Daily Archives: June 4, 2013

Cindy Jacobs is a False Teaching Heretic

Zwinglius Redivivus

Self-proclaimed television prophet Cindy Jacobs recently warned people with Native

American heritage that they should “repent for their ancestors’ animism” because they are particularly vulnerable to evil spirits.

In an episode of her web series 10 Minute Prayer School last week, Jacobs said that the Leviathan spirit described in Job 41 was often the cause of “divorce, tribal wars, church splits, family feuds, sibling rivalries, ministries breaking up.”

“If you have in your bloodline any animus [sic], any Native American blood, for instance — not all Native Americans worshipped the serpent or crocodile, many did — but you might want to renounce that and repent for the generational iniquity,” she explained. “If you are — perhaps you’re Mexican and you might have indigenous blood in you or Mayan blood, those who have Aztec blood in any way, you need to repent for the sin of animism before you begin to…

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Obama’s Super Secret Treaty Which Will Push The Deindustrialization Of America Into Overdrive

Did you know that Barack Obama has been secretly negotiating the most important trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization? Did you know that this agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules, ban all “Buy American” laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore? If you have not heard about this treaty, don’t feel bad. Obama has refused to even give Congress a copy of the draft agreement and he has banned members of Congress from attending the negotiations. The plan is to keep this treaty secret until the very last minute and then to railroad it through Congress and have it signed into law by October. The treaty is known as “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and the nations that are reported to be involved in the development of this treaty include the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. Opponents of this treaty refer to it as “the NAFTA of the Pacific”, and if it is enacted it will push the deindustrialization of America into overdrive. (Read More….)

Idolizing Worship

As I’ve read through John 4 recently, I’ve begun to wonder if we have made an idol of the worship experience and missed our Lord’s ideal of true worship.

There’s a lot of growing I need to do in my personal understanding and practice of worship, but I wonder if by our American big concert and big screen mentality we may have done to worship what the movies have done to love and romance.

http://churchworksmedia.com/blog/13807401/idolizing-worship

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: What is epistemology?

Epistemology deals with the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. It addresses the questions, “What is knowledge?” “How is knowledge acquired?” “What do people know?” “How do we know what we know?” “Why do we know what we know?”

Epistemology is typically divided into two categories. The first, propositional knowledge, can be thought of “knowledge that” as opposed to “knowledge how.” In mathematics, for instance, it is knowledge that 1 + 1 = 2, but there is also knowledge of how to perform mathematics. The second is personal knowledge. Personal knowledge is gained experientially. For example, the theoretical knowledge of the physics involved in maintaining a state of balance when riding a bicycle cannot be substituted for the practical (personal) knowledge gained when practicing cycling.

Epistemology also deals with statements of belief. Knowledge entails belief, and so one’s statement of belief cannot conflict with one’s knowledge. Conversely, knowledge about a belief does not necessarily entail an endorsement of its truth. For example, “I know about the religion of Islam, but I do not believe in it,” is a coherent statement.

Belief is regarded as subjective, while truth is regarded as an objective reality, independent of the individual’s beliefs or experience. While one might well “believe” that atheism is true, such an inclination has no bearing upon whether atheism is really true. The truth stands as independent and transcendent of one’s beliefs and opinions concerning reality.

What is the foundation for epistemology? Science and deductive reason, by which means one may acquire knowledge, presupposes that the universe be logical and orderly and that it obeys mathematical laws consistent over time and space. Even though conditions in different regions of space can be radically diverse, there nonetheless exists an underlying uniformity.

The Christian—who believes in a transcendent causal reality—expects there to be order in the universe. Since the Bible teaches that God upholds all things by His power (Hebrews 1:3), the Christian expects the universe to behave in an orderly and rational fashion. Since God is omnipresent and consistent within himself, the Christian expects that all regions of the universe will obey the same laws, even though the physical conditions of different regions of the universe may be different.

God transcends time (2 Peter 3:8). Thus, even though conditions in the past may have been different from those now, the laws of nature are not subject to arbitrary change. The Christian has a foundation upon which to base his assumption that the universe is upheld in a consistent manner, and therefore has a basis upon which to gain knowledge.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Eternity: Are there different levels of Heaven?

The closest thing Scripture says to there being different levels of heaven is found in 2 Corinthians 12:2, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.” Some interpret this as indicating that there are three different levels of heaven, a level for “super-committed Christians” or Christians who have obtained a high level of spirituality, a level for “ordinary” Christians, and a level for Christians who did not serve God faithfully. This view has no basis in Scripture.

