Daily Archives: December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Dec. 13, 2016 |

BLOOMBERG

Venezuelans were wearily rushing to deposit bank notes or dump their cash savings entirely on Monday following an announcement by President Nicolas Maduro that he was invalidating the country’s biggest bill because of what he says is an attack on the nation’s liquidity. The socialist leader shocked the country on Sunday when he said the 100-bolivar note would be removed from circulation within 72 hours.

Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson will be nominated as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state, setting up a potential confirmation battle with U.S. lawmakers who have questioned the oilman’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump has chosen Rick Perry to be Energy Secretary, putting the one-time presidential candidate and former oil-state governor atop the agency charged with charting the nation’s energy future.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Gary Cohn, once the heir apparent to Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, was named President-elect Donald Trump’s top chief economic policy adviser.

Chinese airlines are flooding the world with some of the lowest long-haul fares ever seen — and delivering a hammer blow to foreign carriers trying to keep up. From Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. in the U.S., to Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Korean Air, many operators are feeling the squeeze from the extended reach of mainland Chinese carriers.

AP Top Stories

Jakarta’s Christian governor will stand trial on Tuesday accused of blasphemy in a high-profile case that has emboldened hardline groups and stoked fears of growing intolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

The United Nations said on Tuesday it had reports that Syrian soldiers and allied Iraqi fighters had summarily shot dead 82 civilians in recaptured Aleppo districts and a military source said the last rebel pocket could fall “at any moment”.

Iran’s flag carrier finalized a major deal with U.S. plane maker Boeing Co. to buy $16.6 billion worth of passenger planes Sunday in one of the most tangible benefits yet for the Islamic Republic from last year’s landmark nuclear agreement.

The last ship, still looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, left an Australian port Monday night for what may be its final search. If the missing flight is not found in the next few weeks, the search will be suspended by late January or early February.

On Wednesday, December 14, you’ll be able to see the last supermoon of the year. On that very same night, the Geminid meteor shower, one of the brightest meteor showers of the year, will reach its peak.

Nearly 40 percent of inmates in U.S. prisons could be released as they don’t pose any compelling threat to public safety, a study found. According to the report, setting the 576,000 inmates (39 percent) free could save $20 billion annually.

You can expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this week, but look for it to shy away from the bigger question looming for financial markets: How does the shock outcome of the presidential election change the economic landscape? The Fed is widely expected to announce an increase in the target range for its federal funds rate to between 0.5% and 0.75% when its two-day meeting wraps up Wednesday.

American families are taking on increasing amounts of debt as incomes fail to keep pace. Indebted households today have credit card balances averaging $16,061 – just shy of 2008’s high.

Indian banks have taken back 12.44 trillion rupees ($184.24 billion) of high-value currency that the government abruptly abolished last month, Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor R Gandhi said on Tuesday. That represents about 80 percent of the 15.44 trillion rupees in 500- and 1,000-rupee notes that were circulating before Prime Minister Narendra Modi abolished them on Nov. 8, in a surprise move targeting counterfeiters and people holding undeclared wealth.

BBC

Two men involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks have been killed in Syria in a US air strike, officials said.

Belfast-based astronomers have helped to discover a very rare celestial event – a star being “swallowed” after it passed too close to a black hole.

Veteran US Congressman Chaka Fatah has been sentenced to 10 years in prison over charges including racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud. The 60-year-old Democratic Congressman represented the state of Pennsylvania for 22 years, and was one of Congress’ most senior black lawmakers.

A Tunisian man has been found guilty by a court in Sicily of causing the sinking of a boat in which 700 migrants died in April 2015.

WND

Only four of the original 24 Obamacare health co-ops remain standing after Maryland’s co-op announced Dec. 8 it was suspending the sale of individual health insurance policies, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has found. With the near-collapse of Maryland’s co-op – called Evergreen Health – at least 989,000 individuals nationwide have lost their health insurance coverage when the nonprofit co-ops stopped selling insurance to customers, according to TheDCNF’s tally.

Oklahoma plans to force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state.

A strategy that has surfaced in several states to require churches to accommodate transgendered people by calling their buildings “places of public accommodation” has been reversed in Massachusetts after state officials were sued over the alleged constitutional violations.

A priest in Italy has caused uproar after announcing there would be no Christmas nativity scene at the local cemetery this year because it could offend Muslims and atheists.


Top News – 12/13/2016

Trump’s ‘Penny Plan’ Could Slash Federal Spending Over Decade
Trump told the New York Economic Club, “If we save just one penny of each federal dollar spent on nondefense, and non-entitlement programs, we can save almost $1 trillion over the next decade—again this is spending that does not touch defense, and that does not touch entitlements.”

Report: Trump Team Searching for Embassy Site in Jerusalem
The incoming Trump administration is reportedly searching Jerusalem for a feasible site in which to locate the U.S. Embassy, according to a report broadcast Monday evening by Channel 2 television news.

‘Why on earth did Netanyahu offer Trump a Palestinian state?’
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his comments in a 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday, in which the Prime Minister called for President-elect Donald Trump’s help in achieving a two-state solution.

Israeli officials will not meet visiting Swedish FM
It is highly unusual for a visiting high-level dignitary not to meet any Israeli officials. The move comes at a time of icy relations between Israel and Stockholm, which have been strained since the Social Democratic-led government recognized Palestinian statehood in 2014. Wallstrom arrives Thursday and is expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Spinning Black Hole Swallowing Star Explains Superluminous Event
astronomers propose that the source was an even more extreme and very rare event — a rapidly spinning black hole ripping apart a passing star that came too close. “We observed the source for 10 months following the event and have concluded that the explanation is unlikely to lie with an extraordinarily bright supernova.

