Daily Archives: February 18, 2015

40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week of Ash Wednesday: Wednesday)

Ash Wednesday

Day 1: Does the Gospel of Mark offer a physical or a spiritual resurrection?

Confession: Psalm 51:1–4

Be gracious to me, O God, according to your loyal love.

According to your abundant mercies,

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and from my sin cleanse me.

For I myself know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, only you, I have sinned

and have done this evil in your eyes,

so that you are correct when you speak,

you are blameless when you judge.

Reading: Mark 8:27–33

And Jesus and his disciples went out to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked his disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, saying, “John the Baptist, and others Elijah, and others that you are one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to him, “You are the Christ!” And he warned them that they should tell no one about him.

And he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be killed, and after three days to rise. And he was speaking openly about the subject, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning around and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan, because you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of people!”

Reflection

If Peter … was called a stumbling-block by Jesus—as not minding the things of God in what he said but the things of men—what is to be said about all those who profess to be made disciples of Jesus, but do not mind the things of God? [What is to be said about those who] do not look to things unseen and eternal, (but mind the things of man) and look to things seen and temporal? Would they be seen by Jesus as a stumbling block to Him, and because they are stumbling blocks to Him, as stumbling blocks to His followers also? In regard to them He says, “I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,” so also He might say, “When I was running you caused me to stumble.” Let us not therefore suppose that it is a trivial sin to mind the things of men—since we ought in everything to mind the things of God.

—Origen

Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

Response

How are you mindful of the “things of people”? Are you harboring mindsets, possessions, goals, and desires that are incompatible with God and His kingdom? Make a list of these things and pray about them.[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

February 18, 2014: Truth2Freedom Daily Briefing Report

The softest call from Jesus can silence the Enemy’s greatest roar. —Gaye Clark

Print


Feb. 18, 2015

BLOOMBERG

About 11.4 million people signed up for Obamacare or renewed their coverage for 2015, raising the possibility that enrollment may surpass the administration’s goal in the second year of the program.

Buckling to international standards set forth by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, government surveyors announced this week that the height of the Washington Monument has been revised 10 inches downward, Fox News reports.

“America has lost respect in the world,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said during his keynote address to Granite state Republicans. “Not only do our adversaries not fear us, but our friends are worried.” Specifically, he argued that our allies don’t know if America will “stand up and fight” the military, diplomacy and economic “fights that need to be fought,” because of a lack of strong leadership from the president.

The White House’s attempt to set privacy policies for government agencies using drones doesn’t go far enough for civil-liberties advocates in the U.S. President Obama’s directive on how unmanned aircraft may be used to gather information on citizens is too vague and lacks protections such as getting a judge’s permission before using drones for surveillance

The U.S. has approved its first policy for selling armed drones to allies, the State Department said. The new guidelines set out procedures for both commercial and military drone exports, which the department said it will assess on a “case-by-case basis,” including “armed systems.”

Builders broke ground on fewer U.S. residential construction projects in January as demand for single-family homes cooled from an almost seven-year high, signaling the rebound in housing remains uneven. Housing starts declined 2 percent to a 1.07 million annual rate.

Soros Fund Management, the family office of billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, cut its holdings in U.S. stocks in the fourth quarter and shifted assets globally. Soros, which manages almost $30 billion, moved about $2 billion into companies in Asia and Europe.

Student debt is making a mess of people’s finances, and undermining their chances of buying a house, according to the New York Fed.

Authorities searched the offices of HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss private bank in Geneva Wednesday as part of a probe into money laundering.

Factory production in the U.S. rose less than forecast in January, held back by a decline in motor vehicle assemblies and weaker demand for construction materials.

AP Top Stories

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned Tuesday that the United States is entering a “new phase” of threats from terrorism, as the so-called Islamic State and other groups gain ground in the Middle East and spread their message online in increasingly sophisticated ways.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said that government forces had withdrawn from the flashpoint town of Debaltseve, where pro-Russian rebels have been battling troops for weeks.

President Obama’s administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said.

Iraq’s ambassador to the UN asked the U.N. Security Council to look at allegations that the Islamic State group is using organ harvesting as a way to finance its operations.

Kurdish peshmerga forces have repulsed a major attack by the Islamic State jihadist group southwest of Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital Arbil, officials said.

Scuba divers discovered the largest trove of gold coins ever found off Israel’s Mediterranean coast — about 2,000 pieces dating back more than 1,000 years, the country’s antiquities authority said Tuesday.

Soldiers shot dead a suicide bomber suspected of belonging to Islamist militant group Boko Haram on Monday after he tried to detonate an explosive belt near a military post in the southern Niger town of Bagara, the army said.

A total shutdown of West Coast ports could cost the U.S. economy about $2 billion a day as the effects ripple through related industries

BBC

The US opened a three-day conference on countering worldwide and domestic extremism, after a spate of recent terror attacks.

The US paid $1.97m to the Philippines over damage caused to a protected reef by a US Navy ship.

The governor of the US state of Alabama apologized to India after an Indian grandfather was thrown to the ground by police and left paralyzed.

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex announced it will stop shipping ready-to-use petrol and diesel through its pipelines as fuel thefts soar.

More than 300 Boko Haram fighters were killed during a military land and air operation in north-east Borno State, the Nigerian army said.

The number of civilian casualties of the conflict in Afghanistan increased by over 22% last year, latest UN figures said.

WND

Samaritan’s Purse chief Franklin Graham, the evangelist son of preaching legend Billy Graham, says eventually ISIS will bow to Jesus.

The National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives, allowing them to monitor and eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers – even when they are not connected to the internet.


ISIS Is Painting The Middle East Red With The Blood Of Christians

Every day now, there are fresh news stories about Christians being slaughtered by ISIS in the Middle East. So where is the outrage from the White House? Where is the outrage from the Islamic world? If Islam truly was a “religion of peace”, prominent Islamic leaders all over the globe would be loudly condemning ISIS whenever another slaughter of Christians took place. And a White House statement about the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIS the other day did not have the word “Christian” in it a single time. ISIS is painting the Middle East red with the blood of Christians, and most of the world seems to care very, very little. If thousands of people from some politically-favored group or religion were being savagely killed, the outcry would be deafening. But because Christians are being killed, it is not such a big deal. So exactly what does that say about how the world views Christians in 2015? (Read More…)


When It Comes To ISIS, Obama Is Utterly Clueless

The most savage group of Islamic terrorists that any of us have ever seen has taken over large portions of Iraq, Syria and Libya. As they go along, they are gleefully beheading, crucifying and torching innocent civilians. They believe that they are living in the end times, and that they are part of a great Islamic army that will defeat “the forces of Rome” and bring about a glorious new age during which Islam rules the entire planet. But Barack Obama and his minions absolutely refuse to use the words “Islam” or “Muslim” when discussing ISIS. Instead, as you will see below, the Obama administration insists that the reason that ISIS exists is because of a lack of “job opportunities” in that area of the world. If we could just find enough good jobs for the terrorists, apparently the entire problem of Islamic terror would just fade away according to them. This kind of twisted politically correct thinking is going to be one of the things that leads to the downfall of this country. Tens of thousands of crazed maniacs are not setting people on fire and beheading innocent civilians because they can’t find gainful employment. Rather, the truth is that these radicals are obsessed with an apocalyptic version of Islam which dominates every moment of their lives. If we deny why they are doing what they are doing because it does not fit with our view of how the world is supposed to work, then we are never going to have any hope of defeating this evil. And without a doubt, ISIS is evil. (Read More….)