Paul is not saying that there are three heavens or even three levels of heaven. In many ancient cultures, people used the term “heaven” to describe three different “realms”—the sky, outer space, and then a spiritual heaven. Although the terms are not specifically biblical, these are commonly known as the terrestrial, telestial, and celestial heavens. Paul was saying that God took him to the “celestial” heavens, as in the realm in which God dwells. The concept of different levels of heaven may have come in part from Dante’s Divine Comedy in which the poet describes both heaven and hell as having nine different levels. The Divine Comedy, however, is a fictional work. The idea of different levels of heaven is foreign to Scripture.

Scripture does speak of different rewards in heaven. Jesus said regarding rewards, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). Jesus said that when He comes He will have with Him rewards to give to people on the basis of what they have done. This shows us that there will be a time of reward for believers. In 2 Timothy 4:7–8, we read the words of Paul as he closes out his ministry: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Only those works that survive God’s refining fire have eternal value and will be worthy of reward. Those valuable works are referred to as “gold, silver, and costly stones” (1 Corinthians 3:12) and are those things that are built upon the foundation of faith in Christ. Those works that will not be rewarded are called “wood, hay, and stubble;” these are not evil deeds but shallow activities with no eternal value. Rewards will be distributed at the “judgment seat of Christ,” a place where believers’ lives will be evaluated for the purpose of rewards. “Judgment” of believers never refers to punishment for sin. Jesus Christ was punished for our sin when He died on the cross, and God said about us: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). What a glorious thought! The Christian need never fear punishment, but can look forward to crowns of reward that he can cast at the feet of the Savior. In conclusion, there are not different levels of heaven, but there are different levels of reward in heaven.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Christianity: Are the teachings of Witness Lee and the Local Church biblical?

Witness Lee was the protege of his predecessor, Watchman Nee, a well-known missionary in China. The “Local Church” movement was founded in China by Nee and brought to America in 1962 by Witness Lee. Thus began a long and strange saga of charges, counter-charges, lawsuits, strife, and misunderstandings between the “local church” movement and the Evangelical community that has left much wreckage in its wake, and has yet to be fully resolved. Foremost in the controversy is whether the LC is a legitimate movement within Christianity or a cult. Statements made by Lee over the years have caused his organization to be described as a cult by such counter-cult organizations as the Christian Research Institute—under both founder Walter Martin and current president Hank Hanegraaff—and the Spiritual Counterfeits Project. However, a 50-page series of articles in a 2009 edition of the CRI Journal has come out strongly in favor of Lee’s teachings and the local church movement.

The history of the conflict between Witness Lee and his “local church” movement—also known as the “Lord’s Recovery Movement,” along with their publishing arm, Living Stream Ministry (LSM)—and the counter-cult establishment is far too long for a detailed recounting here, but those who are interested in the full story can access it through the CRI website http://journal.equip.org/issues/we-were-wrong. Since the publication of CRi’s retraction of their former stand, churches and ministries, including GotQuestions.org, have had to rethink and reinvestigate their stand on Witness Lee and the Local Church.

For the purposes of this article, the major causes of controversy between the Local Church and the Christian community in the West will be addressed. The concerns raised by counter-cult organizations about Lee’s teachings center primarily on four areas: the nature of God, the nature of man, the legitimacy of Evangelical churches and denominations, and the lawsuits brought against Evangelical churches, publishers and individuals by the Local Church. We will look at them one by one.

Regarding Lee’s views on the theological doctrines of God and man, the controversy centers around statements which are “red flags” to Evangelicals, particularly those in the West. This is an important factor to keep in mind in this discussion because it appears much of the controversy could have been avoided if only Lee and his followers had made an effort to understand the Western Christian culture into which they were moving. Part of the training of Western missionaries sent to foreign countries is sensitivity to other cultures. Unfortunately, in bringing their doctrines to the West, no effort was made to “Westernize” them, and this was the source of much of the confusion, misunderstandings, and recriminations that resulted. For one thing, Lee’s method of teaching—to make radical statements and then balance them elsewhere in his teachings—proved to be antithetical to the Western idea of “say what you mean and mean what you say.” Lee’s doctrinal statements on the nature of God and the nature of man are perfect examples. In one of his messages, he states: “The traditional explanation of the Trinity is grossly inadequate and borders on tritheism” (Life Messages, p. 164). Naturally, this is enough to inflame Western Evangelicals, who proudly affirm the doctrine of the Trinity as it has been passed down from the great theologians of our Western Christian heritage. To judge it to be “grossly inadequate” by Lee raised legitimate concerns about Lee himself. Closer scrutiny of the Lee’s teachings elsewhere, however, bring to light that they actually agree with, and can be squared with, Evangelical orthodoxy.