Strong Earthquake Hits Solomon Islands for 2nd Day in a Row
A 6.9 magnitude natural disaster has struck off the coast of the Solomon Islands nearly exactly 24 hours after an even larger quake struck the same area of the Pacific. The latest quake initially triggered a fresh tsunami warning for the Solomon Islands, but that was lifted by authorities a short time later.

Disaster zone volcano ‘marching towards another eruption’ as 120 quakes hit
THE site of the most disastrous volcanic eruption in modern times has burst into life with 120 earthquakes. And experts say the quakes at Mount St Helens are proof that we’re heading towards another eruption.

Iran to build nuclear marine propulsion after U.S. ‘violation’ of deal
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani ordered on Tuesday the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to start planning the development of nuclear marine propulsion in reaction to what he called the United States’ violation of the nuclear deal. Such propulsion would to be in marine transportation,” he said in a letter published on state news agency IRNA.

Israel receives F-35s, first country after USA
Israel’s first two F-35s landed in Israel at the Netavim Air Force Base in the South on Monday afternoon to a celebration that had been delayed five hours by fog in Italy that prevented the stealth jets from taking off. Israel became the first country after the US to receive the American-built jets, which will increase its ability to attack distant targets, including Iran.

Syphilis could become impossible to treat
Syphilis could become impossible to treat with key antibiotics, doctors warn amid concerns over a new drug-resistant strain. Once a death sentence, the vast majority of syphilis cases today are curable with penicillin injections. However, a new study reveals an aggressive new strain…is more widespread than previously thought – and there are limited ways to control it.

Palmyra: ‘Chemical gas attack’ hits IS-held Syrian area
Dozens of people have been killed in air strikes and a suspected gas attack near the Syrian city of Palmyra, monitoring groups say. The targeted area is controlled by the so-called Islamic State group and has been under heavy bombardment from government-aligned forces. Dozens of people are said to have been killed during the combined assaults.

Aleppo battle: UN says 82 civilians shot on the spot
Syrian pro-government forces have been entering homes in eastern Aleppo and killing those inside, including women and children, the UN says. The UN’s human rights office said it had reliable evidence that in four areas 82 civilians were shot on sight. “We’re filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last hellish corner” of eastern Aleppo, said spokesman Rupert Colville.

Venezuela closes border with Colombia ‘to destroy mafia’
Venezuela has closed its border with Colombia for 72 hours in the latest measure to combat smuggling gangs. President Nicolas Maduro says the “mafia” operating in border areas is causing huge damage to the economy. Many items subsidised by Venezuela’s socialist government, including diesel and petrol, are sold at a huge profit over the border in Colombia.

Indonesia blasphemy case: Emotional scenes as Ahok trial begins
There were emotional scenes in court on the first day of the blasphemy trial of Jakarta’s governor, a Christian of Chinese descent. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, cried as he denied allegations he insulted Islam. Mr Purnama is the first non-Muslim governor of Indonesia’s capital in 50 years.

Rocket alert sirens sound along southern border with Egypt
Incoming rockets sirens sounded in the southern Negev near the border with Egypt on Tuesday morning. According to initial reports, a projectile launched from Egypt in the direction of Israel triggered the sirens heard in several southern border communities, including Nitzana, Revivim, and Ezuz.

Israel looking to sell missile defense systems to Azerbaijan
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday began his visit to Azerbaijan, to which Israel is looking to sell missile defense systems. Netanyahu and the the South Caucus nation’s President Ilham Heydar Aliyev signed various bilateral agreements in a private two-hour meeting in Baku with security and defense advisors from both nations.

Report: Trump Team Looking at Moving US Embassy Out of Tel Aviv
Incoming President Donald Trump’s transition team is looking into moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel out of Tel Aviv, the Times of Israel reported.

Completed Wisconsin recount widens Donald Trump’s lead by 131 votes
Wisconsin’s historic presidential recount ended Monday resulting in a net gain of 131 votes for President-elect Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said.

Mount St. Helens shakes 120 times within week as volcano recharges, scientists say
In less than a week, four swarms of more than 120 earthquakes shook Mount St. Helens in late November. Although they were too small to be felt even by someone standing directly over their epicenters, scientists say they reveal the volcano is likely recharging.

Tina Fey Nails the Reason for Hillary’s Loss
Here is a devoted liberal speaking to an audience of devoted liberals and being funny about politics in a way one rarely sees anymore on the left: self-mockery.

Germany Combats Antisemitism with New ‘Rent-a-Jew’ Program
Do we have horns? Do we all know each other? Why do we control Hollywood, the media, and the banking industry? Curious Germans might find answers to these questions through a new program designed to combat antisemitism called “Rent-A-Jew.” Many Germans “have never met a Jewish person,” writes Deutsche Welle, and the new program wants to change that.

Law Enforcement Officials Warn Obama: Locals May Turn On Anti-Pipeline Protesters
North Dakota law enforcement officials, who have been dealing with violent anti-pipeline protesters, accused President Obama of willfully ignoring their requests for help and warned that fed-up local groups are preparing to take matters into their own hands against the protesters.


The Briefing 12-13-16

Limits of intelligence: Why are FBI and CIA disagreed on meaning of Russia’s election interference?

