Daily Archives: November 25, 2015

November 25, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

November 23 Quotes


Study: Thankfulness still priority at Thanksgiving

Study: Thankfulness still priority at Thanksgiving

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Baptist Press

For Americans, Thanksgiving is about faith and family, and not much else, a new study shows. More than half (56 percent) tell LifeWay Research the most important part of the annual holiday is ‘being thankful to God for my blessings.’

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Tell God How Thankful You are with These 5 Psalms!

Tell God How Thankful You are with These 5 Psalms!

Posted on November 24, 2015 by Crosswalk

What better way to share our thankfulness towards God than with the Book of Psalms!

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How is Black Friday Slowly Eroding Our Thanksgiving Holiday?

How is Black Friday Slowly Eroding Our Thanksgiving Holiday?

Posted on November 24, 2015 by Crosswalk

Rachel Marie Stone discusses the joys of Thanksgiving and how Christmas shopping should not encroach on a holiday that began as thanksgiving to God. Everyone should get to take part in the holiday and that means closing down stores and refraining …

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ISIS attacks can’t deter churches

ISIS attacks can’t deter churches

Posted on November 24, 2015 by World Magazine

PARIS TERROR ATTACKS | With France and Belgium on high alert in the wake of ISIS attacks, churches remain determined to minister

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WORLD’s 2015 Daniels of the Year

WORLD’s 2015 Daniels of the Year

Posted on November 24, 2015 by World Magazine

DANIEL OF THE YEAR | As Islamic terrorists cut down victims from Palmyra to Paris, 21 Christians on a Libyan beach bravely represented WORLD’s 2015 Daniels of the Year: Christians martyred by the Islamic State

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The fear of genocide keep Middle Eastern Christians from refugee camps

The fear of genocide keep Middle Eastern Christians from refugee camps

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Christian Telegraph

11/24/2015 Christians fleeing violence in the Middle East are sometimes avoiding refugee camps because they fear genocide even within the camps, some observers are warning,

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Persecution fails to thwart Gospel inroads in Asia

Persecution fails to thwart Gospel inroads in Asia

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Baptist Press

Persecution of followers of Christ in one of Central Asia’s former Soviet republics fails to thwart Gospel inroads through disaster relief and clean water.

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How to Be One in a Million

by Erin Davis

Learn how to do the one thing most people will never, ever do.

Go On, Go Crazy with the Thank-You Notes

by Erin Davis

Every person you and I will meet today needs to hear these two words.

Freebie Friday! We’re Feeling Crazy Generous

by Samantha Nieves

We’re oh so excited about you being crazy generous this Christmas. So we thought we’d show you some generosity first.

Stand for Truth Thursday: Before We Take a Stand

by Jessie Minassian

Have you ever been smacked across the head with a 2×4 of truth? It feels about as good as a sucker punch to the ribs. Let’s keep that in mind as we learn to share God’s truth in love.


Mainstreaming Mystic Mindedness

This piece by Gaylene Goodroad is posted on Herescope. Christians who are involved in Eastern mysticism will read this, see the danger, and leave it. The Christian who chooses to participate in any sort of pagan practice is in rebellion against God.

Buddhism and ChristianityEastern Meditation as the Universal Cure-All

“For You have abandoned Your people,
the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with
influences from the east….”
(Isaiah 2:6)

BEATLEMANIA AND EASTERN MYSTICISM

When the Beatles helped to bring Transcendental Meditation (TM) into vogue in the 1960s, few could imagine then that the mystical Hindu practice would endure beyond the hippie generation and become commonplace today from the elementary school classroom to the Christian church.

What modern meditators might not know is that the “Fab Four” learned Eastern meditation from Hindu guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Upon his death in 2008, a CBS News article recapped the Maharishi’s dark contribution to the world:

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, died Tuesday at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said. He was thought to be 91 years old… Once dismissed as hippie mysticism, the Hindu practice of mind control known as transcendental meditation gradually gained medical respectability. He began teaching TM in 1955 and brought the technique to the United States in 1959. But the movement really took off after the Beatles attended one of his lectures in 1967. Maharishi retreated last month into silence at his home on the grounds of a former Franciscan monastery, saying he wanted to dedicate his remaining days to studying the ancient Indian texts that underpin his movement…. With the help of celebrity endorsements, Maharishi – a Hindi-language title for Great Seer – parlayed his interpretations of ancient scripture into a multi-million-dollar global empire. His roster of famous meditators ran from Mike Love of the Beach Boys to Clint Eastwood and Deepak Chopra, a new age preacher. After 50 years of teaching, Maharishi turned to larger themes, with grand designs to harness the power of group meditation to create world peace and to mobilize his devotees to banish poverty from the earth.

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2015/11/mainstreaming-mystic-mindedness.html


“Too Much God Talk”: Rob Bell’s “Progressive” Successor Steps Down from Leading Mars Hill

Christian News Network reports:

Kent Dobson, who took over the leadership role at Mars Hill in 2012 after controversial author and speaker Rob Bell left the congregation he founded, has now also decided to step down, stating that “being a pastor is not who I am.”

“My place here has not felt right. Like I was wearing someone else’s suit that didn’t quite fit and I tried to get it tailored and maybe I had shoulder pads from the 90’s or something, I don’t know,” he told the congregation on Sunday. “It just felt like it didn’t quite fit me so well.”

Dobson said that he feels restless and uncomfortable around “too much God talk.”

‘Too Much God Talk’: Rob Bell’s ‘Progressive’ Successor Steps Down from Leading Mars Hill


Steven Furtick Gladhands TD Jakes’ Church – Gives $35,000 To Jakes

For those who are unfamiliar with Steven Furtick, he is among those the late Ken Silva dubbed: Evangelical Ecumenical Magisterium (EEM) which is comprised of megachurch pastors.

In a blog post entitled Steven Furtick and the Second Great Embarrassment, Silva quipped: “Furtick is the spiritually nefarious prophet-leader of the highly influential multi-site megachurch known as Elevation Church, who is without a doubt a leading member of this EEM along with e.g. James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll.”

So with this in mind, Pulpit & Pen has the latest on prophet-leader Steven Furtick.

Steven Furtick Gladhands TD Jakes’ Church – Gives $35,000 To Jakes


 

Ronnie Floyd and IHOP Now Bringing Catholic Track

Southern Baptists will not be amused at what their president is doing. Seems he is leading that denomination down a very slippery slope. The Pulpit and Pen has the report:

Last week I reported on Southern Baptist president, Ronnie Floyd, participating in the Onething Conference put on by the apostate IHOP (International House Of Prayer) Church, founded by New Apostolic Reformation “prophet” Mike Bickle. I even went out on a limb and speculated that he may be attempting to unite the Southern Baptist Convention with the organization, since he has a similar religious worldview with them. Just when I thought this rabbit hole couldn’t go any deeper, it has been brought to my attention that this event will be strongly pro-Roman Catholic.

It’s as though we Southern Baptists are in a twilight zone of sorts. Martin Luther, John Calvin–all the men who put their lives on the line, or martyred themselves to separate from Rome–these great Protestant men would be turning over in their graves. It’s bad enough that prominent SBC pastor Rick Warren, and ERLC leader Russell Moore took to the Vatican last year to participate in a largely political event backed by co-belligerence. I, along with most Protestants, strongly opposed that too, but that is small potatoes compared to this.

Ronnie Floyd and IHOP Now Bringing Catholic Track

See CRN’s research paper on Roman Catholicism


The Daily Discovery (November 25, 2015)

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

Oh, How I Love the Law! – “I have been around Christians all my life, and I don’t know that I’ve heard too many of them exclaim, ‘Oh how I love your law!’ Yet in Psalm 119 we find David saying that very thing, expressing his love for God’s law. In the very first Psalm we find him declaring the man blessed who finds God’s law a source of great delight. It sounds a bit strange to our ears, doesn’t it? Aren’t we people of grace? Aren’t we free from the law?”

But Where Are the Nine? – “Everyone reading this blog has reason to give praise to God. The question is whether we will go on our thankless way like the rest of the former lepers, or turn around and fall at Jesus’ feet like the Samaritan. Are you part of the one or one of the nine?”

What Is Thanksgiving Day? – “Thanksgiving is an American holiday that stretches all the way back to a time long before America became a nation. The Pilgrims landed in 1620. They faced brutal conditions and were woefully unprepared. Roughly half of them died in that first year. Then they had a successful harvest of corn. In November of 1621 they decided to celebrate a feast of thanksgiving.”

Comparison and the Kind Word – “One perk of my job is getting to spend a lot of time around women. These women come in lots of different varieties, which has exposed me to a wide range of life stages, struggles, wins and losses. The same arms that have hugged new mommies, newlyweds and go-getters have also held the grieving, lonely and broken. I think all women would agree that being a woman can be hard.”

When Jesus called someone a “dog,” it was a prelude to mercy. – “I saw a tweet last week asking whether Jesus would ever call someone a dog. The comment was related to a recent news item, and almost immediately, a text from Matthew’s gospel came to mind in which Jesus did in fact call someone a dog. He was talking to a Gentile woman asking him for help. Rather than answering her request immediately, he compares her to a canine.”


SERMON:

Doug Eaton – Can I Lose My Salvation?


VIDEOS:

Atheist Objection Refuted.

Three Quran Verses Every Christian Should Know


“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 (November 25, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


A La Carte (November 25)

Today’s Kindle deals include John G Paton: South Sea Island Rescue ($2.99); everPresent by Jeremy Writebol ($0.99); Called Together by Jonathan Dodson ($0.99); Make, Mature, Multiply by Brandon Smith ($0.99); Sent Together by Brad Watson ($0.99); Gospel Advance by Alvin Reid ($0.99); A Primer on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by Winfield Bevins ($0.99); Gospel Amnesia by Luma Simms ($0.99); Sound Words by Jeremy Carr ($0.99); A Beginners Guide to Family Worship by Winfield Bevins ($0.99); The Stories We Live by Sean Post ($0.99); Proclaiming Jesus by Tony Merida ($0.99); Prayer Life by Winfield Bevins ($0.99).

Westminster Books

Westminster Books has just added IVP ebooks and they’ve got a great selection of them on sale for just $1.99. This deal lasts for only a couple of days, so don’t dawdle. The no-brainers include: Basic Christianity by John Stott, Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves, God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts, and Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer. There are many others besides.

Credo Magazine

There is a new issue of Credo magazine free to read and download. This issue looks at John Owen, the prince of Puritans.

Doctrine Matters

Kevin DeYoung says it well: “Christianity is much more than getting your doctrine right. But it is not less. You can have right doctrine and not be a Christian. You can know all sorts of true things about Jesus and not be saved.”

What Is Thanksgiving Day?

Stephen Nichols: “We might think that times of adversity and challenge would spawn ingratitude, while times of prosperity would spawn gratitude. Sadly, the reverse is true.”

Thanksgiving Flight Patterns

There are some neat graphics here that show where Americans are flying for Thanksgiving. Since 1% of the country flies somewhere this week, there’s lots of information to work with.

Laquan McDonald and the Christian Response

“When the police arrived, Laquan refused to put down the knife or to turn himself in. This was an illegal action in which jail time was certainly the deserved outcome; but not death.” This article suggests ways Christians can respond to another tragic death.

This Day in 1742. 273 years ago today, the Scottish Society for the Propagating of Christian Knowledge approved David Brainerd as a missionary to the New England Indians. *

Finland Timelapse

Here’s another country I need to add to my list of places to visit. You know what to do: Full-screen and HD.


Check out

Blogs

Coming Soon: Do More Better
Tim Challies. “I am really excited to announce that one week from today you will be able to purchase my new book Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Produ ctivity. I wrote this book because I believe God calls each one of us to emphasize productivity in our lives. He calls each of us to emphasize a particular form of productivity-the kind that emphasizes stewarding our gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.”

Proverbs: Written to Christ, for Christ | Reformation21 Blog
“Connecting Christ and the Proverbs isn’t so easy. How do we read the book of Proverbs as Christians in a way that would distinguish us from how a Jew might read the same book? Also, why then was the book of Proverbs written? ”

Thought of Thoughts | The Christward Collective
“One of my seminary professors would routinely tell his students, “The most important thought that you will ever have is the first thought you have when you hear the word, ‘God.’” I think that he is correct. Our first thought about God tends to dominate our lives and living more than any other. ”

They Did Not Honor Him or Give Thanks — Why Thanksgiving is Inescapably Theological | AlbertMohler.com
“Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm – a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.”

