Monthly Archives: August 2015

The upward call of God in Christ Jesus

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB)

With my supposed retirement age rapidly approaching, I have reflected much on my own priorities lately. Have I been wasting much of the valuable time and energy given to me by our Lord in building on His foundation with wood, hay, and straw? Have I been focusing on the things of this world, seeking the pleasures of this world to the exclusion of walking close with…

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August 31, 2015 Truth2Freedom US and World Briefing Report


Aug. 31, 2015

BLOOMBERG

The tallest U.S. mountain, Alaska’s Mount McKinley, will be renamed Denali, President Obama said Sunday. The move, on the eve of Obama’s visit to the state, swaps a traditional Alaskan title — one now commonly used by residents and visitors to the national park of the same name — with that of the 25th U.S. president, Republican William McKinley, who was from Ohio.

The Obama administration is drafting an escalating series of actions, including economic sanctions and curbs on doing business in the U.S., to punish China and other nations that persist in hacking its corporate computer networks, according to two administration officials with knowledge of the planning.

Wal-Mart cuts some workers’ hours after pay raise boosts costs. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon is trying to balance a desire to improve service — partly through increased spending on his workforce — against investors’ pressure to keep profit growing.

Among the many scary things traders witnessed as stocks plunged last Monday, one of the most harrowing was the sight of the VIX, an index designed to measure investor fear, briefly going dark. For almost 30 minutes as hundreds of billions of dollars were erased from equities, no signals were sent by the world’s most popular sentiment gauge as options prices turned erratic. When it switched on, the VIX jerked higher faster than anyone had ever seen, rising 82 percent on its first tick to 51, a level not reached since the financial crisis.

Polish officials are backtracking from last week’s comments over the probable discovery of a buried German Nazi train that local legend says is laden with gold and other loot. But they’re sending in the army to investigate the potential site nevertheless.

European stocks headed for their worst month in four years, as investors weighed Federal Reserve comments for clues on the trajectory of interest rates, amid waning confidence in China’s ability to prop up the market.

At least 56 people were killed by suspected Islamist militants in an attack on a village in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, Governor Kashim Shettima said.

China’s brokerages tumbled after Citic Securities executives were detained and the industry was told to contribute another $15.7 billion to a market rescue fund.

AP Top Stories

The Taliban Monday admitted covering up the death of longtime leader Mullah Omar for two years, saying they had wanted to keep it secret until foreign forces ended their fight against the militants.

The Titanic’s last lunch menu – saved by a passenger who climbed aboard the so-called “Money Boat” before the ocean liner went down – is going to auction, where it’s estimated it will bring $50,000 to $70,000.

A Texas teenager who contracted a rare brain-eating disease after swimming in a lake about 70 miles north of Houston has died, according to his family and local media.

Nigeria’s secret police said Sunday it had arrested notable Boko Haram suspects, including a key commander, linked with several suicide attacks across the country.

A group called the Texas Nationalist Movement fanned out to 31 cities across Texas this weekend trying to gather the 75,000 signatures they say they need to get the question of the state’s secession from the United States on the primary ballot next spring. Texas is one of only two U.S. states, the other being Hawaii, that were once internationally recognized sovereign nations, with diplomatic ties to other countries.

Results for some of the states that participated in Common Core-aligned testing for the first time this spring are out, with overall scores higher than expected, though still below what many parents may be accustomed to seeing.

A road accident in Swaziland killed 38 girls and seriously injured 20 others who had been on their way to a traditional ceremony where King Mswati III can choose a new wife, pro-democracy activists reported.

BBC

One National Guard member has been killed and about 100 injured outside Ukraine’s parliament, after MPs gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east.

Palmyra’s ancient Temple of Bel is still standing despite an attempt by Islamic State (IS) militants to blow it up, Syria’s antiquities chief has said.

An American hiker missing for nine days in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada has been found alive. Miyuki Harwood, 62, failed to return from a solo hike on 21 August and fellow hikers alerted authorities.

Colombia will offer citizenship to Venezuelan relatives of Colombians who have been deported from Venezuela. It is the latest move by the Colombian government to ease a crisis triggered by Venezuela’s closure of a key stretch of their mutual border.

The Afghan Taliban has confirmed covering up their former leader Mullah Omar’s death for more than two years.

An air strike by the Saudi-led coalition backing pro-government forces in Yemen has killed 31 people in the northern province of Hajjah.

WND

Multiple professors at Washington State University have explicitly told students their grades will suffer if they use terms such as “illegal alien,” “male,” and “female,” or if they fail to “defer” to non-white students.

A proposal by a state lawmaker could require that visual inspection be used as part of a process to officially determine a person’s gender in South Dakota, including for high school athletes.

The Ashley Madison hack will have a serious effect on churches. According to Ed Stetzer, as many as 400 pastors, deacons, elders and church staff members may resign this Sunday after their names surfaced on the list of users revealed in the Ashley Madison hack.


Top News – 8/31/2015

Gremlins in the works: DARPA’s vision for future air operations
DARPA has launched the Gremlins program, which aims to develop swarms of cheaper, smarter aircraft that can be deployed and collected in midair. Despite gaining popularity in the 1980s through the movie of the same name, the term “gremlins” was originally RAF slang for mischievous creatures that plagued airmen by causing all sorts of mechanical mishaps.

Hurricane Fred forms in the Atlantic
Fred has strengthened to a hurricane as it approaches the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Fred’s maximum sustained winds early Monday have increased to near 80 mph with some additional strengthening possible.

Never again!’ Japanese hold massive rally to protest Abe’s foreign wars bill
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside Japan’s parliament building on Sunday to protest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial bill, which authorizes Japanese armed forces to join foreign military operations.

NATO kicks off naval drills in Black Sea with Ukraine
Ukraine is hosting naval military exercise in the Black Sea with NATO forces, involving 2,500 troops and some 150 military vehicles, from warships and helicopters to armored cars. The host nation of Sea Breeze 2015 has deployed 1,000 troops, nine warships and eight aircraft for the drill. The US has sent 1,000 troops as well as five warships, two submarines and six aircraft.

Second Temple-Era Podium May Be Discovery in City of David
“The structure is built along the street in a place that is clearly visible from afar by passers-by making their way to the Temple. We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public’s attention when walking on the city’s main street.

World to Fed: We’re prepared for U.S. rate hike, so don’t delay
Central bankers from around the world are telling their American counterparts that they are ready for a U.S. interest rate hike and would prefer that the Federal Reserve make the move without further ado.

Europe stocks set for worst monthly loss since 2011 on China, Fed concerns
Stocks in Europe fell on Monday, heading for their worst monthly losses in four years amid persistent investor concerns about slowing growth in China and the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates.

Over 1,000 US Rabbis Pen Open Letter to Congress Opposing Iran Deal
Over 1,000 American rabbis have signed a letter to Congress, urging US lawmakers not to accept the nuclear accord reached between the P5+1 powers and Iran earlier this summer. The petition, organized by the Zionist Organization of America, calls “upon our Senators and Representatives to consider the dangers that this agreement poses to the United States and our allies, and to vote in opposition to this deal.”

Prophetic Insights Shed Light on Possible Fate of Iran Deal
Perhaps it was not entirely unintentional when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose March 3, the 13th of Adar on the Hebrew calendar, the eve of that same Jewish holiday, to address a joint session of the US Congress in an appeal to lawmakers to reject the nuclear deal. According to the story of Purim, the Jewish Queen Esther went in to address her husband, the Persian King, to attempt to convince him to repeal Haman’s decree. If the Biblical connection was lost on Obama, it was certainly not lost on the prime minister…

Central banks can’t save the markets from a crash. They shouldn’t even try
…William Dudley, president of the bank’s New York branch, hinted that the interest rate rise many had expected next month was likely to be delayed. …According to some City analysts, the stock markets are pumped with so much cheap credit that a crash is just around the corner. And they worry that when that crash comes, the central banks are all out of moves to prevent the aftershocks from causing a broader collapse.

Dark Matter May Be More Complex Than Physicists Thought
Dark matter—the unseen 80 percent of the universe’s mass—doesn’t emit, absorb or reflect light. Astronomers know it exists only because it interacts with our slice of the ordinary universe through gravity. …Such a self-interacting dark matter, Bullock suspects, could exist in a “dark sector,” somewhat parallel to our own light sector, but detectable only through the way it affects gravity.

Italy’s Eni discovers huge gas field off Egyptian coast
Italian energy group Eni says it has found one of the world’s largest natural gas fields off Egypt’s coast. The company said the area was 1,450m (4,757 feet) beneath the surface and covered 100 sq km (39 sq miles). It could hold as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Eni said.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram ‘spreads to Lagos’
Boko Haram is trying to expand its activities beyond Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, to include the commercial capital Lagos, as well as other parts of the country, officials say. Twelve members of the Islamist militant group have been arrested in Lagos, Nigeria’s intelligence agency says. It is not possible to independently verify details of the statement.

Iran’s Rouhani: Israel founded on intimidation, terror, occupation
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel on Monday of being founded on the basis of terror and continuing that legacy to the present day. “This regime began its work on the basis of intimidation, terror and occupation, and is continuing [on] the same anti-human path today,” …quoted Rouhani as saying on Monday…

80 Year Old Woman Trampled To Death In Venezuela Supermarket Stampede
With 30% of Venzuelans eating two or fewer meals per day, social unrest is mounting rapidly in President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist utopia. As WSJ reports, soldiers have now been deployed to stem rampant food smuggling and price speculation, which Maduro blames for triple-digit inflation and scarcity. “Due to the shortage of food… the desperation is enormous,” local opposition politician Andres Camejo said, and nowhere is that more evident than the trampling death of an 80-year-old woman outside a state-subsidized supermarket.

The Latest: Thai police find bomb materials in 2nd apartment
The latest on the investigation in the Bangkok shrine bombing (all times local):Thai police probing Bangkok’s deadly bombing say they have discovered bomb-making materials during a raid of a second apartment on the outskirts of the capital.

Governor: Boko Haram kills 56 in remote part of Borno State
Islamic extremist group Boko Haram killed 56 villagers in a remote area, the governor of Borno State of the region said Sunday, as the government warned that the extremists are trying to extend their violent campaign.

China Might No Longer Be The World’s U.S. Treasury King
Reports are out that China may be well on the path to becoming dethroned as the global king of U.S. Treasuries. According to sources familiar with the matter, China has recently begun liquidating its massive U.S. Treasuries stake to help support its hobbled currency.

Saudi-led coalition air strike kills 36 Yemeni civilians: residents
An air strike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said.

U.S. considering sanctions over Chinese cyber theft: Washington Post
The White House is considering applying sanctions against companies and individuals in China it believes have benefited from Chinese hacking of U.S. trade secrets, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.


