Daily Archives: January 6, 2017

January 6, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Jan. 6, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Top Republicans in Congress are refusing to promise that their plans to replace Obamacare won’t result in more uninsured Americans, putting them on a possible collision course with President-elect Donald Trump.

The U.S. labor market turned in a solid performance at the end of 2016, putting job gains above 2 million for a sixth year as paychecks rose by the most during the current expansion.

Mylan NV made a fortune, and stirred controversy, while getting EpiPen allergy shots stocked in schools across America. Now the drugmaker wants to sell EpiPens to restaurants, sports venues and potentially even Boy Scout troops — by setting up its own pharmacy to cut out middlemen and lobbying for new laws that could expand sales of its biggest product.

Jeff Bezos added $1.97 billion to his fortune on Thursday, taking his gains so far this year to $2.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

India forecasts its growth will slow to a three-year low even before the effects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cash clampdown start to show.

Morgan Stanley, Wall Street’s biggest stock-trading firm by revenue, is cutting its global bonus pool for the equities division by as much as 4 percent after the industry’s results flagged last year

There’s one thing many gold traders and analysts agree on, now is a great time to own bullion. Those surveyed by Bloomberg this week were the most bullish in a year.

AP Top Stories

The CIA has identified Russian officials who fed material hacked from the Democratic National Committee and party leaders to WikiLeaks at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin through third parties, according to a new U.S. intelligence report.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto defended on Wednesday a steep increase in gasoline prices but said he understood people’s “anger” against the measure, as protests entered a fourth day. Pena Nieto said the 20.1 percent increase in the cost of a liter of gasoline was necessary due to a rise in global oil prices.

Nigerian soldiers have found a schoolgirl who was one of more than 200 pupils kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram from their school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014, an army spokesman said on Thursday.

South Korea is preparing to retaliate against North Korea’s threats with a “decapitation unit,” which will be activated in the “event of war,” according to an official from Seoul’s Defense Ministry. The special unit will be tasked with targeting North Korea’s “wartime command,” including leader Kim Jong Un, CNN reported Thursday.

The United States added Hamza bin Laden, son and would-be heir of the late global jihadist leader Osama bin Laden, to its terrorist blacklist on Thursday.

The Army has issued a new regulation: Effective immediately, brigade-level commanders will be able to grant accommodations to servicemen and women who wear beards, turbans, or hijabs for religious reasons-the three most common requests for waivers to current guidelines on grooming and dress. The new guidelines also revise hairstyle standards for female soldiers: They can now wear dreadlocks in addition to cornrows and twists.

A large explosion rocked a Syrian government-held coastal town on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens – an attack that was a stark remainder of the prevailing insecurity in the war-torn country despite a nearly week-old cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey.

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday picked former U.S. Senator Dan Coats as his director of national intelligence, two senior transition officials said, as he puts his stamp on a U.S. intelligence community that he frequently criticizes.

China will plow $361 billion into renewable power generation by 2020, the country’s energy agency said, as the world’s largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.

BBC

Top Republicans in Texas have unveiled a bill that would ban transgender people from using the toilet of their choice.

At least 33 prisoners have been killed in a prison in northern Brazil, just days after 56 died during a jail riot in a neighboring state.

Reports from Venezuela say search teams have found survivors in a military helicopter six days after it crashed in the country’s Amazon region. Thirteen people, including civilians, were on board the Mi-17V-5 helicopter, which had disappeared last Thursday.

Japanese Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance is laying off 34 employees and replacing them with an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can calculate insurance payouts. The firm believes it will increase productivity by 30%.

Russia is starting to withdraw forces from Syria and its aircraft carrier group will be the first to leave, the Russian armed forces chief said.

WND

At any given time the United States has an aircraft carrier deployed somewhere around the world, usually in a hot spot such as the Persian Gulf or the Western Pacific. But for the first week of this year, for the first time since World War II, no U.S. aircraft carriers were deployed, anywhere.

Barack Obama’s presidency began with a record number of Americans not in the labor force, and it’s ending the same way. The final jobs report of the Obama presidency shows that the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 14,573,000 (18.09 percent) since January 2009, when Obama took office, continuing a long-term trend that began well before Obama was sworn in. In December, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 95,102,000 Americans were not in the labor force.


Top News – 1/6/2017

California’s Embarrassing Hire of a Failed Attorney General to Take on Trump
The California Legislature is hiring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to represent the state in expected fights with the new Trump administration over environmental, immigration, and criminal justice issues. But based on Holder’s track record, don’t expect to see California racking up legal victories.

‘What is going on?’ Trump wonders why FBI never requested access to the DNC’s ‘hacked servers’
Commenting on Clapper’s testimony, John McAfee, the founder of McAfee antivirus software, told RT that Clapper engaged in the “most deceptive propaganda” that was ever delivered to the American public. McAfee added, “our intelligence community is so ignorant and naive that they should all be replaced.”

Ryan Pledges to Defund Planned Parenthood
“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” Ryan said.

Islamic terror cells shift from Mideast to U.S.-Mexican border
“An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have ‘people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.’”

Email Headache Returns: New Clinton messages show passwords, schedules flowed freely
A new batch of messages released by the State Department on Tuesday shows the former secretary of state and her team routinely shared her upcoming schedules, talking points and sensitive items – such as her iPad password – via the homebrewed system.

FBI Claims DNC ‘Inhibited’ Its Investigation Of Stolen Emails
The Democratic National Committee “inhibited” the FBI’s investigation of email hacks by refusing to grant investigators access to the party’s computer servers, the bureau is claiming. “This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”

‘Who gave them this and why?’ Trump blasts leaks of secret report on ‘Russian hacking’
“How did NBC get ‘an exclusive look into the top secret report he (Obama) was presented?’ Who gave them this report and why? Politics!” Trump said in a tweet.

UK Brexit-Backer Nigel Farage to Attend Trump Inauguration
British anti-European Union politician Nigel Farage says he will attend Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president.

Report: Israel spy satellite discovers secret Russian missile cache in Syria
The pictures seemingly prove what western intelligence agencies have long suspected: Russia has provided Syria with a wide array of the most advanced missiles in its possession.

After Obama, Israel should move closer to Moscow
Far too many American Jews would have no problem with Israel being destroyed, just as they would have no problem with America being destroyed.

U.S. envoys appointed by Obama asked to quit by Inauguration Day
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has issued a blanket mandate requiring politically appointed ambassadors installed by President Barack Obama to leave their posts by Inauguration Day… The mandate was issued “without exceptions” through an order sent in a State Department cable on Dec. 23, Gilbert said.

California braces for ‘once-in-10-year’ storm amid fears of flooding, avalanches, blizzards
Sierra travelers trapped by back-to-back storms that dropped more than 2 feet of snow have a brief window to pass before the arrival of a weather system Saturday so wet forecasters are calling it an “atmospheric river.” Up to 12 inches of rain below 8,500 feet is expected, and massive amounts of snow — up to 6 feet — above that elevation. A fourth, colder storm two days behind will drop yet more heavy snow.

Trump says Toyota will face tariffs on cars made in Mexico
Donald Trump has tweeted that Toyota will face hefty tariffs on cars built in Mexico for the US market if it builds Corollas south of the border. The president-elect said the Japanese company would be hit with a “big border tax” if the plan went ahead. American car companies have faced harsh criticism from Mr Trump for building cars more cheaply outside the US.

Syria conflict: Russia ‘starts to reduce forces’
Russia is starting to withdraw forces from Syria and its aircraft carrier group will be the first to leave, the Russian armed forces chief says. The announcement comes days after Russia and Turkey negotiated a ceasefire in Syria which is largely holding, according to the UN. Russia has carried out air strikes on anti-government rebels since 2015.

House passes resolution condemning UN for Israel action
The House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday condemning the UN Security Council for censuring Israel over its settlement enterprise, and calling on the Obama administration– which allowed the UN move to pass– to veto any similar actions in the international chamber.

Abbas: UNSC resolution says settlements illegitimate, not Israel
UN Security Council resolution 2334 was not an anti-Israel decision, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday evening… “UNSC resolution 2334 was not against Israel; it was against settlements, no more, no less,” Abbas told the Israelis…at the Mukata, the PA presidential headquarters in Ramallah. “It did not say Israel is illegitimate; it said settlements are illegitimate.”