The folly of Scientism: Washington Post opposes Scott Pruitt for “rejecting settled science”

The post The Briefing 12-13-16 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


December 12, 2016

CLIFF KINCAID — You couldn’t fault Donald J. Trump for concluding that the CIA is out to get him even before he starts his presidency. Former CIA officials Michael Morell, Michael Hayden and Philip Mudd have all denounced him. Plus, former CIA operations officer Evan McMullin ran against him as an independent presidential candidate…. (more)


December 12, 2016
JOSEPH FARAH — I’m glad someone as distinguished as former U.N Ambassador John Bolton said it first and not me. On Fox News Sunday, he said he doesn’t trust Barack Obama’s heavily politicized intelligence agencies to make a clear, objective conclusion that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and released tens of thousands of emails to WikiLeaks to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidency last month…. (more)

December 12, 2016

BLOOMBERG — Senators signaled that President-elect Donald Trump’s leading choice for secretary of state, Exxon Mobil Corp. chief Rex Tillerson, could have trouble winning confirmation because of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin…. (more)


December 12, 2016
JOHN FUND — The biggest surprise Donald Trump has provided as president-elect is just how conservative a cabinet he is putting together. “This is a more conservative cabinet than Reagan assembled in 1980,” says Ed Feulner, a key Trump transition adviser. As president of the Heritage Foundation at the time, Feulner provided guidance for Reagan’s choices…. (more)

December 12, 2016

ASSOCIATED PRESS — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he believes U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will be a good friend to Israel and hopes the two countries can work together to dismantle the international nuclear agreement with Iran…. (more)


December 12, 2016
PAUL BREMMER — Like seeds in a garden, refugees are being planted in cities and towns all across America. But the fact that it’s being done in secret should set off alarm bells, according to veteran WND reporter Leo Hohmann…. (more)

December 12, 2016
GREG COROMBOS — The woman who effectively authored the “heartbeat bill” is pressuring Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, to sign the bill and not worry about whether the courts will find the law constitutional. On Dec. 6, both chambers of the Ohio legislature added the bill language to existing legislation on child welfare. It would prohibit abortion as soon as an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected…. (more)

December 12, 2016
BOB UNRUH — Education officials in New York City are submitting what amounts to “false reports” to those who enforce laws protecting the well-being of children of homeschooling families because they simply will not process the paperwork the families file in a timely fashion…. (more)

December 12, 2016

NEWSMAX — Kirk Douglas knows how to make an entrance. With boxing gloves in every centerpiece and the theme from “Rocky” blaring over the speakers, Douglas, one of the golden age of Hollywood’s last living legends, walked confidently into the Sunset Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel Friday afternoon to celebrate his 100th birthday at an intimate gathering of friends and family…. (more)


December 11, 2016

FOX NEWS — Louisiana voters chose Saturday to send Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy to the U.S. Senate, filling the nation’s last Senate seat and giving the GOP a 52-48 edge in the chamber when the new term begins in January…. (more)


December 11, 2016

NEWSMAX — Arizona Sen. John McCain said Saturday that he had “concerns” that ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson had deep ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid reports that President-elect Donald Trump planned to nominate him as Secretary of State…. (more)


December 11, 2016
MIKE LEE & MARK WALKER — Since 2010 everyone in the Republican party has agreed that Obamacare must be repealed. Most Republican members of Congress – – ourselves included – – were elected, and reelected, on the promise that we would take any opportunity possible to end this partisan, ham-handed, and unconstitutional law…. (more)

December 11, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Obama warned Americans on Saturday that it could be the final year millions of people experience enrollment season and are able to enroll in the government-subsidized healthcare program if the GOP-controlled Congress moves to repeal his legacy law under President-elect Trump…. (more)

December 10, 2016

NEW YORK POST — Hillary Clinton and her supporters spent a record $1.2 billion for her losing presidential campaign – – twice as much as the winner, Donald Trump, according to the latest records…. (more)


December 10, 2016
NEWSMAX — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is no longer under consideration to serve as U.S. secretary of state under President-elect Donald Trump, the Trump transition team announced Friday after CNN broke the story…. (more)

December 10, 2016

WASHINGTON TIMES — The Senate was poised Friday to overcome a late revolt by coal-state Democrats and pass a stopgap spending bill that keeps federal agencies running until April, averting a partial government shutdown with less than hour to spare…. (more)


December 10, 2016
TED CRUZ AND RON DESANTIS — On Election Day, the American people made a resounding call to “drain the swamp” that is modern Washington. Yet on Capitol Hill, we seem mired in the same cycle of complacency: The game hasn’t changed, and the players remain the same. Thankfully, there’s a solution available that, while stymied by the permanent political class, enjoys broad public support: congressional term limits…. (more)

December 10, 2016
CARL JACKSON — President-elect Trump would be wise to nominate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to the Supreme Court for three reasons:… (more)

December 10, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — The New York Times’ executive editor said that his newspaper – – and “media powerhouses” across the nation – – “do not understand what motivates devoutly religious Americans.” Dean Baquet sat down Thursday with NPR for an extended interview on the media landscape following Donald Trump’s presidential election win on Nov. 8. Host Terry Gross essentially engaged in an after-action review in terms of what media outlets can learn from the election cycle…. (more)

December 10, 2016
MRC NEWSBUSTERS — This Christmas, pro-lifers should consider shopping at Macy’s. Because, as it turns out, the giant chain listens to its conservative consumers. In a Wednesday press release, corporate watchdog 2ndVote revealed that Macy’s no longer gives or matches donations to Planned Parenthood. Macy’s decision comes after MRC Culture reported in October on 2ndVote’s updated list of 37 companies that fund Planned Parenthood…. (more)

December 10, 2016

BOB UNRUH — A Dutch court’s conviction of opposition political party leader Geert Wilders of “hate speech” for asking constituents whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans to move into their nation (they wanted fewer) has not slowed him down…. (more)


December 8, 2016
CLIFF KINCAID — The New York Times is claiming the ability to expose “fake news.” It should know something about the topic. So-called “fake news” from the New York Times helped bring Fidel Castro to power. Castro had urged the Soviet Union to launch the nuclear missiles it had installed in Cuba on the United States, with the potential to obliterate tens of millions of Americans…. (more)

December 8, 2016
TOM DEWEESE — This past Halloween I had an opportunity to take part in an activity that I haven’t done in a couple of decades – – hand out candy to the children on Beggars’ Night…. (more)

