Monthly Archives: December 2015

The fruit of the fear of God

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NASB)

The total lack of the fear of God is what marks the ungodly. (Romans 3:18) On the other hand, genuine believers in scripture are described as those who do fear Him. Tragically, when moral issues between professing Christians and the unchurched are compared there is very little difference. There is the same level of divorce, adultery, pornography, dishonesty; et cetera in both groups. This should not be so.

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Beautiful Church Buildings Once Filled With Believers – Now Overflowing with Apostasy

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

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I went with my son to a town not too far from where we live. A beautiful town, up in the mountains – established over two centuries ago. Everywhere I looked, there were buildings with such character and exquisite architecture; truly breathtaking.

As we turned street corners there were huge stone churches from the 1700’s – they seemed to be everywhere.  I stood in awe of these magnificent structures; thinking about the people who once sat in the pews and are since long gone from this earth.

I began to take note of the denominations of these churches. As we walked, my heart began to sink lower and lower.

Presbyterian USA

Lutheran

Church of Christ

Methodist

I pondered as we admired the beautiful design of the buildings – was there once solid, Bible based teaching from the pulpits of these houses of worship?  Did the congregants enter the doors with…

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December 29, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Refugees from war and persecution speak of hopes for 2016

Refugees from war and persecution speak of hopes for 2016

Posted on December 29, 2015 by Religion News

Those who fled are grateful to be alive. Yet, said one, &2016 may be different in some ways, but the truth is the trauma remains.&

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3 Diagnostic Questions to Show Who Is Really LORD of Your Money

3 Diagnostic Questions to Show Who Is Really LORD of Your Money

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Church Leaders

&The more we cling to money as ours, the more it seems to slip away from us.&

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1 Truth to Remember When Christmas is Over

1 Truth to Remember When Christmas is Over

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Crosswalk

If you’re feeling like the holidays came and went too fast, or you find yourself struggling with deep loss, one truth gives us hope…

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Top 10 Bible Reading Plans of 2015

Top 10 Bible Reading Plans of 2015

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Crosswalk

Here are the 10 most popular Bible reading plans on BibleStudyTools.com for 2015!

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What Does Your Preferred Bible Translation Say about You?

What Does Your Preferred Bible Translation Say about You?

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Crosswalk

You may own one Bible translation or you may own several (smart phones make this easy now), but chances are you have a default one that you go to more than others or prefer over others.

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3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

Posted on December 29, 2015 by Church Leaders

What is it that sets apart the kids who stay in the church? Jon Nielson

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What Does the Evidence in the Universe Tell Us About the Nature of God? (Video)

J. Warner Wallace, author of God’s Crime Scene, discusses the evidence in the universe and what this evidence tells us about the nature of God. Every crime scene says something about its related suspect, even before detectives ever identify the suspect specifically. What does the evidence in this “crime scene” tell us about a Divine Intruder? What characteristics must this Intruder possess? For more information about J. Warner’s “inside” or “outside the room” investigative approach to the evidence in the universe, refer to his book, God’s Crime Scene and visit http://www.ColdCaseChristianity.com.


A La Carte (December 29)

News Headlines Kindle DealsToday’s Kindle deals include the whole Vintage Puritan series which offers 38 Puritan classics at just $0.99 each. Also consider Look and Live by Matt Papa, one of my favorite books of 2014 ($2.99); Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley, a very solid church history 101 book ($4.99); Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family by Michelle Anthony ($1.99); 20 Compelling Evidences That God Exists by Ken Boa ($0.99); A Life Observed by Devin Brown ($1.99); A Year with C.S. Lewis ($2.99); Boring by Michael Kelley ($0.99); The People of God by Trevor Joy & Spence Shelton ($2.99).

The Dior Woman and True Freedom

This is a must-read article. “Have we really reached a point where freedom is portrayed by such petty play things like a little black dress, a helicopter ride, and a man to kiss but not commit to? Is freedom merely the absence of responsibility? If that’s the definition of freedom, I don’t want it.”

Plagiarizing and Quoting in Preaching

Here are some good, realistic, and helpful thoughts on preachers and plagiarizing. “If you find a great thought in Calvin, the best thing to do is to turn it over in your mind, polish it, reduce it to something manageable and add to it for the benefit of those to whom you preach. There is no need to feel as though you must quote and cite every thought that you glean from others.”

What A World Champion Whistler Sounds Like

Don’t pretend that you’ve never wondered before what a world champion whistler sounds like.

11 Ways to Write Better

“We are all writers now. Whether you write books, blogposts, emails, tweets, or text messages, you are a writer. No matter your preferred medium, here are a few tips to help you write more effectively…” I quite appreciate tip #1!

Using Your Memory to God’s Glory

“We don’t like to memorize stuff. We find it dull, painful, and pointless. … But the funny thing is, we will memorize that which is important to us. It’s really unavoidable.”

This Day in 1876. 139 years ago today, American hymn writer Philip P. Bliss and his wife died in a train wreck. Ironically, the night before he sang, “I’m Going Home Tomorrow.” *

2016 Reading Challenge for Kids

Redeemed Reader took my 2016 reading challenge and did up a version for kids.

Pastoring a Culturally-diverse Church

Paul, pastor at Grace Fellowship Church (where I serve as an elder), shares a few reflections on pastoring a culturally diverse church in a culturally diverse city.


End-Time Scenarios of the New Alchemists

In 2010, Tom Horn co-authored a treatise on their interpretation of Transhumanism called Forbidden Gates: How Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotechnology, and Human Enhancement Herald the Dawn of Techno-Dimensional Spiritual Warfare. What exactly is Transhumanism?  CARM explains: Transhumanism is the idea that human beings, as a whole, can be drastically improved in physical […]

The post End-Time Scenarios of the New Alchemists appeared first on Berean Research.


Book Review: Priscilla Shirer’s “Fervent”

Priscilla Shirer is an actor, author, speaker, and Bible teacher.  As such she has influenced many professing Christians, mostly women. Following her appearance in the hit film War Room, much has been written about her.  Some bloggers expressed their concerns about her teaching, and rightly so as some of what she teaches is unbiblical. John Lanagan […]

The post Book Review: Priscilla Shirer’s “Fervent” appeared first on Berean Research.


Christ Hidden in Our Schools, While Muhammad Roams the Halls Freely

It should come as no surprise that Christian practices are outlawed in Muslim countries, but it is pretty shocking to see this sort of thing happening in America. Under the guise of separation of church and state, the celebration of Christmas, which is a federal holiday, is taboo in many of our tax-payer funded public schools. […]

The post Christ Hidden in Our Schools, While Muhammad Roams the Halls Freely appeared first on Berean Research.


Franklin Graham quits GOP, says America “in trouble” unless more Christians in office

Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, is unhappy with the way things are going in America. What will solve the problem?  He believes that if “godly men and women” get involved in the political process they can “change this wicked system.” How are we to determine if a person is “godly”?  The article […]

The post Franklin Graham quits GOP, says America “in trouble” unless more Christians in office appeared first on Berean Research.


Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

By Albert Mohler A statement made by a professor at a leading evangelical college has become a flashpoint in a controversy that really matters. In explaining why she intended to wear a traditional Muslim hijab over the holiday season in order to symbolize solidarity with her Muslim neighbors, the professor asserted that Christians and Muslims […]

The post Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? appeared first on Berean Research.


Democrats think Christians bigger threat than Muslims

Poll chief Fritz Wenzel said, “A surprising finding in the survey shows that one in three respondents said they believe Christians pose a greater threat to America than do Muslims. Among Democrats, 45 percent said Christians are more dangerous than are Muslims, while 36 percent of political independents said the same.

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Signs and Wonders in the Last Days

Make no mistake, these ‘powers, lying signs, and wonders’ will precede the arrival of the Antichrist because he will take advantage of the political, social, and economic chaos that is already ensuing, and ride in on his white horse to ‘save the day’. Of course, he too will have many supernatural tricks up his and the False Prophet’s sleeve to woo the masses and absorb the worship this world so desperately wants to give someone, anyone, other than to who it should go too, Jesus Christ.

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The Daily Discovery (December 29, 2015)

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

Lordship Is Not Legalism – “What does countercultural Christianity look like in America today? First, let’s be clear on what it doesn’t necessarily look like. Countercultural Christianity today isn’t defined by tattoos, craft beer, beards, and pour-over coffee. These are fine things, but they are in no way subversive, whether inside or outside Christianity. If they ever were countercultural, they aren’t anymore. They are mainstream, the majority, the megachurch, the Man.

When New is Old – “Everything that happens to-day, or will happen to-morrow is new to us, because we can only live in the present moment; and even though we endeavour to project ourselves a little forward, yet it is generally in a wrong fashion, so that we do not see the truth of coming events, seeing not, but only imagining that we see.”

On the Incarnation – “Dear friends in Christ, a warm welcome to all who join the Dominican friars on this Christmas morning to rejoice in the ‘marvelous exchange—O admirabile commercium—[by which] man’s Creator has become man, born of a virgin, [and] we have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.’ The mystery of the Incarnation, borne to us in the sights and sounds of the Christmas liturgy, fills our hearts with joy.”

A Plan To Read the Greek New Testament in a Year – “Several years ago, I created a plan to read through the Greek New Testament in a year. For the most part, it tracks pretty closely with Lee Irons’ excellent schedule for reading the Greek New Testament in a year. My plan, however, varies a little bit. Because John’s writing is simpler Greek, my schedule goes through John’s Gospel at a faster pace than Irons’. As a result, there are no readings scheduled at the end of the year from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. These open dates at the end can be used as catch-up days. The schedule is given in two formats below.”

What We Read in 2015 – “Maybe you love to read. Maybe you hate to read. Maybe you make time to read. Maybe you try to find every excuse possible to avoid reading. Maybe you start a book and not pick up another book until that one is finished. Maybe you start 15-20 books and only finish half…………..maybe.”


SERMON:

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Nate Pickowicz – Jesus Prays: For The Disciples (John 17:6-19)


VIDEOS:

How Do We Know If God Is Speaking to Us or If It’s Just Our Inner Conscience?

The Quran, the Bible, and the Islamic Dilemma


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


Featured Blogs


Top Headlines
 Churches Seek to Aid Illegal Immigrants after Government Announces Harsher Policies
 Christmas Tornadoes and Flooding Leave Southern States in Turmoil
 Boko Haram Kills 16, Including Children, in Christmas Day Raid
 Franklin Graham Applauds Obama’s Acknowledgment of Christian Persecution
 A Museum of the Bible forms in very secular Washington
 Palestinians Carry out Attacks against Town of Bethlehem on Christmas
 At Least 9 Killed in Philippines in Christmas Day Attack by Islamic Rebels
 Indonesian Churches Celebrate Christmas Without Building – or Even Tent
 England: Department of Education Says Britain is a Christian Country
 UK government mulls ‘crackdown’ on homeschoolers
Opinion
 Sunny Yellow Day Surprises as Faith-Based Art
 Why Christmas Gives Us Hope, Even Through Tragedy
 For the Mouth of the Lord Hath Spoken It: The Real Meaning of Handel’s “Messiah”
 You Can Rent a Friend for $23 an Hour
 How You Can Have a Full Christmas

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


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

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

— Augustine

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(TMS) Top Ten Countdown: A Biblical Response to Homosexuality

During the final ten days of December, we will be posting our top ten articles from 2015. Today’s post came in at number 3. It was originally published on June 26.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision today, here are six articles from The Master’s Seminary Journal that address the issue of homosexuality from a biblical perspective.

1. God’s Word on Homosexuality: The Truth about Sin and the Reality of Forgiveness

Abstract: Through following a distorted meaning of “love,” some in the present day have condoned homosexual practice, without realizing that biblical love excludes homosexuality because of its sinfulness. Christians can best share the gospel with homosexuals by calling their lifestyle what the Bible calls it—sin. Genesis 1–2, Matthew 19, and Ephesians 5 describe clearly the way that God has instituted marriage as a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Genesis 19, Jude 7, and 2 Peter 2 illustrate how the Fall almost immediately eroded the purity of human sexuality, including a devastation of the divine institution of marriage. Leviticus 18 and 20 and Romans 1 lay out very plainly God’s instructions about how repulsive homosexuality is in God’s sight. Yet Isaiah 56 and 1 Corinthians 6 make plain God’s plan for homosexuals to find freedom and forgiveness through a life-changing faith in Jesus Christ. The door is wide open for homosexuals and lesbians to accept God’s invitation.

2. The Church’s Response to Homosexuality

Abstract: A tidal wave of immorality has inundated the United States and the rest of the world, demanding that the church respond to homosexuality in four ways. First, it must expose the sinfulness of homosexuality as depicted in the NT. Second, it must clarify that the grace of God and forgiveness extends to homosexuals also. The NT also makes this clear. Third, the church must expel practicing homosexuals from its fellowship. For them to remain a part of the church activities is a blemish that cannot be tolerated because it would indicate moral compromise, a lack of courage in confronting sin, and a failure to exercise the biblical prerogative of excommunication. Fourth, the church must resist the assault of homosexuality on society as a whole. The purposeful effort to sell the homosexual lifestyle is organized and dangerous and needs a concerted resistance to halt that movement.

3. Christian Parenting and Homosexuality

Abstract: The difficulties encountered in parenting, including that caused by children’s depravity, are best resolved through implementing biblical principles. In a society that is permissive and even positive toward the homosexual lifestyle, Christian parents should adopt eleven biblical goals in rearing their children. (1) They should do everything to reflect God and His glory. (2) They should help their children understand the gospel so that they receive salvation. (3) They should protect their children from physical and spiritual harm. (4) They should instruct their children in the truths of Scripture. (5) They should interpret Scripture so as to give their children a Christian worldview. (6) They should prepare their children for the responsibilities of adulthood. (7) They should prevent their children from falling to temptation by teaching them the consequences of sin. (8) They should correct any tendencies their children display toward sinful activities. (9) They should provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their children. (10) They should provide positive behavioral examples for their children to follow. (11) They should establish clear lines of communication with their children. These goals will help them deal with the same morally degenerate world as existed during NT times.

4. Cultural and Medical Myths about Homosexuality

Abstract: Three questions need to be answered regarding cultural and medical myths about homosexuality: (1) Is there a “gay gene”? In giving a positive answer, some sources cite two categories, nature and nurture. Behavioral genetics have sought and allegedly found a source for homosexuality, but many scientists have strong questions about behavioral genetics. Various studies have failed to prove conclusively that a “gay gene” exists. (2) Is it possible for a person to change sexual orientation from being homosexual to heterosexual? The current consensus in the mental health profession is that attempts to convert a homosexual to a heterosexual are too likely to be harmful. A possibility of change has been demonstrated, but worldwide consensus continues to view such a change as impossible because of biological and psychiatric factors. Studies by Spitzer and Jones/Yarhouse have identified examples of change without harm to individuals involved. (3) How have homosexual activists impacted modern cultures throughout the world? Various pieces of legislation, both national and international, have put at risk anyone who dares to oppose homosexuality. Even some ecclesiastical leaders have softened their tone in speaking against this sexual deviation.

5. The Source and NT Meaning of Arsenokoitai with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry

Abstract: Traditional interpretation of rsenokotai (arsenokoitai, “homosexuals”) in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 refers to sexual vice between people of the same sex, specifically homosexuality. Some restrict the term’s meaning to “active male prostitute,” but stronger evidence supports a more general translation, namely “homosexuals.” More recently the definition “homosexual” has been opposed on cultural and linguistic grounds, the claim being that the term “homosexuals” is anachronistic. In addition, criticism of the traditional rendering says the term today includes celibate homophiles, excludes heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, and includes female homosexuals. A concern for acts instead of the modern attention to desires was the only factor in the ancient world. The foregoing opposition to the translation of arsenokoitai by “homosexuals” has a number of debilitating weaknesses. Finally, this study argues that Paul coined the term arsenokoitai, deriving it from the LXX of Lev 20:13 (cf. 18:22) and using it for homosexual orientation and behavior, the latter of which should be an occasion for church discipline (1 Corinthians 5-6) and legislation in society (1 Tim 1:8-11).

