Daily Archives: December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


Dec. 19, 2016 |


China pushed back against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s claim that its military stole an American naval drone last week, as the Philippines called the seizure off its coast “very troubling.”

The Pentagon said China will return a U.S. Navy underwater drone after its military scooped up the submersible in the South China Sea late this week and sparked a row that drew in President-elect Donald Trump, who said on Twitter the Chinese stole it, so they can keep it.

Scotland will hold a new referendum on separation from the U.K. unless it can stay in the European Union single market, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will warn this week, adding to the pressure on Theresa May as the U.K. premier draws up plans for Brexit.

When Thailand’s junta leader-turned-prime minister used his absolute power to suspend gold mining — prompting an Australian miner’s shares to plummet 19 percent in a single day — he complicated efforts to attract foreign investors already spooked by military rule.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was convicted of negligence by a Paris court over her handling of a multi-million euro dispute during her time as France’s finance minister nearly a decade ago. The 60-year-old managing director of the IMF won’t face a fine or prison term.

One of the fundamental dynamics of commodities markets has being turned upside down, thanks in part to Donald Trump. Industrial metals prices and the dollar are rising in tandem on expectations that U.S. economic growth and inflation will accelerate during Trump’s presidency. Usually, they move in the opposite direction as the dollar’s strength makes commodities, which are mostly denominated in the currency, more expensive for buyers outside the U.S.

The U.S. Navy says it needs as many as 355 ships, up from the current goal of 308, echoing a goal that President-elect Donald Trump set in his campaign. The “Force Structure Assessment” calls for expanding the Navy from its current fleet of 272 over the next 30 years.

AP Top Stories

Three years and three months later, a massive 840,000 gallon oil spill in North Dakota still isn’t fully cleaned up. The company responsible hasn’t even set a date for completion. Less than a third of spill has been recovered – or ever will be.

The UN Security Council will vote Monday on a French-drafted resolution to quickly deploy UN observers to Aleppo, with Russia, Syria’s ally, giving cautious backing to the measure.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced as a result of the massive operation to recapture Iraq’s second city Mosul, the International Organization for Migration said on Sunday.

Forty-two migrants were hospitalized after police in Croatia found a van crammed with 67 people, including children, traveling through the country, authorities said Sunday.

Police in the western Mexico state of Jalisco found a pickup truck loaded with five bodies Sunday, all covered in plastic bags. The chef state prosecutor said the discovery came early Sunday after police received a tip about a convoy of armed men travelling in pickup trucks.

Germany’s Foreign Office on Sunday expressed irritation over a ban on Christmas celebrations and songs at a German high school in Turkey.

U.S. climate scientists say they worry the incoming Trump administration might do more than cut off their research funding. Some also fear they could receive personal attacks and death threats simply for doing their jobs.

Pope Francis celebrated an active if low-key 80th birthday, sharing breakfast with eight homeless people before celebrating Mass with cardinals as greetings poured in from around the world.

Los Angeles County appears to be the latest victim of a wide-reaching email hack. Around 756,000 people who had business with county departments may have had their personal information or confidential health data exposed through the breach, officials said.

DeVry University and its parent company, DeVry Education Group, have agreed to pay a $100 million settlement after being accused of misleading prospective students. The FTC accused DeVry of violating the law by claiming in ads that 90 percent of graduates were hired for jobs in the field they studied in within six months of getting their degree.

Malaysia confirmed an eighth Zika virus case on Sunday, involving a 67-year-old man who first showed symptoms in late November.


One of the most high-profile defectors to flee North Korea says he left due to growing disillusionment with life under the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

Pakistan’s national airline has been mocked after a goat was sacrificed to ward off bad luck following one of the country’s worst air disasters.

Dictionary Merriam-Webster has named “surreal” as its word of the year. The lexicographer selected “surreal” – which means “unbelievable, fantastic” – after spikes in searches following terrorist attacks and the US election.

Residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, have been told it is safe to drink tap water again, after a chemical leak sparked a four-day ban.

A suicide bomber has killed at least 48 soldiers and wounded another 84 in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden.


The Obama administration is attempting to slip in another pricey climate-change initiative before Donald Trump takes office, potentially costing U.S. taxpayers another $90 million if it survives its unveiling – in Asia – next month.

Liberty University is planning to open a state-of-the-art shooting range on campus next fall as part of the conservative Evangelical Christian School’s commitment to promoting gun ownership and firearm sports. Liberty’s new complex will feature pistol, rifle and shotgun facilities as well as an archery range built into the mountainside of the 7,000-acre campus near Lynchburg, Va.

Top News – 12/19/2016

Time to face reality, Obama — Trump is going to be president
So this is how it ends — in a whimper wrapped in self-pity and recriminations. With President Obama on the defensive at his final press conference and Hillary Clinton’s last campaign event resembling a wake, the Democratic Party is limping off the stage and into the political winter..the Dems are at their lowest point in nearly a century..they are on the outside looking in.

Strong Earthquakes Rattle Coast of Ecuador
The strongest quake in the series hit with 5.8 magnitude around 2:00 a.m. local time Monday morning near Atacames. Several strong earthquakes rattled Ecuador’s northwestern coast in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, leaving some areas without power but with no reports of casualties.

Christmas weather forecast HORROR: Terrifying maps show Storm Barbara will RAVAGE Britain
Forecasters have in the past 24 hours stepped up warnings for severe gales, torrential downpours and thunder over the festive season. A major change in the weather is due with Scotland in the firing line for the first hammering. Britain faces a brutal week of gales and torrential rain with plunging temperatures threatening snow over high ground. All eyes are then on a double whammy of storm hell which is due to unleash mayhem from Christmas Eve.

Mossad chief gives secret intelligence briefing to Trump staff
Mossad chief makes clandestine trip to US to meet with incoming Trump administration.

IDF uncovers massive weapons factory in Hevron
Israeli forces shut down one of the largest underground gun factories ever discovered in Judea and Samaria.

Pentagon Faces ‘Significant’ Cyber Security Challenges
The Pentagon faces “significant” cyber security challenges as the U.S. military becomes reliant on electronic networks and infrastructure to conduct its operations, according to the Defense Department’s inspector general.

