Daily Archives: July 23, 2015

Of course you’re smart enough to learn how to defend your faith

WINTERY KNIGHT

Practice that makes perfect Practice that makes perfect – everyone struggles at the beginning

Pastor Matt Rawlings has a post for all of you who are worried that you are not smart enough to learn how to defend the Christian faith (apologetics).

His post is here on his blog. (H/T The Poached Egg)

He starts like this:

One of the objections I often receive when I point out that defending the Christian faith is a Scriptural command (1 Peter 3:15) is “But I’m not smart enough to be a Christian apologist!” My answer is always, “Your IQ does not need to bust the bank for you to defend Christianity in a graceful and compelling manner.

Columnist Thomas Friedman (not someone I usually agree with) pointed out that the key to success often is NOT an individual’s IQ but their CQ or “Curiosity Quotient.”  What Friedman means is that a person’s willingness to…

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John MacArthur: We Will Not Bow

Pastor John MacArthur delivers a thought-provoking, timely, and much-needed message for Americans today

Selected Scriptures July 19, 2015 80-425

A lot is happening at a very rapid rate. And with all the discussion that’s been going on, I’ve been kind of eager to get to you, and maybe help to give you a perspective. And I know that there have been comments made from this pulpit—exceptionally helpful, clear, well-chosen comments on the issues that face our country today. But I need to just kind of add some of my own insights and perceptions, and then direct you to a particular portion of Scripture.

This country talks a lot about terrorist attacks—and rightly so. Almost anybody in America can give you some kind of a listing of the most destructive acts of terror that have happened in our country. But let me suggest to you this: The two greatest attacks of terror on America were perpetrated by the Supreme Court. Not by any Muslim, but by the Supreme Court of the United States. The first one was the legalizing of abortion. Subsequent to that, there have been millions of babies slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers. It’s incalculable to even comprehend that. The blood of those lives cries out from the ground for divine vengeance on this nation.

The second great act of terror perpetrated by the Supreme Court was the legalization of same-sex marriage. The destruction of human life in the womb—in a sense, the destruction of motherhood—and now the destruction of the family itself. No bomb, no explosion, no attack, and no assault on people physically can come anywhere near that kind of terrorism. Our country is being terrorized by the people most responsible to protect it—those who are to uphold the law.

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July 23, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily News/Commentary Collection

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Jul. 23, 2015

BLOOMBERG

A panel formed at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s behest recommended that the minimum wage for fast-food workers be raised to $15 an hour by 2018 in New York City and three years later in the rest of the state. The increase, which will be phased in annually, applies to fast-food chains with 30 or more locations.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden pressed for a $12 federal minimum wage during a stop in Southern California, applauding steps taken to boost the hourly pay for hundreds of thousands of workers.

President Obama arrives in Kenya Friday to promote the economic prospects of Africa, a continent approaching a tipping point of prosperity or instability. Underlying sub-Saharan Africa’s five percent growth rate is a melange of weak governments, entrenched corruption and threats from militant groups such as Boko Haram. That combination has made the region a priority for U.S. intelligence agencies.

The fewest Americans in four decades filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, continuing to unwind an early-July surge that was probably tied to mid-year factory shutdowns and school vacations. Jobless claims plunged by 26,000 to 255,000 in the week ended July 18, the fewest since November 1973.

Apple’s cash topped $200 billion for the first time as the portion of money held abroad rose to almost 90 percent, putting more pressure on Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to find a way to use the funds without incurring U.S. taxes.

Airlines would be allowed to charge you no more than $4.50 to check a bag under a House bill introduced this week, slashing a fee that averages about $25 at most U.S. carriers.

Thousands of mobile applications are secretly running ads that can’t be seen by users, defrauding marketers and slowing down smartphones, according to a new report by Forensiq, a firm that tracks fraud in online advertising.

The real estate market in New York’s Hamptons has cooled from a frenzied pace, with the median sale price in the beachfront towns falling to the lowest in a year and a half. In the three months through June, Hamptons homes sold for a median of $849,000, down 6.5 percent from the second quarter of 2014

AP Top Stories

As the Obama administration continues to push Congress to approve a multilateral nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a top House Democratic progressive warned that voting down the pact could lead to war with Iran.

Google Maps will now let you explore Your Timeline, a new menu that shows you all the locations you went to that Google kept track of on your behalf. In addition to checking out what places you have visited on a certain day, you’ll also be able to see what pictures you have taken at that location with Google Photos. The feature can be quite useful if you plan to keep track of the places you travel to and easily find photos related to those places that you’ve saved in Google Photos. At the same time, the feature shows you how much user data Google can collect about an individual and how it can correlate that information with data obtained from other services, such as Google Photos.

Suspected Boko Haram militants burned down houses, including the family home of Nigeria’s new army chief, in a village in the northeast of the country on Tuesday.

Suspected Boko Haram militants burned down houses, including the family home of Nigeria’s new army chief, in a village in the northeast of the country on Tuesday, a policeman

Researchers have confirmed the discovery of a marine reptile fossil in the Talkeetna Mountains, the University of Alaska Museum of the North announced Wednesday.

BBC

A bag carrying NZ$1m ($665,000) has disappeared while being moved from a Cathay Pacific plane at Hong Kong International Airport. The bag was one of 13, holding a total of NZ$10m, being sent to the Bank of China in Hong Kong from New Zealand, Chinese media said.

The US has “aided and abetted” the Boko Haram Islamist militant group by refusing to provide weapons to Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari said.

A series of injuries at Yellowstone National Park has officials warning tourists that selfies and bison don’t mix. A 43-year-old Mississippi woman was thrown into the air recently after she turned her back on a bison to take a photo of herself with it. Four other tourists have been hurt in similar incidents this year.

Astronauts from Russia, the US and Japan have successfully docked at the International Space Station. The flight had been postponed after the April launch of a cargo rocket failed.

Austria is cracking down on personalized number plates used by neo-Nazis, by banning lesser-known codes with hidden far-right symbolism.

There has been an “unprecedented spike” in the number of executions in Iran, Amnesty International has warned. The rights group said it believed 694 people were killed between 1 January and 15 July, almost three times the figure acknowledged by the authorities. It said credible reports suggested Iran executed at least 743 people in 2014.

The UN envoy for Syria says Syrian government air strikes have caused “unprecedented levels of destruction” and death in the town of Zabadani. Large numbers of barrel bombs have reportedly been dropped on the area in the Qalamoun mountains north-west of Damascus, close to the Lebanese border.

WND

James Comey, director of the FBI Americans need to be on alert: The terror group’s recruiting in all 50 states.

Seattle’s Democrat Mayor Ed Murray was so concerned that Muslims and other residents weren’t buying enough homes in his city that he had a committee investigate how that could be rectified. One of the committee’s recommendations: Banks need to offer “Shariah-compliant” mortgage loans for Seattle’s growing Muslim community.


Top News – 7/23/2015

EU rejects report: No plans to boycott Israeli banks
The European Union is not planning to impose sanctions on Israeli banks, a senior EU official said Wednesday, hours after an EU think tank released a report recommending such a course of action. “We have no intention of imposing restrictions on Israeli banks that do business in the settlements. This entire issue is complete nonsense. This issue has never been considered,” the diplomat said.

White House in ‘final stages’ of plan to close Guantánamo Bay prison
The White House announced on Wednesday that it is finalising a plan to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. A White House spokesman said it was in America’s national security interest to close the facility which was opened by the Bush administration after the September 11 attacks to house detainees swept up in the war on terror.

Iran Vows to Buy Weapons Anytime, Anywhere
A senior Iranian official…said that the Islamic Republic will continue to import and export arms freely across the globe without restriction… Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, said that he insisted during the negotiations that Iran be able to purchase and ship military hardware at any time and from any place, according to the comments made on state-controlled television.

Obama Admin Plans More Executive Action on Immigration
The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to expand a waiver program that will allow additional illegal aliens to remain in the country… the proposed rule stated. “Such aliens include family-sponsored immigrants, employment-based immigrants, certain special immigrants, and Diversity Visa program selectees, together with their derivative spouses and children.”

Russian Bombers Flew Within 40 Miles of N. California Coast
Two Russian nuclear bombers flew within 40 miles of the California coast and one of the pilots relayed a veiled threat during the Fourth of July aerial incident, defense officials said. “Good morning American pilots, we are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day,” a Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber crew member stated over the emergency aircraft channel.

Syria conflict: ‘Unprecedented’ assault on Zabadani
The UN envoy for Syria says Syrian government air strikes have caused “unprecedented levels of destruction” and death in the town of Zabadani. Large numbers of barrel bombs have reportedly been dropped on the area in the Qalamoun mountains north-west of Damascus, close to the Lebanese border.

Iran executions see ‘unprecedented spike’ – Amnesty
There has been an “unprecedented spike” in the number of executions in Iran, Amnesty International has warned. The rights group said it believed 694 people were killed between 1 January and 15 July, almost three times the figure acknowledged by the authorities. It said credible reports suggested Iran executed at least 743 people in 2014.

Donald Trump to visit US-Mexico border
US presidential candidate Donald Trump is to visit the border with Mexico after making illegal immigration the centrepiece of his campaign. Mr Trump will travel to Laredo, Texas, on Thursday to meet border control agents and local police officers… In June, he sparked controversy after calling undocumented Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals”.

Greece crisis: MPs pass crucial bailout reforms
Greece has taken a crucial step towards a bailout after its parliament passed a second set of reforms. The passage of the measures means that negotiations on an €86bn European Union bailout can begin. The reforms include changes to Greek banking and an overhaul of the judiciary system.

Astronauts dock at the International Space Station
Astronauts from Russia, the US and Japan have successfully docked at the International Space Station. Less than six hours after take-off from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome, Kjell Lindgren from the US, Kimiya Yui of Japan and Russian Oleg Kononenko safely arrived at the orbital outpost. …Manned flights to the ISS are currently only possible with Russia’s ageing Soviet space technology.

Obama and Erdogan agree to stop ‘foreign fighters’ crossing into Syria
US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed…to work together to “stem the flow of foreign fighters and secure Turkey’s border with Syria,” the White House said in a statement. It said the two leaders also discussed deepening their cooperation in the fight against Islamic State, which has grabbed swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory and declared a caliphate.


Top Headlines – 7/23/2015

Abbas counting on EU to pave way for resumption of stalled peace process

UK Labour Member: We Shouldn’t Have Recognized ‘Palestine’

‘Gaza rehabilitation begins,’ housing minister announces one year after war

Israel to end freeze with hundreds of new settlement housing units

After labeling goods, EU think tank sets sights on Israeli banks

Heaven’s Timing and the Nuclear Deal with Iran

Sanhedrin Calls Obama to Trial on Mt. Zion

Benjamin Netanyahu’s anti-Iran ire on display in US meeting

Iran nuclear agreement won’t improve human rights

US House speaker Boehner vows to do ‘everything possible’ to stop Iran deal from moving forward

Republicans call on Obama to reveal ‘side deals’ in Iran nuke agreement

Obama slams ‘lobbyists, money’ working against his Iran deal

Report: States Could Stop Iran Nuclear Deal

Thousands rally in NYC’s Times Square against Iran nuclear deal

Iran Vows to Buy Weapons Anytime, Anywhere

Twitter ban to be lifted in Turkey after images of bomb attack removed

Obama and Erdogan agree to stop ‘foreign fighters’ crossing into Syria

Kurdish militants say killed Turkish police officers in revenge for suicide bombing

Car bomb kills 20 in Baghdad Shi’ite district

Suicide bomber on motorcycle kills 15 near Afghan market

Two suicide attacks kill at least 13 in Cameroon

Poll of U.S. Muslims Reveals Ominous Levels Of Support For Islamic Supremacists’ Doctrine of Shariah, Jihad

Italy: Base used by U.S. military eyed for Islamic State-inspired terror attack; two arrested

Lawyer: US team in Jordan to interrogate uncle of Tennessee shooter

Gun Sales Surge in Wake of Chattanooga Attack

Dylann Roof faces hate crime charges in Charleston shooting

Feds: New citizens can skip pledge to take up arms and defend the US

Obama Admin Plans More Executive Action on Immigration

People possessed by computers

FBI Director Sees Increasing Terrorist Interest in Cyberattacks Against U.S.

Hacks on the highway: Automakers rush to add wireless features, leaving our cars open to hackers

Greek PM keeps lid on party rebellion to pass bailout vote

Greek PM wins support for more financial reforms

Turmoil in China’s Stock Markets Takes a Psychic Toll

Seattle officials join push for Sharia-compliant mortgages, loans

Venezuelan Government Forces Companies To Hand Over Food As Shortages Intensify

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 23,000ft

Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts to 20,000ft

Raung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 15,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 13,000ft

Jerry Brown’s climate warning: ‘We are talking about extinction’

USDA: Bird flu vaccine works on chickens; testing on turkeys

Easy DNA Editing Will Remake the World. Buckle Up.

These Superhumans Are Real and Their DNA Could Be Worth Billions

Dr Death’s Edinburgh Fringe 2015 show will see right-to-die campaigner ‘gas’ audiences

Watchdog: Fake ObamaCare applicants allowed to keep coverage

Are we being double-taxed? Why ObamaCare may render Planned Parenthood obsolete

Congresswoman Introduces ‘Defund Planned Parenthood Act’

Meet the 39 Companies That Donate Directly to Planned Parenthood

Drag queens banned from Pride event ‘because they may offend transgender people’

Kenyan Pastors to Obama: Don’t Bring ‘The Gay Talk’ Here

Prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar makes fresh appeal for funds

Pastor Locked Out Of Church By Members After He Took Over Finance Dept

‘Healer’ loses appeal on sex convictions

Undercover Reporters Likely Have Video of Clinics HARVESTING BABY BODY PARTS

Former Director: Organ Harvesting is Big Business for Planned Parenthood

Donald Trump Comes Out In Support Of 20 Week Abortion Ban

Congresswoman Introduces ‘Defund Planned Parenthood Act’


Daily Digest

July 23, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquillity would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34 — 1788

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Continuing Executive Advance on Immigration

The Obama administration continues its blitzkrieg on executive immigration reform. Sure, there’s that pocket of resistance, that suit brought by 26 states, but that’s not stopping Obama. “[T]he 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals guidelines remain in place,” Obama said in a White House statement. “There are also other important immigration executive actions that continue to move forward.” He goes onto list 11 ways he’s continuing to tweak the nation’s immigration enforcement, and the statement finishes by repeating the tired mantra that only Congress can fix immigration by passing “bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.” Why doesn’t Obama just ask for a unicorn? He really doesn’t want reform; that’s why he’s so thoroughly poisoned the well. His department of Homeland Security proposed a rule that would expand the types of people who could stay in U.S. while waiting for legal status. Such a policy would undermine legal immigration, remove the penalties for illegal immigration and encourage fraud, says the Center for Immigration Studies. Obama’s executive actions come at a time when Congress is tackling some immigration reform by considering a bill that would curb sanctuary cities after that policy led to the death of Kathryn Steinle. Despite Congress’ unique role in deciding the nation’s immigration policies, a group of mayors from some of the nation’s biggest cities wrote to Congress supporting sanctuary city policies by making a home-rule argument — a bunch of leftists supporting the status quo, including how immigration is being handled politically.