The same can be said of his teachings on the nature of man. Some of his most inflammatory statements are in regard to what appears, on the surface, to assert the deity of man. In an LSM publication, A Deeper Study of the Divine Dispensing (p. 54), Lee states “My burden is to show you clearly that God’s economy and plan is to make Himself man and to make us, His created beings, God.” On page 53 we read: “We are born of God; hence, in this sense, we are God.” In the same publication, Lee refers to the Triune God as now the “four-in-one” God, with man as the fourth person. Nothing raises a red flag to Evangelicals faster than any notion that man is God, because we are rightly taught that it is the original lie from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5) and is the same lie propagated by cults and false religions such as Hinduism, New Age, and Mormonism throughout history. To the Western mind at least, imparting the idea of any kind of godhood to those who struggle against the sin nature is disastrous. Western Christians, already steeped in the philosophy of freedom, autonomy, individuality, and the triumph of the human will—and the pride such thinking inevitably produces—need not be encouraged to see themselves as divine. But the CRI researchers found that a closer examination of context and terminology reveals that Lee’s views on the “deification” of man (another unfortunate choice of words and red flag term) do not really mean that at all. The sentence after the “in this sense, we are God” quote reads “Nevertheless, we must know that we do not share God’s Person and cannot be worshipped by others.” Herein lies the problem. In other words, putting the two statements together, Lee is essentially saying we are God, but we are not God. It is no wonder that confusion is rampant.

Regarding the third area of controversy, this is what Witness Lee has said in his own publications about Christians and Christianity: “We do not care for Christianity, we do not care for Christendom, we do not care for the Roman Catholic Church, and we do not care for all the denominations, because in the Bible it says that the great Babylon is fallen. This is a declaration. Christianity is fallen, Christendom is fallen, Catholicism is fallen, and all the denominations are fallen. Hallelujah!” Once again, Lee’s unfortunate choice of words, possibly due to English not being his native language, has caused consternation among American Evangelicals. To say that Christianity is fallen is seen as painting with a far-too-broad brush and accusing the entire of the body of Christ of being false and fallen creatures. But here again, we have to dig deeper to find what Lee really meant by that statement. Context and terminology are once again at the center of a true understanding of Lee’s doctrine. After careful and diligent examination, the CRI researchers came to the conclusion that Lee’s pattern of the use of “certain hot button words associated in our minds with heresy or cultism” has led to misunderstanding of his meaning.

As one of the LSM leaders expressed it, “We are not out to proclaim that the denominations are Babylon.” However, Lee’s own statement, quoted above, that “we do not care for all the denominations, because in the Bible it says that the great Babylon is fallen” seems a direct contradiction, whether intentional or not.

The fourth major area of controversy between Evangelicals and the Local Church centers on the number of lawsuits brought by the Local Church and LSM leadership against individuals and ministries that were critical of them, despite the clear New Testament teaching against suing a Christian brother (1 Corinthians 6:1–8). This led to allegations of a “history of litigiousness” on the part of the Local Church and charges that they forced some of their opposing ministries into bankruptcy by the litigation expenses they were forced to incur. This is a complicated situation that has gone on for more than a decade and the details—who sued who when and how often—are still in dispute among the parties. For a complete history of the litigants and legal decisions, the reader is once again referred to the CRI article.

Summing up the crux of the conflict, it would appear that both parties bear a share of the responsibility. Lee and the Local Church leadership do not share the Western heritage that has shaped the thought processes and approaches of the Westerners among whom they settled. English was not their first language, particularly of the early leaders, and both the cultural differences and language barrier led to much misunderstanding. At the same time, the Local Church’s distinctively Chinese approach to Christianity was so unfamiliar to Westerners that it smacked of cultism, whether or not any actually existed. The Local Church leadership was unaware of the impact the use of certain “hot button” words would have on cult-wary evangelicals in America, while Western Christians were unaware of the tremendous impact that labeling a group a cult had on the Chinese. The Local Church resisted any changes in their terminology and for the most part refused to provide contextual explanations for some of their doctrines, an unfortunate approach that led to even deeper rifts between the two sides. At the same time, the counter-cultists failed to be as thorough as they could have been in their research. Thus, both sides developed an “us vs. them” mentality which negatively influenced both their thoughts and actions.