Report: Documents show U.S. has approved sale of Chicago Stock Exchange to Chinese firm
The sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a Chinese investment group has been approved, according to U.S. Treasury documents. The sale was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to a Chinese group led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group despite the objections of several U.S. lawmakers who cited concerns about the level of influence the Chinese state might gain over the Chicago exchange, Reuters reported.

U.S. electors expected to officially confirm Trump victory
The U.S. Electoral College is expected on Monday to officially select Republican Donald Trump as the next president…

Russia, Iran and Turkey to hold Syria talks in Moscow on Tuesday
The foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey will discuss the future of Syria and the city of Aleppo at talks in Moscow on Tuesday, Turkish and Russian officials said. “(The meeting) will be to understand the views of all three sides, laying out where we all stand and discuss where we go from here,” an official from Turkey’s foreign ministry told international media in Istanbul on Monday.

4.6-magnitude earthquake shakes Guam
A magnitude 4.6 earthquake shook Guam on Monday afternoon. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter struck about 21 miles north-northeast of Yigo village, at 12:29 p.m. The quake had a depth of about 75 miles.

Muted U.S. Response to China’s Seizure of Drone Worries Asian Allies
…In the eyes of America’s friends in Asia, the brazen maneuver to launch an operation against an American Navy vessel in international waters in the South China Sea…has raised questions…It was …seen by some as a taunt to President-elect Donald J. Trump, who has challenged the One China policy on Taiwan and has vowed to deal forcefully with Beijing in trade and other issues.

Farrakhan sees a new opening for black separatist message
Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, spoke from a podium draped in the…Pan-African flag, a symbol of black pride. …In a speech before the State of the Black World Conference in New Jersey, he warned, “The white man is going to push. He…will limit the freedom of others.” Then he pointed to the crowd, smiled and said, “That’s what you needed,” as motivation to finally separate from whites.

Jewish settlers agree to leave Amona site in occupied West Bank
Residents of a Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank have agreed to evacuate the area just one week before the deadline for eviction. The community of Amona accepted a government relocation proposal with 45 votes in favour and 29 against. Sunday’s decision comes after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ukraine army ‘repulsed rebel attack’ near Debaltseve in east
Ukraine says its army has repulsed an offensive by pro-Russian rebels in the east who sought to seize territory near the strategic town of Debaltseve. The Ukrainian military command said five of its troops and 25 rebels were killed in heavy fighting on Sunday. The figures could not be independently verified. It is the most serious flare-up for several weeks on the front line.

Irish senators slammed for anti-Israel bias
Irish senators attacked Israel with accusations of apartheid during a parliamentary debate in late November about the closure of the bank account of a BDS group, prompting criticism on Friday from the Jewish state and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “What has happened with Bank of Ireland is very sinister.

IDF tanks fire at Hamas targets in response to Gaza border shooting
Shots were fired at IDF troops stationed on the border near the southern Gaza Strip on Monday morning, the military said. There were no reports of injury or damage in the incident. Shortly afterward, the IDF responded with tank fire targeting Gaza-based Hamas positions.

Suicide bomber kills at least 52 soldiers in Yemen
A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a military camp in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday morning, killing at least 52 soldiers, a security official said. The Islamic State group’s Yemen-based affiliate claimed responsibility.

Trump Can’t Stop It: “The People Who Have Been Orchestrating The Collapse Have Not Halted Their Agendas”
Not since the election of Ronald Reagan has the mood on the right shifted in such a positive direction so suddenly. But now that everyone is feeling so good about things, very few people still seem interested in prepping for hard times ahead. In fact, it is like a nuclear bomb went off in the prepping community.

Foreigners are dumping US Treasurys
All kinds of things are now happening in the world of bonds that haven’t happened before. For example, authorities in China today halted trading for the first time ever in futures contracts of government bonds, after prices had swooned, with the 10-year yield hitting 3.4%. Trading didn’t resume until after the People’s Bank of China injected $22 billion into the short-term money market.

Jordan says 10 killed in ‘cowardly terrorist attack’
Ten people were killed and 34 were wounded Sunday in what a Jordanian official called a “cowardly terrorist attack.”

Maryland church ordered to evict homeless or pay $12,000 fine
When Rev. Katie Grover arrived on a recent morning at Patapsco United Methodist Church, one of two congregations she pastors in the Baltimore area, she was surprised to find a $12,000 citation attached to the door.

DNC Chair Contradicts Obama: Russian Hackers Came After Us ‘Until End of Election’
Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile said Russian hackers persisted in trying to break into the organization’s computers “daily, hourly” until after the election — contradicting President Obama’s assertion that the hacking stopped in September after he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to “cut it out.”

North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal More Dangerous Than Previously Thought
North Korea has long-range nuclear warheads which can reach Britain, continental Europe and the United States, a South Korean government official reportedly said Saturday. The statement came amid reports that the military of the Kim Jong Un-ruled country is now capable of attaching nuclear warheads to missiles which can travel a few thousand miles.

Quake off Solomons and Papua New Guinea is region’s third strong quake in two weeks
A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the third strong tremor off the Pacific nation in less than two weeks.

4.5M earthquake recorded south of Hawaii Island
An offshore magnitude-4.5 earthquake south of Hawaii Island happened at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The earthquake was centered about 37 miles south of Ka Lae (South Point) at a depth of 22.7 miles. The earthquake was felt on the island,

6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Peru, No Injuries Reported
An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude struck Sunday in Peru near the border with Brazil but no damage was reported, the government said. The quake hit 60 miles southeast of the town of Esperanza at a depth of 550 kilometers, the Geophysical Institute of Peru said.