Obama Stands by Planned Parenthood

Most Americans are some combination of outraged and sickened at the revelations that Planned Parenthood is selling babies’ body parts after successful abortions. Its doctors are on record talking about how to avoid crushing valuable organs and using a “less crunchy technique” in order to harvest organs while sipping wine and joking about wanting a Lamborghini. A thorough investigation and an end to taxpayer funding of the nation’s largest abortion mill is in order. So what does Barack Obama think? His press secretary, Josh Earnest, backed Planned Parenthood. “I haven’t spoken to the president about the actual videos. I have read the reports and I’m confident that he has, too, raising significant concerns about the way in which those videos were selectively edited to distort the — not just the words of the individual speaking but also the position of Planned Parenthood.” Earnest went on to offer some free PR for Planned Parenthood’s “highest ethical standards.” Perhaps he misheard — they’re selling baby parts. How is that remotely ethical? Unsurprisingly, Obama is more upset about the organization taking the videos than the abortionists selling baby livers. This is a man, after all, who has no problem with partial-birth abortion, and who wants unfettered access to abortion and abortion-inducing birth-control for all women — even mandating Catholic nuns carry insurance that covers it. So forgive us if we’re skeptical when Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Justice Department is “going to review all the information and determine what steps, if any, to take at the appropriate time.” Note: That’s “what steps, if any.” Besides, perhaps she means DOJ will investigate the group taking the videos…

More Details Emerge From Chattanooga

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Details continue to come out about the terrorist attack in Chattanooga last week. One Navy officer and a Marine returned fire when a jihadi rammed through the gate and started shooting. According to Navy Times, “Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center’s commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage” the assailant. Likewise, one of the slain Marines reportedly had a personal handgun that he used to return fire. But it wasn’t only those with guns who acted with bravery. According to reports, some of the fallen Marines essentially sacrificed themselves by drawing fire away from a larger group of Marines. “This could have been a lot worse,” an anonymous official said. “It could have been a horrible, horrible massacre — so much worse.”

It was bad enough. Remember the fallen: Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith.

Finally, Ed Reinhold, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Knoxville, declared during a Wednesday news conference that the perpetrator was a “homegrown violent extremist” and that it was too early to determine whether he had been radicalized. “This is a complex, ongoing investigation, and we’re still in the early stages of piecing together exactly what happened and why,” Reinhold said. “The FBI has been working almost 400 leads, and has an estimated 250 personnel on the ground in the area, and hundreds more working across the country and around the world on this investigation.” We appreciate the deliberate and thorough investigation, but let’s call a spade a spade.

Maybe that failure is why it took Barack Obama five days to call for lowering the flag.

Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read If Black Lives REALLY Mattered…, on Democrat race hustlers advocating policies that enslave black people on urban poverty plantations.

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Odierno’s Parting Shot on the Islamic State

By Michael Swartz

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For four years, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno was in Iraq, spending more time in the theater than any other military leader. He was a key architect of the successful “surge” that gave Iraq a short-lived bout of stability and relative prosperity. And then Barack Obama came along.

Now weeks away from retirement after a nearly four-decade career, Odierno barely hides his disgust at the decline in Iraq since Obama withdrew American forces. In the debate before the 2011 withdrawal, Odierno requested a force of 30-35,000 troops be maintained in Iraq. Unfortunately, he was overruled by Obama’s narcissistic quest for political expediency in the 2012 campaign. He had promised to “end” (note: not win) the war, and Americans were generally war-weary. Never mind that Iraq was always envisioned as part of a Long War against Islamic extremism.

“It’s frustrating to watch” the rise of the Islamic State, lamented Odierno in his interview with Fox. “I go back to the work we did in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and we got [Iraq] to a place that was really good. Violence was low, the economy was growing, [and] politics looked like it was heading in the right direction.” He added, “If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe [the Islamic State’s rise] might have been prevented. I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out we lost that role. … I think it would have been good for us to stay.”

Odierno didn’t explicitly say so, but he strongly implied that Obama’s foolish withdrawal from Iraq is directly responsible for the rise of the Islamic State.

Aside from very occasional airstrikes against a handful of Islamic State-controlled targets and ground forays conducted by Iraqi troops under U.S. advisement (and with the assistance of Iranian-backed militia groups), Obama has largely abandoned the Iraqis to the wolves of the al-Baghdadi caliphate. In fact, some foreign-policy pundits are becoming convinced that life under the Islamic State may not be so bad if you keep your nose clean and don’t make the regime mad. They may not yet make the trains run on time, but they argue there’s far less corruption than you’d find under the Iraqi and Syrian governments.

It appears that Obama is trying to walk the thin line between not becoming too involved in the Middle East but not completely ceding to the Islamic State. It’s a set of actions reminiscent of his negotiations with Iran, where State Department negotiators managed to let Iran get away with rhetorical nuclear murder by their insistence that even a horrendous deal was better than no deal at all. Odierno supported the Iranian nuclear pact, but added in the Fox interview that Iran will continue to be an aggressor and instigator.

Meanwhile, Obama is reducing the size of the military, which Odierno warns means the U.S. will be unable to “deter conflict and prevent wars.” Shrinking the Army from 570,000 to 490,000 soldiers, for example, is a problem. “In my mind, we don’t have the ability to deter,” Odierno explained. “The reason we have a military is to deter conflict and prevent wars. And if people believe we are not big enough to respond, they miscalculate.”

Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but as close as we can figure this is the Obama Doctrine toward Islamic terrorists: Put off the day of reckoning until the next administration and hope the collateral damage is kept largely in that region. But when a U.S. city or Jerusalem become a smoking ruin from either an Iranian nuke or an Islamic State terror attack — never mind the increasing “lone wolf” attacks like the one in Chattanooga — we’ll see the bitter harvest of what Obama has sown by not seeing through the Long War.

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TODAY AT PATRIOTPOST.US

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Ken Blackwell: “On Oct. 21, 1994, President Bill Clinton announced a deal with North Korea aimed at ending its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. ‘This is a good deal for the United States,’ Clinton said. ‘North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.’ … Twenty one years later, from the exact spot in the White House, President Obama said, ‘Iran is permanently prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provided the basis for the international community’s efforts to apply pressure on Iran.’ … The result of the North Korean agreement became clear on Oct. 9, 2006, when North Korea took the world by surprise and conducted its first successful test of a nuclear weapon. … President Obama does not appear to know the history of nuclear proliferation. But that is no reason why the country as a whole should be destined to repeat it.”

SHORT CUTS

“In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.” —French writer Voltaire (1694-1778)

Upright: “[Hillary Clinton] still doesn’t have real opponents who are going to challenge her for the nomination in the end. But we have gotten to see her. And it turns out that the more you see her, the more her numbers go down. That’s the definition of a weak candidate.” —Charles Krauthammer

Alpha Jackass: “To some degree the Tea Party is an expression of frustration. They see a bunch of stuff going on that they don’t understand and they feel threatened by, and then they react.” —Barack Obama (No, what we understand is his constant violation of the Constitution.)

The BIG Lie: “By the time I leave here, I think we’re going to be able to say that government is working much better, much more efficiently, much more customer-friendly than when I came into office.” —Barack Obama (Conservatives targeted by the IRS and veterans left for dead by the VA beg to differ.)

“The White House [made] a special Twitter account to answer questions about the new nuclear agreement. Finally using Twitter for what it was designed for — explaining complex, international nuclear agreements involving several nations.” —Seth Meyers

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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Commodities Collapsed Just Before The Last Stock Market Crash – So Guess What Is Happening Right Now?

Grid Stock Exchange Economy Finance - Public DomainIf we were going to see a stock market crash in the United States in the fall of 2015 (to use a hypothetical example), we would expect to see commodity prices begin to crash a few months ahead of time.  This is precisely what happened just before the great financial crisis of 2008, and we are watching the exact same thing happen again right now.  On Wednesday, commodities got absolutely pummeled, and at this point the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down a whopping 26 percent over the past twelve months.  When global economic activity slows down, demand for raw materials sinks and prices drop.  So important global commodities such as copper, iron ore, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead, tin and lumber are all considered to be key “leading indicators” that can tell us a lot about where things are heading next.  And what they are telling us right now is that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown. (Read More….)


Senator to Kerry on Iran deal: ‘We’ve been fleeced’

US Secretary of State John Kerry testifies during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee July 23, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)

The United States never intended to dismantle Iran’s entire nuclear program and the nation’s top diplomat never promised “anytime, anywhere inspections,” Secretary of State John Kerry told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing Thursday morning. Dismissing talk of a better deal as a “fantasy” involving “some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation,” the secretary was met by several highly skeptical critics, one of whom told him Iran had “fleeced” the US in the negotiations.

In his opening statement, Corker had accused Kerry of allowing the United States to be “fleeced” by Iran during the negotiations on the nuclear deal agreed last week.

“I believe we’ve been fleeced and in the course of being fleeced you turned Iran from being a pariah into Congress being a pariah,” he said. “A few weeks ago, you said that no deal was better than a bad deal. What you say now is that somehow if Congress were to turn this down, the only option is war.”

Corker also targeted the administration’s attitude toward Israel and the Gulf states, about which he said Kerry speaks “with a degree of disdain.” He told Kerry that he had “crossed a new threshold in US foreign policy where it is now the policy of the United States to allow a state sponsor of terror to develop a sophisticated nuclear program.”


Israel envoy to US lobbies Congress against Iran deal

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, July 29, 2014 (photo credit: Ron Sachs)

Israel’s ambassador to the United States implored congressional Republicans on Wednesday to scuttle President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and Western powers as the White House dispatched senior administration officials to Capitol Hill to make the case for the accord.

The intense lobbying on both sides of the issue reflected the importance of the pact for Obama, seeking a foreign policy capstone in the final months of his presidency, and the fierce opposition from Israel to the accord with Tehran. Congress this fall will cast the most significant national security vote since 2002, when it backed President George W. Bush on invading Iraq.

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said Ambassador Ron Dermer’s main argument during a nearly hour-long meeting with 30-40 House Republicans was “pay less attention to all the details” like centrifuges and years, and “pay more attention to who’s on the other side of the ethical debate, and that is Iran.”


Kenyan Pastors to Obama: Don’t Bring ‘The Gay Talk’ Here

http://cbn.com/tv/embedplayernews.aspx?bcid=4366135412001

Seven hundred Kenyan evangelical pastors have written an open letter asking the president not to come to their country and talk about the gay agenda.

Mark Kariuki is the key architect of that letter. He leads an alliance representing 38,000 churches and 10 million Kenyan Christians.

“We do not want him to come and talk on homosexuality in Kenya or push us to accepting that which is against our faith and culture,” Kariuki said.

“Let him talk about development; let him talk about cooperation; let him talk about the long-time relationship Kenya has had with America,” he said. “But about our beliefs and culture– keep off!”

“The family is the strength of a nation. If the family is destroyed, then the nation is destroyed,” he said. “So we don’t want to open doors for our nation to be destroyed!”


Obama slams ‘lobbyists, money’ working against his Iran deal

President Barack Obama, left, talks with Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” during a taping on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in New York. (AP/Evan Vucci)

In an interview with “The Daily Show” on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama took a swipe at “the money” and “the lobbyists” being marshaled by opponents of his controversial nuclear deal with Iran.

Strongly championing the accord, which is being bitterly opposed by Israel and which is being challenged by the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby, Obama urged viewers to contact their elected representatives to make sure the accord passes Congress. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other critics of the deal are vowing to try to muster sufficient support in Congress to block the accord by the two-thirds majority necessary to overcome any presidential veto.

“We were talking earlier about the Middle East and an issue like Iran,” Obama told host Jon Stewart. “I really want people to pay attention to this issue and learn about it, and then contact your elected representatives and express your opinion.”


GOP: Obama Hiding Parts of Iran Deal from Congress

“Even members of Congress who are sympathetic to this deal cannot and must not accept a deal we aren’t even aware of.”

Republicans have recently learned that President Obama is not presenting the full Iranian nuclear deal to Congress, withholding two key components of the deal that could result in more concessions to the terror-sponsoring Iranian regime.

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The Rise of a New Darkened America

The anti Constitutional secular left have finally fulfilled their secular tyrannical desire and have slain our Founding Father’s vision and our Constitution in which it cannot return. The glass is broke and unrepairable. It is my personal opinion – with lawlessness abounding in all three branches of U.S. Government – that anarchy, oppression, fiscal depression and civil war is at hand and it is just a matter of time before our national implosion (fiscally and morally) finally occurs.

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America’s Tolerance of Planned Parenthood’s Death Cult

Are we in denial? Are we too busy to do anything, too distracted to notice, or too complacent to care about the avalanche of immorality permeating our nation? Perhaps some of us – thinking we cannot do anything about it – simply choose to look the other way.

