Daily Archives: October 20, 2015

Faith working through love

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (Galatians 5:5-6 NASB)

This Christian walk is fraught with struggle against a deadly enemy. That enemy is the flesh. Our flesh is deceitful and has only one goal, which is, motivated by pride, to drive us to seek fulfillment through channels which will always result in the believer not walking in the Spirit, but according to it. It is very clever and can even conjure up false humility that is really pride in disguise. It can justify all sorts of things that appear to be humble and Christlike, but which are merely screens and bluffs designed to disguise a life of self-gratification. In this walk it is vital that believers come to terms with the fact that…

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Don’t You Dare Hold Your Tongue

Unfathomable Grace

It is so easy for us, who make our living by using our tongues, to be utterly negative in our weekly sermons. This is true for all preachers, but it is even more true for those of us who grew up in deep-south, Bible-belt, Fundamentalist circles. It isalmost second nature for us tostand up front, get intense, lean forward, pound the pulpit, raise our voice, point fingers, and wax eloquently about the sin of the week. Consequently,in our sermons thatfocuson the tongue, it is very easy for us to focus solely on cursing, dishonesty, blasphemy, disrespect, profanity, slander, gossip, spitefulness, harshness, boasting, flattery, seduction, scoffing, quarreling, complaining, and false teaching.

However, today, instead of focusing on the danger of the tongue, I wish to communicate regardingits incredible usefulness. The tongue, under the control of the Holy Spirit, can be a phenomenal tool of righteousness, and I wish to inspire us…

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Was/Is There A “Gay Agenda”?

The Reformed Reader

We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong This new book by Albert Mohler is quite good: We Cannot Be SilentIt’s a book that talks about the history of sexuality in the United States, and answers questions like: how did we go from a relatively decent view of marriage to gay marriage so quickly?  Mohler’s done his homework, and it shows in the book.  I’ll review it more later, but for now I want to highlight a section where Mohler affirms there is – and has been for some time – a “gay agenda.”  Or, in other words, there is, and has been, a concentrated and purposeful effort in the United States to move to gay marriage and beyond.

In 1989 Kirk and Madsen published a book called, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the 90’s.  Mohler breaks down the agenda for the gay rights revolution in…

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Pulpit & Pen rebuke Hillsong’s lies and hypocrisy over Broadway couple coverup

No one likes being lied too. Hillsong has got some explaining to do over their flipflop statements on their stance on homosexuality. Because we’ve researched Brian Houston and Carl Lentz extensively, we didn’t believe their lies to begin with and saw right through their deceit. For years, Hillsong have used the pulpit to push gay affirming messages. What on earth would make people think they would stop? Why would they lie?

The answer is simple.

Money. Power. Success. Influence.

All this is tied up in their musical monopoly. (Don’t worry, God only receives worship in Spirit and in Truth. He doesn’t receive it from the Hillsong den of thieves.)

So how have people responded to the Hillsong saga? Well Jeff Maples tackles this. But before we read this, we want to confirm one thing Maples says.

“So, while he says he believes homosexuality to be sinful he’s totally fine with…

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October 20, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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You Are Not Enslaved to Your Past

“His commands always come with freeing, life-changing truth to believe. For example: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other [that’s the command], just as God in Christ also has forgiven you [that’s the life-changing truth].”

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Overcoming Pride in Ministry

“Men who aspire to one of the separticular offices ought not to aspire to having a title in the church, but ought rather to aspire to reflect the only One who is worthy of praise, glory, and honor—Jesus. Such a perspective keeps us from checking the bulletin and annual report to see if our names are mentioned in them.”

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A Grief Like No Other: When a Friend Loses a Child

“There is a tremendous desire for the parent to rejoin their child in heaven; the best thing you can do for a grieving friend is sit quietly with her in the waiting room. It’s not much, but with a burden they are carrying alone they need not be alone in their grief.”

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J. I. Packer on Why Annihilationism Is Wrong

“The traditional doctrine of hell is currently undergoing significant challenges from both within and without the church. Many question the reality of hell outright, while many others opt toward annihiliationism—the belief that the damned won’t suffer eternally but will instead have their consciousness extinguished at some point.”

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The Five Distortions of Calvinism

Some don’t want to go all the way with all the five points. For many, the sticking point is limited or definite atonement. Others reject the idea that no believer can ultimately fall away from the faith. But as Steve Lawson points out, “compromising any one of the five points dilutes and diminishes the grace of God.”

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Stop Your Complaining (Book Review)

“Gratitude does not come easily to me. It should. I live an easy, convenient, first-world life. I have been given innumerable blessings, not the least of which is the gift of salvation. But still, I like to complain.”

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Living As Resident Aliens (1 Peter 1:13–21)

“We are live as those who have been redeemed. The logic of Peter’s instruction is clear. Our future salvation is not contingent upon our behavior now. It is not even contingent upon our cooperation with grace. Our present life is, however, to be shaped by that future favor of which we are now in possession by grace alone, through faith alone.”

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Mountaintop Theology

“It is of no small significance that the LORD ordained the King’s house and the Temple to be built on a mountain in Jerusalem. This act symbolized the exalted nature of God’s heavenly dwelling. The earthly king of Israel was to be typical of the heavenly King–Jesus.”

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Assyrian Christians largely ignored by U.S.

Assyrian Christians largely ignored by U.S.

Posted on October 19, 2015 by World Magazine

ISIS | Assyrian Christians brutally executed by ISIS are largely ignored by U.S. and other Western officials

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The oppressed have a savior, and deliverance

The oppressed have a savior, and deliverance

Posted on October 19, 2015 by World Magazine

PERSECUTION | This day of prayer, the oppressed shall have a savior, and his deliverance

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Dear American Church … I Am Not Renewing My Membership This Year

Dear American Church … I Am Not Renewing My Membership This Year

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Church Leaders

“I can’t sit comfortably in a club any longer.”

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Famous Evangelist Franklin Graham will visit Russia

Famous Evangelist Franklin Graham will visit Russia

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Christian Telegraph

Franklin Graham, the President of Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, will visit Russia on October 31, Christian Te

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First Ever 'Greater Church of Lucifer' in Houston, Texas Draws Criticism from Christian Community

First Ever ‘Greater Church of Lucifer’ in Houston, Texas Draws Criticism from Christian Community

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Gospel Herald

The first “Greater Church of Lucifer” is preparing to open its doors in a Houston, Texas suburb, sparking controversy across the Bible Belt.

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Assyrian Christians in Sweden Receive Chilling Graffiti Message from ISIS: 'Convert or Die'

Assyrian Christians in Sweden Receive Chilling Graffiti Message from ISIS: ‘Convert or Die’

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Christians living in one of Sweden’s largest cities have been threatened with chilling messages linked to the Islamic State terrorist group, according to local reports.

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Faith, religious liberty among presidential forum topics

Faith, religious liberty among presidential forum topics

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Baptist Press

About 6,000 people gathered to hear from six presidential candidates at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, during a presidential candidate forum Oct. 18.

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The Good Book? Why we still believe the Bible, in spite of all the bloodshed

The Good Book? Why we still believe the Bible, in spite of all the bloodshed

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Christian Today

One of the things that strikes any thoughtful reader of the Bible is the sheer quantity of blood that soaks its pages.

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What’s in the future for Christian talk radio?

What’s in the future for Christian talk radio?

Posted on October 20, 2015 by World Magazine

Q&A | Tim Wildman talks about taking his father’s place at the American Family Radio Network

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Debunking the Dream Destiny Thingy Heresy

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Program segments:

00:08:56 Fini de Gersigny – A Beach Barbeque
00:27:39 Terri Savelle Foy – Make Vision Boards Work For You
00:52:11 Troy Gramling Lays Out the Dream Destiny Thingy Doctrine
01:41:35 Sermon Review: Whatever It Takes by Andy Wood


When Marriage Meets Insecurity

by Samantha Nieves

A boyfriend or a husband won’t be your ticket to freedom from insecurity. Jesus Christ is the true source of confidence, security, and freedom.

Freebie Friday! Project Modesty

by Erin Davis

Here’s a fashion-forward freebie!

How to Pick a Best Friend

by Erin Davis

What makes the best kind of best friend? Here’s what’s on my list.

Announcing ‘Project Modesty’!

by Bethany Baird

Is it possible to combine modern fashion with modest clothing?


The Orwellian “Worship” Industry

When someone has to describe a thing with a term like “worship industry,” it is clear enough that the idea of worship has undergone some fundamental revision. Orwell’s Newspeak comes to mind.

With his characteristic ardor, Jonathan Aigner gives eight reasons why he believes that the Worship Industry is killing worship. While I don’t agree with all of his solutions, he understands the problems and communicates them clearly.

Ponder Anew | 8 Reasons the Worship Industry Is Killing Worship


Psalm 139 Tells Us All We Need to Know

Psalm 139 Tells Us All We Need to Know

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Crosswalk

For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Click here for Bible Study Tools

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Why are Reunions So Important to Our Faith?

Why are Reunions So Important to Our Faith?

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Crosswalk

As a Christian, I believe there is something inherently spiritual about reunions, and in many ways they point us to toward the redeeming message of Jesus.

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What Autumn Teaches Us about Life, Death, and God

What Autumn Teaches Us about Life, Death, and God

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Crosswalk

Just like autumn, I will not last forever on this earth. Winter is a stark reminder that there is a price for the curse we were born under…but there is hope.

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Disney-Pixar Promoting Evolution? Ken Ham Warns Parents About “The Good Dinosaur” Movie

Christian News Network reports on Disney’s latest attempt to entice children into their worldview, which is anything but Christian.  This should be of concern to Christians, as Disney has a huge influence on children’s thinking. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis believes that “this new film will be watched by many children and will only reinforce […]

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The Tolerence Jesus Will Not Tolerate

Are you aware that the church in Thyatira’s big sin was……..tolerance? (Revelation 2:18-29)  Tolerance “made being a Christian a lot easier, much less costly, must less counter-cultural,” writes pastor and best-selling author Kevin DeYoung.  “But it was a compromised Christianity, and Jesus could not tolerate it.” So why has the visible Church become so […]

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Homosexual Men “Divorce” to Become Threesome, Now Plan to Use Sisters as Surrogates

Heather Clark, Christian News Network columnist, reports this disturbing, albeit not surprising, story about what will happen in an “anything goes” society like Canada’s.  This is just the beginning, brethren, and it’s coming to America: Two homosexual men recently “divorced” under Canadian law so that they could include a third man in their relationship, and now […]

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The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio

Is so-called Christian radio an instrument of God being used to bring people to Christ?  Blogger Timothy Hammons takes a look at what is being passed off as Christian radio.  Should we financially support this stuff? In regard to “Christian contemporary music,” does it matter if the lyrics to the songs are theologically and biblically […]

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Boycott Gay Weddings, Even Family, Says Southern Baptist Leader Al Mohler

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a new book entitled “We Cannot Be Silent.”  The subtitle of the book is “Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage & the very meaning of right and wrong,” In this piece over at Christian Headlines Andrew Wolfson writes: Mohler, a prolific blogger, speaker […]

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Replacing Christianity

Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, calls to our attention that because of  “biblical illiteracy—or, in many cases, willful blindness and rebellion—people can call themselves “Christians” while rejecting Christian teachings.” I actually coined a term for these so-called Christians: low-information evangelicals.  I penned a piece about them entitled “The low-information evangelical“(LIE) and made […]

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Pope asks forgiveness after sex scandals rock Vatican and Rome

The real scandal is that Pope Francis asked a large gathering for forgiveness in the name of the church yet he failed to mention that any sins we commit (he conveniently left out what they were) are first and foremost against a holy God.  The pontiff not only failed to remind the crowed of this […]

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Surprised, Shocked, and Saddened over Statistics on Twenty-Somethings

Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis lays out the cold hard truth that a large number of the younger generation of Christians–millennials–who attend church regularly are biblically illiterate.  What happened in our churches that brought this sad state of affairs about? By Ken Ham If I told you the following statistics about a certain group […]

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Should Type-R Charismatics Get A Free Pass?

In October 2013 Grace to You (GTY) hosted the Strange Fire conference at Grace Community Church to launch John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire.  The conference critiqued those on the fringe of the charismatic movement who flagrantly misrepresent the work of the Holy Spirit.   The conference caused quite a stir, to say the least.  But […]

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Unrepentant Creflo Dollar still says Jesus died to make us rich

A couple of days ago Berean Research editor, Amy Spreeman, posted this story (here) and it went viral. Amy later posted a video of Creflo Dollar actually dancing around on dollars (here).  She lamented that, “when I saw that someone captured yet another horrific, blasphemous lie on social media this morning, I just about fainted:  ‘Jesus bled […]

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Oh My Gog

The motivation for this future Battle of Gog and Magog is not totally clear but seems to be an invasion of Israel because of 1) strategic location, and 2) Israel’s treasure.

So what is Israel’s treasure she was to acquire at this end time event that was to come?

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What Do You Long For?

I struggle with these things from time to time, too. But then I read Isaiah 35 and see how wonderful the Millennial Kingdom and heaven will be. I recommit to praying for Christ’s return. We cannot and will not create heaven on earth ourselves. Hopelessly deluded people in the 19th century were convinced that humankind could. History answered with the 20th century.

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Last week I was doing a Q/A session with AWANA students, and one of them asked this question: In light of the shooting in Oregon, where the gunman asked students if they were Christian, and if they said ‘yes’ the gunman shot the student in the head, what would happen if a Christian lied? What if it would have been me, and I would have said ‘no’? Would I still go to heaven when I die? This question is of particular importance because Christianity contains no exception to prohibitions against lying. Islam, for example, has a doctrine called Taqiyya, which allows a Muslim to temporarily deny his…
 


All believers have the desire to be faithful ambassadors for Christ. We want to bring the message of salvation to   those around us. But like a deer in headlights we tend to freeze up instead of joyfully sharing the lifesaving news we possess. Like a diabetic rationalizing himself into eating that piece of cheesecake, Christian’s justify their disobedience with some well-crafted excuses. I’d like to help squash some excuses so that when we have the opportunity nothing would come in the way of those around us hearing about the hope that’s only found in Christ.   I’ll do more harm than good…
 


Through Good Works? (2)

In Institutes 3.14.21 Calvin, in speaking of the relations between the good works of believers (bona fidelium opera) and salvation (salutis) used the expression “per bona opera” (through good works). That expression is translated “through good works” or “by good works.” It seems that Calvin ascribed to good works a co-instrumental role, along with faith, […]

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Patience is a Virtue? But Do We lack It?

