Hacking “Ashley Madison” – A Pastoral Perspective

Originally posted on In Perspective:

Upon returning to Birmingham from a refreshing study sabbatical I was greeted with a news flash, a warning and a probing question. The news flash informed me that there was a website devoted to providing a network for married people to pursue adultery – euphemistically identified today as an “affair.” This website predictably was not only easily accessed but also promised privacy to its 38+ million subscribers while attracting them with the catchy motto – “Life is short. Have an affair.” Furthermore the website had been hacked and the hackers had warned they were going to make public the names of its participants. The website’s name is Ashley Madison – then came the warning.

The website had a large number of well-known, well-situated and prominent subscribers. But even more ominously I was warned the list included professing Christians and leaders from Evangelical churches and organizations – then came the probing…

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott takes action to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood

Originally posted on WINTERY KNIGHT:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican

This story is from leftist ABC local news.

Excerpt:

Gov. Greg Abbott launched a new set of proposals Friday to defund Planned Parenthood and pass restrictions on the collection of fetal tissue.

[…]On Friday, Gov. Abbott announced a new initiative in response under the acronym “LIFE.”

“Gruesome – and potentially illegal – harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood cannot be allowed in Texas,” Abbott said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Treating unborn children as commodities to be sold is an abomination. The barbaric practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts must end.”

The initiative states, “Laws must be changed to make it a felony under Texas law to perform a partial-birth abortion; and make it illegal for abortion doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering the procedure to preserve fetal body parts.”

[…]It further states, “Funding for Planned…

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Doctrine of the Church

Originally posted on The Good Light Project:

images

Periodically, I love to share material that needs none of my assistance. I have a dear brother in Christ McKinley Caughman who constantly drops gems for the masses on social media. I am standing on his shoulders today. Thank you so much for your faithfulness brother! The Heidelberg Catechism contains so many of the glorious truths of scripture and I highly recommended taking a look at it when you get a chance. Doctrine always must be sound and good theology flows from the study of God himself. What exactly is the doctrine of the church? It is great question that has an amazing answer; enjoy a piece of our history and be encouraged.

  1. WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH?

The doctrine of the church is the entire and uncorrupted doctrine of the law and gospel concerning the true God, together with his will, works, and worship; divinely revealed, and comprehended in the writings of the…

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Our Pride vs. God’s Word…and the winner is?

Originally posted on The Good Light Project:

pride

Why write an article on pride when we can read God’s Word and witness the utter destruction of any insinuation that pride is tolerated by God.

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 29:23

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Galatians 6:3

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Proverbs 27:2

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

James 4:6

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Proverbs 26:12

Do you see…

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Daily Devotionals: (1st Sept.) Meditations on the Fall of Peter

Originally posted on thinkGOSPEL blog:

The Folly of Pride and Presumption

daily-devotionalsPride and presumption have been, in the godly as well as the ungodly, the forerunners of a fall. The first man, Adam, and the first apostle, Peter, both fell by these. Had Adam given less heed to a weaker sex and Peter to the presumption of a weak confidence, the one would not have plunged humanity into the depth of wickedness, or both themselves into the depth of sorrow. High conceits and resolutions built on shallow ground can promise nothing but ruin on the head of him that builds them.

Dr. Edward Reynolds was born in 1599 in Southampton, England. He received his BA degree at Oxford in 1618. In 1622, before studying for his masters, Reynolds became a chaplain to the king and preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, London. The puritanical inclinations of Dr. Reynolds were well known; his character of piety and decorum…

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September 1, 2015 Truth2Freedom Devotional Guide Collection

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September 1

THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION

Samuel J. Stone, 1839–1900

… Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. (Ephesians 5:23)

During an especially heated period of theological controversy in England in 1866 when liberalism threatened to destroy the great cardinal doctrines of the Anglican church, this hymn was written by Pastor Samuel Stone. He was a strong supporter of the conservative faith and refused to compromise in any way the critical attacks on doctrinal orthodoxy.

It was Stone’s desire to write a hymn that would reaffirm the Lordship of Christ as the foundation of the church. To combat the skeptical liberal scholarship, Samuel Stone wrote twelve hymn texts based on the Apostles’ Creed. This particular text refers to the ninth article: “The Holy Catholic (Universal) Church, the communion of saints: He is the Head of this body.”

Described as the poor man’s pastor, Samuel Stone demonstrated his firm belief in the church as the instrument of Christ for meeting the needs of people. He spent much time ministering to the poor and underprivileged people in London’s East End. It was said that “he created a beautiful place of worship for the humble folk and made it a center of light in dark places.”

This is what the local church was meant to be—a spiritual hospital for hurting humanity, never an exclusive private club for self-righteous Christians. Called out from the world by God for Himself, the church consists of people who meet regularly for worship, inspiration, instruction, and fellowship. After that, Christ our Head sends His own back into the world to represent Him and to model His love for all mankind.

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; She is His new creation by water and the Word: from heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Elect from ev’ry nation, yet one o’er all the earth, her charter of salvation One Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with ev’ry grace endued.

Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won: O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.

For Today: Matthew 16:15–18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Colossians 1:18

Give thanks to God for your local church as well as for fellow-believers of the church universal everywhere. Affirm your conviction in Christ as the head of the church as you carry this musical truth—[1]


September 1: An Unusual Portrait

Hosea 1:1–2:23; Acts 1:1–26; Job 15:1–9

“At the beginning when Yahweh spoke through Hosea, Yahweh said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife and children of whoredom, because the land commits great whoredom forsaking Yahweh.’ So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son” (Hos 1:2–3). God’s people had prostituted themselves to other nations by seeking their help instead of Yahweh’s. Hosea’s act, which dramatized the rebellion of God’s people against Him, is one of the oddest in the Bible.

God loves His people with passion and jealousy. He has little tolerance when they seek alliances with other nations and put false gods before Him. At times, He takes shocking measures to get their attention. The act He requires of Hosea not only depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness, but it also reveals God’s own feelings of betrayal. Many of us can empathize.

At such moments in the Bible, it’s hard to understand how God uses such behavior to further His plan. But within the view of biblical theology, desperate situations like Hosea’s are transformed into redemptive scenes. Such is the case when we open the book of Acts: “I produced the former account [of the Gospel of Luke], O Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day he was taken up, after he had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen, to whom he also presented himself alive after he suffered, with many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking the things about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1–3). Jesus came to redeem a people who sought refuge in the arms of false gods and other nations.

When we see Hosea’s story in the light of Jesus’ acts and the subsequent acts of His apostles, we learn that God can indeed bring even the most wretched of people to righteousness. We also learn that sometimes it takes a vivid, if odd, real-life portrait for us to understand the truth about our false ways.

Are you seeking refuge in the wrong places or the wrong ways? What are you placing before Yahweh and His work in your life?

John D. Barry[2]


September 1

Intro

Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Ezekiel 37 through 40. Our lesson is from Ezekiel 37:27–28, “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” (NASU)

Lesson

As I study Scripture, I notice how often the Lord takes the initiative on matters concerning our lives. That does not mean, though, that we are to be passive. Quite the opposite is true; we are to respond to His initiatives. Let’s consider three promises in our text.

First, the Lord God will dwell with His people. A large portion of the book of Ezekiel is about the unfaithfulness of God’s people. The nation had become contaminated with the values of the nations around them. The daily life of the people of God reflected those ungodly values. As a result, both kingdoms—Israel and Judah—were conquered by Babylon and large portions of their populations taken into exile. Now the exiled prophet Ezekiel calls on his fellow exiles to repent and turn to the Lord. He reassures them that the Lord would again dwell with His people.

The next promise is that the Lord God will be their God. Our verse is part of the covenant formula found in both the Old and New Testaments. It is an assurance of the promise of belonging to the Lord. Everyone needs a relationship with someone and even more so with our Creator. The Bible is full of examples of the Lord communicating with people in so many diverse settings. The Lord desires to restore the relationship with His creation that was broken through the sin of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis 3. Now that promise of restored relationship is made as a reminder of what is coming and will happen.

Finally, the Lord God will sanctify His people. Holiness has to do with being set apart for God’s purposes. As noted previously, God takes the initiative. The Lord imparts holiness to us, His people, so that we can enjoy a continual relationship with Him. As we surrender each day to Him our communion with Him becomes ever more intimate as we grow in holiness. We can know God. What an amazing privilege this is!

In summary, the Lord God will dwell with His people. The Lord God will be their God. And the Lord God will sanctify His people.

God fulfilled His covenant in the life and work of Jesus Christ. It is through Christ that we are God’s holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Let’s respond to God’s initiative.

Take time to reflect and act on God’s promise and presence. Praise and thank Him for His faithfulness in your life.

End

It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 41 through 44. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.[3]


 

September 1

 

The Reality of Spiritual Warfare

 

“Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world-forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10–12).

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Victory in battle comes when you identify the enemy, resist his attacks, and then take the initiative against him.

Our nation has known many wars, but Vietnam was an especially frustrating campaign. Thick jungle terrain made the enemy hard to find, and guerrilla warfare made him hard to fight. Many Vietnamese who peacefully worked the rice paddies by day donned the black garb of the Viet Cong soldier by night and invaded unsuspecting U.S. forces camped nearby. American public opinion was strongly anti-war, and morale among our troops was often low.

Spiritual warfare has similar parallels. Subtly and deceitfully, Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His emissaries disguise themselves as “apostles of Christ” and “servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:13–15). It takes wisdom and discernment to identify them and to defend yourself against their attacks.

Most people are defenseless, however, because they scoff at the supernatural and deny the reality of spiritual warfare. They think Satan may be fine for movie plots and book sales but assume that only the superstitious and credulous take him seriously. Unfortunately, many Christians have succumbed to such persons’ ridicule and have forsaken the battle.

Ephesians 6:10–24 reminds us that spiritual warfare is real and that God has given us all the resources we need—not only to defend ourselves, but also to take the initiative and win the victory over the forces of darkness.

I pray that our studies this month will encourage you in the battle and will challenge you to always have on “the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Seek discernment and grace to identify the enemy and to stand against him courageously.

For Further Study: Read Ephesians 6:10–24. What armor has God supplied to protect you in spiritual warfare?[4]


September 1

Eternal Security Is Sure

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

John 10:28

Today’s verse is a wonderful promise from the Lord Jesus Himself that the believer’s salvation is forever secure in Him. Furthermore, the first three words of Romans 8:28, “And we know,” express the absolute certainty you can have, verified by the Holy Spirit, that you will never lose your salvation.

Based on divinely revealed authority, the apostle Paul asserts to the Roman church and to us that, as Christians, we can know beyond all doubt that we are secure in God’s hands. As you walk with Him, He will display His glory in your salvation and work out everything in your sanctification for your ultimate blessing.[5]


 

September 1

 

What About the Holy Spirit?

 

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.”

1 John 3:24

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Because the Holy Spirit affects every area of the Christian life, it is vital that we have a balanced and correct view of His role.

The church’s understanding of the Spirit’s Person and ministry has been seriously distorted over the past few decades. Charismatics have given an undue emphasis to certain pentecostal gifts so that subjective experience is often elevated over objective scriptural truth.

At the same time, many non–charismatics have overreacted to charismatic excesses by almost ignoring the Holy Spirit. For most, an in–depth study of the Spirit does not fit with the pragmatic, psychological approach to solving spiritual problems.

But we can’t afford to go to either extreme; otherwise we’ll miss out on what it really means to know the Spirit and to minister by His power. He is indispensable in saving us, enabling us to obey Jesus Christ, and ultimately perfecting us in glory. Paul urged the Galatian believers not to abandon the Holy Spirit but to lean completely on Him. “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).

Too many Christians are wasting time looking to seminars, gimmicks, counselors, and novel interpretations of old truths to uncover “the secret” to the abundant Christian life. But the key to such living is not a mystery or a secret. The sufficiency of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, as revealed through the pages of God’s fully reliable Word, is all the information and resources we’ll ever need to live fruitful and prosperous spiritual lives.

In today’s verse, the apostle John is speaking of Christ’s indwelling presence in the believer’s life, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us. Therefore the Spirit is working with the Lord Jesus in encouraging you, guiding you, enlightening you, and empowering you for every good work (see John 14:16–20; 16:13). By understanding the Spirit’s role and allowing Him to work in you daily, you’ll begin to see your life becoming more like Christ each day.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Pray that God would grant you and everyone in your church a proper and balanced understanding of the Spirit’s role.

For Further Study: Jesus is portrayed as the Good Shepherd in John 10. Read that chapter, and list the major characteristics He has as our Shepherd.[6]


September 1

Whole in God’s Eyes

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.

Psalm 143:10

wholeness from God’s perspective is to be complete; to know with deep assurance that we are beloved by God with an everlasting, infinite, and unconditional love; to be able to move forward with boldness and confidence that we are God’s children; to claim God’s promises that we are victors through Christ Jesus over every negative situation and circumstance; and to be able to stand up to the enemy of our souls regardless of what the devil may throw at us.

Wholeness is the work that God does in us with a twofold purpose: that we might be sound in spirit, mind, and emotions, and that we might influence others to accept God’s love, forgiveness, and plan.[7]


September 1

Moving out of Your Comfort Zone

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 1:17–21

Key verse: Romans 8:32

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Trials are God’s way of moving you out of your comfort zone and to new and exciting challenges. Instead of adopting a negative view of difficulty, resolve to understand that God will bring good out of your trouble (Rom. 8:32).

Oswald Chambers offers direction for you:

Are you painfully disturbed just now, distracted by the waves and billows of God’s providential permission, and having, as it were, turned over the boulders of your belief, are you still finding no well of peace or joy or comfort; is all barren?

Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus. Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. If you allow anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you, you are either disturbed or you have a false security.

… He will be a gracious benediction of peace in and through you … We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him. When one confers with Jesus Christ, the perplexity goes, because He has no perplexity, and our only concern is to abide in Him. Lay it all out before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement and sorrow, hear Him say, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

Dear heavenly Father, help me view trials as Your way of moving me out of my comfort zone and to new and exciting challenges.[8]


September 1            Birth Pangs of a Miracle

scripture reading:

 

Psalm 106

 

key verse:

 

Psalm 119:25

 

My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

We usually do not seek freedom until we are miserable in our bondage. Sin’s pleasures can control us for many years, decades, even a lifetime. It is not until we realize the extent to which sin controls us that we cry out for release.

Some would say it is too late to be delivered from the bondage of such masters as lust, alcohol, drugs, fear, anger, and/or inferiority. But with God our helplessness is our first step on the road to freedom. God places us in the awkward, uncomfortable position of helplessness.

Too many of us do not fully receive our freedom in Christ because we will do almost anything to avoid such a predicament. We enjoy the feeling of control. We detest the notions that we cannot stop our drinking, cannot halt our immorality, cannot conquer our fears, cannot heal our marriages, and cannot discipline our children.

Perhaps you view helplessness as weakness—as admission that you are inadequate to solve your dilemma or to do anything apart from Christ, who said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 nasb). But in God’s eyes and along His route to spiritual freedom, your feelings of helplessness are the birth pangs of a miracle.

I feel helpless, O Lord, but I take this word as a personal message to me today. I believe I am experiencing the birth pangs of a miracle![9]


September 1

Living Life to the Fullest

Scripture reading: 1 Thess. 5:1–14

Key verse: 1 Thess. 5:5

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

What does living life to the fullest mean to you? Some may picture a lifelong dream being fulfilled. Others may think of a comfortable retirement, while many more envision what they can achieve if given enough time. But if you really want to start living life to the fullest, begin with Jesus. He is the fulfillment of all your dreams. In Him, you will find the things you need the most—contentment, love, and friendship.

Living life to the fullest also involves your ability to encourage and support others emotionally through prayer. God commands us to love others. Without a godly love tucked away inside your heart, you cannot successfully encourage someone else. And all of us need encouragement. Let Jesus be the object of your affections; then you will find that loving even the unlovely will bring pleasure and encouragement to your heart.

When you encourage others from a position of unconditional love and acceptance, marvelous things can happen. God often uses His love to change and motivate hearts. Divisions may fade, differences may ease, and fears may subside. Where there once was disagreement, unity can prevail. And love—especially God’s love—can change the way you view life. Evaluate your life. Are you living life to the fullest?

I want to live life to the fullest, Lord, and I know that will happen only as I experience Your love. Give me Your love—even for the unlovely.[10]


September 1

Walking Worthy of Your Calling

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1–2

Key Verse: Ephesians 4:1

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.

In coming to the United States shortly after her release from a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, was answering the call of God for her life.

However, that calling did not go unchallenged. Time after time Corrie’s presence in the United States was questioned. The little support she had in the beginning dwindled. She was tempted to become discouraged but refused. Beneath any thoughts of rejection were a peace and a hope that God would honor her obedience.

When others rejected her, Corrie held fast to the promises of God. Finally her commitment paid off. A door of opportunity opened through a well-known Christian evangelist. Soon Corrie Ten Boom became one of the most recognized Christian speakers of our time. She weathered life’s most severe storms and was found worthy of God’s call.

God has called you to be a light of His love and forgiveness to a world locked away in utter darkness. Therefore, walk worthy of His call. When discouragement comes, stand firm in your faith, and God will mold you into an instrument of His love to others.

Dear Lord, You have called me to be a light as I travel through this world. Use me to minister to others I encounter on my journey.[11]


September 1

The Reason for Our Hope

Scripture Reading: Jude 1:20–25

Key Verses: 1 Timothy 2:3–4

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

It is difficult for us to recommend a business, service, or product to others when we haven’t tried it ourselves. We can tell them what we have heard about it, but there is no personal experience from which to draw.

When other people come to us and ask us about salvation, and we doubt the validity of God’s promise that our salvation is eternally secured in Him, how can we share our faith with confidence?

There are many reasons why people doubt their salvation. They question how a loving God would allow tragedy. They believe that works, not grace, save them. They fail to take God at His word. They remain living a life of sin, unwilling to submit to the authority of the Lord in their lives. But God’s Word gives us all the assurance we need in order to know that our salvation is secure in Him, giving us the confidence to share our faith with others.

First Timothy 2:4 reminds us that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” And John the Baptist told us, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life” (John 3:36 nasb).

In understanding that our salvation is secure and that God desires all men to know the truth, we can go forth with boldness and tell those around us the reason for our hope.

Lord, I know with surety that my salvation is firm in You. Show me how to convey this to others who are full of doubt and confusion about their salvation.[12]


September 1

The fruit of the Spirit is … kindness.

The humble shall increase their joy in You, Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in You, the Holy One of Israel. Unless I am converted and become as a little child, I will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore whoever humbles himself as a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in Your sight, Lord God. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.

So I will pursue gentleness. I will take Jesus’ yoke upon me and learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. Christ suffered for me, leaving me an example, that I should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.

Lord God, teach me to follow Jesus’ example of humility.

Galatians 5:22; Isaiah 29:19; Matthew 18:3–4; 1 Peter 3:4; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Timothy 6:11; Matthew 11:29; Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:21–23[13]


September 1

Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them

Ezek. 36:37

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing’s shadow. When the sunlight of God’s mercies rises upon our necessities it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies He Himself shines behind them, and He casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our pleadings are the shadows of mercy. Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it.

Spurgeon[14]


September 1

IT is easy work to pray when we are grounded, as to our desires, upon God’s own promise. How can he that gave the word refuse to keep it? Immutable veracity cannot demean itself by a lie, and eternal faithfulness cannot degrade itself by neglect. God must bless His Son, his covenant binds him to it. That which the Spirit prompts us to ask for Jesus, is that which God decrees to give Him. Whenever you are praying for the kingdom of Christ, let your eyes behold the dawning of the blessed day which draweth near, when the Crucified shall receive His coronation in the place where men rejected him.[15]


September 1

A Pattern of Life

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

It has been said that too many Christians worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. What we do on Sundays we call worship … but is it really? For many people the subject of worship is an enigma. They come to services and sing, but they sense something is missing. They pray and talk with God each day, but find themselves wondering if perhaps there is something they failed to learn about their life with God.

When you begin to read the Scriptures and study the people of the Old Testament, you cannot read far before you begin to understand that worship was the pattern of their lives. The Lord Himself designed the first worship center. He was very specific; it took seven chapters to describe how He wanted it built. He made it portable and designed it to be a visual aid for the worshiping Israelites. The tabernacle was the center of the encampment of God’s people. It was a way of showing that God was to be at the center of His people in worship as a way of life. Worship is at the top of God’s priority list.[16]


September 1

1 Samuel 25; 1 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 4; Psalms 40–41

If we are to understand the reasons why Ezekiel is called to the powerful parabolic actions we find in Ezekiel 4, we must put ourselves in the place of the exiles. Like the people back home in Jerusalem and Judah, many of them could not imagine that the city and temple of the Great King could ever be destroyed. God simply would not allow it to happen. In general terms the exiles in Babylon respond to Ezekiel the same way that the Jews in Jerusalem respond to Jeremiah: they don’t believe him. In fact, the exiles doubtless have added incentive to maintain their false hopes. As long as Jerusalem stands, they can nurture the hope that God will rescue them and bring them back home. If Jerusalem falls, there will be no “home” to which to return. One can imagine how desperately negative and even impossible Ezekiel’s warnings sound to them.

But Ezekiel does not flinch.

(1) He begins by drawing a picture of Jerusalem on a large clay tablet—perhaps the profile or some other easily recognized perspective, so that onlookers can instantly see what he is doing. Around the city he erects siege works and the like, as if he were playing war games with homemade toys. Everyone perceives that this means Jerusalem will be besieged. Then he holds an iron pan over the model. As God’s prophet he stands in for God, and holds the pan in such a way as to threaten to crash it down on the city and destroy it—picturing the fact that it is God himself who is threatening the city.

(2) In the next section (4:4–8), Ezekiel spends some time each day lying on his left side. (He is not there all the time, of course, as the succeeding verses show he has other actions to perform.) If his head is toward the model of Jerusalem he has made, and his body lies on an east-west axis, then when he lies on his left he is facing north, toward Israel, the ten tribes that have already gone into captivity under the Assyrians. For 390 days (more than a year!) he does this, every day. Then one day the onlookers show up and find him on his right side—facing the south and thus threatening Judah with judgment and disaster.

(3) Inside a besieged city in the ancient world, as supplies dwindled people were forced to make bread out of dried beans and lentils mixed with the tiny bit of flour that was left. They would eat their impossibly small portions (about eight ounces of “bread”) and sip their tiny quota of water, and waste away. They would cook their food on cow patties (as in the slums of India), because there was no more wood. All this, Ezekiel predicts, “because of their sin” (4:17).[17]


September 1

1 Samuel 25; 1 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 4; Psalms 40–41

Despite its great interest and deft characterizations, one must ask why the story found in 1 Samuel 25 is included. How does it advance the storyline of 1 and 2 Samuel?

Once some of the social conventions of the day are understood, the account itself is clear. Apparently at this point David is not actively being pursued by Saul (see 1 Sam. 24), but relations are still so tender that David and his men keep right out of Saul’s way. Much of this culture was bound up with two values that many in the West rarely experience: (1) Every good deed must necessarily be repaid with another. The forms of courtesy extend to reciprocal gift-giving. Failure in this respect calls down shame on the person who defaults, and treats the other person with contempt. (2) The demands of hospitality mean it is unconscionable to turn another away. That would signal rudeness and greed. Mere courtesy demands that one offer one’s best to guests. This is especially true when one is wealthy.

So when David’s men arrive at Nabal’s door, they are not asking for protection money. When Nabal sends them on their way, he is not an upright man who refuses to be bullied by a brigand, but an ungrateful wretch who will take and take from everyone, never give anything in return, thumb his nose at the courtesies and conventions of the culture, bring down shame on himself without caring what people think, and treat the man who has contributed to the wealth and well-being of his operation with insufferable contempt.

Abigail cuts the best figure in the narrative. With grace and tact, she assuages David’s wrath and preserves the lives of her husband and the men he employs. David is a mixed figure. By the light of day, doubtless he had some warrant for the vengeance he was planning, but it could only presage more bloodshed and a style of leadership that would sully the throne he would one day occupy. All this Abigail sees—and winningly convinces him she is right.

So why is the account included? Superficially, of course, there are little hints that David is coming closer to the throne. Samuel, the prophet who anointed him, is dead (25:1). David now heads an armed band of six hundred. Abigail represents the rising number of Israelites who recognize that sooner or later David will be their king (25:28, 30). But above all, David is now heading in a different moral direction from Saul. As Saul’s power has increased, so also has his passion for vengeance. David is heading in the same wretched direction, until Abigail checks him, as he himself recognizes (25:32–34). There are important lessons here for many powerful Christian leaders.[18]


Tue, September 01, 2015

We Know What We Believe

The hope of the Christian Church still lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other. It is a fact that positive beliefs are not popular these days. I sense that the modern efforts to popularize the Christian faith have been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the Church. It has not succeeded, but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion. A mistaken desire to maintain a spirit of tolerance among all races and religions has produced a breed of Janus-like Christians with built-in swivels, remarkable only for their ability to turn in any direction gracefully! Our Christian beliefs have been revealed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious!

Verse
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel . . .
Colossians 1:23

Thought
It is a fact that positive beliefs are not popular these days. I sense that the modern efforts to popularize the Christian faith have been extremely damaging to that faith.

Prayer
Lord, let me always remember to face only in the right direction. Remove my swivel.

A. W. Tozer


September 1 – Mankind’s Lost Condition

“They were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

One of Jesus’ main motives for ministry was the knowledge of man’s lost condition. He saw the people He lived among in the reality of their need. He was moved by their diseases and sickness, and He healed every one of them (v. 35). But He was moved even more deeply by the deepest need that most of the multitude did not even know they had—to be freed from their bondage to sin. He saw their hearts, and He knew that inwardly “they were distressed and dispirited.”

Jesus saw the multitudes as being inwardly devastated by their sinful and hopeless condition. The idea behind “dispirited” is to be thrown down prostrate and utterly helpless. Jesus saw the dispirited multitudes as sheep without a shepherd to protect and care for them.

Those who claimed to be the shepherds of the multitude were the scribes and Pharisees, yet it was those very shepherds who were largely responsible for the people’s confusion and hopelessness. The people were spiritually led by uncaring, unloving leaders who should have been meeting their spiritual needs. That’s why Jesus calls the people “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6)—God’s chosen people who had been left to perish.

Ask Yourself

Begin to develop Jesus’ motive for ministry as your own. Take every opportunity to introduce others to the Great Shepherd.

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


Reading for Today:

Song of Solomon 1:1–2:17
Psalm 104:1-9
Proverbs 24:15-16
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Notes:

Song of Solomon 2:7 I charge you. This refrain, which is repeated before the wedding (3:5) and also afterward (8:4), explicitly expresses the Shulamite’s commitment to a chaste life before and during marriage. She invites accountability to the daughters of Jerusalem.

Psalm 104:4 spirits…flame of fire. Hebrews 1:7 attributes these characteristics to angels describing their swiftness and destructiveness, as God’s instruments of judgment.

1 Corinthians 11:17–34 The early church love feasts (Jude 12) usually closed with observance of the Lord’s Supper. The worldly, carnal church at Corinth had turned those sacred meals into gluttonous, drunken revelries. Beyond that, wealthy believers brought ample food and drink for themselves but refused to share, letting their poorer brethren go away hungry (v. 21).

1 Corinthians 11:27, 29 in an unworthy manner. I.e., ritualistically, indifferently, with an unrepentant heart, a spirit of bitterness, or any other ungodly attitude.

1 Corinthians 11:30 sleep. I.e., are dead. The offense was so serious that God put the worst offenders to death, an extreme but effective form of church purification (Luke 13:1–5; Acts 5:1–11; 1 John 5:16).

DAY 1: What is the central theme of the Song of Solomon?

Solomon, who reigned over the united kingdom 40 years (971–931 B.C.), appears 7 times by name in this book (1:1, 5; 3:7, 9, 11; 8:11, 12). In view of his writing skills, musical giftedness (1 Kin. 4:32), and the authorial, not dedicatory, sense of 1:1, this piece of Scripture could have been penned at any time during Solomon’s reign. Knowing that this portion of Scripture comprises one song by one author, it is best taken as a unified piece of poetic, Wisdom literature rather than a series of love poems without a common theme or author.

Two people dominate this true-life, dramatic love song. Solomon, whose kingship is mentioned 5 times (1:4, 12; 3:9, 11; 7:5), appears as “the beloved.” The Shulamite maiden (6:13) remains obscure; most likely she was a resident of Shunem, 3 miles north of Jezreel in lower Galilee. Some suggest she is Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kin. 3:1), although the Song provides no evidence for this conclusion. Others favor Abishag, the Shunammite who cared for King David (1 Kin. 1:1–4, 15). An unknown maiden from Shunem, whose family had possibly been employed by Solomon (8:11), seems most reasonable. She would have been Solomon’s first wife (Eccl. 9:9), before he sinned by adding 699 other wives and 300 concubines (1 Kin. 11:3).

In contrast to the two distorted extremes of ascetic abstinence and lustful perversion outside of marriage, Solomon’s ancient love song exalts the purity of marital affection and romance. It parallels and enhances other portions of Scripture which portray God’s plan for marriage, including the beauty and sanctity of sexual intimacy between husband and wife. The Song rightfully stands alongside other classic Scripture passages which expand on this theme (Gen. 2:24; Ps. 45; Prov. 5:15–23; 1 Cor. 7:1–5; 13:1–8; Eph. 5:18–33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet. 3:1–7). Hebrews 13:4 captures the heart of this song: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

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


 

[1] Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (p. 264). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

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

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

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 257). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 266). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

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

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 262). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 256). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[10] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 256). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[11] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 256). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[12] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 256). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[13] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 264). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[15] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 248). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

[16] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 256). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

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

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

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Tactics: the worst mistake a Christian can make when doing apologetics

Originally posted on WINTERY KNIGHT:

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

So, this is just an advice post for doing apologetics.

Here are three situations I’ve run into while doing apologetics in the last month.

