Daily Archives: August 17, 2015

What is the Gospel and what does it do?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NASB)

1 Γνωρίζω δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὃ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν, ὃ καὶ παρελάβετε, ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἑστήκατε, 2 διʼ οὗ καὶ σῴζεσθε, τίνι λόγῳ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν εἰ κατέχετε, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ εἰκῇ ἐπιστεύσατε. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NA28)

The Apostle Paul defined the gospel for us throughout his writings in the New Testament. In these dark spiritual times in which people believe their opinions and feelings are consistent with “truth” it is vital that we know God’s truth and make it known to all who will hear.  I would like to start in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. I placed vv1-2…

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August 17, 2015 Truth2Freedom US and World Briefing Report

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Aug. 17, 2015

BLOOMBERG

Egypt passed an anti-terrorism law that gives authorities more powers to crush a growing Islamist insurgency in a move that critics of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi say aims to stifle dissent and the freedom of expression.

Flight disruptions persisted within the U.S. Sunday as airlines attempted to recover from the hours-long failure at a Federal Aviation Administration facility in Leesburg, Virginia, near Washington. The center oversees long-range flights in airspace between New York and Atlanta. The breakdown caused 492 delays and 476 cancellations, according to an FAA statement.

Nationwide street protests Sunday against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff kept the pressure on the government without dealing her administration a fatal blow. More than half a million people, many wearing the yellow jersey of the national soccer team, took to the streets to denounce corruption and economic mismanagement amid calls for Rousseff’s impeachment or resignation.

Russia’s president has agreed to Kremlin job cuts as part of spending curbs in his bureaucracy of as much as 10 percent. While Putin’s popularity remains near 90 percent, the public uproar over an expensive watch that his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, flashed at his wedding last month shows an underlying irritation with the lifestyles of cosseted officials.

Manufacturing in the New York region slumped at the fastest pace since the depths of the last recession, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Monday. The central bank branch’s so-called Empire State index plunged to minus 14.9 in August, the lowest level since April 2009.

Of the 2.9 million “good jobs” created during the recovery from 2010 to 2014, 2.8 million — or 97 percent — have gone to workers with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Good jobs were defined as those with median annual earnings of more than $42,700 (in 2013 dollars), placing them in the top of three tiers according to wages of the occupations in which they’re classified. For a full-time, year-round worker, these jobs pay more than $53,000 annually.

The U.S. Justice Department is looking into Citigroup Inc.’s dealings with companies linked to Mexican billionaire Carlos Hank Rhon as part of an expanding investigation into the bank’s money-laundering controls.

AP Top Stories

A motorcycle bomb rocked central Bangkok on Monday, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than a dozen others, officials say. The blast occurred near a popular Hindu shrine in the Thai capital.

The deaths of two young campers killed when a tree branch fell on their tent and a campground closure because of plague cast a pall over California’s Yosemite National Park at the height of the summer tourist season.

Fighting flared between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in separate parts of eastern Ukraine overnight, killing at least two Ukrainian soldiers and several civilians.

Bigger pigs usually mean a bigger profit for hog farmers in the United States. China outlaws the use of ractopamine, a beta agonist used by 80 percent of U.S. farmers.

Montana declared a state of emergency on Sunday to battle more than a dozen wildfires as blazes, fueled by drought and winds, also raged in Oregon, Idaho and the California wine region north of San Francisco.

Hundreds of tonnes of highly poisonous cyanide were being stored at the warehouse devastated by two giant explosions in the Chinese port city of Tianjin which killed 112, a senior military officer said Sunday.

Indian airline IndiGo has confirmed an order for 250 A320neo planes, Airbus announced Monday, the aviation giant’s largest ever contract by number.

Washington, D.C.’s George Washington University last month joined more than 850 U.S. colleges and universities that no longer require applicants to take the SAT or ACT, tests that have been a feature of American student life for decades. Proponents of making the tests optional say the switch can help schools become more diverse and admit students who will thrive even though they may have lagged other applicants on scores.

BBC

Ecuador President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital, Quito.

A controversial bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been introduced to the Australian parliament. The private member’s bill comes amid heated debate among government MPs about whether to change the law or put the matter to a plebiscite. The government’s official position is that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

A book with pages that can be torn out to filter drinking water has proved effective in its first field trials. The “drinkable book” combines treated paper with printed information on how and why water should be filtered. Its pages contain nanoparticles of silver or copper, which kill bacteria in the water as it passes through.

FTSE 100 chief executives (CEO) earn on average 183 times more than a full-time worker.

WND

The pushback started earlier this year in South Carolina, then spread to Minnesota, Idaho, and now North Dakota. Michigan and Ohio are also organizing against what local residents say is a sinister and sneaky federal program that almost never gets serious coverage from local media. It’s the U.S. State Department’s refugee resettlement program. Since that time, more than 3 million refugees from Third World countries have been permanently resettled in more than 190 American cities and towns.

Playing Tetris for as little as three minutes at a time can weaken cravings for drugs, food and activities such as sex and sleeping by approximately one fifth, according to new research published this week.


Alveda King: Planned Parenthood worse than grave robbers
King contends. “The abortion/body harvesting machine is now admitting that they also procure adult stem cells from the mothers they have sometimes butchered and even killed.”

Astronomers discover the biggest thing in the Universe
In this case, the observed GRB’s indicate that the nine galaxies are positioned in a ring shaped like a shell. They also show that the galaxies are all of a very similar distance from Earth – according to Prof Balazs, there’s only a 1 in 20,000 chance that the ring’s arrangement is accidental.

“No Nukes for the Mullahs”: American Christians Uniting with Israel against Iran
A massive lobbying campaign is building a groundswell of support across the United States to urge Congress to kill the nuclear deal recently signed with Iran. The campaign warns that the Islamic Republic, which is the largest funder of global terrorism, cannot be trusted, and that it will attempt to make good on its promise to bring death and destruction to both Israel and the United States.

Unflattering name unearthed for ‘hip and cool’ Dem candidates
“We’re told the Democratic Party’s the party of youth and hip and cool and all of this, and yet the best thing they can come up with is a couple of dinosaurs,” he said. “Who both happen to be white. “Who both happen to be Marxists to one degree or another. “Where is the youth? Where is the hip? Where is the cool?”

Hamas, Israel reportedly negotiating long-term accord
Based on Arabic-language news sources, Israeli papers are reporting that negotiations on the agreement are in their final stages, and that the agreement has been approved by the Shura Council, Hamas’ legislative body. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is meditating the accord, and Hamas is negotiating it in partnership with Turkey and Qatar.

Kentucky denies gay couple right to marry – despite US Supreme Court legalizing same-sex weddings
the employee they speak to interrupts them all the time, saying, “I’m sorry, but we’re no longer issuing licenses.”

Space age Tower of Babel: Canadian company patents 20km lift to heavens
Last month Thoth Technology was granted a United States patent for a “space elevator,” which would be more than 20 times taller than the 829-metre-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. “The space elevator tower has a segmented elevator core structure, each segment being formed of at least one pneumatically pressurized cell. The pressure cells may be filled with air or another gas,” the patent states.

Temperatures rise as Israel experiences 3rd heat wave of the year
The intense heat wave that has engulfed Israel over the past few weeks refused to relent on Sunday, as 44 degrees Celsius were noted in Sde Eliyahu, a religious kibbutz in northern Israel, while in Kibbutz Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, meteorologist measured 43 degrees Celsius in the shade.

Jeb poised for big endorsement
Twelve Medal of Honor recipients are coming forward to give their public stamp-of-approval to Jeb Bush for president – a significant endorsement, given the dozen represent 15 percent of all those still living who share that highest of military recognition.

Executions come swiftly and often in Iran’s ‘justice’ system
Currently, the Iranian regime leads the world in per capita executions and it continues to escalate the rate of executions and mass repression. Since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, all talk of the opposition movement and human rights has been swept under the rug while human rights reports from inside the country confirm the true nature of this regime.

Civilians, soldiers die in east Ukraine fighting, Putin in Crimea
Fighting flared between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in separate parts of eastern Ukraine overnight, killing at least two Ukrainian soldiers and several civilians, Kiev’s military and separatist sources said on Monday.

Apollo 14 astronaut claims peace-loving aliens prevented ‘nuclear war’ on Earth
…Apollo 14 veteran Edgar Mitchell… The sixth man to walk the surface of the moon told Mirror online that he believes peace-keeping aliens visited our planet to prevent a nuclear war between Russia and the United States. …Mitchell claims that military insiders viewed strange flying crafts cruising over U.S. missile bases and the White Sands facility in New Mexico, the site of the first-ever nuclear bomb detonation in 1945.

ISIS ‘Mein Kampf’ Blames Israel for Global Terrorism
Intelligence officials are comparing a newly discovered secret Islamic State document to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” as it blames Israel for the rise of the Islamic State… …the 32-page Urdu language document promotes an “end of the world” battle as a final solution. It argues that the Islamic leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims, under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”

Obama Administration Warns Beijing About Covert Agents Operating in U.S.
The Obama administration has delivered a warning to Beijing about the presence of Chinese government agents operating secretly in the United States to pressure prominent expatriates — some wanted in China on charges of corruption — to return home immediately, according to American officials.

Sexual orientation in the UK: Half of young people say they are not 100% heterosexual
According to a new YouGov survey, 49% of 18-24 year-olds in Britain define themselves as something other than completely heterosexual. …One of the most striking findings of the new study is that with each generation, people see their sexuality as less fixed and more fluid…only 46% say they are completely heterosexual and 6% as completely homosexual.

Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control
When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal. Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt.

Diabetes cases soar by 60% in past decade
The number of people living with diabetes has soared by nearly 60% in the past decade, Diabetes UK warns. The charity said more than 3.3 million people have some form of the condition, up from 2.1 million in 2005. The inability to control the level of sugar in the blood can lead to blindness and amputations and is a massive drain on NHS resources.

Syria conflict: Marketplace air strikes ‘kill 80’
Syrian activists say at least 80 people have died in government air strikes on a marketplace in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus. Around 200 people were reportedly injured in the attack. Government forces have been regularly attacking Douma and its surrounding areas in recent months with air strikes and helicopter barrel bombs.

Egypt’s al-Sisi imposes strict anti-terrorism laws
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has approved stringent new counter-terrorism laws to fight a growing jihadist insurgency. The laws establish special courts and offer additional protection from legal consequences for military and police officers who have used force. They also impose the death penalty for anyone found guilty of setting up or leading a terrorist group.

Ecuador declares state of emergency over volcano
Ecuador President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital, Quito. The declaration gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to address the situation. Officials evacuated several hundred people from nearby villages after the volcano began to erupt on Friday.

Gay marriage bill introduced to Australian parliament
A controversial bill to legalise same-sex marriage has been introduced to the Australian parliament. The private member’s bill comes amid heated debate among government MPs about whether to change the law or put the matter to a plebiscite. The government’s official position is that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

China DF-5B liquid-fuel ICBM ‘can hit any target on Earth’
China is believed to be developing a new DF-5B liquid-fuel missile that will be able to strike any target on the planet. The People’s Liberation Army’s current or in-development arsenal of long-range strategic intercontinental missiles (ICBMs) are led by the DF-31A, the DF-41 and the JL-2, all of which feature solid-fuel rockets.

Maryland’s GOP Governor Larry Hogan: Conservative Getting Things Done
The conservative Republican Governor of Maryland has become the face of the growing conservative upswing sweeping the country, a nation fed up with government serving itself instead of taxpayers. Defeating the political machine in one-party Democratic stronghold Maryland, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan went from nobody to overnight (and still going) sensation among conservatives across the country, especially for Republicans in a state where, aside from a Congressman here and there plus a celebrity governor, Republicans never fared well.

The Ghetto Jew and Israel
Zionism was never limited to physically living in Israel. Jews have always lived in Israel. Nor is it limited to Jewish self-government. The ghetto was also a form of Jewish self-government in which Jews oppressed other Jews in order to avoid upsetting the powers outside the ghetto. An Israeli ghetto whose court Jew leaders are always pleading for mercy from the world while beating their own people to appease the masters outside the borders of the ghetto is worthless.

Revising the National Security Concept: The Need for a Strategy of Multidisciplinary Impact
Israel’s national security concept shapes the course toward realization of the national vision defined in the Declaration of Independence: Israel is to constitute a national home for the Jewish people, and ensure its existence and prosperity. The broader aspects of national security include: (a) internal and external security; (b) Israel’s foreign relations and international status; (c) economic growth and resources; (d) effective governance – the ability to make decisions and implement them; and (e) unity and resilience in civil society.

Vice President Joe Biden’s ‘Perverted’ thinking
Bending himself into proverbial pretzels, Vice President Joe Biden, who won’t call a jihadist a jihadist or a terrorist a terrorist, on Saturday called the slaying of four Marines and a sailor at a Chattanooga reserve center the act of a “perverted jihadist.” “Perverted” should be attached as an adjective to the title of President Barack Obama. It is perverted to get yourself elected as president of a country when your only perverted mission

Please Tell Black Lives Matter to Shut Up and Go Away!
Born in 1856, Booker T. Washington was an amazing black educator, orator, author and adviser to US presidents. Isn’t it interesting that black men and women in America way back then were achieving extraordinary success? Meanwhile, liberals and Democrats claim America is such a hellhole of racism that blacks need cradle-to-grave welfare, affirmative action, lowered standards and numerous other special concessions to survive. Why am I seemingly the only black person on the planet highly offended by the Left’s bigotry of lowered expectations?

Matisyahu concert canceled due to pressure from anti-Israel group
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now causing a rift in reggae. A music festival in Spain has canceled the performance of American Jewish rapper Matisyahu due to pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and because the artist wouldn’t sign a pledge supporting the Palestinian state, according to Spanish media citing a statement from the event organizers.


Headlines – 8/17/2015

Obama can do Iran nuclear deal even if Congress disapproves

Obama’s Iran deal: A fight to a very bitter end

Donald Trump warns that Iran deal will lead to “Nuclear Holocaust”

Trump: Israel was sold out by Kerry and Obama

Carson stands firm on suggestion that Obama has anti-Semitic views

Israeli Think Tank Says Iranian Desire to Destroy Jewish State is Part of Regime’s ‘Founding Vision’

IDF troops prepare for possible incursion into Syria

Jordan says Syria jihadists trying to sneak in

At least 80 killed in government airstrikes on Syria market, activists say

ISIS ‘Mein Kampf’ Blames Israel for Global Terrorism

Bin Laden’s son urges lone wolf attacks against US, Israel

PA accuses Israel of carrying out ‘field executions’ on Palestinian youth

Red Cross offering training to Hamas on International Law

‘Hamas opposed to ending ceasefire with Israel even if hunger-striker Allan dies’

Delegation heads to Egypt to discuss long-term truce between Hamas and Israel

Egyptian president imposes strict new anti-terror laws

US, Germany to Pull Patriot Missiles From Turkey

Provincial Minister in Pakistan Is Killed in Suicide Bombing

Why Western Muslims leave a pleasurable life for jihad

‘Let the hag burn’: Rise in attacks on refugees fuels German debate on racism

Protesters in Brazil call for President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment

South Korea, US begin military drill despite North Korea threats

Obama Administration Warns Beijing About Covert Agents Operating in U.S.