The Word of God of course has much to say about the life a true Christian should lead once we are saved by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  And if we are honest with ourselves we will each admit that at times we just want to ignore some of the […]

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The Word Of Salvation Versus Moralism

The reason there was so much opposition to Jesus ministry is because his gospel got the heart of matters. He wasn’t giving a muddled dry expositions, his goal wasn’t the dissemination of information, or simply create controversies about how to correct human behavior. Jesus had one great goal: the salvation of people. That they would […]

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Fuller Theological Seminary professor caves. Comes out in support of same-sex relationships

Berean Research editor Amy Spreeman reports:

Fuller Theological Seminary professor Daniel Kirk has changed his position on LGBT inclusion in the church. He announced on his blog this weekend that he now fully affirms same-sex relationships:

Is it time for us, not to “accept them into the body,” as though we were making some momentous decision ourselves, but to recognize that God has already accepted them—and we simply need to acknowledge what God has done? We could, like the apostles, exercise our faith by pointing to what it seems that the Spirit is doing and walk by that Spirit in our embrace of those whom God has already embraced. This is the road I’m choosing.

Full post is here. We share this not out of shock or surprise, but to keep you apprised of the daily darkening of the so-called visible Church that has departed from the truth of Scripture. Fuller, after all, was one of the first seminaries to become infected by emergent thought. (See Paul Smith’s must-read book, New Evangelicalism: The New World Order. It is also the home of famous alumni wolves Rob Bell and Tony Jones, a former professor.


Rejoicing Through It All – What The Scripture Tells Us (Booklet)
by Warren B. Smith, 9/28/15 LT Publishing

As challenging as it may seem at times, God’s Word tells us to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4) and evermore (1Thessalonians 5:16). The various Hebrew and Greek words for rejoicing range in meaning from calmly happy to exceedingly glad and jumping for joy. The Bible reminds us that God’s people should be a “happy” people because our God is the Lord (Psalm 144:15). We know that “though our outward man perish” yet our “inward man is renewed day by day. Therefore, we rejoice and give thanks for the “abundant grace” so mercifully bestowed upon us by God our Savior.

Click here to get this booklet!

What is your covering?
by Sandy Simpson, 10/3/15 ACT Logo 2

The question every human being must ask themselves is this: “What is my covering?”  Is it fig leaves or animal skins? I state this not literally but figuratively.  Are you depending on your good works or the blood of Jesus Christ to save you?  This is the ultimate question all the way from the Garden of Eden.  It is apparent that those who are truly saved are “in Christ” (Rom. 6:7, 8:1), washed in the Blood (1 Cor. 6:11, Rev. 7:14), crucified and buried with Christ (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:4) and born again (John 3:3, 1 Pet. 1:23), anticipating eternal life (John 17:3, Rom. 6:23). But there are also those who rely on their works (2 Tim. 1:9). Every person will be judged according to their works (Eph. 2:8-9, Rev. 20:12), whether they were relying on them to be saved or relying on the work of Christ on the cross for their salvation.  Even many people who call themselves Christians will end up trying to rely on works instead of grace.

Click here to read this article! 

Read What Pope Francis Said at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral
at Understand The Times, 9/30/15 Understanding The Times

“I would like to express two sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters: Firstly, my greetings as they celebrate the feast of sacrifice. I would have wished my greeting to be warmer. My sentiments of closeness, my sentiments of closeness in the face of tragedy. The tragedy that they suffered in Mecca. In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers. I unite myself with you all. A prayer to almighty god, all merciful.”

Click here to read this article!

The Devil’s Algebra (Video)
by Jacob Prasch, 10/5/15 Moriel Ministries

What happens when someone adds to or takes away from the Word of God?

Click here to watch this video!

Will Americans Perish from Lack of Prophetic Knowledge?

A nation can reach a point of no return, when the Lord determines that its destruction cannot be averted. This happened to the Southern Kingdom of Judah about 2700 years ago during the time of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah. Three times he was essentially told not to waste time praying for the people of Judah. In His foreknowledge, the Lord knew that Judah would not have a Nineveh or 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment. If Judah would have repented, the Lord would certainly have relented from judgment. The question for Americans to ask is; does America have a national repentance forthcoming in the near future? ………….  Click here for full story


Reaping Liberalism – Drop In Attendance Forces Anglican Church To Only Open Some Churches On Holidays

Imagine showing up at ‘festival church’ just twice each year – Christmas day and Easter Sunday. In between, you may show up for that occasional wedding or funeral. Otherwise, you have no business being in church and certainly not every Sunday. That’s about the highest level of commitment that most non-Christians are willing to muster if they ever choose to darken the doorways of a church building…………..  Click here for full story


Christians Aren’t “Just Forgiven”

We Christians love our bumper stickers. I’ve never spoken with someone whose life was forever changed by seeing a cliché slapped on the back of a vehicle, yet we just can’t seem to quit the darned things. From the passive-aggressive Christian (“Are you following Jesus this close?” or “Honk if you love Jesus; text if you want to meet him.”) to the cheesy Christian (“C H__ __ C H , What’s missing?”) to the confrontational Christian (you’ve seen the Jesus-fish eating a Darwin-fish) … the possibilities are nearly endless, and usually rather embarrassing.

One of the worst Christian bumper stickers is this: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” It’s true, of course, that Christians aren’t perfect. But they aren’t just forgiven.

As the Apostle Paul put it, “If we have been united with [Jesus] in a death like his [through baptism], we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Rom 6:5). In other words, the gospel doesn’t just provide us with a way of escaping the penalty of sin, but a way of escaping the power of sin, too.

Many Christians live their lives nearly unaware of the power God gave them in Christ. They’re looking for so little when it comes to salvation. They want inner peace, or purpose, or a ticket out of hell. And the gospel can provide those things, but it’s so much bigger than that. Union to Christ means that what is true of Jesus is now legally true of us. We have his perfect record. We have his resurrection power. Christianity isn’t about turning over a new leaf at all; it’s about the power of a new life.

This should be encouraging for messed up people like us. The people God uses to change the world aren’t those with a morally clean slate. Peter was a coward. Paul was harsh and abrasive. John was arrogant and vengeful. They were not made of more promising material than you or me. But the new birth turned them into men of incredible power. There is no brokenness or corruption or weakness that the power of Christ’s resurrection cannot remove, heal and redeem.

And how do we tap into that power? Paul shows us the way: “Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:11).

“Reckon” is the Greek word logizomai, often translated “count,” “consider” or “credit.” It’s the word Paul uses in Romans 4 to illustrate how God credits us with righteousness, even when we aren’t actually righteous. When God sees our faith in Jesus, he reckons our faith to be righteousness.

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5 Stupid Things Small Group Pastors Need to Stop Doing

We all do them. They’re just stupid. And we need to stop doing them.

Here are a few that we MUST. STOP. DOING.

1. Matchmaking. Few of us actually have time or available horsepower to place members in groups with room for members. Time spent matchmaking is almost always better spent (a) focusing on launching new groups and (b) training leaders to learn to fish for their own new members. See also, Top 10 Ways to Launch New Groups and Skill Training: Top 10 Ways to Find New Group Members.

2. Settling for warm and willing (instead of hot and qualified). If your coaching structure includes anyone who is a coach “in name only,” you’ve settled for warm and willing. Effective coaching structures are built when we insist on hot and qualified and accept no substitutes. We are truly better off when we hold out for high capacity leaders-of-leaders who are fulfilled in the task. Anything less is a waste of time. See also, How to Build an Effective Coaching Structure and Imagine If Your Coaching Structure Looked Like This?

3. Turning a blind eye to sideways energy. You have them and I have them. Bible studies, classes, programs and events that pose as destinations and don’t lead in the direction we want people to go are a distraction. If they lead anywhere other than where we want people to go (i.e., saved seats in a row) … we need to be proactively working to reimagine, redesign and relaunch (or cancel). See also, Sideways Energy.

4. Saying “maybe” when “no” is the best answer. The most effective small group pastors learn to say “no” to anything that compromises the objective. Anytime saying “yes” simply delays a “no” down the road, it is better for everyone to learn to say “no” with gentleness and respect in the very beginning. See also, Think Twice—and Then Think Again—Before You Approve the New Menu Item.

5. Repeating a failed strategy and hoping for different results. We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. But how many of us have settled for exactly the same failed strategy and hoped for the best? Stop doing that! Instead, invest in a brutally honest evaluation of the failed strategy and make the necessary adjustments to move to a new trajectory. See also, Top 10 Signs Your Small Group Ministry Is Schizophrenic

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Steps to Breaking Sin Patterns

Do you know people who struggle with recurrent sin patterns? Who seem to live in continual defeat? Are you that person, even as a church leader? If so, here are some steps to breaking those patterns.

1. Recognize the spiritual warfare element of the struggle. For the sake of illustration, imagine a “sin line” that marks the place where we cross from obedience into disobedience.  On one side of that line, the Enemy is the enticer (1 Chron. 21:1) who seeks to draw us across the line. He makes sin look inviting, exciting, and satisfying, even as he ensnares us with his messages:  “Go ahead and do it, nobody will know.”  “Look at what you’re missing.” “Everybody else is doing it.” So alluring is the sin, and so loud are the messages, that we choose to cross the line.

Then, the Enemy changes his approach. The enticer on one side of the line becomes the accuser (Rev. 12:10) on the other. Here’s what it sounds like before and after the sin line, when the encouragements to sin become taunts of accusation:

Enticer                                                                         Accuser

“Go ahead and sin; God will still love you.”              “God will never love you again.”

“Just one more time, and you can stop.”                    “You’ll never overcome this sin.”

“Don’t worry; God will forgive you.”                        “God won’t forgive you this time.”

“You deserve this. Don’t miss it!”                              “You’re just a loser.”

The process is clear.  The Enemy dangles the lures in front of us, and we take the bait. Then, in a demonic twist, he turns on us and beats us up with accusations. When we accept his charges as truth, our resolve to fight future temptations is weakened. We accept lies as truth and fall even more into sin that cannot satisfy.

If that’s where you are, know that the Enemy doesn’t have to win.

2. Be honest with somebody about your struggles. I know that’s a risky step, but we don’t overcome sin patterns when we fight the battles alone. God has designed the church in such a way that we can lean on each other for help. Ask God to direct you to someone with whom you can confess your struggle (James 5:16).  Then, trust that godly love, restoration, and forgiveness will trump the power of sin (Gal. 6:1).

3. With the help of others, focus on the glory of Christ. When we’re caught in a sin pattern, we keep drinking from the well of sin while thinking that our choices will somehow bring fulfillment – only to discover that sin leaves us thirstier in the long run. Only Christ can satisfy the heart so accustomed to turning to sin for fulfillment. When we see Him as the priest who prays for us (Heb. 7:25) and the king who is above every power (Eph. 1:20-23), sin will lose some of its attraction.

To get there, find somebody in your church who’s simply walking with Christ. Take him or her to lunch. Ask questions. Learn about his walk with God. Listen to how she prays. Your goal is to learn to long for Jesus, meet Him, long for more of Him, grow in His grace, long for more still . . . and just keep longing for and loving Him more. Ask God today to cure your sin addictions by making you captivated by Him.

4. Repent, and rejoice in small victories. That’s the bottom line, of course. We must turn from our sin, but God gives us His Word, His Spirit, and His people to lead us to victory. Each time you successfully fight through a temptation, take time to praise the Lord – and remember that every small win is one step closer to victory. I pray that victory will become real for you today.


Freedom from Authority vs. Freedom in Authority

In a country and culture focused on freedom, it’s striking how many different definitions and expressions of freedom exist. Typically, though, the central character in any of those definitions or expressions is you. Your rights. Your choices. Your freedom from oppression or opposition. And the perceived outcome of that freedom is the fulfillment and validation of what you want, think, and feel. These ideas are expressed in all sorts of ways—sometimes boldly and sometimes subtly.

The starting place for freedom must be God and His Word—our authority.

Like in one of the most overused songs of the last couple years—”Happy” by Pharrell. It’s a catchy tune you’ve probably heard at a store, a ballgame, or on a commercial.

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.

A You-Focus

When the song first kept popping up and I realized what lyrics were, I discussed them with my kids. I pointed out the focus on “you” and the folly of defining happiness and truth based on your thoughts and feelings. Now, I fully admit that I drive my kids crazy every time this song comes on and I loudly and sarcastically say, “Ah, listen children! Go ahead! Clap along!! YOU define truth! YOU do what YOU want! Whatever makes YOU happy!”

Despite those somewhat exaggerated teachable moments with my kids, I know there are times when a you-focus seems perfectly logical and wholly compelling. Like when . . .

  • You know what you want, and you know how to get it.
  • You have a better way.
  • You feel restricted.
  • You have doubts.
  • You’ve been hurt or wronged.
  • You don’t feel valued.

So is the emphasis on “you” a good thing? Is there freedom, fulfillment, and truth found by focusing on you? The answer we often find in the results of that focus—and the answer we always find in God’s Word—is “no.”

Finding True Freedom

True freedom does not begin with you. It does not begin with a focus on your experiences, circumstances, wants, and needs. True freedom cannot be found if you are the starting point to understanding, living in, and responding to the world. The starting place for freedom must be God and His Word—our authority.

Now, when the word “authority” is mentioned, it seems to go completely against the concept of freedom. Authority may bring to mind the very oppression and opposition freedom is supposed to combat. But I implore you to reconsider. True freedom is found in our Authority, not in freedom from authority.

Freedom comes from knowing a holy, all-powerful, all-knowing God who has created and ordered life.

Here’s what I mean: Freedom comes from knowing a holy, all-powerful, all-knowing God who has created and ordered life. Freedom comes from Him sending His Son, Jesus, to earth to live a perfect life that illustrates to us in all circumstances how to live an obedient and sacrificial life.

Freedom comes when we recognize and understand what sin is according to God’s Word. Freedom comes when we see the chains of that sin wrapped around us and believe that Jesus paid the penalty for that sin with His very life and those chains are broken. Freedom comes when we don’t have the enormously weighty responsibility to define life and truth, but instead come out from under that weight and believe God in His authority defines life and truth.

True freedom is found in Christ. We see this stated in Galatians 5:1:

Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.

We see how freedom is lived out in Galatians 5:13:

For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

And we find in Galatians 5:16 that we’re fueled to live in freedom by the Holy Spirit:

I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Freedom is not found in you, but freedom is offered to you through Christ

Freedom is not found in you, but freedom is offered to you through Christ. Look at the order of creation and know there is an Author of life. See the effects in your life and all over this world of a broken relationship with that Creator, and know a restored relationship with Him is offered through Christ Jesus. Believe and trust in the plans and purposes of God. That is where true freedom will be found.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read “The Freedom of Abiding in Christ.”


