of the Joseph story? Why is it so prominent in Genesis?

Many Christians fail to notice how Joseph’s story contributes to the Genesis narrative and to redemptive history in general. Within Reformed circles, preachers often use Joseph merely to illustrate how divine sovereignty and human responsibility intersect, focusing almost exclusively on Genesis 50:20: “What you meant for evil God meant for good.” Certainly, we are meant to read Joseph’s life in light of this verse. God’s sovereignty is a major theme in Genesis 37–50, and Joseph himself intends for us to interpret his life in light of God’s providence (cf. Gen. 45:1–9).

But reducing the story to an illustration for the doctrine of compatibilism misses the rich contribution Joseph’s life makes to the storyline of Scripture. God’s sovereignty figures largely in the Joseph story because God wants us to see how he puts himself in impossible situations and yet finds a way to keep his covenant promises. Joseph highlights how God’s providence secures God’s promises.

In this light, we can see how Joseph uniquely contributes to Scripture’s opening book.

Threats Resolved

Genesis records a series of reoccurring threats that endanger the survival and purity of the covenant line. In chapters 37–50, all the threats converge, creating an impossibly dire situation for Jacob and his children:
  • Family division and violence, reminiscent of Cain and Abel, threaten the seed’s survival. (Gen. 37; cf. Gen. 4)
  • Unrighteousness and intermarriage with foreign nations threaten the seed’s purity. (Gen. 38; cf. Gen. 12:10–20)
  • Global famine endangers the entire covenant line. (Gen. 42:1–2; cf. Gen. 3:17–19; 12:10; 26:1)
Yet God uses Joseph to resolve each of these recurring problems in Abraham’s family:
  • Instead of exacting revenge, Joseph reconciles with his brothers and restores family unity by extending forgiveness. (Gen. 45:1–15)
  • Joseph settles his family in Goshen, shielding them from foreign cultural influence. Safeguarded by the Egyptians’ prejudices (Gen. 46:33–34), Israel develops as a nation without dangers posed by intermarriage with foreign peoples.
  • Joseph preserves his family (and the world) amid severe famine through wisdom and administrative genius. (Gen. 41:25–35; 47:13–26)
Through Joseph, God is reversing the curse—unraveling violence through forgiveness, unrighteousness through righteousness, and hunger through wisdom.

Promises Fulfilled

Further, Genesis 37–50 records how God fulfills (in part) his promises to Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:1–3).

Through Joseph, Yahweh blesses the nations. Potiphar appoints Joseph as a steward over his house; then God blesses Potiphar for Joseph’s sake (Gen. 39:4–5). Later we again find Joseph established over the house of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40). The result is the same: Joseph blesses the nations by providing grain during a severe famine, first for Egypt (Gen. 41:56) then for all the earth (Gen. 41:57).

God also uses Joseph to fulfill his promise to multiply Abraham’s seed. Once Joseph settles his family in Goshen, the family of Abraham is “fruitful and multiplie[s] exceedingly” (Gen. 47:27). The words “fruitful and multiply” occur throughout Genesis, but this instance is unique. Previously, God has either commanded people to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28; 9:1, 7; 35:11) or promised they will be so (Gen. 16:10; 17:2, 6; 22:17; 26:4, 24). But now, for the first time, fruitfulness and multiplication is a reality—an indicative. Under Joseph’s leadership, Abraham’s seed flourishes.

Even the kingship promise comes to fruition with Joseph. Forecasting Joseph’s place in the Egyptian court, Joseph’s dreams anticipate his royal position. Even his “coat of many colors” is royal garb (cf. 2 Sam. 13:18). At the beginning of Genesis 37, readers have awaited—prophetically, typologically, and by covenant promise—the arrival of a royal seed through the line of Abraham (Gen. 17:6, 16; 35:11). Now, in the opening verses of the book’s final section, Joseph’s introduction heightens that anticipation. Readers who remember these promises cannot help but ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect another?”

Joseph’s later rise to the royal court, then, is not merely evidence of God vindicating Joseph’s faithfulness. It is tangible evidence of God’s unswerving commitment to restore human rule through a son of Abraham. God promised Abraham a dynasty, a royal seed. Joseph is the first of that seed, a new Adam mediating God’s blessings to the nations—a beloved son and a servant king.

What does all this have to do with divine providence? While Moses keeps Joseph center stage in Genesis 37–50, the main actor is God himself. The story isn’t just about how Joseph fulfills the Abrahamic promises, but about how Yahweh keeps his covenant and fulfills his promises through a rejected but royal seed. The covenant is secure in the hands of the God who can sovereignly orchestrate the actions of evil men for his good purposes (Gen 50:20). Through Joseph, God is reversing the curse and fulfilling his promises to Abraham.

The Joseph story is not just the last item in Genesis, but the resolution of the Genesis story. Genesis takes readers on a journey from fratricide to forgiveness, from famine to feast, and from promise to fulfillment.

Is Joseph a ‘Type’ of Christ?

These observations raise the question of whether Joseph is a “type”—a divinely intended prefiguring—of the Messiah. Most interpreters throughout church history have affirmed Joseph is a type of Christ—noting several obvious correspondences between the two figures. Joseph is a favored son, rejected by his brothers, and yet through faithfulness and suffering ascends to the highest throne in the land.

Yet these similarities are not the only points of contact between Joseph and Jesus. More pointedly, Joseph’s life anticipates the Messiah’s because God uses him to fulfill covenant promises and undo the effects of the curse.

Interestingly, Genesis itself suggests that Joseph is a type in Jacob’s blessing of Judah: “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you” (Gen. 49:8).

