Daily Archives: December 6, 2016

December 6, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Dec. 6, 2016 |

BLOOMBERG

Elaine Chao said she will resign from Wells Fargo’s board if confirmed as President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation.

New York City will ask the federal government for $35 million to cover the expense of securing Trump Tower, President-elect Donald Trump’s Manhattan residence and business headquarters, for the period between his election and inauguration.

President-elect Donald Trump said the latest Air Force One order should be canceled, citing the high costs of more than $4 billion for converting the Boeing jumbo jet for presidential use.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on full-face veils and said she’ll protect Germany against future refugee waves, reaching out to critics of her liberal migration policy as she asked a convention of her Christian Democratic Union to back her bid for a fourth term.

As Donald Trump prepares to assume the U.S. presidency, luxury towers from Istanbul to Manila that bear his name become de facto government symbols, making them potential terrorist targets. Experts say the question of how to protect them and who should pay poses a complex ethical and legal dilemma.

Donald Trump met with Al Gore in New York Monday to discuss an issue the Republican president-elect has long scoffed at: Global warming.

Carrier Corp., the maker of air conditioners that was persuaded by President-elect Donald Trump to abort plans to close a U.S. factory, is increasing prices to stay competitive as higher costs weigh on the industry.

President Park Geun-hye is “ready” to face an impeachment vote Friday, according to a senior legislative leader, as an influence-peddling scandal that has shaken South Korea for weeks heads to a climax.

AP Top Stories

A trove of water may be hiding more than 250 miles beneath your feet. That’s where the Earth’s mantle meets the crust.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of State announced it had shut down a fake embassy in Ghana this summer with the help of local authorities. Turkish and Ghanaian organized crime gangs ran the scam with the help of a Ghanaian attorney, according to the State Department.

Left-leaning Alexander Van der Bellen triumphed over his right-wing rival Sunday in the vote for Austria’s presidency, a victory welcomed by moderate politicians across Europe as a blow against the populist forces looking to weaken the European Union.

Sea ice off Antarctica and in the Arctic is at record lows for this time of year after declining by twice the size of Alaska in a sign of rising global temperatures, climate scientists say.

Top U.S. military officials said they have started reshaping the country’s budget plans amid the growing threat from Russia as the latter continues to increase its military activities around the world.

Ancient people ripped out teeth, stuffed broken bones into human skulls and de-fleshed corpses as part of elaborate funeral rituals in South America, an archaeological discovery has revealed. The site of Lapa do Santo in Brazil holds a trove of human remains that were modified elaborately by the earliest inhabitants of the continent starting around 10,000 years ago, the new study shows.

Amazon has unveiled a new kind of retail store, with no cashiers. Customers at the concept store in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, Washington, can fill their shopping carts and walk out — with the costs automatically tallied up and billed to their accounts with the US online giant. Amazon Go, which is being tested with Amazon employees and will open to the public next year, is a “checkout-free shopping experience made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning.”

BBC

The UK will have to reach a Brexit deal by October 2018, according to the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit.

Egyptian authorities have arrested doctors, nurses and professors suspected of being involved in an international organ trafficking ring. The arrests of at least 25 people on Tuesday also included organ buyers and middlemen.

South Korea’s military cyber command, set up to guard against hacking, appears to have been breached by North Korea, the military has said. A spokesman told the BBC that classified information was thought to have been stolen, although it is not clear exactly what data was accessed. The North has previously been accused of hacking into banks and media outlets but never the South’s military.

Tens of thousands of Brazilians have joined street protests against a vote which they say threatens to undermine a major anti-corruption investigation.

South Africa’s government is today setting out its case for why the country is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled it is unlawful for patients with terminal illnesses to choose how they die. Last year, a court allowed a terminally ill man the right to end his own life with the help of a doctor but he died before the ruling was made. The latest ruling overturns that decision.

WND

Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter on Monday announced they had joined forces in an attempt to curb explicit terrorist imagery online. The move follows criticism from Brussels that big US social media groups have made insufficient effort to clamp down on hate speech.

A 16th century Buckinghamshire pub made famous by the visit of China’s President Xi Jinping and then Prime Minister David Cameron has been bought by a major Chinese firm.


Top News – 12/6/2016

Admiral Kuznetsov’s jets to be redeployed on shore
After the loss of two jet fighters from the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier squadron, other planes may be redeployed ashore at the Russian military base in Hmeymim, Syria, the Russia’s defence ministry told Russian media, the UNIAN agency reports.

Ezekiel Prophecy May Foretell Obama’s Zero Hour Betrayal of Israel at UN Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/79721/obamas-last-gasp-un-att
“I read prophecy as a filter for political commentary,” Mark explained in an interview with Breaking Israel News. “This prophecy describes Jerusalem as being a trigger for the war that comes later. The international element of the prophecy doesn’t mean the world leaders will come to Jerusalem [but that they will ‘gather’ against it]. The UN clearly seems to be indicated here, and the stage is being set for this to happen.”