6. God Gave Them Up: A Study in Divine Retribution

Abstract: Isaiah speaks of the judgment inflicted by God’s wrath as His strange act and His strange work. The Pauline picture of human history in Rom 1:18–3:20 tells more about God’s judgment and why it is “strange.” His threefold use of paredôken tells of God’s giving mankind over to deserved punishment, which is more than a permissive divine action and more than a privative action—a withholding of common grace. It must be a judicial act of God in imposing His wrath on mankind. The devolution in human history is reflected in the more recent tendency of society to accept the sin of homosexuality and other sexual deviations as a mere sickness and not as sin. Civilizations throughout the world, particularly in the United States, are hurrying to their destruction by neglecting the righteousness of God in Christ, thus bringing on themselves the judgment of God as described in Rom 1:18–3:20. This is God’s temporal judgment which is preliminary to His eternal judgment on a rebellious human race. Retributive justice is an attribute of God and a necessary feature of His actions toward unbelieving humanity.

The post Top Ten Countdown: A Biblical Response to Homosexuality appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

December 29, 2015 US and World Briefing Report

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Dec. 29, 2015

BLOOMBERG

For years, Vladimir Putin used Vnesheconombank (VEB) to pay for “special projects,” from the Sochi Olympics to covert acquisitions in Ukraine to oligarch bailouts. Now, the state bank needs a rescue of its own and it could be the Kremlin’s costliest yet.

College football game days may have a sinister side: They’re associated with a higher incidence of sexual assault, according to a new study that explored links between campus party culture and rape.

As the price of crude falls for a second year, marking the steepest decline since the recession, the impact is cascading through the finances of states, cities and counties, in ways big and small. Once flush when production boomed, some governments in major energy producing regions are facing a new era of unwelcome austerity as wells are shut — along with the tax-revenue gushers they spouted.

Confronting a drop in oil prices and mounting regional turmoil, Saudi Arabia reduced energy subsidies and allocated the biggest part of government spending in next year’s budget to defense and security.

The world’s 400 wealthiest individuals shed $19 billion in 2015, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Falling commodities prices and signs of a slower-growing China spooked investors around the world leading to the first annual decline for the daily wealth index since its 2012 debut.

Beijing advised children and the elderly to stay indoors today after pollution levels in the Chinese capital reached “heavy” levels.

Home values in 20 U.S. cities rose at a faster pace in the year ended October as lean inventories of available properties combined with steadily improving demand.

AP Top Stories

An independent computer security researcher uncovered a database of information on 191 million voters that is exposed on the open Internet due to an incorrectly configured database. The database includes names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails of voters in all 50 U.S. states and Washington.

An Ohio Grand Jury has declined to indict two police officers in the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer last year, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said.

Iran will take reciprocal measures in response to any breach of this year’s nuclear deal, the Foreign Ministry warned on Monday, after Tehran said new U.S. visa restrictions contravened the historic agreement.

Almost all people who overdose on prescription opioids continue to receive prescriptions for these painkillers, according to a new study.

Cars were banished Monday from the streets of Milan while in Rome every second vehicle was forced off the road as Italian authorities battled a buildup of smog after a spell of unseasonably dry, calm weather.

Belgian police have arrested two people suspected of plotting attacks in Brussels during New Year festivities, just weeks after the jihadist bombings and shootings in Paris which were allegedly planned in Belgium.

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a government office in a northwestern Pakistani city on Tuesday, killing at least 22 people and wounding 45.

Some of China’s most valuable historic artefacts went on display in Taiwan Monday at a new branch of one of the world’s top museums, as the island pushes its credentials as a cultural destination.

China has agreed to finance a much-needed overhaul of the Malian stretch of the key railway line between Bamako and Dakar, the Malian transport ministry said.

BBC

A Texas teenager who avoided jail over a fatal drink-driving crash by claiming he suffered from “affluenza” has been detained by police in Mexico.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is visiting Ramadi, a day after the city’s liberation from the Islamic State (IS) group.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, two years after the epidemic began there.

Central American nations have reached an agreement to allow several thousand Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica for over a month to continue their journey towards the United States. The migrants will be airlifted to El Salvador and put on buses, which will take them to the US. American legislation gives Cuban migrants preferential treatment.

Carlos Rosales Mendoza, the founder of one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels, has been killed.

The Charlie Hebdo murders in January have catapulted France to second place in an annual list of the world’s most deadly countries for journalists. The nine journalists killed in the attack left France second only to Syria, where 13 journalists were killed in 2015 in the course of their work. In all, 69 journalists lost their lives in the line of duty.

WND

A new poll reveals that 45 percent of the Democrats who responded believe that Christians are a greater threat to America than Muslims.

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights published an update to its “Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression” law that could impose fines up to $250,000 on property owners who call employees or tenants a gender they don’t identify with, even if that gender is their true birth assignment.


Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Large earthquake rocks Oklahoma early Tuesday morning; damage & power outages reported
A powerful earthquake rattled many Oklahomans out of bed early Tuesday morning. The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.3 earthquake hit near Midwest Boulevard and Covell Road at 5:39 a.m. Casey Moore, City of Edmond Spokesperson says right after the quake 4.400 customers in east Edmond were without power.

Trident nuclear deterrent under threat from underwater drones, expert warns
Rapid advances in underwater drone technology – autonomous underwater vehicles that can be controlled by ship- or land-based operators – threaten to make the controversial Trident nuclear submarines vulnerable, according to Paul Ingram, the chief executive of the British American Security Information Council

Here comes Storm Frank: NASA release pic of WORST STORM in year to smash into UK TONIGHT
Coastal regions are on alert for violent 120mph gales to send colossal waves tumbling over sea defences over the next 48 hours. More than month’s worth of rain is forecast to fall in Scotland and the north with flood-hit regions braced for more misery. It will be followed by a bitter Arctic plunge unleashing freezing winds and dumping inches of snow in parts of Britain, experts warn.

‘Affluenza’ teen and his mother detained in Mexico
The hunt for an 18-year-old Texas man who had pleaded guilty in the drunk-driving deaths of four people, but avoided jail time by successfully claiming his family’s affluence — or “affluenza” — was to blame, ended Monday night when Mexican authorities detained him and his mother in a popular resort city.

Court rules raising hands permitted on Temple Mount
The Jerusalem District Court accepted Monday the appeal of the Temple Mount activist Yehuda Etzion, and in canceling his expulsion from the holy site ruled that it was permitted to raise one’s hands while visiting there.

SUNSPOT ERUPTS, HURLS CME TOWARD EARTH
After several days of pent-up quiet, big sunspot AR2473 erupted on Dec. 28th (12:49 UT), producing a slow but powerful M1.9-class solar flare.

‘Shadow CIA’ 2016 Forecast: Turkey Set to Make a ‘Military Move’ Into Syria
“This is the year when Turkey, nervous but more politically coherent than it was last year, will likely make a military move into northern Syria while trying to enlarge its footprint in northern Iraq,” the Texas-based think tank noted in its forecast for 2016. The intelligence company maintains that Washington will likely “facilitate” Ankara’s predicted “heavy air campaign” in Syrian provinces bordering Turkey.

Papua New Guinea Rocked by 5.6-Magnitude Quake
The quake was registered at 01:51 GMT. The epicenter was located about 92 kilometers (57 miles) south of the town of Panguna at the depth of 47.2 kilometers.

5.1 magnitude earthquake jolts Swat, adjoining areas
A 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit parts of Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Tuesday, the met office said. The quake’s epicenter was determined at Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush Mountain range with a focal depth of 186 km, the met office said.

Palmyra arch from Syrian heritage site to be recreated in London’s Trafalgar Square
A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London’s Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer.

Pakistan suicide bombing kills ‘at least 22’ in Mardan
A suspected suicide attack at a government office in north-west Pakistan has killed at least 22 people, police say. The bomb went off outside the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) office in the town of Mardan. A splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban said it carried out the attack, which left more than 30 others wounded.

IDF Inaugurates New All-Commando Brigade
The new brigade, dubbed the Commando Brigade, will be comprised solely of infantry special-operations units removed from their previous chain of command structures to create this new tactical formation.“The dangerous winds blowing from Lebanon, threats by the Islamic State, the escalation in Judea and Samaria as well as threats from the southern border, demand the capability of the personnel in this new brigade now more than ever,

ISIS fatwa aims to settle who can have sex with female slaves
Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when “owners” of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females. The ruling or fatwa has the force of law and appears to go beyond the Islamic State’s previous known utterances on the subject, a leading Islamic State scholar said.

Oil slump weighing on housing markets in Texas, North Dakota
There’s a dark side to those delightfully low gas prices: Housing markets are slumping in communities that were recently flush from the U.S. shale oil fracking boom.

State Dept. counts ‘bringing peace’ to Syria as a 2015 win
The State Department is counting “bringing peace” to Syria as one of its wins in 2015. A boastful recap of the State Department’s accomplishments, written by spokesman John Kirby, includes the bold subheadline of “Bringing Peace, Security to Syria” above a more modest entry talking about U.S. aid for those affected by the country’s turmoil and the U.S. push for a political transition from President Bashar Assad.

ISIS Finally Comes After the Jews
The Kurds have essentially been the only group doing anything to battle ISIS on the ground and save Yazidi men, women, and children from enslavement and death.

A Nervous George Soros Lashes Out At Donald Trump: He Wants You To Be Afraid
It appears The Establishment has decided to bring in the big guns to dislodge The GOP’s nightmare scenario as Donald Trump goes from strength to strength in the polls. Writing in an op-ed for The Guardian, billionaire puppet-master George Soros urges Americans “to resist the siren song of the likes of Donald Trump,” adding that “the terrorists and demagogues want us to be scared. We mustn’t give in.”


Headlines – 12/29/2015

Palestinian Authority leaders to discuss cutting ties with Israel

Tibi tells Jordan’s parliament: Israel doesn’t support a Palestinian state

Bennett urges Israeli annexation of West Bank

Israel plans over 55,000 new West Bank settler homes: NGO

As NGO bill nears approval, Europe warns Israel against curtailing free speech

Wiesenthal Center: EU settlement labeling worse than Iranian threats

Israel reports record immigration of Jews from France in 2015

PM Netanyahu: Israel condemns terror, Palestinian Authority praises it

Israel likens Palestinian incitement to Nazi propaganda

IDF chief warns Hezbollah: ‘We stand ready for any challenge’

Israel Beefs Up Security Along Lebanese Border in Wake of Hezbollah Threats, Rocket Launches

Syrians on Golan planning ‘resistance front’ against Israel

Saudi mufti: ISIS are soldiers of Israel

Iraqi PM Abadi says 2016 will be year of final victory against Islamic state

Iraqi forces raise their flag over Ramadi government complex

Expelling ISIS from Ramadi: Why It Matters

Captured ISIS fighter says ‘trained in Turkey, ISIS thinks it’s safer here than Syria’

Seized documents reveal Islamic State’s Department of ‘War Spoils’

‘Department of Slaves’ and other ISIS horrors revealed in documents seized by US

State Dept. counts ‘bringing peace’ to Syria as a 2015 win

9 Christians Killed by Islamic Rebels on Christmas Day in Philippines

At least 80 killed after Boko Haram attacks northeast Nigerian city

Committee to Protect Journalists says 69 reporters were slain in 2015, 28 by Islamic militants

Threatening response, Iran suggests new US visa law violates nuclear pact

Kerry hails ‘significant progress’ in Iran deal implementation

New Iran sanctions fight looms in 2016

Iran Hands Over Stockpile of Enriched Uranium to Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2016 calendar creates a buzz

Big-name scientists worry that runaway artificial intelligence could pose a threat to humanity

Database of 191 million U.S. voters exposed on Internet – researcher

New Facebook service ignites battle over net neutrality in India

How the EU could collapse in 2016

The Year Nothing Worked: Stocks, Bonds, Cash Go Nowhere

Wall Street’s forecast for 2016: Worse than 2015’s

Debt distress level at highest since recession

Oil prices remain weak as slowing demand adds to high output

Oil slump weighing on housing markets in Texas, North Dakota

This graphic shows the massive growth of space junk orbiting Earth since 1957

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Passo, Indonesia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Central Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Alaid volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 15,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 12,000ft

Week of severe weather leaves at least 43 dead across seven states

UK PM on spot over floods as Europe hit by freak weather

UK floods: Storm Frank threatens more misery

Record Cold Temperatures Hit Los Angeles

California Drought Puts Tens of Millions of Big Trees at Risk: Study

Italy smog: Milan and Rome ban cars as pollution rises

‘We Won’t Make Frankensteins,’ Cloning Giant Boyalife’s CEO Says

Couple pays almost $100,000 to clone late dog

Guinea declared free of Ebola virus that killed over 2,500

An Actual Death Panel in Texas

Netanyahu ‘proud’ to welcome first openly gay Likud MK

Oregon bakery owners pay more than $135G in damages over refusal to make cake for gay wedding

Homeschooling Surges by 65% in UK as High Court Rules Atheism Must Be Taught in Schools

New Video – Ellen White, False Prophet – The Rotten Roots of SDA – 14:26

SBC President Ronnie Floyd to Speak at Major NAR Event

“Apostle” David E. Taylor  Does Damage Control After Release of Court Deposition 

NY Mansion Built to be Jesus Home After Second Coming Goes on the Market for $10M


December 28, 2015
ALAN KEYES — “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all his work which He, God, created and made…. (more)

December 28, 2015
NEWSMAX — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that the GOP might have a “tough” time holding on to its majority in the Senate in next year’s elections but that he was confident that the party would hold onto Congress…. (more)

December 28, 2015
ROBERT KNIGHT — “Low Prices Fail to Spark Growth,” a recent headline in the Wall Street Journal said. Economists scratch their heads wondering why the windfall of low gasoline prices has not spurred consumer spending. After all, many people are saving $100 a month when they fill up their tanks at $2 a gallon instead of the $3.50 they shelled out in August 2014…. (more)

December 28, 2015
WORLDNETDAILY — In a horrific case of misplaced courtship, a 30-year-old Muslim systems engineer was arrested in India and charged with kidnapping and rape after he abducted a former colleague and held her for five days to force her to convert to Islam and marry him…. (more)


December 28, 2015
WASHINGTON TIMES — Russia has reorganized and intensified its international propaganda machine so effectively over the past decade that some Western lawmakers and diplomats say Washington now is badly losing a global messaging war to the increasingly modernized blitz of anti-U.S. content from Moscow-backed news operations…. (more)

December 28, 2015
TELEGRAPH — Up to 80 primary school-aged children a year in the UK are now seeking help towards potentially changing their gender amid signs of classmates encouraging each other to do so, a leading charity working in the area has disclosed…. (more)

December 28, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Comedian David Spade ripped President Obama and his wife as too “thirsty” to appear on television in a clip that went viral Sunday evening…. (more)


December 27, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Obama extended his “warmest wishes” to families across the U.S. celebrating Kwanzaa, a holiday which honors African-American culture…. (more)


December 27, 2015
GREG COROMBOS — President Obama is coming under fire from a respected terrorism expert after Obama said the public needs to keep in mind that while ISIS can kill Americans, it cannot bring down the nation…. (more)

December 27, 2015
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — Let me ask you a question. Let’s say you are an authentically moderate Muslim. Perhaps you were born into Islam but have become secularist. Or perhaps you consider yourself a devout Muslim but interpret Islam in a way that rejects violent jihad, rejects the concept that religious and civic life are indivisible, and rejects the principle that sharia’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code must be imposed on the state…. (more)