China’s new DF-5B liquid-fuel ICBM ‘can hit any target on Earth’

Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control

Ron Paul: Fed may not hike because ‘everything is vulnerable’

Ecuador’s new virtual currency is a source of pride, worry

Software upgrade may have caused 400 US flight cancellations

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Chichi-shima, Japan

Twin Typhoons Churn Toward Taiwan, Japan, Korean Peninsula

Eastern Atlantic Low to Attempt to End Tropical Drought

Temperatures rise as Israel experiences 3rd heat wave of the year

OPEC May Boost Oil Output to Record With Iran Back Amid Glut

Why gas prices are rising as oil falls to 6-year lows

Low Oil Prices Pose Threat to Texas Fracking Bonanza

‘Medical cannabis could be worth more to Israel than natural gas’

Bird flu to human transmission a ‘concern’, not yet high risk: CDC

Utah Becomes 5th State to De-Fund Planned Parenthood After it Sells Aborted Babies

Media Blackout: ABC, NBC, CBS Ignore Undercover Videos Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Sell of Aborted Babies’ Body Parts

Australian Government Lawmaker Introduces Gay Marriage Bill

Sexual orientation in the UK: Half of young people say they are not 100% heterosexual

Transgender people face alarmingly high risk of suicide

Morgan Freeman’s step-granddaughter stabbed to death in ‘exorcism’

Buff Scott Jr. – Where Freedom Resides

Celebrity Pastor T.D. Jakes Launches New Talk Show Today

First Baptist Church of Greenville S.C. to Ordain Gay, Transgender Ministers

Outrage as BBC boss claims marauding Calais migrants are like Joseph, Mary and Jesus

Sick Irony: Shouting “Black Lives Matter” in a Planned Parenthood Shirt

Cuba witnessing Christianity boom as Bible copies pour into communist-ruled country

Ignore the dire warnings about our lives because it’s just hysteria

Earl Crawley: model of Christian dominion . . . at $12/hour


The Briefing

1) Politicians, including White House, defend Planned Parenthood in cycle of anti-life

The Planned Parenthood sting reveals the ugly truth about America’s abortion business, The Telegraph (Tim Stanley)

States Warned Over Ending Medicaid Funds for Planned Parenthood, Wall Street Journal (Stephanie Armour)

2) Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood critiqued as inconsistent with destruction of embryos

Fertility clinics destroy embryos all the time. Why aren’t conservatives after them?, Washington Post (Margo Kaplan)

3) Colorado baker informed by court his Christian convictions need not apply to baking

Colorado Court Rules Against Baker Who Refused to Serve Same-Sex Couples, New York Times (Erik Eckholm)

Hey Christians, Say Goodbye To Religious Freedom, The Federalist (David Harsanyi)

4) Federal court instructs nuns on whether nuns should oppose contraception mandate

Nonprofits hold out for help from on high, World Magazine (Emily Belz)

In other news…

Planned Parenthood and the Eugenics Movement, National Review Online (Joseph Loconte)

An ISIS ‘Theology of Rape’ – strong New York Times story retreats from Quran details, GetReligion (Terry Mattingly)

The propaganda war, The Economist

Daily Digest

August 17, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” —Benjamin Franklin, to Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention, 1787

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

StemExpress Severs Business Ties With Planned Parenthood

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Even if the political momentum against Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue trafficking doesn’t reach a tipping point where the organization is stripped of its federal funding, the videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress will have done some good. The abortion lobby is scrambling as its practices were hit with the sunlight of public scrutiny. After Congress turned its investigative power toward the tissue procurement company that worked with Planned Parenthood, StemExpress said in a statement Friday that it was severing business ties with PP. “While we value our business relationship with Planned Parenthood, that work represents a small percentage of our overall business activity and we must focus our limited resources on resolving these inquiries,” StemExpress said.

Policy reform advances slowly. And while the Obama administration is using its bully pulpit to fight for the abortion lobby, it can’t fully halt incremental reform such as this. But the Center for Medical Progress is still suspicious of the relationship between the abortion provider and the tissue procurement company. “[I]s StemExpress following orders from Planned Parenthood National to save face?” CMP asked. “Does Planned Parenthood abortion doctor Ronald Berman continue to serve as Medical Director of StemExpress? Planned Parenthood and StemExpress should both answer questions about this shady move, and the full details of their ‘business relationship,’ under oath before Congress and the American people.”

GOP Endorses National Religious Liberty Bill

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the Republican National Committee supported a piece of legislation that would affirm the Liberty enumerated in the First Amendment, despite the discrimination witch hunts run by the Rainbow Mafia. “Resolved, The Republican National Committee urges Congress to pass and the President to sign The First Amendment Defense Act to protect the rights of believers to equal treatment by the government of The United States of America,” the RNC resolution concluded. This strong stance for the right to conscience comes after the RNC rejected two resolutions, one that dealt with how same-sex unions should be taught in schools, and another that encouraged states to pass resolutions undermining the SCOTUS ruling. It’s a politically wise move. While upholding the sanctity of marriage is more difficult than ever in the current culture, the GOP is trying to ensure every American can live at peace in a pluralistic society.

Hillary Clinton Takes Working Vacation in the Hamptons

Progressive populists like Bernie Sanders are going to have a field day with Hillary Clinton’s vacation. America’s royal family paid $100,000 to rent a mansion in the Hamptons for a two-week vacation at the end of August. This comes at a time when the Clinton presidential campaign is trying to peddle a form of faux-populism. If Clinton really wanted to connect with everyday Americans, she would spend closer to the $1,145 per person the average American spends on their meager breaks from the grindstone. But to be fair, this is a working vacation for Clinton. And what better place to have a working vacation for Clinton than the Hamptons? Her beachside vacation rental is next door to Democrat donor Harvey Weinstein, and the fundraising events begin just as Clinton kicks off her campaign shoes for something a bit more comfortable. After all, she needs more money to convince middle class America she cares about their welfare. Either way, she’s come a long way from being “dead broke.”

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Trump’s Immigration Plan Is Exactly Why He’s So Appealing

By Nate Jackson

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As news broke over the weekend of yet another illegal alien accused of a triple homicide in Florida, the overwhelming sense for conservatives is that something has to be done about illegal immigration. While most Republican presidential candidates appear equivocal on the issue, as do Republican congressional “leaders,” Donald Trump is clear on his objections, and that resonates with a lot of Americans.

Trump has been the go-to candidate on the issue since his June 16 announcement speech, when he opined, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Trump has now released the details of his plan, and it’s a master stroke to answer voter frustration.

He begins with three solid principles, the first of which is a direct quote from Ronald Reagan.

  1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
  2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
  3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

That such principles are so controversial is a mark of how dire our predicament really is, and the weakness of other GOP candidates in espousing them has left an opening for Trump.

Those principles are followed by several planks. “Make Mexico pay for the wall” is the first. How would he accomplish that? Increase the fees for legal immigration, which seems counterintuitive.

“Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards — of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options].”

If that idea (and the generally unhelpful antagonism toward Mexico) isn’t quite satisfactory, his other points are appealing — tripling the number of ICE officers, nationwide e-verify, mandatory deportation of criminal aliens, detention instead of catch-and-release, cut off federal funds for sanctuary cities, penalizing visa overstays, and, perhaps most important, end birthright citizenship.

As we have noted before, any debate about immigration is useless unless it begins with a commitment to securing our borders first. Trump appears to be seriously, if imperfectly, addressing this need.

We have also argued that birthright citizenship is a gross misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, and Trump is right to target it. Such a move will, of course, be litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, but it’s a worthy fight.

In June, Trump said, “Give [illegal immigrants] a path [to citizenship]. You have to make it possible for them to succeed.” His plan now calls for allowing “the good ones” to come back once they’ve been deported.

While Trump’s plan is solid on Rule of Law and heavy on enforcement, where he comes up short is emphasizing that Liberty is colorblind. It’s not a “white thing.” Minorities could be forgiven for thinking Trump’s plan translates more closely to, “We don’t want any Mexicans here.” That may resonate with some in the GOP base, but it’s not going to expand that base.

Because Liberty transcends all racial, ethnic, gender and class distinctions, it will appeal to all freedom-loving people when properly presented. That said, it’s going to be awfully hard for any other GOP candidate to trump The Donald’s plan in the eyes of primary voters. The question of why it’s taken the rest of them so long to even try to address the issue is a baffling one.

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TODAY AT PATRIOTPOST.US

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

OPINION IN BRIEF

Peggy Noonan: “The harder people come down on Trump, the more his supporters believe he’s the only honest one. ‘Entwined, entrenched interests hate him: Then I’m for him!’ Republican leaders will be patient because there’s no other choice. They can’t take him down, and even if they could they’d be damned by his embittered supporters, and Trump would run third-party. He will rise or fall depending on how he acts and speaks, what oppo comes his way, and how he responds. He has a history of falling off the edge of the knife. He will change tack or get out depending on whether he comes to believe he is hurting his brand. Republicans should argue with him on policy, take on his positions, hit him hard, often and above the belt. I don’t know what happens with Mr. Trump, but Trumpism? That’s here now — outlandish candidates backed by indignant, enraptured people who’ve lost their judgment. Congratulations to the leaders of both parties: The past 20 years you’ve taken us far. We’re entering Weimar, baby. The swamp figure is up from the depths.”

SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “The government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases. It if moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Food for thought: “Conservatives have a real and legitimate reason to be pissed off at the GOP. Polling suggests conservatives hate the Republicans in Washington more than Democrats hate the Republicans in Washington. That anger has galvanized conservatives and pushed them toward Donald Trump. To his credit, he has capitalized on that anger. But folks, this is anger at an unhealthy level. It is anger that has gone beyond the righteous anger of repeated betrayals from Washington. It is an anger that has become unhinged and is potentially uncontrollable. Anger at that level is more often destructive than constructive.” —Eric Erickson

Scandals are totally hilarious: “You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.” —Hillary Clinton making light of her email scandal

Auditioning for the Democrat nomination? “When this perverted jihadist struck, everyone responded. We have a message for those perverted cowards around the world. America never yields, never bends, never cowers and never stands down.” —Joe Biden at the memorial service for the five service members killed in Chattanooga

And last… “President Obama said that Iran’s Supreme Leader ‘is a politician just like everybody else.’ Uh huh. And Germany’s concentration camps were just a housing program.” —Fred Thompson

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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The Mystery Of September 23: Why Does 9/23 Keep Popping Up All Over the Place?

23 Twenty Three - Public DomainWhat is going to happen on September 23rd, 2015?  For months, there has been an incredible amount of buzz on the Internet about the month of September, and in particular there has been a tremendous amount of speculation about the date of September 23rd.  For a long time I didn’t pay much attention to all of this chatter, because I like to stick to things that I can prove.  In law school, I was trained to be very analytical and to greatly value hard evidence.  If you follow my articles regularly, you have probably noticed those traits reflected in my writing.  Well, today I am going to discuss some things that I cannot prove.  I am going to share with you some things that other people are reporting, and I humbly submit them for your consideration.  Personally, I do not know what is going to happen on September 23rd, but I have come to the conclusion that there are just way too many “coincidences” to ignore.   Ultimately, you need to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. (Read More…)


Did You Know That The U.S. No Longer Has Any Strategic Grain Reserves At All?

Desolation - Public DomainOnce upon a time, it was popular to say that the U.S. government only had enough wheat stored up to provide everyone in America with half a loaf of bread.  But that is not true anymore.  Recently, I discovered that the U.S. does not have any strategic grain reserves left at all.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  As you will see below, the USDA liquidated the remaining reserves back in 2008.  So if a major food crisis hit this country, our government would have nothing to give us.  Of course the federal government could always go out and try to buy or seize food to feed the population during a major emergency, but that wouldn’t actually increase the total amount of food that was available.  Instead, it would just give the government more power over who gets it. (Read More….)


46 million Americans go to food banks, and long lines for dwindling food supplies begin at 6:30 AM

Children Orphans Eating - Public DomainThose that run food banks all over America say that demand for their services just continues to explode.  It always amazes me that there are still people out there that insist that an “economic collapse” is not happening.  From their air-conditioned homes in their cushy suburban neighborhoods they mock the idea that the U.S. economy is crumbling.  But if they would just go down and visit the local food banks in their areas, they would see how much people are hurting.  According to Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser, 46 million Americans got food from a food bank at least one time during 2014.  Because the demand has become so overwhelming, some food banks are cutting back on the number of days they operate and the amount of food that is given to each family.  As you will see below, many impoverished Americans are lining up at food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning just so that they can be sure to get something before the food runs out.  And yet there are still many people out there that have the audacity to say that everything is just fine in America.  Shame on them for ignoring the pain of millions upon millions of their fellow citizens. (Read More….)


Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control

Not the kind of economic boom the Keynesians were hoping for.

Look at it this way. If you are part of the vast, generally assetless or nearly assetless middle class you won’t have to watch the value of what you have decline. I guess that’s a good thing, sort of.

The world is slowing. China is in serious trouble and the ripples emanating from Beijing are becoming waves. The Keynesian experiment post-Crash is failing. (As the the Austrian economists said it would.)

World markets are built right now on cotton candy and the rainbow dreams of central bankers. There isn’t a lot of support below world asset prices as John Ficnec at The Telegraph explains.

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Bad Moon rising: Americans bracing for September shocker?

And there are dozens of other such apocalyptic predictions on the health of the global economy that it leaves one feeling dizzy and desperate – something like watching an approaching tidal wave in the full knowledge there is no hope of outrunning it.

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Mark Levin: ‘Sect. 793 of Penal Code…Is What Hillary Clinton Has to Worry About’

Hear 5-minute audio


Ben Carson: Yes, Obama Is Anti-Semitic

‘Anything is anti-Semitic that is against the survival of a state that is surrounded by enemies,’ says Republican candidate.

Carson told Fox News Sunday, in response to a question on his criticism of the Iran deal, : “Well, all you have to do, Chris, is, like I have, go to Israel, and talk to average people, on all ends of that spectrum. And I couldn’t find a single person there who didn’t feel that this administration had turned their back on Israel.

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As Central Banks Lose Control, Doomsday Clock For Global Market Crash Strikes One Minute To Midnight

China currency devaluation signals endgame leaving equity markets free to collapse under the weight of impossible expectations

When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal.

Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt. It is only a matter of time before stock markets collapse under the weight of their lofty expectations and record valuations.

The FTSE 100 has now erased its gains for the year, but there are signs things could get a whole lot worse.

1 – China slowdown

China was the great saviour of the world economy in 2008. The launching of an unprecedented stimulus package sparked an infrastructure investment boom. The voracious demand for commodities to fuel its construction boom dragged along oil- and resource-rich emerging markets.

The Chinese economy has now hit a brick wall. Economic growth has dipped below 7pc for the first time in a quarter of a century, according to official data. That probably means the real economy is far weaker.

global-market-crash-central-banks

The People’s Bank of China has pursued several measures to boost the flagging economy. The rate of borrowing has been slashed during the past 12 months from 6pc to 4.85pc. Opting to devalue the currency was a last resort and signalled the great era of Chinese growth is rapidly approaching its endgame.

Data for exports showed an 8.9pc slump in July from the same period a year before. Analysts expected exports to fall only 0.3pc, so this was a huge miss.

The Chinese housing market is also in a perilous state. House prices have fallen sharply after decades of steady growth. For the millions who stored their wealth in property, it makes for unsettling times.

2 – Commodity collapse

The China slowdown has sent shock waves through commodity markets. The Bloomberg Global Commodity index, which tracks the prices of 22 commodity prices, fell to levels last seen at the beginning of this century.

The oil price is the purest barometer of world growth as it is the fuel that drives nearly all industry and production around the globe. Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, has begun falling once again after a brief rally earlier in the year. It is now hovering above multi-year lows at about $50 per barrel.