‘Attack them in markets, roads and clubs,’ Isil’s new spokesman tells European followers
Islamic State’s new spokesman has promised more attacks on Europe, urging supporters to target “markets, roads and clubs” in his inaugural audio message. “We will attack them in their own countries, he said. “Your operations make a difference, change the situation … burn the ground under their feet.”

Cuomo Announces New York Blacklist of Foreign BDS Supporters Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/79609/new-york-blacklists-bds-supporters/
The State of New York has created a blacklist of a foreign companies supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel,

Netanyahu Looks Forward to Discussing ‘Bad’ Iran Nuclear Deal With Trump Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/79680/netanyahu-looking-forwa
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he is looking forward to speaking with President-elect Donald Trump about the “bad nuclear deal” with Iran.

Trump handed ‘trigger’ to end sanctuary cities
‘Hand over dangerous criminals or get your checkbook out’. the power of the purse is something Congress has at its disposal, and he intends to help Trump shut off the flow of federal dollars to sanctuary cities. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on commerce, justice and science, Culberson said he acted on July 7 to notify the Department of Justice that it will need to change its policy.

SHOWDOWN LOOMS: Iran vows to fight Trump over landmark nuke deal
“Some man is elected in the U.S. whatever plans he has, it will be revealed later. Yes, he may desire many things. He may desire to weaken the nuclear deal. He may desire to rip up the deal. Do you suppose we will allow this?”

Teetering Italian bank looks for investors
Shares in Italy’s most troubled bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, are down again amid rising concerns about its ability to remain solvent. Shares were down 3 percent Tuesday though the bank said it had achieved one part of a turnaround program. Bondholders agreed to swap some 1.02 billion euros (1.09 billion dollars) in subordinated shares.

NATO chief trumpets new ‘momentum’ with EU military ties
NATO’s chief says the alliance and the European Union are moving forward on deepening cooperation, as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump insists European allies start pulling their own military weight.

Egypt busts organ trading racket, arrests 45 people
Among those held were doctors, nurses, middlemen and organ-buyers, involved in what the ministry described as the largest organ-trafficking network exposed in Egypt to date.

Seems When it Comes to Israel, Carter Can’t Control Himself
Mark Twain once reiterated that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” And former president Jimmy Carter has made a post-presidential career out of lying about Israel.

Video campaign launched in support of Facebook suit
The Israel-based civil rights organization, Shurat Hadin, today released a YouTube video in a campaign to support a pair of major lawsuits against Facebook for inciting terrorism.

FBI investigating ‘very specific’ threat to Los Angeles transit system
The FBI is investigating a threat to the Los Angeles metro system, after receiving information on Monday suggesting that an attack was set to be launched on a station used to visit Universal Studios on the network’s Red Line on Tuesday, officials say. The information came from an anonymous phone call to a public safety line overseas…

Science synopsis: Strong signs of quantum spin liquid observed in YbMgGaO4 crystals by neutron scattering off ytterbium electrons
Inside a new exotic crystal, physicist Martin Mourigal has observed strong indications of “spooky” action, and lots of it. The results of his experiments, if corroborated over time, would mean that the type of crystal is a rare new material that can produce a quantum spin liquid.

USGS records 5 earthquakes overnight in northern Oklahoma
The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded five small earthquakes in northern Oklahoma, including a magnitude 3.9 temblor near Pawnee where the state’s largest earthquake was recorded in September. A 3.6 magnitude quake also struck overnight near Cushing, one of the world’s major oil hubs. Five quakes have been recorded in the state since Sunday night.

ISIS declares Trump inauguration day ‘BLOODY FRIDAY’
ISLAMIC STATE has declared the day Donald Trump is inaugurated as US president ‘Bloody Friday’ as it fears a brutal backlash from the new regime. And the Islamic terror organisation is reported to have recruited a number of new English speaking operatives in recent months in a major bid to communicate messages ahead of the day.

Aleppo battle: Russia and China veto UN truce resolution
Russia and China have vetoed a draft resolution at the UN Security Council that called for a seven-day ceasefire in Syria’s embattled city of Aleppo. Russia said the document infringed the council rule allowing countries 24 hours to consider the final wording. The US dismissed this as a “made-up alibi”, saying Russia wanted to preserve recent military gains by Syrian government troops in Aleppo.

North Korea ‘hacks South’s military cyber command’
South Korea’s military cyber command, set up to guard against hacking, appears to have been breached by North Korea, the military has said. A spokesman told the BBC that classified information was thought to have been stolen, although it is not clear exactly what data was accessed. The North has previously been accused of hacking into banks and media outlets but never the South’s military.