Report: Israel spy satellite discovers secret Russian missile cache in Syria
An Israeli spy satellite has discovered a number of Russian mobile short-range ballistic missiles stockpiled in Syria, Channel 2 reported Friday. In high definition photos taken by the Israeli “Eros B” satellite, the weapons, dubbed “Iskander” missiles, are clearly seen on trucks inside an army base in Latakia, located in western Syria.

Turkey in ‘crisis’ over US presence at Incirlik nuclear base as Ankara pivots to Moscow
Turkey has said it is suffering a “crisis of confidence” over its relationship with the US as the NATO member reconsiders its position over the presence of American forces at the strategic nuclear airbase at Incirlik on the border with Syria.

U.S. intel report identifies Russians who gave emails to WikiLeaks -officials
The CIA has identified Russian officials who fed material hacked from the Democratic National Committee and party leaders to WikiLeaks at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin through third parties, according to a new U.S. intelligence report, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Post Brexit vote: Britain has world’s top economy
Britain ended last year as the strongest of the world’s advanced economies with growth accelerating in the six months after the Brexit vote, it was revealed yesterday.

Suspected rebels storm Philippine jail, 158 inmates escape
More than 100 suspected Muslim rebels stormed a jail in the southern Philippines before dawn Wednesday, allowing 158 inmates to escape in what officials said was the biggest jailbreak in the country.

Celebs Plan Facebook ‘Love-a-Thon’ to Go Up Against Trump Inauguration
A group of celebrities are going up against the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Donald Trump. The Jan. 20 “Love-a-thon” is being billed as a Jerry Lewis telethon of sorts, with comedic and musical performances to be broadcast on Facebook Live at the same time as the historic event in Washington, D.C.

Al-Qaeda chief denounces Islamic State ‘liars’
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has denounced what he said was a dishonest propaganda campaign by rival jihadist group the Islamic State against his organization, in an audio message released Thursday.


January 5, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Republicans won the first skirmish in the Obamacare fight Wednesday, voting to begin debating fast-track budget procedures that, if successful, would allow the GOP to kill the 2010 health care law without having to face a Democratic filibuster in the Senate…. (more)

January 5, 2017

WARNER TODD HUSTON — On Wednesday, President Obama added another prestigious medal to his Nobel Prize collection when he had Defense Secretary Ash Carter award him with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service…. (more)


January 5, 2017
JEROME CORSI — By piecing together recently revealed WikiLeaks emails with evidence that has emerged over the past several years, it’s become increasingly clear that President Obama and his secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton in 2011, armed the Free Syrian Army rebels in an effort to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, mirroring a strategy already under way in Libya to help al-Qaida-affiliated militia overthrow Moammar Gadhafi…. (more)

January 5, 2017
NEWSMAX — Four detainees being held at the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay are slated to be transferred to Saudi Arabia by sometime Thursday, according to a new report…. (more)

January 5, 2017
ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO — Over the New Year’s weekend, President Obama’s chief policy adviser and closest strategist, Valerie Jarrett, told a talk show host that her boss would have a happy legacy because there was an absence of scandal in his administration. When first I heard this preposterous claim, I thought I had misheard it. Yet it is apparently true that Mr. Obama and his team somehow can overlook recent history and behave as if events with which we are all familiar never happened…. (more)

January 5, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A moving truck was seen on Wednesday parked outside the White House, where President Obama will live and work for just two more weeks. The truck was parked on West Executive Avenue, a street inside the White House gates and situated in-between the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the West Wing…. (more)


January 5, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Can Islamic terrorism be funny? That’s what the writers for “Revolting,” a new BBC satirical comedy show, were thinking when they cooked up a sketch about British women who had become brides of fighters for ISIS, or the Islamic State, and framed it on the “real housewives” reality-TV model that has proved popular in the U.S…. (more)

January 5, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — A Massachusetts sheriff wants to offer his jail inmates a deal: Do community service by volunteering to go build President-elect Donald Trump’s border wall. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson detailed the offer as he was sworn in to a fourth term in office on Wednesday. He hopes Mr. Trump will take him up on the plan, which he said would pay dividends for the country and the inmates…. (more)

January 5, 2017
BYRON YORK — President-elect Trump stirred yet more controversy Saturday night when, as he entered his New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, he said he is not convinced the intelligence community is sure about allegations Russian hackers sought to influence the election…. (more)

January 4, 2017
CONSERVATIVE REVIEW — The Republicans are faking the repeal of Obamacare. Conservative Review Senior Editor Daniel Horowitz has read the proposed repeal bill and he went on “The Mark Levin Show” Tuesday night to discuss what he learned about the bill…. (more)

January 4, 2017
KEN BLACKWELL — Dishonest media attacks against President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, won’t derail his confirmation. But it’s important to discuss where they come from because not everyone who realizes their origin is comfortable with that conversation…. (more)

January 4, 2017

THE BLAZE — The American College of Pediatricians is speaking out against National Geographic’s decision to put a 9-year-old on their January cover who identifies as a transgender. The magazine, which has been in publication for 128 years, made headlines when it decided to highlight what it called “the gender revolution” in its January 2017 issue. The issue displayed pictures and a story of a 9-year-old boy named Avery, whose parents say he identifies as a girl…. (more)


January 3, 2017

ERICK ERICKSON — Senate Republicans have just drawn up their budget resolution for 2017 and it contains language to repeal Obamacare. The method by which the GOP is doing this is important. By putting the Obamacare repeal in the budget resolution, Democrats cannot filibuster it. Budget resolutions are not subject to the filibuster rule in the Senate…. (more)


January 3, 2017
DALLAS NEWS — Sen. Ted Cruz and two fellow Republicans are pressing the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Congress passed legislation in 1995 that called for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, but Democratic and Republican administrations alike have declined to enact the change, citing security concerns. The latest measure, introduced Tuesday as the new Congress convened, would withhold funding from the State Department until it makes the move…. (more)

January 3, 2017

NATIONAL REVIEW — In the waning hours of his presidency, Barack Obama has designated more than 1.5 million acres for two new national monuments – – Bears Ears in Utah and Gold Butte in Nevada. State lawmakers in the region have for years debated creating these monuments and had yet to reach a conclusion before Obama made his controversial move Wednesday…. (more)


January 3, 2017
ERICK ERICKSON — As the nation prepares to formally enter the Age of Trump and leave the Age of Obama, it is worth noting that the left cannot honestly assess Barack Obama’s legacy. To honestly assess his legacy would be to conclude his eight years were a pyrrhic victory for progressivism…. (more)

January 3, 2017
DAILY WIRE — On Sunday night, Syrian refugees residing in Germany kicked a one-year-old baby in the face during a barbaric brawl on a bus. When paramedics showed up to treat all those injured, including the innocent infant, the refugees attacked the paramedics with belts…. (more)

January 3, 2017
DANIEL HOROWITZ — One of the breakthrough aspects of Conservative Review in 2016 was our increased focus on judicial tyranny up and down the federal judiciary. I was proud to accompany the release of my book, “Stolen Sovereignty,” with dozens of columns about the federal judiciary, demonstrating conclusively that its entire modern construction is irremediably broken. – See more at:… (more)

January 3, 2017
TOWNHALL — A stunning case of corruption inside the Department of Homeland Security was overshadowed by headlines about Russia and Israel this past week. Yet, federal employees accepting millions of dollars in bribes to avoid doing their job, is certainly worth a look…. (more)

January 3, 2017
THE BLAZE — Famous gospel singer Kim Burrell is coming under fire for comments she recently made while speaking at her church, when she spoke about the dangers of living a homosexual lifestyle and how it is contrary to the message of Jesus Christ…. (more)

January 3, 2017

LIFE NEWS — It was New Year’s Eve morning. A small group of pro-life activists gathered peacefully on the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in St. Louis, as they routinely do, to offer help to women. But today wouldn’t be routine…. (more)


January 3, 2017
DAILY CALLER — Over the last year, we’ve heard over and over again that civility is dead, but it’s important to know that Donald Trump is not the one who murdered it. Discourse came crashing down thanks in large part to Democrats’ idea to use identity politics as a party platform. The left spent years calling blue collar workers – – and the majority of the middle of the country – – bigots, racists, homophobes, sexists, Islamophobes and white supremacists…. (more)

January 3, 2017
DANIEL HOROWITZ — It’s 2017, and it’s show time. This is what we’ve been anticipating for years. We have a mandate and now it’s time to use it. No, we are not going to save every aspect of our national security, economy, and traditional values in just four years. However, there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact some solid reforms as it relates to immigration, national security, and counterterrorism policies…. (more)

January 3, 2017
ALAN KEYES — Winston Churchill famously said that “To ‘Jaw, Jaw’ is always better than to ‘War, War.'” My experience as U.S. ambassador to ECOSOC (the UN Economic and Social Council) and assistant secretary of state for International Organization Affairs compels me to disagree. Since the ultimate purpose of war is to break the enemy’s will, talk that effectively stigmatizes one’s adversaries can be a decisively important strategic weapon…. (more)

January 3, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — A Soros-funded faux Catholic group called Faith in Public Life is holding what it calls a “special briefing” on “Faithful Resistance to Rising White Nationalism,” featuring Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). This exercise is designed to further demonize white Americans who are waking up to what President Obama has done to them during his eight years in office…. (more)

Crime and Punishment: New York Gov. Cuomo, clemency, and the limitations of human justice

Are we more than just a brain? Recent headlines and the Christian understanding of soul and body

Gospel hope and the false promise of sexual freedom: Florida city outlaws conversion therapy

News to Watch


Top Headlines – 1/6/2017

  • December Jobs Data to Wrap Up Obama’s Economic Legacy (Read More)
  • FBI Says Democrats Refused Access to Hacked E-Mail Servers (Read More)
  • As Trump attacks, Nissan at bigger risk than Toyota (Read More)
  • Democratic leader Schumer emerges as Trump’s newest punching bag (Read More)
  • PBoC raises renminbi’s daily fix by most since 2005 (Read More)
  • China central bank urges rational investment in bitcoin (Read More)
  • China Doubles Down on Defense of Yuan (Read More)
  • Millennials Think the Trump Economy Is Going to Implode (Read More)
  • Judge Rules Against Sanofi and Regeneron in Patent Case (Read More)
  • Ash Carter Says Putin Is Making It Harder for U.S. to Work With Russia (Read More)
  • China Plans Scrutiny of U.S. Firms If Trump Starts Feud (Read More)
  • Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines’ ally and protector (Read More)
  • Russia says has begun reducing forces in Syria (Read More)
  • Trump team has differences of opinion on shaping spy agencies (Read More)
  • Beheading attire and sexy suicide vests? Satire of ISIS wives stirs anger and praise (Read More)
  • Secret Report Shows Just How Badly Belgium Mishandled Hunt for ISIS Operatives (Read More)
  • Nissan halts joint development of luxury cars with Daimler (Read More)
  • People Are Bailing on Chris Christie’s New Jersey. How Is Your State Holding Up? (Read More)
  • Verizon Executive: Unsure About Yahoo Deal (Read More)
  • Will OPEC Deliver Its Output Cut Deal? Here’s How We’ll Know (Read More)
  • At least 33 prisoners killed in new Brazil prison uprising (Read More)

US House passes motion repudiating UN resolution on Israel

Pence hails House motion on Israel, ‘our most cherished ally’

US official: Kerry’s speech signaled several ‘gains’ for Israel

In exit memo, Kerry lauds Iran deal, laments no two-state solution

Huckabee: two-state solution a ‘stupid diplomatic fantasy’

‘Dividing Jerusalem is like asking Solomon to cut the baby in half’

Israeli diplomats campaigning to deflate Paris summit

France says no plans for UN resolution after peace confab

Abbas to Israelis: Peace will ultimately come through dialogue, not UN

Jordan says moving US Embassy to Jerusalem is ‘red line’

Police question Netanyahu again in ongoing graft probe

Turkey questions U.S.-led coalition presence at Incirlik air base

Turkey paying price for U.S. alliance with Syrian Kurdish militia

2 killed in car bombing in Turkey

Syria conflict: Russia ‘starts to withdraw forces’

Syria conflict: Car bomb kills 11 in government-held town

UN warns of war crimes over disruption to water supply north of Damascus

Amnesty: US, European weapons used to commit war crimes in Iraq

Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria says truce ‘humiliating’

Al-Qaeda chief denounces Islamic State ‘liars’

ISIS Fighters Strap Suicide Bombs To Disabled Fighters In New ISIS Video

Intel report says terrorists scrap large-scale plots for stealth solo attacks

U.S. Lists Bin Laden’s Son as a ‘Global Terrorist’

Suspected rebels storm Philippine jail, 158 inmates escape

Italy aims to combat radicalization in jails, deport more illegal migrants

Armed guards at Sweden’s nuclear power stations next month

North Korea’s nuclear capability growing every day, top US diplomat warns

SKorean court formally starts president’s impeachment trial

China’s choices narrowing as it burns through FX reserves to support yuan

Twitter Pulpit: Trump already breaking mold of the presidency

Celebs Plan Facebook ‘Love-a-Thon’ to Go Up Against Trump Inauguration

Trump calls Chuck Schumer a ‘clown’ but urges cooperation on health care

What’s inside? Obama gets report on Russia hacking, as Republicans spar on claims

U.S. intel report identifies Russians who gave emails to WikiLeaks – officials

Top U.S. intelligence official: Russia meddled in election by hacking, spreading of propaganda

Intelligence Chiefs ‘Stand More Resolutely’ Behind Finding Of Russia Election Hacking

Email Headache Returns: New Clinton messages show passwords, schedules flowed freely

Hate crime charges filed in Chicago beating streamed on Facebook Live

White House: Too Early to Tell if Chicago Beating was a Hate Crime

CNN’s Don Lemon on Chicago Torture Video: ‘I Don’t Think It Was Evil’

Prosecutors: MS-13 murder victim lured to Maryland using fake woman, Facebook

Dating apps have turned us into a generation of private detectives

Japanese company replaces office workers with artificial intelligence

BMW to deploy 40 self-driving cars in US, Europe

Norway to become first nation to switch off FM radio in shift to digital

Obama Seized Enough Land and Water in 8 Years to Cover Texas Three Times

President Obama Awards Himself Distinguished Public Service Medal

NASA says mysterious object hurtling towards Earth could be an asteroid or a comet

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Jahrom, Iran

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Blenheim, New Zealand

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Sungaipenuh, Indonesia

Bogoslof volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupts to 35,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 19,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 18,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Two Volcanoes Tremble in Iceland

California braces for ‘once-in-10-year’ storm amid fears of flooding, avalanches, blizzards

Much of South Warned to Prepare for ‘Historic’ Weekend Storm

German Baltic coast hit by storm surge flooding

Mosquito-borne virus prompts warning in Australia

Planned Parenthood, Abortion Clinics Overbilled Taxpayers by Over $130 Million, Report Finds

Ryan: GOP to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood in Obamacare repeal

Religious Makeup of the New Congress Overwhelmingly Christian

Spiritual Sedona: the Arizona town bursting with positive vibes – America’s new-age capital is brimming with tours, classes and shops offering spiritual healing

How To Spot a Manipulative Church Leader

Passion 2017: A Passion For Experience, A Disregard For the Word

Word of Faith: A Trinity of Errors

Thrice Married Paula White Claims Bible is  Inerrant Word of God, Says She’s No ‘Trinity-Denying Heretic’

Wife of Ex-Cross Point Pastor Pete Wilson Files for Divorce, Claims ‘Inappropriate Marital Conduct’

Vatican Calls For Central World Bank and Global Authority

Planned Parenthood, Abortion Clinics Overbilled Taxpayers by Over $130 Million, Report Finds

San Antonio Area Pastor Pleads For Help Finding His 14 Year Old Daughter Who Ran Away

Imprisoned American Pastor’s Appeal for Release Turned Down by Turkey Court

Texas Rep Gohmert Warns Promoting a ‘Two-State Solution’ Could Bring God’s Judgment

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 09:28 AM PST

Citing a biblical warning of divine judgment on nations that try to partition the land God gave to the Jewish people, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)…

DEVELOPING: Winter Storm Helena Set To Bring Dangerous Conditions to South and East

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 09:18 AM PST

Winter Storm Helena is beginning to spread its long-anticipated mess of snow and ice into the South, potentially snarling travel for days, as the threat…
Have These False Goddesses Infiltrated Your Church?

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 09:09 AM PST

(By Bret Farias) A number of decades ago, many people exited traditional and mainline denominational churches because their needs were not being met, and they…

Petitions piling up against Kim Burrell After Calling Homosexuality Perverted

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 09:04 AM PST

Pharrell Williams was slated to perform his song from the Hidden Figures soundtrack with gospel singer Kim Burrell on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Thursday….
Huckabee: US Betrayal at UN a Slap in the Face to Israel and Trump

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 08:56 AM PST

When the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334, they stated the Old City of Jerusalem was occupied Palestinian territory. Their claim either ignored or denied…
Israeli satellite spots launchers for Russian nuclear-capable missiles in Syria

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 08:48 AM PST

Russia has placed advanced surface-to-surface ballistic missiles in Syria, according to an Israelli satellite imaging company, which published satellite photos of the missile-launchers on Friday….

Trump to Ask Congress, Not Mexico, to Pay for Border Wall

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 07:21 PM PST

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has signaled to congressional Republican leaders that the President-elect’s preference is to fund the border wall through the appropriations process…
Revolutionary blood test ‘Can predict how long you’ll Live’

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:41 PM PST

Scientists have discovered a simple blood test technique which can help to predict how long people will live. They believe blood sample analysis can be…

3 Great Answers to ‘If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil in the World?’

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:29 PM PST

Probably one of the most popular and most asked question by many sceptics (and even Christians on many occasions as well) is this: “If God…
Chris Pratt Recounts the Moment He Came to Faith

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:22 PM PST

In a new interview, actor Chris Pratt gives God the credit for his current success as an actor and explains how feeling comfortable in his…
Evangelicals Join Muslims in Winning Support for Mosque Permit

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:18 PM PST

A group of Muslims in New Jersey, supported by Southern Baptists, civil rights organizations and other religious groups, have won the right to build a…
Paul Ryan: Defunding Planned Parenthood a ‘Priority’

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:16 PM PST

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the upcoming bill to overturn Obamacare will also defund Planned Parenthood. Ryan said Thursday that GOP lawmakers will…
Why and How a Man Should Keep Himself Pure

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:08 PM PST

(By Neil Kennedy)When societies lose the directional parameters of purpose, they cast off all restraint. The 1960s sexual revolution ushered in a degrading of America’s…
WikiLeaks’ Assange: ‘A 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta’ emails

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:04 PM PST

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an exclusive interview that a teenager could have hacked into Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John…

Israel’s “flying car” passenger drone moves closer to delivery

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:01 PM PST

After 15 years of development, an Israeli tech firm is optimistic it will finally get its 1,500 kg (1.5 tonne) passenger carrying drone off the…
House passes resolution condemning UN for Israeli action

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:43 PM PST

The House of representatives passed a resolution on Thursday condemning the UN Security Council for censuring Israel over its settlement enterprise, and calling on the…
Abbas to Israelis: Peace will ultimately come through dialogue, not UN

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:41 PM PST

In a meeting with hundreds of Israeli activists, writers and academics at the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that…
14ft-tall ‘anti-robot’ can carry human, run 50mph SILENTLY…

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:37 PM PST

A 14-foot-tall exo-bionic racing robot could soon be tearing across the Nevada desert. Exhibitors revealed the massive Prosthesis bot at CES 2017 in Las Vegas…
100-year flood strikes Denmark

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:05 PM PST

Water levels in parts of Denmark reached up to 177cm above normal on Thursday morning after a predicted winter storm swept through the nation. The…
Deadly hailstorm kills animals, injures residents and destroys homes in Argentina

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 03:53 PM PST

Giant hailstones destroyed, injured people and killed animals in several towns of Entre Ríos, Argentina on January 2, 2016. Hailstones measuring more than 10 cm…
Mexico gas price hike spurs looting, blockades as unrest spreads

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 03:48 PM PST

Mexicans angry over a double-digit hike in gasoline prices looted stores and blockaded roads on Wednesday, prompting over 250 arrests amid escalating unrest over the…
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Our Time is Short

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


What is The Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Do You Know Him?


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


What Is the Gospel?

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


A Message from God

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

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

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

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

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

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

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

God

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

Mankind

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

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

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

But . . .

Jesus Christ

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

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

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

Our Response

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

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

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


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


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


This is the Gospel:

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

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

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

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

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


A Gospel Presentation

God is Holy

The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created by God. And that God who has created everything has spoken to humanity in the Bible. And the Bible tells us that a fundamental characteristic of God is that He is holy. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” That’s a way of saying that He’s entirely pure. God’s character is one of perfect moral uprightness. He is the essence of all that is good—so much so that, as the verse says, He can have absolutely no fellowship with “darkness”—no fellowship with that which is not perfectly holy, righteous, and pure.

God’s righteous character was expressed in the law He gave to Moses and the Israelites. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments. They summarized the perfection of God’s character. These laws were directives for how people who were in a proper relationship with God must act.

We are Sinful

The problem is: all of us are sinful. We have all broken God’s law. All humanity has “gone astray like sheep, and each one of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve tried to live our lives without God, according to our own standards, in our own ways. Whether we’re drug addicts and murderers, or white collar, well-to-do, upstanding citizens, we do what we do because we want to do it, with no consideration for God and what He would have us to do. The Bible calls that sin. It is the missing of the mark, the falling short of God’s standard of righteousness.

And in your heart of hearts you know you’re a sinner. I don’t know anyone who would say that they are perfect, even by their own standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” And if God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all, then in order to have fellowship with Him, we’d need to be perfectly holy like Him. But we’re not. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are stained by the “darkness” of our sin. And this is a problem, because if darkness can’t dwell with light, and we’re darkness and God is light, we’re cut off from a relationship with Him. We become absolutely incapable of doing the very thing we were created and designed to do: to enjoy a relationship with our Creator.

There is a Penalty for Sin

But it’s not just that we and God can’t be friends. There’s a penalty to be paid for sin. The Bible tells us that that penalty is death, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” But the death that Paul talks about there isn’t just physical death. It’s not like we pay for our sins by going out of existence. The death talked about in that verse is a spiritual death. This is hell: eternal conscious torment. Jesus Himself calls it “a furnace of fire,” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50).

The idea of hell grates against the sensibilities of modern people, because nobody thinks they’re really bad enough to deserve something like eternal torment. They might admit that they’re not the greatest of people, but surely they don’t deserve that. But their reasoning is skewed. The punishment for sin isn’t merely measured by the sin itself. In other words, while there are qualitative differences in the experience of divine punishment, murder, lust, and lying all receive the sentence of an eternity in hell. That’s because punishment for sin is measured by the One sinned against. All sin is fundamentally a sin against God, and He is infinitely holy. Therefore, sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. That’s why the punishment is so serious: because God is actually that righteous.

And so the bad news is that we’re sinful, separated from God, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t simply tell God we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. What would you say about a judge who let a guilty, convicted criminal go free because he was sorry and said he wouldn’t do it again? You’d call him an unjust judge. But God is a perfectly just, perfectly righteous Judge. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and the only payment is eternal spiritual death.

God Became Man

But the Good News is: God saw the miserable condition of humanity, and took pity on us. He knew that there was no way we could ever earn our way back to Him. We could never pay for our sins. But just when man was absolutely hopeless, when we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell with no way to pay our penalty, God the Father sent His Son to the earth on a mission. He was miraculously born to a virgin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit miraculously conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was God. And being born to a human being, He was human. This is the greatest mystery in the universe. As finite human beings, we can’t entirely wrap our minds around this, but it’s true: Jesus was fully God and fully man.

He lived for 33 years on the earth. He grew up just like every other child. He became a carpenter like Joseph, His earthly father. The great difference, though, between Jesus and every other human being, was that He never sinned. Never once did He ever break God’s law. He always loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength in everything He did. He never sought satisfaction outside of the Father Himself. He never disobeyed His parents, He was never selfish, He never spoke sinful words. In a word, He lived the life that you and I should have lived, but failed to live. He lived a life totally worthy of God, a life that was purely “Light,” like we said before, with no darkness at all.

Jesus Paid the Penalty

And because He was perfectly righteous, He was fit to be the substitute for sinners. The Bible records for us that the Jews plotted to kill Jesus because He preached a message that was very different to the religious establishment of His day. It was against the Jewish law to put people to death, so they sought help from the Romans, who were the governing body in Israel. Because the governor, Pontius Pilate, feared that the people would riot if he didn’t give them what they wanted, he agreed to crucify Jesus.

At the same time, Scripture also tells us that God sent His Son to die this way. It was all part of God’s plan. God used the sinful desires of the Jews and the Romans to accomplish something for His own good purpose. On the cross, Jesus suffered for sins. But He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He had no sins. He lived an entirely perfect life. No, on the cross, God “caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

The verse right before that, Isaiah 53:5, says, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” What was happening on the cross was: God was carrying out the punishment against my sins—i.e., the pouring out of His wrath—on His innocent Son. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life in order to pay the penalty for sins. On the cross, God treated Jesus if He lived my life. And because I believe in Him, He treats me as if I lived Jesus’ life. See, because God is perfectly righteous, the only way to get to heaven is to be perfectly righteous. But because Jesus was perfectly righteous, and traded places with me on the cross, the perfect righteousness I need to go to heaven is His righteousness applied to my account.

After Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead three days later in order to show that He was satisfied with His sacrifice. Jesus was dead, but then He came back to life! It was a miracle. The Bible says God did this to “furnish proof to all men” that this message is true (Acts 17:30-31).


Law or Gospel — Which comes first?

Sometimes in life, the question is posed to us, “Which do you want first — the bad news or the good news?”

In response to this question, some choose to hear the good news first. It appears they desire to be thoroughly overwhelmed with the positive before getting their dose of the negative.

Others choose differently. They would rather hear the bad news first, get it out of the way, and put behind them their wonder and worry. Then, after processing the ramifications of the bad news, they hope to soothe the pain an end the conversation on a good note with positive vibes.

Well, Scripture does not offer us options. The Bible makes the choice for us, and it chooses to present the negative before the positive. The Bible declares bad news before declaring good news. It first presents the holy, wise, beneficial and condemning Law, then it publishes the “good tidings of great joy” or the Gospel. (Is. 60:1-2)

Understanding God’s Law

God’s Law was first presented in the opening chapters of Genesis. Some of it was stated; all of it was written upon man’s heart. Adam and Eve were to be entirely holy and obedient. They were to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, all the time. Whether they ate, or drank, or whatsoever they did, they were do to it all for the glory of God. As image-bearers, they were to keep up God’s image. As men and women created in his likeness, they were to be like God. Vocationally, they were to enjoy and steward the garden and all God’s creatures. Relationally, they were to love one another and populate the planet. Ceremonially, they were to enjoy and glorify the Lord by walking with him in the cool of the day and never eating from the forbidden tree. These were some of their obligations, and as long as they performed perfectly they were guaranteed life in the family and kingdom of God.

However, things soon went from glorious to ghastly. Outside of them, they experienced the testing of God and the temptation of Satan. Within them they chose to question God’s truth, wisdom, and affection. Then, drawn away by their own lusts and enticed, they followed their internal sinful inclinations and externally ate of the forbidden fruit. Therefore, the holy, wise, and beneficial Law became a harsh taskmaster. It showed them the standard, showed them their guilt, and plagued their consciences. It encouraged them to hide, fear, and religiously self-medicate. It declared them wicked, separated from God, at enmity with God, and deserving of death, and it promised this for both them and their children. Yes, the Law of God promised to give them that which they deserved. It promised to pay them based upon performance, and this proved to be very, very bad news.

Understanding God’s Gospel

God, through the Law declared to Adam and Eve who they were, what they had done, and what they had justly earned — condemnation. Then God mercifully, graciously, and lovingly went to work. He performed on their behalf and promised them an eternity of undeserved blessings:

He predetermined to love his enemies.
He sought out his enemies while they hid from him in fear.
He called to the man and woman who vainly had self-medicated themselves.
He promised to rescue them and their children; they would be removed from Satan’s family.
He promised to do so by means of a special Son – one to come who would be fiercely bitten yet ultimately victorious.
He promised to damn the Evil One.
He then covered or clothed Adam and Eve by means of his ceremonial sacrifice.
He perfectly performed for and made promises to them who had performed so wickedly for him.
Friends, are we seeing the difference? The Law presents our duty to perfectly perform, and it only results in bad news. For there is none who keep all the Law, all the time, both internally and externally. However, the Gospel is not like the Law. The Gospel presents not our duty to perform for God, but it presents God’s performance and promise for us. Through the Law we lose our credentials to be a part of God’s family and enjoy his kingdom. Through the Gospel we gain credentials that cannot be earned or lost.

A Great Illustration

Perhaps nowhere is the distinction better seen between Law and Gospel than on Calvary’s cross. On that day, the Law had placed a criminal beside Jesus. There he was guilty, vile, dying, hopeless, and still hurling insults at the Son of God. He was getting that which he earned and deserved. He was being treated justly and fairly. His payment was based upon his performance, and he had hell to pay. The Law had nothing good to say to the thief on the cross. But then God went to work; Jesus granted the Law-breaking criminal complete pardon, intimate communion, and never-ending paradise. These blessings were not based upon any labors of his own, but only based upon the performance and promise of God. These blessings were not earned; they were a gift. A divine swap occurred. Jesus (The Law Keeping Man) received that which he did not deserve so that the thief (The Law Breaking Man) might also receive that which he did not deserve. And this is a fantastic picture of the Gospel. Communion with God that was lost by man seeking to keep the Law, was granted to man as a gift of God.

Responding to the Gospel

Therefore, how should we respond to the Gospel? While believing in divine sovereignty, what is our human responsibility?

Let us make the Gospel our Gospel. Along with the Apostle Paul let us call it “mine.” The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit offer this gift to you. They command you to receive it and enjoy it. If you find yourself with faith, willing to repent and receive, call out to Jesus in prayer right now. Call Jesus, “My Jesus.” Call Jesus’ righteousness, “My Righteousness.” Call Jesus’ Gospel, “My Gospel.” (Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:8) Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. As a matter of fact, if you draw near to God, it is only because he has already been drawing nearer to you.

Let us not water down the Gospel. This is always our tendency, to add human works to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Friends, re-read the letter to the Galatians. If we must perform, it is not Gospel. If we must labor, it is not Gospel. If it involves our works, it is not Gospel. If it is conditioned upon us in anyway, it is not Gospel. If it is a contract, it is not Gospel. If it can be lost, it is not Gospel. The Gospel represents the unilateral work of God on behalf of men. The Law ought never be divorced from the Gospel, but it must never be confused either.

Let us celebrate the Gospel. William Tyndall wrote of the Gospel, “It makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” It is the best of news. It means we can sabbath. It means we can boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence. It means we are seen as Christlike image-bearers. Give God the celebratory praise he deserves. He has labored perfectly on your behalf, give him reverent and radical praise and worship.

Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. (Rom.1:16) Paul wrote, “Woe if I do not preach the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16) He wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who spread the Good News.” Friends, just as Adam and Eve were to physically reproduce, we are to spiritually reproduce around the world. This is our mission. This is our great mission. This is our Great Commission. Let us be humble, for we cannot make someone believe. Let us be zealous, for God has a tendency to honor those who labor hard. And let us become flexibly relevant in order to better spread the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:22-23) As Gospel-lovers and Gospel-beneficiants, let us do that which is Lawful and bring in the Gospel-harvest.

Then, let us live Lawfully in accordance with the Gospel. Now that we have been saved from having to perform, let us perform. Yes, with Gospel-eyes, let us look at the Law and enjoy practicing that which is holy, wise, beneficial, and worshipful. Living in the power of the Gospel, let us enjoy becoming more and more like Jesus — the Author and Finisher of our Faith. And when we look at the Law, let us not get frustrated and despondent. Instead, let us glory in the Law, for there is the description of who we are in Christ today, and it also shows us all we will be in glory tomorrow when our old flesh is finally exterminated.

Bottom line, the Law shows us how to perform for God, but the Gospel shows us how God performs for us. This is radical. This is crazy. This is beautiful. This is truth.


Our Response

And now, God promises that…

  • if you acknowledge that you are a sinner—that you have broken His law,
  • and if you admit that there is no way that you could earn His favor and His forgiveness,
  • and if you purpose to turn away from your life of sin and commit your life to Him,
  • and if you trust in Jesus’ righteousness alone for your acceptance before this holy God,

…then He will have treated Jesus as if He lived your life, and will treat you as if you lived Jesus’ life. You will be saved from the penalty of your sin, and will be able to enjoy fellowship with God forever in heaven, and even fellowship with Him starting now.

In other words, if you believe that you’re a sinner and deserve God’s punishment because of your sin, but you also believe that God sent Jesus to endure that punishment in your place, and that His sacrifice is the only way you can be forgiven, then God promises that He will forgive you and you will be saved. You’ll know the God who created you.

Don’t Waste Your Life

God designed your soul. And He designed you so that, just as a car engine is designed to run on gasoline, you’re designed to run on Him. He is what life is about. All of the disappointments, discouragements, and uncertainties of your life find their resolution in Him. And all of the satisfactions, fun experiences, and joys of life find their consummation in Him. Everything good in our lives is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us to the feast of God Himself. And everything bad in our lives is a reminder that life lived apart from knowing God in Christ is not the way it was meant to be.

And I also don’t want to see you waste your life. God created us for the purpose of rightly knowing and worshiping Him. That’s the meaning of life. That’s where true happiness and satisfaction are found. When you don’t live your life for that purpose, you waste it. So many people go through life seeking that happiness, but never find it because they don’t know what life is really about. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to suffer God’s wrath eternally for your sin. I want to spend eternity in heaven worshiping God with you, praising Him for how gracious He was to forgive our sins because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Receive Forgiveness

So would you receive Christ? Would you acknowledge your sinfulness before God and admit you can’t do a thing about it? Would you turn from your sin, and seek to live your life in submission to Jesus Christ? Would you trust in Jesus alone for your righteousness before God? Would you join me in worshiping the God we were created to know?

Source


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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Word of Faith: A Trinity of Errors

wof-money-is-goal

One of the most sickening things to happen to Christianity is the infiltration of the Word of Faith Movement. Those that adhere to this “theology” follow the most extreme of heretical doctrines. Word of Faith preachers are commonly seen on TV and many have amassed a large group of followers. How people are so naive as to buy into their beliefs is beyond me. Generally speaking they teach that God wants his people to be healthy, wealthy, and happy all the time, and that if you say the right words (I mean literally speak in the correct “formula”), in faith, then God is obligated to deliver. God is approached as some sort of Cosmic Genie in a bottle.

The Word of Faith (WOF) movement is false and twists Scripture in order to support their erroneous views and to continue enriching the Word of Faith leaders themselves. Many of them live in mansions, wear expensive designer clothes, drive the most prestigious vehicles, and some even have private jets. The teachers rationalize their lavish, wasteful lifestyles as being “proof” that the Word of Faith teachings are true.

Word of Faith is not an actual denomination nor does it have a rigid set standard or doctrinal creed or statement. Beliefs differ somewhat from teacher to teacher, but the vast majority profess that children of God have a “right” to the good things in life. All they have to do is believe and ask God correctly for what they want. Entire books have been written on the movement and the heresy and blasphemy taught within. I highly recommend Hank Hanegraaff’s “Christianity In Crisis: 21st Century,” John MacArthur’s “Charismatic Chaos” and “Strange Fire.” With this brief article I have narrowed it down to three of their main errors, a “trinity” of errors if you will.

The First False Teaching: Words are Encapsulated with Power

Literal words have actual power contained within them. That’s why people often refer to them as “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it.” WOF teachers will quote a verse like Matthew 11:24, emphasizing only the belief aspect of it: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (NIV).

The Bible, however, teaches that God’s will determines the answer to our prayers:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27, NIV).

Since God is a loving heavenly Father He gives us what is BEST for us, and only He is truly able of knowing precisely what that is. Numerous faithful Christians have prayed for healing from illness, disease, or disability and have remained unhealed. The leaders of this movement blame this fact on the one seeking God and praying for healing. They will claim something must be “in the way” of their prayer; their faith is not “strong” enough; or some other lame excuse. It’s ironic to note that many of those same Word of Faith preachers who claim healing is merely a prayer away are forced to wear eyeglasses, get cavities filled, and visit their doctors. It’s both hypocritical and potentially harmful to teach such nonsense.

False Teaching Number Two: God Wants Everyone to be Rich

Financial prosperity is a common thread among Word of Faith teachers, which has caused some to call their movement, or at least this part of their movement, the “prosperity gospel” or the “health and wealth gospel.”

Adherents claim that God is not only willing, but He is eager and excited to shower His worshipers with money, health, job promotions, large homes, and brand new cars, quoting verses like Malachi 3:10 in an attempt to validate their belief:

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (NIV).

There is a huge problem with this though. Among other things, the Bible contains numerous passages WARNING against the pursuit of money instead of God, such as 1 Timothy 6:9-11:

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (NIV).

Hebrews 13:5 warns us against always wanting more, which WOF clearly endorses:

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (NIV).

Wealth is not a sign of favor from God. The idea is simply ridiculous even at first glance. Many drug dealers, corrupt businessmen, and pornographers are extremely wealthy. And on the other side of the coin, millions of hardworking, honest, earnest Christians are poor and left wanting.

False Teaching Number Three: We are all Little Gods

I know, I know, you’re thinking there’s no way they can be this stupid. Well, they are. They teach that human beings are not only created in the image of God but literally are “little gods.” They teach that people are capable of controlling a “faith force,” reminiscent of Star Wars and “may the force be with you,” and have the power to actually bring their desires into being. They quote John 10:34 as their proof text:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are ‘gods”” (NIV)?

This Word of Faith teaching is blatant idolatry, it’s straight forward blasphemy. For starters, Jesus was quoting Psalm 82, which referred to judges as “gods”; Jesus was stating that HE was above judges as the Son of God.

Some of them even take it a step further and say that God is a man. In fact, Kenneth Copeland claims to have seen and spoke with God. He even goes on to describe God by giving an approximation of his height, weight, and hand width.

Christians believe there is only one God, in three Persons, the Trinity. Believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit but are in no way, shape, or form little gods. God is the Creator; humans are His creations. To attribute any type of divine power to humanity is explicitly unbiblical.*

*Article adapted from “3 Word of Faith Errors” by Jack Vazada on christianity.about.com.

 

[Contributed by Dr. Jeff Hagan, President at True Grace Ministries and Theological Institute]

Source: Word of Faith: A Trinity of Errors

16h ago

Evangelicals Should Be Deeply Troubled By Donald Trump’s Attempt to Mainstream Heresy

Most evangelical pastors I know would shake their heads at all of this. Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore tweeted, “Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.” Yet increasingly one wonders whether modified versions of the prosperity gospel — religion as personal therapy for our best life now — has become more mainstream than we realize.

Donald Trump & Paula White. Photo credit: Christian Today

The liberal Washington Post has an excellent piece by Michael Horton who is an author, speaker and J. Gresham Machen professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary.  Dr. Horton expresses his concern that Donald Trump’s inauguration will help to mainstream the heretical Word of Faith (WOF) movement. He points out that “Trump has surrounded himself with cadre of prosperity evangelists who cheerfully attack basic Christian doctrines. The focus of this unity is a gospel that is about as diametrically opposed to the biblical one as you can imagine.” According to Dr. Horton, WOF is “another religion.” Clearly, WOF is not historic, orthodox biblical Christianity for the reason that in the Faith system man is glorified and the God of the Bible is humiliated.

Now listen as a Christian theologian examines WOF teaching and reveals the reasons evangelicals should be alarmed by the people President-elect Trump chose to pray during his inauguration.  Dr. Horton writes:

Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration will include Paula White and possibly other members of his inner circle, Darrell Scott, “Apostle” Wayne T. Jackson and Mark Burns. They’re all televangelists who hail from the “prosperity gospel” camp. They advocate a brand of Pentecostal Christianity known as Word of Faith.

Inaugurations are always curious rituals of American civil religion. It would not be surprising to see a non-Christian religious leader participating. But what’s problematic for me as an evangelical is how Trump’s ceremony is helping to mainstream this heretical movement.

The prosperity gospel — the idea that God dispenses material wealth and health based on what we “decree” — is not just fluff. It’s also not just another branch of Pentecostalism, a tradition that emphasizes the continuation of the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues. It’s another religion.

One stream is represented by Norman Vincent Peale’s longtime bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking” (1952). The famous Manhattan pastor is Trump’s tenuous connection to Christianity, having heard the preacher frequently in his youth. For Peale and his protege, the late Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, the gospel of Christ’s death for human sin and resurrection for justification and everlasting life was transformed into a “feel-good” therapy. Self-esteem was the true salvation.

Another stream is represented by the most famous TV preachers, especially those associated with the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Paula White are the stars of this movement, known as Word of Faith.

The headwater for both streams is New Thought, formulated especially by Phineas Quimby, a late 19th-century mesmerist whose mind-cures attracted Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science. The basic idea of his “gnostic medicine” was that we’re sick only because we think bad thoughts. Illness and death are an illusion.

Harvard’s William James took note of the phenomenon in his 1902 classic, “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” He described it as “an optimistic scheme of life” rooted in Emerson and “spiritism,” suggesting that even “Hinduism has contributed a strain.” “But the most characteristic feature of the mind-cure movement is an inspiration much more direct,” he surmised. “The leaders in this faith have had an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded attitudes as such …”

The Word of Faith movement was largely the brainchild of E.W. Kenyon (1867-1948), who blended Quimby’s Emersonian transcendentalism with his more evangelical “Victorious Life” beliefs. “I know that I am healed,” he wrote, “because [God] said that I am healed and it makes no difference what the symptoms may be in my body.” Kenyon shaped many of the distinctive Word of Faith teachings, including the central idea of “positive confession.” “What I confess, I possess,” he said — in other words, “name it, claim it.”

As a student of Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin, revered as “granddaddy” in Word of Faith circles, gave the faith-healing movement its theological core. It included odd teachings about us all being “little gods.” Those who are born again, Hagin said, “are as much the incarnation [of God] as Jesus of Nazareth.” “You don’t have a God living in you,” says Hagin’s student Kenneth Copeland. “You are one.” Creflo Dollar adds, “[The] only human part of you is the flesh you’re wearing.”

Read More

Read another perspective on this topic: Is Donald Trump Mainstreaming Apostasy?

The post Evangelicals Should Be Deeply Troubled By Donald Trump’s Attempt to Mainstream Heresy appeared first on The Aquila Report.

January 6, 2017: Verse of the day

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As accurate as they were, in declaring the truth God did not merely depend on the oral, eyewitness accounts of the apostles. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit He superintended the recording of those experiences and thoughts in the inspired revelation of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter’s reply to those who would question the validity of his experiences is that believers have even a better source—the prophetic word made more sure—the Word of God. Some commentators contend the phrase indicates that the apostles’ experiences validated the Scripture, that glimpsing Jesus’ kingdom glory on the Mount of Transfiguration somehow confirmed the prophets’ predictions concerning His second coming. That is a possible interpretation, but the phrase’s literal rendering, “we have more sure the prophetic word,” recommends another interpretation. That is, as reliable and helpful as Peter’s experience was, the prophetic word of Scripture is more sure. Throughout redemptive history, God Himself has repeatedly emphasized that His inspired Word is inerrant, infallible, and the all-sufficient source of truth, which does not require human confirmation (Pss. 19:7; 119:160; John 17:17; 1 Cor. 2:10–14; 1 Thess. 2:13; cf. Prov. 6:23; Dan. 10:21, nkjv).

We in verse 19 is not an emphatic pronoun as it is in verse 18, where it refers to Peter, James, and John. Instead, this second usage refers generically to all believers. As a group they possess the Word, the source of God’s truth that is far more reliable than their collective experience, even as apostles. Second Corinthians 12:1 is a helpful example of the limitations of human experience as a source of truth: “Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.” The apostle Paul desired to defend his apostleship, but he appears to admit that personal visions and experiences—even of heaven —are not helpful, not substantial as defenses of God’s truth. That is because they are unverifiable, unrepeatable, and incomprehensible (vv. 2–4). Paul actually preferred to defend his apostleship with his suffering rather than with his supernatural visions (vv. 5–10). When the New Testament writers wrote about Christ and His promised return, they confirmed the truth of Old Testament Scripture (cf. Matt. 4:12–16; 12:19–20; 21:1–5; Luke 4:16–21; Rom. 15:3; Heb. 5:5–6; 1 Peter 2:6–7, 22; Rev. 19:10). Thus it was not the apostles’ experience but the inspired and inscripturated record of Christ’s life and words, penned by the Spirit-directed authors and contained in the New Testament, which validated the Old. That validation fit the Jews’ beliefs regarding the supremacy of written revelation, as Michael Green explains:

The Jews always preferred prophecy to the voice from heaven. Indeed they regarded the latter, the bath qōl, “daughter of the voice”, as an inferior substitute for revelation, since the days of prophecy had ceased. And as for the apostles, it is hard to overemphasize their regard for the Old Testament. One of their most powerful arguments for the truth of Christianity was the argument from prophecy (see the speeches in Acts, Rom. xv, i Peter ii, or the whole of Heb. or Rev.). In the word of God written, they sought absolute assurance, like their Master, for whom “it is written” sufficed to clinch an argument.… [Peter] is saying “If you don’t believe me, go to the Scriptures”. “The question”, says Calvin, “is not whether the prophets are more trustworthy than the gospel.” It is simply that “since the Jews were in no doubt that everything that the prophets taught came from God, it is no wonder that Peter says that their word is more sure”. (The Second General Epistle of Peter and the Epistle of Jude [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968], 87)

The expression the prophetic word in Peter’s day embraced the entire Old Testament. The expression extends beyond the passages of predictive prophecy to include all the inspired Word, which in general anticipated the coming of Messiah, as Paul made clear when he wrote:

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 16:25–27)

Jesus Himself affirmed that reality, saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me” (John 5:39; cf. Luke 24:27, 44–45). While the Lord was primarily speaking of Old Testament Scripture, the words are not limited to that. Scripture is Scripture, and what is true of the Old Testament is also true of New Testament Scripture (cf. 2 Peter 3:15–16, in which Peter calls the writings of Paul Scripture).

Peter asserts that his readers would do well to pay attention to the prophetic word. If they were going to be exposed to the subtle errors of the false teachers, it was imperative that they know and carefully heed Scripture so that they could reject false teachings (Ps. 17:4; Acts 18:28; Eph. 6:11, 17; cf. Matt. 4:4; 22:29; 1 Cor. 10:11; Rev. 22:19). To make his point even more direct, Peter offered a simple metaphor, comparing God’s Word to a lamp shining in a dark place. That figure of speech recalls the psalmist’s familiar words, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105; cf. v. 130; 43:3; Prov. 6:23). Dark (auchmēros) is the meaning that came from the original idea of this word, “dry,” or “parched,” then “dirty,” or “murky.” The phrase dark place encompasses the murky blackness of the fallen world that prevents people from seeing the truth until the lamp of divine revelation shines forth.

Thus Peter likens Scripture to a lantern that provides light to a dark and sinful world. The calendar of redemptive history moves toward a day God has designated for the glorious event when Jesus Christ returns in full, blazing splendor and majesty (Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Titus 2:13; Rev. 1:7; cf. Col. 3:4). When that day dawns, Christ will terminate the temporary earthly night of sin and spiritual darkness, returning in glory to establish His kingdom. The apostle John describes this in Revelation 19:11–16:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

The bittersweet event marks the climax of God’s salvation purpose and His judgment on the wicked (cf. Isa. 2:12; 13:6; Zeph. 1:14; 1 Cor. 1:8; 3:13; 4:5; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Peter 2:12).

Morning star (phōsphoros), which literally means “light bringer,” was the name for the planet Venus, which precedes the morning sun in the sky, and is used here for Christ, whose coming inaugurates the promised millennial kingdom and the establishment of His kingdom. Scripture in several places refers to Christ as a star (Num. 24:17; Rev. 2:28; 22:16; cf. Matt. 2:2). Peter adds the fact that the star arises in believers’ hearts. Christ will return in a blaze of physically visible, all-encompassing light that will affect everyone for blessing or cursing and change the millennial earth (3:10–13), eventually destroying the universe and replacing it with the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 20:11; 21:1). The reference to the hearts indicates His return will also transform believers into perfect reflections of the truth and righteousness of Christ and make them into the image of His glory (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 John 3:1–2). At His second coming, Christ will replace the perfect temporal revelation of Scripture with the perfect eternal revelation of His person. He will fulfill the written Word and write it forever on the hearts of the glorified saints.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

January 6, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

January 6

The Incomparable Christ

He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Colossians 1:17

Jesus Christ is the most incomparable personality of all human history.

Socrates taught forty years, Plato fifty, and Aristotle forty. Jesus’ public ministry lasted less than three years, yet the influence of His life far outweighs the combined 130 years of the three greatest philosophers of all antiquity.

Jesus never painted a picture, yet some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and many other artists found in Him their inspiration.

Jesus did not write poetry, but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets have been inspired by Him like no other. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the name of Jesus “is not so much written as ploughed into the history of this world.”

Jesus wrote no music, yet Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, Mendelssohn, and a myriad of others reached the highest perfection of melody in compositions about Him.

Jesus has affected human society like no other. The incomparable Christ is the good news. And what makes it such good news is that man is so undeserving but that God is so gracious.[1]


January 6 The Passion Fueling the Worthy Walk

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

Ephesians 4:1

✧✧✧

A passion for Christ is what compels us to live an exemplary life.

What do you think of when you hear the word beggar? You probably picture a haggard person in tattered clothes with an outstretched hand asking for money or food.

Would it surprise you to know that the apostle Paul was a beggar? He didn’t beg for money, though, but for people to follow Christ. The word translated “entreat” in this verse means “to call out to someone with intensity” or “to plead with someone.”

Paul pleaded with many people. He begged Herod Agrippa to hear the gospel (Acts 26:3). He told the church at Rome, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). To the Corinthians he said, “We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). When Paul was committed to some principle of divine truth, he implored people to respond. He didn’t approach the ministry with detachment or indifference.

Paul again feels compelled to beg in Ephesians 4:1: “I … entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” He doesn’t just coldly say, “It is essential that you walk worthy.” He begs them. Why? Because when you don’t walk worthy, God is not glorified in your life, you are not fully blessed, the church cannot fully function, and therefore the world cannot see Jesus Christ for who He is. So much depends on our worthy walk. Paul pleads with us, to show how vital it is.

Paul’s passion demonstrates an important truth: while knowledge is necessary in the Christian life, it is our desire to be like Christ that compels us toward righteousness. And when we have that desire, it will be natural for us to beg those around us to follow Christ as well.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you the heart of the apostle Paul who said, “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).

For Further Study: Read Philippians 3:7–14. What characterized Paul’s zeal? ✧ Which of these characteristics do you lack? Look for ways to bolster them as you daily work through this book.[2]


JANUARY 6

SPIRITUAL RECEPTIVITY

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

—Psalm 27:8

Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well-known Christians of post-biblical times….

I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis, I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision. As David put it neatly, “When thou saidst, Seek ye may face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). POG062-063

Lord, give me open ears, a quiet mind, a receptive heart and a willingness to obey. I commit before You my desire to acquire a “lifelong habit of spiritual response.” Amen. [3]


January 6

The Holy Spirit Validates Jesus

The heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.—Matt. 3:16b

About the supernatural sign that occurred at the conclusion of Jesus’ baptism, one commentator has suggested, “Just as the veil of the Temple was rent in twain to symbolize the perfect access of all men to God, so here the heavens are rent asunder to show how near God is to Jesus, and Jesus to God.”

But did Jesus really need an anointing from the Holy Spirit? When He came to earth, Jesus retained His full deity. In His complete humanity, however, He needed divine strengthening for ministry. Like any human being, Jesus experienced fatigue, hunger, sleepiness, and the like. Only the Holy Spirit could strengthen such humanness (cf. Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:14).

That the Spirit came upon Him at His baptism was a fulfillment of the prophet’s words, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” (Isa. 61:1). It was also the sign God had given to John the Baptist so that he would know Jesus when he saw Him (John 1:33).

This anointing by the Holy Spirit was unique in several ways, including being the only New Testament instance in which the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove. Most important, however, this act not only empowered Jesus as the Son of Man for redemptive service, but it was a confirming sign to everyone present—and to us as well—that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

ASK YOURSELF
If Jesus was dependent on the Spirit’s empowering for effective service, how much more do we need His help and strengthening? In what ways are you making yourself fully open to the Holy Spirit’s power and direction? Pray that He will make you ever aware of your need for Him.[4]

JANUARY 6

YES, GOD LOVES US

We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John 4:19

If we are to have any satisfying and lasting understanding of life, it must be divinely given. It begins with the confession that it is indeed the God who has revealed Himself to us who is the central pillar bearing up the universe. Believing that, we then go on to acknowledge that we have discovered His great eternal purpose for men and women made in His own image.

I heard a brilliant Canadian author being interviewed on the radio concerning world conditions, and he said: “I confess that our biggest mistake is the fond belief that we humans are special pets of Almighty God and that God has a special fondness for us as people.”

We have a good answer: Man as he was originally created is God’s beloved. Man in that sense is the beloved of the universe. God said, “I have made man in My image and man is to be above all other creatures. Redeemed man is to be even above the angels in the heavens. He is to enter into My presence pardoned and unashamed, to worship Me and to look on My face while the ages roll on!” No wonder we believe that God is the only certain foundation!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love for me. I pray that I will not act like a spoiled child but that my life will honor You in all my relationships.[5]


January 6 Identifying with Christ

“God … has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

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Christianity isn’t simply a belief system—it’s a whole new identity.

Many people mistakenly believe that one’s religious preference is irrelevant because all religions eventually lead to the same spiritual destination.

Such thinking is sheer folly, however, because Scripture declares that no one comes to God apart from Jesus (John 14:6). He is the only source of salvation (Acts 4:12) and the only One powerful enough to redeem us and hold us secure forever (John 10:28).

Every Christian shares a common supernatural union with Christ. Paul said, “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). We are in Him, and He is in us. His life flows through us by His Spirit, who indwells us (Rom. 8:9).

As a non-Christian, you were in bondage to evil (Rom. 3:10–12), enslaved to the will of Satan (1 John 5:19), under divine wrath (Rom. 1:18), spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1; 4:17–18), and without hope (Eph. 2:12). But at the moment of your salvation a dramatic change took place. You became a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), alive in Him (Eph. 2:5), enslaved to God (Rom. 6:22), and a recipient of divine grace (Eph. 2:8). When you came to Christ, you were “delivered … from the domain of darkness, and transferred … to the kingdom of [God’s] beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). You now possess His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and share in His eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:16–17).

All those blessings—and many more—are yours because you are in Christ. What a staggering reality! In a sense, what He is, you are. What He has, you have. Where He is, you are.

When the Father sees you, He sees you in Christ and blesses you accordingly. When others see you, do they see Christ in you? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His marvelous grace in taking you from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ. ✧ Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to live this day for His good pleasure.

For Further Study: Read the book of Ephesians, noting every occurrence of the phrase “in Christ.” ✧ What has God accomplished in Christ? ✧ What blessings are yours in Christ?[6]


JANUARY 6

THE BIBLE: MORE THAN A VOLUME OF FACTS

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 TIMOTHY 3:16

Charles G. Finney believed that Bible teaching without moral application could be worse than no teaching at all and could result in positive injury to the hearers. I used to feel that this might be an extreme position, but after years of observation have come around to it, or to a view almost identical with it.

There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Theology is a set of facts concerning God, man and the world. These facts may be and often are set forth as values in themselves; and there lies the snare both for the teacher and for the hearer.

The Bible is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon these facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages. Actually, no man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that.

Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 17). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

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

[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. 14). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

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

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Matthew 7:21 (NASB)

There are many false teachings in our time within the visible Church. What we must never forget is that there is nothing new under the Sun. The heresies we encounter now are actually very old. Some have been around a long time in their current form while others are recycled versions of an older heresy that was dealt with hundreds of years ago. Why should our enemy and his seed come up with new attacks when the old ones wreak havoc, deepen spiritual blindness, and keep people mired in man-made religiosity instead of becoming spirit-filled, obedient Christians?

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