Top Headlines – 12/19/2016

  • Electoral college expected to officially select Trump (Read More)
  • China says discussing return of undersea drone with U.S. military (Read More)
  • Neutral PBOC Sets Up First U.S.-China Tightening Since 2006 (Read More)
  • Wall St sleepwalking into Trump volatility surge (Read More)
  • Ukraine’s largest bank rescued by state, prompts call for calm (Read More)
  • U.S. Factories Are Working Again; Factory Workers, Not So Much (Read More)
  • Senators call for probe of cyber attacks (Read More)
  • Koch escalates tax reform battle with report on gasoline prices (Read More)
  • As yuan weakens, Chinese rush to open foreign currency accounts (Read More)
  • China house price growth slows as lending curbs take hold (Read More)
  • Russia, Iran and Turkey to hold Syria talks in Moscow on Tuesday (Read More)
  • Japan eyes record spending, less new debt in financial year 2017/18 budget (Read More)
  • German Business Confidence Improves as Growth Strengthens (Read More)
  • Aramco IPO Could Still Be in U.S. as Kingdom Plays Down Rift (Read More)
  • Digital currency sales take off, but with no regulation questions abound (Read More)
  • Danone Sales Growth to Miss Target as Spain, Activia Falter (Read More)
  • Bond Selloff Shows Risks of China’s Efforts to Restrain Credit (Read More)
  • A $55 Billion Manager Who Bought at Market Low Returns to Cash (Read More)
  • Here’s how Obama can hit back at Putin over hacking (Read More)

Jewish settlers agree to leave Amona site in occupied West Bank

Trump gave $10,000 for West Bank settlement, tax form shows

Golan Heights: From annexation to recognition

Azerbaijan: ‘We have closed deal to buy Israel’s Iron Dome missile system’

Irish senators slammed for anti-Israel bias

Flooding threatens to destroy biblical sheep project

With plenty of Hamas help, IS deepens its war against Egypt

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

Tunisia confirms ‘foreign elements’ involved in dispatch of Hamas terrorist

Algerian defense ministry: 125 “terrorists” killed this year

Suicide bomber kills seven in Libyan city of Benghazi

Jordan attack: Foreign tourist among nine killed in medieval castle attack, nearby shootings

Israel’s Yad Vashem decries Syria ‘massacres’

John Kerry: Aleppo bombardment could have been averted but for ‘divisions’ in Washington

Aleppo deal stalls again after evacuation buses attacked and burned

Russia threatens to veto new UN Syria resolution, Aleppo evacuations in doubt

Russia, France reach UN compromise on Syria

74 journalists killed on the job in 2016 – report

Saudi official denies reports US has decided to restrict military support

Saudi Arabia Switches From Islamic Calendar to Jesus Birth Date-Based Gregorian

President Obama Signs New International Religious Freedom Bill

Iran discusses nuclear ships plan with IAEA chief

Trump Has Made Russia the Top Foreign Policy Issue

Priebus backs Trump, ‘Don’t want that drone back’

China’s Drone Seizure Sows Concern That U.S. Secrets Were Stolen

North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal More Dangerous Than Previously Thought

Amnesty accuses Myanmar military of ‘crimes against humanity’

Muted White House celebration marks Obama Cuba anniversary

Dozens of Cuban migrants land in Florida Keys: media reports

GOP Again Eyes Sanctuary Cities Ban Due to Political Tide

Kissinger calls Trump a ‘phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen’

Trump almost certain to win Electoral College vote, but nothing’s sure in 2016 elections

Activists take to the streets to protest Donald Trump ahead of electoral college vote

Podesta refuses to say election was ‘fair and free’

Podesta: Russia behind email hacks, wanted Trump as its White House ‘lap dog’

Dem boss demands bipartisan congressional investigation into Russian hacks

Senators call for probe of cyber attacks by Russia

Los Angeles County email hack exposes personal data of 750,000 people

Why Hackers Love The Cloud

Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull calls for two votes to break away from the mother country

Ukraine nationalises country’s largest bank

Venezuela Leader Says Cash Crackdown a Victory Over Foes

Hundreds arrested in Venezuela cash chaos, vigilantes protect shops

Quake off Solomons and Papua New Guinea is region’s third strong quake in two weeks

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Tarauaca, Brazil

6.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Ngulu, Micronesia

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Kirakira, Solomon Islands

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Pangai, Tonga

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Lata, Solomon Islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Banda Aceh, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Ile Hunter, New Caledonia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Taron, Papua New Guinea

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Panguna, Papua New Guinea

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchakta, Russia erupts to 27,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamckatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 22,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 13,000ft

Copahue volcano in Chile erupts to 12,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Chinese city cancels flights in 2nd day of smog alert

Duterte defends killing of drug pushers, says they deserve death

Duterte painkiller use draws concern in Philippines

Ex-Witch Reveals Connection Between Yoga and Satan

Maryland church ordered to evict homeless or pay $12,000 fine

Christine Caine Drops Trousers With Hillsong’s Bobbie Houston

R.C. Sproul Jr. Resigned From Ligonier Ministries After Felonious DUI Arrest With Minor in Vehicle

Al Mohler – Must We Believe the Virgin Birth?

Kong Hee humbled he gets police escort on his way to church in Indonesia

Christian campaign group slam a gay tree ornament showing a nativity scene with two JOSEPHS

Americans Hold Processions in Streets on Day Marking Purported Apparition of Mary in Mexico

Former missionary gets 18 years in prison for molesting 3 girls

6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Peru

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 07:56 AM PST

An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude struck in Peru today near the border with Brazil but no damage was reported, the government said. The earthquake hit…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Disney’s ABC forgets families and embraces the immoral

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 07:51 AM PST

The Parents Television Council (PTC) announced that a new show in development for ABC is another example of how the Disney-owned network is headed in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

This Small Business Owner Didn’t Want to Make Shirts for Gay Pride Festival

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 07:46 AM PST

A lawyer representing a Kentucky print shop owner who chose not to print gay pride festival T-shirts argued in a hearing this week that the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tennessee Man Forgives Teens Accused of Starting Fires That Killed His Wife, Daughters

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 07:39 AM PST

A Tennessee man whose wife and two daughters died in the fires that recently consumed Great Smoky Mountains National Park and neighboring Gatlinburg has released…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UN Chief Admits Biased Treatment Of Israel

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 07:35 AM PST

As he nears the end of his term, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted Friday the organization has a “disproportionate” amount of resolutions against Israel….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

First known footage of an apparent ghost shark goes viral

Posted: 19 Dec 2016 07:31 AM PST

The video of what is believed to be the first sighting of the rare ghost shark went viral Sunday after scientists discovered the creature swimming…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Obama vows to send ‘clear message’ to Putin and warns Trump

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 07:54 PM PST

President Barack Obama vowed to send a “clear message” to Russia for trying to sway the US election, while calling on Donald Trump and Republicans…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. senators call for probe of cyber attacks by Russia