First situation. I was talking with a lady who is an atheist. I had a copy of “God’s Crime Scene” in my hand, and she asked me about it. I told her that it was a book written by the guy who solved the homicide case that I asked her to watch on Dateline. She remembered – it was the two-hour special on the woman who was killed with a garrotte. She pointed at the book and said “what’s in it?” I said, it has 8 pieces of evidence that fit better with a theistic worldview than with an atheistic one, and some of them scientific. Her reply to me was – literally – “which denomination do you…

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The Bible, and the Fullness of it with the Doctrine of Election

Originally posted on Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation:

Taken and adapted from, “The Doctrine of Election”
Written by, A.W. Pink

Slide12

There is not a single book in the Word of God where election is not either expressly stated…

…strikingly illustrated, or clearly implied. Genesis is full of it: the difference which the Lord made between Nahor and Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and His loving Jacob and hating Esau are cases to the point. In Exodus we behold the distinction made by God between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. In Leviticus the atonement and all the sacrifices were for the people of God, nor were they bidden to go and “offer” them to the surrounding heathen. In Numbers Jehovah used a Balaam to herald the fact that Israel were “the people” who “shall dwell alone, and shall not be numbered among the nations” (23:9); and therefore was he constrained to cry “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy…

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The upward call of God in Christ Jesus

Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB)

With my supposed retirement age rapidly approaching, I have reflected much on my own priorities lately. Have I been wasting much of the valuable time and energy given to me by our Lord in building on His foundation with wood, hay, and straw? Have I been focusing on the things of this world, seeking the pleasures of this world to the exclusion of walking close with…

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Life Begins at Conception? (Video)

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August 31, 2015 Truth2Freedom US and World Briefing Report


Aug. 31, 2015

BLOOMBERG

The tallest U.S. mountain, Alaska’s Mount McKinley, will be renamed Denali, President Obama said Sunday. The move, on the eve of Obama’s visit to the state, swaps a traditional Alaskan title — one now commonly used by residents and visitors to the national park of the same name — with that of the 25th U.S. president, Republican William McKinley, who was from Ohio.

The Obama administration is drafting an escalating series of actions, including economic sanctions and curbs on doing business in the U.S., to punish China and other nations that persist in hacking its corporate computer networks, according to two administration officials with knowledge of the planning.

Wal-Mart cuts some workers’ hours after pay raise boosts costs. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon is trying to balance a desire to improve service — partly through increased spending on his workforce — against investors’ pressure to keep profit growing.

Among the many scary things traders witnessed as stocks plunged last Monday, one of the most harrowing was the sight of the VIX, an index designed to measure investor fear, briefly going dark. For almost 30 minutes as hundreds of billions of dollars were erased from equities, no signals were sent by the world’s most popular sentiment gauge as options prices turned erratic. When it switched on, the VIX jerked higher faster than anyone had ever seen, rising 82 percent on its first tick to 51, a level not reached since the financial crisis.

Polish officials are backtracking from last week’s comments over the probable discovery of a buried German Nazi train that local legend says is laden with gold and other loot. But they’re sending in the army to investigate the potential site nevertheless.

European stocks headed for their worst month in four years, as investors weighed Federal Reserve comments for clues on the trajectory of interest rates, amid waning confidence in China’s ability to prop up the market.

At least 56 people were killed by suspected Islamist militants in an attack on a village in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, Governor Kashim Shettima said.

China’s brokerages tumbled after Citic Securities executives were detained and the industry was told to contribute another $15.7 billion to a market rescue fund.

AP Top Stories

The Taliban Monday admitted covering up the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar for two years, saying they had wanted to keep it secret until foreign forces ended their fight against the militants.

The Titanic’s last lunch menu – saved by a passenger who climbed aboard the so-called “Money Boat” before the ocean liner went down – is going to auction, where it’s estimated it will bring $50,000 to $70,000.

A Texas teenager who contracted a rare brain-eating disease after swimming in a lake about 70 miles north of Houston has died, according to his family and local media.

Nigeria’s secret police said Sunday it had arrested notable Boko Haram suspects, including a key commander, linked with several suicide attacks across the country.

A group called the Texas Nationalist Movement fanned out to 31 cities across Texas this weekend trying to gather the 75,000 signatures they say they need to get the question of the state’s secession from the United States on the primary ballot next spring. Texas is one of only two U.S. states, the other being Hawaii, that were once internationally recognized sovereign nations, with diplomatic ties to other countries.

Results for some of the states that participated in Common Core-aligned testing for the first time this spring are out, with overall scores higher than expected, though still below what many parents may be accustomed to seeing.

A road accident in Swaziland killed 38 girls and seriously injured 20 others who had been on their way to a traditional ceremony where King Mswati III can choose a new wife, pro-democracy activists reported.

BBC

One National Guard member has been killed and about 100 injured outside Ukraine’s parliament, after MPs gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east.

Palmyra’s ancient Temple of Bel is still standing despite an attempt by Islamic State (IS) militants to blow it up, Syria’s antiquities chief has said.

An American hiker missing for nine days in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada has been found alive. Miyuki Harwood, 62, failed to return from a solo hike on 21 August and fellow hikers alerted authorities.

Colombia will offer citizenship to Venezuelan relatives of Colombians who have been deported from Venezuela. It is the latest move by the Colombian government to ease a crisis triggered by Venezuela’s closure of a key stretch of their mutual border.

The Afghan Taliban has confirmed covering up their former leader Mullah Omar’s death for more than two years.

An air strike by the Saudi-led coalition backing pro-government forces in Yemen has killed 31 people in the northern province of Hajjah.

WND

Multiple professors at Washington State University have explicitly told students their grades will suffer if they use terms such as “illegal alien,” “male,” and “female,” or if they fail to “defer” to non-white students.

A proposal by a state lawmaker could require that visual inspection be used as part of a process to officially determine a person’s gender in South Dakota, including for high school athletes.

The Ashley Madison hack will have a serious effect on churches. According to Ed Stetzer, as many as 400 pastors, deacons, elders and church staff members may resign this Sunday after their names surfaced on the list of users revealed in the Ashley Madison hack.


Top News – 8/31/2015

Gremlins in the works: DARPA’s vision for future air operations
DARPA has launched the Gremlins program, which aims to develop swarms of cheaper, smarter aircraft that can be deployed and collected in midair. Despite gaining popularity in the 1980s through the movie of the same name, the term “gremlins” was originally RAF slang for mischievous creatures that plagued airmen by causing all sorts of mechanical mishaps.

Hurricane Fred forms in the Atlantic
Fred has strengthened to a hurricane as it approaches the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Fred’s maximum sustained winds early Monday have increased to near 80 mph with some additional strengthening possible.

Never again!’ Japanese hold massive rally to protest Abe’s foreign wars bill
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside Japan’s parliament building on Sunday to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial bill, which authorizes Japanese armed forces to join foreign military operations.

NATO kicks off naval drills in Black Sea with Ukraine
Ukraine is hosting naval military exercise in the Black Sea with NATO forces, involving 2,500 troops and some 150 military vehicles, from warships and helicopters to armored cars. The host nation of Sea Breeze 2015 has deployed 1,000 troops, nine warships and eight aircraft for the drill. The US has sent 1,000 troops as well as five warships, two submarines and six aircraft.

Second Temple-Era Podium May Be Discovery in City of David
“The structure is built along the street in a place that is clearly visible from afar by passers-by making their way to the Temple. We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public’s attention when walking on the city’s main street.

World to Fed: We’re prepared for U.S. rate hike, so don’t delay
Central bankers from around the world are telling their American counterparts that they are ready for a U.S. interest rate hike and would prefer that the Federal Reserve make the move without further ado.

Europe stocks set for worst monthly loss since 2011 on China, Fed concerns
Stocks in Europe fell on Monday, heading for their worst monthly losses in four years amid persistent investor concerns about slowing growth in China and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates.

Over 1,000 US Rabbis Pen Open Letter to Congress Opposing Iran Deal
Over 1,000 American rabbis have signed a letter to Congress, urging US lawmakers not to accept the nuclear accord reached between the P5+1 powers and Iran earlier this summer. The petition, organized by the Zionist Organization of America, calls “upon our Senators and Representatives to consider the dangers that this agreement poses to the United States and our allies, and to vote in opposition to this deal.”

Prophetic Insights Shed Light on Possible Fate of Iran Deal
Perhaps it was not entirely unintentional when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose March 3, the 13th of Adar on the Hebrew calendar, the eve of that same Jewish holiday, to address a joint session of the US Congress in an appeal to lawmakers to reject the nuclear deal. According to the story of Purim, the Jewish Queen Esther went in to address her husband, the Persian King, to attempt to convince him to repeal Haman’s decree. If the Biblical connection was lost on Obama, it was certainly not lost on the prime minister…

Central banks can’t save the markets from a crash. They shouldn’t even try
…William Dudley, president of the bank’s New York branch, hinted that the interest rate rise many had expected next month was likely to be delayed. …According to some City analysts, the stock markets are pumped with so much cheap credit that a crash is just around the corner. And they worry that when that crash comes, the central banks are all out of moves to prevent the aftershocks from causing a broader collapse.

Dark Matter May Be More Complex Than Physicists Thought
Dark matter—the unseen 80 percent of the universe’s mass—doesn’t emit, absorb or reflect light. Astronomers know it exists only because it interacts with our slice of the ordinary universe through gravity. …Such a self-interacting dark matter, Bullock suspects, could exist in a “dark sector,” somewhat parallel to our own light sector, but detectable only through the way it affects gravity.

Italy’s Eni discovers huge gas field off Egyptian coast
Italian energy group Eni says it has found one of the world’s largest natural gas fields off Egypt’s coast. The company said the area was 1,450m (4,757 feet) beneath the surface and covered 100 sq km (39 sq miles). It could hold as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Eni said.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram ‘spreads to Lagos’
Boko Haram is trying to expand its activities beyond Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, to include the commercial capital Lagos, as well as other parts of the country, officials say. Twelve members of the Islamist militant group have been arrested in Lagos, Nigeria’s intelligence agency says. It is not possible to independently verify details of the statement.

Iran’s Rouhani: Israel founded on intimidation, terror, occupation
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel on Monday of being founded on the basis of terror and continuing that legacy to the present day. “This regime began its work on the basis of intimidation, terror and occupation, and is continuing [on] the same anti-human path today,” …quoted Rouhani as saying on Monday…

80 Year Old Woman Trampled To Death In Venezuela Supermarket Stampede
With 30% of Venzuelans eating two or fewer meals per day, social unrest is mounting rapidly in President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist utopia. As WSJ reports, soldiers have now been deployed to stem rampant food smuggling and price speculation, which Maduro blames for triple-digit inflation and scarcity. “Due to the shortage of food… the desperation is enormous,” local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, and nowhere is that more evident than the trampling death of an 80-year-old woman outside a state-subsidized supermarket.

The Latest: Thai police find bomb materials in 2nd apartment
The latest on the investigation in the Bangkok shrine bombing (all times local):Thai police probing Bangkok’s deadly bombing say they have discovered bomb-making materials during a raid of a second apartment on the outskirts of the capital.

Governor: Boko Haram kills 56 in remote part of Borno State
Islamic extremist group Boko Haram killed 56 villagers in a remote area, the governor of Borno State of the region said Sunday, as the government warned that the extremists are trying to extend their violent campaign.

China Might No Longer Be The World’s U.S. Treasury King
Reports are out that China may be well on the path to becoming dethroned as the global king of U.S. Treasuries. According to sources familiar with the matter, China has recently begun liquidating its massive U.S. Treasuries stake to help support its hobbled currency.

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills 36 Yemeni civilians: residents
An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said.

U.S. considering sanctions over Chinese cyber theft: Washington Post
The White House is considering applying sanctions against companies and individuals in China it believes have benefited from Chinese hacking of U.S. trade secrets, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.


Top Headlines – 8/31/2015

Report: Hezbollah enlisting West Bank youth to carry out terror attacks against Israel

Abbas moving to boot political opponents and tighten grip on power, critics claim

US industry union votes to boycott Israel

Khamenei Aide: Fighting the ‘Zionist Regime’ is Our Policy

Democrats end summer meeting with no resolution to support Obama’s Iran deal

‘Supergiant’ gas field found off Egyptian coast

Deported Al-Jazeera journalist: Verdict a blow for Egyptian press freedom

Egypt quietly warms relations with Syria in fight against ISIS

Islamic State Plotting ‘Second Blow’ to U.S. Financial System in Bid to ‘Purify the Earth of Corruption’

Worth their weight in gold: ISIS reveals new coins to replace ‘satanic conception of banks’

ISIS destroys parts of ancient Temple of Bel in Syria

Turkish security situation deteriorates under threats from ISIS

4 Libyan soldiers killed in new battle with Islamist fighters in Benghazi

South Sudan fighting persists as cease-fire approaches: UN

Governor: Boko Haram kills 56 in remote part of Borno State

Russia Inadvertently Posts Its Casualties In Ukraine: 2,000 Deaths, 3,200 Disabled

Higher prices dent Putin’s sky-high popularity: paper

Large protests in Japan against plans to expand military role

Asian Stocks Fall After Fed Suggests Sept Rate Hike Possible

Asian stocks set for worst monthly drop in three years on global rout

Doubts about China’s ability to manage a tough economic transition sap investor confidence

China Might No Longer Be The World’s U.S. Treasury King

U.S. considering sanctions over Chinese cyber theft: Washington Post

Days numbered for barcodes as shoppers demand more data

New chip tech coming to credit cards

MI6 Spy Found Dead in Bag in Bath Had Hacked Clinton Data

Russian-speaking hackers breach 97 websites, many of them dating ones

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 30,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Three Category 4 Hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean: How Rare Is That?

Hurricane Ignacio strengthens but forecast to just miss Hawaii

Dominica declares disaster status, appeals for aid, after Erika leaves 20 dead

Erika to Unleash Flooding Downpours Across Florida

Tropical Storm Fred Forms Off African Coast, Not Expected to Threaten US

When the wells run dry: California drought forcing some families to live in ‘Third-World-type conditions’

Texas teen dies of rare brain-eating amoeba infection

Dead woman tests positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone

Nepal gay parade to enshrine LGBT rights in constitution

Transgender man & wife claims Rowan Co. clerk issued them marriage license

Preterists in Sheep’s Clothing: The Growing Plague of End Times Deception

Joel McDurmon – When end-times madness hijacks the brain, and the Bible

38% of born-again Christians = prayer boost’s wealth,  24% = wealth a sign of Gods favor

Pastor Boyd Holder Back in Pulpit After Allegedly Stealing From Church

Different churches (AME & RCC) joined in faith

Marble Collegiate Church Says Donald Trump Is Not an Active Member

$60 Per Aborted Baby, Planned Parenthood Tells Congressional Investigators

‘Sister Wives’ clan uses same-sex marriage ruling in polygamy case

Quebec’s Proposed Imposition of Blasphemy Laws Will Affect Us All


The Briefing

1) George Will’s support of assisted suicide exposes inherent fragility of secular conservatism

Affirming a right to die with dignity, Washington Post (George Will)

George Will: The RealClearReligion Interview, RealClearReligion (Nicholas G. Hahn III)

Religion and the American Republic, National Affairs (George F. Will)

2) Orthodox Judaism resurgence reveals insufficiency of mere ‘meaningfulness’ of tradition

A Portrait of American Orthodox Jews, Pew Research Center

Pew Study Finds Orthodox Similar to Evangelical Christians — Not Other Jews, Forward (Nathan Guttman)

When Orthodox and Evangelicals Align — and What It Means for Everyone Else, Forward (Jane Eisner)

In other news…


Daily Digest

August 31, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Abigail Adams, 1804

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Obama Climbs Mount Hubris

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Barack Obama burned thousands of gallons of jet fuel on Air Force One as he traveled to Alaska to lecture the nation once again about climate change. Just before he left, and just for good measure, he renamed America’s tallest mountain. First, some history: In 1896, William Dickey, a New Hampshire gold prospector in Alaska, named the peak for William McKinley, who supported the gold standard and had just won the Republican nomination for president. Never mind that the Athabascan people called the mountain Denali for thousands of years prior. The name change wasn’t official, however, until 1917, when Congress designated the surrounding area as a national park. And McKinley’s Ohio roots meant he had an important delegation in Washington telling Alaskans what to call their mountain. The Alaskan delegation to Congress introduced legislation in February to change the name to Denali, but it was doubtful to overcome the opposition of Ohioans. (Ain’t our republic grand?) In 1980, the surrounding national park was renamed Denali, but the mountain kept its name — until Obama said otherwise. In announcing the change, the Obama Interior Department said, “In changing the name from Mount McKinley to Denali, we intend no disrespect to the legacy of President McKinley. We are simply reflecting the desire of most Alaskans to have an authentically Alaskan name for this iconic Alaskan feature.” If only the Obama administration showed such deference to states in more important matters. Perhaps he only wanted to tweak John Boehner one more time. Or perhaps he thought it was his destiny to rename the mountain because Denali is an Athabascan word meaning “the great one.” What’s Athabascan for “narcissism”?

Hillary Attacks GOP to Distract From Email Scandal

The pressure on Hillary Clinton is mounting. The FBI is investigating the Democrat candidate for president for violating the Espionage Act because she handled classified emails through her unsecured email server. While the blood is in the water, it may not be the fatal blow to everyone’s favorite snake in a pantsuit. The attorney that oversaw the prosecution of former CIA Director David Petraeus, Anne Tompkins, wrote in USA Today that the FBI has less of a case against Clinton because she did not willfully send classified information — although a new revelation could deflate that Clinton defense as well. So what’s a dishonest politician to do? Distract the media, this time suggesting that Republicans are going to load up illegal immigrants on “boxcars.” The comparison to the Holocaust is unmistakable. On Friday, Clinton told an audience in Minneapolis, “Some on the other side are … advocating to deport 11, 12 million people. … I find it the height of irony that a party which espouses small government would want to unleash a massive government effort, which might include National Guard and others, to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up and, I don’t know, put them in buses or boxcars, in order to take them across the border.” Combined with her statement last week comparing the GOP to women-hating terrorists, this is all about Hillary saying a few well-placed outrageous remarks in order to get the focus back on her agenda and off her email.

University of Tennessee Just Made Grammar More Confusing

If you’re on one of the campuses of the University of Tennessee, watch out for the Grammar Nazis. If the university’s experiment lasts longer than the first week of school, then those who enforce a strict adherence to the rules of the English language will do more than back a party line on they’re, their and there. “Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth,” the University of Tennessee’s Pride Center Director, Donna Braquet, wrote on the university’s website. She encouraged the school to start using a whole new set of pronouns — ze, xe, hir, zir, xem — to refer to people who wish to not identify with their gender. Braquet requested that teachers, rather than calling roll, instead ask each student to provide the name and pronoun he or she — or ze — wishes to be referred by. She says it relieves a burden for people expressing different genders or identities. “The name a student uses may not be the one on the official roster, and the roster name may not be the same gender as the one the student now uses,” Braquet wrote. As Hot Air’s Allahpundit notes, “I’m not sure I grasp the difference between ‘hir/hirs’ and ‘zir/zirs.’ Which one should you use for Caitlyn Jenner? One, I think, is for a man who identifies as a woman and the other for a woman who identifies as a man, but I’ll be damned if I know which terms applies to which. The whole point of this exercise, I thought, was not to make any judgments about gender based on appearance.”

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

The New U.S. Business Model: ObamaCorps

By Robin Smith

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) handed down a decision last week that could remake a vast swath of the economy. Where have we heard that before with this administration? The rule essentially took nine million American workers employed by just under 800,000 franchise businesses and moved their employment from the direct supervision of the franchisee to the big-brand parent company. To paraphrase Joe Biden’s comments when ObamaCare was signed, this is a big freaking deal.

The Democrat-controlled NRLB, Barack Obama’s instrument for decisions and rulings benefiting labor unions — involving issues such as collective bargaining and the minimum wage, just to name two — could potentially destroy the franchise business model. How? The NLRB blurred the lines of “direct and immediate” control over employees of franchises, meaning the corporation now has more control than the franchise.

The partisan vote, supported only by Democrats in the majority on the NRLB, undermines the current responsibility of the franchise owner as the business owner and employer that hires, fires, pays employees, determines promotions, raises and benefits offered. As always, the Obama administration aims to make everything part of a centrally controlled process dominated by the government.

In effect, the NLRB’s ruling has turned business entrepreneurs who have risked capital, hired staff and sacrificed for earnings as franchise owners into middle managers to oversee employees on the payroll of the big corporation.

In the era of economic failure caused by the too-big-to-fails, Obama’s union thugs, who are federally tasked with representing worker rights as an agency, have only turned the large corporate entities into larger corporate entities.

Franchises are contracts to what are functionally small business owners, through which corporations can leverage the scale of purchasing, advertising and brand development to local businesses that agree to maintain product and service standards regarding quality and pricing. Otherwise, the franchise owner controls the business. A prime example: 90% of McDonald’s restaurants are franchises, and those franchises employ 1.5 million of McDonald’s 1.9 million employees. Other large brands using the franchise model include food-industry giants such as Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s, and service industry corporations like Hampton Inns, Hilton Hotel brands, Great Clips hair salons, Liberty Tax Service and Save-A-Lot Foods.

But as Beth Milito, senior legal counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business, explains, “If … corporations are suddenly responsible for the franchise employees, they’ll be forced to exert more control over the franchisees.” In fact, she adds, they might even “eliminate the franchise model entirely and take direct control over the locations.”

Ironically, the first black president has made it tougher for minorities, who, according to The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk, are “almost 50% more likely” to own franchised businesses versus non-franchised businesses. So much for empowering minority-owned businesses in the Obama economy.

So why is the NRLB forcing employers to abdicate their business processes to the Giant Corporation model?

You already know. Large employers make easier targets for labor unions to win unionization. Soon, there could be the Ronald McDonald Teamsters, the Great Clips Scissorworkers, and the United Brotherhood of Hilton Garden Inn Employees. The “protections” offered by labor unions are documented and proven: The mediocre and worst employees are protected and any who work hard carry the load of the former. Many union members are good workers, but there are some very rotten apples in the bunch, too (like this New Jersey teacher who gets to keep his $90,000 job despite being tardy more than a hundred times). And above all, Big Labor is a critical Democrat constituency.

Union membership is at historical lows, especially outside the confines of government, with only 7.4 million workers in private-sector unions in 2014 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But those who fear competition and personal accountability in the workplace are using their favorite vehicle — tyrannical government — to create a situation inviting thuggery organized labor.

Obama has successfully socialized America’s health care — ObamaCare; provided cell phones as part of welfare — ObamaPhones; created new controls for the Internet — ObamaNet; is working to force neighborhoods to build low-income housing run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — ObamaHoods. Why would this tyrant not move to destroy the free market system and effective business models through organized labor’s oppression and government-controlled prices and wages with ObamaCorps? He’s got a country to fundamentally transform, after all.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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TOP HEADLINES

OPINION IN BRIEF

Gary Bauer: “[T]he reality is that this administration has barely lifted a finger to combat the religious persecution committed by the Islamic movement that is raping women and selling them into the sex trade. That battle has been led by conservatives. The Obama administration has gone into court suing American businesses that say the Muslim hijab, which many view as a symbol of submission, violates their dress code. It is conservatives who say Muslim practices that belittle women should not be imported into the U.S. It is the left that says American women should get used to going into a ladies’ room and finding a man using the facilities because he feels like he is a woman. It is conservatives who say this is a violation of a woman’s right to privacy. The left says it should be legal for people to abort babies because they are little unborn girls. It is conservatives who argue that sex-selection abortion is abhorrent and should not be permitted. To the left, there is no more important right for women than the right to destroy innocent human life. Yet conservatives who champion the sanctity of life are somehow equivalent to the barbaric marauders of ISIS.”

SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

The BIG Lie: “At no point have I ever suggested … that somebody is a warmonger, meaning they want war.” —Barack Obama on the Iran deal (That is exactly what he has suggested, repeatedly.)

Village Idiots: “I hope that this be the last by the some in Congress to politicize the tragic events of Benghazi. … Let us make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s always been my focus.” —Hillary Clinton, who was the first to politicize Benghazi to help Obama in 2012

Braying Jenny: “Well, let me answer one of your questions because I think that’s what you are entitled to.” —Hillary Clinton, once again showing her disdain for the press when asked two questions by Ed Henry

Demo-gogues: “[I]t is not acceptable in this country when unarmed black people get dragged out of cars or get shot. That is happening too often.” —Bernie Sanders (Is anybody saying it IS acceptable?)

Some hard truths on inner-city crime: “[T]he problem is much deeper than synthetic drugs, high-capacity gun magazines, turf wars, rejiggering police deployment or keeping an eye on repeat violent offenders. We have on our hands … walking disasters: individuals who believe that their lives matter, but not yours or mine. Neither do our laws and institutions. The Wild West’s outlaws felt that way, too. But it didn’t turn out so well for them. Won’t for ours, either, in the long run. The challenge, as always: to keep our potential outlaws from going down that path. That’s not up to the police. Look at the faces of the killers and their victims. It’s on us — parents, preachers, politicians, community pontificators — all who profess that black lives matter, to prove it.” —Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King

And last… “If the Washington elite wants to hurt Donald Trump, they should endorse him.” —Republican strategist Dave Carney

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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Study delivers bleak verdict on validity of psychology experiment results

The Guarding reports on a major investigation into claims made in psychology research journals. John Ioannidis, professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, said that the study was impressive but “the picture it paints – a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field – is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating.”

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/27/study-delivers-bleak-verdict-on-validity-of-psychology-experiment-results/


The Media, the ABC, and Leftist Propaganda

The West is in a war. It has enemies aplenty but most of them are in the West itself. Those most eager to destroy the West are not hostile forces from without, but enemies from within. And the mainstream media is now fully involved in this war against the West.

Western media is leftist media, and it is hostile to what most folks in the West believe in and value. Many social commentators have made this case. Early on in his 2011 volume Righteous Indignation Andrew Breitbart put it this way:

Make no mistake: America is in a media war. It is an extension of the Cold War that never ended but shifted to an electronic front. The war between freedom and statism ended geographically when the Berlin Wall fell. But the existential battle never ceased. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the battle simply took a different form. Instead of missiles the new weapon was language and education, and the international left had successfully constructed a global infrastructure to get its message out.

He continued, “The left does not win its battles in debate. It doesn’t have to. In the twenty-first century, media is everything. The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything.”

abc 4Exactly right. To understand the Australian media in general, and the ABC in particular, one simply has to be aware this larger ideological framework. Then all the daily outrages perpetrated by groups like “our” ABC will all make sense. I have documented dozens of cases of outrageous bias, anti-Christian bigotry, and extreme left nonsense pouring forth on a regular basis from the national broadcaster.

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Outrage As Obama Says He Will Change Name Of Mount McKinley To Denali

Alaska-bound, Obama makes waves by renaming Mount McKinley

“And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” Daniel 11:3 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anti-American president and White House occupier Barack Hussein Obama loves to tear down and remove symbols that stand for the greatness of our nation. He seeks to reduce us to the level of any other nation, and has been astonishingly successful at it. His latest stunt is now to remove the name of revered American president William McKinley from the Alaskan mountain that has borne his name since 1917, and replace it with the name Denali, which means “high one”.  Which is exactly how he sees himself.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arctic temperatures and a mix of messy energy politics await President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Alaska. Even before he departed, Obama was making waves with a decision to rename Alaska’s famed Mount McKinley despite a backlash from Ohio politicians.

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Obama flies to Anchorage on Monday morning for a three-day tour of the nation’s largest state, closely choreographed to call attention to the ways Obama says climate change is already damaging Alaska’s stunning scenery. By showcasing thawing permafrost, melting sea ice and eroding shorelines, Obama hopes to raise the sense of urgency to deal quickly to slow climate change in the U.S. and overseas.

His excursion north of the Arctic Circle will make Obama the first sitting president to step foot in the Alaska Arctic, home to Alaska Natives who have received less attention amid Obama’s recent efforts to improve conditions for Native Americans. In a major show of solidarity, Obama announced on the eve of his trip that his administration is changing the name of North America’s tallest peak, Mount McKinley, to Denali, its traditional Athabascan name.

Obama’s move to strip the mountain of its name honoring former President William McKinley, a son of Ohio, drew loud condemnations from Ohio lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner, who said he was “deeply disappointed” in the decision.

This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans, and I will be working with the House Committee on Natural Resources to determine what can be done to prevent this action,” added Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio.

In renaming 20,320-foot Mount McKinley as Denali, Obama was instating a moniker Alaskans have informally used for centuries. The name means “the high one” in Athabascan. source


ISIS Releases Video Showing Plan For New World Order And Return To Gold Standard

Islamic State reveals new gold coins in bid to break ‘enslavement’ of capitalism

“This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:26-28 (KJV)

EDITOR”S NOTE: The Islamic State, like the meteoric rise of Nazi Germany before them, continue to grow exponentially because the powers that could stop them refuse to do so. With the exception of a few pusillanimous air strikes, nothing is being done, and like a hive of inner-city cockroaches, the reach of ISIS has become terrifyingly large. One man, Adolf Hitler, brought the free world to the brink of destruction because no one stopped him when they could have. ISIS has more tangible power right now than Hitler and all his henchmen did in 1932. America, hear what the Prophet Daniel has to say. Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin…

Islamic State, ISIS, revealed its new currency in a one-hour-long video entitled The Rise of the Khilafah and the Return of the Gold Dinar on Saturday, 29 August. The group said that the creation of the currency will help to break the “enslavement” of capitalism underpinned by the US dollar.

The release, which is narrated by an IS fighter with an American accent coupled with Arabic subtitles, shows plans for new gold, silver and copper coins in the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate which straddles the Iraqi-Syrian border. The group calls capitalism a “Satanic system” and goes on to condemn interest payments as the “most insidious instrument” of the US economy.

The footage was released by IS’ media wing Al-Hayat, and comes after the group announced it had plans to mint a new currency last November. The new currency will free members of IS’ caliphate from the “tyrannical monetary system that was imposed on the Muslims and was a reason for their enslavement and impoverishment, and the wasting the fortunes of the Ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide], making it easy prey in the hands of the Jews and Crusaders,” the group said in a statement, according to a translation by jihadi-monitoring company SITE Intelligence.


Financial Times Calls For Abolishing Cash

The Financial Times has published an anonymous article which calls for the abolition of cash in order to give central banks and governments more power…………  Click here for full story


Elites Preparing Last Phase Of New World Order?

