December 11, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 10:14–15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


God’s Beautiful People

Romans 10:15

… As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

The kind of work I do does not bring me into contact with the world’s beautiful people very often. But I have been with them just enough to know that there really are “beautiful people,” and my friends in California, who have far more opportunity to mingle with celebrities than I do, confirm it.

Some years ago a friend of mine from Philadelphia was hosting the then well-known singing star and actor, Pat Boone, and his wife. He called our home to ask if he could bring them by, since they were going to be filming something that evening and needed a place to rest for a few hours in the late afternoon. They were with us from about three in the afternoon until six. Mr. and Mrs. Boone really were beautiful. They had flawless features, perfect skin, immaculate grooming, and were meticulously dressed. They were obviously made (or remade) for the camera. And not only that. They smelled good. They seemed to be unlike other people. They were so perfect that I could only relate them to the poem about Richard Cory, who “glittered when he walked.”

We are surrounded by a cult of beauty in our day, of course. Ever since the fall of the human race, people have valued beauty too much, usually neglecting the more important inner beauty of the soul. But at no time in history has physical beauty been at a higher premium than today. Movies and television are largely responsible, since they have created an entertainment- and beauty-directed age.

How different when we turn to our text! Though speaking of beauty, it is clearly speaking of a nonphysical kind of beauty when it says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom. 10:15).

Inner Beauty and Outer Beauty

A good place to start in trying to understand this text is by admitting that it is not a very attractive statement for most of us, and the reason is clear. We usually look at the outward appearance of things, including people, and we make our judgments on that basis. Moreover, we do not think of feet as beautiful. Regardless of what follows, when the text says, “How beautiful are the feet …” the idea seems quaint at best and probably even a bit repulsive. It becomes even more so when we remember that the feet of an ancient traveler would be dusty and smelly from the unsurfaced and unsanitary roads.

How strange that we think like this. We should know better. One of the things our grandparents used to say to us was: “Beauty is as beauty does.” But instead of thinking about actions, we think of beauty in terms of a perfect figure or a flawless face.

About thirty-five years ago, when I was in high school, I met another “beautiful person,” Eddie Fisher, one of the singing idols of the fifties. It happened behind the scenes at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. I suppose it was because of that meeting that I have always had more than a usual interest in Eddie Fisher’s life and career. He was married to Debbie Reynolds, dumped her to marry Elizabeth Taylor, and then was dumped by Taylor when she had her affair with Richard Burton on the set of the blockbuster movie Cleopatra. That was the way Eddie Fisher’s life went, and it was rather sad. Yet I was pleased to read just a year or so ago that in an interview with a reporter, Eddie Fisher summed up his experience of America’s cult of beauty by saying rather wisely, “I have learned that a pretty face is just a pretty face.” It took him a lifetime to learn it.

What does the Bible say about beauty? You know the answer. In ancient Israel the people favored King Saul because of his large stature and good looks, but God rejected Saul and chose David, explaining, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7b).

Similarly, the apostle Peter wrote to Christian women, saying, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful …” (1 Peter 3:3–5).

The Beauty of God and God’s Works

I do not mean to say by this that beauty is undesirable in itself. The Bible says that God is beautiful. In fact, several chapters before the one in Isaiah from which Paul gets the quotation he uses in Romans 10:15, Isaiah tells the people, “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty” (Isa. 33:17), meaning that they would see God.

This was David’s great desire, too:

One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

God’s creation is also beautiful, and so are the laws that govern it. In fact, when we conform to those laws, we can end up producing something beautiful ourselves.

There is an illustration of this truth in something Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), the world-renowned architect and engineer, once said. A student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asked Fuller whether he took aesthetic factors into account when he was tackling a technical problem. “No,” he replied. “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” I doubt Fuller was thinking of God when he said that, but he was nevertheless unwittingly testifying from his own area of expertise that God, God’s laws, and God’s creation really are beautiful.

Each of the wives of the patriarchs is said to have been beautiful: Sarah (Gen. 12:11, 14), Rebekah (Gen. 24:16; 26:7), and Rachel (Gen. 29:17).

Job’s daughters were beautiful (Job 42:15).

In proportion to its length, the book of the Bible that uses the word beautiful more than any other is Song of Songs. There the husband rightly expresses delight in the beauty of his bride and the bride in the beauty of her husband. This teaches that there is a place for beauty in our lives and a proper appreciation of beauty among Christians.

Yet that is not the whole story. It is true that Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel were beautiful, but their beauty was a danger that led to the compromising behavior of at least two of their husbands, Abraham and Isaac. Bathsheba was beautiful, but her beauty contributed to the fall of King David. In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is represented by a beautiful tree, but it was cut down (Dan. 4). Proverbs warns that “beauty is fleeting” (Prov. 31:30), and James says that the beauty of the rich and influential person will inevitably “fade away” (James 1:11).

Most significant of all, we remember Isaiah’s description of the earthly appearance of Jesus Christ who, he wrote, “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, / nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2). If even Jesus Christ was not physically attractive, we should know that beauty is at best a matter of indifference and at times even a snare.

Beauty is as Beauty Does

All that prepares us to turn back to our text in Romans. For when we are able to get the idea of mere physical beauty out of our heads, at least for a while, we can begin to understand what the text is saying. The first thing we notice is that the kind of beauty we find here is not descriptive beauty but functional beauty. In other words, it is the kind of definition our grandparents were speaking of when they said, “Beauty is as beauty does.” They meant that true beauty is measured by gracious acts or by the gracious and faithful performance of one’s duties.

The former Surgeon General of the United States, C. Everett Koop, has published a book of memoirs that contains an illustration of what I am talking about. At one point in his book, Koop expresses appreciation for the outstanding nurses he worked with during his days as Surgeon-in-Chief of the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Working with a nurse who knows the way you think and can anticipate your moves and needs is one of the most satisfying things about surgery, according to Koop’s testimony. He felt this deeply. So he tells how each Christmas he would hang a long sign over the door to the operating room that said, “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.” A few years later, when the Intensive Care Unit had developed to a outstanding degree, he did the same thing there. Now there were two signs at Christmas that read: “Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world.”

Koop wrote, “The nurses knew I wasn’t talking about superficial physical attraction; they knew that I appreciated the beauty of all the things they did to make possible our success in the operating room [and ICU].”

Romans 10:15 is also a functional definition, which means that the beauty it describes is that of someone who is doing something. And that is the second thing to notice: what the beautiful person is doing is bringing the Good News of the gospel to other people.

I said a few paragraphs back that the quotation is taken from Isaiah—Isaiah 52:7 to be exact, though there is a very similar text in Nahum 1:15. In Isaiah’s setting, the passage is speaking of consolation for Israel during the years of Babylonian captivity, picturing a runner appearing on the hills to announce the fall of the people’s enemies and the triumph of God’s king. The image is the same as that of the well-known story of the Greek runner who made his way from the battlefields of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 b.c. The route was generally uphill for a total distance of more than twenty-six miles, and as soon as he arrived in the city and had gasped the word “Victory!” the runner fell dead from his efforts. It was in honor of this welcome messenger that the marathon race was run in ancient Greece and is still run today in many parts of the world.

But, like many Bible texts, there is even more to it than this. For as even the rabbis recognized, the messenger is the herald of the Messiah, which is appropriate since the next chapter (the continuation of the announcement) introduces us to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. The salvation of the people from earthly enemies was undoubtedly good news, but a message of deliverance from sin is greater still. John Murray says, “As the prophecy found its climactic fulfillment in the Messiah himself, so it continues to be exemplified in the messengers whom he has appointed to be his ambassadors (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20).”

Paul is right on target when he says that the messengers of the cross are beautiful. They are beautiful because they are bearers of the gospel, which is the most beautiful message in the world.

The Elephantiasis Convert

Donald Grey Barnhouse, one of my predecessors at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, heard a story from a missionary in western Africa that is a moving illustration of what I have been writing. It was about a man who had the disease known as elephantiasis. In this disease the skin becomes thick and hard, and the limbs of the victim become enormously enlarged, much like the leg of an elephant, hence the name elephantiasis. The leg from the knee down to the foot can become as large as twelve to fifteen inches in diameter, and of course it is quite restricting and often painful. I have known at least one American who has this affliction.

But here is the story as Barnhouse tells it:

This poor victim of elephantiasis became a radiant Christian and could do nothing other than tell people of the grace of God which he had shown in sending his Son Jesus Christ to die for them. He lived in an African village and determined that every soul in the village should hear the good news of salvation. It was extremely difficult for him to walk with the monstrous legs which bore him about, but he thought nothing of the pain and toiled on from hut to hut to tell those who dwelt there about the Savior who had come into his life. Each evening he would return to his own hut where he was maintained by the kindness of his relatives. At the end of several months he was able to tell the missionary that he had visited every hut in the village and that he was now starting to take the gospel message to a village that was about two miles away.

Each morning he would start out painfully, walk the two miles to that village, go from hut to hut with the gospel, and return the two miles before sundown to his own hut. Finally, there came the day when he had visited every hut in the neighboring village. His work being done in these two villages, he remained at home for some weeks but began to be more and more restless.

He spoke to the pastor and to the missionary, who was a medical doctor, about a village that lay ten or twelve miles through the jungle, and asked if the gospel were being taken to that village. As a boy, before he had been afflicted, he had traveled the jungle path to that village, and he remembered that it was a large village and that there were many people there, and he knew that they needed the good tidings of the Savior. He was advised not to think of going to that village, but day after day the burden grew upon him. One day his family came to the missionary and said that the man had disappeared before dawn and they had heard him go but supposed that it was but for a moment. He did not return, and the family was concerned about him.

Afterwards, the full story became known. He had started down the path toward the distant village. Step after weary step he dragged his leathery legs and gigantic feet along the path that led to his goal. The people of the village later told how he had come to them when it was already noon; his feet were further swollen, bruised and bleeding. He had been forced to stop and rest again and again, and it was already past mid-day when he came. They offered him food, but before he would eat he began to tell the people about Jesus. Up and down the village he went, even to the very last hut, telling them that the God of all creation was Love and that he had sent his only Son to die that their sins might be removed. He told how the Lord Jesus had been raised from the dead and had come into his heart, bringing such joy and peace.