Top Headlines – 8/31/2015

Report: Hezbollah enlisting West Bank youth to carry out terror attacks against Israel

Abbas moving to boot political opponents and tighten grip on power, critics claim

US industry union votes to boycott Israel

Khamenei Aide: Fighting the ‘Zionist Regime’ is Our Policy

Democrats end summer meeting with no resolution to support Obama’s Iran deal

‘Supergiant’ gas field found off Egyptian coast

Deported Al-Jazeera journalist: Verdict a blow for Egyptian press freedom

Egypt quietly warms relations with Syria in fight against ISIS

Islamic State Plotting ‘Second Blow’ to U.S. Financial System in Bid to ‘Purify the Earth of Corruption’

Worth their weight in gold: ISIS reveals new coins to replace ‘satanic conception of banks’

ISIS destroys parts of ancient Temple of Bel in Syria

Turkish security situation deteriorates under threats from ISIS

4 Libyan soldiers killed in new battle with Islamist fighters in Benghazi

South Sudan fighting persists as cease-fire approaches: UN

Governor: Boko Haram kills 56 in remote part of Borno State

Russia Inadvertently Posts Its Casualties In Ukraine: 2,000 Deaths, 3,200 Disabled

Higher prices dent Putin’s sky-high popularity: paper

Large protests in Japan against plans to expand military role

Asian Stocks Fall After Fed Suggests Sept Rate Hike Possible

Asian stocks set for worst monthly drop in three years on global rout

Doubts about China’s ability to manage a tough economic transition sap investor confidence

China Might No Longer Be The World’s U.S. Treasury King

U.S. considering sanctions over Chinese cyber theft: Washington Post

Days numbered for barcodes as shoppers demand more data

New chip tech coming to credit cards

MI6 Spy Found Dead in Bag in Bath Had Hacked Clinton Data

Russian-speaking hackers breach 97 websites, many of them dating ones

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 30,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Three Category 4 Hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean: How Rare Is That?

Hurricane Ignacio strengthens but forecast to just miss Hawaii

Dominica declares disaster status, appeals for aid, after Erika leaves 20 dead

Erika to Unleash Flooding Downpours Across Florida

Tropical Storm Fred Forms Off African Coast, Not Expected to Threaten US

When the wells run dry: California drought forcing some families to live in ‘Third-World-type conditions’

Texas teen dies of rare brain-eating amoeba infection

Dead woman tests positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone

Nepal gay parade to enshrine LGBT rights in constitution

Transgender man & wife claims Rowan Co. clerk issued them marriage license

Preterists in Sheep’s Clothing: The Growing Plague of End Times Deception

Joel McDurmon – When end-times madness hijacks the brain, and the Bible

38% of born-again Christians = prayer boost’s wealth,  24% = wealth a sign of Gods favor

Pastor Boyd Holder Back in Pulpit After Allegedly Stealing From Church

Different churches (AME & RCC) joined in faith

Marble Collegiate Church Says Donald Trump Is Not an Active Member

$60 Per Aborted Baby, Planned Parenthood Tells Congressional Investigators

‘Sister Wives’ clan uses same-sex marriage ruling in polygamy case

Quebec’s Proposed Imposition of Blasphemy Laws Will Affect Us All


The Briefing

1) George Will’s support of assisted suicide exposes inherent fragility of secular conservatism

Affirming a right to die with dignity, Washington Post (George Will)

George Will: The RealClearReligion Interview, RealClearReligion (Nicholas G. Hahn III)

Religion and the American Republic, National Affairs (George F. Will)

2) Orthodox Judaism resurgence reveals insufficiency of mere ‘meaningfulness’ of tradition

A Portrait of American Orthodox Jews, Pew Research Center

Pew Study Finds Orthodox Similar to Evangelical Christians — Not Other Jews, Forward (Nathan Guttman)

When Orthodox and Evangelicals Align — and What It Means for Everyone Else, Forward (Jane Eisner)

In other news…


Daily Digest

August 31, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Abigail Adams, 1804

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Obama Climbs Mount Hubris

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Barack Obama burned thousands of gallons of jet fuel on Air Force One as he traveled to Alaska to lecture the nation once again about climate change. Just before he left, and just for good measure, he renamed America’s tallest mountain. First, some history: In 1896, William Dickey, a New Hampshire gold prospector in Alaska, named the peak for William McKinley, who supported the gold standard and had just won the Republican nomination for president. Never mind that the Athabascan people called the mountain Denali for thousands of years prior. The name change wasn’t official, however, until 1917, when Congress designated the surrounding area as a national park. And McKinley’s Ohio roots meant he had an important delegation in Washington telling Alaskans what to call their mountain. The Alaskan delegation to Congress introduced legislation in February to change the name to Denali, but it was doubtful to overcome the opposition of Ohioans. (Ain’t our republic grand?) In 1980, the surrounding national park was renamed Denali, but the mountain kept its name — until Obama said otherwise. In announcing the change, the Obama Interior Department said, “In changing the name from Mount McKinley to Denali, we intend no disrespect to the legacy of President McKinley. We are simply reflecting the desire of most Alaskans to have an authentically Alaskan name for this iconic Alaskan feature.” If only the Obama administration showed such deference to states in more important matters. Perhaps he only wanted to tweak John Boehner one more time. Or perhaps he thought it was his destiny to rename the mountain because Denali is an Athabascan word meaning “the great one.” What’s Athabascan for “narcissism”?

Hillary Attacks GOP to Distract From Email Scandal

The pressure on Hillary Clinton is mounting. The FBI is investigating the Democrat candidate for president for violating the Espionage Act because she handled classified emails through her unsecured email server. While the blood is in the water, it may not be the fatal blow to everyone’s favorite snake in a pantsuit. The attorney that oversaw the prosecution of former CIA Director David Petraeus, Anne Tompkins, wrote in USA Today that the FBI has less of a case against Clinton because she did not willfully send classified information — although a new revelation could deflate that Clinton defense as well. So what’s a dishonest politician to do? Distract the media, this time suggesting that Republicans are going to load up illegal immigrants on “boxcars.” The comparison to the Holocaust is unmistakable. On Friday, Clinton told an audience in Minneapolis, “Some on the other side are … advocating to deport 11, 12 million people. … I find it the height of irony that a party which espouses small government would want to unleash a massive government effort, which might include National Guard and others, to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up and, I don’t know, put them in buses or boxcars, in order to take them across the border.” Combined with her statement last week comparing the GOP to women-hating terrorists, this is all about Hillary saying a few well-placed outrageous remarks in order to get the focus back on her agenda and off her email.

University of Tennessee Just Made Grammar More Confusing

If you’re on one of the campuses of the University of Tennessee, watch out for the Grammar Nazis. If the university’s experiment lasts longer than the first week of school, then those who enforce a strict adherence to the rules of the English language will do more than back a party line on they’re, their and there. “Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth,” the University of Tennessee’s Pride Center Director, Donna Braquet, wrote on the university’s website. She encouraged the school to start using a whole new set of pronouns — ze, xe, hir, zir, xem — to refer to people who wish to not identify with their gender. Braquet requested that teachers, rather than calling roll, instead ask each student to provide the name and pronoun he or she — or ze — wishes to be referred by. She says it relieves a burden for people expressing different genders or identities. “The name a student uses may not be the one on the official roster, and the roster name may not be the same gender as the one the student now uses,” Braquet wrote. As Hot Air’s Allahpundit notes, “I’m not sure I grasp the difference between ‘hir/hirs’ and ‘zir/zirs.’ Which one should you use for Caitlyn Jenner? One, I think, is for a man who identifies as a woman and the other for a woman who identifies as a man, but I’ll be damned if I know which terms applies to which. The whole point of this exercise, I thought, was not to make any judgments about gender based on appearance.”

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

The New U.S. Business Model: ObamaCorps

By Robin Smith

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) handed down a decision last week that could remake a vast swath of the economy. Where have we heard that before with this administration? The rule essentially took nine million American workers employed by just under 800,000 franchise businesses and moved their employment from the direct supervision of the franchisee to the big-brand parent company. To paraphrase Joe Biden’s comments when ObamaCare was signed, this is a big freaking deal.

The Democrat-controlled NRLB, Barack Obama’s instrument for decisions and rulings benefiting labor unions — involving issues such as collective bargaining and the minimum wage, just to name two — could potentially destroy the franchise business model. How? The NLRB blurred the lines of “direct and immediate” control over employees of franchises, meaning the corporation now has more control than the franchise.

The partisan vote, supported only by Democrats in the majority on the NRLB, undermines the current responsibility of the franchise owner as the business owner and employer that hires, fires, pays employees, determines promotions, raises and benefits offered. As always, the Obama administration aims to make everything part of a centrally controlled process dominated by the government.

In effect, the NLRB’s ruling has turned business entrepreneurs who have risked capital, hired staff and sacrificed for earnings as franchise owners into middle managers to oversee employees on the payroll of the big corporation.

In the era of economic failure caused by the too-big-to-fails, Obama’s union thugs, who are federally tasked with representing worker rights as an agency, have only turned the large corporate entities into larger corporate entities.

Franchises are contracts to what are functionally small business owners, through which corporations can leverage the scale of purchasing, advertising and brand development to local businesses that agree to maintain product and service standards regarding quality and pricing. Otherwise, the franchise owner controls the business. A prime example: 90% of McDonald’s restaurants are franchises, and those franchises employ 1.5 million of McDonald’s 1.9 million employees. Other large brands using the franchise model include food-industry giants such as Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s, and service industry corporations like Hampton Inns, Hilton Hotel brands, Great Clips hair salons, Liberty Tax Service and Save-A-Lot Foods.

But as Beth Milito, senior legal counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business, explains, “If … corporations are suddenly responsible for the franchise employees, they’ll be forced to exert more control over the franchisees.” In fact, she adds, they might even “eliminate the franchise model entirely and take direct control over the locations.”

Ironically, the first black president has made it tougher for minorities, who, according to The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk, are “almost 50% more likely” to own franchised businesses versus non-franchised businesses. So much for empowering minority-owned businesses in the Obama economy.

So why is the NRLB forcing employers to abdicate their business processes to the Giant Corporation model?

You already know. Large employers make easier targets for labor unions to win unionization. Soon, there could be the Ronald McDonald Teamsters, the Great Clips Scissorworkers, and the United Brotherhood of Hilton Garden Inn Employees. The “protections” offered by labor unions are documented and proven: The mediocre and worst employees are protected and any who work hard carry the load of the former. Many union members are good workers, but there are some very rotten apples in the bunch, too (like this New Jersey teacher who gets to keep his $90,000 job despite being tardy more than a hundred times). And above all, Big Labor is a critical Democrat constituency.

Union membership is at historical lows, especially outside the confines of government, with only 7.4 million workers in private-sector unions in 2014 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But those who fear competition and personal accountability in the workplace are using their favorite vehicle — tyrannical government — to create a situation inviting thuggery organized labor.

Obama has successfully socialized America’s health care — ObamaCare; provided cell phones as part of welfare — ObamaPhones; created new controls for the Internet — ObamaNet; is working to force neighborhoods to build low-income housing run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — ObamaHoods. Why would this tyrant not move to destroy the free market system and effective business models through organized labor’s oppression and government-controlled prices and wages with ObamaCorps? He’s got a country to fundamentally transform, after all.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

OPINION IN BRIEF

Gary Bauer: “[T]he reality is that this administration has barely lifted a finger to combat the religious persecution committed by the Islamic movement that is raping women and selling them into the sex trade. That battle has been led by conservatives. The Obama administration has gone into court suing American businesses that say the Muslim hijab, which many view as a symbol of submission, violates their dress code. It is conservatives who say Muslim practices that belittle women should not be imported into the U.S. It is the left that says American women should get used to going into a ladies’ room and finding a man using the facilities because he feels like he is a woman. It is conservatives who say this is a violation of a woman’s right to privacy. The left says it should be legal for people to abort babies because they are little unborn girls. It is conservatives who argue that sex-selection abortion is abhorrent and should not be permitted. To the left, there is no more important right for women than the right to destroy innocent human life. Yet conservatives who champion the sanctity of life are somehow equivalent to the barbaric marauders of ISIS.”

SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

The BIG Lie: “At no point have I ever suggested … that somebody is a warmonger, meaning they want war.” —Barack Obama on the Iran deal (That is exactly what he has suggested, repeatedly.)

Village Idiots: “I hope that this be the last by the some in Congress to politicize the tragic events of Benghazi. … Let us make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s always been my focus.” —Hillary Clinton, who was the first to politicize Benghazi to help Obama in 2012

Braying Jenny: “Well, let me answer one of your questions because I think that’s what you are entitled to.” —Hillary Clinton, once again showing her disdain for the press when asked two questions by Ed Henry

Demo-gogues: “[I]t is not acceptable in this country when unarmed black people get dragged out of cars or get shot. That is happening too often.” —Bernie Sanders (Is anybody saying it IS acceptable?)

Some hard truths on inner-city crime: “[T]he problem is much deeper than synthetic drugs, high-capacity gun magazines, turf wars, rejiggering police deployment or keeping an eye on repeat violent offenders. We have on our hands … walking disasters: individuals who believe that their lives matter, but not yours or mine. Neither do our laws and institutions. The Wild West’s outlaws felt that way, too. But it didn’t turn out so well for them. Won’t for ours, either, in the long run. The challenge, as always: to keep our potential outlaws from going down that path. That’s not up to the police. Look at the faces of the killers and their victims. It’s on us — parents, preachers, politicians, community pontificators — all who profess that black lives matter, to prove it.” —Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King

And last… “If the Washington elite wants to hurt Donald Trump, they should endorse him.” —Republican strategist Dave Carney

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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Study delivers bleak verdict on validity of psychology experiment results

The Guarding reports on a major investigation into claims made in psychology research journals. John Ioannidis, professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, said that the study was impressive but “the picture it paints – a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field – is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating.”

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/27/study-delivers-bleak-verdict-on-validity-of-psychology-experiment-results/


The Media, the ABC, and Leftist Propaganda

The West is in a war. It has enemies aplenty but most of them are in the West itself. Those most eager to destroy the West are not hostile forces from without, but enemies from within. And the mainstream media is now fully involved in this war against the West.

Western media is leftist media, and it is hostile to what most folks in the West believe in and value. Many social commentators have made this case. Early on in his 2011 volume Righteous Indignation Andrew Breitbart put it this way:

Make no mistake: America is in a media war. It is an extension of the Cold War that never ended but shifted to an electronic front. The war between freedom and statism ended geographically when the Berlin Wall fell. But the existential battle never ceased. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the battle simply took a different form. Instead of missiles the new weapon was language and education, and the international left had successfully constructed a global infrastructure to get its message out.

He continued, “The left does not win its battles in debate. It doesn’t have to. In the twenty-first century, media is everything. The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything.”

abc 4Exactly right. To understand the Australian media in general, and the ABC in particular, one simply has to be aware this larger ideological framework. Then all the daily outrages perpetrated by groups like “our” ABC will all make sense. I have documented dozens of cases of outrageous bias, anti-Christian bigotry, and extreme left nonsense pouring forth on a regular basis from the national broadcaster.

Read more


Outrage As Obama Says He Will Change Name Of Mount McKinley To Denali

Alaska-bound, Obama makes waves by renaming Mount McKinley

“And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” Daniel 11:3 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anti-American president and White House occupier Barack Hussein Obama loves to tear down and remove symbols that stand for the greatness of our nation. He seeks to reduce us to the level of any other nation, and has been astonishingly successful at it. His latest stunt is now to remove the name of revered American president William McKinley from the Alaskan mountain that has borne his name since 1917, and replace it with the name Denali, which means “high one”.  Which is exactly how he sees himself.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arctic temperatures and a mix of messy energy politics await President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Alaska. Even before he departed, Obama was making waves with a decision to rename Alaska’s famed Mount McKinley despite a backlash from Ohio politicians.

obama-renames-mount-mckinley-alaska-to-denali-high-one-anti-american

Obama flies to Anchorage on Monday morning for a three-day tour of the nation’s largest state, closely choreographed to call attention to the ways Obama says climate change is already damaging Alaska’s stunning scenery. By showcasing thawing permafrost, melting sea ice and eroding shorelines, Obama hopes to raise the sense of urgency to deal quickly to slow climate change in the U.S. and overseas.

His excursion north of the Arctic Circle will make Obama the first sitting president to step foot in the Alaska Arctic, home to Alaska Natives who have received less attention amid Obama’s recent efforts to improve conditions for Native Americans. In a major show of solidarity, Obama announced on the eve of his trip that his administration is changing the name of North America’s tallest peak, Mount McKinley, to Denali, its traditional Athabascan name.

Obama’s move to strip the mountain of its name honoring former President William McKinley, a son of Ohio, drew loud condemnations from Ohio lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner, who said he was “deeply disappointed” in the decision.

This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans, and I will be working with the House Committee on Natural Resources to determine what can be done to prevent this action,” added Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio.

In renaming 20,320-foot Mount McKinley as Denali, Obama was instating a moniker Alaskans have informally used for centuries. The name means “the high one” in Athabascan. source


ISIS Releases Video Showing Plan For New World Order And Return To Gold Standard

Islamic State reveals new gold coins in bid to break ‘enslavement’ of capitalism

“This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:26-28 (KJV)

EDITOR”S NOTE: The Islamic State, like the meteoric rise of Nazi Germany before them, continue to grow exponentially because the powers that could stop them refuse to do so. With the exception of a few pusillanimous air strikes, nothing is being done, and like a hive of inner-city cockroaches, the reach of ISIS has become terrifyingly large. One man, Adolf Hitler, brought the free world to the brink of destruction because no one stopped him when they could have. ISIS has more tangible power right now than Hitler and all his henchmen did in 1932. America, hear what the Prophet Daniel has to say. Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin…

Islamic State, ISIS, revealed its new currency in a one-hour-long video entitled The Rise of the Khilafah and the Return of the Gold Dinar on Saturday, 29 August. The group said that the creation of the currency will help to break the “enslavement” of capitalism underpinned by the US dollar.

The release, which is narrated by an IS fighter with an American accent coupled with Arabic subtitles, shows plans for new gold, silver and copper coins in the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate which straddles the Iraqi-Syrian border. The group calls capitalism a “Satanic system” and goes on to condemn interest payments as the “most insidious instrument” of the US economy.

The footage was released by IS’ media wing Al-Hayat, and comes after the group announced it had plans to mint a new currency last November. The new currency will free members of IS’ caliphate from the “tyrannical monetary system that was imposed on the Muslims and was a reason for their enslavement and impoverishment, and the wasting the fortunes of the Ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide], making it easy prey in the hands of the Jews and Crusaders,” the group said in a statement, according to a translation by jihadi-monitoring company SITE Intelligence.


Financial Times Calls For Abolishing Cash

The Financial Times has published an anonymous article which calls for the abolition of cash in order to give central banks and governments more power…………  Click here for full story


Elites Preparing Last Phase Of New World Order?

There’s a passage of holy writ that has baffled Bible teachers for centuries, confounding and teasing them, to the point where most modern preachers pass right by it like a trucker skirting a weigh station. Who is “Mystery Babylon,” that “great whore” spoken of in Revelation 17-18 that commits “fornication” with world rulers, lives in extreme luxury and gets “drunk with the blood of the saints” before finally meeting her fiery destruction?……..  Click here for full story


Prophetic Insights Shed Light On Possible Fate Of Iran Deal

US lawmakers have only a few weeks left to decide the fate of the Iran nuclear deal. While it remains unclear whether Iran will be officially allowed to keep its nuclear program, the Bible offers some prophetic perspectives on the ultimate outcome of the accord and its implications for Israel and the Jewish nation…………  Click here for full story


Quebec Law Would Stifle Criticism Of Radical Islam

While the rest of Canada is being force-fed the Duffy Senate “scandal”, in Quebec a proposed law that will label any criticism of Islam or Islamism as “hate speech” is being quietly pushed through the National Assembly ………..  Click here for full story


Earth’s Moving Mantle Leads to Earthquakes in Unusual Places

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 06:15 AM PDT

It has long been a mystery why some earthquakes strike towns in seemingly earthquake-proof regions, but researchers now have a potential explanation for why temblors sometimes rattle where they’re not expected. Understanding the underlying source of these quakes could help officials prepare for their associated hazards. Researchers found that intraplate earthquakes — which occur in the middle, instead of at the borders, of tectonic plates — are influenced by convection, or heat-driven movements, of the molten mantle beneath the planet’s cold, solid crust.

Luke 21:11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

Although intraplate quakes make up a small percentage of overall earthquakes (98 percent of earthquakes occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates), they have been recorded at strengths of up to magnitude 7.0 and can be among the most disastrous temblors because they’re unexpected, said Thorsten Becker, lead author of the new study and a professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California. For one, towns hit by intraplate earthquakes are less likely to have earthquake-prepared infrastructure than towns that sit on plate boundaries, he said. FULL REPORT

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Courageous Christian Man Would Rather Lose Job Than Drive LGBT Gay Pride Bus

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 06:08 AM PDT

CALGARY BUS DRIVER WILL QUIT JOB IF FORCED TO TAKE THE WHEEL OF RAINBOW PRIDE BUS

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 

We live in a day and age where Christians no longer stand on Biblical truths and compromise, but not Jesse Rau from Canada. He is a Calgary bus driver who refused to drive his bus when his company had it decorated in LGBT rainbow pride colors. Lose a job because it violates your Christian faith? Yes, that is exactly the type of stance the Bible calls us to make in these last days.

Stay strong, brother, the Lord will provide a better job for you if you get fired. We salute your courageous stance and dearly hope it inspires Christians all across America to do likewise.

“I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone,” Rau told The Canadian Press. “Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.” FULL REPORT

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ISIS damages Bel, Syria’s ‘most important Temple

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:57 AM PDT

For nearly 2,000 years — back to the days when Christ walked the earth — the Temple of Bel has been the center of religious life in the Syrian city of Palmyra. But now, at least part of the most historically significant temple in Palmyra has been destroyed by ISIS, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists in Syria for information.

ISIS has become known not only for its brutal executions, but for its hatred of antiquities — and its wanton destruction of them. Recently, it executed Khaled al-As’ad, an 82-year-old man who had spent his life on the painstaking task of preserving antiquities in Palmyra, because he refused to reveal where various irreplaceable relics had been hidden. And now, apparently, ISIS has damaged the Temple of Bel.

Syria’s antiquities chief told CNN on Monday that officials were working to confirm the reports with sources in the city. Maamoun Abdulkarim described the Temple of Bel as “the most important temple in Syria — and of the most important in the whole Middle East.” FULL REPORT

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Perry Stone Makes a Case for the Rapture

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:44 AM PDT

Among Christians worldwide, there is controversy concerning teaching about the rapture, an end-times event described by the apostle Paul in several Scripture passages (see 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Eph. 1:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:51-55, for example). The English word “rapture” is derived from a Latin translation by St. Jerome of the phrase “caught up” in the New Testament (see 1 Thess. 4:17, NKJV).

More accurate biblical phrases are “the gathering together” (see Eph. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:1), the “catching away” (1 Thess. 4:17), and the “general assembly” (Heb.12:23). The term “rapture” refers to Christ’s return for the living saints and the resurrection of the dead in Christ, a predicted event whose timing is not revealed in the New Testament.

