Daily Archives: May 11, 2016

May 11, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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May. 11, 2016 |

BLOOMBERG

President Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, on May 27, becoming the first sitting American president to set foot in the city once devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb, where he will again call for the world to rid itself of nuclear weapons. That declaration rings hollow to critics who believe Obama’s plan to overhaul and upgrade the U.S. nuclear arsenal is sparking a dangerous new arms race with China and Russia.

Talk about a poisoned chalice. No matter who is elected to the White House in November, the next president will probably face a recession. The 83-month-old expansion is already the fourth-longest in more than 150 years and starting to show some signs of aging as corporate profits peak and wage pressures build.

The FBI’s feud with Apple over access to Syed Farook’s iPhone might never have happened if the San Bernardino, Calif., shooter had been carrying a 5S or newer. For the 250 million phones sold around the world with fingerprint authentication since 2013, law enforcement may be able to compel suspects to press their fingers to the devices and unlock them. With minimal litigation on the books in the U.S., police and prosecutors require only a judge’s blessing on a warrant for a suspect’s fingerprints.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s lawsuit this week against Visa Inc. over how debit transactions are verified is casting a spotlight on an issue that’s been plaguing U.S. retailers since they began accepting European-style chip cards last year. Some merchants have seen their debit-transaction fees increase by about 20 percent since Oct. 1, the deadline by which most stores were supposed to start accepting chip cards or face some fraud liabilities.

AP Top Stories

Thailand on Wednesday defended its curbs on freedom of expression at a review of its rights record by the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying the measures were aimed at “those who stir up violence”.

The freed son of a former Pakistani premier was reunited with his family in a shower of rose petals in Lahore Wednesday, three years after he was kidnapped then taken to Afghanistan. Ali Haider Gilani, son of Yousaf Raza Gilani, was rescued during a counter-terror raid by US and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday.

Taiwan has executed a man convicted of killing four people in a subway stabbing spree two years ago, an attack that strengthened support for the death penalty on the island, where violent crime is rare.

Syrian regime forces Wednesday battled jihadists who cut a key supply route west of ancient Palmyra, after new bombardments hit Aleppo city where a ceasefire is due to expire at midnight.

Cubans eager to reach the US will keep leaving the island despite a decision by several Central American countries to close their borders to them, some Cubans in Panama told AFP.

A Muslim student is “heartbroken” after being told on Tuesday that The Citadel military college in South Carolina will not allow her to wear a hijab with her uniform should she enroll this fall, according to a Muslim advocacy group, which said it may take legal action in response.

A Muslim student is “heartbroken” after being told on Tuesday that The Citadel military college in South Carolina will not allow her to wear a hijab with her uniform should she enroll this fall, according to a Muslim advocacy group, which said it may take legal action in response.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc filed a lawsuit against Visa Inc , saying the payments network operator was resisting the use of personal identification numbers (PINs) by customers for purchases made on debit cards at its stores.

Utah’s first-in-the-nation requirement that fetuses receive anesthesia or painkillers before some abortions takes effect Tuesday, but doctors say it’s unnecessary and impossible to comply with. The law requires pain relief for a fetus before any abortion at 20 weeks of gestation or later, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage.

While the debate surrounding the impact of raising the minimum wage continues, the share of the employed population being paid minimum wage has actually decreased in the past few decades. Of current total employment in the US–which stands at 143 million– 78 million workers are paid hourly and 2.6mn workers paid at or below the minimum wage.

BBC

Two car bomb blasts are reported to have rocked the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, just hours after an attack on a market left 64 people dead. At least 15 people had been killed in the northern Kadhimiya area and seven others in the city’s west.

Germany is set to annul the convictions of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was applied zealously in post-war Germany. Justice Minister Heiko Maas is to overturn the convictions and create a “right to compensation”. About 50,000 men were convicted between 1946 and 1969, under a 19th-Century law that the Nazis had sharpened. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969, but the legislation was not taken off the books entirely until 1994.

Oil sands firms in Canada’s Alberta province are slowly restarting production after a massive wildfire forced a week-long shut down.

Amnesty International says at least 149 detainees have died “in horrendous conditions” at a military detention center in north-east Nigeria this year.

WND

A Harvard Law professor is telling his fellow liberals that the culture wars are over and the victorious Left should treat conservative Christians the way the allies treated Germany and Japan after World War II, offering no quarter or clemency.

Dozens of homosexual and lesbian clergy members – 111 of them, to be exact – signed on to a letter that protests the United Methodist’s ban on LGBTs serving in ministry positions, daring their church leaders to discipline them.

In an either completely bizarre or potentially brilliant publicity stunt, Budweiser has decided to temporarily rename its beer “America.”


Top News – 5/11/2016

We will not stop Islamist extremism by ‘tiptoeing around’ the issue – minister
The problem of extremism in the Muslim community is real and people must stop “tiptoeing around” the issue, a minister has warned. Nick Boles, the skills minister, insisted the Government was “not in the business of trying to be diplomatic” and would not shy away from acknowledging the existence of the problem “in certain communities”.

Star pupil finds lost Mayan city by studying ancient charts of the night sky from his bedroom
“I was really surprised and excited when I realised that the most brilliant stars of the constellations matched the largest Maya cities,” he told the Journal de Montréal. In hundreds of years of scholarship, no other scientist had ever found such a correlation. Studying 22 different constellations, William found that they matched the location of 117 Mayan cities scattered throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Scores die as Baghdad hit by three bombings in one day
Islamic State suicide bombers have killed at least 94 people in three attacks on Baghdad on the bloodiest day for terrorism the world, let alone Iraq, has seen this year.

Dystopia: Venezuelans Are Now Killing Cats, Dogs, and Birds For Food Because Socialism Can’t Provide Matt Vespa Matt Vespa |Posted: May 09, 2016 2
So, you know Venezuela is on the verge of economic collapse. The price of oil has dropped precipitously over the past few years—that’s a budgetary nightmare for a nation dependent on its oil exports. As a result, basic necessities, like toilet paper, are being rationed.

Dutch euthanasia deaths up again in 2015: jumped 50% in five years
Euthanasia statistics for 2015 have been released in the Netherlands, showing a significant increase of 4 percent as compared with 2014. The rise is mainly due to the increase of euthanasia for demented, elderly people as well as psychiatric patients, two categories that raise even more questions than “ordinary” euthanasia for untreatable physical pain.

Woman takes abortion pill, sees her 7-week-old baby
Christina was told by Planned Parenthood that her abortion by pill would “feel like a heavy period,” so she was unprepared for the agonizing cramps, heavy bleeding, and having to see the perfectly formed body of her aborted baby.

‘Strong’ 4.7 earthquake near Christchurch
A strong quake that some likened to a “baby King Kong” has once again rattled Cantabrians this evening. Thousands reported feeling the 4.7 quake that struck at a depth of seven kilometres, 10 kilometres south-east of Christchurch at 8:45pm.

