Daily Archives: November 23, 2016

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

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Nov. 23, 2016 |

BLOOMBERG

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government called displays of the Nazi salute “repulsive” after participants used the gesture at a white-nationalist meeting in Washington last week.

Gold futures fell below $1,200 an ounce for the first time since February as the Federal Reserve prepares to hike interest rates, U.S. stocks notch up records and Donald Trump gets ready to take office.

When the rest of the world rings in the New Year, India’s central bank will be grappling with a unique situation: how to deal with more than 23 billion worthless bank notes. Stacked one on top of the other, the pile would be 300 times the height of Mount Everest. Laid down to form a pathway, it’d be long enough to reach the moon and back five times.

According to an Options Group survey, the recruiting firm asked more than 3,200 traders, salespeople and other finance professionals how advances over the next five years will impact them. In every bracket age 26 and up, at least 8 percent of respondents predicted they will lose their livelihood. But virtually nobody younger checked that box. Instead, their most popular answer was “better work-life balance.”

AP Top Stories

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who is said to be a potential pick for Trump’s administration and is assisting him with the transition, was clutching a piece of paper titled “Department of Homeland Security: Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days” when he posed for a photo with Trump on Sunday.

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) team worked through the night and into the morning rescuing an estimated 600 people from vessels on Nov. 22, 2016. MOAS is currently patrolling international waters off the coast of Libya and running rescue missions for the many refugees who continue to attempt the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

China’s President Xi Jinping signed new trade deals on Monday with Peru, one of its partners in its drive to boost world trade in the face of protectionist stirrings.

Cambodia’s UN-backed court upheld life sentences for two top former Khmer Rouge leaders on Wednesday for crimes against humanity, in a verdict welcomed by survivors of the brutal regime.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck central New Zealand on Tuesday, little more than a week after a powerful tremor centered in the upper South Island rocked the country and killed two people.

U.S. forces backing an Iraqi army campaign against Islamic State in Mosul carried out an air strike on a bridge spanning the Tigris river, restricting militant movements between western and eastern parts of the city, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Consumer confidence rose more than previously reported to a six-month high in November, showing Americans became more optimistic about their finances and the economy after Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Facebook Inc has quietly developed a censorship tool that could persuade China to allow the world’s biggest social media network to re-enter the world’s second largest economy after a seven-year ban, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

BBC

Officials in Pakistan say at least nine people were killed when cross-border shelling from India hit a passenger bus in the disputed Kashmir region. Eleven others were reportedly wounded.

An 80-year-old woman who wrote software for the Apollo space missions has been given the United States’ highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Margaret Hamilton was one of 21 people awarded the medal by President Obama in a star-studded ceremony. It is almost 50 years since her initial pioneering software work on the Apollo 11 moon mission, helped land the lunar module and its crew on the Moon in 1969.

A poem by Dutch schoolgirl Anne Frank written shortly before her family went into hiding from the Nazis has sold at auction for $148,000, well over the estimate. Anne sent the eight-line verse to a friend in 1942.

Lufthansa cancelled almost 900 flights after an eleventh-hour legal bid to halt a pilots’ strike.

Authorities in three Bolivian regions have called an end to the school year two weeks early as the country suffers from a severe and prolonged drought. Three reservoirs which supply the largest city, La Paz, are almost dry, and water rationing is in effect until further notice. More than 125,000 families are thought to be affected, with some communities only receiving water every third day.

A storm in the Caribbean has been upgraded to a hurricane and is threatening Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua. They warned that Hurricane Otto may have winds of 90 mph (145km/h) when it makes landfall early on Thursday.

Dengue fever has killed at least 20 people in the West African state of Burkina Faso, where about 2,000 cases of the disease have been recorded.

WND

Cops fear copycat attacks across the U.S. after a FIFTH officer is shot in three days.

On Tuesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, raised a red flag over President Obama’s continuing efforts to release drug dealers from federal custody. On Tuesday, Obama announced the commutation of sentences for another 79 mostly drug-dealer convicts. That makes more than 1,000 mostly drug-dealing felons who have been granted freedom by Obama, which the Associated Press noted is more commutations than the past 11 presidents have granted combined.

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is pier side following an engineering casualty the ship suffered transiting the Panama Canal, U.S. Navy officials told USNI News on Monday.

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is pier side following an engineering casualty the ship suffered transiting the Panama Canal, U.S. Navy officials told USNI News on Monday.

Existing homes sold at the fastest pace in nearly 10 years last month despite persistently skimpy supplies as faster wage gains and low mortgage rates motivated buyers.


Top News – 11/23/2016

Study Finds Churches with Conservative Theology Still Growing
But, comparing the religious beliefs and practices of both the declining and growing churches, Haskell said more clergy and congregants of the growing churches held firmly to “traditional” Christian beliefs and were more diligent in practices such as prayer and Bible reading. That includes a more literal interpretation of the Bible and greater openness to the idea that God intervenes in the world, he said.

Merkel on a COLLISION course with Trump: Angela is ‘NOT HAPPY’ over TPP trade deal
ANGELA MERKEL stepped up her transatlantic tirade against Donald Trump today as she laid into the new US President over his stance on global free trade which has seen him pledge to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Trump’s First 100 Days: ‘He is Going to Move Pretty Fast and Pretty Fearlessly’
“What we’ve seen so far is that he is going to move pretty fast and he is going to move pretty fearlessly. He seems to have support of the nation to do that. I wouldn’t be surprised if that support increases and he is able to get much of his agenda accomplished.” In a video published on Monday Trump mentioned the controversial TPP, one of President Barack Obama’s signature trade initiatives, energy restrictions, regulations, national security, immigration and lobbying bans.

MK Glick to Petition High Court Against Netanyahu Temple Mount Obstruction
On Wednesday, MK Yehuda Glick announced his plan to petition the Supreme Court against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the latter’s barring of Knesset members and cabinet ministers from ascending too the Temple Mount, Srugim reported. The prohibition has taken effect close to the start of the current wave of terror, dubbed “the Al Aqsa intifada” by the Arabs, who claim to have started the violence in response to a Jewish conspiracy to destroy the Temple Mount mosque.