Daily Digest

February 18, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[L]eave nothing to the uncertainty of procuring a warlike apparatus at the moment of public danger.” –George Washington, Fifth Annual Message to Congress, 1793

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Thank Goodness There Has Never Been a Scandal With Obama

Look who suspended his subscription to The New York Times. When speaking at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, Barack Obama’s former adviser David Axelrod told the audience that Obama is an ethical man. An audience member had asked about the culture of lobbying in Washington, bringing up “This Town,” a book by New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich that asserts the Obama administration failed to keep its promise to stay above the political fray. Axelrod said no, that was not the case. Obama is an ethical man, and there are rules in place to prevent that sort of thing. He continued, “And I’m proud of the fact that basically you have had an administration in this place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal. And I think that says a lot about the ethical strictures of this administration.” No major scandal? Just today, New York Times investigative reporter James Risen promised to spend the rest of his life fighting to take back the freedom of the press Obama and Eric Holder destroyed. Let’s not mention Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS. No, according to Axelrod, there is no scandal. Obama is an ethical man. More…

EPA’s New Regulations Will Cost Jobs

Whatever modest gains Barack Obama can claim in job creation, his EPA will strip away in the next few years. A new study by the Heritage Foundation finds that every state in the union will “experience overwhelmingly negative impacts” from the Environmental Protection Agency’s push to regulate coal plants and motor vehicles. By 2030, the U.S. may lose a half a million jobs in the manufacturing sector and 45% of the jobs in the coal mining industry. But the EPA justifies its ecofascist decrees by saying the private sector is already investing in green energy. “The energy sector sees the writing on the wall,” Liz Purchia, EPA press secretary, told the Daily Signal. “Businesses like Spectra Energy are investing billions in clean energy. And utilities like Exelon and Entergy are weaving climate considerations into business plans. This means more jobs, not less. We’ll need thousands of American workers, in construction, transmission, and more, to make cleaner power a reality.” What Purchia chalks up to be free market entrepreneurialism is more likely big business chasing government subsidies. Or they see the agenda the EPA has set since the 70s and plan accordingly.

Separation of Church and ObamaCare

Leftists are always eager to relegate faith to one’s private life and keep church and state entirely separate. Until they’re not. Any time they want to advocate wealth redistribution, same-sex marriage or even killing babies, they point to the Bible and say, “See, there’s a verse about _____.” Naturally, such exegesis is usually out of context or misapplied. Their latest Bible-thumping involves ObamaCare enrollment. Jeryl Bier of The Weekly Standard notes, “In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as ‘talking points.’ These materials are part of the ‘Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action Toolkit,’ which is available on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).” It goes so far in one instance as to cite I Corinthians 6:19, which says, “Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” — and therefore you “must be insured.” Good heavens, the hypocrisy! The party of “keep your laws off my body” is now misquoting Scripture to spiritualize a government mandate to buy insurance.

How Obama Debt Ranks as Share of GDP

Last fall, Barack Obama, who has already accumulated a staggering $7 trillion in debt, said, “All kinds of good stuff is happening. I mean, we have cut our deficit by more than half.” Well, gee, that’s great. Except it’s egregiously deceiving. Most people interpret his statement to mean America’s $18 trillion debt is now less than $9 trillion. What he actually means is that the amount of money perpetually added to the national debt has, at least temporarily, been slashed in half. Rather than $1 trillion in annual deficit spending, it’s now only short of $500 billion. But how does public debt under Obama compare to previous administrations as a share of GDP? The Washington Examiner compiled a handy graph, which shows Obama comes second only to Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose ranking was largely driven by World War II. With public debt at 74.1% of GDP, Obama makes George W. Bush’s 39.3% look relatively meager. In fairness, “Presidents do not have full control over the federal budget, so they don’t deserve full responsibility for debt levels when they leave office,” the Examiner’s Jason Russell observes. Nevertheless, he continues, “[T]he veto pen is a major tool in budget debates, and the president deserves more credit or blame than any other individual.” And just imagine the figure if Obama always got his way — like his $4 trillion budget proposal. More…

Beware the Flintlock Gangs of New Jersey

New Jersey is throwing the book at retired teacher Gordon van Gilder. During a recent traffic stop, Gilder told the police officer searching his car that he had a pistol in the glove compartment of his vehicle — an unloaded flintlock manufactured in the mid-1700s. The next day, the police department showed up at Gilder’s home in force and arrested him. Now, Gilder faces a 10-year sentence in New Jersey state prison because, unlike federal law, the state makes no distinction between an antique firearm and a Saturday night special. Gilder promises to fight, saying the law is unjust. But in the meantime, he warns, “Beware of New Jersey. Don’t come here. Don’t live here.” It’s a gun law so unfair gun-grabber Michael Bloomberg should get behind its repeal. After all, he only wants to get guns out of the hands of young black and Hispanic males. As Gilder said, flintlocks are not exactly gangland’s weapons of choice.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

Democrats Are Wearing Blinders

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Denying the radical Islamic nature of the terrorism perpetrated by al-Qaida and the Islamic State is at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy. But make no mistake: Obama’s blinding Islamophilia is costing the U.S. big time.

Terrorism is “random,” he says, and the Islamic State isn’t Islamic. Twenty-one Christians beheaded by ISIL were merely “Egyptian citizens” — as if religion had nothing to do with it — but three Muslims killed by a leftist atheist in North Carolina were clearly targeted because of their faith. “No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship,” Obama said, despite early evidence that such targeting wasn’t the case anyway.

The White House began a three-day summit Tuesday focused on combating “violent extremism.” One official explained the stance on ISIL: “We are not treating these people as part of a religion. We’re treating them as terrorists.” But addressing that summit, Joe Biden warned of right-wing extremists committing violence in the name of the Bible.

After all, Obama says not to get on your “high horse” because Christians are still guilty of the Crusades.

Meanwhile, Marie Harf, spokesperson for the Obama State Department, continued this pattern when she explained that ISIL’s terrorism isn’t so much religious as economic plight, and that all these angry [Muslim] men need is a little “middle-class economics.” She pontificated, “We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, [including the] lack of opportunity for jobs. … We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”

We suppose if the jihadis were employed and still committed acts of terror, Harf would explain that away as “workplace violence.”

