Daily Archives: January 3, 2016

GodLife: How to Read the Bible

Scripture:“All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible is the most read book in history. God has preserved it for thousands of years. Though it was written by many authors over hundreds of years, it tells one continuous story. Many people struggle to read and understand the Bible.

Here are some key things to remember when reading the Bible:

http://www.godlife.com/en/devotional/how-to-read-the-bible

Repentance and the Kingdom of Heaven

Unfathomable Grace

John the Baptist is the God-appointed, Spirit-filled herald. He is passionate about the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is passionate about the exaltation of Jesus. He is passionate about exclaiming salvation by grace through faith. In addition, he greatly desires to experience ongoing repentance flowing forth from the humble worshippers coming to his revival services.

This is the Baptist’s explicit message:

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

John welcomed such worshippers:

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their…

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Is Your Church Dead?

Chaplain + Entrepreneur = Chaplapreneur

Well is it?

Let’s look at some important questions.  Answer them on your own and consider your church.

  1.  Do you leave church inspired to live better and know God more?
  2. Does the preaching of your church point to a clear Jesus who died and rose from the grave for you to know Him personally?
  3. Are their new converts in your church?
  4. Is your church planting other churches or sending out missionaries?
  5. Do the children of your church dream of teaching others about Jesus when they grow up?
  6. Are there current testimonies of people experiencing God in their daily lives?
  7. Does being around the people of your church drive you to know Jesus better and obey Him more?
  8. Do the youth of your church have testimonies of personal faith?
  9. Do the youth of your church have a passion for Jesus?
  10. Do the youth of your church have a passion for evangelism?

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January 2-3, 2016 Christian Briefing Report

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Carry This into the New Year!


Urbana15: David Platt Encourages Christians To 'Seek Life of Intimacy' with Christ Before Advocating for Social Justice in His Name

Urbana15: David Platt Encourages Christians To ‘Seek Life of Intimacy’ with Christ Before Advocating for Social Justice in His Name

Posted on January 3, 2016 by Gospel Herald

Speaking at the Urbana 15 Student Missions Conference, which being held this week by InterVarsity in St. Louis, Mo., pastor and author David Platt urged attendees to seek a life of intimacy with Jesus Christ before advocating for social justice in his name.

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Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Backed By Prominent Black Pastor E.W. Jackson: 'His Faith Is Authentic'

Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz Backed By Prominent Black Pastor E.W. Jackson: ‘His Faith Is Authentic’

Posted on January 3, 2016 by Gospel Herald

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has received the endorsement of another prominent evangelical leader: Bishop E.W. Jackson, one of Virginia’s most well-known African-American pastors, has backed the Texas Senator, citing his “authentic faith in Jesus Christ.”

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 Prosperity preachers claim private planes prevent flying with 'demons' on commercial airlines

Prosperity preachers claim private planes prevent flying with ‘demons’ on commercial airlines

Posted on January 2, 2016 by Christian Examiner

Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis, both prosperity preachers, take to the air on Believers Voice of Victory and try to explain why their respective ministries need luxury jets.

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Singer Natalie Cole, who turned to faith after a troubled life, has died

Singer Natalie Cole, who turned to faith after a troubled life, has died

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Religion News

The &Unforgettable& songstress once told an interviewer, &You can go through turbulent times and still have victory in your life.&

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Doctor who lost post over views on homosexuality issues statement

Doctor who lost post over views on homosexuality issues statement

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Christian Examiner

A Christian doctor with a Harvard University-affiliated hospital lost an appeal to have his privileges restored after they were revoked over his views on homosexuality. Now, the doctor has issued a statement about the controversy, in which he claims the hospital is ignoring medical evidence and …

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5 Ways to Go From Head Knowledge to Heart Application

5 Ways to Go From Head Knowledge to Heart Application

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Church Leaders

“Applying God’s promises of grace and comfort to our hurting, fearful or angry hearts is where the rubber meets the road for many Christians.”

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7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church

7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Church Leaders

We are to keep “our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.”

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God ranks high in New Year's resolutions

God ranks high in New Year’s resolutions

Posted on January 2, 2016 by Christian Telegraph

01/01/2016 Baptist Press When Americans make New Year’s resolutions, a better relationship with God ranks almost as high as better health, according

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Heaven and near-death experiences: Separating fact from fiction

Heaven and near-death experiences: Separating fact from fiction

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Religion News

Books and films on heaven and near-death experiences came under scrutiny in 2015. Theologian Scot McKnight says that the topic has become muddled with myths and extra-biblical notions.

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Selling Stardom: A Christian path to Hollywood

Daniel Miller of the L.A. Times has written an interesting piece about seminars put on by so-called Christian actors. According to Miller, Christians pay a lot of money to go through the program to learn some of the show business basics.  Attendees claim that their reason for wanting to be a part of a totally debased […]

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Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner’s Prayer With Texas Megachurch Minister Stirs Controversy   Dec 27, 2015 08:37 am

Jenner Young-compressedHOUSTON, Texas — Controversy is stirring over Bruce Jenner’s recent visit to a megachurch in Texas, where he prayed with a pastor who stood against an ordinance allowing men who identify as women to use womens’ restrooms and vice versa. According to reports, the former Olympian visited Ed Young, Sr.’s Second Baptist Church of Houston last week with other…

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Norway Officials Place Children Seized From Parents Over ‘Christian Indoctrination’ Up for Adoption   Jan 01, 2016 08:34 am

bodnariu-compressedOfficials in Norway have moved to place five children that were seized from their parents on charges that included “Christian radicalization and indoctrination” up for adoption, reports state. As previously reported, on Nov. 16 and 17, Norway’s child welfare services, the Barnevernet, seized Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s two daughters, two sons and their baby,…

Continue reading the story

‘Everything Was Gone’: State Emptied Christian Bakers’ Bank Accounts Before They Paid ‘Emotional Damages’   Dec 30, 2015 10:28 am

Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by MelissaPORTLAND, Ore. — The Christian owners of a bakery in Oregon who paid over $135,000 in state-ordered “emotional damages” for two lesbian women who filed a complaint after being told that the couple could not provide a cake for their “wedding” ceremony say that the state emptied all three of their personal banking accounts earlier this month—including…

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Nearly 200 Muslims Fired at Meat-Packing Plant After Walkout for ‘Insufficient Prayer Accommodations’   Jan 01, 2016 12:12 pm

Mosque Credit M Hussain-compressedPhoto Credit: M. Hussain (Reuters) — Nearly 200 workers, mostly Somali immigrants, have been fired from a meat-packing plant in Colorado after staging a walkout to protest what they said were insufficient prayer accommodations, the company and Islamic advocacy groups said on Thursday. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the workers were…

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Doctor Loses Appeal of Expulsion from Boston Hospital for Statements About Health Dangers of Homosexuality   Dec 31, 2015 08:42 am

Church-compressedBOSTON — A Massachusetts urologist has lost his appeal of his expulsion from a Boston hospital for making statements on an internal online portal expressing concern about the health dangers of same-sex sexual activity. As previously reported, Dr. Paul Church serves as a urology professor at Harvard University and has also had admitting privileges at Beth Israel…

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New York City to Fine Employers Who Refer to ‘Transgendered’ Workers by Birth Gender   Dec 27, 2015 11:53 am

Transgender Credit Dedda71NEW YORK — The New York City Commission on Human Rights has announced new guidelines under the city’s Human Rights Law that may impose fines on employers who use masculine pronouns for male workers who wish to identify as women and vice versa. The Commission released its interpretive guide to the law on Monday, which includes a prohibition on “ntentionally…

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Oregon Christian Bakers Pay Over $135,000 in State-Ordered ‘Emotional Damages’ to Lesbians   Dec 29, 2015 10:12 am

Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by MelissaPORTLAND, Ore. — The Christian owners of a bakery in Oregon have paid over $135,000 in state-ordered “emotional damages” for two lesbian women who filed a complaint after being told that the couple could not provide a cake for their “wedding” ceremony due to their convictions not to be a partaker in other’s sins. (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7) As previously…

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Evolutionists Startled by ‘Exceptionally Preserved’ Embryos in Ancient Fossils   Dec 28, 2015 08:29 am

Waptia-compressedPhoto Credit: University of Toronto TORONTO – 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…

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Texas City to Sue Church in Battle Over Land Where ‘Jesus’ Sign Is Displayed   Dec 27, 2015 08:38 am

HawkinsHAWKINS, Texas — Officials in a Texas city have voted to sue a local church over land that it purchased to help protect a “Jesus” sign from being removed following a complaint from a prominent professing atheist organization. As previously reported, the situation centers around a sign in Hawkins, Texas that reads, “Jesus welcomes you to Hawkins,” which first…

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Ugandan Pastor Hacked to Death, Bible Study Members Poisoned   Dec 28, 2015 07:44 am

Martin-compressedNAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A pastor in eastern Uganda was hacked to death on Wednesday (Dec. 23) as he and other church members resisted an effort by Muslims to take over their land, area church leaders said. In Nansololo village near Mazuba, in Namudumba District, Muslims erected a boundary fence with poles and barbed wire that included land of the…

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First Baptist Church to Ordain Gay, Transgender Ministers

  • After a six-month exploratory time, Greenville asked their members to affirm the acceptance of same-sex couples. According to Greenville Online, those who didn’t affirm the church’s decision still remained in the congregation.

    In moving forward, the church ministers can perform same-sex unions and ordain any person, regardless of sexual orientation and lifestyle, to serve in a leadership role.

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    ‘All Lives Are Sacred’: InterVarsity Responds After Controversy Over Conference Speaker’s Comments About Abortion and Black Lives Matter

    InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical college ministry, has responded after a keynote speaker at its Urbana conference expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and made controversial comments about the fight against abortion and Planned Parenthood.

    The evangelical organization has come forward in the wake of the speech to reiterate that its leaders believe that “all lives are sacred — born and unborn,” seeking to dispel any notion that they are “dismissive of pro-life concerns.”

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    When a Prophet is a False Prophet

    Because Seventh Day Adventism is in the news, our hosts consider that belief system and ask if it is a cult? Ellen G. White, their leader, is clearly a false prophet. Does that mean that we shouldn’t vote for Dr. Ben Carson—who is an honorable and righteous man? And what’s wrong with annhilationism or the false doctrine that hell is not eternal? This is a part of Seventh Day Adventist theology. Jan Markell, Eric Barger, and cult expert Jill Martin Rische consider these issues. They also look further into the coming censorship of all Christians and conservatives. Yet Islam must be glorified and protected. We use the mobile app found at http://www.oneplace.com

    Access Programming Here or Here


    Franklin Graham: Without This, There Is No Hope for America

    Without God, there is no hope—for us, for our families, for our future.

    So says evangelist Franklin Graham, who will launch his Decision America Tour in the new year.

    “If the church of Jesus Christ would take a stand, then I believe we have hope for America,” Graham says in a new video promo.

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    Why is Pope Francis Insisting Once Again That the Cross of Christ is God’s Failure?

    The cross, according to the Pope, is “the great failure of God.” The way of the cross is “the history of God’s failure,” according to the Pope. [1] – source

    God’s Failure?

    How dare this man blatantly call the Cross of our Lord Jesus “God’s Failure!?” God makes no mistakes. He does not fail. He is all knowing and all powerful. Does anyone still doubt that we are seeing the False Prophet when we look at this pope?

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    Southern Baptist Churches Start To Ordain Homosexuals And Perform Same-Sex Marriage Rituals

    The conversation at First Baptist Church Greenville took place well before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer to legalize same-sex marriages.

    “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV)

    In a highly-ironic twist, the First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC, the same church that produced the very first president of the Southern Baptist Convention, William Bullein Johnson, is now an LGBT-affirming, pro-same sex marriage, and pro-transgender church, and they don’t care what you think of them.

    GreenvilleOnline.com reports that the dialogue was bold — particularly for one of downtown Greenville’s influential legacy churches that in its earliest years served as a birthplace for revered Southern Baptist institutions. Would the congregation be willing to allow same-sex couples to marry in the church? To ordain gay ministers? To embrace the complexities of gender identity? In an evangelical church born in the antebellum South? Whose founder more than a century and a half ago served as the inaugural president of the Southern Baptist Convention? Here, in Greenville? The answer to each was “yes.”