Trump taps Nikki Haley for UN Ambassador
Haley, 44, served three terms in the House of Representatives before her successful run for the State House in South Carolina in 2010. She was reelected by a double-digit margin in 2014. Born to Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India, Haley converted to Methodism after marrying her husband, Michael Haley.

5.7-magnitude earthquake strikes near Ogasawara Islands, Japan
A 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck on Wednesday near Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, 1,000km south of the capital Tokyo, RIA Novosti reports. The depth of the quake was 510km, meteorologists say. No damage was reported.

ENTERING THE SOLAR WIND STREAM
As predicted, Earth is entering a high-speed stream of solar wind on Nov. 23rd. Flowing from a large hole in the sun’s atmosphere, the stream is broad and may take several days to cross. Arctic auroras are possible from now until Nov. 25th.

Evacuations ordered as tropical storm Otto becomes hurricane
Solís at a press conference on Tuesday morning issued a Red —Emergency— Alert prompted by the high possibilities that Otto hits mainland Costa Rica between Wednesday and Thursday. The president asked residents of the Caribbean communities of Boca Pacuare, Parismina, Tortuguero, Puerto Lindo, Delta Costa Rica, Isla Calero and Las Barras to immediately leave their homes.

Fireball over Florida
The AMS has received over 150 reports so far about of a fireball event over seen over Florida on November 21st, 2016 around 11:15pm EST (Nov. 22nd ~ 04:15 UT). The fireball was seen primarily from Florida but witnesses from Georgia and Alabama also reported the event.

Meteor filmed burning in the sky over Japan as earthquakes and tsunami struck
Apocalyptic scenes unfolded in Japan yesterday – as a blazing ‘meteor’ was filmed burning its way across the sky, just after a huge earthquake and tsunami struck. The footage captured the moment a flaming object blazed above Japan – just hours after the 7.4 magnitude earthquake sent tsunamis inland. The video – taken by a 16-year-old described as Asuka – was posted online with the caption, ‘A movie I took while preparing to die.’

Judge blocks Obama rule extending overtime pay to 4.2 million U.S. workers
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers from taking effect… U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, in Sherman, Texas, agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that the rule is unlawful and granted their motion for a nationwide injunction.

Germany’s Merkel says supports efforts against hate speech
German Chancellor Angela Merkel…threw her support behind efforts to fight the use of hate speech posted on social media platforms… Under a program that runs until March, German authorities are monitoring how many racist posts reported by users of social media sites are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to take legislative measures if the results are still unsatisfactory by then.

South Korea, Japan agree intelligence-sharing on North Korea threat
South Korea and Japan signed a military intelligence pact on Wednesday to share sensitive information on the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear activities… The South Korean government went ahead with the deal despite opposition from some political parties and a large section of the public, who remain bitter over Japan’s actions during its colonial rule of Korea from 1910 until the end of World War Two.

New U.N. chief says politicians are failing ‘losers of globalization’
The incoming head of the United Nations warned on Tuesday that “losers of globalization” in rich countries have felt ignored by establishment politicians, prompting them to turn to nationalist agendas… Antonio Guterres, elected in October to take over as U.N. secretary general next year, told a conference in his native Lisbon that this trend had undermined the willingness to receive refugees in Europe this year.

Facebook ‘made China censorship tool’
Facebook worked on special software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in China, according to a report in the New York Times. The social network refused to confirm or deny the software’s existence, but said in a statement it was “spending time understanding and learning more” about China. No decisions about the company’s approach in the country had yet been made, a spokeswoman said.

Hurricane Otto threatens Costa Rica and Nicaragua
A storm in the Caribbean has been upgraded to a hurricane and is threatening Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, forecasters say. They warned that Hurricane Otto may have winds of 90 mph (145km/h) when it makes landfall early on Thursday. At least four people have already died in Panama in severe weather caused by the approach of the storm.

Colombian government and Farc to sign new peace deal
Colombia’s government says it will sign a new peace accord with Farc rebels on Thursday, after a previous deal was rejected in a referendum last month. The new revised agreement will be submitted to Congress for approval, rather than put to a popular vote. But opposition groups say it still does not go far enough in punishing rebels for human rights abuses.

Iran warns of retaliation if US ‘breaches’ nuclear deal with sanctions
Extending US sanctions on Iran for 10 years would breach the Iranian nuclear agreement, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday, warning that Tehran would retaliate if the sanctions are approved. The US House of Representatives re-authorized last week the Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, for 10 years. The law was first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry and deter Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

A Third of Germans Report Feeling ‘Like A Stranger In My Own Country’
A new study reveals some shocking statistics about German attitudes towards Muslim migration to the country. Around 34 percent of Germans reportedly “completely or slightly agree” with the statement “because of the many Muslims, I sometimes feel like a stranger in my own country.”

Other Countries Muffle Mosques, But Israel Cannot?
Quite the controversy is raging over Israel’s proposed legislation aimed at muffling the five daily Muslim calls to prayer from local mosques. In recent decades, the call of the muezzin has been amplified by multiple loudspeakers, resulting in tremendous noise pollution starting at 4:30 AM every morning.

Israeli ambassador: Iran is smuggling weapons to Hezbollah on commercial flights
Iran is smuggling weapons and ammunition to Hezbollah through commercial flights from the Islamic Republic to Lebanon, according to intelligence information revealed by Israel’s UN ambassador to the Security Council, which was cleared for publication on Tuesday.

‘Otto’ could be first hurricane to make landfall in Costa Rica since at least 1851
Otto gained strength in the Caribbean on Tuesday to become the seventh hurricane of the season so far and the latest hurricane on record in the Caribbean Sea. An “average” Atlantic hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

On the ground in Mosul: why the worst-case scenarios are coming true
The rip of machine gun fire disturbed the quiet on the second floor of a mosque in Mosul’s Zahra district. Lying on their bellies across the room, three Iraqi soldiers peered over the guns they’d pointed through smashed windows, anxiously scanning for ISIS fighters. A few feet away, their commander, Major Ziad al-Gubere, paced up and down, radio in hand, talking to other Iraqi Army units in the area.

India’s Currency Debacle: “Consider It A Warning”
Last week Jayant Bhandari related the story of the overnight ban of certain banknotes in India under cover of “stamping out corruption” (see Gold Price Skyrockets In India after Currency Ban Part 1 and Part 2 for the details).

