July 22, 2017: Verse of the day

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7 Here we have the theological foundation of the book—the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (cf. Ps 111:10). This statement is different from the purpose statements given so far. It tells us what is basic to the understanding of the book: Reverential “fear” (yirʾâ, GK 3711) of the Lord is the prerequisite of knowledge. This term can describe dread (Dt 1:29), being terrified (Jnh 1:10), standing in awe (1 Ki 3:28), or having reverence (Lev 19:3). With the Lord as the object, yirʾâ captures both aspects of shrinking back in fear and drawing close in awe. (The expression “the fear of the Lord” occurs fourteen times in the book.)

Such fear is not a trembling dread that paralyzes action, but neither is it a polite reverence (Plaut, 32). “The fear of the Lord” ultimately expresses reverential submission to the Lord’s will and thus characterizes a true worshiper. In this context it is the first and controlling principle of knowledge (“beginning” can refer to the first thing, the chief thing, or the principal thing). Elsewhere in Proverbs the fear of the Lord is the foundation for wisdom (9:10) or the discipline leading to wisdom (15:33); it is expressed in hatred of evil (8:13), and it results in a prolonged life (10:27).

By contrast, fools disdain wisdom and discipline. They are not able to grasp this prerequisite, for in their pride they have chosen to reject the teachings of wisdom. Verse 7b is the antithesis of verse 7a. The term ʾewîlîm (“fools”; GK 211) describes those who are thick-brained, conceited, and stubborn (Greenstone, 6). They lack understanding (10:21), do not store up knowledge (10:14), fail to attain wisdom (24:7), talk loosely (14:3), are filled with pride (26:5), and are contentious (20:3). They are morally unskilled and refuse any correction (15:15; 27:22).

Fools are people who “despise” wisdom and discipline; they treat these virtues as worthless and contemptible. This attitude is illustrated in Genesis 25:34, where Esau despised the birthright, and in Nehemiah 4:4, where Sanballat and Tobiah belittled the Jews.[1]


Proverbs is not merely a ‘how to’ book. Your quest for wisdom begins with the ‘fear of the Lord’ who is in covenant relationship with his redeemed people (v. 7a). The use of the covenant name of God, Lord (YHWH in the Hebrew), ties Proverbs to the rest of the Bible. Because we are spiritual children of Abraham by faith (Gal. 3:29), we are in covenant relationship with the Lord, which means that Proverbs, along with the rest of the Old Testament, is written for us.

The Lord is the source of all true knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is an attribute of God: ‘With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding’ (Job 12:13). His wisdom is displayed in his works: ‘It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens’ (Jer. 10:12; see also Prov. 8:22–31). Wisdom is imparted to men through God’s Word: ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple’ (Ps. 19:7).

God imparts wisdom to those who seek him: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him’ (James 1:5). The early chapters of Proverbs plead with the naive reader to earnestly pursue wisdom. The New Testament reveals that the ultimate expression of wisdom is found in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30–31).

You cannot discern the true nature of life and the world apart from the Lord who is the root of all knowledge. The one who tries to be wise apart from God is a branch cut off from the root. For this reason, only the godly are truly wise. The humble workman or the faithful homemaker may be wiser than the Professor of Philosophy at Oxford or Harvard.

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

To fear God is to regard God with reverent awe. He alone is holy, awesome, and glorious (Isa. 6:3). He is worthy of our respect. Because God is righteous, we should be concerned about the consequences of displeasing him. Our fear is not one which leaves us cowering and terrified but rather is like the respect a son should have towards his father. The fear of God leads to wise and pure living: ‘By the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil’ (Prov. 16:6b).

To fear God is to submit to him, turning from self-assertion and evil: ‘Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil’ (3:7). We are not autonomous beings, free to assert our own will and decide what is right for us. We must acknowledge the Lord’s sovereign moral governance of the universe. We should be open to his training and correction and trust that his way is always best. To fear God is to know God. To know God is to have life (19:23a). When you fear God, you no longer fear men (29:25).

The fear of the Lord is not a beginning like the first stage of a rocket which is cast aside after it has served its purpose. Rather, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom in the same way in which a foundation is the beginning of a house: everything that comes after the foundation is built upon it.

Don’t be a fool! Fools despise wisdom and instruction (v. 7b)

Proverbs contrasts two types of individuals—the wise and the foolish. Foolishness is not merely a mental defect. Rather, folly is a moral deficiency which leads to all kinds of disasters and sins in life. Fools lack sense, and they lack the sense to know that they lack sense. Fools are unteachable because they are proud. ‘Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil’ (3:7). They reject God’s wisdom and they hate discipline. A fool ends up wasting his or her life, ultimately coming to ruin (1:30–32).

Conclusion

What do you seek? We live in a world full of fools playing games. They imagine that their accumulation of fame, fortune, and pleasure will make them winners. In spite of our investment of billions in educating our young people, test scores are down and juvenile crime is rising. Some students are learning facts but remain foolish. Spurgeon writes, ‘To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are the greater fools for it. There is no fool as great as a knowing fool.’ Our young people are being taught materialism and hedonism instead of the fear of the Lord. Ultimate moral and spiritual values are excluded from the classroom. Parents need to heed the message of Proverbs by taking responsibility for the training of their children in wisdom.

Sadly, many churches are failing to impact on our culture because they are pandering to these misplaced man-centred values of the world rather than proclaiming the fear of the Lord. Sometimes Proverbs is taught merely as a book of practical tips for earthly success so that people can win at the game of life. But wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, and it grows in personal relationship with him. We need churches that unashamedly declare the truth of God to believers who treasure wisdom.

God’s offer of wisdom to all who seek it from him is not merely a maxim; it is a promise. Skill for living does not come upon you suddenly but grows as you apply yourself to understanding and applying the wisdom of God contained in his Word. Ultimately, you can only become wise through Christ, who both embodies wisdom and makes his people wise. Pursue wisdom![2]


1:7 Now we come to the key verse of the book (see also 9:10). The fear of the Lord is the beginning or chief part of knowledge. If a man wants to be wise, the place to begin is in reverencing God and in trusting and obeying Him. What is more reasonable than that the creature should trust his Creator? On the other hand, what is more illogical than for a man to reject God’s Word and to live by his own hunches? The wise thing to do is to repent of one’s sins, trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and then live for Him wholeheartedly and devotedly.

Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Just as a wise man in this book is one who is willing and anxious to learn, a fool is one who cannot be told anything. He is intractable and conceited, and only learns lessons the hard way, if at all.[3]


1:7 The fear of the Lord. The overarching theme of this book and particularly the first 9 chapters is introduced—reverence for God (see v. 29; 2:5; 3:7; 8:13; 9:10; 14:26, 27; cf. also Job 28:28; Ps 34:11; Ac 9:31). See Introduction: Historical and Theological Themes. This reverential awe and admiring, submissive fear is foundational for all spiritual knowledge and wisdom (cf. 2:4–6; 9:10; 15:33; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; Ecc 12:13). While the unbeliever may make statements about life and truth, he does not have true or ultimate knowledge until he is in a redemptive relationship of reverential awe with God. Note the progression here: 1) teaching about God; 2) learning about God; 3) fearing God; 4) knowing God; and 5) imitating God’s wisdom. The fear of the Lord is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God’s (cf. Ps 42:1).[4]


1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. This is the core maxim of the book: the quest for wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (cf. 9:10 and Ps. 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”). “Knowledge” and “wisdom” are closely tied together in Proverbs: “knowledge” tends to focus on correct understanding of the world and oneself as creatures of the magnificent and loving God, while “wisdom” is the acquired skill of applying that knowledge rightly, or “skill in the art of godly living” (see Introduction: Purpose, Occasion, and Background). On the fear of the Lord, see notes on Acts 5:5; 9:31; Rom. 3:18; Phil. 2:12–13; 1 Pet. 1:17; 1 John 4:18. The reason that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom is that the moral life begins with reverence and humility before the Maker and Redeemer. The idea of a quest for knowledge sets biblical wisdom in the broad context of the ancient Near Eastern quest for truth, and this verse also validates such a quest as legitimate and good. Thus it affirms a kind of “creational revelation,” the idea that one can find moral and theological truth through observing the world. At the same time, it distinguishes the biblical pursuit of knowledge and wisdom from those of the surrounding cultures, for it asserts that submission to the Lord is foundational to the attainment of real understanding (cf. Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). By using the covenant name “the Lord” in preference to the more generic “God,” this verse makes the point that truth is found through Israel’s God. (For fearing the Lord in Proverbs as the right response to his covenant, see 1:29; 2:5; 3:7; 8:13; 10:27; 14:2, 26–27; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17; 24:21; 31:30; see note on Ps. 19:9.) In addition, the verse asserts that fools despise wisdom and instruction, thus setting up the alternative between the two ways of wisdom and folly. This contrast dominates the entire book, as the way of wisdom, righteousness, and the fear of the Lord is set against the way of folly, evil, and scoffing.

1:7 Wisdom is to be sought from God, anticipating that we seek wisdom from Christ, the incarnate God (John 1:14; Col. 2:3).[5]


1:7 Fear of Yahweh A reverent attitude toward Yahweh.

The fear of Yahweh is an important concept in Proverbs and the ot. It indicates awe for God (compare Job 1:1, 1:8; 2:3; Eccl 12:13). A person fears God by being loyal to Him and faithful to His covenant—obedient to His commands. The fear of Yahweh involves humility and righteous living (Prov 3:7; 8:13; 14:2; 16:6; 22:4). Its benefits can include blessing, Yahweh’s protection, and long life (10:27; 14:26–27; 19:23; 28:14).

In Proverbs the fear of Yahweh is where wisdom begins (vv. 7; 9:10; compare Psa 111:10; Prov 15:33). However, there is a reciprocal relationship between the two: Fearing Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, but receiving wisdom helps people better understand the fear of Yahweh (2:1–5). Those who do not fear Yahweh are said to hate knowledge, and they will eventually come to ruin (vv. 29–33).

Piety is an important virtue in wisdom literature of the ancient world, but Proverbs is alone in its assertion that the fear of Yahweh is where wisdom begins. Fear of Yahweh motivates wise behavior and is required to gain what the book promises.[6]


1:7 The fear of the Lord. This idea is the controlling principle of Proverbs, and is ancient Israel’s decisive contribution to the human quest for knowledge and understanding. The fear of the Lord is the only basis of true knowledge. This “fear” is not distrustful terror of God, but rather the reverent awe and worshipful response of faith to the God who reveals Himself as Creator, Savior, and Judge.

