Daily Archives: December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Dec. 14, 2016 |


Neither the U.S. nor European powers seem to have been aware that Russia and Turkey were negotiating a ceasefire and evacuation deal for Aleppo on Tuesday. After the capture of the ravaged but all-important city by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, this may be the new normal in Syria — one in which the West is more of a spectator than an active participant.

Starting Wednesday, Uber will let customers in San Francisco hop in a self-driving car, if they’re lucky enough to hail one. There’s a lot the company won’t say about the launch, like how many cars they plan to roll out, but it will gradually introduce self-driving Volvos in its hometown.

IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty said she plans to hire about 25,000 people in the U.S. and invest $1 billion over the next four years, laying out her vision for filling technology jobs in America on the eve of a meeting of industry leaders with President-elect Donald Trump.

To U.S. intelligence agencies, the President’s Daily Brief is a gold mine of classified information from around the world, polished through the night for presentation each morning to the commander-in-chief. To Donald Trump, it’s a mind-numbing repetition of the obvious that he’ll often skip.

Some of the biggest names in finance are fighting for control of the London gold market — a $5 trillion, three-century-old trading hub that is being forced to adapt to a digital age. As the London Bullion Market Association revamps over-the-counter trades that are the market’s major pricing benchmark, new ways of buying and selling precious metals are set to start next year from CME Group Inc., Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and the London Metal Exchange. Some big banks have stakes in the outcome, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan Chase and Co.

AP Top Stories

In one of the stranger chapters of Mexico’s drug war, angry people in a southern town kidnapped the mother of a gang leader to demand the release of their loved ones.

Rebel resistance in the Syrian city of Aleppo ended on Tuesday after years of fighting and months of bitter siege and bombardment that culminated in a bloody retreat, as insurgents agreed to withdraw in a ceasefire.

Police in the Saudi capital said on Monday they had arrested a woman for taking off her veil in public and posting pictures of her daring action on Twitter.

A Texas school district said an employee forced her religious beliefs on students after she decorated an office door with a scene from the cherished holiday classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The UN’s weather agency on Tuesday announced the highest wave on record — a behemoth that towered 19 meters (62.3 feet) above the North Atlantic.

A pact by leading producers to cut output could quickly begin sopping up the glut on the oil market that has weighed on prices, the IEA said Tuesday as it also hiked its demand forecast.

The number of people left homeless after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck western Indonesia has soared to nearly 84,000, leaving authorities struggling to care for the victims, an official said Tuesday. The shallow quake last week killed more than 100 people and injured many more when it struck Aceh province, one of the areas worst affected by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there had been a suspected gas attack in Islamic State-held territory near Palmyra on Monday, amid heavy aerial bombardment of the same area which together killed at least 53 people.

Hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas and oil can have a negative impact on the quality and availability of drinking water in the United States, the US government said Tuesday.

Israel on Monday became the first country after the United States to receive the U.S.-built F-35 stealth jet which will increase its ability to attack distant targets, including Iran.

On a “bittersweet day” that brought back memories of loved ones lost, President Obama signed into law legislation that makes new investments in cancer research and battling drug abuse.

Billionaire Bill Gates told CNBC on Tuesday that he sees the stock market as expensive, as the Dow Jones industrial average nears the 20,000 level.


The US has said it will limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid concerns over civilian casualties linked to air strikes in Yemen. Precision-guided weapons will no longer be delivered, a Pentagon official said.

The Brazilian Senate has approved a controversial amendment to the constitution capping public spending for the next 20 years.

Twelve people were arrested on Monday evening at a cinema in India, after they remained seated while the national anthem played.


There’s been a slipup by the Trump transition team at the position for secretary of state. Nominee Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, not only has been supportive of the abortion industry, through his company’s donations to abortionists, but also played a key role in opening the Boy Scouts to homosexuality.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar are supporting extremist Islamic groups in Germany, according to a leaked intelligence report.

Students at the University of Pennsylvania have removed a wall-sized portrait of William Shakespeare from Fisher-Bennett Hall and replaced it with a photo of the lesbian writer Audre Lorde. The author’s website describes her as a “black feminist, lesbian, poet, mother and warrior.”

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.

Top News – 12/14/2016

New CRISPR gene-editing tool removes cells’ natural undo button
scientists at Western University in Ontario have edited the editor, adding a new engineered enzyme to CRISPR that can help prevent the target DNA from repairing itself and canceling out the desired changes.

ACTUV unmanned sub-hunter begins operational trials
Main contractor Leidos has announced that it is starting operational trials of the robotic sub-hunter it’s building for DARPA. The Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) will take to the seas off the coast of San Diego, California in the coming months for tests of the unmanned ship’s sensors, mission control hardware and software, and the autonomy system.

Divider-in-Chief: Obama Claims “whites in northern states” Very Different from “southern states”
Obama broad brushed white people in the northern and southern parts of the United States, claiming sentiments about him between the two regions are “very different.” Obama claims racism has affected his presidency, he has made it a point throughout his tenure to promote racial division at every opportunity.

Washington Post Reporter Warns Evangelicals about Their Rhetoric against ‘The Media’
Sarah Pulliam Bailey recently warned evangelicals about “dangerous” consequences of their rhetoric against mainstream media outlets…She argues that quality journalism is a friend to religion and that our implicit distrust of traditional journalistic organizations will work to undermine our own faith. R. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary continued “I would have to blame many of those very same mainstream media outlets for being part of a culture that has subverted the very idea of truth…”.