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Allen West Shreds Obama As 12,000 Patriots Attend Stop Iran Rally In Times Square (VIDEO)

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Times Square Wednesday evening in protest over the recent landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, some over 10 thousand are rallying in solidarity with signs and voices raised against the nuclear deal. Protest organizers proclaim: “Washington is prepared to give Iran virtually all that it needs to get to the bomb. To release $150 billion to Iran will result in the expansion of worldwide terror.”

stop-iran-rally-times-square-new-york-city-july-22-2015

 

Former New York Governor, and Presidential contender, George Pataki joined the chorus of voices urging lawmakers to block the deal.

“Reject this deal. Protect America. Protect Israel and protect the world from freedom,” Pataki said.

The Stop Iran Rally Coalition — which claims to be a bi-partisan group — is also calling out Sen. Charles Schumer, saying he “has the votes as presumptive leader to override this deal….If this deal is not stopped, New York voters will know whom to blame.”

In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry led back-to-back, closed-door briefings, trying to sway lawmakers to approve the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

“We are convinced that the agreement that we have arrived at with world powers is an agreement that will prevent Iran from the potential of securing a nuclear weapon. It will make the region, our friends and allies safer, it will make the world safer,” Kerry said. “And we are convinced that the absence of any viable alternative absolutely underscores that fact.”

allen-west-rips-obama-iranian-nuclear-deal-stop-iran-rally-times-square-new-york-city

Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. is fiercely lobbying lawmakers to reject the deal. And Republicans are pledging to do just that.

“Because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people, and we’re going to do everything possible to stop it,” said Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner.

And many at the rally said more people in the country need to start listening and speaking out as well. source


Nuclear Creepout: Iran’s Third Path to the Bomb :: Gambill in National Interest

by Gary C. Gambill
The National Interest
July 22, 2015

http://www.meforum.org/5396/iran-creepout


Obama Administration Strips Requirement to Defend The United States From Citizenship Oath

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has “clarified” requirements for individuals becoming naturalized citizens by stripping out the requirement of defending the United States through military service.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Honestly, at this point, I feel that Barack Hussein Obama could put on a turban, mount up a camel and move the White House to Syria and wouldn’t suffer more than a 5% drop in the polls. This latest stunt is yet another example of how he is stripping the heart and soul from America, one layer at a time.

“Effective July 21, 2015, new guidance (PA-2015-001) in the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance. Reciting the Oath is part of the naturalization process. Candidates for citizenship normally declare that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States” when required by the law. A candidate may be eligible to exclude these two clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection,” an email from USCIS clarifying the requirements states.

obama-removes-requirement-to-defend-america-from-new-citizenship-regulations

The new guidance: 

-May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.
-Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.
-May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

Although the U.S. has a voluntary military without a draft, meaning citizens are not currently required by law to serve, these new exemptions are highly alarming should the country need to call on its citizens for defense in the future. The United States has always allowed for exceptions to combat based on religious convictions, the Quakers are one example. However, Quakers have found different roles, i.e. as medics, inside the military to aid in the country’s defense. This rule change allows naturalized citizens to refuse service altogether.

It should be noted the Islamic terrorist Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who killed four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga last week, was a naturalized citizen. source


No Jihad Here: Middle East Studies Profs on Chattanooga Shooting

Obfuscation, Equivocation, and Denial

by Winfield Myers
FrontPage Magazine
July 23, 2015

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/259555/no-jihad-here-middle-east-studies-profs-winfield-myers

http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/14914


After Tennessee Shootings, Armed Citizens Guard Unarmed Recruiters

According to CNS News:

Gun-toting citizens are showing up at military recruiting centers around the country, saying they plan to protect recruiters following last week’s killing of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The citizens, some of them private militia members, said they’re supporting the recruiters, who by military directive are not armed.

“We’re here to serve and protect,” Clint Janney said Tuesday, wearing a Taurus 9mm handgun as he stood in a parking lot across from a recruiting center on the west side of Columbus. “What the government won’t do, we will do.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/after-tennessee-shootings-armed-citizens-guard-unarmed-recruiters/


Brit Hume: Planned Parenthood Videos Have ‘Laid Bare the Brutal Nature of Abortion’

Christian News Network reports:

A nationally-recognized political commentator says that regardless of whether or not Planned Parenthood is profiting from the organs of the babies killed at its facilities, the videos released about the matter have helped to expose and delineate the bloody brutality that is abortion.

“Whatever comes of the revelations about Planned Parenthood and its trafficking of fetal body parts, those revelations will have achieved on thing: They have parted the veil of antiseptic tidiness behind which the abortion industry has so long operated,” Brit Hume stated during a recent airing of Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier.

“The sight of a senior Planned Parenthood official—and a doctor to boot—discussing the market for fetal body parts in between bites of salad and sips of wine was stomach turning. That’s because it laid bare the brutal nature of abortion,” he said.

http://christiannews.net/2015/07/23/brit-hume-planned-parenthood-videos-have-laid-bare-the-brutal-nature-of-abortion/


Arnold Schwarzenegger Spokesman For Crusade Combining The World’s Religions With Climate Change

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been chosen by the French government to join Nobel prizewinners, philosophers, UN secretary generals, spiritual leaders and theologians to make the moral case for the world to act urgently on climate change.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With Pope Francis leading the way, calls for a crusade to combine the world’s religions with the Climate Change movement are intensifying. Paris was host this week for a Summit of world leaders make this a reality. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been selected as their spokesman and appears in a video calling for the “gospel of Climate Change to be preached” in every “church, mosque and temple” across the world.

Talking at the world’s first summit of conscience for the climate on Tuesday – ahead of the crucial UN climate change meeting in the city in December – the Terminator star and former California governor declared the science debate over, saying planetary catastrophe could only be avoided with ethical action:

arnold-schwarzenegger-selected-spokesman-for-crusade-combining-religon-with-fighting-climate-change-pope-francis

“I’ve starred in a lot of science fiction movies and, let me tell you something, climate change is not science fiction, this is a battle in the real world, it is impacting us right now.

“I believe the science is in. The debate is over and the time for action is now,” he told an invited audience of intellectuals and spiritual leaders from all faiths. “This is bigger than any movie, this is the challenge of our time. And it is our responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it, but right now we are failing future generations.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Ghanaian president of the Vatican’s Pontifical council for justice and peace, who helped Pope Francis write the encyclical on human ecology published last month, said that the climate is a common good. “It is a global common meant for all but the costs are being borne by those who have least contributed to it.

http://www.mrctv.org/embed/137634

“At stake now is the wellbeing of the earth, our common hope. What we need is care. When we care for something it is with passion and commitment of the heart. That’s why Pope Francis called for care of the earth. A sense of passion is needed.”

Muslim theologians, Christians and Hindus said they saw climate change both as an existential threat and as an opportunity for renewal. Sheikh Bentounes, leader of the Sufi brotherhood Alawiya, urged mankind to carry “a hope of a future”.

“The prophet Mohammed called on man to plant and sow seeds. He said ‘Even at the end of times continue to plant and sow.’ We have responsibility to carry this hope to the end. This tiny vessel in infinite space that we call earth is unique.”

Daoists, Confucians, shamans, Jesuits, Bhuddists and others called for politicians to act on behalf of humankind at Paris. Patriarch Bartholomew, leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians, despaired at humanity’s blindness, but quoted writer Fyodor Dostoevsky saying that “beauty would save the earth”.

“Scientists and theologians agree that humanity depends on nature. We must accept the moral imperative for action. Religion must also be involved in the crucial question of climate change”, said Bartholomew. source


Undercover Videomaker: “Even Worse” Planned Parenthood Videos Coming

Newsmax reports:

Pre-born babyCenter for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden says his group has hundreds or thousands of hours of undercover video of abortion providers that will be released in the coming weeks and months, and that some of it is “even worse” than the two videos already aired to the public.

Shot over the past two-and-a-half years, the group has “dozens upon dozens” of hours of “the really, really shocking compelling stuff,” Daleiden told Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” on Wednesday.

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/planned-parenthood-undercover-videos/2015/07/22/id/658496/


ISIS planning to use toy helicopters as bombing drones fear security chiefs

According to the UK Mirror:

Counter-terror chiefs fear Islamist fanatics plan to launch deadly bomb attacks on the UK’s streets using unmanned toy drones.

Both MI5 and police battling the threat of an IS outrage in Britain believe the network has experimented with planting high explosives on the tiny flying machines.

The agile drones could lift enough C4 plastic explosive to kill or maim a person if detonated near someone’s head by remote control or a timer.

Sources told the Mirror that police probing IS plots against UK citizens believe terror bosses want to launch a multi-drone attack.

This could mean flying the helicopter-style toys by remote control into crowds at an open-air music festival or a football ground.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/isis-planning-use-toy-helicopters-6119888/


What? Evangelicals Come Against Franklin Graham’s Views on Islam

Posted: 23 Jul 2015 07:20 AM PDT

After five members of our military were killed in cold blood—and two others wounded—on our own soil in an act of domestic terrorism in Chattanooga, evangelist Franklin Graham dared to say what many in America were thinking: “We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim who comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized—and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad,” Graham said.

“During World War II, we didn’t allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we’ve got to put a stop to this and close the floodgates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.” The elder Graham stayed out of politics, but the once-prodigal son is known for his bold commentary. Some of his fellow evangelicals are up in arms over these comments from Billy Graham’s son. “Harsh” and “unhelpful” were the words Carl Medearis, an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations, used to describe Graham’s words. MORE

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Leonard Ravenhill and the Other Prophetic Voices We Didn’t HeedPosted: 23 Jul 2015 07:17 AM PDT

Some will call it being an alarmist. But nevertheless, recent events not only in the U.S. but globally indicate the age many thought we would never see is unfolding before our very eyes. We should not be dismayed, however. The prophets of old, the teachings of Jesus and the writings of the apostles all told us this day was coming—we simply didn’t believe it would come within our lifetime. What we are witnessing did not happen overnight, and to lay out before you how and when the “process” of societal reconstruction would take several posts.

Suffice it to say that, by the 1970s (Leonard Ravenhill) and 1980s (Francis Schaeffer, David Wilkerson, and others) many saw what was unfolding in American culture and the devastating effects that would take place once the cultural shifts gained momentum. Here we have the world spirit of our age—autonomous man setting himself up as God in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth that God has given. Here is the reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area of life. The titanic freedoms that we once enjoyed have been cut loose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. When this happens, there really are few alternatives. MORE

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Sanhedrin Calls Obama to Trial on Mt. ZionPosted: 23 Jul 2015 07:11 AM PDT

A re-established and self declared Israeli Sanhedrin is calling US President Barack Obama to trial for what it says are “criminal offenses” against the Jewish people following the passage of the Iran nuclear deal. The modern day Jewish high court, made up of 71 Judaic scholars and rabbis, plan to bring the American president to trial on Mount Zion on September 9, 2015, four days before Rosh Hashana, the beginning of heavenly judgement days for the Jewish nation.

According to a letter obtained exclusively by Breaking Israel News that was sent to the president, the Sanhedrin calls out Obama for “deliberately promoting genocide for the Jewish people.” The judges of the Sanhedrin call on the president to “immediately announce that you are repealing and suspending the agreement.” The Sanhedrin, which has been active in Israel for over a decade, recently made news when it announced that it would be putting Pope Francis on trial in absentia for his recognition of a “State of Palestine”. MORE

 

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Oil Warning: The Crash Could Be Worst in More Than 45 YearsPosted: 23 Jul 2015 07:02 AM PDT

Morgan Stanley has been pretty pessimistic about oil prices in 2015, drawing comparisons to the some of the worst oil slumps of the past three decades. The current downturn could even rival the iconic price crash of 1986, analysts had warned—but definitely no worse.  This week, a revision: It could be much worse.

Until recently, confidence in a strong recovery for oil prices—and oil companies—had been pretty high, wrote analysts including Martijn Rats and Haythem Rashed, in a report to investors yesterday. That confidence was based on four premises, they said, and only three have proven true. MORE

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Man ‘resurrected’ after lightning bolt from out of bluePosted: 23 Jul 2015 06:57 AM PDT

A Colorado man who was struck by lightning while working in his yard west of Golden – the bolt struck a nearby tree, then jumped to the man’s head, traveled through his body and apparently exited through his fingertips, exploding his hat, shirt and gloves – is taking it in stride. “My heart is all right, and my brain will be all right,” reported Jerry Leenheer, 71. He had burns on his arms and fingers, which were very painful. His right ear was deafened by the strike, but he hopes to regain his hearing.

Doctors performed a full body MRI and all tests were negative. He was released from the hospital on Monday and reports his doctors anticipate a recovery period of two weeks. It happened July 15 when storms moved across the Robinson Hill area just west of Golden, where he and his wife, Cora Jean, have lived since 1981. Jerry was out trimming trees that day for fire mitigation, accompanied by his dog Josie. MORE

 

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FBI chief: ISIS recruiting in all 50 statesPosted: 23 Jul 2015 06:52 AM PDT

James Comey, director of the FBI, warned at an Aspen Security Forum the current breed of ISIS is “not your parents’ al-Qaida,” and Americans need to be on alert: The terror group’s recruiting in all 50 states.“[This] is not your parents’ al-Qaida,” he said, at the Wednesday evening event reported by the Aspen Times. “It’s a very different model. … What worries me most is that ISIL’s investment in social media, which has been blossoming in the last six to eight weeks in particular, will cause a significant increase in the number of incidents that we will see.

That’s what I worry about all day long.” Comey said al-Qaida followers used to have to search the social media sites to get news of the terror group’s goings-on. But ISIS has changed that modus operandi, he said. “ISIL is changing that model entirely because ISIL is buzzing on your hip,” Comey said, referencing smart phones, the Aspen Times reported. “If you want to talk to a terrorist, they’re right there on Twitter Direct Messaging for you to communicate with. … The FBI’s job is to locate the people in the 50 states that are receptive to the ISIL message and stop them from committing domestic terrorism.” MORE

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Seattle seeks Sharia law for Muslim homebuyersPosted: 23 Jul 2015 06:42 AM PDT

Seattle’s local governing authorities are pressing forward with a plan to give Muslims with Sharia-compliant beliefs a financial option to buy homes. The idea comes in recognition of the current purchasing and financing laws that Muslims say lock them out of home buying, due to their Sharia principles.