December 27, 2015
WORLDNETDAILY — The definition of a “right” just got a lot weirder – – and more dangerous. Planned Parenthood has declared it is a person’s “right” not to tell a sexual partner whether they are HIV-positive if they don’t want to…. (more)

December 26, 2015
CLIFF KINCAID — The phrase “follow the money” is supposed to help explain human behavior, especially in politics. So why has Donald Trump embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin? Why has he denied the evidence of Putin’s killing of Russian journalists and dissidents? A savvy businessman, Trump is certainly not dumb. There must be something else to it…. (more)

December 26, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Islamic State’s religious scholars have ruled that taking the organs of non-Muslims is permissible under Islamic law to save the life of a Muslim, because killing apostates to eat their flesh has previously been allowed…. (more)


December 26, 2015
JOSEPH FARAH — I guess you could call it progress … On Christmas Eve, Barack Obama issued a statement denouncing the persecution of Christians in the Middle East…. (more)

December 26, 2015
LARRY KLAYMAN — As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and rejoice in the greatness of His and the Father’s universe, we turn to the New Year. A traditional ritual is reflecting on the past year, and as Time Magazine does, anointing the most prominent person of 2015. Indeed, 2015 has been for all practical purposes the “Year of the Muslim.”… (more)

December 25, 2015
Defend pro-life, pro-family liberty in 2016
ALAN KEYES — RenewAmerica and our citizen political groups fought tirelessly in 2015 to champion the conservative principles that you and I believe in. I exhort you to join our efforts in 2016 – -100% no exceptions pro-life and Personhood of all human beings; ordered liberty and equality of opportunity for all our citizens; and the rule of law, not of men, in our constitutional republic… (more)

December 25, 2015
BOB UNRUH — “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart Christmas story made in the aftermath of World War II that tells the story of an angel who hadn’t earned his wings and a small-town community leader who, it turns out, put his family and friends ahead of himself, probably has caused more than a few tears to be shed over the years… (more)

December 25, 2015
AFP — Pilgrims began celebrating Christmas Thursday in the birthplace of Jesus, but festivities were subdued against a backdrop of violence in the Holy Land and a growing jihadist threat across the Middle East. In other parts of the Middle East, and in the world beyond, Christians were fearful for their future, and some even prohibited from celebrating the holy day… (more)


December 25, 2015
BOB UNRUH — Activists who object to representations or examples of Christianity in just about all public settings have lost a round in their fight to censor Air Force Academy football players who take a knee – – Tim Tebow-style – – for a prayer before their football games… (more)

December 25, 2015
NATIONAL REVIEW — In the wake of video disclosures earlier this year that Planned Parenthood employees appeared to be engaging in the sale of body parts obtained through abortions, Utah governor Gary Herbert ordered state agencies to end the practice of funneling federal grants to Planned Parenthood’s Utah affiliate… (more)

December 25, 2015
NEWSMAX — The White House tried to use a secret “back channel” in Syria to get President Bashar al-Assad to step down – – including looking for a way to encourage a military coup, The Wall Street Journal reports… (more)

December 25, 2015
DICK MORRIS — On the heels of polls showing Bernie Sanders chopping 15 points off Hillary’s lead in Iowa – – narrowing her advantage to 50-45 – – Hillary Clinton has sent out an email to her supporters today (Wednesday, Dec. 23) warning them to brace themselves for the chance that she might lose Iowa or New Hampshire… (more)

December 25, 2015
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Some reporters are ignoring that a Washington Post cartoon portrayed Sen. Ted Cruz’s daughters as dancing monkeys and are instead focusing on the Texas senator’s general dislike for the “mainstream media.”… (more)


December 25, 2015
BOB UNRUH — Just as Barack Obama is plotting to create more limits on firearms, ammunition and the like during his final year in the Oval Office, there are court arguments developing that the longstanding federal ban on machine guns is, in fact, unconstitutional… (more)

December 25, 2015
WASHINGTON TIMES — As the Obama administration pressed the military to end all sex segregation, the Marine Corps decided to see for itself how other countries employ women in direct combat – – and it has amassed some surprising results over the past two years… (more)

January 1, 2016: The New Bank Bail-In System Goes Into Effect In Europe

2016 Sign - Public DomainIf you have a bank account anywhere in Europe, you need to read this article.  On January 1st, 2016, a new bail-in system will go into effect for all European banks.  This new system is based on the Cyprus bank bail-ins that we witnessed a few years ago.  If you will remember, money was grabbed from anyone that had more than 100,000 euros in their bank accounts in order to bail out the banks.  Now the exact same principles that were used in Cyprus are going to apply to all of Europe.  And with the entire global financial system teetering on the brink of chaos, that is not good news for those that have large amounts of money stashed in shaky European banks. (Read More….)


You Could Be Fined 250,000 Dollars If You Offend A Transgender Woman In New York City

Political CorrectnessPolitical correctness is officially out of control in New York City. According to brand new rules that were just issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, you could potentially be fined $250,000 if you purposely offend someone that is transgender. This includes such offenses as calling a transgender woman “him” when she wants to be called “her”, or not allowing a transgender woman to use the women’s bathroom. These guidelines are particularly focused on the behavior of landlords, employers and businesses, but they will undoubtedly create a chilling effect on speech all throughout New York City. (Read More…)


The McAvany Intel Memo

The global socialists have taken over the health care system of America (and most western countries) and want to dictate to everyone what kind of medical care they will or will not receive. The medical monopoly (i.e., the big pharmaceutical companies, the AMA, and the FDA) want to have 100% control over the health of the people – in large part to protect their hundreds of billions in annual profits. But the global socialists who control the American government (including the Democrat Party) and most western countries, see control of the health care system as a major element of total people control. Their vaccine strategy is designed to weaken the people, and, as we have seen in their African experiments, to set the stage for major population reduction.

Their strategy (and medical monopoly), however, has been threatened over the past 30 years by the emergence of the alternate medical system (i.e., naturopaths, homeopaths, chiropractors, osteopaths, acupuncturists, etc.); by numerous alternate therapies such as oxygen therapies, colon therapy, herbology, essential oils, bio-magnetic therapies, and a burgeoning health supplements industry. Why have over 40% of Americans started turning to alternate medical treatments and modalities? Because in many, if not most, cases these natural approaches work much better than the chemical-based treatment approaches of mainline medicine – and cost far less.

(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, June 2015)


Transgender Fad Rapidly Spreading In Primary Schools, ‘Clusters’ Emerging As Children Copy Friends

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 07:10 AM PST

(Breitbart) The number of primary school-aged children, some as young as four, beginning to “transition” their gender is rising rapidly in the UK. The popularity of the fad appears to be clustered, with children copying others in the same schools. Up to 80 primary school-aged children a year are now seeking help towards potentially changing their gender, the chair of Mermaids, a charity which lobbies for families who believe their children and teenagers are transgendered, has revealed.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Susie Green said that, in some cases, British children as young as four are already in the process of “transitioning” to another sex. She also described how her organisation has observed a cluster effect across the country, with children following one and another in the same school; a school where there might be a teacher who promotes transgender ideology.

Her anecdotal evidence correlates with the results of a study by Mark Zucker at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, which found that transgenderism was more prominent and persistent among children when promoted by adults. FULL REPORT

The post Transgender Fad Rapidly Spreading In Primary Schools, ‘Clusters’ Emerging As Children Copy Friends appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Natalie Grant Pleads for Prayers as Daughter’s Lung Collapses

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 07:00 AM PST

(Christian Post) In an alarming Facebook post just days after celebrating Christmas with her family, singer Natalie Grant pleaded for prayers for one of her twin daughters who is in respiratory distress. “My daughter Gracie has pneumonia, a partial collapsed lung and is in respiratory distress. We would so appreciate your prayers,” Grant posted on her timeline.

Eight-year-old Grace Ana spent the holidays with her family in Seattle and appeared in perfect health just days before as she posed for a Facebook picture in front of a Christmas tree with her mother and sister. But on Dec. 28 Grant took to Facebook with another post that is now circulating around the Internet with petitions to pray for her daughter.

The singer made her request with a picture of Grace holding onto a stuffed animal while laying in a hospital bed wearing an oxygen mask, a polka dotted hospital robe and her nails painted festively in red. As of Monday there hasn’t been an update on the child’s condition, but Grant’s friends in the Christian industry, including Jason Crabb and Don Moen, have taken to social media to ask their supporters to join in prayer. FULL REPORT

 

The post Natalie Grant Pleads for Prayers as Daughter’s Lung Collapses appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Hurricane force winds more powerful than 1987 storm which left 22 dead to strike Britain

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 06:55 AM PST

(Express) Hurricane  force winds of more than 120mph set to smash into Britain tonight in the form of Storm Frank are more powerful than those of the infamous storm of 1987 which claimed 22 lives. Met Office figures say the catastrophic winds which ripped up 15 MILLION trees across the country and left a £5BILLION trail of destruction in their wake peaked at 115mph. Tonight’s storms are set to top 120mph.

In 1987 weather forecaster Michael Fish famously laughed off predictions of a devastating storm leaving much of the country unprepared. But even with today’s more sophisticated forecasting techniques there will be little protection against the 120mph winds of Storm Frank.

Waves reaching 30-40ft are expected to breach sea defences and head inland across huge swathes of Britain’s western coastline. And communities in the north of England, already reeling from the severe floods of the Christmas period are to be hit again – and experts say the devastation is likely to be even WORSE. FULL REPORT

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Churches to provide shelter to illegal immigrants

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 06:42 AM PST

Fifty churches throughout the U.S. have said they will shelter illegal immigrants seeking sanctuary from upcoming raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Sanctuary movement, a political and religious group that works to protect those who illegally entered the U.S. to escape violence and economic instability in Central America, said over the weekend that its network of congregations will welcome any individual who fears he or she will be retargeted for deportation.

The announcement came after a report that the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration wing ICE was planning a January crackdown on individuals who had previously evaded deportation. Out of more than 100,000 people who traveled from Central America to the U.S. over the past year, less than 1,000 will be targeted in the raids. SOURCE

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Did 2015’s Prophetic Words Ring True?

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 06:38 AM PST

(Jennifer Leclaire) In the days and weeks ahead, prophetic voices around the world will release prophecies for 2016. You’ll read a handful of them on the “Prophetic Insight” section of charismamag.com. But before we charge ahead to weigh prophetic mandates, directives and warnings for 2016, let’s take a minute to look back at the prophetic words declared over 2015. After all, you can’t always limit God’s words to a 12-month timeline.

As I’ve said before, it’s possible that some 2015 prophecies won’t be relevant for years and others will remain relevant for years to come. So, again, before we move on to the next new prophetic word, let’s review what prophetic voices declared last year and respond according to His Spirit.

A Year of New Beginnings

I prophesied that “2015 is a year of new beginnings. That means some of you are going to birth some things. That means you may be a little uncomfortable in 2015. It means you will face some transition. It means you may enter into travail. It means you will face the accuser of the brethren and engage in spiritual warfare at new levels.” Was it true? It was for me and for many who I have come across in this past year. If you did not have a new beginning in 2015, there is still a new beginning available for you. As I recently wrote in my Plumb Line column, You Can Have a New Beginning in 2016—You Really Can.

The Turn-Around Year

The Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), led by Cindy Jacobs, declared 2015 was a turn-around year: This is the year when God will give His people the chance to recalibrate in the midst of what will seem to be a whirlwind year. To recalibrate means to correct in mid-course, modify, amend, change, metamorphose, renovate, transform, or turn.” Did this word come to pass? I believe it’s an accurate word in many respects. It was certainly a whirlwind year in the seven mountains of influence. How many of God’s people recalibrated, or repented, remains unclear. Repentance is a key to seeing 2 Chronicles 7:14 become a reality in America. I believe the Lord requires yet more repentance; true repentance. CONTINUE

The post Did 2015’s Prophetic Words Ring True? appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Keys to Revival in the Story of Legion

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 06:34 AM PST

(Ricky Scaparo) Mark 5: 1-13 – Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him,not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said,“What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

Now I want to dig a bit deeper and look at the practical applications in these passages and reveal some key components that are crucial for Personal and Corporate Revival. Let’s look at the first key of this passage.

1- The demon possessed man was bound and dwelling in tombs.
Many Christians are bound and demonically oppressed and make their dwelling in Dead churches and hang with spiritually dead people. I have always said “Show me A Believer’s desired environment to worship in and I will show a reflection of his private devotional life. If an individual desires to be in a house of stale bread, No moving of the Holy Spirit, No operation of the Gifts and no convicting word coming from the pulpit, it will result in a dead, dry and powerless believer. We have a lot of believers today that are longing to see the real demonstration of God in the Church. They are longing for a place of true worship but have settled to remain in “Tombs” with other dead members. If we want Revival to come and remain in our Churches we have got to allow a place where the Holy Spirit can dwell in habitation and not only visitation.

Revelation 3:1 –  “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.

2- Men tried to bind him with chains and fetters
Many dead churches that are full of religion try to bind people with religion and the traditions of men. Remember the story of Lazarus? He is a great image of what religion can do to a man. Lazarus was dead, In a tomb and Stinking! Yes Jesus showed up and raised him from the dead but the bible says Lazarus came out of the tomb still entangled with his “Grave Clothes”. This is the case for many believers today. They have been set free from sin and death through the blood of Jesus but still remain in bondage to many substances and fleshly lusts. Many of these individuals remain in an environment that can’t set them free. They are confronted with counselors, programs and therapy to attempt them to set them free, only to frustrate them leaving them entangled and in bondage. Revival will result from a place of Power and Signs and Wonders. The book of Acts was a full depiction of the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” moving through yielded vessels turning cities upside down not by Word only but by Power and Demonstration including miraculous healings, raising the dead and radical conversions.

3- The man cried out day and Night
As I stated earlier, Many people that are in bondage are crying out day and night for deliverance and looking for a real anointing and move of the Spirit that will set them free. This is why it is so crucial to find a Church or a gathering of Believers that believe in the fullness of God and his power! A Church that believes in the Power of Pentecost and all the Gifts of the spirit. A Church that believes and teaches that there is still healing and Miracles today! A Church that preaches a Jesus that still sets men free from all the powers of the enemy! Look at the example in the story of the “Daughter of Abraham” in Luke Chapter 13 who was afflicted with a “Spirit of Infirmity” for 18 Years because no one in the Synagogue had the power to set her free until Jesus showed up one day and loosed her from her infirmity! When we allow the Holy Spirit to operate through deliverance resulting in men and women being set free you won’t have to wonder where Revival is because it will surely be among you!

4- Notice the Man was cutting himself
Many people who are “Cutters” and self afflict themselves are in deep depression and even demonic bondage and are desperate for deliverance and Peace. In fact according to one report it estimated that about one percent of the total U.S. population, or between 2 and 3 million people, exhibit some type of self-abusive behavior. In the U.S., it’s estimated that one in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old, or one-half of one percent, cut themselves regularly. True Revival will always be earmarked by testimonies of many being set free from oppression, depression, and suicide.

5- When Jesus showed up the man immediately was delivered and in his right mind.
When Jesus showed up on the shore everything changed! It didn’t matter how long the man was in the state he was in or how deep of depression and how many chains and fetters were binding him. Oh f we would just let Jesus back in her our Churches today! If we would let him show up in power and demonstration. Just like the daughter of Abraham that was bound for 18 years, When Jesus shows up everything changed! Regardless of whatever your situation is today or how long you’ve been in the tomb, one touch of Jesus can set you FREE!