There’s a passage of holy writ that has baffled Bible teachers for centuries, confounding and teasing them, to the point where most modern preachers pass right by it like a trucker skirting a weigh station. Who is “Mystery Babylon,” that “great whore” spoken of in Revelation 17-18 that commits “fornication” with world rulers, lives in extreme luxury and gets “drunk with the blood of the saints” before finally meeting her fiery destruction?……..  Click here for full story


Prophetic Insights Shed Light On Possible Fate Of Iran Deal

US lawmakers have only a few weeks left to decide the fate of the Iran nuclear deal. While it remains unclear whether Iran will be officially allowed to keep its nuclear program, the Bible offers some prophetic perspectives on the ultimate outcome of the accord and its implications for Israel and the Jewish nation…………  Click here for full story


Quebec Law Would Stifle Criticism Of Radical Islam

While the rest of Canada is being force-fed the Duffy Senate “scandal”, in Quebec a proposed law that will label any criticism of Islam or Islamism as “hate speech” is being quietly pushed through the National Assembly ………..  Click here for full story


Earth’s Moving Mantle Leads to Earthquakes in Unusual Places

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 06:15 AM PDT

It has long been a mystery why some earthquakes strike towns in seemingly earthquake-proof regions, but researchers now have a potential explanation for why temblors sometimes rattle where they’re not expected. Understanding the underlying source of these quakes could help officials prepare for their associated hazards. Researchers found that intraplate earthquakes — which occur in the middle, instead of at the borders, of tectonic plates — are influenced by convection, or heat-driven movements, of the molten mantle beneath the planet’s cold, solid crust.

Luke 21:11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

Although intraplate quakes make up a small percentage of overall earthquakes (98 percent of earthquakes occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates), they have been recorded at strengths of up to magnitude 7.0 and can be among the most disastrous temblors because they’re unexpected, said Thorsten Becker, lead author of the new study and a professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California. For one, towns hit by intraplate earthquakes are less likely to have earthquake-prepared infrastructure than towns that sit on plate boundaries, he said. FULL REPORT

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Courageous Christian Man Would Rather Lose Job Than Drive LGBT Gay Pride Bus

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 06:08 AM PDT

CALGARY BUS DRIVER WILL QUIT JOB IF FORCED TO TAKE THE WHEEL OF RAINBOW PRIDE BUS

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 

We live in a day and age where Christians no longer stand on Biblical truths and compromise, but not Jesse Rau from Canada. He is a Calgary bus driver who refused to drive his bus when his company had it decorated in LGBT rainbow pride colors. Lose a job because it violates your Christian faith? Yes, that is exactly the type of stance the Bible calls us to make in these last days.

Stay strong, brother, the Lord will provide a better job for you if you get fired. We salute your courageous stance and dearly hope it inspires Christians all across America to do likewise.

“I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone,” Rau told The Canadian Press. “Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.” FULL REPORT

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ISIS damages Bel, Syria’s ‘most important Temple

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:57 AM PDT

For nearly 2,000 years — back to the days when Christ walked the earth — the Temple of Bel has been the center of religious life in the Syrian city of Palmyra. But now, at least part of the most historically significant temple in Palmyra has been destroyed by ISIS, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists in Syria for information.

ISIS has become known not only for its brutal executions, but for its hatred of antiquities — and its wanton destruction of them. Recently, it executed Khaled al-As’ad, an 82-year-old man who had spent his life on the painstaking task of preserving antiquities in Palmyra, because he refused to reveal where various irreplaceable relics had been hidden. And now, apparently, ISIS has damaged the Temple of Bel.

Syria’s antiquities chief told CNN on Monday that officials were working to confirm the reports with sources in the city. Maamoun Abdulkarim described the Temple of Bel as “the most important temple in Syria — and of the most important in the whole Middle East.” FULL REPORT

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Perry Stone Makes a Case for the Rapture

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:44 AM PDT

Among Christians worldwide, there is controversy concerning teaching about the rapture, an end-times event described by the apostle Paul in several Scripture passages (see 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Eph. 1:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:51-55, for example). The English word “rapture” is derived from a Latin translation by St. Jerome of the phrase “caught up” in the New Testament (see 1 Thess. 4:17, NKJV).

More accurate biblical phrases are “the gathering together” (see Eph. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:1), the “catching away” (1 Thess. 4:17), and the “general assembly” (Heb.12:23). The term “rapture” refers to Christ’s return for the living saints and the resurrection of the dead in Christ, a predicted event whose timing is not revealed in the New Testament.

A type of the rapture appears in Exodus 19. Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Word of God. A “cloud” descended, and the “sound of the trumpet was very loud” as the “Lord descended” on the mount (Ex. 19:16-18). The “Lord came down” and “Moses went up” (v. 20). This Old Testament event foreshadows a future happening described by Paul. He wrote that the “Lord Himself will descend from heaven … with the trumpet of God. … Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together … in the clouds” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). FULL REPORT

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WATER WARS: Devastating shortages will fuel MidEast conflicts for 25 yrs

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:38 AM PDT

In a worrying global trend, the Middle East is set for a record water shortage to strike over the next 25 years. The global fallout from the recent record heatwaves will force more and more people into overcrowded cities and stagnate economic growth. Worse still, according to scientists with the World Resource Institute (WRI), water shortages will exacerbate existing conflicts – and the factor is considered to have contributed to the rising violence in Syria that erupted in 2011.

“Drought and water shortages in Syria likely contributed to the unrest that stoked the country’s 2011 civil war. Dwindling water resources and chronic mismanagement forced 1.5 million people, primarily farmers and herders, to lose their livelihoods and leave their land, move to urban areas, and magnify Syria’s general destabilization,” a new WRI report says.

The institute estimates that, of 33 countries predicted to face “extremely high water stress” by the year 2040, 14 will be in the Middle East and North Africa. The process will take place gradually, owing not only to a period of drought we’ve been facing, but also by overcrowding, as the global demand for water grows. FULL REPORT

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UK Reality Show Star: Hitler Was a ‘Good Man’

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:30 AM PDT

Playboy model and singer Tila Tequila has been kicked out of Celebrity Big Brother after it was revealed that she has praised Adolf Hitler on Facebook. UK’s Channel 5, which hosts the show, called her posts “totally unacceptable,” and expressed that it had not known of her attitudes before she began the program on Thursday.

Tequila, whose real name is Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen, posted a picture of herself wearing a swastika and an SS hat on Facebook. She also made a blog post entitled “Why I sympathise with Hitler Part 1: True History Unveiled.” She denies accusations of anti-Semitism, and once said that she may convert to Judaism.

After she was fired, Tequila apologized on Twitter: “Back in 2013, I made a statement about Hitler not being a bad person and immediately realized soon after that I had made a terrible mistake that would ultimately come back to haunt me. During that time, I had been suffering from severe depression and drug addiction for many years prior to that. I also attempted to commit suicide in 2012 and overdosed on prescription pills. I wanted to die. I felt worthless and unloved as that pain continued to grow, causing me to further spiral out of control. FULL REPORT

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Islamic State Plotting ‘Second Blow’ to U.S. Financial System in Bid to ‘Purify the Earth of Corruption’

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:24 AM PDT

The Islamic State group revealed over the weekend that at the centerpiece of its goal to bring down America is a concerted effort to weaken the U.S. dollar and replace it with gold currency. A video posted Saturday warned of the “dawning of a new age” in which replacing the dollar with gold would deliver “the second blow to America’s capitalist financial system of enslavement … casting into ruins their fraudulent dollar note.” The first blow, it said, was the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

The English-language video included archival footage from U.S. news channels, including a 2007 clip of Ron Paul sounding the alarm over the vulnerability of the dollar. Produced by the Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media, the extremist Sunni group positioned itself as leading the fight against fiat currency by minting caliphate gold, silver and bronze coins. It named them after historical Islamic caliphate coins: the gold dinar, the silver dirham and the bronze fals (or the plural fulus). FULL REPORT

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California Drought forces some to live in ‘Third World-Type’ conditions

Posted: 30 Aug 2015 08:53 PM PDT

Looking for water to flush his toilet, Tino Lozano pointed a garden hose at some buckets in the bare dirt of his yard. It’s his daily ritual now in a community built by refugees from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl. But only a trickle came out; then a drip, then nothing more. “There it goes,” said Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled vet, masking his desperation with a smile. “That’s how we do it in Okieville now.”

Millions of Californians are being inconvenienced in this fourth year of drought, urged to flush toilets less often, take shorter showers and let lawns turn brown. But it’s dramatically worse in places like Okieville, where wells have gone dry for many of the 100 modest homes that share cracked streets without sidewalks or streetlights in California’s Central Valley. Farming in Tulare County brought in $8.1 billion in 2014, more than any other county in the nation, according to its agricultural commissioner. Yet 1,252 of its household wells today are dry, more than all other California counties combined. FULL REPORT

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Thou Shall not have any other gods before me!

Posted: 30 Aug 2015 08:37 PM PDT

In this segment we will discuss how America is playing with fire by, both allowing Idol and Satanic Worship to take place on many locations in America. Are we opening the door for demons and principalities?

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24 Reasons to Believe Hell Is a Reality

Posted: 30 Aug 2015 08:25 PM PDT

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army and a man who dedicated his life to lifting the poor out of sin and poverty, reportedly made this state­ment: “Most Christian organizations would like to send their workers to Bible college for five years. I would like to send our workers to hell for five min­utes. That would prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.”

Booth never suggested that the des­perate people he served were “already in hell.” He believed in a real, eternal hell, and it drove him to rescue people from both their current plight and future perdition. Shortly before his death in 1912, Booth warned prophetically that he saw coming to the church, “forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration … a heaven without a hell.”

In today’s theological fog, his ominous caveat is unfolding. Even some who claim to believe the Bible are having second thoughts about eternal judgment, and others have rejected the notion of judgment altogether. The name usually given this teaching is Universalism. FULL REPORT

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Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

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What is The Gospel?


CanIKnowGod.com

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

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

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

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

Source


Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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August 31, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Heidelberg 115: The Three Functions Of The Law In The Christian Life

The law remains the law and we remain sinners. “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar” (1 John 1:10). The nomist thinks that, now that we have grace, we have no need of the gospel or that the gospel is only to help us obey the law. The antinomian thinks that now that we have grace, we have no need of law. Both are wrong. The gospel is that Christ obeyed in the place of, died for,and was resurrected for, and intercedes for sinners. We were justified in order that we might be gradually, graciously sanctified and that means being brought into conformity to Christ and to his holy law.

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A Note to Christian Men

What does this tells us about these men – the “evaluators”?  It tells us that the power of lust and desire for sexual gratification, even through brief visual stimulation, is compulsive and controlling. It is the most immediate and powerful impulse. Everything else, for that moment or two, becomes unimportant, in order to get a hit. Sin is addictive. And the worst part? This sin resides deep in the heart of each and every one of us.

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Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 2 (Know and Live Your Identity in Christ)

You need to spend time meditating on passages like Colossians 3, Ephesians 2, Romans 6 and 1 Peter 2. These passages will help you solidify your understanding of your new identity in Christ. But do more than read and think. Pray. Sing. Worship God for your new identity in Christ. Then, as you’re living your life, preach these truths to yourself. Regularly remind yourself of who you are in Christ.

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10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

Being a disciple of Jesus is hard. He said we must daily take up our cross and die to ourselves. He calls us to serve, love, and look to the interest of others. Following Jesus yields immeasurable joy, but we can also grow weary from day to day. Weary in parenting, weary in serving, weary in trials and affliction.

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Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

I realized that the Ask Pastor John answer that I responded to last week basically comes right out of his teaching in Chapter One of RBMW. So I decided to skim over the chapter again. It has been shocking for me to reread this as a more mature woman. Some parts were actually quite unbelievable. For instance, John Piper asserts,  “Mature masculinity expresses its leadership in romantic sexual relations by communicating an aura of strong and tender pursuit” (40).  After affirming that this is very difficult to put into words, he does just that. And it gets weird.

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Pro-Choice or Pro-Options: On Leadership

Much of the culture surrounding Christianity at the moment militates against the kind of commitment that making a choice, rather than merely having a choice, demands.  The language of conversation, so popular in certain quarters, has a certain open-ended quality to it. Once upon a time, arguments and debates were designed for the express purpose of reaching a conclusion, of deciding which, if any, of two or more positions was the best or the strongest or the most true.  Conversation has more of a `I’ll hear what you say; you hear what I say and we can all agree to differ while remaining friends’ feel.

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Southern Baptists Will Cut 600 to 800 Missionaries and Staff

The first of the cuts will come from voluntary retirements, followed by a restructuring. Overall, the IMB could release as many as 800 employees, according to an FAQ posted on the IMB’s website. Currently, the IMB has about 450 staff and about 4,700 missionaries overseas, down from 5,600 in 2009. Platt said earlier this year the total number of missionaries would likely drop to about 4,200—a 25 percent decline from 2009.

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Doctors Advised My Mom to Abort Me

As a pastor, I am sensitive to the guilt of those who have had an abortion, knowing that God is a God of forgiveness and healing. My prayer is that more families, single moms and confused couples would have the courage and selflessness that my mom displayed to reach out for help. May we reclaim the truth and dignity of life and speak for those without a voice, those most vulnerable in the womb. I, for one, am grateful that my parents did.

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Is It a Sin to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

Is It a Sin to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Crosswalk

Is it a sin to purchase a lottery ticket? Dr. Roger tackles the subject of gambling.

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Does the World Get to Decide How Valuable You Are?

Does the World Get to Decide How Valuable You Are?

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Crosswalk

Your value as a human being is not defined by the “stuff” you own.

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‘War Room’ is ‘resounding success’ at weekend box office

‘War Room’ is ‘resounding success’ at weekend box office

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Tru News

In the midst of a weekend box-office slate without much to get excited about, the faith-based drama “War Room” surprised to the tune of $11 million, according to studio estimates reported by Rentrak. The film, based on the story of a crumbling marriage saved by prayer and faith, is expected to end the weekend in …

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Stargazing in September: Supermoons and rising tides – the end of the world is nigh?

Stargazing in September: Supermoons and rising tides – the end of the world is nigh?

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Tru News

Be prepared for something extraordinary on the night of 27 to 28 September: both the brightest full Moon of the year – and the dimmest full Moon. First, we are due a supermoon. Our celestial companion travels round the Earth in an orbit that’s distinctively oval. Every month, the Moon swings from a distance of  …

Read Full Article »


Charles Colson's 'My Final Word' Warns of 'Long Bloody Clash' in War Against Radical Islam

Charles Colson’s ‘My Final Word’ Warns of ‘Long Bloody Clash’ in War Against Radical Islam

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Christian Post

Imagine that a loved one dies, and years later you receive a letter they wrote before they passed. That’s how writer Anne Morse describes My Final Word, the new book she co-authored posthumously with the late evangelical figure, radio commentator and former Nixon aide Charles Colson, which shares Colson’s uncanny foresight and words of wisdom regarding many of today’s critical issues — most notably religion.

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Earth-Just Before The Rapture

One of the more remarkable scriptures in the Bible is the statement in both Matthew and Luke that the coming of the Lord will be just like in the “days of Noah” before God flooded the earth.

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matt. 24:37-39

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Convergence: What Does it All Mean?

Jan Markell and Eric Barger discuss the convergence of many events in September, including the Shemitah, with Jonathan Cahn. From the United Nations to the Jewish holy days to the Pope, and much more, there is a strange alignment of activity in September, not the least of which is the Shemitah. They emphasize that no one knows for sure if we can draw any conclusions. Cahn looks at patterns in the past as well. It is a provocative hour. We use the mobile app found at http://www.oneplace.com.

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Christian Film ‘War Room’ Stuns Hollywood With $11 Million Weekend

Outside of evangelical circles, the names Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick are likely to be met with blank stares.

But thanks to low-budget hits like “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” the brothers have transformed themselves into Steven Spielbergs of Christian cinema. Their names above the title are enough to open movies that are firmly pitched to the faithful.

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Professor fired for mentioning God in letter to students

View 4-mintue video


‘My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List’

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be.……  Click here for full story


“The Shack,” with film pending, called “greatest deception” to church “in the last 200 years”

Christian Examiner reports:
The Shack, Wm Paul Young

An evangelical seminary professor is calling The Shack the “greatest deception foisted on the church in the last 200 years” and urging Christian leaders to speak out against it ahead of its release as a movie.

James B. DeYoung, professor of New Testament language and literature at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., says controversy over the 2007 bestselling book by William Paul Young will resurface when the film – which began shooting in June – is released.

The Shack, a New York Times Best Seller has sold 25 million book copies and was printed in 41 languages.

A film release date has not been set.

Though the author, like others uses fiction “as a servant” of theology, the allegorical book has an unbiblical view of God, DeYoung said, and clearly affirms universalism – that is, that all people will be saved.

“I maintain that The Shack represents the greatest deception foisted on the church in the last 200 years!” DeYoung wrote in a column for MovieGuide.org. “Not since the time of the Colonies and Isaac Backus has universalism been in such ascendency in the public psyche. The Shack is not a new Pilgrim’s Progress for our day but a house of deceit deserving destruction.”

http://www.christianexaminer.com/article/the.shack.with.film.pending.called.greatest.deception.to.church.in.the.last.200.years/49431.htm/


Who are the apostates?

In this piece Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure points out something that many of Christians are unaware of: “An apostate can remain in an organized so-called “Christian Church” and be very religious and remain quite active in the “ministry” of deceiving as many people as he or she can. I mentioned it earlier in […]

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Trump Hosts Televangelists Who Fleece Their Flocks

No wonder The Donald is so lucky with money! He’s been planting seed faith cash into  strategic WOF alliances.  God will surely smile and bless his campaign….(/snark) Hat tip to Janet Mefferd for sharing this from the Daily Beast: Donald Trump, who meets next month with a group of televangelists, has strong ties to the […]

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How to Survive a University Religion Class

It is a story that everyone has heard.  Evangelical high school student, who is involved in the youth group and committed to Christ, heads off to the local university.  As a freshman, he takes an introductory religion class–probably intro to the OT or NT.

The professor is a critical scholar, deeply skeptical about the historicity of the Bible, and antagonistic to evangelicals.  After seeing the Bible take a pounding for an entire semester, and with no one around with any answers, our freshman decides Christianity probably isn’t true after all.

The question isn’t whether this scenario plays out every year all over the country (it does).  The question is what can be done about it.  Most church youth groups don’t have this scenario on their radar screen when they are preparing students for college.  Most of the attention is designed to help students survive morally or ethically, not intellectually.

So, for the student in this situation, I offer some advice in the video below.  Thanks to TGC for putting this together and making it available.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/129253608?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

How to Survive World Religions 101 from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.


It’s Turning Ugly Out There

Bolstered by the sad decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized homosexual “marriage”, secular progressives are pressing their temporary advantage, doing all they can to suppress and silence the voices of Christian churches and ministries.  They’ve found an ally in the court system and an opponent (Christians) who seem apathetic as a whole. Are […]

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Horror Movie Master Wes Craven Enters Into A Christless Eternity

He attended Wheaton, one of America’s best-known evangelical Christian colleges

“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Acts 26:28 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Horror movie guru Wes Craven was given a great gift at an early age, a chance to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. A lot of his fans might be shocked to know that he attended Wheaton,  one of the premier Christian colleges in America. But according to his own testimony, Craven rejected the salvation offered by Jesus Christ, and instead chose to spend his life giving glory to the things of the Devil through his acclaimed body of work in the horror film genre. Now, his life is over, and he has gone from this life to the next. A life that by his own choice does not include Jesus Christ, Heaven or anything connected with God. If the Bible is right, he is burning in Hell right now. I wonder if he still thinks that giving up Jesus Christ in exchange for Hollywood fame and fortune was worth it. Where are you going to go when you die?

Wes Craven, the famed writer-director of horror films known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. Craven, whose iconic Freddy Krueger character horrified viewers for years, died at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced.

wes-craven-dies-brain-cancer-nightmare-elm-street-wheaton-college-horror-movies-hell

Sometimes Craven told himself, “I am bad because I am rejecting the Holy Spirit of Christ.”

Born in Cleveland, Craven was raised in a conservative church where”we didn’t smoke, drink, play cards, dance or go to movies,” he said. He attended one of the nation’s best-known evangelical Christian institutions, Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Ill., before earning a master’s degree in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. Before making movies, he taught college.

Craven recalled his Wheaton years as a period of both searching and rebellion. “I really frankly was in trouble a lot,” he said, explaining that he and about a dozen classmates, while considering themselves Christians, chafed under the college’s restrictive interpretation of the faith.

The soul searching took different forms. Sometimes Craven told himself, “I am bad because I am rejecting the Holy Spirit of Christ.”But at other times, the doubts served more positively as signs that he needed to rethink reality.

Asked if he considered himself a religious person now, Craven responded, “I don’t do anything in an organized way.” Rather, he has come to see filmmaking as the most significant way to express his beliefs and longings.

Craven said he found something in the whole process of crafting a film, from the business nuts-and-bolts to “wrestling with my inner demons and inner glimpses of light,” that was more satisfying and beneficial than anything he could have done in traditional venues of religious service. “I think that’s … the best approach to (the) spiritual … I’m capable of,” he said.

Our hearts go out to the Craven family during their time of grief, but more than that, we pray that there will be some there will consider his rejection of Jesus Christ and not make the same eternal mistake that Wes did. If you’re still alive. it’s not too late to avoid Hell.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)


Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 4 (Put Off and Put On)

In our series on Killing Sin by the Spirit, we have seen so far three things we must do:

1. Understand and respond to the call to kill sin by the Spirit.
2. Know and live our identity as children of God who have been born again and who have the Holy Spirit.
3. Get the grace we need to be empowered to kill sin and grow spiritually through God’s ordinary means of grace.

Once we have the grace we need, what do we do? Well, the Bible calls us to the daily exercise of putting off the practices of the “old self” and putting on the practices of our “new self.”

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. – Colossians 3:9-10

Colossians 3:5-17 is a great passage to read for specific guidance on putting off and putting on, as is Ephesians 4:17-32. Consider this from Ephesians 4:

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:20-24, ESV)

The principles behind these passages that teach us foundational, practical Christian living are simple:

1. Your outward behavior is a reflection of your inward desires.
2. As you love Jesus more and more, you must also work to live out what you believe and who you love.
3. You aren’t going to simply do nothing. You will be doing something, so as you stop old patterns of life that come out of selfishness and unbelief, they must be replaced by new patterns of life that come out of our love for Jesus.

Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 give a number of specific examples of this kind of behavior change, but these chapters are not giving us exhaustive lists. Notice also that when Paul tells us to put off sinful patterns in these chapters, he also uses the language of putting these things to death. In other words, we’re not supposed to be putting things off and folding them and putting them in a drawer to be brought out later when we want to wear then again. We’re to put them off and put them to death!

Here are the things we’re told to put off and put to death in these chapters:

1. sexual immorality
2. impurity
3. passion (Greek “pathos” – unhealthy and inordinate desire)
4. evil desire
5. covetousness
6. anger
7. wrath
8. malice
9. slander
10. obscene talk
11. lying
12. stealing
13. corrupt talk
14. bitterness
15. clamor (crying out, outcry, loud complaining)
16. slander

Here are the things we’re told to put on instead:

1. compassionate hearts
2. kindness
3. humility
4. meekness
5. patience
6. forgiveness
7. love
8. peace
9. work
10. worship
11. kindness
12. tender-heartedness

We can read passages like these and look at lists like these in two different ways:

1. As a do and don’t list, a checklist for behavior.
2. As descriptions of the overflow of two different heart orientations.

The context of Colossians and Ephesians makes it clear that we’re to read these in the second way and not in the first way.

If our hearts are oriented on ourselves, we will seek to gratify our own desires. We will not take the truth seriously, but will manipulate our words to serve our purposes. We will not see other people as precious images of God but as tools and objects to advance our desires or else as obstacles that stand in the way of our desires.

If our hearts are ruled by grace and filled with love from God, we will seek the glory of God and the good of others. We will love and forgive, seek purity in speech to bless others and build them up. We will embrace work as a gift from God and will worship God in our hearts and with our lips in song. We will forgive as readily as we have been forgiven and will be patient with the faults of others, knowing how patient God is with us.

Remember that this heart change comes only by the Holy Spirit, who works His will in us. We respond to the grace given us. So, we should seek His face more and more as we’re convicted of our shortcomings.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17  


A Bridge, a Plane, and an Identity Crisis

by Leanna Shepard | 8/31/15

The Main Street bridge a few blocks from where I live is undergoing major construction. They completely tore down the old structure to replace it with a newer, safer version. Building the new bridge seems to be taking forever!

It’s always nice to know the pavement you’re driving on is secure, so the idea of a new bridge sounded great . . . until I was inconvenienced by the road detours and extra traffic. And all the pounding and vibrations from the construction? Certainly not my choice of an alarm clock, that’s for sure.

The Bible tells us that it is because the Lord loves us that He disciplines us.

A few weeks ago, I crossed the river on an alternate route and looked over toward the construction to view the progress—which was, in my opinion, not a lot. The only evidence of a new bridge was two concrete cylinders. At this pace, I’ll be taking the long way to work for a very long time.

I know the new bridge will be wonderful, but in the meantime the inconvenience and construction noise is anything but wonderful. I’m ready for it to be done, particularly when there’s little headway to show for it.

Your Heart Is a Construction Zone

Did you know your heart is like that broken-down bridge under construction? We are fallen children that need God to change us (John 15:1–2). We don’t like the “construction” that takes place in our hearts when
God begins to work on us because it’s painful, and we’re discouraged when we don’t see immediate improvement. It seems like such a long, unnecessary process.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the day when His work is complete, when we understand the kindness He showed in fully restoring our broken-down hearts. I know that the discomfort and pain will be worth it all.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:11).

Sometimes, though, we mistake discipline for punishment and as a result become discouraged or depressed. We think God is angry with us or out to get us. But the Bible tells us that it is because the Lord loves us that He disciplines us.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives (Heb. 12:6).

When God confronts you with your sin and starts chipping away at your pride, you’re not being whacked and whittled down to size. You’re being lovingly crafted into the image of His Son.

When your life is crumbling like an old bridge, your value before God is not deteriorating. He will always love you and see you as perfect and complete through His Son.

It is when we lose sight of the cross that we begin to gauge our spiritual progress on how we measure up rather than on who we are.

It is when we lose sight of the cross that we begin to gauge our spiritual progress on how we measure up rather than on who we are. It’s called an identity crisis. (I’m preaching to myself, believe me.)

We convince ourselves that our worth is in our behavior and accomplishments, so we work our fannies off trying to “be good” only to find ourselves more miserable and discouraged than before.

But you know what?

  • Your identity is not in what you think of yourself.
  • Your identity is not in what you perceive others are thinking of you.
  • Your identity is not in your performance or in your appearance.
  • Your identity is not in how much “construction” is taking place inside or what your progress report says.

Your identity is in your position in Christ.

Kind of Like Being in an Airplane

I like how Pastor Eric Ludy illustrates this. He says being in Christ is kind of like being in an airplane.

When you’re in an airplane, you’re flying. You’re able to defy laws of gravity and move at supernatural speeds. But really, it’s not you who is flying, the plane is. You’re just along for the ride because you’ve placed yourself inside the plane.

When you are in Christ, you have the faith to move mountains and the ability to defy your sin nature.

Just like being in a plane, when you are in Christ, you have the faith to move mountains and the ability to defy your sin nature. This is not from some inner strength you muster up on your own; it’s the power of Jesus Christ at work within you. (This illustration can be found in Pastor Eric’s message titled “In Christ,” beginning at the 12:00 minute marker.)

When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you are accepting God’s gift of eternal life and become united with Him. All the love that the Father has for His Son is now yours! You’re a daughter of the King and fellow heir with Him (Gal. 3:26, Eph. 1:11). It’s not like back in the day when only the firstborn son inherited
the family wealth. As children of God, we all receive an inheritance in heaven!

Our Father showers His children with ” every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” That means:

  • In Christ you are forgiven and redeemed (Eph. 1:7).
  • In Christ you are set free from sin and made alive in God (Rom. 6:11, Rom. 8:2).
  • In Christ you are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • In Christ you are not guilty or condemned (Rom. 8:1).
  • In Christ you are loved by God forever (Rom. 8:38–39).
  • In Christ you have eternal life (John 5:24).

In Christ, nothing you do can change God’s love for you. Because Jesus became human flesh and died a horrendous death on the cross, we are guiltless in God’s eyes. So even though we still make mistakes and even though our heart is often home to a construction zone, God looks at us and sees Christ, not our
sin.

In Christ you can never be rejected.
Never condemned.
Never plucked out of His hand.
You are always forgiven.
Always loved.
Always His precious possession.

Are you in Christ?
Have you placed your identity and worth in something other than Him?

For a fuller understanding of what it means to be in Christ, I encourage you to check out the following resources:

The Stupendous Reality of Being in Christ” by Pastor John Piper

In Christ” by Eric Ludy

Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ” by Blair Linne

Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Freebie Friday! A Locker Design Contest

by Erin Davis

Plaster your locker with truth; win free stuff. It really is that easy.

35 Things I Wish I’d Known In High School (And Freebies!)

by Erin Davis

Here’s a favorite post from our archives, plus some freebies for your locker!

9 Things to Remember When Another Christian Disappoints You

by Erin Davis

Here are nine things to keep in mind when another Christian disappoints you.


08/31/15 My Promises and His Promises

READING: Ezekiel 16-17

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I shudder to think about how many promises I’ve made to God that I did not keep. Honestly, I could probably list them by the dozens — if not the hundreds, or more — over 40+ years of being a believer.  Were my relationship to God based on my level of commitment to Him, our communion would have ended a long time ago.

What I’ve learned over and over again is that He keeps His Word, and He loves me more than I love Him. I have broken my word to Him, but He has never broken His Word to me. Thus, these words from Ezekiel 16 are both painful and gracious:

Ezek. 16:59-60  “For this is what the Lord God says: I will deal with you according to what you have done, since you have despised the oath by breaking the covenant. But I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”

The Hebrews continually broke their covenant with God made at Sinai — so much so that they recurrently turned to other (false) gods. The true God would then judge them, but He would do so to bring them back to Him. He would bring them to remembrance and shame as He kept His covenant with them to be their God (Ezek. 16:61-63). In fact, just as He used judgment to show that He was Yahweh, He would use restoration of His people to show the same (Ezek. 16:62).