Liberals are doubling down on ‘comedy news’
There’s been a lot of discussion in the media whether the president-elect of the United States should be “normalized.” I’d say that point became moot when Donald Trump reached 270 electoral votes around 2 a.m. on Nov. 9. Here’s a more relevant question: When will the media stop normalizing the political musings of Jon Stewart, Larry Wilmore, Trevor Noah and all the other late-night comics?


Anne Graham Lotz, Franklin Graham and a plethora of significant voices are warning that we should pray even more now – than before.

They are right for several reasons.

View Article


Half Of The Population Of The World Is Dirt Poor – And The Global Elite Want To Keep It That Way

earth-in-hand-public-domainCould you survive on just $2.50 a day?  According to Compassion International, approximately half of the population of the entire planet currently lives on $2.50 a day or less.  Meanwhile, those hoarding wealth at the very top of the global pyramid are rapidly becoming a lot wealthier.  Don’t get me wrong – I am a very big believer in working hard and contributing something of value to society, and those that work the hardest and contribute the most should be able to reap the rewards.  In this article I am in no way, shape or form criticizing true capitalism, because if true capitalism were actually being practiced all over the planet we would have far, far less poverty today.  Instead, our planet is dominated by a heavily socialized debt-based central banking system that systematically transfers wealth from hard working ordinary citizens to the global elite.  Those at the very top of the pyramid know that they are impoverishing everyone else, and they very much intend to keep it that way. (Read More….)


Top Headlines – 11/23/2016

  • S&P 500 Futures Signal Rally Ebbing; Bonds Decline in Europe (Read More)
  • Oil prices capped by doubts OPEC-led cut will end glut (Read More)
  • Fed Minutes to Be Parsed for Insight on Inflation, Jobs (Read More)
  • Trump keeping ‘open mind’ on pulling out of climate deal (Read More)
  • Trump Raises Prospect of Keeping Ties to His Firms (Read More)
  • Obama’s not-so-secret admirer: Donald Trump (Read More)
  • Facebook’s Fake News Crackdown: It’s Complicated (Read More)
  • Iran warns of retaliation if U.S. breaches nuclear deal (Read More)
  • U.S. retailers push deals early as Black Friday loses focus (Read More)
  • For Department Stores, the Big Lure on Black Friday: $19.99 Boots (Read More)
  • How Apple Lost China to Two Unknown Local Smartphone Makers (Read More)
  • Automakers seek to cut inventories with Black Friday, holiday promotions (Read More)
  • Xerox Overcharged Student Debtors, State Prosecutor Says (Read More)
  • Wall Street’s Youngest Workers Not Worried About Robots (Read More)
  • Brady Dougan Gets Back in the Game With $3 Billion Investment (Read More)
  • North Sea Oil Glut to Get Short-Term Relief as Flows Go East (Read More)

Trump: Son-in-law Kushner could help broker Israeli-Palestinian peace

CNN apologizes for banner questioning ‘whether Jews are people’

High Court considers home demolition for Jewish extremists

‘Erdogan hasn’t changed, he’s still hostile to Israel and supports Hamas’

Israeli Navy destroys Gaza-bound ship smuggling weapons

Israel: Iran is smuggling weapons to Hezbollah on commercial flights

US said to okay Airbus sale of over 100 planes to Iran

Belgium draws inspiration for security measures from Israel

British warship docks in Israel at time of rising tensions in Mediterranean

Why did the Russian Prime Minister just visit Jerusalem and Jericho? Moscow is moving aggressively to fill the vacuum Obama created in the Middle East

Egypt’s High Court Overturns Life Sentence Against Ousted President Morsi

Syria war: UN resumes aid to Syrians on Jordan border

Syria tells Russia it needs fuel and wheat, wants more trade

Syrian Group: Rebels Preventing Refugees From Fleeing Aleppo

Syrian conflict: Surgeon says life in Aleppo ‘like a holocaust’

On the ground in Mosul: why the worst-case scenarios are coming true

U.N. envoy fears ‘brutal’ Aleppo assault before Trump takes office

U.S. envoy to U.N. blames and shames Syria, Russia over Aleppo

Libyan forces press forward against ISIS in Sirte, urge civilians to leave

ISIS is Islam, says archbishop of Canterbury

Australia taking cyber fight to Isis, Malcolm Turnbull to confirm

US warns of ‘heightened’ risk of terror attacks on Christmas markets in Europe as Isil loses grip on Mosul and Raqqa

New York police arrest Isil sympathiser in Brooklyn ‘planning Times Square attack’

House Republicans to Obama: Take no more action on Iran

Italy to push Iran trade ties, undaunted by Trump

Iran says it has transferred 11 tons of heavy water to Oman

Nato accuses Russia of stoking tensions in Europe over Baltic deployment of anti-ship missiles

Russia sends missiles to Pacific islands claimed by Japan

A Third of Germans Report Feeling ‘Like A Stranger In My Own Country’

Illegal immigrants pose as families, tell tales of woe to gain entry to U.S.

Obama Urged to Free Asylum-Seekers Before Trump Takes Office

Denver Sheriff’s Department fined $10K for hiring only US citizens

Americans who live near border say Trump’s wall is unwelcome

Donald Trump disavows the ‘alt-right’ after Nazi salutes and calls of ‘Hail Trump’ at rally in Washington

Trump will not pursue charges against Clinton, aide says

Priebus: Trump ‘not looking to further injure the Clintons’

Rebel US presidential electors plot to block Donald Trump by undermining electoral college

Trump Momentum Powers Wall Street to Fresh Records, Dow Trades Above 19K

Warren Buffett sees $11 billion boom on Donald Trump win

Global Wealth Update: 0.7% Of Adults Control $116.6 Trillion In Wealth

Wall Street Is Betting $2.1 Trillion That U.S. Rates Will Rise

India’s Currency Debacle: “Consider It A Warning”

New U.N. chief says politicians are failing ‘losers of globalization’

Dalai Lama says ‘I have no worries’ about Trump’s election – expects the businessman will align his policies with global realities

College Removes American Flag, Calls it “Symbol of Fear”

Facebook Reportedly Built a Censorship Tool For a Possible Return To China

Almost half the world will be online by end of 2016; poorer countries will lag, report shows