In a better world, the U.S. would be unequivocally fighting evil instead of excusing it, and people like Marie Harf would be looking for “job opportunities” in the private sector.

Never mind that Obama abandoned Iraq, leaving a vacuum for ISIL to fill. And forget that his entire strategy for dealing with ISIL consists of a few airstrikes, or that his Authorization for Use of Military Force severely handicaps the fight. Faced with pushback over her foolish comments, Harf insisted, “No one should doubt our commitment” to defeating ISIL.

Well, let’s ask Attorney General Eric Holder about that commitment. “We’re not at a time of war,” he informed us Tuesday. Tell that to the American military personnel flying sorties over ISIL territory and the soldiers still stationed in the region. And does Holder’s pronouncement mean Congress can disregard Obama’s AUMF request?

Not exactly, since Holder’s Justice Department has previously justified airstrikes — even if they kill American citizens — because we’re at war.

As far as calling Islamic extremism what it is, Holder dismissed the idea: “Radical Islam, Islamic extremism — I’m not sure an awful lot is gained by that.” Though he did say, “If Fox [News] didn’t talk about this, they would have nothing else to talk about, it seems to me.” Radical Islam is far more than a right-wing talking point. It’s reality, and Holder should check in some time.

Our nation is being led by men and women who are so Orwellian they insist up is down, hot is cold, and Islam is innocent but Christians are guilty. Such morally bankrupt lies and distortions are plainly dangerous to our future.

Immigration Ruling Provides an Opportunity for GOP

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U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued an injunction Monday blocking the first phase of Barack Obama’s executive action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. The amnesty — intended to take effect today — would grant three-year stays of deportation, Social Security numbers and work permits to some illegal aliens, but Hanen declared that Obama exceeded his authority. No kidding.

The Department of Homeland Security “was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence,'” Hanen wrote. “In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”

“In fact,” Hanen continued, “the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed.”

The most powerful portion of the decision follows:

“This is not the end of the inquiry; in fact, in this case, it is really the tip of the iceberg. Obviously, this injunction (as long as it’s in place) will prevent the immediate provision of benefits and privileges to millions of individuals who might otherwise be eligible for them in the next several months indoor DAPA and the extended-DACA. The Court notes that there is no indication that these individuals will otherwise be removed or prosecuted. They have been here for the last five years, and given the humanitarian concerns expressed by [DHS] Secretary [Jeh] Johnson, there is no reason to believe they will be removed now. On the other hand, if the Court denies the injunction and these individuals accept Secretary Johnson’s invitation to come out of the darkness, there may be dire consequences if DAPA is later to be found to be illegal or unconstitutional. The DHS — whether under this administration or the next — will then have all pertinent identifying information for these immigrants and could deport them.”

Obama’s plan, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), is designed to cover illegal alien parents of “anchor children” (children of illegals born in the U.S.) and legal permanent residents. It includes a three-year stay of deportation, Social Security numbers and work permits to compete legally for jobs. And some 95% of those who applied for the 2012 Dreamer program were approved.

The Obama administration did say, however, that it would honor the ruling until such time as an appeal can be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court.

Obama should have legal difficulty defending his amnesty when he has served as the opposition’s key witness. He has said the president isn’t above the law so many times that House Speaker John Boehner documented 22 such occasions on his website.

For example, Obama once said, “I am not a dictator. I’m the president. … If in fact I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress then I would do so. … I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

Now, he says, “I’m confident that it is well within my authority and the tradition of the executive branch’s prosecutorial discretion to execute this policy.”

Thus, Boehner wasn’t surprised by the ruling. Ironically, he bears some responsibility for enabling Obama’s autocratic coup. During December’s lame-duck session, Boehner persuaded reluctant House members to pass an omnibus spending bill to fund Obama’s entire budget for the last nine months of the fiscal year.

But now, the House has passed a funding bill aimed at reining in DHS. Republicans are trying to persuade Senate Democrats not to filibuster, but nothing will change Democrats’ minds. Lacking passage of the bill, DHS will shutdown on Feb. 28.

Despite the fact Democrats in the Senate have filibustered the DHS budget three times, Republicans should use this court decision as an off-ramp for the funding battle because the low-information public does not understand the idiosyncrasies of Senate rules. Democrats are winning the propaganda effort by accusing Republicans of refusing to fund DHS, even though Republicans in the House have funded all of DHS except for Obama’s illegal immigration plans.

Republicans are in the right position but have not successfully made their case to the public. Obama never expected his plan would succeed. He only wanted to blame Republicans for the failure — exactly what he was doing until the court stepped in.

The battle over illegal immigration is coming to a head. After 40 years of fighting — from early skirmishes in the 1970s to California’s Proposition 187 in 1994 to more recent court fights over bilingualism in schools — we may well be headed for a clash at the Supreme Court.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

OPINION IN BRIEF

Humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935): “One of these days they are going to remove so much of the ‘hooey’ and the thousands of things the schools have become clogged up with, and we will find that we can educate our broods for about one-tenth of the price and learn ’em something that they might accidentally use after they escape.”

Columnist Mona Charen: “With each passing day, this administration’s refusal to speak plainly about radical Islamic terrorists becomes more and more surreal. King Abdullah of Jordan says it. President Sisi of Egypt says it. European leaders say it. The United Arab Emirates has published a list of 80 terrorist groups around the world — all of them Muslim. This week, the White House is hosting an international conference on ‘countering violent extremism.’ The administration promises that the conference will ‘work to address the underlying conditions that can help foster violent extremism such as poverty, inequality and repression. This means supporting alternatives to extremist messaging and greater economic opportunities for women and disaffected youth.’ What ‘extremist messaging’ would that be? The Christian Science Monitor? This is gibberish. The administration uses language to impede thought rather than to elucidate it — which suits the jihadis very well.”

Columnist Walter E. Williams: “Liberalism is a moral manipulation that exaggerates inequity and unfairness in American life in order to justify overreaching public policies and programs. Liberalism undermines the spirit of self-help and individual responsibility. For liberals in academia, the fact that black college students earn lower grades and have a higher dropout rate than any group besides reservation Indians means that blacks remain stymied and victimized by white racism. Thus, their push for affirmative action and other race-based programs is to assuage their guilt and shame for America’s past by having people around with black skin color. The heck with the human being inside that skin.”

Fred Thompson: “During an interview, Michelle Obama said you should eat healthy ‘if you don’t like folks messing with your life.’ I remember back when that’s what the Constitution was for.”

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What life in France is really like for the Jewish community

View 1 1/2 minute video which graphically shows the new anti-semitism.


Livid Giuliani Contrasts Netanyahu with Obama

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani contrasted US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in a talk on foreign policy late last week, describing Netanyahu as “a man who fights for his people, unlike our president.”

View Article & Short Video


Obama’s Anti-Netanyahu Boycott Is Collapsing

The final numbers are not yet in, but it seems clear that the White House-orchestrated campaign to boycott Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is collapsing.

