Daily Archives: December 1, 2014

Amnesty executive action: illegal immigrants will get Social Security and Medicare

WINTERY KNIGHT

Washington Examiner reports.

Excerpt:

A new clash over retirement benefits has come to a head following President Obama’s decision to unilaterally protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation.

The White House now acknowledges that many of the illegal immigrants spared from deportation under Obama’s sweeping executive action will become eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits once they reach retirement age.

[…]However, Obama was less eager to wade into the debate about what to do with newly protected immigrants now paying into Social Security. He didn’t address the matter while outlining his immigration plan in a prime-time address to the nation, but White House aides later confirmed GOP suspicions about how Obama’s unilateral move would affect retirement benefits.

Analysts said that Republicans would use the admission to argue the president is misleading the public about the details of his immigration action.

“It is a bit of surprise,” said…

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“Prophetic & Pastoral”: Study notes on I Thessalonians (as prepared for recent conferences for Israeli & Palestinian pastors)

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

The church of the Thessalonians was planted during the Apostle Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey. The church of the Thessalonians was planted during the Apostle Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey.

Last month, several pastors and Joshua Fund colleagues and I had the joy of teaching through I Thessalonians, verse by verse and chapter by chapter. We did so at a conference of Israeli pastors and ministry leaders their wives (both Jewish and Arab) in an Israeli city, and at a conference of Palestinian pastors and ministry leaders and their wives in a West Bank city.

Amidst all the tensions between Jews and Arabs right now, it was so special to see us all come together as brothers and sisters in Christ for fellowship, refreshment, prayer, and the study of God’s powerful Word.

At the first conference, I gave an overview of the Epistle and taught through chapter one.

Here are my personal study notes. I hope you find them helpful.

I THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE: VERSE…

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How To Handle Temptation: Part 1 (James 1:13–16)

Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Serpent-and-AppleThe mature person is patient in trials. Sometimes the trials may be tests sent by God or they may be temptations sent by Satan, and encouraged by our own fallen nature. If we are not careful the testings on the outside may become temptations on the inside. It is this second aspect of trials—temptations on the inside—that James deals with in this section.

When our circumstances are difficult, we may find ourselves complaining against God, questioning His love, and resisting His will. At this point, Satan provides us with an opportunity to escape the difficulty. This opportunity is a temptation.

There are many illustrations of this truth found in the Bible. Abraham arrived in Canaan and discovered a famine there. He was not able to care for his flocks and herds. This trial was an opportunity to prove his devotion to God; but Abraham turned it into a temptation and…

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J.D. GREEAR: 10 Plumblines for Local Outreach (Part 1)

Ten years ago, as a church, we began to ask what it might look like to be a blessing to our city. We were studying through the book of Acts, and came to this passage in Acts 8: “The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing . . . so there was much joy in that city(Acts 8:6–8). When we asked ourselves if there was “much joy” in Raleigh-Durham as a result of our presence there, we believed the answer was “no.” So we resolved that with God’s help we would become a blessing to our city—to demonstrate Christ’s love to them, to bring his healing to the places in our city that needed him most.

We’ve grown a lot since that time, and I’ve seen God’s hand in so many stories of lives changed and communities impacted by Christ’s love on display. As I look to the future of our local outreach, I’m excited about what God will continue to do as he uses us to love, edify, and build up our community.

Over the next four days, I’ll be sharing the ten “plumblines” that our local outreach team has developed, the principles that make up our local outreach DNA. These plumblines represent our attempt to add some clarity as we continue following Christ into the darkest and most broken parts of our city.

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Twenty Ways to Answer A Fool [10]

hipandthigh

Does Christianity have a narrow view of morality and ignore real evils while accepting imaginary ones?

I return once again to examining the ramblings of Chaz Bufe, atheist, anarchist, Communist philosopher, and week-end blues guitar player.

He wrote up a tract entitled 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity. I have taken it upon myself to consider each one of his reasons in turn so as to determine if it is a legitimate reason or not. So far what I have discovered is a man who is bitter against the Roman Catholic Church and has self-inflicted blindness to the severe problems of his own chosen worldview of atheistic anarchy.

Points 11 and 12 are short and contain similar complaints, so I will consider each one in turn.

11. Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality. Christianity not only reduces, for all practical purposes, the question of morality to that…

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“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”- A Christian Perspective

J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason"

mockingjay-p1“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” is yet another blockbuster hit in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Here, I will reflect on a number of themes found in the movie, drawing out places the film resonates with the Christian worldview. There will be SPOILERS in what follows.

Social Contract?

The concept of a “social contract” theory of government is put forward by President Snow. At one point, he is speaking out for peace (ironically, while executing several prisoners), and his argument is that the Districts are in a contract with the Capitol, which is to provide “order” and justice.

