Daily Archives: September 3, 2015

The Secularization of the Christian Mind

thereformedmind

An original goal among the secular social reformers of education was not only to provide public education (uniformity of method) but also secular education (uniformity of secular thought).  That is, they sought to capture the minds of the public school classroom to see to it that the next generation only thinks, explains, analyzes, critiques, understands using secular or naturalistic categories.  Most secular reformers were perfectly content to leave God on the walls of public school classrooms (10 commandments) so long as He was no longer the foundation of the public school classroom (the standard and foundation for knowledge).  I’ve noticed this among students today, even Christian students.  They are thoroughly socialized and secularized to explain all things in the world by interpreting them through purely secular or naturalistic grid.  This is what Nietzsche meant by God is Dead.  Not that no one believes in Him, but that modern man no…

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September 3, 2015 Truth2Freedom US and World Briefing Report

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Sep. 3, 2015

BLOOMBERG

Both chambers of Congress plan to begin debate next week on a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal as President Barack Obama locked up enough Senate votes to keep lawmakers from scuttling the deal.

Mario Draghi unveiled a revamp of quantitative easing to allow for more purchases of each euro member’s debt as the weaker global outlook prompted a wholesale reduction of officials’ economic forecasts through 2017.

As fighter jets streaked through the skies of Beijing and tanks rolled through Tiananmen Square to commemorate the end of World War II, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the world that the nation was committed to peace and announced the biggest cuts to the army in almost two decades.

This year’s high school graduates did worse on the SAT than their peers last year. And there’s more bad news for the College Board, which administers the test: Fewer people are taking the SAT than are taking the ACT, its top competitor. Students in the high school class of 2015 turned in the lowest critical reading score on the SAT college entrance exam in more than 40 years, with all three sections declining from the previous year. Meanwhile, ACT Inc. reported that nearly 60 percent of all 2015 high school graduates took the ACT, up from 49 percent in 2011.

Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than forecast to an eight-week high, representing a pause in a trend of more muted firings. Jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 282,000 in the week ended Aug. 29.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron faced increasing pressure Thursday to let in more refugees from Syria after British newspapers were dominated by a photograph of a dead child on a Turkish beach.

The Abe administration is bringing social security numbers to Japan, seeking to boost tax revenue and enforce payments into the nation’s strained social security system to curb the world’s heaviest debt burden.

AP Top Stories

A county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious beliefs heads to court on Thursday where a federal judge could hold her in contempt for defying his order to do so.

Hungarian police halted a train packed with migrants bound for the Austrian border and tried to force them to disembark in a town with a detention camp, a confrontation that has become a focus of Europe’s migration crisis.

A photograph of a toddler’s lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach after a migrant boat sank swept across Europe on Wednesday, in a poignant image of the refugee crisis.

China’s unveiling of “carrier-killer” missiles and cuts in troop numbers on Thursday underlined its shift towards naval strength amid growing Pacific rivalry with the US, analysts said.

Dozens of billboards with Muslim themes are sprouting nationwide, proclaiming what organizers say is the true message of Islam and its prophet, Muhammad: peace and justice, not extremism and violent jihad.

Iran’s Basij militia, which played a key role in crushing opposition protests in 2009, has put on a show of strength in the capital in a two-day exercise culminating Thursday. Some 50,000 members of the largely volunteer force were taking part in the drill, which was intended to “prove the security forces’ ability to safeguard national security.”

Armed with evidence captured by surveillance cameras, California regulators have ordered a business to stop tapping Sierra Nevada spring water that is later bottled and sold in stores.

China is building two aircraft carriers that will be the same size as its sole carrier, a 60,000-tonne refurbished Soviet-era ship.

Traditionally, the SAT or ACT has been administered at testing centers on weekends at a cost of up to $50 – a barrier to disadvantaged students. But as states incorporate the use of SATs and ACTs as a statewide achievement test for high-schoolers, giving them at school and in many cases for free, they remove an important impediment to college eligibility.

The Pentagon confirmed the presence of five Chinese naval vessels in the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska, which US President Barack Obama is currently visiting. It was believed to be the first time Chinese military ships have been spotted in the area and is another sign of China’s global presence expanding far beyond its own shores.

The U.S. trade deficit fell 7.4 percent to $41.9 billion in July, its lowest level in five months as exports rose, signaling underlying strength in the economy amid concerns about a global growth slowdown.

BBC

There are just over three trillion trees on Earth, according to a new assessment. The figure is eight times as big as the previous best estimate, which counted perhaps 400 billion at most.

Murder rates have increased sharply across the US in 2015, with at least 30 cities reporting a rise in violence.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has resigned hours after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. Congress stripped him of immunity from prosecution, a first in the Central American nation.

The UN has said that conflicts in the Middle East are depriving more than 13 million children of an education.

WND

The Obama administration on Wednesday awarded more than $1 million in grants to Planned Parenthood to help promote ObamaCare, a move that is drawing GOP criticism at a time when the healthcare provider is under congressional investigation.


Top News – 9/3/2015

China holds massive military parade, to cut troop levels by 300,000
China’s confidence in its armed forces and growing military assertiveness, especially in the disputed South China Sea, has rattled the region and drawn criticism from Washington. Xi, speaking on a rostrum overlooking Beijing’s Tiananmen Square before the parade began, said China would cut by 13 percent one of the world’s biggest militaries, currently 2.3-million strong.

Battle of the Messiah’s: Iran Hastening Process of Mahdi’s Arrival with Horrific Chaos Around the World
Most people are aware of the Christian and Jewish concepts of messiah, but very few outside of Islam know of their concept of messiah and how it irreconcilably pits them against the Judeo-Christian world. Today, the Islamic concept of the messiah is being expressed in current political events, most notably in the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Palestinians Angered by Sanhedrin Decision to Put Pope Francis on Trial
The Sanhedrin decided to try the Pope after the Vatican signed its first comprehensive treaty with the “State of Palestine”, thereby officially recognizing its statehood. The treaty was ratified on May 13.

NATO Allies Making It Easier for Iran to Attack Israel?
Apparently, NATO allies believe, although the idea defies logic, that the nuclear deal with Iran will discourage the mullahs in Tehran from attacking Israel.

10 Mind Blowing Facts About CERN Large Collider You Need to Know
One year after CERN’s grand opening, Sergio Bertolucci, former Director for Research and Scientific Computing of the facility, grabbed headlines when he told a British tabloid the super collider could open otherworldly doors to another dimension for “a very tiny lapse of time,” mere fractions of a second. However, that may be just enough time “to peer into this open door, either by getting something out of it or sending something into it.”

$200,000 offer ends ‘gay’ Democrat’s child-sex charges
“Mr. Bean offered him over $200,000 to civilly compromise this case,” Hasselman said, the Oregonian reported. “Now if you’re this child and you have the choice between embarrassment and $5 a day [as a paid witness] and over $200,000 … it seems to me that would be a highly influential factor in deciding what you’re going to do.” Bean was a donor for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign…

$200,000 offer ends ‘gay’ Democrat’s child-sex charges
“Mr. Bean offered him over $200,000 to civilly compromise this case,” Hasselman said, the Oregonian reported. “Now if you’re this child and you have the choice between embarrassment and $5 a day [as a paid witness] and over $200,000 … it seems to me that would be a highly influential factor in deciding what you’re going to do.” Bean was a donor for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign…

Hillary’s IT Guy Says He’ll Plead The 5th If Called To Testify About Homebrew Email Server
The State Department IT worker who managed Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state will plead the Fifth Amendment if called to testify about his work on the Democratic presidential candidate’s mysterious email setup, his attorney informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi this week.

Jeb Bush’s new stance on Trump: Bring it on
Republican Jeb Bush’s new campaign ad ridiculing Donald Trump as a “germophobe” and Democrat-in-disguise is just the start of what will be a bigger onslaught, signaling a more aggressive stance by the candidate, Bush advisers said on Wednesday.

The 2030 Agenda: This Month The UN Launches A Blueprint For A New World Order With The Help Of The Pope
Did you know that the UN is planning to launch a “new universal agenda” for humanity in September 2015? That phrase does not come from me – it is actually right in the very first paragraph of the official document that every UN member nation will formally approve at a conference later this month.

Legionnaires’ outbreak in Illinois kills 8, sickens 41
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has killed an eighth person in Quincy, Illinois, and sickened 41, mostly at a veterans home, health and veterans affairs officials said on Wednesday.

Four hurricanes swirling, more dangerous weather on tap
Forecasters are keeping a wary eye on four hurricanes — two of which are Category 4 — feeding off the warm waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Hurricane triplets Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena have simultaneously formed in the central Pacific. It’s the first time three hurricanes that held a Category 3 rating or stronger had formed in the central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time,

Tropical Storm Kevin forms in Pacific off Mexico’s coast
Tropical Storm Kevin has formed in the eastern Pacific off Mexico’s coast. The storm’s maximum sustained winds early Thursday are near 40 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Kevin is expected to remain a tropical storm through Friday.

Kerry Promises Israel, Saudis Money In Wake of Iran Nuclear Deal
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday moved to reassure Congress that Israel and America’s Gulf State allies would be fully taken care of in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, which Kerry acknowledged would not stop Iran’s support for terrorism, according to a letter sent by the secretary of state to lawmakers.

Obama secures enough support from senators for Iran deal
US President Barack Obama has secured enough support in the US Senate to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal will go into effect. Democrat Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the 34th senator to back the deal on Wednesday. US Congress could still oppose the deal, but Mr Obama has now enough votes to override any resolution of disapproval.

Five Chinese ships seen off Alaska coast, Pentagon says
Five Chinese naval ships are currently positioned in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, US officials confirm. It is believed to be the first time Chinese military vessels have been seen operating in the area. Officials say they have been monitoring the ships’ activities, but said they were operating in international waters.

China poses threat to global growth, IMF warns
Slower growth in China and continuing stock market uncertainty pose a threat to global economic growth, the International Monetary Fund has warned. China’s slowdown appears to have bigger repercussions for other countries than had been expected, the IMF said. The troubles in China have sent the prices of commodities such as oil and copper sliding.

Middle East wars deprive 13m children of education – UN
The UN has said that conflicts in the Middle East are depriving more than 13 million children of an education. The UN children’s fund, Unicef, says in a new report that the hopes of a generation across the Middle East and North Africa are being shattered. It says that in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, almost 9,000 schools are not able to be used for education.

US sponsors ISIS and ‘child-killer’ Israeli regime, says Iranian commander
Commander of Iran’s land force accused the US of sponsoring terrorist groups in the region, including ISIS, and of supporting the “occupying Zionist regime,”… “The US’ new strategy in the region is [inciting wars of] religion against religion, and it has created and supported terrorist groups, including the ISIS, in line with the same strategy,” Iranian commander Ahmadreza Pourdastan said…

Lavish China parade to commemorate WW2 victory
China is set to showcase its military might in a lavish parade, unprecedented in its scale, to mark the defeat of Japan in World War Two. Some 12,000 troops and 200 aircraft, as well as tanks and missiles, will go on display in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. More than 80% of the machinery will be shown in public for the first time, state media said.

Migrant tempers fray as Hungary blocks trains for 2nd day
Tempers flared among the thousands trapped in a makeshift refugee camp in the heart of Budapest on Wednesday as Hungary played hardball with its unwelcome visitors for a second day, blocking train ticket-clutching migrants from traveling deeper into Europe.

Egypt gas find sparks panic in Israel about Israeli reserves
Egypt’s new natural gas bonanza is causing an uproar in Israel, with energy stocks plummeting and recriminations over indecisiveness and infighting that have delayed production from the country’s own gas fields.

Five Chinese Navy Ships Are Operating in Bering Sea Off Alaska Coast
Five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, marking the first time the U.S. military has seen them in the area.

Erdogan tightens leash on Turkish media
High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. Last week’s arrest on purported terrorism charges of three foreign correspondents working for Vice, the online news channel, and this week’s dawn raid on the Koza Ipek group, a mining and energy consortium that owns the Bugun daily newspaper and Bugun TV, has sent another chill through the few remaining outposts of the media in Turkey not yet on a tight government leash.


Top Headlines – 9/3/2015

Iran General: Military Buildup Won’t Stop Until ‘Full Annihilation and Destruction’ of Israel

Khamenei calls to increase air defense

Iran’s Khamenei backs parliamentary vote on nuclear deal with powers

Netanyahu to continue vocal opposition, despite Obama gaining enough votes to secure deal

White House not opposed to blocking Iran deal vote

Take That Bibi. Tweets PBS Anchor Gwen Ifill

Secretary of State John Kerry delivers address in support of Iran deal

Cheney: Obama’s Iran deal a ‘train wreck’

Donald Trump: Nuclear deal calls for US to defend Iran against Israeli attack

Nuclear deal will make war with Iran more likely, former top military officials say in report

US to help counter Iranian threat after deal, Obama to assure Saudi king

Obama to assuage Saudi fears that Iran could spend inflow of funds on ‘nefarious activities’

Kerry Promises Israel, Saudis Money In Wake of Iran Nuclear Deal

Kerry Believes Israel-PA Talks Can Restart

Palestinians appeal to UN to support flag-flying initiative amid Israeli opposition

Navy readies defenses around strategically vital gas drilling rigs off Israel’s coastline

Israel Using Antimissile Laser Technology on Planes

IDF jets bomb Hamas facility day after suspected sniper fire strikes Israeli homes

Terrorist shot after attempting to throw explosive at security forces in Bethlehem

Police, firefighters attacked after rescuing Arab family from e. Jerusalem building

France drops investigation into Arafat’s death

SodaStream chief accuses boycotters of anti-Semitism

Egypt gas find sparks panic in Israel about Israeli reserves

How Israel prevented ISIS from going nuclear

US sponsors ISIS and ‘child-killer’ Israeli regime, says Iranian commander

Islamic State battles Syrian rebel forces in Damascus

Car bomb in Syria’s Latakia kills at least 7

Germany open to ‘constructive’ Iranian role in Syria talks

Former ICC prosecutor pushes to open case into ‘Yazidi genocide’ in Iraq

ISIS burns 4 hog-tied men alive in new video

Islamic State group in Yemen claims responsibility for bomb attacks in capital

Red Cross says 2 aid workers shot dead in northern Yemen

Barack Obama to meet with Saudi’s King Salman over ‘deteriorating’ situation in Yemen

Amid violence and chaos, Turkey grapples with turmoil from within and without

War in in Middle East, N.Africa prevents 13 million going to school, UNICEF reports

Poll: Majority of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim

Chinese Warships in Bering Sea as Obama Visits Alaska

Communist Party takes star role in China’s war parade

China holds massive military parade, to cut troop levels by 300,000

China Focus: Foreign troops march in China parade to display wartime unity against Fascism

Refugees threaten Europe’s Christian roots, says Hungary’s PM

Migrants defiant as Hungary blocks train links for 2nd day

Migrant crisis: Thousands arrive in mainland Greece

A dead baby becomes the most tragic symbol yet of the Mediterranean refugee crisis

Report: More than half of immigrants on welfare

Livid over crime, some Venezuelans resort to mob justice

El Salvador violence up to civil war-era level

‘Who needs this?’ Police recruits abandon dream amid anti-cop climate

Undercover FBI agents spy on annual Burning Man festival to prevent ‘terrorism’

Use of license-plate scanners expands amid privacy concerns, court battles

Hackers could use baby monitors to watch your kids too, security experts warn

Sources: Clinton email markings changed to hide classified info

Stocks rebound: Dow jumps almost 300, Nasdaq surges 2.5%

IMF staff warn G20 of increasing downside economic growth risks

IMF: China, tumbling commodity prices threaten world economy

Welcome to Quantitative Tightening as $12 Trillion Reserves Fall

U.S. Banks Posted Record Profits in Second Quarter, FDIC Says

Times of India Blames Shemita for Financial Disasters

NASA Teams Up With Hoverboard Company to Build a Magnetic “Tractor Beam”

Will talk of the ‘Big One’ shake the US into quake prep?