“We will work to develop new tools for Muslims who are prevented from using conventional mortgage products due to their religious beliefs,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murry, at a recent press conference, Fox News reported. The facet of home financing that Sharia-compliant Muslims can’t abide? The payment of interest, Fox News said. And that means about 30,000 Muslims in the Seattle area who follow what the Quran calls “the right way” aren’t able to participate in the banking loan process – because interest is the primary way lenders earn money. MORE

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Armadillos cause spike in leprosy cases in FloridaPosted: 23 Jul 2015 06:28 AM PDT

There are an unusually high number of leprosy cases cropping up in Florida. Experts said they believe the spike is because of people coming into contact with armadillos. Florida typically sees two to 12 cases of leprosy a year, but so far there have been nine cases in 2015, according to the Florida Department of Health. The latest case was diagnosed in Flagler County three weeks ago.

Some armadillos, placental mammals with leathery armor, are naturally infected with leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Armadillos are one of the only known animals to carry leprosy, an age-old disease that causes skin and nerve damage. The CDC says it is possible to contract leprosy through contact with armadillos, but it is usually unlikely. MORE

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New Show Paints Pastor as Homosexual PotheadPosted: 22 Jul 2015 07:25 PM PDT

Buddy Dobbs is “a hard-core gambling addict who, in order to go on the run from a loan shark, ends up stealing the identity of a gay pastor in a local small-town community.” Such is the plot for Impastor, a new “comedy” that started July 15 on TV Land. This is the same network that brought us reruns of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show.

I wonder what Andy would think of his network now. According to OneMillionMoms, “This show not only depicts pastors in a negative light, but the entire program will also be based on lies about Christianity.” The website also notes that “TV Land is not ridiculing any other religion currently and wouldn’t dream of mocking Muhammad or Muslims.” Christians can respond in two ways. MORE

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Obama: New citizens can skip pledge to take up arms and defend the U.S.Posted: 22 Jul 2015 02:30 PM PDT

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday said it will no longer require incoming U.S. citizens to pledge that they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” or “perform noncombatant service” in the Armed Forces as part of the naturalization process. Those lines are in the Oath of Allegiance that people recite as they become U.S. citizens.

But USCIS said people “may” be able to exclude those phrases for reasons related to religion or if they have a conscientious objection. USCIS said people with certain religious training or with a “deeply held moral or ethical code” may not have to say the phrases as they are naturalized. The agency said people don’t have to belong to a specific church or religion to use this exemption, and may attest to U.S. officials administering the oath that they have these beliefs. MORE

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Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, July 23, 2015 – http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Asia Bibi Could Walk Free after Execution Stayed

School District Fined $7,500 after Pastor Prays at Event

Cameroon: 9 Students Burned to Death in Suspected Boko Haram Attack

Oldest Bible Text since Dead Sea Scrolls Deciphered

Prime Minister David Cameron Unveils 5-Year Plan to Battle Muslim Extremists

5 Things Christians Should Know about John Kasich’s Faith

Joel Osteen Makes Appearance in Rapper’s New Album

Another Planned Parenthood Video Shows Doctor Haggling Price of Organs

American Golfer that Won British Open Says He Read Scripture throughout Tournament

Lawmakers Push Protections for Marriage Views

Opinion

Adultery Website Ashley Madison Hacked

Christians Fooled by Fake News

Jordan Spieth Misses History by a Stroke

Death with Dignity Act Threatens Sanctity of Human Life

Actress Charged for Illegally Importing Dogs


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

Read more


What is The Gospel?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
Source


Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

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.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

July 23, 2015 Truth2Freedom Daily Christian Blog/Article Collection

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Bruce Jenner, Gay Marriage, and Planned Parenthood: The Self-Deification of a Nation

My fellow Christians, it is the preaching of that Gospel—and that Gospel alone—that will bow the arrogant heart of self-deification that revels in transgenderism, homosexualism, and abortion. Let us be pray-ers and let us be preachers, for the sake of our nation and for the sake of God’s glory.

Read More


How Should Christians Respond to Attacks and Insults?

I had allowed my soul to become distressed, and that was sin. Instead of seeing the attack on me as an occasion to imitate Christ and to grow in my sanctification, I had resisted God’s Spirit, who had brought this painful event into my life for my edification, that I might remember where my treasure is.

Read more


Jesus Loves The Little Children

Despite the muddled arguments of progressive Christian groups and denominations (whose obfuscation with language is positively Orwellian), opposition to abortion and infanticide is not simply one position for Christians, it is the Christian position.

Read more


Heidelberg 91: What Are Good Works? (Part 2)

True faith is said to be the sole instrument (sola fide) of justification and salvation. True faith is also the instrument of union and communion with Christ and it is the headwaters of the believer’s new, Spirit-wrought life in Christ. In other words, true faith is essential to good works.

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JoyFul Exiles

According to Peter, this time in between the inauguration and the consummation is a time that is marked by God’s grace so that all may be brought in to the kingdom before the second coming of Christ.

Read More


Talking Past Each Other: “Love Wins” vs. Human Nature

There remain two views on the question of marriage, but they keep talking past each other. One holds that “love wins,” so one shouldn’t stand in the way of love. The other respects the anthropological truth about marriage.

Read More


Changing The World. One Word At A Time.

There is a whole lot of death being spoken every day. Curses. Angry explosions. Criticism. Derogatory comments. Backbiting, gossip, slander, hatred, and a thousand other variations on death. We all live in a wash of constant death-speak. That’s why words of encouragement are so life-giving. So refreshing.

Read more


What Goes Under the Umbrella of Women’s Ministry?

It has become easier to target “weak” women to infect the church with false teaching because we have separated them to their own ministry. There are so many books full of bad theology with these groups in mind. Pastors can hardly keep up with what the women are up against in the danger zone ostensibly labeled as Christian publishing. But it is imperative that they do.

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The Next Leaders in the Church

Every generation tends to look at the previous one and sees issues and problems they are determined to fix.  There is a natural human seed of rebellion in us that tells us the older generation is backwards thinking and steeped in tradition–and that “our” generation will get things right. But as the Word of God […]

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Planned Parenthood, Caitlyn Jenner, and the Assault on Women

There is a war on women, but the lines may not be drawn the way you think. The last fifty years have been host to the Women’s Liberation Movement— a progressive movement that seeks to unhinge the feminine identity from the shackles of male chauvinism and political oppression.  Advocates have claimed that they were fighting for women and confidently asserted that the end result would be the freedom, empowerment, and safety of all women everywhere.

But women are in danger, now more than ever. They are being dishonored, degraded, mutilated, and murdered.

Planned Parenthood Problems
In recent news, Planned Parenthood has come under fire after top abortion doctor Deborah Nucatola was caught on camera discussing the sale of parts and organs from aborted fetuses, all while sipping wine and chomping on her salad. A week later, another video was released showing a different doctor, Dr. Mary Gatter, discussing compensation over the sale of body parts, even joking about being compensated to the tune of a new Lamborghini.

It is estimated that more than 58 million babies have been aborted in the United States since Roe v. Wade (1973), nearly 7 million of them killed at Planned Parenthood clinics; many of these children were female.

The organization that prides itself on advocating for women’s health has been systematically murdering unborn women for more than four decades.

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The Supreme Court’s Attack on the Family — John MacArthur

John MacArthur Behind Pulpit Photo

The excerpt below is from a message John MacArthur preached on Sunday, July 19, 2015, entitled, We Will Not Bow.

This country talks a lot about terrorist attacks—and rightly so. Almost anybody in America can give you some kind of a listing of the most destructive acts of terror that have happened in our country. But let me suggest to you this: The two greatest attacks of terror on America were perpetrated by the Supreme Court. Not by any Muslim, but by the Supreme Court of the United States. The first one was the legalizing of abortion. Subsequent to that, there have been millions of babies slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers. It’s incalculable to even comprehend that. The blood of those lives cries out from the ground for divine vengeance on this nation.

The second great act of terror perpetrated by the Supreme Court was the legalization of same-sex marriage. The destruction of human life in the womb—in a sense, the destruction of motherhood—and now the destruction of the family itself. No bomb, no explosion, no attack, and no assault on people physically can come anywhere near that kind of terrorism.

Our country is being terrorized by the people most responsible to protect it—those who are to uphold the law.

Just a few comments beyond that. No human court has the authority to redefine morality. But this human court has said murder is not murder; and marriage is not marriage; and family is not family. They have usurped the authority that belongs only to God, who is the creator of life, marriage, and family. Any and all attempts to define morality differently than God has is a form of rebellion and blasphemy—blasphemy against God, against His holy nature, and His holy law, and His holy people.

This nation, at its highest level, has taken a position against God. Such blasphemous rebellion is energized—it is energized by the corruption of the collection of sinful hearts, which make up this nation or any nation. There’s no question about that. But behind that collection of sinful, corrupt, human hearts—that make this kind of thing possible and acceptable—is the realm of Satan and demons. The Bible says Satan holds the whole world in his hands; the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one.

God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, and the church, and truth are the enemies of Satan. And Satan rules the world. He rules the world of sinners. And he has his power in high places. He is the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, and he hates and seeks to destroy all that is light, all that is truth, all that is pure, all that is holy, all that is virtuous, and all that is good.

I’m saying all of this to let you know that you don’t need to be surprised. I admit, that for a few hundred year America had a very rare reprieve from this normal kind of conflict that most of the world has always known. But that reprieve has come to a screeching halt. And I want to remind you that homosexuality, homosexual marriage, gender transition—these are not the real battlegrounds. The real battle ground is against God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and the Bible, and the church, and the gospel. Any blasphemy against God comes from God haters, Christ haters, Bible haters, gospel haters. And they are fueled by the arch-hater, Satan himself.

Since marriage is vital to God’s design, for ordered society, sensible civilization—civilization able to enjoy common grace—since marriage is, by God’s design, His way to pass on order, to pass on peace, to pass on temporal blessing, and even to pass on righteousness from one generation to the next, family has always been under assault, under assault.

Since Genesis, God makes it very clear: He made them male and female—male, female. Nothing in the middle. Male, female. He said marriage is when a male and female come together and create a union for life and have children. That’s marriage. But you don’t get very far in Genesis until you run into polygamy, incest, prostitution, rampant homosexuality by the nineteenth chapter of Genesis. All the deviations, all the perversions are in the book of Genesis—after the Fall.

These have always been the corruptions that have marked human society. Again, in America and the Western world, we’ve had a bit of a reprieve because of the prevailing influence of Christian morality. The objective of Satan, the objective of demons, and consequently, the objective of all who are the subjects of Satan—the children of Satan, as they’re called in Scripture—is to destroy everything that God has made. They are the enemies of God and Christ and the truth of Scripture and the gospel.

The objective is not simply to redefine gender. The objective is not simply to redefine marriage. The objective is to destroy what God has designed.

Families provide a small, sovereign unit that acts as a small barrier against the corruption that seeks to dominate. Shatter the family, destroy the family and the small sovereign barrier is disintegrated. And by the way, the goal in all of this—you need to be reading to see this—the goal in all of this is not homosexual, same-sex marriage. The goal is the total elimination of all marriage, which then means you don’t possess any privacy. You don’t have that small, sovereign unit, and your children are not yours. They’re public children and they belong to the education system; and they belong to the country; and they belong to the village—but not to you. And so, when they’re fifteen in the state of Oregon they can have a sex change without telling their parents—and the state will do it and pay for it.

This is not about same-sex marriage. This is about the total obliteration of the family. . .

. . .We’re at about fifty percent of children in America now are born without married parents. It’s going to get worse and worse and worse as marriage disappears. Why get married? Too many complications. Too many questions. Too binding. People say, “Well the government shouldn’t even be in this.” You’re right, the government should be in this, and they’ll get out of it fast enough. And people will be able to make any kind of contract they want, make any arrangement they want. Same sex. Opposite sex. Polygamy. People will—you watch—marry their dogs, their horses. Because Satan just wants to completely obliterate marriage.

It’s not new. It’s Genesis 19. Homosexuality. And God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah over this sin. They tried to rape angels in Sodom—angels who took on human form to come to Sodom. The homosexuals in Sodom were blinded by God and in their blindness they tried to rape the angels. The Old Testament is not unclear on this issue. Let me just read something to you that maybe you don’t know exists. It’s in Deuteronomy, chapter 22—I’ll just read it to you—verse 5: “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing.” Is that hard to understand? “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

Transvestism, as it used to be called, is not new. By the way, it is an abomination. That abomination is the exact same word used in Leviticus 18 to refer to homosexuality.

There were men who wanted to dress like women then. There were women who wanted to dress like men. Actually, Deuteronomy 22:5 is more general than clothing. The Hebrew actually says, “It’s not right to wear or to take on to oneself that which appertains to a man.” Anything that is male a female should not adopt; anything that is female a male should not adopt…..Continue to read, and/or listen to this message, here.


Communicate a Pro-Life Argument in Two Minutes or Less

Here’s a helpful video from Scott Klusendorf:

If you were asked to develop a pro-life argument that could be communicated in two minutes or less, could you do it? Could you make a case that a secular person would accept—a person who doesn’t want religious arguments for the pro-life view? I’m going to show you how to do that.

(HT: Justin Taylor)


God Wants to Show His Wrath

God Wants to Show His WrathJohn Piper says, “In all the Bible, there are no more weighty, or ultimate, or difficult words than Romans 9:22–23.” These verse tackle the issues of God’s sovereignty and God’s wrath. How can God judge those whom he has hardened?

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God Would Rather Pour Out Mercy Than Wrath

What is happening in our society? It looks like sinners are getting their way, getting what they want. We shouldn’t be surprised. We see it in Romans 1:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth….

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise…

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done…RO 1:18, 24, 26, 28

Notice that the passage says “God gave them up” three times. JI Packer, in his classic book Knowing God said this many years ago:

To those who have eyes to see, tokens of the active wrath of God appear here and now in the actual state of humankind. Everywhere the Christian observes a pattern of degeneration, constantly working itself out – from knowledge of God to worship of that which is not God, and from idolatry to immorality of an ever grosser sort, so that each generation grows a fresh crop of “ungodliness and unrighteousness.” In this decline we are to recognize the present action of divine wrath in a process of judicial hardening and withdrawal of restraints, whereby people are given up to their own corrupt preferences and so come to put into practice more and more uninhibitedly the lusts of their sinful hearts. Paul describes the process, as he knew it from his Bible in the world of his day, in Romans 1:19-31, where the key phrases are “God… gave them over…to sexual impurity”;”God gave them over to shameful lusts”; “he gave them over to a depraved mind” (1:24, 26, 28).