Kim Jong Un writes 9-page letter to Trump, demanding end to ‘hostile nuclear threats’

Under Trump, GOP to Give Space Weapons Close Look

UCF’s Supercapcitor Could Revolutionize Batteries

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Atka, Alaska

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Namie, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Maketu, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near the Fiji Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 34,000ft

Copahue volcano in Argentina erupts to 17,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Langila volcano Papua New Guinea erupts to 10,000ft

Hurricane Otto to threaten Central America with flooding, mudslides and damaging winds

‘Otto’ could be first hurricane to make landfall in Costa Rica since at least 1851

Otto Becomes Latest Caribbean Hurricane on Record

More Than 3 Feet of Dead Sea’s Water Vanishes Every Year, Experts Say

Get Used To Heat Records, Study Predicts Far More In Future

Trump admits ‘some connectivity’ between climate change and human activity

Trump keeping ‘open mind’ on pulling out of climate accord

Two die as severe ‘thunderstorm asthma’ outbreak in Australia causes breathing problems for thousands

Research highlights Americans’ vulnerability to infectious diseases

Babies exposed to Zika ‘developed microcephaly months after birth’

Yemen faces ‘significant’ cholera outbreak, says UN

Ukrainian teacher accused of trying to sell student to organ harvesters

Inside the Cryonics lab where people hope to come back to life

The Lawyer Who Argued Roe v. Wade Sees Frightening Parallels Between Now and When Abortion Was Illegal

Planned Parenthood Donations in Mike Pence’s Name Now Up to 50,000 Since the Election

Nick Cannon: Planned Parenthood is committing ‘real genocide’ against black people

Nearly 8 in 10 Millenials Support Banning Abortion After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

Indonesia: Over 10,000 Rally to Support Jakarta’s Christian Gov. Accused of Blasphemy

Catholic Church’s ‘Sindr’ app for those with an urgent confession

Town renames Good Friday for the sake of “Cultural Sensitivity”

False Prophet Kim Clement Has Died

Clement Believed He Would Not Die Until 2050

Hillsong & Beth Moore Unite: Using Weak Women To Capture Weak Women (& others)

Tullian Tchividjian Emerges From Scandal With New Wife, Preaches Sermon on God’s Redemption

China Committing ‘Barbaric’ Forced Organ-Harvesting of Christian Prisoners, Lawyers Claim

Appeals Court Upholds School District’s Order for Teacher to Cleanse Christianity From Classroom

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 07:36 AM PST

An appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling siding with a New York school district that instructed a teacher to cleanse Christianity from her…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: The Tipping Scale of LGBT Affirmation in the Church

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 07:31 AM PST

For 2,000 years the Christian church’s view of sexuality has been the same: one man and one woman for life. While there has always been…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Computer scientists urge Clinton campaign to challenge election results

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 07:25 AM PST

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is being urged by a number of top computer scientists to call for a recount of vote totals in Wisconsin, Michigan and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Major Advertising Technology Company Bans Breitbart News for Hate Speech

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 07:22 AM PST

AppNexus Inc., operator of one of the biggest digital advertising services, has barred Breitbart News from using its ad-serving tools because the conservative online publisher…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Federal Judge blocks Obama rule extending overtime pay to 4.2 million U.S. workers

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 07:16 AM PST

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers from taking effect,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Study Claims Google Search Results Favor Left-Leaning Websites

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 07:02 AM PST

Google search results can lean liberal, seemingly favoring left-wing news websites over more conservative ones, a new study found. The analysis by CanIRank.com said that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Denver Sheriff’s Department fined $10K for hiring only US citizens

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:51 AM PST

The intention, Denver officials said, was benevolent. The Denver Sheriff’s Department set out to hire scores of deputies last year to lessen the burden on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Man Born With No Arms and No Legs Is About to Deliver a Powerful Message to Inmates Across America

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:46 AM PST

A revered evangelist who was born with no arms or legs and who has gone on to become an internationally known author and public speaker…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Prophetic Worshipper Kim Clement Passes Into Glory

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:40 AM PST

(Reported By Jennifer Leclaire) Kim Clement has gone home to be with the Lord. The prophetic worshipper has experienced health issues, including a brain bleed,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Jesus Christ Has Officially Been Declared The King Of Poland

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:14 AM PST

Jesus has been declared King of Poland in a ceremony attended by the country’s president Andrzej Duda. The ceremony was held at the Church of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mariah Carey Is ‘Deep Into the Bible,’ Ex-Husband Reveals

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:12 AM PST

Singers Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon enjoyed a whirlwind romance and immediately tied the knot after only two months of dating. Their six-year marriage eventually…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Kim Jong Un writes 9-page letter to Trump, demanding end to ‘hostile nuclear threats’

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:08 AM PST

Cheeky North Korea has sent a nine-page letter to the U.S. demanding it stops the ‘hostile nuclear threats’ towards the rogue state and its despotic…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iranian commander Warns Israel will be “gone in 10 years”

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 06:06 AM PST

A senior Iranian military commander predicted on Monday that the Palestinian Arabs would “get rid of Israel” in the next 10 years. Speaking to students…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump won’t pursue charges against Clinton

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 05:58 AM PST

President-elect Donald Trump won’t subject Hillary Clinton to a criminal inquiry — instead, he’ll help her heal, his spokeswoman said Tuesday. “I think when the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Facebook Said to Create Censorship Tool to Get Back Into China

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 05:55 AM PST

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has cultivated relationships with China’s leaders, including President Xi Jinping. He has paid multiple visits to the country to meet…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iran warns of retaliation if US breaches nuclear deal…

Posted: 23 Nov 2016 05:53 AM PST

Extending U.S. sanctions on Iran for 10 years would breach the Iranian nuclear agreement, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday, warning that Tehran…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Two extremely bright fireballs over Spain within 12 hours

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:35 PM PST

Two extremely bright fireballs disintegrated over Spain within 12 hours on November 18, 2016. Moreover, a teenager recorded a meteor shortly after yesterday’s Fukushima earthquake…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Openly Homosexual PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel Part of Trump Transition Team

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:29 PM PST

Concerns are being raised about those in Trump’s inner circle as the openly homosexual co-founder of PayPal and billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel is serving…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump believes his son-in-law may help further peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:25 PM PST

Donald Trump believes that his son-in-law, an observant Orthodox Jew, may help further peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the president-elect told reporters with The New…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Designers Refuse Melania Trump, So Should Wedding Vendors Be Able to Refuse Gay Weddings?