Although Israel’s covenant relationship with God receives little overt attention in Proverbs, the use of the divine name most closely associated with the covenant, the Lord (Hebrew Yahweh, Ex. 3:15; 6:3 and notes), is significant. It indicates that God’s redemptive covenant with His people and the special revelation that accompany it are foundational for true wisdom. In Deuteronomy, “fear the Lord” means living by the stipulations of the covenant in grateful response to God’s redemptive grace (Deut. 6:2, 24). The temple built by Solomon later became the visible expression of Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord, which again is described as the “fear” of the Lord (1 Kin. 8:40, 43). There is an important link through Solomon and the temple between biblical wisdom and the covenant theology found elsewhere in the Old Testament.

is the beginning of knowledge. See also 2:4–6; 9:10; 15:33; Job 28:28; Ps. 111:10. The Hebrew means either the starting point of knowledge, or its basic, ruling principle. The latter is in view here. While in His common grace God enables unbelievers to know much about the world, only the fear of the Lord enables one to know what anything means ultimately. Relying on this light, wisdom pursues the task of reflecting on human experience. See “The Wisdom and Will of God” at Dan. 2:20.[7]


[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, pp. 50–51). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Newheiser, J. (2008). Opening up Proverbs (pp. 26–30). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 792). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Pr 1:7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1135). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Pr 1:7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 873). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

Taxpayers to Fund Trans Surgeries, Pelosi Progressives Relieved

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

Last week she was furious. How could the GOP take taxpayer money from the noble cause of gender identity politics and allow the people who worked for it to keep it? Only days ago, Nancy Pelosi went on record to say Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for voting to cut generous Department of Defense funding for transgender members of the military who want to have cosmetic surgeries. Also known as “gender reassignment” surgery, Pelosi went so far as to suggest that taking away taxpayer funding for these unnatural procedures “undermines our national security.” 

If you missed the story prior to this, the House Rules Committee passed an amendment last week stating, “Funds available to the Department of Defense may not be used to provide medical treatment… related to gender transition to a person entitled to medical care.” Finding a way to accuse those “immoral” Republicans of hating…

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Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Holy Affections”

1 John 3:19-24

Code: B170721

How do you know that you’re truly saved? That’s a vexing question for many churchgoers.

And as John MacArthur rightly points out, the modern epidemic of decision-based evangelism has only served to escalate the confusion.

We have this new and bizarre idea that if you go through some motions at a service, pray a prayer, decide for Christ, or do whatever you’re asked to do and affirm some belief in Jesus, you can have permanent salvation. It may or may not manifest itself in any kind of righteous works or any kind of holy affections, not only in the moment but lifelong.

The Bible says if you’re justified, you’re also going to manifest that you’ve become involved in a process the Bible calls “being sanctified.” Those who are justified are sanctified. So when you come to Christ genuinely, you’re given a new nature, . . . you have ongoing manifestation of that new life.

Those “holy affections” John refers to are the visible outward signs of God’s hidden, inner, saving work. They represent the fruit of true conversion that authenticate a profession of faith in Christ.

Ignorance on this issue has caused both confusion and deception. In our pews each Sunday there are people who are soundly saved but lack assurance. Conversely, there are people who are actually unsaved but live with false assurance of being right with God.

Pastors and laymen alike have a great duty to educate and examine the lives of those among their flocks. It’s hard to imagine anything crueler than to comfort a false convert with false assurance of their salvation. Likewise, we don’t want to see our genuine brothers and sisters in Christ go through life with ongoing doubts about their standing with God.

The apostle John wrote his first epistle with the express purpose of clearing up all confusion and doubt: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, emphasis added).

Scripture is emphatic that we can have assurance concerning our salvation. And 1 John provides clear biblical tests that either authenticate or invalidate our profession of faith in Christ. John MacArthur’s sermon “Holy Affections” examines one of those key passages: 1 John 3:19–24. It serves as a necessary corrective to the malady of decision-based evangelism.

You don’t need to be in the dark concerning your standing before God. “Holy Affections” explores the authenticating marks of sanctification that bring assurance of salvation. It offers indispensable comfort for those who lack assurance and provides convicting truth to those who are resting on false assurance.

The biblical reality is that there are professing Christians who are going to receive the worst possible surprise on the Day of Judgment. Jesus will say to them: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). We cannot allow the unsavory nature of that subject to keep us silent on that reality. To that end, “Holy Affections” ministers powerfully to the confusion and deception that afflict so many modern churchgoers.

Click here to listen to “Holy Affections.”

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170721
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The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 10 – The Enduring Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)

My natural inclination is to resent uncomfortable circumstances. I want them to end and end now! Believers are spiritual, but their natural man, their flesh, is still within. My natural man does not understand how anything constructive can come out of sorrow and suffering. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit we are all uncomfortable with things not working out the way we want them to. Our problem is we want good things to be the norm in our lives because we love the Lord and are living for Him. When bad things happen or things do not work out the way…

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July 21, 2017: Verse of the day

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Empty Hearts

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been rounded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall. (7:24–27)

The second evidence that the many (vv. 13, 22) who are in the broad way will not enter the kingdom is that their lives are not built on the foundation of Christ and His Word. Again Jesus picks up the theme of man’s own righteousness, the righteousness that is totally unacceptable to God and that will in no way qualify a person for His kingdom (Matt. 5:20).

In the first illustration (vv. 21–23) we see a contrast between the true and false verbal professions of faith and good works. Here we see contrasts between obedient and disobedient hearers. Both groups hear God’s true Word, but some hear and obey, and some hear and disobey; some turn their trust to God’s righteousness, and some continue trusting in their own, though that does not become visible until the judgment.

The implication is that even those who disobey believe that they belong to Christ and make a convincing profession of faith in Him. They hear God’s Word and recognize it as God’s Word, but wrongly believe that simply knowing and recognizing it are enough to please God and guarantee them a place in His kingdom. Like those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and do amazing religious works but really “practice lawlessness,” the false hearers build their religious house, but are self-deceived as to its viability.

In the illustration of those who make false professions, the true believers are mentioned only by implication (“not everyone who says to me,” v. 21). In the illustration of the hearers and builders, however, both the true and the false believers are clearly described. In these two groups we see many similarities but also some radical differences.

Similarities

First of all, both builders have heard the gospel. Everyone who hears these words of Mine applies both to the wise man (v. 24) and to the foolish man (v. 26). They both know the way of salvation.

Second, they both proceed to build a house after they have heard the way of salvation. The wise man builds his house, which represents his life, on these words of Mine. The implication is that the foolish man, although he does not act upon Christ’s words, thinks that his house is secure simply because he has heard and acknowledged the words. He believes the life he lives is Christian and therefore pleasing to God. He does not intentionally build a house he thinks is going to fall. Both builders have confidence their houses will stand; but one man’s confidence is in the Lord and the other man’s is in himself.

Third, both builders build their houses in the same general location, evidenced by their apparently being hit by the same storm. In other words, the outward circumstances of their lives were essentially the same. One had no advantage over the other. They lived in the same town and possibly attended the same church, heard the same preaching, went to the same Bible study, and fellowshipped with the same friends.

Fourth, the implication is that they built the same kind of house. Outwardly their houses were very much alike. From all appearances the foolish man lived much in the same way as the wise man. We might say they were both religious, theologically orthodox, moral, served in the church, supported it financially, and were responsible citizens of the community. They seemed to believe alike and live alike.

Differences

The differences between the two builders and the two houses they built were not noticeable from the outside. But they were immeasurably more important than the similarities. The key is to understand that one does act upon God’s Word (obedience) and the other does not act upon His Word (disobedience). One builds using the divine specifications, the other uses his own.

By far the greatest difference between the specifications of these builders and the way they build is in the foundations they laid. The wise man … built his house upon the rock, whereas the foolish man … built his house upon the sand.

Petra (rock) does not mean a stone or even a boulder, but a great outcropping of rock, a large expanse of bedrock. It is solid, stable, and unmovable. Sand, by contrast, is loose, unstable, and extremely movable. The land agents selling lots on the sand are the false prophets Jesus has just warned about (vv. 15–20).

The scribes and Pharisees had a complex and involved set of religious traditions which they regarded as having great value before God, But all those traditions were external, superficial, and unstable. They had no spiritual or moral substance or stability. They were shifting sand, composed entirely of the opinions, speculations, and standards of men. Those who created and followed them took no account of obedience to God’s Word, purity of the heart, spirituality of the soul, or integrity of behavior. Their only concern was for appearance, the compelling desire to be seen and “honored by men” (Matt. 6:2).

As Arthur Pink says of such people,

They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls; they worship with their mouths, but not “in spirit and in truth.” They are sticklers for immersion or early morning communion, yet take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence. They boast of their orthodoxy; but disregard the precepts of Christ. Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading evil reports against them. They contribute regularly to the “pastor’s salary,” but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers, persuading themselves that “business is business.” They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God, for His fear is not before their eyes.

But the wise man builds his house upon a rock, and I believe the rock spoken of here is God’s Word-these words of Mine. This builder is one who hears Jesus’ words … and acts on them. Building on the rock is equivalent to obeying God’s Word.

After Peter confessed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus said, “flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church” (Matt. 16:16–18). This “rock” (petra) is the same rock as that in Matthew 7:24–25. It is the bedrock of God’s Word, His divine revelation. It is the divine revelation such as was given to Peter by the “Father who is heaven,” and is the only rock on which the Christian life can be built.

The mark of true discipleship is not simply hearing and believing, but believing and doing. The true disciples of Jesus Christ, the only true converts of the gospel, are those who are “doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (James 1:22–24). In other words, a person who professes to know Christ but does not obey Christ, has no lasting image of what the new life is all about. He glimpses Christ, and glimpses what Christ can do for him, but his image of Christ and of the new life in Christ soon fade. His experience with the gospel is shallow, superficial, and short-lived.

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments,” John declares. “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:3–6). Paul powerfully and convincingly asserts the same thing: “To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:15–16).

To profess knowledge of God and His truth but not follow God obediently and live His truth is to be deceived. It is to have entered by the wide gate and to be walking on the broad way that leads to destruction. It is to have a house built upon the sand.

The only validation we can ever have of salvation is a life of obedience. That is the only proof Scripture mentions of our being under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Obedience is the sine qua non of salvation.

The house built on the rock is the life of obedience, the life Jesus has been explaining throughout the Sermon on the Mount. It is the life that has a scriptural view of itself, as described in the Beatitudes. It is the life that has a scriptural view of the world, and sees itself as God’s means for preserving and enlightening the world while not being a part of it. It is the life that has the divine view of Scripture and that determines not to alter God’s Word in the slightest degree. It is a life that is concerned about internal righteousness rather than external form. It is a life that has a godly attitude toward what is said and what is done, toward motives, things, money, and other people. It is a life of genuineness rather than hypocrisy, and of God’s righteousness rather than self-righteousness.

The house built on the rock is the life that empties itself of self-righteousness and pride, that is overwhelmed by and mourns over its own sin, that makes the maximum effort to enter the narrow gate and be faithful in the narrow way of Christ and His Word. Such a builder does not build his life or place his hope on ceremony, ritual, visions, experiences, feelings, or miracles but on the Word of God and that alone.

The sand is composed of human opinions, attitudes, and wills, which are always shifting and always unstable. To build on sand is to build on self-will, self-fulfillment, self-purpose, self-sufficiency, self-satisfaction, and self-righteousness. To build on sand is to be unteachable, to be “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).

To build the house of one’s life on the sand is to follow the ultimate deception of Satan, which is to make a person believe he is saved when he is not. Because that person is under the delusion that he is safe, he sees no reason either to resist Satan or to seek God.