Iron ore is an essential raw material needed to feed China’s steel mills, and as such is a good gauge of the construction boom. The benchmark iron ore price has fallen to $56 per tonne, less than half its $140 per tonne level in January 2014.

3 – Resource sector credit crisis

Billions of dollars in loans were raised on global capital markets to fund new mines and oil exploration that was only ever profitable at previous elevated prices.

With oil and metals prices having collapsed, many of these projects are now loss-making. The loans raised to back the projects are now under water and investors may never see any returns.

Nowhere has this been felt more acutely than shale oil and gas drilling in the US. Tumbling oil prices have squeezed the finances of US drillers. Two of the biggest issuers of junk bonds in the past five years, Chesapeake and California Resources, have seen the value of their bonds tumble as panic grips capital markets. As more debt needs refinancing in future years, there is a risk the contagion will spread rapidly.

4 – Dominoes begin to fall

The great props to the world economy are now beginning to fall. China is going into reverse. And the emerging markets that consumed so many of our products are crippled by currency devaluation. The famed Brics of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to whom the West was supposed to pass on the torch of economic growth, are in varying states of disarray.

The central banks are rapidly losing control. The Chinese stock market has already crashed and disaster was only averted by the government buying billions of shares. Stock markets in Greece are in turmoil as the economy grinds to a halt and the country flirts with ejection from the eurozone.

Earlier this year, investors flocked to the safe-haven currency of the Swiss franc but as a €1.1 trillion quantitative easing programme devalued the euro, the Swiss central bank was forced to abandon its four-year peg to the euro.

5 – Credit markets roll over

As central banks run out of silver bullets then, credit markets are desperately seeking to reprice risk. The London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a guide to how worried UK banks are about lending to each other, has been steadily rising during the past 12 months. Part of this process is a healthy return to normal pricing of risk after six years of extraordinary monetary stimulus. However, as the essential transmission systems of lending between banks begin to take the strain, it is quite possible that six years of reliance on central banks for funds has left the credit system unable to cope.

6 – Interest rate shock

Interest rates have been held at emergency lows in the UK and US for around six years. The US is expected to move first, with rates starting to rise from today’s 0pc-0.25pc around the end of the year. Investors have already starting buying dollars in anticipation of a strengthening US currency. UK rate rises are expected to follow shortly after.

7 – Bull market third longest on record

The UK stock market is in its 77th month of a bull market, which began in March 2009. On only two other occasions in history has the market risen for longer. One is in the lead-up to the Great Crash in 1929 and the other before the bursting of the dotcom bubble in the early 2000s.

UK markets have been a beneficiary of the huge balance-sheet expansion in the US. US monetary base, a measure of notes and coins in circulation plus reserves held at the central bank, has more than quadrupled from around $800m to more than $4 trillion since 2008. The stock market has been a direct beneficiary of this money and will struggle now that QE3 has ended.

8 – Overvalued US market

In the US, Professor Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted price earnings ratio – or Shiller CAPE – for the S&P 500 stands at 27.2, some 64pc above its historic average of 16.6. On only three occasions since 1882 has it been higher – in 1929, 2000 and 2007. source


AT&T Allows The NSA To Spy On It’s Customers And Access Their Data

The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”

national-security-agency-fort-meade-maryland-at&t-data-spying

AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T.

The N.S.A.’s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.

One document reminds N.S.A. officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting, “This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.”

The documents, provided by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, were jointly reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica. The N.S.A., AT&T and Verizon declined to discuss the findings from the files. “We don’t comment on matters of national security,” an AT&T spokesman said. source


The Universe Is Steadily Deteriorating And So Is The Human Race – Why Is This Happening?

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:44 AM PDT

Did you know that scientists have come to the conclusion that “the universe is slowly dying”?  In fact, they have found that the universe is only producing about half as much energy as it once did, and they have also found that the level of energy is continuing to fade.  Not only that, our sun also appears to be dying.  Solar activity has slowed down to a level not seen for about 100 years, and scientists are not quite sure what to make of it.

2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Pretty much all scientists agree that the sun will die “one day”, but could it be possible that it is happening faster than any of them ever imagined?  In addition, in this article I will include information about how the human race itself is deteriorating.  There is a common misconception that humanity has been constantly improving and getting better, but scientists have discovered that the exact opposite is actually true.  So why is this happening?  Why is everything steadily decaying and deteriorating?

2 Peter 3:12 – looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

These are questions that our scientists don’t really have quality answers for.  But what they can see is that things are slowing down all around us.  Just this week, there were headlines in mainstream news sources all over the planet that were proclaiming that “the universe is dying”. FULL REPORT

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Why Does 9/23 Keep Popping Up All Over the Place?

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:37 AM PDT

Is something significant about to occur on the 23rd of September? What is going to happen on this date? For months, there has been an incredible amount of buzz on the Internet about the month of September, and in particular there has been a tremendous amount of speculation about the date of September 23rd. For a long time I didn’t pay much attention to all of this chatter, because I like to stick to things that I can prove.

In law school, I was trained to be very analytical and to greatly value hard evidence. If you follow my articles regularly, you have probably noticed those traits reflected in my writing. Well, today I am going to discuss some things that I cannot prove. I am going to share with you some things that other people are reporting, and I humbly submit them for your consideration. Personally, I do not know what is going to happen on September 23rd, but I have come to the conclusion that there are just way too many “coincidences” to ignore. Ultimately, you need to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. FULL REPORT

The post Why Does 9/23 Keep Popping Up All Over the Place? appeared first on .

Did You Know That The U.S. No Longer Has Any Strategic Grain Reserves At All?

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:29 AM PDT

Revelation 6:5-6 -When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart[a] of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

Once upon a time, it was popular to say that the U.S. government only had enough wheat stored up to provide everyone in America with half a loaf of bread.  But that is not true anymore.  Recently, I discovered that the U.S. does not have any strategic grain reserves left at all.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  As you will see below, the USDA liquidated the remaining reserves back in 2008.  So if a major food crisis hit this country, our government would have nothing to give us.  Of course the federal government could always go out and try to buy or seize food to feed the population during a major emergency, but that wouldn’t actually increase the total amount of food that was available.  Instead, it would just give the government more power over who gets it.

The U.S. strategic grain reserve was initially created during the days of the Great Depression.  Back then, the wisdom of storing up food for hard times was self-evident.  Unfortunately, over time interest in this program faded, and at this point there is no strategic grain reserve in the United States at all. FULL REPORT

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Medieval Earthquake Moved River 12 Miles

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:17 AM PDT

An earthquake in 1570 changed the course of the Po River in Italy, new research finds. The Po, the longest river in Italy, has shifted northward about 12 miles (20 kilometers) between the towns of Guastella and Ficarolo over the past 2,800 years, researchers reported July 20 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. This shift likely happened in spurts, forced by quakes.

The 1570 temblor caused a 4- to 6-inch (10 to 15 centimeters) uplift of the right flank of the river and resulted in a major one-time shift of the final portion of the waterway, according to geoscientists Livio Sirovich and Franco Pettenati of the National Institute for Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (OGS) in Trieste. As a result of the quake, the river’s delta moved 25 miles (40 kilometers) north, to its current position. FULL REPORT

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4.0 Magnitude Earthquake Jolts San Francisco

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 07:11 AM PDT

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake was reported Monday morning in Piedmont, Calif., near Oakdale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:49 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 3.1 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was two miles from Emeryville, Calif., three miles from Oakland, three miles from Berkeley and 64 miles from Sacramento.  According to the USGS, the quake was felt most strongly on the East Bay, including Oakland, Berkeley and surrounding areas. Lesser shaking was felt in San Francisco. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury. In the last 10 days, there has been one earthquake of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby. Los Angeles Times

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Are Accurate Prophetic Voices Out There? What’s Really Coming?

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 05:13 AM PDT

R. LOREN SANDFORD– live in a time in which a blizzard of prophetic words and books flood the market to excite and alarm God’s people. While many, however, have called me “prophet,” “reliable” or “grounded,” I cannot identify myself with the prophetic movement. I have seen too little of contemporary prophetic ministry conform to the heart of what biblical prophetic ministry actually does. Prophecies over the nation and the world spoken by recognized voices have too often fallen to the ground while the vast majority of prophetic words spoken over my own life and ministry by recognized prophetic people have failed to materialize.

Any alert observer knows that the vast majority of extreme doom and gloom prophecies released over the last 20 or more years have failed in fulfillment, no matter by whom they were spoken. The same has so far been true of prophetic words regarding the coming of a sweeping, culture-changing revival. Lighthouses churches and ministries are rising in various places in the midst of gathering darkness as I believe the Lord told me they would. The pilot light has been lit and fires are burning, but the chances of something revolutionizing the culture as a whole remain remote at best. Too many predicted timelines and dates have passed without real incident. FULL REPORT

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A Word for Those Fearing the Doom and Gloom

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 05:07 AM PDT

Joe Joe Dawson – The Lord woke me up at 5:13 a.m. recently from a prophetic dream. In the dream I was walking out of my childhood home in the country to do my daily chores. We lived on a cattle and horse farm, so there were always plenty of chores. As I walked out, three faithful dogs that always went with me everywhere greeted me. Then things started changing suddenly, as I looked across our place, I saw ministry leaders that we are currently in ministry with, and they were all in quicksand.

Now we all know that when you’re in quicksand you never panic. The leaders were whispering, “Help us.” In the dream, as I walked toward them, the ground became solid and they were freed. Some climbed out of their situation with a little help. Others I had to drag out of the miry clay. The Scripture that stuck out to me was Numbers 16:48, “He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped.” As I was pulling the leaders from the quicksand I saw a sheep running scared. It ran right past us and no one was able to help because they were themselves in need of help. Then the sheep was caught by three demonic beings and forced back into the barn. FULL REPORT

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Philly School District Registers 800 Students Speaking 40 Languages from 70 Countries

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 05:00 AM PDT

The School District of Philadelphia’s special registration for immigrant students who speak a language other than English closes on Aug. 28, giving families of such students roughly two weeks to register their child for the upcoming school year. The school year begins Sept. 8 for grades 1 through 12, and on Sept. 12 for kindergarten students; interested families should contact the Multilingual Assessment Center at (215) 400–4240 and selecting option 1.

The office is open for registration Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.Last year, the center registered more than 800 students from more than 70 countries. Collectively, those students spoke more than 40 different native languages. The district also noted families shouldn’t be concerned about registering their child based on their immigration status. The district referred to Plyler v. DOE, a U.S. Supreme Court decision which held that it is unconstitutional to deny free public education to children who are not legally admitted into the United States. FULL REPORT

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Plague-infected Squirrels Found at Yosemite National Park Campground

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 04:53 AM PDT

About a week ago, officials said a child fell ill with the plague at Yosemite National Park. Now a popular campground there will be closed after several squirrels were killed by the disease. The plague-infected squirrels were found in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, about 40 miles west of Crane Flat Campground, where the child was camping with family.

In an “extremely precautionary public health measure,” park officials will apply flea insecticide to rodent burrows. As a result they are closing the campground from noon Monday to noon Friday, Aug. 21. The infectious disease is carried by squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents via fleas. When an infected rodent becomes sick and dies, its fleas can carry the disease to other animals and humans. FULL REPORT

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Obama can do Iran nuclear deal even if Congress disapproves

Posted: 17 Aug 2015 04:39 AM PDT

According to a new report regarding the September vote on the Iran nuclear deal that is billed as a titanic standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. Even if lawmakers reject the agreement, it’s not game-over for the White House. A congressional vote of disapproval would not prevent Obama from acting on his own to start putting the accord in place.

While he probably would take some heavy criticism, this course would let him add the foreign policy breakthrough to his second-term list of accomplishments. Obama doesn’t need a congressional OK to give Iran most of the billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions that it would get under the agreement, as long as Tehran honors its commitments to curb its nuclear program — at least for now. “A resolution to disapprove the Iran agreement may have substantial political reverberations, but limited practical impact,” says Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It would not override President Obama’s authority to enter into the agreement.” 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.

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

About Christianity
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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

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.

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August 17, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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On Leaving Church

“Oh for radically Bible-saturated, God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-sacrificing, mission-mobilizing, soul-saving, culture-confronting pastors!” John Piper
“When the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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More Than Sovereign

Is God good?  As I reflected upon this question, I had a decision to make.  If the answer was “yes,” then that answer had to hold even if God allowed my child to die.  My circumstances could not determine the extent of his goodness since goodness is part of the very nature of who he is.

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Sabbath: The First Day of the Week

Sometimes we may doubt the “first day sabbath” principle because there isn’t one or two clear texts that teach it.  However, when considering the Bible’s bigger picture and the flow of redemptive history centered around Christ, it does make biblical sense to call the first day of the week the Lord’s Day, the day of rest and worship.  After all, the people of God received a new calendar after God rescued them from Egypt (Ex. 12), so it surely makes sense that his people would get a new calendar after the New Exodus: rescue from sin and hell!

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Teaching Children God’s Word

Apply Scripture to all of life: Apply God’s word to all of life, discussing it with your child all throughout the day. When you gaze at the stars in the sky together, teach them Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” When your child is teased by a friend, read them the story of Peter and Jesus and talk about how Jesus was rejected for our sakes. The opportunities to talk about God’s word are endless.

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5 Facts About Islamic State’s Theology of Rape

Acquisition of sex slaves is used as a recruiting tool — As the New York Times article notes, the practice of slavery has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden. Capturing sex slaves has become nearly as important for IS’s objectives as capturing territory.

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The Biggest Story

A number of years ago I did something different for my evening sermon. It was the week before Christmas and instead of preaching through the next verses of whatever book I was in, I wrote a story. I read the sermon that Sunday night like I was reading to my kids. I told them to imagine it was Christmas Eve and they were nestled in front of the fireplace listening to the good news about the baby Jesus. I did my best to make that sermon a beautiful story about the Greatest Story ever told.

Read More to see the illustrations and promo video


Federal Officials Warn States Not to Defund Planned Parenthood

Officials in New Hampshire, Alabama, and Louisiana have announced plans to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of undercover videos from a pro-life group. But cutting that funding may violate federal law, reports The Wall Street Journal, since Medicaid beneficiaries can received services from “any qualified provider.” That includes Planned Parenthood, according to federal officials, who have warned states against cutting funds to the billion-dollar nonprofit.

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We’re All Sadists Now

Yet there is another force at play today which seems to be in conflict with the above: The belief that our sexual desires determine who we are at the deepest level.  This is somewhat ironic: The age which denies any real significance to sex also wants to argue that sexual desires are of paramount importance to personal identity and fulfillment.  Squaring that particular circle will no doubt generate a whole textbook full of neuroses in the coming years.

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The Efficacy of Prayer

Not only do we see the prayers of Jesus effecting change in this world, we also see the prayers of the saints working. In the early days of the church, Peter was thrown into prison, but the believers gathered for a season of intense prayer on his behalf. They poured out their hearts before God, begging God to somehow overcome the adversity of the situation and secure the release of Peter.

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The Inevitable Progress of Progressivism

One of the lessons for the denomination to which I belong is that progressivism is by very nature always pushing. One might say that progressivism tends to keep progressing. Progressives rarely say, “this far and no farther.” What begins as merely gentle trimming to the doctrine of Scripture continues on to the inevitable swamp of heterodoxy.