    First Baptist Church to Ordain Transgender & Gay Ministers:

    “What I heard was, ‘We need to do the right thing, regardless of what anybody thinks or says about us,’” says Jim Dant, the 184-year-old church’s senior minister who led the church through its six-month discernment. “There were a few people who said, ‘Are they going to start calling us the gay church in town?’”

    The dialogue culminated into a consensus — the kind that, by the earliest tradition of Baptist discernment, resulted in a public affirmation by each present member.

    “In some ways, it’s going to open up a space for evangelical gay people to have a place again,” he says. “There will be a voice of biblical interpretation in the evangelical world that says the way this has been interpreted by the average preacher on AM radio every Sunday is not the only way that evangelicals read biblical literature.”

    While the SBC itself still mostly holds to Biblical truth, some of it’s members have already begun to pull away and attach themselves to the world. The Mississippi Conservative Daily writes of a war brewing within the Southern Baptist Convention that threatens to split it right down the middle. I believe that the Baptists will be the last group to fall, but if Revelation 3:20 is right, eventually they will fall as well.

    When I visited the church’s website, I was not able to find a Statement Of Faith regarding their doctrinal beliefs. But a quick site search using the term “LGBT” revealed some interesting things though. Looks like Pastor Jim Dant is leading a revolution to convince his sheep that the Bible supports the LGBT lifestyle. He has created something he calls the LGBT Discernment Team, whatever that is. In another article he writes that “we will be discussing our church’s relationship to our LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) brothers and sisters.” News flash for Pastor Jim – unrepentant LGBT people who are looking to the Bible to justify their lifestyle choices are not any Christian’s “brother and sister”. Not by a long shot.

    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26,27 (KJV)

    Should same-sex people be allowed into Christian churches? Absolutely they should, so they can hear the gospel preached from the Bible and get a chance to get saved from Hell. But allowed in to affirm and confirm their LGBT lifestyle as if it were something that God and the Bible approves of? Absolutely not. Should same-sex, openly homosexual and transgender people be allowed to be ordained as pastors or serve as music ministers in the church. Absolutely not.

    Pastor Jim also says that he hopes that the words of this song will lead and guide his church as they “move forward”:

    The more we get together, together, together.
    The more we get together, the happier we’ll be.
    ‘Cause your friends are my friends,
    And my friends are your friends.
    The more we get together, the happier we’ll be.

    Aww, isn’t that so nice and sweet? Let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya as we walk into the chopper blades together. And that, my friends, is what the “falling away” the apostle Paul warned us about looks like. It’s end times prophecy coming true right here, right now.

    What will you do about it?


    Beth Moore launching a new TV program on TBN

    From Berean Research:

    Elizabeth Prada of The End Times reports that Bible teacher and author Beth Moore, a Southern Baptist, will make her debut on a weekly television program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. TBN was founded by Word of Faith heretics Paul and Jan Crouch. Many high-profile Christians choose not to appear on TBN because they believe that doing so would be akin to dancing with the devil.

    So it is curious that Beth Moore will be doing a weekly show on TBN. Prada fills us in on the details.

    Read more


    Will True Christians Please Stand Up?

    From Berean Research:

    C.H. Fisher of TruthKeepers has a challenge for professing Christians: Don’t let this be the generation that sits idly by while evil darkens every sacred truth with lies.

    ChristianityIf anyone believes that it is easy to maintain a stand against the encroaching darkness, let me offer a bit of testimony here. It is not easy at all. Oh, it’s easy to make the stand, but maintaining it is quite another matter. I’ve been at this for 35 years, and it has not gotten easier. I’m not going to get into all the details lest someone thinks that I’m setting the table for a pity party. I just want people to know that they are to expect the opposition to be fierce when they stand for truth and righteousness. That’s why many have quit standing and many more will not even make an attempt to stand.

    However, one day we will all be called before God’s Judgment Throne to give an account of our lives here on earth. There are all sorts of doctrines that people can hide behind to avoid being alarmed at that prospect. However, Christ clearly said that “whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33) In my opinion, not to oppose the evil that denies Him before the masses makes the guilty Christian culpable with that denial.

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    This ‘n’ That

    • Pray for the young people attending the IHOP conference this weekend. They will be exposed to much deception, many false, dangerous doctrines, and manipulative tactics. May God protect them and open their eyes to the truth.
    • I haven’t listened to this yet but am anxious to do so.
    • Viewers of TBN are already familiar with Beth Moore through her visiting the Praise the Lord  program and her regular teaching on James Robison’s Life Today. Now she will have her very own half-hour on this heresy-filled network to peddle her own brand of erroneous Bible teaching.
    • How do you do family devotions?
    • The Master’s Seminary gives us their top ten list of online theological resources. Bookmark these!
    • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
    • This GQ article about Hillsong NYC is very telling and profoundly sad. I don’t think it’s telling in the way the reporter intended, but if you read it, you will see what I mean. (HT to Phil Johnson for this).
    • Interesting. And sad that so many people have been praying for nothing for so very long.
    • I appreciated this article by Al Mohler on Handel’s “Messiah.”
    • For the record, “test the spirits” is not a suggestion.

    I think you’ll enjoy this sermon that was delivered at last week’s Christmas service at Truth Community Church:


     

  • So, apparently preaching from a hoverboard is a thing. No, really. Truth be told, I’d never heard of a hoverboard until I saw these stories. Looks to me like something nobody actually needs.

If You Call Yourself a Protestant (Or An Evangelical) then You Need to Know What it Means

Or don’t use it.

fact


Any Questions?


Reflecting on eternity as the year ends…

The year draws to an end. And what else?

None of us knows what the next moment holds. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Proverbs 27:1). Whatever the next day brings, all the preceding days bring their mounting weight to bear on us.

We all stand before the Judge. We don’t know the time on the summons, but we do know that we won’t miss our court appearance date by so much as a second.

And what do we bring? In the best movie version of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge hears Marley’s lament about the many and heavy chains he wears, and murmurs “You have my sympathy.” Marley’s response:

“Ahh — you do not know the weight and length of strong chain you bear yourself. It was full as heavy and as long as this seven Christmas eves ago and you have labored on it since. Ah! it is a ponderous chain!”

Whatever the theological shortcomings of A Christmas Carol (and they are many and serious), I appreciate this: Scrooge is vividly shown to be utterly unaware that he is judged, as he stands; that his life has already borne fruit, and that fruit is bitter, woeful, deadly.

This is the state of men today. We read, “whoever does not believe is condemned already” (John 3:18). Worse, and more ominously, John reveals that “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36) — now, at this moment, as he draws this fleeting breath which, for all he knows, may be his last. What Daniel said to Belshazzar, he might well say to us: “the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored” (Daniel 5:23).

“Long live me!” — poof! — gone. Gone to judgment.

Someone has just read those words, and they are for you. Your condition is just so. Whatever your pursuits and distractions over the past year, the reality is that you are a step away from a judgment that is absolute, final, inescapable, irrevocable, and incapable of appeal. Were you to die now, the ax would fall, and that would be that. Forever. You need to come to know God, now.

But lest my Christian readers (and self) feel too safe, consider that the same principle applies to us equally, and perhaps even more so. Never forget:

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48)

Perhaps you read this blog daily, and other writings of men far better than the current one. Good, and God be praised. But never forget: as you and I read, our responsibility-index goes up. It is happening now, right now, to you, and to me.

The words of Hebrews 9:27 (“it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”) do not bring a message to unbelievers alone, but to us as well. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). And how does this consideration affect the apostle who wrote it? Does Paul go on to say, “But never mind that, the blood covers all, I’m eternally secure, so I’m going for what I see to be my best life right now”?

Not so much. Paul’s very next words are, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:11). The apostle of free forensic justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone found the reality of God’s judgment both sobering and motivating.

So I call us all, as the year draws to a close, to consider the judgment of God, and to consider our lives in that context. The statistics are pretty good that not all who read these words now will be here to read any similar post next year’s end. Nor may I be here to write one.

“For man does not know his time.
Like fish that are taken in an evil net,
and like birds that are caught in a snare,
so the children of man are snared at an evil time,
when it suddenly falls upon them”
(Ecclesiastes 9:12)

Weekend A La Carte (January 2)

Daily Christian News Information Kindle DealsThis weekend’s Kindle deals include just two titles: Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith ($0.99); Out of the Depths by Edgar Harrell ($1.99). Also, Amazon has their usual monthly list of deals you may want to sort through. There will be a lot more deals next week.

If you have read Do More Better or are planning to, you may be interested in this Facebook group where we are discussing it and applying it.

You Can Change

Tim Chester brings some timely encouragement. “What does it mean for us to be a new creation? It means we’re re-created in the image of God. It means we’re given new life so we can grow like Christ. And being like Christ means being like God, reflecting God’s glory as God’s image.”

Dangerous Resolutions

“…we need to be careful. There is a danger in resolutions. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating a wholesale rejection of all good goals. I believe Christian leaders should be living lives characterized by heartfelt discipline and healthy physical, personal, relational and ministry habits. But we need to be careful.”

The Best iPhone / iPad App For Tracking Your Bible Reading

Nathan Bingham highlights an app you may find helpful.

Dear Media: Stop Trying To Teach Christians Theology

Yes, please. Please stop trying to teach us what Christianity is all about.

Living Reasonably in an Unreasonable Age

How do Christians live reasonably in an unreasonable age? Don Bailey offers some answers.

This Day in 1921. 95 years ago today, “KDKA aired the first religious service in the history of radio” out of Pittsburg, PA. *

Abraham’s Ages at Ten Major Events

Short, simple, and helpful.

6 Questions Preachers Should Ask of Every Sermon

Here’s one for the preachers. I have found that asking the right questions of my sermons is a very important discipline.

Clarifying the Bible

Thanks to Clarifying the Bible for sponsoring the blog this week with their article Clarifying the Bible Helps Your Bible Reading.


Holiday A La Carte (January 1)

Friday A La Carte News Headlines Kindle DealsHappy New Year! Last night we spent a few minutes reflecting on how God has blessed our family in 2015, and prayed together that we would continue to experience so much of his grace in the year ahead. Then we had a fun and quiet evening together as a family. God is good! Here are a few articles I thought you might enjoy.

Ten Check Up Questions for the New Year

Kevin DeYoung has ten excellent questions to consider.

Advice for Another Year of Bible Reading

Bruce Ware offers some wise counsel on another year of Bible reading.

Who Owns Antarctica?

It belongs to all of us. Kind of.

An Open Letter to You in 2016

Mike Riccardi: “As we anticipate the challenges and opportunities of 2016, I want to write an open letter of sorts that focuses on the most important realities in the world. And the addressee of my open letter is you.”

When you stop saying “Thank You”

Dan Darling: “I’ve noticed, however, that ingratitude is often the first sign of a troubled heart. When I stop saying ‘thank you’ I know that sin has overcome me.”

This Day in 2010. 6 years ago today, David Platt’s book Radical was published. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller. *

Worship Leader Resolutions: 2016

Jamie Brown gets all silly with his 2016 worship leader resolutions. “I don’t think a song without an octave jump is even worth singing. But simple octave jumps are just not enough anymore. They have lost their power. It’s time to embrace a new approach to octave jumps.”

Dibbley

The most important daily habit we can possess is to remind ourselves of the Gospel. —C.H. Spurgeon


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:

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

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

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January 2-3, 2016 US and World Briefing Report

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Top News – 1/3/2016

Iran predicts ‘divine vengeance’ after Saudis execute Shi’ite cleric
A group of militiamen on Saturday occupied the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in support of two brothers who are slated to report to prison on Monday on arson charges, the Oregonian newspaper reported. Militia members at the refuge claimed to have as many as 150 supporters with them.

Militiamen occupy U.S. national parks building in Oregon
A group of militiamen on Saturday occupied the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in support of two brothers who are slated to report to prison on Monday on arson charges, the Oregonian newspaper reported. Militia members at the refuge claimed to have as many as 150 supporters with them.

Vatican accord with Palestine comes into effect
n agreement signed last year making the Vatican’s de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday.