DR Congo: Ethnic clashes leave 31 dead
At least 31 people died in clashes between ethnic militia and security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the weekend, officials say. They say the violence in the central Kasai province was sparked by a row between an uncle and a nephew over the title of a traditional chief. Deputy Governor Hubert Mbingho N’Vula said 13 members of the security forces sent to quell the fighting were among those killed.

Saudi court sentences 15 to death on charges of spying for Iran
A Saudi court on Tuesday sentenced 15 people to death for spying for the kingdom’s arch-enemy, Iran, Saudi-owned media reported, in a ruling that could further stoke tension between the two rival powers. The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced 15 other suspects to prison terms ranging from six months to 25 years, and acquitted two, the Arabic-language al-Riyadh newspaper said on its website.

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste
The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Web giants to cooperate on removal of extremist content
Web giants YouTube , Facebook , Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.

OUCH: Nobel Prize committee ADMITS the unthinkable about Obama…
There was widespread consensus the prize was politically motivated, and even Obama said he was shocked by it and didn’t consider himself worthy of the reward (but accepted it anyway). Since then, Obama’s set the record as the only Nobel Peace Prize laureate to have bombed another, when U.S./NATO planes bombed a hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders in October of last year.

4.2 magnitude earthquake strikes off the coast of Northern California
A preliminary-magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck just off the coast of Northern California on Monday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake, whose epicenter was located 37 miles south of Eureka, occurred at 10:33 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, the USGS said.


The Briefing 12-06-16

The Electoral College, Federalism, and the genius of America’s Constitution

The tragedy of the Oakland fire points to the good of government in public safety regulations

Why is the left infatuated with communist dictators? Abortion, prostitution, and Fidel Castro’s legacy

What does it say about America that the suburbs are growing faster than city centers?

The post The Briefing 12-06-16 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


“Fake News” Site Threatens Washington Post With Defamation Suit, Demands Retraction

newspeak-cc

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It’s Not Over: Rogue Republican Elector Announces He Will Not Vote For Trump And Urges Others To Join Him

trump-pence-official-photo-of-the-presidential-transition-of-donald-trump-with-vice-president-elect-mike-penceDonald Trump has already lost one of his electoral votes, and there are indications that a number of additional electors may be prepared to abandon him.  Prior to the election, I warned my readers that we would not officially know who the next president would be until December 19th.  On that Monday, the 538 members of the Electoral College will gather in their state capitals in all 50 states to formally elect the next president.  Throughout U.S. history electors have voted according to the will of the people more than 99 percent of the time, but in 2016 there is a concerted effort to persuade Republican electors not to vote for Trump.  If 37 Republican electors can be convinced to vote for someone other than Trump, that would keep Trump under the 270 vote threshold needed to win and it would throw the election into the House of Representatives.  Most people had considered this to be a longshot, but on Monday a Republican elector named Christopher Suprun publicly announced in the New York Times that he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump.  On the other side, there are at least 8 Democratic electors that have already publicly pledged to switch their votes from Hillary Clinton to a compromise Republican alternative to Trump. (Read More….)


Anti-Trumpers trying to sow chaos in Electoral College

Fox News reports:

donald-trump-not-my-presidentAmid a rowdy recount push in battleground states, anti-Donald Trump forces are escalating efforts to invalidate his election on another front: the Electoral College.

The people who technically choose the next president will gather on Dec. 19 to, presumably, make the results of the Nov. 8 presidential election official. Trump won 306 electoral votes in the election, well above the 270 needed to defeat Hillary Clinton and claim the White House.

But even as Clinton herself has conceded and joined President Obama in urging a smooth transition of power, a group of electors from Colorado and Washington known as the “Hamilton Electors” is trying to persuade other electors to unite behind a Republican alternative to Trump.

On Monday, they peeled off one Republican. Chris Suprun, from Texas, said he won’t cast one of his state’s 38 electoral votes for Trump because “I am here to elect a president, not a king.”

Read more


Why Can’t We Focus More On All Of The Good News In The World?

happy-child-public-domainWhy does “the news” have to be 99 percent bad news? It is certainly very true that our world is facing great challenges, and those challenges are only going to become more intense during the years ahead, but why can’t we celebrate the good things that are happening as well? For decades, one of the mantras in news organizations all over the country has been “if it bleeds, it leads”, but life is not all about death and destruction. Yes, if we only focus on the positive our life will be out of balance, but the same thing is true if we only focus on the negative. For those of us that are “news junkies”, it is way too easy to slip into the mindset that everything is bad in the world. Without a doubt, things are dark and getting darker, but there are also a whole lot of people out there that are doing their best to be lights in their communities. (Read More…)


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Internet Censorship in US and Europe Is Coordinated

12-06-2016 • http://www.thedailybell.com

The EU Is Warning American Tech Giants to Crack Down on Hate Speech Now  …  “They will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months.” U.S. tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft will have to act faster to tackle online hate speech or face laws forcing them to do so, the European Commission said on Sunday. -Reuters

Western governments are censoring speech in Europe and the US, an obvious pattern that clearly shows coordination.