What is happening in our society has been happening since the beginning. It was obviously happening in Paul’s day. It may look like sinners are getting their way, but God, in his wrath, is giving them over to to their desires. When we refuse to worship God and worship “the creature” – created things, like sex, money, drugs, pleasure – good gifts from God, but never intended to be idolized. When we want these things more than God, so God says, OK, have your fill. I’ll give you what you want. So what we are seeing is God giving multitudes over to their own sinful desires. This is a manifestation of his wrath. But God only pours out wrath as a last resort. He would much rather show mercy to multitudes.

AW Pink says mercy “denotes the ready inclination of God to relieve the misery of fallen creatures.”

The Puritan Thomas Watson said, “God is more inclinable to mercy than wrath. Mercy is his darling attribute, which he most delights in. Mic 7:18. Mercy pleases him…. Acts of severity are rather forced from God; he does not afflict willingly. Lam 3:33. The bee naturally gives honey, it stings only when it is provoked; so God does not punish till he can bear no longer. ‘So that the Lord could bear no longer, because of the evil of your doings.’ Jer 44:22. Mercy is God’s right hand that he is most used to; inflicting punishment is called his strange work. Isa 28:21.”

God is more inclinable to mercy than wrath.

He is merciful again and again, and holds back his wrath until his justice requires it. God would much rather pour out mercy than wrath. In Scripture, there’s no comparison between God’s anger and his mercy:

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. PS 30.5

For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer. IS 54.7-8

A moment of anger compared to a lifetime of favor. A brief moment of anger compared to everlasting love. He revealed himself this way to Moses on Mount Sinai:

The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands (or ‘to the thousandth generation’), forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” EX 34.5-7

God doesn’t begin describing himself as wrathful, but that he is “a God merciful and gracious.” Then he goes on to say that he is a God who is “slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” – all these traits reveal his mercy and grace. He does mention his justice – “who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” But contrast the third and fourth generation to “keeping steadfast love to the thousandth generation.” God may visit a man’s iniquity to the third and fourth generation, but he pours out his kindness to a thousand generations.

Multitudes in our country are getting what they want. They are celebrating sin. But in getting what they want, in his wrath, God is giving them over to their sin. Yet God still desires to rescue them from his wrath. So we should pray that God would have mercy on multitudes in this nation, bring them out of their sin and into the kingdom of God.

I’m so glad our God is a God who is inclined to mercy, who would much rather pour out mercy than wrath. For he had mercy on me. I was no different than any other human being. I rebelled against God, worshipped created things, and gave myself to sin, yet God was patient and forbearing and withheld his wrath, poured out mercy and sent his Son Jesus to save me.


10 Reasons Believers Should Take Care of Themselves Physically

SPECIAL NOTE: Dr. Lawless recently launched a site of his own at ChuckLawless.com with daily posts as well as a daily Bible reading devotional. He will continue to write weekly here at ThomRainer.com, but if you would like daily content from him, be sure to visit ChuckLawless.com.

By Chuck Lawless

I confess that I don’t always take care of myself as I should. I have to work hard to maintain a healthy weight, keep my blood pressure down, etc. As a Christian, though, I see this issue as more a spiritual one than a physical one. Here are some reasons believers need to take care of ourselves:

  1. We are created in God’s image. The Bible is quite clear here – we are made in the image of the Creator. That image was marred in the fall of Adam and Eve, but not destroyed. That fact alone should give us reason to take care of ourselves.
  2. This body is the only one we have. This point might sound silly, but sometimes we live as if we have bodies to spare. When this one is worn out, we don’t have a replacement until the day of resurrection.
  3. Poor discipline is a bad witness. It’s hard to tell people to be disciplined in their Bible study, prayer life, giving, etc., when they can look at us and see we are undisciplined in exercise and eating. A lack of effort in one area of life is often indicative of problems in other areas.
  4. Bad health is costly. Eventually, the costs of poor health add up. Medical bills pile up. Insurance costs increase. Moreover, bad health makes us less productive at work. Others are forced then to carry some of our load.
  5. Our families deserve better. Frankly, it’s unloving not to take care of ourselves. Our families worry about us when we struggle to climb steps or find clothes to fit. Our love for them ought to motivate us to do better.
  6. Being out of shape might indicate idolatry. Those words might be difficult to hear, but they’re necessary ones. If we cannot push away from food in order to take care of our bodies, we must ask if something other than God has become our god.
  7. Better health = more energy to do God’s work. God’s work is not easy. Those of us in ministry know that the burdens are sometimes heavy. The hours are often long. Being out of shape makes the work only that much more difficult.
  8. Proper care requires rest – and it’s biblical to get rest. God expects us to take time off, focus on Him, and enjoy His blessings. In fact, not taking time to rest can be self-centered (that is, we think we must be doing everything). I struggle here, but I’m learning.
  9. We might be called to the mission field. Many missions organizations will not consider sending someone who is out of shape. The work is often rigorous, and the stresses of cross-cultural living are only compounded by poor health.
  10. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. This truth is difficult to comprehend, but God really does live within us (1 Cor. 6:19). He who created us and indwells us expects us to be wise stewards of the body He gave us.

Maybe you want to make a commitment to take better care of yourself. If so, tell us how we can pray for you.


Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

The post 10 Reasons Believers Should Take Care of Themselves Physically appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Watchers Through a Glass, Darkly

With God’s Holy Word in our hands, we await the Blessed Hope, the Rapture, and watch for signs of the pending Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But today we are doubly blessed because we not only have the Bible, we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

However, even with that, as with the First Advent, the exact timing and sequencing of events preceding the Second Advent (the Rapture, Psalm 83, Isaiah 17 Oracle, the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel’s Seventieth Week) though they are in the Scriptures right before our eyes, the details and timing of these events remain intentionally, partially veiled from us by our Lord God.

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Does It Really Matter Who We Vote for in 2016?

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee addressed this question at The Awakening 2015 conference in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year. “Now here’s the sad part,” the former Arkansas governor said. “There are 80 million self-identified evangelicals in America today. You know how many are registered to vote? Half of them. But of the half that are registered do you know how many voted in the last presidential election? Half of them. And how many of them voted in the off-year election of 2014? Half of that number. If 4 percent more had voted differently in the 2012 presidential election … we would be talking today about (a different administration).”

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Debate: Does God Exist? John Lennox vs. Michael Shermer

This debate between John Lennox and Michael Shermer took place in 2008 at the Wesley Conference Centre in Sydney, Austraila.

Why are So Many Millennials Leaving the Evangelical Church?

Why are So Many Millennials Leaving the Evangelical Church?

Posted on July 23, 2015 by Crosswalk

http://www.danieldarling.comwww.crosswalk.com

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Trusting the Church After Abuse

Trusting the Church After Abuse

Posted on July 23, 2015 by Christianity Today

How I found comfort in continuing the conversation.

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'Audacity' Takes Unique View of Homosexuality

‘Audacity’ Takes Unique View of Homosexuality

Posted on July 23, 2015 by CBN

A new film promises to deliver an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality. Audacity uses a unique approach to address a very sensitive subject in contemporary society.

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The Pastor’s Personal Holiness – Nothing is more essential to a pastor’s calling or the ministry he extends to others than his own personal holiness.

Forward from Conversion – Ed Stetzer: “It’s a really bad idea to give birth to a baby and leave them on their own. We call that abandonment. People go to jail for that—and rightfully so. But I think sometimes we do that in church.”

Heaven Is a Place for Sale – This article traces a bit of the pre-history of the heaven tourism genre.


Is Self-Love Always Selfishness?

396px-Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)_edited

“Narcissus” by Caravaggio (1594-96)

We all say we’re against selfishness. But what is selfishness? And if God hates selfishness, why does our own happiness play such an important role in Biblical motivation? Some people think of selfishness as merely loving oneself, and that love for self is where the sin in selfishness lies. As you will see, I think we can define selfishness with more precision.

As far as I’m concerned, Jonathan Edwards answered these questions well, and he has in turn helped me answer them. Edwards spoke of self-love quite a bit in his writings. He explored the topic often in his personal notebooks (aka “Miscellanies”). Perhaps I can summarize his thought well enough here to help you as well (if you’ve not already come to conclusions on the matter). I’ll be using most his seventh sermon in Charity and Its Fruits, “Charity Contrary to a Selfish Spirit.”

First, let’s establish what self-love is in general. Self-love is the pursuit of your own happiness or joy. Your love of happiness is absolutely crucial to who you are as a person. In fact, your will functions because of self-love. To remove self-love would obliterate your humanity, for it would obliterate your will. You are hard-wired (so to speak) to seek happiness and joy, and this is because of your innate self-love.

Generally speaking, self-love is not innately evil. First, since self-love is innate to human nature, self-love is not evil. Some might concede that self-love is innate, but they might argue that self-love is an innate quality of our depraved human nature. Yet, happiness and joy was certainly a part of human nature before the fall, so the essential quality of self-love (in general) is not a mark of depravity. Second, Scripture assumes that we have self-love, and it does not condemn it. In fact, the authors of Scripture use self-love as a bench-mark for our love for others:

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18

“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 (cf. Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27)

“For the commandments … are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9 (cf. Gal 6:15; Jame 2:8)

“In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:25-32

These Scriptures show that there is something in self-love that is innate, and that self-love, as a good, is even the gauge by which we recognize that we are loving others as we ought. Yet these Scriptures also betray the dark truth that self-love often goes awry. That the Scriptures have to tell us to love others, and indeed, make this love for others along with love for the God the very sum of all morality, shows that we do not love as should. Indeed, we distort and twist self-love. Self-love becomes inordinate, and by it we sin. Many Scriptures condemn selfishness or inordinate self-love. “Love does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor 13:5). In 2 Tim 3:2, Paul warns that in the last days “people will be lovers of self.” Something has gone very wrong with self-love. Since the fall, broken self-love is the norm. It is the air we breathe. Inordinate self-love is so much a part of who we are in our depravity that we are often blind to its extent and effects.

So self-love in general is good and necessary. But there is an inordinate self-love that is selfishness. What makes self-love inordinate? When does our pursuit of happiness turn into sin?

First, self-love is not sinful in the degree or height of our personal happiness. Psa 4:7 explodes with personal happiness: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” The saints in heaven are very happy people. Their joy and gladness has no limit. Their self-love is full to the brim and overflowing. The Lord promises to bring great happiness to his people with himself in Psalm 81:10: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” David is exuberant: “I will be glad and exult in you” (Psa 9:2). God does not want us to cap our own happiness or self-love. So self-love is not inordinate in its limit or height. The Lord brings his people great happiness and joy. In fact, this happiness from the Lord is so great, we could not even fathom it, save for special revelation: “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor 2:7).

Self-love becomes selfishness in two ways. First, our own self-love may be important in our minds compared with the happiness and self-love of others (including God). We regard too highly our own self-love vis-à-vis our love for the glory of God and others’ self-love. Just because you love your own happiness does not mean that you fail to consider the glory of God or happiness of others. The problem again is not that such men love themselves too much, but that they do not love God and others enough. Jonathan Edwards puts it well:

“In some respects wicked men do not love themselves enough. They do not love themselves as much as the godly do. They do not love that which is indeed their true happiness. Therefore it is said of wicked men that they hate their own souls. But in other respects they love themselves too much” (Charity and Its Fruits, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards [Yale] 8:257).

We are simultaneously capable of enjoying great happiness and of wanting to see God greatly glorified and others equally happy. Most men do not do this, and so they are selfish. The sin is not in the degree of self-love but in its comparison.

Second, self-love turns into selfishness when our happiness is founded upon the things connected with ourselves. A person is selfish when they love their own personal good, rather than the good of others. Here again the problem is not the degree of self-love but the place where it is found. Here a person’s love for himself excludes others. We delight in our personal, private good. The person who is selfish in this way is deceived into thinking that their happiness is found when they are personally excelling. They think their personal honor, glory, riches, and pleasure is the way to find happiness.

So selfishness is not a high degree of happiness or in a desire to be very happy. Selfishness is not merely self-love. Selfishness is either when this pursuit of happiness is too important to us compared with the glory of God and happiness of others, or when our pursuit of happiness is directed only towards our own good. Such selfishness is such a long-standing characteristic of human nature that we now regard it to be a minor offense. Yet Paul laments, “For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). The Bible sees selfishness as an absolute opposite to true Christian love. More on that next time.


Ashley Madison: Your Sin Will Find You Out

What an utterly gross betrayal of trust! You mean having your Internet secrets publicly exposed by hackers? No, I mean breaking your marriage vows and cheating on your spouse. But we have both now happening big time, and it is a perfectly stunning example of Numbers 32:23: “you may be sure that your sin will find you out”.

Caught! People think they can sneak around committing all kinds of sins, and actually think they can get away with it. Sorry, but it does not work that way. What you reap you will sow. If you cheat on your spouse, sooner or later it will catch up with you.

ashleyAnd it seems that 38 million people just learned this the hard way. I refer to a hacking scandal on top of a marriage cheating scandal. One absolutely despicable company makes a profit by busting up marriages. I refer to the lowlife profiteers at Ashley Madison, whose motto is, “Life Is Short. Have An Affair”.

I had written about these shameless marriage busters when they first encroached into Australian territory five years ago: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/04/12/getting-rich-from-busting-up-marriages/

As I said back then:

This whole business is one ugly grubby attempt to make money off the misery of others. As [company founder Noel] Biderman admits, he’s made millions through this website. Now he wants to make more millions by busting up even more marriages here in Australia.
And what about all the children in these destroyed marriages? It is clear that he doesn’t give a rip about them either. And yet he has two of his own children. Does he love them? Would he be happy to see them become the product of a broken home?