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Hihifo, Tonga

Two Earthquakes Recorded In Oklahoma

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 39,000ft

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador erupts to 26,500ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 16,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 12,000ft

2015 Could Set a New Record for Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes and Typhoons

3 Hurricanes Are Hitting the Pacific at the Same Time, and the View From Space Is Amazing

Tropical Depression 14-E to Threaten Mexico Late Week

At least 4 dead after Mexico hit by apocalyptic hailstorm

Obama: Shrinking Exit Glacier a powerful sign of warming climate

Obama Prophesies Climate Nightmare: Famine, Floods, Fire, Fumes and Fighting

Marijuana wine the next big thing

Sierra Leone to vaccinate 200 people connected to Ebola victim

7 dead in Legionnaires’ outbreak at Illinois veterans home

Nearly 900,000 veterans have pending health care requests, watchdog says

E-mail blunder reveals identities of HIV-positive patients

Planned Parenthood chapters among those receiving new Obamacare grants

Judge OKs gender surgery opposed by 48-year-old’s parents

Forcing Girls To Share A Bathroom With A Gender-Confused Boy Is Abuse

Fiorina, Graham say Kentucky clerk should hand out gay ‘marriage’ licenses or resign

Another KY clerk vows to not issue same sex marriage licenses

After blasphemous gay pride parade, Brazil seeks to ban ‘Christophobia’

Majority of American Catholics OK With Children Being Raised by Gay Parents, Survey Finds Ahead of Historic Papal Visit

Atheists Demand ‘No Gods’ Statue in Arkansas After State Approves Ten Commandments Monument


 

The Briefing

1) Portland Catholic school reverses policy on gay employees in less than 48 hours

Portland, Oregon, Catholic school changes gay hiring policy after backlash, Reuters (Shelby Sebens)

Rescinding job offer to gay counselor doesn’t reflect St. Mary’s Academy spirit, students say, The Oregonian (Melissa Binder)

St. Mary’s reverses policy on gay employment after backlash over rescinded hire, The Oregonian (Melissa Binder)

2) UT’s proposed gender pronoun policy exposes presence of morality shift even in Bible Belt

Tennessee students asked to use gender-neutral pronouns, The Tennessean (AP)

University of Tennessee switches gender-specific pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ for ‘xe’ and ‘ze’ to promote inclusivity, The Independent (Jess Staufenberg)

3) Missouri high school grants transgender teen access to girls’ bathroom

A transgender teen used the girls’ locker room. Now her community is up in arms. , Washington Post (Michael E Miller)

4) Pervasive doping raises questions of reality for fans of track and field

What’s Real in Track? It’s Hard to Know, New York Times (Juliet Macur)

In other news…


Daily Digest

September 3, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable.” —James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1790

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Predetermined Outcome Now Inevitable on Iran

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Congress was never going to be stop Barack Obama’s deal with Iran. Not when he deliberately negotiated a treaty and didn’t call it a treaty specifically so as to avoid Congress. And certainly not when Sen. Bob Corker crafted a deal to guarantee congressional review but with a huge caveat — Obama didn’t need a two-thirds majority to ratify a treaty, but rather only one-third to sustain a veto. A couple of Democrats — Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez — made a show of bucking Obama, but in the end it was only a matter of Minority Leader Harry Reid granting a few no votes to Democrats whose electoral fortunes depended on it. The rest would fall into line with Obama. That wagon circle was completed Wednesday when Sen. Barbara Mikulski became the 34th senator to announce her support for the deal, virtually guaranteeing its passage. Now Obama just needs 41 Democrats to sustain a filibuster so he doesn’t even have to bother vetoing. The predetermined outcome is why Obama felt so free to slander Republicans as making “common cause” with Iranian hardliners. Well, that and his narcissistic personality disorder.

There are a couple of important points here. First, Obama’s vote count charade has never been about national security or Iran; it has been about cutting back room deals for votes. His “defining legacy” was always secure. Second, and to that point, Democrats now own Iran. Rep. Patrick Murphy had the complete lack of historical awareness to unwittingly quote Neville Chamberlain in declaring the deal would bring “peace in our time.” But when — not if — Iran obtains nuclear weapons, Democrats have now affixed their names to that Obama legacy. Obama admitted as much, saying “it’s my name on this” for an Iranian bomb. Giving Iran $100 to $150 billion in sanctions relief with which the ayatollahs will continue funding terrorism is also Obama’s legacy. And Congress won’t do anything about it.

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307,000 Veterans Died Waiting on the VA

About three times as many veterans died while trying to enroll for care at the Department of Veterans Affairs than died while fighting World War I, a new report by the VA’s inspector general shows. While 116,516 Americans lost their lives in The Great War, when the inspector general looked at the pending enrollment system records in September 2014, it discovered that 35% of the applications, or 307,000 veterans, belonged to people who died. Part of the problem, it seems, is how the VA manages its information. “[D]ue to data limitations, we could not determine specifically how many pending [enrollment system] records represent veterans who applied for health care benefits,” the VA’s Deputy IG, Linda Halliday, wrote. “These conditions occurred because the enrollment program did not effectively define, collect, and manage enrollment data.” As program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center Scott Davis told CNN, the VA’s inability to process applications cost more than one combat veteran from the War on Terror his ability to receive VA care because it took more than five years for the VA to get the soldier enrolled. If this is how the government treats those that risked life and limb for it, we can’t wait for when ObamaCare reaches its zenith.

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Chick-fil-A Is Coming to Denver Airport After All

Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain that soars in customer satisfaction surveys, recently bid to open a restaurant in the Denver International Airport, but it was initially denied due to “concerns” that a local franchise could generate “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” The unforgivable sin, of course, was Chick-fil-A founder Dan Cathy’s 2012 defense of biblical marriage. The Denver City Council’s opposition was completely absurd, but, fortunately, sanity prevailed. Well, perhaps we should rephrase: Fear of losing a lawsuit prevailed. National Review’s John Fund writes, “[C]ity-council members sat through a closed-door briefing from Denver’s city attorneys, where they were warned that barring a business on the basis of political prejudice would be a one-way ticket to a successful First Amendment lawsuit. Minority groups spoke up against the council, noting that Chick-fil-A’s local partner was a minority-owned business named Delarosa Restaurant Concepts.” And eventually they caved, though none walked back their original reasons for opposing the lease. In other words, it’s good news of a sort, but leftists will simply wait for a more opportune time to browbeat anyone who doesn’t fall in line with “tolerance.”

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Melting Glacier National Park?

By Allyne Caan

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Obama’s Alaskan adventure

The power to tax may be the power to destroy, but the power to regulate is equally dangerous. This week, Barack Obama stood in front of a receding glacier in Alaska to once again raise the specter of catastrophic climate change. His real agenda, of course, is to push for more environmental regulations that are already killing jobs, crushing industry and hurting hardworking families.

Speaking in Alaska to the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic, Obama warned, “If [current] trend lines continue the way they are, there’s not going to be a nation on this earth that’s not going to be impacted negatively. … More drought, more floods, rising sea levels, greater migration, more refuges, more scarcity, more conflict.”

This, of course, according to indisputably settled science. Or not.

For example, The New York Times editorialized on Obama’s trip to Alaska this week in a piece titled “Mr. Obama’s Urgent Arctic Message.” It was accompanied by a photo of Margerie Glacier, ostensibly to demonstrate the magnitude of the state’s receding ice. One small problem: That particular glacier isn’t receding at all. Writing for the National Park Service, Dr. Daniel E. Lawson says Margerie Glacier “has been advancing about 30 feet per year for the past couple of decades.” To be clear, other glaciers are melting. But for a newspaper that prides itself in supposed journalistic integrity, you’d think it would research basic information.

But never mind all that. After renaming America’s tallest mountain, Obama staged photo ops with glaciers to herald imminent global demise and sophomorically ridiculed those who disagree with him for being “on their own shrinking island.”

In truth, “very substantial disagreement about climate change” exists, according to Judith Curry, professor at Georgia Institute for Technology and a participant in the International Panel on Climate Change and National Academy of Sciences. In fact, data from both the UN and the U.S. fails to show higher frequency of extreme weather including floods, tornadoes and drought. People just think these things happen more because of the 24-hour news cycle.

Nevertheless, Obama cries endangered wolf, and here comes his EPA, ready with a slew of new regulations to save the planet. Just what will his plans accomplish? Well, aside from regulating the coal industry towards extinction, upping the ranks of the unemployed, and reducing overall income levels, not much.

In fact, according to EPA modeling, Obama’s Clean Power Plan would avert rising global temperatures by a minuscule 0.02 degrees Celsius.

But we all know this was never about global warming; it’s always been about control. Obama doesn’t want to grow glaciers so much as he wants to put the federal government in every backyard in America.

And he’s doing just that, the law be melted. This past weekend, the EPA implemented new regulations related to the Clean Water Act that pretty much give the federal government control over every pool of water in the country. Astoundingly (or not, given this administration), the EPA went ahead with these rules even though a federal judge had already suspended them in 13 states. But in Obama’s fundamentally transformed America, who cares what the law says?

We’re already seeing what happens when the EPA is truly unleashed. One farmer in Wyoming is facing $16 million in federal fines for building a small dam across a tiny creek on his property — despite the fact that he obtained all necessary state permits. As Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw so eloquently notes, “Because the creek feeds into the Green River the EPA seems to feel that they hold jurisdiction over it, though calling that stream ‘navigable waters’ would require expanding the definition of ‘boats’ to include ‘galoshes.’ Also, the ‘dam’ in question was composed of sand, gravel, clay and concrete blocks, which the agency decided met the criteria for ‘pollutants.’ (Aside from the cinder blocks, those materials are also locally known as ‘the ground.’)”

None of this is surprising in the least. From day one, Obama has disregarded law, ignored facts and ridiculed the American people to push his agenda. And his overreach is making Americans crave a return to Rule of Law.

Indeed, in an op-ed this week in National Review, Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio laid out where every presidential contender should stand on this and every issue: “The Constitution grants very specific powers to the federal government, and if something isn’t on that list, it falls under the purview of the states. So when I take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, I am going to take that oath very seriously — and that will include allowing the states to control their own energy futures.”

Well said, but watch out, Senator. Pretty soon your speech will be dubbed carbon emissions — ripe for EPA regulation.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

OPINION IN BRIEF

Victor Davis Hanson: “[Hillary Clinton’s] imbroglios raise more issues. Was Sen. Barack Obama, largely a political unknown at the time, really all that unstoppable in 2008? Or did Hillary simply blow a 30-point lead in the polls because then as now she proved a lousy candidate? … Hillary’s latest troubles reflect a quarter-century of Clinton habits that transcend time and space. Both Bill and Hillary seem to have always believed they should be exempt from the law. Both seem needlessly tawdry in their avarice. Their cover-ups often prove even more damaging than their indiscretions. Bill was always the far better speaker and political schmoozer than Hillary. And now Hillary is proving — again — that she prefers slandering accusers rather than refuting accusations. Are Hillary’s first four and a half months of campaigning a glimpse of the next 14? If so, the Democratic Party — and the country — are going to be utterly exhausted.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.” —Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950)

Upright: “[V]iolence is a tool. It’s not a good tool — in the moral sense — nor is it a bad tool. Surgery to save a life is laudable. Surgery to inflict pain is torture. A hammer can smash in someone’s skull, or it can build a house. To say that all kinds of violence are equally bad isn’t high-minded morality; it is amoral nihilism wrapped in a kind of gauzy, brain dead sanctimony.” —Jonah Goldberg

Nothing more than a vast right-wing conspiracy. Move along: “I think that the Clintons basically are better people than their enemies. … Trey Gowdy, who is a tool of the Koch Brothers, just feeds the New York Times stuff and they put it in the paper… You would think that at some point people who are supposed to know better would learn their lesson. But they never do, and so, therefore, I have to keep coming out of retirement to point this kind of stuff out.” —Clintonista James Carville

Birds of a feather?: “[Kanye West] has said very good things about me. Extremely positive things. … He’s actually a different kind of a person than people think. He’s a nice guy. I hope to run against him someday.” —Donald Trump

Stumbling into the truth: “I don’t think that we should expect that anything that we’re going to enact in Washington is going to stop shootings.” —Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) during a lengthy rant about — what else? — why we need more gun control

Late-night humor: “NBC just announced that President Obama will appear on an episode of ‘Running Wild With Bear Grylls’ later this year. Yeah, I guess the episode features Obama roughing it on a golf course that hasn’t been mowed for a couple of days.” —Jimmy Fallon

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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The 2030 Agenda: This Month The UN Launches A Blueprint For A New World Order With The Help Of The Pope

The 2030 Agenda - Earth - Public DomainDid you know that the UN is planning to launch a “new universal agenda” for humanity in September 2015?  That phrase does not come from me – it is actually right in the very first paragraph of the official document that every UN member nation will formally approve at a conference later this month.  The entire planet is going to be committing to work toward 17 sustainable development goals and 169 specific sustainable development targets, and yet there has been almost a total media blackout about this here in the United States.  The UN document promises that this plan will “transform our world for the better by 2030“, and yet very few Americans have even heard of the 2030 Agenda at this point.  Instead, most of us seem to be totally obsessed with the latest celebrity gossip or the latest nasty insults that our puppet politicians have been throwing around at one another.  It absolutely amazes me that more people cannot understand that Agenda 2030 is a really, really big deal.  When will people finally start waking up? (Read More…)


Russia Is Going To Pass A Law Formally Dumping The U.S. Dollar

Vladimir Putin 2015 - Public DomainRussian President Vladimir Putin has introduced legislation that would deal a tremendous blow to the U.S. dollar.  If Putin gets his way, and he almost certainly will, the U.S. dollar will be eliminated from trade between nations that belong to the Commonwealth of Independent States.  In addition to Russia, that list of countries includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Obviously this would not mean “the death of the dollar”, but it would be a very significant step toward the end of the era of the absolute dominance of the U.S. dollar.  Most people don’t realize this, but more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than are used inside this country.  If the rest of the planet decides to stop accumulating dollars, using them to trade with one another, and loaning them back to us at ultra-low interest rates, we are going to be in for a world of hurt.  Unfortunately for us, it is only a matter of time until that happens. (Read More….)


History of Unmistakable Divine Wrath Serves as Warning for Fate of Nuclear Deal

Unmistakable divine messages can be tracked through history accompanying major world events. As US lawmakers deliberate the future of the nuclear agreement with Iran, American leaders should take a hint from history and understand the divine implications of their decisions.

View Article


Militant black activists call for chaos, flag burning, and murder on 9/11

Christian Examinerhas this disturbing story:

WARNING TO READERS: The links enabled in this story lead to videos posted by activists with #FYF911 and contain the prolific use of profanity and racial slurs for both white and black people, as well as graphic portrayals of their intentions. Christian Examiner is providing the links for readers to further research the information contained in the article below and as a means of confirmation of the comments made by the activists.

A group of militant black activists is encouraging the followers of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to hijack Sept. 11, traditionally a day of national remembrance for those who lost their lives in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 19 in 2001.

Instead of celebrating the unity of the United States on the day, the activists instead claim they will be holding nationwide protests, burning the American flag and even using the American flag to clean themselves after using the bathroom. Several of the activists have already posted pictures online
showing themselves using the American flag as toilet paper.

http://www.christianexaminer.com/article/militant.black.activists.call.for.chaos.flag.burning.and.murder.on.9.11/49450.html


John Kerry Offers Israel Billions In Military Bribes To Stay Quiet On Iran Nuclear Deal

Kerry Promises Israel, Saudis Money In Wake of Iran Nuclear Deal

Just how bad is Barack Obama’s Nuclear Treaty with Iran? It is so bad that the Obama administration is willing to spend billions and billions of dollars for “military equipment packages” for Israel and the Saudi kingdom if they will “just go along” with the proposed Iranian treaty. That hideous screeching sound  you are hearing right now is the ghost of Neville Chamberlain laughing hysterically.And if that wasn’t the worst of it, John Kerry freely admits that the Obama deal will give Iran unprecedented power to conduct terror attacks around the globe. They admit that.

john-kerry-admits-obama-iran-nuclear-deal-will-create-terror-attacks-israel

John Kerry admits that, despite the deal, Iran will continue to back terrorist groups across the globe and promises to boost military support and funding to Israel and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Israel, for instance, will be the first country in the region to get a U.S.-made next-generation F-35 fighter aircraft in 2016. An additional $3 billion in U.S. aid also will go to secure Israel’s missile defense programs, such as the Iron Dome system. The administration also stands ready “to enhance” funding to next-generation missile defense systems, such as Arrow-3 and David’s Sling.

