Daily Archives: September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Sep. 23, 2016 |

BLOOMBERG

“I think it’s important to separate out the pervasive sense of frustration among a lot of African Americans about shootings and the sense that justice is not always colorblind,” President Obama says in ABC News interview.

“Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,” say the top Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff.

The U.S. House passed a bill to allow new employees at startup companies to defer paying taxes on their stock options; even though some of the Democratic co-sponsors pulled their support.

One-hundred thousand jobs would be at risk if clearing leaves the U.K., said London Stock Exchange Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Xavier Rolet. “We estimate, conservatively, that at a very minimum 100,000 jobs, in risk management, compliance, middle office, back-office support functions — by the way not just in London, up and down the country — are implicated in supporting this business and clearly could be at risk.”

Failing insurers. Rising premiums. Financial losses. The deteriorating Obamacare market that the health insurance industry feared is here. As concerns about the survival of the Affordable Care Act’s markets intensify, the role of nonprofit “co-op” health insurers — meant to broaden choices under the law — has gained prominence.

Oil headed for a weekly gain after Saudi Arabia was said to have offered to reduce production if Iran agreed to freeze its output.

A high-speed trader in Amsterdam with just 300 employees is taking on American Goliaths like Citadel on their own turf. Flow Traders’ plan is simple, if counterintuitive: focus on the low volume, lesser-traded corner of the $20 trillion-a-year market in U.S. exchange-traded funds.

Gold’s on a roll, courtesy of the Federal Reserve. The precious metal is heading for the biggest weekly advance since July after U.S. central bankers opted once again to leave interest rates unchanged while reining in their outlook for future increases.

Polish lawmakers sent a bill banning all abortions and curbing sex education for further work in a parliamentary committee, opening a new front in the conservative government’s cultural “counter-revolution” that has already roiled the economy and justice system.

AP Top Stories

French employers urged efforts be redoubled to keep alive a contested massive free trade deal between the EU and the United States. European trade ministers will Friday try to salvage the mooted accord, just days after large-scale public protests, notably in Germany.

So-called ” gun super-owners,” people who own at least eight guns and usually more, now make up the majority of American gun owners, according to an unreleased Harvard-Northeastern survey obtained by the Trace and the Guardian. Put another way, just 3 percent of American adults own the vast majority of guns nationwide. Though the number of gun-owning Americans decreased slightly during the last 22 years, the number of guns they have grew by 73 million to about 256 million. In comparison, there are about 253 million cars and approximately 248 million adults, according to recent U.S. Census data. Of all 55 million gun owners, an estimated half own either one or two guns. The other half, who make up just three percent of all American adults, typically have between eight and 140 guns. On average, they own 17. Researchers believe this is the most authoritative study since 1994.

Most Puerto Ricans faced another night of darkness Thursday as crews slowly restored electricity a day after a fire at a power plant caused the aging utility grid to fail and blacked out the entire island of 3.5 million people. Nearly 370,000 of the 1.5 million homes and businesses served by the power utility had power back by late Thursday.

Afghanistan signed a peace agreement with notorious warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, paving the way for him to make a political comeback despite a history of war crimes and years in hiding.

The Philippine president said Thursday he will invite the U.N. chief and European Union officials to investigate his bloody anti-drug crackdown, but only if he can question them in public afterward to prove their human rights concerns are baseless.

According to a new survey from GOBankingRates, 69 percent of Americans have little to no money in savings – in fact, less than $1,000.

BBC

Warplanes have carried out fresh air strikes on Aleppo, hours after Syria’s government announced an offensive to retake rebel-held areas of the city. At least 27 people have been killed in the strikes, monitors say, although other reports put the death toll higher.

The Burmese president has ordered an investigation into the case of two girls who say they were kept prisoner and tortured for five years in a tailor shop.

A three-year-old boy survived alone for 72 hours in a forest in the remote Russian region of Siberia, in an area renowned for being inhabited by wolves and bears.

The number of bodies recovered after a migrant boat capsized off the Egyptian coast on Wednesday has reached 108, with the death toll expected to rise. The boat was carrying between 450 and 600 migrants when it sank eight miles off the port city of Rosetta.

WND

The explosion of racial violence in Charlotte, N.C. has led to a gun buying spree by locals worried about their safety.

A teenager from Vallejo was surprised with a bicycle from police officers after they learned he walked about two hours to and from work in Benicia.

Human rights abuses are rampant under China’s Communist Party. Women in their seventh, eight or even ninth month of pregnancy are being forcibly taken from their homes and strapped to tables where doctors abort their unborn children. Religious minorities and political dissidents are being imprisoned in labor camps and detention centers, sometimes without reason. Many are tortured for years before they are released. Others are taken to surgical facilities where their organs are harvested while they are still alive.


Obama Used His Final UN Address To Promote A ‘Liberal World Order’ And A Palestinian State

barack-obama-addresses-the-united-nations-public-domainDuring Barack Obama’s eighth and final address to the United Nations he let his true colors show. He staunchly defended globalism, he took several not very subtle shots at Donald Trump, and he boldly declared that Israel “cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land”. That statement about “Palestinian land” was extremely alarming to many, because there are indications that Obama may decide to support a UN Security Council resolution that establishes the parameters for a Palestinian state during his final months in the White House. Barack Obama has promised to squeeze every ounce of “change” out of the remainder of his term that he possibly can, and his last UN speech showed what is on his heart at this moment. (Read More…)


What Is Going On In Charlotte Is Far More Important Than Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie’s Divorce

brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-photo-by-georges-biardWhile one of America’s largest cities is being ripped in two, most Americans appear to be far more interested in the drama surrounding Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce.  As Charlotte braces for a third night of rioting and violence, the mainstream media is full of headlines such as “Welp, the Jolie-Pitt Divorce Got Real Depressing Real Fast” and “Even the Dalai Lama has something to say about Brangelina’s divorce“.  Yes, the “Brangelina divorce” is an important cultural moment that illustrates our ongoing moral and social decay, but what is going on in Charlotte is far more important.  Trust in our most important institutions is deeply broken, and Americans are increasingly choosing chaos and violence over peaceful discourse.  For a very long time I have been warning that these kinds of riots were coming, and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted every day is starting to rapidly disappear. (Read More….)


Americans’ Trust in Political Leaders, Public at New Lows (POLL)

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I know this comes as a shock to our readers.

Click here for more on this from WonkWire.

Read More


Top News – 9/23/2016

Lawyer: School district must allow after-school Satan club
A lawyer hired by the Mount Vernon School District has advised officials to allow the Satanic Temple of Seattle to start an after-school program at one of their elementary schools.

Watch The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah Accidentally Destroy The Case For Gun Control
Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, accidentally destroyed the case for gun control during his show on Wednesday night. Noah’s accidental broadside against gun-free zones came during a portion of his opening monologue in which he made fun of a Minnesota man fed up with Islamic terrorism.

Yahoo Says Hackers Stole Data on 500 Million Users in 2014
Yahoo announced on Thursday that the account information of at least 500 million users was stolen by hackers two years ago …Yahoo said user information — including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, encrypted passwords and, in some cases, security questions — was compromised in 2014 by what it believed was a “state-sponsored actor.”

DHS admits refugee fraud ‘easy to commit’
Refugee fraud is “easy to commit” and much tougher to detect, Homeland Security officials acknowledged in an internal memo made public by members of Congress Thursday that challenges the department’s own assurances as it seeks to increase the number of refugees from dangerous countries. The U.S. has relaxed requirements for refugees to prove they are who they say they are, and at times may rely solely on testimony.

Jordan polls: Muslim Brotherhood and women make gains
Islamists have won seats in Jordan’s parliament after years of boycott, in polls which also elected record numbers of female MPs, initial results show. The Muslim Brotherhood’s party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), looks to share at least 16 out of 130 seats as part of a new political alliance. The IAF refused to contest the previous two elections, in protest at the electoral system.

Syria war: New strikes in Aleppo as Syria announces offensive
Warplanes have launched fresh air strikes in Aleppo, hours after Syria’s government announced an offensive to retake rebel-held areas of the city. Syrian and Russian planes were pounding eastern Aleppo, according to activists. A rescue worker described what was happening as “annihilation”.

US Congress denounces ‘ransom’ payments to Iran in new bill
The United States House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to ban cash payments to Iran…”a rebuke of the Obama administration’s decision to send…a ‘ransom’ on the same day American prisoners were released.” …The bill bars the United States from paying Iran “cash of any kind” and specifies that the US will not pay to “ransom or release prisoners.”