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Taking Your Dating Cues from Hollywood

I’m not intending to bash movies altogether. Some, including some romances and romantic comedies, are quite charming and innocuous. But it’s time we stop taking our dating cues from Hollywood. It’s time to instead get a biblical view of dating, relationships and marriage. How do we do this? For starters, we read the Bible and see how God created relationships to function. We look at Jesus as an example. We pray for discernment. We practice humility, compassion and love in all of our relationships, including those with our family, friends and coworkers.

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Bishop Jakes, Could You Clarify Your Stance on Homosexuality?

I agree with you that all of us need room to grow in our faith and understanding, but are there no hills to die on, no absolute certainties of the faith, no moral boundaries that cannot be crossed? You characterized your position on homosexuality as “Evolved and evolving,” adding, “I think that where I am is to better understand we, the church, bought into the myth that this is a Christian nation.” Bishop Jakes, what has your position evolved from and what is it evolving to? What did you previously believe and what do you currently believe?

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A Statement on Marriage From Oceanside United Reformed Church to the U.S. Government

Therefore, we deny and protest that human beings, whether individuals, entire populations, or civil magistrates, have the ability or the authorization to re-define marriage in any way at odds with the revealed will of God. Marriage is pre-political. Marriage is not a social construct. Marriage is a creation ordinance—it is a part of the fabric of the world God has made, and because of this, it is part of that natural law on the heart of all humanity that evidences itself in the overwhelming transcultural consensus on the nature of marriage throughout human history.

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Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Loses Union University

Union, founded in 1823 and located in Jackson, Tenn., is the oldest Southern Baptist–affiliated university in the country and could serve as a bellwether for other schools. The university will now look to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Family Research Council to provide its representation in Washington, D.C.

Read more on this topic: More Schools Poised To Leave CCCU


The Danger Of Children’s Bible Story Books Toning Down The Bible

Of course, every child is different. There’s no one right way to communicate the gospel to children. Every parent has to decide for himself or herself. The point, though, is to be careful about “softening” some of the more gruesome elements in Scripture. We don’t want to misrepresent Scripture, and we certainly don’t want to fail to take advantage of opportunities to point out where Jesus is foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

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Christians should not fear death, but they should resist it | thereformedmind

https://thereformedmind.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/christians-should-not-fear-death-but-they-should-resist-it/

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True or false prophet? 4 ways to tell for sure

Throughout the Bible, we see true prophets speaking for God, because God told them what to say and to whom.   But the Bible also shows us many false prophets. We see these same false prophets in the world today, using Him to claim He points the world to them and their blogs, websites, or […]

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Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ

There has been an interesting – and concerning – development these past few months about the wildly popular Jesus Calling book by Sarah Young: The new 10th Anniversary Edition just published has been stripped and edited to remove or alter those pesky New Age elements, the alarming statements made by the author’s “Jesus.” and the […]

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UPDATE: Hillsong and its homosexual member issue

When one of Hillsong New York City’s worship leaders announced he is a practicing, unrepentant homosexual, and that he is marrying his fellow church singer and boyfriend, Hillsong leadership says nothing. (UPDATE: The couple’s announcement came in January, eight months ago. Today, less than 24 hours after this story published, finally, Hillsong issues a press […]

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A Response To “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You *** Idiots”

When Skepchick Rebecca Watson wrote her viral post on the Planned Parenthood scandal (“Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, you F*** Idiots”), no one had to guess which side she was defending or what she thought of the pro-life crowd. The article is worth considering – not because she’s right, but because she is frustratingly wrong […]

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Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy Laws Assure Ridiculously Uninformed Medical Decision-Making & Infringe Parental Rights

(CNSNews) Three months ago, in May 2015, the Oregon legislature enacted new legislation banning sexual orientation change therapy (SOCE). The Governor, herself reportedly bi-sexual, signed the bill into law on May 18. Oregon thus joined California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia in outlawing professional SOCE therapy. Critics objected to the new law’s interference […]

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Will Christians be snookered by Shemitah?

When I saw some recent headlines over at Charisma News like, Keeping the Shemitah Produces Supernatural Results, and, Why Jonathan Cahn’s Prophetic ‘Mystery of Shemitah’ Is Flying off the Shelves, I thought, “what is Shemitah, and why is Jonathan Cahn writing a new book about it?” It wasn’t until this morning that I saw a […]

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82 Percent of Americans Agree: Photographers Have Right to Say No to Gay Weddings

According to CNSNews:

A recently released poll shows significant public support for the protection of religious liberty—especially when special rights based on sexual orientation are being advanced at its expense.

The results reveal hope for the classical liberal vision of America: they indicate that most Americans still appear to want maximum freedom and individual rights protection.

According to Caddell Associates, which conducted the poll, “[t]here is an overwhelming sense on the part of American voters that they want to find common ground in order to protect both the expression of religious freedom and the rights of gays and lesbians.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/travis-weber/82-percent-americans-agree-photographers-have-right-say-no-gay-weddings


11 Events That Will Occur In September That You Should Know About

Could this be the month when the UN Security Council resolution establishing a Palestinian state is actually adopted?

“For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” Isaiah 21:6 (KJV)

Despite all the hoopla surrounding the month of September regarding Bible prophecy, we here at NTEB do not see it as particularly important. However, jammed into the space of roughly 15 days, there is a ton of stuff going on that we would like to bring to your attention. What it ultimately will turn out to be remains to be seen, but in our job as a watchman on the wall, we are blowing the shofar and giving you the heads-up.

The events for the month of September are as follows:

September 14th – Rosh Hashanah

September 15th – The Jade Helm military exercises are scheduled to end.

September 15th – The 70th session of the UN General Assembly begins on this date.  It has been widely reported that France plans to introduce a resolution which will give formal UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state shortly after the new session begins.  Up until now, the U.S. has always been the one blocking such a resolution, but Barack Obama has already indicated that things may be different this time around.  If alarm bells are going off in your head as you read this, then you probably already understand how significant this event could potentially be.

11-things-happening-september-prophetic-events-prophecy-blood-moons-shemitah-end-times-bible

September 17th – Congress has until this date to vote for or against adopting Obama’s Nuclear Treaty with Iran. The September vote on the Iran nuclear deal is billed as a titanic standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. Yet even if lawmakers reject the agreement, it’s not game-over for the White House.

September 20th to September 26th – The “World Week For Peace in Palestine Israel” sponsored by the World Council of Churches.

September 21stThe UN International Day Of Peace.  Could this be the day when the UN Security Council resolution establishing a Palestinian state is actually adopted?

September 23rd – Yom Kippur

September 23rd – Pope Francis arrives at the White House to meet with Barack Obama.  Some have suggested that the timing of this event is highly unusual. Francis is the 266th pope, who will be meeting with President Obama on the 266th day of the year, leading one Internet preacher to wonder if “something is being birthed” on that day, since 266 days is the typical human gestation period from conception to birth.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn has long held that September 2015 will be a month to fulfill bible prophecy:

Many end times people, like Jonathan Cahn, see September 2015 as a huge time for fulfilling bible prophecy. It will be interesting to see how it actually turns out.

September 24th – The Pope addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Given the Pope’s new venture as a politician selling climate change, this will be very important to watch.

September 25th to September 27th – The United Nations is going to launch a brand new sustainable development agenda called “The 2030 Agenda“.  The following is an excerpt from an article that I just wrote about this insidious new plan.

If you didn’t like “Agenda 21″, then you really are not going to like “The 2030 Agenda”.  Next month, the United Nations is going to launch “The 2030 Agenda” at a major conference that will be held from September 25th to September 27th in New York City.  The Pope is actually traveling to New York to deliver an address which will kick off this conference.  Unlike Agenda 21, which primarily focused on the environment, the 2030 Agenda is truly a template for governing the entire planet.  In addition to addressing climate change, it also sets ambitious goals for areas such as economics, health, energy, education, agriculture, gender equality and a whole host of other issues.  As you will see below, this global initiative is being billed as a “new universal Agenda” for humanity.  If you are anything like me, alarm bells are going off in your head right about now.

September 28th – This is the date when the Feast of Tabernacles begins.  It is also the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on Biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015.  This blood moon falls on the very first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, it will be a “supermoon”, and it will be clearly visible from the city of Jerusalem.


The PCA’s South Florida Presbytery Deposes Tullian Tchividjian from Ministry

“While Pastor Tullian Tchividjian was deposed of his pastoral credentials, the South Florida Presbytery is committed to continuing to offer him pastoral care. Our goal in doing this is to both protect the integrity of the Church from which his credentials were given while, at the same time, wrapping Tullian in the grace offered by Jesus Christ to all those who confess sin, pursue repentance and desire restoration.”

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Prophets Unheeded and Rejected – But Needed More Than Ever

True prophets of God are always very lonely and melancholic people. They deliver a word from the Lord, knowing it will mostly be rejected. Their hearts break as they carry the burden of the Lord, and realise that their words will be rejected and scorned by the very ones who most need them.

I am reading the prophets again, being back in Jeremiah at the moment. What an incredible book. Every chapter is absolutely filled with spiritual riches which are fully appropriate to where we are at today. And of course there is plenty of divine judgment spoken of in this book.

While there is judgment pronounced upon pagan nations, most of it is directed to sinful and hard-hearted Israel. Just today I read about why this judgment must come. As we find in Jeremiah 23:8-11:

My heart is broken within me;
all my bones tremble.
I am like a drunken man,
like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
and his holy words.
The land is full of adulterers;
because of the curse the land lies parched
and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The prophets follow an evil course
and use their power unjustly.
“Both prophet and priest are godless;
even in my temple I find their wickedness,”
declares the Lord.

False prophets offering words of peace, comfort and ease are a big part of the problem. They are telling the people lies, and they love it so. As we read in 5:31: “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?”

Jeremiah clearly warns about why all this disaster is happening. Yahweh’s covenant people have become faithless, idolatrous and rebellious, so they are paying the price. As we read in these two passages:

-“When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ then say to them, ‘It is because your fathers forsook me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law.” (Jeremiah 16:10-11)

-“All this happened because you people sinned against the LORD and did not obey him.” (Jeremiah 40:3)

solzhenitsyn 3Modern day prophets have said exactly the same thing, and they too have been rejected and despised. The Russian dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who spent over a decade in the Soviet Gulag, was one such prophetic voice who was rejected by the West.

Consider his speech, “Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”. It was his Templeton Prize Lecture, delivered in London on May 10, 1983. It opens this way:

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

That last line comes straight out of Jeremiah of course. He concludes his important address as follows:

To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our bands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.
Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.

See his full address here: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/47643.htm

This was not the first time he denounced the godless West and warned them that their fate would be the same as Russia’s. He had been giving such prophetic words for years already. One of the most significant of these prophetic talks was the commencement address he gave at Harvard University on June 8, 1978.

Some 20,000 people heard him deliver this speech in Russian, with English translation, on the occasion of the 327th commencement at Harvard. Hopes were high when he began, but the audience soon turned on the speaker. The prophet gave a word they did not want to hear.

He told them their secularism and hedonism would destroy America and the West just as godless communism had destroyed Russia. He warned in the strongest of words that they could avoid this fate only if God was brought back into the picture. For this he was roundly booed by the Harvard intelligentsia.

The speech was printed as A World Split Apart (Harper & Row, 1978). It is a slim paperback of 60 pages (half in Russian and half in English). I pulled this off my shelves today and here offer a few select quotes. He spoke, for example, about the difference between “freedom for good” and “freedom for evil”:

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society has turned out to have scarce defense against the abyss of human decadence, for example against the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror. This is all considered to be part of freedom.

He also spoke of the loss of will in the West:

No weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.

He tells us how and why the West has declined so rapidly and so profoundly:

In early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the Twentieth century’s moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the Nineteenth Century.

As mentioned, the elites at Harvard were not interested in such talk. His speech caused a huge controversy, and it became clear that this was another prophet being rejected by the people. But of course he has been found to be proven right.

The West is on its last legs, and this is because we have vainly thought we could progress, be free, and be strong, while telling God to get lost. That cannot work. Now we are paying the price big time. As Jeremiah and Solzhenitsyn both said:

Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/SolzhenitsynHarvard.php


12 Keys to a More Powerful Prayer Life

12 Keys to a More Powerful Prayer Life

These principles will help you grow mighty in prayer.

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Skyping with spirit: Chaplains use computers to support the seriously ill

Skyping with spirit: Chaplains use computers to support the seriously ill

Chaplains of diverse affiliations across the country respond to requests for support within 24 hours. &We face our own frailty, and people want an answer and to be able to talk it out,& said one chaplaincy service executive.

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International (MNN) -- Open Doors USA calls for Obama to promote religious freed...

International (MNN) — Open Doors USA calls for Obama to promote religious freed…

Open Doors USA calls for President Obama to appoint a Special Envoy to promote religious freedom in the Near East and South Central Asia.

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The Ugly Truth about Pornography

The Ugly Truth about Pornography

We need to begin to understand the way that porn affects all of us beneath the surface if we want to truly treat the trauma left in its wake.

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9 Ways to Choose Contentment

9 Ways to Choose Contentment

Why am I not content? We blame media, commercialism, and consumerism, but there is a deeper problem. Sin.

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180-Year-Old Baptist Church to Perform Same-Sex ‘Weddings,’ Ordain Homosexuals

180-Year-Old Baptist Church to Perform Same-Sex ‘Weddings,’ Ordain Homosexuals

GREENVILLE, S.C. – A historic Baptist church in South Carolina that gave rise to the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention has adopted a new non-discrimination policy that will allow its leadership to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies and also ordain open homosexuals. First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina, was founded in 1831. Though…

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10 ways the Church needs to rethink its social media usage

10 ways the Church needs to rethink its social media usage

While critics of social media see unashamed exhibitionism or a nascent loneliness, Krish Kandiah sees an opportunity to increase our engagement with culture.

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Another Extreme Winter on the Horizon?

Another Extreme Winter on the Horizon?

Americans across the country should brace for another extremely cold and snowy winter.

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College students need apologetics in face-off against atheist professors

College students need apologetics in face-off against atheist professors

Dad, I don’t believe in God anymore. An apologetics training in response to an increasing number of grieving parents who have heard these words from their college students looks at ways students can speak respectfully, but firmly to their professors, many of whom are atheists.

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7 questions to ask before you post on social media

7 questions to ask before you post on social media

There is no doubt about the impact of social media on our society. It’s huge. It seemed strange the first time I heard a news story refer to a Twitter feed as a…

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T.D. Jakes leaves blacks, ‘gays’ groping in the dark

“[W]e, the church, bought into the myth that this is a Christian nation.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes in interview on HuffPost Live on Aug. 3, 2015

Bishop T.D. Jakes is chief pastor and founder of megachurch The Potter’s House, in Dallas, Texas. He is a blind, cowardly man misleading many thousands of lost people.

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Trump’s Tower of Babel: A President for the Selfie Age?

Donald Trump might be the apt president for the selfie age. This is not a good thing.

In this series we have been asking: To whom shall we liken Trump? The primary character is Nimrod, revealed in the Bible as the founder of Babylon, and the father of tower-building. We have explored comparisons of Trump with presidents embracing populist-progressivism and judgment-impairing presumptuousness.

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BILLY GRAHAM: What Does God Have in Store for the Grand Finale?

Will man exterminate himself? He almost will, as Jesus stated. But just before man does so, Christ will come back! The demonized leaders “of the whole world” will have mobilized both as antagonists and protagonists of that coming world anti-God system—probably headed by the Antichrist. They’ll be “gathered,” we’re told, “together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16).

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Christians: We’re Losing Our Religion

Slowly but surely, America is turning against (not just away from) the same God it relied on to establish the freest, most prosperous nation in history.