Jacob depicts the coming king from Judah with imagery that closely resembles Joseph’s narrative. Judah’s brothers will praise and even “bow down” before him—the same word used three times when the brothers bowed to Joseph in the dreams (Gen. 37:7, 9, 10) and another three times when they bowed before him in the Egyptian court (Gen. 42:4; 43:26, 28). Indeed, the image of 11 brothers “bowing” to their royal sibling in Genesis 49:8 reads like a summary of the preceding Joseph story. This similarity is deliberate. When we ask what the coming Messiah will look like, we have an answer provided in Jacob’s words—he will look like Joseph.

This verse is not the first time Joseph and Judah have been closely linked. In fact, throughout the story Moses has juxtaposed these two individuals. They dominate the three most critical moments of the Joseph story: its beginning (Gen 38 and 39), its climax (Genesis 44 and 45), and Jacob's prophecy (Gen 49)—the capstone of both the Joseph story and the entire book of Genesis. Joseph and Judah's stories are interwoven. Jacob's prophecy shows that both foreshadow the coming king of Israel.

By drawing a typological line from Joseph to the future king from Judah, Moses explicitly folds the Joseph narrative into Israel’s larger story, which will culminate with the Messiah. This association retrospectively informs our reading of the story. To ensure that his readers see Joseph as a royal figure with eschatological significance, Moses now makes that point plainly. The account of Joseph is not an end in itself. It is a pattern for God’s work in the future.

Echo of the Future

Genesis 37–50 is not just about God’s providence; it’s also about his promises. God uses Joseph to turn back the effects of the curse and accomplish, in part, his promises to Abraham. He stacks the odds against himself and then demonstrates his power by using an imprisoned slave exiled by his own family.

Perhaps Moses spends so much time on Joseph to show us God can pull off the impossible even through a seemingly insignificant Jew rejected by his own brothers. Perhaps Moses spends so much time on Joseph so his people would anticipate a coming Joseph who would finally and completely reverse the curse and fulfill the promises.

Joseph’s story is the story of the whole Bible. It’s the story of glory through suffering, exaltation through humiliation. It’s the story of the cross and the crown.

Reaching Your Dream Takes Courage

Reaching Your Dream Takes Courage
written by Caroline Kent

Courage is admitting that you're afraid and facing that fear directly. It's being strong enough to ask for help and humble enough to accept it.

Courage is standing up for what you believe in without worrying about the opinions of others. It's following your own heart, living your own life, and settling for nothing less than the best for yourself.

Courage is daring to take a first step, a big leap, or a different path. It's attempting to do something that no one has done before and all others thought impossible.

Courage is keeping heart in the face of disappointment and looking at defeat not as an end but as a new beginning. It's believing that things will ultimately get better even as they get worse.

Courage is being responsible for your own actions and admitting your own mistakes without placing blame on others. It's relying not on others for your success, but on your own skills and efforts.

Courage is refusing to quit even when you're intimidated by impossibility. It's choosing a goal, sticking with it, and finding solutions to the problems.

Courage is thinking big, aiming high, and shooting far. It's taking a dream and doing anything, risking everything, and stopping at nothing to it make it a reality.

What Is Success? A Poem By Ralph Waldo Emerson


What is Success?
by Ralph Waldo Emerson


To laugh often and love much;
to win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one's self;
to leave the world a bit better;
whether by a healthy child;
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived -
this is to have succeeded.

"Live, Laugh, Love" A Poem By Jill Eisnaugle ~ May This Poem Touch Your Heart And Inspire You To Embrace Life With Childlike Innocence And Joy!


Live, Laugh, Love
By Jill Eisnaugle


May every dream be yours to keep
May every joy be near
May every hour without sleep
Be one of warmth and cheer
May every beat within your heart
Be blessed with much to give
So, your path is a work of art
Each day that you shall live.

May every smile upon your face
And every childish grin
Be filled with memories to embrace
As if you’re young again
May each sunrise bring cause to view
Life’s humor for its pleasure
So, each path you choose to pursue
Yields laughter beyond measure.

May every vision in your eyes
Be for those you hold dear
May you know only brilliant skies
Where shooting stars appear
And with each shooting star, I pray
Your hopes are heard, above
So, every path to come your way
Is paved in lasting love.

February 15, 2019

Happy Friday Night Song! My Favorite Of His To Shake Off The Week! Gotta Leave That Nine To Five Upon The Shelf And Just ENJOY YOURSELF! :)


YAAAY... It's FRIDAY NIGHT!!! Time to kick back, relax with jammies and slippers on and a glass of wine in hand. Oh yeah, and listen to some awesome tunes! Always remember... Life is GOOD. Enjoy! ❤
Have a great night everyone doing whatever it is that puts a smile on your face. Hugs :D

Off The Wall
~ by The Legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson

When The World Is On Your Shoulder
Gotta Straighten Up Your Act And Boogie Down
If You Can't Hang With The Feeling
Then There Ain't No Room For You This Part Of Town
'Cause We're The Party People Night And Day
Livin' Crazy That's The Only Way


So Tonight Gotta Leave That Nine To Five Upon The Shelf
And Just Enjoy Yourself
Groove, Let The Madness In The Music Get To You
Life Ain't So Bad At All
If You Live It Off The Wall
Life Ain't So Bad At All
(Live Life Off The Wall)
Live Your Life Off The Wall
(Live It Off The Wall)

You Can Shout Out All You Want To
'Cause There Ain't No Sin In Folks All Getting Loud
If You Take The Chance And Do It
Then There Ain't No One Who's Gonna Put You Down
'Cause We're The Party People Night And Day
Livin' Crazy That's The Only Way

