February 21, 2017: Verse of the day

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24:1 the Lord’s. On His universal ownership, cf. Ex 19:5; Dt 10:14; Pss 50:12; 89:11; in the NT, cf. 1Co 3:21, 23.

24:2 This is a poetic, not a scientific, picture of creation (cf. Ge 1:9, 10; 7:11; 49:25; Ex 20:4; Dt 33:13; Job 26:10; Pss 74:13; 136:6; 2Pe 3:5).

MacArthur Study Bible

24:1–2 The Lord Is Creator and Owner of All. The Lord, the covenant God of Israel, is the one who founded the world (cf. Gen. 1:1–2:3, where he is called God, the transcendent Creator). The focus here is on the earth as the dry land, where human beings dwell, as distinguished from the waters (cf. Gen. 1:9–10). Paul quotes Ps. 24:1 in 1 Cor. 10:26 to explain that since God owns everything, foods are included, and thus may be enjoyed without qualms.

ESV Study Bible

24:1 The earth is the Lord’s. God created and sustains the whole earth; it belongs to Him. Paul cites this verse to establish the principle that there is no food, even things offered to pagan idols, which is unlawful for Christians to eat (1 Cor. 10:25, 26).

24:2 he has founded it upon the seas. This section reflects the creation account in Gen. 1. However, the sea is also a poetic image for evil. Throughout the psalms and the prophets, God is pictured as winning a victory over the sea (Ps. 29:10, 11; 77:16–20; 104:5–9; Nah. 1:4; Dan. 7).

Reformation Study Bible

February 21, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

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February 21

Aspects of Praise

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me.

Psalm 50:23

 

What does it mean to praise God? According to the Bible, praise involves three things:

  1. Reciting God’s attributes. One great reason to study the Old Testament is that it so powerfully reveals the character of God, enabling us to praise Him better.
  2. Reciting God’s works. The psalms are filled with lists of the great things God has done. He parted the Red Sea, brought His people out of Egypt, made water flow from a rock, fed Israel in the wilderness with manna from heaven, and did many other powerful works. When you praise God for all that He has done, your problems pale in comparison. Remembering God’s past performance glorifies Him and strengthens our faith.
  3. Giving thanks for God’s attributes and works. At the heart of praise is thanksgiving. Praising God gives Him glory. No matter what happens in our lives, we are to express our thanks to Him for all His attributes and gracious works.[1]

February 21 God’s Great Mercy

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

1 Peter 1:3

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Because of His mercy, God desires to lift sinners out of their pitiful condition.

Several years ago I spent about a week in India. Each day I saw countless starving, diseased people with no home but a few square feet of filthy street. I could not help but feel compassion and pity on those people who lived in such misery.

In a spiritual sense, though, before God saved us, we were each even more pathetic than any beggar in India. Spiritually, we “were dead in [our] trespasses and sins … and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:1, 3–5). God saw our wretched condition and was moved to do something about it.

How does mercy compare with grace? Mercy has respect to man’s wretched, miserable condition; grace has respect to man’s guilt, which has caused that condition. God gives us mercy to change our condition; He gives us grace to change our position. While grace takes us from guilt to acquittal, mercy takes us from misery to glory.

Doesn’t it give you great joy to know that God not only removed your guilt but looked at you and had compassion? And He’s not through giving us mercy: “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22–23). We can always “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His great mercy, for the forgiveness and blessings you have as His child.

For Further Study: Luke 15:11–32 contains the well–known parable of the prodigal son, a moving illustration of God’s loving compassion. What was the son’s condition when he returned? ✧ What was his father’s reaction? ✧ How does God respond to us when we turn to Him in repentance and humility?[2]


FEBRUARY 21

STOP LAMENTING AND LOOK UP

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

—John 14:21

In seeking to know God better we must keep firmly in mind that we need not try to persuade God. He is already persuaded in our favor, not by our prayers but by the generous goodness of His own heart. “It is God’s nature to give Himself to every virtuous soul,” says Meister Eckhart. “Know then that God is bound to act, to pour Himself out into thee as soon as ever He shall find thee ready.” As nature abhors a vacuum, so the Holy Spirit rushes in to fill the nature that has become empty by separating itself from the world and sin. This is not an unnatural act and need not be an unusual one, for it is in perfect accord with the nature of God. He must act as He does because He is God….

If only we would stop lamenting and look up. God is here. Christ is risen. The Spirit has been poured out from on high. All this we know as theological truth. It remains for us to turn it into joyous spiritual experience. And how is this accomplished? There is no new technique; if it is new it is false. The old, old method still works. Conscious fellowship with Christ is by faith, love and obedience. And the humblest believer need not be without these. TIC065-067

Lord, impart to me a fresh measure of faith, love and obedience, that I might know You as perfectly as possible. Amen. [3]


February 21

Are You Mourning as Christ Commands?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.—Matt. 5:4

Two crucial determinants will tell you if you are mourning over sin as Jesus commands. First, you will have true sensitivity to and sorrow for your sins. Your primary concern will be how your sin detracts from God’s glory, not how its exposure might embarrass you or hurt your reputation.

The mock piety of hypocrites demonstrates no sensitivity to sin, only to their personal prestige and pride (cf. Matt. 6:1–18). Likewise, the mock gratitude of those like the Pharisees who think they are better than others (cf. Luke 18:11) certainly does not show mourning for sin. King Saul twice admitted he had sinned when he did not destroy King Agag and all the Amalekites, and even asked Samuel for pardon, but he was more concerned for his own honor than God’s (1 Sam. 15:10–35).

If your mourning is godly, you will lament the sins of other believers and the world, as well as your own. You will agree with the psalmist, “My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Your law” (Ps. 119:136). You will weep over your community, as Jesus did over His (Luke 19:41).