The administration, Kerry writes, recently “offered Israel a $1.89 billion munitions resupply package that will replenish Israel’s inventories and will ensure its long-term continued access to sophisticated, state of the art precision guided munitions.”

The administration will additionally work to secure a new 10-year “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Jewish state that “would cement for the next decade our unprecedented levels of military assistance,” Kerry writes.

Kerry also proposes to collaborate with Israel on “tunnel detection and mapping technologies to provide Israel new capabilities to detect and destroy [terrorist] tunnels before the could be used to threaten Israeli civilians.”

President Barack Obama has further proposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the two governments “begin the process aimed a further strengthening our efforts to confront conventional and asymmetric threats.”


Horrific Drug Called ‘Devil’s Breath’ Turns Victims Into Helpless, Obedient Zombies

The drug, which is known by the scientific name Scopolamine, comes from the seeds of a tree called the Borrachero, which means ‘the drunkard’, and which grows throughout northern parts of South America, including in city parks.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” 1 John 2:18 (KJV)

Walking through the cosmopolitan streets of Paris’s 20th arrondissement, not far from rock star Jim Morrison’s tomb, a respectable, elderly lady is approached by a Chinese woman asking for directions. As the pair bend over a map, the Chinese woman blows a tiny dust cloud of white powder into the face of the helpful Parisian. What happens next is like something from a horror film.

devils-breath-scopolamine-turns-victims-into-zombies-cia-truth-serum

There are reports that millions of euros have been stolen as a result of the drug’s use, and sent back to gangmasters in China.

For, unbeknown to the victim, this white powder is Devil’s Breath, a substance so toxic and powerful that it turns everyone who ingests it into what investigators call ‘zombies’, devoid of their own free will. Indeed, so suggestible does it make its victims that South American tribes used to administer the drug to the wives of dead chiefs, who, under tribal tradition, had to be buried alive with their husbands after they died.

Taken from the seeds of a plant which grows wild in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela — related to deadly nightshade — the drug meant these women could be persuaded to walk happily into the graves to their gruesome deaths.

Now, in a series of cases that have horrified police, the drug is being used by criminal gangs in Europe to drug unsuspecting victims who are then easily persuaded to hand over their most valuable possessions.

Among those recently robbed using Devil’s Breath was the elderly lady in Paris, one of at least 20 people targeted in recent days by a criminal gang in the French capital. The gang’s modus operandi seems almost too easy — they blow the drug into the faces of their victims, leaving them physically functioning, but mentally unable to resist orders. According to sources close to the French investigation, victims fell into a ‘hypnotic state under the total sway of their handlers’ after this powder was blown into their faces.

A police source added: ‘They got the victims to take them to their home, where they asked them to put all their jewellery and money into a bag and hand it over to them.’

Two Chinese women and a European man who belong to the gang are now under arrest, but the fear is that hundreds of others across Europe could already have fallen victim to such criminals, or will be attacked in the near future.

In a recent TV documentary, Devil’s Breath was dubbed by law enforcement officers as the ‘most terrifying drug in the world’. Miriam Gutierrez, a toxicology expert in Bogota, Colombia, explained: ‘From a medical point of view, it’s the perfect substance to commit criminal acts, because the victim won’t remember anything.’

It was once used as a ‘truth serum’ by America’s CIA, and even administered by Joseph Mengele, the Nazi’s so-called Angel of Death, during experiments on Jewish prisoners.

Because of the amnesia brought on by Devil’s Breath, investigating this new crimewave has proved problematic. Police smashed the ring only after a handful of victims contacted them, having vaguely remembered what happened. Victims admitted they had co-operated with thieves — and even handed over passwords and pins for bank accounts — in ‘dream-like’ states.

While one of the Chinese women in the gang blew the dust in her victims’ faces, the other told passers-by that she had a mixture of plants which had powerful medicinal qualities — and persuaded people to have a sniff.

‘They managed to isolate their victims, then got them to breathe in a mixture of plants, saying they had powerful curative qualities — even protecting them from misfortune,’ a police source told Le Parisien.

During a police investigation into the gang’s activities, detectives discovered the Chinese women had been operating from a hotel room in a drab suburb in the north of the French capital, where powder believed to be Devil’s Breath, along with weighing scales and surgical gloves, were discovered.

The gang is thought to be part of a much bigger criminal network operating across Europe and the U.S. There are reports that millions of euros have been stolen as a result of the drug’s use, and sent back to gangmasters in China.

Chinese authorities confirm that those arrested in Paris are part of a notorious criminal network, ‘which acts around the world and specialises in mental submission (of victims) with the aid of unknown products’.

The lethal qualities of Devil’s Breath should not be under-estimated: medical experts say that even a gram of powder is enough to kill, while lower quantities can result in hallucinations and a hypnotised state. source


NATO Allies Making It Easier for Iran to Attack Israel :: Bekdil at Gatestone

by Burak Bekdil
The Gatestone Institute
September 3, 2015

http://www.meforum.org/5467/turkey-iran-nato


What America Has in Common With Rome Before Its Fall

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 08:02 AM PDT

What America Has in Common With Rome Before Its FallHow much in common does America have with ancient Rome and what can we learn from this ancient Empire? Society’s influence on the church is very alarming. In times past, the hero was the father, not Edward (from Twilight). The greatest influence was the mother, not Bella. Kids once quoted Scriptures; now they are casting spells. What a sad commentary on the state of the family today. Hollywood, not the Holy Spirit, is guiding us. An important question for all Christians to ask is: “Are we ‘affecting’ the world, or is the world ‘infecting’ us?” A.W. Tozer reminds us: “Where does Christianity destroy itself in a given generation? It destroys itself by not living in the light, by professing a truth it does not obey.”

The church should not reflect or imitate the world, but lovingly confront it. We do the most for the world when we are the least like the world. We are to love them but not learn from them (cf. Ps. 107:35-37). No other decision will impact our lives more than who or what we choose to follow … what we choose to love. Americans give approximately $4 billion, but spend over $150 billion a year on pleasure. A serious misplacement of priorities. FULL REPORT

The post What America Has in Common With Rome Before Its Fall appeared first on .


Vancouver Earthquake could produce death toll of 10,000

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:55 AM PDT

Vancouver Earthquake could produce death toll of 10,000 The Vancouver Sun gave a grim warning of a “Worst-Case” Scenario regarding a massive earthquake resulting in the death of thousands in Vancouver. Most people hear it before they feel it — a low, rumbling sound similar to a freight train. Closest to the epicentre, violent shaking, which lasts 10 to 20 seconds, knocks people off their feet. Tall buildings sway. Some buildings collapse, and many shift and crack.

The ground ruptures in some areas. There are fires from broken gas lines and flooding from the recent rains increases as some dikes failing. Windows break and glass falls. Many people who run outside suffer injury or death from falling and flying objects. Thousands are trapped. Medical facilities are overwhelmed. This is the grim picture painted of a hypothetical, worst-case scenario earthquake that hits Vancouver.

The scenario — a shallow earthquake of magnitude 7.3 temblor directly beneath the city — was chosen to provide the basis for drafting an emergency earthquake plan by the province.

Such an earthquake, the plan noted, would be “exceedingly rare.” In the scenario, 18 per cent of Metro Vancouver buildings are estimated to receive extensive damage, while 12 per cent are most likely to receive catastrophic damage. The death toll is estimated at nearly 10,000 in Metro Vancouver with more than 128,000 injuries.

In a separate worst-case scenario for an earthquake beneath Victoria, deaths were estimated at nearly 1,500 and injuries at more than 19,000. The human casualty figures are among the first such estimates for Metro Vancouver, as governments grapple with how to prepare for a severe earthquake that scientists predict for B.C. FULL REPORT

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The 5 stores that Walmart mysteriously closed are finally reopening

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:44 AM PDT

The 5 stores that Walmart mysteriously closed are finally reopening  Remember back when Walmart suddenly closed five stores in April without warning, laying off more than 2,200 employees in the process? According to new reports, Six months later, the retailer is now reopening the stores and inviting previous employees to reapply for their jobs, This information comes from Reuters.

Walmart said it closed the stores in California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida because of persistent plumbing issues. But Walmart employees — who said they were blindsided by the closures — have a different theory about why the stores may have been closed. They say Walmart shuttered the stores in retaliation against workers protesting for better pay and working conditions, which is something Walmart has been found guilty of doing in Canada.

The UFCW — a labor group representing Walmart’s laid-off workers — filed a claim with the National Labor Relations Board demanding that the company rehire the employees. Walmart employees weren’t alone in their skepticism. The closures also fueled a bizarre conspiracy theory that the US military was planning to enact martial law this summer under the guise of a special-operations exercise called Jade Helm 15. According to the theory — which has no apparent basis in reality — the military was planning to use the shuttered Walmart stores as “processing” facilities for Americans once martial law was hatched. FULL REPORT

The post The 5 stores that Walmart mysteriously closed are finally reopening appeared first on .


Google unveils new feature that tracks your every move and records where you take photos

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:33 AM PDT

Google unveils new feature that tracks your every move and records where you take photosOnce again, a major social media company is under fire for essentially trashing users’ privacy rights. This time, it’s Google, which is being heavily criticized for a controversial new service that reveals some of the personal information that the company knows about you. The service, “Your Timeline,” is designed to permit users of the social media company’s famous online maps to identify places they visit. Google officials say the app will help people remember places like restaurants and other locations they visited.

As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, however, some users took to Twitter and other social sites to proclaim Your Timeline as “scary.” In fact, one site – BGR.com – proclaimed the new app “incredibly cool” and “terrifyingly scary.” In a blog post, Google’s Gerard Sanz, in announcing the feature, wrote, “Have you ever wanted a way to easily remember all the places you’ve been — whether it’s a museum you visited during your last vacation or that fun bar you stumbled upon a few months ago? Well, starting today, Google Maps can help.” FULL REPORT

The post Google unveils new feature that tracks your every move and records where you take photos appeared first on .


China’s covert war with America heats up: warships near Alaska, another industrial explosion, and China unveils cruise missile that renders U.S. carriers obsolete

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:26 AM PDT

China's covert war with America heats up: warships near Alaska, another industrial explosion, and China unveils cruise missile that renders U.S. carriers obsolete Two weeks ago, I ran an exclusive Natural News story announcing that a covert war between China and the USA had begun. The war started as a currency and debt war, then escalated into the catastrophic Tianjin explosion carried out by the U.S. Pentagon in a “kinetic retaliation” strategy, according to sources. It wasn’t long after the Tianjin explosion that a second explosion rocked the Chinese province of Shandong, sending “coincidence theorists” into a hissy fit because suddenly a pattern of explosions was emerging that could not simply be explained away as sheer chance.

Just a few days later, a massive explosion took out a U.S. military munitions depot in Japan, and evidence clearly pointed to it being sabotage (the Chinese government hates the Japanese, and it’s now the 70th anniversary of Japan’s heinous war crimes committed against the Chinese people). Now, as reported by The Daily Sheeple, a THIRD massive explosion has ripped through China’s industrial infrastructure… this time also taking place in the Shandong province.

When I first saw this news, I thought someone was confusing the facts about the Shandong province, mistakenly thinking there were two explosions taking place there. But it turns out there were really two explosions in Shandong alone (plus the one in Tianjin), according to the Mirror (UK) which reports: “Today’s explosion is also the SECOND blast to occur in Shandong, after a previous one injured eight people just over a week ago.” (Keep in mind that China is desperately censoring all the news on these explosions, and the Chinese government is also heavily pressuring other nations to downplay or censor these explosions as well. There is a global effort to suppress this news, and China has even arrested over 15,000 bloggers and journalists for so-called “internet crimes” which include reporting on true events the government doesn’t want talked about.) FULL REPORT

The post China’s covert war with America heats up: warships near Alaska, another industrial explosion, and China unveils cruise missile that renders U.S. carriers obsolete appeared first on .


Donald Trump: Nuclear deal calls for US to defend Iran against Israeli attack

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 07:01 AM PDT

Donald Trump: Nuclear deal calls for US to defend Iran against Israeli attackDonald Trump is sounding the alarm in response to the recent Iran Nuclear deal that has officially been sealed after the final vote yesterday. “If Israel attacks Iran according to that deal, I believe… that we have to fight with Iran against Israel,”  the Republican presidential candidate tells CNN. In a telephone interview with CNN Tuesday, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that under the auspices of the Iran nuclear agreement, if Israel were to attack the Islamic Republic, the United States would have to come to the Tehran’s aid.

Trump has vocally opposed the deal since announcing his run for president, saying that the United States “should have doubled up the sanctions for another couple of months” and that the 24-day notice Iran receives before sites can be inspected is unacceptable. But Trump added an unconventional twist to the opposition argument, suggesting that under the terms of the deal the United States was required to fight alongside Iran if Israel were to attack. “You know, there is something in the Iran deal that people I don’t think really understand or know about,” the real estate mogul said. “And nobody is ever to explain it that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense.” FULL REPORT

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US Shadowing Russian Ship in Atlantic Near Nuke Sub Areas

Posted: 03 Sep 2015 06:46 AM PDT

US Shadowing Russian Ship in Atlantic Near Nuke Sub AreasNot only are we keeping a close eye on Chinese Warships off the coast of Alaska but now, U.S. intelligence ships, aircraft, and satellites are closely watching a Russian military vessel in the Atlantic that has been sailing near a U.S. nuclear missile submarine base and underwater transit routes, according to Pentagon officials. The Russian research ship Yantar has been tracked from the northern Atlantic near Canada since late August as it makes its way south toward Cuba.

Defense officials familiar with reports on the Russian ship say the Yantar is believed to be gathering intelligence on underwater sensors and other equipment used by U.S. nuclear submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia. The submarines, their transit lanes, and training areas stretch from the coastal base through the Atlantic to Europe. Intelligence analysts believe the ship, one of Russia’s newest military research vessels commissioned earlier this year, is part of a larger strategic intelligence-gathering operation against U.S. nuclear missile submarines and other targets. FULL REPORT

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Pastor: Drunkenness Not Sin, Homosexuality Up for ‘Interpretation’

Posted: 02 Sep 2015 08:50 PM PDT

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Pastor: Drunkenness Not Sin, Homosexuality Up for ‘Interpretation’Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a professing Christian, is refusing to intervene to protect the religious liberty of a county clerk who is facing possible punishment for defying a court order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals, Beshear’s pastor says that he doesn’t teach about homosexuality in his congregation and leaves the issue of whether or not it is a sin up to “personal interpretation.” As previously reported, Beshear, a Democrat and son and grandson of a minister, issued a statement yesterday outlining that he will not call a special session of the legislature to assist Rowan county clerk Kim Davis, who will report to court tomorrow to face the charge and may be levied with heavy fines to force her into compliance.

“The General Assembly will convene in four months and can make any statutory changes it deems necessary at that time. I see no need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money calling a special session of the General Assembly when 117 of 120 county clerks are doing their jobs,” he wrote. Beshear’s longtime former church, Lexington Primitive Baptist Church, supports Davis. According to reports, Beshear left Lexington Primitive Baptist and began attending Crestwood Christian Church years ago since his wife is a member. FULL REPORT

The post Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Pastor: Drunkenness Not Sin, Homosexuality Up for ‘Interpretation’ appeared first on .