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 07:48 PM PST

U.S. Republican and Democratic senators called on Sunday for a special bipartisan panel to investigate cyber attacks against the United States by foreign countries with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Why Church-Going Teens Don’t Relate Christ With Faith

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 07:37 PM PST

Teenagers today don’t relate Christ with their Christianity, but instead, view their faith as doing the right thing and living within the bounds of “morality.”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New York City Man Sues Neighbor Over Christmas Music

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 07:34 PM PST

A lawyer in New York City is suing his neighbor because she plays Christmas music all day and all night. Nick Wilder claims Lisa Marie…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New virtual ‘female companion’ offering more than just weather advice

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 07:28 PM PST

Japanese startup Gatebox have created an expensive hologram digital assistant that’s specifically designed to provide companionship to people who live alone. Gatebox’s AI is called…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Students threatened with arrest over ‘free speech’ ball

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 07:22 PM PST

A lawsuit has been filed against Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, after officials there threatened students for failing to restrict their free speech…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Maryland church ordered to evict homeless or pay $12,000 fine

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 02:00 PM PST

When Rev. Katie Grover arrived on a recent morning at Patapsco United Methodist Church, one of two congregations she pastors in the Baltimore area, she…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Trust All People Who Say They Believe in God — Even If They’re Leaders

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 01:42 PM PST

(By JB Chachila) The Bible tells us that in the end times, a great falling away will happen in the church. This will come about…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UK Evangelicals More Generous with Time and Money

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 01:19 PM PST

A recent study in the United Kingdom shows Evangelical Christians there just might be the most generous religious group this Christmas. A survey by the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

NASA scientist warns Earth is due for ‘extinction-level’ event

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 01:07 PM PST

A NASA scientist is warning that Earth is due for an “extinction-level” event like a comet or asteroid strike — and claims there won’t be…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Powerful Magnitude 7.9 earthquake followed by swarm of M6.0 quakes strike Papua New Guinea

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 12:56 PM PST

A powerful earthquake, initially measured at magnitude 8.0, has hit east of Papua New Guinea. The initial quake has already been followed by several aftershocks…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rebuking the Spirit of Rejection

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 12:52 PM PST

(By Kimberly Taylor) Until a few years ago, a spirit of rejection haunted me. Growing up, I hated my tendency to be quiet. I used…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Large fireball illuminates the sky over Colombia

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 12:38 PM PST

A large exploding fireball illuminated the night sky of Colombia on December 16, 2016. The Geminid bolide struck the skies over the municipalities of Bucaramanga,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Strongest Eruption in Last 16 Months of Colima Volcano

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 12:34 PM PST

On December 17, 2016, the Colima volcano registered its strongest eruption in the last 16 months. The volcanic peak ejected ash and incandescent material high…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Members of Electoral College set to make Trump official…

Posted: 18 Dec 2016 12:29 PM PST

On Monday, members of the Electoral College will cast their historic votes for the next president of the United States. In the meantime, they are…

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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It’s Official: Clinton’s Popular Vote Win Came Entirely From California


California has much going for it. Silicon Valley, redwood forests, a largely Mediterranean climate, good skiing despite its general warmth, excellent surfing, sunsets over the Pacific, the “Bakersfield sound,” Pebble Beach. Lot’s of great things. However the state, as IBD points out is essentially a 1 party state. Good luck doing much business on a large scale if one does not bow to the party. And to say that the political infrastructure is “skewed” toward the Democratic party in California would be a vast understatement.

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What happens when a country cracks down on fake news? Ask China


The term “fake news” should pretty much always be in quotes. “Fake news”, probably for the most part is code for news that reflects poorly on the powers that be. Fighting “fake news” isn’t about fighting conjured rumors or false stories. It’s about controlling the conversation.

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What To Do With Your Unsaved Relatives This Christmas

The whole goal is to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Perhaps God will give you the opportunity to share the gospel with them. If not this Christmas, maybe next. Keep praying for their salvation. Who knows, God may do something in the future that will make them open to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Many of us have unsaved relatives we see infrequently, or only once a year at Christmas. What if they’re not open to the gospel? Maybe they’re downright opposed to Christ. What if God has yet to open a door to share the good news with them? What’s a believer to do? Here are some suggestions.

1. Pray

Before they come, pray that the Lord would open doors for the gospel and give you an opportunity to share it with them. Ask the Lord for a sincere love for them, the grace serve them and that they would see Christ in you.

2. Serve

I can easily sink into a selfish malaise at family gatherings, especially after meals. I can find myself lying on the couch drifting into oblivion or staring comatose-like at the television. But by God’s grace, I want to look for opportunities to serve. It may be something as simple as clearing the table or doing dishes. Unbelievers are watching us. Let our goal be to show them Christ, who did not come to be served but to serve and give his life for others.

3. Serve their Children

Before family get-togethers I have often told my kids that our goal for the evening is to try to make sure our relatives have the best time they possibly can, especially their children. Serve your relatives’ children, and encourage your children to serve their children. For many years after our Thanksgiving meal with relatives, I would do a Christmas craft with all the kids. We’d make Christmas ornaments with Play Dough or 3-d Christmas trees out of construction paper, glitter and beads.

Remember, Jesus welcomed children, blessed them, and said that when we receive a child in his name we receive him.

4. Take an Interest in Them

Seek to take a sincere interest in your relatives. Ask them about their jobs, hobbies and interests. Ask them what kind of Christmas traditions they had as kids. Ask them about their favorite childhood Christmas presents or memories. Ask them about their health if you are aware of any problems. You could offer to pray for them if it seems appropriate.

Look to the interests of others as Christ looked to our interests.

5. Let your light shine

The whole goal is to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Perhaps God will give you the opportunity to share the gospel with them. If not this Christmas, maybe next. Keep praying for their salvation. Who knows, God may do something in the future that will make them open to the good news of Jesus Christ.

And remember, God longs to save your relatives, even more than you desire to see them saved. As he says in 2 Peter 3:9:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God wishes no one to perish, but all to be saved. As you love and serve your relatives, it will be Christ loving and serving them through you.

Mark Altrogge has been the senior pastor of Saving Grace Church of Indiana, PA for over 25 years, and is the author of many well-known worship songs such as “I Stand In Awe”, and “In The Presence”. This article first appeared on his blog and is used with permission.