View Article


It Grieves God When Christians Bite And Devour Each Other

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 08:07 AM PST

It Grieves God When Christians Bite And Devour Each Other“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: False doctrine and false teaching should always be exposed. But too often in the Christian church, we sit in the place of God and by tearing each other down through lies, gossip and accusations become no better than the lost people out in the world. Sadly, the greatest enemy of Christians today are other Christians.

Jesus spoke in many parables to relay truths to the masses. When asked why He spoke in this manner by His disciples, He responded this way:

“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”Matthew 13:10-16 (KJV)

I am going to share some very deep hurts in this article. Some of the readers will identify with much of what I say. Hopefully, others will come under conviction of the Holy Spirit, that they have inflicted much hurt on other Christians. I pray that the Lord will use this piece in whatever way He desires.

Through the years, I have encountered many people in church, and on Facebook, who name the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but act viciously toward other believers. Let me make this clear — any one of us can fall and behave badly. But in a true follower of Jesus Christ, He looks for repentance and reconciliation from His people. Notice in the first passage of Scripture in this article, that He said “Love one another as I have loved you.”

How has he loved us? He loved us while we were wretched sinners! The Word says:

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (KJV) FULL ARTICLE

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ISIS plans to invade Europe through Libya, Vows to Conquer Rome

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:59 AM PST

ISIS plans to invade Europe through Libya, Vows to Conquer Rome ISIS’ plans to conquer Europe via Libya have been revealed in letters seen by an anti-terrorism group. Owing to its perfect location on the continental doorstep, the terrorists plan to ferry fighters from North Africa across the Mediterranean. The plans, analyzed by anti-terrorism British think tank Quilliam, outline a strategy to illegally ferry fighters across the sea from Libya into southern Europe, into ports such as Italy’s southernmost island of Lampedusa, less than 300 miles (483km) away. Libya “has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat,” an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) propagandist says in the letters seen by Quilliam, according to the Telegraph. That information originates from an IS supporter using the moniker Abu Ibrahim al-Libim. The propagandist is believed to be a strong force in IS recruitment online, with a focus on Libya. The Telegraph could not independently confirm his identity, but the online recruiter is believed by analysts to be a great inspirer of troops and is widely-read. “Twitter has shut down Libim’s accounts several times and each time he starts a new one he gets thousands of followers very quickly, which is typical of an influential [IS] affiliate,” Charlie Winter, researcher for the Quilliam Foundation, told the newspaper. The plans Libim reveals revolve around posing as illegal immigrants, to then start an all-out attack on southern Europe by seeding chaos and bloodshed. The terrorists reportedly hope to flood Libya with other fighters from Syria and Iraq, with a whole army at the ready to invade. “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission,” he says in a Sunday video depicting the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christian guest workers, the video that led to Egypt organizing a bombing campaign on militant positions in Libya. He also describes the country as having “immense potential” for the terrorist group, while making references to the spoils of war left after the ouster of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 – tons of weapons, ammunition and oil. More

The post ISIS plans to invade Europe through Libya, Vows to Conquer Rome appeared first on End Time Headlines.

A Black Supermoon is coming this week

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:51 AM PST

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/theres-a-black-supermoon-coming-this-week-2015-2This Wednesday, February 18, the moon will be closer to Earth than at any other time during its orbit around our planet. When this happens, astronomers call it perigee, and although perigee takes place once every month, it only sometimes coincides with a full or new moon. But when it does, this gives rise to a supermoon, like the one that will be in the night sky this Wednesday. Because the moon is so close — about 13,000 miles closer than average — supermoons can be a spectacular site, shining up to 30% brighter and appearing 14% larger in the sky than other full moons. That’s because on Wednesday there will be a new moon — when the moon is between the Earth and the sun, shown in the diagram below. At that location in space, the moon lies in the sun’s shadow, so we do not see it light up in the night sky.  What makes this week’s supermoon different than others is that it is also a black moon. Chances are, you’ve heard the term blue moon in reference to a rare event in the saying “once in a blue moon”. In some respect, a black moon, while rare, is the exact opposite of a blue moon. A blue moon refers either to the second full moon in a single month or the third full moon in a single season, such as summer and winter. A black moon follows the same rules as a blue moon, except instead of being full, the moon is in its first phase called “new” for a black moon. The black moon happening this Wednesday is the third new moon during the winter season and it is taking place on the same day that the moon is closest to Earth. Hence the term ‘black supermoon’. So, if you were hoping for a supermoon like the one in June 2013 in the image below, you’re out of luck this time around. But you don’t have long to wait for the next full supermoon to take place.  There are six supermoons happening this year. The next one will take place on March 20th and will, again, coincide with a new moon and also a solar eclipse. (Although, only viewers in Europe, nothern Africa, and parts of Asia will have see the eclipse.) The last three will happen during a full moon and take place in August, September, and October. On September 28, the supermoon will occur around the same time as a total lunar eclipse, where the east coast will have prime seating for the event. Business Insider

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The Big Change That Nearly Half of Pastors Believe Could Be Possible for Some Christians in the Next Decade

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:46 AM PST

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/02/18/the-worship-trend-that-nearly-half-of-pastors-believe-could-be-possible-for-some-christians-in-the-next-decade/Churches, like most other social institutions, have learned that the Internet can be a powerful tool to reach believers and nonbelievers, alike, but the extent to which pastors and the faithful believe that people can and should solely rely upon online worship is a point of debate. Overall, though, use of the Internet to reach the masses is widely accepted. A recently released study by the Barna Group found that the vast majority of Protestant pastors (87 percent) believe that it is permissible for churches to offer religious experiences through the Internet. But it is the exploration of where pastors believe online worship is headed that is, perhaps, most noteworthy, as nearly half of Protestant senior pastors believe that it is possible that some people will have all of their faith experiences on the Internet within the next decade. “Today, just about half of pastors believe people will have all of their faith experiences online within 10 years,” reads the Barna report. “Of course, this means that just over half of pastors believe this will not be the case.” While 47 percent of pastors believe that some people will definitely or probably have all of their faith experiences through the Internet within the next decade, 51 percent believe that this will probably or definitely not happen. See the graphic below, which provides the breakdown and a comparison to data collected in 2000:  Regardless of whether online worship — which would arguably lack some of the social communication and community that physical churches provide — becomes a predominant mode of worship for some believers, data does show that faith leaders are increasingly open to religious experiences being facilitated online. Many pastors see the Internet as a valuable connective tool, Barna noted. Ninety-six percent of pastors report using computers at church, with 54 percent agreeing that the Internet is a “powerful tool for ministry.” See all of results here. The data collected came from a telephone survey of 601 Protestant senior pastors conducted from November 14 through December 2, 2014, with a margin of error of +/- four percentage points. TheBlaze

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Historical Christian Toy Shatters World Record By Selling Out in Only 72 Hours