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:20 PM PST

( By Brandon Showalter) In a Nov. 17 letter, designer Sophie Theallet, writing on behalf of her entire brand, said that it has been an…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump May Appoint Jerry Falwell Jr. to Lead the Education Dept.

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:17 PM PST

Recently Falwell confirmed that he had visited Trump in New York City and that the focus was on an Education Department post, according to the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor Spraying ‘Doom’ in People’s Faces, Claims to Heal Cancer and HIV

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:13 PM PST

A controversial South African pastor has been spraying a pesticide called Doom at his congregants, claiming to heal a variety of illnesses, including HIV and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sanhedrin to Trump and Putin: Take Up Your Cyrus-Like Roles and Rebuild the Temple

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:08 PM PST

According to reports out of Israel, the Nascent Sanhedrin—a group of rabbis attempting to restore biblical governance to their nation—has sent letters to Russian President…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Myanmar Sees Mighty Move of God

Posted: 22 Nov 2016 01:04 PM PST

(Reported By Bob Paulson) As the Yangon Love Joy Peace Festival with Franklin Graham drew to a close, Christians marveled at the way God has…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Do You Know Him?


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


What Is the Gospel?

This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.


A Message from God

What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:

  1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
  2. What is our problem?
  3. What is God’s solution to our problem?
  4. How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

  1. We are accountable to God.
  2. Our problem is our sin against him.
  3. God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
  4. We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

God

The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!

Mankind

When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.

It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.

Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”

But . . .

Jesus Christ

The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!

When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!

But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”

Our Response

What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.

To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.

Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

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.


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


This is the Gospel:

Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).

And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.

And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.

And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).

Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

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

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

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

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

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

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

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

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

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

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

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

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

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


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The Searing of the Christian Conscience

Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation

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Most people think of hardened criminals and the most duplicitous of men when speaking of someone with a seared conscience. Yet, I believe many in the Church today are also in very real danger of this spiritual phenomenon.

The apostle Paul had a clear understanding of the damaging effects of sin on the human heart. He spoke insightfully of those who were “seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (2 Timothy 4:2), and those who “because of the hardness of their heart (have) become callous.” (Ephesians 4:18-19) Both metaphors—the seared conscience and the hardened, calloused heart—describe the same condition.

The Need for the Conscience

What is the human conscience? According to Vine’s Dictionary, the Greek word for conscience (suneidesis) literally means to possess “co-knowledge” of something resulting in one’s “sense of guiltiness before God.”  Thus, we were created with a unique and intrinsic faculty that gives us…

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Did the most unqualified president ever really have a “scandal-free” administration?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Obama claims that his administration has been free of major scandals Obama claims that his administration has been free of major scandals

When Barack Obama was running for office, he promised to deliver a high degree of integrity and transparency. His teleprompter told him that he was going to be free of corruption and lawlessness, and he dutifully read those words out to his adoring fans. But after 8 years of Obama rule, does reality match his self-congratulating rhetoric?

Consider this article from the Daily Wire.

It lists 11 scandals that occurred during Obama reign of error:

  1. Operation Fast and Furious
  2. Benghazi
  3. The IRS targeted conservative organizations
  4. The DOJ seized Associated Press phone records as well as phone and email records from Fox News reporter James Rosen
  5. The NSA conducted mass surveillance against American citizens without a warrant
  6. The Obama administration paid ransom to Iran for hostages, and lied to the American people about it
  7. Hillary’s email scandal
  8. The Environmental Protection Agency…

View original post 790 more words

What Is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is an American holiday that stretches all the way back to a time long before America became a nation. The Pilgrims landed in 1620. They faced brutal conditions and were woefully unprepared. Roughly half of them died in that first year. Then they had a successful harvest of corn. In November of 1621 they decided to celebrate a feast of thanksgiving.

Edward Winslow was among those who ate that first thanksgiving meal in 1621. He noted:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we gathered the fruit of our labors. …And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.”

In addition to the fowl eaten that first Thanksgiving, the Indians also brought along five deer as their contribution to the feast. Presumably they also ate corn.

Over the centuries, Americans continued to celebrate feasts of thanksgiving in the fall. Some presidents issued proclamations. Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a perpetual national holiday set aside for thanksgiving. In 1863, with the nation torn apart by the Civil War, he declared:

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

So we have a holiday of thanksgiving born in and further nurtured during times of great adversity and struggle. We might think that times of adversity and challenge would spawn ingratitude, while times of prosperity would spawn gratitude. Sadly, the reverse is true. A chilling scene from the animated television show The Simpsons demonstrates this. Bart Simpson was called upon to pray for a meal, to which he promptly prayed, “Dear God, We paid for all of this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

Prosperity breeds ingratitude. The writers of the Heidelberg Catechism knew this. Question 28 asks what it benefits us to know that God creates and sustains all things. The answer is it gives patience in adversity and gratitude in prosperity. Moses also knew this. In Deuteronomy, he looks ahead to times of material prosperity for Israel, then sternly warns, inspired by the Holy Spirit, not to forget God. “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth'” (Deut. 8:17). We did this all ourselves. Thanks for nothing. Human nature trends toward ingratitude.

Another culprit breeding ingratitude is our entitlement culture. Simply put, why should we be grateful for what we deserve and what we have a right to? I was owed this, goes the culture, therefore why would I say thank you?

A third culprit concerns what UC Davis professor of psychology Dr. Robert Emmons calls the “to whom” question. In his scientific study of gratitude, Emmons came to the realization that gratitude raises a singular and significant question: When we say thank you, to whom are we grateful?

The interesting thing here is that if we trace this “to whom” line of questioning back, like pulling on the threads of some tapestry, we find a singular answer at the end of each and every thread. The answer is God. To whom are we grateful? We are grateful in an ultimate sense to God.

Our Benefactor does “good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Theologians call this common grace. God as creator cares for all His creation and provides for our needs. He gives us our very lives and our very breath.