So Tonight Gotta Leave That Nine To Five Upon The Shelf
And Just Enjoy Yourself
C'mon And Groove,
And Let The Madness In The Music Get To You
Life Ain't So Bad At All
If You Live It Off The Wall
Life Ain't So Bad At All
(Live Life Off The Wall)
Live Your Life Off The Wall
(Live It Off The Wall)

Do What You Want To Do
There Ain't No Rules It's Up To You
(Ain't No Rules It's All Up To You)
It's Time To Come Alive
And Party On Right Through The Night
(All Right)

Gotta Hide Your Inhibitions
Gotta Let That Fool Loose Deep Inside Your Soul
Want To See An Exhibition
Better Do It Now Before You Get To Old
'Cause We're The Party People Night And Day
Livin' Crazy That's The Only Way

So Tonight Gotta Leave That Nine To Five Upon The Shelf
And Just Enjoy Yourself
C'mon And Groove (Yeah)
Let The Madness In The Music Get To You
Life Ain't So Bad At All If You Live It Off The Wall
Life Ain't So Bad At All
(Live Life Off The Wall)
Live Your Life Off The Wall
(Live It Off The Wall)

So Tonight Gotta Leave That Nine To Five Upon The Shelf
And Just Enjoy Yourself
C'mon And Groove (Yeah)
Let The Madness In The Music Get To You
Life Ain't So Bad At All If You Live It Off The Wall
Life Ain't So Bad At All
(Live Life Off The Wall)
Live Your Life Off The Wall (Live It Off The Wall)

BONUS... ;)

You Made It! Giving Out A Special Delivery of Friday HUGS!!! ♥ Hope You Had A FANTASTIC Week In Your Personal Lives! :)

─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ─ ▄ ▌ ▐ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▌
─ ─ ─ ▄ ▄ █ █ ▌ █ ░ ♥ ░ ░ DELIVERY OF HUGS ░ ♥░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░▐
▄ ▄ ▄ ▌ ▐ █ █ ▌ █ ░ ░ ░ FOR EVERYONE! ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░ ░▐
█ █ █ █ █ █ █ ▌ █ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ▌
▀ (@) ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ (@)(@) ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ (@) ▀ ▘ ♥ ♥ ♥
...♥ Let's continue to send trucks loaded with hugs to our friends
garfield hug photo:  hug_054.gif
If no one has told you they Loved you today, God LOVES you soooo much and so do I. I hope you had a FANTASTIC week and enjoy a fun, lighthearted, relaxing weekend... :)
"No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys."
~ by Doug Horton
[So very true! ♥]

"Make laughter your prayer. Laugh more.
Nothing releases your blocked energies as does laughter.
Nothing makes you innocent as does laughter."
~ by OSHO ♥

"I love people who make me laugh.
I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh.
It cures a multitude of ills.
It's probably the most important thing in a person."
~ by Audrey Hepburn ♥

VENEZUELA: Bernie Sanders And Socialist In America Are Dead Wrong About What’s Happening In Venezuela. 4 Myths Democrats Are Spreading About Venezuela To Support A Dictator.

Washington Examiner
written by Annika Hernroth-Rothstein
Friday February 1, 2019

CARACAS — There is nothing that can really prepare you for the human suffering on display here in Venezuela or the degree to which this country is in a free-fall. As a diplomatic power struggle between Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido played out on the world stage at the end of January, I spent hours in Caracas walking around Petare, one of the worst slums in the city. The streets are filled with families picking food from the trash, eating it right there, desperately seeking sustenance. My eye is drawn to one young man with boils all over his legs, the skin overtaken by infection. He gnaws at an almost bare chicken bone while he looks around frantically, as if he is afraid someone would steal it from his hands.

My bodyguard, Salazar, is next to me at all times, eyeing the surroundings, and a few minutes into our walk, I see his arm extend to the right of me as he grabs a young man running straight at me. I start running and end up at a square, standing next to a big statue of the national hero, Simon Bolivar. Behind it, there are colorful houses in rows up the steep mountain, structures that are hanging on by thread, and on many of them, there are paintings of Maduro and Hugo Chavez — scattered shards of a shattered dream.

Salazar catches up to me and explains that the man is a neighborhood watchman, a member of one of the criminal gangs Chavez put on the government payroll to police citizens as the country started to fall into chaos. Chavez provided money and weapons, and now, as Venezuela comes apart at the seams, these gangs have created a society within a society, combining a criminal enterprise of drugs, prostitution, and theft with their allegiance to the state. Police rarely come to the areas controlled by the neighborhood guerrillas and the last line of public transport stops several miles away. Though the gangs have remained on the government’s payroll, they are now less employees than freelance enforcers with no particular loyalty.

Although the guerrillas may be an extreme example, the concept of each man for himself has replaced the socialist agenda of solidarity all over Venezuela, as each citizen tries desperately to survive despite lawlessness, starvation, and unbridled corruption. The hospitals lack even the most basic supplies, and last month, Salazar tells me, five newborn infants died in the maternity ward from infections caused by the unsanitary conditions. In any other country, he says, there would be outrage and accountability, but here in Venezuela, there is silence. No media to cover it, no expectation of repercussions for the people who brought this on.

That culture of silence has created a strange and eerie mood here in Caracas, as the city is waiting for the next big clash following this month’s protests and Juan Guaido seeking to supplant Maduro as the legitimate president. One would expect that this crisis would have the city in an uproar, but it is a silent anger that fills the air, only to erupt in violence every other day before being squashed by government forces.

As I walk around the city, I see people going to and from work, waiting for the bus or chatting on a corner, but there are telltale signs of trouble if you know where to look. There are "colectivos" — a faction of violent and armed Maduro-loyalists — standing guard on every block, ready to pounce on protesters and journalists alike. Most shops and restaurants are boarded shut, the proprietors too frightened of riots to keep them open.