Planned Parenthood Changes Its Plans, But We Do not

Responding to all the pressure, Planned Parenthood has agreed to stop taking money for fetal tissue! Listen Now | Download

Grace Empowers the Best Work

Grace Empowers the Best WorkFor many, the message of grace means the end of all effort. But the Bible will not let us settle for that kind of Christian life. In this lab, John Piper connects key texts to inspire real, consistent, passionate effort to live like Jesus today. The grace that saves us also empowers change in us.

Watch Now


The Awesome Power To Work For God’s Good Pleasure

DL Moody once said:

“When I was converted I made this mistake: I thought the battle was already mine, the victory already won, the crown already in my grasp. I thought that old things had passed away, that all things had become new; that my old corrupt nature, the Adam life, was gone. But I found out, after serving Christ for a few months, that conversion was only like enlisting in the army, that there was a battle on hand, and that if I was to get a crown, I had to work for it and fight for it.”

Jesus did all the work to purchase our salvation. Eternal God, he took on human nature, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to pay for our sins, rose from the dead and and ascended on high as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He gives us the free gift of salvation when we believe in him. That’s when our work begins. But we don’t have to work in our own power:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. PHP 2.12-13

We “work out” our salvation. We don’t earn it, but because we are saved, as someone once said, we are to “work out what God has worked in.” God first gives us the will to work then fills us with his mighty power to work for his good pleasure.

Peter echoes this in his second letter:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,e and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (2 PE 1:3-7)

God has given us ALL WE NEED for life and godliness – the knowledge of his glory, incredible promises, a participation in the divine nature being joined to Christ, deliverance from the corruption caused by sinful desires – so we are to MAKE EVERY EFFORT to become more and more like Christ – in moral excellence, knowledge, and love. God’s grace shouldn’t make us lazy or lead us to sin. As Paul said:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 CO 15.10

How we need God’s grace. We can’t do anything for God on our own, for we are far too weak. But let’s remind ourselves again where our strength comes from:

It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

If you’ve waned or wandered or fallen or failed, don’t quit. Confess your sins and Jesus will forgive you and cleanse you. Then get back up and start working again. Ask Jesus to give you the will to work and to fill you with his power. Start putting sin to death again. Start serving again. Start praying and thanking God again. And remember, God wants you to succeed in him even more than you want to.


Can justification be lost? (Mark Jones)

I have a work in progress, defending the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone. In this work I am trying to make it as pastoral as possible for the average layman in the church to benefit from in his mind and heart. Some treatments can be a little dry, even if they are solid. I hope this post can show how glorious the doctrine of justification is for those who believe.

Here is a little preview from one of the chapters:
Can justification ever be revoked if someone is justified?
There are many reasons why this is impossible. I want to offer two (and perhaps some others in a future post). First, because we are justified by faith alone. Second, because of the nature of Christ’s intercession.
That sinners are justified by faith alone is a key aspect of the biblical Reformed doctrine of justification. Interestingly, Martin Luther may never have called justification the article by which the church stands or falls, even though the concept is clearly found in his writings. I am still looking for a primary source that proves that Luther is the originator of the phrase, but the saying may still have come from him. For example, William Eyre refers to justification as “articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae, as Luther calls it.” As a result, Richard John Neuhaus wrongly argues that the ‘stands or falls’ phrase did not originate until the eighteenth century.
The term “by faith alone” (sola fide) originated with Luther, though the idea is much older. In his German translation of Romans 3:28, Luther added the word allein (“alone”), rendering “justified by faith” as “justified by faith alone.”
Owen speaks of and defends justification by faith alone by noting:
“That it is faith alone which on our part is required to interest us in that righteousness, or whereby we comply with God’s grant and communication of it, or receive it unto our use and benefit; for although this faith is in itself the radical principle of all obedience…yet, as we are justified by it, its act and duty is such, or of that nature, as that no other grace, duty, or work, can be associated with it, or be of any consideration.”
Owen’s argument for faith alone is fivefold.
First, in the New Testament justifying faith is most frequently expressed as “receiving.” Only faith can receive Christ, “and what it receives is the cause of our justification” (John 1:12). Moreover, even the grace of God and righteousness itself, “as the efficient and material cause of our justification, are received also.”
Second, “faith is expressed by looking” (John 3:14-15). By looking upon Christ alone “the nature of faith is expressed” and is therefore “exclusive of all other graces and duties whatever.”
Third, faith denotes coming to Christ (Matt. 11:28). “To come unto Christ for life and salvation, is to believe on him unto the justification of life; but no other grace or duty is a coming unto Christ: and therefore have they no place in justification.”
Fourth, faith is expressed by “fleeing for refuge” (Heb. 6:18):
“For herein it is supposed that he who believes is antecedently thereunto convinced of his lost condition, and that if he abide therein he must perish eternally; that he hath nothing of himself whereby he may be delivered from it; that he must betake himself unto somewhat else for relief; that unto this end he considers Christ as set before him, and proposed unto him in the promise of the gospel; that he judges this to be a holy, a safe way, for his deliverance and acceptance with God.”
Finally, the terms by which faith is expressed in the Old Testament are “leaning on God…or Christ…resting on God…cleaving unto the Lord…as also by trusting, hoping, and waiting.” Those who acted on this type of faith “declare themselves to be lost, hopeless, helpless, desolate, poor, orphans; whereon they place all their hope and expectation on God alone.”
Owen is aware that the Scriptures do not explicitly say “justification is by faith alone.” However, he points out that “faith alone” is implied in the words “by faith in his blood”; for “faith respecting the blood of Christ as that whereby propitiation was made for sin,–in which respect alone the apostle affirms that we are justified through faith–admits of no association with any other graces or duties.”
The doctrine of justification by faith alone is a theological doctrine rooted in the Scriptures. But the doctrine itself requires not a proof-text here and there, but good and necessary consequence. Some may be sheepish about “good and necessary consequence” (cf. Matt. 22:32) when it comes to baptizing babies, but that principle of interpretation is vital to the “alone” in how we are justified.
If we were not justified by faith alone, we would have some other “qualification” which would then bring our state of justification into doubt. If justification is not at once complete, but rather in need of a second justification, “no man can be justified in this world” (Owen).
The second reason a justified sinner will always remain justified is because of Christ’s intercession. The application of Christ’s life and death relate to his intercession. But the difference between Christ’s death and his intercession is that Reformed theologians call his death “medium impetrationis, that is, the means of procurement or obtaining it for us; but his intercession, medium applicationis, the means of applying all unto us” (Goodwin).
Therefore, the justification of the ungodly depends on Christ’s intercession. In fact, the continuation of our justification depends on the continuing of Christ’s intercession since his intercession is the “virtual continuation of his sacrifice” (Goodwin).
In layman’s terms, this simply means that for a sinner who is justified to lose his or her justification, Christ would have to relinquish his office as priest. So, pastorally speaking, we can say: you will lose your justification when Christ decides he doesn’t want to be a high priest.
Though Christ’s death happened once, “yet is it done over every moment, for it is continued by acts of free Grace, and so renewed actually every moment” (Goodwin). Thus Christ is infinitely more interested in maintaining the justification of his people than they can ever be.
After all, the Father has made a declaration, and Christ wants to honour his Father’s declaration by being the faithful, sympathetic high priest that he has been called to be.

If this were my only blog post, I would invite you to do one thing…

I have participated in the Synchroblog for quite a while. But just as all good things must come to an end, the Synchroblog is closing shop. For this last synchroblog, participants were asked to write a blog post as if it were their only blog post ever.

In other words, if I had just one blog post to write, what would it be?

I have spent the last several weeks thinking about what I would write if I could write only one post.

I knew that it had to have something to do with Scripture and theology, since that is what I enjoy writing about. I wanted to write about some of the central biblical and theological truths that had rocked my world over the past decade, such as mimetic rivalry and scapegoating, or my growing conviction that God is not violent.

I also knew that it had to have something to do with the radical, free grace of God in Jesus Christ. Since so many people are caught up today in some form of works-based, guilt-based, performance-based religion, the outrageous, shocking, scandalous grace of God is a nuclear bomb that demolished everything you think you know about God and following Jesus, but at the same time, rebuilds and regrows everything into a new relationship with God built on love, joy, and freedom.

follow JesusBut I also knew that knowing Scripture, and knowing theology, and knowing about grace is not really the point of it all. The point of it all is to actually live this stuff out in real-world relationships by loving other people.

In the end, I finally realized that all these themes were centered on one common thing. Or I should say, they were centered on one common person: Jesus.

Jesus truly is all

If you want to understand the character and nature of God, just look at Jesus. Since God looks like Jesus, all proper thinking about God begins and ends with Jesus. Once you view God through Jesus, you begin to understand God so much more.

It is Jesus who revealed the mimetic rivalry and the scapegoating sacrifices that both threaten and bind all human cultures, civilizations, religions, and relationships. Once you view humanity through Jesus, you begin to understand humanity so much more.

It is Jesus who reveals that God is not violent; that there is no violence in God at all. And because of this, if you want to understand the violence of God in the Bible, you need to begin by looking at Jesus, and especially what Jesus did on the cross and how He appeared on the cross. “Christ, and Him crucified” is the key to understanding divine violence.

It is in the life of Jesus where you see most clearly what shocking, scandalous, outrageous grace looks like. While religion keeps sinners at a distance, Jesus parties with them like there’s no tomorrow. He makes friends with the worst of the worst (from a religious perspective) and tells stories which make heroes out of all the wrong people. He loves those the world says are unlovely. He touches the untouchable. He forgives those who think they cannot be forgiven.

All of this, of course, was no mere “theology” for Jesus. Jesus didn’t have a “theology” so much as He had a life focused on love. Everything that He said and did was to show people that He liked them, that He loved them, that He wanted to be with them.

The example of Jesus is so strong, that even people who do not believe in God, or who think that Jesus is a figment of historical imagination, are still inspired by the example of Jesus to live with more love toward others. The pull of Jesus is so strong, that in one sense, all the world is following Jesus.

following Jesus

So if I only had one message, one article, one blog post, or one thing to say to you, it would be this:

Follow Jesus.

I don’t care what you think about Jesus. I don’t care what you think about God. I don’t care what you think about Christians, or the Bible, or church, or politics, or religion, or anything else that people get so wrapped up in. My invitation to you is still the same:

Just follow Jesus.

follow JesusAnd trust me … if you follow Jesus, you will never get bored.

Jesus will lead you to the craziest of places and teach you the most amazing things. He will help you become truly “you.”

If you want to learn about God, Jesus will show you what God is like.

If you want to understand the Bible, Jesus will be happy to explain it to you.

If you want to get along with your neighbor, your boss, your spouse, or even your enemy, Jesus specializes in helping us learn to love.

I have written over 2000 blog posts on this blog, and while it may not be obvious on all the posts, every single one of them has been focused on one thing: I want to follow Jesus wherever He leads and I invite you to do the same.

But how can you follow Jesus?

I always try to be somewhat practical on this blog. I know that the invitation to “follow Jesus” is a little vague. We hear it so often in sermons and books, it has come to be almost meaningless.

So you might be asking these sorts of questions:

What does it mean to follow Jesus? How can someone do it? What are the steps? How can you follow someone you cannot see or hear?

My answer will probably not be very helpful, but it’s the best one I’ve got. My answer this:

You follow Jesus by believing that He’s leading you.

That’s it.

I know this is still terribly impractical, but it’s the only way I know to describe it.

There are no 10 steps for you to learn.

There are no doctrinal statements to sign.

There are no meetings to attend.

There are no Bible studies to take.

You simply trust that as you go about your day, Jesus is leading you. Following Jesus begins with a mental conviction, a mindset, or a frame of reference that Jesus is leading you.

And He will.

You won’t see much change immediately.

It might take a couple months, years, or even decades. But eventually, you look around in wonder and think, “How in the world did I get here?”

Jesus will wink and smile, and say, “Just wait until you see where I take you next. You ready?”


How to Love Those Struggling with Depression

More than 350,000,000 million people in the world are affected by depression. In the U.S., 6.7% of adults experience major depressive disorder. Women are 70% more likely to experience depression than men. The World Health Organization says that is the leading cause of disability in the world. They also report that between 76 and 85% of those in low-income countries who need treatment for their mental heal problems do not receive it. In high-income countries, 35-50% of those who need treatment for mental health problems do not receive it.

The statistics are overwhelming and show that depression and mental health issues are worldwide problems. Yet many who grapple with these issues still struggle with the stigma that comes with mental illness, even in the church.

Mental health and depression have recently come into the spotlight in the church, with leaders like Ed Stetzer and Kay Warren calling for the church to recognize and help individuals in the church who suffer from mental illness. While a high-level awareness of depression and mental illness in the church is good and necessary, many still wonder how to love those close to them who have been diagnosed with mental illness in some way.

While each situation is different and presents its own complications, there are things each of us can do to love those who suffer and walk with them along their journey.

Get Educated.

There are plenty of resources online that discuss the issue of depression and mental illness. The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Mental Health both offer in-depth looks at roots and causes, statistics, and ways to get help. Also, talk to the doctor of your loved one. This is not to get personal information, but to learn how you can better help those in your life impacted by depression. The doctor can also explain medications, possible side effects of that medication, and provide next steps for treatment.

Listen.

Those struggling with depression often feel like they are alone and have no way out. Be available to them. Let them honestly express what they’re feeling and where they are. Don’t immediately try to fix them, but give them time to verbally process where they are. Sometimes, just talking about feelings and the depression can help clear away some of the sadness and darkness and offer hope. However, you feel that someone is suicidal or is a harm to themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Pray.

Prayer isn’t something that replaces medication or treatment. However, as Christians, we are called to intercede for each other before the Lord. And we’re called to bear one another’s burdens. Pray for friends and family as they seek treatment or enter counseling. Engage with them honestly and truthfully in the Word. Encourage them. Ask the Lord for wisdom as you listen and support those in your life who suffer.

Depression and mental illness are very real issues that impact millions worldwide. We owe it to our families and friends to recognize this and educate ourselves accordingly. The church needs to actively be a part of removing the stigma of mental illness. We must be a place where those who struggle can find love, hope, and help.

 

The post How to Love Those Struggling with Depression appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Gospel-Centered Counseling: How to Care Like Christ

You care about hurting people, but what do you do after the hug? What do say do after you pray with them?

These questions formed the foundation for my recent weekend seminar on Gospel-Centered Counseling: How to Care Like Christ.