‘Target opened Pandora’s Box over transgender bathroom policy’
the problem with Target is that they don’t have to dress up like women; they can just march in there if they want to with their Iphone – there has already been a number of glaringly perverted cases that have already come to fruition in just in the last couple of weeks. So it’s not that these transgender people will be doing this.

Erdogan accuses EU of harboring terror groups, urges bloc to fix own laws
Turkey’s president has refused to bring the country’s anti-terror laws in line with EU standards, claiming Europe lecturing Ankara is a “black comedy”, as it offers safe haven to terrorist groups’ political wings and refuses to fix its own flawed laws.

ISIS buries alive dozens of defectors who fled Iraq battlefield – reports
Islamic State has reportedly buried dozens of its own militants alive, after the jihadists refused to fight and fled the battlefield in the face of the Iraqi government’s push to retake ground in northern province of Nineveh, which has been ruled by the terrorists since 2014.

US will not seek death penalty against Benghazi attack suspect
Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in the case against Abu Khatallah, the man charged in the 2012 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to court documents filed Tuesday. Attorney General Loretta Lynch made the decision.

PA PM: We’re following the path of the Nazi Mufti
The PA Prime Minister went on to say the Conference is inculcating the path of former Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who infamously sealed a pact with the genocidal Nazi regime to wipe out all Jews.

White House to release earth-shattering 9/11 report
Former Governor and Senator Bob Graham, who was co-chairman of the bipartisan panel investigating the attacks, says the documents indicate Saudi Arabia aided the terrorists. Others back Graham’s assertion, even as the Saudis deny having a role in the attacks.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims Pray Together in Jerusalem in Defiance of Terror
The multifaith group joined together in prayer at the Tantur Institute for Ecumenical Studies, which stands symbolically on the border between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

These Signs Prove That We Are Looking at the ‘Last Generation of Human History’
Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham, believes that “God is removing himself” from America, revealing in a recent interview the two biblical signs that she believes indicate that this could be the “last generation of human history.”

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake hits Tibet, causing landslides
A shallow magnitude-5.5 earthquake struck the mountainous region of Tibet on Wednesday, injuring 60 people, collapsing houses and damaging bridges and roads, authorities said.

Measles Outbreak in Memphis Began at Mosque
The first reported case of a person with measles in the recent Memphis outbreak, which now numbers seven confirmed cases, was at a local mosque on April 15, according to the Shelby County Health Department. “The first public place where there was a public exposure potentially [to measles] was the Masjid Al-Noor Mosque on April 15,” Dr. Alisa Haushalter, Director of the Shelby County Health Department, tells Breitbart News.

Mexico Won’t Take Cuban Migrants, Tells Panama to Dump Them on U.S. Border
Mexico is allowing Panama to dump nearly 4,000 Cuban migrants on the U.S. border, revealing the hypocrisy of Mexican officials as they attack Trump’s immigration policies. The Cubans have been stranded in Panama after Nicaragua closed its border last year, preventing them from traveling north to the U.S., so the Panama government asked Mexican officials if they can simply fly the Cubans just south of the U.S./Mexico border.

Iran to sue US over court seizure of $2 bn in frozen funds
Iran is preparing international legal action to recover nearly $2 billion that the US Supreme Court has ordered be paid as compensation to American victims of terror attacks, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday. “We will soon take the case of the $2 billion to the international court,” Rouhani said in a televised speech. “We will not allow the United States to swallow this money so easily,”…

IS conflict: Car bombing at Baghdad market kills dozens
A car bomb at a crowded Baghdad market has killed at least 64 people, officials say, in one of the worst recent attacks in the Iraqi capital. At least 87 others were wounded in the blast, in the Shia Muslim district of Sadr City during the morning rush hour. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it had carried out the attack.

France labour reforms: Protests as government pushes through bill
Protests have broken out across France after the government forced through controversial labour reforms. In Nantes, protesters clashed with security forces. In Paris police fired tear gas at demonstrators outside the National Assembly. Earlier, the cabinet approved using special powers to pass the changes without parliamentary approval.

Netanyahu: Remembrance Day is a time for internal reconciliation for Israel
Speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech commemorating the fallen soldiers Israel has lost fighting for its survival over its 68 year history. Netanyahu paid his respects to the families who have lost loved ones in the numerous wars Israel has fought over the years, saying that the whole nation was heavyhearted.

Feds Promote Rainbow Badges for Teachers, Staff at Public Schools to Identify as LGBT ‘Allies’
The federal government’s anti-bullying website posted a blog last month touting the OUT for Safe Schools program started by homosexual activists in the Los Angeles, Calif., public schools where “rainbow badges” are worn by teachers and staff to identify them as “allies” of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender students.’

U.S. destroyer sails near disputed Chinese island
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday sent a guided missile destroyer within 12 miles of a disputed island in the South China Sea where China has built an airstrip — prompting China to scramble fighter jets and dispatch warships to “expel” the American ship.

Bangladesh executes Islamist leader Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes
Bangladesh has executed a top leader of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence to break away from Pakistan, Bangladesh’s state-run news agency said.

Deception on—Not Just in—Iran
A bombshell exploded this past weekend with the White House at the epicenter. And while the repercussions should have been felt throughout America, most observers merely shrugged. The president’s deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, lied to the nation repeatedly about negotiations with the Iranians over the nuclear deal. The administration told Congress and the American people that the nuclear deal was essential because it was a vehicle for Iranian moderates—whom the Obama team was supposedly negotiating with—to drive Iranian policy.

Obama to make historic visit to Hiroshima
President Obama will visit Hiroshima when he travels to Japan this month for a summit of key industrialized nations, the White House announced Tuesday. It will be the first visit to the city by a sitting president since World War II, but the Obama administration said he will not apologize for the decision to destroy that city with an atomic bomb.

Top Hillary Clinton Aide Walks Out In Middle Of FBI Interview
With the FBI’s noose closing around Hillary and her closest State Department cohorts as the Federal agency nears the end of its criminal probe, some are getting increasingly concerned about what they will and will not say on the record. One such person is Hillary’s former State Department Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, who according to the WaPo walked out of an interview with federal investigators when an FBI official began to discuss a topic considered off-limits.

Harvard Law Professor Says Treat Conservative Christians Like Nazis
Liberals, stop being so defensive. That’s the message of Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet in a new post at Balkinization, titled “Abandoning Defensive Crouch Liberal Constitutionalism.” The problem, according to Tushnet, is that liberals have been too defensive when it comes to advancing their agenda in the courts.