And they are right to be cautious; Maduro loyalists and opposition supporters plan to march through the city, both certain to bring protesters and pushback from the other side. The protests I have seen so far have all started peacefully and then, suddenly shifted, as "colectivos," government forces, and desperate citizens clash with an outcome as predictable as it is horrific. So far, there are 165 confirmed dead and almost 5,000 jailed as a result of the unrest, and the damage is, as most things in this socialist state, unevenly divided. Despite the odds, the people’s opposition continues, and with every new protest, there are more flags, more people, and a little more hope that this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

As the temperature rises here in Caracas, a final showdown seems inevitable, and, given that Maduro has rejected Guaido’s offer of amnesty, this socialist state will not likely go quietly into that good night. Meanwhile, the people still suffer in silence and go about their day, trying to survive while the fate of their nation is fought out in streets and halls of Parliament. This is a city holding its breath, with its totalitarian oppressors at the brink.

Annika Hernroth-Rothstein is a Swedish freelance journalist and author, currently in Caracas for the Swedish daily Ledarsidorna. Twitter: @truthandfiction
The Washington Post
written by Jackson Diehl
Thursday January 31, 2019

Poorly informed leftists are peddling the notion that the political crisis in Venezuela is the product of yet another heavy-handed U.S. “intervention” in Latin America. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) compares it to the U.S. support for coups in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

For the record, those regime changes happened in 1973, 1954, 1964 and 1965 — and what’s happening in Venezuela half a century later bears no resemblance to them. On the contrary, the movement to oust the disastrous populist regime founded by Hugo Chávez is being driven by Venezuela’s own neighbors, who until very recently had more help from Ottawa than from Washington. What we’re seeing, in an era of U.S. retreat and dysfunction, is a 21st-century model for diplomacy in the Western Hemisphere.

The story of Venezuela since 1998 is partly about the fading of U.S. will to topple toxic regimes. The last time that American troops overthrew a ruler of a Latin American country was 1989, in Panama. Four consecutive U.S. presidents — including, until this month, President Trump — avoided full-scale confrontation with Venezuela, even as the Chavistas destroyed its economy and democratic political system.

Latin American nations, unaccustomed to managing crises without U.S. leadership and influenced by their tradition of noninterventionism, also declined to challenge Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro. Some, eager for the petrodollars Chávez freely handed out to allies, joined or supported what he grandly called “bolivarianismo.”

Then came a humanitarian catastrophe without precedent in the region’s modern history: shortages of food, medicine, power and even water that have driven 10 percent of Venezuelans — more than 3 million people — to flee the country. Suddenly, chavismo did not look so benign in Bogota and Brasilia. Swamped by refugees, Colombia and Brazil, along with Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Panama, concluded that something had to be done to stem the implosion.

Fortunately, they had a vehicle. In August 2017, 11 Latin American nations and Canada formed the Lima Group to press for the return of democracy in Venezuela. Reflecting the long-standing U.S. approach, the Trump administration encouraged the alliance but did not join it. After Maduro staged a blatantly fraudulent election last May, the group met at the United Nations last September to consider its options. Panama, backed by Canada, pushed the idea that Maduro’s scheduled inauguration to a new term on Jan. 10 should become a rallying point.

The regional response was not driven only by the refu­gee crisis. Following the excesses of their own left-wing governments, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru, among others, elected right-of-center presidents with no sympathy for chavismo. Brazil’s long time support for Venezuela reversed: Right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro, who was sworn in on Jan. 1, has hinted he would support a military intervention.

The turning point for the Venezuela crisis came on Jan. 4, when a Lima Group meeting issued a blistering statement saying members would not recognize Maduro’s new term as legitimate. Sources told me the State Department was taken aback, believing Canada and its partners had gone too far. The Latin America team at the National Security Council, preoccupied with plans to challenge Cuba, dismissed Venezuela as a sideshow.

But the long-fractured Venezuelan opposition was galvanized. Realizing they had the chance to win decisive international support, members of the National Assembly rallied the next day behind a new leader, Juan Guaidó, and a new strategy: to declare the post of president vacant once Maduro’s previous term expired. Under the constitution promulgated by Chávez himself, that would make Guaidó interim president.

It wasn’t until Jan. 23, more than two weeks later, that the Trump administration jumped onto the regional bandwagon by recognizing Guaidó. It did so clumsily, getting ahead of the announcements by the Lima Group, which gave Maduro and anti-imperialists everywhere cause to claim this was just another yanqui coup. “The White House jumped the gun, which made it look like this was organized by the U.S.,” a Venezuelan involved in the process told me. “In reality, the U.S. was behind the curve.”

Over the past 10 days, to be sure, the administration has acted aggressively, freezing Venezuelan assets and effectively blocking the regime’s critical U.S. oil revenues. It refused to withdraw U.S. diplomats when Maduro tried to expel them, and national security adviser John Bolton mysteriously appeared publicly with a notepad referring to “5,000 troops to Colombia.” But for now it remains unlikely that the United States would send in Marines, as it once might have.

There’s a decent chance Maduro will be forced out by sanctions and diplomacy. If there is an intervention, it will be multilateral and come at the impetus of Guaidó and his Latin American allies. That won’t fulfill the Sanders-style stereotypes of U.S. interventionism. But it’s a good way for the hemisphere to operate in the 21st century.
The Federalist
written by Helen Raleigh
Tuesday January 29, 2019

Venezuela has been on a downward spiral for years: a total collapse of currency, outrageous hyperinflation, rising infant mortality rate, the second-highest murder rate in the world, a shortage of almost everything (including basics such as food and oil), and widespread starvation.