Besides the great difference in the foundations they lay, the wise man builds his house the hard way, whereas the foolish man builds his the easy way. The one chooses the narrow gate and the other the broad. The one searches carefully for a solid foundation of rock on which to build; the other simply finds a section of sand in a desirable location and starts to build.

The easy way is attractive for several reasons, the first of which is that it is quick. The foolish person is always in a hurry. His first desire is to please himself, and he takes the shortest route to that end. In church work he wants the quick, easy solution, the one that causes the least controversy and hassle, with no consideration of how the solution may square with Scripture. He is for easy evangelism, easy believism, and easy discipleship, because they bring quick results that are simple to see and measure. He has no time for searching the Word for the right truth with which to witness, or for soul-searching or sound conviction. He sees a verbal profession, a card signed, or a prayer prayed as sufficient to bring a person to Christ. He is perfectly willing to declare a person saved without his having any awareness that he is lost.

The foolish person also likes the easy way because he is basically superficial. That which is superficial requires little planning, little effort, little care to detail, and little concern for quality or standards. The person who is superficial looks for what is pleasing rather than for what is right, for what is enjoyable rather than for what is true, for what satisfies himself rather than what satisfies God. He looks to Christianity for instant results, instant pleasure, and instant rewards. He cares much about spiritual “highs” but nothing about spiritual “depths.”

Of his own day Charles Spurgeon wrote,

Want of depth, want of sincerity, want of zeal in religion-this is the want of our times. Want of an eye to God in religion, lack of sincere dealing with one’s soul, neglect of using the lancet with our hearts, neglect of the search warrant which God gives out against sin, carelessness concerning living upon Christ; much reading about Him, much talking about Him, but too little feeding on His flesh and drinking of His blood-these are the causes of a tottering profession and a baseless hope. (Cited by Pink in An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974], p. 423)

In His parable of the sower Jesus spoke of the person who “hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matt. 13:20–21). He receives quickly and falls away quickly. He likes God’s promises but not His requirements.

The foolish man always has excuses when Jesus makes demands on his life. When he first hears the gospel he says to the Lord, “I will follow You wherever You go.” But when he hears, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head,” he suddenly remembers that he has to bury his father (that is, await his father’s death in order to receive the inheritance) or “say good-bye to those at home.” Such a person who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back, Jesus says, is “not fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57–62).

The rain, the floods, and the winds do not represent specific types of physical judgment but simply sum up God’s final judgment. The storm is the ultimate test that the house of every human life will face. As the angel of death in Egypt passed by the blood-sprinkled homes of Israel’s children while slaughtering all the first-born in the rest, so the same judgment that harmlessly passes over the house that is founded upon the rock of Christ and His Word will utterly destroy the one that is built … upon the sand-which is anything other than Christ and His Word.

Whether one’s religion is true or false, one day it is going to be tried. And that trial will prove with absolute finality what is wheat and what is chaff, who are sheep and who are goats, who have entered by the narrow gate to walk the narrow way and who have entered by the wide gate to walk the broad way.

Those whose houses are on the rock of Jesus Christ and His Word will be delivered “from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10), and will only have praise from God, says Paul (1 Cor. 4:5). That wrath is ultimately poured out at the judgment at the great white throne, which John describes in Revelation 20. “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. … And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (vv. 12, 15).

The only difference about the storm in regard to the wise and the foolish men is in the way it affects their houses. The house of the wise man may have been shaken, yet it did not fall, for it had been rounded upon the rock.

But when the same adversity came upon the house of the foolish man it disintegrated-and great was its fall. It was utterly demolished, leaving its builder with absolutely nothing. That is the destiny of those who build on the sand of man’s ideas, man’s philosophies, and man’s religions. It is not that such people will have little left, but nothing left. Their way is not an inferior way to God, but no way to God at all. Always and inevitably it leads to destruction; its absolute destiny is to fall.

The greatest problem in evangelism is not follow-up but conversion. Right follow-up is not nearly so difficult as right conversion. Follow-up is the hardest when conversion is the easiest, because easy conversion is frequently no conversion. It results from seed falling on rocky soil, where it springs up quickly and dies just as quickly. The unconverted are indeed hard to follow up, whereas those who have truly come to Christ are eager to learn from His Word and associate with His people.

I heard of a large church that one year claimed 28,000 conversions, 9,600 baptisms, and 123 additions to the church! After reflecting on those figures, one of the church staff members decided that something was terribly wrong and decided to minister elsewhere. It is quite impossible that so many true conversions would produce so few Christians who would want to identify with their new brothers and sisters in the Lord.

The wise man builds carefully, because there is substance and great importance to what he is building. In the parallel passage in Luke, Jesus says, he “dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock” (6:48). He is not satisfied with superficial confessions of faith, with quickie conversions that involve no repentance, no mourning over sin, and no despairing of self.

Knowing that he owes everything to the Lord, this man desires to give Him his maximum effort. After he does everything his Lord commands he declares that he has only done his duty (Luke 17:10). Yet he does not consider his work for the Lord burdensome. For one thing, the work we truly do for the Lord is the work He does through us. For another, the work that is truly done for the Lord is done out of love, not out of compulsion or fear. As the anonymous writer of the hymn “How Firm a Foundation” says, the Lord promises this man:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!

The most tragic difference between the builders is in their final destinies. Jesus’ unequaled and unparalleled sermon masterpiece ends with a devastating warning of judgment. Its final words are: and great was its fall. The bottom line of the gospel for those who reject Christ is not that they forfeit a great deal of blessing or even that they forfeit a life of eternal bliss with God in heaven-though those things are absolutely true. The bottom line for those who reject Christ is that they are destined for everlasting torment, destruction that keeps on destroying forever. To reject Christ is to look forward to being “cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47–48). Because of this inevitability every professing Christian needs to hear the words of the Holy Spirit through James: “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). As we learn from Proverbs, “There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness” (30:12).[1]


The House on the Rock

Matthew 7:24–27

We come now to the last words of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus Christ pictures the difference between those who hear his teachings and do them and those who hear his teachings and do not do them. He draws a picture we all know, a picture of a wise man, who builds his house upon a rock, and of a foolish man, who builds his house upon sand. Most of us have sung about this, in one hymn or another, since we were children.

Foundations

Basically, it is a matter of foundations. Let me illustrate the importance of having a firm foundation for a building by means of this contrast. Toward the end of one summer, after having spent several months in Europe, I returned to the United States on a student ship that sailed to New York from Rotterdam. I thought when I boarded that it was probably the smallest ship allowed on the ocean. Perhaps I was right, for it was certainly slow and very light in high seas. We boarded it at night, and the next morning we were sure we could still see Holland. By the end of the third or fourth day we were just passing Land’s End, England. All in all, the crossing took nine days.

The difficulty, however, was not only the length of time. The hurricane season had arrived, and a number of storms had managed to churn up the ocean midway between England and Newfoundland. We arrived at New York harbor after days of tossing about like a cork in a bathtub, and our first calm was the calm we felt as we entered the harbor in the middle of the night. Because I did not want to miss seeing the harbor, I spent most of the night on the deck, watching the ship slowly maneuver into place in the channel, drop anchor, and stop. Then I saw the gray spires of lower Manhattan emerge like mountains in the constantly brightening light of dawn. I thought how firm they appeared and what a contrast they were to the way I had been spending the last nine days.

One summer several years later, my family and I visited Venice, where we received a very contrasting impression about foundations. We arrived about 12:30 at night. Cruising along peacefully under the warm Italian night sky, we took a motor launch down the Grand Canal to the Piazza San Marco, where our hotel was located. Venice is like New York in some respects. They are both great ports. They are financial centers. But I knew, even as I gazed at the great Venetian buildings, that Venice was slowly sinking into the waters of the Adriatic sea. The difference between Venice and New York is that Venice has no foundations such as New York has.

That is a bit whimsical, perhaps, but it illustrates in vivid, contemporary terms what Jesus is talking about in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says that a man builds a life the way designers build cities, and his point is that the factor that determines what will remain and what will not remain is the foundation. “Therefore,” he says, “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matt. 7:24–27).

In these closing words of his sermon, Jesus stressed the importance of an adequate foundation. What is your foundation? On what do you build?

Christ Is the Rock

That is a most profound question, and it is a good one to come to at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. For, you see, it is quite possible for a man to have heard all Jesus’ teachings and to have said, “It is true. These are great sayings. They are the key to morality. I’ll just go out and try a bit harder.” But if you are thinking that way, you have missed the whole point of what Jesus is saying. He says, “I am not asking you to go out and try harder. You will never be able to do it. To go out and try harder and to try to construct that kind of character in your own strength is like trying to build a mansion upon sand. Actually, you will only achieve that kind of character when you build on me.”

This is really the first and most important point of these verses. Jesus Christ is the foundation. He is the rock. I know, of course, that not all Scripture passages that use the word “rock” or “foundation” imply this, but certainly it is the only true sense in this passage. It is true that in 1 Timothy 6:17–19, Paul speaks of works as a good foundation; “Command those who are rich in this present world … to do good … In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age” (1 Tim. 2:19). But these are exceptions, and for each of these texts there are many more which apply the same imagery to Jesus himself or (in the Old Testament) to the Messiah.

Thus, Isaiah writes, “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation’ ” (Isa. 28:16). Paul writes, “[you are] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). Shortly after the Resurrection Peter told the Sanhedrim, the highest court of the Jews, “He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone’ ” (Acts 4:11). He wrote in his first letter, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious” (1 Peter 2:6–7).

That is the true sense of Christ’s teaching. He is saying, “If you want a construction that will last for this life and for eternity, build on me.” Are you doing it? If so you can sing:

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Christianity is Jesus Christ. Thus, the life of blessing promised by Christianity must be constructed on him.

The House Will Stand

The second important point to be seen in these verses is this: A life built upon Jesus Christ will stand. That is a simple point, of course, but we need to have it clear in our thinking and to get it planted deeply in our minds. A life built upon Jesus Christ will stand. It will stand even in the midst of the tribulations of this life or the judgments of eternity.

We are going to have tribulations. They are the common lot of man, but only the Christian who is building upon Christ and whose mind is captive to the will of God can triumph over them gloriously (Rom. 5:3). In the Book of Job there is a passage in which one of Job’s comforters says, “For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:6–7). The image is highly poetic. It tells us that each generation of men can be compared to a stack of cordwood that is placed upon the burning embers of the past. That is our destiny, to pass through fire and in due time to be released forever. Every child of Adam—you and I and countless millions of others—will experience sorrow, pain, suffering, disappointment, and eventually death.

What is the solution? Not escape certainly, for escape is impossible. The solution is to build upon a sure foundation. So Jesus says that although the rains will fall, the floods will rise, and the wind will blow, the life that is constructed upon him will survive.

That is true. It was true for Job. It was true for Moses and David and Isaiah and Jeremiah and all the other great Old Testament figures. It was true for Peter, James, John, and Paul.