December 8, 2016

USA TODAY — President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head Homeland Security is a blunt-talking retired Marine general who would become part of a small but influential team of former military officers with powerful influence over security policy in the next administration…. (more)


December 8, 2016

CLIMATE DEPOT — ‘Trump listened to what Gore had to say at their New York City meeting and then he exercised his good judgement and did the exact opposite.’… (more)


Top Headlines – 12/13/2016

  • Trump Picks Exxon Chief for State Amid Concerns (Read More)
  • Buoyant Markets Pose New Challenge for the Fed (Read More)
  • Tweeter-in-Chief Trump Faces Test After Yellen’s Rate Decision (Read More)
  • Trump Dissing Daily Intelligence Briefing Worsens Rift With CIA (Read More)
  • SWIFT confirms new cyber thefts, hacking tactics (Read More)
  • UniCredit share issue lifts banks before Fed meeting (Read More)
  • Senate Republican leader backs investigation into Russian hacking (Read More)
  • U.S. intelligence officials say Russian hacks ‘prioritized’ Democrats (Read More)
  • Merkel, Hollande back extending sanctions on Russia over Ukraine (Read More)
  • Billionaire’s Son Not Interested in Taking Over Father’s $91 Billion Business (Read More)
  • Japan’s Asahi Buys Eastern Europe Brewing Assets From AB InBev (Read More)
  • Coverup at French Nuclear Supplier Sparks Global Review (Read More)
  • Netanyahu says Israel ‘mightier’ as first F-35 fighter jets arrive (Read More)
  • China’s Sinopec Weighs Takeover Of Gulf Keystone (Read More)
  • How the Wealthy Avoid Paying Hong Kong Property Tax to Save Millions (Read More)
  • Iran to build nuclear marine propulsion after U.S. ‘violation’ of deal (Read More)
  • After China’s Hubris, It’s Trump’s Turn (Read More)
  • OPEC Pumped at Record High as Cartel Agreed Output Cut (Read More)
  • OPEC Deal to Create Oil-Supply Deficit Next Half, Read More Says (Read More)
  • GOP Leaders Join Call for Probe of Russian Hacking (Read More)
  • Drinking, drug use largely down among U.S. teens in 2016 (Read More)

Looking ahead to Trump presidency, Netanyahu refocusses on Iran

Iran Threatens World War If Trump Scraps Nuclear Deal

Iran threatens to destroy Israel – again

F-35 boasts Israeli technology, can challenge Iranian threat

Netanyahu says Israel ‘mightier’ as first F-35 fighter jets arrive

Arrival of F-35 fighter jets to Israel delayed by heavy fog

Trump targets Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet costs

Hamas offers missiles for armies willing to fight Israel

Incoming rocket alert blares along Sinai border

Palestinians on 73-day hunger strike said to be gravely ill

Mattis said Israel can be a pain, but few in pro-Israel camp seem to care. Why?

Jerusalem mayor hopes US moves embassy, despite warning from Palestinians

Moving Embassy to Jerusalem a ‘big priority’ for Trump – top aide

Turkish ambassador takes up post in Israel after 5-year spat

Netanyahu set to embark on rare trip to Muslim countries

Antisemitic Attacks in US Are Often Precursor to Larger-Scale Terrorist Strikes Against General Population, New Report Says

‘Rent-a-Jew’ project seeks to educate Germans and reduce anti-Semitism

Report: Israel boycotting Swedish Foreign Minister

Coin dating from Jewish revolt against the Romans found in Jerusalem

Ethiopian-born Israelis can now donate blood

Coptic Christians criticise security failures after Cairo bombing

Pope to Egypt Copts: ‘United in the blood of our martyrs’

Iran and Turkey’s secret talks on Syria revealed

Turkey detains 235 people over PKK propaganda after bomb attacks

Turkish warplanes hit Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq

Turkey urges Syrians to leave ISIS-held town

European Diplomats Attack Russia’s Syria Position After Islamic State Retakes Palmyra

Russia blames US for loss of Syria’s Palmyra

Syrian Observatory reports suspected gas attack in Islamic State area near Palmyra

Aleppo battle: UN chief warns of ‘atrocities against civilians’

Aleppo: Reports of executions as Syrian army closes in

Assad forces close to capturing east Aleppo after ‘doomsday’ bombardment

Battle for Aleppo ‘all but over’ as Syrian forces capture more territory and rebels discuss surrender

Pope Francis appeals to Assad to protect Syria’s civilians

For Women Under ISIS, a Tyranny of Dress Code and Punishment

Nativity Scene Could Offend Muslims, Priest Says

UK bans neo-Nazi group under anti-terror laws

Six held in UK anti-terrorism raids; bomb disposal called in

Lufthansa flight diverted to JFK Airport after ‘credible’ bomb threat

ICE spends $100 million ferrying illegal immigrant children around U.S., watchdog says

Cuba, EU, Sign Cooperation Pact, Vow Trump Won’t Hurt Ties

Congressman begs Electoral College voters to block Trump

Podesta backs bid to overturn electoral vote

Mainstream Media Scream: Media tries to delegitimize Trump’s victory

Trump victories certified in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania

Completed Wisconsin recount widens Donald Trump’s lead by 131 votes

U.S. intelligence officials say Russian hacks ‘prioritized’ Democrats

Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking

Sore loser Obama turns to Russian hacking to delegitimize Trump’s triumph

Senate and House Leaders Call for Inquiry of Russian Hacking in Election

McConnell, Ryan Back CIA After Trump Attacks Hacking Probe

Dispute over Russia reflects growing Republican resistance to Trump

China’s richest man warns Trump of risk to U.S. jobs

Trump risks war by turning the One China question into a bargaining chip

China warns Trump against ignoring its Taiwan interests

China’s state media call Trump ‘naive’ after Taiwan comments

Kremlin praises Tillerson, tipped for secretary of state job, as highly professional