Japan reports earthquake southeast of Tokyo
A magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck southeast of Tokyo on Friday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency reports. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the temblor at 6.4 and said it was centered at sea about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Katsuura.

Netanyahu invites Abbas to speak at Knesset in UN speech
NEW YORK – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to come “speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem,” during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday,

The Charlotte Riots: What They Are Not Telling You
As America awaits to see if Charlotte will burn for the third consecutive night, Paul Joseph Watson points out something troubling: thugs burned down a city because a black cop shot someone, yet meanwhile the mainstream media spun it, or at least tried, as as “peaceful protest.” There is just one problem: violent criminals looting, attacking bystanders, attacking journalists, setting fires, smashing up cars, smashing up businesses and shooting at each other is not the a “peaceful protest.”

Rouhani uses UN to hit US over nuclear deal
Iran used the UN General Assembly on Thursday to accuse the United States of failing to implement aspects of the historic nuclear deal, demanding that Washington do so or risk formal complaint.

Britain sends jets to intercept Russian bombers
Britain scrambled fighter jets from an airbase in Scotland to intercept two Russian bombers approaching UK airspace, the Ministry of Defence said Thursday. The Russian planes flew from the direction of Norway and passed to the west of Britain’s Shetland Islands, northeast of the mainland.

Police Say Video Shows Keith Lamont Scott Had Gun in Hand
The family of Keith Lamont Scott has reviewed the video that shows the moment when police fatally shot him in North Carolina on Tuesday, the family’s attorney said.

IBM shows how fast its brain-like chip can learn
Developing a computer that can be as decisive and intelligent as humans is on IBM’s mind, and it’s making progress toward achieving that goal. IBM’s computer chip called TrueNorth is designed to emulate the functions of a human brain. The company is now running tests and benchmarking TrueNorth to demonstrate how fast and power efficient the chips can be compared to today’s computers.


September 22, 2016
CLIFF KINCAID — Former top communist, college professor, and “Black Power” advocate Angela Davis has picked a new cause on the road to liberation – – animal rights. In a major speech in black-ruled South Africa, at the 17th Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, she said animals were “sentient beings who endure pain and torture as they are transformed into food for profit, food that generates disease in humans whose poverty compels them to rely on McDonald’s and KFC for nourishment.”… (more)

September 22, 2016

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER — Protests turned violent for a second night in Charlotte after Tuesday’s fatal police shooting of a black man. Late Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for the city and deployed the National Guard and State Highway Patrol troopers to assist local police…. (more)


September 22, 2016
CNN — ISIS is suspected of firing a shell with mustard agent that landed at the Qayyara air base in Iraq Tuesday where US and Iraqi troops are operating, according to several US officials…. (more)

September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON TIMES — Immigration drains the government, sapping as much as $296 billion a year from federal, state and local taxpayers while depressing wages, at least in the short run, according to an authoritative study released Wednesday by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine…. (more)


September 22, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — The White House threatened Wednesday that President Obama would veto two bills aimed at curbing the impact of his so-called “ransom” payment to Iran for the release of American hostages…. (more)

September 22, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — He admitted that the IRS bungled tea party applications and that he gave wrong information to Congress, but Commissioner John Koskinen told lawmakers Wednesday he didn’t mean to mislead anyone and said ousting him from the troubled tax agency would stall the progress he has made in cleaning things up…. (more)

September 22, 2016
NATIONAL REVIEW — I do not usually go out of my way to publicly disagree with National Review editorials, but I respectfully dissent from our piece calling for the impeachment of IRS commissioner John Koskinen. He shouldn’t be impeached. He should be imprisoned…. (more)

September 22, 2016

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — With only five days until the first presidential debate, Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton holds a 7-point lead in a head-to-head matchup with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to a new poll released Wednesday…. (more)


September 22, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Ted Cruz supporters were alarmed Wednesday at suggestions that he was on the verge of endorsing Donald Trump. They worry that the Texas senator could squander his brand as a fighter – – and goodwill earned among many through his stubborn refusal to back his party’s nominee – – if he caves with nothing to show for it…. (more)

September 22, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump suffer historic levels of unpopularity as nominees for their respective parties, but the news media is still less popular…. (more)

September 22, 2016
INFOWARS — Speaking at a panel discussion on diversity in the intelligence community Thursday, Brennan revealed how his previous vote for Communist Gus Hall had resurfaced during his first polygraph test at the agency…. (more)

September 22, 2016
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — The weekend’s terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey were fortuitously timed for Garden State governor Chris Christie: Not only did he get to project steely determination in a sudden crisis; the jihad diverted attention from the explosive start of the Bridgegate trial. Opening to the New Jersey jury in the case against two of Christie’s most trusted (but now former) aides, a federal prosecutor argued that the governor knew about the 2013 lane shutdown at the George Washington Bridge while it was happening…. (more)

September 21, 2016
THE HILL — Changing who controls the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) so close to our presidential election will jeopardize the results of how you vote on Nov. 8 unless Congress stops this changeover… (more)

September 21, 2016
THE HILL — The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump promises to be the most watched ever, with an audience that could exceed 100 million people, according to experts interviewed by The Hill. A debate with an audience that size would be something never seen before in U.S. politics and would be a figure close to what the Super Bowl gets…. (more)

September 21, 2016

WORLDNETDAILY — The 2016 presidential campaign book, “Stronger Together,” released by Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine is being savaged on Amazon.com with negative reactions, garnering an average rating of only 1.7 among more than 1,200 reviews…. (more)


September 21, 2016
NEWSMAX — Feminist and Ms. magazine founder Gloria Steinem has come under fire from pro-life activists for linking the anti-abortion movement and global warming… (more)

September 20, 2016
ROLL CALL — Republican lawmakers are bracing for a slew of last-minute rules and regulations, as well as more executive actions to place swaths of land under federal protection, during President Barack Obama’s final months in office… (more)

September 20, 2016

WASHINGTON TIMES — President Obama will renew his appeal for world leaders to accept more refugees in his final appearance at the United Nations on Tuesday, even as a series of suspected Islamist terrorist attacks in the U.S. raised fresh questions about the administration’s plan for welcoming immigrants from Syria… (more)


September 20, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — The off-duty police officer who fatally shot the man who had stabbed nine people in a Minnesota mall Saturday is a firearms training expert. Jason Falconer, president and owner of the Tactical Advantage firearms training facility, fatally shot the attacker at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud… (more)

September 20, 2016
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — In the all too familiar pattern, things are going boom, Americans are under attack, and the American political class is already busy playing the “See No Jihad” minuet… (more)

September 20, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — Black voters are mostly on board, the numbers among Hispanics are there, but Hillary Clinton is laboring to attract the kind of millennial generation support that powered President Obama’s hope-and-change coalition to two White House wins… (more)

September 20, 2016
THE TELEGRAPH — Russia plans effectively to revive the KGB under a massive shake-up of its security forces, a respected business daily has reported. A State Security Ministry, or MGB, would be created from the current Federal Security Service (FSB) , and would incorporate the foreign intelligence service (SVR) and the state guard service (FSO), under the plans… (more)

September 20, 2016
ALAN KEYES — The word “person” may have its roots in a Latin word that referred to the character an actor portrayed in a drama, and quite possibly even to the mask ancient actors once wore (or held in front of their faces) to represent their characters. This etymology reminds us that the dichotomy between what we can perceive and what remains inevitably hidden behind every act of human perception appears to be an indefeasible aspect of human nature… (more)

September 20, 2016
CLIFF KINCAID — The Washington Post is not sloppy, it is dishonest. Forget Kenya or Hawaii as Barack Obama’s birthplace. The issue is that he was mentored by a communist named Frank Marshall Davis, who taught him that blacks had a “reason to hate” and that Christianity was the white man’s religion…. (more)

September 19, 2016

NEWSMAX — Three separate attacks carried out in the United States on a single day – – a New York bombing, a Minnesota mass stabbing, and a New Jersey pipe bomb blast – – were under investigation Sunday for potential terror links…. (more)


The Briefing 09-23-16

“Taboo” or objective moral evil? Swedish scientist seeks to edit the DNA of human embryos

2,000-year-old Leviticus manuscript matches identically the Old Testament text we have today

Do you believe? Noah’s Ark exhibit confronts secular reporter with questions of faith

The post The Briefing 09-23-16 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Frontrunning: September 23