I’ve said it before in these devotions: God keeps His promises to a people who don’t always keep theirs to Him. He shows who He is by keeping us in His hand when we struggle to wander away. That truth makes me want to be more faithful to Him, to be sure to keep my word to Him. He alone is God.

PRAYER: “God, forgive me for my many broken promises to You. I’m amazed that You have always been faithful to us — except that that’s just who You are. Thank You for loving us enough to bring us to shame when necessary to turn us back to You.”


The Weakness of Ruth Is Greater than the Strength of Samson

I recently reflected on the dark conclusion to the book of Judges—how the book ends with a note of desperation. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” And what was “right in their eyes” was patently horrific. It seemed so appealing at the beginning, to define God how they wanted him to be. But it turned out to be hell on earth.

If the book of Judges were all we had to capture this time in Israel’s history, it would be a dismal piece of history indeed. But there’s another story, a hidden sub-plot, to what’s going on in Judges. It’s the tiny companion volume known as Ruth.

The book of Ruth is set in the waning days of the rule of the Judges. In case you forgot what those days were like, it wasn’t a great time to be a woman in Israel. Women were bought and sold as property, kidnapped to satisfy the demands of the warriors, and murdered with no apparent concern for justice. Yet the central character of Ruth is a woman. Not only that, she isn’t even an Israelite. And at the start of her story, she’s a widow. By all outside appearances, Ruth is as low and as weak as a person could get.

Read more of this post


Jesus, Children, and Humility

2015.08.26 LA_Cathedral_Mausoleum_Jesus_and_the_childrenMark 9:33–37, 42, Matthew 18:1–5, and Luke 9:46–48 give parallel accounts of Jesus’ use of a child to illustrate His teaching to the disciples. These passages differ, however, in which teaching they choose to report. We see at least four teachings from these passages.

Have the faith and humility of a child (Matt 18:3–4). Speaking of how to “enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus says that we must “turn and become like children,” which means that one “humbles himself like this child,” that is, a child that Jesus had called to stand in their midst (Matt 18:3–4; cf. 18:1–2). We must humbly trust in Christ and not ourselves if we hope to enter His kingdom.

Welcome all believers alike with no thought to their social standing (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:36–37). Jesus speaks of one who “receives one such child in my name” as the one who “receives me” (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:37). The phrase “one such” implies that it was not only children that Jesus admonished His disciples to receive, but all who are like children in some sense. In context, this sense is along the lines of who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:1). Even if one is like a child (one without social standing and recognition), if such a one bears the name of Jesus (“receives…in my name”), then we as believers should seek to welcome and serve such a one, not figure out whether we are ranked higher than such a person in the coming kingdom of God. And, by serving all believers, and especially those who are little in the eyes of men, we are thereby evaluated by God to be the greatest in His kingdom (Matt 18:4; cf. also James 2:1–10).

To welcome all believers without discrimination is to welcome Jesus and, therefore, His Father (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:36–37; Luke 9:48). One of the primary ways we show our love for God is to show our love for His people. By welcoming those who bear His name, it is as if we were welcoming Jesus Himself (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:37a; Luke 9:48a), and to welcome Jesus is to welcome His Father, the One who sent Him on our behalf (Mark 9:37b; Luke 9:48b). How we treat others is a reflection of how we treat God Himself (cf. also Matt 25:31–46).

Causing a believing child to sin is great sin (Matt 18:6; Mark 9:42). If we allow our pride to dismiss other believers and provoke them to sin, we commit great sin ourselves (Matt 18:8; Mark 9:42; cf. 9:38–41). Rather, we should support one another and strive for unity instead of thinking that we alone our righteous in our ways (cf. also John 13:34–35 and Rom 15:7).


Three Dangers Straight from Moses (by Phillip Camp)

Deuteronomy 7-10 reveals that the faithfulness of God’s people to their covenant with God—and so their fulfillment of God’s purposes through them—faces constant dangers on several levels. One does not have to dig too deeply to find manifestations of these same dangers within the community of God today. The Danger of Pride. In Deuteronomy 7:6, [Read More…]

Chasing Precious

Remember Gollum from Tolkien’s The Hobbit? Gollum once was a hobbit, named Sméagol, but has become an ex-hobbit. He’s this creepy, little monster, who is possessed by the ring — literally. Because he has made the ring the object of his adoration, he no longer possesses it, but it possesses him.

In fact, he calls the ring “my precious.” It’s telling that Gollum never refers to himself as “precious,” but only the ring. The object of his worship stole his identity. He is no longer precious, because it is precious.

This is what idolatry does to us. Maybe it doesn’t turn us into little monsters — but close. Verse eight of Psalm 115, after mocking man-made idols — which have mouths but can’t speak, eyes but can’t see, and so forth — decrees, “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” Those who put their trust in idols lose their personhood. They slowly lose their ability to be human, which is represented by the language of speaking, seeing, and hearing. When this happens, you turn into an “it.”  You’re not a person, but a thing.

Those who put their trust in idols lose their personhood. (Ps. 115:8)

TWEET

As a “thing,” you lose your sense of preciousness. Then the idol you worship becomes “my precious.”

But there’s more. Gollum never refers to himself as an “I,” but only a “we.” He is no longer an individual.

“The Precious” is a shorthand for what it means to make an idol out of something: you lose your individuality and sense of preciousness to the object of your worship. It is your master, and you are its slave. “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19).

S. Lewis wrote:

Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or a hellish creature…Each of us at each moment is progressing toward the one state or the other.

Gollum didn’t think that he was precious, because only the ring was precious. How about you? Has some dumb idol taken your place? Has an “it” become what you should be? What is the central part of yourself turning into?

Here are some tests. Ask yourself if you think you’re nothing. Or, could you imagine yourself to be precious if you didn’t have that idol? Do you need that thing in order to feel like you’re precious or worthy?

This is how idolatry manifests itself. You think you’re worthless if you don’t have beauty. You think you’re worthless if you don’t have accomplishment. You think you’re worthless if you don’t have a certain material possession, status, or person in your life. You cannot conceive of yourself as precious on your own, just how your mother brought you into this world.

Something else has taken your place as “the precious.”

And not for a million years can you fathom what God said of his people in Isaiah 43:4, “You are precious in my sight.” Do you see? God wants to give you back yourself, which you’ve lost. Stop thinking that some idol is precious, and start realizing that you are precious.

On the cross, Jesus became the monster. He became the “it.” He made him who knew no sin to become sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In a sense, on the cross, Jesus became the ex-human, so that you might become human again. The Bible calls this being born again. You are made into a new creation. The old monster has passed away, and behold, the new precious person has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Don’t let some idol wrap you around its little finger. For in Christ you are a new creation, precious in the sight of God.

What idol has threatened to steal your “preciousness”?

RELATED POSTS:

The post Chasing Precious appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.


How to Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin

Every church has its problems. There are no perfect churches. But there are some churches that are so bad that they make atheism look appealing. Anyone compiling a list of worst churches in the world would need to consider, as a top candidate, the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.westboro

Founded in 1955 the church began with promising doctrinal standards. They called themselves Christian, Biblical, Baptist, and even Calvinistic. They took a strong view on inerrancy, the need for repentance, and the Lordship of Christ. But it soon became evident that the church lacked one virtue vital for anyone who bears the name of Christ: the church has no love. I realize that’s my opinion, but let the evidence help you decide if they show love.

WBC has been officially categorized by a number of organizations as a hate group. They are most known for the abrasive slogans used when protesting homosexualty. The members picket funerals of homosexuals with signs declaring “God hates fags,” God hates you,” “God hates America,” and “You are going to hell.”

They don’t only hate homosexuals. They also vocally express hatred for Jews, Catholics, Nelson Mandela, the US Army, the Swedish, and countless politicians. And just to toss their wet blanket of prejudice over billion or so more, they host a website called GodHatesIndia(dot)com.

I’m not saying they express disagreement with these groups. I’m saying they express hate.

In an investigative documentary the interviewer asked Shirley Phelps-Roper (the founding pastor’s daughter) if she thought this technique might put people off the gospel. Her response: You think our job is to win souls to Christ. All we do, by getting in their face and putting these signs in front of them and these plain words, is make what’s already in their heart come out of their mouth. She admitted that the money they spend flying to funerals is spent “to spread God’s hate.”

Every major denomination has denounced them, including the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Anyone known for hate rather than love doesn’t deserve to be called a Baptist or a Church.

Ps 15:4 …In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord…

We all agree that God hates sin and that believers should hate sin (Prov 8:13). The question is, whether it is acceptable to hate the sinners who commit the sins? Advocates of this view may cite the rare verses that seem to legitimize hating sinful people (e.g. Ps 15:4). Most notably, David’s declaration of fealty to God’s cause in Ps 139:21-22 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Bear in mind David was a king anointed by God’s decree, given prophetic capabilities, and a divine military commission to wage war against Israel’s enemies. If that’s you, perhaps you could make a case for stirring up a bloodlust to fuel your grim responsibility to kill the men of war God instructed you to exterminate. (There isn’t really a loving way to disembowel a guy with a sword on a battlefield).

But we are not told anywhere to be like David. We are called to imitate Christ’s example (1 Cor 11:1).

Jesus never expressed hatred for sinners. He ate with tax collectors and other moral bottom feeders. He told the woman caught in adultery that he didn’t condemn her. He allowed a prostitute to publically wash his feet (Luke 7:37-38). He prayed that God forgive his murderers (Luke 23:34). He taught explicitly that God loves the world (yes, including the sinners in it; John 3:16). He modeled grace, mercy, and compassion for those who were wicked. The sternest words in Christ’s repertoire were always reserved for religious unbelieving hypocrites; but even then he targeted their deeds and attitudes.

So what does it look like to love the sinner and hate the sin? How could Westboro Baptist show love for homosexuals without condoning the sin of homosexuality? Ask Ray Comfort. That’s what the Kleins did.

kleins cakesMelissa and Aaron Klein, bakers from Oregon, declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. And they were successfully sued for discrimination. The case is being appealed, but in the meantime the Kleins approached famed evangelist Ray Comfort who has shed a beam of solace on the situation. At his suggestion the couple baked and sent cakes to ten gay rights organizations. They included a gift certificate, a gospel message, and decorated the cakes with the words “We really do love you.”

No one could misconstrue the Klein’s gesture as approving of homosexuality. And yet no one can dispute that the Kleins are doing a better job at showing love to homosexual people than Westboro is.

I try remind myself that God loved me while I was still his enemy. He didn’t love what I would one day become when I repented. He loved me first. And that love changed me.

Rom 5:8,10  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son …

It is my prayer for our flock at Hillcrest Baptist Church that we never derail into a dissonant congregation of clanging cymbals. I hope we build a reputation in our community of people who love the truth and sinners, but hate sin. And hatred.

PS. you should really check out Jesse’s encounter with the picketers at his church in DC. It’s worth the price of admission.


Seven Internal Barriers to Growth in a Church

There is rarely a simple explanation for the decline of a church. It is often a complex mix of cultural, theological, attitudinal, and internal issues. In this article, I address the latter issue.

Internal barriers refer to those obstacles that are inherent in the organization and the facilities of the church. They are also called structural barriers. Stated simply, these barriers are self-imposed or self-inflicted.

Some of these barriers are long-standing and difficult to remove. Others, such as a redesigned website, can be accomplished with little pain. Let’s look at the six most common internal barriers in churches.

  1. Facility Barriers. We have addressed these barriers several times on this site and on the Rainer on Leadership podcast. The two most common are poor signage and inadequate parking. The former is often more easily addressed than the latter. Other common facility barriers include dirty and cluttered facilities, inadequate worship space, inadequate children’s space, and poor sound and lighting in the worship space.
  2. Governance Barriers. These barriers include restrictive bylaws and policies, a model of church government that is not working as intended, and frequent acrimonious business meetings. I am familiar with a church that had a policy where the executive pastor was on every committee, but the pastor was not. The particular problem was the personnel committee, where the executive pastor abused his authority to prevent the pastor from leading staff or having an influence on any personnel matters. That situation did not end well.
  3. Staffing Barriers. Churches often staff the way they’ve always done it. But times change and needs change. Staffing alignment and job descriptions of the 1990s may be inadequate today. Sometimes the job descriptions can be fine, but the wrong people are in those positions. Jim Collins, in his classic book Good to Great, uses the metaphor of getting the right people on the bus, and getting the right people in the right seat on the bus. If a church leader is not in a position that matches his or her gifts, abilities, and passions, the church has a structural growth barrier.
  4. Cultural Barriers. These barriers refer largely to attitudes and practices of the leadership and membership as perceived by guests. They could include a general unfriendly spirit in the church, acrimonious business meetings, perceived lengthy services, and worship times that are not convenient for guests.
  5. Church Calendar. Many churches are notorious for being activity-driven. One activity is stacked upon another. The church is so busy doing good things that it neglects the best things. Typically, the most often neglected ministries in busy churches are evangelism and ministry beyond the walls of the church. Most busy churches are not Great Commission churches.
  6. Worship Times. Why does your church have the specific worship times it offers? For many churches, it is the way we’ve always done it. Many church leaders have not asked what are the most conducive times to reach the community. Frankly, the traditional 11:00 am worship time as a single offering makes little sense today. I will admit, however, it’s still a good time for the farmers who need to milk the cows and feed the animals before they come to church.
  7. Website Barriers. One of the simplest internal or structural changes a church can make to reach more people is to update the website. The website is the front door for guests. It is their first stop before visiting the church. It makes no sense to have a lousy website when it is so effective when done well. And churches should follow the cardinal rule of websites: the church’s physical location and times of service should be clear and evident on the home page.

Some of the reasons a church may not be growing could be self-inflicted barriers. These are seven of the most common barriers. What do you think of them? Let me hear from you.

The post Seven Internal Barriers to Growth in a Church appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Check out

Blogs

Do’s And Don’ts To Preserve Your Brain Power | Harvard Business Review
“Like any good machine, the brain needs a little care and attention as it ages to ensure it continues to run in good working order.”

A Sense of the Love of Christ | Feeding on Christ: Nick Batzig
“John Owen held to a Christological interpretation of the Song–namely, out of a desire for true progress in Christian piety.”

Afflictions Sanctified by the Word | Upward Call
A beautiful piece from William Cowper for all afflicted Christians.

How To Answer Skeptics from Romans 1 | Nancy Pearcey
For everyone going off to College – and their parents.

Leading Your Leaders Retreat | Kevin DeYoung
Kevin offers a snapshot of how his church makes the best use of leaders’ retreats.

The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World | TGC Review

The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World by Owen Strachan.

Kindle Deals

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand $2.99.

Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide by Randy Alcorn $4.61.

What Is Biblical Theology?: A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns by James Hamilton $3.99.

Video

How to Survive World Religions 101

Michael Kruger entered his freshman year at the University of North Carolina as a committed Christian. He thought he was ready for the intellectual challenges college would mount against his faith—that is, until he found himself sitting in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman as his professor. It left him shell-shocked.


A La Carte (August 31)

If you have ever wanted to get oriented in Biblical Theology, you will appreciate these two books from Crossway: What Is Biblical Theology? by James Hamilton ($3.99) and Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence ($3.99). Both are reader-friendly introductions. Other Kindle deals include Going Beyond the Five Points edited by Rob Ventura ($1.99), The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges ($2.99), and The Bible Answer Book (Volume 2) by Hank Hanegraaff ($1.99). Also, Amazon has several hundred Kindle books on sale today. The sale is targetted at students, but open to anyone.

One Strategy to Rule Them All

Nancy Pearcey shows how to answer skeptics from Romans 1. The article is a brief overview of the heart of her book Finding Truth which I have reviewed here.

How Katrina Changed New Orleans

TIME has an interesting infographic that displays how Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans.

This Day in 1688: John Bunyan died at the age of 59. Bunyan is remembered in history as author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the most-read books of all-time. The book has been translated into more than 200 languages and, to this point, has never gone out of print.

Lazy Writing, Cheap Restoration

Whether or not you agree with every part of this review of War Room, I think you will find that much of it resonates. “This is precisely where War Room, like so many Christian films, stumbles. The characters and situation are so thinly drawn that even those of us who believe in the film’s ultimate message have a hard time with the package wrapped around it.”

Tragedy and Transforming Truth

It sounds like The Purpose Driven Life may be back in the headlines soon. The Grace To You blog is beginning a short series to remind us what the book is about and why many parts of it are concerning.


The Daily Discovery (August 31, 2015)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

My Wife’s Plea to Christian Men – “Over the weekend I could see that Aileen had something on her mind. We spoke and she told me about reading the news, about seeing more Christian men fall into scandal, and, in the face of it all, her confusion, her despair, the crumbling of her hope. I asked if she would write about it. Here is what she said…”

The Place and Purpose of Parachurch Ministries – “The world of campus ministry is a world filled with parachurch ministries. Names like Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), InterVarsity, and Navigators are household names for most evangelicals. Their founders are some of the past century’s heroes of the faith. These ministries are the gold standard of evangelicalism for good reason.”

How Could Noah Build Something So Large? – “Imagine that you had never studied ancient monuments and had never heard of Stonehenge in England. How would you respond to someone who told you that long before the advent of modern machinery, ancient people moved 30-foot-tall, 25-ton stones a distance of 20 miles and arranged them in precise alignment with the sun on the summer solstice?”

Honor authorities, but fear God – “First Peter 2:13 starts with six words most of us probably really, really hate: ‘Be subject to every human institution.’  Admit it: you just bristled, didn’t you?  None of us particularly like authority. That is, in large part, because we are sinners prone to wanting to be our own authorities. But some of us also have a habit of being so concerned about our human authorities that we forget that they are also under God’s authority.  Yes, respect and obey the earthly authorities—whether parents, pastors, police or presidents—but don’t forget: they’re not the primary authority. God is.”

The Biblical Basis for Missions – “What is mission, and what is the principal foundation for the mission of the church? The word mission itself comes from the Latin verb missio, which means ‘to send.’ So, literally, missions has to do with sending. In the Scriptures, we see the verb to send being used over and over, in a multitude of ways. But there’s a sense in which the whole life of the church and the whole experience of the Christian are rooted ultimately in some kind of sending that is founded in the authority and the action of God Himself.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – The Meaning of the Widow’s Mite (Luke 21:1-4)


VIDEOS:

Worldview of a former youth pastor refuted

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Worship Jesus Christ?


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur


Christian Headlines Daily – Monday, August 31, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Christian Actress Candace Cameron Bure Set to Co-Host ‘The View’

Texas Church Responds with Standing Ovation to Gay Marriage Proposal

Death Threats, Forced Conversions of Christians Cited in India

Egyptian Christian Imprisoned for Handing Out Bibles in Shopping Mall

Hillary Clinton: Republicans’ Views on Women Comparable to That of Terrorists

Billy Graham: Only Person God Can’t Forgive is One who Doesn’t Seek Forgiveness

Southern Baptists to Cut up to 800 Missionaries due to Lack of Funds

33 Christian Leaders Who are Speaking up for Life

Husband and Wife Who Converted to Christianity Shot by Muslim Family Members

Religious Freedom a ‘Reality’ in Recovering Central African Republic

Opinion

Whom Shall We Worship: A Look into Canaanite Culture

More On-air Shootings Expected

Ashley Madison and the Death of Monogamy

From Suicide to Euthanasia: Devaluing Human Life

The 3 Zip Codes without Ashley Madison Users


Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

Read more


What is The Gospel?


CanIKnowGod.com

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

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

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

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

Source


Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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

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August 31, 2015 – Humor Monday

Vacationing Soldiers

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Falkor

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Flags

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Black Lives Matter

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“The Patriot Post (www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/ )”

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New study: the majority (69%) of divorces are initiated by women

Originally posted on WINTERY KNIGHT:

Is it OK to tell women they are wrong? Is this “I’ll do what I want” attitude compatible with life-long married love?

This new report from Live Science gives us some numbers about who initiates divorces most frequently.

It says:

Women are more likely than men to initiate divorce in the United States, but they are no more likely than men to initiate breakups in a dating relationship, a new study finds.

“The breakups of nonmarital heterosexual relationships in the U.S. are quite gender-neutral and fairly egalitarian,” study author Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, said in a statement. “This was a surprise because the only prior research that had been done on who wanted the breakup wasresearch on marital divorces.”

Previous research had found that women are more likely to initiate divorce, at least in the United States, Europe and Australia. In the new study, Rosenfeld compared divorces to nonmarital breakups, in an effort to…

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GTY Blog: Tragedy and Transforming Truth (Re: “The Purpose Driven Life”)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Code: B150831

by Jeremiah Johnson

Ten years ago the names and faces of Brian Nichols and Ashley Smith dominated the news cycle. At the time, the events surrounding their encounter gripped the city of Atlanta in fear.

In 2005, Nichols was facing trial for rape. On the morning of Friday, March 11, he attacked his guard and several others before murdering the judge and the court reporter presiding over his trial. He shot and killed another guard as he escaped the Fulton County courthouse, and led police on a lengthy manhunt. Over the course of several tense hours, he stole a string of vehicles and murdered a federal agent.

Eventually, Nichols forced his way into Smith’s apartment, and held her at gunpoint for several hours. During their time together, Smith famously read him passages from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. She also let him snort some of her methamphetamine. Smith was an addict at the time, but today she traces her sobriety and spiritual awakening back to that night in her apartment as Nichols’s hostage. In the morning, he released her. She alerted the authorities to his location, and after they surrounded the apartment, Nichols surrendered.

In a few weeks, the movie version of their story—titled Captive—will hit theaters. Based on Smith’s 2010 book Unlikely Angel, the movie will likely revive national interest in their unique ordeal, and in The Purpose-Driven Life, which figures heavily in the film’s trailer.

As was the case in the immediate aftermath, there is likely to be much discussion about what really prompted Nichols to release Smith—was it the book, the meth, or simply his guilt and the inevitability of his own capture? Only Nichols knows for sure, and it’s unlikely the movie’s dramatized version of events will shed any new light on the answer.

Unlike Smith, Nichols has no public testimony of faith. In fact, the few statements published after his arrest don’t indicate any repentance or spiritual transformation whatsoever. On the contrary, they indicate a heart still bent toward rebellion and wickedness.

In that sense, there is no point in speculating on what brought an end to Nichols’s killing spree. The idea that his heart was touched and maybe even broken by what Smith read to him makes for a heartwarming story, but there’s nothing to indicate a lasting change in his life. For all we know, the effect would have been the same if she read to him from any self-help book, The Hobbit, or even the sports page. Ultimately, it was God’s will that Nichols release Smith and surrender to the police, and the Lord used His chosen means to accomplish His ends. What He used to do it is relatively immaterial.

The better question is what, if any, redemptive qualities are inherent to The Purpose-Driven Life? What eternal truth does it offer its countless readers? With more than thirty million copies sold, this book has become one of the definitive texts of the modern church. But what is that influence accomplishing in the lives of all those readers?

Rick Warren frequently quotes the first line of his book, “It’s not about you.” In terms of the believer’s calling and purpose, he’s right—our lives, even our bodies, no longer belong to us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Unfortunately, Warren abandons that mindset almost immediately, and spends the rest of the book focused primarily on the reader’s sense of identity, purpose, and fulfilment. His emphasis leaves little room for many essential elements of the gospel, and imbues readers with naïve, man-centered theology. In that regard, The Purpose-Driven Life serves as a manifesto for the modern Christian—one that demands closer scrutiny.

Why bring all that up?

We’ve just spent three weeks on the GTY blog discussing what it means to be a Berean—how we are to faithfully test everything against Scripture to determine its spiritual value. The release of the movie Captive and the renewed interest it’s sure to prompt in The Purpose-Driven Life give us a great opportunity to put the principles of discernment into practice.

And that’s precisely what we’re going to do this week. We’re going to evaluate The Purpose-Driven Life, not based on heartwarming anecdotes or cultural saturation, but strictly according to Scripture. How does it measure up against the testimony of God’s Word?

We’ll also compare it to another important book that deals with the issues of identity, salvation, and purpose—Slave by John MacArthur. Where do these two books agree or disagree, and what does Scripture teach us to help make sense of the disparities?

As we’ve already seen, this kind of careful evaluation and study is a necessary element of the believer’s life, and we trust this will be a helpful and encouraging example for you.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150831
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

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130 left-wing fascist groups petition Obama to end religious liberty in America

Originally posted on WINTERY KNIGHT:

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Christian Daily has the story.

A group of 130 organizations sent a letter to President Obama asking for a review of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), worried that a 2007 Justice Department memo allows for federally funded religious organizations to discriminate in the hiring process.

The letter requests President Obama to direct Attorney General Loretta Lynch to reevalute a 2007 memo from the Justice Department that interprets the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as allowing for faith-based groups to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws.

“RFRA was intended to provide protection for free exercise rights… to federal laws that substantially burden religious exercise. RFRA was not intended to create blanket exemptions to laws that protect against discrimination,” the organizations contend in the letter to Obama.

[…]However, Derek Gaubatz of the Federalist Society asserted in a 2011 article that the decision on whether to reverse the 2007…

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Anti-Evangelical Bigotry in Academia; by the numbers

Originally posted on thereformedmind:

From ARDA:

The one finding I would most like to share after more than a quarter-century of traveling throughout this country reporting on issues of faith is how similar people are in their basic desires and ambitions.

Talk to people of faith of all ages in any region of the U.S., and what they are basically searching for is a sense of transcendent meaning that provides hope, optimism and purpose in the face of the struggles associated with being human.

They want to become better versions of themselves, more caring and loving friends, neighbors, parents and spouses. And they see in their faith both the support networks and community rituals and the interior resources such as prayer and meditation a path to a better life.

Yet there remains a disconnect in popular culture, and in many media and academic settings, between the preoccupation with the most radically polarizing figures speaking…

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Honoring the Dishonorable

Originally posted on Daily Devotions:

From a human perspective, David has every right to take matters into his own hands. Before him is a wicked man, filled with an evil spirit, hell-bent on doing him harm. Three thousand men are waiting outside the cave to heed Saul’s command to remove David’s head. Yes, at this moment, both justice and prudence seem to demand swift, decisive, and immediate action against the anti-Messiah. Then look at the opportunity provided by God. Saul is alone, in a cave, surrounded by David’s men, in a defenseless posture, relieving himself. It would seem to be a sin to waste such a divinely provided situation. This is surely a golden opportunity never to be offered again. One must “strike while the iron is hot,” for after all “God helps those who help themselves.” (By the way, this statement is not found in Scripture.) From a human perspective, assassinating the king…

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Daily Devotionals: (31st Aug.) The Full Salvation of Our First Parents (Part 5)

Originally posted on thinkGOSPEL blog:

Reading: Genesis 3:1-24

The Christian can be sure, not only that he is saved in the present, but that his salvation is secure for the future, that he will indeed persevere in the gospel and be with Christ in eternity. Paul continually comforts his readers with the thought that the Christ who saves the soul also secures the soul; it cannot be lost. The basis of this hope is in the goodness of God. This is the comfort the apostle Paul brings to the Corinthians. Your security is not in your fidelity to God but in God’s fidelity to you: “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9). He told the Philippians, “He which hath begun … will perform” (Philippians 1:6) and the Romans, nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:35–39).

When God drove Adam from the Garden of Eden to prevent him from eating…

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August 31, 2015 Truth2Freedom Devotional Guide Collection

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August 31

ONLY ONE LIFE

Avis B. Christiansen, 1895–1985

And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Find your purpose and fling your life out into it; and the loftier your purpose is, the more sure you will be to make the world richer with every enrichment of yourself!

Phillips Brooks

How tragic it is to see the great number of talented young people who waste their lives on transient things instead of investing them in that which is eternal. Yet this choice must be made by every individual: Will I commit my life to the highest and best—God and His service—or will I settle for that which is self-seeking and cheap? The results of these two styles of living are obvious; merely observe the difference between the quality of life of those who have engaged in self-indulgent, useless living and those who have spent their time faithfully serving God with a concern for the spiritual and physical needs of others. One leads to disillusionment and the other to contentment.

Since it was published in 1937, this thoughtful hymn by Avis B. Christiansen and Merrill Dunlop has been widely used of God to challenge scores of young believers with the importance of committing their lives completely to God’s glory and service. Both Mrs. Christiansen and Mr. Dunlop have made other notable contributions to gospel hymnody with their many fine hymns.

These words reinforce and amplify the oft-quoted statement: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Only one life to offer—Jesus, my Lord and King; only one tongue to praise Thee and of Thy mercy sing; only one heart’s devotion—Savior, O may it be consecrated alone to Thy matchless glory, yielded fully to Thee.

Only this hour is mine, Lord—May it be used for Thee; may ev’ry passing moment count for eternity; souls all about are dying, dying in sin and shame; help me bring them the message of Calv’ry’s redemption in Thy glorious name.

Only one life to offer—Take it, dear Lord, I pray; nothing from Thee withholding, Thy will I now obey; thou who hast freely given Thine all in all for me, claim this life for Thine own to be used, my Savior, ev’ry moment for Thee.

For Today: Matthew 10:39; Luke 12:15, 34; Romans 12:1, 2; Philippians 1:20, 21; 3:8

Seriously ponder: Do I really have something beyond myself that gives real meaning and purpose to my life? Is that something God and His service? Breathe this musical prayer—[1]


August 31: Walking with Jesus

Isaiah 65:1–66:24; Luke 24:13–53; Job 14:11–22

Imagine encountering Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It would be a surreal experience. You’re walking to the next town, and you start a conversation with a man beside you, only to find out later that you’ve been talking with the resurrected Son of God. Even more surreal, the topic of conversation up to your moment of discovery has been the death of the man walking with you (Luke 24:13–35).

I have often wondered what it would be like to meet Jesus face to face—to have Him explain to me how He exists in the biblical text from Moses, in all the prophets, and in all Scripture (Luke 24:27). How different would my life be after that experience? Would I rethink everything I had known and heard—perhaps everything I do?

Asking these questions is not only healthy, it also turns on our spiritual GPS. Are we on the path God has called us to? Have we strayed in one direction or another? Are we caught in some odd roundabout where we’re explaining to Jesus what His coming means?

Many Christians—not just scholars and preachers—complicate matters of salvation. We overthink God’s work or place it at a distance from our daily lives. Like the old saying, we become “too big for our britches,” forgetting that, ultimately, the entire Bible points to Jesus and His redeeming work.

Jesus’ work is real and surreal. In the Bible, He is present everywhere. In our lives, He is present in every aspect and every moment. We need only to acknowledge Him and act upon the truth of His message. That simple idea is what it means to walk the road with our Savior.