The second way to know if you are mourning rightly is to check your sense of God’s forgiveness. Have you experienced the sense of spiritual freedom and real release that comes with knowing your sins are forgiven? Can you point to true happiness, peace, and joy in your life that only God gives in response to mourning for sin (cf. Ps. 126:5–6)?

ASK YOURSELF
What is your main problem with sin—only that it gives you that sick feeling of guilt and hypocrisy? Only that it seems to expose you around those who know you best? Take all the personal inconveniences out of the equation, and be more gravely concerned that your sin offends the God you profess to serve.[4]

FEBRUARY 21

WE HAVE IT ALL

Seek ye first the kingdom…all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

 

How much time have you spent in your Christian life meditating on the plain instruction from our Savior?—“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The God who has revealed Himself to needy men and women wants us to know that when we have Him, we have everything—we have all the rest!

Any of us who have experienced a life and ministry of faith can tell how the Lord has met our needs—even for food and the essentials of life.

Brethren, we ought to learn, and learn it soon, that it is much better to have God first and have God Himself, even if we have only a thin dime, than to have all the riches and all the influence in this world and not have God with it!

Let us go on to know Him and to love Him more dearly, not for His gifts and benefits, but for the pure joy of His presence. Thus we will fulfill the purpose for which He created us and redeemed us!

 

Dear Lord, help me make the transition from wanting more and more “things” to being satisfied—and overjoyed—with only Your presence in my life.[5]


February 21 Maintaining Spiritual Integrity

“… in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10).

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Seek to have a life that bears scrutiny.

In our society, those whose lives are marked by moral soundness, uprightness, honesty, and sincerity are usually thought of as people of integrity. However, society’s standards often fall far short of God’s. Spiritual integrity calls for the highest possible standard of behavior and requires supernatural resources available only to those who trust in Him.

Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9–10 outlines the path to spiritual integrity. It begins with “love” that abounds with “knowledge and all discernment” (v. 9) and progresses to the pursuit of excellence (v. 10). The result is sincerity and blamelessness—two characteristics of godly integrity.

The Greek word translated “sincere” in verse 10 speaks of genuineness and authenticity. It literally means “without wax” and is an allusion to the practice of inspecting pottery by holding it up to the sunlight. In ancient times pottery often cracked during the firing process. Rather than discarding cracked pieces, dishonest dealers often filled the cracks with wax and sold them to unsuspecting customers. Holding a pot up to the sunlight revealed any flaws and protected the customer from a bad purchase.

Following that analogy, Biblical integrity requires that you be without wax, having no hypocrisy or secret sins that show up when you’re under pressure or facing temptation.

“Blameless” speaks of consistency in living a life that doesn’t lead others into error or sin. Your standard is to be the same away from church as it is at church.

Being blameless isn’t easy in a world that unashamedly flaunts its sinful practices. You must guard against losing your sensitivity to the heinousness of sin and unwittingly beginning to tolerate or even accept the sin that once shocked you. That’s when you lose integrity and begin to cause others to stumble.

Diligently pursue integrity with a view toward glorifying Christ in all things until He returns!

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God that He is “able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in His presence . . . blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). ✧ Prayerfully guard your heart and mind from the subtle evil influences that can erode your integrity and make you ineffective for the Lord.

For Further Study: Read Genesis 39. ✧ How was Joseph’s integrity challenged? ✧ How did God honor Joseph’s commitment to godly integrity?[6]


FEBRUARY 21

“CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD”

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

JOHN 3:3

The miracle of the new birth was foreshadowed in the Old Testament record: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

There was at least a hint of miracle within the human breast—not the reasoning of yourself into a position, but something happening that could not be explained! Coming into the New Testament, there is no longer any hinting or suggesting about the miracle of the new birth—it is boldly and openly declared. Our Saviour said that if we come to Him and are not born again, we cannot enter the kingdom of God—that we must be born from above.

Paul told the Corinthians: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

You couldn’t make it any stronger than that! Something happens in a man’s nature that no man can explain!

Just the moment that a man’s experience in Christ can be broken down and explained by the psychologists, we have a church member on our hands—and not a Christian! For that which must happen in the new birth can never be explained by psychology or psychiatry. The professional can only stand off respectfully and say, “Behold the works of the Lord.” He can never explain it! And in that great and terrible day to come, many will be shocked when they find that they depended upon a mental assent to Christianity instead of upon the miracle of the new birth![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 64). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 60). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 64). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Unpopular the Movie is devastating in a good way, as the Gospel always is (Video)

Red Grace media has published Unpopular The Movie, and it’s wonderful. This half hour movie is Christ-centric, accurate, clear, and presents the Gospel in a devastatingly biblical way. When you hear/read the Gospel, unvarnished and with open ears and open eyes, it singes the heart and devastates the soul. It is incendiary. Even as a long-saved person, it will try your emotions, and bring you low. We ALL need The Gospel.

Here, Emilio Ramos, Dr James White, and Paul Washer quietly discuss The Gospel. The background music is unobtrusive, the setting is thoughtful, and the presentation of the Gospel is accurate and beautiful. The movie is as much for the saints as it is an evangelism tool for the unsaved. Here is Red Grace Media’s synopsis:Unpopular The Movie is a Evangelism resource for the church. Unpopular is a gospel presentation by Emilio Ramos, Dr James White of Aomin.org, and Paul Washer from Heart Cry Missionary Society. Unpopular is meant to serve as a tool to evangelize non-Christians with the gospel of Jesus Christ. To stay up to date visit http://www.unpopularthemovie.com

Mr Ramos said,

We live in a culture that glorifies sin. That trivializes sin, that makes sin less heinous than it is. It is very deceptive to look at sin in a way that makes sense to us. If we see ourselves in the way that the culture tells us to see ourselves, then man can remedy his condition through technique. But if we see ourselves the way the Bible tells us we really are, then the only remedy for our sin is the work of the Savior.