Brother, Where Is Your Identity? | David Powlison
“Who are you? What gives a man his identity? On what foundation are you building your sense of self? Your answer, whether true or false, defines your life.”

Obama: I’ll Rebuke ISIS By Talking About Climate Change
This is beyond parody.

Kindle Books

Kindle devices are for sale, with the least expensive now coming in at $49.99.

The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Al Mohler $1.99. The most important book on Christian leadership for many years.

The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage with Purpose by Lisa Anderson $2.51. Endorsed by Focus on the Family.

Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles by Michelle Anthony $1.99.

Video

5 Ways Etihad’s A380 Residence Will Blow Your Mind
Here’s what a $32,000 one-way ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi will buy you — a bedroom, a shower, a living room, a butler, and a chef.


Links I like

Kindle deals for Christian readers

Lexham Press has a few books on sale for 99¢ through the end of the week that might be worth checking out:

Also on sale is Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper ($2.84) and Why Believe the Bible? by John MacArthur ($1.99).

The importance of enjoying your kids

https://player.vimeo.com/video/140470578

The Soda Machine Pastor

Mike Leake:

But there are days when it’d be nice to be a soda machine. After all, if pastors are soda machines, then when you stand before Almighty God you can’t expected to be held responsible for dispensing what the folks asked you to dispense. They pushed the watery-teaching button. You just gave them what they wanted. They pushed the “let’s not really bother reaching the broken in our community” button, and so as a good machine you acquiesced and gave them what they wanted.

Can You Thank Your Way Into Thankfulness?

Michael Kelley:

Can you thank your way into thankfulness?

This is a real question because this week, many of us might not be feeling particularly thankful. Perhaps your year has been filled with more loss than gain; more tears than laughter; more struggle than triumph. You’re confident, then, that there are indeed many things for which you should be thankful, but you’re not seeing – or feeling – any of them. Can you, then, thank your way into a spirit of gratitude, or is doing so disingenuous and fake?

A Fruitful Ministry

Nick Batzig:

If there’s one subject with which the mind of a minister is often engaged it is that which is framed by the question, “How do I know that I have been fruitful in ministry?” Fruitfulness in ministry is deeply important to those who have given their lives in service to Christ and for the sake of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul revealed that he cared deeply about fruitfulness in ministry when he told the church in Philippi, “If I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor” (Phil. 1:22). But what determines the nature of a fruitful ministry? How does one measure fruitfulness? These are among some of the most challenging questions that a minister of the Gospel faces. Thankfully, the Scriptures and church history provide us with a number of ways by which we may define and measure our fruitfulness in ministry.

What The Golden Rule Does NOT Mean

Barnabas Piper:

What we missed in “love your neighbor as yourself” is that the emphasis is on love not on yourself. How can we treat others in a way that honors them, that respects them, that dignifies them and values their opinions and worth?


A Thanksgiving Pause

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foodnetwork.sndimg.com

It’s almost Thanksgiving. But, there is still today, which is considered the single busiest travel day in the US. AAA estimates that 47 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday. Airlines report that over 90% of their seats will be filled today.

With all the hustle and bustle, thankfulness may flee a bit. It doesn’t always come natural for various reasons. Some of us may be immersed neck-deep in immense trials. Perhaps giving thanks right now seems impossible. Others of us may be struggling to have a thankful heart towards God for no apparent reason at all. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving is an opportune, and, perhaps, a necessary time, to grow in the grace of God-ward thankfulness. In Christ, we are never without reasons for gratitude, even in the darkest of life’s valleys. But thankfulness is less of a pixie-dust emotion felt, and more of a grace cultivated through discipline.

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media3.s-nbcnews.com

So, whether you are standing in the TSA line, running to catch a connecting flight, in between trains, or on your way to grandma’s, here are a few of my favorite quotes and meditations on thankfulness which I hope will prepare our hearts for tomorrow’s wonderful holiday; Thanksgiving Day.

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

A.W. Tozer:

Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.

Thomas Goodwin:

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

C.S. Lewis:

Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.

G.K. Chesterton:

The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels a profound sense of gratitude and has no one to thank.

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

John MacArthur:

Impatience will just destroy thankfulness. Learn to thank God for the process. And learn, if you’re looking at your partner in life or your children or whatever it is, for the little signals of process for which you can thank God that He’s accomplishing His great purpose. Don’t be in a hurry to see the things happen that are happening perfectly on time in His economy.

Thomas Watson:

give-thanks1

earthenergyreader.files.wordpress.com

You who are enriched with treasures of godliness, bless God for it. This flower does not grow in nature’s garden. You had enlisted yourselves under the devil and taken pay on his side, fighting against your own happiness, and then God came with converting grace and put for a loving and gentle violence, causing you to espouse his quarrel against Satan! You had lain many years soaking in wickedness, as if you had been parboiled for hell, and then God laid you steeping in Christ’s blood and breathed holiness into your heart! Oh, what cause you have to write yourselves as eternal debtors to free grace!

Charles Spurgeon (can’t have just one from Spurgeon):

If we will only think, we shall begin to thank.

When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank him because he never held his peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon his hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone…Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!..when a man…has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father’s arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time. Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father!

We bless God…for our afflictions; we thank him for our changes; we extol his name for losses of property; for we feel that had he not chastened us thus, we might have become too secure. Continued worldly prosperity is a fiery trial. ‘Afflictions, though they seem severe, in mercy oft are sent.’

The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life’s song, “He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Cripplegate. May the Spirit of God warm our hearts in Christ-ward thankfulness today.


What Is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that stretches all the way back to a time long before America became a nation. The Pilgrims landed in 1620. They faced brutal conditions and were woefully unprepared. Roughly half of them died in that first year. Then they had a successful harvest of corn. In November of 1621 they decided to celebrate a feast of thanksgiving.

Edward Winslow was among those who ate that first thanksgiving meal in 1621. He noted:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we gathered the fruit of our labors. …And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.”

In addition to the fowl eaten that first Thanksgiving, the Indians also brought along five deer as their contribution to the feast. Presumably they also ate corn.

Over the centuries, Americans continued to celebrate feasts of thanksgiving in the fall. Some presidents issued proclamations. Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a perpetual national holiday set aside for thanksgiving. In 1863, with the nation torn apart by the Civil War, he declared:

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

So we have a holiday of thanksgiving born in and further nurtured during times of great adversity and struggle. We might think that times of adversity and challenge would spawn ingratitude, while times of prosperity would spawn gratitude. Sadly, the reverse is true. A chilling scene from the animated television show The Simpsons demonstrates this. Bart Simpson was called upon to pray for a meal, to which he promptly prayed, “Dear God, We paid for all of this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

Prosperity breeds ingratitude. The writers of the Heidelberg Catechism knew this. Question 28 asks what it benefits us to know that God creates and sustains all things. The answer is it gives patience in adversity and gratitude in prosperity. Moses also knew this. In Deuteronomy, he looks ahead to times of material prosperity for Israel, then sternly warns, inspired by the Holy Spirit, not to forget God. “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth'” (Deut. 8:17). We did this all ourselves. Thanks for nothing. Human nature trends toward ingratitude.

Another culprit breeding ingratitude is our entitlement culture. Simply put, why should we be grateful for what we deserve and what we have a right to? I was owed this, goes the culture, therefore why would I say thank you?

A third culprit concerns what UC Davis professor of psychology Dr. Robert Emmons calls the “to whom” question. In his scientific study of gratitude, Emmons came to the realization that gratitude raises a singular and significant question: When we say thank you, to whom are we grateful?

The interesting thing here is that if we trace this “to whom” line of questioning back, like pulling on the threads of some tapestry, we find a singular answer at the end of each and every thread. The answer is God. To whom are we grateful? We are grateful in an ultimate sense to God.

Our Benefactor does “good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Theologians call this common grace. God as creator cares for all His creation and provides for our needs. He gives us our very lives and our very breath.

Our Benefactor also does good by giving His most precious gift, the gift of His Beloved Son. Theologians call this saving grace. Gifts often cost the giver. What a costly gift the Father has given us in sending the Son. So Paul exclaims, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

When we consider God as the “to whom” we are thankful, we may well be seeing both the necessity of thanksgiving and the eclipse of thanksgiving. As culture veers more and more towards a secular state it shrinks back from gratitude. So vainly we think we did this all ourselves. So wrongly we think we deserve, or even have a fundamental right to, all of this. We also know what is at the end of the string if we pull on it long enough. We know that we will be confronted with a Creator. We know we will be accountable to a Creator. Saying thank you means we are dependent, not independent. We would rather be ungrateful. Paul says we know God from all the evidence He has left of Himself, but we don’t want to “honor him or give thanks to him” (Rom 1:21). Then the downward spiral begins. A culture of ingratitude careens ever downward into decline.

We should not be counted among those who see the fourth Thursday in November as nothing more than a day of football and over-indulgence. We should be thankful for one day set apart to consider all that we have and realize that all that we have has been given to us. Of course, such gratitude should in no wise be limited to one day out of 365.

Having been imprisoned for one year, four months, and eighteen days in a Nazi cell measuring 6 ft. x 9 ft, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote what is certainly a reminder of the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday:

“You must never doubt that I’m traveling with gratitude and cheerfulness along the road where I’m being led. My past life is brim-full of God’s goodness, and my sins are covered by the forgiving love of Christ crucified. I’m so thankful for the people I have met, and I only hope that they never have to grieve about me, but that they, too, will always be certain of and thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness.”

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and teaches on the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.


Why I believe gratitude is the most important worship affection

thanksgiving

The affections of our hearts are central to true worship. Yet while praise, joy, contrition, and love are all important affections for worship, I believe gratitude is the most important worship affection. Here’s why:

All true spiritual affections of worship have an object, and their object is always God.

This is why true spiritual affections are different from what we often mean when we talk about our feelings. Feelings are different than affections. Feelings often have no object; mere feelings wallow in themselves. When we experience mere feelings apart from spiritual affections, our focus is not on any object; our focus is purely on ourselves and the feelings themselves. We love the feeling of love; we delight in the feeling of joy.

So sometimes we just feel happy, and someone might ask, “Why are you happy?” And we reply, “O, I don’t know; No reason; I just feel happy.”

But that’s different from spiritual affections. Affections always have an object; they always have a reason.

The problem is that sometimes we use the same word to both describe an affection and a feeling.

For example, “love” could describe the affection we express towards a spouse, a child, or the Lord because we value them. This affection has an object and it is directed toward that object. This love is more about an inclination toward the object and a commitment we have toward that object that it is about a particular feeling. The feelings may come and go, but true love endures all things.

But the word “love” can also describe a warm feeling we have. And even though that feeling may result from a particular object, we tend to enjoy the feeling for itself rather than the object of the feeling. Love in this respect is something people fall in and out of. When the feeling passes away, we say that we are no longer “in love.”

What we describe as joy, or even praise, is very similar. We could mean an affection we have toward an object, or we could mean a mere feeling we enjoy for itself. Often we mean both.

The thing about the affection of gratitude is that there really is no feeling we associate with it. I mean, think about it: what is the “feeling” of gratitude? And, by definition, gratitude always has an object. The object is always the focus of gratitude.

So you might say, “I just feel happy, but I really don’t have any particular reason.”

But you would never say that about gratitude. If you “feel” grateful, there is always a reason. You always feel grateful toward someone because of something they did for you or something they gave you or simply because of who they are.

Second, unlike most other feelings, gratitude isn’t something you can artificially work up through external means.

If you feel sad, you can work up happiness through something external like upbeat music or funny entertainment. In that case there really is no object of the happiness; you just feel happy because the music or the entertainment made you feel happy. We do this regularly in our lives.

But how do you work up gratitude? You can’t really. It has to have a reason; it has to have an object. That distinguishes gratitude from just about every other kind of affection.