More than three millions Venezuelans––or 10 percent of the country’s population––have left since 2014. But migration isn’t for everyone, so many stay behind and continue their unimaginable daily suffering. Some bravely rose to protest and were brutally suppressed. Finally there is some hope.

On January 23, the 61st anniversary of the fall of Venezuela’s last military dictator, Gen. Marcos Pérez Jiménez, massive protests erupted on the streets of Caracas, demanding an end to the authoritarian Nicolas Maduro government. Venezuela’s various fractured opposition groups united behind one young and energetic leader, democratically elected National Assembly Leader Juan Guaido.

The 35-year-old Guaido took the oath of office before the crowd and declared himself the country’s interim president. Only a few minutes later, President Trump recognized Guaido as the only legitimate leader of Venezuela. Soon, other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and a majority of South American countries, joined in recognizing President Guaido. The list is still growing.

The countries who continue to embrace the failing Maduro government are the permanent members of the authoritarian and anti-democracy club: China, Cuba, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and a few others. No surprise there. What is surprising is that some on the American left, including members of Congress, choose to join authoritarian regimes around the world to stand by dictator Maduro. They have been using social media to repeat the same propaganda and lies Maduro and his minions have been telling for years.

Lie 1: President Guaido Is Part Of A U.S.-Led Coup

Maduro called Guaido’s declaration as the acting president a U.S.-backed coup. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, seems to agree. Sen. Bernie Sanders also used the “coup” charge.

Let’s examine the classical definition of coup: “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.” Maduro is the one who seized power illegally, aided by violence. His so-called successful reelection in 2018 was a sham and widely denounced by the world, due to extraordinary measures the regime took to ensure Maduro’s win, per The New York Times’ report (not a right-wing media organization, mind you).

This included moving up the election from December to May so opposition parties had little time to campaign and organize, barring the largest opposition parties and their leaders from running, arresting activists and oppositions leaders prior to the election, and even eliminating the requirement that “that voters dip a finger in indelible ink, which is used to keep people from voting more than once.” The regime also used food handouts as both a threat (and an incentive) to get hungry Venezuelans to vote for Maduro.

Even with all these vote-manipulating measures, many eligible voters boycotted the election, so the voter turnout was only 46 percent. The day after Maduro declared victory, Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly refused to recognize Maduro’s legitimacy.

The Lima Group, an alliance of 14 Latin American countries and Canada, also called Maduro’s reelection illegitimate, stating: “We do not recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process that was carried out in Venezuela on May 20th, because it does not adhere to the international standards of a democratic, free, fair and transparent process.” The same group reiterated its stand against the Maduro presidency on January 4, 2019, stating it would not recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela and would impose economic sanctions.

The definition of coup is also closely associated with using violence to seize power. The demonstration last week in Caracas has been largely peaceful. Speaking of violence, Maduro is the one who uses violence to suppress opposition, imprisoning opposition leaders and is well on his way to turning a democracy into a dictatorship. After he lost control of the national assembly to opposition parties in 2015, his government suppressed the National Assembly’s attempt for a recall referendum in 2016, which prompted protests on the street of Caracas. A professor in Venezuela tweeted: “The government’s striptease is complete. Before us is the horrible figure of dictatorship.”

On the same day as President Guaido’s swearing in, Canada’s outspoken minister of foreign affairs issued a strong statement, saying “Canada rejects the Maduro regime’s illegitimate claim to power and has called upon Nicolás Maduro to cede power to the democratically elected National Assembly, ” and ” Canadians stand with the people of Venezuela and their desire to restore constitutional democracy and human rights in Venezuela.” How could anyone call this a U.S.-backed coup?

Lie 2: President Guaido’s Actions Are Unconstitutional

Omar tweeted a Venezuela Supreme Court’s decision as evidence that interim President Guaido’s action was unconstitutional. I hope one of her staffers will give her a quick history lesson on Venezuela, and soon.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court is not a reliable source for information because Maduro stacked the courts with his loyal cronies. In return, the Supreme Court used its judicial power to provide Maduro legal cover in order to usurp power from the National Assembly.

The court removed the assembly’s authority to have a say over the economy in October 2017. Then the judiciary dissolved the National Assembly completely in March 2017 and was forced to reverse its decision after an international outcry. Only a few month later, Maduro’s government held an “election” to elect a new legislative body to replace the National Assembly. No one was surprised that Maduro’s allies “won” all 545 seats of this new legislative body so Maduro can do whatever he wants with no opposition.

Consequently, the true National Assembly deemed Maduro a “usurper” and the presidency vacant. According to Venezuela’s constitution, the head of the National Assembly––in this case Guaido––should take over as acting president until a free and fair election takes place at a later date. So what Guaido did on January 23 was legally sound and constitutionally bound.

He also has the support of the people of Venezuela. Many Venezuelans called out Omar’s tweet as untrue, see here and here, including this tweet from a self-identified liberal:
Even Sanders, who used to sing the praises of Venezuela, tweeted that “The Maduro government has waged a violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society, violated the constitution by dissolving the National Assembly and was re-elected last year in an election many observers said was fraudulent.”

Lie 3: Guaido Was Handpicked By The U.S. Right

According to a BBC profile on Juan Guaido, he was one of seven children in a poor family in the port city of La Guaira in the state of Vargas. His studied industrial engineering in college and later earned graduate degrees at George Washington University (GWU) in the U.S. and Venezuelan private business school Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración.

Apparently the fact he went to GWU is sufficient for some on the American left to name him a far-right colonialist. See here:
Although he is young, Guaido has been fighting back Venezuela’s authoritarian government for years. When he was in college, he protested against Hugo Chavz’s efforts to control the media. He joined another prominent opposition leader, Leopoldo López, to found a centrist political party Popular Will in 2009.