In the first half of the seminar, we addressed 8 Ultimate Life Questions that the Bible answers. This portion of the seminar is based upon my recent book, Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives.

8 Ultimate Life Questions

In the second half of the seminar, we explored 4 Biblical Compass Points for Gospel Conversations. This portion of the seminar is based upon my just-released book, Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ.

4 Biblical Compass Points

3 Free Resources 

I’m making 3 free resources from the seminar available for download.

*Download for free the complete 100-slide PowerPoint Presentation: Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives  

*Download for free the complete 75-slide PowerPoint Presentation: Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ  

*Download for free the two-page illustrative summary of our complete salvation: So Great a Salvation  

More Free Resources  

You can learn more about both of the books and download additional free resources here:

*Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives 

*Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ 

Tweet It & Pass It On 

Let your friends know about these free resources with these shortened links, perfect for Twitter and Facebook:

*Free Resources for the book Gospel-Centered Counseling: http://bit.ly/GCCrpm2015

*Free Resources for the book Gospel Conversations: http://bit.ly/GCH2CLC2015  

*The Free Resource: So Great a Salvation: http://bit.ly/CL2015Salvation

*The Free Resource: 100-Slide PowerPoint on Gospel-Centered Counseling: http://bit.ly/CL2015GCC

*The Free Resource: 75-Slie PowerPoint on Gospel Conversations: http://bit.ly/2015CLGC


How God Interrupts Your Spiritual Journey

How does God get your attention on your spiritual journey? Often you pay attention to pain, don’t you? Biblical counselor and teacher Donna Hart, PhD, shares encouragement in this post that first appeared on her blog.

logoThe exodus is a wonderful metaphor for the journey of our spiritual life.

It is likened to the spiritual bondage we face until we find freedom in Christ. We take this journey as individuals and also together as the people of God. It can literally be seen as the metaphor for the whole journey from salvation to resting in our true home in heaven, or a time when God is calling us to greater freedom in a particular area of our life, or a time when God is calling us to leave familiar territory behind so that we can enter into something new.

“From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded.” Exodus 17:1

Often in this journey we become aware that things are not right. Awareness calls us to take responsibility for responding to what we are seeing. Most of us avoid awareness as long as we can, until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. And in that place, we are ripe for making a move. The emotions we feel in response to what we have seen might be volatile during this time, but they serve a good purpose; they give us the energy and resolve to begin preparing to move in a new direction. Awareness opens us to the possibility of living life in a new way.

In this place it is useful to have people around us who can help us see what is real about our current situation, but we also need people to assure us that there is another way, and that it is possible for us to move in that direction, risky as it might be. We begin to give up our resistance to God and surrender to Him as He gives us a vision for what it would be like to say yes to the spiritual journey.

When Things Get Worse

But things often get worse before they get better. While the Israelites’ awareness was growing, the circumstances causing their suffering got worse. Life for the Israelites in Egypt grew dim as they were required to make bricks without straw, and were brutally beaten when they weren’t able to keep up with the quotas. Like them, the deterioration of our situation might seem like an unnecessary piece of the journey, but it is actually an important part of the process because it brings us to a turning point where we are willing to do something about our situation. We can say it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back; it can push us over the edge; and after that, nothing can be the same.

Like the Israelites, we might find it hard to listen to the voice of hope in the midst of the journey “because of [our] broken spirit [our] cruel slavery,” (Exodus 6:9). But we’re not alone in that struggle.

Moses went through this too as he led the Israelites out of Egypt, the people were no longer listening to him, and he took it personally.  It confirmed his worst fears about being a poor and ineffective leader. He even had an “I told you so” moment with God: “The Israelites have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?” (Exodus 6:12).

But God Comes Breaks Through

spiritual journeyThat was God’s moment to come through for Moses, and He did!  He does it with us too, through signs and wonders that free us for the journey that is ahead. It is as Leonard Cohen said, “It is good to be between a ruined house of bondage and a holy promised land.” When all things seem lost God is right in there with us, ministering to us with His faithful love, letting us know as we lean into Him, He will be with us every step of the way. Start looking for a glimmer of the promised land that is over the hill, in all the little ways that God is blessing you.

Are you between the house of bondage and the promised land?

Know God comes through with signs and wonders getting you free for the journey ahead. May we be excited for the Lord has for us.

Resource for YOU!

You’re welcome to download this diagram of the sanctification of your spiritual journey. Click here to get it.

The post How God Interrupts Your Spiritual Journey appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.


Check out

Blogs

Lecture Me. Really |  NYTimes.com
Molly Worthen argues that the lecture is not yet dead.

Her Heart So Kind and So Weary | Gentle Reformation
Barry York’s moving account of his mother’s passing into eternity.

Observations on Preaching Without a Manuscript | Borrowed Light
Mike’s computer sabotaged his notes. Only one thing for it…
And if you want to learn how to do it here’s How to Preach without Notes for only $1.99.

Did Jesus Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry? | Reformation21 Blog
Intriguing statistics and conclusions.

Feeding on Christ Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry | Feeding on Christ
Seven lessons from discouragement in ministry.

Take A Quiz on Christ | Tim Challies
Great way to learn the most important truths about the most important person

Twenty Great Leadership Quotes | Eric Geiger

4 Reasons Christianity Isn’t Actually Dying | OnFaith

Texas Banned Planned Parenthood From Medicaid Program | The Federalist
The inspector general of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced today that the state plans to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving funds from the state’s Medicaid program,

Kindle Books

Psalms: The Prayer Book Of The Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer $3.99.

Preaching for God’s Glory by Alistair Begg $1.99.

Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World by John Macarthur $2.99.

Recommended New Book

Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement by Owen Strachan.

Video

And here’s a video for Owen’s book above.


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

 

Single You Will Be the Married You

Phillip Holmes:

When I was single, I thought marriage might be the magic bullet. I believed that it would miraculously transform me. I assumed I would suddenly possess a new measure of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that I had not yet known or experienced as a single man. I believed that once I said, “I do,” I would see the world through a different lens and become a responsible and loving man — a responsible and loving husband.

I probably would have denied believing any of the above if you’d asked me before marriage. Privately, though, I believed that marriage was the missing link on my journey to Christlikeness. I could not have been more wrong.

 

The latest Star Wars trailer is here

This looks promising:

I Was Embarrassed by the Bible

Brian Cosby:

That’s when it stopped. My pen did a hop, skip, and jump to “and lead me in the way everlasting” (v. 24). Looking through other portions of my Bible, I noticed the same trend. From Genesis to Malachi, Matthew to Revelation, it seemed as though I didn’t want to encounter the offensive and the edgy. I didn’t want to ponder the scientific improbability of the sun standing still (Josh. 10:13) or why the man with crushed testicles wasn’t allowed to enter the worship assembly (Deut. 23:1).

Am I embarrassed by the Bible?

How Can I Help Women Struggling with Sexual Issues?

Trillia Newbell:

Many Christian women who struggle with sexual sin feel great shame and embarrassment. This is aggravated by the fact that sexual sin is far too often deemed a men’s issue. We’re hearing from more and more women who struggle in this area. We can help by intentionally and unashamedly acknowledging the presence of sexual sin in our lives. More women will begin to open up and seek help the more they hear others share about their experience. As broken, sinful image-bearers who’ve been designed as sexual beings, each of us needs God’s forgiving grace for sexual sin. The good news is that he delights to give us such grace.

Meet the millennial who infiltrated the guarded world of abortion providers

I enjoyed this profile of David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress (the organization behind the Planned Parenthood videos).

Observations on Preaching Without a Manuscript

Mike Leake:

For the first time preaching on a Sunday morning I walked into the pulpit with only a bare outline and a few quotes typed up.

I wish I could say that I did this intentionally. That I had finally gotten over my fears and decided that the benefit outweighed the risk. But that would be a lie. I walked into the pulpit without a manuscript because something happened to my computer on Sunday morning. Before I could print my sermon—the one I wrote out in full manuscript form—the entire thing was erased. I knew I didn’t have time to write it all out again, and frankly I didn’t want to. I knew that it was time to do what I’d been wanting to do for awhile.

I survived.


A La Carte (October 20)

I’ve got just a couple of Kindle deals for you today: Mere Apologetics by Alister McGrath ($3.99); Help My Unbelief by Barnabas Piper ($3.99); I’m not familar with this one, but it looks like it may be worth at least a look: The Quick-Reference Guide to Counseling on Money, Finances & Relationships by Tim Clinton ($3.03).

Sexual Orientation Doesn’t Mean Anything

“Laws backed by substantial fines and penalties, not to mention the potential for publicly shaming violators, require some form of objective clarity.” But there is no clarity as to what sexual orientation actually means.

6 Marks of Healthy Sexuality

This is a really good article from Gary Thomas. He asks, “What are the markers of a wholesome sexual experience that is accomplishing God’s relational intent?”

Did Jesus Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry?

Rick Phillips went looking through the gospel of Mark to see if Jesus had a gospel-centered ministry (according to at least one conception of the term “gospel-centered”).

Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry

Here are some takeaways from a meeting of pastors as they discussed discouragement in ministry.

This Day in 1949. The Inklings—which included the likes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams—met for their final time 66 years ago today. *

Why Doesn’t Mark Say Anything About Jesus’ Birth?

J. Warner Wallace: “If the virgin conception was an historical event that was well known to the earliest Christians, why wasn’t it mentioned by Mark?”

The Earliest List of the NT Canon

Michael Kruger: “It is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon. We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.” But that isn’t quite the case.


The Daily Discovery (October 20, 2015)

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

9 Things You Should Know About Global Persecution of Christians (2015 Edition) – “Last week the State Department released its International Religious Freedom Report for 2014. A major concern addressed in this year’s report is the violent opposition to religious freedom, including the persecution of Christians. Here are nine things you should know about the persecution being faced by our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. (Note: The title of this article includes “2015” (to mark the year it was posted), but the details are about events that occurred in 2014.)”

Fuller Theological Seminary Professor Caves. Comes Out In Support of Same-Sex Relationships – “Fuller Theological Seminary professor Daniel Kirk has changed his position on LGBT inclusion in the church. He announced on his blog this weekend that he now fully affirms same-sex relationships…”

Train Up A Parent – “‘Train up a child.’ Rarely is a proverb so often quoted and so often misunderstood. It has become the slogan of parenting seminars. It gets referenced as a surefire promise – a divine reward for our toil and sweat as parents. Young parents latch onto the proverb with the hope that their training will ensure the faithfulness of their children. Older parents feel the proverb’s implicit judgment, weary from watching a child or two depart from ‘the way,’ and wondering whether their children’s disobedience points backward to their own failure in ‘training.’”

The Great Christ Comet – “What do we do about that pesky star? Inseparable from the narrative of Jesus’ birth is the ‘star of wonder, star of night / Star with royal beauty bright’ that we sing about in our Christmas carols (and, of course, read about in the book of Matthew). What was that star? Where did it come from? If it was so unusual and magnificent that it could lead wise men from the East all the way to Bethlehem, why don’t we read about it in other sources? That star is the subject of Colin Nicholl’s new book The Great Christ Comet. And, as you may surmise from the title, he does not believe it was a star at all.”

What Is Love? – “No one can hate you as much as they hated Christ. No one will ever be mistreated as unfairly as was our Lord. He was stricken, smitten and afflicted. He was despised and rejected by men—his own creatures. He was a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering, like one from whom me hide their faces. He was despised and we esteemed him not. When reviled, Jesus did not revile in return. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. When he rode in on that donkey on Palm Sunday, he did so knowing that he would bear the punishment to bring us peace and that by his wounds we would be healed.”


SERMON:

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Nate Pickowicz – Enemies of the World (John 15:18-27)


VIDEOS:

David Platt and Mark Dever discuss evangelism, false conversion, and the sinner’s prayer.

Why People Don’t Make Disciples


“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 (October 20, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Christian Headlines Daily – Tuesday, October 20, 2015

http://www.christianheadlines.com/

Top Headlines

Ben Carson Says He Believes God Created the Earth but Does Not Know When

Lawmakers Demand Change in How House Operates

Hungary Closes Border to Refugees to Preserve ‘Christian Values’

India No Longer Requires Two-Parent Homes for Adopted Children

Washington High School Football Coach Refuses Demands to Stop Post-Game Prayers

With ‘Woodlawn,’ Christian Films Enter New Playing Field

Derick and Jill Dillard Offer Refunds to Fans Who Donated to Mission Work

California Pregnancy Centers Fight New Abortion-Referral Mandate

Aid Shortfalls are Driving Desperate Syrians Back Home

Detroit Pastor Fatally Shoots Intruder Who Entered Church with Brick and Hammer

Opinion

Autism and Human Dignity

How to Fail until You Succeed

Planned Parenthood’s Problems Go Far Beyond Whether it Sells Organs

Do You Know God’s Purpose for Your Life?

Dr. Ho Feng Shan: A Lesser-Known Christian Hero Who Changed the World


10/20/15 Out of the Same Mouth

READING: Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9:18-27

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  Yesterday’s devotion was a reminder that our words reflect our heart. Today’s devotion takes us in the same direction, though with a more dramatic application and picture.

The day was a good day for Simon Peter. He didn’t always have those, but this day was one. Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was, and Simon Peter got it right: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). He got it right, though, not because he was so brilliant, but because God the Father directed him: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17). Simon listened to God and then spoke what God had given him. It was indeed a good day.

Some time later, Jesus began talking about His coming death, and Peter did not like those words. In fact, he rebuked the Lord — to which Jesus spoke these strong words: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matt. 16:23). In his attempt to dissuade Jesus from the cross, Peter had become the voice of the enemy. The same man who had previously spoken the words of the Father had temporarily listened to the wrong voice. This day was not one of Simon’s better days.

Here’s what we learn from these texts: out of the same mouth can come the words of God and the words of Satan. Sometimes on the same day. Sometimes in the same conversation. Sometimes, even, in the same sentence.

Monitoring our words must be an ongoing, Spirit-led, Word-informed process.

ACTION STEPS:  Be keenly aware today of any tendency to speak something that is more from the enemy than from God. Think and pray before you speak.

PRAYER: “God, forgive me when my words reflect Satan more than You. I want to say only what You give me today.”


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

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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.


October 20, 2015 US and World Briefing Report

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Oct. 20, 2015

BLOOMBERG

Japan’s health ministry confirmed for the first time that leukemia found in a worker at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant is a result of the March 2011 atomic disaster.

New-home construction in the U.S. climbed in September, a sign residential real estate will bolster the world’s largest economy. Housing starts increased 6.5 percent to a 1.21 million annualized rate, more than forecast and the second-highest level in eight years.