The post What To Do With Your Unsaved Relatives This Christmas appeared first on The Aquila Report.

The Sins of Barack Hussein Obama And The Attempted Destruction of America

Absolute Truth from the Word of God


The word “legacy” usually brings with it a positive connotation.  We could say “President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy was certainly bringing an end to slavery in America.”  For this reason, many consider Lincoln to be our greatest president.

In the case of our outgoing president, the term ‘legacy’ means something entirely different.  It is not positive – unless of course you are a Jihadist. Islamist historians will revere Obama’s memory as a champion of Sharia Law and a fellow enemy of Israel.

Of course, many of us realize that Obama is merely a puppet for the globalists. George Soros groomed BHO and the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America propped him up during his bid for State Senator in Illinois. They held dinners for him and helped him to launch his career.  We know that his friends helped him along the way – Bill Ayers, the unrepentant domestic terrorist played a huge…

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Obama’s weak Syria foreign policy produced the catastrophe of Aleppo


Neville Chamberlain Obama: peace in our time Neville Chamberlain Obama: peace in our time

We elected a stupid man who doesn’t know how the world works. Although you would never know it from the mainstream media, Obama’s 8-year reign of error has been one foreign policy blunder after another. The retreat from Iraq, which created ISIS. The non-response to Russian aggression in Georgia and Ukraine. The disastrous interventions in Libya and Egypt. The deal to give Iran piles of cash to develop nuclear weapons. And his failure to react quickly to the Syrian crisis. Across the world it has been one failure after another, for 8 years in a row.

Here is the latest news from the far-left Washington Post:

THE BATTLE for Aleppo is ending in catastrophe, both for the tens of thousands of people who have been besieged there and for the future of Syria. On Wednesday, Syrian government and Iranian-led Shiite militia forces…

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Snopes, Which Will Be Fact-Checking For Facebook, Employs Leftists Almost Exclusively

According to The Daily Caller:

Snopes, which will now have the power to declare what news is or is not legitimate on the world’s largest online platform, almost exclusively employs leftists.

Facebook announced Thursday that mythbusting website Snopes will be one of a few fact-checking organizations allowed to label stories as “fake news.”

Almost all of the writers churning out fact checks for Snopes have a liberal background, and many of them have expressed contempt for Republican voters. The Daily Caller could not identify a single Snopes fact-checker who comes from a conservative background. Snopes did not respond to a list of questions from TheDC regarding the site’s ideological leaning.

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Assurance and Introspection (Hodge)

The Reformed Reader

 Assurance of faith is one of the great blessings of the Christian life.  To be sure, it comes and goes, waxes and wanes.  Sometimes the Christian is certain he or she is a beloved child of God.  Other times the Christian doubts whether it is so.  But assurance is something Christians should pray for, strive for, and be thankful when they have it.  Charles Hodge has a good word on the grounds, or basis, for assurance in volume three of his Systematic Theology:

Many sincere believers are too introspective. They look too exclusively within, so that their hope is graduated (or grows – spl) by the degree of evidence of regeneration which they find in their own experience. This, except in rare cases, can never lead to the assurance of hope. We may examine our hearts with all the microscopic care prescribed by President Edwards in his work on “The Religious…

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Do You Share the Complete Christmas Message?

Suppose you arrive home from work one day and find a white envelope, addressed to you, taped to the front door. You slide your finger under the back flap to open the envelope, which contains a single white piece of paper. On it a simple message is typed: Lunch at Calhoun’s Café.

The meaning is clear. You know what is being offered and where it will be offered, but the message is incomplete. You don’t know who has invited you, who will be paying for the lunch, when you should go to the café, or why you should go there.

A clear message is worthless unless it’s also a complete message.

An Incomplete Christmas Message

This time of year, we often receive incomplete messages about Christmas. For example, everyone from celebrities to congressmen to clergy emphasizes the need for peace among nations, ethnicities, and families. And whether we’re sitting in a church pew or shopping at a mall, we hear songs about peace on earth. The what is clear: peace on earth. The how, when, and who, however, is frequently omitted.

One peace-on-earth song that may be familiar to you is “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” written by Edmund Sears. Reflect on the words of the first stanza:

It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold;

“Peace on the earth, good will to men,

From Heaven’s all gracious King.”

The world in solemn stillness lay,

To hear the angels sing.

The angels’ message is clear: “Peace on earth, good will to men.” In this case, we also know who sent the message: “Heaven’s all gracious King.”

But does the song convey a complete message?

Missing the Point

When Sears wrote the lyrics of this Christmas carol in 1849, the nation was churning with conflict—not over election results but over national policy. Would states entering the union be Free States or Slave States? The horrific details about slavery revealed in Frederick Douglass’s 1845 autobiography, as well as the escape of Harriet Tubman and the formation of the Underground Railroad, divided both families and states. Sears, a Massachusetts’ clergyman, and hundreds of other abolitionists grieved the horrors of slavery and fought for the dignity of every person, regardless of race.

Note Sears’s longing for peace in this stanza:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife

The world has suffered long;

Beneath the angel strain have rolled

Two thousand years of wrong;

And man, at war with man, hears not

The love-song which they bring;

O hush the noise, ye men of strife

And hear the angels sing.

But, as he observed in another stanza, “the Babel sounds” of human conflict have drowned out the angels’ “heavenly music”:

Still through the cloven skies they come

With peaceful wings unfurled,

And still their heavenly music floats

O’er all the weary world;

Above its sad and lowly plains,

They bend on hovering wing,

And ever over its Babel sounds

The blessèd angels sing.

So Sears urges those “beneath life’s crushing load” to look away from the painful, weary, conflict-filled world in which they live and be encouraged by the angels’ message:

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,

Whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow,

Look now! for glad and golden hours

Come swiftly on the wing.

O rest beside the weary road,

And hear the angels sing!

Ironically, though, Sears fails to mention—even once in the carol—the one person who can “hush the noise” of human strife and bring peace. And that’s an omission thousands of other people have made and continue to make.

Our Only True Peace

The peace equation will never be solved apart from Jesus. Any heartfelt plea or suggested solution that omits his name will ultimately result in discord, not peace.

Yes, the angels began with a promise of “good news of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10 ESV). But before they mentioned “peace on earth” in verse 14, they proclaimed the only way peace on earth would ever be possible: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11 NIV).