A type of the rapture appears in Exodus 19. Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Word of God. A “cloud” descended, and the “sound of the trumpet was very loud” as the “Lord descended” on the mount (Ex. 19:16-18). The “Lord came down” and “Moses went up” (v. 20). This Old Testament event foreshadows a future happening described by Paul. He wrote that the “Lord Himself will descend from heaven … with the trumpet of God. … Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together … in the clouds” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). FULL REPORT

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WATER WARS: Devastating shortages will fuel MidEast conflicts for 25 yrs

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:38 AM PDT

In a worrying global trend, the Middle East is set for a record water shortage to strike over the next 25 years. The global fallout from the recent record heatwaves will force more and more people into overcrowded cities and stagnate economic growth. Worse still, according to scientists with the World Resource Institute (WRI), water shortages will exacerbate existing conflicts – and the factor is considered to have contributed to the rising violence in Syria that erupted in 2011.

“Drought and water shortages in Syria likely contributed to the unrest that stoked the country’s 2011 civil war. Dwindling water resources and chronic mismanagement forced 1.5 million people, primarily farmers and herders, to lose their livelihoods and leave their land, move to urban areas, and magnify Syria’s general destabilization,” a new WRI report says.

The institute estimates that, of 33 countries predicted to face “extremely high water stress” by the year 2040, 14 will be in the Middle East and North Africa. The process will take place gradually, owing not only to a period of drought we’ve been facing, but also by overcrowding, as the global demand for water grows. FULL REPORT

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UK Reality Show Star: Hitler Was a ‘Good Man’

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:30 AM PDT

Playboy model and singer Tila Tequila has been kicked out of Celebrity Big Brother after it was revealed that she has praised Adolf Hitler on Facebook. UK’s Channel 5, which hosts the show, called her posts “totally unacceptable,” and expressed that it had not known of her attitudes before she began the program on Thursday.

Tequila, whose real name is Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen, posted a picture of herself wearing a swastika and an SS hat on Facebook. She also made a blog post entitled “Why I sympathise with Hitler Part 1: True History Unveiled.” She denies accusations of anti-Semitism, and once said that she may convert to Judaism.

After she was fired, Tequila apologized on Twitter: “Back in 2013, I made a statement about Hitler not being a bad person and immediately realized soon after that I had made a terrible mistake that would ultimately come back to haunt me. During that time, I had been suffering from severe depression and drug addiction for many years prior to that. I also attempted to commit suicide in 2012 and overdosed on prescription pills. I wanted to die. I felt worthless and unloved as that pain continued to grow, causing me to further spiral out of control. FULL REPORT

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Islamic State Plotting ‘Second Blow’ to U.S. Financial System in Bid to ‘Purify the Earth of Corruption’

Posted: 31 Aug 2015 05:24 AM PDT

The Islamic State group revealed over the weekend that at the centerpiece of its goal to bring down America is a concerted effort to weaken the U.S. dollar and replace it with gold currency. A video posted Saturday warned of the “dawning of a new age” in which replacing the dollar with gold would deliver “the second blow to America’s capitalist financial system of enslavement … casting into ruins their fraudulent dollar note.” The first blow, it said, was the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

The English-language video included archival footage from U.S. news channels, including a 2007 clip of Ron Paul sounding the alarm over the vulnerability of the dollar. Produced by the Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media, the extremist Sunni group positioned itself as leading the fight against fiat currency by minting caliphate gold, silver and bronze coins. It named them after historical Islamic caliphate coins: the gold dinar, the silver dirham and the bronze fals (or the plural fulus). FULL REPORT

The post Islamic State Plotting ‘Second Blow’ to U.S. Financial System in Bid to ‘Purify the Earth of Corruption’ appeared first on .

California Drought forces some to live in ‘Third World-Type’ conditions

Posted: 30 Aug 2015 08:53 PM PDT

Looking for water to flush his toilet, Tino Lozano pointed a garden hose at some buckets in the bare dirt of his yard. It’s his daily ritual now in a community built by refugees from Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl. But only a trickle came out; then a drip, then nothing more. “There it goes,” said Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled vet, masking his desperation with a smile. “That’s how we do it in Okieville now.”

Millions of Californians are being inconvenienced in this fourth year of drought, urged to flush toilets less often, take shorter showers and let lawns turn brown. But it’s dramatically worse in places like Okieville, where wells have gone dry for many of the 100 modest homes that share cracked streets without sidewalks or streetlights in California’s Central Valley. Farming in Tulare County brought in $8.1 billion in 2014, more than any other county in the nation, according to its agricultural commissioner. Yet 1,252 of its household wells today are dry, more than all other California counties combined. FULL REPORT

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Thou Shall not have any other gods before me!

Posted: 30 Aug 2015 08:37 PM PDT

In this segment we will discuss how America is playing with fire by, both allowing Idol and Satanic Worship to take place on many locations in America. Are we opening the door for demons and principalities?

The post Thou Shall not have any other gods before me! appeared first on .

24 Reasons to Believe Hell Is a Reality

Posted: 30 Aug 2015 08:25 PM PDT

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army and a man who dedicated his life to lifting the poor out of sin and poverty, reportedly made this state­ment: “Most Christian organizations would like to send their workers to Bible college for five years. I would like to send our workers to hell for five min­utes. That would prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.”

Booth never suggested that the des­perate people he served were “already in hell.” He believed in a real, eternal hell, and it drove him to rescue people from both their current plight and future perdition. Shortly before his death in 1912, Booth warned prophetically that he saw coming to the church, “forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration … a heaven without a hell.”

In today’s theological fog, his ominous caveat is unfolding. Even some who claim to believe the Bible are having second thoughts about eternal judgment, and others have rejected the notion of judgment altogether. The name usually given this teaching is Universalism. FULL REPORT

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Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


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?


CanIKnowGod.com

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.


“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:

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(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

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August 31, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Heidelberg 115: The Three Functions Of The Law In The Christian Life

The law remains the law and we remain sinners. “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar” (1 John 1:10). The nomist thinks that, now that we have grace, we have no need of the gospel or that the gospel is only to help us obey the law. The antinomian thinks that now that we have grace, we have no need of law. Both are wrong. The gospel is that Christ obeyed in the place of, died for,and was resurrected for, and intercedes for sinners. We were justified in order that we might be gradually, graciously sanctified and that means being brought into conformity to Christ and to his holy law.

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A Note to Christian Men

What does this tells us about these men – the “evaluators”?  It tells us that the power of lust and desire for sexual gratification, even through brief visual stimulation, is compulsive and controlling. It is the most immediate and powerful impulse. Everything else, for that moment or two, becomes unimportant, in order to get a hit. Sin is addictive. And the worst part? This sin resides deep in the heart of each and every one of us.

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Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 2 (Know and Live Your Identity in Christ)

You need to spend time meditating on passages like Colossians 3, Ephesians 2, Romans 6 and 1 Peter 2. These passages will help you solidify your understanding of your new identity in Christ. But do more than read and think. Pray. Sing. Worship God for your new identity in Christ. Then, as you’re living your life, preach these truths to yourself. Regularly remind yourself of who you are in Christ.

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10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

Being a disciple of Jesus is hard. He said we must daily take up our cross and die to ourselves. He calls us to serve, love, and look to the interest of others. Following Jesus yields immeasurable joy, but we can also grow weary from day to day. Weary in parenting, weary in serving, weary in trials and affliction.

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Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

I realized that the Ask Pastor John answer that I responded to last week basically comes right out of his teaching in Chapter One of RBMW. So I decided to skim over the chapter again. It has been shocking for me to reread this as a more mature woman. Some parts were actually quite unbelievable. For instance, John Piper asserts,  “Mature masculinity expresses its leadership in romantic sexual relations by communicating an aura of strong and tender pursuit” (40).  After affirming that this is very difficult to put into words, he does just that. And it gets weird.

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Pro-Choice or Pro-Options: On Leadership

Much of the culture surrounding Christianity at the moment militates against the kind of commitment that making a choice, rather than merely having a choice, demands.  The language of conversation, so popular in certain quarters, has a certain open-ended quality to it. Once upon a time, arguments and debates were designed for the express purpose of reaching a conclusion, of deciding which, if any, of two or more positions was the best or the strongest or the most true.  Conversation has more of a `I’ll hear what you say; you hear what I say and we can all agree to differ while remaining friends’ feel.

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Southern Baptists Will Cut 600 to 800 Missionaries and Staff

The first of the cuts will come from voluntary retirements, followed by a restructuring. Overall, the IMB could release as many as 800 employees, according to an FAQ posted on the IMB’s website. Currently, the IMB has about 450 staff and about 4,700 missionaries overseas, down from 5,600 in 2009. Platt said earlier this year the total number of missionaries would likely drop to about 4,200—a 25 percent decline from 2009.

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Doctors Advised My Mom to Abort Me

As a pastor, I am sensitive to the guilt of those who have had an abortion, knowing that God is a God of forgiveness and healing. My prayer is that more families, single moms and confused couples would have the courage and selflessness that my mom displayed to reach out for help. May we reclaim the truth and dignity of life and speak for those without a voice, those most vulnerable in the womb. I, for one, am grateful that my parents did.

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Is It a Sin to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

Is It a Sin to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Crosswalk

Is it a sin to purchase a lottery ticket? Dr. Roger tackles the subject of gambling.

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Does the World Get to Decide How Valuable You Are?

Does the World Get to Decide How Valuable You Are?

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Crosswalk

Your value as a human being is not defined by the “stuff” you own.

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‘War Room’ is ‘resounding success’ at weekend box office

‘War Room’ is ‘resounding success’ at weekend box office

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Tru News

In the midst of a weekend box-office slate without much to get excited about, the faith-based drama “War Room” surprised to the tune of $11 million, according to studio estimates reported by Rentrak. The film, based on the story of a crumbling marriage saved by prayer and faith, is expected to end the weekend in …

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Stargazing in September: Supermoons and rising tides – the end of the world is nigh?

Stargazing in September: Supermoons and rising tides – the end of the world is nigh?

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Tru News

Be prepared for something extraordinary on the night of 27 to 28 September: both the brightest full Moon of the year – and the dimmest full Moon. First, we are due a supermoon. Our celestial companion travels round the Earth in an orbit that’s distinctively oval. Every month, the Moon swings from a distance of  …

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Charles Colson's 'My Final Word' Warns of 'Long Bloody Clash' in War Against Radical Islam

Charles Colson’s ‘My Final Word’ Warns of ‘Long Bloody Clash’ in War Against Radical Islam

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Christian Post

Imagine that a loved one dies, and years later you receive a letter they wrote before they passed. That’s how writer Anne Morse describes My Final Word, the new book she co-authored posthumously with the late evangelical figure, radio commentator and former Nixon aide Charles Colson, which shares Colson’s uncanny foresight and words of wisdom regarding many of today’s critical issues — most notably religion.

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Earth-Just Before The Rapture

One of the more remarkable scriptures in the Bible is the statement in both Matthew and Luke that the coming of the Lord will be just like in the “days of Noah” before God flooded the earth.

“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matt. 24:37-39

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Convergence: What Does it All Mean?

Jan Markell and Eric Barger discuss the convergence of many events in September, including the Shemitah, with Jonathan Cahn. From the United Nations to the Jewish holy days to the Pope, and much more, there is a strange alignment of activity in September, not the least of which is the Shemitah. They emphasize that no one knows for sure if we can draw any conclusions. Cahn looks at patterns in the past as well. It is a provocative hour. We use the mobile app found at http://www.oneplace.com.