Antonio Guterres sworn in as UN secretary-general

$213,300,000,000: Individual Income Taxes Set Record in First 2 Months of FY17

McConnell, Warning of ‘Dangerous’ Debt, Wants Tax Cut Offsets

Dow notches 15th record close since election; Treasury yields rise ahead of Fed meeting

Fmr. Gulf Oil CEO: Oil to Reach $75 a Barrel by Year’s End

Oil jumps to highest since mid-2015, Fed hike on horizon

Why a Fed interest rate hike would help, not hurt Trump

Why 2017 May Be Another Volatile Year for the World’s Biggest Bond Market

Entering a ‘world of economic chaos,’ Venezuela struggles with hyperinflation

Venezuelans Rush to Stash Cash Before Biggest Bill Is Voided

Venezuela Closes Border with Colombia After Scrapping Its Largest Banknote

SWIFT confirms new cyber thefts, hacking tactics

Uber said it protects you from spying. Security sources say otherwise

Three-year-olds can be identified as criminals of the future

Supermoon to wash out best meteor shower of the year Tuesday night

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Lae, Papua New Guinea

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ohonua, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Propicia, Ecuador

Strong earthquake swarm in Bardarbunga volcano

Mount St. Helens shakes 120 times within a week as volcano recharges, scientists say

COlima volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 15,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Suwanosejima volcano on Japan erupts to 13,000ft

Dukono volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Cyclone Vardah: Two dead as storm lashes south India coast

U.S. preps for ‘dangerously’ cold temperatures

Trump says ‘nobody really knows’ if climate change is real

Miami Beach Mayor: Florida Needs a Trump Wall to Protect It – From Climate Change

Surging methane emissions imperil climate goals

Reindeer are shrinking: warming threatens Christmas icon

Bill Gates forms $1B climate-change tech fund

Top anti-drug body recommends pot decriminalization

One in 6 US adults reports taking psychiatric drugs

Increase in Syphilis Cases Attributed to Anitbiotic-Resistant Strain

Rising number of rural American babies born with opioid withdrawal

Researchers used VR to put a woman on a beach during childbirth to help manage her pain without drugs

Planned Parenthood fears it may be first casualty of rekindled abortion war

Kasich under pressure from both sides as major abortion bills hit desk

Oklahoma may require restroom signs in effort to have ‘abortion-free society’

Funeral Directors Weigh In On Texas Rule Requiring Burial Of Fetal Remains

Cow gene study shows why most clones fail

Sex robots modeled on your favorite celebs set to take over the market

Man ‘overtaken by demons’ stabbed his family and tossed their bodies in a well, records say

Disappointment as Senate Republicans drop religious freedom amendment

Frailer Eddie Long Returns to Church After Hospice Rumors, Church Sings ‘I Got the Victory’

R.C. Sproul Jr. Resigns From Ligonier Ministries – No Reason Given

GRACE board releases statement saying they stand with victims of Tullian Tchividjian

Facing Divorce Pastor Kills Daughter and Himself a Day After Release From Rehab, Calls Wife ‘Vow Breaker’

Grandfather With MS Euthanized Even Though Doctors Said He Had 10 Years to Live

Germany: How some Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity

Dutch Sheets Shares Prophetic Vision of John Knox and God’s Mercy

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 10:04 AM PST

(By Jennifer Leclaire) During Chuck Pierce’s Head of the Year conference in October, something shifted. Chuck released a prophesy over Dutch about visiting strategic sites…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Microsoft ‘Christmas’ Ad Blasted for Pushing Transgender, Gay Marriage Agenda

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 07:30 AM PST

Some conservative commentators are slamming Microsoft’s new Christmas-themed ad that features transgender teens and gay marriage themes celebrating “what’s good and right” in the world,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

11 volcanoes erupting around the world last week as unrest continues

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 07:11 AM PST

It appears that volcanic activity has picked up over the last week and Here are the following eruptions and ash emissions as mentioned in the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Eddie Long Returns to Church After Hospice Rumors, Church Sings ‘I Got the Victory’

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 07:03 AM PST

A propped up and apparently frailer version of controversial megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long was paraded before his congregation Sunday as they defiantly sang “I…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Two Christian Pastors Facing Death Penalty in Sudan for Their Faith

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 06:59 AM PST

Time is running out for two Christian pastors facing a possible death penalty in Sudan, the American Center for Law and Justice is warning as…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Oxford University union tells students to use gender neutral pronouns so as ‘not to offend transgender undergraduates’

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 06:52 AM PST

Oxford University is encouraging students to use the gender-neutral pronoun ‘ze’ instead of ‘she and ‘he’. The students’ union wrote in a leaflet that the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Zombie’ Nativity Scene in Ohio With Fanged, Blue-Skinned Baby Jesus Vandalized

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 06:43 AM PST

Jasen Dixon, a resident of Cincinnati’s Sycamore Township, has erected the controversial nativity scene since 2014, but says this is the first year that it…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Child Protective Services after NYC homeschooler

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 06:40 AM PST

After recently withdrawing her son from public school because of safety and education concerns, a New York City mom went through all the required procedures…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Higher Education blurring the meaning of Christmas

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 06:35 AM PST

As America gets ready to once again celebrate the birth of Christ, it appears that liberal college and university officials are doing their best to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump campaign manager: He will move US embassy to Jerusalem

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 06:32 AM PST

President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, confirmed that Trump intends to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Speaking with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nativity Scene Could Offend Muslims, Priest Says

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 07:58 PM PST

A priest in Italy has caused uproar after announcing there would be no Christmas nativity scene at the local cemetery this year because it could…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

One in six US adults takes psychiatric drugs

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 04:26 PM PST

About one in six American adults took a psychiatric drug — most often antidepressants, sedatives or antipsychotics — at least once during 2013, according to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

170,000 gather in three-day Crusade in Yangon, country’s largest city, to hear the Gospel.