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Office Hours: The Great Disappointment, Graham Crackers, And American Religion

Nineteenth-Century American religion was wild and wooly. It began with an outbreak of Pentecostalism and concluded with the death of Dwight L. Moody and the beginning of the end of Old Princeton. In between saw the rise of Mormonism, the Second Great Awakening, the Millerite Movement, and Seventh-Day Adventism. Dr Marcus McArthur is a graduate […]

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The cult of personality: The darkness under the evangelical limelight

Pamela Couvrette of Guarding the Deposit lays out the marks of a cult from a theological standpoint.  She even “names names” (gasp!) of several celebrity wolves and wolverines.  Pam has provided videos so that we can watch them spew egregious heresy.  You won’t want to miss Steven Furtick performing “Hey Haters.” I sell the things you need […]

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Reprise: Christian “watchbloggers” under fire

 

This subject is even more pertinent today than it was 4 years ago when Marsha West addressed it.

              Marsha West

Marsha West

A few years ago “the world’s most famous Christian blogger,” Tim Challies, took Christian “watchbloggers” to task in his piece Evil as Entertainment. Thereafter, says Tim, “Much discussion, much gratitude, much criticism ensued.” Boy I’ll say!

Only recently did I stumble onto Evil as Entertainment and the follow-up he wrote for clarification. (Links below)

Tim views Christian watchbloggers (CWs) thusly:

Day after day they offer examples of all that is wrong in the church. They may vary what they offer a little bit, but what is true of them is that they offer a steady diet of negative content related to the church in general or perhaps related to just one person or one ministry. You know of some of these sites, I am sure.

Oh yes, I know of many of these sites. And I thank God for them.

What I found disappointing in Challies’ blogpost was that he painted CWs with such a broad brush. He complained that some of them offer negative content related to the church or one person or one ministry while others are:

really just a spiritualized form of YouTube or any other site that entertains by sharing what is gross and base and negative and that does so for the sake of entertainment. There is really no value in watching boys do stupid things on skateboards and laughing when they crack their ankle bones in half; there is really no value in watching the worst pastors in America preach to the worst churches in America. Such sites offer evil as entertainment.

Tim may have a point but it would have been helpful if he had honed in on what a trustworthy CW looks like. What do I look for? Firstly, must hold to all the essentials of the Christian faith; secondly, must fall within the pale of orthodoxy; thirdly, must teach sound doctrine; fourthly, must confront false teaching head on.

Reprise: Christian “watchbloggers” under fire


Sexual orientation in the UK: Half of young people say they are not 100% heterosexual

According to International Business Times:

Only 28% of heterosexuals believe that “there is no middle ground – you are either heterosexual or you are not”.

Kinsey estimated that around 10% of the population was gay, although this percentage was criticised by the American Statistical Association. However, a 2011 Gallup poll asked over 1,000 people in the US “what percentage of Americans today would you say are gay or lesbian?” On average, respondents guessed that 1-in-4 Americans were.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sexual-orientation-uk-half-young-people-say-they-are-not-100-heterosexual-1515690


A Mortal Wound To Free Exercise?

The If nothing else, it’s comforting to know that Colorado can force an orthodox Islamic butcher to make sausages for a polyamorous bisexual bachelor/bachelorette party, so long as no one asks the butcher to outwardly promote swine and free love. Not only does the court now apparently hold the power to bore into the souls […]

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Should I Give to My Local Church First … Or to Other Ministries?

 

Of the many questions that people perennially ask pastors, some of the most uncomfortable ones are about financial giving. Most of the questions I get about money go back to the idea of the tithe, the Old Testament principle of giving the first 10% of our income back to God. (For those who are curious, you can read my thoughts on tithing here.) But another huge question I get is about the destination of our giving. In other words, should I be giving to my local church, or is it okay to redirect my “tithe” to other ministries?

To cut to the punchline, I don’t believe Christians should give only to the local church, but I do believe that Christians should give first to their local church. In the Old Testament system, the tithe went to the work of God’s institution, the temple. Other important things, like funding itinerant rabbis, or providing for the poor, came from giving beyond the tithe. The principle there, I think, is that the firstfruits of our giving should go to God’s new institution, the church.

But maybe, you say, the Old Testament is not supposed to set the pattern for our giving. In the New Testament, however, we see the believers (in Acts 2 and Acts 4) giving their money, not to specific projects they were passionate about, but at the feet of the officers they had appointed in the church. And it was through the local church that the believers accomplished everything God had called them to.

As we say around here, the local church is God’s “Plan A.” It’s the vehicle through which we care for the poor, feed the hungry, equip people to minister in the community, and send people out to the nations. When we give to the local church, we give to the central institution for the mission of God.

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Living the American Nightmare

Living the American NightmareThe crying woke me up again.

With that classic newborn sound, working itself into a cadence, my son’s callow voice finally punched through my snoring to tell me he wants breakfast. I reached over for my phone to check the time — oh, a news update — a bomb in Baghdad has just killed dozens.

I wiped the sleep from my eyes. Time to enter back into the nightmare.

But it’s not the nightmare of violence in the Middle East, or the generic nightmare of life in a fallen world. I’m talking specifically about the American Nightmare — the one where millions of us are murdered, and their body parts are sold for profit, all by an organization our government keeps saying we should appreciate.

We know ISIS is sadistic, but at least it’s “over there” — we embarrassingly assure ourselves. Nightmares, on the other hand, have proximity. Nightmares are horrors brought home, in our heads, at our doors, standing by our kitchen sinks.

It’s possible, I suppose, that I could doze off and have a bad dream of a middle-aged abortionist, as wide-eyed as Cruella de Vil, driving a yellow Lamborghini packed tight with the severed limbs and organs of aborted babies. I suppose I could imagine her speeding recklessly through my hometown, weaving down a well-worn road I never knew existed, her hands stained with blood as she grips the steering wheel and laughs at how stupid the rest of us are.

I suppose I could fall into a terror like that in my sleep, but I haven’t, and I don’t have to.

We can find enough horror like that when we’re awake, here in the American Nightmare.

What Was That?

Humanity has long seen depravity, but we’ve not all seen nightmares like this — the Millennial generation hasn’t anyway. Worldwide atrocities abound, but none are this appalling and socially defended. None are this close; none this loud. It’s the difference between watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, and then suddenly hearing an explosion in our backyards. One is to be expected, if we’re paying attention, but the other makes us all jump and ask in a panic, “What in the world was that?”

So we tiptoe around for a bit, and then carefully crack the blinds to see who’s there. But that’s when we see an image of ourselves standing in our backyards, loving what we love, doing what we do, or not loving and doing what we don’t love and do. That’s when we figure out we’re actually living in this nightmare, which is partly what makes it a nightmare, and partly what confuses us about what to do next.

We may share a few articles on Facebook. We may drop a few outrage tweets, sign a couple petitions, perhaps even email a government official. We get angry, scratch our heads, and then, well, just do those same things all over again. Meanwhile, blood is still spilt and an intact liver just went for $75.

Our Own Gods

Now we have six videos, and in case you haven’t figured it out, most people don’t seem to care.

We still want them to care, and we still take immediate action. Keep reading, sharing, tweeting, and emailing. Keep calling this what it is. And get ready for the long-haul, because nightmares like this don’t change overnight.

Beyond our immediate actions, which are necessary, there is the upstream warfare for the human soul, which is also necessary. In fact, it’s our abdication — or past incompetence — in that part of the river which has led to this trickling down of sewage, recognized in part as our general ambivalence toward butchered babies. Something else, at some other point, has captured the American soul, and therefore, something else has formed our imaginations.

Secularism is the all-caps title for what that something is. It means life reconstructed with the contrived absence of God. More specifically, it’s what Charles Taylor calls “expressive individualism,” and most of us have bought in, to some degree. It’s that way of seeing the world which believes, as Taylor writes,

each one of us has his/her own way of realizing our humanity, and that it is important to find and live out one’s own, as against surrendering to conformity with a model imposed on us from the outside, by society, or the previous generation, or religious or political authority. (A Secular Age, 475)

In other words, we are our own gods, and we want everyone to know it. Whether it means our sexuality, or our sense of fashion, or the stickers we put on the back of our cars, we get to define who we are. Everyone is screaming at everyone else to take notice at how different they are from the others screaming. That’s the Kool-aid we’ve been served, and everybody’s been drinking.

If We’re Awake

We have mistaken this kind of individualism — or underdetermined personhood, you might call it — as freedom. No restrictions. Optional responsibility. Endless choices. I do what I want to do — which includes, of course, the right for a woman to execute another human being growing inside her. We are our own gods, remember, and that means we decide the kind of selves we want to be, which sometimes requires a little murder here or a little murder there.

Saddest of all is that, as a society, we thought this was the ticket to happiness. We thought this kind of autonomy meant living the good life. But it’s not, and eventually everyone will know it’s not.

And that’s what we must keep saying.

We must keep pointing out the absurdity of it all, and we must expose this empty promise of pleasure for the sham that it is. Trying to be our own gods is pandemonium, literally, and killing our children won’t bring the happiness we crave, no matter what Molech says.

We must speak the light of truth into the darkness, and then hold up a better way. We must return upstream and fight again for the soul. This is a hedonistic war, after all, and there is a happiness deeper than what we can manufacture for ourselves, a happiness of which far too many have yet to hear.

So we have work to do in this American Nightmare, and if we’re awake, the crying won’t let us sleep for long.


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The post Can We Really Achieve the “Fruit of the Spirit?” appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Satan and Sodomy

The supernatural monster who orchestrates the kidnapping, enslaving and thousand-fold drugging, selling, raping and killing of girls around the globe is the same one who has masterminded the murderous cultural delusion—from the highest court to the lowest porn-flick—that the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.

Among the several, carefully chosen, understated, inflammatory words in that sentence, let’s start with “monster.” I’m talking about Satan. We do not feel what we ought to about this fiend. In Revelation 12:9 he is called “the great dragon that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.”

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The scope and horror of this being is hinted at with images. He is not a mere garden snake. His tail sweeps down a third of the stars. He crouches at Bethlehem to devour the newborn Son of God (Revelation 12:4). Failing at that, “the dragon became furious … and went off to make war … on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).

Which brings us to another inflammatory phrase, “murderous delusion.” Those two words capture the essence of Satan. He is a liar and a murderer. He deludes and, by deluding, he kills. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Hence, he is a murderer and a liar. His aim is to kill people—forever. He is a lion who devours (1 Peter 5:8). Partly by pain, partly by pleasure. But always by deception—just as with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

A third extreme phrase in that first sentence is “around the globe.” Satan is not a tribal god. His global reach and pervasiveness is stunning. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Satan was not bluffing when he said to Jesus, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me” (Luke 4:6). This is why Jesus calls him the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and Paul calls him “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and this age is called “the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4) and “the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 6:12).

Then there is the inflammatory statement that one of Satan’s “murderous cultural delusions” is the lie that “the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” If someone should wonder why I would use language like that in the present cultural milieu, the answer is that I think it is an abdication of truth and love to participate in the destigmatization of a practice that is more lethal than death.

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08/17/15 Thus Says the Lord

READING: Jeremiah 35-37

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  I write this devotion today as one who preaches the Word of God almost every week. I love this task — but I have been challenged in the book of Jeremiah to make sure I’m always preaching nothing but the Word of God. What I am struck by is the vast number of times this book records sayings like, “the word that came from the Lord” and “this is the Lord’s declaration.”

In only these three chapters are these recurrences:

Jer. 35:1  This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord.

Jer. 35:12-13  Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says . . . this is the Lord’s declaration.”

Jer. 35:17  This is what the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says.

Jer. 35:18-19  “This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says . . .  this is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says . . .”

Jer. 36:1  This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord:

Jer. 36:4  Baruch wrote on a scroll all the words the Lord had spoken to Jeremiah.

Jer. 36:27  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah:

Jer. 36:29-30  This is what the Lord says: . . .  Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah . . . 

Jer. 37:2  He [Zedekiah] and his officers and the people of the land did not obey the words of the Lord that He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet.

Jer. 37:6-9  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says . . .   This is what the Lord says . . .”

When Zedekiah later summoned Jeremiah from prison to ask if there was a word from the Lord, the prophet could respond with certainty, “There is” (Jer. 37:17).  As a preacher, that’s the kind of confidence I want. I want to make sure I speak only the Word of the Lord. It’s so easy to divert from that commitment, though, and unintentionally tell more about me and my ideas than God’s.  I want to be ever aware of that dangerous tendency.

If you are a preacher, I trust you share that same commitment.  If you are not a preacher, would you take time now to pray that commitment for those who preach the Word in your church? Anything less than the Word produces no lasting results.

PRAYER: “Lord, don’t let me ever speak a Word other than what You want me to speak. I pray that pastors all over the world will know the power of the Word.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 38-40; Psalm 74, 79


6 Reasons It Is More Difficult to Grow a Church Today

The conversation was both predictable and profound. It was predictable because I have been asked a similar question many times. It was profound because it represents the very nature of the challenges our congregations face today. “Thom,” he began. “I have been serving as pastor of my church for over 20 years. I have never had more difficulty leading growth in a church. What is going on?”

My pastor friend emphasized two points clearly. First, he was not looking for an excuse for the lack of growth. Second, he wanted information so he could address the issue.

The pastor was right. Growth is indeed more difficult today in American congregations. And there are some clear reasons why this reality is true.

  1. Cultural Christians are much less likely to attend. “Cultural Christianity” is really an oxymoron. I am referring to those people who once attended church because they saw it as culturally, politically and economically beneficial. That reality no longer exists for the most part. Congregations could be losing anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent of their attendance with this change.
  2. More committed Christians are attending less frequently. When the most committed believers in a church decrease their attendance patterns by 25 percent (they go from attending four Sundays a month to three), you can expect a precipitous decline in attendance. And the greater majority of congregations are indeed experiencing this unfortunate phenomenon.
  3. An overcorrection to practical ministry. Many church leaders rightly became disturbed and frustrated by the fierce pragmatism prevalent in many churches. But, to use an overused phrase, many threw the baby out with the bathwater. It’s hard to reach people in the community if the church does not have practical ways to do so.
  4. Activities replacing ministry. Many churches have their members so busy they don’t have time to develop relationships with unchurched people and non-Christians. Meetings and activities have become substitutes for real ministry.
  5. Growing conflict and disunity in congregations. I have addressed this issue in a number of blogposts. When we are divided and at odds with fellow believers in the church, we are distracted from focusing on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
  6. Entitlement mentality among some church members. This issue was the thesis of my book I Am a Church Member. When church members see the church as a place to meet the needs and preferences of “me, myself and I,” you have a congregation who is inwardly focused.

Any one of these six issues will hinder the Great Commission outreach of a church and, thus, frustrate attempts to lead a church to growth. But many congregations have more than one of these factors present. That reality really presents challenges.

Where is your church with these six factors? What would you add? I would love to hear your perspective.  

 

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12 Reasons We Don’t Change

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be, by Marshall Goldsmith, is a secular book about the environmental and psychological triggers that can derail us at work and in life.


While Goldsmith’s prescription is totally gospel-less, his diagnosis of the inner beliefs that trigger failure are full of truth. Not surprising really when you consider that while he’s helped thousands of people to change their behavior, he’s also had hundreds of failures along the way. In Chapter 2, he lists the most common inner beliefs that stop behavioral change in its tracks. See if you recognize any of them in this summary:

1. If I understand, I will do. Just because people understand what to do doesn’t ensure that they will actually do it.

2. I have willpower and won’t give in to temptations. Overconfidence means we don’t use available helps and supports to change.