Let me give you a more contemporary illustration. Dr. Joseph Parker, a noted English preacher, who for many years proclaimed the Word of God in the great City Temple of London, tells in his autobiography that there was a time when he gave too much attention to the modern theories of his day. Men were undervaluing the Word of God, and he found himself, as he read their books and mingled in their meetings, losing his grip upon the great fundamental doctrine of salvation through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. At this point there came into his life a great sorrow. His wife, whom he loved deeply, became sick and died within a few hours. He was unable to share his grief with others, and walking through the empty rooms of his home with a breaking heart, he felt for some footing in the theories of his day and found none. “And then,” he said, addressing a company of his Congregational brethren, “my brethren, in those hours of darkness, in those hours of my soul’s anguish, when filled with doubt and trembling in fear, I bethought myself of the old gospel of redemption alone through the blood of Christ, the gospel that I had preached in those earlier days, and I put my foot down on that, and, my brethren, I found firm standing. I stand there today, and I shall die resting upon that blessed glorious truth of salvation alone through the precious blood of Christ.”

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Precious Stones or Stubble

There is one last point here, and it is a point for Christians. What are you building, Christian? Oh, you are on the foundation all right. Christ is your Savior. But do you know that it is possible for him to be your foundation and yet for you to go through life building things that are worthless and will not remain as fruit for eternity even though you will be saved personally? Listen to Paul, “If any man builds on this foundation [Jesus Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor. 3:12–15).

I believe that there are really only two mistakes that a person can make here in regard to Christ’s teaching. There is the error which says, “I need no foundation at all; I’ll just drift.” Many people are drifting today, especially the young. But the trouble with drifting is that you go downstream. Water always flows downstream. You can never drift into happiness. A drifter needs a foundation.

There is also the error which, I suppose, is more generally committed by the older generation today. They say, “Yes, we all must build upon a firm foundation,” but they do not see that it is possible to build wrongly upon the foundation. Thus, they do not enjoy true happiness or security either.

What are you building? The precious things of God? Or things that may dazzle now but will soon pass away into nothing? If it is the latter, you may find yourself on the day of judgment in the ridiculous position of Ozymandias, that legendary Persian king about whom Shelley wrote a poem. According to Shelley, the great statue of Ozymandias lay prone in the desert in the midst of thousands of square miles of rolling sand. The inscription said, “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.”

What are you building upon the foundation that is given you by God? Are you living for yourself? It is entirely possible for Christians to do that. Or are you living for him?

Quite a few years ago William Borden went to Yale University as an undergraduate and afterward became a missionary candidate planning to work in China. When he made his decision to invest his life in this service, many of his friends thought him foolish. He had come from a good family. He had wealth and influence. “Why are you going to throw away your life in some foreign country,” they asked, “when you can have such an enjoyable and worthwhile life here?” But William Borden of Yale had heard the call of God. While in Egypt, on the way to China and even before he had much of a chance to do anything, he became sick. Soon it was evident to everyone including himself that he would die. At this point Borden could have said to himself, “What a waste. My friends were right. I could have stayed in New Haven.” But Borden did not think this way. As he lay on his death bed in Egypt, he scribbled a farewell note to his friends that was in some sense is epitaph. The note said, “No reserve, no retreat, and no regrets.”

How could Borden of Yale write such a statement? Simply because he had learned to build upon a firm foundation. And he was prepared, as we all should be prepared, to pass confidently into Christ’s presence and to hear his warm welcome: “Well done, good and faithful servant! … Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt 25:21, 23).[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 481–487). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2002). The Sermon on the Mount: an expositional commentary (pp. 264–268). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

July 20, 2017: Verse of the day

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37:3 can these bones live? The many dry bones (v. 2) picture the nation Israel (v. 11) as apparently dead in their dispersion, and waiting for national resurrection. The people knew about the doctrine of individual resurrection, otherwise this prophecy would have had no meaning (cf. 1Ki 17; 2Ki 4; 13:21; Is 25:8; 26:19; Da 12:2; Hos 13:14).[1]

37:3 The question can these bones live? anticipates the exiles’ own self-perception (v. 11): total hopelessness. It also introduces one of the key words in the passage: the verb “to live” appears in vv. 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 14. Ezekiel’s response leaves the outcome to God’s sovereignty.[2]

37:3 these bones live Yahweh is not asking Ezekiel for his opinion on whether people can be brought back to life. The prophet would have been familiar with that possibility based on the experiences of the prophets Elijah (1 Kgs 17:17–24) and Elisha (2 Kgs 4:32–37), and perhaps Isa 53:10–11. Ezekiel’s response indicates his understanding that the possibility depended entirely on Yahweh’s actions.

The prophetic stories of resurrection focus on the recently dead, not those long dead. Ezekiel may have had no expectation of any resurrection for those whose corpses had decayed to such a state. Ezekiel’s response reflects his faith in Yahweh’s power, but he likely did not have a well-developed sense of physical resurrection at the end of days such as that seen in Dan 12:1–2. Several ot passages hint at physical resurrection, including Isa 26:19 and Hos 6:2. The concept also exists in ancient Zoroastrian beliefs about a physical resurrection.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eze 37:3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1559). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eze 37:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

These are 8 of the Most Controversial Topics in the Church Today

Christians take very different opinions on these issues and both sides refer to Scripture to support their views. Discernment is certainly necessary, even among a group of believers in today’s culture. Whatever your views on each of these topics, hopefully reading this list of the areas where the church often experiences division will encourage us as Christ-followers to strive for unity within our own churches and even across denominations, because although there is much division and controversy among the broader church, there are also core doctrines that unite us.

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Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

Did the Lord Jesus teach his followers to “bind” the powers of darkness?  Should the emphasis on spiritual warfare be on prayer-infused power encounters? What exactly does the Bible teach on the nature of spiritual warfare? Well, according to Christian apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason (STR), the Bible has a lot to say about how we are to defend ourselves against other worldly forces in the unseen realm. We must be armed to the teeth!

What does a Christian’s armor look like? “The very first step in arming ourselves for battle against the devil is to gird our loins with truth (Eph. 6:14).” In this piece from STR’s Solid Ground magazine, Koukl tells us what the Bible teaches about the armor of God. Some who read this will be surprised by his teaching for the reason that the way in which charismatics go about dealing with the demonic is highly unbiblical, only they don’t know it. To make matters worse, attempting to “bind Satan” is a ridiculous and foolish practice.  Taking on powerful, lying, deceptive demons is dangerous!

So with this background in mind, we urge you to open up your Bible and follow along as Greg Koukl explains what it means to “gird your loins with truth.” He writes:

Sometimes, if you know what to look for, you can “see” something that is invisible; you can see the unseen. It’s not a parlor trick, but a valuable spiritual skill. And it’s not that difficult if you know what clues to look for. I’d like to show you what those clues are.

First, though, a foundational matter. I am convinced that most Christians do not understand spiritual warfare. Either they are unaware of the unseen battle or, if they do recognize its importance, they do not focus on the central issue but instead are distracted by a secondary concern. In military terms, they have been taken in by a feint. Here is the feint.

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Comfort on the Deathbed (Or: A Pastor’s Most Important Resource)

“In this spiritual drama, Satan is especially active. Goulart’s discourse ‘Remedies Against Satan’s Temptations in our Final Hour’ enumerates the stinging accusations and doubts that Satan launches against God’s children as they struggle on their deathbeds. The voice of Satan accuses: ‘You are a miserable sinner, worthy of damnation.’ ‘Your sins are too great to be forgiven.’ ‘How do you know that the promise of the gospel pertains to you?’ ‘Are you certain that your repentance and faith are genuine?’ ‘How do you know that you are among God’s elect?’ In response to each of these attacks, Goulart provides the faithful Christian a ready answer, drawn from the pages of Scripture.”

Simon Goulart was a Reformed theologian and pastor from France who served in Geneva in the middle of the 16th century.  His preaching and teaching were solidly biblical, clearly doctrinal, and very applicable.  One example of this is his biblical comfort he gave to Christians on their deathbed.  Scott Manetsch gives a good summary of Goulart’s pastoral care:

As Christians approach death, Goulart recognizes, they are frequently tempted to doubt God’s promised salvation and despair of their future hope.  In this spiritual drama, Satan is especially active.  Goulart’s discourse ‘Remedies Against Satan’s Temptations in our Final Hour’ enumerates the stinging accusations and doubts that Satan launches against God’s children as they struggle on their deathbeds.  The voice of Satan accuses: ‘You are a miserable sinner, worthy of damnation.’  ‘Your sins are too great to be forgiven.’  ‘How do you know that the promise of the gospel pertains to you?’  ‘Are you certain that your repentance and faith are genuine?’  ‘How do you know that you are among God’s elect?’  In response to each of these attacks, Goulart provides the faithful Christian a ready answer, drawn from the pages of Scripture.

For example, when Satan questions the believer’s election, the Christian responds: ‘All true believers are sheep of Jesus Christ, elected in him to eternal life.  Psalm 23 says that ‘The Lord is my Shepherd.’  And Psalm 100 says ‘Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.’  So too, Jesus Christ says in John 10, ‘My sheep hear my voice.’  I have heard this voice and heeded it.  Thus, I am one of the sheep of this Great Shepherd, who has given his life to bring me into his sheepfold, having rescued me from your jaws, O roaring lion.’

Clearly, Goulart believed that God’s Word was to serve as the pastor’s most important resource in caring for Christians on their deathbeds.  Scripture is like a ‘pharmacy’ for wounded souls, he asserted.  It offers a ‘secure harbor for agitated consciences.’

The above quotes were taken from Scott Matnetsch, Calvin’s Company of Pastors, p 297-298.

Rev. Shane Lems is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and serves as pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Hammond, Wis. This article appeared on his blog and is used with permission.

The post Comfort on the Deathbed (Or: A Pastor’s Most Important Resource) appeared first on The Aquila Report.

5 Passages Your Pastor Wishes You’d Stop Taking Out of Context

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2 NASB). Sometimes misinterpreting a passage boils down to decontextualizing a single word—in this case prosper. “This passage has typically been used as a proof text that God is mandated to bless in a very specific way—usually financially and materially,” says Ernest Gray, senior pastor of Keystone Baptist Church in Chicago and assistant professor of Bible at Moody. “Human beings misunderstand the place of suffering, and Christianity in the West tends to idolize success. We struggle with viewing the Christian life from a triumphalist perspective: ‘I’m a Christian; therefore I’m entitled to victory in every way.’

Chris Maxwell, director of spiritual life and campus pastor at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia, recalls a troubling episode during his pastoral tenure in Orlando: “In March 1996 I almost died of encephalitis. A group of people came to visit me and read Matthew 7:17–18: ‘Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.’ For them, admitting I had brain damage and needed medicine was lack of faith. This was the reason I became sick and wasn’t being healed. I told them, ‘If that caused my sickness I would’ve been sick long before.’”

John Koessler, professor and chair of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute, is all too familiar with scenarios like this. “I find that people tend to be one-sided in their handling of the Bible. They ‘lean into’ certain texts or truths to the exclusion of others. Some focus only on a portion of a verse. Others use one text to cancel out another.”