Later we discover that the man requested to follow Jesus, but Jesus insisted that the man go back to his household and city in which he was from, and share his testimony, and no doubt this man’s testimony turned the city upside down when they saw him set free. When a church allows the Holy Spirit and the Gifts to operate in the church than there will be deliverances of this example. When the Spirit of God is allowed to flow into a church or an individual’s life than whatever is dead will be made alive again. Notice this man went back to share his testimony. If you want revival in your church or home let God be God ask for the Power of the Holy Ghost to invade your home and church and soon all will say ” Surely the Lord is among you”!

The post Keys to Revival in the Story of Legion appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Oregon bakery owners pay more than $135G in damages over refusal to make cake for gay wedding

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 06:29 AM PST

(Fox News) The owners of an Oregon bakery who denied service to a same-sex couple have paid more than $135,000 in state-ordered damages – months after refusing to do so – according to state officials Monday. Aaron Klein, co-owner of Sweet Cakes, by Melissa, dropped a check off for $136,927.07, according to the Bureau of Labor and Industries. The payment includes interest. Klein also paid $7,000 earlier this month.

Damages were award in July for emotional suffering caused by the bakery which refused to make a wedding cake for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer more than two years ago. The bakers said they refused to make the cake because of their religious beliefs.

The dispute goes back to January 2013 when Bowman-Cryer came into the shop with her mother for a cake-tasting appointment. However, Aaron Klein told the women that the bakery didn’t do cakes for same-sex weddings. The women filed complaints with the state and triggered a national debate over claims of religious beliefs against anti-discrimination laws. FULL REPORT

The post Oregon bakery owners pay more than $135G in damages over refusal to make cake for gay wedding appeared first on End Time Headlines.

New contagious form of cancer discovered

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 06:18 AM PST

(Business Standard) Contagious cancers may not be as rare as thought, say scientists who have discovered a second transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils – small dog-sized ferocious carnivores found in the Australian island state of Tasmania. Transmissible cancers – cancers which can spread between individuals by the transfer of living cancer cells – are believed to arise extremely rarely in nature.

One of the few known transmissible cancers causes facial tumours in Tasmanian devils, and is threatening this species with extinction. The discovery by researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia, and the University of Cambridge in UK, calls into question our current understanding of the processes that drive cancers to become transmissible. FULL REPORT

The post New contagious form of cancer discovered 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


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

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

— Augustine

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

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


The Popes Of Evangelicalism

The Reformed Reader

I always think it’s ironic and comical when a Christian mocks or discredits creeds and confessions then turns around to favorably quote popular evangelical leaders on social media. While social media is new, this anti-confessional and pro-popular leader mindset is not new. It was a central characteristic of 19th century American revivalist religion. For example, Charles Finney talked said it was “highly ridiculous” for a church to recognize and utilize the Westminster Confession of Faith. Finney called the Westminster Confession a “dead Pope;” he said “It is better to have a living than a dead Pope.” Richard Lints explained this well in 1993:

“The revivalist located the ‘living Pope’ not in Rome but in the human heart. The experience of the Holy Spirit became the lens through which the works and words of God were interpreted. The work of the Spirit was severed from the confessions and creeds of…

View original post 316 more words

December 28, 2015 Christian Briefing Report

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Best of 2015: Duggar Scandal, Beth Moore, and the Yoga Pants Debate

Best of 2015: Duggar Scandal, Beth Moore, and the Yoga Pants Debate

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Christianity Today

We rank the top 10 posts of the year.

Read Full Article »


Bible on Demand: What 160 Million People Searched Scripture For in 2015

Bible on Demand: What 160 Million People Searched Scripture For in 2015

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Christianity Today

Bible Gateway offers year-end analysis of the most-popular verses and chapters, and whether anyone finished their Bible-in-a-year reading plans.

Read Full Article »


How “Star Wars” teaches spirituality

How “Star Wars” teaches spirituality

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Religion News

“Star Wars” is the American religion. We could do worse.

Read Full Article »


In defence of your 2015: Celebrating the little victories in your life

In defence of your 2015: Celebrating the little victories in your life

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Christian Today

Within the celebration and encouragement of the self, comes an even greater belief in what could be for next year. In how we might possibly glorify our Father, in how we could love someone a little better…

Read Full Article »


The Top 20 Most-Read Christianity Today Articles of 2015

The Top 20 Most-Read Christianity Today Articles of 2015

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Christianity Today

The Supreme Court decision, C.S. Lewis’ secret life, loving my sister-brother, and more.

Read Full Article »


Religion news in 2015: Terror, fear and forgiveness

Religion news in 2015: Terror, fear and forgiveness

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Religion News

(RNS) &Faith-based& cleansing of ancient lands, murder and forgiveness motivated by scripture, and religiously inspired concern for the poor and the environment were hallmarks of 2015.

Read Full Article »


Rep Wants Priority Refugee Status For Christians Massacred By ISIS

Rep Wants Priority Refugee Status For Christians Massacred By ISIS

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Tru News

A California rep has introduced a bill granting priority refugee status to Christians and Yazidis, who were targeted for genocide by ISIS.

Read Full Article »


'Star Wars' story a parallel to 'what the Christian God is after,' prof says

‘Star Wars’ story a parallel to ‘what the Christian God is after,’ prof says

Posted on December 27, 2015 by Christian Examiner

The Star Wars saga has parallels to the Gospel and can be used to communicate spiritual truths with friends, family and children, says a Christian university professor who has written a book about God in the movies. Even C.S. Lewis’ Narnia tales include …

Read Full Article »


Christ Hidden in Our Schools, While Muhammad Roams the Halls Freely

From Berean Research:

It should come as no surprise that Christian practices are outlawed in Muslim countries, but it is pretty shocking to see this sort of thing happening in America. Under the guise of separation of church and state, the celebration of Christmas, which is a federal holiday, is taboo in many of our tax-payer funded public schools. Yet some educators see no problem promoting Islam even though it’s a religion. The question is, why allow schools to censor Christianity and promote Islam?

Read more


Top Bible Prophecy Stories of 2015 By Jan Markell

December 28, 2015

It’s been an amazing year. If you follow any of the Bible prophecy sites, blogs, and media programs, you know they have been overwhelmed with stories that are foreshadowing the time the Bible calls the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, also known as the Tribulation.
I know there are those who believe there are no signs for today. I was called on the carpet by a seminary professor –a Baptist, no less — for heralding signs. He says there are no signs until the Tribulation. Nothing that is happening today is relevant. How tragic. What a disservice he is doing to his seminary students who will be ill equipped to deal with very dark headlines.
So after sifting through hundreds, in fact, thousands of headlines in the last year, I have come up with 18 stories that I feel most represent the herald of His coming:
1)    Israel’s worsening isolation. (Zechariah 12:3) The Left in America under Barack Obama abandoned her some years ago. With the defeat of Canada’s Stephen Harper, Israel was left only with some evangelical Christians spread around the world. She has no superpower backing.
2)   The “days of Noah” are back. (Matthew 24:37)  Everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. (Judges 17:6) Lawlessness is the order of the day. Evil is glorified. The White House was adorned with the colors of the homosexual rainbow and Hillary Clinton has a campaign ad with homosexuals engaged in debauchery as she celebrates their actions.
3)   The disillusionment with today’s politician is setting the stage for a “man with a plan” who will not be a politician but who will have the answer to all the world’s problems. We don’t know his name. We know his title is Antichrist. He may be the only one who can stabilize the ISIS crisis being planned for a naive Western world.
4)   The rise of strong delusion. (II Thessalonians 2:10-12). Simply put, God sends a strong delusion to those who choose not to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who take delight in mocking and rejecting Him, He will condemn, confuse their thinking, and cause them to believe fables. And they do!  Islam is good and peaceful; guns are evil; climate change is more dangerous than jihadists; Israel is the bad guy and the Palestinians are the new heroes in the church today; ISIS isn’t Islam; Muslim refugees are peaceful and will help the Western world. This is an “Alice-in-Wonderland” world. Christians don’t fit. The Mad Hatter rules.
 
5)   The further decline of America. She is not in the Bible in the end-times. Russia and Iran are the primary players in the Mideast now. America’s influence for good is vanishing under Barack Obama. America will blend into global government.
6)    America is being given over to paganism. A few months ago the Hindu goddess Kali appeared on the Empire State Building in New York City. Twenty years ago this was unthinkable. It is now cool.
7)   Israel is being prepared for the Antichrist. She is surrounded by enemies. She has Hezbollah, ISIS, Russia and Syria to the north and East and Hamas to the south in Gaza. Iran boasts daily that she will dump nukes on Israel. At some point she will cave to these threats and call on the Antichrist to make a peace treaty — particularly in light of the loss of American support.
8)   Gog is now on the move.  If Gog is Russia, Vladimir Putin has re-built her from the days when Ronald Reagan reined her in. Russia is advancing in many places.  All the Gog-Magog nations are aligning and are in the news: Iran, Russia, Turkey, Libya, and more. Prominent Bible-players are moving around as though they were on a chess board.
See Ezekiel 38-39.
9)    Israel has been bombing the suburbs of Damascus taking out concealed weapons. The Bible foretells a time when Damascus will become a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 35:1)
10)   Christians are mocked as never before and Jews are fleeing to Israel at a pace not seen since post WW2.  (Matthew 10:22) Only Islam is glorified, honored, and protected. In the Iraq/Syria region, a Christian is slaughtered every 5 minutes, yet few show any concern. Christianity is being erased from the region of its birth.  All of this intensified in 2015.
11)  The technology giants want to suppress the truth and marginalize Christians.  From YouTube, to Google, to Facebook, to Twitter, and more, the gospel message is censored and evil is glorified. They are preparing the way for “Mark of the Beast” technology. This was on overdrive in 2015. This ministry came under the gun and was censored more than once. Stories reveal that Windows 10 actually spies on emails, credit cards, and more.
12)   There was a cry for a global religion from Pope Francis to the Parliament of World Religions in Utah in late 2015. If the world is ever to be one, religions also must be united.  Pope Francis revealed himself to be an apocalyptic figure in 2015. We cannot “pin the tail of the False Prophet” on him quite yet, but even conservative Catholics are troubled by this Jesuit Pope. In fact, this Pope represents Marxism, environmentalism, the new world order, global government, sustainable development, the Jesuit agenda, unity of faiths, a global constitution, a global court, and a departure from Catholic traditions.  He is surely a harbinger of a global religion.
13)   Globalism went on overdrive thanks to Barack Obama, the United Nations, Pope Francis, and a consortium of worldwide Leftists.  John Lennon, who “imagined” all of this decades ago, would be proud!
14)   The push to make cash illegal intensified in 2015. The move to a cashless society won’t happen overnight.  Instead, it is being implemented very slowly and systematically in a series of incremental steps.  All over the planet, governments are starting to place restrictions on the use of cash for security reasons.
15)   Israel’s Temple Mount has been a focal point for turmoil this year.  With stage-setting for fulfillment of Bible prophecy during this Church Age winding up, it should be of no surprise that there has been tension on Mount Moriah. That may be the most contested 35 acres on the planet.
16)   This was the year Bible prophecy was mocked and attacked more than ever! Believers in our “blessed hope” were called “End-time Eddies and Esthers.” While this has always existed, now more and more prominent teachers are telling us not to waste our time on doom and gloom.
17)    Liberal, Godless Europe imploded. Leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel lost their minds, put their people at huge risk as terrorists took advantage of the “refugee” situation, and have made Europe a time bomb. The Antichrist will take advantage of this as well.

18)   This was the year evangelicals began accepting the gay agenda and some asserted that Allah and Jehovah are the same. The voices from the religious Left encouraged this.  The great end-time falling away has much of the church going over a cliff with results that cannot be rectified.  Finding a solid church became a believer’s biggest challenge in 2015.

Things are not falling apart — they are falling into place. Can you hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in the distance?

I won’t be silent about the signs of the times. If Jesus chastised the Pharisees for not knowing the signs of His first coming, why would we not be expected to be aware of today’s apocalyptic signs?
Wake up, look up, and rise up.

Departure

Two things must happen before the Tribulation period can begin: 1) The Apostasia must start, and 2) The Antichrist must be revealed.

The Greek word (Apostasia) can mean “departure.” The first seven English translations of the Bible say a “departure” must come first. The eighth English translation (the King James Version) says a “falling away” must come first. Other translations say a “rebellion” must come first.

View Article


The Daily Discovery (December 28, 2015)

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

A biblical response to John Piper’s denial of the Right to bear Arms – “John Piper has posted a response to Jerry Falwell, Jr’s. call for Christians to arm themselves and his provision for students to carry arms on the Liberty University campus. Piper’s position as outlined is about as close as one can come to individual pacifism without saying so. His response unfortunately ignores much of the context of the New Testament passages it cites, and ignores the Old Testament entirely. As such, I not only view it as unbiblical and disagree with it strongly, I think it would be dangerous and unloving for Christians to accept in society.”

I Beg To Differ, Brother Piper – “This morning I was directed to a brief comment by John Piper found here. Specifically, Piper draws a connection between the martyr missionaries of Through Gates of Splendor and a Christian defending his wife or daughter from an intruder in his home…”

Christian Conflict: Five Ways to Fight It – “I wish I never had to deal with conflict. I am a card-carrying conflict avoider. Whatever the reason (character, context, sin, etc.) I would rather run away from conflict than take it head on. It wasn’t until I began my training as a counselor at nearly thirty-years-old that someone explained conflict didn’t always have to do damage. In fact, it was possible to have conflict with a person and to feel closer to them in the wake of it.  This was a revolutionary idea to me. However, skilled conflict doesn’t come easy. It requires dedication, persistence and the willingness to forgive when things go poorly. In other words, it mirrors the rest of our Christian walk.”

The Right Kind of Despair – “Progress, I know, is frustratingly slow, and backsliding all too common. But that is the nature of a Republic— ‘if we can keep it.’…When George Washington found that the Revolution he had labored for had produced a failing state, he did not retreat in a snit to Mount Vernon to let the British re-invade, he waded into the Constitutional Convention to strengthen it. When Ronald Reagan lost the primaries in 1976, he redoubled his effort to sell conservative ideas while tailoring his own more narrowly, enabling him to win in 1980.”

The Beautiful Ordinary -“This morning, all across the world, thousands of ordinary pastors will preach ordinary sermons to ordinary people, and through these sermons they will communicate the most powerful, extraordinary news of all. This news will slowly but definitely make its mark on these people, conforming them ever more to the image of Christ. These congregations will also read the Bible together, pray, sing, and fellowship. Some will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and some will witness a baptism. These are the beautiful, wonderful, ordinary means of grace. Here is what Thomas Chalmers says about such ordinary things.”


SERMON:

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Nate Pickowicz – When God Became Man (John 1:1-18)


VIDEOS:

If you have been molested, you are not a second class Christian.

Three Stages of Jihad


“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 (December 28, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


Top Ten Posts for 2015 — #10 – #6

As we finish 2015, I am so grateful for you, the readers, who’ve helped launch this site quite successfully over the last six months. For today and tomorrow, we’re redirecting you to the most read posts this year. I pray they will bless you today if you’ve not read them before; if they’re repeats for you, I hope they’ll encourage or challenge you again.

#10  “Why Minister’s Kids Don’t Want to Be Ministers . . . and How the Church Can Help

Over the past twenty years as a seminary professor, I’ve worked with a lot of students who had a parent who was a minister, but who were at first certain they would never follow in those steps. When I’ve asked what their first objections were, here’s what I’ve most often heard in no particular order.

#9  “12 Random Questions to Ask about Your Church This Week

We know what questions we often ask about our churches. Is the church growing? Are we meeting budget? Are we making disciples? Take some time today to evaluate your church via these somewhat “random” questions.

#8  “Praying for Pastors on Monday

I’m a pastor at heart, and I pray I’m speaking for pastors today. Here are ten reasons you need to pray for your pastor today.