Missing Piece of 400-Year-Old Prophecy Portends Russian Conquest of Israel
The prophecy, attributed to the Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the leading Torah scholar of the 18th century known as the Vilna Gaon, states, “If the ships of the Kingdom of Russia cross the Bosphorous Straits (in Northwest Turkey), we need to put on our Shabbat clothes, because this is telling you that the coming of the Messiah is very close.” Two months ago, the Russian Navy sailed for the Mediterranean…

White House, Clinton Tied To PR Firm Behind Electoral College Push
The public relations firm working behind the scenes with the faithless electors is rife with ties to prominent Democrats like President Obama and twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

NATO-Russia war billed as top risk for US in 2017, alongside terrorism – CFR survey
A NATO-Russia confrontation has been deemed a top risk by a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) survey, conducted by foreign policy experts. This placed it alongside the risk of a nuclear crisis with North Korea and a severe terrorist attack on the US.

‘Battle Royal Ahead Over Balfour’
We have already witnessed the chaotic launch of a campaign to persuade the government to apologize for Balfour – a House of Lords meeting where Jews were even accused of bringing the Holocaust on themselves.[1] That led to the resignation from the Liberal Democrat Party of the meeting’s host, Baroness Tonge.

Nevada and Israel Sign Water Deal in First-of-its-Kind Agreement Between a US State and Mid-East Country
The deal—reached between Nevada’s WaterStart public-private joint venture and Israel’s National Technological Innovation Authority at Monday’s BusinessH2O Summit, a one-day conference in Las Vegas organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—paves the way for Israeli water technology companies to eventually set up research and production facilities in the notoriously arid state of Nevada.

Devastating wildfires in Eastern forests likely to be repeated, expert warns
“Fire has played an important role historically in the forest ecosystem in the eastern United States, but the balance created by frequent—but not catastrophic—forest fires was upset by the Smokey Bear fire suppression regimen beginning in the late 1940s. Now, Eastern forests, when faced with prolonged drought, are more vulnerable to hotter-burning, terribly destructive wildfires.”

Bias Alert Media types hit panic button over CIA Russia assessment
It may be time for a deep breath. In the wake of a CIA assessment that Russia interfered in the U.S. election to boost Donald Trump, some media personalities are seizing on the report as proof Moscow just installed its own version of a Manchurian candidate.

5.1 earthquake within Fiji region
The 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred at a depth of 463 kilometres at 3:46pm this afternoon. According to the Mineral Resources Department’s Seismology Unit, it was a moderate size earthquake with deep depth source location.

If Trump skews science, researchers must raise the alarm – Obama official
Scientists must confront climate change deniers and speak up if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump tries to sideline climate research, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is due to say on Wednesday. “If you see science being ignored or compromised, speak up,” Jewell will tell a meeting of earth and space scientists in San Francisco, according to a draft of the speech seen by Reuters.

France reportedly postpones Middle East peace conference
France will postpone a proposed Middle East peace conference in Paris to January next year…with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refusing to participate and US attendance in doubt. France has been trying to persuade Netanyahu, who has repeatedly rejected the conference proposal, to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the French capital to try to revive moribund peace talks between the two sides.

Yemen conflict: US cuts arms sales to Saudi Arabia
The US has said it will limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid concerns over civilian casualties linked to air strikes in Yemen. Precision-guided weapons will no longer be delivered, a Pentagon official said. President Barack Obama’s administration said it was concerned over “flaws” in the way air strikes are targeted in Yemen.

Brazil: Clashes as Senate approves 20-year austerity plan
The Brazilian Senate has approved a controversial amendment to the constitution capping public spending for the next 20 years. The approval of the austerity measure is an important victory for President Michel Temer. He took office earlier this year promising to lead the country out of its worst recession in many decades.

US Osprey aircraft crashes off Okinawa coast in Japan
The US Marines have suspended flights of all Osprey military aircraft in Japan, after a crash off the coast of Okinawa island. The incident on Tuesday night injured five crew members onboard. It stoked immediate anger among locals, some of whom have previously complained about the US military bases and the Osprey aircraft’s safety record.

Israel seeking spot on UN Security Council, Netanyahu reveals
Israel is working to become a member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019, Prime Minister Benjmain Netanyahu revealed Wednesday during a state visit to Kazakhstan. At a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the Kazakh capital of Astana, Netanyahu asked Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev for assistance in getting Israel accepted as a rotating member of the 15-member council.

Syrian forces slaughter at least 82 civilians in Aleppo
Syrian forces slaughtered at least 82 civilians — including women and children fleeing from their homes — this week in what the United Nations deemed a “complete meltdown of humanity” in the war-torn city of Aleppo.

Record-breaking wave thunders through North Atlantic
A colossal wave recorded in the North Atlantic has smashed previous records for size. The 62 foot (19 meter) wave — captured between Iceland and the UK on February 4 2013 — has set a new world record for the biggest wave ever recorded by a buoy, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

World NATO is Hunting Russia’s ‘Carrier Killer’ Submarines
NATO’s anti-submarine forces are currently searching for one, possibly two, “carrier killer” Russian submarines thought to be in the vicinity of NATO warships off the coast of Syria.

