Daily Archives: March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Mar. 14, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has raised the alarm on the U.S. debt ceiling, and Republican leaders insist they won’t push it to the limit as in past years by using it as a bargaining chip for deep spending cuts.

A new estimate showing that 14 million Americans could lose health coverage by next year under the GOP Obamacare proposal leaves House Republicans in a bind with its dire picture of the bill’s effects heading into the 2018 congressional elections.

Ex-Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou expressed confidence he would be exonerated after Taipei prosecutors indicted him over allegedly leaking details of a criminal investigation while still in office.

The Trump administration’s plan to slash corporate tax rates could free up more than $10 billion a year for U.S. oil explorers, opening new opportunities to boost drilling at a time of uncertainty in the marketplace.

Germany threatened to fine social networks such as Facebook Inc. as much as $53 million if they fail to give users the option to complain about hate speech and fake news or refuse to remove illegal content.

President Donald Trump ordered work to begin on a reorganization plan for the federal government to reduce its size and cost. “Today there is duplication and redundancy everywhere,” Trump said. “Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted.”

Poland will seek the arrest and extradition of a Minnesota man exposed by The Associated Press as a former commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in World War II, prosecutors said Monday.

Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised output back above 10 million barrels a day in February, reversing about a third of the cuts it made the previous month.

AP Top Stories

The health of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, one of the world’s most notorious criminals, is deteriorating in US custody, his lawyers complained Monday, challenging the conditions of his detention.

Popocatépetl, one of Mexico’s most famous volcanos, erupted this weekend sending clouds of ash down on surrounding communities.

Pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, local officials and an expert said Tuesday, the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on the crucial global trade route since 2012.

Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, three sources said, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.

Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front on Sunday said in a statement it was behind twin bombings targeting Shiite pilgrims in the center of Damascus that killed 74 people.

Companies may bar staff from wearing Islamic headscarves and other visible religious symbols under certain conditions, the European Union’s top court ruled on Tuesday, setting off a storm of complaint from rights groups and religious leaders.

A Jordanian soldier who shot dead seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 was released from prison Sunday after serving out his life sentence, sparking outrage from the families of those killed. He had been sentenced to life imprisonment, which in Jordan is 20 years.

Ground staff at Berlin’s two airports went on strike Monday for the second time in four days, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

BBC

UN human rights experts say the Syrian air force deliberately bombed a spring outside Damascus in December, cutting off the water supply for 5.5 million people living in and around the city.

Spanish Police have released striking pictures of a huge weapons haul seized from an organized crime group. It includes over 10,000 assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, revolvers, and 400 shells and grenades. The guns and ammunition were seized in January during an operation against firearms trafficking.

President Donald Trump will donate his $400,000 salary to charity at the end of 2017. And in an unexpected twist, he wants the White House press corps to decide where it should go.

Farmers living in central Tolima province in Colombia say they were terrified when an object they took to be a UFO crashed in a field on Sunday. Police have since identified the object as an internet balloon developed by X, a company founded by Google, to boost the signal in rural areas.

Twenty-one rhino horns worth an estimated $5m have been seized in Thailand after being found in luggage sent from Ethiopia in the biggest such haul in years.

Malaysia says it will deport 50 North Koreans for overstaying their visas, despite its recent ban on North Koreans leaving the country.

WND

Tennessee became the first state in the nation on Monday to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement on the grounds of the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Kim Jong-Un has threatened to unleash a “merciless” attack on America if joint military exercises with South Korea continue. He said he would attack his Western enemies from “ground, air, sea and underwater” in a saber-rattling statement released through state media.

Sex toy maker We-Vibe has agreed to pay customers up to C$10,000 each after shipping a “smart vibrator” which tracked owners’ use without their knowledge.

Carleton University officials have removed the scale inside its campus gym so students don’t stress about their weight.


Top News – 3/14/2017

Italian Archbishop Suggests Pope Benedict XVI Resigned Under Obama ‘Pressure’
It is “no coincidence” that some Catholic groups “have asked President Trump to open a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the administration of Barack Obama exerted pressure on Benedict,” said Archbishop Luigi Negri in an interview Monday, citing other revelations by Wikileaks regarding efforts by the Democratic Party to sway the direction of the Catholic Church in the United States. “It remains shrouded in mystery for now,” he said to news outlet Rimini 2.0, “but I am sure that those responsible will be found out.”

Benjamin Netanyahu Meets Trump Negotiator to Discuss Mid-East Peace
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s international negotiations adviser, for over five hours in Jerusalem on Monday. They reaffirmed the joint commitment of both Israel and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region.

As Jerusalem Jubilee Approaches, Knesset Seeks to ‘Reclaim’ Temple Mount
As Jerusalem’s Jubilee celebration approaches, the Israeli parliament has, for the first time, proposed establishing a government body focused on strengthening the connection between the Jewish State and its holiest site: The Temple Mount. This move has generated anger among Palestinian politicians, who believed recent efforts by the UN to erase this Jewish connection were successful.

Russia moving special forces into Libya
U.S., Egyptian and diplomatic sources say that Russia has apparently been moving special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya in recent days, according to a report by Reuters. Russia has shown increasing involvement in Libya in recent months and appears to be taking steps to back Haftar to lead the battle-torn kingdom…

Employers can ban the burka, European court rules
Employers can bar staff from wearing visible religious symbols such as the burka, the European Union’s top court has ruled. The ruling came in its first decision on the issue of women wearing Islamic headscarves at work.

Soros Fellow Flees Country While Wife Arrested For Welfare Scam
A lawyer and recipient of a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship for immigrants has reportedly fled the U.S., possibly to Africa, as his wife faces criminal welfare fraud charges in Arlington, Va.

5.5-magnitude Rota quake felt on Guam
A 5.5-magnitude quake struck about 11 miles northeast of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands before 7 p.m. yesterday, also causing some of the buildings on Guam to shake.

Earthquake rocks Andaman and Nicobar Islands
An earthquake measuring 5.9 in the richter scale rocked the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Tuesday morning, said an official. “The earthquake was experienced at 8.21 a.m,” said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) official.

Revolutionary Guard commander: Hezbollah more prepared than ever to attack Israel
As US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both continue to apply pressure on Iran…an assistant to a commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps revealed…that Hezbollah has raised its level of preparedness and is ready to launch a massive attack against Israel with lethal results. The Iranian commander explained that Iran has opened factories in Lebanon for the purpose of manufacturing long-range missiles as well as other munitions and has recently passed ownership of the factories to Hezbollah.