#7  “Why Pastors Have Few Deep Friendships

I’ve heard it so many times that I almost expect it: pastors are lonely. They often minister among people they say they love, but don’t know well. They have few deep friendships. Here are 10 reasons why we struggle with finding friends.

#6  “12 Ways to Assist Returning Southern Baptist Missionaries

I love missionaries, and many I know are now making prayerful decisions about retiring from the field. These are heart-wrenching days, and I encourage Southern Baptists to consider ways to assist these folks who’ve given their lives for the nations.


The Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Articles from 2015

Thanks to all of you for another great year here at ColdCaseChristianity.com. Our readership continues to grow as we have doubled our unique visitors per month since January. That’s actually saying a lot, given the fact much of 2015 was spent illustrating and finishing God’s Crime Scene. As I am finishing the third book in this trilogy, I’ve been trying continue writing articles to help you make the case for what you believe as a Christian. Here are the 10 most popular articles from 2015:

The 10th Most Popular Article of 2015:
How Many Angels Were Present At Jesus’ Tomb?
The Gospels describe the angels in response to the specific questions and actions under consideration. There is no contradiction in the accounts.

The 9th Most Popular Article of 2015:
Why the Information in Our DNA Points to the Existence of God
The selection process required in the creation of DNA information requires an intelligent, volitional free agent.

The 8th Most Popular Article of 2015:
Case Making Apps Every Christian Should Have on Their Phone or Tablet
Successful case making ministries who provide free, content rich, accessibly mobile versions of their materials.

The 7th Most Popular Article of 2015:
Why Is the Trinity An Essential Christian Doctrine?
Why Is the Trinity An Essential Christian Doctrine? Why is the triune nature of God so essential to the Christian Worldview?

The 6th Most Popular Article of 2015:
Rules to Evaluate Alleged Bible Contradictions and Difficulties (Free Bible Insert)
Here is short list of the rules I typically use when evaluating eyewitness statements. Be sure to download the free Bible Insert.

The 5th Most Popular Article of 2015:
How Many Women Visited the Tomb of Jesus?
How many women were at the tomb? Five, most likely. The Gospels are not contradictory in their description of these five women for the reasons I’ve cited in this post.

The 4th Most Popular Article of 2015:
Why Didn’t Mary Recognize the Resurrected Jesus?
Once we read the varied accounts, consider all the perspectives and assemble the details, it’s not hard to see why Mary didn’t immediately recognize Jesus.

The 3rd Most Popular Article of 2015:
Four Reasons the New Testament Gospels Are Reliable (Free Bible Insert)
There are four criteria by which I typically assess eyewitness reliability. The Gospels “pass the test” in these important areas.

The 2nd Most Popular Article of 2015:
Why the Beginning of the Universe Cannot Be Explained from “Inside the Room” (FREE Bible Insert)
The beginning of the universe cannot be explained from “inside the room”. The evidence points to an external cause outside of space, time, and matter.

The Most Popular Article of 2015:
Why I Know the Gospels Were Written Early (FREE Bible Insert)
The evidence from history (and the texts themselves) most reasonably points to the early authorship of the Gospels.

There you have it: the 10 most popular articles written in 2015. This week as we reflect on the past year, we’ll be posting the most popular articles, videos and podcasts. If you’ve missed some of the content here at ColdCaseChristianity.com, now is the time to catch up. Enjoy!

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity and God’s Crime Scene


Top 10 Posts of 2015 at ThomRainer.com – Part One

This year, 2015, was another great year at ThomRainer.com. Thanks to all of you who have read, commented on, and shared the posts and podcasts here at the site. This week, I’ll be sharing some of the biggest posts and podcasts of the year. We have some great plans for 2016, and I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring.


Top 10 Posts of the Year: #6 through #10

#6 – Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Guest in a Worship Service

If you want to make certain guests never return to your church, say one of these sentences to them when they visit.

Indeed, these unfortunate and ill-timed comments almost always guarantee that you will offend guests and make them very uncomfortable. Most of the time guests are already ill at ease since they are in a new place and a new environment. By the way, each of these quotes was actually communicated to a guest in a worship service. My guess is that all ten of them have been said many times . . . too many times.


#7 – Anatomy of a Sick Church – 10 Symptoms to Watch

There are certain metrics and issues physicians check when we go to the doctor. They want to check our blood pressure and temperature. They do blood tests to see if there are any warning signs. They are looking for symptoms that might indicate real problems exist.

After working with churches for thirty years, I too look for symptoms that might point to greater concerns. The symptoms are not necessarily the problem; they simply provide warnings or cautions of potential issues.

While there are many potential symptoms of a sick church, I have found ten to be consistently common. These ten are not listed in any particular order:


#8 – The Top Ten Most Fiercely Defended Traditions in Churches

I recently embarked on a major research project for a new resource I will soon be offering. Part of my research included a long review of thousands of comments made on this site over the past few years. Though my research had another purpose, I became intrigued by the comments related to church traditions.

Of course, by “traditions,” I am referring to those extra-biblical customs that become a way of life for many congregations. A tradition is neither inherently good nor bad. Its value or its distraction in a given church really depends on how members treat the traditions.

With that in mind, I began noting the most frequently defended traditions in churches. As a corollary, these traditions can also be a potential source of divisiveness. They are ranked here according to the frequency of the comments.


#9 – Ten Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pastor Right After the Sermon

I’ve actually assembled more than ten things church members have told pastors immediately after they preached. But these are ten responses where pastors have had the most visceral reactions.


#10 – Nine Observations about Announcements in Worship Services

To have or not to have announcements in the worship services? That is the question many church leaders ask today. And indeed there are several tendencies or trends related to announcements, and they are often related to the size of the church.

I asked a number of church leaders of congregations of varying sizes about their practices in this area. They pretty much confirmed what I am seeing as well. Here are my nine observations:

The post Top 10 Posts of 2015 at ThomRainer.com – Part One appeared first on ThomRainer.com.


How Do We Know If God Is Speaking to Us or If It’s Just Our Inner Conscience? (Video)

Can we trust that the inner voice in our head is God?


A La Carte (December 28)

Daily News Headlines Kindle DealsToday’s Kindle deals include The NIV Zondervan Study Bible ($3.99); The Pastor’s Kid ($1.99) and Help My Unbelief ($3.99) by Barnabas Piper; Found: God’s Peace by John MacArthur ($0.99); Running on Empty by Barbara Bancroft ($1.99); The Forgotten God and Erasing Hell by Francis Chan ($3.99 each); Heart of the Matter by CCEF ($1.99); From Good to Grace by Christine Hoover ($1.99); When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography by Vicki Tiede ($1.99). Also, Crossway has daily devotionals on sale: For the Love of God Volume 1 and Volume 2 by D.A. Carson ($5.99); Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon & Alistair Begg ($5.99); New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp ($5.99). Finally, Amazon has a lot general market Year-End Deals you may want to sort through.

If I Suffered, It Was Worth It

“Last week I read an article called “Should the Children Suffer?”  It’s about a missionary father’s struggle to trust God with the suffering his children are experiencing on the mission field.” This response comes from Amy, who grew up the child of missionaries and who is now a missionary herself.

Parenting in an Age of Awfulness

Here’s an interesting take on problems in today’s parenting.

Your Meeting Should Have Been an Email

This article shows three indicators that you probably could have just written some emails instead of calling for a meeting.

Performance Enhancing Drugs

Al Jazeera carried out an investigation of performance-enhancing drugs and posted a very interesting documentary to YouTube. Do note that there is quite a lot of bleeped-out swearing in it.

This Day in 1065. Even though it was incomplete, Westminster Abbey was dedicated 950 years ago today. *

Lordship Is Not Legalism

“Denying yourself and submitting to King Jesus, then, is true countercultural living. And though it may look like legalism to the world, submitting to his authority is in fact liberty—shocking, unexpected, subversive liberty.”

Trustworthy Teaching on the New Apple TV

Ligonier Ministries announces an app for the new Apple TV.

The Christmas Revolution

“Because the Christmas story has been told so often for so long, it’s easy even for Christians to forget how revolutionary Jesus’ birth was.” Fancy reading that in the New York Times.



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


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

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

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

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

— Augustine

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

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

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


December 28, 2015 US and World Briefing Report

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Dec. 28, 2015

BLOOMBERG

President Obama told U.S. military service-members on Christmas that “we never take for granted” the risks they take to keep Americans safe, and that the killing of six troops in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber this week reminded the nation that the dangers were real.

For an industry that already was pushing its cost-cutting efforts to the limits, the new oil declines are a devastating blow. These drillers are “not set up to survive oil in the $30s,” said R.T. Dukes, a senior upstream analyst for Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston.

Opinions vary on how to fix Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt crisis, but analysts, investors, credit-rating companies and even Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla agree on one thing: the commonwealth will default in 2016. The question is, will it happen as soon as Jan. 1?

The ruble fell to its weakest level this year as oil resumed declines and investors speculated a traditional pick up in end-of-year budget spending will hurt the Russian currency by pumping extra cash into companies and banks.

China’s net imports of gold from Hong Kong dropped for a second month in November as investors were deterred by bearish prospects for prices amid rising U.S. interest rates.

More than 60 people died in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri as suicide bombers targeted civilians and the army clashed with suspected Islamist militants on Sunday.

AP Top Stories

Bettie Jones, known in her Chicago neighborhood for her work with anti-violence community groups, was killed by police responding to a domestic disturbance just hours after she hosted family on Christmas Day. The fatal shooting of Jones, 55, and 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, a college student visiting his father for the holiday, at a West Side home has raised further questions about a police department already under intense scrutiny.

Iraqi security forces have successfully routed the Islamic State group from the city of Ramadi, one of the group’s largest strongholds. ISIS has ruled the city, the capital of Anbar province, since May 2015, when a wave of more than 30 suicide attacks drove government forces out of the city to more defensible positions. The New York Times dubbed it ISIS’ biggest victory of 2015, with at least 500 deaths among civilians and security personnel.

For 70 years since the Nazi defeat in World War II, copyright law has been used in Germany to prohibit the publication of “Mein Kampf” – the notorious anti-Semitic tome in which Adolf Hitler set out his ideology. That will change next month when a new edition with critical commentary, the product of several years’ work by a publicly funded institute, hits the shelves.

Saudi authorities said that they had seized more than five million amphetamine tablets and arrested 11 people in one of the kingdom’s largest drug busts. The interior ministry announced in November that it had seized a total of 22.4 million amphetamine tablets, 28.8 tons of cannabis and 26.2 kilograms of heroin in the last Islamic calendar year, which ends in mid-October.

A marijuana banking case set for arguments Monday is testing the federal government’s stated goal of addressing the cash-only nature of the quasi-legal pot industry.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg urged India to approve a controversial plan that would provide a free Internet service to the poor, his latest bid amid an escalating row with authorities.

China passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law that requires technology firms to help decrypt information, but not install security “backdoors” as initially planned, and allows the military to venture overseas on counter-terror operations.

The owner of a Chinese gypsum mine drowned in an apparent suicide during rescue efforts for 17 workers still trapped two days after the mine collapsed and killed one person, state media said.

The head of an urban enforcement agency in the Chinese district where a huge landslide left scores of people missing has killed himself, authorities said Monday.

Germany has recruited 8,500 people to teach child refugees German, as the country expects the number of new arrivals to soar past the million mark in 2015.

Strong online sales and demand for furniture and women’s apparel helped U.S. retail sales grow by a “solid” 7.9 percent this holiday season, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

BBC

At least 43 people have been killed over the past five days by severe storms across southern and western parts of the United States.

Japan and South Korea have agreed to settle the issue of “comfort women” forced to work in Japanese brothels during World War Two, in their first such deal since 1965.

The 53 US victims of the Iran hostage crisis are to receive compensation 36 years after their ordeal up to $4.4m., reports said.

An exclusion zone is in place after a 26-carriage freight train carrying some 44,000 gallons of sulfuric acid derailed in Australia.

The first in-depth analysis of North Korea’s internal computer operating system has revealed spying tools capable of tracking documents offline.

Two of Italy’s largest cities, Milan and Rome, are restricting car use as smog levels build up.

WND

About 75 percent of Americans still identify as Christians, after a 5-percent drop since 2008, according to a new Gallup poll, which also shows that the number of those having no formal religious identification has increased by 5 percent, amounting to 20 percent.

U.S. News and World Report which reported that Louisiana’s board of education is going to implement a new policy which requires all students to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to receive a high school diploma.

Rep. Peter King, one of New York’s feistiest, told a “Fox News Sunday” audience that what America needed was more surveillance of mosques, no matter what the civil libertarians say.


Top News – 12/28/2015

Strong deep earthquake below the coast of Saint-pierre, Martinique
Although relatively close to the island of Martinique the quake only resulted in a max. moderate shaking due to the depth of the hypocenter. Most important Earthquake Data: Magnitude : 5.6 GMT/UTC Time : 2015-12-28 06:55:30

An Actual Death Panel in Texas
The Act, which was signed into law in 1999 by then-Governor George W. Bush, allows hospitals to withdraw life-sustaining treatments if an ethics committee agrees that further treatment is futile. Their only responsibility to the family is a written ten-day notice.

Saudi mufti: ISIS are soldiers of Israel
“his threat against Israel is entirely false. The reality of ISIS is that they are soldiers of Israel.”

Exclusive: Seized documents reveal Islamic State’s Department of ‘War Spoils’
Islamic State has set up departments to handle “war spoils,” including slaves, and the exploitation of natural resources such as oil, creating the trappings of government that enable it to manage large swaths of Syria and Iraq and other areas.

2,000-strong Kentucky mall brawl leads to shutdown, no arrests
“As they were responding to those disturbances, others were breaking out. … Disturbances started to feed on themselves,” police spokesman Dennis McDonald said. “They were just overwhelmed with the number of calls for service and reports of disorder.” The officers had to call for backup, and 50 more officers arrived from five different agencies.

At Least 24 Dead After Texas Tornadoes and Midwest Flooding
At least 24 people have been killed and one person is missing after tornadoes barreled through Texas and heavy rain inundated parts of the Midwest. The Dallas area was ravaged by several massive tornadoes that left at least 11 people dead Saturday night. Five people died in a flash flood in Illinois, and eight deaths have been confirmed in Missouri…

Surveillance powers will help to unmask online bullies
Police are to use sweeping new surveillance powers to unmask anonymous internet bullies and bring them to justice. A new power that forces internet providers to retain web browsing information will help police to hunt down and identify the most serious cyberbullies and trolls, Theresa May has said.

80 primary school pupils a year seeking help to change gender – charity
Up to 80 primary school-aged children a year in the UK are now seeking help towards potentially changing their gender amid signs of classmates encouraging each other to do so… In some cases children as young as four are already in the process of “transitioning” to another sex, according to Susie Green, chair of Mermaids, a charity which provides support for families of children and teenagers with gender identity issues.

Islamic State leader Baghdadi goads West in rare audio statement
The leader of the self-declared Islamic State issued a defiant message to the West, warning “crusaders” not to dare fight on his turf. …”Crusaders and Jews don’t dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan,”… “Jews, soon you shall hear from us in Palestine which will become your grave,” the voice, purporting to be Baghdadi, is heard saying.

Gonorrhoea ‘could become untreatable’
Gonorrhoea could become an untreatable disease, England’s chief medical officer has warned. Dame Sally Davies has written to all GPs and pharmacies to ensure they are prescribing the correct drugs after the rise of “super-gonorrhoea” in Leeds. Her warning comes after concerns were raised that some patients were not getting both of the antibiotics needed to clear the infection.

