Jun. 28, 2016 |
By rejecting a Texas abortion law Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court has set in motion a reshaping of the legal landscape across dozens of states where similar attempts to impose debatable medical requirements on clinics and providers are now in jeopardy. The demands of those laws — that clinics meet hospital standards and doctors obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals — had been among the most potent tools of abortion opponents in recent years, shuttering providers and reducing access in the name of improved health.
Hillary Clinton should have recognized that extremists posed a risk to U.S. officials in Libya before the September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, according to a politically charged U.S. House Republican report released less than a month before the Democratic National Convention.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the U.K. to have no illusions about life outside the European Union, hardening her stance ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron’s first meeting with fellow EU leaders since triggering the political earthquake that’s shaken the bloc’s foundations.
Dow Chemical Co. plans to eliminate about 2,500 jobs and shut plants in North Carolina and Japan as it slims down after taking full control of its Dow Corning Corp. silicone venture.
The odds of a U.S. recession may be as high as 50 percent following last week’s vote in the U.K. to exit the European Union, according to Bill Gross, manager of the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund.
PepsiCo Inc., struggling to cope with plunging sales and unpredictable consumers, is bringing back its old Diet Pepsi formula less than a year after phasing it out. Diet Pepsi, which was reformulated in August to drop the artificial sweetener aspartame, will be sold in its old recipe as Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener blend in retro packaging, PepsiCo said Monday. As part of a broader revamp of its diet-cola lineup, the company also is renaming Pepsi Max as Pepsi Zero Sugar in the U.S. to more clearly show that the beverage has zero calories.
Worldwide spending on pharmaceuticals is set to surge over the next few years, and IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics has estimated that it will touch $1.4 trillion by 2020, an increase of as much as 32 percent from 2015.
AP Top Stories
According to the results of the ABC News/Washington Post survey, conducted in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., two weeks ago, 56 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of his job as president, compared to 41 percent who disapprove.
The Singapore Airlines flight had just performed a successful emergency landing, after pilots saw an engine oil warning message and crew smelt fuel in the cabin, when its right wing burst into flames. None of the 222 passengers or 19 crew members on board were injured, but plenty posted about the ordeal and their stress during the few minutes they watched from within the burning plane as fire crews extinguished the flames.
The United States has complained to Russia about a mounting campaign of harassment and intimidation of American diplomats and their families in Moscow, the State Department said.
Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure,” because of budget shortfalls that threaten to compromise security and mobility during the games.
Part of the solution to California’s demand for water in the face of the state’s crippling drought may lie 10,000 feet beneath the surface of the state’s Central Valley. New research published in the journal PNAS suggests that the region’s aquifers, areas deep underground where water can collect, have three times the usable groundwater as previously estimated.
The Oakland City Council voted unanimously Monday night to kill a plan to use a proposed marine terminal to transport Utah coal to Asia, calling such shipments public health and safety hazards. Backers argued the project would bring needed jobs to an impoverished part of town.
Iraq’s army sought on Monday to eliminate Islamic State fighters holed up in farmland west of Falluja to keep them from launching a counterattack on the city, a day after the government declared victory over the militants there.
Taiwan plans to test-fire its newest anti-missile system for the first time in the United States next month as relations with rival China deteriorate, a defense source and media reports said Monday.
Scientists may have identified a second patient in the US infected with bacteria carrying the mcr-1 “superbug” gene, which makes bacteria highly resistant to a last-resort class of antibiotics.
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at a steady pace in April from a year earlier, a sign demand for residential real estate remains solid enough to support both buyers and sellers
Scientists have discovered a large helium gas field in Tanzania. With world supplies running out, the find is a “game-changer”, say geologists at Durham and Oxford universities.
A religious decree declaring transgender marriage to be legal has been cautiously welcomed in Pakistan, but activists say attitudes still need to change.
Kenyan authorities are investigating if pupils who set fire to their school dormitories did so after being told they could not watch a Euro 2016 match on television.
Lebanon’s army has detained more than 100 Syrians for entering the country illegally following a series of suicide bombings in a border village.
The FBI did not alert numerous Americans that they were placed on secret Islamic State kill lists or notify their local police about the potential dangers, a lapse in the government’s efforts to combat the terrorist group’s evolving strategy to target everyday citizens.
Democratic operatives responsible for creating their party’s platform this year have unanimously adopted a provision calling for the Department of Justice to investigate companies who disagree with Democrats on global warming science.
Top Headlines – 6/28/2016
House Benghazi Report Details Military, Intelligence Failures
“We are now convinced, contrary to the administration’s public claim that the military did not have time to get to Benghazi, that the administration never launched men or machines to help directly in the fight,” wrote Reps. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) and Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) in the analysis. “That is very different from what we have been told to date. And the evidence is compelling.”
Nigel Farage jeered telling MEP’s they’ve ‘never had proper job’ in EPIC EU exit speech
“What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result. It was a seismic result, not just for British politics, but for European politics but perhaps even for global politics too, because what the little people did, what the ordinary people did, what the people who have been oppressed over the last few years and who have seen their living standards go down [did], they rejected the multinationals, they rejected the merchant banks, they rejected big politics.
Lebanon army detains 100 Syrians after Qaa bombings
Lebanon’s army has detained more than 100 Syrians for entering the country illegally following a series of suicide bombings in a border village. The raids took place at informal refugee camps in the Baalbek region. On Monday, at least eight bombers blew themselves up in the predominantly Christian village of Qaa, killing five people and injuring almost 30 others.
Pakistan’s transgender community cautiously welcomes marriage fatwa
A religious decree declaring transgender marriage to be legal has been cautiously welcomed in Pakistan, but activists say attitudes still need to change. The decree, or fatwa, was passed on Sunday by a group of clerics. It said that according to Islam transgender people with “visible signs” of being male or female may marry someone of the opposite sex.
Police temporarily close Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors
Following three consecutive days of rioting by Arab youths on the Temple Mount, police announced on Tuesday morning that the contested holy site would be closed to non-Muslim visitors through Thursday. In a statement, police said the decision was made after security assessments indicated it was not safe for Jewish visitors, who have been the target of attacks there during the final 10 days of Ramadan.
In Gaza, UN chief calls on Israel to lift ‘suffocating’ blockade of Strip
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel on Tuesday to lift the “suffocating” blockade on the Gaza Strip, a day after Israel said the naval blockade of Gaza would continue under a deal with Turkey to normalize ties. …Ban told reporters: “The closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impede reconstruction effort, it is a collective punishment for which there must accountability.”
European ‘superstate’ suggested as Brexit solution
the E.U. blew into a tumult on Monday when it was revealed that a new “superstate” is being considered… “Under the radical proposals E.U. countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels.”
Mexico City shaken by earthquake
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake registered as a magnitude 5.7, and originated in the state of Oaxaca, 215 miles south of Mexico City.