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 04:04 PM PST

During the week before Thanksgiving, we saw God do a mighty work in the nation of Myanmar when more than 170,000 people overflowed a three-day…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Are Voices Harassing You? It Could Be Leviathan

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 03:45 PM PST

(By Wanda Algar) If you have felt harassed in your mind by clouded vision, detached thoughts, lack of focus or concentration, feelings of being mentally…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Dow notches 15th record close since election

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 03:37 PM PST

Stocks closed mostly lower on Monday despite oil prices soaring as Treasury yields spiked ahead of a key Federal Reserve meeting. The Dow Jones industrial…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Black hole rips star apart, creating biggest blast ever seen

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 03:33 PM PST

In January, scientists said they discovered an exploding star ending in a super-luminous supernova that was almost inconceivably bright — more so than the output…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Polar plunge produces temperature records to be shattered…

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 03:26 PM PST

Record-breaking wintry temperatures are gripping the eastern two-thirds of the country, signaling that this could be one of the coldest seasons in years. Across the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christian nurse fired for offering prayer before surgery

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 11:41 AM PST

A nurse with 15 years’ experience has been sacked after discussing Christianity and offering to pray with patients before operations. Sister Sarah Kuteh was dismissed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U. Penn students remove Shakespeare portrait, replace it with black lesbian feminist poet

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 11:37 AM PST

Penn English professor and Department Chair Jed Esty was surprised to find a large portrait of William Shakespeare waiting in his office late last week….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mobster-turned-minister brings message of hope to Cook County inmates

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 11:30 AM PST

Micahel Franzese is a mobster turned minister. He was a captain in the New York mob and a made member of the infamous Colombo crime…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Revival Is On The Way:’ Ted Cruz Joins Prayer Battle In The Capitol

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 11:25 AM PST

Trump’s former rival and 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz recently held a prayer meeting with conservative pastors and members of Congress on Capitol Hill. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Only Way God’s People Can Succeed Spiritually in the Days Ahead

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 11:14 AM PST

(By Mike Bickle) For those reading Luke 21 for the first time, the passage can seem like nothing but gloom and doom. In other biblical…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iran Stages Massive War Drills…

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 11:07 AM PST

Iran has been conducting a series of massive war-drills meant to demonstrate the Islamic Republic’s “supremacy” and show Western forces that the country is prepared…

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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Christmas Carols and the Gospel

It’s that time of year. Turn on the radio, take a trip to the mall, or simply stroll down the aisles of the local grocery store, and you’re likely to hear songs about Jesus’ birth playing in the background.

We call them “Christmas carols,” but they are really Christian hymns celebrating the incarnation of our Lord and Savior. For a few weeks each December, these profound songs of worship become a ubiquitous part of the holiday atmosphere. Our society’s pervasive interest in them provides us with a unique opportunity to share the gospel. It is the perfect time to explain the meaning of these songs to those who don’t know Christ.

Today’s post is just one example of how the content of Christmas carols can be used to share the good news of the gospel. It is adapted from an evangelistic message I put together a couple holiday seasons ago. Whether you follow a format like this or not, be sure to make the most of this Christmas season—sharing the truth of God’s grace with unbelieving friends and family.

* * * * *

The carols that we sing each year do such a magnificent job of underscoring who Jesus is and why He came. It makes me sad, really, when I hear secular musicians singing Christmas carols; the irony strikes me about how these musicians, who make no claim to believe in Jesus, sing these beautiful songs about His birth. Yet, the reality is that they have no idea what they are singing about.

Perhaps you are in a similar place, familiar with the tunes of the great Christmas carols because you’ve heard them every winter season. But you’ve never stopped to consider their lyrics. Let’s consider some of these great songs and the profound truths they proclaim.

1. In O Holy Night, we are reminded that the world was “in sin and error pining,”  wasting away until our dear Savior “appeared and the soul felt [the] worth” of His salvation.

2. In God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, tidings of comfort and joy come from knowing that “Jesus Christ our Savior” was born “to save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray.”

Human beings, guilty of disobedience and rebellion against God, are enslaved to sin. They face God’s wrath against them. The Bible says that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and that “the wages of sin is death” including eternal separation from God. But, “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

3. In Hark the Herald Angels Sing, we learn that only through “the new born King” can “God and sinners [be] reconciled.” We are also reminded that Jesus, being God, took on human flesh. “Christ, by highest heaven adored; Christ the everlasting Lord; . . . Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity.”

These words echo the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote that “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men,” the Lord Jesus Christ. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself”—providing a way of salvation for those who deserve nothing more than God’s condemnation.

4. There are many Christmas carols, of course, that speak of Christ’s birth: Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and others emphasize the very heart of Christmas – the birth of the Messiah.

But Jesus did not stay a baby in the manger. The reason we celebrate His birth is (1) because of who He is – the Son of God – and (2) because of what He came to do – to save His people from their sins.

Because God is holy, He must punish sin. If sin is to be forgiven, it must be covered by an adequate sacrifice. The carols we sing at Christmas remind us that Jesus Christ was born to be that perfect sacrifice. In other words, He came to die.

5. The words of What Child Is This? underscore this truth beautifully. In the second verse, we find these lyrics: “Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the Cross be borne for me [and] for you.” When Christ died on the Cross, He paid the penalty for sin for all those who would believe in Him.

Quoting Paul again, in his letter to the Colossians, we read this about those who have trusted Jesus Christ. “When you were dead in your transgressions and [sins], [God] made you alive together with [Christ], having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us . . . ; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

6. The last verse of The First Noel reiterates this point: “Then let us all with one accord, sing praises to our heavenly Lord, [who] hath made heaven and earth of nought, And with His blood mankind hath bought.”