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:23 AM PST

Historical Christian Toy Shatters World Record By Selling Out in Only 72 HoursPopular German toy company Playmobil has released a unique new figurine of Protestant Reformation minister Martin Luther. Surprisingly to some, the historical toy is the fastest-selling model the company has ever produced; Playmobil sold out of the 34,000 first editions of the Martin Luther figurine in less than 72 hours.  Spokesperson Anna Ermann told DW: “That (is) absolutely the fastest we’ve ever experienced.” The popular toy features Martin Luther holding a quill and a German-language Bible:  Martin Luther, a 16th century minister from Germany, is credited as the founder of the Protestant Reformation. He challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and translated the Bible from Latin to common German. Additionally, Luther has long been revered for his belief that everyone, both men and women, has the right to a proper education. Playmobil released the toy for next year’s 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The “Little Luthers” were created for the tourist board of Germany and city of Nuremberg, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany’s Bavaria region. Ninety-five percent of all the figurines made have been sold in Luther’s homeland of Germany. Astid Mühlmann, director of the German governmental offic,e has organized events around the anniversary. She told Newsweek: “I am very happy with the news.” The only figurine to even come close to selling as fast as the “Little Luthers” was one of German painter and artist Albrecht Düreranother, which sold 80,000 figurines in three years. More

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Fish kill discovered in Manila Bay, Philippines

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:16 AM PST

Fish kill discovered in Manila Bay, PhilippinesWho’s surprised by this? “The Bureau of Fisheries and Acquatic Resources (BFAR) has revealed that oxygen depletion in the waters near the Manila Yacht Club may have caused a fish kill yesterday morning, Monday, February 16,” report Evelyn Macairan and Czeriza Valencia in The Philippine Star. The report noted: “The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that dozens of dead mullet fish were seen floating in Manila Bay near the breakwater.” BFAR found out that the dissolved oxygen levels from three sampling stations were at 1.2. That is, as the report indicated, “way below the normal oxygen level of 5 or more” to be able to sustain marine life. The PCG likewise added, “Apparently, the water quality in the Manila Yacht Club breakwater is polluted due to stagnation, hence the cause of the fish kill.” The PCG also pointed out that “there had been no chemical or oil spills that could cause the fish kill.” Source

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Hundreds of dead fish found in a dam in Castelo Branco, Portugal

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:08 AM PST

Hundreds of dead fish found in a dam in Castelo Branco, Portugal
The same source said the GNR is to ascertain the cause of fish death in that reservoir which is near the industrial area of ​​Castelo Branco.  “A patrol Protection Agency of Nature and Environment (SEPNA) Castelo Branco went to the site and confirmed the situation [fish kills]. Water samples were collected and some fish, which followed for analysis,” said the captain Miguel Silva . The White Castle GNR also produced an official report that went to the prosecutor. “We have a survey of the dam and tributaries that converge there and it’s all being evaluated,” said Miguel Silva. According to this official, this time “is premature and unwise to proceed with any causes” for the death of fish in that reservoir. Source

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Major fish kill found in a creek in Haute-Saone, France

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 07:01 AM PST

Major fish kill found in a creek in Haute-Saone, FranceAccording to the first elements of the investigation by the police of Jussey, the fish kill may have been caused by the accidental release of ammonia nitrogen in the Rigotte up on a farm in the town of La Rochelle.  This Monday, February 16, the water police (ONEMA) was on hand in the morning: the mayors of surrounding municipalities and the ARS (Regional Health Agency) have been prevented.  Samples are being analyzed at a laboratory in Vesoul. Haute-Saône Fishing Federation complained on Sunday late afternoon. Franche-Comté

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Get Ready for Persecution, Warns Moody Bible Institute President

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 06:32 AM PST

Get Ready for Persecution, Warns Moody Bible Institute President“The culture war is over—and we lost.” So says Dr. J. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute, in his latest book, Prepare: Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture (Moody Publishers). However, this is not an alarmist rallying cry nor a white-flag opus, but rather a prophetic call for American Christians to prepare to live righteously in the face of persecution, not pining for the “good old days.” For nearly 250 years, Christians in America were able to live in relative freedom from persecution—the societal marginalization of believers with a view to eliminating their voice and influence. “We’ve enjoyed freedom and respect from broader society for our entire lives. With those privileges rapidly disappearing, we don’t know how to respond,” the author explains. American believers expect their lives to be marked by general prosperity and societal acceptance … persecution is strange. But biblically, it’s reversed. “The American church has missed a vital element of discipleship. Important spiritual formation cannot be realized without experiencing suffering,” Dr. Nyquist says. With America’s cultural shift, the church has an opportunity to revisit the New Testament and learn how to apply the many passages on persecution in new ways, he adds: “Persecution gives us the chance to demonstrate to a watching and hostile world what true discipleship looks like. Persecution supplies the life-shaping tools God skillfully uses to mold us into Christ’s image. It’s the next chapter in our stories. Now’s the time to prepare.” It looks like a recipe for depression. Our beloved nation wracked by cultural change, once-protected freedoms evaporating, the persecution of believers looming. Anyone with sense would either stock up on Valium or claim a cave in Montana. But as Christians we have reason to hope. “Since before America’s founding, this land has been the scene of gracious visits from God through revival,” the author notes. He concludes, “If God graciously visits this land in a powerful way, the current cultural trends will be immediately arrested, biblical values will return, and the threat of persecution will disappear. And you won’t need this book. May we each fervently pray to that end.” Charisma

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Canada hits Moscow with more sanctions over Ukraine

Posted: 18 Feb 2015 06:19 AM PST

Canada hits Moscow with more sanctions over UkraineCanada announced Tuesday new sanctions against Moscow and its sympathizers, including the state oil giant Rosneft, as pro-Russian separatists defied a ceasefire and stormed a flashpoint town in eastern Ukraine. Two months after sanctions took aim at Russian interests in its vital oil and gas sectors, Canada targeted a flagship of the Russian economy in Rosneft. The new economic sanctions and travel bans target 37 Russian and Ukrainian individuals, as well as economic sanctions against 17 Russian and Ukrainian entities, including Rosneft. “Our Government remains steadfast in its commitment to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of the Putin regime’s ongoing military aggression, which has already cost the lives of more than 5,300 people,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. “Canada’s position remains clear: we recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and will never recognize the illegal Russian occupation of any part of the country.” The move was made in coordination with the European Union and the United States, which have also punished Moscow for what they say is its military backing of the separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin rejects the accusation and describes the Russian fighters seen in Ukraine as “volunteers.” Ukraine early Tuesday appealed to the West to get “tough” on Moscow after separatists attacked Debaltseve, a transport hub, in violation of the three-day-old ceasefire. “The collective sanctions imposed to date by Canada and its partners are putting real economic pressure on the Putin regime and its collaborators,” Harper added. “The cost to Russia will continue to rise if it persists in its escalation of the conflict and refuses to allow a peaceful resolution.” Yahoo News

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On today’s Episode of The Briefing

1) Atrocities of past week and year seem to lead to significant shift in Western view of ISIS

Religion’s week from hell, CNN (Daniel Burke)

Islam and the West at War, New York Times (Roger Cohen)

2) Islamic eschatology central to understanding challenge of the Islamic State

What ISIS Really Wants, The Atlantic (Graeme Wood)

U.S. Intensifies Effort to Blunt ISIS’ Message, New York Times (Eric Schmitt)

In other news…

After Judge’s Ruling, Obama Delays Immigration Actions, New York Times (Michael D. Shear and Ashley Parker)
The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families, The Atlantic (Jessica Huseman)

 


Franklin Graham: ISIS ‘will bow’ to Jesus

On Tuesday, he said, “The evil of ISIS really shouldn’t shock us – it is fully in keeping with their ultimate agenda of hastening a final apocalypse.”