There was no shelter for him in that village; and even though the sun was low he started on his way down the jungle path toward home. The darkness of Africa is a terrible darkness, and the night can bring forth many creatures from the jungle. The sun went down and the poor man dragged himself along the path in the darkness guided by some insight which kept him from going astray. He told his pastor later that his fear of the night and the animals which might come upon him was more than balanced by the joy that he had in his heart as he realized that he had told a whole village about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Toward midnight the missionary doctor was awakened by a noise on his front porch. He listened, but all seemed still. Somehow he could not go back to sleep, and he went to the door with a light to see what had caused the noise. He recognized at once that the poor neighbor had returned to the village from his long trip, and had come with his wounded and bleeding leg-stumps to the door of the dispensary. The missionary called his helpers and they lifted the man, almost unconscious, and put him on one of the beds in the little hospital. The doctor said that he had seldom seen such a frightful sight as he looked upon those bleeding feet which had come back from such an errand of love and mercy. Unashamedly the doctor told how he had bent over those feet to minister to them, and as he cleaned and dressed them, he told how his own tears had fallen with the ointment upon them. The doctor ended the story by saying, “In all my life I do not know when my heart was more drawn out to another Christian believer. All I could think of was the verse in the Word of God, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings, that publish peace.’ ”

Here was a man who had been sent by God to tell the story of what Christ had done for him, and although he had to do it at the cost of such personal agony, yet he had not flinched but had gone through to the end to tell needy men the good news of salvation for their souls.

Beautiful Bilney

That is a very moving story, of course, as I said when I introduced it. But it is not unusual. For centuries, ever since the days of Jesus Christ, God’s beautiful people have strategized and sacrificed and gone out of their way to bring the gospel to those they know need it.

Do you know how the gospel came to Hugh Latimer (1400–1555), that great bishop who became one of the brightest lights of the Protestant Reformation in England? Hugh Latimer was a “beautiful” man, strikingly good-looking and brilliant. But he did not know Christ, and he was using his learning to oppose the teachings of the Reformers, especially that of Melanchthon, Martin Luther’s co-worker and friend. Latimer was at Cambridge at this time, and there was at Cambridge a little monk whose name was Thomas Bilney. No one paid much attention to Bilney. But Bilney had discovered the gospel, and he wanted the great Hugh Latimer to come to Christ, too. “What a tremendous influence he would have, if only he would discover the gospel of God’s grace in Christ,” Bilney thought.

So he hit on a plan. One day after Latimer had been preaching, Bilney caught his arm as he was coming out of the church and asked if he would hear his confession. That was a prescribed duty of a priest. So Hugh Latimer listened to Bilney, and the little monk who had found Christ “confessed” the gospel, sharing how it had changed his life. Latimer later said that he was converted by Bilney’s gospel “confession.” As for Latimer, he became a great reformer in England and is best known for his encouragement of Nicholas Ridley as they were being led to the stake in Oxford at the height of the English persecutions in 1555: “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as (I trust) shall never be put out.”

Bilney was not a beautiful person as we generally think of beauty. But he was the bearer of the gospel to Hugh Latimer, and that means that he was beautiful in the sight of God, just as are all those are who obeying the Lord Jesus Christ in carrying out the Great Commission.

May I suggest that you start thinking of beauty the way God does. What you think is beautiful now is going to be a thing of the past in just a few short years. Those you think beautiful now will no longer be beautiful in physical terms. But the beauty of the bearers of the gospel will last forever. What is more, they will go on getting more and more beautiful, as they use not only this life but eternity to praise the Lord Jesus Christ more fully.

Beauty really is as beauty does.

I invite you to value others not by their outward appearance, but by their service to Jesus Christ and the gospel. And I invite you to become one of God’s beautiful people yourself. Our text tells you how.[1]


To further explain the universal extent, or parameters, of God’s saving grace, the apostle asks rhetorically, How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?

With simple, progressive logic Paul establishes that only those who call upon the name of the Lord can be saved, only those who have believed in Him can call upon Him, only those who have heard of Him can believe in Him, only those who have a preacher can rightly hear of Him, and finally, no preacher can preach the true gospel who has not been sent by God. Viewed from the other direction, Paul is saying that if God did not send preachers no one could hear, if no one could hear no one could believe, if no one could believe no one could call on the Lord, and if no one could call on Him no one could be saved.

The capstone of Paul’s argument in this passage is that a clear message which gives understanding of the truth must precede saving faith. He reminds his Jewish readers that God called Abraham and His descendants in order that “the whole earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3) and that He called those descendants (Israel) to be His witnesses before the whole earth, as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:5–6). Just as He did in the Old Testament, God stills sends His preachers to witness to the farthest corners of the earth.[2]


14–15 Now the apostle turns parenthetically to emphasize the importance of those who proclaim the good news of the gospel, and thus by implication the importance of his apostolic ministry. A series of logically connected questions makes the point. A first question is implicit, though not stated, from the fundamental point made in the preceding verse, namely, “How shall they be saved if they cannot call on the name of the Lord?” Paul begins with the next question, in order: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?” Then the sequence follows: “How can they believe … [if] they have not heard?” “How can they hear without someone preaching to them?” and finally, “How can they preach unless they are sent?” Is this last question possibly a veiled indication that Paul needs the support of the Romans for his planned evangelistic work in Spain?

Faith, in fact, depends on knowledge. One must hear the gospel before one can be expected either to receive it or reject it. The choice of words is suggestive. To “hear” the message was the one vehicle open to people in that day. The NT had not yet been written so as to be available to the reader, though a few churches had received letters from Paul. There was no visual depiction of the Savior and his mission. The message had to be communicated by word of mouth to the hearing of others. This was as true in the days of the apostles as in the time of the prophets, as a look at the concordance will show.

“Someone preaching,” of course, refers to anyone who proclaims the gospel or witnesses to its truth. Christians are saved to serve, and a paramount element in that service is to bear witness to the saving power of Christ. To be “sent” (v. 15) suggests at least two things: that one operates under a higher authority and that one’s message does not originate with oneself but is given by the sending authority. The prophets were those who were sent in these two respects. So was Jesus (cf. Jn 3:34; 7:16). So are Christians in their witness-bearing capacity. The apostles received their commission from the risen Lord as he in turn had been sent by the Father (Jn 20:21). In addressing the Roman church, Paul was careful to state at the very beginning that he was called and set apart for the ministering of the gospel (Ro 1:1).

Is the apostolate alone in view here as representing Christ and his gospel? This is unlikely, judging from what Paul says later about the widespread proclamation of the gospel to the Jews (vv. 17–18). The task was too big for a handful of preachers (in this connection, see Ac 8:4; 11:19–20). It is not clear from vv. 14–15 whether the sending that is in view here is intended to include the sending out of missionaries by a sponsoring group of believers, as in Acts 13:3. But even if this is not included, it is obviously an integral part of the entire process of the communication of the gospel. In the case of the church at Antioch, the divine and human aspects of the sending were closely bound together (Ac 13:2–3).

Once again, Paul corroborates his statement with words from the prophets, this time Isaiah (52:7), heralding the favor of the Lord to the city of Jerusalem that had lain desolate during the Babylonian captivity (v. 15). The tidings are good; the proclamation is one of peace. Paul changes the wording somewhat—the single announcer in Isaiah becomes a company in line with the “they” in his own depiction of gospel messengers in the same verse. If the message to returning Israel in the former days was good news, how much more the promise of eternal salvation in God’s Son![3]


The necessity of evangelism (14–15)

In order to demonstrate the indispensable necessity of evangelism, Paul asks four consecutive questions.

First, if, in order to be saved, sinners must call on the name of the Lord (13), How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? (14a). For calling on his name presupposes that they know and believe his name (i.e. that he died, was raised and is Lord). This is the only occasion in his letters on which Paul uses the term ‘believe in (eis)’, which is the regular expression in John’s writings for saving faith. Here, however, since saving faith is presented as ‘calling on’ Christ’s name, the kind of ‘belief’ Paul has in mind must be the prior stage of believing the facts about Jesus which are included in his ‘name’.

Secondly, how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? (14b). Just as believing is logically prior to calling, so hearing is logically prior to believing. What kind of hearing, however? ‘In accordance with normal grammatical usage’, the phrase the one of whom (hou) should be translated ‘the one whom’ and so means ‘the speaker rather than the message’. In other words, they will not believe Christ until they have heard him speaking through his messengers or ambassadors.23

Thirdly, how can they hear without someone preaching (kēryssō, to ‘herald’) to them? (14c). In ancient times, before the development of the mass media of communication, the role of the herald was vital. The major means of transmitting news was his public proclamations in the city square or the marketplace. There could be no hearers without heralds.

Fourthly, how can they preach unless they are sent? (15a). It is not clear from the text what kind of ‘sending’ Paul has in mind. Because he uses the verb apostellō, commentators have tended to assume that he has himself in mind as an apostle (see 1:1, 5; 11:13), together with his fellow apostles, for they had been directly commissioned by Christ.25 There were also ‘apostles of the churches’, however, sent out as missionaries. The latter is a broader concept, for, although the apostles of Christ were appointed by him and required no endorsement by the church, the churches sent out only those whom Christ had chosen to send.27 The need for heralds is now confirmed from Scripture: As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ (15b). If those who proclaimed the good news of release from Babylonian exile were thus celebrated, how much more welcome the heralds of the gospel of Christ should be!