Guaido was elected to the National Assembly in 2011. In early January 2019, the National Assembly elected him as the speaker. Shortly after, Maduro’s security force dragged Guaido out of his car and arrested him for no other reasons than simply being an opposition leader. He was only released a few days later after international outcry at his arrest.

Despite Guaido’s credentials and the fact he was elected by his fellow countrymen who oppose Maduro’s ruthless rule in Venezuela, Omar still refers to Guaido as a far-right opposition installed by President Trump in her tweet. Thankfully, other Venezuelans pushed back on that one too.
I added this picture of Ilhan Omar's tweet to point out she is a member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
(emphasis mine)
Lie 4: U.S. Sanctions Caused Venezuela’s Collapse

This is one of those lies Maduro repeats in order to avoid taking responsibility. Yet it has been well-documented, even by liberal media, that the socialist policies Chavez installed since 1999 and reinforced by his handpicked successor since 2013 are somehow responsible for Venezuela’s economic and political collapse.

Policies such as central planning and nationalization of private businesses destroyed a once-vibrant private sector. Years of price controls drove producers out of business. Public-sector investment was neglected. Social welfare programs such as “free” health care and college increased wasteful spending and made these services totally unaffordable.

The high oil prices in the early 2000s masked the seriousness of these problems for a while since Venezuela is a major oil producer and exporter. But after oil prices peaked at $100 per barrel in 2014, it plunged to $50 and below, and hasn’t recovered since. Unable to pay for subsidies and welfare programs, Maduro kept printing more money. Consequently, Venezuela suffers the world’s worst inflation rate, at more than 13,000 percent.

Of course Maduro blames the U.S. economic sanctions for all Venezuela’s problems. But some American leftists continue to perpetuate his lie. Here is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez applauding Chris Cuomo, an anchor on CNN, blaming the United States for “starving the people and stand back watch them burn.” Also check out this tweet blaming the U.S. sanctions for Venezuelans’ suffering from Ben Norton, a journalist with a blue check on his Twitter account.

Of course Omar agrees, and calls for lifting U.S. sanctions. Never mind that U.S. sanctions are neither the cause (nor the cure!) of Venezuela’s economic and political collapse. And we don’t care about their oil because the United States is the number one oil producer in the world, thanks to fracking.

Many Democrats like to claim they are for human rights and democracy, but when an oppressed people rises up to fight for their inalienable rights, some on the left choose to stand by a dictator and his authoritarian regime. Either they are so blind by their hatred to Trump that they can’t think straight or they never really believed in human rights and democracy to begin with.

VENEZUELA: Hezbollah Islamist Militants Declares Its Support For Maduro After Maduro Thanked Leader For Helping To Terrorize Opposition In Exchange For Maduro's Previous Financial Help.

Memri
written by Staff
Tuesday January 29, 2019

Following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as that country's legitimate president, not President Nicolas Maduro, Hizbullah declared its support for Maduro, condemned the "attempted overthrow" that it said was orchestrated by the U.S., and sent an official delegation to the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut to express its support for Maduro.

This is not the first time Hizbullah has declared its backing for Maduro. In August 2018, it denounced an assassination attempt against Maduro and claimed that the U.S. was responsible for it. Further, according to various reports, Maduro and his former vice president Tareck Zaidan El Aissami have strong ties to Hizbullah and Iran. According to an anti-Maduro Venezuelan member of parliament, Hizbullah owns two goldmines in the country that it uses to finance its terror activity. Also, according to various reports, Hizbullah had links to the government in Venezuela even before Maduro was elected. In 2008 the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on two Venezuelan nationals, one of them a diplomat, for their Hizbullah connections. There were also reports of Hizbullah involvement in drug trafficking under the patronage of senior members of the Venezuelan government.

This report reviews Hizbullah's reactions to recent political events in Venezuela:

Hizbullah Announcement: The U.S. Is Behind The Attempt To Overthrow The Legitimate Government Of Venezuela

On January 24, 2019, following U.S. President Trump's recognition of Guaido as Venezuela's president instead of Maduro, Hizbullah declared its official support for Maduro. It stated in its declaration that it "condemns the flagrant American intervention, aimed at undermining the stability of Venezuela, and harshly condemns the attempt to overthrow the country's legitimate government – an attempt orchestrated and supported by the U.S. Hizbullah affirms its support for President Nicolas Maduro and his elected government... The entire world knows that the purpose of the intervention is not to protect democracy and freedom, as Washington claims, but rather to take control of the country's natural resources and to punish the patriotic countries for their political choices against America's American hegemony in the world."

Hizbullah Parliamentary Faction Chairman: The U.S. Intervention Is A Disgrace That Should Be Obliterated From Human History

The following day, on January 25, 2019, a senior Hizbullah political delegation visited the Venezuelan Embassy in Beirut to express support for Maduro. The delegation included Hizbullah faction leader MP Mohammad Raad, Hizbullah foreign affairs chief MP Ammar Al Moussawi, and Hizbullah political council member Mahmoud Qamati. At the conclusion of the visit Raad said: "All the brothers in Hizbullah and Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah support the Venezuelan people and its free leadership... The American intervention harms the interests of the people and is a disgrace that should be obliterated from human history... The stand of the Venezuelan people against the American intervention is a powerful stand and it is unthinkable that we wouldn't support it."