Dallas Police Resignations Soar As “Insolvent” Pension System Implodes
A few days ago we noted that the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (DPFP) took the unprecedented step of halting withdrawals from their DROP fund after a “run on the bank” pushed to the entire pension system, and the City of Dallas, to the brink of liquidity crisis (see “In Unprecedented Move, Dallas Pension System Suspends Withdrawals”). Now, a local CBS affiliate in Dallas is reporting that the pension crisis is driving a massive surge in police resignations.

Anti-Trump Elector Chris Suprun Paid For Ashley Madison While Bankrupt And Married With 3 Kids
Anti-Trump Texas faithless elector Stephen Christopher “Chris” Suprun, who wrote a widely-shared op-ed in The New York Times about his decision, in which he claimed ideological superiority over Trump, which would prevent him from voting for the President-elect on December 19 as he is required, joined and paid for cheating website Ashley Madison in 2012, using the same address registered to his 9/11 charity, while bankrupt, likely unemployed, and married with three young kids, after he and his working wife owed over $200,000 to multiple creditors — and that’s just the start of it.

Mexico Is Hiding The World’s Largest Pyramid
“It’s the most difficult archaeological site in all of Mexico. Bar none.” That’s Patricia Plunket Nagoda, the American-born archaeologist and anthropologist who has spent the past few decades working with Mexican anthropologist Gabriela Uruñuela at the Great Pyramid to unlock its less than forthcoming secrets.

5.5-magnitude quake hits Teluk Bintuni district
Papua (ANTARA News) – An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale hit Teluk Bintuni district in West Papua province on Tuesday evening, causing panic among local residents.

The Briefing 12-14-16

The Battle of Aleppo is over: After 4 years of bloodshed, fighting ceases amidst a humanitarian crisis

Reeling after the election, Planned Parenthood braces as the pro-life movement gathers momentum

The Senate Judiciary Committee has referred Planned Parenthood to FBI and DOJ for investigation

The post The Briefing 12-14-16 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

Top Headlines – 12/14/2016

  • Countdown to first Fed hike in a year under way, but focus shifting to 2017 (Read More)
  • What to Expect From the Fed: Decision-Day Guide (Read More)
  • Investors Expect Fed Rate Rise, Seek Clues on Next Step (Read More)
  • What ceasefire? Aleppo evacuation delayed (Read More); Aleppo Fighting Resumes Hours After Cease-Fire Deal (WSJ)
  • Too big to fail: China maps out its Trump strategy (Read More)
  • China Said to Lift Tax on Smaller Cars to 7.5% Through 2017 (Read More)
  • Goldman Sachs to Name Cohn’s Successors (Read More)
  • Finance Titans Face Off Over $5 Trillion London Gold Market (Read More)
  • Dutch court rules Crimean gold treasures must be returned to Kiev (Read More)
  • Forget Bitcoin and Mobile Pay. Cash Is Still King of the World (Read More)
  • Trump’s Pledge to Loosen Regulations on Businesses Is a Heavy Lift (Read More)
  • Retailers’ Discounts Run Deeper This Holiday Season (Read More)
  • Companies Are Already Canceling Plans to Move U.S. Jobs Abroad (Read More)
  • Wells Fargo Faces Limits After Second Living Will Failure (Read More)
  • Hertz Global Replaces CEO After Earnings Misses, Stock Slump (Read More)
  • Heineken Faces Competition in Effort to Buy U.K.’s Punch Taverns (Read More)
  • Sanofi in Deal Talks With Actelion; Value Could Total $30 Billion (Read More)
  • Aramco Keeps Building Oil Rigs Even as Saudis Agree to Pump Less (Read More)
  • Saudi Oil Minister Sees Commitment to Cuts Ending Glut in Months (Read More)
  • OPEC Says Supply Cuts Won’t Re-Balance Market Until Second Half (Read More)
  • TV Reporter Files Discrimination Suit Against 21st Century Fox Station  (Read More)
  • Le Pen Slips as Fillon, Macron Rise in Big French Election Poll (Read More)
  • Investor Peter Thiel Is Helping Mold Tech’s Ties to Donald Trump (Read More)
  • Uber Rolls Out Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco Without DMV Approval (Read More)
  • U.K. Employment Declines for First Time in More Than a Year (Read More)

Iran says it will develop nuclear-powered ships after US extends sanctions

GOP reps vow to fight Boeing-Iran deal, as air giant makes Trump-friendly pitch

Hamas official says group is now ‘leading’ missile-maker in Arab world

PA government: Prosecute Israel for ‘war crimes’

Paris peace summit delayed until January

Two thirds of Palestinians no longer believe in two-state deal

‘Why on earth did Netanyahu offer Trump a Palestinian state?’