The essence of Paul’s argument is seen if we put his six verbs in the opposite order: Christ sends heralds; heralds preach; people hear; hearers believe; believers call; and those who call are saved. And the relentless logic of Paul’s case for evangelism is felt most forcibly when the stages are stated negatively and each is seen to be essential to the next. Thus, unless some people are commissioned for the task, there will be no gospel preachers; unless the gospel is preached, sinners will not hear Christ’s message and voice; unless they hear him, they will not believe the truths of his death and resurrection; unless they believe these truths, they will not call on him; and unless they call on his name, they will not be saved. Since Paul began this chapter by expressing his longing that the Israelites will be saved (1), he must surely have had them specially in mind when developing his evangelistic strategy in these verses. His next paragraph confirms this.[4]


10:15. Preaching requires sending. And how can they preach unless they are sent? Even when his servants were unwilling (e.g., Jonah), God has been sending the message of salvation to the ends of the earth from the beginning. Paul, a “sent one” (apostle, apostolos), was sent to the Gentiles, and he needed the church at Rome to help him. But he also wanted them to be available for God to send them. There were many, many Jews in Rome who were still stumbling over the stone in the path of salvation. How would they ever call on the name of the Lord unless someone is sent? Paul wants the church at Rome to get in step with those who have borne good news to Israel before, most specifically those who brought the good news of their deliverance from captivity in Assyria:

Original Context

“Good news” in its earliest contexts was that of victory in battle. In Isaiah it is deliverance from captivity in Assyria (cf. Isa. 52:4, 11–12), a type of the coming deliverance from sin.

 

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

 

Romans 10:15

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

 

Paul’s Application

Just as the “good news” was delivered to Israel in the Old Testament, so it still must be delivered in Paul’s day. It is a different gospel—a better one—of permanent deliverance from captivity to sin.

 

Six key terms, taken in reverse order, summarize God’s plan for taking the good news of the gospel to those in need: send, preach, hear, believe, call, saved.[5]


14, 15a. How, then, can they call on one in whom they have no faith? And how can they have faith in one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can people preach unless they have been commissioned?

A few points should be noted:

  • In this series of questions what is the subject? To whom is Paul referring? The apostle writes: they … they … they … they … they … they … they; though, for the sake of variation and clarity, one of these they’s can be changed to the people (or something similar).

To whom, then, is Paul referring? The usual answer is: to Israel. Some translations even insert the word “Israel” in places where the original does not have it. Now it must be admitted that to a considerable extent this answer is correct. See, first of all, what has been said in the introduction to this section (p. 348). Examine also the following passages: 9:3–5, 27, 31–33; 10:1–3, 19, 21; 11:1 f. On the basis of all this the conclusion “the reference is to Israel” cannot be escaped.

But is this a complete answer? Not every commentator is of that opinion. And rightly so. Does not the fact that in this section (10:14–21) Paul does not even mention Israel until he reaches the very close (verses 19–21) prove that he wants every hearer or reader to wrestle with these questions in his own heart and conscience?

  • We have here a series of questions. The Old Testament also contains groups of questions (Job 38:2–39:27; 41:1–7; Isa. 40:12–14, 21). However, the present series is different. It is a kind of chain in which each link bears a close relationship to its immediate neighbor(s).

Is this chain similar, then, to the one found in Rom. 5:3b–5, and to the one described in 8:29, 30? No, the difference is that in the latter two instances the chain is progressive: its links follow one another in historical, cause and effect, manner. The sequence may be compared to the series 1, 2, 3, etc. Here, in Rom. 10:14, 15a, and also in 10:17, the chain is regressive. It proceeds from effect to cause, and is comparable to the series 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Calling upon Christ in prayer is mentioned first though in reality, of course, it follows having faith in him, which, however, is the second link in this chain. Having faith in Christ results from hearing him, the third link as here arranged. This hearing implies that there must have been a preacher, the fourth link, who addressed the people. He did this because even earlier someone, the fifth link, had authorized him to bring the message.

  • What may have been the reason for Paul’s decision to arrange these links in this regressive order?

To answer this question we should bear in mind that the apostle was not only a fully inspired, very learned, deep-thinking theologian; he was also a very practical, warm-hearted Christian friend. As such he may well have had a twofold purpose in mind for writing as he did.

First of all, he is thinking of the audience, the one in Rome, to be sure, but, along the line of the centuries to follow, any audience, including also today’s. For the audience, then, and for every person in that audience, the apostle has so arranged the series that the reference to God—or, if one prefers, to Jesus Christ—who commissioned the preacher, would be mentioned last of all, in order that all the emphasis might fall upon him! Every person in the audience must be made aware of the fact that when he rejects the preacher who, as a faithful minister of the word, with insight and enthusiasm presents the glad and glorious tidings of salvation in Christ, then he is rejecting Jesus Christ himself! In addressing the seventy (or seventy-two) missionaries Jesus said, “He who listens to you listens to me, but he who rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).

Secondly, Paul is thinking of the preacher. The climactic reference to the duly commissioned preacher contains a lesson for him also. Any preacher better be sure that he has actually been called of God to do this kind of work. To arrive at a true answer to this question he should turn to Jer. 23:21, 22. If this preacher is earnestly and prayerfully trying to do that which is mentioned in the twenty-second verse, he will find it much easier to arrive at a positive and encouraging answer to the question with reference to the genuine character of his ordination.

For the preacher Rom. 10:14, 15a contains still another lesson. Just what is meant by preaching? As the footnote (p. 348) shows, preaching is actually heralding, proclaiming. Genuine preaching, therefore, means that the sermon is lively, not dry; timely, not stale. It is the earnest proclamation of the great news initiated by God. It must never be allowed to deteriorate into an abstract speculation on views merely excogitated by man!

That there could be no doubt about the fact that the people—here especially Israel, as has been shown—have actually heard the gospel, and that it has been proclaimed to them by divinely authorized ambassadors, is indicated in verse

15b. As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

This passage is quoted from Isa. 52:7 where the prophet describes the exuberance with which the exiles welcome the news of their imminent release from captivity. This news was regarded by them as being very wonderful not just because they could now return to their homeland but also, and probably especially, because for them it meant that God’s favor was still resting on them, and that not this or that earthly power but God—their own God—was still reigning. See the Isaiah context, and add Ps. 93:1; Rev. 19:6. Moreover, can there be anything more spiritually exhilarating and invigorating than the message of God’s ambassadors, as reported, for example in 2 Cor. 5:20, 21?

How beautiful are those feet! As over the mountains those messengers approached with their electrifying news, how dust-covered and dirty these feet must have been! Yet also, how beautiful … for they were the feet of those who brought the long-awaited marvelous news![6]


[1] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: God and History (Vol. 3, pp. 1245–1252). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans. Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Harrison, E. F., & Hagner, D. A. (2008). Romans. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 163–164). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (pp. 285–287). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Boa, K., & Kruidenier, W. (2000). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 314–315). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, pp. 348–351). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

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December 11: Faithful Decision-Making

Jeremiah 21:1–22:30; Romans 3:1–20; Proverbs 17:1–28

“I asked God, and He didn’t answer me.” When I hear people say this, I’m often tempted to reply, “Haven’t you read the prophets?” Because sometimes what people are really saying is, “I asked God to do something for me, and He didn’t answer in the way I expected, so He must not be listening or He must not care.” Yet the prophets repeatedly tell us the opposite. God is not human, so He does not make decisions like a human. Instead, He sees all possible outcomes and knows the best route. We simply struggle to understand the wisdom of His decisions.

One particular event in the book of Jeremiah illustrates this point. When King Zedekiah (the last king of Judah) asks Jeremiah to intercede with Yahweh on behalf of Jerusalem against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Jeremiah gives an unexpected reply: Yahweh has refused to do so. He will not intercede for His own people. Rather, He will make Nebuchadnezzar’s task easier (Jer 21:1–7).

Before we view Yahweh as harsh and unforgiving, let’s recall that this occurs after God’s people have been rebelling against Him for hundreds of years. Even so, in Jer 21:8–10, God’s people are given a choice: They can remain in Jerusalem and die—for Yahweh has deemed that the city must fall—or they can enter what appears to be death but is actually life. Yahweh sets up a faith choice for them: “He who goes out and goes over to the Chaldeans who are laying siege to you will live, and his life will be to him as booty” (Jer 21:9).

Even in the midst of unbearable circumstances, Yahweh offers a way of grace. Even when everything seems to fail, we can decide to choose faith. This story mirrors what we experience on our deathbed. It also mirrors the decision we face every day of our lives: Will we listen to the voices of the world, or will we listen to the prophets who proclaim honest indignation and faithful decision-making? Will we stay in the city, or will we go where God calls us—no matter how difficult it may seem or how improbable?

Where is God calling you? What must you walk away from? What faith decision is before you?

John D. Barry[1]


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

December 11 Christ Is Superior to Angels

“… having become … much better than the angels” (Heb. 1:4).

✧✧✧

Through a deft use of the Old Testament, the writer proves that Christ is the mediator of a greater covenant.

Man is a wonderful and amazing creation—higher than plants, animals, and any other material creation in this world. But there are created beings even higher than man—angels.

Hebrews 2:9 shows this to be the case because when Jesus became a man, He was “made for a little while lower than the angels.” After the fall of the rebellious angels under Lucifer, the angels in Heaven were no longer able to choose sin. These angels are holy, powerful, and wise. They are special beings created by God before He created man.

The Jewish people understood the exalted position of angels because they knew that the Old Covenant was brought to men and maintained by angelic mediation. Galatians 3:19 says, “Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.”

Because of this high regard for angels by his readers, the writer of Hebrews was faced with a problem. If he was to show that Christ was the mediator of a better covenant, he would have to prove that Christ is better than angels. To do so, he used seven Old Testament passages to verify his claim.

If he had tried to prove from Christian writings that Christ is a better mediator, his unbelieving Jewish readers would have said, “We don’t accept these writings as being from God.” So in effect he wisely replies, “Open up your own Scriptures, and I’ll prove my claim from them.” This results in a powerful and irresistible argument.

For the next several days, we’ll see in what ways Christ is superior to angels and how He could mediate a better covenant for us.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Because much of our understanding of the New Testament is based on the writings of the Old Testament, thank God for how He has brought His complete Word to us intact throughout the centuries.

For Further Study: Read Galatians 3:8, Romans 9:15, and Matthew 4:4. What Old Testament verses do those passages quote? What truth does each of them verify?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 358). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 8, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

The Briefing —Monday, December 11, 2017

1) The moral mayhem of last week in Congress

WSJ (Editors) –
Al Franken’s Non Sequitur

WSJ (Peggy Noonan) –
Al Franken Departs Without Grace

New York Times (Gail Collins) –
The Great Al Franken Moment

2) Our brave new world of political morality

New York Times (Katie Rogers) –
Trent Franks, Accused of Offering $5 Million to Aide for Surrogacy, Resigns

3) Why Christians should be deeply troubled by surrogate parenting

National Review (Jennifer Lahl) –
The Pro-Life Movement Shouldn’t Embrace Surrogacy

4) Very nature of New Testament as the Word of God at stake in Pope’s proposal to change the Lord’s prayer


Headlines – 12/11/2017

Washington Post (Julie Zauzmer and Stefano Pitrelli) –
‘Lead us not into’ what? Pope Francis suggests changing the words of the Lord’s Prayer.