Top Headlines – 5/11/2016

  • Clinton loss in West Virginia signals trouble in Rust Belt (Read More)
  • GOP hopefuls struggle with support of Trump (Read More)
  • Brazil Impeachment Vote May Spell Rousseff’s Last Day on Job (Read More)
  • Staples-Office Depot Merger Collapses After Block by Judge (Read More)
  • Tumbling Banco Popolare leads Italian bank shares lower  (Read More)
  • Queen Caught on Camera Describing ‘Very Rude’ Chinese Officials (Read More)
  • Hardcore Bear ETFs Poised to Swell Past Bulls as Inflows Surge (Read More)
  • Sturgeon ‘reasonably confident’ Scotland will vote to stay in EU (Read More)
  • LendingClub Struggles to Assure Investors as Bond Deals Stall (Read More)
  • Clinton wins Nebraska primary but gets no delegates (Read More)
  • U.S. to switch on European missile shield despite Russian alarm (Read More)
  • Port-Trucking Firms Run Into Labor Dispute (Read More)
  • U.S. companies are saving $100 billion a year by shifting profits overseas, report says (Read More)
  • Crop Prices Rally as Report Points to Easing of Glut (Read More)
  • Turkey refuses to change terrorism law in stand-off with EU (Read More)
  • Crooks, terrorists, tax evaders: Can new shell company rule stop them? (Read More)
  • Mitsubishi Motors says improper data may have been used for more models (Read More)

Israel Seals Off West Bank, Gaza for Memorial Day, Independence Day

Jordan official: Extremism a result of no Palestinian state

Palestinian Teenager Is Convicted of Attempted Murder in Stabbing Attack

Boycott leader accuses Israel of imposing travel ban

9 Jewish groups support bill banning prevention of US entry based on religion

Almost 700 Iranian troops and militia fighters ‘killed in Syria’ to preserve Bashar al-Assad

Putin says new Russian weapons turned tide in Syria

Kerry Tries to Drum Up Some Business in Europe for Iran

Kerry: Businesses using US sanctions as excuse to avoid Iran

Iran to sue US over court seizure of $2 bn in frozen funds

Former US Marine sues Iran over ‘torture’ while held captive

David Cameron calls Afghanistan, Nigeria ‘fantastically corrupt’

Afghan Taliban tighten squeeze on state capital

Three people killed in bomb attack in Turkey’s Diyarbakir

People uprooted within their own countries by conflict hits record 40.8 million in 2015

Munich knife attack: One dead as man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ attacks four at train station in Grafing, Germany

UK police apologize for using ‘Allahu Akbar’ phrase in anti-terror drill

Bangladesh Braces for Violence After Opposition Leader, Motiur Rahman Nizami, Is Executed

‘Everyone’s outraged’: angry Greeks foresee Grexit and drachma’s revival

Ghosts of Brazil’s past haunt presidential impeachment crisis

Facebook boss insists there’s no liberal bias

The rise of militias: Patriot candidates are now getting elected in Oregon

Senate GOP pressures Trump over Supreme Court

‘Maple Match’ Dating Site Hooks-Up Trump-Hating Americans With Canadians

Study: Sanders’ economic plan piles $18 trillion on federal debt

Hillary Clinton Gives U.F.O. Buffs Hope She Will Open the X-Files

Prepping for Doomsday: Bunkers, Panic Rooms, and Going Off the Grid

70 years after Hiroshima, Obama to pay historic visit

Obama’s Visit Raises Ghosts of Hiroshima

U.S. Warship Challenges China’s Claims in South China Sea

China scrambles fighters as U.S. sails warship near Chinese-claimed reef

Russia’s New ICBM Sarmat can penetrate defense shield, wipe out Texas

Say goodbye to OPEC, powerful Putin pal predicts

Man who foresaw oil crash bets against Saudi Arabia

Mystery Mission: Air Force’s X-37B Space Plane Nears 1 Year in Orbit

Star pupil finds lost Mayan city by studying ancient charts of the night sky from his bedroom

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Gyamotang, China

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Reykjanes Ridge

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 25,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

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

Okla. gov declares state of emergency after tornadoes, strong storms kill 2

Chile’s biggest ever ‘red tide’ threatens sea life

These Bro Scientists Want to Sell You Mind-Hacking Pills

Forehead zapper to ease migraine pain: Tiny implant in forehead sends electric pulses

Scientists engineer ‘second skin’ that corrects wrinkles

CDC labs repeatedly faced secret sanctions for mishandling bioterror germs

Gov’t ‘waste’ report: Researchers paid to sting genitals, study wet animals – and more

IVF helps 70-year-olds become first-time parents

Iowa Woman Tries to Flush Baby Down Hospital Toilet After Delivery

STD’s on the rise – ‘Swiping right’ & online dating could be to blame

Fort Worth superintendent rejects call to resign over transgender bathroom guidelines

Philippines transgender politician celebrates historic win

Israel’s LGBT community protests for equal rights for families of fallen soldiers

Over 100 United Methodist Clergy Come out as LGBT

Harvard Law Professor Says Treat Conservative Christians Like Nazis

China Releases Pastor Imprisoned for Protesting Regime’s Persecution of Christians

Dozens of Christians Brutally Killed in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Virgin Mary statue that appears to weep draws the faithful

At least 4 stabbed at Boston mall and home in related incidents

CBO: Nearly 1 in 6 Young Men in U.S. Jobless or Incarcerated

Charleston church plans to KEEP over half the donations received after race hate massacre

Gospel Artist Lisa McClendon Outs Husband’s Infidelity on Social Media

Few Pastors Say Adultery Should Permanently Ban Them from the Pulpit

Adult Clergy Abuse Is Overlooked and Misunderstood: Here’s Why

Over 100 United Methodist Clergy Come out as LGBT

Harvard Prof Urges Liberals to Treat Evangelical Christians Like Nazis

Christian refugees in Germany fear violence by other migrants, report says

200 Christians Massacred in Aleppo Rocket Attacks

Dozens of Christians Brutally Killed in Democratic Republic of the Congo


Trump Candidacy Divides Christian Leaders

“Which candidate is most likely to be most ‘friendly’ to the Christian community at large – as well as with Israel? Which candidate will most likely give those of us who are Christians and pastors the opportunities to address, fight, and possibly defeat some of the moral insanities that have been inflicted upon this nation in the last eight years? Which president do you want to see sitting across the table from the diabolic regimes of the world trying to hold back the flood of evil they wish to inflict upon the United States – Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?”

View Article


Anne Graham Lotz: The Democrat Party Has Come Against God

According to The Christian Post, Lotz said that Trump may be like Nebuchadnezzer in the Bible–a man who started off as antagonistic toward God’s people, but who ultimately ended up believing in the Lord.

“My faith is not in a person, my faith is in God,” said Lotz in an interview with Fox News.

View Article


Watkins’ 100 Most Spiritually Influential People of 2016 – How Many Names Do You Know?