How can you walk more aligned with the Savior?

John D. Barry[2]


August 31

INTRO:

Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Ezekiel 33 through 36. Our lesson is from Ezekiel 34:1–2, “Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?’ ” (NASU)

Lesson

The metaphor of the shepherd is quite common in the Bible. Sometimes it refers to the Lord; at other times it refers to religious and political leaders and at times to a literal shepherd. Today’s reference is to the leaders of Israel who, sadly enough, have abused their power and have led the people astray. Let’s investigate three things from our text.

First, shepherds should not serve themselves. The people of God are a great responsibility, not to be taken lightly. Those who lead ought to be servant-leaders, not lords over their charges. They are to serve the Lord, and then His people. Obviously the leaders in Ezekiel’s day were far from that model of leadership. Instead of being characterized by integrity, they were self-serving wolves, feeding their own ambitions instead of their flock.

Second, shepherds should take care of the flock. Another important quality of a good shepherd is responsibility. Sheep cannot care for themselves so the shepherd provides food, shelter and protection. A shepherd is to watch out for the well-being of the sheep, especially against any enemies such as wild animals. Sheep cannot protect themselves; they need a shepherd.

Last, shepherds are stewards of the flock for the Lord. Leaders are not the proprietors of the flock; they are to give an account to the Lord of the flock for their care of that flock. Leaders are stewards.

If leaders do not have the right attitude, they start to believe that they are the owners of the ministry and the people and self-centeredness becomes an integral part of their lifestyle. There is no room for the Holy Spirit to fashion the leader’s heart to that of the Master.

In summary, shepherds should not serve themselves. Shepherds should take care of the flock. And shepherds are stewards of the flock for the Lord.

Leadership is not easy. People do not always want to be led according to God’s purposes for them. However, this is not an excuse for a leader not to serve the Lord or the people. The best example of a leader is Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us. He is the Good Shepherd who willingly laid down his life for us, His sheep. Let’s learn from Him to be servants and stewards of God’s flock by recommitting our lives to Him and His people. May our Lord be the center of our ministry.

End

It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 37 through 40. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.[3]


 

August 31

 

Rejecting the World

 

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If any one loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

✧✧✧

The world is opposed to everything God stands for.

Loving the world begins with thinking that God doesn’t know what’s best for you and is trying to cheat you out of something you deserve. That thought soon blossoms into a willingness to disregard God’s warnings altogether and take whatever Satan has to offer.

Love of the world started in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day. Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” What made them think the fruit was good for food or able to make them wise? God didn’t tell them that. In fact, He warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie, and Adam followed suit.

Satan continues to propagate his lies, but you needn’t fall prey to them if you love God and remember that the world is opposed to everything He stands for. It is spiritually dead, void of the Spirit (John 14:17), morally defiled, and dominated by pride, greed, and evil desires. It produces wrong opinions, selfish aims, sinful pleasures, demoralizing influences, corrupt politics, empty honors, and fickle love.

You can’t love the world and God at the same time, because love knows no rivals. It gives its object first place. If you love God, He will have first place in your life. If you love the world, the love of the Father isn’t in you (1 John 2:15).

Galatians 1:3–5 explains that Jesus “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore.” Christ died to deliver us from Satan’s evil system. What greater motivation could there be to reject the world and live to God’s glory?

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God for greater wisdom and for grace to resist the world’s influences.

For Further Study: According to Ephesians 6:10–18, how can you as a believer protect yourself against Satan’s evil system?[4]


August 31

The Ultimate Response

The Lord is not…willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

Amazement is an appropriate and, in fact, unavoidable response to the words and teachings of Jesus. But our response to them should not end with amazement or even serious pondering. The ultimate response to Jesus’ teaching is belief and obedience. He did not expound the truths He did merely for our astonishment or information. He taught what He did for our salvation.

Many respond to Jesus by merely considering His words and actions but not embracing them. What is your ultimate response?[5]


 

August 31

 

Seeking God’s Kingdom

 

“… All these things shall be added to you”

Matthew 6:33

✧✧✧

God will provide for those who seek what is eternal.

What did Jesus mean when He said we are to seek God’s kingdom first? It means our top priority in life should be to seek what is eternal. That was the priority for the apostle Paul. In Acts 20 he was ready to leave for Jerusalem to defend the faith, not knowing if he might be put in prison or lose his life. The prospect of persecution did not deter him, for he said, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself” (v. 24). He was not concerned about how long he would live or worried about what he would eat or wear. Instead, he wanted to “finish [his] course, and the ministry which [he] received from the Lord Jesus” (v. 24).

Seeking the kingdom means you want Christ’s rule to be manifest in your life as righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). So, when the lost see those spiritual qualities in your life instead of worry, they know the kingdom of God is there. That is an attractive testimony that the Lord can use to bring the lost to Himself. Seeking God’s kingdom means desiring to extend His kingdom.

Seeking the kingdom also means you long for Jesus to return in His millennial glory. We will be joint–heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:1–7), reign with Him forever (Rev. 22:5), live in a new heaven and earth throughout all eternity (21:1), and have all the majesty and riches of eternal Heaven (21:1–22:5). There’s no need to be preoccupied or worried about material things since the whole earth is going to be destroyed and the Lord is going to make a new one.

Instead of seeking riches, “seek … His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Pursue godliness and holiness, and “all these things shall be added to you” (v. 33). God will provide for those who live a righteous life.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: According to Matthew 6:33, are the priorities of your life in the right order? ✧ Confess and forsake any sin, and thank the Lord for the privilege of serving Him.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 34:9–10. What is the promise to those who fear and seek the Lord?[6]


August 31

Overflowing Generosity

A faithful man will abound with blessings.

Proverbs 28:20

show me a person who is overflowing in generosity to another person, and I’ll show you a person rich in friendships.

Show me a person who is extremely generous in the giving of her time to other people, and I’ll show you a person who always has people “there” for her in times of her need.

Show me a person who can’t give enough of himself to further the specific ministry calling that God has placed on his life, and I’ll show you a person who has a tremendous sense of purpose and fulfillment.[7]


August 31

Grace for Every Weakness

Scripture reading: Ephesians 6:10–12

Key verse: 1 John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

World War II marked the beginning of the modern spy age. Governments entrenched themselves in intelligence and counter-intelligence games, seeking to learn all they could of the opposing countries’ military plans.

Powerful military leaders such as Rommel, Patton, and Bradley were intensely examined by their foes. Scrutiny was not limited to their military knowledge, but to all facets of their lives, professional and personal. The reason? To find a weak point that the opposition could use to undermine and defeat the leaders’ objectives.

This same tactic has been used since the beginning of time in the spiritual realm. Satan cannot change the believer’s eternal destiny, so he attempts to destroy our witness and walk. Satan seeks out our weaknesses, areas where we are vulnerable. He does not waste much time tempting us in areas where we experience little difficulty.

It is times like these when 1 John 4:4 enables us to feel victorious. Satan is not omniscient. He is limited in his powers and abilities. However, there is no limit to God’s ability to thwart Satan’s objectives and provide overcoming grace for every weakness.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for grace that helps me overcome every weakness.[8]


August 31    Controlled by the Spirit

scripture reading:

 

Ephesians 5:1–20

 

key verse:

 

Ephesians 5:18

 

Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.

The subject of many current science fiction films and programs is that of alien invasion and control. Few things are more frightening from a worldly perspective than the thought of nonhuman creatures taking over humans and making them function as aliens.

Regardless of what you think of science fiction, you can recognize the fundamental fear that these programs reflect: the loss of control. Many people find it important to maintain the feeling that they are in charge of their lives and all decisions, and the chance of losing any of that autonomy is scary.

Yet when the Bible speaks of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, the meaning is entirely different. Being controlled by the Spirit is not something to be afraid of; you do not become a robotic creature unable to think or act independently. The Spirit indwells you and fills your spirit, but He never insists on control. In fact, by deciding not to listen and pursuing your own course, you can effectively drown out His gentle voice.

Paul told the Ephesians: “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Yielding to the Spirit’s control results in beautiful praise to God and a spirit filled with joy and renewed purpose, and that’s nothing to be afraid of.

Dear heavenly Father, I want Your Spirit to have authority in my life so that my conduct and character will glorify Your name. Come now, Holy Spirit, and take complete control.[9]


August 31

Living What You Believe

Scripture reading: Revelation 3:20–22

Key verse: John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Peter followed the lead of James and instructed us to resist the enemy by standing firm in our faith. James’s letter to the early church was written long before Peter’s. In it, James addressed the persecuted Christians living outside Palestine.

The dispersion of Jewish believers came at the hands of the Roman government and was an attempt to disrupt the growing force of the New Testament church. Away from their homes and, in many cases, away from those they loved, Jewish believers faced all kinds of trials and temptations. Warren Wiersbe stated: “One of the major problems in the church was a failure on the part of many to live what they professed to believe.”

Failing to live what we profess to believe is a major problem. It also is a major assault tactic of Satan. For the enemy to achieve his goal of discouraging the believer, he must first gain access to that person’s life through sin. This is where he can easily catch us off guard if we are not in tune with the Spirit of God.

Jesus stands ready to fight for you. However, if you allow the enemy to gain access to your life through sin, you will suffer a sure defeat.

James instructed us to resist Satan’s temptations. Use the name of Jesus Christ as your strong defense. Victory comes when you are eternally linked to the Savior.

Father, make me strong in the face of temptation. Deliver me from the muck and mire of the valleys of this world. I want to continually dwell spiritually on the mountaintop with You.[10]


August 31

Keep Building and Growing

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:10–15

Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Developers and builders work hard to make sure that structures meet the required building codes. From electrical wiring to masonry and framing, all materials must be of a specified quality and assembled in a safe manner. If they are not, then the security and physical well-being of the future occupants are at risk.

As a believer, you are involved in the long-term building of your spiritual “house.” Christ is the strong foundation, and He guides the ultimate construction of your faith and character. Along the way, as you choose to submit to His carpentry, you select the building materials that go into your spiritual house.

Being obedient, using your tongue for the edification of others, acting as a peacemaker, refusing to give in to selfishness, and doing anything that reflects the fruit of the Spirit—all are solid building blocks of a life being conformed to the image of Christ. One day Jesus will judge the quality of the house of your life: “Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Cor. 3:12–13 nasb).

Remember, though, that this evaluation has nothing to do with salvation. Jesus will inspect your structure only for the purpose of giving good gifts in the measure of the work you did here.

Dear heavenly Father, I’ve started this journey of commitment and change. Please help me continue. Someday You will review the quality of my spiritual house. I want to pass inspection.[11]


August 31

The Pathway to Peace

Scripture Reading: Psalm 116:1–7

Key Verse: Psalm 116:7

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Let’s take a closer look at our passage from yesterday, Jeremiah 6:16:

  1. “Stand in the ways and see.” In a time of turmoil, our minds race ahead to think of all that could happen in the future. We ask ourselves lots of “what if” questions and frequently fall victim to unfounded worry. To “stand” means to turn our mind from its troubling thoughts of the future and to focus on God. It is similar to being at an intersection with signs pointing many different ways. We wait until we know which direction the trail is heading.
  2. “Ask for the old paths, where the good way is.” The road of trouble has been well traveled by the saints of the faith, and their footsteps have made it into a path of glory to God. Meditate on the cries of King David in the Psalms or on the prayers of others in the Bible. Ponder their responses as well as the way they reveal their faith and trust in God even while suffering greatly. Accept the Spirit’s revelation of the ancient path of faith and the good way of trust. Then pray for courage to walk those paths as Jesus did.
  3. “Walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” With eyes firmly fixed on our Savior, resolve to walk down this road of suffering in a way that is honoring to Him. Draw deeply on the Holy Spirit’s strength for the next step, and seek to be obedient in thought, word, and deed. You will discover that as you follow Him, sweet, soul-satisfying rest will be found.

Lord, I choose the pathway of peace. Help me to stand firm in times of turmoil. Enable me to ask where the good way is, and then to walk in it.[12]


August 31

The free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Loving Father, though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. You, Lord God, are He who blots out my transgressions for Your own sake; and You will not remember my sins. So I put You in remembrance; let us contend together; I state my case, that I may be acquitted. You have blotted out, like a thick cloud, my transgressions, and like a cloud, my sins. I return to You, for You have redeemed me.

God, You so loved the world that You gave Your only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more Your grace and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. I was washed, I was sanctified, I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by Your Spirit, Lord God.

From now through eternity I will be praising You for the gift—the grace—of justification and cleansing from my sins. Thank You, Lord God!

Romans 5:16; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 43:25–26; Isaiah 44:22; John 3:16; Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 6:11[13]


August 31

I would have you without carefulness

1 Cor. 7:32

Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear. Rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto—do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Francis de Sales[14]


August 31

WISDOM is man’s true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life, gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass’s colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves A man must be prudent in such a world as this, or he will find no good, but be betrayed into unnumbered ills.[15]


August 31

In-Your-Face Forever Friends

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 27:17 suggests, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” An “in-your-face” friend is one who will tackle the tough issues of life with you; someone who is not offended if you disagree with him, and someone who is not afraid to disagree with you. You both have higher goals than agreement.

Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” The best way to determine who your best friends, your forever friends, are is to go through a crisis. Adversity is like a filter—it separates those who are loyal from those who are not. You cannot tell your true friends until adversity appears. Your friends may not even know whether they are loyal friends until they are asked to identify with your suffering. It is easy to be a friend when things are good and pleasant. But the number of people who will stand beside you decreases as the temperature of your crisis goes up.

How does one get those kind of friends? By being one. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” How many times have you proven yourself to be a forever friend by sticking close to someone through their time of trouble and adversity?[16]


August 31

1 Samuel 24; 1 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 3; Psalm 39

Two of the themes of Ezekiel 3, intrinsic to the call of Ezekiel, may usefully be elucidated:

First, the opening part shows how important it is for the prophet to empathize with God and his perspective. Trailing on from the closing lines of chapter 2 and into the beginning of chapter 3, Ezekiel in his vision is commanded to eat a scroll with “words of lament and mourning and woe” (2:10) written on both sides. Ezekiel eats it and reports that “it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth” (3:3). Why would a scroll full of “words of lament and mourning and woe” taste sweet? The point of the vision is that God’s words become sweet to Ezekiel simply because they are God’s words. God really does know best; he knows what is right. Therefore even when his words pronounce judgment and calamity, there is a sense in which the prophet must be empathetic to God’s perspective.

Similarly in the next verses (3:4–9): Ezekiel is not being sent to some foreign culture where the first step is to learn the local language. He is being called to speak to the people of his own heritage. Nevertheless he will find them unwilling to listen to him, precisely because they are unwilling to listen to God (3:7). So God promises: “But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house” (3:8–9). So in this head-butting contest Ezekiel is being enabled to side with God unreservedly. God sometimes raises up strong and obstinate leaders who, regardless of personal popularity, hunger to side with God. None of this means that Ezekiel has no fellow-feeling for the exiles; both the next verses and the rest of the book contradict any such notion. Nevertheless his commission is a call to empathize with God’s perspective and to be unyielding.

Second, this chapter contains a call to utter warnings and to be careful (3:16–27). The theme of the watchman (3:16–21) recurs in the book (chap. 33), and can be explored later. But in the closing verses Ezekiel is forbidden to say anything—courtesies, greetings, political speeches, whatever—except for what God gives him to say. This state of affairs endures until the fall of Jerusalem, about six years away (Ezek. 33:21–22), when his tongue is loosed. This restriction adds weight to the times he does speak. It is also a challenge to everyone who speaks for God. All of our talk and our silences should be so calibrated that when we convey God’s words our credibility is enhanced and not diminished.[17]


August 31

1 Samuel 24; 1 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 3; Psalm 39

In case anyone were to read 1 Corinthians 4 and conclude that no standards whatsoever are to be maintained in the church—after all, maintenance of standards requires judging, doesn’t it?—the next chapter, 1 Corinthians 5, provides a case where Paul berates the church in Corinth for not exercising judgment and discipline. We must reflect a little on this case itself, and then on the way it is linked to the previous chapter.

Paul insists that, with respect to the man he describes in 5:1, two evils are in view. The first is sexual. A member of the church “has his father’s wife.” The peculiar language suggests he is sleeping with his stepmother. In any case the sin is so gross that it would be shocking even among the pagans. The second is the limp response of the church. Despite this wickedness among them, their penchant for arrogant strutting, which surfaces in many chapters of 1 and 2 Corinthians, never falters. They should have been consumed with grief; they should have excommunicated the man who did this (5:2).

We cannot reflect on all the elements of this judgment, but observe the following:

(1) The judgment Paul wants meted out is to be communal. The entire church, “assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus” (5:4), in the consciousness of his powerful presence, is to take action. Thus the failure to do so is a church-wide failure.

(2) One of the reasons for taking this action is because “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (5:6); evil in the church that no one deals with soon affects the entire church.

(3) This has nothing to do with disciplining the outside world. Paul assumes that the world outside the church will allow sin to fester. What he has in mind is discipline within the church of God (5:9–10).

(4) Paul’s understanding of what conduct should be subject to church discipline is not restricted to the sexual arena, or this particular form of sexual sin. He means to include major moral defection and gives an exemplary list: greed, idolatry, slander, drunkenness, swindling. Elsewhere, he adds to major moral defection two other arenas: major doctrinal deviation, and persistent drive for schism.

Now all of this he openly calls “judging” (5:12–13). Christians are to judge “those inside,” while God judges “those outside.” At the very least, chapters 4 and 5 must be kept in creative tension. More importantly, the Corinthians in chapter 4 were imposing judgments “beyond what is written” (4:6), i.e., deploying standards and criteria with no basis in God’s revelation, and out of mere party interest. They were not imposing judgments in chapter 5 despite what Scripture, properly understood, says. Both are breaches of God’s revelation.[18]


Mon, August 31, 2015

The Eternal Verity

There is a great deal of discussion now taking place about the lack of spiritual power in our Christian churches. What about the New Testament patterns? Brethren, the apostolic method was to provide a foundation of good, sound biblical reasons for following the Savior, for our willingness to let the Spirit of God display the great Christian virtues in our lives. That is why we come in faith and rejoicing to the eternal verity of Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” This proclamation gives significance to every other section of teaching and exhortation in the letter to the Hebrews. In this verse is truth that is morally and spiritually dynamic if we will exercise the faith and the will to demonstrate it in our needy world. I think this fact, this truth that Jesus Christ wants to be known in His church as the ever-living, never-changing Lord of all, could bring back again the power and testimony of the Early Church!

Verse
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Thought
I think this fact, this truth that Jesus Christ wants to be known in His church as the ever-living, never-changing Lord of all, could bring back again the power and testimony of the early church!

Prayer
Lord, I am so thankful that You are always the same. I can always look to You the “Rock” for stability in my life, and we look to You for stability in the Church.

A. W. Tozer


August 31 – Examples of Jesus’ Compassion

“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them” (Matthew 9:36).

Examples in the gospels of Jesus’ compassion are notable. When He saw Mary and others weeping for the deceased Lazarus, “He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33) and wept with them (v. 35). The phrase “deeply moved in spirit” connotes physical as well as emotional and spiritual anguish. As He saw Lazarus’s friends and family grieving, He entered into real crying with them.

When arrested in the garden, Christ was more concerned about the disciples than Himself: “If you [soldiers] seek Me, let these go their way” (John 18:8). While on the cross He still had concern for His mother: “He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’” (19:26).

In one of His most poignant expressions of deep compassion for others, Jesus lamented, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matt. 23:37; cf. Luke 19:41–42).

Commenting on two familiar verses about Jesus’ compassion and sympathy (Heb. 4:15; 5:8), Paul Brand said,

A stupefying concept: God’s Son learning through His experiences on earth. Before taking on a body, God had no personal experience of physical pain or of the effect of rubbing against needy persons. But God dwelt among us and touched us, and His time spent here allows Him to more fully identify with our pain.

Ask Yourself

What does Christ’s compassion inspire in you? How could you be more daring and deliberate about taking His heart with you into your world of need, touching others with the love and mercy of Jesus?

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


Reading for Today:

Ecclesiastes 11:1–12:14
Psalm 103:15-22
Proverbs 24:13-14
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Notes:

Psalm 103:17, 18 the mercy of the LORD. Those who appeal to God’s mercy by proper fear (v. 17) and obedience (v. 18) will overcome the shortness of physical life with eternal life. Luke 1:50 quotes Psalm 103:17.

Psalm 103:19 His throne in heaven. From everlasting to everlasting God has always ruled over all things (Pss. 11:4; 47:1–9; 148:8–13).This universal kingdom is to be distinguished from God’s mediatorial kingdom on earth.

1 Corinthians 11:4 covered, dishonors. Literally, “having down from head,” is probably a reference to men wearing a head covering, which seems to have been a local custom. Jews began wearing head coverings during the fourth century A.D., although some may already have been wearing them in New Testament times. Apparently, Corinthian men were doing the same, and Paul informs them that it is a disgrace. Paul is not stating a universal law from God, but acknowledging a local custom, which did reflect divine principle. In that society, a man’s uncovered head was a sign of his authority over women, who were to have their heads covered. For a man to cover his head was to suggest a reversal of proper roles.

1 Corinthians 11:5 woman who prays or prophesies. Paul makes clear directives that women are not to lead or speak in the services of the church (14:34; 1 Tim. 2:12), but they may pray and proclaim the truth to unbelievers, as well as teaching children and other women (1 Tim. 5:16; Titus 2:3, 4). Wherever and whenever women do pray and proclaim the Word appropriately, they must do so maintaining a proper distinction from men. uncovered. In the culture of Corinth, a woman’s covered head while ministering or worshiping was a symbol to signify a subordinate relationship to her husband. The apostle is not laying down an absolute law for women to wear veils or coverings in all churches for all time, but is declaring that the symbols of the divinely established male and female roles are to be genuinely honored in every culture. As in the case of meat offered to idols (chaps. 8; 9), there is nothing spiritual about wearing or not wearing a covering. But manifesting rebellion against God’s order was wrong. dishonors her head. “Head” may refer to her own self being disgraced by refusing to conform to recognized symbols of submission, or to her husband, who is disgraced by her behavior.

DAY 31: How does Solomon balance enjoyment in life with the coming judgment?

In Ecclesiastes 11:9–12:8, Solomon crystallizes the book’s message. Death is imminent and with it comes retribution. Enjoyment and judgment, though strange partners, come together in this section because both clamor for man’s deepest commitment. Surprisingly, one does not win out over the other. In a world created for enjoyment but damaged by sin, judgment and enjoyment/pleasure are held in tension. With too much pleasure, judgment stands as a threatening force; with too much judgment, enjoyment suffers. In the final analysis, both are prominent themes of life that are resolved in our relationship to God, the primary issue of life and this book.

“Rejoice…judgment” (11:9). The two terms seem to cancel out the other. How can this be explained? Enjoy life but do not commit iniquity. The balance that is called for insures that enjoyment is not reckless, sinful abandonment. Pleasure is experienced in faith and obedience, for as Solomon has said repeatedly, one can only receive true satisfaction as a gift from God.

“Fear God” (12:13, 14).Solomon’s final word on the issues raised in this book, as well as life itself, focuses on one’s relationship to God. All of the concern for a life under the sun, with its pleasures and uncertainties, was behind Solomon. Such things seemed comparatively irrelevant to him as he faced the end of his life. But death, in spite of the focused attention he had given to it in Ecclesiastes, was not the greatest equalizer. Judgment/retribution is the real equalizer as Solomon saw it, for God will bring every person’s every act to judgment. Unbelievers will stand at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11–15) and believers before Christ at the Bema judgment (1 Cor. 3:10–15; 2 Cor. 5:9, 10). When all is said and done, the certainty and finality of retribution give life the meaning for which David’s oft-times foolish son had been searching. Whatever may be one’s portion in life, accountability to the God, whose ways are often mysterious, is both eternal and irrevocable.

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


 

[1] Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (p. 262). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

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

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

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 256). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 264). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

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

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2004). God’s way day by day (p. 260). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[8] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[10] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[11] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[12] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[13] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 262). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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

[15] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 247). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

[16] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 254). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

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

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

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Heresy, Apostasy, and Discernment

Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 NASB)

True Biblical discernment is crucial for the spiritual health of the Body of Christ because there has and always will be a plague of false teaching and teachers upon it until our Lord’s return. I am sure most of you have noticed the recent outrage over the increased security measures by the TSA in the USA that involve full body scans and “pat down” searches at our airports. One of the articles I read today compared what the TSA does with what is done is Israel at their airports, which is, instead of relying on “technology” based systems, passengers are interviewed by experts trained in what specifically to look for. They know their enemy and they know how to flush him…

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Andy Bannister and Michael Ruse discuss how atheists find meaning in life

Originally posted on WINTERY KNIGHT:

Two horses fight it out, may the best horse win! Two horses fight it out, and may the best horse win!

I’m summarizing the most recent episode of the Unbelievable show.

Details:

Atheist philosopher Michael Ruse joins Justin as we spend a second week looking at Andy Bannister’s new book ‘The atheist who didn’t exist’.

Its amusingly titled chapters include ‘The Peculiar Case of the Postmodern Penguin (or: Why Life without God is Meaningless). Michael and Andy debate whether it’s a problem that atheists can’t have meaning with a ‘capital M’.

I think this discussion is a nice follow-up to a recent post, in which Neil Shenvi gave a scientist’s assessment of meaning and purpose in the naturalistic worldview, and explained by people should consider Christian theism instead.

Anyway, here is a summary of the discussion between Ruse and Bannister, and my comments below the summary.

The MP3 file is here.

Summary:

  • Ruse: ultimate questions are serious questions, and some religions are attempting…

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August 29-30, 2015 Truth2Freedom US and World Briefing Report

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Top News – 8/29/2015

Al-Jazeera Journalists Jailed For Three Years
He explained that the journalists brought equipment without the approval of security officials into Egypt. The three also spread “false news” and used a hotel as a broadcasting point without permission, the judge added.

Feds fighting to keep cash seized from person never charged with crime
Federal prosecutors are battling in court to keep $167,000 in cash seized in a 2013 traffic stop, despite the motorist never being charged in the incident and the Obama administration clamped down this spring on such asset seizures and forfeitures.

Arab Spring May Be Blowing into Gaza
A growing number of Arabs in Gaza are calling on people to burn down Hamas institutions. The match they may ignite a full-scale rebellion may have been lit yesterday by a corn vendor, who poisoned himself after Hamas closed down his stand. He now is in critical condition in a Gaza hospital.

Why All the Gun Violence? The Answer Is Simple
There is a very simple explanation as to why the country seems to be experiencing the gun violence of recent years. It basically comes down to one simple explanation, Liberals. Though I’m sure they’ll take exception to that, the reality is that we live in a society that has lost all sense of morality over the last sixty-odd years, leading to a societal breakdown.

Poland almost certain it has located buried Nazi train
Poland said on Friday it was almost certain it had located a buried Nazi German train, rumored to have gone missing near the close of World War Two loaded with guns and jewels.

SIMMERING GEOMAGNETIC STORM
For the third day in a row, Earth’s magnetic field is simmering with G1-class geomagnetic storms.

Report: FBI ‘A-Team’ Leading ‘Extremely Serious’ Probe into Hillary Email Scheme
An FBI “A-team” is leading the “extremely serious” investigation into Hillary Clinton’s server and the focus includes a provision of the law pertaining to “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information,” an intelligence source told Fox News. The section of the Espionage Act is known as 18 US Code 793.

Tropical Storm Erika kills at least 20 in Dominica
A tropical storm heading across the Caribbean has killed at least 20 people on the island of Dominica, with dozens more missing. Tropical Storm Erika hit Dominica, in the eastern Caribbean, causing floods and mudslides that have set the country back 20 years, its prime minister said. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are now expecting 53mph (85km/h) winds.

Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot in Houston while pumping gas
HOUSTON — A sheriff’s deputy in uniform was shot and killed Friday night while filling up his patrol car at a suburban Houston gas station, according to authorities.

Europe’s migrant crisis brings new death by land and sea
Death and desperation mounted in Europe’s migrant crisis Friday as Austrian police said 71 people appeared to have suffocated in the back of an abandoned truck, while an estimated 200 people were feared drowned off Libya when two overloaded boats capsized.

Venezuela expands Colombian border closure
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro escalated his country’s spat with Colombia Friday by expanding the partial closure of their shared border to four new frontier towns.

Dominica prime minister says Erika leaves 20 dead
A weakening Tropical Storm Erika drenched Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Friday after leaving a trail of destruction that killed at least 20 people and left another 31 missing on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said.

Martin O’Malley Rails at Democrats for Debate Schedule ‘Rigged’ to Aid Hillary Clinton
Martin O’Malley had one clear chance to make waves within the Democratic National Committee, and he seized it, delivering a fiery speech Friday that condemned his party’s leadership for what he called a process “rigged” to help Hillary Rodham Clinton — namely, curtailing the number of presidential primary debates.

Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record ‘by a mile’, experts say
Climate scientists are predicting that 2015 will be the hottest year on record “by a mile”, with the increase in worldwide average temperatures dramatically undermining the idea that global warming has stopped – as some climate-change sceptics claim.

Paying the Media for Pro-U.N. Coverage
“The American stock market has surrendered a stunning $2.1 trillion of value in just the last six days of market chaos.” The ups and downs of the stock market have been seized upon by those leading a global campaign to steal trillions of dollars from the American people in the name of “sustainable development.”

How This New Government Ruling Destroys the Franchise Business Model
To understand how far-reaching this could be, it should be noted that almost 9 million Americans work at over 780,000 franchised businesses. From Jiffy Lube to Terminex to Wendy’s, franchises enable many Americans to run their own small businesses without having to design and market everything from scratch. Franchising is a particularly important opportunity for minority entrepreneurs.

The Children of Illegal Immigrants Are Not Born American Citizens
Once again, Donald Trump has managed to open up a robust national discussion about an issue that up to this point had been largely ignored by the political class. This time, the discussion is about so-called “birthright citizenship,” the idea that whenever a foreign national (regardless of legal status and with a very few exceptions) has a child on American soil, this child automatically becomes an American citizen from birth.