Nir Barkat confident Trump will move US Embassy to Jerusalem

UK prime minister delivers staunchly pro-Israel speech

British PM: Israel a ‘thriving democracy’ and example to world

First cousins who thought entire family died in Holocaust united in Israel

Israel takes its F-35s up for a test flight

Opposition MK demands criminal investigation into Netanyahu submarine affair

Turkey and Israel Trust Each Other Again, Maybe

IS in Sinai: Israel conducted multiple airstrikes against us

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Egypt Church Bombing and Warns of More to Come

Hamas liaison to ISIS killed

Iran Increasingly Sees IS as Threat to Islamic Republic

3 IS leaders with ties to Paris attacks killed in Syria drone strike

Danish woman risks jail time for fighting against ISIS

International concern over claims of chemical weapon attack in Syria

Report: Qatar calls for an emergency Arab League meeting on Aleppo

Syrian army, Iraqi militia reportedly killing Aleppo civilians

Russia says tired of US ‘whining’ about Aleppo

Russia says fighting in Aleppo over as UN decries ‘worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century’

Aleppo fighting ends with deal to evacuate rebels and civilians

Activists of Aleppo share tormented goodbyes online

UN rights chief warns: Aleppo slaughter could happen elsewhere

We are watching Aleppo burn in real time. And just like in Bosnia and Rwanda, we do nothing

Turkey to set up tent city for up to 80,000 refugees fleeing Aleppo

Thousands rally in Istanbul, London to ‘save Aleppo’

France calls for UN action on Aleppo after ‘systematic vengeance and terror’

Medics in Aleppo fear being killed or tortured for saving lives

Four suspected al Qaeda members killed in drone strike in Yemen

US halts arms transfer to Saudi Arabia over civilian casualties in Yemen

Romania to beef up military spending due to Russia

Germany, France back extending sanctions against Russia

Soros Think Tank Claims Russia Could Engineer Migrant Sex Attacks to Boost Right-Wing Parties

Western Europe cracks down amid fears of holiday attacks

In Trump era, imams and rabbis struggle to counter anti-Muslim hostility

Christmas-time bombing of Coptic Church in Egypt underscores long history of oppression of Christians

Military court jails 141 Brotherhood supporters over 2013 unrest

Migrants in Libya facing “human rights crisis”

UN finds bodies in South Sudan showing signs of execution

Uganda charges traditional leader at centre of unrest with terrorism

Venezuela closes border with Colombia ‘to destroy mafia’

Casino stocks rally on bet Japan will be the next major gaming market as legislation clears hurdle

German politicians call for fake news used in a ‘targeted campaign’ to be made a crime

Brexit endangers U.S.-UK trade as some U.S. firms could move: report

Wall St Extends Record Rally, Dow Closes in on 20,000

Big Oil Gets a Huge Role in Trump’s Administration

Senate fight looms after Trump taps Exxon CEO as top U.S. diplomat

Media types hit panic button over CIA Russia assessment

Russian hacking scandal leaves more questions than answers

Tech leaders couldn’t beat Trump; they’ll meet him instead

IBM Lays Out Plans to Hire 25,000 in U.S. Ahead of Trump Meeting

Anti-Trump Elector Chris Suprun Paid For Ashley Madison While Bankrupt And Married With 3 Kids

Student Arrested, Accused Of Trying To Bring Weapons Into Trump Tower

Briton jailed over Trump death plot

White House petition suggests naming next Navy ship ‘USS The Deplorables’

Low-Flying Military Aircraft Spook Manhattan

U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral

Scientists Have a Crazy Plan to Nuke Deadly Asteroids Out of the Sky

Earth woefully unprepared for surprise comet or asteroid, Nasa scientist warns

Huge mysterious UFO disc-shaped object captured crossing moon’s surface was alien spaceship, say ET hunters

‘It was not from this world’: Witness to ‘Britain’s Roswell’ UFO incident breaks 36-year silence

Aftershocks drive Indonesians from homes in quake-hit Aceh

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Farallon de Pajaros, Northern Mariana Islands

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Pangai, Tonga

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Manokwari, Indonesia

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 26,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Copahue volcano in Argentina erupts to 12,000ft

Dukono volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Winter storm to create messy travel along 1,200-mile swath of central US

Mayor: Gatlinburg wildfires caused $500M in damages

Haifa finds itself underwater, weeks after wildfires set it ablaze

Drought to intensify in Kenya in 2017

Hottest Arctic on record triggers massive ice melt

Is Marijuana Chewing Gum The Next Big Thing?

How snapping a quick selfie could help identify genetic diseases

Ohio governor OKs 20-week abortion ban, nixes heartbeat bill

Senate Committee: Planned Parenthood Should Face Criminal Charges for Selling Aborted Baby Parts

Fake News: Is Religious Liberty at Stake?

T.B. Joshua Watch – Three worshippers die in Synagogue church stampede

Discernment Rules from Doctrine Matters

Two Christian Pastors Facing Death Penalty in Sudan for Their Faith: Global Petition Launched

U.K. Approves Unprecedented Surveillance Powers

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 07:27 AM PST

On November 29, 2016, a law was passed in the U.K. that dramatically expands the scope of domestic surveillance. The Investigatory Powers Bill was approved…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Jakarta’s Christian governor stands trial for blasphemy

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 07:25 AM PST

Jakarta’s Christian governor choked back tears as he gave an impassioned defence against blasphemy charges on Tuesday, in a court case that has stoked fears…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Man Tim Tebow Prayed Over During Seizure at Baseball Game Rededicates Life to Christ

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 07:19 AM PST

After Tim Tebow made headlines in October for praying over a fan who had a seizure following his first Arizona Fall League baseball game, The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

A 7-Year-Old Boy Gets the Christmas Gift He Never Expected

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 07:13 AM PST

A 7-year-old boy sent up a letter in a balloon to his late father, and unexpectedly received an answer back, according to a recent report….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Netanyahu Warns Iran: ‘Don’t threaten Israel, we’re tiger not rabbit’…