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Christian Film ‘War Room’ Stuns Hollywood With $11 Million Weekend

Outside of evangelical circles, the names Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick are likely to be met with blank stares.

But thanks to low-budget hits like “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” the brothers have transformed themselves into Steven Spielbergs of Christian cinema. Their names above the title are enough to open movies that are firmly pitched to the faithful.

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Professor fired for mentioning God in letter to students

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‘My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List’

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be.……  Click here for full story


“The Shack,” with film pending, called “greatest deception” to church “in the last 200 years”

Christian Examiner reports:
The Shack, Wm Paul Young

An evangelical seminary professor is calling The Shack the “greatest deception foisted on the church in the last 200 years” and urging Christian leaders to speak out against it ahead of its release as a movie.

James B. DeYoung, professor of New Testament language and literature at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., says controversy over the 2007 bestselling book by William Paul Young will resurface when the film – which began shooting in June – is released.

The Shack, a New York Times Best Seller has sold 25 million book copies and was printed in 41 languages.

A film release date has not been set.

Though the author, like others uses fiction “as a servant” of theology, the allegorical book has an unbiblical view of God, DeYoung said, and clearly affirms universalism – that is, that all people will be saved.

“I maintain that The Shack represents the greatest deception foisted on the church in the last 200 years!” DeYoung wrote in a column for MovieGuide.org. “Not since the time of the Colonies and Isaac Backus has universalism been in such ascendency in the public psyche. The Shack is not a new Pilgrim’s Progress for our day but a house of deceit deserving destruction.”

http://www.christianexaminer.com/article/the.shack.with.film.pending.called.greatest.deception.to.church.in.the.last.200.years/49431.htm/


Who are the apostates?

In this piece Mike Ratliff of Possessing the Treasure points out something that many of Christians are unaware of: “An apostate can remain in an organized so-called “Christian Church” and be very religious and remain quite active in the “ministry” of deceiving as many people as he or she can. I mentioned it earlier in […]

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Trump Hosts Televangelists Who Fleece Their Flocks

No wonder The Donald is so lucky with money! He’s been planting seed faith cash into  strategic WOF alliances.  God will surely smile and bless his campaign….(/snark) Hat tip to Janet Mefferd for sharing this from the Daily Beast: Donald Trump, who meets next month with a group of televangelists, has strong ties to the […]

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How to Survive a University Religion Class

It is a story that everyone has heard.  Evangelical high school student, who is involved in the youth group and committed to Christ, heads off to the local university.  As a freshman, he takes an introductory religion class–probably intro to the OT or NT.

The professor is a critical scholar, deeply skeptical about the historicity of the Bible, and antagonistic to evangelicals.  After seeing the Bible take a pounding for an entire semester, and with no one around with any answers, our freshman decides Christianity probably isn’t true after all.

The question isn’t whether this scenario plays out every year all over the country (it does).  The question is what can be done about it.  Most church youth groups don’t have this scenario on their radar screen when they are preparing students for college.  Most of the attention is designed to help students survive morally or ethically, not intellectually.

So, for the student in this situation, I offer some advice in the video below.  Thanks to TGC for putting this together and making it available.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/129253608?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

How to Survive World Religions 101 from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.


It’s Turning Ugly Out There

Bolstered by the sad decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized homosexual “marriage”, secular progressives are pressing their temporary advantage, doing all they can to suppress and silence the voices of Christian churches and ministries.  They’ve found an ally in the court system and an opponent (Christians) who seem apathetic as a whole. Are […]

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Horror Movie Master Wes Craven Enters Into A Christless Eternity

He attended Wheaton, one of America’s best-known evangelical Christian colleges

“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Acts 26:28 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Horror movie guru Wes Craven was given a great gift at an early age, a chance to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. A lot of his fans might be shocked to know that he attended Wheaton,  one of the premier Christian colleges in America. But according to his own testimony, Craven rejected the salvation offered by Jesus Christ, and instead chose to spend his life giving glory to the things of the Devil through his acclaimed body of work in the horror film genre. Now, his life is over, and he has gone from this life to the next. A life that by his own choice does not include Jesus Christ, Heaven or anything connected with God. If the Bible is right, he is burning in Hell right now. I wonder if he still thinks that giving up Jesus Christ in exchange for Hollywood fame and fortune was worth it. Where are you going to go when you die?

Wes Craven, the famed writer-director of horror films known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. Craven, whose iconic Freddy Krueger character horrified viewers for years, died at his home in Los Angeles, his family announced.

wes-craven-dies-brain-cancer-nightmare-elm-street-wheaton-college-horror-movies-hell

Sometimes Craven told himself, “I am bad because I am rejecting the Holy Spirit of Christ.”

Born in Cleveland, Craven was raised in a conservative church where”we didn’t smoke, drink, play cards, dance or go to movies,” he said. He attended one of the nation’s best-known evangelical Christian institutions, Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Ill., before earning a master’s degree in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. Before making movies, he taught college.

Craven recalled his Wheaton years as a period of both searching and rebellion. “I really frankly was in trouble a lot,” he said, explaining that he and about a dozen classmates, while considering themselves Christians, chafed under the college’s restrictive interpretation of the faith.

The soul searching took different forms. Sometimes Craven told himself, “I am bad because I am rejecting the Holy Spirit of Christ.”But at other times, the doubts served more positively as signs that he needed to rethink reality.

Asked if he considered himself a religious person now, Craven responded, “I don’t do anything in an organized way.” Rather, he has come to see filmmaking as the most significant way to express his beliefs and longings.

Craven said he found something in the whole process of crafting a film, from the business nuts-and-bolts to “wrestling with my inner demons and inner glimpses of light,” that was more satisfying and beneficial than anything he could have done in traditional venues of religious service. “I think that’s … the best approach to (the) spiritual … I’m capable of,” he said.

Our hearts go out to the Craven family during their time of grief, but more than that, we pray that there will be some there will consider his rejection of Jesus Christ and not make the same eternal mistake that Wes did. If you’re still alive. it’s not too late to avoid Hell.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)


Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 4 (Put Off and Put On)

In our series on Killing Sin by the Spirit, we have seen so far three things we must do:

1. Understand and respond to the call to kill sin by the Spirit.
2. Know and live our identity as children of God who have been born again and who have the Holy Spirit.
3. Get the grace we need to be empowered to kill sin and grow spiritually through God’s ordinary means of grace.

Once we have the grace we need, what do we do? Well, the Bible calls us to the daily exercise of putting off the practices of the “old self” and putting on the practices of our “new self.”

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. – Colossians 3:9-10

Colossians 3:5-17 is a great passage to read for specific guidance on putting off and putting on, as is Ephesians 4:17-32. Consider this from Ephesians 4:

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:20-24, ESV)

The principles behind these passages that teach us foundational, practical Christian living are simple:

1. Your outward behavior is a reflection of your inward desires.
2. As you love Jesus more and more, you must also work to live out what you believe and who you love.
3. You aren’t going to simply do nothing. You will be doing something, so as you stop old patterns of life that come out of selfishness and unbelief, they must be replaced by new patterns of life that come out of our love for Jesus.

Colossians 3 and Ephesians 4 give a number of specific examples of this kind of behavior change, but these chapters are not giving us exhaustive lists. Notice also that when Paul tells us to put off sinful patterns in these chapters, he also uses the language of putting these things to death. In other words, we’re not supposed to be putting things off and folding them and putting them in a drawer to be brought out later when we want to wear then again. We’re to put them off and put them to death!

Here are the things we’re told to put off and put to death in these chapters:

1. sexual immorality
2. impurity
3. passion (Greek “pathos” – unhealthy and inordinate desire)
4. evil desire
5. covetousness
6. anger
7. wrath
8. malice
9. slander
10. obscene talk
11. lying
12. stealing
13. corrupt talk
14. bitterness
15. clamor (crying out, outcry, loud complaining)
16. slander

Here are the things we’re told to put on instead:

1. compassionate hearts
2. kindness
3. humility
4. meekness
5. patience
6. forgiveness
7. love
8. peace
9. work
10. worship
11. kindness
12. tender-heartedness

We can read passages like these and look at lists like these in two different ways:

1. As a do and don’t list, a checklist for behavior.
2. As descriptions of the overflow of two different heart orientations.

The context of Colossians and Ephesians makes it clear that we’re to read these in the second way and not in the first way.

If our hearts are oriented on ourselves, we will seek to gratify our own desires. We will not take the truth seriously, but will manipulate our words to serve our purposes. We will not see other people as precious images of God but as tools and objects to advance our desires or else as obstacles that stand in the way of our desires.

If our hearts are ruled by grace and filled with love from God, we will seek the glory of God and the good of others. We will love and forgive, seek purity in speech to bless others and build them up. We will embrace work as a gift from God and will worship God in our hearts and with our lips in song. We will forgive as readily as we have been forgiven and will be patient with the faults of others, knowing how patient God is with us.

Remember that this heart change comes only by the Holy Spirit, who works His will in us. We respond to the grace given us. So, we should seek His face more and more as we’re convicted of our shortcomings.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17  


A Bridge, a Plane, and an Identity Crisis

by Leanna Shepard | 8/31/15

The Main Street bridge a few blocks from where I live is undergoing major construction. They completely tore down the old structure to replace it with a newer, safer version. Building the new bridge seems to be taking forever!

It’s always nice to know the pavement you’re driving on is secure, so the idea of a new bridge sounded great . . . until I was inconvenienced by the road detours and extra traffic. And all the pounding and vibrations from the construction? Certainly not my choice of an alarm clock, that’s for sure.

The Bible tells us that it is because the Lord loves us that He disciplines us.

A few weeks ago, I crossed the river on an alternate route and looked over toward the construction to view the progress—which was, in my opinion, not a lot. The only evidence of a new bridge was two concrete cylinders. At this pace, I’ll be taking the long way to work for a very long time.

I know the new bridge will be wonderful, but in the meantime the inconvenience and construction noise is anything but wonderful. I’m ready for it to be done, particularly when there’s little headway to show for it.

Your Heart Is a Construction Zone

Did you know your heart is like that broken-down bridge under construction? We are fallen children that need God to change us (John 15:1–2). We don’t like the “construction” that takes place in our hearts when
God begins to work on us because it’s painful, and we’re discouraged when we don’t see immediate improvement. It seems like such a long, unnecessary process.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the day when His work is complete, when we understand the kindness He showed in fully restoring our broken-down hearts. I know that the discomfort and pain will be worth it all.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:11).

Sometimes, though, we mistake discipline for punishment and as a result become discouraged or depressed. We think God is angry with us or out to get us. But the Bible tells us that it is because the Lord loves us that He disciplines us.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives (Heb. 12:6).

When God confronts you with your sin and starts chipping away at your pride, you’re not being whacked and whittled down to size. You’re being lovingly crafted into the image of His Son.

When your life is crumbling like an old bridge, your value before God is not deteriorating. He will always love you and see you as perfect and complete through His Son.

It is when we lose sight of the cross that we begin to gauge our spiritual progress on how we measure up rather than on who we are.

It is when we lose sight of the cross that we begin to gauge our spiritual progress on how we measure up rather than on who we are. It’s called an identity crisis. (I’m preaching to myself, believe me.)

We convince ourselves that our worth is in our behavior and accomplishments, so we work our fannies off trying to “be good” only to find ourselves more miserable and discouraged than before.