The scene is deeply ironic–and meant to be. It shows what is inherently wrong in a system which relies upon a contract (in this case, one that a side is forced into) as the basis for morality. Simply having such a contract does not, in and of itself bring about a moral…

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Essential Truths of the Christian Faith: 1997 National Conference

Miscarriage, Disability, & God’s Glory

Did you have a miscarriage? Do you have a mentally or physically disabled child? Did you get pregnant when you were not planning to? What a comfort to know that no child is conceived or born without a purpose!disabled child

First of all, no child is conceived without a purpose.

If you are pregnant, it was not an accident that the baby in your womb was conceived, even if you were not planning to get pregnant. God planned your child’s conception! Now those of you who had a miscarriage might ask, “What was God’s purpose then in the life of our child who died in the womb?” I don’t know the exact answer, but what I do know is that according to Psalm 135:6, “The LORD does whatever pleases him.” And since God does whatever is glorifying to him, we can say that ultimately God took your child for God’s own…

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The Bashing Of The Bloggers

Polemics Report

In many Churches and sundry corners of the Evangelical Corporate Machine, it has become very popular [and occasionally profitable] to castigate, abuse, ridicule, and give warnings about “discernment bloggers” involved in Online Discernment Ministries. This is not always done by pastors and popular teachers who broach the issue unsettled and irked after finding themselves to be the targets of these bloggers, but more importantly and more broadly, by the very same laypeople who have egg on their face from not listening the last time they were warned about an important matter.

Here’s an inconvenient truth about discernment bloggers- for the ones who are thoughtful, accountable, well-researched and biblically centered, they’re proven right 99% of the time. They just are. It doesn’t take much to peruse the archives of Fightingforthefaith or Justin Peters Ministries, or Apprising ministries, or Wretched, and to a lesser extent the Pulpit and Pen to see the almost prophetic…

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GTY Blog – Mary: Who She Was (and Wasn’t)

 

Selected Scriptures

Code: B141201

by John MacArthur

Of all the extraordinary women in Scripture, one stands out above all others as the most blessed, most highly favored by God, and most universally admired. Indeed, no woman is more truly remarkable than Mary. She was sovereignly chosen by God—from among all the women ever born—to be the singular instrument through which He would at last bring the Messiah into the world.

Mary herself testified that all generations would regard her as profoundly blessed by God (Luke 1:48). This was not because she believed herself to be any kind of saintly superhuman, but because she was given such remarkable grace and privilege.

Myths About Mary

While acknowledging that Mary was the most extraordinary of women, it is appropriate to inject a word of caution against the common tendency to elevate her too much. She was, after all, a woman—not a demigoddess or a quasi-deiform creature who somehow transcended the rest of her race. The point of her “blessedness” is certainly not that we should think of her as someone to whom we can appeal for blessing; but rather that she herself was supremely blessed by God. She is never portrayed in Scripture as a source or dispenser of grace, but is herself the recipient of God’s blessing. Her Son, not Mary herself, is the fountain of grace (Psalm 72:17). He is the long-awaited Seed of Abraham of whom the covenant promise spoke: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18).

Various extrabiblical, religious traditions and many superstitious minds have beatified Mary beyond what is reasonable, making her an object of religious veneration, imputing to her various titles and attributes that belong to God alone. A long tradition of overzealous souls throughout history have wrongly exalted her to godlike status. Unfortunately, even in our era, Mary, not Christ, is the central focus of worship and religious affection for millions. They think of her as more approachable and more sympathetic than Christ. They revere her as the perfect Madonna, supposedly untouched by original sin, a perpetual virgin, and even co-redemptrix with Christ Himself.

Catholic dogma teaches that she was taken bodily to heaven, where she was crowned “Queen of Heaven.” Her role today, according to Catholic legend, is mediatory and intercessory. Therefore, multitudes direct their prayers to her instead of to God alone—as if Mary were omnipresent and omniscient.

As a matter of fact, many people superstitiously imagine that Mary regularly appears in various apparitions here and there, and some even claim that she delivers prophecies to the world through such means. This extreme gullibility about apparitions of Mary sometimes rises to almost comical proportions. In November 2004, a stale grilled-cheese sandwich sold for $28,000 in an eBay auction because the sandwich purportedly had an image of Mary supernaturally etched in the burn marks of the toast. A few months later, thousands of worshipers in Chicago built a makeshift shrine to Mary in the walkway of a freeway underpass because someone claimed to see an image of her in salt stains on the concrete wall of the abutment.

No less than Pope John Paul II declared his total devotion to Mary. He dedicated his whole pontificate to her and had an M for Mary embroidered in all his papal garments. He prayed to her, credited her with saving his life, and even left the care of the Roman Catholic Church to her in his will. Rome has long fostered the cult of Marian devotion, and superstition about Mary is more popular today than it has ever been. So much homage is paid to Mary in Catholic churches around the world that the centrality and supremacy of Christ is often utterly obscured by the adoration of His mother.