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 07:03 AM PST

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu conveyed a message to Iran on Wednesday, warning the Islamic Republic’s leaders, “Don’t threaten us, we are not a rabbit we…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China installs weapons systems on artificial islands…

Posted: 14 Dec 2016 06:59 AM PST

China appears to have installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

When Judgmental Christians Hurt You

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 05:59 PM PST

(By Carol Peters-Tanksley)You’re trying to do good. Or at least you want to. Really, you do. You believe (at least most of you believes) that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Massive Fireball smashes into the earth in Spain, witnesses thought it was an earthquake

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 05:47 PM PST

A “noise like a thunder” was reported by shocked tourists and residents when this massive meteor fireball smashed into earth at 72,000 kmph. Witnesses described…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rep Gov. Kasich Vetoes Bill Banning Abortion When Heartbeat Detected

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 05:42 PM PST

“A person who intends to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman shall determine if there is the presence of a fetal heartbeat of the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

School choirs banned from performing at annual Nativity celebration

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 05:35 PM PST

School children in Wake County, North Carolina will no longer be allowed to sing Christmas carols at an annual Nativity celebration after they received a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

American Pastor Jailed Under Terrorism Charges

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 05:29 PM PST

A Turkish judge sent Rev. Andrew Brunson to prison in Izmir Dec. 9, 64 days after the U.S. pastor and his wife, Norine, were detained…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

TV Show Kicks Baby Jesus During ‘Christmas’ Special

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 01:11 PM PST

Family Guy is no stranger to bashing Christianity and Sunday night’s Christmas episode on Fox, “How the Griffin Stole Christmas,” was no exception, featuring Jesus…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘A Slap in the Face of Christianity’: Charlie Brown Bible Spat Pins Texas AG Against School Principal

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 12:51 PM PST

It’s no secret that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is an overtly faith-driven holiday special intent on delivering the real, biblical meaning of Christmas — a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

3 False ‘Christian’ Beliefs Leading America’s Youth Astray

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 12:36 PM PST

There are three growing religious views held by Christian youth that are not backed by the Bible and are causing them harm, according to the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Fake News: Is Religious Liberty at Stake?

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 12:33 PM PST

As the world’s largest web companies are being pressured to crackdown on websites that produce “fake news,” there are growing concerns that efforts to censor…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: 120 Small Earthquakes Swarm Mount St. Helens

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 12:17 PM PST

A recent swarm of more than 120 earthquakes near Mount St. Helens — all below a magnitude 0.5 — comes as a reminder to scientists…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Indiana School District Ends Prayer During School Programs Following Complaint From Atheist Activist Group

Posted: 13 Dec 2016 12:09 PM PST

An Indiana school district has discontinued all invocations during school programs following a complaint from a prominent professing atheist organization. Earlier this year, the Wisconsin-based…

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.


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!


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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Christians Beware: Just Like “The Message” “The Shack” is New Age Mysticism

Absolute Truth from the Word of God


I can just hear Satan saying to weak or immature believers:

“Did God say that you must read the Bible? Surely you are wise enough to understand spiritual matters. The Bible is so outdated. Look for new revelations about God from other people. God just doesn’t want you to be as wise as he is.”  <hissss>

And so it begins.

Eugene Peterson

This man is the author of the New Age “mess” called “The Message.” Mr. Peterson is one of the biggest fans of “The Shack.”He was the pastor of a Presbyterian Church USA for 29 years. He was Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia until he retired in 2006.

What is Spiritual Theology?

From gotquestions.org

“Spiritual theology is a branch of theology that emphasizes living “in the spirit” instead of “in the flesh.” In other words, it is concerned with how a person grows…

View original post 2,482 more words

Battling Sin in the Heart

Our battle against sin will only result in victory if it is waged at the heart level. Battling sin by removing the externals from our lives is only the first step in a multi-step battle. If we count our enemies retreat as a complete victory, we are going to be surprised when it regroups, rallies, and comes knocking again. The only victory we should settle for when it comes to sin is complete annihilation. The only way to annihilate our enemy is to wage war against it on the battlefield of the heart. So how do we do that?

The first thing we need to understand is that rooting sin out of our lives is not something we can do in our own power and strength. We need something more, someone, more.

(1) We need the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

One of the things the Holy Spirit does is produce fruit in our lives. The fruit the Holy Spirit produces pushes ungodliness out.

For instance, pride dies as we grow in love and humility, anger as we grow in patience and self-control; sexual immorality as we grow in faithfulness, self-control, and purity of mind and conscience; love of this world as we grow in love for God and heavenly-mindedness. As these and other godly fruits grow in our lives ungodliness is pushed out.

Another thing the Holy Spirit does is bring to mind the gospel. The gospel message is simple the good news about Jesus’ death on our behalf, which repairs our relationship with the Father. A relationship we can’t repair on our own through our own works. Instead, we need someone who is perfect, who doesn’t deserve punishment, to die in our place to satisfy God’s wrath against us. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, who dies for us. Through His death, we can have life, if we repent of our sins and believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. One of the works of the Holy Spirit is to bring this message to mind so that we constantly think about it.