Al-Qaida: Target White People So Obama Admin Won’t Call It A Hate Crime
A branch of the terrorist organization al-Qaida is advising prospective terrorists to target white people for their attacks, in order to prevent politicians and law enforcement from dismissing their acts of terrorism as run-of-the-mill hate crimes. The advice, which was published by al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
India will spend $750 million on artillery guns to secure its border with China
After a remarkably long wait of 30 years, the Indian Army will finally get its hands on new artillery guns. On Saturday (June 25), India’s defence ministry approved a proposal to purchase 145 ultra light howitzer guns from the British weapons manufacturer BAE Systems. The deal is worth about Rs5,000 crore ($750 million).
BET Awards: Clinton Rally, Then a Sermon Against Abusive ‘Invention Called Whiteness’
ust as you would expect, the 2016 BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards were full of Black Lives Matter references and reminders to register to vote and then get out the vote for Hillary Clinton. After the opening of the award ceremony featured Beyoncé and her back-up dancers marching into the auditorium to a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, actor and producer Terence J went on to say, “Your vote is your voice,” and reminded everyone to register and “vote smart” as he introduced the show hosts, ABC’s Blackish stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.
The First Casualty Of Brexit: Italy Prepares €40 Billion Bank Bailout
Barely has the market had time to digest last week’s Brexit vote by the UK, a vote which may never actually be implemented if the “sturm und drang” campaign unleashed by the EU and the ECB on UK capital markets succeeds in changing the mind of enough “Leavers” to the point that the entire referendum is called off and Boris Johnson never triggers the Article 50 clause, and already Europe’s most financially troubled nation, Italy, is using Brexit as a pretext to unleash a €40 billion ($44 billion) bailout of its insolvent banks.
Eight suicide bombers target Lebanese Christian village
Eight suicide bombers attacked a Lebanese Christian village on Monday, killing five people and wounding dozens more, in the latest violent spillover of the five-year-old Syrian war into Lebanon.
Turkish President Apologizes to Putin for Downing of Russian Military Jet
Turkey’s president has apologized to Moscow for the downing of a Russian military jet at the Syrian border, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. Putin has received a message from Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing his “sympathy and deep condolences” to the family of the killed pilot and apologized, Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Top Headlines – 6/28/2016
Frontrunning: June 28
- Brexit vote, UK political confusion keep world markets on edge (Read More)
- Cameron Heads to Last Supper in Brussels Amid Impasse in London (Read More)
- Banks Get Reprieve From Brexit Hammering (Read More)
- U.S. Stock Futures Rise as Stimulus Hopes Outweigh Brexit Fears (Read More)
- Brexit adds to existing troubles faced by banks (Read More)
- Merkel Tells Cameron Before EU Summit: Don’t Delude Yourself (Read More)
- Draghi Calls for Global Policy Alignment to Lift Economic Growth (Read More)
- Poll Finds Opening for Third-Party Candidates as Clinton, Trump Remain Unpopular (Read More)
- Kremlin: mending ties with Turkey ‘not a matter of a few days’ (Read More)
- LendingClub to Cut 179 Positions as Loan Volumes Fall (Read More)
- Volkswagen’s U.S. diesel emissions settlement to cost $15 billion (Read More)
- Japan Yields All Drop Below 0.1% First Time in Global Bond Surge (Read More)
- Lyft Hires M&A Banker Qatalyst Partners (Read More)
- Soros Wagered Deutsche Bank Would Drop in Brexit Turmoil (Read More)
- Brexit Steamrolls Fed Model for Stock Bulls as Bond Yields Drop (Read More)
The Long Slow Collapse is Happening Now
he global financial crisis MIA and others have been forecasting has arrived in early 2016, with imploding financial markets and commodities, collapsing world trade, upheaval in global currency markets, skyrocketing gold prices, and oil continuing its decline to $26 per barrel in mid-February – down 75% from $108 per barrel in June, 2014. Indeed, 69 US oil and gas companies went bankrupt in 2015 with dozens more on the brink in early 2016. Oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Canada are hurting badly with their economies and currencies in steep decline (even as Iran is about to start dumping large new supplies on the global market).
Deutsche Bank is in almost all respects bankrupt. China’s $30 trillion credit bubble is close to imploding. Many banks will not survive. Bank stocks are down 20-50% this year and credit default swaps are surging in price. Hedge funds and speculators are losing fortunes on a surging yen. The Fed is now worried about interest rates. More countries are lowering rates to negative. Sweden just cut another 15 basis points to minus 0.5%. Stocks are crashing around the world – down 20% (over $8 trillion) since January 1. What happened in 2007-9 was just a dress rehearsal for the current crisis.
The year 2016 has been disastrous so far for the world economy and financial system, and the dominos are now beginning to fall. The Baltic Dry Freight Index (which measures global trade) is now 98% below its 2007 high and 46% below the 2015 low. Trade is deteriorating all over the world, with trade deficits now increasing in most countries. In January, South Korea experienced an 18.5% drop in trade – in just one month.
The dilemma is that most nations (led by the US) have lived far above their means, and therefore we will see a currency race to the bottom. Of the major currencies, the dollar is likely to eventually fall the furthest – in spite of its present strength, but there will be many smaller-nation currencies that will fall even further. Take Argentina for example, where gold is up 6,000% against the Peso since 1999.
(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, March 2016)
5 Most Sickening Parts of Trump’s Meeting With Evangelical Leaders
According to Rebecca Cusey of The Federalist, Donald Trump thinks religion is about “temporal power” and it seems several highly regarded (by some) evangelical leaders are on board with him. Cusey writes:
On Tuesday, Donald Trump met with a few hundred evangelical leaders in New York City. I read through the transcript thinking maybe Trump might exhibit some charm, some thoughtfulness in a smaller setting that is lost on the large stage, something that would explain why people who profess to believe in Jesus would be so taken in by Trump.
Sadly, no. The transcript is shocking in its pandering: of Trump to evangelicals, yes—we expected that—but also in their pandering to Trump. Here are the most egregious takeaways. You can find the full transcript here.
U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law as Creating “Undue Burden on Abortion Access”
Christian News Network reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to abortion rights advocates, striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities that its critics contended were specifically designed to shut down clinics.
The 5-3 ruling held that the Republican-backed 2013 law placed an undue burden on women exercising their constitutional right to end a pregnancy established in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The normally nine-justice court was one member short after the Feb. 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who consistently opposed abortion in past rulings.
Conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joined liberal members of the court in ruling that both key provisions of the law violate a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
Damning Benghazi report slams administration response to attacks
According to Fox News the just released report reveals shocking behavior from the Obama Administration. There is no doubt that presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton knowingly misled the public. We urge readers to watch the video:
A damning report authored by the Republican-led House committee probing the Benghazi terror attacks faulted the Obama administration for a range of missteps before, during and after the fatal 2012 attacks – saying top administration officials huddled to craft their public response while military assets waited hours to deploy to Libya.