3. Today is a special day. When we want to make an excuse for errant behavior, any day can be designated as a “special day” in which we indulge ourselves before we return to self-discipline tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

4. At least I’m better than… We award ourselves a free pass because we’re not the worst in the world.

5. I shouldn’t need help and structure. We believe that we are above needing structure to help us on seemingly simple tasks.

6. I won’t get tired and my enthusiasm will not fade. When we plan to achieve our goals, we believe that our energy will not flag and that we will never lose our enthusiasm for the process of change.

7. I have all the time in the world. We chronically underestimate the time it takes to get anything done AND we believe that time is open-ended and sufficiently spacious for us to get to all our self-improvement goals eventually.

8. I won’t get distracted and nothing unexpected will occur. We get down to work without accommodating the fact that life always intrudes to alter our priorities and test our focus.

9. An epiphany will suddenly change my life. Implies that change can arise out of a sudden burst of insight and willpower.

10. My change will be permanent and I will never have to worry again. If we don’t follow up, our positive change doesn’t last. Even when we get there, we cannot stay there without commitment and discipline.

11. My elimination of old problems will not bring on new problems. We forget that as we usher an old problem out the door a new problem usually enters.

12. No one is paying attention to me. We believe that we can occasionally lapse back into bad behavior because people aren’t paying close attention.

It’s almost biblical in its penetrating exposure of our deceitful human hearts isn’t it?

As Christians, we are obviously interested not just in behavior-change but in heart-change. However, that too begins by recognizing the slippery excuses we use to deny our need of change, to hide our unwillingness to change, and to cover up our inability to change.


I Would Be Like Jesus

In 1991, Gatorade ran its first “Be Like Mike” commercial. At that time, Michael Jordan was the most recognizable athlete in the world. Sports announcers could not say enough about the magic he created on the basketball court. And kids worldwide dreamed of becoming the next Michael Jordan.

The commercial promoted the idea that if you drank Gatorade as Michael Jordan did, you would somehow gain the ability to “be like Mike.” Gatorade sales sky-rocketed, especially bottles of the flavor Jordan favored: lemon-lime.

My son was one of the many kids who started guzzling Gatorade whenever possible. But he learned soon enough that being “like Mike” required a lot more than consuming Jordan’s preferred beverage. It required physical attributes and mental discipline that my son didn’t possess. So eventually he discarded the “Be Like Mike” dream, along with his Space Jam video.

Be Like Jesus, through Jesus

Twenty-four-year old Englishman James Rowe had a different dream when he emigrated to America in 1890. For 10 years, he worked for the railroad companies; later he worked for music publishers. He even wrote verses for greeting cards for a while. But he is probably best known for the hymns he composed, including “Love Lifted Me” and “I Would Be Like Jesus.”[1]

Meditate for a few moments on his heartfelt lyrics:

Earthly pleasures vainly call me;
I would be like Jesus;
Nothing worldly shall enthrall me;
I would be like Jesus.

Be like Jesus, this my song,
In the home and in the throng;
Be like Jesus, all day long!
I would be like Jesus.

Is your heart stirred, as mine is, by that noble desire? Be like Jesus. Quite frankly, I have as little hope of realizing that dream as my son had of becoming like Michael Jordan. I don’t have the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual attributes to attain that status. Not on my own.

But the Bible tells us how that dream becomes a reality — we become like Jesus through Jesus. At least forty verses in the New Testament tell us what is possible through Christ.

Reconciliation

First, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1, emphasis mine). We are no longer God’s enemies because we have been “saved from God’s wrath through [Jesus]” (Romans 5:9). Through the obedience of Jesus — his willingness to die for us — we have been made righteous (Romans 5:17-19). Through Jesus alone, we stand fully pardoned before God the Father and fully reconciled to him.

Victory

Second, “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set [us] free from the law of sin and death” so it is possible for us to “not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:2, 4). Through Jesus alone, we can have victory over our sinful natures. We can choose forgiveness instead of bitterness, mercy instead of revenge, love instead of resentment, and service instead of selfishness.

Strength

Third, through Jesus our daily lives can be different. Do we have trouble with employers and conflict with family members? Are we confronted with the hardship of a cancer diagnosis or the loss of a job? Do friends and neighbors smirk when we invite them to church or tell them we are praying for them? Do we live in neighborhoods or work in environments that are dangerous? Romans 8:37 declares that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

You may be able to quote Philippians 4:13 as readily as I can quote it: “I can do everything through him who strengthens me.” But too often we are misled by the word order in that verse. It begins with “I can” and so we conclude that being like Jesus is all about what “I can do.” Perhaps our English translations should rearrange the word order of that verse: “Through him who strengthens me, I can do all things.” For it is only through Christ that we can accomplish anything that has eternal value.

It is only through Christ that we can accomplish anything that has eternal value.

TWEET

Hebrews 13:21 sums up what God is able to do in us through Christ—“equip you with everything good for doing his will…and work in us what is pleasing to him.” Think about that for a minute. Through Christ — through his life that now abides in us — we are empowered and equipped to accomplish all that God wants us to do on any given day and in any circumstance:

  • We can be kind to difficult customers.
  • We can be patient with self-willed toddlers.
  • We can continue to love and serve unappreciative family members.
  • We can maintain joy in illness, financial setbacks, and relationship break-ups.

All is possible through Jesus Christ – even the inestimable privilege of being like him.

No Greater Joy

Do you, like James Rowe, long to “be like Jesus”? It will take much more than the consumption of some kind of spiritual Gatorade. It requires a total emptying of self, so that Christ can fill us with himself. It’s a hands-off process rather than a hands-on project. And that’s bound to be challenging, especially since most of us tend to be do-it-yourself-ers.

But God has guaranteed our success. 1 John 3:1-2 promises that “when [Jesus] appears, we shall be like him.” I honestly don’t know all that God will have to do to effect that transformation in me. And I’m glad I don’t know because I don’t think I could handle that knowledge. But I’m grateful that God is not going to give up on me until I am “like Jesus.” He’s not going to give up on any of us. And someday, when we stand before his throne and he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” we’ll know that there is no greater joy on earth or in heaven than to “be like Jesus.”

[1] Source for biography and lyrics: http://cyberhymnal.org/bio/r/o/w/rowe_j.htm

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Why Is Friendship So Hard?

Since the publication of The Company We Keep (TCWK), it’s been encouraging to see more being written on the topic of friendship here at the BCC. One of the ongoing questions I’ve received since writing TCWK is in regards to the difficulty of forming friendships in the church. Continue reading

35 Things I Wish I’d Known in High School

This year I turned 35.

When I was a teenager, thirty seemed ancient. But as I crest the hill of my mid-thirties, I can assure you I won’t be picking out a retirement home any time soon. I’m just getting warmed up. In fact, my thirties have been some of the best, most fruitful, most fun years of my life. I don’t have life all figured out, but God has taught me some valuable lessons since high school graduation.

Whether you are heading back to school in a few weeks or you turned your tassel long ago, I think you’ll find that these are truths you can take to the bank because they are deeply rooted in the timeless Word of God (the ultimate school for knowledge and wisdom!).

  1. God’s promises are true.
  2. He really does have a hope and a future for me (Jer. 29:11).
  3. The college, major, and career I pick don’t define me. I am not my work. I am a child of God.
  4. Marrying a guy who loves Jesus really, really matters.
  5. Parents are pretty cool. Their rules are for my good.
  6. Being the prettiest or most popular girl in school matters for about half a second after graduation. In contrast, being the kindest girl in school gets remembered well past your ten-year reunion.
  7. You will look back at pictures of you and think you were stunning. Trust me.
  8. Insecurity is a massive waste of time and energy. Be confident in God’s love.
  9. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:9). It’s okay to have a ten-year plan, but there’s a 100% chance God will interrupt it. That’s a good thing.
  10. The bands you listen to in high school will be your very favorite bands forever. Keep the t-shirts. They will be “vintage” and awesome when you’re thirty.
  11. You truly do reap what you sow. I love how Nancy Leigh DeMoss says it, “You are what you’re becoming.” Do you want to know your Bible frontwards and backwards later? Study it like crazy now. Do you want to be more like Christ someday? Be more like Him today.
  12. Broken hearts heal. Mine got broken often in high school. All these years later I’ve still never felt a pain like it. But those deep chasms are now all healed up. If your heart is broken, I promise it will heal and someone else will capture it someday.
  13. Start saving money now. I know that top at Anthropologie is super cute, but it’s also crazy overpriced. Imagine dropping that $75 in a savings account and using it for something lasting like a car, an education, or a child sponsorship. Most people think they will start saving “someday.” I wish I had developed the discipline of saving money as a high school student. While we are on the subject of money . . .
  14. Start tithing. The Bible calls all believers to tithe regardless of income. So, if you have an allowance, a part-time job or babysitting money, you have an income. Everything you make belongs to God, but there are tremendous blessings to be found in giving a portion of it back to Him. Don’t wait until you’re rolling in the dough to start tithing.
  15. The world doesn’t revolve around me. That’s a good thing.
  16. Champion others as often as possible. Instead of wanting everyone to cheer you on, figure out ways to cheer them on.
  17. Normal is a mirage. Embrace your weirdness.
  18. I know that boy gives you butterflies, but that won’t carry you through the ups and downs of life. Find someone who loves Jesus (remember point #4), but also someone who is fun to talk to and knows how to cope when the going gets tough. Then, when you least expect it, the butterflies will start to flutter in your tummy once again. Fourteen years after I married my high school sweetheart, I still get butterflies.
  19. I’ve never met someone my age who is glad she partied in high school. Ever. I’ve met lots and lots of them who regretted it. There is no long-term benefit from that scene.
  20. You don’t need a bunch of friends. You need one or two who’ve really got your back.
  21. Worry less about having the right friends and worry more about being the right friend.
  22. Be picky about your friends. The Bible says it this way, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20). Pick wise friends. Since Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is where wisdom begins, wise friends need to be Jesus-loving friends.
  23. Don’t be afraid to fail. Stand up in front of the class and give that speech. Try out for the lead role in the play. Start a club. You may fall on your face. You may not. But at least you went for it.
  24. You can do big things for the kingdom now. Don’t wait to get involved in ministry.
  25. Your parents don’t need to be your friends right now. They need to be your parents, and that means they make and enforce the rules. The good news is, they will likely be your friends someday. Right now God has given them the job of being in charge. Do everything you can to make that job easier.
  26. Find something you are good at and enjoy it, but don’t make it your whole life. Soccer is supposed to be fun, not stressful. So is singing, sculpting, and playing the saxophone.
  27. It’s okay to miss practice for church. In fact, church trumps activities every single time.
  28. Sometimes it’s cool to love Jesus and not the Church, but Jesus loves the Church. If there is something that could be better at your church, then get involved and make it better instead of complaining or checking out. The Church is the Bride of Christ.
  29. Your youth pastor is not your connection to God.
  30. “The things of earth will come to pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.” That’ll preach.
  31. When you get your license, it’s a license to drive, not a license to do stupid things. I know because within a few weeks of getting my license, I got caught racing on the highway and wrapped my car around a telephone pole. I drove dumb so you don’t have to.
  32. When you do something stupid to impress someone, it’s still doing something stupid, and it likely won’t impress them as much as if you did something smart. Do the smart thing instead.
  33. Your siblings are cooler than you think. When you’re thirty-five, they’ll be the people you want to grab coffee with.
  34. Nothing good happens after curfew. Go home.
  35. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” (Prov. 31:30). Since outward beauty cannot last, spend your time growing a beautiful heart.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com/35lessons for a special locker art graphic of “35 Things I Wish I’d Known in High School,” and give it to a student who’s heading back to school.


The God Who Works in History

The Christian faith, and the Jewish faith that preceded it, believe in a God who acts in real time — in human history. So the latest archaeological find shouldn’t surprise us. Listen Now | Download

9 Insights I’ve Learned about Laypersons

The New Testament clearly teaches the importance of pastors and deacons as leaders of the church (1 Tim. 3). At the same time, though, there would be no need for leaders were it not for the laypersons God gives us to lead. Recognizing that my conclusions are anecdotal, here are some things I’ve learned about laypeople in 34+ years of ministry.

  1. Some are not believers. I start here because this insight may be the most important one, and we need to be honest from the beginning. Jesus had 12 apostles, and one of those was a fake from the beginning. We’re not likely to do better than Jesus did.
  2. Most love the Lord.  Despite finding #1 above, I’ve met thousands of laypeople through the years who love God. They may struggle in following Him (see the next point), but it’s not because they don’t love Him.
  3. Most have not been discipled well. Many have been members of churches with a weak or non-existent discipleship strategy. Consequently, many members live in defeat, and others are in leadership positions for which they have not been spiritually prepared. Frankly, I fit that category myself for too many years.
  4. Many are still young in their faith. Believers who have never been intentionally and strategically discipled will have been stunted in their spiritual growth – and the fault is as much the church’s as it is the believers’. Problems then develop when we get frustrated because we expect “young” believers to act like mature ones.
  5. Almost all are more gifted than I am in some area. That’s God’s intent, actually. The beauty of a 1 Corinthians 12 church is most evident when each member serves where he/she is created to serve. When I choose to do everything myself, I’m guilty of idolatry.
  6. Most want to serve the Lord through the church. That desire doesn’t mean they do, however. Many members want to serve, but they don’t know how to get started. Some have been hurt and are afraid to serve, though their heart longs to be faithful.
  7. Most love their pastor. In fact, I cannot think of any members who did not love me during the 14 years I served as pastor and the many months I’ve served as interim pastor since then. Some disagreed with me – even got angry enough with me to leave the church – but I still don’t doubt their love.
  8. Many are dealing with hidden sin. In many cases, they sense no “safe” place to talk about their sin. Some have no friendships deep enough to tackle these issues. Sunday after Sunday, they battle with conviction internally while not fully understanding how to overcome their sin.
  9. They’re no messier than some of the New Testament church members. Read the book of 1 Corinthians, and you’ll find that even early church leaders dealt with problematic people. The good news is that we still serve the God of the New Testament – the One who loves His church despite how messy it is.

What other insights have you discovered about laypersons? Do you agree or disagree with my findings? 


Five Problems with Church Committees

At some point in my ministry, I became allergic to committee meetings. I realized I was spending a lot of time in those meetings that could be used for productive ministry.

To be sure, not all committees are bad, and not all committee meetings are unnecessary. Unfortunately, I have seen too many committees become the “tail wagging the dog” in churches. Here are five of the most prominent problems:

  1. The committee has forgotten its purpose. I served as a pastor in a church where the church council monthly meeting was interminably long. I would discover that the stated and founding purpose of this group was to coordinate strategically the ministries of the church. Over time, it became nothing more than a calendar committee with people fighting for time and rooms.
  2. Some committees meet even if they don’t have a reason to meet. As a consultant in a church, I was asked to meet with different committees. I met with one committee where I learned they had seven consecutive months of meetings without an agenda and with nothing accomplished. I asked the chairman why they had the meetings. His response? “Because the meeting was on the church calendar.”
  3. Some committees attract control freaks. These control freaks tend to gravitate toward committees that deal with either money or personnel or both. And if the wrong people control the funds and personnel matters, problems can multiply.
  4. It’s hard to kill a committee. Committees can live beyond their usefulness and intended purpose. Often times, it’s easier to kill an elephant with a BB gun than to kill a committee. There can be emotional attachment to it. There can be the pervasive sentiment of: “We’ve always done it that way.” I recently was in a church that had 17 committees. Only three of them were really necessary.
  5. Unnecessary committees and committee meetings replace ministry. Every minute spent in a committee meeting is a minute that could be spent doing ministry. Our churches have become notorious for keeping our members too busy to do ministry.