This isn’t surprising to most church leaders, who often see verses plucked from their homes to serve other purposes. To better understand these tricky situations, I asked several pastors to share the misused passages that make their skin crawl and how people in ministry can model healthy biblical interpretation.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

An entire cottage industry has developed around this decontextualized verse. It adorns t-shirts, knickknacks, and the walls of our churches, written in graceful, soothing script. “Having worked with college students,” says Ben Connelly, who co-leads The City Church in Fort Worth, Texas, “I heard this verse time and time again as discouraged graduates struggled to find jobs. Christian friends and family would pat them on the back, lift their downcast chins, and recite Jeremiah 29:11.”

Yet when it’s lifted from our coffee mugs and placed back into context, we discover a difficult truth about Scripture: the Bible was written for us, but not everything in it was written to us. In an interview with Christianity Today, Eric Bargerhuff, director of the Honors Program at Trinity College in Florida and author of The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, said, “Most people overlook the context of the verse because it speaks to what they want to hear for their life. This was a corporate promise given to the nation of Israel.” Connelly elaborates: “Only after promising to leave his people exiled in a foreign land for seven decades (Jer. 29:10) does God make the declaration we’re familiar with.”

So should we avoid sharing this verse with those in despair? Not necessarily. Abram Kielsmeier-Jones, pastor of Union Congregational Church in Magnolia, Massachusetts, says, “Certainly the God who knew us before we were born desires to give us ‘hope and a future.’ Even if the immediate context is not addressed to individuals, might not the general truth still hold that our God (even ‘my’ God) desires to offer hope and a future to each of his children?” If so, this passage presents a key teaching moment for church leaders. “There is comfort in this verse, and let’s never forget that God does have a plan,” says Connelly. “But we need the context to remind us that God’s goodness is true whether we find a job tomorrow or if his plans include 70 years of trial and oppression.”

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Motives at Work in Sexual Sin (Powlison)

Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken by [Powlison, David] Last week I mentioned David Powlison’s forthcoming book, Making All Things New.  Today I want to highlight part of it that is quite helpful in thinking of the nuts and bolts of sexual sin, whether it be adultery, pornography, homosexuality, or lust (and so on).  Below are various motives at work in sexual sin, which I’ve edited for length.  These motives are helpful for those who are fighting lust and other sexual sins:

  1. Angry desires for revenge.  Sexual acting out can be a way to express anger.  I once counseled a couple who had committed backlash adulteries.  They had a big fight, and the man angrily went out and hired a prostitute.  In retaliatory anger, the women went out and seduced her husband’s best friend.  The erotic pleasure wasn’t necessarily the driving force; anger was.  Though it’s rarely that dramatic, anger frequently plays a role in immorality.  A teenager finds sex a convenient way to rebel against and to hurt morally upright parents.  A man cruises down the internet after he and his wife exchange words….
  2. Longings to feel loved, approved, affirmed, or valued through romantic attention.  Consider the situation of a lonely and unattractive teenage girl who doesn’t necessarily enjoy sex.  Why does she sleep around?  It’s not because she longs for erotic pleasure.  She sleeps around in order to feed her consuming desire to have someone care for her romantically and pay attention to her.  It makes her feel loved.  She is enslaved by the desire to get attention and affirmation.  This is an extreme case, perhaps, but many people become sexually active at a young age because they feel pressure to be acceptable, they don’t want to be rejected, and they desire attention.  Sexual behavior can be an instrument in the hands of non-sexual cravings.
  3. Thrilling desires for the power and excitement of the chase.  Some people enjoy the sense of power and control over another person’s sexual response.  The flirt, the tease, the seducer are not motivated solely by sexual desires.  Deeper evil desires are at work than just sex – the thrill and rush that comes with being able to manipulate the romantic-erotic arousal of another.
  4. Anxious desire for money to meet basic survival needs.  Sex makes lots of money for lots of people.  The desire for money is greater than the desire for sex in this case.  One difficult example is the case of a single mother who was in desperate need of money.  Her sleazy landlord offered her free rent in return for sexual favors.  (Thankfully, this woman refused and her church family ended up helping her financially.)
  5. Distorted messianic desire to help another person.  Sometimes people play the rescuer-savior and they sleep with someone because they feel sorry for that person’s loneliness, rejection, and abandonment.  It is a sexual sin, but it is fueled by a warped desire to be helpful, admired, and to “save” a person.
  6. Desires for relief and rest amid the pressures of life.  Sexual sin often serves as an escape valve for other problems.  Consider a man who faces extreme pressures in the workplace.  He and his team pull a few all nighters to get an important project done.  They make it and he goes home completely exhausted.  But he finds no relief in having the project done.  So he revels in pornography and forgets his troubles.  Lust is at work, but there’s more to it.  He is looking for rest, and he sinfully finds it in erotic pleasure.
  7. Indifference, cynicism, ‘Who cares?’, ‘What’s the use?‘.  A single student – a Christian – once confessed that she slept with a co-worker.  She was working late and was tired after a long shift.  She had no accountability that night and was somewhat attracted to her co-worker.  He invited her over, and with a “what does it matter?” attitude, she accepted and sinned by sleeping with him.  This is the sin of acedia – sloth, giving up, spiritual laziness, not caring, saying ‘whatever.”

There are, of course, other reasons why people fall into sexual sins.  The point Powlison was making is that “sexual sin is symptomatic.  It expresses that deeper war for the heart’s loyalty.  We’ve looked at a handful of different ways the deeper war operates.  There are other dynamics, too!  But I hope this primes the pump so you learn to recognize more of what’s going on inside when red-letter sins make an appearance.”

The above-edited quotes are found in  David Powlison, Making All Things New, p. 80-87.

Shane Lems

Source: Motives at Work in Sexual Sin (Powlison)

Contentious Contending – Jan Markell

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 NKJV
I have watched as fellow Christians have torn into one another, slandered Christian brothers and sisters, tried to harm successful ministries, and behaved in such a manner that would result in the unbelieving world fleeing from them.
Added to this is a new contention online, particularly on social media. Disagreements over even minor issues often result in name-calling and denigrating one another. Whether the venue is YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, the contentiousness is out of control.
I have watched mean-spiritedness coming from Christian “leaders” that might make the secular world blush. It is “friendly fire” that isn’t so friendly. And if I publicly chastised them and named their names, they would reply with even more vindictive blogs, radio programs, articles, commentaries, and YouTubes. They can dish out the chastisements but they cannot take an ounce of correction.
Yes, there is raging apostasy. The most frequent email to me is, “Can you recommend a church in you-fill-in-the-blank city?” Many churches have caved to the most unsound doctrine. True heresy needs to be called out with the naming names and citing the aberrant theology. 
But some in today’s discernment crowd hide in the bushes, waiting for a Christian leader to make a single misstep. They are then pounced on, labeled a hopeless heretic, and marginalized by others in that community. And if you associate with people they disagree with, feature them, quote them, or publicly show approval of them, you have lost all common sense, discernment, judgment, and more. You are an equal heretic in the guilt by association game.
My radio co-host, Eric Barger, wrote an excellent article titled “When Discernment Turns Ugly.” I’d like to quote a few lines.  
Eric writes, “Both Jan and I have become increasingly uncomfortable, even disturbed, with the tone and lack of civility being portrayed by some within the apologetics and discernment community of speakers, writers, and commentators. We’ve watched, listened, and have tried to intervene as assorted discernment ministries have fired shots at others inside Christianity over issues that fall miserably short of what has always been considered heresy.
“A troubling precedent has been spawned by some, lending validation to the idea that it’s perfectly acceptable to publicly rake anyone over the coals for nearly any theological reason.”
Eric continues, “Jan and I are not alone in our dismay with what is happening. Other leaders have voiced the same concern to us in recent days and mind you, the issue is not concerning any rejection of the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection of Christ. Nor is it related to the pseudo-Christian yet cultic Emergent heresy or the seducing web with which spiritual liberalism ensnares so many.”
Eric writes, “The type of ‘discernment’ that I’m referring to here doesn’t involve someone’s denial of the essential doctrines of the faith. Instead, what these squabbles really amount to are nothing more than disagreements on secondary doctrines, styles of worship, and peripheral practices.”
I am puzzled as to why this ministry has been the brunt of constant attack for years. I previously reported that Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, called Olive Tree Ministries a “blight on our times” and “reprehensible.” This and more was stated on his national radio program. He could have called me and said, “Jan, here’s where we disagree. Let’s talk about it.”  Instead Hank spent at least three minutes shredding my theology and character. At the root of the issue is his Preterism cannot tolerate Dispensationalism. 
Recently another ministry leader who has spent five years denigrating this ministry wrote and said his attitude had softened. He was glad for the areas where we agree. He acknowledged he had not acted Christ-like. He apologized for the damage done and stated that for the issues upon which we agree such as end-time events, he should not have been an adversary.  We are flawed human beings who will never see eye-to-eye on everything. I accepted his apology.
I think Olive Tree Ministries is doctrinally sound. I have sometimes featured guests on air or at conferences with whom I have some minor theological disagreements. I have felt that what they have to say is important enough that I will not let secondary issues stand in the way. I also know that these guests would never push their own agenda.
But I have begun to wonder if the contentious contenders expect a background check of everyone with whom one associates? And if so, has the standard been set so high that no imperfect human being can qualify? 
Do these folks think that they have no flaws, no theological weaknesses, and have attained a level of such perfection that they have become, in essence, a sheriff for the church? They must stamp their seal of approval on everyone?
Recently one online ministry attacked another and so denigrated the other with insults that it was embarrassing. The one who was verbally insulting the other via YouTube suggested the other lacked a proper education even though this particular pastor is loved by thousands. He is cutting-edge with an electronic audience consisting of tens of thousands.
He was then insulted as someone who needed more theological education in Greek and Hebrew. After an hour of insults, any sound believer would be heartsick and an unbeliever would flee from our camp observing that his unbelieving friends would be far more gracious to him should he make a mistake or have a disagreement.
Eric writes, “I think it’s needful for each Christian to be able to express positions or hold beliefs on the so-called secondary issues, but is biblical apologetics about denigrating others and, in effect, besmirching entire ministries based on disagreements about side issues? For some, this is what it’s become, and worse. The field of discernment has, at least in part, become a hotbed of separatism that seems to far exceed biblical standards.”
Eric continues, “From what is sometimes only one pen or keyboard, judgment is meted out against the suspected offender as newsletters are printed, blogs are published, seminars are given, and whole ministries and reputations are possibly done irreversible harm.
“All this takes place no matter how flimsy the evidence presented may be, and often over non-essential theologies! This should disgust the Christian community and I fear for the next generation of apologists (and those they’ll likely influence) who are being schooled by this example.”
I think that God is saddened that elements in the apologetics’ world behave no better than the Pharisees of Jesus day.
As flawed human beings, we make missteps and we certainly make mistakes. As each day dawns, I ask God for sound judgment for the many major decisions I will face that day. I don’t want to mislead anyone or introduce them to unsound doctrine. I likely am not batting 1,000.  In that teachers and leaders have a higher accountability, I would ask you to pray for all of us.
It’s one thing to contend for the faith which we must do (Jude 3). It’s another thing to denigrate character, engage in name calling, and make untrue accusations. A false teacher needs to be called out. Wolves are devouring millions of sheep.  
It’s only the contentious contending we are observing that is troubling.
 II Timothy 2:24-25:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness…..

