Monthly Archives: March 2016

March 31, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Mar. 31, 2016

BLOOMBERG

President Obama commuted the sentences of 61 federal prisoners Wednesday and went to lunch with seven former inmates who were released after having their sentences shortened — examples, Obama said, of the importance of second chances.

Recession worries and central-bank stimulus in Europe and Japan have given fresh life to a three-decade-long rally in global debt. Bonds worldwide are off to the best annual start since at least 1996. They’ve earned 3.1 percent this quarter and added more than $2 trillion of market value, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index that tracks securities ranging from corporate and government obligations to mortgage-backed debt.

The leader of a key group of 170 House Republicans Wednesday blasted a committee’s plan to help Puerto Rico with its $70 billion debt as “bankruptcy-style involuntary restructuring,” casting doubt on how soon Congress can reach a deal.

The number of applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. climbed last week to a two-month high, a sign of more moderate labor market progress. Initial jobless claims increased by 11,000 to 276,000 in the week ended March 26.

A nonprofit with ties to Senator John McCain received a $1 million donation from the government of Saudi Arabia in 2014, according to documents filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

China may surpass the U.S. to become the world’s largest crude importer this year, according to Fuliang Zhong, vice president at Chinese trader Unipec.

Consumer comfort declined last week to a three-month low as Americans’ attitudes about the economy and their financial prospects deteriorated.

North Korea is the only Asian country known to have tested nuclear devices in this century, and it claims to have nuclear bombs small enough to be loaded onto ballistic missiles that can reach as far as the continental U.S. This has created fears in neighboring South Korea and Japan that they are the most realistic targets of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and that they should beef up their military capabilities to tackle the threat of annihilation.

AP Top Stories

Beijing’s defense ministry on Thursday warned the US navy to “be careful” in the South China Sea and criticized a newly signed defense agreement between Washington and the Philippines.

An FBI affidavit alleges the owner of a Dallas-area hospice ordered nurses to increase drug dosages for patients to speed their deaths and maximize profits.

Iraq’s counter-terrorism forces backed by army troops and U.S.-led coalition air strikes advanced towards the western town of Hit on Thursday in an attempt to dislodge Islamic State militants.

Communist Vietnam named a woman for the first time to the influential role of chairperson in its rubber stamp National Assembly — the country’s fourth most powerful position — state media said.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared likely to rule that property owners can challenge the federal government in court over the need for permits under a national water protection law in a case involving a company’s plans for a Minnesota peat mine.

Austria on Wednesday moved to further tighten migrants’ access to the country by placing tough new restrictions on asylum eligibility and making it easier to reject asylum seekers at the border.

Gold has seen its biggest three-month gain since the third quarter of 1990, showing gains of more than 15 percent so far this year. And if it continues its winning streak, gold could be heading for its best quarter in close to 30 years, according to Reuters.

BBC

A registered nurse has been arrested in Italy on suspicion of murdering 13 patients, in a case described as “the killer on the ward”, police say.

New York City’s council is considering legislation to restrict where performers dressed as characters like Elmo and Spiderman can solicit business. The costumed performers now roam freely in Manhattan’s busy Times Square, the heart of the theatre district.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has won approval for a repayment deal which should put an end to the country’s 15-year battle with holdout creditors.

The highest court in South Africa has ruled that President Jacob Zuma violated the constitution when he failed to repay government money spent on his private home. It gave the treasury 60 days to determine how much he should repay.

More than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, the remains of 36 Chinese soldiers who died fighting against South Korea are being returned home.

Rights group Amnesty International has accused Qatar of using forced labor at a flagship World Cup 2022 stadium.

WND

The Library of Congress will no longer use the term “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant,” due to pressure from Dartmouth College students who insisted the descriptions were discriminatory. Instead, the Library of Congress is going to refer to those in the country illegally as “non-citizens” and “unauthorized immigrants,” in the likes of subject headings and other research markers and guides.

A New York professor has sparked a debate among educators over whether or not algebra is too hard and should be dropped from the curriculum.

The Obama administration is set to release another dozen detainees at Guantanamo Bay in the coming weeks, including at least one who was previously dubbed one of the “worst of the worst” in America’s war on terror, and who has lost half his body weight during a years-long hunger strike.


Top News – 3/31/2016

Pentagon Confirms New North Korean ICBM
North Korea has developed a new long-range mobile intercontinental ballistic missile that the Pentagon says moves the country’s leader Kim Jong Un closer to the goal of building missiles capable of striking the U.S. mainland with nuclear warheads. The new missile is called the KN-14 by the Pentagon and is a longer-range variant of the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM first made public in 2012.

Islamic Military Alliance Vows To “Dry Up Terrorists”
He also said the attendance of 39 Muslim nations, not all of which were members of the coalition, “sends a strong message on importance and nature of the alliance,” adding that such force is needed in the face of “ISIS recreating Muslims and Arabs to put them in confrontation with the world.”

Forget ‘Waiting 20-25 Years’: Dutch PM Says Ukraine Can Never Join EU
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that Ukraine should never be allowed to join the European Union.