What is the conclusion of the matter and what are Christians to believe about Witness Lee and the “Local Church” movement? Elliot Miller, editor-in-chief of the Christian Research Journal, declares at the end of the 50-page treatment “We were wrong” and concludes that the Local Church is not an “aberrant Christian group” but a “solid orthodox group of believers.” Since Got Questions Ministries has a cordial and respectful relationship with CRI, we have no doubt their conclusions are based on extensive and diligent research and are therefore valid. It is left to the individual Christian to decide whether the thousands of man-hours, not to mention the expense of defending the various parties in court, the decades of charges, defenses, counter-charges and acrimony have not been, at best, a waste of time and at worst, a blot on the face of Christianity. How much more profitable it would have been if the hundreds of people and thousands of hours had been dedicated to knowing, loving, and obeying Jesus Christ. No doubt the counter-cult organizations thought they were providing a much needed service to the Christian community. No doubt the Local Church and Living Streams Ministry felt they were justified in their quest to clear their names and set the record straight. But as alluded to above, much of the controversy could have been avoided in the first place by more careful attention by both sides to the details of cross cultural communication. The old saying “the devil is in the details” finds its verification in this sad situation. The fear is that the devil may have profited from this controversy more than the body of Christ and for that, all parties are culpable.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Baby boomers are killing themselves at an alarming rate, raising question: Why?

It has long held true that elderly people have higher suicide rates than the overall population. But numbers released in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a dramatic spike in suicides among middle-aged people, with the highest increases among men in their 50s, whose rate went up by nearly 50 percent to 30 per 100,000; and women in their early 60s, whose rate rose by nearly 60 percent (though it is still relatively low compared with men, at 7 in 100,000). The highest rates were among white and Native American and Alaskan men. In recent years, deaths by suicide has surpassed deaths by motor vehicle crashes.

http://m.washingtonpost.com/local/baby-boomers-are-killing-themselves-at-an-alarming-rate-begging-question-why/2013/06/03/d98acc7a-c41f-11e2-8c3b-0b5e9247e8ca_story.html

This Stock Market Omen Has Been Confirmed

So what is a Hindenburg Omen? It is the alignment of several technical factors that measure the underlying condition of the stock market — specifically the NYSE — such that the probability that a stock market crash occurs is higher than normal, and the probability of a severe decline is quite high. This omen has appeared before all of the stock market crashes, or panic events, of the past 29 years except one, except the mini-crash of July/August 2011

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/this-stock-market-omen-has-been-confirmed.html/?ref=YF

How Do I Know When it’s Time to Leave a Church?

You are not church hopping when you are seeking to find a new church home. It is obvious to me that when you find the “right” church, you will settle down and involve yourself in fellowship there. It may take a while to find the right church. Until you find one you are not hopping. You are searching. The difference between the two is significant.

How do you know when it is time to leave? Let me give you some things to consider:

1. You No Longer Respect The Pastor And His Leadership.

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What are anxiety disorders and how are they treated?

Anxiety is something that everyone experiences from time to time in their lives. It is also something that many people can fight off by various psychological strategies for e.g. telling ourselves that our fears are irrational, by prayer i.e. by “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), or simply by forcing ourselves to face our fears and push through them.

As a result of the universality of fear, I think many Christians struggle with accepting the idea of anxiety disorders as an illness. In fact anxiety disorders can be very severe, in common with the other major groups of disorders (depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Psychotic disorders).  What we are talking about here is anxiety that you can’t simply ignore or “pull yourself together” over. We are talking about anxiety that is crushing, that grips the heart, that can come on from nowhere, and that can be very disabling.

Anxiety disorders are subdivided as follows

Read More Here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock/2013/06/what-are-anxiety-disorders-and-how-are-they-treated/

World’s first GM babies born

The world’s first geneticallymodified humans have been created, it was  revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments  in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain  genes from three ‘parents’.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one  experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of  St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a  female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilised in an  attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they  have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.

The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated  them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them  on to their own offspring.

Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of  our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s  scientists.

Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races  of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high  intelligence.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-43767/Worlds-GM-babies-born.html

I Hate / Love Being Busy

Here’s a news flash: I’m busy.

Here’s another news flash: You are too.

We daily are rushing from this place to that, this appointment to that one, this activity to the next. We hurry, hurry, hurry until we finally drop at the end of a day and we lay down exhausted. While we might complain about the pace of our lives at a given moment, isn’t there that little piece of you that glories in your busyness? I know there is for me.

It’s not that having a full schedule is wrong necessarily. The Lord values work, and He values it a lot. We are to make the most of the talents we’ve been given, and part of doing so means that we are to be involved. My sense, though, is that the “love” part of my hate/love relationship with busyness is not so much about working as unto the Lord, but rather because of something else. Perhaps some deep seeded need that I am looking to my calendar to meet.