Church leaders should evaluate ruthlessly all of their committees and ask several questions. Is this committee necessary? Would this committee serve better as a temporary task force? Are all the committee meetings necessary? What would we do about our committees if we started with a blank slate?

I know many of you have some great perspectives on committees and their usefulness. Let me hear from you.

The post Five Problems with Church Committees appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


Is “Righteous Anger” Biblical? (Video)

Jesus got angry without sinning. Is it possible for us to get angry and remain righteous?


Links I like

 

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Crossway’s put a number of books focused on literature on sale this week:

Also on sale:

The Rest of the Story

R.C. Sproul Jr:

Too often we seek out spiritual highs with all the fervor of an addict. We seek out those mountaintop experiences, often times priming the pump with a special book, going to a favorite conference, playing over and over a peculiarly moving bit of music. I’m not in the least opposed to spiritual heights, books, conferences or music. Resting in His grace, rejoicing in His favor, drawing near to His presence are precious gifts, and sometimes, valuable memories.

When America Put Pastors in Prison

Thomas S. Kidd:

In 1774, James Madison wrote to a friend in Pennsylvania about troubling developments in Virginia. There were reasons to worry about oppressive British taxes, of course, but that was not Madison’s primary concern in this letter. The “worst” news he had to deliver was that the “diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution” was raging in the colony. “There are at this [time] . . . not less than 5 or 6 well meaning men in [jail] for publishing their religious sentiments. . . . Pray for liberty of conscience to revive among us.” While today we tend to think of early America as a bastion of religious liberty, many in the colonial era lamented its absence.

Why Some Evangelicals Support Trump Even Though They Know Better

Dan Darling:

Donald Trump may have views that look nothing like the conservatism of Buckley, Kirk or Reagan, but that doesn’t matter. To Trump supporters, he’s wearing the team jersey. He is their guy. His craziness, his intemperate statements, his past history of not championing anything remotely like conservatism–this is irrelevant. For some who are angry at Democrats and even angrier at establishment Republicans, Trump sounds like he’s on their team. Even if he really isn’t.

Forgiveness Is a Marathon

Vermon Pierre:

Forgiveness doesn’t come cheaply or easily. It always comes at great expense to the one wronged. In some cases, it comes with permanent cost. The wronged parties must “take it on the chin,” allowing themselves to be physically, emotionally, or spiritually wounded by the offending party instead of seeking an equal measure of revenge. Christians do this in imitation of Jesus, who faced sinful rebels and yet still suffered and died so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God.

8 Things You Won’t Find in Heaven

David Murray:

Heaven is so heavenly that it’s often hard for earthly creatures to understand what it will really be like. That’s why the Bible often describes heaven in terms of what will not be there. For example, the last two chapters of the Bible tell us eight things that will not be there.

The post Links I like appeared first on Blogging Theologically.


Check out

Blogs

Hey Christians, Say Goodbye to Religious Freedom | The Federalist: David Harsanyi
“The position of these businesspeople, unlike Southern racists decades ago, in no way undermines the newfound right of gay Americans to marry, nor does it inhibit them from enjoying freedom or finding happiness. In this case, only one side is attempting to legislate morality.”

Why Gay Marriage Proponents Can’t Appeal to the Abolitionist Movement | TGC: Ben Reaoch
Useful historical research here for when the Christian view on gay marriage is compared to “the Christian view of slavery.”

Why Gay Marriage Can’t Be Christian Marriage | Patheos: Ben Witherington
Seven brief and persuasive “talking points.” See also Gay Teens Have Higher Rates of Pregnancy than Straight Teens.

Lead Well, At Home | Ed Stetzer
“I don’t simply want my children to survive my ministry life. I want them to thrive in the calling God has placed on our lives. I am passionate about this and have made three personal commitments.”

Want Sustained Happiness? Get religion, study says
Washington Post: “A new study suggests that joining a religious group could do more for someone’s sustained happiness than other forms of social participation, such as volunteering, playing sports or taking a class.”

Living in our Stories | R C Sproul Jr.
Touching and beautiful from R C Jr.: “My parents are wonderful parents. They took me to Disney World when I was a kid; they took me to Sea World when I was a kid. We went to the beach and we went to Washington D.C. and I have all sorts of these kinds of great memories, but do you know what I remember about my childhood? I remember those very ordinary afternoons when my friend Randy, from up on the hill, would come down to my house and we would get out the football and my dad would come out into the yard with us and he would be the quarterback and one of us would be the defensive back and one of us would be the wide receiver and we would run our pass patterns and he would throw the football to us. It might have been 20 minutes or it might have been two hours, but those are the things that I treasure from my childhood. Not the unusual spectacular events, but those ordinary things.”

Kindle Books

God Is Red: How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China by Liao Yiwu.

Text-Driven Preaching: God’s Word at the Heart of Every Sermon Edited by David Allen $2.99.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp $4.99.

Recommended New Book

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung.

Video

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden


A La Carte (August 17)

I have some Kindle deals for you but first, if you’re after a Kindle device, the Kindle Fire HD 6 is on sale today at just $69. And now here are some book deals: Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully by John Piper ($3.99); A Christian Guide to the Classics by Leland Ryken ($4.99); Lit! by Tony Reinke ($4.99); Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch ($0.99); God With Us by Glenn Kreider ($5.88);

Why Gay Marriage Can’t Be Christian Marriage

Ben Witherington shows from the Bible why gay marriage can never be Christian marriage. “At the end of the day either we realize that gender matters, and gender difference is essential to a real Christian marriage, or we totally change the definition of what counts as marriage, what counts as husband and wife, what counts as mother and father Biblically speaking.”

Don’t Give Up

Tim Chester provides some helpful guidance for battling that sin you’re struggling with.


The 7 Types Of People You Meet In Sunday Worship

One of the great things about the Sunday gathering, is that people of ALL sorts gather together to sing to the Lord.

Here are the SEVEN types of people you find in worship.

Heart Of Worship Harry – Harry is always trying to get back to the “heart” of worship. Don’t try to slip anything flashy past Harry. Lights? Uhh, no. Smoke? You’ve got to be kidding. A heavy dose of electric guitar? No thanks. Those are all distractions.

Harry was content with worship ONCE. When he was by himself in the woods.

Tambourine Tom – When Tom was in college, he wanted to be in a band. There was just one problem: he sucked at music. Unfortunately, Tom’s friends didn’t have the heart to tell him just how bad he was. They didn’t want to hurt his feelings or put a damper on his glam-rock dreams.

So they gave him a tambourine.

Tom has been bringing his tambourine to church ever since.

The worship leader loves Tom.

Clappy Claire – Claire has passion. She’s overflowing with joy. She’s excited to sing and clap. Claire only lacks one thing:

RHYTHM.

Instead of clapping with the music, Claire claps with the lyrics. The phrase, “Lift up your voice and sing,” contains exactly SIX claps.

Claire has a bit of trouble on the song “A Mighty Fortress” (2,392 claps).

Harmony Henry – Henry was in choir all through high school and college. He is physically incapable of singing the melody of any worship song.

Too Loud Terry – If there’s one thing Terry can’t stand, it’s worship music that is too LOUD! It’s so loud she can’t hear herself sing. There is NO way that God is pleased with such a racket.

Worship needs to be softer. Always. Softer. No, that’s too loud. Softer still.

There was ONE time when worship was the right volume. That was when the entire band got food poisoning and the church had to do an accapella Sunday.

Every Sunday afternoon, Terry emails the worship leader to let him know that the worship was too loud.

Off-Key Oscar – Oscar loves to sing, and he sings louder than anyone.

Unfortunately, Oscar sings like a dying ringwraith.

Thankfully, God loves a joyful “noise”.

Personal Space Paul – For Paul, worship is a FULL body experience. He lifts his hands, claps with serious passion, and generally gets his worship groove on.

Just be careful not to stand too close to Paul. There’s a good chance you’ll get a shot to the jaw.


What is the role of women in ministry?

Todd Wagner is the pastor of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He was my pastor for several years when I was a student in seminary, and I am very grateful for his ministry. In the video above, he gives a quick answer to the question, “What is the role of women in ministry?” It is a concise, eight-minute summary of biblical manhood and womanhood, and I commend it to you.


What Would I Lose if I Lost Worship?

Can you imagine your life without worship? Can you imagine your life without regularly gathering with God’s people to worship him together? Corporate worship is one of the great privileges of the Christian life. And perhaps it is one of those privileges that over time we can take for granted. When I pause to think about it, I can’t imagine my life without it. I don’t even want to. But I guess it is worth considering: What would I lose if I lost worship?

We live in a consumeristic culture where we tend to evaluate life in very selfish ways. We do this even with worship. “The sermon really didn’t speak to me today. I just couldn’t get into the songs we sang this morning. That Scripture reading was a little bit too long in my books.” When we speak this way we may be proving that we are coming to church as consumers, people who want to be served rather than to serve.

Yet the primary point and purpose of worshipping God is his glory, not the meeting of our felt needs. We worship God in order to glorify God. God is glorified in our worship. We is honored. He is magnified in the sight of those who join with us.

In this way worship cuts completely against the grain of consumerism and demands that I worship for his sake and for his glory. I have heard it said that “Worship is the art of losing self in the adoration of another.” And that is exactly the case. I forget all about me and give all honor and glory to him.

What would I lose without worship? I would lose the opportunity to grow through hearing a sermon and to experience joy through singing great hymns. I would lose the opportunity to join with other Christians in prayer and to recite great creeds with them. But more than anything else, I would lose an opportunity to bring glory to God. If I stopped worshipping, I would neglect a means through which I can bring glory to him.

Do you see it? Worship is not about you or me. Worship is about God. And really, this changes everything.

When I view worship as something that ultimately exists for my good and my satisfaction, it is easy to take a day off, to think that my presence makes no difference. But when I come to bring glory to God, I understand that no one else can take my place. God means for me to lift my hands, to lift my heart, to lift my voice to him.

When I view worship as something that is really all about me, it is easy to jump from church to church, to always be looking for a better fit for me. But when I view church as something that is really all about God, I find myself looking for the church that is the purest and best at worshipping in exactly the ways the Bible demands—I look for the church through which I can bring him the most glory.

Worship is a privilege, to be sure. But it is also a requirement, a responsibility. And the greatest responsibility and the greatest privilege in worship is to bring glory to God.


Words of Comfort: Pork & shellfish.

“If you were really that intent on Biblical literalism, you’d also stone your unruly children and refrain from eating pork and shellfish.” Grant Carpenter

Skeptics are forever confused about Hebrew civil and dietary Law. We don’t follow these laws because they weren’t given to us. They were given to another nation, 3,000 years ago. Most of us live in the U.S. where we have our own civil laws.

The only Law that is binding on all of humanity is the moral Law (the Ten Commandments). The moral Law is the standard by which God will judge the world on Judgment Day (see Romans 2:12 and James 2:12). Those who trust in Jesus are free from the wrath of the moral Law because Jesus satisfied its demands when He suffered and died on the cross. Repent and trust alone in Him and God will dismiss your case also. See http://www.needGod.com for details.


Fall is Coming—Is Your Child Going to Christian College? Nine Things You Can Do to Help Your Student Be Aware of Contemplative/Emerging Deception

Fall is quickly approaching, and by now, if you have a child or grandchild who is going to attend Christian college this year, he or she is most likely enrolled and ready to go. As Lighthouse Trails has reported over the last several years, the majority of evangelical/Protestant colleges, seminaries, and universities are now, to varying […]

The Way Is Hard, But He is Strong

The Way Is Hard, But He is Strong“The way is hard,” Jesus said (Matthew 7:14).

In our early days we thought we knew what “hard” meant. Hard would be rigorous, demanding, exhausting. Jesus said the way would be hard and with James and John we replied (if not in words, then in unspoken presumption), “We are able” (Matthew 20:22).

But like James and John, we didn’t really understand what we were getting into. Like green recruits we thought we understood what war was like. War is hard. War is hell. Especially when you war with hell.

But we didn’t really understand hell’s warfare until we really began to engage it. Then hell began to break loose and we discovered that the chaos of war is far different experienced than studied.

Devils know no chivalry. They are cruel, and conceal their cruelty in the Trojan horses of pleasure and comfort, “wisdom” and “security,” flattery and shame. Theirs is guerilla warfare and espionage. Theirs is psychological warfare and seduction. Theirs is biological warfare and blackmail.

Hell’s Primary Objective

Hell’s one primary objective is to destroy faith in God. All of its elaborate strategies and all of its diabolical energies are focused on one thing: breaking the power of the word of the Lord by undermining our trust in it. The universe was created and is upheld by the Word of God (John 1:3, Hebrews 1:3), so hell must break the power of the Word of the God, if it wants to win.

Therefore, we find ourselves fighting an enemy that constantly seeks to alter our perception of reality. This is why this fight is such a surreal and sometimes horrific experience.

Hell wages a war of distortion. It seeks to make the most destructive things look tantalizingly desirable. It seeks to make the most wonderful things look unbearably boring. It seeks to make the most trustworthy things look unreliable. It seeks to make the one, true fountain of joy look like a dry well, and a broken cistern look like a spring of refreshment. Hell makes even hell look entertaining.

Hell wages a war of disorientation. Through temptation, condemnation, intimidation discouragement, disappointment, doubt, illness, weakness, weariness, and appeals to our pride and shame, the spiritual powers of evil seek to keep us off-balance, confused, and turned around. For if we lose our focus on the truth we lose our confidence and may lose our faith.

Hell wages a war of suspicion. One of the most painful things in this spiritual war is hell’s infiltration into our relationships. It seeks to corrupt the currency of trust in which they trade. Marriages break, families fracture, friendships rupture, churches split, movements derail as sin infects and seeds of suspicion are sowed and fertilized. And in the fray we easily lose track of who the enemy is and end up fighting against flesh and blood.

That Word Above All Earthly Powers

Jesus was right: the way is hard — far harder than we expected.

But Jesus was right about something else: “the gates of hell will not prevail” (Matthew 16:18). The way is hard, but the way is sure. For the Way (John 14:6) is the Word (John 1:1).

And the Word is impenetrably strong.

All the brutal forces of hell, with all the distortion it can conjure, disorientation it can cause, and suspicion it can sow, simply cannot break the Word of God. Martin Luther was right about the devil: “one little word shall fell him.” Oh, but that Word turns out not to be so little. For that Word is God himself (John 1:1).

And the Word came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Oh, the paradox! The Word of God destroyed the works of the devil by being broken. Yes, all hell broke loose upon the Word of God from Gethsemane to Calvary and the Word was broken. But it was not broken in the way that hell tried to break it. Hell tried to compromise the Word, but the Word held fast by being broken. For in being broken, the Word of God kept unbroken the word of God, the great covenant, and cosmic justice was upheld as Christ became both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

That Word stands above all earthly powers and smashes against the gates of hell.

The way may be hard for us. But the Way will be hell for hell.

The key to our clarity in the face of hell’s distortion, focus in the face of hell’s disorientation, and our persevering, longsuffering love in the face of hell’s suspicion is to listen to the Word of God by soaking in the words of God in the Bible. The Word is our refuge (Psalm 18:30), the Word is our peace (Acts 10:36, Philippians 4:7), and the Word is our weapon (Ephesians 6:17).