Finally, gratitude is affection that we give to God in response to his gracious gift to us. Now it is true that getting a gift from someone often produces in us other kinds of emotions like joy, but isn’t it often the case that when that happens, we direct the joy toward the gift instead of the giver? When someone gives us something, we often are filled with happiness, but sometimes we’re mostly happy about the gift rather than the one who has given us the gift.

This is even often true with the gift of salvation, unfortunately. God gives us the gracious gift of free forgiveness from sin, and we are happy about that, but often we are mostly happy that we don’t have to go to Hell, or we’re happy that we get to spend eternity in heaven, then we are actually happy in God.

Gratitude never works this way. We could never direct gratitude toward a gift. By definition, by essence, gratitude is directed toward the giver.

So the reason I believe that gratitude is the central worship affection is that while love or joy or praise could certainly be directed toward God as a result of his grace toward us, many times what we call love or joy or praise are actually mere feelings that are more about us or the gift than the one who showed grace toward us.

 

God said in Psalm 50:23, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”

We often think of praise or joy or love as the ultimate expressions of worship toward God. We expect that true worship will be characterized by intense emotion and heightened praise and excited joy.

But really, the affection most associated in Scripture with worship is actually something perhaps less flashy, less viscerally intense, and less directly connected to particular feelings; the affection most associated in the Bible with worship is thanksgiving.

Listen to how God characterizes Christian worship at the end of Hebrews 12:

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

In fact, many times in the Old Testament when translators use the word “praise,” the term they are translating is actually a word that has less to do with excited feelings and more to do with humble gratitude. So sometimes they translate it “praise,” and even more often they translate the same Hebrew term “thanks.” And when a term is used that explicitly means praise, it is often accompanied by the term “thanksgiving” as well.

Let me give you just a brief sampling of texts that connect the grace of forgiveness from sin with expressions of thanksgiving as we close:

Psalm 26:6 “I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.”

Psalm 42:4 “These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.”

Psalm 69:30: “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”

Psalm 95:2 “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise.”

Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name.”

Psalm 107:22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.

Psalm 147:7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!

Jeremiah 30:19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving and the voices of those who celebrate.

Jonah 2:9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!

Salvation does indeed belong to the Lord. It is his to give, and we are illdeserving of any forgiveness.

And yet, in Christ our sins are forgiven.

The Lord be thanked!


A Puritan Prayer of Thanksgiving

May this Puritan prayer of thanksgiving encourage us to thank and praise our great, holy, loving, and gracious God this Thanksgiving.

O My God,

Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee, ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for:

the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing senses to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,

for a full table and overflowing cup,

for appetite, taste, sweetness,

for social joys of relatives and friends,

for ability to serve others,

for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,

for a mind to care for my fellow-men,

for opportunities of spreading happiness around,

for loved ones in the joys of heaven,

for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

From: Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 26-27.


Will the Done-with-Church Generation Ever Come Back?

John is every pastor’s dream member. He’s a life-long believer, well-studied in the Bible, gives generously and leads others passionately.

But last year he dropped out of church. He didn’t switch to the other church down the road. He dropped out completely. His departure wasn’t the result of an ugly encounter with a staff person or another member. It wasn’t triggered by any single event.

John had come to a long-considered, thoughtful decision. He said, “I’m just done. I’m done with church.”

John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation—often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.

At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.

For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.

Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming book,Church Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”

The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.

Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.

Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members, before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby—existing members. Ask them some good questions, such as:

  • Why are you a part of this church?
  • What keeps you here?
  • Have you ever contemplated stepping away from church? Why or why not?
  • How would you describe your relationship with God right now?
  • How has your relationship with God changed over the past few years?
  • What effect, if any, has our church had on your relationship with God?
  • What would need to change here to help you grow more toward Jesus’ call to love God and love others?

It’s time to listen. Even as I’m writing this today, another high-capacity lay leader emailed me with his decision to leave his church. He’s done. Like many others I know, he’s also a nationally known Christian leader. But he’s done.

Your church, even if it’s one of the rare growing ones, is sitting on a ticking time bomb. The exodus of the Dones, the rise of the Nones and the disappearance of the Millennials do not look good for a church afraid to listen.

It’s not too late to start.

The post Will the Done-with-Church Generation Ever Come Back? appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Widowed Pastor Chooses the Path of Forgiveness

The post Widowed Pastor Chooses the Path of Forgiveness appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Eat with Those Who Weep

Eat with Those Who WeepThanksgiving. A day of turkey, touchdowns, and tryptophan, when pumpkins and parades take center stage, and I am left wondering why Aunt Millie even bothered to bring those yams. It is a time to step back, reflect, and thank the Father of Lights for his many good and perfect gifts (James 1:17).

For many, one gift of the season is quality time with family. Grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, new grandbabies, all gathering to enjoy one another’s company, avoid the subject of politics, and poke fun at one another. My family’s annual get-together always managed to put the “fun” in dysfunctional.

And yet for some, the day is not all fun. For some there is pain; the pain of a student or young professional stuck two thousand miles away from family and friends, the pain of a widow whose memory of a recently deceased spouse is fresh and raw, the pain of a single person watching everyone else celebrate together while feeling desperately alone. Who would have thought that on a day centered on being together, one could feel so isolated?

The truth is that on this day — or any day, whether it is Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any Tuesday — there is a tension. Paul names this tension in Romans 12:15 when he says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Each of these realities is true of someone you know on Thanksgiving. So how should we respond?

How do we live in the moment of our own reality without being insensitive to the joys and the pains that surround us?

To Those Weeping

I know what it is like to feel alone. I know what it is like to watch everyone else celebrate an endless number of special occasions with someone whose presence is simply assumed as absolute, while I scroll through my contacts trying to find a friend who isn’t “already busy.” In those times, the last thing that I want to do is “rejoice with those who rejoice.”

It is easy to throw a personal pity party. However, I have found that the less naval-gazing I indulge in, and the more outward focused I become, the more my singleness starts to feel like the gift that it is. This might sound a bit odd, since singleness is rarely thought of as a gift these days (and more like a plague to be eradicated). And yet, Jesus says that if you are single — whether by choice or circumstance — then in this moment of your life, it is actually better for you that you aren’t married (Matthew 19:10–12). And Paul explicitly labels singleness as a gift that is equal in beauty to marriage (1 Corinthians 7:7).

How is it a gift? It is a gift because those who are single in Christ have a monument and a name better than sons and daughters (Isaiah 56:5). It is a gift because there is no one who has given up mothers and fathers and children and houses for Christ’s sake who will not receive those things one hundred-fold in the body of Christ (Mark 10:29–30). It is a gift because the single person is free to devote time and energy toward service, hospitality, and sacrificial love instead of a spouse and children (1 Corinthians 7:32–34). And in these ways, singleness actually becomes more than simply a lack; it becomes an invitation into gospel community.

This doesn’t mean that no one will be left alone on Thanksgiving. There is a time for weeping (Ecclesiastes 3:4), and the holidays may be as good a time as any. But don’t stop there. Lift your eyes from your circumstances, give thanks to God for your good gift of singleness, and in so doing rejoice with those who rejoice.

To Those Rejoicing

What about those for whom Thanksgiving is a wonderful celebration where your heart feels so full it could burst? To you I say, remember those who are weeping. You may not want to. After all, it might put a damper on the festivities to consider the lonely, the outcast, the marginalized, those without a special meal or a warm embrace. But allow your heart just a taste of what that must feel like, and weep with those who weep.

But don’t stop there; let your feeling turn to action. Consider the fact that when you welcome one of the least of these, you welcome Christ himself (Matthew 25:35–40). Consider that the bonds between brothers and sisters in Christ run deeper than blood in the true family of God (Colossians 1:2; 1 John 3:2). As a member of that family, you have the opportunity to become the hundredfold mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and children that Jesus promises to provide in Mark 10.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to practice. Author Lauren Winner writes that every dinner party should have an odd number of chairs, breaking the barriers between married and single folks. This Thanksgiving, why not set an extra place for someone who would otherwise be alone? And why not consider other ways to tangibly express our family ties in Christ, and in so doing bear the burdens of those who weep?

And in all of this, remember to give thanks for his gifts. No matter your circumstance, no matter your season of life, the gift God has given you is the one you need.


Articles on Thanksgiving


Justice Without Facts Is No Justice at All

Justice Without Facts Is No Justice at AllTen days ago, a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a black man, Jamar Clark, suspected of assault. The incident has prompted ongoing protests led by the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter movement at the fourth precinct station.

Some witnesses claim that Jamar was handcuffed when he was shot — which is why the community is outraged. Police contest that their investigation shows that Clark was not handcuffed, but the investigation is ongoing.

On Monday night, five people were shot at the Black Lives Matter demonstration site where protesters have been camping out since November 15. Thankfully, no one sustained life-threatening injuries. It’s being reported that “white supremacists” were involved in the shooting. Since the incident, three suspects have been arrested.

As we wait to learn the truth, justice moves forward in Chicago — where video footage of the shooting of Laquan McDonald is now public (thirteen months later) and the officer who shot him sixteen times is charged with first-degree murder. So what do we do while we wait in Minneapolis?

Justice without facts is no justice at all. When the institution of justice fails to report the facts, we should suspect injustice would happen. We must do everything just within our power to demand that the facts be disclosed. How else could we be confident that justice was served? We need to prosecute the ugly ambiguity cloaking partiality behind closed doors. We need the facts.

And injustice is guaranteed when we fail to listen, speak with haste, and act swiftly in anger. As unjust as any one of these shootings may be — and undoubtedly some of them are — we cannot allow ourselves to answer the ambiguity with a different kind of injustice. After all, justice without facts is no justice at all.

Fast and Slow

When perceived injustices occur, it’s common to run to our computers and share our thoughts with the world. We want to be the first in our circles to break the story and give our opinion. James 1:19–20 is often forgotten.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James is clear: Every person should do one thing fast and two things slow. First, he cautions Christians to quickly listen. This theme of cautious speech is blatantly encouraged throughout Proverbs:

  • Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28)
  • Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)
  • A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)
  • When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)

In an age dominated by social media and breaking news, these words may be timelier than ever. Platforms are built on quick and abundant words rather than slow and cautious wisdom. Rather than wisdom, our feeds are dominated by ignorance and foolishness on display for all to see. And rather than condemn it, we sadly celebrate and encourage it.

We Want Truth and Justice

This week I visited the black man’s country club, also known as the barbershop. Naturally, the conversation shifted to the shooting. I quietly but anxiously waited to see where the comments went. The barber and customers — frustrated that a black man is dead and annoyed by the rhetoric of those who believe the shooting was justified — all admitted that they don’t know what happened.

I only recently started going to this barbershop so I can’t speak with any kind of authority whether I was among any Christians. Nevertheless, they were practicing James 1:19–20. These brothers recognized the value of gathering facts before flippantly condemning.

The reality is, we really don’t know much. We know that police killed a young man. We know that a father and mother have lost a child. We know siblings have lost a brother. We know friends have lost a loved one. But we don’t know if an injustice was committed. The only people that know what happened are the witnesses and the officers that were present, and their stories conflict with one another. We await more information from the investigations.

The end goal of James’ exhortation is justice based on truth and facts. Injustice is guaranteed when we fail to listen, speak with haste, and act swiftly in anger. We’re in dangerous territory when we pit the Bible’s command to “seek justice, correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17) against its command to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” We’re so anxious for justice — our perception of justice — we can’t wait for truth. But so-called “justice” absent of facts is no justice at all. It’s just more injustice.

You Can Do More Than Listen

Without the facts, we’re called to patiently listen. But we can do more than listen. We can also pray. John Calvin, commenting on 1 Timothy 2:1–2, writes,

Some might reason thus with themselves: “Why should we be anxious about the salvation of unbelievers, with whom we have no connection? Is it not enough, if we, who are brethren, pray mutually for our brethren, and recommend to God the whole of his Church? For we have nothing to do with strangers.”

This perverse view Paul meets, and enjoins Christians to include in their prayers all men, and not to limit them to the body of the Church.

In that same spirit, please pray for Minneapolis, and for Chicago. John Piper once wrote, “If prayer seems to you a diversion from productivity, remember God does more in five seconds than we can in five hours.”