Well, it seems all this has come back to bite him, his company and his clients big time. They have been busted. Here is how one report covers the story:

Ashley Madison, the website for people seeking extramarital affairs, has suffered a major cyber attack, with hackers threatening to expose the names of adulterers unless the site is taken offline.
The controversial online dating company, which has 37.5m users – including 1.2m Britons – carries the tagline: “Life Is Short. Have An Affair”. The service is founded on confidentiality and privacy, claiming to be a “100pc discreet service” and boasting a “Trusted Security Award” on its homepage.
The hackers, going by the name “The Impact Team”, posted a small sample of sensitive data, along with a statement demanding the takedown ofAshley Madison and Established Men, an online dating site that claims to connect “young, beautiful women with successful men”. The data and the statement have since been taken offline.
Avid Life Media, the company that owns Ashley Madison, confirmed the hack and apologised for “this unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information”. The company’s chief executive Noel Biderman also hinted to KrebsOnSecurity that the data theft may have been an inside job.
“We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world,” the company said in a statement.
“As other companies have experienced, these security measures have unfortunately not prevented this attack to our system.”
The Impact Team said it decided to publish the information in response to alleged lies Avid Life Media told its customers about its “full delete” feature, which allows members to completely remove their profile information for a $19 fee.
According to the hackers, although Ashley Madison promises “removal of site usage history and personally identifiable information from the site,” credit card details – including real name and billing address – remain online.
“Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms,” said The Impact Team in a statement seen by KrebsOnSecurity.
If their demands are not met, the hackers are threatening to “release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails”.

Another article speaks about how widespread all this miserable cheating is:

While an estimated 1 million Australians were presumably nervous wrecks on Tuesday in the wake of the Ashley Madison data hack, there was another concentrated cluster of cheaters wringing their hands on the other side of the world.
One in five Ottawa residents are allegedly subscribed to the cheating website, according to figures provided by the Toronto-based company, whose slogan is “Life Is Short. Have an Affair”.
In February, 189,810 Ashley Madison users were registered in the Canadian city, which has a population of about 883,000. It’s the biggest affair city in Canada and potentially the highest globally per capita, Reuters reports.
Noel Biderman, chief executive of Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, told a Canadian newspaper earlier this year that Ottawa was the marriage infidelity hotbed of the world. He claims the top postcode for Ashley Madison members is Parliament Hill, the home of Canada’s parliament.
Mr Biderman said capital cities around the world tended to have higher subscription rates, due to “power, fame and opportunity”.

Adultery is not new of course. It was condemned three and a half millennia ago in the Seventh Commandment. God always has very good reasons for his laws and commands, and it is no different here. Marriage is a sacred trust and an exclusive commitment of permanence and exclusivity between a man and a woman.

All that is destroyed of course by an adulterous act. And it is even more devastating when children are involved. Their world is torn apart by such marriage busting activities. The more wonderful and special something is, the more it will come under attack.

Marriage is the greatest and most important social institution we have, so no wonder there are so many folks bent on destroying it. Behind all these attacks is Satan himself. He hates God and everything that God loves. So he hates marriage and family, and is working overtime to destroy both.

And the biblical truth about sowing and reaping of course is always in effect, and we see it being played out here in obvious fashion. How many millions of these cheaters thought they could get away with their lying, immorality and contempt of their spouses?

Now millions of these adulterers are shaking in their boots, maybe even having second thoughts about their actions, wishing they had not been so stupid. Well, even if they are not outed now, they most certainly will be one day. As Jesus said in Luke 12:2-3:

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

Come judgment day there will be nothing hidden from the judge of all the world. Every secret will be made manifest, and every sin committed under cover of darkness will be brought to the light. There will be no escaping then: all will be revealed.

So perhaps this is a small mercy of God that all this has now happened. It just might scare some of these fools (and that is exactly what they are, biblically peaking) enough to jolt them out of their slumber and their deception. Maybe some will put an end to this wretched activity, and maybe some will even confess to their spouses and start anew.

And if some of these folks are “Christians” – and I have no doubt millions may well be – then it may cause them to get a bit of the fear of God back into their lives. The sooner the better. It is far better to get right with God now while there is still a chance for repentance, forgiveness and transformation, than to wait until judgment day.

Then it will be too late.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet-security/11750432/Adultery-website-Ashley-Madison-hack-threatens-to-expose-37.5m-cheaters.html
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/ashley-madison-hacking-scandal-exposes-ottawa-as-the-cheating-capital-of-the-world/story-fni0dpr1-1227452970378


Is it God’s Fault People Go to Hell?

by Jason Wisdom

Matt Dillahunty, one of the hosts of the popular television program and podcast, “The Atheist Experience,” offers the following logical chain:

“Assuming god exists and assuming a person has a soul, if god created everything, including hell, god also created the rules by which the universe operates, including the criteria by which souls are judged.  Since everything happens according to god’s will, god is ultimately responsible for everything, and that must, by logic, include whether or not people go to hell.  Therefore the decision to send anyone to hell is made by god.”

I have heard/seen this objection made in many different ways, but the criticism is essentially the same. God is the one to blame. If anything, some critics will say, God is the one who deserves to be punished. By the way, I have seen/listened to the episode where I believe this little excerpt originated. A woman professing to be a Christian (to be polite, I will simply say she doesn’t come across as very knowlegeable) called in and Dillahunty presented her with this logical chain. He walked her through each point, phrased as a question. Did 1. God create everything? She said yes. 2. Did he create the rules including the criteria by which souls are judged? Yes. 3. Does anything that happens go against God’s will? She said no. From there, Dillahunty concluded (and I think rightly so, based on the caller’s answers), that God is ultimately responsible for everything that happens and therefore, the fault is with God, not the person who is sent to Hell. At that point, the woman said “That’s missed up.” Dillahunty agreed with her and laughingly said, “Yeah, logic is a real pain.”

In response to Dillahunty’s logical chain, Rob Coulter, a self-styled “independent atheist” said, “For me, this means that god is judgmental and vindictive, not kind and merciful” (http://www.weareatheism.com/rob-coulter/).

Now, here is something you might not have expected me to say–I agree with them. That is, based on the criteria that Dillahunty has provided, I think Coulter’s response is a fair one. If God is the one who set up the game, and the one who determined the rules of the game, and everything happens according to his will, then he is responsible for everything, and that makes him responsible for some pretty awful stuff, not the least of which is that he creates people and sends them to Hell for doing things that he made them do. While I think his conclusion makes sense given his premises, I disagree with the premises (I also dislike the way it is framed, as a “game”, but I will leave that alone for now). And just for the record, if one can show that even just one of the premises is faulty, then the conclusion becomes irrelevant. I will argue that two of them are problematic…

The Poached Egg ApologeticsFOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

Is it God’s Fault People Go to Hell? – because it’s true


New Atheism: A Survival Guide

Interview by Fred Zaspel

This book has been out for just under a year now, but I just learned of it recently and was very impressed. Veale is not the only one to answer the new atheists, of course, but he answers with an uncommon simplicity and clarity. His book is an easy and enjoyable read, and his argument is compelling. We’re glad to have him with us today to talk about his subject and his book.

Fred Zaspel:
Let’s begin on a personal note. Could you tell us about your work and how your interest in this subject come about?

Graham Veale:
At university I became friendly with David Glass (author of Atheism’s New Clothes); we’d a mutual interest in apologetics and evangelism, and this has formed the basis of a friendship which has lasted over 20 years. In 2012 we launched the website www.saintsandsceptics.org to promote apologetics in Northern Ireland and to challenge atheism and secularism.

After graduating in theology from Queen’s University (Belfast) I trained as a teacher of Religious Education. I’ve been teaching teenagers for 16 years – so I’ve earned every one of my grey hairs! When my students started referring to atheist “memes” like the Flying Spaghetti Monster my interest was piqued. I was also fascinated by the clumsy misunderstandings and crude misrepresentations of Christianity advanced by well-educated sceptics on blogs and chat-rooms.

Obviously, this sort of nonsense needs to be challenged by Christians. But why have atheists become so hostile? What presuppositions and prejudices lead intelligent, literate individuals to be duped by childish polemics and sloppy scholarship? These questions, and my concern that the evangelical churches are not really interested in addressing aggressive secularism, led to my book.

Zaspel:
What is your target audience with this book?

Veale:
The book is primarily for young people who are interested in New Atheism. Some of these young people will be what the atheist movement calls “a-curious”: they’re examining atheism and considering its truth claims. It is likely that they have heard the claims of the New Atheists and wonder if there is any substance behind the bluster. Other readers will be young Christians who are intimidated by the memes and arguments that they encounter online or in class.

But I also hope that the book will be read by Pastors and evangelists – especially youth pastors. I don’t think the church appreciates that young people are now primarily educated by websites like YouTube and Facebook. Style trumps substance on these forums- quirky humor and shocking statements gather more attention than sermons or lectures. The atheist movement has effectively captured this ground; you cannot avoid their presence online. So we need to teach all our young people (not just college students!) rational, persuasive Christian theology…

The Poached Egg ApologeticsFOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

New Atheism: A Survival Guide, by Graham Veale | Books at a glance


Two Mennonite Colleges Announce Hiring Policy Change to Employ “Married” Homosexuals

Christian News Network reports:

Two American colleges that identify as Mennonite institutions have announced changes to their hiring policy to now allow the employment of homosexuals who have “wed” their partners.

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia and Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana announced the alterations on Monday, while claiming to still hold to the biblical principles as Christian schools.

EMU’s decision followed a two-year “listening process” to “review current hiring policies and practices with respect to individuals in same-sex relationships.” As previously reported, in 2013, the university outlined that it would open up a time of dialogue between students, faculty and administration to understand the level of interest in allowing a policy change that would permit university employees to be in homosexual relationships.

http://christiannews.net/2015/07/22/two-mennonite-colleges-announce-hiring-policy-change-to-employ-married-homosexuals/


Is homosexuality worse than other sins?

Homosexual_Marriage_2

Homosexuality is often seen as the worst of sins. But, what does the Bible say?  

  1. Any sin is enough to condemn to eternal Hell

Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. They ate something God told them not to, and billions of people will end up burning in Hell because of it. That should give us a small idea about God’s holiness and how He views sin.

James 2:10-11 is clear. Any sin puts us in the category of being law-breakers. We are criminals, and we will be judged. By nature and by choice, we all deserve Hell.

10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

However, notice that James 2:10-11 does not affirm what many claim it does, that is, that all sins are identical and that if you’ve committed one sin, you’ve committed them all. James does not say, “If you do not commit adultery, but do murder, you are also an adulterer”. But rather, James affirms that any sin, whether large or small, automatically places us in God’s courtroom as criminals—criminals who will tried and convicted as law-breakers.

  1. Not all sin is equally heinous in God’s eyes

People often cite the Sermon on the Mount to say that anger is the same as murder and lust is the same as adultery. I challenge you to read Matthew 5:21-30 more carefully. He who is angry will be liable to judgement and everyone who lusts has already committed adultery in his heart. However, Jesus does not affirm that committing adultery in your heart is equally heinous in God’s eyes as committing it in your body, which, if you are a believer, is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:18-20).

God is a just judge, and He will judge every person without partiality in accordance with their individual sins. Romans 2:6 states, “He will render to each one according to his works”. The books will be opened and the dead will be judged “according to what they had done” (Rev 20:13). These passages make no sense if Hell will be equally terrible for all who end up there.

In fact, there are many passages of Scripture which make plain that some sins are indeed more heinous in God’s eyes. Perhaps the clearest place is Ezequiel chapter 8. I would encourage you to read the whole chapter if you question this reality. As God describes how increasingly wicked Israel had become, the echo throughout the chapter is: “You will see still greater abominations that they commit”. All sin is an abomination, but some sins are greater abominations is God’s eyes. Of this there can be no doubt.

  1. Homosexuality is an especially debase sin

Romans 1 describes in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is a sin committed after one has so continued in their high handed defiance against the Almighty that He gives “them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom 1:24-27). For this reason, Christians are right to see homosexuality as an especially debase sin that displeases God. It is contrary to His good plan for marriage, and cannot reflect the purpose for which marriage exists—to represent Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph 5:31). In addition, Scripture not only condemns the sin of homosexuality, but also condemns any who would “give approval to those who practice” it (Rom 1:32).

  1. Your sin is worse than homosexuality if you don’t repent

Unfortunately, Christians have often twisted Romans 1 to view homosexual sinners as dirty, not worthy of our love and compassion. The words of Paul in Romans 2:1 could not be more appropriate. Just after describing homosexuality as a debase sin, he declares: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” You too are a law-breaker. View yourself as such, not the judge.

But Christ makes an even more poignant point to those who claim to believe in God, but remain unrepentant. After preaching the good news and working many miracles in Galilee, Christ tells those religious people who refused to believe: “But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (Matthew 11:24).

Did you get Christ’s point? Some sins are worse than others, but God does not necessarily categorize sin like we do. The person who hears the gospel and rejects it is a far greater sinner in God’s mind than the heathen who lives a sinful life of homosexuality.

You, my friend and faithful reader of C-Gate, are in danger of far more judgement than the heathen man living in homosexuality, because you also sin, but do so under more of God’s light.

“And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:47-48).

  1. How should we respond?

Though sins be large or small, the solution is the same for all—The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17). Make sure you understand it, believe it, live it, and proclaim it.

Just one final note on proclaiming the Gospel. Remember that the one disobeying God with his/her homosexual relationship is a sinner who needs the Gospel just like any other sinner. Just like you and me. And as homosexuality becomes more normative in our generation, and even more so in our childrens’, we need to make sure we see them as a mission field, not a group to be feared or hated.

What sinners need, is not some carefully crafted explanation of how our country has plunged into wickedness by approving homosexual marriage—politics cannot save. What they need is a compassionate call to repentance, coupled with the good news that though their sins be like scarlet, they can be white as snow through the blood of the Lamb. Make no mistake, we must warn them that God’s judgement is coming upon all those who practice immorality, but let’s make sure we give them the good news as well.

“…Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:9-11).