That a “final battle” will come is confirmed in the Bible, he said, and it “will result in the defeat of Satan and all those allied with him.”

He continued, “One thing is for sure – one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.”

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Half of Pastors Believe Faith Will Become Online-Only Experience

The key phrase Hozier sung at the Grammys last Sunday from his hit song, “Take Me to Church,” will grow outdated for many, nearly half of Protestant senior pastors believe. Today 47 percent agree that at least some people will experience their faith exclusively through the internet within the coming decade.

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‘First I’m Going to Pay My Tithes,’ Says Single Mother of Four Claiming $188 Million Lottery Win; But Should Christians Play the Lottery?

Holmes is presumably a Christian since she plans to donate a tithe, or a tenth of her Powerball winnings. Her participation in the lottery and presumed Christian faith raise the question — does the Bible permit Christians to play the lottery?

Pastor John MacArthur has said that he doesn’t believe Christians should play the lottery or gamble in any fashion, although the Bible does not “explicitly” prohibit it.

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Rob Bell Tells Oprah the Church Is ‘Moments Away’ From Embracing Gay Marriage

“One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness,” replied Rob Bell. “Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”

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How Did Revelation Get Distributed?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. Since John was exiled to Patmos, how did the letters to the seven Churches get distributed?  While we’re at it, how did the book of Revelation get dispersed and enter the cannon of scriptures?  I thought being exiled meant that there was nobody around.

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Are The Jewish People Ritually Pure Today?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. I have a question on the purifying of the land described in Ezekiel 39. It says that the whole nation engages in disposing of the bodies of the invaders for seven months. After seven months, squads of people are specially employed to dispose of any remains that are found. When a bone is found, a marker is placed by it and the burying is done by specialists. One explanation I’ve heard is that the common man avoids touching the bone so he can remain ritually pure. My question is: Does this level of ritual purity exist in Israel today?

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Does Israel Have To Be A Nation?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q. Great site you have. I have a question?  Where in the bible does it refer to Israel  and the generation which sees it become a state again being the generation to see the end times. In Matthew (Olivet Disclosure) I don’t see a connection with Israel becoming a nation again.

continue reading

 


Our Time is Short

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


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This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

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February 18, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Blogroll Collection

Some Things to Look for in Faithful Preaching

pulpitFaithful Bible preaching is not always easy to find. In some churches the Bible is barely opened, much less preached. And even when it is preached, how do we know that what is happening is faithful and helpful by God’s standards? Things like our feelings or filled pews, for example, are not good barometers.

The following will make a few suggestions on where to start. This is not all that constitutes biblically faithful preaching, but a few things which we should observe as the Bible is opened and preached:

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Words and their Meaning

However, in order for such subscription to mean anything, one other principle is necessary: we must subscribe to the doctrines intended by those who wrote the confession; otherwise we subscribe to a malleable confession – a living document which might be twisted to mean anything. Just as constitutionalism requires constitutional history, so confessionalism requires historical theology. We cannot knowingly confess unless we know what we are confessing, and for that we must know what the writers of our confession meant by their words.

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On Praying Publicly

Let us who serve as pastors not take for granted our times to pray publicly for those we serve. Those pastors who have a gift for extemporaneous speech may be especially susceptible to not giving much preparation or even thought to our public prayers. The time of pastoral prayer can be either “filler” between songs or a time of effectual ministry in the lives of our people. Let us take pains to ensure the later is true.

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Away from the Body and at Home with the Lord

I understand that some good Christians have an underdeveloped eschatology that rarely touches on crucial New Testament themes. But many of these same Christians have a sweet and simple longing for heaven, a commendable confidence that because of Christ they will, in fact, die and go to a better place. Correcting eschatological imbalances is good, but not if it means undermining or minimizing one of the most precious promises in all the Bible; namely, that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). Even the intermediate state is indescribably good–better to be away from the body and at home with the Lord is how Paul put it (2 Cor. 5:8).

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Andy Stanley’s Troubling Rules on Love, Sex, and Dating

As a pastor, it is disappointing that he avoids Genesis 2, which clearly lays out the purpose of marriage, namely, that it is a covenant relationship between one man, one woman, and God. As hard as it is to admit, America’s most influential pastor will not define or defend the sanctity of marriage because he doesn’t want to upset anyone. So he seems to compromise his teachings by insinuating that Jesus would probably bake a cake for a same-sex wedding couple and therefore Christians should too.

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A New Book on Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christianity

Eighty years ago, Walter Bauer promulgated a bold and provocative thesis about early Christianity. He argued that many forms of Christianity started the race, but one competitor pushed aside the others, until this powerful ”orthodox” version won the day. The victors re-wrote history, marginalizing all other perspectives and silencing their voices, even though the alternatives possessed equal right to the title of normative Christianity. Bauer’s influence still casts a long shadow on early Christian scholarship.

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3 Things to Say to a Grieving Non-Christian

Death for the Christian and the non-Christian alike is the terrible fall-out from the Fall. While Christians should grieve with hope (1Thess. 4:13), even we still grieve. When your non-Christian neighbor experiences a death, you can sympathize with the real horror of a life ended and a relationship severed. What’s more, in a culture where death is either downplayed and ignored or set in the realm of dignified personal choices, you may be the only one willing to acknowledge its awful and inevitable impact.

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When You Worry About Your Children

We tend to be future thinkers, dwelling on all the ‘what if’s’ and worst case scenarios that could happen in life. The truth is, the absolute worst thing that could happen has been taken care of by Christ at the cross. The greatest fear we could ever face is eternity apart from God. When Christ bore our sins, he took that punishment for us. He redeemed us so that we could be free from the power of sin. Through faith in Christ, we have the certainty of eternity forever with him in a place where there will be no more worries or fears.

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You Read Harry Potter?!

We all, atheist and religious alike, long for stories of love and sacrifice, victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Stories where all evil is banned and justice prevails. It is a longing at the center of every human heart, revealing both a recognition of our limited abilities to make things right and desire for things to be right. It is the deeper magic that goes beyond all common sense, the power of love over death, that draws hearts universally. Harry Potter does this on multiple levels. Here are some of the themes we can discuss with our children and their friends:

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Jesus And Joshua

“The greatest battle that Jesus has won was not the fall of Jericho but his conquest of sin by dying in our place on the cross. Just as Joshua’s greatest day was when he met Jesus Christ, our greatest day is when we believe in Jesus and trust him to forgive all our sins.”