  • Futures slip after three-day rally as oil dips (Read More)
  • Charlotte protests diminish early on Friday as family views video (Read More)
  • Undecided Voters Are Proving a Tough Sell for Clinton and Trump (Read More)
  • Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric For Two Years (Read More)
  • Trump received $1.6 million from Secret Service (Read More)
  • How Bond Yields Got This Low (Read More)
  • Fiercest airstrikes yet on Aleppo after Syria declares offensive (Read More)
  • The Man Who May Inherit the Mess at Wells Fargo (Read More)
  • Kingdom Comedown: Falling Oil Prices Shock Saudi Middle Class (Read More)
  • HSBC walks U.S. regulatory tightrope over $10 billion of ‘trapped’ capital (Read More)
  • Treasury minister Lord O’Neill quits government (Read More)
  • Leon Cooperman’s Man in Shale Patch Goes From Hero to Headache (Read More)
  • Bond Bulls Curb Their Enthusiasm in China’s Leverage Crackdown (Read More)
  • Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’ (Read More)
  • LSE’s Rolet Says 100,000 Jobs at Risk If Clearing Leaves London (Read More)
  • Provincial boss ordered crackdown on China’s ‘democracy village’ with eye on national power (Read More)

Top Headlines – 9/23/2016

United Nations: Netanyahu calls UN ‘a joke’ and ‘a moral farce’

Full Transcrip and Video: Benjamin Netanyahu Speech at United Nations 2016

At UN, Israel’s Netanyahu says conflict is ‘not about settlements’ but existence of a Jewish State

Opposition MKs slam Netanyahu’s ‘hypocritical’ UNGA speech

In fiery UN speech, Netanyahu invites Abbas to address Knesset

PA official: Netanyahu’s invitation to address Knesset ‘bluff’

Separated by One UN Speech, Netanyahu and Abbas Remain Far Apart

Netanyahu: Road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not NYC

Abbas warns two-state solution at risk, calls for UN action

At UN, Abbas Highlights the Palestinians’ Despair While Calling for the World’s Help

Netanyahu: Level of Support for Palestinians Among Americans Is ‘Flat Like EKG of Dead Person’

Palestinian President Abbas calls to return to 1947 Partition lines

Palestinians’ Abbas seeks British apology for 1917 Jewish homeland declaration

In Ukraine, Jews witness historic echoes in pogroms against the Roma

EU advised to drop Hamas and Tamil Tigers from terror list

Israeli spy satellite working after rocky launch

Russia: Mossad, other foreign agents killed in Aleppo strike

Top US general: Unwise to share intelligence with Russia on Syria

Russia bombed Syria humanitarian aid convoy

Syria conflict: Warplanes set rebel-held Aleppo

Syria announces new offensive, diplomats fail to renew truce

Syrian Christians pray for peace as fears increase that ceasefire will crumble

Kerry admits diplomacy at impasse as Syrian truce collapses

The devastation of Syria will be Obama’s legacy

Obama says Syria war ‘haunts’ him

Assad Blames US for Collapse of Syria Truce

President Assad: Syria war will “drag on” as part of global conflict

Six-year-old boy’s letter to Obama offering injured Syrian child a home goes viral

While the UN talks, new tide of Iraqi refugees threatens to drown relief efforts

Sweden plans wider police powers in clampdown on asylum seekers

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood back in parliament after vote

House approves bill prohibiting cash payments to Iran

Obama Kept Military Out of the Loop on Cash Payments to Iran

Rouhani uses UN to hit US over nuclear deal

Rouhani blames ‘Zionists’ for US ‘violations’ of nuclear deal

Blazes at Iran petrochemical plants raise suspicions of cyberattack

UK’s RAF intercepts two Russian bombers near Scotland

South Korea reveals it has a plan to assassinate Kim Jong Un

India calls Pakistan ‘terrorist state’ at UN debate

Pope Francis Argues Journalism That Peddles Gossip and Fuels Fear Is ‘Terrorism’

UN calls for stepped up security for planes and airports

FBI Training Questioned in Recent Terror Attacks

Troops, extra police in Charlotte to prevent more clashes

Charlotte violence sparks self defense gun buying spree

Third night of protests in Charlotte largely peaceful as police face calls to release video of shooting

White Tulsa officer charged with manslaughter in death of unarmed black man

Congressional Black Caucus demands nationwide law enforcement crackdown

Johnson: Brexit talks ‘probably’ to begin in early 2017

Government funding talks stall ahead of next week’s shutdown deadline

DHS admits refugee fraud ‘easy to commit’

White House Contractor’s Leaked Email Reveals Secret Service Plans, Michelle Obama Passport

Email shows federal immigration bosses in OT push to swear in new citizens ‘due to election’

Obama-era surveillance worse than Stasi, says Oliver Stone

No matter what, don’t use Google’s new Allo messenger app, says Edward Snowden

Yahoo hack in 2014 hit 500m users, likely ‘state-sponsored’

Get Ready for Freeways That Ban Human Drivers

IBM shows how fast its brain-like chip can learn

Puerto Rico hit with islandwide blackout after fire erupts

Stephen Hawking wants to find aliens before they find us

Satellite Radar May Help Predict Human-Caused Earthquakes

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Katsuura, Japan

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Chipinge, Zimbabwe

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Katsuura, Japan

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Rulong, China

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Rulong, China

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohara, Japan

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Chirovanga, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lakatoro, Vanuatu

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Saumlaki, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Dieppe Bay Town, Saint Kitts and Nevis

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Hanga Roa, Chile

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 25,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 15,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Tenggar Caldera in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Tropical Depression Megi Forms in the Western Pacific

ABC reporter asks Clinton if she needs neurological tests

Child vaccination rates slump ‘extremely worrying’

A mysterious polio-like illness that paralyzes people may be surging this year

Report: Scientist the first to edit genes of healthy human embryos

Anthony Weiner Under Federal Investigation for Alleged Sexting With a Minor

Education Sec. Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools: ‘Not Getting … Rapid Instructional Experience’

DEVELOPING: Great Salt Lake Disappearing in Utah

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 10:17 AM PDT

On the southern shore of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, more than 100 boats are sitting high and dry in a parking lot, unable to sail…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

South Korea Reveals Assassination Plan of Kim Jong Un

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 10:14 AM PDT

South Korea has elite troops on standby ready to assassinate Kim Jong Un if the country feels threatened by North Korean nuclear weapons, the country’s…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Dangerous New Gospel Flourishing in America

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 10:08 AM PDT

(By Bret Farias) “Knowledge produces arrogance, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1). ▪ There she was—a young college age girl standing at the altar with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Record Number In NYC Homeless Shelters…

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 10:04 AM PDT

Most records are meant to be broken. But when the Department of Homeless Services announced earlier this week that 59,698 people, in a single night,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

After School Satan Club must be allowed to proceed

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 10:00 AM PDT

A so-called “After School Satan Club” proposed by the Satanic Temple of Seattle to be held at Centennial Elementary School should be allowed to proceed,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Justin Bieber Sings Praises to Jesus at Concert Stop

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 06:58 PM PDT

Justin Beiber was recently caught on camera singing a very familiar worship song “And I will open up my heart and let the healer set…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Powerful 6.4 Earthquake Strikes Japan Southeast of Tokyo

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 05:53 PM PDT

Reports are indicating that a powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake has rocked Japan some 230km southeast of the country’s capital, Tokyo, at a depth of 10km on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Strongest Earthquake in 11 years Strikes Mozambique

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 05:48 PM PDT

A strong 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck on Mozambique, Africa. The earthquake, which epicenter was situated at a depth of 10km, struck 483 km SE of Harare, Zimbabwe…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastors Gather Around Trump And Pray For Protection From “Satanic Attacks”

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 05:40 PM PDT

Evangelical Christians of multiple races mixed their faith in God with their faith that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can heal the nation on Wednesday….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Images of newborn babies in cardboard boxes in Venezuela hospital shock the world

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 12:52 PM PDT

New shocking images from Venezuela reveal the extent of the country’s austerity: lacking cribs, newborn babies are placed in cardboard boxes. The photos were taken…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

500 Million Yahoo accounts Have Been Stolen

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 12:41 PM PDT

Yahoo has confirmed on Thursday data “associated with at least 500 million user accounts” have been stolen in what may be one of the largest…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Indiana School District Ends Prayer Practice at Kindergarten Graduations Following Atheist Complaint

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 11:07 AM PDT

A school district in Indiana has agreed to no longer include prayer during its kindergarten graduation ceremonies after receiving a letter from a prominent professing…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Education Sec. Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 11:00 AM PDT

U.S. Secretary of Education John King is receiving criticism for his recent statements claiming that children who are homeschooled have fewer options than those enrolled…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mass. High Court Says Black Men Have Special Right To Run From Cops

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 10:57 AM PDT

Black men may have a legitimate reason to flee Boston police during investigatory or “Terry” stops, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday. The court…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


A La Carte (September 23)

If you’re into Kindle deals, you may want to grab This Is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes, Table Grace by Douglas Webster, and/or The Social Church by Justin Wise. I believe this is the first time This Is Awkward has ever been on sale. Get the deals here.

