Daily Archives: March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Mar. 24, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

After more than 8 years of political haggling over both its future and its benefits, the Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada to America’s heartland has been approved by President Donald Trump. The battle, though, is not over yet. Environmental foes have vowed to press legal challenges against the $8 billion project and to vocalize their opposition in congressional town meetings. At the same time, TransCanada Corp., the pipeline’s builder, still needs state approvals to begin work.

Brazil and the U.S. signed a military agreement that paves the way for the joint development and sale of defense products, the Brazilian defense ministry said. The accord does not require congressional approval.

Indian students think twice about attending U.S. universities. They worry about anti-Indian violence and getting a U.S. job after graduating.

Ending the U.S. free-trade deal with Mexico, as Donald Trump threatened during his presidential campaign, would hand a significant victory to China, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said.

Former President Obama marked the seventh anniversary Thursday of his signing of the Affordable Care Act with a defense of the law’s accomplishments as House Republicans prepare to vote on their own health-care bill rolling back key pieces of the 2010 measure.

Orders for U.S. durable goods increased more than forecast in February, a sign companies are confident about the outlook for the economy. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose 1.7 percent after a 2.3 percent advance the prior month that was larger than previously estimated.

Venezuela’s state oil company was rushing to replenish gasoline supplies in various neighborhoods of Caracas on Thursday as drivers lined up at filling stations amid a worsening shortage of fuel. While Petroleos de Venezuela SA says the situation is normalizing and blamed the lines on transport delays, the opposition says the company has had to reduce costly fuel imports as it tries to preserve cash to pay its foreign debt.

British Airways is rolling out technology that will allow passengers to go through boarding gates at its main London Heathrow Airport hub using facial recognition.

China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co. agreed to acquire a 21 percent equity stake in SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. from Blackstone Group LP, becoming the embattled U.S. theme-park operator’s largest shareholder.

AP Top Stories

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its revised estimate for the Republican healthcare bill on Thursday, and it could put House GOP leaders on even worse footing than the office’s original assessment.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, the man in charge of America’s supply of nuclear weapons, took the time Wednesday to criticize Texas A&M’s election for student body president. Perry’s complaint was about the process by which Bobby Brooks, who would become the first openly gay student president in the university’s history, won the election last month. Brooks finished 750 votes behind Robert McIntosh, the son of a prominent GOP fundraiser, but McIntosh was disqualified after he was found to violate a campaign finance rule over some glow sticks used in a campaign video.

Contrary to the common belief that corruption is on the rise within the U.S. government. Prosecutions of corrupt officials fell markedly in the first five months of fiscal year 2017, accelerating a general two-decade decline, according to a report released Wednesday.

Turkey fired into Kurdish-controlled Syria on Wednesday after saying one of its soldiers was killed by a sniper from across the border, risking deeper conflict with a Kurdish militia backed by the United States and building ties to Russia.

One girl’s Sweet 16 cost her dad a sweet $6 million! Texas Attorney Thomas Jay Henry hired celebrity performers, makeup artists, and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s own photographer to celebrate daughter Maya’s birthday. 600 guests awaited the birthday girl’s arrival in a fleet of Rolls Royce’s, complete with police escort.

The U.S. Secret Service has asked for $60 million in additional funding for the fiscal 2018 budget, a request, which has resulted from the increasing lifestyle costs of the Trump family in the White House.

BBC

More than 200 migrants are feared dead after five bodies were discovered off the Libyan coast, a Spanish aid organization said. Proactiva said the bodies were found floating near two capsized boats which could each hold more than 100 people.

A panel of judges at Taiwan’s top court are hearing a case that could make the island the first place in Asia to introduce gay marriage.

A judge in Argentina has ruled that the former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, should stand trial on charges of financial mismanagement.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been freed from detention, six years after being overthrown.

A man who drove at a crowd in Antwerp has been charged with attempted terrorism. No-one was injured but shoppers were forced to dive out of the way in Thursday’s incident.

WND

New documents from WikiLeaks point to an apparent CIA program to hack Apple’s iPhones and Mac computers using techniques that users couldn’t disable by resetting their devices.

Immigration arrests and border-related cases have swamped the federal government, the Justice Department said Thursday, pointing to new statistics that show half of all arrests made by federal authorities in 2014 were for immigration offenses.


Top News – 3/24/2017

Philippines leader scolds EU for ‘idiotic’ drug rehab solution
Duterte castigated the EU for urging him to focus his campaign on drugs rehabilitation and stood by his security-centered approach to a crackdown that has left thousands of people dead since he took office nine months ago.

Republican senator: Not time for ‘splashy’ peace talks
Cotton, who will be speaking at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on May 7, told the Post this week that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are interested in a peace process along the lines of what former secretary of state John Kerry tried to orchestrate in 2013 and 2014, when he spent much of his time shuttling between sides in the hope of getting both to the same table.

UN boosts inquiry into North Korea crimes against humanity
United Nations human rights body agreed on Friday to boost its investigation into widespread violations in North Korea with a view to documenting alleged crimes against humanity for future prosecution.

CIA’s NightSkies tool can hack, remotely control iPhones without user knowing
WikiLeaks has revealed the CIA’s alleged ability to infiltrate and control iPhones through a tool called NightSkies, which is physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones and allows the CIA to monitor and download files from targets’ phones undetected. The revelation is part of WikiLeaks’ latest Vault 7 release named ‘Dark Matter.’

Source: NSA has ‘smoking gun’ evidence Obama spied on Trump
A source told Fox News the NSA will provide the House Intelligence Committee with potential “smoking gun” documentation proving the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and maybe even the president-elect.

US stresses ‘concern’ with Israeli settlements after intensive talks
The Trump administration is encouraging the Israeli government to adapt some of its policies toward the Palestinians in preparation for a new round of peace talks. Senior administration officials conducted four days of intensive talks with their Israeli counterparts focused on “concrete near-term measures to improve the overall climate in order to advance the prospects for a genuine and lasting peace,” both governments said in a joint statement.

House and Senate introduce bipartisan bills combating Israel boycotts
Republican and Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress introduced legislation on Thursday that would penalize international governmental organizations and foreign countries seeking to boycott, divest and sanction the state of Israel… The bill…would amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include in its prohibitions on boycotts against “allies of the United States” those fostered by NGOs against Israel. The bill also directs the US Export-Import Bank to combat boycotts against the Jewish state.

Taiwan top court hears landmark gay marriage case
A panel of judges at Taiwan’s top court are hearing a case that could make the island the first place in Asia to introduce gay marriage. The case has been brought by a gay activist as well as municipal authorities from the capital, Taipei. Taiwan’s parliament has also been debating whether to pass laws that would allow same-sex marriage.

Chechnya: Russian soldiers killed in clash with insurgents
Six Russian soldiers have been killed and several wounded in a clash with armed militants in Russia’s region of Chechnya, security forces say. The Russian National Guard says militants took advantage of heavy fog to try to storm one of its bases overnight on Thursday. Six attackers are also said to have been killed in the gun battle. Russian forces have fought two wars against Islamist separatists in Chechnya since 1994.

Pro-settlement hardliner Friedman confirmed as US envoy to Israel
The US Senate has confirmed right-winger David Friedman as America’s next ambassador to Israel. He was approved in a 52-46 vote in the Republican-run chamber, despite opposition from the Democrats. Mr Friedman, who was once Donald Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer, is critical of the US goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also supports Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, and has backed moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

US healthcare bill: Trump issues Friday vote ultimatum
US President Donald Trump has demanded a make-or-break vote in the House of Representatives on Friday on his troubled healthcare bill. The American Healthcare Act is intended to replace parts of President Barack Obama’s signature “Obamacare” law. A vote on Thursday was delayed because of opposition from some Republicans. Mr Trump reportedly warned fellow Republicans that they had a choice between voting for his bill on Friday or being stuck with Obamacare for good.