When Wal-Mart Stores Inc. raises its minimum wage to $10 an hour next year, Target Corp. and other competitors are going to face a dilemma: follow along and jeopardize profits or risk losing their best workers. Matching Wal-Mart’s $10 wage would cost some of the retail industry’s largest companies an extra $4 billion over what they paid workers in 2014.

Joshua Siegel is bringing back a version of one of the most toxic financial vehicles ever devised and arguing that this time it’s going to be different. His StoneCastle Financial is among the hedge funds that are reviving the collateralized debt obligation, or CDO.

Fans of Walt Disney Co.’s upcoming “Star Wars” swamped websites in the U.S. and U.K. as they try to reserve seats to a movie still two months away from opening. The U.S. ticketing sites Fandango and MovieTickets.com struggled to keep up with demand, as Disney’s ESPN network kicked off early sales with a new trailer for the film during a “Monday Night Football” telecast.

The Pentagon is notifying Congress of a planned sale to Saudi Arabia of as many as four Littoral Combat Ships for $11.25 billion, according to a U.S. official, as the U.S. works to bolster defenses of its Gulf allies after the nuclear deal with Iran.

AP Top Stories

Russian air strikes in Syria’s Latakia province killed a rebel commander and four other fighters from a group armed by President Bashar al-Assad’s foreign enemies, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday.

Southwest Airlines flight forced to return to gate at LAX after man chokes woman for reclining her seat, authorities said.

An unlicensed medical practitioner who infected more than 100 villagers in northwestern Cambodia with HIV by reusing unclean needles went on trial Tuesday, facing three charges including murder, his lawyer said.

Turkey is ready to accept a political transition in Syria in which President Bashar al-Assad remains in symbolic power for six months before leaving office, two senior government officials said on Tuesday.

A US F-16 was struck by enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan, military officials have confirmed to AFP, in a rare instance of an advanced fighter jet coming under a Taliban-claimed attack. The multi-million dollar jet sustained significant damage, forcing it to jettison its fuel tanks and munitions before returning to base.

Russian air strikes in Syria have killed 370 people since they began on September 30, around a third of them civilians, a monitoring group said Tuesday.

As the thermometer dips towards zero in Germany, thousands of asylum seekers spending their nights in tents are pleading for authorities to find them alternative housing. Maybe we are all going to turn to ice,” said a 25-year-old Afghan.

Croatia opened its border with Serbia for migrants on Monday, letting in thousands who have been stranded for nearly two days and partially clearing the human bottleneck that has been building up in the West Balkans.

Slovenia said on Tuesday it would deploy the army to guard its border and appealed for help from the European Union as migrants streamed through the tiny country and many thousands more spent another cold night outside in the Balkans.

A federal appeals court upheld parts of New York and Connecticut gun control laws banning semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, ruling the measures passed after a 2012 school massacre did not violate the Constitution.

U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in September on soaring demand for rental apartments, a sign that the housing market continues to steadily improve even as economic growth has slowed.

Amazon plans to hire 100,000 people for the holidays, a 25 percent jump from last year.

BBC

Canada’s Liberal Party has decisively won a general election, ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule.

Ohio has put executions on hold until at least 2017 as the US state struggles to acquire the lethal drugs needed to carry out death sentences.

China’s President Xi Jinping is receiving a ceremonial welcome by the Queen as he begins the first full day of his visit to the UK.

A crush near Mecca last month killed nearly three times as many people as Saudi Arabia has admitted. AP said that at least 2,110 people died in the tragedy at the annual Hajj pilgrimage – far more than the official Saudi death toll of 769.

WND

China’s government continued economic cyber espionage attacks against businesses despite a pledge to halt the practice last month, a cyber security firm revealed on Monday.

A high school teacher near Phoenix, Arizona, was suspended after administrators learned he passed around a survey to about 100 students with questions that asked about their sexual proclivities. Among the questions, the Daily Caller reported:: “Do you watch pornographic videos?” “Would you go to a wife-swapping party?” And “Do you prefer ordinary sex?”


 

Top News – 10/20/2015

In Violent Jerusalem Tug-of-War, Biblical Prophecy Unfolding Before Our Eyes
the Kotel is a part of the outer, western retaining wall of the Second Holy Temple that was destroyed in the year 70 CE. It has been sacred to Jews and Christians for 2,000 years. The millenia-long holiness of the Kotel derives from its association with the Temple Mount, where the two previous Holy Temples stood.

HEAVY SNOW WARNING: Worst El Nino in recorded HISTORY means UK faces winter WHITE-OUT
The knock-on effects around the globe, which include unusually cold winters in Britain, could be catastrophic. The last El Nino, six years ago, saw the UK crippled by the worst winter for decades with widespread harsh frosts, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow setting in from early December and lasting until March.

World Turning Against Jerusalem in Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy
As seen through multiple recent events, the nations of the world are increasing their efforts to weaken or remove Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem. Is this a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3’s prophecy that, at the End of Days, the nations of the earth will gather against Jerusalem?

Ebola worst infectious disease in world, says Ulster Hospital medic
An Ulster Hospital doctor honoured for his work helping victims of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone has described it as “the worst infectious disease in the world – in a class of its own”.

Recent studies show Ebola virus lingers on in the body, perhaps for ever
A new study, prompted by experiences Ebola survivors have been having a relapse, has shown that there is a lot to learn about Ebola disease and the need to eradicate it not only from villages and the city but clean it out from patients’ bodies for good.

Jerusalem mayor tells citizens: Pack heat
Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem, has sent out a bold advisory to city residents in the wake of several killings, stabbings and attacks on Israelis, telling them in the bluntest of language they might want to consider packing heat.

Top cleric: Jews to build new temple for devil worship
TEL AVIV – In a sermon broadcast on official Palestinian television, a well-known cleric claimed that in the future, Jews will build a temple outside of the area of the Temple Mount, where they will worship the devil. The Muslim preacher, Sheik Khaled Al-Mughrabi, who gives classes twice per week in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, further taught that at the “end of time,” Muslims will seek out and destroy Jews wherever they are.

‘Assad doesn’t have to leave tomorrow, can be part of transitional process’ – US State Department
Bashar Assad “does not have to leave tomorrow or the next day,” the US State Department has stated. Washington allows that Assad may take part in transitional process, but can’t be part of Syria’s next government. At the same time, the Obama administration continues to insist that President Assad cannot be a part of transitional government, once the country gets to that point.

Three Big Weather Changes This Week: Gulf Moisture Returns, Temperatures Flip-Flop and Southwest Dries Out
Three big changes in the weather are expected this week across the U.S., and many will appreciate the difference a week can make.

Volcanoes Today, 20 Oct 2015: Karymsky volcano, Dukono, Piton de la Fournaise, Batu Tara, Sinabung, Bagana
Karymsky (Kamchatka): An ash plume was reported this morning from the volcano drifting SE (VAAC Tokyo)…

To infinity and beyond: Light goes infinitely fast with new on-chip material
Researchers have designed the first on-chip metamaterial with a refractive index of zero, meaning that the phase of light can travel infinitely fast.

NASA Studying 2015 El Niño Event As Never Before
This year’s El Niño is already strong and appears likely to equal the event of 1997-98, the strongest El Niño on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Olaf strengthens to major hurricane, still far offshore
Hurricane Olaf strengthened into a major hurricane Monday as it churned far offshore in the central eastern Pacific, US forecasters said. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Olaf had maximum sustained winds of 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour, bumping it up to major hurricane status.

Guam earthquake: Strong earthquake strikes near U.S. territory
A strongly felt 5.6-magnitude earthquake shook the U.S. territory of Guam on Tuesday morning, seismologists and residents say.

Texas defunds Planned Parenthood clinics, but Louisiana ordered to pay
Texas on Monday barred Planned Parenthood from receiving state Medicaid money, the latest setback for the women’s healthcare provider… Hours earlier in neighboring Louisiana, a federal judge blocked that state’s efforts to cut the group’s funding. …Texas health officials said all funding from Medicaid…was being cut because of what it characterized as program violations captured on the videos.

Nearly 200 earthquakes shake San Ramon
An earthquake swarm continues to shake the San Ramon Valley with almost 200 temblors rippling through the region through Monday afternoon… A quake storm hit the same region last week, the most prominent being a 3.4 shaker that struck near San Ramon at 6:10 a.m. Thursday. It was felt as far north as Vallejo and as far south as Pleasanton.

Canada election: Liberals sweep to power
Canada’s Liberal Party has decisively won a general election, ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule. The centrist Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, started the campaign in third place but in a stunning turnaround now command a majority. Mr Trudeau, the 43-year-old son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, said Canadians had voted for real change.

UN chief tries to calm Israel-Palestinian violence
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in an effort to help end the spiralling violence. Mr Ban is expected to hold talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. In the latest in a wave of attacks, an Israeli soldier was stabbed and wounded and his Palestinian assailant shot in the occupied West Bank, Israel said.

Migrant crisis: Slovenia eases border restrictions for thousands
Slovenia says it has allowed into the country most of the 5,000 people who were stranded in wet and muddy conditions on its border with Croatia on Monday. It had previously vowed to take in only 2,500 migrants per day. Croatia has also opened its border with Serbia, where thousands more migrants are trying to reach northern Europe.

Israel’s ‘harsh responses’ to Palestinian violence won’t bring peace, Ban says
…UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon… video message to Israeli and Palestinian people… “I understand your frustration. I know your hopes for peace have been dashed countless times,” he said. “You are angry at the continued occupation and expansion of settlements. Many of you are disappointed in your leaders and in us…because of our inability to end this occupation.”

Donald Trump hit a new high-water mark in a poll
Real-estate-tycoon Donald Trump’s presidential campaign got some good news in a new poll released Monday evening. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found Trump with 25% support among Republican voters.

Saudi Arabia hajj disaster death toll at least 2,177
The crush and stampede that struck the hajj last month in Saudi Arabia killed at least 2,177 pilgrims, a new Associated Press tally showed Monday, after officials in the kingdom met to discuss the tragedy.

Egypt in second day of “election without voters”
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Monday that turnout during the previous day’s parliamentary election was just 15-16 percent but should rise now after public sector workers were given a half-day off to vote.

Saudi urges Iran to stop ‘meddling’ in neighbourhood
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Monday urged Iran to stop “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom’s neighbours, warning that Riyadh stood ready to confront Tehran’s actions.

U.S. media making martyr of dead Palestinian who tried to ambush Israeli soldier
Some of you are going to think I’m being unfair to the media on this one. After all, the AP merely shot raw video without comment. USA Today merely posted it without comment. How is that bias? How are they making a martyr of the guy whose funeral was shown in the video? I’ll tell you how. First, let’s be clear on what happened. A 20-year-old Palestinian terrorist named Eyad Awawdeh ambushed a member of the Israel Defense Force by dressing up like a journalist to get close to him, then proceeded to stab him. Other IDF forces were on the scene and defended their colleague by killing the Palestinian.

The Coming Break Point
A revolutionary political earthquake lies up ahead. The popularity of Trump foretells this. We’re feeling the tremors right now. But the feeling of revulsion for the Washington establishment is not yet clear enough and widespread enough in the minds of the people to manifest in a revolutionary “break point.” But I believe such a lack of widespread clarity is the lull before the storm. And the storm is coming in the form of a pervasive economic crash that will shake up Americans in a way they have never before experienced.


Top Headlines – 10/20/2015

UNESCO draft resolution: Western Wall is part of al-Aksa mosque

Report: Israel Proposed PA Forces Guard Temple Mount

Kerry calls for end to ‘senseless’ violence in Israel, rejects push for international monitors

Palestinian fatwa rejects French proposal to deploy international monitors in Jerusalem

Amidst Israel violence, French Jews worried over copycat attackers

Zahar: Palestinians should use firearms in fight against Israel

Hamas to West Bank members: Commit suicide attacks

Zahar calls for Hamas branches in Lebanon, Syria refugee camps to attack Israel

Bedouin leaders condemn ‘despicable’ Beersheba attack

Netanyahu: Palestinian incitement is ‘Osama Bin Laden meets Mark Zuckerberg’

Steinitz: Abbas’ anti-Jewish incitement reaches Hitler’s level

‘My cousin made me do it,’ 13-year-old Palestinian stabber tells police

Palestinian Cleric Claims Jews Will Build Third Temple to ‘Worship the Devil,’ Stimulating End Times

Why Christians Should Care about Joseph’s Tomb Attack

Scandinavian airline ending service to Tel Aviv due to ‘political instability’

Canadian Elections Could Spell Doom for Israel as “Anti-Israel” Candidates Gain Ground

Reports: Canada’s Liberal Party to end Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rule

Saudi says difficult to envision role for Iran in Syria peacemaking

Fighting near Syria’s Aleppo displaces 35,000

Medical aid for 29,500 reaches besieged Syrians, no evacuations

ISIS fighters reportedly shave beards, dress like women to escape Syria bombing

Croatia opens border to thousands of refugees as temperatures drop

As Refugee Numbers Swell, So Do Germany’s Anti-Islam Protests

German anti-Islam group’s anniversary rally ends in violence

Austrian Town of 1,600 Drowns in Migrant Feces and Garbage

Britain Unveils Plans to Fight Extremism in Young Muslims

Starnes: School says 9-11 had nothing to do with Islam

Taliban did use bombed hospital as a shelter, Afghan defense minister says

Bus blast kills 11 in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province

Libya’s recognized parliament rejects UN proposal for unity gov’t

As Russia reasserts itself, NATO opens biggest exercises in years

Vladimir Putin is falling back on Soviet-era self-reliance as oil wealth evaporates and sanctions cut off vitally-needed technology

Kim Jong Un Permits Family Reunions to Gain Leverage With South

Feds to require drone registration after close calls

Top California official pushes ammo background checks

Samsung to make robots ‘cheaper than any human worker’

Road rage detector to hit market

Scientists spot new, huge energy waves coming out of the Sun

Large solar storms ‘dodge’ detection systems on Earth

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Balitoc, Philippines

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Merizo Village, Guam

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Sumatra, Indonesia

Nearly 200 earthquakes shake San Ramon

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 21,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 17,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 10,000ft

Philippines Under Siege From Typhoon Koppu

Forget El Nino, start worrying about the North Atlantic blob

South Africa likens draft climate deal to apartheid

UN to call on governments around the world to decriminalise all drugs, says Richard Branson

Study: Ebola Still Lives In Semen Of Survivors For At Least 9 Months

Researchers Perform First Surgery on the Human Genome

Texas defunds Planned Parenthood clinics, but Louisiana ordered to pay

Homosexual Men “Divorce” to Become Threesome, Now Plan to Use Sisters as Surrogates