Five ways to celebrate a digital Christmas
Log on to a virtual church and talk about Star Wars…Everyday Church Online…runs virtual services every Sunday for a net-based congregation from around the world. Everyone’s invited to log on and chat while a recorded sermon is streamed… Carry out a Christmas mission in a virtual world…Guardians of Ancora is a recently launched, free-to-play fantasy game available on Android, iPhone and Kindle platforms…

Dozens dead in US Christmas storms
At least 43 people have been killed over the past five days by severe storms across southern and western parts of the United States. Flash floods, tornadoes and now snow have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and snarled transport links. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

Syria fighters’ evacuation from Zabadani ‘under way’
Dozens of Syrian rebel fighters are being evacuated from the village of Zabadani near the Lebanese border under a UN-brokered deal. A convoy of buses and ambulances has reached Zabadani to take the fighters, and some civilians, to Beirut. The evacuation is part of a truce agreed in September covering Zabadani and two towns in the north which had been under siege from rebel forces.

Anti-Islamic State journalist murdered in Turkey
An anti-Islamic State activist and filmmaker has been shot dead by assassins in broad daylight in Turkey. Naji Jerf, 38, was shot with a silenced pistol in downtown Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, Turkish media reported. Mr Jerf was the film director for Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), a group of journalists who risk their lives daily to report on IS abuses.

Milan and Rome ban cars as pollution rises
Two of Italy’s largest cities, Milan and Rome, are restricting car use as smog levels build up. Milan is banning cars, motorcycles and scooters for six hours a day over the next three days. In Rome, cars with odd-numbered plates have been banned for nine hours on Monday. On Tuesday, cars with even-numbered plates will be restricted.

‘Department of Slaves’ and other ISIS horrors revealed in documents seized by US
Islamic State has set up departments to handle “war spoils,” including slaves, and the exploitation of natural resources such as oil… The hierarchical bureaucracy, including petty rivalries between officials, and legal codes in the form of religious fatwas are detailed in a cache of documents seized by US Special Operations Forces in a May raid in Syria that killed top IS financial official Abu Sayyaf.

Sudan Hopes for Strategic Partnership with Russia
“We are counting on this ministerial committee to improve relations with Russia in all fields, we consider it the most successful ministerial committee and we hope to become a strategic partner of Russia,” the vice president said at the end of the third Sudanese-Russian Joint Ministerial Committee.

Magnitude-4.2 quake strikes northwest of Barstow
A magnitude-4.2 earthquake struck about 26 miles northwest of Barstow in the Mojave Desert early Sunday and could be felt in the Victor Valley and as far as Los Angeles, according to U.S. Geological Service.

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ returns to German market in new form
For 70 years since the Nazi defeat in World War II, copyright law has been used in Germany to prohibit the publication of “Mein Kampf” — the notorious anti-Semitic tome in which Adolf Hitler set out his ideology.

Damage from sinking land costing California billions
A canal that delivers vital water supplies from Northern California to Southern California is sinking in places. So are stretches of a riverbed undergoing historic restoration. On farms, well casings pop up like mushrooms as the ground around them drops.

2015: The Year That Exposed The “Experts” And Left The “Smart-Crowd” Dumbfounded
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were all told by the “experts” and the so-called “smart crowd” ad nauseam the economy and markets of 2015 were “ready for lift off.”

Shale’s Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure
In 2015, the fracking outfits that dot America’s oil-rich plains threw everything they had at $50-a-barrel crude. To cope with the 50 percent price plunge, they laid off thousands of roughnecks, focused their rigs on the biggest gushers only and used cutting-edge technology to squeeze all the oil they could out of every well.


Top Headlines – 12/28/2015

Sudan Hopes for Strategic Partnership with Russia

Ukrainian legislator toasts Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ returns to German market in new form

Dramatic video of Russian air strikes ‘on Islamic State oil empire’

Using Laser Scanners to Preserve Antiquities in ISIS’ Cross Hairs

ISIS Has Been Defeated in the City of Ramadi, the Iraqi Military Says

‘The only country ISIS fears in the Middle East is Israel’

Palestinian Authority leaders to discuss cutting ties with Israel

‘Israel warns Hezbollah of crushing response if provoked’

Nasrallah: Israelis hiding like rats along border, Kuntar revenge will come

Saudi cleric on TV: Treachery courses through the veins of the Jews like blood

Iran accuses Saudi of promoting poverty, terrorism

Iran’s Rouhani to visit Vatican in January

One killed, 13 wounded in Kabul suicide attack: Afghan officials

New York GOP Rep. Peter King says terror threat coming from mosques, calls for better surveillance

Mall Mayhem: Over 1,000 Teens Shut Down Kentucky Mall

Japan Protests Intrusion of Armed Chinese Vessel Into its Waters

Shale’s Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure

Damage from sinking land costing California billions

Official in China city hit by deadly landslide takes own life

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Saint-Pierre, Martinique

‘Total devastation’: Nine tornadoes confirmed; storms leave 11 dead, hundreds without homes

Army evacuates hundreds as UK floods worsen

California wildfire contained, authorities worry about landslides if rain hits charred hills

Cars and Pizza Ovens Targeted as Italy Combats Air Pollution

Previously Wiped Out Diseases Are Starting to Resurface In England

New strain of ‘super Gonorrhoea’ means the sexually transmitted disease could be untreatable

Abortion to be a hot issue on presidential campaign trail

Children as young as four ‘encouraging each other to consider a sex change’

‘Christian’ Rapper Jahaziel Renounces Christianity

Caitlyn Jenner catches fury after praying with Houston pastor

Christmas Day Massacre: Boko Haram Kills 16, Including Children

Image On Church Window Resembles Virgin Mary, Draws Throngs Of Spectators

Pope Issues Christmas Indulgences to Spread Message of Mercy

Merry Christmas and get out of Israel, you blood-drinking Christian vampires

Shin Bet: Jewish Extremists Seek To Overthrow Government and Crown A King

Christian Zionists prefer to ignore Bethlehem’s Palestinian Christians


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: December 28

  • The Year Nothing Worked: Stocks, Bonds, Cash Go Nowhere (Read More)
  • Oil falls toward $37, near 11-year low, as excess supply weighs (Read More)
  • End of easy money for mini-refiners splitting U.S. shale? (Read More)
  • Shale’s Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure (Read More)
  • ‘Safe’ Puerto Rican Debt Stirs Worries (Read More)
  • These Will Be Wall Street’s Most In-Demand Jobs Next Year (Read More)
  • ‘Star Wars’ Becomes Fastest to Pass $1 Billion at Box Office (Read More)
  • The Hustlers at Scores (Read More)
  • China’s Gold Imports Fall for Second Month Before Rate Increase (Read More)
  • China Telecom Head Detained by Country’s Antigraft Regulator (Read More)
  • Goldman, JPMorgan Seen as Fintech Winners While AmEx Suffers (Read More)
  • At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags (Read More)
  • More prudent use of VC capital: startup gives departing employees $10,000 (Read More)
  • Why Weak Currencies Have a Smaller Effect on Exports (Read More)
  • China Broadens Campaign Against Terrorism With Sweeping New Law (Read More)
  • Saudi Arabia Set to Announce 2016 Budget Amid Oil Plunge (Read More)
  • Rousseff Future on Hold as Brazilians Take Break From Crisis (Read More)
  • Bankers, Bulls, Activists: The People of Finance to Watch in 2016 (Read More)

The Cashless Society Cometh: European Nations Such As Sweden And Denmark Are ‘Eradicating Cash’

Cashless Society - Public DomainDid you know that 95 percent of all retail sales in Sweden are cashless?  And did you know that the government of Denmark has a stated goal of “eradicating cash” by the year 2030?  All over the world, we are seeing a relentless march toward a cashless society, and nowhere is this more true than in northern Europe.  In Sweden, hundreds of bank branches no longer accept or dispense cash, and thousands of ATM machines have been permanently removed.  At this point, bills and coins only account for just 2 percent of the Swedish economy, and many stores no longer take cash at all.  The notion of a truly “cashless society” was once considered to be science fiction, but now we are being told that it is “inevitable”, and authorities insist that it will enable them to thwart criminals, terrorists, drug runners, money launderers and tax evaders.  But what will we give up in the process? (Read More….)


Wildfires And Tornadoes In December? Two More Major Disasters Hit America

Tornado Destruction - Public DomainIt is not normal for the United States to experience massive wildfires and giant tornadoes right around Christmas. The huge wildfire that erupted northwest of Los Angeles on Christmas Day and the devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Dallas area on Saturday can be added to a growing list of freakish disasters that have hit the United States since the month of September. So why in the world is this happening? Many are blaming the worst El Nino pattern that we have seen in at least 15 years. Right now we are witnessing very strange weather all over the world, including an unprecedented heat wave in Australia and the worst flooding in South America in 50 years. And it is true that El Ninos have significantly disrupted weather patterns in the past. But is the current El Nino really to blame for everything that we have been seeing? Because without a doubt, the last few months have been truly bizarre. (Read More…)


COMING TO YOUR SUBURB: THE GHETTO

You are no longer safe  . . .

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City is secretly relocating Section 8 subsidized housing families from the inner city into suburban homes – and some critics are charging it is part of a plan to deliberately cause damage to the communities there.

“They’re going to be destroying every suburb that they move into, just as they’ve done the inner cities,” said Jesse Lee Peterson. “This is ‘forced diversity.'”

View Article


NYC Will Fine You $250,000 For ‘Misgendering’ A Transsexual

Liberalism has lost its mind and is out-of-control . . .

Did you call a transsexual person “he” or “she” when they preferred to be called “zhe?” According to a newly updated anti-discrimination law in New York City, you could be fined an eye-watering $250,000.

View Article


It Is Now A Crime To ‘Misgender’ A Transsexual Or Transgender Person

Did you call a transsexual person “he” or “she” when they preferred to be called “zhe?” According to a newly updated anti-discrimination law in New York City, you could be fined an eye-watering $250,000

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 1:7 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: So here’s the really funny part in all this. You believed them when they told you it was all about “tolerance” and “acceptance”, when in reality it was all about control. The LGBT Mafia now controls the narrative, and any objections to the contrary is now considered hate speech. And it will be punished. Harshly. It is starting with massive fines, but will end with imprisonment and even with the execution of the dissenters. These are the new Nazis, and your reeducation camp is waiting to receive you. The dictator may be wearing pink, but that will not soften the blow. 

In the latest, astonishing act of draconian political correctness, the NYC Commission on Human Rights have updated a law on “Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression” to threaten staggering financial penalties against property owners who “misgender” employees or tenants.

Incidents that are deemed “wilful and malicious” will see property owners face up to $250,000 in fines, while standard violations of the law will result in a $125,000 fine. For small business owners, these sums are crippling.

It’s not as simple as referring to transmen “he” or transwomen as “she,” either. The legislation makes it clear that if an individual desires, property owners will have to make use of “zhe,” “hir” and any other preferred pronoun. From the updated legislation:

The NYCHRL requires employers and covered entities to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification. Most individuals and many transgender people use female or male pronouns and titles.

Some transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir

Other violations of the law include refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities such as bathrooms that are “consistent with their gender identity,” failing to provide employee health benefits for “gender-affirming care” and “imposing different uniforms or grooming standards based on sex or gender.”

Examples of such illegal behaviour include: “requiring female bartenders to wear makeup,” “Permitting only individuals who identify as women to wear jewellery or requiring only individuals who identify as male to have short hair,” and “permitting female but not male residents at a drug treatment facility to wear wigs and high heels.”

In other words, if a bar owner prevents male bartenders from wearing lipstick and heels, they’ll be breaking the law. They’ve now got a choice between potentially scaring off customers, and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Regardless of the establishment’s clientèle or aesthetic, every property owner will be forced to conform to the same standard.

This is the latest in what Spiked Online editor-in-chief Brendan O’Neill calls “The Crisis of Character” in the west, in which identities become grounded in subjective interpretation rather than objective reality. The state is now forcing society to recognise the subjective identities of individuals, regardless of how absurd or surreal they may seem. In New York City, recognising someone’s identity is no longer a matter of case-by-case common sense and courtesy. It’s zir way or the highway. source


Obama Intends to ‘Squeeze Every Ounce of Change’ He Can Into Final Year

Ahead of his last State of the Union address on January 12, President Obama emailed his supporters Sunday with news that he has plenty of New Year’s resolutions to take care of during his final year in office:

“I’ve got 12 months left to squeeze every ounce of change I can while I’m still in office. And that’s what I intend to do.”

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5 Things We Do Today Instead of Preaching the Word

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 07:28 AM PST

(James Macdonald) I wish I could tell you that most pastors are preaching the Word. I can’t—some are not preaching the Word. So here are five things we may choose to do instead of preaching the Word.

1. Entertaining – “Music, drama and video, felt needs, topics, more stories” None of those things are wrong—unless they displace the preaching of the Word of God. Some teachers will tell you that you need to tell stories in your sermons or you will bore people. I’m not bored. If you’re not bored, no one is going to be bored. Can you take hold of the Word of God and take hold of a group of people and make them listen because you have something to say?

Are you bored? The greatest sin in ministry is to bore people with the Bible. Martin Lloyd Jones said, “Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit and should never be allowed to enter one.”

You have to get the Word of God, let it grip your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, and drive over to church with something to say.

Now if a story fits in, I might tell you a story before I sit down, but don’t make that your thing. If people come up to you afterwards and say, “I love that story you told,” it should make you crazy. Really, that’s what I am? I’m a storyteller? The Gospel is the main story that you should be telling. FULL REPORT

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Guns In Church? FEMA Helps Churches Prepare For ‘Active Shooter Incidents’

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 07:20 AM PST

(Michael Snyder) If Islamic terrorists were to even just hit one or two of our churches, attendance all across America would immediately plummet. Nobody wants to feel like they are taking their family to a place of danger, and so that is the power of random attacks like the ones that we recently witnessed in Paris.

If terrorists can make us feel that they could strike anywhere and at any time, the panic and fear that will create will fundamentally change the way that we go about doing things. Just look at what is already happening. Church greeters are already being trained to “feel for weapons” as they are hugging people coming in the front door…

Christian churches have been refining their security plans ahead of receiving some of their largest crowds of the year for Christmas. On a FEMA webinar last Wednesday on protecting houses of worship, the chief security executive at The Potter’s House, the Rev. TD Jakes’ megachurch in Dallas, gave tips about behavior that should raise concern, such as a congregant arriving in a long coat in hot weather. If needed, church greeters could give a hug and feel for weapons, said the executive, Sean Smith. FULL REPORT

 

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Giant Squid from the deep mysteriously surfaces in Japanese harbor

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 07:16 AM PST

(CNN) It isn’t every day that a mystery from the deep swims into plain sight. But on Christmas Eve, spectators on a pier in Toyama Bay in central Japan were treated to a rare sighting of a giant squid. The creature swam under fishing boats and close to the surface of Toyama Bay, better known for its firefly squid, and reportedly hung around the bay for several hours before it was ushered back to open water.

It was captured on video by a submersible camera, and even joined by a diver, Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, who swam in close proximity to the red-and-white real-life sea monster. “My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it,” he told CNN.

“This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea.” FULL REPORT

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Evolutionists Startled by ‘Exceptionally Preserved’ Embryos in Ancient Fossils

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 07:11 AM PST

(Christian News Network) A team of French and Canadian scientists have identified preserved embryos within the eggs of a tiny shrimp-like creature believed to have lived over 500 million years ago, raising questions about both the development of the creatures’ brooding abilities and the likelihood of such delicate materials surviving for thousands of millennia.

Waptia fieldensis is a tiny, shrimp-like arthropod whose fossilized remains were first found 100 years ago in Cambrian layers of fossils in Canada. Now extinct, Waptia was a frail creature that carried the eggs of its young within its own body.