In the US, there is a congressional effort to fund intel agencies that will investigate alternative media for ties to Russian propaganda. Such investigations , if they occur, will  retard this sector and make further, free-reporting difficult.

In Europe, efforts to control speech and reporting are actually being aimed at American communication enterprises such as Google, YouTube and Microsoft (see excerpt above).

More:

The European Union (EU) executive’s warning comes six months after the companies signed up to a voluntary code of conduct to take action in Europe within 24 hours, following rising concerns triggered by the refugee crisis and terror attacks.

This included removing or disabling access to the content if necessary, better cooperation with civil society organizations and the promotion of “counter-narratives” to hate speech.

The code of conduct is largely a continuation of efforts that the companies already take to counter hate speech on their websites, such as developing tools for people to report hateful content and training staff to handle such requests.

Top powers in the US and Europe will not likely admit coordination to crack down on Internet news and views but this is obviously what’s happening.

It is true that European censorship justifications have a longer history. Complaints about terrorism and hate speech have been voiced for several years. In the US, the sudden emergence of concern over Russian influence on ‘Net-based media is a new phenomenon.

Nonetheless, the House has just passed a bill to fund investigations into Russian influence on American media (see here). Such investigations might involve the tracking of so-called Alt.right “hate speech” as well.

Western efforts to “control” the Internet will no doubt adopt certain Chinese solutions over time. In China the Internet is actively being used as an agency of repression. Citizens are to receive ‘Net-based “grades” based on docility and how well they obey laws and generally fit in.

The larger question as governments crack down on ‘Net-based speech is whether or not people’s awareness of what is actually going on in their societies will transcend censorship.

History seems to show that after the Gutenberg Press launched an explosion of new ideas in printed form it took Western governments (and the controllers behind them) many centuries to regain control – 400 or 500 years as a matter of fact.

Western governments face similar problems now. A whole generation of individuals has absorbed a new way of thinking promulgated by the ‘Net. This is one reason approval of mainstream media is in the single digits while up to 50 percent or more (in the US, anyway) admit to belief in “conspiracy theories” – versions of important events not dictated by government and secret forces operating behind government.

In aggregate these views posit a different society than the current one. Today’s society is an outgrowth of World War II reorganization and depends heavily on the dictates of massive governments and even larger corporate enterprises.

‘Net-based alternative sociopolitical organization tends to criticize such titanic social solutions and is often more libertarian based. The idea is that culture ought to dictate social organization and economic, political and even military control ought to be organized from the ground up instead of top down.


Top Headlines – 12/6/2016

  • Trump heads back out on road for ‘thank you’ tour (Read More)
  • For Europe’s Unity, 2017 Will Be a Year of Reckoning (Read More)
  • Oil dips as OPEC, Russian output rises ahead of production cut (Read More)
  • The Pessimist’s Guide to 2017 (Read More)
  • Donald Trump’s Message Sparks Anger in China (Read More)
  • Brazil’s Reform Plan in Disarray After Senate Chief Removed (Read More)
  • China urges U.S. to block transit by Taiwan president (Read More)
  • Wooed by Trump, Taiwan Trembles (Read More)
  • SoftBank’s Son Said to Plan Meeting With Trump in New York (Read More)
  • Syrian government, ally Russia warn rebels in city of Aleppo (Read More)
  • Blackstone Going Public on $10 Billion Foreclosures Bet (Read More)
  • A Cheat Sheet on the Deglobalization of the Financial World (Read More)
  • One Historic Lens Says Trump Stock Market Lovefest Just Starting (Read More)
  • U.S. ‘Disappointed’ by Japan’s Plan to Cut Drug Costs (Read More)
  • Family’s $29 Billion Fortune Claim Denied Amid India’s Tax Hunt (Read More)
  • Orban allies tighten media grip ahead of Hungary election (Read More)
  • U.S. seeks to reassure Beijing after Trump call with Taiwan leader (Read More)
  • Theranos Foresaw Huge Growth in Revenue and Profits (Read More)
  • Rouhani says Iran will not let Trump rip up nuclear deal (Read More)
  • Danish police arrest suspect after policeman shot in head (Read More)

Lebanon’s new pro-Hezbollah president vows to retake ‘Israeli-occupied’ land

Israel votes to authorise illegal settler homes in Palestine

Jared Kushner’s parents donated to settlement groups

Netanyahu says Trump election has not changed 2-state goal

Wrong from the start: Why John Kerry failed to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace

Top Republican senator pushing to suspend aid to Palestinian Authority, Egypt

Much sound, but few results, at interfaith summit over mosque-muffling bill

Google removes ‘are Jews evil’ search suggestion

American Jews: Rethink Worship of Democratic Party!