New York Times (Elisabetta Povoledo, Laurie Goodstein, and Alan Cowell) –
Lost in Translation? Pope Ponders an Update to Lord’s Prayer

AI is now so complex its creators can’t trust why it makes decisions
But there’s a core problem with this technology, whether it’s being used in social media or for the Mars rover: The programmers that built it don’t know why AI makes one decision over another. “In order for machine learning models to be accepted by society, we’re going to need to know why they’re making the decisions they’re making.”

Netanyahu to EU: Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital Makes Peace Possible
In remarks to leading members of the European Union, PM Netanyahu said that recognizing the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is the only way to make peace with the Palestinians. (VIDEO)

Strong earthquake swarm ongoing in Skjaldbreið shield volcano
At the moment the number of earthquakes recorded is at 100 and that number is going to increase as this earthquake swarm continues, number of earthquakes happening has dropped considerably for the last few hours. This is the first large earthquake swarm in Skjaldbreið since 1992 according to Icelandic Met Office records

China weaponizing social media ‘to infiltrate European parliaments’ – German spy agency
China’s spy agency created fake LinkedIn profiles to infiltrate German and European political circles, claims Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). China denies the allegations, saying they risk undermining bilateral relations. Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV, alleges that the Chinese dummy accounts posed as consultants, policy experts, scholars and headhunters and targeted up to 10,000 German citizens.

Explosion on Manhattan subway, multiple injuries
Police report ‘some type of explosion’ near Times Square, trains being evacuated. Multiple injuries reported. Possible suspect in custody.

The MIddle East ‘Peace Process’ meme: What peace process?
Now that he formally has announced that the United States of America fully recognizes Jerusalem as the undisputed capital of the country of Israel, President Donald Trump once again has proven that he is the first American President since Ronald Reagan who actually fulfills campaign promises he made to the American people who elected him. And now he has fulfilled his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the country of Israel. So, while other experts debate the meme, let us share a secret: There is no Middle East “peace process” and there has not been a “Middle East peace process” for decades. It is a sham.

Weary firefighters brace for second week battling California wildfire
Crews battling a massive wind-driven California wildfire that has torched nearly 800 buildings and charred 230,000 acres are bracing on Monday to protect communities menaced by flames along the state’s scenic coastline.

North Korea pushing for biological weapons factories, analysts say
U.S. analysts have raised concerns over North Korea’s potential to pursue an industrial-scale production of biological pathogens it could use to threaten neighbors and U.S. troops, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The report, citing U.S. and Asian intelligence officials, said Pyongyang is moving forward to access machinery to use in the program and “factories that can produce microbes by the ton.”

Santa Barbara Evacuates As Uncontained 230,000 Acre Thomas Fire Becomes Fifth Largest In State History
Santa Barbara officials expanded evacuations Sunday as the Thomas Fire continues to rage through the Southern alifornia county – burning over 230,000 acres to make it the fifth largest in the state since California began keeping records in 1932. Overall, approximately 8,500 firefighters are battling six wildfires across Southern California.

Welcome To The Hell Hole That Is Brussels
If you penetrate the thick cloud of professional indignation to scrutinize the reality of the “capital of Europe”, what you see in many respects is actually a hell hole, one where socialism, Islamism, riots and looting are the new normal.

Putin, on surprise visit, orders Russian forces to start leaving Syria
President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian forces in Syria to start withdrawing, saying that after a two year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying ISIS. Putin made the announcement during a surprise visit to Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province where he held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad and addressed Russian military servicemen.

Netanyahu in Brussels: Recognizing Jerusalem as capital can promote peace
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the EU on Monday not to put forth a peace plan of its own, but rather to wait and see what the Americans will offer, and work on that. Netanyahu’s comments came during comments he and EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini gave before a breakfast meeting with all 28 EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Bahraini delegation visits Jerusalem to ‘talk about peace’
A 25-member Bahraini delegation is on a visit to Jerusalem in a small but significant move towards normalizing relations between Israel and the tiny Gulf monarchy. Although the group does not include any governmental officials, its arrival on Saturday for a five-day visit makes good on a pledge by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to allow his citizens to travel freely to Israel, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper…

Why North Korea’s nuclear test is still producing aftershocks
North Korea’s nuclear test in September didn’t just generate diplomatic shockwaves but also a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Aftershocks have continued ever since, and on Saturday the US Geological Survey said it had detected two more, sparking significant debate about what might be going on underground.

HP laptops found to have hidden keylogger
Hidden software that can record every letter typed on a computer keyboard has been discovered pre-installed on hundreds of HP laptop models. Security researcher Michael Myng found the keylogging code in software drivers preinstalled on HP laptops to make the keyboard work. HP said more than 460 models of laptop were affected by the “potential security vulnerability”.

Israel says it destroyed Hamas tunnel using new techniques
The Israeli military on Sunday said it has destroyed a tunnel built by the Hamas militant group that stretched from the Gaza Strip several hundred meters (yards) into Israeli territory, declaring a breakthrough in its war against underground threats from the Palestinian enclave…Conricus said a new system involving combat units, military intelligence, logistics and research had been used to destroy the tunnel.

Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemical
Monsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage… The incentive to use XtendiMax with VaporGrip, a herbicide based on a chemical known as dicamba, could refund farmers over half the sticker price of the product in 2018 if they spray it on soybeans Monsanto engineered to resist the weed killer, according to company data.

Microbes by the ton: Officials see weapons threat as North Korea gains biotech expertise
Five months before North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, U.S. intelligence officials sent a report to Congress warning that secret work also was underway on a biological weapon. The communist regime, which had long ago acquired the pathogens that cause smallpox and anthrax, had assembled teams of scientists but seemed to be lacking in certain technical skills, the report said.

WATCH: 300 landmines detonated in Golan Heights
The Landmines Removal Agency detonated a chain of 300 landmines in the Golan Heights in a controlled explosion at noon on Monday. This was the biggest explosion thus far in the Ministry of Defense’s current campaign to clear the Golan Heights of landmines. The campaign began in August and is expected to last three years at a cost of tens of millions of shekels.

Ancient pagan ‘gods’ reappearing around U.S., world
The same group that recreated the Roman triumphal arch that once welcomed travelers to the Temple of Baal is now honoring another pagan deity. The United Arab Emirates, the Italian mission to the United Nations and the Institute for Digital Archeology have re-created a statue of the goddess Athena which once stood in Palmyra, according to Breaking Israel News.

Trump’s Jerusalem declaration sparks talk of 3rd Temple
While Muslims jeer, Israelis cheer President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, prompting Jewish religious activists to suggest building the Third Temple is closer to reality than ever before. “What he did … was an enormous step in bringing the Temple,” said Asaf Fried, official spokesman for the United Temple Movement, an association of organizations working towards making the Third Temple a reality.

“CAN’T MAKE IT UP”: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Serves Obama The Stone Cold Truth About The TRUMP ECONOMY
Former President Barack Obama wants Americans to believe the U.S.’s sunny economic outlook is thanks to his administration’s policies. In a speech this week in Chicago, Obama took full credit for President Trump’s record economic numbers.

Obama-Appointed Judge: Salvation Army—Not Catholic Church—Can Advertise on D.C.’s Metro
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, issued an opinion  on Saturday permitting the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to ban an advertisement by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., while allowing one by the Salvation Army, which, like the archdiocese, is also a Christian organization.

DNA Testing Companies Like 23andme Admit Adding Fake African Ancestry To White Profiles In Order To “Screw With Racists”
Who were your ancestors? What is your ethnic background composed of? Sites like Ancestry.com and 23andme have always been some go to sources in answering all of your toughest questions. But how accurate are they? In a recent interview with Cracked, one of the major ancestry testing companies, (which specific company is unknown) spilled the beans on what really happens when you purchase an ancestry kit. While I can’t say I’m surprised, you may be shocked to learn that these ancestry sites aren’t always as accurate as they claim to be. Beyond this, they’ve also admitted to tampering with the result to “screw with racists”.

Pentagon To Undergo First Ever Audit Amid Missing Trillions
After decades of waste, overpayments, trillions of missing or improperly accounted for dollars, and most recently losing track of 44,000 US soldiers, the Pentagon is about to undergo its first audit in history conducted by 2,400 auditors from independent public accounting firms to conduct reviews across the Army, Navy, Air Force and more – followed by annual audits going forward.

Charity Amnesty International Ordered To Return Donation From George Soros
Humanitarian charity Amnesty International has been ordered by the State’s ethics watchdog to return a donation from Billionaire globalist George Soros. The donation from Soros was to help the charity fund its campaign to overturn Ireland’s abortion ban.

California governor blames devastating wildfires on climate change
California’s governor has said that deadly wildfires in the winter will be ‘the new normal’, as fire crews rushed to contain the fires, with dry desert winds expected to intensify over the weekend.

These 8 Places Around The World Are Actively Preparing For Nuclear War
Tensions are high in practically every corner of the world, but somehow, despite the proliferation of imminent threats, many people are still blithely unaware of the hell that could be unleashed.


Bitcoin Futures Begin Trading – Let The Madness Commence!

One of the things that I love about Bitcoin is that the fun never seems to end.  On Sunday, Bitcoin futures began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange for the first time ever, and within minutes the CBOE’s website crashed.  What a perfect metaphor.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are completely and utterly disrupting the global financial system, and the financial establishment is still groping for a cohesive response to this growing phenomenon. (Read More…)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 11, 2017

CNN’s Blinders Cause More Fake News

It’s a cycle — false reporting only leads to more mistrust of the mainstream media.