The very God who created the world out of nothing, is the same God who makes salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life possible through Jesus Christ.

Of course, Jesus Christ did not stay in the tomb; He rose again on the third day, demonstrating that He had truly defeated sin and death. Forty days after His resurrection, He ascended to heaven where He now sits at His Father’s right hand. By paying sin’s penalty and defeating its power, Christ alone makes salvation available to all who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior.

7. The fact that sinful men and women can experience peace with God (and subsequently peace on earth) when they really deserve death is the essence of grace. That’s why the author of Silent Night could pen these words, “Radiant beams from Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace.”

Redeeming grace is why Jesus came. It is why He died; so that through Him, sinful men and women might be reconciled and restored to God. The message of Christmas brings sinners to a crossroads, where they must deal with the Person of Jesus Christ. Will you embrace Him as Lord  and Savior? Or will you dismiss His claim on your life and reject the salvation He offers?

He is the only way of salvation. As the apostle Peter proclaimed about Jesus: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

8. The well-known carol Joy to the World exhorts its listeners with these words: “Let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare Him room,” meaning that each person is called to embrace Jesus Christ, as both Savior and King.

9. The very title of O Come Let Us Adore Him underscores the worshipful attitude that characterizes all those who truly trust in Him. And Angels We Have Heard on High exhorts one and all to “come, adore on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the new-born King.” The Word of God calls every person to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ – believing in Him, trusting in His sacrifice, and submitting to His authority in life.

10.  So what will you do with Jesus Christ this Christmas season? Will you ignore Him? Will you dismiss Him? Will you sing the songs of Christmas without thinking about the very words you are singing?

Or will you submit to Him for who He truly is—no longer a little baby born in a stable in Bethlehem—but the risen and exalted Son of God who died for sin and rose again and now sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven. He Himself said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

If you have not come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, having never been reconciled to God, let me extend to you the Bible’s invitation to embrace the true gift of Christmas. It is the gift God gave to the world — namely, His Son.

The Lord Jesus promises forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life to all who will come to Him: “All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me. And the one who comes to Me, I will certainly not cast out.” The gospel of John reiterates that promise, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

The Apostle Paul summed up the good news of salvation with these words: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

With these truths in mind, I love the words of the second verse of Angels from the Realms of Glory. They serve as a fitting conclusion:

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

The post Christmas Carols and the Gospel appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

December 13, 2016: Verse of the day

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6:24 The Lord bless you. God blesses by giving good harvests, peace, children, and his own presence (Lev. 26:3–13). keep. That is, “guard” and “protect.”

6:25 his face to shine upon you. God’s presence is like sunshine (Ps. 19:1–11). A shining face is a smiling face, a pledge of God’s good favor (Ps. 80:3, 7, 19).

6:26 The “countenance” is the face or the expression of one’s face. For God to lift up his countenance involves taking notice of and treating his people with favor. Peace (Hb. shalom) involves more than the English sense of “lack of war”; it means total well-being.

ESV Study Bible

6:24–26 This threefold, divinely inspired blessing was pronounced by the priest with uplifted hands (Lev. 9:22). It moves from a general blessing (v. 24), to an invocation of God’s favor and presence (v. 25), and finally to a climactic mention of the peace that comes only with God’s gracious presence (v. 26). The pronouncement of this blessing placed God’s covenant name Lord (Yahweh) on the people (v. 27).

Reformation Study Bible

December 13, 2016: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

December 13 Elements of Christ’s Exaltation

“God highly exalted Him.”

Philippians 2:9

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Christ followed the path to glory so that we could follow Him.

Because Christ humbled Himself, the Father wonderfully exalted Him. His exaltation includes the elements of both His resurrection and His coronation—His exaltation to the right hand of God. The apostle Peter said Jesus was “raised up again” and “exalted to the right hand of God” (Acts 2:32–33). Peter and the other apostles preached, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus…. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (5:30–31). Thus, the New Testament affirms both the resurrection and coronation of Christ (see also Eph. 1:20), as well as the forgiveness of sins that comes with Christ’s intercession for His people.

Paul described Christ’s coronation as placing Him “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come” (v. 21). The final element is described in Hebrews 4:14: “We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.” That alludes to the ascension of Christ. He “always lives to make intercession for [believers]” (7:25).

Christ’s exaltation was thus fourfold: resurrection, ascension, coronation, and intercession. He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Then He was seated on the throne of God to intercede as High Priest of His people.

As a believer, you will follow Christ in His exaltation. You will rise from the grave and ascend to Heaven. There you will experience coronation, for you will sit with Christ on His throne. You will no longer need our Lord’s intercessory ministry, for the work of transformation will be complete.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank Christ for establishing the path to glory so you can follow after Him.

For Further Study: Meditate on Revelation 22:1–5. What in this passage helps you think about your future glory?[1]


December 13

Sustenance for the Righteous

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.

Zechariah 4:6

God’s Word, prayer, and the Holy Spirit all work together for the benefit of God’s servants. The Spirit’s special part is to grant all that is necessary to sustain the righteous.

The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Christ” and “the Spirit of God” (Rom. 8:9). He can be called by either title because He is within the Trinity and proceeds from the Father in the name of Christ (cf. John 14:26).

The apostle Paul knew the Holy Spirit as his indwelling teacher, interceder, guide, source of power, and all–sufficient provider. That’s what the Spirit is for all believers. Paul’s confidence in knowing that all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28) was based on the provision of the Spirit, who “helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (v. 26).

Knowing what the Spirit provides will help you face with tremendous confidence anything that comes your way.[2]


DECEMBER 13

WONDER

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

—Hosea 6:3

God always acts like Himself, wherever He may be and whatever He may be doing; in Him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning. Yet His infinitude places Him so far above our knowing that a lifetime spent in cultivating the knowledge of Him leaves as much yet to learn as if we had never begun….