Kurds Are Surging – America Is Not
The Kurds are surging in Iraq again. Kurdish fighters are successfully attacking both the Islamic state and other terrorist factions in Syria and Iraq; as we saw with the Kurdish capture of many Iraqi villages two days ago. The recent Kurdish push in Iraq occurs in spite of Turkey’s President Erdogan and his counterproductive air campaign against Kurdish fighters.

Minnesota Terror suspect granted class-A truck driving license. Would like to drive school buses
I don’t even really know what to say about this. Is it insane? Yes. Is it further evidence that this country isn’t really interested in dealing with the threat of homegrown radical Islam? Yes. Is it a painfully obvious recipe for disaster? You bet.


Top Headlines – 8/29/2015

US State Department clarifies description of Parchin – “a conventional military site, not a nuclear site”

Iran nuclear deal ‘hands down’ better than war, Delaware senator says

Obama predicts ‘pretty quick’ US-Israel realignment on Iran

Obama: Iran Deal Won’t Break Bond Between U.S. and Israel

Obama to Jewish Audience: Iran Deal Leaves Future President Better Positioned to Address Nuclear Threat

Obama says US, Israel have been in talks ‘for months’ over security cooperation

Israel to train Japanese ‘cyber’ warriors

PM: Power of Israeli technology is stronger than any boycott

Jewish group seeks judicial review of British city’s ban on West Bank goods

‘Jews have too much power and must be stopped,’ white supremacist shooter tells jury

Germany warns Facebook: Clamp down on Holocaust denial – or else

US confirms Islamic State computer expert killed in air strike

US says committed to transition away from Syria’s Assad

28 Killed in Boko Haram Attacks in NE Nigeria

Sunni Muslim clerics furious over upcoming Iranian film about Muhammad

Christians Debate Whether It’s OK to ‘Act Muslim’ to Save Their Lives

Protesters have no free-speech rights on Supreme Court’s front porch

Obama Administration Wins Ruling in NSA Data Collection Case

Wild week for markets set to end quietly

Fed says rate hike next month hinges on market volatility

Brazil Recession: GDP Plunges 1.9 Percent in Second Quarter

August Full Moon Anticipates September’s Total Lunar Eclipse

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Agrihan, Northern Mariana Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwo Jima, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ozernovskiy, Russia

Activists threaten lawsuit against EPA over fracking-induced earthquakes

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 25,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 19,000ft

Erika lashes Puerto Rico; At least 20 dead in Dominica

Tropical Storm Erika expected to weaken, Florida governor declares state of emergency

Hurricane Ignacio to Increase Rain, Surf in Hawaii as it Tracks Northward

10 years after Hurricane Katrina, US still lacks comprehensive strategy to tackle floods, experts warn

Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record ‘by a mile’, experts say

Middle East, Israel to be water scarce by 2040 – report

Federal judge blocks Obama’s water rule

Legionnaires’ disease prompts California prison to shut off water

Donald Trump: Virginia Shooting ‘a Mental Problem’ Not ‘a Gun Problem’

Jewish CEO of Ashley Madison infidelity site resigns amid hacking scandal

Kentucky clerk seeks Supreme Court help to deny gay marriage licenses

Rainbow-flag clad Calgary Transit bus has driver threatening to quit because of Christian values

Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children’s book

A Man Proposed To His Boyfriend In Front Of His Church And Got A Standing Ovation


Top News – 8/30/2015

Report: ISIS beheads 39 of its own members
The ISIS warriors stood accused of various crimes including “sorcery, insulting God, sodomy, adultery, banditry, joining and cooperating with the awakening movements, cooperating with crusader coalition, mischief on earth and cooperating with the Nusayri regime forces,” according to the report.

Rosh Hashanah—the Beginning of Change
This year, Rosh Hashanah could not come at a better time. With the American Jewish community being torn between support and rejection of the Iran deal, the growing rift between supporters and opposers of the policies of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the reemerging dispute over conversion laws between Israeli orthodox Jews and the progressive views of the majority of American Jewry, it seems that the new year, with its customary element of introspection, could hardly be more timely.

Finding the Holy Vessels – Is Now the Time?
While studying in Lakewood, New Jersey, Herman’s son suddenly remembers the whole episode in Poland, including the map, and passes everything on to another prestigious member of his family. One thing led to another, and believe it or not, there are those living in Israel today that know approximately where this underground cave lies, the very same one that is part of this authentic story! All this is just the calm before the storm.

Islamic State Plotting ‘Second Blow’ to U.S. Financial System in Bid to ‘Purify the Earth of Corruption’
The Islamic State group revealed over the weekend that at the centerpiece of its goal to bring down America is a concerted effort to weaken the U.S. dollar and replace it with gold currency. A video posted Saturday warned of the “dawning of a new age” in which replacing the dollar with gold would deliver “the second blow to America’s capitalist financial system…”

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills 36 Yemeni civilians: residents
An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said. In another air raid on the capital Sanaa, residents said four civilians were killed when a bomb hit their house near a military base in the south of the city.

Thousands of fish wash ashore at Rio de Jeneiro’s Olympic park
Thousands of dead fish wer found washed ashore in the Jacarepagua Lagoon on Saturday, next to Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Park. Residents began noticing the appearance of dead fish on Friday. Orlando Gomes, who has lived in the area since 2011, said it’s the first time he has seen the phenomenon in the lagoon.

Nepal gay parade to enshrine LGBT rights in constitution
Gay right activists have taken part in a parade in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to press their demands for gay rights to be enshrined in the constitution. Hundreds turned up for the colourful rally – dancing in the streets. They are demanding same-sex marriage be guaranteed in the new constitution, gay couples’ rights to adopt, buy joint property or inherit from one another.

Why Has Pakistan Become So Intolerant?
A Christian couple, parents of three children with a fourth on the way, were accused of blasphemy by a mob and incinerated in a brick kiln at their worksite in Punjab last November. Suicide bombers blew themselves up at two churches in Lahore in March. Asia Bibi, a Christian laborer and mother of five, awaits a hearing on her death sentence after being accused of blasphemy in 2009. In Peshawar 127 worshipers were killed and 160 wounded by suicide bombers at All Saints’ Church in September 2013.

Turkey joins air strikes against Isil for the first time
Turkish warplanes have for the first time joined raids by the US-led coalition against Islamic State positions in Syria, the foreign ministry said Saturday, after Washington urged Ankara to play a full role in the battle against the jihadists.

Chad executes 10 members of Boko Haram by firing squad
Chad has executed 10 members of Boko Haram by firing squad, marking the first use of the death penalty since the country bolstered its anti-terrorist measures last month.

As asylum-seekers flood in, Germany struggles to house them
Twenty-three-year-old Leila, her husband and two small children spent their first week in Germany in a temporary shelter, an austere but desperately needed haven after a traumatic flight from Syria that began when her husband was told to fight for the government.

Thousands rally in Beirut against political leaders, rot
Thousands of protesters waving Lebanese flags and chanting “revolution” took to the streets of Beirut on Saturday for an unprecedented mobilization against sectarian politicians they say are incompetent and corrupt.

Thai police arrest foreign man over Bangkok bombing
Thai police said they arrested a foreigner on Saturday who matched the description of a man who left a bag at the site of a Bangkok blast that killed 20 people nearly two weeks ago.

Suspect arrested in killing of suburban Houston deputy
Authorities said Saturday they arrested a suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down from behind while filling up his patrol car at a suburban Houston gas station.


Top Headlines – 8/30/2015

Iran’s Rouhani says military power not affected by nuclear deal

Unrestricted Europe-Iran trade will help empower regime’s oppression of citizens

Italian paper: ‘Business with Iran may not last,’ Netanyahu tells Italian entrepreneurs

Israel not opposed to Iranian civilian nuclear program, Netanyahu tells Italian PM

Edelstein warns Ban against Iran deal: I believe people who say they want to destroy me

‘Iran won’t recognize Zionist usurper regime,’ senior Khamenei aide vows

Report: Islamic Jihad made plans to attack Israel if hunger-striker died

Strange bedfellows: Saudi Arabia moves toward Hamas

Hamas member killed after Gaza tunnel suffers malfunction

Arab Spring May Be Blowing into Gaza

‘Three Israeli officers killed in operation in Syria’ Iranian media claims

ISIS detains dozens in Iraqi town after rare street protest

Report: ISIS beheads 39 of its own members

Turkey joins air strikes against Isil for the first time

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills around 30 Yemeni civilians

Beirut protesters shout for ‘the downfall of the regime’ as ‘You Stink’ campaign sweeps capitol

Activists warn Christians in Middle East may be wiped out

Afghan, Nato forces regain control of strategic southern district

Pakistani militants storm airport killing 1, kidnapping another

Hollande, Merkel, Putin back bid for new Ukraine ceasefire

Beijing battens down, cranks up propaganda ahead of war parade

Immigration shift in U.S. shows India, China outpacing Mexico

Republican Christie proposes tracking immigrants like FedEx packages

Smugglers who drove migrants to their deaths were part of a vast web

As asylum-seekers flood in, Germany struggles to house them

As tragedies shock Europe, a bigger refugee crisis looms in the Middle East

Citizens Taking Video of Police See Themselves Facing Arrest

High-frequency trading dominates the market – “It’s truly a ‘Terminator’ market”

First of three consecutive ‘supermoons’ rises Saturday night

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kute, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Nishinoomote, Japan

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 30,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 18,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Major Hurricane Ignacio to Near Hawaii Early Next Week

Deadly Erika Weakens, No Longer a Tropical Storm; Florida Still Stays on Alert

Remnants of Erika Pose Flash Flood Threat For Florida, Southeast U.S.

Tropical Depression Six Forms Off African Coast, Not Expected to Threaten US


 


Will The Federal Reserve Provide Us With The Next Abuse Of Power Scandal?

Fed 1 cc

This piece is from Alejandro Chafuen and it is 2 years old. But in light of the current Fed confab in Jackson Hole and the ongoing market twitches, drops, and government induced rallies I think it deserves another view.

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Jim Grant: The Fed Turned the Stock Market Into a ‘Hall of Mirrors’ (Video)

TFD

Jim Grant is someone with whom everyone should be familiar.

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New Study: Almost All Ground Beef Is ‘Contaminated With Fecal Matter’

 

About to throw a burger on the grill? You may want to reconsider…

According to an investigation by Consumer Reports, nearly all ground beef on the market is contaminated by dangerous fecal matter. When investigators gathered 300 packages containing 458 pounds of ground beef from stores in 26 cities, they found that every single one contained fecal contamination.

As relayed in recent years, any meat product can make one sick if not cooked long enough, but beef from cows raised in feedlots is especially dangerous. This is because bovine living in crowded conditions generally have more feces on their skin; this allows bacteria in the fecal matter to get mixed in with the rest of the meat during processing. In addition, bacteria from one cow can mingle with others.

The presence of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” was also discovered in some of the meat. It is interesting to note, grass-fed organic beef had fewer bacteria overall, yet still contained potentially dangerous pathogens.

cattle-feedlot-868032_1280



Polygamists Point to ‘Gay Marriage’ in Fight Against Utah’s Appeal of Polygamy Ruling

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 06:57 AM PDT

An attorney representing a polygamist at the center of the TLC reality show “Sister Wives” is pointing to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage” in his fight against Utah’s appeal of a federal decision striking down the state’s ban on polygamous cohabitation. “From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions,” attorney Jonathan Turley wrote on behalf of plaintiff Kody Brown.

“This case is about criminalization of consensual relations and there are 21st century cases rather than 19th century cases that control,” he said. “Homosexuals and polygamists do have a common interest: the right to be left alone as consenting adults,” Turley also told reporters in 2011. “There is no spectrum of private consensual relations—there is just a right of privacy that protects all people so long as they do not harm others.” FULL REPORT

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The Holy Spirit Wants the Platform Back!

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 06:42 AM PDT

I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, as I knew that I had to travel on a ministry assignment the next day. All of a sudden I felt a major prompting to get my phone and begin to record what the Lord was speaking to me. It was almost midnight as I began to write. The Lord said to me that this is an urgent message to relay to His people in this hour. His words shot off like blasts of fire in my spirit.

“I want you to give those pastors who have been called to a power ministry permission to launch forth! I have placed divine gifts of faith, healing and miracles in their bellies. Give birth to it—step out—conduct miracle services—launch forth—embrace the mandate. Many have been pressured by the people they are leading to conduct themselves in a certain way and it is stifling the rich flow of the Spirit that I have for them.”

The Father showed me that there are many pastors and church leaders who are being called to the supernatural. As He said, “Give them permission,” it made no sense to me. Then He nudged my heart that they need a confirming word to say: Go for it! Launch forth. Press for miracle ministry. This is the hour; this is the time. He continued to speak to me: FULL REPORT

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South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley welcomes Muslim Refugees

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 06:33 AM PDT

Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Republican governor, came out last Thursday and blasted possible White House plans to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to her state. The governor called a news conference and didn’t mince words. “We are absolutely drawing a line that we are not going to allow any terrorist to come into South Carolina,” Haley said. “We are not going to allow that kind of threat, we are not going to allow that kind of character to come in.

“My job is to protect the people of this state, and I take that very personally,” she continued. “I will take that personally the entire way through, so that the president, the Congress and anyone involved in this decision understands they are not wanted, they are not needed, and we will not accept them in South Carolina.” Yet, at the same time she was drawing a red line against Gitmo terrorists who would stay locked in a brig off the coast of Charleston, Haley was opening her arms wide to welcome “refugees” from jihadist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa. FULL REPORT

 

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Socialist medicine on parade in Venezuela: Here’s what happens when government runs health care

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 06:25 AM PDT

Free healthcare for everyone isn’t working so well in the socialist medicine utopia of Venezuela. A new documentary report by photojournalist Betty Zapata reveals rampant filth, lack of resources and medicine, grossly underpaid doctors, and all-around chaos at public health clinics and hospitals throughout this South American oil-exporting nation.

Established using some of the massive wealth accumulated from its $1.9 trillion in oil exports, Venezuela’s public health system is a product of the late Hugo Chavez’ visionary goals for ending poverty. Since his death, though, the system has deteriorated into Third World squalor, where even basic sanitation practices are no longer followed, putting everyone at risk. “Often, there’s no soap, no bags, no gloves to take out human waste,” stated one healthcare worker in anonymity. “We put used needles into empty bottles. That’s how we get rid of them.” FULL REPORT

 

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Pope Praises Lesbian Author For Spreading “Christian Values”.

Posted: 28 Aug 2015 11:01 AM PDT

Pope Francis has blessed a lesbian author for “spreading authentic human and Christian values.” In his message to writer Francesca Pardi, who authored “Why Do You Have Two Mommies,” the pope also wished her and her partner “ever more fruitful work in the service of young generations.”

Pardi, who’s not even Catholic, sent Francis copies of her books after she came under fire from Christian groups. “My books present different types of families without setting any of them up as a model,” Pardi told AFP, praising the pope for showing “respect and dignity” towards her, her wife and their four children. “It was not important for me that it was the pope who said it, I am not a Catholic.” “But it is important to see that we are not up against a wall; a dialogue is possible.” Vatican officials are now scrambling to downplay the pope’s blessing, especially as Francis was already taking heat for promoting global government and “man-made climate change.” FULL REPORT

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John Bevere Heralds Spirit-Inspired Wake Up Call to Church

Posted: 28 Aug 2015 10:52 AM PDT

Is “good” enough? According to best-selling author and minister John Bevere, “good without God” is not good enough. This is a core message of his new book Good or God?, which made its debut as the No. 1 Bestseller on Amazon’s Christian Ministry & Church Leadership List earlier this month.

In 2013, Bevere received a prophetic word that left him on his knees “in awe of the presence of God.” That experience led to the writing of his new book, which he calls one of his timeliest and most important messages. In penning his nineteenth book, Bevere went all-out to deliver a Spirit-inspired wake-up call to the church.

Many Christians are settling for something that appears to be good and missing out on God’s best, says Bevere, who is best known for his popular book The Bait of Satan. “It’s not blatant evil that draws Christians away from God,” he says. “It’s what seems good.” FULL REPORT

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7 Reasons Why Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal Will Be A Certified Catastrophe

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 02:41 PM PDT

AS IRAN AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA CHEER AND CHAMPION THEIR CONTROVERSIAL IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL, CRITICS ARE ROUNDLY CONDEMNING THE DEAL AS A HISTORIC AND CATASTROPHIC AGREEMENT THAT WILL STRENGTHEN IRAN AND IMPERIL NATIONAL SECURITY FOR AMERICA AND ITS ALLIES.

Here, then, are seven facts about Obama’s proposed Iran nuclear deal Americans should know:

1. U.S. NUCLEAR INSPECTORS ARE BANNED FROM INSPECTING IRAN’S NUCLEAR SITES

Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that “no Americans will be part of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection teams.” The administration’s claim that the deal provides inspections “anytime, anywhere” is also false. Obama’s deal allows Iran to block inspector access to any undeclared nuclear site. As Charles Krauthammer notes, “The denial is then adjudicated by a committee—on which Iran sits. It then goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran sits” and the whole process may take up to 24 days.

2. OBAMA’S IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL LIFTS ECONOMIC SANCTIONS THAT COULD BOOST IRAN’S ECONOMY WITH $150 BILLION IN REVENUE

As the Washington Post reports, “Yet another worry is that the lifting of tough economic sanctions on Iran would provide it with as much as $150 billion in revenue. Some of that money would be spent on infrastructure and the Iranian people. Some of it, critics say, would go to the likes of Hezbollah, Syrian Bashar al-Assad and Iraqi militias that no long ago were killing Americans.” FULL REPORT

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Man proposes to his boyfriend in Texas Methodist Church, Receives standing ovation from the congregation

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 02:35 PM PDT

A Texas man gave his boyfriend a proposal to remember when he got down on one knee in front of the entire congregation at their local Methodist Church – receiving a standing ovation in the process. Trevor Harper, 36, and Davis Covin, 30, who live in Austin, have been dating since 2006 and have been proud and active members of the First United Methodist Church of Austin for the past two years. Mr Harper said the support they have received has been a huge blessing to their relationship, especially as a gay couple in Texas. ‘That church has been, for us, really the first time we have really been able to live out loud as a couple,’ he told BuzzFeed News. So when Mr Harper decided he wanted to propose, he knew he wanted to do it in front of their church family.

He explained on YouTube that he and his boyfriend had been invited to share their faith story in front of their congregation, and he knew that would be the perfect time to pop the question. Mr Harper admitted, however, that Mr Covin doesn’t really like attention, so he was a little overwhelmed at the public nature of the proposal – luckily, he accepted. ‘I knew going into this that I was pushing it,’ Mr Harper said with a laugh. Their church immediately got to their feet and gave them a standing ovation. FULL REPORT

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‘Obama has dangerously surrendered nation’s Global Leadership’

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 12:25 PM PDT

Are we witnessing the sovereignty of America being systematically destroyed? According to a recent report, President Ronald Reagan explained America’s unique responsibility. “It is up to us in our time,” he said, “to choose, and choose wisely, between the hard but necessary task of preserving peace and freedom, and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemies of freedom grow stronger day by day.” It was up to us then—as it is now—because we are the exceptional nation. America has guaranteed freedom, security and peace for a larger share of humanity than any other nation in all of history. There is no other like us. There never has been.

Born of the revolutionary ideal that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights,” we were, first, an example to the world of freedom’s possibilities. During World War II, we became freedom’s defender, at the end of the Cold War, the world’s sole superpower. We did not seek the position. It is ours because of our ideals and our power, and the power of our ideals. As British historian Andrew Roberts has observed, “In the debate over whether America was born great, achieved greatness or had greatness thrust upon her, the only possible conclusion must be: all three.” FULL REPORT

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First of Three Consecutive ‘Supermoons’ Rises

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 12:19 PM PDT

More “Signs in the Heavens” will begin to unfold as the moon will be full at precisely 2:35 p.m. Saturday, and when it rises this evening, it will be nearing its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit — technically making it a “supermoon.” On Sunday, the moon reaches lunar perigee, at just under 223,000 miles away from Earth. Full moons that coincide with lunar perigee have in recent years been commonly known as supermoons, though that is not a technical term in any astronomical sense.

Luke 21:25 – “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

The moon will rise at about 7:37 p.m. Saturday, and with only partly cloudy skies forecast, Baltimore should get a good view. This month’s full moon is known as the Sturgeon Moon, the last full moon of summer. The Harvest Moon, a hallmark of fall’s arrival, comes Sept. 27. The Harvest Moon could be the most dramatic full moon of the year, bringing with it a lunar eclipse that can create what is known as a “Blood Moon.” The moon will be even closer to Earth at that time, at just more than 222,000 miles away and reaching perigee the next day, Sept. 28. FULL REPORT

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As Another Person Dies of the Plague, a Look at What’s Behind the Increase in Cases

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 12:05 PM PDT

An elderly person in Utah has died of the plague, state officials recently announced. This marks the fourth death from the plague in the U.S. this year. Officials believe the patient may have contracted the disease from a flea or after having contact with a dead animal, which is how the plague is commonly transferred to humans. The plague naturally occurs in Utah and is typically seen in the prairie dog populations each year, officials said in a press release. The disease is caused by Yersinia pestis bacteria. No other information is available about the latest plague victim.

The news comes less than 10 days after officials in California announced that a Georgia resident who camped at California’s Yosemite National Park fell ill with what is believed to be the plague. That was the second case this month of a person contracting the plague after visiting the park. The first was a child who went to the hospital with the plague after camping at Yosemite. FULL REPORT

 

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Pentagon Not Targeting Islamic State Training Camps

Posted: 29 Aug 2015 11:58 AM PDT

According to a new report the Pentagon has not conducted airstrikes against an estimated 60 Islamic State (IS) training camps that are supplying thousands of fighters each month to the terror group, according to defense and intelligence officials. The camps are spread throughout Islamic State-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria and are off limits in the U.S.-led international bombing campaign because of concerns about collateral damage, said officials familiar with planning and execution of the yearlong bombing campaign.

Additionally, the IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) camps have been so successful that Islamic State leaders are considering expanding the camps to Libya and Yemen. Both states have become largely ungoverned areas in recent years. The failure to target the training camps with U.S. and allied airstrikes is raising questions among some defense and intelligence officials about the commitment of President Obama and his senior aides to the current anti-IS strategy of degrading and ultimately destroying the terror group. FULL REPORT

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7 Reasons Why Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal Will Be A Certified Catastrophe

As Iran and President Barack Obama cheer and champion their controversial Iran nuclear deal, critics are roundly condemning the deal as a historic and catastrophic agreement that will strengthen Iran and imperil national security for America and its allies.

Here, then, are seven facts about Obama’s proposed Iran nuclear deal Americans should know:

1. U.S. Nuclear Inspectors Are Banned From Inspecting Iran’s Nuclear Sites

Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice admitted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that “no Americans will be part of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection teams.”

The administration’s claim that the deal provides inspections “anytime, anywhere” is also false. Obama’s deal allows Iran to block inspector access to any undeclared nuclear site. As Charles Krauthammer notes, “The denial is then adjudicated by a committee—on which Iran sits. It then goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran sits” and the whole process may take up to 24 days.

obama-iran-nuclear-deal-close-to-passing-congress

2. Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal Lifts Economic Sanctions that Could Boost Iran’s Economy with $150 Billion in Revenue

As the Washington Post reports, “Yet another worry is that the lifting of tough economic sanctions on Iran would provide it with as much as $150 billion in revenue. Some of that money would be spent on infrastructure and the Iranian people. Some of it, critics say, would go to the likes of Hezbollah, Syrian Bashar al-Assad and Iraqi militias that no long ago were killing Americans.”

3. The Obama Administration Admits That ‘We Should Expect’ Iran Will Spend Some of the $150 Billion in Revenues Obama’s Deal Gives Them On Their Military and Possibly Terrorism

In the same interview with Wolf Blitzer, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice conceded the following: “Yes, it is real, it is possible, and, in fact, we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now.”

4. On the Very Week Obama Brokered His Iran Nuclear Deal, Large Crowds Across Iran Could Be Heard Chanting “Death to America”—And Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Declared ‘Death to America’ Just Months Ago

As even the Huffington Post noted under a headline titled, “’DEATH TO AMERICA’ JUST LAST WEEK”: “Hatred towards the United States remains a basic tenet of Iran’s ruling system, on display just last week during an annual protest day that saw large crowds across Iran chanting ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’”

Similarly, as CNN reported, Iran’s Supreme Leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for “death to America” as recently as late March of 2015.

5. Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal Does Not Require Iran to Release Any American Prisoners

Obama’s proposed deal with Iran does not require the Iranians to release American prisoners like Iranian-American Christian missionary Saeed Abedini, Iranian-American Washington Post journalist, Jason Rezaian, or U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.

6. Obama’s Deal Allows Russia and China to Supply Iran with Weapons

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed on Tuesday that “weapons supplies will be possible” under the new deal. As the International Business Times reports, “Russia and China will continue to make weapons deals with Iran under U.N. procedures.” Krauthammer argues that “the net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but to endanger our own naval forces in the Persian Gulf.” He added, “Imagine how Iran’s acquisition of the most advanced anti-ship missiles would threaten our control over the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half century.”

7. 77 Percent of Americans Oppose Obama’s Lifting of Sanctions Against Iran

According to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll, 77 percent of Americans believe U.S. sanctions against Iran should be kept the same or increased, not lifted as Obama’s deal calls for.

Prior to the announcement of Obama’s controversial Iran nuclear deal, 60 percent of Americans disapproved of his handling of U.S. relations with Iran.

This week, Obama embarked on a 60-day campaign to build support for his controversial Iran nuclear deal. source


Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

Read more


What is The Gospel?


CanIKnowGod.com

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

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

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

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

Source


Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

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

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

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August 29-30, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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The Imminent Decline of Contemporary Worship Music: Eight Reasons

“Contemporary worship” to me is an oxymoron. Biblically, worship is what angels and morning stars did before creation; what Abraham, Moses and the Levites, and the many-tongued Jewish diaspora at Pentecost did. It is what the martyrs, now ascended, do, and what all believers since the apostles have done. More importantly, it is what we will do eternally; worship is essentially (not accidentally) eschatological. And nothing could celebrate the eschatological forever less than something that celebrates the contemporary now.

Read More


Video Whistleblower: Planned Parenthood Does Some Good In Addition to ‘Things Like Fetal Trafficking’

A vote to divert Planned Parenthood funding to community health centers and hospitals that do not perform abortions failed when Senate Democrats filibustered the legislation, although two of their colleagues voted with Republicans. “There would be absolutely no reduction in overall federal funding available to support women’s health,” said Senator Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) during a floor debate on the bill.

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S.C. Church’s Stance On Homosexuality Challenged

Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the church’s claim not to have made a decision on homosexuality “is theologically, biblically, morally and even logically incoherent. The church certainly did make a decision regarding homosexuality.” Mohler wrote in a blog post that SBC moderates’ refusal to affirm the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy in the late 20th century set the stage for actions like that of First Baptist years later.

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Missions Without Discipleship Is Tourism

Short-term teams, mercy ministries and missions supporters must help to refocus our missions efforts so the lost are directed into the disciple making process. These other aspects of missions are valuable in demonstrating God’s grace and mercy to the lost. Frequently, the lost can be directed to Christ through short-term or mercy ministry work. But, the long, arduous task to teach and train believers occurs in the one-on-one or small group settings of discipleship.

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‘Conflict of Rights’: Christian University Takes Battle For Law School to B.C. Supreme Court

The cases pit religious freedoms against same-sex equality rights, with each side arguing discrimination. Boonstra said Trinity’s covenant is central to the private university’s identity as an evangelical Christian institution.  It enrols about 4,000 students annually. They are not screened for sexual orientation but must abide by the code of conduct. It asks students to make a choice. If they come, they should understand what being part of an evangelical Christian educational institution is about, to make sure they understand what they are getting into.”

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Why Aren’t Calvinists Pacifists?

I am a Reformed evangelical Christian, and I am not a pacifist. I do not see a consistent pacifist requirement in Scripture, especially for rulers and governments. But Reformed Christians could use more skepticism about the wisdom and value of war, and about the aims of the nation in which they live.

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Who Am I?

I am so grateful I have not been left to my own wisdom to understand who I am and who we are as human beings. What conflicting ideas exist among us! Thankfully, God’s Word makes sense of what would otherwise be senseless and random….the Word is robust enough to give clarity amidst the complexity.

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A Review: ‘Perspectives On The Extent Of The Atonement: Three Views’

Carl Trueman defends “Definite Atonement,” arguing that Christ died with the intention of saving his elect. His essay consists of two primary planks:  1) The Particularity of Intention in Christ’s Saving Mission, and 2) The Objective Efficacy of Christ’s Work…. Grant Osborne defends the “General Atonement” view in a series of steps that Christ died for everyone, even those who perish…. John Hammett’s essay is defending the “Multiple-Intentions ” view…that God intended in the death of Christ 1) to put him forth as the substitute for all humanity in order to provide forgiveness of sins for all (God’s “universal” intention); 2) to secure the salvation of some (God’s “particular” intention); and 3) to reconcile all things to himself (God’s “cosmic” intention).

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China Honours Christian Missionary And Olympic Athlete Eric Liddell

The British educated athlete who was nicknamed ‘the flying Scotsman’ and born in Tianjin, returned to China in 1925 to serve as a missionary teacher, where he mostly remained until his death in 1945, in a Japanese civilian internment camp. On Monday, the marble sculpture of Liddell, captured in mid-stride, was unveiled in Tianjin…

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Texas Man Proposes to Another Man in “Church” Despite United Methodist Ban on Same-Sex “Marriage”

Christian News Networkreports:

A Texas man recently proposed to his so-called boyfriend during the Sunday morning service at their “church” despite the United Methodist Church’s ban on same-sex “marriage.”

Trevor Harper, 36, recently posted a video of the event on YouTube to show that his congregation is accepting and approving of homosexuals.

Harper has been in a relationship with Davis Covin, 30, since 2006, and both have been attending the First United Methodist Church of Austin for the past two years.

Recently, both men were invited to share their “faith story” during the Sunday service, during which time Harper told those gathered that he was appreciative of the congregation’s approval of homosexual relationships.

http://christiannews.net/2015/08/29/texas-man-proposes-to-another-man-in-church-despite-united-methodist-ban-on-same-sex-marriage/


Sex-Selection Services in Demand at U.S. Fertility Clinics

Fertility Institutes, a network known for sex selection services in Los Angeles, New York, and Mexico City, says nearly 90 percent of its clients have no medical fertility issues, but instead come from the U.S. and abroad to ensure their next child’s gender, The Wall Street Journal reported. For about $18,000, the clinic offers parents a 99.99 percent guarantee of their chosen gender and evaluation of all 46 chromosomes in the embryo for genetic disease.