So if prayer seems unhelpful, and like a cop out, when tragedies like this strike, remember that God can do more in five seconds than thousands of Facebook posts, tweets, and blogs ever could.

And God loves justice. Job and Habakkuk both questioned his justice and received answers convincing enough to make them speechless. God will see to it that justice is done. It is only a matter of time.

Justice is moving forward in Chicago, and we pray it will come to Minneapolis as well — and true justice only comes with truth. Those who truly love justice will not want to commit further injustices by rushing to speak before knowing the truth.


What Comes After Thanksgiving?

What Comes After Thanksgiving?Thursday brings another Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving begins the end of another year. The United States will collectively pause over turkey and stuffing to ponder the good things in life, and many of us will give thanks to God. And it is always good to give thanks to God (1 Thessalonians 5:18). After all, he “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).

The holiday presents itself as a fitting resolution to the year’s highs and lows, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. It’s timed perfectly to allow for restful reflection before the generally happy chaos of Christmas. But what if Thanksgiving was meant to be a beginning, and not just another over-fed ending?

Thanksgiving isn’t ever the end in the Christian life because gratitude cannot bear the weight of that responsibility. Gratitude is good — and a means to something greater. It’s meant to fuel our faith in God and deepen our love for God, the Giver. Gratitude does look back, but it’s only a matter of time before it has the Christian looking forward. John Piper says,

The Bible rarely, if ever, motivates Christian living with gratitude. Yet this is almost universally presented in the church as the “driving force in authentic Christian living.” I agree that gratitude is a beautiful and utterly indispensible Christian affection. No one is saved who doesn’t have it. But you will search the Bible in vain for explicit connections between gratitude and obedience. (Future Grace, 3)

God means for our appreciation for all he has done to propel us to believe in all that he will do, and to live more fully for his glory as your greatest treasure. It’s the whole shape of the Christian heart and life. God does not bless you simply so that you’ll be filled with thanks and give him recognition, but so that you’ll be filled with faith and joy in him.

Receiving Is Believing

One great danger in gratitude is our temptation to thank God and then attempt to pay him back. Piper writes elsewhere,

First, it is impossible to pay God back for all the grace he has given us. We can’t even begin to pay him back. . . . Second, even if we succeeded in paying him back for all his grace to us, we would only succeed in turning grace into a business transaction. If we can pay him back, it was not grace. (Godward Life, 36)

What does Thanksgiving do to shape your view of God’s grace? As you look back, remember that every single thing you’ve received is another undeserved gift from the well of God’s mercy toward you (James 1:17). Have thoughts of entitlement or familiarity or indifference crept in to diminish or color your gratitude? If we knew how much we have sinned against God, and how little we deserved from him, and how much good he has lavished on us — from the smallest, least memorable provisions to the largest, unforgettable answered prayers — we would thank him differently.

And as you look forward — and you should on Thanksgiving — remember that any good that lies ahead rests entirely on that same grace. You will not deserve anything you receive in the next year anymore than you ever have. Nothing you will do next year will make you any more saved. You cannot meet any of God’s needs, because he has none (Acts 17:24–25). Our gratitude should inspire us to move forward in throwing ourselves more fully on his grace, rather than to try and rebuild or repay on our own what he’s already freely given us. Receiving is believing, not achieving.

Better Than All His Gifts

Faith in God for the future is not enough, though. Many of Thanksgiving celebrations will express real, genuine gratitude on Thursday, and yet will be horrifically offensive to God. Why? Because the gratitude has nothing to do with God at all. Even when it’s offered to him — often in some trite, ambiguous, once-a-year way — it has little, if any, regard for him beyond his gifts. No affection, and no allegiance.

Piper writes, “God is not glorified if the foundation of our gratitude is the worth of the gift and not the excellency of the Giver. If gratitude is not rooted in the beauty of God before the gift, it is probably disguised idolatry” (Godward Life, 214). He goes on to say that appreciation without devotion treats God “like a tool or a machine to produce the things I really love.”

As you give thanks, ask where your deepest affection and appreciation lie. Is it with God himself? Is he the greatest gift you received in the past year? Or is it with your family — your spouse, or children, or children’s children? Or is it your career — the one you have, the one you want, or the one you had? Or is it comfort — the size of your bank account, or the condition of your home, or the technology in your pocket? God gives us a lot of good things laced (because of our sinful hearts) with a poisonous potential to become gods.

With our gratitude, let’s keep the gifts as gifts, and God as God. Be specific with your gratitude —child, home, food, and phone — but also be personal. Follow every gift back to God himself, and let it be a reason to fall further in love with the Giver.

Plead for More (of Him)

This Thanksgiving, see your gratitude to God through to greater faith in him and greater love for him. We’re prone to a wait-and-see kind of gratitude, instead of a see-and-believe kind. Instead, receive God’s grace and plead for more — more of his grace, and more of him.

Here’s one biblical pattern for gratitude that pleases God: “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12–13). Ask him for more. He’s the kind of Father who loves to give good gifts to his kids (Luke 11:13), and he always knows exactly what you need (Matthew 6:32–33). He created the universe and governs your life “to show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward [you] in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

Let your gratitude to God this Thanksgiving be just a window into the storehouses of all he’s offered you through Christ. And let this be an occasion to lift your eyes in faith above every gift to your all-satisfying, never-failing Father in heaven.


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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.


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


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

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Is Obama’s catastrophic failure as President due to incompetence or evil?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Trust Obama with your health care plan Trust Obama: his narcissism, mendacity and drug use ensures he will make a great President

We’re getting to the end of Obama’s regrettable Presidency and it’s a good time for us to take stock of what kind of man Obama is, now that we can look at his actual record and see the failure that results from electing a President by affirmative action.

To achieve this goal of calling Obama what he is, I have a debate for you between two sides of the question. Andrew Klavan defends the “Obama is incompetent” view and Bill Whittle defends the “Obama is evil” view. This was sent to me by my good friend William.

Here’s the debate (8-minutes):

For those who cannot watch the debate, Victor Davis Hanson has a good article you can read instead.

Here’s part of it:

Obama certainly has doubled down going into his last year, most recently…

View original post 1,403 more words

TMS: When Does Error Become Heresy?

More than ten years ago, Al Mohler wrote a seminal blog post outlining what he called “theological triage.” Borrowing the term from the emergency room, Mohler discussed the need for Christians to prioritize certain doctrinal issues over others.

In what can be the chaos of an emergency room, medical professionals need to know how to weigh the urgency of various patients’ needs against one another; that is, a gunshot wound should be prioritized over a sprained ankle. Similarly, in the theological world, Christians must understand the difference between (a) “first-order” doctrines—where to hold an errant position actually precludes one from being a true brother in Christ—and (b) “second-” and “third-order” doctrines—issues on which two genuine Christians can disagree and nevertheless be truly saved. In other words, we need to be able to discern the difference between erroneous teaching (on non-fundamental issues) and heresy.

All biblical doctrine is important. I would go so far as to say all biblical doctrine is essential. It is difficult to put any doctrine into a second or third tier, because it somehow feels as if to do so is to say it’s not important. But employing theological triage doesn’t mean that everything that’s not first-order is unimportant, any more than a doctor’s prioritizing a gunshot wound necessarily thinks a sprained ankle is unimportant. But the fact remains: genuine Christians can disagree on things like the mode and recipients of baptism; but if two people disagree on the triunity of God, one is a Christian and the other isn’t.

The Reality of Damning Error

Some people reject the very notion that disagreements about doctrine could preclude someone from salvation. After all, no one has perfect theology, and we’re saved by believing in Christ, not by believing in doctrine, they say. And it’s true, regeneration does not promise protection from all error. But it does promise protection from some error—that is, the kind of error which, if believed, indicates you’re not a child of God at all. We know that that kind of theological error exists because the Apostle Paul wrote Galatians 1:6–9:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Paul wrote that about the error of the Judaizers, which, if you think about it, by some evaluations was quite a fine point of doctrinal disagreement. Think about everything the Judaizers shared in common with the faith once-for-all delivered to the saints. They believed in one God, who exists eternally in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They believed in the deity and humanity of Christ. They believed that He was Israel’s Messiah in fulfillment of the Old Testament. They believed in penal substitutionary atonement—that Christ bore the punishment of God’s wrath against the sins of His people when He died on the cross, so that they might be free from sin’s penalty and power (and one day its presence). They believed that He was buried, and that He rose on the third day. And they believed that repentance and faith in Christ was absolutely necessary for forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God in heaven. That is a lot of really important doctrine that they got right!

Their one issue boiled down, basically, to whether good works were the cause or the result of salvation. Was law-keeping the ground or merely the evidence of saving faith? Are we saved by faith alone, or by faith in Christ plus our religious observance? Now, that point of disagreement is an admittedly fine distinction! And yet Paul still employs the harshest language of condemnation for their error. “A different gospel” (Gal 1:6). “No true gospel at all” (Gal 1:7). “Let him be anathema”—condemned to hell (Gal 1:8, 9). “Severed from Christ” (Gal 5:4). “They will bear their judgment” (5:10). “I wish they would emasculate themselves” (Gal 5:12). Strong words for a disagreement on the ordo salutis! What it teaches us is, at the very least, there are certain things which, if believed, preclude someone from salvation, because to believe those things is to believe a different gospel, which is really no true gospel at all, and therefore which cannot save but can only condemn.

What Are the Fundamental Doctrines?

That brings us to the natural question: How much can one get wrong and still be a true child of God? Or said another way: What are those false doctrines which, if believed, by definition indicate that someone is not truly saved?

I think we get a clue by understanding why Paul so severely condemned the Judaizers’ doctrine. It’s because there was something fundamental to that teaching that denied—was mutually exclusive to—the Gospel of grace. That’s how we answer the question of what’s bad doctrine versus what breaches the bounds into heresy. The wrong beliefs that indicate someone is not saved are those teachings, which believed, necessarily undermine or deny the Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to Scripture alone for the glory of God alone.

But what are those wrong beliefs? I think we answer that question by asking a number of questions that span several categories of Christian doctrine.

1. Soteriology

We have to start here, because the question, “What false doctrines preclude salvation?” is a fundamentally soteriological question. We should ask: Does this teaching instruct us to trust in ourselves to contribute to our righteousness before God, even in part? Does this teaching encourage us to trust in anything else other than Christ alone for righteousness? Does this teaching teach us that salvation is something other than our redemption and deliverance from sin through the work of God in Christ?

The Roman Catholic Church’s denial of sola fide is a false doctrine that requires an affirmative answer to those questions. By denying that sinners are declared righteous through the instrumentation of faith alone, Roman Catholicism actually makes the very same error as the Judaizers (they just advocate adding different works to Christ’s righteousness). See this post for more on this.

But the Wesleyan Arminian’s doctrine of synergism, though unbiblical and rightly labeled as “bad theology,” is not a damning error. Perhaps the logical implications of it are—and if a synergist was truly consistent with himself it would lead to heresy. But Wesleyan Arminians avoid the damning errors of Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism by confessing that the source of their faith in God’s grace alone, and not anywhere in themselves. Their doctrine of prevenient grace is not to be found anywhere in Scripture, and they can’t consistently account for why one believes in Christ while another doesn’t, but they are in a manner saved by their inconsistency, as they nevertheless look to Christ alone through faith alone for salvation.

2. Theology Proper

Because God Himself is the Author of salvation, we cannot be truly saved if we are trusting in anyone but the true God. Many people—even those who would call themselves Christians—profess faith in the God of the Bible. But some have transgressed so far that they have recast the true God into a god in their own image. There is something about their god that is fundamentally different from the true God. So we should ask: Does this teaching affirm something about God that is so false—so antithetical to His nature—that to believe it is to truly believe in a different God, and not the God of Scripture?

I think we have to answer “yes” to that question in consideration of the God of Open Theism, who suggest that God is “in process,” is learning, and does not know the future. This is an outright denial of the omniscience of God—the One who insists that He declares the end from the beginning, and brings to pass all the plans of His heart (Isa 46:9–10; Ps 33:11; Ps 139; Heb 4:13). This isn’t simply a misunderstanding about the God who is; this is a fundamentally different god.