Forget ‘Waiting 20-25 Years’: Dutch PM Says Ukraine Can Never Join EU
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that Ukraine should never be allowed to join the European Union.

CIA fighting the Pentagon in Syria
The fractured situation in Syria is looking even more bleak as forces allied with different parts of the US defense establishment are fighting against each other. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is supported by the Pentagon, has been clashing with the CIA-backed Arab Fursan al-Haq militia near Aleppo.

German historian accuses AP of Nazi collaboration
Historian Harriet Scharnberg claims the Associated Press reached agreement with Hitler’s regime that it could not publish information that might weaken the Third Reich, while the Nazis used AP photos for anti-Semitic propaganda.

Bionic heart patch to mend a broken heart
Israeli scientists have developed a proof-of-concept bionic patch to monitor and repair diseased hearts. Ben Gruber reports. (Video)

Israel cuts power to Jericho over ongoing PA debt
With more than 1.7 billion shekels of unpaid electric bills, Israel will slash power supply to Jericho beginning Thursday.

1st time ever: UN head to be selected after open debates
Candidates for the UN Secretary General’s office will for the first time have to present their agendas at a series of open and informal debates later this year. The move is designed to make the selection process more transparent and unbiased.

Russia, US agree to dethrone Assad, send him into exile
According to the Al-Hayat pan-Arab newspaper in London, Russia has agreed to a long-standing demand of Syrian opposition forces that Assad be removed from power.

Russia vows ‘totally asymmetrical’ response to major US troop build-up in Europe
Russia’s envoy to NATO has vowed a “totally asymmetrical” response if the alliance stands by a plan to deploy new armored units to Eastern Europe. Citing Russian “aggression” as a pretext, the US has announced “continuous troop rotations” starting 2017.

Reports of explosion/bomb threat at Sweden’s second-largest airport, Landvetter
Reports have emerged of an explosion in the domestic area of Sweden’s Landvetter airport. The hall has been evacuated, according to local media. The airport, located outside Gothenburg, received a bomb threat in the morning. As a result, police were placed in high visibility areas, police spokesperson Peter Adlersson told Expressen.

Moderate earthquake, 5 mag has occurred near Calama in Chile
A moderate earthquake magnitude 5 (ml/mb) has occurred on Thursday, 41 kilometers (25 miles) from Calama in Chile. The temblor was picked up at 04:53:28 / 4:53 am (local time epicenter). A tsunami warning has not been issued.

Scottish mosque figures linked to banned sectarian group
Leading figures at two Scottish mosques have held office in a proscribed organisation, the BBC can reveal. Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) has previously committed massacres in Pakistan. Head of religious events at Glasgow Central Mosque Sabir Ali and the leader of Polwarth Mosque in Edinburgh Hafiz Abdul Hamid have both occupied senior positions in its UK branch.

Central African Republic abuse: UN looks into ‘bestiality’ report
UN officials say they are investigating “extremely troubling” claims of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR). Last year, there were 69 allegations of child rape and other sexual offences by peacekeepers from 10 missions. One advocacy group says it has passed on new reports to the UN that a soldier made four girls have sex with a dog.

US, Russia come to agreement on Assad’s departure from Syrian presidency
The United States and Russia have agreed to let Syrian President Bashar Assad seek refuge in another country as part of a future political solution… An unnamed senior diplomatic source with knowledge of the agreement told al-Hayat that US Secretary of State John Kerry has already informed a number of his Arab counterparts on the understanding, but stressed that “the timing of the move and its political context is still not clear.”

New York City Rat Problem Out Of Control? Subway Rodent Attacks 7 Train Rider
It’s the stuff of New Yorkers’ nightmares. New York City’s growing rat problem became a personal crisis for one subway rider this week after he woke up on the train to find a large rat crawling up his body and onto his neck.

At least 5 killed in raid after Pakistan attack
Pakistani counterterrorism police killed at least five people Wednesday and arrested scores more in what it described as an intensified crackdown following a suicide bombing at a public park in the eastern city of Lahore.

Why the Fed rate talk was ‘a bunch of nonsense’
The Federal Reserve was never hiking rates four times this year. Investors didn’t believe it, and now Fed Chair Janet Yellen has all but explicitly acknowledged it.

Coalition has ‘momentum’ against IS group: Pentagon official
A top Pentagon official on Wednesday said Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria are losing the lengthy fight against the US-led coalition, even as the jihadists continue to mount attacks overseas like the one in Brussels last week.

French minister compares veiled women to ‘negroes who supported slavery’
A French government minister on Wednesday compared women who wear the veil to “negroes who supported slavery” amid a backlash against the growing trend for Muslim-orientated fashion.

French seize weapons cache in Indian Ocean that may have come from Iran
The French seized a large weapons cache on a ship headed for Somalia on March 20, authorities said. It’s the second large weapons seizure in the region this month, and both may have been headed to Yemen from Iran.