Read more


Three American Heroes On French Train Are Strong Christians

Sadler is the son of a Baptist pastor in Sacramento, California. All three young men were childhood friends who attended California’s Freedom Christian School together and regularly played military games in their youth, according to the Gospel Herald…. Pastor Anthony Sadler, who ministers in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, told reporters that he believes his son and his friends were used by God to disrupt what could have been an awful tragedy.

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Augustines For The 21st Century

“Today,” Hiestand and Wilson write, “we find ourselves in a context where to be a theologian is, almost by definition, to be a professor in the academy. And to be a pastor is, almost by definition, to be anything but a theologian.” Most pastors act as “passive conveyors of insights from theologians to laity. A little quote from Augustine here, a brief allusion to Bonhoeffer there. That’s all.”

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I’m Sick Of Your Moral Relativism

“For those still clinging to their pro-choice flag, willingly ignorant of science, please know: Your moral relativism is nauseating in its consequences, annoying in its logical fallacies, and disgusting in its devastating effects on political and cultural debate.”

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Is There Any Actual Demand for Same-Sex Marriage?

“Same-sex marriage became the law of the land without anything close to proportional demand by homosexuals to actually marry someone of the same sex. There are likely many more polyamorists who would be interested in getting married than same-sex couples. Indeed, when polygamy is legalized (an issue we’ll consider in a future article), the number will likely be double or triple the number of two-person same-sex marriages.”

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The Prosperity Gospel Creates Poor Christians

“Name it; Claim it!” is their mantra. And the number of goodies God doles out—whether in the form of a lucrative job, an increased bank account or even physical healing—depends entirely upon your faith (sometimes shown by how much you’re willing to give first).

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Researchers Who Provided Key Evidence For Gluten Sensitivity Have Now Thoroughly Shown That It Doesn’t Exist

“Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, and other grains. It gives bread its chewiness and is often used as a meat substitute. If you’ve ever had “wheat meat,” seitan, or mock duck at a Thai restaurant, that’s gluten.”

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3/4 Time

“Millions of Christian men, baby boomers they call us, are facing the last 1/4 of life and if we’re not careful, we’ll end up like so many, simply killing time pleasantly in warm places.”

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The Silence of the Sheep – Why Is The UK Church Quiet About Abortion and Planned Parenthood?

“What about the Church? In the US there have been many Christian commentators who, appalled by the videos, have not been slow to comment. But in the UK the silence has been almost deafening – apart from the Catholic Church and various campaign groups. But what about the rest of us – especially the evangelical church?”

Read More


Reports: Pope blesses lesbian authors for their “excellent Christian values”

From Berean Research:

Photo via annapisapia.blogspot.com

Photo via annapisapia.blogspot.com

Pope Francis has reportedly pronounced two “married” women fruitful, with excellent Christian values.

Lesbian author Francesca Pardi, who writes and publishes books such as “Why you have two mummies“, wrote to Pope Francis after the publishing company she runs with her wife came under fire from Christian groups.

http://bereanresearch.org/pope-blesses-lesbian-authors-for-their-excellent-christian-values/


Holding Preachers Accountable to God’s Word — John MacArthur

“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” — Acts 17:10-11

John MacArthur Behind Pulpit Photo

Watch the brief video below as John MacArthur explains what it means to be like the noble Bereans we find in the book of Acts.


Courageous Christian Man Loses Job Rather Than Drive An LGBT Gay Pride Bus

Calgary bus driver will quit job if forced to take the wheel of rainbow Pride bus

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 (KJV)

We live in a day and age where Christians no longer stand on Biblical truths and compromise, but not Jesse Rau from Canada. He is a Calgary bus driver who refused to drive his bus when his company had it decorated in LGBT rainbow pride colors. Lose a job because it violates your Christian faith? Yes, that is exactly the type of stance the Bible calls us to make in these last days.

Stay strong, brother, the Lord will provide a better job for you. We salute your courageous stance and dearly hope it inspires Christians all across America to do likewise.

I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone,” Rau told The Canadian Press. “Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.”

man-quits-job-rather-than-drive-calgary-lgbt-pride-week-bus

Rau said he has a family to support (and his young child can in fact be seen in a CTV Calgary report) and is concerned about being out of work.

However he said “If I’m asked to compromise in such a big way for what I believe to be right, yes of course I have to lose my job, there’s nothing else that I can do,” Rau told CTV Calgary. “I’m put in a corner.”

A Calgary Transit spokesperson said drivers can refuse to drive based on safety issues, but that’s about it.


What happens when you die?

As I talk with people all over the world, I find that the fear of death is a prominent fear for many people.  To help you to better understand the passage from life to death to eternal life, I have invited my good friend Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Memorial Church, to  update our popular series “What Will Happen to You One Minute After You Die?”  In this week’s program, we attempt to peek behind the curtain of death to see what happens at the point of transition from life, to death, to heaven.  In the coming weeks, we will also tackle tough subjects such as what the Bible teaches about the death of infants, suicide, and assurance of salvation. To watch this week’s program right now, CLICK HERE.


Where Are You God?

Every one of us as Christians at times has felt overwhelmed or all alone.  In the midst of trials and tribulations, we cry out to God to protect and rescue us.  And we know He is faithful–but sometimes we wish he acted on our timeline instead of His. King David’s life reflected the best of […]

The post Where Are You God? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Where-Are-You-God.mp3 21.6 MB


A “Christian Nation” Turned Pagan?

America was founded upon Judeo-Christian Law, recognizing that all rights come from God alone, and that we were totally dependent on God.  Growing up as a child these beliefs were often reflected in the television and movies we watched, and within society as a whole. These days some of the most popular television shows and […]

The post A “Christian Nation” Turned Pagan? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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A-Christian-Nation-Turned-Pagan.mp3 21.5 MB


 Our Greatest Challenge

On Stand Up For the Truth we cover a lot of issues and challenges facing us as Christians.  But perhaps the greatest challenge we face in the world today is sharing the gospel of salvation and hope with those who are on a path to eternal destruction. In Luke 19:10 Jesus states that he came […]

The post Our Greatest Challenge appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Our-Greatest-Challenge.mp3 23.9 MB


In God We Trust–Or Do We?

It says so on every U.S. paper currency:  “In God We Trust”.  Well, some experts are warning that we might be facing an opportunity to put our money where our mouth is on that statement.  World Stock Markets closed down significantly last week and the early indications this morning is another bad day for the […]

The post In God We Trust–Or Do We? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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In-God-We-Trust-Or-Do-We_.mp3 23 MB


 

10 Bible verses about anger

10 Bible verses about anger

Posted on August 30, 2015 by Christian Today

Anger is often considered an ‘unholy’ emotion, and one that Christians should avoid. Of course, we need to keep it in check, but righteous anger is repeatedly referenced throughout scripture. Here are 10 verses to show what the Bible has to say about it.

Read Full Article »


Persecuted Christians who deny Christ: What we can learn from the Fathers

Persecuted Christians who deny Christ: What we can learn from the Fathers

Posted on August 29, 2015 by Christian Today

How far should Christians go in order to save their lives?

Read Full Article »


'War Room' anticipated Hollywood shocker; leads ALL movies in ticket sales so far

‘War Room’ anticipated Hollywood shocker; leads ALL movies in ticket sales so far

Posted on August 29, 2015 by Christian Examiner

The faith-based film War Room led every film in advance ticket sales Thursday on Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com, an extremely rare achievement for a Christian film. In fact, War Room also led Fandango.com ticket sales on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Read Full Article »


Faith in Difficult Times

I had quite the busy and interesting weekend.  I wrote an article that was posted in the Green Bay Press Gazette Faith Perspective column on Friday and it stirred a lot of discussion.  The article I wrote had the original title of “Salvation—A Free Gift and What it Costs Us”.  But the editor changed the […]

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Is Rick Warren On a Slippery Path?

In Galatians 1:6, Paul says:  “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all!  Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. Is […]

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Disjointed apostasy movements? I don’t think so…

The greatest military leaders are ones who can see beyond the current battle conditions and take a strategic look at what the enemy is up to.  They understand that deception is a big part of warfare and that enemies often try to lull their opponents into a false sense of security as they lay a […]

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Why I Am Attending the Mosque Open House

I have prayed about it at length and I believe the Lord wants me to attend the open house at the Muslim Mosque in Green Bay tomorrow, so I will be attending.  I want to share with you why I believe God wants me to attend. These days there are a lot of confusing messages […]

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The Real Story Behind the Hatred of Chick-Fil-A

The recent uproar and reaction to Ckick-Fil-A President Dan Cathey’s proclamation in the belief of biblical marriage as defined by God is fascinating to watch on many fronts.  As in all circumstances, it is important we take a step back and see the big picture of what is going on here?  Is it an attack […]

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A Challenge For The Theologically Minded Christian

Tim Challies challenges us to consider if we can know doctrine, yet fail to love God completely: “Have you ever considered how books of the Bible would be changed if God had left out their final chapter? Matthew without chapter 28 would leave us as Christians without a Great Commission. Ruth without chapter 4 would never […]

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Corrie Mitchell: The Five Most Disturbing Things About a Benny Hinn Miracle Service

Ever been to a Benny Hinn event? Well, I have no desire to go near one, but here is the perspective of a lady who was curious about what it would be like: “There are a lot of things you should try at least once in your life — skydiving, eating some exotic delicacy, traveling […]

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Donald Trump’s Bible

book

Trump endlessly talks about the Bible but it’s obvious that his faith and ethics are based on anything but a proper reading of Scripture.  Trump and the emergents share the same bible- the one above.


 

Ridding The Church of ‘Naughty’ Ministers

bullinger90Necessity itself and the good estate of the people of God requires, that the naughty ministers of churches be deposed. And better it were that a few evil ministers were troubled, than so many congregations brought into danger of body and soul. For the churches and congregations are utterly destroyed through the negligence and ungodliness of wicked pastors. Therefore let them be deposed with speed. –  Heinrich Bullinger


08/29/15 A Sanctuary in a Distant Land

READING: Ezekiel 9-12

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  God is not limited to a place. That truth matters.

Ezekiel 11:14-20 is God’s promise to His exiled people that He would not forever abandon them. He had sent them into exile under judgment, thus reminding them and the nations that He alone is Yahweh (Ezek. 11:10-12). He in His sovereign plan scattered them among the nations — far from the city of Jerusalem — and yet He would be their sanctuary wherever they were. 

Ezek. 11:16  Therefore say: This is what the Lord God says: “Though I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.”

In the distant lands, some would recognize their evil and turn back to Him. They would learn there that they need not be in Jerusalem to worship the God who is not limited to a city or a building.  He would then gather them back to the land, radically changing them by giving them a new spirit and a heart of flesh (Ezek. 11:17-20).

God alone is our refuge, our sanctuary. Regardless of where we are, He is there. Indeed, in a miracle that is more clearly evidenced in the New Testament, He lives within us through His Spirit. We can worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:21-24) wherever we are because He is there.

Maybe today you feel like you are in exile somewhere. You pray, but you wonder if God hears. Perhaps you’re paying a price for your past sin, bearing the consequences of your wrong. Or, maybe you’ve been faithful to Him but still long for days gone by. No matter where you are today, Yahweh can be your sanctuary. He is not limited to where you were yesterday.

PRAYER: “Thank You, God, for being a refuge wherever we are. I’m grateful that You’re not limited to a place. When I’m lonely or hurting or suffering consequences for my wrong, turn my heart to You. Be a sanctuary to me today.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Ezekiel 13-15


08/30/15 Making Himself Known

READING: Ezekiel 13-15

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I must confess that I do not often pause to think about why God brings judgment on people. I can talk about theological reasons, but I usually do that only when my context or my teaching assignment requires it. I have been struck, however, by how many times I read something like, “and they will know that I am the Lord [or Yahweh]” in the book of Ezekiel — particularly because this wording is so often tied to God’s judgment on sinful people.

Similar wording occurs more than 50 times in this book, several times in today’s reading:

1. God would bring judgment on false prophets, and “Then you will know that I am the Lord Yahweh” (Ezek. 13:9b).

2. The city of Jerusalem would fall, and “then you will know that I am Yahweh” (Ezek. 13:14b)

3. God would judge the women who practice magic, and “Then you will know that I am Yahweh” (Ezek. 13:21b).

4. God would bring justice on idolatrous elders, and “Then you will know that I am Yahweh” (Ezek. 14:8).

5. God would punish the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and “And you will know that I am Yahweh when I turn against them” (Ezek. 15:7).

It’s really simple: God makes Himself known as the righteous One, the One who keeps His Word, the Sovereign One when He brings judgment — including judgment on a people who know better.  His goal is still, though, to make Himself known and to draw His people to Himself. Thus, God may use me to make Himself known through my living righteously and sharing the gospel, or He may choose to make Himself known through judgment if I do not follow Him faithfully.

I choose the former way — but I need His daily, moment-by-moment grace to do so.

PRAYER: “God, as we gather with Your people today, please make us holy people whose lives and words announce You. Make us long for You in such a way that we do not become objects of Your judgment.”


On Dealing with Betrayal and Rejection

I realise that this might come as news to some of you, but I am human being as well – I have flesh and bone, and I even have feelings like all the rest. So I too can be hurt and wounded. And it happens quite often actually. But that is part of living on planet earth.

A rather jaundiced view of things might say that life is pretty good, if it weren’t for other people! But other folks are who we deal with every day. And sometimes they shaft you and anger you and abuse you. That is life, and it is not always easy, but that is how it goes.

Indeed, we expect to be used, abused and misused by non-Christians. The worrying bit is that we so often get such lousy treatment from fellow Christians. We get other believers attacking us, criticising us, gossiping about us, maligning us, and betraying us.

And guess what? It hurts like hell, especially when it comes from those who were close and trusted friends or allies. But believe me, if you are a Christian, and especially if you are involved in any sort of leadership, you will get all sorts of abuse from other Christians.

judas-betrayerMany will reject you and even betray you. It stinks. But it is sadly part of life in a fallen world. We expect better things from those who claim to be God’s people, but we all are fallen and finite, and we all are less than what we are supposed to be.

So how should we respond? Perhaps it is best to first ask how not to respond. The obvious and natural response is evident: bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, resentment, withdrawal, and so on. This is how we tend to react. Indeed, some believers will be so bummed out by the treatment they get that they will even give up on the Christina life altogether.

While all such reactions may be understandable, they are not biblical. So if that is what we should not do, what then should we do? The first thing is to expect that these sorts of things are going to happen. I know, it should not be happening, but I guarantee you, it will.

Friends and colleagues will dump on you. They will desert you. They will betray you. Sadly, you must count on that. Sure, it hurts like all get out, but it will happen. So don’t be surprised when it occurs. If anything, be surprised that it does not happen more often!

And be even more thankful for those friends and associated who have stood strong with you. Not all are deserters and false friends. But as to those who have been so very hard on us, we are called to something better than resentment or retaliation.

As difficult as it is, we must at least seek to pray for those who have hurt us and betrayed us. We must be willing to forgive and even forget. And where possible, we should seek to keep our bridges open. It is so very tempting to burn your bridges with these folks: “I won’t have anything more to do with that jerk”.

I understand the sentiment, but it is not good counsel. There have been so many times when I have been hurt or attacked or betrayed, but I have sought to keep open the possibility of restoration, and sometimes (certainly not always), months or years later, the relationship is repaired.

Sometimes the person will even ask for forgiveness (a great bonus) but sometimes they may just want to overlook their past transgressions. Well, we must try to as well. Biblical love demands that of us. Christian love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Sure, sometimes there are wise reasons to move on from certain people, and there is no value in seeking to restore every former friendship, alliance or partnership. So a bit of wisdom is needed here. But being open to forgive and love your enemies anyway is always on the table.

But surely the best way to deal with all this is to look at one person who knows more about this than any of us ever will. Jesus of course experienced way more betrayal, backstabbing, desertion and rejection then any of us will ever come close to.

He was rejected by his own people. By the religious leaders. Even by his own beloved disciples. Imagines pouring your life into a group of people for three years, only to find they have all turned on you, even betrayed you. Yet he loved the twelve to the end, despite all this.

Worse yet, he even knew beforehand of such betrayal. Indeed, a thousand years earlier messianic psalms were describing this, as in Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Jesus appealed to this verse in John 13:18: “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me’.” And recall the description of Jesus the Suffering Servant as found in Isaiah 53. Verse 3 says this:

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

He knew all about rejection. And recall the culmination of all this rejection and hatred, when Jesus was hanging on the cross. He could have pronounced a curse of destruction on the whole lousy lot of them, but instead prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Unlike all of us, who so often deserve what we get from others, Jesus deserved none of it. He was the perfect, loving, gracious Son of God who could do no wrong, yet his own still shafted him. It is a good thing he did not respond as most of us respond.

So he is our model here. He is our example. He showed us the way forward. He demonstrated for us how we are to respond to our enemies, our betrayers, our attackers. So look to Jesus on how to react when the haters come and the betrayers do their worst

I certainly have to keep learning this. I still hurt from things done to me ages ago. But real Christianity is being Christlike in times when that is the hardest thing to do – or to even want to do. So please keep standing strong. Don’t renounce the faith. Don’t pull into a shell. Don’t be corrupted by bitterness and a refusal to forgive.

Instead, move on, with the help and grace of God.


WHI-1273 | Faith & Experience

This week on the White Horse Inn we are continuing our series on sustainable church discipleship. In this special edition of the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton and Rod Rosenbladt speak before a live audience and discuss the relationship between faith and experience in the Christian life.

What is a legitimate experience of God? Should we look for a feeling of divine presence and overwhelming joy? What happens when we focus more on the experience of faith than the object of faith? Are we more interested in the practical application of Christianity than we are in truly understanding the Christianity that is to be applied? What are the dangers of this kind of approach to the Christian life? Join us this week on the White Horse Inn as we delve into this important topic of faith and experience.

HOST QUOTE
“Isn’t the goal again for us too, as the psalmist says, have our heart stirred by a noble theme? In other words, you have to set something before the heart that inflames it. You have to have something objective and what we have today is a lot of affection chasing, a lot of experience inculcating, a lot of people trying to gin up experiences so that they can climb up to heaven with a certificate and hand it to God and say, ‘I am sure now that I have had the right experience. I’m sure I have true saving faith because I’ve looked inside my heart. I’ve had this experience,’ and people will fly across the country, around the world to go have this experience so that finally their consciences can be assured that they really have whatever that thing is that makes them truly saved.”
– Michael Horton
TERM TO LEARN
Faith
Q. 21 What is true faith? A. True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.
(The Heidelberg Catechism)
The Reformers were unanimous and explicit in teaching that justifying faith does not justify by any meritorious or inherent efficacy of its own, but only as the instrument for receiving or laying hold on what God has provided in the merits of Christ. They regarded this faith primarily as a gift of God and only secondarily as an activity of man in dependence on God.
(Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 497)

Read More


Letter to the Editor: Please Send Your Evidence and Examples for Calvin College ASAP

Dear Lighthouse Trails: You list Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, as being contemplative, formation.  Please give me evidence, examples of this, also any emergent info, too on them.  ASAP, please. Our Response: Finding evidence and examples to show Calvin College’s contemplative/emergent persuasions is NOT like finding a needle in a haystack. This college is saturated […]

The Gospel’s Antidote for Envy

The antidote for the self-justification and the self-sovereignty driving envy is rootedness in justification by faith and the supremacy of Christ. Like all other sins, envy is fundamentally a sin of pride, and the only way to kill pride is to confess our sin, repent of it, and believe in the forgiveness given to us by God’s free grace in Jesus.

Flashing back to Genesis 4, why do you think Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s was not. Did God just like Abel better? Did Abel know the right religious words or jump through the right religious hoops?

No, Abel’s sacrifice was accepted first because it was the sort of offering God had commanded, but also because his offering of sacrificed livestock best reflected the stakes of making us right with God. After the fall, one of the first things Adam and Eve did to cover their shame was clothe themselves with plants. But they had brought death into the world and bloodshed; only bloodshed could cover their shame. So God replaced their leafy garments with animal skins. This is how serious sin is; this is how serious envy is. Something has to die. “[W]ithout the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

God required an offering and Abel brought real sacrifices. Cain brought the fruit of his hard work. We cannot and will not satisfy the debt of envy through the fruit of our hard work any more than Cain could. If we want to kill envy, it will take death.

Thanks be to God, then, that Jesus offers himself as the acceptable sacrifice. The fruit of his hard work culminates with his substitutionary death, taking our place, covering our shame, killing our sin.

In one of the great glorious ironies of the gospel, it is envy for what Jesus has that drives us to betray him and nail him to the cross, but in his crucifixion he is gladly, willingly, humbly, and freely giving us everything he’s got. No one is more generous than Jesus. We need not envy him or anyone else; his unclenched hand freely gives us all things! So says Paul:

He did not even spare His own Son,
but offered Him up for us all;
how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
(Romans 8:32)

So, then, envy is not only spiritual suicide, it is spiritual nonsense! Not one of us can add an ounce of satisfaction through a pound of envy. But in the free gift of eternal life there is eternal fulfillment.

The final and best way to assassinate envy, therefore, is to park ourselves at the foot of the cross early and often. Rather than constantly fooling with envy’s sideways glance, we ought to be “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Look at him and his glory, and you will find rest.

—from Jared C. Wilson, 7 Daily Sins: How the Gospel Redeems Our Deepest Desires


One Strategy to Rule Them All

One Strategy to Rule Them AllIn high school, Dylan was a natural leader, voted Most Valuable Player on his football team. Everyone expected him to succeed. But when he went to college, Dylan’s Christian convictions were assailed by doubts in virtually every class.

In his science classes, Darwinian naturalism was an unquestioned assumption. In English class, a postmodern attitude treated all truth claims as disguised power plays. In psychology, the prevailing theories — from Freud’s psychoanalysis to Skinner’s behaviorism — treated Christianity as a symptom of mental pathology.

Dylan’s church had taught the basic gospel message, but it had not equipped him to meet the challenges of the university classroom. Deeply shaken, he dropped out of college and began to rethink whether Christianity was even true. Dylan eventually found his way to L’Abri, the ministry of Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland. There he finally met Christians who could teach him to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

How can the church be more effective in equipping young people to keep the faith when they leave home?

Why Young Adults Reject Faith

Research shows that Dylan is not alone. When studies asked young people why they left the religion in which they were raised, the reason given most often was unanswered doubts and questions. The researchers were surprised — they expected to hear stories of emotional wounding and broken relationships. But the top response from young adults themselves was that they did not get answers to their questions.

But learning to respond to every competing worldview would take a lifetime of study. Do we have to memorize a different argument for every “ism”? The exciting answer is that the Bible itself offers a single, universal strategy we can apply to all systems of thought. The key passage is Romans 1. We could even call it Paul’s apologetics training manual.

In this chapter, Paul unfolds the drama of divine-human interaction that is the source of all belief systems. The great plot line of history is the tug of war between God and humanity. On one hand, God reaches out to humanity to make himself known. On the other hand, humans desperately seek to suppress that knowledge by creating God-substitutes.

The Romans 1 narrative provides the theological grounding for all apologetics. All arguments fall into two basic categories:

  1. We test a philosophy externally to see if it matches the real world.
  2. We test it internally for logical consistency.

What makes Romans 1 unique is that it explains why these tests work — and provides a strategy for how to apply them.

The Real World Test

Romans 1 teaches that those who reject the transcendent Creator will “exchange the glory of God” (Romans 1:23, 25) for something in creation. They create idols. An idol can be defined as anything put in the place of God as the ultimate reality.

The prevailing philosophy in the academic world today is materialism, which puts matter in the role of God. Matter is considered the eternal, uncreated, self-existent source of everything else — a God-substitute. The secular thinkers (Darwin, Freud, Foucault) that Dylan studied in the classroom were all materialists.

To be consistent, materialism must deny the reality of anything not material. Humans are reduced to complex biochemical machines, robots with no will, mind, soul, or spirit. Richard Dawkins says humans are “survival machines — robot vehicles blindly programmed” by their genes.

But such a simplistic, one-dimensional view does not line up with what we all know about human nature. No one lives like a robot. We make choices from the moment we wake up in the morning. One philosopher jokes that if people deny such free choice, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined that I will get.”

You don’t have to be a Christian to recognize that materialism does not fit what we know about human nature. Any philosophy that exchanges the glory of God for something in creation will also exchange the image of God for something in creation. Because it starts with something lower than God, it always leads to a lower view of humanity.

This is called reductionism, which means it reduces humans to something less than their full humanity. Materialism fails the first test because it does not match human nature as we experience it.

The Logic Test

We can also be confident that every non-biblical worldview will fail the second test. Why? Because a reductionist view of humanity must include the mind or cognitive faculties. It reduces reason to something less than reason. Yet how does it support its own case? It has to use reason — logical arguments. So when it discredits reason, it undercuts its own case. It is self-refuting.

Materialism reduces thinking to neurons firing in the brain. For the materialist, humans don’t believe something because we are rationally persuaded of its truth, but because of neuronal patterns in our gray matter.

But what does that imply for materialists’ own views? To be consistent, they must apply the same reasoning to themselves: Their own materialism is not a product of rational thought, but of neurons firing in their brains. In that case, why should the rest of us give it any credence? As apologist Greg Koukl puts it, this is how a worldview “commits suicide.” When its own definition of truth is applied to itself, it discredits itself.

This is called self-referential absurdity and the Romans 1 approach tells you why it works and how to apply it to any worldview. Find the reductionism: That’s the point where it will commit suicide.

The Romans 1 narrative provides the theological rationale for all apologetics arguments. The good news for young people like Dylan is that the biblical strategy can be applied universally. No more memorizing different arguments for each theory. We can be confident that Romans 1 applies to all of them.


Nancy Pearcey describes additional biblical principles from Romans 1 in Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism & Other God Substitutes.


Related Resources


“Churchless” Christianity – The New Way of Doing Missions

By Roger Oakland In an article titled “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” the following statement is made regarding the research of Herbert Hoefer, author of Churchless Christianity: In striking research undertaken in the mid-eighties and published in 1991, Herbert E. Hoefer found that the people of Madras City are far closer to historic […]

Evaluating Beth Moore’s Upcoming Live Simulcast

Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries challenges her readers to put on their thinking caps as they evaluate material LifeWay released to promote Beth Moore’s upcoming simulcast. Are there any red flags?

Red flag

I have decided to take another break from my series about submitting in everything to write about something that is time sensitive. It is in regards to the upcoming Living Proof Live Simulcast that is scheduled for September 12, 2015. Beth Moore promises an audacious message. The theme for this year’s simulcast is connected to her new book Audacious.

The following is from the FAQ on LifeWay Christian Resources’ website regarding Audacious.

What is Audacious?
“Audacious is the newest book written by Beth Moore. She wrote it specifically thinking of YOU, the simulcast audience! Audacious is an exclusive pre-release for simulcast participants! This is the very first time we have had a book that was connected to the message of her simulcast. We are thrilled to offer participants the opportunity to gain exclusive access to the book before the public release.”

http://chapter3min.org/2015/08/20/evaluating-beth-moores-upcoming-live-simulcast/


The Dangers of Predatory Prayer


Kendrick Brothers Starting to Win the Battle with “War Room”


Are We Punished for the Wrongs of Others?


Sexual Temptation: Women Fall For It, Too


Sex-Selection Services in Demand at U.S. Fertility Clinics

According to Christian Headlines:

More healthy couples are using U.S. fertility clinics to help them with something other than conception struggles: guaranteeing their baby’s gender.

A growing number of clinics in the United States now offer a controversial service called “family balancing” or “nonmedical sex selection.” Fertility Institutes, a network known for sex selection services in Los Angeles, New York, and Mexico City, says nearly 90 percent of its clients have no medical fertility issues, but instead come from the U.S. and abroad to ensure their next child’s gender, The Wall Street Journal reported. For about $18,000, the clinic offers parents a 99.99 percent guarantee of their chosen gender and evaluation of all 46 chromosomes in the embryo for genetic disease.

http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/sex-selection-services-in-demand-at-u-s-fertility-clinics.html


This ‘n’ That

  • Phil Johnson tweeted about this not-yet-released book on MLJ and now it’s in my Amazon shopping cart.
  • For the person who has everything…nubrella.
  • You know me, I don’t agree with much of what comes out of TGC, but I did appreciate some of the content of this article discussing the dangers of women in the church merely turning into clones. Stepford Wives, anyone?
  • There’s still plenty of strange fire to go around, and Lyndon Unger joins the conversation.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • This recent sermon from Don Green is a must listen.
  • Is Carl Trueman an accidental feminist?
  • The latest on Tullian Tchividjian is, sadly, not all that surprising.
  • The killer of all spiritual life:

BCC Weekend Resource: 9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse

On weekends we often highlight resources for your life and ministry. Today we highlight a resource from Justin and Lindsey Holcomb: 9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse. The resource is part of their new book, God Made All of Me. Continue reading

Eight Reasons Why We Need the Puritans

Post by Jeff Robinson.

For many years before surrendering to vocational ministry, I was a conservative evangelical Christian whom God had called to work in the dog-eat-dog world of secular media. While working for a metropolitan daily newspaper in Georgia, one of my ultra-liberal colleagues was teasing me about being a conservative “boy” from a small town in the sticks of North Georgia. She said, “You know what you are? You’re a Puritan!” At the time, I didn’t really know what to make of it. Today, I see it as a high compliment. Perhaps someday.

In my pre-ministry days, I knew little about the Puritans other than were present at the first Thanksgiving, that they seemed to have a fetish for stove-pipe hats, belt buckles, knickers, and puffy shirts adorned with collars that looked like sunflowers. In the minds of many, Puritanism equals scrupulous rules keeping, dour Christianity, or as the inimitable American journalist H. L. Mencken once quipped “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Over the past few decades, thanks in large part to the publishing efforts of Iain Murray at Banner of Truth and the advocacy of Martyn-Lloyd Jones, the English and American Puritans have made a strong comeback among Reformed evangelicals. During my years in seminary, I fell in love with the Puritans. Now, I delight in teaching about the Puritans and during my time as pastor, men like John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, and John Owen were my pastors through their incredible works. Though dead, they certainly still speak.