If you’ll permit me, I’d like to try and confront the true root of need for busyness:

1. I believe that busyness validates me.

When I am busy, it means I have things to do, people to meet with, and stuff to accomplish. I am needed; I am wanted. And if you don’t believe me, just look at my schedule. Based on my carefully color-coded appointment schedule you can observe for yourself just how important I am.

2. I fear I am missing out on something.

Surely if I am this busy, then I must be in the crowd. In the game. A part of the action. If I’m sitting idly, then I know that someone somewhere is doing something. And they are doing it without me. But if I’m rushing from place to place, it means I’m included. Sure, I’m not included in everything, but at least there is a reason I’m not – it’s that I was included somewhere else.

3. My busyness makes me more important than others.

Oh sure, I’ll pay lip service to those who walk at an unhurried pace, but in the end, I enjoy the fact that I’m sprinting passed them. It lets me know that I am actually doing something, and I can sit in judgment of those who at least appear to be doing less. Yeah for me.

You feeling that? That sinking feeling that I’m feeling as I look back at those appointments that were giving me such a feeling of superiority and importance? Here, too, is another reminder of how creatively deceptive our hearts can be. We can pack our schedules with things – even good things – and yet they can subversively become a manufactured substitute for that which only Jesus can truly bring.

Validation.

Justification.

Satisfaction.

Security.

There is no great action step associated with this post. No calendar clearing. No “5 Steps to an Uncluttered Life.” The truth is that these things that fill our days must be done. What I’m instead asking the Lord for today is the kind of perspective that allows them to be done courageously and wisely in light of my full acceptance as His Son. To do it that way instead of using my calendar (along with so many other things) as an attempt to fill my heart.

http://michaelkelleyministries.com/2013/06/i-hate-love-being-busy/

6 Pillars of a Christian View on Suffering

Ever since the ancient revolt, suffering has been woven, with perplexity and pain, into the fabric of human experience. We all live and move and have our being amid Eden’s wreckage. Affliction and evil—universal as they are real—haunt us, stalk us, plague us.

In a recent lecture delivered at Houston’s Lanier Theological Library titled “Going Beyond Clichés: Christian Reflection on Suffering and Evil” , Don Carson proposes six pillars to support a Christian worldview for stability through suffering. “A Christian worldview rests on huge, biblically established, theological frameworks—all of which have to be accepted all of the time,” the research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and author of How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil explains. “And this massive structure is stable and comprehensive enough to give you a great deal of stablility when you go through your darkest hours.” His proposed pillars aren’t cute musings, in other words, but crucial bulwarks.

After differentiating “natural” evil (e.g., tornados), “malicious” evil (e.g., sexual assault), and “accidental” evil (e.g., a bridge collapse)—and observing that this isn’t a uniquely Christian challenge (“No matter your worldview, you must face the reality of suffering and evil”)—Carson proceeds to reveal the six pillars.

Read More Here

Law and Grace are complementary, instead of contradictory

Reformedontheweb's Blog

Arthur PinkInstead of law and grace being contradictory, they are complementary. Both of them appeared in Eden before the Fall. What was it but grace which made a grant unto our first parents: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat”? And it was law which said, “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.” Both of them are seen at the time of the great deluge, for we are told that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8), as His subsequent dealings with him clearly demonstrated; while His righteousness brought in a flood upon the world of the ungodly. Both of them operated side by side at Sinai, for while the majesty and righteousness of Jehovah were expressed in the Decalogue, His mercy and grace were plainly evinced in the provisions He made in the whole…

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How do scholars conclude that the expression “whom Jesus loved” was John’s way of referring to himself?

Three obvious clues about John’s Gospel help identify the unnamed disciple who called himself the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).

Early church fathers invariably identify the apostle John as the author of this Gospel. John is frequently mentioned by the other Gospel writers as an active participant among the disciples of Jesus, yet John’s name is absent from the fourth Gospel.

If four people take a trip together and each carries a camera, the group-shots each person takes will naturally not include them. In fact, someone else could probably guess who took which pictures by which member of the group was absent. The Gospel of John functions this way—John’s absence by name shouts his presence.

As for his signature phrase, the words “whom Jesus loved” convey both a sense of the apostle’s humility and the depth of his relationship to Jesus. The phrase doesn’t mean that John thought of himself as the only disciple Jesus loved. It simply expresses with disarming honesty the wonder of this disciple over the fact that the Lord loved him!

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