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Politics in the Pews

J.C. Ryle wrote: “We have hundreds of ‘jellyfish’ clergyman, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions … they are so afraid of ‘extreme views’ that they have no views … We have thousands of ‘jellyfish’ sermons preached every year, sermons without an edge, or a point, or corner, smooth as billiard balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.”

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Five Things You Should Know about Pastors’ Salaries

It is unfortunate that the few indulgent pastors who live lavish lifestyles get most of the attention. The reality is that most of the some 400,000 pastors in America are not overpaid; indeed many are underpaid. Those are the pastors who need our attention.

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4 Ways A Christian Leader Should Know “What Time It Is”

“The Old Testament offers us several examples of leaders who “understood the times” in which they lived and knew “what time it was” biblically. The New Testament adds the element of living in the “time between the times,” in the already / not yet of God’s kingdom. Knowing where we are in the grand sweep of history, according to Scripture, impacts our ethical decisions.”

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The Greatest Need Of Young Mothers Is…

Older women without children, I really believe that the greatest single thing that many of you can do for Christ and for your sisters in the Lord, is to offer them even just 1-2 hours, just once or maybe even twice a week, where they can walk away from unceasing and increasing responsibilities and just get some peace, quiet, and personal time.

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The Ultimate Church-Shopping Question Considered

The congregation is the only place… in Western culture where we develop relationships, celebrate our faith and life together, and also extend those same relationships all the way through death and dying. A place of employment, a hospice—they have indispensable roles, but in neither is a community life that celebrates the birth of babies and the growth of young and old and extends these same relationships all the way to death. It’s a gift, really. It’s a marvelous gift that the church who baptizes and celebrates new life in Christ also does funerals, mourns with the dying, and celebrates the promise of resurrection in Christ.

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The Secret Superpowers of Lifers in Your Ministry

Lifers have the ability to see a long-term view of the ministry. They are not enamored with the short term. When struggles arise, they remain calm. They have been there before. When you face difficulties, have a conversation with a lifer. They may impart a perspective that will get you through the struggle. One of the great benefits of established ministries can be lifers. Invest in these men and women. You may be able to use their secret superpowers for the good of the ministry.

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Bowdoin College Makes Headlines For Institutional Arrogance

“In fact, Bowdoin was using this policy to wrestle the BCF into place, to force it to deny its commitments to orthodox Christianity’s teachings on conjugal sexuality.” That seems obvious. So, what should the students do? Recall that Jesus told his followers to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” The college has absolutely no right to tell Christians to act against their faith. But it does control its own facilities.

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Lenten Curmudgeon: Carl Trueman on Evanglicals and Lent

Carl Trueman is perplexed at Evangelical fascination with Lent. He writes:

I can understand Anglicans observing Lent. Hey, I can even approve of them doing so when I am in an exceptionally good mood or have just awoken from a deep sleep and am still a little disoriented. It is part of their history. It connects to their formal liturgical history. All denominations and Christian traditions involve elements that are strictly speaking unbiblical but which shape their historic identity. For Anglicans, the liturgical calendar is just such a thing. These reasons are not compelling in a way that would make the calendar normative for all Christians, yet I can still see how they make sense to an Anglican. But just as celebrating July the Fourth makes sense for Americans but not for the English, the Chinese or the Lapps, so Ash Wednesday and Lent really make no sense to those who are Presbyterians, Baptists, or free church evangelicals.

What perplexes me is the need for people from these other groups to observe Ash Wednesday and Lent. My commitment to Christian liberty means that I certainly would not regard it as sinful in itself for them to do so; but that same commitment also means that I object most strongly to anybody trying to argue that it should be a normative practice for Christians, to impose it on their congregations, or to claim that it confers benefits unavailable elsewhere.

You can read the rest here.


Unforgivable

Today as we cover several news stories, we’re talking about forgiveness and asking you to discuss it with us. Even after being scourged and nailed to a cross to die, Jesus forgave his executioners and those who mocked Him, saying, “they know not what they are doing.” He asks us as His children to do […]

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Liturgy is cool

by Scott Aniol

Carl Trueman recently addressed the phenomenon within Millennial evangelicalism that is increasingly regarding ancient liturgical practices (especially Ash Wednesday and Lent) as cool. He’s right: it has apparently now become “hip” to add to (otherwise band driven contemporary) worship elements from ancient liturgical practices.

Trueman and others over the past several years have dealt well with some of the theological problems with many of these practices. We have dealt with them here as well. Here’s just a taste:

Giving Up Lent for Lent
Lent and the Regulative Principle of Worship

But what I’d like to focus on today is a caution for those of use who have a healthy appreciation for tradition and a thoughtful liturgy. How do we avoid what a friend referred to as the “grab bag” approach to liturgy where we pick and choose traditions to the degree that we forsake biblical simplicity and even find ourselves in theological error?

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When We Say, “I Can’t” & God Says, “You Won’t”

by Pastor J.D.

There are few books in Scripture as dismal as the book of Judges. The first 10 verses or so chronicle the people of Israel as they take the Promised Land, just like God commanded them. But the next twenty-one chapters show what happens when God’s people don’t follow his lead. Judges is a book that reinforces an enduring spiritual truth: small areas of disbelief produce large areas of disaster.

As Tim Keller points out, the opening of Judges reads like Israel’s press release about their military campaign. It’s a series of justifications for why they weren’t able to drive the Canaanites out. We hear about the Canaanite’s iron chariots and their iron will, and we think, “You know what? Israel tried. They did their best.”

But then comes God’s assessment of the situation: “You have not obeyed my voice” (Judges 2:2). Period. Israel said, “We can’t drive them out, God!” And God says, “Actually, it’s not that you can’t; it’s that you won’t.” The spiritual failures in their lives—and in ours—have nothing to do with lacking in strength; they have everything to do with lacking confidence in God’s grace.

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BSF, Jesus Calling and a plea from the heart

I remember the first time I “got” the Gospel. It was in a woman’s Bible study group called BSF, or Bible Study Fellowship. For the past 50 years and up until I left four years ago, BSF International has been solid, offering a full year of weekly studies for men, women and youth, covering seven […]

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Unemployment Jihad

by Bill Muehlenberg

The devout Islamic group IS is on a roll, and there is good reason for this: much of the West is either asleep, or is at least indirectly siding with IS. We have so many complete stooges in high office, such as Obama, that we are seeing this band of demonic militants moving from strength to strength.

Obama and other leaders have been defending Islam for years now, while denigrating Christianity. These leaders refuse to even identify the enemy. That is not a good move: when people have sworn to kill you, you really better stand up and take notice.