Arafat poisoned by political rival, Palestinian investigation finds

After five frosty years, Israeli ambassador returns to Turkey

Bereaved Israeli mother to testify in US: ‘Iran and Syria murdered my boy’

Russian aircraft carrier disrupts Mediterranean air traffic

Royal Navy ship monitors Russian destroyer through British waters

Aleppo battle: Russia and China veto UN truce resolution

Russia Says It’ll Discuss With U.S. a Deal on Exit for Insurgents in Aleppo

Syria rebels reject Aleppo exit as regime army advances

Civilans fleeing rebel-held east Aleppo ‘detained and conscripted’ by Syrian forces

Aleppo’s fall won’t end Syrian war, EU’s foreign policy chief says

The battle for Mosul stalls: ‘we are fighting the devil himself’

Libyans say they have driven IS out of nearly all of Sirte

Man in terror plot says ‘Allah’s in control, not the judge’ during sentencing

American author slammed after claiming London is ‘gone’ and ‘all Islamic’

Iran seeks more cooperation with Saudi Arabia

Iran fashion workers jailed for ‘spreading prostitution’

In message to Trump, China, Iran say nuclear deal must stand

Korea’s Tycoons Questioned as Corruption Scandal Grips Country

UN launches record $22.2 billion humanitarian appeal for 2017

Clashes between Congo tribal militia, government kill 31

Brazil: Thousands marches against ‘watered down anti-corruption bill’

Venezuelan women flock to Colombia border town to sell hair in order to buy necessities

Italy hit by market volatility after referendum defeat

Britain seeking ‘ambitious’ Brexit trade deal to benefit UK and EU, says PM

Bank of England’s Carney warns of strains from globaliation

For Europe’s Unity, 2017 Will Be a Year of Reckoning

Japanese leader Abe to visit Pearl Harbor with Obama

Donald Trump adviser says ‘If China doesn’t like it, screw ’em’ as diplomatic row escalates

Former Obama national security adviser says Trump call with Taiwan ‘didn’t bother me’

Obama administration fails to check immigrants against FBI databases, approves citizenship

Republican elector: Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote for Donald Trump

Obama family travel, vacations, cross $85 million mark

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

Dow notches new record closing high as Street shrugs off Italian referendum

This $8,000 a month San Francisco apartment will include a staff robot

Rocket men: why tech’s biggest billionaires want their place in space

Smartphone app to protect pilots from dazzling mid-air laser attacks

Social media ads to hit $50 billion by 2019

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Olry, Vanuatu

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near El Aguilar, Argentina

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Iranshahr, Iran

USGS records 5 earthquakes overnight in northern Oklahoma

Small quakes hit New Madrid fault recently

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,000ft

Dukono volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Donald Trump meets Al Gore in bid to ‘find common ground’ on climate change

Another step closer to artificial blood

Mumps Outbreaks Are Worst in a Decade

Can’t buy love? Drug price hikes put sex beyond reach

Visitors to China nursing home soar after financial rewards shame children into seeing parents

American Atheists: ‘Make Christmas Great Again’ by skipping church

To Tullian Tchividjian: A Call to Repentance

Mike Oppenheimer – The truth versus THE Lie

Ruonala’s royal roost

Genesis 7:11 Alert – Geoscientists Say Stash of Water May Be Lurking Deep Beneath Earth’s Surface

How an Internet conspiracy theory led a gunman into a DC pizza parlor


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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Orthorexia and Christmas Liberty

As Christians,” says Clint Archer, “what we do this month and on December 25th should not look and feel identical to what unbelievers do.”  Archer, who blogs for The Cripplegate, brings up some excellent points.  He writes:

’Tis the season to be controversial. Regrettably, Christians can be vulnerable to a form of orthorexia when it comes to celebrating or conscientiously objecting to the celebration of Christmastime.

Let’s first take a step back.

Orthorexia is when people try to eat so perfectly that they end up obsessing about their health to the detriment of their health.

View article →

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Another remarkable prophecy of Christ in the Old Testament (the study of which is a classic devotion for Advent), is Isaiah 9:1-7.  Not only do we learn that the Messiah will live in Galilee and will be the eternal Davidic King.  Verse 6 also establishes His deity and does so in Trinitarian terms:     [Read More…]

The post Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. appeared first on Cranach.

Controversies and Christmas

Mention “Christmas” and “controversy” together in the same sentence, and most evangelicals will assume you’re talking about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, or the secularization of the winter holiday season.

But, from a historical perspective, a much more significant controversy surrounded Christmas for the first five centuries of church history; and its effects still linger in some circles today. It centered on the very essence of Jesus’ birth – the doctrine of His incarnation.