The Approach of the 29th of Elul and the Darkened Sun

Posted: 02 Sep 2015 08:27 PM PDT

The Approach of the 29th of Elul and the Darkened SunAs we continue our September Series we will discuss important time frames and dates of September 11, 2015 and the the 13th which is the 29th of Elul and the beginning of the new year according to the Jewish Calendar. You will discover shocking patterns, cycles and events centered around the cycle of the 7 Year Shemitah and what could be coming in the next 12 months. 

The post The Approach of the 29th of Elul and the Darkened Sun appeared first on .


China set to display military ambitions this week, 5 Warships Near Alaska

Posted: 02 Sep 2015 08:12 PM PDT

China set to display military ambitions this week, 5 Warships Near AlaskaChina will roll out its latest weaponry through the heart of Beijing this week in a massive parade widely seen as a public show of its growing military capability and ambitions. At the same time this is about to kick off, We have discovered that five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska,  Officials have said they have been aware in recent days that three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious ship were in the vicinity after observing them moving toward the Aleutian Islands.

This news comes a day before The military parade on Thursday, the first under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, is billed by Beijing as a sincere commemoration for those who fought and died in World War Two. But Western leaders, including Australia’s, have shunned Beijing’s invitations, worried that the none-too-subtle projection of military power is no more than an exercise in drum-beating nationalism, at a time of heightened tensions in the East and South China seas. Also let us not forget the multiple explosions that have occurred in China over the last 2 weeks as well, raising speculations and concerns of nuclear war to conspiracy theories of what caused the multiple explosions. FULL REPORT

The post China set to display military ambitions this week, 5 Warships Near Alaska appeared first on .


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


Resource Links

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.

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

September 3, 2015 Truth2Freedom Christian Briefing Report

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Understanding and Interpreting the Commandments

The law of God must not just be the rule of our obedience, but also the reason of it.  We must not simply obey the law, but obey it because the Lord requires it; we must do what it says out of love for God; the love of God must be the fountain, the impulsive, and the efficient cause of all our obedient to the law (see 1 John).

Read more


Why Should We Study Systematic Theology?

The unity of the church demands it. True ecumenicity is not possible apart from robust theological fidelity. Church unity requires doctrinal agreement: “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). How can we contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) if we do not have a deep understanding of that faith?

Read more


False Narratives of Christian Leaders Caught in Abuse

The most significant catastrophe in all of this is that false narratives declare to victims that the horrors of their abuse are not nearly as significant as preserving the all important reputation and career of another Christian leader. These individuals find themselves once again exploited and abused by offenders needing to satisfy distorted self-obsessions and who don’t care for anyone made in the image of the God they claim to worship.

Read More


A Grievous Ruin

I wonder if the church that has just hired Tchividjian understands the peril in which they have placed him. I wonder also if they understand what hiring as a minister a newly confessed adulterer broadcasts to their church and community. Do they understand what this action communicates about the gravity of adultery and divorce? Do they understand what this action communicates about sin and repentance?

Read More


Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence

As a confessional Christian, I have to wonder where the church fits in to all this movement-based sexual purity. Moslener demonstrates how purity becomes the answer offered to the problem that needs to be cured. While Jesus is presented as necessary to this “personal transformation,” the language used sounds more like a psychological issue for personal fulfillment or even locking in a happy marriage with a great sex life, rather than an offense to a holy God in whose image we were created. It’s the all too familiar rhetoric of the prosperity gospel

Read More


Seeking a Foundation in the Midst of Pastoral Failures

John says that the message that Jesus brought was not, at its core, a message about you and me. It’s a message that starts with God. This means that the anchor of your life, of reality, of your existence isn’t your pastor. Yes, he is important, he is used by God in incredible ways to edify and build you up (thank God for him!) but he isn’t your rock. He isn’t your salvation. He isn’t the one in whom you trust or rest on.

Read more


Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 3 (Get Grace!)

Lots of people will give you lot of ideas about how to be more filled with the Holy Spirit and how to get more grace. They might point you to to the latest best-selling Christian book. Years ago, it would have been The Prayer of Jabez or A Purpose-Driven Life. Today, it might be some book on prayer circles or a Jesus Calling book. But God has not made accessing His grace and the power of His Spirit a secret, nor does He want us seeking Him outside of His word and apart from His people. I suspect what some people want from these trendy fads – perhaps what most people want – is a short-cut formula to a life filled with happiness and free from struggle. God nowhere promises us that!

Read more


Europe’s Sinister Expansion of Euthanasia

What’s noteworthy about euthanasia in Europe, though, has been its tendency to expand, once the taboo against physician-aided death was breached in favor of more malleable concepts such as “patient autonomy.” “What is presented at first as a right is going to become a kind of obligation,” Belgian law professor Étienne Montero has warned.

Read More


Anatomy of an evangelical scandal

Popular radio talk show host Janet Mefferd has put together the common chain of events that more often than not come about after a Big Christian Name finds himself caught up in controversy.  The picture Janet paints is not a pretty one; nevertheless her assessment is dead on. A must read. In recent years, evangelicalism has […]

Read more of this post


Ripping Off the Labels Stitched onto Our Hearts

by Erin Davis

The trouble with labels is we tend to believe them. In fact, we obsess over them. Eventually they cover over who we really are. We end up confused about why we have value and become desperate for people to see the real us. But Jesus is in the business of replacing our labels.

How Could He Choose HER?

by Paula Hendricks

It’s too late for me to try to encourage my younger self walking down that cracked sidewalk with cracked insides, but maybe I can encourage you.

A Bridge, a Plane, and an Identity Crisis

by Leanna Shepard

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


The Origins of Aggressive Atheism

Thirty years ago I was an atheist. But the type of atheist I was would not have recognized what is called the new atheism. I was not angry, nor did it bother me what religious people believed.

In this recording, apologist William Lane Craig looks into the origins of aggressive atheism.


The Challenges of Discernment Ministry

Our guest today is Love for the Truth Radio’s host, Cindy Hartline. Cindy is a radio host, Bible researcher, teacher, author, conference host, speaker and ministry founder who came to know the Lord in 1977 and has served in various churches and ministries since. Along with her husband Richard, the Hartlines founded Seed Of Hope […]

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Are we really free? Do we even want to know?

Are we free to ask if we’re really free in America? The short answer to that one is, thankfully: Yes. Here I am asking the question, after all, and here you are reading (and presumably considering) it. So yeah, at a basic level, yes, we are indeed free to openly ask if we’re really free […]

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Enemy of the Statist: Christ-Centered Liberty vs. Man-Centered Tyranny

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole […]

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Weaponized “Love”: The perversion of Christian love into a weapon of Christian persecution

Ever been called a big, bad meanie for sharing Truth publicly? Ever been called disruptive, divisive, unkind or unloving for taking a clear, public stand on a culturally controversial issue that’s addressed in detail within the pages of Scripture? Have you ever been pressured to be silent after speaking up in such a manner? Have you ever been persecuted […]

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Christians Should Be Seen But Not Heard?

//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/143070477?et=QXMzezE0TDZ3cKagnphLrw&sig=PF9PeNeOpYJVNBufDyuVVWiENsVAu5Ne1gZ6dW2QwBs= View image | gettyimages.com

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Religious freedom is an oxymoron for Christians

Today we’re talking about something that is finally just beginning to make the mainstream headlines: Increased Christian prosecution. We’re checking in with William J. Murray,  a strong advocate for persecuted Christians in America and around the world. Murray’s Religious Freedom Coalition is a non-profit organization that takes on on issues related to aiding Christians in Islamic and Communist nations. Check […]

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Jim Wallis produces commentaries for “The Bible”

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have asked a number of theologians to help consult and promote their miniseries, The Bible. These “experts” are well known for Scripture twisting and presenting a false gospel to millions of sheep. Along with high-profile names like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes tied to the project, we’ve learned […]

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Seances, Spirits and 12 Steps

John Lanagan of  My Word Like Fire brings to light what most people are unaware of: the occult origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is not a Christian organization, brethren: “[He] knew little of psychics and had heard nothing before this of my adventures.”–A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson, from his official A.A. biography, Pass It On, pg.277 […]

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Mercy, Grace and Learning From Mistakes

We all continually fall short of the glory of God and fail to be who He wants us to be.  With sexual sin rampant in the world, all of us are in a constant spiritual battle to please God rather than feed our flesh. Word is coming out that several Christian leaders contact information was […]

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“Long Island Medium,” returns to Green Bay in October

In our fallen world, man continues to seek answers outside the truth and hope that is in God’s Word.  No, we will not be promoting or attending. From the Resch Center Event page: “Theresa has been a practicing medium for 10 years and is a certified medium with the Forever-Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to […]

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The Holy Catholic Church Or A Holy Catholic Church?

Recently I received a query about which English translation of the 9th article of the Apostles’ Creed is correct: “a holy catholic church” or the holy catholic church”? As far as I can tell the evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of translating the received Latin text of the Creed as “the holy catholic church.” The […]

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U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center:

45% of Americans Are Catholic or Connected to Catholicism

When Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families later this month, he will find a Catholic public that is remarkably accepting of a variety of non-traditional families, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that provides an in-depth look at American Catholics’ views on family life, sexuality and Catholic identity.

Nine-in-ten U.S. Catholics say a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children. But the survey shows that large majorities think other kinds of families – those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay – are OK for raising children, too.

U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families

 


Demystifying the Popular Prophecies About Jewish Sabbaths and Blood Moons

Gaylene Goodroad of Herescope has written a book review of David James’ new book “Biblical Guide to Shemitah and the Blood Moons: Discerning Popular ‘Prophecies’ in the Light of God’s Word.” In the book, Dave James lays to rest the notion that Jonathan Cahn (The Harbinger; Shemitah) and John Hagee (Blood Moons) are modern day prophets, as some people believe. In fact, both these men are false prophets.

Shemitah book

The book, The Mystery of The Shemitah, by Jonathan Cahn—a runaway sequel to his bestselling book, The Harbinger—has nearly rivaled the success of its predecessor[1]—and has proponents of these ancient mysteries eagerly anticipating the economic destruction of the United States this September (when the “Shemitah” cycles end), in fulfillment of the apocalyptic and calamitous judgments, predicted in the so-called hidden end-time Jewish prophecies, Sabbaths (Shemitahs, pronounced sh’mee’-tah), and current Blood Moon Tetrad (aligned with Jewish feast days), detailed in Cahn’s books.

Jonathan Cahn warns of pending “Shemitah” judgments coming to America on Sid Roth’s television program, It’s Supernatural

Jonathan Cahn warns of pending “Shemitah” judgments coming to America
on Sid Roth’s television program, It’s Supernatural

There is extraordinary publicity ramping up over the dire events that are predicted to happen the last few weeks in September this year, 2015.Charisma, for example, just ran an article titled “10 Things That Are Going to Happen Within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah,” which attempts to prophetically connect the Jade Helm military exercises, selected United Nations conferences, and even the Pope’s upcoming visit to America events to the Blood Moons prophecies that have been popularized by men such as Jonathan Cahn, Mark Biltz and John Hagee.

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2015/08/blood-moons.html


tobyMac and the state of Evangelical piety

Paul’s Words to the Ephesians

The beginning of Ephesians 5 is striking. Paul writes to former idolaters and fornicators, reminding them of their new life in Christ. He opens with a call to holiness. Believers must “be imitators of God,” walking “in love.” To walk in love means that believers must live making personal sacrifices to build up others spiritually. But there is more. The Christian life is not simply “Yes” (it is a ‘yes’), but there is also “No,” for some things are so opposed to divine love that they must be completely avoided. In the same way that a father who loves his children will necessarily refuse to mock and abuse them, so the Christian who truly “walks in love” (v. 2) will refuse to embrace practices that inherently unloving. This is the unbreakable logic behind the next paragraph, Ephesians 5:3-14. The Christian who walks in love will live so that “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness” is “not even … named among you, as is proper for saints” (v. 3). Such a life abstains from “filthiness,” “foolish talk,” and “crude joking,” because thanksgiving to God fills his lips (v. 4). Indeed, such an immoral life is not only incompatible with true Christian love, but those who live in such a way have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (v. 5). There will be folks who minimize sexual immorality and try to promote it–even to Christians. They may say minimize God’s anger against such sins. But believers must not be deceived “with empty words,” “for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience” (v. 6). ((Peter O’Brien comments, “It is all too easy for believers to be influenced by the surrounding world and to succumb to its ways of thinking and behaving. The result is that what is acceptable to the culture of the day becomes acceptable in the church. This is particularly true in contemporary Western society in the area of sexual morality.” The Letter to the Ephesians, PNTC (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999), 364.))

Moreover, the Christian should be so committed to abstaining from sexual immorality that they make no partnership in the debauchery of the sexually immoral. “Therefore do not become partners with them,” Paul says. This life of sin is “darkness,” and though the Ephesian church had formerly lived in this way, “now you are light in the Lord,” the Apostle tells them (v. 8). So Christians should walk, “as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)” (vv. 8-9). As Calvin observes, such walking in light is done “when [Christians] do not live according to their own will, but devote themselves entirely to obedience to God; when they undertake nothing but by his command.” ((Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1965), 200.)) Christians should utterly avoid “darkness” and prove what pleases God with careful discernment. Instead of involving ourselves in such “unfruitful works of darkness,” we should expose them for the emptiness and iniquity that they are (v. 11). Again, Calvin helpfully explains, “It is not enough that we do not, of our own accord, undertake anything wicked. We must beware of joining or assisting those who do wrong. In short, we must abstain from all fellowship or consent, or advice, or approbation, or help of any sort; for in all these ways we have fellowship.” ((Ibid.)) By calling such works “unfruitful,” Paul rightly identifies them as destructive in nature. In verse 12, Paul’s words are especially poignant as they call the Christian to avoid all association with the immoral culture of the world:

“For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”

Paul is likely referring to what we would call “orgies” today. ((See F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, NICNT (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1984), 375 and O’Brien, Ephesians, 371.)) Think “night life” and “clubs” and the libertine immorality celebrated all around us in the urbane and sophisticated alleys of the world. Paul says we don’t have to participate or even know what the world is doing in its sin. Our lives of holiness are adequate in themselves to expose the wickedness of the world: “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light” (vv. 13-14). We are totally to abstain from such lives.

Exhibit A

In light of such a passage, I submit to you this evidence that the contemporary worship scene of evangelical life is now utterly secularized (if you need the words, go here):

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The Gifts of Healing

Larry and Alice Parker wanted God’s best for their family of six. But their oldest son suffered from diabetes and regularly received insulin injections. When Daniel Badilla held special services in their Barstow, California church, the Parkers “walked the aisle” with 11-year-old Wesley. They sincerely sought a healing miracle. The preacher pronounced Wesley healed. Larry joyfully entered, “Praise God our son is healed!” into Wesley’s insulin log. But Wesley’s next insulin test indicated differently. Yet, by faith, the Parkers claimed the healing and blamed the unexpected insulin results on Satan.

Shortly afterward, Wesley began to suffer the nausea and severe stomach cramps that predictably indicated low insulin. Larry and Alice postponed medical treatment and sought God’s continued healing power through prayer. In spite of their sincere faith, Wesley fell into a coma and died three days later. Newsweek magazine reported the tragedy nationally (cf. “The Exorcist,” Newsweek [September 10, 1973], 31).