But we would answer “no” to the above question with respect to the doctrine of the order of the divine decrees. Infralapsarians believe that God’s decree to create and ordain the fall of man logically (note: not chronologically) preceded God’s decree to elect and accomplish salvation. Supralapsarians believe that God’s decree to elect and save was logically prior even to the decrees to create and ordain the fall. Neither of these positions so distort the person and character of God as to make Him a different “god” than what Scripture reveals; neither does it undermine salvation in any way. So this is not a first-order issue.

3. Christology

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul tells the Corinthians that the false apostles are proclaiming to them “another Jesus,” i.e., different from the One who exists. He also pairs that designation with the concept of teaching “a different gospel” (2 Cor 11:4). Since salvation comes only through the work of Jesus Christ, we must be sure to be trusting in the Christ who exists, and not “another Jesus” whom we’ve concocted according to our own understanding. So we must ask: Does this teaching affirm something about the person or work of Christ that is so false, so antithetical to His nature that to believe it is to truly believe in a different Jesus?

Arianism is such a teaching. Arians believe that Jesus is not of precisely the same substance (or essence) as the Father, but that He is of similar substance. Jesus is not truly divine, but neither is He merely human. He is god-like, but He is not God. Of course, the Christ of Scripture is God Himself—God the Son, the Second Member of the Trinity (John 1:1–3; 8:58; 10:30; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet 1:1). And there cannot be a more fundamental difference between One who is God and one who is not. Therefore, the Arians believe in a different Jesus than the Christ of Scripture—a Jesus who doesn’t exist, and thus a Jesus who cannot save.

But the doctrine of incarnational sonship is an example of a Christological error that is nevertheless not heretical. Those who hold to this teach that Christ did not relate to the Father as Son from all eternity, but rather that He became God’s Son at His birth (still others say only at His resurrection). But the distinction between ontological versus functional subordinationism (i.e., subordination in role, but not in essence) eliminates any concern of inequality in the Godhead. And when one understands the “begetting” of Psalm 2 and Hebrews 1 as an eternal begetting, not one that takes place in time, confusion subsides. God sent His only Son (John 3:16); He did not send One who became His Son. In any case, those who hold to incarnational sonship do not intend to undermine Christ’s deity or eternality in any sense; it’s a question of the roles or functions that Christ has undertaken, not something that is essential to His nature. Thus to believe incarnational sonship is not to believe in a different Christ.

4. Pneumatology

We cannot forget about the Third Member of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is God just as the Father and Son are God. Thus, to hold to error with respect to the Holy Spirit is to have a false view of God, and warrants the same concern as issues of Theology Proper and Christology. Therefore, when evaluating pneumatological error, we must ask yourselves: Does this teaching affirm something about the person or work of the Holy Spirit that is so false, so antithetical to His nature that to believe it is to truly believe in a different God?

We ought to answer “yes” with respect to the Jehovah’s Witness’s doctrine that the Spirit is not a Person but merely a force. They must teach this if they insist upon denying the Trinity. But the Holy Spirit can be lied to (Acts 5:3–4), speaks (Acts 13:2), sends missionaries (Acts 13:4), prophesies (Acts 21:11), knows the thoughts of God (1 Cor 2:11), and can be grieved (Eph 4:30). A force can do none of these things; only persons can. To deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit is to deny something fundamentally true about the Spirit’s nature. It is to deny that the Spirit is God, and that God eternally exists in three coequal, coeternal, and consubstantial Persons. Thus, this is an error that crosses the line into heresy.

But we’d have to answer “no” to this question if it were asked about the continuation of the miraculous gifts. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a convinced cessationist, and so I regard the redefinition of the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and healing (as is done even in the conservative continuationist movement) as a prime example of “bad theology.” But it’s not heretical, because I don’t think the case can be made that it makes a different God out of the Holy Spirit. It simply says the gifts that He once gave He is still giving today. That’s not to say that there aren’t Charismatics who aren’t heretics; far from it. But those who cross that line do so for reasons other than the bare concept of continuationism.

5. Trinitarian

We’ve spoken about Theology Proper, Christology, and Pneumatology—discussing doctrinal errors related to each Person of the Godhead. But we also need to speak about doctrine that relates to the three-in-oneness of God. The God who is One in His essence and being eternally exists in Three co-equal, co-eternal, consubstantial Persons. To deny any aspect of this is to deny something so intrinsic to the very nature of God Himself that we would end up with a fundamentally different god. So we must ask: Does this teaching so distort the doctrines of either (a) the Trinity or (b) the unity of the Godhead, that to believe it is to undermine God’s Triunity, and thus to cause us to believe in a different God?

An example of a Trinitarian heresy would be Modalism, which denies the essential “three-ness” of the Persons of the Godhead. Modalists teach that there is One God who can be designated by three different names (‘Father,’ ‘Son,’ and ‘Holy Spirit’) at different times, but that these three are not distinct persons. As mentioned above, this issue of personhood cuts to the very heart of what it means for God to be God. To say He is something other than One God eternally existent in Three Persons is to speak of an entirely different god. Thus, Modalism (the contemporary version of which is Oneness Pentecostalism) is heresy.

But a Trinitarian issue on which there can be disagreement between true believers is the Filioque controversy—the issue of whether the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father alone or from the Father and the Son (note: filioque means “and the Son”). While this issue was important enough to split the Eastern and Western churches—and has implications for the person of the Father or the divine essence conceived generally is the ground of the personal subsistence of the Son and the Spirit—nevertheless it does not undermine the unity or identity of the Three-in-One.

6. Bibliology

The authoritative basis for all theological discussion is Scripture. Therefore, to believe something about the Bible that undermines its authority in any sense is to surrender a truly Christian epistemology and worldview, and exalt one’s own reasoning above God’s revelation. That means we have to ask: Does this teaching so distort the doctrine of Scripture that it undermines biblical authority? Does this teaching deny that authority in such a way as to invest that authority in oneself, another man, or a tribunal of men?

A denial of the inspiration of Scripture would clearly place one outside the bounds of orthodoxy. “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16). To claim that any portion of Scripture is not the Word of God, or to treat it such a way as to impugn the character of the God whose Word it is, is to exalt one’s own reasoning above God’s revelation. It is to extricate oneself from the authority of God and make one’s own understanding the measuring line of truth. This is no longer truly Christian, but humanistic, and as such it crosses the line into heretical doctrine.

But there are some bibliological debates upon which true believers may disagree. One example would be the debate over the manner of inspiration. Some Christians rather naively believe that inspiration implies dictation only—i.e., that God dictated revelation to the human authors and they simply transcribed what they heard. Now, there were certainly times where that was the manner of revelation (e.g., Exod 34:27), but it was not the only one. In general, Scripture is said to have been inspired by the superintending work of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:20–21). The Spirit did not override the thoughts, intentions, and personalities of the authors of Scripture, but so sovereignly superintended them and worked with their thoughts, intentions, and personalities that they wrote precisely what the Spirit intended. Nevertheless, the dictation-only model of inspiration does not so undermine the character or authority of Scripture so as to preclude one from genuine Christianity.

Conclusion

The charge of heresy is a serious one. We cannot be trivial or frivolous in throwing around the term. But Paul’s response to the Judaizers (among many other passages of Scripture) teaches us that there are times when we must draw clear lines of separation, even among those who would call themselves Christians. If faithfulness requires that you do so, it will be important for you to ask the questions outlined above. If you believe a particular teaching warrants affirmative answers to those questions, you need to make a clear case for why that’s so.

And at the end of such an exercise, it’s important for me to say that I understand that we’re not saved by believing in sound doctrine per se, but by believing in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. We are indeed saved by faith alone, not by merely confessing faith alone. Nevertheless, the moment we ask, “Saved by faith in what?” we must respond with a doctrinal answer. We’re not saved by believing sound doctrine, but the faith by which we are saved must of necessity be doctrinally sound.

May we be found faithful stewards of the pattern of sound words entrusted to us as a treasure (2 Tim 1:13–14), for the purity of the Gospel, and for the glory of Christ.

The post When Does Error Become Heresy? appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

November 25, 2015 US and World Briefing Report

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Nov. 25, 2015

BLOOMBERG

President Obama will meet with the leaders of China and India on the opening day of talks in Paris to reach an international climate agreement, a symbolic gesture that the White House says underscores the commitment of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases to tackle rising global temperatures.

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to resolve a procedural dispute that may foreshadow the fate of President Obama’s stalled deferred-deportation program. The court could act imminently on a request by Texas and 25 other states for a 30-day extension of the deadline to respond to the administration’s bid for a hearing. While in other contexts that request would be routine, it has taken on heightened importance because of the realities of the court’s calendar and the administration’s desire to revive the program before Obama leaves office next year.

Turkey may have planned to shoot down a Russian warplane near its border amid questions over its support for Syrian rebels, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell more than forecast last week as claims moved closer to a four-decade low that shows a resilient labor market. First-time jobless claims dropped by 12,000 in the week ended Nov. 21 to 260,000, the fewest in a month.

U.S. home prices rose 5.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier as buyers competed for a tight supply of properties on the market.

Orders for U.S. business equipment climbed more than forecast in October, indicating steady domestic demand is encouraging corporate investment even as global sales waver. Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft rose 1.3 percent, the most in three months.

Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Chicago Tuesday night after the city released a video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times.

The planet is halfway to dangerous levels of global warming, with the average temperature for 2015 set to eclipse last year’s record, the United Nations said.

Russia halted natural gas supplies to Ukraine after its western neighbor said it wouldn’t buy more this year amid ample supply.

AP Top Stories

President Vladimir Putin ordered state-of-the art air defense missile systems to be deployed at a Russian air base in Syria following the downing of one of its warplanes by Turkey, a move that raised the threat of a military confrontation between the NATO member and Moscow.

Russian and Syrian special forces rescued one of the pilots of a Russian warplane shot down by Turkey near the Turkish-Syrian border, Syrian state media reported on Wednesday.

The body of a senior Iranian diplomat missing since the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia in September has been identified, Iranian media said Wednesday, quashing speculation he was kidnapped.

Global oil prices surged higher Tuesday after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border, sparking concerns about rising in the oil-rich Middle East.

A large magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck eastern Peru, though there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the very deep temblor, the US Geological Survey reported Tuesday.

Taliban insurgents on Tuesday ambushed a military-contracted helicopter that made an emergency landing in northwestern Afghanistan, killing three people in a shootout and capturing 16 others who were on board, Afghan officials said.

Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region has moved a step closer to banning the full-face Muslim veil, after its parliament gave the proposed law the thumbs-up this week.

BBC

The surviving pilot of a Russian plane shot down by Turkey on the Syrian border has said no warning was given.

A US aircraft attacked a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) clinic in the Afghan city of Kunduz because of “human error”, a US military inquiry says.

European countries cannot accept any more refugees, the French prime minister has been quoted as saying.

Ukraine has banned all Russian planes from using its airspace and exports of Russian gas to Ukraine have been halted by state-controlled giant Gazprom.

Nazi-inspired advertising for the TV show The Man in the High Castle has been removed from the subway in New York after complaints.

Andre Esteves, one of Brazil’s richest businessman, has been arrested as part of the corruption probe into the state oil giant Petrobras.

Pope Francis has arrived in Kenya for a three-nation African tour – his first to the continent as pontiff.

The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has banned female genital mutilation (FGM) saying it is not required in Islam. Three-quarters of women in the mostly Muslim country have had the procedure.

WND

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is out with a list of 15 vetted refugees who quickly joined jihad plots to attack the United States.

Canada’s New Liberal government will announce Tuesday its plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, bolstered by the support of all 10 of the country’s provinces.

A mall in the New York City borough of Staten Island evoked mass outrage after moving its annual Christmas tree display to an outside location, and now shoppers are rebelling, taking to Facebook to call for a boycott.

The King of Sweden has called for a ban on baths to help save the environment.


 

Top News – 11/25/2015

China ‘cloning factory’ to produce cattle, racehorses and pets
World’s largest cloning facility in China aims to produce a million cattle a year, along with other animals. The factory, which will include a 15,000 square metre laboratory, an animal centre, a gene bank and an exhibition hall, is currently being built in the port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, and is due to open in the first half of next year.