Prophecy Unfolding In Front of Our Eyes with Return of Bnei Anousim to Jewish Fold
It would be surprising if such a miracle was not mentioned in the Bible, but in fact, it is explicitly described. The last two verses of Obadiah detail this event, explicitly naming Spanish and French Jews who will return to the nation and land of Israel:

Vatican accord with Palestine comes into effect
An agreement signed last year making the Vatican’s de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday. The Vatican signed its first treaty with the “State of Palestine” last June when it called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.

As U.S. abortion case looms, both sides seek personal touch
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear its first abortion case in nearly a decade, both sides have been quietly gathering vivid personal accounts from women to supplement the dry legal arguments… The case, which arises from a challenge to new Texas regulations covering clinics and physicians that perform abortions, could have broad political repercussions in a presidential election year.

Oregon: Armed protest at US wildlife building
Armed protesters have occupied a US government building in Oregon to support father and son ranchers who have been ordered to return to jail. Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, were convicted of arson in 2012 but a court ruled their original sentences were too short. They said they lit the fires to reduce the growth of invasive species and protect their land from wildfires.

Deadly IS attack on Iraq ex-US Camp Speicher base
At least 12 members of the Iraqi security forces have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on the former US base of Camp Speicher, outside Tikrit. There were reports of about five bombers at the camp’s western gates. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attack. Most of the dead were police recruits.

Death toll in Indian base attack rises to 6 troops, 4 gunmen
Officials say that the number of troops killed in an attack on an Indian air force base has risen to six after four soldiers succumbed to injuries sustained in the hourslong gunbattle near the border with Pakistan. Four suspected militants were also killed in the fighting.

Iranian Protesters Damage Saudi Embassy in Tehran After Execution
Protesters in Iran, angered by the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday, setting fires and throwing papers from the roof, Iranian media reported.

China Lands Test Flight in Disputed Island Chain
China said it had landed a test flight on a newly completed airfield in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, a sign of its growing military capabilities in the region.

Police hunt for gunman after deadly Tel Aviv pub attack
Israeli security forces pressed a manhunt Saturday for the Arab Israeli suspected of killing two people and wounding seven others at a Tel Aviv pub, with the motive still unknown.

Drought-stricken California braces for El Niño
Four El Niño-fueled storms are bearing down on California. But the impact of the climate phenomenon is already being felt around the world. The significant snow pack measured in California’s Sierra Nevada this week is a welcome sign.

China to ‘Gamify’ Obedience to the Government
China has created a tool called “Sesame Credit” to track how closely each citizen follows the party line. “If you post pictures of Tiananmen Square or share a link about the recent stock market collapse, your Sesame Credit goes down,” the video explains. “Share a link from the state-sponsored news agency about how good the economy is doing and your score goes up.”


Top Headlines – 1/3/2016

Vatican recognition of Palestinian state comes into effect

Erdogan: Turkey needs Israel and Israel needs Turkey

Netanyahu to Israeli Arabs: You can’t enjoy Israeli rights while failing to obey state’s laws

Netanyahu vows crackdown on Arab crime after Tel Aviv murders

Tel Aviv shooting more similar to ISIS copycat attacks than terror wave in Israel

ISIS oil trucks cross into Turkey every day, captured terrorist admits

ISIS suicide bombers attack Iraqi forces at base near Ramadi

Man who drove car at French troops guarding mosque said to have jihadi propaganda in computer

France lawmakers spar over plan to revoke citizenship of terrorists

As 2016 dawns, Europe braces for more waves of migrants

Iranian Protesters Ransack Saudi Embassy After Execution of Shiite Cleric

Iran’s supreme leader warns Saudi Arabia of ‘divine revenge’ for cleric’s execution

UN chief ‘deeply dismayed’ by Saudi executions, calls for restraint

EU warns of ‘dangerous consequences’ of Saudi cleric execution

Iran, Germany, Middle East Muslim leaders condemn Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric

White House: more time needed for new Iran missile sanctions

White House: Iran will finish work for nuclear deal within weeks

Putin names United States among threats in new Russian security strategy

Saudi-led coalition says Yemen truce ends Saturday

Death toll in Indian base attack rises to 7 troops, 4 gunmen

Suicide bomber detonates bomb in Somalia, kills 3

Mexico mayor assassinated one day after taking office

Obama’s plan to tighten gun laws sets up rematch with powerful gun rights group NRA

Trump: I will ‘unsign’ Obama executive action on gun control

Oregon ranching case sparks anti-government sentiment

China Reportedly Set to ‘Gamify’ Obedience to the Government – Plans to Use ‘Social Credit’ System to Track Each Person’s Allegiance

Egypt arrests 3 Facebook admins ahead of revolution anniversary accused of using to incite against state institutions

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Lambasa, Fiji

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Tengger Caldera volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Rare Earthquake Hits New Jersey

Cyclone Ula maintains strength as it hits Fiji after battering Tonga’s northern island

Mississippi River flooding to threaten more levees, homes after leaving St. Louis area submerged

Blizzard kills thousands of cows and threatens Texas dairy business

EPA orders barrier to keep underground fire away from reaching nuclear waste near St. Louis

House GOP: First task sending White House bill repealing ObamaCare, defunding Planned Parenthood

States plan renewed debate on LGBT rights, religious freedom

Scalia says God is “very good” to US because US honors him, dismisses religious neutrality


Top News – 1/2/2016

Turkish President outrageously cites ADOLF HITLER in example of an effective government
He said: “Yes. There is nothing to say that you can’t have a presidential system in a unitary state. “There are already some examples in the world today, and also some from the past. “You see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.

Yes, it’s really ‘volcano season,’ say scientists
Think you’ve got enough to worry about with collapsing economy, terrorism, wars and rumors of wars? Think again. Have you been paying attention to what appears to be an increase in volcanic activity across the planet?..the European Science Foundation concluded that large volcanic eruptions posed the greatest risk to human survival – greater, in fact, that an asteroid collision with earth

Defiant Iran pledges to ramp up missile program, in challenge for Obama
A series of Iranian officials vowed on Friday to expand Tehran’s missile capabilities, a challenge to the United States which has threatened to impose new sanctions even as the vast bulk of its measures against Iran are due to be lifted under a nuclear deal.

4.5-Magnitude Quake Shakes Off Calif. Coast; No Tsunami Threat
A preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-4.5 quake struck at 9:11 p.m. Friday at a depth of about five miles. It was located about 40 miles southwest of Eureka and about 250 miles northwest of San Francisco. The National Tsunami Warning Center says there is no danger of tidal problems and officials in Humboldt County say there are no reports of damages or injuries.

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits northeastern China
The quake struck Linkou in Heilongjiang Province at 12:22 AM (local time) at a depth of 580 km, the China Earthquake Networks Centre said. No casualties were reported so far, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad
Parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Islamabad were rattled on Saturday by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

Earthquake hits Northern New Jersey overnight
Northern New Jersey felt a rumble Saturday morning after it was hit with an earthquake.

Putin names United States among threats in new Russian security strategy
A new appraisal names the United States as one of the threats to Russia’s national security for the first time, a sign of how relations with the west have deteriorated in recent years. The document, “About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation”, was signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year’s Eve…

Gunmen attack India air force base near Pakistan border
Four gunmen have been killed in an overnight attack on an Indian air force base near Pakistani border, officials say. Two soldiers at the Pathankot base were also killed in a gun battle lasting several hours. Operations at the base are continuing, with some reports saying gunmen are holed up in the base.

Obama considers unilateral action on US gun violence
President Obama has said he wants to take unilateral action to tackle the problem of gun violence in the US. In his first weekly address of 2016, Mr Obama said he would meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss possible actions. He said he would seek to use his executive powers as president because the US Congress had failed to address the problem.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr: Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric
Saudi Arabia has executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the interior ministry said. He was among 47 people put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences, it said in a statement. …Shia-lead Iran said Saudi Arabia would pay a “high price” for the execution.

Israel strikes Hamas terror targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire
In response to Friday night’s firing of rockets on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, the Israel Air Force attacked early on Saturday morning two military installations and two terrorist infrastructure targets belonging to Hamas in the coastal territory. “The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for all terror activity that emanates from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement.

Category 3 cyclone cutting a devastating path through the Pacific
TONGA has declared a pre-emptive state of emergency as severe tropical cyclone Ula batters the tiny Pacific kingdom and tracks towards Fiji, where many Australians are believed to be holidaying.

China restructures military as Xi eyes `strong Army`
Shanghai: China has unveiled changes to the structure of its military described by President Xi Jinping as “a major policy decision to realise the Chinese dream of a strong army”, state media reported.

Obama plans curbs on guns
President Obama will press ahead with a set of executive actions on guns next week despite growing concerns in the United States over terrorism that have dampened some Americans’ enthusiasm for tighter firearms restrictions.

Crazed Oklahoma man freaks out town with tattooed swastika face and devil costume
Michael Carter, 26, was nabbed Wednesday after causing a ruckus at a Whataburger and later locking himself in a Kum & Go bathroom — but it was his fully tattooed face and a bizarre mask and devilish red costume that raised eyebrows, according to a report obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Gun Sales Surge In Switzerland As Army Chief Warns “Arm Yourselves”
It would appear the people of Switzerland have been listening to their military leaders. Having recently been warned by the Swiss army chief of growing social unrest, SwissInfo reports applications for gun permits in Switzerland increased by 20% between 2014 and 2015, according to a survey conducted in 12 cantons. But while the army proposes “arm yourselves,” Swiss crime prevention officials warn against the false sense of security that guns bring.

Gaza rockets strike Israel: army
Rockets fired by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel on Friday, without causing casualties or damage, the Israeli army said. “Moments ago multiple rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip,” a statement read. “Forces are searching the area.”

Iran has more missiles than it can hide: General
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have so many missiles they don’t know where to hide them, a senior commander said at Friday prayers, after the United States threatened to impose fresh sanctions.


Top Headlines – 1/2/2016

Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza targets following rocket fire

Manhunt underway for terrorist day after Tel Aviv shooting rampage

‘He was smiling and shooting’ – witnesses describe Tel Aviv terror attack

Exiled Palestinian leader calls Abbas reign ‘a failure’

PA denies reports of Abbas hospitalization, say’s PA president ‘is in good health’

Report: Hezbollah ‘adamant’ to avenge archterrorist’s death

2015 sees 3% drop in tourist arrivals in Israel

Lawmakers blast White House delay on Iran sanctions

Iran has more missiles than it can hide: General

Iran: ‘We’ll make missiles for as long as US supports Israel’

Iran has achieved a major victory by trading away easily- reversible nuclear concessions

Turkish president compares proposed government with Hitler’s Germany

Turkish Leader: Hitler’s Presidential System Is Worth Emulating

Turkey Says Hitler Comment by President Erdogan Was ‘Distorted’

Putin points to NATO threat in new security strategy

Syrian, Iraqi militants said to have planned New Year attack in Munich

France mosque attack: Soldiers open fire on car ‘attempting to ram mosque’

Terror group uses Donald Trump soundbite in purported propaganda video

Taliban Militants Bomb Restaurant in Kabul

Saudi Arabia says 47 executed on terror charges, including Shi’ite cleric

Iranian cleric predicts fall of Saudi government over Shi’ite cleric’s execution

4 gunmen, 2 troops dead in Indian air base attack

British man arrested at Amsterdam airport for false bomb threat

Meat-Processing Plant Fires Nearly 200 Workers Amid Muslim Prayer Dispute – and CAIR Is Getting Involved

New Year firecrackers leave one dead and 380 injured as fire destroys 1,000 shacks in the Philippines

Gun Sales Surge In Switzerland As Army Chief Warns “Arm Yourselves”

Obama, frustrated by Congress, plans unilateral U.S. gun control steps

Newly released Clinton emails reveal ‘reckless’ security risk

China restructures military as Xi eyes ‘strong Army’

Drop in oil prices rocks producer states, triggers historic tax hike plan in Alaska

Pre-Dawn Sky to Welcome Comet Catalina

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Chaihe, China

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Jarm, Afghanistan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

4.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Edmond, Oklahoma

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 19,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Tengger Caldera volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Category 3 cyclone cutting a devastating path through the Pacific

Cyclone Ula: Hundreds evacuated as first Pacific cyclone of 2016 slams into Tonga, heads for Fiji

Southern US states brace for surging Mississippi River flooding

Illinois National Guard called to duty in communities impacted by flooding

Obama’s climate agenda on trial

This Mad Scientist Will Clone 100,000 Cows

China Ends Controversial One-Child Policy

Norway Begins Adoption Process for 5 Children Seized From Christian Parents


Justice Scalia says God is “very good” to US because US honors him, dismisses religious neutrality

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the idea of religious neutrality is not grounded in the country’s constitutional traditions and that God has been good to the U.S. exactly because Americans honor him.