The report released Tuesday pointedly blamed a “rusty bureaucratic process” for the slow-moving response the night of the attack. The report said despite orders from President Obama and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to deploy, the first military force did not do so until more than 13 hours after the attack started.
The report said one anti-terrorism security team known as the FAST unit sat waiting for three hours in Rota, Spain, as Marines changed “in and out of their uniforms four times,” and even debated whether they should carry personal weapons, according to one witness. All together, the report said, “it would take nearly 18 hours” for that team to move.
The rotten fruit of the NAR
By Marsha West To fully grasp all the reasons the New Apostolic Reformation is such a dangerous movement and why discernment bloggers incessantly warn about this cult I’m going to take an excerpt from a piece I wrote a few years ago entitled “Dominionists are on the move…and they mean business.” I began with a quote from […]
Wink-wink, nudge-nudge: Dr. Dobson leaves questions about Trump’s regeneration
When James Dobson announced that a friend of his had led Donald Trump to “accept Christ,” some questions niggled at my mind – in spite of the fact that I hope Trump is saved – for real. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if Donald Trump really did become a Bible-believing, repentant, Christ-following Christian? I […]
The post Wink-wink, nudge-nudge: Dr. Dobson leaves questions about Trump’s regeneration appeared first on Berean Research.
Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Paradigm awakens once again
In case you thought Rick Warren was fading into the background giving the New Apostolic Reformation the spotlight, think again. While the NAR “apostles” target youth ripe for revival, Warren is back in the saddle targeting pastors around the globe for his one-world P.E.A.C.E. Plan. For the first time in almost a decade, Saddleback pastor […]
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Still Be Discerning about Discerners Discerning Discernment Ministries
Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley deals with a very contentious subject: Discernment blogs and podcasts. Some Christians choose not visit discernment blogs for all sorts of reasons. In her excellent piece, Lesley offers a balanced perspective on the pros and cons of discernment ministries. We were thrilled to learn that one of the […]
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Does Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades Produce False Converts?
In a piece over at Pulpit & Pen, Jeremy Roten tackles the “false convert” issue. Many people believe that by saying the “sinner’s prayer” or simply raising their hand during a church service to indicate they wish to have Christ in their life or going forward during a Billy Graham or Greg Laurie crusade means […]
The post Does Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades Produce False Converts? appeared first on Berean Research.
Trump announces new “Christian” Advisory Committee
Uh-oh. Donald Trump has put together a team of advisors to help him win the Evangelical er, ecumenical vote. All candidates and presidents have religious advisors (Jim Wallis for President Obama, Rick Warren for Marco Rubio; Bill Hybels for President Bill Clinton, presumably so they don’t say something to offend their voting base. (And you […]
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They’re Killing Our Culture
Lee Duigon, contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, brings to light some of the insanity that is going on around the globe that discerning Christians need to be aware of. For example, Germany now has “erotic zoos.” I’ll let Lee explain what that’s all about. He writes: [NOTE: I have to be careful what I write […]
(Click title to go to full article)George Whitefield: Calvinist Evangelist – “George Whitefield, the famed 18th century evangelist known for crossing the Atlantic Ocean thirteen times, was an instrumental figure in the Great Awakening. Also known as the ‘Grand Itinerant’, Whitefield often preached outdoors to crowds upwards of 20,000 people. He was a passionate proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, urging lost souls to be born again. Yet, throughout the entirety of his ministry, he remained fully committed to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation.”
Eli and Passive Parenting – “Parenting is never easy. Nobody in this fallen world has mastered it. And when it comes to raising children in the fear of the Lord, fathers shoulder the greatest biblical responsibility—being accountable to God as the heads of their homes (Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4–5). The need to learn and grow in the role of fatherhood never ceases, and Scripture is our richest source of parental wisdom. It offers clear instruction and furnishes us with powerful role models.”
LGBT and How the Church Should Respond – “The world sure loves to talk about sex. Sex, sex, sex. Money, power, sex, money, and sex. Then the church speaks into the world’s sinful passions and says, ‘The answer is Jesus.’ And the world responds, ‘Why do Christians just want to talk about sex all the time?’ That will likely be the response to this message, re-writing a sermon that I first preached on April 28, 2013, addressing the subject of same-sex marriage and how the church should respond.”
Jerry Bridge’s Seven Standout Spiritual Lessons – “Shortly after I heard that Jerry Bridges had died, I sat down to write about the ways he had impacted me through his life and ministry. In a too-weak tribute, I outlined five big lessons I had learned from him. Recently I read his memoir God Took Me by the Hand: A Story of God’s Unusual Providence and came to a section where he outlines seven big lessons he learned over the course of his sixty-plus years of being a Christian. Not surprisingly, his lessons align nicely with mine, showing that he had, indeed, exerted significant influence on me. If you want a brief overview of Bridges’ books and speaking ministry, here it is in seven brief lessons…”
Does Doctrine Matter for Your Worship – “‘I don’t care much about doctrine or theology, I just want to press into Jesus’. I’m still not totally sure what it means to ‘press into Jesus’ but I’ve heard things like this quite a few times. Sometimes I hear it in the form of ‘Love unites, doctrine divides’. At other times you hear it from folks who don’t care much about that fancy book learnin’ they just want to follow Jesus.”
John Chester – A Worthy Walk
Al Mohler’s Q&A at SBTS 1993 President’s Forum (A hornet’s nest.)
The Truth about Ramadan
“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur
Today’s Kindle deals include: The Forgotten Trinity by James White ($1.99); The Cross and Christian Ministry by D.A. Carson ($1.99); Radically Normal by Josh Kelley ($1.99). New from GLH Publications is Counsel for Mourners by John Flavel ($0.99).
Joe Carter has a FAQ about yesterday’s troubling ruling from the Supreme Court.
On the same subject, Rod Dreher says this: “The bottom line, it seems to me, is that the Supreme Court will never let any state restriction stand meaningfully in the way of the Sexual Revolution. Ever. No federalism, no democracy, not when it comes to defending the Sexual Revolution.”
“We all lie to our kids. Sometimes it’s on purpose and for what we deem a good purpose. Sometimes it’s because we so want them to believe something, to feel better, to overcome a challenge, or to work through pain that we will say anything to try to help. Sometimes it’s because we’re idiots and just don’t realize what we’re doing. Here are seven of the most common lies parents tell kids.”
This is a great word from Iain Hamilton. “In no sense am I denigrating passionate debate or seeking to downgrade the importance of doctrinal accuracy. I am, however, pleading for theological debate between brothers that is courteous without being anodyne, passionate without being derogatory, Catholic spirited without being partisan.”
Charlene Nelson shares a blog and poem that come from past the end of her rope.
I recently recorded a podcast with Calvinist Batman. Yes, Calvinist Batman. You can listen in here.
This Day in 1851. 165 years ago today, Eliza E Hewitt, American Presbyterian church worker and devotional author was born. Four of her hymns still endure. Had she never been bed-ridden, she might not have written them. Among the best known are: “Give Me Thy Heart, Says the Father Above,” “Sunshine in My Soul,” and “Will there be any Stars in My Crown?” *
Here’s a brief clip from TGC.