But you know what?

  • Your identity is not in what you think of yourself.
  • Your identity is not in what you perceive others are thinking of you.
  • Your identity is not in your performance or in your appearance.
  • Your identity is not in how much “construction” is taking place inside or what your progress report says.

Your identity is in your position in Christ.

Kind of Like Being in an Airplane

I like how Pastor Eric Ludy illustrates this. He says being in Christ is kind of like being in an airplane.

When you’re in an airplane, you’re flying. You’re able to defy laws of gravity and move at supernatural speeds. But really, it’s not you who is flying, the plane is. You’re just along for the ride because you’ve placed yourself inside the plane.

When you are in Christ, you have the faith to move mountains and the ability to defy your sin nature.

Just like being in a plane, when you are in Christ, you have the faith to move mountains and the ability to defy your sin nature. This is not from some inner strength you muster up on your own; it’s the power of Jesus Christ at work within you. (This illustration can be found in Pastor Eric’s message titled “In Christ,” beginning at the 12:00 minute marker.)

When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you are accepting God’s gift of eternal life and become united with Him. All the love that the Father has for His Son is now yours! You’re a daughter of the King and fellow heir with Him (Gal. 3:26, Eph. 1:11). It’s not like back in the day when only the firstborn son inherited
the family wealth. As children of God, we all receive an inheritance in heaven!

Our Father showers His children with ” every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” That means:

  • In Christ you are forgiven and redeemed (Eph. 1:7).
  • In Christ you are set free from sin and made alive in God (Rom. 6:11, Rom. 8:2).
  • In Christ you are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • In Christ you are not guilty or condemned (Rom. 8:1).
  • In Christ you are loved by God forever (Rom. 8:38–39).
  • In Christ you have eternal life (John 5:24).

In Christ, nothing you do can change God’s love for you. Because Jesus became human flesh and died a horrendous death on the cross, we are guiltless in God’s eyes. So even though we still make mistakes and even though our heart is often home to a construction zone, God looks at us and sees Christ, not our
sin.

In Christ you can never be rejected.
Never condemned.
Never plucked out of His hand.
You are always forgiven.
Always loved.
Always His precious possession.

Are you in Christ?
Have you placed your identity and worth in something other than Him?

For a fuller understanding of what it means to be in Christ, I encourage you to check out the following resources:

The Stupendous Reality of Being in Christ” by Pastor John Piper

In Christ” by Eric Ludy

Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ” by Blair Linne

Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Freebie Friday! A Locker Design Contest

by Erin Davis

Plaster your locker with truth; win free stuff. It really is that easy.

35 Things I Wish I’d Known In High School (And Freebies!)

by Erin Davis

Here’s a favorite post from our archives, plus some freebies for your locker!

9 Things to Remember When Another Christian Disappoints You

by Erin Davis

Here are nine things to keep in mind when another Christian disappoints you.


08/31/15 My Promises and His Promises

READING: Ezekiel 16-17

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I shudder to think about how many promises I’ve made to God that I did not keep. Honestly, I could probably list them by the dozens — if not the hundreds, or more — over 40+ years of being a believer.  Were my relationship to God based on my level of commitment to Him, our communion would have ended a long time ago.

What I’ve learned over and over again is that He keeps His Word, and He loves me more than I love Him. I have broken my word to Him, but He has never broken His Word to me. Thus, these words from Ezekiel 16 are both painful and gracious:

Ezek. 16:59-60  “For this is what the Lord God says: I will deal with you according to what you have done, since you have despised the oath by breaking the covenant. But I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.”

The Hebrews continually broke their covenant with God made at Sinai — so much so that they recurrently turned to other (false) gods. The true God would then judge them, but He would do so to bring them back to Him. He would bring them to remembrance and shame as He kept His covenant with them to be their God (Ezek. 16:61-63). In fact, just as He used judgment to show that He was Yahweh, He would use restoration of His people to show the same (Ezek. 16:62).

I’ve said it before in these devotions: God keeps His promises to a people who don’t always keep theirs to Him. He shows who He is by keeping us in His hand when we struggle to wander away. That truth makes me want to be more faithful to Him, to be sure to keep my word to Him. He alone is God.

PRAYER: “God, forgive me for my many broken promises to You. I’m amazed that You have always been faithful to us — except that that’s just who You are. Thank You for loving us enough to bring us to shame when necessary to turn us back to You.”


The Weakness of Ruth Is Greater than the Strength of Samson

I recently reflected on the dark conclusion to the book of Judges—how the book ends with a note of desperation. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” And what was “right in their eyes” was patently horrific. It seemed so appealing at the beginning, to define God how they wanted him to be. But it turned out to be hell on earth.

If the book of Judges were all we had to capture this time in Israel’s history, it would be a dismal piece of history indeed. But there’s another story, a hidden sub-plot, to what’s going on in Judges. It’s the tiny companion volume known as Ruth.

The book of Ruth is set in the waning days of the rule of the Judges. In case you forgot what those days were like, it wasn’t a great time to be a woman in Israel. Women were bought and sold as property, kidnapped to satisfy the demands of the warriors, and murdered with no apparent concern for justice. Yet the central character of Ruth is a woman. Not only that, she isn’t even an Israelite. And at the start of her story, she’s a widow. By all outside appearances, Ruth is as low and as weak as a person could get.

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Jesus, Children, and Humility

2015.08.26 LA_Cathedral_Mausoleum_Jesus_and_the_childrenMark 9:33–37, 42, Matthew 18:1–5, and Luke 9:46–48 give parallel accounts of Jesus’ use of a child to illustrate His teaching to the disciples. These passages differ, however, in which teaching they choose to report. We see at least four teachings from these passages.

Have the faith and humility of a child (Matt 18:3–4). Speaking of how to “enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus says that we must “turn and become like children,” which means that one “humbles himself like this child,” that is, a child that Jesus had called to stand in their midst (Matt 18:3–4; cf. 18:1–2). We must humbly trust in Christ and not ourselves if we hope to enter His kingdom.

Welcome all believers alike with no thought to their social standing (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:36–37). Jesus speaks of one who “receives one such child in my name” as the one who “receives me” (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:37). The phrase “one such” implies that it was not only children that Jesus admonished His disciples to receive, but all who are like children in some sense. In context, this sense is along the lines of who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:1). Even if one is like a child (one without social standing and recognition), if such a one bears the name of Jesus (“receives…in my name”), then we as believers should seek to welcome and serve such a one, not figure out whether we are ranked higher than such a person in the coming kingdom of God. And, by serving all believers, and especially those who are little in the eyes of men, we are thereby evaluated by God to be the greatest in His kingdom (Matt 18:4; cf. also James 2:1–10).

To welcome all believers without discrimination is to welcome Jesus and, therefore, His Father (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:36–37; Luke 9:48). One of the primary ways we show our love for God is to show our love for His people. By welcoming those who bear His name, it is as if we were welcoming Jesus Himself (Matt 18:5; Mark 9:37a; Luke 9:48a), and to welcome Jesus is to welcome His Father, the One who sent Him on our behalf (Mark 9:37b; Luke 9:48b). How we treat others is a reflection of how we treat God Himself (cf. also Matt 25:31–46).

Causing a believing child to sin is great sin (Matt 18:6; Mark 9:42). If we allow our pride to dismiss other believers and provoke them to sin, we commit great sin ourselves (Matt 18:8; Mark 9:42; cf. 9:38–41). Rather, we should support one another and strive for unity instead of thinking that we alone our righteous in our ways (cf. also John 13:34–35 and Rom 15:7).


Three Dangers Straight from Moses (by Phillip Camp)

Deuteronomy 7-10 reveals that the faithfulness of God’s people to their covenant with God—and so their fulfillment of God’s purposes through them—faces constant dangers on several levels. One does not have to dig too deeply to find manifestations of these same dangers within the community of God today. The Danger of Pride. In Deuteronomy 7:6, [Read More…]

Chasing Precious

Remember Gollum from Tolkien’s The Hobbit? Gollum once was a hobbit, named Sméagol, but has become an ex-hobbit. He’s this creepy, little monster, who is possessed by the ring — literally. Because he has made the ring the object of his adoration, he no longer possesses it, but it possesses him.

In fact, he calls the ring “my precious.” It’s telling that Gollum never refers to himself as “precious,” but only the ring. The object of his worship stole his identity. He is no longer precious, because it is precious.

This is what idolatry does to us. Maybe it doesn’t turn us into little monsters — but close. Verse eight of Psalm 115, after mocking man-made idols — which have mouths but can’t speak, eyes but can’t see, and so forth — decrees, “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” Those who put their trust in idols lose their personhood. They slowly lose their ability to be human, which is represented by the language of speaking, seeing, and hearing. When this happens, you turn into an “it.”  You’re not a person, but a thing.

Those who put their trust in idols lose their personhood. (Ps. 115:8)

TWEET

As a “thing,” you lose your sense of preciousness. Then the idol you worship becomes “my precious.”

But there’s more. Gollum never refers to himself as an “I,” but only a “we.” He is no longer an individual.

“The Precious” is a shorthand for what it means to make an idol out of something: you lose your individuality and sense of preciousness to the object of your worship. It is your master, and you are its slave. “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19).

S. Lewis wrote:

Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into either a heavenly creature or a hellish creature…Each of us at each moment is progressing toward the one state or the other.

Gollum didn’t think that he was precious, because only the ring was precious. How about you? Has some dumb idol taken your place? Has an “it” become what you should be? What is the central part of yourself turning into?

Here are some tests. Ask yourself if you think you’re nothing. Or, could you imagine yourself to be precious if you didn’t have that idol? Do you need that thing in order to feel like you’re precious or worthy?

This is how idolatry manifests itself. You think you’re worthless if you don’t have beauty. You think you’re worthless if you don’t have accomplishment. You think you’re worthless if you don’t have a certain material possession, status, or person in your life. You cannot conceive of yourself as precious on your own, just how your mother brought you into this world.

Something else has taken your place as “the precious.”

And not for a million years can you fathom what God said of his people in Isaiah 43:4, “You are precious in my sight.” Do you see? God wants to give you back yourself, which you’ve lost. Stop thinking that some idol is precious, and start realizing that you are precious.

On the cross, Jesus became the monster. He became the “it.” He made him who knew no sin to become sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In a sense, on the cross, Jesus became the ex-human, so that you might become human again. The Bible calls this being born again. You are made into a new creation. The old monster has passed away, and behold, the new precious person has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Don’t let some idol wrap you around its little finger. For in Christ you are a new creation, precious in the sight of God.

What idol has threatened to steal your “preciousness”?

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How to Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin

Every church has its problems. There are no perfect churches. But there are some churches that are so bad that they make atheism look appealing. Anyone compiling a list of worst churches in the world would need to consider, as a top candidate, the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.westboro

Founded in 1955 the church began with promising doctrinal standards. They called themselves Christian, Biblical, Baptist, and even Calvinistic. They took a strong view on inerrancy, the need for repentance, and the Lordship of Christ. But it soon became evident that the church lacked one virtue vital for anyone who bears the name of Christ: the church has no love. I realize that’s my opinion, but let the evidence help you decide if they show love.

WBC has been officially categorized by a number of organizations as a hate group. They are most known for the abrasive slogans used when protesting homosexualty. The members picket funerals of homosexuals with signs declaring “God hates fags,” God hates you,” “God hates America,” and “You are going to hell.”