He also said there is “nothing wrong” with the idea of presidents and others invoking God in speeches. He said God has been good to America because Americans have honored him.


Financial Armageddon Approaches: U.S. Banks Have 247 Trillion Dollars Of Exposure To Derivatives

Nuclear War - Public DomainDid you know that there are 5 “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have exposure to derivatives contracts that is in excess of 30 trillion dollars?  Overall, the biggest U.S. banks collectively have more than 247 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives contracts.  That is an amount of money that is more than 13 times the size of the U.S. national debt, and it is a ticking time bomb that could set off financial Armageddon at any moment.  Globally, the notional value of all outstanding derivatives contracts is a staggering 552.9 trillion dollars according to the Bank for International Settlements.  The bankers assure us that these financial instruments are far less risky than they sound, and that they have spread the risk around enough so that there is no way they could bring the entire system down.  But that is the thing about risk – you can try to spread it around as many ways as you can, but you can never eliminate it.  And when this derivatives bubble finally implodes, there won’t be enough money on the entire planet to fix it. (Read More….)


2015 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since 2008

New Year's Eve - Public DomainIt’s official – 2015 was a horrible year for stocks.  On the last day of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 178 points, and overall it was the worst year for the Dow since 2008.  But of course the Dow was far from alone.  The S&P 500, the Russell 2000 and Dow Transports also all had their worst years since 2008.  Isn’t it funny how these things seem to happen every seven years?  But compared to other investments, stocks had a relatively “good” year.  In 2015, junk bonds, oil and industrial commodities all crashed hard – just like they all did just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008.  According to CNN, almost 70 percent of all investors lost money in 2015, and things are unfolding in textbook fashion for much more financial chaos in 2016. (Read More….)


Scandal: Obama Caught Spying On Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu And Members Of Congress

Spying - Photo by Pascal KirchmairIf you found out that one of your “friends” was secretly peeking in your windows at you and your family throughout the day, would that person continue to be your friend? Of course not. But that is exactly what Barack Obama has been doing to Israel. According to the Wall Street Journal, during Obama’s first term the decision was made to monitor the communications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders. This represents an astounding betrayal of our closest ally in the Middle East, but the scandal doesn’t end there. In the process of monitoring Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, the NSA also collected private conversations that they had with members of the U.S. Congress. So that means that Obama and the NSA were spying on Congress, which is a very serious violation of the law. (Read More…)


The Rise Of The Temp Economy: More U.S. Employers Than Ever Want A ‘Disposable Workforce’

Disposable Workers - Public DomainIn this day and age it seems like almost everything is disposable, and many employers have found that they can make a lot more money if they have a workforce that can be turned on and off like a faucet. In America today, there are more than 17 million “independent workers”, and they represent a bigger share of the workforce than ever before. Federal laws give a lot of protection to “full-time workers”, but for temporary and contract employees it is a much different story. Temp workers don’t get health insurance, vacation time or retirement benefits. They are simply paid for the limited amount of time that they are needed and then they are disposed of immediately. There has always been a role for such workers in our economy, but these days some of the biggest corporations in the entire country are getting rid of “full-time workers” and replacing them with temp workers just so that they can make a few extra bucks. As a result, the ranks of the “working poor” continue to expand, and the decline of the middle class is accelerating. (Read More…)


And now, ladies and gentlemen, your new, bigger, 2016 ObamaCare penalties

Welcome to 2016, where the penalty you’ll face for not buying a product that’s now a bigger ripoff than ever will explode as follows:

View Article


Judge Jeanine to Obama: Stop Focusing on Gun Control, Shoot Terrorists Instead

“Mr. President, the issue is terrorism, not mass shootings. And yet, because of a political agenda, you refuse to the biggest danger that we face. Instead of blaming guns, why don’t you start shooting terrorists? Now, maybe you don’t have time to focus on this because you’re too busy emptying Guantanamo and trading deserters for Taliban generals. And as a result of your dilly-dallying in the leftist political ideology, you should be focused on protecting us and letting us defend ourselves. The police cannot do it all.”

View Insightful 4-minute video


Obama’s New Year’s resolution: Take your guns

NRA: ‘Agenda will only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to self-defense’
Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control group launched by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2014, told Politico its ideal executive orders by Obama would make the following criteria a red flag for requiring a license:

-Selling guns in original packaging.
-Reselling a gun soon after it has been acquired.
-Maintaining a certain quantity of guns for sale.
-Selling more than 25 guns a year.

View Article


Obama’s Favorite Muslim Dictator Compares Himself to Hitler

Erdogan isn’t Hitler. But if there were a Hitler contest, he would have a strong lead. And the lead just got bigger once Erdogan compared himself to Hitler.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is pushing for constitutional changes that would turn Turkey’s political system into a presidential system expanding the powers of his office, has cited Hitler’s Germany as an example.

View Article


Top 10 Misreported or Underreported Stories of 2015

As the year draws to a close, we like to highlight some of the American media’s worst abuses that occurred during the past year. We have picked 10 stories for which there were general narratives presented by the mainstream media—narratives that ignored the larger truths to be gleaned from these stories. In other cases, the media missed the story altogether. We easily could have picked many more that meet those criteria, but arbitrarily chose to look at 10, in no particular order.

View Article


Obamacare Rates Set To Skyrocket In 2016 As Ugly Truth Of Socialized Medicine Settles In

Obamacare premium costs will soar 20.3 percent on average in 2016 instead of the 7.5 percent increase claimed by federal officials.

As I opened my mail the other day, I was informed that my health insurance premiums would rise over 20% in the new year of 2016. A few weeks earlier I had received a notice that because I did not have Obama-approved health insurance in 2014, that I would have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines in the form of a tax. I am ones of the tens of millions of Americans that this is happening to. America is starting to wake up to the ugly truth of what life under a Socialist-funded regime is going to be like.

Recently, the Obama administration released figures for a modest 7.5% increase in the cost of health insurance for 2016, but they were highly and intentionally skewed numbers. The actual amount, as I found out first hand, is over 20%.

The Incredible Lies and Coverup Used To Get ObamaCare Passed:

The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016. When data for all four plans are included, premium costs will actually rise on average 20.3 percent next year. The 2015 Obamacare price hike was 20.3 percent.

The Obamacare program’s federal exchange operates in 37 states where officials declined to set up state-run exchanges. Officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare Services, which manages Obamacare, only calculated price changes for the health insurance program’s Silver plan, thus ignoring data for the Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans.


DEVELOPING: Hundreds Evacuated after ‘Huge’ London Gas Leak

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 09:14 PM PST

(BBC News) Around 500 people were evacuated from homes in south London following a “huge” gas leak. All three emergency services and the Red Cross remain at the scene following a gas leak in the Penge Lane and Queen Adelaide Road area of Penge. The leak was reported shortly after 22.30 GMT on Saturday.Residents were moved to four reception centres in a “large” evacuation. Road closures were also put in place.

@MPSBromley tweeted: “Huge Gas Leak Penge Lane / Queen Adelaide Road. Houses being evacuated. Please avoid this area”. A second tweet from the MPS Bromley account said: “Road closures remain in place in #Penge .. 4 reception centres housing evacuee’s. Community spirit pulling through. Updates to follow”.

Sgt Lance Chenery tweeted: “On scene with @MPSBromley dealing with a serious gas leak in #Penge #SE20 large evacuation of residents” Sgt Gareth Starr added some residents were moved from reception centres to hotels, with others escorted home by police officers. FULL REPORT

The post DEVELOPING: Hundreds Evacuated after ‘Huge’ London Gas Leak appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Texas Is Now an ‘Open Carry’ State for Handguns

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 08:35 PM PST

(Fox News Insider) For the first time since 1871, properly licensed Texans are permitted to display their handguns in public in holsters on their hips or shoulders. Private property owners can still ban guns with a specifically worded sign, or by asking the person to leave. People also can’t openly carry at schools, hospitals, nursing homes, sporting events or airport security checkpoints.

At the state capitol in Austin yesterday, advocates held a celebratory “Uncovering Day.” “Today is a very historic day for Texas,” Open Carry Texas founder C.J.Grisham told the crowd. “We didn’t stop and you didn’t stop. We proved the sight of a firearm is not something to fear.” Nearly 4 percent, or about 900,000, of Texas residents have a concealed handgun permit license, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. FULL REPORT

The post Texas Is Now an ‘Open Carry’ State for Handguns appeared first on End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS – Magnitude-4.5 earthquake shakes in Pacific off Northern California

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 08:30 PM PST

(Fox News) Another moderate earthquake in the Pacific about 30 miles offshore of far Northern California was felt lightly by some along the coast but brought no reports of damage or injuries. A preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-4.5 quake struck at 9:11 p.m. Friday at a depth of about five miles. It was located about 40 miles southwest of Eureka and about 250 miles northwest of San Francisco.

The National Tsunami Warning Center says there is no danger of tidal problems and officials in Humboldt County say there are no reports of damages or injuries. Dozens of people reported to the USGS they had felt some light shaking. It came was in the same offshore area as a magnitude-4.9 quake on Monday and several smaller ones that followed this week. FULL REPORT

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Armed militia, incl. Bundy bros, occupy forest reserve HQ in Oregon, call ‘US patriots’ to arms

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 08:25 PM PST

BREAKING NEWS – Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s three sons and “about 150” militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge HQ to protest the pending imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers accused of arson, arguing the federal government has no authority in local cases.

“We’re going to be freeing these lands up, and getting ranchers back to ranching, getting the loggers back to logging, getting the miners back to mining where they could do it under the protection of the people and not be afraid of this tyranny that’s been set upon them,” Ammon Bundy, who appears to be the leader of the group, said in a Facebook video posted by Sarah Dee Spurlock on Saturday. Bundy appears to be standing at the scene of the takeover, surrounded by several men in military-style uniforms with rifles and hand-held radios.

The rancher points out that Harney County used to be the richest in state, and is now the poorest. His radical proposal to solve the situation is to have armed “patriots” come and live in a de-facto self-rule zone independent of the federal authorities. FULL REPORT

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‘Devil Tree’: Ohio Hikers Discover Mysterious Tree Burning On The Inside

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 08:19 PM PST

(DailyMail) A group of hikers apparently became freaked out after encountering a tree burning from the inside in Ohio.  The frightening sight shocked two hikers who filmed video of the tree and shared it to YouTube last week.  The incident happened in Defiance, Ohio, which is located about 60 miles outside of Toledo.  In the beginning of the 30-second video, one of the hikers can be heard saying ‘What the f***,’ as the person filming aims the camera at the top of the tree, which is engulfed in flames from the inside.

The video shows bright orange colored flames raging from top to bottom inside of the tree.  There does not appear to be any fire damage on the outside of the tree or a sign of a fire burning anywhere nearby. ‘How is this even possible?’ one of the men asked in shock.  ‘It’s starting to get up and around.’  The hiker then urges his friend that they ‘better get out of here,’ as the cameraman slips over twice.  Since being posted December 21, the viral video has been viewed more than 223,400 times. FULL REPORT

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College Football Star Wears Towel Proclaiming His Faith in Jesus During Orange Bowl

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 08:10 PM PST

(YC) Moments like this are becoming increasingly rare in Obama’s politically correct America. 22-year-old linebacker for the Clemson Tigers B.J. Goodson is not ashamed of his faith in Jesus Christ, and he was willing to proclaim it in their battle with the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl. How beautiful is that?

The football star was rocking a towel that read, “I can do all things through Christ, God is with you!” I love when big-time athletes and famous celebrities aren’t ashamed to proclaim their Christian faith in front of the entire world. The Tigers went on to whoop the heavily favored Sooners 37-17, and secured themselves a spot in the National Championship. There’s not much better than watching Jesus and college football come together. READ MORE

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Strong 5.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Northern China

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 08:02 PM PST

(EP) A 6.4-magnitude earthquake on Saturday struck northeastern China. The earthquake was later downgraded to a 5.7 magnitude event by the USGS. The quake struck Linkou in Heilongjiang Province at 12:22 am (local time) at a depth of 580 km, the China Earthquake Networks Centre said.