 

The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 9 – The Winsome Heart

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; Matthew 10:16-17 (NASB)

Winsome: generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence.

Sometimes I feel like I am walking a tightrope. The Spirit-led walk is truly balanced; however, it is hard work to stay balanced. On one hand we are told we must be wise and discerning because men are evil, but at the same time we must stay harmless, winsome and engaging. Jesus said we must not strike back. Instead, we are to turn the other cheek. (Matthew 5:39) We are to be that winsome person who reflects Christ’s character to everyone.

View original post 1,120 more words

July 19, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Jul. 19, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

The U.S. is poised to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s defense minister and several other top officials for human-rights violations, according to people with knowledge of the plan, who added that the action was one of several under consideration by the Trump administration against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is shutting down an office that coordinates cyber issues with other countries, according to two people familiar with the plan, in a move that critics said will diminish the U.S. voice in confronting hackers.

Despite efforts by Wall Street firms to regain trust since the 2008 financial crisis, fewer than a third of Americans view the industry positively — unchanged from 2009.

John Horgan’s first move as British Columbia’s new premier took a cue from Canada’s feminist leader, appointing women to half the posts in his cabinet including the job of finance minister. He immediately announced his 22-member cabinet — the province’s first ever gender-balanced one, according to a government statement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named 15 women to his cabinet of 30 when he took office in November 2015.

The resignation of the head of France’s military has thrown the spotlight on President Emmanuel Macron’s lack of experience and may prove to be the first major test of his governing style.

Iran will respond to any new U.S. sanctions that violate the terms of the nuclear deal with countersteps, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday,

Retirement security in the U.S. took a significant hit in a global ranking, falling three notches to No. 17 among 43 developed countries.

Initial coin offerings, a means of crowdfunding for blockchain-technology companies, have caught so much attention that even the co-founder of the ethereum network, where many of these digital coins are built, says it’s time for things to cool down in a big way.

Bitcoin reversed steep losses as miners began using new software which aims to bridge an ideological gap that has threatened to divide the cryptocurrency.

The revolution in self-driving cars holds promise for a segment of the population that thought they’d never be able to operate a vehicle: the blind. Advocates for the estimated 1.3 million legally blind people in the U.S., and millions more with other disabilities, have joined automakers and technology companies in lobbying Congress to help spur the roll out of self-driving vehicles.

AP Top Stories

Vice President Mike Pence delivered an energetic endorsement Tuesday of the Senate Republicans’ new approach to the Affordable Care Act: Repeal it now and figure out a replacement later.

A 10-year-old boy who collapsed at his Florida home last month and later died had the lethal painkiller fentanyl in his system, making him one of the states – and perhaps the countries – youngest victims of the opioid crisis, officials said.

A Saudi woman has been arrested for defying the kingdom’s strict dress code by walking around in a miniskirt and crop top in a video that sparked public outrage.

The White House offered its support Tuesday to the proposal of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to do away with Obama-era net neutrality protections.

Tens of thousands of troops are on the move from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as NATO and Russia open up a series of massive military exercises the size of which the continent hasn’t seen since the Cold War.

The U.S. Navy successfully tested the world’s first laser gun system that has been designed to target drones. The Laser Weapons System (LaWS) gun was tested by the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport ship on a mock enemy drone, CNN reported Monday. Naval officers claim the laser moves at the speed of light, is “more precise than a bullet” and is expected to be used in combat by the year 2020, reports said.

The Royal Navy scrambled a warship to shadow a Chinese flotilla as it steamed through the English Channel en route to meet Russian vessels for maneuvers in the Baltic Sea.

A plan to privatize the nation’s air traffic control operations has hit turbulence in the House, raising questions about whether one of President Donald Trump’s infrastructure priorities can survive.

BBC

A Canadian town has voted to oppose a zoning change that would allow a Muslim cemetery to be built.

Senators in Chile have voted in favor of a proposal which would end the country’s total ban on abortions. The measure would allow abortion in cases of rape, if the mother’s life was at risk or if the fetus would not survive the pregnancy.

A court in Thailand has found a former general guilty of human trafficking at a landmark trial in Bangkok. Manas Kongpan is among more than 40 people convicted in the trafficking of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority fleeing Myanmar.

The four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar are no longer insisting it comply with a list of 13 specific demands they tabled last month. Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters at the UN they now wanted it to accept six broad principles.

WND

The head of the U.S. government’s lead immigration enforcement agency said Tuesday that he will send a wave of agents to arrest criminal aliens residing in sanctuary cities, focusing attention on interior operations as illegal crossings at the southern border continue falling.

In a stunning rebuke of U.S. conservative Christians, two close aides to Pope Francis have drawn comparisons between Islamic terrorists and American evangelicals, accusing the latter of advancing “a theocratic type of state.”

Doctors and pharmacies in the nation’s capital are now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients.


Top News – 7/19/2017

Seasonal storm forecast doubles number of hurricanes
A leading storm season forecast doubled the number of hurricanes expected this year as El Niño hibernates and a region typically quiet until August sees an early muster of tropical systems. Colorado State University is forecasting 15 named storms during the season that runs through November, including eight hurricanes. That’s four more named storms than its original April prediction and twice as many hurricanes.

Kamchatka Volcano Klyuchevskaya Erupted
This Wednesday morning local time the volcano blasted ash in to the atmosphere and it spread on more than 60km southwest of the volcano, writes the agency. Orange code alert for aviation danger is announced which means that local and international flights might suffer delays.

Iran’s Rouhani says new US sanctions violate nuclear accord
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday new US economic sanctions imposed against Iran contravened the country’s nuclear accord with world powers and he vowed that Tehran would “resist” them, state television reported. The Trump administration slapped the new sanctions on Iran on Tuesday over its ballistic missile program and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undercut any “positive contributions” coming from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

Jerusalem police close Temple Mount to Jewish visitors
The Temple Mount compound was closed on Wednesday for visitors – Jews and tourists – by the police due to “breaching the rules of conduct that apply to the holy site.” According to a police statement, Jerusalem District Police Commander, Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy decided to close the Mughrabi gate, which is the only gate that Jews and tourist can use to enter the Temple Mount, after a group broke the rules of visit.

PA calls on world to force Israel to remove Temple Mount metal detectors
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday called on the international community to make Israel remove metal detectors from the entrances to the Temple Mount. “We call on the international community and the Arab and Islamic states to take responsibility for… stopping the occupation’s measures that are in contravention with all laws, agreements and international charters,” he said.

Hundreds of German choir boys abused over six decades – report
At least 547 young members of the Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir in Germany were subjected to physical and in some instances sexual abuse over a period of 60 years, a new report says. The report accuses 49 members of the Catholic Church of carrying out the abuse between 1945 and the early 1990s. The alleged perpetrators are unlikely to face criminal charges because of the amount of time that has elapsed.

Chile moves towards legalising abortion in limited cases
Senators in Chile have voted in favour of a proposal which would end the country’s total ban on abortions. The measure would allow abortion in cases of rape, if the mother’s life was at risk or if the foetus would not survive the pregnancy. Currently, women can be prosecuted if they have an abortion.

Qatar crisis: Saudi-led bloc drops list of 13 demands
The four Arab nations leading a boycott of Qatar are no longer insisting it comply with a list of 13 specific demands they tabled last month. Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters at the UN they now wanted it to accept six broad principles. These include commitments to combat terrorism and extremism and to end acts of provocation and incitement.

ICE chief praises Trump, plans to send more agents to sanctuary cities
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan…said he plans to further crack down on undocumented immigrants by sending more resources and agents to sanctuary cities…”In the America I grew up in, cities didn’t shield people who violated the law,”…“What I want to get is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business.”

‘Atypical’ form of mad cow disease confirmed in Alabama cow
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed an “atypical” case of bovine spongiform encephalopothy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, in an 11-year old beef cow in Alabama but emphasized that the animal never entered the slaughterhouse and “at no time presented a risk to food supply or to human health.”

US Army Seeks Internet-of-Battlefield-Things, Distributed Bot Swarms
The Army Research Lab is turning more of its attention to fighting land wars against far more technologically sophisticated adversaries than it has in the past several decades. In the coming months, the Lab will fund new programs related to highly (but not fully) autonomous drones and robots that can withstand adversary electronic warfare operations.

Thousands evacuated central California, wildfires burn across U.S. West
A 25,000-acre wildfire in central California, one of three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, threatened hundreds of homes and businesses on Wednesday after forcing the evacuation of about 5,000 residents. There were 46 active large fires spread across 12 states, with 11 new blazes reported on Tuesday alone, according to National Interagency Fire Center website.

Pence Tells CUFI That Just as God Kept Promise to Israel, So Will Trump
In his address at the 12th Annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington on Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence reassured the 4,000 attendees that the President Donald Trump’s administration stands strongly behind Israel, and that despite the delay, Trump will most assuredly fulfill his campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Law passes initial vote
Law requiring 80-vote supermajority to divide Jerusalem in future negotiations passes first vote. A law which would limit the government’s ability to divide the capital in any future final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority was approved in its first vote Wednesday afternoon.

Minister: Israel Will Now Act to Reestablish Jewish Sovereignty Over Temple Mount
The Islamic Waqf’s jurisdiction over the Temple Mount is over and Israel will now work to reestablish Jewish sovereignty over the holy site, said Knesset Member Avi Dichter (Likud) on Tuesday. “The question of our policy [at the Temple Mount] may not be clear to the Palestinians, but it is very clear to us… The Mount will remain under the control of the Israel Police.”

Muslims Call to Ban Jews From Temple Mount
Despite refusing to ascend to the holy site themselves in protest of new metal detectors, Muslims are demanding that Jews be banned from the Temple Mount in the wake of events following Friday’s terror attack.

Druze Heroes Killed on Temple Mount Fulfilled Foretold End-of-Days Israel Alliance
The deadly attack last week on the Temple Mount pitted Israeli Druze against Muslims, tightening an prophesied alliance with Israel that has Biblical roots leading back to the Druze patriarch Jethro. The fulfillment of their role as brothers-in-arms with the Jews precipitates the end-of-days war against Amalek. Their sacrifice was a clear fulfillment of Balaam’s prophecy, which foretells that the Druze and Jews will fight together against their enemy, Amalek.

President Trump: Democrats Own This, We’re Going To Let Obamacare Collapse
Speaking from the White House Tuesday afternoon along side Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump said he is “disappointed” in the failure of the healthcare bill in the Senate and said he intends to allow Obamacare to collapse while continuing to pursue the rest of his agenda. “Let Obamacare fail, it’ll be a lot easier,” he continued. “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you Republicans are not going to own it.

3 California Counties File Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuits Against “Big Oil” Over Rising Sea Levels
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the snowflake capital of the world finds new, creative and amazing ways to shock your system.

UK’s First State-Funded Muslim School Taken Over by Gov After Pro-Rape Books Found
England’s first state-funded Muslim secondary schools – that segregated boys and girls and had books promoting domestic violence and marital rape – is to be taken over by the Government.