Row over US ISP customer data sales
US politicians have voted to remove rules that demanded ISPs got permission from customers before selling their browsing histories. The US Senate voted by a narrow majority to repeal the rules that were first approved in October 2016. Politicians who called for the rules to be dropped said they were “harmful”. The decision was called a “crushing loss” for privacy by digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Man in Antwerp, Belgium, Tries to Drive Into Crowd
A French resident tried to drive over pedestrians on a crowded shopping street in the Belgian port city of Antwerp on Thursday, and a rifle and several knives were found in the vehicle, prosecutors said.

Schumer says Dems will filibuster Gorsuch
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Thursday that Democrats will attempt to filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, saying he would tilt the Supreme Court too far away from what Democrats want to see. “After careful deliberation I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court,” Mr. Schumer said, announcing his filibuster on the Senate floor.

Was Trump right about false flag anti-Semitism? Jewish teen arrested for bomb threats against Jewish institutions
Police in Israel have arrested a 19-year US-Israeli Jewish man in connection with a series of bomb threats made against Jewish community centre. On 28 February US President Donald Trump hinted that the wave of hoax bomb threats made against Jewish organisations in the US could have been false flags (covert operations that are designed to deceive) . He was roundly criticised for telling a group of lawmakers: “Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad”.

Wikileaks Releases “NightSkies 1.2”: Proof CIA Bugs “Factory Fresh” iPhones
Meet the CIA’s “NightSkies 1.2” project, a “beacon/loader/implant tool” for the Apple iPhone “expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones. i.e the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008.”

People Are Ditching Chicago In Record Numbers As Windy City Leads U.S. In Population Loss
“Data also suggest that African-Americans are now leaving the region at a significantly faster rate than whites.  That suggests that rising crime rates and the loss of jobs on Chicago’s South and West Sides are continuing to encourage residents to look elsewhere for a better life.”


The Briefing 03-24-17

How the secularization of America has led to more partisanship and deeper cultural divide

“Prophetic opposition”? The history and theology behind Princeton’s decision not to honor Tim Keller

51 years after asking, “Is God Dead?” TIME Magazine now asks, “Is Truth Dead?”

Despite clean hearing, Senate Democrats vow to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination

How Anne Hathaway became a U.N. ambassador for paid parental leave

The post The Briefing 03-24-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


A smoking gun from the NSA? : “Said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump”

We’ll see how this pans out but this does not surprise me given the whispers that have floated through the ether over the last 6 months. Obama, again, could be in real trouble.

But there is another question we have. What the heck is going on in the intel community these days?

Read More


March 23, 2017
PETER LEMISKA — Considering America’s 240-year history, 16 years is not a long time. But for some, it’s long enough to forget the outrage and fear all Americans felt after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001…. (more)

March 22, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — President Donald Trump is usually a fan of Fox News, but his opinion may now be changing. Fox News has been caught misrepresenting its own interview with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on the subject of alleged wiretapping of President Trump, in order to make Trump look bad. The cable channel also threw one of its own commentators, Judge Andrew Napolitano, under the bus for highlighting a possible British role in gathering intelligence on Trump and his associates…. (more)

March 22, 2017
BOSTON HERALD — President Trump’s transition team may have had its communications picked up and distributed throughout the intelligence community, according to a leading Republican on the House Intelligence Committee – – news that had conservatives claiming vindication as shock waves spread across Washington…. (more)


March 22, 2017
BOB UNRUH — President Trump’s tweet claiming the Obama administration “wiretapped” Trump Tower was met with derision and doubt by establishment media, which then spent several weeks repeatedly describing his claim as “unsubstantiated” and “without proof.”… (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Trump presidential transition officials had their communications monitored and “unmasked” by the intelligence community, the chairman of the House intelligence committee said Wednesday, offering the first major piece of evidence of possible illegal activity by Obama officials against Donald Trump as president-elect…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward warned on Wednesday that there are people from the Obama administration who could be facing criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members from surveillance of foreign officials…. (more)

March 22, 2017
PHILIP KLEIN, ROBERT KING — In a last-minute bid to woo conservatives ahead of a high-stakes vote on Thursday on repealing and replacing Obamacare, House leaders are considering gutting more Obamacare regulations…. (more)

March 22, 2017
PHILIP KLEIN — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said on Wednesday that the Senate parliamentarian has told him that it may be possible for Republicans to push harder on repealing Obamacare’s regulations than the current House bill, which contradicts the assertion by House leadership that the legislation goes after Obamacare as aggressively as possible under Senate rules…. (more)


March 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — The conservative Koch network is promising to spend millions of dollars to defeat the health care overhaul backed by President Donald Trump and top House Republicans…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — A lone attacker mowed down pedestrians and then stabbed a policeman in the shadow of the British Parliament Wednesday, in what police described as a terrorist strike that left the attacker and at least four others dead and some 40 people injured on nearby Westminster Bridge…. (more)


March 22, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A Pennsylvania school district that was sued for deliberately allowing a girl into a boys’ locker room, causing embarrassment and humiliation for a boy already changing his clothes there, on Wednesday doubled down on its advocacy for transgenderism…. (more)

March 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — The conservative House Freedom Caucus is threatening to formally oppose the American Health Care Act unless dramatic changes are made to the Republican proposal by Wednesday night, a source said Tuesday. The plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, in its current form, is “going down as of now,” the source told CNBC…. (more)


March 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — Negotiations between conservative holdouts and President Donald Trump over the GOP healthcare bill were fruitless, and the legislation will not pass, House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said. Any hopes of passing the Obamacare repeal plan are “over,” Meadows said Monday, according to The Hill…. (more)

March 22, 2017
GARTH KANT — A highly placed source in the House Freedom Caucus told WND that lawmakers in the conservative group have absolutely no fear that President Trump will retaliate against them if they vote against the health-care bill backed by the White House…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The national spotlight is trained on House Republicans’ furious efforts to pass a healthcare bill this week, but the measure faces an even more difficult path in the Senate, where just three GOP senators could sink it…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — Senate Democrats got into several testy exchanges with Judge Neil Gorsuch during Tuesday’s 11-hour hearing, which could end up being their opening move in a strategy that calls for doing anything it takes to keep him off the Supreme Court…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Judge Neil Gorsuch repeatedly defended an “undocumented immigrant” against the massive crush of the administrative state during his confirmation hearing Tuesday, picking a fascinating fight with his potential future colleagues on the Supreme Court…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — A moment of levity snuck into Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, when a Republican senator brought up a beloved science fiction comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”… (more)

March 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — Israel will continue air strikes in Syria if it deems it necessary, despite reports indicating otherwise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at a press briefing, Haaretz reported…. (more)

March 22, 2017
NEWSMAX — Former Trump aide Paul Manafort received illegal payments from the party of Ukraine’s toppled president, a Ukranian lawmaker and journalist said during a press conference in Kiev Tuesday morning, the Washington Post reports…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The fence-jumper who wandered around the White House complex for 17 minutes was able to elude the Secret Service in part because the agency has taken down alarm sensors along an area of one fence that he scaled, according to two sources familiar with details of the incident…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Family members of more than 800 people who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have filed a lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia, alleging its support of al Qaeda and its complicity in the attacks. The lawsuit, filed in the federal court that covers lower Manhattan, is one of several brought in recent months after Congress last year passed a law allowing countries to be sued in terrorism cases. Lawmakers overrode a veto by former President Barack Obama to enact the law…. (more)

March 22, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — In a 6-2 ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court limited the appointment power of the president, deciding that President Obama improperly filled the position of general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency…. (more)