Danny Hyde: “Since theological seminaries have recently held graduations and a new class of students will soon enter, I thought it would be a fun exercise to write a post on ‘the learned Doctor’ William Ames’ advice to theological students.”
Seven years ago today I was reflecting on attrocities and assuring myself and others that death is no escape from justice.
If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up. –C.H. Spurgeon
Christian Headlines Daily –
Our Time is Short
What is The Gospel?
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
The Gospel In A Nutshell
Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.
Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl
Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:
Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:
1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension
Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:
1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.
2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.
3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.
4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).
5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.
That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.
That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints
Notice all the Scripture references!
It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).
The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).
In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).
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More sobering polls have emerged recently further proving America’s downward spiral. Our decline has been so gradual many of us did not notice – or did not want to notice – how the lines of acceptable behavior have shifted and the standards of morality have plummeted – even among professing Christians.
A friend of mine who works on several farms came over recently to help me get a nice garden started. He emphasized the importance of tilling the ground, fertilizing and possibly erecting a small fence to protect the garden. But even before starting the work, he evaluated the land in order to find the best location and soil.
Not only have we failed to protect our spiritual and national heritage, but due to a generally lukewarm church, America has been easy, fertile ground for enemies of God to cultivate, plant and water seeds of immorality. They have taken…
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In this essay, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. weighs in on the recent trinitarian controversy and the meaning of heresy. Mohler writes:
“Orthodoxy is, in part, an act of humility. Faithful Christianity in this generation means believing and teaching what faithful Christians have always affirmed as taught in Scripture. G. K. Chesterton captured this spirit when he quipped: ‘Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.'”
Who doesn’t want a happy and successful life? It’s what we love about the American Dream. Work hard enough and you can enjoy many prosperous and comfortable days. While there is nothing wrong with hard work and nice things, many who have faith in Jesus Christ have confused the plans that God has for us with the world’s definition of prosperity. We then get discouraged when life is hard, and God’s plans don’t seem good.
Recently, my family experienced some devastating events that have resulted in a drastically different outlook for the future than the one I had previously envisioned. Some good things I felt certain would be mine were suddenly wrenched out of my grasp. In these moments when I’m tempted to get discouraged about the evil I see prevailing in my own life, I’ve found I need to go back and take a good look at what God has revealed about his agenda for me in his word, the Bible.
The Right Context
Like many Christians, in hard times I have found myself considering Jeremiah 29:11, which says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It is reassuring in the midst of trouble to know that God has a plan for us, and that it is a good one. But while these words written specifically to the exiled nation of Israel are not untrue regarding the modern day Christ-follower, stripped of their original context they can be confusing and unhelpful.
Furthermore, there is a danger in holding on to our own idea of what the Lord’s plans for our welfare, future, and hope include. Instead, we need to let the whole of God’s Word define his planned goodness to us. Our Lord has been very clear in the New Testament about his intentions regarding those who have come to faith in his Son. And as we continue to place our trust in him, we begin to see that these plans are deeper and more satisfying than even our own ideas about “the good life.”
The following 20 verses have helped me gain a clearer grasp of how God plans to provide for my welfare, future, and hope. They have changed my perspective on my circumstances and helped me to grow in gratitude for Jesus and the gospel of salvation that, by faith, has made these promises mine.
God’s Plan Regarding Your Welfare
1. The Lord will provide for your daily needs like food, housing, and clothing.
Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
2. The Lord will provide you with the help of the Holy Spirit, so you are never alone.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)
3. The Lord will provide you the way out of temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
4. The Lord will provide you with his joy.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)
5. The Lord will provide you with what you need to do his will.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
6. The Lord will provide you with spiritual strength.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being. (Ephesians 3:14,16)
7. The Lord will provide you with eternal protection.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
8. The Lord will provide you with great blessings that will correspond with things lost.
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
9. The Lord will provide you with a chosen role in his body, the church.
But as it is, God arranged all the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
God’s Plan Regarding Your Future
10. The Lord promises that one day you will be with him.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
11. The Lord promises that one day his work in you will be complete.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
12. The Lord promises that one day you will be like Jesus.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
13. The Lord promises that one day you will see his face.
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)
14. The Lord promises that one day he will wipe away every tear from your eyes.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
God’s Plan Regarding Your Hope
15. The Lord gives you hope that you have a rich inheritance.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:16-18)
16. The Lord gives you hope that the promise of the gospel is securely laid up for you in heaven.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel. (Colossians 1:3-5)
17. The Lord gives you hope that death is not the end.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
18. The Lord gives you hope that you are not destined for wrath, but salvation.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10)
19. The Lord gives hope that you have been born again to a new life, one day to be revealed.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
20. The Lord gives hope that you have seen God manifest in Jesus.
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:21)
Everything We Need
Does this list encourage you? Indeed, in Christ, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). And he will continue to provide for us richly until the day we see him face to face in glory. Because we have been promised abundant and eternal life that is secure in heaven waiting for us, we can be confident that nothing that could bring us lasting eternal harm can touch us.
Personally, I know his agenda concerning me is good because he sent Jesus to earth to live and die and rise again so that, by faith, I might know him and be with him forever. While my circumstances may be painful, he is working out his desire that I grow up into the image of his Son, put off my old sinful destructive ways, and find my satisfaction in him above all else. The evil I see prevailing in my own life is an opportunity to hold tighter to these promises, longing for the day when all of God’s good plans will come to their righteous fulfillment.
In Jesus, our God has provided a way for us to live the life we were created for: to glorify and enjoy him forever. And that, my friends, is his truly good plan for our lives.
How have you seen God’s good agenda at work in your life?
The post 20 Verses About God’s Plan for Your Welfare, Future, and Hope appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.
1 Samuel 2:22-29; Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 29:15
by Cameron Buettel
Parenting is never easy. Nobody in this fallen world has mastered it.
And when it comes to raising children in the fear of the Lord, fathers shoulder the greatest biblical responsibility—being accountable to God as the heads of their homes (Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4–5).
The need to learn and grow in the role of fatherhood never ceases, and Scripture is our richest source of parental wisdom. It offers clear instruction and furnishes us with powerful role models.
And it’s not just the good dads that we can learn from. In fact, the bad dads of the Bible may well teach the most profound lessons of all.
Eli is certainly a prime example. He was a priest and judge over Israel during one of the lowest points in its history—at the end of the era of judges, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Eli’s life is a great lesson for us because his key failure was a relatively obscure sin that runs rampant in the church today—a passive approach to parenting.
Eli was no reprobate. He had good desires for the people of Israel (1 Samuel 1:17), reverence for God (1 Samuel 3:18), and a hatred of evil (1 Samuel 2:22–24). But his hatred of evil didn’t produce any active response—at least as far as his sons were concerned. His passive approach brought disastrous results for his family and the nation of Israel. Along the way he displayed a severe deficiency in three critical qualities that all fathers need.
Failure to Discern
John MacArthur was once asked “what is the greatest need in the church today?” He responded directly and succinctly: “It’s simple for me to answer that. The biggest problem in the church today is the absence of discernment.” And Eli’s life is proof that the lack of discernment is not an exclusively modern problem.
Eli accused a pious woman (Hannah) of drunken behavior because she prayed silently in the tabernacle (1 Samuel 1:12–14). But he was seemingly oblivious to his own sons who were abusing their priestly office by fornicating (1 Samuel 2:22) and stealing sacrifices (1 Samuel 2:12–17) right under his nose!
Eli eventually did confront his sons. But it was only after their wicked conduct became common knowledge among the Israelites:
Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. He said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the Lord’s people circulating. If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the Lord desired to put them to death. (1 Samuel 2:22–25)
Fathers need discernment. An aversion to conflict and the concealing of sin can temporarily hide the truth, but eventually the sin will bear undeniable consequences.
However, discernment only identifies the issue. Once sin is identified it must also provoke swift and decisive action.
Failure to Discipline
Eli may have confronted his sons (though under duress) but he never took any disciplinary action against them. He may have thought he had a loving attitude towards his sons, but Scripture says it was a practical hatred: “He who witholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24).
Remember Solomon’s counsel: “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death” (Proverbs 19:18). “While there is hope” suggests that there comes a time when it is too late for the disciplinary process to do any good. In the case of Eli, he was very old by the time he confronted his sons. And he only did so because of the grievous testimonies he heard among the Israelites. Moreover, the concluding warning of the proverb—“do not desire his death”—is not some empty divine threat. Consider the concluding and soon to be fulfilled words of 1 Samuel 2:25: “The Lord desired to put them to death.”
Furthermore, the behavior of Eli’s sons is exactly what the Bible warns will happen if fathers don’t discipline their children: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who sets his own way brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).
Eli’s disapproval of his son’s behavior was meaningless because he didn’t back it up with discipline. In fact, his passive attitude toward their sin revealed a lack of passion for his God. And God sent a prophet to confront Eli about his passive parenting: “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of my people Israel?” (1 Samuel 2:29).
A failure to discipline children demonstrates a lack of love for them, and even more disturbingly, a lack of love for God.
Failure to Divide
A former pastor of mine once told me about attending a housewarming party for a couple who were living in sin. When I questioned him about why he would support such an event, he responded: “I made it clear to them that my presence there was not an endorsement of their lifestyle.” That pastor may not have verbally endorsed their sexual immorality, but he was certainly sending the message that it wasn’t that big a deal to him.
In the same way, Eli’s delayed objections to his sons’ behavior ring hollow. God had rebuked Eli, asking him why do you “honor your sons above me?” (1 Samuel 2:29). God equated Eli’s passive approach with “kick[ing] at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded.” The outrageous scandal of Eli’s ministry was that he failed to make a clear separation—a division between the priesthood and his disqualified sons.
Eli allowed his sons to continue ministering as priests in the Lord’s house. How could he claim to represent God among the Israelites while he repeatedly ignored the blasphemy of his sons as they abused their priestly office? And Eli’s passivity was not a temporary failing in his life. It lingered well into his old age (1 Samuel 2:22) while his sons maintained a relentless pattern of blasphemous conduct—worthy of death according to Mosaic law.
I believe Eli’s overweight physique (1 Samuel 4:18) also reveals his failure to divide from the sinful activities of his sons. While he paid lip service to abhorring their sin, it seems he willingly partook of the spoils. Scripture does not make a definitive connection, but the mention of Eli’s weight implies his willing indulgence in eating the meat sacrifices that his sons were stealing. God included Eli with his sons by saying, “making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of my people Israel” (1 Samuel 2:29, emphasis added).
Eli’s story teaches us that the opposition of evil must extend beyond righteous rhetoric. It also demands division with those who persist in their iniquity. The apostle Paul reminds us:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? . . . “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean.” (2 Corinthians 6:14–17)
Eli failed to discern his sons’ sins, failed to discipline them for it, and failed to divide himself from their wicked activities. There is no happy ending to his story. God’s judgment came to pass: He used a pagan army as His instrument of wrath to put Eli’s sons to death—along with thirty thousand Israelite soldiers. Then Eli collapsed and died when he heard news of the carnage (1 Samuel 4:10–18).
It’s possible to take the Eli approach to child rearing without such a large death toll, but Scripture reminds all who tread his path that precious souls are always at stake: “You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:14).
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God’s Word provides a rich catalog of amazing promises of what prayer can do.
One such Bible verse is James 5:14-15, which says,
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
Does that mean that God will always grant our prayers as long as we believe? How are we to use these great prayer promises?
Some Christians have become confused and perplexed over how to use these promises. Let me paint a picture of a heart-breaking situation I have seen many times:
A loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness, so the family and friends of this person begin to pray. Over time the sickness gets worse, and someone says, “If only we had enough faith, we could move the hand of God, and the answer would be given.”
There’s an increasing sense that life and death lay in the hands of those who pray. Faith is no longer a matter of trusting God. It’s about convincing ourselves that the outcome we’re asking for is going to happen.
And if the outcome doesn’t go our way, we blame ourselves: “If I had greater faith, he would still be alive.” That’s a crushing burden. Or we resent God: “If God really cared, if he ever listened, my loved one would still be here.” This too is a crushing burden.
Either way we have put ourselves in the place of God, and whenever we try to take the place of God, we take on a burden that not one of us are able to bear.
What Does It Mean to Pray with Faith?
I want to show you from the Bible that faith prays in two ways: Faith prays with assurance, and faith prays with submission. These two kinds of prayer are given to us for different situations. It is important that we know how to use them and that we learn to distinguish between them.
1. Faith prays with assurance when God has made the outcome known.
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. (James 5:17)
James gives us an example of this from the story of Elijah. It was a time of great idolatry, as people were worshiping Baal, and Elijah prayed that it would not rain. You can read the story in 1 Kings 17-18.
He must have been sure that what he prayed would happen, because 1 Kings tells us Elijah went into the court of the tyrant, King Ahab, and said, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). You have to be pretty sure of the answer to your prayer to speak like that to the king.
Elijah knew that what he prayed would happen. We know by observing what happened three and a half years later:
After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab and I will send rain on the land.” (1 Kings 18:1)
God says to Elijah, “There will be rain.” On the basis of that promise, Elijah speaks to Ahab and then begins to pray. God revealed what he was going to do, so when Elijah prayed, he had great confidence that what he prayed would happen.
That’s how it happened when the rains returned, and I think it is reasonable to assume that it happened the same way three years earlier when the rains stopped. God told Elijah what would happen, and so Elijah prayed with great assurance (1 Kings 18:42).
The story of Elijah is an illustration:
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. (James 5:14-15)
I want you to notice four things here:
1. The initiative is with the sick person, not the elders.
2. The sick person is not required to call for the elders. He or she is permitted to do so.
3. God may use this occasion to give to one of the elders, or to the person who is sick, an assurance of the outcome, so that they are able to pray in the same way as Elijah did.
4. It seems to me that a person should consider calling for the elders if and when they sense that it may be the purpose of God to intervene in their life with a gift of healing.
Let me tell you about one occasion where I saw this kind of prayer myself. There was a lady who worshiped in the church I served for 16 years in London, with her husband, son and daughter-in-law. She was diagnosed with cancer, and she asked the elders to come and pray with her.
I went to her home with another elder. I remember it well. It was Christmas Eve. I said to her, “I will anoint you with oil and then we will pray. If you want to pray too, feel free to do so.” I anointed her with oil, and then began to pray. Then the other elder prayed.
Finally, the lady began to pray. She had attended the weekly prayer meeting with remarkable regularity. I had never heard her pray before, and I never heard her pray again. But on this occasion I did, and I can only say that God gave her a gift of faith.
As she prayed, she was given a confidence, an assurance that God would heal her, and he did. I tell you this story because I was able to hear the doctors’ reports and to observe what happened for years afterward. The lady was remarkably healed.
I have no other explanation for what happened but that the Holy Spirit gave her a special assurance of the outcome of her prayer, so that she was able to pray in the way that James describes here, a prayer of faith.
I smile when I think about this because I suspect she thought God would give the gift of faith to the elders. There is no doubt in my mind that God gave it to her. She was given a prompting of the Spirit that this was God’s purpose in her life, and it enabled her to pray with great assurance.
The “prayer of faith” in James 5:15 is not faith that is somehow worked up. It is a gift that comes down (Ephesians 2:8-9).
2. Faith prays with submission when God has kept the outcome hidden.
This is how faith prays in all the situations where you simply do not know what the outcome will be. You apply for a job, but there is no special promise of Scripture that you will get it, and you may have no special prompting of the Spirit about it. The outcome has not been made known. So, faith prays with submission.
The extraordinary thing is that this kind of prayer is equally effective. It is not that these two kinds of prayer are greater and lesser. It is certainly not that one involves faith and the other does not. These two kinds of prayer are given to us for different situations. Let me give you two examples of this second kind of praying:
Example #1: The man with leprosy
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Mark 1:40)
From the man’s prayer it is clear that he knows Christ can heal him: “You can make me clean.” There is no doubt there. What he does not know is if it is Christ’s purpose to make him clean: “If you are willing…”
He does not know what the outcome will be. To ask with assurance would be presumption. So, he asks with submission, and in this way he honors Christ. Then we read, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’” (Mark 1:41).
This is not an inferior kind of praying. Faith prays with assurance when God has made the outcome clear, and with submission when God has kept the outcome hidden. This is the appropriate way of praying when we do not have a promise of Scripture, or a prompting of the Spirit with regards to God’s purpose in a particular situation.
Example #2: The Apostle Paul
There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. (2 Corinthians 12:7)
You would think the outcome is absolutely clear. Paul is doing God’s work, and he is being tormented by this particular trouble. Satan is actively involved, so surely we know God’s will here. Paul begins to pray: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me” (v. 8).
No one should accuse the apostle Paul of lacking faith: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord…” This is the apostle pouring himself into intercession. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (v. 9).
Paul’s faith is expressed, not in assurance of the outcome, but in submission to the outcome.
The greatest example of praying with faith in all of Scripture is in the Garden of Gethsemane when our Lord says, “Abba, Father…everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). That’s faith: glorifying God by submitting to his purpose.
Pray with Submission in What God Has Kept Hidden
Cultivate humility in your praying. You may ask, and you may plead, as Paul did, but always remember you are asking, not commanding:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
Pray with Assurance for What God Has Revealed
Cultivate boldness in your praying. God may make his purpose known either through a promise of Scripture or through a prompting of the Spirit.
When God has spoken a clear promise that is for all people, you do not need to say, “If it be your will.” You can pray with great assurance. The Scripture is full of such promises. The Bible is like a field of buried treasure, and prayer digs up the promises of God.
When you come to ask for the strength, power, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, you do not need to say, “Father, give me your Holy Spirit, if it be your will.” He has already told you what his will is.
The promises of God open the door to a faith that prays with great assurance and boldness: “Let us…come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Today, in what ways will you pray with assurance and/or submission?
- Three Biblical Practices for Prayer
- For People Who Are Scared to Pray
- How to Pray in the Position of a Servant
George Whitefield, the famed 18th century evangelist known for crossing the Atlantic Ocean thirteen times, was an instrumental figure in the Great Awakening period of American Church History. Also known as the “Grand Itinerant”, Whitefield was unique in comparison to the contemporaries of his day with his open-air preaching methods to crowds upwards of 20,000 people.
He was a passionate proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, urging lost souls to be born again. Yet he remained fully committed to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation throughout the entirety of his ministry.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that for Whitefield, there was no contradiction between believing the doctrine of God’s divine sovereignty in salvation and diligently proclaiming the gospel to the lost as a bold evangelist.
Two key facets can be highlighted: (1) the source of his doctrine and (2) the example of his ministry.
The Source of His Doctrine
First, consider the source of his doctrine. This grand preacher was born on 1714 in Gloucester, England. In 1732 he began attending Oxford and it was there that he met Charles and John Wesley. After cultivating a relationship with the Wesley brothers, Charles gave George a copy of The Life of God in the Soul of a Man, written by a Puritan named Henry Scougal. It was through Whitefield’s reading of this book that he was stirred to consider what it means to truly be born again.
In 1735, God granted Whitefield new birth in his soul and he began diligently reading the Scriptures, along with Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Bible. It was through the reading of Scripture that Whitefield came to affirm what is known as the doctrines of grace or Calvinism. This was not a system that he was taught to adhere to but something he learned from the Bible. “I embrace the Calvinistic scheme,” he wrote, “not because Calvin, but Jesus Christ has taught it to me” (cited from Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield, 69).
The source of his doctrine was not solely from the Reformers and Puritans but from his own careful reading of Scripture. With his own pen he explained, “I believe God, His Spirit has convinced me of our eternal election by the Father through the Son, of our free justification through faith in His blood, of our sanctification as the consequence of that, and of our final perseverance and glorification as the result of all” (Letters of George Whitefield, 129).
From that statement alone it is clear that he was taught from the Scriptures that God elects individuals unto salvation and preserves them in the faith.
In another letter, Whitefield penned these words:
This, however, is my comfort, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday today, and forever.” He saw me from all eternity; He gave me being; He called me in time; He freely justified me through faith in His blood; He has in part sanctified me by His spirit; He will preserve me underneath His everlasting arms, til time shall be no more. Oh the blessedness of these evangelical truths! These are indeed gospel; they are glad tidings of great joy to all that have ears to hear.” (Letters of George Whitefield, 98)
These doctrines of grace were a great comfort to Whitefield. He did not attempt to change his conviction on these doctrines because they would be a hindrance to his evangelistic efforts. Whitefield was a man of the Bible and allowed the Bible to speak for itself on matters of the sinfulness of man and the sovereignty of God.
Whitefield knew that God had graciously saved him and that he had the personal responsibility to proclaim this message of Christ crucified to others wherever he went. Steve Lawson helpfully states “It was the doctrines of grace that ignited his soul with holy compulsion to reach the world with the message of Christ” (Steven Lawson, The Evangelist Zeal of George Whitefield, 49).
The Example of His Ministry
Whitefield crossed the Atlantic Ocean 13 times to preach the good news of Christ crucified for sinners. He was thoroughly motivated to proclaim the gospel to everyone who would listen.
During this period in American Church history, there was great dullness among Christians of the day. Edward Nindie recounts “To be sure, many of the clergy and of the laity led lives that were morally correct, and were everywhere regarded as exemplary Christians, but they were held in the grip of the chill formalism which was abroad in the land” (Edward Nindie, George Whitefield, Prophet-preacher, 90).
Whitefield’s preaching, along with that of men like Jonathan Edwards, was used by God to bring about the Great Awakening. At this time the current pattern of formalism was confronted and many souls were saved in the American colonies. True revival began to take place throughout New England.
Whitefield spent nearly 35 years preaching both in England and in the American colonies. This prolonged example of the faithful ministry of Whitefield serves as a testimony to his passion for Christ and commitment to biblical doctrine. He never saw the doctrines of grace as a deterrent to preaching the gospel to as many people as he could.
The reality of God’s sovereignty in salvation does not negate the Christian’s personal responsibility to proclaim the gospel. This is clearly seen in Whitefield’s faithful example. From his study of Scripture, he believed both that God was sovereign and that he was commanded to go and make disciples by proclaiming Christ crucified.
What relevance does this bear for ministry in the church today? A belief in the doctrines of man’s total depravity and God’s sovereign election need not hinder personal evangelism. Whitefield’s example serves as a motivation for Christians today.
Scripture clearly teach that God is sovereign over all things including the salvation of sinners. Additionally, Christians are commanded to speak the gospel message to others. These two principles are not incompatible. The biblical teaching on God’s sovereign grace ought to fuel and motivate believers to evangelize with confidence, placing their unwavering trust in His power over the salvation of souls.
Believers are called to be faithful, like Whitefield, to sow the seed of the gospel and trust the Lord with the harvest. There need not be a contradiction between having an exalted view of God and diligently laboring to reach lost souls. Christians must be faithful to sow the seed but trust in the Lord who gives the growth. This is the great pattern displayed through the life and ministry of the Calvinistic evangelist, George Whitefield.
Harvest America, with Greg Laurie, is coming to AT&T stadium near my house. This has sparked a lot of conversation lately for me. The conversation tends to end the same way each time. It ends with a question similar to this one, “If there are people that get saved what is wrong with calling people to walk an aisle and pray the sinner’s prayer?” I have had responses like this, “What does it matter if only a low percentage is saved that actually come forward if people are getting saved?” Other statements have gone like this, “If God saves people at these conferences it seems to be of God right?”
Before I go any further let me just say that, “It does seem that some fruit has come out of the Harvest Crusades.” I rejoice at the people that God saved out of these events despite what they do at the end!
Now, if people are getting saved from this crusade what is the problem? The problem is not with the people who are getting saved but with the false conversion it makes. Events like this make so many people believe they were saved because they made a decision. In a 1990 interview with PBS, Billy Graham thought that only about 25% of those who come forward at one of his events actually became a Christian. Not too bad right? In recent years, studies have shown that only 3% to 6% of people who “come forward” at an evangelistic crusade are any different in their beliefs or behavior one year later. Looks like 25% was a little too high of a guess.
What are the opposite numbers or statics of those who are false converts? By Billy Graham’s calculation, it would be 75% and by recent studies, it would be 97% to 94%. This is why I wrote this. Just look at the percentage of people who go forward that become false converts or fall away. Here is a Question to ask yourself. If your method of calling people to respond to the gospel is giving people false hope and does not save should you really do it? Where is the altar call or sinners prayer in the bible? If these things are not biblical why would you do it?
Paul Washer said, “Most people today in our churches are lost, and they demonstrate that they are lost because their entire Christianity is nothing more than, ‘They made a decision.’” Where in the bible does it say we are born again from a decision we make? I know it might look like the small percentage that went forward were saved by a decision but is that really the case? Faith is a gift of God. (Eph 2:8-9) Faith comes by hearing. (Rom 10:17) The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. (Rom 1:16) We find out, by Jesus, a correct response to the gospel is to “Repent and Believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Let’s us go back to the thought of did the people going forward get saved by what they did? To have an action one must have a cause. The gospel is what God uses to save people through His Holy Spirit. God seems to be the cause by giving people the gift of faith through hearing the gospel. In Mark 1:15, Jesus seems to be making a command. He does not seem to be saying, ” Just make a decision” or “Walk up here to me and be saved.” Jesus is telling people their response must be to, “repent and believe the gospel.”
So, would I recommend going to this crusade? I would not. The reason is simply because of the false conversion it causes. Without getting into the details of Greg’s soteriology, I cannot recommend this event simply on the basis of how they call people to respond to the gospel. If you are taking friends to this, please explain to them that one is only saved if they repent and believe the gospel. The object of a person’s faith should be Jesus, not something they did!
To Greg Laurie: Please look at the number of false converts that come out of things like this! I rejoice with how God is saving some of the people who go to your events! It is, however, sad that many people are given a false hope by you that they are saved. Where in the bible does it tell us we are supposed to tell people they are saved? Where in the bible does it give us an example prayer to pray to be saved? Please think about these things. Please call people to repent and believe the gospel and leave it at that.
[Guest Post by Jeremy Roten]
See also: John MacArthur withdraws endorsement of Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade.
(June 22, 2016 – Update: This article has been updated to include the following comments from Phil Johnson of Grace To You. They are included with his permission. The original article continues following the screen shot below.)
Greg Laurie’s promotion of his Harvest Ministries upcoming crusade in Georgia, scheduled for September 23-25, 2016, has included endorsements from numerous “church” luminaries. It now has one less such endorsement.
Laurie’s website had previously included a glowing endorsement from none other than John MacArthur. Yes, that John MacArthur – mixed in with the sorts of fellows that one would not normally associate with the doctrinally astute, Biblically-solid teaching from the pastor known to millions from his Grace To You ministry.
The endorsement, that actually appears to be a legitimate endorsement from a 1996 crusade, (you know, before it was abundantly clear that Greg Laurie wasn’t a solid expositor of God’s Word, to say the least), read:
I want to invite you to be a part of the Harvest Crusades — a wonderful opportunity for you to bring friends who will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ presented by Pastor Greg Laurie. I believe God has His hand on this man, and I believe that the Word of God which he preaches is clear and penetrating. I want to encourage you that this is an opportunity for you to touch the life of someone for eternity. Bring them, and let them sit under the anointed preaching of God’s Word and the gospel of Christ.