8-year-old ‘Indiana Jones’ makes First Temple era archaeological find in Beit Shemesh
Itai Halpern of Pardesiya was granted a certificate of honor after discovering the head of a statue from the First Temple period and turning it in to Antiquities Authorities’ officials. Halpern’s school class was also invited to take part in an archaeological dig.

Putin’s Spokesman: No Idea Why Russia’s Grand Mufti Wished Israel Same Fate as Crimea
many in Russia wondered this week, why the Moscow Mufti told reporters, following a meeting with the president: “Regarding the question of Syria, I proposed to Vladimir Putin that he should treat Israel the way he treated Crimea, but Vladimir Vladimorovitch refused.” TASS on Wednesday issued a short item saying the Kremlin believes that Russia’s Supreme Mufti was joking when he said that Syria and Israel should enjoy the same kind of treatment as Crimea.

Warning: If You Live Anywhere Near Chicago, Brace Yourself For Massive Rioting
But the situation in Chicago is potentially even more volatile what we witnessed in either Ferguson or Baltimore. More than a million African-Americans live in the Chicago metropolitan area, and the crime rate in the city has already been skyrocketing. In fact, it is being projected that Chicago’s murder rate will increase by 20 percent in 2015. This is a city that is always living on the edge of chaos, and now the video of Laquan McDonald’s death could be the spark that sets Chicago ablaze.

Allen West warns of looming world war
‘Downing of a Russian fighter bomber could be the spark’

Moscow to deploy S-400 defense missile system to Khmeimim airbase in Syria
The Russian Air Force base in Latakia will be reinforced with S-400 SAM system, which will soon be deployed there, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.

SUNRISE COMET CATALINA
Discovered in 2013 by the Catalina Sky Survey, Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) is making a one-time trip through the inner solar system. It swung around the sun on Nov. 15th and is now emerging in the dawn skies of the northern hemisphere.

Turkey’s Erdogan says does not want escalation after Russian jet downed
But while neither side has shown any interest in a military escalation, Russia has made clear it will exact economic revenge through trade and tourism. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that important joint projects could be canceled and Turkish firms could lose Russian market share.

Major 7.6-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Peru-Brazil Border
A major 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck near the Peru-Brazil border Tuesday night, rumbling some 600 kilometers below the surface. The deep tremor shook a sparsely populated area near Iberia, Peru, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Reports of damage or injuries were not readily available, and no tsunami was expected from the event.

4 earthquakes shake near Lilbourn, MO overnight
Residents in southeast Missouri might have felt the ground shake when 3 earthquakes rattled with in 20 minutes of each other, and a fourth hit just a little more than an hour later on Wednesday.

Big quakes didn’t stop after last week’s 4.7 temblor
Significant earthquake activity in the region didn’t stop after last Thursday’s 4.7-magnitude quake, though none was as widely reported by Kansas and Oklahoma residents as that 1:42 a.m. temblor. In fact, of 33 earthquakes recorded in the past week, six of them were 3.5 magnitude or above, U.S. Geological Survey data showed.

Iranian Hackers Attack State Dept. via Social Media Accounts
…American officials and private security groups say they see a surge in sophisticated computer espionage by Iran, culminating in a series of cyberattacks against State Department officials over the past month. …For Iran, cyberespionage…is becoming a tool to seek the kind of influence that some hard-liners in Iran may have hoped its nuclear program would eventually provide.

Russia deploys missile cruiser off Syria coast, ordered to destroy any target posing danger
Moscow plans to suspend military cooperation with Ankara after the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish air forces…Russia now plans to implement new measures aimed at strengthening the security of the country’s air base in Syria and in particular to bolster air defense. Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, equipped with the ‘Fort’ air defense system, similar to the S-300, will be deployed off Latakia province’s coast.

Militants storm India Kashmir army camp
An Indian soldier was killed in a gun battle at an army camp in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said. Three militants forced their way into the camp near the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. An army officer told BBC Hindi that one solider had been killed in the gun battle which is still under way.

Pope Francis due in Kenya at start of African tour
Pope Francis is due in Kenya at the start of a three-nation African tour – his first to the continent as pontiff. Thousands are expected to line the streets of the capital, Nairobi, to welcome him for his three-day stay. An atheist group says it will challenge in court a government decision to declare Thursday a holiday in honour of the pontiff, local media reports.

Putin: Turkish leadership’s policy of encouraging ‘Islamization’ is a problem
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Turkey’s political leaders had been encouraging the ‘Islamization’ of Turkish society, something he said was a problem, Russian agencies quoted him as saying. Speaking a day after Turkey shot down one of Moscow’s jets, Putin said: “The problem is not the tragedy we witnessed yesterday,” the TASS news agency quoted him as saying.

Russia says to halt gas supplies to Ukraine, mulling coal cut off over Crimea
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow would cut gas supplies to Ukraine on Tuesday or Wednesday because Kiev had not paid up front for more gas and might also halt coal supplies to Ukraine in retaliation for a power blackout of Crimea.

Michael Hayden: Turkish-Russian Clash ‘Really Bad and Getting Worse’
Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden told Newsmax TV on Tuesday that the Turkish downing of a Russian warplane near the Syrian border created a situation in the region that is “really bad and getting worse. “I fear, even under the best of circumstances, what we saw today was round one,” Hayden, who directed both the CIA and the National Security Agency, told “Newsmax Prime” host J.D. Hayworth. “Somebody’s going to paint someone else with an air-to-air radar, a fire-control radar.”

The marriage of Low Information Zealots and the Mainstream Media—Useful Idiots
Our committed efforts, combined with God’s miraculous intervention, will ultimately save America. In any culture there is always the opportunity for segments of the masses to devise uniquely hopeless solutions for their society’s alleged failures. Throughout recorded time the world has experienced all manner of failed government rule, including vicious corrupt dictatorships and perverted fairy tale regimes which disintegrate into subhuman experiments often leading to mass annihilation.

Collapsing Christianity, national identity, values, dignity – In name of what? to fight Islam
“France is at war,” President Francois Hollande said after the Paris ISIS attack (as if Islamic terrorism hadn’t struck before: – 9/11; Madrid in 2004; London in 2005; Boston in 2003; the Boston Marathon bombing’; countless acts of terrorism in Israel, Russia, Kenya, Nigeria, and finally “Charlie Hebdo”). Hollande is awakening from a dream, like the West is awakening in general. Similar to carefree and capricious Olympic Gods, the West has found itself in the epicenter of the storm and now repeats the same question feverishly and desperately: “How one can fight with ISIS?”.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Powerless Against ISIS
Because President Obama is weak in his foreign policy, ISIS/ISIL terrorists remain strong and have continued murdering mass numbers of civilians. The attacks in Paris are the latest in a long line of terrorist acts committed by that group. The element enabling their continued attacks is Obama’s exclusive reliance on air power, which, by itself, is an ineffective strategy.


Top Headlines – 11/25/2015

Turkey shoots down Russian warplane on Syria border: Vladimir Putin warns of ‘serious consequences’

World War III Trends on Twitter as Putin Decries Turkey’s ‘Stab in the Back’

Turkey says downed Russian warplane ignored warnings

Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘Everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders’

Moscow denies airspace violation

Russian entry into Turkish airspace lasted ‘seconds’: U.S. official

Video: U.S.-backed Syrian “moderates” scream “Allahu akbar” over body of downed Russian pilot

Syrian official: Downing Russian jet shows Turkey supports terrorism

Erdogan holds emergency meeting over downed Russian plane

NATO Calls ‘Extraordinary Meeting’ After Turkey Downs Russian Jet

Syrian rebels say they downed a Russian rescue helicopter

Russian soldier killed in search for downed pilots

Obama pokes Putin, says jet shoot-down part of ‘ongoing problem’ with Russians

Obama, Erdogan discuss downing of Russian aircraft, need to de-escalate

Russia deploys missile cruiser off Syria coast, ordered to destroy any target posing danger

Obama, Hollande swear unity against IS, leave Putin in the cold

In Iran, Putin and Khamenei speak of American ‘plots’

Iran expects nuclear deal to come into force in January

IAF jets strike in Gaza in retaliation for morning rocket fire

Kerry meets Abbas, says ‘two-state solution’ is still viable

Netanyahu to Kerry: There will be no settlement freeze

Netanyahu to Kerry: Green light for Palestinian building projects dependent on end to terror

Government considering expelling terrorists’ families to Gaza

Kerry condemns Palestinian attacks as ‘acts of terrorism’

Kerry in Jerusalem condemns terror, says Israel has right and obligation to defend itself

How The New York Times whitewashes Palestinian terror

‘Severe blow’: Al Qaeda suicide bomber takes out leadership of key ISIS brigade

France destroys ISIS command center with air strikes in Iraq

Top Democrat: ISIS Threat Has ‘Gotten Worse’ Under Obama’s Policies

Terrorism Deaths Quadruple Under Obama

Take that! Obama: Climate summit a ‘powerful rebuke’ to terrorists

I live in Jersey and Trump is right: Muslims DID celebrate on 9/11 in NJ . . . we saw it!

Teenage Austrian ‘poster girl for the Islamic State’ killed by group for trying to escape

Bomb attack on Tunisia presidential guard bus kills at least 12, state of emergency declared

Will Jihadis Hijack the Vatican’s Jubilee Year?

Pope in Africa will seek to bridge Christian-Muslim faultlines

Guards at Berlin refugee office ‘used Nazi language and called for asylum-seekers to be sent to concentration camps’

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees

Global refugees take long detours through Latin America to reach the US

Social media helps drive historic Cuban exodus to US

Clinton says her use of term ‘illegal immigrant’ was a ‘poor choice of words’

Outrage as military vehicles, equipment taken from officers in wake of Obama order

24 Senate Democrats Urge Obama To Sidestep Congress For Gun Control

Chicago protesters march as police release video of white officer shooting black teen

Bomb blast in central Athens damages Cypriot Embassy

EU referendum: Majority of UK public wants ‘Brexit’, poll reveals

National Debt Spikes $578 BILLION in Three Weeks

Asia stocks stumble on geopolitical tensions, oil stands tall

United Nations plans require biometric identification and birth registration for all humans on Earth

Smart Car Seat Senses Driver’s Physical And Mental State

Magnitude-7.5 quake shakes sparsely populated area of Peru

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Agrihan, Northern Mariana Islands

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near North of Ascension Island

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Vaini, Tonga

IBM wants to predict earthquakes and volcanoes with AI Watson

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 24,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 17,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 17,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Los Angeles County Road Mysteriously Buckles, Prompting Closure

Tropical Storm Sandra to Bring Flooding Risk to Northern Mexico

Major Winter Storm to Snarl Thanksgiving Travel

UN details doubling in weather disasters ahead of climate summit

India seeks ‘climate justice’ for poor nations at Paris talks

Peruvian farmer sues German energy giant over climate change

China ‘cloning factory’ to produce cattle, racehorses and pets

Liberia Records 3 New Ebola Cases, Monitors 153 People After Possible Exposure

ABC’s ‘Scandal’ Shows On-Air Abortion to the Tune of ‘Silent Night’

Cruz on ‘Lunacy’ of Transgender Policies: ‘My 5-Year-Old Knows There’s a Difference Between Boys and Girls’

Political Correctness Goes To War on American History

Washington university cancels classes over hate speech

Anthony Carter – Exegesis Has Consequences

IHOP-KC teaches people to imagine themselves as the characters in Bible stories

Vawser defends Amanda Well’s plagiarism; attributes lawlessness and demonic to Holy Spirit

NIU Removes Gideon’s Bibles After Atheists Call Them ‘Obnoxious’