Canadian researchers studying Waptia specimens recently made a startling discovery: despite the fossils’ purported ages, collections of tiny eggs somehow survived within their fossilized bodies. The scientists marveled at the remarkable condition of the creatures, describing them as “exceptionally preserved.” FULL REPORT

The post Evolutionists Startled by ‘Exceptionally Preserved’ Embryos in Ancient Fossils appeared first on End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Australian train derails with tens of thousands of gallons of acid on board

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 07:07 AM PST

(CNN) Australian authorities have declared an emergency after a train derailed with tens of thousands of gallons of sulfuric acid on board. The freight train was carrying roughly 200,000 liters (53,000 gallons) of the highly corrosive acid when it came off the tracks Sunday morning in a remote area of northern Queensland, police said.

A 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) exclusion zone was put in place around the area and remained in effect Monday as authorities dealt with “minor leakage of sulfuric acid and spillage of diesel fuel,” the Queensland Police Service said.

The train’s locomotive ended up on its side, and all 26 freight cars it was pulling derailed, according to authorities. Photos from the scene showed the jumble of cars sprawled across mangled tracks and waterlogged terrain. FULL REPORT

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New Ban Bill Hits Congress: Targets Semi-Automatic Rifles & Handguns

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 07:03 AM PST

(SHTF Plan) In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings we warned that sweeping changes were in the works for Americans’ right to bear arms. It started with ammunition tax proposals, restrictions on firearm accessories imports and most recently Governors began bypassing Congress altogether by banning gun ownership for those on any of the government’s many watchlists. The Obama administration has also targeted licensed firearms sellers across the United States by forcing banks to treat them like pornography businesses and impeding their access to transaction processing systems and business banking accounts.

States like California already ban “assault weapons” and outlaw “high capacity” magazines that can hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. But the kinds of restrictive laws that strike at the very heart of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution have thus far been limited to just a dozen or so heavily liberal states.

Until now. While Americans anxiously prepared for their Christmas festivities, anti gun proponents in Congress were hard at work drafting a new bill. If passed H.R. 4269 would literally redefine the Second Amendment as evidenced by the bill’s description, which in no uncertain terms clarifies its ultimate goal: FULL REPORT

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Wildfires And Tornadoes In December? Two More Major Disasters Hit America

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 06:59 AM PST

(Michael Snyder) It is not normal for the United States to experience massive wildfires and giant tornadoes right around Christmas. The huge wildfire that erupted northwest of Los Angeles on Christmas Day and the devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Dallas area on Saturday can be added to a growing list of freakish disasters that have hit the United States since the month of September. So why in the world is this happening? Many are blaming the worst El Nino pattern that we have seen in at least 15 years.

Right now we are witnessing very strange weather all over the world, including an unprecedented heat wave in Australia and the worst flooding in South America in 50 years. And it is true that El Ninos have significantly disrupted weather patterns in the past. But is the current El Nino really to blame for everything that we have been seeing? Because without a doubt, the last few months have been truly bizarre. For example, who has ever heard of a giant wildfire erupting on Christmas Day?

That is precisely what happened this year in southern California. A mammoth blaze that quickly engulfed more than 1,200 acres erupted near Ventura, California, and it shut down both the Pacific Coast Highway and U.S. 101 for an extended period of time. This was truly a frightening fire. You can watch some amazing footage of a family actually driving through the wildfire right here. Fortunately, firefighters seem to be getting the blaze under control at this point. FULL REPORT

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Muslim Student Association demands all ‘Islamophobic speech’ be punished

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 06:53 AM PST

(The College Fix) The Muslim Student Association at San Diego State University is demanding that administrators combat Islamophobia by developing a “zero tolerance policy explicitly for Islamophobic speech and actions.”

The demands, modeled after similar ones issued by black student associations at campuses across the nation, were lodged after a female Muslim student was allegedly attacked by a white man in a campus parking lot on the afternoon of Nov. 19, about a week after the Paris terrorist attacks, which killed 130 people.

At SDSU, despite reports that several witnesses stood by and did nothing as the attacker grabbed the woman’s hijab, as well as a police sketch of the alleged attacker, a police investigation could not identify a suspect, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. FULL REPORT

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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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(NTEB) Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception

Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception

Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843

“And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26 (KJV)

Unlike the bible which never changes, the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has changed markedly over time as the things that they have predicted to come true…haven’t. In 1920, they published a book called “Millions Now Living Will Never Die“. Well, nearly all of those people are now dead. Do they admit their false prophecy? Of course not. Instead, they simply republish the book with the title of “Millions Now Dead Will Live Again“. (Watchtower, May 1, 1990). This is what is known in the used car business as a cover up. Or a lie. Take your pick.

“The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914”- Charles Taze Russell

How the Jehovah’s Witnesses got started

Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843. His predictions of the Second Coming or Second Advent captured the imagination of thousands in Baptist and other mainline churches. Perhaps as many as 50,000 followers put their trust in Miller’s chronological calculations and prepared to welcome the Lord, while, as the appointed time approached, others watched nervously from a distance. Recalculations moved the promised second advent from March, 1843 to March, 1844, and then to October of that year. Alas, that date too passed uneventfully.

What Jehovah’s Witnesses Actually Believe:

After the “Disappointment of 1844” Miller’s following fell apart, with most of those who had looked to him returning to their respective churches before his death in 1849. But other disappointed followers kept the movement alive, although in fragmented form. Their activities eventually led to the formation of several sects under the broad heading of “Adventism” including the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and various Second Adventist groups. An interesting side-note: The Branch Davidians who died at Waco, Texas, under the leadership of David Koresh also trace their roots to the same Millerite source through a different line of descent. In 1935 the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled a Bulgarian immigrant named Victor Houteff, who had begun teaching his own views on certain passages of the Revelation or Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. Houteff set up shop on the property at Waco.

After first referring to his tiny new sect as The Shepherd’s Rod, Houteff and his people in 1942 incorporated and renamed themselves Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Houteff died in 1955, and in 1961 his wife Florence officially disbanded the sect, but a few followers under the leadership of west Texas businessman Benjamin Roden took over the real estate. Roden died in 1978, leaving behind his wife Lois and his son George to lead the group. Then, in 1987, David Koresh took over the leadership position, and the tragedy that followed is public knowledge. Jehovah’s Witnesses, likewise, trace their roots back to the Adventists. But they do not often admit this to outsiders; nor do many Witnesses know the details themselves. JWs are accustomed to defending themselves against the charge that they are a new religious cult. They will often respond that theirs is the most ancient religious group, older than Catholic and Protestant churches. In fact, their book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose asserts that “Jehovah’s witnesses have a history almost 6,000 years long, beginning while the first man, Adam, was still alive,” that Adam’s son Abel was “the first of an unbroken line of Witnesses,” and that “Jesus’ disciples were all Jehovah’s witnesses [sic] too.” (pp. 8-9) An outsider listening to such claims quickly realizes, of course, that the sect has simply appropriated unto itself all the characters named in the Bible as faithful witnesses of God. By such extrapolation the denomination is able to stretch its history back to the beginnings of the human family-at least in the eyes of adherents who are willing to accept such arguments. But outside observers generally dismiss this sort of rhetoric and instead reckon the Witnesses as dating back only to Charles Taze Russell, who was born on February 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

5 Facts Jehovah’s Witnesses Don’t Want You to Know:

Originally raised a Presbyterian, Russell was 16 years old and a member of the Congregational church in the year 1868, when he found himself losing faith. He had begun to doubt not only church creeds and doctrines, but also God and the Bible itself. At this critical juncture a chance encounter restored his faith and placed him under the influence of Second Adventist preacher Jonas Wendell. For some years after that Russell continued to study Scripture with and under the influence of various Adventist laymen and clergy, notably Advent Christian Church minister George Stetson and the Bible Examiner’s publisher George Storrs. He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor. In January, 1876, when he was 23 years old, Russell received a copy of The Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine published by Nelson H. Barbour of Rochester, New York. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour’s group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept presented in The Herald captured Russell’s attention.

It meant that this Adventist splinter group had not remained defeated, as others had, when Christ failed to appear in 1874 as Adventist leaders had predicted; somehow this small group had managed to hold onto the date by affirming that the Lord had indeed returned at the appointed time, only invisibly. Was this mere wishful thinking, coupled with a stubborn refusal to admit the error of failed chronological calculations? Perhaps, but Barbour had some arguments to offer in support of his assertions. In particular, he came up with a basis for reinterpreting the Second Coming as an invisible event: In Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott translation of the New Testament the word rendered coming in the King James Version at Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 is translated presence instead. This served as the basis for Barbour’s group to advocate, in addition to their time calculations, an invisible presence of Christ. Although the idea appealed to young Charles Taze Russell, the reading public apparently refused to ‘buy’ the story of an invisible Second Coming, with the result that N. H. Barbour’s publication The Herald of the Morning was failing financially.

In the summer of 1876 wealthy Russell paid Barbour’s way to Philadelphia and met with him to discuss both beliefs and finances. The upshot was that Russell became the magazine’s financial backer and was added to the masthead as an Assistant Editor. He contributed articles for publication as well as monetary gifts, and Russell’s small study group similarly became affiliated with Barbour’s. Russell and Barbour believed and taught that Christ’s invisible return in 1874 would be followed soon afterward, in the spring of 1878 to be exact, by the Rapture-the bodily snatching away of believers to heaven. When this expected Rapture failed to occur on time in 1878, The Herald’s editor, Mr. Barbour, came up with “new light” on this and other doctrines. Russell, however, rejected some of the new ideas and persuaded other members to oppose them. Finally, Russell quit the staff of the Adventist magazine and started his own. He called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879. In the beginning it had the same mailing list as The Herald of the Morning and considerable space was devoted to refuting the latter on points of disagreement, Russell having taken with him a copy of that magazine’s mailing list when he resigned as assistant editor. At this point Charles Russell no longer wanted to consider himself an Adventist, nor a Millerite. But, he continued to view Miller and Barbour as instruments chosen by God to lead His people in the past. The formation of a distinct denomination around Russell was a gradual development.

False teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • On the nature of God. They deny the triune nature of God and teaches that such a belief is inspired by Satan and teaches that Jehovah, the name of the one true God, corresponds only to God the Father. JWs also deny that Jesus is God (see next point). They deny the Holy Spirit is a person, and instead teach he is merely God’s active force, similar to electricity.
  • On the deity of Jesus Christ. The JW’s that Jesus is a created being who existed as Michael the archangel before being born as a perfect man. JWs believe that after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. He was raised a spiritual creature and “materialized” to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is once again known as Michael the archangel.
  • On salvation. The JW’s teach that only an elite group of Witnesses, known as “the 144,000,” or the “anointed ones” are presently credited with Christ’s righteousness. Only the 144,000 are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of remaining JWs, known as the “other sheep” or the “great crowd,” the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth. This is interesting because in the bible, the 144,000 are all males, all Jewish, and all from the nation of Israel. This is very much in contrast to the JW teaching on the 144,000.
  • On Hell and eternal punishment. Jehovah’s Witness denies eternal punishment and teaches that the soul cannot exist apart from the body. JWs believe that death ends all conscious existence. Hell refers to the grave and those who are ultimately judged by God will be annihilated and simply cease to exist.
  • On the Bible. Jehovah’s Witness teaches that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Watchtower Society and no individual can learn the truth apart from them.

Failed prophecies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Jehovah’s Witness leaders for over 100 years have claimed to be God’s only living “prophet” on the face of the earth. However, if one looks at their record, the documented evidence proves they are what Jesus described as “false prophets!” Most Jehovah’s Witneses have no clue about the true history of their organization. The false prophecies that we will list here are barely 10% of the total of false prophecies they have made since 1877.

  • 1877 ‘The End Of This World; that is the end of the gospel and the beginning of the millennial age is nearer than most men suppose; indeed we have already entered the transition period, which is to be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation Dan. 12:3.” (N.H. Barbour and C.T. Russell, Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World, p. 17).
  • 1879 “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)
  • 1880 “We need not here repeat the evidences that the “seventh trump” began its sounding A.D., 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of “The times of the Gentiles,” A.D., 1914, and that it is the trouble of this “Great day,” which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. xii. 1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age. (Zion’s Watchtower November, 1880 p. 1)
  • 1886 “The outlook at the opening of the New Year has some very encouraging features. The outward evidences are that the marshaling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing. … The time is come for Messiah to take the dominion of earth and to overthrow the oppressors and corrupters of the earth, (Rev. 19:15 and 11:17, 18) preparatory to the establishment of everlasting peace upon the only firm foundation of righteousness and truth.” (Zion’s Watchtower, January, 1886;Watchtower reprints I, p. 817)
  • 1889 “Remember that the forty years’ Jewish Harvest ended October A.D. 69, and was followed by the complete overthrow of that nation; and that likewise the forty years of the Gospel age harvest will end October, 1914, and that likewise the overthrow of ‘Christendom,’ so-called, must be expected to immediately follow.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 245)
  • 1908 “True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)
  • 1914 “While it’s possible that Armageddon may begin next Spring, yet this purely speculation to attempt to say just when. We see, however, that there are parallels between the close of the Jewish age and this Gospel age. These parallels seem to point to the year just before us part particularly the early months.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1914, p. 5527)
  • 1917 “And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy.” (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)
  • 1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)
  • 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3

Can YOU trust an organization with a 100% FAILURE rate?

4 Truths That Debunk the Prosperity Gospel’s Lies

Jesus talked about money extensively, having talked about it more than He did Heaven and Hell combined. He devoted nearly 25 percent of his words in the Gospels to the topic of money, a total of 28 passages.

It being one of his favorite subjects, He had a lot to say. And when I did a topical study on what exactly he said, I was shocked by what I’d found. I had always known the typical offenders were wrong – the Creflo Dollars and the Joel Osteens. But by Jesus’ standards, it seems we’re all wrong, it seems we’ve all missed the point. Greed and materialism is much sneakier than we’re led to believe. It’s a sin that, by its very nature, blinds you of itself. It’s deceptive. And as a result, the Prosperity Gospel is far more prominent and subversive than I had originally thought.

However, here are what I believe to be four truths that debunk the Prosperity Gospel’s lies:

1. There’s Only A Limited Amount Of Money In The World

About a year ago I was in a church service and the pastor happened to be talking about money. He was using language like “God’s economy.”

He went on to say that you shouldn’t feel guilty about your spending because “God is big enough.” God is big enough to give you an extra bedroom and to feed the “hungry children overseas” as well.

Where did this logic come from?

If God is big enough for you to have your mansion and to feed the hungry children overseas – why hasn’t He? Why are they still hungry?

Why is it that there are pastors with mansions and hungry children overseas as well?

I thought God was big enough?

I’m not questioning God’s power (or size). I know God is capable of feeding anyone and everyone, but He’s given us the responsibility. We’re His hands and feet. We’re His body. We can’t afford to sit around and wait for God to feed the poor, He’s not going to – He uses us to do it. We are His economy.

He’s given us a limited amount of money and resources (enough to feed everyone in the world, by the way), but it’s being hoarded by pastors with mansions waiting for someone else to do it. In fact, they’re waiting for God to do it.

We must not ignore the fact that there is only a limited amount of currency in the world; that the choices we make and the money we spend impact the people around us.

If God gives me “the best parking spot,” that means everyone else is missing out on it. Not everyone can get the best parking spot, or the promotion, or the house, or whatever it may be – only a few people can, because there’s only a limited amount of money and resources in the world.

If you think about it – if you or I do actually get what we’ve been praying for, if you or I do get the parking spot or the promotion, that means someone else doesn’t. And seeing that there is only a limited amount of money and resources, we’re left with a choice.

I get the best parking spot, or they do. I get the promotion, or they do. I get the this or that, or they do.

But both of us can’t have it.

We have to choose – give or take, selflessness or selfishness. We’re given an incredible opportunity to be sacrificial and submissive and Christ-like.