We must remember that hell is after one thing: our faith. And we must remember that we will overcome hell by one thing: our faith (1 John 5:4). Jesus summarized our one and supreme defense against hell is this statement: “believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).

Therefore, today:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)


Recent Articles



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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THEY ARE GONNA WANT TO KILL YOU…PERHAPS LITERALLY.

The Good Light Project

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The bible is saturated with people of God chosen by God to steward and proclaim His message. Not their message HIS MESSAGE. The message of God’s redemptive work: the gospel. The message of judgment, repentance, and the warning to live a life worthy of the Gospel. Noah wasn’t rude but for 120 years they ignored the message and the world became increasingly evil. Their hearts hated the message. They laughed at Noah and His family. Noah’s family weren’t awful people, they just told people what God said.

Jeremiah wasn’t mean. But for forty years or so they didn’t respond to the message. They hated the message. Jeremiah didn’t do anything wrong per se all he did was tell people the message God had for them. Because of the message, they threw him in jail and eventually killed him. John the Baptist was a weird dude, granted, but he wasn’t violent…

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Is ISIS now using chemical weapons? Sounds like “The Third Target,” but U.S. intelligence says the evidence shows the Islamic State now has weapons of mass destruction.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

(source: UK Mirror) (source: UK Mirror)

(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. intelligence officials believe that jihadists operating under the direction of the Islamic State have not only captured chemical weapons — most likely in Syria — but have actually used such weapons of mass destruction on the battlefield.

They are also investigating the possibility that ISIS is mass producing such weapons and asking where will ISIS strike next?

I realize this seems like the plot of my most recent novel — The Third Target — and its forthcoming sequel (The First Hostage, to be released on December 29th). But this isn’t fiction. Unfortunately, this is all too real.

Consider the following headlines from the past few days:

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GTY Blog – Your Berean Battle Plan: Remain

John 14:21; John 15:9-10; Jude 20-21

Code: B150817

By Cameron Buettel

If your Christian life is devoid of persecution, hardship, and fighting against false teaching, then you probably need to re-evaluate your faith (John 15:20; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 2:3; Jude 3-4). The race we are called to in Hebrews 12:1–2 is not run on the path of least resistance. Yet that’s where many believers live today—blown around by the winds of church trends and without testing them against Scripture.

That’s not to say modern Christians are passive in every regard. We’re happy to contend in our careers and among our peers. We’ll work hard for a promotion, we’ll argue our political point of view, and we’ll defend our honor and credibility. But we don’t always expend the same kind of energy to defend God’s Word or His people. In a tidal wave of trendy theology and novel doctrines, many believers simply lack the resolve to stand firm in wisdom, discernment, and theological conviction. “Examining the Scriptures daily,” like a Berean (Acts 17:11) seems like too much hard work when we’re offered our best life now.

Jude wrote his epistle with the express purpose of calling Christians to remain faithful to the truth and vigorously oppose the seductive teachers who had infiltrated their camp. Jude instructed them to remember the warnings that Jesus had given them so that they would not be surprised by a stealth attack (Jude 17–19).

Jude then exhorted the church to remain faithful to the truth and not fall under the spell of damnable lies: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 20–21).

John MacArthur describes this as a call to remain:

We ought to respond to apostasy by remaining faithful. We need to build one another up in the faith and maintain our spiritual stability. Above all, stay committed to the truth. Don’t waver.

Jude includes four aspects of this principle. First, he says we must seek to remain faithful by “building yourselves up on your most holy faith.” He is urging us to edify one another by the Word of God. The phrase “your most holy faith” is a reference to sound doctrine—a right understanding of the truth as it is revealed in Scripture. Build yourself up on that, Jude says. Here’s how Peter says it in the parallel passage:

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17–18 NKJV).

Be strengthened. Become mature. This is a call to the spiritual discipline of studying the Word.[1]John MacArthur, The Truth War (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 175–176.

One of the chief arguments from leaders in the Emergent Church was that striving for orthodoxy (right doctrine) comes at the expense of orthopraxy (right actions). But Jude states the opposite—that good practice is dependent upon good doctrine. A stable, consistent, and unshakable spiritual walk can only be built upon and sustained through the disciplined study of Scripture. The modern Berean is steadfast in his faith because it is informed and empowered by eternal truths rather than experiential evidence.

MacArthur continues:

Second, maintain your spiritual stability and equilibrium by “praying in the Holy Spirit.” Commune constantly with the Spirit of God, going before God in the power and the will of the Spirit to demonstrate your dependence on God and to cry out for His protection, His grace, His insight, and His power. The faithful life is kept steady through means of the spiritual disciplines of study and prayer.

Third, Jude says, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). That is a way of reminding us to be obedient. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). “Abide in My love,” He told the disciples. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:9–10, emphasis added). Jude 21 is simply echoing that commandment. It is a call for obedience.

Finally, Jude says, keep “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” That speaks of an eager expectation of Christ’s second coming.

All of those are ways of reminding us to set our minds on heavenly things, not on the things of this world (Colossians 3:2). That is the only way to survive in a time of apostasy. Ultimately, only what is eternal really matters—and that means the truth matters infinitely more than any of the merely earthly things that tend to capture our attention and energies.[2]The Truth War, 176–177.

Remaining faithful to God and His Word is dependent upon His power and demonstrated through our obedience. And it is motivated by the reality of His imminent return. In a sea of doctrinal confusion, our anchor in the truth is our commitment to Christ.

When Jude discusses the battle plan for exposing error, he doesn’t provide an option for conscientious objectors. Those who try to argue that they’re not called to contend against false teaching are essentially deserting their post in the war on truth. All believers are enlisted in Christ’s army (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

It’s worth noting that the ultimate enemy in this battle is not people but ideologies and worldviews. Our goal, after remembering and remaining, is to reach those who have fallen under the deception of the enemy. Unbelievers and those with wrong beliefs are not to be destroyed, they are to be won over to the truth. We’ll consider that element next time.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150817
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

The Master’s Seminary: Why Study Church History?

A week from tomorrow, I will make my way to a classroom full of (mostly) first-year seminary students. I can imagine it already.

When I open the door, there will be the inevitable and slightly uncomfortable pause in the hubbub of pre-class conversation. It is the awkward moment every teacher experiences at the start of a new semester — when you enter a room full of unfamiliar faces and everyone stops talking to turn and watch you.

As a relatively new professor, I probably feel the awkwardness more acutely than my seasoned colleagues. But there is no turning back.

Under the watchful gaze of my students, with first impressions already forming, I will walk to the front of the room and set down my bag on the lecture table. Without looking up, I’ll get out my laptop, turn it on, and make sure it’s connected to the projector. Then I’ll arrange whatever books or notes I’ve brought with me.

Soon, everything will be ready to go. I’ll give a nonchalant glance to the clock on the back wall which will remind me that it’s time to start. Without further delay, I’ll take a deep breath, smile, and hear the following words come out of my mouth.

“Good morning, class. Welcome to Historical Theology.”

There. The ice has been broken. Now we can get to work.

In the hour-and-a-half that follows, I will muster all of my professorial enthusiasm to persuade these students that church history is important. But this is more than a just a blatant attempt to sell them on the class. (I really am trying to do more than just get them excited about homework assignments.) This expansive subject is important to me. Vitally so. And it should be important to them (and you) too.

Despite the misconceptions they arrived with, church history is not trivial; or boring; or irrelevant. It is so much more than just names, dates, timelines, and charts. Some of them came in thinking, “I hate history.” Maybe so, but this class is not about history. It’s about the church, the bride of Christ, the most precious institution on earth. It’s about what God has been doing in the world for the last two thousand years. And that means it should matter—especially to men who are training to serve in ministry.

Others will probably wonder why they have to take a history class when they are supposed to be studying the Bible. What they don’t realize is that the study of church history, properly framed, actually increases one’s love for the Scriptures. I have experienced that reality firsthand. The deeper I have investigated the history of the church the more I have grown to appreciate the power and authority of the Word of God — because I have seen that power vividly illustrated in the testimonies of generations of believers. Scripture alone is the authority for all we believe and do; but history provides wonderful affirmation of the truthfulness of those foundational biblical truths.

Over the course of our lecture, I will give my students ten reasons why the study of church history matters. Over the next few days, I’d like to share those reasons with you here on Preachers & Preaching.

Today, I’ll give you just one.

1. Studying church history is important because most contemporary Christians are clueless about it. And they shouldn’t be.

The sad reality is that most American evangelicals know very little about the history of Christianity. Even in Reformed circles, an understanding of church history often goes back only to the Reformation. But the history of the gospel spans all the way back to the New Testament.

If your knowledge of church history jumps from the apostle John (on Patmos) to Martin Luther (at Wittenberg), with little to nothing in between, you ought to seriously consider filling in the gaps. The 1,500 years between Pentecost and the Reformation include many significant people  — fellow believers and faithful leaders  — whom God used in strategic ways to advance His kingdom purposes.

One of the great blindspots in contemporary American evangelicalism is its lack of historical awareness. With his characteristic wit, Carl Trueman explained the problem like this:

I was asked last week why some evangelicals convert to Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Reasons vary, I am sure, but I commented that one theme I have noticed over the years is the fact that evangelicalism lacks historical roots.  That is not to say that it has no history; rather it is to say that a consciousness of history is not part of the package. Rock band worship, Beautiful People everywhere (miserable middle aged plain people need not apply), and history nowhere in sight unless it is a reference in the sermon to an early Coldplay album. On that level, I can understand why people looking for something serious, something with a sense of theological and historical gravitas, simply give up on evangelicalism and start looking elsewhere. Some adults want a faith that is similarly adult, after all. (Source)

Evangelical church history — all 2,000 years of it — is a rich goldmine of theological treasure. In their attempts to juvenlize the church, many evangelical congregations spurn history as if it were outdated and unimportant. But, as Trueman points out, we do ourselves a great disservice if we choose to remain ignorant.

Does God consider history to be important? Certainly He does. Though it is not church history, God used Israel’s history to teach them spiritual truths throughout the Old Testament (cf. Deut. 6:21–25). And in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit saw fit to inspire a book of church history, starting from the Day of Pentecost and running through Paul’s first Roman imprisonment.

While any inspired account of church history ends with the book of Acts, Christians are blessed to have wonderful resources that detail the history of the church from the first century to the present. Those who ignore the profound riches of their own spiritual heritage don’t know what they are missing — namely, the life-changing opportunity to be challenged, instructed, and encouraged in the faith by those who’ve gone before us.

To be continued tomorrow.

The post Why Study Church History? appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

Utah becomes the 5th state to defund Planned Parenthood

WINTERY KNIGHT

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve of incrementalism

Good news, everyone!

Life News has the story:

Utah has become the 5th state to de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the wake of six videos exposing how the abortion giant sells the body parts of aborted babies for research. The state follows Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana, which are revoking a contract with Planned Parenthood using state Medicaid dollars, and New Hampshire, which zapped $650,000 in state taxpayer funding.

According to news reports, Utah is saying it will no longer allow itself to be used by the federal government to funnel funds to the abortion company. The decision essentially revokes well over $200,000 in taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.

As the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered all state agencies to stop funneling federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

The federal government provides grants…

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Islamic State claims that Quran justifies raping captive women and sex slavery

WINTERY KNIGHT

A conflict of worldviews A conflict of worldviews

Nancy Pearcey tweeted this disturbing article from the leftist New York Times. Definitely for adults only.

Excerpt:

In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that…

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Jesus’ Teaching On Hell

The Reformed Reader

How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, 2nd ed.  Jesus talked about hell quite a bit; if you’ve read the Gospels, this is not a groundbreaking statement.  I appreciate how Don Carson reflects on Jesus’ “hard” teaching on hell:

1) On the whole Jesus himself is not shocked by the existence of hell, but by the hardness of people’s hearts.  As I already suggested, that may tell us that we need to wrestle much more diligently with how God looks at sin, and the degree and degradation and moral offensiveness of the sin that he sees.

2) There is no hint in the Bible that there is any repentance in hell.  There may be a cry for relief, or a plea, but there is no hint of repentance (Lk. 16:19-31).  Perhaps, then, we should think of hell as a place where people continue to rebel, continue to insist on their own way, continue societal structures of prejudice and…

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Twenty Unnecessary Years

Unfathomable Grace

Israel had followed their horrible leaders, and they became corrupt just like Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas. Therefore, God stretched out his mighty hand and disciplined his rebellious children. Thirty-thousand Israelites and three priests were slain. Victory was granted to the Philistines resulting in the loss of Israel’s dignity, independence, and sovereignty. Most tragically, the nation of Israel lost both her Ark of the Covenant and her intimacy with God. It was a sad season in Israel’s life. They were duplicitous religious whores, and God allowed them to go their own way and reap the consequences of their lewd behavior.

However, after a short season away from Israel, and a series of humiliating blows to the Philistine idols, God came Israel’s way. He would not allow his sacred Ark of the Covenant and visible symbol of his presence to remain separated from his people for long. Yet, when the Lord and…

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Daily Devotionals: (17th Aug.) The Church Preserved

thinkGOSPEL blog

Reading: Genesis 3:15

The conflict between Satan and humanity is on three levels: individual (serpent and the woman), universal (seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman), and ultimate (Christ the God-Man, the specific seed of the woman through whom the victory is gained). This is the conflict described in Revelation 12. Christ is the child with whom the woman (the church) travails in birth and Satan (the red dragon) is waiting at the birth “to devour her child as soon as it was born” (12:4). The victory over Satan then is not only individual, as noted earlier, but universal; it is the cosmic conflict of good and evil. The church of Christ struggles against the powers and principalities of hell.

There are two great periods of struggle for the church identified in Revelation 12. The woman is afflicted as the dragon waits for the delivery of the…

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Daily Devotionals: (16th Aug.) A Hatred for Sin

thinkGOSPEL blog

Reading: Genesis 3:15

When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden he made a pact with the devil. The scripture speaks of his descendants then as children of the devil (John 8:44; cf. Ephesians 2:2).

“But God, who is rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4) interrupted this relationship and put something between them that would keep them apart. The promise of “enmity” wedged between Satan and men was spoken to Satan as part of his condemnation, but it was spoken for man’s benefit.  It was the first promise of the gospel; a promise of separation from Satan, the destroyer of souls.

Enmity is the key word here; it means hostility. Love is the word of the age, but the love that many speak about is indiscriminate. Gospel love—true, biblical love—invariably and necessarily includes its counterpart, hatred for sin and Satan. God has given us this hatred; it is a holy hatred…

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Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1 NASB)

According to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 15 the mark of Christian authenticity is abiding or remaining in Him. This is not simply a continual profession of faith, but a remaining faithful to Christ in our orthodox Christian faith. According to Paul, It is a two-fold action of departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. The Apostle John called the Christian leaders who do this antichrists.

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Perversions of the Gospel in the Very Early Christian Church

Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation

Taken and adapted from, “Reformed Perspectives Magazine”, Volume 9, Number 12, March 18 to March 24, 2007
Written by, Louis Berkhof

church-history

In the second century the Christian religion as a new force in the world, revealing itself in the organization of the Church, had to engage in a struggle for existence.

It had to guard against dangers from without and from within, had to justify its existence, and had to maintain the purity of doctrine in the face of subtle error. The very existence of the Church was threatened by State persecutions. The first persecutions were entirely Jewish, due to the fact that the Church was largely limited to Palestine, and that the Roman Government for some time considered the followers of Christ as a Jewish sect and therefore regarded their religion as a religio licita. But when it became apparent that Christianity laid claim to a universal…

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