Foreigners use tattoos to express affection for Hinduism

NASA photo ignites conspiracy about deity statue on Mars

Agony of Congo’s 50,000 ‘Child Witches’ Who Are Brutally Exorcised to ‘Beat the Devil out of Them’

State Department: Yeah, Christianity Is Under Attack Worldwide


Frontrunning: October 20

  • Canada’s Trudeau topples PM Harper in shock election win (Read More)
  • Where Canada’s Harper Hit Hurdles (Read More)
  • Pugnacious Trudeau Steps Out of Father’s Shadow and Into Power (Read More)
  • European Stocks Decline, Euro Rallies as ECB QE Optimism Fades (Read More)
  • Valeant, Under Pressure About Price Increases, Plans Changes (Read More)
  • Syrian rebels say they receive more weapons for Aleppo battle (Read More)
  • Hillary Clinton Widens Lead in Primary Race, Read More Poll Shows (Read More)
  • Hedge Funds are Bringing Back Everyone’s Least Favorite Toxic Investment (Read More)
  • United Tech profit falls on currency swings; plans $12 billion share buyback (Read More)
  • U.S. Said to Approve $11 Billion Saudi Buy of Littoral Ships (Read More)
  • U.S. appeals court upholds core of N.Y., Connecticut gun laws (Read More)
  • OPEC Brings Oil Price War Home in Pursuit of Asia’s Cash (Read More)
  • Harley-Davidson third quarter profit falls on slowed sales (Read More)
  • Not the “Hitman”: United Airlines Names Brett J. Hart Acting CEO (Read More)
  • Chipotle Reaches Awkward Age (Read More)
  • Apple CEO Defends Encryption, Opposes Government Back Door (Read More)

The Briefing

1) Differing views of moral issues facing nation illustrate bifurcation of American politics

Even the Issues Are in Debate in 2016 Race, New York Times (Patrick Healy)

The Politics of Distrust, Wall Street Journal (Jay Cost)

2) Republican debate to be held in Boulder exposes diversity of understandings of reality

Boulder Takes Rare Step Into Conservative Orbit With G.O.P. Debate, New York Times (Jack Healy)

3) Oprah’s ambitions to shape American faith in own image evident in interview with Colbert

How Stephen Colbert Is Bringing Religion to Late Night, The Atlantic (Megan Garber)

 

In other news…

U.S. Blocks Some Anti-drug Funds for Mexico Over Human Rights Concerns, Washington Post (Joshua Partlow)

Americans are More Afraid of Robots than Death, Atlantic (Cari Romm)

Texas defunds Planned Parenthood clinics but Louisiana ordered to pay, Reuters (Lisa Maria Garza And Andy Grimm)



October 19, 2015
The theory ‘is not so much empirical as poetic’
ALAN KEYES — This week, I read a story about Ben Carson’s response to a question about “creationism” that led me to ponder the quisling GOP’s abandonment of the elegant words and logic with which the American Declaration of Independence establishes the political relevance of the authority of the Creator God… (more)

October 19, 2015
NEWSMAX — A 2002 memo recently released as part of Hillary Clinton’s trove of official State Department documents shows that former President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair reached a deal to invade Iraq nearly a year before the war began…. (more)


October 19, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Sunday that he’s bluntly told his Republican colleagues to stop talking about the committee’s proceedings…. (more)


October 18, 2015
NEWSMAX — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “got away with murder” during last week’s Democratic presidential debate, says former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani…. (more)

October 18, 2015
NEWSMAX — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday he isn’t interested in criticism from the party’s 2012 nominee. Mitt Romney, the 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he doesn’t believe Trump will end up being the party’s nominee…. (more)

October 18, 2015
THE RIGHT SCOOP — Some like to criticize Ted Cruz for being too extremist on fighting against the GOP establishment and leadership, but in this short exchange with Chuck Todd, he explains passionately and convincingly why so many are fed up with those in charge of the party…. (more)

October 18, 2015
NEWSMAX — The Secret Service will give agent protection to Ben Carson and Donald Trump while heavily upgrading Hillary Clinton’s existing detail, a Washington source close to the agency’s plans confirmed to Newsmax…. (more)

October 18, 2015
GREG COROMBOS — The man who once spearheaded congressional efforts to strengthen American intelligence is hammering former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her description of the U.S. mission in Libya at the recent Democratic debate and blames both Clinton and President Obama for unnecessarily turning a reluctant ally into a hotbed for jihadism…. (more)

October 18, 2015
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The next intifada is on, and the Obama administration, as one would expect, is on the wrong side. There has been a spike in Palestinian terrorism over the past few weeks. One has to call it a spike because Palestinian terrorism is always thrumming – – there’s never a real stop. About 70 Israelis have recently been mauled, and some killed, in over two dozen sneak attacks, mostly by stabbing…. (more)

October 17, 2015
CLIFF KINCAID — President Obama failed to take out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but now he’s going after Canada’s Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a big supporter of Israel and opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin…. (more)

October 17, 2015
DAILY MAIL — Hillary Clinton could be prosecuted in federal court for failing to tell President Barack Obama about her private email server at the time she was running it, according to a veteran FBI agent… (more)


October 17, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said Huma Abedin was “very cooperative” during a closed-door interview with the House Select Committee on Benghazi Friday…. (more)

October 17, 2015
CONSERVATIVE REVIEW — Watching the Democrat debate, I couldn’t help but wonder why Republicans will likely struggle to eke out a victory against a field of candidates that in any other generation would be unelectable. There is not a single moderately liberal candidate with broad appeal in this field of Democratic presidential candidates… (more)

October 17, 2015
BOB UNRUH — Two members of the European Parliament have put the defunding of Planned Parenthood on the agenda in response to the sting investigation that caught executives of the abortion provider in the United States discussing the sale of the body parts of aborted babies…. (more)

October 17, 2015
NEWSMAX — The owners of private drones will have to register them with the government under a plan reportedly sparked by the rise in dangerously close encounters between the unmanned devices and both commercial jets and aerial firefighting planes…. (more)

October 17, 2015
NEW YORK TIMES — The King James Bible is the most widely read work in English literature, a masterpiece of translation whose stately cadences and transcendent phrases have long been seen, even by secular readers, as having emerged from a kind of collective divine inspiration…. (more)

October 16, 2015
NEW YORK TIMES — R.T. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis and a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, on Thursday accused the party’s leader, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of making “flat-out not true” statements about another top party officer, questioned her political skills and said he had “serious questions” about her suitability for the job…. (more)


October 16, 2015
NEWSMAX — As Thursday’s deadline for filing campaign financials approached, neurosurgeon Ben Carson led in third quarter fundraising and was second to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in cash on hand…. (more)

October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015
LEO HOHMANN — Just two weeks after it announced a plan to globalize local police departments through the “Strong Cities Network,” the Obama administration has added a new tool in its fight against “violent extremism.”… (more)

October 16, 2015
BREITBART — The Iranian parliament has rejected the formal, legal text of President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal, negotiated in July by the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia, China and the Tehran regime…. (more)


October 16, 2015
WALL STREET JOURNAL — President Barack Obama said Thursday he was dropping plans to withdraw nearly all American troops from Afghanistan, reversing his long-held intention to exit the conflict before the end of his administration…. (more)

October 15, 2015
CLIFF KINCAID — The Dutch Safety Board has issued a report indicating that a Russian BUK missile destroyed Malaysian flight MH17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine. The only question is whether the missile was fired by Russian troops or terrorists under Russian control. In any case, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered an invasion of eastern Ukraine, has blood on his hands…. (more)

October 15, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Rep. Paul Ryan has so far deflected calls to be the next House speaker, but there is already a group of conservatives ready to kick him out that job…. (more)


October 15, 2015


Daily Digest

October 20, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.” —Zacharia Johnson, 1788

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Clinton Mulls Australia-Style Gun Confiscation

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The results of a 2013 New Jersey gun buyback

During a town hall event in Keene, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton said that she’d be willing to consider gun control for the United States of the caliber of Australia and UK’s gun bans. “Several communities have done gun buyback programs,” Clinton said. “I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged. … I don’t know enough details to know how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.” This is not the “common sense” gun control Clinton hawked in the past — this is an extreme stance, and a few, ahem, details get in the way of her plans. Sure, after a mass murder in 1996 that left 35 people dead, Australia banned some guns it deemed politically incorrect and implemented a buyback program that netted a million firearms. As Varad Mehta writes for The Federalist, Democrats talk nostalgically about peaceful buyback program, but the reality would be that the buyback would be accompanied with the iron fist of the government making the program mandatory. How would you take millions of guns from millions of Americans? “Armed men would be dispatched to confiscate guns,” Mehta writes, “they would be met by armed men, and blood would be shed. Australia is a valid example for America only if you are willing for that blood to be spilled in torrents and rivers. To choose Australia is to choose civil war.” For the sake of the nation, hopefully Clinton flip-flops on this — for the right to self-defense, codified in the Second Amendment, is also intertwined into the very culture of the United States.

Still, we know her campaign has its eyes on the polls, and while most everyone wants a better background check system, banning or confiscating guns is deeply unpopular. So it’s little wonder that her spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, tried to walk back Clinton’s remarks and claim that all Clinton wanted was “a very common sense proposal” about background checks and gun manufacturer liability. Wrong. Clinton was pretty clear about buybacks and confiscation. But go ahead — run on gun confiscation in the general election.

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Canada’s Liberal Government Will Be a Lesson to Us

Oh, Canada. The Liberal Party swept Canada’s elections last night, placing Justin Trudeau in the prime minister position, and snatching up 184 of the 338 seats in the country’s parliament. This will allow the party to rule without the help of any other political factions, and the new policies will affect the United States. For example, Canada’s old leadership supported and lobbied for the Keystone XL pipeline. But banish that dream, as Trudeau, 43, has been likened to a young Obama. The Canadian leader said his goal is to improve relations with his southern neighbor, and he is less invested in the project than the last Canadian leader. Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal noted that Canada will pull out from the fight against the Islamic State — probably a policy Obama wishes he could adopt. In fact, Trudeau has vowed to employ the laundry list of liberal policy wishes, including raising taxes on the rich, running deficits in the budget and legalizing marijuana. Hasn’t Canada watched the U.S. economy flounder because of a liberal-run economy for the last seven years? Now, it will be the case study of the fruit of a liberal government.

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Obama Greets Clock Bomb Kid at White House

It almost didn’t happen. On Monday, the White House announced that Barack Obama might not have time to meet with Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texan who was arrested for making a clock that resembled a bomb. “I don’t believe that the president will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Ahmed Mohamed,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said ahead of the meeting. Ahmed was invited to attend Astronomy Night at the White House Oct. 19 along with several hundred other guests. It might have been political cover to mitigate the chief executive’s invitation after the news first broke about the incident at MacArthur High School. “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” Obama tweeted Sept. 16. “We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” That was before Ahmed got a tableful of Microsoft products and met with Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan who is wanted by the international criminal court for genocide. The kid and his father knew what they were doing from the beginning — not making a clock but a scene to prove “Islamophobia.” Indeed, Ahmed said, “I’m pretty sure if I was a Caucasian male I wouldn’t have got arrested. … Pretty sure I would’ve been awarded the smartest kid in class if I was a Caucasian male.”

Ahmed’s father is politically active and ran for office in Sudan a number of times, and the photo-op with Bashir was Ahmed’s 15 minutes of fame. The optics of an Obama-Ahmed visit didn’t look as good for Obama, though he did personally greet the boy Monday night. But Ahmed didn’t bring the clock. Pity, because it would have been very, very interesting if the Secret Service didn’t let it pass through security.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Clinton Does Drug Companies

By James Shott

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Hillary Clinton recently declared a war on drug prices. At a forum in Iowa, she said that asking people to pay thousands of dollars for pills they need to stay alive is not how the market is supposed to work and is instead a sign of “bad actors making a fortune off of people’s misfortune.” Her prescription is bad actors in Washington dictating prices.

She has, however, tapped into populist sentiment. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed that more than 70% of Americans think drug costs are unreasonable and want limitations on what drug companies can charge for medicines that treat serious illnesses.

Real events feed this sort of thinking. Turing Pharmaceuticals, for example, has come under fire for a dramatic hike in the price of Daraprim, which has been used for decades to treat toxoplasmosis and more recently to treat AIDS and cancer. Turing purchased a quantity of the drug along with marketing rights, and hiked the price to $750 per tablet from $13.50. Such a steep increase appears to defy reason — and to make Clinton’s case — although the economic factors involved in the price hike are not discussed when Turing is getting run through the ringer.

Clinton concludes that high prices are routinely due to price gouging, as appears to be the case with the Turing price hike. That is the populist’s first response. But Clinton either lacks understanding of how businesses work, and in particular the realities of developing needed pharmaceutical products, or she uses this emotional response to her benefit, or perhaps both.

It takes years, sometimes decades, to develop drugs for market, and those drugs make it to patients only if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives its bureaucratic seal of approval. Just a handful of every thousand drugs even makes it to human testing, meaning companies have to recoup research and development cost through a fraction of the drugs with which they experiment.

Does Clinton have even the slightest inkling of the huge investment pharmaceutical companies have to make in the one drug in 5,000 that actually gets to market?

Forbes reported that the Eli Lilly company blog contained a post noting, “The average drug developed by a major pharmaceutical company costs at least $4 billion, and it can be as much as $11 billion.”

And Clinton thinks the cost of pills is too high? How many pills must be sold to recoup that investment? The lower the price, the more pills have to be sold to pay for developing a drug to help people with serious health problems.

Her solution, predictably, is more involvement by the federal government — the Democrat solution to nearly everything.

However, more than a little bit of these incredibly high investments is due to the federal government. “Regulating pharmaceutical drugs to a certain extent is important to prevent dangerous medicines from being released on the market, yet the current amount of regulation is stifling competition,” according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. “The FDA has increased the security on the manufacturing process and as a result several U.S. drug plants have closed their doors. The time intensive process of approval and the recent shutdown of plants is creating drug shortages and monopolies, causing the prices of drugs to skyrocket.”

The reality is that the cost of drugs amounts to about 10% of health care spending, and the amount of health care spending used on drugs has not changed in 50 years. Thanks to ObamaCare, that could be changing.

If Clinton was really interested in bringing down the price of drugs, she would acknowledge the role over-regulation and slow approval processes play, and pledge to streamline the process instead of demonizing drug manufacturers and proposing even more government intervention.