The Holy Spirit bringing the gospel message to mind provides another way for us to battle sin. You may or may not be familiar with the term “preach the gospel to yourselves.” By regularly preaching the gospel to ourselves we keep Jesus’ work at the forefront of our mind. Remembering that He is the One who saves, sanctifies, satisfies, and fulfills. He is the One who gives us peace and joy, as He repairs our relationship with the Father. These are all things we are looking for in the world, but we will never find. The world and sin don’t and can’t deliver like Jesus.

Along with reminding ourselves of Jesus’ work, we must also regularly remind ourselves of the utter bankrupt nature of the world and the false promises of sin. We must remember that Jesus doesn’t fail us. Instead, He fulfills us. He always delivers on His promises.

Remembering these things about Jesus by preaching the gospel to ourselves should draw our affections away from the world to Jesus. As well as our desire to please Him should grow. Not to earn our salvation, but because of our salvation. Out of gratitude for what He has done for us, we should want to live for Him, bringing Him glory and pleasure.

(2) We must practice the spiritual disciplines and use the means of grace.

John Owen says, “If we seek to correct an outbreak of sin in the soul, but neglect the basic duties that promote spirituality, we labor in vain.”

In other words, we must use the weapons God has given to battle sin.

Our God-given weapons are what we might refer to as the Spiritual Disciplines and the Means of Grace. While these are two different things, they are similar enough to combine. The Spiritual Disciplines and the Means of Grace refer to:

Reading God’s Word
Memorizing Scripture
Fellowshipping with other believers
Participating in an accountability relationship
Hearing the Word of God preached
Attending a Bible Study
Observing and participating in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

While not an exhaustive list, hopefully, it gives you an idea of the weapons God provides us to battle sin.

Although we are given these weapons, I believe many believers fail to use them. Instead of brandishing God’s weapons and wisdom we attempt to fight sin with worldly weapons and wisdom, which is why we often do battle on the surface instead of the heart. Our attempt to fight sin using other means is why I believe many of us continue to struggle with the same old sins year after year.

Not fighting with God’s wisdom and weapons is like showing up to a gunfight with a knife. As soon as our opponent pulls his weapon we are a goner.

Not only, then, do we need the Holy Spirit at work in us, which means we must be a believer, but we also need to use that which God has given us — the Spiritual Disciplines and the Means of Grace. These weapons attack sin at the root killing it so that it doesn’t have the opportunity to come back. Employing these weapons is what makes it possible for us to remove sin from our lives, not just on the surface, but at the heart level.

Source: Battling Sin in the Heart

The Cripplegate: Sorrow, Depression, & the Holidays

depressionDepression and discouragement are not respecters of the holidays. For many reasons, the normal sorrow of life can reach a highpoint this time of year for some.

It may be a reminder that we are without a loved one. It may be financial stress, or loss, in a time where the pressure is to purchase. It might be emotional pressure of getting together with broken family. We just may not have a clue why we are discouraged, which can be discouraging itself. We can, even unintentionally, place big demands on this time of year to deliver and fulfill us in impossible ways, apart from God.

And Christmas time or not, many of us experience the normal, heavy weight of discouragement and depression as a regular thing; dejection, confusion, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, anxiousness, anger, darkness, despair.

But God has answers and real hope from his word for the battle.

Here are 11 truths for strength in sorrow:

  1. Especially during depression, our souls are thirsty for God.

Places like Psalm 42 picture this well: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” (Ps 42:1-2).

The idea here is of a parched soul that feels like the cracked, barren mud, having gone months without a drop of rain.

thirstyEvery soul is born with a deep thirst. The psalmist wisely knows that the only thing that can quench his soul is not a thing. Perhaps he’s tried quenching his soul-thirst with things of the world. Perhaps like the unwise deer which attempts to quench his thirst by licking mud, we have looked to spiritual and moral mud to deal with our soul-thirst. It doesn’t work.

The psalmist knows something in his depression: feelings are no guide for the urgency to drink from God. In fact, the severity of soul-drought can be discerned by the fact that we may not feel like going to God. It’s at those times that we often need him most.

The thirst my soul feels is a God-thirst, not a gold or glitter-thirst. For that reason, we have to be careful about making big life decisions in our sorrow. We may be seeking to distract the thirst. We need to go to God.

  1. God does not promise happy feelings for his people this side of heaven.

Right expectations position us well for stability, even in the instability.

Even if the Bible ended after Genesis 3, humanity would be sufficiently furnished to expect the realistic scarcity of happy feelings. Phrases like, “pain” (v. 16), “cursed” and “toil” (v. 17), “thorns and thistles” (v. 18), “sweat” (v. 19), and last but not least, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (v. 19); they set the stage. Happy feelings will be scarce.

  1. It is normal for everyone, even strong believers, to feel depressed and discouraged.

Often the writers of Scripture pull back the layers to expose their deep sorrow.

“O my God, my soul is in despair within me” (Ps 42:6).

“I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears” (Ps 6:6).

Regarding unregenerate Jews, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I am telling the truth in Christ…that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart” (Rom 9:1-2).

These are men who have walked with God; men of strong faith.

It’s possible for strong, sincere faith and depression to be bound up in one person. Saving faith and deep discouragement are sometimes found in the same soul. Ed Welch writes, “It is a myth that faith is always smiling. The truth is that faith often feels like the very ordinary process of dragging one foot in front of the other because we are conscious of God” (Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, 31).

curseIt’s not abnormal to feel depressed at times. A bout with depression is less a clinical thing, and more a normal thing. That is not to say that everyone experiences the same level of depression, but everyone experiences some level of it.

