Daily Archives: January 17, 2016

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB)

As many of you know, I grew up as a Southern Baptist. After God saved me in 1986 I was a Southern Baptist until 2006 when our former church was overtaken by the Purpose Driven paradigm. I was bitter about that for a while. I and many of you found common ground having had our churches ripped away from us and in many cases finding it nearly impossible to find a good Biblical local church remaining in our area after the Seeker-Sensitive tsunamis had moved through devastating…

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13 Hours movie review, and my top 25 posts about the Benghazi cover-up


13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

I went to see the movie 13 hours on Saturday and found that it dovetailed nicely with all the stories that I had written on this blog about the events in Libya and the subsequent lies and cover-up by the Obama administration.

I was asked to review the movie and post all of the links to the previous stories by my friends Kevin and McKenzie, so that’s what I’m going to do.

So, I am a huge war movie fan, and I read military biography and military history. The most frustrating thing in war movies and books about war is that the go too far down to the level of details, without providing the context. Very frustrating. I don’t want movies to be too much about action and fancy animations. I want to learn something about the strategy and tactics in play. And…

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God is Holy; God is Love (GodLife)

Scripture:“Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, ‘I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ The Lord also says, ‘Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.’” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Many say God’s holiness makes him judgmental, demanding a very high moral standard. Others say if God is loving, then he won’t condemn anyone but all will go to Heaven. Are God’s holiness and love opposite extremes?

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January 16-17, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Top News – 1/17/2016

After Iran Nuclear Sanctions Lifted, US Issues Fresh Embargo Over Ballistic Missile Program
Obama spoke at the White House Sunday to laud the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran while vowing the U.S. would not sacrifice its own safety in the name of Iranian diplomacy. The president’s followed Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement of new sanctions against 11 companies and individuals over a ballistic missile test in Iran.

Saudi Stocks Plunge On Fresh Oil Worries After Lifting Of Iran Sanctions; Egypt Follows
Shares in Saudi Arabia fell more than 6 percent Sunday morning as investors reacted to the lifting of sanctions against Iran, fearing that the move may worsen the global oil glut as Iran looks to ramp up its crude oil exports. Global oil prices dropped below the $30 mark, settling at $29 per barrel Friday. Egypt’s market also hit its lowest point in two years.

New Ebola Death In Sierra Leone Leads To Quarantines Of More Than 100 People
Barely two months after the World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone to be Ebola-free, local officials on Sunday confirmed a new death caused by the disease, according to the Agence France-Presse. Officials also stated that 109 people, 28 of whom are considered to be at high risk for infection, had been quarantined in an attempt to prevent the disease’s further spread.

Episcopal Church Suspended from Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion voted to censure its American branch, the Episcopal Church, during a meeting in Canterbury, England, called to reflect on the future of the communion. The vote Thursday (Jan. 14) to suspend the Episcopal Church from voting and decision-making for a period of three years was leaked a day ahead of a press conference that had been scheduled for Friday.

Massive sandstorm bearing down on Israel
Heavy haze nationwide, snow on Mt. Hermon, rain in the north, dust everywhere – citizens warned to close their windows as the storm nears.

Iran Preparing For Armageddon? Islamic Republic Backs Shiites In Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan And Yemen
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said recent violence across the region, including the rise of the Islamic State group, was a sign the arrival of the messianic Muslim leader was imminent, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

Real World Economics: China’s selloff of U.S. bonds affects us all
But there is not much we can do about it. Hope — nay, pray — that fear does not become panic, creating a true classic foreign exchange crisis for China this year. That is the last thing the global economy needs in 2016. But the probability of it happening is there.

Flint, Michigan water contamination: Obama declares emergency
US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, where the water has become contaminated with lead. The city’s water became contaminated after a change in supplier in 2014. Corrosive water leached lead from old pipes into the water supply. The emergency declaration will unlock $5m (£3.5m) in federal funding.

Syria conflict: ‘Hundreds’ abducted in IS attack on Deir al-Zour
Islamic State militants in Syria are said to have abducted 400 civilians during a bloody assault on the eastern city of Deir al-Zour. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition monitoring body, said people were taken from areas in the north-west of the city. The report from the London-based group could not be independently verified.

Netanyahu hints at understanding with US about deterring Iranian threat
…“Israel’s position was, and remains just as it was: not to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu stressed. He added that…Iran will now have more resources to turn to in its “terrorist and aggressive activities in the region and the world… Netanyahu noted that Israel is…in the midst of concluding a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding with the US which will govern the level of US military aid to Israel over the next decade.

Obama’s Middle East Policies Dictated by Phony Iran Deal
The Obama administration continues to capitulate to Iran’s demands in order to ensure that an unworkable, unsigned international agreement somehow restrains that regime’s quest for nuclear weapons. The media are also working overtime to make sure that Obama’s White House isn’t embarrassed by its repeated concessions to Iran.

Fierce clashes as regime battles IS in Aleppo: monitor
Fierce fighting raged Saturday between regime forces backed by Russian air strikes and Islamic State group fighters in northern Aleppo province, a monitor said.

Nuclear sanctions lifted as Iran, U.S. agree on prisoner swap
Iran emerged from years of economic isolation on Saturday when world powers began to lift crippling sanctions against the Islamic Republic in return for Tehran complying with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.

The Terminator could become REAL: Intelligent AI robots capable of DESTROYING mankind
Dr Amnon Eden said more needs to be done to look at the risks of continuing towards an AI world. He warned that we were getting close to the point of no return in terms of AI, without a proper understanding of the consequences.

The author of the book on which Michael Bay’s new Benghazi movie is based stands by his depiction of a pivotal scene
“Stand down,” says the actor playing the CIA station chief in Michael Bay’s new film, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” He’s speaking to the security team that wants to go help Americans under siege less than a mile away in a U.S. diplomatic compound under fierce attack. His order keeps the team from leaving for a crucial 20 minutes, before they decide to ignore him and go anyway.

Markets suffer their worst start to the year since Great Depression
The start of this year has been the worst for financial markets since the onset of the Great Depression, with stock prices slumping around the world amid mounting concern over the situation in China.

Village suffers ‘biblical’ non stop rain for 81 DAYS and even the livestock are ‘depressed’
Fed-up residents in a Welsh village are holding their breath for a day of dry weather after 81 days of consistent rainfall. People living in Eglwyswrw, Pembrokeshire, have experienced rainfall every day since October 26.

Top Headlines – 1/17/2016

US, EU lift sanctions against Iran amid landmark nuke deal

Rouhani hails ‘golden page’ in Iran’s history as sanctions lifted

Israel minister warns of ‘dangerous’ Iran deal implementation

PMO: Iran is still looking to obtain nuclear weapon

Israeli source: Iran will first invest freed-up funds in military

Israel at the UN: Lifting sanctions on Iran greases wheels of terrorism

Ryan blasts Obama: Iran will use sanctions relief to ‘finance terrorists’

Rouhani: All happy about deal except Israel, US hard-liners

Iran releases 4 Americans in prisoner swap with U.S.; 5th American freed separately

Iran Frees Pastor Saeed Abedini after Three Years in Prison

Wife of pastor Saeed Abedini, jailed in Iran for his faith, explains the ‘shock’ of his release

Obama offers clemency to 7 Iranians charged with violating sanctions

U.S. pardon attorney to resign amid Obama’s last-year clemency push

A Look at the 7 Iranian Prisoners Released by the US

Signs increasing that American support for Israel could begin to crack

Minister: PA collapse imminent, result will be ‘anarchy’ – “Israel is not preparing for the ‘war of all against all’ that will follow”