Sharia UK: London police dive into canal to rescue Qur’ans


Frontrunning: November 25

  • European stocks up, oil slides as concerns ease over Russia-Turkey tension (Read More)
  • ECB discusses two-tiered bank charges, broader bond buys (Read More)
  • Skies Darken for Accord on Syria With Turkish Downing of Russian Fighter (Read More)
  • New agonies, alliances as Fed debates post-liftoff plan (Read More)
  • Introducing the New OPEC Member That Likes Lower Oil Prices (Read More)
  • A New Military Power Rises in the Mideast, Courtesy of One Man (Read More)
  • Russia’s Gazprom says halts gas supplies to Ukraine over payment (Read More)
  • Ex-Goldman Compliance Worker Sued by SEC for Insider Trading (Read More)
  • Other central banks set to act, but Swiss policy cupboard bare (Read More)
  • The Many Steps in a Syrian Refugee’s Journey to the U.S. (Read More)
  • BTG Pactual CEO Esteves Arrested In Brazil’s Graft Probe, Police Say (Read More)
  • If China Killed Commodity Super Cycle, Fed Is About to Bury It (Read More)
  • HP Inc. Gives Weak Earnings Forecasts (Read More)
  • Swedish central bank calls for action as Nordic property market fears grow (Read More)
  • For Poor Countries, Well-Worn Path to Development Turns Rocky (Read More)
  • Canada refugee plan revives concerns over porous U.S. border (Read More)
  • Elite funds prepare for reflation and a bloodbath for bonds (Read More)
  • Three Goldman bankers leave for Uber as tech world raids Wall Street talent (Read More)

The Briefing

1) Thanksgiving and gratitude key to Christian belief about God, self, and the world

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, The Heritage Foundation (George Washington)

Stephen Jay Gould: Understanding Evolution, PBS

Carl Sagan on the Meaning of Life, Brain Pickings (Maria Popova)

A THANKSGIVING SERMON., Gutenberg Project (Robert Ingersoll)


The Triumph Of Materialism: The Average American Will Spend 830 Dollars On Christmas In 2015

Christmas Gift - Public DomainHas there ever been a major holiday more focused on materialism than the modern American Christmas?  This year, Americans are planning to spend an average of 830 dollars on Christmas gifts, which represents a jump of 110 dollars over the average of 720 dollars last year.  But have our incomes gone up accordingly?  Of course not.  In fact, real median household income in the United States has been experiencing a steady long-term decline.  So in order to fund all of our Christmas spending, we have got to go into even more debt.  We love to pull out our credit cards and spend money that we do not have on lots of cheap, useless stuff made on the other side of the world by workers making slave labor wages.  We do the same thing year after year, and most of us have grown accustomed to the endless cycle of growing debt.  In fact, one Pew survey found that approximately 70 percent of all Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”.  But then we have to work our fingers to the bone to try to make the payments on all of that debt, not realizing that debt systematically impoverishes us.  It may be hard to believe, but if you have a single dollar in your pocket and no debt, you have a greater net worth than 25 percent of all Americans.  I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. (Read More….)


Angela Merkel’s Muslim Migrant Policies Threaten To Bring Germany To Brink Of Civil War

Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.

Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up to 1 million migrants this year and that Europe must accept quotas to take them in.

In a 40-minute speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament, Merkel said the security threat level in Germany was high but insisted that people must carry on with normal life.

“The strongest response to terrorists is to carry on living our lives and our values as we have until now — self-confident and free, considerate and engaged,” she said to loud applause.

“We Europeans will show our free life is stronger than any terror,” Merkel added, battling with a croaky voice. Just hours before heading to Paris to meet French President Francois Hollande, she said Germany would show solidarity with France after the attacks that killed at least 130 people.

With Open Gates: The forced collective suicide of European nations

Germany, which has since World War Two been reluctant to join military missions abroad, said earlier it is sending 650 soldiers to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali and increasing the number of troops training Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.

Guards at Berlin refugee office ‘used Nazi language and called for asylum-seekers to be sent to concentration camps’

Germany security guards at the main government office for refugees in Berlin have reportedly been caught on camera using openly Nazi language. Bild newspaper has released video footage in which it alleges the guards call for asylum-seekers to be put in concentration camps.

One recording purports to show a uniformed security guard speaking of getting “swastikas in my eyes”.

“In two years, there will be a revolution here and there will be no more of all this s***. We’ll clean it all out,” the guard, who has not been named, appears to say.

“We have plenty of summer camps, and I swear to you they can be used again. On the gate: work makes you free,” he says. The German phrase he uses, Arbeit macht frei, was infamously written above the entrances to Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps.


by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET) November 24, 2015

Navigating America’s ship-of-state in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris by Islamic State jihadis, President Barack Obama has made an incredulous decision to sail full speed ahead into some very dangerous waters.

Islamic State boasts about having used the influx of Syrian refugees flooding Europe as concealment to position terrorists for those attacks. Despite this and despite warnings as to the dangers of doing so, Obama has announced he will press forward with resettling thousands of Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Over a century ago, another ship navigated into harms way when a captain refused to heed warnings he was given – opting instead to sail full speed ahead. Motivated by ego rather than the safety of the lives entrusted to him, Captain Edward J. Smith sealed Titanic’s fate.

As Obama not only ignores warnings about terrorists hiding among Syrian refugees but also aggressively fights efforts to improve the vetting process for them, he – like Captain Smith – will not be remembered kindly by history for the consequences of his decision.

Smith’s gross negligence that April night in 1912 cost the lives of 1,516 passengers. Obama’s negligence, which might even prove criminal, will cost many more lives among 321 million passengers onboard his ship.

Obama remains committed to relocating Syrian refugees – most of whom are neither Syrian nor refugees but immigrants seeking the economic benefits of democratic welfare states. He mocks Republicans opposed to this effort, claiming they fear “widows and orphans” – most of whom are neither as 70 percent are young males.

Even if the Muslim immigrants were primarily women and children, they too have willingly played roles as suicide bombers. Hasna Aitboulahcen most recently may have become Europe’s first female suicide bomber, allegedly blowing herself up as Paris police closed in on Abdelhamid Abaaoud – the mastermindof the attacks. As will be the case with many future immigrants who turn radical, her own family and friends’ vetting process failed to identify her as a threat.

black market for fake Syrian passports exists in Turkey. Meanwhile, Muslim immigrants headed for the U.S. carrying false passports have been caught by alert officials in Honduras. Such routing and financial ability to purchase airfare suggest possible Islamic State funding.

In saying he will press forward to resettle Syrian refugees, Obama ignores evidence of the European turmoil Muslim immigration is creating. Videos show endless waves of Muslims descending upon villages like swarms of locusts, stripping towns of anything of value. Bloodied homeowners are shown in disbelief and shocknothing is done to protect them or their property as law enforcement is simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers involved.

Even if no terrorists were among them, these immigrants clearly come armed with a lack of intent to respect the host nation’s laws.

While a U.S. relocation effort would undoubtedly be better organized, historically once a Muslim population grows in numbers, it exhibits a more aggressive side – one focusing on maximizing its culture and laws, as mandated by Islam, at the expense of those of the host nation.

Earlier this month, the first American city in history, Hamtramck, just outside Detroit, elected a Muslim majority to its town council – control of which was relinquished by a shrinking Polish population.

An exuberant Muslim council member could not contain his joy over this landmark event as Islam had established its first elected foothold on American soil. Harboring no interest in unity, he boasted, “Today we show the Polish and everybody else.”

Towns such as Hamtramck will become future breeding grounds for jihadists – just like the Belgian city of Molenbeek was for Paris terrorist mastermind Abaaoud.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Obama’s denial in linking Islam to terrorism has gotten worse. While in Turkey this week speaking about the slaughter, he shockingly chose to describe the attacks as a “setback.”

Read more: Family Security Matters http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/obamas-titanic-deception-about-islam?f=must_reads#ixzz3sVOkR4JS


Turkey Wants To Start A War And Putin Is Going To Give Them One

Russia warns of ‘serious consequences’ after Nato country downs Russian military jet for first time since 1953

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is obvious that Turkey illegally shot down the Russian jet today in order to get NATO to fight against Russia. This attack was nothing more than a provocation to war. But the Turks have picked a fight with the wrong country, Putin is not an all-talk sissy boy like Barack Obama is. Make no mistake, Putin will issue a response, and it’s going to be a hard one to swallow. The Russian bear is awake, Magog doesn’t take prisoners. Just ask Ezekiel…

A ‘monstrous’ new crisis has begun after Turkey shot down a Russian military plane, sparking fears of a war. Vladimir Putin  has accused the Turks of a ‘stab in the back’, branding them ‘accomplices of terrorists’.

Russia warned the incident – the first time a Nato country has downed a Russian military jet since 1953 – would have ‘serious consequences’. And a leading Moscow military analyst said war was ‘most likely’.

Putin has broken off any military contact with Turkey in the fight against ISIS and is deploying a warship, with an air defence system, to the Mediterranean Sea. The cruiser will destroy ‘any targets representing a potential danger’ to Russian forces in Syria.

Turkey in meetings to get NATO to fight Putin

Its defence ministry also said that Russian bombers carrying out airstrikes in Syria will now be escorted by jet fighters.

Britain has already declared that military back-up is on standby to support Turkey in any revenge attack by Putin’s forces. President Barack Obama also pledged America’s support for Turkey following a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Two Russian pilots were shot dead by Syrian rebels as they parachuted from their burning warplane, it was claimed yesterday. A third was killed during a mission to rescue the pair as another rebel group shot a helicopter with an anti-tank missile.

Disturbing footage shows a dead pilot covered in blood on the ground as anti-government fighters gather chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ – Arabic for ‘God is great’.

Another video appeared to show forces shooting at the pilots with machine guns after they had ejected from the Sukhoi Su-24, which had been blasted by two Turkish F-16 jets for violating the country’s airspace. Gunfire can be heard as one of the rebels cries: ‘Don’t shoot, let’s capture them as hostages.’

The rebels – ethnic Turks backed by Turkey and fighting dictator Bashar al-Assad, who has been supported by Russia – said the pilots were killed as they parachuted over north-west Syria.

Last night Russia confirmed the death of only one of the pilots and the crew member killed during the rescue mission. Footage also emerged of rebels firing the anti-tank missile at one of the two helicopters sent to rescue the pilots. source


Take That, ISIS! Obama Says Fighting Climate Change Will Be ‘Powerful Rebuke To The Terrorists’

U.N. Climate Change Conference Will Be ‘Powerful Rebuke to the Terrorists’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Just when you thought that Obama couldn’t get one bit more idiotic than he normally is, he kicks it up a notch. He now declares that “fighting climate change” will serve as a “powerful rebuke to ISIS terrorists”. How do you, as a Liberal, continue to be this fraud’s follower and supporter, and still manage to maintain your dignity and self respect? “ISIS bad, boooooo. Fighting climate change good, yay!!!” I mean, really…

In a speech alongside French President François Hollande, President Barack Obama said that the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris would be a “powerful rebuke” to ISIS.

“I want to salute the people of Paris for showing the world how to stay strong in the face of terrorism,” Obama said. “Even as they grieve, Parisians have begun returning to their cafes, riding the metro and going to stadiums to cheer for their teams.”

In a speech alongside French President François Hollande, President Barack Obama said that the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris would be a “powerful rebuke” to ISIS.

“I want to salute the people of Paris for showing the world how to stay strong in the face of terrorism,” Obama said. “Even as they grieve, Parisians have begun returning to their cafes, riding the metro and going to stadiums to cheer for their teams.”


Biological Jihad Produces First-Ever Muslim Majority City In America

In the first majority-Muslim U.S. city, residents tense about its future

“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:25-28 (KJV)

America, it would seem, now finds itself firmly caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place. On one hand we have ISIS terror threats happening nearly once a week now. Obama’s massive push to flood our nation with undocumented, Syrian “refugees” has ensured that we now have hundreds of ISIS sleeper cells in operation from coast to coast. On the other hand, as a result of the relentless Muslim biological jihad, we are going to see Muslim-majority towns like Hamtramck popping up all over the place. Why is so dangerous about having a Muslim-majority city? Everything.

All across America, we have ethnic enclaves that celebrate the diverse heritage of our immigrant history. I have eaten meatballs in Little Italy in New York, had Lo Mein in Chinatown in San Francisco, and enjoyed amazing breakfast burritos in the Mexican section of Los Angeles. My own bloodline includes German, Dutch, Irish and Scottish. My grandfather arrived here in Ellis Island from Glasgow, Scotland in 1923. My mother a first generation American in the Murphy family. My dad’s family arrived from Holland in 1723, long before there even was an America proper. I sit here now, typing this article in 2015, as an absolute product of immigration to America. Now stay with me, there is a reason why I shared a snapshot of my family history with you.