The Daily Discovery (July 23, 2015)

A Public Apology and A Resignation from Pulpit & Pen – “Unless you’ve been living under a social media rock the last week or so, you’ve no doubt been made aware of the conflict between Pulpit & Pen and Dr. Karen Swallow Prior. As of the time of this publishing, a resolution seems nowhere in sight and the entire ordeal has served nothing more than to fracture the body of Christ greatly. Regretfully, I had a hand in promulgating this conflict by taking part in a podcast at Pulpit & Pen without having researched the facts myself first.”

Homeschooling: That’s in the Bible, Right? – “In response to observing an ever-increasing movement within the church, the contributors here on PS23 thought it opportune to evaluate the FIC (Family Integrated Church) from a biblical perspective. As John Chester noted in his post earlier this week, while we would contend that the FIC has done well in identifying many problems in today’s church and family, it only offers narrow-minded solutions to those problems, ‘rather than exclusively on biblical answers.’ Consequentially, the line between strongly held personal preferences are muddied with clear biblical commands. That has damaged the church…”

A Surprising Percentage of Americans Are Totally Fine With Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies’ Body Parts – “When the first video surfaced of a top Planned Parenthood doctor casually discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts went viral, many pro-life advocates hoped the shocking admission would be enough to finally turn the tides against—at the very least—taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.”

Phariseeism is the religion of works-righteousness – “Many who believe they are Christians are not. They have a form of righteousness, but it is not the righteousness born from above. It is self-righteousness. One group that contended with John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples, was the Pharisees. Who hasn’t heard believers accusing other believers of being Pharisees? These accusations are usually thrown at people who are stricter than the accuser in their judgments of saved and lost. The Liberal calls a person who judges on the basis of regeneration as the only evidence of saving faith as being a Pharisee. The mainstream church-goer calls all fundamentalists Pharisees. The antinomian calls those who preach about the Lordship of Jesus Christ Pharisees.”

40 harmful effects of Christianity: A New Series at the Pulpit & Pen – “For me to even engage in such criticism as this is to express rational, critical thought.  It is my very dedication to Christianity that encourages me to interact with such statements.  The Lord calls us, in Isaiah 1:17, to reason.  In the gospels, Jesus is seen skillfully engaging his detractors, often making a fortiori arguments. Clearly, Christianity is not antithetical to “rational, critical thought.”  I can say, from my own personal experience, that Christianity has never discouraged me to think rationally and critically.


SERMON:

Ray Comfort – Hell’s Best Kept Secret, why modern evangelism often fails


VIDEOS:

Eternal Security?

A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle?


“If you alter or obscure the Biblical portrait of God in order to attract converts, you don’t get converts to God, you get converts to an illusion. This is not evangelism but deception.” – John Piper

Source


Israel’s Awakening

Today there is much fervor about the Israeli cattlemen trying to breed the red heifer, and the passion to rebuild the Temple. With the coming animal sacrifices, will the Jewish people acknowledge their sin problem and their need for blood atonement? Will the coming sacrificial system point them to the atoning work of Messiah Yeshua? Will this be an awakening for Israel?

continue reading


Fallen Angels And Demons

When God threw Lucifer and the fallen angels to earth, It seemed logical to think these fallen angels were the demons doing Satan’s bidding in the lives of mankind. I am being told that demons and fallen angels are not the same. I find nothing in my Bible that defines them as different or having different distinct attributes. Are they two different things?

continue reading


Second Chance For Salvation Of The Jewish People?

I’ve heard it taught before, that at Judgment, the Jewish people will have a second chance to receive Christ as savior and Lord since they are the chosen people of God, and because the veil will have been lifted and the scales will have been removed from their eyes at the end so they can see the truth of Jesus and He being the true son of the most high God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Is this true ? If so, which scripture gives such reference so I can make note of this and share with my other brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, Jew and gentile.

continue reading


Rosebrough’s Ramblings Thru Genesis – The Sin of Sodom 2

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Program segments:

• Rosebrough’s Ramblings Thru Genesis – The Sin of Sodom 2


Featured Blogs

Are You Healthy?

How does Paul define spiritual health? How do you know that your inner man is really healthy? The Bible doesn’t separate what we learn from how we live or the truth from how we behave. This article investigates the question on how we define spiritual health and shows its meaning for discipleship and for our churches. Continue reading

Planned Parenthood’s abortion of women’s rights

Marty Duren hits the nail on the head here: “Abortion is no more about women’s rights than Charles Manson’s infatuation with The Beatles was about music appreciation.”

Hemmed

Lore Wilbert (née Ferguson):

We’re not even a month in and last night I cried hot wet tears, my head in my pillow and my husband bent over me. It wasn’t a disagreement or fight or argument or any of the things I continue to brace myself for in this thing called marriage, it was the death of me and he, and the newness of we.

Forward from conversion

Ed Stetzer:

We have become masters at getting “decisions.” Conversion is a powerful event in the life of the believer. It is a great moment. But it isn’t the end of the game. Converting those decisions into disciples must be part of the church’s purpose.

Sometimes we put such an emphasis on that moment, we make people think that is all we are after. The not-so-funny joke is that some people are willing to receive Christ just so the pastor will leave them alone. Our goal is often for conversions. But God’s goal is for transformation, which really just begins at conversion.

God Often Does His Best Work In The Darkness

Stephen Altrogge:

God does not throw trials at us haphazardly, like an angry fan throwing a beer bottle at a baseball player. He does not accidentally let trials slip into our lives, like an absent-minded babysitter. No, God deliberately leads us into the furnace of trials for very specific reasons. He does not waste suffering. He is not a sadist who derives sick pleasure from inflicting pain on his helpless creatures. Every trial we experience has been hand crafted by God for our good. Trials are God’s kiln. We are the clay, he is the master potter.

Planned Parenthood at the Cross

Russell Moore:

And at the Cross, Jesus stood with and for humanity in suffering. We are often told that abortion is ethical because the “products of conception” aren’t “viable,” that is, they cannot live outside the womb. This suggests that the value of a human life consists in its autonomous power. But Jesus was conceived in the most vulnerable situation possible in the ancient world—as a fatherless orphan. He lived as a migrant refugee outrunning with his family the Planned Parenthood of his day, the King Herod, into a land hostile to his own. He died helplessly convulsing on a cross, dependent on others even for hydration. Even in death, Jesus counted himself with thieves and was buried in a borrowed grave. In his humanity, Jesus wasn’t “viable” either.

On a related note, Joe Carter shares 10 numbers you should know about Planned Parenthood.


Christian Headlines Daily – http://www.christianheadlines.com/


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Greatest StoryGod’s goal in all of His creative and redemptive work is to bring glory to Himself (Isa 43:7; cf. Eph 1:6, 12, 14).

Read more


What is The Gospel?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
Source


Our Time is Short

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


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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GTY Blog: Sensible Men

Titus 2:6-8

Code: B150723

by Jeremiah Johnson

For better and for worse, young men often establish the trajectory for the church. On the one hand, their energy, passion, and drive can be assets to the Body of Christ when they are invested in the study of Scripture, the disciplines of godliness, and the building up of the saints.

However, as we’ve seen in recent history, young men—especially in positions of prominence—can be a detriment to the progress of the gospel and a blight on the testimony of the church. Immaturity, arrogance, skepticism, and shallowness are just some of the hallmarks of youth, and they must not be inflicted on the church. God’s Word establishes a high bar for those who seek leadership positions. The church today would do well to return to that standard and purge its pulpits of worldliness and spiritual immaturity that give sinful license and ammunition to the watching world.

Young men are the focus of the passage before us today. We’ve been looking at Titus 2, and the exhortations Paul gives to various groups within the church. In Titus 2:6-8, he writes,

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

For the third time in this brief passage, Paul stresses the need for sensibility with his readers. In his commentary on Titus, John MacArthur explains why the apostle continued to emphasize that particular quality.

As in verses 2 and 5, “sensible” carries the broad meaning of having common sense, good judgment, and self-control. Just as older men and young women are to be sensible, so likewise are young men. . . .

The phrase “in all things” properly belongs at the end of verse 6. It refers to being sensible and emphasizes the broad scope of this admonition. Young men, who frequently are impulsive, passionate, ambitious, volatile, and sometimes arrogant, are to exercise self-control and show good sense and judgment in all things.

“Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things,” Paul reminded believers in Corinth. “They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25). Because self-control is so important in living for and serving the Lord, even that great apostle, after many years of faithful, sacrificial service to his Lord, went on to say of himself, “Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:26–27).

Self-control, a synonym for sensible, is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). With the Spirit’s help, therefore, young men, like all other believers, are enabled to master all areas of their lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. [1]John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 91-92.

The call for sensibility is Paul’s only exhortation directed specifically at the younger men of the church, but it’s not the only lesson he wants them to learn. The apostle shifts his attention back to Titus, as he charges the young pastor to be an example to the other young men under his leadership. While Paul’s instructions are pointed at Titus in particular, these are qualities he’s commending through his example to the rest of the men in the church.

Paul exhorts his young disciple to “show yourself to be an example of good deeds” (Titus 2:7). John MacArthur explains how those good deeds aren’t the end goals in themselves, but that they reinforced the truth he taught and exemplified his transformed nature.

Kalos (good) does not refer to that which is superficial or cosmetic but to what is genuinely and inherently good, righteous, noble, and excellent. Titus’s deeds were to be true reflections of what he preached and taught. Christians are the Lord’s divine workmanship and are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). [2] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus, 94.

Paul also instructed Titus to be an example “with purity in doctrine” (Titus 2:7). Again, John explains the intent behind the apostle’s exhortation.

Perhaps Paul was urging this young elder to make sure that he preached pure, orthodox doctrine, which he has already mentioned in 1:9 and 2:1. On the other hand, there may be another explanation. Aphthoria (purity) is a negative form of a term that carries the basic idea of being morally corrupt and vile, which in extra-biblical literature was often used of morally depraved people such as rapists, seducers, and abortionists. A related form of the word is used by Peter, who says that false teachers promise “freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19, emphasis added). Paul may have used this term to admonish Titus to live a life of moral purity that corresponds to the pure doctrine that he proclaimed. [3] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus, 94.

Paul’s next exhortation also had to do with the way Titus lived his life—he instructed him to be “dignified” (Titus 2:7). John MacArthur explains what it means to be spiritually dignified.

Titus was to set the example of a dignified life, a serious life that is fixed on God and honors whatever honors Him. As noted previously in relation to older men (v. 2), being dignified does not preclude a sense of humor, laughter, or enjoyment. It does mean that they should be able to distinguish between that which is important and that which is trivial. [4] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus, 94.

Over and over, the message is that Paul wants Titus—and, by extension, all the young men of the church—to live lives that adorn the gospel instead of tarnishing it. The value of integrity and the damage that hypocrisy can do is one of Paul’s primary points in his instructions to the believers in Crete (where Titus was ministering), and it’s been our focus throughout this series.

The apostle emphasizes it again, exhorting his readers to be “sound in speech which is beyond reproach” (Titus 2:8). In his commentary, John MacArthur explains the kind of speech the apostle has in mind.

The issue here is not doctrine or theology but conversation, day by day speech. Titus’s speaking, whether formal teaching or informal conversation, was to be sound, healthy, edifying, life-giving, appropriate, and beyond reproach. Such virtuous and consistent conversation is surely the mark of a genuinely spiritual man. [5] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus, 95.

As we’ve seen, Paul’s point is to weed out hypocrisy, and to deny critics of the gospel the ammunition it supplies. He wants believers to live with integrity, and he makes the reason explicit: “in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:8). John elaborates on the apostle’s point.

The godly lives of older men, older women, young women, and young men all have, as part of their purpose, the putting to shame of the critics of Christ, His church, and His people. . . .

When an opponent makes a rash, unfounded charge against a believer, the obvious and public testimony of that believer’s life should be so commonly known that the accuser is embarrassed by his false criticism.

The true effectiveness of evangelism does not come from manmade methods, strategy, or marketing techniques adapted from the culture, but from the genuine virtue, moral purity, and godliness of believers whose lives give proof of the truth of God’s Word and the power of Christ to redeem men from sin. That is what silences the critics and makes the gospel believable. [6] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus, 95-96.

The integrity of God’s people is particularly important today as the world grows increasingly hostile to the gospel and the church. As believers—of all ages—we need to discipline ourselves for greater godliness and usefulness, and we need to hold one another accountable to the standard of God’s Word.

With the world watching and eager for us to slip up, we need to pay careful attention to how we’re living, and how the transforming work of God is displayed through our everyday words and actions. As John MacArthur writes, our lives need to do more than merely hold up to scrutiny.

When an unbeliever criticizes us, our righteous living should make it clear that he really has nothing bad to say about us. Hopefully our godly testimony will arouse his curiosity, then his consideration, and ultimately his receiving Christ as Savior and Lord. [7] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Titus, 96.


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The End Time Blog: Going on about visions

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (Colossians 2:18)

“The Mystical Wave of Knowledge”

The book of Colossians was written by Apostle Paul, mostly to specifically combat a false teaching that had polluted his flock.

The false teaching was Mysticism.

We don’t know what the Colossians wrote to Paul to prompt his reply, which is the Book of Colossians, but we can see Paul’s fervency in his writing when he replied.

When combating false teaching it’s important to remain focused on Christ. Paul’s emphasis on Christ in Colossians resulted on a stupendous treatise on Christology. The first part of the short book focuses on who Jesus is and what He has done. The latter half focuses on how we are to live in light of this knowledge.

Mysticism is obviously an old problem, since Paul was dealing with it in Colossians. It is a scheme that is alive and well today, even in the most conservative denominations of the faith, which I’ll show in a moment.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines Mysticism as

The term ‘mysticism,’ comes from the Greek word meaning “to conceal.” In the Hellenistic world, ‘mystical’ referred to “secret” religious rituals.

Mysticism says “I have had a certain supernatural experience.” This inexplicable experience can be a dream, out of body travel, visions, automatic writing, or audible speakings from beyond the veil. Eventually “Mystical Theology” came to the fore, and these experiences were codified into a “direct experience of the divine” for the express purpose of “a larger undertaking aimed at human transformation.”

If you have ever heard someone say you can “achieve different levels” or attain “a higher plane of existence”, they are a Mystic.