This is good. Watch it!

Sin, repentance, the cross…are the most upsetting and controversial doctrines on the entire earth. They are presented here, along with God’s love and mercy.

Listen and watch for yourself. We all need the Gospel, all the time. Let its truth and the majesty of a holy and righteous God who accepts sinners into His family through His slain and resurrected Son, Jesus. Then share.

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Further Reading

The Gospel According to Jesus, by John MacArthur

Source: Unpopular the Movie is devastating in a good way, as the Gospel always is

George Washington’s God

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(My review of Washington’s God, by Michael & Jana Novak, appeared in the May 2006 American Spectator, and is republished here in honor of Washington’s Birthday and of Michael Novak, who died Friday, February 17, 2017.)

The Founding Believer

Washington’s God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country

by Michael and Jana Novak

(Basic Books, 256 pages, $26)
Reviewed by Mark D. Tooley

AT A CANDLELIGHT DINNER on the portico of Mount Vernon, Roman Catholic ethicist Michael Novak was reluctantly persuaded by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to write a book about George Washington’s religious beliefs. Among the over one million visitors each year to Washington’s exquisitely preserved estate, the request for such a book is common but largely unrequited, Novak was told.

George Washington’s modern biographers are almost uniform in dismissing or minimizing his religious faith. James Flexner, in his famous three-volume work of the 1970s, wrote: “Washington subscribed to the religious faith of the Enlightenment; like Franklin and Jefferson he was a deist… not believing in the doctrines of the churches.”

Willard Randall’s more recent George Washington: A Life similarly asserts, “He was not a deeply religious man. Once he left his Bible thumping mother’s household he may never have taken any Anglican communion again, yet he went to church frequently…” Joe Ellis’s highly acclaimed His Excellency of last year echoed this theme: “Never a deeply religious man, at least in the traditional Christian sense of the term, Washington thought of God as a distant impersonal force…”

This insistence on a religiously ambivalent Washington stretches back over many decades. Even Douglas Southall Freeman’s magisterial seven-volume biography dared not assert that its subject was overly devout. A serious Baptist and conservative Richmond newspaper editor, Freeman presumably did not share the secular biases of more recent biographers but nonetheless was cryptic and cautious about Washington’s religion.

Henry Cabot Lodge, well over a century ago, was probably the last major biographer to insist that Washington was unequivocally a Christian, based on a single reference to Jesus Christ as “the Divine Author of our religion.” Either Washington actually believed this or he was a “liar,” Lodge wrote.

The assumption of the last century’s scholarship that Washington was irreligious is partly his fault. Reserved and emotionally reticent, he left no extant theological treatises on his personal religious beliefs. The clues must be extracted from Washington’s ecclesial habits, his family life, his character, and the numerous references to the Almighty in his public writings and personal letters.

WASHINGTON’S GOD by Michael and Jana Novak attempts to clarify the record about the great man’s religion. Such clarification is long overdue. The Novaks (who are father and daughter) remind us that for a century after Washington’s death, historians, starting with his first biographer John Marshall, described the first president as a devout Christian.

The enormously successful hagiographer Parson Mason Locke Weems is routinely credited for generating pious myths about Washington. But the Novaks assert that Weems, who briefly pastored the Pohick Anglican Church that the Washingtons attended, was only disseminating what was already widely believed to be true.

Most of Washington’s family, friends, and associates assumed he had at least conventional if not necessarily expressive Christian faith. “He took these things [religion] as he found them existing, and was constant in his observance of worship according to the received forms of the Episcopal Church in which he was brought up,” James Madison matter-of-factly observed of his fellow Virginian.

The Novaks describe 18th-century Tidewater Virginia Anglican culture, in which gentlemen were expected to be church-going but reticent about their faith. “Lukewarm Anglican” then as now was a redundancy, they affirm. Prizing refinement over enthusiasm, even devout Anglicans were and largely still are expected to be tight-lipped and even inarticulate about religion.

Washington was indeed tight-lipped about the specifics of his theology. But he was surprisingly frequent is his references to the Deity. His God was not remote or impersonal. Washington’s God, as he described Him in his public declarations and personal letters, was quite active and quite personal. This deity saved the young Washington several times from French and Indian bullets, saved Washington’s army from near destruction by the far larger British army, and saved the young republic from chaos and division.

Helpfully in their appendix, the Novaks list the more than 100 ways that Washington described God, from “Almighty and Merciful Sovereign of the Universe” to “Wonder-working Deity.” Some of them are quite creative. None are at odds with the Jewish and Christian understanding of a personal God. They include references to the divine as “Father” and “Jehovah.”

Washington’s few specific references to Jesus Christ and his lack of Trinitarian language helped fuel the assumption that he was a deist. The Novaks devote a whole chapter to deism, which they explain as a rationalization of Christianity. The deist God is a creator whose world is governed by natural laws and who desires moral living by humanity, whose conduct will be judged in the afterlife.

Much of early Protestantism initially rejected Catholicism’s use of human reason, choosing instead to focus on faith alone. Deism, the Novaks suggest, allowed Protestants to incorporate the language of reason during the Enlightenment. Some deists remained Christians, while others would follow the European model of strict rationalism. Washington, as he related the many interventions of his God, clearly believed in a continuously active deity who was more than the detached “clockmaker” of strict deism.

The language of Enlightenment, 18th-century Christianity, especially as employed by refined Tidewater Anglicans, was considerably less flamboyant than what would replace it. During Washington’s final years, the established Anglican and Congregationalist churches of the East Coast were losing market share to revivalist evangelicals. Methodists, and Baptists, with their emphasis on conversion and transformation, would dominate 19th-century America. Their christo-centric language was far more explicit about salvation, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the demand for repentance.