The charismatic, baptism of the Holy Spirit, inclinations of Laurie seem well-fitted for the many other spurious spiritual hucksters lending their names and faces to the endorsement efforts of this crusade. But when you see John MacArthur listed next to guys like Robert Morris or Rick Warren or Ronnie Floyd (gotta say, my own heart skipped a beat at that!) something is amiss. (That or else the whole “Strange Fire” conference was grossly misunderstood! For more on Laurie, see HERE and HERE and HERE.)
Today, however, Pulpit & Pen received emailed confirmation from Grace To You that the Harvest Crusades website endorsements have been edited to delete MacArthur’s long outdated endorsement–at the request of Grace To You.
Hmmm. How did John MacArthur’s “endorsement” end up on Laurie’s site to begin with, only to be later removed by JMac’s request? It appears that since Laurie has lost his own credibility with MacArthur, that he’s attempted to hijack MacArthur’s credibility–ostensibly against his will.
What’s up over there in Laurie-land? Spurious endorsements intended to garner apparent, though illicit, approval for what can only be seen as a doctrinally worrisome ministry seems to have prompted a bit of Internet hocus-pocus from Laurie’s folks. Wonder if they even prayed about it first?
We at Pulpit & Pen are grateful to John MacArthur and Grace To You for responding to our query about what we now know was an improper endorsement by Greg Laurie and Harvest Crusades. We’re equally grateful that the spiritual truth that nothing can be reaped that has not first been sown has been beautifully illustrated in this little Laurie-led endorsement scandal.
There simply is no fruit when attempting to “harvest” what was never sown. And that just confirms, perhaps, what Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:16)
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]
The video is here:
I have read and listened and watched a lot of material on intelligent design, but I have never seen so much value packed into such a short lecture. I really hope you’ll watch this and that it’s helpful to you.
- the big question when discussing the origin of life: where did the information in living systems come from?
- Until 530 million years ago, the oceans were largely devoid of life
- In a 10 million year period, many new forms of animal life emerged
- New biological forms of life require new information
- the discovery of DNA shows that living systems work because cells have information that allows them to build the components of molecular machines: cell types, proteins, etc.
- can random mutation and natural selection create new functional information?
- normally, random mutations tend to degrade the functionality of…
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by Mike Ratliff
9 “I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.
10 “A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9,10 NASB)
Before we look at Revelation 20:11-15, take a moment to reflect on the carnage being wrought upon the visible church in our time by the very men who, by their own positions, should be shepherding the sheep. Instead, they are actually doing the very things to bring about the famine of hearing the Word of God and, hence, spiritual darkness seems to be all…
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On Sunday, I made the following assertion during an interview on the Fox News Channel:
“There’s no question that the vast majority of Muslims — 1.6 billion Muslims in the world — are not violent. They’re not dangerous. They’re not a threat. But all the polling shows that between 7% and 10%, roughly, of the Islamic world does believe in suicide bombings, does support the Islamic State’s violence, does support al Qaeda. So this is a problem because in a world of 1.6 billion Muslims, that’s upwards of 160 million people who could be recruited and drawn into violence in the United States or around the world.”
A number of you have asked for the data behind such an assertion. So let me explain the sources I’ve used over the years to develop a rough estimate of the number of Muslims that could reasonably be considered “Radicals.” Let’s start with data from 2007. Then…
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Pastor Bill Randles writes:
What would you think of a Bible school that sends young people out to literally prostrate themselves on the graves of deceased preachers so that the students can absorb “the anointing” that lingers on the graves? What about a church in which a mist containing feathers, gold, and jewel dust descends on the worshippers in the sanctuary? How about a church conference which features prophetic “tattoo readings” as one of the workshops?
What would you expect of a church which is a combination of the Word of Faith error and the prosperity gospel of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, the signs and wonders of Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, the false assumptions of the “spiritual warfare” and hyper-deliverance movement, the “prophetic movement,” and the gnostic mysticism of the Toronto Blessing?click here to continue reading Pastor Randles’ booklet
My Child ~
You may not know me, but I know everything about you ~ Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up ~ Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways ~ Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered ~ Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image ~ Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being ~ Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring ~ Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived ~ Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation ~ Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book ~ Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live ~ Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made ~ Psalm 139:14
I knit you…
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Must we be in control? Are we the sorts of individuals who must have a plan for everything? In order to be content, must everything work according to our plan? Do we demand even the Sovereign God to submit to our plan?
Must we have clarity? If and when God chooses not to operate according to our plan, must we completely understand what he is thinking and doing? In order for us to be joyful and content, must we have reasons for his deviation, and must we know his end-game?
Friends, are we control freaks, or are we men and women who completely and contentedly trust God?
Brennan Manning, in his book entitled Ruthless Trust, writes these words:
The splendor of a human heart which trusts that it is loved gives God more pleasure than the Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, the sight of ten thousand butterflies…
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Slaying sin is the daily responsibility of the Christian, in submission to the Holy Spirit, Who is the mechanism for its effectual execution.
John MacArthur said that if you are comfortable with your spiritual growth, that is a very dangerous place to be. Dear Sister, if you’ve grown lax or complacent, as I tend to be from time to time, here are some resources for you to help you revive the urgency in our daily endeavor to kill the sin within us and to resist the temptations that come with it. And as Dr Barnhouse reminded us, when you flee sin, make sure that you’re running toward Christ.
This document was sourced from, drbrooker.net
I would especially encourage all who are interested
to go to this site and watch the accompanying videos.
The idea of law vs. grace is very significant to Christians…
…although not all Christians have been exposed to it. The idea would not be as familiar to a non-Christian, but it is reasonably plain for anyone to understand. Law is, of course, justice being served fairly, and grace is forgiveness of a law broken. These concepts appear in our lives on a daily basis, but when speaking about them in a biblical sense, they carry a bigger meaning.
The idea of grace replacing law through the acts of Christ is the message behind all of Christianity. It is also the concept that is most commonly adulterated by people. Before the work of Christ was put into motion, the biblical stance on the sinful nature of…
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William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Please don’t look away.
A life is eliminated every 26 seconds and since 1973, Americans have – by our silence – given the abortion industry our stamp of approval along with our tax dollars. The result is over 1.2 million abortions in the United States every year.
Americans have become so busy, comfortable, self-focused, and desensitized that human life has been devalued right under our collective noses.
…a new, deceptively marketed (as the ultimate chick-flick) Hollywood film, Me Before You, aspires to be sweetly romantic, but (movie spoiler alert!) ends up being a vulgar, maddening, frustrating movie that endorses euthanasia. Strong advocate for life, quadriplegic Joni Erickson Tada stated:
“This whole push to legalize assisted suicide across the United States is actually a push…
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