If you’re into audiobooks, perhaps consider starting a free trial with Christian Audio. I’ve selected 4 great books you’ll get for free and to keep if you begin your trial.

If printed books are more your think, Westminster Books has a deal on some accessible Puritan works. Their deals on parenting books are still in effect as well.

Leviticus Scroll Discovery Shows Scripture’s Inerrancy

WORLD reports on a neat discovery. “When archeologists in the 1970s found a charred scroll in the Holy Ark in the Synagogue of Ein Gedi, an ancient Hebrew town burned in AD 600, they never imagined they might be able to read it.” But then they found a way. (See also Joe Carter’s FAQ.)

Older, Restful, and Reforming

Jared Wilson reflects on the ten-year anniversary of Collin Hansen’s “Young, Restless, and Reformed” article in Christianity Today.

Why America Burned Spurgeon’s Sermons

Why would people in America have burned Spurgeon’s sermons? Christian George (who, by the way, is doing some top-notch blogging these days) explains.

Practical Guidelines for Reading the Old Testament Laws

If there’s any part of Scripture that’s especially hard to read and understand, it’s the OT laws. Here’s some guidance.

Why Are There So Many Varieties of Apples?

It’s apple season in Ontario. This video explains how we came to have so many different varieties (and, in theory, how you could create your own).

If We Are Really So Burdened…

Here’s a great question: “If we believe that God is good, sovereign, and holy and that he has told us to cast our burdens on him in prayer then, where are the public prayer meetings by God’s people? If we are so exercised by injustice and depravity, why don’t Christians flood to church prayer meetings to gather with their brothers and sisters and plead with God in prayer? Why aren’t prayer meetings overflowing with burdened and broken people who want God to intervene and act?”

This Day in 1950. 66 years ago today Tim Keller was born. Happy birthday, Tim!

Delight in the Good

I enjoyed a lot about this essay by Karen Swallow Prior, though I’ll need to think more about some of her conclusions. (I believe she references the show I mentioned here.)

The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies

Yes! Missionary biographies can be a joy and a challenge to read. This article tells of their value and offers some recommendations.

Flashback: The Depth of My Depravity

My depravity was better displayed in my rejection of God and his grace than in my sins and unrighteous deeds. I proved my rebellion more in denying God, rejecting him, and shunning his grace than in any of the sinful acts I committed or could have committed.

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears. —Sinclair Ferguson


This ‘n’ That

  • Some thoughts on the dangers of blogging.
  • I don’t know how I missed this news last month, but I am very excited about this.
  • No one could sing “I am 16 Going on 17” quite like Liesl.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • It’s not often that I agree with something posted at Christianity Today, but there is certainly some merit to the points made in this article.
  • Some cogent thoughts from Michelle Lesley on women and study.
  • An inside look at the Hutterites from one who used to be there.
  • I probably would’ve reacted the same way.
  • I really appreciate this older article from Mike Riccardi about preaching Christ from the Old Testament.
  • S. Lewis Johnson on the purposes of God in creation:

The Daily Discovery (September 23, 2016)

headerImage-dailyDiscoveryARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
Are You Going to Hurt Me? – “Autumn has descended at last. The heat of summer has slowly, stubbornly given way to the cool of autumn. The long summer days have surrendered to evenings that come too early, nights that linger lazily before yielding to dawn. Most days I find myself outside long before the sun has shown its face, running through darkened streets—my morning ritual. My mind works better when my body has been pushed. Three vignettes, three glimpses through my early-morning eyes.”Young Man, Young Woman: Set An Example – “I was always lousy at painting. In my high school art classes the teacher would give an assignment that involved studying a car or a human form or a bowl of fruit. Our task was to observe and then paint. I would do what she said. I would look at it, I would study it, I would observe its form, its curves, its angles, its colors, its shadows. But when I put brush to paper it would never look like it was supposed to. It didn’t look realistic, it didn’t look impressionistic or abstract, it just looked like a mess. It’s for good reason that I skipped fine arts in college so I could pursue liberal arts—English, history, humanities. That was where I was meant to be.”

As Expected, Churches and Ministers Now in Crosshairs of Sexual Revolutionaries – “A few months ago I stood along with hundreds of others in my community in front of our city council to express our concerns about the city’s decision to elevate sexual behavior and ‘gender identity’ to a protected class of citizens.  The danger to the First Amendment freedom of conscience for individuals in our city was self-evident, but a majority of the council chose to willfully ignore that danger in order to legislate their brand of morality on the masses who disagreed. Funny how morality can’t be legislated when it comes to, say, protecting an infant from being dismembered alive in her mother’s womb, but it can be legislated when it comes to liberal progressive pet causes. When I made my public comment to the council, I asked them this fairly simple question (I didn’t record myself so this is a paraphrase): ‘You have exempted religious organizations like churches from your ordinance that bars ‘discrimination’ against people based on their sexual conduct.  Why?’  They all stared back at me, blankly.”

What Does John Bunyan’s Preaching Have to Do with Twitter? – “John Bunyan was born in 1628 in Elstow England, approximately one mile south of Bedford (approximately fifty miles northwest of London). In no uncertain terms, Bunyan was a depraved wretch. His life was filled with all manner of evil and he describes his life in his autobiography Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. After his conversion, Bunyan was baptized in the River Great Ouse that runs through the town of Bedford in approximately 1650. Soon thereafter, he would have an unescapable call to preach the gospel. Although we remember Bunyan most for his writings, especially The Pilgrim’s Progress, we remember him also for his preaching.”

My ‘Faith’ Won’t Allow It: Judge Holds Imprisoned Pastor in Contempt During ‘International Kidnapping’ Trial – “A federal judge held a Mennonite minister in contempt of court on Thursday after refusing to testify for reasons of ‘faith and conscience’ at the trial of a Virginia man who is being accused of aiding an ex-lesbian turned professing Christian who fled the country with her daughter in 2009 to escape a court order. Kenneth Miller, who is currently serving a 27-month sentence in a federal prison in Vermont for likewise helping Lisa Miller—no relation—flee to Nicaragua, is now potentially facing new charges and a longer prison sentence for declining to testify against others. Miller had been escorted into the courtroom by federal marshals after being ordered to testify in the trial of Philip Zodhiates, who is charged with international parental kidnapping and conspiracy for allegedly driving Lisa Miller and her then seven-year-old child from Virginia to New York.”


SERMON:

Josh-Buice-G3

Josh Buice – Our Trinitarian Salvation


VIDEOS:

Did Jesus Pray Like a Muslim?

Russell Moore, Andy Stanley Our Evangelical Pope?


“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 (September 23, 2016) appeared first on Entreating Favor.


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.


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

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

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September 23, 2016 Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

Tony Evans is usually a pretty good teacher, but I have a lot of problems with the false teachers he spends time with — and the fact that he endorses his daughter’s false teaching.  Well, I guess I’ll have to alert people to some teaching he has which is aberrant — his spiritual warfare ideas.  Don’t buy his book.
Steven Furtick’s idea of teaching.
Evangelical Misogyny and the Spiritual Oppression of Christian Women.  Excellent, concise analysis of the problem.

Joyce Meyer at the “heresy Olympics” doing what she does naturally — teaching falsely.
The “new Israel” is about to have their “Gathering.”
Dennis McBride examines Muslim dreams and visions if Isa (Jesus): part 1 and part 2.
Biola University has joined the apostasy of enabling homosexuality.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss disappoints me.
Another conference claiming to do God’s work:  World Race and Adventures in Missions is having a gathering for all sorts of false teachings and false signs and wonders.  They seem to think they control the Spirit!  Stay away from these people!
Lyndon has part 4 of his series on Generational Curses.
Oh horrors — Tony Campolo refuses to call himself an evangelical anymore.  HAH – he never was one!!
The Jesus Calling Devotional Bible has just as much false teaching — and is just as dangerous — as the Jesus Calling books.  Sarah Young thinks her writings are the Word of God.