They don’t only hate homosexuals. They also vocally express hatred for Jews, Catholics, Nelson Mandela, the US Army, the Swedish, and countless politicians. And just to toss their wet blanket of prejudice over billion or so more, they host a website called GodHatesIndia(dot)com.

I’m not saying they express disagreement with these groups. I’m saying they express hate.

In an investigative documentary the interviewer asked Shirley Phelps-Roper (the founding pastor’s daughter) if she thought this technique might put people off the gospel. Her response: You think our job is to win souls to Christ. All we do, by getting in their face and putting these signs in front of them and these plain words, is make what’s already in their heart come out of their mouth. She admitted that the money they spend flying to funerals is spent “to spread God’s hate.”

Every major denomination has denounced them, including the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Anyone known for hate rather than love doesn’t deserve to be called a Baptist or a Church.

Ps 15:4 …In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord…

We all agree that God hates sin and that believers should hate sin (Prov 8:13). The question is, whether it is acceptable to hate the sinners who commit the sins? Advocates of this view may cite the rare verses that seem to legitimize hating sinful people (e.g. Ps 15:4). Most notably, David’s declaration of fealty to God’s cause in Ps 139:21-22 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Bear in mind David was a king anointed by God’s decree, given prophetic capabilities, and a divine military commission to wage war against Israel’s enemies. If that’s you, perhaps you could make a case for stirring up a bloodlust to fuel your grim responsibility to kill the men of war God instructed you to exterminate. (There isn’t really a loving way to disembowel a guy with a sword on a battlefield).

But we are not told anywhere to be like David. We are called to imitate Christ’s example (1 Cor 11:1).

Jesus never expressed hatred for sinners. He ate with tax collectors and other moral bottom feeders. He told the woman caught in adultery that he didn’t condemn her. He allowed a prostitute to publically wash his feet (Luke 7:37-38). He prayed that God forgive his murderers (Luke 23:34). He taught explicitly that God loves the world (yes, including the sinners in it; John 3:16). He modeled grace, mercy, and compassion for those who were wicked. The sternest words in Christ’s repertoire were always reserved for religious unbelieving hypocrites; but even then he targeted their deeds and attitudes.

So what does it look like to love the sinner and hate the sin? How could Westboro Baptist show love for homosexuals without condoning the sin of homosexuality? Ask Ray Comfort. That’s what the Kleins did.

kleins cakesMelissa and Aaron Klein, bakers from Oregon, declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. And they were successfully sued for discrimination. The case is being appealed, but in the meantime the Kleins approached famed evangelist Ray Comfort who has shed a beam of solace on the situation. At his suggestion the couple baked and sent cakes to ten gay rights organizations. They included a gift certificate, a gospel message, and decorated the cakes with the words “We really do love you.”

No one could misconstrue the Klein’s gesture as approving of homosexuality. And yet no one can dispute that the Kleins are doing a better job at showing love to homosexual people than Westboro is.

I try remind myself that God loved me while I was still his enemy. He didn’t love what I would one day become when I repented. He loved me first. And that love changed me.

Rom 5:8,10  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son …

It is my prayer for our flock at Hillcrest Baptist Church that we never derail into a dissonant congregation of clanging cymbals. I hope we build a reputation in our community of people who love the truth and sinners, but hate sin. And hatred.

PS. you should really check out Jesse’s encounter with the picketers at his church in DC. It’s worth the price of admission.


Seven Internal Barriers to Growth in a Church

There is rarely a simple explanation for the decline of a church. It is often a complex mix of cultural, theological, attitudinal, and internal issues. In this article, I address the latter issue.

Internal barriers refer to those obstacles that are inherent in the organization and the facilities of the church. They are also called structural barriers. Stated simply, these barriers are self-imposed or self-inflicted.

Some of these barriers are long-standing and difficult to remove. Others, such as a redesigned website, can be accomplished with little pain. Let’s look at the six most common internal barriers in churches.

  1. Facility Barriers. We have addressed these barriers several times on this site and on the Rainer on Leadership podcast. The two most common are poor signage and inadequate parking. The former is often more easily addressed than the latter. Other common facility barriers include dirty and cluttered facilities, inadequate worship space, inadequate children’s space, and poor sound and lighting in the worship space.
  2. Governance Barriers. These barriers include restrictive bylaws and policies, a model of church government that is not working as intended, and frequent acrimonious business meetings. I am familiar with a church that had a policy where the executive pastor was on every committee, but the pastor was not. The particular problem was the personnel committee, where the executive pastor abused his authority to prevent the pastor from leading staff or having an influence on any personnel matters. That situation did not end well.
  3. Staffing Barriers. Churches often staff the way they’ve always done it. But times change and needs change. Staffing alignment and job descriptions of the 1990s may be inadequate today. Sometimes the job descriptions can be fine, but the wrong people are in those positions. Jim Collins, in his classic book Good to Great, uses the metaphor of getting the right people on the bus, and getting the right people in the right seat on the bus. If a church leader is not in a position that matches his or her gifts, abilities, and passions, the church has a structural growth barrier.
  4. Cultural Barriers. These barriers refer largely to attitudes and practices of the leadership and membership as perceived by guests. They could include a general unfriendly spirit in the church, acrimonious business meetings, perceived lengthy services, and worship times that are not convenient for guests.
  5. Church Calendar. Many churches are notorious for being activity-driven. One activity is stacked upon another. The church is so busy doing good things that it neglects the best things. Typically, the most often neglected ministries in busy churches are evangelism and ministry beyond the walls of the church. Most busy churches are not Great Commission churches.
  6. Worship Times. Why does your church have the specific worship times it offers? For many churches, it is the way we’ve always done it. Many church leaders have not asked what are the most conducive times to reach the community. Frankly, the traditional 11:00 am worship time as a single offering makes little sense today. I will admit, however, it’s still a good time for the farmers who need to milk the cows and feed the animals before they come to church.
  7. Website Barriers. One of the simplest internal or structural changes a church can make to reach more people is to update the website. The website is the front door for guests. It is their first stop before visiting the church. It makes no sense to have a lousy website when it is so effective when done well. And churches should follow the cardinal rule of websites: the church’s physical location and times of service should be clear and evident on the home page.

Some of the reasons a church may not be growing could be self-inflicted barriers. These are seven of the most common barriers. What do you think of them? Let me hear from you.

The post Seven Internal Barriers to Growth in a Church appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Check out

Blogs

Do’s And Don’ts To Preserve Your Brain Power | Harvard Business Review
“Like any good machine, the brain needs a little care and attention as it ages to ensure it continues to run in good working order.”

A Sense of the Love of Christ | Feeding on Christ: Nick Batzig
“John Owen held to a Christological interpretation of the Song–namely, out of a desire for true progress in Christian piety.”

Afflictions Sanctified by the Word | Upward Call
A beautiful piece from William Cowper for all afflicted Christians.

How To Answer Skeptics from Romans 1 | Nancy Pearcey
For everyone going off to College – and their parents.

Leading Your Leaders Retreat | Kevin DeYoung
Kevin offers a snapshot of how his church makes the best use of leaders’ retreats.

The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World | TGC Review

The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World by Owen Strachan.

Kindle Deals

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand $2.99.

Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide by Randy Alcorn $4.61.

What Is Biblical Theology?: A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns by James Hamilton $3.99.

Video

How to Survive World Religions 101

Michael Kruger entered his freshman year at the University of North Carolina as a committed Christian. He thought he was ready for the intellectual challenges college would mount against his faith—that is, until he found himself sitting in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman as his professor. It left him shell-shocked.


A La Carte (August 31)

If you have ever wanted to get oriented in Biblical Theology, you will appreciate these two books from Crossway: What Is Biblical Theology? by James Hamilton ($3.99) and Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence ($3.99). Both are reader-friendly introductions. Other Kindle deals include Going Beyond the Five Points edited by Rob Ventura ($1.99), The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges ($2.99), and The Bible Answer Book (Volume 2) by Hank Hanegraaff ($1.99). Also, Amazon has several hundred Kindle books on sale today. The sale is targetted at students, but open to anyone.

One Strategy to Rule Them All

Nancy Pearcey shows how to answer skeptics from Romans 1. The article is a brief overview of the heart of her book Finding Truth which I have reviewed here.

How Katrina Changed New Orleans

TIME has an interesting infographic that displays how Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans.

This Day in 1688: John Bunyan died at the age of 59. Bunyan is remembered in history as author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the most-read books of all-time. The book has been translated into more than 200 languages and, to this point, has never gone out of print.

Lazy Writing, Cheap Restoration

Whether or not you agree with every part of this review of War Room, I think you will find that much of it resonates. “This is precisely where War Room, like so many Christian films, stumbles. The characters and situation are so thinly drawn that even those of us who believe in the film’s ultimate message have a hard time with the package wrapped around it.”

Tragedy and Transforming Truth

It sounds like The Purpose Driven Life may be back in the headlines soon. The Grace To You blog is beginning a short series to remind us what the book is about and why many parts of it are concerning.


The Daily Discovery (August 31, 2015)

ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

My Wife’s Plea to Christian Men – “Over the weekend I could see that Aileen had something on her mind. We spoke and she told me about reading the news, about seeing more Christian men fall into scandal, and, in the face of it all, her confusion, her despair, the crumbling of her hope. I asked if she would write about it. Here is what she said…”

The Place and Purpose of Parachurch Ministries – “The world of campus ministry is a world filled with parachurch ministries. Names like Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), InterVarsity, and Navigators are household names for most evangelicals. Their founders are some of the past century’s heroes of the faith. These ministries are the gold standard of evangelicalism for good reason.”

How Could Noah Build Something So Large? – “Imagine that you had never studied ancient monuments and had never heard of Stonehenge in England. How would you respond to someone who told you that long before the advent of modern machinery, ancient people moved 30-foot-tall, 25-ton stones a distance of 20 miles and arranged them in precise alignment with the sun on the summer solstice?”

Honor authorities, but fear God – “First Peter 2:13 starts with six words most of us probably really, really hate: ‘Be subject to every human institution.’  Admit it: you just bristled, didn’t you?  None of us particularly like authority. That is, in large part, because we are sinners prone to wanting to be our own authorities. But some of us also have a habit of being so concerned about our human authorities that we forget that they are also under God’s authority.  Yes, respect and obey the earthly authorities—whether parents, pastors, police or presidents—but don’t forget: they’re not the primary authority. God is.”

The Biblical Basis for Missions – “What is mission, and what is the principal foundation for the mission of the church? The word mission itself comes from the Latin verb missio, which means ‘to send.’ So, literally, missions has to do with sending. In the Scriptures, we see the verb to send being used over and over, in a multitude of ways. But there’s a sense in which the whole life of the church and the whole experience of the Christian are rooted ultimately in some kind of sending that is founded in the authority and the action of God Himself.”


SERMON:

logo-contSermon

Nate Pickowicz – The Meaning of the Widow’s Mite (Luke 21:1-4)


VIDEOS:

Worldview of a former youth pastor refuted

Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Worship Jesus Christ?