So imperfectly do we know Him that it may be said that one invariable concomitant of a true encounter with God is delighted wonder. No matter how high our expectation may be, when God finally moves into the field of our spiritual awareness we are sure to be astonished by His power to overwhelm the mind and fascinate the soul. He is always more wonderful than we anticipate, and more blessed and marvelous than we had imagined He could be. TIC038

Great God of wonder, help me to know You well enough to be awed by that knowledge. Help me to have the type of encounter with You today that would leave me in speechless wonder. Amen. [3]


December 13

Parable of the Sower: Receptive Hearers

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.—Matt. 13:23

The ultimate barrier to salvation is unbelief, and anyone willing to receive the gospel on Christ’s terms proves he or she is “good soil.” God honors the humble faith of receptive hearers and opens their spiritual ears, minds, and hearts, allowing them to understand the gospel.

The example of the receptive hearers ought to encourage everyone who has ever witnessed in Christ’s name. Despite the nature and prevalence of the other hearers, there are always some whose hearts have good soil in which the gospel can take root and flourish—people prepared by the Spirit to receive the truth.

Spiritual fruit is the inevitable by-product of spiritual life. Receptive hearers will demonstrate fruitfulness in both attitude—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23)—and behavior, which Paul calls “the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11; cf. Col. 1:6). We are not saved by bearing fruit or doing good works, but we are saved to become fruitbearers (Eph. 2:10).

Jesus not only assures us here that believers will bear fruit, but that we will bear it abundantly: “some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” These figures represent an extraordinarily abundant yield for the regions Jesus ministered in. They do not guarantee that we all will produce that much; but they do show the productive results of sowing the Word and emphasize that true believers will indeed produce fruit. That’s the point of Jesus’ parable.

ASK YOURSELF
Besides the obvious blessings and service opportunities created by fruitbearing, what other benefits pour into the lives of those who hear the Word and take it to heart?[4]


December 13 Worship of Distinction

“When He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him’” (Heb. 1:6).

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Jesus Christ is greater than angels because He is worshiped.

Even though Jesus Christ humbled Himself and was made lower than the angels for a time, angels are still to worship Him. Since angels are to worship Him, Christ must be greater than them.

Angels have always worshiped Christ—as God. It wasn’t until His incarnation that angels were commanded to worship Him as God’s Son. It is a sin to worship anyone or anything but God. In fact, note how sternly the Apostle John was rebuked for worshiping angels (Rev. 19:10; 22:8–9). The very fact that angels are to worship Christ verifies that Christ is indeed God.

At present, the angels don’t fully understand the entire picture of God’s redemptive plan. Peter tells us that the prophets didn’t understand all that they wrote, “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Peter 1:11). Then he added, “… things into which angels long to look” (v. 12). They are still trying to figure out things they don’t understand.

But that won’t always be the case. Notice that Hebrews 1:6 says, “When He again brings the first-born into the world . . .” (emphasis added). God already brought Christ into the world once; at the Second Coming He will bring Him into the world in blazing glory. Then the fullness of the prophecy of Psalm 97:7, quoted in Hebrews 1:6, will come to pass: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

In His Second Coming Christ will be revealed in full glory as the Son. More than ever we will have reason to join the heavenly chorus in declaring, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His wonderful plan of salvation. Ask Him to make it more real to you every day.

For Further Study: Read Revelation 5:1–12, and note the reactions of the angels to the Lamb of God. What specific event motivated their response?[5]


DECEMBER 13

GLORY TO GOD

The spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.

1 Peter 4:14

When the Holy Spirit comes among us with His anointing, we become a worshiping people!

Now, that does not mean that all Christians everywhere must all worship alike—but that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit believers everywhere are united in their praises to God.

When Jesus came into Jerusalem presenting Himself as Messiah, there was a great multitude and there was a great noise. Very often our worship is audible, but I do not believe it is necessarily true that we are worshiping God when we are making a lot of racket. But I think there is a word for those who are cultured, quiet, self-possessed, poised and sophisticated. If they are embarrassed in church when some happy Christian says, “Amen!” they may actually be in need of some spiritual enlightenment.

If some believer’s “Glory to God!” really bothers you, it may be because you do not know the kind of spiritual blessing and delight the Holy Spirit is waiting to provide among God’s worshiping saints. I can only speak for myself, but I want to be among those who worship!

Dear Lord, I pray that my worship of You will always be from my heart and without any earthly manipulations or distractions. What a joy it will be to one day stand with all the saints in heaven and worship You as King in spirit and in truth.[6]


DECEMBER 13

SPIRITUAL PRIDE: ASKING GOD ONCE IS ENOUGH

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

COLOSSIANS 4:2

I have met Christians who insist that it is wrong to pray for the same thing twice, the reason being that if we truly believe when we pray we have the answer the first time; any second prayer betrays the unbelief of the first!

There are three things wrong with this teaching. One is that it ignores a large body of Scripture; the second is that it rarely works in practice, even for the saintliest soul; and the third is that, if persisted in, it robs the praying man of two of his mightiest weapons in his warfare with the flesh and the devil—intercession and petition.

For let it be said without qualification that the effective intercessor is never a one-prayer man, neither does the successful petitioner win his mighty resources in his first attempt!

It must be noted that such a teaching will very often result in an unconscious spiritual pride.

One has but to note the smug smile of superiority on the face of the one-prayer Christian to sense that there is a lot of pride behind the smile. While other Christians wrestle with God in an agony of intercession they sit back in humble pride waiting it out. They do not pray because they have already prayed. The devil has no fear of such Christians. He has already won over them, and his technique has been false logic.[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. 374). 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. 356). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 360). 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.