That’s all for today!

 

Source: Random Aberrations, Apostasies, and Heresies

When Adults Harm Children – And Don’t Care

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

bathroom-stall2Several alarming news items prove yet again that Christians waited too long to speak up and influence culture with biblical truth because the restraining dam can no longer hold the raging waters of immorality.

It was just announced by the Defense Department our tax dollars will now contribute to military member’s cosmetic surgeries also known as physical mutilation which some consider “gender reassignment surgery.” Interesting use of the word, “reassignment,” no? This regardless of the fact a person’s sex cannot be changed. (For those keeping score, this is confirmed by science, biology, and the Bible)

The Pentagon also announced it would cover the ‘sex change’ operation of Army private Bradley Manning, who since 2013 has gone by the name Chelsea. Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence in Leavenworth. He had been permitted to receive hormone treatments last February, but had not been cleared for surgery until September 13.

Sadly…

View original post 793 more words

Trust God’s Love Even When He’s Silent

As I embarked on my two-and-a-half hour drive to undergo another treatment for Lyme disease, I was struck by the rare silence around me. There were no little children calling my name, no fights to break up, no one asking for something to eat, and no screaming or crying to deal with. It was just me. The Lord and me.

Suddenly, a wave of emotion came over me as the weight that I have been carrying settled upon me. Struggling to make sense of what was going on inside of me, I sat with the silence, before quieting my racing mind with a podcast on John 11:1-6: the story of Lazarus.

I’ve gone to this story several times over the years because of the comfort and wisdom I have found in it. Lately, however, as life has intensified, and as I’ve struggled to see Christ’s love and goodness in it, the words struck me afresh.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

When I first read these verses I thought, that doesn’t seem like love to me, at least not how I would show love. Yet, these verses are crucial to understanding how God often works in the lives of his beloved children.

Christ Loves Us by Glorifying Himself through the Silence

God doesn’t love us by always giving us what we think we need, or by promising to take away our current pain and heartache. He loves us by allowing what he must so that we will be ultimately satisfied in him and bring him glory through it.

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Jesus loved them so deeply, he chose to delay. Why? Because he knew that God would be most glorified by bringing life out of death. Many things can bring healing to the sick, but nothing but the power of God can give life to that which is already dead.

What strikes me the most is that Jesus knew that his delay would cause pain to those he loved. Yet, compelled by eternal love, he restrained himself from bringing his friends immediate comfort for the purpose of revealing his glory to them. That is a love beyond any human love. In fact, it wouldn’t seem like love at all to those who have never tasted a glimpse of God’s glory.

As this truth sank deeper into my soul, I was flooded with thankfulness. Yes, I long for relief and healing for my son and my family, but I am increasingly longing for more of Christ and his glory through our lives. That would have never happened if Christ had healed my son nine years ago when I first began to pray for answers. He has loved me enough to delay. And he has loved me enough to allow the death of so much in me (my strength, comfort, desire for success, self-confidence) in order to bring me greater life in him.


God works in ways we do not understand so we will love him and his glory above all else.


We need to constantly remind ourselves of the love Christ has for us when he acts contrary to how we think he would or should. Though I may not understand why he has allowed so much pain in my life, he has given me promise after promise of his love and has shown me through the death and resurrection of Lazarus that it will often look different than I expect it to.

It’s tempting to use our circumstances as a measuring stick of God’s love, but instead we must remember the love that he showed for us through his own death and resurrection. Though Jesus could have rescued himself from undeserved suffering and a painful death, he willingly died to glorify his Father, so that he might give resurrection-life to the dead—sinners like you and me.

Because of that hope, no matter what circumstances we may face along the way, all who belong to Christ are secure in God’s perfect love. However, until the day when all our tears are wiped away, the Lord will sometimes work in ways we may not understand for the purpose of causing us to love him and desire his glory above all else in this world—even comfort, success, praise, money, family, and life itself.

Christ Loves Us by Working in the Silence

Mary and Martha not only suffered as they watched their brother die, but they must have struggled to understand why Christ remained absent after their plea for help. They believed that Jesus had the power to heal, and they knew that he loved them. How confusing it must have been when Jesus chose to delay.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you believe Jesus has the power to change your situation, but wonder why he has chosen not to? Have you prayed for answers and for assurance of his presence, while feeling nothing but silence? I certainly have. In fact, the times that I have struggled to see or feel Christ’s presence have been the hardest to endure. However, as we see in the story of Lazarus, though Christ seemed absent, he was still very present and at work in their lives. And he upheld their faith through it all.

Richard Sibbes wrote,

As his Father was never nearer him in strength to support him than when he was furthest off in sense of favour to comfort him, so Christ is never nearer us in power to uphold us than when he seems most to hide his presence from us. The influence of the Son of righteousness pierces deeper than his light.

In other words, just as Christ needed the strength of his Father most as he endured the cross, Christ is never nearer to us in power than when we least feel his presence. Though we may not see or feel him, if we are his child, he will uphold us in faith and empower us to press on, no matter the circumstances we face. Though we may not always see him, his presence pierces deeper than what our eyes can see and our hearts may feel.

Christ Loves Us through the Silence

You and I may not understand what God is doing in our trials and pain, and we may not even feel the presence of Christ, but he is there and he is working. As the Holy Spirit upholds our faith (as weak as it may feel) in the darkest times, he will be glorified as we wait on him. And as we see greater glimpses of his glory, our faith muscles begin to grow. Jesus promised the sisters that Lazarus’ illness would not lead to death, but would instead be for the glory of God, so that the Son of God would be glorified through it.

There are times when God chooses to protect us from immediate harm as he did for the Israelites at the Red Sea, or to heal our diseases, as he did for the blind man and the leper, or dramatically answer our prayers as he did for the believers who prayed for Peter’s release from prison. However, there are also times when he allows us to experience pain and loss, allows our illnesses to continue, or delays until all hope is gone, as he did with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Although we don’t have a guarantee of the outcome of our circumstances, believers can trust that God will be glorified as we trust his love for us. The divine wisdom that allowed Lazarus to die, and then brought him back from the dead, points us to a far greater glory through the death and resurrection of Christ, who came to save sinners that we might have everlasting joy.

May that motivate us to pray continuously, stand firm, and press on, even when it seems as if Christ is silent in our greatest time of need.

RELATED POSTS:

The post Trust God’s Love Even When He’s Silent appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Responding to Frank Turek’s Defense of Andy Stanley

Went almost a full two hours today reading through and responding to Frank Turek’s 9/8 article in defense of Andy Stanley’s comments about the Bible and the resurrection.  Much important information on the foundational and fundamental differences between the evidentialist/minimalist approach and a full-orbed biblical apologetic.

https://www.sermonaudio.com/saplayer/player_embed.asp?SID=92216184475

Here is the YouTube link:

The post Responding to Frank Turek’s Defense of Andy Stanley appeared first on Alpha and Omega Ministries.

Why Most People Leave Religion? They Just ‘Stop Believing’

(RNS) It’s bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated—the so-called “nones”—say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before the age of 30.

Gloomier still for religion is this—nones now make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).

And only a fraction—7 percent—say they are looking for a religion to belong to at all.

Those are among the more salient findings of a new study of the religiously unaffiliated conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute.

"More Young Adults are Unaffiliated than in the Past." Graphic courtesy of PRRI

“More Young Adults are Unaffiliated than in the Past.” Graphic courtesy of PRRI

The study challenges the assumption that the unaffiliated are leaving religion because they are offended by religious institutions’ treatment of gay and lesbian people or clergy sex abuse scandals, said Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director.

“Those things matter but they are dwarfed by this central idea that people no longer believe in religious teachings,” he said.

Even the study’s title is a downer for the devoted—“Exodus: Why Americans Are Leaving Religion—and Why They Are Unlikely to Come Back.” Here are some of the central findings of the survey of 2,201 adults that was conducted in late July and early August and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

• Only 18 percent of nones say “religion is important in their lives,” and only 40 percent say they are “moderately spiritual.” The majority of the unaffiliated—53 percent—describe themselves as neither religious nor spiritual.

• Nones do not generally leave religion due to negative experiences. Sixty percent said they simply “stopped believing” in their childhood religion, while 32 percent cited their family’s lack of religious commitment. Less than a third—29 percent—said negative religious teachings about gays and lesbians was important to why they left their childhood religion, and only 19 percent cited the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

• A majority of nones still believe in God—22 percent say God is a “person,” while 37 percent see God as “an impersonal force.”