PuritansWe Need the Puritans: Eight Reasons

In the age of iPhones and Twitter, we need the Puritans more than ever and here are eight reasons why:

1. Because they were mature and we are not. J. I. Packer hits the mark here: “Maturity is a compound of wisdom, goodwill, resilience, and creativity. The Puritans exemplified maturity; we don’t. We are spiritual dwarfs. A much-travelled leader, a native American (be it said), has declared that he finds North American Protestantism, man-centered, manipulative, success-oriented, self-indulgent and sentimental, as it blatantly is, to be 3,000 miles wide and half an inch deep. The Puritans, by contrast, as a body were giants. They were great souls serving a great God.” Oh, how we need that. Would anyone deny that modern evangelicalism is 3,000 miles wide and a half-inch deep?

2. Because they understood the deep sinfulness of the human heart. John Owen (1616-1683) called the human heart a hornet’s nest of evil. He wrote the most famous treatment of sin among the Puritans, The Mortification of Sin, on sin that remains and must be killed in the life of the believer. Because they understood the depravity of the human heart, the Puritans realized that only a unilateral work of sovereign grace could rescue fallen man. Thus, their keen understanding of the deadness of the human heart led them to plant their feet firmly upon a theology of grace as the only catalyst to bring dead hearts out of the grave.

3. Because they knew their best life was later. The Puritans suffered long, but they suffered well. Death was a constant companion for the Puritans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In England, they faced deadly persecution at the hands of the Church of England, the very church they sought to purify. In the New World, they faced a physical climate that was as harsh then as it is congenial in 2015. Writes Packer:

“Ease and luxury, such as our affluence brings us today, do not make for maturity; hardship and struggle, however, do, and the Puritans’ battles against the spiritual and climatic wilderness in which God set them produced a virility of character, undaunted and unsinkable, rising above discouragement and fears, for which the true precedents and models are men like Moses, and Nehemiah, and Peter after Pentecost, and the apostle Paul.”

4. Because they viewed the family as a little church. Puritan fathers were deeply committed to catechizing their children and serving as shepherds in their homes. One of the great needs of our day is for God to raise up an army of brave-hearted husbands/fathers who will love their families by teaching them the Word of God, by modeling biblical headship and churchmanship for them. I have written more extensively on the Puritans and family discipleship here.

5. Because they saw all of life as being lived coram deo—before the face of God. For the Puritans in old England and new, there was no sacred/secular divide. If they worked as plumbers, the calling was to plumb to the glory of God. If they farmed, they sowed and reaped in dependence upon God. The Puritans knew vividly that God is omnipresent, that there is not one square inch in all creation where he is not present or where he is not interested in radiating forth his glory. Hard work was for the Puritans a central part of Christian living and what we call the Protestant Work Ethic is a gift passed down from them.

6. Because they were highly-decorated soldiers on the spiritual battlefield. They viewed spiritual conflict as central to the Christian’s calling. As Packer memorably puts it, “They never expected to advance a step without some sort of opposition.” This is evident in John Bunyan’s classic allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, where every stretch along the path to the Celestial City is filled with fighting without, fears within. In an age of prosperity Christianity, we need desperately to see this reality today. Ask anyone who has ever pastored a church and they will agree. Wrote John Geree (c. 1601-1649), in The Character of an Old English Puritane or Nonconformist: “His whole life he accounted a warfare, wherein Christ was his captain, his arms, praiers and tears. The Crosse his Banner and his [motto]: he who suffers conquers.” William Gurnall (1617-1679) penned what endures as the best books on spiritual warfare called The Christian in Complete Armour.

7. Because they were skilled physicians of souls. Long before our dear brothers Jay Adams and David Powlison pioneered a movement, the Puritans excelled in biblical counseling. They saw God’s Word as sufficient for the Christian’s every need, including counsel. Writes Tim Keller, “Clearly, the Puritans rested their counseling approach on Scripture. In many ways the Puritans are an excellent laboratory for studying biblical counseling, because they are not influenced by any secular models of psychology. Many of those today claiming to be strictly biblical in their counseling approach still evidence the heavy influence of Maslow or Rogers or Skinner or Ellis. But the Puritans had the field of ‘the cure of souls’ virtually to themselves; they had no secular competition in the area of counseling. Thus we need to consider very seriously their counseling models.”

8. Because they understood contentment in Christ as the key to genuine happiness. Christ was enough for them. He had to be; with no modern medicine and at times precious little food available, life expectancy was around thirty, particularly in the early colonial experience. If a family had four children, two would die in child birth. Roughly half of the mothers died during child birth. There was no aspirin, no penicillin, no surgery. Economic hardship was a reality for virtually all of them with the exception of merchant princes and landed gentry. Christ was all for them and they wrote often of contentment. Among the best works ever written on this topic, in my opinion, was The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs and The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson.

Read the Puritans

John Piper and his ministry have been shaped by a close, careful, decades-long engagement with the Puritans. Piper nails it as to why we need the Puritans:

“My own experience is that no one comes close to the skill they have in taking the razor-like scalpel of Scripture, and lancing the boils of my corruption, cutting out the cancers of my God-belittling habits of mind, and amputating the limbs of my disobedience. They are simply in a class by themselves.”

Amen. Go, and read the Puritans.

A brief annotated bibliography

About the Puritans

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway, 1990). Simply the best book I have ever read about the Puritans, their theology, and its application to everyday life. If you love the Bible and good theology, this book will delight your soul.

Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Zondervan, 1986). An excellent survey of the Puritans, the good, the bad and the ugly about them. Well-written and a pleasure to read. You may find yourself laughing at times as Ryken points out some of the Puritans’ foibles and excesses.

Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans (Reformation Heritage, 2013). Contains a guide to modern reprints. Contains brief sketches of the life, ministry, and writings of hundreds of Puritan ministers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Reformation Heritage, 2013). A companion to Meet the Puritans, this work is more or less a Puritan systematic theology.

Kelly M. Kapic and Randall C. Gleason eds., The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics (IVP, 2004). An excellent primer on the representative Puritans and their best-known works. If you are new to the Puritans, this may be the place to start.

By the Puritans (in addition to those linked above)

John Bunyan (1628-88), Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

John Flavel (1627-91), The Mystery of Providence

Thomas Boston (1676-1732), The Crook in the Lot: The Wisdom of God Displayed in the Afflictions of Men

Richard Baxter (1615-91), The Reformed Pastor

Thomas Watson (1620-1686), A Body of Divinity, All Things for Good, The Doctrine of Repentance

Joseph Alleine (1634-68), An Alarm to the Unconverted

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), The Bruised Reed

William Bridge (1600-70), A Lifting Up for the Downcast

The post Eight Reasons Why We Need the Puritans appeared first on The Blog.


Top News from Christian News Network

‘It’s Very Personal’: Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Declines to Share Favorite Bible Verses

(CN) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump declined to share his favorite Bible verses during a television interview on Wednesday, stating that it was “very personal.”

Trump appeared on the Bloomberg television broadcast “With All Due Respect,” and at one point, interviewer John Heilemann asked Trump to expound further about a comment he made recently that the Bible is his favorite book.

Thousands Rally in Support of Clerks Who Refuse to Issue ‘Gay Marriage’ Licenses

(CN) — Thousands rallied on Saturday in support of three Kentucky clerks who are fighting for their religious rights not to violate their Christian convictions by issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexuals.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky organized the event, which included prayers, hymns and speeches by various state leaders and political candidates. Executive Director Kent Ostrander told the Lexington Herald Leader that the purpose of the rally was to support the First Amendment rights of clerks in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring that states must legalize same-sex nuptials.

Founder of Iraqi Christian Radio Station Walks Away Unharmed by Bomb Blast

(CN) — The founder of Iraq’s only Christian radio station is praising God for his protection after he and a deacon from his church walked away unharmed from a recent bomb blast in the ISIS-occupied nation.

“The situation here in Baghdad is not only bad, it is very bad,” Maher Fouad, pastor of New Testament Baptist Church, told reporters. “When ISIS occupied Ramadi, we became in danger because Ramadi is not very far away from Baghdad. On one side, we have ISIS threatening us. And the second danger we face is from car bombs and explosions.”

Americans Nationwide Take to Streets to Demand Defunding of Planned Parenthood

(CN) — Thousands of Americans took to the streets and public sidewalks outside of their local Planned Parenthood facility on Saturday to demand that the federal government defund the abortion giant.

According to reports, Christians and other pro-lifers gathered at over 320 locations across the nation, holding signs, praying and calling out to women not to murder their unborn child. Some rallies also featured special speakers that urged Americans to rise up against the shedding of innocent blood.

Other Top News Stories of Interest:


W4YW: Murder on Social Media, Duke’s Summer Reading, & 30 Truths about Emotions

Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Video of the Week

How to Survive World Religions 101, Michael Kruger. Student ministries often focus on preparing their students for college morally, making sure that when they leave home, they continue to live out the Christian faith in a new environment. But they too often fail to prepare students to consider the intellectual implications of their faith. Dr. Kruger offers some very tangible help for Christians entering an atmosphere in which their faith is considered intellectually indefensible.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/129253608

Articles of the Week

30 Things I’ve Learned About Emotions, Paula Hendricks. If you haven’t yet seen Inside Out, several angels have lost their wings on your account. Go out and watch it. The movie, all about emotions, raises a lot of insightful questions—and answers many of them rather well. Hendricks adds a few helpful reflections about what she’s learned about emotions over the years. I (Chris) really appreciated 3, 4, & 16 (though I’m suspicious of 24 & 26).

Seven Reflections from the Planned Parenthood Protest, John Piper. “This morning [August 22] I was one of several thousand people who gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota, to say to Planned Parenthood that killing children is not an acceptable response to crisis pregnancies. And to say to our government that killing children should not be funded by tax dollars. Among other things. Here are seven short reflections on the morning.”

I’m a Duke Freshman; Here’s Why I Refused to Read ‘Fun Home,’ Brian Grasso. Duke University has, for some years, asked all incoming freshman to read the same book prior to arriving on campus. I (Chris) vaguely remember this little exercise from my own experience there. Our book was rather dry, and had to do with plagiarism, if memory serves me. This year, however, the chosen book was much more controversial. It was a graphic novel (think, comic book for grown-ups) depicting the life of a young person growing up and questioning her sexuality. Many Christians and Muslims have refused to read the book, causing a bit of a dust-up. Grasso’s article explains their reasoning with eloquence and fairness.

Should We Watch Murders on Social Media? Russell Moore. “I watched a video this morning that I’m ashamed to say I viewed. No, it wasn’t pornography—at least not pornography we typically think of. … When I watched the clip, I assumed there were gunshots around them and that the journalist and her interviewee had ducked for cover. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that what I had seen was a cold-blooded murder, streaming across my Twitter feed.”

On The Lighter Side

First GOP Debate – Kids REALLY Bad Lip Reading, Momma Pop. You may have missed the first Republican debate. (Or, in the words of Office Space, “I wouldn’t say I missed it…”) The lip-reading gurus made their own spin-off, which is certainly worth your time. But one of the Summit’s own decided to have her kids do a lip reading. It’s remarkable how much these candidates talk about food…

Wisdom For Your Weekend is presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with occasional guidance from J.D. Greear. This is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”


Don’t Waste Your Life – Sermon & Book

Watch as John Piper presents a passionate plea for believers to not waste their lives, but to instead lead lives that make an impact for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Do not assume you won’t be sucked in because every stage of your life in this in this Disney Land called America there are powerful […]

The post Don’t Waste Your Life – Sermon & Book appeared first on ReasonableTheology.org.


Paul Tripp—Facebook, Selfies and the Gospel

The post Paul Tripp—Facebook, Selfies and the Gospel appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Love Is Oxygen for the Soul

The concept of love transcends time, culture and geographical location. Love can calm the greatest storms in life, bring joy to those in mourning, and not to mention cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). I believe love is oxygen for the soul.

https://www.churchleaders.com/article-headlines-widget.html

This concept is something that I’ve been processing for awhile now, so much so that it will be the focus of my next book. Why? Because I believe love is one of the greatest forces the world has ever seen. The greatest example of it? Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the sake of those who didn’t deserve an ounce of it.

Love is powerful. Love is contagious. Love is Jesus.

“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

Jesus is by far the truest definition of love itself. And while many people choose to withhold this vibrant force from others, our calling as Christ followers is to showcase it regardless of the circumstances. All throughout scripture we find Jesus and his disciples showcasing love to people whom others saw as unworthy. This truth paints such a beautiful picture of who Jesus really is and what his mission was throughout his years of earthly ministry. We’re called to reflect this image on a daily basis. A life without love is a life without Jesus himself.

God created us in his image, which means the force of love lives within us, fuels our souls and continuously transforms us from the inside out. We are image-bearers of God. We are called to be image-bearers of love.

I truly believe that the more people would choose to showcase love to one another, the better a place this world would truly become. The Gospel of Jesus is found within the interlinings of love. Why? Because Jesus himself is love in action. It’s the fabric of his being.The post Love Is Oxygen for the Soul appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


The Greatest Enemy of the Church

These are times that try men’s souls, but who is the enemy—the greatest enemy—of God’s people?

Perhaps it’s liberal Supreme Court judges and the sexual ethics of secular society. Or maybe it’s ISIS and the looming threat of radical Islam. Perhaps it’s the rapid increase of those that identify religiously as “none.” Or maybe it’s Planned Parenthood and others who advocate for an adult’s right to comfort over a child’s right to life and barbarically snuff out life in the very womb that is for its protection and growth.

https://www.churchleaders.com/article-headlines-widget.html

As I look, from my limited vantage, around our world today, I don’t know the answer to this question—at least, I don’t know the answer exhaustively. But I do know the answer that the book of Judges gives, which is the same answer the whole Bible gives. According to Judges, if the people of God want to know who their greatest potential enemy is, they need only do one simple thing: Look in the mirror.

The Real Enemy in Judges

In the time of the judges, there were some scary-strong enemies. They oppressed, they pillaged, they raped as they saw fit in their own eyes. And I’m sure if you did some man-on-the-street interviews, you would have heard all sorts of external reasons for their problems. “They have chariots and we don’t,” one Israelite might have said. “They are better fighters on the plains than we are,” says another. Or, “They have better generals, better kings; that’s why we’re not inheriting the land.”

Perhaps the Jerusalem Post of the day even ran headlines telling this tale of woe. But if they did, it would have been superficial reporting. These were not the deepest issues. The greatest enemies were not external, but internal. And the book of Judges both shouts and whispers this indictment.

Consider the last sentence in the book. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25; see also Judges 17:6). This statement is the ancient equivalent of bold, italics, underline and all caps—an example of the book shouting that the greatest enemy is internal.

Another place is Judges 2:10, which is a key verse in the book. Here the blame is laid on the fact that “there arose another generation … who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” Again, the foe is internal, not external.

The post The Greatest Enemy of the Church appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Why You Should Not Wear a Crucifix

Why You Should Not Wear a CrucifixCrucifixes have long been a fixture in Roman Catholic worship. But in the past few years I have begun to see more and more Protestants wearing them as well, exchanging their empty cross for one that contains an image of the suffering Savior. J.I. Packer once addressed the issue of the crucifix, and addressed it well.

What harm is there, we ask, in the worshipper surrounding himself with statues and pictures, if they help him to lift his heart to God?

We are accustomed to treat the question of whether these things should be used or not as a matter of temperament and personal taste. We know that some people have crucifixes and pictures of Christ in their rooms, and they tell us that looking at these objects helps them to focus their thoughts on Christ when they pray. We know that many claim to be able to worship more freely and easily in churches that are filled with such ornaments than they can in churches that are bare of them. Well, we say, what is wrong with that? What harm can these things do? If people really do find them helpful, what more is there to be said? What point can there be in prohibiting them? In the face of this perplexity, some would suggest that the second commandment only applies to immoral and degrading representations of God, borrowed from pagan cults, and to nothing more.

But the very wording of the [second] commandment rules out such a limiting exposition. God says quite categorically, “you shall not make an idol in the form of anything” for use in worship. This categorical statement rules out, not simply the use of pictures and statues which depict God as an animal, but also the use of pictures and statues which depict him as the highest created thing we know—a human. It also rules out the use of pictures and statues of Jesus Christ as a man, although Jesus himself was and remains man; for all pictures and statues are necessarily made after the “likeness” of ideal manhood as we conceive it, and therefore come under the ban which the commandment imposes.

Packer goes on to say that whatever else the second commandment teaches “there is no room for doubting that the commandment obliges us to disassociate our worship, both in public and in private, from all pictures and statues of Christ, no less than from pictures and statues of his Father.”

Why? Why is this prohibition in place and why is it so important that we heed it? He offers two reasons.

1. Images dishonour God, for they obscure his glory. The likeness of things in heaven (sun, moon, stars), and in earth (people, animals, birds, insects), and in the sea (fishes, mammals, crustaceans), is precisely not a likeness of their Creator. “A true image of God,” wrote Calvin, “is not to be found in all the world; and hence … his glory is defiled, and his truth corrupted by the lie, whenever he is set before our eyes in a visible form … Therefore, to devise any image of God is itself impious; because by this corruption his majesty is adulterated, and he is figured to be other than he is.” … The heart of the objection to pictures and images is that they inevitably conceal most, if not all, of the truth about the personal nature and character of the divine Being whom the represent.

…The pathos of the crucifix obscures the glory of Christ, for it hides the fact of his deity, his victory on the cross, and his present kingdom. It displays his human weakness, but it conceals his divine strength; it depicts the reality of his pain, but keeps out of our sight the reality of his joy and his power. In both these cases, the symbol is unworthy most of all because of what it fails to display. And so are all other visible representations of deity.

2. Images mislead us. They convey false ideas about God. The very inadequacy with which they represent him perverts our thoughts of him, and plants in our minds errors of all sorts about his character and will. … It is a matter of historical fact that the use of the crucifix as an aid to prayer has encouraged people to equate devotion with brooding over Christ’s bodily sufferings; it has made them morbid about the spiritual value of physical pain, and it has kept them from knowledge of the risen Savior.

These examples show how images will falsify the truth of God in the minds of men. Psychologically, it is certain that if you habitually focus your thoughts on an image or picture of the One to whom you are going to pray, you will come to think of him, and pray to him, as the image represents him. Thus, you will in this sense “bow down” and “worship” your image; and to the extent to which the image fails to tell the truth about God, to that extent will you fail to worship God in truth. That is why God forbids you and me to make use of images and pictures in our worship.


Leadership Requires the Pursuit of Joy

Leadership Requires the Pursuit of JoyThe following is a lightly edited transcript.


Joy is so important for anyone who wants to be in leadership. I think people can tell when you are trying to lead them in a certain direction, but your heart isn’t really captured by it. As Christians, we are very familiar with seasons that feel really dry and that don’t feel really joyful. I actually feel like I am in one of those seasons right now.

There are some seasons where you read Scripture and you just feel on fire for Jesus and every word you read you see how sweet it is. You just want Jesus and nothing else. There are also drier seasons where you are going to the word and your desire for it isn’t the same. You don’t really want it that much. There is going to be that kind of up and down for any Christian. This reality is part of what it means to follow Jesus. We are still fallen. But my kind of regular pursuit is the pursuit of joy in Jesus. It is that passion and joy that overflows. Then we’re able to lead other people so they can tell that my heart is actually captured by this stuff when I open God’s Word and say, “Hey, this is what God said and it means something to me.”

When I have conversations with people and I am trying to counsel them through things, they can tell if I am simply repeating things I heard somebody say. They can also tell if it is something that has really captured my heart — that I have actually interacted with Jesus in.

I think one of the dangers for me is I want to fight for joy because I don’t want to lead from a perpetually dry place. Then it just becomes hypocritical, because we don’t really believe what we are saying. Maybe we just believe it kind of intellectually, but we don’t believe it at a really deep heart level. So when we say to someone that Jesus satisfies your soul, we say that not from our own actual experience, but because we think it is what we are supposed to say. It can turn into hypocrisy very quickly. I think it can quickly turn into simply mimicking words.

At the heart of my ability to lead other people well is enjoying Jesus myself. Then I get to say, “Here is where I found that joy in the Scriptures in Jesus. Come along with me on this journey,” instead of saying, “Hey, I heard about this place way out there and I want to kind of tell you about what I think it is like.”

Actually I am fighting for the same thing. Let’s go together.


Related Resources


Looking for abortion truth in big media

Sam Jones:

But sometimes we are confronted with such naked, aggressively obvious journalistic mischief that to not call it out would be to bury our heads and consciences in the sand. And then other times, the way something is misreported or misrepresented can be far more than a political scrimmage or a culture war skirmish; sometimes bad journalism is a matter of life and death.

In the case of big media, abortion, and the Planned Parenthood expose videos, we have a case of both.


Why Are Anti-Judgmental People So Judgmental?

Randy Alcorn:

There’s a growing trend I’ve noticed and have become concerned about: namely, that people who are anti-judgmental are SO judgmental of anyone else they perceive to be passing judgment. One, they’re often wrong; two, they’re just as harsh as those they condemn and continuously assume the worst.


There Are No Unanswered Prayers

Courtney Reissig:

In the painful years of waiting for God to answer our prayers for a child this side of heaven, we never dreamed he would have given us two at once. When we stare at the faces of our twin boys, in all their boundless energy of toddlerhood, and now as we stare too at the face of our newborn son, we are regularly brought to worship the God who not only answered our prayer, but answered more abundantly than we could have imagined.


The Importance of What We Do in Secret

Derek Thomas:

Inauthentic ministry was a charge leveled against Paul. The Corinthians said that there was discrepancy between the way he wrote his letters and the way he was in person: “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account” (2 Cor. 10:10). It is a serious charge, and in his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul spends almost the entire time defending himself. The critique came from jealousy and therefore bore no legitimacy. But the fact is, the charge can be true—not of Paul, but of us. Leadership calls for genuineness, authenticity and transparency.


Pope Francis Praises And Blesses Lesbian Author Francesca Pardi For Spreading ‘Christian Values’

Italian lesbian author gets papal blessing

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” Revelation 13:11 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The one we have started calling the False Prophet of Revelation, Pope Francis, will also be the one that we feel will authorize and sanction same-sex marriage within the Catholic church corporation. Here we have a classic case of Francis “double speak” where he praises homosexuals for being homosexuals and then immediately issues a statement that his words were “misunderstood”. The LGBT community understands very well what Francis is doing, which is why he has so much of their support.

Vatican City – Pope Francis has sent his blessing to a lesbian author of children’s books dealing with same-sex families, wishing her and her wife well in their work, it emerged on Friday.

As Vatican officials scrambled to clarify that the message was simply a standard courtesy which did not signal any change in Church teaching on the subject, the author told AFP she had been pleasantly surprised to have received such a positive response.

Francesca Pardi, who writes and publishes books such as “Why You Have Two Mummies”, wrote to Francis in June after the publishing company she runs with her wife came under fire from Christian groups.

italian-lesbian-author-francesca-pardi-gets-papal-blessing-pope-francis

She included examples of her works, some of which have recently been controversially withdrawn from nurseries and primary schools by a new mayor in Venice.

“My books present different types of families without setting any of them up as a model,” Pardi told AFP, praising the pope for having responded in a manner that showed “respect and dignity” towards her, her wife and their four children.

“It was not important for me that it was the pope who said it, I am not a Catholic. But it is important to see that we are not up against a wall. A dialogue is possible,” she added. “Books are to be opened, to be read and to be criticised. What you don’t do is ban them.”

“Caro Papa Francesco, la mia famiglia ha due mamme e 4 bambini”: il Vaticano risponde http://t.co/Wy8M3RxFAl

— Francesca Pardi (@Francipardi) August 29, 2015

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In his message, the pope wished the two women “ever more fruitful work in the service of young generations and in spreading authentic human and Christian values.”

Pope Francis has signalled that he wants the Church to adopt a more pragmatic and understanding approach to the situation of believers living in gay relationships, an attitude reflected in his famous “who am I to judge” remark on the subject.

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word “gay.” – Pope Francis

But proposals to integrate a shift to a more welcoming tone into the conclusions of an ongoing Church review of its teaching on the family have been opposed by conservatives. Bishops from around the world will return to the subject at a Vatican synod in October which will seek to find a compromise on that and other divisive issues.

Pardi and her partner got married in Spain. Italy is the only major western European country that has no provision for same sex couples to have their unions legally recognised. The centre-left government has pledged to enact legislation introducing the possibility of civil unions by the end of this year but there are no plans to legalise gay marriage. source


Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (08/28/15)

Heaven’s Thrilling, All-Encompassing Worship

Randy Alcorn, who wrote a helpful book on Heaven, clarifies some of the misunderstandings about what worship will be like. Hint: it doesn’t include exclusively singing hymns with endless verses.

Bible Study for Busy Moms

My sweet friend Jenna has some sage advice for busy moms—and busy women, in general.

Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace

I found this article to be a well-written interaction with topics that can, shamefully, be divisive among many well-meaning believers.

Life is Short. Don’t Have an Affair

You probably have heard about the tragic Ashley Madison scandal that has uncovered the infidelity of many spouses. Let’s guard and check our hearts so that we don’t fall into tempation, as well.

What a Child Needs Most from Mom

Here is good food for thought about what really matters with our children and in our relationships.


Video: Why Apologetics? by Craig Hazen


Weekend A La Carte (August 29)

We are cruising to the end of a week and the end of a month. I do not have any new Kindle deals to share today, but I do anticipate having some interesting ones on both Monday and Tuesday. In the meantime, here is some weekend reading for you.

Looking for Abortion Truth in Big Media

This is a solid and important article. “Sometimes we are confronted with such naked, aggressively obvious journalistic mischief that to not call it out would be to bury our heads and consciences in the sand.”

15 Religion Treasures at Yale

You probably weren’t aware of all these books and objects of religious significance housed at Yale. It’s quite a collection!

How to Survive World Religions 101

“Michael Kruger entered his freshman year at the University of North Carolina as a committed Christian. He thought he was ready for the intellectual challenges college would mount against his faith—that is, until he found himself sitting in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman as his professor. It left him shell-shocked.” He tells how to survive World Religions 101.

This Day in 1792: Charles Finney was born. Finney would become a preacher and revivalist in the years following the Second Great Awakening. Though many continue to regard him as a hero of the faith, his legacy includes destructive, unbiblical, man-centered theology. *

New Words

The Oxford English Dictionary has added some new words to their dictionary including awesomesauce, hangry, butt-dial, pocket-dial, and many more.

Letters to a New Believer

Aaron Armstrong has written an interesting and very personal letter to a new believer. It may be helpful to those who have just come to Christ and are trying to understand how to live as Christians.

Why Are Anti-Judgmental People So Judgmental?

Randy Alcorn: “There’s a growing trend I’ve noticed and have become concerned about: namely, that people who are anti-judgmental are SO judgmental of anyone else they perceive to be passing judgment.”


The Daily Discovery (August 29-30, 2015)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

Eight Reasons Why We Need the Puritans – “For many years before surrendering to vocational ministry, I was a conservative evangelical Christian whom God had called to work in the dog-eat-dog world of secular media. While working for a metropolitan daily newspaper in Georgia, one of my ultra-liberal colleagues was teasing me about being a conservative ‘boy’ from a small town in the sticks of North Georgia. She said, ‘You know what you are? You’re a Puritan!’ At the time, I didn’t really know what to make of it. Today, I see it as a high compliment. Perhaps someday.”

Truth in the Age of Cynicism – “During World War II, martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer had harsher things to say about cynicism. Writing from a Nazi prison he described the cynic as one who claims to tell the truth in all places, and at all times, and to every person, but in reality he is just a consistent liar. The cynic wears a halo as ‘a zealot for truth’ but he ends up destroying reality. He ‘desecrates the mystery, breaks trust, betrays the community in which he lives, and smiles arrogantly over the havoc he has wrought and over the human weakness that ‘can’t bear the truth.’”

Carnal Peace – “The message of the false prophets of Israel was one of peace. But their peace was an illusion. They preached peace when there was no peace, or what Luther called a carnal peace. Luther said that when the gospel is preached with passion and with accuracy, it does not bring peace. In fact, our Lord Himself said, ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword’ (Matt. 10:34). That does not mean that we are called to use weapons of military combat to further the extension of the kingdom. We are to be peacemakers. We are to be tolerant, kind, and patient people. But if you look at the record of history, the true prophets of Israel contended for the truth, and every time they did, controversy emerged.”

Justification and Double Imputation – “Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 are two places in Scripture that teach the twin truths of justification and double imputation: ‘For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.’ ‘…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’ (NASB). After discussing these passages in some detail, John Fesko writes this in summary…”

My Trip to Planned Murderhood and at College Campus on August 27, 2015 – “Before I start, I would like to first thank these beloved brothers: David Beal and Steve Pivovaroff for their encouragement to me today. They both reached out to me and impelled me to keep ministering at these aborturaries. The warfare can be intense from time to time, but it is a joy to serve my King. Here is what transpired today concerning our evangelism excursion there and elsewhere…”


SERMON:

Ray Comfort – True and False Conversion


VIDEOS:

How to Know if Your Child Is Saved.

Fund Planned Parenthood you Anti-Feminist Woman Hater!


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

The post The Daily Discovery (August 29-30, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Saturday, August 29, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Christian Actress Candace Cameron Bure Set to Co-Host ‘The View’

Texas Church Responds with Standing Ovation to Gay Marriage Proposal

Death Threats, Forced Conversions of Christians Cited in India

Egyptian Christian Imprisoned for Handing Out Bibles in Shopping Mall

Hillary Clinton: Republicans’ Views on Women Comparable to That of Terrorists

Billy Graham: Only Person God Can’t Forgive is One who Doesn’t Seek Forgiveness

Southern Baptists to Cut up to 800 Missionaries due to Lack of Funds

33 Christian Leaders Who are Speaking up for Life

Husband and Wife Who Converted to Christianity Shot by Muslim Family Members

Religious Freedom a ‘Reality’ in Recovering Central African Republic

Opinion

Whom Shall We Worship: A Look into Canaanite Culture

More On-air Shootings Expected

Ashley Madison and the Death of Monogamy

From Suicide to Euthanasia: Devaluing Human Life

The 3 Zip Codes without Ashley Madison Users


Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

Read more


What is The Gospel?


CanIKnowGod.com

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

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

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

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

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