The sequence cannot be disregarded: The Savior, Christ the Lord, has been born, and therefore peace will be possible.

Note too the wording of Luke 2:14. The angels said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Again, the sequence is crucial to the complete meaning of their message. Yes, there will come a day when Jesus will be given “the throne of his father David,” and “his kingdom will never end” as Gabriel told Mary (Luke 1:32-33 NIV). But in Luke 2, the angels are proclaiming peace to those on whom God’s favor rests.

The Complete Christmas Message

Colossians 1:19-20 clarifies that part of the angels’ message: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross” (NIV). Until Jesus returns to earth, the only peace possible is the personal peace of a life reconciled to God. That’s the current fulfillment of the angels’ proclamation of peace on earth.

So let’s avoid Sears’s mistake this Christmas. Let’s not communicate an incomplete Christmas message by suggesting the possibility of peace apart from Jesus. When others speak of peace, let’s bring the Prince of Peace into the conversation. When others focus on conflict, let’s offer the hope of unity in Christ. When someone asks why there’s so much hatred, let’s highlight the love of God for every individual.

Peace on earth is a message our world needs to hear, but it needs to hear the complete message: peace on earth through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ the Lord.

With whom can you share that message today?


The post Do You Share the Complete Christmas Message? appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Morning Joe Stalwarts Are Tired of Hillary Clinton Blaming Others


“It’s just this utter incapability for self-examination,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters told a Morning Joe panel. “It’s the Russians’ fault, It’s Comey’s fault … it’s Huma’s fault, it’s Obama’s fault, it’s fake news’s fault, it’s the media’s fault.”

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Are You A Deplorable?

Regardless of your ethnicity, class or religion, if you perceive the institutions that govern American life as corrupted, riddled with favoritism and spin or as broken, you’re a Deplorable.

Are you a Deplorable? The answer might surprise you. Take this short quiz to find out.

1. If you agree with this characterization of American Elites: “The self-satisfied cosmopolitan culture that sprang up among the affluent 20% or so of the industrial world’s population, who became convinced that the temporary ascendancy of policies that favored their interests was not only permanent but self-evidently right and just.” (The Fifth Side of the Triangle The Archdruid Report)

You’re a Deplorable.

2. If you question whether globalization is actually in the national interest: You’re a Deplorable.

3. If you question whether endless wars of choice, drone strikes and foreign interventions that cost the lives of countless civilians are actually in the national interest: You’re a Deplorable.

4. If you see the major institutions of American life as corrupt, ineffective, and blatantly favoring the financial/social elites: You’re a Deplorable.

5. If you think it’s wrong that some immigrants (the illegal ones) get to “jump the queue” ahead of the millions of legal immigrants who have waited patiently for years and paid the costs of following the rules: You’re a Deplorable.

6. If you see the concentration of media ownership as a threat to democracy:

You’re a Deplorable.

7. If you think the War on Drugs that’s imprisoned millions of young men is actually a War on the American People, a war that was prosecuted for the entire 24 long years of the presidencies of Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush and Barack Obama: You’re a Deplorable.

The US population has increased about 40% since the War on Drugs started in earnest in 1980, while the prison/Gulag population has increased over 400% since 1980.

8. If you see the informal quotas on Asian-American students in America’s Ivy League universities as wrong and blatantly racist: You’re a Deplorable.

9. If you favor kicking over the tables of the money-lenders at the temple–those wonderful money-lenders who fund the campaigns of our political elites– You’re a Deplorable.

10. In summary: if you question the self-serving, self-congratulatory, hubris-soaked dominance of the neoliberal Elites, You’re a Deplorable.

If you think being Caucasian is a requirement to qualify as a Deplorable, think again: anyone can be a Deplorable. If you’re a Hispanic-American or African-American who has seen your community gutted by the War on Drugs, and you’re against the American gulag, then you’re questioning the status quo: Bingo, you’re a Deplorable.

If you’re an Asian-American who is tired of accepting blatantly racist limits on Asian students in top-tier U.S. universities–the same sort of insidiously informal quotas that limited Jewish-American students in the early 20th century–you’re a Deplorable.

Regardless of your ethnicity, class or religion, if you perceive the institutions that govern American life as corrupted, riddled with favoritism and spin or as broken, you’re a Deplorable. If you question or resist the dominance of self-serving neoliberal elites, you’re a Deplorable.

This isn’t the elites’ definition, of course, because resistance to their dominance can’t be identified as the defining factor. If this truth were revealed, the various tribes of Deplorables might realize they have more in common than the corporate media will let on.

Though it was Hillary Clinton who made the Deplorables public, the elites of both parties share the same fear and loathing of anyone who questions or resists their control.

BONUS DEPLORABLE POINTS if you answer “yes”: do you think being corralled into a remote holding pen reserved for “expressing free speech” (i.e. resisting the elites) is a mockery of the Bill of Rights? Bingo, you’re a Deplorable.

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Christ’s Supremacy Before the Manger

Christ’s Supremacy Before the Manger

Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:1-3

Code: B161219
by John MacArthur

What do you think about when you see a nativity scene? We might recognize the baby in the manger as God in flesh. But seeing Christ as a helpless and vulnerable infant can delude us into thinking that the humility of the incarnation was not isolated to His physical form—that somehow, His deity was also diminished.

And it’s easy to read the birth narratives in the gospel accounts without gaining a full sense of Christ’s eternal glory and supremacy. Those attributes figure more prominently at the end of His earthly sojourn rather than the beginning.

The birth narratives in the gospel accounts place Christ at the center of the story, but all the action happens around Him. There’s the amazing appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she would bear God’s Son. There’s the unprecedented account of the angels’ appearance to the shepherds. And there are the profound human responses to His birth such as the wise men’s worship and Herod’s murderous rampage.

But it is in the New Testament epistles that we gain real insight into the person of Christ and His eternal character—insight that can be easily obscured by the birth scene in Bethlehem.