March 20, 2017
ALAN KEYES — The spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” has reportedly become an anthem popular among British rugby fans. Recently I read an article about this noting the “solemn origins” of the song as a “slave spiritual.” The article mentions that “Josephine Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio” says that the spiritual’s lyrics “allude to feelings of despair and a desire for release from suffering.”… (more)

March 20, 2017
LARRY KLAYMAN — Thanks to yet another runaway hack federal judge, now all of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have a constitutional right to enter the United States – – unrestricted at any time. That is the shocking but preposterous ruling of Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii v. Trump, issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against President Trump’s rewritten executive order temporarily suspending travel from the world’s most dangerous terrorist countries, to allow time to devise a strict means to vet potential terrorists… (more)

Frontrunning: March 24

  • Trump Says If Vote on Health Bill Fails, Obamacare Stays (Read More)
  • Risky House healthcare vote to test Trump’s negotiating skills (Read More)
  • Trump Dares GOP in High-Stakes Vote on Troubled Health Bill (Read More)
  • All drill, no frack: U.S. shale leaves thousands of wells unfinished (Read More)
  • Twitter explores subscription-based option for first time (Read More)
  • EU’s Juncker Says U.K. Brexit Bill Will Be About $62 Billion (Read More)
  • House Intelligence Committee Clash Over Nunes Clouds Future of Probe (Read More)
  • Washington talks end without agreement on Israeli settlements (Read More)
  • Britain to fire starting gun on Brexit talks (Read More)
  • Credit Suisse Increases Bonus Pool 6%, CEO Thiam Gets $12 Million (Read More)
  • Blackstone sells 21 percent stake in SeaWorld to China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye (Read More)
  • PwC settles with MF Global over Corzine brokerage’s collapse (Read More)
  • Too much misconduct goes undetected: ex-CFTC chief (Read More)
  • Microsoft-Probe Blunder Said to Haunt EU as Google Risks Fines (Read More)
  • Putin meets France’s Le Pen in Moscow, says won’t interfere in election (Read More)
  • Theranos Offers Shares for Promise Not to Sue Company (Read More)
  • The Controversial Chinese Economist Uncovering Tough Truths (Read More)
  • Greece to support Rome EU declaration, but wants backing on labor reforms (Read More)
  • Egypt’s former leader Mubarak freed, six years after overthrow: lawyer (Read More)
  • BOJ chief Kuroda says ‘no reason’ to withdraw stimulus now (Read More)

Weekly Watchman for 03/24/2017

Deception is Rampant, but What is Truth?

In John 18:38, Pontius Pilate asks Jesus one of the single greatest questions of the entire Bible: “What is truth?” That question is just as important today.  It might seem like a very simple question, but when we see how the definition of truth has been twisted and redefined these days, it is vital to […]

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Sliding into Humanism, Moral Relativism

I wrote my latest book, The Death of Christian Thought, to warn Christians how the dangerous lies of Humanism were infiltrating the hearts and minds of an increasing number of professing Christians, leading many away from God and toward eternal damnation. This morning in our second segment we cover a recent study that shows just how bad things are getting as the spiritual beliefs of younger people stray further and further away from the truth of God and His Word.

In our first segment we talk with Pastor Randy White about a very interesting book by Dave Breese titled Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave. We’ll look at seven men whose anti-Christian beliefs and philosophies continue to strongly influence people and society long after their deaths.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Who’s in Charge of the ‘Kingdom Now’?

A crucial doctrine of Christianity is the eventual return of Jesus Christ to judge all men and establish His everlasting Kingdom. Sadly, Bible prophecy is ignored in many churches so Christians are left to their own to try to understand that glorious day when our Lord returns to vanquish evil.

One question I love to ask professing Christians is this: When Jesus returns what does the world look like and what does He do? If their answer involves us, human beings establishing universal justice or cleaning up the world of poverty and pollution, then I know I am dealing with someone who embraces what is called “Dominion theology.” This is the idea that when men clean up the earth Jesus returns and we simply “hand over the keys” to Him so to speak. This is a dangerous form of Humanism, elevating man and discounting God.

One arm of Dominion Theology is called “Kingdom Now” theology and this morning we are joined by Pastor Andy Woods who has written several books discussing this movement.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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What is the Problem in the Church?

In Matthew 16:18, the “church” is first mentioned in God’s Word as Jesus tells Peter that his revelation ‘Jesus is the Christ’ is the rock upon which Jesus will build His church. And “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus established His church to spread the gospel and equip Christians to walk as His disciples, living as he lived in obedience to the Father. The Christian Church should starkly contrast secular culture and be light in an increasingly dark world. But is this happening in America? A strong argument can be made that the church is increasingly ineffective in transforming lives and the culture we live in.

Who is to blame for this problem? Is it church leadership failing to equip the believers? Or is it the people they lead? People who want enough Jesus to be saved, but not enough to be transformed into living a life holy and pleasing to God?

We explore these questions this morning with Dave Wager of Nicolet Bible Institute.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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So Many Questions… Only One Source for Truth

Every week we receive hundreds of emails, phone calls and texts from you, Stand Up for the Truth listeners, asking questions or making comments about the biblical issues we address on the program. I wish we had the time to respond to each one personally, but it is near impossible.

Today, we start a brand new regular segment where we share as many of your comments and questions as we can to hopefully help encourage and inform others with similar questions or concerns.

Our standard but important disclaimer: We will give the best advice and answers we can based on our understanding of God’s Word. But you must always rely on the Bible first, as the only source of eternal, inerrant, sufficient truth.

Thanks to listener questions, the subjects covered on today’s program are: church discipline, Andy Stanley’s series ‘Who Needs God,’ The Shack, apathy in the Christian church, United Church of God theology, IF Gathering led by Jennie Allen, Is Calvinism heresy, fundamental Christian truth vs liberal ‘feeling’ theology, moral relativism, examining the evidence proving the reliability of Scripture.

One of the things addressed on today’s program was Sozo prayer.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Top Headlines – 3/24/2017

Arab League chief says Palestinians to present peace plan

Israeli official denies US demanding freeze in isolated settlements

After US-Israeli talks, White House expresses ‘concerns’ with settlement building

Senate confirms David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel, with little Democratic support

3 IDF soldiers charged with beating Palestinian man in Hebron

One terrorist killed, 3 wounded during attack on Israeli town

Israeli teenager arrested over bomb threats to US Jewish targets

Online slip-up led police to JCC bomb threat suspect

Bomb threat suspect’s arrest brings relief, but US Jews vow to stay vigilant

Was Trump right about false flag anti-Semitism? Jewish teen arrested for bomb threats against Jewish institutions

BDS founder Omar Barghouti arrested for tax evasion

Kuwait trying to oust Knesset from Inter-Parliamentary Union

Venezuela expresses ‘desire’ to reestablish relations with Israel

Israel to host seven overseas air forces for largest ever drill

How worried are Israel’s leaders about Putin’s Syrian warning?