No casualties were reported so far, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Three trains were ordered to stop in safe areas after the quake, the Harbin Railway Bureau said. SOURCE

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Cyclone Ula threatens southeastern Fiji

Posted: 02 Jan 2016 07:57 PM PST

(EP) The small islands of Fulaga, Ogea, Vatoa and Ono-i-Lau are warned to expect destructive storm force winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour. The system, which at its centers has average winds of 150 kilometers an hour and gusts of more than 200 kilometers and hour, is forecast to move southwest between the islands of Kabara and Ono-i-Lau. The cyclone has slowed and by about 10 o’clock tonight it is forecast to get within about 70 kilometers of Ono-i-Lau.

Fiji’s education ministry has advised all school evacuation centers to be on standby for immediate activation. Hurricane force winds and phenomenal seas are forecast for the area within 25 kilometers of Ula’s centre. Tonga’s state of emergency issued for Vava’u and Ha’apai remains in force. The Deputy Prime Minister, Siaosi Sovaleni, who is the Chairman of the National Emergency Management Committee, says Ula caused no casualties. He says almost 400 people had been moved to evacuation centers to protect them against the storm. The director of Tonga Met, ‘Ofa Fa’anunu, says forecasters were surprised that Ula sustained its strength. He says had there been more moisture, the cyclone could have developed into a category five system. SOURCE

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The Security in the Obedience

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 01:01 PM PST

(Ricky Scaparo) Proverbs 1: 23- 33 – Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.  “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies. For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them; But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

This passage from Proverbs Chapter One has always intrigued me and actually has some powerful insight into the key to walking in divine protection of the Lord, However it also gives a grim warning to those who refuse to heed the rebuke and counsel of the lord. Let’s break down this passage for some more insight. As we enter 2016 I am believing for protection for my family and I as we enter even more perilous times. I want to show you the reward and blessing connected to obedience to the Lord’s correction and Instructions.

The connection of the Lord’s Spirit being poured out is connected to heeding his rebuke, Implying that those who refuse to heed the rebuke or correction of the Lord are actually restraining the Lord from pouring out his Spirit upon an individual. However the passage warns of us of not only refusing the rebuke of the Lord but also disregarding his hand when it is moving upon us.

Have you been guilty of this? Has the Lord attempted to correct you in an area in your life and you found yourself resisting his correction? Have you even disregarded his hand when it has moved in your life? Let’s not refuse the correction of the Lord but embrace it as it will surely bring a great reward in the end. The Lord’s hand is always moving among us but are we paying attention? A very scary portion of this verse is the Lord warns us that if we refuse his corrections and disregard his hand moving in our lives he will “Laugh” at calamity when it comes to our doorstep!

I see this clearly evident today as the world is falling apart around us and we continue to remove the Lord from our schools, courthouses, and the list goes on! We have removed prayer, the Commandments and attempting to silence the Church in America and even other Nations, All the while we wonder where God is during tragedies and calamities.  However the latter portion of this passage of scripture is very encouraging as it promises as that those who listen to the Lord and heed his Word will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.” This was the case with Israel when they were in Egypt and the plagues were breaking out but those who were under the Blood and heeded the word of the Lord were marked by God and remained in his arms of safety! There is power in obedience and the rewards can be a matter of Life or Death. I will blog more on this in detail as I am putting a message together for a word I received for 2016 that I will will be sharing in detail in the days to come.

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Massive snowstorm hits Israel

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:31 PM PST

(Arutz Sheva 7) Israel has been bracing for its first massive snowstorm of the year, and on Friday the weather did not disappoint, with gale force winds and heavy rains visiting upon various regions, and Mount Hermon in the north already under heavy snow since late Thursday. As of 7 a.m., Mount Hermon, Israel’s only ski site, had already recorded around 30 centimeters (nearly 12 inches) of snow on the lower levels of the mountain alone.

On the upper reaches of the mount, a full 60 centimeters (over 23 inches) had already fallen, with the snow anticipated to only get heavier throughout the day. The temperature in the morning hours has remained below 0° C (under 32° F). Mount Hermon is to remain closed over the weekend due to the growing snowstorm and road closures in the region.

Snow has started falling from the morning hours also on the mountains in the Golan Heights where it is expected to reach 20 centimeters (just under 8 inches), and is likewise predicted to spread to the Galilee later in the day where 15 centimeters (just under 6 inches) are anticipated. FULL REPORT

 

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Obama Caught Spying On Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu And Members Of Congress

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:25 PM PST

(Michael Snyder) If you found out that one of your “friends” was secretly peeking in your windows at you and your family throughout the day, would that person continue to be your friend? Of course not. But that is exactly what Barack Obama has been doing to Israel. According to the Wall Street Journal, during Obama’s first term the decision was made to monitor the communications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.

This represents an astounding betrayal of our closest ally in the Middle East, but the scandal doesn’t end there. In the process of monitoring Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, the NSA also collected private conversations that they had with members of the U.S. Congress. So that means that Obama and the NSA were spying on Congress, which is a very serious violation of the law.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Two years ago, Obama promised that he was going to quit spying on the leaders of other nations that we are allied with. But just like most of Obama’s other promises, this one proved to be hollow as well. The following comes from the Wall Street Journal…FULL REPORT

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Get Back to Your First Calling

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:22 PM PST

(Charisma) I have been stirred up by the Lord (and so have other ministries I know) that it is time to start “reaping the harvest”—and that requires everyone. So I am writing this article to you to try to get people to see it’s not a burden to win the lost, and you don’t have to be an “Evangelist” to win people. It’s easy if you are Spirit-led.
The article starts here, and my personal story is underneath.

God Is Calling Fishermen!

I have heard several strong words lately about looking again at your first calling. What was it that you first felt impressed to do? What was on your heart then? I think there are a lot of callings that have been sidetracked. It’s not that we are doing anything wrong—but we have picked up other things that are good, and even fruitful. And yet, we have dropped some of the things that God first gave to us.

Sometimes we have to take a look back in order to move forward. One thing I know: We have to start “going fishing.” Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men.” He didn’t take one or two of the disciples aside and say that. He said that to all of them. You don’t have to be an “Evangelist,” as in five-fold ministry, to be a fisher. You just need to enjoy the Lord, stay under the anointing and be open to that fact that there are “fish” all around you. Keep your antenna up and you will know who you have a divine appointment with. I don’t believe you are meant to talk to everyone you see. You can be Spirit led. CONTINUE

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Most Americans Approve of Warantless Online Surveillance

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:17 PM PST

(Breitbart) A majority of Americans say they support warrantless government surveillance of the Internet communications of U.S. citizens, according to a new poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It’s at least somewhat important for the government to sacrifice freedoms to ensure safety, most say in the survey. Here are some things to know about public opinion on civil liberties from the AP-NORC poll:

MOST SUPPORT WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE – According to the new poll, 56 percent of Americans favor and 28 percent oppose the ability of the government to conduct surveillance on Internet communications without needing to get a warrant. That includes such surveillance on U.S. citizens. FULL REPORT

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30,000 Cows Killed in Texas Blizzard

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:14 PM PST

(Breitbart) The Texas blizzard “Goliath” may have claimed more than 30,000 animals this week in Texas. A statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Texas Association of Dairymen (TAD) says that the winter storm named Goliath “hit hard at the heart of the Texas dairy industry.” The reduction in the state’s milk supply, and dairy and other financial losses, as well as the emotional impact on farmers of losing their animals, is enormous, says TAD Executive Director Darren Turley.

Turley said it wasn’t until Tuesday that many dairy producers in the area largely impacted by the storms – from Lubbock west to Muleshoe, Texas, and north to Friona – could gauge the impact by surveying their property.

Turley says that the region includes half of the state’s top ten milk producing counties which amounts to about 36 percent of the Lone Star state’s dairy cows – an estimated 142,800 cows. Turley estimates that about five percent of the mature dairy cows, and a yet-undetermined heifers and calves were killed. He expects losses to climb as farmers are able to survey the damage. FULL REPORT

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Geomagnetic storm lights up northern sky, as year ends

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:09 PM PST

(EP) 2016 began with an explosion–not only of fireworks, but also auroras. On Jan. 1st, a G2-class geomagnetic storm sparked bright lights around the poles as revelers around the world were ringing in the New Year. In Glenfarg, Scotland, fireworks crackled against a backdrop of green: “Our neighbours let off some fireworks for the New Year,” says photographer Stuart Walker. “They were modest compared to the organized display in Edinburgh, but looked great alongside the ongoing aurora.”

The storm was the result of a CME strike on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31 @ 00:30 UT). At first the CME’s impact had little effect. Indeed, we initially ruled it a “dud.” But as Earth moved deeper into the CME’s wake, solar wind conditions shifted to favor geomagnetic activity. The very first sighting of auroras in 2016 may have come from Taichi Nakamura, across the International Date Line in Dunedin, New Zealand: FULL REPORT

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String of earthquakes around the world rings in the New Year

Posted: 01 Jan 2016 12:05 PM PST

(EP) A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck in the South Pacific Ocean about 650 miles (1,045 kilometers) south of the Australian island state of Tasmania, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor, which struck at about 1 p.m. Sydney time at a depth of 8 kilometers, was detected by more than 50 stations on the Australian mainland, Geoscience Australia said. No tsunami warning was issued.

Canada: Authorities say a magnitude- 4.8 earthquake in Canada was widely felt across northwest Washington State, but no major damage or injuries have been reported. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday 11 miles northeast of Victoria, Canada. Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says it was felt for a radius of 150 miles. He says he hasn’t heard of any major damage or recorded any aftershocks.

Tom Eades, a 911 dispatcher with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office in Washington, says the agency received lots of calls but no reports of damage or injuries. The agency is in the San Juan Islands, between Vancouver Island in British Columbia and mainland Washington. The USGS website has recorded more than 10,000 reports of the quake being felt. 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


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

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

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— Augustine

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Is Donald Trump a serious candidate or just a clown who was born rich?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Let’s take a look at how well a policy he supports – single payer health care – is working in Canada, where it’s been the law of the land for decades.

First, let’s see Trump explain his view on single payer health care in his own words:

When government pays for all the health care provisioning, we call that a single-payer system. And Trump is for it – that clip is from September 27, 2015. In the Fox News debate in August, he said that single payer health care “works in Canada“.

So, let’s go and see what the Canadians are saying about their single payer system, by looking a wide variety of stories from last month from a wide variety of Canadian news sources, covering a wide variety of Canadian provinces.

First, let’s start on the west coast, and then work our way east.

The Vancouver Sun reports…

View original post 802 more words

Are Latter Day Saints (LDS) doctrines supported by philosophy, science and history?

WINTERY KNIGHT

This post presents evidence against Mormonism/LDS in three main areas. The first is in the area of science. The second is in the area of philosophy. And the third is in the area of history.

The scientific evidence

First, let’s take a look at what the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, believes about the origin of the universe:

“The elements are eternal. That which had a beggining will surely have an end; take a ring, it is without beggining or end – cut it for a beggining place and at the same time you have an ending place.” (“Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”, p. 205)

“Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize…

View original post 1,237 more words

A Guide to Biblical New Year’s Resolutions

Confession: I used to roll my eyes at the thought of making New Year’s resolutions. After all, how many people actually keep them? I wondered. But when Pastor Colin preached a sermon a while back, called “Resolved! Life Commitments for a New Year,” it became clear to me that resolutions could not only be kept, they could be deeply biblical.

Christians are saved by grace through faith, not by works so that no one can boast. But the Bible uses active imagery to describe the Christian life, as a race, a fight, a pursuit, a war, and training in godliness. We strive for spiritual growth because we’ve been freed through the blood of Jesus from striving for worldly, selfish gain. Therefore, resolutions, when grounded in Scripture, can be tools for our spiritual growth!

Only by the gift of God’s grace poured out through the gospel can we do anything of eternal value.