Hizbullah Executive Council Deputy Head: The U.S. Aims To Take Control of Venezuela's Natural Resources

Hizbullah Executive Council deputy head Sheikh Ali Damush, a senior aide to Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, devoted much of his Friday, January 25, 2019 sermon to events in Venezuela, saying: "The U.S. is the reason for all the crises, problems, and worries suffered by the countries and peoples in this region [i.e. the Middle East]. It transfers the wars and the crises from one place to another and one country to another. Not content with the destruction, devastation, and crises it created in this region, it moved on to Venezuela to intervene in its affairs and to overthrow its legitimate government, [in order to] to destabilize the country in advance of taking control of it and its natural resources.

"The U.S. lies to the people of the world... The American intervention in the region and in Venezuela is not in defense of democracy, freedoms, or human rights, but to take over the countries that oppose the American plan, and these countries' natural resources, and to punish them for their political choices [that are] hostile to American hegemony over the world...

"The U.S., which is once again attempting, via its agents, to harm the resistance and the countries which support resistance, as well as the Palestinian issue, will fail, and this time it will be a resounding failure because it [the U.S.] has become weak and cannot carry out its plans in Lebanon, in the region, or in the world."

FRANCE: French Payment Company Closes Neo-Nazi Account Linked To Hezbollah Islamist Militant Terror Group, Islamist Dictator Assad In Syria And BDS Anti-Israel Boycott Jew Hating Movement.

The Jerusalem Post
written by Benjamin Weinthal
Monday January 28, 2019
The Third Way wrote on its website: “What every person can do against the Zionist genocide.” The neo-Nazi group supports the BDS movement against the Jewish state.
The French online payment company leetchi closed the account of Germany’s neo-Nazi party The Third Way because the account violated France’s anti-discrimination law by calling for the boycott of the Jewish state.

A spokesman for leetchi confirmed on Monday to The Jerusalem Post during a telephone interview that the company “deleted” the account because it was “against the terms and conditions” of the business. When asked specifically what the account violated, the spokesman said France’s law against hatred.

The spokesman said leetchi was not aware of the The Third Way’s illegal activities until it was brought to the management’s attention.

The Post exclusively reported on January 7 that the giant online payment service PayPal shut the account of The Third Way after the Post revealed in a series of investigative articles The Third Way’s links to the Hezbollah, Syrian President Bashar Assad and its support for the anti-Israel boycott, sanctions and divestment movement.

After PayPal closed The Third Way’s account in January, the neo-Nazi party opened an account with leetchi.

The Third Way did not respond to numerous Post press queries.

The French-language website dreuz.info wrote a critical article on its website on the weekend covering The Third Way’s account with leetchi.

In May 2017, the Post reported that the website of the Third Way published a report in April on a visit by its members to Lebanon to champion Hezbollah’s war against Israel.

Members of the extremist group can be viewed on their website visiting the Hezbollah propaganda museum, called Where the Land Speaks to the Heavens, in the village of Mleeta in southern Lebanon. Kai Zimmermann, a senior leader of Der Dritte Weg, posed next to a plaque reading, “No, Israel is not invincible.” The neo-Nazi group labeled Israel a “Terror state Israel” on its website.

The US, the Arab League, Canada, the Netherlands, and Israel classify Hezbollah’s entire organization a terrorist entity. The European Union, including Germany, merely proscribed Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing” as a terrorist group in 2013.

The Third Way (Neo-Nazi Group), whose goal is the creation of “German socialism,” wrote on its website: “What every person can do against the Zionist genocide.” The neo-Nazi group supports the BDS movement against the Jewish state.

German intelligence officials in the state of Baden-Württemberg wrote in a 2018 report that propaganda from the Third Way calling to boycott Israeli products “roughly recalls similar measures against German Jews by the National Socialists, for example, on April 1, 1933 (the slogan: ‘Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!’”)”

A graphic on the Third Way’s website states: “Boycott products from Israel: 729=Made in Israel.” The number 729 is used in bar codes to identify Israel-based products and companies. The intelligence agency for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate wrote in its 2018 report: “The Third Way’s slogan ‘Boycott Products from Israel’... betrays significant parallels to the anti-Jewish agitation of the National Socialists.”

According to the organization’s website, members of the Third Way met with the extremist Syrian Social Nationalist Party in Lebanon and representatives of the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.

NIGERIA: 66 Bodies Discovered In Eight Villages, 22 Of Them Christian Children And 12 Christian Women, Killed By "criminal elements" AKA Islamist.

BBC News, UK
written by Staff
Friday February 15, 2019

Officials in north-west Nigeria have reported the discovery of the bodies of 66 people, 22 of them children and 12 women, killed by "criminal elements".

The victims were found in eight villages in the Kujuru area of Kaduna state, the state government said.

Security forces have made arrests, state governor Nasir El-Rufai said.

He called on communities to avoid reprisal attacks but did not identify suspects or give reasons for the killings.

Four injured people were rescued by security forces and are receiving medical attention, the authorities said.

The discovery was reported on Friday - just one day before the country goes to the polls for an election.

President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, is seeking another term as leader in the ballot.

The BBC's Africa Security Correspondent, Tomi Oladipo, reports that trouble may have started in the area earlier this week, but news may have been to slow to filter out because of the remoteness of the settlements involved.

Kaduna's local government has urged residents to "uphold peace and harmony" and "shun violence" for Saturday's vote.

"The killings are being investigated and residents are assured that indicted persons will be prosecuted," a state government statement said.

Police have not yet confirmed details about any motive for the killings, or information about the victims.

However. the AFP news agency reports the deaths may have stemmed from religious clashes.

Maisamari Dio, a leader of the ethnic Christian Adara community, alleged ethnic Fulani Muslims had attacked a village on Sunday.

Since, he says, there have been reprisal attacks.