There is, of course, an element of mystery in the incarnation. How can one person simultaneously be fully God and fully man? Yet, that is precisely the miraculous truth that the Scriptures affirm regarding the Person of Jesus Christ.

Despite the clarity of biblical revelation, the doctrine of Christ’s incarnation came under attack from the very beginning.

The Ebionites, an early legalistic cult, denied the Virgin Birth and the very idea of the incarnation. They accepted the fact that Jesus was a man, but utterly rejected the notion that He was God in human flesh.

In the second and third centuries, the Gnostics likewise denied the incarnation. Not only did they teach that Christ was one of many gods, they also rejected the idea that His humanity was real. In Gnostic teaching, Christ’s human body was merely an illusion. Thus, the incarnation did not really occur; it was only a mirage.

In the fourth century, the Arians affirmed the humanity of Christ, but refused to acknowledge His full deity. Specifically, they denied that the Son was co-equal, co-eternal, and co-essential with the Father. They rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, teaching instead that the Son of God was in fact a created being.

It was the Arian controversy that led to the Council of Nicea where, in A.D. 325, leaders from all over the Christian world gathered and overwhelmingly affirmed the fact that a biblical understanding of who Jesus is necessarily includes a recognition of both His full humanity and His full deity.

That affirmation was articulated in the Nicene Creed which, in essence, was a defense of the true meaning of Christmas.

To the Ebionites, Gnostics, and Arians, we could add other Christological heresies – like Apollonarianism, Nestorianism, and Eutychianism – all of which fell short of a biblical understanding of Christ’s incarnation.

But where controversies abound in church history, the Scriptures are very clear.

The Apostle John opened his gospel with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14). Those verses summarize the dual truths of Christ’s incarnation: The Word is God. The Word became man.

The rest of the New Testament affirms that same two-fold reality. Jesus Christ is “Immanuel” – God with us.

The Second Member of the Trinity, God very God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, the One by whom all things were created and the One in whom all things hold together, left the glories of heaven to become a man, being born in a primitive stable, so that He could grow up to die a criminal’s death in order to save hopeless sinners from the eternal consequences of their own foolish rebellion.

That, then, is the mystery and miracle of Christmas: that God became a man so that men might be reconciled to God.

Heretics have long tried to deny that truth, which is why the theology of Christ’s incarnation has been at the center of so much controversy. Yet, a right understanding of that doctrine is absolutely essential – not only to the meaning of Christmas, but to the very heart of the gospel.

If Christ had not come, our salvation would not have been possible.

As Charles Spurgeon wrote regarding the incarnation: “Man became royal when Christ became human. Man was exalted when Christ was humiliated. Man may go up to God now that God has come down to man.”

Commenting on that same glorious reality, the church father Augustine left us with these eloquent words:

The Word of the Father, by whom all time was created, was made flesh and was born in time for us. He, without whose divine permission no day completes its course, selected one day for His human birth. . . .

The Maker of man became man that He, Ruler of the stars, might be weaned as an infant; that He, the Bread, might be hungry; that He, the Fountain, might thirst; that He, the Light, might sleep; that He, the Way, might be wearied by the journey; that He, the Truth, might be accused by false witnesses; that He, the Judge of the living and the dead, might be brought to trial by a mortal judge; that He, Justice, might be condemned by the unjust; that He, Discipline, might be scourged with whips; that He, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; . . . that He, the Life might die.

To endure these and similar indignities for us, to free us, unworthy creatures, He who existed as the Son of God before all ages, without a beginning, chose to become the Son of Man in these recent years. He did this although He who was subjected to such great evils for our sake had done no evil and although we, who were the recipients of so much good at His hands, had done nothing to merit these benefits.

Therein lies the heart of the gospel. It is the reason we celebrate this time of year; and the reason we will rejoice around our Savior’s throne for all of eternity.

The post Controversies and Christmas appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

December 6, 2016: Verse of the day

img_0541

26:4 everlasting Rock. Lit. the expression is “Rock of Ages,” a rocky cliff where the trusting one may find shelter from attackers (cf. 12:2).

MacArthur Study Bible

26:4 Trust in the Lord. This is the practical challenge that the book of Isaiah lays down for God’s people (cf. 7:9; 10:20; 12:2; 30:15; 31:1; 32:17; 36:15; 42:17; 50:10; 57:13). the Lord God. Hebrew Yah YHWH, an emphatic form of God’s name. everlasting rock. The vindication of faith is secured by the solid dependability of God (cf. Deut. 32:4, 31; 1 Sam. 2:2; Ps. 18:2, 31; 61:2–3).

26:4 Trusting in God anticipates trusting in Christ, who has accomplished climactic salvation (Phil. 4:7).

ESV Study Bible

26:4 an everlasting rock The image of a rock is a common metaphor for God in biblical poetry (see Psa 18:1–3; 31:3; 71:3; Deut 32:30–31). Here, the metaphor brings out the trustworthiness of God.