Early fans of Washington, in the wake of his death at the 18th-century’s close, sought to explain the first president’s Christian faith in the language of the new evangelical era. Washington’s own words frequently could not match these demands. So the hagiographers focused on Washington’s self-denial, his courtesy, his reliable church-going, his prayer life, and his ardent sense of duty and providential destiny. Exaggeration of Washington’s faith and character throughout the 19th century was inevitable.

But the 20th-century backlash by increasingly secular historians also went too far. Modern biographers portray Washington as a Roman stoic who performed his religious duties perfunctorily to satisfy the public. The Novaks emphasize that whatever the specifics of the man’s personal faith, he said the same things about God in private as he did in public. He contrasts with Jefferson and Franklin and even Adams, who privately expressed doubts about orthodox understandings of Christ’s deity and the Trinity, even as they attended churches and affirmed Christianity.

NONE OF WASHINGTON’S WRITINGS express any doubts about orthodox Christianity. If he had them, he left them unrecorded or confined to his correspondence with his wife, who burned nearly all their letters on his instructions. Martha was herself indisputably devout in her Christian faith, though she too left few written theological thoughts, in typical Anglican style of the time.

The Washingtons usually attended Pohick Church near Mount Vernon and sometimes Christ Church in Alexandria. Either trip by carriage involved a couple hours of travel round trip. Washington financially supported both churches and gave considerable personal time over the decades to his work on the church vestry. Throughout his presidency he regularly attended churches in New York and Philadelphia.

A few clergy over the years expressed concern that Washington rarely if ever took communion, even though Martha usually did. The Novaks write that this was not unusual for the time, and that the Eucharist was infrequently celebrated in churches of the era, even Roman Catholic ones. Although not noted by the Novaks, 19th-century biographers often disputed claims that Washington never took the Eucharist. Ostensibly, the nearly 100-year-old widow of Alexander Hamilton testified to her clear recollection of kneeling at the communion rail with the president.

Washington’s spiritual life within his family appears to have been conventionally orthodox. He prayed before meals, read sermons out loud to Martha, and bought devotional material for his stepchildren. When stepdaughter Patsy was dying, he prayed audibly while on his knees at her bedside.

Unlike Thomas Jefferson, who sometimes declined to serve as a godparent because of his theological doubts, Washington frequently agreed to the spiritual responsibilities of godparenting for the children of relatives and friends. Interestingly, Jefferson referred to Jesus as the “blessed author of our religion.” As noted above, Washington contrastingly called Jesus the “Divine Author of our religion.”

Washington’s death, as described by secretary Tobias Lear, occurred relatively quickly, painfully, and touchingly for the servants, doctors, and family who tearfully looked on. The absence of clergy during those final hours, and the fact that Lear never ascribed any specific statements of faith to Washington, have reinforced the notion of him as a deist/stoic.

The death at Mount Vernon contrasted with Alexander Hamilton’s several years later. Shot in a duel, the flamboyant former aid to Washington dramatically requested the presence of an Anglican bishop and demanded the Eucharist while professing his faith in Christ.

Washington was a different character, and he died as he lived, with understatement and composure. Martha prayed with her Bible at the bedside while Washington uttered his final words: “Tis well.” Martha responded with the same phrase. “It was a noble death and quite Christian in its entire content,” the Novaks write.

The Novaks also observe that Washington’s taciturnity about religious specifics throughout his life, as on many other issues, allowed him to serve as the indispensable man in whom people of all faiths placed their trust. Washington’s public utterances about God were unifying rather than divisive and were admired by Anglicans, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and even Jews. He carefully wrote to their congregations, visited their places of worship, and received their delegations, commending their faith and urging their loyalty to the new republic and its promise of religious liberty to all.

In religion, as in statecraft, Washington set the example that all other presidents would follow in some form. The Novaks insist, not without logic, that a Washington without serious faith could not have managed this so equitably and successfully. They are almost certainly correct.
Source: George Washington’s God

10 George Washington Quotes Pointing to God’s Providence

February 22 marks President George Washington’s 285th birthday. Beloved as the Father of our country, the elements of Washington’s life captivate historians and spectators alike. Visitors can wander the gardens and grounds of his adored Mount Vernon home. Docuseries examine the Washington’s courtship and marriage. Biographies detail the Chief Founding Father’s exemplary military skills, judicious presidency, and morally upright character.

Yet, with so much of Washington’s history preserved and at our fingertips, his religious beliefs are ever-debated.

Many note the lifelong Anglican was indeed a sincere Christian. Others argue Washington was religiously ambivalent while some others say he was a Deist. That is, someone who acknowledges God exists but believes He is detached from the activities of mankind. This faith debate marches on, even as Washington’s own words and materials seem to substantiate a devout, albeit private, confidence in traditional Christian teachings.

Happily I found biographer Peter Lillback’s George Washington’s Sacred Fire on my local library’s bookshelf. Lillback’s research authenticates Washington’s Christian piety by examining everything from the use of a 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church, his incorporation of the Scriptures in his writings, to copious handwritten letters and speeches. The evidence points to an astute leader nurturing religious freedom in a new nation, not rejecting his Savior.

So in honor of George Washington’s birthday, here’s a look at 10 of his quotes recognizing God’s Providence:

1. “The Man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf.”

—Washington’s letter to Samuel Langdon, September 28, 1789

 2. “May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian Oppressors planted them in the promised land—whose Providential Agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent Nation—still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.”

—Letter to the Hebrew congregation of Savannah, Georgia

3. “Glorious indeed has been our Contest: glorious, if we consider the Prize for which we have contended, and glorious in its Issue; but in the midst of our Joys, I hope we shall not forget that, to divine Providence is to be ascribed the Glory and the Praise.”