A lawyer in Indiana later shared a letter with me that he received from Larry Parker (with Larry’s permission). Years had passed since Wesley’s death. During that time, Larry struggled for the truth and found it only as he sought full scriptural counsel. He wrote:

I am writing this letter with the hope and prayer that somehow I can share with you a lesson that I have learned at great expense. It is only by the grace of God, and the never-failing, all-encompassing love of Jesus Christ our Lord that my wife and I have been able to come through this trial. . . . We wanted to see our son healed, but went about it the wrong way. It was during our trial for involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse that my wife felt she could tell me what the Lord had shown her. She told me that our love, because it was lacking, failed Wesley, and that God’s word says, “Love never faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

I knew then that we had allowed what we thought was faith to cause us to forget to love. As we prayed for Wesley and saw him in obvious pain, our love for him wanted to give him the insulin that we knew would stop his suffering. However, we felt that would be a lack of faith, and would cost him his healing. We learned that our actions were contrary to what the Scriptures say. God’s Word says that love is greater than faith (1 Corinthians 13:8).

The trouble lies with the fact that we confuse faith and belief. We think that if we believe hard enough, the healing will take place. We tie healing to some ability on our part to believe enough, i.e., to have enough faith. To withhold medicine, especially life-giving medicine, is a very presumptuous act on our part that actually hinders the Spirit of God from His work. My prayer is that you will consider these thoughts at length, for they have come at an incomprehensible price that no one would voluntarily pay. (Cf. Larry and Alice Parker, We Let Our Son Die [Irvine, CA: Harvest House Publishers, 1980]).

I am deeply moved by Larry’s honesty, not to mention the excruciating pain he suffered. The issue could not be more real, for the lives of loved ones are at stake. God can, has, and does heal, but always for His own purposes, in His own way, and at His appointed time. We cannot force God to heal nor can we humanly manufacture a genuine healing experience.

Tragically, our world offers very convincing counterfeits of the real thing. Even more tragic, in our eagerness to see God work, we as Christians sometimes flock to anyone who claims a miraculous healing. In doing so, we trivialize genuine divine healing—we accept man’s deceitful illusions in place of God’s divine intervention.

An honest and complete examination of the defining Scriptures (Isa 53:4–12; 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30; James 5:13–20; 1 Pet 2:24–25) demonstrates that there is no biblical basis for a ministry of miraculous healing directly through a human healer today. That ceased with the apostolic age. Alleged contemporary faith-healing ministries fall embarrassingly short of the biblical pattern—in purpose, time, scope, and intensity.

On the other hand, God can at times act in such ways that only His direct intervention is an adequate explanation for physical healing. Even so, healing by God’s direct intervention is not instantaneous, nor always complete. Our Lord’s unmistakable touch is not brought about by any demand, gimmick, method, or plea from a would-be healer. It is God’s response to the earnest prayer of a believer that heals a child of the King for our Lord’s glory.

Today’s post is adapted from Dr. Mayhue’s longer article on healing which can be read here: The Gifts of Healing.

The post The Gifts of Healing appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.


Predictable all too predictable

New at MortificationofSpin.org, from Carl Trueman:
The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities. Thus, for example, the faux intimacy of twitter helps build a popular, informal base of support.  Twitter followers come to think they really know the individual. They then believe his propaganda, conflate message with messenger, and can ultimately even subordinate message to messenger. This rapidly morphs into an angry bodyguard when the beloved celebrity is threatened…
Read the rest at MortificationofSpin.org.

Labor Day: Why Your Work Matters (and Why it Doesn’t)


W.W.J.D.: Good Motto, or Weak Theology?


6 Steps to Heal Past Wounds and Move On


5 Character Tests Every Great Leader Passes

The longer I lead and the more I see, the more I’m convinced that character ultimately determines a leader’s true success.

Moral failure takes out more leaders than it should. But real success is deeper than just avoiding the ditch.

So where does the deepest level of leadership success come from? Ultimately it doesn’t come from a leader’s skill set; it comes from a leader’s character.

Your character determines your true capacity.

Why is that?

https://www.churchleaders.com/article-headlines-widget.html

Character—far more than skill set—determines how deeply and passionately people follow you. A leader with character is a leader worth following.

A leader who lacks integrity may have followers, but he’ll never gain their full trust or their hearts.

After all, we all know highly skilled leaders who are never truly embraced; they’re merely tolerated.

Character, more than anything else, draws the hearts of people to your leadership.

The greatest leaders are highly skilled people whom other people love to be around. They’re people others admire, not just because they’re smart, but because they’re the kind of person other people want to become.

So how do you know whether your character passes the test?

In my view, the greatest leaders I know pass all five of these character tests many others fail.

1. Handling success

Often people will ask you how you handled your last failure. And that’s not an entirely bad question.

But how you handle your success is a far greater test.

Failure is, by nature, humiliating. It crushes pride.

Success does the opposite. It naturally inflates a leader’s pride. It’s intoxicating.

It takes both great self-awareness and great self-control to handle success. To not let the reports of your own brilliance or accomplishments go to your head.

The very best leaders remain humble, grounded and even self-deprecating. They don’t claim every perk of office and regularly help people who can’t help them back.

They avoid the gravitational pull of self-focus and, instead, stay focused on the mission before them and before everyone.

The ultimate test of a leader’s character is not failure, it’s success.

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5 Ways to Engage Students in the Local Church

One major mistake churches make is not engaging the youth. This is one of the reasons college students are leaving the church. They do not feel engaged and involved in the ministry of the entire church. I think we recognize this truth, but we rarely discuss and write about how to change this. If your church is struggling to engage the young people of your church, this blog is for you. I want to share a few tips on how to engage the young people in your church.

1. Create a regular youth service. This worked at a church that I served at several years ago. Once a month, the youth would direct the service. They would lead the music, preach, usher, etc. They completely directed the service. This allows the teens and college students to be engaged in the church.

2. Use them in weekly worship. Create opportunities in the music ministry for the youth to use their gifts. Teens and college students are talented, and many of them are musical. Use that. Find places for them to serve. Add service opportunities for them in the band, the choir, the AV, the usher ministry, etc.

3. Recruit them to serve in the AV. Teens are extremely gifted when it comes to technology. They can pick up AV as quickly as anyone, but are so rarely recruited to be used in the AV department of the church.

4. Ask for their opinions. Church leadership should value the opinion of the youth in their church. Pastor, create an event for the church, and ask the teens and college students for advice on how the event should be run. This will energize the young people of your church.

5. Give leadership away to them. This is the biggest area where church leaders are not willing to budge. Give leadership away to them. Allow them to dream about what they would love to see in their church, and give them the resources to get there.  

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09/03/15 Standing in the Gap?

READING: Ezekiel 22-23

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Who will stand in the gap between a wicked country and a righteous God, calling that country to righteousness? That question arises from today’s reading about a time when God could find no one to take this position.

While the text refers to the coming fall of Jerusalem, the parallels with our nation are again striking (Ezek. 22:23-29). The ruling class were extorting the poor. Priests were ignoring the holy and disregarding God. Government officials were hurting others for personal gain. False prophets were speaking words for God that God did not give them. It’s no wonder the people lived in open immorality. Bad leaders usually result in bad followers — especially when nobody will stand up for right.

Ezek. 22:30-31  I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. So I have poured out My indignation on them and consumed them with the fire of My fury. I have brought their actions down on their own heads.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

God could find no one to take the lead. No leaders would make righteous choices. No priests would intercede. No prophets would speak truth. Just as God could not find ten righteous people in Sodom (Gen. 18:22-33), He could not find anyone to stand for righteousness in Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s day.

Nobody would stand in the gap. Nobody. So, God would bring judgment down.

Standing in the gap when no one else will is hard. It’s lonely. It’s dangerous. It’s costly. It’s frightening sometimes. It’s agonizing. And it’s right.

As I read these words, I wonder if we believers have stood in the gap enough. To stand in the gap is to be different, to be holy, to speak truth. But, it’s hard to stand in the gap when you lapse into the gutters of apathy and unholiness. It’s impossible to stand in the gap when you’re falling into mediocrity. If we don’t stand in the gap, we have assured ourselves of God’s judgment.

Are you standing in the gap for righteousness today? Or falling into the ruts of the ways of the world? Am I standing or falling?

PRAYER: God, give me courage to stand in the gap, even if no one stands with me. I don’t want to fall into the ways of the world.”


10 Descriptors of Bad Leaders and Bad Teachers

Several times in my teaching career, I’ve asked graduate students to give me descriptions of the worst teachers they’ve had. During those same years, I’ve watched leaders, discussed leadership and read leadership books to learn characteristics of good and bad leaders. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve seen that some of the characteristics of bad teachers and bad leaders are the same.

1. They don’t communicate well. Sometimes they just don’t communicate; they expect others to read their minds and meet their unstated expectations. At other times, they are simply boring when they do try to communicate.

2. They make others feel dumb. They don’t miss many opportunities to point out when others are wrong. Nor do they miss a chance to show others how much they know. Eventually, no one speaks up around them—and the worst teachers and leaders are too unaware to recognize they are often the problem.

3. They’re disorganized. Maybe they’re just so busy that it’s hard to stay on top of everything, or maybe they’re just plain disorganized. Either way, they usually can’t figure out why others struggle with following their unclear—and often changing—directions.

4. They’re disconnected. Many are the students and staff members who are frustrated by teachers and leaders who are nowhere to be found. When the teacher or leader fails to build relationships, those he teaches or leads become means to an end—not people created in the image of God.

5. They’re lazy. It’s clear from their lack of passion that they lost their focus and energy years ago. They know nothing new, and their teaching/leading has not changed in decades. They may think others don’t realize they’re just “going through the motions,” but they’re kidding no one.

6. They are arrogant. You know what this trait looks like, even in Christian organizations. These teachers and leaders always talk about themselves. Any sense of humility seems to be forced; in fact, others see it as only another way to point out how good they are.

7. They’re critical. Not only do they criticize others, but even more importantly, they almost never praise others. The only time you hear from them is when they want to correct something.

8. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Some teachers don’t know their material well, and some leaders don’t know their field well. In some cases, both have been given their positions for some reason other than their know-how—and it’s obvious.

9. They don’t enjoy their work. People who spend time with them learn quickly that they have no joy in their day-to-day tasks. Their smiles are forced and their laughter is infrequent.

10. Their Christian walk is debatable. That is, some who know them best question the depth of their walk with God—primarily because the leaders they are in public are not always the people they are in private. Needless to say, this problem is, among all these listed here, the most serious one for Christian teachers and leaders.

Recognizing that all of us probably show some of these characteristics at times, what other characteristics would you add to this list?  

 

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It’s Not Just Angry Birds

In preparing counseling lectures about anger, I came across some horrifying statistics.

  • 32% of people say that they have a close friend of family member who has trouble containing their anger.
  • 12% say they have trouble containing their own anger.
  • Only 13% of that 12% have sought help with their anger problems.
  • 28% say they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • 20% have ended a relationship or friendship with someone when they saw how they behaved when they were angry.
  • 64% strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.
  • 45% regularly lose their temper at work.
  • 64% of officeworkers have had office rage.
  • 27% of nurses have been attacked at work.
  • 33% of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbors.
  • 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road-rage incidents.
  • 25% have committed an act of road rage themselves.
  • Every nine seconds in America, a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • 56% of fatal auto accidents are caused by road rage or aggressive driving.
  • 72% of internet users admit to having suffered net rage.
  • 50% of us have reacted to computer problems by hitting our PC, hurling parts of it around, screaming or abusing our colleagues (which is simply one more argument for an Apple Mac).
  • 65% of people are more likely to express anger over the phone compared to 26% in writing and 9% face to face.

The saddest thing about angry people is that they are not only destroying others, they are damaging themselves.

  • Aggressive personalities are more susceptible to heart attacks and clogged arteries.
  • An angry person with a history of heart problems is five times more likely to suffer a heart attack than someone who is not.
  • The risk of stroke is more than three-fold in the couple of hours following any outburst.

Youth Statistics

In the US, nearly one in 12 adolescents — close to six million young people — meet criteria for a diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), “a syndrome characterized by persistent uncontrollable anger attacks not accounted for by other mental disorders.”

  • 66% of U.S. adolescents have experienced an anger attack in their lives that involved threatening violence or violent behavior.
  • More than 1 in 3 high school students, both male and female, have been involved in a physical fight.
  • 1 in 9 of those students have been injured badly enough to need medical treatment.
  • 1 in 3 teens, both male and female, have experienced some sort of violent behavior from a dating partner.

I’ll come back to this subject with some analysis of where anger really comes from, as well as hope for change, both for the angry person and their victims. In the meantime, some heavenly wisdom:

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:22). 

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20).

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools (Eccl. 7:9).

Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go (Prov. 22:24).


What Does Your Frustration Say about You?

I’ve recently entered a new life stage – the stage of realizing how valuable my parents’ advice is. It wasn’t an easy road to get here, but I made it eventually.

For my dad, this transition means he gets sought out every few months with a big life issue. (Unfortunately for him, I haven’t yet exited the life stage of dramatizing every bump in the road.) I call him in a state of subdued anxiety, or if it’s really bad just invite myself over, and we have a long talk over dinner.

He’s started developing a new set of dad-isms fit specifically for these occasions. One of the first was, “Is this a time when you want my opinion, or are you just looking for me to listen?” Before long, though, he had landed on a zinger that I now know is always coming. I work myself into a frenzy about a frustration or grievance I have, laying out very clearly an explanation of how someone else has wronged me or isn’t living up to my expectations. He listens calmly, then pauses, rests his chin in his hand, and says, “Mm-hmm. So, what does that say about you?”

The audacity!

To suggest that my frustration or disappointment with someone else could point to an issue with my heart? What a concept.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Of course, he’s usually right. Underlying my disappointed expectation may be a whole slew of self-centered attitudes: a critical spirit, a sense of entitlement, a refusal to offer grace, an obsession with outward appearances — the list goes on. In these moments of exasperation, my deepest motivation is certainly not a sense of humility, which seeks to honor another person and the Lord more fully.

At first I thought my dad’s line was just a pop psychology nugget that happened to relate to my situation. But the more I’ve thought about it (and the more times the question has been thrown at me), the more I realized that Jesus asked this of people all the time. When the Pharisees or the disciples brought him a criticism or a crafty question, he used their own accusation to expose a deeper issue they were ignoring.

When the Pharisees questioned him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus asked why they were more concerned that he follow their rules about working than that he do good and restore brokenness.

When the disciples compared their roles in the kingdom and asked if one of them would be privileged to live to see Jesus’ return, he asked why it was even important to them, when their focus should be on following him however he called.

When Martha asked Jesus to point out Mary’s laziness in ignoring rules of hospitality, he turned Martha’s gaze to her own anxiety, which was causing her to miss out on fellowship with him.

Jesus doesn’t let us get away with pointing out other’s failings without self-e­xamina­tion first.

TWEET

And then there’s his “take out the log in your own eye” analogy that really drives the point home. Jesus doesn’t let us get away with pointing out other people’s failings without a hearty self-examination first. He consistently reminds us that there is more work in our own lives to be done — and that he is at work restoring us, calling us, and fellowshipping with us.

The Answer to Our Frustrated Hearts

So in moments when you are consumed by someone else’s inadequacy, it might be a good opportunity to ask, What does this say about me?

  • Could my feeling of frustration say I have tendency to assume the worst of others?
  • Could this obsession with my neighbor’s flaws say I have a critical spirit?
  • Could my disappointment with my friend say I am withholding grace?

Jesus asked the hard questions. Searching our own hearts for sin is certainly not the most enjoyable exercise. But he didn’t only ask the hard questions — he also provided himself as an answer to all the conviction we face. Because of the gospel, we can open ourselves up for examination, conviction, and transformation — so we might become less focused on satisfying ourselves and more focused on following him.

Consider your own heart right now. What does your frustration, disappointment, or anger say about you?

RELATED POSTS:

The post What Does Your Frustration Say about You? appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.


Rise Up, O County Clerks!

Gavin NewsomFlashback: the year is 2004, and same sex marriage is illegal in California (by a law approved by voters in 2000 and affirmed by the State Legislature—this was the “everything but marriage” approach to the SSM issue, allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, just without the word “marriage”). San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, ordered the county clerk to illegally start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The California Supreme Court stepped in, ordering the process stopped. Eventually the Federal Courts intervened and (a homosexual judge) ordered the process started again, under the ridiculous legal reasoning that since that county clerk had allowed licenses to begin with, there was no rational reason to stop the process.