Our Benefactor also does good by giving His most precious gift, the gift of His Beloved Son. Theologians call this saving grace. Gifts often cost the giver. What a costly gift the Father has given us in sending the Son. So Paul exclaims, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

When we consider God as the “to whom” we are thankful, we may well be seeing both the necessity of thanksgiving and the eclipse of thanksgiving. As culture veers more and more towards a secular state it shrinks back from gratitude. So vainly we think we did this all ourselves. So wrongly we think we deserve, or even have a fundamental right to, all of this. We also know what is at the end of the string if we pull on it long enough. We know that we will be confronted with a Creator. We know we will be accountable to a Creator. Saying thank you means we are dependent, not independent. We would rather be ungrateful. Paul says we know God from all the evidence He has left of Himself, but we don’t want to “honor him or give thanks to him” (Rom 1:21). Then the downward spiral begins. A culture of ingratitude careens ever downward into decline.

We should not be counted among those who see the fourth Thursday in November as nothing more than a day of football and over-indulgence. We should be thankful for one day set apart to consider all that we have and realize that all that we have has been given to us. Of course, such gratitude should in no wise be limited to one day out of 365.

Having been imprisoned for one year, four months, and eighteen days in a Nazi cell measuring 6 ft. x 9 ft, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote what is certainly a reminder of the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday:

“You must never doubt that I’m traveling with gratitude and cheerfulness along the road where I’m being led. My past life is brim-full of God’s goodness, and my sins are covered by the forgiving love of Christ crucified. I’m so thankful for the people I have met, and I only hope that they never have to grieve about me, but that they, too, will always be certain of and thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness.”

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and teaches on the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Source: What Is Thanksgiving Day?

Why Christian Kids Leave the Faith

God tells us there will always be wheat and tares. Even among children born to believing parents there will be some who reject all their parents have taught. Some of these will rebel for a while and return. Some will not. As parents we are to commit ourselves to the task of raising our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, to teach them the facts of the faith, to show how it answers our questions and meets our needs, to insist that the good news of the gospel must be personally apprehended. We do what God calls us to do, we do it to the best of our abilities, and we entrust the results—and our children—to God’s good providence.

Few things are sadder to witness than people who once professed faith leaving it all behind. This is especially true when those people were raised in Christian homes by God-fearing parents. These children were given every opportunity to put their faith in Jesus but determined instead to turn their backs on him. Why would they make such a tragic choice?

Several years ago Tom Bisset carried out a study of people who had left the faith. Wanting this to be more than a statistical analysis, he actually sat down with people to interview them and ask for detailed information on when, why, and how they abandoned their faith. As he compiled his research he arrived at the four most prominent reasons that people raised in Christian homes eventually leave Christianity behind.

They leave because they have troubling, unanswered questions about the faith. Essentially, they come to doubt that Christianity offers compelling answers to the tough questions—questions related to science, suffering, sexuality, and a host of other crucial subjects. Their doubts may be intellectual or academic, theological or practical. Whatever the case, they became convinced that Christianity does not actually offer truth to those who seek it, that its answers are unreasonable, unrealistic, or just plain wrong. No longer satisfied with the answers and claims of Christianity, they opt for “intellectual honesty” and look elsewhere.

(A solution to this problem is to engage the difficult questions with our children and to show that Christianity offers a cohesive and compelling worldview that accounts for science, suffering, sexuality, and whatever else we find pressing or perplexing. We have nothing to fear from even our children’s most difficult questions.)

They leave because their faith is not working for them. Though they tried and perhaps even tried honestly and sincerely, they were not able to find the peace, joy, or meaning the Christian faith claims to offer them. Their personal experience of Christianity was never able to match what they had been taught to believe about it. Their experience was never able to match what they saw modeled by friends, pastors, or parents—people who expressed the joy and fulfillment that was theirs through a relationship with Christ Jesus. Out of discouragement they abandoned Christianity, sure its claims were exaggerated or just plain false.

(A solution here is to be vulnerable with our children, and to express that we, too, experience moments of doubt and disbelief, and that we are sometimes left wishing for answers God has not provided. We need to be careful not to oversell our faith, not to describe the Christian life as free from all difficulty. After all, the Bible emphasizes both the joys and the suffering that come to those who believe.)

Read More

Praying for Your Children

The Bible clearly shows that, during our Lord’s earthly ministry, there were parents who wanted Jesus to bless their children:

Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there. (Matt. 19:13–15)

Though Jesus is not currently visible (1 Pet. 1:8), nothing has changed for believing parents. We still want—and so desperately need—the Lord to bless our children. This shows both our continuous looking to Him and the realization that our capacities as parents are limited.

As with most items related to discipleship—and parenting is definitely a God-ordained and commanded aspect of discipleship (Eph. 6:1–4)—prayer plays a vital role.

When our children were younger, they would frequently accompany me many places I went, including the seminary where I taught. I was asked dozens of times, “How do you get kids at that age to be so well-behaved and be such a blessing?” Always the answer from the heart would be, “My wife and I are not perfect parents, and our children are not perfect children.” Though we certainly did see God’s blessing on our children, we knew they were still quite young and had not yet faced the teenage and adult years with all the temptations and snares and dangers ahead of them (Prov. 1–9).

While seeing God’s hand of blessing, I realized the battle was only just beginning for us—and at times it was indeed a battle, and a very intense one at that, as both the world and the evil one actively worked to attract them to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16).

Part of my answer to those who asked me about raising our children would be that we repeatedly prayed for them and tried to raise them as God would have us do, especially as shown in Scripture. Even then, my wife and I knew we were not in full control; you cannot save your own children; you cannot live their lives for them.

We would stand on the sidelines and actively watch as our children walked with God, or, in one case, did not walk with Him for a prolonged period. I have been both the Prodigal Son and the father of a prodigal—and by the sheer grace of God—I have been the rejoicing father of a prodigal who has returned to the Lord.

As I talked to other parents about raising children, a similar question would repeatedly be raised, especially by younger parents:

“What do you pray for your children when you pray for them?”

This article is drawn from my response to that question. It is not necessarily exhaustive, nor does it mean that each item noted below must be included in every prayer session. Seasons of life often necessitate changed elements of emphasis as children grow older. But I trust this list will be encouraging and motivating to Christian parents as they intercede on behalf of those under their care.