"The people found by the Kaduna state government today were likely those killed (by the Fulani) and some Adara, a mix, but I am not sure of the extent," he told the news agency.

Premium Times, Nigeria
written by Lois Ugbede
Friday February 15, 2019

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is considering postponing Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Multiple sources close to the electoral commission said the postponement being considered is due to some logistics challenges being faced by the commission in many states.

The electoral body is facing difficulty distributing sensitive electoral materials to some states of the federation, an official said.

A formal announcement is expected on Friday night, our sources said.

It is unclear at this time what the new election date would be.

“There will definitely be a postponement but we are yet to take a decision on the new date,” an official said.

Another official said the commission is considering fixing the elections for Sunday.

Our sources said INEC commissioners are currently locked in a meeting at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

Some of the states where the logistic challenges are said to occur include Niger and Ekiti.

PREMIUM TIMES published a report by the News Agency of Nigeria where the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Niger State said ballot papers for two of the state’s three senatorial districts were missing as of Friday evening.

EKITI LAMENTS

In Ekiti, the former governor of the state, Ayo Fayose, accused INEC of deliberately hoarding materials for the presidential, Senate and House of Representatives elections in some states to frustrate the PDP.

Mr Fayose said he was aware that ballot papers and result sheets for presidential and senatorial elections were not in Ekiti State as at 9 p.m. on Friday, adding that only materials for the House of Representatives were distributed.

According to his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, Mr Fayose said similar situations already reported in Oyo, Taraba, Edo, Niger, Ogun, Rivers and other states.

The INEC Commissioner in charge of publicity, Festus Okoye, did not answer or return multiple calls from PREMIUM TIMES.

INEC had scheduled the national elections for Saturday while the governorship and state assemblies elections are scheduled for March 2.
International Christian Concern
written by Carlie Chiesa
Friday February 15, 2019
“Whenever God determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray.”

– Charles H. Spurgeon
Nigeria is experiencing a major election season this February 16. The results of this election will determine the country’s next president, as well as numerous seats in the National Assembly. The current president, Muhammadu Buhari, and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP party are the frontrunners for the presidential election. If the past is any indication, believers should be on their knees in prayer for Nigeria, as past elections have produced massive riots and violence.

Even though there is not a Christian candidate running for president, this election will have some effect on the lives of Nigeria’s 190 million Christians.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

– Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
The scriptures command Christians to pray often for those who are under persecution. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need our prayers at this time for safety, perseverance, and patience in these upcoming months. Below are some specific ways you can be praying for the Church in Nigeria.

Boko Haram and Fulani Militants

Christians in northern Nigeria and the Middle Belt have been dominated by the twin evils of Boko Haram and the Fulani militants. These groups are armed, Islamic terrorists. Tens of thousands of Christians have been killed, and millions more driven off their lands, by these groups.

President Buhari has been a disaster for Christians in Nigeria. The Nigerian government has mischaracterized the near-genocide of Christians in Nigeria for years as a conflict between farmers (Christians) and herders (Fulani) perpetuated by tribal issues. This strategy distracts the world from the reality of the situation: it is a devastating, one-sided war. Slowly, the US government (especially the State Department) is starting to awake to a keener understanding of the conflict.
  • Pray for the Christians in the north to be faithful to God, even in the face of persecution. Pray especially for their safety.
  • Pray that the terrorists will find salvation in Christ. ICC has contact with many Muslim Background Believers, so this is a real possibility.
  • Pray for the breakdown of Boko Haram and the Fulani militants.
  • Pray that the U.S. government will recognize the scale of this humanitarian crisis and pressure the Nigerian government to meaningful action.
Victims and Their Families

Militant groups leave behind a wake of confusion and grief after attacks. When fathers are killed, the situation is especially dire. Families do not have the option to grieve because they need to find new ways of supporting themselves. Not all victims are killed; in fact, many are left severely maimed. Debilitating injuries often leave them disabled and unable to earn a living.
  • Pray for families to be able to grieve well and to find ways to maintain their livelihoods.
  • Pray for those who were attacked and left physically disabled.
  • Pray for those who endured significant psychological trauma to find a new purpose.
Christian Refugees

Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen are driving Christian farmers out of their homelands, resulting in a refugee crisis. Many are fleeing to the neighboring countries of Niger and Cameroon. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and cannot financially support refugees, and Cameroon is enduring a civil war.
  • Pray for these refugees to find somewhere secure to settle. Pray that the government would recognize this crisis and step in on their behalf.
Safety for Young Girls

Five years ago, the world was shocked by the news of the kidnapping of almost three hundred schoolgirls by Boko Haram. Last year, ICC reported on the Daphi schoolgirls, who were also kidnapped. All of the girls were released, except for five who died in transit and one brave young girl who refused to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ. Boko Haram is against education and western principles and kidnaps these girls because they are becoming educated.
  • Pray for these girls to remain faithful to God and to remain safe from these attacks. Also, pray for their persecutors to be merciful and to release the girls back to their families
Election Peace

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) reports that there is a strong risk that the losing party may be aggressive and destructive after the election. Recently, ICC has reported that religious leaders in Nigeria have been urged to preach peace messages in order to encourage a peaceable election.
  • Pray for the elections to be peaceful and for the losing party to be gracious in defeat.
  • Pray that Christian leaders will rise up in the government.
  • Pray that whoever wins the election will be merciful to the Christians, recognize that they are being persecuted, and take action on their behalf.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

– John 17:15 (NIV)
Jesus recognized that evil is pervasive in this world. Pray this prayer on behalf of your fellow believers in Nigeria. They are facing a dark time and need us to plead for them as Jesus did. Pray fervently for their protection from the darkness at work in this world – that they would hold fast, be faithful, and seek to obey God at all times.