Sigh.

Present Day: Unlike California, Rowan County, Kentucky elects their county clerks. Before running for clerk herself, Kim Davis (a democrat) had worked in the clerk’s office for twenty-six years. In fact, her mother was clerk before her, and she had been the clerk for 40 years.

But forty years ago the implementation of gay-marriage was not an issue. In fact, even recently he issue was not even likely in Kentucky where there were all kinds of laws against recognizing SSM. There were prohibitions passed by the legislature, by ballot, and finally even a state constitutional amendment. Actually, Kentucky is one of the few states whose laws actually survived Federal Court Challenges, eventually upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals two days after Davis was elected county clerk.

Then…

Eight months later, the US Supreme Court ruled that every state needed to recognize same sex marriage, and that they needed to do so immediately. Some governors paused, saying they needed more time before deciding if the decision mandated their compliance. Eventually even those governors just punted on the decision, and are allowing each county clerk to figure out what to do. Their lack of leadership has made this an issue to be settled by every county clerk.

Such is the case in Kentucky. There, four different counties refuse SSM licenses (there are several other counties in other states that also are refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s opinion on marriage). But what makes Rowan County different is the rational used. Other counties have refused to issue SSM licenses, but Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses. She has said that her reading of the Supreme Court opinion bans discrimination based on sexual preference, and since she does not want her name on a SSM license, she has simply stopped the issuing of marriage licenses all together.

Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sing the certificate saying, “Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.”

That doesn’t mean that a county clerk’s signature is an endorsement of every wedding. She doesn’t ask about their compatibility, or premarital counseling. But it does mean that she is vouching that the marriage is not incestuous, bigamous, or polygamous (because those things are immoral). Basically that she is affixing her name, saying this couple meets the legal requirements for marriage, and she is putting her name on the license.

This is exactly what she will not do. She does not want to be a Romans 1:32 kind of person (or a Psalm 49:11-13 kind of person, or a Lamentations 3:36 kind of person, etc.)

And here is a really important point. In fact, I’ll bold it so you realize this is the main thing I’m trying to say: you might not think it should go against her conscience to sign a SSM license. But you should not tell another Christian to go against their conscience, especially when going against it would mean vouching for something that is obviously immoral (cf. 1 Cor 8, 10).

Imagine that Davis comes to you and asks for your more seasoned Christian advice–after all, she has only been a Christian for four years. What do you tell her? Do you tell to stop hiding behind God, and instead make an argument from Federalism (Federal Courts should not invalidate state constitutions, or something like that)? Do you explain to her why it really shouldn’t be against her conscience to approve a SSM, and explain to her the nuances of the Kentucky clerk system (keep in mind the combined nearly 60 years her family has worked in that office)?

Well, whatever you do, for goodness sakes’ don’t tell her, as your sister in the Lord, to just get over her conscience and sign off on SSM all ready.

If she came to me and asked me what she should do, I would answer her in song:

Rise up, O County Clerks!
Have done  with lesser things!
Give heart and mind and soul
to serve the king of kings!

Rise up O County Clerks!
The Kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of clerkhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up O County Clerks
Government for you doth wait.
Her strength unequal to the task
Rise up and make her great!

 

What would happen if our leaders, judges, or governors had the courage of this clerk’s conviction? But they don’t. They are (mostly) silent. They say things like, “I am opposed to SSM, and I would never sign off on one myself of course, but tsk, tsk, this woman needs to just do her job.”

Sigh.

In the short-term this will end in one of a few ways. Either A). Davis relents and changes her mind, B). she gets thrown in jail, or C.) the state removes her from office. I submit to you that all three would be a step back for biblical ethics.

In the long-term, this will end either with A). Christians caving on SSM, B). deciding that government jobs are for those without consciences, or (hopefully) C.) a renewed sense of resolve that the government cannot compel us to act against our consciences.

Christians should be supportive of other believers in complex situations trying to do what is morally right in complex times. And it deeply bothers me how many people who just a few months ago were so dogmatic that “the Supreme Court can’t tell me what marriage is!” are now telling Davis to get over herself. We don’t have to choose to be on Davis’ side or on the SSM side. But we do need to be on the side of righteousness, and opposed to sin. In this situation, it should be obvious where the lines are drawn.


You Can’t Be Neutral

For most issues in life—and on social media—I find that I can be neutral. Time after time I can pass by without liking, clicking, or reposting. It’s not that difficult; in fact, my general tendency is to keep surfing—especially if it is political. Who wants to be THAT person? However, some issues force us to not be neutral! We as human beings cannot stand or sit idly by…we as human beings cannot surf on…we as human beings cannot afford to ignore what’s going on under the guise of research for the greater good. What we see on video is us. These gruesome videos bring to our awareness the barbaric practices by abortionists at Planned Parenthood and document the cavalier attitude toward human life in the womb. Continue reading

Video: Gary Habermas on Jesus and Islam

In this video, David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics interviews historical Jesus scholar Dr. Gary Habermas.  Habermas argues that there is no evidence for the Islamic view of Jesus and that anyone who wants a view of Jesus that lines up with history will therefore needs to looks somewhere other than Islam.

He also nicely summarizes his minimal facts method of arguing for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.

Yahoos on Campus

Go ahead and be outraged when young men behave badly at college. But don’t be surprised. Listen Now | Download

Do You Pray For The President As Much As You Complain About Him?

Complaining about our leaders seems to be a national pastime.

Interesting how Jesus never complained about the wicked Roman government of his day. He certainly had opportunity. When he was asked, “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” he didn’t start ranting, “Caesar? Pay taxes to that idiot? I wouldn’t give him a widow’s mite if I could get away with it.” Instead, he said, ““Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (MT 22: 17,21).

God commands us to honor our leaders, not grumble about them.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 PE 2.17

Note, Peter didn’t say honor the emperor if he is a good man or worthy of honor. He didn’t say honor the emperor if you agree with him or you think he’s doing a good job. He simply said, “Honor the emperor.”

We tread on dangerous ground when we call the President a “fool”

Psalm 14:1 tells us “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Proverbs warns us again and again about the danger of being a biblical “fool” or evil person. So without a doubt the Bible recognizes that many are fools. But Jesus had a strong warning about calling someone a fool.

Whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. MT 5.22

John MacArthur says:

Because of the testimony of God’s Word, we know that fools of the worst sort do exist. And it is our obligation to warn those who are clearly in opposition to God’s will that they are living foolishly. We certainly are not wrong to show someone what Scripture says about a person who rejects God. Jesus’ prohibition is against slanderously calling a person a fool out of anger and hatred. Such an expression of malicious animosity is tantamount to murder and makes us guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

He goes on to say:

To call a person a fool is the same as cursing him and murdering him, and to be guilty of that sin is to be worthy of the eternal punishment of fiery hell. (Read MacArthur’s full post here).

Not only is it dangerous to badmouth our leaders, but beyond that let me ask this question:

Do you pray for our President and our leaders as much as you complain about them?

God commands us to pray for our leaders with all kinds of prayers:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 TI 2:1-4

Look at all the ways we are to pray for all people, including “all who are in high positions”: with “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings.” Do you thank God for our President and leaders? God commands us to thank him – for “ALL who are in high positions.” Do you do this? Do you supplicate, pray for and intercede?

3 reasons WHY we should pray for our leaders:

First “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” This is what we want our leaders to give us right? This is why we vote, and why people run for office. That we might have decent lives. Grumbling and complaining about the government isn’t going to produce a peaceful and quiet life for us. Cursing the President isn’t going to lead to us leading godly, dignified lives.

Secondly, praying for our leaders “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” It is more important that we please our God and Savior than having great leaders. I may not agree with our leaders. I may think they are doing a terrible job. But I want to please my God and Savior. So I’ll pray for my leaders.

Thirdly, interceding for our government is critical because God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” When we pray for our leaders, it leads to peaceful, quiet lives, which give us more opportunities to share the gospel and people to be saved. So ultimately it is critical to pray for our leaders for the sake of the spread of the gospel.

Sure, we don’t like our taxes going up. We don’t like spending more on healthcare for less benefits. But do my taxes even compare to peace and the gospel advancing? Go ahead and pray for lower taxes. Pray for God to give our leaders wisdom with the economy. Vote. Get involved in politics if God calls you to do that. But don’t complain about our government. Don’t call your leaders idiots. Pray for them. Pray that God would move upon our leaders to work for righteousness and life. And don’t forget Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”

So let’s pray that God would turn our leaders’ hearts to lead us into peace, so that more and more people might be saved.


The Bigness of God

God is all powerful and all wise. When we as Christians grasp something of the “bigness” of God – His complete and utter Sovereignty – the inevitable result will be a desire to pray and to pray more. As we go phrase by phrase through Isaiah 40, the transcendent majesty of God is put on display.

Speaker: Dr. Steve Lawson

Title: A Puny God

Text: Isaiah 40:12-31


10 Things Effective Churches Do Well

By Chuck Lawless

I’ve written posts for this site and my own that describe some of the negatives our church consulting teams and “spies” have found in churches. The goal of this post is to show some of the positives we’ve seen in different churches. The topics vary, but perhaps something will help you in your church.

  1. Greeters at every door. It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally every one of our team members is greeted when each of us intentionally enters a different door. Those churches are ready for guests.
  1. Strong security in the preschool/children’s areas. Sometimes our team members gain entrance to these area much too easily, but we’ve been in churches that physically halted our team from going beyond the boundaries. I’m pleased to report to the church that their security system worked in those cases.
  1. Name tags for everyone. Several folks disagreed with my suggestion about this topic in previous posts, but our team appreciates it when everyone can quickly learn names. Name tags simply make it easier for folks to have conversations with people they don’t know.
  1. Assurances about visitor’s cards. Again, I’ve written about why I likely would not complete a visitor’s card at your church. On the other hand, some churches have made it very clear up front – by saying, “We won’t bombard you with visits, phone calls, and emails, and we won’t embarrass you” – that they won’t put us on the spot. I’m willing to complete a card for those churches.
  1. Knowledge of the community. We do a demographic study of the church’s ministry area, but we don’t give that information to the church at first. Instead, we now first ask church leaders what they think the demographics will show about their community. Most leaders don’t know their community that well – but occasionally we meet leaders who clearly have already focused externally.
  1. General friendliness. Most churches, frankly, are not that friendly to our “spies.” They’re friendly, but primarily with people they already know. So, our team recognizes quickly when a church family has been trained to welcome everyone to their family gathering. Our team members are blessed when it does happen.
  1. Clear direction in the worship service events. Most of our “spies” are believers, but even they appreciate when the leader gives them direction in the Word (e.g., “the book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament; it’s about 2/3 of the way through your Bible. If you find the book of Matthew, just back up a book”), guidance for the offering, and direction for the Lord’s Supper.
  1. Biblical, applicational preaching. The best preaching, in our opinion, goes to the Word, expounds the Word, and helps us know how to apply its teaching past Sunday. Our hope is that our spies can quickly answer the question, “What do you need to do as a result of the biblical truth you learned today?” Sometimes they can.
  1. Intentional strategies for training teachers. The strongest churches recognize that God holds teachers accountable to high standards (James 3:1), and they prepare current and future teachers accordingly. These churches raise up their next generation of teachers and leaders.
  1. Clear master plan for facilities. You’ve seen the churches that had no master plan; their buildings are so different that you can tell a different leader was in charge for each structure. Churches with a clear master plan are usually thinking toward the future – and even beyond themselves.

How well does your church do in these areas?

Be sure to check out Dr. Lawless’ daily blog posts at http://www.chucklawless.com. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

The post 10 Things Effective Churches Do Well appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


How Strong is the Cumulative Case for God’s Existence? (Video)

This video, excerpted from J. Warner Wallace’s presentation of the evidence for God (from his book, God’s Crime Scene), summarizes the strength of the cumulative case for God’s existence. J. Warner describes the nature of cumulative cases and the role diversity plays in establishing the strength of an inference. For a robust review of the collective case for God’s existence from eight pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the natural universe, please refer to God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Homicide Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe. (For more information, visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com)

To see more training videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.


Browse Worthy: As the Foundations Crumble

As Psalm 11:3 asks, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Though rhetorical in nature, still one thing the righteous must do is assess the damage accurately. Here are a few important reminders of our culture’s self-destruction that call us to pray for the Lord’s mercy and deliverance.

The ninth video of the Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of fetal body parts has been posted. “Behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string” (Psalm 11:2).

In Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She may be jailed for her actions. So many details make this story fascinating – the open hostility of the homosexual community and her relative calmness in the face of it; her open witness that she is taking this stand because of the authority of God’s Word; her own background that includes being in her fourth marriage; the protests in and outside the county building. In light of the media consistently claiming Mrs. Davis is “breaking the law,” I found this article by the America Family Association clarifying. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Of course, judgment begins with the house of God. The sad news of R.C. Sproul Jr.’s admission of being one of the names on the Ashley Madison website is difficult to hear, though it is encouraging to see discipline enacted and Dr. Sproul seeming to receive it in the right spirit. The same does not quite appear to be the case in the Tullian Tchividjian matter, where shortly after confessing an adulterous relationship and being defrocked by his presbytery he was hired to be a ministry director at a large congregation in Florida. Many are expressing the concerns reflected in this article. “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.” (Psalm 11:7).


God’s Big Work and Our Little Mission

God’s Big Work and Our Little MissionMany people wrongly believe that Christianity is simply a new set of rules and guidelines for how to behave. More recently, due to the widespread emphasis on missional living, it’s the “missional to-do list” that now determines our personal righteousness. In both cases, people find themselves feeling more like spiritual slaves than gospel-freed children of God.

This is because we easily buy into worldly thinking that claims our identity comes from what we do instead of what God has done.

We have wrongly believed that we’re human doings instead of human beings.

In the beginning, when God created humanity, he created us in his image and likeness and declared we were very good. Adam and Eve could have lived lives trusting in and resting in the work and word of God about themselves.

However, the evil one came along and questioned God’s word and work and deceptively convinced them to put their trust in his word and their own works. This was the beginning of moving from faith-based righteousness (identity based upon faith in God’s word and work to define us) to works-based righteousness (identity based upon lies from the evil one and faith in our own works).

And Adam and Eve aren’t alone. We can all tend to do this. We move from human beings to human doings by giving into the lure of believing lies about God and ourselves and putting our hope in our own works to define us.

But the problem is all we fall short.

Based upon our works alone, we all are lacking. If our sense of being — our sense of identity — comes from what we do, we will be filled with pride when we succeed and shame when we fail. Just like Adam and Eve, we will try to cover up our inadequacies with the fig leaves of good works or hide in the bushes of guilt and shame.

Unfortunately, for many, this is what Christianity has become for them: A missional drive to perform for, or a religious façade to hide behind.

The gospel offers us something far better.

In the gospel we are once again told that God has done a good work and spoken a better word over us.

Jesus is the better word and better work.

Through faith in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection on our behalf, we are who we are — forgiven, loved, accepted, very good — not because of our work, but because of God’s work in and through Jesus Christ. God speaks over our lives “very good” because Jesus, who is the true and better human, is now our identity.

God’s word is true and his work is very good.

The gospel doesn’t call us to behavior modification — or to a missional-to-do list. The gospel calls us to identity transformation and a missional done list. Our identity is based upon faith in who God is, what he has done through Jesus, which leads to who we are.

We don’t do what we do out of our need to become. We do what we do because in Christ we already are. We are a new creation created in Jesus Christ for good works that he prepared in advance for us to do. Our “being in Christ” leads to our “Christ-like doing.”

We do what we do because of what we believe he has done.

We love because we are loved by him first.

We serve because we were served by Jesus first.

We are on mission, not mainly so that God will be pleased with us, but because he has already sent the Son on mission to make us decisively pleasing to the Father.

He is ultimately pleased with us because of Jesus, who loved, served, and was sent to die in our place. Everything we do comes out of what we believe about God and his work. This doesn’t negate good works or prevent missional living and keep us from desiring to please our Father. It actually produces good works and informs and leads into missional living.

We don’t have to do anything to become someone, but we get to, and want to do what we do because of what God has done to and for us, and is and will be for us, and who we now are in Christ.

Think of it this way: What God has done to us he now wants to do through us to the world.

Our new being in Christ leads to our new doing for Christ by his power.


Jeff Vanderstelt will be providing Soma One Day training for missional living in Minneapolis, September 11–12.


Related Resources


Check out

Blogs

Lessons Learned from Aortic Replacement Surgery | Eric Davis, The Cripplegate
Health scares like these do indeed prove to be “spiritually enriching and sanctifying,” as Eric says.

God, You’ve Got the Wrong Guy | Tim Challies
Moses felt that way, too.

7 Ways To Be A Best Friend To A Pastor | Ron Edmondson
“If ‘best’ is too strong a word, pick your own word. Good. Close. Trusted. Every pastor needs a friend, besides a spouse — of the same gender — who knows them well and can encourage and challenge like no one else can.”

13 Things a Pastor Should Never Say to a Congregation | Joe McKeever, The Aquila Report

The Subordinate Place of Supreme Honor: A Response to Douglas Wilson | Valerie Hobbs and Rachel Miller, Jesus Creed
Unpacking Biblical gender roles in response to Douglas Wilson.

University of Tennessee Tells Staff And Students To Stop Using ‘He’ and ‘She’ – and Switch to ‘Xe’, ‘Zir’ and ‘Xyr’ Instead | Kieran Corcoran, The Aquila Report
Seriously? While not compulsory, yes, seriously…

Kentucky Clerk Didn’t Follow Christianity Before Converting To It | Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist
“Regardless of the media’s strong views in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, it would be nice if they took the time to at least understand this central teaching of the Christian faith before attempting to report on it.”

Kindle Deals


Going Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing a More Comprehensive Reformation by Rob Ventura ($1.99).


Praying for Your Prodigal by Kyle Idleman ($0.99).


The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick ($1.99).


Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry by Michael Lawrence ($3.99).


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Just a few deals today:

True Worshippers

Bob Kauflin’s new book, True Worshippers: Seeking What Matters to God, is on sale at Westminster Books right now for as low as $6.50 (when you buy five or more copies). There are so few good books on this subject, and I’m hopeful that this is going to be one of them (especially if it’s in line with Bob’s recent articles calling out the goofy things we do on Sundays).

We Must Put God in a Box

Chris Martin on two problems with the “Don’t put God in a box” philosophy.

How to Care for Women Who Have Miscarried

Jasmine Holmes:

There is no magic bullet that can make the pain of having a miscarriage disappear. However, in my quest to love women who have experienced this loss (Romans 12:15), and as a woman who has been touched by it herself, there are a few things that have been comforting reminders of how the Lord uses his people to care for one another.

Do We Want a Redeemer or Revolutionary?

Aaron Earls:

Today, we still face a choice between following one who came as a humble Redeemer or one who would spark a revolution through any means necessary. Far too frequently, I fear we choose the latter, while claiming we are serving the former.

Research Finds Few Pastors Give up on Ministry

Lisa Cannon Green:

Though pastors are stressed about money and overwhelming ministry demands, only one percent abandon the pulpit each year, LifeWay Research finds.

In a first-of-its-kind study, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches and found an estimated 13 percent of senior pastors in 2005 had left the pastorate ten years later for reasons other than death or retirement.

Redeeming our Reading

Nick Batzig:

…given the fact that our lives are short and that there are things we know that we would be a waste of time for us to read–are there guiding principles to help us know what we ought to read as we seek to grow spiritually and intellectually to the glory of God? Here are a few personal commitments that I have found helpful in seeking to redeem the time in the realm of reading.

PhDs Build Character More than Careers

Rusty Osbourne:

Waiting for the ink to dry on my recent PhD diploma, I began reflecting on the last several years of academic activity. Several questions quickly arose in my mind. Does the church need more trained servants with PhDs? With the rise in number of people with PhDs and significant instability in many sectors of Christian higher education, can I, in good conscience, encourage others to pursue PhDs? The title “independent scholar” is becoming increasingly commonplace at academic meetings, and a brief survey of the employment center at an annual Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) meeting reveals the days of getting a degree and simply walking into a professorship are long gone. So, if the PhD no longer holds the same career-enabling power as a “union card” for the academy, why go through the trouble?


A La Carte (September 3)

There are just a couple of Kindle deals to share today: Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story, the newest book by Trip Lee, is just $2.99; Hope Reborn by Tope Koleoso & Adrian Warnock is $3.82. Also, a few different Kindle devices are on sale at the moment.

Sister Wives Star Cites Gay Marriage Ruling

Well, this is hardly a surprise, is it? “The polygamous family starring in the hit TLC reality show Sister Wives believes the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage gives them grounds to live their lifestyle unpunished, according to an appeal filed last week.”

Odyssey

This is a beautiful look at Iceland under the midnight sun. There is no greater artist than God!

How Do I Talk to My Kids about Abortion?

Randy Alcorn and his team have some suggestions for speaking to children about abortion. “As the video exposes about Planned Parenthood continue, those with children may be wondering how they can talk to them in age-appropriate ways about the value of life and the reality of abortion.”

This Day in 1752. It’s a trick! There was no “this day” in 1752, nor were there the next 10 days (in Great Britain, that is). This was to adjust from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.*

True Worshipers

Bob Kauflin’s new book True Worshipers highlights this week’s deals from Westminster Books. There are deals on other worship-related books as well.

When I Don’t Feel Forgiven

Ian Hamilton: “One of the most disturbing experiences a believer can face is losing the felt sense of God’s forgiveness. This desolating experience has touched the lives of many Christians throughout the ages.”

How Telephone Etiquette Has Changed

Every new technology ushers in a period of cultural negotiation during which we decide together how to use those devices. We are in that period now with our mobile phones.


The Daily Discovery (September 3, 2015)

headerImage-dailyDiscovery

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

The 9th Planned Parenthood Video – “The ninth video in the Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal focuses on Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), the small and secretive company that has harvested and sold fetal body parts at Planned Parenthood clinics longer than any other entity.  The video features undercover conversations with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, the long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013; Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager for ABR; and Cate Dyer, the CEO of rival fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress.”

Christians: Increasingly Marginalized and Punished – “It is quickly becoming more and more obvious that religious freedom is declining (quite rapidly) in America. And with the June SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) decision to legalize gay ‘marriage,’ this decline is happening faster than ever. Christians are increasingly being punished by the government for acting on their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage that are based on the standard of Scripture. And we are hearing of more and more people being disciplined or fired from their jobs because they profess their Christian faith.”

400 Pastors Resigned Last Sunday – “Fallout from the Ashley Madison scandal continues. The company’s CEO has resigned; several people who used the adultery website have committed suicide. And some 400 clergy resigned publicly from their ministries last Sunday.Let’s put that number in perspective.One pastor who seeks to have an affair is one too many. Infidelity shatters the spouse, devastates the children, and wounds the congregation. Pastors who violate their marriage vows sin against God, their family, and the sheep they are called to shepherd.

Gay Atheist Rebukes Church for Moral Slide – “Matthew Parris calls himself a ‘gay atheist.’ After 62 percent of voters in Ireland approved gay marriage recently, he responded to the church’s response. In his view, the Archbishop of Dublin’s statement that the church needed to undertake a ‘reality check’ was troubling and indicative of continued moral compromise. According to Parris, ‘the conservative Catholic’s only proper response to news such as that from Dublin . . . is that 62 percent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.’”

What Is America’s Largest Protestant Denomination Doing to Combat Predatory Prosperity Preaching? – “The lobbying entity of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has made it clear that it is against predatory practices that take advantage of the poor, having joined a broad coalition earlier this year organized to ‘raise awareness about families in financial crisis and how high-cost lending negatively impacts them.’ But what is the high-profile Christian ethics advocacy organization doing to protect vulnerable believers from preying prosperity preachers?”


SERMON:

Mack Tomlinson – Jesus in Gethsemane: The Broken Man (Part 1)


VIDEOS:

Man Marrying His Dog

“Is this what Jesus wants us doing”?


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

The post The Daily Discovery (September 3, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, September 3, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

The Ashley Madison Hack Points R. C. Sproul Jr. Toward Grace

Marco Rubio Frontrunner among Evangelical Leaders

U.S. Demands China Release Detained Christian Lawyer

Jessa Duggar Withdraws Support from Josh Duggar

76-Year-Old Tennessee Man Charged with Killing Wife over Church Tithe Money

Clerk Kim Davis Cites God While Gay Couples and Crowd Jeer

Bill to Allow Physician-assisted Suicide Advances in CA Legislature

Fiorina’s Advice to KY Clerk Who Refused to Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses

Georgia School District Investigating Mass Baptism on Football Field

Josh Duggar Loses Support from Family Member over Ashley Madison Scandal

Opinion

Donald Trump, Evangelical Scam Artist

Debunking the Abortion Crowd’s Favorite Arguments

Clerk Defies Court, Denies Gay Marriage Licenses

4 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Apologize for Her Inflammatory Abortion Rhetoric

Amazing Grace Amazingly Staged


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


Resource Links

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.

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

Human Gender: Fixed or Fluid?

The Reformed Reader

Are human genders fixed or are they fluid?  Is the distinction between male and female something essential to human beings or is the distinction a product of culture or personal choice?  In the United States – and other Western cultures – there has been a movement to erase gender distinctions.  From gender neutral housing on college campuses, to new gender free pronouns, to TV and movie screens, to new terms like “pansexual” and “metrosexual,” our culture is quickly moving to get rid of gender distinctions.  On this topic, I appreciate Daniel Heimbach’s essay called, “The Unchangeable Difference: Eternally Fixed Sexual Identity for an Age of Plastic Sexuality” in Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood.

Heimbach argues that “today the ‘essential’ or ‘fixed’ nature of human sexual identity is under fire mainly because it stands in the way of the social and moral deconstructionism that underlies hardline feminism and…

View original post 471 more words

Fundamentalism’s Silent Moderate Majority

thinkGOSPEL blog

The Spectrum of EvangelicalismSee Pt.1Pt.2Pt.3Pt.4 Pt.5 & Pt.6

In the first article in this series I spoke of the legacy that the early fundamentalist movement has left to the evangelical church and suggested that conservative evangelicals enjoy better days today because of the fundamentalist struggle. I still believe that, and in later articles I will show the benefits and blessings of fundamentalism in North America and around the world.

Before I get to that, I want to address one of the most complicated aspects of fundamentalism— the negative, oppressive atmosphere in the movement—and to determine whether that negativity and oppressiveness is real or perceived. It is certainly real to some if the “neo-fundamentalist defection” is a reliable barometer.

I know many moderate men in the movement and from their actions and attitudes it would be impossible to perceive that there was anything wrong in the…

View original post 2,107 more words

The Iran nuclear deal should be handled as a foreign treaty and defeated. But the President is circumventing the Constitution by not submitting it as such — and the Senate is letting him.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

CapitolHillThe American people oppose President Obama’s dangerous Iran nuclear deal by a margin of 2-to-1.

A new poll shows that the more people learn about the deal, the more they oppose it. Not surprisingly, strong majorities in Congress oppose the deal, as well.

Yet the President doesn’t seem worried.

Why not? Because if the House and Senate vote against the deal between now and September 17th, the President says he will veto their bill of disapproval. And now the White House has all the votes it needs to prevent a veto override.

There’s just one problem: the President is completely ignoring the Constitution on how to handle his accord — and the Congressional leadership is letting him get away with it.

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution plainly states: “The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators…

View original post 793 more words

GTY Blog: On Purpose (Re: The Purpose-Driven Life)

Genesis 4:8-12; Psalm 32:3-4; Psalm 103:12; Luke 9:23; Romans 2:15; Romans 6:6-7; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:6; 1 John 2:3; 1 John 3:22

Code: B150903

by Jeremiah Johnson

This week we’re putting into practice some of the principles we covered last month in the Being a Berean series by comparing The Purpose-Driven Life and Slave, two books that speak to key facets in the Christian life. We’ve already looked at what each has to say about the issue of identity and salvation; today we’re considering what each teaches about purpose.

Questions about the meaning of life are virtually cliché in our culture—many of the answers even more so. But discovering life’s purpose isn’t merely the stuff of vision quests and self-help brochures. Countless readers—including many who claim to already know and love the Lord—have sought biblical purpose and direction in the pages of Rick Warren’s bestselling book, The Purpose-Driven Life.

Warren addresses the issue head-on, explaining why the question of purpose is so vital in the first place.

Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. It defines what you do and what you don’t do. Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t. You simply ask, “Does this activity help me fulfill one of God’s purposes for my life?” [1] Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 31.

Pleasing God

Throughout the book, Warren highlights some big-picture purposes for the believer’s life—foremost among them is simply bringing pleasure to God.

Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. When you fully understand this truth, you will never again have a problem with feeling insignificant. It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have? You are a child of God, and you bring pleasure to God like nothing else he has ever created. [2] The Purpose-Driven Life, 63.

He later encourages the reader to adopt that sense of purpose by highlighting the potential return on their spiritual investment: “Will you make pleasing God the goal of your life? There is nothing that God won’t do for the person totally absorbed with this goal.” [3] The Purpose-Driven Life, 76.

He’s right that the believer’s life brings glory and pleasure to the Lord (Psalm 149:4), and that believers are to make God’s glory the focus of their every activity (1 Corinthians 10:31). But we need to see God’s glory as the end in itself—not a means of obtaining further blessing for ourselves. The man-centeredness of Warren’s book is hard to escape, even when the topic is God’s pleasure and glory.

You see the same skewed emphasis earlier when he explains the dangers of being motivated by guilt:

Many people are driven by guilt. They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success. When Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said, “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” That describes most people today—wandering through life without a purpose.

We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God’s purpose is not limited by your past. He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too. God specializes in giving people a fresh start. [4] The Purpose-Driven Life, 27-28.

Warren is right when he says God’s people should not wallow in the guilt of forgiven sins (Psalm 103:12). But his overemphasis on the reader means he misses an opportunity to affirm the value of guilt and the role of conscience as our spiritual warning system.

Furthermore, in his effort to soothe the reader’s conscience, he muddles an important lesson from Scripture. It wasn’t Cain’s guilt feelings that separated him from the Lord, but his sin. The Lord cursed and banished Cain because he murdered his brother (Genesis 4:8-12)—his sense of guilt was merely a byproduct of his sin; and an appropriate one, at that.

It seems like a minor detail, but confusing that point could potentially encourage readers to ignore their consciences and the pangs of guilt, cutting them off from one of the primary means the Spirit employs to reveal sins we have not yet confessed and repented of (Psalm 32:3-4; Romans 2:15).

Growing in Christlikeness

That same thread of man-centeredness shows up again as in Warren’s discussion of another primary purpose for the believer’s life—growing in Christlikeness.

Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing. Discipleship—the process of becoming like Christ—always begins with a decision. Jesus calls us, and we respond: “‘Come, be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.” [Matthew 9:9, New Living Translation]

When the first disciples chose to follow Jesus, they didn’t understand all the implications of their decision. They simply responded to Jesus’ invitation. That’s all you need to get started. Decide to become a disciple. [5] The Purpose-Driven Life, 179-180.

Again, he’s right that spiritual growth is not a passive activity. Especially in the modern church, too many professing believers expect to develop their Christlikeness through osmosis, and instead linger in spiritual stasis and self-deception.

But his statements above feel like an overcorrection that creates a similar problem. True, new believers need to be motivated to the pursuit of godliness and spiritual maturity. But this is another case where Warren champions spiritual and doctrinal ignorance. There’s too much emphasis on the desire for sanctification, and not enough on the truth that sanctifies.

In broad terms, when Warren discusses the life of the believer, it almost exclusively has to do with his or her immense value in God’s eyes, his or her tremendous potential to please the Lord, and the immense blessings to be gained through his or her relationship with the Lord. There’s almost no attention paid to the harsh realities of the life of faith—no calls to take up your cross (Luke 9:23), mortify your flesh (Colossians 3:5), and throw off the yoke of sin (Romans 6:6-7).

Contrast that with John MacArthur’s book Slave, which identifies the believer’s purpose in terms of Christ’s atoning work. “We have been bought with a price. We belong to Christ. We are part of a people for His own possession. And understanding all of that changes everything about us, starting with our perspective and our priorities.” [6] John MacArthur, Slave, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010) 21-22.

Unlike Warren, John MacArthur puts the emphasis squarely on the believer’s submission and self-denial.

Jesus also used slave language to define the reality of what it means to follow Him. Discipleship, like slavery, entails a life of total self-denial, a humble disposition toward others, a wholehearted devotion to the Master alone, a willingness to obey His commands in everything, an eagerness to serve Him even in His absence, and a motivation that comes from knowing He is well pleased. Though they were once the slaves of sin, Christ’s followers receive spiritual freedom and rest for their souls through their saving relationship with Him.

Against the historical backdrop of slavery, our Lord’s call to self-sacrifice becomes that much more vivid. A slave’s life was one of complete surrender, submission, and service to the master—and the people of Jesus’ day would have immediately recognized the parallel. Christ’s invitation to follow Him was an invitation to that same kind of life. [7] Slave, 43.

What does that life of slavery to Christ look like? John explains in biblical terms what it means to live under the Lordship of Christ.

Submission to the Lordship of Christ—a heart attitude that works itself out in obedience to Him—is the defining mark of those who are genuinely converted. First John 2:3 is explicit in this regard: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

As His slaves, we are expected “to obey Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2), “to present [our] bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1), and to “keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22). “You have been bought with a price,” Paul told the Corinthians, “therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). And later, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Those who claim to belong to Christ but persist in patterns of disobedience betray the reality of that profession. The apostle John explained: “If we say that we have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). [8] Slave, 46-47.

That’s the true purpose of the Christian life—to live in submission to Christ, surrendered to His purposes, and sacrificing ourselves for the sake of His glory and His people. These emphases are clear and inescapable in Scripture. And as John MacArthur explains, that’s what we’re identifying with when we claim the name of Christ.

When we call ourselves Christians, we proclaim to the world that everything about us including our very self-identity, is found in Jesus Christ because we have denied ourselves in order to follow and obey Him. He is both Savior and Sovereign, and our lives center on pleasing Him. To claim the title is to say with the apostle Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). [9] Slave, 11.

Epilogue

“That sounds biblical” is a dangerous phrase. Satan’s most treacherous lies often come cloaked in a disguise of truth. And the most successful false teachers are usually the ones most skilled at twisting Scripture to suit their own purposes. To survive in the war for the truth, every believer needs to be armed with biblical wisdom and careful discernment.

In short, we need to be Bereans. It’s our sincere hope that this past week has been informative and illuminating, and that it encourages you to think biblically and critically about what you’re reading and listening to. We want to help give you the tools to carefully measure the teaching you receive against the Word of God. That includes the teaching you receive from Grace to You, too—when it comes to biblical discernment, no one should receive a free pass.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150903
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

GTY Blog: On Salvation (Re: The Purpose-Driven Life)

2 Corinthians 10:4; Galatians 1:7; 1 John 2:3

Code: B150902

by Jeremiah Johnson

This week we’re putting into practice some of the principles we covered in the Being a Berean series by comparing The Purpose-Driven Life and Slave, two books that speak to key facets in the Christian life. We’ve already looked at what each has to say about the issue of identity; today we’re considering what each teaches about salvation.

“Real life begins by committing yourself to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe.” [1] Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 58.

So begins Rick Warren’s altar call to his readers in The Purpose-Driven Life. The book is broken up into forty daily readings, and the above exhortation comes near the end of Day 7. Prior to that, he periodically touches on the question of the reader’s eternal destiny.

While life on earth offers many choices, eternity offers only two: heaven or hell. Your relationship to God on earth will determine your relationship to him in eternity. If you learn to love and trust God’s Son, Jesus, you will be invited to spend the rest of eternity with him. On the other hand, if you reject his love, forgiveness, and salvation, you will spend eternity apart from God forever. [2] The Purpose-Driven Life, 37.

Warren is right that heaven and hell are the only eternal options that await his readers. But the language and imagery he uses blur both the weight of those eternal destinations as well as the means of getting there. What does it mean to “love and trust God’s Son”? There’s not a clear indication in the context, and most of the rest of the book boils down the life of faith to the vague notion of “friendship with Jesus.” The result is that uninformed readers mistake the transforming work of salvation and sanctification as little more than a casual act of personal volition.

Warren’s description of God’s judgment is another instance where his lack of theological depth and precision leads the reader to a shallow understanding of important truth.

One day you will stand before God, and he will do an audit of your life, a final exam before you enter eternity. . . . Fortunately, God wants us to pass this test, so he has given us the questions in advance. From the Bible we can surmise that God will ask us two crucial questions:

First, “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?” God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him? [3] The Purpose-Driven Life, 34.

That makes for a nice mental picture, but it’s a woeful oversimplification of judgment, justification, and regeneration. On top of that, Warren artfully sidesteps the issues of sin and human depravity, leaving the reader with a man-centered invitation that blatantly undercuts the importance of doctrinal clarity and purity.

And what of his call to “receive and believe”? It suffers from the same kind of man-centered oversimplification.

First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for His purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!” [John 3:36, quoted from The Message] Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” Go ahead.

If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God. [4] The Purpose-Driven Life, 58-59.

Again, there’s nothing overtly heretical or unbiblical about what Warren has written. Most Christians could casually read that and have no objections to anything Warren has said. The problem is what he leaves unsaid. With a little more careful observation, we discover several fundamental details and vital gospel truths have been completely omitted.

For example, he rightly says that each of us needs to receive forgiveness for our sins. But there’s no further clarification—instead, he jumps to what the Spirit can do for you. There’s no explanation of God’s law or how man is incapable of fulfilling it in his depravity. There’s no discussion of Christ’s righteousness and how He atones for our sin through His substitutionary death. And there’s no indication of what true, saving faith actually looks like—nothing about its nature or its fruit in the life of the believer. And don’t miss the most glaring omission of all: nothing about the necessity of repentance. Warren just casually boils everything down to receiving and believing.

By sidestepping and excluding so many vital doctrines, Warren leaves his readers with a “gospel presentation” that’s far more likely to affirm their current lifestyles than break their hearts over their sin and expose their true need for a Savior.

In his book Slave, John MacArthur warns against that very kind of theological naiveté and oversimplification, and the way it distorts the true gospel of Christ.

True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him—submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else. It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter what the cost. In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ’s slave. [5] John MacArthur, Slave, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010) 22.

“Dying to self” is a notion wholly foreign to Warren’s gospel. There’s no hint of God’s transforming work in the simplicity of “receive and believe.” In fact, Warren treats faith as little more than an accessory or condiment you add to your life to accentuate, heighten, and fulfill.

That’s a sharp contrast to the radical transformation and reorientation John MacArthur describes. Rather than glossing over the aspects of gospel truth that don’t appeal to carnal minds, John emphasizes submission to Christ as the definitive characteristic of true faith.

Submission to the Lordship of Christ—a heart attitude that works itself out in obedience to Him—is the defining mark of those who are genuinely converted. First John 2:3 is explicit in this regard: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” [6] Slave, 46-47.

In fact, he makes it clear that any gospel that skirts the lordship of Christ is no gospel at all.

Amazingly, in spite of the clear teaching of Scripture and the faithful witness of Protestant church history, most of the trends in contemporary evangelicalism actually attack the lordship of Christ over His church. Some of these attacks are blatant and theological, like the no-lordship position of the so-called Free Grace Movement. . . . The Free Grace view twists the gospel message, claiming that neither repentance from sin nor submission to Christ has any part in saving faith. By promoting a form of “easy believism,” Free Grace advocates openly deny the sinner’s need to repent of sin and to confess Jesus as Lord and Master in the biblical sense of total submission. In so doing, they teach a different gospel altogether, which is “really not another” but an obvious attempt “to distort the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7). [7] Slave, 73-74

As believers, we’re not meant to merely fluff the soft pillow of God’s grace and invite sinners to find comfort and fulfillment in His open arms. We’ve not been set apart to soft-pedal the harsh and uncomfortable truths of the gospel, or lull people into casually accepting Christ as their Savior.

We’re called to wage war against satanic fortresses (2 Corinthians 10:4). And in that battle, the gospel of easy-believism is an utterly ineffective weapon.


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B150902
COPYRIGHT ©2015 Grace to You

GTY Blog: On Identity (Re: The Purpose-Driven Life)

John 4:23; James 1:18

Code: B150901

by Jeremiah Johnson

This week we’re putting into practice some of the principles we covered last month in the Being a Berean series by comparing The Purpose Driven-Life and Slave, two books that speak to key facets in the Christian life. We’re beginning with one of the fundamental issues of life—your identity.

“The way you see your life shapes your life.” [1] Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 41.

The question of identity looms large in the pages of The Purpose-Driven Life. To his credit, Rick Warren understands his audience, and attempts to answer many of the questions that plague the lives of twenty-first century men and women. And certainly one of the fundamental aspects of understanding your purpose in life is knowing who you are.

Throughout his book, Warren tries to help his readers view their identity from a heavenly perspective.

God was thinking of you even before he made the world. In fact, that’s why he created it! God designed this planet’s environment just so we could live in it. We are the focus of his love and the most valuable of all his creation. The Bible says, “God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of the things he made.” [James 1:18, New Century Version] This is how much God loves you and values you! [2] The Purpose-Driven Life, 24.

Warren positions man as the pinnacle of God’s creative work, and as a source of great pleasure for Him. But he takes those truths too far, leaving readers with the impression that God glories in them, rather than impressing on them the need to glory in the Lord.

The moment you were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. He wanted you alive, and your arrival gave him great pleasure. God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment. You exist for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, and his delight.

Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. When you fully understand this truth, you will never again have a problem with feeling insignificant. It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have? You are a child of God, and you bring pleasure to God like nothing else he has ever created. [3] The Purpose-Driven Life, 63.

To hear Warren tell it, we are endlessly captivating to the Lord—the objects of His tremendous sacrificial love. “If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross, saying, ‘I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you.’” [4] The Purpose-Driven Life, 79.

That’s a strange take on Christ’s experience on the cross, but it’s how Warren measures human dignity and value. In the economy of his theology, each person is a treasure that Christ went to great lengths to salvage. And as God’s treasures, each of us is special and unique in our own way—in fact, it’s our uniqueness that God prizes most of all.

You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. [5] The Purpose-Driven Life, 75.

That last statement swings wide open the door for everyone whose identity is grounded in their sin (the LBGT+ movement is just one example) to assert that God already loves them the way they are—that, in fact, He made them the way they are. Such careless, imprecise language undercuts the need for holiness and sanctification.

He compounds the problem later when he writes, “God wants you to be yourself. ‘That’s the kind of people the Father is looking out for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.’” [6] The Purpose-Driven Life, 103.

If that quote doesn’t sound familiar, you’re not alone. The verse Warren is referring to is John 4:23, which actually says, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” Warren’s quote comes from the Bible paraphrase, The Message (in all, Warren references fifteen different versions of the Bible, many of them obscure translations and paraphrases—he mistakenly sees this as a strength). By quoting The Message, he turns a verse about worshipping with wholehearted integrity into an affirmation that God just wants us to be ourselves.

As we’ll see throughout this series, The Purpose-Driven Life plays fast and loose with Scripture. There’s not much expositional content. Most of the time, Scripture is used to back up or illustrate Warren’s points. And even then, the biblical content is deployed in the least helpful way possible. Actually citing the chapter and verse reference for a given passage is rare for Warren. Most of the time he simply asserts, “The Bible says. . .” In other places, the reader is given only visual cues (quotations in italics) that what he or she is reading is actually from God’s Word—and only an endnote buried in the back of the book to point him to the verse reference.

I’m not sure what was the original intent of that layout decision, but it effectively dissuades the reader from further studying the verses Warren quotes, or attempting to understand them in their original context. In that sense, The Purpose-Driven Life is very easy to read, but very hard to study.

By contrast, John MacArthur’s book Slave is steeped in the Berean mindset, as he works to help his readers understand what God’s Word says about our identity in Christ, and what it means by what it says. The whole premise of the book is built around a concept that the modern church has largely sidestepped, and that twenty-first century society has no stomach for—slavery. His point is that softening the verbiage we use about our relationship to Christ has softened our understanding of what it means to follow Him.

Describing how first-century believers referred to themselves as “slaves of Christ,” John explains:

Their self-identity had been radically redefined by the gospel. Whether slave or free in this life, they had all been set free from sin; yet having been bought with a price, they had all become slaves of Christ. That is what it means to be a Christian.

The New Testament reflects this perspective, commanding believers to submit to Christ completely, and not just as hired servants or spiritual employees—but as those who belong wholly to Him. We are told to obey Him without question and follow Him without complaint. Jesus Christ is our Master—a fact we acknowledge every time we call Him “Lord.” We are His slaves, called to humbly and wholeheartedly obey and honor Him.

We don’t hear about that concept much in churches today. In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave terminology. It is about success, health, wealth, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness. We often hear that God loves people unconditionally and wants them to be all they want to be. He wants to fulfill every desire, hope, and dream. Personal ambition, personal fulfillment, personal gratification—these have all become part of the language of evangelical Christianity—and part of what it means to have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Instead of teaching the New Testament gospel—where sinners are called to submit to Christ—the contemporary message is exactly the opposite: Jesus is here to fulfill all your wishes. Likening Him to a personal assistant or a personal trainer, many churchgoers speak of a personal Savior who is eager to do their bidding and help them in their quest for self-satisfaction or individual accomplishment.

The New Testament understanding of the believer’s relationship to Christ could not be more opposite. He is the Master and Owner. We are His possession. He is the King, the Lord, and the Son of God. We are His subjects and His subordinates.

In a word, we are His slaves. [7] John MacArthur, Slave, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010) 13-15.

According to John, our identity is not a function of our uniqueness—we are not precious snowflakes that elicit God’s smile through our mere existence. Instead, our identity is bound up in our relationship to Christ, and how He has purchased and transformed us through His sacrifice. Christ’s death did not reveal our value—apart from Him, we had none. Instead, our value is purely a function of our relationship with Him, as He redeemed us from our worthless state for His use in this life and an eternity of glorifying Him.

It’s a subtle but important difference between the two perspectives. And as we’ll see next time, it shapes how both authors explain the process of salvation.


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Daily Devotionals: (3rd Sept.) Meditations on the Fall of Peter

thinkGOSPEL blog

The Blending of Flesh with Faith

daily-devotionalsCharity requires us to believe that it was Peter’s love and faith that motivated his promise to defend Christ. Such was his love for Christ, the fruit of the words of eternal life, and the power of the living Son of God that he could do nothing but follow and enjoy Christ, even unto death. But in the same soul and even in the same action there was a mixture of faith and flesh. The desire and purpose came from faith, the confidence and resolution came from flesh.

Self-dependence and pride, or any other carnal affection which is deeply rooted in the nature of all men, are often found in the most holy actions of men. It was faith that made Peter go down into the water, but it was flesh that made him sink (Matthew 14:30). Faith made him zealous in Christ’s cause…

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Our required response to ‘liberal christianity’s’ attempted takeover of the visible Church

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self- control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB)

I have a book in my library by J. Greshem Machen. It was published in 1923 while Dr. Machen was still at Princeton. The name of the book is Christianity & Liberalism

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