—Letter to Reverend John Rodgers, June 11, 1783

4. I flatter myself that a superintending Providence is ordering everything for the best, and that, in due time, all will end well.”

—Letter to Landon Carter regarding American patriot’s prisoners in the North, October 27, 1777

5. “It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful to contemplate, that after two years Manoeuvring and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes that perhaps ever attended any one contest since the creation both Armies are brought back to the very point they set out from and, that that, which was the offending party in the beginning is now reduced to the use of the spade and pick axe for defense. The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations, but, it will be time enough for me to turn preacher, when my present appointment ceases; and therefore, I shall add no more on the Doctrine of Providence…”

—Private letter to Brigadier General Thomas Nelson, August 20, 1778

 6. “What will be the consequences of our Arming for self defense, that Providence, who permits these doings in the Disturbers of Mankind; and who rules and Governs all things, alone can tell. To its all powerful decrees we must submit, whilst we hope that the injustice of our Cause if War, must ensue, will entitle us to its Protection.”

—Letter to Revered Jonathan Boucher, August 15, 1798

 7. “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly…”

—Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1789

8. “I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would…most graciously be pleas’d to dispose us all to do Justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves, with that Charity, humility & pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion & without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.”

—Washington’s Circular Letter to the States, June 8, 1783

 9. “Whereas it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise for the wonders which his goodness has wrought in conducting our fore-fathers to this western world…and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory.”

—Washington’s General Orders, November 27, 1779

10. “While I reiterate the professions of my dependence upon Heaven as the source of all public and private blessings; I will observe that the general prevalence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry, and economy seems, in the ordinary course of human affairs particularly necessary for advancing and conforming the happiness of our country.”

—Answering a letter from the General Assembly of Presbyterian Churches in the United States, May 1789

Source: 10 George Washington Quotes Pointing to God’s Providence

February 20, 2017: Verse of the day

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21:1 Sovereignty of God. A king’s decisions are controlled by God. The verse uses synthetic parallelism to develop the point. The first line affirms that the decisions (“heart”) of the king are under the Lord’s control (“in the hand”), and the second explains that God directs the king as he pleases. What clarifies the second line is the simile that the heart is “like a watercourse.” As a farmer channels the water where he wants and regulates its flow, so does the Lord with the king. No human ruler is supreme; to put it another way, the Lord is truly the King of kings. Scripture offers many examples of the truth of this proverb (Ezr 7:21; Isa 10:6–7; 41:2–4; Da 2:21; Jn 19:11).

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

21:1 He turns it. See notes on 16:1, 9, 33; cf. 19:21; 20:24. Note the examples of the divine hand of God in the cases of Artaxerxes (Ezr 7:21–23), Tiglath-pileser (Is 10:5–7), Cyrus (Is 45:1–4), and Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:34) and Belshazzar (Da 5:23–25).

MacArthur Study Bible

21:1 The stream of water describes water flowing through a channel or an irrigation ditch, which a skillful farmer can turn to flow wherever he wishes.

ESV Study Bible

21:1 in the hand of Yahweh Even though kings hold great power (Prov 14:28; 16:15; 20:2), they are ultimately under the jurisdiction of God’s power over the entire earth.

Faithlife Study Bible

21:1 The king’s heart … Lord. Possibly a reference to the sovereignty of God even over pagan kings who unwittingly do His will (e.g., Cyrus in Is. 45:1), or to the king of Israel, who, like Solomon, received a special endowment of the wisdom of God (16:10 and note).

Reformation Study Bible

February 20, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

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February 20

Types of Spiritual Fruit

Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work.

Colossians 1:10

 

What kind of fruit brings glory to God? Philippians 1:11 says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Righteousness, which is doing right, is the fruit God desires in our lives. When we do right, we glorify God; when we do wrong, we dishonor Him. Fruit is synonymous with righteousness.

There are two kinds of spiritual fruit: action fruit—which consists of giving, leading others to Christ, and expressing thanks to God—and attitude fruit. Galatians 5:22–23 describes attitude fruit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control.”

How do you get the right attitudes? Verse 25 says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” As you yield control of your life to the Holy Spirit, He will permeate your life and produce the proper fruit.[1]


February 20 The Measure of Grace

“Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

Romans 5:20

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God will lavish grace upon sinners who are truly repentant.

Did you ever sin so terribly that you felt, I really blew it this time. There’s no way God would want to forgive me now? It’s easy sometimes to let our past sins be a constant burden to us, even after we’ve confessed and repented. Paul has comfort for those who feel this way, and that comfort is founded on the power and measure of God’s grace to us.

Before his conversion, Paul (then known as Saul) persecuted the church mercilessly (see Acts 8:3 and 9:1–2). He was “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” (1 Tim. 1:13; see also Gal. 1:13). If anyone could be beyond grace, it was Paul.

But God intervened and saved him (Acts 9:3–19). Why? “For this reason,” Paul says, “I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Tim. 1:16). If God would forgive Paul, He will forgive anyone who will confess their sins and repent. If He would show abundant grace to a violent unbeliever, He will also shower grace upon His penitent children.

God is not stingy with grace. Paul celebrates God’s saving “grace, which He freely bestowed on us” (Eph 1:6), and “the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us” (vv. 7–8). Speaking of sustaining grace, Paul says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8). Notice the words Paul uses: “all grace,” “abound,” “all sufficiency,” “everything,” “abundance,” “every good deed.” God’s grace is inexhaustible and is given so freely that words cannot express it fully.

Great sins require great grace, but God will give super–abundant grace to those who seek forgiveness, for “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20). Don’t let your past sins weigh you down; learn to rest upon God’s super–abundant grace.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to teach you to understand His grace more fully and help you forget “what lies behind” (Phil. 3:13).