Al Qaeda quietly gaining territory in Syria amid ISIS fight

US combat airlift marks deepening involvement in Syria

UN: ‘Worst is yet to come’ with 400,000 trapped in west Mosul

Satellite images show Palmyra temple destruction

Egypt says Sinai fighting kills 12 security forces

Corruption probe against Mubarak renewed

More than 200 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

Russia may be helping supply Taliban insurgents, US general says

Afghan Taliban capture crucial town of Sangin

‘Vicar of Baghdad’ Says Christianity is Gone from Middle East: ‘It is Over’

Bahrain sentences three to death for “terrorism”, bomb attacks

Senators bring new Iran sanctions bill over missile tests, terrorism

Turkey’s Referendum Could Backfire on Erdogan

Erdogan demands removal of laptop ban

Laptop ban creates turbulence for airline profits

State Department tells embassies to ramp up visa screening

Vehicles Becoming Favored Terrorist Attack Weapon

Belgian Security Forces Foil Possible Car Attack in Antwerp

London counter-terror chief says two more ‘significant’ arrests made in regard to terror attack in London

ISIS claims responsibility for London terror attack

London attacker Khalid Masood said to be convert to Islam

Khalid Masood, the violent extremist jailed for knife attacks and who ‘travelled to Saudi Arabia’ before bringing terror to Westminster

London attack: British-born attacker ‘known to MI5’

Erdogan tells May: Turkey, UK partners in fight against terrorism

France shudders after London attack, Le Pen demands border controls

Ukraine munitions blasts prompt mass evacuations

Russian ex-lawmaker and Putin critic killed in Ukraine; Poroshenko calls it ‘state terrorism’

Days before his death, Putin critic said in interview he knew he was in danger

N.Korea has maintained readiness for nuclear test any time

John Bolton: We’re running out of time on North Korea

Soros-funded charities targeted by Trump-inspired crackdown in East Europe

Renters Now Rule Half of U.S. Cities – The American Dream increasingly involves a lease, not a mortgage

Maduro’s awkward TV shows raise hackles amid Venezuela crisis

Senate Republicans voted today to kill federal privacy rules

Potential ‘smoking gun’ showing Obama administration spied on Trump team, source says

Krauthammer: ‘Pretty Big Violation’ If Trump Team Was Improperly Surveilled

Rep. Nunes: ‘I had a duty and obligation’ to tell Trump of surveillance intel

Republican Nunes apologizes over handling of Trump surveillance claim

Wikileaks Releases “NightSkies 1.2”: Proof CIA Bugs “Factory Fresh” iPhones

4-year-old boy uses Siri to call ambulance, saves mom’s life

FBI Grilled On Extent Of Its Facial Recognition Program

Senate leader demands to know why accused rapist was allowed to enter US illegally

Mayors of sanctuary cities should be thrown in jail

Companies Are Now Bidding for Contracts to Build Trump’s Border Wall

‘Longest building in the world’: U-shaped skyscraper could transform New York

As Condo Towers Get Taller, Elevators Rise to the Challenge

Singapore may be trying out ‘flying taxis’ in the near future

Aircraft Startup Boom Raises $33 Million To Bring Back Supersonic Flights At Business Class Prices

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Elevated wildfire risk to grip central US into April as winds howl, drought worsens

Smog-hit Beijing plans ‘green necklace’ to block pollution

Let there be light: German scientists test ‘artificial sun’

‘Veggie burger that bleeds’ set to take on US market

‘Flu-Like’ Illnesses Spread Misery Nationwide

Africa health: Rotavirus vaccine could save 500,000 children a year

Two thirds of cancers are unavoidable even if you live a healthy life, study finds

DNA repair discovery could lead to drugs to reverse ageing, fight cancer and help space travel

Purging the body of ‘retired’ cells could reverse ageing, study shows

Scientists use graphene to power ‘electronic skin’ that can feel

GOP leaders delay ObamaCare replacement vote, amid opposition

Trump demands Friday vote on health care plan

Trump Ultimatum: Vote on Health Care Friday or Obamacare Stays

Republicans rebelling against health care risk Trump’s wrath

Koch Brothers’ group vows millions to Republicans who vote against health care bill

Health-care overhaul faces an even bigger challenge in the Senate

Schumer says Dems will filibuster Gorsuch

White House decries Senate Democrats’ filibuster threat on Judge Gorsuch

Senate Democrats may seek deal with GOP to confirm Gorsuch, stave off ‘nuclear’ option

Fort Collins fights to keep topless ban

Church & Culture – Equivocation on “the church” and the church it’s destroyed

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold

Do you need “Momentum for your breakthrough?

Newspaper ‘Church Calendar’  Illustrates Major Paradigm Shift in Church in America

Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch: A Fetus Is Not a Person Under the Law

Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch: Gay marriage is absolutely settled law

Christians Victimized by Boko Haram Denied Food, Aid in Nigerian Displacement Camps

Mike Ratliff – Discernment is vital but it only comes to those who are mature in Christ

Is Aglow affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation?

Customized Blasphemy – “Apostle” Kelly’s Customized Holy Ghost White Cadillac

Preemptive Discernment Alert! New Heretic-Authored Book Forthcoming

Attempts to Blend Christianity with Other Religions

HeartCry Missionary Paul Washer Expected to Be Released From Hospital by Weekend

Paul Washer did NOT visit the Third Heaven!

NC School District Removes First Grade Book About Dress-Wearing Boy Following Complaints

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 08:44 AM PDT

How would you like to know that your first-grade boys were going to be reading a book depicting a little boy who liked wearing dresses?…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is a Muslim Takeover of Britain Already Underway?

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 08:34 AM PDT

By now one has to ask themselves if Britain has been officially taken over by Muslims. After the latest terror attack there, there are many…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Will We See the Fulfillment of Prophetic Third Temple in Our Lifetime?

Posted: 24 Mar 2017 08:18 AM PDT

(By Kelly Mcdonald Jr) The end of it shall come with a flood. And until the end of the war desolations are determined. And he…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Member Of Congress Warns Of A 1,000 Point Stock Market Crash If Obamacare Lite Does Not Pass

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 06:52 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Are we going to see a dramatic stock market plunge if the effort to get “Obamacare Lite” through the U.S. House…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: Palestinians To Present “Peace Plan” Next Week!

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 06:40 PM PDT

1 Thessalonians 5:3 – For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: America May Have to Prepare For War With North Korea

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 06:21 PM PDT

The US Secretary of State has just reportedly drawn some red lines regarding the current tensions that have risen with North Korea. According to sources, Secretary of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: 300,000 Civilians at Risk in Damascus Battle

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 05:52 PM PDT

Once again we are witnessing “Prophetic Headlines” right before our eyes! This latest one regards Damascus, Syria which is directly mentioned in Isaiah Chapter 17. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: “Smoking Gun” Evidence Coming Proving Obama Spied on Trump Team

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 04:56 PM PDT

Are we about to see concrete evidence proving Trump’s credibility of claiming that the Obama Administration spied on him and his team? This new claim…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sanhedrin Calls on Israel’s Greatest Enemy to Follow Tradition and Build Third Temple

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 04:38 PM PDT

Revelation 11:1-2 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Man who Died Preaching on the Titanic

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 12:59 PM PDT

(By Will Graham) God’s servants are everywhere. Absolutely everywhere! One such man went by the name of John Harper. As the renowned steam-liner Titanic hit…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

1400-year-old coins discovered from Christians fleeing persecution in Jerusalem

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 12:54 PM PDT

An amazing discovery has been made in Jerusalem by Archeologists as reports indicate that a hidden collection of ancient bronze coins that may have belonged…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: North Korea Set to launch Another Nuclear Test In Days

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 12:40 PM PDT

The defiance of North Korea continues as new reports are now indicating that the communist Nation is in the final stages of preparing for yet…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Israel Along with 7 Countries To hold Largest Drill In Israel’s History

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 12:19 PM PDT

With war clouds in the air, Israel is now set to hold the largest air drill in the Nation’s history. Reports indicate that Israel will join…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

German Scientists Attempting To Create “Artificial Sun”

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 12:11 PM PDT

It looks like Scientists are now trying to create what is being called an “Artificial Sun” in Germany. According to reports, this pursuit will hopefully…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

7000 Mysterious Underground Gas Bubbles Ready to Explode in Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 12:03 PM PDT

A recent discovery in Siberia’s remote Bely Island has raised concerns for the regions of Yamal and Gydan peninsulas. According to reports, a recent discovery…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Transgender Man Wins Women’s Weightlifting Competition

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 11:54 AM PDT

How would you feel if you were a woman in a weightlifting competition and found out that you were competing with a man who had…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists Creating Prosthetics with Sense of Touch

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 11:50 AM PDT

Scientists are in the process of creating an electronic skin using solar energy advancing the development of prosthetic limbs or robots with a sense of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Need of Authenticity in this Hour

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 11:43 AM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss how we are in dire need of true authenticity in this hour and not more replications….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Power Rangers to Feature First Lesbian Character

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 07:21 AM PDT

After we just went through all the controversy over Disney’s first “gay character”, LeFou, in Beauty and the Beast. Now, superhero fans are celebrating a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Reports Of Revival in Europe Spurred by Muslim Refugee Conversions

Posted: 23 Mar 2017 07:10 AM PDT

According to a Fuller Theological Seminary professor, Christianity could be on the rise again in Europe as reports are indicating that Muslim refugees are converting…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scientists Warn That The Coming California Megaquake Could Plunge Large Portions Of The State Into The Ocean

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 08:20 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Over the years, many people have been shown that someday a giant earthquake will cause significant portions of California to fall…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

These Dangerous Prophets Are Peddling the Latest ‘Snake Oil’ in the Body of Christ

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 08:06 PM PDT

(By Dawn Hill) I love the prophetic ministry. It is a great asset to the body of Christ and like anything else, when accessed with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

United Methodist Congregation’s Satellite Campus Splits From Church Over Homosexuality Debate

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 08:02 PM PDT

A recent debate regarding Homosexuality has resulted in the split of the satellite campus of a United Methodist congregation in Kansas and is causing many…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US military Tests New ‘Game-Changer’ Electromagnetic Weapon

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 07:44 PM PDT

The US military is about to test a new electromagnetic gun that can fire ammo at 4,500mph! This will be the “Game-Changer” in warfare!  According…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China Warns US Over Bomber Flying in East China Sea

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 07:06 PM PDT

Move over North Korea! Now The Chinese military is picking a fight with America as reports indicate that they have just issued a warning to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Over One Million Americans at Risk of North Korea Nuke Attack

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 06:33 PM PDT

Sources are indicating that North Korea is working to develop a “pre-emptive first strike capability” and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) to be used against its…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Worst Retail Cataclysm Ever: Sears Warns It Is On The Verge Of Collapse As Payless Prepares To File For Bankruptcy

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 06:17 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) More than 3,500 retail stores are going to close all across America over the next few months as the worst retail…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

SMOKING GUN? Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 06:14 PM PDT

Has the FBI just discovered the “Smoking Gun” that so many that oppose the newly elected president of the United States of America has been hoping for?…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheists Sues Texas Judge for Opening Court With Chaplain-Presented Prayer

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 04:07 PM PDT

Another day, Another professing atheist group that is set out to file a lawsuit! This latest event is coming out of Texas where a group…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Baseball Sized Hail Reported in Extreme Storm System

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 03:57 PM PDT

If you live in the Carolinas, you may have experienced a severe storm system that moved through your area last night producing what is being reported…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Prophetic Update Regarding Israel and the Coming Prophetic Wars

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 03:28 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss recent events regarding rising tensions with Israel and Syria. We will also discuss how Russia is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

High School with Muslim Prayer Room

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 01:43 PM PDT

(By Kelly McDonald, Jr) Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas is under heavy scrutiny for allowing a Muslim prayer in a classroom. For the last…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Shock Case: Woman Forced to Stop Praying in Her Home

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 01:38 PM PDT

(By Kelly McDonald, Jr) What if someone asked you to stop praying in your home? In Louisberg, Kansas, a current court case will have huge implications. Mary Sause…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

33 Percent of Americans Have Less Than $2,000 in Savings

Posted: 22 Mar 2017 01:28 PM PDT

(By Kelly McDonald, Jr) A troubling report was recently released about emergency savings in the United States. One-third of US consumers would not be able…

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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Guilt, Gospel, and Glory

Unfathomable Grace

In the second chapter of Ephesians, Paul presents both good and bad news to his readers. He takes his friends down a particular theological road, and as he does so, he makes sure to point out to them the concepts of GuiltGospel, and Glory:

Guilt  –  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Gospel – But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us…

View original post 479 more words

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

There’s a terrible truth that needs to be told. This will step on people’s toes and give a blow to egos everywhere, including us who are writing this. The terrible truth is this: Bible believing Christians who are supposed to be united around truth are more divided than Heretics who are united around lies.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:9-13)

We live in a day and age where heresy is prevailing over the truth of God’s Word. Men and women who claim to be apostles and prophets…

View original post 585 more words

CultureWatch: Islam and Religious Freedom

There was a somewhat unhelpful article in the National Review recently entitled “Why Baptists Should Support Muslims’ Right to Build Mosques.” The link to it can be found below. It is not my intention to deal with everything found in the article, but to discuss a debate that sprang from it.

This article and a fan of it appeared on my social media page, so I replied, and that ended up being a major discussion with a few other folks as well, including the one who posted the piece in the first place. So here I want to share some of what I said in that discussion.

Let me preface all this by saying that this debate centres on a particular law case in New Jersey about Muslims seeking to build a mosque. I am not a lawyer or someone with legal training, so I am not competent to comment on the legal pros and cons of this or related cases.

Religious-freedomBut groups like the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) led by president Russell Moore have supported the rights of the Muslim group in the name of freedom of religion. So I will not weigh into the legal debate, but into the broader issues which arise here.

I merely write as someone who knows a little bit about how the American political system works, and how the Islamic political system works. And from that vantage point, I believe that the two are all rather incompatible, and so care must be taken as Christians seek to support the Muslims here.

The gist of the National Review article and the case of those pushing it is that American Baptists have had a rocky history in the US and know the importance of religious freedom, and therefore Baptists should extend that same freedom to Muslims as they seek to build mosques in the country.

I made a brief reply to this post with words like this: Positing a moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity is his first big mistake. His second is to foolishly think that setting up a mosque is the same thing as setting up a church. Just one line from the NR article highlights this: “It was not so long ago that Baptists were ‘the Muslims’ fighting for the right to construct their own houses of worship.”

Um no, not quite. So I posted a link to my article which explains what the mosque actually means for Muslims in non-Muslim countries: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/03/28/the-significance-of-the-mosque/

I urge everyone to read that article. But I then got a reply saying that this debate is not about Islam versus Christianity. “The issue is whether, in the context of civil government, free exercise of religion is equally a right for every religion, including Islam.”

To that I said that she was missing the point. When the Founding Fathers spoke about religious freedom, it was mainly in the context of various Christian denominations, not something as wholly other as Islam. And no, there is no right of every religion to do whatever they want – not when they hold to fundamental values and beliefs that are seditious and treasonous and anti-Constitutional.

The response I got to that was that ‘this is a topic that can get people riled up quickly’, I assured her that I was not getting riled up, and went on to say this:

I simply stated the glaring shortcomings of this article and why he is missing the point big time. The bottom line is this: Christians can live in many different countries with different types of government and various sorts of political setups and be good citizens while still being good Christians. But this is not true for a devout Muslim. Unless a nation is in submission to Allah and sharia law, the devout Muslim cannot be a good citizen. Their loyalty is to Allah and his will alone, not to any non-Islamic, infidel government. So by definition they cannot make for good citizens, unless they renounce their overriding loyalty to Islam and sharia.

Another person weighed in about the “guaranteed Constitutional right” to religious freedom and the like. I reminded him that the establishment clause of the First Amendment on religious freedom had to do with the state not establishing any one religion as a state religion. It never intended to say that all religions were equal in terms of being compatible with the Constitution.

The gal offered a lengthier reply stating in part 1) ‘free exercise of religion is the freedom of every American citizen to believe whatever they wish,’ and 2) my point about sedition and the like is a straw man. ‘The Constitution certainly does not allow every religion the right to DO whatever they want–including Christians.’

I replied:

1) Beliefs lead to and are inseparable from actions, and not every religious belief is given complete immunity, especially when it is directly seditious, etc. 2) There is no straw man here. I take it you did not read my article on what Islam teaches concerning the mosque and its political importance. It is among other things a political unit and a declaration of Islamic intention of territorial expansion. And of course even Christians do not enjoy complete open slather in what they may want to do – often rightly so – at least with some aberrant groups. For this discussion to properly succeed and go forward, we need to know something about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers’ intentions, but we also need to know some basics about Islam. Sadly it seems not everyone here does as far as the latter is concerned. The US government has no reason to turn a blind eye to religious beliefs and practices which are inimical to its very values and foundational principles. Indeed, the Constitution forbids that. That genuine Christian beliefs and practices can wrongly be targeted by the government is of course a real concern, but it is apples and oranges when talking about Christianity versus Islam.

To expand on this a bit further, religious freedom is not an absolute, and there is always a juggling act in preserving religious freedoms while upholding other important values and goods. For example we know that the religious freedom of Jehovah’s Witnesses to follow their beliefs and keep their sick or dying children from getting blood transfusions has been overridden in some American law courts.

Another person said this: ‘if you give the government that power to ban certain things for Muslims, they’ll turn their guns on us as well’. Sure, I understand how dangerous it is for governments to decide which religious freedoms can be allowed and which cannot.

But as stated above, there are no absolutes here – many good things can be restricted in the interests of national security and the like. Do we have the right to shout “fire!” in a crowded theatre? Do we have a right to call for the overthrow of the US government and have it replaced by an Islamic caliphate based on sharia law?

So government already is deciding what is allowed and what is not. And we can discuss and debate those various things. So it seems to me only a radical libertarian would argue that there should be zero restrictions or limitations on all religious beliefs and practices.

That is because they are not all equal. And that sure is the case when we compare Islam with Christianity. The loyalty of a devout Muslim is usually to all sorts of things which are anti-constitutional – things impacting on the equality of women, religious pluralism, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, the rule of law, and so on.

So those mixed loyalties can make many devout Muslims rather poor citizens indeed in a free democracy. And when they openly say – as many do – that they will not be ruled by human law but only sharia law, they show that they reject the very values and basis of the American system of government.

Do I believe religious freedom is important? Yes I do, and in principle, I think we need religious freedom for one and all. As I said years ago about a case in France when they decided to ban Islamic religious symbols in public, that meant that Jewish and Christian symbols were also targeted.

So yes in a sense to allow restrictions to one group may well mean other groups get restricted as well. But there are limits to everything in a fallen world, including religious liberty. All social goods need to be weighed against other social goods.

Religious freedom is vitally important, but so too are the principles enunciated in the US Constitution. Allowing one religious and political ideology like Islam open slather can put at risk the very heart of the American system of government and the values of freedom and democracy.

Thus these are complex matters indeed, and we need to think through them prayerfully and carefully as we seek to find a way forward. As I mentioned above, many folks in this debate are pretty cluey about American law, the US Constitution, and the like. And that is essential.

But sadly it seems many of them are not very cluey about Islam and what it is all about, what its stated goals are, and so on. And that is essential to comprehend as well. Otherwise we will find our freedoms being used against us, and we may well lose our freedoms in the name of preserving freedom.

So we need to be wise and cautious here. Yes we must work to defend religious freedom. But we also must be aware of how this pans out with other religious groups that share few if any of our values of freedom, diversity, pluralism and the rule of law.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445978/baptists-muslims-share-religious-liberty-concerns?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=cline&utm_content=baptists-support
http://www.facebook.com/groups/francisschaefferstudies/permalink/1296966437061820/?comment_id=1297957000296097&notif_t=group_comment_reply&notif_id=1490314289077555

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The post Islam and Religious Freedom appeared first on CultureWatch.

Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel

Popular liberal evangelical writers and preachers tell young evangelicals that if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians. Out of fear of being falsely dubbed “intolerant” or “uncompassionate,” many young Christians are buying into theological falsehoods. Instead of standing up as a voice for the innocent unborn or marriage as God intended, millennials are forgoing the authority of Scripture and embracing a couch potato, cafeteria-style Christianity, all in the name of tolerance.

Peek behind the curtain of some “progressive” or “hip” evangelical churches, past the savvy technology and secular music, and you will find more than just a contemporary worship service. You’ll find faith leaders encouraging young evangelicals to trade in their Christian convictions for a gospel filled with compromise. They’re slowly attempting to give evangelicalism an “update”—and the change is not for the good.

It’s painful for me to admit, but we can no longer rest carefree in our evangelical identity—because it is changing. No doubt you have seen the headlines declaring that evangelicalism is doomed because evangelical kids are leaving the faith. It is no secret that there is an expanding gulf between traditional Christian teachings and contemporary moral values. But the sad truth is that the ideological gulf between America’s evangelical grown-ups and their kids, aka the millennials, seems to be widening too.

Somehow the blame for this chasm is being heaped on traditional churches. They are accused of having too many rules as well as being homophobic and bigoted. Yes, we’ve heard those false claims from popular culture in its desperate attempt to keep Christianity imprisoned within the sanctuary walls. But now popular culture is being aided by Christ-professing bedfellows whose message to “coexist,” “tolerate” and “keep out of it” is more marketable to the rising generation of evangelicals.

The seasoned Christian soldiers are noticing these distortions of the gospel. But for young evangelicals, the spiritual haze is harder to wade through. Desperate for acceptance in a fallen world, many young evangelicals (and some older ones) choose not to take Christ out of the chapel, and so they are unwittingly killing the church’s public witness. In this uphill cultural battle, mired by scare tactics and fear, three types of evangelical Christians are emerging:

  • Couch-potato Christians: These Christians adapt to the culture by staying silent on the tough culture-and-faith discussions. Typically, this group will downplay God’s absolute truths by promoting the illusion that neutrality was Jesus’ preferred method of evangelism.
  • Cafeteria-style Christians: This group picks and chooses which Scripture passages to live by, opting for the ones that best seem to jive with culture. Typically, they focus solely on the “nice” parts of the gospel while simultaneously and intentionally minimizing sin, hell, repentance and transformation.
  • Convictional Christians: In the face of the culture’s harsh admonitions, these evangelicals refuse to be silent. Mimicking Jesus, they compassionately talk about love and grace while also sharing with their neighbors the need to recognize and turn from sin.

I know about these three types of Christians because at one time or another, I have fallen into each of these three categories. My parents will tell you that even though I was raised in church, I morphed into a full-fledged feminist, told my parents they were ignorant for not endorsing homosexuality and bought into the distorted social justice rhetoric that confuses caring for the poor with advancing socialist or big government systems and demonizing the United States for its free-market system.

I’m not ashamed to share my story because my experiences and those of my fellow bold evangelicals are a testimony of God’s awesome, transforming power. Being countercultural for Christ isn’t easy. What does the Great Commission say? Jesus commanded us to go, “teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20a).

Where Did We Go Wrong?

I see so many parents scratching their heads trying to figure out where they went wrong with young evangelicals. Following the instructions of Proverbs 22:6—”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”—many evangelical parents took their children to church and prayed with them every night before bed. Yet the values those children now hold dear do not reflect the traditional teachings of Jesus.

To be perfectly clear, I want to let you know up front that this isn’t a parenting how-to guide that, if followed, will lead your loved ones to salvation. Instead, what I can offer you is a glimpse into the world of a 20-something who sees thousands of young evangelicals being spiritually and emotionally targeted on Christian university campuses, in college ministries and at churches nationwide by a growing liberal movement cloaked in Christianity.

Research tells us evangelicals are drifting further away from the orthodox truths their parents and grandparents held dear.

Our churches have rarely—if ever—faced the exodus we are seeing today. This will have a direct effect on the spiritual and moral values that will shape the nation in the coming years. That is why it is urgent that concerned Christians start acting now before the situation gets worse.

The Collision of Faith and Culture

Faith and culture will continue to collide in America.

Read More

The post Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel appeared first on The Aquila Report.

Legalism and Assurance

Romans 8:38-39; Galatians 3:3

Code: B170324

Do you ever feel like your standing with God fluctuates on a daily basis? Could God be growing weary of your continual struggles with sin? Has the relationship grown sour? Such doubts plague the conscience of many true believers.

What lies at the root of that kind of inner turmoil? And is there any assurance we can offer people in the midst of that struggle? We put those questions to John MacArthur recently. Here’s what he said:

Watch this two-minute video clip:

 

As John pointed out, Scripture contains great and glorious promises for the believer who struggles with sin in this life. And quite simply, we need to take God at His word and believe those promises because they hinge not on what we do, but on what God has already done.

And as we’ll see next time, when legalism does hold sway in our consciences it is usually the result of unbelief. Specifically, it’s a failure to believe God’s promises concerning His power to sanctify and keep those who He saves.

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170324
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to You

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George Soros Has Infiltrated The Southern Baptist Convention And Suing To Build A Mosque In NJ

Pastor Dean Haun called the amicus brief an “unholy alliance” with a false religion, and accused the SBC agencies of overstepping their bounds, reported Baptist Press.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of you may know that for over a year now, the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) has been backing a lawsuit demanding that a mosque in NJ be allowed to be built. But what you may not know is that George Soros has donated over $25 million dollars to this effort through Russell Moore, who serves on Soros’ Evangelical Immigration Table? Who is Russell Moore? He is the president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and a mole for George Soros

The trouble started last May, when several arms of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) reached out a legal hand to a Muslim community in New Jersey, publicly supporting their right to build a mosque.

The International Mission Board (IMB) and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) were 2 of 18 religious groups that filed an amicus brief decrying the Township of Bernards’ zoning board decision that required the proposed mosque to have more parking spaces than Christian or Jewish places of worship.

Meet George Soros’ Mole Inside The Southern Baptist Convention:

The town’s reasoning: since Muslim services are held on Fridays, people would be coming after work instead of together as families, and therefore more spots would be needed. But when the Muslim community offered to split the services, or use ride-sharing or overflow arrangements, the board still denied their application.

Southern Baptist Convention Supports Mosques:

The amicus brief, which was also signed by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, argued that “such unequal treatment of the mosque in this case represents a potential threat to the free exercise rights of each of the amici represented here and is a affront to our nation’s commitment to religious liberty for all.”

On New Year’s Eve, a judge agreed.

Less than a month later, IMB trustee and Tennessee megachurch pastor Dean Haun resigned with a year left on his term.

“I love our IMB leadership and our missionaries and their work across the globe. I am not a rabble rouser and my heart is not to take down the IMB,” Haun told the Baptist and Reflector, the newspaper of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and one of the SBC’s oldest state papers.

“[But] if we defend the rights of people to construct places of false worship, are we not helping them speed down the highway to hell?” he said. “I want no part in supporting a false religion, even if it is in the name of religious freedom.”

He called the amicus brief an “unholy alliance” with a false religion, and accused the SBC agencies of overstepping their bounds, reported Baptist Press. source

Source: George Soros Has Infiltrated The Southern Baptist Convention And Suing To Build A Mosque In NJ

March 24, 2017: Verse of the day

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But when the Lord returned to the three disciples, He found them sleeping. That discovery, though not unexpected, must have added greatly to His grief and distress. No one can disappoint and hurt us so deeply as those we love. Jesus was not surprised, because in His omniscience He was perfectly aware of their weakness and had predicted that it would, that very night, be manifested even in desertion (see v. 31). But that knowledge did not alleviate the pain caused by their not being sensitive enough or caring enough to watch and pray with Him in the last hours of His life.

Just as these same three disciples had slept when Jesus was transfigured (Luke 9:28, 32), they were sleeping at the moment of the greatest spiritual conflict in the history of the world. They were oblivious to the agony and need of their Lord. Despite His warnings of their abandonment and of Peter’s denial, they felt no need to be alert, much less to seek God’s strength and protection. (How we can thank the Lord for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who continually prays for us! See Rom. 8:26–27.)

It was probably after midnight, and the need for sleep at that hour was natural. Jesus and the disciples had had a long and eventful day, and they had just finished a large meal and walked perhaps a mile or so from the upper room to the Mount of Olives. But even the disciples’ limited and confused perception of His imminent ordeal and of their desertion of Him that He had predicted should have motivated and energized them enough to stay awake with Him at this obviously grave time.

In fairness, it should be noted that sleep is often a means of escape, and the disciples may have slept more out of frustration, confusion, and depression than apathy They could not bring themselves to face the truth that their dear friend and Lord, the promised Messiah of Israel, not only would suffer mockery and pain at the hands of wicked men but would even be put to death by them. As a physician, Luke perhaps was especially diagnostic in viewing their emotional state, and he reports that, as we might expect, they were “sleeping from sorrow” (22:45).

But even that reason did not excuse their lack of vigilance. They did not fully believe Jesus’ predictions of His death and of their desertion primarily because they did not want to believe them. Had they accepted Jesus’ word at face value, their minds and emotions would have been far too exercised to allow sleep.

The startling events and controversies of the last few days-the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ repeated predictions of His suffering and death, the prediction of their fleeing in the time of trial, and the obvious anguish He now experienced-should have provided more than sufficient motivation and energy to keep them awake. But it did not. Had they sought the Father’s help in prayer as Jesus did and as He exhorted them to do, they not only would have stayed awake but would have been given the spiritual strength and courage they so desperately needed.

The disciples’ predicted desertion of Jesus began here, as they left Him alone in His great time of need. His heart must have broken when He said to Peter, but also for the benefit of James and John, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”

Considering the circumstances, the rebuke was especially mild. It was not Jesus’ purpose to shame the disciples but to strengthen them and teach them their need for divine help.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

March 24, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

March 24

Feeding Your Passion

He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

 

How can you enhance your passion for the lost? First, study Christ’s great love, compassion, and tender mercy. You can study great men and women in church history, but ultimately you must understand the heart of Jesus. As 1 John 2:6 says, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

Second, study sin: its guilt, power, and penalty. That will make you aware of how we have all fallen prey to the subtleties of the world. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let it remind you to be preoccupied not with worldly things, but with evangelizing the lost.

Third, study sinners. Try to cultivate love and sympathy for them, not bitterness. Note that the most zealous evangelists are often new converts.

Fourth, study Scripture. See what it says about hell, death, judgment, and salvation.

And finally, pray for God to give you a passion for evangelism.[1]


March 24 Jesus’ Humility in Death

“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Philippians 2:8

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In His suffering and death, Jesus is our supreme example of humility.

We naturally react to injustice with deep hurt and an assertion of our rights. But Jesus’ response to His accusers did not include one word of angry defensiveness. Matthew 27:12–14 tells us: “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.”

Later on, during His sham trial, Jesus continued to humble Himself. He accepted sinful men’s abuse when they whipped Him, stripped off His robe, planted a crown of thorns on His head, mocked Him, spat on Him, and beat on Him with a reed. Christ did not even demand His rights when He was condemned to death and forced to walk to Calvary half–naked with a cross on His back.

Today’s verse underscores the most shocking aspect of Christ’s humiliation: the kind of death He died. He endured crucifixion, the cruelest form of death ever devised. The Romans used it to execute rebellious slaves and the worst criminals. Because He was King of the Jews, Jesus’ death on the cross was seen as especially horrible by His people. The Jews had long known what the Law of Moses said: “He who is hanged [on a tree] is accursed of God” (Deut. 21:23). From everyone’s standpoint, the Son of God suffered the ultimate in human degradation.

But in spite of the detestable treatment He suffered, Christ graciously and lovingly died for sinners like you and me. Such an example of selfless humility ought to motivate us, His followers, as we minister to others, “since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

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Suggestions for Prayer: Give thanks that Jesus’ example of humility extended all the way to His willingness to redeem you.

For Further Study: Read one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ suffering and death (Matt. 26–27; Mark 14–15; Luke 22–23; John 18–19). Record some observations about His general attitude during the ordeal. ✧ In what situations and ways does He show humility? ✧ If you have time, compare and contrast two of the accounts.[2]


MARCH 24

THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

—Romans 1:20

The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but of the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide Himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being.

An attribute, then, is not a part of God. It is how God is, and as far as the reasoning mind can go, we may say that it is what God is, though, as I have tried to explain, exactly what He is He cannot tell us…. “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Only to an equal could God communicate the mystery of His Godhead; and to think of God as having an equal is to fall into an intellectual absurdity.

The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures. KOH025

I can’t comprehend You entirely, God, but I thank You for what You have revealed. Help me to learn all I can about You through an understanding of Your attributes. Amen. [3]


March 24

Salt and Light—the Nature of Believers

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.—Matt. 5:13–16

In these four verses the Lord summarizes the function of believers in the world—influence. This is a mandate for Christians to influence the world. The Beatitudes are not to be lived in isolation or only among fellow believers, but everywhere we go.

In verses 13 and 14, the pronoun “you” is emphatic. The idea is, “You are the only salt the earth knows and the only light the world sees.” The world’s corruption won’t be retarded and its darkness won’t be illumined unless God’s people are its salt and light. “You” in both verses is plural; that means the whole body, the church, is called to be the world’s salt and light.

By definition, an influence must be different from that which it influences, and Christians must be different from the world they are called to influence. We cannot influence the world for God if we are worldly ourselves, nor can we give light to it if we retreat to places and ways of darkness ourselves.

ASK YOURSELF
Is there anything that’s currently taking the bite out of your saltiness, or dimming the brightness of your light? Deal openly with the Lord about these things, asking Him to rid you of their influence so that you can be used of God to influence others.[4]

MARCH 24

“BORN OF GOD!”

By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place.

Hebrews 9:12

 

I think most of us remember with assurance the words of the Charles Wesley hymn which was his own personal testimony:

His Spirit answers to the blood,

And tells me I am born of God!

Wesley testified here and in many other hymns to an inner illumination!

When I became a Christian, no one had to come to me and tell me what Wesley meant. That is why Jesus taught that whosoever is willing to do His will shall have a revelation in his own heart. He shall have an inward revelation that tells him he is a child of God.

Too many persons try to make Jesus Christ a convenience. They reduce Him simply to a Big Friend who will help us when we are in trouble.

That is not biblical Christianity! Jesus Christ is Lord, and when an individual comes in repentance and faith, the truth flashes in. For the first time he finds himself saying, “I will do the will of the Lord, even if I die for it!”

 

Lord, I pray today for friends and family who may be questioning their relationship with You. Draw them to Yourself, Heavenly Father.[5]


March 24 Receiving God’s Provisions

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).

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God is glorified when He meets your needs.

In America, praying for our daily bread hardly seems necessary. Most people need to pray for self-control to avoid overeating! But Matthew 6:11 isn’t talking about food only. It is a statement of dependency on God and an acknowledgment that He alone provides all of life’s basic necessities.

Sad to say, however, many people today have reduced prayer to a means of self-fulfillment. Recently a woman sent me a booklet and wrote, “I don’t think you understand the true resource we have in prayer. You should read this booklet.” The booklet repeatedly emphasized our right as Christians to demand things from God. But that misses the point of prayer altogether, which is to glorify God (John 14:13). We are to give God the privilege of revealing His glory by meeting our needs in whatever way He chooses. If we demand things of Him, we are likely to become frustrated or to question Him when we don’t get what we want. That’s a serious sin!

David G. Myers, in his book The Human Puzzle (New York: Harper and Row, 1978), said: “Some petitionary prayers seem not only to lack faith in the inherent goodness of God but also to elevate humankind to a position of control over God. God, the Scriptures remind us, is omniscient and omnipotent, the sovereign ruler of the universe. For Christians to pray as if God were a puppet whose strings they yank with their prayers seems not only potentially superstitious but blasphemous as well. When prayer is sold as a device for eliciting health, success, and other favors from a celestial vending machine, we may wonder what is really being merchandised. Is this faith or is it faith’s counterfeit, a glib caricature of true Christianity?”

Guard your prayers! Always be aware of the enormous privilege you have to approach the infinite God and to receive His gracious provisions. Yet, always do so with His glory as your highest goal.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Proverbs 30:8–9. What attitude toward God do those verses convey? Is that your attitude in prayer?

For Further Study: Read Matthew 6:19–34 and James 4:3. How might you respond to someone who says Christians have the right to demand favors from God?[6]


MARCH 24

GOD IS NOT DEPENDENT ON OUR HUMAN SUCCESS

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

1 PETER 5:6

Why is it that the professed Christian church seems to have learned so little from our Lord’s plain teaching and example concerning human failure and success?

We are still seeing as men see and judging after the manner of man’s judgment. How much eager beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good? How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless projects that are geared to the glorification of little men? How much sacred money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh?

The true Christian should turn away from all this. No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.

God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man.

God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God or more valuable in the total scheme of things.

Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. To be accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by all who reject Him, loved by those who love Him. What greater glory could come to any man?[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 96). 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. 92). 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. 96). 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 Three: Friday)

Friday

Confession: Psalm 143:1–6

O Yahweh, hear my prayer;

listen to my supplications.

In your faithfulness answer me,

and in your righteousness.

And do not enter into judgment with your servant,

because no one alive is righteous before you.

For the enemy has pursued my soul;

he has crushed my life to the ground.

He has made me dwell in dark places

like those long dead.

And so my spirit grows faint within me;

my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the days of long ago;

I meditate on all your doings.

I muse on the labor of your hands.

I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul longs for you like a dry land. Selah

Reading: Mark 12:38–44

And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like walking around in long robes and greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets, who devour the houses of widows and pray lengthy prayers for the sake of appearance. These will receive more severe condemnation!”

And he sat down opposite the contribution box and was observing how the crowd was putting coins into the contribution box. And many rich people were putting in many coins. And one poor widow came and put in two small copper coins (that is, a penny). And summoning his disciples, he said to them, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow put in more than all those who put offerings into the contribution box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in everything she had, her whole means of subsistence.”

Reflection

An ungodly world may reckon the poor in spirit to be contemptible, but God writes them down among His peers and princes. His judgment is true and far more to be esteemed than the opinions of men or angels.

Only if we are poor in spirit do we have evidence that heaven is ours. But having that mark of blessedness, all things are ours—whether things present or things to come. To the poor in spirit belong all the security, honor, and happiness which the gospel kingdom is calculated to give upon earth; even here below they may eat of its dainties without question, and revel in its delights without fear.

Theirs also are the things not seen as yet, reserved for future revelation, theirs the second advent, theirs the glory, theirs the fifth great monarchy, theirs the resurrection, theirs the beatific vision, theirs the eternal ecstasy.

—Charles H. Spurgeon

The Beatitudes

Response

The Pharisees’ pride shows their self-sufficienct spirituality. Are there areas in your life where you feel like you do not need God’s intervention? Write those areas down and ask God for His help in becoming reliant on Him in all things.[1]

 

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