The Foundation

“During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety.” —Thomas Jefferson (1805)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 11

  • Hotly anticipated bitcoin futures ease off after 22 percent surge (Read More)
  • Bitcoin Futures Debut With 26% Rally, Trigger Cboe Trading Halts (Read More)
  • Powell faces early test of policy view as tax cuts near approval (Read More)
  • Small Investors Face Higher Taxes Under Senate Proposal (Read More)
  • US, Japan and South Korea host joint missile tracking drills (Read More)
  • Bakers, farmers struggle to make any dough on poor wheat crop (Read More)
  • Fund Managers’ Great 2017 Comeback Almost Blew Up (Read More)
  • Hospital Giants in Talks to Create U.S.’s Largest Operator (Read More)
  • Catalan protesters clash with police over ‘plunder’ of religious artefacts (Read More)
  • EU tells Netanyahu no support for Trump’s Jerusalem move (Read More)
  • Another Sign of Frothy Markets: Blank-Check Boom (Read More)
  • Small Banks, Big Worry (Read More)
  • The Middle Class Might Not Even Notice If the GOP Cuts Their Taxes (Read More)
  • Russian military chief criticizes U.S., Japan and South Korea drills (Read More)
  • Palestinian stabs Israeli in Jerusalem; anti-Trump protest flares in Beirut (Read More)
  • A Fight in Afghanistan That America Is Winning (Read More)
  • Investors Told to Brace for Steepest Rate Hikes Since 2006 (Read More)
  • U.S. citizen on the run after busting out of Bali prison (Read More)
  • Mobile-Wireless Offers Insight Into Post Net-Neutrality World (Read More)

Headlines – 12/11/2017

Still seeking peace in Jerusalem 100 years since Britain’s victory

Erdogan: Israel has been ‘occupying’ the Palestinian people’s hundreds-of-years-old homeland

PFLP: Cancel the Oslo Accords – terrorist group says Trump’s decision on Jerusalem destroyed the possibility of implementing the two-state solution.

Macron tells Netanyahu that US recognition of Jerusalem is threat to peace

Netanyahu faces pressure in Europe amid Jerusalem protests

Jerusalem: Netanyahu expects EU to follow US recognition

Netanyahu in Brussels: Israel is preventing the spread of radical Islam to Europe

Palestinian reconciliation hits ‘obstacles’ on deadline, Fatah says

Egypt’s Sisi invites Palestinian president to Cairo to discuss Trump’s Jerusalem move

Israel, Turkey leaders trade insults over US Jerusalem decision

Netanyahu slams Turkey’s Erdogan for claiming Israel is ‘terrorist state’ that ‘kills children’

Implementation of US decision on Jerusalem will not be easy, says Erdogan

Hardline Indonesian Muslim groups burn US, Israeli flags over Trump’s Jerusalem move

US seeks to quell global outrage over Jerusalem: ‘The sky hasn’t fallen’

Pope warns of Jerusalem ‘spiral of violence’

White House: unfortunate that Palestinians declined meeting with Pence

Hamas: ‘The enemy will pay the price of breaking rules of engagement with Gazan resistance’

Israel says it destroyed Hamas tunnel using new techniques

Lieberman: World is interested in our anti-tunnel technology

American diplomat: US looking to counter Iran in post-war Iraq

In landmark move, Saudi Arabia to issue cinema licenses in early 2018

Egypt to sign contracts for nuclear power plant during Putin’s visit

North Korea is hacking bitcoin exchanges as currency value soars, expert says

South Korea imposes new sanctions on North Korea

Microbes by the ton: Officials see weapons threat as North Korea gains biotech expertise

US, S. Korea, Japan start missile-tracking drill

Nobel Peace Prize winners warn nuclear war is ‘a tantrum away’

House gavel with impeachment power up for grabs

CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ Turns Network’s Colossal Screwup Into An Attack On Trump

Danske Bank’s Wealth Management Robot Now Has 11,500 Clients

Meet Your New Boss: An Algorithm

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Tadine, New Caledonia

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 28,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Fuego volano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcnao in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

It’s so cold outside that it snowed in Florida

New evacuations as huge Southern California fire flares up

California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities

California Gov. Jerry Brown suggests on climate change, Trump doesn’t fear ‘the Lord’ or ‘the wrath of God’

Millions gained coverage since Obamacare, but many are worse off as premiums soar

Plasma For Pay: Broke Millennials Sell Blood Just To Survive

Nikki Haley: women who accuse Trump of sexual misconduct ‘should be heard’

Support for Israel from younger evangelicals dropping

Mike Ratliff – Are we in the midst of God’s wrath of abandonment?

James White Embraces Brotherhood with NAR Apologist, Michael Brown

Reclaiming the 7 Mountains – is it dominionism?

North Carolina steps in on child abuse cases involving Word of Faith Fellowship

Pope Francis’ Claims Angel’s Greeting to Mary as Being ‘Full of Grace’ Meant She Was Without Sin

Founder of nation’s largest Christian music festival charged with child molestation

This Has Been The Worst Year For California Wildfires In The History Of The State

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:52 AM PST

This Has Been The Worst Year For California Wildfires In The History Of The State(By Michael Snyder) We have never seen a year like this in the history of the state of California. Yes, there are large wildfires in California every year, but this is one for the record books. Well over half a million acres have already been burned, and we still have three weeks remaining in 2017. At this moment, the fires that have absolutely ravaged Ventura County for the past seven days are moving into Santa Barbara County, and at this point no end to the crisis is in sight.   It would be hard to overstate the devastation that has been caused by these fires in recent months.

One climatologist even used the term “apocalyptic conditions” to describe what he has been witnessing. The following comes from the Los Angeles Daily News… From Jan. 1 to Dec. 3, there were 6,762 fires that destroyed 505,391 acres. That’s 43 percent more events for the same time period last year, when 244,297 acres were destroyed, according to Cal Fire. “Fuel. Ignition. Meteorology. Each component of the formula are off the charts this year,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “When all three elements in the equation are supersized, you’re set up for apocalyptic conditions.” READ MORE

Putin orders withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:44 AM PST

Putin orders withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. He gave the command during a surprise visit to Khmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Latakia province on Monday morning. A “significant part” of the Russian military contingent in Syria should return to Russia, Putin announced, addressing Russian military personnel at Khmeimim. The order to withdraw followed the defeat of “the most battle-hardened grouping of international terrorists” by the Russian and Syrianmilitaries in the space of two years. As he arrived at the base, which houses Russian forces assisting Syria in the battle against Islamic State terrorists (IS, formerly ISIS), the Russian president was greeted by his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, and by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, in a brief stop on his (President Putin’s) way to bilateral talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, followed by a meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. READ MORE

US, Japan and S. Korea launch two-day ‘missile tracking’ drills

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:37 AM PST

US, Japan and S. Korea launch two-day ‘missile tracking’ drillsWashington, Seoul and Tokyo have have begun joint “missile tracking” drills, South Korea’s military said. The new round of military exercises comes just days after the US and its allies concluded the largest ever air maneuvers over the peninsula. The exercises kicked off Monday amid speculation that North Korea may soon test launch a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), South Korea’s military

announced, according to the Yonhap news agency. Two US Aegis destroyers – USS Stethem and USS Decatur – are leading the war games along with South Korea’s Seoae Ryu Seong Ryong Aegis destroyer, and Japan’s Chokai Aegis vessel. During the exercises, the three navies aim to polish their skills at detecting and tracking potential ballistic missiles using a computer-simulated training module. READ MORE

Netanyahu cites Bible to justify Trump’s Jerusalem move, urges EU to follow suit

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:34 AM PST

Netanyahu cites Bible to justify Trump’s Jerusalem move, urges EU to follow suitFollowing Donald Trump’s controversial Jerusalem move, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has told EU leaders there is no other place for the capital – and that the Bible proves it. As protests continue, he also urged the Palestinians to embrace “reality.”  During his visit to Brussels on Monday, Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate its embassy, saying that it was based on the recognition of reality. The controversial decision triggered

protests in the Middle East and across the globe, and was met with international condemnation. Nonetheless, the Israeli Prime Minister said that the decision promotes peace, and called on EU states and the Palestinians to follow suit. “It makes peace possible because recognizing reality is the substance of peace, the foundation of peace,” Netanyahu told reporters prior to a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. READ MORE

DEVELOPING: Explosion reported in New York City’s Port Authority during morning rush

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 05:10 AM PST

DEVELOPING: Explosion reported in New York City’s Port Authority during morning rushPolice are responding to reports of an explosion near New York City’s Port Authority during Monday morning’s rush hour, prompting evacuations on multiple subway lines. NYPD and the FDNY confirmed to Fox News they are investigating reports of an explosion “of an unknown origin” near 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.

Police tweeted A, C, E subways lines are being evacuated. It’s unclear if there are any injuries at this time. Several people wrote on social media there was mass chaos at the bus terminal, some saying there was a “stampede” when an explosion was heard. NYC Office of Emergency Management also tweeted there was “police activity” near West 42nd Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues and advised commuters to expect delays.  READ MORE

Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound?

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 08:09 PM PST

Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound?(By Ricky Scaparo) In this message, we will dig deeper in the understanding of the new life and walk of a believer after their conversion to Christ and why we must be aware of the attempt to distort the true message of Grace in the Church today.

