May 26, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Devotional Guide Collection

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May 26

COME, THOU ALMIGHTY KING

Source unknown, c. 1757

Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—He is the King of glory. (Psalm 24:9, 10)

In his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer left these choice words regarding the Trinity:

The doctrine of the Trinity … is truth for the heart. The fact that it cannot be satisfactorily explained, instead of being against it, is in its favor. Such a truth had to be revealed; no one could have imagined it.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been controversial since the earliest days of Christianity. In a.d. 325, the Council of Nicaea affirmed its belief in the Triune Godhead. During the 16th century Reformation period, it was again denied by the Socinians. And still today many liberal theologians and groups are blatant in their denial. They often speak of God, the Father of all, Jesus, the mere man, and the divine influence of the Spirit of God. This form of blasphemy relegates each member of the Godhead to a role far less than that ascribed in the Bible.

This familiar Trinity hymn is also one of our most popular “opening hymns” for a Sunday morning worship service. It appeared anonymously in England in about 1757 to commemorate Trinity Sunday. It has been attributed by some to Charles Wesley since it first appeared in a pamphlet published by John Wesley.

This is a hymn that must always be sung with all four stanzas. To omit any of the first three would be to slight one of the members of the Godhead. The fourth stanza is a grand affirmation of the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, that God is One yet Three and ever worthy of our love and adoration.

Come, Thou Almighty King, help us Thy name to sing; help us to praise: Father, all glorious, o’er all victorious, come and reign over us, Ancient of Days.

Come, Thou Incarnate Word, gird on Thy mighty sword, our prayer attend: Come and Thy people bless, and give Thy word success—Spirit of holiness, in us descend.

Come, Holy Comforter, Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour: Thou who almighty art, now rule in ev’ry heart, and ne’er from us depart, Spirit of pow’r.

To the great One in Three eternal praises be, hence evermore: His sov’reign majesty, may we in glory see, and to eternity love and adore.

For Today: Psalm 47; 103:19; John 8:54; 10:31-33; Acts 5:3, 4

Reflect again on the importance of having a proper perspective regarding the Godhead. What are the dangers of giving less than full and equal recognition of deity to each member of the Trinity? Carry this musical truth with you—[1]


May 26: A Longsuffering God

1 Chronicles 18:1–20:8; 2 Timothy 2:1–13; Psalm 85

God is longsuffering, but sometimes we take this for granted. How often have we given into temptation, expecting to be obedient at a later date?

Psalm 85 gives a testimony of God’s faithfulness in the past: “O Yahweh, you favored your land. You restored the fortunes of Jacob. You took away the guilt of your people; you covered all their sin. You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your burning anger” (Psa 85:1–3).

As he experiences that judgment, the psalmist remembers God’s past restoration, and he hopes for it once more: “I will hear what God, Yahweh, will speak, because he will speak peace to his people, even his faithful ones”; he also sets a condition: “but let them not return to folly” (Psa 85:8).

Do we wait until bad times before we realize God’s amazing grace for us?

God’s faithfulness is also expressed in surprising moments in the New Testament, like Paul’s exhortation to Timothy. Paul tells him to be strong in grace and offers comfort while presenting a challenge: “For if we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful—he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim 2:11–13).

These passages portray a God who is incredibly patient. But they also present a sense of urgency and demand a response. If we acknowledge our sin and seek Him, He is faithful to forgive us. But we shouldn’t use His faithfulness as an excuse to delay our response. He wants our complete loyalty.

How are you responding to God’s calling in your life?

Rebecca Van Noord[2]


May 26

Intro

Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 13 through 16. Our lesson is from Deuteronomy 14:22–23, “You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.” (NASB)

Lesson

Our study has to do with the stewardship of what God has given us. However, some people get uncomfortable when tithes and offerings are mentioned. Let’s look at three principles from our text.

First, the people were to tithe from their resources. Today we live in a more urbanized society, so perhaps you do not raise cattle or wheat. But that does not exempt us from tithing. The principle here is that we should tithe according to what God has blessed us with in material possessions.

Deuteronomy, Numbers and Leviticus all mention the concept of the tithe. The tithe was used to support the Levites, who did not receive a part of the inheritance of the land. They were the priests, i.e., those who served in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. In addition, some of the money was to go to the widows and foreigners in need. The tithe had a practical and designated function.

Second, the people were to bring their tithes to a specific place. According to our passage, they were to bring it to a place in which resided the presence of God. Depending on the biblical time in history, it was either the Temple or the Tabernacle. The significant matter is that the tithe was to be given by the people and the Levites were to be the stewards of that tithe.

Last, the people were to learn to fear the Lord by tithing. This is what is most interesting in our passage. By tithing, believers are submitting to the biblical mandate to fear the Lord. By fearing the Lord, they are honoring Him and in that way, proving their devotion and love.

According to a well-known saying, “actions speak louder than words.” The point to learn is that the fear of God goes well beyond just talk; it means that our actions are to line up with what we say. Money, possessions and other material things should not have a priority over God and His word.

In summary, Israel was to tithe from her resources. Israel was to bring the tithe to a specific place. And Israel was to learn to fear the Lord by tithing. Submission and obedience to the Lord shows others our true fear and respect for the Lord.

End

It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Deuteronomy 17 through 20. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.[3]


May 26

Receiving Christ’s Word (Thaddaeus)

The twelve apostles included “Thaddaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

✧✧✧

If you love Christ, you will receive His Word and obey it.

Radio signals are fascinating. At any given moment every room in your house is filled with voices, music, and numerous other sounds; yet you can’t hear them unless your radio is tuned to their frequency. That’s a modern parallel to a spiritual truth Jesus taught in John 14:21: “He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.” In effect Jesus was saying, “I reveal Myself to those who love Me—those whose spiritual receivers are tuned to My frequency. They receive My Word and obey it.”

In the Biblical record Thaddaeus is a man of few words. His question in John 14:22 is the only thing he ever said that is recorded in Scripture. It was prompted by his perplexity over Jesus’ statement in verse 21 to disclose Himself only to those who love Him. Thaddaeus asked, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Thaddaeus didn’t understand Christ’s statement because it wasn’t consistent with his concept of the Messiah. Like the other disciples, he expected Jesus imminently to vanquish Roman oppression, free God’s people, and establish an earthly kingdom wherein He would sit on the throne of David, reigning as Lord and Savior. How could He do that without revealing who He was to everyone?

In verse 23 Jesus responds by reiterating that only those who love Him will be able to perceive Him, and they are the ones within whom He and the Father would dwell.

That brief conversation between the Lord and Thaddaeus addresses the very heart of Christianity. It isn’t those who say they love God who are true believers, but those who receive Christ and obey His Word. As Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (v. 23).

Does obedience to the Word characterize your life? I pray it does. Remember, your obedience to Christ is the measure of your love for Him.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His Word, by which the Spirit instructs you and empowers you to live an obedient life.

For Further Study: Read John 8:31–47. ✧ To whom was Jesus speaking? ✧ Why were they seeking to kill Him? ✧ How did Jesus characterize the Devil?[4]


May 26

Looking to God

In His love … He bore them and carried them all the days of old.

Isaiah 63:9

When we talk about having our needs met, we human beings often look to everyone except to God. We seek answers from relatives, friends, and a host of other sources—some helpful, others harmful to our spirits—rather than look to God.

The ultimate source for meeting all need is God. He uses a variety of methods and instruments to meet our needs, but He is the Author and Originator of all that we need, both in the outer material, natural, and physical realm, and in the inner emotional, mental, and spiritual realm.[5]


May 26

In His Timing

Scripture reading: 1 John 5:14–16

Key verse: 1 John 4:16

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

The mother knew her son was not doing well at college. His grades were fine, and he had even made the football team. But between studying and practicing he had not made time for church or personal Bible study as he had in high school. How could she help him get back on track spiritually?

The apostle Paul faced the same challenge. In a Roman prison cell, Paul heard discouraging news from Epaphras, the pastor of the new and growing church in Colosse. The Colossian believers were falling into the trap of false teaching and losing their focus on Jesus Christ. Yet Paul knew that even from prison he could directly minister God’s truth to the struggling Christians, through continuous and specific prayer.

The greatest privilege and blessing you have as God’s child is to talk with Him in prayer. You can praise Him and bring Him your needs, your hurts, your desires. He promises to hear you in whatever you ask (1 John 5:15–16).

When you ask Him to work His truth into the lives of those you love, you will see the results. And be prepared! God may call you to long-term intercession. The Lord will give you His patience and strength as He answers in His good timing.

Dear Father, thank You for Your promise that You will hear me in whatever I ask. Give me patience and strength to wait for the timing of Your answers.[6]


May 26

An Expectation of Heaven

Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:1

The apostle Paul was preoccupied with heaven; he knew few earthly comforts. He was beaten, stoned, left for dead, deprived of necessities, and frequently disappointed by people. But he had no concern for pleasant feelings: he wanted only to live a productive life in pursuit of his heavenly goal.

We must have the same focus if we are going to pursue our heavenly reward. Christ is from heaven and in heaven. Heaven is His place, and because we are His, heaven is our place as well. If we are preoccupied with being like Him, we will naturally be preoccupied with heaven. What happens there should be more important to us than what happens here.[7]


May 26         A Way of Escape

scripture reading:
John 16:7–15

key verse:
Matthew 6:13

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

John Bunyan, the Puritan preacher and writer, said of temptations: “Temptations, when we first meet them, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them.”

God is faithful. God assures you that you can enjoy the sweet taste of victory over temptations, whatever their nature. When temptation presents itself, God always comes to your aid. The temptation is never more than He can handle; therefore, it is never more than you can handle, no matter how weak and helpless you feel. Knowing you can deal with the tempter in God’s strength bolsters your spiritual morale.

God provides the way of escape for each temptation. The best way is by faith in the power and truth of His Word—the very tool Jesus used to overcome Satan’s snare. Truth defeats error every time you obey.

God also promises that you can endure it. The temptations may not—and probably will not—vanish. But you can bear up under their load, daily casting your burdens on the Lord who will “not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13 nasb).

Thank You, dear Lord, that the temptations I face are not greater than I can handle. You have provided a way of escape. Let me take it![8]


May 26

The Wellspring of Worship

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 15:1–23

Key verse: John 21:15

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

Joni Eareckson Tada, the gifted author and artist who was paralyzed in an accident as a teenager, was once asked to share her favorite Scripture. Her response was precise:

“My favorite verse in the Bible is Jesus’ terse question to Peter: ‘Lovest thou Me?’ ” (John 21:15).

Herein is the heart of an obedient life—love and devotion for God. Obedience to Christ was not designed as a chore. While we may initially submit due to fear or a sense of obligation, God desires compliance from sheer delight in Him.

David exclaimed, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:8).

Can you join in that joyful refrain? Is obedience to God a drudgery, motivated by fear of retribution? Do you comply only so you will not feel guilty? The wellspring of genuine Christianity and true worship is a passion to please the Savior who redeemed you and now indwells you through His Spirit.

Fear or duty will carry you only so far, but love for God will carry you through everything. Obedience still may be hard at times, but it will never again be toilsome. Lovest thou God? If your answer is yes, obedience will be spontaneous.

I delight to do Your will, O God. Your law is within my heart. Give me a passion to please You.[9]


May 26

When in Need

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:12–16

Key Verse: 2 Timothy 2:26

They may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

We are likely to think of the obvious—hatred, lust, immorality—as Satan’s primary weapons of temptation and defeat. But our accuser possesses a far more deadly and cleverly disguised agent of spiritual destruction—discouragement.

In times of need, he causes us to dwell on our mistakes, our repeated failures, our constant confession of sins, and our general lack of holiness and unrighteousness. It doesn’t take much on the devil’s part to disillusion us. We are all too well acquainted with our infirmities. Allowed to linger, discouragement breeds despair, which engulfs any sense of godly hope and confidence. Like a battle tank out of gas, we are neutralized on the spiritual battlefield.

If you have experienced this bewildered state, you can disarm the deceiver with this unchanging Bible truth: God’s grace will never fail you.

Christ’s grace saved you. His face smiles upon you even when you stumble. His grace has reserved a place in heaven for every believer that no sin or sins can alter.

His throne is adorned with grace and mercy. As the Son of man, Christ understands your plight. He will never turn you away. The instant you call on Him and thank Him for His forgiveness, discouragement has no room to stand. Go boldly to Him.

Father God, I take authority over the enemy’s tool of discouragement in my life. I give You all my mistakes, failures, and recurring sins. Thank You for grace that will never fail.[10]


May 26

Ask, Seek, Knock

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 2:11–13

Key Verse: 2 Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

Those who ask will receive answers. Those who seek will find. Those who knock will find the door opened for them. It is God’s acrostic: A-S-K: Ask, Seek, Knock.

The Lord wants us to pray to Him, not only because it honors Him, but also because it helps us to grow in Him. Furthermore, prayer taps us into His work in the world. At any given moment, you can pray for anyone anywhere on earth and have confidence that the Lord of the entire universe will hear you and respond in the most effective fashion.

For this reason, prayer is one of the best ways to get involved in God’s mission. What a wonderful privilege it is to be able to participate in the expansion of God’s kingdom by asking the Lord to help His children and impact His creation.

Another reason the Lord bids us to pray is to build our faith in Him. Even sinful men give gifts to their children. How much more does the holy God enjoy giving good gifts to those who ask Him? (Matthew 7:11). He enjoys helping us along in our faith as we learn His Word, practice His presence, and stay so close to Him that His thoughts become our thoughts. He also loves to answer our prayers and see us become bolder in our walk and witness.

God’s Word tells us that He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Be certain to set aside time daily to talk to Him, and you will learn this truth firsthand.

Father, teach me to ask, seek, and knock—to persevere in prayer until I receive an answer.[11]


May 26

Paul: Joy in Spite of Detractors

“Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.”

Philippians 1:18

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It is possible to maintain your joy even while dealing with criticisms and irritating distractions.

The dictionary definition of detraction is “the uttering of material (as false or slanderous charges) that is likely to damage the reputation of another.” A detractor wants to undermine and destroy the good name and credibility of another. Great statesmen, such as President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War, often have been the targets of contentious political opponents and stinging detractions by the press.

For the church, the most difficult criticism has arisen from within, from false professors who once claimed to support it and its leaders. Paul came to know the disappointment and distress of being torn down when his detractors at Philippi assailed him even while he sat in prison. But he is a model of how one can rise above such pain and discouragement.

Paul’s main detractors (Phil. 1:15) were his fellow preachers who proclaimed the same gospel as he did. They were not at odds with him over doctrine but over personal matters. Paul’s detractors were envious of his ministry gifts and the way God had blessed his efforts with many converts and numerous churches.

Contending with the detractors at Philippi was not a completely new trial for Paul. He had previously learned patience in dealing with the letdowns caused by other supposed supporters (see 2 Tim. 1:15; 4:16). Now his opponents were testing his patience to the extreme as they sought to destroy his credibility with his supporters.

The detractors’ tactics might have unsettled the faith of some in the churches, but not Paul’s confidence. He stood up to all the unpleasantness with joy because, as our verse indicates, he knew the cause of Christ was still being advanced.

Paul’s exemplary behavior under fire provides an obvious lesson for us: no amount of false and unfair criticism should steal our joy in Christ and His gospel. And we can keep rejoicing if we, like Paul, stay devoted to our top priority, proclaiming and glorifying the name of Christ.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord that the gospel and its power are strong enough to overcome any amount of jealous detraction. Pray that you would stay focused on gospel priorities.

For Further Study: Read Nehemiah 4–6. How did Nehemiah deal with the detractors to his work? ✧ What was the eventual outcome (6:16)?[12]


May 26

Our Lord Jesus … that great Shepherd of the sheep.

Jesus, my Chief Shepherd, You are the good shepherd; and You know Your sheep, and are known by Your own. Your sheep hear Your voice, and You know those who follow You. And You give me eternal life, and I shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch me out of Your hand.

You, Lord, are my shepherd; I shall not want. You make me to lie down in green pastures; You lead me beside the still waters. You restore my soul, You lead me in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.

Like a sheep I have gone astray; turned to my own way; and the Lord God has laid on You my iniquity, the iniquity of us all. You are the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for me. You will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick. I was like a sheep going astray, but I have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul.

You are the Good Shepherd, Jesus—and I, an often straying sheep, need You. I thank You for Your provision and protection.

Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4; John 10:14, 27–28; Psalm 23:1–3; Isaiah 53:6; John 10:11; Ezekiel 34:16; 1 Peter 2:25[13]


May 26

Meekness, Not Weakness

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

When you hear the word meekness you may think of the word in its modern setting—someone who is spineless, spiritless, lacking in strength and virility. The meek person in today’s world is not how we’d like to be known. But the Bible says, “Blessed are the meek.”

The Bible says the meek are blessed of God and someday they will rule the earth.

Meekness is not weakness. It is not laziness. It is not compromise at any price, not just being born nicer than other people.

The word came to mean in classical Greek “to soothe, to calm, to tranquilize.” Someone has described meekness as gentleness by those who have the power to be otherwise—power under control. Meekness is the grace that brings strength and gentleness together.

When Jesus invited us to Him, He did not appeal to us on the basis of His kingship, majesty, or authority. The Lord reaches out His arms and says, “Come to Me and I’ll give you rest, for I am meek—you can be comfortable coming to Me” (see Matthew 11:28). [14]


Day 26

Adoration

Behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind,

And reveals His thoughts to man,

He who turns dawn to darkness,

And treads the high places of the earth—

The Lord God of hosts is His name. (Amos 4:13)

In Your majesty, You dwell in the likeness of a throne of sapphire above the expanse that is over the cherubim. (Ezekiel 10:1)

Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship.

Confession

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful; later on, however, it produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, let us strengthen the hands that are weary and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for our feet, so that what is lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:10–13)

Ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.

Renewal

May I not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will fear the One who, after killing, has authority to cast into hell. (Luke 12:4–5)

May I fear only the Lord my God and serve Him and take my oaths in His name. (Deuteronomy 6:13)

May I be very careful to love the Lord my God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all my heart and all my soul. (Joshua 22:5)

Pause to add your own prayers for personal renewal.

Petition

May I submit myself for the Lord’s sake to every human authority, whether to a king as being supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish evildoers and to praise those who do right; for it is the will of God that by doing good I may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:13–15)

Growth in Christ

Greater desire to know and please Him

Greater love and commitment to Him

Grace to practice His presence

Grace to glorify Him in my life

My activities for this day

Special concerns

Intercession

We should not get drunk on wine, for that is dissipation. Instead, we should be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18–20)

Churches and Ministries

My local church

Other churches

Evangelism and discipleship ministries

Educational ministries

Special concerns

Affirmation

Lord Jesus, You have said that unless I am converted and become like a little child, I will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3–4)

You did not want the little children to be hindered from coming to You, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19:14)

Pause to reflect upon these biblical affirmations.

Thanksgiving

Blessed be the Lord; day by day He bears our burdens,

The God of our salvation.

Our God is the God of salvation,

And to God the Lord belongs escape from death. (Psalm 68:19–20)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord

And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High,

To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning

And Your faithfulness at night. (Psalm 92:1–2)

Pause to offer your own expressions of thanksgiving.

Closing Prayer

When I remember You on my bed,

I meditate on You through the watches of the night.

Because You have been my help,

I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings.

My soul clings to You;

Your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:6–8)[15]


May 26

Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life

Prov. 4:23

He who would keep his heart pure and holy must plant a sentinel at every avenue by which sin may find access there, guarding against none more than the “little” sins, as they are called.

The man of God has his eyes to keep, and so Job said, “I have made a covenant with mine eyes”—his tongue, and hence the exhortation, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile”—his ears, and hence the warning, “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err”—his feet, and hence David says, “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.” And since there is no gate of the five senses by which the enemy may not come in like a flood, unless the Spirit lift up a standard against him, we have need to guard every port, and write over every portal, “Here there entereth nothing to hurt or to defile.”

Guthrie[16]


May 26

BETWEEN the revelation of God in his word and that in his works, there can be no actual discrepancy. The one may go farther than the other, but the revelation must be harmonious. Between the interpretation of the Works and the interpretation of the Word, there may be very great differences. It must be admitted that the men of the Book have sometimes missed its meaning. Nay, more: it is certain that, in their desire to defend their Bible, devout persons have been unwise enough to twist its words. If they had always labored to understand what God said in his book, and had steadfastly adhered to its meaning, they would have been wise.[17]


Morning, May 26 

 

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”

— Psalm 55:22

 

Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into his place to do for him that which he has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy he will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if he were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to his plain precept, this unbelief in his Word, this presumption in intruding upon his province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, and thus our love to him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from him; but if through simple faith in his promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon him, and are “careful for nothing” because he undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

 

Evening, May 26

 

“Continue in the faith.”

— Acts 14:22

 

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So, under God, dear brother in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Excelsior.” He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continueth till war’s trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. “It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare.” Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavour to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper, “Curse God, and die.” Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: fall in with the times.” Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armour, and cry mightily unto God, that by his Spirit you may endure to the end. [18]


His Strength Alone

May 26

Surely God has not given us all our life only to be quenched in death, but to grow and expand and become more and more vigorous. The lesson I learned in my own especial experience at Oakington Md. camp meeting is the lesson for us all I think—not to “frustrate the grace of God.”

The one illustration that seemed to contain the kernel of it all was such a homely one that it hardly seems worth repeating, and yet my story would not be complete without it. One of the preachers told it one evening. Two little boys were skating when one of them broke through and breaking his way along the thin ice finally was able to hold himself up when he reached a solid part. He could hold, but he could not climb out, and his companion worked himself along on some rails to pull him out.

Before making any effort, however, he explained to the poor little fellow that it would be death to them both if he should make the least effort to save himself, that his only safety lay in being absolutely passive and letting his companion save him. The drowning boy promised to be still, and his friend reached out his arm to grab him, but in his intense eagerness to be saved the poor little fellow forgot his promise and tried to seize the arm of his friend. At once the friend drew back and threatened to leave the poor boy to drown unless he would remain absolutely still. Again he promised, and again an effort was made, and again the eager desire for life overcame him and he tried to seize the outstretched arm.

The friend saw it was a serious emergency and with feigned indifference he turned on his heel and threatened to leave him to his fate. The poor boy, now thoroughly frightened, promised faithfully to remain still if only his friend would make one more effort to save him. And this time, by a mighty struggle, he kept his promise and was pulled out of the water to safety.

Every effort we make to help Him save us only renders it impossible for Him to do it. Our only hope lies in being absolutely helpless and in our letting Him do it all! The lesson is a blessed one. And I believe that if we all would learn it as we ought, we would soon find ourselves, “living, free, and mighty, standing on our tombs!”

—To Anna, The Barracks, August 1, 1870[19]


May 26th

Think as Jesus taught

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess. 5:17.

We think rightly or wrongly about prayer according to the conception we have in our minds of prayer. If we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly. The blood flows ceaselessly, and breathing continues ceaselessly; we are not conscious of it, but it is always going on. We are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect joint with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life. Beware of anything that stops ejaculatory prayer. “Pray without ceasing,” keep the childlike habit of ejaculatory prayer in your heart to God all the time.

Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer; He had the boundless certainty that prayer is always answered. Have we by the Spirit the unspeakable certainty that Jesus had about prayer, or do we think of the times when God does not seem to have answered prayer? “Every one that asketh receiveth.” We say—‘But …, but …’ God answers prayer in the best way, not sometimes, but every time, although the immediate manifestation of the answer in the domain in which we want it may not always follow. Do we expect God to answer prayer?

The danger with us is that we want to water down the things that Jesus says and make them mean something in accordance with common sense; if it were only common sense, it was not worth while for him to say it. The things Jesus says about prayer are supernatural revelations.[20]


May 26

Numbers 35; Psalm 79; Isaiah 27; 1 John 5

Most people who have read 1 John a few times know that John discusses a number of evidences (some commentators call them “tests” or “tests of life”) that clarify who truly is a Christian. Most people see three tests: (a) a test of truth, in particular the truth that Jesus is the Son of God; (b) a test of obedience, in particular obedience to the commands of Jesus; (c) a test of love, in particular love for our brothers and sisters. The danger lies in thinking that these “tests” somehow make independent contributions, as if a person might hope to pass two out of three. But toward the end of this epistle, not least in 1 John 5:1–5, these three tests come together in such a way that they are not independent at all. They all hang together.

This paragraph begins with the truth test, with the person “who believes that Jesus is the Christ” (5:1). That person is born of God—a point repeatedly reiterated in John’s writings. But everyone who is born of God will surely love others who have been born of God—spiritual siblings, as it were (5:1). Thus the truth test is linked, through the new birth, to the love test. How then do we know that we really do love the children of God? Well, first of all, by loving God himself, and then in consequence carrying out his commands (5:2). Indeed, it is ridiculous to claim to love God and not obey him. So obvious is this that one might go so far as to say that “love for God” is “to obey his commands” (5:3). Of course, John has already reminded his readers that one of Jesus’ central commands, his “new commandment,” is that his disciples love one another (2:3–11; 3:11–20; cf. John 13:34–35). Thus the love test is tied to the obedience test at several levels.

One must not think that Christianity is nothing more than tough-minded obedience. The truth is that Jesus’ commands “are not burdensome” (5:3), for in the new birth God has given us the power to perform what Jesus commands, the ability to overcome “the world” (5:4–5; cf. 2:15–17). Who, then, has this power to overcome the world? Those who are born again, those who have genuine faith, of course—and genuine faith is defined in terms of faith’s object, namely the truth that Jesus truly is the Son of God. Thus the test of obedience, and with it the test of love, is tied back to the truth test.

The glorious reality is that, in the Christian way, truth and ethics are tied together. Creedal confession and transformed living go hand in hand. Any other alternative is either superstition or humbug.[21]


May 26

Numbers 35; Psalm 79; Isaiah 27; 1 John 5

When plans were being laid to parcel out the Promised Land to the twelve tribes, Levi was excluded. The Levites were told that God was their inheritance: they would not receive tribal territory, but would be supported by the tithes collected from the rest of the Israelites (Num. 18:20–26). Even so, they needed somewhere to live. So God ordained that each tribe would set aside some towns for the Levites, along with the surrounding pasturelands for their livestock (Num. 35:1–5). Since the Levites were to teach the people the law of God, in addition to their tabernacle duties, these land arrangements had the added advantage of scattering the Levites among the people where they could do the most good. Moreover, their scattered lands were never to pass out of Levitical hands (Lev. 25:32–34).

The other peculiar land arrangement established in this chapter is the designation of six “cities of refuge” (35:6–34). These were to be drawn from the forty-eight towns allotted to the Levites, three on one side of the Jordan, and three on the other. A person who killed another, whether intentionally or accidentally, could flee to one of those cities and be preserved against the wrath of family avengers. At a time when blood feuds were not unknown, this had the effect of cooling the atmosphere until the official justice system could establish the guilt or innocence of the killer. If found guilty on compelling evidence (35:30), the murderer was to be executed. One recalls the principle laid down in Genesis 9:6: those who murder human beings, who are made in the image of God, have done something so vile that the ultimate sanction is mandated. The logic is not one of deterrence, but of values (cf. Num. 35:31–33).

On the other hand, if the killing was accidental and the killer therefore innocent of murder, he cannot simply be discharged and sent home, but must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest (35:25–28). Only at that point could the killer return to his ancestral property and resume a normal life. Waiting for the high priest to die could be a matter of days or of decades. If the time was substantial, it might serve to cool down the avengers from the victim’s family. But no such rationale is provided in the text.

Probably two reasons account for this stipulation that the slayer must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. (1) His death marked the end of an era, the beginning of another. (2) More importantly, it may be his death symbolized that someone had to die to pay for the death of one of God’s image-bearers. Christians know where that reasoning leads.[22]


May 26.—Morning. [Or October 18.] “God hath blessed thee for ever.”

LET us read

Psalm 45

A Psalm in which Solomon is just visible in the background as a type, but the Lord Jesus fills the foreground in the fulness of loveliness and Majesty.

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

No matter can be so good as that which boils up from a warm heart, and has for its subject the King of saints. The psalmist resolves also to speak only of that which he had made or experienced, for then he felt he could speak fully, deliberately, and wisely, with all the accuracy and force of an accomplished writer. O to have our hearts warm whenever Jesus is the theme! Could we speak of things which we have made our own concerning King Jesus? The question deserves an answer.

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. (He speaks as though he saw the Well-beloved One. The psalmist falls into raptures at the sight. He hears him speak, and adores him. We shall do the same if he will but reveal himself to us.)

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. (This should be our prayer. O Immanuel, the mighty prince, put forth thy power and subdue men to thyself. As Solomon reigned over wide dominions, so also reign thou, O most sweet Prince.)

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. (His gospel pierces men’s hearts, and subdues them to his love.)

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (See the divine and human natures here blended in one person. As man the Lord Jesus has his fellows, but as God his throne is for ever and ever. Let us make no mistake upon this vital point, but believe in Jesus as God and man.)

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (The church is arrayed in the best of the best, the righteousness of God. How lovely she is in the loveliness of Jesus!)

10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;

11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

The church must be unworldly, and seek first the kingdom of God. Such must each one of us be, and then all other things shall be added unto us, as the next verse teaches.

12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.

16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

The Lord grant that in this house there may be kept up a gracious succession. May pious sons follow godly fathers, and may the King of our hearts have servants in this family as long as the world stands.

17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever. (Jesus can never be forgotten. Solomon is not, but Jesus lives on and reigns on, and shall do for ever and ever; blessed be his name.)

The King of saints, how fair his face,

Adorn’d with majesty and grace!

He comes with blessings from above,

And wins the nations to his love.

Let endless honours crown his head;

Let every age his praises spread;

While we with cheerful songs approve

The condescensions of his love.

May 26.—Evening. [Or October 19.] “Will God indeed dwell on the earth?”

1 Kings 8:1–6; 10, 11; 22–30

THEN Solomon assembled the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.

Solomon prepared the temple before he brought the ark to it, and an old writer well observes that before we pray we should prepare our heart that it may be a temple for the Lord.

2, 3, 4 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto King Solomon; and the priests took up the ark. And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.