For instance, Romans 1 asserts that Jesus was both the Son of David and the Son of God. Galatians 4:4 says that in the fullness of time God brought forth His Son, born of a woman and subject to the Law. Ephesians 3 introduces the concept of the mystery of Christ, that God has now revealed the truth of His Son in human flesh to the Jews and the Gentiles. Colossians 2 makes the sweeping and profound statement that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus Christ. And then there’s the crowning passage in Hebrews:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1­–3)

Here in a few short verses is an insightful, divine description of who the baby born in Bethlehem really is. It is probably the most concise and comprehensive New Testament summary statement of the superiority of Christ. And the writer includes three key features in composing his classic statement: the preparation for Christ, the presentation of Christ, and the preeminence of Christ.

The Preparation for Christ

Hebrews 1:1 refers to the Old Testament as it focuses on the preparation for Christ: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways.” The Old Testament was simply God speaking to the Jewish people (“the fathers”) through the prophets in many different ways and at a number of different times.

In other words, God’s Spirit spoke through the Old Testament writers in thirty-nine different books. And these books come to us in various literary forms: Much of the literature is narrative prose and history, much is prophecy, some is poetry, and a little appears as the Law.

Furthermore, God’s servants received His words “in many ways,” or by different methods. Sometimes He spoke to them directly in audible words. At other times He spoke to them indirectly and prompted their minds with the thoughts He wanted conveyed. Then there were other methods by which God communicated His truth—parables, types, symbols, ceremonies, and even stone tablets (the Ten Commandments). But all of it was inspired, inerrant, and truly what God wanted written, the way He wanted it written.

By affirming its features and character, the writer of Hebrews shows that the Old Testament is the preparation for Christ, because he also knew that its theme was Jesus Christ. From Genesis 3:15 (the first allusion to Christ and the gospel) to Malachi 4:1–3 (a reference to Christ’s returning in judgment against the ungodly), the Lord Jesus is the subject all the way through the Old Testament. He’s the One pictured in the sacrifices and ceremonies detailed in the five books of Moses. He’s the great Prophet and King who’s promised time and again (Numbers 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; Psalm 2:6; 24:7–10; 45:6; 89:27; Isaiah 9:7; 32:1; 42:1–2; 52:7; 61:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Daniel 7:14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9).

However, the Old Testament preparation for Christ is incomplete and fragmentary. Not one of its books or writers presents the entire picture of the Savior. As the apostle Peter says:

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 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 1:10–11)

The prophets couldn’t sort everything out; they wondered exactly whom they were writing about and precisely when everything would occur. No one saw a complete picture of the Messiah until He actually came in the New Testament.

The Presentation of Christ

The writer of Hebrews affirms that Christ is the full revelation of God when he says that God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Hebrews 1:2). When Jesus came, God presented the entire picture. Christ revealed God fully by being fully God. “For in Him [Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

We can see in Christ everything we need to know about God. That includes the full array of God’s attributes—such characteristics as omniscience, miracle-working power, the ability to heal the sick and raise the dead, compassion for sinners, and the desire for justice and holiness.

And all of that was evident “in these last days,” a familiar phrase the Jews would have understood as meaning the messianic age. Thus, in the time of Messiah, God ceased speaking in fragments and instead presented His complete revelation in the person of His Son. That, of course, established Jesus as superior to previous revelation. The complete and final New Testament came forth in the person of the sinless Son of God. Jesus Christ, as the full expression of His Father, could say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The Preeminence of Christ

Once the writer of Hebrews presents Jesus as God’s Son, he immediately gives us a sevenfold summary of the preeminence of Jesus Christ:

Whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:2–3)

That grand summation defines the identity and preeminence of the Child who entered the world at Bethlehem. They are glorious truths often left lingering in the shadows of nativity scenes and Christmas pageants. Yet Christ’s supremacy over all things is what His incarnation ultimately put on display.

We’ll explore those aspects of His superiority in the days ahead.

(Adapted from God in the Manger.)

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B161219
COPYRIGHT ©2016 Grace to You

The electoral college is an excellent system

The 48 elections since 1824 have produced 18 presidents who received less than 50 percent of the popular vote. The greatest of them, Abraham Lincoln, received 39.9 percent in 1860. So, on Monday, when the electors cast their votes in their respective states, actually making Donald Trump the president-elect, remember: Do not blame the excellent electoral vote system for the 2016 choice that was the result of other, and seriously defective, aspects of America’s political process.

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December 19, 2016: Verse of the day


Immediate Service

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (22:12)

The speaker is no longer the angel, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who repeats His declaration of verse 7, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” As noted in the introduction to this chapter, Jesus’ statement means that His coming is imminent. It teaches the same truth that He expressed in Mark 13:33–37:

Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. What I say to you I say to all, “Be on the alert!”

When He comes, Jesus will bring His reward … with Him, to render to every man according to what he has done. Believers’ eternal rewards will be based on their faithfulness in serving Christ in this life. Their works will be tested, and only those with eternal value will survive (1 Cor. 3:9–15; 2 Cor. 5:9–10). The rewards believers enjoy in heaven will be capacities for serving God; the greater their faithfulness in this life, the greater will be their opportunity to serve in heaven (cf. Matt. 25:14–30). Knowing that, John exhorted believers, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8).

The knowledge that Jesus could return at any moment should not lead Christians to a life of idle waiting for His coming (cf. 2 Thess. 3:10–12). Rather, it should produce diligent, obedient, worshipful service to God, and urgent proclamation of the gospel to unbelievers.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

December 19, 2016: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

December 19 Christ’s New Name

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

Philippians 2:9


God exalted Christ by giving Him a new name.

In today’s verse a question that arises is, What is the name that is above every name? To be consistent with Scripture, it has to be a name that goes beyond merely distinguishing one person from another. It has to be a name that describes Christ’s nature—revealing something of His inner being. Only such a name would cause Him to be clearly ranked above all others. Paul wasn’t referring to a comparative name, but a superlative name—one that would set Christ above and beyond all comparison.

Change of name in Scripture indicates the commencement of a unique relationship. When God established His covenant with Abram, He changed his name to “Abraham” (Gen. 17:5). When God entered into a unique relationship with Jacob, He gave Him the name “Israel” (Gen. 32:22–32). In the New Testament, Jesus called a man named Simon to follow Him, then gave him a new name: Peter (Matt. 16:18). Those names were given to mark a definite stage in a person’s life. God has done that throughout redemptive history. Philippians 2:9 affirms that God gave Christ a name. He already had many names—Jesus, Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, Messiah—but He received a new name.