“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur


Christian Headlines Daily – Monday, August 31, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Christian Actress Candace Cameron Bure Set to Co-Host ‘The View’

Texas Church Responds with Standing Ovation to Gay Marriage Proposal

Death Threats, Forced Conversions of Christians Cited in India

Egyptian Christian Imprisoned for Handing Out Bibles in Shopping Mall

Hillary Clinton: Republicans’ Views on Women Comparable to That of Terrorists

Billy Graham: Only Person God Can’t Forgive is One who Doesn’t Seek Forgiveness

Southern Baptists to Cut up to 800 Missionaries due to Lack of Funds

33 Christian Leaders Who are Speaking up for Life

Husband and Wife Who Converted to Christianity Shot by Muslim Family Members

Religious Freedom a ‘Reality’ in Recovering Central African Republic

Opinion

Whom Shall We Worship: A Look into Canaanite Culture

More On-air Shootings Expected

Ashley Madison and the Death of Monogamy

From Suicide to Euthanasia: Devaluing Human Life

The 3 Zip Codes without Ashley Madison Users


Only Two Religions!

I don’t know if you know this but there are only two religions in the entire world.

You might say I’m nuts.  There are hundreds if not thousands!

wearing masksBut there is one religion that likes to put on hundreds if not thousands of different masks on, and so ultimately there are only two: the religion of Human Achievement and the religion of Divine Accomplishment.

You see Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism and every single religion that you have ever heard of, ultimately teaches some form of a works-based salvation. They say that you have to be a little more good than bad in order to make it to heaven. These religions encourage you to hand God a resume when you face Him one day. The resume will be filled with all your accomplishments. It will list everything you’ve done for other people, every penny you’ve given to charity and every good deed you’ve done. God will look over this resume and say, “Good job! You’ve made it into heaven”.

The problem is that if you were to enter into heaven because of a resume based on your accomplishments God would get no glory; you would be the one who gets all the praise. In fact, Ephesians 2:9 would say that salvation is not of works lest you patting-self-on-back-1should boast! Genesis chapter one shows us that God created the entire universe including you. Everything He created is designed to bring Him glory. The problem is that sin has entered the world, and from birth we all have replaced exalting God with exalting ourselves. Everything we do from birth is geared towards bringing us glory and bringing praise to ourselves. We all have a throne in our hearts that God should be sitting and reigning on, but instead we are born with ourselves sitting on it. We are so used to it we don’t even notice it to the point where we all think that our resumes are good enough to get us into heaven.

my mom thinks im coolOf course we are going to think that we are good people! Of course my mom is going to tell me I’m a good person! But what does your Creator think? He says in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and fall short of His glory. He also says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. So if we stand before God and start listing accomplishments or hand Him a resume we might as well slap Jesus in the face because God is going to look at the resume and say, “I killed my only Son because you were not good enough to get to me!”

And that’s where the only other religion comes in.

The religion of Divine Accomplishment. God saw your situation, and decided that since man was so sinful and could not save himself, that He would come Himself and take the form of a man. He humbled himself, spent nine months in a womb he created, grew up with every temptation you and I face every day, but without sinning. He then died on the cross for our sins, and then rose from the dead and defeated death. He made it possible for human beings to stand before God one day and not hand Him a resume and condemn themselves further, but rather, tell God that they deserve His wrath but have placed their faith and trust in the work that Jesus did on their behalf on the cross and through His resurrection.

You see we need someone to be a substitute for us because no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge the gap between God and us. And the substitute can’t be merely a human.  It must be God Himself.

Do you see the difference between Christianity and every other religion?

Source


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?


CanIKnowGod.com

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.


“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.

New study: the majority (69%) of divorces are initiated by women

WINTERY KNIGHT

Is it OK to tell women they are wrong? Is this “I’ll do what I want” attitude compatible with life-long married love?

This new report from Live Science gives us some numbers about who initiates divorces most frequently.

It says:

Women are more likely than men to initiate divorce in the United States, but they are no more likely than men to initiate breakups in a dating relationship, a new study finds.

“The breakups of nonmarital heterosexual relationships in the U.S. are quite gender-neutral and fairly egalitarian,” study author Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, said in a statement. “This was a surprise because the only prior research that had been done on who wanted the breakup wasresearch on marital divorces.”

Previous research had found that women are more likely to initiate divorce, at least in the United States, Europe and Australia. In the new study, Rosenfeld compared divorces to nonmarital breakups, in an effort to…

View original post 943 more words

GTY Blog: Tragedy and Transforming Truth (Re: “The Purpose Driven Life”)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Code: B150831

by Jeremiah Johnson

Ten years ago the names and faces of Brian Nichols and Ashley Smith dominated the news cycle. At the time, the events surrounding their encounter gripped the city of Atlanta in fear.

In 2005, Nichols was facing trial for rape. On the morning of Friday, March 11, he attacked his guard and several others before murdering the judge and the court reporter presiding over his trial. He shot and killed another guard as he escaped the Fulton County courthouse, and led police on a lengthy manhunt. Over the course of several tense hours, he stole a string of vehicles and murdered a federal agent.

Eventually, Nichols forced his way into Smith’s apartment, and held her at gunpoint for several hours. During their time together, Smith famously read him passages from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Life. She also let him snort some of her methamphetamine. Smith was an addict at the time, but today she traces her sobriety and spiritual awakening back to that night in her apartment as Nichols’s hostage. In the morning, he released her. She alerted the authorities to his location, and after they surrounded the apartment, Nichols surrendered.

In a few weeks, the movie version of their story—titled Captive—will hit theaters. Based on Smith’s 2010 book Unlikely Angel, the movie will likely revive national interest in their unique ordeal, and in The Purpose-Driven Life, which figures heavily in the film’s trailer.

As was the case in the immediate aftermath, there is likely to be much discussion about what really prompted Nichols to release Smith—was it the book, the meth, or simply his guilt and the inevitability of his own capture? Only Nichols knows for sure, and it’s unlikely the movie’s dramatized version of events will shed any new light on the answer.

Unlike Smith, Nichols has no public testimony of faith. In fact, the few statements published after his arrest don’t indicate any repentance or spiritual transformation whatsoever. On the contrary, they indicate a heart still bent toward rebellion and wickedness.

In that sense, there is no point in speculating on what brought an end to Nichols’s killing spree. The idea that his heart was touched and maybe even broken by what Smith read to him makes for a heartwarming story, but there’s nothing to indicate a lasting change in his life. For all we know, the effect would have been the same if she read to him from any self-help book, The Hobbit, or even the sports page. Ultimately, it was God’s will that Nichols release Smith and surrender to the police, and the Lord used His chosen means to accomplish His ends. What He used to do it is relatively immaterial.

The better question is what, if any, redemptive qualities are inherent to The Purpose-Driven Life? What eternal truth does it offer its countless readers? With more than thirty million copies sold, this book has become one of the definitive texts of the modern church. But what is that influence accomplishing in the lives of all those readers?

Rick Warren frequently quotes the first line of his book, “It’s not about you.” In terms of the believer’s calling and purpose, he’s right—our lives, even our bodies, no longer belong to us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Unfortunately, Warren abandons that mindset almost immediately, and spends the rest of the book focused primarily on the reader’s sense of identity, purpose, and fulfilment. His emphasis leaves little room for many essential elements of the gospel, and imbues readers with naïve, man-centered theology. In that regard, The Purpose-Driven Life serves as a manifesto for the modern Christian—one that demands closer scrutiny.

Why bring all that up?

We’ve just spent three weeks on the GTY blog discussing what it means to be a Berean—how we are to faithfully test everything against Scripture to determine its spiritual value. The release of the movie Captive and the renewed interest it’s sure to prompt in The Purpose-Driven Life give us a great opportunity to put the principles of discernment into practice.

And that’s precisely what we’re going to do this week. We’re going to evaluate The Purpose-Driven Life, not based on heartwarming anecdotes or cultural saturation, but strictly according to Scripture. How does it measure up against the testimony of God’s Word?

We’ll also compare it to another important book that deals with the issues of identity, salvation, and purpose—Slave by John MacArthur. Where do these two books agree or disagree, and what does Scripture teach us to help make sense of the disparities?

As we’ve already seen, this kind of careful evaluation and study is a necessary element of the believer’s life, and we trust this will be a helpful and encouraging example for you.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150831
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

130 left-wing fascist groups petition Obama to end religious liberty in America

WINTERY KNIGHT

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Christian Daily has the story.

A group of 130 organizations sent a letter to President Obama asking for a review of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), worried that a 2007 Justice Department memo allows for federally funded religious organizations to discriminate in the hiring process.

The letter requests President Obama to direct Attorney General Loretta Lynch to reevalute a 2007 memo from the Justice Department that interprets the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as allowing for faith-based groups to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws.

“RFRA was intended to provide protection for free exercise rights… to federal laws that substantially burden religious exercise. RFRA was not intended to create blanket exemptions to laws that protect against discrimination,” the organizations contend in the letter to Obama.

[…]However, Derek Gaubatz of the Federalist Society asserted in a 2011 article that the decision on whether to reverse the 2007…

View original post 656 more words

Anti-Evangelical Bigotry in Academia; by the numbers

thereformedmind

From ARDA:

The one finding I would most like to share after more than a quarter-century of traveling throughout this country reporting on issues of faith is how similar people are in their basic desires and ambitions.

Talk to people of faith of all ages in any region of the U.S., and what they are basically searching for is a sense of transcendent meaning that provides hope, optimism and purpose in the face of the struggles associated with being human.

They want to become better versions of themselves, more caring and loving friends, neighbors, parents and spouses. And they see in their faith both the support networks and community rituals and the interior resources such as prayer and meditation a path to a better life.

Yet there remains a disconnect in popular culture, and in many media and academic settings, between the preoccupation with the most radically polarizing figures speaking…

View original post 889 more words

Honoring the Dishonorable

Daily Devotions

From a human perspective, David has every right to take matters into his own hands. Before him is a wicked man, filled with an evil spirit, hell-bent on doing him harm. Three thousand men are waiting outside the cave to heed Saul’s command to remove David’s head. Yes, at this moment, both justice and prudence seem to demand swift, decisive, and immediate action against the anti-Messiah. Then look at the opportunity provided by God. Saul is alone, in a cave, surrounded by David’s men, in a defenseless posture, relieving himself. It would seem to be a sin to waste such a divinely provided situation. This is surely a golden opportunity never to be offered again. One must “strike while the iron is hot,” for after all “God helps those who help themselves.” (By the way, this statement is not found in Scripture.) From a human perspective, assassinating the king…

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Daily Devotionals: (31st Aug.) The Full Salvation of Our First Parents (Part 5)

thinkGOSPEL blog

Reading: Genesis 3:1-24

The Christian can be sure, not only that he is saved in the present, but that his salvation is secure for the future, that he will indeed persevere in the gospel and be with Christ in eternity. Paul continually comforts his readers with the thought that the Christ who saves the soul also secures the soul; it cannot be lost. The basis of this hope is in the goodness of God. This is the comfort the apostle Paul brings to the Corinthians. Your security is not in your fidelity to God but in God’s fidelity to you: “God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:9). He told the Philippians, “He which hath begun … will perform” (Philippians 1:6) and the Romans, nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:35–39).

When God drove Adam from the Garden of Eden to prevent him from eating…

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Heresy, Apostasy, and Discernment

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 NASB)

True Biblical discernment is crucial for the spiritual health of the Body of Christ because there has and always will be a plague of false teaching and teachers upon it until our Lord’s return. I am sure most of you have noticed the recent outrage over the increased security measures by the TSA in the USA that involve full body scans and “pat down” searches at our airports. One of the articles I read today compared what the TSA does with what is done is Israel at their airports, which is, instead of relying on “technology” based systems, passengers are interviewed by experts trained in what specifically to look for. They know their enemy and they know how to flush him…

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