Who She Was

All such veneration of Mary is entirely without biblical warrant. In fact, it is completely contrary to what Scripture expressly teaches (Revelation 19:10). But the tendency to make Mary an object of worship is nothing new. Even during Jesus’ earthly ministry, for example, there were those who showed undue reverence to Mary because of her role as His mother. On one occasion, Scripture says, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” His reply was a rebuke: “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:27–28).

Mary herself was a humble soul who maintained a consistently low profile in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. Scripture expressly debunks some of the main legends about her.

The idea that she remained a perpetual virgin, for example, is impossible to reconcile with the fact that Jesus had half-brothers who are named in Scripture alongside both Joseph and Mary as their parents: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55). Matthew 1:25 furthermore says that Joseph abstained from sexual relations with Mary only “until she gave birth to a Son.” On any natural reading of the plain sense of Scripture, it is impossible to support the idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

Mary’s immaculate conception and her supposed sinlessness are likewise without any scriptural foundation whatsoever. The opening stanza of Mary’s Magnificat speaks of God as her “Savior,” thus giving implicit testimony from Mary’s own lips that she needed redemption. In such a biblical context, that could refer only to salvation from sin. Mary was in effect confessing her own sinfulness.

In fact, far from portraying Mary with a halo and a seraphic stare on her face, Scripture reveals her as an average young girl of common means from a peasants’ town in a poor region of Israel, betrothed to a working-class fiancé who earned his living as a carpenter. If you had met Mary before her firstborn Son was miraculously conceived, you might not have noticed her at all. She could hardly have been more plain and unassuming.

And yet she found herself unexpectedly thrust into a critical role in God’s redemptive plan. Next time, we’ll look at the angelic announcement that changed Mary’s life forever.

(Adapted from Twelve Extraordinary Women.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B141201
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You

Rick Warren’s Capitulation to Rome Video Response

By James White

Rick Warren has been used in a Roman Catholic promotional video to white-wash the fundamental differences between Christianity and Romanism. Here is a brief response, shot in Irpin, Ukraine, challenging Warren’s capitulation to Rome’s claims

Since Obamacare passed, record number of Americans delaying treatment

WINTERY KNIGHT

Story from the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

One in three Americans has put off seeking medical treatment in 2014 due to high costs, according to Gallup — the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 2001.

Thirty-three percent of Americans have delayed medical treatment for themselves or their families because of the costs they’d have to pay, according to the survey. Obamacare, of course, had promised that it would help make health care more affordable for everyone, but the number of people who can’t afford a trip to the doctor has actually risen three points since 2013, before most Obamacare provisions took effect.

The hardest-hit: the middle-class. Americans with an annual household income of between $30,000 and $75,000 began delaying medical care over costs more in 2014, up to 38 percent in 2014 from 33 percent last year; among households that earn above $75,000, 28 percent delayed care…

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Challies: Freaked Out By Ordinary Sin

by Barbara Duguid

Should our sin surprise us? In counseling earnest college students who love the Lord, I have seen many Christians who agonize over their daily struggle with very ordinary sins. Jane knows the gospel well, attends church faithfully, and reads her Bible every day, yet feels hatred toward her roommate. She idolizes her professors and strives to impress them by academic overachievement. Yet what really bothers Jane is her struggle with masturbation and pornography, which cast her into a spiral of depression and anxiety every time she gives in. Jane despairs because she can’t “surrender all” to Jesus. Should Jane be shocked by her sinful battles?

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Challies: 5 Ugly Qualities of the Anti-Elder

It is tragic but undeniable: There are many, many people in positions of church leadership who should not be in positions of church leadership. There are many pastors who should not be pastors, many elders who have no business being elders.

This is not a new problem. In the pages of the New Testament both Paul and Peter labor to describe the man who is qualified to the office of elder. It is noteworthy that almost all of these qualifications are related to character. Where we are drawn to outward skill, God cares far more for inward character. There are millions of men who are great teachers and great leaders and great C.E.O.’s, but still completely unsuited to leadership in the church. God’s standards are very, very different.

In the book of Titus, Paul writes to a young man and charges him to appoint elders in every church in Crete. He tells him what kind of man to look for and as he does this he gives a glimpse of the anti-elder, the kind of man who may seek the office but who is absolutely unsuited to it. Paul offers 5 anti-qualifications, 5 things an elder must not be. He may not display all of these traits, but he will display at least some of them.

Here are the 5 qualities of the anti-elder:

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Unrepentant sin leads to spiritual blindness

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You. 2 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol. 4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength, 5 Forsaken among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom You remember no more, And they are cut off from Your hand. 6 You have put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths. 7 Your wrath has rested upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah. 8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an object of loathing to them; I am…

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