Watkin’s Mind Body Spirit Magazine released its 2016 top 100 most spiritually influential people alive today. If you have been reading Lighthouse Trails for some time, you will recognize several names. One thing all of these names have in common is an affinity toward mysticism. Sadly, a number of these New Ager/New Spirituality names have […]

The post Watkins’ 100 Most Spiritually Influential People of 2016 – How Many Names Do You Know? appeared first on .


The Daily Discovery (May 11, 2016)

headerImage-dailyDiscoveryARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)

The Proverbs 31 Woman (Part 2): A Biography – “She is the great Woman of Valor. She is the virtuous Wife of Noble Character. Her children rise up and call her blessed, and her husband praises her. Her outfits are fabulous! She’s rockin’ all the jewel-tones — ruby, purple, scarlet — colors I could never pull off in my own wardrobe. I’m more of a pastels kinda girl (my fair complexion). But even all her outer beauty is nothing compared to her strength and dignity, her unmatched excellence. We all know she is pin-perfect. But who is she, really? In this article we are going to dig deep into context and unearth the beautiful truth about the Proverbs 31 woman.”

Judge Dread – “There are serious errors of fact with this account which make the comparison to the case of Kim Davis most egregious and frankly mischievous. First, the Commission insists that Judge Neely cannot remain a municipal judge. This is incorrect. Municipal judges are not actually allowed to solemnize marriages so Neely’s views on that subject are irrelevant to her ability to perform the job. Second, as a circuit court magistrate, Judge Neely has discretion when it comes to solemnizing marriages.”

Why Christians Shouldn’t Use Uber – “Okay, the headline is meant more to get your attention than it is a command. I have personally never used Uber, and have no qualms against them. I am sure there are lovely people who drive for Uber or Lyft, or any other rideshare program for that matter. I am also certain there are wonderful opportunities for evangelism when you sign up to drive for such a company. Really this post has nothing to do with Uber. Honestly, I created a decoy to tell you why over the last few months, I have a new love for the church, both local and universal… and yes, Uber plays a small part.”

Conscripted for Life, Not War: Why the Draft is Wrong for Women – “I watched the latest Republican Presidential debate with usual dutifulness. I want to be informed, I want to understand the candidates, and I want to play the small part God’s given me in this process, but as this was not the first one, I didn’t expect anything revelatory. Imagine my shock as I listened to not one, but three, so-called conservative candidates vigorously support selective service–including combat—for women, even referencing the importance of equality for their daughters in their responses. Selective service registration exists as a way to reinstitute the draft should the need arise.”

I’m Forgetting What It’s Like to Be Single – “Sometimes I forget what it felt like to be single. Sure, I remember the dates — the good, the bad, the non-existent. I remember driving places alone in my little blue-green Corolla (no car seats involved) to meet friends for movies or late-night coffee dates. And I remember crawling into my empty bed at day’s end and waking up to a totally silent house. I remember all of those things. But with each passing year of being married, I find it harder to recall the feeling of being on my own.”


SERMON:

John_Chester

John Chester – The Four Pillars of Personal Evangelism


VIDEOS:

The Spiritual Power of a Godly Man

Why Do Christians Act in Unchristian Ways?


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

The post The Daily Discovery (May 11, 2016) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


A La Carte (May 11)

Today’s Kindle deals include John Knox: Fearless in Faith by Steve Lawson ($1.99); Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Eswine ($2.99); Unashamed Workmen by Rhett Dodson ($3.99); The Quick-Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling by Tim Clinton ($4.99).

Logos users, if you have been considering Logos Now, you may be interested to know they’re now offering 4 free books when you subscribe. Click and scroll down for details.

Restroom Laws and Jim Crow

It’s a big question today: Are restroom laws that respect privacy the equivalent of Jim Crow laws?

Planetary Transit

NASA got some amazing footage of Mercury making its way between us and the sun, something that happens just 13 times each century.

Where’s Your Heart?

Randy Alcorn: “Do you wish you cared more about eternal things? Then reallocate some of your money, maybe most of your money, from temporal things to eternal things. Put your resources, your assets, your money and possessions, your time and talents and energies into the things of God. Watch what happens.”

Love the Season You’re In

This is a good exhortation from Kim Shay: Love the season you’re in and don’t wish you were in a different season of life.

Essentials in the Ministry of the Lord

Geoffrey Kirkland: “I like to make it a habit to read through the Pastoral Epistles regularly and in one sitting so that the Spirit of God exhorts my soul with truths from Holy Scripture regarding the ministry of the Lord. I want to remain on track. I want to major on the essentials. I must prioritize what God tells me to focus on and avoid what He tells me to flee from. Today I want to highlight seven essentials in the ministry of the Lord.”

Teaching: Ten Top Tips?

Andrew Wilson has ten great tips on confidently studying and teaching God’s Word but without getting yourself into interpretive trouble.

This Day in 330. 1,686 years ago today, “Roman emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, inaugurates Constantinople as his capital on the site of the Greek city of Byzantium.” *

Pixar – What Makes a Story Relatable

This is a great look at Pixar movies and what makes them so good.

Flashback: The One Sure Mark of Christian Maturity

“What does it mean to be a mature Christian? I think we tend to believe that mature Christians are the ones who know a lot of facts about the Bible. Mature Christians are the ones who have their theology down cold. But…”

Ryle

Prayer and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer. —J.C. Ryle


Check Out

Blogs

8 Ways To Be A Mom Without Going Crazy | Anna Mussman, The Federalist
“Sane mommies are good for kids. How are we to avoid being driven crazy by all the angst, mommy wars, and parenting books out there? Here are eight things that we should remember in our quest to remain sane. ”

Don’t Turn Motherhood into an Idol | Prince on Preaching
“When motherhood becomes the center of a woman’s life and identity, rather than Christ, a blessing easily turns into a burden. A path of joy turns into a path of despair. The attempt to quantify why your life matters by your performance as a mother will produce frustration and inevitable discontentment. To put it another way, motherhood is a glorious mission but a horrible idol.”

A Plan for the Problem of Pornography | Phil Ryken, Reformation21 Blog
“Anyone who does these things by faith will experience the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who is involved with pornography and decides not to do these things is pursuing his or her own destruction. ”

If Death Is Gain, Should We Pray for Healing? | Travis Myers, Desiring God
“Last year I was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called B-cell follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma…”

Me, the Lord, Pizza, and Celiac Disease | Kevin DeYoung, TGC
“Don’t waste your weakness–if it’s true for cancer, it’s certainly true for Celiac. I don’t know what lessons the Lord is going to teach me, but I’m sure there will be plenty.”

Worms and Fire | Barry York, Gentle Reformation
“Surely hell does not appear to be on the consciences of most people these days. If that’s indeed the case, there is one clear source to blame. Preachers.”