Netanyahu, Greenblatt meet for five hours on way to move diplomatic process forward
A five hour meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump’s advisor Jason Greenblatt ended Monday evening with a statement pledging commitment to finding a true, sustainable peace agreement and the need to improve living conditions in the Palestinian Authority. According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office, the two affirmed the joint commitment of the US and Israel to advancing a “true, sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinians that will strengthen Israel’s security and stability in the region.”

Somali pirates suspected of first ship hijacking since 2012
An oil tanker has been hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, reports say, the first such hijacking in the region in five years. The ship sent a distress signal on Monday evening, saying it was being approached by high-speed boats. The gunmen have told a local official they are fishermen whose equipment was destroyed by illegal fishing vessels.

EU workplace headscarf ban is legal, says ECJ
Employers are entitled to ban workers from the “visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign” including headscarves, Europe’s top court has ruled. But the ban must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to “dress neutrally”, said the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It cannot be based on the wishes of a customer, it said.

Theresa May to insist new Scottish referendum must be held AFTER Britain leaves the EU
Theresa May is today poised to emphatically reject Nicola Sturgeon’s timetable for a second vote on Scottish independence, amid fears it could undermine Brexit. Scotland’s First Minister yesterday declared she will push for another referendum just before the UK leaves the EU. She insisted Scots deserved a ‘real choice’ over EU membership and threatened to throw a grenade into Brexit talks by holding the vote between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents Can Search Your Cellphone
When Buffalo, New York couple Akram Shibly and Kelly McCormick returned to the U.S. from a trip to Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers held them for two hours, took their cellphones and demanded their passwords. “It just felt like a gross violation of our rights,” said Shibly, a 23-year-old filmmaker born and raised in New York. But he and McCormick complied, and their phones were searched.

Estrangement between Europe and Turkey grows as a referendum on Erdogan’s power nears
The unusually bitter dispute between European countries and Turkey over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempts to hold political rallies in their cities is sharply escalating…After its ministers were barred from giving campaign speeches…the Turkish government stoked the crisis by accusing the German government of “Nazi practices,” calling the Dutch “Nazi remnants,” warning that they will “pay the price” and telling the Dutch ambassador not to return to Ankara.

North Korea warns of ‘merciless’ strikes as U.S. carrier joins South Korea drills
North Korea warned the United States on Tuesday of “merciless” attacks if an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson, which is joining South Korean forces for exercises, infringes on its sovereignty or dignity. North Korea, which has alarmed its neighbors with two nuclear tests and a string of missile launches since last year, said the arrival of the U.S. strike group was part of a “reckless scheme” to attack it.

Rev. Graham: ‘Christianity Honors Women,’ Unlike ‘Islamic Countries Where Women Have No Rights’
In reference to the honoring of women in many countries on International Women’s Day, March 8, evangelical leader Franklin Graham said it was women who stayed with Christ at the Cross and first saw Him resurrected, and added that “Christianity honors women” but this is not evident in some “Islamic countries where women have no rights and are treated as property.”

CBO Report On Trumpcare Is Out: 24 Million More Uninsured By 2026, Deficit Cut By $337 Billion
The CBO scoring of the American Health Care Act, aka “Trumpcare” is out, and among the key highlights are: i) a reduction in the deficit by by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period, ii) 14 million more would be uninsured by 2018, rising to 24 million by 2026. Furthermore, iii) average premiums for single  policyholders in the nongroup market would be 15% to 20% higher than under current law

12 Million Americans Are About To Get An Artificial Boost To Their FICO Scores
Tax liens and civil judgments soon will be taken off people’s credit reports, the latest move to omit negative information from consumer financial scorecards, in the process artifically boosting the FICO score for as many as 12 million Americans. “It’s going to make someone who has poor credit look better than they should,” said John Ulzheimer, a former manager at Experian and credit-score creator FICO.

ISIS is cornered, desperate, and leaving trail of destruction in Mosul
The forces pushing out ISIS in Iraq say the militant group is trapped inside western Mosul. The U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS says they’ve cut off the last road out of the city and it’s only a matter of time before ISIS is “totally defeated.”

Turkey’s Autocratic President Tells NATO Allies, ‘Nazism Is Alive in the West’
In one of the worst diplomatic rows between NATO allies in decades, Turkey’s Islamist president has compared the Dutch government to Nazis after it prevented two Turkish ministers from addressing rallies in the Netherlands in support of the Turkish leader’s attempts to significantly expand his powers.


The Briefing 03-14-17

Cannibalism on CNN’s “Believer”: How Reza Aslan’s attempt to show all religions the same backfired

Coopers Brewery under fire for association with Bible Society in ad featuring marriage equality debate

The post The Briefing 03-14-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


How The Federal Reserve Is Setting Up Trump For A Recession, A Housing Crisis And A Stock Market Crash

Janet Yellen - Public DomainMost Americans do not understand this, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does, and that includes Donald Trump.  Politicians tend to get the credit or the blame for how the economy is performing, but in reality it is an unelected, unaccountable panel of central bankers that is running the show, and until something is done about the Fed our long-term economic problems will never be fixed.  For an extended analysis of this point, please see this article.  In this piece, I am going to explain why the Federal Reserve is currently setting the stage for a recession, a new housing crisis and a stock market crash, and if those things happen unfortunately it will be Donald Trump that will primarily get the blame. (Read More…)


March 14, 2017
Trump never promised to free health care from government control
ALAN KEYES — As things are going right now, it looks like sincere conservatives who accepted the “lesser-of-evils” reasoning to vote for Donald Trump will soon be choking down its consequences when it comes to policy. President Trump is praising the bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare offered by the GOP’s House Leadership…. (more)

March 13, 2017
LARRY KLAYMAN — This morning I turned on Fox News only to watch Rep. Peter King of New York trash some in the Republican Party and the so-called “far right,” undoubtedly meaning yours truly, over our outrage at the apparent misuse of the nation’s intelligence agencies to not only wiretap President Trump and his associates, like Gen. Michael Flynn, but also to conduct surveillance on the populace as a whole…. (more)

March 13, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — One of The Washington Post’s big disclosures on Sunday was a front-page story about President Donald Trump’s choice of a cemetery. It was the latest contribution from reporter David A. Fahrenthold, whose job it is to probe every aspect of the life of the new President, no matter how esoteric and trivial…. (more)

March 13, 2017
GARTH KANT — The woman who is perhaps the nation’s top investigative journalist is fighting back against Big Brother. Sharyl Attkisson shared with WND a detailed and harrowing description of what it was like to experience a reality straight out of Orwell: The reporter claims she was spied on by the Obama administration while investigating its scandals…. (more)

March 13, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sunday warned House Republicans could pay the ultimate price in the 2018 elections if they vote in support of the Obamacare replacement bill…. (more)