• One in five nones say a belief in God is “necessary” to morality.

But the study, released Thursday (Sept. 22), is full of interesting contradictions, too. While only one-fifth of all nones say morality is fostered by belief in God, one in three believes children should be raised in a religion to learn “good values.”

And while one third of all nones say they do not believe in God, only a fraction—13 percent—accept the label “atheist.”

“There is still stigma attached to the word ‘atheist,’” Cox said. “I think there is a disinclination to claim the label if they are nonbelievers who just don’t think about religion all that often.”

"Three Subgroups Within the Religiously Unaffiliated." Graphic courtesy of PRRI

“Three Subgroups Within the Religiously Unaffiliated.” Graphic courtesy of PRRI

The study attempts to further define nones by dividing them into three subgroups—the “Rejectionists,” the “Apatheists” and the “Unattached Believers.”

The Rejectionists are the largest group, at 58 percent of all nones, and agree that religion is “not important” in their lives and “does more harm than good.” Apatheists—22 percent—say religion is not important to them, but isn’t harmful to society, while Unattached Believers—18 percent—say religion is personally important to them.

"Reasons for Leaving Religion." Graphic courtesy of PRRI

“Reasons for Leaving Religion.” Graphic courtesy of PRRI

None of these findings surprise Elizabeth Drescher, a Santa Clara University adjunct professor. In researching her book Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones, Drescher found the religiously unaffiliated seldom mentioned negative experience with religion.

“The way religious education and formation is set up in mainline and Catholic churches parallels high school,” she said. “Once you graduate from it, you got it. You know, don’t be a jerk, do unto others, and nones just kind of get bored with it and move on.”

But what do they move on to? Katherine Ozment is the author of Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose and Belonging in a Secular Age and a none who simply drifted away from her childhood Presbyterianism.

“It’s not that nones don’t believe in God, it’s that they don’t believe in religious teachings,” she said. “They have detached completely from religion and are finding meaning in their jobs, in raising kids, in their communities, in nature.”

But many, she said, still want a sense of community they once found in church. She believes that’s behind the fast and recent rise of so-called “atheist churches” like Sunday Assembly and Oasis, which now have branches across the U.S. and in several countries.

“I think there are a lot of nones who miss singing in the choir, who would love to go into a building and hear a moving speech, but the minute someone starts talking about the Bible they check out,” she said. “It no longer feels applicable to them. That’s a big challenge to the church.”

Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College and an expert on evangelicals and leadership, agrees.

While evangelicals know how to appeal to nominal Christians—those who still identify as Christians but don’t practice—they do not have the same success relating to the nones, he said. “So I think ultimately there will have to be some retraining about what it means to reach secular people.”

Stetzer takes heart from the study’s finding that more than half of all nones say they believe in some concept of God.

“That’s where the entree is,” he said. “There is still an awareness that there is a God, and the Christian’s job is now to explain who that God is and what he has done for them.”

The PRRI poll, conducted in partnership with Religion News Service, was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.

The post Why Most People Leave Religion? They Just ‘Stop Believing’ appeared first on ChurchLeaders.com.

What Color of Stage Lighting Can Get the Most Salvations?

Did you know that you can use specific hues of the color spectrum to manufacture the best emotional responses to your worship service? Worship Tech Director can help!

It’s not satire.

screenshot-2016-09-22-11-16-00

The above graphic is from the site’s Facebook advertisement. Each color, they claim, can invoke a different emotional response from the crowd. And yet, this tactic of clear and explicit emotional manipulation is not uncommon among churches. This Facebook ad just happened to honestly and publicly advertise what is typically only talked about at high-dollar multimedia consultations with megachurch leadership teams.

Lighting, fog machines, strobes and lasers make changing emotion a matter of science. And when emotions are shifted and shaped by aesthetic appeal to optical nerves, the Holy Spirit is credited for genuine spiritual renewal.

contemporvant-worship-686x350

The “ministry’s” claim that their lighting can produce the desired emotional results isn’t junk science. It’s a well-known fact. The Journal of Consumer Psychology explains that the more intense the light on the eyes the more emotional a response one will have. They write, “Thus, turning down the light, effortless and unassuming as it may seem, can reduce emotionality in everyday decisions, most of which take place under bright light.

Of course, these kinds of churches don’t want to reduce emotionality, but they’ve learned that rapid changes in lighting  – common that you’ll see in night clubs, Cirque de Soleil and megachurches – can take people on an emotional roller coaster. This emotionality replicates what the church leaders explain to people is a move of the Third Person of the Trinity.

Restaurants use certain colors of lights to make their patrons hungry. Bars use certain colors of lights to make their patrons thirsty. Clubs use certain colors of lights to make their patrons amorous and to lower inhibitions. The ‘worship teams’ or ‘Ministers of the Creative Arts’ know these tricks, and attempt to churn out emotions by their lighting colors of choice.

But don’t take our word for it – take the word of those in the industry, who advertise their services to produce exactly the kind of emotional manipulation that churches want.

When the Holy Spirit is active, He is manifest in leading people to truth through sound doctrine (John 16:13), convicting people of sin (John 16:8), and producing fruits like godliness and self control (Galatians 5:23). In other words, when the Holy Spirit is active, He is manifest in ways that typically do not typify the churches that use mood lighting.

Source: What Color of Stage Lighting Can Get the Most Salvations?

Fox’s “Lucifer” Returns to Mock Christians, Biblical Story of Creation

According to News Busters:

luciferFox’s Lucifer has returned for a second season with its comic book version of Satan in the episode “Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer.” After last season’s cliffhanger that God’s wife/Lucifer’s mother escaped from Hell, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) is on a mission to find her here on Earth, as he tells his therapist, Linda Martin (Rachael Harris). Lucifer explains the Creation to her and let’s just say it is a bit different from the Biblical one.

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Why Would A Good God Allow Evil? – Part 1 (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #72)

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner Wallace begins to tackle the problem of evil. Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow evil t occur in His creation? Does the existence of evil eliminate God as a reasonable explanation for other evidence in the universe? This presentation was excerpted from a talk given at Cavalry Chapel Chino Hills.

Source: Why Would A Good God Allow Evil? – Part 1 (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #72)

New discovery: ancient Old Testament fragment is identical to copy 2,000 years later

WINTERY KNIGHT

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data

A new discovery of an ancient text fragment was reported in the Associated Press, of all places.

Excerpt:

The charred lump of a 2,000-year-old scroll sat in an Israeli archaeologist’s storeroom for decades, too brittle to open. Now, new imaging technology has revealed what was written inside: the earliest evidence of a biblical text in its standardized form.

The passages from the Book of Leviticus, scholars say, offer the first physical evidence of what has long been believed: that the version of the Hebrew Bible used today goes back 2,000 years.

The discovery, announced in a Science Advances journal article by researchers in Kentucky and Jerusalem on Wednesday, was made using “virtual unwrapping,” a 3D digital analysis of an X-ray scan. Researchers say it is the first time they have been able to read the…

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The Abuse of Authority in Prosperity Gospel Churches

D.A. Horton: “It became clear there’s not been enough reflection on the abuse of authority in prosperity gospel churches. I hope this article will jumpstart a worthwhile discussion that will ultimately recalibrate hearts toward a biblical understanding of authority as a good gift that God intends to be expressed in the context of a healthy local church.” Death to the prosperity gospel!

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2 Samuel 19: a case study in true and false repentance

forgiving-king-000

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need to discern between true and false repentance. Second Corinthians 7 teaches that not all tears of remorse flow from a truly repentant heart. Some cry because they were caught, and others cry because they offended God. Those two groups do not necessarily overlap.

In God’s providence there are a few examples given to us in Scripture that juxtapose these two types of repentance. The most obvious is Saul vs. David. Saul and David both sinned, were confronted by a prophet, and then acknowledged their sin. In fact, they both use almost the same words: “I have sinned against Yahweh” (1 Samuel 15:24; 2 Samuel 12:13).

But the narratives make clear that Saul’s “repentance” was superficial, while David’s was supernatural. The prophet did not extend forgiveness to Saul, while he did to David. Saul was concerned about what others thought, while David was concerned only with what Yahweh thought. And there are probably six or seven other contrasts as well.