New Book


J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone by Iain H. Murray

Kindle Deals

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


Not a Chance: God, Science, and the Revolt against Reason by R. C. Sproul and Keith Mathison ($1.99)


Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore ($4.99)


The Spirit of Revival (with the complete, modernized text of The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God) by Jonathan Edwards, R. C. Sproul, Archie Parrish ($2.99)


The Quick-Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Ron Hawkins ($4.99)

Video

Shepherd’s Conference 2016 Videos
Grace Community Church has graciously provided all the conference videos from the 2016 Shepherd’s conference on Vimeo. Click the link above to see the listing. Below you’ll see John Macarthur from the first general session of the conference.


Links I like

Links I like

The only Kindle deal that’s caught my attention is Onward by Russell Moore for $4.99. This one is totally worth getting.

5 Questions To Ask of a Book Before You Read It

Tim Challies:

They are far and away the most common questions I receive (beyond, perhaps, how to pronounce my name—it rhymes with “valleys”): Can you tell me anything about this author? Have you heard of this book? Is it safe to read? Sometimes people ask to avoid wasting time or money on a book that would not be worth either one, and sometimes they ask to avoid the influence of false doctrine. Since I can’t answer all the questions, and since I can’t know all the books and authors, I’ll offer a few tips on sorting it all out and do so in the form of 5 questions you can ask of any book.

What real love looks like

Ray Ortlund:

William Bradford, leader of the Pilgrims, describes the remarkable love with which they cared for one another during that horrible first winter.

Three Lies About Forgiveness

JD Greear:

A few years ago I read a fascinating book called TheBishop of Rwanda, by John Rucyahana. He talked about the horrible genocides in Rwanda, and the aftermath of the civil wars there. He said that the genocides were, obviously, horrendous, but it was the lingering bitterness and hatred afterwards that was the most difficult. Most people couldn’t even consider the idea of forgiveness.

Rucyahana pointed out that the obstacles to forgiveness really came from lies people believed about forgiveness. These three lies are as applicable in big cases (like his) as they are in our more everyday cases of forgiveness.

The Hardest Part of Ministry

Darryl Dash:

The hardest part of pastoral ministry is not the work. It’s not that things take longer than you’d think, or that success is hard to measure. The hardest part of ministry is relational pain.

The Church, A Battering Ram

Zach Barnhart:

Every time I read or heard that verse before, defense would come to mind. As Christians, we often treat our gospel message like a gate. We have to build the walls up against the charging of the Enemy. We bar the doors, huddle down in our forts, and hope the gospel is able to withstand the attack of its opposition. Don’t misunderstand me – it absolutely can withstand such attacks. But we tend to think, for example, that doing apologetics is all about being able to keep the atheists out of the red zone and scoring touchdowns. We think living for Christ in our culture means living in a strong bomb shelter that can survive the attacks.

12 Principles for Disagreeing with Other Christians

Good stuff adapted from Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ by Andy Naselli and J. D. Crowley.

Three Ways a Disorganized Leader Holds Back a Team

Eric Geiger:

Some great leaders are simultaneously good managers and gifted in administration. But not all leaders are. At the same time, leaders must reach a threshold of organizational skill or their disorganization becomes a debilitating weakness and holds back the team they are leading. It is bad leadership for leaders to shrug their shoulders and laugh about their disorganized leadership. Here are three ways a disorganized leader holds back a team.

The post Links I like appeared first on Blogging Theologically.


Dozens Of Terrorism Suspects Among Refugees Who Entered Germany.

Posted: 11 May 2016 08:15 AM PDT

German authorities are investigating 40 cases in which Islamic militants are suspected of having entered the country with the recent flood of refugees from the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Indian Hindus Ask Gods To Help Trump

Posted: 11 May 2016 08:11 AM PDT

Donald Trump may find it tough to get Republican leaders behind his campaign, but he’s got some faraway fans trying to get the gods on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Captain America Deemed “Too Heterosexual”!

Posted: 11 May 2016 08:02 AM PDT

Vanity Fair has weighed in on the blockbuster movie “Captain America: Civil War” to lament the hero’s “heterosexual virility.” Marvel Studios and Disney’s latest installment…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pregnant Women Must Be Allowed To Drink In A Bar

Posted: 11 May 2016 07:51 AM PDT

A pregnant woman shows up at a New York City bar and wants to go in and order a drink despite health warnings against consuming…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Obama Admin Will Not Seek Death Penalty For Accused Ringleader In Benghazi Attacks

Posted: 11 May 2016 07:41 AM PDT

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it will not seek the death penalty against Ahmed Abu Khattala, 54, a U.S.-designated terrorist whom prosecutors accuse of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Environmentalist Marries 1,000-Year-Old Cypress Tree In Mexico

Posted: 11 May 2016 07:38 AM PDT

Peruvian activist and actor Richard Torres contracted matrimony with Mexico’s famous 1,000-year-old Arbol del Tule, or Tule Tree, in an Inca ceremony replete with incense,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Phil Robertson Offers ‘Radical Idea’ to Stop Bathroom Bill Chaos

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:47 AM PDT

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson is making a stand against the transgender bathroom bills that are floating around many state legislatures. “This is Phil Robertson…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hailstorm Kills 9,000 Birds in Utah

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:44 AM PDT

A major hailstorm wiped out thousands of birds over the weekend, so Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials went out to assess casualties, Monday. Experts…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Justin Bieber Declares Faith with Face Tattoo

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:39 AM PDT

Pop singer Justin Bieber has made a permanent declaration of his faith by tattooing a small cross on his face. US Weekly reports that the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Feds Promote Rainbow Badges for Public School Faculty: I’m an LGBT ‘Ally’

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:33 AM PDT

Where would the federal government be if it couldn’t get its grubby hands into everything, including promoting LGBT-activism in public schools. The Fed’s anti-bullying initiative…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

One Prophecy and 4 Intercessory Prayer Keys for Revival

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:30 AM PDT

(Jason Armstrong) A few months ago as I was speaking at a conference the Lord began to release a word concerning alignment. At the time…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Harvard to Punish Students who Join Single-Gender Social Clubs

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:25 AM PDT

To counter any appearance of discrimination, Harvard has announced that it will begin punishing students for joining single-gender social clubs beginning with the class of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rev. Graham: Daily Headlines Reveal ‘Moral Bankruptcy’ of America — We ‘Sink Deeper Into Secularism’

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:18 AM PDT

Commenting on how LGBT activists want gay characters in Disney movies, that transgender “Caitlyn’ Jenner will pose nude in Sports Illustrated, and that the New…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

130 Christians, Jews, and Muslims gather in Jerusalem to pray for the Nations

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:10 AM PDT

On Monday, a group of 130 Christians, Jews, and Muslims gathered in Jerusalem to fulfill its purpose as house of prayer for all nations. Their…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Angela Merkel to Attend Secretive Bilderberg 2016 Meeting