SPREADING: California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communities

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 07:47 PM PST

SPREADING: California wildfire rages toward scenic coastal communitiesA raging wildfire pushed toward a string of California coastal cities on Sunday, prompting new evacuations as crews fought to save homes in the face of gusty winds that have fueled blazes across the state for nearly a week. Authorities ordered residents in parts of Carpinteria and Montecito to leave early on Sunday as the Thomas Fire edged closer to Santa Barbara, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles on the scenic central California coast. The blaze, the worst of six major fires in Southern

California in the last week and already the 10th largest on record in the state since 1932, has blackened 173,000 acres (62,726 hectares), destroyed hundreds of structures and left nearly 90,000 homes and businesses without power. The combination of Santa Ana winds and rugged terrain in the mountains that run through Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have hampered firefighting efforts, and officials said the Thomas Fire was only 15 percent contained on Sunday. READ MORE

British & Canadian Families Denied Adoption For Christian Views On Homosexuality

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 07:42 PM PST

British & Canadian Families Denied Adoption For Christian Views On HomosexualityRecent cases of British and Canadian families that were denied permission to adopt show that the war gender radicals are waging on Christianity increasingly targets families. In several recent high-profile cases, Christian families holding mainstream Biblical views on homosexuality were rejected for adoption solely due to their beliefs that children should be raised by both a mother and a father and that the choice to live a homosexual lifestyle is fraught with risk. A husband and wife in the UK (their names withheld from the media), who have biological children of their own, had opened their family to foster

children for years. As they continued to act as loving foster parents for a happy family, they were informed by a social worker that a homosexual couple was seeking to adopt their foster children. The foster parents expressed their concern and only two days later applied again to adopt the children. Still focused on the best interests of the children, they believed that to uproot them from the loving family bonds they had formed were do more harm than good. They are reported to have said, “We want to look after them. We want to adopt them; we love them. READ MORE

 

Egypt’s Coptic Leader Cancels Pence Meeting Over Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 07:35 PM PST

Egypt’s Coptic Leader Cancels Pence Meeting Over Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s CapitalEgypt’s Coptic Church said Saturday its leader, Pope Tawadros II, will not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during the latter’s visit to Cairo this month, citing President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Coptic Church said in a statement that it has “excused itself from hosting Mike Pence” due to Washington’s move “at an unsuitable time and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people,” according to Times of Israel.

“The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church declines to receive American Vice President Mike Pence,” it said, adding it would pray for “wisdom and to address all issues that impact peace for the people of the Middle East.” The Trump administration has voiced concerns over the ongoing persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt at the hands of Islamist terrorists and others. On Friday, Egypt’s top Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Al-Azhar Islamic seminary, also declared he will not meet Pence. READ MORE

3 Dallas Cowboys Give Their Life to Jesus and Share Video of Their Baptisms

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 07:22 PM PST

3 Dallas Cowboys Give Their Life to Jesus and Share Video of Their BaptismsDallas Cowboys chaplain Jonathan Evans, son of Dr. Tony Evans and a former NFL fullback took to Social Media on Wednesday to share footage of three NFL players openly accepting Jesus Christ as savior and getting baptized.  “It was an honor to baptize 3 Dallas Cowboys who identify themselves as Christ-followers first,” Evans wrote on his Facebook page sharing a video of the event along with the hashtags “Identity In Christ” and “Cowboy Nation.” The athletes getting baptized were Kavon Frazier, 23, Anthony Hitchens, 25, and Justin March-Lillard, 24.

Upon entering the pool, the team minister quoted 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore those who are in Christ are a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come,” Evans told the entire team as they watch the baptismal service. “Baptism is just an external expression about an internal reality,” Evans explained to those standing around the pool. “Going under the water means he died with Christ and coming back up means he’s resurrected to the newness of life.” FULL STORY

Ancient pagan ‘gods’ are reappearing around US and the world

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 07:14 PM PST

Ancient pagan ‘gods’ are reappearing around US and the worldThe same group that recreated the Roman triumphal arch that once welcomed travelers to the Temple of Baal is now honoring another pagan deity.  The United Arab Emirates, the Italian mission to the United Nations and the Institute for Digital Archeology have re-created a statue of the goddess Athena which once stood in Palmyra, according to Breaking Israel News.  Though Athena was venerated as a goddess

of reason, she was also known as “Athena Promachos,” a war goddess, and the re-created statue features her holding a spear. The exhibit, titled “The Spirit In the Stone,” is being hosted at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. It’s another move by globalist organizations to honor pagan deities, months after the reconstructed “Arch of Baal” went on a world tour, including being placed outside the G7 meeting of the world’s industrialized nations.  READ MORE

 

 

Russia may turn to cryptocurrencies in oil trade to challenge sanctions & the petrodollar

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 01:31 PM PST

Russia may turn to cryptocurrencies in oil trade to challenge sanctions & the petrodollarThe gradual acceptance of digital currencies, with major exchanges about to launch bitcoin futures trading, may prompt some oil producing nations to ditch the US dollar in crude trade in favor of cryptocurrencies, an oil analyst says.  Russia, Iran and Venezuela have more than one thing in common. All three are major oil-producing nations dependent on the dollar since the global crude market is

traditionally dominated by contracts denominated in US currency. Moscow, Tehran and Caracas are also facing US sanctions; penalties which are proving effective since the sanctioned countries are dependent on the US dollar to sell their crude. A decentralized currency – allowing anonymous transactions along with blockchain technology support to facilitate oil contracts – may be the ideal tool to allow the oil-producing trio to turn their back on the greenback. READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: US will take North Korea ‘into our own hands’ if China doesn’t do more

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 01:24 PM PST

RUMORS OF WAR: US will take North Korea ‘into our own hands’ if China doesn’t do moreChina must to do more to counter North Korea or the US will take things “into our own hands,” America’s Ambassador to the UN has said.  Nikky Haley told Fox News Sunday that Beijing and the rest of the international community are following through with sanctions against Pyongyang for developing its nuclear weapons programme. She then commended Washington for leading the charge. “But to be

clear, China can do more,” Haley said. “And we’re putting as much pressure on them as we can. The last time they completely cut off the oil, North Korea came to the table. And so we’ve told China they’ve got to do more. If they don’t do more, we’re going to take it into our own hands and then we’ll start to deal with secondary sanctions.” READ MORE

CUP OF TREMBLING: Mideast Tensions at Boiling Point in Wake of U.S. Shift in Israel Policy

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 01:09 PM PST

CUP OF TREMBLING: Mideast Tensions at Boiling Point in Wake of U.S. Shift in Israel PolicyPockets of anger surfaced Sunday in the Middle East and Asia over the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but predictions of widespread upheaval failed to materialize as riots petered out in the Palestinian territories.  In a sign of festering regional dissent, protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on Sunday, with Lebanese security forces firing tear gas and water

cannons at demonstrators. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and set fire to tires near the embassy but the unrest had largely calmed by late afternoon. The decision by the White House last week to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there from Tel Aviv was widely condemned in Lebanon, which hosts about half a million Palestinian refugees—representing roughly 10% of the country’s population. READ MORE

CUP OF TREMBLING: Erdogan calls Israel ‘terrorist state’

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 12:54 PM PST

CUP OF TREMBLING: Erdogan calls Israel ‘terrorist state’Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday described Israel as a “terrorist state” and vowed to use “all means to fight” against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital. “Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!” Erdogan said in a speech in the central city of Sivas.  “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.” His speech came days after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,

angering Palestinians and sparking protests in Muslim and Arab countries. Four Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in violence following the US announcement. Rockets were fired from Gaza and Israeli warplanes carried out raids on the territory. Erdogan earlier described the status of Jerusalem, whose eastern sector Palestinians see as the capital of their future state, as a “red line” for Muslims. He called Trump’s declaration “null and void”. READ MORE

3 dead, 480,000 without power, numerous records broken as winter storm hits US South

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 12:49 PM PST

3 dead, 480,000 without power, numerous records broken as winter storm hits US SouthNearly 500,000 people were left without power and three have died as a surprisingly strong early winter storm hit the US South on its way toward the Northeast. The storm dumped rare snow on the Deep South, in many places record-breaking for December. Relatively quiet weather is expected across much of the country today as the storm continues to pull away from the Northeast Sunday morning. There is a chance for light snow showers in the Northeast today and tonight but the greatest snowfall accumulations are expected east of lakes Erie and Ontario due to lake effect snow. The storm blanketed

parts of the Deep South this week with up to 46 cm (18 inches) of snow in places, causing traffic chaos and leaving more than 480,000 people without power as of Saturday morning, December 9, 2017. More than 334,000 homes and businesses were still without power Saturday afternoon in Georgia (235,000), Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Over 170,000 woke up Sunday still without power; 125,000 in Georgia, 17,000 in Alabama, another 17,000 in Louisiana and 12 000 in North Carolina. Snow started falling in Houston, Texas on December 8, making it the second earliest snowfall on record. READ MORE

Will God Bless Trump for Moving Our Embassy to Jerusalem?

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 06:14 PM PST

Will God Bless Trump for Moving Our Embassy to Jerusalem?(By Dr. Michael Brown) Ben Shapiro listed 7 reasons why Trump’s decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem is right, calling it “an act of not only political bravery but moral courage.” But is it an act that God Himself will bless? Is there spiritual significance to this decision as well?  Earlier this year, a pastor asked me if there was any way to get a message to the president. With great passion, he said to me, “During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to move the embassy his first day in office, but he didn’t do it. And when did the protest marches against him begin? His second day in office! He will never see the full blessing of God

until he makes good on his promise.” Others believe that Trump’s decision will prove disastrous. As a headline on the Daily Mail proclaims, “’He’s declaring war on 1.5billion Muslims’: Trump will recognize  Jerusalem as Israel’s capital TODAY despite international fury from the Pope, Britain, Russia, China and Palestinians.” In the words of the Palestinian Authority’s Manuel Hassassian, “He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims [and] hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel.”  CONTINUE

 

North Korea rocked by earthquakes after nuclear blast amid fears more tests are on the way

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 05:45 PM PST

North Korea rocked by earthquakes after nuclear blast amid fears more tests are on the wayTwo tremors detected near North Korea’s nuclear test site early on Saturday morning were probably aftershocks from Kim’s huge nuclear blast in September, according to a US Geological Survey (USGS) official.  The 2.9 and 2.4-magnitude aftershocks were detected at 06.13 and 06.40 GMT and a tweet from Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Organisation, revealed analysis’s had confirmed the activity was “tectonic” in origin. The tremors were recorded close to North Korea’s Punggye-Ri nuclear test site in the north-west of the country, close to the border with China. The USGS official explained: “They’re probably relaxation events from the sixth nuclear test.”When you have a large nuclear test, it moves the earth’s crust around the area, and it takes  a while for it to fully subside.  READ MORE

‘Pope Francis’ Claims Angel’s Greeting to Mary as Being ‘Full of Grace’ Meant She Was Without Sin