For the most part, depression is somewhat normal because we all live somewhere between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20. Since we are all fallen human beings living in fallen bodies on a fallen earth, then the presence of sorrow means that things are probably pretty normal. It just means that you’re alive.

And a bout with depression does not automatically mean you are sinning. Charles Spurgeon, having experienced many bouts with depression, wrote, “No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.’ There was no sin in him, and consequently none in his deep depression” (Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, 32).

Sorrow is going to be normal in a place that is not heaven, around people who are not heavenly (like us).

  1. There is not usually a pixie-dust answer to sorrow.

If such a thing as the, “Just trust God,” formula worked, then we would have far fewer cases of sorrow and people like Paul and David and the sons of Korah would have not likely written what they did. But there is not usually a quick-fix, one-size-fits-all answer. That necessitates a compassion and patience towards those around us battling through this darkness.

noFurther, the experience of deep sorrow itself is often perplexing. We might ask ourselves, like the psalmist, “Why are you in despair, O my soul?” (Ps 42:5). And that perplexity can become a catalyst to greater pain.

In our day, we are conditioned to have immediate answers. We are entitled to know and to get to the bottom of things. But in deep discouragement, it can seem like there is no answer and no bottom. Spurgeon commented along these lines, “I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for” (21).

  1. Preaching biblical truth to ourselves helps stabilize the soul.

The psalmist takes action by preaching to himself: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him” (Ps 42:11). He’s fighting his own thoughts by exhorting himself with truth. He’s refusing to allow himself to become a captive audience to his own feelings.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, commented on Psalm 42 in his book, Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and Cure: “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?…So he stands up and says, ‘Self, listen for a moment, and I will speak to you’” (in Steve Lawson, Psalms 1-75, 228).

And it’s not mere positive talk, but the power of God’s presence through his word.

Scripture is a stabilizer amidst instability.

“If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’ Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (Ps 94:18-19).

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isa 26:3).

“Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps 119:165).

  1. Corporate worship with God’s people is essential to our stability and joy.

The psalmist says something fascinating: “These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival” (Ps 42:4).

BCF congregation 4-07His pain is heightened because corporate worship has become a thing of the past.

And this further evidences his strong faith. He is not thinking, for example, “If I could only be walking on the boardwalk along a warm Israeli beach with some Galilean figs, then all would be better.” His longings go to a higher place for strength. His knows that what’s really going to help does not pertain to physical comfort, but spiritual, and particularly, corporate worship.

He knows that the corporate gathering, on earth, done God’s way, is intended to be heaven’s weekly preview. It’s the thing we do on earth that will be most like what we do in heaven.

And there is no soul-substitute for it. No activity we do sufficiently substitutes for corporate worship any more than a vitamin does for dinner.

ChristianAndHopefulAt one point in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and Hopeful take a shortcut and lose their way. Night arrives, rain falls, they seek shelter, and in the morning, they wake up to an ogre named, “Giant Despair.” He then tosses them into a dungeon inside of “Doubting Castle.” They have no food or light. Giant Despair beats them with a stick and then offers them multiple means by which they might commit suicide. But by using the key of promise they escape. And Bunyan points out that they were in there from Wednesday until about Sunday morning.

Corporate worship can serve as God’s gift to open the otherwise locked door on our dungeon of discouragement.

  1. Discouragement can be God’s means of shaping greater soul stability and holiness.

It’s often the perplexity and the longevity of discouragement in which stable saints and fortified faith is forged. How so?

Discouragement can strengthen us because we are learning that no earthly thing can really satisfy, fulfill, and stabilize the soul.

Sorrow subsequently drives us to God. God is our Shepherd. He always has our good in mind. He is driving us towards good, green pastures, which is himself. And if it feels like we’re being nudged a bit, perhaps we are. It might be what we need.

Discouragement can be good because it forces us to prayer. Prayer is a safe place to be because it’s taking refuge in God and not poor substitutes.

Discouragement can be used by God for our good because it can drive us to the word of God and biblical truth.

Deep sorrow can also produce endurance. We are forced to fight the good fight, taking up all the aforementioned means. And the fight itself is a sign that God is strengthening us. The consequence is a measure of endurance, which stabilizes the soul.

  1. More valuable than having happy feelings is having God.

We can, and do, lose so many things in life. Much of life consists of spectating and experiencing loss. But the good news is that the most valuable thing in life is neither a thing or lose-able.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).

Even amidst a famine of fun feelings, we still have God. And the reality of having God in the darkness is not that we feel that we have a hold of him, but that he really has a hold of us.

“I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

  1. Though we may not know the why, we know Who.

So often we cannot give a detailed explanation behind sorrow. In those times, many writers of Scripture take an exemplary, yet almost counter-intuitive approach. They affirm the sovereignty of God.

“Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me” (Ps 42:7).

“Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?” (Lam 3:37-38)

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).

This all showcases a critically stabilizing truth in sorrow: the sovereignty of God is not detrimental, but essential, to strength in sorrow. Things are not chaotically careening by some impersonal force towards evil, but being sovereignly orchestrated by a good and perfect God towards heaven.