Mysticism and its sister false teaching, Gnosticism, are sometimes entwined. CARM.org says,

The word “gnosticism” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “knowledge.” There were many groups that were Gnostic and it isn’t possible to easily describe the nuances of each variant of Gnostic doctrines. However, generally speaking, Gnosticism taught that salvation is achieved through special knowledge (gnosis).

Some of the heretics who claimed to have had Mystical experiences would base teachings on them and circulate among Christians saying they have gained secret insights through having had these experiences and now wish to teach them. The implication is that Christians were missing out in their “higher level” or “secret wisdom” if they didn’t partake. Mysticism/Gnosticism is actually a form of spiritual intimidation. MacArthur,

Now the heretics were claiming this. They were saying, “we have a higher and a broader and a deeper and a greater, and a mystical union with God. We’ve obtained a humility and a piety that is unlike anything you have experienced. We have connected ourselves with the eons and the demigods and the subgods, and we’ve climbed the ladder to the presence of the one true deity.” You hear some of that palaver don’t you now and then, from people, even today.

We do hear this palaver today, more and more. I’ll give you some examples of people claiming to have had a supernatural experience, through which, they plan to “teach” a deeper biblical truth. Of course there is no truth apart from the Bible, which is where we go to seek it. But they are saying it anyway. You notice I am not posting the more flagrant heretics which one would expect to purvey their “experience” into money, the usual cadre of snake oil salesmen like Jesse DuPlantis, Benny Hinn, Heide Baker, etc. These are Southern Baptist Convention-approved Mystics.

Don Piper, who “went to heaven”:

You notice the photo-advertisement for his speaking engagement promises that Mr Piper possesses “unique insight” into heaven. Unique means “existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics: 2. having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable”. There it claims that in all of Christendom, Piper alone has this insight, but he is going to share it with you.

Beth Moore. These are transcriptions from two different video clips of her “teachings” which have since been scrubbed from the Internet. Source for the transcription is here.

And tonight I am gonna do my absolute best to illustrate to you something that God showed me sitting out on the back porch. He put a picture I’ve explained to you before I’m a very visual person. So he speaks to me very often in putting a picture in my head and it was as if I was raised up, looking down on a community as I saw the church in that particular dimension. Certainly not all dimensions, not even many, but in what we will discuss tonight the church as Jesus sees it in a particular dimension.”

What God began to say to me about five years ago and I’m telling you it is in me on such a trek with him that my head is still whirling over it. He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna say something right now, Beth. And boy you write this one down. And you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it. My bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My bride is paralyzed by unbelief.’ And he said, ‘Starting with you.’ Amen.

You see that Moore claims Jesus told her something and gave her a command to turn around and teach it “as often as I give you utterance to say it.” Like Don Piper, Moore is claiming to have had a vision and an audible personalized command directly from Jesus outside of the Bible, and is going to teach this new truth because you do not have this truth and there is no way to obtain this truth unless Moore or Piper teaches it.

Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling. This woman had said that she had heard of two mystics (who turned out to be Catholic) in the 1930s who had received personal revelation from God and wrote these revelations down in a book titled God Calling. Young then said,

The following year, I began to wonder if I, too, could receive messages during my times of communing with God. I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believe He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. (Source Challies)

This is automatic writing, an ancient occult practice whereupon a seeker makes his mind and body available to any entity from beyond the veil and allows the entity to take over their body and mind and the person automatically writes what “it” wants to express. The thoughts are not the person’s, but the supernatural entity’s. Beth Moore claims to have had this experience when an entity, or a force as she called it, wrote the book “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” for her.

You notice Young said she had heard of these other women who had gained special insights directly from God, and wondered “If I too could receive messages”. This is part of the process, someone claims to have been given a special revelation which you do not possess. You begin to feel excluded, unspecial, marginalized, disqualified. “Why did they receive this and I did not?” you wonder. “Can I, too, have this special relationship?” It is what Gnostics prey on.

There are many more examples of today’s Christian claiming to have heard a voice, a whisper, a dream, a vision. I do not need to list them all. Paul said in Colossians 2:18,

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

Gill’s Exposition says,

vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind; judging of things not according to the word of God, and with a spiritual judgment, and according to a spiritual sense and experience, but according to his own carnal reason, and the vanity of his mind; being puffed and swelled with an high opinion of himself, of his great parts and abilities, of his knowledge of things above others, and of his capacity to penetrate into, and find out things which were not seen and known by others: this shows that his humility was forced, and only in outward appearance, and was not true and genuine,

These heretics might seem humble, but they actually have a puffed up (conceited) fleshly mind. This is a fact. It means Beth Moore is conceited, Don Piper is puffed up, and Sarah Young had an unreasoning mind.

If the above was a review for previous readers of this blog or a quick overview to newcomers, there is a second part to the verse that is important to note. Besides simply explaining what Colossian Mysticism and Gnosticism was, how it is rampant today, and who is practicing it; we must talk about disqualification.

Paul began is admonition to the Colossians by saying “Let no one disqualify you…” What does this mean?

What is he saying? Don’t let anybody tell you, you are disqualified from obtaining the prize of spirituality, because you haven’t reached the level of self abasement. You haven’t understood the worship of angels; you haven’t had the right visions. All they are is inflated by their own fleshly minds. And the one thing they are not doing is holding fast to the head, and who is the head? Christ. You see, they’ve said, it’s Christ, plus my visions, plus my experiences with the angels, plus my deeper experience, my higher experience. The first one is Christ plus rules; the second one is Christ plus mystical experience.

Don’t let them intimidate you by what you haven’t experienced and make you think that you don’t really know God at all, because you have never had any of those experiences. (source)

In other words, do not be intimidated. I’ll finish with a verse from Colossians 1:12b. Don’t let anyone disqualify you through intimidation, that you haven’t had these supernatural experiences and thus are lesser. Why? Because of this eternal truth:

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

You are already having a supernatural experiences that surpass understanding. You have the Holy Spirit in you. You pray to God and He hears. You are being grown in sanctification. You experience His common grace and His sanctifying grace every day. You are the beneficiary of His providence. Do you “yearn for more” as Sarah Young complained? You already have the best, the top, the highest kind, number, and quality of supernatural experiences. Anything other than the experiences given to you described by scripture are lesser, fleshly, and leads to puffed up conceit. Don’t let anyone disqualify you, because you have been qualified by the God of the Universe, Yahweh Himself.

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Further Reading:

S. Lewis Johnson sermon/transcript “A Defense of Christian Liberty

Source: Going on about visions

Biblical Counseling Center: 10 Truths on What Does God Say?

We at Biblical Counseling Center hope you’ve enjoyed our “What Does God Say?” series of posts.

Did you know that BCC offers counseling, in person and by Skype, training to individuals and to churches, and help to pastors and their families. We also sponsor regular events.

Please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and pray for you.

List of ‘What Does God Say?’ Posts

Here’s the list of blog posts in our “What Does God Say?” series. Click the ones you missed!

1.  About Pride

2. To Worriers?

3. About Rage?

4. About Eating Disorders?

5. To Weary Wives?

6. To Porn Addicts?

7. About Abuse?

8. About Grief?

9. About PTSD?

10. About You!

A Resource for YOU!

COUNSELING: Struggling with anger or worry or an addiction? In a difficult marriage? Do you have trouble making friends or keeping a job? Our certified biblical counselors would like to give you compassionate and effective counsel.

WHAT IS BIBLICAL COUNSELING?: Get the answer here.

ABOUT BCC: The mission of Biblical Counseling Center is “Helping Churches Care for People” by connecting them to Christ’s sufficient work and the wisdom of his Word. Since 1989 we have served churches through helping their people receive compassionate, biblical counseling and by equipping their own people to care through counseling training and resources. We counsel in person at our three offices in greater Chicago (Arlington Heights; Winfield; Dyer, IN) and by Skype in the U.S. and worldwide.

The post 10 Truths on What Does God Says? appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

TMS: When Dying Is Gain

Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a must read for every Christian. Written by John Fox over 350 years ago, it catalogs the lives of hundreds of believers who, throughout church history, were willing to give their lives for the cause of Christ. When it comes to contagious courage, I can think of no greater testimony than reading about those who embraced their Lord to the point of embracing death.

One such account concerns the lives of Jerome Russell and Alexander Kennedy, two English Protestants who took a daring stand for what they believed. Because of their biblically-sound doctrine, the pair was arrested and imprisoned. Kennedy was only eighteen years old. After some time, the two men were brought before religious officials for questioning. Russell, being older, gave an articulate defense, using the Scriptures to support his belief in salvation through faith alone. Yet, in spite of the evidence, the men’s accusers prevailed and Russell and Kennedy were condemned to die.

Early the next morning, Russell and Kennedy were led from their prison cells to the place of execution. They could have denied their Lord, right then and there, and been spared. But when Kennedy, being but a young man, began to display signs of fear, Russell quickly encouraged him to stand firm:

Brother, fear not; greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world. The pain that we are to suffer is short, and shall be light; but our joy and consolation shall never have an end. Let us, therefore, strive to enter into our Master and Savior’s joy, by the same straight way which He hath taken before us. Death cannot hurt us, for it is already destroyed by Him, for whose sake we are now going to suffer.

In this way, the two men came to boldly face execution without compromise. John Fox finishes the account with this.

When they arrived at the fatal spot, they both knelt down and prayed for some time; after which being fastened to the stake, and the kindling ignited, they cheerfully resigned their souls into the hands of Him who gave them, in full hopes of an everlasting reward in the heavenly mansions.

How could these men calmly submit to being burned alive? Why did they willingly undergo severe suffering and death? The answer begins with the biblical doctrine of hope. By focusing on God and His unwavering faithfulness, they stood firm as a testimony to the truth.

Biblical Hope Changes the Way We View Death

Every day, on average, more than 150 thousand people die. Some die from disease, others from crime, and still others from tragic accidents. Sometimes death is expected, the prognosis having been grim for several months; other times death is unforeseen and sudden—the result of an unexpected stroke or a drunk driver. But no matter how it comes, all of us know that one day it will be our turn. Death is part of life, and there’s no escaping it.

Due to its widespread inevitability, one might think death is something people would ponder frequently, constantly preparing for the end of their earthly lives. Yet, generally speaking, the opposite is usually the case. People feel uncomfortable talking about death. For most, it represents the great unknown. It is the result of tragedy, the basis of fear, and the ultimate separation from friends and family.

It is understandable to realize that non-Christians cower at the thought of dying. For them it is the end of everything they hold dear. The pleasures of this earth, its resources and relationships—this is all they have. In dying, they lose what they have worked so hard to obtain.

But it is sad when those in the church embrace that same kind of worldly perspective. Why should a Christian ever fear the grave? Is not death the doorway to heaven? God’s Word is clear: death has been swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:56–57). Granted, when we hope in the pursuits of this world, death is the enemy—separating us from the temporal treasures we love. But, when our hope is properly placed in God, death comes as a welcome friend to take us home.

Here are two reasons why:

1. Hope sees death as a beginning, not an end.

For believers death is the beginning of eternity in heaven. Death is not termination but initiation—the start of an existence far better than anything we can imagine. The apostle Paul knew this to be true. The book of 2 Timothy is the last letter he wrote before his execution. Chapter 4 indicates that he realized his death was imminent (see v. 6). As he looked back on his years of ministry, he realized his life was almost over (v. 7).

Yet, he now looked forward to something far greater: namely, the reward of Jesus Christ and an eternity spent together with Him (v. 8). Paul looked beyond the grave and saw his God. Because Christ had conquered death (1 Cor. 15:20–28) there was nothing to fear.

It was John Owen, the great Puritan, who wrote on his deathbed: “I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” Like Paul, he understood that true life, in its fullest measure, begins where this life ends. Death is a doorway, not a dead end. For God’s children, death’s door opens into heaven.

2. Hope sees the Shepherd through the shadows.

A second reason Christians need not fear death is because our Savior has already conquered death. He is not asking us to go anywhere He has not already been. Because He rose victorious from the grave (Acts 2:32–33), we can be confident that we also will be resurrected one day (1 Cor. 15:20). Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” For David, whose life was often in danger, comfort came from looking to his Shepherd, even when thinking about death.

Just over 1,000 years later, an early Christian leader named Ignatius shared David’s confident perspective. According to church tradition, Ignatius was arrested by the Roman government and executed because he professed Christ. Shortly before his death, he wrote the church of Rome, saying:

I care for nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win Christ. Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus.

Even in being thrown to hungry animals and torn limb from limb, Ignatius’ commitment to his Lord remained firm. He was willing to endure death because of the Master he sought to please, the Master he would soon see face-to-face.

In considering death, our focus ought to be on the One who is waiting to greet us on the other side (2 Cor. 5:8). Death is the doorway that brings us into the presence of Christ. That is why Paul could triumphantly tell the Philippians, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul’s words summarize both our purpose in this life and our hope for the next.

The post When Dying Is Gain appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

Are Christians cherry-picking which verses to obey from the Old Testament?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Here’s a wonderful article from Peter Saunders.

The challenge:

An argument frequently advanced by those attempting to defend homosexual practice is that Christians ‘cherry pick’ the commands in the Bible – that is, they chose to emphasise some commands while ignoring others.

The Old Testament may forbid homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:2; 20:13) but it also forbids eating seafood without fins and scales (Leviticus 11:9-12; Deuteronomy 14:9, 10).

So how can Christians then justify upholding laws on sexual morality whilst at the same time ignoring the food laws from the very same books of the Bible? Why may they eat shellfish but not be allowed to have sex outside marriage? Isn’t this inconsistent and hypocritical?

The solution is that God enters into “covenants” with his people, and the terms of those covenants change.

Especially dietary laws:

The answer to this question lies in an understanding of biblical covenants.

A covenant…

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Index to Veritas Domain’s Marathon Series on the Christian Response to Homosexuality

Our redemption

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15 NASB)

The Gospel is explained very well in the New Testament. The role of the Church in the World from the time of Christ’s Ascension until His return is very well defined for us there as well (to go and make disciples from all the earth, teaching them to observe all that He taught…) This Great Commission is not to ‘be the Gospel’ nor is it to ‘redeem the earth’ nor is it to ‘make the world a better place.’ No, it is to go and tell the Good News that we have a mediator of a new covenant and…

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