One idiotic thing after another is being said by these dhimmi leaders and their clueless wonders in the lamestream media. We had the perfect example of this just yesterday. One can only describe this as taking first prize in the “Num Num of the Decade” award.

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When Vengeance is an Honourable and a God-Honouring Thing

by Bill Muehlenberg

David Chilton titled his 2006 commentary on the book of Revelation The Days of Vengeance. That is a pretty accurate description of so much of what we find in this book. Before I go on to look at this in more detail, let me explain why I am raising this here.

I just wrote an article of the horrific killing of 21 Egyptians Coptic Christians by IS in Libya: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/02/17/remember-these-names/

Every Christian on the planet should be greatly concerned, not just about these brave martyrs, but the countless Christians slain in recent times by devout Muslims. More Christians have died for their faith in the past century than in the rest of the church’s 2000 year history.

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Naming Names

by Christopher Ames

Thoughtful criticism is often mistaken for vitriol, and vitriol is often offered in the place of thoughtful criticism. This much is true.

Specifically, I call out believers in the contemporary worship scene (and the trends they represent) because corporate worship is important. It’s so very important. It’s the unifying, visible act of the church. For myself and those of you who are with me, I think it’s high time we returned to thoughtful, candid criticism of the things happening in Christian worship today. Even if we’re unjustly accused of being bitter and resistant to change, we’ve got to make our voice heard. We’ve got to speak up.

When a thing is important (and you may ask Nadab and Abihu whether worship is an important thing) that thing is worth fighting for. Sometimes it involves making observations and naming names. Again, we thank Jonathan Aigner for his clarity in this matter.

Ponder Anew | What did Chris Tomlin ever do to you? or: Why I criticize a worship superstar


Why we “Mark and Avoid”

There is a growing trend to dismiss the Bible in a world that says, “you can’t believe a book that’s a couple thousand years old,” as Rob Bell has done. Bell recently made these statements and said that the Church is very close to embracing gay marriage. If you haven’t boldly marked false teachers, people […]

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May I Continue in My Sin, Please?

One of the questions that is frequently raised about living a grace-based faith is related to how we are to live under grace. The answer is found in Romans 6. Continue reading →


 

Helpful Resources from Truthbomb Apologetics

For those who may be new to Truthbomb Apologetics, we wanted to highlight some of our features that could prove helpful to you.

1. For those just getting started in apologetics, you may want to check out our Apologist’s Quiver.
You may also enjoy our Apologetics Sermons found here.

2. For those who enjoy reading, you should visit our Free Apologetics E-book Library that features a large variety of free texts on topics such as theology, philosophy and more.

3. If you are looking for information on a certain worldview, religion or cult, checkout our Apologetics Arsenal.
4. You may find an answer to a question by checking out our growing collection of answers to Common Objections.
5. Finally, if you are looking for answers to questions raised about the Christian faith by well known skeptics, atheists and unbelievers, you should visit our Responses to Notable Skeptics.
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8 essential components for discerning God’s will

I know that some people maintain that God doesn’t have a will for our lives beyond our sanctification, but He does. No, we cannot sit down and pray to know it until He reveals a fully developed life plan, but He has put us in the places we are, the times in which we live, the background we have, and given us the personality and preferences we have in order to guide us in right choices.


10 Things You Need to Know About the Bible and Slavery

Graham Veale

“The ideal type of the slave is the socially dead chattel, ripped forcibly from organic ties of kin and community, transported to an alien environment there to be treated as merely a piece of property or as a factor of production to be used and abused at will, an animate tool or beast of burden with no sense of self other than that allowed by the slave owner and no legal, let alone civic, personality whatsoever.


Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 2)

Published as a single article in DBSJ 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103. Used by permission.

(Part 2 continues Part 1’s consideration of what “nature” means in the “one or two natures” question.)


Our Time is Short

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


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Barna Update | The Impacts of Good and Bad Leadership

What a Difference a Leader Makes

You’ve probably heard it said that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. It’s a common leadership maxim—often issued as a word of warning to those stepping into leadership: a bad boss can ruin even the best of jobs. But is the opposite also true? Can a good boss lead to less turnover? And what are the qualities that employees think make for a good leader—or a bad one?

In a study among Americans in the workplace, Barna Group found that employees are twice as likely to say they have a bad boss as a good one. The research shows the differential impact of good and bad leadership, including morale, productivity and longevity.

Read more from this study here >

GodLife: Are you focused on the right thing?

Scripture: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

Do you ever realize that you’re spending all your energy focusing on the negative, depressing and disappointing things in life?

Those things can become a huge burden in your life, weighing you down. God doesn’t intend for us to be burdened by those things. He wants you to focus on what’s worthy of praise so that your attention is fixed on Him because God’s love is sufficient. So praise Him today and every day. Praise God for life, for family, for His perfect love.

What are you focused on lately?

Click here to read more about The Optimistic Believer

Is Jordan next? King Abdullah knows he is in a winner-take-all war with ISIS. Does Washington?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

The Warrior King? The Warrior King?

Here is the new op-ed I just wrote for the FoxNews.com Opinion page.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is in a winner-take-all war with the Islamic State

By Joel C. Rosenberg, special for Fox News Opinion, February 17, 2015

With the barbaric murder of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh — the Jordanian pilot locked in a cage and burned alive by operatives of the Islamic State, for all the world to see — Jordan’s King Abdullah faces the most dangerous moment since ascending to the throne in 1999.

ISIS jihadists in Syria and Iraq have publicly threatened to invade Jordan and “slaughter” Abdullah, whom they denounce as a “tyrant.” Extremists inside Jordan took to the streets last summer shouting, “Down, down with Abdullah!” The latest ISIS propaganda video attacks the king as an “ally of the crusaders.” One figure in the video proclaims, “all Arab tyrants should…be burned.”

While Jordan has…

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One Text, One Meaning?

The Reformed Reader

Is There a Meaning in This Text?: The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge I’m often amazed and even edified when several different preachers or commentators preach or comment on the same text and emphasize different themes, points, and applications.  It’s good for us as Christians to realize that Scripture is quite deep and rich; it’s not like one sermon or one commentary can say all there is to say about a verse or verses.  Kevin Vanhoozer makes this point quite well:

“…Particular interpretations may make valuable contributions without needing to make the further claim that they have said everything that needs to be said.  Just as many members make up one body, so many readings may make up the single correct interpretation.  Is it really the case that hermeneutic realists must kill off certain commentators in order to eliminate the variety of interpretations? …[Wayne] Booth reminds us that as we go about the business of interpretation, we should try to understand not only…

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Should Christians ever be at peace with their flesh?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is greedy for gain,
And from the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace.
15 “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done?
They were not even ashamed at all;
They did not even know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time that I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 6:13-15 NASB)

Some may read my last few posts and believe that I and all who agree with the theology taught in those posts are antinomians. However, that is a case of missing the point. The doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is Biblical. Works-righteousness only leads to…

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