For Further Study: Read Romans 6. What is Paul’s argument here? ✧ How are we to live now that we have received God’s grace?[2]


FEBRUARY 20

INSTANT CHRISTIANITY

Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

—Philippians 3:16

It is hardly a matter of wonder that the country that gave the world instant tea and instant coffee should be the one to give it instant Christianity…. And it cannot be denied that it was American Fundamentalism that brought instant Christianity to the gospel churches….

Instant Christianity tends to make the faith act terminal and so smothers the desire for spiritual advance. It fails to understand the true nature of the Christian life, which is not static but dynamic and expanding. It overlooks the fact that a new Christian is a living organism as certainly as a new baby is, and must have nourishment and exercise to assure normal growth. It does not consider that the act of faith in Christ sets up a personal relationship between two intelligent moral beings, God and the reconciled man, and no single encounter between God and a creature made in His image could ever be sufficient to establish an intimate friendship between them….

Instant Christianity is twentieth-century orthodoxy. I wonder whether the man who wrote Philippians 3:7-16 would recognize it as the faith for which he finally died. I am afraid he would not. TIC023-025

Lord, keep me from falling into the patterns of instant Christianity. I want to participate in an ever-changing, ever-expanding relationship with You. Amen. [3]


February 20

Hindrances to True Mourning: Presumption and Procrastination

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.—Matt. 5:4

We talked yesterday about two specific sins that hinder biblical mourning. Let’s consider two others today. The sin of presumption is actually a form of pride. Presumption is satisfied with cheap grace and expects God to forgive just a little bit because it sees so little to be forgiven. It leads us to think our sins are not really bad enough for us to confess them, repent of them, and forsake them. But Isaiah exhorts sinners as follows: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:7). The kind of gospel (so popular today) that omits any need for repentance and mourning is a false, unscriptural gospel—or as Paul calls it, “a different gospel” (Gal. 1:6).

Procrastination, as the term suggests, hinders true mourning simply by putting it off. We tend to think when things are better and the time is more convenient, we will ask God to cleanse and forgive our sins. But that is foolish and risky because “you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). If we do not deal with sin sooner rather than later, we can’t be sure God’s comfort will ever come.

The best and surest way to eliminate hindrances to mourning is to look, through prayer and the Word, to the holiness of God and Christ’s great atoning sacrifice for sins.

ASK YOURSELF
Unlike some of our sins, these tend to be more subtle and soft-pedaled. But sins of all kinds are capable of blinding us to our utter dependence on God and His forgiveness. Ask Him to reveal to you any hidden sins, wanting to bring to the surface everything that dishonors Him.[4]

FEBRUARY 20

EVERY HINDRANCE REMOVED

Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1

 

There are many legal and governmental reasons why lost men and women should not go to heaven!

It should not be difficult for us to acknowledge that a holy and righteous God must run His universe according to holy laws—and we do not belong there because we have broken every one of those holy laws in some way!

Therefore, there must be an effective redemption, a justification of some kind if we are to have God and He is to have us!

Thank God, it has been done!

The New Testament language is as plain as can be—in Christ through His death and resurrection, every legal hindrance has been met and satisfied: taken away! There is nothing that can keep us from assurance except our own selves.

Let us quit trying to think our way in, to reason our way in. The only way to get in is to believe Him with our hearts forevermore!

 

Yes, Lord, thank You so much for providing an “effective redemption” so that we may have unbroken fellowship with You—both now and for all eternity. Praise Your holy and righteous name![5]


February 20 Pursuing Excellence

“… so that you may approve the things that are excellent” (Phil. 1:10).

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In a world of mediocrity and confusion, God calls you to excellence and discernment.

There’s the story of a pilot who came on the loudspeaker midflight and said, “I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, we’ve lost all our instrumentation and don’t know where we are. The good news is, we have a strong tailwind and are making great time.” That’s an accurate picture of how many people live: they have no direction in life, but they’re getting there fast!

We as Christians are to be different because we have divine guidance and eternal goals. Our lives are to be marked by a confident trust in God and a pursuit of spiritual excellence.

“Excellent” in Philippians 1:10 speaks of things that are worthwhile and vital. “Approv[ing]” what is “excellent” refers to testing things as one would test a precious metal to determine its purity and value. It goes beyond knowing good from evil. It distinguishes between better and best. It involves thinking Biblically and focusing your time and energy on what really counts. It involves cultivating spiritual discipline and not being controlled by your emotions, whims, moods, or circumstances.

Many organizations and businesses have rightly adopted the motto “Commitment to Excellence” to convey their desire to provide the finest product or service possible. If secular-minded people strive for that level of achievement, how much more should Christians pursue excellence for the glory of God!

Look at your life. Is it filled with godly love, discernment, and the pursuit of excellence—or has worldly trivia crowded out those virtues?

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Isaiah 12:1–6 as a psalm of praise to the God of excellence. ✧ Ask God to give you a heart constantly set on pursuing excellence for His glory.

For Further Study: Daniel was a man who pursued excellence. Read Daniel 1:1–2:23. ✧ What was Daniel’s decision regarding the king’s food and wine, and how did he handle the situation? ✧ How did Daniel and his three friends compare in wisdom and understanding to the magicians and conjurers? ✧ What principles do you see in those two chapters that apply to your life?[6]


FEBRUARY 20

STRICTER DISCIPLINE FOR GOD’S WILLING CHILDREN

No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness….

HEBREWS 12:1 1

If God has singled you out to be a special object of His grace you may expect Him to honor you with stricter discipline and greater suffering than less favored ones are called upon to endure.

If God sets out to make you an unusual Christian He is not likely to be as gentle as He is usually pictured by the popular teachers. A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.

To do His supreme work of grace within you He will take from your heart everything you love most. Every thing you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be.