Faithlife Study Bible

December 6, 2016: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

December 6 The Emptying of Christ

“[Christ] emptied Himself.”

Philippians 2:7

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Christ renounced His divine privileges.

Although Christ never surrendered His deity, He did empty Himself in certain ways. One such way was to give up His heavenly glory. That’s why in John 17:5 Jesus prays, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was.” Christ gave up the glory of a face–to–face relationship with God for the muck of this earth. He gave up the adoring presence of angels for the spittle of men.

Christ also emptied Himself of His independent authority. He completely submitted Himself to the will of the Father and learned to be a servant. Philippians 2:8 says He was obedient, and we see that illustrated when He said in the garden, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). He came to do His Father’s will, not His own (John 5:30).

Another way Christ emptied Himself was by setting aside the prerogatives of His deity—the voluntary display of His attributes. He didn’t give up His deity, but He did give up the free exercise of His attributes, limiting Himself to the point of saying that even He did not know the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:36).

Christ also emptied Himself of His personal riches. “Though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Christ was poor in this world; He owned very little.

Finally, Christ emptied Himself of a favorable relationship with His Father. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Cor. 5:21). As a result our Lord cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).

Though Christ renounced all those privileges, He never ceased to be God. At any moment He could have blasted His enemies off the face of the earth, but He didn’t. He voluntarily emptied Himself for you and me.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Christ submitted Himself completely to His Father’s will. Regularly ask for the Lord’s perfect will to be reflected in your life as well.

For Further Study: Every now and then men glimpsed Christ’s glory. Read Luke 9:28–36 as one example, reminding yourself that Christ emptied Himself of the continuous outward manifestation and personal enjoyment of heavenly glory.[1]


December 6

Gaining Courage

Most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Philippians 1:14

The implication of today’s verse is that before Paul’s imprisonment, the church in Rome lacked courage. When the believers saw that God provided for Paul and enabled him to have an incredible opportunity for outreach, they confidently began to proclaim the gospel. They realized that since God could minister through Paul in his condition, He could minister through them as well. As Paul’s strength became theirs, the leadership in Rome began “to speak the word without fear” (v. 14).

Does your joy ebb and flow according to the tide of earthly benefits? Do pleasure, possessions, prominence, prestige, reputation, comfort, and fulfillment or your own ambitions propel your joy? If they do, your joy will ebb and flow according to the shifting tides of life. But if your joy is tied to the progress of the gospel, it will never diminish. Fix your heart on the progress of the gospel, and your joy will be constant.[2]


DECEMBER 6

AN AWESOMENESS ABOUT GOD

Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

—Psalm 72:18-19

Worship also means to “express in some appropriate manner” what you feel. Now, expressing in some appropriate manner doesn’t mean that we always all express it in the same way all the time. And it doesn’t mean that you will always express your worship in the same manner. But it does mean that it will be expressed in some manner.

And what will be expressed? “A humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder.” It is delightful to worship God, but it is also a humbling thing; and the man who has not been humbled in the presence of God will never be a worshiper of God at all. He may be a church member who keeps the rules and obeys the discipline, and who tithes and goes to conference, but he’ll never be a worshiper unless he is deeply humbled. “A humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe.” There’s an awesomeness about God which is missing in our day altogether; there’s little sense of admiring awe in the Church of Christ these days. WMJ004-005

Great God, I do indeed stand in admiring awe at the wondrous things You do. Remind me today of that awesomeness about You that I so often forget in my hurried life. Amen. [3]


December 6

Parables Conceal

Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.”—Matt. 13:13–15

Jesus quoted this passage from Isaiah 6:9–10 to describe the unbelieving Jews of His day. Isaiah pronounced judgment on the people of Judah for their pervasive sin and rebellion. As part of the Lord’s judgment, they were led away into captivity by Babylon, yet still they refused to repent and trust God’s mercies. Because the people in the prophet’s day intentionally closed their eyes and ears and refused any heartfelt understanding of truth, God judicially sealed them in their unbelief.

Christ’s parables served as similar forms of judgment on unbelief. Those who refused His previous, straightforward teachings would not be able to grasp His deeper, parabolic instructions.

Paul also quotes from Isaiah in reference to another first-century judgment on unbelievers: “In the Law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,’ says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe” (1 Cor. 14:21–22). God allowed tongues (various human languages) to play a dramatic role on Pentecost and periodically thereafter as a testimony against those who refused to accept the gospel. Thus the Lord sometimes conceals His word to those predisposed to reject it.

ASK YOURSELF
Is there any pattern of rejection or disbelief in your mind as you deal with the holy Scriptures? Praise the Lord that He makes His Word plain to those called to be His children.[4]


December 6 The Heir of All Things

“In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2).