Top Headlines – 3/31/2016

  • Roller-coaster first quarter ends with shares, dollar under pressure (Read More)
  • Oil prices slide as U.S. crude stocks hit record (Read More)
  • GE Files to End Fed Oversight After Shrinking GE Capital (Read More)
  • FDA Eases Rules for Abortion Pill, Making Access Simpler (Read More)
  • Kremlin denies report of Russia-U.S. deal on Assad’s future (Read More)
  • Thirst for Gasoline Fuels Oil Rally (Read More)
  • Landlords in last-minute rush to beat stamp duty rises (Read More)
  • CEO of SunEdison’s Spinoffs Leaves (Read More)
  • Zuma Counts on ANC Protection After Court Says He Violated Law (Read More)
  • Hong Kong Retail Sales Plunge the Most in 17 Years (Read More)
  • U.K. Economy Shows More Momentum; Current-Account Gap Widens (Read More)
  • Hong Kong Appeal Tribunal Fines Moody’s $1.4 Million for Report (Read More)
  • Bank of Japan runs groupthink risk as board dissenters depart  (Read More)
  • Distorted Markets: Why Banks Are Better Off Than You Think, And Real Estate Isn’t (Read More)
  • Twitter Insiders Pitched Standalone Messaging App Idea (Read More)
  • Why a Chatbot Creeped Out Microsoft’s AI-Focused CEO (Read More)
  • Students clash with police at protests against French labour reform (Read More)
  • U.S. May Let Govts, Banks Use USD for Business With Iran (Read More)
  • German Unemployment Unchanged as Refugees Bolster Labor Force (Read More)
  • China set to deploy world’s longest-range nuclear missile (Read More)
  • BlackRock Is Said to Plan About 400 Job Cuts as Growth Slows (Read More)
  • The Investor Who’s Betting on Brazil’s Corruption Scandal (Read More)
  • Wage Surge in Hot U.S. Labor Markets Sending Hopeful Sign to Fed (Read More)
  • Deutsche Bank Says CIB Head Urwin May Be Worth More Than Cryan (Read More)

Quartet envoys in Jerusalem to work toward restarting peace talks

260 Ukrainian immigrants set to arrive in Israel

Army demolishes home of Hebron terrorist who murdered Israeli

Israeli Arabs warn gov’t: Razing Beduin settlement is ‘declaration of war’

US condemns UN call for list of firms operating in West Bank

Israel cuts power to Jericho over ongoing PA debt

Palestinian film claiming Israel digging under al-Aksa threatens to inflame tensions

Egyptian forces destroy 3-kilometer-long tunnel on Gaza border

Claim: Israeli Aircraft Struck Islamic State Targets in Egypt’s Sinai

Why hasn’t ISIS attacked Israel?

Intel group: ISIS urges attacks on German chancellery, Bonn airport

Coalition has ‘momentum’ against IS group: Pentagon official

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attack in Russia, Reportedly Killing 10

Report: US and Russia agree to Assad’s departure to another country

Kremlin denies report of Russia-US deal on Assad’s future

Assad rejects Syria ‘transitional body’ demanded by opposition

Assad: Syria transitional govt must include regime and opposition

Assad says ready to hold early elections if Syrian people want it

Migrant arrivals to Greece rise sharply despite EU-Turkey deal

French fashion mogul Pierre Berge hits out at ‘Islamic’ clothing accusing them of taking part in the “enslavement of women”

French seize weapons cache in Indian Ocean that may have come from Iran

Khamenei says missiles, not just talks, key to Iran’s future

World powers to UN: Iran missile tests pose threat to Israel

US and EU powers send letter to UNSC over Iranian missile launches

US senator concerned over UN, Iran missiles and nuclear pact

US may allow dollars to be used in Iran business deals

Report: Saudi Arabia buys drones from Israel through South Africa

U.S. says it will not recognize South China Sea exclusion zone

One dead, dozens wounded in wave of bombs in south Thailand

Obama, Asian leaders to huddle on North Korea nuclear threat

Nuclear terrorism fears loom over Obama’s final atomic summit

The killer robot threat: Pentagon examining how enemy nations could empower machines

Giant remote-controlled cyborg beetles could replace drones

U.S. to Fight Cyber Attacks With ‘Brain-Inspired’ IBM Chip

Why the Fed rate talk was ‘a bunch of nonsense’ – The Federal Reserve was never hiking rates four times this year

Oil Declines as Rising U.S. Crude Stockpiles Expand Global Glut

Planet Nine is fact or theoretical myth, Astromers are in clash

Could ‘Planet X’ Cause Comet Catastrophes on Earth?

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Saparua, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Calama, Chile

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Lae, Papua New Guinea

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 25,000ft

Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador erupts to 20,000ft

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

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 18,000ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Mt Etna volcano in Italy erupts to 15,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Alaid volcano on the Kuril Islands erupts to 10,000ft

Chikurachki volcano on the Kuril Islands erupts to 10,000ft

Kanlaon volcano in the Philippines erupts, travel restricted

At least 7 injured after tornadoes, severe weather rip through parts of Oklahoma

Mexico City temporarily restricts all cars after smog alert

Custom 3-D printed scalp, hair helps cancer survivors feel like themselves again

Measles case shuts down California elementary school

Long-Term Antibiotics Fail Again in Lyme Disease

Scientists take aim at Zika through mapping its genes

New Source Of Transplant Organs For Patients With HIV: Others With HIV

New F.D.A. Guidelines Ease Access to Abortion Pill

Donald Trump’s claim he evolved into ‘pro-life’ views, like Ronald Reagan

Trump walks back statement on women being punished for abortion if procedure banned

Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Abortion Giant

Planned Parenthood raises concerns with Alaska abortion bill

British magistrate fired for opposing gay adoption: ‘I believe we need to stand and say what is right’

California sisters who run a medicinal marijuana business pictured smoking cannabis

Bible charity vows to continue translation work after murders of four employees

First graders suspended after plotting to kill classmate

At least 10 reported killed, 150 believed trapped after overpass collapses in India


 

One-Third Of All Americans Don’t Make Enough Money To Even Cover The Basic Necessities

Sad Child - Public DomainDo you remember the days when it seemed like almost everyone in America was middle class?  Unfortunately, those days are long gone and the grinding down of the middle class in the United States appears to be accelerating.  According to a brand new study that was just released by Pew Charitable Trusts, household spending increased by 14 percent between 2004 and 2014, but median household income decreased by 13 percent during that same time period.  Both of those figures were adjusted for inflation.  What this means is that the cost of living has steadily gone up, but our incomes have gone down.  In fact, as you will see below approximately one-third of all Americans don’t even make enough money to pay for the basic necessities at this point.  The middle class is being squeezed like never before, and very few of our leaders seem to care. (Read More…)


Robert Kiyosaki And Harry Dent Warn That Financial Armageddon Is Imminent

Alarm Clock Globe - Public DomainFinancial experts Robert Kiyosaki and Harry Dent are both warning that the next major economic crash is in our very near future.  Dent is projecting that the Dow will fall to “5,500 to 6,000 by late 2017″, and Kiyosaki actually originally projected that a great crash was coming in 2016 all the way back in 2002.  Of course we don’t exactly have to wait for things to get bad.  The truth is that things are not really very good at the moment by any stretch of the imagination.  Approximately one-third of all Americans don’t make enough money to even cover the basic necessities, 23 percent of adults in their prime working years are not employed, and corporate debt defaults have exploded to the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis.  But if Kiyosaki and Dent are correct, economic conditions in this country will soon get much, much worse than this. (Read More….)


'God's Not Dead 2' Star Melissa Joan Hart: 'Hollywood Gave Me Grief for Playing Strong Christian Woman Who Stands Up for Faith'

‘God’s Not Dead 2’ Star Melissa Joan Hart: ‘Hollywood Gave Me Grief for Playing Strong Christian Woman Who Stands Up for Faith’

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Gospel Herald

Melissa Joan Hart, star of the upcoming faith-based film “God’s Not Dead 2”, has said that she has received a great deal of “grief” from Hollywood for playing a Christian woman who stands up for her faith.

Read Full Article »


Franklin Graham Tells Islamic Extremists Who Targeted Christians in Easter Bombing: 'The Grave Has No Hold on Believers'

Franklin Graham Tells Islamic Extremists Who Targeted Christians in Easter Bombing: ‘The Grave Has No Hold on Believers’

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Gospel Herald

The Rev. Franklin Graham has issued a strong warning to the Islamic extremists responsible for the attack that killed 70 Pakistani Christians, mostly women and children, on Easter Sunday in Lahore, stating that soon, “every knee” will bow to Jesus – not Allah.

Read Full Article »


5 Places the Enemy is Invading Your Church

5 Places the Enemy is Invading Your Church

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Crosswalk

Satan’s sole purpose has always been to overtake the world with evil; his invasion is succeeding, not just in the world, but also in the church.

Read Full Article »


Why humility is at the heart of Christianity

Why humility is at the heart of Christianity

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Christian Today

If you know you’re humble, you’ll be quite proud of yourself because humility is hard. But if you’re proud, you aren’t humble.

Read Full Article »


Prophecy News in Review Video


Temple of Baal: Is Satan Marking His Territory?

It is clear as you read the excerpt from the NY Times, that it brought great mourning and sadness that this evil temple was destroyed.  The war between good and evil is not blurred any longer.  It is blatant and there is no gray area. Can you see the excitement in the NY Time’s piece when they speak about this structure coming to Times Square?

This is absolutely demonic.

View Article


The Daily Discovery (March 31, 2016)

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

Andy Stanley’s Problem with the Bible – “Andy Stanley knows the Bible.  As the son of the popular Baptist pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, he has grown up under Bible teaching and preaching.  As a pastor of a very large megachurch, North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Andy Stanley has spent much time reading and studying the Bible.  So, why does it seem that Andy Stanley has a problem with the Bible on so many different levels? Over the past few years, Andy Stanley has managed to stay in the light of controversy regarding his positions on key issues of the faith.  Is Andy Stanley operating by the old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”?  While Stanley may not be seeking bad publicity, the fact is, he has managed to keep controversy stirred up around him in recent years.  Exactly where did Andy Stanley go off course?  As we examine the controversial statements made by Andy Stanley, there seems to be a clear connection to the way he approaches to the Bible.”

We’re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Pastors – “A recent article from the New York Times says, rightly I’m sure, that We’re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Doctors. Writing from the confluence of medicine and technology, Jenna Wortham explains that ‘in recent years, mobile technology has granted me and countless others the ability to collect an unprecedented amount of information about our habits and well-being. Our phones don’t just keep us in touch with the world; they’re also diaries, confessional booths, repositories for our deepest secrets. Which is why researchers are leaping at the chance to work with the oceans of data we are generating, hoping that within them might be the answers to questions medicine has overlooked or ignored.’”

Making My Theology Work: An Introduction – “Today on Parking Space 23, I want to introduce a new and deeply personal series, ‘Making My Theology Work.’ My wife has a chronic neurological disorder called CDEM (it is kind of like MS, although the disease action that produces the actual injuries in the brain is different) which causes her nearly constant, widespread, varied, and at times quite severe pain. She also has limited mobility, most days she walks with a cane, although some days require a walker, and some even a wheel chair. Although there is no cure (there are treatments that may help) there is hope, because our hope is in God, and He has promised for His people there will be a pain free, tear free, eternity with Him (Revelation 21:3-4); our hope is in Him and that Great Day. Until then, we live in this fallen world, striving to please Him, and to honor Him with our lives and hearts. This intermittent series will be about how we do that in the context of suffering and chronic illness in the home and in our marriage. My Prayer is that many will be blessed and encouraged by it.”

What do you do when the ‘elders’ ask you to pray? – “Many moons ago, in the comment thread of the first part of the Shack Up (on the Cripplegate), an LDS (or ‘Mormon’) commenter showed up and we had a little back-and-forth. In the post, I claimed that no other world religion has writings that claim ‘to actually be written by God by means of people who were writing on behalf of, and empowered and guided by, the Spirit of God himself.’ The commenter suggested that the book of Mormon did indeed claim to be inspired, as according to the above definition. I asked for citation, and he gave a series of references that I challenged as insufficient. Not being swayed, he then proceeded to try to argue for adding to scripture. Here’s a summary of his argument…”

Has Ken Ham Embraced Evolution? – “Yesterday Kenneth Keathley, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, described on his blog how Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has changed his position on one key element of evolution (see ‘Ken Ham Embraces Evolution‘). He pointed to an article in the latest issue of Answers magazine, a publication of Answers in Genesis, and said, ‘The article is noteworthy because it argues for macro-evolution; the theory that the species of today evolved from prior, extinct species.’ If true, this is indeed a substantial and noteworthy shift. Not surprisingly, Dr. Keathley’s blog post was soon distributed through social media where some people reacted with more than a little surprise. But I don’t think Ken Ham or his organization have actually embraced evolution of the kind Keathley describes.”


SERMON:

rosebrough

Chris Rosebrough – It is Finished!


VIDEOS:

There are Many Deceived Church Goers

The Carnal Christian?


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


Hope Will Put You to Work

Hope Will Put You to WorkFaith, hope, and love are some of the most basic activities of the Christian heart, but can you explain them to someone? Loving others well depends on defining our terms well.

Watch Now


 

Paul Tripp | Christianity, Homosexuality, and Transgenderism

The post Paul Tripp | Christianity, Homosexuality, and Transgenderism appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.


Sexual Confusion: the New Religion

Promoting transgenderism is now classified as child abuse because gender ideology harms children. Sadly, this will not matter to those who selfishly only care about their own depraved interests. According to the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds): “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal, is […]


A La Carte (March 31)

Today’s Kindle deals include An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis ($0.99); Love Into Light by Peter Hubbard ($0.99); The Shorter Catechism Made Simple by Andrew Conway ($0.99); The End of Reason ($2.99) and Walking from East to West ($1.99) by Ravi Zacharias; Igniting the Fire by Jake Hanson ($1.99); Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions by Ken Ham ($2.99).

Pillar New Testament Commentaries

Westminster Books is offering a great deal on the Pillar New Testament Commentary series. This is a top-notch series edited by D.A. Carson and suitable to anyone who wishes to better understand God’s Word.

My Side, Your Side, or Neither

You may benefit from this reflection on church conflict. “Both sides will convince themselves that they are more than just right; they will convince themselves that God is on their side. When the inevitable resolution comes, the ‘winners’ will rejoice in God’s vindication. Meanwhile, the ‘losers’ will consider themselves martyrs who will one day experience God’s eschatological vindication. Thus, in victory or defeat, both sides refuse to give up their claim that God was on their side.”

You Don’t Deserve This

Ray Ortlund: “So you’re a faithful pastor.  You’re walking with the Lord. You’re preaching the gospel. You’re loving the people. You’re trying to evangelize, teach, pray, be an example, lead, do your job. You’re not perfect, and you admit it, but your heart is given to the Lord. And there is a faction in your church set against you.”

Band of Bloggers

Band of Bloggers is filling up fast. If you’re at T4G (or even just in Louisville) be sure to check it out. And be sure to check out the list of free books you’ll receive…

Admit It: Atheists Have a Point

Here’s a call for honesty. “We can diminish our credibility—not to mention the perceived reasonableness of the gospel—when we fail to admit that the opposition has some decent arguments. If we underestimate the strength of the objections, or overstate our own case, we ultimately make matters worse.”

Why Don’t We Follow All the Laws?

Christians are often charged with picking and choosing the Old Testament laws they follow today. J.D. Greear explains why not all laws are equal.

This Day in 1980. 36 years ago today, John Piper published his first book, Love Your Enemies*

ICWA, Lexi, and the Worst of American History

You may have heard of Lexi, the little girl who was taken away from her foster family (who attend John MacArthur’s church). Jesse Johnson gives a summary of what happened and why it matters.

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything

There is both challenge and encouragement in this article.

Duncan

There is nothing whatsoever surprising about sin. Holiness, however, is the most surprising thing in the world. —Ligon Duncan


Links I like

links-weekday

Pillar commentary sale

Westminster Bookstore has an amazing deal going a terrific commentary series. Get them while you can!

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything—Even Our Church

Sandra Peoples:

Back in 2010, we held our three-year-old son’s hand and walked in to a meeting with a school psychologist, occupational therapist, and speech pathologist. We walked out holding our autistic son’s hand.

That moment changed everything in our lives. Our family dynamics shifted as we opened our home to four different therapists each week. Dinner became not only time to eat together, but also to help James regain the language skills he had lost (“Who is this? Daddy. Say ‘Daddy.’”). I settled into the idea of working from home to be available to him. Since insurance only covered a portion of his therapies, we adjusted our finances to cover the rest. We began to look into the future as a family of three, rather than envisioning me and my husband as eventual empty-nesters. I also turned to the Psalms and Job more and more.

How to Uncheapen Grace in Your Church

Jared Wilson:

When we take up our ministry crosses and die to our visionary selves and follow Christ’s way of “doing church,” we show how costly grace really is. We show how powerful it really is.

Ironically, however, the way to show the enormous costliness of grace is not to heap on people an enormous burden of instructions. The logical mind wouldn’t think it should work this way. But you demonstrate how valuable grace is by emphasizing grace over the spiritual “to do” list. If you want to uncheapen grace, actually, you will throw it at everything.

If instead we treat grace like it’s just for conversion, we hold it cheap. If we assume grace, we hold it cheap. If we “of course” grace, we hold it cheap.

How do you respond to dissenting opinions?

Good reminder from James Kinnard.

Why Don’t We Follow All of the Old Testament Laws?

JD Greear:

It’s pretty common these days for people to dismiss Christians as inconsistent because“they follow some of the rules in the Bible and ignore others.” The challenge usually sounds something like this: “When the Bible talks about certain sexual behaviors as sin, you quote that; but when it says not to eat shellfish or that you should execute people for breaking the Sabbath, you just ignore it. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what suits you best?”

You don’t deserve this

Ray Ortlund:

So you’re a faithful pastor.  You’re walking with the Lord.  You’re preaching the gospel.  You’re loving the people.  You’re trying to evangelize, teach, pray, be an example, lead, do your job.  You’re not perfect, and you admit it, but your heart is given to the Lord.  And there is a faction in your church set against you.

Hope for a Hopeless Marriage

Chad Lindon:

When we had our first child in 1996, I wanted to be a good dad and a good husband. The problem was that I didn’t want to give up anything for either. In case you were wondering, selfishness doesn’t beget good relationships (Jam 3:16), and all of mine were train wrecks. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I needed most was to die (Rom 6:11), not physically but spiritually. I needed to die so that through Christ I could be resurrected and redeemed (Rom 6:4). Only He could redeem my relationship with God, and only he could redeem my marriage. I needed a gracious, merciful, loving Savior. I needed Jesus, and Sandy did too.

Whither Honor?

This is challenging stuff from Kevin DeYoung.


Check Out

Blogs

Four Warnings for Your Twenties | Marshall Segal, Desiring God
“The same temptations that were murdering the believers under Moses are waging a spiritual war against believers today: entertainment, sexual immorality, impatience, and contentment.”

Why Mark Dever Thinks You Should Use Alec Motyer’s New “Psalms of the Day: A New Devotional Translation” | TGC
Mark Dever’s foreword to Alec Motyer’s new devotional on the Psalms.

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything—Even Our Church | Sandra Peoples, ChristianityToday.com
“I came to see special needs families as an unreached people group.”

Seeing Christ In All of Scripture | Lane Keister
“This short book clarifies the doctrinal issues surrounding the recent debates at Westminster [Seminary]like no other resource of which I am aware. Get a copy of it.”

Six Biblical Methods For Handling Stress | Elizabeth Moyer, Institute for Faith, Work and Econmics
“Stress takes an undeniable toll on our whole self. Most of all, stress derails our relationship with God, distracting us from his provision, providence, and goodness. These biblical methods are not novel or groundbreaking. Instead, they are steadfast tools that help us re-center our hearts on the Lord.”

The Unappreciated Blessing Of Busyness | David Qaoud, Gospel Relevance
“Is busyness always a bad thing?”

The enormous power of the unconscious brain | Chris Baraniuk, BBC
“A lot of the things we do in everyday life don’t need to involve our conscious mind. In many cases, the more we use it, the less effective we become.”

New Book


One Man and One Woman: Marriage and Same-Sex Relations by Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley

Kindle Deals

For your non-Kindle book buying, please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volume 1 by Ken Ham ($2.99)
Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament by Michael P. V. Barrett ($0.99)

God’s Unfailing Purpose: The Message of Daniel by Michael P. V. Barrett ($0.99)

Video

Prudential Relationship Reconnect in Singapore
If you want proof of how much we need face-to-face contact for healthy relationships, watch this moving video of a social experiment which examined whether simply looking at someone for four quiet, uninterrupted minutes could create a sense of closeness and empathy.


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 In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

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


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).

The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


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Almost 40% of GOP ‘Evangelical’ Voters Don’t Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God

According to the 2014 data, 39 percent of self-identified evangelical voters in the Republican Party do not believe the Bible is literal Word of God.

The analysis was based off of the question many political observers had regarding the strong support Republican front runner Donald Trump purportedly has among people who identify as evangelical Christians.

View Article

Evangelicals divided, a movement fractured, Part 1

Evangelicalism as a movement is rushing headlong toward theological ambiguity, which is another way of saying apostasy. ~ Michael Horton 

The failure of modern evangelicalism is the failure to understand the holiness of God. ~ R.C. Sproul 

At one time the word evangelical was used to differentiate Protestantism from Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church. For decades evangelicals were often identified with the right-wing of the Republican party as well as the Christian Right.  But that ain’t necessarily so anymore.

At one time most evangelicals were primarily interested in electing candidates with Judeo-Christian values….until Purpose-driven pragmatism slithered into the visible Church.  Just like the typical pragmatist, Christian pragmatists hold that “the value of something is established by its practicality, functionality, and usefulness. Therefore, that which is impractical is rejected as having lesser value or no value as compared to that which works. Pragmatism has been considered in various fields of study such as law, politics, psychology, religion, and education.” (Source)

So now there’s a battle brewing between the conservatives and the pragmatists.  Conservatives insist on applying the “values voter” litmus test to candidates while pragmatists insist on supporting candidates who, they believe, would tenaciously push the conservative agenda through Congress. A candidate’s morals and character is of no particular concern.

Just to be clear, the pragmatist will always insist on compromise.

A Witch’s Brew

Witch's cauldronSeveral years ago I penned a piece that I hoped would help explain the downgrade in the Church.  I thought supermarket shopping would be a clever way to paint a word picture. In my piece I pointed out that there’s a “diabolically inspired supermarket of truth and error in the postmodern Church.”  So take a stroll with me, once again, up and down the Aisles as we shop for the ingredients to make Syncretism Stew….

Aisle 2-Charismatic Confusion;

Aisle 3-Pentecostal Pandemonium;

Aisle 4-Enlightened Emergents;

Aisle 5-Purpose-driven Pragmatism;

Aisle 6-Secular Strategies…to suck in seekers;

Aisle 7-Twelve-steps…to “group think”

Aisle 8-Preposterous Pop Psychology

Aisle 9-Discernment Disintegration

Aisle 10-Predatory Pastors.

On and on it goes.

And I added this reminder:

The Body of Christ trusts its Shepherds to feed them healthy nutritious foods, yet many of them are literally starving their sheep to death!  A diet of “Bible Light” does not nourish the soul – it causes spiritual malnutrition!  A shepherd’s job is to lead the flock in Christian life and faith. (Source)

Tragic, isn’t it?

Loose Definitions of Evangelical

Syncretism in evangelicalism started happening when elements of various religious beliefs were integrated into mainline denominations. As syncretism spreads, creeds, confessions and doctrine get tossed aside resulting in a fundamental change of beliefs. When Truth declines, false teaching flourishes. The wily serpent uses syncretism to separate God from His people.

Before I move away from syncretism, I want to stress that evangelicals have been assimilated into the world because of it.  More on how assimilation happens in a moment.

So, has evangelical lost its meaning as some suggest?  Or is it still possible to nail down the term?  The answer is yes and yes.  But in order to fully understand what it means we must go back in time to when the movement first began.  It is my hope that after reading this article with the simply stated facts it contains and perusing the research articles which are linked, the reader will come to know what evangelical originally stood for; likewise, those who identify as “evangelical Christian” will know if they can truthfully make that claim.

Uber liberal Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein wrote a piece entitled “Why Donald Trump is tearing evangelicals apart.” In it she quotes David Kinnaman, president of the Christian research firm Barna.  “Loose definitions of ‘evangelical,’” says Boorstein, “have ballooned the group’s size from a more accurate 7 to 11 percent of the U.S. population to roughly a quarter. Author of a new book about how conservative Christians feel sidelined, Kinnaman said he has talked with and appeared before thousands of people in recent weeks on his book tour “and I’ve not found a single person supporting Trump. How is he a thing among evangelicals?”

According to Boorstein:

Kinnaman said this election “is the most tribal election we’ve ever seen” and will redraw future evangelical lines. Institutional evangelicalism, he said, doesn’t want this because they like the political and cultural power that comes with being perceived as huge.

But, he said, “We can’t have our cake and eat it too. We want to be big, but not too big as to be associated with all that’s wrong with Christianity.”

Kinnaman’s recent experience where he couldn’t find a conservative Christian that supported Donald Trump could representative of much larger population.  I’ll leave that question and the 2016 election until part 2.

What Evangelicals Believe And Why They Believe It … 

View article →

What the Gift of God’s Presence Means for Us

A sitting silently at the feet of Jesus is of more worth than all the clatter of Martha’s dishes. (C. H. Spurgeon)

It was a rare occasion. My husband and I were home on a Saturday, with nothing to do, so I decided to get caught up on some chores. He sat in the living room reading and then watching TV while I cleaned. I was busy organizing, de-cluttering, deep cleaning, moving furniture around, dusting, vacuuming, etc. and was just about to move on to the dishes when he said,

“Would you just come here and be with me?”

Now, you need to know, my husband loves a clean house. There are two quick ways to his heart: cooking a new recipe and freshly mopped floors. He loves the smell of Pine Sol and Pledge. I thought I was loving him by doing these things for him, when I realized that what he really wanted that day was just to be with me.

This whole life with God is him pursuing us, to dwell among us, to be with us.

TWEET

More than a clean house or a home cooked meal, he wanted me to be present. To be with him, sitting beside him, enjoying a day home together.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. Often we think that God wants to use us, instead of simply being with us. We think God wants us working for him instead of walking with him. This whole life with God is him pursuing us, to dwell among us, to be with us.

Prior to sin entering the world, Genesis 2 ends with this verse: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).

Naked and not ashamed. Fully known and completely loved in God’s presence.

Then, sin enters in and breaks fellowship with God, destroying the position of peace man and woman had in his presence. The result of sin, the end of Genesis 3 reads,

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (vv. 22-24)

Prior to sin: peace and enjoying God’s presence.

After sin: death and being cast out from him.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t stop there. Although sin casts us out of God’s presence, the cross brings us back to him.

In fact, the rest of the narrative of the Bible is God’s plan of redemption, in buying back a sinful people to enjoy his presence once again, through Jesus Christ. He has always been after peace with his people, dwelling among them, to be with them.

If you skip a rock through the Bible, you’ll see this theme:

Exodus 33:14-15

And [God] said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 51:10-11

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God is with us].

Isaiah 9:2-3

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

Isaiah 41:10

“…fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 43:1-2

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

Revelation 21:3-5

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God’s desire has always been to be with his people. He chases after us, pursues us, redeems us, renews us to be with us. We think what matters most to God is what we achieve for him, yet his desire is for us to be with him. He redeemed us for relationship; he dwells among us so that we delight in him; he is God with us in Christ to share the greatest gift of his presence.

What other verses come to mind about how God has dwelt among us?

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The post What the Gift of God’s Presence Means for Us appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

3 Ways the Spirit Works in Us

The Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Trinity. We can read about the Spirit in the Bible and still come away scratching our heads. In Genesis 1 & 2, the Spirit is hovering over the unformed world. In John 3, Jesus compares the Spirit to wind. In Matthew 3, the Spirit attends Jesus’ baptism in some dove-like shape. We come away with the idea that the Spirit is pretty important, but we still don’t know what to make of Him.

I say “Him” because the Spirit is not this impersonal, mystical force. The Spirit is actually a person. As such, we can actually have a relationship with Him. As we’re “walking” with the Spirit, here’s what He does for us:

1.     He guides us into truth

Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will glorify Me” (John 16:13-14). We can think of “glorifying” as magnifying. We’re able to see something bigger and with more detail than usual. This is what the Spirit does with Jesus in our lives. Another way to say it is the Spirit makes Jesus famous. Practically, the Spirit does that by illuminating Scripture, which means He confirms the truth of Scripture and shows us how it all points to Jesus.

2.    He convicts us when we sin

One way you can be certain the Holy Spirit is with you is the fact that you can’t enjoy your sin. When I became a Christian, it was really easy to give up drugs and alcohol, but that was not the case with sex. I remember the Spirit speaking to me one time after sinning in that area (again). It wasn’t audible, but it was a clear, “This is not who you are anymore.” That conviction was so strong and powerful. “Okay, I get it!” That was the work of the Holy Spirit leading me into holiness. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.

3.    He empowers us to overcome sin

Do you have anyone in your life who has this constant need to be right and loves pointing out all the ways you’re wrong? Maybe it’s a classmate, co-worker, or even a relative. We try to avoid them as best as we can, but somehow, they’re always there. Thankfully it’s not that way with the Spirit. Yes, He speaks the truth and shows us our sin, but He also helps us overcome it. We are not on our own in the fight against sin. The reason we sin is we love it. The Spirit works on our hearts and causes us to desire the things that God desires. He gives us a greater love.

The Spirit is a Divine person, so our knowledge of Him can never be exhausted. There will always be an element of mystery. But because the Spirit is a person, we can know Him. Like any relationship, our knowledge of Him can grow. If we make a habit of listening for His voice, we’ll find abundant life now, not just at some point in the future.

Originally published at DarrinPatrick.org

Source: 3 Ways the Spirit Works in Us