Obama gave 1 million green cards migrants less than 2 Christian the rest were muslims
Former President Barack Obama chastised the American people in front of world leaders saying that “accepting only Christians who are seeking asylum from war-torn countries is un-American and not who we are.”

Garbage Men Being Trained to Spy on Customers
…It’s not enough, though, for the supervisors of the surveillance state to train trash collectors to watch their neighbors and report any “suspicious activity.” For a few years now, city waste management companies have been installing automatic license plate readers (ALPR) in their garbage trucks! How many thousands (maybe millions) of Americans are being secretly subjected to this new level of surveillance?

Cashless Society Alert: Visa Will Be Giving Up To $500,000 To Restaurants That Go ‘100% Cashless’ The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove.  Before today I had never heard of “The Visa Cashless Challenge”, but after reading about it I have to say that I am quite alarmed.

As Senate Bill Dies, President Trump, Mitch McConnell Call for Clean Repeal of Obamacare
President Donald J. Trump is calling on congressional Republicans to drop their failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare in one fell swoop and instead pass a clean repeal of the failed health care overhaul from the previous administration now and push through a bipartisan replacement plan later.


July 17, 2017
ALAN KEYES — In the debate over homosexual marriage, much is made of the emotional bond established by mutual consent. But all human friendship involves such a bond. No institution is required to regulate emotionally formed human friendships…. (more)

July 17, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump told GOP Senators Monday night they should go ahead and simply vote to repeal Obamcare now, then work out a replacement…. (more)

July 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Two Senate Republicans late Monday said they oppose the Republican health care bill, effectively stopping in its tracks the push to replace Obamacare and pushing GOP strategy toward an outright repeal without a replacement. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas simultaneously announced their opposition, meaning four Republicans have declared that they will vote against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bill, forcing both President Trump and Mr. McConnell toward “Plan B.”… (more)


July 17, 2017

NEWSMAX — The U.S. Navy already has deployed lasers that can take out land- and air-based targets, and is developing second-generation weapons to hit missiles at the speed of light, CNN reported…. (more)


July 17, 2017
USA TODAY — The good news on America’s report cards: More high school teachers are handing out A’s. But the bad news is that students aren’t necessarily learning more…. (more)

July 17, 2017
NEW YORK TIMES — The condition for which Senator John McCain had surgery on Friday may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two, medical experts said on Sunday…. (more)

July 17, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Klaus Eberwein, a former Haitian government official who was expected to testify against alleged Clinton Foundation corruption and malpractice next week, has been found dead in Miami via gunshot wound to the head…. (more)

July 17, 2017
BYRON YORK — The public learned on March 10, 2015 that Hillary Clinton had more than 60,000 emails on her private email system, and that she had turned over “about half” of them to the State Department and destroyed the rest, which she said were “personal” and “not in any way related” to her work as Secretary of State…. (more)

July 17, 2017
ROBERT KNIGHT — If you don’t think the Left is terrified by the prospect of clean voter rolls, you might not have heard about the latest ploy by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU has sued President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, charging them with violating federal “transparency” laws…. (more)

July 17, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Democratic operative James Carville is not optimistic that his party will be able to take back the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections. “I would say we have a pretty good chance of taking the House back. The Senate is very, very difficult,” the Clinton loyalist told the John Catsimatidis radio show…. (more)

July 16, 2017

ASSOCIATED PRESS — Sen. John McCain’s absence from the Senate as he recovers from surgery for a blood clot has led the GOP leadership to postpone consideration of health care legislation already on the brink…. (more)


July 16, 2017
BRYAN FISCHER — An arrogant junior level judge in Hawaii has appointed himself dictator-for-life for America’s immigration policy. He should be ignored by the man with genuine, constitutional, and legal authority over immigration policy, the president of the United States…. (more)

July 16, 2017

PAUL BEDARD — A coalition of conservative groups whose advocacy has been labeled “hate” by the leftist media-darling Southern Poverty Law Center are launching a counteroffensive Monday, accusing it of fueling hate, killing free speech and even encouraging terrorist-style attacks on those it doesn’t agree with…. (more)


July 15, 2017
SELWYN DUKE — The obsession with Donald Trump Jr.’s “Russian” email chain is just the latest example of what the Media/Democrat Party/Establishment Axis does best: engage in misdirection to confuse people about who America’s real enemies are…. (more)

July 15, 2017
NEWSMAX — More Christian refugees have arrived in the United States under President Donald Trump than Muslims, a shift from the previous administration. The Pew Research Center looked at data from the Department of State and concluded that 9,598 Christians have emigrated to the U.S. from Jan. 21 to June 30. 7,250 Muslim refugees came to the U.S. during the same time frame…. (more)

July 15, 2017
LEO HOHMANN — Should taxpayers fund sex changes and hormone therapy for soldiers, sailors and marines who suffer from “gender dysphoria” and are in the process of “transitioning” from male to female or vice versa?… (more)

July 15, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — As Senate Republican leaders scramble to find the votes to pass a health-care bill, their fidelity to a warped understanding of the filibuster rules is deeply impacting the content of the legislation and the odds of passing anything in a deeply divided chamber…. (more)

July 15, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Officials at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the United Kingdom, who have recommended that life support for 11-month-old Charlie Gard be withdrawn so that he dies, now have tried to exclude his parents from a meeting that could very well decide his future. Unsuccessfully…. (more)

July 14, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Senate GOP leaders hope offering more money for reducing insurance premiums for poor people is enough to get centrists to support their healthcare bill after they were cool to the latest version. Republican leadership released a new version of the healthcare bill that adds $70 billion to a stability fund to stabilize the individual market and $45 billion for fighting opioid abuse. However, leadership faces a monumental task of winning support from several key centrists, especially after leaving in place more than $700 billion in Medicaid cuts…. (more)


July 13, 2017
NEWSMAX — Tuesday’s release of photos of a chance encounter between evangelicals and President Donald Trump in the White House, which shows leading evangelicals laying hands on and praying for the president of the United States in the Oval Office, has touched off an angry backlash on Twitter and in the mainstream media…. (more)

July 13, 2017
BOB UNRUH — So the media claim there are links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. They make wild claims about a “set-up” that had Donald Trump Jr. meet last year with a woman claiming to have information from Russia about Hillary Clinton…. (more)

July 13, 2017
RALPH Z. HALLOW — President Trump is facing the double standard with which the left-wing press and Democrats have been soiling American politics for many years. Absurdity is now the norm in the left’s drive to undermine the public’s confidence in the institutions that have made this the go-to country for seekers of opportunity and freedom all over the world for more than two centuries…. (more)

July 13, 2017
MICHAEL BARONE — Overreach. President Trump seems to have an uncanny knack for provoking it in his opponents and critics. This often hurts him and the country. But it has the potential to hurt those doing the overreach as well…. (more)

July 13, 2017
ALICIA POWE — Members of the House Freedom Caucus are demanding GOP leaders cancel the annual August recess so they can tackle top-line policy issues, including the debt ceiling, repealing the Affordable Care Act, a tax overhaul and building a wall along the nation’s southern border…. (more)

July 13, 2017
GREG COROMBOS — Senate Republican leaders are still scrambling to craft a health-care bill capable of attracting 50 GOP votes, and while success appears elusive right now, a prominent House conservative still believes a good bill can get passed thanks to the pressure from voters and the resolve of President Trump…. (more)

10 Surprising Ways the Government is Spying on You (VIDEO)

Sigh.

Great video.

It does seem that our dystopian future is going to be (is) a mix of both 1984 and A Brave New World.

And don’t forget, there are many government contractors making a lot of (taxpayer) money developing the surveillance state. (To keep an eye on the taxpayers.)

Read More


The New York Times Calls George Soros a “Holocaust survivor”

Proves insanity of left-wing media

Turned on his own Jewish people during the Holocaust:

During the Holocaust, George Soros (a Jew) collaborated with the Nazis to confiscate all material wealth from the Jews in Hungary, before he led them to the trains which took them to the death camps.

View Article


Obamacare Survives Thanks to Republican Moral Narcissism

The Kansas and Utah senators announced they would vote no on their party’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, joining Susan Collins and Rand Paul in the nyet column, therefore tanking the bill.

Bravo to them. They maintained their ideological purity. But that’s the problem, because in so doing they have put our country on the royal road to single-payer healthcare. You can depend on it.

View Article

Mid-Day Snapshot

July 19, 2017

On Health Care, Congress Needs to Do Its Job

Republicans aren’t playing like a team, and that’s undermining their responsibility to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The Foundation

“Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction.” —John Witherspoon (1776)


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: July 19

  • Republicans consider bipartisan healthcare talks (Read More)
  • Health Care Collapse Could Leave Trump Winless in His First Year (Read More)
  • Republicans to Push Ahead on Repeal of Affordable Care Act (Read More)
  • Obscure Coal CEO Rains Money on Trump While Outflanking Rivals (Read More)
  • GOP Tries to Regroup on Obamacare Repeal as Trump Lashes Out (Read More)
  • Insurers start to press on subsidies (Read More)
  • Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. says ready to testify to Congress (Read More)
  • Discovery, Scripps Networks in Cable-TV Merger Talks (Read More)
  • Robots Take Over Retail Jobs (Read More)
  • Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival (Read More)
  • France’s armed forces chief resigns after clash with Macron over budget cuts (Read More)
  • The Manhattan of Venezuela Parties Amid Crisis (Read More)
  • Germany summons Turkish ambassador to protest arrests of activists (Read More)
  • Where’s the Volatility? Markets’ Steady Climb Defies Historic Odds (Read More)
  • Campaign urges U.S. public pension funds to divest from owner of Trump hotel (Read More)
  • Akzo Nobel Chief Quits Over Health (Read More)
  • The Man Who Got Americans to Eat Trash Fish Is Now a Billionaire (Read More)
  • Morgan Stanley’s profit boosted by underwriting, wealth management (Read More)
  • Wall Street Efforts to Improve Its Image Fail to Sway Americans (Read More)

Top Headlines – 7/19/2017

Police: Temple Mount closed off to Jews

Clashes break out in Old City as Temple Mount tensions heat up

Some Muslim worshipers throw stones, bottles at police after prayers outside Temple Mount

Arab MKs at Lions’ Gate to express support in protest against Temple Mount security

Jordan’s FM talks to Russian counterpart about Temple Mount in phone call

Report: Saudi King asked US to intervene in Temple Mount standoff

Saudi Mufti: ‘Al-Aqsa’s closure damage the sanctity of the Mosque’

Gaza factions warn Israel over Temple Mount ‘aggression’

Fatah calls for ‘day of rage’ on Wednesday

The campaign to exploit Jerusalem terror and fan new round of violence

‘The world should know: UNRWA perpetuates the conflict’

Israel, Hamas make prisoner swap counteroffers

Pence: Embassy move to Jerusalem is question of ‘when, not if’