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MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report

OPINION IN BRIEF

Dennis Prager: “Unlike in most societies, for most Americans being poor is not a fate. The only time being poor becomes permanent is when noneconomic factors render it so. These factors include not having a father in one’s life, growing up with no family or social emphasis on education, women having children without a man, and men having children without committing to the mother of those children. The left, with its materialist view of life, refuses to concede these nonmaterial producers of poverty and that changing behavior is therefore the only way to raise the majority of the poor out of their poverty. Of course, when bad luck — such as chronic illness or being the victim of a violent crime — is the reason for one’s impoverished condition, societal help is a moral imperative. Instead, the left believes that the focus of attention must be on reducing the wealth of the wealthy — again, as if the wealth is a pie. Thus, the left demands a redistribution of wealth in society — taking money (that was honestly earned) from those who are wealthier and giving that money to the poor. But all that does most of the time is prolong the poverty of the poor, as they are not only not forced to engage in productive behavior, they are actually paid to continue whatever unproductive behaviors they are engaged in. All this should be obvious to anyone with common sense. But incorrect ideology always distorts common sense.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit. This is the fine point on which all legal professions of history have based their job security.” —Frank Herbert (1920-1986)

Upright: “The Democrats’ dirty little secret is that the inequality they complain of is most common in places where they have put policies like minimum wage increases and paid leave into place. California has the highest poverty rate (compared to living costs) in America, New York City the most economic inequality. … One thing you didn’t hear the Democrats talk about [in the debate] was how to increase overall growth above the anemic Obama levels of 2 percent. Do they have anything to say about that?” —Michael Barone

Oops: “Biden to launch a presidential campaign” —a premature Washington Post headline its editors say was “inadvertently published”

The BIG Lie: “I think that [regarding] Benghazi, most of the questions have been answered. I think that we haven’t heard enough about the fact that this really was a CIA station there, not so much a consulate, and those guys should be able to protect themselves in most circumstances. … [Y]ou got to remember that diplomats get killed in every administration.” —Joe Klein

“Bad things happen on every president’s watch — also, every secretary of state’s — and the proper place to lay blame is on the perpetrators.” —Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson defending Hillary Clinton on Benghazi with a statement he would never make about mass murderers, gun owners and the NRA

It’s all Bush’s fault, part … oh forget it: “[T]he Republican Party is trying to blame Hillary Clinton for the deaths of four Americans serving in Libya in 2012. Three years later, they continue to hunt her, hunt her down you can say, on the groundless argument that someone must be to blame. Well, you follow that argument and the trail of 9/11, and you end up with George W. Bush.” —Chris Matthews

Late-night humor: “Analysts are saying that Joe Biden was actually the biggest loser in the debate, and that he missed his chance to enter the race. Yeah, they said entering now would be awkward and inappropriate — or as Biden put it, ‘Those are my two middle names! I’m in!'” —Jimmy Fallon

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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

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“The TSA does nothing but violate your privacy and wastes your time.” (Oh, and taxpayers pay for it too of course.) VIDEO

TSAgrope c c

The TSA is a show. All the lines, the screenings, the taking off of shoes and belts, the snarky indifferent attitudes, the government sanctioned groping, is all nonsense. But there is now a TSA lobby which has entrenched itself and we’ll likely have to deal with it forever.

And don’t forget the radiation doses.

Of course, alternatively, you can just “fly private” and stroll across the tarmac to your plane from your car.

Read More


Obamacare is entering its dreaded ‘death spiral’ (Watch for an Obamacare “bailout”)

This guy and his friends never actually signed up.
This guy and his friends never actually signed up. (They couldn’t afford to.)

In another life I was an insurance underwriter. I used to look at risks and then make sure my company had the right prices for the risks my company was insuring. I have never understood how Obamacare was supposed to “work.” It makes no sense in terms of insurance. The risks are too vast. The goals far too ambitious. It’s basically a giant (increasingly failed) experiment paid for by taxpayers designed (poorly) to address problems in the healthcare system which were originally created by government intervention in healthcare.

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Global Trade Is Collapsing As The Worldwide Economic Recession Deepens

Dominoes Falling - Public DomainWhen the global economy is doing well, the amount of stuff that is imported and exported around the world goes up, and when the global economy is in recession, the amount of stuff that is imported and exported around the world goes down.  It is just basic economics.  Governments around the world have become very adept at manipulating other measures of economic activity such as GDP, but the trade numbers are more difficult to fudge.  Today, China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the entire planet, and we have just learned that Chinese exports and Chinese imports are both collapsing right now.  But this is just part of a larger trend.  As I discussed the other day, British banking giant HSBC has reported that total global trade is down 8.4 percent so far in 2015, and global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4 percent.  The only other times global trade has plummeted this much has been during other global recessions, and it appears that this new downturn is only just beginning. (Read More….)


The McAvany Intel Memo

As Edmund Burke once said: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.” Today, the reality is that we are rapidly losing our freedom because the great majority of Americans are completely brain-dead and indifferent to the realities we write about in MIA each month and to what should be obvious to any thinking person. It certainly feels like the political left has won the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans – or in any case dumbed them down to the point where no meaningful resistance is possible.

And what about the remnant who did see what was coming [in countries that have been overcome and enslaved], hated it with every fiber of their being, opposed it as best they could – the tiny minority who did see the foundations crumbling – what did they do? Some (a tiny remnant) fled the carnage in Israel, Rome, Russia, and Nazi Germany and got to a safer, more peaceful part of the world – just as some are fleeing America today for what they hope are safer shores. Some stayed and fought against the evil – and in some instances in history, such as the Maccabeen revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes and the Greeks (in about 185 BC), they won. In more instances than not, they stayed, fought, lost, and died – or quietly acquiesced to being serfs in the new system or empire.

So, as we (those who still have eyes to see) watch the foundations rapidly crumbling before our eyes as great evil rises in our countrywhat should we do: run to another country; stand and fight; hide somewhere in a remote part of America; or acquiesce, prepare to be a serf in the new system, and hope not to be noticed? … Only you can answer that question for yourself and your family.

(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, May 2015)


What It Looks Like When Muslims Begin To Take Over Their Host Nation

This is what it looks like when Muslims take over a host nations city, and it will soon happen here in America

“And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” Qu’ran 17:16

My dad’s people arrived as immigrants here in 1723 from Holland, my mom’s dad arrived here on Ellis Island from Scotland in 1923. In both cases, they blended into American life and did their level best to be law-abiding citizens, pay their taxes, and raise their children. While maintaining their pride in their birth countries, they assimilated into their newly-adopted homeland and eventually became Americans. That’s what nearly all immigrants from other lands do when they arrive here, with the exception of a lone, single group who do not assimilate into their host country. And who might that be? The Muslims.

When Muslims arrive in a new land, in America and elsewhere, they are small in number and they keep to themselves. But as their numbers grow, they begin to make demands in their towns and cities that local customs change to accommodate their Islamic beliefs. They will protest and demand that restaurants stop serving bacon, they will run “street patrols” like they do in England harassing and attacking local women not wearing the Muslim hajib. At first, they are merely an annoyance, until their numbers grow, then they become a threatening mob capable of great destruction. The people of Luton in England have had their entire town taken from them by Muslim immigrants.

When Muslims begin to arrive in large numbers, they are there to seize control of that area

Why do Muslims do this? Because their Qu’ran tells them to, in whatever host country they find themselves, to “claim that land” for their god Allah. Read for yourself quotes from various Muslim leaders as to why they want to take over their host nations, it will be most enlightening:

  • “In late 2009, in fulfillment of a religious obligation, I decided to participate in jihad against the United States. The Koran obliges every able Muslim to participate in jihad and fight in the way of Allah, those who fight you, and kill them wherever you find them.”  – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Underwear Bomber”, proudly telling a court why he attempted to detonate a plane full of innocents over Detroit.
  • “We need men who are willing to go all the way and not hold back anything from Allah.  The religion of Allah cannot be given victory by part-time service. This is not a weekend religion. The contract is to sell our souls to Allah. The compensation is paradise.” – American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who has inspired multiple bombing and shooting plots in the U.S. and Europe from his base in Yemen.

This is what it looks like when Muslims take over a host nations city, and it will soon happen here in America

When Muslims grow in numbers in any nation outside their own, they demand that their host country become Muslim and adopt the Satanic Sharia Law. England today is a nation on the verge of a complete collapse from Muslim immigration. Think it can’t happen here? It already is.

  • “We killed them outside their land, praise be to Allah. Today, we kill them in the midst of their own home. O Allah, revive an entire nation by our deaths. O Allah, I sacrifice myself for your sake, accept me as a martyr. O Allah, I sacrifice myself for your sake, accept me as a martyr. O Allah, I sacrifice myself for your sake, accept me as a martyr. To the Garden of Eden, our first house. We shall meet in the eternal Paradise with the prophets, honest people, martyrs and righteous people. They are the best of companions. Praise be to Allah. Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you. ” – Ahmad al-Haznawi, Flight 93 Hijacker
  • “We are fighting for no other reason than to extract people from the kufr and to usher them into the fold of Islam.” – ISIS Commander
  • “Our conflict is not an Israeli-Arab conflict. Our struggle is not for a Palestinian state. We are seeking the world. We are seeking the whole world. We are seeking a confrontation against all Crusaders, against all Christians, against all infidels until they adopt the Islamic religion, until they follow the Sharia of Allah. We are not interested in Palestine. We are not interested in Tel Aviv or in Ashkelon. What is important for us is to see Islam ruling the world. This is the religion of God and we are fighting to see Islam rule the world.” – Abu Al-Ayna al-Ansari, a leader of a Salafi group in the Gaza Strip that is allied with Islamic State ideology

America has Muslim “No-Go Zones” where even the police won’t enter

Author Steve Tarani said during a presentation in Nashville that he has witnessed the alleged “no-go zones” — areas where police cannot enter — while shadowing a friend who serves on the Detroit Metro SWAT Police on a drive in Dearborn, MI. He described pulling up to one of the alleged Muslim-controlled areas:

The street signs suddenly went from English to Arabic. There wasn’t a single English word on any shop or any street sign. And in fact, these little yellow signs were posted all along the edges. Jeremy said to me, ‘this is it. We don’t go past this line.’ And I said to Jeremy, ‘what do you mean? You guys are Detroit Metro. You’re the SWAT team. You can go anywhere you want. What if you get a call over there?’ He said ‘this is it, it’s hazardous for our team if we go past this line.’

I have seen it with my own eyes, witnessed it in the backseat of a car and it is for real. No-go zones exist in the United States.

Dearborn, Michigan is not the only place that these settlements exist. They are spread out over the country in various cities. There’s an estimate of over 5,000 known terrorist cells in the United States. However our most persistent and significant threat, right now, to us here today this morning, is the homegrown violent extremists.

In 2013 alone, 117,423 migrants from Muslim-majority countries were permanently resettled within the United States— having been given lawful permanent resident status. Additionally in 2013, the United States voluntarily admitted an extra 122,921 temporary migrants from Muslim countries as foreign students and foreign workers as well as 39,932 refugees and asylees from Muslim countries.

The Terrifying Results of Muslim Immigration in the UK

To put these numbers into perspective, this means that every year the U.S. admits a number of Muslim migrants larger in size than the entire population of Des Moines, Iowa; Lincoln, Nebraska; or Dayton, Ohio.

The greatest threat America faces in 2015 is not from “radical” Muslim extremism, but from regular old, everyday, “moderate” Islam. It is happening here right now, in every small town across America. It will be the death of our nation if it is not stopped. England 100 years ago was a Christian nation so peaceful that the police didn’t even need to carry guns.

Not any more.


Obama Campaign Team Hands Canada Over to the Lib-Left

And Israel has just lost her last friend . . .

While Americans got a community organizer who began to systematically dismantle America in 2008, Canada will now be led by a part-time drama teacher who has never worked a day in his life

The Province of Ontario with twice the debt of California making it now the world’s most indebted sub-sovereign borrower, saddled Canada with its first lib-left government in more than a decade in elections tonight.

View Article


Why the Clinton Machine Will Be Tough to Beat

Hillary Clinton spent $26 million over the summer building up her 2016 campaign, more than any of her rivals either within her own Democratic party or the Republican side, as she sought to build a formidable organization to help her capture the White House.

View Article


With a Pro-Terrorist Gov in Canada, Border Security is a Big Problem

With backing from Obama’s campaign people, Canadian voters made a left-wing terrorist supporter whose only calling card was his last name, the Prime Minister of Canada. This is really bad for Canadians, but it turns the northern into a serious national security issue.

Canada’s asylum policy has led to Muslim terrorist attacks on America before.

View Article


Israelis Stabbed In The Back — By Terrorists And Obama

Here we go again. Israel, America’s truest ally in the Middle East, is under terrorist assault, and the Obama administration is once again turning its back on the Jewish state. With America failing to throw full support behind Israel in its time of need, the question is why the Obama administration seems to prefer equivocal statements to demanding an immediate and full cessation of Palestinian attacks and incitement. …………..  Click here for full story


Losing Hope – More States Considering Legally Assisted Suicide

California now joins three other states which have enacted laws allowing for physician-assisted suicide. Those include Vermont, Washington and Oregon. The Dutch ignored warnings that killings would become commonplace and now assisted suicide has turned a last resort into a normal procedure with as many as one in 33 people now using euthanasia to end their lives...……..  Click here for full story


Bride’s Family invite homeless to enjoy $35,000 Wedding Feast

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 09:53 AM PDT

When a groom got cold feet and called off his wedding, the bride’s family decided to make the best out of a heart-breaking situation. Quinn Duane was set to wed Landon Borup, both 27, in a lavish $35,000 ceremony at Sacramento’s luxurious Citizen Hotel yesterday. But when it was called off with less than a week to go, the Duane family, from El Dorado Hills, California, decided not to cancel the venue and catering. Instead, they generously invited the city’s homeless to enjoy the extravagant feast. The would-be bride’s mother Kari Duane, 53, told KCRA:

Matthew 22: 1-10 – And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

Luke 14:12-14 – Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

‘When I found out on Monday that the wedding would not be taking place, it just seemed like, of course, this would be something that we would do to give back.’ Although her devastated daughter chose to stay home, she watched as her new guests arrived and enjoyed the gourmet spread. ‘I feel a lot of heartache and heartbreak for her, but I will take away something good from this,’ she added. The arrivals included families with babies and young children, single people and grandparents. Rashad Abdullah, who came with his wife Erika Craycraft and five children, said the meal was ‘a blessing.’ FULL REPORT

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ISIS could wipe out Christianity in Iraq in just Five Years

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 09:46 AM PDT

Iraqi christians, commonly known as Assyrian Christians, currently face two options, flee or suffer death at the hands of ISIS. Christians lived peacefully in Iraq since the religion was founded, up until 2013. But when ISIS barbarians stormed the country in 2014 and declared the land as part of their Caliphate, they forced out or eliminated Christians. Under Saddam Hussein’s reign there were 1.4million Christians – but now only 260,000 remain as the number fleeing from Middle Eastern nations including Iraq, Pakistan and Syria escalates.

‘UK charity Aid to the Church in Need has now issued a report to the House of Lords this week warning the religion could be extinct in just five years. Introducing the report named ‘Persecuted and Forgotten?’ Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Every day in countries across the world, Christians are systematically discriminated against, exploited and even driven from their homes because of their faith. FULL REPORT

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World Turning Against Jerusalem in Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 09:41 AM PDT

As seen through multiple recent events, the nations of the world are increasing their efforts to weaken or remove Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem. Is this a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:3’s prophecy that, at the End of Days, the nations of the earth will gather against Jerusalem? In the 1920s, the Muslims began calling the Kotel (Western Wall) the Al-Buraq Wall and the Kotel Plaza the Buraq Plaza. According to Muslim tradition, Al-Buraq was a horse with wings that carried Muhammad back and forth between Mecca and Jerusalem.

Historically, the Kotel is a part of the outer, western retaining wall of the Second Holy Temple that was destroyed in the year 70 CE. It has been sacred to Jews and Christians for 2,000 years. The millenia-long holiness of the Kotel derives from its association with the Temple Mount, where the two previous Holy Temples stood. Recently, the Palestinian Authority, sponsored by six Arab states, submitted a resolution to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeking to claim the Kotel as a Muslim holy site, wresting the Kotel from the Jewish nation and claiming it as its own. In the proposal, the PA refers to Jerusalem as “the occupied capital of Palestine.” FULL REPORT

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Sweden On Verge of Collapse as Illegal Immigrants Surge into the Country

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 09:37 AM PDT

Sweden, proudly dubbed the “Great Humanitarian Power” by its ex-prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, is on the verge of collapse. “The final consequence of the West and, above all, Sweden’s immigration policy is that the economy will collapse — because who is going to pay for it all? And economic breakdowns, once they happen, always happen very fast,” warns Danish historian Lars Hedegaard. Increasing taxes on wage earners in Sweden to pay for the influx of illegal immigrants is not enough. In August Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said the government is looking at borrowing large sums of money from the European Investment Bank to pay for illegal immigration.

“Why has one government after another chosen to spend Swedish taxpayers’ money to support and shelter citizens of other countries, while some of them try to kill us?” asked Ingrid Carlqvist after a Swedish woman and her son were stabbed to death at an IKEA store in Vasteras, Sweden, by Abraham Ukbagabir, an illegal immigrant from Eritrea. FULL REPORT

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Russia on Course to Global Platinum Domination

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 09:33 AM PDT

Russia could change the balance of power on the global platinum market thanks to its ambitious projects aimed at developing mines and building processing plants in Zimbabwe, the Oil Price news site reported.Russian companies are currently building a platinum complex estimated to cost $3 billion.

The work is going according to schedule and the project, made public in September 2014, is expected to enter its second phase in the spring of 2016. The speed and scope of cooperation are said to have major implications for global platinum market. FULL REPORT

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School Insists 9/11 Had Nothing to Do With Religion

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 09:28 AM PDT

(Todd Starnes) Back when I was in school our English teacher would give us vocabulary words, things like “conundrum” or “extraordinary.” Well—the vocabulary list at High Mount School in Illinois is causing a bit of a controversy. Their list included words like “jihad, Islam, Muhammad,” and “Koran,” according to the reporting of the Bellville News-Democrat. One mom told the newspaper she flipped out, shocked that her 12-year-old daughter’s public school history class was teaching Islam 101.

“She said, ‘What’s Koran mean?’ and I flipped out,” Rachel Seger said. “I said, ‘Excuse me?’ and I looked at them and I said oh my God.” Superintendent Mark Halwachs said the lessons on Islamic vocabulary words was all about teaching tolerance. Get a load of what he told the newspaper about what happened on September 11th, 2001: “It wasn’t a religion that did that. It was bad men that did that.” Well, I hate to break it to the superintendent, but the radical Islamic extremists were not hollering “Jesus Saves” when they flew the jetliners into those buildings. CONTINUE

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No, Your Medical Records Are Not Private

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 07:36 AM PDT

Many Americans think the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects their medical privacy, but federal bureaucrats issue thousands of subpoenas every year without prior judicial approval to get around the law. “If you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy against government in your medical care, then where does it exist at all? If that’s not private, then what is?” Adam Bates, a criminal justice policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Congress passed HIPAA in 1996 with a promise that it would clamp down on waste, fraud and abuse in the health care industry and safeguard patient privacy. But HIPAA allows federal bureaucrats to get patient records merely by issuing administrative subpoenas, or civil investigative demands. These bureaucratic edicts bypass the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that a judge must give prior approval before government can search or take an individual’s property. Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice (DOJ) thus have access to any records they believe to be “relevant” in cases of alleged health care fraud. MORE

 

 

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The Looming Military Showdown in the South China Sea

Posted: 20 Oct 2015 07:30 AM PDT

After delaying for months, the Obama administration has authorized the US Pacific Command to send warships into the disputed South China Sea, and China is threatening to confront the naval presence as part of an aggressive buildup in the region. However, the US military is not expected to send the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group to pass passing within 12 miles of any disputed islands that China is claiming as its territory.

The carrier arrived at its new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan on Oct. 1 replacing the USS George Washington. Instead of a carrier group, the administration is likely to send one of its new, lightly-armed Littoral Combat Ships on what the military calls FON, for freedom of navigation, operation, in the next two weeks. MORE

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Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


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


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Philosopher Doug Groothuis explains the logic of the pro-life position

WINTERY KNIGHT

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this message

At Christian Post, an article by Douglas Groothuis. (H/T Mary)

Here’s the most useful bit:

When we separate personhood from humanity, we make personhood an achievement based on the possession of certain qualities. But what are these person-constituting qualities? Some say a basic level of consciousness; others assert viability outside the womb; still others say a sense of self-interest (which probably does not obtain until after birth). All of these criteria would take away humanity from those in comas or other physically compromised situations.4 Humans can lose levels of consciousness through injuries, and even infants are not viable without intense and sustained human support. Moreover, who are we to say just what qualities make for membership in the moral community of persons?5 The stakes are very high in this question. If we are wrong in our identification of what qualities are…

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Answering 11 Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus

THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM

There are several approaches to defending the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. Skeptics have offered a wide range of natural explanations throughout history to explain away the bodily resurrection of  Jesus. In this post, I will go ahead and several of them and try to give a response. In some cases I will leave some additional reading.

 #1: Legends Hypothesis: This hypothesis states that the New Testament accounts of the disciples who gave testimonies of the postmortem appearances are all legends that were invented much later.

Response: This can’t be supported by the evidence. From about AD 48 until his death, Paul wrote at least 13 of the New Testament’s books. Given that historians look to those who are contemporaries of the events, Paul is an important resource for what historians can know about Jesus of Nazareth. Furthermore, the earliest documents we have for the life of Jesus are…

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TMS: Did the Early Church Believe in the Deity of Christ?

Did the early church believe in the deity of Christ?

Ask your average Muslim, Unitarian, Jehovah’s Witness, or just about any non-Christian skeptic who has read (or watched) The Da Vinci Code, and they’ll try to convince you the answer is noFrom such sources we are told that the deity of Christ was a doctrine invented centuries after Jesus’ death — a result of pagan influences on the church in the fourth century when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion.

Emperor Constantine, in particular, is blamed for being the guy who promoted Jesus to the level of deity, a feat of cosmic proportions that he managed to pull off at the Council of Nicaea in 325. As Dan Brown put it (through the lips of one of his literary characters): “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea. . . . By officially endorsing Jesus as the Son of God, Constantine turned Jesus into a deity who existed beyond the scope of the human world, an entity whose power was unchallengeable” (The Da Vinci Code, 253).

So how can believers answer such allegations?

The best response, obviously, is to demonstrate from Scripture that Jesus is God. We can be confident that the early church affirmed Christ’s deity (and that we should do the same) because the New Testament clearly teaches that truth. The biblical case can be made from many places. Without going into detail in this post, here is a small sampling of texts that teach the deity of Christ: Isaiah 9:6; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1, 14, 18; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; 1 Cor. 1:24; 2 Cor. 4:4; Php. 2:6; Col. 1:15–16; 2:9; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:3, 8; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 5:20.

But what about church history outside of the New Testament? Did the early church fathers affirm the deity of Jesus Christ? Or was it only after the fourth century (and the Council of Nicaea) that Christian leaders began to articulate their belief in God the Son?

Though it’s not an exhaustive list, here are 25 quotations from a number of ante-Nicene church fathers demonstrating their belief in the deity of Jesus Christ (with portions underlined for emphasis). These early Christian theologians all lived before the time of Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. As such, they provide incontrovertible proof (from post-New Testament history) that Constantine was not the first person in church history to affirm this doctrine. Rather, the early church embraced the truth that Jesus is God from the time of the apostles on.

1. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–117): For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit. (Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians, 18.2. Translation from Michael Holmes, Apostolic Fathers, 197)

2. Ignatius (again): Consequently all magic and every kind of spell were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished when God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life. (Ibid., 19.3. Holmes, AF, 199)

3. Ignatius (again): For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father. (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, 3.3. Holmes, AF, 229)

4. Ignatius (again): I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise, for I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 1.1. Holmes, AF, 249)

5. Ignatius (again): Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way. (Ignatius, Letter to Polycarp, 3.2. Holmes, AF, 265)

6. Polycarp of Smyrna (69–155): Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth . . ., and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead. (Polycarp, Philippians, 12:2. Holmes, AF, 295)

7. Epistle of Barnabas (written c. 70–130): If the Lord submitted to suffer for our souls, even though he is Lord of the whole world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, “Let us make humankind according to our image and likeness,” how is it, then, that he submitted to suffer at the hands of humans? (Epistle of Barnabas, 5.5. Holmes, AF, 393)

8. Justin Martyr (100–165): And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 128. Translation from Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, I:264)

9. Justin (again): Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts. (Ibid., 36. ANF, I:212)

10. Justin (again): Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Jesus] is witnessed to by Him [the Father] who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ. (Ibid., 63. ANF, I:229)

11. Justin (again): The Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin. (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 63. ANF, I:184)

12. Justin (again): For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that He was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 126. ANF, I:263)

13. Tatian (110–172): We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales when we announce that God was born in the form of man. (Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 21. ANF, II:74)

14. Melito of Sardis (d. c. 180): He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was born up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body – God put to death! . . . [I]n order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened—because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. . . . This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. (Melito, 5. ANF, VIII:757)

15. Irenaeus of Lyons (120–202): For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man. . . . He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men; — all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.19.2. ANF, I:449)

16. Irenaeus (again): He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels, from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons. (Ibid., 4.6.7. ANF, I:469)

17. Irenaeus (again): Christ Jesus [is] our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father. (Ibid., 1.10.1. ANF, I:330)

18. Irenaeus (again): Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spoke to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers. (Ibid., 4.5.2. ANF, I:467)

19. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215): This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man—the Author of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live well, are sent on our way to life eternal. . . . . . . The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher; that as God He might afterwards conduct us to the life which never ends. (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, 1. ANF, II:173)

20. Tertullian (c. 160–225): For God alone is without sin; and the only man without sin is Christ, since Christ is also God. (Tertullian, Treatise on the Soul, 41. ANF, III:221)

21. Tertullian (again): Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled.  . . . That which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence—in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth. This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times, descending into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb, is in His birth God and man united. (Tertullian, Apology, 21. ANF, III:34–35)

22. Hippolytus (170–235): The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God. (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 10.29. ANF, V:151)

23. Caius (180–217) [in response to those who would question the deity of Christ]: Perhaps what they allege might be credible, did not the Holy Scriptures, in the first place, contradict them. And then, besides, there are writings of certain brethren older than the times of Victor, which they wrote against the heathen in defense of the truth, and against the heresies of their time: I mean Justin and Miltiades, and Tatian and Clement, and many others, in all which divinity is ascribed to Christ. For who is ignorant of the books of Irenaeus and Melito, and the rest, which declare Christ to be God and man? All the psalms, too, and hymns of brethren, which have been written from the beginning by the faithful, celebrate Christ the Word of God, ascribing divinity to Him. (Caius, Fragments, 2.1. ANF, V:601)

24. Origen (c. 185–254): Jesus Christ . . . in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was. (Origen, De Principiis, Preface, 4. ANF, IV:240)

25. Novatian of Rome (210–280) For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God. . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God. (Novatian, On the Trinity, 11. ANF, V:620)

Additional information on this topic can be found in an article from The Master’s Seminary Journal entitled Did Constantine Invent the Trinity?

The post Did the Early Church Believe in the Deity of Christ? appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

Apologetics on the New Testament

Apologetics for the Church

Uses of the Word Apologia

The Greek word apologia is used several times in the New Testament, and each usage reflects the meaning of defending against an accusation.

In Acts 19:33 Alexander attempted to make a “defense” to a crowd that had erupted after Paul was charged with persuading and turning many people away from idol worship. Paul’s great offense was to say that the idols made the craftsmen in Ephesus were not real gods.

In Acts 22:1 Paul gives his “defense” to the tribunal in Jerusalem who had arrested him after the mob attacked him. He was accused of teaching against the Mosaic law and temple worship (21:28) and of defiling the temple by bringing Gentiles into it (21:29). This happens again in 24:10 where he makes his defense against the accusations that he was a public enemy, one who stirs up riots, and a leader in the sect…

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Intro to Apologetics

Apologetics for the Church

apologetics2The term apologetics was at one time only rarely heard in Christian churches. Despite the widespread popularity of apologists such as C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer in the 1960’s and 70’s and Josh McDowell in the 80’s and 90’s, the vast majority of evangelical Christians in America today are completely unfamiliar with the discipline of apologetics. They neither know how to defend their faith nor share it effectively. Many believers live with a quiet fear regarding challenges to the Christian faith. They hold firmly to the Bible, but don’t want to have to think hard about why they believe it. As a result, many Christians avoid conversations with non-Christians about anything spiritual, since they have no confidence that they could provide answers if asked.

Yet, thinking about our faith and knowing it well enough to defend it are exactly what we are commanded to do in 1 Peter 3:15-16. Here…

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Godly contentment

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:10-13 ESV)

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions…

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