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 05:36 PM PST

‘Pope Francis’ Claims Angel’s Greeting to Mary as Being ‘Full of Grace’ Meant She Was Without SinIn one of the feasts and celebrations marked on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar leading up to Christmas, Catholics around the world observed the Feast of Immaculate Conception on Friday, a day in which those who follow the religion commemorate their belief that Mary was conceived in her mother Anne’s womb without original sin.  Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, delivered an Angelus

address, during which he claimed that the angel Gabriel’s reference to Mary as being “full of grace” meant that there was no sin in her. Most Bible translations use the phrase “highly favored,” while a few use “full of grace.” Through this wording, Gabriel “reveals the new name which God has given her and which befits her more than the one given by her parents,” Bergoglio asserted, according to a report by Vatican Radio.  READ MORE

Atheist group objects to creation of cross memorials at a Georgia high school

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 05:29 PM PST

Atheist group objects to creation of cross memorials at a Georgia high schoolThe nation’s most conspicuous professing atheist organization has expressed objection to the creation of cross memorials at a Georgia high school as part of a city effort to remember fallen soldiers. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter earlier this year to the attorney for Catoosa County Public Schools to assert that the crosses, made at Ringgold High School, were unconstitutional. “We write to request assurances that, in the future, Mr. Elliott nor any other

district employee will include religious messages in student assignments, allow school-sponsored religious activities, or otherwise promote or endorse religion in their official capacities,” it read. The organization also took issue with another school in the district, as it had learned that Heritage High School’s leadership class had partnered with a Christian missions organization to build a school for the poor in Nicaragua. READ MORE

Mysterious hum from deep inside the Earth leaves experts baffled

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 01:36 PM PST

Mysterious hum from deep inside the Earth leaves experts baffledScientists have captured a mysterious hum coming from deep inside the Earth, but they are still no closer to working out what it is. It has long been known that the Earth constantly generates a low-frequency vibrational signal. The first attempt to detect this hum was made in 1959, but it wasn’t until 1998 that scientists finally proved its existence. Since then, there have been hundreds of attempts to record the Earth’s hum, but they have all been made using seismometers on land. Now researchers have

captured the hum for the first time using seismic instruments at the bottom of the sea. The researchers first gathered data from 57 seismometer stations located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, between 2012 and 2013. They then applied a combination of techniques to remove interference from ocean infragravity waves, currents and electronic glitches, and corrected for the signal generated by any earthquakes. READ MORE

U.S. Warns Saudi Arabia on Mideast Actions as Allies’ Ties Fray

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 01:23 PM PST

U.S. Warns Saudi Arabia on Mideast Actions as Allies’ Ties FrayThe Trump administration delivered an unusually blunt warning to Saudi Arabia on Friday, saying the U.S. might curtail its support for Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen unless the kingdom takes immediate steps to allow more humanitarian aid into the besieged country. In a series of public comments and private conversations in recent weeks, the Trump administration has urged the Saudi-led

coalition fighting in Yemen to lift a blockade on the country to allow food, water, fuel and medicines to reach those in need. The White House stepped up that call on Friday, saying the U.S. is “gravely concerned by the recent escalation in violence and continued dire humanitarian conditions in Yemen.” A senior administration official warned that the situation “could constrain the U.S. if steps aren’t taken” to ease the conditions. READ MORE

PROPHECY WATCH: Turkey Seeking Muslim Coalition To End Occupation of Israel

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 01:10 PM PST

PROPHECY WATCH: Turkey Seeking Muslim Coalition To End Occupation of IsraelTurkey’s leader is seeking to spearhead Islamic reaction to the US declaration on Jerusalem, but it is uncertain if he can coordinate a meaningful response among often disunited Muslim nations. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause, had fulminated against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital even before it was officially announced this week.

Erdogan described the status of the city, whose eastern sector Palestinians see as the capital of their future state, as a “red line” for Muslims. With Trump disregarding such warnings, the Turkish president used his position as the current chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to call a summit of the pan-Islamic group. “He is seeking to garner an international response,” said Ziya Meral, resident fellow at the British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, READ MORE

CUP OF TREMBLING: Israel airstrikes, Gaza rockets amid tensions over Jerusalem…

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 12:58 PM PST

CUP OF TREMBLING: Israel airstrikes, Gaza rockets amid tensions over Jerusalem…

Two Palestinians were killed Saturday in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, as tensions rose in the region after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Israel Defense Forces said aircraft had targeted what it identified as four facilities belonging to Hamas — the Palestinian Islamist group that controls Gaza — early Saturday in response to rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza. The aircraft targeted two weapons manufacturing sites, a

weapons warehouse and a military compound, according to an IDF statement. The two Palestinians killed were men, 27 and 30 years old, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qadra told CNN. The IDF said Israeli aircraft had also struck a Hamas training compound and ammunition warehouse late Friday in Gaza. One of the rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Israeli city of Sderot, according to the IDF. There was no mention of casualties. READ MORE

More Americans Turning To Witchcraft As Traditional Religions Declines…

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 12:53 PM PST

More Americans Turning To Witchcraft As Traditional Religions Declines…The following piece is an excerpt from CBS New York: At a time when participation in traditional religions is declining among Americans, the practice of witchcraft is said to be on the rise.  CBS2’s Ali Bauman went inside the secret world of modern-day witches to explore why so many say they’re falling under its spell. “I am the high priestess,” Lisa Stewart said. “To be a witch is incredibly relevant in today’s society,” Anton Stewart explained. Nestled in the

heart of the Hudson Valley is the Church of the Eternal Circle, the only legally recognized Wiccan Church in the state of New York. “We follow the tradition of the craft of the wise — witchcraft — and we are witches,” Stewart said. For the first time, members invited CBS2 to attend their services. “The time is right,” Lisa said. Stewart and her husband Anton are the founders of the church. “There are definitely more of us than you think,” she said. READ MORE

Heads of Turkey and France Urge US to Reverse Decision Regarding Jerusalem

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 07:16 AM PST

Heads of Turkey and France Urge US to Reverse Decision Regarding JerusalemTurkey’s Tayyip Erdogan and France’s Emmanuel Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Turkish presidential source said on Saturday.  The two leaders agreed during a phone call that the move is worrisome for the region, the source said, adding that Turkey and France would make a joint effort to try to reverse the US decision.

Erdogan also spoke on the phone to the presidents of Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Azerbaijan on Saturday regarding the issue, the source said. On Wednesday, he called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey next week. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday has upset US allies in the West. At the United Nations, France, Italy, Germany, Britain and Sweden called on the United States to “bring forward detailed proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.”  READ MORE

Half of Humanity Believes In Aliens

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 05:21 AM PST

Half of Humanity Believes In AliensNearly half of humans believe in alien life and want to make contact, a survey in 24 countries has found, in what researchers said helps to explain the lasting popularity of the “Star Wars” franchise 40 years after the first movie was screened.  On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”. An even greater 61 percent said “yes” when asked if they believe in “some form of life on other planets”.

Roughly a quarter said they do not believe intelligent life exists beyond Earth, researchers at Glocalities said. Among those who believe we are not alone in the universe, 60 percent said we should try to seek contact with alien civilizations, it found. It was not the first survey to collect views on extraterrestrial beings — questionnaires in Germany, Britain and the United States have found similar rates — but researchers said this was the largest poll of its kind with such global reach. READ MORE

What is The Gospel?


Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


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John MacArthur on the Confusion at Christmas

Code: B171211

For most people, Christmas is much more than a day. The word itself represents a wide variety of activities, traditions, and events. Just thinking about Christmas triggers your senses, reminding you of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes the season represents.

Reading that, you are likely thinking of some of those things right now. But as you scroll down that mental checklist of all the things Christmas means to you, where do you find Christ? Many believers would be ashamed to admit how little the birth of the Lord actually figures in their Christmas celebrations, and what a low priority He receives at this time of year.

How do God’s people keep His Son at the center of their Christmas celebrations? And how do we avoid the worldly temptations and influences that ramp up at this time of the year? We recently asked John MacArthur about these issues; here’s what he had to say.

In the days ahead, we will be doing our part to help you keep your eyes on Christ, His incarnation, and God’s grace and sovereignty displayed through the birth of His Son.

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B171211
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December 11 GOD WILL KNOW WHEN TO EXALT US

Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and he shalt lift you up.

JAMES 4:10

Christians have often asked: “Must I humble myself and meekly accept every situation in life?”

I think this is the answer: As Christians, we must never violate morals or truth in humility.

If in humbling ourselves we compromise the truth, we must never do it. If it means a compromise of morality, we must never do it.

I am confident that no man or woman is ever called of God to degrade himself or herself, either morally or in truth. But we do have a calling from God to humble ourselves under His mighty hand—and let the other party do the rock-throwing!

In this call to His people for true humility, God adds the promise that He will exalt us in due time! “Due time.” It will be the time that God knows is best suited to perfect us and a time that will bring honor to God and the most good to men. That is “due time.”

It may be that in God’s will He will expect us to wait a long time before He can honor us or exalt us. But God knows what is best for each of us in His desire to make us the kind of saints that will glorify and honor Him in all things!

It is well for us to remember here that Jesus willingly humbled himself under the hand of men and so He humbled Himself under the hand of God![1]


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

December 11, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

25 Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26 Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father.
27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! 28 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, 29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. 30 And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Ki 8:25–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


25–28 Solomon’s confidence in praying is bolstered by previously answered prayer. Answered prayer is today also a strong basis for confidence in prayer. A second ground of confidence is God’s own promise. His servants frequently claim his promises when they pray, and God honors these requests (cf. Ex 32:13; Da 9:1–19). In making this petition, Solomon recognizes his own responsibility and tacitly rededicates himself to serving God.

The major point, however, of these verses is a plea that God, who has so far been faithful in every way to his covenant with David (as evidenced in the completion of the temple and the rulership of Solomon), might always accept this temple and condescend to dwell there, while receiving those who approach him by way of the temple.

Verse 27 is parenthetical. The request continues in v. 28. By means of the rhetorical question, Solomon makes it clear that he is under no illusion as to the significance of the temple, nor is it properly speaking a home for God. It would be utterly impossible to build a house that could even begin to be commensurate with, or adequate to reflect, the majesty of the Lord. God does not need the temple, but the temple needs God! God does not need Israel, but Israel needs God!