March 13, 2017
NEWSMAX — The American Health Care Act does not repeal Obamacare, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Sunday, and he wants to know why Republican lawmakers do not put the clean repeal order they voted for just over a year ago on President Donald Trump’s desk rather than agree to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan…. (more)


March 13, 2017
LEO HOHMANN — American intelligence agencies have growing evidence that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group maintains a network of sleeper cells in the United States, according to a new report. Though Hezbollah has not conducted a major attack on U.S. soil, the group could decide to strike key American sites should U.S.-Iran relations deteriorate substantially, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism…. (more)

March 12, 2017
PAUL BREMMER — President Trump made his view clear during his Feb. 28 address to Congress: Obamacare is a “disaster” which must be repealed and replaced. However, House Republicans are wracked by divisions over how to go about repealing and replacing the health-care law…. (more)


March 12, 2017
SUSAN FERRECHIO — House Republican leaders next week will continue to sell conservatives on their proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare as their controversial legislation churns through a third committee, and government number crunchers provide a much-anticipated price tag…. (more)

March 12, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Commerce Department is investigating claims by one of its former scientists that an Obama administration climate change study was rushed out using “unverified” data…. (more)

March 11, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — It was a case of incredibly bad timing on the part of CBS News. On the same day we learned that there had been a massive leak of classified information engineered through President Obama’s CIA, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley featured one of Obama’s former CIA directors arguing that Trump was being irrational by criticizing the intelligence community…. (more)

March 11, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump reportedly dished out a threat to Republicans who do not support the House GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill: back the bill or I won’t support your reelection…. (more)


March 11, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The political nonprofit group aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is targeting conservative holdouts with television ads urging them to “vote with President Trump” and support the party’s legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare…. (more)

March 11, 2017
INDEPENDENT JOURNAL — Republicans’ long-anticipated Obamacare replacement has received a less than warm reception, even within the party itself. Among the disappointed is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who now says he’s found a decades-old rule that he hopes will allow Republicans to pass a more thorough, far-reaching health care reform bill…. (more)

March 11, 2017
NEWSMAX — An American Bar Association committee has given Judge Neil Gorsuch its top rating, the association announced in a letter Thursday. The ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary rated Gorsuch “well qualified” to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, its highest rating. The ABA announced the rating in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, and ranking member Dianne Feinstein of California…. (more)

March 11, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump praised the Secret Service Saturday for apprehending a “troubled person” who breached White House security late Friday night. Agents “did a fantastic job” in stopping the man with a backpack near the south entrance of the White House shortly before midnight, Mr. Trump said…. (more)

March 10, 2017
CNBC — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has called on Congress to raise the United States debt limit “at the first opportunity.” In a letter to congressional leaders dated Wednesday, Mnuchin said the Treasury will stop issuing certain state and local securities on March 15, when the most recent suspension of the debt limit expires…. (more)

March 10, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — With unmatched hostility to the political establishment and an energy unlike anything seen before in modern American politics, Donald Trump promised swift and fundamental change on the campaign trail. After a few months on the job, though, the populist president appears pacified…. (more)

March 10, 2017
NEWSMAX — Vice President Mike Pence can overrule a Senate parliamentarian and bulk up the House healthcare bill to include conservative-favored reforms, like letting insurance companies sell across state lines, according to Sen. Ted Cruz…. (more)


March 10, 2017
NEWSMAX — Pope Francis says the church must study whether it’s possible to ordain married men to minister in remote communities facing priest shortages. In an interview published Thursday with Germany’s Die Zeit, Francis stressed that removing the celibacy rule is not the answer to the Catholic Church’s priest shortage…. (more)

March 9, 2017
CHELSEA SCHILLING — Americans are expressing outrage after a CNN host ate a cooked human brain with a group of cannibals in India for the Sunday premiere of the network’s show, “Believer.” “Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” CNN host and religion scholar Reza Aslan wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “It was burnt to a crisp! #Believer.”… (more)


March 9, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — On “Fox & Friends,” President Donald Trump declared, in regard to the protests against him, “I think that President Obama’s behind it because his people are certainly behind it.” Once again, Trump has struck gold. It’s “gold” in the form of taxpayer money. In addition to funding from billionaire hedge fund operator George Soros, we find a federal financial connection to some of the anti-Trump protests…. (more)

March 9, 2017
BRYAN FISCHER — Well, now we know why the GOP establishment kept their ObamaCare replacement package locked in a room where not even GOP senators could read it. Everyone naturally wondered what they were hiding, and now we know. They were hiding it because it is a horrible, no good, very bad piece of legislation…. (more)

March 9, 2017
DAN POPP — The “Republicans” have introduced an antidote for Obamacare, and – – surprise! – – it isn’t the Constitution. Or free markets. Our old Marxist pal Paul Ryan, who once ran for Vice President on the promise to “save” FDR’s lawless Ponzi scheme, has cooked up a “replacement” for the ACA…. (more)

March 9, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Virginia Republican Rep. Dave Brat said if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act with legislation just approved by two key House committees, they will make the same mistakes as Democrats and face voters’ wrath…. (more)

Top Headlines – 3/14/2017

  • U.S. East Coast Braces for Late-Winter Blizzard (Read More)
  • U.S. Blizzard Grounds Flights, Raises Power as Trump Tweets (Read More)
  • Debt Ceiling Fight May Be Too Tempting for Trump to Pass Up (Read More)
  • Russia appears to deploy forces in Egypt, eyes on Libya role (Read More)
  • EU headscarf ban ruling sparks faith group backlash (Read More)
  • Pound Tumbles in Delayed Reaction as May Gets Brexit Go-Ahead (Read More)
  • The Most Important Player in the AIG CEO Resignation: Carl Icahn (Read More)
  • Waning Sales Force Layoffs By Gun Maker in New York (Read More)
  • German police raid flats, shut mosque visited by Berlin truck attacker (Read More)
  • Musk’s bold offer of Tesla batteries won’t solve Australia’s power problems  (Read More)
  • Proof Wall Street Is Still a Boys’ Club (Read More)
  • Why Robert Shiller Is Worried About the Trump Rally (Read More)
  • Macquarie Loosens Trading-Research Link With a la Carte Service (Read More)
  • Somali pirates hijack first commercial ship since 2012 (Read More)
  • Tillerson used email alias at Exxon to talk climate: New York attorney general (Read More)
  • South Korean prosecutors to summon ousted president Park (Read More)
  • The Monumentally Expensive Quest to Pull Off an Alaskan Oil Miracle (Read More)
  • Fall in Volkswagen brand profit shows long road to recovery (Read More)
  • German investor morale improves less than expected in March (Read More)

As Trump envoy set to visit, Liberman pushes population transfer plan

Liberman suggests new peace push afoot, calls for population swaps

Jewish Home MK denies Likud request to delay Ma’ale Adumim annexation bill

PM to Trump envoy: Peace progress with all neighbors possible under new president

Abbas: Trump told me he wants two-state solution

Our World: Trump embraces the PLO fantasy

Abbas looks to unite PLO ahead of Trump meeting

Palestinian marchers demand Abbas resign over Israel ties

Palestinians protest Israel-PA security cooperation

How Hamas is winning hearts and minds in Europe

Palestinian forces said to use live fire to quell anti-PA protest in West Bank

Netanyahu hits back at Iran FM over accusation of ‘distorting’ Purim history

Stabbing attack on Purim in Jerusalem

Following Jerusalem stabbing attack, police raids terrorist’s family home

Code Red alert in the Eshkol region a false alarm

Palestinian children reportedly pretend to execute IDF soldiers in foreign aid-funded schools

Proposed Temple Mount advocacy foundation raises ire among Arab MKs

Thousands protest bill that aims to mute Muslim call to prayer

Jewish centers in US, Canada hit with fresh spate of bomb threats

Wave of threats at Jewish centers across the US sends police scrambling

France’s conservatives apologize for ‘anti-Semitic’ attack on rival presidential candidate

US lawmakers urge Trump not to cancel anti-Semitism envoy position

Chilean Palestinians threaten to boycott Christians over anti-BDS meeting

2,000-Year-Old Roman Road and Coins Discovered in Israel

Iran sets up underground rocket factories in Lebanon

Christians Beat Down by Egyptian Authorities for Demanding Release of Girl Kidnapped by Muslims

Egyptian Prosecutor Orders Release of Hosni Mubarak, President Toppled in 2011

Egypt court finds Mubarak innocent in killing of protesters

US general warns of Kremlin interference in Libya amid reports of Russian mercenaries

Syrian children ‘pushed to the brink’ after worst atrocities since war began

IS fighters left in Mosul will die, says US envoy McGurk

Iraqi forces unearth mass grave of Shi’ite inmates killed by ISIS

Russia’s Putin says ceasefire in Syria on whole being observed

Russia, Turkey, Iran to press ahead with Syria talks: Kazakhstan

Turkey’s Erdogan says wants to work with US-led coalition on Syria’s Manbij

Turkey suspends high-level relations with Netherlands

Turkey rallies row: Germany and Netherlands harden stance

Estrangement between Europe and Turkey grows as a referendum on Erdogan’s power nears

Turkey’s Erdogan slams Merkel for siding with Netherlands, accuses Germany of supporting terrorism

Global Leaders Rattle Their Sabers As The World Marches Toward War

China’s Xi pushes advanced technology for military

Vietnam demands China stop cruises in South China Sea

Japan plans to send largest warship to South China Sea, sources say

Is North Korea practicing for nuclear war?

US Delta Force, SEAL Team 6 Prepare To Take Out Kim Jong-Un, Practice Tactical North Korea “Infiltration”

U.N. Official Demands Inquiry Into Kim Jong-nam’s Death

Trump gives CIA power to launch drone strikes

White House appears to soften Trump’s claim on wiretapping

Trump adviser: Gov can surveil people with microwaves

Washington’s Spy Paranoia

American Citizens: U.S. Border Agents Can Search Your Cellphone

Democrats Warn of Showdown Over Trump’s Border Wall

Tennessee sues federal government over refugees

Amnesia: Bill Clinton and Janet Reno Fired All 93 U.S. Attorneys At Once

Clinton contacts also met with Russian ambassador, Putin aide says

Brexit bill: Parliament clears way for talks with EU

6.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Mohean, India

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Lemito, Indonesia

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Batang, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Ovalle, Chile

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Tharyarwady, Burma

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Jayapura, Indonesia

Bogoslof volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupts to 18,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 11,500ft

Nor’easter to shut down travel, unleash blizzard conditions in at least 8 states

Airlines cancel more than 1,500 flights ahead of late winter storm

Cherry Blossoms Endangered If Temperature Drops to 24 Degrees

Australia considers childcare ban on unvaccinated children

CBO Sees 24 Million More Uninsured, $337 Billion Deficit Cut in Coming Decade With GOP Health Plan

Trump administration disagrees with CBO report on health care

Gingrich Blasts ‘Disgustingly Wrong’ CBO: It ‘Should Be Abolished’

Paul Ryan: CBO report on ObamaCare repeal ‘exceeded my expectations’

The Obamacare replacement bill could die on Thursday

Ryan Warns: If We Don’t Pass My Bill, ‘The System Is Going to Collapse’

Republican senator: GOP risks losing House majority if health bill approved

Democrats Kill Bill to Protect Babies Born Alive After Botched Abortions

GOP lawmaker says America doesn’t need ‘somebody else’s babies’ – warns of a liberal effort to break down Western civilization

Nonprofit floats child sex dolls as treatment for pedophiles

Aid Workers with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse Kidnapped in South Sudan

SXSW 2017: Why is the Vatican at a tech conference?

Evangelicals need to stop being wimps

Modern witchcraft and the spell on Donald Trump – a murky cauldron

People think they’re nicer than they actually are, study finds

Tim Challies – How Jesus Called Out False Teachers and Deadly Doctrine

Video – Is Joel channeling Stuart Smalley? It’s no secret

Former members of Word of Faith Fellowship hold community meeting

New Study Reveals What Americans Think of Women Pastors

Judge Awards Tri-Custody of Child to Former Couple and Their ‘Polyamorous’ Lover

Samaritan’s Purse Staff Kidnapped as South Sudan Faces Famine

These 3 Emerging Fronts Could Produce World War 3

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 07:23 AM PDT

(By Youssef El-Gingihy) Although there has been no major combat between the great powers since the Second World War, there are three key fronts emerging…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Minnesota University Ditches Homecoming ‘King and Queen’ — Replaces with Genderless ‘Royals’

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 07:16 AM PDT

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are excited to announce to you this year’s “Royals”! Wait! What? You heard that correctly. According to report out of Minnesota,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Facial Recognition App Allows Users To Locate Strangers on Facebook By Taking Their Picture

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 07:06 AM PDT

How would you like for a total stranger walking down the street in public to snap a picture of you using their smartphone and then…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What the Prophetic Calendar Says About Israel and Jesus’ Second Coming

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 06:32 AM PDT

(By Ron Allen) Last week, the stars of the constellation Gemini (The United) were directly overhead at the zenith point in the southern U.S. Gemini…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

This Matthew 24 Deception Continues to Ransack Our Youth

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 06:28 AM PDT

(By Larry Tomczak)  For the past decade, I have been addressing LGBTQ issues along with my longtime friend Dr. Michael Brown. For my part, I…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea threatens ‘Merciless’ attack on US in retaliation for South Korea Drills

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 06:23 AM PDT

The crazy leader of North Korea Kim-Jong-Un has just threatened to unleash a “merciless” attack on America if joint military exercises with South Korea continue in the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

German Official Wants $53 Million Fines For “Hate Posts” on Social Media

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 06:13 AM PDT

First they want to flag what they deem as “Fake News” and then it was censoring “Hate Posts” and now according  to a new report…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is The Federal Reserve Setting Up Trump For A Recession, Housing Crisis And A Stock Market Crash?

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 06:02 AM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Most Americans do not understand this, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Most Unlikely Muslim Nation Is Seeing an Explosion of Converts to Christ

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 05:57 AM PDT

New reports are revealing that God is still on the move in the Middle East and According to official estimates, the Nation of Bangladesh is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: 8 of Franklin Graham’s Aid Workers Kidnaped in Sudan

Posted: 14 Mar 2017 05:45 AM PDT

Franklin Graham and his Aid Workers in South Sudan desperately need your prayers and Intercession in this hour as reports are indicating that eight local…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Purim and The Revealing of the Bride

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 08:35 PM PDT

(By Kelly McDonald, Jr). The background for the celebration of Purim is found in the book of Esther. Interestingly enough, God’s name is not found…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Obama-Era Judge Strikes Down Public School Visit to Christian Institution

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 08:01 PM PDT

(by Kelly McDonald, Jr) Last Thursday an Obama-Era Judge ruled public schools in Missouri to be in violation of the constitution for visiting Victory Ministries…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RadioShack Declares Bankruptcy Again

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 07:59 PM PDT

(by Kelly McDonald, Jr) For the second time in just two years, RadioShack has announced bankruptcy. They plan to close around 200 stores and re-evaluate…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

State of Tennessee Sues Feds Over Refugee Program

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 07:55 PM PDT

(by Kelly McDonald, Jr) Tennessee is suing the Federal Government over the refugee resettlement plan started under former President Barack Obama. The Tenth Amendment of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Woman That Prophesied Trump Would Win Now Warns That A “Great Shaking” Is Coming And Churches Will Fall

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 07:55 PM PDT

(By Michael Snyder) If Dr. Patricia Green is correct, America is about to be shaken like we have never seen before. And considering her track…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New War To Label Conservative Sites as “Fake News”

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 07:49 PM PDT

(by Kelly McDonald, Jr) An assistant professor at Merrimack College, Melissa Zimdars, has recently declared that conservative news sites such as Breitbart, Red State, Drudge…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Can Artificial Intelligence Tell If You Are Guilty?

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 07:46 PM PDT

(by Kelly McDonald, Jr) Scientists claim that artificial intelligence (AI) and brain scanning can be used to tell if someone is guilty of breaking the law….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Border Agents Searching Cell Phones of US Citizens

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 07:42 PM PDT

(by Kelly McDonald, Jr) There has been a recent spike in US border agents searching cell phones, including phones that belong to US citizens. In…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mysterious Boom Rattles Shelby County, Kentucky

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 02:45 PM PDT

Residents of Shelby County, KY were rattled by a reported mysterious boom that took to Social Media as witnesses flooded the platforms with chatter over the weekend…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists Create Artificial Retina Implant That Could Restore Vision to Millions

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 02:33 PM PDT

Another breakthrough has just been made in the science and health industries. According to a recent report, Scientists have now developed a retinal implant capable…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Gay Attorney Says Disney Goes Too Far in Pushing LGBT Agenda

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 12:52 PM PDT

Has Disney gone too far with the push for LGBT indoctrination? Well according to one Mississippi attorney who identifies himself as a homosexual, the answer…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

20 Million at Risk of Starvation in world’s Largest Crisis in 70 Years

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 12:37 PM PDT

Jesus warned that there would be famines as one of the indicators of the End Times and we have seen our share of them over…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Global Debt Bomb Ready To Explode, $21,714 For Every Man, Woman And Child In The World

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 12:18 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) According to the International Monetary Fund, global debt has grown to a staggering grand total of 152 trillion dollars.  Other estimates…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WAR DRUMS: US Navy Simulates Military Strike On North Korea

Posted: 13 Mar 2017 12:08 PM PDT

War Drums are pounding stronger as reports indicate that the U.S. special operations forces, including are scheduled to take part in joint military drills in South…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “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 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He 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 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


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Leaving the NAR Church: Angela’s story.

churchwatch central

We continue with the next testimony from the ongoing series ‘Leaving the NAR Church’ from friend and fellow polemicist Amy Spreeman:

“The senior pastor himself was declared as an apostle by an Elijah List prophetess, and that his church would be known as the “loving church.”  Armed with this fresh knowledge, the church became fanatical in making that prophecy happen.”

Angela’s family member was beginning to see some strange red flags in his church and she knew she needed to do something about it. Having “apostles” and “prophets” in your church is a sure sign that your leadership has officially embraced the New Apostolic Reformation – even if they deny that they have.

In this series, I want to take readers beyond the textbook What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movementexplanation, into the personal experiences from those who have been there, and what happened when God opened their eyes…

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Our Recent “Worship Experience” at Elevation Church

churchwatch central

Elliot Nesch from holybibleprophecy.org writes,

“On Sunday, I took two of my children with me to rescue the lost from a “Worship Experience” of Elevation “Church” at one of the nine locations in North Carolina. Two greeters approached us at the doors who gave my children “ekidz” slap bracelets and began asking me questions. I told them about how we are traveling across the country sharing the gospel and gave them both copies of the Church of Tares DVD, which contains many clips and critiques of their leader “Pastor” Steven Furtick.

The loud techno music outside and activity in the lobby was overwhelming to my six-year-old son who asked if we could leave soon. This was definitely not like any “church” he had seen. An Elevation usher also approached me in the lobby and asked me several questions. Eventually I told him I believed Elevation Church was unbiblical and urged him to watch…

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Four Characteristics of a False Convert

Over the years I’ve seen that one of the most powerful moments in a new believer’s life is the realization that there is such a thing as a false convert. The sudden realization that salvation is not dependent on a prayer, a baptism or family history propels true believers to a whole other dimension in their walk with Christ. They begin to examine themselves properly (2 Cor 13:5), they become more evangelistic, they care more about theology and they appreciate being at church so much more. Understanding the fact that false converts are a reality is so important for those who call themselves Christians.

As we saw last week, there are few things more disappointing than when someone from our church walks away from the Lord. Especially when you’ve spent countless hours not only teaching and discipling that person, but you have shared a myriad of hours of ministry with him.

Maybe at some point in the grieving process, you will wonder why you weren’t able to tell that he was a false convert. Maybe you question your ability to discern over the fact that you were unable to tell, and you are beating yourself over the head.

Philip was one of the first deacons in the Church. He was selected by the disciples to be one of the seven to serve the tables in Acts 6:1-6, and he went on to becomes an incredible evangelist soon after that. In fact, when Stephen was martyred, Philip was the one who was sent to Samaria and Judea in order to spread the Gospel past the confines of Jerusalem. And we see that the Lord used him greatly. But, what we also see is the first false convert. Simon, the magician, was a man whom the people practically worshiped. He was able to do incredible tricks that caused the people to say to themselves, “This man has what is called the Great Power of God.”  When Philip showed up, the Bible tells us that 1) he believed, 2) he was baptized, and 3) he continued on with Philip. As soon as Peter and John showed up, though, we realize that Simon was a false convert and we are left wondering how did Philip miss it? Perhaps Philip was left wondering how he missed it as well.

Of course, no amount of time spent discipling people is wasted time, but there is a sense in which we want to use our time wisely and be able to water where the grass is green, rather than spend our time watering dead grass. Is there a way to tell? Is there a way to be able to recognize the sheep from among the goats in this life? Well, Simon had four red flags that Luke points out in the short story of Acts 8:9-24 which we can apply to all false converts. These don’t encompass all the red flags, but they are a helpful start. So, here are four characteristics of a false convert.

They are man-centered

In other words, they like to be exalted by others. They are all about seeking attention and wanting to be noticed.

Notice an important statement in Acts 8:9. Simon claimed to be someone great. Simon was all about exalting himself and stealing from God’s glory. In fact, the people’s response was to exalt Simon to worship-like status, claiming that he had the power of God. When Philip showed up with real miracles rather than tricks, Simon decided to hop on the bandwagon, hoping to retain the influence he had worked so hard to establish. He was absolutely obsessed with his image.

False converts don’t truly love God and don’t care if He ultimately receives the glory from their life; rather, they are simply after the cheap thrills of recognition and attention. A lack of love for God’s glory shows up in a lack of evangelism, and a lack of speaking about God at all. Those who are man-centered only care about how God can affect them and improve their life and aren’t interested in picking up a cross to follow Christ (Luke 9:23).

They are not devoted to Jesus 

Simon seemed to just go through the motions in Acts 8. As we’ve already seen, he was simply after holding on to his influence and adapting to what the culture around him wanted. Most people in his cult were giving their lives to Jesus, and so, in order to fit in, he also sought to accept Christ. He didn’t truly love Jesus, he simply wanted Jesus to give him what he ultimately sought– the desires of his carnal heart. He completely misunderstood salvation. I mean, he did it all:  he believed, was baptized, and followed Philip.

But, as we know, salvation is not actions, but rather, it is a heart change that God does to a person.  Ultimately it takes Peter one conversation to realize that this man hadn’t truly been saved. False converts completely misunderstand salvation and think that it is through their actions that they are saved. They might say that salvation is not through works with their lips, but their hearts declare something completely different. They don’t truly love Jesus in their hearts and are only after the benefits of what Jesus can bring to their life.

They have a selfish attitude

This is where Simon’s motives become clear. Acts 8:18-19 shows us Simon’s heart. He offered Peter and John money to be able to have the Holy Spirit and do the miracles that they were doing. Of course, this is silly to us and shows us a deep misunderstanding of how the Holy Spirit works. But, if we go beyond the surface, we will notice an even greater red flag.

Notice why he wanted the spiritual gifts. He wanted spiritual gifts so that he could be noticed and feel good about himself. He had completely selfish reasons for them. But, a simple reading of the New Testament will teach us that spiritual gifts are only given to us to be able to serve those around us. Their only goal is to serve the other members of the Church.

Today, so many churches promote certain spiritual gifts as more important than the others, and they also encourage those in their congregations to experiment with spiritual gifts that were not intended for them. Even if they do so unintentionally, they are setting up their congregations to see spiritual gifts as a way to promote themselves in front of the eyes of the church. This is a complete misunderstanding of spiritual gifts and it shows a love-of-self that is dangerous at best.

Christ, on the other hand, teaches his disciples that in order to be great one must be willing to serve (Mark 9:35). He then, through the Holy Spirit, gifted each member of the church with spiritual gifts intended to bless the whole body. The Christian life is a life of self-sacrifice, each Christian is called to put selfish desires to death and be willing to put the interest of others above their own (Gal 5:13).

They misunderstand repentance

Ultimately, Simon showed a lack of understanding of what repentance is. First of all, he got rebuked by Peter. Peter exposed his heart’s intentions and called him out on his sin. Simon’s response is telling. He cared about what Peter said, but not because he displeased his Savior, but because he was concerned about the consequences. He didn’t want what Peter said would happen to Him. This is worldly sorrow. Look at his response, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Not only was he more worried about his consequences, but he also misunderstood how repentance works. He asked them to pray for him. Repentance is a constant desire to be pure in front of God. Repentance doesn’t need others to intercede for them, but, instead, it is the act of a person who humbles himself before his Father and requests forgiveness and desires to change. And this doesn’t just happen at the moment of conversion. This is continual each and every day. Paul Washer says it well when he says,

“Conversion is not like a flu shot. ‘Oh, I did that. I repented. I believed.’ The question is my friend–are you continuing to repent of sin? Are you continuing to believe? Because He who began a good work in you will finish it. He will finish it.”

Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving slave (Matt 18:21-35) teaches a simple fact, and that is if you are unwilling to forgive, then you probably haven’t truly experienced grace. You could also say that someone who doesn’t repent of sin after he becomes a Christian probably isn’t a Christian. A Christian’s humility doesn’t go away at conversion, but rather continues on into his sanctification. As his love for Christ increases, his hatred for sin will increase as well, and it will show itself in a desire to admit sin and continue to repent daily.

On the other hand, false converts hate confrontation. They close up and defend themselves, or, better yet, attack back in order to keep the confronter at bay. They can’t possibly believe that they could have sinned in some way. False converts are prideful and don’t ever own up to sins that they have committed. In other words, they are blind to their sin.

Of course, this must have been eye opening to the early church. Most churches would be ecstatic to have a guy like Simon proclaim Christ and join the church, and maybe Philip was blinded by this as well. But, Simon had all the wrong motives in coming to Christ, and, even though it wasn’t evident at first, his true colors came out in time. Having someone walk away can be extremely painful, but each time it happens, we can be thankful that God has changed our hearts and given us new life. I think that when false-converts walk away, we are also more likely to value the seasoned saints in church around us who have been so faithful to follow Christ for so many years, and who have said, perhaps thousands of times, no to the world and yes to Christ.

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March 14, 2017: Verse of the day

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The Word of Christ

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (3:16)

The word of Christ refers to the revelation He brought into the world, which is Scripture. Peace and thankfulness, as well as unity, love, and all the required virtues, flow from a mind controlled by Scripture. Dwell is from enoikeō and means “to live in,” or “to be at home.” Paul calls upon believers to let the Word take up residence and be at home in their lives. Plousiōs (richly) could also be translated“abundantly or extravagantly rich.” The truths of Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and govern every thought, word, and deed. The Word dwell-s in us when we hear it (Matt. 13:9), handle it (2 Tim. 2:15), hide it (Ps. 119:11), and hold it fast (Phil. 2:16). To do those things, the Christian must read, study, and live the Word. To let the word of Christ richly dwell is identical to being filled with the Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18). The Word in the heart and mind is the handle by which the Spirit turns the will. It is clear that these two concepts are identical because the passages that follow each are so similar.

Colossians 3:18–4:1 is a more brief parallel to Ephesians 5:19– 6:9. The result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the same as the result of letting the Word dwell in one’s life richly. Therefore, the two are the same spiritual reality viewed from two sides. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by His Word. To have the Word dwelling richly is to be controlled by His Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is the author and the power of the Word, the expressions are interchangeable.

Paul then mentions two specific results of the Word of Christ dwelling in the believer, one positive and the other negative: with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another. Teaching is the impartation of positive truth. Admonishing is the negative side of teaching. It means to warn people of the consequences of their behavior. Both are the result of a life overflowing with the Word of Christ.

Having the Word of Christ richly dwell in us produces not only information, but also emotion. It generates psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Psalms were taken from the Old Testament psalter, the book of Psalms. They sang psalms put to music, much as we do today. Hymns were expressions of praise to God. It is thought that some portions of the New Testament (Such as Col. 1:15–20 and Phil. 2:6–11) were originally hymns sung in the early church. Spiritual songs emphasized testimony (cf. Rev. 5:9–10). They express in song what God has done for us. (For more details on this theme, see my commentary, Ephesians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 1986].)

Commentators are divided on whether chariti (thankfulness) should be translated “thankfulness” (As in the NIV and NASB) or “grace” (As in the KJV). Perhaps its use here encompasses both ideas: believers sing out of thankfulness for God’s grace. When Paul tells believers to sing in your hearts he does not mean not to sing with the voice. His concern is that the heart agree with the mouth (cf. Amos 5:23). Singing is to be directed to God as praise and worship offered to Him for His pleasure and glory. That it is edifying to believers is a byproduct of its main purpose.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

March 14, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 14

Are You Available?

Here am I! Send me.

Isaiah 6:8

 

God desires a heart that is available at the appointed place and time to hear His orders. He also desires a heart full of true worship. The believer’s whole affection and mind is to be set on Christ. All his goals are directed toward Him. He is his all in all.

So are you available? Are you a worshiper? Is your intent and purpose in life focused on the Person of Christ? Having those attitudes means being controlled by the Holy Spirit, who is the only One who can cause you to call Jesus Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). All your possessions, time, energy, talent, and gifts are to be under His control.

That also means being centered on the Word because the Word is where Christ is seen. You gaze at His glory in the Word. As Christ came into the world to give His life to bring people to Himself, so you must do likewise.[1]


March 14 Threats to Humility: Strength and Boasting

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

✧✧✧

Satan will tempt us to be proud of our abilities and accomplishments, but we must remember that every good thing we have is from God.

We’ve just studied three steps to humility. Let’s look at the issue from another angle: What kinds of pride threaten to destroy our humility? Where will we struggle to be humble? There are several areas in which Satan will attack us.

The first area I call ability pride. We’re often tempted to be proud of our strong points, not our weak ones. I’ve never been tempted to boast of my fantastic mathematical ability because I have none. But I am tempted to be proud of my preaching because it is my spiritual gift. Thankfully, the Lord helps me deal with such thoughts. It might come in the form of a letter saying, “I was in your church Sunday, and I violently disagree with everything you said.” Or someone might tell me, “We came to hear you for the first time, but we like our pastor better.” Times like those help me keep the proper perspective.

The key to overcoming ability pride is remembering that every gift you have is from God. All the credit belongs to Him. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

Another temptation is verbal pride, or bragging. There is a tendency in human nature to tell people what good we have done or plan to do. People get into a conversation, and soon they’re trying to top each other with their accomplishments. In contrast, Hannah asserts, “Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge; and with Him actions are weighed” (1 Sam. 2:3). God knows the truth about what you have done. Proverbs 27:2 instructs, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.”

As a test, try to get through an entire week without talking about what you’ve done. Perhaps for a starter, try to last an afternoon. When people don’t talk about themselves, the absence of boasting tells volumes about their character.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Repent of any pride in your own abilities or accomplishments.

For Further Study: The apostle Paul had tremendous advantages and abilities but refused to boast about them. Read Philippians 3:4–11. What were Paul’s accomplishments? ✧ How did he consider them? ✧ What was most important to him?[2]


MARCH 14

THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

—1 John 5:20

That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates rather that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up….

It is precisely because God is, and because man is made in His image and is accountable to Him, that theology is so critically important. Christian revelation alone has the answer to life’s unanswered questions about God and human destiny. To let these authoritative answers lie neglected while we search everywhere else for answers and find none is, it seems to me, nothing less than folly.

No motorist would be excused if he neglected to consult his road map and tried instead to find his way across the country by looking for moss on logs, or by observing the flight of wild bees or watching the movement of the heavenly bodies. If there were no map a man might find his way by the stars; but for a traveler trying to get home the stars would be a poor substitute for a map. TIC093, 095

Lord, there are so many questions in this life that cry out for answers. Be my road map, Lord, that I might find You and know You more. Amen. [3]


March 14

Characteristics of Peacemakers, Part 2

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.—Matt. 5:9

Continuing from yesterday, let’s look at two more characteristics of peacemakers.

First, a peacemaker helps others make peace with others. Once you see your duty as a peacemaker in the world, you’ll be looking for ways to build bridges between people and God and then to build them between persons.

By definition, a bridge can’t be one-sided. It must extend between two sides or it can never function. And once built, it continues to need support on both sides or it will collapse. In any relationship our first responsibility is to see that our own side has a solid base. But we also have the responsibility to help the one on the other side build his base. Both must be built on righteousness and truth or the bridge will not stand.

Often the first step in the process is to confront others about their sin, which is the supreme barrier to peace (Matt. 18:15–17). Such confrontation usually causes turmoil, yet the way of righteousness is the only way to peace. Sin that is not dealt with is sin that will disrupt and destroy peace.

Finally, a peacemaker finds a point of agreement. God’s truth and righteousness must never be compromised or weakened. But we are to contend without being contentious, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to confront without being abusive. The peacemaker should speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

When you hunger and thirst for holiness in your own life, you’ll have a passionate desire to see those virtues in the lives of others. That’s a true peacemaker.

ASK YOURSELF
If the desire for peacemaking is missing from your heart, it points to a deeper problem—that your love for others is not what it should be. Would you say this might be true of you? What are the usual symptoms of a heart that’s grown at least somewhat cold toward others?[4]

MARCH 14

WORSHIP—AND WORD

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men.

1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

I must take issue with those in the churches who insist that the worshiping saints do not get anything done but worship! Such an attitude reveals that they have not done their homework. The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God.

Listen to me! Practically every great deed done in the church of Christ all the way back to the apostles was done by people blazing with the radiant worship of their God!

The great hospitals and the mental institutions have grown out of the hearts of worshiping and compassionate disciples. It is true, also, that wherever the church has come out of her lethargy and into the tides of revival and spiritual renewal, always the worshipers were back of it.

A survey of church history will prove that it was those who were the yearning worshipers who also became the great workers and the selfless servants. If we give ourselves to God’s call for worship, everyone will do more for the Savior than they are doing now!

 

Lord, I worship You this morning. I praise You for Your faithfulness and goodness. Glorify Yourself today in the lives of every true worshiper around the globe.[5]


March 14 Looking Beyond the Temporal

“Our Father who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).

✧✧✧

With God as your Father, your life has eternal significance.

Author H. G. Wells wrote of a man who had been overcome by the pressure and stress of modern life. His doctor told him his only hope was to find fellowship with God. The man responded, “What? That—up there—having fellowship with me? I would as soon think of cooling my throat with the Milky Way or shaking hands with the stars.” Poet Thomas Hardy said prayer is useless because there’s no one to pray to except “that dreaming, dark, dumb thing that turns the handle of this idle show.” Voltaire described life as a bad joke. He added, “Bring down the curtain; the farce is done.” Such is the blasphemy and despair of all who insist that God is uninvolved in human affairs.

The Greek and Roman philosophers of Jesus’ day rejected the Fatherhood of God because it contradicted their philosophical systems. The Stoic philosophers taught that all of the gods were apathetic and experienced no emotions at all. The Epicurean philosophers taught that the supreme quality of the gods was complete calm or perfect peace. To maintain their serenity, they needed to remain totally isolated from the human condition.

Scripture refutes all such heresies by declaring that God is an intimate, caring Father. The significance of that truth is staggering. He conquers your fears and comforts you in times of distress. He forgives your sins and gives you eternal hope. He showers you with limitless resources and makes you the recipient of an imperishable inheritance. He grants you wisdom and direction through His Spirit and His Word. He will never leave or forsake you.

When you humbly approach God as your Father, you assume the role of a child who is eager to obey his Father’s will and receive all the benefits of His grace. Let that take you beyond your present circumstances and motivate you to dwell on what’s eternal.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the joy and purpose He gives you each day. ✧ Commit yourself to pursuing His will today.

For Further Study: Read Exodus 3:1–5 and Isaiah 6:1–5. What attitude should you have when you pray to God? ✧ What does Hebrews 4:16 say you can receive when you approach God in prayer?[6]


MARCH 14

MEN WILL NOT PRAISE YOU FOR GENUINE SPIRITUALITY

But as we are allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men but God….

1 THESSALONIANS 2:4

What we do for God must be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and we know and accept the fact that we may have little praise from men.

But what we do accomplish for Him as true spiritual work done with eternity in view will have His praise written across it!

Most of us have never heard, or do not remember, the name of the humble sixteen-year-old girl whose singing ministry brought such spiritual results in the Welsh revivals with Evan Roberts.

This quiet, humble girl would sing the gospel songs and much has been said about her spiritual gift—the Spirit-given ability to glorify Jesus Christ as Saviour when she sang. Not too much has ever been said about her voice, but the record is clear that she was a gifted soul—that the Holy Spirit seemed to be singing and moving through her yielded expression.

Evan Roberts would then rise to preach and there was little left for him to do. He said that he would quote from the Scriptures and add an exhortation and the people were ready to come to Christ. She had melted them with the warmth and the power of the Spirit!

Oh, what we would be tempted to do with her ministry in this day! We would put her on the coast-to-coast network and show off her talent—and spoil her! Thank God that they knew better than to start writing her life story.

She was a beautiful example of the humble use of our spiritual gifts for the glory of Jesus Christ—a simple Welsh girl willingly controlled by the Holy Spirit of God![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 87). 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. 82). 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. 86). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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

40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Two: Tuesday)

Tuesday

Confession: Psalm 6:5–7

For there is no remembrance of you in death.

In Sheol, who will give thanks to you?

I am weary with my groaning;

I flood my bed every night.

With my tears I drench my couch.

My eye wastes away because of vexation;

it grows old because of all my oppressors.

Reading: Mark 10:46–52

And they came to Jericho. And as he was setting out from Jericho along with his disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, was sitting beside the road. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many people warned him that he should be quiet. But he was crying out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up! He is calling you.” And he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered him and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabboni, that I may regain my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has healed you.” And immediately he regained his sight and began to follow him on the road.

Reflection

O most kind, most loving Lord, whom I now desire to receive with devotion. You know the weakness and the necessity which I suffer, in what great evils and vices I am involved, how often I am depressed, tempted, defiled, and troubled.

To you I come for help; to you I pray for comfort and relief. I speak to Him who knows all things, to whom my whole inner life is manifest, and who alone can perfectly comfort and help me.

You know what good things I am most in need of and how poor I am in virtue. Behold, I stand before you, poor and naked, asking your grace and imploring your mercy.

Feed your hungry beggar. Inflame my coldness with the fire of your love. Enlighten my blindness with the brightness of your presence. Turn all earthly things to bitterness for me, all grievance and adversity to patience, all lowly creation to contempt and oblivion. Raise my heart to you in heaven, and suffer me not to wander on earth. From this moment to all eternity do you alone grow sweet to me, for you alone are my food and drink, my love and my joy, my sweetness and my total good.

Let your presence wholly inflame me. Consume and transform me into yourself, that I may become one spirit with you by the grace of inward union and by the melting power of your ardent love.

Suffer me not to go from you fasting and thirsty, but deal with me mercifully as you have so often and so wonderfully dealt with your saints.

What wonder if I were completely inflamed by you to die to myself, since you are the fire ever burning and never dying, a love purifying the heart and enlightening the understanding.

—Thomas à Kempis

The Imitation of Christ

Response

Instead of “going on his way,” Bartimaeus followed after Jesus. What is your response to Christ’s intervention in your life? After reflecting on this, spend time praying Thomas à Kempis’ prayer.[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.