TWEET

Whether you journal your ideas, write them on a napkin, or talk through them with another person, here are a few biblical resolutions from Colossians 3 to help you think and pray through next year:

1. Resolve to live with eternity in mind.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (vv 1-2)

To “seek the things that are above” is to live in anticipation of eternity. Resolve to think often about the new heaven and new earth; the total defeat of sin and death, when every tear will be wiped from your eyes; and your completed joy in the presence of Christ. Doing this will renew your mind to see through God’s eternal perspective, will help you discern what is most important, and will make the trials of earth seem light and momentary in comparison to the great glory that is to come.

2. Resolve to kill sin.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. (vv 5-6)

Resolve next year to kill sin, showing it no mercy and devoting it to complete destruction. Identify the factors, people, and situations that trigger temptations and potential sin, and decide in your heart to flee from them. This resolution glorifies God, who spent his wrath upon his own Son so that you could be free from sin’s eternal grip and consequences.

3. Resolve to pursue holiness.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (vv 12-14)

The opposite of killing sin is the pursuit of holiness, motivated by our identity as God’s chosen children. As putting sin to death is active, so is the putting on of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who gives us the power to do so. Resolve this year to honor Christ and his transformative gospel by proving that you belong to God’s family (John 15:8). Choose to walk in love each day, through God’s power and the effectiveness of his Word. And when you fail, remember anew that your identity as God’s beloved child is sure and steadfast, that nothing can snatch you out of his hand.

4. Resolve to be thankful.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (v. 15)

The fruit of a life of holiness is the peace of Christ ruling in our hearts! There is no better way to live than under the good protection of God’s Word and ways, and there is no truer “you” than to be standing firmly in your identity as his child. The peace of Christ naturally pours over into an attitude of thankfulness, as we realize that we’ve been given much more than we deserve, by God’s grace in the gospel. Resolve to be thankful this year for earthly blessings and spiritual ones, for both come from God’s endless store of goodness and wisdom.

5. Resolve to read and meditate on the Scriptures.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…. (v. 16)

How can we know what sin is, who we are as God’s beloved children, or what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is if we do not read and meditate on God’s revealed Word to us? The Scriptures illuminate spiritual realities and light our paths to walk in the truth of Christ’s gospel (Psalm 119:105). All of the Word of God is sufficient for salvation and relevant for our daily lives. Resolve to soak in your Bible every day, in order that it becomes an unbreakable habit, knowing that, by doing so, you are hearing God speak his will into your life and are growing closer to him.

6. Resolve to commit to a local church.

…teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom… (v. 16)

This year, if you have not yet landed at a local church, resolve to do so! The local church is called the body of Christ for a reason: It is a living, breathing demonstration of the grace of Christ to the world, who takes note of our love for one another and for putting Christ’s glory on display through our varied gifts and service and our commitment to the Word of Christ.

Believers who remain isolated from the local church are missing out on a great and glorious gift! In the safety and structure of the God-ordained local church, believers teach the gospel, receive the gospel, and spur one another on in gospel-centered living with accountability to God-fearing leadership (Ephesians 3:14-19). Outside of this structure, there is a greater risk for straying from the true gospel and for letting spiritual gifts of service go unexercised. So commit to a local church this year!

7. Resolve to worship God through song.

…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (v. 16)

While it is not uncommon to hear a brother or sister in Christ sing off-key during the worship service, it is quite common to hear other believers say, “I don’t like to sing” or “I don’t have a good voice.” Notice here that singing is a command from Scripture, and no command of God stands apart from his divine purpose for your good and his glory.

Singing is one of the ways in which the Word of Christ dwells richly in us. Singing not only glorifies our Father, who is deserving of all our worship and praise, but it completes our joy in him, as we express his awesomeness and set our eyes on things above. So sing, Christian! Sing with all the strength your vocal chords can muster!

8. Resolve to aim for the glory of Christ.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (v. 17)

This might be the hardest resolution there is out of the eight in this passage of Scripture. This is because our sinful hearts are prone to set ourselves on the throne of our own lives, idolizing self-glory, self-worship, and selfish pursuits. How is it possible then for us to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”? How is it possible for us to follow through on any of the above resolutions?

Here is our means and our motivation:

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (vv 3-4)

Not by our own desire will we resolve to pursue Christ this year and certainly not by our own strength. Only by the gift of God’s grace poured out through the gospel of Christ can we do anything of eternal value or effectiveness. Only by the help, guidance, and power of the Holy Spirit can we put on love, be thankful, delight in our Bibles, kill sin, and commit to a local church body.

Only by the very life of Christ can we die to our own, take up our crosses, and follow him, this year and every year until he appears in fullness of glory.

What other biblical resolutions will you pursue next year?

RELATED ARTICLES:

The post A Guide to Biblical New Year’s Resolutions appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Hillsong pastor arrested: facing assault charges

Pat Mesiti is a pastor of Hillsong and C3 church. For a long time he has been a close contact and friend of “Pastor” Brian Houston and “Pastor” Phil Pringle. Both Brian Houston and Phil Pringle stood by the unrepentant sinner Pat Mesiti when he was caught in adulterous affairs backs in the year 2000 and brazenly restored this fraudster back into church leadership in spite of his brazen prosperity heresy and his new career as a huckster.

What Happened To Pat Mesiti of Hillsong?
Phil Pringle ‘Restoring’ Pat Mesiti As A Church Pastor
Phil Pringle & Pat Mesiti Conning C3 Church To Give Cash
C3 Continues To Endorse Money-Magnet Mesiti

The bible disqualifies Pat Mesiti of being a pastor for a reason – he was not a Christian in the first place. It was evident in his convictions, his beliefs, his lifestyle, his behavior and how he completely disregarded God, His Word and…

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Snakes on planes don’t want to fly with demon-tubing dopes?

It’s not uncommon for Christians and the general public to question fraudulent ministers like Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and others about travelling in million dollar private jets.

Recently, a video surfaced on YouTube with Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis justifying why they and prosperity pimps (like Keith Moore, Creflo Dollar), own expensive jets.

[Click to download video]

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Ten scientific problems with global warming alarmism

WINTERY KNIGHT

How climate scientists adjust the data to prove they need more grant money How climate scientists adjust the data to prove they need more grant money (see #10 in the list below)

My friend Bruce posted this article from the the Daily Wire, and I think it’s a good summary of the scientific evidence against global warming alarmism. After we go over this, I’ll take a stab at explaining why so many non-scientists desperately want to believe that global warming is true, and why they try to push everyone else to believe it, too.

First, the list:

  1. Temperature records from around the world do not support the assumption that today’s temperatures are unusual.
  2. Satellite temperature data does not support the assumption that temperatures are rising rapidly
  3. Current temperatures are always compared to the temperatures of the 1980’s, but for many parts of the world the 1980’s was the coldest decade of the last 100+ years
  4. The world experienced a significant cooling trend between…

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What do ancient non-Christian sources tell us about the historical Jesus?

WINTERY KNIGHT

The Annals, by Roman historian Tacitus The Annals, by Roman historian Tacitus

This article from Biblical Archaeology covers all the non-Christian historical sources that discuss Jesus.

About the author:

Lawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).

Here are the major sections:

  • Roman historian Tacitus
  • Jewish historian Josephus
  • Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata
  • Platonist philosopher Celsus
  • Roman governor Pliny the Younger
  • Roman historian Suetonius
  • Roman prisoner Mara bar Serapion

And this useful excerpt captures the broad facts about Jesus that we get from just the first two sources:

We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in…

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From Selfish to Selfless

Unfathomable Grace

Lucifer is a selfish individual. He cares not about giving God the glory due his name. He cares not about the damage he has done to Adam, Eve, and their progeny. Satan winces not at the cursed condition of the planet. No, Lucifer only has eyes for himself. He is consumed with his own pleasure, power, and promotion.

Herod, as presented in Matthew 2*, is a selfish individual after the model of Satan. He too is consumed with his own kingdom. Without remorse he plots, lies, pretends to be religious, and commits mass murder in order to pursue his interests.

By nature, we are much like these two selfish leaders. We are not interested in submitting to God’s Law. We are not interested in becoming less so Christ can become greater. No, we wish to worship ourselves, and we demand others worship us as well. We have no desire to treat others better than ourselves, and when it comes to forgoing our own rights…

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Where Is the Law/Gospel Distinction?

The Reformed Reader

One aspect of legalism, Roman Catholicism, neo-nomianism, and Federal Vision theology is a denial of the Reformation law/gospel distinction (or a blending of the law/gospel). For example, the Federal Vision Joint Statement from 2007 says, “We deny that law and gospel should be considered as hermeneutics, or treated as such. …The fundamental division is not in the text, but rather in the human heart.”

Reformation confessions, however, uphold a law/gospel distinction and do not mingle the law and gospel. One clear example is Zacharias Ursinus’ Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, the very catechism he played a major part in writing. He wrote,

“The doctrine of the church consists in two parts: the Law and the Gospel; in which we have comprehended the sum and substance of the sacred Scriptures. The law is called the Decalogue, and the gospel is the doctrine concerning Christ the mediator, and the free remission of…

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Preach the Word Boldly, and do Not be Ashamed of Jesus Christ

Thy Word Alone is Truth: Examining All Things in the Refining Furnace of Scripture

  PREACH THE WORD  BOLDLY AND DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF JESUS

42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

John 12:42-43

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:14

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them…

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Rejoicing in the Resolutions of God

Unfathomable Grace

At the start of the New Year, many people make plans. Some write their plans in a journal. Some pen them on a white board. Others merely make mental notes. These plans might include getting up earlier, having daily devotions, making a certain number of business calls each day, gaining more muscle, loosing more fat, exercising daily, reading a book a week, memorizing scripture, saving or giving away a certain percentage of income, being home by a certain time, going on a weekly date with your spouse, etc ….  Yes, the list can go on and on.

However, by the month of May, there will be three groups of people:

  • Those who made plans and are in the process of performing them.
  • Those who made plans and have failed to perform that which they planned.
  • Those who never made plans because they knew they would not perform that which they planned.

Friends, there…

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The Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Videos and Broadcasts from 2015

Top Ten VideosSource: The Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Videos from 2015

It’s that time of year again: the time for “Top Ten” lists of one kind or another. In my last post I listed the top ten Cold-Case Christianity articles of 2015. This time around I’m offering the ten most popular videos hosted here on our website (and on our YouTube page where you can join 2,755 weekly subscribers who have viewed our videos 226,298 times). I’ve listed the videos in reverse order (for dramatic effect):

Cold-Case Christianity Video #10:
How Strong is the Cumulative Case for God’s Existence? (Video)
What is the strength of the cumulative case for God’s existence? What is the nature of cumulative cases and what role does diversity play in establishing the strength of an inference?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #9:
How Do We Verify the Validity of the Gospels? (Video)
What is the four-part template detectives use to determine eyewitness reliability? Can this template be applied to the Gospels?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #8:
How Consciousness Points to the Existence of God (Video)
How does non-material consciousness emerge in a purely material universe? Is “mind” nothing more than “brain”?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #7:
What Insights Can We Gain from Paul’s Interaction with Philosophers on Mars Hill? (Video)
What is the nature of truth, and what role does evidence play in establishing the truth claims of Christianity?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #6:
How the Origin of Life Points to the Existence of God (Video)
Has science answered the question of life’s origin? How do scientists tackle the “chicken and egg” problems related to the origin of life?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #5:
When Do We Have Enough Evidence to Know Christianity Is True? (Video)
What is the role of evidence in determining truth claims? When we can be certain we have sufficient evidence to believe something is true?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #4:
Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church in Their College Years (Video)
What three factors contribute to the departure of young Christians during their university years?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #3:
Why Are So Many Young People Leaving The Church? (Video)
Why do so many young Christians take a break from the Church in their college years? What are the factors involved in the flight of young believers?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #2:
Why Do We Believe the Gospels Are Reliable? (Video)
How do detectives determine if a witness is reliable? Can these investigative techniques be applied to the authors of the Gospels, and, if so, would these authors measure up?

Cold-Case Christianity Video #1:
Why We Need to Stop Teaching (and Start Training) Young Christians – Part 1 (Video)
What is the important difference between teaching and training? How can a shift in our thinking help young Christians learn how to defend their faith?