Israel’s Netanyahu tells Macron of doubts about U.S. peace push

China reiterates commitment to Israel-PA peace

Christian Zionists still uncertain about Trump – but sure glad Obama is out

PM Orban tells Israel’s Netanyahu Hungary has zero tolerance of anti-Semitism

ACLU urges senators to oppose bill targeting Israel boycotts

PM meets Mexican diplomat fired for challenging UNESCO Jerusalem vote

UN agency continues accusing Israel of apartheid

With Bibles and shovels, a search for the biblical tabernacle gathers pace at Shiloh

Jordanian Parliament Speaker: ‘We are documenting Israel’s racist laws and will spread them around the world’

Gaza sewage water polluting Israeli groundwater

Car-ramming terror attack in Hebron leaves 2 soldiers wounded, terrorist shot

Trump administration will continue to consult with Israel on Syria ceasefire

Israel Stuck Between a Trump Rock and Putin Hard Place Over Syria Cease-fire

US, Russia tout Israel’s security needs amid concerns of Iran in Syria

Allen West: If Israel goes, Western civilization goes

IDF says videos prove Hezbollah hiding behind NGO at border

Lebanon preparing for military operation near Syria border

Suicide bomb attack kills four in Kurdish-held Syrian northeast

Turkey and the Kurds are on the brink of war – and the Pentagon is right in the middle of it

The troubling US post-prison experiment to ‘rehabilitate’ an ISIS supporter

Islamic State’s customised car bombs – in pictures

Egypt police trap and kill 3 top ‘terrorist group’ members

Egyptian security forces kill prominent Islamic State militant in North Sinai

Trump was talked out of declaring Iran in breach of nuke deal

US slaps Iranians with sanctions over ‘malign’ activity

US sanctions Iran for ballistic missile program

Iran condemns ‘worthless’ US sanctions, responds with its own

Arab nations urge Qatar to adopt six anti-terror principles

Saudi-led coalition blocks UN aid staff flight carrying journalists to Yemen

Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Yemen kills 11 civilians

Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival

Controversial French anti-terror bill clears hurdle

Franklin Graham ‘Hurt and Stunned’ That Canada’s Justin Trudeau Awarded Former Al-Qaeda Member $8M

UK’s First State-Funded Muslim School Taken Over by Govt After Pro-Rape Books Found

U.S. general: North Korea can hit us

Top US general: North Korea might have the range, but lacks in accuracy

North Korea conducts public executions for theft, watching South Korea media

Pro-Russian rebel leader in east Ukraine unveils plan for new state

‘Sick:’ Trump slams report of ‘second meeting’ with Putin at G-20

House to vote on Trump’s $1.6B border wall request next week

House bill includes funds for just 28 miles of Trump border wall

Why the GOP Congress will be the most unproductive in 164 years

Trump Finds That Demolishing Obama’s Legacy Is Not So Simple

Sen. Chuck Schumer blames Trump for Obamacare failure: ‘Sabotage’

‘Let Obamacare Fail,’ Trump Says as GOP Health Bill Collapses

Health care bill collapse leaves divided GOP at crossroads

A Republican Party at war with itself hits the wall on health care

Robots to Ease the Burden on the Health-Care System

New Tech Brings Live Facial Recognition to Police Body Cameras

This incredible laser gun could be the Navy’s secret to fighting enemy drones

Cute floating space drone sends first images from ISS

White House supports FCC plan to dismantle net neutrality

Hacker steals more than $7 million in digital currency using a link switch

Visa offers thousands to small business owners to go ‘cashless’

Foreigners snap up record number of US homes

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ryukyu Islands, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Attu Station, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Owen Fracture Zone region

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Nishinoshima volcano on Japan erupts to 10,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

India: New tropical depression threatens flooding this week

Adriatic fires prompt evacuations in Montenegro and Croatia

3 California Counties File Multi-Billion Dollar Lawsuits Against “Big Oil” Over Rising Sea Levels

Crews Spraying Around The Clock After A Billion Mosquitoes Blown In By Storms In South Florida

Israeli court gives government 2 months to reassess gay adoption policy

Kevin Daly – Who is My Brother?

Seeing the Unseen: The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

Word of Faith Fellowship – Defense team for pastor accused of kidnapping, assault wants ‘secret recordings’

Most Refugees Entering The U.S. Under Trump Are Christian

Iran – Christians jailed for 10 years and face public flogging for drinking communion wine

The New Covenant In The Blood of Jesus Christ Is The Only Covenant In God’s Sight!

When We Separate Prophecy from the Word of God

Former C3 Pastor Nick Dimitris strikes again…

NAACP leader Rev. Barber says praying for Trump ‘borders on heresy’

Mexican folk religion involving human sacrifice gaining status among criminals

Pastor in India Shot Dead

Willow Creek — Sacrificing the Church on the Altar of Carnal Leadership

The ‘New Breed’ Among Us (Part 1): Todd Bentley

David Jeremiah: “Appreciates Sarah Young and Jesus Calling”

Shack Author Says “ I Want to Be More Like Oprah”

Meet Five Men Who All Think They’re the Messiah

Two pastors from Washington, D.C., have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola

ABC and NBC Call Pro-Life Legal Organization a “Hate Group”

Planned Parenthood Injures Woman in Botched Abortion, Hides Victim With Sheets

Pro-Abortion Leader Admits: Our Next Goal is Forcing Americans to Pay for Abortions

RUMORS OF WAR: Israel Prepares To Counter Iran and Hezbollah Build-Up In Syria

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:36 AM PDT

One of Israel’s most highly-regarded national security experts has warned Iran and its proxies — Hezbollah in Lebanon and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheist Group Stops Church From Handing Out ‘Religious Flyers’ During State-Affiliated Hunter’s Safety Class

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:28 AM PDT

A prominent professing atheist group that seeks to separate God from government has succeeded in stopping a church from distributing gospel literature and an invitation…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Minnesota City Eliminates Free Speech Zone Following Controversy Over Satanic Monument

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:25 AM PDT

Council members in a Minnesota city have voted to eliminate a free speech zone that it had just created in February as a way to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Another Hyper-Grace Teacher Bites the Dust

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:21 AM PDT

(By Dr. Michael Brown) I was sad but not surprised to see the announcement as yet another hyper-grace teacher took a giant step towards apostasy….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Thousands evacuated central California, wildfires burn across U.S. West

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:18 AM PDT

A 25,000-acre wildfire in central California, one of three dozen major blazes burning across the U.S. West, threatened hundreds of homes and businesses on Wednesday…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Massive wildfire threatens power supply to Yosemite National Park, 4,000 forced from homes

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:14 AM PDT

A massive wildfire in Mariposa County triggered a new round of evacuations Tuesday as flames threatened power lines that feed Yosemite National Park, officials said. Approximately…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Tensions Continue to Rise at Temple Mount

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:08 AM PDT

Clashes broke out between Muslim worshipers and police in the Old City of Jerusalem for the third night in a row on Tuesday, in response…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Army to Build Autonomous Drone Swarms…

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 06:05 AM PDT

The Army Research Lab is turning more of its attention to fighting land wars against far more technologically sophisticated adversaries than it has in the past…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China demands India withdraw troops from disputed Himalayan territory

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 07:08 PM PDT

China has reiterated its calls for India to withdraw troops from a disputed territory in the Himalayan mountains, to avoid an “escalation of the situation.”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Dad says predator was luring kids in popular online children’s game

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 06:20 PM PDT

A strong warning to parents about a popular online game your children may play. It’s called Roblox and can be purchased from any app store….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Evangelical Leaders Praying for Trump ‘Bordering on Heresy,’ Liberal Pastor Says

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 06:13 PM PDT

According to liberal Christian civil rights leader Rev. William Barber II, evangelical leaders who gathered at the White House to pray over President Donald Trump…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. Plunges Toward “Occultism And Demons”

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 06:05 PM PDT

Television shows featuring exorcisms as entertainment. Lucifer as a crime-fighting hero on television. Occult symbols used in music videos. References to demons seem to be everywhere in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China’s Censors Can Now Erase Images Mid-Transmission

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 05:55 PM PDT

China’s already formidable internet censors have demonstrated a new strength—the ability to delete images in one-on-one chats as they are being transmitted, making them disappear…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DC doctors now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications…

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 05:50 PM PDT

Doctors and pharmacies in the nation’s capital are now allowed to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients. The Death with Dignity Act of 2016…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mystery radio signals emerge from star in space…

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 05:46 PM PDT

Some very “peculiar signals” have been noticed coming from a star just 11 light-years away, scientists in Puerto Rico say. The mystery has gripped the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Google Releasing 20 Million Lab Created Mosquitoes…

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 01:33 PM PDT

Last October, we announced the Debug Project, an initiative at Verily to reduce the devastating global health impact that disease-carrying mosquitoes inflict on people around the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

100 million Americans either has diabetes or its precursor condition

Posted: 18 Jul 2017 01:28 PM PDT

Almost one-third of the US population — 100 million people — either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Family Thanks Jesus as Infant Healed of Rare Disease

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:44 PM PDT

When doctors told the family of 7-month-old Denniya Rawls that she would finally be released from the hospital after spending more than 100 days there,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: LGBTQ Activists Double Down to Fight Trump’s ‘Hateful Policies’

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:36 PM PDT

The Human Right Campaign (HRC), the nation’s top LGBTQ activist organization, will spend $26 million to nearly double its existing political structure and prepare for the 2018…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Fears of Tsunami After Powerful 7.8 Earthquake Strikes Near Aleutian Islands

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:31 PM PDT

Warnings have been issued of a possible tsunami within 300km of a shallow magnitude 7.8 quake off the coast of Russia. The epicentre is reported…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Research Reveals Turin Shroud Stained With Blood of Torture Victim

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:27 PM PDT

New research claims the Shroud of Turin is stained with the blood of a torture victim, supporting the theory that it was used to bury…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

70-year-old veteran fired after trying to stop shoplifters

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:19 PM PDT

A 70-year-old veteran working at a Home Depot store tried to stop shoplifters taking thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, but his attempted intervention cost…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Amazon’s Alexa Just Took a Major Step Toward Matthew 24:14

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:10 PM PDT

Amazon’s Alexa can now help individuals better connect with God, thanks to the Abide Flash Briefing skill. On the heels of Amazon Prime Day, users need to enable the skill…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

After Kid Rock Announces Run, Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner Mulling a Political Seat

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 05:05 PM PDT

With former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura as recent examples, President Donald Trump wasn’t the first celebrity to run for political office. He wasn’t…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Technology may soon replace half of all “low-skilled jobs”…

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 04:59 PM PDT

Ball State University sits in Muncie, Indiana, at the heart the “Rust Belt,” so educators there have the right to be pessimistic about the drift…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Visa To Offer $500,000 To Restaurants That Go ‘100% Cashless’

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 04:45 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) The push toward a cashless society is becoming more of a shove.  Before today I had never heard of “The Visa Cashless…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras…

Posted: 17 Jul 2017 04:42 PM PDT

Even if the cop who pulls you over doesn’t recognize you, the body camera on his chest eventually just might. Device-maker Motorola will work with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS HOLY

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

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

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

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

JESUS IS LORD

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

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

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

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

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

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

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

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

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

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

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

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


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