Verse 28 continues from v. 26. The connection may be rendered: “And let your word … come true … in giving attention to your servant’s prayer.” In making this great request, Solomon realizes that on the actual merits of the case, he has no right to pray as he does were it not for God’s own promise given by his grace. The only claim Solomon has on the Lord is God’s own word, freely given; but God’s Word is a bond that cannot be broken, so Solomon can pray with assurance and confidence. This privilege is the portion of believers of all ages.[1]


8:27–30 / Having completed the line of thought begun in 8:15, Solomon now turns his attention to the temple’s broader significance as a focal point for prayer. Verses 27–30 help us with the transition in thought, in advance of the petitions that the king will make in verses 31–51, each with their plea that God should “hear from heaven” (vv. 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49). The main purpose of 8:27–30, indeed, is to emphasize that this is (if anywhere is) the “place” from which God hears. God cannot dwell on earth (v. 27). The temple—in spite of the statement of verse 13—is not to be thought of as a place where God is but only as a place where God’s Name is, a place towards which God’s eyes are open (v. 29; cf. Isa. 66:1–3). The hearing of prayer is done from heaven (v. 30). This is (if anywhere is) the dwelling place of God. Even then, however, God cannot, strictly speaking, dwell in even the highest heaven (v. 27). Being utterly transcendent, God cannot be “placed” at all; all human language about dwelling must be qualified constantly, so that attempts to describe do not in fact minimize. One consequence of divine transcendence, of course, is that people do not have to be in one designated place in order to pray. As God’s eyes are open toward the temple rather than in it (v. 29), it is sufficient for people to pray toward the temple rather than be physically in it (vv. 29–30; cf. John 4:21–24).[2]


8:27–30 Although Solomon realized that no temple on earth was adequate to contain the great God, yet he asked that the Lord might recognize this temple and that when he or any of the people of Israel addressed God there, He might hear and forgive.[3]


8:27–30 will God indeed dwell on the earth? Though God will dwell in the temple (vv. 10, 13; cf. note on 1 Sam. 4:3–4), it is not to be thought of as the only place where God is, but as a special place where his name is, a place toward which his eyes are open (1 Kings 8:29; cf. Isa. 66:1–3). The hearing of prayer is done in heaven (1 Kings 8:30), which is (if anywhere is) the dwelling place of God. Even then, however, God cannot be limited to any one place; he cannot, strictly speaking, dwell in even the highest heaven (v. 27). He cannot be confined by space.[4]


8:22–30 Solomon had begun his reign with a conscious dependence on God (3:9). His long public prayer (vv. 22–53) recognized that continuing need in his life (vv. 26, 28) and the lives of his people (vv. 30, 31, 33, 35, 38, 44, 46–48). In his prayer Solomon stressed God’s faithfulness, and the need for similar faithfulness on the part of Israel, rulers and people alike, if God’s full blessings were to be realized.

8:27–29 heaven … temple: The God of Scripture is infinite; all that He has made, vast as creation may be, finally has its limits. No mere building, no matter how wonderful, can be thought of as the dwelling place of God. Yet in His grace the Lord condescends to be viewed as having His dwelling among men. God’s dwelling in a temple prefigured the Incarnation when the Creator became man, born in a stable in Bethlehem.

8:30 Since God was present in the temple in Jerusalem, prayer was to be directed toward this place (Ex. 15:17; Dan. 6:10).[5]


[1] Patterson, R. D., & Austel, H. J. (2009). 1, 2 Kings. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 705). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Provan, I. W. (2012). 1 & 2 Kings. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 79). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 364). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 611). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 439). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

December 11 THE NEED FOR REVERENCE

God is greatly to be feared…and to be had in reverence.

Psalm 89:7

Many persons who have been raised in our churches no longer think in terms of reverence, which seems to indicate that they doubt God’s presence is there! Much of the blame must be placed on the growing acceptance of a wordly secularism that seems much more appealing than any real desire for the spiritual life that is pleasing to God.

We secularize God; we secularize the gospel of Christ and we secularize worship!

No great and spiritually-minded men of God are going to come out of such churches, nor any great spiritual movement of believing prayer and revival. If God is to be honored and revered and truly worshiped, He may have to sweep us away and start somewhere else!

Let us confess that there is a necessity for true worship among us. If God is who He says He is and if we are the believing people of God we claim to be, we must worship Him! In my own assessment, for men and women to lose the awareness of God in our midst is a loss too terrible ever to be appraised!

Dear Lord, forgive me for those times when I rush right in and start “dumping” my complaints and needs on You without first acknowledging and honoring You as the Almighty God. I humbly bow before You, Lord.[1]


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

December 11 Parable of the Sower: Superficial Hearers, Part 2

The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.—Matt. 13:20–21

Those who only superficially receive the gospel might be baptized, join a church, and seem for a long time to be Christians. But trials and testings will eventually expose such persons’ spiritual lifelessness. Such difficulties are not the ordinary hardships of life but the problems encountered “because of the word.” When the Christian life’s demands get too severe, the person discontinues any pretense of following the Lord.

“Falls away” is the translation of skandalizō, the Greek verb that means to cause to stumble and can include the concept of offending someone. We get the English scandalize from it. All these ideas fit the superficial hearer because when something really tests his or her faith, they stumble, become offended, and abandon the gospel (cf. John 8:31; 1 John 2:19).

If a person’s profession of salvation doesn’t include real conviction of sin, a strong desire for the Lord, and a love for His Word, along with willingness to suffer for Him if need be, it’s only a matter of time before that one renounces any previous profession of faith.

It is encouraging, however, that the same kind of tribulation that makes the false believer wither makes the true believer stronger. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12); but “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

ASK YOURSELF

Everything of real value comes with a cost. Why should Christianity be any different? Where do we get the idea that following Christ should require little effort and be met with little resistance, both from within and without?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 354). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 11 Deliverance from Temporary Distress

I know this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:19

Today’s verse shows the value of confident trust in God. Paul knew his current distress was only temporary and that he would be delivered from it.

Why was Paul convinced of his deliverance? His statement, “I know this will turn out for my deliverance” is a quote of the Greek version of Job 13:16. Job was a righteous man who suffered greatly, yet he was delivered because God always delivers the righteous. Job said, “After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:26). He knew that either temporally or eternally God would deliver him.

Paul knew he could trust God to deliver him just as God had delivered Job. He was confident his circumstances would work out for good, whether he was released from prison, vindicated at his trial, and delivered from execution or passed into glory as a martyr. You may not face the same trials as Paul, but whatever your circumstances, the same confident trust is available to you.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 372). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 11, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

11–12 The Lord was faithful in changing circumstances. The psalmist returns to the dominant motif of this psalm—Yahweh the Vindicator. He is the Lord who effectually changed wailing into dancing, mourning into joy, and a deathly cry into a song of joy (v. 11). Such is the goodness of God. Notice how Calvin, 1:489, observed this over four hundred years ago: “But however much God may terrify and humble his faithful servants, with manifold signs of his displeasure, he always besprinkles them with the sweetness of his favor to moderate and assuage their grief.”

Because of the mercy of the Lord, the psalmist vows to continue in the praise of God (v. 12b). The NIV translates “glory” (kābôd; see 7:5) as “heart.” The word occurs in parallelism with “soul” (7:5; NIV, “life”) and so frequently refers to the whole human being or existence. He will glorify the Lord! To this end he was redeemed, because he had argued, “Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?” To this end the Lord vindicates his servant in the presence of his enemies (cf. v. 1; 23:5; 2 Th 1:5–10). Alter, 135, senses the magnificence of the psalmist’s language: “It is through language that God must be approached, must be reminded that, since his greatness needs language in order to be made known to men, he cannot dispense with the living user of language for the consummation of that end.”[1]


David celebrates god’s answer (vv. 11–12)

David returns to the point with which he began. His heart is filled with thanksgiving because God had heard and answered his prayer. Those who have been saved have been chastised, and those who have been chastised are eager and ready to praise when the chastisement is over.[2]


30:11 Now back to David. Verses 9 and 10 give us his prayer to God when he was in the throes of his illness. Then between verses 10 and 11 the answer comes. He is healed by the Lord. The last two verses of the Psalm celebrate his recovery. For David it was like the difference between the mourning of a funeral and the joy of a wedding. Or to change the figure, it was like a new suit of clothes. God had removed his sackcloth and dressed him up in garments of gladness.[3]


30:11–12 I Will Give Thanks Forever. The experiences in which sorrow has turned to joy lead the psalmist, and all who worship with him, to expect to sing God’s praise and give him thanks (cf. v. 4) forever. My glory is a poetical term in the Psalms for one’s whole being (cf. 16:9; 108:1).[4]


30:11 You have turned my wailing into my The psalmist returns to his praise of thanksgiving as he describes the faithful restoration Yahweh provides.

By proclaiming his thanksgiving, the psalmist shows the benefit of Yahweh’s deliverance; Yahweh’s deliverance enables him to praise Yahweh and proclaim his thankfulness. The psalmist encourages others to praise and give thanks with him (vv. 4–5).

dancing Represents a joyous celebration (Jer 31:13).

sackcloth A sign of mourning. See note on Neh 9:1.[5]


30:11, 12 mourning into dancing: The psalmist has been transformed and renewed because of God’s blessing on his life. He boasts in God as he fulfills his vow of praise. My glory refers to the psalmist’s inner being (16:9).[6]


[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 301). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Ellsworth, R. (2006). Opening up Psalms (p. 95). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 591). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 974). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 30:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 668). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

December 11 GROWING ADMIRATION FOR GOD

Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power; thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee.

—Exodus 15:6-7

Then there is admiration, that is, appreciation of the excellency of God. Man is better qualified to appreciate God than any other creature because he was made in His image and is the only creature who was. This admiration for God grows and grows until it fills the heart with wonder and delight. “In our astonished reverence we confess Thine uncreated loveliness,” said the hymn writer. “In our astonished reverence.” The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much within the constitution. Never breaks over our bylaws. He’s a very well-behaved God and very denominational and very much one of us, and we ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble and look to Him to watch over us when we’re asleep. The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I could have much respect for. But when the Holy Ghost shows us God as He is we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight. WMJ022-023

Maybe it’s time, Lord, for You to show us a new and unusual vision of Your majesty and power! Come among us in power and restore to us a sense of wonder, astonishment and delight. Amen.[1]


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