Posted: 11 May 2016 06:05 AM PDT

Chancellor Angela Merkel has been invited to attend the 2016 Bilderberg conference in Dresden, Germany, the annual meeting of elitists which some accuse of being…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iranian Admiral Threatens to ‘Drown’ U.S. Warships in Persian Gulf

Posted: 11 May 2016 05:58 AM PDT

Iran would drown U.S. warships if they pose a threat to the Middle Eastern country, warns a commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ex-Witch Explains the Benefits of Speaking in Tongues

Posted: 11 May 2016 05:52 AM PDT

Beth, of the blog The Other Side of Darkness, was a practicing witch until the cross transformed her life. Now, the Spirit-filled believer is out…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Changing

Posted: 11 May 2016 05:48 AM PDT

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched its trio of Earth-facing satellites – the Swarm satellites – more than two years ago. Since then, the three…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Over 120 Languages Spoken in Nashville Schools; Spanish and Arabic Some of Highest Ranked

Posted: 11 May 2016 05:41 AM PDT

Recently released data from the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools shows about a third of the district’s 85,000 student population does not speak English as a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Measles Outbreak in Memphis Began at Mosque

Posted: 11 May 2016 05:37 AM PDT

The first reported case of a person with measles in the recent Memphis outbreak, which now numbers seven confirmed cases, was at a local mosque…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Woman can sense every earthquake in real time

Posted: 11 May 2016 05:33 AM PDT

Moon Ribas might just be the most normal looking cyborg you’ll meet. Unlike the contingent of extreme biohackers or “grinders,” the 30-year old Spanish avant-garde…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Anne Graham Lotz Ready to Vote for Trump, Says He Can Change Like Biblical King Nebuchadnezzar

Posted: 10 May 2016 08:37 PM PDT

Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famous evangelist Billy Graham, says she is ready to vote for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the November…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Why Facebook Is Trying to Shut Us Down

Posted: 10 May 2016 08:30 PM PDT

(Katrina Trinko) Maybe we need to start talking about the consequences of living in Mark Zuckerberg’s America. It’s easy to see Facebook as the new…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rat and Human DNA Found In Burgers sold at fast-food chains and grocery stores

Posted: 10 May 2016 08:16 PM PDT

Some burgers that you’ve eaten might not be what you think they are. A new report reveals that more than one in ten burger brands…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

11 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Rapidly Deteriorating Even As The Stock Market Soars

Posted: 10 May 2016 08:05 PM PDT

(Michael Snyder) We have seen this story before, and it never ends well. From mid-March until early May 2008, a vigorous stock market rally convinced…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Newly Elected Muslim Mayor In London Goes To War With Trump

Posted: 10 May 2016 02:43 PM PDT

Sadiq Khan launched a furious attack on Donald Trump today and accused the “ignorant” billionaire of fuelling extremism with his anti-Muslim comments. The new Mayor…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What the Mainstream Media Isn’t Telling You About God’s Judgments

Posted: 10 May 2016 02:33 PM PDT

Why is Saudi Arabia buying U.S. land? What does this have to do with Donald Trump? Where is U.S. money going? Are Islamic State militants…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Wyoming man, facing $16M in fines, beats EPA in battle over stock pond

Posted: 10 May 2016 02:29 PM PDT

A Wyoming man threatened with $16 million in fines over the building of a stock pond reached a settlement with the Environment Protection Agency, allowing…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Harvard Prof Urges Liberals to Treat Evangelical Christians Like Nazis

Posted: 10 May 2016 02:24 PM PDT

A Harvard Law professor is telling his fellow liberals that the culture wars are over and the victorious Left should treat conservative Christians the way…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Japan ready to intervene if yen moves too volatile

Posted: 10 May 2016 02:22 PM PDT

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Monday that Tokyo is ready to intervene in the currency market if yen moves are volatile enough to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Weeping Virgin Mary Statue In California House Is Being Called a Miracle

Posted: 10 May 2016 12:32 PM PDT

A statue of the Virgin Mary in Fresno appears to be weeping. The family who owns the statue calls it a miracle and said it’s…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

A Surprising Number of Pastors Are in Error Over the Antichrist

Posted: 10 May 2016 12:23 PM PDT

(Bob Smietana) Most Protestant pastors believe Jesus will return in the future. But few agree about the details of the apocalypse. A third of America’s…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Amid the Awakening in West Virginia, Here’s How Pastors There Are Praying for America

Posted: 10 May 2016 12:19 PM PDT

For Pastor Shannon Robinson, America’s problem can be summed up by the absence of one word: love. “When America begins to love again, we’ll see…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China scrambles fighter jets and warships after US destroyer sails near disputed reef

Posted: 10 May 2016 12:15 PM PDT

China deployed two fighter jets and three warships Tuesday after a US navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Americans Prepping for Doomsday…

Posted: 10 May 2016 12:11 PM PDT

The apocalypse has become big business. And it’s getting bigger every day. In the ’50s, homeowners fearing Communist attacks built bunkers in their backyards and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.



Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What Is the Gospel?

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

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

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


The Gospel 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


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


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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Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ – Unlocking the Bible

Where are you from? How did you grow up? Tell me about your family. Where does Jesus play into all of this?  

These are the probing questions and seeking statements that fill up most of my time as of late. I recently moved to Georgia, where I have become the lead pastor for a great local church. My calendar is full with meeting people, and I have asked dozens of them about their stories. Many have responded with tales of years upon years of faithful history in the church, and some of them have been walking with Christ longer than I have been alive. There have been faithful stories of seeing Jesus move as people have given of their time and talents to trust him with an experience or relationship.

They have all been encouraging conversations, but what is interesting is how few of them included any dark or despairing moments, what life was like before God saved their souls. I think it’s true that most humans don’t want to talk about dirty laundry with a new pastor. I think it is also true that we face the Pharisaical struggle of talking about appearances without examining what’s turning the wheels on the inside.

Not all the conversations went this way. A couple of them got really hairy, really fast. Men sharing intimate details of life before Christ. The pain, the drugs, the hurt relationships, the broken marriages. I’ve seen the color total depravity paints on the canvas of our lives.

Dead to God and Enslaved in Sin

The best place to start with evaluating our story is to go back to the beginning. Looking through the lens of Ephesians 2:1-3, we see clearly where we began:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

This is not a feel-good passage. It isn’t a mirror that shows us what we want to see, but what we need to see. And the smell of this. How ghastly. How gross. The stench of spiritually-dead people reeks to the Lord. Even Paul remembers the odor of his sin as he was persecuting Christians.

Looking back as a now-follower of Christ, Paul is writing from prison to these Ephesian Christians. I’m sure he was cold, tired, hungry, and uncomfortable. The Holy Spirit still moved in such a way as to pen powerful words that would bring real perspective to the Ephesians. He starts chapter 2 by declaring “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked.” As if that didn’t sting enough, God kept speaking through Paul, declaring the people as once under Satan’s reign. OUCH! ZING! BAM! Not really the strategy most of us use when we are asked about our life story.

It may not be the beginning we like to tell, but it is the beginning of the gospel.

Paul says we were dead. There is no way around this reality. Apart from Christ, all people are spiritually dead—as dead as dead bones get (see Ezekiel 37.) We aren’t swimming around in the ocean of life waiting for God to throw out the life preserver. We are stone-cold dead at the bottom of the ocean, with no hope of rescuing ourselves.

Within that spiritual deadness, our physical life is under the authority, influence, and power of man’s greatest Enemy. The “prince of the power of the air,” the Scriptures call him. Under the strength of that morbid, prideful power, we carry out the desires of a dead soul in both our mind and deeds. All of our thoughts are corrupt apart from Christ, and all we do is tarnished by sin and harmful.

You may be sitting there thinking, “But Jerrod, I make good decisions, and I have done good things.” I would say, to God be the glory! To reflect the goodness and kindness of God is a grace he has given you. But in the end, when we weigh ourselves against God’s commands and his holiness, we hopelessly fall short (Romans 3:23). What we rightly deserve is the judgment of God that is waiting for all mankind who are not under Christ’s saving reign.

Alive to God in Jesus Christ

If we ended there, the only conclusion would be that we are hopeless. But God. Oh, how grateful I am that God kept writing through Paul in verses 4-10!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God is the one who initiated. Jesus was the path to making us alive, and the Holy Spirit is the power to make it all happen. Our sins and trespasses separated us from God. But God pursued us, recreated us, and gave us a new family. We didn’t do a lick of it. The gospel of Jesus Christ, as proclaimed through the Word and the mouths of those who are his, is how God chooses to bring life to the spiritually dead. As he opens our blind eyes to respond by faith, only then can God’s authorship of our story be understood in all of its context.

Have you considered the new life that God freely gives, in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit? Remember your past, and share it with a world that needs to hear it. We were dead in our sin, but God made us alive in Christ.

Are these gospel-realities what you would use to tell your story?

RELATED POSTS:

alive in Christ

The post Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Stop Complaining, Part 1 – GTY Blog

Philippians 2:14-16

Code: B160511

by Jeremiah Johnson

What would you say is the defining characteristic of our society?

Maybe pride, selfishness, lust, vengeance, materialism—all dominant features of twenty-first century life. But here’s one you might not have guessed—discontentment.

So much of modern life is bound up in obtaining what we don’t have, and then upgrading it as soon as we have it. It’s as if people are fundamentally incapable of being satisfied with what they have. They always want more money, more prestigious jobs, better homes, and newer cars. It shows up in relationships too, as people routinely abandon their marriages for younger, more attractive spouses, while others abandon their families and friends to upgrade their social circle.

Moreover, we’re encouraged to be discontent. Virtually every marketing campaign plays on that ingrained sense of dissatisfaction—whatever they’re selling works better, faster, easier, and cheaper than what you have already. The same is true in entertainment. Fictional characters lead luxurious lives the rest of us can only aspire to, while countless TV programs show you how to renovate and restore your car, your house, and even your own body.

Even politics is dominated by discontentment. Every political campaign revolves around promises to fix what’s broken in this country so you can have a better, happier, and easier life.

This pervasive discontentment colors virtually every area of modern life. Man’s rebellious default setting is to grumble, complain, argue, and whine about anything and everything he doesn’t like.

But what about the church? Are God’s people immune from such pervasive dissatisfaction?

Unfortunately, we are not. Christians are just as prone to discontentment as the world, and just as apt to complain about what they don’t like or how their needs aren’t being met.

But as Christians, we know that all those complaints ultimately go back to God. All matters are overseen by our sovereign Lord Himself, so we’re really complaining that He didn’t orchestrate and design things in our churches to our taste and satisfaction.

The same goes for all areas of life—when we’re discontent in anything, we’re really questioning God’s wisdom, will, provision, goodness, and blessing. In short, we’re actually dissatisfied with God.

Sadly, from the moment Adam fell into sin, God’s people have shown a tendency toward dissatisfaction and an aptitude for discontentment. Perhaps the best example is Israel during the Exodus from Egypt. In Exodus 15, just three days after the Lord had delivered His people by parting the Red Sea, they were already complaining that they couldn’t find any water fit to drink. Rather than relying on God’s abundant provision and power—which they had just witnessed with their own eyes—they grumbled and focused on how their needs weren’t being met.

It’s easy to look at the Israelites’ constant dissatisfaction and think that they were an extreme case—that we never would react like that after living through such vivid displays of God’s power. But the fact is we have witnessed God’s gracious blessing, His rich mercy, and His transforming power at work in each of our own lives, and yet we still find plenty to complain about. In that sense we’re no better than the Israelites—in fact, we’re worse.

The apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Philippian church makes it clear there is no excuse for us to complain about our discontentment and dissatisfaction.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)

Paul puts emphasis on a key area of discipline for our lives—one that can either reveal God’s transforming work, or tarnish the testimony of His Word and His church. Unlike the perpetually unsatisfied world, Paul is challenging us to cultivate an attitude of contented submission in every aspect of our lives.

He puts it bluntly: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Other translations might substitute the words “complaining” and “arguing,” but it doesn’t change the meaning or the emphasis of Paul’s point. As John MacArthur explains,

Grumbling is an onomatopoetic word that sounds like the guttural, muttering sounds people often make when they are disgruntled. It is a negative response to something unpleasant, inconvenient, or disappointing, arising from the self-centered notion that it is undeserved. [1] John MacArthur The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians (Chicago: Moody, 2001), 179.

We often grumble without even realizing what we’re doing—it can simply be a sigh or grunt of disappointment. However you express it, grumbling is the emotional expression of dissatisfaction.

The other side of the coin is disputing. In his commentary on this passage, James Montgomery Boice describes it this way:

This word [for disputing or] “arguing” refers to the inward reasoning of the mind and is based on the Greek word from which we get our English word “dialogue.” Dialogue has become a popular word in our day, and we think well of it, but it is not such a virtue in the Bible, at least not between people and God. God does not want us to argue with Him; He wants us to listen to Him and to do what He says. In this context the word points to that reasoning that goes on in the human heart in rebellion against God’s will. [2] James Montgomery Boice Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1971), 148-149.

As believers, we know we are not supposed to engage in outward, overt rebellion against God. But we must take just as seriously any inward rebellion in the form of grumbling or disputing. We don’t have the right or the authority to argue against God, His Word, or His plans—we must submit unequivocally and immediately at every turn.

And as Sinclair Ferguson explains, grumbling and disputing are just expressions of other sins corrupting our hearts.

Why was this such unacceptable behavior? Because it was deep ingratitude in the face of the saving grace and continuing activity of God. A grumbling or questioning spirit is an expression of ingratitude to God’s providence and of lovelessness and pride towards others. It is a denial of grace; it is working against salvation rather than working salvation out in every aspect of our lives. In the face of the self-humbling of Jesus and the servant-spirit which was His, murmuring and argument are ugly monsters. [3] Sinclair Ferguson Let’s Study Philippians (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997), 57.

Grumbling and arguing aren’t just any old sins—they’re fundamentally and diametrically opposed to the grace and provision of God in our lives. As such, they are utterly contradictory to our new nature in Christ. John MacArthur makes that point in his commentary:

Believers’ failure to willingly, even joyfully, submit to God’s providential will is a deep-seated and serious sin. Discontentment and complaining are attitudes that can become so habitual that they are hardly noticed. But those twin sins demonstrate a lack of trust in His providential will, boundless grace, and infinite wisdom and love. Consequently, those sins are especially odious in His sight and merit His discipline. As Paul explained to the Corinthians, the numerous Old Testament accounts of God’s severe dealing with Israel’s complaints in the wilderness were given “as an example, and they were written for our instruction” (1 Cor. 10:11). Jeremiah asked, “Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins?” (Lam. 3:39). If that is true of everyone, how much more does it apply to believers, whose sins have been graciously forgiven by the Lord? [4] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians, 179.

Nothing that disappoints or dissatisfies you and me could ever compare to the incalculable disappointment and offense our sin is to God. We are the worst offenders, so we have no room to complain about anything or anyone. And the instant we’re inclined to gripe or grumble, we need to remember just how offensive our sin is to God, and the boundless grace and mercy He’s shown us in spite of how unlovely we are to Him.

John MacArthur sums up Paul’s prohibition against grumbling and disputing this way:

Every circumstance of life is to be accepted willingly and joyfully, without murmuring, complaint, or disappointment, much less resentment. There is no exception. There should never be either emotional grumbling or intellectual disputing. It is always sinful for believers to complain about anything the Lord calls them to do or about any circumstance which He sovereignly allows. Whether the task is difficult or easy, whether the situation involves a blessing or a trial, negative attitudes are forbidden. [5] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians, 180.

But Paul doesn’t simply give us that command and move on to the next issue. This isn’t a drive-by exhortation. In the subsequent verses, he gives us three reasons that we should stop complaining.

And that’s where we’ll pick it up next time.


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COPYRIGHT ©2016 Grace to You

Behavior Modification vs. Repentance – The Cripplegate

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Oftentimes problems with the fruit on a tree are not because of problems with the fruit on the tree. Below the soil’s surface, there is usually a sickness present. Things like fungus, poor nutrient content in the soil, insufficient watering, and pests can plague the roots and subsequently damage the tree. So goes the root, so goes the fruit. Neglect the root, neglect the fruit.

Imagine an orchardist who addressed sickly trees by only addressing the fruit. He approaches the sickly lemon tree, puts up his ladder, and inspects the lemons. Some of the lemons are flaccid, some shrunken, and others cracked open and rotten. Then, imagine, that he breaks out a syringe with store-bought lemon juice and injects the emaciated lemons to fill them out a bit. To repair the sickly, split lemons, he breaks out some band-aids and closes up those holes. Finally, he notices some fruitless branches. So, he breaks out his duct-tape and tapes some nice-looking, store-bought lemons to the branches. He steps back and notices that, for the moment, the tree looks fruitful. For the moment.

Often in our lives, we approach personal change and sanctification like that orchardist.

We observe an absence of healthy fruit or a presence of sickly fruit in our thoughts, words, and actions. So, we break out insufficient solutions like the syringe, band-aids, and duct-tape, and get to work. The presence of effort gives a feelings of productivity. “Well, I feel like I’m doing something about my life, so it must be good.” Lots of injecting, patching, and DSC02645taping going on. But too often, the real problem festers beneath. The roots of our heart remain unexposed, unaddressed, and unchanged. The injected fruit wilt, the patched fruit burst, and the taped fruit fall.

“For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).

Jesus knows a few things about humanity and the nature of personal change. The source of our thoughts, words, and behavior is not our bad day, lack of sleep, missing our workout, environmental conditions, or other circumstances ultimately. Sure, these things might make things harder. But the origin of what we do is our hearts (cf. Jas 4:1-2). So, if we are going to truly change, it needs to start there. Matthew Henry wrote, “Unless the heart be transformed, the life will never be thoroughly reformed.”

God’s Desire for Our Hearts

When Scripture refers to the heart, it refers to the inner being. It is man’s control center; the center of worship, motivation, desire, and the will.

God’s concern for the heart is no secret:

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Sam. 16:7).

 Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23).

 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45).

 “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me” (Matt. 15:8).

 And, the greatest thing God wants humanity to do involves the heart: “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’” (Matt. 22:37). 

God’s concern is the condition of the heart. Most of us would nod an affirming, “Obviously.” But, it’s easy to remain in the spiritual shallows when it comes to approaching the things of God and the process of change; to go no deeper than the fruit-level. But, working out our salvation with fear and trembling involves nothing less than plunging the depths of our control center. We need to take an approach to life that involves more than injecting and patching fruit.

Tree-Root

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God’s desire for our heart indicates a need, by his grace, to discern and deal our heart. Within the heart can occur things like trickery, deception, and idolatry. It’s not always easy to discern. “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out” (Prov. 20:5). For this reason, the Holy Spirit, received by faith in Christ, is an immense blessing, as he illumines, mortifies, and renews what we otherwise could not.

Even so, our need is to discern the difference between change which addresses the external behavior and that which addresses the internal motivations; the difference between patching fruit, and addressing the root. In other words, we need to approach change in a way that seeks to repent at the heart level, as opposed to merely shuffling fruit at the behavioral level, AKA “behavior modification.”

Read more: Behavior Modification vs. Repentance

Consequences of Triangular Living: Part 2

Happy Living!

denialEveryone involved in triangular dynamics ends up hurt and angry; no-one wins. This creates misery and suffering no matter what our primary starting gate position may be. Efforts to avoid pain by blaming (Persecutor) or looking for someone to take care of us (Victim) only ends up generating greater pain in the end. When we try to shield others from the truth (Rescue), we discount their abilities and this creates more pain as well.

In Part 1, we considered three consequences of living on the Drama Triangle: lack of personal responsibility (blaming), painful beliefs, and painful feelings. Today, we will consider three more consequences: denial, dishonesty, and projection.

Denial

Anytime we deny our feelings, we set ourselves up for a Victim perspective. Feelings are real. They are “energy-in-motion.” When we discount or undermine our emotions, we end up overtaken by them, becoming impulsive reactors…

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The nature of false prophets and false teachers

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB)

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 NASB)

The greatest sin of those who reject Christ is their misrepresentation of the truth and the…

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