Here is what I prayed (and still pray) for my children:

I pray . . .

— as a child to my heavenly Father before praying as a father for my own children (1 Peter 1:17).

— for my own walk with God (Eph 4­–6) before I pray for their walk; it starts with me, not with them.

— for my wife Betsy’s walk with God (singular) and ours collectively as husband and wife.

Any true ministry (and parenting most certainly is a ministry, and an incredibly responsible ministry at that) is merely an extension of your walk with the Lord (or lack thereof). And though we fail miserably at this at times, my wife and I pray that our children will see our relationship with God (Eph. 5:22­–33), and that it will be a natural carryover to our working with them (Eph. 6:1–4).

I pray . . .

— for our marriage.

— for our parenting.

— for wisdom and discernment in each of these areas (James 1:5–6; 1 Pet. 5:5–9).

— for what to say; for what not to say.

— for godly discipline that will not exasperate (Eph. 6:4).

— that God will bless our children beyond our capacities and limitations as parents.

I pray for my children . . .

— that they will come to a saving grace of God early in their lives (1 Sam. 3:7).

— that their hearts will always be tender before God (2 Chron. 34:27).

— that their hearts will always be inclined to God (Josh. 24:23).

— that they will fear God and turn away from evil (Job 1:8).

I pray for my children . . .

— that God will raise up godly influences for them, and

— that they will become godly influences.

— that they will have godly friends and be godly friends to others.

— that true biblical Wisdom will be their close associate (Prov. 1-9; 1Cor. 1:22-24; 1Cor. 1:30).

I pray for my children . . .

— that God will make them be/become blessings to others (Philemon 7).

— that they will be thankful to God and to others (Luke 17:11–18; Col. 3:15).

I pray for my children . . .

— that God will grant them an insatiable hunger and thirst for Him and His Word (1 Pet. 2:1–2).

— that they will worship God in spirit and truth frequently (John 4:23–24).

— that they will have a Second Coming mentality (1 John 3:1­–3).

— that they will live their lives with eternity in view (Phil. 3:20–21).

I pray for my children . . .

— that they will come under strong conviction when they sin (Ps. 51), and

— that they will confess their sins to God (1 John 1:9) and to others (James 5:16).

I pray for my children . . .

— that God will protect them from themselves, violent people and the evil one. (I received these three prayer requests from a godly uncle of mine who has since gone home to be with the Lord).

I pray for my children’s spouses, if they are to have them (1Cor. 7:7), . . .

— that God will cultivate godliness and the same traits already mentioned within them.

— that God will bring them together at the proper time.

— that they will honor Him in the courtship and keep them pure before Him.

— that God will be the center of their home and that this will become evident to others.

— that God would bring them to a godly, Bible-centered church, where they may grow in their walks with the Lord, both individually and collectively.

— that my daughter will become a Proverbs 31 woman and my son an Ephesians 5 man whether God grants them spouses or not.

I pray for my children . . .

— that God will be at work within them both to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).

— that God will grant them a sense of excellence in doing things unto the glory of God in the everyday activities of their lives (1 Thess. 4:1 and 4:10; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 1:20).

— that they will know experientially that He alone is worthy to receive all glory, honor and praise and live their lives accordingly (Rev. 4:11; Rev. 5:1–11).

I pray for my children . . .

— that they will not be conformed to this world, but instead they will be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom. 12:1–2) and the washing of water with the Word (Eph. 5:26).

— that they grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18), and

— that they grow in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Simply put, I pray for my children . . .

— that they will walk with God all the days of their lives (Judges 2:7; 1Sam. 1:11; Ps. 23:6), and

— that we will see the fruits of a lifetime of walking with Jesus before His throne (Rev. 4:9–11).

*****

For more information about Dr. Harris and his writing ministry see http://www.glorybooks.org

The post Praying for Your Children appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

Enjoy The Distinctly Christian Holiday We Call Thanksgiving

Enjoy This Distinctly Christian Holiday We Call ThanksgivingThe pilgrims who came over from England in 1620 were, in many ways, ordinary men and women. Some of them were members of the English Separatist Church (a Puritan sect of Christianity). These Separatists originally fled England and sailed to Holland to escape the religious intolerance and oppression of their homeland. In their day, the Church and the State of England were one, and independent congregations who desired to explore their own, differing relationship with the Christian God were unable to practice their faith independent of the State Church. Separatists had come to the conclusion membership in the Church of England violated Biblical teaching. They fled their homeland so they could pursue God in a way they considered to be truer to the teaching of the Bible. This group successfully escaped religious persecution from the Church of England, but eventually became disenchanted with the Dutch way of life. They observed the lifestyles of those around them and believed they were in an ungodly land. So once again, they pushed on toward a new place where they could both worship the Biblical God of Christianity and live in a way honorable to this God.

The Mayflower held more than just the Separatist Puritans. The ship also contained other pilgrims who still remained loyal to the Church of England but came to the new world for economic reasons or because they sympathized with the Puritans in one way or another. But one thing was certain about everyone on the ship. Whether they were part of the Puritan group or simply along to assist them and make a new life for themselves, everyone shared a fervent and pervasive Protestant faith permeating all aspects of their lives. So, when the pilgrims made ground at Plymouth Rock on December 11th, 1620, they were also grounded in their faith as Christians. In less than a year, they suffered the loss of 46 of their original 102 members, but they never lost their faith.

At the end of the harvest of 1621, the pilgrims decided to celebrate. The pilgrims brought with them both religious and secular customs from their homeland. Among these customs were the tradition of a secular harvest festival and the tradition of a religious holy day of thanksgiving. These were two separate celebrations for the original pilgrims, but both celebrations had strong religious overtones. Even the secular harvest celebration included a religious component of thanks to the Christian God who had provided the harvest. In addition to this celebration, the pilgrims also dedicated a day of thanksgiving that was purely religious in nature.

When pilgrim Edward Winslow described these thanksgiving celebrations, his description included the following Biblical themes:

Acts 14:17
Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

Psalm 23:1
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

With these passages certainly in mind, Winslow described the first Thanksgiving setting:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling [bird hunting] so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as… served the company almost a week… Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and… their greatest King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are… far from want”

Thanksgiving was one of only three Christian holidays celebrated by the pilgrims (the Sabbath, the Day of Humiliation and Fasting, and the Day of Thanksgiving and Praise). In these early days, Thanksgiving was not celebrated on a regular basis, but only in direct response to God’s Providence.

Thanksgiving celebrations followed for many years, and often became part of the political and corporate life of larger groups as the colonies grew and formed in the New World. On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, met to decide how to best express their thanks to God in a corporate celebration of thanksgiving. They had just established themselves as a community and they wanted to thank God in a public way. The council unanimously voted to instruct clerk Edward Rawson to proclaim June 29th as a Day of Thanksgiving, and his proclamation reflected the following Biblical passages:

Habakkuk 3:2
O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

Psalm 22:23
Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

Rawson’s words represent his Christian beliefs and Biblical understanding:

“The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present War with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgments he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions: The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favor, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God’s Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.”

The founding fathers of our country also embraced and affirmed the notion God alone is ultimately responsible for our provision and success. That’s why the first founders and presidents all affirmed the Thanksgiving celebration. The original 13 colonies joined together in October of 1777 to celebrate their first joint Thanksgiving Holiday. It was much like the occasional pilgrim Thanksgiving celebrations following an act of God’s provision. In this case, the colonies were thanking God for their recent victory of the British at Saratoga. But national celebrations of Thanksgiving didn’t end here. They continued throughout the first years of our national history. In fact, they were endorsed by the federal government which, in turn, affirmed the role God played in providing for His people. George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, and once again it was filled with Christian overtones harvested directly from the Bible:

Psalm 145:14-16
Jehovah upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that are bowed down. The eyes of all wait for thee; and thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Psalm 22:28
For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

Washington’s words clearly reflected a Christian theology and notion about God as the Provider of all things, unchanging, and ruling the nations:

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; – to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Over the years, and even as the nation became more and more secular, there was a popular outcry to continue the holiday. This was recognized by a number of presidents along the way, particularly by President Abraham Lincoln who, in 1863, established Thanksgiving as a national day of celebration and prayer to be celebrated on the last day in November. Once again, Lincoln revealed his Christian upbringing as he crafts a proclamation that echoes Christian themes:

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Psalm 100:3-5
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Lincoln’s famous proclamation reiterated the Christian themes first expressed by George Washington, restated in the context of the civil war:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Abraham Lincoln

Regardless of how people may feel about the Thanksgiving Holiday, one thing should be obvious to even the most casual observer of history: Thanksgiving was (and still is) founded on the Christian notion we have something to be thankful for and someone to be thankful to. These first observers of Thanksgiving understood who it was they were to thank. Over and over again, through the early years of the colonies to the most difficult days of our national history, believers and leaders have affirmed and humbled themselves to the providence and protection of God. Those who initiated this national holiday intended it to be a day of thanksgiving and prayer; a day in which all of us could offer thanks to the God of the Universe.

Source: Enjoy The Distinctly Christian Holiday We Call Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving as Theological Act: What Does it Mean to Give Thanks?

Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm — a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.

A haunting question is this:  How do atheists observe Thanksgiving? I can easily understand what an atheist or agnostic would think of fellow human beings and feel led to express thankfulness and gratitude to all those who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to their lives. But what about the blessings that cannot be ascribed to human agency? Those are both more numerous and more significant, ranging from the universe we experience to the gift of life itself.

Can one really be thankful without being thankful to someone? It makes no sense to express thankfulness to a purely naturalistic system. The late Stephen Jay Gould, an atheist and one of the foremost paleontologists and evolutionists of his day, described human life as “but a tiny, late-arising twig on life’s enormously arborescent bush.” Gould was a clear-headed evolutionist who took the theory of evolution to its ultimate conclusion — human life is merely an accident, though a very happy accident for us. Within that worldview, how does thankfulness work?

The Apostle Paul points to a central insight about thankfulness when he instructs the Christians in Rome about the reality and consequences of unbelief. After making clear that God has revealed himself to all humanity through the created order, Paul asserts that we are all without excuse when it comes to our responsibility to know and worship the Creator.

He wrote:

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . .  [Romans 1:20-22].

This remarkable passage has at its center an indictment of thanklessness. They did not honor Him as God or give thanks. Paul wants us to understand that the refusal to honor God and give thanks is a raw form of the primal sin. Theologians have long debated the foundational sin — and answers have ranged from lust to pride. Nevertheless, it would seem that being unthankful, refusing to recognize God as the source of all good things, is very close to the essence of the primal sin. What explains the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden? A lack of proper thankfulness was at the core of their sin. God gave them unspeakable riches and abundance, but forbade them the fruit of one tree. A proper thankfulness would have led our first parents to avoid that fruit at all costs, and to obey the Lord’s command. Taken further, this first sin was also a lack of thankfulness in that the decision to eat the forbidden fruit indicated a lack of thankfulness that took the form of an assertion that we creatures — not the Creator — know what is best for us and intend the best for us.

They did not honor Him as God or give thanks. Clearly, honoring God as God leads us naturally into thankfulness. To honor Him as God is to honor His limitless love, His benevolence and care, His provision and uncountable gifts. To fail in thankfulness is to fail to honor God — and this is the biblical description of fallen and sinful humanity. We are a thankless lot.

Sinners saved by the grace and mercy of God know a thankfulness that exceeds any merely human thankfulness. How do we express thankfulness for the provision the Father has made for us in Christ, the riches that are made ours in Him, and the unspeakable gift of the surpassing grace of God? As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” [2 Corinthians 9:15].

So, observe a wonderful Thanksgiving — but realize that a proper Christian Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act that requires an active mind as well as a thankful heart. We need to think deeply, widely, carefully, and faithfully about the countless reasons for our thankfulness to God.

It is humbling to see that Paul so explicitly links a lack of thankfulness to sin, foolishness, and idolatry. A lack of proper thankfulness to God is a clear sign of a basic godlessness. Millions of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with little consciousness of this truth. Their impulse to express gratitude is a sign of their spiritual need that can be met only in Christ.

So have a very Happy Thanksgiving — and remember that giving thanks is one of the most explicitly theological acts any human can contemplate. O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting [1 Chronicles 16:34]. In all things, give thanks to God.

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