Some assume that the new name is Jesus because verse 10 says, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” But that wasn’t a new name; it was bestowed at birth (see Matt. 1:21). Nor is the name Jesus above every other name (there have been a lot of people named Jesus). The only name mentioned in Philippians 2:9–11 that is above every name is Lord. In verse 11 Paul says, “Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That is the only name God gave Christ that is above every name. Whoever is Lord is in control.

Let us exalt Christ our Lord by offering Him praise and living a holy life.


Suggestions for Prayer: Thank Christ for being Lord of the universe as well as Lord of your life.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 2. What are the key aspects? ✧ Is everyone happy about Christ’s position?[1]

December 19

A Message of Grace

You shall call His name JESUS. For He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

You may skip the genealogy when you read the Christmas story aloud. But don’t overlook its message of grace, which after all is the heart of the Christmas story: God in His mercy doing for sinners what they cannot do for themselves—mending broken lives and restoring shattered hopes. That’s why He came—to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).

Here’s the best part: the same grace that was evident in the genealogy is active today, and the same Jesus is saving His people from their sins. No sin, no matter how heinous, puts sinners beyond His reach. “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25, kjv).[2]



Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

—Psalm 2:11

When we come into this sweet relationship, we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.

You may never have realized it before, but all of those elements in our perception and consciousness of the divine Presence add up to what the Bible calls “the fear of God.” …

The fear of God is that “astonished reverence” of which the great Faber wrote. I would say that it may grade anywhere from its basic element—the terror of the guilty soul before a holy God—to the fascinated rapture of the worshiping saint. There are very few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know. WHT030-031

Lord, teach me today something of that astonished reverence, that combination of frightening and wonderful feelings that make up true knowledge of You. Amen. [3]

December 19

Parable of the Hidden Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.—Matt. 13:44

Palestine was a battleground for centuries; therefore families would commonly bury clothing, food, household valuables, money, and jewelry to protect them from plundering enemy soldiers. Josephus, the Jewish historian, wrote, “The gold and the silver and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had and which the owners treasured underground was done to withstand the fortunes of war.” When the owners of such treasures died or departed the country, the valuables would be forever lost unless someone accidentally discovered them.

Given that history, this parable’s hidden treasure was probably long forgotten until the man found it as he passed through the field. The man was so joyful at his find that he was willing to sacrifice everything in order to possess it, the metaphor for God’s kingdom. That is the point of Jesus’ parable, not the ethics of what the man did, as some Christians wrongly suppose. Such observers think the man was unethical not to have told the field’s owner about the treasure, since it rightfully belonged to him.

But the man was not unethical. First, he obviously knew the owner was not aware of the treasure or he would have first offered it to him. Second, rabbinic law said finders could keep what they found. Third, had the man been dishonest, he would have gone off with the treasure without any thought of buying the field. But he realized that a field with treasure—the kingdom—was so valuable that he sold all else to obtain it. Nothing is more important for us than possessing that treasure also.

What treasures of the kingdom have you stumbled upon recently? When you see them, what are you motivated to forsake in order to more fully and consistently experience the power, joy, and freedom of living in pure fellowship with God?[4]

December 19 A Warning to the Intellectually Convinced

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (Heb. 2:3).


Many people know the facts of the gospel but won’t make a commitment to it.

I will never forget a lady who came to my office, confessing that she was a prostitute and was desperate for help. I presented the claims of Christ to her and asked if she wanted to confess Christ as Lord of her life. She said yes and prayed, seemingly inviting Christ into her life.

Then I suggested that we burn her book of contacts. She looked at me incredulously and said, “What do you mean?” “If you want to live for Jesus Christ,” I explained, “and you’ve truly accepted His forgiveness and embraced Him as Lord, then you need to prove it.” “But that book is worth a lot of money,” she said. “I don’t want to burn it.” After putting it back in her purse, she looked me right in the eye and said, “I guess I don’t really want Jesus, do I?”

When it came to counting the cost, she wasn’t ready. I don’t know whatever became of her, but my heart aches for her and others like her.

I’m sure you know people like her. They know and believe that Christ is the Savior, they know they need Him, but they are unwilling to make a commitment to Him. Perhaps they even go to church and hear the Word of God. They are like the proverbial man who says he believes a boat will keep him afloat but never sets foot in one.

Those people are the most tragic of all. They need to be warned—to be given a powerful shove toward Christ. May the Lord use you as His instrument for that purpose in the lives of many who are on the edge of a decision for Christ.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to soften the hearts of people you know who understand the facts of the gospel but haven’t yet made a commitment to it.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 19:16–22. What kinds of questions should you ask of someone who appears eager to become a Christian?[5]



Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

I hope some of you will agree with me that it is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them!

If we have any spiritual concerns, our most pressing obligation is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church.

Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest—not a little better than but worse than the seed from which it sprang. Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed.

Why is it easier to talk about revival than to experience it? Because followers of Christ must become personally and vitally involved in the death and resurrection of Christ. And this requires repentance, prayer, watchfulness, self-denial, detachment from the world, humility, obedience and cross carrying!

Father God, I pray for Your Spirit to send “fresh fire” to revitalize the church in the United States. We have become weakened seed that must be reinvigorated for the next generation of Christians to be strong and healthy.[6]



For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.


I have been for years much distressed about the tendency to overorganize the Christian community, and I have for that reason had it charged against me that I do not believe in organization. The truth is quite otherwise!

A certain amount of organization is necessary everywhere throughout the created universe and in all human society. Without it there could be no science, no government, no family unit, no art, no music, no literature, no creative activity of any kind.

The man who would oppose all organization in the church must needs be ignorant of the facts of life. Art is organized beauty; music is organized sound; philosophy is organized thought; science is organized knowledge; government is merely society organized.

And what is the true Church of Christ but organized mystery?

The throbbing heart of the Church is life—in the happy phrase of Henry Scougal, “the life of God in the soul of man.” This life, together with the actual presence of Christ within her, constitutes the Church a divine thing, a mystery, a miracle! Yet without substance, form and order this divine life would have no dwelling place, and no way to express itself to the community.

There is real danger in the efforts of some to substitute organization for life, so that while they have a name to live they are spiritually dead. Let us be reminded that there is no such thing as life apart from the medium through which it expresses itself![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. 380). 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. 362). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 366). 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.