And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude. (They paused on the way at different spots, and offered sacrifices, till, as Josephus tells us, “the ground was moist with drink-offerings and sacrifices.” It was the jubilee year, and the season was the feast of tabernacles, so that the crowds were great, and the joy overflowing. When shall we see the whole earth hold jubilee and adore the ascended Saviour?)

And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.

10, 11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord. So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. (The cloudy pillar was the token of the presence of God, and its filling the sanctuary was a sign of his graciously accepting the temple. We cannot tell whether it was the dazzling brightness, or the deep, portentous darkness, which overwhelmed the minds of the priests, but assuredly it is a glorious thing to have the Lord so present in the midst of his people that all our works become as nothing, and we feel that no longer do we “stand to minister,” but the Lord himself is there.)

22 ¶ And Solomon stood before, the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven. (He was not a priest, and could not therefore present the sacrifices upon the altar; but as the representative man for the nation he did well to offer up the national prayer.)

23, 24 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. (Observe how he dwells upon the covenant. It is sweet praying when we can plead the promises.)

25, 26 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me. And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.

27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? (So even in the dim light of Judaism it was seen that the Lord dwelleth not in temples made with hands; how astonishing it is that under the Gospel men should still cling to the notion of holy places.)

28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:

29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.

30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive. (In our highest joys we have still need to say “forgive.” Our hearts are out of order when that word does not rise to our lips. Let us plead with God to bless us throughout all our lives, and evermore to forgive.)[23]

 


May 26 – Asking for God’s Provision

“‘“Give us this day our daily bread”’” (Matthew 6:11).

“Give” reminds us of our need to ask God for His provision. In recognition of His past and present provision we ask Him, and trust for His future furnishing of all our needs. We can ask confidently because God has richly promised. “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. . . . The humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity” (Ps. 37:4, 11). God does not pledge to always meet the physical needs of everybody, but only of those who trust in Him. In Psalm 37:25, David is speaking about believers when he says, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

It is clear that the “us” who can expect provision from the Father are believers. Paul echoes the same principle: “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor. 9:10–11; cf. Luke 18:29–30).

God mercifully supplies our needs daily, meaning simply our ordinary, day-by-day provision of food, clothing, money, etc. The primary means by which we receive these things is through work, but isn’t it the Lord who provides even the strength for that? To accept God’s provision for today without undue concern for tomorrow is a testimony of our godly contentment (cf. Matt. 6:25, 32–33).

Ask Yourself

If the supply we have today isn’t satisfying to us and doesn’t seem like enough, is the problem with our Supplier or with our own measure of demand? Pray for a humble willingness to be thankful for every blessing, without focusing on the ones He seems to be withholding.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.


Reading for Today:

2 Samuel 23:1–24:25
Psalm 68:7-10
Proverbs 17:5-6
John 9:1-23
Notes:

2 Samuel 24:1 Again. A second outbreak of the divine wrath occurred after the 3-year famine recorded in 21:1. against Israel. The inciting of David to conduct a census was a punishment on Israel from the Lord for some unspecified sins. Perhaps sins of pride and ambition had led him to increase the size of his army unnecessarily and place heavy burdens of support on the people. Whatever the sin, it is clear God was dissatisfied with David’s motives, goals, and actions and brought judgment. He moved David. Satan incited David to take this census, and the Lord sovereignly and permissively used Satan to accomplish His will (1 Chr. 21:1). number Israel and Judah. A census was usually for military purposes, which seems to be the case here (v. 9). Numbering the potential army of Israel had been done in the past (Num. 1:1, 2; 26:1–4). However, this census of Israel’s potential army did not have the sanction of the Lord and proceeded from wrong motives. David either wanted to glory in the size of his fighting force or take more territory than what the Lord had granted him. He shifted his trust from God to military power (this is a constant theme in the Psalms; see 20:7; 25:2; 44:6).

John 9:2 who sinned. While sin may be a cause of suffering, as clearly indicated in Scripture (5:14; Num. 12; 1 Cor. 11:30; James 5:15), it is not always the case necessarily (see Job; 2 Cor. 12:7; Gal. 4:13). The disciples assumed, like most Palestinians of their day, that sin was the primary, if not exclusive, cause of all suffering. In this instance, however, Jesus made it clear that personal sin was not the reason for the blindness (v. 3).

John 9:3 Jesus did not deny the general connection between sin and suffering, but refuted the idea that personal acts of sin were the direct cause. God’s sovereignty and purposes play a part in such matters, as is clear from Job 1 and 2.

John 9:17 He is a prophet. While the blind man saw clearly that Jesus was more than a mere man, the sighted but obstinate Pharisees were spiritually blind to that truth (v. 39). Blindness in the Bible is a metaphor for spiritual darkness, i.e., inability to discern God or His truth (2 Cor. 4:3–6; Col. 1:12–14).

DAY 26: What does the healing of the blind man in John 9 teach us about unbelief?

In ancient times, severe physical deformities, such as congenital blindness (vv. 8, 9), sentenced a person to begging as the only means of support (Acts 3:1–7). The drastic change in the healed man caused many to faithlessly believe that he was not the person born blind.

If you read through vv. 13–34, this section in the story of the healing of the blind man reveals some key characteristics of willful unbelief: 1) unbelief sets false standards; 2) unbelief always wants more evidence but never has enough; 3) unbelief does biased research on a purely subjective basis; 4) unbelief rejects the facts; and 5) unbelief is self-centered. John included this section on the dialogue of the Pharisees with the blind man most likely for two reasons: 1) the dialogue carefully demonstrates the character of willful and fixed unbelief, and 2) the story confirms the first great schism between the synagogue and Christ’s new followers. The blind man was the first known person thrown out of the synagogue because he chose to follow Christ (see 16:1–3).

Even though the neighbors had confirmed that the man had in fact been blind (v. 9), that was not evidence enough. So the authorities called the parents (v. 18). While neighbors may have been mistaken as to the man’s identity, the parents would know if this was their own son. And the authorities considered the witness of the healed man worthless.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.


Tue, May 26, 2015

YES, EVERYTHING IS WRONG… UNTIL JESUS MAKES IT RIGHT

Men and women without God are helpless and hopeless human beings. We do well to remember that sin is to the human nature what cancer is to the human body! Who can argue with the fact that sin has ruined us? Our feverish activity is only one sign of what is wrong with us – sin has plunged us into the depths and so marked us with mortality that we have become brother to the clay-but God never meant it to be so. I recall being invited to speak at a summer conference where much of the emphasis is upon fun and amusement and jokes, something like Hollywood, I suppose. After my sessions there, the pastor-director told me frankly of his wife’s reaction: “Honey, after listening to Dr. Tozer, can it be true that there isn’t anything good in this world?” Well, I know she had a Bible in her house and I consider her query one of the foolish questions of our times. Of course the world makes its own argument that there are things that can be considered good on the human level-but they belong to us only for a brief day. Nothing is divinely good until it bears the imprint of our Lord Jesus Christ! Men and women may argue and make excuses, but it does not change the fact that in our human society we are completely surrounded by three marks of the ancient curse: everything is recent, temporal and transient! That is why the Holy Spirit whispers faithfully, reminding us of the Christ of God, eternity walking in flesh, God Almighty come to live among us and to save-actually to give us eternity!

Verse
Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself… whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Colossians 1:20

Thought
Who can argue with the fact that sin has ruined us?

Prayer
Lord, Help me to remember that there is nothing good in this world until you make it yours.

A. W. Tozer


PETITION: Pray for the Graces of Contentment and Patience

4.3.13

We must pray for the graces of contentment and patience, and a holy indifference to all the things of sense and time.

Lord, teach us in whatever situation we are to be content; let us know how to be brought low and how to abound; in any and every circumstance, let us learn the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Philippians 4:11-12(ESV) And let godliness with contentment be great gain to us, 1 Timothy 6:6(ESV) and a little with the fear of the LORD and quietness, be better than great treasure and trouble with it. Proverbs 15:16(ESV)

Lord, grant that our life may be free from the love of money, and we may always be content with what we have, Hebrews 13:5(ESV) ever saying, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” Acts 21:14(ESV)

Enable us in our endurance to possess our own souls; Luke 21:19(KJV) and let steadfastness always have its full effect, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4(ESV)

Lord, give us grace to mourn as though we were not mourning, and to rejoice as though we were not rejoicing, and to buy as though we had no goods, and to deal with the world as though we had no dealings with it, because the appointed time has grown very short, and the present form of this world is passing away. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31(ESV)

Matthew Henry’s Method For Prayer


 

[1] Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (pp. 161–162). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

[2] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Venditti, L., & Venditti, N. (2012). Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 159). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 159). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 153). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 163). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[9] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 153). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[10] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 153). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[11] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 153). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[13] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 161). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[14] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 153). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

[15] Boa, K. (1993). Handbook to prayer: praying scripture back to God. Atlanta: Trinity House.

[16] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

[17] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 150). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

[18] Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

[19] Smith, H. W., & Dieter, M. E. (1997). The Christian’s secret of a holy life: the unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[20] Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

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

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

[23] Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 307–308). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

 

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses

Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”
40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:38-41 NASB)

A good friend informed me of an incident in his life in which he had suffered some extreme personal costliness by standing firm and not giving in to the lies about God and…

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“God” tells NAR “prophet” about Dominionist Seven Mountains plans

Originally posted on My Word Like Fire:

The New Apostolic Reformation is not an organization. These are networks of “apostles” and “prophets” who believe the Second Apostolic Age is here. This means the age of denominations has passed and it is these “anointed” apostles and prophets who are to govern the church.

From the NAR we have such luminaries as C. Peter Wagner, James Goll, Mike Bickle, Bill Johnson, Mark Chironna, Brian Simmons, Cindy Jacobs, and many others.

These people are Dominionists–they believe Christ cannot or will not come back until Christians have taken control of the earth.

Cindy Jacobs actually told a rapt congregation that the Lord’s Prayer is really about Dominionism. [1]

NAR adherents believe gaining societal control for Christ means dominating the Seven Mountains (spheres) of Culture.

Now, just as “God” showed Cindy Jacobs the Lord’s Prayer is about Dominionism, Lana Vawser, another false prophet, is claiming God told her this:

“Suddenly I heard the words ‘Seven mountains of culture’

View original 283 more words

May 25, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily News/Commentary Collection

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Top News – 5/25/2015

At least three dead, 12 missing in US flooding
Washington – Rescuers searched Monday for at least 12 people missing in spectacular flash flooding in Texas and Oklahoma that also left at least three dead. The raging waters destroyed hundreds of homes and sent cars floating down streets, rolling and bobbing like giant toys.

Obama and the Royals: Human Rights Aren’t a Concern, When Oil is at Stake
The oil-rich Arab guests hailed from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain. These sheikhdoms — historically carved out of the Arabian desert by the British Empire — are among the most wealthy and the most repressive regimes in the world.

Joe Biden Says Bible Believing Christians Violate LGBT Rights By Simply Existing
And this is why old-fashioned preaching will soon be classified as a “hate crime”. Because Liberals can’t stand it. Biden is also saying that the rights of the Christian are inferior to the rights of the LGBT individual.

Saudi Arabia Places Army on High Alert Near Yemen Border
Saudi Arabia’s army formations at the border with Yemen have been placed on high alert, according to television channel Sky News Arabia. Artillery duels intensified at the Saudi-Yemeni border in recent days. Overnight, the Haradh border crossing between was destroyed by artillery fire.

Hamas Declares Jerusalem ‘Eternal Capital’ of Islamic World
Hamas has declared that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Islamic world,” the Saudi Arabia-backed Al-Resalah reported. It appears that Hamas is desperate for propaganda to shore up support from the poor Gaza Arabs who suffer under the regime.

The ATF Should Be Scrapped … Says Center For American Progress?
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, charged with enforcing the nation’s gun laws and regulating the firearms industry, has been so hobbled by high-profile operational failures, internal dysfunction and external limits on its authority that the agency should be eliminated and merged into the FBI, a new report concludes.

Two tremors struck Nepal today amid rehabilitation attempts
Two tremors today struck Nepal, keeping people on the edge as the country struggled to rehabilitate millions of people affected by a devastating earthquake one month ago that killed nearly 9,000 people. A 5.0-magnitude tremor was felt at 3.23 a.m with epicentre at Gorkha district. Another 4.1-magnitude earthquake hit western Nepal with epicentre at Dolakhan.

Church of England to consider ‘transgender baptism’ service
A “transgender baptism” service is to be considered by the Church of England for the first time. The idea is to bless into God’s family the new identities of Christians who have undergone gender transition. The proposal was welcomed by the Church’s most senior trans priest. Rev Rachel Mann, Rector of St Nicholas Burnage and a minor canon at Manchester Cathedral

Leading Islamic voice calls for reconquering Jerusalem
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on his countrymen to refocus on the Ottoman goal of re-conquering Jerusalem for Islam and uniting Shia and Sunni tribes for that same mission. In a speech that got almost no coverage in the Western media, Erdogan talked about invading and reconquering Jerusalem, according to an article in the Anadolu Agency of Turkey.

Quake Hits Tokyo Days After Japan OK’s Third Nuclear Restart
An earthquake shook buildings and halted train lines in Tokyo early Monday, days after Japan’s nuclear regulator green-lighted the restarting of atomic energy at a third plant. The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6, was centered in Ibaraki prefecture just northeast of the country’s capital,

Blast in downtown Damascus kills Syria general: monitor
Beirut – A Syrian brigadier-general was killed in a blast that targeted his car in downtown Damascus on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said. The Britain-based group said “a brigadier general and approximately six people with him were killed in an explosion in the Adawi neighbourhood in the centre of the capital.”

Palestinian stabs two Israelis teens: police
Jerusalem – A Palestinian youth on Sunday stabbed and wounded two Israeli teenagers on their way to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City during a Jewish festival, officials said.

New Orleans Cop Shot Dead in Cruiser
A New Orleans police officer was found shot dead in his marked patrol car this morning, city officials said. The shooting was reported around 7 a.m., the New Orleans Police Department said in a news release. The victim’s car rolled forward and struck a curb after the shooting.

Storms flood Plains, Midwest, killing 3, forcing evacuations
Record rainfall wreaked havoc across a swath of Texas and the Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee.

Three nations altered temperature data, and you can probably guess why
Let’s review the logic we are asked to accept from the we-must-act-now-on-global-warming crowd. They tell us that the science is undeniable in showing global warming is both man-made and running wild, and that only liberal policy ideas like carbon taxes and controls on industry can solve the problem.

ISIS Suggests It Can Smuggle a Nuke Into US Through Mexico
The Islamic State is using the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to pose the “far-fetched” hypothetical of purchasing its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within a year and getting it into the United States through the porous Southern border.

The Congressional Board of Exchange
We are living in a political world of the UniParty; it’s sort of like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a historic commodity and – in these modern times – financial derivative exchange based in Chicago.

Obama’s Policies to Empower ISIS Exposed
For months, many Western observers have been closely following the minute-by-minute developments concerning the battle between Islamic State and coalition forces in the hopes that such data will help them discern what the future may hold.

Memorial Day 2015
We need to remind ourselves that Memorial Day is not just another three-day weekend or a day when all manner of sales are offered to those who want to go shopping. It is a day set aside to honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who have fought to defend our nation and take military action in foreign nations. We honor, too, those who suffered wounds and returned home.


Top Headlines – 5/25/2015

Top Israeli Islamist: Arab-Jewish War Inside Israel ‘Inevitable’

Lieberman’s vision: Gulf states and Israel together against Iran

Iran reportedly agrees to ‘managed’ inspections of military sites

Iran denies agreement on military site inspections

Analysis: Why Iran’s failure to protect religious minorities doesn’t bode well for nuclear deal

Iranian official: Tehran set to overhaul fuel pricing and set a single rate

Blow to Yemen peace efforts as UN talks postponed

Saudi king vows to punish those behind Friday suicide attack in kingdom

Saudi clerics urge calm as village hit by Islamic State seethes

ISIS kills 400, mostly women & children, in Palmyra

Hezbollah vows to step up involvement in Syria’s civil war

Nasrallah calls on region to fight ISIS: They are no stronger than Israel, US

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah: The US can’t protect anyone from ISIS

ISIS Suggests It Can Smuggle a Nuke Into US Through Mexico

ISIS rises, the economy falters, and Obama’s legacy falls apart

Iraqi forces ‘failed to fight’ in Ramadi: Pentagon chief

Veterans frustrated by presidential debate on Iraq war

U.S. military and civilians are increasingly divided

Rising fears of chemical attack by UK jihadists

Afghan Peace Envoy Met Taliban in Secret China Talks

Women’s activists cross from North to South Korea, say divide can be bridged

Countries pick sides in global fight for the Internet

Belgian privacy watchdog threatens Facebook over user tracking

As antitrust case looms, ‘Peak Google’ debated

Google Patents Toys That Watch and Listen to Your Kids

Huckabee: NSA spying, Clinton’s private emails making Americans ‘more distrustful’ of government

Texas House tentatively approves funding for police body cameras

Police arrest 71 during protests after Cleveland officer’s acquittal

California governor proposes amnesty program for those who cannot pay traffic debt

Greece warns it is set to default on debt repayment loans

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Pangai, Tonga

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Two dead, mother and two children missing after floods hit Oklahoma, Texas

Japan to give $400 mn to Pacific islands to fight climate change

Catholics organize to promote pope’s climate change message

Church unnerved by Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ to gay marriage

Opposition slam Australian PM for dismissing idea of referendum on same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage debate must be this year, Australian Liberal party figures say

Obama to 5-Year-Old Gay Marriage Advocate: ‘Couldn’t Agree More!’

Alarming Increase in STDs Leads to a Concerned Report by RIDE

Fox network launching new TV series that glorifies Lucifer; marketed with pro-Satan tweets


Where do people like me go now?

Joseph Farah asks where Christians can escape during ‘suicidal embrace of Islam’

As for me and my offspring – my children and grandchildren – where will we go when America completely loses connection with its Christian roots and heritage? What new world can we dream about as America’s new god of multiculturalism self-immolates in its suicidal embrace of Islam? Where will you go?

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The Republicans Are Also at Their Worst

I can only sight the hand of Satan as the reason why the Republicans have become so ineffective; the ones on the side of truth typically want to be everyone’s friend. When you’re on a battlefield, there is no time for niceties. The enemy will uses every dirty tactic in the book to gain an advantage. Unless a new political movement comes along or there is something that shocks Republicans back to reality, I see our nation headed for total disaster.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

View Article


Pope Francis: Ecumenical Movement Is Taking Great Steps

The coming global religion is falling into place  . . .

nitiatives–including the recent European Ecumenical Assemblies and the Charta Oecumenica, written in Strasbourg in 2001–are reasons “for great hope for surmounting the divisions, though in the awareness of the long way ahead towards the full and visible communion among all believers in Christ.”

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Hillary Clinton Attacks Israel, Says They’re Conquerors Who “Deny Dignity”

Clinton recounts her time visiting the Middle East and being shocked at witnessing “life under occupation for Palestinians.” This seems to indicate that Clinton, a supposed raging liberal who lives, eat,s and breathes racial equality, has a bit of a bias against Israel.

According to Free Beacon, the former First Lady writes, “When we left the city and visited Jericho, in the West Bank, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.”

View Article


Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S.

The radical homosexual lobby has been successful in brainwashing Americans into believing that more than one in five Americans are gay or lesbian.  Not even close.  According to Gallup the latest estimate shows that 3.8% actually identify as LGBT. Take a look at the Gallup report: The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are […]

The post Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S. appeared first on Berean Research.


ISIS Suggests It Can Smuggle A Nuke Into US Through Mexico

The Islamic State is using the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to pose the “far-fetched” hypothetical of purchasing its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within a year and getting it into the United States through the porous Southern border …………. Click here for full story


Nato Ally To Muslims: Reconquer Jerusalem

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on his countrymen to refocus on the Ottoman goal of re-conquering Jerusalem for Islam and uniting Shia and Sunni tribes for that same mission …………. Click here for full story


Christian Martyrs Of ISIS Having Worldwide Impact

A worldwide Christian organization says that the horrific executions of Christians by members of ISIS in Libya in February have sparked a surge in conversations between Christians and Muslims about faith ………… Click here for full story


Report: Common Core Lesson Plan Pushes Pro-Palestinian Agenda

A Massachusetts program for middle- and high-school students is coming under fire for its political bent and anti-Israel bias? ……….. Click here for full story


Church Of England To Consider ‘Transgender Baptism’ Service

A “transgender baptism” service is to be considered by the Church of England for the first time. The idea is to bless into God’s family the new identities of Christians who have undergone gender transition………… Click here for full story


One arrested after bomb squad detonates pressure cooker found in car near Capitol

Posted: 25 May 2015 08:53 AM PDT

BREAKING NEWS – One person was arrested Sunday evening after a bomb squad detonated a pressure cooker that was found in a vehicle near the U.S. Capitol building. U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider said in a statement that Israel Shimeles of Alexandria, Va. was arrested and charged with “operating after revocation”. She did not elaborate on the nature of the charge.

The incident began at around 5 p.m. local time, when Capitol police officers on patrol noticed a vehicle they deemed “suspicious” on a street that crosses the National Mall west of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Further investigation revealed that the vehicle contained a pressure cooker and detected an odor of gasoline. A bomb squad was called in and streets were temporarily closed off. The pressure cooker was detonated at approximately 7:45 p.m. The investigation was closed approximately 35 minutes later with nothing further found.

Senior security officials told Fox News that investigators initially believed that the pressure cooker “might be the real deal.” Pressure cookers have been used in several recent terror attacks, mostly notably the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others. FULL REPORT

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Hundreds of dead fish found floating in a dam in Evora, Portugal

Posted: 25 May 2015 08:47 AM PDT

The GNR announced on Sunday they were investigating the causes of fish kills in Dam Divor in the municipality of Arraiolos, Évora, though not consider the alarming situation, nor the reservoir serves for public water supply. In statement released, the Territorial Command Évora GNR ensures that “so far,” environmental crime evidence were not found. ”

According to security forces, “many dead fish” have emerged since the beginning of April, the dam of the banks located in the little church parish in the municipality of Arraiolos, which have been collected by employees of the Association of Irrigators and Beneficiaries of Divor and the municipality. At a recent meeting between various entities, it was decided, according to the GNR, collecting water samples and some dead fish specimens for analysis. FULL REPORT

 

The post Hundreds of dead fish found floating in a dam in Evora, Portugal appeared first on .

Economist: Government Preparing to Seize 401(k) Pensions

Posted: 25 May 2015 08:42 AM PDT

Economist Martin Armstrong warns that a Supreme Court ruling last week has set the stage for the federal government to begin seizing private pension funds. According to Armstrong, the outcome of Tibble v. Edison, which found that employers have a duty to protect their workers’ 401(k) plans from mutual funds that perform poorly, will grease the skids for the feds to seize private funds and prosecute companies who manage mutual funds badly.

“Between the court ruling and the Obama administration’s push for stronger fiduciary rules,” the developments send a, “strong message that government can much easier seize the pension fund management industry of course to “protect the consumer,” writes Armstrong, warning that the ruling, “sets the stage to JUSTIFY government seizure of private pension funds to protect pensioners,” when the economy gets “messy”. FULL REPORT

The post Economist: Government Preparing to Seize 401(k) Pensions appeared first on .

How to Respond to God’s Judgment

Posted: 25 May 2015 08:35 AM PDT

For each of the nine days of our Mayday! Mayday! Distress Call for Prayer, I will provide a prayer that will help us stay focused so that we can pray with one accord. I will also share each day a video segment from the Joel 1 and Joel 2 messages that I gave at The Prophecy Seminar at The Cove in March of this year.

Today, in preparation for Mayday! Mayday! I wanted to share a small portion of Joel Rosenberg’s concluding message at that same Prophecy Seminar. The morning after he and I had taught through the book of Joel, he gave a stirring message from Ezekiel 33 that emphasized the weight of responsibility we bear to respond to the Truth as it matches up with the times in which we live. MORE

The post How to Respond to God’s Judgment appeared first on .

Youth Are Leaving Churches That Do This

Posted: 25 May 2015 08:32 AM PDT

It’s not that young adults are leaving churches, it’s that they’re abandoning denominations that are forsaking the authority of God’s Word, George O. Wood says. “We (AG USA) have 3.1 million young people in the USA and 34 percent of them are under the age of 25,” The Assemblies of God overseer said at Empowered 21. “…

The young people that are moving away from traditional religious structures in the U.S. typically belong to churches which have abandoned a belief in the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness and centrality, and exclusiveness of Jesus Christ.” His comments reflect the same research that says the Presbyterian Church USA is dying on the vine after coming out in full support of gay marriage. According to Barna research, a quarter of 18-to-29-year-olds are practicing Christians. The migration of young adults away from the church is only a glimmer into how Christianity is on the decline nationally. However, young adults are seeking authenticity in their churches, and those that produce it reap the fruits. FULL REPORT

The post Youth Are Leaving Churches That Do This appeared first on .

New Zealand hit by biggest storm on Earth

Posted: 25 May 2015 08:25 AM PDT

A storm blasting Antarctic weather over New Zealand is currently the biggest storm on earth according to WeatherWatch. The low stretches from just south of Fiji to Antarctica’s ice shelf, but only 20 per cent of the storm is affecting New Zealand.WeatherWatch.co.nz said the forecast air pressure at its centre over the next 24 hours would be greater than that of Hurricane Katrina when it made landfall in 2005.

Weather expert Philip Duncan said, “It’s fairly normal to get a cold snap in late May. We’re less than a week away from winter, it’s not surprising to get a blast like this.” But he said the low’s strength was surprising. “The depth of this storm south of New Zealand is up there with some of the biggest hurricanes we’ve seen. It’s a really big storm.” However, WeatherWatch.co.nz said only the storm’s edges were affecting New Zealand – its centre lay around 1000 to 1500kms to our south east. FULL REPORT

The post New Zealand hit by biggest storm on Earth appeared first on .

Strong Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo, Japan

Posted: 25 May 2015 06:19 AM PDT

A strong quake shook buildings in Tokyo on Monday, setting off alarms and temporarily bringing the city’s subway system to halt, AFP reporters in the Japanese capital said. Scientists said there was no risk of a tsunami from the quake, which had a magnitude of 5.3, according to the US Geological Survey. The Japan Meteorological Agency earlier put it at 5.6. Both runways at Narita Airport, the main international gateway to Tokyo, were temporarily closed so staff could check for any damage. Neither was affected.

Alarms on mobile phones and in buildings sounded as the quake developed with a series of vertical bounces, as well as a side-to-side shaking. The quake struck at a relatively shallow 35 kilometres (22 miles), the USGS said, putting its epicentre just 34 kilometres north of the heaving metropolis of Tokyo, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. FULL REPORT

The post Strong Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo, Japan appeared first on .

Record rainfall causes flooding and chaos in Texas and Oklahoma

Posted: 24 May 2015 08:16 PM PDT

Record rainfall and flash floods wreaked havoc across a swath of the US midwest on Sunday, killing two people, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee. About 350 homes in the town of Wimberley were washed away by flash floods along the Blanco river, which rose 26ft in just one hour and left piles of wreckage 20ft high, Texas authorities said.

“We do have whole streets with maybe one or two houses left on them and the rest are just slabs,” Hays county emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith said, describing the town of Wimberley, about 40 miles southwest of Austin, where several people were missing. “It looks pretty bad out there,” she said.Tornados struck, severely damaging an apartment complex in Houston, Texas, and a firefighter in Oklahoma was swept to his death while trying to rescue 10 people in high water. FULL REPORT

The post Record rainfall causes flooding and chaos in Texas and Oklahoma appeared first on .

Largest Christian Pentecost Celebration In Israel’s Modern History

Posted: 24 May 2015 08:11 PM PDT

At the 11,600-seater Jerusalem Pais Arena in Israel Monday morning, workers here were busy trying to get the brand new 40,000-square-meter facility ready for what could be the largest Christian Pentecost Sunday celebration in the Jewish nation’s modern history. The workers, wary of publicly discussing the event at the venue out of concern for their jobs, would only say there has been a buzz about it in the last few days. They know “the Christians are coming.” The celebration being organized by the Empowered21 Global Congress, will happen May 20-25 and feature some of the most well-known Spirit-empowered leaders from around the globe such as Teen Mania Ministries president and founder, Ron Luce; Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel.

Jeremy Burton, executive director for university relations and communications at Oral Roberts University, explained during a tour through the city Monday that they won’t have specific numbers on how many Spirit-empowered Christians that will show up for the gathering until the weekend, but says participants are expected to show up from multiple countries around the world. Oral Roberts University President, William M. Wilson, who also serves as president and co-chair of Empowered21, said the gathering will be a landmark one for the movement. FULL REPORT

The post Largest Christian Pentecost Celebration In Israel’s Modern History appeared first on .

“New York’s One World Building Is An End Times Illuminati Masterpiece”

Posted: 24 May 2015 08:03 PM PDT

1776 IS THE YEAR THAT AMERICA DECLARED THEIR INDEPENDENCE, BUT IT IS ALSO THE YEAR THAT THE ILLUMINATI WAS FOUNDED, AND THE ILLUMINATI CAME FIRST.

“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Revelation 17:17 

How well I remember the crystal-clear, cornflower blue sky on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a perfect day, until the towers fell at the hand of Muslim terrorists. Out of the rubble, slowly arose a defiant new structure called the Freedom Tower, and it was being built to stand at exactly 1,176 feet from stem to stern. Patriots cheered and America got back to business. Then, very quietly, things started to change.

Freedom Tower was out. The new name became the One World building.On March 27, 2009 NBC News reported that “the agency that owns the site says that the signature 1,776-foot skyscraper replacing the towers destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, will be known as One World Trade Center. The change came after board members voted to sign a 21-year lease deal with Vantone, a Chinese real estate giant, which will become the first commercial tenant at Ground Zero. The negotiations with Vantone, which is closely affiliated with the Chinese Communist government, had nothing to do with the name change” FULL REPORT

The post “New York’s One World Building Is An End Times Illuminati Masterpiece” appeared first on .

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
Source


Remember the thief.

It can be a difficult situation if someone you are witnessing to asks about the fate of a loved one who died and was not a Christian. Simply say, “Only God knows the eternal destiny of the person, and the Scriptures assure us that He will do what is right. So we can take consolation from that.” Some may be tempted to say that the loved one went to hell, but the truth is that we don’t know what happened minutes before their death. Remember the thief on the cross.


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

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May 25, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Christian Blog/Article Collection

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What Should the Duggar Scandal Teach the Church?

Sexual abuse is immoral, but it is far more than just sexual. Sexual abuse is an act of violence, in which one leverages power to sexually violate the helpless. The resulting aftermath is not just a guilty conscience awaiting judgment on the part of the perpetrator, but a victim who has been assaulted. Sexual abuse is not just a sin but also a crime, not just a matter of personal unrighteousness on the part of the perpetrator but also a matter of public injustice.

Read more


Alabama Senate Passes Bill to Effectively Nullify All Sides on Marriage

The bill would replace all references to marriages “licenses” in state law with “contracts.” The legislation would not invalidate any marriage licenses issued prior to the bill being passed. The contract shall be filed in the office of the judge of probate in each county and shall constitute a legal record of the marriage. A copy of the contract shall be transmitted to the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Public Health and made a part of its record.

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Heads LGBTs Win, Tails Christians Lose

This Christian jeweler agreed to custom-make engagement rings for a lesbian couple, knowing that they were a couple, and treated them politely. But when they found out what he really believed about same-sex marriage, even though the man gave them polite service, and agreed to sell them what they asked for, the lesbian couple balked, and demanded their money back — and the mob threatened the business if they didn’t yield. Which, of course, he did.

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7 Reasons Christians Should STAY On Facebook

We are often grieved when social media becomes the setting for angry or obscene exchanges, but for Christians there are wonderful opportunities to share articles, scripture, anecdotes, stories, and videos that are intended to teach, strengthen, and build up the people who read, watch, or listen to them. When wisely used, Facebook can massively extend the reach of what would otherwise be a small and very local fellowship.

Read more


Overtures 2 and 9: The “Recreations” Clauses: North Texas and Tennessee Valley Presbyteries

Insofar as a study committee is concerned, I have no objection to the idea. In fact, if the study committee does its job properly it would at least clarify the issue at the heart of this discussion. That issue is, “What do the Standards mean by ‘recreations’”? Most people probably think that the Standards mean the same thing we do by “recreations.” But that strikes me as very unlikely.

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Clickbait Headlines Are Killing My Soul

The more clickbait headlines I read, the more I become suspicious of any claims of glory. My heart becomes calloused to beauty and wonder and mystery. The more time I spend wading through the shallows of Facebook, the more I forget about the deeps of the gospel. The Internet has a way of dulling beauty down to the lowest common denominator.

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Top Men: A Response to Paul Helm

Third, Paul’s comments are prefaced by his observation that the debate is not taking place because the critics are not engaging the other side. On the contrary, the problem is that the Top Men and their followers have adamantly refused to engage the critics. We have been dismissed, blacklisted and bullied.

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What Does Jude 7 Mean By “Other Flesh”?

In short, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region was not just a one-time attempted gang rape of angelic beings, but, according to Jude a lifestyle of sensuality and sexual immorality, at least one aspect of which was exemplified in men pursuing the flesh of other men instead of the flesh of women.

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Mark Driscoll returns: Ex-Mars Hill Pastor Gets Standing Ovation at Mill Creek Church

Driscoll built the Mars Hill Church, which he co-founded, into a mega church which eventually had 15 “campuses” in five states, and an estimated regular attendance of 13,000. It came crashing down last year, amidst plagiarism accusations, questions about where “church planting” donations designated for Ethiopia and India were really spent, and multiple accusations of threats, intimidation and “shunning” of followers and ex-followers.

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The Case for Apprenticeship – Church & Culture Blog

Someone asked me the other day what my advice would be to young leaders. Then they followed it up with this: “and if it could be just one piece of advice.”

Wow….

My mind was instantly flooded with a thousand replies, like:

*stay in close community with Christ

*pray like a mad-man (or a mad-woman)

*don’t give in to a worldly understanding of success

*prioritize marriage and family

*as you preach and dispense, drink freely from the cup yourself

*never waver from Scripture

But then I realized what would probably be the best, most all-encompassing, advice I could give. The most practical. The most “from the trenches.”

“Apprentice yourself to an older, proven and seasoned leader through an existing local church.”

How’s that for a lost word.

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Can Women Teach in the Church?

by Pastor J.D.

Our elders have been working on a statement explaining the roles God has given to women in the ministries of our church. (The short answer is, “Many!”) That statement is still in the works, but our recent invitation to have Elyse Fitzpatrick share during weekend services has led some to ask whether we believe a woman can preach and teach in the mixed-gender gathering of the church. While we are working on the more comprehensive statement, we thought it prudent to take a moment to address that particular question.

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5 Ways to Kill Envy

by Lindsey Wagstaffe | 5/25/15

Do you ever feel like you’re in a silent competition?

There are no posted rules, but everyone around you is a judge. The prize is approval, and the game is on.

I remember when I was just a little girl, starting to learn how to measure my value by comparing myself with my girl friends. I still remember the first day I realized that one of my friends was gifted in ways that I wasn’t.

She could sing beautifully. Her personality made her the center of attention, and there wasn’t a thing about her appearance I could find any fault with. She was funny; she could draw and paint like a (talented!) grown-up; she was fun to be around, and she was smart. Up until then, she was simply my friend. That day, I felt small.

I must have told my Mom about it, because I remember her response:

“Lin, you don’t have to be the ‘best,’ and if you treat life like a competition, you’ll never be happy.” She was right, but I didn’t take her words seriously until much later.

5 Truths to Combat Envy

This sin can be subtle, and I’ve found it lurking around in corners of my heart wherever there are shadows of insecurity. The following five truths have been helpful to me in my own (past and present!) combats with this sin.

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Can You Help Me Find a Good Church?

It may be the email I get more than any other: Can you help me find a church? Sometimes I receive it when a person has come to new theological convictions and realizes that his current church is completely unsuitable, but far more often he has just moved across the country or across the world, has settled into his new home, and has now started the search for a new church.

Before I answer the question, can I encourage you to consider the importance of finding a new church before you move? If public worship and church community are as central to your life and faith as the New Testament suggests, then it can be perilous to move anywhere without first determining that there are suitable churches in that location. So many people will go and scout the neighborhoods, check out the schools, and leave a deposit on the new house, but forget all about the church until they have actually made the move and settled in. I recommend the opposite approach: Find the church first, and then start thinking about the other factors.

Now, how can you find a church in a new area? The easiest way I know is to begin with a trusted source that can make a recommendation. If you are affiliated with a denomination, it will be as simple as visiting the denomination’s web site. But for those who wish to search wider, I recommend beginning with a handful of church directories, each of which lists like-minded churches. These are the best three I know of:

The Gospel Coalition maintains a church directory that is open to any church that affirms their Foundation Documents. This at least narrows the search and can provide a few churches to visit and consider.

The Master’s Seminary maintains a Find a Church page which lists churches founded or pastored by their alumni.

9Marks Church Search offers a similar directory for churches that wish to be affiliated with them.

Between the three directories, you now have a good place to begin your search. In every case, a search of my area turns up very good results. One thing to keep in mind: The organizations that provide these directories simply list the churches, but do not vouch for them, so you will need to visit and assess.

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Seven Trends in Worship Service Times

If your church has one service at 11:00 am on Sunday mornings, it is likely in the minority. In a recent reader survey we conducted with 1,649 responses, slightly over half of the congregations had only one worship service on Sunday morning, and the times of that single service varied.

The “sacred hour” of 11:00 am is no longer the worship time for a majority of churches.

Though we don’t have definitive information on the origin of the 11:00 am worship time, it appears to be related to an agrarian society. We started our services late in the morning so the farmers could milk the cows and do necessary farm chores.

So what are the trends in worship service times? Our information is based upon the survey we noted above as well as anecdotal data derived from our interaction with thousands of churches.

  1. Churches with multiple Sunday morning services will soon be in the majority. This trend, once more common with larger churches, is now taking hold in congregations of all sizes.
  2. The 11:00 am worship service is no longer the designated time for a majority of churches. The so-called sacred hour of worship is not sacred in most churches. This change started slowly, but it is pervasive now.
  3. Earlier Sunday morning services are gaining in popularity. Worship services with start times from 7:00 am to 8:30 am are growing in many churches. This trend seems to be related to the growth of empty-nest boomers.
  4. The growth in the number of non-Sunday primary services is steady but slow. There has not been a huge upsurge in the number of primary services on a day other than Sunday. The steady growth, however, is an indication that this approach will soon be common in many churches.
  5. The number of churches with concurrent worship service times is small, but will continue to increase. Concurrent services require either a video feed or different preaching/teaching pastors. As the trend in multi-site churches continues to grow, so will these service times.
  6. The most popular worship times start between 9:30 am to 10:30 am. This mid-morning worship time attracts attendees in churches with both single and multiple worship services. As I noted in number three above, I anticipate a shift in popularity to even earlier services.
  7. Worship wars over service times will continue to wane. Though the worship wars have largely been about music style, there have been many wars over worship times as well. We will see fewer of these battles as more churches adopt varieties of worship times.

What are your church’s worship times for its primary weekly services? Has your church made any major changes lately? What have been the results? Let me hear from you

The post Seven Trends in Worship Service Times appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Five phrases Christians should never use again

phrases

We all have certain sayings that we regularly use. In my house, we often remind the kids, “You’ll get what you get and you won’t get upset,” particularly when it’s time for a snack. Another favorite: “We’re gonna have fun whether we like it or not.”

These are well and good, at least to a point—that is, only in as much as we ascribe no more value to them than their due. Christians are no different; we have short hand phrases that are sometimes helpful, but often not. In fact, many we treat as downright biblical, when they’re more likely to be found in 2 Hesitations. Here are five that I’d love to see never ever used again:

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3 Trojan Horses That Are Threatening Our Ability to Connect

After a fruitless ten-year war against the city of Troy, the Greeks come up with a strategy to secure their place in the pages of history. They construct a massive horse designed to hide an elite force of their best fighters. The rest of the Greek army sails off into the sunset, leaving their enemies to believe that they have given up the fight. Relieved that the conflict is finally over and assuming that the giant horse is an offering to the god Athena, the Trojans wheel the beast into the fortified walls of their city.

Night falls, and the Greek special forces climb out of their hiding place and unlock the gates for their fellow soldiers who have returned under the cloak of darkness. Troy is destroyed. The war ends. The Greeks win.

No, this blog hasn’t taken a hard right turn into the subject of ancient mythology. This is a post about loneliness. To tackle that big subject, we need to revisit the Trojan horse, because too many of us have pulled our own version of that horse into the gates of our lives.

For our purposes, a Trojan horse is simply this: Something we invite into our lives thinking it’s a gift, but in time it turns and attacks the things we most treasure. Here are three Trojan horses that are attacking the depth and quality of our relationships, leaving many of us disconnected in a connected world.

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The Hardest Sins to Talk About

Tim Challies:

One of the most difficult things to do is to lovingly confront another person about sin, or—even harder—about what may have been sin. In his excellent book Side by Side, Ed Welch offers some practical counsel on doing this well.

Was The Holy Spirit Not On Earth Before Pentecost?

Jared Wilson shares an illustration from John Piper.

Why your children’s ministry should take a break

Miles Morrison:

What exactly is meant by the words “children’s ministry” can be very different depending on the church. But while these ministries can come in all different shapes and sizes, they’re all based on the same basic principle that children require specialized teaching and care separate from their parents. I’m not saying that’s wrong or that children’s ministry is bad – I love and serve in the children’s ministry in my church – I’m merely making the observation that while this ministry can and should serve the church, it will never replace it. Regardless of what curriculum or structure or teaching style your children’s ministry uses, here are some reasons why it’s healthy from time to time to take a break and encourage your parents to worship with their children.

Introverts in the Dearest Place on Earth

Jared Musgrove:

In the last century, especially here in the United States, we’ve morphed into a “culture of personality” that can’t stop talking. Those with a preference for extroversion—energized by and focused on people, activity and accomplishment—tend to be better understood by the world, progressing faster in organizations and relationships.

Both extroverts and introverts must do the work to see that those with the gift of introversion are a grace to God’s Church. In this sense, I have some considerations for my fellow introverted church members and the extroverts who love them.

Source


3 Truths to Move from Discontentment to Contentment

Most of the people you counsel or disciple will struggle with the sin of discontentment in some aspect of life. My goal today is to give three key truths to help counsel someone struggling with putting on contentment and putting off discontent. Continue reading →


Christianese – Learn the Christian Lingo

We Christians have our own language. Some call it Christianese. Others call it just plain creepy.

Christianese lingo

The post Christianese – Learn the Christian Lingo appeared first on Redeeming God.


Remembering the Future

Hi, I’m Eric Metaxas. Today as we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, let’s listen to Chuck Colson’s Memorial Day BreakPoint broadcast from May of 2001.
Listen Now | Download


Spiritual Dry Spells: Causes and Cures

I’m willing to bet that most of us have experienced a spiritual dry spell—a time when we felt far from the Lord, unfruitful, unmotivated, and maybe a little lost. Feelings of closeness and communion with the Lord faded. That fiery desire to love and serve Christ dwindled. Maybe that’s you, now. Maybe you’re wrestling with the host of emotions that accompany a spiritual drought—anything from confusion to doubt, apathy, or even depression.

If we are Christians, if we have been freed from condemnation, united with Christ, and the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our souls, then how is it that we still experience these dry spells? What causes them? How do we get through them?

Let’s look at three common causes and their cures.

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Giving The Opening Prayer

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I am seeking your advice concerning prayer. Our Pastor is leaving and we are having a farewell banquet for him and his family. There will be many in attendance including pastors from other churches and I have been asked to offer the opening prayer.

The idea of praying aloud in front of so many makes me nervous.  I always pray from my heart but in this case would it be okay to write something and memorize it?

Also when I think about what to say in the opening prayer, the book of Psalms comes to mind but I don’t know why. Is there something there I should know concerning this? Perhaps a word from Psalms that I should use in the prayer?

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All Bible Prophecy Fulfilled?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I have a friend who used to have the same beliefs as I, but within the past few years has ended up being what he calls a Historical Realist, but to me he seems to be more of a Preterist. He believes ALL prophecies were fulfilled in 70AD.

I have been doing a lot of research to disprove his reasoning, but I want to make sure I have a strong impact. He believes Revelation was written before 70AD cause the temple was mentioned. I  know it’s a temple of the future, not of the one of Biblical times. And Nero does have anti-Christ characteristics, but I don’t see where he fit full prophecy of the Antichrist & beast.

Do you have any strong scripture references to support against Jesus’ teaching at the Mt of Olives was not referring to 70AD? Also do you know where I can find solid proof Revelation was written in the mid 90s AD?

Thank you, your site is a blessing. continue reading


Living Water

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. Thank you for your efforts to teach, reprove, correct, and train us through scripture. I’m studying the book of Leviticus on my own now, and I would appreciate some guidance in a few passages. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve been studying with the following premises: Leprosy seems to be symbolic of sin. Blood has redeeming value. Oil represents the Holy Spirit, I think. The animal used for the sin offering is symbolic of Christ.

After reading various passages, such as Lev. 14:1-7 (the procedure to declare a person clean of the infection of leprosy), and I think somewhere in the NT, there was also a passage dealing with the testimony of water and blood. I’ve been noticing throughout the book of Leviticus, that water seems to take on special significance in many of the protocols.

What does water signify? When it is mentioned, many times, it is mentioned as “running water.”

The concept of an innocent’s blood covering over the sins of another…is the very basis of Jesus’ message. Though I know that blood is the requirement and basis of redemption in the offerings, but why does God require such a violent shedding of life and blood? Why should such burnt offerings be a “soothing aroma”?

I’m not doubting God in the least. He is God. Even if I don’t understand everything, it doesn’t change the fact that I want to know more about them.

continue reading



Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
Source


Remember the thief.

It can be a difficult situation if someone you are witnessing to asks about the fate of a loved one who died and was not a Christian. Simply say, “Only God knows the eternal destiny of the person, and the Scriptures assure us that He will do what is right. So we can take consolation from that.” Some may be tempted to say that the loved one went to hell, but the truth is that we don’t know what happened minutes before their death. Remember the thief on the cross.


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

Questioning “Reality”

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

reality “I was merely . . . acting!”

I’m not going to say anything about the Duggars scandal per se. Truth be told, I don’t know much about what happened, or about how it was handled. I don’t want to know. It’s frankly none of my business. I do, however have something to say to the Duggars’ fans. It’s simple, really: What did you expect?

I have never really understood the “Reality TV” phenomenon. I don’t find any of it the least bit interesting. It is all quite obviously scripted, and the main difference between Reality TV and traditional TV is that in the traditional version the canned lines were at least delivered by trained experts. Reality TV is more like watching an eighth grade play; most of the roles are filled by people who will never, no matter how hard they try, be actors.

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4 Important Questions To Ask A Pastoral Candidate.

Originally posted on A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®:

When faced with the rather difficult task of picking a pastor from a list of candidates what qualities would you go for? Would you consider humor, agility and creativity or would you go for theological astuteness? 9 Marksmakes the task alot easier in this article by tackling the task head on…

A church should ask at least four types of questions of any potential pastor: theological, philosophy of ministry, practical, and personal.

  • Theological. A church should ask a pastoral candidate theological questions because what that pastor believes will shape everything he does in the church. So a church should ask him questions like:
  1. Do you agree with everything in this church’s statement of faith? Is there anything missing from this statement of faith that you would like changed or added?
  2. Is there a confession of faith which better articulates your views?
  3. What is the gospel?
  4. Do you believe in

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You may speak in tongues if ….

Originally posted on A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®:

You may indeed speak in tongues if you realise …

What Biblical Tongues Were:

  • The manifestation was supernatural (Acts 2:1-4).
  • The manifestation involved speaking. (We read in Acts 2:4, “and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in different tongues, just as the Spirit was giving them to declare” [emphases added]. In fact, we must notice that this activity of speaking in tongues began before any of the listeners heard the speakers. The stress is on what the believers say, not on what the listeners hear. They spoke in other languages. Also, in v. 6 we read, “each one was continually hearing them speaking in his own dialect”; and again, in v. 11, “we hear them speaking in our own tongues the mighty deeds of God” [emphases added]. There is a reason it is referred to as the gift of “tongues,” not “ears.”)
  • The…

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Barna Update | Network, Cable, Streaming: What Americans Are Watching in 2015

The medium of television is—like newspapers, magazines and books—undergoing massive disruption. What effects, if any, have these seismic shifts had on the TV audience?

Each of the four adult generations reports a TV top-three list unique to their content and delivery preferences. For example, the top shows watched by Elders (Americans 69 years and older) are all dramas aired on one of the “Big Four” television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox. By contrast, Millennials (ages 18 to 30) watch a combination of comedies, dramas and “dramedies” that air on network, cable or Internet streaming services.

See the top-three lists for each generation, plus data on how often Americans turn on the TV.

Read the new research here >

7 Reasons Christians Should STAY On Facebook

Originally posted on Building Old School Churches:

FacebookI read a lot of messages encouraging people to leave Facebook (and other social networks) these days and in partial answer to those calls, I wanted to outline 7 Reasons I believe Christians should STAY on Facebook. I hope this may also encourage you to see ways in which Facebook can be used for Kingdom purposes (and not just Candy Crush Saga) :

1) FELLOWSHIP: Christian fellowship is usually limited to specific settings and relatively small gatherings, and the ability of Christians to meet and fellowship with other Christians outside of their area can usually only occur during conferences and mission trips. But Facebook creates a setting in which fellowship can occur at any time amongst Christians from around the world. It also affords an opportunity to keep in touch with brothers and sisters in Christ who have moved away that would only otherwise occur very intermittently. While it…

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May 25, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Devotional Guide Collection

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May 25

PRAISE YE THE TRIUNE GOD!

Elizabeth R. Charles, 1828–1896

I will praise Your name for Your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word. (Psalm 138:2)

Saints and angels join in praising Thee, the Father, Spirit, Son—

Evermore their voices raising to the Eternal Three in One.

J. Montgomery

The Sunday after Pentecost Sunday is the time when the Christian church has especially recognized the doctrine of the Trinity, the existence of the triune Godhead. This doctrine has been called one of the mystic truths of Scripture because of the difficulty in fathoming and explaining it. Yet it cannot be denied that the Bible does teach that while God is one, He exists in three coequal-equal Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Scripture ascribes each member with such attributes as eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and creator of the universe. Although the word trinity is not used, there are several passages in which all three Persons are expressly mentioned together: The great commission (Matthew 28:19), and the apostolic blessing (2 Corinthians 13:13).

The best of human analogies for explaining the trinity, such as ice, water, and steam being three distinct forms of the same element, always falls short. In the final analysis, we must accept this truth by faith and offer our worship and praise to each member of the Godhead.

This hymn text by Elizabeth Charles, one of England’s gifted women of her day—author, poet, translator of German texts, musician and painter—is one of our finest Godhead hymns. The hymn does not present any complicated arguments. It simply directs a child-like praise to each member of the trinity for His loving care and concern for us. This we can understand.

Praise ye the Father for His loving kindness; tenderly cares He for His erring children; praise Him, ye angels, praise Him in the heavens, praise ye Jehovah!

Praise ye the Savior—great is His compassion; graciously cares He for His chosen people; young men and maidens, ye old men and children, praise ye the Savior!

Praise ye the Spirit, Comforter of Israel, sent of the Father and the Son to bless us; praise ye the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—Praise ye the Triune God!

For Today: Psalm 139:7; Romans 8:9; 16:26; 1 John 5:7, 8; Jude 20; Revelation 1:4, 5

Though it is difficult to do, try explaining the meaning of the Trinity to some close Christian friend or member of your family. Offer this expression of praise throughout the day—[1]


May 25: Longing and Being

1 Chronicles 16:1–17:27; 2 Timothy 1:3–18; Psalm 84:1–12

The general sense of what worship “is” is widely known, but the specifics of what it means are a little vague. Aside from obedience (i.e., avoiding sin and following what God asks of us), there are specific ways to show God admiration. In 1 Chronicles, during David’s many great acts, we get a glimpse into ancient worship practices that are still applicable today. We know that the biblical “editors” favored these practices because they would later ascribe countless psalms to David. His way of worship was deemed “the way to worship.”

After David and his comrades journey to Obed-Edom to bring back the ark of the covenant—the symbol of Yahweh’s provision and advocacy for His people—David appoints “some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of Yahweh” (1 Chr 16:4). The Levites, the tribe designated as religious teachers, are first to “invoke” Yahweh (call upon Him). They are then to do what should be natural in all encounters with Him: thank and then praise Him. These are all acts of worship and the way to worship: acknowledge Him by calling on Him, be thankful for His provision, and then praise Him for who He is.

David illustrates another part of worship in His song that follows this event: “Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us and rescue us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Blessed be Yahweh the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” (1 Chr 16:35–36). David petitions God, and he calls others to acknowledge His work by making their own petitions. It’s not that God needs to hear how great He is—that is not why we worship. It’s that we need to be reminded. In humbling ourselves before Him, we are demonstrating our rightful place in His kingdom as His servants, appointed for His great works (Eph 1:11).

Worship is really about longing for God. Our attitude toward God should be as Psa 84:2 proclaims: “My soul longs and even fails for the courtyards of Yahweh. My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

How can you instill these worship practices into your daily life?

John D. Barry[2]


May 25

Intro

Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 9 through 12. Our lesson is from Deuteronomy 10:17, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.” (NASU)

Lesson

Today’s text is like a rich painting of the Lord as the Almighty God. It pictures the Lord in relationship to His people using seven attributes of God. Let’s look at them.

First, God is Lord. This astoundingly simple statement is in reality quite revolutionary. During Old Testament times, many people worshipped gods made of metal and wood. These images were considered gods. However, according to our text, there is only one true God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is no other.

Next, God is Lord of lords. This has to do with allegiance. As Lord of lords, He governs us; we do not belong to ourselves. We His people belong to Him. This concept goes contrary to western cultural values of rugged individualism. Nevertheless, He is Lord of lords and we are to serve Him.

Third, God is great. His immensity is incalculable. He has all the resources at His disposal. The Lord’s greatness and riches are immeasurable. Yet He has revealed Himself in the Bible so that we can know Him personally.

Fourth, God is powerful. In different parts of the Bible, we see the importance of the Lord’s power. For example, Moses confronted Pharaoh’s magicians with God-given signs. The magicians imitated the signs and wonders but later had to admit that the God of Moses was greater than their gods. Only God is almighty.

Fifth, God is awesome. Imagine the most breath-taking thing that you have ever seen in your life; that’s nothing compared to the awesomeness of the Lord.

Sixth, God is not partial. He loves and cares for all of humanity. He is not biased in any way. One does not have to have certain social standing or be part of a wealthy family or political party. God is not unfair.

Seventh, God cannot be bribed. This means He cannot be influenced or bought. He is truly just and righteous in His decisions. In conclusion, God is Lord of Lords. God is great, powerful and awesome. And God is not partial and does not take bribes.

The realization of God’s awesomeness is something that cannot be properly said in human words. Yet, as children of God we have free right of entry at all times to God through Jesus Christ.

Let’s be thankful to Jesus Christ for allowing us to have access to God through faith in Him and what He did on the cross. There is no greater resource than the life of Jesus in us.

End

It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Deuteronomy 13 through 16. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.[3]


May 25

Living Courageously (Thaddaeus)

The twelve apostles included “Thaddaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

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Victorious Christian living requires great courage.

Thaddaeus was a man of many identities. In the King James translation of Matthew 10:3 he is called “Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.” He is also called “Judas the son of James” (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) and “Judas (not Iscariot)” (John 14:22).

Judas, which means “Jehovah leads,” was probably the name given him at birth, with Thaddaeus and Lebbeus added later as nicknames to reflect his character. Apparently Thaddaeus was the nickname given to him by his family. It comes from a Hebrew root word that refers to the female breast. Basically it means a “breast-child.” Perhaps Thaddaeus was the youngest child in the family or was especially dear to his mother. Lebbeus comes from a Hebrew root that means “heart.” Literally it means a “heart-child” and speaks of someone who is courageous. That nickname was likely given him by his friends, who saw him as a man of boldness and courage.

Early church tradition tells us that Thaddaeus was tremendously gifted with the power of God to heal the sick. It is said that a certain Syrian king named Adgar was very ill and sent for Thaddaeus to come and heal him. On his way to the king, Thaddaeus reportedly healed hundreds of people throughout Syria. When he finally reached the king, he healed him and then preached Christ to him. As a result, the king became a Christian. The country, however, was thrown into chaos, and a vengeful nephew of the king had Thaddaeus imprisoned, then beaten to death with a club. If that tradition is true, it confirms that Thaddaeus was a man of great courage.

It takes courage to die for Christ, but it also takes courage to live for Him. That’s why Paul said that God hasn’t “given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). Each day trust in God’s promises and rely on His Spirit. That’s how you can face each new challenge with courage and confidence.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the courage He has given you in the past, and ask Him to help you face future spiritual battles without retreat or compromise.

For Further Study: Read Daniel 3:1–30. ✧ Why were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego punished by King Nebuchadnezzar? ✧ How did God honor their courage?[4]


May 25

Resisting Temptation

The devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.

1 Peter 5:8–9

The sequence for every temptation we face is thought, fantasy, desire, choice, and willful decision to yield. The process may happen very quickly—in a matter of seconds at times.…

The best time to put a stop to any temptation is when it is still an idea. We need to confront temptation to sin with an idea that is godly. That godly idea may be a prayer for God’s help … a refocusing of the mind on a goal that the Lord has set before us … or a verse of Scripture that we repeat to ourselves aloud.…

Memorize verses to recite in the face of temptation. Prepare yourself in advance so that when the white-hot moment of temptation comes, you will have a full scriptural arsenal as part of your response.[5]


May 25

Learning God’s Truth

Scripture reading: 1 John 4:1–6

Key verse: 1 John 5:1

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

Since you were small, you’ve probably been told not to believe everything you read or hear. And for the most part in the world around you, that is true. From newspapers to the evening news to what you hear at work or next door, you must be discriminating in what you choose to believe.

The same applies to the teaching of God’s Word. When you hear a sermon or a lesson in Sunday school, do you ever think to question what you learn? Questioning does not necessarily mean doubting; you may have wonderful, godly teachers. Questioning in this sense means subjecting the material to your own inquiry into Scripture to see if the teaching lines up. If you are not sure how to proceed, the following are some helpful guidelines:

Check Scripture references. If your teacher gives you a list of related Bible passages, look them up when you get home. Remember, however, that your objective is not to find innocent, human errors; you are making sure that you understand how the verses relate to the topic at hand.

For deeper questions, consult a Bible dictionary or concordance or supplementary teaching material. If in your study a “caution flag” is raised about something you’ve been told, consider asking another credible source.

God always wants you to be informed and discerning as you learn His truth.

Dear heavenly Father, teach me to rightly divide Your Word of truth and apply it to my life.[6]


May 25

Soldiers in a Holy War

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.

Ephesians 6:14

Our society is not conducive for people becoming like Christ. We live in what has been termed a sensate culture because most people are more concerned with pleasant emotions than with productive efforts—they’re more into comfort than accomplishment. Such a perspective has affected even the church, which suffers from an appalling apathy. We have forgotten that we are soldiers in a holy war.

As today’s verse indicates, the first thing a soldier put on before he went into battle was a belt around his waist. He would tie it as tight as he could and pull the corners of his tunic up through the belt so that he could have complete freedom of movement in hand–to–hand combat. The belt of truthfulness is not a piece of armor, for it cannot protect us directly. But it does indicate that we are to be serious about the battle and devoted to achieving victory.[7]


May 25         What to Do with Temptation

scripture reading:
Romans 8:1–11

key verses:
Romans 12:1–2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Martin Luther was a profound reformer and premier preacher of biblical doctrine. He also had a thorough grasp of life in the practical lane and described the process of temptation with this commonsense adage: “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head; but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” Temptation, Luther said, is inevitable. What you do with temptation is a matter of personal choice.

How do you keep temptation from leading you into sin? Promptly reject temptation’s deceptive advertisements: “I recognize this thought is not from God. I refuse to entertain this uninvited and unwelcome guest.”

Replace the thought with a positive promise from God’s Word. Make it applicable to the nature of the temptation.

Think of someone you can help or something constructive you can do. An idle mind and idle hands are the devil’s workshop where he plies his devious trade.

Pray instantly. Prayer and temptation are incompatible. Sincere prayer will magnify God’s presence and leave no place for the devil’s nest.

Heavenly Father, let me reject temptation as an uninvited guest. Help me resist thoughts that are not from You and replace them with appli–cable promises from Your Word.[8]


May 25

A Passion for God

Scripture reading: Revelation 3:14–22

Key verses: Revelation 3:15–16

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Christianity is not for fence-sitters. Once rescued from sin’s penalty by faith in Christ, the believer enters an engaging, transforming relationship with God that should be marked with unparalleled intensity and zeal.

The apostle John recorded Jesus’ rebuke of the church at Laodicea for its mediocrity: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot … Because you are lukewarm … I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15–16).

The Greek word used for “hot” means literally “boiling hot.” Nonchalance or apathy is repulsive to God.

God gave His all to save us. In return, without coercion, He asks us to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds; to serve Him cheerfully and wholeheartedly; to worship Him with grateful fervor.

Why? Because God wants the best for us. He desires that we experience His fullness of life each day. That is impossible if we seek Him feebly, love and worship Him casually, or pray sporadically.

If your relationship with the Savior is tepid, your Christian experience will be lackluster, impotent, and uncompelling to a world awash with mediocrity. But the fire is lit. You can find new passion for God and fulfillment in His service, if you desire.

Lord, I love You with all of my heart, soul, and mind. I want to serve You cheerfully and wholeheartedly and worship You with grateful fervor. Restore my passion.[9]


May 25

Resolute Trust

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:14–18

Key Verse: Isaiah 26:3

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Stock markets rise and fall. Farm prices soar and plummet. Personal health peaks and dips.

Such is the nature of our unstable environment: ever changing, altering, moving, shifting. But believers have a firm anchor in such fluctuation, a sure faith in an unchanging God who promises to never leave us helpless.

God is sovereign. God is always at work in every detail of our lives, using each setback and victory for His primary purpose: to glorify Himself by conforming us to Christ’s image. No event or person is outside the power and rule of God.

God is wise. His wisdom is yours as you humbly ask and expectantly receive. His Word and Spirit will light your path to fulfill His will for your life.

God is loving. Whatever comes you are kept secure in the love of God. His love ensures He will provide for, guide, and sustain you. He tenderly cares for your innermost needs. Nothing can keep you outside His love.

Because God is sovereign, wise, and loving, you can trust Him without reservation. Resolute trust will quell your fears, calm your quivers, and stabilize your emotions. He holds you fast and will not let go.

Precious heavenly Father, You are an unchanging God who never leaves me helpless. You are sovereign and at work in every detail of my life. Use each setback and victory to accomplish Your purpose of conforming me to Christ’s image.[10]


May 25

Does Your Prayer Honor God?

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–22

Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing.

The believer’s two most important spiritual disciplines are Bible study and prayer. It is impossible to grow continually in Christ without practicing both. Prayer is the primary means by which we talk to God, and also a way He grows us: it is through prayer that we petition the Lord and trust Him for the answer. In this way, we learn to listen to Him, just as we learn to wait for His answer. And He loves for us to put Him in His proper place of honor through the spiritual act of worship called prayer.

Indeed, prayer is one of the best ways in which we can honor God. When we pray to our heavenly Father, we are acknowledging that He is God, that He truly is the high and exalted One who lives forever and whose name is Holy. God alone deserves glory, and we ascribe honor to Him when we pray continually—that is, maintain a God-ward attitude throughout the day, asking Him to govern every detail of our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Our heavenly Father dwells both on a high and holy place and also with the contrite and lowly in spirit. This means that our motives and the condition of our hearts are very important in prayer. Simply wanting to “get our way” is not the spirit of prayer that honors God. Furthermore, it does not produce prayers that God will answer. The Lord longs for an intimate relationship with us, and time spent in communication is the best way to grow close to Him.

Lord, examine the motives and condition of my heart. I want to exalt You in Your proper place of honor. Make me lowly in spirit.[11]


May 25

Paul: Joy in Spite of Trouble

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”

Philippians 4:4

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The apostle Paul was a model believer who did not let his troubles steal His joy in the Lord.

According to today’s verse, believers should never let a negative outlook replace our joy, no matter how bad life seems to be. The apostle Paul set an example that was far different. He wrote to the Philippians that in spite of being imprisoned in Rome, he was still rejoicing. Even though Paul was restricted under trying and harsh conditions, he was glad because the gospel message was being declared, even among the prison guards. Paul was not so concerned about his own hardships but that others hear the saving good news of Jesus Christ (see 1 Cor. 9:16).

Paul saw himself as a prisoner for the sake of Christ and the gospel. Therefore, he never gave in to any temptation to indulge in self–pity but rather focused on his duty of telling others about his Lord and Savior. Some of Paul’s other letters also mention his imprisonment (see Eph. 3:1; Col. 4:10) but always positively, because the apostle never forgot that being a prisoner was merely part of the role he was called to as an ambassador for God’s kingdom.

Paul’s Roman imprisonment resulted in his joyful attitude extending out in evangelism: “My imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well–known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else” (Phil. 1:13). However, Paul’s ultimate impact on the guards and others was not just from his outward expressions of happiness. Rather, those who heard him were changed because they saw an attitude of joy and a message of truth deeply fixed in a man experiencing great trials and afflictions.

What a profound example Paul is for you and me today. For instance, we can make difficult witnessing opportunities easier by exhibiting Christlikeness and godly joy no matter how events are pressing us down. Such attitudes, so different from what people naturally expect, will give us many chances to testify of God’s grace (see 1 Peter 3:15).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you look above and beyond your problems and focus on what He has done for you.

For Further Study: A very striking example of Paul’s rejoicing in the midst of suffering happened at the Philippian dungeon. Read Acts 16:22–34. What did he and Silas do to make the best of that trial?[12]


May 25

How great is Your goodness,

which You have laid up for those who fear You.

Lord God, since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for me who waits for You. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into my heart the things which You have prepared for those who love You. But You have revealed them through Your Spirit. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore, as a child of man, I put my trust under the shadow of Your wings. I am abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give me drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light I see light.

Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

Lord God, may I live a godly life in Your light and know Your joy and lovingkindness toward me.

Psalm 31:19; Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9–10; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 36:7–9; 1 Timothy 4:8[13]


May 25

No Cookie-Cutter Children

Proverbs 23:24

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.

Sometimes we have the parenting cookie-cutter mentality. We not only want our children to believe what we believe, but we want them to live out their beliefs exactly like we do. We lose sight of the fact that as children grow, they are going to develop some of their own ways of expressing the same commitments to truth that we have. But when we lose sight of the commitment to truth and we demand outward conformity in every single way, we foster rebellion, because rebellion is the only way they can get enough energy and power to be what they need to be.

You may have heard the story about the housewife who always cut off the end of a ham before baking it in her oven. When the reason was discovered, it was because her grandmother’s small oven necessitated it—a practice that was blindly followed by succeeding generations without question. Values and beliefs should not change from generation to generation, but the expression of them likely will. When we force our children to express their beliefs as we do, we foster rebellion. They need freedom to become their own people.[14]


Day 25

Adoration

As I looked, thrones were set in place,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat.

His clothing was as white as snow,

And the hair of His head was like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

And its wheels were a burning fire.

A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him.

A thousand thousands attended Him;

Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

The court was seated,

And the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9–10)

O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (2 Kings 19:15)

Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship.

Confession

“Even now,” declares the Lord,

“Return to Me with all your heart,

With fasting and weeping and mourning.

So rend your heart and not your garments.”

Return to the Lord your God,

For He is gracious and compassionate,

Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness,

And He relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:12–13)

Ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.

Renewal

May I preserve sound wisdom and discretion,

Not letting them out of my sight;

They will be life to my soul. (Proverbs 3:21–22)

May I not let Your word depart from my mouth, but meditate on it day and night, so that I may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then I will make my way prosperous, and I will act wisely. (Joshua 1:8)

Pause to add your own prayers for personal renewal.

Petition

By God’s grace I want to live to the end in faith, knowing that I will not receive the promises on earth, but seeing them and welcoming them from a distance, I confess that I am a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth. Instead, I long for a better country, a heavenly one. In this way, God will not be ashamed to be called my God, for He has prepared a city for me. Like Moses, may I esteem reproach for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of this world, because I am looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:13, 16, 26)

Personal Concerns

Spiritual warfare

The world

The flesh

The devil

Growth in character

Personal disciplines

Physical health and strength

My activities for this day

Special concerns

Intercession

Hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and forgive and deal with each man according to all he does, since You know his heart (for You alone know the hearts of men). (2 Chronicles 6:30)

World Affairs

The poor and hungry

The oppressed and persecuted

Those in authority

Peace among nations

Current events and concerns

Affirmation

From the rising to the setting of the sun, Your name will be great among the nations. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to Your name, for Your name will be great among the nations. (Malachi 1:11)

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to the Son of God. (Matthew 28:18)

Jesus Christ is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

Pause to reflect upon these biblical affirmations.

Thanksgiving

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;

He is their stronghold in time of trouble.

The Lord helps them and delivers them;

He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

Because they take refuge in Him. (Psalm 37:39–40)

Pause to offer your own expressions of thanksgiving.

Closing Prayer

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

Let Your glory be over all the earth.

I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;

I will sing to You among the nations.

For Your mercy reaches to the heavens,

And Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

Let Your glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:5, 9–11)[15]


May 25

If we suffer we shall also reign with him

2 Tim. 2:12

The highest bidder for the crown of glory is the lowliest wearer of the cross of self-denial.

A. J. Gordon[16]


May 25

“MEADOWS may be occasionally flooded, but the marshes are drowned by the tide at every return thereof.”

There is all this difference between the sins of the righteous and those of the ungodly. Surprised by temptation, true saints are flooded with a passing outburst of sin; but the wicked delight in transgression and live in it as in their element. The saint in his errors is a star under a cloud, but the sinner is darkness itself. The gracious may fall into iniquity, but the graceless run into it, wallow in it, and again and again return to it.[17]


Morning, May 25  

 

“Forsake me not, O Lord.”

— Psalm 38:21

 

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer to-day, “Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. ‘Forsake me not, O Lord,’ now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood, do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. ‘Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.’ ‘Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!’ ”

 

“O ever in our cleansed breast,

Bid thine Eternal Spirit rest;

And make our secret soul to be

A temple pure and worthy thee.”

 

Evening, May 25

 

“And they rose up the same hour, and returned Jerusalem … and they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them.”

— Luke 24:33,35

 

When the two disciples had reached Emmaus, and were refreshing themselves at the evening meal, the mysterious stranger who had so enchanted them upon the road, took bread and brake it, made himself known to them, and then vanished out of their sight. They had constrained him to abide with them, because the day was far spent; but now, although it was much later, their love was a lamp to their feet, yea, wings also; they forgot the darkness, their weariness was all gone, and forthwith they journeyed back the threescore furlongs to tell the gladsome news of a risen Lord, who had appeared to them by the way. They reached the Christians in Jerusalem, and were received by a burst of joyful news before they could tell their own tale. These early Christians were all on fire to speak of Christ’s resurrection, and to proclaim what they knew of the Lord; they made common property of their experiences. This evening let their example impress us deeply. We too must bear our witness concerning Jesus. John’s account of the sepulchre needed to be supplemented by Peter; and Mary could speak of something further still; combined, we have a full testimony from which nothing can be spared. We have each of us peculiar gifts and special manifestations; but the one object God has in view is the perfecting of the whole body of Christ. We must, therefore, bring our spiritual possessions and lay them at the apostle’s feet, and make distribution unto all of what God has given to us. Keep back no part of the precious truth, but speak what you know, and testify what you have seen. Let not the toil or darkness, or possible unbelief of your friends, weigh one moment in the scale. Up, and be marching to the place of duty, and there tell what great things God has shown to your soul. [18]


Two Sides of a Mountain

May 25

With regard to predestination, I think both of your final arguments were unanswerable, and I believe the Bible leaves them like that. It seems as if the Bible says both things, and no one yet has ever reconciled its apparently contradictory statements. This is because of our ignorance. When we know more we shall see just how it all is, but now we must be content to take what God says about it, and believe it all even though one saying may seem to contradict another. God certainly is sovereign and not only knows all things past and future, but also arranges everything. And yet, man certainly has some freewill and can, to a certain degree, carve out his own destiny. Both are true. God knows how they harmonize, & one day we will too.

I suppose if a fly, for instance, could read our books and hear our statements, he would meet with absolutely irreconcilable contradictions, because of his ignorance; and we are less than this as compared with God. Guinness says predestination and freewill are like two sides of a mountain, the first being God’s side, the second our side. He sees both and knows how they meet at the top we see only one and think it must be all there is. But whatever our opinions may be about it, our faith ought to rest in an absolute confidence in God that He will do for us all that He has promised and that we need; and there we can leave it; for hasn’t He promised to do every thing, and don’t we need everything?

—To Frank, October 20, 1870[19]


May 25th

The test of self-interest

If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. Genesis 13:9.

As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in God, fascinating and luxurious prospects will open up before you, and these things are yours by right; but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God choose for you. God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the right and proper thing to consider if you were not living a life of faith; but if you are, you will joyfully waive your right and leave God to choose for you. This is the discipline by means of which the natural is transformed into the spiritual by obedience to the voice of God.

Whenever right is made the guidance in the life, it will blunt the spiritual insight. The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best. It would seem the wisest thing in the world for Abraham to choose, it was his right, and the people around would consider him a fool for not choosing. Many of us do not go on spiritually because we prefer to choose what is right instead of relying on God to choose for us. We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eye on God. “Walk before Me.”[20]


May 25

Numbers 34; Psalm 78:40–72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

In his song of praise, isaiah celebrates the Lord’s impending triumph and demonstrates what it means to wait for him to act (Isaiah 26). The opening verses offer anticipatory praise (26:1–6), offered to the God who makes the ultimate Jerusalem the rampart of security (26:2) and preserves in peace the minds of all the individuals within it—all who trust in the living God (26:3–4).

Most of the chapter is devoted to reflections on what it means to wait for that ultimate triumph (26:7–21). “Yes, Lord,” Isaiah writes, “walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (26:8). But while the righteous yearn for the living God (26:9a), the shocking reality is that the people who do not know him never learn anything from the grace that God shows them (26:9b–10). And so eventually the people of God cry out that God might come and impose his righteousness (26:11)—very much as in Revelation 6:10.

Meanwhile, the faithful remnant live with ambiguity and disappointment (26:12–18). Idolatry flourishes in the land where the living God established peace (26:12–13). The remnant remains faithful while the culture succumbs (26:13). What is described in the next verses is almost the cyclical pattern of Israel’s history. God responds to the infidelity with judgment. In due course he returns with grace, enlarges the nation, and extends his own glory. And yet, when all is said and done, what is the outcome? The nation is like a woman writhing in the pains of childbirth—and when she finally brings forth her offspring, all she has produced is wind (26:18). “We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world” (26:18). Where is the great hope bound up with Israel’s identity, with the promise to the patriarch that in Israel’s seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12)?

Yet the chapter ends with hope. There is even hope for those who have died during the wearisome cycles of frustration, failure, futility, and judgment: they neither waited nor died in vain, for they will rise from the dead and share in the joy of victory (26:19)—a promise of life briefly glimpsed in 25:8, demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus, and ultimately fulfilled at the end (1 Cor. 15; 1 Thess. 4:13–18). Meanwhile, those who are still alive must wait in patience for the wrath of God to pass (26:20–21). More clearly than Isaiah, we know that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17–18; cf. Rom. 8:18).[21]


May 25

Numbers 34; Psalm 78:40–72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

“how often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland! Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel” (Ps. 78:40–41). Thus Asaph pauses in the course of his recital to summarize one of his main points in this psalm. In fact, one could outline some of the dramatic points Asaph makes as follows:

(1) The repeated rebellion of the people of God is presented not merely as disobedience, but as putting God to the test. That is one of the elements in rebellion that is so gross, so odious. A heavy dose of “in your face” marks this rebellion, an ugly pattern of unbelief that implicitly charges God with powerlessness, with cruelty, with selfishness, with thoughtlessness, with foolishness. Chronic and repeated unbelief “with attitude” always has this element of putting God to the test. What will God do about it? Small wonder that the apostle Paul identifies the same pattern in the conduct of the people during the wilderness years and warns Christians in his day, “We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us” (1 Cor. 10:9–11).

(2) Although the first part of the chapter notes God’s wrath replying to the pattern of the people’s rebellion, it also insists that time after time God “restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath” (78:38). But the pattern now becomes grimmer. Eventually the idolatry was so gross that God “was very angry; he rejected Israel completely” (78:59). The context shows that what Asaph has in mind is the judgment of God on the people when he permitted the ark of the Lord to be captured by the Philistines: “He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendor into the hands of the enemy” (78:61; cf. 1 Sam. 4:5–11), with the entailment that the people faced terrible destruction at the hand of their enemies.

(3) The closing verses (78:65–72) focus on the gracious choice of Judah and of David as God’s answer to the wretched years of the wilderness, of the judges, of the reign of Saul. “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (78:72). Living this side of the Incarnation, Christians are especially grateful for David’s line.

(4) Christians know how the storyline of Psalm 78 develops. David’s dynasty descends into corruption; God’s wrath is greater yet, and the Exile ensues. But worse wrath, and more glorious love, were yet to be displayed in the cross.[22]


May 25.—Morning. [Or October 16.] “Ye are the temple of the living God.”

1 Kings 5:1–11; 13–18

AND Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.

Fast friends are rare. It was a happy thing for Solomon that his father bequeathed him the love of so useful an ally.

And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,

Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. (Like a good son who honoured his father, he does not say that David could not build the temple because lie had shed blood, but because he was busy with wars. We ought always to speak the best things of parents.)

But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.

And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.

Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians. (The tabernacle, which was temporary, could be erected by Jews only; but the temple, which was to be permanent, is not built without the aid of Gentiles. Jews and Gentiles together make up the church which is the temple of God.)

7, 8 ¶ And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people. And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. (We ought to weigh well what we promise, and then we shall be the more likely to be true to our word. It is well when our second thoughts are full of liberality towards the cause of God.)

My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household. (Palestine was a fruitful agricultural country, and thus Solomon would do Hiram a service by paying him in provisions.)

10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire. (When God’s house is to be built, he will surely find all that is needful for it.)

11 And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.

13, 14 ¶ And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.

15, 16 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.

17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.

Even the foundation stones were not rugged and rough, but hewn and costly. God would have everything which is done for him done well. He careth not so much for that which meets the eye of man, he delights himself with the beauty of those living stones of his spiritual temple which are hidden away from observation.

18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house. (So the stones and timbers came to their places prepared, and no sound of axe or hammer was heard. Here below the fitting us for heaven is a work of toil and noise, but in heaven all will be rest and quietness. May the Lord prepare us to be built into his temple above.)

May 25.—Evening. [Or October 17.] “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.”

2 Chronicles 3

THEN Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Oman the Jebusite.

This was the place where Abraham offered up Isaac, and near by the spot where the Lord Jesus suffered as the Lamb which God had provided for sacrifice. The place of sacrifice and atonement is the ordained position of the Church of God.

And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.

¶ Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.

And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.

And the greater house he cieled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains.

And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim. (The timber work was costly, but yet it was overlaid with pure gold, of the best kind, and this was adorned with precious stones. The Lord’s church is not to be built without vast cost, for it is very precious in his eyes.)

7, 8, 9 He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls. And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents. And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.

10 And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.

11 ¶ And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.

12 And one wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub.

13 The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.

Did these symbolize angels? We think so: and they are here represented as standing on their feet as servants, and not as sitting upon thrones like gods. We do not worship angels, but we worship with angels, joining in their solemn hymn of praise unto the Lord of all.

14 ¶ And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. (This veiled the sanctuary, for it was a dark dispensation, and the way into the holiest was not yet manifest.)

15, 16 Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.

17 And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin (he will establish), and the name of that on the left Boaz (or, in him is strength). These were vast columns intended for glory and for beauty. The Church is the noblest design of the Great Architect. Holy Scripture gives us a full account of the various parts of the temple, and the different articles of furniture. Everything was ordained of God, and full of instruction, and the effect of the whole must have been beyond measure magnificent.)

Go, worship at Immanuel’s feet,

See in himself what glories meet,

No gold or cedar can express

His worth, his glory, and his grace.

Is he a temple? I adore

Th’ indwelling majesty and power;

And still to this most holy place,

Whene’er I pray I turn my face.[23]

 


May 25 – The True Source of Bread

“‘“Give us this day our daily bread”’” (Matthew 6:11).

Jesus’ reference to “bread” not only signifies food but all of our physical needs. It is amazing that the self-sufficient, infinite God of the universe would care about our physical needs—that we have enough food, clothing, shelter—and then pledge to supply those needs. Thus God is the only source of our daily bread.

When everything is going well in life, we tend to think we are managing it all ourselves. Yet even the hardest-working person owes all he or she earns to the Lord’s gracious provision (see Deut. 8:18; Acts 17:24–28). God provided for humanity even before He created Adam and Eve. They were His final creation, and one of the first things He said to them was, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you” (Gen. 1:29). God has fulfilled this statement abundantly and in unlimited ways ever since.

Yet Paul teaches that in the latter days some will “advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:3). But the apostle reminds us “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected” (v. 4).

This part of the Lord’s Prayer is an affirmation—appropriate for the well-fed and those who have little. By it we can thank God that every good thing comes from His gracious hand (James 1:17).

Ask Yourself

What are some of the more mundane, ordinary, forgettable things you not only can ask God for today, but can also transform into a prayer of gratitude? How can you make this refresher course in God’s gracious gifts become a more regular part of your conscious thoughts and prayers?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.


Reading for Today:

2 Samuel 21:1–22:51
Psalm 68:1-6
Proverbs 17:2-4
John 8:28-59
Notes:

2 Samuel 21:1, 2 Saul and his bloodthirsty house. By divine revelation David learned that the famine was a result of sin committed by Saul; namely, that he had slain the Gibeonites. There is no further reference to this event. Saul was probably trying to do as God commanded and rid the land of the remnant of heathen in order that Israel might prosper (v. 2). But in his zeal he had committed a serious sin. He had broken a covenant that had been made 400 years before between Joshua and the Gibeonites, who were in the land when Israel took possession of it. They deceived Joshua into making the covenant, but it was, nevertheless, a covenant (Josh.9:3–27). Covenant keeping was no small matter to God (Josh. 9:20).

2 Samuel 22:1–51 David’s song of praise here is almost identical to Psalm 18.This song also has many verbal links to Hannah’s prayer (1 Sam. 2:1–10) and together with it forms the framework for the books of Samuel. This song focuses on the Lord’s deliverance of David from all his enemies, in response to which David praised the Lord, his deliverer (vv. 2–4). The major part of the song (vv. 5–46) states the reason for this praise of the Lord. David first describes how the Lord had delivered him from his enemies (vv. 5–20), then declares why the Lord had delivered him from his enemies (vv. 21–28), then states the extent of the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies (vv. 29–46). The song concludes with David’s resolve to praise his delivering Lord, even among the Gentiles (vv. 47–51).

John 8:39 If you were Abraham’s children. The construction of this phrase indicates that Jesus was denying that mere physical lineage was sufficient for salvation (Phil. 3:4–9). The sense would be “if you were Abraham’s children, but you are not, then you would act like Abraham did.” Just as children inherit genetic characteristics from their parents, so also those who are truly Abraham’s offspring will act like Abraham, i.e., imitate Abraham’s faith and obedience (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:6–9; Heb. 11:8–19; James 2:21–24). works of Abraham. Abraham’s faith was demonstrated through his obedience to God (James 2:21–24). Jesus’ point was that the conduct of the unbelieving Jews was diametrically opposed by the conduct of Abraham, who lived a life of obedience to all that God had commanded. Their conduct toward Jesus demonstrated that their real father was Satan (vv. 41, 44).

John 8:58 Most assuredly…I AM. Here Jesus declared Himself to be Yahweh, i.e., the Lord of the Old Testament. Basic to the expression are such passages as Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 41:4; 43:10, where God declared Himself to be the eternally preexistent God who revealed Himself in the Old Testament to the Jews.

DAY 25: What are the steps toward true Christian discipleship?

John 8:31–36 is a pivotal section of Scripture in understanding genuine salvation and true discipleship. John emphasized these realities by stressing truth and freedom. The focus in the passage is upon those who were exercising the beginnings of faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. Jesus desired them to move on in their faith. Saving faith is not fickle but firm and settled. Such maturity expresses itself in full commitment to the truth in Jesus Christ resulting in genuine freedom.

The first step in the progress toward true discipleship is belief in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Son of God (v. 31).“ If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” reveals the second step in the progress toward true discipleship. Perseverance in obedience to Scripture (Matt. 28:19, 20) is the fruit or evidence of genuine faith (Eph. 2:10). The word “abide” means to habitually abide in Jesus’ words. A genuine believer holds fast, obeys, and practices Jesus’ teaching. The one who continues in His teaching has both the Father and the Son (2 John 9; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:26). Real disciples are both learners (the basic meaning of the word) and faithful followers.

“The truth” (v. 32) has reference not only to the facts surrounding Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God but also to the teaching that He brought. A genuinely saved and obedient follower of the Lord Jesus will know divine truth and both freedom from sin (v. 34) and the search for reality. This divine truth comes not merely by intellectual assent (1 Cor. 2:14) but by saving commitment to Christ (Titus 1:1, 2).

“Whoever commits sin” (v. 34).The kind of slavery that Jesus had in mind was not physical slavery but slavery to sin (Rom. 6:17,18). The idea of “commits sin” means to practice sin habitually (1 John 3:4, 8, 9). The ultimate bondage is not political or economic enslavement but spiritual bondage to sin and rebellion against God. Thus, this also explains why Jesus would not let Himself be reduced to merely a political Messiah (6:14, 15).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.


Mon, May 25, 2015

THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD

I hope that if I am remembered at all it will be for this reason: I have spent my efforts and my energies trying to turn the direction of the people away from the external elements of religion to those that are internal and spiritual. I have tried to take away some of the clouds in the hope that men and women would be able to view God in His glory. I would like to see this sense of glory recaptured throughout the church-too many Christians do not expect to experience any of the glory until they see Him face to face! Within our Christian fellowship and worship, we must recapture the Bible concepts of the perfection of our God Most High! We have lost the sense and the wonder of His awe-fullness, His perfection, His beauty. Oh, I feel that we should preach it, sing it, write about it, talk about it and tell it until we have recaptured the concept of the Majesty of God! Only that can be beautiful ultimately which is holy-and we who belong to Jesus Christ should know the true delight of worshiping God in the beauty of His holiness!

Verse
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Thought
I have spent my efforts and my energies trying to turn the direction of the people away from the external elements of religion to those that are internal and spiritual.

Prayer
Lord, the majesty you command is too much for me to understand. Like a child I look at you with awe and wonder. May it always be so.

A. W. Tozer


PETITION: Pray for the Grace of Self-Denial and Humility

4.3.11

We must pray for the grace of self-denial.

Lord, give us grace to deny ourselves, to take up our cross daily, and to follow Christ; Matthew 16:24(ESV) to discipline our bodies and keep them under control. 1 Corinthians 9:27(ESV)

Lord, keep us from being lovers of ourselves, 2 Timothy 3:2(ESV) from being wise in our own eyes and leaning to our own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-7(ESV)

Lord, give us to seek, not our own good only, but also the good of our neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:24(ESV)

And grant that we may not live to ourselves or die to ourselves, but whether we live or die, we may be the Lord’s, and may live and die to him. Romans 14:7-8(ESV)

4.3.12

We must pray for humility and meekness.

Lord, give us to learn from Christ to be gentle and lowly in heart, that we may find rest for our souls; Matthew 11:29(ESV) and that herein the same mind may be in us that was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5(ESV)

Lord, conceal pride from us, Job 33:17(ESV) and clothe us with humility; 1 Peter 5:5(ESV) and put upon us the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in your sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4-5(ESV)

Lord, give us grace to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2(ESV)

Let anger never lodge in our bosoms, Ecclesiastes 7:9(ESV) nor the sun ever go down on our anger; Ephesians 4:26(ESV) but enable us to show perfect courtesy toward all people, because we ourselves were once foolish and disobedient. Titus 3:2-3(ESV)

Let us be clothed as becomes the elect children of God, holy and beloved, with compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Colossians 3:12(ESV) that being merciful, even as our heavenly Father is merciful, Luke 6:36(ESV) we may be perfect as he is perfect. Matthew 5:48(ESV)

Matthew Henry’s Method For Prayer


 

[1] Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (pp. 160–161). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

[2] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Venditti, L., & Venditti, N. (2012). Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 158). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 158). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 152). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 162). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[9] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 152). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[10] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 152). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[11] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 152). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[13] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 160). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[14] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 152). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

[15] Boa, K. (1993). Handbook to prayer: praying scripture back to God. Atlanta: Trinity House.

[16] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

[17] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 149). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

[18] Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

[19] Smith, H. W., & Dieter, M. E. (1997). The Christian’s secret of a holy life: the unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[20] Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

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

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

[23] Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 305–306). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

 

Bible Bite: the Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats…

Originally posted on Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...:

And now a temporary break from our regularly scheduled blogging for a slight change of pace!

Bible Bites Teeth

Over the past few months, a piece of scripture has come up in conversations several times and I’ve wanted to toss something in writing about it, so I’m just making time to get something written down.  The passage is Matthew 25:31-46: the judgment of the sheep and the goats.  Seeing that this is meant to be a short post (that’s what “Bible Bites” are supposed to be), I’ll just jump right in!

The passage opens with Matt. 25:31-32: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

– Without getting into…

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Have a Very Fine #PentecostSunday

Truth2Freedom:

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The Feast Of Pentecost

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Pentecost comes in the early summer (mid May-mid June). It’s the only Levitical Feast Day between the 3 spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) and the 3 in the fall (Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles). The Hebrew name for this Day is Shavuot, which means weeks, so in Israel it’s often called the Feast of Weeks.

Read more: The Feast Of Pentecost – Gracethrufaith

Originally posted on Zwinglius Redivivus:

Pentecost

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NOT Pentecost

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Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves

Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

21 “ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? ’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)

The best test of everything is not how it appears here and now. Unlike those preachers who draw throngs of people to hear their, “Have your best life now!” sermons, those with real godly wisdom know that the best tests of everything is how it will appear in the moment of death, in the morning of resurrection, and at the day of…

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May 24, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Devotional Guide Collection

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May 24

EVEN ME

Elizabeth Codner, 1824–1919

He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. (Psalm 72:6)

The spiritual blessings of a Spirit-filled life are intended for every believer, not just for a favored few.

The author of this hymn text was Elizabeth Codner, the wife of an Anglican clergyman. She was having her personal devotions one day when she became deeply impressed with a verse of Scripture, Ezekiel 34:26:

I will cause the shower to come down in the season, there shall be showers of blessing.

Mrs. Codner thought about the importance of water in the dry country of Palestine and related this to the necessity of the daily refreshment of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures in a believer’s life. When she was still contemplating this truth, a group of young people from the parish called on her and told the news of their recent trip to Ireland. They related that certain cities and areas of the Emerald Isle had experienced a spiritual awakening during the time of their visit. The young people were thrilled to have been witnesses of this event. As they were describing their experience, Mrs. Codner began to pray that these young men would not be content merely to have been spectators of the Holy Spirit’s ministry but would also desire a genuine outpouring of His power in their individual lives. With the words of Ezekiel 34:26 in mind, she challenged them with the remark, “While the Lord is pouring out such showers of blessing upon others, pray that some drops will fall on you.”

The following Sunday morning, Mrs. Codner stayed home from church because of illness, and with the impact of the young people’s experience still fresh in her mind, she penned these challenging words.

Lord, I hear of show’rs of blessing Thou art scatt’ring full and free; show’rs the thirsty land refreshing—let some drops now fall on me.

Love of God so pure and changeless, blood of Christ so rich and free, grace of God so strong and boundless: magnify them all in me.

Pass me not! Thy lost one bringing, bind my heart, O Lord, to Thee; while the streams of life are springing, blessing others, O bless me.

Refrain: Even me, even me, let Thy blessing fall on me.

For Today: Psalm 72; Ezekiel 34:26–31; Luke 11:13; Romans 8:4

Recall and reflect on individuals whose lives have strongly evidenced the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. Ask God in faith to make this your portion as well. Pray as you go—[1]


May 24: On a Mission

1 Chronicles 14:1–15:29; 2 Timothy 1:1–2; Psalm 83

“We’re on a mission from God.” Whenever the Blues Brothers delivered this line, they were met with a less-than-enthusiastic reception. While they had a different “mission” in mind, their famous line summarizes Paul’s ministry, and their reception is strangely related to a pressing problem in our Christian communities today: we’re hesitant to receive those who tell us they’re on God’s mission.

When we hear this “line,” we immediately begin to ask questions inside our heads: Are they offering a critique? Making a threat? Telling us they’re pursuing a ministry role in accordance with the gifts God has given them, or that they want to be directed toward such a role?

Nearly all the godly people in the Bible were appointed directly by God or His messengers to a mission, and they were given very particular (and often unique) gifts to fulfill those missions. So when someone says they’re on a mission from God, we should respond with, “Tell me about it!” Consider passages like 2 Tim 1:1, where Paul addresses Timothy and the community he leads, many of whom never met Paul:

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus.”

Apostle means “sent one.” Paul was on a mission from God, and it’s because of Christ, the anointed one’s promises, that he embraces this calling. God called and gifted him to do His work and share His message. Who are we to say that God doesn’t commission people today? Of course, we should always be cautious and discerning; those in leadership must have proven their godly character and their ability to be used by God. They must also be confirmed by other godly leaders. Once this has been confirmed, we should encourage those called to a special mission. We, as believers, are called to work alongside them—to encourage them and help them serve what God, specifically, has appointed them to do.

We stumble when we think the Church is ours to lead; it is Christ’s. He is our leader and guide, and it’s by His Spirit that we will have the discernment necessary to do what He God has appointed us to do.

How can you help those who are on a mission from God?

John D. Barry[2]


May 24

Intro

Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 5 through 8. Our lesson is from Deuteronomy 7:7–8, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (NASU)

Lesson

In the Old Testament, Israel is called the people of God. The Lord made a special covenant with His people. Israel’s obligation was to be holy and separate unto the Lord. It is important to note that the Lord took the initiative because it pleased Him. Let’s explore three reasons why the Lord chose Israel.

First, Israel was chosen because the Lord loved her. The Apostle John’s first letter states that God is love. This means that love is part of His nature. Love in its fullest and perfect expression is God’s love. It was His love which moved Him to love Israel.

However, God’s special love for Israel is not to the exclusion of other people. Israel is to demonstrate her love for God. This in turn should create a desire in other nations to want to be in relationship with the living God.

Second, Israel was chosen because the Lord had made a covenant with her. Throughout the Bible, we notice the importance of the theme of relationship especially between the Lord and His people. God covenanted with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15. Later that covenant was extended to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses, David and Solomon were included later. The certainty of the covenant was in the Lord’s faithfulness in keeping His part of the agreement. As we know, Israel failed a number of times yet God remained true to His word.

Finally, Israel was chosen because the Lord redeemed her out of Egypt. One of the greatest demonstrations of God’s love in the Old Testament is the story of Israel being freed from the oppression of Pharaoh and Egypt. The Lord intervened on her behalf because Israel called on the name of the Lord. God chose Moses as His instrument of judgment on Egypt so that Israel could worship the Lord. It was the redeeming hand of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that delivered His people from bondage.

In review, the Lord loved Israel. The Lord made a covenant with Israel. The Lord redeemed Israel from Egypt.

As God’s people, we have entered into a covenant by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Let’s respond to God’s initiative and love by remaining faithful and living for Christ.

End

It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Deuteronomy 9 through 12. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.[3]


May 24

Saluting an Unknown Soldier (James, son of Alphaeus)

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Alphaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

✧✧✧

God often uses ordinary people to accomplish great things.

Like most Christians, James the son of Alphaeus is an unknown and unsung soldier of the cross. His distinguishing characteristic is obscurity. Nothing he did or said is recorded in Scripture—only his name.

In Mark 15:40 he is called “James the Less,” which literally means “Little James.” That could refer to his stature (he might have been short), his age (he might have been younger than James the son of Zebedee), or his influence (he might have had relatively little influence among the disciples).

In Mark 2:14 Matthew (Levi) is called “the son of Alphaeus.” Alphaeus was a common name, but it’s possible that James and Matthew were brothers, since their fathers had the same first name. Also, James’s mother is mentioned in Mark 15:40 as being present at Christ’s crucifixion, along with other women. She is referred to as the wife of Clopas in John 19:25. Since Clopas was a form of Alphaeus, that further supports the possibility that James and Matthew were related.

From those references we might conclude that James was a small, young man whose personality was not particularly powerful. If he was Matthew’s brother, perhaps he was as humble as Matthew, willing to serve the Lord without any applause or notice. Whichever the case, be encouraged that God uses obscure people like James and rewards them accordingly. Someday James will sit on a throne in Christ’s millennial Kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel—just like the other, more prominent disciples (Luke 22:30).

No matter how obscure or prominent you are from a human perspective, God can use you and will reward you with a glorious eternal inheritance.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for all those people unknown to you whom He has used to shape your life for His glory. ✧ Seek to be more like James, serving Christ faithfully without applause or glory.

For Further Study: Read Luke 9:23–25. What did Jesus say is necessary to be His disciple? ✧ Read Luke 9:57–62. What were those men unwilling to give up to follow Christ?[4]


May 24

Unload Your Cares

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God … shall guard your hearts.

Philippians 4:6–7

Don’t worry. Pray!” Paul says. And notice the immediate result—peace. Even before our prayers are answered, there is peace. Before we have any idea how things will work out, there is peace. Why? Because by crying out to God and unloading our cares and burdens on Him, He is assured of (and we are reminded of) our dependence on Him. And that is what pleases Him.[5]


May 24

Cherish the Word

Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 6:1–9

Key verse: Deuteronomy 6:6

These words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

Are you a list maker? Most people at least jot down their grocery items on a piece of paper before heading to the store. It’s so easy to forget the little details that we need to keep checklists to help us remember.

We’re just as “forgetful” concerning God’s Word many times too. The Lord understands our natural weaknesses and our tendency to mentally push aside thoughts we don’t deem urgent at the moment. That is why He commanded His people to keep His words ever before them: “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6–9 nasb).

In other words, they were to put God’s Word in the paths of their daily lives, everywhere they went, and as a part of all they did. How can you do the same today? Find some verses that pertain to your personal circumstances, and write them out on cards. Keep the cards with you or in a prominent place in your home. You’ll be surprised how quickly they become a part of your everyday thinking.

Write Your Word on my heart, O Lord, and teach me to cherish it.[6]


May 24

Enemies of the Cross

Many walk, of who I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.

Philippians 3:18

The most dangerous enemies to the cause of Christ are not those who openly oppose the gospel, but those who pretend to be friends of Christ, claim to identify with Him, and in some cases, reach positions of spiritual leadership.

Being on guard against hidden enemies is a constant theme in the New Testament. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). He also predicted that in the last days “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matt. 24:11).

The apostle Paul was constantly dealing with the influence of false teachers. He warned the Ephesian elders: “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31). Do you want to know how to acquire the ability to discern enemies of the cross? Know the Word. If you don’t know the Word, you are open to being misled.[7]


May 24         Examining Your Lifestyle

scripture reading:
1 Corinthians 6:12; 8:13; 10:31

key verse:
1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Keeping a close check on your lifestyle is the most reliable means to avoid direct or indirect participation in the tempter’s schemes. Jerry Bridges highlights four guidelines in his book The Pursuit of Holiness that will help you examine your practices for purity of motive and possibility of harm to a weaker believer in Christ:

“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Question 1: Is it helpful, physically, spiritually, and mentally?

“Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Question 2: Does it bring me under its power?

“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” (1 Corinthians 8:13)

Question 3: Does it hurt others?

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Question 4: Does it glorify God?

Contemplating and applying these principles will help you deal with temptation while encouraging your brother or sister in Christ, not weakening him or her.

Father, I pause right now to examine my practices. Are they helpful physically, spiritually, and mentally? Is there anything I am doing that brings me under its power? Does anything I do hurt others? Does all I do glorify You?[8]


May 24

Deliverance Is Near

Scripture reading: Hebrews 12:1–4

Key verse: Hebrews 11:39

All these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.

It’s hard to read Hebrews 11:39 without feeling pain of sorrow. In chapter 11, the writer of Hebrews recounted the faithfulness of the Old Testament saints. He told of the faith exhibited by Sarah and Abraham, of Jacob and Joseph, of King David, and many in between. There’s a passage about Enoch and Abel—two names we rarely mention in our day-to-day conversations.

Each had one thought in mind, and that was to receive God’s promise. Their eyes were turned to the future with the expectation that their generation might witness Messiah’s arrival. However, the writer of Hebrews told us that each died without seeing or physically touching His hand. But in Hebrews 12:1, our dismay is turned into great joy: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and … let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Were these Old Testament saints disappointed because they missed Jesus’ arrival? Not in the least. Their prayers were answered the moment they entered the presence of God. The burden you bear, the tears you shed, the sorrow you carry—God knows it all, and He has assembled a great and mighty host of experienced witnesses to cheer you on to victory.

Therefore, you can praise Him today and wait for Him in peace and joy, for His deliverance is near.

I praise You, Lord, because my deliverance is near. You know my burdens, tears, and sorrows. I humbly bow before You and worship.[9]


May 24

The Ups and Downs of Life

Scripture Reading: John 14:25–31

Key Verse: John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

A new believer bemoaned her inconsistent lifestyle only weeks following her rather dramatic salvation.

“If I am a believer, why do I still have so many problems?” she honestly wondered. Whether new or mature believers, we will encounter spiritual cycles—times when we are up and times when we are down.

Jesus was a realist when He described the type of upsetting experience His disciples (that includes us) would face: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 nasb).

If you are in the midst of unsettling circumstances, take courage; the rest of us are too. In such times, we maintain contentment and stability through our constant, unchanging, permanent relationship with Jesus Christ.

Cling to Christ through consistent, personal communion, bringing Him all your needs and fears. He is the Helmsman of your soul in disturbing times, and your safety and peace lie in His steady hands. He will keep you on course.

O Lord, in the world I have tribulation, but You have overcome the world, and I can overcome through You. You are the Helmsman of my soul in disturbing times. My safety and peace are in Your hands. I rejoice that You will keep me on course with my destiny.[10]


May 24

How to Talk with God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:1–19

Key Verse: Psalm 116:1

I love the Lord, because He has heard

My voice and my supplications.

Some people are afraid to ask God for the “little things.” They think that somehow He is too big and too busy to care about the trivialities of their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Catherine Marshall explains in her book Adventures in Prayer:

Oddly, we who are afraid to ask that the pain of rheumatism be removed or a lost contact lens be found often do not hesitate to pray for world peace or the salvation of souls or a revival to change the face of our time. It never occurs to us that if God’s power is lacking for these everyday prayers, His power to handle big, all-inclusive petitions will be lacking too.

In order to make sure that we are not retreating from the tension of faith, it is helpful to ask ourselves as we pray, “Do I really expect anything to happen?” This will prevent us from going window-shopping in prayer. At times window-shopping can be enjoyable—but there it ends.…

So we decide to ask His help with some small immediate need. Our asking is like stepping into a tiny anteroom. Taking a hesitant step forward, we discover that the anteroom leads into the King’s spacious reception hall.

To our astonishment, the King Himself comes forward to meet us, offering a gift so momentous as to be worthy only of the King.

Lord, thank You for being present in the small details of my life, for it is in finding You in the little things that I find courage to bring You the large ones.[11]


May 24

Stephen: Godliness in Suffering

“But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Acts 7:55

✧✧✧

Because Stephen was so consistently Spirit–filled, it was natural for him to react in a godly way to persecution and death.

The cliché “Garbage in, garbage out” provides a good clue to the essence of the Spirit–filled Christian life. Just as computers respond according to their programming, we respond to what fills our minds. If we allow the Holy Spirit to program our thought patterns, we’ll be controlled and renewed by Him and live godly lives. And that’s exactly how Stephen consistently and daily lived his life.

The expression “being full” is from a Greek verb (pleroo) that literally means “being kept full.” Stephen was continuously filled with the Holy Spirit during his entire Christian life. This previewed Paul’s directive in Ephesians 5:18, “but be filled with the Spirit.” These words don’t mean believers are to have some strange mystical experience, but simply that their lives ought to be fully controlled by God’s Spirit.

Stephen gave evidence of his Spirit–filled godliness as He was about to die from stoning. Acts 7:55–56 says he looked to Jesus and let his adversaries and any witnesses know that he saw Christ standing at the right hand of God. Stephen did not focus on his difficult situation but fixed his heart on the Lord, which is what all believers must do: “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1–2).

Stephen’s spiritual sight was incredible and enabled him to see the risen Christ and be certain of his welcome into Heaven the moment he died. We won’t have that kind of vision while we’re still on earth, but if we are constantly Spirit–filled like Stephen, we will always see Jesus by faith and realize His complete presence during the most trying times (John 14:26–27; Heb. 13:5–6).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would direct your mind away from mundane distractions and toward Him throughout this day.

For Further Study: Stephen established a magnificent pattern during his short ministry in Acts 6. Read that chapter, and jot down several positive things you see about how he did things.[12]


May 24

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Lord God, You have given me the love of Your Holy Spirit … my Helper. In all my affliction You are afflicted, and the Angel of Your Presence saves me; in Your love and in Your pity You redeem, and You bear, and carry me. But I rebel and grieve Your Holy Spirit; so You turn Yourself against me as an enemy, and You fight against me.

I know that I abide in You, Lord God, and You in me, because You have given me of Your Spirit. Believing, I was sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, the guarantee of my inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession. So I will walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that I do not do the things that I wish.

Your Spirit also helps in my weaknesses.

Thank You, God, for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is my Helper, my Strength, my Guide. May He enable me to live so that I honor You.

Ephesians 4:30; Romans 15:30; John 14:26; Isaiah 63:9–10; 1 John 4:13; Ephesians 1:13–14; Galatians 5:16–17; Romans 8:26[13]


May 24

A Family Focused on God

Genesis 47:11

And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

There are at least three lessons we can learn from the story of Joseph and his family. First, God provided for the entire family due to the faithfulness of one member. God provided good land, met their every need, and watched Jacob’s family come back to Him, and none of it would have happened had it not been for Joseph. Christians, if we are the only godly people in our families, we can’t quit. We have the potential of redeeming our entire family.

A second lesson we learn from this story is that we are to care for the elderly. Joseph sets an example for us to follow by offering tender, loving care to his father.

Finally, we learn that God puts a priority on the family. The family is part of God’s perfect plan for the world. There are only two institutions that God ordained: the church and the family. In this day, when families are being torn apart, the story of Joseph is a clear indication of what the family can accomplish when it is intact and focused on the Lord.[14]


Day 24

Adoration

“My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

You are the Lord, the God of all mankind. Nothing is too difficult for You. (Jeremiah 32:27)

Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship.

Confession

The heart is deceitful above all things

And incurably sick.

Who can understand it?

You, the Lord, search the heart

And test the mind

To reward a man according to his ways,

According to the fruit of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:9–10)

Ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.

Renewal

May I not profane Your holy name, but acknowledge You as holy before others. You are the Lord, who sanctifies me. (Leviticus 22:32)

The Lord my God, the Lord is one. May I love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4–5)

Pause to add your own prayers for personal renewal.

Petition

May I fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith, so that there will be laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7–8)

Family and Ministry

Family

Ministry

Sharing Christ with others

Helping others grow in Him

Career

My activities for this day

Special concerns

Intercession

The Lord told the apostles, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Missions

Local missions

National missions

World missions

The fulfillment of the Great Commission

Special concerns

Affirmation

Whoever is wise understands these things;

Whoever is discerning knows them.

The ways of the Lord are right;

The righteous will walk in them,

But transgressors will stumble in them. (Hosea 14:9)

You have called the humble of the earth who have upheld Your justice to seek the Lord, to seek righteousness, and to seek humility. (Zephaniah 2:3)

Pause to reflect upon these biblical affirmations.

Thanksgiving

God sent His word to the children of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. He commanded the apostles to preach to the people and to testify that He is the One whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that through His name, everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:36, 42–43)

I have been loved by God and called to be a saint; grace and peace have been given to me from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

Pause to offer your own expressions of thanksgiving.

Closing Prayer

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why are you disturbed within me?

Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him

For the help of His presence.

O my God, my soul is downcast within me;

Therefore I will remember You.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why are you disturbed within me?

Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him,

The help of my countenance and my God. (Psalm 42:5–6, 11)[15]


May 24

His kingdom ruleth over all

Ps. 103:19

His kingdom ruleth over all—therefore thou canst find nothing which is not matter for praise, since there is nothing which is not the matter of thy Lord’s gracious permission, or planning, or control. Over all—nowhere canst thou step outside His realm, nor in anything get beyond His care and government. Over all—therefore take all as from God; hold all as from God; and by thy gratitude give all back to God again, and thus complete the circle, making Him the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending of all things.

Mark Guy Pearse[16]


May 24

CONCERNING the consciousness of evil in the past of our lives and the tendency to wrong doing in our nature, the Bible is very clear, and it is most admirably explicit as to God’s way of removing this barrier to our future progress. In Holy Scripture we see a most wise and gracious method for the putting away of guilt, without injury to the divine justice. The atonement offered by the Lord Jesus, who is the essence of the revelation of God, is an eminently satisfactory solution of the soul’s sternest problem. Our feeling is that God, the universal Ruler, must do right, and must not, even for mercy’s sake, relax the rule that evil done must bring evil as its consequence.[17]


Morning, May 24 

 

“Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer.”

— Psalm 66:20

 

In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance—as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, in a more enlightened retrospect, weeps over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly. Remember, Christian, how cold thy prayers have been. When in thy closet thou shouldst have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead thereof, thy petitions have been faint and few—far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith, which cries, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” Yet, wonderful to say, God has heard these cold prayers of thine, and not only heard, but answered them. Reflect also, how infrequent have been thy prayers, unless thou hast been in trouble, and then thou hast gone often to the mercy-seat: but when deliverance has come, where has been thy constant supplication? Yet, notwithstanding thou hast ceased to pray as once thou didst, God has not ceased to bless. When thou hast neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of the Shekinah has always been visible between the wings of the cherubim. Oh! it is marvellous that the Lord should regard those intermittent spasms of importunity which come and go with our necessities. What a God is he thus to hear the prayers of those who come to him when they have pressing wants, but neglect him when they have received a mercy; who approach him when they are forced to come, but who almost forget to address him when mercies are plentiful and sorrows are few. Let his gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that we may henceforth be found “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”

 

Evening, May 24

 

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.”

— Philippians 1:27

 

The word “conversation” does not merely mean our talk and converse with one another, but the whole course of our life and behaviour in the world. The Greek word signifies the actions and the privileges of citizenship: and thus we are commanded to let our actions, as citizens of the New Jerusalem, be such as becometh the gospel of Christ. What sort of conversation is this? In the first place, the gospel is very simple. So Christians should be simple and plain in their habits. There should be about our manner, our speech, our dress, our whole behaviour, that simplicity which is the very soul of beauty. The gospel is pre-eminently true, it is gold without dross; and the Christian’s life will be lustreless and valueless without the jewel of truth. The gospel is a very fearless gospel, it boldly proclaims the truth, whether men like it or not: we must be equally faithful and unflinching. But the gospel is also very gentle. Mark this spirit in its Founder: “a bruised reed he will not break.” Some professors are sharper than a thorn-hedge; such men are not like Jesus. Let us seek to win others by the gentleness of our words and acts. The gospel is very loving. It is the message of the God of love to a lost and fallen race. Christ’s last command to his disciples was, “Love one another.” O for more real, hearty union and love to all the saints; for more tender compassion towards the souls of the worst and vilest of men! We must not forget that the gospel of Christ is holy. It never excuses sin: it pardons it, but only through an atonement. If our life is to resemble the gospel, we must shun, not merely the grosser vices, but everything that would hinder our perfect conformity to Christ. For his sake, for our own sakes, and for the sakes of others, we must strive day by day to let our conversation be more in accordance with his gospel. [18]


A Heart as Big as the Whole World

May 24

“Oh mamma,” she said, “is His heart as big as the world?” “Yes,” I answered. “Well then I don’t see how it can stay anywhere,” she remarked. “Oh,” I said, “His heart is not a thing, it is a feeling. Don’t you know what a feeling is? When you feel happy that is not a thing, is it? It is a feeling?” “Oh yes,” she said. Then after thinking a minute she exclaimed, “Oh mamma, I’m so happy, I don’t know what to do. I love Jesus so. I’m smiling at Him in my heart. I am so happy! I guess mamma, I’ll have to pull my nose I’m so happy.” Then I said, “Jesus is here daughter smiling on you and standing by you.” “You mean,” she said, “that He is in my heart. He often knocks at the door of my heart and I say, ‘Come in Dear Jesus and don’t let Satan in with you.’ ” Then after a pause she said, “Mamma, Satan often tells me to pray to him and to say ‘Please dear Satan make me do something naughty.’ But I never do, I just resist the devil and he runs away from me. I feel as if he was afraid of me then. I can feel him running away mamma.”

And now she continued, “Let’s go on talking about Jesus. Oh I’m so happy. I feel as if I could cry I love Jesus so much. Do you know mamma, it makes me all tremble when I get near to Jesus, I’m so happy?” And after a pause she said, “Now I want to pray. Shall I just say what comes into my head?” I told her, yes so she prayed in the most loving of all loving little tones, “Dear Jesus, please make me always make you feel happy. This I ask for Jesus sake!”

—Journal, March 11, 1870[19]


May 24th

The delight of despair

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. Rev. 1:17.

It may be that like the apostle John you know Jesus Christ intimately, when suddenly He appears with no familiar characteristic at all, and the only thing you can do is to fall at His feet as dead. There are times when God cannot reveal Himself in any other way than in His majesty, and it is the awfulness of the vision which brings you to the delight of despair; if you are ever to be raised up, it must be by the hand of God.

“He laid His right hand upon me.” In the midst of the awfulness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. The right hand not of restraint nor of correction nor of chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it is ineffable peace and comfort, the sense that “underneath are the everlasting arms,” full of sustaining and comfort and strength. When once His touch comes, nothing at all can cast you into fear again. In the midst of all His ascended glory the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, and to say—“Fear not.” His tenderness is ineffably sweet. Do I know Him like that?

Watch some of the things that strike despair. There is despair in which there is no delight, no horizon, no hope of anything brighter; but the delight of despair comes when I know that “in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” I delight to know that there is that in me which must fall prostrate before God when He manifests Himself, and if I am ever to be raised up it must be by the hand of God. God can do nothing for me until I get to the limit of the possible.[20]


May 24

Numbers 33; Psalm 78:1–39; Isaiah 25; 1 John 3

Isaiah 25 is divided into three parts. In the center is a festive banquet (25:6–8). On either side is a song. The first is sung by a solitary singer, doubtless Isaiah himself (25:1–5); the second is a communal song of praise (25:9–12).

At the feast (25:6–8) the food is the finest, and free—“a feast of rich food for all peoples.” The “shroud” or “sheet” that “covers all nations” (25:7) is death itself, the result of the curse mentioned in the preceding chapter. This feast is a celebration because God “will swallow up death forever” (25:8). Indeed, all the results of the curse will be obliterated: “The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces” (25:8; compare Rev. 21). Indeed, the blessings depicted in this verse are secured by Jesus (see Luke 14:15–24), who vanquishes death (1 Cor. 15:25–26, 51–57; 2 Tim. 1:10). This feast is for “all peoples” (25:6)—another of the many Isaianic prefigurings of the universal application of the Gospel—yet they must come to “this mountain” (25:7); for salvation, as Jesus insists to the Samaritan woman, is “from the Jews” (John 4:22). When Isaiah adds that God will remove the disgrace of “his people” from all the earth, the reference is slightly ambiguous: this may be a reference to Israel, or it may be a reference to those drawn from “all peoples” who truly prove to be his people on the last day.

The song of the lone singer (25:1–5) abounds in exuberant praise to God because he is perfectly faithful. This faithfulness is demonstrated both in the devastating judgments he has brought about and in God’s perennial care for the poor and needy (25:4). In short, God is praised for the faithful justice of his judgments. The final communal song (25:9–12) finds God’s people collectively praising him: “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.” (25:9). But here, too, the inverse activity of God is to be praised: God has brought judgment on those full of pride. Moab is singled out as an example of such waywardness. So at the end, there will be two communities: God’s people at the festal banquet where God himself is host and death is destroyed; and the utterly proud, who will not bend the knee but whom God brings down “to the very dust” (25:12). One commentator (Barry G. Webb) writes, “Either repentance will bring you to the feast or pride will keep you away, and the consequences will be unsullied joy or unspeakably terrible judgment. The alternatives which the Gospel sets before us are as stark as that.”[21]


May 24

Numbers 33; Psalm 78:1–39; Isaiah 25; 1 John 3

The opening few verses of Psalm 78 initially elicit a little puzzlement. Asaph invites his readers (and if this is sung, his hearers) to hear his teaching, to listen to the words of his mouth (78:1). Then he announces, “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old” (78:2). Anticipation builds; it sounds as if we shall hear brand-new things that have been hidden before Asaph came on the scene. Then he further describes these “hidden things, things from of old”: they are “what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us” (78:3). So, is he embarking on some new revelation, previously hidden, or is he simply reviewing the common heritage of the Israelites? And why add at this point that at least part of his purpose is to disclose these things to the new generation that is coming along (78:4)?

Three observations:

First, the word rendered “parables” has a wide range of meaning. It can refer to narrative parables, wisdom sayings, aphorisms, and several other forms. Here, Asaph seems to mean no more than that he will say what he has to say in the poetic structures and wise comparisons that characterize this psalm.

Second, the content of this psalm is both old—“what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us”—and new, “hidden things.” This psalm is one of a group of “historical psalms,” that is, psalms that review some of the experiences of the people of God with their God. For most of its length its chief focus is the Exodus and the events that surrounded it, including the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the provision of manna, and so forth. The psalm brings us down to the reign of David (which, incidentally, shows that Asaph himself lived in David’s day or later). Yet this psalm is not a mere review of the bare facts of that history. The recital is designed to draw certain lessons from that history, lessons that might be missed if attention were not drawn to them. These lessons include the sorry patterns of rebellion, God’s self-restraint in his rising anger, his graciousness in saving them again and again, and more. These lessons are “hidden” in the bare text, but they are there, and Asaph brings them out.

Third, Asaph understands (1) that deep knowledge of Scripture and of the ways of God means more than knowing facts, but also grasping the unfolding patterns to see what God is doing; (2) that at any time the covenant people of God are never more than one generation from extinction, so it is utterly vital to pass on this accumulating insight to the next generation.[22]


May 24.—Morning. [Or October 14.] “Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart.”

WE will now pursue the path of history, and enter upon the reign of Solomon.

1 Kings 3:1, 3–15

And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. (A questionable beginning, a step full of danger.)

And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. (This was contrary to express precept, yet the Lord dealt not severely with Solomon, for he saw that his heart was right before him.)

And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

¶ In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. (Solomon worships God by day—God appears to Solomon by night. The night cannot but be happy when the day has been holy. The king had offered unto God a thousand burnt-sacrifices, and now the Lord rewards him in godlike fashion by giving him his option. “Ask what I shall give thee!” Nor is God less generous to each one of us under the gospel, for Jesus has said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.”)

6, 7, 8 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? (It was a wise choice to choose wisdom: young Solomon was already wise when he thus asked of the Lord. He did not ask for grace, which would have been the best gift of all, but he chose the second best, and his reasons for the choice were in the highest degree praiseworthy. He must have often thought upon this matter while awake, or he would not have come to so excellent a decision in his sleep.)

10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

11, 12 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. (The greater includes the less. Wisdom brings wealth and honour: let us seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all these things shall be added unto us. Christ Jesus, who is infinite wisdom, is the choice of every believer.)

14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. (Gratitude led him to present his sacrifices in the right place. Our love to God should always lead us to a growing attention to his commands. There was now a noble career open before Solomon, and for many years he pursued it most commendably. Those who begin life by seeking wisdom may expect prosperity.)

My God, my soul hath one desire,

I seek for wisdom still,

Let Jesus be mine all in all,

And I’ll obey thy will.

May 24.—Evening. [Or October 15.] “The Lord reigneth: let the earth rejoice.”

SOLOMON by his wisdom brought great prosperity to his nation, and made the country the centre of trade and commerce. His royal establishment was conducted upon the most sumptuous scale.

1 Kings 4:22–34

22 ¶ And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,

23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and fatted fowl.

But what is this compared with the provision which loads the table of the King of kings, by whose bounty all the saints are fed?

24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.

25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon. (So, too, where Jesus rules peace reigns undisturbed.)

26 ¶ And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. (This was a forbidden luxury, for the Hebrew kings were commanded not to multiply horses. In this Solomon erred.)

27, 28 And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon’s table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing. Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.

29, 30 ¶ And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.

32, 33 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

See how well the Lord fulfilled his promise. He gave him wisdom in no stinted measure.

1 Kings 10:14, 15; 18–23

14, 15 ¶ Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred three score and six talents of gold, Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. (He built stations for the caravans, and received a toll of the merchants, besides gaining great wealth by purchasing the produce of the East, and selling it to the Western nations.)

18 ¶ Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.

20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

But how much more glorious will be the throne of our Lord in the day of his appearing!

21 ¶ And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

Thus again the promise was fulfilled, and wealth followed wisdom. Who would not trust so faithful a God?

Behold your King, your Saviour crown’d

With glories all divine;

And tell the wondering nations round

How bright those glories shine.

Infinite power and boundless grace

In him unite their rays;

You, that have e’er beheld his face,

Can you forbear his praise?[23]

 


Reading for Today:

2 Samuel 19:1–20:26
Psalm 67:1-7
Proverbs 16:33–17:1
John 8:1-27
Notes:

2 Samuel 19:7 not one will stay with you. Joab, who was the esteemed general of the army, was a dangerous person because of that power. He was also dangerous to David because he had disobeyed his command to spare Absalom and killed him with no remorse. When he warned David that he would be in deep trouble if he did not immediately express appreciation to his men for their victory, David knew he could be in serious danger.

2 Samuel 19:13 Amasa…commander of the army…in place of Joab. David appointed Amasa commander of his army, hoping to secure the allegiance of those who had followed Amasa when he led Absalom’s forces, especially those of Judah. This appointment did persuade the tribe of Judah to support David’s return to thekingship (v. 14) and secured the animosity of Joab against Amasa for taking his position (20:8–10).

2 Samuel 20:11 one of Joab’s men. Joab was reinstated as commander of David’s army by his troops. It is a striking illustration of Joab’s influence over the army that he could murder the commander whom David had chosen, a killing right before their eyes, and they would follow him unanimously as their leader in pursuit of Sheba.

Proverbs 16:33 lot. Casting lots was a method often used to reveal God’s purposes in a matter (Josh. 14:1, 2; 1 Sam.14:38–43; 1 Chr. 25:8–31; Jon. 1:7; Acts 1:26). The high priest may have carried lots in his sacred vest, along with the Urim and Thummim (Ex. 28:30).

John 8:24 if you do not believe. Jesus emphasized that the fatal, unforgivable, and eternal sin is failure to believe in Him as Messiah and Son of God. In truth, all other sins can be forgiven if this one is repented of. I am He. “He” is not part of the original statement. Jesus’ words were not constructed normally but were influenced by Old Testament Hebrew usage. It is an absolute usage meaning “I AM” and has immense theological significance. The reference may be to both Exodus 3:14 where the Lord declared His name as “I AM” and to Isaiah 40–55 where the phrase “I am” occurs repeatedly (especially 43:10, 13, 25; 46:4; 48:12). In this, Jesus referred to Himself as the God (Yahweh—the LORD) of the Old Testament and directly claimed full Deity for Himself, prompting the Jews’ question of v. 25.

DAY 24: How is Jesus the light of the world?

In John 8:12–21,the word “again” indicates that Jesus spoke once more to the people at this same Feast of Tabernacles (7:2,10). While Jesus first used the water-drawing rite (7:37–39) as a metaphor to portray the ultimate spiritual truth of Himself as Messiah who fulfills all that the feast anticipated, He then turned to another rite that traditionally occurred at the feast: the lighting ceremony. During Tabernacles, 4 large lamps in the temple’s court of women were lit and an exuberant nightly celebration took place under their light with people dancing through the night and holding burning torches in their hands while singing songs and praises. The Levitical orchestras also played.

Jesus took this opportunity of the lighting celebration to portray another spiritual analogy for the people: “I am the light of the world” (v. 12). This is the second “I AM” statement (6:35). John has already used the “light” metaphor for Jesus (1:4). Jesus’ metaphor here is steeped in Old Testament allusions (Ex. 13:21,22; 14:19–25; Pss. 27:1; 119:105; Prov. 6:23; Ezek. 1:4,13,26–28; Hab. 3:3,4). The phrase highlights Jesus’ role as Messiah and Son of God (Ps. 27:1; Mal. 4:2).The Old Testament indicates that the coming age of Messiah would be a time when the Lord would be a light for His people (Is. 60:19–22; see Rev. 21:23, 24), as well as for the whole earth (Is. 42:6; 49:6). Zechariah 14:5b–8 has an emphasis on God as the light of the world who gives living waters to His people. This latter passage probably formed the liturgical readings for the Feast of Tabernacles.

“He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” The word “follows” conveys the idea of someone who gives himself completely to the person followed. No half-hearted followers exist in Jesus’ mind (Matt. 8:18–22; 10:38, 39). A veiled reference exists here to the Jews, following the pillar of cloud and fire that led them during the Exodus (Ex. 13:21).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.


May 24 – Three Aspects of the Divine Will

“‘“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”’” (Matthew 6:10).

God’s Word reveals three aspects of His will. First is His will of purpose—His sovereign, ultimate plan for the universe. “Surely, just as I [God] have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand” (Isa. 14:24; cf. Eph. 1:9–11). It has been within God’s purpose to allow sin to affect the world for a time. But that situation will end precisely according to His plan and foreknowledge.

Within God’s will of purpose is His will of desire. This will is more specific but not always fulfilled in the present age. For example, Jesus desired His people, the Jews, to be saved. However, only a relative few believed in His message. Jesus prayed, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together … and you would not have it!” (Luke 13:34). Like the Jews, most Gentiles are also unwilling to come to Christ for salvation (John 5:40; cf. 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).

Third is God’s will of command, which is His desire that believers obey Him fully, as only they of all people can, with the help of the Spirit (see Rom. 6:16–18). Pride is the great enemy set against all of God’s will. But for us to obey His will, we must forsake self-will and “prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2; see also v. 1).

Ask Yourself

Understanding the many-layered aspects of God’s will is not nearly as important as being obedient to every aspect you do know. Don’t you long for His purpose, desire, and command to be met with full acceptance in your own life? Submit to Him in some new way today. Conform to His will.

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.


Sun, May 24, 2015

GOD’S SOVEREIGN PLAN

Many people continue to live in daily fear that the world “is coming to an end.” Only in the Scriptures do we have the description and prediction of the age-ending heavenly and earthly events when our Lord and Savior will be universally acknowledged as King of kings and Lord of lords. God’s revelation makes it plain that in “that day” all will acclaim Him “victor!” Human society, generally, refuses to recognize God’s sovereignty or His plan for His redeemed people. But no human being or world government will have any control in that fiery day of judgement yet to come. John’s vision of things to come tells us clearly and openly that at the appropriate time this world will be taken away from men and placed in the hands of the only Man who has the wisdom and authority to rightly govern. That Man is the eternal Son of God, the worthy Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ!

Verse
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God… for he must reign.
1 Corinthians 15:24-25

Thought
No human being or world government will have any control in that fiery day of judgement yet to come.

Prayer
Lord, as I look forward to the end of this world, I also look forward in reassureance that to serve you is the best possible destiny.

A. W. Tozer


CONFESSION: Bewail your Sins of the Tongue and Spiritual Sloth

6.8

Our tongue sins.

When words are many, transgression is not lacking; Proverbs 10:19(ESV) nor can a man full of talk be judged right. Job 11:2(ESV)

While the lips of the righteous feed many, Proverbs 10:21(ESV) our lips have poured out folly, Proverbs 15:2(ESV) and known what is perverse. Proverbs 10:32(ESV)

Much corrupt talk has come out of our mouths; that foolish talking and crude joking, which are out of place, Ephesians 5:4(ESV) and little of that which is good and to the use of building up, and which might give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29(ESV)

If people will give account for every careless word they speak, and if by our words we will be justified and by our words we will be condemned, Matthew 12:36-37(ESV) woe to us! For we are lost; for we are of unclean lips and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Isaiah 6:5(ESV)

What would become of us, if God should make our own tongues turn against us? Psalm 64:8(ESV)

6.9

Our spiritual slothfulness and decay.

We have been slothful in zeal for religion and not fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11(ESV)

The things which remain are about to die, and our works have not been found complete in the sight of God. Revelation 3:2(ESV)

We have observed the winds, and therefore have not sown; have regarded the clouds, and therefore have not reaped; Ecclesiastes 11:4(ESV) and with the sluggard have frightened ourselves with the fancy of a lion in the road, a lion in the streets, and have turned on our bed as a door on its hinges, Proverbs 26:13-14(ESV) still crying, “A little sleep, a little slumber.” Proverbs 6:10(ESV)

We have lost our first love, Revelation 2:4(ESV) and what then has become of the blessing we felt? Galatians 4:15(ESV)

Our love has been like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Hosea 6:4(ESV)

And that which is at the bottom of all is the evil, unbelieving heart in us, which inclines us to fall away from the living God. Hebrews 3:12(ESV)

Matthew Henry’s Method For Prayer


 

[1] Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (pp. 159–160). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

[2] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Venditti, L., & Venditti, N. (2012). Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 157). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[5] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 157). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 151). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 161). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[9] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 151). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[10] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 151). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[11] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 151). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[13] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 159). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[14] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 151). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

[15] Boa, K. (1993). Handbook to prayer: praying scripture back to God. Atlanta: Trinity House.

[16] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

[17] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 148). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

[18] Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

[19] Smith, H. W., & Dieter, M. E. (1997). The Christian’s secret of a holy life: the unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[20] Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

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

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

[23] Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 303–304). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

 

May 23-24, 2015 Truth2Freedom Weekend News/Commentary Collection

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Top News – 5/24/2015

Saudi-led warplanes launched a fresh wave of air strikes across Yemen
Saudi-led warplanes launched a fresh wave of air strikes across Yemen targeting Iran-backed rebels as fighting raged on the ground in the south of the country, witnesses said. The air raids pounded arms depots under the control of the Shiite Huthi rebels in the locality of Ghula, in Omran province north of Sanaa, residents said.

Syrians try to build case against Assad in chlorine attacks
With only a cloth mask for protection, Firas Kayali rushed to try to rescue the residents of a house in a village in rebel-held northern Syria after a barrel bomb, suspected to be filled with chlorine gas, hit nearby.

Ukraine crisis: Rebel commander Alexei Mozgovoi ‘killed’
One of the top rebel commanders in eastern Ukraine, Alexei Mozgovoi, has been killed in an attack on his car, Russian and Ukrainian media report.

UN nuclear weapons talks fail ‘over Israel row’
A UN conference aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons has ended in failure after a row over a nuclear-free Middle East proposal. The Egypt-backed plan had envisaged a regional forum which analysts say might have forced Israel to reveal whether or not it has nuclear weapons. The proposal was blocked by the US, the UK and Canada. The next review is set for 2020.

US ‘deeply troubled’ by Russia’s NGO law
The United States said it was “deeply troubled” after Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning what Moscow deems to be “undesirable” non-governmental organizations.

Isis claims it could buy its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within a year
Isis has used the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to suggest the group is expanding so rapidly it could buy its first nuclear weapon within a year. The hyperbolic article, which the group attributes to the British hostage John Cantlie, claims Isis has transcended its roots as “the most explosive Islamic ‘group’ in the modern world” to evolve into “the most explosive Islamic movement the modern world has ever seen” in less than twelve months.

Israeli Arabs rally against Morsi death sentence
Thousands of Arabs marched in northern Israel on Saturday to protest the death sentence issued in Egypt against ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Organisers said 5,000 people took part in the demonstration led by Sheikh Raed Salah, a firebrand preacher who heads the Islamist Movement’s radical northern wing.


Top Headlines – 5/24/2015

UN nuclear weapons talks fail ‘over Israel row’

Netanyahu thanks Kerry for US blocking of anti-Israel nuclear resolution

Obama Stresses Support for Israel, but Refuses to ‘Paper Over’ Discord

Abbas Reaffirms Commitment to Two-State Solution, Blames Israel for Blocking Peace

Opposition MK vows to ‘make life hell’ for Netanyahu government

Israeli public official commits suicide after accusation of racism goes viral

Thousands of Israeli Arabs protest Morsi death sentence in North

Nasrallah: Hezbollah in worst state since 1982 onslaught by Israel

Hezbollah shows off its tunnels, claims it is prepared for war with Israel

Syrians try to build case against Assad in chlorine attacks

Isis claims it could buy its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within a year

British journalist John Cantlie held hostage by Isil claims ‘infinitely’ greater threat of nuclear attack on US

White House Wants ‘Wiggle Room’ For U.S. Combat Ground Troops In Iraq

Common enemy: Israel, Hamas face threat of ISIS in Gaza

Islamic State group radio claims Saudi mosque suicide attack; promise more ‘black days’ for Shiites

Arab air strikes hit military bases in Yemen

City in the sky: world’s biggest hotel to open in Mecca

Iran’s oil minister says OPEC unlikely to change output ceiling

Iran likely to abolish fuel subsidies which could drive inflation and cause protests

Somalia: Militants Kill Lawmaker in Capital, Attack 2 Towns

Czech reality show lets family experience Nazi occupation

Putin signs Russian law to shutdown ‘undesirable’ organizations

US ‘deeply troubled’ by Russia’s NGO law

Chinese Military Using Jamming Against U.S. Drones

Justice Department releases guidelines on domestic drone use

NSA winds down once-secret phone-records collection program

Final votes on Patriot Act, trade deal bill set dramatic stage for Congress’ return

Protests erupt in Cleveland as officer cleared of fatal shooting

US government to review mystery of slow 1st quarter growth

Venezuelans look to unload bolivars as currency continues to tumble

Nigerian airlines ground flights over fuel crisis

NY fracking ban poised to take effect, critics say state giving up thousands of jobs

6.3 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Putre, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts to 20,000ft

Nepal landslide blocks river, raises fears of flood reaching India

Rain breaks records, soaks Oklahoma, Texas Panhandle

Torrential rains flood Oklahoma City, force evacuation orders in two town

A Taste of Winter on Memorial Day Weekend for New England

At least 230 have died in last 5 weeks during India heat wave

Cannes closer is call to arms on climate change

Egg Prices Surge To Record 238% Due to Bird Flu

Adult dating site hack exposes sexual secrets of millions

Irish voters back gay marriage in ‘social revolution’

Official results in Ireland gay marriage referendum show 62 percent voted in favor

US politicians pay tribute to Ireland’s vote on same-sex marriage

Americans Vastly Overestimate Size of Gay and Lesbian Population

‘Pastor protection’ bill wins almost full support in House

Mormon LGBT group denied bid to join Utah parades for second time

Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?


Top News – 5/23/2015

Irish voters back gay marriage in ‘social revolution’
Irish voters backed same-sex marriage by a landslide in a referendum marking a dramatic social shift in the traditionally Catholic country, government ministers and opponents of the bill said on Saturday.

Hezbollah shows off its tunnels, claims it is prepared for war with Israel
A rare glimpse into Hezbollah’s underground tunnels was provided on Friday by Lebanese publication As-Safir, which is associated with the militant organization. The report praised Hezbollah’s activities and painted it as a strong army ready for battle. While it is difficult to verify the claims in the article, it contained a rare discussion of the tunnels by Hezbollah members.

Chinese Military Using Jamming Against U.S. Drones
China tried to electronically jam U.S. drone flights over the South China Sea in a bid to thwart spying on disputed island military construction, U.S. officials said. Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones were targeted by the jamming in at least one incident near the disputed Spratly Islands, where China is building military facilities on Fiery Cross Reef.

The dark side of meditation and mindfulness: Treatment can trigger mania, depression and psychosis, new book claims
Meditation and mindfulness is promoted by celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Russell Brand, who boast of its power to help people put stress out of their minds and live for the moment. But the treatment can itself trigger mania, depression, hallucinations and psychosis, psychological studies in the UK and US have found. The practice is part of a growing movement based on ancient Eastern traditions of meditation.

US Senate blocks bill to end NSA phone data collection
The US Senate has blocked a bill that would have ended the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the National Security Agency (NSA). It also failed to authorise a temporary extension of the current legislation. Senators are to meet again on 31 May – a day before the bill is due to expire. A US appeals court has already ruled the bulk collection illegal.

Cholera outbreak hits 3,000 Burundi refugees – UN
Cholera has infected about 3,000 people in Tanzania, the UN has said, where many Burundians have fled seeking refuge from their country’s unrest. Up to 400 new cases are being seen each day, the UN’s refugee agency said. Over 100,000 have left Burundi in recent weeks, escaping violence sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

Report: Israel offered Saudi Arabia use of its Iron Dome technology
Arabic-language newspaper Rai al-Youm reported on Saturday that Israel has offered Saudi Arabia to use its Iron Dome anti-rocket technology. The offer was made to the Kingdom to defend its border with Yemen that has come under numerous rocket attacks. …Saudi Arabia reportedly rejected the offer, according to the London based newspaper.

ISIS expands its ‘state’
Almost a year after Islamic State’s shock capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, the black flags of the jihadis have been raised over Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province to the west of Baghdad, seat of Iraq’s increasingly theoretical central government. …Now it is all about the fall of Ramadi, the neighboring ancient Syrian city of Palmyra in central Syria…the Libyan city of Sirte, hometown of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

US officials: Iran enters Iraqi fight for key oil refinery
Iran has entered the fight to retake a major Iraqi oil refinery from Islamic State militants, contributing small numbers of troops — including some operating artillery and other heavy weapons — in support of advancing Iraqi ground forces, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

Cameron launches diplomatic offensives for EU reform
British prime minister David Cameron is to embark on a series of diplomatic offensives in the coming weeks to seek political support for renegotiating Britain’s membership of the European Union. He pledged to give British people a “proper choice” in the forthcoming EU referendum.

Netherlands backs veil ban plans
The Dutch government yesterday agreed to introduce a partial ban on the wearing of the full-face veil in public places, the Home Affairs Ministry said.

Deadly suicide blast at mosque in Saudi Arabia kills 21
A suicide bomber detonated an explosives vest during Friday weekly prayers at a Shia mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia, killing 21 people and wounding several others, a hospital official said. The official reached by telephone said more than 90 other people were wounded, including some who are in serious condition.

Senate approves trade bill in major win for President Barack Obama
In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation Friday night to strengthen the administration’s hand in global trade talks, clearing the way for a highly unpredictable summer showdown in the House. The vote was 62-37 on the bill, which would let Obama complete trade deals that Congress could approve or reject, but not change. A total of 48 Republicans supported the bill, but only 14 the Senate’s 44 Democrats backed a president of their own party on legislation near the top of his second-term agenda.

43 killed in Mexico shootout
A three-hour shootout between Mexican security forces and unidentified gunmen Friday left 42 of the gunmen dead, as well as one federal police officer, officials said.

US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to “cynically manipulate” the process by setting a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.

Russia Issues Travel Warning Over U.S. ‘Hunt’ For Russians
Russia’s foreign ministry has warned its citizens traveling abroad of the risks posed by U.S. law enforcement bodies and special services, which it said were hunting for Russians around the world. In a statement on Friday it also accused Washington of kidnapping Russians, citing cases such as that of Vladimir Drinkman, who was extradited to the United States from the Netherlands earlier this year.

Time is running out for struggling oil companies
Low oil prices are endangering an increasing number of exploration and production companies. According to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service, the oil and gas industry could see the rate of defaults rise over the next year. The companies in danger of going belly up, not surprisingly, are the ones that already have low credit ratings.


Top Headlines – 5/23/2015

Dispute over Mideast nuclear arms ban set to torpedo UN meeting

US president signs Iran nuclear review bill into law

Obama sells Iran deal directly to US Jews

Policy disagreements don’t equate anti-Israel sentiments, Obama says

US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns

Vatican recognition of Palestine builds on years of sympathy for the Palestinian cause

Abbas: Israeli settlement activity preventing peace talks

How Israel plans to evacuate Gaza border towns during next war with Hamas

Dutch restaurant says it erased Israel from map for culinary reasons

Mideast youth unemployment rises amid post-Arab Spring chaos

Hezbollah sees no end to Syria war, Mideast at risk of partition

Suicide bomber kills 21 at Saudi Shi’ite mosque, Islamic State claims attack

55,000 have fled IS-captured Ramadi since mid-May: UN

Islamic State purges Palmyra of Assad loyalists

Caught between rebels and Islamic State, Assad losing more ground in Syria

France’s Hollande calls for new push on Syria political settlement after ISIS gain

US officials: Iran enters Iraqi fight for key oil refinery

2 ‘homegrown’ jihadists nabbed in California on way to join ISIS, say officials

Hundreds of Muslims riot, set Shariah court ablaze over alleged insult to prophet Muhammad

Dutch cabinet backs partial Islamic veil and burqa ban

43 killed in Mexico shootout

Violent crime surges as arrests drop in Baltimore post-riots

Justice Department says domestic use of unmanned drones must not violate privacy, civil rights

Pentagon plans long-range missile defense radar in Alaska

US Senate votes to grant Obama fast-track trade power

Bill to reform domestic surveillance is blocked in US Senate

US State Department to post set of Hillary Clinton emails online Friday

Merkel says more work needed on Greek loan talks

EU agrees 1.8bn-euro loan to cash-strapped Ukraine

Fed on track to hike rates as economic headwinds wane – Yellen

Yellen tone suggests choppiness for markets ahead

Clock Running Out For Struggling Oil Companies

Two 6.8-magnitude quakes strike off Solomon Islands: US Geological Survey

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

Magnitude 5.4 earthquake hits Nevada, close to Las Vegas

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Iquique, Chile

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Naze, Japan

Severe Flooding Washes Vehicles Down Street in Turkey

Texas braces for severe flooding

50 million gallons of water lost after California dam vandalized

Antarctic Peninsula in ‘dramatic’ ice loss

Egg prices surge to record on shortage caused by bird flu

Tick Populations Explode in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic Following Snowy Winter

Cholera epidemic hits 3,000 Burundi refugees in Tanzania: U.N.

Ireland Gay Marriage Referendum: Count Begins After High Turnout

Irish voters appear to have voted heavily in favor of allowing gay marriage

Ireland gay marriage referendum: young and old alike say ‘Yes’

Scouts urged: Adapt to changing world on gays

Franklin Graham Urges Parents to Withdraw Support From Boy Scouts of America Following Call for End to Ban on Gay Leaders

Christian schools will have no choice about gay marriage

School apologizes for banning Jesus


‘Fix It, Jesus': Student Takes Podium to Pray as Medical Emergency Unfolds During Graduation

(CN) — A high school student in Alabama jumped to his feet and took the podium Thursday night to lead those gathered for the senior graduation ceremony in prayer as a medical emergency took place in the stands.According to reports, a family member of a graduating student fell ill as the Clay-Chalkville High School graduation ceremony was underway on the grounds of the Cougar Stadium.

‘Everybody Cried': Five-Year-Old Feeds, Prays With Homeless Man at Alabama Waffle House

(CN) — A five-year-old boy from Alabama is making headlines after he moved patrons at a waffle house to tears while feeding and praying with a homeless man inside of the restaurant.

Ava Faulk of Prattville told local television station WSFA that she and her son Josiah visited the waffle house a few weeks ago, and saw a homeless man outside of the building.

Atheist Seeks to Use Religious Freedom Law to Remove ‘In God We Trust’ from U.S. Currency 

(CN) — A prominent atheist is again on a quest to remove the motto ‘In God We Trust’ from American currency after losing attempts to do so thus far, and is now seeking to use the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in his strategy.As previously reported, atheist Michael Newdow, who has filed numerous suits challenging the mixture of God and government, first submitted a complaint in the Southern District of New York in March 2013, asserting that the motto violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution as it serves to proselytize unbelievers.

U.S. Government Drops Remaining Charges Against Evolutionary Foe Kent Hovind

(CN) — Federal prosecutors have filed a motion to dismiss the remaining criminal charges against an imprisoned creation science evangelist after a jury deadlocked on the matter and was not convinced of his guilt.As previously reported, Kent Hovind, the founder of Creation Science Evangelism out of Pensacola, Florida, has been fighting charges of mail fraud and contempt for contesting liens against a number of properties that had been seized by the government several years ago.

Other Top News Stories of Interest:

Matt Drudge Rips Boehner and GOP ‘Deception,’ ’Disrespect for Voters’ on Twitter

Matt Drudge voices the frustration of millions of people regularly, but particularly after the TPP vote.

Read More


Krauthammer: Hillary Email Dump Is ‘Farce,’ We Saw What She Wanted Us To See

Hundreds of Hillary Clinton’s emails were released today, something Clinton herself said she wants, but Charles Krauthammer doesn’t really buy this…

View Short Video


Christian witness to Muslims surges after ISIS executions

Quite the contrary, she said, “the declarations of faith uttered by the men only moments before their death have created fertile soil for conversation between Muslims and Christians.”

Her report appeared on the VOM blog site this week as a followup to a trip to the Middle East. The Christians killed by ISIS in February were mostly Egyptians who had gone to Libya for various jobs.

The ISIS video shows black-clad executioners leading a line of Christians down onto a beach then executing them.

View Article


Marines Sing Glorious Version Of ‘Lord, I Lift Your Name On High’

Take a break from bad news and enjoy our Marines praising God.

View Short Video


The Problem with Jade Helm

While some of the concern over Jade Helm might be misguided, none of it has occurred in a vacuum. It arises from more than six years of an administration that has demonstrated an overt willingness to squander the trust of millions of Americans in pursuit of its agenda—by any means necessary. Americans would much prefer to see the military training to defend the homeland against ISIS rather than engage in insulting exercises against the “hostile” heartland of liberty.

View Article


Why So Many Christians Are Just Done With Church

Comparing those who leave the church to political refugees, the authors write, “Refugees are people who’ve been forced from their homes—for fear of persecution. That describes the dechurched. If they stayed they would risk further estrangement from their spiritual selves, from God, and from a religion they still believe in.”

View Article


Legitimizing Censorship: ‘Islamophobia Studies’ at Berkeley

by Cinnamon Stillwell and Rima Greene
Jihad Watch
May 23, 2015
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/05/legitimizing-censorship-islamophobia-studies-at-berkeley
http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/14794


The dark side of meditation and mindfulness: Treatment can trigger mania, depression and psychosis, new book claims

by Marsha West

For those who have never heard of “mindfulness,” it is a Buddhist meditation practice that’s emphasized in Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Taoism and Buddhism. Practitioners claim that mindfulness is spiritually neutral. Right. And I’m Tinkerbell. In her piece “Mindfulness For Children: Buddhism For Tots” former New Ager and long time astrologer Marcia Montenegro, explains […]

Read more of this post


Gay Ireland hails “a new Republic” as same-sex marriage approved

by Marsha West

Reuters reports:

Gay marriageGay couples flocked to central Dublin to celebrate a “historic watershed” on Saturday as a large majority in the traditionally Catholic country voted to allow same-sex marriage, the culmination of a four-decade struggle for gay rights.

Waving rainbow flags, embracing and crying, two thousand people gathered to watch the official results in the courtyard of Dublin Castle after voters, young and old, accounted for one of the highest turnouts in a referendum for decades.

“The amount of people who came out to vote is just such an emotional thing for us,” said Fred Schelbaum, 48, standing with his civil partner Feargal Scott, 43, who he said he intended to marry.

Read more


Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent Gay, Lesbian in U.S.

by Marsha West

The radical homosexual lobby has been successful in brainwashing Americans into believing that more than one in five Americans are gay or lesbian. Not even close. According to Gallup the latest estimate shows that 3.8% actually identify as LGBT. Take a look at the Gallup report: The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are […]

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Gay Ireland hails “a new Republic” as same-sex marriage approved

by Marsha West

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Gay couples flocked to central Dublin to celebrate a “historic watershed” on Saturday as a large majority in the traditionally Catholic country voted to allow same-sex marriage, the culmination of a four-decade struggle for gay rights. Waving rainbow flags, embracing and crying, two thousand people gathered to watch the official results in […]

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Church daycare must pay lesbians a huge fine after couple violates employees’ moral clause

by Marsha West

A church daycare must pay a lesbian couple more than $28,000 after the women violated an employee agreement to live in celibacy as long as they taught at the Christian educational facility. As part of the settlement, the church must also meet with homosexual activists. When Jaclyn Pfeiffer and her partner Kelly Bardier went to […]

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Appeals Court Rules New York May Ban “Choose Life” License Plates for Fear of Road Rage

by Marsha West

Christian News Network reports:

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a right to decline to make “Choose Life” specialty plates if the commissioner deems the message as being “patently offensive.”

The Children First Foundation, which raises funds to support adoption and safe havens for babies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and D.C., had first petitioned the DMV for the plates in 2002. However, the request was rejected as the DMV stated that it had a “policy not to promote or display politically sensitive messages” on license plates.

Read more


Trail Life USA reacts to Boy Scout president on gay leaders

by Marsha West

Berean Research reported on the Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates’ comment that the status quo on not allowing homosexual Scout leaders cannot be sustained. Seems the Scouts’ board chairman disagrees with Gates. According to the Christian Examiner: Responding to an announcement yesterday that Boy Scouts of America legal position on banning gay Scout leaders has […]

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TLC Pulls 19 Kids Over Josh Duggar Misconduct Scandal

In a statement released late Thursday, Duggar admitted to misconduct when he was 14 years old, calling his actions “inexcusable.” “I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” he said in a post on his family’s official Facebook page. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.”

Read more


Trail Life USA reacts to Boy Scout president on gay leaders

by Marsha West

According to Christian Examiner, the Scouts reaffirms its own commitment to “timeless Christian values”:

Responding to an announcement yesterday that Boy Scouts of America legal position on banning gay Scout leaders has weakened and is “unsustainable,” Trail Life USA board chairman John Stemberger today reaffirmed its own commitment to “timeless Christian values.”

BSA President Robert Gates made the remarks to leaders in the group’s annual meeting yesterday, indicating the organization “cannot ignore growing internal challenges” and even “open defiance” to its membership policy.

“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” Gates, who previously served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Secretary of Defense said.

Read more


 

Martial Law? Jade Helm Lists ‘Hostile’ US States

Posted: 23 May 2015 08:38 PM PDT

This summer, the U.S. military is planning an unprecedented training exercise, happening across seven states on private lands and towns in the Southwest. The Jade Helm 15 operation is making many residents feel uneasy. Speculation about why the military wants to train in American communities instead of on military bases is fueling a growing number of theories across the Internet and social media. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has even asked his National Guard to monitor it. So what is Jade Helm 15?

According to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, it’s “realistic military training” taking place simultaneously in seven states from Southern California to Texas. Over eight weeks, America’s elite Special Forces will practice “unconventional warfare” by practicing operating outside their normal support systems, adapting to new terrain, and working with civilians to gain their trust. FULL REPORT

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Earth May Be Ripe For Massive Solar Storm

Posted: 23 May 2015 08:18 PM PDT

Though we typically think of hurricanes and tornadoes as the most destructive weather forces, there’s another threat hovering just outside Earth’s atmosphere that could cause far more damage: solar storms. Estimates based on historical space weather patterns show that Earth may be due for a massive solar storm — an eruption of magnetically charged gas from the Sun’s surface — that could leave millions of people without power for up to two years and cost between $1 and $2 trillion. The impact would be disastrous in today’s technologically dependent society, disrupting everything from power grids and air traffic control to water purification systems.

“[A solar storm] is not something that will happen often, not as often as hurricanes, but the effect could be even more damaging,” Therese Moretto Jorgensen, program director for the National Science Foundation, told Mic. Thanks to an increased presence in space and improved exploration and observation technology, our ability to anticipate large storms and prepare accordingly is improving. But if we want to prevent widespread damage effectively, we’ll need to do more to anticipate it. FULL REPORT

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Ireland legalizes gay marriage in historic vote

Posted: 23 May 2015 08:08 PM PDT

Ireland became the first country Saturday to legalize same-sex marriage by national referendum, a result that highlights the dramatic pace at which this traditionally conservative Catholic nation has changed in recent times. Just 22 years after decriminalizing homosexuality, 62.1% of voters approved the measure changing the nation’s constitution to allow gay marriage, according to official results by Ireland’s referendum commission. National turnout in Friday’s poll was 60.5% of 3.2 million eligible voters.

“With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny said, welcoming the outcome Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Emily Neenan, a physics student at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, was holding a large rainbow-colored umbrella in the forecourt at Dublin Castle, where “Yes” supporters gathered to celebrate outside the Irish government complex. “I am absolutely thrilled and I didn’t think it would pass with such a resounding yes,” she said. “Even in more traditional rural areas, it looks like we have done a lot better than we thought we would.” FULL REPORT

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Leading Islamic voice calls for reconquering Jerusalem

Posted: 23 May 2015 07:55 PM PDT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on his countrymen to refocus on the Ottoman goal of re-conquering Jerusalem for Islam and uniting Shia and Sunni tribes for that same mission. In a speech that got almost no coverage in the Western media, Erdogan talked about invading and reconquering Jerusalem, according to an article in the Anadolu Agency of Turkey.

“We Muslims lost our way toward Jerusalem,” he told throngs of adoring Turks while in the state of Erzincan in central Turkey. “The water of our eyes froze making us blind, and our hearts that was destined to beat for Jerusalem is now instead conditioned for rivalry being in a state of war with each other.” Erdogan was in the city to promote numerous service projects, but the speech focused on Jerusalem. “When you mention the worse ascension, the first thing that comes to mind is Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said, referring to the mosque that sits on the Temple Mount. The Mount is controlled by Arab Muslim Waqf officials, who do not allow Jews to pray accept at the Western Wall. But apparently Erdogan is not satisfied with this arrangement. He told his countrymen to “ask Allah to restore the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the infallibility of the Muslims.” FULL REPORT

 

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24 hours of Major Earthquake Unrest showing Globally — From Las Vegas to England.

Posted: 23 May 2015 07:39 PM PDT

Major seismic unrest is currently showing in multiple areas around the planet. The past 24-48 hours (up to 200am CDT May 23, 2015) has seen a serious uptick in earthquake unrest. The unrest has spread to multiple locations including several rare areas which don’t normally see noteworthy movement, such as the M4.0 which just struck South England (along the English channel), or the 5.4 magnitude earthquake which struck near Las Vegas Nevada.

In addition to the rare movement in Nevada, and the UK, a large borderline 7.0M struck near Papua New Guinea, as well as additional movement across the Philippines, South Japan, and the coast of China. This is a tremendous amount of activity to see in one 24 hour time period. The areas which have seen movement need to be on watch for additional nearby activity, in the case of Nevada we should be watching the West coast for movement in the watch zones over the next 5-6 days. FULL REPORT

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Papua New Guinea hit again — 5.9M (6.0 revised) earthquake after deep Asthenosphere movement

Posted: 23 May 2015 07:04 PM PDT

Yesterday (May 22, 2015) I issued a new nearterm watch for the area East of Papua New Guinea for a 6.0M range earthquake to strike due to a deep 4.7 magnitude which struck near Fiji.

Today (May 23, 2015) a 5.9M (6.0M revised) earthquake struck directly East of Fiji, in the Soloman Islands. The earthquake which struck is a direct follow up to the deeper earthquake yesterday in the adjacent area to the Southeast of Papua New Guinea (which is Fiji). FULL REPORT

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Two Earthquakes Shake Up South-Central Kansas

Posted: 23 May 2015 07:00 PM PDT

Two earthquakes, one a magnitude 4.0, rattled south-central Kansas on Saturday. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake occurred just before 10:15 a.m. The magnitude 3.3 was centered about 17.3 miles southwest of Pratt and had a depth of 5.2 miles.

The larger of the two earthquakes, a 4.0 temblor, shook the same area at 1:45 p.m. It had a depth of 3.1 miles. It was originally reported as a 4.6.  Numerous KAKE views called to report feeling both quakes. So far, no damage or injuries have been reported. kake.com

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Indonesia’s Lokon-Empung volcano shaken by violent eruption

Posted: 23 May 2015 06:54 PM PDT

An explosion occurred Wednesday (20 May) at 15:22 local time and produced an ash plume of approx 1.5 km height. The eruption was accompanied by strong explosion sounds, which caused concern in nearby villages and the town of Tomohon.

After the initial explosion, mild ash venting continued for a while. The eruption came from two vents, both the Tompaluan crater and the new crater west of it that had formed in October last year. EP

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Awakening again? Alert level raised to “yellow” on Chile’s Chaitén volcano

Posted: 23 May 2015 06:49 PM PDT

The alert level of the volcano was raised to “yellow,” after an increase in seismic activity was detected.

Chaitén had a famous catastrophic plinian eruption in 2008, which followed centuries of quiescence and ended in the construction of a new lava dome. EP

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Scientists worry Vegas Earthquake may be a precursor to a Bigger Event

Posted: 23 May 2015 06:39 PM PDT

After an earthquake prompted the closure of several flyover ramps in Las Vegas’ Spaghetti Bowl interchange on Friday, transportation engineers said the bridges remain safe for travel. The magnitude-4.8 earthquake happened at 11:47 a.m., and was centered in Caliente, NV, about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The earthquake was later downgraded from a 5.3 to a 4.8 magnitude earthquake by the USGS. Immediately after the temblor, emergency crews shut down the ramps from U.S. Highway 95 southbound to both directions of Interstate 15. The Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard ramp to I-15 southbound was also closed. This allowed crews to inspect a gap that appeared in the 95 ramp to I-15 southbound after the quake.

According to Mary Martini, District I engineer for the Nevada Department of Transportation, the gap existed before Friday’s earthquake, but the tremor shook loose a protective rubber casing that was covering the seam of the bridge, making the damage appear worse than it really was. “We’re issuing an emergency contract to repair the seam,” Martini said. “Meanwhile, the ramps remain structurally sound and safe for travel.” The ramps, which Martini said are made of cast-in-place concrete and steel reinforcements, reopened just after 4 p.m. They will remain open through Memorial Day, Martini said. FULL REPORT

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Isis claims it could buy its first nuclear weapon from Pakistan within a year

Posted: 23 May 2015 07:30 AM PDT

Isis has used the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to suggest the group is expanding so rapidly it could buy its first nuclear weapon within a year. The hyperbolic article, which the group attributes to the British hostage John Cantlie, claims Isis has transcended its roots as “the most explosive Islamic ‘group’ in the modern world” to evolve into “the most explosive Islamic movement the modern world has ever seen” in less than twelve months. Photojournalist Cantlie is regularly used in the terror group’s propaganda and has appeared in a number of videos, including a YouTube series called “Lend Me Your Ears”. He has been held a hostage by Isis for more than two years.

The piece, entitled “The Perfect Storm”, describes militant Islamist groups such as Boko Haram, which recently pledged allegiance to Isis, uniting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia to create one global movement. The article claims this alignment of groups has happened at the sane time as Isis militants have seized “tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems,” from the US and Iran before turning to the subject of more extreme weapons the group is not in possession of – such as nuclear weapons. FULL REPORT

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EU signs new €1.8bn bailout for UkrainePosted: 23 May 2015 07:25 AM PDT

The European Union and Ukraine have signed a third loan agreement for Ukraine worth €1.8 billion. The EU says helping Ukraine’s ailing economy is now one of the biggest challenges for Europe. The bailout is part of a broader package for Ukraine, which includes €25 billion from the IMF and €15 billion from the EU, according to the European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.

The EU stressed the money released is aimed at supporting reforms in Ukraine. “Helping Ukraine to achieve peace and transform the country into a modern, stable and prosperous economy is one of the most important tasks Europe faces today,” Dombrovskis said in the EU statement published Friday. The first €600 million installment will be transferred after the agreement is ratified by the Ukrainian Parliament, he added. FULL REPORT

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Early indications suggest Ireland voters back same-sex marriage referendumPosted: 23 May 2015 07:21 AM PDT

Early indications are that Ireland has voted in favor of same-sex marriage, Irish media reported Saturday, as the process of counting votes in the landmark referendum continues. Its passage would make Ireland the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote. The Irish Times newspaper said turnout in Dublin was as high as 65%, raising the hopes of “yes” campaigners that high engagement by young voters and those in urban areas could carry the result overwhelmingly their way.

There was speculation that opposition to the measure might have been understated in the run-up to the poll because, amid the heated debate, people have been shy of saying they plan to vote “no.” But public service broadcaster RTE and other media outlets reported that early indications were that the “yes” vote would win out. FULL REPORT

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School apologizes for banning JesusPosted: 23 May 2015 07:17 AM PDT

UPDATE: Somerset Academy issued a formal written apology to 12-year-old Mackenzie Fraiser late Friday for denying her the right to use a Bible verse in a class assignment. School officials have now agreed to allow the sixth-grader to resubmit her original project, this time with her favorite Bible verse — John 3:16 — included. Mackenzie Fraiser is 12-years-old. She’s a sixth grader at Somerset Academy, a charter school in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mackenzie is also a Christian. In February, she was instructed by her technology teacher to create a PowerPoint demonstration about her life. One of the requirements was to include a slide with an inspirational message. So Mackenzie decided to use a Bible verse – specifically John 3:16. That familiar passage reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” But the teacher had a problem with Mackenzie’s inspirational message. She explained to the class that none of the students would be allowed to use any Bible verses or quotations from the Book of Mormon. FULL REPORT

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Nepal quake aftermath: at least 200 Buddhist nuns and monks dead, 1,000 monasteries flattenedPosted: 22 May 2015 06:11 PM PDT

An estimated 200 Buddhist nuns and monks died after more than 1,000 monasteries collapsed in the 14 districts hit hardest by the earthquake s, according to the Buddhist Philosophy Promotion and Monastery Development Committee (BPPMDC). The committee, under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, said that all 215 monasteries in Sindhupalchok district were flattened by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks. Six monks have been reported dead in the district so far. A total of 150 Buddhist monasteries collapsed in Gorkha, 105 in Dhading, 60 in Rasuwa and 60 in Solukhumbu. There are reports of them destroyed in Nuwakot, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Makwanpur, Lamjung and Syangja as well. “What we have is a preliminary report of damages caused by the quake,” said Bhadra Bahadur Golay, under-secretary at the BPPMDC.

The devastating earthquake has destroyed many well-known monasteries including Seto Gumba in Ramkot; Rato Gumba in Sitapaila; Khumchey Gumba in Gorkha; Chrighyang Gumba in Dolakha and Chirite Gumba in Sindhupalchok. Karma Tsering Tashi Lama, president of the BPPMDC who recently visited many of the earthquake -affected areas in Sindhupalchok and Rasuwa with an inspection team, said he did not see a monastery that stands straight. “The monasteries we visited had either fallen or were on the verge of collapse,” said Lama. “Of those that remain, there is eerie silence.” With the collapse of monasteries along with their houses in the area, most Buddhist disciples said they feel helpless. “If only the monastery had remained, people would have gone to pray for the departed souls,” said Udar Man Tamang, 37, of Baskharka Village Development Committee. All the eight monasteries in the VDCs have been destroyed by the quake. “People here have nowhere to go,” he said. FULL REPORT

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Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego growing increasingly restlessPosted: 22 May 2015 06:05 PM PDT

Belching of ash and vapor, Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego (fire volcano) prompted officials to warn air traffic and nearby residents that the mountain could produce a significant eruption at any time. The volcano reawakened in February with eruptions that brought a rain of ash and volcanic debris to adjacent towns. That eruption forced the main international airport in Guatemala City to halt operations until workers could clear the runways of ash.

A more powerful eruption of Fuego in 2012 forced several thousand people to flee the volcano’s slopes. Volcán de Fuego sits on the border of the Guatemalan states of Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango. It’s located about 10 miles to the west of the colonial capital of Antigua and rises to 12,346 feet above sea level. EP

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UK rocked as 4.2 magnitude earthquake hits near LondonPosted: 22 May 2015 05:59 PM PDT

A “DRAMATIC, violent, jarring and jolting” earthquake has struck the UK near Kent, waking residents in the middle of the night with the shock of their lives. The unexpected tremor was felt across Britain. The British Geological Survey confirmed the quake struck at 2:52am British Standard Time with an epicenter 7km south of Ramsgate near Kent. It measured 4.2 on the Richter scale. Residents woke in shock as windows rattled, furniture shook and some reported that the quake sounded like a ‘door was being kicked in.’

The site of the quake was near another quake that hit the region in 2007 as a 4.3. Kent Police were inundated with calls about the event. A spokesman toldmirror.co.uk they began to take calls just before 3am. “It has now been confirmed parts of East Kent has been affected by an earthquake measuring just 4.3 on the Richter scale,” they said. A resident in the area, Simon Moores, toldexpress.co.uk there was “dramatic, violent, jarring and jolting of the house for about 10 seconds. “The seagulls launched into air with tremendous noise outside, dogs started barking, crockery moving, furniture jarring about a bit.” FULL REPORT

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Researcher says drought could get worse in Washington STPosted: 22 May 2015 05:54 PM PDT

The drought conditions in Washington that prompted Gov. Jay Inslee last week to declare an emergency are likely to grow worse because of a strengthening El Nino tropical weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, a weather researcher for Washington State University said Thursday. El Nino, an ocean-warming phenomenon, may bring some relief in drought-stricken California, but it’s more likely to bring more heat and dryness to the Northwest, researcher Gerrit Hoogenboom said. El Nino typically brings rainfall to central and southern California, but leads to warmer weather and less precipitation in the Pacific Northwest.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced that El Nino has been building strength since March, and that there is a greater than 80 percent chance its climatic conditions will persist through the rest of the year. “El Nino probably has not yet hit its peak,” Hoogenboom said. “It’s likely that it will be stronger in autumn and winter.” That’s bad news for a state facing an already historically low mountain snowpack and depleted water levels in rivers and reservoirs, mainly east of the Cascade Range. FULL REPORT

The post Researcher says drought could get worse in Washington ST appeared first on .

Huge sinkhole in Missouri swallows part of Top of the Rock golf coursePosted: 22 May 2015 05:39 PM PDT

A large sinkhole opened up Friday morning and created a new playing hazard on the Top of the Rock golf course. At about 6:30 a.m., grounds crews noticed the ground gave way between the practice driving range and the entrance pond to the course, according to Tammy Sapp, director of communications at Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris developed Top of the Rock and has operated it since the course opened a little more than a year ago.

The size of the sinkhole is not clear, but the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and geological engineers are on the scene to inspect and measure it. Bass Pro Shops is waiting to see what the experts find before deciding how to best repair the course. Golfers are still able to play. No tee times have been postponed so far. KY3

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Seismic Plate Pressure Building along Faults on East, West and Southern USPosted: 22 May 2015 05:31 PM PDT

After issuing a forecast for the United States to begin showing major seismic movement, we now see the movement has begun. A series of 4.0M+ earthquakes began to occur up the West coast of the United States over the past day (May 21-22) , multiple events in a short amount of time across California, Oregon, into Canada.

The West coast movement has now been followed by movement along the edge of the craton extending across the United States (as we would expect – seismic pressure is transferring EAST across the plate edge). Since issuing the earthquake forecast, we have now seen a 5.4 magnitude earthquake strike South Nevada, and several smaller events strike the Southern, and Eastern portion of the craton across Alabama, South Carolina, and up the East coast in Maine. FULL REPORT

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The dark side of meditation and mindfulness: Treatment can trigger mania, depression and psychosis, new book claims

For those who have never heard of “mindfulness,” it is a Buddhist meditation practice that’s emphasized in Zen Buddhism.  Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Taoism and Buddhism.   Practitioners claim that mindfulness is spiritually neutral.  Right.  And I’m Tinkerbell. In her piece “Mindfulness For Children: Buddhism For Tots” former New Ager and long time astrologer Marcia Montenegro, explains […]

The post The dark side of meditation and mindfulness: Treatment can trigger mania, depression and psychosis, new book claims appeared first on Berean Research.


Christian Headlines Daily – Sunday, May 24, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Boy Scouts President Calls for Withdraw of Ban on Gay Leaders

State Department Denies Visas for Assyrian Christians

Nigerian Army ‘Relocates’ 260 Boko Haram Survivors

Christian Rock Band U2 Show Support for Equal Marriage on Instagram

Mother Teresa to be Canonized as Early as Next Year

United Methodists: Practicing Homosexuality Doesn’t Contradict Christian Doctrine

Josh Duggar Sex Abuse Scandal Emerges

Church of England to Consider ‘Transgender Baptism’ Service

Castro Regime Heightens Christian Persecution in Eastern Cuba

Franklin Graham’s Facebook Prayers Target Supreme Court Justices on Gay Marriage

Opinion

Yoga Pants and What the Bible Really Says About Modesty

Seeking the complete financial ruin of a Christian family

Josh Duggar and the Problem of Easy Forgiving

Are Smartphones the ‘Electronic Enemy of Love’?

Why Do We Call Evil Good?


Christian Headlines Daily – Saturday, May 23, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Boy Scouts President Calls for Withdraw of Ban on Gay Leaders

State Department Denies Visas for Assyrian Christians

Nigerian Army ‘Relocates’ 260 Boko Haram Survivors

Christian Rock Band U2 Show Support for Equal Marriage on Instagram

Mother Teresa to be Canonized as Early as Next Year

United Methodists: Practicing Homosexuality Doesn’t Contradict Christian Doctrine

Josh Duggar Sex Abuse Scandal Emerges

Church of England to Consider ‘Transgender Baptism’ Service

Castro Regime Heightens Christian Persecution in Eastern Cuba

Franklin Graham’s Facebook Prayers Target Supreme Court Justices on Gay Marriage

Opinion

Are Smartphones the ‘Electronic Enemy of Love’?

Why Do We Call Evil Good?

David Letterman and the Death of the Talk Show

5 Myths About Christian Persecution

Should Christians Prepare for a ‘Dark Age’ in the Church?


Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon

Source


Remember the thief.

It can be a difficult situation if someone you are witnessing to asks about the fate of a loved one who died and was not a Christian. Simply say, “Only God knows the eternal destiny of the person, and the Scriptures assure us that He will do what is right. So we can take consolation from that.” Some may be tempted to say that the loved one went to hell, but the truth is that we don’t know what happened minutes before their death. Remember the thief on the cross.


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

May 23-24, 2015 Truth2Freedom Weekend Christian Blog/Article Collection

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Launching A Missions Movement: Acts 1:8

What could be more unnatural than the act of leaving your comfortable home to go to a place you’ve never been, to speak a language you don’t know, to love a people you’ve never met. Acts 1:8 is not a story of super-disciples, but a story of a bunch of sinners, just like you and me, who through the power given to them by the Holy Spirit, did the unthinkable to glorify their Lord.

Read more


Kirsten Powers Gets Its Dangerously Wrong on the Bible and Homosexuality

We are called to holiness more than to heterosexuality, and from Genesis to Revelation, from Moses to Jesus to Paul, the consistent witness of Scripture is that holiness can never be found in a homosexual union. No amount of Scripture twisting can make sexual relationships between two men or two women holy in God’s sight.

Read more


Baptism and a Box of Corn Flakes

Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.

Read more


On Conservative Religious Activism, The Numbers Speak For Themselves

In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity. (This includes not just evangelical churches but also Catholic and mainline Protestant congregations, and covers both direct missions work and donations to private relief groups.)

Read more


Qualifying ‘The State of the PCA’

If I am to be classified as a traditionalist, here is my definition of it: I believe in a tradition that is derived from the Scripture and has been held by great names in church history. This Scriptural tradition has found its way into the great creeds and confessions of the Church, particularly the Westminster Confession of Faith. I hold to such creeds and confessions as secondary standards and as faithful expositions of the fundamental teachings of Scripture.

Read more


United Methodist Body Votes to Change the Church’s Position on Homosexuality by Allowing Clergy to Be ‘Practicing Homosexuals,’ Perform Gay Weddings

The Discipline also says that clergy can neither bless gay weddings nor can non-celibate homosexuals be ordained.

At the UMC’s most recent general conference, held in 2012 in Tampa, Florida, a resolution introduced to change the Discipline’s language on these positions was voted down. But the controversy over the Mainline Protestant denomination’s position on homosexuality continued.

Read more


8 Features of the Best Kind of Calvinism

The experiential Calvinist cultivates communion with God. … Experiential Calvinism cherishes communion with God and understands that this communion requires two things: that we “receive” His love and that we “make suitable returns unto him.” The Father’s love is received “by faith” through Christ. “The soul being thus, by faith through Christ, and by him brought into the bosom of God, into a comfortable persuasion and spiritual perception and sense of his love, there reposes and rests itself.”

Read more


Lecrae Makes Music Concerned With The Soul

On embracing his faith within hip-hop: It’s interesting, because it’s such a phenomenon for a hip-hop artist to fully embrace his Christian roots and his faith. That becomes something that people almost need you to justify. What we’re communicating in our music is love and justice and service and community. But it’s rare that we’ll turn the tide and say, “Hey, justify why violence and misogyny and drug abuse is okay within hip-hop.” I think that’s tragic to some degree.

Read more


Scouts President: Gay Leader Ban Unsustainable

Gates’ speech and his call for change is not a surprise. When the Boy Scouts decided in 2013 to allow homosexual youth into the program, critics of the change said then the decision was unsustainable. John Stemberger, who ultimately left the Scouts to found a group called Trail Life USA as a Christian alternative to the BSA, said then the new policy “creates a myriad of problems” for the Boy Scouts. Andrew Walker of the Heritage Foundation said the BSA’s 2013 policy of allowing gay boys but prohibiting gay men displayed “willed naiveté on this issue.”

Read more


Five Reasons Some Pastors Are Loners—And Why That’s Not Good

“Jesus always got it right: He knew how to balance His time with the Father and with others. He called individuals, preached to the hundreds, and fed the thousands – all while also patiently investing in a few men. Even in his toughest moments (like the Garden of Gethsemane), He wanted men with Him.”

Read more


Commemorating the Burning of Jan Hus

“Hus was an heir to the English church proto-reformer John Wycliffe, whose themes of personal holiness and direct reading of Scripture in native language he reiterated. Wycliffe died a natural death, but a quarter century later he was condemned at the Council of Constance, where a still very much alive Hus was tried for heresy, defrocked and sentenced to death.”

Read more


The God of Typological Recapitulation

“Even though the prophets promise a time of restoration for Israel, theocratic Israel never experiences it. That’s precisely because it would only be realized in Christ. This has massive implications for our understanding how to read the Old Testament in a spiritually applicable way to ourselves today.”

Read more


Learning Contentment

“Christian contentment means that my satisfaction is independent of my circumstances. When Paul speaks about his own contentment in Philippians 4:11, he uses a term commonplace among the ancient Greek philosophical schools of the Stoics and Cynics. In their vocabulary, contentment meant self-sufficiency, in the sense of independence from changing circumstances.”

Read more


Duggars Reeling From Son Josh’s Sex-Abuse Scandal

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” Josh Duggar, 27, said in the statement posted on the family’s Facebook page. “We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” the statement said. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”

Read more


The Episcopal Church: Undermining the USA from Within

“Refugees designated to migrate to the United States are advanced travel money by an arm of the U.S. State Department. They land here, and are placed in the hands of (among other agencies) Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), which helps them relocate into specific communities.”

Read more


International Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues

“Under the previous rules, candidates who spoke in tongues or had a “private prayer language” were barred. Under the new rules, speaking in tongues does not disqualify missionary candidates. Too much emphasis on charismatic gifts, like speaking in tongues, could still lead to discipline.”

Read more


Definite Atonement and The Triune God

“Christ’s death is not limited in power, but limited only in its scope. Rather than making salvation possible for all people, Christ’s death actually saves certain people. Christ’s shed blood purchases and fully redeems the elect and there is no possibility that the atonement will not powerfully secure salvation for them.”

Read more


The God Who Justifies (Book Review)

“The book is technical but it is not too difficult. One might be tempted to be discouraged by the number of times White quotes Greek or seems to split exegetical hairs to make a big point, but we shouldn’t be. He is doing the heavy lifting and careful reasoning to make us more confident in the doctrine of justification so that we may be better equipped to delight in and defend this glorious truth.”

Read more


Why So Many Christians Are Just Done With Church

Comparing those who leave the church to political refugees, the authors write, “Refugees are people who’ve been forced from their homes—for fear of persecution. That describes the dechurched. If they stayed they would risk further estrangement from their spiritual selves, from God, and from a religion they still believe in.”

View Article


New Book Sheds Light on Rifqa Bary’s Terrifying Conversion Journey

Sixteen-year-old Rifqa Bary made international headlines in 2009 when, newly baptized as a Christian and fearing her Muslim parents’ reaction, she ran away from her Ohio home and took refuge with a pastor in Florida.

Fearing a so-called honor killing, a controversial practice in some Muslim communities which calls on the family of someone who has in some way “dishonored” her family name or Islam itself—

View Article


Apostate Churches Promoting Sin

by Bill Muehlenberg

I know I should no longer be surprised about these sorts of things happening, but it still leaves my head and spirit reeling: I will write about something so utterly clear in Scripture that no biblical Christian could differ, yet that happens anyway.

I will get bus-loads’ full of so-called Christian pastors, leaders and others absolutely foaming at the mouth at me and what I write. Instead of agreeing with God about clearly defined sin, they will blast me for daring to affirm biblical truth and morality.

They have imbibed of the world and its values for so long that they actually think they are doing God a favour when then effectively promote sin and unrighteousness, and attack those who dare to sound the alarm. Indeed I have now become convinced of this truth (paraphrased from something Dennis Prager recently said):

When you cease to resist evil, you will start to hate those who do.

We of course get this from the world all the time. But the really shocking and frightening thing is when people calling themselves Christians do this. I have had heaps of hate and abuse from “Christians” over the past two days because I have dared to challenge a “Christian” icon and a trendy social cause.

I committed the PC crime of daring to question the Christian credentials of Bono and U2 as they pushed the diabolical line that there is nothing wrong with sodomite marriage, but in fact is a good thing, and Jesus would fully support it, because it is all about “lurve baby”. That piece appeared here: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/23/fake-christians-fake-marriage/

But the number of people in Christian leadership who have attacked me on this, and who have defended Bono and U2 and homosexual marriage has just boggled my mind, grieved my spirit, rattled my soul, and reminded me once again how utterly apostate, compromised and carnal so much of the church has become.

When you have Christian leaders defending sin and attacking those who speak against it, then you know that we are in a very bad way. And of course I have lost count over the past few days of the number of times ‘Christians’ have accused me of every evil in the world, all the while telling me how sinful it is for believers to judge someone!

Read more


Is the Christian Church in America Losing Its Influence?
May 22, 2015 06:48 am | Mike

Is the Christian Church in America losing its identity and influence?  Or simple learning to better relate to the secular world around us? Jesus commanded us to reach out into the sinful world and share the good news of the gospel of salvation.  But He also warned us to not conform to the deception and […]

The post Is the Christian Church in America Losing Its Influence? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Heaven Is Fo Reals! (And other extra-biblical “revelations”)
May 21, 2015 09:08 am | Scott Alan Buss

People inherently love to learn about Jesus and Heaven. Not the real Jesus or the real (purged of sin and unrepentant sinners) world to come, of course, but the happy, fluffy, man-affirming versions that they’ve made up in their self-referential little heads. You know, smiling, happy, uncritical Jesus, and “everybody but Hitler will be there” Heaven. As for learning […]

The post Heaven Is Fo Reals! (And other extra-biblical “revelations”) appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Curse of Magic Christianity
May 21, 2015 09:04 am | Scott Alan Buss

Praying that God will do miraculously what we refuse to do through obedience Why do we pray for God to “magically” do what He has commanded and equipped us to do through His Spirit and Word? Why do we pray for God to “do something” to protect our children from the consequences of the very things […]

The post The Curse of Magic Christianity appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Christians Should Be Seen But Not Heard?
May 21, 2015 07:07 am | Mike

When I was a child one thing I would hear too often from my parents was “Children are to be seen, but not heard”.  We were to be submissive and obedient children but not express opinions when adults were in the room. Are we seeing this philosophy imposed on Bible-believing Christians these days?  Christians around […]

The post Christians Should Be Seen But Not Heard? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Christians-Should-Be-Seen-But-Not-Heard_-guest-William-Murray.mp3 23.7 MB


Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (05/22/15)

23 Guidelines to Protect Your Purity in Dating

Randy Alcorn equips us with some wise advice as those of us who are single date and as all of us disciple others in this area.

How to Prevent Brotherly Love

Erik Raymond lists five big main things that hinder Hebrews 13:1 in the church: “Let brotherly love continue.”

10 Unforgettable Lessons on Fatherhood

Ray Ortlund wrote a moving tribute to his dad that has stirred the hearts of many in the Internet world.

I’m Divorced: How Does God See Me Now?

J.D. Greear: “I feel the need to be abundantly clear on this: divorce is not the unforgivable sin. As a Christian, the only scarlet God sees on you is the blood of Christ, which covers your sins and presents you before God as His blameless child.”

4 Principles for Finishing Well

The older I get, the more I’m learning that it’s truly not about how I started but how I finish. May we be found faithful to the Lord.

Source


Practice true spirituality

 

In our quest for a more simple spirituality it’s important to define the term. I’m writing from the belief that spirituality is the pursuit of God and the things of God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s self-revelation (that is, the Bible).

The words of the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:16-3:2 provide inspired guidance on true spirituality. False teachers in Colossae were saying that spirituality involved not only the pursuit of God through Jesus, but also included the worship of angels and other types of mystical experiences. They taught a number of elaborate rituals and ascetic practices which anyone serious about spirituality was required to observe.

Paul admits that while “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion,” in reality “they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (2:23). In other words, these activities may look like marks of true spirituality, but they’re worthless for changing one’s heart or relationship with God.

But then Paul directs us to the basics of biblical spirituality—“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that on earth” (3:1-2).

Related: In season and out of season – expository readiness by Don Whitney

Unlike the common belief that many people are “spiritual” by nature, notice Paul’s teaching that spirituality has a definite starting point—“If then you have been raised with Christ.” This is biblical language for being united by faith to Jesus Christ in His life, death and resurrection. Until a person comes to the place where spirituality begins and receives the benefits that flow from this union with Christ—namely eternal life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—that person has no real spirituality, regardless of his effort or desire.

Notice also that genuine spirituality seeks the things of God, or more specifically, “things that are above, where Christ is.” Any spirituality that does not seek things like the will and glory of God in everything, intimacy with and conformity to Christ, and love—and does not seek them above all other pursuits—is a false spirituality.

But true spirituality doesn’t just propel the heart toward the right activities; it also pulls the mind in the right direction. For in verse 2 Paul continues, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” True spirituality is characterized by a mind preoccupied with “things that are above.” And not “things that are above” merely as we might imagine them, but rather as God has revealed them in Scripture. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about earthly things, for Paul himself gives lengthy counsel about such matters just a few verses later, from 3:18 to the end of the letter. Rather the spirituality that flows from Heaven causes “things that are above” to become a magnet for the mind. So that no matter what we think about, eventually we relate it somehow to “things that are above.” For instance, we often find ourselves asking questions like, “What would the Lord have me do in this situation?” or “What is God’s view of this?”

Don’t be deceived by a complex spirituality that gives the appearance of wisdom but doesn’t start with “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). And don’t become entangled in any spiritual practices that sound good but incline your mind and heart away from the “things that are above.”

___________
Donald S. Whitney serves as associate professor of biblical spirituality and also as senior associate dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary.  He is the author of six books, including Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian LifeYou can connect with Whitney on TwitterFacebook and through his website The Center for Biblical Spirituality. This article originally appeared at BiblicalSpirituality.org.


Articles of the Week

What Is Marriage, Exactly? Jen Pollock Michel. As a country, we’re asking this question a lot in terms of same-sex marriage. But that’s not Michel’s question (though her answer is relevant to that debate). Instead, she reflects on her own experience of marriage, and tries to counter a bevy of popular myths about what makes marriage, marriage. Here’s a hint: contrary to the wisdom of the Beatles, love isn’t all you need.

Clickbait Headlines Are Killing Your Soul, Stephen Altrogge. Journalism has always thrived on a quick pitch, and it’s nothing new for a quick pitch to become a deceptively sensationalized pitch. But the internet seems to have created space for something quite new: clickbait headlines. You know, “He asked Robert Downey, Jr. for his autograph. What happened next will leave you breathless.” We all know they’re annoying. But Altrogge points out that they’re also pretty damaging. After all, when everything is spectacular, nothing is.

Four Words Leaders Must Say Often, Eric Geiger. It’s not, “I love you, man” (though that may not be a bad idea…sometimes). Geiger boils down four traits of wise and effective leaders into a word apiece. These are about as simple as they are difficult. If you’re a leader, memorize them. After all, we’re just talking about four words, here.

Diagnosing Ethnic Fever, Bryan Loritts. “There’s a low grade fever running among many of our minority brothers and sisters working in white evangelical environments, and their fever is a result of varying factors that have left them vulnerable and exposed.  I cal this fever “low grade” because they can still function, yet if left undiagnosed and untreated, this ethnic fever will only escalate into a toxic sickness.  If we want to treat their condition, I find it helpful to look at the factors contributing to their ailment.”

Source


“Moore” fellowship with darkness.

By now, everyone knows that Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, leans socially progressive. Moore has, on multiple occasions, partnered with left-leaning organizations on behalf of the SBC in order to advance political, as well as theological, positions through government. Moore is well known for his collaboration with the apostate Roman Catholic church in his endeavors to promote traditional marriage, anti-abortion legislation, and more. So it comes as no surprise that Moore is now joining forces with the liberal Baptist denomination, The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, in order to push for legislation banning predatory lending habits by pay-day lenders.

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Letter to the Editor: Does Lighthouse Trails Believe Beth Moore is Going in an Emergent Direction?

To Lighthouse Trails: Good morning: this question is asked in sincerity, not contention. I believe I once read in one of your posts that Beth Moore was headed in the emergent church direction (or, perhaps it was in some sort of false teaching).


This Week in Calvinism – May 22, 2015

  • It seems we Calvinists follow a God who is “false, capricious, and arbitrary.” So says Tim Alleman, a guy who sounds like he has never spoken to a Calvinist in his life. Please, if someone can make sense of his rambling, let me know.
  • Identifying marks of New Calvinism, according to Gary Gilley at SharperIron.org
  • Henry Volk isn’t a Calvinist, but he thinks “we can expect more good things from the New Calvinism. God willing, it may even be the savior of American Christianity.”
  • Eight features of the best kind of Calvinism.
  • Jesus poured out his joy for you.

Source


Born Captive to Sin, Rescued by Grace

I was born into this world with certain sinful dispositions and inclinations, and neither therapy nor willpower could produce real change to my fallen human nature. God’s holy laws could only expose to me, as a fallen creature, my utter moral impotence and accountability to God (Rom 3:19, 20) but gave me no ability to obey them. The gospel, on the other hand, is not a simple call to behavior modification, but instead, the granting of a renewed heart, a new nature, which loves God’s commands (1 John 3:9, 5:1-4; Deut 30:6; Ps. 119:97; Ezek 36:26). And by grace I was declared righteous for Jesus’s sake, who fulfilled God’s law for me, not because I brought anything of my own to the table. As a result the gospel of grace awakens me to the fact that other sinners are also fallen human beings. So how can I look down on anyone, when God had such amazing mercy on a great sinner like me? I now only want to point others to the light of the gospel of Christ that they might also know Him.

Source


Falsified Radio – How Should We Respond to Josh Duggar?

Falsified Radio - How Should We Respond to Josh Duggar?

“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions…I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.” – Josh Duggar

How should we respond?

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What should the Duggar scandal teach the church?

Russell Moore:

…sexual abuse in the context of the church must be handled in terms of both authorities responsible—both the church and the state. The state has been given the sword of justice to wield against those who commit crimes (Rom. 13:1-7). The church has no such sword (Matt. 26:51-53). This means that the immediate response to allegations of sexual abuse is to call the civil authorities, to render unto Caesar the responsibility that belongs to Caesar to investigate the crime. The church may or may not know the truth of the allegations, but it is the God-ordained prerogative of the civil authorities to discover such matters and to prosecute accordingly. When faced with a question of potential sexual abuse, call the authorities without delay.

A word to the journal writers and bloggers

Kim Shay:

For those who write in journals (and for those who blog with a lot of transparency), beware. Every thought does not need to be recorded. Instead of recording negative thoughts, write things that are good. Write about how proud you are of your kids, how much you love your family, the daily provision of God, the joy He gives. I can toss my journals aside in the garbage if I feel like they contain nothing edifying. Sure, pour out your thoughts to God, like the Psalmist did, but write with kindness and grace. Don’t be harsh.

More real

Great stuff from Ray Ortlund.

When You Fear the Future

Trillia Newbell:

I’m not sure if there is a greater fear for women than the fear of what’s to come (or what won’t come). You and I rightly pray for our husband, children, schools, and whether to pursue a career, but we don’t often come to God in peace. Instead we come anxiously awaiting our fate. Goodness will follow all the days of her life, or her life, or maybe her life, we might think, but surely not my life. It’s hard not to have control, and one thing that we can’t ever determine is what lies ahead. Thankfully, God’s Word is packed with sweet promises that smash all our fearful thinking.

Charles Spurgeon’s 9 Tips for Christian Readers

Grateful Kevin Halloran compiled these quotes.

Source


Why Christians Should Be Involved in Politics

In this brief video apologist Frank Turek makes that case that if you don’t think being involved in politics is important then you don’t think preaching the gospel is important.

Source


This ‘n’ That

  • There is no other gospel.
  • Michael Kruger looks at Psalm 119 and shares five things every Christian should be doing with the Word of God.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable. (Thanks, Paula!)
  • Seriously, just call me when Driscoll does something that actually surprises us. Let’s be honest, we all knew this kind of thing would start happening, didn’t we?
  • And, this does not surprise me either.
  • Christine Caine must be using the Hillsong Revised Version of the Bible.
  • This is exactly why I am not a potluck person.
  • You’ll want to add this to the back of your Bible.
  • So, this is in the news.
  • Check out the latest issue of Credo magazine.
  • I don’t necessarily share the viewpoints here, but this is an interesting interview about the death penalty.
  • So if I want to blend in with my candy addiction, I need to move to Utah. Got it.
  • The real Mary Magdelene.
  • Fact: this is a bunch of bunk.
  • Why does evil dominate the world?

Source


Fake Christians, Fake Marriage

by Bill Muehlenberg

One good way to spot a phony Christian is when some crucial moral or social issue comes up. When they declare their hand, that usually tells us all we need to know about a person’s supposed Christian credentials. For example, if you get some guy claiming to be a Christian yet fully supports something like baby killing, you can call his bluff real quick.

Another clear-cut acid test of Christian commitment has to do with the issue of homosexuality. If you get someone trying to tell you that homosexual marriage is just peachy and Jesus would be fully supportive of it, then you know you got a religious fraud on your hands, and you should give him a very wide berth.

One so-called believer who has worried me greatly for years has in my eyes nailed his coffin completely by his recent support of sodomite marriage. Bono and U2 are going utterly brain-dead in supporting the Irish vote on homosexual marriage.

So if you think Bono is some sort of great Christian, you better think again. This comes from the U2 website:

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3 Ways Rising Secularism Affects Evangelism

by Daniel Darling

There has been no shortage of discussion and debate on the results of the latest Pew Research survey on the changing religious composition of the United States. Most researchers agree the data shows that Christianity as an identity is declining while confessional evangelicalism is either holding steady or increasing. While the number-crunchers debate the health of evangelicalism, we can all clearly see that secularism is on the rise. The old social compact that saw Christianity as good for the common good has been broken. While evangelical Christianity might continue to grow as Christ builds his church, it will also start to look even stranger to the rest of the world.

Much has been written about what this trend means for the shape of our public witness, but we haven’t given enough thought to what it might mean for personal evangelism. Here are three ways I think our evangelism strategies will change in a post-Christian age.

1. We need to assume less about people’s biblical literacy.

Many of our evangelism methods over the last several decades assumed an essentially Protestant or Roman Catholic understanding. Evangelism pursued a contrast between a works-based dependence on religion and a grace-based faith in the finished work of Christ. Evangelists could skip much of the Christian story and get right to a few verses in the Gospel of John or in Romans and clear up confusion about the biblical gospel. This may be why methods such as Evangelism Explosion or the Romans Road or the Four Spiritual Laws were so effective.

In a secularized society, though, core Christian beliefs can’t be assumed. We must still preach justification by faith through the death and resurrection of Christ, but we may start in Genesis rather than Romans. Increasingly, the people to whom we are delivering the gospel will not be former Roman Catholic altar boys or lapsed Lutherans, but people for whom the entire Christian story is foreign. Before we tell them what Paul says about their sin, we my need to tell them what sin is and why Paul matters.

In some ways this change is freeing. It allows us to do what we should have been doing all along…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

3 Ways Rising Secularism Affects Evangelism | The Gospel Coalition


WHY I’M CONCERNED ABOUT AMERICA’S YOUTH GROUPS

by Rachel Marron

Pew’s latest religion poll is out and while many headlines claim Christianity is declining in America, further scrutiny of the data suggests otherwise. The survey shows that nominal Christians (that is Christians in name only) are relabeling themselves as ‘no religious affiliation’ particularly from within the Catholic and mainline Protestant denominations. However, it appears evangelical Christianity is on the rise.

As an evangelical ‘science-rejecting, sexist, homophobic, right wing crazy’ who is looking for the best way to indoctrinate her children, this is good news. Since we’ve got 4 sons, my husband and I want to be sure the odds are in our favor.

But, if I’m honest, I’m a bit concerned with the where ‘youth programs’ in churches all across America are heading.

If you look around, churches everywhere are trying to figure out how best to reach the next generation. With an apparent goal of making church ‘fun’, the most popular tactics appear to be:

Change up the music; exchange the dull dirges for some R&B and alternative rock.
Give the youth someone they can relate to. Rather than an old white guy, try a young lumber-sexual, especially if they have tattoos to demonstrate they have a “past.”
Lots of trips are needed. Whether they are lock-ins or mission trips, kids love to vacation to the beach or a big city.
Here’s the problem. God already told us the instrument He wants to use to reach the next generation, and it’s not a youth program. It’s the family…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

Why I’m Concerned About America’s Youth Groups :: The Renewed Way


Why College students are Really Leaving the Church

Life in Progress Ministries

I’ve read several articles on the subject of “Why the youth leave the church.” Usually the articles give reasons such as, “They were never really saved,” or “they were never taught the importance of fellowship,” or “they weren’t discipled,” and the lists go on.

While I don’t think the points made in the articles are incorrect, I do believe most of the lists are incomplete and do not adequately address one of the biggest reasons people leave the church after high school.

It may be that, because they grew up in a culture that was friendlier to Christianity, church leaders don’t realize the need to prepare students for the intellectual challenges to Christianity in a deep way. Regardless, as someone who is much closer to college age than middle age I need to point out a harsh, possibly offensive reality:

Most churches — probably yours — have done and are doing a terrible job teaching people, especially youth, why they should believe Christianity is true. A lot of churches do a great job of teaching what the Bible says, but that does no good if a person does not believe or is later convinced that the Bible is not a supernaturally inspired book!

Now, this is article is no attack on my pastors or youth pastor. I imagine they did what they knew how to do and taught what they thought was important and followed the examples that they had. I would imagine that a lot of what I will say might be “greek” to you. But times have changed and I promise you that your under-30 crowd is dealing with these issues.

Your youth-group kids are going to enter a college-world (if not a high school) that is openly hostile to the Christian faith. Be assured, your students will be challenged to defend — using evidence — every aspect of their faith. And most Christians, regardless of age, don’t know what the evidence is; and many of those who do, don’t know how to explain it.

As I see it, there seem to be two options which are regularly tried:

1. Try to convince students and parents (for those youths in your church who are lucky enough to have Christian parents) to go to private Christian high schools and colleges where they will be sheltered for a few more years or home-school.

2. Try to convince the youth of your church who choose to go to secular schools to avoid the parties and find a church. Hope and pray for the best even though statistically 60–70% won’t be seen in a church again.

I would like to suggest to you a third option…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

Why Youth Really Leave | Life in Progress Ministries


Changed Quickly, Depart Slowly?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  1 Corinthians 15:52 states we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye.  Growing up, the preachers I listened to all taught we would disappear this quickly.  In studying this verse closely, it seems our bodies will transformed in an instant and we will put on immortality in the twinkling of an eye, but the verse doesn’t state we will be removed this fast.  My question is this;  Will our disappearance be as quick, or will those left behind visibly watch us depart?

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Eat My Flesh And Drink My Blood

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I know that we are saved by the blood of Christ that was shed to pay the penalty for our sins. But what did Jesus mean in John 6:53 when he said if we eat His flesh and drink His blood we would have eternal life? I know we are saved by grace through faith. Was this intended for the Jews and not the Church?
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More On Hearing The Voice Of The Lord

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  In your recent post “Hearing The Voice Of The Lord”, you referenced Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13, but Elijah was a prophet who heard regularly from God.  I am not sure that would apply to believers in general.  As far as you know, are there any instructions or similar examples for us in the New Testament about God speaking to a believer’s heart, other than to apostles, prophets, etc?  And if so, how would we know if an inner voice telling us something (like buy a new house, confront this person, look for a new job, etc) is actually coming from God, or merely us just having an idea and thinking about it?

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Don’t Eat The Forbidden Fruit!

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I have a question, that has been on my mind for quite some time. Since God knows all, he knew Adam and Eve would not stay away from the tree of knowledge and that they would eat from it even though God told them not to. So why did he put the tree there in the first place? I don’t mean to be disrespectful toward God or even question what he does, because I believe he knows exactly what he is doing. I just wonder about things like this.

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Can’t Make It To Church?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. Is it true that a committed Christian can go to hell if he or she does not attend Church every Sunday? When I say “committed Christian” I mean someone who has accepted Jesus as their personal lord and savior and who also refrains from sinning. I was wondering about this because I know a lot of committed Christians who don’t go to church because they lead very busy lives.

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The Harvest Of Rev. 14

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. In Revelation 14 it talks about reaping, but it appears to be two separate things. Verses 14 through 16 seem to be Jesus harvesting. Verses 17 through 20 are God’s wrath poured out. Is this first part (14-20) the rapture maybe, since the second part speaks of God’s wrath and I know we are not appointed unto wrath. What is your understanding of these scriptures and the difference of the man (Jesus?)on the cloud reaping the harvest versus the angel gather grapes to be crushed under the wrath of God? Thank you for your help.

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Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
Source


Remember the thief.

It can be a difficult situation if someone you are witnessing to asks about the fate of a loved one who died and was not a Christian. Simply say, “Only God knows the eternal destiny of the person, and the Scriptures assure us that He will do what is right. So we can take consolation from that.” Some may be tempted to say that the loved one went to hell, but the truth is that we don’t know what happened minutes before their death. Remember the thief on the cross.


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist). “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

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Islamic State burns a woman alive for refusing to engage in extreme sex act

Originally posted on Wintery Knight:

Jay Richards tweeted this appalling story from the leftist Washington Post.

It says:

Zainab Bangura, the U.N.’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week withthe Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.

“They are institutionalizing sexual violence,” Bangura said of the Islamic State. “The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology.”

Bangura detailed the processes by which “pretty virgins” captured by the jihadists were bought and sold at auctions. Here’s a chilling excerpt:

After attacking a village, [the Islamic State] splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are…

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If Andy Stanley Really Said This, He Doesn’t Know What Exposition Is

Originally posted on Zwinglius Redivivus:

foolish

Via.

Andy must use sermon books written by others or jump, hop, and skip around, decontextualizing passages and twisting their meaning so horrifically that the biblical writers wouldn’t even recognize what they wrote.

Expository preaching isn’t easy, it’s extremely difficult because it is duty bound to deal with the text and not USE the text to say whatever one wishes to say.

And yes, that’s exactly how people grow in the faith, Mr Stanley- because Scripture and the Spirit are the sine qua non of spiritual growth.

And finally Mr Stanley’s dreadful ignorance of Scripture makes it self most firmly known in his suggestion that the persons in Scripture preached willy nilly crazy skipping and jumping like he did.  What he doesn’t know, tragically, is that that is exactly what they did NOT do.  The writers of Scripture were supremely theological.  Mr Stanley could learn something from them.  If…

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15 Questions Every Facebook User Should Think About

Originally posted on Biblical Spirituality:

Which do you really like the most?

Facebook-logo-PSD

  1. Opening God’s Holy Book or opening your Facebook?

  1. Checking your spiritual life’s status or checking who likes your Facebook’s status?

  1. Knowing your best friend Jesus more or knowing your Facebook friends more?

  1. Inviting people to church or inviting people to like your new Facebook page?

  1. Thanking God for loving you in Christ or thanking those who like your picture?

  1. Joining prayer meeting or joining Facebook wrangling?

  1. Commenting on God’s Word or commenting on a friend’s post?

  1. Being cleansed from sin or being cleansed from Facebook spam?

  1. Being delivered from the Devil or being delivered from a hacker?

  1. Being more excited to be in church or being more excited to be on a Facebook page?

  1. Enjoying God’s promises more or enjoying your news feed more?

  1. Seeking God’s approval or seeking your Facebook friends’ likes?

  1. Communing with God or chatting with your Facebook friends?

  1. Sharing…

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Digital Media, Screen Time, and the Christian Home

Originally posted on The Reformed Reader:

9780801015298_p0_v3_s260x420.JPG I have to admit that I often wish my wife and I were raising our children before the digital age – before there were 6+ screens in each home, before people spent 7+ hours in front of a screen each day, before people’s conversations always got interrupted by the cell phone.  I’m not at all against digital media, and I realize there have always been difficult areas of parenting, but digital media sure makes parenting tough (especially when “everyone else’s” kids have the best tablet, IPhone, or gaming system)!

On this topic, I’ve mentioned The Digital Invasion before here on the blog.  This is an excellent resource for those of us trying to handle digital media in a wise, Christian way.  Here’s one helpful section on how to keep a home from being consumed by digital media; in other words, here are some tips on helping avoid screen addiction in…

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Unless You Convince me by Scripture and Sound Reasoning…

Originally posted on Zwinglius Redivivus:

And unless you can persuade me thereby that Paul was saying something other than what he said…

They knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things. That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies because they exchanged God’s truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions:

lw88v

lw86s

So, do, show me that Paul didn’t mean what he said.

[NB-…

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May 23, 2015 Christian Persecution Update

“Remember My Chains” – One Eritrean Woman’s Suffering and Ministry in Prison for Christ

Although she no longer lives in a cell, “Alice” is still not free. She spent more than six years locked in a cage in an Eritrean prison for her faith in Christ under one of the most repressive regimes against Christians on the globe.


Street clashes in Burundi over upcoming elections cause thousands to flee

“We are facing a terrible security situation,” a Burundian church leader told Barnabas as demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to serve a third term continue.


Tanzanian pastor attacked at home as tensions rise over Islamic courts bill

Breaking into his home during the night of 14-15 May, armed men attacked a Tanzanian church pastor, slashing his head with a sword.


Iraq’s Christians wonder where to flee after Islamic State militants take Ramadi city

Christians in Baghdad are filled with fear now that Islamic State (IS) militants have captured the geographically strategic city of Ramadi.


Religious Intolerance Continues to Grow at a Critical and Alarming Rate in Pakistan

ICC Note:

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has labeled Pakistan as one of the worst violators of religious freedom in the world in its most recent Annual Report.


Kenyan Mosque in Garissa Briefly Taken by al-Shabab

ICC Note: The same Muslim terror group that perpetrated the devastating attack April 2 in Garissa Kenya that killed nearly 150 mostly Christian students took over a mosque in the same county for two hours, preaching against the Kenyan government.


India’s Christians Concerned by Government’s Attempt to Deny USCIRF Annual Report

By ICC’s India Correspondent,

5/21/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “We are the sufferers,” said Pastor Christopher, a victim of religiously motivated violence that took place last month in India’s Telangana state.


Court Indicts 106 Suspected of Burning Alive Christian Couple in Pakistan

ICC Note:

In November last year, a Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan, Pakistan was accused of blasphemy, brutally beaten by a mob of enraged Muslims, and burned alive at the brick kiln where they worked.


Egypt’s Religious Freedom Farce

ICC Note: Egypt’s President Sisi has been promoting calls for reform on Egypt’s religious freedom laws, but so far the record under his leadership has not been good.


Christians flee Aleppo in their thousands after fresh fighting in Syria

After violent attacks on Christian neighbourhoods in the Syrian city of Aleppo last month, the number of Christians remaining in the city has plummeted as thousands flee in search of safety.


Iran’s Persecuted Converts

ICC Note: American Pastor Saeed Abedini remains in prison in Iran, serving an eight year sentence for his faith. He is just one victim of the Iranian regimes intense war to crack down on Christian converts from Islam.


Mob of Muslims Defy Courts to Forcibly Build Mosque on Christian’s Land

Government and police officials are complicit to land grab, intimidation, and infringement upon family’s religious freedom

By Troy Augustine

5/21/15 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Muslim mob in Deder, Ethiopia, has attacked a Christian man and forced him out of his home on the threat of death.


Daily Prayer – Friday 22 May 2015

Twen is a 32-year-old Eritrean Christian, who has been in prison since she was arrested at a prayer meeting in January 2005.


Pakistani Court Charges 106 with Slaying of Christian Couple

ICC Note:

An Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan has charged 106 individuals in connection with the murder of two Christians killed for allegedly committing blasphemy last year.


Christian in Pakistan Builds Asia’s Largest Cross as Symbol of Hope

ICC Note:

In the heart of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, a Christian businessman has built the largest cross in Asia. When asked why he built this cross, the Christian businessman said he hoped it would be a symbol of hope for Christians in Pakistan.


Al Shabaab Attacks Village in Kenya’s Garissa

ICC Note: The same terror group that killed 148 people, mostly Christians, in the April 2 attack on Garissa University College, has recently made similar incursions into Garissa County, thankfully without piling up such devastating casualties.


Crosses Removed in Zhejiang, 3 Churches Re-install Crosses After Authorities Leave

ICC Note: Chinese churches in Zhejiang, China remain unashamed of the gospel. Despite authorities forcing many churches to take down their crosses, three churches re-installed them the same day and one church did it three times before the last time the cross was removed.


Assyrian Villages Taken By Islamic State Have Been Liberated

ICC Note: A series of Assyrian villages that were captured by ISIS militants during raids in February have been recaptured by Kurdish and Assyrian forces. Church leaders have returned, but demining operations are still under before they will encourage residents to return.


Egypt Police Rescue Kidnapped Copts Leaving Marian Pilgrimage Site

ICC Note: Police forces in Minya Egypt were able to rescue four Christians who had been abducted by armed men while returning home from a Christian pilgrimage site.


Priest Abducted from Monastery in Homs, Syria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Father Jacob (Jacques) Murad, Superior of the Mar Elian Monastery Abducted by Militants

05/22/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Father Jacob Murad, a Syriac Catholic monk and Superior of the Mar Elian Monastery, was abducted by Islamic militants.


BREAKING NEWS | Priest Abducted from Monastery in Homs, Syria

ICC has learned that Father Jacob Murad, a Syriac Catholic monk and Superior of the Mar Elian Monastery, was abducted by Islamic militants. At least three armed militants arrived at the monastery by motorcycle and at gunpoint abducted Murad and another Christian, believed to be Boutros Hanna, a deacon in the church, La Croix reported.


Nigeria Boko Haram Conflict: People Have Lost Everything

ICC Note: The cost Boko Haram has inflicted upon northern Nigeria is uncountable. Christians, in particular have paid the dearest price as the Muslim militants have targeted them specifically for murder, sexual violence, kidnapping, and forced conversion.


Daily Prayer – Saturday 23 May 2015

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a Christian audience on 17 February saying, “My government will not allow any religious group belonging to the majority or the minority to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly.” This was a welcome message, especially given that Mr Modi is a Hindu nationalist and leader of the BJP party, which has strongly anti-Christian elements within it .


Despite Support From Their President, Egypt’s Christians Are Attacked By Their Neighbors

ICC Note: While Egypt’s President has showed greater support for the Christian minority, the reality of daily persecution for Egyptian Christians remain. From church bombings, abductions, to discrimination and exclusion from high level civil service jobs, persecution takes a variety of forms in Egypt and is driven by deeply ingrained prejudices that continue to divide the country.


“Kill Them, Or Else…” Ethiopian Christian Jailed, Then Told to Murder Pastors

By Troy Augustine

5/22/15 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Aman Kuni was crammed into a tight jail cell with barely enough room to sleep on the floor, but that was only the beginning of the terror that he would face for his faith in Christ.

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