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Since Jesus is the Son of God, He is the heir of all that God possesses.

When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He had nothing for Himself; He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died, and He was buried in a tomb that belonged to someone else.

It is beyond human understanding to imagine that the Galilean carpenter who was crucified like a common criminal, naked and bleeding on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem, is the King of kings and Lord of lords. But He is!

As the Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all that God possesses. The Apostle Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but also for Him (Col. 1:16). Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Christ.

The book of Psalms predicted that Christ would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. The Father, speaking to the Son, says, “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession” (Ps. 2:8). God also declared, “I also shall make Him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth” (Ps. 89:27; cf. Col. 1:15). “First-born” refers to legal rights—especially those of inheritance and authority.

When Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things (Rev. 11:15). And because we have trusted in Him, we are to be “fellow-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17). When we enter into His eternal Kingdom, we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but we will be joint-heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for making you a joint-heir with Christ. Thank your Lord for allowing that to happen through His death on the cross.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 5:1–14 and 11:15–18, noting how the inhabitants of Heaven respond to Christ.[5]


DECEMBER 6

EVERYONE MAY COME

Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17

There is a strange beauty in the ways of God with men. He sends salvation to the world in the person of a Man and sends that Man to walk the byways, saying, “If any man will come after Me!” No fanfare; no tramp of marching feet!

A kindly Stranger walks through the earth, and so quiet is His voice that it is sometimes lost in the hurly-burly; but it is the last voice of God, and until we become quiet to hear it, we have no authentic message.

“If any man,” He says, and teaches at once the universal inclusiveness of His invitation and the freedom of the human will. Everyone may come; no one need come, and whoever does come, comes because he chooses to.

Every man thus holds his future in his hand. Not the dominant world leader only, but the inarticulate man lost in anonymity is “a man of destiny!” He decides which way his soul shall go. He chooses, and destiny waits on the nod of his head. He decides, and hell enlarges itself, or heaven prepares another mansion!

So much of Himself has God given to man!

Dear Lord, I pray again for my family and close friends. Some of them have not made wise choices and are still on the outside looking in. Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will melt their hearts and that they will come to You at long last.[6]


DECEMBER 6

SUBMERGE OUR WILLS IN THE WILL OF GOD

…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt.

MATTHEW 26:39

Where there is no freedom of choice there can be neither sin nor righteousness, because it is of the nature of both that they be voluntary.

However good an act may be, it is not good if it is imposed from without. The act of imposition destroys the moral content of the act and renders it null and void! Sin is the voluntary commission of an act known to be contrary to the will of God. Where there is no moral knowledge or where there is no voluntary choice, the act is not sinful; it cannot be, for sin is the transgression of the law and transgression must be voluntary.

Lucifer became Satan when he made his fateful choice: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Clearly here was a choice made against light. Both knowledge and will were present in the act.

Conversely, Christ revealed His holiness when He cried in His agony, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” Here was a deliberate choice made with the full knowledge of the consequences. Here two wills were in temporary conflict, the lower will of the Man who was God and the higher will of the God who was Man, and the higher will prevailed.

Here also was seen in glaring contrast the enormous difference between Christ and Satan; and that difference divides saint from sinner and heaven from hell. The secret of saintliness is not the destruction of the will—but the submergence of it in the will of God![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 367). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 349). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 353). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[6] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

December 6, 2016: Daily Quotation Collection

A Sharp Definition.

Haste is the Devil.

Koran.


God’s Governance.

God governs in the affairs of men; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, neither can a kingdom rise without His aid.

Benjamin Franklin.


Genius and Madness.

There is no great genius free from some tincture of madness.

Seneca.


Napoleon.

Was it possible that Napoleon should win the battle of Waterloo? We answer, no! Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blucher? No! Because of God! For Bonaparte to conquer at Waterloo was not the law of the nineteenth century. It was time that this vast man should fall. He had been impeached before the Infinite! He had vexed God! Waterloo was not a battle. It was the change of front of the Universe!

Victor Hugo.


No Fear of Death.

I have no fear of death, but only of long waiting for it. When once a man has made up his mind that God means to do him good, he ceases to fear death.

Anthony Trollope.


God and the Tailor.

Don’t judge a man by the clothes he wears; God made one and the tailor the other. Anon.


A Paradox.

The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are the more leisure we have.

William Hazlitt.


CHOICE QUOTATIONS IN  POETRY AND PROSE

(From the Master Minds of all Ages)

ARRANGED FOR DAILY USE BY THOMAS W. HANFORD (“ELMO”) copyright c. 1895

“Ten minutes each morning spent in the perusal of the page for the day will supply the mind with material for wise musings through all the day.”

“Great thoughts are valuable not only for the truth they contain, but for the truth they suggest. The thought that provokes thought is much more valuable than the thought that is only the echo of an accepted truth.”