Peres: Palestinian frustration over peace process freeze leads to violence

EU: Agreements with Israel only apply within 1967 borders

EU foreign ministers likely to debate tensions with Israel over Area C

Top Turkish official: Ties with Israel to be normalized soon

U.N. says has reports of starvation in Syria’s besieged Deir Al-Zor

Humanitarian aid treated as ‘bargaining chips’ in Syria: UN official

Suicide bomber kills 13 people in eastern Afghanistan: officials

Al-Shabaab Raid in Somalia Kills 50 Kenyan Soldiers, Xinhua Says

American missionary killed in Burkina Faso attack by Al Qaeda-linked militants

Tony Blair: Britain must join EU army, fend off ‘backward-looking’ Euroskeptics

Venezuela economy: Nicolas Maduro declares emergency

Big investors see lousy U.S. environment but no 2008-style collapse

Dow’s Latest Tumble Means We Are Now Down 2200 Points From the Peak of the Market

Economic ‘tsunami’ undermines war against Islamic State in Iraq

Saudi stockmarket plunges more than 6 pct, Egypt slides

5 countries crushed by oil price collapse

Iran sanctions lifted: Brace for oil shakeup

On 20 January Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will appear in a line, visible to the naked eye

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Namlea, Indonesia

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Tiku, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near El Cobre, Cuba

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Gizo, Solomon Islands

Scientists Warn Californians of Possible Giant Tsunami: Report

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Tennger Caldera volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Copahu volcano in Argentina erupts to 10,000ft

It’s been raining in Welsh village Eglwyswrw for 82 days in a row – and it could break records

Obama declares emergency in Michigan over bad water: White House

Turkeys test positive for bird flu at nine Indiana farms

Alabama abortion clinic demolished in spite of owner claiming God ‘wants me to do this job’

North African men suspected of stoning transgender women in German city

Christian leaders attempt to fix unified date for Easter

Pope to visit synagogue in sign of friendship


Top News – 1/16/2016

Tony Blair: Britain must join EU army, fend off ‘backward-looking’ Euroskeptics
Britain should be part of the proposed EU army and stay in the union despite the efforts of “backwards-looking” Euroskeptics to withdraw, controversial former PM Tony Blair claims.

Davis: Obama Noted Muslims, Said Nothing of Christians ‘Tried, Tested, And Being Mashed Down’ ‘With His Agenda’
Following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis explained why she opposed homosexual “marriage,” and noted that although Obama defended Muslims in his address, he said nothing of Christians who “are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally, with his agenda.”

Sunrise ‘angel,’ cross in sky photographed same day!
What on Earth is happening in the sky? A series of spectacular images of the sun were caught on camera this week from New York to Hawaii, with some saying they see angels, doves and crosses.

Burkina Faso attacks: Four Al-Qaeda terrorists – ‘including two women’ – killed after special forces free 126 hostages in hotel siege
Burkina Faso and French forces killed four Islamist extremists on Saturday and freed more than 126 people to end the seige of a luxury hotel by al-Qaida-linked militants, Burkina Faso officials said. In addition to the four jihadists, at least 23 people were killed in the attack at the Splendid Hotel and a nearby cafe in Ouagadougou, the capital, the president said.

Growing number of police chiefs, sheriffs join call to arms
It’s Florida Sheriff Grady Judd’s duty to protect the citizens of Polk County — but he figures it’s their job, too. One of a growing number of rural and big-city law enforcement officials who openly encourages responsible gun ownership, Judd believes guns allow citizens to defend themselves when police cannot.

Iran nuclear deal: Minister says sanctions ‘to be lifted’
International sanctions against Iran are to be lifted today, the country’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said. Mr Zarif is in Vienna for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran’s nuclear deal. The international nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected to confirm that Iran has scaled back its atomic activities in line with the agreement.

Venezuela economy: Nicolas Maduro declares emergency
The Venezuelan government has announced a 60-day economic emergency to deal with the country’s worsening crisis. President Nicolas Maduro will govern by decree for two months. The edict includes tax increases and puts emergency measures in place to pay for welfare services and food imports.

Tsai Ing-wen elected Taiwan’s first female president
Ms Tsai, 59, represents Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which leads the camp that wants independence from China. Although she has not made her stance clear, opponents say Taiwan’s relations with China will deteriorate as she does not recognise the “one China” policy. China sees the island as a breakaway province – which it has threatened to take back by force if necessary.

In historic first, a January tropical storm makes landfall in Azores
For the first time in recorded history, a tropical storm has made landfall in the Azores Islands, located in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean, during the month of January. Alex had been a hurricane from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, but the storm weakened while transitioning into a non-tropical storm system.

Xi visit to bolster Saudi-China ties
Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday when he will meet with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to discuss trade and other ties.

N. Korea Says It Could Halt Nuke Tests If US Scraps Drills
North Korea said it could stop nuclear tests in exchange for the U.S. scrapping joint military drills with South Korea, while also calling for a peace treaty with the U.S. in an echo of demands that were rejected by Washington in the past.

Pakistani boy cuts off own hand after blasphemy mistake: police
A 15-year-old Pakistani boy cut off his own hand believing he had committed blasphemy, only to be celebrated by his parents and neighbours for the act.

Pro-regime forces brace for assault to seize Aleppo
Pro-regime fighters are preparing to launch a major assault to recapture Syria’s second city Aleppo, a security source in the northern province told AFP.

Security forces launch assault on besieged Burkina Faso hotel
Security forces launched an assault in the early hours of Saturday to rescue hostages held by Al-Qaeda linked gunman in a Burkina Faso hotel where at least 20 people have been killed. Communication Minister Remis Dandjinou told AFP 63 hostages, including 33 wounded, were evacuated from inside Ouagadougou’s four-star Splendid hotel.

ISIS just messed with the wrong Islamic country
ISIS’s November terrorist attack in Paris might have made a bigger splash around the world, but its Istanbul attack Tuesday might actually prove its undoing. That’s because it might finally persuade Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who commands the second largest NATO army after America, to stop playing footsie with this noxious outfit and start dealing with it.

Saudi ally Comoros breaks off relations with Iran
Indian Ocean archipelago and Saudi Arabia ally the Comoros said it had cut diplomatic relations with Iran over what it termed Tehran’s “aggression” towards Riyadh.

Top Headlines – 1/16/2016

New EU resolution further singles out ‘settlements’

What Pope Francis synagogue visit says about Catholic-Jewish relations

In 15th year, Wikipedia is a battleground for observers of Israeli-Arab conflict

Israel has no existential threats, says departing Mossad chief

Vladimir Putin is the closest thing to a friend Israel has ever had in Moscow

White House: We’re not yet ready to lift sanctions on Iran

More aid reaches trapped Syrians; doubts cast on peace talks

Russia Says West ‘Politicizing’ Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

‘Hamas rejects Iran offer of funding in return for backing in Saudi row’

Saudi ally Comoros breaks off relations with Iran

At Least 20 Killed After Al-Qaeda Attack On Burkina Faso Hotel

Burkina Faso terror: Security forces raid besieged hotel, free 126 hostages

Indonesia blocks radical websites after deadly militant attack in capital

N. Korea Says It Could Halt Nuke Tests If US Scraps Drills

Texas lawyer files federal lawsuit against Ted Cruz over his Canadian birth

Sanders gaining ground on Clinton, in echoes of 2008

Growing number of police chiefs, sheriffs join call to arms

US turns to UN to screen refugees from Central America

US visa system routinely gamed by human traffickers, says ex-federal official

Man uses microchip implanted in hand to pass through airport security

Venezuela’s inflation at historic high, president declares economic emergency

Puerto Rico ‘in midst of economic collapse’

A recession worse than 2008 is coming

Stocks close down 2% after hitting a near 15-month low on oil rout

Dow slides 391; oil and China drops rattle investors

Walmart to Close 269 Stores as Retailers Struggle

Scientists stunned by brightest-ever supernova

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Vinchina, Argentina

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lebu, Chile

4.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Iceland

Oklahoma Residents Sue Energy Companies Over Earthquake Damage

Copahu volcano in Argentina erupts to 20,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 18,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Tengger Caldera in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