A similar (but less known) juxtaposition is found in 2 Samuel 19. In that narrative, David had just been driven out of his kingdom by Absalom, who was latter dispatched by Joab. Now David was returning to Israel to retake his kingdom and to render justice. Certainly there were hundreds of people whom David dealt with in this process, but the narrator only focuses on two: Shimei and Mephibosheth.

They had both sinned against David. Shimei had cursed him and helped drive him out, and Mephibosheth did not leave with his king. They were both waiting for David when he returned, and 2 Samuel spends considerable space describing their respective confessions of sin (19:15-30).

Shimei got 1,000 men together and put on their most impressive clothes. They boasted in their tribe, Shimei made a big orchestrated production out of falling at David’s feet, and even boasted that he was the first to get to David. He then urged the king to “forget” the sin as he proceeded to downplay its significance.

In contrast, Mephibosheth was unkempt. He hadn’t taken care of his body, and he was wearing filthy clothes. He appealed to the king’s knowledge of his sin, felt that his family line made him more deserving of death, and clearly valued his king’s glory beyond his own life.

In this narrative the author is intentionally contrasting true and false repentance. He does so in thirteen different ways:

False repentance is often bold like Shimei. True repentance is often broken, like Mephibosheth.

Shimei came ready to work for forgiveness. Mephibosheth came empty-handed, with nothing to offer.

Worldly sorrow often takes a perverse sense of pride in how over-the-top it is. Godly sorrow doesn’t come from proud hearts, but broken hearts.

Moreover, Shimei took pride in who he was. After all, he was from the tribe of Joseph! Certainly David would be impressed by that. Meanwhile, Mephibosheth’s family tree brought him shame. He knew who he was simply gave him additional accountability for his sin.

Worldly sorrow often manipulates the situation, orchestrating details of the confession to put the person in the best possible light. What a contrast with godly sorrow, which is seen not in the person who wants to manipulate, but in the person who is broken by his sin.

False repentance can come from a heart that honestly believes it deserves grace. “God better forgive me, I deserve it!” is the attitude. Meanwhile, true repentance comes from someone who knows they deserve death.

Shimei wanted others to see him put-together, and even in “repentance” he needed others to think highly of him. In contrast, Mephibosheth was unkempt. He obviously didn’t care what others thought.

The proud person expects to receive grace upon his confession, no matter how superficial it is. Meanwhile, the truly forgiven sinner sees the savior, and remembers that he has received grace in the past. His grace is rooted in past experience with the giver, not in present expectations based on worth.

Shimei was hopeful the king didn’t know the extent of his sin. What a world away from Mephibosheth, whose sole appeal was that certainly the king knows all things. True repentance counts on the extent of the sin being known, while false repentance counts on ignorance.

Which is fitting, because worldly sorrow always wants to minimize the effects of sin. Godly sorrow understands that we will never fully know sins’ gravity.

This is why the false convert might be happy for himself, even in his repentance. Oh, how Shimei was so proud of his ambush of David and the ability to go in peace. He even had a studio audience for it! The true convert isn’t so much happy for himself, as he is sad that his sin offended God.

Finally, this narrative is capped off with the proud person going away glorying in himself while the broken person can only glory in the return of King David.

God has these two men in the Bible for several reasons: to show us the nature of David’s kingdom, the outcome of Saul’s line, the ethic of a king after his own heart, and nature of David’s kingdom after his exile. But one of the many things God is doing in this passage is giving us a memorable contrast between true and false repentance.

So go on…read this story (2 Samuel 19:15-30). And ask yourself, when you repent of your sin, are you more like Shimei or Mephibosheth?forgiving-king-007Source: 2 Samuel 19: a case study in true and false repentance

Praying Effectively For the Lost – A Polemical Review

HERESIES PRESENT WITHIN THE BOOK

Manichaeism

Montanism

Mysticism

Limited Theism

 

REVIEW

During a pastor’s conference in Montana, this book’s author, Lee E. Thomas, claimed that his book was 85% direct divine revelation. This means that he is a Montanist. We can see his Montanism fleshed out in his book as well. On page 33, we see him say, “One day as I was praying for one particular person, I asked the Lord to reveal to me why he continued to reject the gospel. He impressed the word ‘control’ upon my mind.”  It also means that if more than 15% of the book is inaccurate or if it is proven that the god he worships is not the God of Scripture, both of which appear to be the case, he is a false prophet.

On the very first page, Thomas writes, “The lost will not and indeed cannot be saved unless someone prays for them.” He treats salvation as if it is dependent on other people praying for a particular person. While praying for someone’s salvation is Biblical and important, people can be and probably have been saved without someone praying for them. Being prayed for is not a part of the Ordo Salutis (Or order of Salvation). Thomas maintains that all men are spiritually blind until someone prays for them. On page 6, he quotes the Pelagian heretic Charles Finney, who said, “In the case of an impenitent friend, the very condition on which he is to be saved from hell may be the fervency and importunity of your prayer for that individual.” (See: Prevailing Prayer).

The full force of this strange belief does not appear until Chapter 2. On page 13, it shows that it appears to be a systematic problem, when Thomas writes, “Some controlling demons are so strong that prayer and fasting is required to gain the victory (Mark 9:29). Persistent prayer is necessary because of Satan‟s reluctance to give them up, not because God is unwilling to save them!!” This appears to teach the heresy of Limited Theism, teaching that God is limited and not omniscient. In this case, it appears that he is saying God is not able to overpower Satan without the help of the believer. This comes not only from de-elevating God, but elevating both Satan and man to a level near to that of God. (This also appears to teach a modified form of Manichaeism, which teaches that the forces of good and the forces of evil are equally powerful). His belief in Limited Theism is expounded upon on page 17. While talking about a time when he himself told a halfhearted prayer. He said, “Therefore, God could not answer my prayers for him.” This is a far cry from, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3, ESV). Thomas even put emphasis on the words “could not”. On Page 27, he continues to say, “The primary purpose in praying for the lost…  has to do with spiritual warfare – freeing them of demonic influence so they can be saved.” He says this as if God is unable to free them of demonic influence Himself if He so pleases.

He holds to the false doctrine found in Mark Batterson’s “The Circle Maker”, albeit more of a modified version that I believe is more blasphemous.

Overall, this book shows just how false of a teacher this man is. Filled with crazy charismatic practices and the twisting of Scripture, this book is to be avoided at all cost. In this book, it is proven that another God is being spoken about, as Thomas speaks of a god who is not Omnipotent. His god provides a way of salvation only for those that other people pray for and do so selflessly. In fact, Thomas’s false god is wholly unable to save someone without a believer praying for that person to “bind the strongman”. This Montanist god has made Lee E. Thomas a prophet, and this makes Thomas a False Prophet. This god is a god who cannot save. Thomas’s gospel is another gospel and a false gospel.

ADDITIONAL REVIEW 

Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel

 

Source: Praying Effectively For the Lost – A Polemical Review

Heresies: Manichaeism

Manichaeism is the name of a false religion within wider Eastern Mysticism. Elements of this religion, however, exist as a sub-Christian heresy popular in certain circles. Within Christianity, Manichaeism teaches that good and evil (or God and Satan) have equal power and authority.

Source: Heresies: Manichaeism

Heresies: Limited Theism

Limited Theism is a term used generally to define a belief in the God of the Christian Bible that limits any of his divine attributes. However, Limited Theism usually manifests itself in the particular belief that God is all-good, but that He is limited in power, denying his divine omnipotence. Usually, this is done in an attempt to explain theodicy (why bad things happen when there is a good God).

Other manifestations of Limited Theism include Open Theism and Monilism (these limit his omniscience) and various other heresies that make God less than the Scripture says He is.

Source: Heresies: Limited Theism

Repentance: Running to the Greatest of All Treasures

I hate running. But I wake up every day and run. I run all day every day. It’s the theme of my life. Simply put, I’m a runner.

Now, before visions of Usain Bolt pop into your head, let me be honest. I don’t physically run very often, though I should. I prefer to work out in the pool or with a good long walk up a steep hill.

But I do run.

What I mean is that I run spiritually. I try, by the power of the Spirit and on a constant basis, to run away from my sin towards God. It’s hard work, but it’s a labor that puts me in the best possible spiritual shape. As I run away from sin and towards Jesus my spiritual lungs open up. I breath in the air of Jesus. My heartbeat speeds up as my affections are raised for the one who has created and redeemed me. And my muscles flex and grow as Jesus gives me life and strengthens my inner being. Running from sin and towards Christ is work that helps me shed the weight of sin and put on the “strength of his might” (Eph 6:10).