Here is what The Prosperity Gospel has done: it has eliminated the choice. They’ve told us that we don’t have to choose. We can have both. We can have a mansion and we can feed the “hungry children overseas,” because “God works in His own economy and He is big enough.”

Scripture doesn’t seem to follow this logic. In Acts 2 what we see is a group of people who loved one another so much that when one of them was in need, the others would sell what they had to in order to fill that need.

This wasn’t easy for them. They did not simply sell something that they never used. They sold nearly everything that they had to their name. They sacrificed.

We don’t do sacrifice anymore.

Maybe we’ll cut back on a few things that we don’t really ever use, but we won’t sell a necessity.

“We need it too much! What would we do without it?”

What we see in Acts is a choice. The members of this group of people had a choice. They could either sell what they had and use the proceeds to help those around them in need, or they could hold onto what they had and neglect their needy brothers and sisters.

They couldn’t have both. That was never an option for them. They had to choose: possessions or people.

We all have this choice. We’re all making this choice in the countless decisions we make everyday. Possessions or people. We can’t choose both.

2. Prosperity Isn’t An Object, It’s A Character

In Matthew 5 we read: “Jesus opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

– Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

– Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

– Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

– Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

– Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

– Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

– Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

– Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

– Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

Did you catch that?

Do you see what Jesus is saying here?

Jesus’ idea of blessing is completely contrary to ours. It has absolutely nothing to do with what we have, and everything to do with who we are.

How did we miss that? Where have we been?

It’s not our income that renders us blessed, it’s our pure, meek heart.

This is the opposite of Western Christianity. In America, what signifies blessing more than a successful business or a large house? Jesus’ logic here is foreign to us.

I’ve found that when Jesus spoke of blessing, He wasn’t talking about a good harvest or a new stable or some more cattle – He wasn’t talking about the physical or tangible at all.

He was talking about characteristics and virtues.

What we must notice is that you can’t purchase any of the blessings Jesus listed. Jesus’ idea of blessing is not something that can be bought. No amount of money will buy you a pure heart. Everything Jesus sees as a blessing can only be given to you…by Jesus. I think that’s worth taking note of.

3. We’re Rich. Why Should We Have More Than Enough When Some Don’t Even Have Enough?

Occasionally I’ll find myself asking God for more money. I might even spiritualize it and ask for “provision.”

Who am I kidding?

Has God not already provided for me? Do I not have a house, a car? Food on the table? I have more than 95% of the world. Am I seriously asking God for more? Do I not already have enough?

There are millions of people starving today. Millions. How selfish would it be, as a Christian, to put my well-being before someone else’s? Why should I have more than enough when there are human beings who don’t even have enough?

We’re rich. We are.

After dividing the average American’s annual expenditures in 2013 by 365: We spend a little more than $18 on food everyday, roughly $4.39 on clothes everyday, and just about $6.80 on entertainment everyday. Entertainment. Everyday. While 1,400,000,000 live off of $1.25 everyday. That means Americans spend 5.44 times more money on entertainment everyday than 1,400,000,000 people make everyday.

I’m rich. By the world’s standards, I’m incredibly rich. You are, too.

Why is it that we never ask ourselves questions like: Is this an appropriate amount to be spending on rent, on food, on clothing?

I believe it is because we rub shoulders with people who spend about as much money as we do and make about as much money as we do, if not more. We’re surrounded by people of the same pay-grade and same social-class, if not higher.

We’re frequently exposed to people with more than us and rarely exposed to people with less than us. Unless, of course, we live in the city. Even then, we typically do not spend an extended amount of time with people who make far less money than we do.

We don’t feel rich because we don’t know what it feels like to be poor.

In America, we don’t know what genuine poverty looks like. We’re hardly exposed to it. We’re barely connected to it. We’ve only ever been surrounded by extreme wealth and luxury and abundance. We’re accustomed to it.

Of course we don’t feel rich. We don’t know any different. Greed, I’ve found, is often a geographical issue.

4. Materialism Is The Opposite Of Contentment

It seems that no matter how much we acquire, we always want more. It’s never enough. There’s always something. Something newer, something nicer. It’s an endless cycle. We’re never satisfied; we’re never content.

We’re slaves. All of us. There are no exceptions.

Throughout the narrative of Scripture, I’ve picked up on a theme that seems to imply that possessions aren’t really something you try to acquire; rather they’re something you try to free yourself from.  This is not the way of America.

I don’t believe anyone reading this would dare say: “I don’t have a problem with materialism. I couldn’t be more generous. I couldn’t live more simply. I’ve given away everything I could possibly give away.”

No. That’s not the case. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all living in abundance. We’re all slaves.

We always want what is not ours. It’s intriguing. We think if we can just get that, we’ll finally be happy. The lure of what we do not have is deceptive.

True freedom, however, is found in being content with what we already have. Can you imagine it?

Can you imagine being whole, complete, fulfilled – content with what you already have? It sounds too good to be true. Utter satisfaction? That is freedom. That is what everyone is searching for.

Where, though, can you find this kind of contentment?

I’ve noticed that the more I’ve come to know Jesus, the less I’ve desired material things.

Materialism is what happens when you find your joy in things. Contentment is what happens when you find your joy in Jesus. They’re complete opposites. You can easily differentiate a materialistic person from a content person.

A materialistic person always needs the latest and greatest. They need the newest phone, the nicest shoes.

A content person is grateful for what they have. They see no need in spending money on more, when they already have enough.

Here’s the thing: You don’t need to earn more money in order to be generous with your money. Some people use that as an excuse to be greedy. Jesus seemed to believe that the key to generosity wasn’t having more, but being content with what you already have.

(TMS) Top Ten Countdown: Evaluating Seventh-day Adventism

During the final ten days of December, we will be posting our top ten articles from 2015. Today’s post came in at number 4. It was originally published on November 12.

This article is not about politics. But Dr. Ben Carson’s involvement in the Republican primaries has raised questions in the minds of many evangelicals about his religious affiliation as a Seventh-day Adventist. Those questions include things like, “What is Seventh-day Adventism?” and “How should evangelicals evaluate the SDA movement?”

Watch Jamie Jackson’s interview with
Dr. Nathan Busenitz on how evangelicals should view Seventh-day Adventism.

A seminary student recently asked me to address those questions. Today’s post gives me an opportunity to do just that.

What Is Seventh-day Adventism?

The Seventh-day Adventist church began as a distinctive movement with the teachings of a lay preacher named William Miller (1782–1849). Miller embarked on a personal study of Scripture (and particularly Daniel 8:14) which convinced him that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. When that prediction failed, Miller and his followers adjusted the date, determining that October 22, 1844 would be the day of Jesus’ second advent.

But the Lord did not return on October 22, 1844, and Miller’s followers (known as Millerites) experienced what they called ‘the Great Disappointment.’ Most of Miller’s followers realized his predictions had been wholly mistaken. But a small group of Millerites (from whom the Seventh-day Adventists emerged) insisted that the date he identified could not have been wrong. They claimed Miller’s error was not in his mathematical calculations, but rather in what he expected to take place on that date. Consequently, they concluded something significant occurred in 1844, even if it was not Christ’s second coming.

Phil Johnson points out the irony of establishing a religious movement on the basis of a failed prophetic prediction:

By the early 1840s, the Millerite movement had expanded into a huge international phenomenon. In one five-month span in 1843, 600,000 copies of Millerite literature were distributed in New York alone. People sold their homes, gave away their possessions, and gave up their livelihoods in order to demonstrate their faith in William Miller’s predictions.

Of course, Christ did not return—not in Miller’s lifetime; not even in that century. Miller tried adjusting his dates a time or two, but he himself gave up hope of finding a way to adjust his calculations to keep the expectation alive. He died baffled and disillusioned. He never joined the Seventh-day Adventists himself.

To this day, Adventists refer to Miller’s failed prediction of the second coming as “The Great Disappointment.” That would seem a pretty shaky foundation on which to found [a new religious movement]—a false prophecy that culminated in disappointment and worldwide embarrassment. (Online source)

But out of ‘the Great Disappointment,’ the Seventh-day Adventist movement was born.

So, what do Adventists believe occurred on October 22, 1844?

According to SDA teaching, Christ is currently performing a final work of atonement and investigative judgment in heaven as the church’s great High Priest. On October 22, 1844, He moved from the heavenly Holy Place into the Holy of Holies to complete that atoning work.

The official SDA doctrinal statement explains it this way:

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. (Fundamental belief #24. Online source)

This creative explanation for Miller’s failed prediction was bolstered by the teachings of a young woman named Ellen Harmon (1827–1915), who reportedly began experiencing visions in 1844, shortly after the Great Disappointment. Regarded as a prophetess, Harmon (known by her married name, Ellen G. White) embarked on a prolific teaching and writing career. Her biblical interpretations and supposed revelations became the primary basis for the SDA movement.

Today there are some 18 million Seventh-day Adventists worldwide.

How Should Evangelicals Evaluate the SDA Movement?

Some evangelicals believe Seventh-day Adventism ought to be openly embraced as simply another denomination. I disagree.

Historically, evangelicals and fundamentalists regarded the Seventh-day Adventist movement as a cult. And in spite of the ecumenical spirit that has pervaded evangelicalism over the last few decades, there are still major deficiencies within official SDA theology that ought to give evangelical Christians serious pause.

Here are my three biggest concerns about SDA doctrine:

1. An Unbiblical Understanding of Christ’s Work of Atonement.

The New Testament teaches that Christ’s work of atonement was fully completed at the cross (John 19:30). After fulfilling His earthly mission, the Lord Jesus sat down victoriously at the right hand of the Father. The author of Hebrews is clear:

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Heb. 10:11–14)

Any notion that Christ needed to perform an additional work of atonement in heaven (as SDA theology teaches) runs contrary to those verses, and mitigates against the once-for-all nature of His finished work on Calvary.

There are major deficiencies within Seventh-day Adventist theology that ought to give evangelical Christians sErious pause.In the Old Testament, when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies (on the Day of Atonement), he entered into the presence of God’s shekinah glory (Lev. 16:2). The SDA teaching that Christ did not enter the heavenly Holy of Holies until October 22, 1844, inaccurately implies that the Lord Jesus did not enter the glorious presence of God until that date. But that is clearly not what Scripture teaches (Acts 7:55–56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; 1 Pet. 3:22).

Once inside the Holy of Holies, the high priests of Israel were instructed to perform their duties quickly and leave. As sinners, they were not permitted to tarry in God’s presence. But when the Lord Jesus entered His Father’s presence, He sat down (Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2)—not only because He was perfect, but also because His atoning work was fully accomplished.

Through His redemptive work at Calvary, Christ provided access into the presence of God for all who belong to Him (Heb. 4:14–16; 10:19–20). The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn in two at the moment of His death (Mark 15:38), not eighteen centuries later. To claim that Jesus waited until 1844 to enter a heavenly Holy of Holies undermines the full and final work of atonement He accomplished at the cross.

It should also be noted that this SDA doctrine, in which Jesus began a work of “investigative judgment” as part of His final atoning work, runs contrary to the biblical doctrine of justification by faith. Because this investigative judgment focuses on the works that Christians perform, it mitigates against the truth that believers are saved by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone.

2. An Improper Elevation of Ellen G. White as an Authoritative Prophetess.

As evangelical Christians, we look to Scripture alone as our ultimate authority. We understand that God’s Word is inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16–17). Consequently, we reject any other would-be spiritual authorities that might place themselves in a position above or equal to the Bible.

Seventh-day Adventists similarly insist that the Bible is their only creed. But that assertion is called into question by their simultaneous commitment to the prophecies of Ellen G. White, which they view as authoritative for the church.

That adherence to White’s prophecies is expressed in SDA Fundamental Belief #18:

The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. (Online source)

By viewing the writings of Ellen G. White as inspired and authoritative, the SDA movement bases its doctrines on something more than Scripture alone. In practice, White’s teachings are actually placed over the Scripture because they become the lens through which the Bible is interpreted. As Geoffrey Paxton explains:

I fear very deeply that the use of Mrs. White in Seventh-day Adventism is testimony to an un-Protestant attitude toward the Bible. I fear that many Adventists have a Roman Catholic[-like] belief that the Bible is too difficult for rank-and-file Christians to understand. In place of the Bible, they turn to Mrs. White to tell them what God says. (The Shaking of Adventism, 156)

Phil Johnson states the problem even more directly:

Although most Seventh-Day Adventists will try to downplay the stress they place on Ellen White’s writings, they do in fact believe Mrs. White was divinely inspired and her books are revelations superior to every other resource and every other truth claim outside the Bible.

And since they read and interpret the Bible through the lens of Mrs. White’s supposedly inspired works, her writings in practice have a higher authority than Scripture. Scripture simply cannot be used to correct Mrs. White’s errors, because Scripture is interpreted by what she wrote. (Online source)

Such constitutes an obvious problem. It is clearly less than an evangelical affirmation of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

3. A Legalistic Emphasis on the Sabbath and Dietary Laws as Binding for Christians.

The New Testament teaches that the Mosaic Law is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:17), and that Christians are no longer under the Old Covenant (Luke 22:20; Rom. 6:14; 2 Cor. 3:3–6; Gal. 3:24–25; Heb. 8:6, 13; Heb. 10:17–18, 29). Old Testament restrictions regarding dietary laws (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:9–16) and the observance of the Sabbath (Col. 2:16) are not binding on believers in the church age. To insist that they are, and that Christians must observe them, constitutes legalism.

The apostle Paul states this principle clearly in Colossians 2:16–17:

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

In spite of clear New Testament teaching to the contrary, Seventh-day Adventists insist on both the observance of the Sabbath (worship on Saturday) and the keeping of certain dietary laws.

Regarding the Sabbath, Fundamental Belief #20 states:

The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. (Online source)

For her part, Ellen G. White taught that in the end times, those who meet on Sunday, rather than on the Sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast and therefore cannot be saved. As one SDA publication explains, the Sabbath “lies at the very foundation of divine worship,” and “the Bible reveals that the observance of Sunday as a Christian institution had its origin in ‘the mystery of lawlessness’ (2 Thess. 2:7)” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe…, 249, 260). But this runs contrary to the New Testament pattern of meeting on the first day of the week, the day on which the Lord Jesus rose from the dead (Matt. 28:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1–2; Rev. 1:10).

Regarding dietary laws, Fundamental Belief #22 asserts: “Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures” (Online source). The statement goes on to cite Leviticus 11 as part of its Scriptural support for this doctrinal distinctive. This is why Seventh-day Adventists are largely vegetarian.

But an insistence on Sabbath days and dietary laws smacks of the same kind of legalism that characterized false teachers in the New Testament period (cf. Col. 2:8–19;  1 Tim. 4:3–5). The Judaizers similarly insisted that Christians observe certain external aspects of the Mosaic Law (Acts 15:1, 5; Gal. 2:2–9). Paul’s response to such legalists is stated directly in Galatians 1:8–9:

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! As 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!

Those are strong words. But they are not mine. They are Scripture’s assessment of any group that would add legalistic works to the gospel of grace.

Conclusion

It should be noted that Seventh-day Adventists espouse a number of other unorthodox theological distinctives (such as soul sleep [Fundamental Belief #26], the annihilation of the wicked [Fundamental Belief #27]), and (at least historically) the insistence that they are the only true church).

However, the primary issues that separate Seventh-day Adventists from biblical Christianity are (1) their unorthodox view of Christ’s work of atonement; (2) their illegitimate elevation of Ellen G. White’s prophecies; and (3) their legalistic insistence that believers are bound to observe the Sabbath and Mosaic dietary laws.

All three of these issues touch fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. It is for that reason that evangelicals ought to view SDA theology with great caution. Upon examination, its doctrinal distinctives fall short of biblical orthodoxy.

For an important follow-up to this article, click here.

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