 

For all the diversity in my own family tree, for all the different religions and ethnics roots that are in my background, there is one thing that none of my forebears ever wanted to do. They never, ever wanted to “claim America” in the name of Scotland, Ireland or Holland. While they relished sharing native foods and music, they never wanted to institute a Scottish or Dutch way of life onto people living in America. The only “agenda” they brought with them was to share in the American Dream, and maybe in the process contribute something. This cannot be said of Muslims who come to America. No, sir, not one bit.

When Muslims come to America, your average, “moderate” everyday Muslim, they do not assimilate into society. They remain on the periphery, hiding being beards and burkas, and they breed as many children as they possibly can. (See below video for startling information on global population demographics.) They know that if they can produce more Muslims than non-Muslims in any given area of the United States, they can legally use our great strength, the will of the people to elect who they want to lead them, into power and turn it into our greatest weakness. You don’t need bombs and bullets when you have the ballot box. Remember, Adolf Hitler was legally elected into office in Germany, by the “will of the people”.

Multiculturalism and Nationalism cannot survive together, it’s one or the other. England found out the hard way that when you let a Muslim-majority happen in an English country, you begin to lose your national heritage and identity. Muslims, when in the majority, will work to force the implementation of Sharia Law. See with your own eyes what happens when Muslims come to town. Your town.

 

Most Americans really have no idea what and who they are dealing with. Islam is not playing games, and they are not taking prisoners. Like it or not, we are at war with Islam, and our very way of life hangs in the balance of the outcome. In 1932, one, little man with the “funny mustache” brought the entire free world to it’s knees. One man.

Barack Obama tells us that we are “not at war” with Islam, and in one sense that’s true. The Obama government is completely and totally disengaged from stopping the spread of ISIS terror and Islamic extremism. So yes, we are not at war in the sense that we are not fighting back. But the war rages on. And everyday Muslims get a greater and greater foothold in this country. We are going to wake up one day, and way too late, to discover that we have been voted out of our own country, and that the Sharia has replaced the Constitution.

But hey, go on thinking that it cannot happen, and do nothing to stop the spread of Islam in America while there is still time. The Muslims are counting on your apathy and ignorance. And guess what? They are winning.

Think about that.


Obama Says He Will Stand Up To ISIS By Attending Global Warming Conference

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:57 PM PST

President Obama and French President Francois Hollande said that next week’s international climate summit in Paris will show the self-proclaimed Islamic State that it cannot crush Western values with terrorism. “What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children,”

Obama said Tuesday during a joint White House appearance with Hollande. Hollande said that although he never imagined the City of Lights playing host under such circumstances, he couldn’t imagine canceling the long-planned summit because of the Islamic State’s Nov. 13 attacks on the city. MORE

The post Obama Says He Will Stand Up To ISIS By Attending Global Warming Conference appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Prince Charles: Climate change cause of Syrian war

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:53 PM PST

Britain’s Prince Charles has pointed to the world’s failure to tackle climate change as a root cause of the civil war in Syria, terrorism and the consequent refugee crisis engulfing Europe. The heir to the British throne is due to give a keynote speech at the opening of a global climate summit in Paris next week where 118 leaders will gather to try to nail down a deal to limit rising greenhouse gas emissions. The prince said in an interview with Sky News that such symptoms were a “classic case of not dealing with the problem.”

“Some of us were saying 20 something years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues, you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change which means that people have to move,” he said. “And in fact there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land but increasingly they came into the cities.” FULL REPORT

The post Prince Charles: Climate change cause of Syrian war appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Over 850,000 Migrants Arrive to Europe by Sea in 2015

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:50 PM PST

Over 850,000 migrants have landed on Europe’s Mediterranean shores since the beginning of the year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s latest figures said on Tuesday. According to the IOM, 858,805 migrants have arrived to European shores by sea this year. At least 3,548 people died or have gone missing crossing the Mediterranean on way to Europe, according to the figures. Greece has the highest share of the influx, with 712,159 arrivals, according the agency.

Italy is second with 142,695 arrivals, and Spain is third with 3,845 arrivals. Greece has also seen the largest increase in migrant arrivals, with the number almost doubling since early October. Arrivals to Italy and Greece differ by country of migrant origin, with Greece a primary destination for Syrian refugees, with almost 400,000 arrivals from the war-torn country. Italy’s migrants come mostly from Africa. FULL REPORT

The post Over 850,000 Migrants Arrive to Europe by Sea in 2015 appeared first on End Time Headlines.

China Says Russia Could Shoot Down Turkish Jet in Retaliation

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:45 PM PST

Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the Global Times warns that Russia could be considering a retaliatory shoot down of a Turkish warplane in response to today’s downing of an Su-24 fighter jet. With Russia warning Turkey that “inevitable consequences” will ensue as a result of the incident, the Chinese newspaper asserts that the situation, “Could be one of the most critical moments since the end of the Cold War.”

As Reuters reported earlier this year, the Global Times is an, “Influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily,” therefore reflects the views of top Chinese government officials. The piece argues that the crisis is even riskier than when Vladimir Putin was considering whether to annex Crimea, because Putin’s “personal prestige” and Moscow’s “tough image” is on the line. The incident threatens to escalate a “Cold War-style confrontation with NATO,” states the editorial, and could represent a “climax of geopolitical crises over the past decades.” FULL REPORT

The post China Says Russia Could Shoot Down Turkish Jet in Retaliation appeared first on End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Potentially Deadly Virus Strikes Hawaii

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:41 PM PST

The Hawaiian health department is currently investigating a cluster of cases of the potentially deadly dengue fever on Hawaii Island. According to the health department there have been 92 confirmed cases of dengue since September. Of those cases 79 of the victims have been Hawaii residents and 13 have been visitors. Seventy of the cases have been adults and twenty-two have been children. There have been no deaths reported from the tropical disease so far this fall. Officials with the CDC and tropical disease experts claim that the recent outbreak is not a reason for anyone to cancel their travel plans.

“While dengue is present on the Big Island, there are a variety of ways to avoid the disease and risk can be minimized through repellents and other means,” Vicki Sowards, the director of nursing resources with travel medicine provider Passport Health USA explained. The fever is not spread by contact with an infected person, rather through the bite of an infected mosquito. The best way to protect yourself from mosquitoes is to use a repellent with 20-30% DEET. This should be put on AFTER any sunscreen or makeup products and used 20 minutes before possible exposure. Long sleeves, pants and closed toes shoes also offer protection,” Sowards explains. “A product, Premetherin, can be sprayed onto outer clothing prior to travel. It offers repellent protection for 6 weeks or 6 washings. It is recommended for outer night clothes, as the mosquitos may be attracted to the lights.” FULL REPORT

The post DEVELOPING: Potentially Deadly Virus Strikes Hawaii appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Global refugees take long detours through Latin America to reach the US

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:35 PM PST

When eight Syrians handed themselves in to immigration authorities on the Texas-Mexico border last week, the incident was held up by conservative politicians as a troubling reflection of the new threats facing the US after the Paris terror attacks. Similarly, news that five Syrian men had been detained in Honduras with false Greek passports was presented as a novel – and potentially sinister – development.

But both groups are most likely part of a steady stream of migrants from around the world, who have in recent years quietly started to follow the well-trodden routes used by Latin Americans to reach the United States. As well as Syrians, migrants from Nepal, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Pakistan now regularly make the long detour through Latin America, joining the flood of Central American migrants seeking refuge from violence. FULL REPORT

The post Global refugees take long detours through Latin America to reach the US appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Matt Drudge Claims America has been arming ISIS

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:30 PM PST

Matt Drudge’s first tweet in months came with a cryptic message: “A shocking truth is unfolding: America has been arming ISIS.” The Obama administration has been plagued for weeks over news U.S. weapons supplied to Syrian rebels were inadvertently winding up in the hands of terror groups. The media giant’s tweet on Tuesday alludes to something far more sinister. Major media outlets covered the ineptitude of Obama’s U.S.-trained rebels in early November, but there was no evidence he purposefully sent weapons to terror networks determined to attack America.

“Moderate rebels who had been armed and trained by the United States either surrendered or defected to the extremists as the Jabhat al-Nusra group, affiliated with al-Qaida, swept through the towns and villages the moderates controlled in the northern province of Idlib, in what appeared to be a concerted push to vanquish the moderate Free Syrian Army, according to rebel commanders, activists and analysts,” the Washington Post reported Nov. 2. FULL REPORT

 

The post Matt Drudge Claims America has been arming ISIS appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Syrian refugees from Lebanon may be allowed in UK ‘without all promised checks’

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:26 PM PST

Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Syrian Refugees, said he would not discriminate against “vulnerable” asylum seekers if they want to apply come into the country. That includes some families who have not been allowed to register with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). He also said only around 30 per cent of eligible Syrian asylum seekers across Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, were staying on the refugee camps Mr Cameron vowed they would be chosen from. He said many families were living in fields, small villages and even renting rooms spread out across the countries, some with up to eight children each.

His admissions, to the International Development Committee today, appeared to fly in the face of previous assurances given by Mr Cameron that all those allowed in would be UNHCR vetted and from designated refugee camps. They have angered UKIP defence spokesman Mike Hookem who said it looked like the government had “already softened their stance on refugees before the programme had even started.” He said: “Here we are, less than a fortnight after the atrocities in Paris where we know some of the perpetrators came into France pretending to be refugees through the EU’s non existent border controls, and our own Government admit they have weakened the rules on people who may well be extremists. FULL REPORT

The post Syrian refugees from Lebanon may be allowed in UK ‘without all promised checks’ appeared first on End Time Headlines.

 


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.


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


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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27 Iraqi Christians face deportation, as Obama welcomes 200,000 Syrian Muslims

WINTERY KNIGHT

He's better at golf than foreign policy He’s better at golf than foreign policy

Story from Christian Today.

Excerpt:

A small group of Iraqi Christians persecuted in their homeland are wondering why they are being deported from the U.S. while the Obama administration is trying its best to justify giving asylum to thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria.

A total of 27 Chaldean Christians who have been driven from their homeland by Al Qaeda and ISIS militants managed to enter the U.S. from Mexico in April and May this year, Fox News reported.

The Chaldeans are trying to join the thriving Iraqi Christian community in and around San Diego, California, but now they face an uncertain future as their applications for religious asylum have been rejected by U.S. authorities allegedly due to “technicalities.”

“These are families who were split up because of religious persecution, and now the government – which we love – is preventing them…

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Breaking – ACA reports on “megalomaniac” Brian Houston

The Hillsong cult-leader Brian Houston, is once again making headlines with A Current Affair.

01_Hillsong cult leader Brian Houston live love lead

A Current Affair reports,


[Click to Download]

For more context on Brian Houston’s aggressive behaviour towards the woman at the Royal Commission, read our article here:

Exclusive – Brian Houston: “I got attacked by a protester”

A Current Affair writes,

Inside Hillsong

He’s the cult-like leader who loves his flock and knows just how to get to its hip pocket.

Tonight, A Current Affair goes inside the private world of Hillsong head Brian Houston.

Hillsong have responded to our story. You can read the full statement below.

Statement by Hillsong Church

Over many years, ‘A Current Affair’ (ACA) has waged what we believe to be a dishonest campaign against Hillsong Church. While Hillsong Church – like all churches – is a charity, the premise behind these stories is based on a misrepresentation by confusing a church…

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The Most Important Question You Will Ever Be Asked: Are You Saved?

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

JesusOnlyWayWhat would be your answer?

The question is not:

Do you attend church?
Do you give to the poor?
Are you a good person?
Do you believe in God?

The question is – Are you saved?

FROM GOTQUESTIONS.ORG

Question: “How can I be saved?”

Answer: This simple, yet profound, question is the most important question that can be asked. “How can I be saved?” deals with where we will spend eternity after our lives in this world are over. There is no more important issue than our eternal destiny. Thankfully, the Bible is abundantly clear on how a person can be saved. The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul and Silas responded, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

How can I be saved? Why do I need to be saved?
We are…

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J. Warner Wallace: I am not a Christian because it works for me

WINTERY KNIGHT

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Here’s a must-read post from Cold-Case Christianity author J. Warner Wallace.

Excerpt:

Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been nearly seventeen years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning”. It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because…

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