There you have it! On Friday I’ll post the top ten Cold-Case Christianity Podcast/Broadcasts for 2015. Enjoy these ten videos in the meantime…

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


Source: The Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Broadcasts from 2015

Top 10 Broadcasts 2Happy New Year and thanks again for a GREAT 2015! We are slowly growing the number of unique visitors to the ColdCaseChristianity.com website, and we expect to have approximately one million unique visitors next year. Thanks for making us a regular part of your Internet experience. I’d also love to see you in person; I’ll start another busy speaking season in just a few days. In 2015, I had the great privilege to give 193 talks to over 35,000 people at 71 events (I’m definitely trying to slow that down a bit next year). We also posted 234 new articles, videos or podcasts on the website. I pray all these efforts have helped you become a better Christian Case Maker. I’d also like to thank the NRB Network for the opportunity to do a weekly television show. Many of you have written to me to say you’ve learned a lot from our weekly 30-minute broadcast. Here, then, is our final top ten list for 2015, the Top 10 Cold-Case Christianity Broadcasts:

The 10th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
How the Cosmological Evidence Points to the Existence of God (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #44)
J. Warner describes two pieces of cosmological evidence: the origin of the universe and the appearance of fine-tuning in the cosmos. Can these two pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the universe be explained by staying “inside the room”? This simple question helps homicide detectives determine if a death scene is a crime scene. Could the same question be applied to the evidence in the universe to determine if a cosmic “intruder” is the most reasonable inference?

The 9th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
How the Mental Evidence Points to the Existence of God (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #46)
J. Warner describes two pieces of “mental” evidence: consciousness and our common experience of free agency. Can these two pieces of evidence “inside the room” of the universe be explained by staying “inside the room”? This simple question helps homicide detectives determine if a death scene is a crime scene. Could the same question be applied to the evidence in the universe to determine if a cosmic “intruder” is the most reasonable inference?

The 8th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Why the Evidence in the Universe Points Most Reasonably to the Existence of God (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #48)
J. Warner describes the power of cumulative cases and assembles the case for God’s existence. Is the existence of God reasonable given the diverse evidence in the universe? Are explanations from “inside the room” of the natural universe more reasonable than the explanation from “outside the room”?

The 7th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
What Every Christian Needs to Know About Conspiracy Theories (Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast #29)
J. Warner Wallace describes the five essential attributes of successful conspiracies. How do these five attributes help us make the case for the reliability of the eyewitness Gospel accounts? J. Warner evaluates the testimony of the disciples through the lens of these important conspiracy attributes and provides his viewers with everything they need to know about conspiracy theories.

The 6th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Why We Know the New Testament Gospels Were Written Early (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #51)
J. Warner Wallace describes the evidence for the early dating of the Gospels. Why is this issue important to those who are examining the claims of Christianity? How does early dating contribute to the reliability of the Gospel authors as eyewitnesses? What other problem does early dating resolve?

The 5th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Five Reasons You Can Trust Your Bible (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #49)
J. Warner Wallace makes the case for the reliability of the Bible by providing five, brief, easy to articulate reasons you can trust the Christian Scripture. Have you ever been challenged to give the reason for the hope you have in Jesus? This episode will help you make the case quickly and concisely.

The 4th Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Answering Two Common Objections to the Existence of God (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #50)
J. Warner Wallace addresses two common objections to the existence of God. If God is the creator of everything we see in the universe, who created God? If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why does he allow people to behave badly and hurt one another?

The 3rd Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Is the Virgin Conception of Jesus Necessary and Reasonable? (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #52)
J. Warner Wallace begins a series on the virgin conception of Jesus. Why is the virgin conception an essential truth about Jesus in the first place? Is it necessary? How can anyone believe in such an event? Is it reasonable?

The 2nd Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Why Wasn’t the Virgin Conception of Jesus Mentioned by Mark or Paul? (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #54)
J. Warner Wallace continues his series on the virgin conception of Jesus. If the virgin conception of Jesus really happened, why didn’t Mark or Paul say anything about it? Does their silence mean the virgin conception was a late idea added to the story of Jesus? Is there any good reason to believe Mark or Paul knew about the virgin conception, and if so, why didn’t they mention it?

The Most Popular Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast of 2015:
Was the Virgin Conception of Jesus Borrowed from Prior Mythologies? (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #53)
J. Warner Wallace continues his series on the virgin conception of Jesus. Was the virgin conception borrowed from ancient pagan myths? Do these ancient mythologies resemble Jesus or offer a similar birth narrative? Would ancient Jews or Christians borrow such a notion? Were the Gospels written so late that no one would have known about the birth of Jesus?

There you have it: the 10 most popular broadcasts of 2015. 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

An Open Letter to You in 2016: The Same Old Message for a Brand New Year

Source: An Open Letter to You in 2016: The Same Old Message for a Brand New Year

New Year 2016As we enter the beginning of the New Year, many people are reflecting on the previous year and how they’ve lived their lives, and are making resolutions and determinations to live better in the coming year, whatever that may mean. The process seems to involve a kind of refocusing on things that are important to us so that when we will have come to the end of this next year we will look even more favorably on it than t20he previous one.

As we anticipate the challenges and opportunities of 2016, I want to write an open letter of sorts that focuses on the most important realities in the world. And the addressee of my open letter is you. No matter who you are—whether young in the faith, a seasoned saint, or not a believer in Jesus at all; whether we’re good friends, have only spoken a few times, or if I don’t know you from Adam—I can think of nothing more profitable that I’d like to say directly to you. And perhaps the most interesting distinctive about this open letter for 2016 is that it’s nothing new. It’s the same old message for a brand new year, because it’s the only message that is sufficient to transcend all times and cultures. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you’ll read carefully.

God is Holy

The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created by God. And that God who has created everything has spoken to humanity in the Bible. And the Bible tells us that a fundamental characteristic of God is that He is holy. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” That’s a way of saying that He’s entirely pure. God’s character is one of perfect moral uprightness. He is the essence of all that is good—so much so that, as the verse says, He can have absolutely no fellowship with “darkness”—no fellowship with that which is not perfectly holy, righteous, and pure.

God’s righteous character was expressed in the law He gave to Moses and the Israelites. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments. They summarized the perfection of God’s character. These laws were directives for how people who were in a proper relationship with God must act.

We are Sinful

The problem is: all of us are sinful. We have all broken God’s law. All humanity has “gone astray like sheep, and each one of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve tried to live our lives without God, according to our own standards, in our own ways. Whether we’re drug addicts and murderers, or white collar, well-to-do, upstanding citizens, we do what we do because we want to do it, with no consideration for God and what He would have us to do. The Bible calls that sin. It is the missing of the mark, the falling short of God’s standard of righteousness.

And in your heart of hearts you know you’re a sinner. I don’t know anyone who would say that they are perfect, even by their own standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” And if God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all, then in order to have fellowship with Him, we’d need to be perfectly holy like Him. But we’re not. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are stained by the “darkness” of our sin. And this is a problem, because if darkness can’t dwell with light, and we’re darkness and God is light, we’re cut off from a relationship with Him. We become absolutely incapable of doing the very thing we were created and designed to do: to enjoy a relationship with our Creator.

There is a Penalty for Sin

But it’s not just that we and God can’t be friends. There’s a penalty to be paid for sin. The Bible tells us that that penalty is death, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” But the death that Paul talks about there isn’t just physical death. It’s not like we pay for our sins by going out of existence. The death talked about in that verse is a spiritual death. This is hell: eternal conscious torment. Jesus Himself calls it “a furnace of fire,” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50).

The idea of hell grates against the sensibilities of modern people, because nobody thinks they’re really bad enough to deserve something like eternal torment. They might admit that they’re not the greatest of people, but surely they don’t deserve that. But their reasoning is skewed. The punishment for sin isn’t merely measured by the sin itself. In other words, while there are qualitative differences in the experience of divine punishment, murder, lust, and lying all receive the sentence of an eternity in hell. That’s because punishment for sin is measured by the One sinned against. All sin is fundamentally a sin against God, and He is infinitely holy. Therefore, sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. That’s why the punishment is so serious: because God is actually that righteous.

And so the bad news is that we’re sinful, separated from God, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t simply tell God we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. What would you say about a judge who let a guilty, convicted criminal go free because he was sorry and said he wouldn’t do it again? You’d call him an unjust judge. But God is a perfectly just, perfectly righteous Judge. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and the only payment is eternal spiritual death.

God Became Man

But the Good News is: God saw the miserable condition of humanity, and took pity on us. He knew that there was no way we could ever earn our way back to Him. We could never pay for our sins. But just when man was absolutely hopeless, when we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell with no way to pay our penalty, God the Father sent His Son to the earth on a mission. He was miraculously born to a virgin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit miraculously conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was God. And being born to a human being, He was human. This is the greatest mystery in the universe. As finite human beings, we can’t entirely wrap our minds around this, but it’s true: Jesus was fully God and fully man.

He lived for 33 years on the earth. He grew up just like every other child. He became a carpenter like Joseph, His earthly father. The great difference, though, between Jesus and every other human being, was that He never sinned. Never once did He ever break God’s law. He always loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength in everything He did. He never sought satisfaction outside of the Father Himself. He never disobeyed His parents, He was never selfish, He never spoke sinful words. In a word, He lived the life that you and I should have lived, but failed to live. He lived a life totally worthy of God, a life that was purely “Light,” like we said before, with no darkness at all.

Jesus Paid the Penalty

And because He was perfectly righteous, He was fit to be the substitute for sinners. The Bible records for us that the Jews plotted to kill Jesus because He preached a message that was very different to the religious establishment of His day. It was against the Jewish law to put people to death, so they sought help from the Romans, who were the governing body in Israel. Because the governor, Pontius Pilate, feared that the people would riot if he didn’t give them what they wanted, he agreed to crucify Jesus.

At the same time, Scripture also tells us that God sent His Son to die this way. It was all part of God’s plan. God used the sinful desires of the Jews and the Romans to accomplish something for His own good purpose. On the cross, Jesus suffered for sins. But He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He had no sins. He lived an entirely perfect life. No, on the cross, God “caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

The verse right before that, Isaiah 53:5, says, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” What was happening on the cross was: God was carrying out the punishment against my sins—i.e., the pouring out of His wrath—on His innocent Son. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life in order to pay the penalty for sins. On the cross, God treated Jesus if He lived my life. And because I believe in Him, He treats me as if I lived Jesus’ life. See, because God is perfectly righteous, the only way to get to heaven is to be perfectly righteous. But because Jesus was perfectly righteous, and traded places with me on the cross, the perfect righteousness I need to go to heaven is His righteousness applied to my account.

After Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead three days later in order to show that He was satisfied with His sacrifice. Jesus was dead, but then He came back to life! It was a miracle. The Bible says God did this to “furnish proof to all men” that this message is true (Acts 17:30-31).

Our Response

And now, God promises that…

  • if you acknowledge that you are a sinner—that you have broken His law,
  • and if you admit that there is no way that you could earn His favor and His forgiveness,
  • and if you purpose to turn away from your life of sin and commit your life to Him,
  • and if you trust in Jesus’ righteousness alone for your acceptance before this holy God,

…then He will have treated Jesus as if He lived your life, and will treat you as if you lived Jesus’ life. You will be saved from the penalty of your sin, and will be able to enjoy fellowship with God forever in heaven, and even fellowship with Him starting now.

In other words, if you believe that you’re a sinner and deserve God’s punishment because of your sin, but you also believe that God sent Jesus to endure that punishment in your place, and that His sacrifice is the only way you can be forgiven, then God promises that He will forgive you and you will be saved. You’ll know the God who created you.

Don’t Waste Your Life

God designed your soul. And He designed you so that, just as a car engine is designed to run on gasoline, you’re designed to run on Him. He is what life is about. All of the disappointments, discouragements, and uncertainties of your life find their resolution in Him. And all of the satisfactions, fun experiences, and joys of life find their consummation in Him. Everything good in our lives is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us to the feast of God Himself. And everything bad in our lives is a reminder that life lived apart from knowing God in Christ is not the way it was meant to be.

And I also don’t want to see you waste your life. God created us for the purpose of rightly knowing and worshiping Him. That’s the meaning of life. That’s where true happiness and satisfaction are found. When you don’t live your life for that purpose, you waste it. So many people go through life seeking that happiness, but never find it because they don’t know what life is really about. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to suffer God’s wrath eternally for your sin. I want to spend eternity in heaven worshiping God with you, praising Him for how gracious He was to forgive our sins because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Receive Forgiveness

So would you receive Christ? Would you acknowledge your sinfulness before God and admit you can’t do a thing about it? Would you turn from your sin, and seek to live your life in submission to Jesus Christ? Would you trust in Jesus alone for your righteousness before God? Would you join me in worshiping the God we were created to know?

Seven Virtues to Pursue for Spiritual Growth

Source: Spiritual Growth

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV).

Picture in your mind a Volkswagen and a 747 airplane. Now imagine the Volkswagen pulling the 747.[1] Believe it or not, a Volkswagen can actually do this, but the power of a Volkswagen could never make the thing fly!

You cannot live the Christian life apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament talks about people who have a form of godliness, but they deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). That kind of religion is rather like the Volkswagen pulling the plane. It takes a great effort, but it’s ultimately futile; it will never fly! Jesus said “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Here are seven virtues that we are to pursue vigorously in the power of the Holy Spirit. The list is similar to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, but Peter’s emphasis is on our effort to actively pursue these things: Make every effort to add these things to your faith. Go after them. Make them your own. You are not in the position of the Volkswagen trying to pull the plane. God has given you power, now stretch yourself out in the pursuit of these things this year.

I’ve found it helpful to use this as a grid for self-evaluation. You might like to use it that way in your small group or with a friend, to talk about your own spiritual growth and to set some goals and objectives.

1. Goodness (Moral excellence)

If you want to be a fruitful Christian, then you need to grow in goodness. The evidence of your faith will be seen in the goodness of your life. Peter has already told us that Christ calls us “by his own glory and goodness” (v. 3). Throughout his life, Jesus went about doing good, and the sheer moral excellence of his life compels us. A reflection of that goodness in our lives will be compelling to others.

Now Peter says to the believer, “you participate in the divine nature.” (v. 4). His Spirit lives in you, so make every effort to grow in this goodness. Pursue goodness and moral excellence with all the energy you can muster.

How can you become more active in doing good to others?

2. Knowledge (Practical wisdom)

If you want to be a fruitful Christian, you need to grow in wisdom, depth, stability, and maturity. The way that happens is through the Word of God — learned, believed, applied, and obeyed. The Bible is much more than information. David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feed and a light of my path” (Psalms 119:105). You will find direction, wisdom, and stability as you meditate on God’s Word.

What opportunities are you taking hold of for learning God’s Word? Are you taking full advantage of them?

3. Self-control (Controlling your passions instead of your passions controlling you)

Remember who’s writing this: Peter, the most impulsive man in the New Testament! The man who was once a blundering disciple is now a trusted apostle in the church of God. That’s growth! If that can happen for him, it can happen for you.

God has given you everything you need for life and godliness.

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God has given you everything you need for life and godliness, so make it a life commitment to continue growing in self-control.

Where do you need to exercise more self-control? Is it in eating and drinking? Is it in what you watch? Is it in how much or how little you sleep? In what you spend? In relation to your moods, your anger, or your tongue?

4. Perseverance (Pressing on when you feel like giving up)

If you want to be useful to Jesus Christ, you need to learn perseverance. Perseverance comes from self-control. The impulsive person gives up easily. He is pushed around by what he feels at any given moment. When the impulsive person gets fed up, he wants to give up.

If you want to be useful to Jesus Christ, you need to grow out of that. Determine that you will rise above discouragement, which all of us face in our own lives. Don’t give up easily. Grow into perseverance.

Where do you need to press on? What do you feel like giving up on right now? This may be an opportunity for you to grow in character and to become a more fruitful Christian.

5. Godliness (A life that flows from a passion for God)

Worship expresses and refreshes your love for Christ. And this love comes before love for other Christians and love for the world, because love for Christ is the source of love for others and love for the world.

How is your love for Christ? What priority does worship and prayer have in your life?

6. Brotherly kindness (A generous spirit towards other believers)

The person who is really useful to Christ is always asking, “Where can I give a helping hand? How can I contribute to the lives and needs of others?”

If you are growing in brotherly kindness, you will be generous in giving and in helping. You will also be generous in your judgment of other Christians. You will be slow to think the worst of your brothers and sisters in Christ and quick to think the best.

Where can you be more generous to other Christians? Are you aware of a Christian brother or sister in financial need? Are you aware of a brother or sister who needs a helping hand? Is there a brother or sister of whom you have been thinking the worst?

7. Love (God’s compassion for the world)

It’s very significant that Peter calls us to grow in love for each other and in love for the world. Sometimes Christians who are most passionate about reaching the lost are also most critical of their Christian brothers and sisters. And sometimes Christians who are most generous to other believers are quite heartless towards the lost world. God doesn’t give us a choice between loving our brothers and loving the world. He calls us to both.

Where can you demonstrate God’s compassion for lost people? Are you aware of someone outside the church who is in need? Do you know someone who has never heard the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Do you have active friendships outside of church world?

These seven virtues are the things we are to pursue, this year and every year. Make every effort to progress in these things. Go after them with all the energy you can muster. Make them yours. Add them to your faith.

What other virtues will you pursue this year?

[1] I was privileged to speak at a missions conference a while ago. Professor Craig Ott was also teaching there, and he had this wonderful picture of a Volkswagen pulling a 747 airliner!

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Sanctification & Bracing Ourselves for a New Year

Source: The Cripplegate

Happy New Year 2016 replace 2015 concept on the sea beach

Without knowing what the future holds, we can safely say that there is one thing we will need for 2016: godliness. To stably and safely weather all of the we’re-not-in-heaven-yet things coming from this new year, we will need a high dose of christlikeness and, if you’re like me, an increase thereof. So, sanctification should be a dear friend as we turn a calendar year (and as we enter each day, for that matter).

Sanctification: God’s work of progressively conforming the Christian into christlikeness from the time of spiritual birth (regeneration) until we see Jesus (glorification), through the Spirit, our effort, the means of grace, and any number of circumstances. Sanctification is not the means of salvation, but the consequence of it.

But oftentimes, we can have a myopic, low view of sanctification. For example, it really only occurs when I sit down for my daily quiet time or during the Sunday sermon. Yet sanctification involves much more than that because God the Father is much more involved than that in the lives of believers.

sanctification

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Putting sanctification in its appropriately high place will position us for the kind of people we need to be for the new year. A high view of sanctification involves two ideas. First, it sees God as big, his love as involved, and his sovereignty as limitless. Second, with those things in mind, a high view of sanctification means we are more occupied by seeing God’s sanctifying work in our lives through struggle than we are irritated by the struggle; the particular means (e.g. difficult people, jobs, family, health trials) which he uses to sanctify us.

Similarly, a high view of sanctification involves these four tenets:

  1. God’s work in every Christian is to continually and progressively conform them into the image of Christ.
  2. God uses all sorts of circumstances (especially difficult ones) to accomplish our progressive formation into christlikeness.
  3. God is sovereign over all things; us, every detail of our lives, the lives of those around us, and everything else.
  4. Therefore, an accurate view of my life, as a Christian, involves seeing how, not if, God is using every circumstance—big and small, difficult and less difficult—to accomplish my sanctification.

With that, here are a few reasons to be armed with a high view of sanctification so as to position ourselves for a good 2016, no matter what the year is like:

  1. A high view of sanctification will occupy us more with God’s loving work on us than people’s imperfections among us.

A classic symptom of a low view of sanctification is when our knee-jerk response to hard people and circumstances is frustration towards them/it before humble trust in our loving Father’s work on us. How so-and-so irritated us becomes a bigger deal than how God the son suffered for us and subsequently is transforming us. God the Father is conforming us to the most wonderful Person in the world, yet, that precious truth often slips to the infrequently-visited theoretical place in our thinking.

343c6d9But a high view of sanctification will help us focus more on God’s love for us in changing us rather than the being irritated by the particular circumstances used to facilitate the change.

  1. A high view of sanctification will help us be less irritated by, and more loving towards, the sin of other sinners in our lives.

It’s inevitable. Your spouse, kids, coworkers, neighbors, roommates, family, and fellow church members are going to sin against you. You will get rubbed the wrong way this year. A lot. But a high view of sanctification reminds us that God is at work purging our minds of anger towards people, replacing it with God’s love, as he actively fathers us. Which means people’s fallenness won’t get on our nerves as much. It’s all being used by our Father to child-train us since we, too, greatly need increasing spiritual maturity.

  1. A high view of sanctification will position us to increasingly walk by the Spirit instead of succumbing to the flesh.

Whenever we find ourselves replaying how offended we are; how our toes were stepped on; and what kind of epic comeback we should’ve pulled off to put them in their place, we’re doing all things for the glory of self. Whatever we are doing, we are not walking by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is never leading us to play the tape of how annoyed we are by so-and-so.

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Instead, the Spirit is given to Christians as the engine of sanctification. He is the holy hijacker: the flesh seeks to regularly blame and complain at all things outside of us in struggle so as to not change, but the Spirit hijacks the flesh by showing us the good work our Father is doing in the struggle so as to sanctify us.

  1. A high view of sanctification will help us readily immerse ourselves in the means of grace, rather than getting stuck in focusing on, and chafing under, irritating people and situations.

Another evidence of an atrophied view of sanctification is when we brew on those people and things that just made our lives hard rather than Scripture and prayer. Stewing in frustration becomes more appealing than chewing on God’s word.

Whenever hard things happen, we find ourselves standing at the fork in the road. We can go the wrong way: led by our flesh, we run to self-validating, self-actualizing, and self-exalting thoughts that seek change all things except for self. Or we can go the right way: led by the Spirit, we will recall that we are wretched, and God is lovingly exposing and eradicating remaining sin in our lives in order to improve us. Being reminded of that, we’ll throw ourselves more into God’s channels of change; local church involvement, Scripture study, prayer, obedience, and serving. When we have a high view of sanctification, struggle will more quickly grab the tools of change instead of rutting out in fleshly responses.

Like David when he responded to difficult, sanctifying people, we will say, “But I am in prayer” (Ps. 109:4). Attending our local church worship gatherings and other teaching venues will change from being something “I should probably do” to “I must and get to” because we will be eager to receive God’s corporate care through the ministry of the local church. Understanding how important sanctification is to God, we will dive in deeper to his means by which it happens.

  1. A high view of sanctification will further our endurance in the battles of life.

As Paul (Rom. 5:3-5) and James (Jas. 1:2-4) mention, there is a symbiotic relationship between struggle, sanctification, and endurance in the Christian life. A high view of sanctification feeds an expectation for, and hope in, suffering. This breeds endurance because we will be less tempted to bail on difficult relationships and circumstances. We will endure by preaching to ourselves the truth: God is using these difficulties for a wonderful end product; perfect christlikeness. With that true perspective, we will stand in the struggle longer.

  1. Volatility AheadA high view of sanctification will make us more pleasant to be around.

When, not if, people are challenging and the hourly normalcy of fallen-life do not bow under our smooth-sailing-secret-demands, we will remain at peace, by God’s grace. Why? Because we grow to expect God to do what God does; prune away the spiritual weeds and stubble in our lives using his divine clippers (cf. John 15:2). We know that we are in God’s holiness guild, and thus, we won’t be taken off guard by the force administered to cut away those weeds. So, we won’t be like Mr. Volatile Vinnie who boils his fury into everyone’s lap when the circumstantial pillow isn’t fluffed as wished. Consequently, we will just be more calm and joyful, and people will be blessed by our stable spirit when the Curse curses.

  1. Father and son

    zilzarlife.com

    A high view of sanctification is a means of persevering to heaven.

God does not orphan any of the souls whom he births. All birthed will grow and finish glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). Which means sanctification will be in the picture for God’s redeemed between birth and death. And on the flipside, if a professing believer has no heartbeat for sanctification, it’s likely they are dead. Heed to our sanctification, then, is a means of perseverance (cf. 1 Tim. 4:16). Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).

These are not the only benefits to keeping and living a proper, high view of sanctification. And that is not all we’ll need for a God-glorifying new year. Even so, a high, biblical view of sanctification will set us up in many ways to grow in God’s grace so as to be ready for a challenging 2016.