In historic first, a January tropical storm makes landfall in Azores

Flood threat grows for West Coast with storms poised to hit daily into next week

Global Warming Could Stave Off Next Ice Age For 100,000 Years

Army cites deep flaws at biodefense lab that shipped live anthrax

CDC says closely monitoring outbreak of new bird flu strain

CDC issues travel alert on Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects

Employee Wellness Programs Not So Voluntary Anymore

Canada’s high court gives green light to assisted suicide

For Now, Anglicans Avert Schism Over Gay Marriage

Episcopal leader: Church will not reverse gay marriage stand

The religious culture war over gays is ecumenical

Obama’s Radical ‘LGBT’ Legacy – An Immoral ‘Transformation’ of America

Research suggests morality can survive without religion

The American holocaust

The American holocaust

Posted on January 16, 2016 by World Magazine

ABORTION | The horrors of Hitler and the spirit of Jezebel live on in our abortion culture

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Franklin Graham: 'Terrible Things Happen to Those Who Want Nothing to Do With God' After Atheist Seek to Remove 'In God We Trust' from Currency

Franklin Graham: ‘Terrible Things Happen to Those Who Want Nothing to Do With God’ After Atheist Seek to Remove ‘In God We Trust’ from Currency

Posted on January 16, 2016 by Gospel Herald

In response to the attempts of an atheist group to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from American currency, the Rev. Franklin Graham has warned that terrible things happen to nations and people who turn their backs on the protective hand of God.

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Launching 50-state tour, Franklin Graham warns Americans 'have sinned greatly against almighty God'

Launching 50-state tour, Franklin Graham warns Americans ‘have sinned greatly against almighty God’

Posted on January 16, 2016 by Christian Examiner

Evangelist Franklin Graham launched his 50-state Decision America tour Tuesday, telling more than 2,500 people in Iowa’s capital that America will fall if God’s people don’t take a stand for righteousness.

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Jailed pastor Saeed Abedini among prisoners being released by Iran

Jailed pastor Saeed Abedini among prisoners being released by Iran

Posted on January 16, 2016 by Religion News

(RNS) His cause had been vocally championed by U.S. Christians, but recent revelations by Abedini’s wife that he had abused her for years may complicate his homecoming.

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7 Reasons Not to Play the Lottery

7 Reasons Not to Play the Lottery

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Church Leaders

&Pray that Christ’s people will be so satisfied in him that they will be freed from the greed that makes us crave to get rich.&

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Franklin Graham Urges Thousands for 'Decision America Tour' to Pray for U.S.: 'I Have Zero Hope in Political Parties'

Franklin Graham Urges Thousands for ‘Decision America Tour’ to Pray for U.S.: ‘I Have Zero Hope in Political Parties’

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Gospel Herald

Thousands of people gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for Franklin Graham’s “Decision America Tour,” where the prominent evangelist urged U.S. citizens to pray for our nation, as he has “zero hope” in political parties.

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Christian Persecution Reached 'Unprecedented Levels' in 2015, Reveals Disturbing New World Watch List

Christian Persecution Reached ‘Unprecedented Levels’ in 2015, Reveals Disturbing New World Watch List

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Gospel Herald

The persecution of Christians reached unprecedented levels in 2015, as over 7,000 believers were killed for their faith worldwide, according to a new report from persecution watchdog Open Doors.

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Movie Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Movie Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Posted on January 15, 2016 by Crosswalk

Feels a bit long, and isn’t likely to engender any warm feelings about the U.S. government, but depicts sacrifices and actions that deserve to be celebrated.

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13 Hours unravels Benghazi’s murky details

13 Hours unravels Benghazi’s murky details

Posted on January 15, 2016 by World Magazine

MOVIES | Director Michael Bay allows the facts to speak for themselves

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Stand for Truth Thursday: Will I Be Persecuted?

by Erin Davis

Will you be persecuted for your faith? The Bible has a clear answer.

Two Simple Questions to Guide Your Bible Study

by Jennifer Case Cortez

Unlock the treasures of God’s Word with these two questions.

What Does Pursuing God Look Like?

by Paula Hendricks Marsteller

Want to know what it really looks like to pursue God? We’ve got the hands-down, number-one answer.

But Shouldn’t It Be Easy to Read My Bible?

by Paula Hendricks Marsteller

Do you flip open your Algebra textbook randomly and hope to become a math genius? Probably not. That approach doesn’t work with God’s Word either. Here are 5 better ideas for studying God’s Word.

Welcome To The New Normal: The Dow Crashes Another 390 Points And Wal-Mart Closes 269 Stores

Welcome to the new normalDid you know that 15 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out since last June?  The worldwide financial crisis that began in the middle of last year is starting to spin wildly out of control.  On Friday, the Dow plunged another 390 points, and it is now down a total of 1,437 points since the beginning of this calendar year.  Never before in U.S. history have stocks ever started a year this badly.  The same thing can be said in Europe, where stocks have now officially entered bear market territory.  As I discussed yesterday, the economic slowdown and financial unraveling that we are witnessing are truly global in scope.  Banks are failing all over the continent, and I expect major European banks to start making some huge headlines not too long from now.  And of course let us not forget about China.  On Friday the Shanghai Composite declined another 3.6 percent, and overall it is now down more than 20 percent from its December high.  Much of this chaos has been driven by the continuing crash of the price of oil.  As I write this article, it has dipped below 30 dollars a barrel, and many of the big banks are projecting that it still has much farther to fall. (Read More….)

Lowest Ever: The Baltic Dry Index Plunges To 394 As Global Trade Grinds To A Standstill

Container Ship - Public DomainFor the first time ever, the Baltic Dry Index has fallen under 400.  As I write this article, it is sitting at 394.  To be honest, I never even imagined that it could go this low.  Back in early August, the Baltic Dry Index was sitting at 1,222, and since then it has been on a steady decline.  Of course the Baltic Dry Index crashed hard just before the great stock market crash of 2008 too, but at this point it is already lower than it was during that entire crisis.  This is just more evidence that global trade is grinding to a halt and that 2016 is going to be a “cataclysmic year” for the global economy. (Read More….)

70 Tips That Will Help You Survive What Is About To Happen To America

70 SignYou may have noticed that things are starting to get crazy. Financial markets are imploding, violent crime rates are soaring in our major cities, and we have witnessed a truly unusual series of natural disasters in recent months. War in the Middle East continues to rage out of control, and Islamic terror continues to spread all over the globe. And many believe that 2016 is going to be a year of political shaking, civil unrest, governmental crackdowns and great economic chaos in the United States. All it is going to take to plunge our society into full-blown panic mode is a major “trigger event” of some sort. Another 9/11, a new “Lehman Brothers” moment, a massive EMP burst from the sun or a historic seismic event are all examples of what this “trigger event” could look like. (Read More…)

CNBC: A recession worse than 2008 is coming

For the record, we have been calling this for a good while now. We warned of slowing in the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, China. We warned that the great neo-Keynesian experiment was destined for an ugly end (and we are by no means the only ones who said this.)Is this THE turn? It looks increasingly so but the next few months will show us for sure.

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Six reasons not to follow Christine Caine

Wolf in sheeps clothing 4Pastrix Christine Caine from heretical Hillsong Church Australia is a teacher that the serious Christian should steer clear of. In spite of the fact that Caine teaches ubiblical word-faith/prosperity theology and engages in New Age practices, she has been a featured speaker for Louis Giglio’s Passion conferences and has preached with prominent Reformed pastor John Piper. (Here and Here) Piper, who holds to a complementarian view, has received a lot of heat for sharing teaching duties with a woman who claims false teacher Joyce Meyer as her mentor. Elizabeth Prata of The End Times lays out six reasons why Caine must be avoided like the plague.

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This ‘n’ That

  • So, David Bowie died this week and for some reason, The Christian Post thinks it’s important for us to know that he once “experimented” with Christianity. I do not know what that is supposed to look like.
  • This article also popped up at the Baptist News website, and I am having difficulty understanding how or why this was published. For example, how is any true Christian supposed to seriously consider the following statement? “Despite Bowie’s brand of suggestive visuals and content, churches have a lot to learn from this cultural icon.” Really? The point of the article: Bowie was relevant so churches ought to listen up. So much for 2 Timothy 4:2, huh?
  • Can we please stop lending any credibility to Anne Graham Lotz? Not only does she deliberately disobey Scripture by teaching men, but her theology is…wonky, and in several places. Now she’s praying in circles. Oh well, maybe she’ll get dizzy and will have to stop preaching for awhile.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Entreating Favor reviews Mike Abendroth’s new book, Sexual Fidelity: No Compromise. Have you gotten your copy yet? It’s now available on Kindle!
  • Speaking of Mike Abendroth, he recently interviewed Don Green on No Compromise Radio, and I think you’ll want to listen in on their conversation as they discuss everything from providence to anxiety to Flip Wilson. Yes, really. This article might give a little context to part of their conversation.
  • And speaking of Don Green, here’s a wonderful message from Psalm 90 on renewing your mind in the new year.
  • The Pope thinks all religions meet God in different ways. Wow. Color me…completely and utterly unsurprised.
  • Killing sin by the power of the spirit.
  • This might be cool.
  • I just…don’t…have words.
  • How to listen to the Lord:

Weekend A La Carte (January 16)

Daily Christian News Information Kindle DealsThis weekend’s Kindle deals include The Law of Kindness by Mary Beeke ($1.99); The NIV Zondervan Study Bible ($4.99); Hero of Heroes by Iain Duguid ($1.99); Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought by Stephen Nichols ($1.99); Tributes to John Calvin by David Hall ($1.99); Salvation by Grace by Matthew Barrett ($1.99); Recovering Our Reformed Confession by R. Scott Clark ($0.99). Also, you can get the book being given to each attendee at the Evangelicals for Life conference next week, Innocent Blood: Challenging the Powers of Death with the Gospel of Life ($1.99).

Is It Bad to Skip Breakfast?

Apparently it’s not quite as bad as you’ve heard. But I’m still going to start every day with my toast and eggs.

A Modest Proposal for the “Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God” Debate

Justin Taylor brings some much-needed reason to the debate.

A New Podcast

Podcast fans may want to check out this new one from Russell Moore.

Locker Room Extinction

WORLD: “At the end of 2015, two human rights commissions over 2,800 miles apart enacted new rules that could be precedent-setting for the gender battle across the nation, including giving people the right to use whichever locker rooms and bathrooms they choose.”

How the Phonograph Changed Music Forever

It’s always interesting to compare the present to the past: “Much like streaming music services today are reshaping our relationship with music, Edison’s invention redefined the entire industry…”

Notable Authors. If you’ve never checked out any books by author James White, I highly recommend you do so. I especially recommend The Forgotten Trinity and Scripture Alone.

Why 734 Pastors Quit

“No sabbatical. No help with counseling. No clear picture of what’s expected. Hundreds of former evangelical pastors say these were the crucial elements missing from the final churches they led before quitting the pastorate.”

What Is Truth?

Thanks to The Master’s College for sponsoring the blog this week with “What Is Truth?


Either worrying drives out prayer, or prayer drives out worrying. —D.A. Carson

What Do Pharisees Do?

They leap to unnecessary and often absurd conclusions in order to see those they oppose in the worst light (Matthew 9:34, 12:24).

They watch in order to nitpick (Matthew 12:2).

They like conspiracy theories (Matthew 12:14, Mark 3:6).

They’re always looking to take offense (Matthew 15:12, Luke 14:1).

They seek to “win” with malicious tests (Matthew 16:1, 19:3, 22:15).

They seek to “win” by parsing words (Matthew 22:15, Mark 12:13, Luke 6:7, 11:53).

They grumble (Luke 5:30, 15:2).

Spirituality Without Ongoing Repentance Is *Not* Christian Spirituality

“Christians don’t need to repent,” said the young man. “Jesus died for our sins … past, present and future,” he continued, “so you don’t need to spend all of your time asking him for forgiveness. He has already forgiven you!” According to this young man, all the church needed to do was lean into its identity as righteous daughters and sons of God!

Part of me agrees with some of the points being made by those who make these types of statements. It is absolutely appropriate to place emphasis on the Christian’s ontology, namely our union with Christ. Our identity as God’s children is rooted in our connection to Jesus and our reception of the soteriological benefits related to the cross, both those experienced in the immediate and those promised on the eschatological end.

But there are some serious issues with the suggestion that (1) Christians don’t need to repent and (2) the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict Christians. Yes, you read that correctly … advocates of the “Christians do not need to repent” concept also suggest that the Holy Spirit does not convict Christians; rather, the Spirit is said to convict the world alone.

Again, there are serious problems with these two ideas, both on a biblical-theological level as well as on a practical level. To name several of the issues I think need to be dealt with:

These views fundamentally undermine explicit statements from the Bible.

The New Testament, originally written in Greek, uses the word metanoia, which is translated as “repentance,” in a number of  verses that are contextually related to Christians. For example:

“Look how far you have fallen! Turn back (metanoeo) to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.” (Rev. 2:5 NLT)

“Repent (metanoeo) of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Rev. 2:16 NLT)

“Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent (metanoeo) and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.” (Rev. 3:3 NLT)

“I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn (metanoeo) from your indifference.” (Rev. 3:13 NLT)

As the context of these texts reveals, these texts are written to Christians. In fact, even if you make the mistake of suggesting that Jesus’ words to Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6) or Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) aren’t relevant because Jesus doesn’t commend those two churches, you still have to deal with Jesus’ words to Ephesus and Pergamum, two churches that Jesus commended.

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This Week in Calvinism – January 15, 2016

  • There can be times when it isn’t a good idea to try to convince someone of the doctrines of grace.
  • Calvinism isn’t cool.
  • Will Graham writes, “We are brothers and sisters in Christ—whether we be Calvinists or Arminians—so, as we continue preaching the Word of God together, let us love one another, serve one another and glorify our great God and Saviour together with all of our strength.”
  • Sanctification is not passive.
  • Why does Satan exist? For Christ’s glory and our joy.
  • Tim Challies presents amazing one-star reviews of great books, such as The Holiness of God and the ESV Study Bible.
  • Rich Pierce reviews James White’s debate with Leighton Flowers on Romans 9.

W4YW: Why 734 Pastors Quit, Our Age of Authenticity, & Email Rules

Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Video of the Week

Following Jesus in an Age of Authenticity, Russell Moore & Tim Keller. Whether you’re a Christian or not, chances are that you’re big into authenticity. After all, isn’t the alternative to being authentic being “fake?” As Keller and Moore point out, the core of the “authentic” life is the anti-biblical assertion: just be you! Helpful video here to expose and counter this winsome lie. (You can also check out this fascinating podcast with NYTimes’ David Brooks, dealing with many of the same issues.)


Articles of the Week

12 Golden Rules of Email Courtesy, T. David Gordon. Oh, how wonderful work life would be, if we all took Gordon’s rules to heart! If you send emails on a regular basis (um, everyone?), you need to read this list. And if you ever send me an email, you need to memorize this list.

The 10 Best Resources for Talking to Your Children about Porn, Luke Gilkerson. As Gilkerson points out, the prospect of talking to our kids about pornography sounds incredibly awkward. But I’ll deal with a healthy dose of awkward, when considering the disastrous alternative. Thankfully, there are tons of helpful resources out there, for varying ages, to help us start the conversation.

17 Lessons I Learned from Christian Books in 2015, Edmond Sanganyado. As John Wesley said, “Read or get out of the ministry.” But what you read is just as important as the fact that you read. So lists like this—commending books for specific reasons—will always be valuable. Learn from Sanganyado’s 2015 reading, and pick up a few of these for yourself in 2016.

Why 734 Pastors Quit (and How Their Churches Could Have Kept Them), Lisa Cannon Green. Lifeway conducted a research survey of 734 pastors who walked away from ministry last year before retirement. What went wrong? What could have prevented it? And what does that mean for your church, your pastor, and you—today?

On The Lighter Side

Knowledge of Traffic Laws. Be careful out there. Statistics show that most of the people on the road have passed a driving test.


Wisdom For Your Weekend is presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with occasional guidance from J.D. Greear. This is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

One Christian Is Martyred Every Hour of Every day

Crux magazine published 13 well-researched stories about Christians who were persecuted or martyred recently. Author and researcher, John L. Allen, presented the shocking update that one Christian is killed for their faith every hour, every day.

The violence seems to be saturated in Latin America, especially Colombia and El Salvador, but Asia, Africa and the Middle East are greatly affected as well.

El Salvador

One of the stories is set in El Salvador, the country with the highest amount of homicides per capita in the world.

“When two Colombian women, a mother and a grandmother, were shot to death within a month of one another in early 2013, there was tragically little on the surface to make their deaths remarkable. They became merely the latest casualties of a decades-long civil war that’s left 220,000 people dead.

Yet on closer examination, the lives and deaths of Alba Mery Chilito Peñafiel and Alicia Castilla not only illustrate the carnage their country has endured, but also one of its least-understood aspects: Despite belonging to an overwhelming statistical majority, Christians in Colombia who stand up to the violence are remarkably at risk. They face danger not for their religious beliefs, but for preaching against the drug trade and the killing in ways that infuriate both gangs and paramilitaries of left and right.”

The story ends with this chilling statement, “Globally, the two women are chapters in one of the most widespread human rights scourges of the early 21st century, which is lethal anti-Christian persecution. Though estimates vary widely, even low-end counts suggest that one Christian is killed for motives related to the faith somewhere in the world every hour of every day.”

Central African Republic

Allen shared about our faith’s “new martyrs.” It’s difficult to read about their violent deaths, and sadly, it’s so common in these countries journalists rarely report the stories. One piece highlights the impossible situation in the Central African Republic where 80 percent of the 4.6 million people are Christian and the rest are Muslim.

In 2013, a Muslim insurgents formed a militia, took over the capital and began sectarian killings burning Christians alive. In response, Christians created their own militia and began aggressively killing Muslims and destroyed almost all of their 436 mosques. The violence is unbelievable and seemingly unstoppable. Key religious leaders are trying to band together in a genuine show of friendship and unity, but there is a long, long way to go still.


Another story reveals why Somalia is the world’s second most dangerous place for Christians. The first most dangerous is North Korea where an estimated 50,000-100,000 Christians are imprisoned in labor camps.

Somalia is a “fragile state” that has lost 500,000 people in their 30 year civil war with even more lives being taken by famine and extreme poverty.

Allen wrote, “Somalia is also the setting for the dramatic story of a Catholic nun named Sister Leonella Sgorbati and her Muslim driver and close friend, Mahamud Mohammed Osman, who died together in September 2006.”

He continued, “She was gunned down at the age of 65 on Sept. 17, 2006… Osman, a father of four and a devout Muslim, was standing next to Sgorbati when militants believed to be linked to Al-Shabaab staged their ambush. The two were both shot as they walked 30 feet from the Mogadishu hospital to the sister’s home, where three other nuns were waiting to have lunch with them.

Osman tried to shield Sgorbati’s body with his own, and took the first bullet himself.

They died together, with other Consolata sisters later reporting that their blood had mingled on the hospital floor. Sgorbati’s dying words reportedly were ‘perdono, perdono, perdono,’ meaning’I forgive.’”


India is known as a diverse and colorful culture, but there is heartbreaking persecution in the country. Allen told the story of vicious Hindu militants who torture, imprison and kill Christians at their will while local police do nothing to step in and help.

One Indian Christian woman, Kanaka Nayak, was forced to watch an angry crowd of attackers viciously murder her husband.

“In the central square, they demanded that he renounce his Christian faith and embrace Hinduism. The self-declared Baptist preacher refused, whereupon he was beaten, disfigured, gutted, and burned. To grasp the depths of the savagery, it’s unfortunately necessary to be concrete: Nayak’s genitals were sliced off and his intestines ripped out by his frenzied attackers, some of whom draped the intestines around their necks as a macabre war trophy.”

Nayak shared with Crux through tears, “They cut my husband into pieces in front of me, covered him in kerosene and set him on fire.”

The crowd turned on her intending to rape her, but she escaped into the forest and found safety in a relief camp.


Can you imagine going to church and wondering if you’ll make it back home? This is the reality for both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria where a radical Islamist movement specializes in terrorizing Christians.The story in Nigeria is one of both potential and poverty.

“Musa Auda Badung is among those Nigerian Christians convinced that God hasn’t been listening terribly closely.” Badung has lost over 20 family members to violence and watched in horror as 60 Christians were “burned alive in their pastor’s home.”

His story continued, “Badung said assaults are so common in his area that Christians have had to learn to judge by ear how far away gunfire sounds so they can decide whether to continue a service or shout a quick ‘Amen’ and disperse. In January, he said, he was forced to hide on the floor of his church during one such attack and to watch a friend bleed to death in church from a gunshot.”


There are many more stories of cruelty, violence and control for those in China, Egypt and other countries around the world harmed, threatened, attacked and killed for their faith in Jesus.

Through war-torn towns and war zones, in the midst of violence and twisted governments, Christians around the world have stood their ground. Unfortunately, they’re now suffering greatly for it.

One bishop said to his priests, “You have to be the last to leave. You have to be here until the very end with the community.”

Pray for our brothers and sisters around the world. Commit to praying for a country, a region, a missionary, or a pastor with your family, small group, and congregation. Don’t just read these stories and then forget. Go to Crux  or The Voice of the Martyrs and read the full stories. Share this with your sphere of influence. It’s too important to miss.

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Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

Too late for this Christmas, but some good apologetic information for future use is a series by Tekton Apologetics Ministries:
Christmas is Pagan and other myths.  Good short video warning about crazy sites.
In the series, Part 1: is it unbiblical to celebrate birthdays? And were pagan gods born on Dec. 25th?
Part 2: why December 25th?
Part 3:  Stuffing the tree up
Part 4:  Christmas Tree Potpourri
Some good discernment articles by Gary Gilley:
More proof that Bethel Church is not about God or Jesus, but about the devil and all the distractions away from the true Faith.  Oh, but you can get Bill Johnson’s “Revival Collection” sermons on thumb drive for the bargain-basement price of $400!  On top of this, Johnson’s cult followers are incensed that this stuff has been exposed and reported!
Mormonism Research Ministry has several videos available for free viewing on-line.  I own all but one of these and can vouch for the accuracy of the information provided, as well as recommending them for viewing by Mormons as well as by those who want to learn more about proving that Mormonism is a false belief system.
A former nun speaks out.
More proof that the Pope is a heretic.  And this video clinches the fact that he does NOT represent Jesus Christ.
John Piper shared preaching duties with heretic Christine Caine at Passion 2016.  In the past he shared with false teacher Beth Moore.  So why is he still being held in such high esteem as a great teacher?!?  To make matters worse, he is also promoting the racist “Black Lives Matter” movement!
Here we go with another false prophet alert: Shawn Bolz.  Slaughter of the Sheep has some good information about him and why he is to be avoided!
The NAR is getting more and more bizarre.  Avoid their teachings at all costs.
Alec has another episode in his series, “Biblical Christianity.”
Thanks to Alec’s comments on another blog, I was led to this site where you can get come good information about the mysticism entering the Church and how to counter it.
A site with good examinations of the Word of Faith and other charismatic excesses (and other stuff now and then) is by Robert Liichow.  Liichow is ex-WOF who ended up going to seminary and is now a Lutheran (LCMS) Pastor.  I met Bob 14 years ago at the first apologetics conference we attended, and he’s got some good stuff.  One thing you have to look out for when he’s discussing true Christianity is the Lutheran stuff which is almost like Calvinism.  Otherwise he’s okay :oD.  His site isn’t up-to-date, and I think he probably just ended up not having time for it, but the articles are still good reference.  “Truth Matters” is
The modern Church and “The Sin That Became An Evangelistic Technique.”  The major problem is that too many church leaders have forgotten that the assembly is NOT an evangelistic event and was never meant to be.
Another good response to those who say Christians should not have guns, let alone use them or any weapon for self-defense.
David Barton, known for lots of books on various historical issues, really can’t be trusted.
A list of names to be familiar with – so as to avoid their teachings!
Lastly, just when you though Joel Osteen’s heresy couldn’t get any worse he now claims God is NOT omnipotent!!!

Letter to the Editor: Anne Graham Lotz Responds Regarding Promotion of Honi, the Mystic and Prayer Circles

LTRP Note: The following is from a Lighthouse Trails reader who had written to Anne Graham Lotz regarding her recent promotion of Honi, the mystic, and prayer circles. You may wish to refer to our two previous posts on this situation: Letters to the Editor: Anne Graham Lotz Promoting Circle Making  and Letters to the Editor: […]

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Who is Bringing the “New” Spirituality Into the Church?

By Chris Lawson Each of the following authors professes to be Christian and/or uses biblical terminology in his or her writing, yet promotes at least one of the following serious false teachings: contemplative spirituality (i.e., Spiritual Formation), the emergent, progressive “new” spirituality, the seeker-friendly, church-growth movement (e.g., Willow Creek, Purpose Driven) and/or Yoga. (This list […]

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Planned Parenthood and Hillary Clinton

In what is being embraced by Hillary Clinton as the highest praise, Planned Parenthood, America’s longtime leading provider of abortion, is enthusiastically endorsing Clinton as president. Clinton can boast the first-ever endorsement of a candidate in a presidential primary in the century-long existence of Planned Parenthood.

The Planned Parenthood endorsement contains this eye-opener from its leader, Cecile Richards: “Everything Planned Parenthood has believed in and fought for over the past 100 years is on the ballot.” And the organization believes that no one fights for this more than Hillary Clinton, whom Richards and friends rightly view as the truest true believer.

As someone who wrote an entire book on Hillary Clinton, and has long followed her very carefully, especially on matters of her faith and abortion beliefs, I can say without equivocation that she is not mildly or even strongly pro-choice; no, Hillary Rodham Clinton is fanatically pro-choice. There is nothing more ideologically worthy to her. To borrow from Nancy Pelosi, this is political “sacred ground” to Mrs. Clinton.

Read: Hillary Clinton’s Move to the Far Left

Read: Hillary Clinton’s Move to the Far Left

In a statement, Clinton said she is “honored” by the endorsement. She assured Planned Parenthood, “As your president, I will always have your back.”

When Cecile Richards invokes Planned Parenthood’s past 100 years aside her glowing endorsement of Hillary Clinton, it naturally brings to mind the matron of Planned Parenthood—one Margaret Sanger, a hero to Richards and Clinton.

I’ve written here before of the checkered history of Margaret Sanger, especially on race, which her devotees either excuse or avoid like the plague. There was her Negro Project, her May 1926 speech at a rally of the women’s chapter of the KKK in New Jersey, her general championing of an ideology of “race improvement,” and much more. It is no surprise that a group of African-American pastors are demanding the removal of the bust of the progressive icon from the Smithsonian’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit.

Sanger deemed certain human beings “morons,” “idiots,” “imbeciles,” “human weeds,” and “misfits.” She wanted her Planned Parenthood to spearhead a movement to generate “a race of thoroughbreds” from the misbegotten “dead weight of human waste” soiling the national landscape courtesy of undesired and “unfit” breeders. She extolled Stalinist Russia’s birth-control policies, and urged after a fact-finding visit there in 1934: “We [in America] could well take example from Russia, where there are no legal restrictions, no religious condemnation, and where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government.”

That’s exactly where Clinton and modern progressives stand today: they demand that birth control be part of the regular welfare service of the government, and funded by taxpayers regardless of religious objection. If you disagree, the Obama administration will take you all the way to the Supreme Court. Just ask Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and the Little Sisters of the Poor.

None of Sanger’s sordid history has deterred Hillary Clinton’s unflagging admiration, just as none of the video exposes of Chianti-sipping Planned Parenthood personnel fingering their Caesar’s salad as they discuss crushing unborn babies has deterred her crusade to keep America’s largest abortion provider awash in tax dollars.

“I don’t have all the facts but Planned Parenthood has apologized for the insensitivity of the employee who was taped,” protested Mrs. Clinton of the Center for Medical Progress’s video-sting revealing a Planned Parenthood employee casually discussing the “harvesting” of babies. “But for more than a century Planned Parenthood has provided essential services for women.”

Read: Larry Flynt’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

Read: Larry Flynt’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

To Mrs. Clinton, the bad guys in the video-sting of Planned Parenthood were the video-makers—that is, the exposers, not the perpetrators. “I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood had been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years,” she complained, “and it’s really an attack against women’s rights to choose.” To Mrs. Clinton, it’s the exposers who are the attackers, not Planned Parenthood.

Clinton, whose spokeswoman says she has not actually seen the videos, nevertheless reaffirmed that Planned Parenthood does “really good work” and she remains “proud to stand with Planned Parenthood.”

The organization gives more money to Mrs. Clinton (by far) than any other Democrat.

Fittingly, in 2009, Clinton proudly accepted Planned Parenthood’s self-described “highest honor,” its coveted Sanger Award. She gushed that she was “in awe of” Sanger. The then-secretary of state accepted her award at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual Awards Gala.

The admiration is mutual; thus the group’s historic endorsement of Clinton.

Someone in the media who can get near Mrs. Clinton should ask if she’s willing to repudiate Margaret Sanger and her organization’s highly questionable and objectionable history in everything from race to the literal business of baby parts. Now that Clinton has received Planned Parenthood’s endorsement, and promises to have its “back,” it seems a fair thing to ask, doesn’t it?

Planned Parenthood pledges $20 million last week to help Hillary get elected, Today Hillary calls for increased funding for Planned Parenthood?


Let me say from the outset here that the issue here is not abortion, an issue we will let our readers debate and explore in other venues. What is at issue here is that an organization which receives half a billion dollars in taxpayer money each year is openly endorsing a political candidate and amazingly even pledging $20 million – which is essentially money received from US taxpayers* – to support the election efforts of a presidential candidate.

Read More

The Daily Discovery (January 15, 2016)

(Click title to go to full article)

How to Live In A Pagan Culture – “As believers, we know we’re called to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). But are you ever discouraged or underwhelmed by what little difference your life seems to make? Are you concerned that your influence as salt and light might not reach very far or go very deep?”

Brothers and Sisters in Christ – “Before Paul arrives at the crescendo of his exhortation to stand firm in our battle against sin, he couches that exhortation in a flood of the most warmly affectionate and tenderly endearing language found in any of his letters. And the first term of endearment that Paul uses to designate his relationship with the Philippians is brethren. Most fundamentally, Christians relate to one another as brothers and sisters. At the most basic level of our relationships with one another, we are marked by a unique, familial bond.

What If People Actually Studied Their Bibles? – “Imagine what would happen if thousands of Christians actually did what we all sort of feel like we’re supposed to do, especially at the New Year: imagine that we all read the Bible. If you’ve been part of our 30-day Bible study challenge since it began on January 1, congratulations! You’ve now made it halfway! If you haven’t, it’s not too late to sign up. Over 10,000 people are digging into Matthew 4 as the new year dawns. If you thought melding Bible study and a little Logos training into a free course was a good idea, so did plenty of others. One participant (C.P.) was so grateful that he put the Logos Pro Team on his prayer list (thanks!). Another (D.C.) is learning ‘things that [she] didn’t even know Logos could do,’ and grasped precisely the purpose of the 30-day training course…”

The ‘Same God’ Debate Is Too Important to Leave to Philosophers – “By now many readers have heard about Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins, who wore a hijab to show solidarity with Muslims and whose future employment is now in doubt. Hawkins’s statement that Muslims and Christians worship the same God has ignited a firestorm of debate among Christians as to whether and in what sense this statement is true or false.”

Jesus’ Discipleship Program for Your Church – “In order to understand what elder-led congregationalism has to do with discipleship, we need to think about its two halves. The congregationalism half requires you, the average church member, to take responsibility for other church members. It gives you this job.”


Is Islam a Threat to the West? David Wood vs. Shadid Lewis (Debate)


John MacArthur on Recent “Religion” Poll

Matt Chandler – The Fruit of Faith (Sermon Jam)

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

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Christian Health-Sharing

There’s good news and bad news on the U.S. healthcare situation. The bad news: costs are still rising. The good? Listen Now | Download

DEVELOPING: Middle East stock markets crash as Iran enters oil war

Posted: 17 Jan 2016 07:29 AM PST

Stock markets across the Middle East collapsed as the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran threatened to unleash a fresh wave of oil onto global markets that are already drowning in excess supply. All seven stock markets in Gulf states tumbled as panic gripped traders. Dubai’s DFM General Index slumped 4.8pc to 2,682.56, while Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index collapsed by 7pc to 5,409.35, its lowest level in almost five years.The Iranian stock index gained 1pc, making it one of the best-performing markets in the world with gains of 6pc since the start of the year.

The dramatic moves came following the historic report from the UN nuclear watchdog, which showed that Iran has met its obligations under the nuclear deal, clearing the way for the lifting of sanctions. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency issued the landmark document late on Saturday evening, sparking mayhem as markets opened in the Middle East. Qatar’s index fell 6.7pc, while Abu Dhabi’s stocks tumbled 4.5pc to the lowest level since November 2013. Oman’s shares were down 3.2pc, the most since December 2014, and Bahraini equities edged 0.5pc down. FULL REPORT

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German Minister Calls for Troops’ Deployment in Country Amid Sex Attacks

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 07:29 PM PST

The proposal comes two weeks after hundreds of women were attacked by aggressive men of allegedly Arab and North African origin in a number of German cities. After the attacks on women in Cologne and a number of other German cities, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has called to consider the deployment of Bundeswehr forces within the country.

“We will have to deal with the question of why almost all other European countries have clear legal regulations enabling them to use their armed forces to support the police — and we don’t”, Schäuble said in an interview with the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. In his opinion, Germany needs to enhance its security forces as well as create legal foundations for the police and the intelligence services as the population expects the state to be responsible for guaranteeing its security. FULL REPORT


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Spirituality Without Ongoing Repentance Is *Not* Christian Spirituality

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 07:21 PM PST

(Luke Geraty) “Christians don’t need to repent,” said the young man. “Jesus died for our sins … past, present and future,” he continued, “so you don’t need to spend all of your time asking him for forgiveness. He has already forgiven you!” According to this young man, all the church needed to do was lean into its identity as righteous daughters and sons of God! Part of me agrees with some of the points being made by those who make these types of statements. It is absolutely appropriate to place emphasis on the Christian’s ontology, namely our union with Christ. Our identity as God’s children is rooted in our connection to Jesus and our reception of the soteriological benefits related to the cross, both those experienced in the immediate and those promised on the eschatological end.

But there are some serious issues with the suggestion that (1) Christians don’t need to repent and (2) the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict Christians. Yes, you read that correctly … advocates of the “Christians do not need to repent” concept also suggest that the Holy Spirit does not convict Christians; rather, the Spirit is said to convict the world alone. Again, there are serious problems with these two ideas, both on a biblical-theological level as well as on a practical level. To name several of the issues I think need to be dealt with: CONTINUE

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12 Days of Evolutionary Deception

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 07:15 PM PST

Closing out the holiday season in an ironically traditional style, the PBS-sponsored website It’s Okay To Be Smart posted a dozen short videos called “The 12 Days of Evolution” on YouTube, completing the set1 just in time for post-Christmas viewing. The “12 Days of Christmas” is an 18th-century folk song celebrating the days between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany. That day commemorates the successful quest of the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12) to find and worship the infant Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

These 12 video gifts—conveniently embedded (as shown in this screen shot) as clickable finches in Darwin’s beard—encourage viewers to reject God’s Word from its beginning. Substituting fallible man’s evolutionary explanation of origins for God’s account undermines the foundation for faith in Jesus Christ—our Creator (Colossians 1:16–17) who came to live among man and to die, purchasing our salvation (1 Peter 1:18; Hebrews 2:9). FULL REPORT

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Animal brought back to life after spending 30 years frozen

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 07:10 PM PST

Researchers have successfully revived microscopic creatures that had been kept frozen for 30 years. Tardigrades, also known as waterbears or moss piglets, are tiny water-dwelling organisms. They’re segmented, with eight legs, and measure 1mm in length. Scientists at Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research retrieved the creatures from a frozen moss sample collected in Antarctica in 1983. The sample had been stored at −20 °C for just over three decades.

Two waterbears were resuscitated. One of them died after 20 days, but the other went on to successfully reproduce with a third specimen hatched from a frozen egg. It laid 19 eggs, of which 14 hatched successfully. Found throughout the world, tardigrades can survive extreme pressure, such as deep underwater, and can even live in the vacuum of space for several days. When they’re frozen, the creatures enter a state called cryptobiosis, in which their metabolic processes shut down, and they show no visible signs of life. FULL REPORT

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Obama grants ‘refugee’ status to new wave of migrants

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 06:57 PM PST

The number of Central American migrants crossing illegally into the United States through the Southern border has grown exponentially under the Obama administration. More than 130,000 came in 2014 alone, most of them welcomed by sanctuary cities and then protected from deportation by President Obama’s executive actions. The legality of those actions remains unsettled and appears headed to the Supreme Court. But now President Obama has invented a new way to continue the influx of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and do it in a way that is deemed “legal.” He will simply re-categorize them as “refugees.”

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Wednesday plans to expand a program to let Central Americans apply for refugee status before they attempt the long, arduous trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. As such, Obama will place authority for the program under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who will pre-screen migrants from three Central American countries and decide which ones qualify as refugees eligible to come to the United States, the Associate Press reports. FULL REPORT


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Now foster parents can’t have guns

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 06:49 PM PST

An aggressive anti-gun campaign that already has named veterans and recipients of Social Security benefits as targets apparently is being expanded to include foster parents. And it’s already drawn a lawsuit. The Second Amendment Foundation confirmed a lawsuit has been filed against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for two residents “whose civil rights have been deprived under color of law.” The suit explains that the state agency’s rules prevent citizens from serving as foster parents while “legally possessing functional firearms for personal protection.”

“This mandate for foster parents is not just restrictive, it’s ridiculous,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the the Second Amendment Foundation. “Why should a foster parent be stripped of his or her right to self-defense, or their ability to defend their foster child, simply to appease some bureaucrat’s anti-gun philosophy?” He continued: “We’re in a new era, when people not only must be concerned with violent crime, but also acts of urban terrorism. How would it look for Oklahoma if foster children came to some harm because OKDHS regulations disarmed their foster parents? FULL REPORT


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Pastor Saeed’s Wife Expresses Gratitude to Donald Trump for Raising Her Husband’s Plight

Posted: 16 Jan 2016 06:44 PM PST

In recent weeks, Donald Trump has elevated the case of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith. Trump has tweeted about Pastor Saeed’s case and the need for the U.S. government to do more to free Pastor Saeed. Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, had said she would like to meet Donald Trump to personally thank him for his concern. That meeting occurred today at Trump’s office in New York City. Following that private meeting, Naghmeh issued this statement:

“I am most thankful that of the many issues that Mr. Trump could engage he has chosen to speak out about the unjust imprisonment of my husband by the Iranian government. This reveals to me the heart of Mr. Trump and his commitment to religious freedom. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Trump for his concern of my husband and our family. I am very grateful for his support and want to offer the most valuable gift I have – the gift of prayer. May God Bless Mr. Trump and his family.” FULL REPORT

The post Pastor Saeed’s Wife Expresses Gratitude to Donald Trump for Raising Her Husband’s Plight appeared first on End Time Headlines.

Top Headlines

 Iran Releases U.S.-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini in Prisoner Swap
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 U.S. Religious Freedom Ambassador Says Labeling ISIS’ Atrocities ‘Genocide’ Won’t Change U.S. Response
 Episcopal Church Suspended from Anglican Communion
 Nigerian President Spearheading Investigation into Kidnapping of Schoolgirls
 Jailed Pastor Saeed Abedini among Prisoners Being Released by Iran
 How the Candidates Fared in Yesterday’s GOP Debate
 Muslims in Pakistan Disrupt Christians’ Worship, Storm Homes
 North Korea Tops World Watch List as Most Dangerous Country for Christians
 Amish Minister Confesses to Poisoning Wife


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Weekend Snapshot

Jan. 16, 2016
Top Stories This Week
Top Opinion
Mona Charen: What ’13 Hours’ Teaches
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More Opinion →
Quote of the Week

“Can you imagine having [Obama’s] record of failure, bragging about it and promising to deliver more misery into the indefinite future? It would be like the owner of the Chicago Cubs pledging to keep winning the World Series.” —David Limbaugh

Our Time is Short

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

What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is the Gospel?

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

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

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

The Gospel on 5 Fingers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more

Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed

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GTY: How to Live in a Pagan Culture

Matthew 5:13-16

Code: B160115

by Jeremiah Johnson

As believers, we know we’re called to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). But are you ever discouraged or underwhelmed by what little difference your life seems to make? Are you concerned that your influence as salt and light might not reach very far or go very deep?

In a society obsessed with global impact and political change, it may seem like the life of one believer does not make much of a dent. But our success is not measured in this life. Moreover, it’s not our success to begin with, but God’s, as He works through us to reach His people according to His sovereign timing.

We have not been called to lead sweeping political changes and massive moral reforms, or to turn the world into a theocracy. That’s simply not how the Lord intends us to make a difference in this sinful world. In his book Why Government Can’t Save You, John MacArthur reminds us that the church’s influence is not broadly political, but personal.

The church will really change society for the better only when individual believers make their chief concern their own spiritual maturity, which means living in a way that honors God’s commands and glorifies His name. Such a concern inherently includes a firm grasp on Scripture and an understanding that its primary mandate to us is to know Christ and proclaim His gospel. A godly attitude coupled with godly living makes the saving message of the gospel credible to the unsaved. If we claim to be saved but still convey proud, unloving attitudes toward the lost, our preaching and teaching—no matter how doctrinally orthodox or politically savvy and persuasive—will be ignored or rejected. [1] John MacArthur, Why Government Can’t Save You (Nashville: Word, 2000) 130.

Those words echo Paul’s instructions for godly living in his letter to Titus (Titus 3:1-8). The final chapter of Why Government Can’t Save You is devoted to that passage, and Paul’s vital reminders for living as salt and light in the world.

Remember Your Christian Duties

Paul begins by reminding us of our place in the world—that we are not called to be rebellious revolutionaries, but that we must be humble, meek, and submissive to the authority God has placed over us, and that we need to reflect the character of Christ to the watching world. He writes, “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men” (Titus 3:1-2).

As John MacArthur explains, such behavior stands out to the world and adorns the gospel:

Consistently demonstrating willing obedience for human authority shows unbelievers that, even though the things of this life are not our primary focus, we still have respect for government and loving concern for other citizens. As Christians, our true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and our main focus must be on holy living and on reaching the lost, because our Lord Himself came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). When we do live as God wants us to in an unbelieving culture, that in itself can make the attitude of the lost more receptive to God (1 Peter 2:12). [2] Why Government Can’t Save You, 131-132.

As we’ve already discussed in this series, the Lord has not saved us for the purpose of temporal political change. The first key to living holy lives in a pagan culture is to focus on the work of God’s kingdom, and not attempting to build our own.

Remember Your Unsaved Condition

There’s a second mindset believers need to cultivate if they’re going to be salt and light in the world. Rather than giving in to spiritual elitism and looking down on lost and depraved sinners, we need to remember that we were no better than them—and would still be no better—apart from the intervening and transforming work of Christ.

Paul describes our prior spiritual condition in stark detail: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3).

As John MacArthur explains, our sinful past ought to make us sympathetic to the spiritual needs around us, and patient with the depravity of sinners who don’t know any better:

The preceding sins, along with other iniquities, have made unbelievers spiritually insensitive to what God demands of them and what He desires in a righteous society. Hence, non-Christians have produced the kind of culture we have today. And although we detest the sinful, unbiblical aspects of society, we must remember that the same ungodly characteristics once defined our lives. Such awareness will keep us humble and prevent us from putting down sinners simply because they rub us the wrong way by their values and lifestyles. Our unbelieving neighbors don’t need merely to be set straight about their political and moral choices; they need soul-transforming salvation through Jesus Christ, just as you and I once did. [3] Why Government Can’t Save You, 138-139.

Remembering what you’ve been saved from helps protect you from spiritual pride, and motivates you to reach out to others with the only true source of lasting hope and salvation. It injects your evangelism with much-needed humility.

Remember Your Salvation

Along those same lines, Paul also wants us to remember the saving and transforming work the Lord has already accomplished in us.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

Whereas reflecting on our past sinfulness makes us sympathetic to a lost world in need of salvation, reflecting on our new state in Christ and His transforming work in us reminds us to live as citizens of heaven, and not wallow in the wretchedness that surrounds us. As John MacArthur explains,

Being saved is the most precious and important reality that Christians can know and appreciate. Salvation has delivered us from the predicament of being spiritually dead, enslaved to the penalty of sin, living under God’s wrath, and on our way to hell (see John 3:16-17, along with verse 36). As a result, it has also granted us the privilege of being made “alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5), of being “conveyed . . . into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13), of being able “to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), and of attaining “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2). [4] Why Government Can’t Save You, 141.

But those glorious truths aren’t just for our own edification—they ought to prompt us to reach out to others with the same truth that has transformed us. As John says, “Our position as people who are saved by the sovereign grace of God provides us with a great hope for the future that ought to daily motivate us and keep us focused on our real priorities.” [5] Why Government Can’t Save You, 144.

Put simply, we can’t be salt and light in the world if we don’t remember how the Lord rescued us from the due penalty of our sin. We can’t hope to accurately testify to God’s work in us if we perpetually ignore it.

Remember Your Mission

Finally, Paul wants us to remember our primary means of preserving and influencing the world. He writes, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 3:8).

The reality is that preaching fire and brimstone might catch the attention of some people, but it will turn off just as many—if not more—to the glorious good news of the gospel. We need to faithfully preach the truth, but we also need to live lives that make our message believable and attractive. As John MacArthur explains, that starts with a life of good works:

How can we live in a pagan society in a God-honoring manner, in such a way that we do not alienate the very people God wants us to reach with the gospel? We must remember to be engaged in good works, which Scripture says will result from our salvation. [6] Why Government Can’t Save You, 144.

Living as salt and light in the world is not just about confronting the deadness and darkness of society. It’s about living lives that adorn the gospel—that testify to God’s transforming work, and exemplify integrity, humility, and self-sacrifice. Not only do we need to preach Christ, we need to reflect His character to the world.

That, as John MacArthur writes, is how you and I make an impact in this ruined world:

If all that is true of you, you will recognize that it is not your primary calling to change your culture, to reform the outward moral behavior and professed political convictions of those around you, or to remake society superficially, according to some kind of “evangelical Christian blueprint.” Instead, you will constantly remember that the Lord has called you to be His witness before the lost and condemned world in which you now live. [7] Why Government Can’t Save You, 145.

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