Thus you will learn what faith is; you will find out the hard way, but the only way open to you, that true faith lies in the will, that the joy unspeakable of which the apostle speaks is not itself faith but a slow-ripening fruit of faith. You will learn, too, that present spiritual joys may come and go as they will without altering your spiritual status or in any way affecting your position as a true child of the heavenly Father.

Then you will also learn, probably to your astonishment, that it is possible to live in all good conscience before God and men and still feel nothing of the “peace and joy” you hear talked about so much by immature Christians![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 63). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 59). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 63). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Why we must oppose false teachers: They shut heaven’s door in people’s faces

In the sermon The Characteristics of False Spiritual Leaders, Part 1, John MacArthur said,

There have always been and there always will be in this world false spiritual leaders who pretend to represent God, but in fact do not represent God. The Old Testament talks about them, identifies them, and warns people to stay away from them. The New Testament does the same. In fact, Moses was in conflict with them in Egypt. Jeremiah was fighting with them in Judah. Ezekiel faced them and called them foolish prophets that followed their own spirit and have seen nothing. Our Lord warned of them as false Christ’s and false prophets who shall show great signs and wonders. The apostle Paul struggled against them as preachers of another gospel in Galatians Chapter 1, and purveyors of the doctrine of demons he called them in writing to Timothy.

Peter said they were false preachers who secretly bring in damnable heresies and they are like dogs who return to lick up their own vomit. John, the apostle, saw a coming anti-Christ and many anti-christs already present who denied Jesus as the true Christ. Jude saw them and called them deluded dreamers who defile the flesh. And Paul may have summed it up well when he said they are wolves whose desire is to enter in not sparing the flock. They’re always present and they’re always eager to counterfeit the work of God.

There is a story recorded by many a historical church father all the way through to twentieth century scholars like Henry Wace and Phillip Schaff, about the false teacher Cerinthus, a contemporary of the Apostle John. Here, Phillip Schaff tells it in his momentous book Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,

But Irenæus, in the first book of his work Against Heresies, gives some more abominable false doctrines of the same man, [Cerinthus] and in the third book relates a story which deserves to be recorded. He says, on the authority of Polycarp, that the apostle John once entered a bath to bathe; but, learning that Cerinthus was within, he sprang from the place and rushed out of the door, for he could not bear to remain under the same roof with him. And he advised those that were with him to do the same, saying, “Let us flee, lest the bath fall; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.”

It’s a traditional story, not well documented, as Schaff notes,

This story is repeated by Eusebius, in Bk. IV. chap. 14. There is nothing impossible in it. The occurrence fits well the character of John as a “son of thunder,” and shows the same spirit exhibited by Polycarp in his encounter with Marcion … But the story is not very well authenticated, as Irenæus did not himself hear it from Polycarp, but only from others to whom Polycarp had told it.

Yet, two thousand years later, we still tell it. How different things are in our millennial times. Far from shouting that an enemy of God is present and all must flee lest they die under the tumbling stones of the house in which he enters, credible teachers and pastors partner with them! Rarely are false teachers excoriated from the pulpit by pastors, (or at all) thus transferring the same alarm and discernment to their sheep. Instead, if the false teachers are spoken of at any time, the subject is approached by such pastors and teachers as a deer mincing carefully up to the brook for a sip of water, delicately mentioning in general terms some vague notion that ‘False teaching is bad. Thank you for listening.’

Can you imagine the outcry if a teacher or pastor or blogger said, “Let us flee, lest the bath fall in while Beth Moore, the enemy of the truth, is there.”

Yet as MacArthur noted above, false teachers have always been a plague and a scourge upon the ministers and saints of the truth. They bring disrepute to the name of Jesus and worse, prevent people from entering the kingdom. In Matthew 23, we read of the devastating effects of their evil work. Jesus said bluntly reserving his worst woes and strident speech for the religious hypocrites,

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

This is an incredible statement.

False teachers shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.

Let that sink in.

For those people who decry discernment work and refuse to be discerning, speak of discerning things, or mark false teachers for the benefit of others, you are actually participating in helping to shut others out of the kingdom.

In the second sentence, we see that false teachers disallow people to go into the kingdom. This is the first woe repeated in different words. Jesus is stressing the result of false teachers’ work. In addition, he confirmed the false teachers (hypocrites’) ultimate destination.

Thirdly, false teachers make their students and followers twice as much a child of hell as they were. If you understand compounding interest, you understand that the student will grow up to be a false believer or a false teacher and then turn around and make their students twice the sons of hell they were, which will be…well, let’s look at this short definition of negatively compounding interest.

A $1000 investment which loses 50% of its value will need to work twice as hard (i.e. grow 100%) just to get back to it original value. An investment that loses 50% in the first year and 20% in the second year will have to grow 150 % in the third year to recoup its starting value.

And that is only losing half the value. Jesus said the next generation will be twice as bad, not just half as bad. Even if you don’t like numbers, you can see what the negative impact of succeeding generations of unaddressed false teachers will have on the overall health of the faith.

Later in his sermon The Characteristics of False Spiritual Leaders, Part 1,  John MacArthur said,

Now in looking at verses 1 to 12, I want to suggest to you that a good way to see this section is to see it as a description of the characteristic of a false spiritual leader. And there are five elements that false spiritual leaders lack and I believe the Lord gives them to us right here. They lack authority, they lack integrity, they lack sympathy, they lack spirituality, and they lack humility.

Go on and read of listen to the sermon, which is part of a series. There is a related series called Exposing False Spiritual Leaders, which is also good. Remember the key verse today, Matthew 23:13,

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in

It is serious, sisters. Serious. False teachers are not to be coddled, ignored, overlooked, tolerated, or treated non-judgmentally. They attack the sheep, prevent them from entering heaven, and make them children of hell twice as bad as they are.