  10.  Things are often not going to end on a high note until heaven.

We like happy endings. But, for example, many of the psalms do not end on a high note. This illustrates something helpful in times of sorrow: for those in Christ, the happy ending is not at the end of a psalm or a work day or a week or a year. The happy ending is heaven.

It’s been said that, “God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage.”

  11.  Sorrow serves as a clearly-marked door.

Well-lit exit signs and clearly-marked doors are essential in large buildings. They point the way to safety during those times when the lights are out, cannot be found, or when the electricity is off.

Take itSorrow can serve as a well-lit exit sign and clearly-marked door when it seems that the light of the soul is out. It says, “Ok, all is not right. Go this way. Take this door.” What door?

“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep…if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’” (John 10:7, 9-10).

Depression can be God’s kindness pointing to the door, Jesus Christ. He is the answer. He is life and abundant life. Depression and its wretched associates drain life. But Christ is life giving because he is Life.

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).

Though depression is often normal, painful, and perplexing, our God and Savior is with us, leading and sustaining us by faith, not sight, and will not abandon us despite contrary feelings.

Recommended resources for depression: “If I Am A Christian, Why Am I Depressed?” by Robert Somerville and “Depression: A Stubborn Darkness,” by Ed Welch.

Source: Sorrow, Depression, & the Holidays

December 14, 2016: Verse of the day


Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (7:12)

The implication of verses 7–11 is made explicit in verse 12. The perfect love of the heavenly Father is most reflected in His children when they treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.

There is no capacity within an unbeliever to love in the way that Jesus commands here. Unbelievers can do many ethical things, and every once in a while they might even approach the level of this highest of ethical standards. But they cannot sustain such selflessness, because they do not have the divine resource necessary for regular, habitual living on that plane.

However you want people to treat you sums up the sermon to this point, and so treat them is a summary of the Law and the Prophets. It is also a paraphrase of the second great commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39; cf. Lev. 19:18). The golden rule instructs us as to how we are to love other people, “especially,” as Paul points out, “those of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10). And “he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8; cf. v. 10; Gal. 5:14).

How we treat others is not to be determined by how we expect them to treat us or by how we think they should treat us, but by how we want them to treat us. Herein is the heart of the principle, an aspect of the general truth that is not found in similar expressions in other religions and philosophies.

For many years the basic instrument of music was the harpsichord. As its keys are depressed, a given string is plucked to create the desired note, much as a guitar string is plucked with a pick. But the tone made in that way is not pure, and the mechanism is relatively slow and limiting. Sometime during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, during Beethoven’s lifetime, an unknown musician modified the harpsichord so that the keys activated hammers that struck, rather than plucked, the strings. With that minor change, a major improvement was made that would henceforth radically enhance the entire musical world, giving a grandeur and breadth never before known.

That is the sort of revolutionary change Jesus gives in the golden rule. Every other form of this basic principle had been given in purely negative terms, and is found in the literature of almost every major religion and philosophical system. The Jewish rabbi Hillel said, “What is hateful to yourself do not to someone else.” The book of Tobit in the Apocrypha teaches, “What thou thyself hatest, to no man do.” The Jewish scholars in Alexandria who translated the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) advised in a certain piece of correspondence, “As you wish that no evil befall you, but to be a partaker of all good things, so you should act on the same principle toward your subjects and offenders.” Confucius taught, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others?” An ancient Greek king named Nicocles wrote, “Do not do to others the things which make you angry when you experience them at the hands of other people.” The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “What you avoid suffering yourself, do not afflict on others.” The Stoics promoted the principle, “What you do not want to be done to you, do not do to anyone else.” In every case the emphasis is negative. The principle is an important part of right human relations, but it falls short-far short-of God’s perfect standard.

Those expressions go only as far as sinful man can go, and are essentially expressions not of love but of self-interest. The motivation is basically selfish-refraining from harming others in order that they will not harm us. Those negative forms of the rule are not golden, because they are primarily utilitarian and motivated by fear and self-preservation. As Scripture repeatedly tells us of fallen mankind, “There is none who does good, there is not even one” (Rom. 3:12; cf. Ps. 14:3); “each of us has turned to his own way” (Isa. 53:6).

Man’s basic problem is preoccupation with self. He is innately beset with narcissism, a condition named after the Greek mythological character Narcissus, who spent his life admiring his reflection in a pool of water. In the final analysis, every sin results from preoccupation with self. We sin because we are totally selfish, totally devoted to ourselves, rather than to God and to others. Unregenerate man can never come up to the standard of selfless love-the love that loves others as oneself and that treats others in the same way that one wants to be treated.

Only Jesus gives the fullness of the truth, which encompasses both the positive and the negative. And only Jesus can give the power to live by that full truth. The dynamic for living this supreme ethic must come from outside our fallen nature. It can come only from the indwelling Holy Spirit, whose first fruit is love (Gal. 5:22). In Jesus Christ, “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). Only Christ’s own Spirit can empower us to love each other as He loves us (John 13:34). We can only love in a divine way because God Himself has first loved us divinely (1 John 4:19).

Selfless love does not serve in order to prevent its own harm or to insure its own welfare. It serves for the sake of the one being served, and serves in the way it likes being served-whether it ever receives such service or not. That level of love is the divine level, and can be achieved only by divine help. Only God’s children can have right relations with others, because they possess the motivation and the resource to refrain from self-righteously condemning others and to love in an utterly selfless way.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary