Daily Archives: March 2, 2017

March 2, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report

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Mar. 2, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

The White House dismissed as a partisan attack questions about whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied during his confirmation hearing about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. while serving as a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump’s campaign. The Justice Department confirmed Wednesday that Sessions twice had contact last year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sessions testified during his Senate confirmation hearing Jan. 10 that he had no contacts with Russian officials.

House Republican leaders have a new version of their major Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. They just don’t want you to see it. The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept.

North Korea relations have fallen to their worst point in decades and talks are off the table until Kim Jong Un’s regime is ready to give up its nuclear weapons.

India’s largest pharmaceutical firms are looking to convince U.S. President Donald Trump that his promise to lower drug costs should take priority over his vow to make sure the medicines are made in America. One goal could be to win an exemption for generic drugs under any border-tax policy that is enacted in the U.S., it said.

President Trump’s administration will convene a meeting of at least 15 federal agencies Thursday as a first government-wide step toward crafting the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative.

The fewest Americans in almost 44 years filed applications to collect unemployment benefits last week, indicating the job market continues to power forward. Jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 223,000 in the week ended Feb. 25.

This year is shaping up to be the most synchronized for global growth since the immediate aftermath of the last recession, in a development that could ease the burden on the U.S. as the world’s economic engine. From robust Chinese factory data to faster inflation in Germany, just about all major economies are running at a decent clip, if not accelerating.

Banks globally have paid $321 billion in fines since 2008 for an abundance of regulatory failings from money laundering to market manipulation and terrorist financing, according to data from Boston Consulting Group.

AP Top Stories

Some 7,000 people have fled from villages around the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok because of Boko Haram attacks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.

Seven Baltimore police officers were arrested on Wednesday on federal racketeering charges for robbing and extorting up to $200,000 from victims, along with stealing guns and drugs.

Bright lava lit up the night sky on the Italian island of Sicily on Monday as Mount Etna erupted for the first time this year. The volcano, one of the most active in the world, has been largely dormant for the last two years.

The United States on Wednesday called on the U.N. Human Rights Council to drop its “obsession with Israel” amid reports that the Trump administration is considering quitting the body.

A Russian airstrike in northern Syria hit U.S.-backed Syrian Arab forces who are part of the fight against the Islamic State group, a senior U.S. general said Wednesday.

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday came down on the side of Democrats who charged that certain US electoral districts in Virginia were drawn to dilute the influence of black voters elsewhere in the state.

The University of California, San Francisco on Tuesday laid off 49 information technology (IT) employees and outsourced their work to a company based in India, ending a year-long process that has brought the public university under fire.

Russia and China on Tuesday vetoed a Western-backed UN resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syria over chemical weapons use, in the first clash at the Security Council since US President Donald Trump took office.

Lately, nations like China, Russia, and Iran have caught on to that fact, and have focused much of their defensives strategies on limiting America’s ability to come close to their borders and strike at will. This strategy, called anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD), uses weapons like ultra-quiet submarines, sea mines, cruise and ballistic “carrier-killer” missiles, drones, and other systems meant to hold U.S. forces at bay-or make the situation risky enough to deter the United States from advancing.

BBC

The Swedish government has decided to reintroduce military conscription – a move backed by the country’s MPs.The decision means that 4,000 men and women will be called up for service from 1 January 2018.

Zimbabwe’s High Court has outlawed corporal punishment for children both at school and in the home.

Water supplies have been restored in most of Chile’s capital Santiago after floods contaminated a major river providing most of the city’s water.

WND     Barack Obama is turning his new home in the posh Kalorama section of the nation’s capital – just two miles away from the White House – into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor, President Donald J. Trump.And Obama is being aided in his political crusade by his longtime consigliere, Valerie Jarrett, who has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion with the former president and Michelle Obama, long time best friends.

Disney is to move firmly into a new era as it introduces its first “exclusively gay moment”, disclosing the new version of Beauty and the Beast will star a manservant exploring his sexuality.

Thousands of Christians nationwide got her ashes on this Ash Wednesday with a side of sparkles. Glitter Ash project, created by New York nonprofit Parity, encouraged clergy to mix glitter into the ashes this year, to represent the inclusion of LGBT people in Christian life.


Top News – 3/2/2017

Hillary aide in hot water for swipe at widow of fallen SEAL
“You’re not helping your husband’s memory by standing there and clapping like an idiot’

At peace talks, Syria rebels urge Trump to correct Obama’s “catastrophic mistakes”
The lead Syrian opposition negotiator at peace talks in Geneva said he hoped U.S. President Donald Trump would correct the “catastrophic” errors of his predecessor Barack Obama to become a reliable partner against “devilish” Iran.

American claims to be rightful heir to the throne, plans to overthrow Prince Charles
The Colorado man says he has traced an unbroken line of primogeniture, the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child, back to the third century. It emerged last month that the US may become an “associate member” of the Commonwealth, thanks to President Donald Trump’s reported love of the UK and Queen Elizabeth II.

Jiminy Cricket! Disney Goes Gay
The folks who gave us Mickey Mouse and Goofy have decided it’s time for your children to enjoy same-sex romance while they slurp down their Fruit Loops. An audience scene shows two guys kissing and a later scene show two ladies sharing an intimate moment.

Rabbi’s Deathbed Vision: Angel Michael Bringing Mercy to Jewish People in Messianic Tumult
“In Jewish tradition, when a tzaddik (righteous man) is about to leave the world, he receives a greater vision, a form of prophecy,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Rabbi Edelstein was referring to the last chapter in Daniel that discusses the war of Gog and Magog preceding the Messiah.”

Israel Politician Predicts Mass Jewish Immigration From US in Wake of Rising Anti-Semitism
At a meeting on Monday of the Zionist Union party he heads, Herzog said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should prepare for massive “waves of immigration” of American Jews.

UN chief urged to add IDF to blacklist
A network of human rights and humanitarian organizations that aims to protect children in conflict is urging UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to add the Israel Defense Forces to the blacklist of countries and armed groups responsible for grave violations against children…Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict released its annual report ahead of the release of the UN’s annual report on children and armed conflict, which contains the blacklist that is usually released in May or June.

Antisemitic acts in US gain attention of Netanyahu, other Israeli leaders
Israeli leaders are increasingly speaking out against the rise in antisemitic incidents in the US, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who came under some criticism for not publicly commenting on the matter – saying on Wednesday that antisemitism is alive and world leaders need to clearly condemn it. “Antisemitism certainly has not disappeared, but there is much we can do to fight back,” he said in a video message to a conference of the Jewish People Policy Institute being held in Jerusalem.

Palmyra: Syrian forces ‘enter’ IS-held town
Syrian government forces have entered the ancient city of Palmyra, pushing back militants from so-called Islamic State (IS), activists say. The troops and their allies, backed by Russian air strikes, have reportedly seized part of a neighbourhood in the west of the city. The jihadists recaptured the Unesco-listed archaeological site in December from government forces.

China eyes global economic leadership as U.S. turns inward
This year, a 300-mile railway will begin slicing through Kenya, cutting travel time between the capital, Nairobi, and one of East Africa’s largest ports, Mombasa, from 12 to four hours and breeding hopes of an economic and tourism revival in the region. The country’s most significant transportation project since its independence in 1963 is being built courtesy of China.

Barack Obama’s close confidante Valerie Jarrett has moved into his new DC home
Barack Obama is turning his new home in the posh Kalorama section of the nation’s capital – just two miles away from the White House – into the nerve center of the mounting insurgency against his successor, President Donald J. Trump. Obama’s goal, according to a close family friend, is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.

Congress told to brace for ‘robotic soldiers’
House lawmakers were warned Wednesday that artificial intelligence could soon be used by potential adversaries in military operations. Jason Healey, a senior fellow on the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, told members of a House panel with oversight of the Pentagon that he expects the capabilities to be developed in the next decade.

Iran’s Navy to Benefit From an Expiring UN Ban, U.S. Study Says
Iran is likely to go on an international shopping spree for surface warships, submarines and anti-ship missiles after the expiration in 2020 of a United Nations resolution prohibiting it from acquiring sophisticated weapons, according to the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence. The expiration “will allow Iran to pursue foreign acquisitions that have been inaccessible since sanctions were imposed,” according to a new assessment of Iran’s naval forces, strategy and capability obtained by Bloomberg News.

Rocket fired from Gaza explodes on Ashkelon beach
A rocket exploded in Ashkelon beach after being fired from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, despite no Code Red siren being sounded. There were no casualties in the incident and no property was damaged. Shortly after the launch, Hamas began evacuating security posts for fear of an Israeli retribitive strike.

Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F
An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Sidekick LeFou Will Have Disney’s First ‘Gay Moment’
Disney’s live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast is set to lead the March box-office charge, with some analysts estimating that the lavish adaptation could earn upwards of $120 million during its opening weekend alone. That would make it a potential record-setter — although according to director Bill Condon, the film will also be blazing a new trail when it hits theaters, thanks to the fact that it will feature the studio’s first ever “exclusively gay moment.”

Art Bubble Bursting: Gauguin Painting Collapses 74% To $22 Million
Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev paid €54 million or $85 million for a landscape by Paul Gauguin in a private transaction in June 2008. Yesterday, he incurred a whopping 74% loss on his store of value “investment.”

Islam Set To Overtake Christianity As Most Popular Religion…
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and will overtake Christianity as the most popular before the end of this century, according to an analysis of religious surveys published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

New American Spy Satellite Launches on Classified Mission
A new American satellite soared into Earth orbit today (March 1), kicking off a reconnaissance mission that’s shrouded in secrecy. The NROL-79 satellite launched into space atop a two-stage United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket at 12:49 p.m. EST (1749 GMT) today, rising off a pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Scandal-hit François Fillon stays in French presidential race but rivals sense openings
Former French prime minister François Fillon defiantly refused to suspend his scandal-ridden presidential bid Wednesday, highlighting political weaknesses that could boost the campaign of the country’s far-right leader.

Abbas Aide: In Coming Months, Palestinian Authority Plans to Pressure International Bodies to Act Against Israel
In the coming months, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to pressure international institutions to act against Israel, a top Abbas aide said on Tuesday, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.


Barack Obama’s close confidante Valerie Jarrett has moved into his new DC home, which is now the nerve center for their plan to mastermind the insurgency against President Trump.

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U.S. Army Chooses Muslim To Be Chaplain To 14,000 Mostly Christian Soldiers!

A class action lawsuit should be filed immediately. This Muslim admits to proselytizing hours a day to other soldiers. In order for him to prevent ‘anti-Muslim’ incidents as he claims to do, he must lie about Islam’s true intentions which is permitted under Islam (Taquiyya). Christian soldiers should have a Christian chaplain who will use the Bible as a guide, not the Quran.

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DNC Deputy Keith Ellison’s Islamic Agenda for Congress

By Paul Sperry

And he has a plan to make it happen, says former CAIR intern.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the new deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and the first Muslim elected to Congress, has a plan to recruit additional Muslim lawmakers like him — including possible candidates sponsored by a terror-tied Islamist group for which he helped raise millions of dollars, according to a source who once prayed alongside him in the basement of the Capitol.

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Disney goes gay – Todd Starnes

The folks who gave us Mickey Mouse and Goofy have decided it’s time for your children to enjoy same-sex romance while they slurp down their Fruit Loops.

View Article


New Report Says Islam Will Surpass Christianity And Become The Largest Religion In The World

Mecca - Public DomainIf current trends continue, Islam is on track to become the largest religion in the entire world by the end of this century according a stunning new report that was just released by the Pew Research Center. While it is true that Christianity is still growing on a global basis, it is not growing nearly as rapidly as Islam. So unless something changes, Christianity will only be the second largest faith in the world by the year 2070. According to this newly released report, Islam is the only major religion that is growing faster than the global population overall, and it is being projected that the number of Muslims on the planet will rise by a staggering 73 percent between 2010 and 2050(Read More…)


11 Quotes From Trump’s Speech To Congress That Show That The U.S. Economy Is In A State Of Collapse

Donald Trump's Speech To A Joint Session Of Congress - Public DomainAfter Tuesday night, nobody should have any more doubt that the U.S. economy has been in the process of collapsing.  Donald Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress is being hailed as his best speech ever.  Even CNN’s Van Jones praised Trump, which shocked many observers.  Jones said that when Trump honored the widow of slain Navy Seal Ryan Owens that it “was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics”, and Jones believes that Trump “became President of the United States in that moment”.  But Trump’s speech is not just being praised for that one moment.  He detailed many of the most important problems that our nation is facing, and he explained his prescription for addressing those problems. (Read More…)


The Gender Identity Crisis for Today’s Kids

In a piece over at LifeZette Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician, declares: “When bathroom use at school is up for grabs, so are the psyches of immature children — shame on those with an agenda.”  Dr. Meeker explains why all children are confused by the bathroom controversy:

It’s been almost a year since I wrote about the issue of transgender students and bathrooms in schools, and it is time to revisit the subject.

One week ago, the Trump administration rescinded federal policies put in place by the Obama administration that allowed transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms and facilities that correspond with their declared gender identity. It is now an issue that will be dealt with on a state-by-state basis.

Writing as a pediatrician, not a political spokesperson, who has treated thousands of children over the past 30 years, it is imperative that we consider the emotional and physical health of every child when we make decisions that affect all of those children.

View article →


Top Headlines – 3/2/2017

  • Data-Dependent Yellen Running Out of Reasons to Hold Rates Still (Read More)
  • Dollar rises, global stocks hold highs on March Fed rate hike bets (Read More)
  • Pelosi calls on Sessions to quit after Post discloses Russia contacts (Read More)
  • Euro-Area Inflation Hits 2 Percent as ECB Debates Policy (Read More)
  • Snap IPO Values Company at Twice Facebook’s Multiple  (Read More)
  • SEC advisory committee to question Snap’s transparency for investors (Read More)
  • Trump administration has found only $20 million in existing funds for wall (Read More)
  • White House to Remove Iraq From Travel-Ban List in New Order (Read More)
  • French presidential candidate Macron criticizes Trump’s policies (Read More)
  • Has Trump Already Sidelined His Secretary of State?  (Read More)
  • White House: Conway Pushed Fashion Line ‘Inadvertently’ (Read More)
  • Trump’s World Increasingly Shaped by Fox News, and Fox by Trump  (Read More)
  • Behind scenes, Ivanka encouraged Trump’s change of tone (Read More)
  • Fewer workers, higher wages: Japan Inc feels demographic pinch (Read More)
  • Yuan’s Calm Faces Test With Dollar Rally as Fed Rate Bets Surge (Read More)
  • Watch U.S. Oil Drilling Collapse???and Rise Again (Read More)
  • AmEx to Boost Perks on Platinum Rewards Card (Read More)
  • Colleges Could Lose Billions If They Defy Trump (Read More)
  • Credit Suisse sees more lending to the world’s wealthy (Read More)
  • Behind the Bridgewater Shakeup: Ray Dalio’s Unorthodox Culture (Read More)
  • AI Scientists Gather to Plot Doomsday Scenarios (and Solutions)  (Read More)
  • Bitcoin’s ‘creator’ joins gambler in patent venture (Read More)

Abbas No. 2 is okay with one democratic state, but says Israel won’t ever be

US reconsidering membership in UN council, urges end to Israel ‘obsession’

Netanyahu says he pitched Trump on US exit from UN Human Rights Council

Netanyahu praises Trump for ‘strong stance’ against anti-Semitism

With Anti-Semitic Acts in Headlines, Cuomo Plans to Visit Israel

Homeland Security offers support to Jewish communities amid bomb threats

Muslim veterans offer to guard Jewish sites across US

Jewish leaders fearful of recent anti-Semitic incidents

Jordan demands Israel to stop damaging Al-Aqsa Mosque

Terrorist sneaks into outpost, stabs man as family watches

UN urged to add IDF to list of child rights violators

Iran, Turkey presidents meet to defuse tensions

UN atomic chief set to meet Tillerson to discuss Iran

Iran’s Navy to Benefit From an Expiring UN Ban, U.S. Study Says

Iranian film hails demise of US Navy in imagined Gulf battle

Iran axis in Syria leads Israeli security concerns, top official says

US commander downplays chance of big Iraq, Syria troop hike

Turkey, Syrian rebels attack US-backed militia

Russian Airstrike in Syria Hits U.S. Allies by Mistake

U.N. Investigators Say Syria Bombed Convoy and Did So Deliberately

UN panel to share Syrian war crime suspects list

Syria conflict: All parties committed war crimes in Aleppo – UN

Syrian government puts “terrorism” on Geneva agenda

Senior al Qaeda leader killed by CIA drone strike

Two British medics killed working for IS

Hezbollah: Syrian government forces capture Palmyra citadel

Archaeologists uncover hidden ancient palace of Sennacherib underneath site of Jonah’s Tomb

Austerity? Not on This Saudi Itinerary

Taliban suicide bombings in Afghan capital kill 3, wound 50

Malaysia to deport North Korean detained in airport murder probe

Former US CIA Chief Sees Assassination of Kim Jong Nam as Strategic Move

White House explores options, including use of military force, to counter North Korean threat

Russia-backed rebels take over factories, mines in Ukraine

Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions under fire over Russia meetings

Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose

Fake News: Media, Democrats Distort Remarks to Target Jeff Sessions

White House staff told to preserve Russia-related materials

Obama administration reportedly raced to preserve intelligence on possible contact between Russians and Trump associates

Trump pitches 37 percent cut to State Department budget

Trump administration has found only $20 million in existing funds for wall

Mexican company: We’d help with border wall

Immigrant detained after press conference

Media left and right give Trump’s speech thumbs up

Trump supporters praise softer tone in address to Congress

Pence on who helped craft Trump’s speech: ‘This was all him’

Pence: Americans saw the president I work with every day

Taya Kyle: Backlash to Trump’s SEAL Widow Tribute ‘Makes Me Sick to My Stomach’

Tomi Rips ‘Condescending’ Liberals for Calling Navy SEAL’s Widow a ‘Prop’

Ex-Clinton volunteer slammed, loses job, after swipe at widow of fallen SEAL

Holder: Obama preparing to get back into political spotlight to help the new National Democratic Redistricting Committee

Senate Dems continue fight to see Trump’s tax returns after House setbacks

Dow busts through 21,000 threshold on feel-good Trump message

Dollar rises, global stocks hold highs on March Fed rate hike bets

Venezuela is down to its last $10 billion

China eyes global economic leadership as U.S. turns inward

Former President George W. Bush warns against ‘isolationist tendency’ in US

Facebook turns to artificial intelligence to tackle suicides

Congress told to brace for ‘robotic soldiers’

New American Spy Satellite Launches on Classified Mission

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Samsat, Turkey

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Anchor Point, Alaska

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Atka, Alaska

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Amberley, New Zealand

Oklahoma considered at ‘significant potential’ for damaging earthquakes

Oklahoma’s earthquake threat now equals California’s because of man-made temblors, USGS says

3 million Americans at risk from human-induced earthquakes this year

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 33,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 30,000ft

Chirinkotan volcano in the Kuril Islands erupts to 18,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 13,000ft

Storm Chaser Gets Up Close to Huge Tornado in North Illinois

Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5F

D.C.’s historic cherry blossoms to reach earliest peak bloom in history

California faces $50 billion bill for flood control

FBI’s Comey: Mexican drug cartels fueling US heroin epidemic

Republicans Hide New Obamacare Draft Under Shroud of Secrecy

Top Sunni cleric lashes out against abortion, globalization

Franklin Graham: Supporting Planned Parenthood is Like ‘Raising Money to Fund a Nazi Death Camp’

Where are the most difficult places in the world to be gay or transgender?

2 trans Pakistani women tortured to death by Saudi police

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Sidekick LeFou Will Have Disney’s First ‘Gay Moment’

Corporations Show Support for Transgender Boy in Supreme Court Case

Former Secret Service Uniformed Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexting Minors

Over 100 Conservative Leaders Urge Trump to Sign Religious Freedom Executive Order

Five Reasons to Not Observe Lent

‘Glitter’ Ash Wednesday: Churches show LGBTQ support

TBN Promotes The Shack with Restoring The Shack Series

UK Preachers Found Guilty of Intentionally Alarming the Public. Prosecutor Says ‘Jesus Is Only Way to God Cannot Be Truth’

ISIS’ Destruction of Tomb of Jonah Uncovers Ancient Palace of Biblical King Sennacherib

Woman Dies During Exorcism After Being Stripped Naked, Thrown Into Fire to ‘Drive Out Demons’

Wisconsin Teacher Placed on Leave After Using Ouija Board in Kindergarten Class

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:59 AM PST

A public school teacher in Wisconsin has been placed on leave after using an Ouija board in her kindergarten classroom. The incident occurred at Zablocki…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Indiana Bill Reignites Decades Old Debate Over Prayer in Schools

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:48 AM PST

A state bill coming out of the Indiana House of Representatives is giving new life to the decades old debate over prayer in school. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Over 100 Conservative Leaders Urge Trump to Sign Religious Freedom Executive Order

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:42 AM PST

Over 100 conservative leaders have signed a letter urging President Donald Trump to sign an executive order on religious freedom that will protect the rights…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor and Wife Arrested for Homeschooling Children in Cuba

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:33 AM PST

A pastor and his wife have been arrested in Cuba for homeschooling their children, according to Mike Donnelly, director of global outreach for the Home…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christian Worship to Be Replaced with Multi-Faith Assemblies in British Schools

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:28 AM PST

A Labour-run London council has become the first nationwide to allow its schools to opt out of providing Christian assemblies. State-funded non-faith schools are required…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Three million Americans at risk from man-made quakes…

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:22 AM PST

Three million Americans, primarily in Oklahoma and Kansas, are at risk from human-induced earthquakes this year, the U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday. That’s the conclusion…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

California Man spends $50,000, 100 procedures to transform into ‘Genderless’ ALIEN

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:18 AM PST

A man has spent $50,000 (£40,000) on plastic surgery to become an alien – and could soon have his genitalia removed. Vinny Ohh, 22, from…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

AI Scientists Gather to Plot Doomsday Scenarios…

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:13 AM PST

Artificial intelligence boosters predict a brave new world of flying cars and cancer cures. Detractors worry about a future where humans are enslaved to an…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Disney Airs First “Gay Kiss” Cartoon Scene

Posted: 02 Mar 2017 07:07 AM PST

(Reported By Todd Starnes) The folks who gave us Mickey Mouse and Goofy have decided it’s time for your children to enjoy same-sex romance while…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

11 Quotes From Trump’s Speech To Congress That Show That The U.S. Economy Is In A State Of Collapse

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 06:30 PM PST

(Reported By Michael Snyder) After Tuesday night, nobody should have any more doubt that the U.S. economy has been in the process of collapsing. Donald…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Hershey’s Cutting More than 2,000 Jobs

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 06:14 PM PST

The candy maker said Tuesday that it’ll cut its global workforce by about 15%, which likely amounts to about 2,700 people. The company employs about…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WHO Releases List Of World’s Deadliest Superbugs

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 06:05 PM PST

The World Health Organization has drawn up a list of the drug-resistant bacteria that pose the biggest threat to human health. Top of the list…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sudan Fears Muslims Will Be Led to Jesus, ‘Declares War Against Christians’

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 05:59 PM PST

A Christian pastor in Sudan says the government has “declared war against Christians” because it’s fearful Muslims will be led to Jesus Christ, which is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Air Force removes posters referencing Faith from Langley AFB following complaints

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 05:51 PM PST

Officials at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, removed several posters after the National Organization for Women and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Franklin Graham Warns Christians Against Oscar-Winning ‘Moonlight’s LGBT Agenda

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 05:39 PM PST

Leading evangelist Franklin Graham has called the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight” an example of how the LGBT agenda is trying to make “sin more culturally acceptable.”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Oldest fossil ever found on Earth shows alien life on Mars likely…

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 05:30 PM PST

It’s life, but not as we know it. The oldest fossil ever discovered on Earth shows that organisms were thriving 4.2 billion years ago, hundreds…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DECLINE OF AMERICA: 3 Key Moments That Led to America’s Moral Tipping Point

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 12:47 PM PST

(By Larry Tomczak)  Do you find yourself engaged with people trying to figure out what’s happening to America? Are you trying to sort it all…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is Humanity Witnessing the Emergence of the “One World Religion”?

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 12:33 PM PST

In her popular, controversial religious-themed mystery, Forgotten Word, author Sam Jane Brown predicts the coming “One-World Religion” that will be imposed upon humanity by the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Research Reveals Disturbing Trend Among America’s Pastors

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 12:27 PM PST

A landmark new study by Barna Group, conducted in partnership with Pepperdine University, offers a revealing look into the lives of America’s pastors. Drawn from…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Deadly Outbreak Of Avian Cholera Wipes Out Over 4,200 Birds In Idaho

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 12:21 PM PST

Wildlife officials estimate that more than 4,200 birds have died from an avian cholera outbreak that started in early February. The outbreak has occurred on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Kentucky House Passes Bill Authorizing Elective Social Studies Courses on the Bible

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 12:08 PM PST

The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a bill that authorizes the creation of elective social studies courses on the Bible in public schools. House…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Man Claims He Sees Face Of Jesus in Buttered Toast

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:59 AM PST

A man in Windham believes a holy depiction has graced his piece of buttered toast. George Maley’s son, Andrew told NEWS CENTER, “I thought [dad]…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Disney goes ‘Gay’ in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:51 AM PST

It built its reputation on princesses finding their prince, living happily ever after in storylines which set the benchmark for romance for generations of children….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMOR OF WAR: Is Trump’s Defense Build-Up Preparing for War?

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:43 AM PST

President Donald Trump told members of the National Governors Association Monday he is proposing a $54-billion increase in U.S. defense spending. Is the 10% buildup…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is Something Strange Happening Inside The Earth?

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:37 AM PST

(By Micahel Snyder) Why are “giant fountains of lava” suddenly pouring out of some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the entire planet, and why…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

FALLING AWAY: Number of Professing Christians Ignorant of the Bible

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:31 AM PST

Millions of Americans call themselves Christians, but how does their faith shape their worldview? A new Barna Group study says, “not so much.” Researchers asked…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RISE OF ISLAM: Islam Set To Overtake Christianity As Most Popular Religion…

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:27 AM PST

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and will overtake Christianity as the most popular before the end of this century, according to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Deadly storm that sparked 24 tornadoes moves East

Posted: 01 Mar 2017 11:07 AM PST

A spring-like storm system that killed at least three people as it spawned tornadoes and destroyed more than 100 homes in the central U.S. rumbled…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


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What is The Gospel? (Video and Tract Collection)

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Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray

The Master’s Seminary is pleased to announce the publication of a new book, Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray.

This volume serves as a sequel to Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong.

The book’s contributors are comprised of TMS professors and/or pastors at Grace Community Church. Here is a list of the chapters included in this volume:

Foreword by John MacArthur

Section 1: The Church and Contemporary Issues

Chapter 1: When the Church Goes Astray: Evangelicalism’s Misguided Quest for Popularity and Prestige (Nathan Busenitz)

Chapter 2: Rock-Star Religion: Countering the Church’s Celebrity Culture (Tom Patton)

Chapter 3: The Crescent and the Cross: Engaging Muslims for the Sake of the Gospel (William D. Barrick)

Chapter 4: When Truth Meets Love: The Church’s Response to Homosexuality (Alex Montoya)

Chapter 5: Is This Jesus Calling? Evaluating a Bestselling Book in Light of Biblical Truth (Jesse Johnson)

Section 2: The Church and Sound Doctrine

Chapter 6: Who’s In Charge of Your Church? Submitting to the Headship of Christ in Everything (Michael Mahoney)

Chapter 7: Nothing But the Truth: Why We Cannot Compromise Our Commitment to Scripture (Abner Chou)

Chapter 8: The Hallmarks of Heresy: Discerning the Difference Between Doctrinal Confusion and False Teaching (Michael Riccardi)

Chapter 9: The Charismatic Question: Are the Miraculous Gifts Still in Operation Today? (Nathan Busenitz)

Chapter 10: Things That Should Not Be Forgotten: Why Church Leaders Should Care about Church History (Nathan Busenitz)

Section 3: The Church and the Great Commission

Chapter 11: To the Ends of the Earth: God’s Global Agenda to Reach the Lost (Irv Busenitz)

Chapter 12: Compassion Without Compromise: Thinking About Social Justice in Light of the Great Commission (Jesse Johnson)

Chapter 13: Fit for the Master’s Use: Proclaiming the Gospel from a Platform of Personal Piety (Carl Hargrove)

Chapter 14: Global Risk Assessment: Threatening Trends Within Evangelical Missions (Mark Tatlock)

Chapter 15: To the Praise of His Glory: A Call to Remember the Church’s Ultimate Priority (James Mook)

The post Right Thinking in a Church Gone Astray appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

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Matt Chandler and Village Church Endorses Lent

Evangelical hipster, and the go-to boy when it comes to building the bridge between pop-culture and mainstream evangelicalism, Matt Chandler, is at it once again.Recently, Village Church was exposed for building partnerships with radical Islamic groups for the promotion of the social gospel. While he is well known for dabbling in questionable theology, and promoting mysticism within the church without pushing the envelope far enough to make the good-ole-boys too uncomfortable, he’s not stopping short of once again encouraging his followers to slip into a state of mindless buff.

In a recent video, Matt Chandler talked about Lent, and how Christians should consider practicing what he calls “the gift of Lent.” In the video he says,

I want to encourage you… to reconsider as a Christian how Lent might come into your other disciplines and begin to shape you as a follower of Jesus Christ. Lent has historically been used by the people of God for thousands of years to turn their attention to Jesus heading towards Jerusalem to die for our sins. It’s the way that the church has prepared its heart for Easter, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

Mar 1 2017 3-33 PM

What he fails to acknowledge is the true history of Lent, and larger ramifications of observing an unbiblical tradition in unison with a religion that is the enemy of the Gospel. Lent is a Roman Catholic tradition practiced by the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church is not part of the true Church of Jesus Christ. While he acknowledges some of the arguments against the practice, he justifies the practice by attempting to redefine it. Lent is nothing more than an empty man-made tradition–it has nothing to do with the historical people of God nor the church. Chandler continues, saying that each time we “want” something that we’ve given up for Lent, we would be reminded of the suffering of Christ. But Jesus already gave us a way to remember Him, and that’s laid out in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 (another practice that the false church of Rome has perverted),

…and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

According to Catholicism, Lent is observed in respect to the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting, however, there is no observance of Lent for several centuries after the crucifixion. Usually the observance of Lent is connected with giving up some kind of food, a television show, or some other bad habit for the 40 days before the Easter holiday. It is alleged that Lent is a form of self-denial, and a way to connect with the experience of self-denial that Jesus went through.

But there is absolutely no mention of a season of Lent in Scripture, and have never been Christians or Jews commissioned to observe such a tradition. The true history of Lent can actually be traced back to the worship of the Babylonian goddess Ashtoreth, or Ishtar. Alexander Hislop, in his classic work, The Two Babylons, in the section entitled, Easter, explains the origin of the Lenten fast:

The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, “in the spring of the year,” is still observed by the Yezidis, or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, where he gives account of Mexican observances: “Three days after the vernal equinox… began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun.” Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt, as may be seen on consulting Wilkinson’s Egyptians. This Egyptian Lent of forty days, we are informed by Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god.

Hislop also states:

Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the ‘month of Tammuz;’ in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, some time in April. To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity — now far sunk in idolatry — in this as in so many other things, to shake hands.

It is no doubt that Rome is a melting pot for world religions, and still is today. It is well known for mixing Pagan idolatry, observed through the veneration of the saints and Mary, with a Christian theme. However, there is no saving Gospel within the doctrines of Romanism. Rome, since ancient times, has been nothing more than a religio-political system with the aim of world domination through whatever means necessary, be it politics, violence, or total control of your soul through religion. It is no different now, and Rome’s agents are working hard to blur the lines of mainstream Evangelicalism with Catholicism.

While watching Chandler’s video and listening to his reasoning on the subject, on the surface, it seems that his motives for doing so are benign. He takes the stance that the observance of Lent can be good if done so with Scriptural motives, and prayer and fasting are almost always considered worthy undertakings in Scripture. However, Scripture never calls for a public or corporate form of fasting as practiced in the tradition of Lent. Those who do fast are supposed to look and act as though they are not (Matthew 16:16-18). However, this observance of fasting during the season of Lent has become a commercialized mockery of biblical fasting, with people plastering advertisements all over social media of what they are “giving up for Lent,” and “how hard it is” to do so.

Traditionally, the celebration of Lent is more than just fasting and prayer. In Catholicism, there are a number of mystical aspects that also are at play. During this Catholic season, a mystical custom known as The Stations of the Cross is practiced. It’s a method of going through a series of artistic representations of the steps Jesus took while carrying his cross to his crucifixion. The idea behind the practice is that through these artistic representations, often un-biblical, one’s emotions are supposed to be evoked to the point of sorrow, and identification with Christ. However, this practice is condemned in Scripture. Sadly, many Evangelical churches, including Rick Warren’s Saddleback, are adopting a form of this practice today, further muddying the waters between Catholicism and Christianity.

I also find it rather interesting that Chandler’s Lent guide put out by his church is filled with Puritan prayers from the Valley of Vision. Considering it was the Puritans stance to abstain from man-made traditions such as Lent, I find it highly suspicious that Chandler would use these as a means to observe the practice. It’s not that the substance of the guide itself is merely unscriptural, in many ways it is perfectly fine, and would otherwise be a great devotional, but the bigger issue here is the attempt to connect Roman Catholicism with Biblical Christianity through the ecumenical practice of a man-made tradition. The Protestant reformation was based on the view that the Roman Catholic church was apostate, and that Biblical Christianity should stand apart from, and distinct from the Pagan traditions of Rome. However, Chandler, (and he’s not the only one) seem to have lost their grasp on this highly important historical concept, and without a second thought, are helping to reverse the Reformation.

…what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? –2 Corinthians 6:15

For more information on why Protestants shouldn’t observe Lent, see Five Reasons Not To Observe Lent

[Contributed by Jeff Maples]

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Paul’s Gospel Essentials: Resurrection and Eyewitnesses

1 Corinthians 15:4-8

Code: B170302

John MacArthur

[Note from the Editor: This week’s blog posts are adapted from John MacArthur’s newest book The Gospel According to Paul, and also correlate with our current radio series. Click here to order a copy of the book, or here to listen to the radio broadcast.]

The message of salvation should always build to a climax. And that was certainly the blueprint Paul followed:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared. (1 Corinthians 15:1,3–5).

When Paul proclaimed the gospel, he presented the fundamental issues (either implicitly or explicitly) of people’s sins against God and Christ’s atoning work on behalf of sinners—a propitiation to appease God’s just wrath. Paul also emphasized the historical fact that Christ’s atonement resulted in His literal physical death. Of course, the story doesn’t end there—those events set the scene for the pinnacle of Paul’s gospel preaching.

Resurrection

The glorious truth that makes the gospel of Jesus Christ such good news is “that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4). In the words of the angel at the empty tomb: “He has risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6).

We need to be mindful of the fact that Paul’s primary concern in 1 Corinthians 15 is the doctrine of bodily resurrection. This is by far the longest chapter in the New Testament epistles. Its importance is proportional to its length. Of all the truths Christians affirm, none is more essential to our faith than a belief in literal, bodily resurrection. That starts, of course, with the literal resurrection of Christ’s physical body, and (as Paul argues meticulously in this long chapter) it extends to the literal resurrection of our own bodies. Without that article of faith, Paul says, everything else about Christianity dissolves into irrelevance:

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men the most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:17–19)

What follows immediately is a triumphant confession: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The resurrection is God’s seal of approval on the atoning work of Christ. On the cross, just before He bowed His head and yielded up His spirit, Jesus said, “It is finished!” In the resurrection, God the Father added His amen. In Romans 1:4, Paul wrote that Christ was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness.” Paul likewise told the intellectuals of Athens, “[God] has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). In other words, the resurrection of Christ is the ultimate proof of the truth of the gospel.

Christ’s resurrection is the central point around which all biblical truth revolves. It represents the culmination and triumph of every righteous expectation that preceded it, starting with Job 19:25–27 (“I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another”). It is the basis for the apostles’ unshakable faith and the pivotal point in the message they proclaimed. It is the living guarantee of every divine promise from the beginning to the end of Scripture. Every other miracle described in Scripture—including creation—pales in significance by comparison.

Although all four gospels bear witness that Christ had repeatedly foretold His own resurrection (Matthew 20:19; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; John 2:19–21; 10:18), the disciples were not predisposed to believe it. They were clearly surprised—even inclined to skepticism—when they found the empty grave. Thomas was emphatic: “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

But after His multiple appearances, often in the presence of multiple eyewitnesses, they were so firmly convinced of the truth of the resurrection that no argument, no threat, no form of torture could silence them. All of them ultimately gave their lives rather than deny the resurrection. After all, they had seen Him, touched Him, eaten with Him, and fellowshipped with Him after the resurrection. That explains the amazing boldness and determination with which they carried the gospel to the nations. “We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

Resurrection Eyewitnesses

That eyewitness testimony is the fourth and final point of history Paul cites in his outline of gospel facts in 1 Corinthians 15. He underscores the fact that it was not just the inner circle of apostles who saw the risen Christ. There were literally hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection—“more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6).

It’s as if he is saying, “Don’t take my word for it. Go ask these people.” They were, after all, easy to find, because they had fanned out over the Roman Empire and into all the known parts of the world beyond, proclaiming the message of Christ. In the words of those who despised them, these witnesses to the resurrection had basically “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6, ESV).

The resurrection is nothing like the pseudo-miracles performed by religious charlatans on television nowadays. Ask a televangelist to subject his miracle claims to any kind of careful scrutiny and he will balk or make excuses.

Paul invited scrutiny. So certain was he of the truth that he urged people to investigate the evidence. And to make the point, he stressed the abundance of eyewitnesses and their willingness to testify.

Take just the first of the specific examples Paul cites as a witness: Peter. Throughout 1 Corinthians (and in Galatians 2:9) Paul calls him Cephas. That is the Aramaic equivalent of Peter (which is derived from the Greek word for rock). His given name was Simon, but when Simon first met Jesus, the Lord nicknamed him “Rock,” using the Aramaic version, “Cephas” (John 1:42). That’s how Paul normally refers to him.

Consider the resurrection from Peter’s point of view. It must have seemed amazing (and no doubt somewhat embarrassing) to Peter that Christ appeared to him first of all. When Jesus’ life was on the line, Peter had denied Him angrily, with an oath. Peter was totally broken. He might have seemed the least likely of all the apostles to assert himself as a preacher of the resurrection because he was so ashamed. He was a coward, and a sniveling one at that. He was weeping bitterly the last time he saw Jesus.

And even after the resurrection, Peter had so little confidence that when Jesus told him to go to Galilee and wait for Him to come, Peter made plans to return to the fishing trade because he felt himself so inadequate as an apostle and preacher. He was more keenly aware than anyone that he had proven himself unfaithful many times. He looked like a disaster. Peter wasn’t a likely candidate to be the one who would go out at Pentecost and start bombastically preaching the resurrection.

But Jesus came to him, elicited from him a threefold declaration of his love for Christ, and commissioned him to preach. At Pentecost, Peter was a totally different person. The fact that he could give such bold testimony about the risen Christ is a clear indication that he did, in fact, see the risen Christ.

Peter was not about to invent a phony story about Christ’s resurrection, nor would he be prepared to give his life for a lie he had fabricated. Peter—the same person who once cowered when challenged by a servant girl and denied that he even knew Christ—was ultimately crucified upside down rather than deny the truth of the resurrection. The only thing that could explain such a radical transformation is the resurrection of Christ.

Conclusion

Paul doesn’t necessarily mention the resurrection of Christ explicitly every time he summarizes the gospel. Sometimes his emphasis is on the principle of substitution. Sometimes he stresses the righteousness that is imputed to believers. Sometimes he puts the focus on the price that was paid for our forgiveness. All these elements are essential aspects of the gospel according to Paul.

But we’re not to lose sight of the fact that the gospel is grounded in historic events; and above all, the resurrection is the seal and the linchpin of gospel truth.

Elsewhere Paul says that Christ “was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25). Christ was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness” (Romans 1:4). Again, the resurrection was God’s seal of approval on the propitiation Christ offered. Without the resurrection, there would be no gospel.

Every element in Paul’s outline is equally significant. It is an ingenious summary of the critical historical events in the gospel story. Throughout his epistles, Paul explains numerous gospel doctrines and stresses their importance. But here his design is to give the most simple, pithy account of gospel history possible—one that comprehends and implicitly affirms all the vital doctrines as well. Each point he lists is indeed a matter of primary importance: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures . . . He was buried . . . He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and . . . He appeared.”

That is the whole gospel. The rest is explanation.

(Adapted from The Gospel According to Paul.)

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170302
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Affliction’s Benefits (Watson)

The Reformed Reader

 Though affliction, trials, suffering, and sorrow are difficult to bear in this life, they are not meaningless for the Christian.  In fact, as Paul says, God uses affliction for our good (Rom 8).  Thomas Watson, in All Things for Good, lists several ways how affliction works for the good of God’s people.  I’ve slightly edited them below:

1) Affliction is our teacher.  Affliction teaches us to know ourselves.  In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves.  God makes us know affliction, that we may better know ourselves.  We see corruption in our hearts in the time of affliction, which we would not believe was there.

2) Affliction draws the Christian away from the love of the world.  In prosperity the heart cleaves partly to the world, partly to God.  Then God takes away the world so that the heart may cleave more to him…

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Valerie Jarrett Moves Into Obama Mansion: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

jarrett-and-friends

Barack Obama was groomed to be a community agitator. He would tell you that he was a community organizer, but don’t let him fool you. His bible is Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and trust me when I tell you that this book is not about organizing.

It seems that Mr. Obama is in no way through with politics. He is enraged at the election of Donald Trump, and at the thought of his “legacy” being drained with the rest of the swamp.

From dailymail.co.uk

EXCLUSIVE: Barack Obama’s close confidante Valerie Jarrett has moved into his new DC home, which is now the nerve center for their plan to mastermind the insurgency against President Trump

  • Obama’s goal is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment, a family friend tells DailyMail.com
  • Jarrett has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion to work closely…

View original post 1,176 more words

March 2, 2017: Verse of the day

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What truly mattered was their consistent, holy conduct. Monon (only) is placed at the beginning of the sentence in the Greek text for emphasis. Above all, Paul wanted their lives to reflect worthily on the gospel of Christ. It is a truth the apostle reiterates implicitly throughout the letter and explicitly in the next chapter, admonishing them: “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (2:15–16).

Politeuomai (conduct) is the main verb in verses 27–30, which in the Greek is a single sentence. It comes from the root word polis (city), which in earlier times usually referred to the city-states to which inhabitants gave their primary allegiance. The verb carries the basic meaning of being a citizen. But, by implication, it means being a good citizen, one whose conduct brings honor to the political body to whom one belongs.

Philippi had the distinction of being a Roman colony (Acts 16:12), a highly privileged status that gave its inhabitants many of the rights enjoyed by citizens of Rome itself. Such colonies considered themselves “little Romes” and took great pride in that association. They gave unqualified allegiance to Rome and to the emperor, adopted Roman dress and Roman names, and spoke Latin, the official language of Rome.

Roman society, like Greek society before it, was highly community-conscious. The individual was subordinate to the state, and a person’s skills, talents, energy, and endeavors were devoted first of all to the interests of society at large. It was not a coerced subjection, as in modern totalitarian states, but was based on a willing sense of interdependence in which citizens took great pride. A responsible citizen was careful not to do anything that would bring disrepute on his polis. And he tried always to be considered an honorable citizen, so that he would never be removed from the list of citizens.

Paul may have had that sense of dedication in mind in using the term politeuomai (to conduct). If the citizens of Philippi were so devoted to the honor of their human kingdom, how much more should believers be devoted to the kingdom of Christ (cf. Col. 1:12–13)? Therefore, Paul charged them to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, to live as faithful citizens of heaven (cf. 3:20). The church, though imperfect and temporal, is the earthly manifestation of that perfect and eternal kingdom of heaven in this present age (cf. Col. 1:13). Heavenly conduct is characterized by being “blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (2:15).

To live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ is to live a life consistent with God’s revealed Word. That includes living a life that corresponds to the divine truth Christians profess to believe, preach, teach, and defend. In other words, it means living with integrity in every facet of life. This mandate is expressed elsewhere in the New Testament as walking “in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1), “in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10), and “in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12; cf. 4:1). It means “showing all good faith so that [believers] will adorn the doctrine of God [their] Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10), demonstrating “holy conduct and godliness,” and being “diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Peter 3:11, 14).

The church’s greatest testimony before the world is spiritual integrity. When Christians live below the standards of biblical morality and reverence for their Lord, they compromise the full biblical truth concerning the character, plan, and will of God. By so doing, they seriously weaken the credibility of the gospel and lessen their impact on the world. God’s people have always been at enmity with the world, because the world is at enmity with God (Rom. 1:28; 5:10; Eph. 2:3; Col. 1:21). But the world can hardly be expected to embrace a faith whose proponents so little emulate its standards of holiness and fail to manifest the transforming power of Christ.

When the unsaved look at the church and do not see holiness, purity, and virtue, there appears to be no reason to believe the gospel it proclaims. When pastors commit gross sins and are later restored to positions of leadership in the church; when church members lie, steal, cheat, gossip, and quarrel; and when congregations seem to care little about such sin and hypocrisy in their midst, the world is understandably repulsed by their claims to love and serve God. And the name of Christ is sullied and dishonored.

The gospel is the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is the truth that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3–4). It is the message Paul describes as “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The point here is that those who belong to Christ through saving faith in His gospel should demonstrate that power by their changed lives (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17).

Paul had just expressed his joyous expectation of visiting Philippi again (1:25–26); but that was not his primary concern. He understood that, like the church in Ephesus, the Philippians inevitably would be threatened by “savage wolves” and that, even from within their own congregation, false teachers would “arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30). He understood that, despite the general spiritual maturity of the congregation, some of its members would prove their lack of saving faith by deserting Christ for a different gospel. Others, who had been saved by the power of the Holy Spirit, would fall into the legalistic trap of trusting in their own fleshly achievements for their sanctification (Gal. 1:6; 3:3). Whether or not Paul visited his beloved church at Philippi, their accountability was not to him but to Christ. Neither he nor anyone else was the source of their spiritual strength. His appeal therefore was that whether he was to come and see them or remain absent, they were to trust the Lord and live worthy of Him.

In the remainder of this passage, the apostle gives four characteristics of believers who live worthy of Christ: standing firm in Him (v. 27b); sharing with one another because of Him (v. 27c); striving together in obedience to Him (vv. 27d–28); and suffering for Him (vv. 29–30).

Standing

I will hear of you that you are standing firm (1:27b)

Standing firm translates the single Greek verb stēkō, which refers to steadfastly holding one’s ground regardless of danger or opposition (v. 28 supports the emphasis on strength in the midst of opposition). The word was used of a soldier who defended his position at all costs, even to the point of sacrificing his life. Figuratively, it refers to holding fast to a belief, conviction, or principle without compromise, regardless of personal cost. Being firmly fixed in matters of biblical truth and holy living is included in this injunction.

Standing firm is both positive and negative. It is to stand for God and against Satan, to stand for truth and against falsehood, to stand for righteousness and against sin. Using an imperative form of the same verb, Paul makes a similar exhortation later in the letter: “Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (4:1). In Romans, he uses the word to describe the Lord’s enabling His people to stand for Him (Rom. 14:4). In other letters he admonishes believers to “be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13; cf. 1 Thess. 3:8; 2 Thess. 2:15), to “keep standing firm” in the freedom of grace and not to “be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). In Ephesians he twice uses a related verb in calling on believers to “put on the full armor of God … to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” and to “be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:11, 13). Only the armor of God can enable believers to stand firm, because they do not struggle “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

Paul was not afraid of ridicule, hardship, suffering, or death. His convictions were firm and unwavering, so that he did not compromise divine truth. On such matters he was unshakeable. His one fear was that he would be disqualified from the ministry. No matter how sound his doctrine remained, Paul understood that the danger of disqualification stemmed in large measure from the misuse of his body. He therefore declared his determination to “discipline [his] body and make it [his] slave” (1 Cor. 9:27). The primary, if not the sole, misuse of the body he had in mind was sexual immorality. In the most sobering possible terms he said:

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:15–20)

New Testament requirements for church leadership are high, because leaders are to set the standard for how all believers are to live. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: “Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.… Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households” (1 Tim. 3:8–10, 12).

The qualifications for elders are explicit. An elder

must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Tim. 3:2–7; cf. Titus 1:5–9)

It is significant that in those passages setting forth the requirements for church leaders, Paul mentions three times that those leaders must be above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; 10; Titus 1:6). And their standing firm in the truth and holiness sets the example for all the church to follow (cf. Heb. 13:7).

Sharing

in one spirit, with one mind (1:27c)

Along with standing firm in the faith, there also must be unity within the church, a mutual sharing of convictions and responsibilities in one spirit, with one mind.

Many interpreters have argued that the phrase should read in one Spirit, referring to the Holy Spirit. Paul is obviously speaking of the Holy Spirit when he says that “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, … and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). The same is true when he notes that through Christ “we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father,” commanding believers to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” because “there is one body and one Spirit, … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 2:18; 4:3–6). But the context of the present passage, which focuses on believers’ attitudes, seems to indicate that he is speaking of the believer’s human spirit.

Psuchē (mind) is most often translated “soul.” Here mind seems more appropriate, because, as just noted, Paul is speaking of personal attitudes and perspectives. One spirit, with one mind refers to the experience of unity, harmony, and interdependence. From its inception the church was of one spirit, with one mind. Within a few days after Pentecost,

all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. (Acts 2:44–46; cf. 4:32)

Early in this letter Paul commends the Philippians for their “participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (1:5), and he later admonishes: “If there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (2:1–2). Still later, he urges “Euodia and … Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord” (4:2), at the same time expressing great appreciation for those two women because they had “shared [his] struggle in the cause of the gospel” (v. 3).

Unity in His church was one of Jesus’ great passions. At the Last Supper He told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35). A short while later, in His High Priestly Prayer, He prayed that all who would believe in Him “may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (17:21–22). That amazing request was answered in the spiritual unity that actually does exist in the body of Christ. Believers share the eternal life imparted by God in the new birth, so that they are one with the Lord and with each other (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17).

Paul desired to see the practical outworking of that true spiritual oneness in loving care and ministry. The functioning unity of the church was also one of Paul’s great passions. He reminded the believers in Rome that, “just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.… Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly” (Rom. 12:4–5, 16). He implored the factious church at Corinth: “I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

Church strife does not always involve such flagrant sins as adultery, stealing, lying, or defamation. It is often generated by such “lesser” sins as holding grudges over minor issues, unjust criticism, bitterness, dissatisfaction, and distrust. Sometimes disharmony arises that cannot even be clearly identified or attributed to any individual, incident, or issue. The enemy of the church succeeds when God’s people turn their “freedom into an opportunity for the flesh,” forgetting to “through love serve one another,” and instead begin to “bite and devour one another,” sometimes to the point even of being “consumed by one another” (Gal. 5:13, 15). The only solution is to “walk by the Spirit, and [thereby] not carry out the desire of the flesh” (v. 16). It requires taking special effort to “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

Paul continually had to deal with divisions in the church between Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free, and men and women. In response to those issues, he declared that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Again, speaking of Jews and Gentiles, he reminded the Ephesians: “Now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall” (Eph. 2:13–14; cf. vv. 18–22). “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Cor. 12:18), and therefore should be of one spirit and mind with everyone else who belongs to Him.

Paul gives the key to true unity in the church when he writes, “[Be] of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:2–4). In other words, he goes on to say, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (v. 5).

Striving

striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. (1:27d–28)

A third characteristic of worthy conduct involves believers striving together. Sunathleō (striving together) is a compound Greek word, composed of the preposition sun (with) and the noun athleō, which means to compete in a contest, especially in a sport such as wrestling. It is the term from which the English words athlete and athletics are derived. Writing to Timothy, Paul used the verb twice in its literal sense as a spiritual analogy, declaring that “if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Tim. 2:5).

In the present passage, striving together obviously is the idea Paul has in mind, rather than the opposite one of striving or competing against, as the word could also be rendered. He is emphasizing the attitude not of taking advantage of another for one’s own benefit, but rather of sacrificing one’s own welfare to promote the welfare of others. The idea of contending against is implied, but only in the sense that the church must also be striving together against sin and the common enemy, Satan and his demon hosts.

Paul stresses here the positive relationship of believers with each other. More than one athletic team with many outstanding players has failed to win a championship because most of those players concentrated on their own success rather than the team’s. A less talented team can often win against one that is more talented because the weaker team works efficiently together to achieve a common objective. A player with outstanding talent may be temporarily sidelined or even put off the team, because, impressive as his individual efforts might be, he does his team more harm than good. Striving together in the church means playing as a team to advance the truth of God.

Genuine unity of any sort must have a purpose. Trying to achieve unity for unity’s sake is an exercise in futility, because it must have the motivation and focus of a common cause and objective. The church’s only true unity is grounded in the faith of the gospel, which refers to the Christian faith. In other places, Paul calls it “the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:7) and “the glorious gospel of the blessed God,” with which he and Timothy, as well as all other believers, have been entrusted (1 Tim. 1:11; 6:20; cf. Rom. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:14; cf. 4:7). Jude refers to it as “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).

As already noted, striving together not only advances the faith of the gospel but also halts the advance of whatever opposes it. The church has always faced a hostile world. Some hostility is obvious and direct, such as that from atheists, humanistic philosophers, and other religions. Much of the hostility, however, is indirect and subtle, which often is more dangerous. False teaching has found its way into churches that were once biblical and evangelical. Proponents of false gospels, whatever the form, “distort … the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16), as well as to the destruction of those they deceive.

At no time in the history of the church has there been greater need for discernment than in our own day. The church desperately needs to heed the Lord’s warning, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15; cf. Acts 20:28–30; Jude 4). “Sheep’s clothing” is any ungodly idea, principle, or practice that is couched in Christian terminology. Such demon doctrines, apart from thorough examination, seem to be biblical. Like Timothy, believers must constantly and carefully “guard what has been entrusted to [them], avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ ” (1 Tim. 6:20; cf. 2 Tim. 1:14).

The positive goal of striving together is proclaiming the faith of the gospel. At Pentecost, Peter declared, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Not long afterward he testified before the Jewish leaders in that city:

Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.… He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10–12)

From the outset of the apostolic preaching of the gospel, its absolute and unambiguous claims have been ridiculed. To the unbelieving world, such claims are the great scandal of the gospel. But those unique and exclusive truths are the gospel’s very heart and substance. Jesus declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6), and that affirmation is reiterated throughout the New Testament.

Tragically, evangelism today seeks to remove the offense of preaching on sin and repentance, holiness and humility, in an effort to make the message more acceptable to fallen, depraved human nature. A growing number of churches intentionally play down the biblical elements of salvation and the demands of true discipleship. In so doing, the true gospel is trivialized or reduced to an impotent level, and packaged in those reductionist counterfeits are various forms of amusement and entertainment.

In the attempt to make the gospel appealing and acceptable, many churches minister in ways that effectively, though unintentionally, vitiate the very Word of God they proclaim. It is encouraging that biblically grounded, carefully reasoned, and theologically sound expository preaching is making a comeback. But, by and large, most evangelical worship services, Sunday school classes (including adult), youth meetings, and other activities are designed primarily to emotionally gratify those who attend. God-focused, reverent, and thoughtful worship, coupled with serious instruction, exhortation, and correction from the Word, is rare.

Much as Christians praise great preachers and theologians of the past such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, or Charles Spurgeon, most church members today would not be content to listen to any of those men for more than a few minutes, much less a few hours (the length of some of their sermons!). They would claim that those men were wonderful instruments of the Lord for their own days, but terribly out of touch with where people are today.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

March 2, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 2

A View to Obedience

Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

Matthew 28:20

 

You cannot be a disciple apart from a life of obedience and a desire to follow Christ as Lord. One of the most important ways we obey is by teaching others to obey His commands.

Regarding the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things I said to you” (John 14:26). Through the Word of God, the Spirit has made that teaching available to every believer. And every believer is to submit himself to it in obedience.

Only a true convert will obey Christ. Only as you “present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:13) do you exhibit obedient faith.[1]


March 2 Coming under God’s Authority

“Submit therefore to God.”

James 4:7a

✧✧✧

The truly humble will submit to God’s authority.

Most people understand the basic requirements of military service. The first thing anyone experiences when he enlists is his rank within the chain of command under the commanding officer. Implicit in such lining up under the leadership of a superior is that the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine will obediently carry out all he is commanded to do.

However, the military is not the only context in which the concept of submission applies. James 4:7 uses the term “submit” in the far more important arena of our relationship to God. We are to submit to Him and come under the sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the basic requirement for anyone who would be humble before God. Since Scripture often uses military terms to describe our service to God (Phil. 2:25; 2 Tim. 2:3), it is appropriate to see ourselves as enlisting in God’s army, willingly obeying His commands, and following His leadership.

This kind of humble, willing submission to God’s authority is what Jesus meant when He told the disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). This concept of submission simply means doing God’s will from the heart, no matter what the cost.

The story of the rich young ruler provides a good measuring rod of our submissiveness to God. After the young man professed obedience to God’s law, Jesus tested him further by commanding him to “go and sell all you possess, and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Mark 10:21). At that point the young man was not willing to obey Jesus. Instead, “his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property” (v. 22).

How would you have reacted? Would you have willingly obeyed Jesus’ command, or would you have allowed your pride to keep you from submitting to Him? If you have humbly lined up under God’s authority, the proper response is not difficult.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to remind you throughout this day of your need to submit all you do to His authority.

For Further Study: Read the Acts 9:1–22 account of the apostle Paul’s conversion to Christ. What do you notice about his obedience and humility? ✧ What is noteworthy about Ananias’ behavior?[2]


MARCH  2

THE REDISCOVERY OF MAJESTY

For the LORD  your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.

—Deuteronomy 10:17

Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, “Be still, and know that I am God,” mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper….

This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field….

The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way toward curing them. It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is. KOHVIII

Lord, we’ve forgotten how to be still and witness Your majesty. May I rediscover You in a way that affects my entire life. Amen. [3]


March 2

Mercy and Justice

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.—Matt. 5:7

The relationship of mercy and justice is a confusing one because on the surface they seem the exact opposite. Justice gives exactly what is deserved; mercy gives less punishment and more help than is deserved. So the great question is: How can God be both just and merciful at the same time? The truth is God does not show mercy without punishing sin. For Him to offer mercy without punishment would negate His justice.

Mercy that ignores sin is false mercy and is all too common today. Some think it is unloving and unkind to hold people responsible for their sins. That is what is known as cheap grace—which is neither merciful nor just, nor does it offer punishment or pardon for sin. Because it overlooks sin, it leaves sin untouched and unforgiven. The one who relies on this sort of mercy is left in his sin.

The good news of the gospel, however, is that Christ paid the penalty for all sins so that God might be merciful to all sinners. On the cross Jesus satisfied God’s justice. And when a person trusts in His sacrifice, God opens the floodgates of His mercy. God did not gloss over sin and compromise justice. The good news is that in the shedding of Christ’s blood, He satisfied His justice, forgave sin, fulfilled righteousness, and made His mercy available. There is never an excuse for sin, but there is always a remedy.

ASK YOURSELF
What is true of God’s mercy should be true of ours. Rather than simply letting people get away with abuse, mistreatment, or destructive habits, we must realize that for mercy to truly be merciful, it must lead others toward health and holiness. Mercy is tougher than we think. How then might it look in practice?[4]

MARCH 2

THE GODHEAD—FOREVER ONE

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

Luke 23:46

 

When Christ Jesus died on that unholy, fly-infested cross for mankind, He never divided the Godhead! We are assured from the earliest church fathers that the Father in heaven, His eternal Son, and the Holy Ghost are forever One—inseparable, indivisible—and can never be anything else.

Not all of Nero’s swords could ever cut down through the substance of the Godhead to cut off the Father from the Son.

It was Mary’s son who cried out, “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” It was the human body which God had given Him. It was the sacrifice that cried—the lamb about to die! The Son of Man knew himself forsaken. God dumped that vast, filthy, slimy mass of human sin on the soul of the Savior—and then backed away.

Believe it that the ancient and timeless Deity was never separated. He was still in the bosom of the Father when He cried, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit!” (Luke 23:46).

Little wonder that we are amazed and marvel every day at the wonder of the ancient theology of the Christian Church!

 

Lord, sometimes Your nature is a mystery to my limited thinking. But how grateful I am that You were willing to bear my sin—and that of the whole human race—on the cross of Calvary.[5]


March 2 Unlimited Prayer

“Men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1, kjv).

✧✧✧

Prayer should never be limited to certain times, places, or circumstances.

As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.

In my seminary days I sang in a quartet that traveled to various churches throughout the United States. The first time I traveled with them we had a prayer meeting in the car, and the driver prayed with his eyes open. All of us were glad he did, but I wondered if God really heard his prayer.

I have since learned that praying with my eyes closed is a helpful way to avoid distractions, but it isn’t mandated in Scripture—nor are most of the other limitations people often place on prayer. For example, some people want to limit prayer to a certain posture, but Scripture tells of people praying while standing, sitting, kneeling, looking upward, bowing down, and lifting up their hands.

Some try to limit prayer to certain times of the day, such as morning or evening. But in the Bible people prayed at all times: morning, evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, in their youth, in their old age, when troubled, and when joyful.

Similarly, Scripture places no limits on the place or circumstances of prayer. It tells of people praying in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in the Temple, in bed, at home, in the stomach of a fish, in battle, on a housetop, in a prison, in the wilderness, and on a cross.

The point is clear: there is no specific correct mode or kind of prayer, and prayer isn’t limited by your location or circumstances. You are to pray always. That includes any kind of prayer, on any subject, at any time of the day or night.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Make a list of your current plans, thoughts, and concerns. Have you made each of them a matter of prayer? Commit yourself to sharing every aspect of your life with God.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 136. Note how the Lord is intimately involved in the lives of His people.[6]


MARCH 2

JESUS CHRIST IS EVERY MAN’S CONTEMPORARY

Be still, and know that I am God….”

PSALM 46:10

Our fathers had much to say about stillness, and by stillness they meant the absence of motion or the absence of noise, or both. They felt that they must be still for at least a part of the day, or that day would be wasted!

God can be known in the tumult if His providence has for the time placed us there, but He is known best in the silence. So they held, and so the sacred Scriptures declare. Inward assurance comes out of the stillness. We must be still to know!

There has hardly been another time in the history of the world when stillness was needed more than it is today, and there has surely not been another time when there was so little of it or when it was so hard to find. Christ is every man’s contemporary. His presence and His power are offered to us in this time of mad activity and mechanical noises as certainly as to fishermen on the quiet lake of Galilee or to shepherds on the plains of Judea. The only condition is that we get still enough to hear His voice and that we believe and heed what we hear.

As we draw nearer to the ancient Source of our being we find that we are no longer learned or ignorant, modern or old-fashioned, crude or cultured: in that awesome Presence we are just men and women. Artificial distinctions fade away. Thousands of years of education disappear in a moment and we stand again where Adam and Eve stood after the Fall, where Cain stood, and Abel, outside the Garden, frightened and undone and fugitive from the terror of the broken law, desperately in need of a Saviour![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 75). 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. 70). 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. 74). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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