The Struggle with Remaining Sin

It’s been said that Christians are able not to sin (posse non peccare) while unregenerate persons are unable not to sin (non posse non peccare). Augustine talked like this. He made a distinction between the natural state of humanity and those who were born again through faith in Jesus. The former could do nothing but sin. The latter, though still in a fight with their sinful flesh, were able not to sin.

The struggle is real.

The gospel addresses this dilemma. Through Jesus believers are delivered from the power of sin. Paul writes, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Rom 6:6–7). Because of Jesus’ victory, we “consider [ourselves] dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (6:11).

In Christ, by the grace of God, we’ve been set free from the power of sin. It is no longer the only thing we are able to do!

Yet, even though the power of sin is broken, the presence of sin remains. I think this is what Paul picks up on in Romans 7. Yes, we are no longer slaves to sin. However, sin often captures our attention, even our affections, and leads us into action that we do not understand. We “do not do what [we] want, but [we] do the very thing [we] hate” (Romans 7:15). Paul, though dead to sin and alive to Christ, continued to struggle with the presence of sin in this fallen world. If Paul continued this earthly war with sin, who are we to think we’d be free from the fight?

This, I think, is a reason Martin Luther spoke of the Christian life as one of continual repentance. Followers of Jesus walk through their days ever aware of their sinfulness. And by the grace of God, Christians have a heartfelt hatred of sin and run from it.

Until Christ returns or calls us home, we make war with our sin. Though sin draws us like a magnet, and pulls us like a tractor-beam, we fight to flee.

This is the fight of repentance. We beat our bodies and make them run. Away from evil and towards our God and King.

Running From Sin and Towards Jesus

But a so-called repentance that simply runs away from sin and doesn’t embrace Jesus as the ultimate treasure is a sort of repentance that is deficient and damning. A so-called repentance that is sorrowful over failures and wickedness but doesn’t lead us to God through Christ is a worldly grief that only “produces death” (2 Cor 7:10).

To be sure, repentance is turning from something. But salvation doesn’t come to those who turn from sin towards nothing. Nor does salvation come as we turn from sin towards self-help theories or moral improvement programs. My struggle with lust, or anger, or wrath, or gossip, or slander demands that I turn and run a different direction. But it also demands I turn and run to someone who can save and satisfy me.

This is the lesson we need to learn afresh. Yes, we must turn from sin. Those who love God hate that which dishonors and defames his holy name. But more importantly, we must run to the one who satisfies the deepest longings of our souls.

We turn our eyes away from that which holds out an empty promise of short-lived pleasure and fleeting satisfaction, and look upon something sweeter, more glorious, and eternally satisfying. Namely, we look and run to Jesus Christ. He quenches our thirst and makes us full. Only as we turn from sin and embrace Jesus are we justified in the sight of a holy God (cf. Rom 5:1).

We have biblically rich words that convey these ideas. Repentance is the term that highlights turning from sin. Faith is the term that highlights embracing Jesus as the superior treasure, indeed the greatest of all treasures. These things are two sides of the single coin of conversion. The converted man is the man who has both turned (and continues to turn) from sin and has placed (and continues to place) his faith in Jesus.

The proper response to the gospel is to repent (Acts 2:38). The question is, have you repented? If you haven’t repented in such a way that you’ve turned to Jesus by faith, your so-called repentance is deficient and damning.

Turn from sin. But make sure when you leave your sin, you close with Christ. That is, when you flee from these lesser and temporal pleasures and treasures, turn and embrace the all-satisfying Savior of your soul.

Turn and run from sin. Embrace the greatest of all treasures, Jesus Christ.

Source: Repentance: Running to the Greatest of All Treasures

TV Historian: “I Was Wrong About Christianity”

Holland writes that he had a Christian upbringing and attended Sunday school, but eventually turned his back on Christianity, preferring to explore his fascination with dinosaurs and ancient empires. He was drawn into what he saw as the glamour of the Greek and Roman gods, preferring their ideology of egoism to biblical values. “If they were vain, selfish and cruel, that only served to endow them with the allure of rock stars”, he explained.

Tom Holland, the TV and radio historian and author of the prize-winning Rubicon, says he had the completely wrong idea about Christianity.

Holland realised that his false ideas about God had been cultivated in him by the works of Edward Gibbon and other writers of the Enlightenment.

He now sees Christianity as a revolutionary idea which has changed the world, and calls it the “principal reason” behind many of our most deeply-held values.

’Christ crucified’

Central to the changes in his thinking were the Apostle Paul’s words: “we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

In his article for the New Statesman, Holland wrote: “Nothing could have run more counter to the most profoundly held assumptions of Paul’s contemporaries – Jews, or Greeks, or Romans.

“The notion that a god might have suffered torture and death on a cross was so shocking as to appear repulsive.”

“In the ancient world, it was the role of gods who laid claim to ruling the universe to uphold its order by inflicting punishment – not to suffer it themselves.”

Egoism

Holland writes that he had a Christian upbringing and attended Sunday school, but eventually turned his back on Christianity, preferring to explore his fascination with dinosaurs and ancient empires.

He was drawn into what he saw as the glamour of the Greek and Roman gods, preferring their ideology of egoism to biblical values.

“If they were vain, selfish and cruel, that only served to endow them with the allure of rock stars”, he explained.

Value of life

But eventually he came to realise that these societies invariably promoted cruelty and dominance.

He highlighted the Spartan practice of murderous eugenics, and Caesar’s slaughter and enslavement of the Gauls.

“It was not just the extremes of callousness I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or weak might have any intrinsic value”, he said.

Revolution

Holland concluded that countries once part of Christendom “continue to bear the stamp of the two-millennia-old revolution that Christianity represents”.

He calls it the “principal reason” that such societies take for granted that “it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering”.

Source

Heresies: Sectarian Minimalism

Sectarian Minimalism is a heretical sub-christian sect consisting of professing believers in Jesus, but who minimalize, repudiate, or neglect the local church. Sectarian Minimalism manifests itself in many Christian traditions, and typically leads to great harm both among its adherents and also to churches where it has taken root.

Sectarian Minimalism has two primary characteristics that are always present, and other characteristics that are often present. The two primary characteristics include, as the name suggests, (A) a sectarian mentality that separates adherents from the local church and (B) a minimalist approach to ecclesiology that both insults and rejects the organized church.

 

Other secondary characteristics of Sectarian Minimalism include:

  • A belief that offices of elder and deacon are unofficial, or that these are simply men who hold elder-like or deacon-like gifting
  • A belief that church meeting houses, buildings or property are a sign of a watered-down “corporate” church
  • An assertion that taking advantage of charitable tax-status is being enslaved to the state
  • A belief that preaching (a monologue of exposition in an authoritative oration) is pagan-influenced or unbiblical, instead having “share times” when individuals can speak whatever they “feel led”
  • A belief that church membership is unbiblical, and have a tendency to speak of the church in only universal terms
  • A disinterest or contempt for a liturgy, no matter how minimal (for example, the typical “order of service” that you find in most evangelical or Protestant churches)
  • A tendency to refer to local churches as “organizations” or “fellowships”
  • A belief that the family unit is actually the church (among some)
  • Often there is a doctrine espoused within the Sectarian Minimalist cult that is sub-Christian, and the actual church as a whole rejects that doctrine (Sectarian Minimalists often include aberrant sub-christian sects like Hebrew Roots, Abolish Human Abortion [AHA], extreme charismatics or other fringe or radicalized groups)
  • A twisting of the doctrine of “Priesthood of the Believer” that denies distinctions of church offices and spiritual gifting
  • A repudiation of religious education in organized settings like Bible College or Seminary, relying heavily upon their supposed “leading of the Spirit”
  • A reverence and dependence upon books like Pagan Christianity (by George Barna) or Re-Imaging Church (by Frank Viola).
  • They have a greater passion for proselytizing church-going believers than evangelizing the lost

The consequences of Sectarian Minimalism is that it:

  • Denies the importance of historic theology
  • Takes members out of the local church and away from the Bride of Christ, making its sub-christian sect into a spiritual prostitute
  • Often observes the ordinances without the duly constituted Biblical authority, making them blasphemous and condemned under God’s judgment
  • Does not fit the qualifications or marks of a Biblical church (for an explanation of “what is church,” click here).
  • It fits the Scriptural qualifications of the wicked apostates of Romans 16:17-20

For an example of Sectarian Minimalism, click here.

Source: Heresies: Sectarian Minimalism