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Further reading

Challies: 7 False teachers in the Church Today

The history of Christ’s church is inseparable from the history of Satan’s attempts to destroy her. While difficult challenges have arisen from outside the church, the most dangerous have always been from within. For from within arise the false teachers, the peddlers of error who masquerade as teachers of truth. False teachers take on many forms, custom-crafted to times, cultures, and contexts. Here are seven of them you will find carrying out their deceptive, destructive work in the church today.

Challies: The False Teachers: Arius

This morning I am setting out on a new series of articles that will scan the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—and pause to examine some of Christianity’s most notorious false teachers. Along the way we will visit such figures as Pelagius, Servetus, Fosdick, and even a few you might find on television today. We will begin this morning with one of the very first, and certainly one of the most dangerous, false teachers: Arius.

S. Lewis Johnson: Basic Biblical Doctrine, sermon series, read and/or listen. The first sermon,
How Do We Know Spiritual Truth

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Are We One Generation Away From Losing The Church?

The Washington Post and other media made a big deal Monday that President Trump posted a “fake quote” on Instagram. The quote, in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” was misattributed. Lincoln never said it.

The media is always looking for these kinds of faux pas. But what if Trump had posted “Money is the root of all evil” or “God moves in mysterious ways” superimposed over an image of the Bible? Almost certainly, the media would never catch it, because they are biblically ignorant and scripturally illiterate.

The Church’s Biblical illiteracy is a huge problem

While it’s fun and useful to point out the secular media’s Biblical errors, Christian leaders are not so quick to hone in on a bigger problem within the Body of Christ. Biblical illiteracy among believers is eroding the faith.

Read More…

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Obama Shadow Government Group OFA Publishes Anti-Trump Anarchist Manual For Creating Opposition

An Obama-tied activist group training tens of thousands of agitators to protest President Trump’s policies plans to hit Republican lawmakers supporting those policies even harder this week, when they return home for the congressional recess and hold town hall meetings and other functions.

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

In a new Facebook post, OFA calls on activists to mobilize against Republicans from now until Feb. 26, when “representatives are going to be in their home districts.”

Political Group “Organizing for Action” Relaunches For Trump Era:

The protesters disrupted town halls earlier this month, including one held in Utah by House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who was confronted by hundreds of angry demonstrators claiming to be his constituents.

The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”

“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.

The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.” 

“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”

After the event, protesters are advised to feed video footage to local and national media.

“Unfavorable exchanges caught on video can be devastating” for Republican lawmakers, it says, when “shared through social media and picked up by local and national media.” After protesters gave MSNBC, CNN and the networks footage of their dust-up with Chaffetz, for example, the outlets ran them continuously, forcing Chaffetz to issue statements defending himself.

The manual also advises protesters to flood “Trump-friendly” lawmakers’ Hill offices with angry phone calls and emails demanding the resignation of top White House adviser Steve Bannon.

A script advises callers to complain: “I’m honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office … It is everyone’s business if a man who promoted white supremacy is serving as an adviser to the president.”

The document provides no evidence to support such accusations.

Protesters, who may or may not be affiliated with OFA, are also storming district offices. Last week, GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher blamed a “mob” of anti-Trump activists for knocking unconscious a 71-year-old female staffer at his Southern California office. A video of the incident, showing a small crowd around an opening door, was less conclusive.

Separately, OFA, which is run by ex-Obama officials and staffers, plans to stage 400 rallies across 42 states this year to attack Trump and Republicans over ObamaCare’s repeal.

“This is a fight we can win,” OFA recently told its foot soldiers. “They’re starting to waver.”

On Thursday, Trump insisted he’s moving ahead with plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which has ballooned health-insurance premiums and deductibles. “Obamacare is a disaster, folks,” he said, adding that activists protesting its repeal are hijacking GOP town halls and other events.

“They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there,” the president said. “But they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”

As The Post reported, OFA boasts more than 250 offices nationwide and more than 32,000 organizers, with another 25,000 actively under training. Since November, it’s beefed up staff and fundraising, though as a “social welfare” non-profit, it does not have to reveal its donors.

These aren’t typical Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street marchers, but rather professionally trained organizers who go through a six-week training program similar to the training — steeped in Alinsky agitation tactics — Obama received in Chicago when he was a community organizer.

Chicago socialist Saul Alinsky, known by the left as “the father of community organizing,” taught radicals to “rub raw the sores of discontent” and create the conditions for a “revolution.” He dedicated his book, “Rules for Radicals,” to “Lucifer.” Michelle Obama quoted from the book when she helped launch OFA in 2013.

Obama appears to be behind the anti-Trump protests. He praised recent demonstrations against Trump’s travel ban. And last year, after Trump’s upset victory, he personally rallied OFA troops to “protect” his legacy in a conference call. “Now is the time for some organizing,” he said. “So don’t mope” over the election results.

He promised OFA activists he would soon join them in the fray.

“Understand that I’m going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen, but that’s not so far off,” he said. “You’re going to see me early next year, and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”

Added the ex-president: “I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting, and we’re going to be busy. I’ve got all kinds of thoughts and ideas about it, but this isn’t the best time to share them.

“Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go, and I hope that all of you are, as well.” source

Source: Obama Shadow Government Group OFA Publishes Anti-Trump Anarchist Manual For Creating Opposition

Pope Francis: ‘Muslim Terrorism Does Not Exist’

Breitbart reports:

In an impassioned address Friday, Pope Francis denied the existence of Islamic terrorism, while simultaneously asserting that “the ecological crisis is real.”

“Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist,” Francis said in his speech to a world meeting of populist movements.

What he apparently meant is that not all Christians are terrorists and not all Muslims are terrorists—a fact evident to all—yet his words also seemed to suggest that no specifically Islamic form of terrorism exists in the world, an assertion that stands in stark contradiction to established fact.

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